We’ve all been there — searching through your wallet for that $20 you took out two weeks ago or trying to figure out how much cash you’ll need to split dinner with friends. But honestly, that’s a waste of your time and an unnecessary stressor.
It’s the 21st century, and there are so many digital solutions to weed through when it comes to day-to-day money management. Mobile pay is where things are going, and the ease with which we can handle business is awesome, albeit a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry about digging through and trying out the masses, there’s one app that can deliver all the money-managing basics the average person needs to get by: Square Cash.
You don’t have to be a financial advisor or a tech genius to work through all the features — it’s super user friendly. Just download it, sign in, connect your bank accounts and cards and instantly rest easy next time you’re going out with friends or placing an online order. The bells and whistles are stripped from this app, which is refreshing in a world where everyone is trying to outdo each other with flashy features. Let’s be honest — when you’re looking to pay a bill or receive money from a friend, you don’t need all that. You need barebones reliability.
You can add friends, request money and view your activity, but the heart of this app is about actually using it. It’s compatible with Siri and even your Apple Watch. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can always count on accessing your accounts and cards with the click of a button. And after the latest iOs update, you can easily send over money to your friend who picked up your bar tab directly in the messaging app in between your texts about brunch plans tomorrow.
And if you’re worried about safety, take solace in the fact that it’s protected by 128-bit encryption and even your passcode (or Touch ID). So your money is in good hands (and always available in YOUR hands).
If your friends refuse to download the app or have no more storage on their phones, that’s no excuse to keep them from sending you their part of the check. They can use your “$Cashtag” by going to Cash.me/ [your$Cashtagname]. It’s simple and useful — like everything else in the app.
But outside of the basics for money management, Square is launching awesome new features that will affect other parts of your financial life — For example Square Payroll, where independent businesses can pay their employees via direct deposit.
But one of the biggest game-changers by far is the virtual Visa debit card, which allows you to use your specific “card” number to pay for anything wherever Visa is accepted. So if you’re up late online shopping for new sneakers, just pull up your virtual card on your phone and throw 'em in the bag. This feature sets the Square Cash app apart from other apps like it and shows how it’s continually pushing the way we use and manage our money into the future in a seamless way.
So quit forgetting to pay your best friend back, stressing over how much cash to carry or using complex apps with too many extra frills. If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your money and stay on top of things, the Square Cash app is all you need.
This post is sponsored by Square Cash.
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Maternal mortality is on the rise in the United States, and we are the only developed country where this is the trend. As problematic as this is, the rate is even worse for black women. As the old saying goes, "When America catches a cold, black America catches pneumonia." Black women are dying at a rate that's 3 to 4 times that of white women, a statistic that is particularly present in the South.
As I watch more and more of the women in my own life announce plans to become moms, the implications of these stats are deeply felt. When we hear the term maternal mortality, many of us think of women who have succumbed to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, at least this has been the case for me.
But Dr. Joia Crear Perry, who runs the National Birth Equity Collaborative, paints a very different picture. She told The Root that:
“Deaths among mothers extend beyond the period of pregnancy or birth. Nine months of prenatal care cannot counter underlying social determinants of health inequities in housing, political participation, education, food, environmental conditions and economic security—all of which have racism as their root cause.”
Structural and systemic racism are attacking black folks from all angles, and the snapshot of maternal mortality in our country makes this glaringly clear. A reproductive justice framework highlights the intersections of oppression and how they impact the lives of women of color. However, Dr. Perry calls for a human rights framework and has joined Black Mamas Matter, which is adapting the United Nations document on maternal mortality which “shift[s] the discourse on maternal mortality from a solely public health or personal-responsibility problem to one of women’s rights.” This approach is necessary in a culture that insists upon shaming black women who choose to parent outside a context of heterosexual marriage, or otherwise classifying them as burdens to the state.
These are dire times for black people across the board, but access to affordable healthcare, housing, and quality food are basic fundamental rights that should not dictate whether or not mothers live or die.
