But don't let my glad expressionGive you the wrong impressionReally I'm sad, oh I'm sadder than sadYou're gone and I'm hurting so bad—Smokey RobinsonWithin my social circles, I personally know two other millennial women who have dealt with the loss of a romantic partner. I feel alienated because a large majority of my peers have no idea what I'm going through. Grief makes people so uncomfortable that sometimes I hide it to accommodate others. It's like living a double life. It's exhausting.The formal way to express sympathy is to say, "Please accept my condolences.” That statement gives a person the choice to accept or deny, but folks want to take it to the next level. I have come to realize that there is skill in speaking to those who grieve. Without empathetic skill, advice or suggestions that begin as well intentioned, become insensitive. If you don’t know what to say, simply say, "I don't know what to say." Not knowing what to say is better than telling me to be strong. Being strong isn’t the equivalent of feeling normal. What is normal anymore? Just because I have a decent day or post a nice photo doesn't mean that everything is alright. It’s not. Smiles do not equate to strength. Not knowing what to say is better than telling me how he wants me to feel. “He wants you happy.” “He wants you smiling.” “He wasn’t a sad guy.” To many, he was the vibrant life of the party; the human form of positive energy. And undeniably so. He was always dancing, singing and encouraging others to be great. His smile and laughter were contagious, but to me, he was even more. He represents a huge part of me that's now missing. He challenged me to think freely and he encouraged me to love myself. He also danced with me while making me laugh. He was my truest friend, greatest love and best critic all in one beautiful package. He is the only person who could successfully talk me through the journey of grief. I know because I've heard him speak to people in mourning with his gentle and reassuring disposition. He never rushed through a process. He was patient.How can I consistently remain strong or happy when a mere four months have gone by since I lost the love of my life? Four months.On more than one occasion, I've found myself perplexed or even hurt by words intended as comfort. The first came from a family member who said, "I don't know what you're going through, but you're young and you will get over it. Life has just begun for you." Get over it? Please do not diminish the severity of my pain based on my age. My life began almost 30 years ago, not last night. He is the love of my life. We met when I was 23. A deathless era. We had all the time in the world to have a family, a Christmas card and a picket fence. Time is now up. Building a foundation of that magnitude is not something that can be simply be recreated, especially when the person I planned to do it with is irreplaceable.In February, I bumped into an acquaintance who asked me how things were going. I told her things were going okay. She replied, "Just okay? I heard about your partner, but you will be fine. At least you didn't have kids that would have been REALLY sad." It's really sad now! With or without children, it's a tragic loss. She went on to make an obscure comparison. "I felt like I was mourning when I broke up with my boyfriend." Do not try to compare your situation to mine. I realize that breakups can be traumatizing depending on the circumstances, but trust me, it's nothing like burying the man you love. Your man might come back, mine isn't. We were in it for the long haul. If he returned to life tomorrow and said, "Girl, it's over," I would still exhale because he would be alive. He loved life.Another popular suggestion from the masses is that I uproot my life to go somewhere else. I am not referring to travel. Travel is therapeutic. They mean leaving my home and starting fresh in a brand new place. Where's the new gig? What’s the plan? Are you sponsoring me? Stop suggesting that I do something drastic when my life is already turned upside down. Familiarity is one of the most surefire treatments for grief. I am not ready to start anew. As I said earlier, it’s only been four months.Out of all the exchanges, perhaps the most tormenting are those that are self-serving. Individuals who haven’t been around for years going on and on about how sad they feel. Did you sleep last night? Did you eat today? More often than not, the answer for me is no. I will not discount others' grief because I have respect, but try thinking outside of yourself. It's kind of like sharing a friend's newborn photos before they get a chance to share them first. There is no way you are more excited than the new parents. Similarly, when it comes to this loss, there is no way you are sadder than me. I was the constant companion of the departed, day in and day out. There is no way you are sadder than our family and close friends. My grief is especially poignant. And if one more person says I will find love again... What if I don’t?"Find love" insinuates that I have to look for it. I don't have time for that. The first time around, I didn't go searching for love, love found us. Perhaps God gave me my one true love? If that’s the case, I can die happy knowing I am adored by someone with a tender spirit. Plus, "you will find love again," reminds me of the slogan, "Make America Great Again," and that's annoying. At this point, I am only interested in finding my(new)self. I have the love I had. Stop rushing me! Grief is like a virus. Once you get it, it never leaves. Allegedly it gets better, but honestly, I cannot imagine the day when I won’t feel hollow. Without him, I won't get out of the sunken place. Where is Rod when I need him?Think before you speak to those who grieve. Think about what you are suggesting. Think about your position. Consider your words. Take the time to imagine the pain, even if it is something you have never experienced. It’s easy to be a well-wisher or to offer condolences sprinkled with a tone of pity. "I can't imagine." If you wish to comfort someone in grief, it is essential to use your imagination, otherwise you can't practice empathy. Empathy is a...
