Author Archives: cellibration

About cellibration

Mother, writer, and bon vivant. My life = family, art, and love.

More Than Just An Address

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More Than Just An Address

By, Ascellia M. Arenas

🔆Cellibrate Black History🔆 I am teaching my classes about pre, during, and post slavery America; Jim Crow Laws; Segregation, and The Civil Rights Movement, this month. I showed them all kinds of realia: film clips, historical documents/photographs, and non-fiction vs fictitious texts about our history. I also taught them that post civil war segregation tactics didn’t end with Dr. King having a dream or Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus. Look at this picture for a moment…In that very lot, behind my siblings and me (in front of our property) the Klan used to burn crosses to try to intimidate us and make us move out of our neighborhood. This photo was taken in 1977, in Pembroke Pines, FL. We moved there in 1974. This was one of four properties my father owned (at that time). He wanted to move us to a new neighborhood, an exclusive neighborhood, where we can get a great education and then go to college, like my parents did. We were one of three black families in the entire city that owned homes there. Yes, my parents were friends with the other two couples that owned homes in the quiet suburban neighborhood, too. For years we defended our rights to live on this block, in this quaint little neighborhood, shrouded by pine trees. Imagine that…pine trees in Florida. Times have changed, a little. There are many families living here now, of all races and cultures. That empty lot is completely developed with hundreds of other homes with people living in them of all races, sizes, and varying degrees of intelligence. The neighborhood has grown significantly. My how things change, people change, but some ideas don’t; unless you influence the change. 

If you don’t talk to your children about real life, if you don’t teach them about their history, they will be doomed to repeat it. Make moves… #cellibrationpublishing #AYV2016 #blackhistorymonth 

  

Drake Makes A Million Matter in Miami: “God’s Plan”

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Drake Makes A Million Matter in Miami: “God’s Plan”

By, Ascellia M. Arenas

I’ve been a Drake fan since Jimmy was in the wheelchair (Degrassi reference).

via  Google Images

Drake as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi:The Next Generation

Recently Drake took a trip to Miami and used his video budget however he wanted for his latest single, “God’s Plan”.

Drake buzzed around Miami, like Peter Pan, giving away a million dollars to locals: 50k at a grocery store, buying toys for children, donating a van and cash to Alonzo Mourning’s foundation/school, giving a UM student, Destiny James, a 50k scholarship, donating cash to schools in Miami Dade County Public Schools, donating money to the Lotus House (a shelter for homeless women), purchased cars and gave them away, handed cash money to families, shut down a department store and took battered women on a shopping spree…has this man earned his wings in heaven? YES!!!

Did Drake just position himself as the most desired eligible bachelor in the process? Yes, here’s why…

Drake is the master charmer…what’s not to love?
1. He is single and unattached-no baby mama drama, no woman/women who actively behave like his significant other (although he often projects interest in women-no relationship actually sticks AND we see him get curved by the best of them-which makes him relatable).


2. He gave away one million dollars! He has plenty more where that came from but people like the idea that he actually documented it. Some might think he shouldn’t brag about charity and if he’s giving it away he should do so privately. WHY??? So often we see celebrities spending frivolously on themselves and their families. They show off their homes, cars, jewels, vacations, exotic fetishes, and we eat that up! With this gesture of kindness and selflessness, he made people feel like he wasn’t just out to “get their money”- that’s where most people mess up. No, we don’t need to see all the receipts of good deeds from celebrities. It’s just good to know that some want to show us that they can and do nice things for those who often are underserved and overlooked.
3. He is not out here fronting. He’s just a Black Jewish man who grew up in Canada and figured out how to get this shmoney without hurting people and/or being a jerk.

The reality of Drake might be different:  but for now, we just love the “idea” of Drake.

Thanks for reminding us that good men still exist, and we don’t have to settle.

You win, Drizzy!

Why do I blog? 

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Why do I blog? 

By, Ascellia M. Arenas
I have been blogging since 2010. I have been a writer all of my life. I wrote my first self-published piece (illustrated book) when I was about 7 years old. I’ve always been very active and interested in social media and its potential since its inception. 

