Today in Black History

Today in Black History, I honor us.

Yes, yes, y’all. It’s Black History month.

If you’re like me, you got the same vanilla ass explanation of black history that most public schools have locked and loaded for the month of February.

Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, (maybe) Malcolm X, the usual suspects. All of these people were remarkable in their own way, of course. This is not to downplay the people who made their name fighting for Civil Rights.

But Google is well and alive and if you search anyone of those names you’ll probably get a million or so hits with their biographies and activism and speeches and such. So, we won’t rehash that here.

This month, it’s about the beautiful black people that are making history in the here and now. We’ll take a look at what’s happening in film, music, and popular culture. The looks, the lessons, the living examples of black excellence that are making the world a better place a little bit at a time.

Today in Black History we’re blind to the bullshit. This series is for us. Agent Orange and his goons have no place here for the next 28 days.

The goal is to post for all 28 days this month. Every day, we’ll look at the newest latest in black culture. Film, television, music, media, literature, activism – it’s all fair game. Black history is everyday so let’s celebrate.

Grab your tea and a spare moment and join me in a month-long homage to the culture.

 

This College Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair

I’ve had body issues my entire life really. Dare I even say: dysphoria. I’ve always been a thickum and I’ve always had to be conscious of the things I eat so as not to gain any unnecessary weight. Not to mention, much of your social stock as a teenager is determined by how you look. So all through middle and high school, I worked hard to maintain a size 10/12. It wasn’t where I wanted to be but I had no choice but to work with what I had. It didn’t help that I wore uniforms all k-12, the epitome of unflattering.

Most of the girls found ways to dress it up. That colorful, plastic hair store jewelry was really popular in middle school and bitches used to come to school with those annoying ass bangles all the way up their arms. That was also around the time where the other girls started playing in make up and doing their own hair. Of course, as time went on, clothes got tighter and hair and makeup got more competitive. I still couldn’t keep up.

So, when I got to college I decided I would attempt to reinvent myself.

  1. By cutting all my hair off and going natural
  2. Dressing how I wanted

It was a new chapter in my life and I was trying to cast off the insecurities of middle and high school.

But college proved to be nothing but a recurring nightmare of broke-ness and anxiety. I had always been very much an introvert and being in places with a lot of people was not my cup of tea. I hated going to the campus gym because it was always packed and smelled like feet. And that cafeteria food is not the most nutritious. And of course, you can’t eat healthy when you’re broke.

In all my years, I feel like I’m finally getting to a place where I can start working towards being the person I wanted to be back in middle school. I’ve had a gym membership of my own for a few months now because I’m willing to pay money in order to avoid the risk of social interaction while I’m working out. I pay rent for a home that has an amazing kitchen where I actually have room to prepare health(ier) meals for myself.

Long story short: I feel like this is the most control I’ve had over my life and destiny in my entire life.

Personally, I’ve always thought new year’s resolutions were a bit disingenuous. But I’ve set some new goals for myself to achieve as we move in to month two of 2018. I’m tightening up on you hoes. My hair is flourishing, my wardrobe, my health. In hindsight, these college years, I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel so the way I see it, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Oh, You Grown Now?

I remember last year when I made a post about new shows coming this year, and Grownish was among them. I was excited. Another dope spin off for the culture.

For what it was, I thought the first two episodes had potential. The sophisti-ratch twins, the super woke nigga, baby Basquiat, the first gen student of immigrant parents, that bitch who went to college and bloomed… in a bad way – archetypes of the millennial college student of which I can attest are more or less accurate. The thing about the super woke niggas is that I try to avoid them at all costs. And my mans has a rat tail, but it works, I guess.

As I am not a heterosexual, the whole budding romantic dynamic between Zoey and super woke nigga doesn’t really do much for me. I’m not invested in that at all, but they’re likable. They’re cute.

The best part about the first episode was Charlie. I’m glad his character was apart of the spin off. He’s by far, the wittiest of the show. My favorite character, overall, is Luca. We have the same hair and also partake in the same recreational activities.

My biggest gripe is how they dealt with the whole drug situation. As someone who has dabbled in the weeds and the addys and allat, the second episode was almost patronizing.

This is what happens when people who are not millennials write a show about what they think life as a millennial is like. Why do old people think young people are incapable of making their own decisions. My god, give us some credit. Yes, we know, peer pressure is bad, now what?

That’s not to say that drug use is not a serious and valid topic of focus. It’s important that people be educated about drugs before they decide to ingest/inhale them. But that second episode really gave me some Nancy-Reagan-just-say-no vibes and I just wasn’t here for it. The drug discussion is way more nuanced than what they made it out to be.

And yes, I know they only had 30 minutes. But you can do a lot with 30 minutes. If you’ll recall, A Different World covered shit like binge drinking, consent, and safe sex with the same amount of time and I didn’t feel like I was being preached at.

All in all, the first two episodes get 6 out of 10 stars, for me.

But we’re only two episodes in so, I’ll guess we’ll see how this goes.

