Black Women Who Resist White Supremacy Are The Biggest Threats To America— R.I.P. to Charleena Lyles, The Pregnant Woman Who Was Murdered by Seattle Police

The sun dripped on my body like hot butter. You know, that summer time sun that drives children to swimming pools and emergency rooms. I stumbled out of North East Market, still drunk from the night before. I swallowed my chicken salad sandwich in 5 minutes tops, as if I haven’t eaten in months. I opened my Twitter app and was punched dead in my face with a story headline: “Seattle police fatally shoot black Seattle mother.” I clicked the article, waiting for it to load, praying that it’s click bait. However, the mundane stories of cops killing Black people is something that’s almost always true. I started reading, and my tear ducts became heavy like burdens. I discovered: a Black woman named Charleena Lyles called the police to report a burglary, and two cops pulled their triggers, murdering the 30-year-old pregnant-woman, in front of three children (ages 11, 4, and 1).

In these type of situations, I always ask myself, “why couldn’t the cop use a taser?” She was a small pregnant woman, surrounded by three kids, like c’mon? Then I remember, when police officers see Black skin, they black out, and hunt for the smell of Black blood. Lives are taken, all because a racist coward killer cop “feared for his/her life.” Check this out: in America, it is acceptable for trained cops to panic and act on impulse, stripping someone’s life. But, nonthreatening and untrained citizens have to keep calm while cops poke pistols in their face. After seeing innocent Black people who look just like you. murdered by police, how can one keep calm when their life is up for grabs?

Situations like Charleena Lyles and the countless others, traumatizes the family of the victims, and the bystanders who witness. These devastating experiences also create a peculiar psyche in the minds of Black people. I can’t help but to think, “Will I be next?”

Charleena Lyles family noted that she suffered from mental health issues. But wait, there’s more… The Seattle Police Department has an ongoing federal consent decree, after a Department of Justice investigation found a pattern; officers engaging in excessive use of force, against people with mental or substance abuse problems. Therefore, Charleena was not the first Seattle Police Department’s victim, and she will not be the last.

Tamir Rice was a child at a playground, Kathryn Johnson was 92-year-old woman, chilling in her own home, Philando Castille, who’s murderer recently walked away with no convictions, was in the car with his girlfriend and child, and Charleena Lyles was pregnant, surrounded by three small children. Racist institutions and killer cops DO NOT HAVE ANY PICKS. Any day, at any moment, your Black ass can be a hashtag, or a forgotten one. Your college degree, financial status, or your love for pumpkin spiced lattes can not, and will not save you, if you are non-white.

We are born into a world where there is a universal belief that is nourished in the minds of Americans: There is something wrong with Black people. By consuming this racist idea, when a Black person is MURDERED by a killer cop, people ask, “what did he/she do?” or some say “it was a justified killing.” The word “justified” in America, has racism scribbled all over it.

Hanging Black people by trees, dousing them in gasoline, setting their bodies in flames, cutting open pregnant bellies, and stampeding on the fetus — these were actions that was supported and sustained by America. And that’s exactly why police can murder Blacks, and don’t get convicted, because killer cops have been replaced with lynch mobs. Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Charleena Lyles, and the other unnamed Black women throughout history; their deaths fit into the historical pattern of them committing the same crime, and that is being a Black woman in America who resists white supremacy. And Black women who resist white supremacy are the biggest threats, because to a racist, Black women are scums of the Earth, and to murder the “loud mouth” ones are a mean of social control. The murderes that cops commit are warning shots to Black people in America. “Hey this is what will happen to your Black ass if your rise up against White Supremacy.”

Moral of the story…

Calling the police can cost you your life, if you’re Black. And at the rate that this country is going right now, you most definitely can be next, sooner than you think.

My heart goes out to every family member and friend of a victim who has been strangled to death by the iron hands of systemic oppression. I don’t have a one-sized-fit-all solution to this problem. However, let’s continue to educate the youth and show them the importance of literacy so we can groom them to be critical thinkers, which I believe can better their chance of rising above their poor living conditions.

Make sure you pursue your passion today…

Mikea Hugley
Wypipo Stay Stealin’: #HoopEarringsNeverLeft

Almost every baby-mother, grandmother, mother, sister, and aunt that I know in my neighborhood, have been serving hoop earrings since I had milk on my breath.

