Friday, April 30, 2010

Dr, Height Funeral Remarks by President Obama

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President at Funeral Service for Dr. Dorothy Height

Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

10:40 A.M.  EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Please be seated.  Let me begin by saying a word to Dr. Dorothy Height’s sister, Ms. Aldridge.  To some, she was a mentor.  To all, she was a friend.  But to you, she was family, and my family offers yours our sympathy for your loss.

We are gathered here today to celebrate the life, and mourn the passing, of Dr. Dorothy Height.  It is fitting that we do so here, in our National Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  Here, in a place of great honor.  Here, in the House of God.  Surrounded by the love of family and of friends.  The love in this sanctuary is a testament to a life lived righteously; a life that lifted other lives; a life that changed this country for the better over the course of nearly one century here on Earth.

Michelle and I didn’t know Dr. Height as well, or as long, as many of you.  We were reminded during a previous moment in the service, when you have a nephew who’s 88 -- (laughter) -- you’ve lived a full life.  (Applause.)
But we did come to know her in the early days of my campaign.  And we came to love her, as so many loved her.  We came to love her stories.  And we loved her smile.  And we loved those hats -- (laughter) -- that she wore like a crown -- regal.  In the White House, she was a regular.  She came by not once, not twice -- 21 times she stopped by the White House.  (Laughter and applause.)  Took part in our discussions around health care reform in her final months.

Last February, I was scheduled to see her and other civil rights leaders to discuss the pressing problems of unemployment -- Reverend Sharpton, Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Marc Morial of the National Urban League.  Then we discovered that Washington was about to be blanketed by the worst blizzard in record -- two feet of snow.
So I suggested to one of my aides, we should call   Dr. Height and say we're happy to reschedule the meeting.  Certainly if the others come, she should not feel obliged. True to form, Dr. Height insisted on coming, despite the blizzard, never mind that she was in a wheelchair.  She was not about to let just a bunch of men -- (laughter) -- in this meeting.  (Applause.)  It was only when the car literally could not get to her driveway that she reluctantly decided to stay home.  But she still sent a message -- (laughter) -- about what needed to be done.
And I tell that story partly because it brings a smile to my face, but also because it captures the quiet, dogged, dignified persistence that all of us who loved Dr. Height came to know so well -- an attribute that we understand she learned early on.

Born in the capital of the old Confederacy, brought north by her parents as part of that great migration, Dr. Height was raised in another age, in a different America, beyond the experience of many.  It’s hard to imagine, I think, life in the first decades of that last century when the elderly woman that we knew was only a girl.  Jim Crow ruled the South.  The Klan was on the rise -- a powerful political force.  Lynching was all too often the penalty for the offense of black skin.  Slaves had been freed within living memory, but too often, their children, their grandchildren remained captive, because they were denied justice and denied equality, denied opportunity, denied a chance to pursue their dreams.
The progress that followed -- progress that so many of you helped to achieve, progress that ultimately made it possible for Michelle and me to be here as President and First Lady -- that progress came slowly.  (Applause.)
Progress came from the collective effort of multiple generations of Americans.  From preachers and lawyers, and thinkers and doers, men and women like Dr. Height, who took it upon themselves -- often at great risk -- to change this country for the better.  From men like W.E.B Du Bois and A. Philip Randolph; women like Mary McLeod Bethune and Betty Friedan -- they’re Americans whose names we know.  They are leaders whose legacies we teach.  They are giants who fill our history books.  Well, Dr. Dorothy Height deserves a place in this pantheon.  She, too, deserves a place in our history books.  (Applause.)  She, too, deserves a place of honor in America’s memory.

Look at her body of work.  Desegregating the YWCA.  Laying the groundwork for integration on Wednesdays in Mississippi.  Lending pigs to poor farmers as a sustainable source of income.  Strategizing with civil rights leaders, holding her own, the only woman in the room, Queen Esther to this Moses Generation -- even as she led the National Council of Negro Women with vision and energy -- (applause) -- with vision and energy, vision and class.
But we remember her not solely for all she did during the civil rights movement.  We remember her for all she did over a lifetime, behind the scenes, to broaden the movement’s reach.  To shine a light on stable families and tight-knit communities.  To make us see the drive for civil rights and women’s rights not as a separate struggle, but as part of a larger movement to secure the rights of all humanity, regardless of gender, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity.

