I’m exhausted but I “Can’t Sleep”.  There’s too much work to be done in our communities, we are on the brink of annihilation if we don’t band together, come together and stand up for our rights as a black community – as human beings.

Stay tuned….coming soon the debut of Can’t Sleep by Assata Afua


Can’t sleep
Cause I’m longing for a collective agency
For a black revolution
An active movement
A charge
A call to arms
To action
Let’s sit in
…stand up
…stand tall
…shout loud
…push back
…fight back
Revolt for what’s right
Against this constant struggle
For equality and justice
Or there will be no peace!!….

The New Black Movement!


Photoblogaphy: Dreams

Growing up I often felt that culturally there were limits to the things I could do and places I could go. A young black girl situated in poverty couldn’t fatham having the opportunities to visit those amazing places that she read about in her favorite books. Limitations were instilled into my very being early on in life. For a young black girl living in New York’s inner city – most roads were closed in my eyes. I thought I’d never step beyond those barriers and make my way down an international street that offered a plethora of new information, foreign culture and experience.

Life's Obstacles

LIFE’S OBSTACLES: New York                                                  (Photo by Stephanie Strickland)

What an amazing thing determination can be.  I kept reading those books and kept dreaming about walks down narrow Italian streets in Rome, Italy. I daydreamed about emerging myself into other cultures. The thought of being engulfed by the differences and amazed by the similarities fueled me and gave me an overwhelming hunger for traveling.  I pinched and saved every spare dollar.  Refused that pair of shoes on pay day; brought my lunch to work day after day. Finally; I was in the air on my way to Rome.  A black girl with a dream created a black woman with an amazing experience.  Dream big and never be afraid to make your dreams comes true!

My Road Traveled

ROAD WORTH TRAVELING: Italy                                          (Photo by Stephanie Strickland)

Spoken Word



Younger days I remember…

A mirrored image staring back at me.

Coarse hair, full lips, broad nose

the darkness of my skin caused me to be treated differently.

Why me I asked?

Who is this person staring back at me?

I wanted to be different;

I wanted silky hair that blew easily by the breeze,

if only my lips were thin, my nose narrow,

and my skin shades lighter.

I am sure things would come easy to me in life


Older days are here now..

The mirrors image staring back at me.

Thickness of my hair symbolizes the regality of my ancestors;

the fullness of these lips only personifies

the knowledge that is spoken through them.

The broadness of my nose

only enhances the pride in my face when I hold my head up high.

Things now come easy to me in life.

I look in the mirror and staring back at me

is beauty and confidence…

the essence, the blackness of me!

                                                   –  S. Marie


The Power of Black Literature

When we think about “black literature” we are often put in the frame of mind of scandalous novels that paint a picture that glorifies life in the ghetto.  A collection of words that depict the “black experience” as one that includes a prison sentence, life on drugs or dealing them and in some cases one of a broken family.  These depictions are indeed realities within the black community but definitely not exclusive to it.  These issues plague a multitude of communities yet we are the race that consistently and continuously glorifies the negative aspects of our lives.  Now don’t misinterpret my message here, the truth regarding life should always be told whether through fiction or documentary – regardless how dismal its portrayal; but as a people we should make a conscious decision to not only read the entertaining depictions of life that are often personified in urban fiction, but balance that with readings that will uplift and motivate the reader to deeply examine their history, the incredible sacrifices made for them and provide prophetic looks into the future. Black Awareness Forum serves as that platform to encourage thoughts and interpretations of some of black literatures most influential works.  Our forum will open up conversations, examine how far we have come and shed a little light on what direction we need to go.  Literature by iconic authors like: W.E. B. Dubois, Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez and Carter Woodson (just to name a few) will lend their analysis on the makeup of our people in an uncompromising manner.

Be sure to check out Black Awareness Forum’s Literature page for month long conversations on compelling black literature.  We will feature a book each month, beginning February with W.E.B. Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk .  Use your voice to join in the cause and contribute to the uplifting that The New Black Movement stands for.

Use our Contact BAF page at to suggest readings that you feel will fuel important dialogue.