What’s Wack ?

We’ll always love Big Poppa, but Mama got a lil fire in her belly too…

I can’t rap worth a shit, but I can string words together. And as of today I’m officially done and laughing at wack folks! So since Biggie told us what beef is… let me introduce you to what wack is…

Do you know what wack is?/Ask yourself… do you know what wack is?

Ha ha ha ha ha, As fucked up as you are, You thought you could trick me. Well here’s a treat.

Won’t put no money where yo mouth is, But bring the table where yo seat is. Off my name, no square biz, check, check it …

My legacy been locked, writin shit like Alain Locke, But BANs stay tryna blow up my spot.

So indignant, wack niggas so ignorant. That block won’t stop, this HAIL storm you dropped.You can’t stop the rain, Loose Ends stay frayed.

Slow down, you got clowned, It’s my turn now.Stay Pennywise, no surprise, you tried unfold your lies but my my eyes stayed wise. Didn’t you know, I was the brains of this franchise?

No assist needed, I rebound that joint. Triple doubles, I collect them joints

Fuck that wack shit, I snuffed yo joint. So when you fall, I know who you better not call. Call your moms with that fever. Oh she don’t fuck with you either.

You just got got by this ether… Now are you a believer?

What’s wack?

Wack is when your own name holds no rank. Wack is when you a dude with nothing in the bank. Wack is when you tried to Shawshank, my memory aiming at you point blank, you can’t shake it.

What’s beef?

In closing… be bigger, be defer, be better… but don’t be wack!

“It’s obvious the game’s new to ya

Take them ends you make

And spend em on a tutor, ha!” -Biggie

The Black Sheep

In the love and relationships, disrespect and jealousy related offenses are especially heinous in real life. My ability to cut you off and move on are unprecedented AF! This is my story…

I have never been a big fan of too many people… could be because my family was small and I was an only child and only grandchild on my mother’s side of the family. I was estranged from my father, so I got all the attention and love I needed in a very small circle. As a result, I have always kept my circles small. Plus, I don’t eat bad apples, and it’s easier to see a bad apple in a smaller bushel! But every now and then…

For the most part, I have maintained long term friendships and relationships. My good girlfriends are really my sistafriends. I have a boonapolis (Greek for bestie, main thang, number one boo) and day one’s, and we go back like bangs at Disneyworld in July. So too have been my relationships with men. Two of my longest relationships have spanned over almost half of my life. One, I was married to and the other I was off and on with for a decade, now permanently off. Fuck him. Anyway… you get the point. I commit, to a very small group of people. My loyalty runs deep.

But lately, folks have been trying me. I have had to euthanize some friendships and a relationship… fuck him… (oh I said that already lol) and since I know now that adversity usually comes with a big life lesson, I’m gonna share this lesson with you. Perhaps you will avoid it by learning it in the here and now. It’s double-layered.

“Who’s the black sheep, what’s the black sheep? Know not who I am, or when I’m coming, so you sleep. Wasn’t in my realm, or wasn’t in your sphere. Knew not who I was but listen here…”

1. People ain’t you!

People show you who they are. We each have a story, and while we are so busy sharing ours we forget to listen to the other person’s. I know if you listen to mine, that you will hear that: I can be centered on self; I am not overtly friendly or extroverted in spaces I have never been; I am selectively sensitive; I talk a lot of shit; I don’t tolerate ignorance or disloyalty; and I’m a fighter for me and mine. Those things aren’t inherently negative, but they might not fit in your world. You won’t know if you don’t listen.

My actions and temperament, ability to forgive, attitude, disposition, values, and traditions are all a function of where I come from, not in the geographical sense but emotionally and relationally. (Well maybe geographically too… I’m from Detroit. We different.) Who influenced me, and what was that influence. Did people mistreat me, and how did I recover from that? But that’s just ME! Other folks are not me. They don’t share my story. They come from a distinctly different set of emotional and relational truths. You won’t know who they are if you don’t listen. But be clear, they are not you!

2. No one owes you SHIT!

You don’t have to be bothered with people who malign your character, are disloyal, disrespectful, hateful, haters, or otherwise just bad for your personal business. That choice is yours. But no one is indebted to you in kindness or compassion, in fairness or loyalty, in friendship or loveship. People get to choose how fucked up or on the up and up they want to be. Their judgement day will come, but no matter what you think you can do about it… nothing you can do can change who they choose to be. Nothing!

Lemme say that again…

No one owes you kindness.

No one owes you compassion.

No one owes you fairness.

No one owes you loyalty.

No one owes you shit.

Trust that people are going to be who they are… that’s their own story! You decide how long , how far, and how much… if at all… you are going to swim in the sea of fucked up, selfish, bitter, resentful, negative, or otherwise unGodly people. That is your story. There is only one you…

the violet in a garden of roses;

the God MC in a group of mumble rappers;

a spelling bee champ amongst those stuck on the first reader;

unique superheroes and mermaids in an imagination dominated by the typical;

a Black Sheep …

“And you can’t beat that with a bat!”

