I am not ashamed to say that I have been single for most of my teen and young adult life. In theory, my partial misfortune may be due to the questionableness of my blackness as a nerd, but I want to undo the myths that cloud the desirability about blerds.1. We are weird.Thanks to poor depictions of blerds in cartoons and sitcoms, we have been seen as weirdos who collect bugs. Media goes overboard with our representation. I had to fight this stereotype in grade school because people were afraid to get to know me. Thankfully some people stepped out of their comfort zone to realize blerds are people too.2. We are weak. In January 2017, a segment of BK CHAT (via YouTube) featured black women favoring their affection for bad boys. They referenced that blerds are weaklings who could not stand up for themselves. Granted, I understood their reasoning. They may live in hostile environment and want protection. Sadly, blerds are bullied and must endure the pain, but we are mentally strong because we are the ones fighting to be black excellence in spaces where they are not wanted in.3. We are not "black enough."I was bullied for years in grade school and had to prove my blackness. There were students who believed that I was not allowed to listen to music (at home). Unfortunately, at school I noticed popular black boys, who loved DragonBall Z and Naruto, had to hide their nerd-ness and live in hyper-masculinity. In other instances, I have been called out for sounding and acting white. Yes, most nerds love all cultures, but we should not be shamed for it.4. We don't date black people. To each blerd is their own, but I do see blerds preferring Asian or white women. Even blerds in Men’s Rights Organizations do the same, but I will say that in some regards, we are not living up to hyper-masculinity or blackness, and I am sorry that some of us are anti-black because of our rejection. I love black women and want to date them. Granted I do not have 20 contacts on my phone of girls dying to be with me, but I do not lump black women as a stereotype because I want the same for myself. My goal is to persuade and compromise because we are both fighting the same battle.5. We bring shame. In high school, I did try dating, and even thought I had girlfriends. There were awkward discoveries where I was accused of falsifying a relationship, even though I had asked them out and they agreed. One female friend was honest and said she was ashamed to be seen with me publicly because she did not want her friends to think that we were together. I have not talked to her since. In high school, I was the secret boyfriend that girls were not comfortable with in public.Blerd culture is not something to fear, we are just as black, cool, fun and social as everyone...
Polygamy - marriage with more than one spouse.When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, it is called polygyny.When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry.As a culture (seemingly now) relying on sexual escapades, side chick benefits, hotep bibles and the “let's all share” rhetoric, I prefer monogamy. Here’s why:1. Socially, polygyny is more acceptable. Not polyandry.Know of a woman with multiple husbands? I’ll wait...Photo: GiphyAfter so many failed relationships, it’s only natural to consider trying something different. And just like that, polygamy presented itself, confidently (and sure) that monogamy wasn’t natural - catch this - FOR MEN. So essentially, he could date whomever he wanted, and I was confined to only him. Polygamy is just a fancy way of saying, “I’m greedy.” I haven’t met one guy that’s OK with his woman being with multiple men. The double standards, of course, are in favor of men. If women decided to date multiple men, they’ll be considered a…well, you know. Also, lets clear up this misunderstanding that polygamy is dating multiple people. NOPE! It is marriage. 2. Monogamy is more practical and, not to mention, legal. Yes, I went there!Simply put, I need all my investments, benefits and funds tied to only one other person. In a polygamous relationship, funds must be split and distributed properly amongst several people. I need to be able to make decisions if my partner is unable to speak for himself - in case of an emergency.Photo: Giphy3. I’m selfish.Photo: GiphyI did not maintain a positive attitude while in a polygamy-themed relationship. I was handled like a business and only certain days were dedicated to me. If I wanted to go watch a certain movie or go to an event in town, it was only possible if he didn’t take her prior. Monogamy affords me the comfort of spending time without worrying about when my moment is up. I just love knowing it’s me and you. Imagine your significant other holding you while watching A Different World. The mood is right and the room is clean (smelling like myrrh), but the entire time you’re thinking about them doing this with someone else. I would prefer to be thinking about choosing the next movie with bae.4. I don't need any extra headaches.Everyone is capable of cheating. In monogamy, you must caution yourself for a few suspicions, but in polygamy, you hope and pray the others are remaining faithful. It is a nerve wrecking process to make sure everyone involved in the love triangle/square/octagon are all tested and managing themselves - specifically when it comes to sexual health.Photo: Giphy5. I don't like competition in my love life. I couldn’t defend polygamy, even when I was involved. I always felt like there were extreme self-esteem highs and lows. Either I was his favorite or she was his favorite, which put us two women at odds with one another. Competition is everywhere already. I did not like coming home to it as well. Growing jealous and competing just to maintain a spot that feels like monogamy? So, why not just be monogamous?Photo: GiphyThere are many debates on why the black community should start embracing polygamy, especially the one about our ancestors practicing it. Take note that our ancestors and predecessors also practiced monogamy, and were successful. Brother Polight, author and public speaker, has multiple wives and promotes polygyny, NOT polyandry, as a source of structure for the black community and an economic savior. Keep in mind that his wives cannot marry other men.Monogamy is not a foreign idea. We have appreciated couples who practice monogamy for as long as time has been on earth. Monogamy might be a lot harder now due to temptations and attention spans (thanks social media), but nothing compares to growing with a person, and knowing they're just as crazy about you as you are of...