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Canton hip-hop artist Jean P The MC has been making records for the past eight years. Collaboration projects, mixtapes, albums, live shows, he’s done it all. But what motivates this Ohio emcee? Son of Sherrie is half album/half personal documentary, and when put together, it's a beautiful ode to Jean’s mother Sherrie.
The album opens up with "Crown" and Jean thanking God for another day as he’s heading to work. This sets the stage for where this project plans to go lyrically. This is grown man rap. It's a project from an emcee who’s learned more about friendships, relationships, obtaining success and everything in between. Jean begins rapping and lacing together the metaphor of him being a king. The track ends and we’re met with Jean’s cousin, who speaks on our main character Sherrie and the impact she had on her and her family.
We’re getting the story from a man who’s still young and progressing through life trying to figure it out. We’ve been learning about Jean’s experience through his past couple projects, but with Son of Sherrie, he’s on the other side and reflecting on what those experiences taught him. On “Yesterday,” Jean talks about what’s he’s been through and how he’s garnered more accolades than one might believe. Lines like “thought my peers would still love me and be proud of my success/but life got real and some could care less/Instead they asking me how much money do I make, is this a hobby or for real cuz it’s hard to catch a break” have to be relatable to the listener. Especially in an age when we’re still growing as people and are somehow expected to have all the answers.
Son Of Sherrie by Jéan P The MC
It only shows up as a main theme in two tracks, but there is a common theme of love on this record. Whether in the form of parental love, love we seek in friendships and relationships, the theme is heard throughout. We have tracks like “I Could” that have Jean romancing a woman with flowers, dates and more. The romancing continues on the intro to “Houston,” where Jean and his love interest are about to get hot and heavy. Jean explained in our interview that creating “Houston,” “was special. It was symbolic as 'let me take you out of this world. To the moon, stars and above.'" Jean creates the imagery talking about the process of courting, he even doles out clever one-liners to impress this woman.
Son Of Sherrie by Jéan P The MC
What brings this record to life are the interludes throughout the record. After certain tracks, we get voicemails or conversations pertaining to Jean’s mother Sherrie. My personal favorite was the introduction on “50 Grand.” The person speaking was Sherrie’s best friend talking about how good friends are respectful and to give all people a chance. Everything from anecdotes to life lessons, it’s clear Sherrie left her footprint in many lives. It can be felt throughout this album.
Son Of Sherrie by Jéan P The MC
Son of Sherrie is a beautifully constructed ode to a woman I feel like I know better because of this album. The tunes that surround the interludes show a man who has grown and wants to pass the lessons he learned from Sherrie to his son. The production on this record is simple because it isn’t meant to be the main star on the album. Same with Jean. Although he does rap and is showcasing his talent and skill, he is really just shining the light and honoring his mother, Sherrie.
Have you listened to Son of Sherrie? What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!
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No one makes traveling look better than us! And like most things, it's even more lit when the squad is involved. Here are nine group photos that will inspire you to build your travel team — all the way from Barcelona to Abu Dhabi.
Rainbow effect — United Arab Emirates
@alli_baba347 rainbow effect #AbuDhabi #UAE 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Sep 9, 2016 at 6:39pm PDT
Three's company — Senegal
@ndoumbeseywhat stylin in #Senegal 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 23, 2016 at 5:03am PDT
Unique experiences — Indonesia
@ethinini holy water temple experience #Ubud #Indonesia 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 12, 2016 at 3:23pm PDT
Squad goals — Croatia
@msfarrin & squad ✊🏾 #Croatia 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 9, 2016 at 4:59pm PDT
Mood and mission — Senegal
@soukena mood and mission #Senegal 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 16, 2016 at 6:30pm PDT
Crop Over link up — Barbados
@aliciazakon tabanca #Cropover #Barbados 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 8, 2016 at 5:25pm PDT
Girl time — Brazil
@ash.uzoamaka girlfriends #Rio #Brazil 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 8, 2016 at 4:33am PDT
Peace & blessings — Thailand
@calientediva peace and blessings #Thailand 🔸 #soultravel
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Sep 5, 2016 at 7:28am PDT
Chain Gang — Maldives
Traveling with kids is not easy but showing kids the world is worth it! It's the end of the summer and we want to see your family travel fun! 🔸 Join Chicbusymoms and Soul Society for 24 hours as we post parents & family travel photos. Share your photos with #momsonthemove for a chance to be featured on @chicbusymoms or @soulsociety. 🔸 This is @gia_casey chain gang in #Maldives
A photo posted by Travel Black: SoulSociety101™ (@soulsociety) on Aug 30, 2016 at 5:16am PDT
Where are you and YOUR squad going next? Let us know in the comments below!
