I Worked Four Years in a Leadership Role with the Atlanta Police Department- Here’s a Look at the Good and the Unfathomable

By Rhonda E. Frost

In honor of Labor Day 2023, I share my employment story.

September 10, 2023, will mark the end of my time as Deputy Director of Public Affairs with the Atlanta Police Department (APD). I enjoyed three remarkable years in this position and was mentally set to stay until I retired. I loved my job and I was good at it. But in the fall of 2022, things changed in subtle yet obvious ways, and then on November 30th, 2022, there was a seismic and abrupt change wherein, I was ordered out of my office “effective immediately”, locked out without written notice or valid explanation, and stripped of access to the public safety headquarters building where I reported to work each day. As a 59-year-old career professional, I could not comprehend what was happening.

In the blink of an eye, I was isolated, exiled, and no longer part of the team. I sent a flurry of emails to APD leadership, City of Atlanta HR, the mayor’s office, and members of the public affairs team informing them I was locked out and asking why. No one answered my email. I was confused and afraid. I felt helpless and lost. I have always been clear on the history of the police and what they have the power to do. I did not know what to expect next. It was clear this situation was sanctioned and there were no rules to protect me.

That day and the subsequent 8 months of being banished from my office without an update or information, coupled with the deafening silence of those who should have intervened, will forever be seared in my brain as a diabolical, surreal, employment nightmare.

Turns out, the targeted and unlawful treatment I endured over these long months, had nothing to do with any wrongdoing on my part, but everything to do with the power of my adult daughter’s Instagram account, and her audacity to publicly analyze the crime scene video footage and question APD’s handling of a homicide case that occurred in the summer of 2022. If I had not read the investigative report (which I obtained through an open record request a few weeks ago), no one could have convinced me this could be real.

I would be doing a disservice to myself and anyone considering employment with the City of Atlanta/Atlanta Police Department Public Affairs Unit if I did not share this story. Zora Neale Hurston said, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” I tell my story to express my pain and disillusionment and to expose the unjust, professionally damaging, and hurtful series of acts I endured. I also speak out because I’ve had two interviews in the past 10 days and it is clear to me that I am suffering continued defamation and slander and/or fallout from the APD experience. I want potential employers and other interested parties to hear what happened. What I write about in this piece can be validated in an investigative report, emails, and or video clips.     

Until a year ago, no one could have convinced me this department, this police chief, this director, and their cohorts were capable of this level of conspiracy, defamation, silence, retaliation, and false narratives. I believed they were better than this. I was wrong.

The Good:

Before I go any further into this inexplicable experience at APD, let me give Carlos Campos (former Director of Public Affairs), his flowers. He not only hired me in August of 2019, but he promoted me weeks later into my current position and doubled my salary. He made sure I was paid commensurate with my experience and skills. He believed in me, trusted me with the opportunity, and helped to refine my journalism and writing skills to adapt to the police environment. I admired his writing style and the effortless way he blended policing, media, and journalism. We had our moments, but we shared a mutual respect for what we both brought to the table, which helped us get through challenges. I will forever be grateful to him.

I enjoyed almost every single day working with the team I was fortunate to supervise and collaborate with. Whether it was writing feel-good stories to show the heroism and kindness of employees, writing talking points, crafting newsworthy safety and crime messaging for social media, coordinating large annual events, scheduling and conducting interviews or reaching out to celebrity athletes to help crime victims, I understood the assignment. I was successful not just because of my talent but because I had skilled and dedicated people on the team who had the same goal, that being to make the department shine and show the “other side” of policing.

There are some amazing human beings out there who put their lives on the line to keep the streets of Atlanta safe, and who go the extra mile to help in their community. I did my best to highlight them. My performance evaluations are a testament to my work ethic.

The Unfathomable

“All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

Lord Acton knew then what we all know now, if power is unchecked, and if there is no accountability, those who have the power will run amok. Those involved in stripping my access to my workplace (or authorizing it), turning a blind eye to the lies, failing to intervene, and placing me on leave under the guise of some flimsy complaint of “rudeness”(which came about after my complaint on director), concocting false narratives to keep me locked out, and later showing up at my home to strip me of my work laptop, cell and ID card, while informing me my position was eliminated, are the epitome of corrupt use of power. These actions were “gangster” as we say in my old neighborhood. I guess this is what is meant when some say, “police are nothing more than a gang in uniform.” In this case, it is the chief of police holding the top position. He had every opportunity to get it right, to intervene, fact-check, and do something positive to turn this around, but he chose to try and make an example out of me. Our response to him is public.  

This experience had glimpses of Frank Serpico-esque treatment all over it but from a civilian perspective. As this other video my daughter recorded while talking to a police officer seems to confirm, it is indeed us vs. them.

Never in my expansive career both as a civilian and a sworn person would I have believed this could happen to any employee, much less to me, the employee with outstanding performance evaluations, the one who shows up to work while battling a life-threatening infection with an IV still in arm, to stay on deadline for work projects, the one with hundreds of sick leave and vacation hours on the books, the one who wrote viral good news stories to show the public the “other side” of police and the one who helped this agency shine with meticulously put together award events, heartfelt interviews, and polished annual reports. I took pride in what I did and what I accomplished and yet, none of that mattered.

The stage was set. The false narrative was in place. Egos were bruised. I had to go by any means necessary. I was no longer “one of them”. Apparently, there was some truth in my daughter’s video analysis of the crime scene or there would be no need to take it personally. Just an assumption on my part. Perhaps they do not realize that people criticize the police daily, and there’s a strong likelihood that almost every African-American employee in the Department probably has a family member who is not fond of the police for one reason or another. But I digress.

This was not about me, per se. I am just the “fall guy” as they say. This was a power move, a level of intimidation to send a message that scrutinizing the actions of the Department is not allowed. And if you have family members or friends who do so, especially if they bring media attention to possible wrongdoing or real/perceived injustice, you can and will be subject to the king’s wrath.

The investigative report I obtained exposed the APD and cleared me of any wrongdoing. It also reminded me of just how dangerous these types of cultures can be when they have an agenda to get you. Who will stand up to a police chief? Usually no one. Quite frankly that is terrifying.  

Closing thoughts

I was naive to think that APD leadership was different than other police agencies. I regret spending the last few years trying to convince my family, friends, and others that APD is about doing the “right thing”, and that they stand for fairness and full transparency.  

No matter where you work, checks and balances must be in place. The tone about right and wrong, legal and illegal, justice and fairness, policy adherence, proper accountability, honesty, ethics, and overall treatment of people is set by those appointed and/or hired to lead. The actions of those in charge will always trump their well-rehearsed talking points and politically correct statements regurgitated at press conferences.  

The leadership at APD failed me. I was thrown to the wolves without violating even one policy or work rule. How does one explain this to a new potential employer without sounding suspect? How do I answer why I cannot use my current supervisor or anyone at APD as a reference despite my solid employment history there?

