Emotional Rollercoaster that is “Moonlight”

Have you ever walked into an experience, watching a play? Maybe you attended a concert and you had no idea what to expect, but you find yourself completely enthralled in the experience? Last night I attended a showing for the movie “Moonlight” with my buddy Ashley .

The movie is a complex story that all too many people of color face. British actress, Naomie Harris plays, Chiron’s mother and you have to buckle your seatbelt for the emotional ride she takes you on. Chiron (pronounced Shy-Ron) played by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes is a young man with a troubled upbringing. Janelle Monae literally plays superwoman and is probably the character that saved Chiron’s life. As a note actress Naomie Harris is an incredible actress she shot all of her scenes in 3 days. 

Director Brad Jenkins masterfully wrote and direct a powerful piece of work and Brad Pitt is the executive producer of the film. The casting in the movie is impeccable and the most interesting note is the 3 actors who play Chiron, played him not knowing there was another Chiron also portraying him. The actors did not meet and did not know each other prior to the edited film was shown. Yet the embodiment of the character, Chiron, throughout 3 different segments of his life is impeccably portrayed and seamless.

Do yourself a favor and go and see the film today! It has been described as a “coming out” story, but it more of an enlightening tool into life, love, friendship, pain, drugs and poverty. 
No matter your race, whether you are black, white, Indian, Asian and/ or Latino’s should see it.

Click here to find your nearest box office showing the film. 

#moonlight

#chiron

#NaomieHarris

#AlexHibbert

#AshtonSanders

#TrevanteRhodes

#iamjoecarnell

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More than…

How many of us have ever walked into a room and heard someone bashing a person, because of their personal diet choices? Here’s an example you are at work and John is telling Adam, that he thinks eating Kale is for weak losers. Imagine if you eat Kale and enjoy it, yet John is your boss and Adam your friend is laughing while John insults Kale eaters. John then misquotes a passage in the Bible and Adam awkwardly laughs as he tries to remember the passage he knows doesn’t reference Kale. As you sit there annoyed and thinking is eating Kale really that bad? Does everything I have done good get negated. That is what millions of people feel when they see and hear their family members, coworkers and friends discussing their sexual preference. They have to hear the ones they work with, learn with, worship with and in some cases live with demeaning a choice that does not impact their loved ones, coworkers, friends and family members in anyway.

Sexuality is not something that determines physical aptitude, mental health or morality, yet in our country sexuality is all to frequently a talking point that seeks to demean and suppress the LGBTQ community.

There are physicians, entertainers, athletes, teachers, service workers, police officers, executives and the list goes on who live their life inside of a very sturdy mental box. Individuals who have competed academically, athletically and done so at a high level are relegated to what they enjoy in the bedroom. Every scholastic award, every medal, ribbon or trophy they have ever won is now negated.

This is not entirely due to a fault of one person, rather as a result of parents, friends, communities, religious houses and schools that frequently (by frequently I mean probably once a week) state that by being gay or bisexual you are less of a man or less than. In some cases many of us have even heard people threaten physical violence against someone who is gay or bisexual. 

I have personally seen acquaintances and family members share social media posts equating homosexuality to beastiality, misquoting scripture and liking or sharing demonstrative lies (I.e. Slavery introduced homosexuality to black people *insert a hard eye roll*) all based on someone else’s sexual preference. Some may have not known my sexuality, but I definitely took note. If it was not for the support system, parents and grandparents I had I would be in that number. Who I am may have been suppressed due to the discouraging things I have witnessed.

Our society has no idea of what the words, actions they exhibit and energy around homosexuality can do to those individuals. There are individuals have no desire to carry out a heterosexual love life, instead they have to fake it so that their family do not abandon them, their friends do not mock and ridicule them and their community does not harass them and turn their back on them.

As a result of individuals date in secrecy, they live in obscurity and are mentally tormented at the thought of revealing who they truly love and hope to build an existence with. They never share the photo or video we see so many of our heterosexual friends sharing of the “Love of their Life”. The thought that their mother or father would hurl religious scriptures, epithets and possibly violence in their direction that they would now be the focus of conversations at their religious house, family reunion, job or professional social circles is terrifying and very real. 

