Roots Rock Run: My first 5k

My very first bib number!

My very first bib number!

This past Saturday I ran my very first 5k—the Roots Rock Run in Philadelphia. I did it with my sistren from GirlTrek, an amazing black-women’s wellness organization I joined a few months ago. My goals were 1) to run more than half of the race and 2) not to come in last. I succeeded at both! Who knew 171st place could feel so good? I ran at an 11-minute/mile pace and finished in 34:57, which I think is pretty good for a newbie. And I really enjoyed myself; I think I get why people enjoy racing. I wasn’t exhausted afterwards because I’ve been walking and jogging five times a week for the past couple months. I was super proud of me!

Oooh and also, because it was hosted by The Roots, I got to run with behind, meet, and selfie with Black Thought—my forever crush and one of the greatest emcees in the game. I’d always imagined I’d be slightly less sweaty during our first meeting, but reality rarely lives up to expectations.

Me with Black Thought. #Swoon

Me with Black Thought. #Swoon

Black dolls and black girls


As described by its founder, Dr. Yaba Blay, Pretty.Period. is “A visual tribute to brown skin. A visional testimony of Black beauty. A vision board for healing.” It’s a place for brown women to come and, not just be appreciated, but celebrated. Where we are not “pretty for a black girl” or ‘pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” We’re pretty. Period.

I saw the above post last week on the organization’s Facebook page, and it absolutely broke my heart. We’ve all seen the doll test videos on YouTube; we know how early, and profoundly and profoundly early, little brown girls are affected by the lies the world would have them believe about themselves. We know that the way to combat this is to tell them and show them and then keep telling and showing them how beautiful they are—that women all over the world go to extreme lengths to achieve their brand of beauty. That they are lovable and deserve to be loved.

Black girls need to play with and care for dolls that reflect who they are. Period.

Growing up, my mother insisted that all my dolls be black. I had black Kimberly dolls, a black Cabbage Patch Kid, a black Baby-Alive-type doll that scared the crap out of me, but my Mom still made me play with, anyway. She even had two black Raggedy Ann dolls made for me because “if you want a raggedy doll, she’s gonna be black.” Which…well, you just read that, so you know. Her intention was clear, though.

I know the "Waggedy" looks white, but she is just light-skinned.

Don’t side-eye Little Raggedy. She’s just light-skinned.

My friend Dana is the most creative person I know. A graphic designer/photographer/should-have-her-own-show chef/(former) beauty and food blogger and now–knitter, her ability to just pick up new skills and be great at them has always blown my mind. Her current blog is about all the things she knits. She makes sweaters and baby blankets and clothes for her dog; she’s knit me awesome hats and cowl scarfs. But the other day I happened upon something on her Instagram feed that melted my heart. She’d knitted a little brown doll for our friend Yuvay’s daughter, Maddie. She even made a sweater for Maddie to match the sweater the doll had on. How sweet is this? Check out her post here.



Making a brown doll for a brown girl gave me so much joy! — DWJ

And it looks like little Maddie loved it as well! I think it’s my favorite of all the things she’s made in the 20 years I’ve known her; it’s definitely the most important. And having just seen the Pretty.Period. post, I had to share it. I have the dopest friends. Am I too old for a doll like Maddie’s, D? You don’t have to make me the matching sweater…


Source: 1 | 2


Just say YES

When I was younger I was a social butterfly; I STAYED in the street. I threw rent parties and dinner parties. I took impromptu trips. I dated. A lot. But in the years since, I’ve become increasingly antisocial. Maybe it’s because life on the road breeds an unhealthy level of comfort with isolation. Maybe it’s because I work nights and weekends while everyone else is hanging out. Maybe I’ve just been in a nasty rut. Maybe I was depressed…

Whatever the reason, it led to a mini (read: MEGA)-breakdown back in early February when my friend Damon asked me, “What do you do for fun when you’re not working?” and I couldn’t come up with anything except, “I don’t know… I read books.”

