My Introduction to Nina Simone

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Back in 2009, my girlfriend and I met each other in Atlanta, Georgia for a weekend of fun and to get fitted for bridesmaid dresses. One afternoon, we stumbled upon the art district, Little Five Points and wandered into an attractive shop called Moods Music. I got really excited. This was the first music store I had ever gone to, that catered to my personal tastes. It was amazing! I wanted to buy the entire store, but settled for a really wonderful CD by Quadron and a copy of Wax Poetics Magazine that I cherish to this day with Gil Scott- Heron on the cover. Since I liked this magazine so much, a friend of mine, who has always gotten me the best and most thoughtful gifts, decided to buy me a subscription to Wax Poetics for my birthday. On the cover of the 1st issue I received was Ms. Nina Simone. Reading the article, I fell in love with her spirit. They dubbed her “the Black poetess of protest.” I learned that she was a child piano prodigy, was great friends with Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Richard Pryor, and Lorraine Hansberry, and that most people who came into contact with her thought she was fearless and revolutionary. They say, Nina Simone didn’t give a fuck, meaning, she was going to do her thing no matter what. I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do on this woman who had an attitude that I could relate to. I wrote and performed a tribute to Nina Simone soon after I read this, and I have listened to her music since, mostly adoring the unconventional sound of her voice and her unapologetic lyrics. We are forever connected, Ms. Simone.

Peace & love.

Thank you for reading,

Shila Iris

My Introduction to Imhotep

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black-history_feb-16_copyright-shila-iris-2017A few years ago when one of my good friends was a med student, he changed his online alias to Imhotep. I didn’t inquire about it, but in my heart, I acknowledged the change. Then, I realized that instead of taking the Hippocratic oath that students of medicine are required to recite, perhaps he decided to invoke the spirit of the true Father of Medicine. If you’d like to know about him, I encourage you to research the greatness of Imhotep, the world’s first physician, who laid the foundation for the healing arts. I’ll say this: we are forever connected to the past and to our ancestors, each and every one of us. We value their traditions because it makes us stronger. We stand on their graves and ask for guidance and offer our devotion. Imhotep, I honor You, for I am You. My heart told me to dig deeper, and I found jewels, gold, stories, hidden colors. I went above and beyond mainstream education, to find out who I really am, and now I know my worth. I value history. In this age of information, we can uncover truths faster than ever before. This is necessary, because being Black is tough. This is not rhetoric, it really is. That double consciousness that W.E.B. DuBois taught, that invisible man that Ralph Ellison described, is a part of our everyday realities. It can be exhausting, and it can drive you crazy. But, I learned, through a Master Teacher, not to give up, and settle, and make excuses for my ignorance. I need to be healed. We need healing. My ancestors look over me. I swear by Imhotep. That is my oath. Peace.

Thank you for reading,

Shila Iris

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My Introduction to Gordon Parks

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Back in 2007, when I rented my first apartment in a cozy little art district west of Cleveland, a neighborhood called Tremont, I was excited to decorate! I had a vision: I wanted my apartment to be filled with warm colors and African art! I had a growing obsession for African textiles, statues, books- anything that had to do with the culture. Visiting the houses of mentors and professors had sparked this desire. In Nashville, I had gone to my roommates mentor’s house that was filled with things I had never before seen. In Washington, D.C., I once visited a professor’s house that had large pieces of art on any wall that was available. I wanted to try something like this. One day, I was browsing through a book about Gordon Parks, and in his New York apartment, he had large mixed-media paintings splattered with African symbols. There were stacks of books in corners and on window seals, artifacts, photos, plants- there was beauty everywhere. It was indeed a sanctuary adorned with mini altars. It truly felt like I lived there with him. He inspired me to decorate any place that I have ever lived since. I gaze at his photos of Black humanity, then I close my eyes, and travel to the places he has been. He has taken me on wonderful journeys. I am humble. Gordon Parks has some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. The stories in the eyes of his subjects resonate in my ears. I love his work for it embodies me.

Thank you for reading,

Shila Iris

2015

Restoring Balance

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Resuscitating the lyfe force along my spine
cultivating higher virtues, a,
transcendental Supreme Being,
in need of a transcendental Supreme Team,
an army of Me, because we need each other to make this work.
at least 7, to get Us to Heaven.

Chant – at least, at least, at peace, at peace, release, release, release, succeed, define, what it is to be you, find out, what’s it’s like to be you. release, at peace. I am divine. I am.

I am a Graphic Designer, naturally…
42 Ideals of Maat

by Shila Iris, please clap ♥♥♥

Surfacing…

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Working on the “invisible” me so that the “visible” me can be better. 

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Like the Sun, I rise. poetry… coming soon.

