Take A Seat At The Table and have some Lemonade

world loves and hates black women. They hate us, cause they ain’t
us and they want to be us. They imitate our skin, our hair, our
style… The culture vultures have been swarming for centuries, this
is nothing new. But you can’t beat us at being us. It is organic
and intrinsic as evidenced by #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackWomanMagic,
#BlackBoyJoy and #BlackManJoy.

And the recent Black Moon’s
Black Girl/Woman Magic was a blessing courtesy of Miss Solange


But this is not a review… I don’t do
album reviews… This is a gift.

A gift from sisters,
because of sisters…


If you are still referring to
Solange as Beyonce’s “Little Sister” bless your poor, little
heart for you have missed the true magic of Solange. You have missed
her growth as an artist and person. You have missed the layers and
textures and depth of her music. Also, you have been weighed,
measured and been found wanting.

If you are still reveling
from Beyonce’s surprise album Lemonade, then you are not alone.
There have been a million think pieces (still being) written. There
are whole book clubs, classes, and conference panels that were
spawned by that magnum opus. I am still working through the damn
syllabus on all the things I thought I had and knew and didn’t.

what does one have to do with the other besides being sisters,
nothing. Nothing because there is no besides. It is EXACTLY BECAUSE
they are sisters that this is important. It is because in their work
and I judge in their lives we have seen the sisters support each
other. We have heard the music, seen the videos, especially the
infamous elevator video. [Yes, I went there…Because I am almost
positive Lil Sis was Baby D’ing Jay for Big Sis in that elevator.] 


Beyond that, the sisters have cultivated and nurtured
themselves as individuals, each seemingly giving the other space to
spread out and into BEing. They are in fact two different people with
two different stories about their lived experience. Isn’t that the
way of sisters (and I am sure brothers…)?

As humans and
siblings we are pieces of a puzzle and as such, how fitting it is
that Beyonce’s Lemonade and Solange’s A Seat at the Table when
fashioned together weave a beautiful, elegant, indignant, melancholy,
sanguine, tender, and enchanting tapestry.

The two pieces,
together, are an invitation…


us to Come, take A Seat At The Table and have some

And I am
fortunate to have a younger sister, Ryan aka Rainey aka Vera The
Second, who got the message and gifted you, me, us with a Playlist-
by that name- that juxtaposes the pieces to perfection.

(find it here)

told us to Get In Formation and Get Information and we did. We got on
line and on-line and we read, talked, cried, revealed and reveled…
Then what. We were there and waiting and in a moment of collective
sadness and she gave us a salve. Lemonade. She walked us through the
process of how to mend our brokenness (not just our romantic
relationships… But our fractured familial relationships, the pieces
we inherited) how to integrate all of the pieces of ourselves, how to
be vulnerable and strong and supple and sweet and hard. We were for
it. In. Formation.


Solange lured us in like a siren,
singing a sweet song about and for us. She called to task everyone
and everything that dared belittle, besmirch, bedraggle us… Singing
her cusses and curses like a Southern Grandmother. You know that
blessing out, that someone may have gotten and not fully understood
because you have to be familial to understand Granny and how she can
cuss you out and offer you a piece of sweet potato pie.


lays one sister’s track next to the other and highlights the beauty
and rawness of the shared experience. One track will give you the
bitterness of lemon and the track on either side of it will assuage
the astringent citrus with a saturation of water and augment the sour
with a dose of sugar.

Pure water for the quenching of the soul
and pure cane sugar to help the medicine go down.

sisters are telling our story, not just the here and now… But the
generations. And my sister is brilliant enough to have laid it out in
sonically brilliant playlist.

Now you have your cool
refreshing drink and a place to be served… Pull up a



Ryan D. Stewart  is a HBCU graduated, D9 Greek affiliated, Sophisti-Ratchet, graphic designing, jewelry-making, bourbon drinking, shake-dancing, aspiring photographer, creative genius. A lover, not a fighter… but definitely a cusser. Originally from the Mississippi Delta transplanted to Memphis, TN in 2007. 

Her favorite things include FRamily, bacon, office supplies, and shoe-shopping.