Remember the Halloween episode of black-ish when Dre's (Anthony Anderson) unrefined cousin June Bug (Michael Strahan) came to visit? His stay was met with a mixed bag of emotions for Dre as he recalled their tumultuous past and the completely different paths the two had taken into adulthood.
Like with most cousins, the relationship is either extremely strong or rather complicated. Your family ties become most apparent during the holidays and family reunions.
When you see your cousins, you both greet each other as so.
Because ya'll love cutting up together at family gatherings.
But any other time of the year..
While you're excited to see your cousins, who are like your extended brothers and sisters, you know they come with a whole heap of mess and remember why you keep your interactions at a minimum. Below is a list of definitive characteristics for every cousin that can be found in any family.
1. The cousin who used to slang (probably still does), but has a good heart and always gives you great life advice.
2. The cousin who you can't leave your purse around.
3. The cousin fresh off line who just crossed and came decked out in their letters.
4. The cousin who is always opening up a business or planning to start a new venture.
5. The cousin who brings a new significant other to the table every year so you gotta be careful you don't call this year's flame, last year's name.
6. The cousin who thinks they’re the next patriarch/matriarch of the family so they always try to do jobs that are reserved for elders. (Say grace, carve the turkey, etc.)
7. The cousin that always makes the best church punch so you rejoice when she pulls ginger ale and Kool-Aid packets out her purse.
8. The cousin always making a million to-go plates and didn't chip in one cent on the meal.
9. The little one that stays in grown folk business.
10. The cousin who is a professional student and is always acting brand new.
11. The cousin whose ball dreams were deflated so he talks over the game the entire time providing unnecessary commentary.
12. The cousin who thinks they're too good to learn how to play spades (half-sister to cousin #8).
13. The cousin whose kids run all over the house spilling stuff so you understand why your grandma had plastic on her couch back in the day.
14. The cousin always begging for vegan options and counting calories the entire meal (doesn't get along with cousin #13).
15. The cousin who normally doesn't mess with this side of the family during the year but only came over because ya'll have cable and he needs to catch the Bayou Classic.
16. The cousin you can't trust to not burn the rolls so y'all put her on "watch duty" to make sure she keeps an eye on the kids so they don't come in the kitchen.
17. The Hotep cousin who tells you you're glorifying "the white man's holiday."
18. The cousin who erased everybody off Facebook and is trying their best to deflect attention from questions about what they're trying to hide online.
19. The cousin who made your grandma's cake fall in '92 and is still the black sheep of the family because of it.
20. The cousin who never had kids but is always telling everyone else how to raise theirs.
How your aunt lurks in the corner every year trying to keep busy and stay way from the sharp objects.
You watching all of the mess unfold, waiting on someone to tell you that you're adopted.
Sike! It doesn't matter. You love them and wouldn't trade your family for the world.
Be ye not deceived. You are one of these folks to somebody. Cousining is an equal opportunity relationship for dysfunction.
How your cousins probably look at you every year.
Which cousin(s) on this list belong on your family tree? Tell us in the comments!
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Ah, Thanksgiving ...
It's the one day of the year where we proudly push those detox teas to the back of the pantry and slide into the comfiest (and simultaneously fire) 'fits to celebrate family with gratitude. It's also a coveted time when we go crazy with all the sights, smells, and tastes that Thanksgiving offers. We anxiously wait for prayer to come to a close so we can pack our plates with traditional faves, welcoming the itis with every decadent forkful.
