“A Vicious Cycle” by Butch Ford

“A Vicious Cycle” by Butch Ford

I read a post a few months ago, and it read, “If we kill US & if they kill US.  There will no more US.”  That resonated in my spirit, and my soul couldn’t rest.  It inspired me to write about it.  Then you factor in the lives lost to COVID-19, and the lady who posted it was right.  We’re becoming the next endangered species.  I’m appalled, outraged, deeply concerned, and morally defeated.

In broad daylight, Minnesota resident George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man senselessly lost his life to four Minneapolis Police Department officers.  Breona Taylor was slain in her own home during a “no-knock” search warrant executed by the Louisville, Kentucky Police.  And there are several other similar cases too numerous to mention.

Our country has a serious problem, and it’s time to address it.  It’s 2020, and the same social injustices that my grandparents fought about and against 60+ years ago still exist today.  People have had enough.  It’s time for a change.  But where do we start?  The hatred is so deeply rooted in the fabric of America.  Only now, it’s blatant and extremely obvious…plus highly visible to anyone who cares to pay attention.  But we are fighting a losing battle?

The one bright spot in all of this is, several other ethnic groups are protesting and standing alongside African Americans in our fight for equality, this time.  It’s pleasing, and it shows that we aren’t in this battle alone.  Some things have changed since the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s, and there are still good people in our country. 

My biggest concern is the heinous and senseless black on black crime…we’ll get into that topic later.  But make no mistake about it.  It’s time to stop the mistreatment of minorities and end all racial discrimination once and for all.  We should all be outraged and should demand systematic reform.  What are your thoughts? 

My First Love By Butch Ford

We met way back in 1976 when I was just eight years old. I didn’t know very much about you at that time. But my grandmother felt it was a great idea for us to meet and get further acquainted with one another. You were as foreign as a far and distant land. Little did anyone know how close we would become in the subsequent years that followed.

I remember being intimidated by your very presence. It was hard to figure you out, initially. It felt like trying to pick up a second language. And as a shy kid…I couldn’t look you in the eye without feeling intimidated. But I was determined to conquer my fear of you and accept every challenge we suddenly faced.

You were extremely fast…so very complex and even intricate…down to the slightest detail. Yet my intrigue was through the roof. I had begun to eat, drink, and dream of you only…non-stop! You had become my obsession. The more time I spent with you, the deeper I fell. You were all I wanted to do.

As time went on, people would see us together, and they knew we were a match made in heaven. You were good to me, and you made me happy. We would go to experience and accomplish many great feats together. I got to meet some incredible life-long friends. And I don’t know what my life would have been like without you.

I don’t see much of you anymore, but the memories are forever embedded in my soul. I still miss your scent, the joy you brought into my world, and the confidence I gained from being with you for so long that can never be replaced. My grandmother must’ve seen something in you. I’m glad she introduced us. BASEBALL…you will always be my first love.

-Butch Ford

Virtual Sports, The New Norm? by Klassy K

New Norm Sports

Virtual Sports, The New Norm? by Klassy K

Home skillets! It’s been a long time and I know that it’s been quite a difficult time for all of us. Many have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus, became ill, and/ or suffered in some form of fashion. Whether emotionally, financially, physically, and/or spiritually, we all have been affected in some way. Our lives were completely changed overnight.  One day we are going into work to working from home, taking kids to school to homeschooling, having social gatherings with friends and family to now social distancing, Zooming, and wearing masks everywhere we go.

Honey chile, I have to say that one good thing out of all of this was not having to take my kids to school and picking them up. Homework, class projects, assignments, checking and reminding them to go to google classrooms, e-mailing and calling teachers, making sure their lunches are ready, trumpet and violin lesson(s), clothes are cleaned, hair is done, whew chile! I am having hot flashes just thinking about it. I guess I’m lazy, who knows?  Hey, that’s what working from home can do to you!

We (United States) were not prepared for this pandemic and unfortunately many lives were lost. Social injustice, police brutality, systematic racism, blacks being murdered, lynching of blacks (not suicide by “hanging themselves”), “Karen” incidents for just being black, and so many countless others, 45 and other political leaders are not doing much about it. I have to say that this “2020” was not what I was expecting it to be at all.  As a matter of fact, I was looking forward to it because it is the election year. Now Americans are finding other ways to entertain themselves, since sporting events, concerts, and other crowded outside events were all canceled.