Singer/Actor Tyrese Gibson recently announced that he got married this passed Valentine’s Day. While what should have been a joyous announcement was plastered all over social media, the focus was not on the fact that the self-appointed advice columnist found love and happiness, the focus was on the hashtag the singer used to describe his racially ambiguous wife. The hashtag heard ‘round the world was “#MyblackQueen.” Now, I am not going to pretend to know what Mrs. Gibson’s racial background is nor am I going to pretend to care, but the reality is that this declaration stabbed at a festering wound in the black community that refuses to close.A few months back I read an article in the Washington Post entitled, “I’m a Black Woman Who Doesn’t Date Black Men. Sometimes, I feel Guilty About That.” In the article, the author speaks about the trauma inflicted on her as a youth and dealing with issues of colorism and self-hate. This, apparently, caused her to shift her dating focus to white men as opposed to men that look like her.This woman’s declaration made me think about the countless dark skinned men who refuse to date women that cannot pass a paper bag test and why some of them have such an audible preference for black women of a lighter hue or women who aren’t black at all.There is a pattern amongst those who stand up for black women of all shades and those who make slick, condescending remarks. While there are obviously exceptions to this rule, you see the point that I am making. As a youth, I went through the same scenario that just about every dark skinned man and woman went through. The teasing, the taunting, and people being downright ruthless simply because the sun kissed my skin a little longer than others, caused a period of insecurity and self-loathing that I have since shaken. A period that, I suspect, many dark skinned men are still wallowing through. But it's time that dark skinned men own up to their colorism issues. It is apparent that they suffer from the same mental disparities as dark skinned women, they merely project them in different ways.For instance, there are dark skinned men who exclusively date light skinned women, sighting "preference", when the difference between dark and light skinned women often boils down to nothing more than skin tone.As a youth, I dealt with colorism issues and battled with loving my chocolate skin. This projected as a love for all things white culture, even white boys. I was not truly interested in white boys in “that way,” I just liked the way they looked. As I grew older my attraction evolved into light skinned boys while my insecurities continued to fester.As I grew older I began to fall in love with myself and my skin. This resulted in a love for black men of all shades.If you end up with a man or woman outside of your race, good for you. But if you actively tell people that you are not attracted to the very man or woman that LOOKS LIKE YOU, there is an obvious issue that needs to be addressed.There's a difference between being socially conditioned to liking people of different races and dating outside of your race solely because of physical attraction. For example, growing up in cities like Los Angeles, where I'm from in Maryland, or even in Europe, will almost guarantee that your perception of race relations is going to be different from someone who grew up in say southeast DC, Newark, or Bed-Stuy.In other words, half of y'all that claim you have a preference are only saying so because you have some colorism issues you need to work out. The "soup cooler", wide nose insults hurled at you as a kid stuck, and you should seek help immediately. I am not being condescending. Please get therapy.These preferences occur not because you are genuinely used to dating outside of your race but because your pain is being projected as "attraction" to the men or women that you have subconsciously deemed superior. The problem with the dating world is that it is difficult to separate those who are dealing with mental issues from those who are genuine.Our issues with colorism are also projected into common creeps who have nothing more to do than to berate someone who has found love. If the man or woman you are bullying on social media never came out and said anything negative about dark skinned men or women, leave them alone. You do not know their background and you do not know that couple’s story.There is obviously folk who need to get a handle on their colorism and mental health issues, but a picture on Instagram is not going to give you any indication of those issues. If they have not projected a disdain for people of a certain hue then the man or woman they end up with is no one’s concern. We have bigger issues at hand and the skin tone or racial background of someone else’s spouse is absolutely not one of...
At this point in life, I have almost mastered the art of being single. Please note that I said single, not bitter. The two things are not synonymous. You can be single without being bitter about why it didn't work. After all, there is power in walking away from a relationship that no longer serves you well. Once you walk away, you're starting from scratch to get back into the dating game. Until you and bae swipe right on each other and get past 10 dates, you still have to live life while being single. Listen, I am no guru on how to master being single or how to master being in love or anything else of that nature. I can only speak from my personal (long-a$$) journey on how to live while being single. I may not know everything, but these truths listed below I do hold to be self-evident. Photo: GiphyFor starters, don't get stuck! Not all endings are happy even if they are good. For some, when a relationship ends, they lose not one, but two people. They lost their lover and their best friend. That is a double shot to the heart. If you're not careful you can get stuck thinking about what went wrong. I hate to quote Iyanla but sometimes you have to, "Tell me where it hurts and where it works." Confront the pain of the breakup and find a way to communicate to yourself or tribe (if need be), exactly where this hurts and how it hurts. Write it out, cry it out, even sweat it out. Do whatever you have to do. Then start to focus on where it works. In essence, focus on what worked in the relationship that helped shape you into becoming a better person for YOU. I would hope that you worked towards becoming a better person for you and not for them. If not, here is your chance to take all that was great about you and pour that into yourself. Photo: Notey Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called a relationship. A relationship that reached an unexpected end. From ashes to ashes and from dust to dust, we return this relationship to the pits of Tinder where it came from. Listen, I eulogize friendships that don't work, so I will eulogize a relationship. In law school, we are taught a concept in property law called the Rule Against Perpetuities. It's such a hard concept to learn that it's not tested on some state bars and is only one of the 200 questions on the Multistate Bar Exam. Nonetheless, we are taught that in order to get past this rule and be successful with determining who gets the property rights, we must "create, kill and count." Since then I have created a burial site in my head, killed off the person and then counted how many ways I am better off without them. Try it. Photo: GiphyI have an old-school, southern grandmother from York, South Carolina who taught me early on that before I could do right in a marriage I needed to learn how to do right by myself. She encouraged me to try falling in love with myself first. Because of her, I know how I liked to be loved based on the way that I love myself. I know that I want a love that pleads no excuse of