Meet “Your Queens”… An Alternative to the Traditional “Princess Party”

Birthday parties often feature Princesses like –

Cinderella. Snow White.  Ariel.  Aurora. Belle.

But what if you hosted a party that also celebrated Ancient African Royalty like – 

Queen Amina of Zaria, Nigeria or Queen Makeda of Sheba or Queen Nefertiti of Egypt? 

This weekend we had the great pleasure of learning more about the newly created company “Your Queens” when we had dinner with the creator and owner of the company, Eki. The mission of “Your Queens” is to Evaluate, Educate and Express the dynamic lineage of Ancient African Royalty. They teach youth and adults about the historic legacy of African Queens through storytelling, song and dance and best of all – they do parties for all age groups!
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At your party or event, the Queens will come dressed in their royal attire, share history with the audience through storytelling and do a choreographed dance set for children to learn. The party packages (which start at $350) also includes head and warrior wrapping, face painting and musical instruments for everyone to play.

When we learned about what Eki was doing we got excited because we are always looking for unique party experiences and this is special. There is an opportunity for cultural awareness, building self-esteem, and building a confidence and pride!

For more information on the Queens please visit them at www.yourqueens.com or watch their video presentation at http://tinyurl.com/YourQueens

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. At the moment, this blog is all about what the GreenEs feel, what the GreenEs do and how the GreenEs roll. We met the owner of “Your Queens” in a social setting and she was beautifully dressed after coming from a first birthday party where the Queens were performing. We wanted to learn more and when we did, we asked permission to share. Because – that’s what this blog is all about at the moment. The Share.

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Work Hard! Dream Big! Lady C’s Lunch With a Black Rockette

A few weeks ago Lady C went to see the Radio City Spring Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. We’ve been to the Christmas Spectacular several times, we’ve had dinner with a family friend that is a Rockette, several of them signed a souvenir doll for Lady C when she was a baby and we have even done a backstage tour but… she never met a black Rockette and didn’t know they existed.

After the Spring Spectacular, Lady C came home with a question that rocked us. She asked her dad:

Can I only be a Rockette if I am tan?

If you’ve read our blog before, you will know that we’ve explored the topic of race and color with Lady C. She uses the term tan to refer to white people… which includes her little sister… (and that’s a discussion we are still working on… that her sister is not, in fact, white).

Man, we were devastated.

Here we are… a family with a mother with a law degree, a dad with a Masters degree, each of us with careers that make us proud.

Here we are, a family that watched the inauguration of Barack Obama while Lady C was a baby, in utero, and we cried because our child would only know a world with a black President.

Here we are a family who felt like we could tell her she could be ANYTHING …. and it would be true.

But here we were with a five year that feels like she cannot do something because of her brown skin.

Whoa!

This moment was so timely because there was a lot of social media discussion around Black Girls Rock, First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance and whether the Black Girls Rock movement is a racist one. The fact of the matter is that ABSENT representation is just as detrimental as NEGATIVE representation on the self-esteem, aspirations and ambition of young children. They need to see it to believe it!

So what did we do? We did what any rationale person would do… we cried to our mommy. Lady Cs grandmother, GG, has had a part time job at Radio City for years and a great relationship with many Rockettes.  So GG asked Danielle who is not only a black Rockette but was one of the marquis ones for marketing during their most recent season.

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That’s Danielle!

Danielle agreed to meet Lady C and they had a fabulous lunch and even did a kick line together. Danielle told her about her career, when she started dancing and about other brown women dancers. Apparently Danielle is now invited to Lady C’s sixth birthday party… ha!

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Danielle and Lady C

wpid-0422151655c.jpgWhen she got home I asked Lady C about her experience and whether I could record it for other little black girls. She agreed.

Here it is…. enjoy.

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Lady C’s video message

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Black History Month: Kiddie Good Reads

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It’s Black History Month and we’ve come across some great children’s books this year from the library. All of the books are focused on learning about slavery in ways that a child can consume.

Here are three books that we’ve enjoyed.

Henry’s Freedom Box

Henry’s Freedom Box tells the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom in a crate box. The book does a great job of addressing the destruction of family ties during slavery and its psychological affects on slaves. Also, the illustrations by Kadir Nelson – a phenomenal illustrator, are beautifully done.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas received the announcement that the Civil War was over and that all slaves were now free. In All Different Now, children learn about Juneteenth through the eyes of a little girl who views the world as different after learning the news about her family’s freedom. The book includes a glossary of important dates and historical information which is helpful to continue discussions with the children.

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd is a good story that introduces the underground railroad and highlights the collaborative effort that was the backbone of the institution. It discusses how the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” provided slaves with the tools and directions for escaping to the North and introduces you to characters, both black and white, that were integral in the Underground Railroad network. The book had a rhythm and repetition that children will enjoy.

These are our Black History Month Kiddie Good Reads – please share yours!

