Absorb the Light

What is Black… a color, a race, a culture, a phenomenon, a way of life?

According to James Baldwin, To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.

Is that the only experience, or is it bigger and broader or more limited? What is Black, to be Black, and the general experience of Blackness? Or is there even a such thing? Have we been defined by a word that doesn’t even begin to define who and what we are as a people?

Color Me Black

The very definition of Blackness is as broad as that of Whiteness, yet we’re seemingly always trying to find a specific, limited definition. –Issa Rae

We don’t have to seek to limit who we are to understand who we are. History tells us, without doing any serious research, that when America was colonized, Native Americans and African slaves were categorized as savage, as a justification for robbing them of their indigenous land, and forced labor and oppression. Their dark skin categorized them by color, and therefore distinct from White people. Science, religion, and intelligence were manipulated to further strengthen the position of White superiority, and hence the construct of race was born. Our dark skin put us on the lowest rung of the totem pole in America.

But America isn’t where this separation by skin color began. Plato and Socrates learned at the feet of African philosophers in Egypt, where concepts such as language and mathematics actually began… not Greece. However these truths were erased from these men’s history over time, and these modalities attributed only to White philosophers, because the admission that these men were educated by Black people would interfere with the global manipulation of race as a measure of intelligence and civility. Ultimately, race is a political construct to justify power, control, and wealth. Black is the term we were given to identify us… ultimately it means nothing.

We range from vanilla to deep dark chocolate, every hue of brown with oranges, peaches, and yellows, toned up or down with white or black pigment. Our color is very real. Our race is the pigment of the oppressor’s imagination.

I guess I’m darker than the shadows of the darkest alley, that they always scared to go in, Boo! -Brother J, X-Clan “Funkin Lessons”

Phenomenal Culture

My skin absorbs the suns rays and my hair defies gravity. You can’t tell me I’m not magical.Unknown

So we know what they told us Black is… but what is it really, who are we, and what have we made it?

Black culture is American culture. Bodies that curve, hair that salutes the sun, skin kissed by it, style influenced by global art and urban youth, hip hop, rhythm, swag, creativity. We are simultaneously a people and a phenomenon. A people and a phenomenon.

As a people, we are both perfect and imperfect. We are made in God’s perfect image with human imperfections… just people. Flesh and blood and veins and capillaries. We bleed when cut, we cry when we are in pain. We love and fear and hurt and holler… “the way they do my life.” But mainly, we live. We tend to live a bit louder as a result of years of silence. So we flex harder. We hustle harder. We dance more freely. We dress more creatively. Our speech more colorful. Our laugh more robust. Our hair bigger. Our swag doper.

It’s a result of the African drum beats in our souls. The taste of the custard apple on our tongues. The smell of lavender fields in CapeTown in our noses. The bright colors of wax print batiks dancing on our rods and cones. The feel of our fingers in our ancestors hair, coils and links, curls and cottony soft clouds.

It’s our call and response…

MC:”Somebody say oh yeah…”

The Crowd:”Oh yeah”

It’s our swag surf, our milly rock, Black Twitter, slang, cornrows, box braids, and #beardgang. It’s in our community and our sense of community. Buy Black; Black Lives Matter; Black mixed with Black; I’m Rooting for Everybody Black. It’s in our harsh judgement of each other, both despite and in response to our harsh judgements from the outside. Don’t watch Empire, build an Empire; Stop Jocking Jay-Z and Judge Jay-Z; Buy a Popeyes not a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.

We are perfectly imperfect. We are human. But be clear, we are lit AF!

Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. -Audre Lorde

The Light

Imitating us… and still, they’ll never be us, nigga. –Rapsody “Nina”

A whole entertainment family has profited off of our culture, so much so it’s entire set of progeny bears our blood. White pop stars show no shame copying our entire performances for their profit and popularity. And while art has no bounds, pop locking has taken over country line dancing as their dance of choice. They visit doctors to get our lips and asses. They feign our urban dialect to be down. Yeah, we are the shit… it’s true. It’s also irritating and disrespectful AF, but let’s stay on topic.

As much as we are painted as unAmerican, our very culture has been pilfered by this countries haves. The truth is, we are the chosen ones. Who else is this disrespected and this coveted all at the same time. To be Black is to be so amazing that we who we are is wanted and desired so badly, we are loathed.

Black excellence we gon let em see. Jay-Z, “Legacy

It has been exactly 400 years since we set foot in this country. In that span of time we have transformed ourselves from stolen Kings and Queen treated worse than dogs, to business owners, billionaires, artists, philanthropists, and everything our imaginations could conjure. Black people have positioned ourselves to be on par with the haves through hard work, intellect, and hustle that was kept from us by oppression, violence, and politics. We started from the bottom, and now we are definitely here. Barack. Oprah. Beyoncé. Wakanda. And while we are still very affected by the systematic use of race to threaten our rise and success, the very real truth of the matter is this…

Rainbows are one of God’s miracles, an arch of of every color on the spectrum reflected by the sun through droplets of water. The color black is the result of an object absorbing every ray of color produced by the light.

Black people carry inside of us, every color from red to violet. On the outside we are every hue of brown from the most muted beige to the most saturated umber. We are God’s human rainbow.

So, what is Black? Black is the way we walk, talk, live, and love. Black is our truth, our rhythm, our blues, our soul, our jazz, our hip, and our hop. We don’t stop. Black is the light. A people and a phenomenon.

(Thanks to Courtney Springer for the topic. He’s a comic, he’s Black, and he’s funny… {told you, we are all the things}. Check him out at Courtney2Funny )

Pay Me in Equity

What more can I say…

I admire Shawn Cater, aka Jay-Z, aka Hov. I admire, truth be told, any young Black person with a dream, who makes their dreams happen and then uses the brand they built as a result of that dream, to help the community they hail from, the people that look like him or her. I ALSO admire brilliance.

Now on to the topic.

1. Capitalism

Let’s start with all this talk about him being a capitalist…

WE LIVE IN AMERICA yo!

Everyone who is successful in America is a capitalist, they live by capitalistic standards, and operate under a capitalist framework. Capitalism is simply the system of free enterprise, where individuals control trade and industry. We don’t share our income. No one has ever came and just given me some share of their profits unless they lived with me. You aren’t socialist or communist are you… well… what’s the fuss.

We live in a capitalist society. You have to think like a capitalist if you want to effect change in a nation built upon the backs of other humans for the sake of capitalism. It’s a mindset many Black Americans simply don’t understand and frankly are uncomfortable with, and that is where we are complicit in our own oppression. Yes, I said it. Racism is a systematic system of oppression that the privileged use to disenfranchise people because of their race in order to strengthen their own privilege financially, socially, and politically. They are able to effectuate this system with wealth.

