Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Taraji P Henson, Toni Morrison, and Mental Healthcare for African Americans

Mental health. This has been on my heart for many years concerning Americans in general, but it is especially crucial in the African American community because some of us have accepted the myth that it does not affect us. News flash: IT HAS ALWAYS AFFECTED US! When examining it from a historical perspective, there are countless narratives from the Antebellum era here in America of African Americans exceeding a psychotic threshold of no return. For example, there was the fugitive enslaved woman, Margaret Garner, who when cornered during a siege in 1876, butchered her children to prevent them from returning to slavery. The narrative was so terrifying and compelling that writer, Toni Morrison, based her novel, Beloved on the event. Even though Nat Turner attributed his actions to being under the direction of the Almighty God, what was his mental state?

I could go on with countless stories, but the bottom line is that mental health should be taken more seriously, and it should be daily concern as we move forward in the hectic world in which we live. We simply cannot live without it. So, thank you Ms. Henson for shining a light on this very serious topic. God bless you as you continue to battle your own mental health. May all of us follow that example and deal with our own. I think that it would make all the difference.


Larson, J. L. (n.d.). A Rebellion to Remember: The Legacy of Nat Turner. Retrieved June 12, 2019, from

Margaret Garner Kills One of Her Children Rather than Permit Her to be Returned to Slavery. (2019). Retrieved June 12, 2019, from
Margaret Garner, a fugitive slave from Kentucky, killed one of her children rather than permit her to be returned to slavery. She drowned in a shipwreck as she was being brought back to slavery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Thoughts From The Teacher

Yesterday was the start of a new semester with new students. It is always exciting for me to meet a new class full of eager and nervous students. They don't know what to expect from me, and I expect everything from them. Most importantly, I expect much from myself.  As it says in scripture, "to whom much was given, of him much will be required..." (Luke 12:48). Therefore, I also have to be the best that I can be as a teacher. They are depending on me to teach them something that they did not know before entering my classroom. I am also expecting to learn from them. Overall, it is up to me to facilitate a viable teaching and learning environment. For me, there will always be room for improvement; therefore, I continue to strive for the perfecting of my craft. Power to the teacher, and more power to the student! Peace~

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

This is America Symbolism

Like many, I am intrigued by Donald Glover's (Aka. Childish Gambino) new video, "This is America." I have been a fan of Glover's FX television series, "Atlanta" for some time, but I have not really explored his music until I watched Jordan Peele's film, Get Out. The film opened featuring Childish Gambino's song, "Redbone." Since then, I have been interested. It is safe to say that I am a true fan after hearing and viewing this shockingly creative song and video. Whooo! Anyway, I am not going to attempt to break down this video in my own words. I will allow this video from Time to do the talking. Yes, "This is America." 

End of Semester Thoughts

It's that time of year again. Students are turning in their final papers and things are slowing down -- well, in the classroom. Meanwhile, I am grading papers in the basement and listening to a little music. What's better than some old school Delfonics? It helps me to relax and focus while I grade these essays. Soon, I will switch grading papers electronically. I have to get out of the old way of doing things. The future is now -- time has come today! Anyway, let me get back to my music. Oops! A comma splice. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ready for a New Season

It's after 10:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night and I'm thinking about seasons. I'm thinking about the natural progressions of nature, but I'm also thinking about the seasons we go through in life. What's your season? Me? I'm going through the season of building my career and education. In other words, I'm thinking about becoming better at what I do in the classroom. I'm also thinking about how to become better spiritually. What does that mean? Well, specifically, I mean building a relationship with God -- my personal relationship.

It all takes work - this building - but I am prepared to do it. Well, I know this is short, but it is my bedtime. I hope that you are in a good season right now. If not, just remember that seasons change. Good night. Peace ~

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Grover Washington Jr. - Make Me A Memory (Sad Samba)

This is a beautiful live video. "Winelight" was one of my first purchases when I first started listening to Jazz. The other was George Howard's "Asphalt Gardens." Both artist passed away at an early age. Nevertheles, I love that smooth 80s Jazz music. It brings back such pleasant memories. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Memories of A Sunday Kind Of Love

I love this song by Etta James, "A Sunday Kind of Love." I loved it so much that I gave the title to my Sunday night show on WHCJ at Savannah State University (College in my day) in Savannah, Georgia in the early 90s. I was on-air every Sunday evening from 8:00 p.m. - 12 midnight. It was one of the few commitments that I would keep on a weekly basis for more than 3 years. That's how I knew that it was true love. It lasted longer than any of my campus relationships.

Although I have moved on with life and married, I still think about that commitment now and then; of course, it is usually on Sundays as 8:00 p.m. approaches. Back then, I would jump on my bike with my sack of choice music and glide on over to the station. Once that big hand hit the 8, I'd hit play and on came... "Summer Madness" by Kool and the Gang. I know. Why didn't I use Etta? Well, I thought that it would be too obvious. Plus, "Summer Madness" was a great music bed while I introduced myself and the night's show:

Good evening. You're listening to Savannah State radio, WHCJ-90.3 FM. This is your host, Stephen Bess, and thank you for joining me this evening for another edition of "A Sunday Kind of Love." Please, just sit back and relax and I will take care of the rest...

Man, I loved it! Yes, those were good times. I will never forget those days. I enjoyed some quiet times every Sunday night in that campus studio. I took request and talked to friends of the station over the phone. Once in a while, I even received a visit from a friend on campus. However, most of the time it was just me and the microphone. Well, now that those days are behind me, I just listen to Ms. Etta sing as I reminisce of "A Sunday Kind of Love" at WHCJ radio. Those were good times. Good night everybody.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Photo of the Day: Old U Street

Ben's Chilli Bowl on U Street in Washington, DC (Photo: S Bess 2006)

Forget about the present situation, these were the Pre-Obama days in DC. Gentrification had not fully enveloped the U street corridor at this point. Ben's alley wall was blank and there was nothing happening "Next Door." There were still a few business left from the post-riot days; however, everyone knew that it was coming. The one hundred year cycle was over! The place was changing. DC was changing. My life was changing. Things are very different now in 2017. 
~ Peace

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rhiannon Giddens- "Julie"

Rhiannon Giddens' music is based on a collective number of slave narratives. This is an absolutely beautiful way to preserve the history of our enslaved ancestors; it addresses and expresses the very heart of wanting to be free from bondage. Thank you, Rhiannon Giddens. Lovely.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Zora and the Haiti Connection

This is a short video on Zora Neale Hurston and her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ms. Hurston was an anthropologist, folklorist, historian, and writer to a name a few, but I am sure that there was more to her as a human being and a woman. Thank you, Ms. Hurston. 

Taraji P Henson, Toni Morrison, and Mental Healthcare for African Americans

Mental health. This has been on my heart for many years concerning Americans in general, but it is especially crucial in the African ...