Who Do You Think You Are/No for an Answer

***This was written on January 13, 2016***
***In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day***

“And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?’ We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highway or the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating ‘For Whites Only.’ We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”
–“I Have a Dream,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)

Who do you think you are?
Strutting your stuff like you’re a super star
Look at you with all this pride and confidence –
Wearing them like a badge of honor,
Like they’ll protect you like a suit of armor.
What gives you the right to come in here,
Grinning from ear to ear,
Chanting your own custom-made cheer
As if your “moment of glory” is near?
Who do you think you are?
You honestly believe you’re going to go far?
Have you forgotten where you come from, where you live?
And you have the audacity to think you have something to give –
To provide, to supply, to offer to the world?
You want to “make the world a better place.”
What makes you so great?
Are you aware of the struggles you’d face,
Or are you hoping everything will fall in your lap by Amazing Grace?
You really think you can bring about change?
Do you think you’re smart enough?
Can you tell me you’ve got the right stuff –
The courage, the integrity, the discipline –
To change the world for the better?
You’re just a wannabe, trying to be under everyone’s radar.
Who do you think you are?

Who do I think I am?
Who do I think I am?
If you want the truth, here it is:
I just happen to be a person whom God blessed with a vision.
I couldn’t tell you why it was me to whom that dream was given,
But now I have the mission, and I’m driven to carry it out
Without being stiffen.
I refuse to be held down by limits and restrictions.
You really don’t see me as strong?
Then, where have you been looking all along?
I see strength everyday when I look in my mirror.
I know you don’t understand, so let me make it clearer.
My strength and power don’t come from pride, that’d be a sin.
It comes from my knowledge of where I’ve been –
Where I come from. The stuff I’m made of.
I come from a people you could not believe;
People whose actions were determined by their own minds and decisions.
Other folks saw us as cantankerous and as villains,
Itching with a cancer.
No, we weren’t that. We just couldn’t take no for an answer.
From the time we walked this country, bound and in chains; when those superior disregarded our health and our names; when we agreed we’d no longer be accepted as slaves,
We refused to take no for an answer.
To the time laws were enforced and powers continued demoting; we couldn’t eat at lunch counters and they kept us from voting; whether we had to march, have a sit-in or sit down, we were promoting
We refused to take no for an answer.
To the time folks demanded to see us one way, yet we made a vow to show them all we’re capable of anyhow. They said we’d never see a Black President – well look at us now!
We refused to take no for an answer.
Even to this day when our ears are met with the awful clatter of our young people being shot dead, we worked up the chatter; we let our country know – our world know that our Black lives matter!
We refused to take no for an answer!
You’re looking at a man who comes from a people
Known for climbing mountains of no’s (and hills and steeples) –
Whatever it took until the only answer we heard was “Yes!”
Often times, we’d create our own yesses!
So you ask me who I think I am?
I answer, I’m a man,
A man who knows where he’s been.
I’m not an angel from above,
Followed by the peace symbol of a dove.
I don’t have an IQ of 163.
I can’t defy the laws of gravity.
I don’t have great speed or riches,
Nor can I heal your wounds with stitches.
I’m no athlete, I’m no dancer;
But I’m a man who doesn’t take no for an answer.

