Dear Tiny,

Welcome to Another Edition of Light Fridays.

Dear Tiny,
Let’s be clear, I blame this entire fiasco on you.  I don’t know who is worse at holding your man down between  you or Whitney.  I believe there is a general misconception in what it means to hold you man down when dealing with hood mentalities and/or illegal recreational activities.  It does not mean go down with him, it means keeping him out of trouble for as long as possible.  And well, it has been less than 6 months since he was released from a halfway house, (why is it called that anyway? Half in prison, half free??) and less than a year since his prison release.  In short, you failed.  Do you see Jay-Z in and out of jail? No.   Here are a few suggestions of how you could have better held down your man,  yourself…and your children.

The owner of a Pruis doesn't get pulled over for random traffic stops.

1)      Smoke inside. And by inside I mean a house.  Anybody’s house.  A private estate.  I’m positive you could have found somewhere other than the streets of L. A. to get lifted.

2)      Rent a Toyota Pruis. A Maybach??? Really?  You both thought you were just going to blend in and go unnoticed as two black people in a Maybach?  Ok.

3)      Provide legal alternatives. I don’t smoke nor participate in illegal recreational activities, but I am sure there is something else more legal ya’ll could be doing on a Wednesday night.  What grown person completely wilds out on a Wednesday anyway?  Moreover, the fact that you have umpteen kids between the both of you should have been motivation enough.
Sincerely,
Ms. What I Need From You is Understanding


Happy Labor Day Weekend! See ya Tuesday!

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Forever Young: 10 Years Removed

Welcome to another edition of light Fridays

Well, today marks the beginning of the festivities for my 10 year high school reunion.  (*shout out to the class of 2000*) Though I am sure it will be a great time full of laughs and reflecting, I can’t shake one feeling: DENIAL.  I am in complete and total denial that 10 years have passed and so quickly.  I am no longer in my hometown and consciously made no plans to be there because it is hard to stay in the comfort of my denial if I actually attend.  Well, that and I don’t think much has changed since last I saw everybody.  As matter of fact, Facebook has basically dissolved the “I wonder how such & such is doing?”
When I was 18, I was full of potential, strong-willed, and goofy.  At 28, I am still the same person.  Or maybe I am not.  Maybe I am completely different- more sure, more determined, and more self-aware.  After reflecting, I realize I have no reason to be in denial.  I am in a beautiful point in my life and it needs to be embraced.  Actually I am glad that my high school years are long over because  I thoroughly enjoy the autonomy I have in my life.
Right now are times that I really want to cherish.  The times where we have access to the world we want.  Stupidity has fled and responsibility is welcomed.  Moves are being made and our mark is finally being made on the world.  And 28 is still young, right??

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Talking to Your Man: Achieving the Desired Results

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Overnight, the news footage of Antoine “Hide Yo Wife, Hide Yo Kids” Dodson went viral.  Everyone’s timeline was full of quotes and links to the video.  One husband went as far to make a picture of Antoine Dodson his profile picture.  I actually laughed when I saw it, but his wife didn’t think it was the most appropriate picture to represent him and in essence represent her and their family, which is completely understandable.  Her public approach to the situation was unlike anything I have ever seen a black woman ever do.
She simply said, “When people check my profile and it’s says married to “Mr. such & such”, your new profile pic is displayed.  Something to think about…”
Her approach was much different than my lifelong approach of “I’ma need for you do x, y, and z.”  I have seen many other women do it before me and it seemed effective enough.  Well, until resentment of being spoken to like a child set in and right before he left… That in mind, I felt it was necessary to create a quick guide for women to translate what they want to how they should say it to achieve the desired results with his manhood in tack.

What You Want to Say

What You Should Say

If you go out one more night to kick it with your boys while I sit home with the kids, it will be a problem
“Oh you are going out with your friends again tonight? No problem, “Kids, your daddy wants to take you out tonight with his friends.’  Babe, I will have the kids stuff together so they will be ready to go with you.”
Damn, I know I asked you take out the trash yesterday
He says,” Hey babe, you seen my keys.” You reply,” Um yeah I did.  I think your house key is at the bottom of the trash can and your car key is in the outside trash bin. I think.”
Stop leaving your dirty dishes all over the place.
“Hey dear, I’ve noticed you are always too tired to take your dishes to the kitchen after you eat, so I looked into hiring a (male) housekeeper and he will be approximately $350 per week. I figured that would be more important than your golf membership.”
If you play one more video game I am throwing that system out of the window.
“I know you really like that game, but I really wanted to spend some times with you this evening.  And afterward we can stop by game store to see if they have anything new you many want.“
Get off that couch and come help me with these groceries.  You wanna eat right?
“Hey hun, I am leaving the grocery store and headed home.  I stocked up and got your favorites.  You mind meeting me outside in a few minutes to bring everything inside the house?