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I know if your grandmother or great auntie are anything like mine, you’ve heard them exclaim, “Chile, you just have to love some people from afar!” But we probably didn’t pay them any mind when they said this…we just think about their clever proverbs once we hit THAT situation. Why wait until we are in the situation before we take heed to their advice? It’s because we don’t want to accept the fact that maybe bae or your best friend or your grandparent needs to be loved from afar.
Loving someone up close
When you love someone up close, you can't help but see them for who they really are. There are no trick mirrors being held up in front of you, they can’t hide from who they truly are. Stuff gets real up close! You see all of their flaws, of course, but we’ve all been taught to look and love past those flaws. But what if those flaws affect you and your mental state of peace? Should we wrap them in the swaddling clothes of our love, adoration and grace, giving them chance after chance to prove the only thing they are capable of doing correctly is shattering our peace of mind? In the reassuring words of Bishop Bullwinkle, “HELL NAW to the naw, naw, naw!” Oh, don’t act like y’all forgot about him!
Peace of mind is EVERYTHING
I’m all about keeping the peace at all costs. I firmly advocate being the boss of all your relationships whenever possible. Nobody can love you like you can, boo! This isn’t saying that you still can’t love that person. If you love someone, I don’t think you ever stop loving them, the type of love you have for them changes. Your love for them becomes more impersonal. You should love them for the great memories you once had with them, how special they made you feel once upon a time. That should be when you start loving them from afar. Wish them well, pray for them, do whatever it is you have to do for yourself. I just need for you to love yourself more than you love them! Stop making excuses for their behavior. Yeah, some people change, but you should let them change without your assistance. Keep peering from afar if you want to. If they’ve changed, you’ll be able to see it from all the way up in the 600 level of the stadium.
What about loving family from afar?
If this is a family member, it’s a bit more challenging to love them from afar. But honey, when it comes to your well-being, be a little selfish. Loving a family member from afar can very much so be accomplished, you’re just going to have to establish boundaries of exactly how many meters away you want to love them. Limit your interactions with them, call on the holidays if you're comfortable with that, but never feel like you have to fake the funk to appease a family member.
If that person asks you why you seem so distant, don’t be afraid to tell them you love you more. They have to accept that fact, what are they going to do about it? They created this situation and have to live with the consequences. Leave the conversation at that and keep going about your business. They determined their presence in your life already, so now it’s time for you to fill that presence with something or someone new.
How do you love people from afar? Let us know in the comments below!
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I never gave much thought to police, that is, until the day I would be forced to think differently about them.
As a youngin', I grew up on the motto that police were to protect and serve. In an emergency, they were the first people to dial. Our safety was their top concern. In elementary school, a police officer gave a presentation on the D.A.R.E program, which stood for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program to prevent the use and abuse of controlled drugs. Students signed a pledge promising not to use drugs or to join a gang.
From then on, I began to identify police officers with the program. I spotted D.A.R.E. stickers on the bumper of passing police vehicles. The branding of police officers as crime stoppers, heroes and good people invoked trust. I trusted these officers, black or white, to do their job and to do it justly. My innocent view of these service men changed at the age of 12 when my mother was arrested for a traffic violation by the Chicago Police Department.
