Everyone will not be happy for you, celebrate you, support you, be your personal cheerleader… even when they call themselves your friend. Why? Because in addition to being your friend, your friend has her own hurt, pain, and baggage that she carries around like a heavy burden. That shit isn’t your load, but sometimes we have to throw that back to them so they are aware that your back is not the resting place for their failure to do their work!
Bitter Betty will find something negative to say about everything or that one thing, depending on whether her whole life is disappointing her or if she just hates her job, hates being single, or despises her current space in life. She will dismiss the things that are important to you, to try to get you on board with her foolishness. Your new job, new look, new relationship, new diet, whatever, will be dismissed as small and insignificant the larger her disappointment with her job, her reflection, her loneliness, or her carb binges. But as a friend said… “Friends don’t let friends be bitter…” Call her, in a loving and nurturing way, on her shit. Our lives are often not parallel, and true friendship means supporting one another right where you are, even when you are in the valley and she is on cloud nine!
Negative Nancy is similar to Betty, but wayyyyy more irritating and likely to be cursed out. Nancy always has something to say, about everything, and it’s never good. She says she is just brutally honest. You say your new boss is great; Nancy says your new boss is simply trying to make you comfortable enough so he can backstab you. You say your new beau is awesome; Nancy tells you he is like all other men and only wants the goods. You say you love the new dress you found and it makes you look great; Nancy tells you that you look better in pants. Even friends have their moments, and usually you know when it’s simply her brutal honesty at work or her negativity. But you might have to remind her that her truth is not your truth, and it’s unnecessary from here on out. Or hands she might catch…
One-Up Olivia is the definition of a hater, but she thinks she’s just letting you know how fabulous she is. No! She always has the higher heels, the more expensive handbag, the bigger paycheck, the finer man, the bigger and better EVERYTHING… from things to experiences. So when you say your new job is great and pays you well, Olivia reminds you that she has made six figures for ten years. When you talk about your dating life, she is “dating: the next odyssey” and has bigger and better dates and better and more thoughtful men. But she’s eternally single, so there is that! Olivia goes to better restaurants, parties, and just has a better life, and she can’t stop reminding you, but only after you have shared an experience. Be careful, she’s secretly smelling your shit for her seconds.
Bestie Brenda is your biggest cheerleader, happy for you at every turn, and she will be honest but only out of love and leave you to explore your own life choices free from her ire! She might think that job, man, dress, hairstyle is utter garbage, but she is going to support you if you are happy. Period. She will hate everyone who does you wrong, in fact, she has a set of old keys and a bat for the destruction of paint jobs and tinted windows. Everyone can catch the hands, but she simultaneously uses them to pray for you and clap for your successes! And Brenda will bust on Betty, Nancy, and Olivia at a moments notice… cuz she peeps them! I 👀 you!
No one is perfect, we all have our flaws. But you can’t have a friend if you don’t know how to be a friend. It’s simple, be supportive, even when you personally see failure on the horizon. The truth is, we are all looking through lenses smudged by our own experience, but that’s your reality. Be deliberate about allowing your friends the space and freedom to be themselves and share with you. Otherwise, you are likely being a hater… and there is no hateration in this dancery!
I just read an article about CDC research that says Black women experience the highest rates of homicide of any racial group. To top it off, our cases are then grossly mishandled like the #KennekaJenkins case. Add to that being threatened financially when we speak the truth, #JemeleHill, and being virtually invisible in the current political scene. Additionally, the racism/sexism that many of my peers face in the workplace by men, of diverse racial backgrounds, who purposefully stand in opposition to their success (though we are most often more educated and talented).
Black women are THE most unprotected group of people in America.
So kill all of that… Black women talk too much, have attitudes, don’t do this or that, don’t support their men, are materialistic, rah rah. We are always talking, supporting, loving, taking care of, working hard for EVERYONE! That Louis Vuitton bag does not define us, that closet full of clothes is not where our loyalties lie… but it is just a simple reminder that sometimes we have to do something for ourselves besides exhaling. Black Women are expected to present as carefree, confident, compassionate, and comforting in a time and space where they cannot work, speak, party, or live without being targeted by racism, violence, and utter bullshit! We travel in packs for safety, not because we are exchanging mascara tips. We text each other…”home” so we can sleep knowing our friends are safe. So if you know and love a Black Woman, love us with understanding that while we have your back… our backs are still out here bearing the lashes!
