Category Archives: Uncategorized

Today’s Word is… CANCELED

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GRIND

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

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

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

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

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… UNAPOLOGETIC

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

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

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

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

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… TAMBORINE

“Women, children and dogs get loved unconditionally. A man is only loved under the condition that he provides something.”

Found that quote from Chris Rock’s latest Netflix special interesting, not that I agree, but I could see where and why he would think it. He’s a 53 (bruh… Fifty three) year old recent divorcee, of a generation where a man worked to provide for his family because that’s just how it went. He further explains in his special that he wasn’t a great partner, he wasn’t faithful but he provided and presumed that was enough. And if it was maybe 20 years ago, it would’ve been. That’s what made the quote especially interesting… He thought providing was enough, power was enough, fame was enough… But there you are in the same family court as the per diem UPS driver. In the same year where we already seen Jay Z, one of the cockiest rappers ever be humbled in the same regard. Both regarded as one of the GOATs in their respective fields, it’s easy to feel yourself to the point where you can’t conceive someone being over your shit. Chris Rock, who has always had a fairly simplistic (some would say problematic) view on women; women be shopping, women never want to fuck, you better be chief lots of dough, and the aforementioned quote, he finds himself especially floored by the fact that his wife would leave over infidelity or that the modern woman now she down to fuck and go on about her business. Maybe the game has passed him by, maybe he always had it fucked up.

Rock comes from an era where dating was transactional; man courted, woman granted access. He approached for a minute of her time, spit a little game and got a number. He asked her out on a date, and another, and another, and then he invites her over for your sausage penne and spring mix because he can’t really cook. Then they’re having sex regularly, then he may or may not stop making those CVS runs. (Go to CVS, babies are expensive.) The whole way, man courts and woman responds in kind by letting herself be courted. She “wouldn’t be here” if she didn’t like him. These days, you might not even have your number saved for months (I find that absurd, like how is you knowing who the hell you’re talking to a privilege #datingistrash). Chris Rock never thought about if she was attracted to him, in it for his charm or his pockets; men want sex, women want things… Quid pro quo. You can argue that’s a simple ass way to look at the world, others might say it’s efficient. Personally, my money ain’t long enough (yet) and I have an ego. Want and love me back and shit.

I said a few weeks ago, that some men can’t process doing things that aren’t ultimately rewarded. Ironically, Chris Rock said in a special years ago that men built houses because women aren’t fucking on cardboard. (If nothing else, he’s consistent). For every stay at home son on Twitter who refuses to pay for a date unless he knows it’s going down, there’s a Chris Rock who just charges it to the game, two sides of the same entitled coin. At the end of the day, some can get away with things that others can’t. Chris Rock thought he had cheating bread, and miscalculated. Divorce pays pretty well too. And he’s back doing stand up specials, the game is the game B.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HOMEBODIES

So it was my 25th birthday, my first birthday being single, first grown ass birthday (and so I thought, 25 ain’t grown… Little nigglets) and so I was like fuck it, Ima throw a party. Reached out to those party promoter friends who you all have but never acknowledge until you need something and set it up. What was also notable is that my license had expired on my birthday. I probably should’ve took care of it before then, but one thing you gotta know I’ma be a nigga for life *Sisqo yell* and I didn’t want to spend my birthday at the DMV. I just wanted to chill at the crib reading tweets and wall posts from strangers and friends I’ve been promising to link up with for the past few years. So I renewed it online. Shoutout to technology. Or so I thought… While renewing a license online is convenient, you don’t get a temporary one, hell not even a sticker like a new one is on the way. But what’s a few days? Fast forward to me arriving at the party, and dude is like… Nope, expired. Never mind that he can see that a) I’m clearly over 21 b) it’s clearly my birthday and this is a complete dick move. But it was clearly c) it was me and a bunch of other black men and they almost always have some reason or another to not let one or all of us in.

