Today’s Word is… PREDATE

We hold these truths to be self evident; dating is trash. No one knows what they want, everyone is in a rat race to get the most out of a person with the minimal amount of effort, and then getting to the money? Now, everybody mad. So, I was chilling out maxing relaxin all cool when I saw the Twitters were abuzz about this exchange

The reaction was split between “that’s real” to “that’s broke” (cuz everyone’s rich on Twitter). My reaction, is that’s dumb. For one, there’s already a way to see if you vibe with someone before a date, it’s called a phone call. Second, a date is entirely on the asker’s terms, you can find free shit to do, you can pick a spot in your price range, you can schedule the date until after the direct deposit hits. Hell, you can “pre date” without even calling it a pre date which I would advise because this is beyond stupid. (Also, don’t be trying to use homeboy anecdotes, articulate your point like an adult, Jalen.)

It’s what everyone loves and hates about millennials, a “won’t be me” generation. Trying to find new ways to do old things is definitely millennial shit. I almost get his sentiment, who wants to waste, money and energy on someone they don’t even know they like yet. Or more apropos, don’t even know likes you yet. They may have swiped right, gave you a number, always answer your texts but at the end of the day this is still a complete stranger. They could just be in this for free food and entertainment, they could be stuck on an ex, they could like chitlins. And you’re a complete stranger, precisely why she isn’t trying to sit in your car listening to ad supported Spotify to see if y’all “vibe”.

So while pre dating is stupid, the conundrum still exists, how do you date without getting played? Some will say and do all the right things and not even like you, others will sit back and let you waste your own damn time with no remorse. People are selfish and don’t owe you anything. And no one wants to hear men cry on Twitter, it’s just an entree and some drinks, you’ll live. Get your bread up. There’s also an emotional investment if you believe in that whole men have feelings thing but most don’t so it turns into I never heard a man with money complain. So to circle back, dating is trash.

Asking for a pre date is like going into a job interview and saying, let me work here for a few days and see we click. (Actually, there might be something here…*adds to list of ideas I never finish*). Hanging out without expectations sounds good in theory, except… That’s what first dates are already. You don’t know if they’ll like you or not, and that’s the risk. Pre dating is trying to watch half the game and then go back make a bet, it doesn’t work like that. If you find yourself being consistently played on first dates, perhaps it’s time for reflection. Are you actually holding conversations with this person? Do you really look like those pictures? Are you even interested in these people or just going through the motions? Maybe slide in less DMs and slide to more events where you can “vibe” the first time. Just don’t be like Jalen. No one likes Jalen.

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Today’s Word is… CHOICE

I remember the first time I saw Marvel’s Black Panther 3 whole months ago, my reaction to Killmonger’s last line. I was shocked that they went THERE with it, because at the end of the day this whole movie was still bankrolled by Mickey Mouse. Then there was the second time, it was a punch I knew was coming, and I scoffed. It was one of those things that sounds good until you think about it, like “Too Close” by Next. (That song actually went #1…Gen X is trash). Spoiler alert but not really because how did you not see a movie that outsold the Titanic, when Killmonger is dying, T’Challa makes one last appeal to him offering to save his life and he refuses saying to bury him in the ocean with his ancestors who jumped off the ship because they knew death was better than bondage. First of all, you just killed someone like 15 minutes ago. Second, what kinda stupid ass hotep logic is that?

Fast forward to now, Kanye West, former favorite rapper took that that stupid ass hotep logic, chopped it up like a soul sample and had the unmitigated gall to say, 400 years of slavery sounds like a choice. *record scratch*. As most of the internet collectively let out a “nigga what”, there was another subset that shared his sentiment. The subset that loved that Killmonger line, the subset that is tired of all these slave movies (there’s been 30 in the last 100 years), the pan African subset…the people who don’t want to be associated with slavery; because they are ashamed of slavery.

You know who should be ashamed of slavery? The white people, this fucking country, this world. The idea of a slave mentality or a victim mentality is bullshit. Slaves weren’t too mentally weak to fight back, many did, many died trying, some succeeded. Others placed their faith and God, persevered and because of them we are still here. And for their sacrifice, some drug addicted rapper and hoteps spit in their face because their fragile masculinity won’t allow them to have ever been oppressed. They would’ve been Nat Turner or Harriet Tubman, they say it like children in the playground playing Avengers and everyone wants to be Thor and Cap. These same “Nats and Harriets” probably won’t even defend themselves at work. The idea that 200 years from now, someone’s ignorant descendant is going to say how they would’ve just shot the cops back, staged a prison break, overthrew the government and whatever other hotep fan fiction comes to mind. Because that’s how it works. It’s just a choice.