2. Negotiation And Social Justice

A revolution, or change of power structures, can be done one or two ways, fighting or negotiating. We can either break the doors down or get invited in. A very large majority of the people on the low end of the power continuum believe that working within that system makes you a sellout. However anyone who resides anywhere on the outskirts of that world knows that one foot inside of it brings resources, tools, opportunity that can change lives. Within that world lives justice, financial freedom, opportunity, health, wealth, and most importantly freedom. Freedom ain’t free. Unless we are prepared to fight, and 90% of the powerful are ready to go to war for that power-hence the influence of the NRA, we must play within the confines of the system we inherited until we have the wealth and power to change it!

Imma need y’all to know your history.

Black oppression has never ended by violence. It’s never stopped because we protested. It’s never ended because we spoke out. It’s those moves combined with the greatest human tool of settling conflict, that has only ever changed anything… negotiation.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the system that created apartheid. When he was released from prison he negotiated with that very system to end it. The white system of oppression was hurting because internationally they were sanctioned and condemned for their treatment of the black majority. They yielded political power to the Black liberation movements in exchange for economic privilege. Negotiation.

Dapper Dan x Gucci. One is an Italian fashion house, as are Dolce & Gabanna, Prada, etc. These brands have used racist American imagery in their designs, but as international brands they have to be committed to understanding the cultures that buy their clothes. The other is an urban fashion ICON. So after helping put Dapper Dan out of business in the 80s, Gucci used one of his exact designs on their runway. Instead of going to battle with the fashion house, he agreed to work with them after tons of backlash came from the Black and hip hop community. Now something Gucci and other major brands have been pilfering for years, has become something they have to share with its Black originator. That has led to other Black urban designers like Virgil Abloh, learning first hand how to build longevity in luxury fashion… something rare in the Black fashion experience. Negotiation.

Ultimately we want to all be respected. We fight for justice, whether it’s criminal justice or social justice, we want to be regarded as a person and as a people as positively as anyone else for our traditions, values, thoughts, actions, and intentions. We want to receive the same level of high esteem as others are awarded simply because they look a certain way, have a certain ancestry, gender, age, sexual preference. Unfortunately we live in a nation that doesn’t offer respect to those of us who don’t fit the model of privilege.

So, we have to do it a different way.

Money, Power, and Respect

To get to our destination, as Scarface said it best, “First you get the money, then you get the power…”

Wealth, whether we choose to believe it or not, gets you access… and access gets you in front of the people you want to influence to show them exactly how much power your name, reputation, brand yields. There aren’t a limited number of seats… these people control who they let sit in the round. When you have power, especially that can influence their bottom line, seats get pulled up to the table. The opportunities flow at that point. There are unlimited chairs, but limited opportunities.

4. The NFL and Race

The NFL has the most racially mismatched employee to exec ratio in any industry, 70% or so of the players are Black. Less than 15 Black execs and no Black owners.

Don’t attempt to make Jay the scapegoat for the NFL and it’s owners’ bullshit. They run an organization that was built upon racist ideology. Offer the opportunity for young Black men to make millions of dollars, so the owners can make billions, in exchange for their bodies, ignore the wear and tear on their Black bodies (remember 70% of the league is Black), dismiss studies done on how football damages the brain, limit hire and play of Black quarterbacks, fail to hire Black executives, attempt to control Black players by threatening their jobs due to peaceful protests. That’s not new, it’s institutionalized.

As a community we have prepared our sons for careers with this organization that cares nothing about them. We have bought the jerseys, season tickets, NFL pass to watch our community’s children make, if we go based on salary being a function of profit and our position in securing that profit, pennies on the dollar. We have watched them be fined for celebrating, relegated to the positions that leave them the most harmed physically and mentally. We must look at ourselves too. Surely we knew this organization had its share of racial issues prior to Kaepernick’s protests, but for the love of football …

3. Kaepernick & Jay

So Jay-Z did a thing. He made a deal with the NFL. It’s been said he is a sellout, that he basically shit on Colin Kaepernick, that his deal is strictly financial and has no social justice aspect… therefore Jay used Kap in order to create a means by which the NFL would see him as a necessary ally.

But let’s not be so simplistic in our thinking.

In a nutshell, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to bring awareness to police brutality, specifically murders of young Black men with no repercussions. The NFL and team owners didn’t like the protests, but Kaepernick left the 49ers for better. He didn’t get better. The fallout from the protests resulted in him not being hired. Through arbitration (read:negotiation) he got a settlement for collusion on behalf of the NFL and its owners. We don’t know the terms of that settlement, but I’m willing to bet a job with the NFL wasn’t an option. Colin sacrificed his job for something he believed in.

 “There are a lot of people that don’t want to have this conversation. They are scared they might lose their jobs or they might not get endorsements and they might not be treated the same way. Those are things I’m prepared to handle.” – Colin Kaepernick

America is racist. America in 2016 elected its most racially divisive President in modern history, of whom many NFL executives supported financially and politically. America is controlled by big business. It can’t be any surprise to you that a Black man that they employ, who stands up against their ideology, will not work for them again. When you juxtapose this to the 2014 Hands Up protests by the St. Louis Rams after Michael Browns murder and Marshawn Lynch sitting on the bench during the anthem his entire NFL career, its clear the timing of Kaepernick’s protest as well as its visibility created the adversity with the league.

Jay-Z didn’t have anything to do with that. So stop.

But this is what’s real:

A. Jay is a billionaire, he doesn’t need to make deals that will harm his brand or tarnish his image. He can make deals because he simply believes in them…whether the rest of us do or not.

B. Jay is CLEARLY a proponent of social justice… Roc Nation has backed three documentaries on Khalief Browder, Trayvon Martin, and Robert “Meek Mill” Williams that you have on prison, bond, probation reform and gun reform. He is not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson loud and rhyming his message to the masses, but he is often in the round. He is a founding member of the Meek Mill inspired Reform Alliance. He has paid the bonds for hundreds of people jailed during the Baltimore protests. One act does not negate that work.

C. About 10-12 million ppl watch the biggest Monday Night Football Games, 98 million watched the 2019 Super Bowl, with over 114 million watching the 2015 Super Bowl. Clearly the Super Bowl is it’s largest attraction each year. There are 327 million people in America, the Super Bowl has viewership that’s 1/3rd of the US population.