Hey, I am still a novice at this new form of communication.

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Professions That Get an Automatic No

Welcome to Another Edition of Light Fridays

I am not the type of girl that asks, “So what do you do?” upon meeting a man for the first time.  To me, it is a tacky, pretentious, and superficial conversation regardless of gender.  Nonetheless, at some point it is bound to creep into conversation.  Generally, I believe people are more than what they do.  Very few people are fulfilled in their day-to-day jobs, so potential to be more is still abundant.  Contrarily, there are a few occupations that when a man tells me he does, I am automatically turned off and have to restrain from making an outward grimace.
1) Police Officer: There are good cops and there are bad cops. While I enjoy the benefits of good cops doing their job, I would never be compatible with the type of man that wants to be a police officer.  Even if I can past the power trips and ego complexes, I can NOT get past the way they walk.  It is usually stiff and awkward, and it just screams I’m corny.
2) Code/Parking Enforcement: I live in D.C. with out-of-state tags on my car.  Enough said.  Seriously, if you have ever tried to park in D.C or NYC, I know you and your wallets have felt my pain.  That said, I have a moral obligation not only to myself, but to everyone that has justly or unjustly received a parking ticket to never give you any play. Ever.
3) Preacher: I LOVE Jesus, make no mistake about it.  I was raised southern Baptist, so the church is another member of our family.  But I could never date a preacher because I don’t want to be preached to every day.
Him: How was your day?
Me: It was okay.
Him: Just okay? You pray about it? You know are too blessed to be stressed!
Me: *side-eye*
Additionally, in my experience, it is really, really, really hard to fully process someone’s preaching that you know personally and intimately. All you can think about it the inconsistencies between what is being preached and what is being done.  And well, I rather not complicate my church experiences.
4) Politician: I have a personal twitter account were ignorance ensues on a regular basis.  This is only a small portion of the recklessness that ensues in real life.  So in essence, I would be the “Jeremiah Wright” of any campaign. It would only be a matter of time before you got tired of trying to defend me and will have to totally sever any ties.  So in the interest of your political career, I will just save you the trouble from jump.

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Remnants of Familiarity

Welcome to another edition of not-so- Light Fridays.  The words took a different direction, what can you do?

For over almost 10 years, I had a best friend in Dallas.  Whenever we were in the same city, we were inseparable.  We would run errands together, eat out, hang out at each other’s homes.  He was the type of friend that could just pop up unannounced at 8:00 in the morning to see if you wanted to go get breakfast.  Depending on budget, time, and gas, we would go to one of three places- The Waffle House, I-Hop, or the Pancake House.  All of each visited, where at a very specific location in the Dallas area.  We eventually dated one summer.  It was perfect.  It should have been perfect enough for me to move back home to Dallas after my studies in D.C., but it wasn’t.  So I stayed in D.C, and we both fell in love with other people.  And such are the rules of engagement with new girlfriends and old too-close-for-comfort friends, we eventually lost touch.  He got married…one week after I moved back (which I thought was permanently) to Dallas.  It was a tough blow.
Initially upon my move back to Dallas, I thought I would run into him sooner than later.  I still shopped at the same places.  I still dined at the same places we frequented.  I still took all the same routes we used to take.  So I was puzzled when months went by and I never saw him.  Eventually, I forgot about him.  I stopped worrying if our paths would ever cross again.  And after a year of being back in Dallas, I decided it was time to move back to D.C.  I began saving, planning, and praying . I felt there was nothing left in Dallas for me and I was stuck in an unproductive routine.  Work, run, and then home.  Until one day, after work, and after my run I decided to head to Wal-Mart to pick up a few items.  As I begin to turn the corner, I felt his presence close, I look to my right and there he was turned away from me.  All I could get out was “Hey.”  He turned around.  We exchanged the usual pleasantries.  And just like that, I realized that he had long been out of my system.  I felt nothing.  I felt no connection that was there before.  All that was left were the remnants of familiarity.

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Why Rappers Should Open Grocery Stores

Welcome to Another Edition of Light Fridays

I’m so serious that this probably shouldn’t be on Light Fridays… Everyday another rapper/black celeb starts a new clothing line, has a new fragrance, or opens a new restaurant.  All of these products use their fame to sell a mediocre product at exorbitant prices.  This never benefits the consumer, which are usually black people, because it is not a fair exchange of need and value.  To me it is like robbing your own people and is a tragedy.  The problem is further compounded when the poor have to go through illegal means just to acquire a product pushed by a celebrity.
Now, a grocery store in the hood is a novel idea!  There is usually only one grocery store in the hood…maybe.  It usually priced higher than other stores.  It is usually not well-kept.  And most important, it typically is void of fresh produce.  So a grocery store in the hood owned by a rapper would be a win-win! Here’s why:
1) A Grocery Store is Recession Proof. With cd sales down and retail sales down, a grocery store guarantees steady and reliable income. And every other culture and ethnicity has their own stores to get products for their cuisine for cheap. Black people need a place to shop for cheap soul food as well.

