Category Archives: Randomness

Today’s Word is… GILLETTE

I’m never buying a Gillette razor again!

I’m fucking with you, I’ve never bought a Gillette razor. Black men don’t put razors on their face. It was something my father taught me early, just as I was taught to respect women. So when I saw this new Gillette ad circulating the web, my reaction was, well said. Not what I was expecting from the company that literally sells lower quality pink razors to women for the same price but hey, baby steps. When I started to see the backlash for the ad, I had to watch it again…maybe there was something I missed; surely men aren’t losing their minds because a razor company told them to be respectful members of society. Break up fights, don’t bully, don’t harass women on the street you don’t know. I feel like these are things that shouldn’t be up for debate. They could’ve went much deeper, but then again it’s just a razor company commercial. If anything, they threw a soft ball right down the middle. They are simply asking men to be better, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news, ain’t nobody playing anymore. Adapt or be swiftly removed from the paint. Like I was saying last post with the cookout, there’s no reward for being a decent person, it’s the damn standard.

But Hell hath no fury like a man being held accountable (see Hart, Kevin) so it opens an ironic dialogue on is the idea “toxic masculinity” toxic itself. (it’s not). Pretending to be taken aback by the notion of toxic is the same as being offended by the word privilege, largely full of shit. Having privilege does not mean without struggle, without oppression, without outliers and toxic masculinity does not mean that masculinity itself is toxic. Toxic masculinity alludes to someone acting within their own expectations of what a man is, often exaggerated, often inauthentic. It reduces male identity to sex, violence, bravado and aggression. It turns a workplace into a frat house, hell, it creates frat houses. We live in a society (for now) where it’s rewarded. We watched an imbecile bully his way to the White House simply by being the biggest man in the room. We see people live in toxicity so long they become a part of it themselves. Bully or get bullied, only the strong survive… We are conditioned to believe that toxic culture will change you before you will change it and so we play into it.

I’m not exempt either, growing up it was ride for your hood, get this bread, get at these girls. Virgins got clowned, dudes scrapped over simple shit, we did what we saw the older dudes in the hood doing. They had their own OGs. No one really thought about how and why things just were this way, they just were.

If only we had saw a Gillette commercial, we would’ve turned over a leaf must earlier in life.

I’m just fucking with you. Black men don’t put razors on their face. Which is why I was surprised to see other black men in their feelings over this ad. Like, we don’t even go here. And on top of that; violent, aggressive, sex crazed…that’s how *they* try to paint brothers already. We’re more than that, we’re above that, that’s not what makes us men.

The cycle has to end eventually and there’s no time like the present. Gillette isn’t saying act less like a man, they’re saying act more decent because frankly, everyone else on the planet is kinda tired of your shit. And what do these toxic men do in response? They stage an online boycott and throw their innocent razors in the trash. I guess it cut deep.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… COOKOUT

 

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The cookout has been a long standing colloquialism for blackness, the culture, and being down.  While the cookout itself is figurative you can easily picture someone’s uncle on the grill, the spades table, Frankie Beverly and Maze, the electric slide and black people just enjoying being black.  No barking from the dog, no smog, and mama cooked a breakfast with no hog.  Basically, the cookout is our safe space. (Or literally every black family reunion).   Except, these days the cookout is more of picnic (some pun intended), a potluck, a box social because seemingly every white person who dances on beat, says racism is bad, looks like Travis Kelce, or just has a black friend has an invite to what was originally a fairly exclusive gathering.  It’s like no one remembers what happens when you invite white people over to eat. (see: The First Thanksgiving) Squanto ain’t die for this.  Blackness isn’t an honorary degree you can earn by seasoning food, dating black people or clapping on the 2 and the 4 because if the cookout gets raided I can’t say wait I didn’t mean to come here and retreat back to whiteness (see: Miley Cyrus).  There’s no off switch for blackness (see: The Rock in every movie).  So with all due respect white people, in 2019 y’all buddy passes are revoked.

