REALationship Advice: Waiting On The Man/Woman To Change

“He’s perfect except he can’t stop being a lady’s man.”

“I’m just waiting for her to grow up and be a woman about hers.”

“He just needs a little push. He needs me to be there for him. Then he will get his life together.”

“I know but…”

“She’s the sweetest person but…”

Blahzay blahzay. All I hear is blahzay blahzay.

I get it. You’re potential partner is great…BUT.
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Here is the real ladies and gents and everyone in between: potential is all fine and dandy until you’ve spent months, years, decades, lifetimes waiting for your potential significant other to finally reach that potential you are so in love with.

Everybody can use a little love and affection. A little nurturing. A little patience. A little push. But how much is too much? How long is too long? How much of yourself will you invest in that dream of a man? In that fantasy of a woman? You have yourself together, right? Most of your T’s are crossed; just about all of your I’s are dotted and you are stuck waiting for something that may never come. And why should it come when that person has you lock, stock, and barrel right now?

Trust me, I am all for not being too hard on a person. I am all for not expecting a person to come to you straight out of a romance novel. To specify, this is primarily for those people in the “talking” stage. You know, you love them but there’s this one thing that has you trippin’ (where’s Amerie anyway?).

You’re in limbo. You’re just fighting and praying and hoping that he’ll stop selling drugs and go get a real job. You’re just doing rain dances and going on sabbaticals just to get her to communicate like a well adapted adult. You’re just holding on with a death grip to that ‘good side’ that only you can see despite your loved ones (whom you trust and who know you and your romantic aspirations) telling you time and again that Tracy isn’t going to stop spending your ends on beer and club nights with the crew.

You’re drained. You’re on the verge of giving up but Quan came to you with that one shiny tear, that really sincere speech about how you can do better. Two weeks later Quan has your car and your calls go straight to voicemail and all you need to do is run to Food Lion to get some milk to make your famous baked mac-n-cheese for the date night y’all discussed just a few days ago. But Quan is MIA with your car and once you get it back it will be a little parched because Quan conveniently forgot to borrow $10 from the homies to put a couple of gallons in the tank.

These issues may seem a bit petty, trivial even. They may seem like they are workable. And that may be the case for someone else. Remember though, you’re drained. You’re exhausted. You’re frustrated. You’re terrified or in denial. You’re sure that he or she will reach that potential you’ve made into a reality.

Do yourself a favor: let him or her find her own way. You deserve an adult at least. Not a perfect adult, they certainly do not exist. However, you do deserve someone who doesn’t exhaust you before you are even able to call them “yours”, before you can even worry about a breakup because you two are just “talking” but you’re sprung and clinging to that light at the end of the tunnel. You’re being selfish, essentially, and a little arrogant as well. I’ve been there. Assuming that my sheer force of will would somehow alter a person’s personality. Believing that my awesome presence would expedite the process of evolution. It’s okay. We all have our moments of poor decision making and hubris. We all appear selfless while we are being oh so selfish every so often. Quan, Tracy, they are just caught in the whirlwind of our own desires so that we can finally say we found that special someone. Instead of nagging and complaining and falling into bouts of depression and self-inflicted angst when your potential lover doesn’t rise to your expectations, ask yourself one question: What if the potential I see never comes to fruition?

If you can see yourself taking that next step, that ultimate display of your commitment to who they are in the “now” then maybe, just maybe, you should stay tuned for the next installment of REALationship Advice.
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Rakeem ‘OneVoice’ Person
UNCG Alumni
BA in Religious Studies
Minor in English

#BlackLivesMatter — Enough Said

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To reiterate a tidbit of advice I offered on my social media sites to my peers in the battle for justice, please stop defending #BlackLivesMatter. It needs no defense. It speaks for itself. Those who support and participate in the cause are needed. The energy that we expend debating and arguing the logic of it with those who are determined to be illogical is needed elsewhere.

#AllLivesMatter is the antithesis to the cause. Raven Symone and the others who want to undermine the movement are asleep. They are complacent. Notice that Raven Symone is a person of color despite her musings otherwise. So even those who are affected by the injustices that #BlackLivesMatter combats are asleep.

And that’s okay. Everyone is not going to open their eyes. Everyone is not going to join the cause and that is perfectly alright. It doesn’t take the entire world population to accomplish the goals that we will accomplish. We only need a percentage.

