“It’s easier to raise a confident child than fix a broken adult..”(my own take of a saying that I recently heard that made total sense to me).
To the little black and brown girls and boys that are growing up at this moment be you 1000% everyday, all day. Live in your truth no matter what. Love the skin you’re in. Love the natural state of your hair. If you want to do something do it because you want to not because someone else wants you to. You are not a threat. Your skin is not a threat. You are here for a reason.
This is my message to you as well as myself. This is a message that I didn’t learn until the beginning stages of adulthood. Sadly I didn’t learn this as a child or even a teenager. A lot of times I often think had I been taught this growing up I would think differently. But I can’t dwell on the past. Especially not now. I’ve always been a “late bloomer” (as I used to call myself) anyway. But now I realize that God made me the way I am for a reason and nothing is really “late” it’s just my time. I fought hard to get passed that and I’m finally on the winning side of that battle.
But it doesn’t mean that insecurity is completely erased out of my mind. It just means I know how to fight it effectively. So if I ever become a mother (I’m sure I’ll be an aunt before then but I’m okay with that) I will make sure that my child will learn confidence early rather than late. That is my number one mission if I don’t teach anything else. If for some reason I don’t birth any kids of my own, my future cousins, nephews, nieces and godchildren will get this same lesson.
As long as I am alive and have influence, I will make it my number one priority to show/teach confidence to tomorrows leaders because confidence affects anything and everything and the last thing this world needs is more broken adults who have to unlearn everything that was taught to them.
To the Hometown Hero who writes, produces and performs his own aka Mr. Jermaine,
You are one of the few males that I can look up to for entertainment, knowledge, and pride all at the same time. I was born in the same city that you are from (Ft. Bragg to be exact). You share the same birthday as my grandmother that I was named after. I too lived in Germany and come from a military family. While these things may seem minor to most, to me they’re huge because it’s cool for me to talk about these things thanks to you. You are the only artist that I have things in common with and to me that makes the music set in a little deeper. I know I’m not the only one who has these things in common with you but I can only speak on my behalf. You gave us a voice when we didn’t have one. Now more than ever when I mention Fayetteville people instantly say “J. Cole!”. (A lot of people still think “Fayettenam” is the actual name of the city. I kinda laugh it off and tell them that’s just a nickname for not so good reasons.)
Every word you’ve ever rapped about college I either went through myself or knew someone who did. (I was in college when Friday Night Lights came out.) Other various topics you’ve talked about over the four albums and multiple mixtapes I’ve somehow related to in each of the projects you put out. You are the only artist I’ve watched in concert multiple times and have literally enjoyed each show to the fullest. You sir are a legend. Dreamville is a movement that is only getting stronger with each artist you sign. Very few artists, in my opinion, can reach peoples minds and hearts equally. You are human with a gift that speaks into others’ gifts. We as true fans respect the growth and appreciate the past at the same time with your work. For me personally, somehow each album was the sound track to real life events and experiences during their respective release years. I don’t know how but it literally felt like you were telling my life story in some way. No other artist has been able to do that through their music for me. This is why you are my favorite now and forever, even if or when you decide to retire. (Part of me hopes not but a bigger part of me would understand and respect it).
I hope your family is proud of you. Especially your mom, who passed down her greatness(because moms are badass). More so, I hope you are proud of you. Dreamville has some of the most loyal and real fans out there. We bond over how much we relate to the music that is being made under this movement, by all artists involved. You’ve started a legacy that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Everything you’ve spoken has come to life. So I take after this example and apply it to my own life. You remind us that everything will happen when it’s supposed to. You remind us to keep going when we wanna stop. You also entertain us as well as teach us something new. You remind us that you are human and so are we. You remind us that we are legends in our own ways whether we become famous or not. The biggest reminder that I will take away is to be myself no matter what. I have been given the strength to stand on my own but I also know that I always don’t have to. So Thank You to you and Dreamville for the music and knowledge and inspiration. I will always continue to support my favorite movement.
Friday Night Lights is forever my favorite mixtape and 2014 Forest Hills Dr. will forever be my favorite album.
Me: (already feeling the judgement as I gather the right words to explain why I chose the school I graduated from) I went to a small school in North Carolina Johnson C. Smith University.
