You Know It’s True

Remember Milli Vanilli, the two “singing” guys with dreads and leggings , who had a string of duper popular songs until their track broke and everyone figured out they couldn’t sing. They were fake af. Sadly, one of them died of a drug overdose and the other kept trying to sing to no avail. But when the news broke, they claimed they were taken advantage of, hoodwinked, abused, and used. Despite knowing they couldn’t hold a note, lip synced, and were responsible for duping millions of fans, they blamed their management and the record company. That’s what people do when their fraud is put on display.

Interesting enough, my Grandma called them Milli Vanilla.

In a world of chocolate, butter pecan, mint chocolate chip, pralines and cream, Rocky Road, and Superman… there is still buckets upon buckets of vanilla. Stay with me… I’m going somewhere. Trust me. Vanilla tastes best in a hot fudge sundae… but it needs that hot fudge! It needs that cherry. Otherwise it’s just… vanilla. Put it in a blender with milk and Oreos, it turns into a delicacy. In a bowl alone it’s what Great-Grandma eats that won’t get under her teeth, upset her stomach, give her gas, or give her too much of a sugar high. Vanilla can be boring, but it plays well with others. And no mNy how many others at the party, it still just calls itself vanilla. If it were fake AF it would become Hot Fudge, Cherry on Top, or Chocolate Chip Delight when we adorn it, try to jazz it up. But vanilla is good… it knows it’s literally the ancestor! It’s happy with itself. Real recognizes real.

People are no different. When folks are good with who they are, the accept those quirks, faults, flaws, that sleepy eye, those ugly ugly feet, that unibrow. They know they are worthy with those imperfections and despite what other people think. But not good ole Milli Vanilli. They couldn’t just go on Putting on the Hits… they had to act like a whole entire singing group. But neither of them sang ONE NOTE. Then when the needle hit the proverbial record, it scratched and they cried foul. Yet they were the jive turkeys. I mean these jokers couldn’t even pronounce the words in the songs they were supposed to sing. Yet they had the absolute gall to blame anyone else for their exposure as fraudulent. Naw that was you bruh.

Fake AF people don’t like to take responsibility for their shit. You raggedy… admit it and change. But don’t try to blame somebody else for your fuckery. If people stop coming to your concerts, it not because management duped you, its because you cannot sing. If people stop fucking with you, it’s because your shit is too rank to tolerate. Take responsibility for ingesting that side of baked bullshit and that entree of ridiculousness ragu. YOU are the reason folks think you are tacky, messy, silly, and toxic. You! Own it. Put it in your pipe. That’s yours.

Responsibility is a sign of maturity. You cannot forever blame your imaginary friend Bruce or your stuffed animal that comes alive at night for leaving your toys out, eventually you gotta put that shit away. Let’s embrace owning our shit in the second half of 2021, by taking full and complete responsibility for our actions, making good decisions, and being who we authentically are without apology (focus in authentic). So don’t blame your shit on what someone else ate; Don’t let your girl get away… Never go Eric Benet; and don’t fake the funk like Milli Vanilli.

And until you can do that and be a normal adult…. “Baby… forget my number!”

Reciprocal Responsibility

It’s hard to be friends with people who are not consistent. I’m not talking about old friends… we have an unwritten understanding “whenever you need me I’m already there….” But with friends you are building a relationship with, in order to get to that, pick right back kind of understanding, you have to get there first… and that requires consistency, responsibility, equal effort, and hype man vibes.

Anything worth having takes work… relationships take equal the work from all parties. If I call you, you have to reciprocate and call me. If I invite you out, you have to reciprocate and invite me out. If I am available to and for you, you have to be available to and for me. Pause. Take that in, let it marinate in your brain matter. You cannot have a healthy one sided relationship… that does not work. You cannot have a friendship when it fits your schedule. You cannot expect anyone to be okay with you pushing them aside because you are busy… then see you really ain’t that busy, you are just too busy for them. That won’t sit too well with anyone’s spirit. An unequal friendship is not one at all!

Similarly, someone all up in your face every five minutes is not healthy either. I once had a “friend” who called me ten times a day, and when I didn’t answer, because she lived on my block, she came to my house. I didn’t know what kind of dependency she had with me, but I wanted no parts of it. I called her in it and she told me I was wrong… uhh ok. Her intensity was stalkerish to me in my teens, and reminded me of some weird movie like Cruel Intentions or Wild Things, and I ain’t want NO parts of that. Zero. Keep your odd angst to yourself. I could admit I was not interested in that kind of friend, but she couldn’t admit she was hawking me and bordering on psycho… an irresponsible relationship is not one at all.

We all want to be seen in our best light… but we have to turn that joker on and let it and not our bullshit illuminate who we are. You get seen in the light you use. When you deflect your responsibility in a relationship and then attempt to manipulate someone’s feelings toward you with stories of woe and misfortune, but yet always seem to be grinning and smiling with another mofo… it ain’t hard to tell wassup. In college I had a friend who seemed to friend hop to whomever she hadn’t yet exposed her true self. Once you got to know her though, she was very gossipy and jealous. That was the weirdest friendship I ever had, and totally changed my view of how people operate socially. This person who once called and wanted to hang out daily, a year later I barely spoke to. No thanks, keep that. More importantly don’t try to use me as your springboard for bullshit.