Invitations to the cookout are suspended indefinitely, effective immediately.  At the very least, the price of admission has gone up.  If you want “in”, it requires real WORK, not these basic ass deeds like dancing on beat.  Even if a white person does go above and beyond for the culture, still a hard maybe. (See how that feels?).  Personally, I have never been that impressed; I don’t care how many times a white person tweets #blacklivesmatter, they can’t sit with us. (see: Shimmy Shimmy Nah White Kappa)  Not being racist isn’t impressive, it should be the damn standard.  You don’t get ribs for not saying nigger or doing a Halloween costume without blackface.  “Woke” isn’t a badge of honor, it’s the haunting realization that around the country and the world people who look like me are being harassed, killed and oppressed, a white people is simply aware of this fact and they get a hot dog and get to electric slide with the rest of us? Nah, B.

That isn’t to say white people are all bad or that we can’t break bread or coexist, it’s not like we are shutting the government down for 3 weeks to keep them out or something crazy like that (see Fiasco, Toupee); I just think we need to re-calibrate this reward system.  Ideally, being socially aware and properly seasoning your food is it’s own reward but for those white people who just NEED some pat on the back.  I have proposed a few alternatives:

  • a gold star
  • thumbs up
  • an “ayyy” when they dance (max. 3)
  • a kale based treat
  • a yasssss gif
  • invited to the coffeeshop*

*not Starbucks, we aint forget

  • They can pet your dog, but no kissing
  • Beer (quality depends on deed rewarded)
  • Acknowledgment that Season 2 of The Wire isn’t that bad
  • Indulge their high 5
  • Some oversized clothing item
  • A Tommy Egan dap

giphy

  • Salted Caramel
  • Acknowledgment that Eminem did get Hov on Renegade
  • One outfit hyping
  • a head nod
  • weed
  • Acknowledgment that peak Larry Bird was as good as LeBron
  • Something related to Game of Thrones or bacon, the two things we might love equally
  • Froyo
  • Enter them in a 5K, they think they can cure anything with a 5K
  • One “Were you on vacation, you look tanned?”
  • A Jon B certificate of White Cool
  • A dab, seriously they can have it now.

The cookout is sacred ground and should be treated as such.  Invite only, no plus ones, no honorary guests, no homeboy who is just waiting for his ride but just gonna help himself to a plate while he waits (see: my cousin’s roommates).  Especially when we don’t know for sure how they be voting.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HEADASS

April 23, 2016. I, like many fellow members of society had turned it to HBO because Beyonce was doing a thing. No one knew what the thing was, but she was doing a thing. That thing would be Lemonade, a visual album of emotional, personal…yeah yeah, Hov did WHAT?!? was largely the takeaway. In the time since, he done told his side of the story (4:44), and they done wrapped it all up in a neat but not great bow (Everything is Love) but publicly, at least for Hov, it was different. Now, for better or worse any and everything he does is linked to that moment everyone watched Lemonade. From the new hairstyle (which I personally believe he’s only doing because her MCM, LeBron cannot. Also, his hair is waaaay too dark for someone who is damn near 50 and we just don’t talk about it), to the awkward looking photographs, to getting washed on APESHIT, Jay Z who has always carried himself as cooler than thou has been humbled (except when he’s talking to and about anything other than his wife. This nigga told us to “enjoy our chains” like, last week). It falls into all the cliches of happy wife happy life, ball and chain, etc. where a man simply loses himself to a woman. To quote Young(er) Hov, me give my heart to a woman? Not for nothing never happen, I’ll be forever macking.

Big Pimpin’ was nearly 20 years ago (feel old). It’s what you say and think when you’re damn near 30. (Granted, I’m not at a Big Pimpin phase in MY life , but rappers and athletes typically act about 6 years younger than they are anyway). Holding Jay Z to that standard is ridiculous. We grow, we change, and contrary to popular belief it’s not because a woman is forcing us to. It’s time we disabused ourselves of this common myth that men are being forced out the game like that one dude at the Y who swears he was going to play ball overseas before his MCL sprain. Jay Z was in bed holding ankles long before he got caught cheating and exposed on premium cable. I’ve definitely canceled plans with friends to go lay up and watch a bad movie. All men have, no matter how too cool they want to come off.