Now, I am not saying that one should not explain the movement to those who may not be aware (though I don’t see how they wouldn’t be). Recent news stories continuously demonstrate why the movement matters. That’s our explanation, not our defense. The disproportionate arrests and convictions of Black men and women for menial crimes is our defense. The fact that we even feel the need to defend a cause that speaks to us in the first place is our defense. Who attacks those who support animal rights and combats their rhetoric with their own? Who combats environmentalists with a movement that directly antagonizes theirs? But when people of color, Black people especially, forsake respectability politics, when we stop stressing about the White Gaze, when we arm ourselves with knowledge and stand hand in hand as unmovable forces for our fallen friends and family members, we are somehow the problem? No.

I will not argue with anyone about #BlacLivesMatter. I will not expend the time or energy. I encourage everyone else who locks hands and hearts with fellow #BlackLivesMatter activists to spare their energy as well. We do not have to apologize and we do not have to defend. We have to do the work. Susie Q on Facebook isn’t going to help us do that by her illogical sentimentality to all lives at the expense of Black Lives.  These twitter klansmen and their invisible hoods tweeting insanity will not stop us. The Raven Symones and other comatose people of color who undermine the cause with their misguided intelligence will not stop us either. They have platforms, yes, but so do we. We have the stats, we have the facts, we have the passion, we have the truth.

Those who scream to social media sites #AllLivesMatter are not marching in the street. They are not strategizing. They are not trying to make a change. They are simply blowing air and tapping keys to make themselves more comfortable with race relations in this country. They aren’t about this life. Their movement is static. Its stale. Its saltless. It has no soul. We are the soul. We are the body. We are the movement. Let’s stop defending our souls, our bodies, our movement, and lets continue to be present. #BlackLivesMatter is the anthem so put your damn hands up and let’s keep it moving.
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Rakeem ‘OneVoice’ Person
UNCG Alumni
BA in Religious Studies
Minor in English

If You’re Gonna Be Black…

Rachel Dolezal, the lady who pretended to be Black and was a leader of a chapter of the NAACP, poses for the cover of Vanity Fair [not Ebony, eye roll] and states that she still identifies as African-American according to lovebscott.

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When the story first broke, I was not put off by a White woman working for the NAACP. No, no. That was not the issue. No, Dolezal faked hate mail. Dolezal denied the fact that she was born from White parents. She lied. That was the issue.

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Now, all I have to say is this:

If you are going to identify as Black you better do more than wear some braids and go for a weekly tan or add a few pounds of fat to your behind or bump the latest hip hop album or punch your fist in the air and gyrate your hips TO THE BEAT. No, baby girl. It’s more than that. Far more. Because the real is, you ain’t Black.

That’s right. You ain’t Black. You are playing pretend. If you identify with being Black, then identify with the struggles but see, she’s can’t really because she is White and she looks like it. She cannot pass for Black. Not now especially. Don’t fake hate mail or hate crimes, Rach. That isn’t helpful at all. Don’t impede the movement.
Understand your place and it isn’t in the line at your local fried chicken joint.

Unless there is such a thing as transracialism, you are an adult playing pretend and nitpicking at how you see a culture through blue eyes and adopting what you like and ignoring what you don’t like. Therein lies the problem. I could (if it weren’t for male pattern baldness) grow some locks, listen to Bob Marley, and light up a forest on my patio but none of that will make me Jamaican. That’s just my perception of it (theoretically speaking).  Odds are, I’d just end up black facing a culture. That’s the danger.

I’m not here to bash the woman though. I mean, who am I to tell her who she relates to the most? But the facts are the facts. They went for Michael Jackson and they go for Rachel, Ms. Dolezal if you’re nasty, too.

One last thing to Rachel Dolezal; your ‘Black’ ain’t beautiful because your ‘Black’ just ain’t Black.