Coronavirus Stadium

However, there have been many talks with owners of major league baseball, NBA, NHL, NFL, etc. to bring sports entertainment to the television. In fact, the Detroit Tigers will have their season game tomorrow, Friday, July 24 airing on Fox Sports, playing against the Cincinnati Reds at 6:10 pm. Unfortunately, the players will be playing in an empty stadium, but hey at least we can be somewhat entertained. What’s creepy though, some television outlets are thinking of creating animated virtual holograms to be “fans” in the stands. I guess to make watching the game seem “normal” since the virtual fans will make boo’s, clap, shout, and even do the wave. Well if that should happen at least we are going to be able to predict what they are going to do as soon as a player hits a home run, fouls out, or simply their teams are just flat out losing.

The NBA is doing “bubble” exhibitions with their players, which is another way of saying, welcome to the new norm pandemic basketball. The NHL is waiting to return to finish the rest of the season and the NFL is getting ready for training camps. I know eventually, sports entertainment will return completely.  However, will the new norm possibly be wearing masks, only allowing 50% capacity into a stadium, having hand sanitizers everywhere, practicing social distancing? Who knows?

– Klassy K’s Sports Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

 

 

“Gone But Not Forgotten” by Butch Ford

Joe Louis Areana

“Gone But Not Forgotten” by Butch Ford

As the world continues to change and as we further adjust to our new way of life, two staples in Detroit sports history have recently been demolished, right up under our noses; Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Both monuments were the homes to several  NHL Stanley Cup and NBA Finals Championships by the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons respectively…as well as countless concerts, Monster Truck Shows, The Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus, and NCAA Collegiate Athletic Events.

Some of my fondest memories took place in these venues.  The Controversy and Purple Rain Tours by Prince; New Edition’s Heart Break and Home Again Tours, The Soldier of Love Tour by Sade, and The Triple Threat Tour featuring Bell Biv Devoe, Johnny Gill & Keith Sweat.

Palace

But it was the championship tradition established by our two winning franchises that make these such colossal losses.  We all remember The Bad Boys in the late ’80s.  Who could forget Steve Yzerman and The Russian Five?  And the “Going To Work” Pistons of the ’90s with Big Ben, Rip, Chauncey & Rasheed made us beam with pride.

We’re all gonna miss “The Joe” and “The House That Isiah Built” as they were affectionately known, but the memories will last for generations.  Detroit is a sports town with a rich sports history.  We’re just patiently awaiting the next wave to ride.  Don’t worry.  It’s coming soon.  But this time it will take place in the beautiful Little Caesars Arena.

 

Butch Ford

Don’t let your past get you messed up! by Chellyz View

shutterstock_570396466

Don’t let your past get you messed up! by Chellyz View

Wow! I witnessed my visions grow and expand by staying dedicated to the physical and mental assignments that needed to be done in my life. I was evolving into the human and spiritual being that The Holy Spirit designed me to be. The light within my soul began to gleam and brightened my path and offered inspiration to those around me. Then boom, I heard my past blasting in the room like the fireworks and the feelings took over like a Polar Vortex. Everything felt cold and there was a slight chill that hovered over my presence. This would happen from time to time. The memories, heartaches, my transgressions, and pain caused me to shutter. Have you ever been in a place in your life when you asked a Higher Power, “Why would you want to use me as a guiding force for change?” Then you hear The Holy Spirit reply, “Why not?”

I was pushed to write this today on Thursday, July 9, 2020, so my fingers had to jump on the keyboards to release my thoughts. I know there is someone out there who is going through this crisis, revolution, and time of uncertainty trying to figure things out or beginning to understand this is the time to activate your purpose. Now and again, your past gets you messed up though. You start telling yourself you don’t deserve the blessings, you can’t make a difference, or why would anybody want to listen to you because you just don’t feel worthy. Nope! Stop! Hold up wait a minute! We must not do that! Yes, we must realize we are not perfect but every single day we have the opportunity to awaken to level up and change the trajectory of our life. We can correct our misjudgments. We have the privilege of changing our path. We just have a right to do so!

Forgiveness

What? You didn’t know you have the right to not remain silent.  You must speak and demand your past to not control your life. You have permission to pluck those unwanted and unsightly deterrents to make room for you to see clearly and grow! You must leave those individuals behind that make you doubt yourself and have you believing that you will be defined by who you used to be! There is strength in your bones that will empower you to get right back up when you have failed. Don’t allow your past to get you messed up to the point where you can’t function. It’s time to operate out of excellence.

