Sybrina Fulton: Woman 

By, Ascellia Arenas


This weekend was packed with wonderful events and activities. It was such a rewarding feeling to be invited and welcomed at these various activities and special events. But, there was one moment in time where everything stood still. While at the Miami -Dade County Chapter of Charmettes Annual Scholarship Breakfast, I had the unique opportunity to speak with a woman whom I admire and have so much compassion for. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin-who was murdered in 2012 by George Zimmerman, was one of the recipients of the “Woman of The Year Award”. At first, the moment seemed surreal because I watched this woman traverse the stress and anxiety of testifying in a murder trial where her son was the victim. I directed two documentaries about the trial and I documented the first rumblings and initial investigation, rallies, and more. I felt her pain and agony while she held her head high and demanded respect for her child that was ripped away from her. I thought to myself “what can you say to her that can even express how much you respect her, her experience, and her testimony”? I was standing in front of the woman who faced the dragon that killed her son in cold blood. To make matters worse, he was exonerated. This tragedy gave birth to our favorite hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 
I spoke, “Good Morning”.  Then I said, “Congratulations on the honor you are receiving today.” She replied, “thank you,” and then, all of a sudden, she doubled back and tilted her head to the side. She said, “let me see your teeth”. I thought it kind of odd, but of course I obliged. Then she asked me about my braces. Of all things, she could have asked me about, she was most interested in my braces! She wondered if they were retainers, how long I would need to wear them, and so on. Then I saw it, it was in that moment when I gave her an opportunity to actually talk to someone about anything other than her slain child, to ask about how someone else lives, to talk to someone who does not have the experience of moving on with her life without her child, to not have to re-hash that event for the millionth time. After all, we have a lot in common: we are black women from South Florida, we have birthed two black male children, we both attended HBCU’s in Florida, and both of us have deep understanding of real grief that profoundly changes your life forever. She wanted to know about my Invisaligns. She just wanted to talk about something “normal”. I was happy to give her that moment. 

Later that day, when she gave her speech, she emphasized how she was thrust in to becoming a Civil Rights Activist; she was just a girl who was born and raised in Miami, went to school in Miami, and had a “normal” existence until that day when everything changed. She explained that Psalms 23 is what gets her through the days, weeks, months, and years. She showed me that God doesn’t call the qualified: God qualifies the called.  You better be ready, too! 

 My sons are still here alive and well, healthy and happy, I’m blessed not “lucky”. She is missing one of her two sons, forever. The world has its way with her son, Trayvon.  She did not self-destruct. She holds her head high and walks the walk into her destiny every single day. She’s definitely a remarkable example of a virtuous woman. I’m honored to have made her acquaintance. 


C.2016 Cellibration Publishing

Vintage Black Star Power “The Marvelous Mademoiselle Josephine Baker”

By, Celli Arenas

Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975)

She is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful, sanguine, philanthropic, and talented women that ever lived. She is the marvelous Mme. Josephine Baker.

Josephine Feathers

Baker was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess”. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine later became a citizen of France in 1937. She was fluent in both English and French.

Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) or to become a world-famous entertainer. Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in America, is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

Josephine with pet cheetah

She was once offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King in 1968, following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Baker, however, turned down the offer. She was also known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and received the French military honor, the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.”

Civil Rights Jospehine

Josephine Baker, made her mark in the Civil Rights Movement through her involvement with the March on Washington for Jobs, Justice and Freedom. Most are not aware, but in 1963, only one woman addressed the crowd, that was Josephine Baker.

Two women, Marian Anderson and Mahalia Jackson, sang, and Josephine Baker spoke for more than 20 minutes. Baker introduced the “Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” to herald women like Rosa Parks, whose arrest launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Myrlie Evers, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers; and Daisy Bates, NAACP of Arkansas President and advisor to the Little Rock Nine.

Josephine Rights

Her speech poignantly detailed her experiences with a segregated America and her commitment to the Civil Rights Movement.

Keep in touch with the “Cellibration” of Black History Month through my series of articles featuring notable people of African descent , here at www.

Discover More:  Josephine Baker : Civil Rights


Images: Google Images

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Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at, and hosts for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at

Follow@sidetrackedbook on Instagram & Twitter

Movie Review: Selma

Movie Review: Selma

By, Celli Arenas

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South. Unfortunately, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, which made it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the home of the fight for suffrage.

Despite opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on a historical march from Selma to Montgomery across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge. Finally, their efforts resulted in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


“Selma” was released on, December 25, 2014 (USA) was directed by, Ava DuVernay, and produced by, Brad Pitt, Christian Colson, Dede Gardner,Oprah Winfrey, Jeremy Kleiner and through production companies: Pathé, Plan B, Entertainment, and Cloud Eight Films.

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay

Selma received several Golden Globe nominations, but took home the Globe for the best original song, “Glory” performed by Common and John Legend. Common, who also co-starred in the film, gave a rousing acceptance speech that not only serves as evident humble gratitude but even more of a strong call to action for us all to recognize and continue the passion filled fight of our ancestors. Common’s acceptance speech evokes a spirtiual response that encourages us to continue the fight today, without wavering.


imagesDavid Oyelowo played Martin Luther King, Jr. in a riveting performance. He provided an intimate look in to the life of a leader who was spiritually and morally challenged to provide a beacon of light for the community while providing the loving supportive leadership of his own household. His challenges go far beyond what pictures and speeches provide. We get to peek into his private space. For instance, when he calls to wake Mahalia Jackson out of her bed where she lay peacefully with her husband, to allow him to, “hear the voice of God.” She sings him a lullaby that gives him the strength to press on.
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey portrayed Annie Lee Cooper, who was denied the right to vote several times for reasons too trifling to recount. Although her role as Cooper meshed well within the several back stories of freedom fighters, her performance is eerily reminiscent of her portrayal of Miss Sofia in “The Color Purple”.
Carmen Ejogo

Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King, gave what I feel was the most convincing and heart-warming performance. She not only embodied the beauty of Coretta Scott King, she was able to convincingly express her spirit, as well.  Recently, on the Ellen Show, Winfrey mentioned  that the King children agreed Ms. Ejongo’s performance was spot-on. The King descendants believed that she perfected Coretta Scott King’s mannerisms, speech pattern, stance, walk, and overall demeanor. There is no greater compliment to be given than that. What an honor.

The scene that affected me the most was when Hoover relays his utter disgust for King and his leadership. He says, “We can weaken the dynamic, dismantle the home…” It became the pet project of the US Government to weaken King’s power of persuasion over the people by attempting to dismantle his home and his family’s security. For maintaining a strong home, and a balanced life for their children, Coretta Scott King did a job that inspires awe.
Tim Roth

Perhaps the most evil of all characters was Governor George Wallace played by Tim Roth. His performance signifies and symbolizes the hatred that beat in the hearts of many during that contentious era. We are able to capture a behind the scenes look at how laws were passed and how rules were manipulated through his interaction with his subordinates and with his superior, President Johnson.

I did not review every performance, nor did I want to spoil the film by giving away too much.  I definitely recommend that you see Selma, not only for the biographical and historical significance, but also for its relevance in today’s present political landscape. While we may point to our leaders to make change, we must first think, speak, act, and commit to positive change. Watching the sea of humanity cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge gave me an overwhelming sense of purpose and responsibility to not let the fight of our forefathers go in vain. We are all responsible. We are all Selma.

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Celli ArenasCelli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at, and hosts for BlogTalk Radio. She has also published two books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, both are available at

Follow@sidetrackedbook on Instagram & Twitter