It’s an unambiguous record of righteous work, worthy of remembrance, worthy of recognition.  And yet, one of the ironies is, is that year after year, decade in, decade out, Dr. Height went about her work quietly, without fanfare, without self-promotion.  She never cared about who got the credit.  She didn’t need to see her picture in the papers.  She understood that the movement gathered strength from the bottom up, those unheralded men and women who don't always make it into the history books but who steadily insisted on their dignity, on their manhood and womanhood.  (Applause.)  She wasn’t interested in credit.  What she cared about was the cause.  The cause of justice.  The cause of equality.  The cause of opportunity.  Freedom’s cause.

And that willingness to subsume herself, that humility and that grace, is why we honor Dr. Dorothy Height.  As it is written in the Gospel of Matthew:  “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  I don’t think the author of the Gospel would mind me rephrasing:  “whoever humbles herself will be exalted.”  (Applause.)

One of my favorite moments with Dr. Height -- this was just a few months ago -- we had decided to put up the Emancipation Proclamation in the Oval Office, and we invited some elders to share reflections of the movement.  And she came and it was a inter-generational event, so we had young children there, as well as elders, and the elders were asked to share stories.  And she talked about attending a dinner in the 1940s at the home of Dr. Benjamin Mays, then president of Morehouse College.  And seated at the table that evening was a 15-year-old student, “a gifted child,” as she described him, filled with a sense of purpose, who was trying to decide whether to enter medicine, or law, or the ministry.

And many years later, after that gifted child had become a gifted preacher -- I’m sure he had been told to be on his best behavior -- after he led a bus boycott in Montgomery, and inspired a nation with his dreams, he delivered a sermon on what he called “the drum major instinct” -- a sermon that said we all have the desire to be first, we all want to be at the front of the line.

The great test of a life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, is to harness that instinct; to redirect it towards advancing the greater good; toward changing a community and a country for the better; toward doing the Lord’s work.
I sometimes think Dr. King must have had Dorothy Height in mind when he gave that speech.  For Dorothy Height met the test.  Dorothy Height embodied that instinct.  Dorothy Height was a drum major for justice.  A drum major for equality.  A drum major for freedom.  A drum major for service.  And the lesson she would want us to leave with today -- a lesson she lived out each and every day -- is that we can all be first in service.  We can all be drum majors for a righteous cause.  So let us live out that lesson.  Let us honor her life by changing this country for the better as long as we are blessed to live.  May God bless Dr. Dorothy Height and the union that she made more perfect.  (Applause.)

10:54 A.M. EDT

Flawless Friday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sade Babyfather

Love the colors on this promotional poster and I'm really feeling this cut.

Tuesday Tease

Rapper Common

Starring with Queen Latifah in the romantic comedy "Just Wright" in theaters May 14.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Motown Monday

Ok- back to the blogger profile I guess I might as well fill out.

If I had to name my favorite album, it would be the jewel in Motown's crown:  Songs in the Key of Life
Favorite Song:  As.

Released in 1976, the total genius of Stevie Wonder is all through this album, but if you've ever experienced a love so strong you can't even quantify it-Stevie did it for you when he wrote As. Lyrics included below.

As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early May
Just as hate knows love's the cure
You can rest your mind assure
That I'll be loving you always
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day
Just as all is born is new
Do know what I say is true
That I'll be loving you always

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky---ALWAYS
Until the ocean covers every mountain high---ALWAYS
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea---ALWAYS
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream

Did you know that true love asks for nothing
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee
To last through forever and another day
Just as time knew to move on since the beginning
And the seasons know exactly when to change
Just as kindness knows no shame
Know through all your joy and pain
That I'll be loving you always
As today I know I'm living but tomorrow
Could make me the past but that I mustn't fear
For I'll know deep in my mind
The love of me I've left behind Cause I'll be loving you always

Until the day is night and night becomes the day---ALWAYS
Until the trees and seas just up and fly away---ALWAYS
Until the day that 8x8x8 is 4---ALWAYS
Until the day that is the day that are no more
Did you know that you're loved by somebody?
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left---ALWAYS
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself
I'll be loving you forever
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through---ALWAYS
Until the day that you are me and I am you---AL~~~~~~WA~~
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky~~~~~AA~~~~

