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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We Ain’t Cool No More

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Dear Gas Prices,
I guess there is no easy way to say this.  Sigh.  Where do I start?  When I first met you, you were so cool and fine as hell.  I mean like super sexy.  Man, I remember the first time I had to pump gas for my own use, you were $0.92 per gallon.  Woooweee.  You and I together were unstoppable.  We would be all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  Whenever you got low, I eagerly went to find some more of you.  A measly $10 was not going to come between me and you.  I would volunteer to pick up my friends, take them wherever they needed to go, and wouldn’t dare ask for gas money because they too were worth a few dollars’ worth of gas.  Sometimes, friends would sneak and leave $5 in the console.  I would be elated because that meant 5 whole gallons worth of gas.  I thought it would be blissful forever.
Then you started thinking I was taking you for granted.  You said I only hit you up when I need you.  I guess I never said thank you.  I figured you knew I appreciated you staying in shape, keep them numbers down.  I wish I would have said something before now.  But now here we are, and I am no longer find you remotely attractive.  You’ve let yourself go.  I am actually disgusted whenever I see you; so much so I just turn away when I am using you that way I don’t have to face how much you jacked me for until the last possible second.  Then I stare at my receipt full of regret and remorse wondering how in the hell we got here.
I know I need you. But I wrote this letter so you know we’re not cool anymore. Also, please stop with the automated pleasantries, it only annoys me further. Thanks.

Welcome to Cuddle Season

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Well, the first snow of the season hit the DMV (D.C., Maryland & Virginia) today.  Accordingly, I have officially pronounced today the beginning of cuddle season.  *cheers* But if this winter is anything near the brutality of last winter, cuddle season can get boring real quick. The first 3 days are fun-filled.  After 6 weeks, it can be suicidal.
I don’t want any couples fun to run out being stuck in a winter slump and as such I came up with a list of must-haves to be prepared for this winter’s cuddle seasons.  You can only watch but so many movies.
1)        Games Galore: I am talking board games, cards, and most importantly a game system.  The staples include scrabble, a deck of cards, and monopoly.  The essentials are guitar hero and rock band and anything else that forces you get off that couch and move around.  What are we playing for???? Favors.  Massages, dinners, digging the car out of the snow…
2)        Have a Club. It is too cold for women to go out in high heels and short dresses just to dance and have a good time.  So create a club in your living room.  Dim the lights, turn up the music, pour the drinks and get the party going.  So what you have only one partner to dance with.  That is all you need.  At least he is not the ugly weirdo that sneaks up behind you in the club or the stalker that follows you around after paying for one drink or the perverted groper.
3)        Goodies. Besides candles and a battery operated light source, the most important thing you need is food. Lots of food.  But don’t just get the necessities; get some of your favorite things to snack on throughout the day.  While you are at the store you might as well get some chocolate syrup and some whip cream….for the hot cocoa, of course.

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National Heroines: The Golden Girls

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

I am not sure why I was allowed to watch The Golden Girls at such a young age.  Of course, most of the sexual innuendos flew right over my head, but still highly inappropriate.  As an adult, I can appreciate the show even more for its unprecedented humor from a woman’s point of view.  Aside from the sex, The Golden Girls managed to touch on just about every social issue of its time from racism, interracial dating, unwed pregnancies, homosexuality, Alzheimer’s and other social injustices.
What the Golden Girls did to was open the door for women to have open and candid conversations about a once taboo topic- women’s sexuality.  It is because of the candid dialogue by these old horny ladies that subsequent generations of women have been able to express their wants, desires, concerns, and fears without the stigma of being unfairly labeled or ostracized.  In essence, this show helped catapult an entire movement of woman being able to freely express themselves sexually in music, movies, and literature.  While the rippling effects can be argued to have either positive or negative effects, I believe overall the dialogue did more good as a means to empower women.  The awareness and confidence in one’s sexuality can transpire to academic, professional, personal aspects of a woman’s life.
In addition to all of this, these ladies had the nerve to be hilarious, charming, witty, and some of the best comedic actors ever.  The chemistry and timing between these ladies has yet to be matched.  It is for these reasons, I believe the show deserves a national holiday.

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Connect & Impact

I know it is Friday for most of you, so I am going to keep this real light.

We are created to connect and impact.  It is my prayer that all of you find someone to connect to and celebrate family, food, and fun.  The act of love is the greatest impact we can have on another person.  Love requires action.  So I encourage you all to give in some way to someone that needs it- you both will be blessed in the process.
Blessings,
Ms. Thankful~n~Grateful

Enjoy your holiday weekend! See ya’ll on Monday!


