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”.

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PRESS RESET

PRESS RESET!
Today I am pressing reset on life. My move is not just a move it is literally the pursuit of happiness. 

Over the past few years I have been comfortable. Comfortable with my jobs, comfortable with my circles yet something inside of me was unfulfilled. I made a decent amount of money in a city that’s fairly inexpensive to live in. 

Though I have been promoted at every job I have ever had it has not been enough. 
Several years back I got clear on my purpose in life. I knew my move was imminent I just needed to press the button.

I encourage anyone reading this who is feeling unfulfilled, maybe feeling like there is more you want to do. Take time to look at what you love/ enjoy what you are good at and find a way to marry the two. Do not let life’s circumstances constrain and restrain you. You may even see an opportunity to develop to get to where you belong.

Once you determine what it is you love/ enjoy and/ or were destined for, set a date, then work in reverse to think through how you can make it happen.

Though I know my next chapter will not be easy. I have no doubt that I will learn and truly LIVE.

This is not goodbye forever, but rather see you later. To the city that groomed me, the people who prepared me and experiences that shaped me. 

So don’t be afraid to press RESET on your life. It may not be a move. Maybe it is a new job. Maybe it is pursuit of an education. Maybe it is even a business venture. Set a date. Make a plan and Go! God will provide the thugs you need for you!

🙏🏾 PRESS RESET!

You Can’t Recreate Her…

 

It’s taken me a few days to put all my thoughts together! This post is a review of The Formation Tour performed by BeyoncĂ©. A buddy of mine, T. Davis and I attended the concert together and we literally left the show in awe. Two concertgoers who’ve attended a myriad of different types of shows with different genres, but this show stood out.

Saturday, May 7th the Houston native and pop superstar proved there’s nobody coming close to her.

From the time you touched the parking lot there was a certain energy about everyone you encountered. Some dressed in costume replicas of her music videos and others dressed up like they were ready for a red carpet.

Rappers Paul Wall and Slim Thug got the crowd warmed up with DJ Khaled. Scattered among the concert goers were Adrian Peterson, actor Kendrick Sampson, from How to Get Away with Murder and none other than Beyonce’s father and former manager, Mathew Knowles. The crowd of almost 60,000 fans was amped up and ready well before the Queen hit the stage.

BeyoncĂ© opened the show with “Formation” the first single released off of her Visual Album, Lemonade. Though protesting was threatened very little could be seen as every one in the building had their eyes on the stage during the show. With a wide brimmed hat backed by at least 8 dancers the performer took the reigns of the show and kicked things into high gear.

Though the show had considerably less dancing, from Beyonce, than we are used to seeing the massive 6 story video wall, that rotated and opened up throughout the show proved to be more than enough compensation. Performing songs like Me, Myself and I for the first time on a tour, Kitty Kat and stand up out hits Sorry and Don’t Hurt yourself the audience gladly sung along. The roars were deafening as excited men, women and children of all ages belted out their favorites.

Beyoncé transformed her show with new choreography, new looks and working from one stage to the next and a catwalk complete with a escalated floor.

Then the coup de gras she performed in water. I’ve seen performers fly across the arena (she’s done that before) and though impressed there was something spiritual about the performance of Freedom in a water pit.

If you’ve ever wanted to see what the fuss is about or see a show like no other this is the show to check out. From production, to live vocals, to dancing and a fiery stage presence this show is arguable one of the best to be seen since the likes of Michael Jackson.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Formation Tour, because as Beyonce stated in, the song “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, they CAN’T RECREATE HER… NAW!

 

Click Here to View Concert Footage

 

Photo Credit: Beyonce.com and Joseph Williams

Love and Happiness

Love and Happiness

 

That song was made popular by Al Green. In the first line he say’s, “Love will make you do right/ make you do wrong.” This post is about how we could all stand to share some love and happiness.

I really want to latch on to the thought of LOVE for this blog and I hope the conversation around it is shared and continues.

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded and dare I say overwhelmed with LOVE my entire life. By many accounts I am/was both of my grandmother’s favorite and if I was my sister was definitely the favorite for my grandpa.

That said the LOVE we received from our immediate family and extended family (blood and sometimes not) set the tone really early. Our family was fiercely protective of one another. If discipline was going to occur it started at home. Encouragement started at home and most importantly affirmation started at home.

I lost count on how many times I was told I was smart. I lost count on how many times I heard I Love You and to this day whether by voice or text I will have those 3 words shared with me from members of my family.

That love and affirmation has propelled me through life. It made my experiences, missteps and dare I say failures that much easier. I knew I would be OK, because of the Love I received at home.

I know how fortunate I truly am and recently on Easter I was stopped in my tracks. While putting together an umbrella for my grandma’s patio and barbecuing my grandmother, who knows I am gay said something that made me stop in my tracks.

I don’t even really know what we were discussing, but maybe something about music or dancing and she said she couldn’t wait to celebrate and dance at my wedding. WOW! I haven’t thought much about my wedding or how it’s going to happen since I am not in any sort of relationship! It just got me to thinking how fortunate I am to have a family who loves me through and through.

For some reason I was extremely nervous to share my sexuality with my family. For some reason I just knew they would disown me, maybe kick me out of the family and Lord knows what else.

Maybe it was the stories of many other LGBT people of color that I knew and read about. Maybe it was what I saw in movies and televisions shows. I just knew that it was supposed to be that way. After all any guy that I had dated had been disregarded or even told that his “lifestyle” would not fly with their respective family.

I figured certainly my path would one day align with theirs. It was hard for me to imagine not being able to come to family dinners, reunions or spend holidays and birthdays with my own blood. To not feel the hugs and kisses my parents showered me with. To not get one of the hugs I look forward to from my grandmother, my brother and sister. Nonetheless as I shared it with the immediate family (many were shocked at nearly 28) nothing changed. Their love didn’t change, their hugs didn’t change, the kisses, the birthday gifts and calls, NOTHING changed.

I think the stories I have heard over the years of the young men and women who have been all but homeless or barred from attending their family functions, essentially striping them of their family privileges scared me.

I have heard the stories of young men and women who hear nothing from their parents except when they receive a text, email, phone call or voicemail to quote convenient scripture about their love they share for the same gender. I can’t imagine never hearing I love you or not receiving some of those hugs and kisses. As strong as I am and as much of a man as I am, that means something to me, it is a powerful source of strength.

That is the reality for so many LGBT people of color. They can’t come home for holidays or even to say hello. They do not have someone to call to share the good news about the love of their life and most certainly they don’t have a shoulder to lean on if and when that Love is cut short or disappears.

It got me to thinking, what if my straight friends spouse was not acknowledged or allowed to visit? How would that make them feel? Could you imagine never being able to take family portraits, enjoying Easter, Birthday’s, Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza with the first Love you ever knew?

So many of us take for granted what family means and is. We take for granted how far we have come with the Love and support of family. No matter your religion, you are called to LOVE your family. Love them.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming walking into the world knowing you have so much support. I do not know how to handle some people who have been all, but abandoned. The world has made them hard and cold. I would imagine if more people embraced them with LOVE and kind words we might be a little better off.

So I encourage my friends who are straight to reach out to your family members who may be LGBT and let them know you LOVE them. Let them know that all you want for them is LOVE and Happiness. Maybe your view on their sexuality hasn’t changed, but the good thing is you don’t have to be involved in their sexuality. You just have to be involved with LOVING and supporting that family member.

Let’s spread the love and encourage one another. Life is hard enough just dealing with strangers, the people we work with and life’s random occurrences. Let’s share the load and spread a little LOVE and Happiness.

 

 

 

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