impossibility and doesn't treat me as an option but the only choice. Why? Because I don't believe anything is impossible for me (other than getting an inheritance like Blue Ivy) and I treat myself like a Grade-A choice. If you practice perfecting how you treat yourself, the next time someone shows up with excuses on why they can't love you right, you'll be able to open the exit door rather quickly.Being single isn't a curse it's a choice. There is somebody for everybody. The conscious decision to accept nothing less than what you deserve is ok. As soon as some women hit 30, people question why they're single as if it's a curse to be so. I'd rather be single than be sentenced to a jail term for having to hurt a member of the creep squad who played with my credit and career like Peter Gunz did his baby mamas. Photo: GiphyGet a good tribe that helps you on your quest. You need people who will love you enough not to judge you or shame game you. There is no shame in being single. Besides, who else are you going to share that bottle of wine with or shots of Henny? Plus, having some friends who are single in your tribe just like you will give you space to not only vent but to laugh at the bad choices you made using Soul Swipe. Photo: Giphy You don't need an extravagant bucket list to get ish done. Try making a bucket list of things you can do for the year, not just in life. Work on knocking those things off the list. The time and energy you put into skydiving or traveling alone to another country may actually do you some good. I for one have put learning how to play the drums and becoming a photographer on my list. Make a list and start making new memories. This has been the only way I have been able to survive...and online shopping. Photo: GiphyThere isn't a formula on how to live single. As a matter of fact, if you focus on how to live while being single, you aren't really living. The most important thing is living a happy and prosperous life. Focus on flourishing and not on finding the next thing to call bae. You never know, you just may meet bae while you're learning how to play the drums at Guitar Center (fingers crossed!). Photo: Charm LadonnaLoving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
Valentine's Day is here. Some of us are excited, the others are going to sit back and watch yall flourish on social media. In order to flourish and be great on this Valentine's Day, you may think that you need to have major coins. Nope, not true at all. There are lots of great cheap dates that can impress bae and make sure you make it to next year's most coveted day of love. Here are 7 great cheap dates that should get you through. No worries about if it doesn't happen on V-day. Even though it's on a Tuesday this year, the weekend after is still within the window of celebration. Let's dive into them: 1. Arts and crafts are your friends Remember when you were in middle school and had absolutely nothing but Crayola and printer paper that you took from the classroom printer? Well, now you're an adult who can splurge on real markers and nicer paper. The options are endless. You can make a coupon book for him or her. The coupons can be redeemable for just about anything. (Gonna keep this PG) Here are a few ideas for what to put on those coupons: Dinner for two at your favorite restaurant, 30-minute massage, Cuddle session. My favorite is the "Free Wish" coupon, you can get creative and a little steamy with it. To take it up a notch, make a date out of it. Spend the quality time with each other while crafting a gift for one another. It'll truly be a surprise at the end when you see all that your bae wants to do to and for you. Photo: Pinterest 2. Millenials love brunchBrunch to us is what Bobby Brown was to New Edition, we just can't live without it. Breakfast in bed is cute, but why not setting up your own brunch at home. If you don't know how to cook, no worries. Panera now delivers and Pinterest has an endless number of recipes that are easy to follow. So pull out the champagne and orange juice for an amazing mimosa, cute meal, and great brunch date for you and bae. Photo: Giphy3. Liquor and culture all at oncePaint and Sip is not just something to do with your girls while engaging in adult beverages. There's nothing wrong with bringing your bae along to try something new. You gotta change it up so bae doest change you up. Places like Muse Paint bar hold several different sessions during the week and this week you and bae can get in on it for under $100. PLUS a little bird told me that Muse and others can be found on Groupon. I'm all for saving a coin. ( I would say try painting at home but who has time to clean up the paint? And what happens if it gets into the carpet? There goes your security deposit.)Photo: Dabblestudio4. Escape with bae How much fun would it be to escape with bae?!?! Since we don't have a private jet or Delta sky miles stacked up, let's start by escaping out of a room first. This is the ultimate test to see just how well you work together. Escape Room locks you and your bae into a themed room where you have to work together to escape. The themes vary from Sherlock Homes to Titanic and then there's the scary Jason theme. You can even make it a double date and invite another couple. Best of all, this can be done for under $100 and you might get lucky and find a Groupon for it as well. On the other hand, being stuck in a room with bae can go really good or...Photo: Flare5. Touch my body If you can't afford to send your significant other to the spa or drop the big bucks for a couple's massage, there is still hope. You can bring the spa home. Stores like Bath and Body Works already have a large selection of items to help make this possible. Figure out just what bae needs. Is it stress relief? Help with sleep? Feeling a little sensual? They have something for all of that and if you catch it quick enough, you can catch the $10 off coupon they're currently offering for use online and in stores. Nothing says I love you more than feeling just how much your lover loves you. Get to touching folks! ( Baby Oil and Shea Butter works too)Photo: Giphy6. Meet me on the track!Competition is healthy. So if you're into competing with bae and want to take them on a fun-filled date, try go-karting. The prize at the end is up to you guys to decide. ( Keeping it PG) Go Karting is a quick break from the world and brings you back to your childhood. Most importantly, if you are always arguing over who the better driver is, this is your chance to prove that it's you. On your mark, get set, Go!Photo: Giphy7. If all else fails, there's the museum If you have absolutely nothing but gas money or a metro card, then this is the perfect date idea for you. If you live in a city like D.C., museums are everywhere and they are free. In cities like Baltimore, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum charges only $8 for admission. The date is less than $20 and allows you and bae to explore exhibits while spending quality time together. If photos are allowed, it also gives you a chance to capture candid moments of bae on your smartphone and put them into a collage to give to them later. It's a two for one date and its under $20. Photo: ExpediaGo forth and flourish love birds!Photo: GiphyLoving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