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Why Rappers Should Write Books… For Kids

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

With today’s youth sPelln eVERything liK DiSs, I am afraid of where our future is headed.  Once upon a time, it was embarrassing to not be able to properly spell words.  It was out this embarrassment, the need for spell check and autocorrect applications were developed to serve as a mechanism to avoid such shame.  But now, both youth and adults alike think this improper spelling and formatting are acceptable and preferred forms of communication.  I am afraid the Standard English language will be lost.
On top of that, we live in a digital society.  I’m not sure if my grandchildren will even have a physical library in 30 years because everything is in electronic form.  However, there is no substitute, not even the Kindle that gives the gratification of holding a book, turning its pages, even smelling the book, and then getting to the last page and completing the book.
All of this in mind, I thought it would be genius if rappers did in fact write books for children, our children.  But it would have to be some of the most influential artists of our time that could reach the younger generation.  There are several reasons rappers are the perfect candidates to getting black youth to read books:
Everybody Wants to Be a Rapper: I mean even Oprah wanted to learn how to rap. Rapping has been adopted as a universal form of expression regardless of age, background, education, or status for the span of four generations. It seems everybody, regardless of level of talent, wants to be a rapper which why it was genius that Def Jam released the interactive video game RapStar.  Now lets work on some interactive books for Leap Frog.
Metaphorically Speaking: What separates real emcees from gimmicks are their grasp of the English language.  Every thing from an extensive vocabulary, vivid imagery, transitions, and elaborate metaphors are prominent pieces of what make artists great.  A master and manipulator of language can show young people how important it is to be an avid reader and to how to use language to constructively express themselves.  Maybe then kids can use their words instead of violence as an outlet of their frustration with the social climate.
The ultimate goal is to get our youth excited about reading and writing well. Rappers can use their influence to generate positive results in both written and oral expression from our youth.  So I definitely tip my hat to Jay-Z with the release of Decoded early this week.  The book is selling out in some parts of the country, so hopefully a young black male that has never read for leisure is reading his first of many books.

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Why Athletes Should Open Schools

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Politics remove practicability from otherwise easy equations.  It is okay because I have practical, easy to implement, and most of all effective solutions floating around in my head all of the time.  I started this with a popular post of Why Rappers Should Open Grocery Stores in an effort to combat juvenile crime and lack of grocery stores in the black community.
After reading this article here on the dismal graduation rates of black men a couple months ago and becoming utterly disheartened and distraught by these numbers, I decided that another practical solution was needed.  It is out of that frustration, I present WHY ATHLETES SHOULD OPEN SCHOOLS:
 

 

If you can beat me one-on-one, then you can get a free homework pass.

 

1) Black Boys Loves Sports. I understand that most boys [and girls], regardless of race love sports.   However, the numbers for others races are NOT despairingly low.  Most young black boys all have dreams to be like Kobe, Michael Vick, or Lebron James.   These boys seem to spend more time after school playing sports or playing sports video games than studying and completing homework.  While most school systems have a No Pass, No Play policyin place, it is only for school sponsored athletics. However, if there was an opportunity to expand this to an all boys school in the hood, then maybe we will see more dedication to their education. For example, any kid that has a 3.0 or higher GPA gets to go to play with Kobe once a month.  That beats that useless certificate any day.  And it produces results.

2) Athletes Have Off-Season. Of course, training at the professional level is constant, however there are months when there is much more down time.  In those months, these athletes could hold camps at their schools and bring in other athletes to stress the importance of education.  It would be especially beneficial to have athletes that actually completed college and made it to the professional level to show that you can be both- an intellectual and an athlete.  Also retired athletes should be scheduled to visit weekly to talk to the young men to help inspire them on a regular basis.  I believe school attendance would go up drastically.
3) It is a Win-Win Situation. I believe if an athlete is willing to do this, then the least the government can do is provide a substantial tax break to provide both incentive and promote it to other athletes.  Opening a school also looks great to sponsors, so more income will be flowing in anyway.  Between sponsorships and grants, a credible and passionate administration and faculty, and an athlete as a figurehead, schools tailored for young black men should be both possible and plausible. Young black men would be excited about education and see it as a necessity instead of an option.

Well, that is just my solution.  The status quo is obviously not working.

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Still Clubbing????