This is truly what Andy Williams meant when he said, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."
In anticipation of Thursday, we compiled a list of the quintessential menu options at the family table, ranking them according to flavor, cook time, and overall likability amongst your kinfolk. Scroll down to take a gander!
Warning: drooling may ensue.
Why we love it: Casserole a hodge-podge of flavor, unconventionally dripping with character and super clutch in the 11th hour.
Who's bringing it: Your uncle's new girlfriend who's aiming to impress the fam.
Recipe: Click here
Why we love it: Rich Creole goodness in every bite, straight from the Gulf. A fresh take on the traditional Southern Thanksgiving experience and a pescatarian's dream.
Who's bringing it: Your fave cousins from the bayou, baby.
Recipe: Click here
13. Red Velvet Cake
Why we love it: Excellence, opulence, decadence — deliciously layered for your liking. Easy to make, easy to consume.
Who's bringing it: Your fly auntie, dipped in her finest Michael Kors pieces and asymmetrical haircut.
Recipe: Click here
12. Pecan Pie
This salted caramel pecan tart recipe is in my cookbook. Use "HappyHolidays" at checkout for 40% Off. Link is DariusCooks.MyShopify.com! A photo posted by Darius Williams (@dariuscooks) on Nov 9, 2016 at 1:29pm PST
Why we love it: One of the most underrated desserts. Creamy and crunchy at the same damn time.
Who's bringing it: Your quizzical godparents who ask you about your academic and romantic life every year without hesitation.
Recipe: Click here
Why we love it: Crockpot-friendly game-day essential; an effortless side that still goes over well with the folks due to its fail-safe popularity.
Who's bringing it: Your brother-in-law who would much rather watch the Dallas game than to spend time in the kitchen "catching up".
Recipe: Click here
10. Candied Yams
Why we love it: The right amount of sweet and savory. Major key alert with the toasted marshmallows, crunchy pecans, and buttery brown sugar.
Who's bringing it: The matriarch of the family, in her best Sunday wig and her subtle shade levels on 10,000.
Recipe: Click here
9. Mashed Potatoes
Why we love it: Starch sapidity in every fluffy forkful; might look light but is heavy, though.
Who's Bringing It: You. Mashed potatoes are the only task the elders trust you with in the kitchen. You're banned from the family if you bring the instant kind.
Recipe: Click here
8. Honey-Glazed Ham
Why we love it: Sugary swine crafted to perfection.
Who's bringing it: Your significant other. Showing up empty-handed and empty/bellied will result in nothing but side-eye.
Recipe: Click here
7. Sock-It-To-Me Cake
Why we love it: Where a sweet tooth and the turn up combine. Essential after-dinner nibble. The name says it all.
Who's bringing it: Your auntie who isn't really your aunt but she's your mother's soror so blood couldn't make you any closer.
Recipe: Click here
6. Biscuits, Rolls and Cornbread
Why we love it: The holy trinity of yeast for your Turkey Day feast.
Who's bringing it: C'mon now ... we all know Grandma's biscuits are the GOAT.
Recipe: Click here
Why we love it: Poultry that brings new meaning to "get you somebody that can do both". Traditional, jerk, fried ... the possibilities are endless.
Who's bringing it: Your cool ass granddaddy who swears up and down he was the sixth member of the original Temptations.
Recipe: Click here
4. Cornbread Stuffing with Italian Sausage
Why we love it: Not your yogi's "dressing". Packed with just the right amount of mouthwatering flavors, this dish brings home the gold every year in the "Itis Olympics".
Who's bringing it: The in-laws and we thank the high heavens for it
Recipe: Click here
3. Collard Greens
Why we love it: Going green never smelled or tasted so good with just the right amount of health appeal to even out your gorging. If it's not on your plate directly, it should be in a bowl on the side — no exceptions.
Who's bringing it?: Your older cousin who moved to the "Big City" but is still countrified.
Recipe: Click here
2. Sweet Potato Pie
Why we love it: Generations upon generations of good eating; the reigning champion of holding the desert table down
Who's bringing it: That aunt that left your uncle but is still considered family.