Until I was 16, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, two blocks east of Ashland. Some people considered it the Beverly area, a community home to a large portion of American/Catholic and Irish establishments and where the demographic consisted of mostly whites (58 percent). Because my block and surrounding blocks were 99 percent black and I lived within walking distance of public schools, it was in every sense black. South Winston Ave stretched for two long blocks and both blocks were one-way streets.
The second block on which I lived was a T-intersection. As a shortcut to our home, we’d turn left from the intersection and onto the one-way street and quickly into our driveway. The length from the intersection to our home was about 100 to 200 feet or the equivalent of two houses. On a day when we were eager to get home, it beat driving down lengthy Winston.
It was a summer night when my mother was arrested for violating the one-way traffic sign. She was eager to make it home to me after my sister left out for work. I had not been alone for more than 10 minutes when my mother pulled into the driveway. In her rearview mirror, red and blue lights flickered. The police pulled behind my mother into our property. A white woman with a hard exterior stepped out of the marked vehicle.
“Whose car are you driving?” the officer asked first. My mother drove an s80 Volvo. It was a typical car driven by white middle class families, and we didn’t live in a white middle class area, so in other words, she implied that my mother had no business driving such a car. My mother responded “Whose car you think?” and that reply, though plausible, did not sit well with the officer.
The officer told my mother to step out of the car while she ran her license, and as a shock to my mother, the officer reported her license suspended. The officer attempted to put my mother in custody by telling her to get in the back of the police car. My mother refused. At this time, the officer called for back up. Three squad cars approached the house, their sirens sounding off in unison. The police attempted to arrest my mother.
For a while, they tussled on the lawn. More squad cars were called to the scene. Left and right next-door neighbors sprawl from their homes. The officers told the neighbors if they didn't go back inside, they would make this a felony. One officer took out a Ziploc bag with what likely consisted of drugs. The others put on gloves following suit. They were setting the scene for a crime. Without probable cause or a warrant, the car was searched and detained. Clearly, I remember reaching my small hand into the Volvo. An officer stretched out his arm before me, saying, “If you touch anything, I’ll plant drugs.”
When they were done searching, they drove the car off the property and to the 111th precinct in Morgan Park. The officers took away my mother in handcuffs and without concern for my well-being, abandoned me on the front lawn. At the department, my mother was chained to a pipe while the officers involved joked about the arrest. Upon release, she was given four tickets: (1) resisting arrest, (2) no proof of license (the license was in the car but could not be obtained at time of search), (3) no proof of insurance (also in car but could not be obtained at time of search), and (4) violating the road sign. All of this for a minor traffic violation. And had my mother been white, at the most a warning would have ensued.
In court, the judge immediately dismissed the case. The tickets were thrown out and she was given back her license. The license that was never suspended.
At 12-years-old I stopped holding the police in high regard. My respect for the authority figures throughout my teenage years waned. These were the same people who stressed the importance of abstaining from drugs through the D.A.R.E. program in grade school, but misused their power in an attempt to make my family out to be drug consumers. These were the same people to whom I made a vow not to join a gang, but who worked together to nearly organize a crime against me.
My mother made a mistake that night going down the street in the wrong direction, and by law she was held accountable. But when police officers commit wrongdoing, especially in the eyes of children, they are slapped on the wrist.
Thirteen years later, I still have anxiety at the mere sight of an officer. Their power and influence is enough to instill fear in the defenseless.
Just as my trust in officers was weakened at a young age, likely the same can be said for the children of Alton Sterling who witnessed their father die a senseless death at the hands of policemen. Police officers then wonder why, when we mature, we run the minute an officer makes eye contact. From youth, we have been conditioned through their actions to not trust police to protect and serve.
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Recently I received a frantic phone call from my mother, and I found out my dad was going away. Although my parents divorced more than 10 years ago, my mom still keeps in touch with my dad and provides me with updates. I wish I was surprised by the news, but I was not.