In a recent post, US Weekly tweeted a picture of a curly haired woman with big gold hoop earrings, and the tweet said, “Hoops are back: see how your favorite celebs are styling them.” The people at US weekly, and anyone else who believes that “Hoops are are back,” should be thrown in prison, charged, and convicted for being dumb asses. #HoopEarringsNeverLeft, and I’m all for Black women turnin’ up on anyone trying to steal their sh*t.

I have vivid memories of the hoop earrings that my childhood girlfriend wore. She had a pair of big gold ones with my name, “Koni” sliced through the middle, with a rhinestone covered heart dotting the ‘i.’ She also had a pair that said “Boss Lady,” “Dat Bitch,” and a few pairs of the plain ones. Right now, you can catch my 75-year-old Grandmother sitting on her living room couch, watching ESPN, with a Newport 100 cemented to the corner of her lip, and hoop earrings hanging down the side of her face. If you look out my front window, you can see gangs of little Black girls playing tag with their little boyfriends, or jumping rope, while their hoop earrings bounce, and shake like tambourines at a Sunday service.

Check this out: Wypipo literally stole HUMANS from another continent. With that being said, them stealing anything else seems rather easy, if you ask me.

Black people have and will always find new ways to express themselves through fashion, business, art, and entertainment. Black people in this country have been crushing standard American culture for years, and in the process have gotten criminalized and dehumanized for their valuable innovativeness. The oppressors, (a.k.a. the culture vultures), find ways to pimp and make money off of Black people’s ideas and their twang, then it’s a wrap. The “white stamp,” is added, which strips away the “negative” connotation that the idea held when it was all Black. We live in a world where many think that there is something wrong with Black people and their culture, so the people who create and subscribe to it, are deemed as inferior.

I remember my uncle telling me as a child, “You can’t have nothin! Those Wypipo steal every damn thing. If you leave a bowl of white rice on the table, you’ll come back, and the rice will be brown. Those Wypipo stole the damn white off the rice!” Although I never understood, I used to laugh because my uncle had Dave Chapelle level talent. Back then, I too was fooled by racist ideas, believing that my uncle was just an angry Black man, creating myths about racism and the thievery of whites. However, my uncle was right. He was warning me about Kylie Jenner, who recently stole PLUGGEDNYC’s army fatigued two-piece clothing idea, and tried to pass it off as her own. Are we really gonna act like we didn’t see Destiny’s Child’s Survivor video, when they killed the two-piece army fatigue get up? Remeber everyone was calling them “ghetto?” My uncle was warning me about Wypipo stealing our cornrows hairstyle, and calling them “box braids.” Throughout my Uncle’s sporadic comedic outburst, he warned me about the cultural (mis)appropriation that now hangs heavy on our social media timelines.

Some people will fail at trying to make points such as,“Well Black women want to be white because they straighten their hair.” Don’t forget we live in country that has and still denies Black women jobs, and suspend little girls from school, who wear their natural hair. Don’t forget that Black just became beautiful in this country, like yesterday. Don’t forget that there was once a time when the words “beauty,” “pure,” and “human,” were synonymous with white, and “demonic,” “stupidity,” “ugly,” and many other derogatory terms were synonymous with being Black. This conditions people to consume and produce racist ideas. Therefore, save that “Black people want to be white bullshit,” because we know how we got here.

Black people add flavor not only to Black culture, but to the entire world. Take a second and think of ALL of the Blackness that drips from every crevice of the globe. (count at least 5-Mississippi’s). Ok, now think of how EMPTY the world would be without Black people and their creativity? It would be an empty-unseasoned-stiff-pale ass world, I’m telling you. Imagine a world without Nas, Serena Williams, Oprah, Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, your drunk & funny uncle, and your lionhearted mother who raised four kids on her own. Imagine a world without Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Nina Simone, Angela Davis; and MY GAWD, RIHANNA!? I don’t believe any of us can imagine a world without Bad Gal RiRi.

All of my Black entrepreneurs, fashion icons, artists, innovators, and my people who you can catch eating frozen cups, sitting on marble steps in Baltimore city; always remember that we are the culture, and we will continually to drown the world in our Black sauce. Oh yea, and hoop earrings never left.

