Terri Lyne Carrington was just seven years old when she started playing drums. It was immediate love because it was something that she was good at. With practice she got even better, and by the time she turned 11 years old she had already lined up a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and was holding her own with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Fast-forward to her early 20’s and Terri cemented herself as a beast behind the drums when she became the house drummer for 80’s late-night talk show King, Arsenio Hall. From there she’d expand her skills to include musical director, composer, teacher (she’s currently a professor at Berklee College where she also holds an honorary doctorate degree), and record producer. She’s a three-time Grammy Award-winner, and the first female artist to win a grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental recording.

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“I never knew where it would take me when I started,” says the drummer, now in her early 50’s and considered one of the greatest female instrumentalists of all time. “But when I think of the life that it’s afforded me, I feel it’s my purpose to share my experience and encourage other young black girls to play an instrument.”

Now Terri doesn’t expect that every young girl who picks up an instrument will have the instant connection or the uber successful career that she’s had, however, there’s still plenty of reasons to play. Travel and exposure being at the top of Terri’s list!

“I have friends from all walks of life, all over the world. I’ve played for Heads Of States and for kids in orphanages in Kazakhstan as well as India, where they come in from off the street to take showers once a month. So there’s a pretty big range of experiences. Traveling through music widens your perspective of the world, and it’s very different from, say, traveling through the military.”

One key difference, says Terri, is that it’s a lot of fun.

“It’s wonderful to make a living creating something from nothing in front of a group of people; and it feels great when people come up to you after a show and tell you how much you inspired them.”

If that weren’t enough, there’s the added benefit of getting paid for it.

“Some people choose to play as a side hobby at weddings or clubs on the weekend, but there are also career options such as engineering, composing, teaching, and music therapy. It’s been proven that music helps to heal Alzheimer’s and dementia, and is great therapy for cognitive, motor and social skills for Down's Syndrome and stroke patients. In general, you can get back as much as you put in with a career in music,” Terri explains.

It also builds confidence.

“I really urge parents to encourage their young girls to stand strong in front of their male counterparts. Music is a great example. If you can hold your own in band, you’ll be more confident in other male-dominated environments, whether it’s in the office or another profession,” Terri says, adding that in the last 20 -30 years we’ve seen advancements in the number of female doctors and CEO’s, but we’re still lagging in terms of female instrumentalists.

It’s beyond time for change. But how do we make it happen? Especially, when arts programs are the first to get cut?

“Parents definitely have to do their due diligence and seek out programs outside of school,” says Terri. “Find churches and community-based organizations that support music.”

There’s also the issue of challenge. It’s not easy to learn to play an instrument. Even pop icon Alicia Keys will tell you that she spent more time learning to play the keyboards than hanging out with friends.

“Allow yourself more time when you feel like you can’t do something or want to quit just to see what happens if you don’t. We also have to look at our personality traits to see if we are the type of person to persevere when it gets tough or if we like to give up,” Terri says. “For women, we may be accustomed to certain ways of being socially, and playing music may not always fit into the existing roles or stereotype we see of ourselves. So we have to step up to the door, and through the door, to make change.”

Ultimately, who is to say if playing an instrument will be the end-all-be-all for our young girls. However, just knowing the opportunities that exist in this world could mean the difference between buying yet another Disney Princess doll or video game, or perhaps picking up a second-hand guitar, keyboard, bass or flute. It’s worth a try!

To find out more about Terri Lyne Carrington visit www.terrilynecarrington.com
Erickka Sy Savané is a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

Written by Tonja Renée Stidhum

The topic of breastfeeding is certainly a hot one as of late as has sparked huge debates with passionate views from either side of the table. Whether it’s fight for or against public breastfeeding or the age of the breastfed child, the debates can often get very heated. Well, one mom has upped the ante by adding an unconventional component: breastfeeding during sex.

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Meet Tasha Maile, a vlogger who recently took to YouTube with her baby latched onto her nipple to explain why she believes it’s “ok” to breastfeed her child while she’s engaging in intercourse. Vlogging under the name “Spiritual Tasha Mama” and serving as a helpful resource for women looking to learn about breastfeeding, Maile often includes her baby feeding from her breast in her videos, which has become somewhat of her brand.