Stocks and Bonds: P/E Ratios

I hosted a stocks class recently, tryna get my money up, secure the bag, harness the power of the almighty dollar… in other words, make some money. The teacher… I’ll link his classes below cuz that’s how we do… was phenomenal.

And I bet he didn’t know it, but that wasn’t just Stocks 101 it was a class in Nigganomics as well. What, you ask, is Nigganomics, well according to Webster, (of George and Ma’am not Merriam), it’s the cost of dealing with ignorant mofos. The stakes is high y’all… the stakes is mighty high.

When you get to be 40ish, lots of things change. Your urgency in some areas skyrockets and your utter inability to can in others plummets. A few areas where shit is very urgent is your time, peace, mental health, and pockets. Whereas anything that puts you in the red, in any of those categories, can die slow. Nothing costs you more than dealing with the wrong people.

“Money Trees is the perfect place for shade” Kendrick Lamar

It’s time to do an audit, and in this audit everyone gets assigned two values, a price, what it costs you, and a earnings, what you profit. If it’s clear that despite Ike being fun, he is hours late for every date you make and a big disappointment in general, he’s an asshole. If despite being friends with Sophia a long time, she’s jealous of you and wants you to shrink yourself, she’s a hater. They both need to beat it. Their P/E ratio sucks and it costs you more to have them in your life than it rewards you. But Craig and Peanut bring both something to the table that benefits your life, and in turn are worth that cost. Craig loves spending time with you, he’s fun, present, and listens. He’s caring and genuine. Peanut is a real one, he helps you make that schmoney, gives you good financial advice, invests in you for real, and is trustworthy. He is supportive and wants to see you grow. These people are good investments if your time, money, peace, and mental health. You win with them in your corner! Ike and Sophia are lessons in Nigganomics… pull your money out and make better investments.

Here are a few lessons in who to invest in based on simple calculations of that person’s P/E ratio:

1. Don’t shed tears, that’s valuable hydration, over broke ass partners … you wouldn’t go into business with a pauper, don’t spend your emotions on them either. They are a liability. Bad investment.

2. Haters bring with them a litany of unforeseen costs, because jealousy and insecurity are dangerous liabilities. You can’t predict which way they’ll go at any moment or their intentions. Bad investment.

3. Don’t get bogged down by how long you have known people. Toxicity makes you sick… and you can’t secure bags when you are bedridden. Sometimes you just outgrow people, or you grow in different directions…and that doesn’t make folks bad it just makes them bad for you. Don’t let relationships that have overstayed their welcome ruin your life’s portfolio. Bad investments.

4. The biggest LIEability of all is that you are stuck with your family. Listen, if you are surrounded by folks you call parent, brother, sister, aunt, or cousin that carry around those generational curses like shields to protect them from taking responsibility and owning their own shit… it’s perfectly fine to care for them, from afar. Don’t allow relationships you didn’t create but were born to keep you depositing funds into an account you cannot collect from and that pay no dividends. Bad investment.

Now, take some inventory of your relationships. If the price far outweighs the benefits, abort mission and find a new place to invest your time and love. Apply these principals to your life and watch the value of the company you keep and the value of your life increase, and the price you pay to have these relationships far outweighed by the benefits! And “skrt skrt” on these haters.

Stocks Classes: The Bullish Institute

Looking… at the Front Door

  1. Check your phone
  2. Stalk you on social media to see whose booty pic you liked.
  3. Sneak watch you texting people.
  4. Give a DAMN about any of that.

That’s a list of what I’m NOT gon do!

So let’s be honest. Black men don’t cheat my ass… they cheat, women cheat, Indian transsexuals cheat, Tibetan polyamorous bisexuals cheat. People are imperfect. People are stupid. People are selfish. People are tempted and weak. But what won’t happen, is me looking for your cheating.

Nope.

The cliches are true…

What is done in the dark will come to light!

If you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it.

But if you got a job, a life, take care of your skin, and drink your own water, you don’t have time to concern yourself with the transgressions of other individuals who don’t respect or care about your feelings and who give up.

Cheating is giving up. A cheater is a quitter. Instead of dealing with issues that arise they take your relationships trade secrets outside of the relationship and with it their intimacy, insecurity, and infidelity. Flag on the play! Now if you choose to forgive and move forward with that person, cheers to you! However, cheating, that is a deal breaker over this way.

But looking at attractive women, talking about attractive women, sharing with their friends, communicating with their friends… it ain’t cheating. It’s not something I care to spend any time worrying about… because you can be sure I’m looking at these fine chocolate brothas, talking to my friends about these fine chocolate brothas, talking to my friends when I need to, and checking on ALL of my people. I have zero interest in cheating on anyone, but I’m neither blind nor dead and fine is fine… okay. Most importantly, I am secure in mine. If you wanna give up this 80 and go get that 20, go ahead. But numbers don’t lie… only men and women do.

I’m a fan of not just emotional intelligence but sexual intelligence. The sight of a beautiful woman should be something you look at, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and ABSOLUTELY healthy and normal. If you looked at me that way, chances are you see all these other fine ass girls too. Finding someone attractive and acting on that attraction are two entirely different things. The ability to do the former without engaging in the latter… a sign of sexual intelligence.

