Category Archives: Uncategorized

Today’s Word is… CAPITALIST

[Editors Note: So yeah, been a while…let’s see if I still remember how to do this]

I’m rooting for everybody black…

What I love most about black people is how much we love US.  Problems exist in our community like any other community but it’s still ours.  When one of us wins, it’s like we all win.  Fictive kinship, it’s why your grandmother has a picture of Obama in the living room like he’s a blood relative (and why you need to explain to her that we is not doing this Biden shit…but that’s another topic for another day).  It’s why Black Panther made 1.3 billion dollars.  It’s why I watch Family Feud and root for the black family like they’re my own.  It feels good to see someone like us win, because we know how damn hard it is to do so. It’s also tribal mentality, because behind every black person excelling there’s some racism trying to pull them down so even if you don’t bang with homie like that (Woods, Tiger) you feel compelled to defend and ride for them.  And then there’s where fictive kinship and tribal mentality collide; with the notion of “black capitalism”.

Society as a whole struggles with capitalism, most view the rich as aspirational and not as the problem.  They’ve deluded themselves to think that they aren’t successful because they aren’t working hard enough and that eventually it’ll pay off.   It’s two-fold with black people because not only as rich black people #goals but we’re also careful not to critique too harshly especially around (white people) company.  We view the Oprahs, Diddys and Hovs as one of us, white people don’t give a fuck about Jeff Bezos. There’s also the sentiment that once THEY get to the peak they gon take care of the rest of us.  So last week when it was announced that Jay-Z and the NFL would be entering a new partnership, the reactions split between wait, wtf and fist pump.  Once again comes the fictive kinship, Hov having a seat at the table means *we* have a seat at the table. People believe he couldn’t dare sell out Kaepernick (even though he sold “Occupy All Streets” shirts and kept the profits, convinced Dame Dash to sell him his share of Roc A Wear for $22M when he knew there was a $200M offer on the table, willingly became the face of Brooklyn Nets as they drove people out of Brooklyn for the new arena..but he’s made some documentaries.) there has to be some larger scale plan.  Jay Z in a room with a bunch of white 1%ers? I’m riding with Hov…but the reality is, he’s a billionaire in a room with other billionaires. He’s not an outsider.  He has more in common with them, then us. Sure he agrees with us that police brutality is fucked up but he’s also of the belief that if we just bought our own hoods then we wouldn’t be in this position.  Or you can look at it as simply, the NFL was in need of serious PR with black people, were willing to pay a hefty price for it and Hov was right there willing to take the bag.  Immoral? Yes. But also, just capitalism.

What’s better than one billionaire? Two…especially when they’re the same hue as you…

Rooting for everybody black is great when it’s award shows and movie casting, but when you expand it to capitalism, it’s not quite the same.  Capitalism exists as a heirarchy, to have winners and losers.  A black billionaire isn’t much different than a white one in that they’ve gotten there destroying competitors, overcharging customers, underpaying labor, tax loopholes, etc…there’s not many honest ways to a billion dollars.  It’s not how the system is intended to work.  To exist as a privileged class, there must be an underprivileged one being exploited.  So, with all that being said why do we love black 1%ers so much?  Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves it isn’t so bad and that we can do it too if we don’t sleep and grind everyday.  Or maybe like rooting for that random black family on Family Feud, we know there’s no net benefit for us and it’s just cool to watch.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SPOILER

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For most of America by April 28, 2019 at 10:30pm, they will have either watched Avengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones or both. If you hadn’t you will have logged on social media and been spoiled by memes and reactions from either.  Or you been under a rock.  It’s hard to avoid spoilers when we carry around “the water cooler” in our pockets every day.  I’m in the middle when it comes to spoilers; I hate being spoiled and try not to spoil things for others but there’s also a sense of entitlement in “don’t talk about this huge pop culture thing because I plan on getting around to it eventually, and I can’t just log off for an extended period of time.” I’d make an exception for movies or if someone explicitly asks not to spoil it, or they’re literally in the middle of indulging.  When it comes to live TV it’s different; it’d be like not discussing the Super Bowl until Tuesday so everyone can have a chance to watch. But we live in a self important social media age and so everyone likes to believe the world revolves around their schedule. (Okay, maybe I’m not so in the middle).  