I surmise, that new employees to the APD Public Affairs Unit, the City of Atlanta, or the Atlanta Police Department have nothing to worry about as long as their family members never publicly criticize any APD actions, and as long as they are OK with working in a hostile work environment, good with open disrespect by subordinate staff, fine with problems being ignored by those who are supposed to supervise, manage and intercede, and Ok with the possibility of being locked out of their workplace on a whim.

As the HR Commissioner said to me on June 6, 2023, before she too went ghost, “What happened to you should not have happened, and I apologize on behalf of the City of Atlanta.” It would have been nice if that meant something. She was right though. What happened to me should not have happened. And no employee should ever fear reprisals for speaking out against the actions of a police agency or for their family member expressing their First Amendment rights.

Dear Future Husbands: We Are Waiting on You to Show Up and Act Right

By Rhonda E. Frost

July 18, 2021

(Update to 2016 article)

I cannot help but wonder what would happen if we just stopped. What if we stopped forgiving, doing, accepting your inconsistent nonsense, catering to you when you don’t deserve it, taking your calls, making love to you, listening to your lies, accepting less than what we deserve, and stopped allowing you back in? Would you change? Would you show up and act right?  

There are so many good women out here ready to be a wife or in a committed relationship. Emotionally available women, doing the work, handling business, growing in knowledge, raising their children (or have raised them), and focused.  They are smart, attractive, sexy, funny, warm, and kind women. Women who have been broken, but still believe. Women who are willing to give love another chance despite the bleakness of it all. Yet, seemingly, so few men value her. Why?  

As days turn into months, and months turn into years, I cannot help but wonder when he will show up for the collective us?  


We carry children for 9 months (stretching our stomachs beyond repair), we give birth through our birth canals suffering through the most painful experience any human can endure (and live to talk about), we raise our babies, we allow you into our sacred place trusting you to do right.

We make a house into a home, we clean up after you, we cook, we nurture, we exercise the patience of Job (yes, the biblical Job) as we wait for you to grow up, communicate with clarity, love with good intention, put down childish things, make up your minds, and get right. 

We work with you as you sort through your feelings and emotions, go through your “mid-life” crises (most of your life), and take us for granted and mess up repeatedly. We forgive you, repeatedly. We answer the phone when you call even after days or weeks of silence, and even after you have hurt us one more time.

We lift you when you are down, and we allow you to keep coming back even when we should not.  Patiently we wait for you to see past our booty, breasts, and bodies or what we can offer you sexually and to acknowledge our soul and see our heart. Yes, we want and love sex too, but that is not the point here.  

We practically beg you to listen, to see our value, and appreciate our goodness. We wait in anticipation hoping you will finally claim us forever and be “him”, the “one”, our protector and provider. The one who will cover us with respect and love til our lungs no longer fill with oxygen and our hearts no longer beat. But where are you? When will you show up fully present, ready, willing, and able to assume the position?

This is not for the lucky few who have this in their lives, this is for the masses-the rest of the women who have not had this experience of love and commitment or at least not in while. I speak for them.  

Is it timing?  

Is it a lack of regard for monogamy?  

Is it too much excess or too many options?  

Is it the IG model, everyone is “snatched” thirst?  

What makes finding him or him finding her so tricky? What makes respecting a good woman so hard?  

What if we stopped?  

I cannot help but wonder what would happen if we just stopped. What if we stopped forgiving, doing, accepting your inconsistent nonsense, catering to you when you don’t deserve it, taking your calls, making love to you, listening to your lies, accepting less than what we deserve, and stopped allowing you back in? Would you change? Would you show up and act right?  

Would “I do” be restored to its sacred place? Would you then appreciate the woman who has been fighting for you the whole time or appreciate the next good woman you meet?  

What will it take for us (the culture) to change and get back to respecting real people and real love?   What will it take to value or desire marriage? What will it take for us to honor relationships and each other as human beings?  

These are rhetorical questions, but comments are welcome. ***sigh***

Exhausted Single Woman
(and person speaking on behalf of women I know)

For more relationship conversations, please tune into our podcast, “What She Said” on YouTube where we delve even deeper into the issues and blessings of relationships and where we ask men the questions we all want to know.

You can check us out, subscribe and tune in here: Should Women Take Responsibility For Their Own Actions When Intoxicated? — Episode 23 – YouTube

FB Dating Site Post: Are There Any Grown Men Out There Looking for a Woman Like Me?

I posted the below message on a Facebook dating page the other night. I wasn’t sure of the protocol for posting on that type of page, but after being invited to the group, I knew I needed to at least say something. I was having one of those nights and while scrolling through the various posts and introductions, I decided I’d say hello and express my truest feelings in the moment.

The response was surreal. I was surprised at the comments from women who thanked me for the post. They told me it resonated with them and their dating journey. Men chimed in with messages, words of inspiration and some even asked for my hand in marriage. LOL! I was humbled. I decided to share what my vulnerability looked like here on my blog. (The post has been slightly modified.)

“Hi everyone, is there a grown man in the group who lives in the Atlanta area who can appreciate and love a “grown woman”? 

You see when you get to be 57, time is of the essence and every moment counts. Women folk in my age group no longer wish to waste time. We are seizing each moment, traveling, dining out, enjoying ocean breezes, smelling the roses, appreciating each heartfelt conversation and celebrating a great cup of coffee or a perfectly mixed “top shelf margarita”. We own our homes, our credit is together (finally, in my case), we’ve raised our children and we can stand alone, but we prefer not to. Not anymore anyway.

We’ve been battled tested and are still standing.

We cherish laughter, memorable moments, good music and good vibes. 

We dance like no one is watching and we appreciate our time with good friends and family because we understand that tomorrow isn’t promised.

Folks like me need someone who is ready, willing and able to love and to live fully in the moment. 

We need the person who can love us for who we are, not who we used to be(we aren’t 20 or 30). Our bodies have stretch marks, love handles and some cellulite. We’ve had some loses and heartbreaks. We have a testimony, grey hair (that we color regularly), and wisdom. 

And yeah we still feel sexy and we know how to have fun. 

We need our conversations to be meaningful and on purpose. And most of us aren’t with the games or nonsense. We can see fakes a mile away. 

I’m imperfect and flawed with some broken pieces but I’m loyal, humble, and able to take care of me. I can appreciate a good man when I see one.

This being single status is overrated. The quarantine and COVID-19 made it worse. And no, just anyone won’t do. I still have negotiables and non-negotiables. I have had to humbly decline some offers and get out of situations that simply didn’t elevate my spirit or my life.

My soul still has to say yes.

I imagine I’ll know him when I see him and he will know too. I can remember the few times when I knew. That feeling and connection is life altering. I want that again.

We all want to find the one who sees us fully and accepts us anyway. The one who makes us feel loved, protected, heard and safe.

It’s the connection and friendship for me. That’s the part that is hard to find. Finding someone to sleep with is easy, finding a partner who you can trust with your heart and story is hard. And the older we get, the more elusive it seems.

Dating is challenging and confusing at times. There are lots of lonely nights. We women talk about it all the time. My daughter Shanae and I even started a podcast where we have conversations with men about dating, marriage and relationships. We want to understand their thoughts. We want to learn from our mistakes. We want to be better and do better.