Person:…..(looking confused and passing judgement at the same time) oh ok.
Let me first say, for a while I didn’t always tell people where I went to school because I was tired of being looked down on and judged for going to an HBCU. It was almost like I always had to prove that I got a “real education” and a “real degree” every time someone asked where I went to college. It didn’t matter if the person who was asking me was black or white or any other color because if they didn’t go to one themselves they instantly judged those who did go to an HBCU.
Then, after a while I just said F it. I don’t care. YES I DID GO TO A HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE and YES I DID GRADUATE ON TIME WITH HONORS. MY DEGREE IS REAL. MY EDUCATION IS REAL. I would always get a crazy look or “why did you go to a black school?” or “that’s not a real school” or “never heard of it”. I’m going to be honest. If you are going to judge me for going to an HBCU then don’t bother to even try to talk to me about anything else. Period. My patience is at zero for a lot of things nowadays and that’s high on my list.
I always say that there are a lot of dummies with degrees and a lot of geniuses without degrees. But people show their true colors when they judge you on whether you went to a PWI or an HBCU. To this point I say it’s good for kids who look like me to have at least one HBCU experience. Whether if it is just taking a class or two here and there or going there full time or even visiting or volunteering. HBCUs have produced some of, if not the majority of, the most successful black people of all time.
There is so much history at each and every one of these types of colleges and universities. These schools were built because no one wanted black people to be educated and learn our true history. They shut us out so we built our own. They were mad when we tried to learn beside them and then they got mad when we took matters in our own hands. The crazy thing is…they’re still mad because they tried to burry us but we kept growing. Not to shun PWIs because they as well have produced the Baracks and Michelles but there is something special about schools like my alma mater. Big and small. HBCUs matter. Period.
I’m exhausted. Mentally and now physically. I’m tired of seeing my people die everyday now at the hands of “cops”. When will it ever end? Why do I have to prove my humanity every second of everyday? Better question why is it even questioned in the first place? I come from a culture that is the most imitated and the most hated at the same time. That doesn’t even make sense to me. I wanna know who/what is training is like in the current police academy across the country b/c they all seem to have one common goal. “They kill our fathers then make fun of us for not having them in our lives”. Why is it that I can’t walk outside for even a second without anxiety, stress and worry for myself let alone other family members and friends because someone doesn’t like the color of my skin or what I look like. All of those things become heightened to a whole other level because I am a woman. Imagine having to live like that for a lifetime. And y’all expect me to bring kids into this world? Black kids at that. If I have a child(ren) and they are harmed in any way and I mean any there’s going to be hell to pay bottom line. There have been too many lives lost because of senseless violence because we were born with melanin. We continually get something stolen from us on a daily basis. I’m tired of it. The first one to tell me to not be “an angry black woman” will get cut off for life. I refuse to deal with that nonsense any longer. You don’t like it get the hell on. I can and have done well on my own two feet. As long as I got God I’m good. He will put the right people in my life even if it’s just one or two.I’m tired of saying I’m tired of this. If you can’t empathize and respect my opinion you will be cut off. Done deal. The fact that we still have to repeat this same message that’s been repeated constantly for centuries is the very problem. We’ve made progress and that’s what scares these racists. But we have to keep going forward and not backward. We can no longer afford to go back anymore. History has repeated itself for way too long. The institution of racism needs to be destroyed and history books need to be rewritten with the truth. So STOP SAYING RACISM DOES NOT EXIST b/c it does.
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE ME APOLOGIZE FOR THE SKIN THAT I WAS BORN IN. You can’t constantly steal my culture, my inventions, my family, my friends, my brothers, my sisters, my music and style without a fight.
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE ME APOLOGIZE FOR THE SKIN IM IN. My people are human, warriors, soldiers, kings, queens, creators and innovators. Most of all UNAPOLOGETIC for being great.
We get torn down on a daily basis. For what? Because we are “feared”. Because we are a “threat”. But we are the most imitated and stolen from. Does that make any sense? NOT AT ALL. We are just trying to make it like everyone else. But we are not everyone else. WE ARE GREAT. WE ARE AMAZING. WE ARE QUEENS. WE ARE KINGS.