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Rakeem ‘OneVoice’ Person
UNCG Alumni
BA in Religious Studies
Minor in English

Facebook Status

In response to a friend who stated that the video of youth assaulting a confederate flag toting individual is “proof that our (in relation to Black ppl) community is out of control.”:

“Our community” is not out of control. This is a small portion of Blacks. The majority of Blacks are fighting politically and systematically. Your first statement is a reflection of White privilege. Its a reflection of institutionalized racism. Notice how we are not discussing how a KKK rally is setting back “our community”. Notice how the focus goes to how WE (Black ppl) look to THEM (White Ppl). But we aren’t concerned with how a KKK rally looks to AMERICA? Or upholding a symbol of racism and historical dissent looks to America. If  someone cannot see that this is not every black person then they are already lost. The same goes for black ppl. All generalizations are incorrect. We, no more than ‘they’, can control the reactions to racism. We never will be able to. There will always be the misguided. The rash. The impulsive. There will always be those just looking for an excuse to show out. On all fronts, with each race. But we wont always be able to identify them. There will always be politicians who appear to be down for our cause but are just capitalizing off of our plight. These things are out of our control. Racist Whites and those individuals who are determined to ignore race issues will always see the minority of our population as the majority. In other words, one criminal who is black will equal 100 or more criminals who are black in their eyes despite the fact that mass murderers and serial killers and pedophiles are predominantly white. One violent act committed by 5 Black ppl will supersede the peaceful protests of thousands of Blacks. Its happened time and again. We cannot worry about the things we cannot control. Even if they are our own ppl. These ppl arent setting us back in the grand scheme of things. Its a distraction. Hence, this video being posted and shared instead of the peaceful protests or the activists working on legislation or the forums and petitions, etc. Our community is NOT out of control at large. There is no proof. No more than the KKK rally proves that all white ppl are confederate flag toting bigots. This video does not prove anything except that racism is alive and well and it is a problem. It affects everyone. Not just ppl of color. Recently, media outlets were claiming that racism did not exist bc we had a black president or a latin supreme court justice or an asian governor, etc. But this video proves that racism is alive and well. But what are we going to do about it?

Rakeem ‘OneVoice’ Person
UNCG Alumni
BA in Religious Studies
Minor in English

MTV’S “WHITESQUAD.COM” Ad and Why Its Problematic

Sit back, this one is a little long. Had a lot to say and still didnt get it all out

To quote Kendrick Lamar from his song ‘i’ from To Pimp A Butterfly, “I love myself!” and i think the love I have for myself is what caused my outrage while waiting for Catfish to return from commercial break. My partner and I were minding our own business when we hear this commercial that begins with “Is your skin color holding you back? Are you tired of systematic prejudice ruining your day?…” and suddenly snarky Twitter rants weren’t as interesting. Full video link here: https://youtu.be/U6JrJFJs0GA

The reaction I had after Catfish finally returned was something along the lines of
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I was hearing the right things [more or less] but what I was viewing was all wrong. And I mean ALL wrong. What you’ll see, if you haven’t already witnessed, is a satire about white privilege featuring a pseudo firm of privileged White people [a bit redundant isnt?] who assist People of Color (primarily Black/African American) with getting scholarships or hailing a cab or purchasing a home, etc. If you aren’t watching the commercial but are simply listening, you will not see the stats about gentrification and disproportionate incarceration, etc. But I was watching and listening, he and I both were. Those statistics, although accurate, could not dissuade the thunder in my ears at the audacity of the satire in the first place. There were testimonials of a Black woman who did well in school but could not earn a scholarship on her merit alone so she apparently contacts White Squad to get a Caucasian fill-in just to be able to receive funding for college. You see a Black man struggling to get a taxi driver to stop. You see a woman of Asian descent suddenly being able to get the home she wanted for her family. All the while, a White male narrator is walking around a fake firm encouraging people of color to reach out to White Squad in order to function in America.

I kept waiting. Waiting for some sort of reprieve from the racism I was seeing on a commercial who is honestly, and I use the term loosely, trying to combat racism.

I was hurt and beyond taken a back. Why, some might ask. Why, indeed.

It’s great that White Privilege is being highlighted in pop culture. It’s great that racial disparity in simply living and conducting an American life was called out. However, the message was undermined by the condescension of it all.

Let me lay it out for the people, especially people of color (and notably Black people), who may have endorsed the commercial which ended with a real link to a fake business website for White Squad.