This message is easier to sell to black men, we’re strong, we’re tough, ain’t no white man with a whip gonna keep ME down. But if you woke up on an island, unable to read or understand the language, no idea of which way is North, South, East and West, what would you do? Kanye and the like want to believe that slaves were just brainwashed, that racism is a dated concept, that they just have to pull their pants up, or achieve a level of wealth, any and every life hack there is to escape the reality of being a black life in America. But telling yourself it didn’t happen doesn’t change anything. Boycotting slave imagery doesn’t change anything. To simply ignore 400 years of documented history fit your fairy tale imagery of black masculinity is delusional, for Kanye to get his slack jawed ass on live television and say it was a choice, that goes beyond a fake deep quip in a movie, it’s blatant propaganda. Fuck him.

@Profblmkelley captured it perfectly, “Not only did my ancestors and Kanye’s ancestors survive, they managed to make a way to make a new culture, remake family and faith. And in the process, make a culture so formidable that it continues to change the world.” My ancestors were strong, my ancestors endured, my ancestors survived. They aren’t anyone to feel shame about or hide and it upsets me to see so many feel otherwise.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SEALIONING

The Road Runner is the most unbothered character in the history of cartoons. No matter how panini pressed Wile E Coyote is to get him for reasons no one understands, the Road Runner never gets revenge, never even asks what’s his deal, he just watches the plan backfire, laughs to himself and keeps it moving. The Road Runner is a mood, as the kids say. You’d think after all this time, energy, and resources the coyote would cut his losses and find something else to do, maybe find a slower bird or an Arby’s, but no he keeps trying and the Road Runner will remain unbothered. The lesson, be more like Road Runner, the Coyote never wins.

It’s never been more prevalent than in the past week, where it’s… been a week. Kanye West is a MAGAt, R Kelly got dropped by his publicist, Bill Cosby finally going to jail, and Nas is an abuser. As usual, everyone has their opinions, and “cancels” ready to go, as do their respective loyalists. It’s the best and worst thing about the internet, everyone has an opinion but doesn’t want to hear yours unless you agree. I mean, I’m no different… I don’t want to hear a Trump supporters side of the story, if you think the earth is flat and don’t at least play for the Celtics don’t speak to me ever. I’m right, you’re wrong, go away. But then there’s the people who bait you into a debate by asking for elucidation, proof, evidence and you, armed with receipts oblige thinking surely any rational person can see this and understand how and why they are wrong… But they don’t. They hit you back with a “Where’s the source to your source?”, change the subject entirely with a “What about black on black crime?” or they casually dismiss with a “It’s not that deep, I was just asking a question”. Now you’re enraged, you want to jump through the screen and choke them… You’ve been Wile E Coyoted.

Sealioning, as it’s more commonly referred to is just that. It’s intentional naiveté, they could easily Google these things but the point is to burden you with the questions. White people KNOW why they can’t say nigga, the purpose of asking is to annoy and aggravate. Argh argh argh why did Cosby’s victims take so long to come forward, they clap they hands and wait for you to toss them a fish. (or is that a seal? Black lives matter, fact don’t). People take the bait and hours later, nothing has changed, they’ve been played and now they need donations for self care after such tiring emotional labor.

Just the other day, I tweeted that while Kanye has been bitching, Rihanna is quietly doing everything he claims he’s being held back from and a swarm of sealions washed ashore demanding to know what I meant by that, and how much money has Rihanna made in the last 3 years… Nigga, fuck you. I’ll take time out to have a discussion with friends and family, maybe even a white coworker on a Friday, if I’m in a good mood.. But not a jackass on the internet who is just gonna disregard and move the goalposts. Sealions play on your need to be right. Its a trap I’ve fallen into before, but these days I’m all out of fucks to give and I don’t even care if you’re loud, wrong and dumb. I’m probably just gonna make fun of you with a quip and keep it moving. Google is free*.