Valentine's Day has arrived and for some of yall, this day is a great opportunity to celebrate your love. For the rest of us, we are fighting the urge to break up happy apartments and windows. Now I know we've taught you the 11 principles of petty, but for Valentine's Day, you must practice restraint. Even though I am the Head Minister at the Church of Screenshot ministry, I must take a minute to beg the members of my congregation to avoid being petty on this day. We might be without bae, but that doesn't mean we have to rain on their parade on Vday. (Save your petty for Throwback Thursday. That'll teach them.) Here are 7 solid ways to avoid being petty on this day: Before we go there know this: Photo: Giphy1. DO NOT post mystery pics of someone else's new bae. He is no longer yours. Say it with me folks He. Is. No. Longer. Yours. Therefore do not go into your arsenal of "chilling with bae pics" and pull out one that you think no one will catch wind of. You know the kind of photos I'm talking about. A photo from the honeymoon phase when you showed bae off to the world after showing only parts of his or her hand. It's that amazing picture that puts outsiders on notice, this is mine so proceed at your own risk. Even though we can't see their face we know that they ain't yours. You are not the chosen one. Only the new bae can keep the petty mystery going. Take this day to purge your smartphone and soul of all the remnants of that failed relationship. Looking at the past only reminds you of the mistake they made when they walked away. And for those who don't know what I mean by hidden bae pic, i.e.Photo: IamReggieDavis2. Avoid social media for 48 hours.Valentine's Day is a day to show off just how much your bae loves you. Some will have an "every kiss begins with Kay" moment, others will have a "mmmm ok at least he acknowledged you" moment. Either way, people are going to have their moments and be in love and for once we don't have a right to interfere with petty comments. I have a Ph.D. in petty. So I know how easy it is to make a comment under a pic and ruin lives. I do this for a living. Again, I am the head of the screenshot ministry for those who forgot. In order to keep me and you from being thumb thugs, we shall sit this day out and let social media flourish without us. ( Especially stay away from Snaphat!)Photo: self loveTumblr3. If you MUST log on, DO NOT make a new status for 48 hours.There is nothing like scrolling through your Facebook timeline and coming across the status of a newly single person. We all know THAT person. The one who has the lyrics to a song or part of a poem as their status. "Last chances don't always come with warnings", "Be careful who you give your heart to, not everyone is worth it", "The greatest self-love. I need only me." Now I agree with all of the above, BUT if I saw a picture of you and bae less than 45 days ago, I got questions. Like when did yall break up? Who did it? Why? So to keep us from asking questions that add to how butt-hurt you are, just avoid making a status. This way you don't look bitter and we don't become nosey. Photo: Pinterest4. Lemonade is banned until next Monday. This is pretty much self-explanatory. There was fire, a baseball bat, the other woman's skin and Becky. Lemonade will have you going through it. Even if yall broke up months ago, Valentine's Day coupled with Lemonade will create doomsday. It will inspire you to make calls and send several text messages to them from your phone number and Apple ID (if you're blocked. Don't ask me how I know). Beloved, don't do it. Save your energy for someone who knows exactly how valuable you are. Save it for someone who kisses your scars instead of creating new ones. Photo: Giphy5. Wait to exhale.There are quite a few movies to avoid during this time of year. Waiting To Exhale is one. The women in this film went through it! Even though they got it together, in the end, they still had to burn up cars and stop sleeping with other folks husbands to get to the place they were meant to be. That place was single for some, but it lacked bitterness for them all. Many of yall won't get that as a takeaway. Instead, you will remember that your ex-bae is the motherf***ing improper influence and be ready to torch whatever bae left over there. DON'T do it, just place those items and memories in the trash, where they belong.Photo: Giphy 6. Why we always gotta fight at Cheesecake you know we like to go thereAvoid restaurants where families and lovebirds like to go. Tonight is the night to light a few candles, pour yourself a glass a wine and attempt that new recipe. Maybe it's a night for you and the other single members of the crew to have a potluck or cook off. Be with your tribe and not amongst the tribes. Sometimes seeing what others have will cause you to second guess what you don't have. Your moment is coming and when it does hit, it won't be at the Cheesecake Factory or Fridays.Photo: Bravo7. #ThrowbackThursday get back in the gameI urged you not to be petty on Valentine's Day. But I didn't say you can't be petty on Thursday. Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, which means #ThrowbackThursday is still a viable option after our 48-hour hiatus. Not everyone is living right. Some folks are living foul and playing with the feelings of others. Sometimes you have to remind them that you and your heart are not a game. Post an epic pic of you two together and caption it: "#tbt I make everything look good." It can do one of two things, remind them of how good you made them look or cause the new bae to feel some type of way. If you're about that life, tag them. I for one am and with all dignity care not. Photo: YoutubeThis list could go on and on for days about ways to avoid being petty on Valentine's Day. The most important thing about Valentine's Day is knowing that you are enough. If they left or if you decided to leave because that's what was best, it's ok. Not everyone deserves you. So if they want to be with the person using Snapchat filters for edges and calling tacos a homecooked meal, let them have that mediocre at best love. Your love will show up with more dignity, edges, and steaks. Let them flourish without being petty and you one day shall flourish too. Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
As I reflect back on my former life, it's quite foggy. What I do remember is a series of inner dialogues that had one common agenda, to make me feel like crap about myself! These internal voices came from a number of sources: kids in the first grade making fun of the complexion of my skin; a middle school teacher who hated her job and made sure every kid she came in contact with knew it; multiple ex-boyfriends who fed off of power and control, allowing their insecurities to manifest in the form of making me feel bad about myself; a boss who was overworked, underpaid and miserable, creating a tone of stress and misery in the work environment. I could go on and on about when my negative inner voices gave birth and started a life of their own. We all have them, they can come from our parents, peers, authority figures, intimate partners, etc. What I didn't realize at the time was how these voices latched onto my subconscious thought processes, becoming a part of my daily thinking, feeling and functioning. Even though I wasn't consciously aware of these thoughts, they were guiding my behavior, the way I interacted with people and the world and most importantly, they affected the way I perceived myself and my own abilities!My Breaking PointThere was a point in time when I realized I was miserable. I looked happy and functional because I was skilled at creating an image that portrayed confidence and stability to the world. But underlying the surface, I was completely unhappy with how my life turned out. I was a single mom of two boys, struggling financially and constantly feeling behind on finances, energy, patience and confidence compared to my peers. I couldn't figure out why people around me were attracting the things they wanted with ease. They seemed genuinely relaxed, happy and satisfied with themselves. I remember asking myself, “Why can they access happiness and I can't? What am I doing wrong? Why am I not reaching the potential that I know I have?” It was