July Guest Blogger: Kelly Harris-DeBerry

I’m excited to introduce you to a New Orleans transplant…a woman with a powerfully soulful and thought-provoking message!  Kelly is a published poet, blogger, entrepreneur, and all around cool Sista!  She has mastered the art of keeping it real and raw with words that challenge your thinking while lifting your soul to new heights of awareness.  She really is THAT Sista!  Enjoy!!!

– Dr. Kim

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.
-Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

My husband and I want our daughter, Naomi, to love reading. As often as I can, I take Naomi to storytime at the local library. We usually arrive on time to find a good seat on the activity carpet. It’s the perfect mid-day activity for stay-at-home parents/caregivers. Naomi enjoys the finger play, books, songs and nursery rhymes. She often sways in a circle, clapping and singing her enthusiasm. I give her freedom, but keep her close.

“She claps loud,” a parent whines. Naomi continues.

The beginning of the melody of If You’re Happy & You Know It plays and her enthusiasm grows. Now she is swaying, clapping and giggling in a circle, before the lyrics begin.

“She’s not doing it right!” whines a child seemingly two years older.

The parent assures the worried child that Naomi is indeed not clapping on time and with practice her claps will align with the song. “She’ll learn to clap with the song, honey.”

I am annoyed at the adult and child who feel sorry for Naomi clapping early.
Then it hits me.

Naomi is happy and she knows it.

KellyNaomiIf you’re happy, not only will your face show it, but your being, your essence, your spirit, how you engage others will reflect self-assuredness and inner bliss.
Naomi was not trying to showboat. Naomi laughs and dances each day with or without music or an audience. Clapping and singing are as natural to her as breathing.

When she cries, she often claps. Sometimes I have to ask her, “Are you happy or sad?”
She even watches The Jefferson’s reruns with her feet crossed — laughing at George and Weezy.

She’s just a happy baby—a happy Black baby— among a sea of white children.

Naomi was unaware of the stares and snarky comments. But as a parent, I wondered if this was an environment I should remove her from. But then again, this is a teachable moment:

Don’t change who you are to make others comfortable.

Unhappy people often want you to dim your light and happiness.

If you’re happy and you know it, you can clap and dance whenever you want.
I pulled Naomi close to me and kissed her.

“Don’t let anyone steal your joy,” I whispered.

She smiled and took off, twirling in the center of the crowd like no one was watching.



Check out Kelly Harris-DeBerry – “Your homegirl in digital world ” – at Brassy Brown (http://www.brassybrown.com) where Women of Color are first in line!


3 thoughts on “July Guest Blogger: Kelly Harris-DeBerry

  1. First of all the Neale Hurston quote put me in a happy place! Secondly I can totally relate to this type of experience. This is why it’s so important for us to share these “everyday stories.” At first glance this situation seems meanial. However I believe moments like these are actually loaded with emotions and behaviors, that over time become memories and observations, which ultimately turn into opinions and impressions. I think the earlier we teach our children the value of joy and engaging one another the better they are at not being thrown off by negativity as adults. This precious little girl will experience these same behaviors in the board room, in a college class, etc. I’m glad to see that she’ll be prepared to let her light shine!

  2. Great reminder to let our kids be. I tend to want to shush and control my son when he’s excited, especially when he’s the only black kid in the group but I also try not to give him a complex. I know I’m too hyper-aware of what other’s might think. Bravo to you for letting her be free. We are only kids once.

  3. Reblogged this on BrassyBrown.com and commented:
    I recently was a guest blogger for Confessions of an Ex-Superwoman. Can you imagine someone telling your child he/she claps wrong? Well that’s what happened to me. Read more here:

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