You want to influence what brands/companies gain popularity and which one’s that thumb their nose at Black culture do not…you get a piece of those companies you want to promote. The owner of Cristal, a brand shouted out by many rappers, spoke negatively about that affiliation. Jay bought and heavily promoted Armand de Brignac (Ace of Spades) which quickly saw the sales of Cristal decrease. You want to help artists recoup their earnings, lost in the traditional streaming platforms, you buy into and invite them to buy into such a musical platform. Tidal.

Like many of the hustlers on the block, dude is a genius. He understands the financial society we live in… he wrote a whole album about black capitalism. With a signature, dude has just brought the NFL to the table with the culture that many of it’s Black players who were kneeling and who faced repercussions for those actions come from, are bred from, and grew up in.

However, he was NOT obligated financially, morally, socially, or as a man, to get permission from anyone to further his coin and further social justice. He supported Kaepernick and this deal is a manifestation of Kap’s protest.

The Bottom Line

Based on the little that had been divulged about the actual contract, Jay-Z is basically going to control what a very large majority of the viewership tunes in for, at the biggest games the NFL has… the entertainment. I think it’s clear what this is about. He’s not the NFLs pawn… it’s actually quite the opposite. He is a powerful man the NFL realizes that it needs to gain back a part of its base.

“I said no to the Superbowl, you need me, I don’t need you/Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too”- Jay-Z from The Carters “Apeshit”

Jay is a icon of hip hop culture, a culture that resides deep within the NFL players cultures, and the customers and fans of the sport. It’s the quintessential money, power, respect move. And recall Roc Nation also is an athletic management company. C’mon people. This is chess not checkers.

I just think we’re often so worried about Black people looking like sellouts, we miss the bigger picture. As a culture, Black people have been enslaved, disenfranchised, lynched, discriminated against, miseducated, imprisoned, and grossly mistreated by American capitalism and the greed it can create. So functioning inside of that system is a source of fear and distrust for many in the Black community. But there is another consideration. 

Nothing… NOTHING… will ever change for a group of people without access, power, and money. Making money is not an almighty sin. Just because it makes money, that doesn’t make it anti-Kap. Just because Kap hasn’t been hired, that doesn’t make this deal anti-Kap. This was never about a job, consider that protesting was about police brutality and not about the anthem or even the NFL. This deal brings what Kap did from the turf to the table. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the motivation.

We’ll never know the full scope of the settlement Kap took. Meanwhile Eric Reid is talking loud yet he gets paid by the NFL, and I bet you won’t see him kneel not another time. We don’t know how much money Jay-Z stands to make, and frankly I don’t think that matters. He used his wealth and power to get access to a league with less than 15 Black executives and no Black owners, and its being said he’ll soon be part owner of a team. Call him what you want. But you gotta shake shit up and agitate the folks at the table to get them to realize that you should always bet on Black! Now…

“Put some respect on my check”

Lessonships

I loved the Wonder Years…

One of the things I loved most about it was the theme song. I’m a tv theme song junkie… ask me to “sing” one, I probably know it. Anyhow, if went something like…

“what would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song. I will try not to sing out of key. I get by with a little help from my friends…”-Joe Crocker (The Beatles), With a Little Help From My Friends

Friendship is a mighty powerful dynamic. It is more powerful, I believe than familial or romantic bonds. For familial bonds that don’t become friendships and romantic bonds that don’t begin as friendship tend to fade away as we get older, or at least get less of our time and our attention.

What is friendship? I believe it’s a bond or commitment between two people who share an affection towards one another to share the ups and downs of life with love, respect, compassion, admiration, care, and concern. I think all of it is necessary… the bond, the affection, the sharing, and the emotion.

It’s “through good times and bad times, I’ll be by your side” but it’s also …

whenever you need me I’m already there
Its gettin’ done hangin’ out the window
Sayin’ WOOO motherfucker UH 
You ride for me I’m a ride for you its only fair!” -Mystikal, How Many

We can be arm in arm and braiding each other’s hair or gully with it… doesn’t matter, again, it takes mutual affection, sharing, emotion, and commitment. That can come in many forms… and it might just be me hanging out the window ready to ride!

But all friendships don’t last.

Or were those really friendships at all.

I’ve been friends with folks since kindergarten, the second grade, the ninth grade, college, and made new friends just this year. I’m not friendly, but I take my friendships seriously. I honor code, I’m down to ride, I got your back, I’ll watch your kids, I’ll get on a plane, whatever is required. I have rarely lost a friend. Lost contact temporarily perhaps, fallen out with them and had to get back right, but lost… I can count on one hand and still not use all my fingers. Cuz generally, if you sing out of tune I’m gonna get up and sing with your ass.

However, there is one type of person (there are multiple but only one that fits this topic) I cannot do… Quitters. She and I cannot be and will never be friends despite what was, there is no making up… that’s a character trait that isn’t going away, and I’m uninterested and unavailable. I can forgive a dishonest moment. I can forgive a weak moment. I can forgive foolishness. But I can’t forgive what or who you are, I have to accept it. And if what you are is a quitter, I accept it, just can’t fuck wit it.

A quitter in friendship is usually supremely self-righteous. A self-righteous person is so narrow minded they think they are always right or believe they are morally superior, and will exit stage left in order to maintain that fallacy as fact. You can have that shit.

“No hard feelings…

I once had an argument with Righteous Ramona who expected me to act a certain way to appease her, and I refused. I should be accepted as is , just as I accepted her. Ramona then accused me of being selfish because I wouldn’t bend to her whim. Cuz that’s what “real” friends do… they change to be what you need. INCORRECT!!!! Now I can be selfish, but with her I had NEVER been, in fact I was more than giving and accommodating and open with her than most. She showed up at my home unannounced and wasn’t on fire, and I let her in and didn’t curse her out. She asked to borrow money that she never paid back, and I just decided that it was a gift. C’mon fam… case closed. She stood so solidly on that shaky AF premise, she was willing to die alone on that hill and not continue the climb. Well I’m on a hike not a one way trip, so stay there.

…I wish you well!

I had another “friend”, Moral Mildred, who was what I like to call a convenient moralist. When you sing Freak Like Me by Adina Howard one day and the next only associate with the mass choirthat’s some Christian holy haberdashery that I want no part of. My God loves and accepts us all… hers clearly doesn’t. I heard her sermon loud and clear… I received that message. So more power to Milly, I hope her faith remains fortified, her ridiculousness doesn’t rob her, and she gets her moral rocks off hard on every block. But as for me and mine, we shall dwell in the house of be who tf you are. I’ll leave you to deal with judgements on your judgement day… a jury I surely won’t be apart of. Let the church say…

No hard feelings…

But were those really friendships at all? I don’t really have the answer to that. But I do know this… friends are God’s gift to you to pick who you do life with. We get the family we get, but we select our friends. They are a blessing. We must treat them as such. I also know that because we select them, we can unselect them as well. As we grow and change and become more of who we really are, we may just realize that those people we thought were our friends were just lessons.