So follow Big Booty Judy on Instagram if you want… but have some fucking loyalty… if the sneakers she has on with those booty shorts are fire… show your girl. Keeping that kinda stuff from me will get you thank you nexted. All that other, I’m unconcerned with.

But go sharing the ole bait and tackle… that’s a one way ticket to Nopelandia and I live in Yestopia.

“I say it now like I said it before
I’m lookin’ at the front door” -Main Source

A Secret Society

Those who don’t know the value of loyalty can never appreciate the cost of betrayal.”-unknown

Truer words my friends, truer words. Chris Brown was absolutely correct in his assessment:

So let’s just lay this all out… you never get anywhere being dirty, but in the dirt. If you find that your life is a series of failures, almosts, unnecessary loss, never quites, just misseds, and hell to the nopes it might be a good time to evaluate whether you are a good person and whether you are being good to other people. If you don’t quite know what that means, that’s your first clue you ain’t loyal, but for shits & giggles lets explore the topic.

Betrayal comes in many forms, some which I have unfortunately become very familiar with lately. If we buy a puppy together, you can’t train that puppy to bite me. You can’t poison my food and pull the plate away right before I eat. Likewise, I can’t praise you to your face and put you down behind your back. No matter your level of deceit, trickery, or fuckery… it’s betrayal and like all things done in darkness, it’ll show its face in lightness and expose you.

Here’s the rub, if you have ever cared for anyone you fall out with, bashing them in your head is understandable, but bashing them to other people is out of order. If you value things over people, then you’ll have things and no relationships of value to speak of. And if you tell someone you are down, but it’s in word only and only when they are watching … you are definitely down but not for them, but for the bullshit. The world is small, you never know who you are talking to or mistreating. No one owes another person anything, but the ebb and flow of positivity and negativity in your own life is a direct result of how you treat people. It’s that thing… karma. And she is everything they say she is… she can be your best friend or the biggest bitch. The choice is yours.

So take a look at your life, see what side of decency upon which you fall. If you spend any time of significance assessing how to shit on other people or you spend no time of significance thinking about how your actions affect others… others who do nothing but support and care for you… I’ll tell you, you are on the failing side. If you care to change it, own your shit and do better, or else you’ll soon find yourself ingesting the results of your behavior.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will be drinking our own water in our secret society…

“It’s a secret society/All we ask is trust /All we got is us

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty”- Kendrick Lamar & Rihanna

Syntax, Semantics, and shit

This will be short(ish).

Now that we got that out of the way….

So yesterday I had this conversation:

  • Him: The BBQ is on July 4th at noon, is that right?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Him: My sister got your message that asked if she could bring paper plates to the BBQ on July 4th at noon. She is confused.
  • Me: Confused, HOW?!?
  • Him: Call her and explain what you need her to do.
  • Me: What about can she bring paper plates to the BBQ on July 4th at noon do you both not understand?
  • I could literally see the confusion ensue. Internal chaos took over the cerebral cortex. It was a battle against the brain cells and the words were winning. A beautiful mind… wasted on the lazy.

    Sighs and exasperation flooded my ear… sounds. Words got flewed out, but none that answered the question… syllables. But no signs of life… no syntax and not even a hint of semantics. We are the creators (more on that in a minute). Yet I find this to be an epidemic… the inability to formulate (one’s own) and understand (other’s) complete thoughts.

    I’m sure there are communication gaps present in every culture, but I’m particularly concerned with my own. I really really need us to focus on our use of language. It is, along with body language, a key component of communication. But when we are using telephones, text messages, and emails… I don’t get the luxury of seeing your confusion or scowl. So brothas and sistas we gotta do better. We are the architects of this shit!

    ————

    Quentin D. Atkinson of the University of Auckland and other scholars have pinpointed southwest Africa, Egypt and surrounding countries, as the origin of language. According to his research, there are more sounds in African languages, at approximately 100, than in other areas of the world. Sound being the root of all language, and as you track migration there are fewer and fewer sounds until one gets to the farthest location, New Zealand, with only 13 linguistic sounds. Other scholars point Psammetichus I, Pharoah of Egypt in the 26th dynasty, as the central figure in language creation. Similarly, Ancient Africa is the birthplace of modern written language, Egyptian hieroglyphs. Like mathematics and philosophy, Egypt is known as the place where all modern science began.

    This is our history: sounds and syllables, syntax, and semantics all swirling together to form a language. That Egyptian pendant your mom got you in the ’80s that spelled your name, that big ankh ring you wore in college when you got real Black and proud…

    …those hieroglyphs are the basic building blocks of modern language. Our style, art, creativity is all a form of communication… telling others how we feel, imagine, see ourselves and the future. We are so influenced by that, African-Americans have a unique vernacular with deep connection to Southern American states accents and style along with remnants of West African influence. Our current speech patterns, sounds, and word use are the modern artifacts of Egyptian sounds, syllables, syntax, snd semantics. So there is no excuse.