I am just a girl from California living in the South making the best of my days while navigating single life.

I’ll wait to hear from you.”

Rhonda E. Frost
Author, Writer, Blogger, Mom, Spiritual Seeker, Divorced Woman of a Certain Age

When a Man’s Body Is Not Working Right, Nobody Is Happy in the Bedroom

By Rhonda Frost

Our new podcast “What She Said” is a platform to discuss all things relationship & intimacy, and I mean ALL things. This week we talk sexual dysfunction by men with our friend urologist Dr. Joel Abbott. Why? Because we need answers.

My girlfriends and I sometimes talk about this issue when we are dating someone we have become intimate with. Some of us talked about it when we were married. Many of our married counterparts are still talking about it. After all sex, intimacy, dating, and relationships are topics that will never grow old. When sex is good, when intimacy is on point and when you find someone that you really like, who likes you back, who respects you, treats you well and who can deliver good sex, you have literally hit the life jackpot. And if you can mutually fall in love and are able to move the relationship forward lovingly; you have found heaven on earth. These things keep us going, they feel good when done right and they make our lives feel lighter and seem more colorful. And no matter the relationship status, good sex, is good sex, is good sex and we all want it. There is obviously more that can be said on the topics, but this is not the article for it.

The focus here is on sex and what happens when things do not “click” in the bedroom and our man cannot perform.  As we get older, the men in our lives usually are getting older too, so that means, we will have the occasion (s) where things may not “work”. And yes, there are men in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s still working it out just fine, and there are younger men who have issues. We are not talking about them. We are talking about the other men, some even in their 40’s, early 50’s and 60’s who have difficulty performing to their own high standards.

Just to put it in simpler terms, sometimes, men simply cannot get “it” up, or when it does stand up, it sometimes does not stay at attention long, meaning it gets soft right in the middle of the action, or he ejaculates too soon, or, or, or…which means that, women are left in that weird space, laying there staring at the ceiling torn between being sympathetic, feeling rejected, or downright disgusted and maybe even angry (depending on how many times he has done this before or how many times you’ve been through this). Be honest, how many times have you heard the “baby, I am so sorry”, or the “this has never happened to me before”, or “I don’t know what’s going on, it’s not you, it’s probably stress from work”? We have all heard it at least once.

What we women are sure of, is that it is confusing, and awkward to talk about. We do not know what to ask, or how to respond. There is only so much us girls can ask or talk about with each other. We are the blind leading the blind. So instead of continuing the dead-end broken penis talk with our frustrated female friends, we decided to bring the coolest urologist in town in on the discussion and have him break it down for us. And girl did he break it down!

Dr. Abbott (Joel) took time out of his busy schedule to stop by Vibe Studios ATL to chat with us about this topic in the most unconventional way. He was brave enough to come on the show and help us understand what men go through, why it is so hard to talk about sexual issues for them (and us), and how to navigate the “problem” when something is not working for our man.

Take a listen here to a clip from the Joel interview, and be sure to follow us on IG @ What She Said Podcast (@officialwhatshesaidpodcast) and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the full episode and upcoming episodes @What She Said Podcast – YouTube. The goal is to do better in relationships, dating, sex, and marriage with each episode.

Policing While Black, 2020 Protests & Black Lives Matter

By Rhonda E. Frost


The last few weeks have been emotionally hellish. I do not know if that makes sense as a description, but it is what I feel. Watching George Floyd be killed by a morally corrupt, lawless, soulless, super predator police officer, ripped the oxygen out of our lungs like the coronavirus of 2020.

Seeing that officer casually perched with his knee on Floyd’s neck, his hands in his pockets and his sunglasses resting on the top of his forehead, like he was taking a donut break, shook the nation. For 9 minutes the officer sat there looking at us, looking at him, while Floyd begged for air and called for his mama. For 9 minutes the cop pressed his knee on his throat until Floyd died. This heinous act by someone who is sworn to “protect and serve”, arrested the naivete of those who didn’t want to believe in police brutality, the ones who always have a “but, he was…” explanation for unarmed black bodies being killed by rogue police. It seems the whole world is suddenly “woke”. We can never unsee Floyd’s death. This was the straw that broke our black back.

But wait, there’s more…

Then the protestors came. For the past 8 or 9 days, a historic number of people have taken to our streets to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. They are a mixed crowd of peaceful activists, anarchists, millennials and old heads, people of all races and walks of life, with a few straight-up criminals mixed in, just for the hell of it. Many have come to express their emotions and to let the world know, that we as a race and nation are tired of this narrative. Some came to spit at police, call them names, burn shit to the ground, set cars and buildings on fire, and steal Gucci bags and Nike shoes using the protest as a prop to “come up” on a few things.

Police officers in Atlanta are on the streets working 12-hour days, to try and manage the massive crowds and keep people from burning down the city. While all this is going on, they are still responding to your 911 calls for help on murders, carjacking’s, burglaries, robberies, gunshots, domestic violence, child endangerment, and the regular stuff officers deal with. It’s all in a day’s work. And by the way, the Atlanta Police Department is approximately 60 percent minority.

I have been at Black Lives Matter protests actively chanting with my fist raised high and tears streaming down my face. I am not sure if it was after Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, or Michael Brown’s death, but I was there. I grew up in the inner city. My struggle is black. I get it. I am an activist at heart, and I abhor injustice.

Collage of me in law enforcement

I am also a law enforcement professional. I spent 15 years in uniform working in what California calls, “The Toughest Beat in the State”. I worked inside the concrete jungle (5 of them to be exact). I spent my days enforcing the rules and laws as an officer, supervisor, and administrator. I understand what “excessive force” means. I have read my fair share of “Use of Force” policies. And I understand the term “abuse of power”. I know how it feels to put on a uniform, carry a gun, and wear a badge.

Before anything else, I am a black woman. I am the mother of a black son. My brother is black, my dad was black. My ex-spouse is black. My brother-in-law is black. My nephews, uncles…you get where I am going. I have black friends who are doctors, teachers, lawyers, hairstylists, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, executives in the world of finance, DJ’s, and in every other profession. All of them have a story about an encounter with the police. We all share the same pain when injustice happens.

I also have black friends who are police officers and law enforcement professionals who I respect and care about deeply. The past few weeks for them have been demoralizing, painful, and mind-numbing. The conflict and heartbreak in this current space are difficult to explain.

Black men and women in law enforcement are no different than you. They felt the same pain and disgust as you did, watching Floyd’s murder. They have the same fears of driving while black. They have the same conversations with their children about what to do and not do when stopped by the police. They/we cry the same tears. The only difference is, they put on a bulletproof vest, a uniform and a badge and they go out into the streets with their lives on the line daily to answer our 911 calls and risk it all, to serve their community and make a difference. They do this despite the risk of being hated and shot. This is what they do 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s a call to service.