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays


I have absolutely no desire to still be clubbing at 40 years old.  None. Whatsoever.  While I have never been a frequent clubber, I am not sure when I will be ready to call a complete quits on clubbing.  This week in trying to figure out what the move will be for Howard’s Homecoming, I asked some 20 people or so what their plans were for that weekend.  One lone person stated he is probably not hitting up the club scene but looking for something low key at someone’s house.  I called him an old man.  But truthfully, the thin line for when it is still acceptable to be seen at public party scene and when such sighting is absolutely ridiculous is indeed on the horizon.

It is tragic when you didn't realize you are too old to still be doing this! I don't want to my memo.

I can’t say for sure when my last hurrah at the club will be.  I love to dance.  While most of my dancing is often done in my living room, it is hard to duplicate the energy of a real DJ and other people to, you know, dance with me.  During homecoming that energy is multiplied several times over, and it is just so much fun to catch up with everyone.  Actually, I use catch up very loosely…maybe to see everyone is more appropriate.  The truth is with the music blaring and the alcohol consumption levels not much catching up is taking place at the club.  It is crazy fun nonetheless.
I know one day, I eventually will move to a point when I will host the homecoming party at my house.  All of our kids will get to know each other as they play in the game room.  The adults will be in the living room really catching up and reminiscing on how we lived it up back in the day.  But for right now, I will continue to make the memories now for later.

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Wanted: A Househusband

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays…

I have been fixated with the notion of a househusband for a while now. While I am not a fan of the Real Housewives series, it seemed to the revive the housewife movement making such lifestyle trendy and desired.  What took some thousands of years to accomplish in the feminist movement for social equality was all undone within a year or so. Contrarily, I am not opposed to the need and desire to be a housewife for its intended purposes of providing a supportive and stable home for your children and family rather than the to spend the day shopping and doing “lunch” with other “housewives.”
It is for the intended purposes of the original concept to provide a supportive home to our family that leads me to desire a househusband.  A househusband will cook, clean, pick up the kids, go over homework, and manage the household. What will I be doing?? Well, I will be working of course.  I also want to go to school.  And there is, of course, having the babies. I think that notion alone warrants a househusband, right?
I am open-minded, though, progressive even.  I don’t mind him having a home-based business or working from home as long as he can balance the needs of the family. I mean the common goal is to raise brilliant and productive children that will in turn lead their people and country to greatness.  Why can’t the man play a prominent role in that goal…at least until I get a Dr. in front of my name?

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Football Watch Parties: A Guide for Non-Fans

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays…

Most of you know last night marked the start of the NFL’s regular season.  It should be a national holiday.  What you probably didn’t know is that it also marked the start of when some females begin to use the sacred game of football to prey on men.  I’ve already explained my love for the game here, and actually it is a sentiment shared by most of my female friends.  However, when a woman shows up to a watch party in a tight mini dress and 5-inch stilettos, you can pretty much assume she is not there to watch the game.  And you know, I am not mad at her…not for the outfit at least.  What upsets me are the interruptions and distractions from the game in an effort to get smashed attention.  So in an effort for those women to be less obvious and less annoying, I am giving a guide to how to properly watch the game when among real football fans.
  • Google It. I know you would think while the game is going on would be a good time to learn more about the game, but it is not.  Commercials MAYBE a little bit better.  But asking what happened after every play is annoying.  Furthermore, playing dumb has never been cute.  Be resourceful and use that expensive phone.  To help, the basic rules can be found here.  However, all I think you really need to know is the difference between an extra point and field goal is and that a touchdown is only 6 points, not 7.  That should be enough to begin to impress him.
  • Fall Back. As women, we like to be the most important thing in a man’s life.  However, you don’t want to compete with a football game.  It is not even a fair debate.  Real love is understanding his love for his game and finding something to do for 3 hours.  Or just chill out, relax, and observe him and his friends watching the game.  You may actually pick up on a few things to add to your repertoire of football knowledge.
  • Pick a Team. It doesn’t matter what team you pick to cheer on for the day, just pick one.  The game is much more fun to watch when you are rooting for a team.  If they win, you are happy.  If they lose, well you won’t really care because you don’t like football.
  • Play Your Role. Actually, the best advice is to be yourself.  If you don’t like something don’t pretend to just to get someone.  The truth will come out.  It is fine to be sociable and attend events with no interest in the game.  If sports are not your forte, then maybe being an awesome host is the way to stand out.  Or find other people who are there more for the social scene versus the game as well and talk to them.  But do us a favor and keep it down!
Anyway, HAPPY WEEK ONE OF FOOTBALL to all of the fans! Let the games, fantasy leagues, and trash talking begin!!

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