(c) January 2016, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

My Me: How You See Me

***This was written on January 1, 2016***
***Inspired by Rachel SuperStarr Black***

Genesis 1:26-27: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

All focus and attention is on me.
I’ve got the spotlight,
I’m in the center.
I’m within everyone’s sight.
I’m the presenter,
The opening,
The act,
And the rest;
Which is awful, considering I’m not looking my best.
What?
You don’t believe me?
You think I look well and fine?
My clothes and jewelry and face creates this false idea of “well and fine.”
You can look at me and say, “That person has style,”
But I ask you, can you identify my smile?
Any liveliness in my walk?
Do you see the smallest hint of joy in my eyes?
See, this style is a disguise.
I’m hiding from the lies
And cries
That I
Have to face everyday.
You see someone who’s really got it going on,
But I see the person I’ve been all along.
When I stare at the glass reflector,
I see shame.
I see despair.
I see ugliness.
I look into the soul of this person in the glass reflector and ask,
“How can anyone see someone who’s “well and fine?”
Are they blind?
No, they can see.
They just don’t know the real me,
The me I have to live with everyday of my life.
I know the lies I gave,
The mistakes I made.
This awful load I’m carrying weighs me down to the grave.
Or, I wish it did.
I want to die.
I hate me.
Who could love someone like me?
Why would someone allow me to live?
Who in their right mind would make me,
Shape me,
Create me?
…Oh, that’s right.
God.
Jesus.
Lord, God above me,
Do You still love me?
How could Someone like You love someone like me?
I’m not “well and fine” like other people are.
I’ve shamed Your Name more times than I can count.
So, You can understand how I may have doubts
That Someone like You can love someone like me.
But You still made me, and allowed me to live.
What is it about me that You find so lovely?
What do You see when You look at me?
It can’t be what I see.
Is it my soul?
My spirit?
My talents, my heart, my mind?
What is it that You see that I don’t? Am I blind?
Show me, God.
Let me see me that way You do.
Help me love me the way You intended me to.
Who am I? What am I in You?
I’m tired of seeing myself as ugly and dumb!
That’s not how You made me!
That’s not who You see!
That’s not who I am!
I am a child of Jesus the King!
No attire or style or material things
Can make me any greater than I am!
God, I am Yours!
You made me strong!
You made me bold!
You made me excellent!
Smart!
Successful!
Gorgeous!
Talented!
Victorious!
I am Yours! Now I see
How You see me.

(c) January 2016, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Truth Be Told

***This was written on November 2, 2015***
***Dedicated to Fatima Imani Smith, Leslie Parker Barnes, and Benjamin Isaiah Black***

My talents. Opportunities. My future. My dreams.
There’s no hope for any of them, or, at least, that’s how it seems.
Tears run down my face like water runs down a stream.
Truth be told, I’m afraid.

What if I attempt this ambitious feat, and I fall, I fail?
I don’t know if I can handle that, my heart is so frail.
Please forgive me – I don’t mean to whine and wail,
But, truth be told, I’m afraid.

What’ll happen if I don’t succeed? If my dreams don’t come true?
If my plans were all for naught, what will I do?
Should I just give up now and bid my goals adieu?
Maybe so. Truth be told, I’m afraid.

God, I know this is Your Will, and it’s You I serve,
But shouldn’t this go to someone else, more prepared and deserved?
My knees are knocking! My heart is pounding! Do You see my nerves?
Truth be told, Jesus, I’m afraid.

But who am I to deny Your Will?
And if You want this, why don’t I rely on Your skill?
How about You be God and I be still?
Maybe then, truth be told, I won’t feel so afraid.

You trusted me with this, so why should I fear?
By Your tongue, this was predestined long before I made it here.
Renew Your Joy in my spirit and speak Peace in my ear.
Truth be told, I don’t have to be afraid.

If the same God with all power in His Hands lives inside of me,
Then there isn’t anything in His Name I can’t achieve.
Give me Your strength to stand tall and walk with authority.
Truth be told, I’m not afraid.

Do not be afraid, for the Lord is on your side!
He gave you a spirit of power and love and a sound mind!
Praise Him, for the things ahead are great than the things behind!
Truth be told, you don’t need to be afraid!

(c) November 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Distant

***This was written on November 1, 2015***

Hey God. It’s me writing You another letter,
Though I wish this was under better circumstances. Much better.

I’m sorry. I know I’ve been here before.
I feel like I keep losing this internal spiritual war.

I feel distant from You, Lord. Instead of Your Grace,
I feel this void between us, a great amount of space.

Why do I feel so distant from You?
Was it something I said? What did I do?