I. READ. BOOKS. Y’all. All the tears.

Later that evening, I was talking to another friend who asked me if I’d heard about Shonda Rhimes’ new book. He’d seen her on OWN and thought it might be relevant to what I was going through. I hadn’t, but my focus shifted immediately to the unopened Amazon box on the floor next to the sofa. Days earlier, I’d received a package from my friend Wendy. And wait–hadn’t she mentioned something about Shonda Rhimes a few weeks ago? I ripped open the box and there it was.


If ever there was a more fortuitous moment it was in a fairy tale, I promise. And this passage that begins with, “Losing yourself…?” I could have put the book down right then ’cause that was church, but I knew there’d be more gems. I stayed up that nite and read it straight through.


I bought in completely. And I am committed in this, my very own “Year of Yes,” to finding myself. To doing things that are uncomfortable and challenging. To taking inventory of the people in my life, reinvesting in the relationships that enrich me and moving on from those that don’t.

I am so grateful to Shonda Rhimes (and Delores!!!) for “Year of Yes” and my friend and angel, Wendy, for seeing that I needed it. I used to roll my eyes when I heard people say you can just decide to be happy, but I now know it to be true. Since I finished the book I’ve made a new friend, hosted a party at my home, started boxing (something I’ve always wanted to do). I’ve moved on from someone I loved a great deal for a really long time. And you know what? I see hints of the old me beginning to resurface.

If you made it this far in the post and any of this resonates with you, I hope you’ll read this book and decide to say yes. Your happiness is up to you.

No, thank you!

During my time here in Israel, I’ve been most touched by how appreciative the audiences have been. We have a Q&A with them after each show, and each night they thank us profusely and ask if we were hesitant to accept the gig because of safety concerns. I can honestly say that I had zero reservations about this trip. As Kermet joked, “Maybe that means I’m dumb…”  But I saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime– a chance to visit places I’ve been hearing and reading about my whole life.

I got a free trip to Israel! What are you thanking me for?

Avi and Bob with an Israeli soldier in Gush Etzion

Avi and Bob with an Israeli soldier in Gush Etzion

On Saturday night, we had a show in Gush Etzion, which is a group of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. “Across the Green Line,” the area is protected by Israeli security forces and has been targeted by terrorists numerous times in the past year (in the last week, even). We had to go through a border checkpoint to get there, and there were soldiers stationed on the streets. We pulled over to the side of the road on our way to the show so Avi and Bob could do a quick promo video, and I remember looking out of the van window and feeling very anxious—not because I felt that there was any imminent danger, but because seeing those soldiers (who were 100% there to protect us and anyone else in the settlements) with their automatic weapons reminded me that, while I may be on the greatest work-cation ever, life often feels like anything but that for the people who live here. Up until that point, it was easy to just enjoy the beautiful beaches, the great food and the amazing historical sites and push to the back of my mind the very real threats that people in this region face on a daily basis. I really began to understand why the audiences were so grateful for our visit. These were people who’ve been directly affected by terrorism, and our willingness to go there and perform was a thumb of the nose middle finger to the perpetrators of that violence. Bringing them a little laughter, while helping to raise money to support their families and communities is probably the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. I’ve had some top-ten life moments here and I’ve seen so very little of the Israel that we’re shown in on the “news” in America. I will forever be an ambassador for the country and its people.

Me with Kandi and Marc

Me with Kandi and Marc

In addition to the comics I worked with on the shows, I met a wonderful Tel Aviv comic named Kandi Abelson and her husband Marc. They were so lovely to me, inviting me to their home to hang out and drink up some of Marc’s amazing Scotch and (Kandi) taking me shopping for a flat iron and other clothes and souvenirs. My indecisiveness is legendary and you handled It so well, Kandi! It was such a pleasure meeting you both! I hope we get to see each other again before long.