Mikea Hugley
Another Motherless Mother's Day...

I got bent the night before Mother's Day, hoping that I'd drunk-sleep through it all. It didn’t happen, and I spent another day surrounded by “holiday” gestures that I don’t care for. I got my Grandmother a card and a pack of Newport 100’s. Also, who keeps stealing Grandma's Tramadols?
Last night I raised glasses and water bottles filled with sauce to my lips; it was a routined exercise. The night came to an end, and I crawled into my bed, hoping to stay sleep for the remainder of the day. I woke up around 8:00am, having to witness another motherless-Mother’s Day.

I went to the CVS on the corner of Wolfe and Fayette to get Grandma “something.” Getting people gifts, sending out texts, and making phone calls on holidays is a full time job. Also I know way too many mother’s, and it is impossible for me to get everyone a gift and to tell everyone Happy Mother’s Day. So if you’re a Mother, and we know each other, don’t take it personal, I wish you the best.

I found a nice card for Grandma. I wanted to get flowers but all of them were dead, just like this “holiday.” I needed something to add flavor to the card so I went on Glover street to the corner store and purchased Grandma a pack of Newport 100’s. Grandma doesn’t leave the house, she doesn’t wear jewelry anymore, and the clothes that I’ve bought her in the past, she doesn’t wear. All she does is glue her body to the couch while clutching a bottle of Pepsi, fastening her eyes to her Android, watching Netflix, or ESPN, with a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. Some people might say “OMG why would you buy your Grandmother cigarettes?” Because, if I would've gave her money, she would've bought them anyway, it’s what I felt like doing, and I know that it would make her happy. I walked into the house and said “Happy Mother’s Day,” handed her the goods, and just how I pictured it in my mind, her smile was longer than Wilt Chamberlain’s arms. No, her smile was longer than Wilt’s body count.

I’m not sure where you are from, but this is how we celebrate and show appreciation, around here. Drug and alcohol distribution are rituals when it comes to showing love, around here. We were raised different, around here. I remember a few years ago, I was posted on the corner of Montford and Monument; Nextel chirp clipped onto my Rock & Republic jeans and a wife beater showing my scrawny tatted up arms and chest. I was slangin dope, and the strip was bumpin like acne. It was Mother’s Day and I wanted to show my appreciation for the mothers in East Baltimore. I told my homie Roc, “Yo let’s do something nice for the muvas today. Anybody that’s coppin, let’s charge em $5 a pill instead of $10. And if any of em wanna get drunk, we can give em like $3 to a bottle or sumth’n.” Roc agreed, and that’s what we did. The smiles we put on people’s faces were unforgettable. All of the beautiful women, with their decaying teeth, bad breath, missing limbs, and raspy voices, all were telling me the same thing. “Your grandmother raised a nice young man, I know she is proud of your lor handsome-self.” Little did they know, my grandmother would've dug in my ass if she knew that I was out there hustlin. Nonetheless, we did what we did and called it a night.

Back to today: I was sitting on my living room couch and out of the blue, Grandma got upset, and started mumbling to herself. She then told me that someone stole her Tramadol pills from out of the living room that was for her aching leg. And along with the missing pills, “someone” took her debit card while she was asleep, and withdrew $20 and added a $3 surcharge. Whoever took the card, wasn’t even smart enough to go to the actual bank machine that the card was associated with. I swear people get stupider by the hour. It’s only two people in my household that steal, and one of them, who is my mother, is away in rehab. The jig is up! there is only one culprit left, and it is none other than my little brother. You know what though, maybe it wasn't him. It was probably that sticky-finger-ghost who's been haunting us for the past 20+ years. That muthafucka has probably finnessed me out of thousands of dollars worth of stuff, alone.

Seeing Grandma sad and in her feelings, always catapults me into depressive moods. While in these moods I wonder, when will the bullshit end... I bottle my frustration by displaying smiles, and of course writing. I went out to the county, crashed a bar, and had a bitter-sweet moment as I watched families enjoy this “holiday.” I took my focus off of them with an, “Excuse me, can I get a Absolut and pineapple, no ice.”