That randomly crossed my mind when I saw this article about how millennials don’t really go out anymore. One of the reasons I typically avoid most spots, is stories like that birthday one where it feels like the primary incentive is to keep people like *me* out. Where dad hats are accepted but snapbacks and fitteds are not. Spencer has a polo with a wrinkled collar on but you can’t get in with a black v neck. Shorts in the middle of June not allowed, women can show up looking like who did it and why. You need a valid license or passport with a photo taken within the last 6 months meanwhile a 5’3 freshman just walked by with her sisters ID that says she’s 5’7. Then you get in the spot, the music is trash, women don’t want to dance with you, it takes 15 minutes for the bartender to acknowledge you and then on top of that the drinks are weak, and half the people there are just snapchatting the 6 people who are actually there having a good time. I rather take it to the crib. (Not really. I’m an introvert but not necessarily a homebody, I’m weird like that.) I actually don’t hate going out, I just hate everything around going out. When I do go, I have a good time. My Mint app might judge the hell out of me Monday morning but memories don’t live like people do.

But as more bars and clubs shut down (imagine if they simply tried to appeal to more diverse crowds) and the more apps that ensure you don’t have to leave your house (like every time I open Instagram there’s a new monthly service of here’s a box of stuff, food, clothes, accessories, toiletries… Like we really are lazy af, no wonder aliens won’t pull up). The game done changed; more often than not I’m talking to friends about what they been watching on Netflix than weekend adventures. People feel more left out on Monday morning having a missed Game of Thrones than they do not coming out to [Random Adjective Saturdays] at [club]. Just last week in lieu of a Super Bowl party, just watched the game home alone cracking jokes on Twitter and group chats (and given the results I ain’t wanna be around nobody no way). Clubbing has become more of an special occasion deal, basically if it’s not your birthday or your last day in town, I’m RSVPing “yeah, I’ma see” which is black for, “nah”. I’ll catch the highlights on Snapchat tomorrow morning. Turn up for what.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SUPPORT

Like Issa, I root for everybody black. Whether it’s award shows, interviews at my workplace, watching Family Feud…I want to see us win. Even you, Soundcloud rapper. That applies in my day to day life as well, especially living in Boston with it’s well documented racial history, I buy black when I can and when it’s plausible. Of course there’s the common tropes, “black businesses are unprofessional”, “black people always want a hookup” which turns into a chicken or egg argument…perhaps you are a little too comfortable with black consumers, maybe black consumers are a little too comfortable with you. I think about my barber, who on hand asks I make appointments and adhere to them but when I do he has someone in the chair and he’s on the phone. I have no idea how much my haircut actually costs because whether I give him $25 or $30 he just gonna ask how much I want back. Like, it’s been years and I still don’t know if I’m tipping too much too little or at all. I think about so many podcasts I subscribe to that take months off at a time, Christmas gifts I ordered and just got the other day, restaurants with 50 minute wait times and one of my favorite blogs pretty much being reduced to lists and this is what I watched on TV last night. And as a black person I want to support but as a consumer I’m left unfulfilled. It feels my support isn’t earned, it’s assumed.

Of course, it’s impossible to buy all black all the time. I can’t live off soaps, butters, witty t shirts and crafts. I also can’t afford to not see what Amazon and Wal-Mart are hitting on. Woke Phi Woke Twitter like to sell this narrative that Black people are simply brainwashed into supporting larger companies as if there’s a black owned smartphone on the market. I love us, but I’m not rocking Starbury or Big Baller Brand kicks. Tidal isn’t as easy to navigate as Spotify. These are choices I choose to make as a consumer. That money saved can then be used towards black businesses, it could all be so simple.

I think trust also goes into it; the black businesses that win tend to be in skincare, food and clothing. We trust the black twitter skincare guru more than they do Jergens (or a white dermatologist who might’ve studied black hair and skin for a week). A black owned restaurant, we expect the food to be hitting. But then theres the black owned credit union or consulting firm that doesn’t get that same level of trust. Is it because we are just used to us in certain fields? (or, white people stop reading…. Niggas be scamming, B. Like whichever one of your cousins had you on Facebook embarrassing yourselves with that CashApp scheme, or your Twitter fave hosting dinner parties serving meatballs and texas toast, and of course your WCW selling that detox tea). If I left my employer and went out on my own, I’m still capable of the same work I was doing. Except without the backing of a name brand company with customer service and auditing which engenders trust.

So where do we meet halfway? While studies show millennials support black business much more than previous generations (because we’re better than you) we all should be willing to make little sacrifices to support our own. Capitalism is a whole hoe and it’s hard to avoid the giants but in this digital age, apps and websites like Official Black Wallstreet come in handy helping connect businesses with us. Holla at a black florist this #valentimesday, try to find a black dentist in 2018, bring back Fubu…we all we got.

-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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