Articles

Posted: July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
Article as it appeared in the Sentinel

Article as it appeared in the Sentinel

The King Drew Atrocity, Thursday June 25, 2015  Los Angeles Sentinel

Slavery  4B_Ed3 Other articles by Evelyn Allen Johnson:

Don’t Forget Slavery, Los Angeles Sentinel

Click to read “Don’t forget about slavery! C-1″ in PDF format

African American Titan, Mr. Arthur Gaskin, Los Angeles Sentinel

Nurse Evelyn Allen Johnson Speaks at Nurses Week, Los Angeles Sentinel

Advertisements

Ran across this video by Greg Miller who interviewed Jarim Person-Lynn, author of the seminal financial motivational book: Brass Knuckle Finance. It was recorded at Derrick’s Jamaican Cuisine on the occasion of our 100th episode of Sunday Morning Live. The book is now on sale at Simply Wholesome (Overhill and Slauson in Los Angeles)or the eBook, the Hard Copy and the Audio Book are available at www.BrassKnuckleFinance.com

Thank God and Thank You!

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Image

Tonight’s win was for them.

 

Please vote!

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Image

The anticipation feels like Christmas.  So to preoccupy myself I will update my dormant blogs to remind people to vote.  PLEASE GOTV! (Get out the vote!)

Remembering Aunt Emma

Posted: July 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

In less than a year, the family grapples with the loss of another Aunt. There are 3 out of 15 left.

Aunt Emma

We have a huge Virginia-based Person family because my grandfather Romnie Person had been married twice and had 9 kids before he met my grandmother Ida (4 of his previous children–a set of twin and two children due to a flu epidemic had already passed away.) A legendary woman herself, grandma went on to have 11 more, with one being still born. But those who survived helped form a legendary family: Stella, Walter, Archie, Warner, Nathan, Andrew, Rose, Thomas, Emma, Connie, Audrey, Mildred, Ida, Alvin and Jerry–15 altogether.

My grandfather taught us many things hands on: he drove us over to North Carolina to see the Native American relatives some Sundays, and –get this–built a viable construction business which hired his sons and sent all of his children — who wanted to go — to college. He invested in land, built houses and countless buildings and built the school so his children would not continue to trudge past the white school in the freezing snow to get to their own. AND he built the family church.

Our aunts and uncles enveloped us in love, and were beautiful, fun and loving. When my father moved to New Jersey, Aunt Emma would spend her college summers helping him and my mom take care of my sister Bunny and me. I remember her lap, her warm embrace, her guiding hands and her gentle soul.

She was a beautiful, thin slip of a girl with long hair. She loved the piano and played ours often. Mom, who became great friends with her said she just picked it up and had a special gift.

She had the patience of Job, and taught my Mom to drive after my Father’s impatience frustrated my Mom no end. Mom said she was an excellent teacher and when Mom passed she drove to work the next day and has been driving ever since.

Emma met a young service man named Amos “Mack” Harrison in Emporia at her job at a drug store, but it wasn’t until their paths crossed again in NJ and they held an all night discussion at White Castle, that they fell in love. Not long afterward they married in our living room in Linden, NJ, then moved to New York, not far from Shea Stadium where the Mets played.

He and my daddy were at once known as “Amos and Andy” because, well those were their names, and the Mutt and Jeff looking pair pal’d around quite a bit.

Aunt Emma taught us how family is done. Although she had her own three cute kids–Rhonda, Debbie and later Mark, she always opened her home to us. I can honestly say I never remember a cross word from her toward anybody. When I became a teen I found my way to Aunt Emma’s on the subway from NJ and hung with Rhonda and Debbie and their cousin Cookie many weekends, some at block parties dancing in the streets.

She loved her cats, especially Mortimer and Tiger, and furry four legged friends in general, it seemed. But she loved people too. On my birthday last year she called me out of the blue and made my day. She said “Of course, I remember your birthday!” she said cheerily, all those years later.

Aunt Emma moved to Virginia after our grandmother (her mother) passed and looked so similar to my grandmother standing in that same kitchen which turns out so many legendary delights, especially her mouth watering collard greens. There she took care of our Uncle Mack whose health issues had confined him to a wheel chair for decades.

After he passed, she committed herself to working with senior citizens. She had been playing piano for the church since her return to the VA across from my Uncle Thomas on the organ. She loved raising her grandson Jose who was the light of her life. Tall like uncle Mack, he played basketball, but went to North Carolina A &T as an engineering major. He currently works in the U.S. Patent Office.

Then along came Mark’s kids to raise, Markeen and Najee, also handsome young men who I can only imagine what must be going through their minds right now. Aunt Emma was their rock, and they are not yet fully grown, so who will step into Aunt Emma’s petite but large shoes?

