A self-examination: how to check yourself

Well as October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, comes to an end, it is important to keep the message of self-examinations, regular check-ups, and the need for a cure at the forefront. And while preventative measures and early detection are critical to our physical health, it is equally vital to our mental and emotional health as well. With the heighten distrust of medical professionals as a result of the Tuskegee Experiment and the still very taboo subject of psychotherapy within the African-American community, it is even more imperative that African-Americans take the time out to self-examine their lives. [continue reading here]

The Fall Back.

Well summer is officially over, and autumn is settling in the air.  The smothering heat and humidity of D.C. has come to an end along with the fun of summer flings.  And the brisk mornings and cool nights is a reminder that fall is here, and it is time to fall back- from a person, from an unhealthy relationship.  There is always a pivotal moment when you are heading down the wrong path with the wrong person that forces you to realize that you need to fall back- stop communicating as much, stop seeing as much of each other, and ultimately redefining the nature of your interactions.  Falling back is simply the process of doing the absolute most for a person to doing the bare minimum.
Continue reading on Examiner.com The fall back – Washington DC African American Relationships | Examiner.com

The courage to be vulnerable

Somewhere along the way, while acquiring degrees and becoming world-traveled, young African-Americans in the DC area have forgotten how to communicate. Oh sure, networking, socializing, and brunching are all at an all-time high; however, honest, direct one-on-one communication is scarce in this city.  It is not intentional.  The gradual, yet swift shifts from long walks in the park to drunken sub-tweets (subliminal tweets) have made it much too easy to circumvent a real conversation. [Continue reading here]

Playing the part

Any given day in the nation’s capital, you will find couples enjoying the many sites this city has to offer.  As you stroll along the National Mall, you won’t get far before you see couples holding hands, enjoying a picnic, or a bike ride together. To the naked eye, one would assume these couples are in loving and committed relationships; however, most couples in D.C. lack commitment…and well, the love can be one-sided. Nevertheless, the perks that are typically only associated with committed relationships, oddly, still run rampant. [Continue reading here]

Enjoying where you are

Recently on an episode of the new and very popular TV show Happy Endings, Penny’s date discovered her notepad with her first name with his last name scribbled all over the page.  When her date asked what that was about, she had to explain that she was “trying out his last name.” The genius of it was his last name was Hitler… [Continue reading here]

What are you bringing to the table?

There was once a time, not too long ago, when women weren’t required or expected to have the same education credentials as their male counterparts. While this was true for both the professional and societal realms, education most certainly wasn’t a determining factor when it came to relationships and marriage. Everyone understood that even the women who were ambitious enough to venture off to college only did so to find a properly suited and educated man- rarely did she have the intention of actually having to ever use her degree. Times have indeed changed. [Continue reading here]

What I’ve Been Up To…

 

First of all, THANK YOU, yes YOU for the continued support over the last 2 years.

 

Secondly, many people that aren’t connected to me via facebook or twitter have asked what I’ve been up to and, more important, what’s up with the blog?  In short I have been doing everything in my power to get closer to my ever-evolving dreams.  And well, I still have a ways to go!

 

However I have been doing a little writing when I can fit it in with the Washington DC Examiner. And I’ve decided to share them on here as well, so you are able to connect and stay in touch as often as you would like. As always, I am open to feedback on here or anywhere I publish!!

 

Your continued support means the world!

 

*posts to follow*

Where is Clair Huxtable?

All of these years showing you how to be a classy lady and this is how we're going?

Black women have no role models on TV anymore.  It is pretty sad.  After decades of fighting and breaking down doors to go against racial archetypes portrayed in black media, it was finally during the 1980s that the representation of black women took a turn for the better.  Black women in media evolved from the mammies, maids, Blaxploitation sex symbols, or ghetto-stricken mothers, and now we were lawyers, doctors, teachers, businesswomen, and entrepreneurs.  These new powerful images were a much more accurate representation of what it meant to be black, educated, and a woman.  And if by chance this was not the environment in which you lived, at the very least it set a great example and a standard of what black womanhood should look like.

 

So this is what Black Television has came to...huh?

….And then VH1 came along.  And I am not sure if the turning point was the first season of the Real Housewives of Atlanta or the fact that Black America fell silent when shows like The Cosby Show, Living Single, A Different World, and New York Undercover were never replaced with new shows that were on that same continuum of portraying minorities in a positive light not only in our communities but in the world at large.
Successful shows like Soul Food and Girlfriends* that displayed black sisterhood have been replaced with Single Ladies, Real Housewives, and The Game.  Black family shows are in its entirety in the hands of Tyler Perry.  We have GOT to do better…especially the ones that know better.  We can’t continue to support trash just because a black face is on it.  At this point, I am not sure if we want better…or do even we remember what better looks like.