She posted the video with the caption, “Sex is beautiful, thanks to sex we are here, experiencing life. Are you thinking for yourself? or has someone else told you what to think/believe?” and firmly proposed the positive effects of sexual energy. With over 4 million views, Maile’s original video has gotten people buzzing with many viewers outraged at her controversial choice.

Maile recently appeared on This Morning with Phillip & Holly for an interview in response to the backlash, in which she defended her choice as a mother who has to multitask.

“If the baby is OK, the baby’s OK,” said Maile, who also conducted the interview -- true to form -- with her baby latched onto her nipple, feeding. They’re not sitting there judging you and thinking ‘my mom and dad are having sex.’ It’s a 2- or 3-month-old baby. They’re so innocent." The hosts challenged her, asking her whether being present during the sex act could be damaging to the baby or child depending on their age. Maile countered that the baby was sleeping while breastfeeding, but also noted that it’s not uncommon for children to walk into the room while their parents are having sex, which she believes to be harmless. In addition to her 2-month old baby, Maile has a 5 year old child (who the hosts pointed out also still gets breastfed by Maile), to which she pointed that she did not have sex in front of her eldest child.

In terms of her growing popularity, the hosts asked whether she was ever concerned about the contrast between people who watch her videos purely for education versus for more implied “impure” reasons. Maile simply noted that she initially created the channel for her and was happy to share with others, but the reasons behind viewers’ choices to watch is “none of [her] business.”

Further, the hosts asked if there was ever a time where she felt it was ever inappropriate to breastfeed the child, as Maile added that she has showered while feeding her baby before. Overall, Maile believes there is no “right or wrong” in regards to her choice to breastfeed during sex.

This is certainly a hot topic! So, let’s talk about it in the comments!

What are your thoughts on Tasha Maile’s choice to breastfeed while having sex? Is there line in regards to age when breastfeeding your children? What do you all think about public breastfeeding, in general?
Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

By Sharee Silerio

In life, we all have moments that we want to wish away. Whether it’s losing a loved one, financial struggles, an illness, a dead end career or strained relationships, everyone is going through or trying to get through something.

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“Queen Sugar” is no different, which is why I love this show so much! It’s so real, and often reminds me of my life at the present time or of what I have experienced. The show’s representation of life, love, hurt, healing and self-discovery is beautiful.

This week’s episode carries a couple of major themes throughout it – control and fear. We fear what we cannot control and we try to control what we fear.

Charley, Micah, Aunt Vi and Darla demonstrate what fear looks like; in their facial expressions, actions, words and being. It’s amazing to witness how they learn that their fears are unfounded or how to push through them anyway.

This episode, titled “Caroling Dusk”, starts with Charley and Micah talking about their therapy session, Nova and Dr. Dubois connecting in love, Charley realizing that her childhood has crept its way into her adulthood, and Darla feeling the impact of her absence in Blue’s life.

Here is my “Reel Noire” recap of last night’s episode, on the sweet lessons that stood out to me:

1. There is nothing wrong with seeking therapy when you need it. Sometimes we need help to unpack the wounds, frustrations and struggles of the past and present in order to move forward in a healthy way.

In the beginning of the episode, Charley is sitting on a couch in an office calling Micah. He is supposed to be there for his first therapy session, but isn’t able to come. The therapist tells Charley that it’s helpful to talk to her client’s parents so she can help them better, but Charley wants to stick to her concerns with Micah. When Charley can’t weasel her way out of the situation, she takes a long, cautious breath.

2. Learn to take care of yourself before you let others take care of you. You don’t need anyone to rescue you. Rescue yourself.

Last week, Darla lost her job at the parking garage because she went to the farm to help Ralph Angel instead of completing her shift like her manager told her to. Since then, she’s been looking for a job so she can support herself, and Ralph Angel wants her to move in with him. She stays stands strong and tells him that she needs to be able to stand on her own two feet by herself.