I have witnessed young men and women living false reality into their 30’s and 40’s. To make that even clearer that could be half of someone’s life or a little under a 1/3. 

For those that read this, be mindful of how you describe an entire group of people. Be mindful of how you interact with those around you. Your son, your daughter, your niece or nephew, your cousin or even your friend greet them with love and encourage them to be true to themselves and continue to love them no matter who they love. 🙏🏾

To those who had the courage to come out despite your opposition, kudos to you and may you find peace in your truth. Encourage those around you to get centered with their truth and their reality. After all we are all More than what occurs in the bedroom!

Another Morning, Another Emmett Till

Another Morning, Another Black Man Shot by Police. Like so many other mornings I woke up and started reading the news. This time only to see the death of another unarmed black man. Another morning another Emmett Till.

I have to admit reading about these occurrences has become a shot to my spirit. It leaves me personally with a feeling of hopelessness. I feel abandoned. I feel unsafe. Though my life may have value to my family, my close friends and my colleagues somewhere some police officer views me as some villainous, criminal who threatens their existence and though I have never been arrested for ANY crime. I have never been physically violent or aggressive with anyone. I have paid my parking tickets. I have spent much of my twenties volunteering in my community, however should I be murdered at the hand of police, I will be reduced to a hashtag and some dirt some where will be plastered across a headline to vilify me. All to rationalize my murder.

This is what so many black men have come to understand more and more. In 2016 no matter your education, your potential or circumstances, you are just another “bad dude”.

I now get more than ever why Colin Rand Kaepernick has been vilified. It easier to ignore the origins of the national anthem. It easier to ignore that your high school classmate was murdered by police. It easier to say the guy you saw in the grocery store should have paid his parking tickets or maybe not had a speeding ticket. It is easier to say the kid accused of “insert whatever petty crime” should have just not been afraid of the police. America is a great country, but our problem is dealing with difficult issues. We would rather ignore the topic of a peaceful protest than listen to the reasoning. We would rather criticize the protestor, because we do not share the same experience as oppose to learning about their vantage point. 

So for yet another morning we will see another headline with another black man’s name in it, because he was “insert typical police reasoning” and was “overt aggressive”.

Compassion without Comparison

Our country does not have as much of stave problem as we think. What we have is a society that has a lack of compassion and a society that by in large is void of honest dialogue.

Far too often in this country when someone says I like cheeseburgers with ketchup the person sitting next to them has to say so you do not like chicken sandwiches. Black Lives Matters, while I do not care for their antics, is not an anti-police, anti-white group it is simply a pro-black life group. 

Blue lives matter has taken the angle that people who are black lives matter do not support police. There is nothing more false. 

The issue is that there is a notion that Black people do not like police. When black pepper typically are deathly afraid of the results of interactions that occur with police.

If we start to be compassionate about our neighbor one day we can work together to fix this. I saw a great analogy it went similar to this. If Joe and his family sit down for dinner. Then everyone gets to eat besides Joe. Joe then says Joe is hungry. Then his family who all have plates say we are hungry, but keep eating, they now have a standpoint, but Joe still does not have any food.
That is what the people of color. Be it black, Latino or otherwise feel about our interactions with police. We are not saying a white life or Asian life is not as important. We are simply saying we want our life to be valued and spared at the same rate as a white life in the same circumstances of police interaction. 

I feel extremely sorry for the slain officers, injured officers and the individuals subjected to gun fire at a peaceful rally, but my heart is heavy that yet another black man has had his life take and his family’s life forever altered. Altered by over aggressive police officers, who more than likely will never see the inside of a jail cell. A cell that if any of the black men murdered were found guilty of for the petty crimes they were accused of, may have seen should they have been over sentenced and convicted.

Sadly my soapbox falls on deaf ears. My life has a better chance of being reduced to a hashtag via a police interaction than it does at the hands of a gun by a black man. Our politicians are inactive and our police departments will not address the systematic training and disciplinary controls that are not working! What is even worse, when the President assembled a task force to address this, those suggestions have not been pushed by local leaders, activists or civilians.