Recipe: Click here
1. Macaroni and Cheese
Why we love it: Baked for the gods (and it HAS to be baked); various cheese types melding together for a luscious love session in your mouth; an amalgamation of flavor and aromas unmatched
Who's bringing it: Grandma should chef up the Mac and Cheese. Don't argue with me. We love it so much, we've damn near built a religion around it.
Recipe: Click here
What dishes are a mainstay on your table every Thanksgiving? Share with us below!
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Last week marks a little over two months since my sister died. Most people in my life will be shocked reading this, because outside of a vague Instagram post, I haven't spoken about it. I've been able to hide this from the world, but everything that is a part of me has seen the remnants of it.
The day after I found out the news, I went to work and continued to put in time. I sent my boss an email a few days after, assuring her that I would still be in the office despite the tragedy. I paused for a moment to remember our last conversation; an argument that happened when we were 15. It had been seven years since we last spoke, Who was I to mourn her? I asked myself. Our relationship was years in the past, so I kept going.
I kept going to happy hours, kept working, kept hanging out with friends; I stopped in her hometown for her wake and kept going. I kept going until the damage that was happening inside of me forced me to stop. But, I was restless. I couldn’t sleep at night. I had vivid nightmares. I traveled, thinking my wanderlust would solve my problems. But I felt paralyzed. I became sporadic, careless, to be more precise, and it continued to get worse.
I began to live every day like it was my last, scared that it would be my last, literally. Because when your first best friend dies doing something seemingly normal, how else would you react? But, as it always happens, my mother caught me right where I was. She looked at me one day and said: You’re not dying.
I can look back and laugh at that moment, though it was only a few weeks ago. However, in the midst of this, I’ve learned that we need to pause in tragedy, as well as a few other things:
Death is no joke.
This sounds crazy, but it's not. In a world where death happens so often, especially at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us, I believe that tragic death has become normalized. My Facebook timeline is always filled with posts hoping that someone rests in peace. When it happened to me, to someone close to me, it seemed normal, but it wasn't.
Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself.
A former boss of mine once stopped me mid-conversation and asked me in plain words: "Why are you here?" At first it sounded aggressive, but she was right. I was sick. I could hear it and everyone could hear it (and see it). My response to her was: "Well, I have work to do." This was the same logic that stopped me from taking time off of work after my sister's death. I even worked overtime on the day after her funeral. Nobody stopped me, but they should've.
Family is paramount in tragedy.
When I said I kept going, I really kept going. The day after my sister's funeral I boarded a flight to Europe. I didn't really begin to feel better until I got to spend some needed time with family. That was 5 weeks after everything happened. I've learned that healing doesn’t have to have a time stamp, but pausing to be with your family and loved ones will accelerate that process.
Love yourself by forgiving yourself.
I feel an overwhelming amount of guilt for not having communicated with my sister in the past seven years. She sent me a Facebook message a few years back, but I blew it off. My feelings then were valid. How could I have possibly foreseen her sudden death? I couldn't.
Not all relationships are meant to be held on to.
I loved my sister dearly, but we grew apart. Earlier this year, I wrote about how death changed my perspective on relationships. Now I’ve realized that there are certain cases where this isn't always true.
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The other day I was sitting at Farley’s in Oakland and I thought (or said aloud) to myself, “Yo, people keep dying.”
It was a stupid thought. Of course, everyone is dying. At any given millisecond, someone somewhere is exhaling for the last time. People are dying everywhere. And some of them are dying for no reason (it seems). No ailment, no illness, no fathomable cause. These deaths approach as unannounced as car accidents, scattering shards of guilt, resignation and despondent awe at the fleeting mercilessness of mortality.
There are a few things that happen when someone dies unexpectedly. You begin to reconsider what matters and who doesn’t. You negotiate the must-haves with God, of whose plans you have begun to respectfully scrutinize with increased trepidation. You look at your own life a little differently, weighing the pros and cons of the pros and cons. You decide that the extension on the life you’ve been given is worth more than the things you complain about not having. You desperately attempt to drown out the vivid realism of your own imagined death with positivity, intent on appreciating the things and people you’d previously disregarded. You’re going to live life to the fullest! You’re going to seize the day! And then the platitudes die too, and you’re left with more open-ended questions than unbridled enthusiasm.