I’ve also known people who were just simply interested in having friends but uninterested in being one. Those folks need to find each other and have those social media popular friendships. But I’m not a Kardashian and I am not interested in that. Either be my real friend or move on. An unequal relationship is not one at all.

Maybe you have experienced some form of these friendships… hopefully not. But know that folks will feed you all their tales, woulda coulda shoulda, and busyness to justify why they are just horrible friends. They just are… and those of us trying hard to be great friends just end up wasting tine. You can tell someone is an awesome friends because they have awesome friends… that’s the telltale sign. I mean I know ultimately that folks adore my boonapolis (Greek for bestie) is because they see me over here being all kinds of great!

“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” Mystical, How Many

Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be f*ckboys

fuckboy /f-uh-k-boi/ n. a male who wants the benefits of engaging in meaningful and worthwhile relationships without the responsibility and commitment required to sustain such a relationship; a man who manipulates his way into the lives of others with lies, empty promises, and bad intentions; a BAN.

Ladies and gents, our topic is fuckboys.We are surrounded by them. From Harvey Weinstein, Michael Bloomberg, and Donald Trump. To Tyrone who grew up on Stahelin and Six Mile, Louise’s son with the four kids by four different women, John, Mohammed, Omar, Julius, Abraham, and Marcus. They come from every walk of life, in every age, race, height, and bank account balance. If most of us ladies are honest, we’ve entertained a few at the very least. Some of us woke up next to one this morning. Fuckboys are everywhere… but we can prevent their spread.

Just the other day Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sexually assaulting women… and has a bitter history of using his money and power to mistreat women. Imagine that, the King of Fuckboys found guilty. Perhaps we’ll see a lessening of the phenomenon now that the poster child for its most vile example has been outed… Probably not, but a girl can dream. Trust me, I know a fuckboy when I see them; I’ve had my share of fuckboy experiences. However, the last time, some sort of vaccine spread through me as I finally figured out their kryptonite… being outed publicly. Let’s first tell the truth and shame the fuckboy… they will recognize themselves. Let’s also go deeper.

Since the beginning of time, women have been told we should strive for aesthetic perfection, and men that they should strive to have as many aesthetically perfect women as possible. Some fuckboys are created in nature. But almost every bonafide fuckboy I’ve known or heard of was created by his mother, a product of nurture. Oedipus, in mythology was a young boy who dreamed of marrying his mother. Now while the oedipus complex is not typically that wild, in the real world the general premise that girls are often emotionally closer to their fathers, and boys closer to their mothers holds true. But when there is a lack of a close relationship, we often see both a difficulty in relating to the opposite sex and an internalization of the negative traits of that parent. So for example, Donald Trump, it’s said, had very little relationship with his mother, who left the raising of boys to their father. As the more benevolent of his parents, her absence led to him instead taking on the very shrewd and grandiose traits of his father and inheriting her absence and lack of responsibility. Likewise, Harvey Weinstein’s mother was allegedly very showy, bossy, and shrill, making her sons feel inadequate aesthetically and their father emasculated. No surprises there! I can assure you all the fuckboys I’ve known have had some iteration of an absent, unreliable, controlling, or coddling mother.

All the nopes in Nopelandia ladies…

It is imperative that as mothers to sons we ensure we are present and loving, but we consistently take responsibility for our actions and demand they do so as well, while giving them some autonomy. We must not treat our sons like 1) our husband’s responsibility- being hands off ; 2) a stand-in for a husband-expecting them to comfort us, take care of us, and cater to our needs; 3) extensions of their absent fathers- to take out our anger and disappointment on; or 4) our personal stuffed animals- coddling them and keeping them helpless so we feel needed and necessary. Nope!

These young boys are not our punching bags or our therapists. That shit is toxic. I once knew a man whose mother had several male children to whom she couldn’t identify their biological fathers. One of those children grew into a man with four children by four different women, each of whom he’s been abusive towards in some manner. While he’s a serial monogamist and clearly likes sex with women, he hates women. Clearly. He hates women because his mother abandoned him in every way possible… and demonstrated she didn’t like him very much. She then sent him into the world to lay those burdens down at the feet of other women. Be clear, his mother is not responsible for his actions, he is. However she created that fuckboy. What’s his mama’s name… Fuckboy Creator!

So ladies let’s be sure we aren’t confusing or blaming our children for the men we picked. Let’s ensure we heal our hurt so we don’t package it into gifts for our sons on birthdays and Christmas. Let’s not create the fuckboys that our elementary school classmate’s daughters have to deal with. Let’s instead teach our sons to treat people with kindness, to respect us as their mothers and as women, and to take consistent and complete responsibility for their actions and reactions. On a personal front, let’s love them so they know how to demonstrate love, remember they are seeds that will grow to bear different rings and fruit than any other before them. Let’s also be consistently and completely responsible for our own scars so we don’t in turn scar them!