#YoDrunkAuntie #MixinMinglinMovinAndShakin 

Follow Me:
@Crim5onViolet – Twitter
@MissRDS – IG




The worst thing about trying to break up during a *mercury retrograde is that you will at some point find yourself listening to “The Breakup” playlist you made, watching the movie by the same title or something similar, drinking lots of wine, having what was once your surely sound advice reciprocally dispensed to you by well-intentioned friends, and looking around your home with a feeling of uneasiness at just how imbalanced and slightly out of place things seem to be. Why? Because you can NOT successfully break up during a Merc. Ret. Oh sure, you can break up… but it is highly unlikely that it will be successful.

And if attempting a breakup during a Merc. Ret. isn’t enough to quell your self-destructive need to challenge the wisdom of the GAWDS that is planetary alignments and such and if by grace you succeed… Graciously bow out. Bow out now! Do NOT evoke their wrath by continuing to tempt the fates and test your fortunes by doing something as foolish as say, I don’t know breaking up during the summer. No, do NOT attempt to do that! Again one does not successfully break up during summer.

One main reason why summer never works for break ups, your friends. Yes, YOUR! FRIENDS! Because your friends will fall into two categories by the summer. Category 1, those who ditched their boos after “Cold and Boo Season” and are now free agents and have gone on living their lives thusly (plans which don’t include you because you missed the deadline)… And category 2, which are the people who decided to stay committed and continue to participate in the wealth of activities available in a vibrant community where people have “coupled-off” and kindly tolerant you although they’d rather not have to choose between you and the proposed ex. Oh and yes, it is uncomfortable for everybody to have you both there (standing at opposite ends of the room, convening small huddles to talk to whomever will listen to your side of le breakup)…

Merc. Ret. Rules communication… And while you may have thought you ended it and that you said what you meant or meant what you said what your proposed significant other may have heard could be something altogether different like “Maybe”, “I’m NOT sure”, or “I DO want this,” and before you know it you are unbroken up and listening to THAT painstakingly curated mix seemingly in vain, while navigating half-unpacked boxes, and trying to figure out if she still has those pictures, that book, movie, shirt (insert item that is sure to start a major property dispute and keep the relationship relevant if only in terms of the fight to win!).

Breaking up is hard to do… The division of possessions (who came with what, what was purchased by whom, to whom was what gifted). The yours, mine, and ours of friends and friendships. And by far the hardest thing about breaking up has to be the emotional/psychological effects which last beyond the picking and packing, calling and texting, exit interviews, or the final showdown. There are the inside jokes, now only occupied by you. Waking up late night or early morning with a sense of longing and emptiness. Yes, you have the bed to yourself, you can stretch out diagonally (hell, you almost have to occupy the space so as not to think about it) but at what cost. The juxtaposition of the type of sadness that breakups bring against the type of happiness that summer promises seems unnatural.

Summer is for pinwheels, picnics, barbecues, vacations, relaxing by the pool, day tripping to the beach, patio swinging while sipping lemonade or iced-tea and having a long conversations with a friend, cuddling on a blanket under the stars and watching fireworks, or recapturing moments in childhood chasing butterflies and fireflies… Summer is for roller-coasters, music concerts, outdoor festivals, drinks on the patio… Summer is not for tears, longing, regret, sorrow,misery,long conversations with friends that require endless amounts of tissues… Summer is not for steely resolved steel magnolias, it’s for stealing kissing under magnolia trees…

If however, you should find yourself on the bestowing or acquiescing end of a Merc. Ret., Summer, or the Merc. Ret. Summer combination punch of a break up… Don’t breakdown…

Or at least if you must, have some good movies to laugh and cry with…

Love & Basketball

The Story of Us

The Breakup

Love Jones

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Celeste and Jesse Forever

(500) Days of Summer

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Great Music: My personal playlist “The Breakup”


And especially a great bottle of red wine… Because it’s good for the heart.

*The wonky, revelatory and sometimes high strangeness of the phenomenon known as Mercury Retrograde.

This happens three to four times per year, when the planet Mercury slows down, and appears to stop (station) and move backward (retrograde). It’s an optical illusion, since there is forward movement, like speeding by a slow-moving train — as it recedes, it appears to go backward.

While delays and misunderstandings do seem to happen, I’ve noticed a magical trend — that people and ideas return, for integration, resolution and more.