Skip to content

Posts from the ‘SDB2’ Category

Black, White & Hairspray

Same Difference is still here!hairspray-poster

Just putting it all out there because it has been a while since I blogged. In fact, I started writing this entry in January, and I just sat my butt down to finish it. And, yes, your calendar is correct … it’s the beginning of June!

My two little girls, Ms. Prissy and Chickenhawk, have been keeping me busy with pneumonia, school trips, and runny noses. But their new obsession, watching the musical Hairspray, requires a lot less work on my part! They love the latest remake, with John Travolta, Queen Latifah, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Since Mother’s Day, I’ve been forced to watch it morning, noon, and night.

As soon as we pop in the DVD, my 3-year-old falls into that frozen mannequin trance that only the TV can induce. And now both of my girls are not only singing the songs but doing the dance routines as well. But the most intriguing part has been the conversations the movie has inspired in our household, prompted primarily by my 5-year-old.

First, she asked me about the main character’s plump size. “Is she big throughout the whole movie?” she inquired innocently. I thought it was an odd question, but then it dawned on me that my daughter probably never sees larger-sized women on television, especially as a lead character.  I told her, “It is like my book, Same Difference. We come in all different sizes and complexions. No one is better or worse.”

Another time, while huffing and puffing from attempting to dance in unison with the movie, she flooded me with, “What is segregation? Why were blacks and whites separated? When did it end? And how did it change?”I was totally unprepared to answer an onslaught of questions about race from my child. I thought I had a few more years left before we had to have these kinds of conversations! So as simply as I could, I started to explain. I told her that segregation was a law that said black and white people could not live near each other, that they could not go to the same schools, sit together on buses, or in movie theaters. And even if a white person and black person loved each other, they could not hold hands or even walk down the street together.

After I finished, my oldest daughter looked at me in earnest and said, “I am glad the laws in America changed, Mom, because now you can go outside with Daddy and not be scared.” A bit stunned by the realization that my daughter thought I was white, I said, “No, baby. I am black and Daddy is black, too. Segregation would not affect us because we are the same race.” She responded, quite confidently, “No, Mom, you are white. Me, my sister, and Daddy are black.” Again, I attempted to explain “No. I am just a very light-skinned black woman.”

But I could see in my daughter’s eyes that she was not buying it one bit. She stopped dancing, walked over to me, and patted me on the shoulder and said, “It’s okay, Mom. It’s just like your book, Same Difference,” then went back to dancing. I guess in her own little way, she was telling me that race really didn’t matter. White, black—we’re all the same. All I could do was smile. And although our conversation will undoubtedly continue, she was right. We are all the same. No one is better or worse.

A New Year Coming…

skye and sage

I remember as a child my father used to say that time goes by faster as you grow older. How true I find his words now.  In April, I launched Same Difference, and each month that has passed has felt more like a week. But I am not complaining. My time has been filled with blessings —book readings at schools and day cares, teaching art classes and being a mother to an amazing family.

Now as 2011 approaches, I find myself (as I do at the end of each year) reflecting on my achievements, setting new goals and most important thinking about all that I am grateful for. When I released Same Difference, I was hopeful that children would understand its greater message of the importance of loving yourself. But I never imagined that I’d receive such an overwhelming response—all the beautiful letters and e-mails—from the book’s fans. At times, they’ve brought me to tears. I thank all of you so much for your support and kind messages and for spreading the word about Same Difference.

But I have to give credit where credit is due.  Same Difference could not have been possible without a few special people in my life. First, I must thank my wonderful husband, Gerald, who has always supported me in any endeavor I wanted to pursue. He has been my loudest cheerleader and my best friend. My cousin Chana, who is not only an inspiration for the book, but who also edited the manuscript and promoted it on her blog ( We’ve always been more like twin sisters, and we can’t let two days go by without speaking to each other. My mother, who bought a lot of books and gave them out to people. I love you! You gave me my strong moral compass, and quite simply you are the best! Regina R. Robertson, who reviewed Same Difference on Her beautiful words were more than I could have ever hoped for. Ms. Betty and her entire staff, thank you for taking care of my babies. I could not have worked so hard without the peace of mind that they were being well cared for. I know there are so many more people I should be thanking, but please know that you are appreciated.

In 2011, I hope I can take Same Difference to the next level, spend as much time as I can with my friends and family, and keep a positive mind and spirit. I don’t know each of your personal goals, but I wish you only the best, and I hope you continue to go after your dreams. It took me a long time to learn to be patient with myself, and actually I am still working on it. But I love this quote from Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Good luck. And if you ever need someone to tell you that you can do it, my e-mail is I am here.

Happy Holidays