I wrote my last “On the Scene” blog for the Westside Gazette in August of 2019. Since that time, I moved cross country to Oregon and began servicing clients on both coasts. However, due to pandemic related business closures, my company definitely endured extreme ups and downs over the last year.
Personally, I got lost in trying to be a savior when I needed to be saved. I hid behind client logos, websites and captions that stifled my own voice and masked my true feelings. I took selfies and behind the scenes footage for the gram instead of having an in-depth conversation with myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I hustled but I also saw. I saw Black Lives Matter protests without any Black people, drove by murals where the reminisce of police brutality still lingered and even took handouts afforded to me based on the color of my skin as opposed to my talent. White owned companies offered the optics of diversity, and I was eager to be included. Outwardly, I assimilated and embraced the facade. Inwardly, I found myself thinking about how my authentic voice contributes to Black History, the expansion of Black thought, and Blackness in general.
Yet for some reason, post COVID, I needed permission to write again; to live, express and inform as simply Crystal Chanel. Living in a new state, with limited friends, mainly White, and bearing icy cold winter temperatures, I put my pen down and dove head first into the boughs of depression. I nearly escaped several times only to return to dark thoughts of lack: lack of confidence, lack of reassurance, and lack of purpose.
I needed to remember that I stood on the shoulders of melanated giants who endured a lot more in their cross country movements. Slave descendant and Harvard trained historian, Carter G. Woodson knew our nation would need to be reminded to celebrate the achievements of Black Men and Women. “If a race has no history,” Woodson once wrote, “if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
Black History Month is a chance to reflect upon and celebrate my ancestors who endured, survived and thrived all while feeling misplaced, closed out and silenced. Once Kings and Queens, the creators of math, astrology, and the pyramids, we made underground railroads to escape the surface. Inventive and creative, we set trends and the standard in and out of season. I am reminded, I have yet to scratch the surface, and we have proven we can hustle and expand on any frontier.
Thanks to a very introspective writing class, I am doing the work, and the end result is three things. #1 – I’m back!; #2 – This column is now called Expansion on the Frontier; and #3 – Prompted by the word HUSTLE, I wrote the piece below and figured this would be the perfect way to relaunch my blog while celebrating Black History Month.
The hustle flows from my ancestors like water down the River Nile.
I would imagine naked bush women in East Africa turning clay huts into homes
While making meals that nourish, relax and calm men who hunt all day…
The hustle, if you ask me, is innate!
The hustle flows from my granny, who knew her time here would be short.
I would imagine her making babies and having miscarriages, all while soothing husbands and spreading the gospel
She was doing the work of the Lord
Her hustle, if you ask me, was a mandate from God!
The hustle flowed from my father who chauffeured the wealthy.
I would imagine him turning steering wheels on busy roads while taking notes with the privacy glass up.
He had places to be.
His hustle, if you ask me, was driving him further! (away…)
The hustle flowed from my mother who worked full time during the week
And part time on the weekends.
I would imagine she was concerned with the mouths she had to feed.
She was the breadwinner – winning breadcrumbs of a overworked mother who used PTO
Her hustle, if you ask me, was the ability to endure.
My hustle flows from within.
Armed with the strength of my ancestors, the generosity of my grandmother, the drive of my father and the strength of my mother
My hustle, if you ask me, is coded within my DNA.
Happy Black History Month to my Westside Gazette family! Let the final days of this twenty-eight (28) day celebration of Black Heritage be the energy you keep all 2021 (20WON). Choose to expand your thoughts, impact your community and make history. Oh, and read Expansion on the Frontier. I have so many golden nuggets to share with you as we face our own personal frontiers together.
Crystal Chanel Press Release Marketing, LLC Social Media Marketing | Business Development | Project Management
(@PressReleaseLLC on Instagram,