 

I understand that those great shows had their place and that time has passed but surely regression is not the only option.  We were supposed to go forward and progress from there.  If a comparable show can’t be created just show the reruns. I’m cool with that.  Why aren’t any of these shows in syndication on a major network like let’s say Friends or Seinfeld??  I mean I know the reason but it is not okay…at all.

What we really need. Straigten right on up!

Running After Dreams: An Interview with 330

photo credit: s. deneen photography

It was after the instrumentals faded out on 330’s Mic Check that it really began to sink in that 330 is a star in the making.  Her flow takes you back to a time before rap gimmicks, before the money, the cars, and the unnecessary stunting…when pictures were painted with words. Yet 330’s content is futuristic and guaranteed to take hip-hop to the next level.
As a native of the suburb Harrisburg, PA, a Howard University Alum, with a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University, 330 seems like the most unlikely candidate to enter the hip-hop game.  So when we caught up, I had to know what motivated her to move beyond being one of the few  ladies rapping on The Yard with the fellas to pursuing her dream to become the newest rising star in hip-hop.
We are going to skip the usual pleasantries and jump right in. With a J.D. degree, you may very well be the most educated artist in the game; do you feel you have to prove yourself more to be taken seriously?
Nope, I don’t feel like I have to prove myself  as an hip-hop artist any more than any other artist.
It seems that Hip-Hop as a whole is growing up and becoming more educated.  Do you feel that helps your acceptance within the hip-hop community or does it even matter?
I was just listening to Lil B… so I am not sure how educated it is becoming.  But hip-hop is so powerful because of its ability to touch so many people from all walks of life.  We all know where the origins of hip hop are, and we pay homage to it.  But if hip-hop is becoming more educated then I think it is good. The result of more educated artists is probably more a result of society.  Society as a whole is becoming more educated, and I think that is reflective in hip-hop as well.
Sorry I’m Late is the title of your mixtape- I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title. Where have you been? Do you feel that waiting until completing your formal education has helped you develop as an artist?
Sometimes I regret releasing a project so late in comparison to other artists; but more so than not, I am glad I released it when I did.  I am less of a target to be manipulated by a label executive because I am an [educated] adult.  Also, I’ve been through so many life experiences- in my art, in my relationships- that helps me bring more relevance to my music.
Rap videos have glorified girl-on-girl interactions for over a decade now, then that seemed to trickle into mainstream media.  Do you feel a cultural glorification of girls liking girls will help your acceptance in a mainstream music market?
That glorification is and will help, but that is not necessarily a good thing.  But is a sad reality, our culture has always been more accepting of women to engage in homosexuality over our male counterparts.  It is a disgusting double standard that exists.  This is even more so in this industry.  I definitely have it easier than my male gay counterparts in this industry.
It seems that rapper Eve is making a comeback. I only mention her because it seems it has been a minute since a female emcee hasn’t been oversexed to sell an album.  How do you respond to the pressure of selling sex as a female emcee?
Personally, I will prescribe by simply saying no. That is not the approach I want to take.  However, I don’t have an issue with artists selling that sexy image; the problem comes in when you neglect other aspects of the person.  The question should be, “Can we also market her as a great lyricist??”  I understand marketing but it is important not to get lost in it.
My favorite track is Running After Dreams.  Who was the hardest person you had to convince that this wasn’t a hobby for you but actually a real achievable dream?
I’d have to say probably my mom.  I have had incredible support but my mother, while she is always so supportive she was the most difficult to convince.  I’ve had so many interests over the years- to be an actor, go into the Peace Corp, so because she knows me so well it was hard to win her over.  So now with all of the success, she is taking it more seriously.  But I love her for that because it makes me work harder.
What has been the hardest lesson you had to learn about the music business? Do you regret not taking a typical career path?
I don’t know if I had much of a choice in career matter because I am looking for a job…  But the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is patience.  I am really impulsive, and I when I have an idea I want to impose it right then or the next day.  However, it takes time to build to a team, to push a project, and to build a fanbase.  The other lesson would have to be respect because there are some really arrogant people in this industry.  I had to learn to work with the most difficult personalities to achieve an objective.  It is very humbling.
 I said earlier that my favorite track is Running After Dreams, but I feel that Mic Check is the best display of your flow. What is your favorite track and why?
No One- the second verse because it is just like a stream of consciousness and the beat feels kind of ol’ school with no clear pattern.  It was very much reflective of me- kinda all over the place.  But I played with my words a lot on there.  Some of the stuff was serious and some was ignorant, so it was fun to combine that on one track.
And I love Lowkey because of the beat box. My dude Max is a genius. My homie Fred – we call him Cypha Chef because he is always cooking, is on the hook, so that was a fun one. My homie Strange Fruit was also there when we were recording that track.  I was in the booth rapping and they were dancing on the engineer side.  They were feeling it, so it was just a lot of fun to record that track. It brings back good memories.
What is something your fans may be surprised to find out about you?
They will be surprised to find out about the music I listen to. I listen to everything.  There are enough people in the world and enough consumers that every type of rapper has an audience.  Some people might not be into Nicki Minaj because they are not into being a Barbie, but a lot of people are.
I was listening to Lil B just a minute ago.  I was just listening to Mendelssohn, a classical composer, earlier today.  I actually listen to every artist who hands me a cd or email a song, I listen to everybody’s music. I am not perfect and may not get to it right away, but I will listen to it.
Ballet?
What about it? Yeah, I studied to classical ballet from the age of 3 to 18.  I stopped to go to Howard.  I felt I wanted to explore different arts at the time in the program didn’t really allow for that.  I wanted to incorporate all of this art and expression, and I couldn’t.
Do you feel like being exposed to the arts from such a young age has helped you with your performance?
Yes, it has definitely helped because I have a lot of areas to draw from.  My metaphors and ability to paint picture are more elaborate than a lot of people. As a rapper I am more rigid in my performance though. Now, my auntie who has been so supportive thinks I should incorporate both- ballet and rap.
Kanye did it.
Kanye is a genius. But I pretty sure my auntie meant she wants me to do ballet and then start rapping…
Hilarious! Well, let’s say it is a Monday night, 9 at night, where are you and what are you doing?
Monday night…well, right now I am sitting on my couch during a phone interview. Normally, I would be sitting on my couch writing music or staring at my computer… probably drinking.  I write a lot of music at night.  But I think I write better in the morning. I just feel this constant urge to get this shit done so the pressure is on to get a verse done now.  I can’t chill. I always feel like I need to be working on something.
330 is currently working on her second mixtape that is expected to drop in June.  Also be on the lookout for her new video, Money.  She will also be performing on June 9, 2011 for the ACLU’s Statehood Event on the West Lawn U.S. Capitol Grounds.
 