…I wish you well!”-Zo, Wishing You Well

As for me and my friends… we sing along and hang out the window! Can’t stop… won’t stop!

You Ain’t Fly

There are some fine brothas in this world.

“French vanilla, butter pecan, chocolate deluxe… even caramel sundaes” -Method Man, Ice Cream

…with a beard, even better. Regardless of how fine dude is, however, he can’t think he’s finer than you. Nope. Houston, we have a problem.

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. -Galatians 6:3

Men and women alike are both supposed to put effort into looking their best. However, unless he’s doing makeup magic like the girls on YouTube who put on faces of shellac and polyurethane, chances are he had very little to do with his basic aesthetics. Talk a minute to an ignorant fine brother with a chip on his shoulder… it won’t matter how fine he is anymore. So much more goes into being attractive than your God given features. But let’s be honest, the rumor is there’s a penis drought and women are out here putting up with all kinds of unnecessary just to have a “man”. Even putting up with men who have it all twisted.

“Or maybe, baby, you just look too good for me. Don’t sweat yourself. – Al B. Sure, Off On Your Own

Pretentious men are bitches. Yep, I said it. No grown ass man who has responsibilities and a whole life to live is going to waste any of his time trying to convince you or remind you that he is the fine one on the team. Instead, because his job is to protect you from harm, even your own, he’s going to build you up… head to toe. He will call you terms of endearment, remind you that you are beautiful, and ensure you that you are enough just as you are. Only sad men choose women who they don’t find attractive… physically, spiritually, and mentally. So if he’s trying to remind you of how fly he is at every turn… as Too $hort would say “what’s my favorite word!”

Little piece of fact… pretentious men are also often hoes. Penis in exchange for pay. So they think that you are supposed to be so happy to be on their arm, that you should be the one taking care of them.

ATTENTION SIRS…absolutely and not!

There is certainly nothing wrong with both parties wanting a mate that is financially stable, but that is wholly different from him looking at you as his benefactor. Like a Sugar Daddy, a Sugar Mama wants something sweet. And there is nothing remotely delicious about a hobo-sexual (a broke ass dude tryna get on to get a meal or a pair of Jordans).

“Pay to the order of who?? Not you! Why? You’re not that fly.” -Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, You Ain’t Fly

A fine brother with a heart of gold, the mind of a hustler, and the soul of light will woo you with his face and his finesse! He’ll pick you because you match his fly, not to fly past you to boost his ego. Furthermore, he will be clear that it is you, who are the prize and he who is the prize winner. He’ll know he’s fine, he’ll be sure of himself and all that he is, and aware of and working towards what he is not… and he will delight in the fact that your even finer ass is by his side.

Beyond the Walls

Lemme tell y’all about what Black Excellence looks like, imma try to get my Ernie Barnes “Sugar Shack” paint on up in here… cuz I need y’all to see the braids swaying, the hips undulating to hit a perfect O -opened on point and closed on point, and the fancy footwork of the Turbo hustle in heels and hard-bottoms.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you…

In 1949, Harvard Business School graduated a class that boasted the most successful group of men in, well business… the SEC Chairman and the CEOs of General Dynamics, Johnson and Johnson, Xerox, ABC, Bloomingdales Metromedia, and the Sheraton Hotels. One in five became multi-millionaires… but WE da best!

Stuyvesant High School in New York has an impressive list of alumni, with 4, yes FOUR Nobel Laureates having walked its prestigious halls. People notable in film, music, and politics are among its grads including Thelonius Monk, Paul Reiser, Eric Holder, David Axelrod, Dick Morris, Jack Molinas, Tim Robbins, James Cagney, and Mike Greenberg. Yet and still… WE da best.

Like those notable classes and schools, we have our fair share of successes… doctors, authors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, educators, comedians, and the list goes on. However, we share something bigger, better, and even more lucrative than financial gains and degrees. The Renaissance High School class of 1994, also known as “#demninefoes” has found… freedom.

“Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined” -Nas, NY State of Mind, originally stated by Sun Tzu

Detroit, the 90s, it was a time of major shift in our fair city. Our parents, the children of the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, the former Black middle class parts of the city where Black professionalism and businesses thrived, had watched integration and the resulting White flight turn Detroit into a bona fide Chocolate City but with crumbling infrastructure, failing businesses, and a downtown that was starting to look more ghost town. The city wouldn’t see a resurgence for 25 years.

In August of 1990, a diverse collection of kids entered the best academic high school in the city. A place that you went if you were and wanted to be among the best the city had to offer, or your parents forced you. We were a cross section of kids from every economic, educational, and social level. Yet, inside those walls it didn’t matter where you were from, just what you were willing to put into your future. What sacrifices you were willing to make to truly fulfill your biggest and boldest dreams. Our teachers demanded it if us… and in quiet competition, we required it of each other.

“I sever the head from the shoulders, I’m betta than my competta. You mean competitor, whatever, let’s get together”-Wu Tang, Shame on a Nigga

And we did it to a soundtrack of Illmatic, Enter the Wu Tang, and Midnight Marauders. We transitioned from childhood to adulthood in what is arguably the best year in hip hop, our young minds full of knowledge and steeped in braggadocio, that there was nothing we could not do, be, and become. We stepped outside the halls of Renaissance High School in the Spring of 1994… and carried with us a stride in our step, an assurance in our gifts, and a confidence in ourselves that few kids from Detroit ever experience. To be young, gifted, Black, educated, confident, and from the D… is an anomaly. 99% of our graduating class went to college, about 75% of us have graduate degrees. We took that experience, smacked it up, and flipped it. We da best.

“Bitter be claiming pro but I say they be procrastinating, settling fo less, betta be ready…” -OutKast, Crumblin’ Erb

In the time since, we have seen our generation’s legends killed by violence… Tupac, Biggie, Jam Master Jay. We watched a man that looked like us, our brothers, and our fathers become the first Black President. We saw hip hop soar to become the top musical genre in the nation, and folks that looked like our college dates and roommates, become millionaires many times over… Nasir “Nas” Jones, Shaun “Jay-z” Cater, Sean “Puffy” Combs. We have watched children kill other children in schools. Adults gun down parishners having prayer at church. The World Trade Center fall to the ground before our eyes on television. The Detroit our parents and grandparents built, that we stocked full of talent, gentrified so that our people cannot even afford to live or thrive in its newness. But still we rise. We continue to climb in chaos, and our once competitive nature has turned into unconditional love and support. It’s hard being the true Talented Tenth… but we da best… so we make it look easy.

