Category Archives: Oh, Internet

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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Today’s Word is… SPIRIT

I don’t know what it is about Ciara that just draws the ire of the internet. She can’t hit notes but she seems really good at hitting nerves. Usually it’s the #FutureHive being offended whenever Russell Wilson acknowledges his step son but this time in a plot twist, it was single women, the same women who ride out against the FutureHive on her behalf. With this video she posted on her Instagram of some pastor preaching the timeless classic; ladies this is why you single. Like all things Ciara and internet, people took sides and argued relentlessly and Brick killed a guy with a trident. In the video, he preaches this idea of walking in a “wife’s spirit”, whatever that means. You know what actually makes you marriage material? Being 18+ and finding a willing participant. You can cook, clean, fuck, not fuck, and make Henny from scratch… There’s no guarantee that’ll get you chose. So while Ciara can think she leveled up her spirit and that’s why God sent her Russell…more plausible they’re both celebrities bound to connect and they did. (In an alternate universe, Ciara the Walmart cashier who never makes the Ride video probably isn’t getting snatched up by a God fearing QB with a head full of eyebrow hair.) Whatever she did or didn’t do, she feels it got her a ring. And sisterfolk it can happen to you too. Level up, beloved.

But what about the men, maybe we too need to get blessed outchea. Is there a husband spirit I should be walking in, (cuz if it’s anything like what I did for the first half of my 20s that shit was trash only spirit I walk in is whiskey now.) It’s not drilled in us how to be the best husband for our future maybe might could be wives. To buy a house in our early 20s, manage our body count, go to therapy, master a grill (not bad things to do for yourself but still ) If a relationship go south no one is saying that it’s just the women WE choose to be with. Why, because it’s largely understood it’s ridiculous to expect single men from the time they are boys to devote their whole life to a future wife who may or may not ever come. It’d be just as ridiculous if Leslie Jones wrote a best seller telling men what they need to do to get a woman, or if a bunch of call center reps moonlighted as relationship bloggers giving men “real talk” about why they single. There’s no expectation to marry or have kids, provide if we don’t feel like it. It’s how Drake can whine poetically about how he just wants to find a good woman, go an entire 10 year career never being in any serious relationship he claims he wants and no one bats an eye. Men aren’t validated by a ring, it’s a choice some make some don’t. Women aren’t given that benefit of the doubt.

While I found the video and the debate about it mostly absurd, I think I might agree with the overall sentiment. Not “girlfriend spirit” and “wife spirit” but setting expectations and standards and holding yourself to them. I think there should be a consistency in that with men and women. You know what you want, so kick it accordingly. That’s not carrying yourself in a wife or husband spirit, it’s self confidence and knowing your worth. In an age of “it’s cool girl”, “nice guy”, situationships and unrequited love because no one knows how to be honest with themselves, the ones who do stand above the rest and that real will recognize real eventually. And when it does… Don’t then become the person who is posting know your worth videos. You see it doesn’t go over well.

-Stan-

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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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