then when I decided to figure out a way to change it!The 3 Steps I Took to Discover my Inner PowerIt took some church, research, self-reflection, and remembering the skills I learned in my clinical psychology graduate program to get to a place where I felt confident in creating the shift I needed inside myself. The funny thing is, after all of that hard work and effort, I realized the change I needed to create was much simpler than I was making it.Step 1:The first thing I did was adjust my perception from feeling like I don't have enough and need more, to embracing all I do have and being content with that. It sounds cliche, “focusing on gratitude,” but it works! As you tell yourself you “need” this and “want” that in order to experience happiness, you are also saying that your life is not enough, that you are not enough in your current state. As you continue to give life to the reality that you are not enough, that will be your experience. If you begin shifting your perception of your circumstances, embracing where you are and being thankful for how far you've come, you will experience an immediate change in your energy, and you will feel excited to see what the future holds. There's no possible way to think about what you're lacking while focusing on why you're grateful for simultaneously. It's either one or the other.Step 2: The second thing I did was bring awareness to the thoughts that were streaming through my head every day. I noticed how negative I was, and how I submissively allowed those thoughts to rule over my reality. I also observed that those thoughts didn't even come from me, they were replays of those mean kids, angry bosses and power tripping ex-boyfriends. So why on earth would I allow those broken people to dictate my life?What many of us forget (or may not even be aware of) is as we put out negativity, we are drawing it to us. We are a magnetic force, and the power of attraction will happen whether we want to believe it or not. As we think negative thoughts, we then feel negative emotions, and ultimately attract similar people and experiences to our lives.Instead of taking a back seat to your subconscious dialogue, allowing others’ negative opinions or comments to take charge over your mind, start taking control now! You should be the initiator of your thoughts, no one else.Step 3: The third step I took towards accessing my power was letting go of the people, places and things that confirmed the negative inner dialogue that I'd been living by for a very long time. I had to assess my surroundings and identify the areas in my life that needed cleansing.To be honest, this wasn't the easiest thing to do. It actually required me to do work and possibly hurt people's feelings. But, as I reflected back on how hurt my feelings have been due to those negative influences, I didn't feel so bad letting those things go.For me, there were friends that I'd grown apart from, who only had gossip, tragedy or complaints to add to our conversations. There were also people I dated that always seemed angry about something, and sometimes blaming me for their anger. There were TV shows I'd watch that brought me to a petty judgmental place every time I’d tune in. They all had to go! Once I successfully made room in my life for new positive energy to enter in, it was one of the most liberating feelings I've experienced! I had the opportunity to align myself with what I desired for my life and not settling for anything less than that. This is my story, condensed into a few paragraphs, about the steps I took to being accessing that inner light that's been waiting to radiate to the world. I use this same story with clients, colleagues and loved ones. Maybe you can you use these tools on your journey towards your most powerful self. Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our...
As of 2017, we have officially reached the 25th anniversary of the release of, by far and away, one of Eddie Murphy's greatest contributions to cinema, Boomerang.Boomerang was released to theaters in 1992 and, at the ripe old age of 8, consequentially, changed how I view both men and women alike. Upon this momentous occasion, I found it only necessary to provide a thorough assessment of how (and why) this film not only shaped me from a very early age, but has also had a palpable impression on black culture as a whole. There are mini spoilers all up and through here. Take heed.1. Men are total visual creatures.Not exactly rocket science, but this point was driven home multiple times throughout this film. There may have been no moment that summarized this fact more than the moment Marcus first sees Jacqueline standing by the elevators, halts, provides varying head tilts all accompanied with the thorough up down of her physique. This moment remained embedded in my brain for all eternity.Photo: Paramount2. Women are hella powerful. While this may not have been one of the more obvious overarching themes, on possibly the 100th viewing of this flick, it came to my attention that legitimately everything about Marcus Graham's life was for the sole purpose of attracting women. His job, his house, the way he dressed, probably even how he smelled was all for the ladies. For me, that equaled and translated to all of the power in the world. 3. Personal grooming means things. It would be remiss of me to not take note of one of the more infamous scenes, where Marcus slides back those blue satin sheets to allow his full gaze to fall on what he was working with only to see those completely horrendous, chipped polish, never been pedicured feet of that beautiful lady. No, we shouldn't be doing it for the men, but for the love of the Lord, care enough about your own life to invest in a pumice stone and a bottle of polish. Photo: Giphy4. (Some) men don't deal too well with having their heart broken. This man was so caught up in the rapture of this breakup that he was suspended from his job, y'all! He could not even moderately keep it together. Now, this point is debatable, but it led me to the conclusion that women are a bit more resilient in this regard. More often than not, we tend to cry it out, then move on. Photo Giphy5. That girl ain't always your friend, chile. Now it was not exactly clear if Jacqueline and Angela were friends outside of work, but they were definitely kicking it enough for Jacqueline to relay a lot of details about her relationship with Marcus to Angela. It's difficult to directly point out the right and wrong here, but they both forgot about any parts of that "friendship" in their pursuit to get this man. Jacqueline, very specifically, gave zero cares about sliding back in when Angela had her guard down. In other words...watch yo back, girl! 6. Parents can and will embarrass you deeply into adulthood This was evidenced most obviously by the Thanksgiving dinner scene at Marcus' house. Jerrod's parents refused to dull their shine simply because they were not at their own house for the holiday. From pops stepping in with the coordinating mushrooms to them "hitting it" in Marcus' bathroom, your parents will never have shame and their ability to give any of the cares diminishes significantly as their age increases. Photo: Giphy7. Loving a man does NOT mean that you take his crap. Angela loved that man in spite of knowing his track record and all of the word on the street in the office. She was never blindly in love. As soon as she saw his playboy antics pop up, she chucked that man the deuces. Photo: Paramount Pictures8. The title of the movie is fitting. Because what goes around comes around. You put good vibes out into the universe and you will be rewarded. However, if you're a douche, you will eventually get pissed on.Why do you love Boomerang? Add on in the comments.For more community-submitted content, sign up for our...