Her very life was serving God, and her church, raising her grand children, being there for her family. Oh, and those cats!!! And, personally, she reached out to our son Jaaye during his Hampton and Howard years on the East Coast, so much so, that when he learned she passed, he sprang into action and thankfully arranged the flight back East and the rental car for us both.

Her sisters Rose and Ida, and brothers Thomas and Alvin were always there for her, but in the last few years, all but Alvin and Ida succumbed and she missed her departed siblings dearly.

Well, now, Aunt Emma has joined them but, I still think she is gone too soon.

After all, I had just seen Aunt Emma Thanksgiving and she looked fine. She told me and many of us that she wasn’t comfortable taking over the role of family matriarch.

Who knew a cancer storm was raging within? It continues to blow our family and our people away and now has claimed another, seemingly out of the blue.

Her children stood by her until the end. Rhonda, has a government career, Debbie, is a natural organizer and Mark just started a new position in New York. Life will be different without the rock of their mother there to go to daily but they will as so many others have done. She gave them everything they need.

Just a few weeks ago, I was enjoying the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans with my cousins Stephanie and Sharon and Steph’s daughter Michal. We were enjoying a seafood restaurant overlooking the Mississippi when I pressed them to take a break and call Aunt Emma. We did, passing the phone around the table. When I heard her weakened voice, out of the blue, my tears flowed and just kept coming. I thought I was being silly because she could have gotten better. But they told me that she had been diagnosed with liver cancer, and I do not know anyone who has won that battle yet.

The last time I talked to Aunt Emma was when my sister and I called. Home from the hospital, back in Emporia, she weakly said “It seems I’ve got a bigger challenge to contend with than I thought.” I didn’t allow her to entertain the insurmountable thought but, I regret that. She had something to say which I dismissed like it was a cold she’d get over. I knew it was liver cancer, but I was hoping against hope, ya know?

Her daughters kept up the good fight and fed her fresh juice regimens, healing teas and the like.
They too held out hope. But there was nothing anyone could do to change God’s mind from calling her home.

Truly an angel, her work here is done. It is hard to grapple with, but grapple we must.

Now, we only have Aunt Ida, Uncle Alvin and Aunt Audrey. It is now left to my generation to step up and help them.  We are also the Aunts and the Uncles. We must help guide this next generation for that is the way Aunt Emma showed us. Now that the beautiful service is over and she is in her final resting place we cousins (and there are many), must all lead by her example. If anyone has helped your life over some rough edges, you (all-us-we) must now pay it forward, because this next generation cannot wait.

Rest well Aunt Emma!

Isidra Person-Lynn
House of the Rising Sons Media

In the meantime…

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

For a playlist of my recent videos, click this link:
http://www.youtube.com/p/70BC6839B25B4B07?hl=en_US&fs=1

I never intended to have a number of different blogs and things.  Consequently, it is hard to keep them all up to date.  If you want to see the most current postings, follow my blog at http://www.risingsons.tumblr.com.  I love my WordPress blogs (this one and my isidragadget.wordpress.com), but Tumblr is easiest to drop something on quickly, and these days “quick” is all I can seem to manage.  Of course, for up to the minute musings, join me on Facebook (and be sure to read my “Notes”) or Twitter! Check us out over there if this page seems stuck in a different time zone.  My love these days is video reporting, so check out the latest at my You Tube channel. Thanks for your patience.  Soon I will consolidate all into one — since I am in the process of updating IsidraPersonLynn.com!

Are you?  You can take that many ways, especially all of my single girlfriends combing through perfectly good choices in search of the perfect choice, when they themselves are not perfect.  But, I am not going to go there.  Not today.

The story that is writing me this morning is the one about our language.  Are you rejecting a perfectly good employee, boyfriend/girlfriend, pastor or friend simply because they don’t speak standard English?

You sit down to spend some time on Facebook, and for you it is effortless. You read this easily, but someone somewhere on your page struggles and becomes mute because they cannot turn out a Tweet, text or post fast enough and when they do it is laden with errors.  IDK, the language has changed!  In real time English, if you do not know that “IDK” stands for “I don’t know” and you write “I don’t no,” there are those who would discount you because you did not use “Know” for “No.”  But why the unnecessary letters?  Why the K and w if they are silent? Why must our intelligence be measured by whether or not we know (or remember) these things? But, it is.