Maybe I don't know how to celebrate Mother’s Day the “traditional” way, because people who grow up in poor conditions, are far from American’s definition of “traditional.” Or maybe because I never celebrated with my mother. Or maybe because…I don't know. I’m still young and I’m learning.

I might not love like you, look like you, or act how you want me to, however, my emotions, feelings, and thoughts, makeup who I am. 

In the movie ‘Fences,’ Rose said it best. “You can’t be nobody but who you are.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all. And to all of the children who lost their mothers to the streets, drugs, death, or whatever else, keep ya head up. We gon be alright. The broken are the more evolved.

Mikea Hugley
Da Art of Hustlin

I've driven hundreds of hours in a 1999 mini van, from one city to the next, and back, for free. Just so I could have a shot at showing the world, and myself, that I believe in Kondwani Fidel. There was one time when I performed at 13 different shows in a week, because I was the new kid on the block, and I wanted to inspire people.

I've been HUSTLIN since my first performance, at #VSU on Feb. 10, 2013. HUSTLIN is thinking about your next play while in the middle of your current one. HUSTLIN is beating on your craft, EVERYDAY. How can you be a HUSTLA and hate Mondays? Real HUSTLAS love Mondays.

HUSTLIN is going flat broke on Uber's, trains, bus tickets, and flights; only to get to your final destination to sleep on someone's floor. Real HUSTLAS don't worry about who's having sex with who, who's liking who pic, or who said what about so and so.

You can't be a HUSTLA and settle for mediocrity; that's an oxymoron. You have to actually HUSTLE, in order to be a HUSTLA
You can't watch a couple of YouTube videos and call that "working on my craft." You can't sit on a panel or two and call that "makin moves." You can't receive a couple hundred likes on the gram, and call that "winning." Your voice came through the radio a few times? That doesn't mean you're "outchea."

There is nothing wrong with not being a HUSTLA. You can always save your time and energy to focus on something else, like candy crush. It will also save the time of the people who do believe in you.

Anyone can part their lips and say whatever about Kondwani Fidel. But when they bury me, know I wasn't nothing but a man, and a HUSTLA
Somebody gotta put on for my family, right?

I've published two books, in two years, and currently I'm 23-years-old.Through all of this, I still find a large portion of my time to dedicate to the youth, to help create more efficient readers and critical thinkers. In a few years, we will see who was HUSTLIN, and who was playing. 
You can bluff ya mother, me, ya baby mother, and yourself; but you can't bluff time. You can't finesse the universe my friend.

Get ya HUSTLE on

- Kondwani Fidel

Mikea Hugley
Black Superwoman: Tiarnee Yates has been fighting cancer nearly a decade and inspiring others along the way

"One of the most awkward conversations is when I tell people I have cancer," says Tiarnee Yates.

Tiarnee calls it "the three reactions": 1. He or she has an awkward, silent stare. 2. He or she asks billions of questions. And 3. He or she says, "You don't look like you have cancer."

For Tiarnee, age 22, her ongoing struggle with cancer began during a basketball tournament in March of 2008. She was dominating—until the fifth game of the day when the then-13-year-old's heart became a clenched fist and breathing became difficult.

Her team, the Baltimore Storm, lost that game and many people, including Tiarnee's father, were upset about the loss and said she blew the game due to "laziness." A few days later before practice, Tiarnee began wheezing heavily while walking up a flight of stairs. She didn't know what was wrong and her wheezing kept getting worse.

Her mother carried her into GBMC's emergency room but those "laziness" accusations stayed with her, so Tiarnee said, "Ma, we need to hurry up and get this over with, I gotta get to practice."

X-rays followed and Tiarnee was quickly transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital: Her "laziness" turned out to be a broken piece of her kidney, cemented between her heart and lungs. She convinced herself nothing severe was going on; her biggest concerns were missing school and prepping for a championship game. That night, Tiarnee went to sleep worried but determined, only to wake up to 15 or so friends and family members looming, almost smothering her with concern.

"I must be dying," she recalls thinking as she spotted her grandmother's face and realized she'd made the trip from Virginia to Baltimore to see her granddaughter.

Cat scans, more X-rays, nurses, needles, blood, and thoughts of death swarmed Tiarnee for a month and a half as she stayed at the hospital. At one point, Tiarnee flatlined. Friends and family scattered as a team of doctors and nurses assembled, rushed her to another room, where she was examined with another scan.

