Life

Let’s Do It Again

It’s 2 AM on a Friday night. The subway is filled with all types of after midnight marauders, as usual. While I’m sure that I look like the perfect bait for the potential rapist lurking, none of that matters right now. The joy and excitement I experienced with the other writers and  how happy my editors were for VIBE’s 20th Anniversary party was worth it. It was insane  for me not to think that the pages I use to highlight, bookmark and plaster on my walls would be one of the many jobs I have today.

New Rules

New Rules

I’ve always loved VIBE. Since I was kid it was one of my favorite magazines. It told the story of Hip Hop’s Golden Age, prolonged/investigated (debatable of course) the battle of East v. West Coast music, and followed the careers of the biggest names in Hip Hop today. I’ve always viewed Vibe as the journal of Hip Hop. It covered the high moments, the many lows, and where it’s heading today. While music will always reflect the many aspects of it’s historical past, we’re finally taking keen to the new artists who have found the perfect balance of homage and creating new sounds. (Insert your favorite artist here) It feels good to know that I can finally create some entries of my own.

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Two hours later I’m finally home, well not in my house but off the train. As I walk down the middle of the street (heels in hand) my flats are hugging my toes while I speed walk down the dark road. It’s late but I’m happy. I take risks everyday and this was nothing compared to the journey that had lead me to this point.

Cheers to print and the legacy that is Vibe. Let’s see what happens ten or 20 more years from now!

The Newbies

The Newbies

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Inspiration Pointe

What’s world without a few challenges? We think about this every time we face a struggle or a battle we think we can’t fight. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not just about the blows we’re blocking, but how many we allow to get through.

There used to be a lot of people around me who believed that their past battles affected the bitter sick sad world they lived in. The blame of course was never on them, but someone else for making them either fall into something or talk them out of something. After laughing and finding that just as dumb as all these Kendrick “Control” responses, I started to see my happy demeanor slowly diminishing, and becoming a product of other people’s misery. Does this make me weak? Does this make me trapped in a box? Does this make me a former version of myself?  Nope. It made me human.

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Being a guarded soul always kept me happy. When something is wrong, no one has to know; you figure that shit out and keep it moving. That mentality has everything to do with girl groups and the sassy women who raised me. I decided to let a wall down, my filter was gone and I had no idea what I was doing or taking in. I felt every single jab life through at me. I still do.

Do you know what makes life great? Every battle gives you a story and every story has inspiration. If not for you, perhaps someone else. This year has given me more lessons then college or high school, or even the projects have ever given me. The wall will never go up, but my gloves are out and I can say I’m finally prepared. Bring it.

Hey Young World

This weekend was filled with joy, pain, and reassurance my generation is smarter than you think. While many believe we’re texting and tweeting away, we’re out making noise and taking a stand. Over the years, there’s been one tragedy after the other. The story of Trayvon Martin not only grabbed America’s attention but the little brown kids of the burbs, the hood, and everywhere in between.

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We will all remember where, when and how we felt when the verdict for George Zimmerman came in late Saturday night. I was just getting home from work, exhausted but happy to relax. Before I can rest my toes and find out the plans for the night, the verdict of George Zimmerman scrolled across my Instagram timeline. “Not Guilty” was all I saw at 10:02 p.m.

Moments later I heard two gunshots. Then a couple more.

Flustered, I turned on my T.V. The news was flooded with the verdict that George Zimmerman was found not guilty for the murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. We all the know the story, but what happened after was something beautiful.

Like many, I attended one of the rallies in New York Sunday afternoon. I ended up in Union Square park with journalist, activist and writer Kevin Powell. Powell, with his group BK Nation began a discussion and a stage for young people to voice their opinions about the New York laws of 16 and 17 year-olds being tried as adults and how it connects to Trayvon Martin. Like many open discussions,the subject was lost while people talked about their own struggles and the war against the the laws that created America.

While it was evident online that we as a “lost generation” were upset, and distraught (hence the ignorance of people firing guns in the air and online threats to Zimmerman.) What bloomed from the rally wasn’t anticipated arrests or fights like we’re so naive to expect.

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What were heard were voices of many races, gender and age describing what Trayvon meant to them-together. There were barely (if any) insults to Zimmerman, and no one wanting to start a riot. At the end of the day, there was grief, sorrow and an overwhelming feeling of complete strangers coming together and making the common area for hipsters, beggars, and baby boomer chess players a platform for change. Sure the subway was blocked by teens stacked together like a human totem pole, but it didn’t matter. A group of girls bought water for thirsty protesters (thanks guys!) and some even sang tunes to keep our spirits up. Powell and his crew didn’t get an exact answer to their question, but instead what young mothers, fathers, students and professionals believed would help prevent the modern day Emmett Till tragedy from happening again. What I’ve learned from this and the stories of Kendrick Johnson, Oscar Grant, Troy Davis and Occupy Wall Street is that the perception of my generation is flawed and I believe a lot of older people realized it too.

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We’re not just behind keyboards trolling away at gossip sites, or obsessing over current trends. It’s a small part of what we do, not who we are. There were strong ideas and views coming from my generation Sunday and it will probably never reach a news channel and that’s fine.

We listened and we gave our voices to Trayvon and the injustice we witnessed Saturday night. We stood with children, grandmothers, and professors and learned one simple thing. Division wouldn’t help bring Trayvon back, anger towards the NYPD or Florida won’t change the verdict. As people chanted “No justice, no peace” the voices of the lost generation were found-shared, tweeted, emailed and texted. And for the ones that haven’t noticed it -open up your eyes and realize this: the world is ours.