    We have become lazy. Everything is about the instantaneous. We only want to press buttons. You can order a movie, dinner, groceries, and a ride with the press of a button. You can talk to a therapist, a psychic, a doctor, a stylist to plan your ENTIRE wardrobe, or a life coach to plan your LIFE with the press of a button. We can get cars out of vending machines. It’s the Jetsons, except we still have to put on our own pants and drive a car on the street. And yes, you have to talk or write, process and understand to communicate. No one is going to do that for you. There is no Shipt for talking and listening.

    The BBQ is on the 4th of July at noon.

    That’s not hard.

    Let’s do better. And if you know a Black person who can’t read… each one teach one. Looks like I got two people to reach out to.

    Oh… don’t show up at my house, I made that shit up! And it wasn’t that short.

    I deserve this, bye

    Y’all know how I do… I applaud all dope girl shit, and don’t be Black too… cuz how does the saying go …

    Speaking of Issa Rae…

    Her speech at the Women in Film Awards was the stuff all dope girl shit is made of. It was witty, clever, creative, real, and absolutely awesome af. Sis said…” we are conditioned socially to be humble…and I grew up in the age of hip hop…. none of my favorite artists are humble, they don’t even know what that means…” She went on to give a hip hop inspired braggadocious speech about being the first to win the Entreprenuer award saying…”I’m the first so you future hoes need to bow down unless you wanna catch my fade, wit yo week ass!”

    I was all 😂🤣, then all 🤷🏽‍♀️, then all ✊🏽! Listen here.

    It was the epitome of litty!

    But let’s be real, any woman who grew up in the 80s and early 90s and listened to LL, Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed, Snoop, Nas, Jay-Z, and Big L really can’t be faded. We excel then prevail. We was nice before ice. We could sell water to a well. Walking with a switch, talking with street slang. It ain’t hard to tell. We break em and bake em and rake em and take em and mold em and make em.  We will not lose, ever. We… are the magnificent.

    That’s right, we are unapologetic about our shine in 20-1-9. It’s one of the most rewarding results of the impact of hip hop on the culture. It gave us permission to let a nigga know we the bomb, and… you can MOST CERTAINLY catch this fade.

    So to all those that say be humble, we say…

    …sit down!

    That’s right, cop a squat, get comfortable, and if any of this confuses you… Lemme learn ya.

    ………..

    This. IS. a public service announcement:

    In 2015-2016 64% of all bachelor degrees awarded to Black students were earned by women. In that same year, 9.7% of Black women were enrolled in various college programs, higher than any other race or gender. (National Center for Education Statistics) We smart out in these streets.

    From 1997-2013 companies started by Black women increased 258% and had revenue of $44.9 billion dollars. (Blackdemographics.com). We securing bags out in these streets.

    In 2019 we have 22 Black women serving in Congress, out of only 42 in history, with Shirley Chisholm being the first elected Black female US Representative in 1969, and Carol MoseleyBraun serving as the first Senator in 1989. Today we got Auntie Maxine reminding us our time is valuable; Ayanna Pressley giving these white boys hell and hella sideeye; Ilhan Omar representing the culture and the struggle; and Jahana Hayes showing that teachers, perhaps the most important career professional, needs a seat at the table to represent the needs of our future. Too.much…sauce.

    But it’s some hoes in this house, so…

    We still make considerably less than any of our White or male counterparts, making 64 cents to a White man’s dollar. In the venture capitalist world, we get very little investment support for our ventures, making up only about three percent of investment dollars spent in 2016. There is currently only one Black woman that runs a Fortune 500 company, Mary Winston as as interim CEO of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, out of the 33 women in total. We own ZERO Fortune 500 companies. Even in the federal government, though Black women make up about 11% of the workforce, we are grossly underrepresented in the higher paying GS levels and SES level jobs. (opm.gov)

    Our positioning is just one thing. We are forced to navigate issues of race and gender that others simply don’t have to consider. We are simply left out of the dominant cultures conversations and decision-making. We often have to find sponsors, particularly of color -which is challenging in itself, to help us get special projects, interviews, promotions. We are forced to code-switch as Black vernacular, style, and values, while copied by the majority, are not valued coming from us. If I hear blah blah blah “gurlfren”, or such and so’s “babee daddee” with some feigned attempt at colloquialism by my privileged co-workers, one more time, I might let out a tribal scream! We butt heads with Black men attempting to play a game of patriarchy they were never included in, with White women, whose feminism we simply don’t fit into, and even other Black women who have bought into the dim your light strategy. But yet…In the words of Antwon Fischer…”You couldn’t break me. I’m still standing. I’m still here!”

    We figure that shit out, because we have no other choices. It may take us longer to break those ceilings, but when we get close we breaking holes in high definition, loud and clear! Many of us leave corporate America, with its racist and sexist ways, lack of diversity or inclusion, and failure to implement real family friendly policies, to bet on ourselves, bet on each other, invest in each other. We are designing furniture and sneakers. Moving from online Instagram boutiques to brick and mortar stores. Opening restaurants, and selling our cosmetic, food, and clothing lines in major retail stores.