I am not single.
I am a not singular.
I am my mother’s only
But I was my father’s too.
I am raising my only
But he’s got two!
I am not ALONE in anything.
I am unmarried… true…
but never without…
Just as being married does not equal
Not interested in settling down
Moving on up or I aint moving with you.
I’m not a stereotype.
I defy stereotypes.
Ratchet hip hop with stock options.
All white ones
Followed by lots of black zeros.
You can call me by my first name
While I hustle for my last one.
I set curves in the classroom
And curve suckas in the street
Fine dining with the dimes
Pulling up a chair and taking my seat!
Don’t try to put me in a box.
I get my Prime order
And break down boxes.
Cover up the labels
And send back what’s unwanted.
Wanna call me names
Dial me up and ask to speak to
“The muthafuqqin most high flying, epically intelligent, lit Black unicorn in the universal sky!”
You wanna call me something… call me that!
But, no more labels!
Detroit, the movie… it was hard to watch. As it should have been. The attempt by Katheryn Bigelow to recreate the terror of the individuals at the Algiers incident, a brutal part of the 12th Street Riots in Detroit in 1967, was a great attempt, and I applaud her. The story, the visuals, felt very real and authentic. No fault of Bigelow’s, I also felt like there was something missing. In a city that was becoming increasingly Black, policed by an almost entirely White police force, brutality was the norm not the exception. This was, and still is, the case in many highly minority populated communities in America.
While the decision to tell this story at the 50th year anniversary is a great exercise in telling stories important to American history, it is more a story of African-American terror in our relationship with law enforcement, racism, and our simultaneous lack of belief in the American justice system. That is a subject I am very emotionally heightened about. Yet, I felt little emotion watching Detroit other than anger and what bordered on hatred. I hated the White police and their actions more than I felt the fear, terror, and very real emotions of the Black patrons being victimized and terrorized. It was portrayed, but there was something missing, and not by the actors. I think part of that stems from the inability to personally understand the real historical and continued fear and nuanced relationship Black people have with the police, as a White filmmaker and director. This scene, I have seen parts of on real video too many times even 50 years later, reminded me so much of the Oscar Grant video… where I didn’t get angry until after I was upset, hurt, and could understand the fear these Black people felt while being victimized by the people who are supposed to protect them. It didn’t look as real but it FELT more real. I felt like what Fruitvale Station lacked in cinematography, it made up for in soul and rawness. Yet those emotions escaped me with Detroit. I would argue, Ryan Coogler understood and didn’t just empathize with the fear, terror, and sad but very real ability for these Black characters to navigate the situation at that train station based on what was their experience with it.
Interestingly enough, I felt the compassion of the one police officer who helped Larry Cleveland more than I did the attempt (with his life might I add) by Melvin Dismukes to keep as many of those kids, as possible, alive. Instead he came across as a police sympathizer in some instances, instead of a life saver. In part, because there is no understanding on the parts of the filmmaker, the director, who have researched the historical events but don’t have the experience with trying to live through, even if partially seeming to support racist actions… when there really is no support at all, but simply the goal to not die. That didn’t come across at all, and John Boydega, a phenomenal actor, just didn’t have the character development or the script to display that. I also noticed the fact that the trial was held outside of Detroit was a factor not discussed… because, in part, the larger point of failed justice that permeates police brutality cases against African Americans isn’t a reality that is discussed much outside of the incidents in the media. Yet it is an almost assumed reality by African Americans.
Hollywood is the playground for White directors and filmmakers… that will invite Black actors when they are needed. Telling important stories is not split down racial lines, but we must have a seat at the table to really have these stories told from a place of understanding and not just empathy. The reason Malcolm X was so powerful is because Spike Lee understood his legacy, importance, story… not because the originally planned White filmmaker was allowed to explore his story with empathy regarding his importance to the Black community.
Meanwhile in Detroit, race relations begin to ebb and flow yet again, as gentrification threatens to push out members of the Black population, many around since 1967, paints the city in a whole new light. Stadiums and living spaces are erected. Buildings grow taller. But remember… Neon signs aren’t always a symbol of real progress and a good time!