This distance makes me feel lost, living without a guide.
I have no life, I feel dead inside.

I’ve allowed worldly things to consume my soul.
They’ve taken the place of You. I’m no longer whole.

Only You make me feel complete. You are my light.
Without You, Jesus, my days are as dark as night.

I need You – I want You in my life everyday.
I will worship You, I’ll praise You, I’ll fast, I’ll pray.

Just like I need You every second to complete an action,
You deserve my everything, all of me, not just a fraction.

Please forgive me, Father. I need Your Hand.
I can’t live without You. I don’t exist. I can’t stand.

Bring me closer. Transform me. I need to be renewed.
Jesus, the only One I need, all I want is You.

(c) November 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Journal Entry – The Future

***This was written on October 28, 2015***

My Me,
How’s it going, Bro. B.I.B.? Are you doing alright? Are you smiling? How’s your relationship with God? Do you remember who He is and what He’s able and willing to do?
As of now, it’s been almost 6 months since graduation. I know things have not been going according to plan. You don’t have a job, you don’t have much money, and you’ve only had a couple of gigs. You still want to be out of this house this time in 2 years, but you don’t have money for food right now, let alone money for a can and an apartment. You have a girlfriend who you’re madly in love with and want to take care of. I know I am you, and I know this will be an old letter the next time you read this – despite how soon that will be. But you know that I want to help people, and one of the best ways I can do that is by helping myself. Do, here’s what I’m going to tell you:
First of all, don’t you ever forget about Jesus. Call out His Name. Shout it as loud as you need to. Always seek Him, pursue Him, and increase your knowledge and understand of Him. When your situations are the darkest, that’s when your faith in God has to shine the brightest. Never stop praising Him. Don’t you dare stop worshipping Him. Sing unto Him. Believe in Him. Grow in Him.
Second of all, don’t doubt yourself. Don’t stop believing in yourself. If the same Jesus who can do anything but fail lives in you, don’t you dare think for a second that you’re going to fail! You are talented! You are smart! You are strong! Live like you are! Act like you are! Look in the mirror every day and every night and proclaim blessings over yourself! And go ahead and smile while you’re at it!
Third of all, where are you going? What are you doing? What do you want to achieve? You have to know that in order to know what to do next. The ultimate goal is to own your own production company, right? You want to star in, write, produce, direct, and own your own plays, films, and web and TV shows, right? OK, so how can we get there? Write down your dream, and write out a plan to get there. It’ll take some thinking, but you can do it. Get started on that soon – today!
Bro. B.I.B., God has great things in store for you. Lift up your head. Don’t stop looking to your Savior. He’s got you in the palm of His Hand. You will get there! You are there! Do me a favor, look around at your surroundings. Now praise your Jesus!

Love,

Benjamin Isaiah Black

(c) October 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Puzzle Piece

***This was written on October 5, 2015***

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thought that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (NKJV)

I’m like a puzzle piece, so odd and misshaped.
I don’t know where or why to go.
I’m like a puzzle piece, I feel so misplaced.
Where do I belong? I don’t know.

I see other pieces, yes, but I feel so alone;
They know the purpose they’re supposed to serve.
Mine hasn’t been made known to me, its reveal’s been postponed.
Can you share this information you’ve preserved?

I’m like a puzzle piece. I know I shouldn’t be here,
But I don’t know which way I’m supposed to turn.
What would it matter if I just disappeared?
It’s not like I’d gain sympathy or concern.

I thought I knew my purpose. Now I’m not so sure.
This frustration’s robbed me of my joy and peace.
I’m sick of this depression, and I need a cure.
Please offer guidance to this poor puzzle piece.

If You know all things, You ought to show me the way –
The direction, the road I’m supposed to follow.
I’m trying to believe in You and follow You every day,
Yet this constant confusion brings me doubt and sorrow.