“It ain’t hard to tell, I excel then prevail.” -Nas, It Ain’t Hard to Tell

In the time since, we have also forged bonds from those shared life experiences, framed by our lives together inside of those school walls, that are unbreakable. Not time nor distance can break them. To be young, gifted, and Black … with opportunity and swag surfin on a million… is to be free. This weekend… after 25 years of #demninefoes… we celebrated each other. We took over for the ’94 and the ’19, and backed our asses up with wild abandon and no judgement. We hugged, we loved, we cried, and we had a great time. We danced and laughed and broke bread without inhibitions, in a mansion, in the city we have helped grow through our philanthropy, professionalism, home ownership, investments. Detroit is resurging and we are it’s children.

And it was lit af! (Do we still say lit? Just checking) It was the hot girl in the jumpsuit with the long braids who came to party, she was Sharane from House Party, with the funky cross step… you da best! The sexy mama with the moves who set the dance floor on fire, it’s Turbo Time… she left right lefted like it was her paying profession.. you da best. The pretty little thing with the legs out, heels on, who reminded us, every hour on the hour, said or unsaid, it is always shot o’clock…. everybody! You babe, you da best. The Chairman of the strong back society with the mad tie game… sir, you da best. Baby girl and hubby with the bespoke outfits on, looking like a bag of money, y’all da best. And our very own Mr. (Class) President swaying with his sexy lady to the beat… you da best!

We are an anomaly… 144 of us… some of whom we’ll never see again, but most of whom we can call on like family. Our children are our collective village of responsibility. Our mates are extended family. We will put the hounds out on you if you come for one of us or all of us. We are the roses that busted through concrete. We break ceilings. We break the rules. We know no bounds, as does our love for each other. That’s freedom.

So we may not have a Nobel prize in the group yet, and perhaps maybe one or two of us have made a million dollars… but success and notable names don’t compare to what we share. We are hustlers, survivors, true products of the D, with a polished and shiny finish. Together, we are each individually free to be just who we are… we feel seen, heard, understood, and apart of something bigger than ourselves.

I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together. Demninefoes… you make me better, cuz…

And we’re taking over!

Rest in Prose

I have never read anything that touched me as deeply as The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Nothing. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo is the nearest piece of writing… and that is brilliance.

Song of Solomon was more than brilliance. It was the story of African-American generational curses that Nova Bordelon could only hope her fluffy book of family secret telling could be. It was, for me, that one singular piece of writing that sparked my interest and inspired me to pick up a pen and tell a story.

Now I’m not a fiction writer… but neither, in my humble opinion was Morrison. Her stories were steeped in history and tradition and frankly narratives that were very much real, played out by characters that mimicked people we all knew and loved. She set their souls on fire, made their love bigger and grander, made their hurt and pain bleed off the page, and gave their poor lives rickety stairs to walk down and their strong spirits horses as mighty as oxen upon whose back to ride. Most importantly, she was dedicated to the Black ancestral storytelling tradition. She passed on our history; She was a griot. She colored in our identity; She was an artist. She taught the masses that we loved, hurt, felt, sang, danced, and wrote and our story was worthy to be told; She was a teacher.

She wrote Black characters with the universe in their spirits, the sounds of Coltrane and Aretha in their souls, the moves of Cab Calloway and Katherine Dunham in their feet, the kindness of Martin and the by all means necessary of Malcolm in their freedom songs. She wrote us free, whether we were bound and gagged or footloose and fancy free. Our freedom of mind and heart was paramount. She gave us voices that spoke words of eloquence and pulchritude like Baldwin, with the virtuosity and tenderness of Nikki Giovanni…

“then I stood…

… and laid me down…

to sleep.”

She showed us what a sense of true self looks like…”You are your best thing.” -Beloved

She showed us what grief, and more specifically, loss, with it’s many faces, can look like… “It was poisonous, unnatural to let the dead go with a mere whimpering, a slight murmur, a rose bouquet of good taste. Good taste was out of place in the company of death, death itself was the essence of bad taste. And there must be much rage and saliva in its presence. The body must move and throw itself about, the eyes must roll, the hands should have no peace, and the throat should release all the yearning, despair and outrage that accompany the stupidity of loss.“-Sula

She showed us what kind of trauma can result from hatred, particularly racism…”those eyes that held the pictures and knew the sights-if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.” -The Bluest Eye

She showed us the deep levels of beauty, passion, and creativity that is present in the least of us…”The visionary language of the doomed reaches heights of linguistic ardor with which language of the blessed and saved cannot compete.“-Paradise

She showed us that if you wanted to be bigger and better, you had to be free…

She also showed us, that we have work to do, as a people, and that we can, in fact, just be… without explanation… who tf we are… “It’s important to know who the real enemy is and to know the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over your reason for being.” -Morrison on Black Artists in Portland, 1975

I salute you Queen✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿… time to take your rightful throne, give ’em a bit of heavenly hell, and show us how to fly while being fly!

And I… I will write… that’s my work!

Drunk Game

This is gonna be short and sweet but it needs to be said. Whatever you, your S/O, your spouse, or your thotty too hotty friends are doing when drunk, that’s the shit y’all really want to do sober or already are doing sober. Don’t blame it on the alcohol, cuz that is not the culprit. These are some basics examples -be clear, the examples are many- but for the sake of brevity I’ll just cover a few.

Faded

If you are loud, irritating, or otherwise don’t give a damn about the basic comfort of other people, you do that on water or on vodka. Rude is a character flaw, not a drunken response to other humans. You should really concentrate on being a decent person while sober so you don’t get your ass beat when the presence of liquor hikes your voice and your bad behavior up several swizzles. We all know that this is just an excuse for you to get away with this foolishness.

“I see the feeling of freedom is granted as soon as the damage of vodka arrive. This is how you capitalize…” -Kendrick Lamar, Swimming Pools

The Old Dirty Bastard

If your dude is ALL up in the face of other women or men, hitting on them, offering them rides in or outside of his Charger with the spoiler, he is doing that at the gas station, Meijer, and when out with his buddies. Alcohol just makes the desire to rub on someone else’s booty less inhibited, because if it were your ass he was most interested in, your ass would be permanently attached to his palm. Don’t blame liquor on his tendency for infidelity… that’s his everyday shit. That Sweet Sugar Pie, all night long trash he’s talking is just that, ain’t nobody interested in him sis…and let’s not act like you don’t know either. If we all saw him, you saw him.