Social Media Blogging 

I was first on Black Planet, late 90’s early 2000’s. I taught myself HTML (hyper text markup language) by trying to keep up with other members. I had fancy backgrounds and jazzy fonts, cute pictures and gifs that sparkled, and of course MUSIC! Then, I joined Facebook in 2003 while it was a mere college project by some ambitious college coeds at Harvard University, that connected other college students around the US together, categorized by school. There are many conflicting arguments about Facebook. I was in the doctoral program at Nova and we heard about what the kids at Harvard were working on, so I joined Facebook out of curiosity. The early days of Facebook were amazing, I learned so much! Backstory of Facebook

Back then MySpace was the #1 place to be online. Facebook took some ideas from it to create their own site, but they’ll probably deny it. I even thought I’d become a singer (yes I believed the idea that everyone had the opportunity to become whomever they wanted to through social media). Clearly, my recording career fell flat. It was fun but not really fulfilling my passions. 

Then my university became a part of a HBCU social sphere called Rattler Roundup it was related to the concept developed by Black Planet/Facebook/ MySpace. That was around 2007. It was great to reconnect with my college friends, it was genius and thriving until Facebook resurfaced and created a platform for all (not just college students). 
Facebook came back with new features and totally killed MySpace and all other “web ring” social media sites to the curb. It is the most widely used and trusted online social media communication portals on Earth. It all started with the concept of BLOGGING-communicating with others online, your ideas, hopes and dreams. 
There are many other social media sites out there; I secured my name on all of them: Twitter, Tumbler, Google Plus, Instagram, Snap Chat, you name it! None of those platforms allow me the freedom to produce content like my own personal blog. 
Having my own blog gives me a platform to produce content that is relevant to me. I have a voice that can not be extinguished. I can post whatever I want, whenever I want. Through blogging I get to create a space for myself that is unique and will allow me the space to express myself how I see fit. I won’t get blocked or deleted. My influence is my own to create and share. I can make it as elaborate or as simple as I want. Nobody can tell me what I can and can not post. I also realize what is within my right to share, legally. I developed a sense of maturity and responsibility through my blog. I do not want to get fired, arrested, or sued for what I post, so there’s that… See! There is freedom in blogging! 
There are other benefits to blogging, beyond having a personal rant space. Blogging can help you create multiple streams of income, can establish yourself as an expert/consultant, and can help you construct your passions in a way that is organized and coherent-thereby facilitating success. 
Here are some sites that can help you decide how and what you’d like to create with your own blog: 

Benefits of Blogging 

Why Should I Blog?
Why I Think You Should Blog

Starting A Personal Blog
Earning Income

Blogging can become overwhelming if you are not familiar with coding (even using simple templates require the ability to follow directions). Don’t let that deter you. Tinker around with it until you create your space the way you want it to be.  
Remember, the sky is the limit BUT the universe is not. Go for it, stumble, fall, make mistakes, dust off your keyboard and try again. You only fail when you stop trying. 

Being Grown

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Review of Grownish, Spinoff of ABC’s of Blackish

By, Ascellia M.Arenas

  

Did you watch it? Was it everything you’d hoped it would be? I think it was a brave step forward in the direction that will cultivate meaningful conversations. Yara Shahidi’s character, Zoey Johnson, encounters underaged drinking, advanced partying, personal conflicts regarding use of unprescribed narcotics, and of course, a really cute cool sophomore that she wants as her “Boo Thang.” Too much? Unrealistic? Setting a bad example? All I have to say to that is, “where is the lie?” I went to college in the 90’s and yep, this was/is the same type of stuff that goes on…only with a 2018 twist. If we remember back to when Cosby ruled Thursday night prime time TV, we were engrossed in the concept that a black lawyer and a black gynecologist could be happily married, with 5 children and living in a Brownstone in Brooklyn. And THEN, their boho chic daughter Denise would sidestep an Ivy League college experience, unlike her sister Saundra, (who dropped out of medical school to live in a flop house apartment with her black Ivy League educated husband, to have twins and open a camping store), to attend an HBCU, “Hillman” where Cliff and Claire met. This was riveting and quite progressive content back in the late 80’s early 90’s. Some even said that it was unrealistic and uncommon. Those of us who were familiar with this type of family dynamic and success were happy to share dialogue with those who did not even know that these types of life choices were possible. I think the writers for “Grownish” can scale back a little bit. Trying to introduce too much too soon can cause the show to fizzle out too quickly. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and our TV’s tuned in to “Grownish” on Wednesday nights on Freeform ABC. Yara is an amazing young woman and I love that she has a slot, during prime time, to influence our girls and show them that their magic is first cultivated in their minds and not in their bodies.