Find 330:
330-facebookpage
twitter: @330_music
website: www.330musiconline.com
mixtape: SorryI’mLate

Black Men and The Hustle

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

One of the things I love about Black men is their ability to hustle, well, just about anything.  There are good hustles.  These generally tend to be of the legal nature and require the completion of a W-4 form.  There are also good illegal hustles but that is a whole ‘nother story.  But the defining characteristics of a good hustle are based on its ability to generate the most money, in the quickest manner, using the least amount of effort, and posing the smallest risk.
Then there are bad hustles, sigh. For instance, let’s say, there is a man you work with that every 3 weeks or so he comes around the office, insisting you switch from a service provided by a reputable company to a company you have never ever, ever heard of ever that somehow he is now an investor in or something.  Let’s say for instance, it is something important like cell phone service or… ELECTRICITY.  Then he goes on to explain if you switch, and watch a 5 minute video you too can sell electricity.  Sigh.  Sir, your hustle is failing.
So real quick, here a 3 ways to know your hustle is failing and you need to go back to the drawing board and come again:
1) Turnover Rate:  If you have to come up with a new hustle, every 3 weeks whatever you are doing is not working.  And more than likely it is not the product itself, but your lack of skills to promote…well anything.  If you have a certain skill set, and you believe in the product, then you should be able to stick with it for longer than a few weeks and in turn actually turn a profit.  Otherwise, you are in the ranks of the lowly crackhead that will find anything to come up on $20.
2) Product Placement:  Product placement works hand-and-hand with knowing your customers.  This weekend in Black beauty salons all across America will be a man selling Mother’s Day baskets, purses, perfume, jewelry, flowers, and weaves.  Why?  Because he knows his customer!  So he will be where they are, saving them both time and gas money trying to find a last minute gift.  Similarly, his brother, cousin, homie will be posted outside of the barber shop selling bootleg dvds and cds because he too has mastered marketing 101.  Contrarily, trying to sell bootleg electricity to established professionals shows you don’t know your customer…at all.
3) The Come Up:  You may have missed it but the most important thing in a hustle is the ability to come up…on money…and/or time.   Now the men, that are always outside of the barbershop and grocery stores I am pretty sure they don’t have a 9-5.  But they get to set their own hours, make their own rules, set their own prices, etc and thus comes up time wise.  The man that comes in to the beauty shop on Saturdays usually works for  UPS or Wal-mart, you know, where supplies are plentiful… so this is just a quick come up financially.  If you have to work a full time job and hustle full-time, and only come up $25, you need to rethink everything you are doing because you are an embarrassment to the hustle.

By the way, Happy Mother’s Day!   

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