Picture it…1994… Detroit, Michigan
Young teens about to embark on the turning points of their lives, college. Among, if not THEE, most intelligent students to come out of DPS that year. These kids, when given the chance to select their class song, pick “Hero” by Mariah Carey… “and you cast your fears aside, and you know you can survive!” Survivors, indeed! Yet…YET… these same kids, when selecting the theme of their prom, pick a song so inappropriate… not in title, but in lyrics…”Seems Like You’re Ready” by Robert Kelly, yep, the very R. Kelly who married a 15 year old and years later became known by three simple words…piss on you! Yep… Seems Like You’re Ready…
“Temperatures rising and your body’s yearning, for me…”
A song about two people having sex for the first time… but somehow now sounds very statutory rapey… seems like you’re ready?!?!? A grown woman wouldn’t need to be talked into sex. Sounds like he was actually directing the words “girl lay it on me, I place no one above thee” to woo the draws off the 17 and 18 year old girls voting to have his song on our prom matchbooks and napkins. Dude was definitely into the baby powdery punanny (well some of us were still powder fresh…lol) of young girls! Does he even like grown women?
R.Kelly has BEEN nasty, thing is, most of us who are most bothered by his filthy ways today, were his muses when he was at the height of making his rapey rapture music. We knew it too… and while we were stupid, 17years old, and didn’t realize how wrong it was, he was thinking those nasty thoughts, and we were dancing to his nasty groove.
Honestly, I actually liked R. Kelly until I saw that unfortunate video of him and what was clearly and underage girl. When I realized he really WAS married to a 15 year old. And that day marked the last time I purchased anything he was selling. I wouldn’t buy a magazine with his picture in it, or spit on him if he was on fire. He abuses children and that makes him inhuman to me, not worthy to be called by a name, a privilege given to humans and most domesticated animals even. I call his name today, only to make it my last time.
Sooooo….fuck R.Kelly. I believe he can fly to hell. If you purchase his music and go see him in concert, you are adding to the power and control he is able to use to woo the dumb ass parent graduates of the school of Kris Jenner… selling your kids to the highest bidder as human sacrifice. You too are a part of the problem. Don’t support rapists. Just don’t… it makes you kind of a rapey conspirator! Had you stopped buying albums and going to shows a long time ago… It seems like his ass would be ready for a prison cell!
Before I had experienced many things… music taught me!
We were all better off dancing to the beat of our own drum, together, like the dude in the diaper in Parliament Funkadelic
That I could be mysterious, protective, nurturing, and a Boss, all at the same time… cuz I’m Every Woman
To settle for no less than a man that feels about you like Stevie felt about whoever he wrote All I Do and Knocks Me Off My Feet about …
That God will bring you too the perfect mate just like he did for Alicia Myers
That you should stand up for what you believe in, even break rules if necessary, and be A Rebel without Pause about your freedom
To be selective about your friends, cuz Whodini and TLC said so
To be a soldier #fortheculture because The Revolution will not be Televised
That I should be a good neighbor like Mr. Rogers
That I could go places just by opening a book… before Lavar Burton wore that funny headband on his eyes
To ask for what you want, cuz like Tootie, Michael Jackson might not only write you but sing your letter back to you!!!!
That human emotion is the music of life… The Marriage of Figaro
And that the more diverse your outlook, the more you expose yourself to, the bigger and better your playlists and your life will be!
Today, I watched young Black boys laugh, play, eat, run, smile, jump, swim, splash, dance, and be! I remember their names… Robert, Rashaad, Jacob… their beautiful faces, please and thank yous, and food…they ate a lot of food. Growing and maturing, both independent and still looking around, calling out “Ma!” when they couldn’t locate their towel, bag, or the goggles sitting on their heads.
They love their mothers.
They want to be like their fathers.
They run and jump.
They get all As.
And yes, Black boys swim.
They deserve to grow up and sit and watch their children do these same things. To ensure that, we must all change our minds about Black boys.
