Category Archives: Oh, Internet

Today’s Word is… AFFIRMATION

When I seen the homie Dara’s Facebook status:

I was taken aback by all the answers of we don’t. I can get the sentiment, trapped in the limbo that is being privileged and oppressed at the same time, feeling like no one loves you. And so they double down, go full Hotep lashing out at women, the LGBTQ and white people and in return its see, they trash or see, you’re the real racist. There’s a middle ground we need to get to but I won’t get into that today. Anyway doe, presently cishet black men approval ratings might only be slightly above “wyd” texts and their President*. Who can we run to? Where do we run to?

Then I thought about my answer. My initial thought was women. I’ve said before that a large chunk of my #selfofsteam comes from my relationships; the best version of me is in love. Being wanted, being appreciated it be the difference between waking up in a good mood and contemplating if you even need this job. I’ve also said how it can backfire… When you don’t have that person to laugh at your jokes, indulge your dramatics when you are dying from a common cold, lay up with during a snowy day… Then what? Where does that affirmation come from?

There’s family of course. When it all falls down, I know I can come home. My sisters are my rock. My little brothers, I’m theirs. All family dynamics are different but most black men I know? Mama’s boys. Hell, I was. Their best friend? Sibling or cousin. Blood is going to love you regardless.

There’s money. The most simplest of transactions, you do this I give you money. I definitely prided myself on being a provider (maybe I was a decade ahead of the curve but still). For people like my father and other black men of the same previous generation, the affirmation came in look at all I do for my family, I must be pretty great. It comes from I’m good at what I do and I know it. Especially people who get paid to do what they love, I’m great at my job I don’t love that heaux. (Also, working 40 hours and being able to afford food and rent for multiple must’ve been lit, we millennials don’t know this life) Coming home to a hot meal and honor roll students was all they asked for. But were they happy really? (The second family across town says maybe not). Maybe they needed more than a “job well done” and just didn’t know how to express it. Hell, some still don’t. I would say I still have some traditional values (take yo ass to work tho… This economy is trash) but I know that wouldn’t just cut it for me.

There’s friendships. There’s a reason we turn to gangs, BGLOs, church, hell even hotepery… There’s a need to belong and be around like minded folks. Or just being accepted period. When the news telling you you ain’t shit and a “Dr” is calling you a King, I see how one may just see what the “Dr” talking bout. It’s not something I ascribe to but I at least get the appeal. Then there’s the homies and something we and I could work on being better at… checking up on each other. “Likes” and Facebook comments aren’t the same as linking up. I run into old friends we exchange numbers and neither of us use it. Bonds that are beyond surface level like we hoop together or where the wave at guy. Healthy friendships may be a little harder to come by but well worth having in the end. They’ll be there giving the toast at your 3rd wedding ready to ride on a Dwayne Wayne. Because friends don’t let friends get Dwayne Wayned.

An affirmation of mine personally, music. Awkward ugly phase, breakups, unrequited love, lost a loved one, coworker CCd a boss on an email trying to be slick, Bursar office on my ass, this $4 gas may or may not get me home… No matter what I was going through there’s a song for it. Me and Man on the Moon 2 got through 2010 together. Kanye and Biggie gave me confidence I ain’t know I had. Even annoying ass Drake has given me perspective on things. Music lets you be vulnerable, be angry, be happy and emote in ways that black men generally do not. Hov did that so hopefully I ain’t have to go thru that.

Then there’s social media. Perhaps the lesser of affirmations but affirmations nonetheless. I write for free (this year) largely to express myself and to give others things to think about, laugh at and otherwise enjoy. There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing a tweet go viral, or getting an occasional thank you message from someone for making their day. We can pretend that Snapchat and Instagram aren’t narcissistic but I clearly posted this for attention. It’s why your uncle is in a a Facebook group taking care selfies trying to find his light. Run me my hearts.

So, TLDR…Black men get affirmation from love, family, money, friends, music & “likes”. A man with a solid balance of them all tends to be the happiest. The most secure. But when you’re single, estranged, broke, unpopular and got Spotify with ads… Well that’s how trolls are born.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BENEFITS

So I was making my way downtown, faces pass and I’m home bound when I had happened upon this meme

getting tens of thousands of retweets and I was flummoxed. First, because since when was abuse a word to be used so flippantly (also is she wearing a wedding ring?). Furthermore, what is a relationship benefit exactly? And he can expect a lot of things what exactly happens if she doesn’t indulge, is he just gonna continue to not be with her? If he says he’s not ready for a relationship and you continue to act like that’s acceptable to you, who is really lying? What responsibility is it of the uninterested party to keep reminding them of that fact? (I’ve been that guy…when you do they hate it, “they know” they said, “we’re adults” they said). In reality, I’m not that damn serious, no one is that damn serious, and maybe just maybe “relationship benefits” is just something you wanted to do.