    We find ourselves growing apart from or just having to drop off those dim your light sistas and patriarchal brothas. So often we have to build our own supergroups. We epitomize the hip hop crew philosophy, get you a clique of like minded individuals with one goal… success. Like the Zulu Nation, Native Tongues, and BDP to our hip hop juggernauts Death Row, Bad Boy, and No Limit, Black women have created and crafted groups of like minded sistas, personally and socially and professionally, in everything from entrepreneurship to tech to fashion and even health, media, and motherhood. The bonds we form, help us find the tools, opportunities, and assistance we need to move forward and progress.

    “We can’t stop now b*tch. We can’t stop. You can’t stop us, so b*tch don’t try.”

    So while there has been a lot of hateration in our dancery… our sistafriends are also apart of our crew. They “gon pull me up… never let me drown” and make sure I’m mentally healthy enough to be the boss I was born to be. Sometimes they are both our personal and professional support. Other times, they just hold us down by ordering mimosas, sending a care package, listening to a rant, or doing choreography on a balcony… whatever works!

    And when we win, because we will win… they win! When we eat, they eat. And when they call our name, we taking everybody on stage, the whole crew, Ty-Ty, Jungle, and all ’em. “What about your friends”… they better than yours that’s what! “…they pray and pray for me. See better things for me. Want better days for me unselfishly

    So as you can see… Black women are legit. We overcome. We support. We defy the odds. We succeed in spite of. We won’t stop. We WANW. And we have to let folks know from time to time: I deserve this, bye!

    Getting to the Money

    Prom sendoffs… a Black cultural celebratory phenomenon during the graduation season that is full of pageantry, flash, and grandiose fashion, photo shoots, dancing, and well… celebrating the accomplishments of the child.

    See Instagram video here.

    That video is by far my favorite prom sendoff ever. However, I was both elated and disturbed at the commentary of mostly Black posters… who praised their creativity and then denigrated them for all the pomp and circumstance at a “trap house” with broken steps. I find it sad that we sit in judgment of each other based on our assumptions about the financial cost and financial sacrifice parents make for kids who “probably didn’t graduate” or “can’t count as high as all that stuff costs.” Who cares how others see us when we see ourselves in such marginalized and negative ways.

    This year we see even more red carpets, photo backdrops, expensive cars and clothes…a big difference from the 90s Jessica McClintock dresses and President Tuxedo rentals. Kids are in Maseratis, in custom tuxedos, and damn near bridal gowns. That might not be my bag, but those aren’t my kids. I didn’t have to sit in frustration with them and homework. I didn’t have to help them overcome learning disorders or family curses. I don’t know their story. Yet, it seems like everyone has an opinion on how people should spend their money on their children. Well just be prepared, cuz in four years, my kid will be crispy AF…

    Ok so 2023 crispy, not 1967 crispy… but you get my point. He might get dancers, I like dancers. We might do a whole Coming to America Remember the Time production. He’ll probably be in bespoke. He’ll likely have on shoes that cost more than any you own. His shoe game now is bananas. He’ll be graduating and going to college on someone else’s dime, trust… so he can have that and more.

    Don’t count my money, and perhaps you won’t be so mad.

    I’m good over here. My credit score and tax bracket are my own business, but if I’m not asking you for Go Fund Me to help my cause, don’t concern yourself with what I do. I will do WHATEVER I want when I celebrate my kid. And be clear, a celebration is in order. What money I spend, car I rent, the price of the shoes I buy are not an indictment upon your inability or decision not to… it’s my choice. I happen to think someone graduating high school is as, if not more, worthy of a big celebration than a wedding… that’s just me. Other people spend $1000 on a wedding cake… that’s them. Whether you didn’t go to prom, nobody ever did anything extravagant for you, or if you feel like other people’s fancy will out fancy you… those are issues you need to come to personal terms with. But again, you can’t dictate what other people do with their children.

    You have a right to your opinion… but your opinion is not facts.

    Here are the facts. Black traditions are rooted in our African ancestry. Celebration is in our blood. Holidays, remembrances, harvests, spiritual festivals, praise of the Gods… Felabration in Nigeria, Chale Wote in Ghana, Harare International Festival in Zimbabwe, Timkat in Ethiopia… Africa is a continent of music, dance, food, and praise. Birth, adulthood, marriage, childbirth, death and everything in between has a ritual and an after party. You think a glittery dress and Louboutins are fancy…

    … we got fancy in our bloodline. We are extra by God’s design. We put on for our city, our people, our kids, THE CULTURE. African and Black traditions and culture are the most appropriated in the world, yet we are the most subjugated people in history. We can see the affects of that subjugation in the way we sit in judgment when others of us celebrate in grand style.

