Miss Ashley’s Book Club


Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.: H. Samy & Geneva Smitherman

I bought this book for one of my classes, and we ended up not using it. But, since I bought it, I decided to read it anyway. The book discusses in great detail the struggle many Blacks face in regards to their speech and stereotypes they face. If a Black person is deemed “articulate” even though it may be meant as a compliment, it can be highly offensive. The book is interesting because it uses President Barack Obama as a prime example.

When Obama was first coming into the limelight as a presidential candidate, many were in awe of how “articulate” he was. While this was meant to highlight a positive characteristic, it quickly became a back-handed compliment. Why is it that it is mandatory to state that a Black man is articulate, as if that is a rare finding? That my friends is the object of the book. The in depth analysis of the topic is not only intriguing, but very educational. Overall, it is a very easy and enlightening read. If you are interested in history, Black history, or even language in America, this is a great option.

What are your fave books on African-American studies or history? Let me know in the comments!




*Spoiler Alert! If you have not seen the movie just yet, read at your own risk! 

After seeing Marvels’ Black Panther, I left the theatre in complete awe. I was captivated the entire time by the beautiful people who were on the screen in front of me. Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Michael. B. Jordan, and Forest Wittaker, to name a few were staple characters in the film. Across social media all weekend, it was great to see the unification over this film. The memes, the pictures, and the tweets showed that for many this film was more than just a movie, it has become history. There were moments of humor, and moments of strife but in all, there was triumph. It was a rare opportunity where instead of being portrayed in stereotypical roles, or victims, we were the heroes.

If you are like me and have very minimal knowledge of comics, I’ll share a little background. The original Black Panther comic was created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Although many link it to The Black Party Panther, many say that the connection is pure coincidence. The Black Panther was Marvels first black character.

Now back to the movie! My top 3 “Wow moments” are as follows…

  1. The #BlackGirlMagic: T’Challa like most Kings, had an army and a line of defense. But, his front line included (drum roll please)…women. That’s right, black women in all of their glory, sprinkling their black girl magic across the screen. They were not there just for looks, but their loyalty, intelligence, and wit. Even when T’Challa needed to be nursed back to health, it was his women that made it happen! giphy1
  2. Villian or nah?: Michael B. Jordan is an amazing actor, and although he was the villan, I couldn’t help but empathize with him. While we were supposed to be constantly rooting for T’Challa, I was secretly rooting for Killmonger as well. His words in so many instances were so powerful. In taking over Wakanda, his plan was to help his brothers and sisters across the world. The plan in doing this was not the greatest but, it’s the thought that counts, right!? Even his final words sent chills up my spine. IMG_1281
  3. Connection: Last but not least, I loved the way they tied in the early 90’s. Their t-shirts and thick gold chains caught me off guard! I was ready for African attire for the entire movie. But the way in which they worked in America’s past was excellent. Spies were sent all over the country, they expressed the travesties that were occurring in communities. Though they had something that could end the struggle and strife within the world, they didn’t. Such a though provoking moment.

Overall, like many across the globe, I loved the movie. It was truly a breath of fresh air, and something that we can all be proud of. Now, I need to see Luke Cage on the big screen! IMG_9892.JPG

 What was your favorite part of the movie? 


Spotlight Series: Natilie Williams

Natilie Williams Picture
Natilie Williams: Nat Will, Speak!

Natilie Williams is a 24-year-old, college educated, South Side of Chicago native. But overall, she has now become a motivational speaker. Listening to Natilie speak is like a breath of fresh air, even being in her presence you walk away feeling refreshed and revitalized. When she speaks, people listen. Her warm and inviting soul provide the perfect atmosphere for learning. With her company, Nat Will, Speak!, she has been travelling to colleges and universities across the nation to spread her wisdom.

The name, “Nat Will, Speak” comes from a college nickname, that developed into a brand. Natalie has been speaking for years. It started as she would go back and speak to students at her high school, Percy L. Julian. From there she began to lead her sorority’s campus programs. Now, not only is she motivational speaking, she is teaching at the collegiate level. She did not become this amazing speaker overnight though, she researched and planned. She attended workshops and stepped out of her comfort zone to prepare herself for what she wanted.

To date one of most memorable engagments has been speaking with over more than 400 men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. “I rocked it! They were engaged and even gave me a standing ovation at the end.” When she speaks she makes personal connections with her audience, making the experience so personable.

To Natilie, the best part of speaking has become enlightening her audience. “I am intentional about providing my audience with tangible steps that they can take to accomplish their goals, as well as cultivate and enhance their leadership skills.” Natalie is a leader in her own right. She is following her heart, and her dreams. Her major motivating factor is her mom. Although her mother passed away when she was 13 years old, she carries her with her always. Her mother instilled many morals and values in her that she uses to guide her daily. “…She taught me so much about being a young woman and knowing that I can do ANYTHING that I work for…I work incredibly hard to make sure that I maintain her legacy and live out everything that she poured into me…I understand the power of a relationship with God she made sure that I knew to save money and be financially literate. When I speak, I swear I feel her spirit and I secretly imagine that she’s there in the back of the room rooting me on.” In spite of losing her mother at such a young and pivotal age, Natilie has pushed forward and become a woman her mother can be proud of.

Although 2018 is just starting, Natilie plans to move into speaking with more high school students, universities, conferences, and corporate offices. One of her goals is to begin speaking full-time and be a college instructor simultaneously. “I will continue to spread the message of the life-changing nature of leadership permitting every area of life…I see my business being global and the message touching people of all backgrounds from around the world. So the groundwork and the blueprint has been created, so I am already to continue putting in the work to make this a reality.”