Relationships are nothing more than mutual agreements of responsibilities and expectations of one another. There’s no benefits package. You do things for (and to) people you like. Sometimes that happens to be your girlfriend, or maybe it’s just the girl you’re sleeping with, or have a crush on or a friend. You had sex with them because you wanted to. You were their date at the holiday party because you wanted to. You paid for dinner because you wanted to. You built that TV stand because you wanted to. You cooked for them because you wanted to. (I don’t know when cooking became a grander gesture than sex…or maybe we just too grown to be earning sex so I gotta love you before you have my short ribs). Entering relationships for said benefits is not how they should work and if you are doing that, expect to be solely disappointed. A committed, healthy relationship should never be something you leverage.

There’s a difference between leveraging and courting. A difference between men sold on the idea that if I pay for the date I expect sex and men who go on dates because they are genuinely trying to what she’s about. People who have casual sex because they just want to and those who are just acquiescing in the hopes it turns into something else. The way men lament about paying for dates on Twitter you would think they aren’t at the restaurant they probably chose themselves eating too. You aren’t “free food”, that’s another one of her followers who orders her UberEATS even though they’ve never met. If she agreed and went out with you, then you aren’t being used. (Unless it’s like date 3 or 4, she’s never asked to see you first nor has offered to pay. #knowyourworthKing). Going back to the meme, if he says he wasn’t looking for a relationship, you know that you are but continue to entertain him hoping to change his mind. You aren’t being manipulated; you’re manipulating. It’s just not working. Again, you aren’t doing things of your own free will, you’re leveraging. In both cases, rather than ask explicitly what you’re doing here, or state plainly what you’re looking for and get finality…but its easier to hide behind casual sex, fake friendship and cocktails and play a victim because your plan isn’t working. But they’re the misleading one. K.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… RACIST

So I noticed internet is presently abuzz with music video from Joyner Lucas. I was already a little familiar with him, he’s a local rapper who notably likes to do songs where he raps from different perspectives. So I wasn’t surprised to see his latest video, I’m not racist, was more of the same this time its an average white man and a young black teen air their grievances on race relations. The internet is largely impressed. It’s so powerful, real and whatever. At first watch, I didn’t like it. And on second. And third. Meanwhile, I’m seeing it blow up and while I’m all for the home team shining I watched it a fourth time to really try and see if I was the one who was missing something…

I wasn’t. It’s just fucking dumb.

There isn’t a gotta hear both sides to racism. My livelihood can not be chalked up to a difference of opinion. White people want white supremacy, it benefits them. Protects them. Shields them from their own mediocrity. Lucas’ representation of a white man isn’t racist he just wants us to get a job, pull our pants up and raise our kids. No, that’s Bill Cosby. (and maybe Lucas himself). If white people actually cared about sagging pants and welfare, they wouldn’t overwhelmingly support hip hop and you know, be on welfare. The average white man isn’t racist; he’s just apathetic. He doesn’t see the big deal with blackface, he doesn’t get why he can’t say it if he’s a Kanye fan. He just wants to watch football without being reminded that black people are being killed disproportionately by the police. We had a black president he thought racism was over already jeez louise. He wasn’t offended by Eminem’s freestyle, he knows Trump is trash. That’s why he doesn’t tell people he voted for him and wishes people would just accept the result and move on. He hasn’t given any thought as to why he felt he had to vote against his own income level and health care…Because why would he? To him equality feels like oppression and his greatest fear is that a minority rises up and treats him like they treat us.

I thought maybe I was being unfair. So I read an interview about it:

“It was an average white man speaking his mind on how he actually feels about black people,” Lucas said, “and it was an average black guy talking about his interactions with white people. These are suppressed feelings that both parties have but are afraid to express.”

So white people just want us to act right and they’ll stop hating us. They just can’t say it. K. And it’s not even shade at Lucas, I think the problem with discussing race is that there’s a level of deference that is always paid to white people first, so much so that it then neuters any point you try to make after. Like when LL Cool J did “Accidental Racist” (same failed concept as this but at least this one slaps), don’t judge my du rag I won’t judge your Confederate flag. Nigga why are you acting like a headwrap is just as offensive as a flag that represents treason and hatred? Because that’s just the cost of discussing race in America. I say something bad about us first, and then I’m allowed to critique. Not too harshly tho. And I mean, I get it. I got bills, I’m not gonna get on here or Twitter and say some shit that would jeopardize my well being. (Or life, because that’s also a consequence).