We won’t be stopped no matter how much they try to exterminate us.
I finally realized the bigger parts of the reason why I’m on this earth. Why God hasn’t given up on me. Why I’m becoming a better person for myself. It’s because I’m becoming the person that I didn’t have growing up. Even when it seems like I don’t get the genuine support I give, I have to remember God always sees what’s been given. The saying goes something like “you get what you put out” but is that always true? I don’t know. A lot of times I feel like I just need to fall back and see who’s really supportive and actually notice that I’ve fallen back. From experience of doing this I’ve learned to take everything with a grain of salt at this point. As my granny always said “God sees you. You work for Him not man”. I’m noticing that more and more. He made me able to stand alone when I have to…and lately that seems to be the norm. No offense to those who I know/support but I know who truly has my back when I feel this way.
So huge THANK YOU to those who actually notice and forgive me for not saying it enough. And to those who don’t/barely support me…it’s cool. I don’t do things to expect something back. That’s not me. But I do take notes. I am truly thankful for the ones who genuinely support me and all my craziness and I pray that they will continue to be in my corner like I will always be in theirs. Those in and outside of my bloodline. Everyone you’re related to isn’t family and everyone you know aren’t your friends. It took me years to finally realize this. I’ll always love my family because that’s just how I am. Even if they don’t love me back. I’ll always love my TRUE friends because they’ve loved me back.
Dear Chance the Rapper, Luke James, Algee Smith, Woody Mclain, Elijah Kelley, Keith Powers, and Yazz the Greatest,
Thank you for representing #blackboyjoy. You have made it cool to be genuinely happy black men in your own ways. I’m sure that by being yourselves you have inspired countless others to do the same thing. Most of all, you have made it cool to support your brothers, young and old, whole heartedly. To me that’s what counts the most. It truly is a wonder to see all of you fine men embracing the being that you are inside and out in positive way (the power of melanin).
Now more than ever our community needs that. Not to discredit those who have been doing this, but you guys are the most recent example (celebrity wise) of true black boy joy that I’ve witnessed and it’s great. It’s not just a trend or a hashtag. You really live it. Your talents are amazing individually and even better when collaborating with others. I hope that you continue to spread the love you have for yourselves and for each other.
You inspire us all to love more and hate less. When we do this our whole community wins. I love to see my people win especially when the world tells us that we can’t. Keep supporting each other and keep showing us that it’s okay to support and uplift one another.
A proud fan for life
(Note: the New Edition mini series is one of the greatest biopics ever created and Chance is one of the greatest figures of my generation because of what he stands for. These are very talented black men and they are so fine. You can’t not like them.)
I often question myself on why I haven’t had much luck in the dating world these last few years. Is it my looks? Is it my personality? Is it a combination of both? Is it the way I dress?Am I off putting? What can it be? These and many other questions plague my mind now more than ever. Everyone around me seems to be moving on with their dating lives… but me? I’ve just been alone. What am I doing wrong? Or maybe it isn’t me. Maybe its the pool of guys in this generation that I’ve been stuck with. I often think that I was born into the wrong generation. I’m not like everyone else my age. It seems like I’m too much for guys my age because I’m not an idiot. No one seems to be able to handle a relationship with me without leaving me hanging or just up and leaving with no warning. Hence the questions that often come up. The common denominator of these failed relationships has been me. Again, what am I doing wrong? I don’t know what a successful relationship looks like because every relationship I have been exposed to growing up failed. So therefore I don’t know how to be in a successful relationship. As with many other things this is something I have to learn on my own. At this point I’m just tired of failing. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I also wonder if this is a generational thing in regards to those who came before me. Am I a part of a generational curse? Whatever it is, it sucks. I feel like my friends feel sorry for me but are glad they aren’t me. Yes I know everything takes time and the last thing I want to do is to have yet another failed relationship on my record but this has been going on for the last few years now. I thought I was going to be married or at least engaged by this time. Boy was I wrong. So very wrong. I don’t know what to do or where to even begin to change/fix things. I spend a lot of time alone these days. They say if you can’t be fine by yourself you can’t be good in a relationship. Well I do like my alone time and being in my own space but I do long for companionship every once in a while. Let’s be real. No one wants to be alone forever. I sure don’t. At this point I just feel like I’m not cut out for this dating game or whatever you want to call it. I don’t know what’s going to happen this year as far as my love life goes. But my faith in love is hanging by a string at this point. I don’t want to give up but it’s very tempting. It’s said that the man is supposed to find the woman not the other way around. Here’s to hoping the one that’s made for me will find me because I haven’t had much luck at going out to find him.