A Toot that Thang Up Mami

Speaking of thots… those stripper moves are inappropriate at the family 4th BBQ, the kids 4th birthday party, the neighborhood family fun day, and the local park. Clearly you stripper kick while making eggs… and that’s ok. But not in front of the ancestors and the kids. Erybody know you tryna pop lock and drop it… but save that for your private moments. Save the surfboard for your private beach.

I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking
I get filthy when that liquor get into me

… yes, we know!

Last Call

Lastly, before you go drunk checking other folks, check your own behavior. Nothing worse than an alcoholic trying to dictate what another drunk is doing or how they are being perceived. Pot meet kettle… Chances are, whatever judgments you are heaping onto them are just your own insecurities… for some, those jokers get big and broad when you are drunk. Instead, raise your glass, propose a toast, and shut tf up.

Now go forth and hold your liquor… don’t let your liquor hold you!

West Side of the Story

I posted a question on FB …

“If people told their side of the story… how would your rep hold up?”

Of course the responses were… hate me or love me, imma be me. I get it, but the question is a tad more multi-layered than how people experience you, but more about how much of your truth you are living. My guess is this… most people are hiding from some of their truth, not all, but most. Those of us who have grown and matured realize hiding any part of ourselves will never lead to growth and getting better.

I’m a good person. I believe in the power of love, the action of it, and I surround myself with people who I think are good as well because I desire to be as good to people as possible. I’m smart, creative, passionate, and a SuperFriend, but

  • I’m in the Legion of Doom… I avoid and cut off people who are toxic or no good for me, when I discover it, because I can be a grudge holder and vengeful and I don’t desire to do wrong by people no matter how much they have wronged me. I’m still working on that.

Vengeance is mine said the Lord. Vengeance is mine said the Lord… I often say that like Hail Marys when I am reminded of some fuckshit someone did and the brilliant and fascinating ways I can make them pay.

  • I’m not a people person, so I have a tendency to not notice people, at all.
  • I’m opinionated… often too much so.
  • I’m a bit judgey… I do keep it to myself. But it’s there behind the scenes.
  • I’m sensitive. I’m not good with criticism.

You can’t tell me or anyone anything about myself I don’t acknowledge. So my reputation wouldn’t change, and yes it matters to me as far as how the people I do care about. So ask yourself, if those people you want to keep around knew how you were out here treating others or what you were representing to others , if their side of the story was broadcast … would you still have a team?!? What would they think of you?

….

Let me help.

-You ain’t about love if you are a bully

I don’t fuck with bullies. You are a major fraud if you are out here preaching about love and in the shadows you are being the Gooch. Nobody ever saw the Gooch. Nobody but the victims see a bully trying to front like an empath. So in effect, you are t only trying to silently torture them, you are torturing them to silence. Just wear brass knuckles and cut your hair like Drago, be out with your aggression, if you are aggressive. But that’s just it, bullies are cowards. They only prey on people they assume are weak in that one spot they keep poking. Playing on the victims tenderness and bruises.

If people told their side of the story… how would your rep hold up?

If people knew you were a bully, they’d question all that love you throw around like confetti. Gucci, you don’t love me!

-Real support can not be built upon a desire to own stock in someone

Don King was a supreme opportunist. He found Mile Tyson after Bustamante died, when he needed guidance and a friend and support. He promised him the world to find ways to take from him. He wanted to own stock in Mike Tyson, not support him. Likewise, if you are out here heaping empty promises at the feet of those in need or even extending yourself to people simply to possess them, whether for your own comfort or for your own use and manipulation, that’s foul. Other people are not commodities. Go buy a dog if you are lonely, journal, go out and make some friends… but don’t offer your support for personal gain. That’s not support, it’s a contract. People who really need and desire support will be left broken and feeling used because of your lack of humanity or your lack of attention. Own your own masters, and master your fate. Leave people alone if you arent going to be genuine.

If people told their side of the story… how would your rep hold up?

If people knew your support came with selfish motives, they wouldn’t trust you or the horse you rode in on.

-Anything you feel the need to scream from the mountaintop when you in the valley is likely not real

Thou dost protest too much. I used to know this guy who told everyone he was a model. He literally said it to me multiple times in each conversation we had… and when I finally asked him who he modeled for, what agency he belonged to, he couldn’t. He was perpetrating a fraud. Look, we know you are telling untruths, and it’s highly unnecessary. We can tell that your paychecks don’t match your profession. You can’t buy reality with misrepresentation. It just doesn’t work. Instead, you should focus on admitting your truth to yourself first, because it’s often not for everyone else, but it’s you that you are trying to convince you are happy, successful, living a fairytale or whatever. That dream world you are creating won’t stop the nightmares. Live your truth, face your reality, and heal from it. Folks that are your people will love you whether you are up or down, and will be willing to lift you when you start to fall… but they can only do that if you are honest.

If people told their side of the story… how would your rep hold up?

If people knew you were selling wolf tickets, they would probably be afraid they’d be the one to get bit.

-Textbook insecurity is when everything you find pleasing is opposite yourself

Insecurity is a disease of irony. It often manifests itself as the very thing one is not. He big ups himself as sport. He has to tell everyone how good looking he is, how successful he is, how connected he is, how fantastically wonderful popular and dynamic he is… all the time. He compliments himself so much, no one else needs to or wants to. It’s overkill. It’s ridiculous. And at the same time he’s over critical. When you are insecure, you turn those negative thoughts you have about yourself into negative actions. Actions you might not register as negative like distancing yourself, overreacting, confrontation, and being foul AF! Someone who is insecure often turns their negative actions on their head as self-protection, assertiveness, and truth telling. But the rest of us all know that’s bullshit! It’s not what they demonize that is the issue… it’s what they celebrate that tells you the real truth behind their low sense of self. They demonize folks for no good reason, to appear strong and self-secure. They highlight themselves as a distraction, while their true feelings are evident by who they celebrate outside of themselves… often their polar opposite.

If people told their side of the story… how would your rep hold up?

If people knew that your idea of being honest, assertive, and confident meant being foul and negative to other people who share the traits you despise about yourself, they’d see those commonalities as potential target practice.

….

None of us are 100% anything… humans lack perfection, it gives us something to grow towards. Anything not growing is dead. All that we are good is met with things not so good that we can work on to become better. But being honest about those things, to ourselves and to others, is necessary if we are to maintain relationships. Someone is experiencing us as we really are, and if that person exposed you, would the people who care about you experience you the same or see you different. If you are living your truth, the folks who know you, will know!