Racial tensions in this country are thicker than Rihanna and I don’t got the answers, Sway. I do know that talking them out isn’t a solution. Especially, like this. You. Have. No. Reason. To. Hate. A. Stranger. Period. (said with claps. On beat). And no amount of stereotypes will ever give you enough ammo to. Cut the shit. Cool song, tho.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BANKSGIVING

So I was chillin out maxin relaxin all cool one day when I had stumbled upon this tweet:

At first glance I found it to be ridiculous. Charging your own family for Thanksgiving dinner? That’s absurd. Thanksgiving is (about remembering that time Native Americans learned the hard way about trusting white people) about family and togetherness. Reflecting on the year and being grateful for the things and people you have in your life. And then there’s Grandmamauntie, working tirelessly preparing a 6 course Thanksgiving meal for free.99. All she asked was that you showed up and didn’t bring a white woman home. (Kidding, of course… Maybe… Grandmamauntie still has some things she needs to sort out, and she doesn’t believe in therapy. You’ll deal cuz the greens is lit.) Grandmamauntie would never charge a cover for Thanksgiving; she cooks with love. (Don’t show up at people’s houses empty handed tho, have some couth) How would she look charging people on the one day that even the homeless eat for free. I’ve hosted dinners and cookouts and well…..they ain’t cheap, B. Of course I never thought about how much it cost because it’s family and friends and who does that?

But now, We live in an age where people think tweeting a thread is labor and (panhandling) getting paid for it. If that’s the case, then damnit Run. Grandmamauntie. her. coin. #Banksgiving. The game done changed. The price of the brick going up. And you know why? Because we don’t use pre shredded cheddar cheese in the macaroni we want smoked gruyere and gouda you know how much a lb of smoked gouda cost? Then your cousin is vegan this month because she has a vacation coming up, you ain’t get invited but now gotta accommodate. Your uncle’s new girlfriend has a gluten allergy so you can’t have the Hawaiian rolls out. You and her went to school together, she ain’t have no damn allergy. Your sister’s “roommate” packed 2 plates before you learned their name. Then there’s the auntie who is only there to pitch her pyramid scheme. Your other cousin brought a bottle of Svedka but then took the Remy to the face. Him and his friend “took a walk” and now they broke off turkey legs. Your sister hovering around snapchatting all the food like, “get you a me”, she ain’t make nothing. She brought plates. And Grandmamauntie takes it all in stride because she only sees y’all once a year because everyone has a her blocked on Facebook because she keeps sending game invites. You’d pay the 30 just to not have to unblock her.

I’m curious how it would work logistically….do you make an eventbrite link or charge at the door? I gotta text a cousin to get on the VIP list and get white meat? Is there reserved seating? I’m not paying $30 to be at the kids table. Maybe get a wristband. Does Grandmamauntie got a Venmo? Does the $30 allow for to go plates or you gotta eat everything there like at the sushi bar. What if it’s my second stop and I’m not that hungry, can I pay $10 to see everybody? If the stuffing is dry can I get it taken off my order? Are ladies free before 5? Can I get in with jeans and sneakers? I have all the preguntas, for this new world order. Or perhaps even simpler…don’t host Thanksgiving if you can’t afford to host Thanksgiving. Do a potluck. Whatever you do, don’t let pay me for my emotional labor Twitter have you getting exiled from the family.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… JORDANS

I haven’t owned a pair of Jordans since the 90s. As I said the other day, I wasn’t even that big of a fan. And I learned pretty early that I could cop 2 pairs of sneakers for the price of one pair of J’s. These shoes were gonna have to last the year and I had to game the system. Now, I’m about to get a pair. Maybe 3. Not because I’ve suddenly become a Jordan fan (it’s still fuck him for the most part) but because fuck respectability economics. The Air Jordan sneaker has become a symbol of black economic waste; never mind systemic racism, black people can’t get ahead but got them J’s tho. This anti black pathology has trickled down amongst our own, particularly the blavity blacks, who love praising the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs for being rich but not indulging in material things (those “generic” tees and hoodies retail for $900 hemmed with the hair of mermaids, so shut up) meanwhile hood blacks can’t get it together because they are too busy trying to look wealthy than be it. It gives false credence to the idea that only ignorant black people allow themselves to be suckered into capitalism like Susan and Spencer ain’t about to be camping outside Best Buy next month for a Vizio. Maybe we just want a pair of Jordans, because we work hard and want something for ourselves. You’re not the talented tenth because you wear Sketchers. (never trust a black man in Sketchers). Then last week, Amanda Seales of woke phi woke inc, the MTV VJ (and self proclaimed sneakerhead) turned 5th billed actress on Insecure added fuel to the flames recently by getting on Twitter and ranting about how having Jordans and Nike suits but not having a passport means you’re losing in life.