Shila Iris

Bullet Proof Soul

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Waiting for the verdict to be read, my heart became heavy. I didn’t want to seem negative, but the results seemed obvious. Predictable. Our lives are often devalued. We are treated as less than human, while marksmen point their artillery at our skulls… we have grown BULLET PROOF SOULS, to survive. In this land of the free, home of the brave or home of the [slave]? In times of distress, I have to lift myself. So let’s Get Lifted in the music. Today, I choose, Sade. Her voice soothes me and reminds me of how powerful I am. We are powerful. I am goddess soul, floating in a dimension, above this, this state of chaos. We will wake up. And you will watch us…

… and although the decision made in Cleveland today was not surprising at all, it still hit me like a slow bullet. My mind, my heart, my soul, goes out to my people. We suffer. But. We are the strongest alive. When there was nothing to prove, my ancestors proved it. When there was no way to move, my ancestors created, innovated. And so will we. Dig this poetry…

THE lyrics of SADE…

I was so in love with you
You rarely see a love that’s true
Wasn’t that enough for you
Wasn’t that enough for you
I would climb a mountain
I wouldn’t want to see you fall
Rock climb for you
And give you a reason for it all

You kept on thinking
You were the only one
Too busy thinking
Love is a gun

Hit me like a slow bullet 
Like a slow bullet
It took me some time to realise it

You keep on thinking
You were the only one
Too busy thinking
Love is a gun

I know the end before
The story’s been told
It’s not that complicated
But you’re gonna need a bullet proof soul

You keep on thinking
You were the only one
Too busy thinking
Love is a gun

I know the end before
The story’s been told
It’s not that complicated
But you’re gonna need a bullet proof soul

You were trigger happy baby
You never warned me let me free
It’s not that complicated
But you’re going to need a bullet proof soul
Think you got it but you got all the trouble you need
I came in like a lamb
But I intend to leave like a lion

It hit me like a slow bullet
It hit me like a slow bullet


-I am Shila, thank you for reading.

peace and blessings manifest with every LESSON learned. I’ve been hit with bullets for almost 2 years now. The final shot taken at my heart. I bled. From September to December. My heart sank. My mind blank. It took a lot for me to come alive, again. I have been so determined not to find my happiness and worth in the smile of another. The foundation of my worth is ME. I am always happy to be alone. In those moments, my soul is well fed. We all have to learn. I have. Peace.

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It’s So Easy to Love Her, Selah!

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Since the first time I heard her voice, I have been in love with the sound of her. I don’t care how she looks, or how she wears her hair. I don’t care how crazy they say she is, or how many kids, I just love to hear her speak. I see myself reflected in her eyes, and I get weak. Her art is ministry. Her words are from the most high, she is god. And sometimes, I kneal, for, I am thankful for the gift of her experiences, revealed, through her poetic verses, Lauryn Hill… I hear you, as your soul transitions into happiness, keep blessing the best of us. I hear my ancestors speak through you, triumphant woman of the moon, peace to you.

It’s national poetry month ya’ll… Selah… and then he came…

Nothing can be done against the truth
No matter how we remain in denial, yeah
Wasting time, replacing time
With each empty excuse
But that’ll only work a little while…

Coping with despair
Knowing you’re not there
Ashamed to just admit I’ve been a fool
So I blame it on the sun
Run away from everyone
Hoping to escape this ridicule

Trapped in misery
Wrapped so miserably in this deception I wear it like a skin
Dying to maintain, oh I keep trying to explain
A heart that never loved me to begin

Oh I’m such a mess, I have no choice but to confess
That I’ve been desperately trying to belong
Lying to myself and everybody else
Refusing to admit my right was wrong

And then he came, selah
Oh and it means praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means, did ya think about that
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means, praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means that it is sieved

How beautiful his fruits, still in denial of its roots
My guilty heart behaved so foolishly
This treason from within that reasons with my sin
Won’t be happy til it sees the death of me

Selfishly addicted to a life that I’ve depicted
Conflicted cause it’s not reality
Oh what’s left of me, I beg you desperately,
Cause me to agree but what I know is best for me

Please save me from myself
I need you, save me from myself
Please save me from myself so I can heal

The choices that I make, oh have been nothing but mistakes
What a wasted use of space
Should I die before I wake?
In all of my religion, I’ve fortified this prison
Obligated to obey the demands of bad decision

Please save me from myself
I need you to save me from myself
Please save me from myself so I can heal

And then he came, selah
Oh and it means praise and meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means did ya think about that
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means meditation
And then he came, selah
Oh and it means that it is sealed

And then he came
And then he came, then he came, then he came
And then he
And then he came

PRAISE & MEDITATION

-Shila

P.S. Nothing can be done against the truth.