3. Striving for perfection stunts personal growth. Progress is the road to freedom and fulfilling all of your potential. Instead of finding a way around obstacles, discover a way to get through them, and choose to learn something in the process.

During the impromptu therapy session, Charley ends up revealing that she felt like her mother wanted her to be perfect growing up. She calls Nova, who shows up to her house after sensing that she needs some sister time. Nova performs a home cleansing ritual then they talk over dinner. After discussing Micah and their new life in St. Josephine’s, Charley reminisces about how much she practiced playing the piano as a child, including the time she walked out of a recital in the middle of her performance because she couldn’t handle the pressure. She mentions that her mom told her she should find a new hobby and they never talked about it again.

4. Give yourself a fresh start each and every time you need it. Start over whenever, however, wherever and as often as you need to. Sometimes creating something from nothing is the only way to see things clearly.

At the same dinner, Nova tells Charley that her momma made her a control freak, adding that “You have a blank slate, with yourself and with Micah. Color it how you want.” Charley tells Nova, “Well, your slate is blank now, too.”

5. Fear is something we must get through in order to fully live this thing called life. We can’t avoid it. It will always exist in some form. Let fear motivate you to make a difference, to become and accomplish all you can be.

Micah and Davis walk into the gym when Davis says that they’re going to play a special basketball game. When either of them shoots a three-pointer, they get to ask the other a question, no topic off limits. Micah shoots a “3” first, then asks Davis a question. Davis shoots one next then asks Micah if the cops roughed him up. Micah responds then says that he felt out of control and was scared, and it was something he hadn’t experienced before. Davis replies, “Fear is a rite of passage for us. The question is, how do you use it to make yourself smarter and better.”

6. Building your dream from the ground up is tough. Resistance doesn’t mean that it’s time for you to give up. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. You have to keep on when things get difficult, when people tell you no, and especially when you don’t feel like it. You must believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, even when you don't believe in yourself.

After Hollywood taste-tests Aunt Vi’s pies, she takes them to local restaurants in the neighborhood to see if they’d like to sell them to their customers. The next day, she’s in the bed when Hollywood walks in the door. He asks her if she’s going to get out of the bed and she tells him that she doesn’t feel like dealing with people. She tears up while telling him that every place she went to said no. He asks her if she’s going to listen to sad songs all day, then says, “That ain’t the Vi I know...it was one day. One very hard, bad day. But you ain’t got to let it turn into two.”

7. The way you treat other people comes back to you, whether it’s good or bad. We’ve heard this many times before, but treat others the way you want to be treated. Reaping and sowing, also known as karma, is real.

Ralph Angel is in an alley, digging in a dumpster when two cops pull up on him (if you watched, then you know why he’s doing this, lol). As he shows his face to them, one of the cops recognizes him, and saves his behind. Toine, the cop who saves him, is a transgender man that Ralph Angel has been friends with for years. During their conversation about Darla and Ralph Angel’s protectiveness of Blue, Toine thanks Ralph Angel for supporting and looking out for him in high school and later in life.

Did you watch the fifth episode of “Queen Sugar”? What are some of your favorite moments?
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

By Sharee Silerio

Months after winning an Oscar for Best Picture for “Moonlight”, award-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins has revealed his next project.

His follow-up film is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk” for Annapurna Pictures.

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Jenkins wrote the screenplay in 2013, with support from the Baldwin estate, around the same time he created the script for “Moonlight”.

The novel is a tale of love and injustice, and Amazon summarizes it this way:

“Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.”

An American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and social critic, James Baldwin was an insightful, iconic writer whose words and stories spoke intimately and powerfully about racial and social issues, most notably the black experience in America.

Jenkins will direct the film, which is his first feature since “Moonlight”.

According to the “LA Times”, filming will begin this October.

“James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day," Jenkins said in a statement, per the “LA Times”. “To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.”

Have you read James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk”? Are you looking forward to watching Barry Jenkins’ adaptation on film?
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

By Sharee Silerio

I look forward to “Queen Sugar” every week, especially its wisdom, authenticity and relatable depictions of work, relationships, romance, family, hurt and healing.