You might have an overflow of tears while celebrating how you overcame certain battles and situations. Let them lead you to a river of an abundance of happiness; not regret. Don’t allow the negative voice of others or the one creeping in your mind to tell you that you don’t belong where The Holy Spirit ordained you to be. I ain’t talking about the pulpit because we are not all meant to preach. However, we all have the power to teach through experience and life lessons.

God Forgives

Today, I don’t have any fluffy five steps to tell you how not to let your past get you messed up because you know I do from time to time. All I have are these words to encourage you. At this moment, I want to tell you that it is alright to live. Yep! Please let me stress to you that You are worthy! There’s a wholeness inside of you that makes this world complete by sharing your gifts, visions, and the brightness to warm this world when it seems a little cold! Go ahead love the person you are evolving into and shine!

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

How I made it to 100! by Chellyz View

 

Sunglasses 100

How I made it to 100! by Chellyz View

Can you believe I made it to 100! Look, I know you are thinking I can’t believe she made it to 100. I am not talking about my age. Logically, you are thinking about numbers but on a level of momentum, I am talking about blog posts! I am so thankful, but let me be absolutely truthful. I DID NOT MAKE IT ALONE!!!  Getting to 100 had me feeling a range of emotions from happiness, loneliness, excitement, disappointment, anticipation, nervousness, jubilation, frustration, progress, procrastination, and achievement.

A Heart Full of Conversations started off with a small statement back in 2011. Initially, the blog was going to be called “Havin Sumthin 2 Say.”  My Sister DeAnn Jordan was standing at my cubicle during a break. I said, “I want to start a blog about Detroit.” Of course, she offered her encouragement and that was that. Then my other Sister LaTonja Degraffenreid-Smith continued to offer inspiration about moving forward with my goals and that was that.  My momma, Wanda Betty, and my aunt, Sherry Betty always told me to follow my dreams and that was that.  A few years later I remember attending an amazing Vision Board party hosted by the empowering Cherisa “Do You See” Allen. At the event, I sat next to one motivational lady by the name of Kallista.   I was telling her I wanted to start the blog and how I needed to change the name once again and went on and on. Finally, she said, “Give Birth to It.” Yes, that is exactly what I was going to do, but that was that.  So many visions, words of positivity, and time kept on passing me by.

By 2016, I interviewed Pamela Duvall, the owner of Detroit Vintage Coffee and Tea House. Voila, and that was that.  At one point, I even felt a little burned out.  However, the Burn Out Coach Latanya Riggs checked me and pushed a group of us to keep pursuing our dreams and that was that.  A year later after interviewing Ms. Duvall, I published my first blog post on January 31, 2017:  https://aheartfullofconversations.com/2017/02/01/detroit-vintage-coffee-and-tea-house-the-oasis-in-my-neighborhood/.  After releasing my first post I was ready to crank out the articles. And that was that!

Suddenly, it felt a little overwhelming keeping up the content and working full time. A team of dedicated souls helped this sister and I am forever grateful!!! I asked my two sistahs Tresa Simmons and Marquesha Brooks to join me on the journey.  Tresa contributed invigorating articles about Women’s Wellness until she moved to AZ. Now, she is living her best life, published a new book, and fulfilling her entrepreneurial goals. Marquesha continues to share everybody’s posts while contributing sports content. Then Boom COVID-19 put a halt to that! However, my favorite Home Skillet will be back with Klassy K’s Sports Korner soon. Well, Hopefully! She definitely knows how to break down the sports and keeps you laughing at the same time.

Awwwwwww, then my Big Brother Mr. Butch Ford joined the team in 2019. His clever style of taking lyrics from songs and applying them to his writing is pure talent. Ford’s posts are thought-provoking and witty.  I see an R and B Blog Platform in the immediate future!!!

Please, let me also graciously thank alllllllllllllllllllll the wonderful individuals who have contributed their talents and written a post, and those I have interviewed over the years!!!!  Also, thanks to the individuals who are featured on the blog’s YouTube Page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIlI7tJYvgXfeC3uvQxndFQ

My heart can’t thank each and every one of YOU enough!!!!!

Garden 100 pic

If you want to start a blog, make it happen. Remember, this walk is easier when you invite others to support you on the path. All I can say is I am thankful I made it to 100. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read, share, comment, and follow the page on Facebook and Instagram. It gets tough staying on the path to accomplishing my goals but I am doing so gracefully. I truly can’t tell you how long this platform will be around. For now, I will offer what I can for as long as the Holy Spirit allows. I’m so proud of myself. Best wishes to the bloggers who are trying or who have made it to 100. I wish you much success!!! And That is That!!!!