We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it
You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great-great grandchildren will tell
I'll be loving you

Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky--Loving you
Until the ocean covers every mountain high--Loving you
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea--Loving you
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream--Be loving you
Until the day is night and night becomes the day--Loving you
Until the trees and seas up, up and fly away--Loving you
Until the day that 8x8x8x8 is 4--Loving you
Until the day that is the day that are no more--Loving you
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left--Be loving you
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself--Loving you
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through--Loving you
Until the day that you are me and I am you--
Now ain't that loving you
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Ain't that loving you
Until the ocean covers every mountain high
And I've got to say always
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea~~AL~~~WA~~~AYS
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream-Um AL~~WA~~AYS
Until the day is night and night becomes the day-AL~~~~WA~~AYS
Until the trees and seas just up and fly away-AL~~WA~~~AA~~~~~
Until the day that 8x8x8 is 4~~~~~AA~~~~~~~AA~~~~~~~AA
Until the day that is the day that are no more-AA~~~~AA~~AA~~~AYS
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left-AL~~~WA~~~A~~~AA
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself-~~AA~~~AA~~~AA~~~AYS
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through-AL~~~WAYS
Until the day that you are me and I am you
Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky
Until the ocean covers every mountain high
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream
Until the day is night and night becomes the day
Until the trees and seas just up and fly away
Until the day that 8x8x8 is 4
Until the day that is the day that are no more
Until the day the earth starts turning right to left
Until the earth just for the sun denies itself
Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through
Until the day that you are me and I am you

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Earth Week

I got a bit busy this week and didn't make mention of Earth Day, but I firmly beleive that we all have a responsibility for our "footprints", and need to do (within reason) whatever we can do to help preserve and save the planet for future generations.  So in honor of Earth Day/Week, AND because i'm totally into Motown lately, I give you the master, Marvin Gaye.

The Ecology from his groundbreaking album, What's Going On.


Penn Relays

I helped manage a wedding today while the family went to the Penn Relays.  They brought me back a few pictures of what I missed.  My Mini-Me (1) told me that Usain Bolt wasn't human-he's a machine.  He ran the anchor leg in the 4x100 meter relay in 8.79 seconds...WOW!  He got the baton 10 meters behind the others, and at 50 meters he was 10 meters ahead.  I'm sorry I missed it!  My husband is a Penn man, so he was able to fanangle his way on the field and get some up close shots of the Olympian with his teammates, the Mayor, and the Governor (also Penn Men).  Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

DC Young Professionals to Honor Kamala Harris

As many of you know, my Soror Kamala Harris, (15-A-86), is running for California Attorney General. The primary is only two months away and support is needed right now more than ever. The DC Young Professionals are hosting their very last Young Professionals event for Kamala in DC on Monday, April 26th. Please find the event info below. I hope you will attend and help spread the word if you are in the DMV area!


Invite You to a Fundraiser Honoring

San Francisco District Attorney & Candidate for California Attorney General


MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

3315 Cady's Alley NW (between 33rd and 34th off of M St.)
Washington, DC

VIP . . . . . . . .. . . . $100
Young Professional . . . . $ 40

$25 Student Tickets Available Upon Request to

Advance ticket purchase required here:

For more information, contact Lilya Mitelman: / 415.256.1727

I can't emphasize enough how critical this race is for the state of California, and for our nation. California has one of the highest rates of recidivism in the entire country. Meanwhile, our corrections budget has grown into the billions of dollars, leaving us with a revolving door that cycles criminals in and out of prison. Our current system is failing, and my aunt Kamala has implemented innovative initiatives that provide new and effective solutions to these massive problems. As she enters her seventh year as San Francisco's District Attorney, the "Smart on Crime" approach Kamala has pioneered continues to serve as a model for the nation to reform our criminal justice system.

Kamala's Back on Track initiative, for example, has achieved nationwide recognition for its successes in taking first-time, low-level, nonviolent drug offenders off the streets, giving them an education, job training and other important life skills, and re-entering them back into productive society. And her fight against school truancy provides hope to children who too often feel that our educational system does not care about them. These are just two examples of the great work my aunt is doing in San Francisco, and models of success she hopes to bring to the state of California.

Please join the DC Young Professionals for Kamala Harris on Monday, April 26th, and support an inspiring candidate in her historic run to become California's first woman and first African-American Attorney General, and the first South Asian Attorney General in the country.