    From slavery, genocide, Jim Crow, Emmett Till, the 16th Street Church bombing, ’67 Detroit riots, and MOVE bombing, to the Central Park Five, Trayvon Martin, Khalief Browder, and Tamir Rice… Black people have been conditioned by American values to believe we have no value. They lied to you. They tried to erase our history from your mind. They tried to tell you that being Black is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being invisible and unimportant. They made them jump the broom quietly in the woods. They wouldn’t let us read. School was a foreign notion. Well now we get to jump the broom in whatever way we want. We can buy books. We can get degrees. We can celebrate. We are worthy of celebration and grandness.

    My grandparents graduated college. My mom and aunt got Master’s degrees. I have a doctorate. My brown hued Black child graduating from high school, with good grades, mentally and emotionally healthy, and his life intact is definitely something to celebrate… because he is being groomed to be better than all of us who came before him. This will be just the start of a lifetime celebration. So many mothers don’t get to send their Black sons off to prom. Korey Wise and Yusuf Salaam were in prison while their peers got fitted for prom tuxedos. Trayvon Martin didn’t get to take a pretty girl to prom and dress up. Be mad at that.

    My child will be celebrated, he will know he and his life are worthy of rejoicing. He will get to, for one moment in time, of hopefully many more moments to come, be honored for his accomplishments in grand style. He knows no suffering, neither much do I, but I know my deep dark chocolate great great Grandmother who bore a child that could have easily passed as White, saw plenty. In her honor, we will celebrate as big and loud as we can. Be mad… no one cares.

    High school graduation is still an accomplishment. Everyone doesn’t go to college. Everyone doesn’t get a doctorate. The child who goes on to learn a trade, enters the military, or goes to work is still as worthy of being celebrated as the kid with a full scholarship to Harvard or Howard. Life is precious. It is to be celebrated. I will celebrate my way, you celebrate yours… but your opinions are your own. And when my kid is shining, say congrats and keep it moving. Do recall, I’m a savage about mine.

    Besides, everything they say about minding your own business, does indeed get you closer to the money…

    Nothing and Everything

    Every now and again something gives me a soul lesson, unlike a simple life lesson. It’s a deeper thing, hard to explain but real. Often, I’m not quite sure that the ways in which I learned about myself were purposeful or happenstance in terms of the medium. But I find myself unwrapping whatever it is in awe… amazement… eager to be changed by it.

    Jharrel Jerome in “When They See Us”

    1989

    I was 13 years old when the “Central Park Five” case started in New York. I am not ashamed to say I don’t remember hearing about it much, or it having much of an impact on me. I do recall it being one of the first times, other than seeing the name on TV or emblazoned in lights in Atlantic City, hearing the name Donald Trump in the news. But honestly I was too involved in my own teen drama.

    2011

    I do recall much more vividly in 2011, Trump calling for then President Barack Obama to release his US birth certificate to prove he was a born citizen, and seeing that horrendously racist ad he took out in four NYC papers calling for the death penalty of “murderers” who were actually innocent children that were used, tricked, and illegally interrogated for hours without parental supervision. The NYPD, in true form, put on a masterful performance of trickery and fraud and racism. No surprise there.

    2014

    2014 was the year Mike Brown, Eric Garner, LaQuan McDaniel, Akai Gurley, and Tamir Rice were killed by police officers. It started a series of conversations about what it meant to be Black and male in America for parents of Black sons. In my house, we discussed how my son didn’t and never would have the privilege of being seen as young and innocent, as his young and innocent little face peered back at me, confused and bewildered, too free to be afraid and too happy to understand.

    2014 was the year that I experienced uncut racism at my place of employment for the first time… my upward mobility sabotaged by white men less experienced and much less educated. It was also the year, the Central Park Five, as they had become known, were exonerated for a crime for which they spent years wrongly imprisoned and rumblings of Trump running for President started.

    2014 was pivotal for me in terms of my Blackness… While I abhorred and was educated on America’s racist history, my own personal Blackness had been pretty much an urban tale of an Around the Way Girl. Bamboo earrings, bad attitude, gangsta talk, manipulating minds, being gentle and kind, independent, and my grandma stayed buggin! Yet suddenly I experienced all it meant to be Young, Gifted, and Black through this lens of trauma. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time, but surely it was…

    I spent a long time trying to understand some shit that wasn’t meant for me to comprehend. I had never experienced blatant racism, so it was foreign to me. I convinced myself that I didn’t belong there… not because I wasn’t good enough, I was too good, that was the problem. I started to see everything as an operation of color… whether warranted or not. I felt like a prisoner, detained somewhere I didn’t belong. So kind of frozen by that feeling, I couldn’t move. I never took my own response to their behavior into consideration. It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it that matters, right?

    2019

    I took ownership. I decided that my Blackness, something I always embraced, was gonna get a bear hug. I would be blue black. I might eat a chitterling… Ok that’s going too far.

    I had spent a long time hearing that as a lighter skinned Black person my experience of Blackness wasn’t quite the real experience, but I knew different. My experiences were just as real and authentic as any brown skinned sista’s… not the same, sprinkled with privilege in some instances that I neither wanted or asked for…but as real and authentic nonetheless. I had definitely experienced the modern day version of racial injustice at the hands of my employers. I also had allowed it to take residence beside me… and I needed to evict it once I really processed it.