Just imagine the conflict for them as protestors hurled their venomous words, vented their distrust and anger, spit on them, calling white officers names like “pigs” and “racists” and the black ones, “uncle Tom”, “sellouts” and “coons”, tearing at their humanity and somehow making them all responsible for the ones who discredit the badge and violate their oath. Is that how we should do it?

My question is, if Black Lives Matter, do the black men and women in the uniform matter too or Nah? And if we are comfortable saying “all cops are bad, crooked or unjust”, can we also be comfortable when people say “all black men are gang members, criminals, lazy, absent fathers, irresponsible and cheaters” or “all white people are racist, colonizers, greedy, trailer trash, ignorant, Trump-supporting KKK members?” Because if it is safe to generalize, then let’s go all the way with it.

My statement here is not to mitigate the movement, rather it is to illuminate the obvious. There are law-abiding, honorable, morally sound law enforcement officers of all races, who go to work every single day, with the intent to serve and keep their city safe. These people never make the news. They just do their work and go home. The majority go into law enforcement because they want to make a difference in their community, and they want a stable job. They have bills to pay, just like you do. They want to make it home safe, just like you do. They hate racist police and corruption just like you and I do.

Can you imagine if there were no minorities on the police force in your city? Can you?

I propose we stop with the hate and generalizations. I say we keep the movement going, and that we continue to hold violators accountable, and peacefully protest until injustice is no longer an agenda item. But I also ask that we focus on what to do next. That we register to vote and that we vote for people who care about humanity, justice reform, housing, student loan debt reduction, health care, and economic empowerment for all.

Yes, we should protest with outrage the unjust murders of our men and women. That is a given. But we should also honor and thank those who get it right, every single day. The ones who show up at your door because you called 911, treat you with respect, and help resolve your crisis.

There are more good people than bad people in this world. We must weed out the bad ones, but we also must shine the light on the ones who hold it down, those who show up and make the world a better and safer place.

And finally, if you hate what you see in policing, become one. Go to your city website and apply to be an officer, or go back to school, and become a lawyer, a judge, or a law enforcement professional so you can be the change you want to see on the streets and in the justice system.

I have found it is easier to be a Monday morning quarterback than to be the quarterback in the heat of the moment making decisions. It is easier to be the critic and to point out the errors and flaws of others who do the work when you are safe in your home behind a keyboard and screen rather than in the thick of the experience. Don’t be the person on the sideline with ideas and complaints, get in the game so you can effect change.

And remember, if black lives truly are to matter, then they have to matter for all black lives, all the time, not just when a rogue cop kills an unarmed black man or woman.

***Featured Image-Credit Getty Images***

On Being Black Enough: An Open Letter to My Brothers and Sisters Who Perpetuate Colorism

By Rhonda E. Frost

In honor of closing out Black History Month 2019, I write this letter for anyone in the Black community who perpetuates colorism. This is to anyone who said, “Kamala Harris isn’t even Black, she’s bi-racial so she doesn’t count”, to the many who say “Barack Obama isn’t Black, his mother is white so…”, and to the critics who deemed Meghan Markel, the Duchess of Sussex, not Black “because she claims she is biracial”.

This is for any person in the Black community who still disparages their own, based on race. To the person sitting behind a computer screen on social media, to the brother or sister at the office, in a college dorm, or those on the block, pushing the “skin tone determines Blackness” narrative-you need to stop. You sound racist, ignorant and hateful.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”; many of you love to quote this during Black History Month and you recite it often during the rest of the year. We say we want equality more than anything, and I believe we do. Yet here we are in 2019, doing to our own people, what the people who constructed race have always done to us; dividing and conquering based on color. Too many of you judge your “light-skinned” brothers and sisters, like some racist white people, judge Black people in general. What makes your judgment and tomfoolery different from theirs?

I am bi-racial. My mother is white, blond hair and green eyes, white. My father is Black. I wrote about it in a previous blog post entitled, “I Am Not Racist, I’m Woke”. I grew up Black. My neighborhood-Black. My struggle-Black. My self-esteem-Black. My money-Black. My anger-Black. My families’ interaction with the police-Black. Growing up, I saw none of the “white privilege” of my white side but that doesn’t mean I don’t claim my mother.

We inherited our lineage. I do not know how they did it where you are from; but in 1963, the year I was born, they were not allowing sperm, eggs and embryos to select the race of their parents before inception. Our parents did not consult us before they consummated their relationship and decided to have sex without a condom, therefore opening up the chance for us to be here, in all of our light-skinned-edness. Neither were we allowed to check off what color of brown we wanted from the skin tone hue wish list. We did not have options on hair texture, hair length, eye color, or body type(big booty, small booty or none at all). Nope, none of that was offered to us-no more than it was offered to the direct descendants of Africa or the whitest white person from Europe. We are all at the mercy of DNA and our parents decisions. Be still for a minute and marinate on that.

So who gets to define Blackness? Who is the authority on what office biracial people are worthy to run for as a Black woman or man (first)? Who are you to tell me what injustice I am allowed to be angry about, what I should protest, or talk about in race relations? In the words of Shannon Luders-Manuel, “Blackness cannot be taken away from us. Biraciality cannot be taken away from us. They exist as tangibly as our skin, made from Europe and Africa. We are the colonizer and the colonized. We are the oppressor and the oppressed. We bleed for our brothers and sisters. We carry on our backs the weight of what one half of us did to the other. We slip easily into white spheres, taking notes and taking names while nodding our European heads.”

Word has it that Malcolm X had White DNA, Frederick Douglass had White DNA, Bob Marley, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B Du Bois, and a host of other important people came to us with their mixed race and made a difference in the world. These biracial people fought for justice and freedom on behalf of all Black people. I wonder if their fellow brothers and sisters, yelled out to them, that they weren’t Black enough to represent, or did they simply appreciate their fight for equality, while seeing them as Black and equal?

For the sake of learning, read what “biracial” means here. To be clear, most people are not a pure race. Most folk are of mixed race heritage with the DNA from another race swirling around in their blood; just ask Henry Louis Gates from Finding Your Roots. By the way, when someone says, “I am bi-racial” it does not mean they aren’t claiming their blackness, well unless you are talking Tiger Woods, but for the rest of us, it simply means we are claiming both of our parents; the White and the Black one. Does that make us not Black? Should we only tell folk about the Black parent to keep our “Black card”? I am asking for all the mixed race people in the world.

In 2019, it is stunning to hear my own people judging within the Black community because of skin tone. We have enough to fight or be defensive about. Aren’t you tired of this? Too many are still carrying anger, jealousy and hurt because of skin tone; and it shows in our talk, our views and the way we treat each other. I have found that the more unhappy a person is in their own skin, the more they look outside themselves to attack or demoralize others. Happy people, with high self-esteem and in pursuit of a life of meaning and progress, just don’t normally have time for it. We have to recognize this in ourselves.

If your hope is that you not be judged because of race and that white people not devalue your worth because of your skin tone-you should want the same for your own people. If the Klan, a neo-Nazi, a Republican wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, or any other racist sees you or me walking down the street, we will both be viewed the same. They see us as Black. I suggest we do the same and embrace each other. Divided we fall, but together we can conquer the world, or at least conquer ignorance and move forward to a higher intellectual, financial and emotional ground.