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Our Children Marched Today Because…

Today our family marched with thousands upon thousands of other concerned citizens in New York City to protest against police brutality. We saw other parents walking with their children but by and large it was rare to see young children at the event… which is understandable. During the march, we received accolades and quite a bit of attention for having our children with us. Bringing a five year old and 20 month old to a protest march is an interesting decision…

Here is why we did it:
– we wanted them to experience history while it occurred 
– we wanted to reinforce what Lady C (our five year old) learned about civil rights and civil disobedience in school
– Lady C learns a lot about justice but it is equally important that she learns about INJUSTICE

This was a learning moment and teaching opportunity. For weeks now, we have been trying to think of a way to discuss what is happening in the country and have been at a loss. We’ve read blogs and articles and gathered children’s books that discuss race and civil disobedience. In reality, we were over-thinking it. Once we decided to attend the march we had to confront the issue of discussion. And just spoke from the heart.

We asked Lady C to tell us about what she learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. She said they wanted people to sit wherever they wanted on a bus. We told her that one of the ways they made their opinions known was by marching with other people who shared their opinions. We told her we wanted to do the same to let the world know that we do not agree with people being treated unfairly. We decided not to delve too much into the particulars of the most recent cases and kept it very general.

We prepped by packing snacks, loading up on clothes to stay warm and Lady C made a sign for the event and sounded out all the words to create the sign.

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Lady C and Lady H even marched through the house to rehearse. And… We made sure everyone had an empty bladder before we left the house… Very very important.

When we arrived, Lady C was amazed by the crowd and we asked her how it felt to see so many people gathered to express how they feel. Her response: “happy”.

She joined the chants, held her sign with pride, asked questions and generally was a great sport.

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We left the march early and on the way home she continued to chant.

We hope this experience teaches Lady C about social action, using your voice and opens her eyes to the power people have when they come together for a united purpose.

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Elections, Voting and Being An Informed Citizen via CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Each election season we introduce Lady C to children’s books that teach her about the election process, democracy, the importance of voting and being an informed citizen. During the last presidential election we found a great gem “Grace for President”.

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Grace For President

Grace for President is the story of a young girl named Grace Campbell who realizes that there have been NO women presidents. This inspires her to run for class president against the most popular kid in the grade. She works tirelessly on her campaign to get electoral votes and in the end….. well, won’t ruin that one for you… Grab this book. It is absolutely fabulous. The children learn all about the electoral college!

This year, we went back to basics and picked up a book that is not about elections per se, it’s about realizing that every person’s voice is important and every one’s participation matters… “A PERSON’S A PERSON NO MATTER HOW SMALL”. You might have guessed it… Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who”! 

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Horton Hears A Who

In this book, the citizens of the town of Whoville risk being destroyed if their voices are not heard. We see what you did there Dr. Seuss! It turns out that the littlest person in town happens to have the biggest voice and turns the tide from being destroyed to being saved. Such a great message that no matter how small you are, where you are from, what your background is – your opinion matters, your thoughts matter and your participation counts!!

Do you have any books that you are reading that teach children about elections or voting or being an engaged citizen? Please share, we’d like to add to our library!

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Explaining “Black People” to a Five Year Old


united-colors-of-benetton-kidsThis weekend our family drove on the Jackie Robinson Parkway in New York. We asked Lady C (our 5 year old) if she knew who Jackie Robinson was because we previously told her about him and wanted to see if she remembered the history lesson. She said he did something in football (cue her father rolling his eyes) which we corrected to baseball. Then we told her he was the first black person to play major league baseball.

She paused a little and Aisha asked… “Do you know any black people?”

Lady C confidently said “NO”.

Ok… so, we asked if she knew any white people and she named several of her classmates and explicitly excluded a black girl in her class … let’s call her “Kelly”. We asked her what Kelly was and appropriately, she said Kelly was … a brown person… aha!

Lady C said: “She’s brown like me and you and daddy!” At this point, we didn’t realize that she left someone important out…

So we used the reference to brown people to explain that when people refer to black people they are talking about brown people whose ancestors are from the African continent. We had to have some discussion and correction there because she thought it was riiiight next to America. We let her know “Africa’s far”! Then came the interesting part… she said that Lady H was not black. She was a white person because she was tan like white people…

And then she asked us if allllll brown people are black people.

Whew… *Pause*

It ended up being a wonderful conversation about the fact that black people whose ancestors come from Africa come in all sorts of wonderful colors of brown ranging from the color of her little sister, all the way to the color of her mommy. We also told her that some brown people come from all different parts of the globe and not all brown people are black people…

It shed light on the very important and often overlooked fact:

Talking about race is NOT easy! 

When people want you to simplify things they say, “Explain it like I’m a 5 year old!” But ACTUALLY explaining race to a 5 year old is not that simple!  In fact, we had to draw from a bunch of different sources to get the point across:

  • From Mulan, the movie (to explain ancestors)
  • From Crayola (for the names of different skin tones: tan, brown, etc)
  • From her classmate (to give examples of non-black)
  • From genetics (to explain why Little Sister looks different from the rest of the family)

So clearly race shouldn’t be treated like it’s an easy topic. Maybe more people would  get along if they didn’t treat race like it was a black and white issue…literally!

How do you discuss race with your kids? In fact, WHEN did you start the discussion? Did you wait for them to come to you or did you “prime” them when they were about to start playing with other races? We’d love to know!

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