Here, you have a firm of White people in a business setting taking advantage of White Privilege in order to give POC a fighting chance. You have the majority acknowledging their privilege and using it as a way to exploit those without that undue privilege. Now don’t get me wrong; the fake firm never mentioned a fee. But the model is one of capitalism. You have minorities dependent upon the majority to enable them to do things they are perfectly capable of doing themselves if the system of racism didn’t exist in the first place. And instead of dismantling the oppressive system, those who benefit from it are depicted as well-meaning oppressors who share their privilege for a greater good. But that’s not what Civil Rights Activists have been fighting for since before the abolition of slavery. That is not equality. The symbolism of sharing White Privilege is not actually helping people of color. It’s helping oppressors feel good about the system that oppresses because they can do a good deed for Tyrone and Quinisha for an hour or so. Charity at its vilest Ahem, finest.

I can hear a gaggle of individuals encouraging me to “stop being so sensitive”. I hear voices (the same voices that called Trayvon Martin a thug as if that warranted his murder) trivializing the issue with placating comments like “it was just a satire. Don’t take it seriously.” some of these voices, some of the encouragement, may even come from POC.

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I heard those voices within myself as I fought back angry tears. I had the ever present internal argument telling me It’s alright. They mean well. But then there is that Negro Spiritual, that Easter Sunday suit, that soulful riff, that “let my people go”, that gun cocking in my chest, that intrepid heartbeat due to a run of the mill traffic stop, that slam of a jail cell–that screams louder.

What the satire insinuates is that POC cannot do it for themselves. We need the help of White benefactors. It’s eerily comparable to enslaved African Americans who may have had a “kind” slave master who did not beat them or rape them or maybe even took the time to educate them while still participating in the vile institution of slavery itself. Those kind slave masters still bought and traded slaves. They still went to auctions. They still believed, on some level, that they were indeed masters. Now I am not talking about abolitionists like John Brown who put his life where his mouth was. He died in a rebellion to abolish slavery like many African American slaves died doing the same thing. But those White people who frowned upon slavery but did not want to forsake their comfort were not kind. They were just as guilty as the slave runners and the abusive slave owners. Why, again, you might ask. The answer is simple: They saw what was wrong but did nothing to make it right. Who cares if they were nice to the people they had power over. They were just as horrible, if not worse, than the more obvious racists. To see something as unjust and simply shake your head and drink your coffee while someone’s mother scrubbed your nasty bathroom (one that she still probably could not use despite how kind) and raised your kids (while her own were forced into labor) and cooked the meals for your slave owning family is worse because knowledge is power. You see that its wrong and still operate within the wrong while patting yourself on the back for being a better slave owner than your neighbor who probably doesn’t see a thing wrong with dividing a family for financial gain. When you know better, you do better. If you don’t do better you are, by default, doing worse. But y’all aint hearing me though.

That commercial was an abomination to the advancement of colored people. That commercial was pompous and unapologetic. That commercial, from its conception, was racist. Period. The end.

Solving race issues in America is not going to come from sharing privilege. It comes from dismantling the systems that privilege empowers in the first place. Capitalizing, even in an implied sense, off of the struggles of marginalized people is the ultimate demonstration of White Privilege. It’s being a good slave master and patting yourself on the back for being nice. But it is NOT abolishing slavery and the mechanisms that enabled chattel slavery to exist in the first place. You don’t get a cookie for that. No more than I get a cookie for showing up on payday in order to get equal pay for a lady friend. That’s a bandaid (like taking down the Confederate flag instead of reforming legislation and practices which target minorities). When the wound is deep, a bandaid only impedes the healing process and damn it, sometimes you need stitches and other surgical procedures just to make it out alive. Where are the stitches? Where are the surgeons? Anybody can apply a bandaid but that ain’t doing a thing for the injuries in this country.

After I calmed down, I visited the site they advertised to get a better understanding.

The satire continued.
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Until you click a link to request the services of White Squad
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And then the real culprit is revealed. MTV’s LOOK DIFFERENT initiative provides information related to prejudice and racism.
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Nifty right?

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Perhaps the road to equality is too?

Satire is a useful tool. It can highlight the profound stupidity fueling the ignorance around us. There are a couple of TV hosts and shows who do it prolifically regarding racial issues or sexism or all the other -isms flooding American streets.

This White Squad nonsense missed the boat though. Utterly. Sharing White Privilege isn’t the solution. Acknowledging it is a small step in a generally positive direction. It could have been done in a way that targets and mocks White Privilege at the expense of those who benefit from it: not those of us who are oppressed by it.