As I am getting older I realize that I am still learning; about myself, the world around me, the people around me, the people who are in and outside of my bloodline that I call friends and family and much more. My uncle once told me that I am wise beyond my years. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing considering what I’ve had to deal with in my past as well as what I am dealing with in the present that could very well affect my future. At this very moment I am trying to learn different ways to break the traditions and generational curses that I may or may not be aware of. I am realizing more and more that I need to create my own standards, start/lead new trends, and figure out my way of doing things so that I can leave my mark on this earth before I leave it. I’m going into the next phase of my life (dirty 30’s) in a few years and I want to live. I want to have multiple avenues of income so that I can not only live and experience new things but help others as well. I have big dreams to help people but I need the funds and time to help those dreams become reality. I feel like I’m off to a great start. Finally. But I can’t stop now. I refuse to at this point. I’ve come a long way but still have a whole journey ahead of me. God willing I will live long enough to complete my assignment before I am judged. The last thing I want to do is have more regrets than anything else. Yeah it sounds cliché but I am realizing more and more that it’s true. I believe in myself and there’s a few people who believe in me as well. But most of all I know I can do it and I will do it. I am my biggest fan and I am okay with it. No more battles with myself. That’s the biggest lesson I could learn. But I’m still learning…and that’s okay.
Over the last few years I’ve learned not to look for or depend on others to have the same enthusiasm/excitement as you when it comes to personal accomplishments. Even close family members can and will shoot down your dreams…if you let them. 9 times/10 if its something that they don’t believe in, agree with or even support it will show in their faces and definitely come out in their so called “oh that’s cool” expression. You could be so excited about something, like a new job opportunity for example, one minute and the next you could feel so small because the excitement isn’t reciprocated from that person you told. Then criticism and comparison follows. Instead of that person or persons being at least a little excited for you, your parade is being rained on because they aren’t happy with their own lives or they say you should have done something else or many other reasons. I have experienced this first hand and it doesn’t feel good at all. Maybe it had to do with my self esteem or maybe I just wanted some genuine support or maybe I was just reading into it too deep. Only God knows why I felt a certain way. But not anymore. I had to learn this lesson through experience or “the hard way”. I learned that I have to be my own biggest fan. I have to be confident in my choices that are going to catapult me into my destiny as well as learn from my mistakes. If I let others’ feelings overpower my own then I will never be happy and I will always look for confirmation. That’s no way to live. I stand alone for a reason: I can and will hold my own against a crowd; even against family members. So in all everyone has to find their unique solution to this experience. Mine is telling little to no one at all about my future endeavors; releasing as little details as possible if anyone truly wants to know what my future plans are. My work will speak for itself in due time and everything will come to light. Those who genuinely support will understand the methods to the madness. In the words of my favorite artist “If they don’t know your dreams they can’t shoot ’em down”.
Where do I begin? I have so many thoughts about what is going on at this very moment in my life and in this world I live in. I’m black. I’m a woman. I have problems like everyone else. Eventually you get tired of being judged, talked about, talked down to, and mistreated because of my appearance alone. Let me tell you something. You should NEVER assume anything about anyone at anytime. I am a living example of why you shouldn’t do this ever in your life of living on this earth. People try to talk down to me for many reasons, the main one being the way I look because I don’t look my age….that is until I open my mouth and shut it down really quick and leave them feeling as small as an ant. That’s just one of the many issues I have with today’s society. This society is so unnecessarily judgmental and hateful towards women and people of color. And I happen to be a part of both of those groups. Nowadays its more frustrating than ever because people assume and make judgements rather than educate themselves. I’m tired of having to prove myself everyday that I am a lot more than what you see on the surface. Again this is unnecessary from every angle that you look at it. It’s exhausting on every level.