I was absent from church for the entire month of December, excluding the day of his memorial. I returned last Sunday. I was avoiding it because I couldn't face the reality of going solo. If the sermon relates to something we recently discussed, who's going to squeeze my hand? Perhaps some circumstances never change because I was an hour and ten minutes late. I am used to hearing, "Hustle up, Rion. I want to get there on time. Church goes in at 10:00." In running pants, sneakers and a cap, I entered the sanctuary. It wasn't my usual Sunday best, but Luke 12:35 says, "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning." As I tiptoed past the ushers, the closing hymn was in progress. The children had already gathered around the rector for dismissal. Ordinarily, I would sit in our spot, but I opted for the hindmost pew, given my tardiness. I lowered the kneeler and prayed."LORD, will you please help me?"A vague plea, but God is aware of what's transpired. We've been in communication. After service, a fellow parishioner held me close and said, "Honey, it will be difficult, but do your best to find comfort and joy in the holiday season." I'll try. Difficult was an understatement.Similar to returning to church, heading home for the holidays seemed daunting. I knew it would force me to accept my solitary reality. During a bout of insomnia, my mind began to wander. All generalizations are false, but it seems like everyone below the Mason-Dixon Line is having a bachelorette party, planning a wedding or receiving a baby shower invite. Meanwhile, I was researching which liturgy is appropriate for a memorial service as opposed to a funeral. It is so unfair and upsetting because he and I would have experienced all of those formative life events and they would have been really beautiful and love-filled. To remedy thinking about people, places and events that have nothing to do with me or us, I immersed myself in flashbacks. I ventured to when I received the keys to my new place. He was my very first guest and became the most frequent visitor. "Wow, Rion's got her own spot! I am proud of you." He took notice of the hot pink dresser, which marks the living room. "Is that an AKA dresser?" Very funny. Another point of nostalgia is the large single-pane window. About a year ago, he had jury-rigged it with duct tape and an obscure fleece blanket to deter a draft. He said, "Watch Rion, so you know how to fix it if I am not here." Instead of watching, I gave him a hug. He smiled and said, "You must really love me."While reminiscing took my mind off of frivolous thoughts, it didn't stop the inevitable shift. Change will happen whether I like it or not. That's how time works. The dresser is still pink, but it's morphed into a shrine of sorts. As for the window, a notice was issued stating that all front facing windows had to be replaced for "safety reasons." The "new and improved" window, without the ad-hoc insulation, makes the cold air palpable. Now my most common houseguest is the property manager because things fall apart.The night before I went home for Christmas, sleep was sparse. Around 5:00 A.M. I reset my alarm for 1:00 P.M. It was labeled, "go home." The train was scheduled to leave at 2:30 PM. A gold minivan dropped me at the side door of Union Station with seven minutes to spare before the train departed. Two men wearing Santa hats were seated by the entryway in lawn chairs. In between them, a stereo played "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." One of the gentlemen said, "Smile little lady, Santa is coming to town." Yeah, to bring you coal. Don't tell me to smile. When I arrived at my family's house, I was in a fog. There were some unopened cards on my nightstand, underneath them was a necklace embellished with an eagle pendant. Well, it is an eagle if you ask me. He said it was a Phoenix, the mascot of my alma mater. I don't recall the occasion, but he gave it to me along with some earrings. Either way, I like the necklace. It's a good luck charm. In mid-October, the eagle/Phoenix fell off the chain. I sent him a picture. He replied, “Not that serious baby, can be fixed. Love you much." Now, I feel like it was that serious. Why would this necklace made of hematite and good vibes break a month before he passed? Was it a sign? Or is this the grief talking? I planned to take it to a jeweler for repair, but what's the point? Along with my merry spirit, the woman who I was when I wore the necklace is gone.Christmas is about joy, family, life and light. Or, as I've seen in several social media posts, "Jesus, born in the city of David, is the reason for the season.” I agree with both, but for me, it is also about tradition. Tradition is the culmination of individual contributions celebrated year after year. For instance, every year, my mom makes her famous sausage dip, my dad gets the supplies to set out the luminaries and I make chocolate chip cookies for the neighbors. On Christmas Eve, we attend church as a family. On Christmas Day, we go to my Aunt's house for dinner. I vividly remember the first time I invited him to spend his first Noel with my family. When we met at the bus terminal, he was holding two enormous poinsettias, in addition to his luggage. "Do you think your mom will like these? Are they too much?" Never too much. In fact, his annual plant offering came to be expected. It was his unique gift to our family tradition. He is family. The Christmas cactus that he purchased before he passed, prior to Thanksgiving, is on display as a festive centerpiece. A nice way to externalize the loss, but it definitely doesn't hold a candle to standing next to him while he sings "Joy to the World" at midnight mass. Christmas is also synonymous with gratitude. Believe me, I am grateful. Having a family to go home to is one of God's greatest gifts. I am blessed with loving parents who have gone above and beyond to help me honor the memory of my love. I am thankful for friends who've cooked for me, driven me around, booked flights from afar to visit me in the New Year and celebrated our love with gifts and shared memories. However, I am still at a loss and still a wreck. Mourning someone who only comes alive in my dreams is new to me. I want our planet back. I know it's a stubborn notion, but I would do anything for just five minutes from our last Christmas. If I got five minutes, then I'd want ten, then a half hour, then a full day. Reverting to 2015 is impossible. Remembering him while simultaneously living a meaningful life is the next best thing. Obviously, it takes balance. In the words of Dr. Havelock Ellis, "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."For more personal stories like this, sign up for Blavity's daily...