Finally, Jerusalem!

The Comedy for Koby crew with the amazing Yael

The Comedy for Koby crew with the amazing Yael

I’ve been looking forward to our day in Jerusalem all week and yesterday was “the day!” We arrived in the morning and met up with our fabulous tour guide, Yael. She is like the Beatles of tour guides in Jerusalem–a guru even. She knows everyone and has access to just about everything. We started in the Old City and she gave us a history of the conflicts and rebuilding of the city. She showed us the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, King David’s Tomb, the room where The Last Supper is believed to have happened. She took us to The Western Wall and I wrote a prayer and placed it in one of the cracks…

In real life, I did that.

The Western (Wailing) Wall

The Western (Wailing) Wall

Western Wall sellfie

Western Wall sellfie

We shopped in the Arab market, and walked along the Via Dolorosa on our way to see the place where Jesus was crucified and laid to rest. I went inside Jesus’ tomb. And just because I feel like I need to type that again: I went inside Jesus’ tomb.

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It was unbelievable and overwhelming and, honestly, not at what I expected. I’m embarrassed to admit that, although I’d heard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I didn’t realize the actual holy sepulchre and crucifixion site (Calvary/Golgotha), would be inside the church structure. I had always imagined I’d be outside on a hill peering into a cave of sorts. But as our tour guide Zev explained to us earlier in the week, many churches, such as this one and the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, were built on sites where miracles are said to have occurred or on sacred areas to commemorate holy events and bring worshippers closer to God.

Oh yeah, so we saw all that and did two shows in Jerusalem last night! The crowds were great—and thank goodness—because we were all exhausted from touring all day. Without their energy, I never would have made it. Exhale. I never imagined I’d do and see the things I’ve done and seen this week; a trip like this was so far out of my realm of possibility and budget… And I get to be here all because of the silly thoughts in my head. How amazing is that? I’m working on a video that I can hopefully share soon. But RIGHT right now, I’m ’bout to lie down and kick it with this pillow.

Holler at y’all tomorrow!

It’s an honor just to be nominated


As most of you know, I perform a ton of college shows each year. They’re my bread and butter and I hope they don’t find out I’m an old lady. Shhhh… Each year the university student programmers and advisers nominate their favorite performers of the year for awards through the publication of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), Campus Activities Magazine. And this year I was nominated “Best Female Entertainer!” Yaaay! Any college student or adviser whose campus I visited or I met at a NACA conference is eligible to vote (you have to have a verifiable .edu e-mail address). I’m up against some stiff competition so I’m getting started early. If I’ve been to your school and you enjoyed it, I hope you’ll vote for me here:

Thanks a bunch and wish me luck! It IS an honor to be nominated, but winning is cool too.

A Gay, A Jew & A Black Walk Into A Bar


So, remember last year when I worked with my favorite, Wendy Liebman and Carol Leifer at the Women in Comedy Festival? If not, feel free to click the hyperlink in the previous sentence. Well earlier this year Carol contacted me and said she’d like to put together a show with her, Wendy and me and asked if I’d be interested. Duh. So fast forward a couple months, and “A Gay, A Jew & A Black Walk Into A Bar” hit the stage at the Armstrong Theater in Torrance, CA. Woohoo!

The audience was really great and being on a theater show with these two ladies made me feel legit! I really hope we get the chance to do it again. An than after that, again. And again.


Life Lessons


My Exhale co-host, Rene Syler, has a fantastic website called And on it, she has a feature called Life Lessons, where she asks some really great questions that invite her subjects to reflect honestly on their level of happiness, life’s goals and the progress they’re making towards them. For the last week she’s profiled our other co-hosts, as well as our producer and director (I actually think our director’s profile won’t be up until tomorrow) and I definitely wanted to share. Check them out when you have a chance and get to know each of these awesome ladies a little better!

Here is where you can find my profile, and click here to read up on the rest of the Exhale crew.