There are deaths that hit hard with a piercing and direct pain. The family members, best friends, neighbors, co-workers. The inability to hear their voices on the other end of a call you should have made more frequently when they were alive suffocates us. We try and fail to accept their departures in an infinite loop of desperate resistance. Then there are those that hit tangentially, never really reaching your emotional core, but occurring close enough to feel something, like a seismic wave.
When I was 23 years old, Courtney died. We were close friends in middle school, but went our separate ways after I joined the cheerleading squad in high school. I still don’t know why we became distant, but I’ll be mad at myself forever because it was probably my fault. I hadn’t spoken to Courtney in years when she sent me a message on Facebook asking about my grad school program. I was living in D.C. and working at a consulting firm. Courtney was living in California and working as a social justice fellow. We went back and forth via Facebook messages, reconnecting and making plans to catch up over the phone to talk about public policy. She sent me her number, and I was supposed to call her.
Months later I logged onto Facebook to store her number in my phone, and my timeline was filled with tributes to Courtney. Even with all of the statuses, the pictures and the posts on her profile, her death didn’t register. I didn’t understand. I was sitting alone in my studio apartment eating a plate of spaghetti, and I remember holding the plate with one hand while I googled her name to figure out what everyone was talking about. An article about a traffic accident showed up in my search. She had been walking along the highway to get help for her car, and was struck by six separate vehicles. My plate went against the wall. I never got the sauce stains out. I remember calling my mom, and then my sister, and both conversations were pointless because I couldn’t get anything else out over my hysteria other than, “Courtney died! She was so nice! She was so nice!” I repeated it over and over. “She was the best person. She was the nicest person.”
Courtney dying made no sense to me then and it makes no sense to me now. She was literally, in the entirety of my lifespan, however long it ends up being, the best person I’ll have ever known. She was the calmest, most sincere, caring, intelligent advocate for more causes than I can remember. She was a woman of faith, and an equal rights activist with a history of just being consistently good. When Courtney died, I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I buried my guilt and confusion beneath brunches and happy hours and vowed to honor her for the rest of my life by writing about her every day. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know that she would be one of a handful of deaths that would happen out of nowhere. My friend Jeremiah. My uncle. My neighbor’s dad.
So what do you do when people keep dying out of nowhere? You could cry about it. You should cry about it. You could write or travel or exercise, melting the heavy, coagulated empathy that has formed and settled somewhere inside of you. You could mourn privately in the bathroom stalls at work or grieve publicly on the subway.
You can’t ignore it. You can’t pretend it isn’t happening. It’s already happened. And it’s happening to you. Your body is aging and time is passing and your days and hours are dwindling down to the second. One day, your time will be up, too. This is an important reality to acknowledge. There are consequences to living a life that does not take the inevitability of death into account. How you live your life is a reflection of this acknowledgment.
How you waste your time, how you exhaust ambition is an investment in the strength of your obituary. What do you want it to say? She enjoyed sleeping in every Saturday and Sunday Fundays with fake friends.
There are things I don’t want to understand. Things I’m not ready to accept about adulthood. Things I can’t explain to myself. These things worry me and make me simultaneously afraid to both care too deeply and not enough. I’m not ready to accept the fact that so many critical things are out of my control.
I look at people that go through these things, and I wonder how they’re ever going to be able to live their lives the way they used to. How are they going to smile? How are they going to laugh? How are they going to be able to hold conversations with strangers without bursting into tears at the mention of things that remind them of the deceased? How are they going to go to work and sit in meetings with the weight of this grief lodged permanently inside of them? How do you hold onto something like losing a parent, a spouse or a sibling and go on about your everyday life? I look at the people around me who have endured such tremendous loss, and I wonder if they’ve always been that strong. Were they born with the ability to carry the heaviness of fresh grief without crumbling underneath its pressure? Was I born with this ability, too?
I’ve been to funerals that I know would take me out. I’ve seen people in caskets that I never expected to see in caskets. I don’t know how strong I am, but when the time comes, I hope I’m strong enough.
Shay Ball is a writer and finance manager at a startup in San Francisco. She was born, raised, and lives in Vallejo, California. You can find her online at shayarea.com.
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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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