Happy Thanksgiving. I woke up this morning with Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You” in my head. I don’t know if it’s the love I feel for my Black TV Film Crew community that has sent me this message, the love I have for my closest friends who cover me, or the warmth that radiates from my own family. All I know is I woke up this morning with pure love in my heart. And then I thought, it’s Thanksgiving. These days I look at Thanksgiving as the day—and even the time of year to remember all the things that you have to be thankful for. Holidays can be notoriously difficult because they bring up loss and memories which can never be had again, but if you could take a moment to think about what you’re thankful for, what would that look like?
Last night on Instagram Live I asked the members of the Black TV Film Crew platform to share what they are thankful for and it was a heartwarming conversation. You can see what they said in the video below.
But for me Yasmin, what am I thankful for?
1. My health: Over the last 30 days, I’ve spent more time walking, jogging and making exercise a priority. I’ve always—more or less—been a gym rat. Moving to California and then COVID-19 changed that. I can’t stand how crowded Los Angeles work out facilities are and gyms are a COVID-19 breeding ground. But, this past month I’ve taken to hiking and jogging on a consistent basis. My resting heart rate and my waistline thank my renewed dedication to exercise.
2. My kids: My children reflect back to me the love that my husband and I have poured into them. And even though my husband is gone, his presence lives on through our kids. My son, a young Charles Drew, is a marvel to watch on a daily basis. He can do a trigonometry equation and make a mean chicken stir fry and of course, leave his sneakers in the middle of my living room. My daughter, a songwriter, singer and marketing whiz, is a blend of creative, kind, and intentional energy. She can write a dope song, deliver an awesome hook and then produce your EPK. And of course, she can also let you know when you’ve crossed the line. Seeing how their personalities, upbringing, and personal choices intertwine is a daily source of inspiration and comedy.
My children reflect back to me the love that my husband and I have poured into them.
3. My new love: I’ve built new friendships over the past year and they have been a source of strength and compassion for me. As dark as life can be when you feel a loss, light often comes shining through when you least expect it. I’m thankful for the new love I have in my life, it has helped to heal a broken heart. I’m especially thankful to one person who listened to my cry as I tried to rebuild various pieces of my life. Though I’m not done crying, and nor am I done rebuilding, I cherish our friendship.
As dark as life can be when you feel a loss, light comes shining through when you least expect it.
4. My husband’s memory: There are so many times when I find myself laughing because of a memory I shared with my husband. Michael loved our family, he enjoyed laughing and having a good time. There are days when I’m watching Dave Chappelle on Netflix and I think, my husband would have been rolling on the floor watching this with me. It’s been hard to get over his unexpected death, but our life together has left me with a lifetime of great memories.
5. My Parents: My parents brought me into this world when I didn’t ask to be here. LOL. Seriously though, I am thankful for the lessons my parents gave me. They exposed me to Black culture, pursuing the goals of my heart and loving family. Of course, they taught me a few things that I didn’t want to pass on to my kids as well. But, overall, they gave me more than they took away. Knowing I can still pick up the phone and call my parents is a blessing and I’m grateful for it.
6. My Black TV Film Crew family: Whew. I don’t know how to thank the people who show up on our IG Lives, who send me DMs, who’ve joined our writing group, who post in our Facebook groups, who visit the website, and even purchase Black TV Film Crew gear. Your presence in my life is a tremendous blessing. The kindness you’ve shown me warms me to my core. Knowing that there are so many people across the US and the globe who want to be a part of an empowering, connecting movement speaks to the power of Black culture. Thank you.
Black TV Film Crew family, your presence in my life is a tremendous blessing.
7. My work: My work has always given me purpose. And during these last two years, when I’ve experienced a lot of personal darkness, I feel my work pulling me out of the hole – ever so slowly. My work has always been anchored by my fans and those who appreciate how I create and do my thing whether writing a book, a script, working in a production office, or running Black TV Film Crew. Knowing that my work and the way I work may inspire someone is the inspiration I need to stay focused. Everyone who has ever believed in me or read anything that I’ve written or watched anything that I’ve directed or worked alongside me in a production office, I appreciate you. And, I thank you.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and try to remember all the blessings that exist in your life. You were put here for a purpose. May you find it and live it to your heart’s content.