Now, I have a passport. Perhaps the wrong one because mine didn’t come with plane tickets, hotel deals, at least bout 7 personal days, food or drinks. Nope, my passport is just a regular ID booklet with an awkward picture because after the first 2 didn’t come out right I’m self conscious so I just took what was given. Yes, it is access. Yes, it’s something good to have. No, it doesn’t make you more worldly more cultured or somehow superior to your Jordan donning peers. Blavity Blacks and the likes love to move the goalposts in that way, just far enough that they can reach it and then establish it as the standard. But the goalposts can be moved on them just as easily, “you’re flying to another country, making some hotel owner richer, barely leave the resort and now think you’ve seen the world”,”you visited, but did you study abroad tho”, “you flew 12 hours and not first class…you’re losing”. It’s tacky and ridiculous and wish it would stop. Everyone doesn’t aspire to travel just as everyone can’t be an entrepreneur selling witty t shirts and body butters (see, now I’m doing it… Hurt people hurt people). Let people live.

We can all probably prioritize better. I’m not standing in line for Jordans (I do really hate the optics of that) but I’ve certainly opened my Mint app on a Monday morning and got a “oh no baby what is you doing?”. I’ve taken out $200 at the ATM only to look in my wallet the next day as and see a 20, 8 ones and bout 6 dollars in change. In that regard, a pair of Jordans actually is a better expense than one night of overpriced overwatered drinks. That money could’ve been better utilized like Bruce Wayne could use his money and influence to fix Gotham instead of running around beating up the mentally disabled, yet here we are.

It’s…. cute to think the very real income gap can be solved by buying cheaper sneakers but it isn’t. The problem is capitalism has to have winners and losers to work, the problem is after the great depression white families were given homes and black families were put in housing, the problem is I make 30% less than a white counterpart while having the same expenses. But that doesn’t matter, cuz I got some J’s tho (I didn’t actually get them, Jordans are ugly. Fight me.)

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PERFORMATIVE 

On today’s episode of  “Whose Man’s is this anyway”, the legend of Supercuts.  So Boston has a…reputation for not having a lot of black people in spite of being about 25% black. Growing up, I had a bunch of black friends, went to pretty diverse schools and even while attending a PWI, largely kicked it with black people.  I say all that to say I never struggled with finding black here.  Then there’s, let’s call him Joe.  Joe moved to Boston for school, landed a nice gig figured he should make some roots.  Joe finds a black networking group, makes a few friends and talks about how glad he was to find his folk. White people are exhausting.  Now,  he was amongst his own and feeling safe around his peers Joe asks the one question every black man in a new city must know… 

“so where can I get a fresh cut at?” 

My peers and I get ready to toss out suggestions because in situations like these you gotta ride for YOUR barber like you would your house on Game of Thrones.  Lamont, the sage House Cut N Edge, architect of fades, beard slayer… But then Joe provided a follow up…

“but I mean, I don’t want to go to the hood tho… I’d go to Supercuts before all that” 

And like that it was maaaaan, fuck your haircut.  Granted,  my barbershop isn’t in the hood (rather the hood is not longer in that area) but why give that level of satisfaction.  Maybe Supercuts Joe picked up some bad habits hanging with Dwight, or maybe he is just a blavity black.  

“Blavity blacks” (h/t @hausmuva And no shade to Blavity but it’s hard to resist good alliteration) are black people acting like white people trying to be down with black people, but they ARE black so it isn’t really appropriation as much as it’s… performative.  They dusted off an old invite to the cookout and you don’t really ask what took them so long to slide through because they brought good liquor.  (see Glover, Donald. Peele, Jordan.)  After years of lamenting not being black enough, or being awkward and being a special snowflake because they listened to The Strokes more than the Blueprint in 2001, now they blackity black black y’all. 