Why would You make me like this? Why would You put me here?
What do You want me to do?
You said not to worry about tomorrow – tell me why I shouldn’t fear
When it doesn’t seem like I’ll find my place anytime soon.

Because like a puzzle piece, I have a Maker who designed me;
He knows all His creations by shape and name.
He hasn’t forgotten the mission He assigned me.
Whether now or later, I’ll fulfill it all the same.

Like a puzzle piece, I do have a place where I belong,
Somewhere my Creator wants me to be.
I thought I was small and insignificant, but I was important all along.
My Maker saw what I couldn’t see.

To those who feel they don’t fit in the grand schemes of life,
Your faith in God and yourself daily decreases,
Rather than accepting defeat and having depression and strife,
Just remember you’re one of God’s puzzle pieces.

(c) October 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

I Don’t Have…

***This was written on August 6, 2015***
***Dedicated to Fatima Imani Smith***

I don’t have the imagination to make you gifts and things
I don’t have the money to buy you diamond rings
I don’t have the kind of voice you’d love to hear sing all day
I don’t have the power to take all your problems away

I don’t have the muscles to make you feel secure
I don’t have the words to make you feel right and sure
I don’t have the intelligence to discuss random facts
I don’t have the artistic intellect to share how I feel about that

I don’t have the creativity to tell you in different ways how I feel
I don’t even have the skills to make you a delicious meal
I often times can’t share my emotions because I don’t have the nerve
I don’t have the means to give you anything you truly deserve

I know I’m not good enough for you, and my description tells you why
You deserve a king who can give you a grand castle in the sky
I cannot give you the world, but there’s one thing I can do
I can give you this phrase – this promise, three words that are true

I love you. I love you every single day
These are 3 words I’ll never be too shy to say
I’ll scream it from every mountain, every valley, every corner
I’m a stranger to many things, but when it comes to loving you I’m no foreigner

You are constantly on my mind. I think about you day and night
You are my rock, you are my Queen, you are my smile, you are my light
You are someone I know I can’t live without
Your sexiness sends me thrills, have no doubt

I will be the man you deserve – I’ll be the man you need
God will give me the strength and wisdom to protect, provide, and lead
A pauper I am now, just begging for a chance
But I’m growing and learning. I’m changing my stance

I’ll drop my selfish desires, I’ll forsake my pride
If it means that forever I’ll be at your side
Let me be there to make you laugh, build you up, and strengthen you
Don’t underestimate what my love is able to do

I may not be able to give you the world on a platter of gold
But I can give you much if you stay in my arms for me to hold
I may be making changes, but one thing is forever true
I will never ever, ever stop loving you

(c) August 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

I Want You

***This was written on July 20, 2015***

I can roam the longest valley here on earth
Passing by the goods that contain so much worth
I can look both high and low, but no matter where I go,
There is just one thing that I surely know

God, I want You. I can’t live without You for a single day.
Oh God, I want You. No force on earth can keep me away.
You gave Your life for a wretch like me. By Your Son, I am set free.
I don’t know why You choose to hear my cry, but here am I
Wanting nothing else but You

I sought riches and earthly pleasures, but now I understand
There’s no place I value more than in Your peaceful, loving Hands
It truly is a shame to thirst for power and fame,
Yet I never once considered the greatness and wonder of Your Name

God, I want You. I lift my voice to testify
Oh God, I want You. Nothing else will satisfy.
Lord, despite my deathly wrong, You reached down and gave me a new song
I’ll sing it to You. Jesus, I pursue You.

God, I want You. I can’t live without You for a single day.
Oh God, I want You. No force on earth can keep me away.
You gave Your life for a wretch like me. By Your Son, I am set free.
I don’t know why You choose to hear my cry, but here stand I
Wanting nothing else but You

No wealth, no glory will keep me from You
Nothing else will ever do
You are eternal, forever true
May my sight forever stay on You

(c) July 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA, Inc.