    I decided that I was going to swallow whole every bit of knowledge and experience I could have that gave me a better understanding of where I fit in this unfortunately racist and sexist place. So June 5, 2019 I sat down and started to digest another piece of our history, made so beautifully and hauntedly by Ava Duvernay. Listen… it was much like what I imagine hell to be like in one bite and then just rich and flavorful and robust in the next… art and hatred. Joy and pain.

    Jharrel Jerome and Korey Wise

    This young man’s performance, not taking away from any of the other actors as they were all phenomenal, but this one… it made me feel some power I didn’t realize I had. Being Black is a joy… we are lit, cultured, educated, magical, unicornian and shit. Being Black in America is also traumatic af! There is a scene where Yusuf Salaam’s mother walks him out of the police station and it flashes to Korey Wise sitting on a wooden bench in the police station. At that moment, I knew he was about to take me somewhere. I wasn’t really sure where… but I just put my seatbelt on.

    I was metamorphosed from it in a way I had never been from watching news stories or reading articles. I think I can only compare my reaction to his scenes to seeing Mike Brown lying in the street hours after being gunned down and Trayvon Martin’s sneaker peeking from under the sheet on the ground. Yet his portrayal was somehow more real, even though it was scripted. At one point, the young actor, Jerome, looked into the camera with such desperation and fear…

    …it was clear he’d not just acted out this trauma but decided to experience it first hand, to become a 16 year old in Riker’s Island… if not physically, then emotionally. It was like he ingested the script. He feasted on the real life victims being on set, sharing their stories. In basic terms… he went all the muthafuckin way IN! He surrendered himself and forced me to do the same. That boy was GOODT!

    There was a scene where Jerome alongside Neicey Nash, as Korey Wise’s mother, are separated by a wall to discourage contact with prisoners. Jerome leans over and grabs her hands and pleads with her to come back to see him. That shit took a gangsta all the way out ok…

    I could feel what it must have felt like to be a child deprived of any loving human touch, of your mother’s presence, of any positive human interaction. He broke me down ya heard. But something came from that mix of artistic excellence and emotional transference that was seriously cathartic.

    Racism has many faces. It’s the pointed hate of walking into a church with Black parishioners and shooting them. It’s the juxtaposition of power versus safety with our Black sons and trigger happy police officers. It’s the feigned ignorance about Black life, vernacular, levels of education and success as if our skin color makes us somehow foreign and less human. It’s the xenophobia against people and cultures assumed to threaten the majority, their power, wealth, and sheer numbers. I could go on and on. Whatever it’s manifestation, racism is hateful and borne of control, power, and the threat of death. What I thought would leave me even more mad at patriarchal racist white folks, left me feeling powerful in a way I cannot explain well… but I’ll try.

    Have you ever had a headache and immediately grabbed for Excedrin or Aleve because you didn’t want to bother with the headache or it’s cause, only to have the headache an hour later still pounding? That is often what we do when we have been traumatized, big or small, we look for a band-aid. We want it to go away and we don’t want to deal with the root cause. Instead, if you take a few deep breaths, get a cool compress, and take a nap, the headache will be gone when you rise. It requires both taking some responsibility for your healing and some time for it.

    I spent a lot of time mad about shit that really didn’t serve me. I didn’t go in, see my part in it all, heal that, and use their evil for good… instead I just let it sit and fester …

    “or maybe it just sags like a heavy load, or does it explode?”

    Mad at white people… not all white people but hateful, patriarchal, racist white people… the very ones who don’t care if I, or more importantly my Black son, lives or dies. Why spend an iota of energy on that mofo?!?

    I liked my sheltered and innocent life… it was comfortable, safe, cozy, and easy. But that shit is a thing of the past. It got me here, I’m grateful for the shelter… but I have seen how ugly and hateful people can be. The thing is, that’s them, not me, not you, not us. Fuck hateful, patriarchal, racist white people and all that shit they hope they are making us feel… anger, rage, hostility. Don’t let the hateful shit they do stop you … from grinding, from becoming, or from watching this masterpiece.

    Like any and everything else , trauma has to be faced head on. I sat down in racism and it didn’t kill me… it made me stronger. I was beasty before… I’m a muthafuckin Blackity Black superhero unicorn now. I am the dream and prayer of Harriet and Frederick, Malcolm and Fannie Lou, Thurgood and Shirley, William and Betty.

    As for the racists, I ingested their hate and spat it out, so now I’m immunized. I lost nothing and gained everything. That’s the transformative power of art. They will remember me different.

    Boston Tea

    Y’all know I love a good tv series, and The Handmaids Tale is one of my faves… TO WATCH yo! I had no idea when I started this show that in a short time America would start to look a lot like Gilead in so many ways. Just a few short years ago, Black people were wearing their natural hair in droves, there was a Black President, the first in this country’s history, and people of color were experiencing unprecedented wins. BHM was lit every year, and we were joining together with allies to protest our inability to do basic shit… drive, walk, talk live, breathe while Black. Black girls were being celebrated for our magic and our skin care routines. We were winning awards we earned and they (they know who they are) were finally saying Tupac instead of Two-pack.