Kamala Harris is currently the District Attorney of San Francisco and a celebrated rising star in the Democratic Party. She was the first female DA elected in San Francisco and is now running to become the first female and first African-American Attorney General in California history. If elected, Kamala will also be the first South Asian Attorney General in the nation.

Kamala was the first elected official in California to publicly endorse President Obama and was the co-chair of his California campaign. In fact, journalist Gwen Ifill said about Kamala on The Late Show with David Letterman: "She's brilliant, she's smart. They call her the 'female Barack Obama.'" Kamala was also featured on Oprah as one of “America's Most Powerful Women" and The New York Times named her one of the 17 women most likely to become the first female president of the United States. Recently, Kamala was recognized by Lifetime Television among Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and other accomplished women, for her commitment to justice. You can watch Lifetime’s “Every Woman Counts” Salute to Kamala Harris here.

The praise and support Kamala has garnered are a result of her outstanding track record as District Attorney. She was recently re-elected to her second term as District Attorney and ran un-opposed for that position. She raised the felony conviction rate in San Francisco to 71%, the highest in over a decade. But she's not just tough on crime, Kamala has completely revolutionized the District Attorney's office by implementing progressive, creative programs that also seek to be "Smart on Crime." In addition to increasing convictions for serious and violent crimes, she has also championed education by using truancy statutes to improve attendance at schools and has pioneered programs to protect and aid the families of victims. She hopes to bring this same progressive approach to the Attorney General's office on issues of prison reform, education, and the environment. Her smart on crime approach was featured on The Today Show. You can watch the interview here.

Kamala will be the progressive, new generation of leadership that California needs. To learn more, please visit

Join Kamala's Facebook page and spread the word!

Flawless Friday

She is so stunning-this young lady took my breath away!
Moms everywhere take note-PLEASE.
Use this post to make a point with your daughters while prom shopping this year.
Youthful elegance-it can be done.
Click through to see this beauty.

What Prom Gorgeous Looks Like At Age 17

courtesy of Creole in DC

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Desiree Rogers' "First Public Appearance" Since White House Departure

She's Back.

The topic - “Her role as Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary.

Should be interesting.

The Black Socialite TM: Desiree Rogers' "First Public Appearance" Since White House Departure

Big Decisions

I've had to make a number of huge, life altering decisions lately. I always wonder if i'm doing the right thing or going down the right path. A person never knows how their decisions will put a chain of events in motion for their good or to their detriment. Any decision doesn't just impact you-it could impact your family, and the community around you also. What do you do when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lauryn Hill

It's so good to see Lauryn Hill again after such a long absence.  I still have her in my ear.  Her album twelve years ago still sounds good to me.  It's probably more relevant than what's out here now.  I would however offer a small piece of advice before hitting that carpet again-groom your brows baby.  It makes all the difference in the world. Here are a few products to consider:

24/7 Professional Brow Shaping System

Mally Beauty

Anastasia 7-Item Brow Book 

Back to Basics

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

R.I.P. Dr. Dorothy Height

Civil Rights Icon, Dr. Dorothy Height passed away at the age of 98.  R.I.P.

Tuesday Tease

Does a 10 year age difference make me a cougar?
Daniel Sunjata

Monday, April 19, 2010

Motown Monday

I started this blog as a project of mine because so much ugly was going on around me.  In order to stay sane, I needed to force myself to concentrate on what I love-God, my family, and the beauty that's all around me (I just heard Maurice White (Earth.Wind.Fire) in my ear).  That being said, I never got into the blogger profiles, etc. that people fill out with a passion however, if I were to enter my favorite movie of all time, it would be courtesy of Motown, Lady Sings the Blues.

I was 11 years old when this movie came out in 1972, and even though  there are movies that I enjoy and watch over and over, nobody can top Miss Ross as Lady Day.  Her portrayal of the brilliant but tragic Billie Holiday still moves me to this day.  My definition of unconditional love comes by way of Billy Dee Williams (I try not to think of Malt Liquor) as Louis McKay.  He was so sexy.  There was nothing and I mean nothing she could do that he didn't forgive (remember the Piano Man scene) and he loved her flaws and all.  I know every single song from the soundtrack, and damn near every word of dialogue.  Richard Pryor was wonderful, I mean the whole cast just stays with me to this day.  Diana Ross was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category.  She lost to Liza Minnelli (Cabaret I think), and I was outraged.  This movie is a masterpiece.