I Need a Word From You

***This was written on July 10, 2015***

I find myself at that point in my life where I don’t know what to do.
I tried moving along myself. That didn’t help. So now, I look to You.
My seat isn’t high enough to see what You see. My strength isn’t strong enough to carry me.
I’ve relied on my own strength, I admit shamefully. Help me refocus my vision on those things most holy.

I need a Word from You. I need to hear Your Voice.
I need a Word from You. If You are willing, make the choice
To speak Your Will for me to fulfill. Otherwise, I won’t know what to do.
Speak to me, Jesus. I need to hear from You.

I cannot move without hearing from You first.
I will not turn away from Your Will to learn I took a turn for the worst.
Oh Lord, I don’t deserve You to hear what I say. But please listen to Your willing servant, I pray.
I recognize that I need You everyday. Take control of my life and have Your way.

I need a Word from You. I need to hear Your Voice.
I need a Word from You. If You are willing, make the choice
To speak Your Will for me to fulfill. Otherwise, I won’t know what to do.
Speak to me, Jesus. I need to hear from You.

I’m lost without You. I can’t live on my own.
There’s no way I can make it through all alone.
I trust in You with all my heart. You know what’s best.
You gave me a purpose, and You gave me a quest.

I need a Word from You. I need to hear Your Voice.
I need a Word from You. If You are willing, make the choice
To speak Your Will for me to fulfill. Otherwise, I won’t know what to do.
Speak to me, Jesus. I need to hear from You.

(c) July 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Unbelief

***This was written on July 3, 2015***
***Inspired by Pastor Diana Swoope***

Mark 9:22-24 22 “…But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “You say, ‘If You can.’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately, crying out, the father of the child said, “I believe; help me with my unbelief!” (Recovery Version)

When I close my eyes, I see it.
As I’m sleeping, I dream it.
I know I want to be it.
God gave me this vision for a reason;
But then I rise from my bed
I study my surroundings.
I contemplate my current state –
This space that I’ve been placed in;
And I wonder
How can this dream of mine come true?
This dream – this vision I’ve had since I was a boy;
The thought that made me smile when I longed for joy;
This thing that I’m most passionate about.

You are great and strong.
You can do no wrong.
You are full of power.
Your Name is a strong tower.
You are incredibly mighty.
Your presence stays with us daily and nightly.
No one is above You.
No one is in place of You.
There is nothing You can’t do.
There’s no such thing as impossible for You.
I’ve heard this all my life, since I was young.
It’s nothing for these words to be spoken by my tongue.
But for some reason,
My mind sends my heart a contradictory message.
Your Word says, “I can do all things through Christ…”
Which is why I try to be perfect, because my excuses won’t suffice.
Your Word says, “Know that I am with you always…”
But I know I’ve sinned enough to keep you away.
Your Word says, “Greater is He who is in me…”
But my greatness and worth are the size of a flee.
These contradictions reside in the back of my mind, like houseflies in July.
What happened to this Gospel given to me as a boy?
Have I had it for too long? Did I get comfortable with worldly joys?
I was told You can make a way out of no way.
There hasn’t been a day Your works hadn’t phased me – amazed me!
You held the sun and placed it where it needed to be.
You grew the mountains and poured water in the sea.
You made the stars twinkle, You gave the moon shape.
You’re the great Architect, designing the world’s landscape.
From nothing, You made oceans, space, and land.
It seems so large, yet You hold it all in Your Hand.
Not even death held You back from being strong and mighty!
So why do I doubt You can do something miraculous in me?
Through me?
With me?
If the same God who conquered death resides in me,
Shouldn’t that diminish my impossibilities and insecurities?
My mind still has that doubt.
I’ve tried to get it out of my mind.
I know You can do anything,
But my unbelief causes me to doubt me.

Jesus, save me from my unbelief.
Rescue me from my inner doubts and fears.
Help me, Lord.
Help my faith grow.
I believe You can.
Help me with my unbelief.

(c) July 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.