All of our Black is beautiful and worthy. The day we start believing this, is the day we will stop with the colorism nonsense.

It’s Not Just About R. Kelly…

R Kelly

R. Kelly is a talented musical artist and has produced some pretty incredible songs over the past twenty plus years. No one disputes his talent. R. Kelly(Robert) is also pedophile and a sick man who preys on young girls, broken women and the most vulnerable. He is not only the king of R & B, but the king of disrespecting, abusing and violating black girls and women. He’s been bumping and grinding and putting his key in the ignitions of the female masses for a long time. His proclivity to young women, coupled with his need to control, objectify, and sexualize women and girls, is self-evident. His lyrics told us his thoughts; but we were too busy dancing and singing along to listen. His actions showed us who he was. None of this is debatable. The late great Dr. Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them“; too many didn’t believe, even after he showed us who he was, we didn’t want to believe.

Fast forward to today, his subsequent arrest(again) has made headlines. Someone turned in yet another damning video. But it was the docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly“, that had everyone listening and talking. Not only did Robert’s victims come out and tell their stories, but people all over this country started coming from behind their walls of secrecy to tell their own stories on social media and out loud, as victims of incest, molestation and abuse by people closest to them; people they trusted, people who were supposed to protect them. All perpetrators of a different name. It struck a nerve with me. I was all too familiar with the experience, the shame and the pain.

Aliyah was 14 when Robert took her in under his black cape and made her believe that “age ain’t nothing but a number”. He sexed her up, messed up her mind, and married her (albeit temporarily) on a whim. She was fifteen and he was twenty-seven. She wanted to be a singer and the story says that she and her family sought him for guidance in the music business. Instead, he gave her the business. He stole her innocence and the rosiness from her young cheeks. He was the adult in the room. He had the duty to guide and protect her to help her become greater. He took advantage of her instead.

How did we let this happen? How did all those grown people around him in his circle let it happen? More aptly, how did we let it continue? Are we that blind or just too numb to care? Are we so in love with his music, that we’ve decided the value of young girls and the cries of women don’t matter? If so, we are no different from Trump supporters who ignore facts, truth, his ignorance and evil deeds, and opt to blindly follow the man, no matter what.

But this isn’t just about R. Kelly. Pedophiles come in all races, sizes, socioeconomic backgrounds and names. They are in professions on every level. He lives in homes across America. He may go by the name of Walter (the friend of the family), uncle James, grandpa Joe, daddy Walters, Catholic Priest (pick a name), Pastor Long, cousin Rodney, step-brother Kevin and Elvis. He is in colleges, corporate America, sports, entertainment and churches(to name only a few). Yes, sadly, this happens to boys too, and it is equally horrific and damaging to any victim. This is about men and their need for power, control and sex. It is also about pedophilia. And it is about a lack of respect for girls and women, namely the vulnerable, poor and broken.

No, this isn’t just about R. Kelly. It is about men who are willing to break open a child’s body and mind prematurely; forever altering their physical wellbeing, their trust and sexual boundaries. It is about men who violate and kill the spirit of a woman or child to get a nut.

Every person reading this blog piece knows someone who has been molested or knows a molester in their family or someone else’s. What does that say about the problem? The questions are: How are we addressing it? Are we telling our girls that it didn’t happen? Are we shaming them and calling them “fast”? Are we telling them to keep it secret? Are we ignoring it like society did with R. Kelly (and other known sexual deviants out there)? And when we find out, how are we helping our kids or victimized women cope? Are we creating an environment to openly talk about it? Are we encouraging them to seek therapy? Are we kicking out the perpetrator and filing charges? Or are we doing like the Catholic church, and just shuffling him around so he can go to the next house and destroy more innocent bodies and minds?

Our ignoring abuse is part of the problem. Our enabling, by defending him is part of the problem. Our not listening and not protecting girls and women is part of the problem.

I speak on what I know. I was 7 years old when the “married family friend” who lived in our home, exposed me to his penis and masturbation. I was 7! That continued until he and his wife Mary, and their kids moved out( a couple years) later. I didn’t tell my mother until I saw Oprah discuss the matter one day on television with her audience. I was 21 or 22 when I came forward and told my secrets. There were other men and other violations, but I don’t need to list them here. Suffice to say, I’ve had my life interrupted by my own R. Kelly’s. Like so many victims of molest, incest and sexual violations, my body never belonged to me. It was always sexualized. My breasts, which were too large for my body as a teen, caused men to look at me differently. And the way my body formed, apparently told men, I looked like I was ready. I was not. Not mentally or physically. The years from ages 7 to 14, were the set up of what was yet to come. I became a teen parent at 15. I carried into that experience all that I had been exposed to, broken trust, damaged self-esteem, confusion about sex, confusion about my body and healthy love, etc. etc. I had no idea what was “normal”. No kid who is abused does.

Black girl bodies have been sexualized and fondled by unauthorized men, at inappropriate times, since the beginning of our existence. Black women have been objectified and given measured value or worthiness, based on butt size, breast configuration, body type since or before Sara Baartman. Our culture lends to its acceptance.

A couple of fact checks: 1) Girls don’t come into the world “fast”, asking for sex, or desiring grown men. They either see “fast” behavior in their homes or environments, or someone exposes them to things they should not know or see before the body and mind are mature enough to process it. 2) Children under 18 cannot give consent to a grown man. And to be clear, even some 18 and 19-year old’s aren’t mentally prepared to participate in adult sexual activity.

It’s no wonder so many grown women and men are walking around conflicted and emotionally broken when it comes to love, sex and relationships. You have to know natural, healthy love and sex to participate in it. Children who are sexually violated, never get that opportunity-they start life fucked up because some grown-up put their own needs before the child’s .

Yes, R Kelly has been arrested. We can celebrate that justice might finally be served for him. R. Kelly is but one predator in a world of tens of thousands, if not millions. What about the predators in your home? What about the Catholic priests all over the world? What shall we do about the other violators and sexual perverts, like the 50 something year old Fort Valley State University campus lieutenant who preys on incoming girls, or the doctors, pastors, gymnastics coaches, uncles, dads, cousins and the rest of them? When will all of the victims of these obscure predators get their justice? When will their violators be held accountable? And in the meantime, who will care for the little girls in grown women’s bodies and the elementary, middle and high school girls who had their souls damaged and their innocence ripped from them because some man couldn’t get past his penis? What will we do about them? How will we help them heal?

This is bigger than R. Kelly. He need not be the whipping boy for all of the sexual predators in this country and abroad. Without a shadow of a doubt, he needs to be held accountable for his part in this never ending atrocity of child molest and his role in victimizing numerous girls and women. But so do the rest of the adults who do the same. #metoo #itstoomuch #muteRKellyandallsexualpredators #itstimetoprotectwomenandgirls #itstimetoprotectboystoo #itstimeforchange

By Rhonda E. Frost

An Open Letter to the Ft. Valley State University Lieutenant who Thrust My Freshman College Student Grand-daughter into the #MeToo Movement: Time is Up

By Rhonda E. Frost

Dear Lieutenant B., (the lawyers have your full name, as does the Georgia Bureau of Investigation so I won’t put it here).