You can find Natilie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NatWillSpeak. Or at her website www.natwillspeak.com! Let’s hear it for this queen!

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/237158324″>Nat Will, Speak! at Central Michigan University &ldquo;IMPACT&rdquo; Program</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user68209834″>Natilie Williams</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Love Yourself


With Valentines Day right around the corner, it seems like there are flowers, and candy in every store. Valentines Day has become one of the top grossing American holidays! Every sales ad, and tv commercial has pictures of smiling couples and the gifts the man has showered his lady with. Last year this time, I was really challenging myself to reflect on love, and what excactly it is, and especially what it is not.

But, wait a minute! I think we often get so sucked into the idea of love being about two people, we forget that before you can love anyone else you must love yourself. So, I challenge you this Valentines Day to love yourself, before your significant other. When you buy them a gift, buy yourself one as well. Loving yourself and checking in with your emotions is just as important as theirs.


And for all my single ladies (and guys!) DO NOT, let Valentines Day get you down! Seeing expressions of love is beautiful, but it can just as easily be a reminder of something you may not have just yet, lost, or are yearning for. If that’s you, spend the day showering yourself with love. This can be done in simple ways such as treating yourself to your favorite cup of coffee, or even making time to relax and engage in your own thoughts. Possibly stay off of social media if you know looking at so many people celebrating may get you down! Focus on your well-being and happiness and instead use the time to reflect on…YOU!

Happy Month of Love! Always remember to love yourself first! 

                                8 Powerful Steps to Self-Love by Melanie Greensberg 

What are your favorite ways to show self-love?

Miss Ashley’s Book Club


Since February is the month of love, I thought it was fitting to share a book that I am currently reading with my bae…365 Things Every Couple Should Know by Doug Fields. This book was a gift to us, but has been extremely helpful. Sometimes being in a long-term relationship, you lose to the fire of the relationship in the everyday shuffle. But, this book is full of reminders big and small of how to keep your spouse happy, appreciated through communication. There is no need to try to read the book all in one sitting, instead, breaking it up to a couple of pages has been helpful to us. Reading a few tips at a time and actually discussing ways to implement them and seeing room for growth has been amazing. I guarantee you may read something in this book that you may not have even realized is important to you.

My Favorite Tips from the book…

Every couple should know…

…One compliment a day isn’t too many.

…The winner of the conflict isn’t always the winner.

…A day without “I love you” is a wasted day.

What are your favorite books about relationships or for couples!? Let me know in the comments!

5 Valentines Dates in Chicago

Even though it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in the house and Netflix and Chill all the time. In addition to the normal chocolate and flowers, consider taking your special someone out for a day or evening on the town. When planning something special for you and your hunny for Valentines Day try not to think of the cold or let that hinder you from thinking of a good date! While staying in is definitely always an option, don’t let it be your first and last thought. Here are some fun things to do around town!

Ice Skating at Millennium Park  


Watch the sun set as you skate around the park! There is nothing more beautiful than downtown Chicago in the evening. The park houses a few places to grab a bite to eat or a drink. There are many places within walking distance as well, if you work up an appetite from all that skating!

Showplace at Roosevelt ICON Theatre 

Catch a movie at the ICON theatre. They offer a full service bar, and a decent food menu that goes beyond the regular movie popcorn. You may take your food and drinks into the theatre. There is even a strip mall surrounding the theatre that you can do a little shopping before or after the show!

Chicago Botanical Garden  


Chicago Botanical Garden will be hosting the 2018 Orchid Show! They will feature numerous types and colors orchid flowers in addition to their normal selection of beautiful flowers. The Orchid Show starts on February 10 and is running through March 25, 2018, if you don’t make it for Valentines day you have plenty of time to catch it before it leaves.

Bottle & Bottega


Bottle and Bottega is an awesome place to bring out your artistic abilities. Grab a few bottles of wine, and head over their art studio. In a very intimate setting, an instructor will guide you through the process of creating your own masterpiece that you can take home for bragging rights!

Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors  2/14/18


If your bae is a sports fan, the Bulls game may be the way to go. Make your way to the United Center for an evening of fun, snacks, and basketball!  Maybe you will even make it on the Kiss Cam!

What are your Valentines Day plans? Let me know in the comments! 

Latest Listens (Throwback Edition)

For this edition of Latest Listens, I decided to take it back a bit. While I love listening to new music, sometimes it’s the timeless classics that get me through long busy days. Here are my staple go-to albums.

Ego Death-The Internet  


Fave Tracks: Special Affair, Palace/ Curse, Gabby


Childish Gambino- “Awaken, My Love!”


Fave Tracks: Redbone, Me and Your Mama, Zombies 


Fabolous- The Soul Tape  


Fave Tracks: Beauty, Slow Down, Leaving You 


N.E.R.D.: In Search of…


Fave Tracks: Run to the Sun, Booby James, Am I High


Beyonce- Dangerously in Love 


Fave Tracks: Speechless, Dangerously in Love, Rather Be With You 


Drake- Take Care 


Fave Tracks: Crew Love, Cameras, Practice 


Kanye West- Late Registration 


Fave Tracks: Drive Slow, Celebration, Late 


Wale- Ambition


Fave Tracks: That Way, Illest Bitch, Sabotage 


What are your favorite classic go-to albums? Let me know in the comments!