This could be your grocery bagger's uniform.

2) Saves the Youth. Most teenagers would rather not work at a grocery store. It is just not the coolest thing to do. But if the uniforms were, let’s say, SEAN JOHN aprons it would be kinda hot.  So instead of selling drugs and gang banging they get the gear for the Free when they work for you. Also, I think it would be hot, if they had to like spit some verses in the interview to get hired.

3) Hip Hop While Shopping. Whenever you go to the grocery store, all you hear is elevator jazz music with no words and no beat.  But the grocery store is the PERFECT place to play your music to promote your own music and music from lesser known artists. I personally would love to hear Jay-Z pumping out of the speakers while I am grocery shopping.
4) Celebrities to Promote Health. Kids normally buy candy and junk food. But if rappers had their celebrity friends take pictures of them eating fruits and vegetables then it would be cool and kids would follow thus promoting healthy eating habits of black youth.

Just my thoughts….

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Cougaring

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Don't let Chilli get a pass because she LOOKS younger than him.

After watching Usher’s Behind the Music this week, I can’t help but think that a) Usher and Chilli are obviously still in love with each other and b) Chilli is a cougar.  In the show, Chilli mentions that at the age of 22, she was fascinated about how cute Usher was at the tender age of 14.  Of course, when he was of age they begin to date. But at what age does cougaring begin?

Most people associate cougars with being significantly older women that have loved, married, divorced and now preying on her son’s barely legal friends.  But I think a cougar can be born at any age and way before a messy divorce.  Some women just have a thing for younger men.  The ability to mold a man and to be in control is intriguing and a lot more feasible at a young age.  So my theory is that cougars are the women that have left a relationship they couldn’t control and seek to be in one that they set the rules.  Or he could just be that fine.  I don’t know.
But I do know when a reader, formspringed me inquiring if I would date anyone more than 5 years younger than me, my answer, in short, was no.  For one, I am not usually in environments with people 5 years younger than me so the odds of me falling for a younger man are slim.  Secondly, I encourage people to enjoy where they are in life.  I don’t want to put pressure on him to rush this life process in an effort to appear mature or to be what I desire him to be.  Life experiences are an important part of what we bring to relationships, and if you only have a few then we really don’t have much to talk about.  Lastly, I know plenty of great men my own age that I see no need to go cruising The Yard to pick up babes.  I’m good.

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Teach Me How to Doug E…

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

Hip Hop elitists are constantly complaining about the steep decline of hip hop as artists like Soulja Boy are on the rise.  The dissonance grows louder now that there is a constant stream of dance music emerging out of the South.  To them I say, get over yourself.  While it is perfectly understandable if one style of music is not your personal preference, but to blame as the pitfall of hip-hop or dismiss it as it has no place in hip hop is both erroneous and unfounded.
The history of hip-hop has always been an outlet for both social commentary and a reflection of the fun mirrored in black community.   Anyone who says hip-hop has no origin and dance, call-and-response, and catchy music doesn’t know what they are talking about.  There was once a time when no one was murdered in hip-hop.  There were no how-to guides of how to manufacture, distribute and profit off the drugs.  It was just story telling and music made for the basement parties.  The good ol days… So as I listen to current music, I can’t but think of the pioneers of the like Run DMC or Doug E. Fresh that are notorious for getting their crowd hyped and involved.
However, I am not delusional.  I am fully aware that a lot of the new age performers lack the genius of many that came before like Slick Rick that painted a perfect picture in rhyme.  My point is that not everything in hip-hop is heavy or profound.  And as much as I love Jay-Z,  Nas, Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, I don’t want to hear it at the club.   No one goes out to just bob their head and contemplate life and social ills.  They go to party.  The basement parties have just moved to bigger venues.
So come on people, open up your hip-hop umbrellas.  There is enough room for everybody.
Exhibit A
Seriously what is a La Di or Da Di? Go Head. I’ll Wait.
Really what is the difference??Not much!

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Who I Am In Art: Movies, Music & Books

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays.