Speak On It 💁🏽✨

To Weave or Not To Weave

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To Weave or Not To Weave

What’s the big deal about our hair?

By, Ascellia M. Arenas
  
To weave or not to weave; that is the question. This summer I’ve given my natural hair a break. Currently, I’m rocking my hair in its natural state. No perm, no texturizer; just a simple wash and go style. I’ve worn my hair this way many times throughout my life. This is not my first “big chop,” all I did was remove my extensions, no chop. My first “big chop” was in elementary school. I begged my mother to let me get a perm so I can look like her and my older sister. My fuzzy curly mop didn’t look smooth like theirs. She gave in, my father was furious because he didn’t think I needed to do anything extra to enhance my appearance; he still thinks the same way, I digress… I love all different types of hairstyles, I don’t judge women about their choice of wearing natural hairstyles or wearing perms, weaves and wigs. It is a personal choice. What makes you feel good? Why does it make you feel good? 
I play with hairstyles all of the time because I know, it’s just HAIR. I have worn my hair all types of ways. Weaves, wigs, braids, perms, shaved completely bald, dyed platinum blonde, you name it! Recently, popular culture has given women of color “permission” to wear our natural locks with pride. We have consciously changed the narrative about how we want to wear our hair. The natural hair movement is in full swing! We even have Curl Fest, a festival where women with all different types of hair meet and celebrate HAIR! No hair shaming, just appreciation and proactive care for natural hair. I love it. 
Women of color have fought this battle tremendously, especially during the 20th century, via various forms of media. We have sacrificed our personal concept of our image in an effort to sustain our lives and the lives of our families. All women have a hair struggle story: be it how getting a hairdo is a ritual, how she will or will not be accepted because of her curl pattern or lack thereof, length, color, how a certain hair style will ensure her social status and more. Psychological attachments to hair and identity are very real. If you don’t believe me, ask a woman, any woman, about her hair journey. It is a universal truth for females. The narrative is different but the common core of acceptance flows through each, regardless of race. 
As early as the late 19th Century women of color were influenced to change the texture of our hair. We are all very aware of the first female African-American millionaire, Madame C J Walker, who introduced pomades and hot combs to help women of African decent wear straightened hairstyles. Garret Morgan, the inventor of the chemical relaxer, introduced us to dressings and treatments to help us “tame” our curls, as well. All of these dressings were created to make women appear  “well groomed” i.e. suitable. In 1971, Proline/Dark and Lovely introduced the lye based relaxer which was mass produced and sold for use in salons and at home. For well over 100 years, women of color have been conditioned to “do something with that hair,” which usually means-straighten it to make it look more appealing to what we are told is appealing so says popular culture. You still there? Do you get it? Somebody said something was wrong with our hair and we believed it. 
We have choices when it comes to wearing our hair in different hairstyles. In an effort to “fit-in”  in corporate America many non-white women opt for a smooth hair style that is complementary to the image that their business presents. Many fear that they will not be promoted in their industry because of how they look. Women fear looking “less feminine” or intimidating if they wear braids, locs, locks, or any other type of natural hairstyles to work. This has been topic of discussion in the media since 1990’s where specifically African-American women were forbidden to wear braids, locks, locs, or other natural hairstyles, in the US Military. This impacts our ability to earn, hence our ability to provide. This matters especially if she is a single parent.
Entrepreneurial women of color have the option of wearing their hair in a natural style or in a weave style at their own discretion. Whether or not her business increases or decreases because of her appearance will determine her demographic and her success. Our hair carries so much weight, literally and figuratively. 
So, the question remains…to weave, or not weave? What do you think? 

Get L.I.T. Workshop

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Get L.I.T. Workshop

By, Ascellia Arenas

It was an esteemed honor to be invited by my father’s (Dr.J.A. “Chico” Arenas) fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, ETA NU Chapter, Pompano, FL; to join them in their first “GET L.I.T.” Community Outreach Event. I led my workshop with the young ladies, “Writing Like a P.R.O,” and discussed how writing and literacy impacts their social media presence. The men of Omega Psi Phi invited me to share with the entire group, as well. I extended my commitment to serve with the chapter’s youth group to encourage citizenship, academic scholarship, and political activism throughout next school year.