When Billie met Louis-a classic moment (2:58).

Good Morning Heartache-Billie needed a fix.

Original Movie Trailer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In a Hurry?

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.  Psalm 62:5
The old folks used to say just wait on the Lord or, go sit quiet while the Lord is doing his work.
Entire countries have been halted and totally disrupted.
Even the President had to go sit down somewhere.

Sometimes we have to be reminded who's in control.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flawless Friday

Better late than never C. T., and it doesn't get any better than this.
Love her.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In My Ear: Chrisette Michele

It's not "new" but I just can't get this out of my head.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Motown!!!

Motown was the soundtrack of my life. 
I can't do it justice right now, but I will.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dreary Tuesday

It's cold and rainy here.  I've decided that NOTHING could cheer me up-until I saw this.
No reason not to be stylish on a cold, rainy, nasty day huh?
Hope you're having a good day wherever you are.

Monday, April 12, 2010

R.I.P. Dixie Carter

Nobody had more sophistication and sass than Miss Julia Sugarbaker.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Flawless Friday

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

My face immediately lit up when I saw this.
Can you think of anything more perfect than the mother-daughter bond?
Ok. Besides mother-son?
This could be my daughter and I (if only I'd take a picture). 
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lois Mailou Jones (Pierre-Noel)

Originally from Boston, the artist fell in love with the island of Haiti and its people.

Depicts her early interest in African art housed at the National Museum of of American Art.

Les Feticles-1938

Howard University professor of art from 1930-1977, she was a champion of American artists.  Some of her students went on to become substantial contributors to American art, most notably, Elizabeth Catlett.  She was commissioned to create two of the thirty three stained glass windows at Andrew Rankin Chapel, Howard University.  This one is dear to me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Soul Train on DVD

If you STILL missed Rock Docs on VH1:

TimeLife has the Best of Soul Train on DVD. It's an 8 boxed set with a bonus DVD of the first ever airing of the Soul Train Music Awards. It retails for $149.95 (ouch).  Sample the fun below.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blue Willow Inspiration

I came across this image and it immediately brought back the memory of my Great Aunt Margaret.  We called her "Smunk" and don't ask me why.  She was in her fifties when I was born, and as I never knew either of my Grandmothers, Smunk was it-and more.  I grew up in a time when there was extended family around to help out.  There was no such thing as day care centers-we went over to Aunt Margaret's.  She lived in a "colorful" neighborhood; Portner Place in northwest DC (wonder if it's still there)?  The 14th and "U" Streets corridor was a little rough back then, not at all like it is today and I was fascinated but a bit afraid of the neighborhood.  Aunt Margaret didn't blink and therefore, we didn't either.  From the time she got up in the morning, she was always impeccably dressed even to sweep off the front stoop.  Dress, hose, pumps, hair done, the whole nine. 

Anyway, her meals were wonderfully prepared and served on the "Blue Willow" china pattern that I'm sure everyone is familiar with.  My first marriage, I registered for a trendy Mikasa casual china pattern that was out at the time.  The marriage ended-I gave the china away.  Older and wiser the second time around, I bought the Blue Willow.  Some things are meant to last forever-like my memories of the only grandmother I've ever known:  My Great Aunt Margaret McClurkin.

Easter Bonnet

Nobody does a hat like the Queen!

Except Princess Grace Kelly
From the upcoming Grace Kelly exhibition at the V and A Museum.
(Images Copyright: Consulate General of Monaco, New York)

I used to wonder when I was younger if there was a store that only the sisters of the church would know about to go and purchase their hats for Sunday service.  To this day I keep wondering when one of them will pull me aside and finally tell me where they go for their "interesting" millinery.  Then I wonder if I'll wake up one day and actually feel like I'm finally ready to be wearing one and then go look for them on my own!

I think if I start wearing hats to church, it'll be more Kentucky Derby chic vs. church elder style.  And trust me-/I'm not ready to be a church elder just yet!

At any rate, sisters don't wait until Easter to bring it with the millinery, but I suspect I may see some over the top finery this weekend anyway.  And the one thing I know, those hats will be worn with elegance, style and pride.

Happy Easter!