Whatever the culture is at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) for men(young and old) sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women, or whatever other perversions you have going on, #timesup. The cat is out of the bag.

I spoke to my grand-daughter (…) some weeks ago. She called me from her dorm at FVSU.  She spoke with me on this particular day to share some things that happened to her there at school; some things that she was troubled by and felt she needed to tell me about. She had already spoken to her mom Shanae, but she wanted to share it with me as well. My grand-daughter also sent me 4 or 5 audio clips of conversations that she needed me to hear. They were conversations between you and her. I listened to every single one of them. The more I listened, the more enraged and disgusted I became! We talked at great lengths about you, your position of power, what you admitted to about previous interactions with young women, and, we talked about how she felt.

My daughter Shanae talks about it more in detail here, in this FB video post.

I was in shock hearing the things you wanted to do to her 18-year-old-body, and stunned at the quid pro quo language used; not to mention the overt manner in which you attempted to accost her and have her sign on to your sexual relationship plan. You are there on campus to “protect and serve” the young people, not to violate them. The fact that you encouraged her to keep it “secret”, said so much. It sounded child-molester-ish. It also sounded like you knew that what you were doing was wrong.

Because of your actions, she has been thrust into the #MeToo movement, without even trying or knowing. And guess what? Your secrets aren’t safe. They won’t be tucked away and managed quietly. You picked the wrong time in history and the wrong college student.

I could only imagine what this had to be like for her, facing a grown ass man (someone my age, 50-ish); I can only imagine what she felt and thought while hearing your pornographic comments. She’s an 18-year-old college freshman and you are a campus law enforcement supervisor! Talk about an imbalance of power!

Here’s a little backstory for you, on my granddaughter and I~

“She” is my first-born grandchild. She’s my baby. I’ve been there her whole life. I’ve watched over her, as grandma’s do, from a distance and up close. I attended almost every track meet she participated in throughout high-school. I’ve attended her plays, award ceremonies, and birthday parties; and I watched her grow up. I was at her high-school graduation and drove to FVSU with my daughter Shanae, to take her to her dorm. What that means is, we are close. And what that means for you is, I/we will be relentless in this situation against you. This was not supposed to be part of her college experience!

What the f*ck were you thinking?

Perhaps you got hyped after watching 70-year-old Bob Johnson wed his 37-year-old grad student. Or maybe you got all in your feelings about 45-year-old Idris Elba proposing to his 29-year-old girlfriend and you started thinking, maybe you too could get a young girl. Your perverted sexual mind and pathetic real life, just led you astray-with your country ignorant ass! You should have asked somebody or used your police “background check” technology to check us out first. We are your worst nightmare.

I bet you didn’t even consider that she would tell her family. I bet you were so excited at the prospect of sleeping with her, that you didn’t envision this day. I would also bet you are a repeat offender. After all, you are a law enforcement officer on a college campus filled with young, vulnerable black women.

It matters not what your thoughts were when you decided my grand-daughter would be the next victim; your latest toy. But your failure to think with the head that’s in your skull, rather than the head of your penis, has put you in the limelight and front and center in the Shanae Hall and Rhonda Frost family. And the show has only just begun. You are about to be famous. If you would have taken your penis out of your ass, and actually took a few moments to check out her family as much as you were checking out her young body parts, you would have known who we were, and you would have gleaned that “she” comes from a family of advocates for women’s rights, and social justice fighters. You would have known that she comes from a long line of strong black women, who don’t mince words, who are intelligent, media personalities and writers; and you would have known that we will come for you.

Bet you know now. Hindsight is f*cking 20/20!

But I digress…

Did you really believe you would have a “sexual relationship” with our 18-year-old baby girl? Did you believe we would allow it? She’s a freshman in college and you are my age! How sick is that? If no one told you yet, I will…you failed in the due diligence department. You failed in the think it through department. You failed in covering your tracks. You probably aren’t very good at your job of policing either; you probably don’t write well and couldn’t chase down a suspect if you had to. Just not smart at all. Had you been smart, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, my grand-daughter wouldn’t have audio clips of your sex-laden proposals and other stories to tell about your visit to her dorm, and you wouldn’t have put yourself out there, with this freshman girl.

But alas, most perverts don’t think things through or weigh the risks accurately. No worries though, something tells me that you will have plenty of time to think things through in the near future.

By the way, I read the FVSU sexual assault policy and found it almost humorous, especially that part about “notifying campus police in the event of an alleged on-campus sexual assault…and all members of the university community are directed to immediately notify campus police and file an official report”. Quick question for you and the school administration, “who do the students tell when the perpetrator is the police?”

I also read FVSU student conduct handbook. I like that you aim to hold students accountable for bad behavior. And I read parts of the online employee handbook and I note page 9, and 10 as well as page 59 and 60 in particular, in that employee handbook and that part about “zero tolerance for sexual harassment” and that section on “amorous relationships with students”. I am sure FVSU wrote these rules to be followed. I am sure the school had good intentions when these policies and procedures were drafted. The words certainly sound clear and dramatic.

But alas, men and their dicks.

What I’ve come to know is that men, with their need for sex and power, and their seemingly insatiable lust, will violate rules, risk freedom, and take chances that will ruin not only their careers, but their marriages, and the lives of women, just to get some “ass” (aka sex); and to catch their next prey. It’s a proven historical fact.

I’ve seen all this before. As an attractive woman, who was also a fully developed girl at Nya’s age, I too have been the victim of inappropriate touching, inappropriate comments and sexual advances by men of all ages, that started when I was a girl, and has continued all throughout my adult life. My employment life was no different. Too many women have that story. I know sexual harassment and perverts all too well. It’s men just like you, who are in all of our stories.

So here we are.

And just to put you on notice: Before you and your comrades get too slick, I want to let you know that I am a prior law enforcement officer with California Department of Corrections. I started as a Correctional Officer and worked my way up to Correctional Captain, Chief of Background Investigations. I understand law enforcement roles and boundaries. I understand the culture and “blue(or green) walls of silence”. I understand false reporting and abuses of power more than most. So we will be watching how your agency handles it.

I am also a “woke” black woman.  I am in tuned to the world. I see how Black bodies are treated. I am aware that black women subjected to sexual violence and even death, are too often, invisible. I see how injustices are carried out on Black bodies with little to no accountability. Trust me, this case will be different. I assure you it will.

Your words and actions, reek of perversion. I can’t help but wonder how many other young women have been subject to your sexual advances over the years at FVSU and in your personal life. How many other young impressionable women have you dangled the “I will satisfy you sexually, get your hair done, nails done and take you places” carrot, who actually took the bait? This isn’t your first rodeo. Predators don’t start at this late stage of life. I would be surprised if you aren’t another unhappily married pig with a long list of victims.