Today’s program also included:

FREE BLOOD MOBILE Ω HIV SCREENING Ω HEALTH SCREENING Ω SWAT (STUDENTS WORKING AGAINST TOBACO)

TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP Ω UNITED WAY Ω LEGAL-SHIELD Ω RONALD MCDONALDS TABS PROGRAM Ω RELAY FOR LIFE

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS Ω VOTER REGISTRATION Ω FLOMOBIL Ω ALI CULTURAL CENTER Ω NAACP.

I am proud to be a good “lil sister” to the Men of Omega Psi Phi and it is an honor to assist them in their endeavors.

Girls Trip Will Change Your Whole Entire Life

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Girls Trip Will Change Your Whole Entire Life

Girls Trip…Life Lessons

By, Ascellia M. Arenas
I’m sure after you watched “Girls Trip,” you didn’t think that you would walk away with life lessons that would help you design a path for the rest of your life. The movie starts off with the women living their individual lives, after graduating from college, having settled into their own families, and career paths. It is quite evident that the women are over the age of 40 and have an appreciation for life that women of a particular age do not have, yet. The type of appreciation shown by these ladies doesn’t usually manifest in women until after turning 40 years old, I digress. How does watching “Girls Trip,” change your life? Follow me…

1. Plan a trip/vacation with NO MEN ALLOWED. Sometimes you need to disconnect just to get back to yourself. If men show up along the way…remember who the guest list originally included. Plan a “baecation” for different time. 
2. Eat the cake. You only live once. Stop being so uptight. 

3. Everybody can’t be in VIP. Who said having VIP status to everything you attend actually makes you important? Chill Sis, it’s totally okay to be regular sometimes.

4. If he treats you bad, I’m speaking up. As your friend, I can’t co-sign anybody doing things that are hurtful to you. I’m going to tell you that it’s not cool and ultimately it will be your choice to take action, even if that action is to not speak to me for a little while. 

5. Chemistry is real. There’s a reason why that person makes you feel a certain type of way. Trust your instincts.

6. Puerto Rican Grandmothers are cute. Let them rock their outfits & flavor in peace. Understand your body and what looks good on you. Everything ain’t for everybody. 

7. Grapefruit is good. Grapefruit is great. Just be careful. Everything is good in moderation. Except crack…don’t do the crack. 

8. If you know your friend lives her whole entire life on the wild side, proceed with caution. You can observe, you can even participate a little, just make sure neither one of you ends up in the hospital or jail as a result of shared shenanigans. Be a friend, not a judge & jury.

9. If you go out together, come back together. Everybody is grown, yes…but, at least make the effort to communicate a plan of action. If she catches a big fish, help her pull it in the boat; then go downstairs to the lobby for early breakfast, or a snack, or something…😏✊🏾

10. Fight fair. Trust that your friend is who she says she is. Nobody is perfect, everybody makes mistakes. The real test in relationships is in the ability to adjust your sails and keep going. 

11. Encourage your friends to be who you know they are, all of the time. Reflect back sincere encouragement and support. If your friends aren’t supporting your vision & dreams, especially where your talent is clearly evident/thriving; then, why are you friends? 

12. It’s all fun and games until somebody starts hallucinating. 

13. Make sure to pack a variety of wigs and shades (disguises) because… the internet. 

14. Girls from FAMU have it all…brains, beauty, hustle, loyalty, style, grace & will blow up the spot if somebody gets it twisted. 

“Girls Trip,” starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish, directed by Malcolm D. Lee and written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, is in theaters now. The film has broken the myth that black females can’t lead a comedy, that a rated “R” comedy can’t exceed box office goals, while proving that Black Girl Magic IS alive and well. Organize an outing with your girlfriends to go see it to support box office receipts. Then, go back by yourself so that you catch anything you may have missed while you and your crew were literally laughing raucously out loud. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film 89% (a high B+ average), Cinema Scope gave it an A+, box office reports that opening weekend garnered over $30 million dollars in ticket sales. Big congratulations to my classmate, Will Packer, for making his mark in Hollywood and may he experience continued success!