Then, Now and Later

Generational curses aren’t always what you think… sometimes they don’t look like curses, they look like choices, decisions, preferences, but really those choices, decisions, and preferences are steeped in toxicity, and it takes a long time and purposeful healing to break free of that shit. But it’s real and it’s heavy, and it’s necessary to pull those out at the roots and start all over again with seeds of awareness and positivity.

This is my story… but I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit so read this with that level of understanding. Sensitive = savage.

….

If you have read anything I write, you kinda know my background, but in case you don’t here is a summary. I’m Black and educated and dope, and my family is a daugeurrotype (read: one of a kind, fragile, phenomenal in many respects) picture of Black American historical excellence. They are a mix of everything Black culture offers, but also carry remnants of the very real difficulty Black people have faced emotionally and relationally being steeped in all that is america. We have been trapped in familial and communal belief that we aren’t good enough or deserve less than abundance.

My name isn’t Nova Bordelon so I’m not about to tell my family secrets, but like every family, some sections of my family quilt are too bound together with threads of love, pain, deceit, lies, and truths, told and untold. But here is the crux of the generational curse I see most prevalently reflected in my own life …

My mother and father divorced when I was young, and I didn’t have a relationship with him. She often said he was a great guy but not a good husband or father. Trust that he didn’t have the best example… but that’s another curse for another time. However from all the stories I heard, they clearly married out of love, there was just a general lack of responsibility on his part. All spices and sugar. And in complete juxtaposition to the marriage of my grandparents, both sets, that appeared to me more for stability than love. I knew more of my mother’s parents, but the narrative seemed to be the same. One party was literally THE PARTY🎉 , the other the calm. All spice and salt, low on the sugar.

Yet I’m like berere, the Ethiopian spice.

I’m heavy on the spice, yet sweet and salty enough, for someone with the proper palate to need nothing else to flavor the dish. A salted candle apple of sorts. I need a similar mixture, less spicy though, to balance me out.

I have struggled with the love v. stability dynamic and how much of each I need. Most of the men I have found myself most attracted to, were not the most stable… they had more creative and artistic minds that were always moving but rarely stopping to put pen to paper, but they adored me. Who doesn’t want to be adored?!? The men that were stable that I dated, in retrospect, were settlements. Nothing against them, but I’ve got a three finger ring next to my pearls. I’m more Now and Later than chocolate truffle arm candy. These guys seemed to want someone more June Cleaver than Lucy Ricardo… and you know I’m all Lucy. Yet, the older I got, the more it seemed that stable men…well, stay…and love, real love, with it’s dips and waves, hills and valleys is unpredictable and inconsistent.

I can recall bringing my younger boyfriends around my family, and the more judgmental and righteous relatives would question them… What do your parents do? What are your plans? How do you plan to take care of her while she goes to school? Don’t you think she’ll outgrow you? Those guys would not hesitate to answer… and my mother, would curse my family to hell and back cuz she didn’t play that holier than thou high brow shit. But for me, I had every plan to be able to take care of myself, and saw myself as a rib and not them as a backbone. Yet somehow, when it came time to chose when it mattered, those questions popped back into my head. How does he plan to take care of you? What is his plan?

You see, the generational curse I was fighting was a lack of emotional intelligence, particularly self-awareness and as a result, empathy.

The five characteristics of emotional intelligence are self-regulation, motivation, social skills, and self-awareness and empathy. Self-awareness is simply the ability to identify and monitor one’s emotions, needs, and wants and perceive how they affect others. Empathy is the ability to understand, be interested in, and anticipate how others feel. They go hand in hand, you can’t have empathy without self-awareness. In my family dynamic, I saw women who knowingly settled for mistreatment in exchange for stability because they were completely unaware of their own needs or women who knowingly settled for stability and then mistreated the men that took care of them, in an act void of empathy. I never was aware of how those scenes and that history played out in my head… until recently.

I married for stability. Bad idea. He wasn’t stable in the ways I needed and we simply weren’t very compatible. I thought more stable would provide me with the consistency I desired, so post marriage that was the formula. I have a successful career, and I’m financially stable on my own, and I’d witnessed the dynamic of the woman making more money and how that affected the relationship. But that didn’t work either. I found myself in relationships where I was being asked or expected to be less of myself to accommodate some man’s inability to lead. That’s not the formula AT ALL.

Then, I recall seeing this image that I saved…

It was a moment in which that last missing piece of self-awareness was placed in the puzzle. When you love yourself, you create the spaces for yourself to be fully who you are, and to realize your ultimate purpose. Similarly, when you love someone, I learned, you create the consistency and stability needed to sustain that relationship if it’s genuine and if you know how. Love is not fleeting, it’s forever changing. It bends instead of dips and has curves instead of valleys. Love is an action and an emotion, it is incapable of consistency or inconsistency. It was the men who were inconsistent, not their love or lack thereof. Perhaps they didn’t care to, I’d like to believe they didn’t know how to… but now I knew! And being self-aware made me much better able to consider how my uncertainty about what I wanted and needed caused some of the inconsistent actions on their parts. Key word: some.

So when I found myself falling for a man who had the dookie chain to my three finger ring and was the Mystery Mix to my Now and Later… I asked myself : How does he plan to take care of you? What is his plan? Now knowing what I needed to hear in return. (I’ll tell you what he said later.) It’s not financial or material, as long as he has the means to take care of himself and any responsibilities he has created or taken on. That’s simply not my personal need. I need the provision of space, time, freedom, and support for my creative mind to flourish and protection of my heart from deceit and irresponsibility. Period. Once I knew what I wanted, it made me equally prepared to consider someone else. It made me prepared to accept someone who wasn’t perhaps who other people thought I should consider, but who I knew would be best for me.

So when I inquired about Mystery Mix’s plans, he smiled and said to me…

“To help make your dreams reality.”

Now that’s the gotcha gotcha! Speak yo speech. Real words spoken by a real man. Words he saw posted on my Instagram about a year prior, but that actually made it more impressive. Way to shoot your shot! 🎯 Be prepared and purpose driven about your shit!

What is most important is that I can now teach and show those that come after me that we don’t have to pick between two incomplete emotional realities. We can have it all!

Curse broken. Blessing bestowed.

“I got that ‘Now’ and that ‘Later’
He gone eat through the paper” -Megan Thee Stallion

Pulling Numbers and Letters

So I’ve been told I must got the GCP. What’s the GCP you ask… well in the words of Jay Z and in the spirit of Don Magic Juan’s pimp challis, “my cup runneth over”

I hear it all the time…”who are you dating NOW!?!?” like I’ve got a wheel I spin to see who’s on my hit list this month. Or the ubiquitous, “You always got a (insert term for man: dude, boyfriend, whatever)” comment, that is so interesting to me. “Got” would imply in my vocabulary, something that one has on lock… yeah nope. I might be able to pull, as my one friend termed it “letters and numbers” (I’ll leave that for you to decipher), but dating is the pits. I personally despise it. Plus at this point, post 40 with kids as the custodial parent, there is no dating. Any outings or conversations, texts, or emoji sends are basically one long ass interview on how much you make me laugh, how long I can stand to be around you in one sitting, and whether you match at least three of my five must haves, that better quickly materialize into a relationship if you meet the requirements, or I gotta go.

