We talk faith and religion and I come off like a total heathen.
I’m not actually — or at least I don’t think I am — but I definitely haven’t been a regular church go-er all my life. I grew up in a very religious household. My dad was a deacon and Sunday School superintendent in our church. My mom was a deaconness and a missionary. I sang in the choir, was involved in youth leadership, I helped run the video ministry. I was at church several days/nights a week and my church family was, and still is, family. But something changed when I went to college. I didn’t quit believing, but I did stop going to church as regularly. I was “grown” and since there was no one there to tell me I had to go, I didn’t; I guess that was my way of asserting my independence. The funny thing is no one forced me to go to church when I lived at home. It was expected of course, but I genuinely enjoyed it. At first, I felt really guilty about not going, but the more Sundays I stayed home, the more comfortable I got staying home. In the years since then, I’ve been through periods where I went to church every week for months and stretches where I didn’t go at all. I ask grace before I eat, I pray before I go to sleep, and I acknowledge and thank God for my victories, but for much of my adult life I’ve been out of fellowship.
I hit a really rough patch a couple years ago. I was emotionally and financially depleted; I was close to losing my home. My first instinct was to turn to God for help, but I felt unworthy because I was taught that it’s wrong to just call on Him in bad times. Kind of ironic that the guilt I felt for being out of fellowship is what prevented me for so long from going back when I needed it most. Thankfully, after talking with family and a few friends I began to seek guidance and slowly but surely things started to change. Though I’m not quite where I desire to be, my life and my attitude about life are a million times better. I give Him all the credit for that, but my relationship with God is definitely a work-in-progress. And I know it’s the same for a lot of folks, which is why the Faith & Religion episode was one of my favorites. It’s the first episode we shot (yeah, we dove right in on Day 1) and I loved it because we covered so many viewpoints. So often in the Black community, when we talk religion, the question is “Where do you go to church?” and not “Are you a believer?” And I believe that if Black folks don’t want to be viewed as monolithic when it comes to politics or our portrayals in the entertainment industry, then we must also acknowledge that we don’t all share the same views on faith. In this episode we speak with Dr. Sikivu Hutchison, a black female Atheist and author. I could have talked with her for hours. She was amazing, just so impressive and though I don’t share her (non)beliefs, I respect her opinion and the respectful way in which she shared it.
I really hope you all enjoy this episode. I hope it makes you think. And I hope you’ll log onto Twitter tonight at 8pm Eastern at #ExhaleTV and join our conversation. See you then!
This Saturday my Exhale co-hosts and I (minus Issa, #SadFace) literally took our show on the road. We were in Philadelphia to present a panel discussion at the National Urban League Annual Conference. Our presentation was entitled “Balancing Act: Can We Really Have it All?” Relatioship therapist, Dr. Argie Allen joined us and she was fantastic. We’ve definitely got to have her on the show for Season 2!
Check out my name tag. Not sure if they just misspelled my name or conflated me with another speaker (b/c I’m not from Atlanta either) or if word got out about my moodiness and they were going for “Evilene…” Reminds me of when I was playing a casino in Aruba this spring, feeling pretty good about where my career was going, and we pulled up to the venue and saw this on the front. Comedy will keep you humble.
Deon Cole, Bill Bellamy, Me, Johnny Sanchez, Rickey Smiley, Royale Watkins
I just got back from Atlanta after shooting the Stand Up For Family comedy special. Such a great event! It was a night of clean comedy featuring some of my favorite comics – Deon Cole, Rickey Smiley, Bill Bellamy, Johnny Sanchez, Drew Fraser. I was so excited to be in the lineup! Most of us don’t specialize in clean comedy, but it was nice to let people see that we can all still be just as funny. The show was produced by the homie Royale Watkins, who has been amazing to me since the first night we met at his Mixtape Comedy Show in NYC. And it was sponsored by American Family Insurance, whose motto “Pursue Your Dream. We’ll Protect It” was the theme of the event.
I got into town on Friday morning and went straight into a photo shoot. Then I had the afternoon free before the kickoff reception. I’m not a huge club person but I was excited that Melanie Fiona would be performing. I’m such a big fan of hers. I invited BFF Angi to come to the party and we had a great time! Not only did Melanie tear the roof off the sucka, but there was also a live band that played 90’s R&B and Hip-Hop songs. The lead singer/emcee rocked everything from “Big Poppa” to DeBarge’s “I Like It.” I wanted to stay at that party for the rest of my life, but we ended up leaving early to grab dinner.
Show night was great! I’m always super nervous before these things but I could tell from the minute Drew hit the stage for the warmup that the crowd was great. Except for BFF Angi. She doesn’t follow directions (i.e. no cell phones/cameras)… But thanks for the pic, girl! I’m just a comedy fan at heart and I laughed my arse off at everyone who hit the stage. Maybe my favorite bit of the nite was Deon Cole’s “Black people love napkins” bit. It’s so true. I hollered. Continue reading →
He’s a full fledged, karate-chopping little boy and I can hardly stand it. I was in Atlanta this weekend for a show and BFF Angi brought Roman by the hotel so I could spend a little time with him. It’s been about 6 months since I’ve seen him and he’s grown so much. I love that kid super hard, but I’mma sprinkle some of that Benjamin Button on him so we can reverse this whole growing up thing. I don’t like it one bit. I’m not that up on kids toys and games, but I guess I’m going to have to learn a little about Ninjago, as it seems like he’s ditched Angry Birds for it. He even gave me a Ninjago name — Samurai X. I’ll see him again in a couple of weeks, which gives me a little time to brush up on my ninja skills.
But in the meantime, enjoy Disney Roman! Auntie Erin loves you the most.
I had several really bad allergic reactions to some fruit I ate this past week — grapes, nectarines. I had some swelling on my face yesterday and last night I broke out in hives. I took some Benadryl and went to sleep. My father was convinced I had shingles. “A lady in my Sunday School class said she just had shingles.”How old was she, Daddy? “68.”
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he jumped right to shingles. I mean, he’s an old dude and shingles is an old dude disease — not that young people can’t get shingles (’cause I Googled it and found out they can)… I’m just saying if they do, it doesn’t typically come and go within the span of an episode of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.” What’s important here is that my dad is the biggest hypochondriac I know. Growing up, he was always trying to send me to the doctor for something or other. My mom tells this story about how back when I was toddling, my dad got concerned and said, “I think we need to take her to the pediatrician. Why is she walking like that? All slow and wobbly?” Her response: “Because she just learned how to do it two days ago.” My Pop would have maxed out our insurance benefits every year if my mother hadn’t been there to stop him.
P.S. I know those are the wrong kind of shingles (pictured above), but I like to post pictures with each blog entry, and the other kind of shingles are super gross. You’re welcome.
On the next episode of “Exhale,” which is NEXT Wednesday, July 10 (NOT TONITE — we’re off this week b/c of the holiday) we talk Health and Wellness with actress and wellness expert, AJ Johnson; the original “around the way girl,” philanthropist and cancer survivor (and wife of LL Cool J), Simone Smith; physician and author, Dr. Felicia Wade and Carrie Broadus, Executive Director of Women Alive. This a really fun and informative episode, so set your DVRs now and make sure you catch us!
P.S. I KNEW it was stress and not those donuts causing this belly fat!!! #ShutUpThatsHowIHeardIt