After Kanye West visited Trump Tower to "discuss life" with the President-elect, I became convinced we live in the twilight zone. For all intents and purposes though, we are citizens of the real world (i.e. Planet Earth). Glad to be here, but blessed to also claim citizenship in a different world. A world that exists in a faraway place, population size: two.The creation of Our Planet was unplanned. 100% organic. "I" became "we." "Me" became "us." And we lived through it all. We laughed hard. We were honest. We cried. We encouraged one another. We learned from each other. We taught each other. We shared everything. We cared. We came to each other's rescue. We danced. We prayed. We exchanged real love. Friends could visit Our Planet, but never stay permanently because it was ours. Our world was filled with the kind of love that urged us share the good news. Love that had us doing all the things we swore we would never do. Love that provided energy and purpose. Love that made us feel immortal.A month ago, Our Planet imploded. Population size dropped to one. It was sudden. Very quickly I realized that what worked in our world may not work in the real world. Suffering a great loss is humbling. Not only is it a reminder that we are all mere mortals, but it negates future plans. Joanne the Scammer's classic line, "That's over. It's cancelled," has new meaning. What's even worse is that sudden death devalues present plans or actions, meaning all the things I recently completed or planned to do in the near future no longer mattered.After work I'll stop by the beauty supply store, buy some wine, and then we will meet up around 7:00.We have to go to a birthday party tomorrow night, let me remind him.Next week, we'll be home for Thanksgiving, so we can buy my new couch there and take it back to D.C.I can't even tell you what I bought from the beauty supply store on that cold Friday evening. Clearly, we didn't go to the party on Saturday. By the time I got home for Thanksgiving, I forgot about the couch.Losing my love exposed my greatest strength: getting things done. He celebrated life and his life was formally celebrated – I made sure of it. His death also displayed my weakness: the inability to see the bright side. It's hard, but there is a silver lining. We embodied true love. Some people live for a long time and never experience it. I am grateful for our divine, authentic connection. However, the physical absence of my friend is unacceptable. It's dreadfully quiet. Nothing excites me. I make an effort to avoid the conditional or past tenses. He would love that, no, no...he loves that. I am delusional. Still waiting on that phone call. Listening for the knock on the door. Hoping for lightning to strike to signify that he's here. Distractions are somewhat helpful. Idle time is troubling. Wine isn't water (note to self). Grief is physically painful. It keeps me up at night. Getting out of bed in the morning is a struggle. My stomach is killing me. All foods taste the same. I am despondent. I am livid. Man, I should have been there. If I was there, maybe...Amidst anguish and anger, I've become obsessed with analyzing the strength of love versus the fragility of life. Love conquers all, except death. R&B singer Debra Laws said, "Love is life and life is loving." If that's the case how do you live when someone you love loses their life? How can you allow yourself to fall so deeply in love knowing that life in the physical sense isn't promised? What's the point in being loved from afar? If you can't see someone, touch them, look them in the eye, how can you express your love to them?No one told me that with tragedy comes a steady stream of unsolicited advice. It’s as if everyone knows my head is full of questions and they feel the need to give answers."He will always be with you." Yes, the body goes, but the spirit never dies... I know that much."Your life can't stop." The 1,504 emails in my inbox, 55 unread text messages in my personal phone, dirty clothes in my closet that could probably get up and walk by themselves, and three-week old pasta in my refrigerator prove that you're wrong."He would want you to be happy." Thanks for stating the obvious."It is what it is." Let me guess, you majored in philosophy."One day you will think about him and smile." I am always capable of thinking about him and smiling – even the day after I got the awful news, I thought about him and smiled. That's how much I love him.“Girl, he loved you.” It’s loves and more than you know. "Nothing is promised." Noted."You have the rest of your life ahead of you." Do I? Because you just said nothing is promised.Please understand, I sincerely appreciate the words of affirmation, and of course in real life I simply say thank you. The unspoken retorts in italics are fleeting, grief-stricken thoughts that I'd say freely on Our Planet, because it’s a judgment-free zone.The great sea of voluntary advisors had an oddball, an individual who replaced a comeback with a question and asked, "What would he say to you?" Initially, I gave an arbitrary response, "I don't know, he would say he loves me." A few days later, I thought about some of the things he would say, one of them was "Be specific." So, I got more specific. What would he say to me about searching for explanations as to why the strength of love doesn't make life less fragile? "The answer is right in front of you Rion." He always says that. If I close my eyes, I can see his face as he says it. And it dawned on me, I can't rely on the interpretations of others.My process is my process. That's the answer.At this point in my process, I am narrowly floating. Physical and mental energy ebbs and flows. Friends say, "I am impressed with your strength." In general, being strong is instinctive - except when the attendant at the corner store says, "Where is that cheerful man of yours? You be sure to tell him hello for me." Will do.Tears are...