Most of my first dates have morphed into relationships that last years. Instead of “dating”, I participate in the pull and catch; it really is self explanatory. There is a subtle art to the pull and the catch… and while I’m not interested in doing much more than expressing interest and then letting him find his good thing… cuz I’m a mf lady, I am involved in the process. Not that I’m an expert… but I pull a lot of As and Bs, and 9s to 7s. You can keep that 10 though, leave him for the chicks with time on their hands. He’s too pretty for how my life is set up.

The Art of the Pull

1. There is nothing sexier, in a man or a woman, than confidence. Period. When you know you are fine, he’ll know it and she’ll know it. Confidence is the art of aesthetic persuasion. Notice I didn’t speak of beauty, that’s too subjective a thing to use on humans. You need something foolproof.

Confidence is the reason she wore THAT dress, the one you hate and think she’s too whatever for, but that him, him, and her are staring at. Confidence is the reason she cut her hair the way she likes it, with no worries about what he thinks, or why he wears that combination of shirt, pants, and shoes that confuse you but your woman says “his outfit is NIIIICE!” Confidence is not bound by beauty, body type, color, or any subjective boundary… it’s an undeniable acceptance of how wonderfully made you are, despite whether you do or don’t fit into society’s ideals. And it’s 100% ownership in that acceptance. Get you sum.

2. If you are playing Bid Whist and you pass on your bid, and you knew you had 7 Uptown and the clowns next to you bid 6 Uptown -cue Aretha “Ain’t No Way”- how pissed will you be that you didn’t bet on yourself. You knew what you had and what you wanted, but you got scared of the win. Well, in dating, the win is the guy or girl you dream of, the one you know or don’t yet know who will check all your boxes. You have to bet on yourself when the opportunity presents itself, and speak on your wants. Now you don’t have to be full on direct, but if you are like me, you give an in. You leave the door ajar. You flirt, come hither, a little Happy Birthday Mr President… and then you go sit your cute ass down somewhere. If he’s in for the win, he’ll bet on himself, and complete the deal. If he’s not, he missed out. Cue the death of Pac-Man…

But always bet on you, know what you want, set a boundary, and then touch your boundary by going for the win. Shit, at least smile.

3. NO ONE LIKES REJECTION! Not women OR men. Just because men get rejected more, does not mean they enjoy it. C’mon, that’s ludicrous. So just like the thought makes you want to hide under a rock, it makes him want to hide in a cardboard fort. So, it is very important that you make sure he can see your open door… fellas too, women are shooting their shots out here these days. Its also important you clearly communicate with kindness your closed door. If you are involved, say so. If you aren’t interested for one reason or another, say so. If you simply are casing the joint and don’t yet know what you want, say that too. But whatever you message, make it clear. If one doesn’t have to guess what you want, but it’s clear, the more likely you’d get what you want! It’s a pull not a push.

The Art of the Catch

1. “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”

Okay so one wants flies, but if you want anything, you get much closer to your goal by being positive, with smiles, with kindness, and with, well, honey. There’s a reason Pooh ate it by the jar full… shit was good and sweet! Likewise, being a bitch will get you nowhere. Only assholes, real assholes like bitches, they enjoy that game. But people tryna boss up and get this money …

… have no time for that game, cuz tryna figure out your bad attitude takes up time away from the grind. Once you have pulled, you have to be kind and open to the catch. And while we’ll eat cod, every one prefers fresh water fish over salt water fish. Be not salty or stank.

2. Ella Mai said it best :

“I put my feelings on safety
So I don’t go shootin’ where your heart be

All that extra special crazy, it took you five minutes to text me back, trippin for nothing, checking his phone, acting a damn fool is for the birds. Yes, KeKe Wyatt might have that bomb snapper, but again, that’s your typical saltwater variety. It’s sure to run your pressure up and increase your light bill. Let’s look at the quality of her choosers. The last dude was a preacher who left her while she was pregnant with their third child, after she raised two of his children, right… okay enough said. We want to be a quality catch just like we want quality fishermen. And you simply are not exhibiting quality behaviors when you are acting a fool. You have to remember what pulled dude… your confidence, self-love, high esteem, win-win-win-win attitude, and your kindness. Keep those factors at play the entire time. Put your weapons down and rely on your personal stock of personality and class to end up, hooked up with a quality dude. But you gotta be quality first.

3. So since I’ve earned my degree in letters and numbers… I think it’s safe to tell you, that the final test, the piece de resistance, the grand finale of the catch is the most important. Webbie had I-N-D-E-P-E-D-E-N-T what you know about me… and I’ve got C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-Y, that shit’s so fly! So they say women date & marry men hoping they will change, and men date & marry women hoping they’ll stay the same. Now I’m all for growth, but I don’t think you have to change who you are fundamentally to grow, you just get better. I’m with the fellas. We should be FIRST, ensuring we are dating people who we like and accept AS IS! At 40… they might not ever be anyone different than the person you see in front of you. Furthermore, we could stop sending our representative and just be who tf we are. Then be consistently that in word and deed. If I tell you I’m going to cook you dinner on Thursday, only an emergency out of my control would change that. If I say I’m going to be respectful of you, that’s what it is. I’ll even respect you and me enough, in the presence of your disrespect, not to stick around and bust your head to the white meat. In order for human beings to feel safe enough to be emotionally vulnerable and mentally free they must be in space that’s consistent, which is synonymous with peace. You won’t get chose if you bring chaos.

So you see, it’s that simple. And if you are doing all those things and he doesn’t respond, he’s not the one. Move on with grace and bitter-free. You put your feelings on safety so you wouldn’t black out on these dudes, and simultaneously dodged a bullet. See how the universe is always working with you. Now put on your sundress or those gray sweatpants and that beater, check yourself in the mirror, do the Blade Icewood dance, and go out here, boss up and pull letters and numbers, and soon you’ll be saying …”my phone won’t stop ringing!”

“It’s Mr. Lee Iacocoa
And I’m the mayor of the mitten
Ya’ll niggaz ain’t bossin up y’all bullshittin!” -Blade Icewood and G-Rock “Boy Would You”