And then, there is this thing many of us have about Ebonics or African American Vernacular English.  American corporations are using these colloquialisms we say everyday, and laughing all the way to the bank.  (Example: “I’m lovin’ it”.) I will never forget the time I wrote a story about Ebonics back when it captured many headlines for the Just For Me newsletter for girls.  The parent company Proline  was headquartered in Dallas, Texas, so you can imagine the Ebonics that you could hear all over Dallas.  But, I was chastized for writing the article. One of my Dallas coworkers said “We don’t be needin’ to read ’bout no Ebonics down here.  That is sumpin’ y’all keep in California.”‘ Puro Ebonics.

The way African Americans speak IS  a second language –any two times you have to relearn how to write and speak in order to fit within corporate culture so you can get a job.  My students work hard at it in speech and in writing.  I remember a radio intern once was reading copy for a news story and she kept pronouncing “ax” for ask.  I said “No, say ‘basketball.’  She said “basketball.” I said “Good. Now say bask.”  She said “Bask.”  I said “Great! Now drop the B and say the word “Ask.”  She smiled and said “Ax.”  Grrr.  We joke about it when we see each other, but these tendencies to pronounce things a certain way are consistent with our African language patterns, just like the French put their twists on English, Asians, Latinos and so on.  The difference is we see those accents as romantic and cute.  Ours are seen as ignorant.  UNTIL it becomes commercialized al la  “Who Dat?”  Wat up wit dat?

Same thing with writing.  My students are graduating from high school to arrive at college functionally ill-prepared to compete in college English and Math!  There are a lot of reasons why that is but for brevity’s sake, I’ll start with the Baby Mama syndrome.  It’s the first thing you will notice.  We were reading Sister Souljah’s “No Disrepect.”  I had my students write in-class essays.  (That way you KNOW they actually wrote them.) Question: What impact did Sister Souljah’s mother have on her teenage years?  Answers across the board:   “Sister Souljah mother was a….” I made them all go back and insert the apostrophe “‘s”.  I asked “You’ve heard the term  ‘baby mama drama,’ right?”  Of course they had. “Well, how can you correct that grammatically?” It was like pulling teeth to get them to translate the baby mama into baby’s mother.  So of course they would not write Sister Souljah’s mother.

Here is a test you can do at home.  Have your children write for you –free write.  Assign them a topic and see what they come up with.  Turn on a recorder (most cells have them these days).  Record your family as they sit around the table. Play it back and most of you will point out that they are steeped in Ebonics and don’t realize it.  “I seen” it happen, time and again.

It’s not just with us. I call it the Luke Walton syndrome.  Luke is one of the Lakers that keeps me in a constant state of pissivity. Shoot Luke, Dunk, Luke!  And all the announcers wax on about how intelligent he is.  So they keep him around and they do video diaries of his life but listen to Luke.  Luke grew up with a father who is  verbose and proper  in standard English.  But how does Luke speak?  Like he has been hanging with the homeboys.  He has been around the brothers so long he is picking up Ebonics.

Actually, we all are.  Sometimes I can’t think of the word we used to use before “Diss” came into vogue. Ebonics (laced with hip hop speak and computer shorthand) is at the center of multi-million dollar music, film and comedy industry.The way we speak naturally is picked up by the advertising industry so you have “wannabes” who are white calling each other “dog,” and saying “Wat up?”and– shudders–calling each other the “N” word! Steve Harvey rarely speaks standard English.  Just listen!  And he will host “Family Feud?” Yikes.

I always encourage my students to appreciate their language and not think of it as wrong,  However, if they need to transition from a PC to a Mac, they’d best know the language of the Mac world so they can get somewhere.  And in college, I tell them, they need to master standard English in order to have their work pass muster.  Code switching, as it is called, would have been much easier for African American students to have picked up in early years, because it is not as comfortable to learn when they are adults in college.

If you are a successful adult, you may struggle with English but you might hire someone like me to wordsmith your ideas and no one would be the wiser.  But when you go to post on Facebook, or send a tweet you don’t have time for much more than spell check.  Show of hands, how many of you have posted only to go back to look at what you have written to cringe in horror?  (Me too!!!) But, thank goodness the world of high speed social communication is somewhat forgiving.  Those of you who have your sons and daughters on FB can also be in for a rude awakening.

So the way to beef up your second language is to do what you would do if you wanted to learn any other language: read more standard English books, articles, etc.  Have books on tape read to you so you can hear more of the language you are trying to learn.  Books like the Coldest Winter Ever, or Midnight by Sister Souljah will get students into reading.  Once these page turners have ended, they will look for other books.  At least you will have sparked an interest, because you bridge from where they are to where you want them to go. They don’t have to be The Gumbel brothers, but good things await those who are bilingual, because many will reject you, no matter how good you are, in favor of another who speaks standard English.