My dad has been in and out of the prison system for much of my life, for both nonviolent and violent crimes.
I’ve dealt with the shame, anger and hate. Yes, I said hate. Hate is such a natural emotion to feel when you’ve been disappointed and disregarded by someone you love. I dealt with these feelings years ago after reading Peace from Broken Places by Iyanla Vanzant. This book gave me the tools I needed to release all of the negative feelings that I’ve felt relating to my dad and childhood. You might be wondering, what about forgiveness? I’ll get to that…
I recently finished the fourth season of the Netflix original series Orange is The New Black. It’s my favorite television series, and I held off binge-watching it this year so I could carefully pay attention to the facets of each character. After finishing the series, I was left with feelings of sympathy, sadness and empathy. The multi-dimensional characters of Orange is The New Black have such weighty back stories, which makes it nearly impossible for me to judge them.
In thinking of my dad and feelings regarding the characters of the show, I was left in a state of conflict.
Why did I have feelings of shame, anger and hate toward my dad and sympathy, sadness and empathy toward the inmates on Orange is The New Black? This question echoed loudly in my mind days after finishing up season four. I still couldn't find the answer to this question, and that’s when it hit me: There is no difference between my reality and the fictitious one I enjoyed so much. The inmates on Orange is The New Black committed both nonviolent and violent crimes and were sent to prison, much like my dad, to pay their debt to society. Although I don't support the actions that led to their incarcerations, I now understand that forgiveness is an ongoing process. Forgiveness is something that takes time and effort. Sometimes shame, anger and hate are a part of that process. And it is ok.
The beauty of Orange is The New Black is that it has forced me to confront feelings that I have toward my dad and others in the prison system.
Everybody has a backstory, and sometimes the stories are uncomfortable and unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean we need to add an extra layer of judgment. People in prison are not always treated with the respect they deserve, so choosing not to forgive someone imprisons you. I challenge anyone who might be dealing with a similar situation to release whatever feelings you might have toward your loved one and embark on the journey of forgiveness.
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Have you been super sensitive to the way other black folks have treated you in the past few weeks? With everything happening around the country and around the world, our treatment and care for each other seems even more important to me. The girl behind the counter at your favorite fish fry spot with the attitude seems a little harsher, the neighborhood car mechanic who fixes cars for the low and offers his wisdom seems more precious, the elderly mother who keeps watch over the neighborhood seems to have wiggled her way deeper into your heart. It's as if we're smack dab in the middle of a Spike Lee movie, trying to get everyone to do the right thing.
If someone forgets to nod while walking past us on the street, the world feels a little colder.
The black nod is the non-physical version of the pound or giving someone dap. It's a (usually silent) acknowledgement of our existence, our commonality, our shared struggle and triumph. It goes deeper than a simple salutation. When I give you the nod, I'm telling you that I see you, you're telling me that you see me, and in times of crisis, we're assuring each other that we have each other's backs.
My parents were the kind of people who spoke to everyone. I remember asking my dad why he sat on the porch, saying hello to every passerby. He would tell me, "There's nothing wrong with speaking." Much to my embarrassment, my mom would always strike up a conversation with someone in the grocery line. When I would groan and question her during the car ride home, she would tell me, "There's nothing wrong with speaking." Salutations such as the black nod, dap, the pound, even the way we shake hands or hug are all an integral part of black culture. It's a small, yet consistent way that we show each other we still care about one another, and one of the last vestiges of black culture that I actually have yet to see appropriated.
This month, we're celebrating the 40th anniversary of Stevie Wonder's song, "Love's in Need of Love Today," and it couldn't be a more timely song. There is so much hate against black people (and yes, other groups, but that's not what we're talking about right now). We've read and shared article after article about self care, about finding our zen, about coping with trauma, about self love, about unplugging from the onslaught of tragic news to protect our psyches. The black nod is one small but important gesture to say that we'll be okay. We'll make it. We're affirming it, even as we pass each other on the street. Personally, I feel like everyone needs a hug right now, but sometimes a nod is all you've got or all you get. That will have to do.