Unfortunately for you, this is a time in American history where women no longer have to hide, or live in fear of speaking up about sexual harassment, abuse, or molestation, out of intimidation or threat. You picked the wrong 18-year-old, wrong family and wrong era.

Too bad for you and FVSU, between my daughter and I, we have over 30,000 social media followers. Add to that, we have experience working with the media, writing and video making skills and we have “A” list connections. Clearly, you mistook my grand-daughter for a young needy, broken, black child without a strong family behind her, or you simply let your penis and deranged sexual mind, do the thinking for you, it was a terrible lapse in judgment on your part. Next time, you will think before you act.

Let this serve as a reminder to all men who think with their penis instead of their brains. You might want to count to 1000, list all of the possible ramifications of your actions, then ask yourself if it’s worth it. But anyway, it just got real! Shame on you! And shame on FVSU!  The chickens have come home to roost.

11 Things to Ask Yourself (and Your Partner) Before You say “I Do”

by Rhonda E. Frost

I’ve been married and I’ve been divorced. I’ve now been single (in the technical sense) for 12 years. This time spent, outside of the covenant of marriage, has given me plenty of time to think about what I want and need, and what I hope to give to my husband; it has also allowed me the quiet space to think about what I will do different when I remarry. For starters, I needed an honest examination of my beliefs, behavior and choices. I wanted a clearer prism. And I needed meaningful questions to ask myself, and my partner.

Full disclosure (as one of my dear friends often says, before he tells me anything), I am no guru. In fact, I have more questions than answers. I am however, a woman who has risen from the ashes of past mistakes; a woman in full transformation mode who has had her share of painful love lessons and relationship regrets. I am also a woman who has read hundreds of relationship self-help books and articles and have had the privilege to interview married and divorced people over the years, to gain perspective.

I am wiser now.

A little backstory: I was a wife at 23. It was an impromptu decision one day; we just went and got married. We were madly “in love”, and we didn’t want to lose that, or each other, so we drove to Reno, Nevada, found one of those chapels and tied the knot. And for almost two decades, we rode the wave of love and marriage dysfunction. I won’t speak on him here. I will only speak on me. I didn’t understand the gravity of the title of “wife”. I didn’t know what I wanted or needed. I did not know what to expect. I did not know how to love and give selflessly; nor did I fully understand or value commitment. I was without a point of reference. And the tumultuous events leading up to my marriage didn’t help(that is a whole other blog). Everything was broken: my boundaries, thoughts, expectations, trust, and self-esteem. What I learned is, being “in love”, isn’t enough when two people are broken and operating without a love and happiness plan.

Having said all that, if I knew at 23, or 33 what I know now at 54, about love, marriage, and commitment and how rare it is to find someone of quality who genuinely cares; who is willing to step-in, hold you up, and add value to your life, while being an “all in” partner, I would have likely still been married. but alas, we don’t necessarily grow from doing things right the first time, we learn and grow the most, through suffering.

The late great Dr. Maya Angelou said, “but when you know better, you do better”. I honor and value marriage today. I understand the work that it entails and I see the blessings and joy that come from a committed, healthy and happy union.

It’s taken years for me to even think about marriage, but now that I have begun to do so, there are questions that I deem important to ask. This list is not all-encompassing. You can certainly add to it or not entertain any of it, but the fact is, fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. That’s a five zero(50)! That means there’s a one in two chance that if you get married, it will end in divorce. Imagine hearing those odds on every flight you take. Imagine the airline staff announcing, “excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, we are so glad you are flying with us today to sunny Florida, we just want to let you know there is a fifty percent chance that this flight that you are about to board, won’t make it to its destination. Some of our pilots are trained, some not so much, but we trust them to get us there. Thank you for flying with Delta, we know you have a choice, but we are glad you chose us”. Would you still fly? Or would you look for other viable ways to get to where you are trying to go, with better odds? Or perhaps, you might decide to just stay home.

The point of that imperfect analogy is: all of us want to get there successfully, and with as little turbulence as possible. So, if you are going to take the chance, and if you actually want it to work, and enjoy the beautiful journey, we have to prepare for it. These questions are just a start. The rest is up to you.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you take the marriage flight:

1. What do I want? -It’s imperative to know what you want and to examine if it’s reasonable.

2. What do I need? -Make a list of what you believe you need from your mate. Talk about those things while dating i.e., sex, communication, attention, financial help, religious connection, someone to guide you, a chef, a prayer partner, a workout partner, a parent for your children, a business partner, etc.

3. What do I expect? -Examine your expectations. Are they reality based or fairytale driven? Do you believe every day is going to be blissful and without conflict? Do you think your mate is supposed to pay all the bills, initiate sex every night, keep the house clean, never get angry, be ready for sex on cue, look amazing waking up, cook 7 days a week, never get tired or frustrated…? I could go on, but you get the idea. Expectations can kill relationships.

4. What can I offer? -Every person needs to examine what they bring to the relationship. Ask yourself what you offer besides sex, having a six-pack stomach or being fine or sexy. Physical attributes are lovely and they add icing to the cake, but who are you without that, or in addition to that? Do you bring stability? A good credit score? Loyalty? Wisdom? An ability to plan and organize? Financial management? Humor? A good heart and loving spirit? Parenting skills? Communication skills? Another language to teach? Dreams and goals to share? Kindness and clarity? Prepare for that question. Think about how you will add value to your partner’s life. If all you have to offer someone is beauty, booty, a nice body, or a snazzy car and “things”, then you might want to beef up your relationship resume.

5. What am I willing to sacrifice? -I read this quote in a Christian article that aligns with this question. It said If we want to have a satisfying marriage, one where the passion and excitement never ends, we must be willing to sacrifice our own needs for the needs of our mate. In other words, we need to be selfless.

To that point, one of my single male friends called me recently to talk about the idea of marriage. He is 58 years old. I’ve known him for 9 years and he’s been running the streets as a single man and enjoying his freedom. But this call was different. He called to talk about marriage and how much he wants companionship now and how conflicted he is about sharing a life with someone, even though he believes it’s something he wants now. I asked him if he was fearful of sharing his money and assets (because he’s done well for himself financially and is nearing retirement) and surprisingly, he said “no, not at all, that’s the least of my worries”. He went on to say “I am more concerned with sharing my space and having to answer for my time.” There was a lot more to that conversation, but my point here is that the longer we are single, the more selfish we might be about time, resources and sharing space. And the less we want to sacrifice for someone else. Marriage is about sacrifice and caring for someone else. Think long and hard about what you are ready and willing to sacrifice.

6. Can I commit? -This is self-explanatory. It’s a yes or no question. And it’s not a convenience thing. It’s a lifetime thing. Commitment is real even when someone gains weight; even when days aren’t good, even when someone is sick, and money is tight; even when that sexy new coworker is smelling good and looking good sitting in the office right next to you, and you just had an argument with your spouse last night. Commitment, in today’s throw away, swipe left or right, effortless access to new ass, society makes this challenging. If you can’t commit and stay through a couple of forever’s, don’t commit or say “I do”. Period. You can’t straddle the single fence, in marriage. There’s no harm or foul in remaining single.