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In this episode, like many of the others, Charley and Ralph Angel butt heads – this time over Micah accidentally pushing Blue – but we also get to see them make up, in their shortest conflict so far.

What’s refreshing in the fourth episode, titled “My Soul’s High Song”; is the real, raw love Hollywood and Aunt Vi have for each other. We also get to see Charley’s business savvy in action, while Nova contemplates her next career move.

Once again, “Queen Sugar” surprises, encourages, teaches and keeps us wanting more.

Here is this week’s “Reel Noire” recap, on the sweet lessons that stood out in Wednesday night’s episode:

1. Working is just as important as relaxing. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do for the sake of doing. Take care of yourself and rest, so you can live life fully.

Hollywood completes his “honey-do” list when he asks Violet if anything else needs to be done. She’s tells him that he’s completed all of the tasks and should sit on the couch, watch television, grab a beer and wait for her to get home from work so they can do the things couples do. It is clear that this will be difficult for him, based on the look on his face, but it’s his only option.

2. To be a boss, you must have a vision, and you need to know your business inside and out.

Charley and Remy are at the sugar mill with the black farmers collective, and Charley is offering an update on construction plans, equipment and expectations for performance. During the conversation, it’s clear that she has done her research as she’s speaking the farmer’s language with the technical terms she uses along with her descriptions of what’s going to happen. Her presentation was impressive, and a farmer or two even signed contracts to commit to using the Queen Sugar mill for harvest.

3. Don’t forget to see the beauty beyond the world’s brokenness. In the fight for racial justice, dignity, equality, and truth, always make room to acknowledge the good that exists. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the negative, so make sure you allow yourself to see the positive.

Nova has a new editor at the newspaper, and he wants her to find more positive stories so viewers don’t go elsewhere for good news. She tells him that she does some of the most in depth social and criminal justice reporting in the area, and he says that she does great work, but he wants her to “cast her net a little wider” and help them balance the coverage. She responds by saying that it’s difficult to find the good things because “a lot is broken” in New Orleans. He says that not everything is broken, and he wants her to profile success stories, because they’re currently only writing about “problems, not solutions.” She tries to go in a different direction by interviewing an official from the local District Attorney’s office, but hits a dead end when the interviewee doesn’t trust her motives and halts the interview.

4. Become one with the people you want to lead. Don’t forget who you really are – human.

Charley is looking for a new place for her and Micah to live, preferably one that will remind them of home. After her and Remy’s tour of a luxurious spot, they go to the High Yellow for lunch, where they discuss the property. Remy starts with how living in the home, which is near the Landrys, will impact the farmers’ perception of her, and the implications of “black success” looking or not looking like “white success”. Remy tells her that if she wants to lead the black farmers and gain their trust and respect, then she should live and invest in the neighborhood where the mill is located, especially since her purpose for the mill is to uplift the community.

5. You’re never too old to dream!

Aunt Vi and Hollywood are getting ready for bed when Hollywood says that he enjoyed helping on the farm and that he’s going to look for another job. She tells him that he’s just restless and shouldn’t rush into anything. He adds that he likes working and Vi says that she does too.

Auntie then dropped some gems, saying, “They got us thinking that we supposed to work until we die. Then if we don’t, we the problem. Well that ain’t my American Dream. Is that yours?” Hollywood replies in the negative then tells her that his dream is going to sleep and waking up beside her each day, and nothing else matters.

She says that other things do matter, so he tells her, “What, and you don’t think you’re wasting your time at the High Yellow? I see the look on your face when you’re running around. That ain’t a look of love.” She says it’s the “look of determination” and that she worked her butt off for the promotion. Hollywood says that he always sees her most happy when she’s working in her own kitchen, then asks her what her dream looks like.

Aunt Vi responds, “I guess, it looks like me making people happy with my food, my pies. I guess it’s me, having my own business,” with a puzzled expression. He says, “You saying that like it can’t happen. Look, let me figure out what to do next. But I want you to figure out the same thing. We ain’t too old to get ours, baby. We ain’t.”

Did you watch the fourth episode of “Queen Sugar”? What moments do you remember?
Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.