Blavity blacks are the type to wax poetically about how iconic and black Redman’s MTV Cribs episode was while they wouldn’t be caught dead in the hood because in real life they identify more with the MTV crew than Redman.  Blavity Blacks looooove them a black catchphrase t shirt about “these hands” being “carefree” and “unapologetic” but let their white friends touch their hair.  They write 25 tweet threads about the time a white cashier punked them. They act as if liking “Bodak Yellow” is a guilty pleasure like they aren’t the target demo. Blavity blacks wear du rags ironically, have flings with hood folk but won’t settle for them and oversell their affinity for chicken and Henny.  They buy “melanin” t shirts to support black business but wishes the Jamaican spot joins UberEats so they can stop going to *that* part of town.  Blavity blacks assign fake deep sociopolitical labels to rappers because then it’s okay to enjoy them.  

For what it’s worth, blavity blacks largely aren’t hurting nobody…its just extremely corny.  Because who are you explaining your blackness to?  I’m not impressed that you know the words to Wipe Me Down, I damn near expect it.  Perhaps it’s because I never struggled with my identity in that regard that I find it so eye roll worthy.  Or maybe I just never viewed blackness as how many pop culture references you know or if you can swag surf.  I’m Black because my parents are. And they parents. And they parents.  That would be a fact whether I watched Martin or Seinfeld growing up. 

However, what I do take umbrage with is the faux elitism.  I would never turn my nose at others or play superior on the internet like I’m not from the hood my damn self.  I’m sure I have some blavity black qualities  There’s plenty blocks I won’t milly rock on, and some things I make a little bit (seriously like it’s a little bit) too much to do anymore.   I don’t need to qualify my black ass tendencies or affirm it via t shirt.  Neither do the blavity blacks; yet there they go calling Young Thug a carefree black boy so people won’t judge them for bumping “Digits”.   You ain’t gotta lie to kick it, B. 

Stay black. 

-Stan-  

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Today’s Word is… SNAPCHAT

I have a love/hate relationship with Snapchat.  Sure, the idea of a taking a picture with a puppy filter or spending time creating a cartoon versions of yourself is fairly puerile. At least,  that part at least speaks to the layer of corniness that lies within me.  I’m not one of those weird people who hate filters because how dare someone look more attractive in a picture they took themselves for public consumption.   I enjoy watching other people’s “stories”, Sunday morning is perhaps the best time, the people I follow tend to have…eventful Saturday nights, while I’m a child of God. (who watches ratchet snaps on Sunday mornings… I’m just a person).  As for what I hate… I mean besides the massive battery drain, really creepy snap map feature, and the false sense of security that is a “disappearing” snap that anyone with a jailbroken/rooted device and see and keep forever?  Ironically, it was the same thing I love about Sunday morning. 

It happened when went out the other night and found myself on the wrong side of the snap, everyone snapping themselves and no one really dancing.  Then the few who were, now they are being snapped.  I’m sure your curated snaps are lit but as someone who was there in real lif,  I was bored cuz everyone wanted to snap that Bodak Yellow was playing instead of dance to it. Gone are the days when you had to rely on the club photographer who takes the sweaty high res picture that is never as flattering as you thought it was that night.  Even just a quick few group pics, now everyone is damn Spielberg.  Doing a public service that no one asked for.  Everyone doesn’t need to be “there”.  I just watched a video of Steph Curry making fun of LeBron at a wedding and my first thought was, (lightskinneds have no couth) and the second was, you were a guest at that man’s wedding B, who raised you?  Or is that just the voyeuristic society we live in now. 

What is the point of paying for a concert that you gonna record for free?  Do people realize that dark clubs and deep bass don’t make for quality content?  So not only are you killing the vibe but then the snaps aren’t even coming out worth a damn.  (Also, how haven’t skrip clubs banned phones somehow, it feels like I shouldn’t be seeing half the shit I be seeing…again, just a person).   Why can’t I post an old picture without Snapchat telling everyone that it’s a 2 week old picture, why you so loud, Snapchat damn?  Is your relationship even real if you never make the snap? Apparently not.  Why do I sound so old right now? Gross. 

I mean, I’m not THAT much different.  I have a Snapchat, a Twitter, a Facebook, an Instagram, and a blog… I operate with a heavy inclination that people give a fuck. It speaks to the narcissistic society we live in now.  We document our lives in spite of the fact that most of our lives don’t warrant daily coverage.  Snapping your drive to work, telling some 17 part confessional most people just going to skip, the need to post content when there isn’t anything worth posting.  On vacation, celebrating, having a fun night then by all means take pictures, capture moments, share your world…in moderation.  Maybe Snapchat needs a limit, like after 5 snaps it should tell you to log off and enjoy the moment. Or maybe its just some shit I might be a little too old to understand.  I still don’t even know how the score thing works.  

-Stan-

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