-Stan-

*Well I’m sure we pay for it with our data #StayWoke

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Today’s Word is… STARBUCKS

When I had heard the story about the men arrested in Starbucks, I had 3 thoughts; First, white people are entirely too comfortable calling the police. We should just treat the police like the mob that they are. You don’t call Frankie the Butcher to move a sofa. You call for a noise complaint next thing you know someone is getting shot 15 times because they thought a remote was a gun. Two, everyone who has ever had a retail or service job knows that the solution is always to provide great service. If the manager was so concerned with these nigg…loiterers in her store she should’ve went and asked them if they needed anything. This isn’t a liquor store or a bank, it’s a fucking Starbucks; thugs don’t sip macchiatos, there was nothing to fear in this situation. The men most likely would’ve explained that they was waiting on a third party and also read the temperature of the room and ordered something which brings me ultimately to my third point, black men are very much aware of your discomfort around them.

One of my favorite T.I. songs is a track off his second album (and the first we cared about) called Doin My Job. It was something I hadn’t really heard before, a pragmatic view on dope dealing. No grand tales about “Papi” or the money, the cars or the jewels. It was, look I don’t wanna be here any more than you want me here but I got bills. A sentiment that anyone can understand. I mean sure drug dealing is still very illegal but hey there’s a demand, he’s a supply. He won’t bother you, don’t bother him. He’s just doing my job. It’s the overall sentiment of being a black man living in America, we don’t wanna be here as much as you don’t want us here but we here and got shit to do. Leave us be.

Even for dudes who willingly went to Starbucks I refuse to believe that their black spidey sense wouldn’t had kicked in if approached. There are plenty of times where I subconsciously try to make myself less intimidating. I smile in the elevator, I slow my pace if I’m walking behind you, might cross a street, take off my hood…I get that I’m a stranger. I get that discomfort. There are plenty of places where I feel uncomfortable around a bunch of white people especially as a lifelong Bostonian, like Fenway Park after a crushing loss. Or after a thrilling win. Southie. Anywhere Martin Scorsese or Ben Affleck made a movie. About 85% of pubs. The 2am train. Championship parades. And apparently, Starbucks.

You know who is most aware of the only black person in the room? The black person. Most likely trying to survive the situation making as little waves as possible and don’t need you and especially not the police to intervene. (For what it’s worth, I would’ve gotten something, I don’t have a dream I can loiter in a bland coffeeshop without purchase, go to a library.)

[Editor’s Note 4/19/18 2:00pm: I had thought they were at least posted up for a bit, but no she called the cops within 2 whole ass minutes. Is this 1964? Was there a whites only sign that they missed? 120 seconds and you lose your mind? Fucking white people man.]

I assure you white people, black people really aren’t worried about your ass, we just doing our job.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… CANCELED

Unrelated, but I think about it every time I write the word

I remember way back in the day when Tommy Hilfiger was hot in these streets, there was a rumor about how he went on Oprah of all places and basically said he ain’t like niggas rocking his shit. No one saw this interview but everyone knew about this interview and so it spread through the barbershops, the salons, the playgrounds and with no internet to disprove it became something we all just accepted as fact until, well I’m sure your auntie still thinks it happened. She probably remembers the episode. It’s the Berenstain effect. And so Tommy Hilfiger wasn’t hot in these streets, if you DID wear it, someone somewhere was probably going to tell you about that Oprah interview that never happened but happened. And so, we went to Ralph Lauren and never looked back. All because of fake news. Sad.

Fast forward to 2018, armed with the internet and screenshots, you ACTUALLY come for us, we’ll get you up outta here. (or at least try to… More on that later). Over the years, Black Twitter has developed a reputation for paint removal of the racist, problematic and ashy. Make a racist joke before your flight to Africa and you will land unemployed (and then end up with a cushy low profile job at DraftKings because that privelege is just too strong). Wearing black face on Halloween with your employer listed on Facebook, sucks to be you. But then there’s the other side of it, where sometimes people just…get it wrong. We were all born woke, some people need to get dragged a few times, others might have some growing up to do, then of course there’s the irredeemables. Where is the line? Is there a committee? Maybe there’s an app that tells you who and what is canceled. Like a woke Yelp, we can’t eat there the owner is a Trump supporter. Or the star of this movie is rapey. (*adds that to list of ideas I’ll never follow through on*)