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If you're a college student like me, it's likely you live in two different places — your hometown and your college town. This means that long distance friendships are a constant challenge, as you're away from any group of friends for several months out of the year. How does one stay connected? It's challenging to keep the fires of friendships burning strong, especially when you're trying to move up in your career, study, maybe find love, and if you already have love -- make sure that relationship is on solid ground. Here are some tips to help keep your friendships long and strong, regardless of distance.
Schedule regular calls/Skype in advance
Pick a day and time that usually always works for both (or all) of you. Call each other regularly on those days to check in, see how things are going, share news, or just talk about the random things that friends talk about normally.
Those calls or video conferences are also good for encouraging each other to stay on task. If you know your friend doesn't like to study, make one or two of those regularly-scheduled Skype sessions a cyber study group. Great friendships help us stay accountable to our dreams, goals and ambitions.
Coordinate reading the same book
Have you both been meaning to read Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes but haven't found the time? Promise each other you'll read at least 15 pages per week, and check in for 5 minutes about what you've read on your regularly scheduled call.
Have an annual trip
This is long-term planning and will give you something to look forward to, and is also great for a group of friends dispersed across the country. Pick five destinations, put them in a Google poll and vote on where you'll go. The person whose destination is chosen becomes the lead on planning for that year's trip.
Go shopping over FaceTime
Random trips to Ross were me and my sister's jam. Then, she got married and moved away. I'd want to go to Ross, I even did a few times, but it was so lame without her. I started calling her when I'd go, and that helped a lot. Also, if you use face-time, your friend can still tell you if what you're shopping for is cute or not when you try it on.
Send eachother mini vision boards
Whether you can spend New Year's Eve together or not, vision boards are a great start to any year. Send each other an annual mini vision board, detailing the brilliance you know will manifest in each other's lives over the course of the year. This is a great way to see yourself through your friends' eyes, and to remember and revive dreams that you had in mind.
Create a group journal
Journals are very personal, but our closest friendships often act as therapy sessions as well. If your bestie is across the country or across the world, it might feel super impersonal to tell her that deep, dark thing you've been struggling with. A group journal allows you to write it down, and also gives your friend time to process and think about how to respond. Don't worry, you can also journal happy things, too!
Send daily inspirational quotes in the group chat
This is great for a larger group of friends trying to keep in touch regularly. Assign each person a day, and on each one's assigned day, that person should post a quote of inspiration in the group chat. This keeps everyone's vibes positive and starts your day off with spunk!
Give each other mini surprise gifts
If you know your girl loves vintage books or bright colored nail polish or unique shot glasses, send one every now and then. This is a cool way to let your friend know that you're thinking about them, even though they're far away. You might not be able to call them up and say, "Hey, let me take you to brunch this weekend," but you can still show them it's all love.
Coordinate meditation times
This is a free way to vibe out together and keep it positive. It also keeps you both accountable if you've both promised yourselves you'll meditate more this year.
Snail mail polaroids of your favorite outings
Y'all might not be able to hit that summer festival together anymore, but you can still experience it through each other's eyes. Did you move to a new city? Take your friend on a tour with you through the polaroids you take. You can both create photo albums of each other's adventures and feel as though you were side by side. This can be sent via snail mail for a surprise.
Words With Friends
Mobile games that can be played with friends will be your new game night! You might not be able to get in that in-person game of Scrabble, but Words with Friends is here to make sure that you continue torturing your group with your extensive vocabulary.
Do your own throwback Thursdays
Have old photo albums stacked in your apartment in your new city of you and your friends from childhood? Snap a photo of a photo on your cell and send them to your friends for your own personal dose of the nostalgic Throwback Thursdays. And okay — if you really want to embarrass them, pick a separate one to do for the 'gram.
How do you keep the flames of friendship burning when you're far away? Let us know your tricks in the comments below.
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