We fell in love with #ForeverDuncan a few weeks ago, and now another surprise engagement is melting our hearts.
Samford University linebacker, Deion Pierre and his team scored a 55-21 victory over Virginia Military Institute. But, he came for back-to-back wins. With the help of the entire team, Pierre pulled off a flash mob proposal to his girlfriend, Jasmine Armani. Singing to the tune of Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud", the guys circled around Jasmine to serenade her just as Deion prepared to pop the question.
Of course, she said yes.
And the crowd went wild!
Don't you just love, love?
Check out the full video above.
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Social media was lit Sunday when the hashtag #foreverduncan made its way onto our timelines becoming a leading social trend. What seems to have started on Instagram made its way to Facebook and Twitter. This story of black love and nonstop surprises went a little something like this.
To start things off IG user @Alfredthemc post a video asking his girlfriend Sherrell, "Do you love me?" and "Do you trust me?" to which she replied yes to both. During what she believed was competitive date day, Alfred took the competition to a whole new level. To include his family and friends (which soon became the world) in on the fun, he created the hashtag #foreverduncan.
And so it begins. #foreverduncan. For those that know whats going on please feel free to post whatever you like. Please use hashtag #foreverduncan. Don't worry. I have her phone. She won't be able to see anything until its over.
A video posted by Alfred Duncan (@alfredthemc) on Oct 1, 2016 at 6:35am PDT
When they get to their "date" Alfred asks Sherrell, "How are you doing?" to which she tells him that she feels "anxious".
Right before I pop the question. She has no idea the kinda of day she is about to endure #foreverduncan
A video posted by Alfred Duncan (@alfredthemc) on Oct 1, 2016 at 7:32am PDT
Then this happens at noon...
She said YES. #foreverduncan. Stay tuned
A video posted by Alfred Duncan (@alfredthemc) on Oct 1, 2016 at 8:56am PDT
But he wasn't done yet. Soon after having her glam squad help her get completely snatched, Alfred had Sherrell enter the next venue blindfolded. Little did she know all her friends and family were already there waiting.
What she did next had all of us crying with her.
Check my Facebook timeline for the entire video of this amazingly beautiful proposal/engagement/wedding. @alfredthemc @sherrellthetrainer congratulations!!!! ・・・ HOW AWESOME IS THIS UNION!!! HER MAN PROPOSED TO HER AND MARRIED HER ALL IN ONE DAY!! HE PLANNED THE WEDDING, THE RINGS, THE LOCATION AND THE WHOLE 9!! HOW AMAZING IS A SURPRISED WEDDING!! CONGRATS @sherrellthetrainer YOU DESERVE IT!! SOOOO HAPPY FOR MY FRIEND!! 🙌🏾💃🏽👰🏾💍❤️💋😘💪🏾🍾🍾#foreverduncan
A video posted by Kizzy Evae (@kizzyevae) on Oct 1, 2016 at 4:53pm PDT
Sherrell walked right into her surprise wedding.
#ForeverDuncan... The emotions of Sherrell walking in to her surprise wedding to meet her groom Alfred... pic.twitter.com/7R9JnMgnOS
— DJ Heat (@DJHeatDC) October 2, 2016
Her vows...keep your tissues out.
@sherrellthetrainer left no eye dry in the room at her surprise wedding. None. #foreverduncan #surprisewedding #blackgirlmagic #amyang
A video posted by Amyang Fashun (@amyang_fashun) on Oct 1, 2016 at 4:17pm PDT
You can feel the love.
"Put me in the game Pastor Marshall"😂😍👰🏾 #ForeverDuncan pic.twitter.com/RZN2qbzrOn
— #NaeOnThePlate (@naaeee__xx) October 2, 2016
This is one feel good story that you can't ignore.
THAT DRESS THO! 🙌🏽 Fierce! #ForeverDuncan! Surprise wedding for Sherrell by Alfred 👰🏽 🎩 CONGRATS 🎉! pic.twitter.com/0l5NmXBG92
— Estee D Ratliff (@niseynisey) October 1, 2016
The entire squad was in on it.
Bridesmaids 💁🏽 @ Sherrell & Alfred's surprise wedding! #ForeverDuncan! pic.twitter.com/59VDYRshFs
— Estee D Ratliff (@niseynisey) October 1, 2016
Drove to Maryland for a surprise wedding for Sherrell & Alfred! This is CRAZY exciting. Oh. My. Gawd! #ForeverDuncan! pic.twitter.com/iVsXTJ5mno
— Estee D Ratliff (@niseynisey) October 1, 2016
There was a dry eye on Twitter as the love story unfolded for all to see.
I finally broke down and watched #ForeverDuncan pic.twitter.com/wlqp6h2jg2
— Anastasia Steele. (@N_Ething4Selena) October 3, 2016
Shoutout to the Duncans #ForeverDuncan pic.twitter.com/DEFVGQmL3b
— DANEHSIA ™ (@dfergification) October 3, 2016
Sherrell woke up as Alfred's girlfriend, became his fiancé at noon and was his wife by 6p.m.
If you had any doubt that true love still exists, here is your proof.
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