You tell me, though. Should I be listening to those voices that tell me “it aint that serious”, “it’s just a joke”, etc? Or should anyone who is truly a proponent of equality (and combatting the institutions and the lopsided powers that be) call a spade a spade? Tell me, if your attempts to help progress jump forward are really that progressive if they offends the very people who are already fighting every day just to hail a cab or better themselves in one way or another? If it trivializes the real problem, which is white privilege and the perpetuation of it by those too complacent to do a thing about it other than frown and shake their heads?

Some might say us little pickanninies and the like should be ever grateful for the attempt but those particular individuals are just the incarnation of “kind” slave masters. Perhaps revolt should be at hand. The oppressors cannot speak for the oppressed. Nor can they be the ones to censor or approve the tactics of the oppressed. Power corrupts. And white power corrupts systematically. Ergo, exhibit A:
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Famous Ladies Take It Back On The Matter Of Bill Cosby

I know y’all have heard about it. Bill Cosy allegedly (but now admittedly) drugging and raping several women who, within the past year or so, no longer wanted to keep it a shameful secret. They realized where the shame belonged: on the rapist.

Admittedly, I wasn’t initially sold on Mr. Cosby actually committing the heinous acts. Judge me at your leisure. But I wasn’t. Not at first. But woman after woman started adding to the pot and suddenly the benefit of the doubt didn’t seem all that beneficial to the survivors.

Now the topic, from a social media point of view, is old news. But the crazy thing is, these allegations weren’t as novel as they seemed.  Even the animated series Black Dynamite included it into their storyline.

I honestly thought it was going to court and if convicted, Bill would serve time or something. On a recent episode of The View though, a legal whiz by the name of Dan Abrams broke it down for the hostesses and the viewers. Whoopi was taken aback to say the least. Below is a tidbit from lovebscott.com:image

Essentially good ol Dan informed us all that there is a statute of limitations on rape cases and the Cosby case is outside of that statute. No justice, no peace, right?

I mean, come on. I heard on the radio and social media outlets that Bill admitted to the acts. Although his wife, ever oblivious, didn’t take his confession seriously. She said something along the lines of the women consented to being drugged and sexed. I think the masses all gave her a collective blank stare.
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C’mon Camille. We know that’s your husband and all but you have to call a spade a spade especially when the card in question confesses to being a spade.

Whoopi Goldberg did not so much as defend him, though. She was more neutral with a slight lean towards Cosby. Mainly, she believed in “innocent until proven guilty”. She did not want to take down a pop icon and a Black hero (who was actually a villain with a funny voice) without proof. Last I counted, 13 women were all touching and agreeing on one commonality: Bill Cosby, the man (not the lovable father on syndicated television) violated them.

Jill Scott also had to recant. She, too, admitted she fell victim to hero worship and fandom and did not want to feed into the hype. That’s not a direct quote people, just a synopsis.

I wonder if pseudo wife Phylicia Rashad will do the honorable thing and back pedal on her statements as well. Black women clearly support black men but we aren’t going to get into the contrary at this time.

What was the problem though? If it wasn’t Bill Cosby but a younger celebrity like Malcolm Jamal Warner, would the records still have played the same way? What if the accused had been a rapper or not a celebrity at all and multiple women called him out for his sins?
What if it was Bill Cosby fifty years ago, then what?

Personally, I was struck by it being Bill Cosby. We do fall victim, if we are not careful, to making the character the person. But I did not assert that any of the women were lying. I did not cast an opinion one way or another because, like Whoopi, I wanted evidence (as if multiple survivor accounts are not enough). I think we hope atrocious things aren’t committed by people we love, either fantastically or in the real world. Not too many people are going to agree that their favorite cousin, or best friend, did something so vile especially if the loved one denies it. But honestly, why wouldn’t he deny it? Celeb or not, people have brands they want to keep on the up and up.

Then, what about the victims or the survivors? What about the ridicule they face for speaking the truth? What about the fact that they had that truth to speak in the first place? What do they gain? We are all conspiracy theorists, at least superficially. We’d rather indulge in the theory than the reality that someone we held on a pedestal never deserved it in the first place.

On the other hand, people do lie. People do target people for various reasons, financial gain being the most common. So what are spectators to do? Wait for justice? Justice is an elusive bugger though, I tell you that. Statutes and limitations and loop holes can steal justice away just as easily as a payoff…if not more so.