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

Photo Credit:  The Super Hero aka My Son

Background:  Greening of Detroit /  Michigan Ave. and Shelby / Downtown Detroit

Gotta Do Something by Chellyz View

Black woman screaming

Gotta Do Something by Chellyz View

I would be telling a story, but I guess this is what blogging is about telling stories. Right?  Anyway, I would be telling a story if I told you I was feeling like a Champ and everything smelled like fresh roses.  From social injustice, police brutality, crime in the neighborhoods, COVID-19, systematic oppression, overcoming depression damn…. I just got exhausted typing this all!!!  Last week, it felt as if the walls were caving in on me.  I was pissed.  I was angry.  I was suffocating.  Mentally a Sistah was weak.  I was about to faint.

Lately, the whole world has been in an uproar.  Daily marches and protests, virtual meetings, and discussions, social media flooded with feelings of frustration, and the news chatters of another incident, another death, and another life lost too soon.  This pain is piercing like the nails of a crucifixion.  I heard the squeals of a mother on repeat who is saddened by losing a child.  I saw the tears of children who are grieving because they keep trying to comprehend why their momma, daddy, or someone they cared about won’t be returning home. I experienced the hopelessness from families, friends, and the community losing their grasp because they are too weak to keep holding on from the attacks we face as a Black race.

warrior

This struggle started before I was pushed out of my momma’s womb.  Racism, poverty, and discrimination have been causing labor pains before my great, great, great, and let me add another great grandmomma even graced the earth. Heroin, Crack, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, broken homes, and gunfire have plagued these streets like the Bubonic wreaking mad havoc.  The stench is strong.  As soon as the black community gets a whiff of what it feels like to be stable the Earth shakes and knocks us down on our backs.  There’s smoke everywhere and it ain’t from the riots. We are being smothered by hate, destruction, and violence.

Though I felt weary last week, I know I “Gotta Do Something!”  So, from time to time I must power down.  I haven’t participated in any protests or marches but that doesn’t mean I won’t do anything.  Many of us have been doing what we can for a long time.  The weight of the cries, heavy hearts, and sorrows cannot be carried alone.  We all “Gotta Do Something” in our own time and in our own way.  We volunteer.  We speak.  We pray. We donate.  We organize.  We move.  We are always moving in hopes of better days, better tomorrows, better years, better decades, and better centuries.

I ain’t giving up but every now again I must pause so I can contribute to the cause. Your actions may be subtle or you may attack the issues while roaring like a lion.  Either way do something. Yes!  You “Gotta Do something!”

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

 

Friendship

“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

There was a hodge-podge group of people I met back in the fall of 1982.  I was the new kid and essentially “a fish out of water.”  I didn’t live in the area and had no history with any of them to speak of.  I would just observe and take mental notes until I felt more comfortable with things.

KB was the first one I met. She was a sweet, quiet, and shy young lady who was really kind to me but was always about her business.  YB was the “cutie” in the designer jeans.  She had long flowing hair and always seemed to turn heads whenever she would strut past you.  RR was this fast-talking, loud chick who always appeared angry to me.  You would hear her coming long before you’d actually see her.  She was an acquired taste, in my opinion.  DD was a bright, charismatic, intellectual sista who was simply brilliant.  And she knew it too.  A precursor of things to come, perhaps?

Double J. was the “around the way girl” who knew everybody and vibed with everyone she came in contact with.  LS and BS were the laid back biological sisters who you could barely tell apart.  They had million-dollar smiles and were sweet as pie.  They had a younger sibling LS, who was a little rough around the edges and wasn’t one to play with.  But we got along great.

DM and NP were best friends from way back. They were a bit hard for me to assess.  Probably because I didn’t see them very often.  According to the brothas, NP flaunted the physique of a grown-ass woman much older than her actual teenaged years.  A “traffic stopper” if you will.  And DM was a lady in every sense of the word who carried herself with a quiet and sneaky confidence…like she was hiding something.  JE was the athlete.  She played every sport…and excelled at each one of them.  She was smart, as well.

KM was a quiet brother who resembled someone from the DeBarge family. He barely spoke above a whisper.  SS and OP were down-to-earth, cool individuals that were unassuming and mostly played the background.  But they were loved by all.  And then there was me.