And so, it got me thinking of other “couple” things that men need to stop lying about enjoying. It’s not just sex, blunts and Power, my guy. Nothing wrong with being a little headass with the one you love. Let that toxic masculinity go. Let’s be saps together…

Headass things couples do that men love more than they care to admit:

Watching terrible reality TV

Watching terrible Christmas movies

Carpool Karaoke

Gossip

Shopping

Dressing alike*

Let her steal your clothes

Share Shade Room posts

Take pictures

Post aforementioned pictures

Let her pop that pimple

Drink wine

Have company over

Actually celebrate Valentine’s Day

Paint Nite

Let her dress you

Bring her to the barbershop**

Go apple picking

Go ice skating

Lunch break phone calls

Double dates**

Sit in the same side of the booth

Plan out but never follow up on a podcast/YouTube channel

PDA

Celebrate month anniversaries even though anni- clearly implies a year

Go to IKEA

Meet family members

Give Pet Names

Use Bitmojis

Miss the game

Let her leave stuff at your place

*I will say that I will always be too cool to dress alike and judge couples who do. I don’t even like matching by accident. Someone gotta change. We can complement; red/black, blue/yellow. Even same color different shades is too close. Someone gotta change.

**It’s only cute the first time.

To quote Hov again, you’re too old to be frontin when you’re feeling Denzel
and acting like she ain’t appealing. That was 15 years ago (feel old again), 4 years after Big Pimpin, 1 year into the relationship because being too cool is lonely. You gotta lie to kick it. Love is fun, silly and kinda headass. Embrace and enjoy it for what it is.

Just don’t dress alike, that’s still corny.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… LATE

Image result for colored people time

I’m a pretty punctual person (even if my posting schedule alludes to otherwise).  I think it’s a northeast city thing, most people are out and about with somewhere to go, something to do.  I’m a black person, so it runs counter intuitive to CPT (colored people time, for white readers. And no, you can’t say it.).  But like Daylight Saving Time, even if it doesn’t make sense to you, if you don’t set your clock accordingly things are only going to get confusing for you.  For example, day parties start at 2, but don’t start until 5.  Get there on time and you and the promoters going to find out if it’s ever gonna start at all.  Show up to Thanksgiving dinner before 5, there’s at least 3 different things that aren’t done.  Show up at a cookout before 3, congratulations you’re now on set up duty.  (I’ve learned all these things the hard way).  Even if you’re typically on time, if you primarily associate with black people you are indeed, on colored people time.  Whether it me or you, your mama and your cousin too, everyone has or is (I’m judging you if you are) that late friend.

So when I saw this tweet making the rounds:

As a punctual, I kinda got it.  Late people get on my got damn nerves. Respect. My. Time.  There’s degrees to it, a happy hour I’m fine to pull up early and wait.  If we supposed to be hitting the road already? I’m catching an attitude.  Like, if you live 20 minutes away and you leave the house at 11:55 you’re not making it by noon.  That’s literally not how time works.  60 seconds is always a minute.  We all have the same 24 hours and your ass acting like you got 26.

Which brings about the big question; why are black people always late? Like most questions involving black people, the answer is slavery. (don’t quote me on that).  Studies show that chronically ate people are optimists, multitaskers, hopeful…they believe they can do everything that needs to be done in the allotted time. Their gross misunderstanding of time aside, they’re less stressed, and in general happier (while annoying timely folk and pushing us to an early grave).  Most late people aren’t trying to be late or disrespectful, they just are.  Life be lifeing, relax.  Late people sound so chill, so optimistic, so care free…but I gotta say, that doesn’t really sound black.  How did *we* get the stereotype of being late when being late all the time sounds like white privilege?