    What a time to be alive.

    Today, we live in but a shadow of that world. Let’s see, where do I start… we have a President who brags about assaulting women, uses social media as his own bathroom stall wall, won’t release his taxes, and is guilty of all sorts of crimes against the republic. We have federal courts stacked high with young, white, ultra conservative men who are against abortion, public education, and personal choice and for big business and white supremacist ideals. Just last week Alabama passed, through both houses of their legislature, a ban on abortion with no exception for even rape or incest. Check that out…a man can violently violate a woman’s body, impregnate her, and this woman will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term or face jail. WHAT?!?!? We are going to further abuse a victim legally?

    What a bad time to be a woman or minority… or any person who cares about justice, fairness, and humanity.

    ****

    Let’s play a game. I got 11 and a possible.

    In 1773, residents of the American colonies protested British taxation on tea by dumping tea into the Boston River. In 2009, American conservative politicians formed The Tea Party during the Obama presidency to protest what they called big government. Interestingly enough these were conservative white politicians and it wasn’t BIG government but BLACK government they were against. They feared the Black guy would gratuitously give positions to women and minorities like they had been doing for one another since they columbused the land we call America. And with this started the fleecing of the middle class minority.

    “Hey Blacks, the Democrats have failed you. These programs have kept so many of your people poor, BUT YOU… you have pulled yourself up. To continue to climb you need to demand the poor among you get it together. Oh and Obama will fail you, but your white savior will rise and fix it all…”

    So we reject the message publicly, but alone in our circles we debated some of its points. Obama didn’t personally deliver our mule and 40 acres. We been hoodwinked. We considered that perhaps our President didn’t paint the White House Black, he only invited Beyonce and Stevie Wonder and had a few soul food nights. Bamboozled. He was perhaps, just as bad as they said he was. Led astray. Then as we saw the now President gain momentum in the 2016 election, the same way we doubted Obama, we doubted a woman. We latched on to her past mistakes, while Trump was fondling women and grabbing their privacy in real time. They got foreign hackers to continue their fleece… and it worked. We were run amok.

    They sipped tea…

    We got boiled.

    But we burned ourselves. Yep… I blame you. If you said anything about your vote not counting, voted third party, sat your ass at home, or did any other thing BUT voted for your interests… this is your fault. All of it.

    As a result of our personal dracarys, they are gutting public education. There is an Uncle Tom brain surgeon running the department over HOUSING and Urban Development. The very nigga who has tried his best to disassociate from all that is urban. Immigrant children are being held in gated cells and separated from their parents. The President is being allowed to withhold his taxes despite being accused of having multiple illegal financial dealings with foreign governments. He and his team worked hand in hand with foreign government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. He has elected and seated several conservative judges with a history of racial and sexual abuses. They want to push us back to a time when there was no means for the non-working to have health insurance, and undo Obama’s historic health care reform. Formerly minority populated cities are being gentrified to push out residents (Black and Brown folks) who helped build the city after white flight… and costs raised well above what area residents can afford. But lemme tell you what we really cannot afford… not to vote.

    In 1964, three men were shot and buried by police and the KKK for registering Black voters in Mississippi… the tragic Mississippi Burning case. Even though the 14th Amendment granted Black men the right to vote in 1870, Black women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920… and these amendments were not enforced until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. Gerrymandering has created a system where state legislators determine how to “draw” congressional districts to get their desired effect by allowing politicians to pick their voters. Lies about voting laws are printed in newspapers and blasted on television, leading to voter suppression. Every vote we withheld by sitting at home, could have gotten us a decent human being in office. Obama won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. About 75,000 voters who sat their asses at home won those states for Trump, many of us with 313 area codes and 482xx zip codes in my beloved Detroit … out of the 136 million votes cast. But your vote doesn’t count Beloved?!?

    Our ancestors died to vote. We owe it to their sacrifice to show up. Our Black ancestors and our female ancestors were beaten and killed in the name of the vote. Yes, voting is not an exact science. But if we use our votes collectively to elect state legislators who make state rules that benefit us in federal elections, and then elect federal legislators who share our interests and not just names we know and are used to, we can change the game. Congressional districts and electoral votes and any other confusing shot won’t matter if we show up at polls. In fact, we can influence those confusing rules in those same polls. If we show up, we bust their districts up like dynamite and get people into these roles that will represent us, not big business and their whites only policies. It is simple shit.

    If we vote EACH and EVERY time, we get to…

    …in Boston, Detroit, Philly, New York, Houston, wherever. It’s a necessity at this point, as we see America turning back the hands of time. We have never been post-racism or post-sexism but in 2019 to have women potentially facing jail time for taking control of their bodies and Black men, women, and children slain while unarmed means we are definitely in a time warp. Those of us who regularly vote need to push for same day registration, and support those who don’t vote in understanding their power. We need to show up in record numbers in 2020, get our game faces on, bid our hand,

    …and run a Boston on these fools!

    Catch that tea!