None of us really hung out together.  And we all seemed to run in different crowds.  I’d later discover that the majority of them did indeed have a history with each other.  As they attended elementary and middle school together years prior.  But at that time, everyone was trying to find themselves and carving their own niche in the world.  It’s called growing up.

Today…35 years later: Kecia, Yolanda, Rita, Dionne, Joycelyn, Linda, Brenda, Lisa, Dianne, Nichelle, Jacqueline, Keith, Sylvia, Onza, La’Tricia, Patricia and my cousin Freda share the tightest and most incredible bond.  They are more than just my friends.  They are my family.  Although It’s hard to put into words what they truly mean to me.  If you were to sit them down and ask them about it… I’m sure they’d tell you something similar to what I’m trying to describe to you right now.  It’s special.

Life is so short and nothing is guaranteed.  Love one another.  Be good to each other.  We never know where life will take us or what God has planned for us.  I couldn’t have foreseen the closeness I would eventually share with these people.  None of us saw this coming.  But it’s here and we’ve embraced it.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without any of them.  We’re all still very different, but that’s what makes it all work.  Truly a match made in heaven.

 

Butch

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

Motown Records

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

The 1960s introduced us to a brand new sound.  It originated in a tiny little home on the westside of Detroit called “Hitsville”  The founder and visionary Berry Gordy recruited every talented musician, singer, and songwriter in the area to put his dream in motion.  He wanted to make “music for the people.”

The result was a musical revolution dubbed “The Motown Sound.”  Happy music with the ability to bring people together peacefully and harmoniously.    We fell in love with The Temptations, The Tops, Marvin, Stevie, The Supremes, Smokey, Gladys, The Jackson 5 and so many others.  The backbone was a group of relatively unknown musicians named The Funk Brothers (google them) who brought Gordy’s vision to life.  Songwriters such as William Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, and countless others combined to form this dream team that changed American History forever.

In 1971, Philadelphia International Records was launched.  It was the brainchild of the legendary songwriting/production team of Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff with their long-time friend and collaborator Thom Bell.  The goal was to tap into the endless supply of talent in and around the city of Philadelphia.  Hence…”Philly Soul” was born.

The sound was built upon beautifully orchestrated string arrangements combined with driving bass and percussion.  Not to mention strong soulful vocals and intricate harmonies.  From this…Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, and The Jacksons (who defected from Motown) made their mark in Soul/R&B History.

There’s still a friendly debate that exists today.  You might hear some old cats arguing about which Record Company or era produced the greatest music.  It’s a matter of opinion, I suppose.

New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe member and co-founder Michael Bivins were onto something when he coined the phrase “Motown Philly” back in the early ’90s while developing Boyz II Men.  He understood the influence of both companies and the impact they had on the history of Black Music.  Personally…you can’t go wrong with either.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Staxx and Chess Records.  They both played a huge part in the fabric of soul music as we know it today, as well.

Butch Ford

 

 

 

 

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

George Floyd

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

Sometimes I sit and reflect on the way life used to be.  Naw that’s actually some bullshit.  Honestly…I do that quite a bit.  Things were a lot easier when we were the kids.  We had parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to lead and guide us.  They showed us right from wrong and there were lessons in everything they would say.  Life seemed so pure and innocent back then.
There were obvious challenges, but we were protected from them.  We didn’t know we were poor.  We weren’t aware that they struggled so mightily.  All we saw and felt was the overabundance of love that they showered us with.
Personally, I had strong ties in my church home in which I was raised.  The block I grew up on was a tight-knit extended family.  Little League, Highschool & College Baseball produced unbreakable lifetime bonds. And dozens of friends have lasted throughout the decades.
But today…a lot of the influential people I made reference to earlier have gone on to glory.  And life isn’t quite the same without them anymore…as now, we are the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  It’s our responsibility to carry on the legacy of strong, positive, respectful, and proud role models & leaders to the generations watching us.  In some aspects, we’ve made strides.  And in several ways, we’re failing them.
The name George Floyd has become synonymous with change, reform and unity.  But there’s a lot of additional work that has to be done.  This is only the beginning.  But it seems as though we’ve turned the corner.  Whites are standing with us in our struggle.  Our voices are being heard.  And it’s stretched beyond our borders.
I can’t speak for everyone.  But I know my relatives, church family, neighborhood family, educators, coaches, friends, and Civil Rights Activists who are no longer with us…have to be smiling down on us & beaming with pride.  Maybe we have finally “overcome.”
                                               Butch Ford