Well, for that I’ll just quote my mother…”Don’t be rushing me”.  School, work, practices, movies, birthday parties, dinners my mother like most black mothers operated on, we’ll get there when we get there, it’ll be done when it’s done.  My father not much unlike my mother, don’t be rushing him, you know how damn annoying it is to be told be ready at 1,  it’s 2:15 and there’s no cell phone so you just got to eat it?  No matter how much I fret about something being important, my parents were there to grab my hand, look me in the face and tell me, no the fuck it isn’t.  (Also, they were both veterans so I never got how they wasn’t on time). CPT is not so much optimism as much as it’s, “fuck it”.  Black people don’t assume everything is going to be fine, they just don’t care if it isn’t.  Like that rapper I used to like once said, my presence is a present kiss my ass.  (He also has like 5 other lines of similar subject matter, North West’s daddy really wasn’t here for being rushed. Too bad he’s dead to me now.)  Personally, when I AM on CPT, I too have fuck it levels off the charts.   If I’m going to be 15 minutes late for work, I’m going to be 45 minutes late because I’m already late, can’t be late twice so I might as well grab some breakfast.  Rent due on the 1st, yeah well you bout to get it on the 5th and don’t ask me shit about it.  I absolutely get being late for some shit you only half heartedly want to do in the first place, which circles back to my original gripe.  When people are late FOR ME.

People do what they want to do, make time for what they want to make time for.   Perhaps it’s arrogant of me to assume when we have plans it’s the top priority of the day (it should be, I’m dope) but it does say a lot when you don’t leave the house until the last minute. Punctual people don’t want to always be waiting on late people, late people don’t want to be rushed by punctuals.  A fair enough middle ground is, well, CPT.  I assume you gonna be like 30 minutes late, I tell you to come like 30 minutes early and see if it all works out.  So to answer the big question… I guess black people aren’t always late, we just show up when we think everyone else is and that way no one is really late or really early, we all just on CPT.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… VOTE

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After what has seemingly been the longest 2 years ever, we have arrived at Election Day, Ballotine’s Day, Votesgiving or whatever. Not to sound so unenthused, I’m moreso exhausted. For one, after 2016 I don’t trust white people with anonymous ballots anymore and two, if there’s anything but a big Blue wave, it’s gonna our fault. We didn’t tell Pookie to go vote. We let the ancestors down. We took our asses to Black Panther but didn’t take our asses to the polls. Even as just 12% of the population, elections are won and lost on our backs. Ain’t that America. Black people aren’t allowed the privilege of apathy, we must vote like our lives depends on it, because well, our lives kinda depends on it. Even if it’s for the devil we know. I don’t say that to discourage voting, I vote. I voted for Obama. Twice. Would’ve a third time if I could. (I’m black so it’s funny when I say it). I guess I tire of the only way to try and garner the black vote is to get Obama & Oprah to talk down and guilt us into it as if we aren’t also citizens who have issues and demands. It’s a frustration I touched on last year when discussing buying Jordans; there’s just this assumption that black people simply don’t know better. I become annoyed at chicanery like click bait links and trolls to get people to register, text alerts, and Snapchat filters and maybe I’m just getting old but…speak to me like a constituent.

For example…

However, I do see the other side of it. People literally fought for this right. Beaten, harassed, killed for this right. Just 50 years ago. To stay home because you just really liked Bernie or you just don’t see any difference is an affront. If your vote actually “didn’t matter” like your hotep cousin on Facebook says, there wouldn’t be so many measures to try and suppress it. Reshaping districts, purging voter rolls, new voting ID laws, revoking the voting rights of those with past criminal records, closing voting locations in minority neighborhoods, to say your vote doesn’t matter is simply ignorant. When you see such overt voter suppression it’s hard not to then turn around and look at the apathetic non voter and want to scream at them for not at least doing their part. These people are literally silencing the people and you have the nerve to just not vote because you don’t feel like it? Fuck you, Pookie. You too, Spencer.