Bill made choices. Those were his choices to make at the expense of other human beings. We cannot protect him from that. We cannot alienate the brave souls who seek some sort of justice. There is no statute of limitations on trauma. As the old saying goes, you can’t please everybody. And you can’t punish everybody either no matter how much they deserve it apparently.

Miguel Speaks Out On His Musical Superiority to Frank Ocean

Here we go with another celebrity who enjoys the taste of their on feet. On my birthday, July 6, beloved blogger and self-proclaimed “Multi Media Maven”, B Scott posted an article on his entertainment blog site lovebscott.com with quotes from a recent Sunday Times article where R&B singer, Miguel states that he “makes better music than Grammy Award Winning Frank Ocean. Full quote from Sunday Times pictures below from billboard.com:
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Shortly after, Miguel seems to recant his previous statements in the news article with a fluffy Instagram comment. B Scott was so kind as to provide the quote on his site.

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I call bull swanky, to borrow a phrase from R&B Diva Leela James. We have two different men here. One, a victim of hubris. The other, a welcoming humble man. First impressions are the most notable, right? Unfortunately, they are both too memorable.

Miguel went so far as to say, in the first version of himself, that he and Frank “are not friends”. Is that a statement to make himself feel better about his true feelings? Perhaps. One thing I know is that Frank Ocean was awarded a Grammy in 2013 for Best Urban Contemporary Album for that year according to grammy.com. Miguel was also in the same category. However, Miguel did not walk away empty handed. His highly adored single “Adorn” won Best R&B Song for that same year.

So, are these statements the salty remnants of that Grammy “loss”? I’d bet a few bucks on that being the case if i had the funds to spare.

Now, my question is, what is the measure of “better” music? What are the criteria that Miguel is basing this inflated statement on? What does it mean to be better? Do awards define the music? I would like to think not. Plenty of great music misses the ears of the committee that nominates as well as the committee that awards (I am honestly not sure if the two differ).

Why hold on to that loss and disrespect a fellow artist at the same time? We aren’t talking 16 bars and East Coast/West Coast beef here. This is R&B, man. Its primarily about the love. Has Joe ever felt the need to dismiss the work that Tank does just to scratch an old scab? Come on.

Being competitive isn’t the worst thing you can be but why at the sacrifice of artistic respect? Why does one have to be better than the other?

Surely you can toot your own horn without plugging up your peers. Humility is a virtue here. And that brings me to the second version of Miguel whom Instagram witnessed.

If you make a statement and truly believe it, stand by it. You can’t be too worried about being PC (that’s ‘politically correct’ for those who didn’t know). If political correctness was the goal that goal was missed completely in the actual article. So now i am wondering which guy is the real Miguel? Or maybe they both are one in the same. We all feel ourselves a little more than we should every once in a while. Riiiiight.

Frank Ocean’s debut album “Channel Orange” was musical and lyrical genius. Don’t deny that. And whether or not the Grammy Nazis recognized that would not have changed that fact. On the other hand, that is not to say that Miguel’s album was hash tag: less than.

Honestly, I have not listened to Miguel’s music in its entirety. Most of what I hear, though, is great R&B music. It’s love and sex and heartbreak. Everything that R&B has been from its dawning. Miguel gives us what the genre demands. Frank Ocean gave what the genre wasn’t expecting. From the complex musical production, to the rawness of economic truths, to sex, to love, to same sex confessions in a very honest display of musical talent and human vulnerability. Any talented musician can bring us the expected riffs, runs, and journeys. Not everyone does it as well as Miguel and I would never try to take that from him (unlike some people). But, and the but is very obtrusive and big, not every musician can bring the lyrical intricacies and musical vulnerability that Frank Ocean gave us. Does that mean his music is better? I wouldn’t think so. It just makes his music an extension of him. It makes him unique. It makes him an artist just like Miguel. Every artist has their strengths and weaknesses and various nuances for all the other facets that go into the craft and the rendering of that craft.

Basically, all I am saying is hubris isn’t attractive and it can also get you in undesirable situations, i.e. all of the above.  Hubris is like kicking a fan in the face at a performance. I’m honestly not sure how they are alike. I mainly just wanted to remind us all of that epic fail of Miguel’s. Childish, I know.