By Terry Allen

I told you many times over, Lucille “Big Mama’s Allen would be trending over everybody else if she were alive today.  Lucille “Big Mama” Allen’s lessons are always appropriate for the time. The great thing about Lucille “Big Mama” Allen’s wisdom is that wherever I go, I hear them re-stated over and over again in other people.

Just recently, as I hosted In the Spirit Entertainment, Inc.’s Dallas Lit event, where I asked the panel, a question extracted from widespread public advice Denzel Washington gave Will Smith after that famous slap. He said to Will, “When you are at your highest, that is when the devil comes for you.”

Big Mama would offer an alternative statement to Will. She would tell him to reach inside and remind him of Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Big Mama knew The Bible showed a very direct route to your best self, our internal gift and the execution of your intentional assignment. Spiritual leader, Iyanla Vanzant flips the statement and says, ‘If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.”  As we go about planning our days and lives, we sometimes learn that God or our higher power has another plan for us. It’s this title saying that resonates with the year-plus losses to COVID-19 and the continued economic ravages of the Pandemic.

This is also a quote from Woody Allen, I believe the original is an old Yiddish proverb but he said, “We plan, God laughs.” but you get the idea. Every time I heard this wisdom, I would laugh; I could always relate to it, but not as much as I do right now. 

The meaning of this Big Mama-ism struck me differently. It might mean that even with the best of plans, things can change with the blink of an eye due to an unexpected shift, illness, injury, or even death. Now that I think about it, I see this quote as a message to be honest and realistic about our plans and goal. Alert: Make God Smile! 

I now tie Big Mama’s statement to those who cry out that our democracy is at stake but do nothing to eliminate the fear tactics and lies (also known as disinformation) by exercising their right to vote, enact laws and protect amendments. They outcry but they do not vote, or they do not bring others to the polls to protect the democracy and ensure fairness happens at the ballot.

Citizens participate in the democratic process by voting. Leaders represent citizens’ interests and represent their ideas, and citizens vote for them in elections. In addition to the right to vote, U.S. citizens have the right to run for office at the federal level. So, in the spirit of Lucille “Big Mama” Allen, yesterday someone said, “Please vote like Obama is on the ballot.”   So, if you want to sustain the democracy, protect the ballot and hear God smile, then vote as if Obama is on the ballot. He won both his terms successfully.

So, will you take 5 people to the polls? If so, post it on social media and use the hashtag #Gimme5. Email your voting pictures to

Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, a DEI expert and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook, Sister CEO and 1016 Media. Reach him at