Narratively speaking, good storytelling is about the journey not the destination.  If the only thing that’s interesting about the story IS the twist then that is just poor writing (Yes Sixth Sense, I’m looking at you.) If you only read a book or watched a movie to just know what happened, you’d read the last chapter, watch the last 10 minutes, and never revisit anything.  I watched Game of Thrones a little late, I know there was a jaw dropping Red Wedding episode and people really was excited when Joffrey died.  I knew they was coming, I didn’t know when and when they did I was just as surprised as I would’ve been otherwise. Oh, spoiler alert. (Also, I feel like announcing the spoiler alert is almost daring the person to be spoiled, anyway).  While I can appreciate suspense and surpises, it’s not wholly necessary for my enjoyment.  I actually had Endgame spoiled for me, I didn’t realize I was spoiled until it actually happened in the movie at which point I made a note to block that person.  On principle.  But it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film.

But that’s just me.  For the masses, I would say most people don’t want to be spoiled (even if studies show that being spoiled has no affect on the overall experience but hey) and so there’s the spoiler commandments:

  1. Always lead with “did you see/watch _________” before just blurting a reaction or posting a meme in the groupchat.
  2. The theater bathroom is not the place to discuss the movie; piss, wash your hands and go
  3. It’s only a spoiler if you believe it.
  4. No one cares, California. Just log off.  Eastern Standard Time, ho
  5. If they tell you where they are, or you’re rewatching with someone who hasn’t seen it yet, don’t “oooh oooh this part coming up tho”, shut up
  6. Talking about what happened in the source material is still spoiling
  7. Use hashtags and spell them correctly for people who want to mute
  8. It’s not a spoiler if you’re like a season behind
  9. Reality shows and biopics don’t count
  10. If it’s a leak…don’t you fucking dare.
  11. Don’t be a dick about it.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… GROWTH

Over the past few days, the internet has been abuzz after Liam Neeson, while promoting a movie that’s basically like every other movie he insists on making, made a confession:

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody–I’m ashamed to say that–and I did it for maybe a week,” he told The Independent, “hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could, kill him.”

For those keeping score at home, as I write this February 5th, 2019, it would and should be Trayvon Martin’s 24th birthday, but instead he was followed, harassed, provoked and killed. It was also less than a week ago when Jussie Smollett, was allegedly followed, harassed, provoked and attacked, thankfully still here to tell the tale. Or you know the long documented history of lynch mobs being started by well, an allegation from a white woman. I mean, not that there is ever a good time to confess you was strolling the neighborhood hunting black people, but I mean, he picked the WORST time. What he was attempting to accomplish in this (hopefully) career suicide statement was that he was blinded by vengeance and “primal” rage and after some cardio and therapy he can say he’s past his racist ways. Now, as a black man, I can say I hope he has changed. That he’s truly remorseful, that he has grown since then. But also, as a black man… Fuck you. All them movies since Taken are trash anyway.

People should grow and mature for growth’s sake but too often I feel like people are only apologizing with the expectation of being forgiven. When they aren’t, you see how sorry they wasn’t (see Hart, Kevin). Liam Neeson has to hold this L for the rest of his career, and we’ll see how long it takes for him to feel like black people are overreacting. Louis C.K. was sorry for about a year. Aziz Ansari, 8 months. It goes beyond celebrity, however. We are all about 10 years into this social media era. 10 years of self documentation. We are also in this receipts era where all you have to do is trend on Twitter and some people with too much time on their hands are going to dig through your old tweets for anything problematic. I’m able to be nuanced about these things, I joined Twitter at 20, I’m sure I’ve said some shit I would take back a decade later. However, I was still old enough to know better about most things. When I was 20, I thought wallet chains were cool, drank Vodka, and wore t shirts over polos. I wasn’t cracking rape jokes and bashing black women for clout. Like with Neeson, do I hope these people grew and matured for their own sake, yes. Do I still judge them, also yes.