They aren’t scary or dangerous or to be feared because they are Black and male. They are to be loved, respected, and treated well because they are human beings. Their Blackness and their maleness together incite a fear in others that is rooted in their strength and power and others desire to diminish that power. But the Black boys I saw today, will be the Black men who harness that strength and power for good. We all have a responsibility in treating them in a way that doesn’t convince them that their strength and power is needed as a weapon against fear and discrimination , but instead as a tool for love and success!
Black boys swim… and that only happens when they don’t fear the water! What we fear we drown… what we love always stays afloat!
A prodigy is different from a genius. A genius does things different, better. A prodigy does regular things earlier.
So was Albert Johnson, one half of the group Mobb Deep, Prodigy.
“Be a follower or a leader, take your pick”
Perhaps THE REALEST M.C. To ever touch the mic. He cared less about bling, talked rarely about money, cars, and women, and was actually… in a word… pretty dark. He grew up immersing himself in black culture and moved to Queensbridge where the was forcefully immersed in hood reality. His rap stylings were marinated in truth and consequences, life and death. At a time of shiny suits and bling bling, he was raps professor… educating us on the real!
“You ain’t a crook son, you just a shook one”
This was the cat who Jay-Z samples in D’Evils.
This was the dude who beefed with erybody…
And while he didn’t stab anybody in the brain with their nose bone, he seemed like the guy to do it. “Start punching niggas in their face just for living”
This was also the guy who educated us without us knowing… the great-great-great-grandson of the founder of Morehouse College William Jefferson White… he was a teacher by ancestry. His black nationalist interests, families rich heritage, and his talent were gifts he gave back to the community he lived in. He introduced us to new ideas and concepts… the Illuminati included. He gave names and faces to the shadowy figures in the hood. Told their stories. Gave them voice. Like all great teachers do, he brought humanity to the forgotten… even if their reality was bleak.
“I’m only 19 but my mind is old”
He was the first to keep it all the way 100!
Let’s walk the three rings together for just a minute… humor me.
In the first ring:
This person that the majority of the country DID NOT vote for….
He is ill equipped to run a country, and is allowing the supremacists he hired to turn this democracy into a corporatocracy. The main clown, doesn’t know how to juggle or even spell. That ring will collapse on it’s own. It’s like the movie Seven set in the government. Greed, Pride, Lust…and Wrath is coming.
In the second ring:
Anyone who is a citizen and can vote, who sits at home on Election Day. You occupy this ring because you are clearly a clown! And if you are the descendant of slaves or any people historically marginalized in this country… you get Bozo status! All of these people weaken our citizenship right to Bosshood. You pay for these people’s salaries with your tax dollars and give them jobs with your vote AND non-vote! So essentially if you are not voting, you are hiring employees and you never interviewed them or looked at their resume. (Note:I’d never invest in any company you owned, you clearly are not that bright!)
In the third ring:
The House and Senate Congressional body…
Only a fool puts their head in the lion’s mouth, and those Congressman who back Czar #Covfefe with reckless abandon should just be put out of their misery! The good news is every single one of the 435 Representative seats and 34/100 Senate seats are up for reelection in November! So if someone is not speaking up, asking questions, causing a ruckus over our liberties and freedoms being usurped by folks with just a little over 100 days of political experience… they need to go.
These folks are sitting idly by watching this man and his henchmen dismantle every major system of social, educational, economic, and environmental importance. They make excuses. They actually DEFEND the ridiculous claims and comments and controversies! Then they sit silent regarding matters of treason, racism, sexism, violence, and conflicts of interest. They are juggling with American lives, our clean air, jobs, health, and their own jobs, they follow along, in large part, because they assume the supremacists will keep them safe . Well, the life of a public servant requires you put public trust over your personal gains. So let’s take a ball away!
Research, find the candidates who will be inclusive in their policies and political objectives to bring people from every age group, political affiliation, race, class, educational level to the ballot box and fight for the life, liberty, and happiness of all Americans. If the last two Presidents have taught us anything, it should be that people want to be included and those that feel the most ostracized will show up… people of color proved that with Obama and the poor to middle class white conservatives with Trump.
So… be about inclusion, diversity, freedom, life, and liberty … and let’s make like Barnum and Bailey and shut down the clown show! INFORMED VOTING is the antidote!