I Can’t Live Without My Radio

Let’s kick off the first post of 2018 with some culture.

I was scrolling through IG and Charlemagne the God posted this.

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As spicy as Charlemagne can be, he has his moments.

Every now and then I write about some of my favorite artists making their way through the radio circuit promoting their newest latest… or trying to save face… or just deciding to drop in. A lot of great artists have been interviewed on The Breakfast Club.

In the context of hip hop, DJs have mythological status. They have a special place in the culture.

I feel like disk jockeys are always portrayed as being “that nigga.” They get respect, they have clout, they usually have a way with words.

They are some of the most memorable characters in television and movies. Of course, Martin and Senior Love Daddy are fictional, but it’s plenty of very real DJs that live and breath this same air that pushed the culture of hip hop.

From people like Stretch and Bobbito who were pioneers of the “urban radio” movement to the vets like Angie Martinez, Ebro, Sway, Heather B, Big Boy, and DJ Envy and Angela Yee, and Charlemagne and allem at the Breakfast Club, they get my respect. The culture owes a lot to them.

Moral of the story: It’s so dope to watch hip hop grow and evolve. DJs were the first foot soldiers of the genre. Somebody had to spin those records, right? Somebody had to play those records at the block parties and the basketball parks.

And even though Charlemagne says some spicy shit from time to time, you can’t knock his influence. He’s been working a long time to afford to be that inflammatory and for that, he gets all my respect.

Seventh day of Kwanzaa: Imani

Habari gani? Imani

Faith.

To believe, with all our heart, in our Creator, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

That’s the motto for this year.

Faith in self and faith in the process.

To reiterate, Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday. This definition of faith exists outside of any religion. It’s something akin to the idea of trusting in the universe, of trusting in the way of things, of simply believing that anything is possible.

“It begins with a belief in the Creator and in the positiveness of the creation and logically leads to a belief in the essential goodness and possibility of the human personality. For in all African spiritual traditions from Egypt on, it is taught that we are in the image of the Creator and thus capable of ultimate righteousness and creativity through self-mastery and development in the context of positive support. therefore, a faith in ourselves is key here, faith in our capacity as humans to live righteously, self-correct, support, care for and be responsible for each other and eventually create the just and good society.”

We must invent, innovate, reach inside ourselves and dare set afoot a new man and woman. The world and our people are waiting for something new, more beautiful and beneficial from us than what a past of oppression has offered us. Let us not imitate or be taught by our oppressors. Let us dare struggle, free ourselves politically and culturally and raise images above the earth that reflect our capacity for human progress and greatness. This is the challenge and burden of our history which assumes and requires a solid faith.

— words from Maulanga Karenga

This commercial is why I will always have a profound respect for Steve Jobs. I know, I know, I’ve heard he was kind of a dick, he was selfish, blah, blah. These are character traits I don’t wish to imitate for obvious reasons.

But what I cannot take away from him was his vision.

I mean, it’s a reason I’m typing this up on a Macbook Pro right now.

What is it that makes people believe that they can move mountains? What is it that pushes people to create? What compels people to think differently?

Faith.

January 1st always feels like a reset button for me.

Habari gani? Imani.

#2018leggo

Leveling Up

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for about a year now.

When I first started this particular blog, I was a little worried it would go the way of my other blogs. Yeah, I’ve tried blogging a few times in the past and never really could stick with it. Perhaps I didn’t quite know what I wanted to talk about yet. I hadn’t really cultivated my own voice. Maybe I just didn’t have enough life experience to generate consistent content. For whatever reason, I’ve failed at this several times in the past. So this is definitely a personal accomplishment for me.

In 2017, I finished college. I maintained a blog. I bought my own gym membership. I’m sure I did some other things too, but they just aren’t coming to mind at the moment.

In 2018, I’m trying to push the blog full throttle. I like my piece of internet pie and I’m here to stay. This year has shown me that I can be consistent and I can make good content.

So, we ain’t going nowhere but up in 2018.

In These Podcast Streets

A month ago, I didn’t even know who Janet Mock was. I don’t know how I came across “Never Before with Janet Mock” but the shit is lit.

Her first guest was none other than the queen mother, Tina Knowles – Lawson, and for a little under an hour they waxed philosophic about the princesses of Parkwood and her own endeavors in making the world a more hospitable place for young black girls.

And the roster just gets better as the season goes on.

Two weeks ago, none other than the man behind Joanne the Scammer, Brandon Miller, came on to talk about how he got to now. I must admit, I was a bit late on the Joanne the Scammer wave. But I kept hearing people say “Get out of my caucasian home,” and I had to investigate the origin of such a statement. My googles brought me to Joanne’s Instagram page.

Last week, she had none other than my #wce, Crissle West, from The Read. I didn’t think I could love her anymore than I already did, but after a fun talk between she and Janet, I can’t shake the thought that somewhere in a parallel dimension, Crissle and I are actually sisters. So smart, so beautiful, so black.

In my analysis thus far, Janet’s got the podcast juice. And we’re only like nine episodes in.