#AprilWritingChallenge (Days 1-7)

As Kanye West’ “Late” plays 

 

So my homie Stacy suggested that I should join the #AprilWritingChallenge. Of course I would be the one to start super late, so here’s the first week in one conveniently informative post. Enjoy!

Day 7

The most annoying celebrity is…

The most annoying celebrity is the one who doesn’t deserve of the title. I can’t be annoyed by someone I don’t genuinely know. I can be aware of the many talents artists and actors may hold but if you want to be famous for fame then that’s plain ridiculous. What do you bring to the table? Even Kim Kardashian changed her image and had people talking about her fashion and family before they remembered images of her taking backshots from this dude.

Celebrity is a title many don’t want. Isn’t that kind of annoying in itself? We want to know these people so bad we invade their space, we dissect every sip of wine, tweet, song, movie choice, endorsement and we get mad when they’re all over magazines? Make up your mind America. 

 

Day 6 

At 40, I want…

At 40 I want my tween kids jam out to the oldies. You know, Miguel, Frank Ocean, Usher, Michael Jackson, and ZZ Hill. I’ll be making dinner after a long day at the office. I’m always on my feet, but I love my work and my family. My husband will try to help in the kitchen and I’ll watch him as he puts too much butter on the broccoli. I’ll laugh and remove it as he walks away. Sundays are our big family dinner feasts with my sisters and their children. We’ll all catch up as we watch the little versions of ourselves dance around, fall in and out of love, and find what they’re good at. It will take a while, but so does parenting. I’ll pass by my home office and not worry about deadlines and business trips because I’ll be at peace. As I twirl my very short curls  around my fingers, I notice that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I’ll grin while everyone rushes me to serve dinner. They’re hungry and I’m the only one who knows how to work the compact oven. 40 is the new 40 and it feels great. 

 

Day 5

If I won a billion dollars…

If I won a billion dollars, this is what I will do:

I wouldn’t retrieve it all, because I would pick the monthly/yearly checks. I want to be able to work and appreciate the money I get. I would pay my student loans while eating a 50.00 apple. I would give to my family, but they will not milk me. I would donate to those who can’t help themselves. I would buy Lupe Fiasco’s royalties just to give them to him (I want to hear what the REAL Lasers sounds like gosh darnit!) I would pay someone teach me different languages so I can travel the world. I would buy a house for my children, but they will know what hard work is. I would buy Def Jam and make it hot like it was so many years ago. I would do so much, but I when I leave mother earth, I would make sure whatever money is left will go to the greater good.

 

Day 4

In a perfect world…

In a perfect world, everyone has a theme song. It plays as they prepare for the day and walk down the street. They are essentially happy and unique. Everyone is thoughtful and mindful of the next man. We’re all understanding of our differences and manage to share our gum. We’re knowledgeable, but not ‘know-it-all’s.’ We’re passionate, but not violent. We respect each other, but aren’t disappointed when we change. In a perfect world, we don’t belittle each other, we build each other up. Our theme songs are all different but Pharrell , Timbaland, 9th Wonder created them in their supergroup. I think that’s why everyone is so damn happy. It’s cool though because in this perfect world there are imperfect notions that help it go round. 

 

Day 3

Dear future wife/husband… 

Dear future husband- How you livin? While you’re off on your journey, I want to let you know that you are far from my brain. Okay, that didn’t come out right. *Gently grabs your hands* I’m living out my dreams and figuring out who I am. Cliché right? Let me explain. I can’t look forward to meeting you when I’m learning little tidbits about myself. I hope the ladies you’ve dated don’t jade you or change you from being you. In my 23 years of living on planet Earth, I’ve been committed to other human(s) since I was 15. These boys/men have taught me about what I like and what I don’t want, how to care for a man, but ignore a boy. But they couldn’t help me be me. Understand that I’m doing that today, (the biggest delay other than Community coming back…wait you watched that show too? #sixseasonsandamovie) and I hope you’re doing the same. I know I want to be the best version of myself for you because when I walk down that aisle, I’m yours for good. Hope you’re ready for me good lookin.

 

Day 2 

I fear…

I fear the person I will become in 10 years. Why? Because she will be stronger, wiser, and dedicated to whatever she puts her mind to. What’s scary about that you ask? I’m a pretty tough cookie in my 20’s. I often get mistaken for someone older because of my maturity and my journey in life thus far. I’ve learned from time to time you have to give yourself props when no one else does. I make sure to do this when necessary. I know the woman I’ll become will see the person I am today and laugh at the situations I put myself in and the shenanigans I’ll ensue as I fight for what’s rightfully mine. The anxiety I feel about this person is beyond thought and words. I know when I do meet her, that fear will disappear. 

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Day 1 

I contradict myself when…

I contradict myself when I forgive. When you forgive someone, you give them a free pass to do whatever they want. Believe it or not, they’ve studied you through the years; they know what makes you mad, confused, bitter and most importantly what makes you happy. The contradiction lies where the mistakes start to happen again. You tell yourself that you wouldn’t let certain scenarios happen to you-until they happen. I never imagined that being a nice person can have such a backlash the way it does, but you live and you learn. I’ve learned that I can only forgive one person, myself. If I stub my toe, I can say “Be careful next time girfrann,” or if I take on too much work, I can’t be upset when it doesn’t get done. I can only forgive and move on, but then again I contradict myself once again when I do that.