Recently a friend asked her friends for their top 15 movies.  Seems simple enough, right?  What we discovered was although the friends had similar interests and personalities, everybody’s list was extremely different and very few movies intersected the lists.  Also, this list began to give a deeper insight to the person’s childhood memories and overall make-up.   So I have decided to expound on that idea today and do my top 5 in no particular order- movies, books, and albums and tell why I love each.
Movies
Why I love them
A Chorus Line
Dance, Dance, and More Dance.  The movie follows an audition as some dancers try to follow their dreams but end up finding themselves.  It is an awesome movie…and Broadway play!
The Color Purple
Pretty much a staple on most black women’s list.   But the story is timeless -one of victimization, struggle, identity, and eventually triumph defined on a woman’s own terms.
Finding Nemo
First of all, I love all things Pixar.  Those geniuses over there always get me going to the movies.  But this little fish, Nemo, stole my heart as he deals with loss and physical handicap yet keeps it moving.  Not to mention, it is also a beautiful portrait of a devout father.  And DORY need I say more.  …Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…
Legends of the Fall
I didn’t watch this movie until late in my collegiate tenure and I am glad because I don’t think I would have understood all of the complexities and undertones of this movie at a younger age.  But it is a true and at times tragic love story that had me evaluating if I have ever or will ever love like that.
John Q
This movie of a black family barely making it then faced with a son who becomes ill with insufficient insurance to cover his life or death treatments.  And then you see another devout father willing to sacrifice all to save his son.  Whew, beautiful portrayed story.
Music Albums
Why I love them
Songs in the Key of Life- Stevie Wonder
I mean the title says it all.  It will take you through both the joys and the sorrows.  The music and the lyrics speak to me no matter what type of mood I am.
Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
Nope, not Thriller for me.  This one has my favorite Michael songs that just make you feel good about love and life.
Blueprint 3- Jay Z
I waivered on which Jay-Z album I would choose out of  Reasonable Doubt, the Black Album and this one.  But I choose this one because every single track motivates the hell out of me.  It takes me from thought and ideas to action.
Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2- Jill Scott
Again, this album is timeless.  It speaks openly and honestly about love and heartbreaks and the journey to finding the real meaning of it.
Worldwide Underground- Erykah Badu
I love this album because every track puts me in a great mood.  And again it is honest and brave and exposes the real vulnerabilities of being black and a woman.
Books
Why I love them
So Long a Letter – Mariama B
A very short book about Senegalese women who are brave enough to break tradition in order to do what was right for them.
The Chaneysville Incident- David Bradley
I personally feel every black man should read this. It is lighthearted, yet deep as it follows a man trying to understand his present by reconnecting with his past.
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World- Mildred Pitts Walter
It is about a son in a house full of women until he visits his grandparents and his grandfather takes the time to teach him what manhood really is.  My childhood favorite!
Othello – William Shakespeare
This is my favorite Shakespeare play because it shows how easily love can distort the truth.  And how without the element of truth from the direct source can be tragic.
What is the What- Dave Eggers
This novel recounts the journey of a Sudanese refugee that is eventually comes to America.  This book will make you value EVERYTHING you have and have taken for granted.
Well there you go my top 5.  What are yours? Art depicts life.  Life inspires Art.

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Can You Really Overcome Bad Sex?

Welcome to another edition of Light Fridays

I was recently reminded of a status I posted on facebook almost a year ago.  I was asked if it still held the same stance, and I replied yes and no…
The question was this: how would you rank the following in significance when building a relationship: a) looks b) assets c) chemistry/sex/sexual connection d) goals/ambition e) spirituality f) common interests?
A year later, I feel there are two more things that must be added to this list. g) intelligence, which I have obviously taken for granted all of these years, and h) effective communication, again something I previously assumed was a given, but in recent interactions discovered it is not.
The additions in place, and not to totally contradict myself in Monday’s post, my order would be:
E- G- C- H- F- D- A- B

Please note: everyone has on their clothes. Chemistry. Get Some.

Assets are the least important to me because I feel if you are doing the rest, the assets will undoubtedly follow. And you call me shallow, but it is hard to get to know C-H without A being in place.  If there is no initial attraction people rarely take the time to get to know a person beyond what they need to.  And sex, sex IS important.  While no relationship should be based around it because it is a thin, feeble, and weak foundation, it can be a deal breaker if it not up to par and beyond repair.  In theory, it should not debunk E,G, H, F, and D but I can understand how it can.  I am not promoting having sex before you have a relationship either.  I believe it is very possible, and much more feasible, to determine a sexual connection before you even get naked have sex.  I know it’s crazy since so many just jump straight to the sheets. For me, I like touch when I talk to people, especially the ones I like.  It is usually a gentle brush on the arm or hand but when you get close to man you like, you can tell if there is chemistry or not.  It is the synergy that fills the air before the first kiss.  It cannot be manufactured or forced or bought.

But those are just my thoughts.  What are yours?

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