Where I struggle with cancel culture is that I feel like there isn’t much forgiveness. To forgive surrenders leverage that I think people want more than they care to admit. Plenty of people jump at the chance to humble someone whether they’re offended or not. I do think there’s a difference between someone saying something fucking stupid and being a trash person overall. For example, Kevin Spacey is a monster who should never work in the industry again. Matt Damon is just a fucking idiot who shouldn’t be asked things. I’ve been on the other end of that, I’ve said dumb shit got dragged and learned from it and so I’m far more likely to forgive when people say some dumb shit. That doesn’t mean others have to as well, it means I’M moving forward. I don’t have time to keep track of everyone I’m supposed to be mad at. (At least until I make the app) Most fuck ups fuck up again anyway. Like every time I forget Charlamagne is trash he does something else. Michael Vick paid his debt to society and hasn’t gotten a parking ticket since. (*ahem* people say fuck him forever and while that’s their right I wonder why that is…). R. Kelly has been R Kellying for a quarter century. (At least. Sickening. Also can artists just start remaking his songs, I miss When a Woman’s Fed Up)

Woke Phi Woke™ Twitter will have you believe they never not knew better as if most of us didn’t grow up in problematic black ass households where you were told to pull your pants up and little girls were called fast. We’re all still learning and growing and nothing productive comes from acting otherwise. (There’s exceptions tho, some of these niggas are like 40, been online for well over a decade and still gotta be told why “what was she wearing is wrong”). But at the end of the day, is the purpose to get an apology or drag? Do you want people to be better or just like having the moral high ground? I know I enjoy unleashing the dragging every now and again but part of me wishes people would grow the fuck up already. To quote the mumble singer SZA, aren’t you tired of always making amends?

It’s exhausting. Some have the stamina for it, I do not. I simply take my time, money and energy elsewhere. Don’t listen, don’t watch, don’t invest, and frankly, don’t care if anyone else does. Say something stupid I’ll probably tell you how and why that was stupid, make fun of you, and then proceed with my life because I don’t actually care if how or when you apologize, or whether or not you work again. It’s simply, fuck you.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GRIND

Rise and grind. Work 25/8 nah mean. I’ll sleep when I die. We have a weird belief that insomnia is the key to success. If you up at 2am “grinding” that’s not hustling, that’s poor time management. TheNeighborsSoiree doesn’t sleep but you know who does, his boss Drake. Who has a GED. So he’s factually correct. People with GEDs do sleep, while you’re up making songs that will be just be taken from you if they’re worth a damn. Countless studies emphasize the importance of sleep but it seems like we still can’t disabuse ourselves of the idea that if you aren’t worn out you aren’t trying. No matter how many generic self help quotes Will Smith gives on Instagram based off fictitious conversations because he’s Will Smith and he’s not actually talking to aspiring actors and the poor. The Rock loves telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps as if he isn’t a 3rd generation professional wrestler. Diddy is good for a don’t stop working quote but when was the last time he was up all night doing anything he didn’t want to do? That’s not shade to them, there was a time when they did have to grind. It was also 20+ years ago. They have no idea what it’s like to be in the 99% in the 99 and 2018. People aren’t struggling because of a lack of discipline. “We all have the same 24 hours” sounds good but an 8 hour workday, 8 hours of sleep, and the other 8 are spent trying to get to one or the other.

But I guess I’m a cynic in that regard…some people get their motivation from that, I don’t. Capitalism gon capitalism, in order to win there has to be losers. Everyone can’t be a boss, someone has to work. Everyone can’t be an entrepreneur, someone has to buy. To excel in a capitalist society, you have to crush competitors, you have underpay your workforce… there’s no honest way to a billion dollars. (I don’t know exactly what Oprah did but I’m certain someone somewhere got screwed) That’s how the game works. How the game also works is selling you the idea that if you work hard enough then you can be the one on top. Then when someone asks you how to get there, tell them to work hard, stay focused and never give up.

Whether it’s career advice, diet, dating, skin care… The end result is always gonna be do what works for you and pray. That’s the only advice they can give, everyone is different, every situation is different and a lot of the shit is luck. There’s someone who thinks he’s the next LeBron in a gym right now, working on his game, grinding, no sleep….and he’s probably going to end up a high school gym teacher. It’s nothing wrong with his work ethic, he didn’t take shortcuts, he believed in himself but everyone can’t be LeBron. For every drug addled mumble rapper who managed to find success without much talent, there’s thousands of more people on Soundcloud who quit their job, got a face tattoo, betting on themselves trying to make this happen and it won’t.

