White supremacy asks us, on the Fourth, to consider ourselves one American people. But this too is an injustice, because it asks many to forget the ways in which the promise of America never applied to them and still remains largely incomplete. Perpetuating the myth of American independence, while it doesn't fully apply to all, cannibalizes the very hope of full emancipation and real equality.
Blacks are expected in a few states to live in the shadows of flag that celebrated and promoted our enslavement under any means necessary.
I was raised to be a strong, black woman who could handle her own emotions -- not ask someone to help me sort them out. How dare I need treatment for feeling worthless and for being bullied when I come from a lineage of ancestors who used strength and endurance as a way to survive?
The fourth of July is upon us, a holiday that signifies a meaningful moment in U.S. history, a date that marks our official independence as a nation. Over time, freedom and independence have come to take on very deep meaning for me as a transracially adopted person.
In the fuzzy arithmetic of their moral equivocation, flag pins matter, firearms matter, border patrols matter, but black and brown lives don't matter unless they can be leveraged for some self-serving political purpose
My protest started by recoloring the Confederate flag black, red and green -- the colors of black nationalism. This was my way of arresting my own anxiety and fear of black erasure, both personal and collective.
Knowing that we are not given the same opportunity to ever fully rest, we must keep faith and hope in an ultimate peace. We must keep faith and hope that things can change.
Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years -- and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year -- no matter how many hours they work.
Much like stubborn weeds growing between breaks in the sidewalk, Detroiters simply will not let their city fall away into disrepair or allow buildings to stay abandoned.
The count of black churches in the South that have been torched is not the six that have been burned since the massacre of nine blacks at Charleston's Emmanuel AME Church, but 37. The church burnings occurred in a period of not two weeks but over 18 months.
The best way to commit to our causes is to understand how they are connected to others. In that way, we realize that our liberations are inseparably linked to the liberation of others. If your advocacy is not rooted in intersectionality, it doesn't take much for others to surmise that you're merely pursuing your privilege, not equality.
President Barack Obama's eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney unified nearly all Americans with a call to equal justice that no preceding generation had any realistic expectation to achieve. It was a moment desperately imagined by the voters who supported him in 2008 and 2012.
There's an important question being left out of the furor over charges that Rachel Dolezal, the former head of the NAACP's Spokane chapter, has been "lying" about her race: How can you lie about something that doesn't have any objective truth to it in the first place?
The film is about growing up and getting over one's circumstances. It humanizes the black male experience growing up in America; as do many of the films that are directed by Famuyiwa.
How much worse is it going to have to get before we take accountability for our racism and actively engage in dismantling it?
The physical endangerment that intense hostility toward a group can produce is particularly unsettling when you consider the breadth of damage it can have on how the targeted group thinks about their safety.
Newsome's action was a reminder to abandon the comfort and relative safety of insipid discontent. If we want more, we have to demand more.
I just can't vibe with one aspect of my existence being uplifted while another piece is reminded of its inhumanity every single day. I can't focus on something like marriage, or living boldly and proudly, when I need to focus on keeping myself and those like me alive.
When you think of all the "black people who are so offended and just like to complain," picture my face. Picture the face of your black friends. Think of the hurt in my heart and the tears I cry when I feel like I can do everything right but still be seen as "inferior" because of my skin color.
"As women we always think, 'I want this. I want that.' I don't have a checklist. You all know me. You all know my personality. I'm like, 'Come on, Trump. Come on TV One. Find me somebody,' " she laughed.
Taping will start later this month, with the show set to premiere this fall, but, don't expect the show to be too similar to last season's competition.
"I think it's just different personalities, period," the Dayton, Ohio native said. "She's Omarosa and Toccara is Toccara. I think Omarosa's season was absolutely amazing, and that's one of the reasons why I signed up for this. I think I'm fun, outgoing, loud and spontaneous," she said. "I think these guys are going to court me and love me, and I just can't wait. That's my fantasy."
Toccara's last boyfriend was Atlantic Records President of Black Music Michael Kyser, who as of late has been rumored to be dating gossip blogger Necole Bitchie.
"Is he with Necole Bitchie?" Toccara mused. "I don't think he's with her, but he just told me that on the blogs they said that he bought Necole Bitchie some breasts. Does she have fake breasts? I don't even know. These people be making up these rumors."
Regardless of his relationship status, the buxom beauty still has a great deal of love and respect for Kyser.
"I think Kyser is absolutely amazing. Our relationship is and was absolutely amazing. He supports me in everything I do. Even with me doing this show now, he's very supportive to me as a friend, and I really value his advice," she revealed.
"He's my best friend. We talk about things. Even things that we don't want to talk about. We just have a really good relationship, and I think that's why I don't have any securities or anything. There's no need to. I'm single. He's single. He can date whoever he wants to date. I can date whoever I want to date."
When probed about whether she'd consider getting back with him if she doesn't find Mr. Right on television, she added, "I haven't ruled it out."
In her personal life, Toccara still manages to keep up with Banks "as much as I can" and a few of her 'Top Model' pals.
"Tyra is so much about her business and is so focused on her brand and everything, but she gives me great advice and is a great mentor. She never leaves me hanging. I love Tyra," she shared.
But she had no clue Tyra was currently enrolled at Harvard Business School.
"She's going to Harvard right now? She's smart, duh? She knows what she's doing," she joked.
"I think that 'America's Next Top Model' was such an amazing platform and opportunity for all the girls. I think we've all turned five minutes into an hour full of fame and have been very successful. Yaya [DaCosta] is doing her thing. She was just at my birthday in New York City and Eva [Marcille] is in L.A. and me and her still stay in touch, and she's wonderful," she said.
"But I think coming from where we're from, and of all the girls who have participated in 'America's Next Top Model,' and for you to be able to say YaYa, Eva and Toccara to stand apart from the pack is just absolutely amazing."