Tiarnee was still focused on practice and when a doctor entered the room to tell her some news she assumed meant all was well.

"I can go back to school?" she asked preemptively. "I'm pretty sure they told you that I've been missing practice."

"You're gonna be out a little bit longer than expected. You have cancer," the doctor told her.

Tiarnee was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a rare kidney cancer.

"Y'all are bullshittin', I have basketball to finish," Tiarnee said.

"You might not be able to play basketball for a while," the doctor told her.

About three weeks after that game she lost to laziness, Tiarnee received her first surgery, which removed the blockage between her heart and lung and removed her right kidney. Her doctors predicted Tiarnee would be dead very soon, maybe even shortly after her surgery.

While she recovered, basketball stayed on her mind. One night she woke up in the hospital to her father watching a basketball game, and promptly yelled "What's the score?"

For the next two months, she stayed in the hospital with doctors running in and out of her room to check in on her. She says she felt as if she was in "a freak show."

But Tiarnee recovered quickly and was released from the hospital. She went back to school in May and graduated from Cardinal Shehan Middle School that June. She attended Polytechnic High School and was frequently bullied for the face mask that she wore along with her uniform—due to her fragile immune system.

"I don't ever want anybody to feel pity for me," she says.

Tiarnee keeps a sense of humor about it all—renal cell carcinoma is typically found in men in the age range of 60 and up, and for a young woman to get this type of cancer is rare, so she sarcastically calls herself "The Lucky One." She is frank about her experience with chemotherapy.

"I was ignorant [of chemotherapy]; I heard so much bad stuff about chemo: It kills people. You go bald," she says. "I wasn't worried about dying. I was worried about losing my hair. I thought to myself 'Oh my god, my edges are gonna be gone.'"

Tiarnee went through chemotherapy every Thursday all through high school. She lost weight, hair, and even friends. She bitterly recalls people attempting to do things for her such as take her out on dates or to the prom because they felt sorry for her.

After graduating high school in 2012, Tiarnee attended Saint Peters University in Jersey City and received her bachelors degree in science and health with a concentration in physical therapy in May 2016.

At times, however, anxiety and depression and the trauma of recovery haunt her. She missed what added up to over two years of high school and college during recovery due to numerous appointments and six surgeries. A September 2015 surgery to remove cancer from her liver was her "worst surgery ever." It was so spiritually, mentally, and physically damaging that she considered suicide by overdosing on prescription pills. During her recovery of this surgery, she says her grandmother told her, "It's not your turn yet."

Despite the many times Tiarnee has been plugged up to machines, unable to walk, breathe, or talk, plagued by suicidal thoughts, she has persevered. It's the same spirit that had her fighting her mom on the way to the hospital and the one that told her doctor they were "bullshittin'" and she had a game to play.

I consider Tiarnee a superhero and whenever I start bitching and moaning, I always think about Tiarnee and what she's faced and gulp down my cries. She now works as a physical therapist technician at Johns Hopkins Hospital—the same hospital where she was got that life-changing news at 13.

Tiarnee has never been in complete remission. The longest she has ever been cancer-free is 10 months. A recent CAT scan on Dec. 7 of last year—her 22nd birthday—showed traces of cancer. But remission is not an impossibility.

Although Tiarnee can no longer run basketball plays such as "Trap Girl," drain three pointers, celebrate victories, and embrace the losses, she has found other ways to engage with world. Along with her hospital work, she raises money for research to help other cancer patients and intends to start her own program that encourages and assists men and women who suffer from cancer to "stay beautiful" despite the hardships they are facing. She's already looking for donations of new clothes, shoes, and wigs for the participants in the program.

Her head may be bloody, but it's unbowed.

When I finally asked Tiarnee if she fears death, she erupted with a "Hell no!" Then she goes on.

"But I do look at the world differently because I was supposed to die at 13," she says. "I'm not going anywhere no time soon. I will never say 'cancer beat me.' I can't leave even if I wanted to because if I quit, it's gonna affect people in a negative way and make others want to quit."

- Kondwani Fidel

(Originally published on

Mikea Hugley