Then there’s me, damn near 30 still not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up. Presently, I have a good job at a good company. Got a good start on my retirement…I can spend the next 25-30 years making upward and lateral moves, make good money but there’s no path to CEO. I can become a CPA, go into business for myself, grind mode and maybe I hit for a lick, or maybe I never get clients working out of a home office and do tax returns to keep the lights on. I can get laid off and write full time, pitch and grind my way to a book deal and a TV show and a production studio. (I actually started SFW when I was laid off 5 years ago, but unemployment checks will humble you. Quickly.) All of this is possible and none of it is. I guess it’s why we bother with this life shit. Either way, there’s gotta be a way to go about this that doesn’t involve working yourself to death or just dream chasing recklessly. Take your ass to work, but take time to cultivate other talents…and never tattoo your fucking face.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… UNAPOLOGETIC

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I remember when I was younger I would go to this advanced program on Saturdays at this private school across town.  (They wanted me to go there full time, but when you’re one of 7 private school ain’t in your ministry)  Most of the other kids actually went to the school, but they allowed a few of us broke public school kids in.  (Thanks T’Challa)  It was a culture shock for me; I was used to my regular ol school up the road where I was the smartest person there, but here I was the blackest.  There I was in some Js and a walkman, looking like I was in the wrong place.  I remember one week I didn’t want to go, and my mother said something like “just cause they can’t live in your world, don’t mean you can’t live in theirs” then proceeded to take my ass up to that school (again, this was completely voluntary and on SATURDAY, thankfully not in hair rollers I feel like that would a bridge too far) And she was right, I did fit in there I was as gifted as any other kid there, but none of them would dare set foot in my neighborhood.  (One of them did, like years later looking for bud…years hadn’t been kind.  Which is sad cuz we were only be like 16).  I kept my mother’s words all through that program and beyond as I gradually learned how white Boston actually was.   I never thought of it as “unapologetic” blackness as the Blavity Blacks like to say, I was just me.

That isn’t to say I don’t code switch at all.  I’m not walking into work with a Soul Glo shirt and a chicken box.  (Okay that was one time but I was supposed to be off that day and had a hoodie at my desk.  Oh and that time I say brazy in a meeting.  Oh I may have ended a call with “iight bet”).  We all have to kinda get in where we fit in.   I have to be constant mindful of my tone, my facial expressions, my overall demeanor.  Slang isn’t professional yet corporate twitter accounts are tweeting out “yeeeeeerrrr”.   The problem with code switching and assimilation in general is that, “white” is seen as the default.  Workplaces like to have a culture” without culture.  I might not walk into work with a fro and a chain but I will make myself comfortable as I see fit. (Which kinda means avoiding  them mostly). But I have bills so I try to meet them halfway; I can chop it up about sports, just don’t ask me about the anthem protests.  Ask me what I’m listening to, its probably someone you never heard of but I’ll just say Kanye and make it easier on you.  And there’s always Game of Thrones talk, which might be the one thing this country is actually united on.  (If you don’t I like Missandbae, you’re racist. That woman doesn’t do anything but bring love and light).

Which brings me to earlier today, I had seen there was a discussion about Tiffany Haddish and if maybe she’s doing a bit much.  Personally, I enjoy her, Cardi, Marshawn and others who don’t have a code switch in em.  Then there were the chefs at NYU who got fired for serving ribs, greens and macaroni for Black History Month.  (Maybe the watermelon drink was overkill…but I went to a chicken and waffles spot the other day that literally serves kool aid; we can’t hide from who we are).  It made me wonder if the people who have an issue with them are bothered because frankly, they don’t straighten up and act right around white folks.  There’s a feeling of secondhand embarrassment they feel when Marshawn Lynch can’t pronounce quesadilla, or Cardi is on the Tonight Show acting like she’s not on The Tonight Show.   They aren’t shukin and jivin, they are just being themselves and people are more worried about what white people will think when they see this.  When Desus and Mero are befuddling Jimmy Fallon, he looks out of place not the other way around.  You can find Tiffany Haddish unfunny without fake caring about how Ellen doesn’t seem to get it.  They nor anyone are representative of the entire race and I wish people would stop placing that burden on them (I do die a little everytime Deray shows up somewhere in that musty blue vest…its been 4 years, and even he doesn’t represent my blackness or yours).

Blavity Blacks like to say they’re unapologetic but the key to being unapologetic is being unapologetic, unapologetically.  It’s not performative, its actual.  It’s eating ribs at your dining common without a second thought, not 100% Melanin Educated Queen Wakanda t shirts.  Because being real the white people who feel a way will always find a way to, and it doesn’t have shit to do with what you wear, how you talk or what you watch on Monday nights so fuck em.  Live through the immortal words of Sisqo, “one thing you gotta know, imma be a nigga for life”.

-Stan-

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