7. Will my baggage interfere? -We all have some sort of baggage, especially any of us over 40 or 50 years old. But yes, even young people can have baggage depending on what they have experienced growing up, and what they’ve experienced in love relationships. But the question is, will your baggage make your mate suffer and will it impair the relationship?

Baggage is anything you’ve been carrying from the past into the present moment that hinders you from being happy or living your best life. It is anything that will impact your relationship in a negative way. Baggage can be: trust issues, fear, low self-esteem, inability to allow your mate to feel free, inability to communicate, shutting down emotionally, violent tendencies, selfishness, non-productive financial habits etc.. You know what your past looks like. You know what issues have come up over and over again. You know what you’ve been through. It’s unfair to bring someone into your life and expect them to fix you or “just deal with it”, (though some will). And no, you don’t have to be all together to fall in love and marry (there are lots of married folks who didn’t have it all together, found a way to make it work and are still happily married), but you should have at least identified your issues and be actively working on them.

On a personal note, after carefully looking at my dating and relationship history, I sought counseling. I knew I didn’t’ want to go into my marriage(you notice that I am calling it into existence?) with baggage, and repeating old thoughts and patterns. I knew I wanted to do something different. I wanted to offer a better me. And perhaps I won’t be baggage free, but instead of having the type of baggage noted in the arrival scene of Coming to America, (only Coming to America movie watchers will get this), I will instead, enter with just a “carry on”.

8. Who am I when I am alone? -It’s been said that you have to know how to enjoy your life alone and be whole, before you get coupled up or marry. Your time being single(alone) is precious and is necessary. Being single allows you to do everything you want without accountability or sharing your time. It also is the time you learn to appreciate who you are, work on self and identify what you like about you. It’s the time when you can be completely naked. If you don’t like spending time with you, why would anyone else?

9. What is it that I think marriage will do for my life?- Ask yourself why you want to be married. Is it just to avoid feeling alone? Is it for financial reasons? Is it to have someone help with raising kids? Is it to be Facebook official; to be able to tell your friends you are married? Know why you want to be married.

10. Do I know what love is? And can I love? – Yes, I realize that is two questions in one, but both are so good! Listen, I don’t have the lock (aka the skinny) on what love is, but I do know saying “I love you” is easier than actually showing love on a daily basis to the same person. In my humble opinion, those words are overused, in feel-good moments, and underperformed, in real life. I bet right now you can name some people in your circle who claim to “love” someone or who once “loved” someone and their behavior didn’t match what you thought love looked like. When is the last time you even examined what the word is and what love actions look and feel like? To “fall in love” with someone or to say “I love you” is supposed to represent the highest form of feeling for another person, and the highest level of care. So the question is, what made you say that or feel that and what will it mean to say that to someone in terms of your actions? It can’t be just emotion during good times and great sex. When I was 20 and 30 those words didn’t mean the same as they mean today.

To go a little further on this subject: What makes us “fall in love”? To “fall in love” with a person, should mean you’ve seen something good from them. You’ve seen their light and promise. Perhaps they’ve shown consistent and demonstrative behavior that shows you how much they care. In my mind, it means they’ve established that they’ve got your back; they’ve been consistent in their truth and kindness, they’ve shown an undeniable level of attention; they answer your calls and texts, they show up when you need them, they support and encourage you, they laugh and cry with you, they ask about your life and dreams and they care about what impacts you. This application applies to both parties. Also for the sake of clarity, it’s worth it to find out each other’s love language.

11. What will I do different this time? -If you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship, and it didn’t work, ask what you will do differently this time. Yes, it’s easy to blame the other person and to think you were perfect in your relationship; but if you are completely honest, you will acknowledge that you probably didn’t get it all the way right and that perhaps you even did some things that were just wrong, selfish, and hurtful. The key here is not about blame or dredging up the past, but to learn from what you didn’t get right in your other life, and to avoid repeating the pattern.

There are many other questions we can ask before thinking about getting married, but these will get you started in self-reflection. What I’ve learned is that baggage, unrealistic expectations, lack of commitment, and just not knowing how to be a partner, are just as problematic for marriage, as are money and sex issues. I realize that this is a non-scientific statement, but I’d like to be proven wrong.

There is a quote that says, “to have what you’ve never had, you have to do what you’ve never done”. There is also a quote that says, “doing the same thing, and expecting different results, is insanity.” If all of your previous relationships have worked, this isn’t for you(and you should write a book that tells the world how that’s done). This is for the rest of us. We have to do what we’ve not done before, think like we’ve never thought and be open to seeing it from a different view, in order to grow in our relationships. Our future marriages depend on it.

*This is a chapter from the upcoming book: Relationship Soul Food: A Collection of Heartfelt Stories, Inspirational Quotes and Powerful Lessons about Love, Dating and Marriage, due out Spring 2019



Thoughts on Life-Headed Into 2018: Each New Year Gives Us a New Opportunity to Eat the Cake and Be Present

When I was 20 and 30 I never imagined I would grow old(er). I was too busy with my life to have such concerns. I was young, sexy and fly; I was a career woman and a mother of 4 children; I was a wife, a student, a reader, party girl, and a troubled soul. I was on my journey. I was busy doing me. Who has time for such worries at that age?

When we are in college, starting careers, dealing with our relationships, and later our marriages, at the club, caught up in our drama, busy raising kids, and doing our thing, we never think we will grow old. Nor do we think anything will happen to us. We aren’t thinking retirement, illness or the impact of divorce. We just lived and had fun!

One of the things that 2017 gave me, was the chance to turn 54. I don’t feel like I’m 54, but it’s real. I’m a grown ass woman! I’m wondering where the years went, and what the future holds. Today, all of it’s on my mind(see above). Not in a bad way, but it’s on my mind.

That said, I’m grateful to be here and to be “holding up”, but make no mistake, time keeps ticking “into the future”, as the song says. Eventually, father time and mother nature win. In the meantime, I plan to seize my moments.

Know this: you will never be as young as you are right now. Enjoy each age that you are blessed to be. Each year, that you are blessed to see. Tomorrow is not promised.

Leave nothing on the table. Be present. Love hard. Dance like no-one is watching. Use the good China, and spray on the good perfume. Eat the cake! Wear the fancy dress and the expensive suit. Buy the “red bottoms” and wear them! Say what you need to say. Take the trip. Kiss the guy or girl (with consent of course). Play the music. Make the call! Wear the red matte lipstick! Love on your parents and family. Smile! And take the selfies! Capture the moments!

Remember Amanda Davis(the ATL news anchor) was at the airport the other day, headed to see her family and attend a funeral in another state, when she had a massive stroke at the airport, she later passed away at the hospital. Instantly! Just like that! Here one minute, gone the next. I’m struggling with that. She was 62!


Cherish your life, and love on the people who matter. Go into 2018 on fire and present! YOLO!

By Rhonda E. Frost