What needs to be understood about growth and problematic actions of the past is that the society at large is not obligated to let that shit go. Nor does admitting it under the guise of well we all do ________, we all need to change. It’s accountability without being accountable. The same way white people all believe racism exists but never believe they themselves are racist. And so, Liam Neeson, his non apology and his particular set of prejudices can all get the fuck outta here.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SWIPING

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In a distant (maybe real distant) future, it’s my wedding day. There I stand, hopefully hairline still intact, beside my best man, probably my best friend Shizz, who I’ve known since I was 6. One of us asked the other to play one day and we been friends ever since.  Even as our lives took different paths over the years here we are as men, his hairline not intact. It’s been gone since we were like 20. My brothers would probably complete the roster, what’s a man without his family. Most importantly, they would all know the golden rules, that it’s swing on sight for anyone trying to Dwayne Wayne my wedding. Swing on sight for anyone trying to propose at my wedding. Weddings ain’t cheap, B. Across from me would be her wedding party, her best friend who at this point is more like a sister. Maybe it is her sister. Her homegirls, her council, maybe her line sisters (God if you’re listening, don’t send me no more Greeks). They’ve been there from picking out her first date outfit in the group chat, talking her down when things got tight, and now we all here.  Then comes my beautiful bride to be, who I saw on an app, liked her pictures and swiped right.  That’s just how we do things now.

I’ve spoke before about my dislike of dating apps (then I met someone not on a dating app so maybe this is just part of the process).  More appropriately I’d call them swiping apps with not much dating to be had. It’s a necessary evil because where are the single people? On apps. As of this year, there are 50 million people on Tinder. 50 million people finding love (or otherwise) via swipe, perhaps the most primitive gesture the human body can muster. An endless deck of cards and no matter how unimpressed you are you can’t help but keep swiping because maybe this one is the good one. Whether you swipe left or right, the immediate reward of a new profile releases dopamine and encourages you to keep going through the oddly satisfied pile of potentials waiting for one that actually intrigues you. Nope, okay that one…Nope…hmm this one looks interesti… Nah, never mind. Why does she take pictures so close to the camera, why are hers so blurry, is she black or tanned? Septum piercing? Pass. Don’t I know her? I wonder if she swiped right on me already. (Ok, so this did happen once, I had swiped right we matched but I hadn’t messaged yet.  I get to work the next day and I see her in the cafeteria.  I may or may not had unmatched her after that.  I’ve seen her around since then but we haven’t spoken. It’s a little weird)  And you swipe away without giving much thought to the actual people depicted. Maybe you’d like him if you had met at a concert because 5’9 is taller in person, maybe she’s just bad at pictures. You’re looking to meet someone but just casually rejected 25 people in 2 minutes with a thumb motion so how serious are you really?

No surprise, studies show that swiping apps are incredibly ineffective in finding relationships. 18%, about 1 in 6 people. It’s a slot machine. You won’t get what you’re looking for but the addictive simple nature of the app will keep you engaged, and advertisers just trying to advertise without any regard for your cuffing season dreams.  Hell, they’re incentivized for you not to meet someone. They can see you tend to swipe right on a certain type, so why not spread THOSE ones out and put them behind an ad?  Not much unlike the casino, the game isn’t for you to win, it’s for you to play. Which is why the first thing you see when you open Tinder the first thing you see are not your matches, not even yourself, it’s a new face to swipe on.  Happy swiping.