Our issue is not racism as much as it is a lack of compassion. I pray for the safety of my black brothers and sisters as I do for the safety of everyone! 🙏🏾

3 Things a College Education Taught Me!

Over the next few weeks we are going to attend graduations and we will see images of so many people excited about the next chapter of their life.

While I know college is not for everyone, for those who see the benefits, you have the opportunity to expedite your professional and personal progress by attending.

Many of us we knew college was not an option it was the starting line for our life. It was our official introduction to our adulthood. As I look back on my undergraduate experience, there are three things I learned that have helped me professionally.

3. Education never stops!

Attending college entails studying for long periods of time, group projects, many tests and constant learning in short amounts of time despite what life throws you outside of that. The reality is that’s the REAL WORLD. Regardless of you being an employee or employer you have to keep evolving and that evolution takes knowledge and information. If you do not grow and evolve your competition or an alternative will surely take your place.

Be it books you read or courses you take to stay current keep educating your self on your craft or niche.

2. The institution you receive your degree from is extremely important.

Yes the name is important, but there is more to it. Many people do not believe this statement, but it’s real. What it means is your institution has to prepare you for what it is you want to do in life. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a couple years at Hampton University before I chose to attend Texas Southern University. Hampton taught me the value of networking and interacting with my class mates and that my presentation in my business interactions was extremely important.

TSU was invaluable. I met so many creative minds. I engaged with individuals who had so much energy and I never spent a day attending TSU feeling alone. Be it from my professors or class mates the resources I had available to me were first rate. I received my degree in journalism, which is weird, because I’ve spent the vast majority of my professional life working in business functions. I had the opportunity to write for a campus newspaper, work in front of and behind the camera in our news studio. I was able to learn how to structure and plan events and I did it with a great group of people.

By the time I had graduated I had theory and application experience.

1. Your degree is important, but not more important than your network.

Lastly, you cannot be successful without learning how to network. Networking is a scary word for some, but it is a word you have to become familiar with. Your network can provide you with resources you did not know existed. To this day other than my first job out of college with the Houston Dynamo, I’ve never really searched for the jobs I’ve received. Many of the opportunities were as a result of my networks.

Somewhere among the favors, encouraging sessions and phone calls with those individuals I’ve been blessed to work with and receive an education with, my name was passed forward. Even attending Hampton was a result of my mentor introducing me to a colleague, a Federal Judge, who was alumni and provided me resources and information about the institution.

To sum it up, college is not easy, but if you can make it through college you most certainly can make it through the remaining chapters of your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile.

Video

Watch and Learn!

You can tell a lot about how a person responds to failure or stumbles of others.

Do they rejoice? Are they excited? Do they perk up? Are they sad? Are they inclined to reach out help?

All of these questions matter and they should matter to you. Do you really want to be around someone who has a feeling of joy when someone else isn’t successful? Can you trust these people?

Watch and Learn!

#communicationMatters

Something happened in the past 10 years. We’ve gone from long conversations on the phone at night, that turned into face to face interactions and taught us enough or scared us away to make educated decisions about relationships and friendships.  Now we are in a space where we have a society full of poor communicators.

With the evolution of social media a good number of us have logged on to a number of social media websites and logged off of phone and face to face interactions.

In fact I can count on one hand the friends I have who when they do call still leave a voice message. I love them by the way!

What I’ve realized in the flammable climate of group texts, emails, social media posts and short attention spans, is that miscommunication happens all too often.

You see what a phone conversation would turn into a joke or appropriately handle, the leeway of a text, social media posting or missed phone call now ignites a beef or miscommunication that shouldn’t even exist.

In fact by the time a phone call is made things have usually gone from bad to worse. Former friends and/ or lovers don’t and won’t speak to one another and those around seem to enjoy the beef and not encouraging a face to face conversation or phone resolution.

There is so much value in a phone conversation that allows someone to communicate a complete thought. Even trying to communicate a complete thought on Facebook, blogs and most certainly via text, Twitter and Instagram can leave a lot unsaid.

Pick up the phone today and reach out to someone who you feel you did not communicate appropriately with or that you find value in. Communicate via phone or face to face and share with them what you really meant and what they mean to you!

#communicationMatters