To be fair, we are not a monolith. Some people need a foot in their behind, some need their hand held, but most just want to be inspired again. We don’t need people dragging their feet to the polls, they should be marching. There’s less talk about what we’re voting for and more what we’re voting against. Even in my home state of Massachusetts, both Gubernatorial candidates aren’t really, saying anything. I’m more compelled to go to the polls for the ballot questions. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our parents were very much alive at this time when black people were being terrorized out of their vote, they wasn’t just voting for their right to vote. They were voting to be heard, voting for change, voting to be a part of the solution. As aren’t we, today. There’s more to be done, more to be addressed and I feel like beyond trying to make sure young black people vote, there should be as much effort in making sure their issues are being heard as well. I would hope decades from now, I would be able to try and engage the younger generation to vote by saying this that and the third was done and not, well your ancestors died trying to vote, how could you let that be in vain? They’d be less need for shaming if there was actual results to display. Ultimately, people do what they WANT to do and instead of guilting, maybe the aim should be to make people want to. While Snapchat ads to register to vote is cute, where is the same energy to educate voters, and to make sure candidates know what these newly registered voters want? Fuck Donald Trump is a mood. It’s a good YG song. It’s not a sustainable party platform.

All that to say, take your ass to the polls today.*

*Because you want to because this is your damn country and you’ll be damned if it goes to hell without at least your input

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Today’s Word is… TRAVEL

go-find-yourself

It was a little while back, I had just got my annual review, there was some stuff about how I need to network and communicate more and yeah yeah, where that bag at?  I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do with this bonus, I was going to take a trip.  Take my entry level Spanish to Barcelona, maybe go to London and find my future ex wife, go post up in Santorini like Rick Ross (apparently everybody went to Greece this year because there’s so many pictures on social media now), Tokyo always seemed like a cool place to visit, or I can go back to the Motherland…well, I ain’t get THAT much.  (Seriously though, a $1000 flight to Accra is white supremacy).   At this moment, I’m determined to do this and I’m going to go solo, no time like the present and I don’t want to be held back by anyone else.  I look up vacation packages ($250 single surcharge is also white supremacy, because reasons).  I look up flights and tried not to be turned off by the flight times, I’m sure I can find half a xan somewhere.  Then trying to find a hotel and plan an itinerary…I need a vacation from planning a vacation already.  I just started a new project I can’t just leave for a week, and so I delay it a few months…and a few more…that turns into well, let’s see next year but then the reality hit me that, I just don’t really want to.

*Gasp*

When you’re young, single, childless and have a few extra pennies you’re supposed to travel, broaden your horizons, take in some culture, it’s what makes you a more well rounded individual and makes that “loves to travel” line in your Tinder bio not bullshit.  It’s not that I’m opposed to it completely, I just don’t care that much.  As someone who is very interested in art and history, there’s so much in the world I would love to see. Perhaps I just need a travel agent or about a 30% pay increase because I’m just not disciplined enough to save.  I don’t get up and work every day just to eventually have enough money to walk around Europe for a week.   Shrug life.  However, when you say that out loud it’s like when someone expresses a desire not to get married or have kids; you’re expected to aspire to travel even if you never do.  So even if you end up flying over 2 days, staying in a hostel and only get 27 likes on your picture so now you have to repost 3 more times with the “take me baaaaack” caption because how the hell did your banana bread get more likes than fucking Patong beach, it’s worth it because now you have an anecdote.  It’s become a status symbol; “I don’t spend money on material goods, I pay for experiences” meanwhile you barely left the resort.  Travel is a hobby, either you’re into it or you’re not but some people just need to feel superior.  People stress traveling in your 20s ironically implying that it’s something irresponsible and should be done before you start adulting adulting in your 30s even though you would be more stable and more comfortable then.  I’d much rather travel in the next few years, than have scratched and clawed my way years ago just to say I’ve been.