Mamas… don’t let your babies grow up to be fuckboys! Oh… and get rid of that one you got!

Love is a tremendous responsibility

Black love certainly is…

Almost a year ago I was scrolling through Facebook and heard the sweet voice attached to the even sweeter face of Nikki Giovanni talking to the almost melodic and lyrical voice of James Baldwin. They exchanged quips and banter, then went into a painfully deep conversation on the experience of love, relationships, and humanity for Black people living in a state of constant oppression, poverty, and despair. “Love is a tremendous responsibility,” Giovanni says softly at the end of the dialogue. Those words frame the conversation.

It’s not an afterthought but an affirmation. It’s the kind of thing that floats above whatever that is below which could drown it. It persists and moves about the world spreading its truth. Love is indeed a tremendous responsibility… especially for Black men and women. It’s a dance and a battle. A beauty and a beast.

If I love you, I can’t lie to you,” Baldwin says.

Of course, you can lie to me,” Giovanni replies. “Because what the hell do I care about the truth? I care if you’re there.

….

I have loved Black Men. It has been difficult. I’m sure I have been no cake walk. They have been inconsistent and inauthentic. I have been difficult and demanding. They have been selfish and soulless at times. I have been over emotional and overly harsh at others. It’s a dance I constantly turned in my dance card for… but rarely made it to the end without a stepped on toe or otherwise forced to take the lead to get us to the end of the song.

I have yet, until now, had someone who is willing to give of himself in such an emotionally free way that is not dictated by what he can give or not give, buy or not buy, but instead by giving me the one thing I cannot purchase with dollars, credit cards, or extra care bucks.

Himself.

His entire self. His time. His days. His moments. His emotion. His rationalizations. His conversation. His silence. His sleep. His awake. His starving. His full. His all the way up, and his down.

It’s not predicated on what he doesn’t have.

“…especially if I love you… I can’t come with nothing.“-Baldwin

But what he does.

Sometimes you’re not able to clothe your family. Do you then, also, deprive them of your manhood?” -Giovanni

Whether it’s money or power or strength or … whatever it is that he thinks or knows he’s lacking, he does not deprive me of his presence. He uses me as his inspiration and catalyst to dream bigger and better, while being and living beside me as my support. Rarely do I need money or things, but I always, as long as he is willing to be present, need him and his manhood and his presence. And he’s willing… his actions show me and his future talk and preparation assure me.

Love is a tremendous responsibility.

It means giving. Of yourself and to yourself simultaneously. Being aware that what a woman needs most is you, something you first have to value and see the importance of independent from your resources. Sure, we teach men that their job is to provide… but the idea that provision is only financial is steeped in bullshit.

You will work it out. Because you are intelligent enough. You are sensitive enough. You are man enough to work out a new system. … As long as the assumptions are the same, nothing will change. So, we must corner ourselves to make a new assumption.Giovanni

We understand the pressures Black men face. In many ways we are the recipient of that same vitriol with sexism as the root instead of fear. They are afraid of you and convince you that the closer you come to their patriarchal individualistic and capitalistic ideal the more of a man you will be… while simultaneously blocking you from that ideal. They think we lack the ability because we aren’t men first and then because we aren’t white. But they desire us so we don’t have to fight for our womanhood in quite the same way, at least not anymore.

But we will help you change that narrative… because you are men to us. Any woman that predicates Black manhood on financial ability is ignorant of history and our ancestral model. This model of female fragility that many Black women have attempted to adopt is synonymous with the white female ideal. This timid, soft, breakable, weak woman whose only strength is her beauty is a sexist trope that white women in the past and some in the present modeled. But that is not who we are. We aren’t mules, but we aren’t glass. As Sojourner said… “I could work as much and eat as much as a man… but ain’t I a woman?” We are capable of providing and helping to provide. We are a collective, you and me, not just two individuals trying to get over. That’s their way… not ours.

Love is a tremendous responsibility. It is especially true when you have to prove your worth, are told you have to work harder than everyone else to get scraps, and risk your dreams, health, body, time, patience, and goodness to get to these unreachable and unnecessary ideals. But we have to change the narrative together.

If a man comes home, and he’s in a situation he cannot control, it’s got to come out somewhere. They got you by the neck and by the balls, and it has to come out. It comes out with the person you are closest to.” -Baldwin

You grin at him all day long. You come home and I catch hell. Because I love you, I get least of you. I get the very minimum. ” -Giovanni

A man is not void of value because he doesn’t have or because he does have according to the American ideal… he’s valuable because he has and gives of himself. He’s valuable because he gives himself to those that love him, and saves the best parts of himself for them. He can do it, it just takes a change of mindset. That’s the narrative we should push. We have everything we need to excel, and we can do so in this landscape, with these rules, with our own ideals, traditions, and ancestry intact. We first have to love ourselves enough to believe that, then be present and open enough with each other to share ourselves and create a collective partnership. From that, there is nothing we cannot create.

We all we got! Love responsibly!