Not to go all Black Mirror about it, I’m sure with the proper level of expectations, it can be fun.  I think take a flattering photo, I’m quick witted and not a creep… theoretically I should clean up on there.  But I go on for a few days, play the slots, most of the time I’m swiping right on women just to see if it’s a match or not (I attract a type) and then deactivate until the next time I get bored.   I also think that maybe I’m just too old for this shit.  The median age of Tinder and other swiping apps is 26, while the median age of more traditional dating sites like Match is 40+, which leaves me kind of  in the middle too apathetic on swiping and too young to be dating y’all divorced aunties on E Harmony.  Which leaves me, going back to the basics.  Link with the squad, find a wave, and ask the cute girl at the bar what she’s drinking? That looks good.  Or, maybe I’ll just get a puppy.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… LATE

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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… PILLOWTALK

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There’s just some spaces where a black man feels safe to be…vulnerable. There’s the barbershop, the unofficial country club for black men, where on a good day you’ll leave with a fresh cut, about 3 wild stories, and 4 absurd sports hot takes. There’s groupchats, which are essentially the digital barbershop. There’s the basketball court, where the fatigue of a few pick up games will get the teammate you played 4 games with and don’t even know their name will get a text from a girl and be ready to tell you the whole life story. (This has happened on 3 separate occasions). I’m sure plenty of tea is spilled in a smoke session but that’s not really my ministry. And of course, there’s the ultimate tea house…in bed, laid up next to bae. Don’t let there not be a TV in the bedroom. (you get better sleep when there’s no TV in the bedroom #themoreyouknow) So when Pusha T decided to give an interview about an interview about a 5 month old diss song and drop the plot twist that he got the silver bullet from none other than Drake’s best friend, 40 pillow talking some woman it sounded completely plausible. (For what it’s worth, I don’t believe it, that’s TOO convenient)

We’re all guilty of pillow talking, yes you too Mr real niggas don’t gossip and ladies y’all talk too gon brush your shoulders off. When you factor in oxytocin, the hormone released during orgasms and most closely related to trust and bonding feelings in the brain, it makes sense that after sex one would find themselves feeling most vulnerable and most willing to talk intimately. (So maybe if they aren’t pillow talking, get your bars up). After (good) sex, your body is literally yearning for some more connection such as well, more sex, cuddling, and of course intimate conversation. Boom. Science. I’m well aware that I’m guilty of it, it’ll start off as just a funny story, and then you’re giving backstory, and then weeks later you’re giving follow ups and next thing you know y’all are at dinner and she just blurts out some shit. (I was dating one girl who couldn’t hold water worth a damn smh). It’s almost like dude at the basketball court, we can be laid up I get a text from a friend and I go from quickly explaining what the text was about to telling the story about that time we almost got arrested.

For actual couples, pillow talking is almost essential to the health of the relationship. Just taking some time out to learn something new about each other, Lord forbid you fall in love with someone and find out they eat candy corn or they never listened to Jay Z. It’s an opportunity to be completely vulnerable with each other and you have actual brain chemistry helping your cause. Pillow talking isn’t talking about what you got to do later, rehashing an old fight she lost 3 nights ago but now her groupchat gave her some new points to make or bringing up how you like them but you still seeing other people (be honest they said, she’d appreciate it they said), the bed should be a safe space. Sex, sleep, secrets. A place where you can gossip about your friends and assume it doesn’t come back and bite you in a diss record.

Yet and still, there’s rules to this shit. Such as, watch what you’re saying; there’s of some things you need to keep to yourself no matter who you’re sleeping with. Deep personal things, illegal activity, anything you absolutely don’t want to come out. Then there’s watch who you’re saying it to; know the difference between a spouse where y’all share everything (seriously, you tell a married friend anything assume its a 2 for 1), a significant other where y’all share a lot, and well, what allegedly happened with 40 and ol girl. If we are to believe Pusher Terrence, 40 was coming off that oxytocin high and just spilling his soul to this woman who wasn’t even feeling him like that. Major violation on his side and hers. He should’ve knew better than to be telling an outsider all his business and while she doesn’t owe him anything, it’s still a shitty thing to do. What happens in bed should stay there anyway. You’d like to think you can trust the person you’re having sex with but in this age, nothing is sacred. At least when I be learning entirely too much about her homegirls and their drama it never leaves the bed. (Even if after we fall out and they friend throwing shots on social media, I could return fire but won’t because God is working on me). What’s shared between us stays between us. I say that even as someone who literally writes about his life fairly often. Pillow talk is still inadmissible. I could only wish for the same in return but for all I know I have an ex talking to some new dude about some shit I told her. This game cold, B.

-Stan-

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