I have friends who love to travel, they come back and their stories and photos at best make me think about seeing for myself.  It’s hard not to log on social media see your peers “living their best life” all over and feel like you’re slacking.   But I live my best life in my apartment catching up on TV and buying shit I don’t need on Amazon Prime.  I can afford to travel, just not quite on my terms yet so what’s the rush?  (Well who knows with Toupee Fiasco…I might just hurry up and get to Cuba while I still can) Right now, international travel that just feels more trouble than it’s worth.   I’ve probably taken about a dozen smaller, domestic trips in the last year or so because ‘Merica still has plenty of offer. (Well, maybe like 3 more cities than I’m done).  That isn’t to dissuade others, if you have the travel bug by all means scratch it and go as far as your budget allows and make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not the ‘Gram.  We don’t care. I promise.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GASWHITERS

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So there’s a clip from The Daily Show going around, a Roy Wood Jr segment on Boston’s racist reputation.  In the video, Wood goes around asking white Bostonians if they feel Boston’s racist and of course they all responded no only for him to ask black Bostonians and get the real.  What also stood out in the clip, was this one black woman’s answer where she said black Bostonians know where to go and not go around the city, which is something I’ve articulated on this here blog.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and to me that encapsulates the Boston experience.  Boston racism is not overt Confederate flag waving “you in the wrong town, boy” racism; it’s a downtown bar with little to no desire to diversify it’s happy hour crowd.  It’s me having to tell someone that “yes, I’m in line” or having to check some dudebro at the gym because he’s working out right in front of me like he didn’t see me in the mirror.  It’s a conversation I had with a friend about how uncomfortable she felt with a bunch of white people saying nigga at a Childish Gambino show.  Yes, white people aren’t beating minorities blind with a 2×4 like Mark Wahlberg (anymore), yes they tend to vote very liberal but they’ve also ran out of any fucks to be more inclusive and like that video showed, they are ready to argue the hell out of any black person who tries to point out any sort of racial inequality.  It’s a special brand of gaslighting, I shall call it “gaswhiting”.  Merriam Webster, holla at me.

How do you make someone fix something they don’t even think they’re doing wrong?  A few years ago we had a black Governor and a black President at the same damn time; you couldn’t tell a white person shit about racism.  Their acknowledgment of racism is blackface and n*gger and you still might get Bill who “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” complaining about how we say it and it’s just a Halloween costume.  Tell a gaswhiter that they have white privilege and they’ll tell you how they too grew up in a single parent home in the ghetto without recognizing that how easily they equate blackness to struggle. Challenge a gaswhiter too much and they’ll turn heel faster than a “nice guy” who gets turned down after a 3rd date.   Gaswhiters love to compare and contrast,  especially to extremes because that absolves them.  Trump, nazis, the south, slavery, those are easy things to point to and say Boston isn’t THAT.  Then you look at the numbers that say black families have a median net worth of $8 and it’s, well the whole economy is failing us, OCCUPY WALL STREET again pointing out an extreme and not what’s right in front of them.

I don’t necessarily feel unsafe in Boston, but I surely don’t feel welcome.  As I’ve alluded to in a recent post it feels more and more likely that if I want to own a home in a black middle class community it’s probably not going to be here.  I meet new people all the time who echo that same sentiment.  That harsh reality of you can’t grow here is as glaring as a whites only sign but to gaswhiters they don’t/won’t understand that.  It’s not like the mobs are bombing businesses (anymore).   Gaswhiters see Boston as a liberal utopia, far removed from it’s really racist past, at worst it’s no more racist than any other major city in America, and ain’t like it’s Mississippi.  To them, it’s not broke so why fix it?  To acknowledge racism is to be divisive, we need to come together at times like this.  Gaswhiters are tired of everything being about race, they just want to watch the game and the ensuing highlights on Sportscenter without being reminded of it all the time.  It must be nice to live in such a bubble.   Meanwhile, what’s actually more annoying than discussing racial inequality all the damn time?  Living it.

-Stan-

 

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