Beyonce

LXXV: My Black Is... Creative?

It is thanks to so many African Americans that we get to enjoy MANY of the things that we enjoy today. And let me tell you, no one celebrates Us like we celebrate Us. So this post is me just shining light and celebrating my people who continue to trail-blaze, kill the game, and completely snatch all of the wigs off of consumers.


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Let’s start with Bay Area’s own, Ryan Coogler - Marvel’s youngest filmmaker, with record-setting highs in the box office for Black Panther & phenomenal works like Creed (original story), & Fruitvale Station.

Oakland bred and Sacramento State Alum (like myself), Ryan Coogler!


Beyoncé - Icon, Mogul, Queen of Everything. I really don’t need to say more, but I will: activist, humanitarian, mother, wife, ever-enduring, passionate, compassionate, giving, Queen Beyoncé.

She literally has people begging that she pass the torch (i.e. stop putting out music, doing tours, etc.) so that these other girls can catch up. When you reach this level, it means that you’re not done, it means that you’ve got them shook, and it means that you are the greatest of all time!

She is the most Grammy-nominated and second-most Grammy awarded woman in Grammy history as well as the only artist to have ALL of her studio albums debut at Number 1.


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Marsai Martin - World’s youngest producer and first to ink first look deal with Universal!

Comedic cuteness, and such a huge heart. It’s like we’ve watched her grow up on Black•Ish over the years but now she’s blossomed into the beautiful woman who we KNOW cannot be stopped.

I am excited to see what’s to come from her because I know it will not be anything light! Keep your foot on our necks, Sis! You’re killing it.


Tracee Ellis Ross - Motha! Actress, motivator, #bodygoals, director, comedian and television host.

Young Ms. Ross who I know best for her role as Joan Clayton on Girlfriends. I literally grew up wanting to be the crazy friend that Joan Clayton was. I watched her become a lawyer, decide that that was not for her and then start a whole new career in her 40’s!

If anything, over the years, Tracee Ellis Ross has given me hope in many areas of my life. And the part that I love most is that she’s done it for YEARS without the need to have a man by her side. I don’t know how but I simply aspire to not feel as though I need a teammate, a partner or someone to battle this cruel cruel world with.

Tracee you are, remain, and will always be GOALS.


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Dr. Shirley Jackson - A top woman in science and invention. Inventor of the touch-tone phone, caller ID and fiber optic cable. A leader in telecommunication inventions, Dr. Shirley Jackson!

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Philip Emeagwali - Creator of the world’s fastest computer.

A Nigerian native who has made tremendous advances in computer science. Winner of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for high-performance computing applications.

LXVII: What I've Learned, Thus Far, From 2018?

Here we are! Another installment and another year of lessons!

I’ve changed things up this year and entered into it feeling a bit more liberated than I was in 2017. I had decided early on that I was going to do what I wanted, when I wanted and try things. But, with that, I also opened myself up to people which is something that I normally steer very clear of.

Whenever you open up your heart, mind, and ears to new people, you’ll definitely be learning new lessons, however. Trust me!

So, here are a couple of the lessons that I’ve learned, thus far, this year:

STEER CLEAR OF THOSE WHO WANT YOUR RHYTHM BUT NOT YOUR BLUES

Wanting my rhythm and not my blues simply means that someone wants to be around me when I am happy and having fun, but when stuff hits the fan of life, they want to hit the road.

I’ve had this type of person in my life plenty-a-time!

The bad thing about me, however, is that when it comes to people who I have allowed into my life, I genuinely try my best to keep them.

BUT, sometimes in life you go through things, not to learn to work through them, but to learn to walk away from bad situations

This year has been one big lesson on walking away for me. It gets so lonely sometimes, but walking away from people who want to be around when all is well but leave when things get difficult is a very necessary reality. 

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

The way you view a situation says a lot about the way you view the world and the way you view yourself.

Now, I generally look at situations from a very realistic standpoint. I also use facts from the past that have created a pattern to assist with the way in which I view those situations. So, in short, when a situation presents itself, I’m an absolute realist through and through.

Now, this year has been filled with ups and downs, and I’ve worked at keeping my outlook on things upbeat enough to allow myself the ability to continue on in whatever direction I am attempting to go in life without letting things get me too down.

Changing my perspective on a lot of the things that have happened to me lately has seriously helped. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so necessary. A lot of times, perspective comes through in the form of a glass being half empty or a glass being half full. 2018 has taught me to look at things with the glass half full which has allowed me the opportunity to fill it the rest of the way on my own.

WHEN SOMETHING IS FOR YOU, IT WILL ALWAYS BECOME YOURS

This is super important for me to remember! 

I oftentimes work overtime to keep friendships and relationships with people who have never even deserved my time in the first place. It’s in my nature, however, to nurture those relationships...

BUT, when a relationship is for you, it will be yours without all of the tug-of-war! I forget this so much and it results in me making people feel way more needed than they actually are by trying to keep them in my life.

This is a habit, in me, that needs to be left in 2018. Because, trust me, you won’t be forcing the friendships and relationships that are meant to happen!  

BE REAL WITH EVERYONE AT ALL TIMES 

Now, first and foremost, you have to be real with yourself! But after that, you have to be real with everyone else.

I met someone this year who was such a gem! A beautiful soul inside and out. But, if you asked me, now, whether or not I still know this person, then my answer would honestly have to be ‘no’.

This person was so good at pretending to be the great person that I grew to very fondly enjoy, but [as you’ll read below] people can only pretend for so long (and sometimes for too long) before their true colors show.

It turns out that this person was a complete stranger to me when they showed me who they really were. What a shock!

I can see from that situation that it is, a lot of times, hard for some people to just be themselves which, to me, seems like it would be more work to pretend to be someone or something else. But, I digress, …

People usually teach me the biggest lessons and from this person, I’ve learned that you have to be super mindful of who and what you are. Remain true to yourself no matter the situation.

Real will attract real, but you have to weed through a lot of fake to get to it.

PEOPLE ARE GOOD AT PRETENDING — WATCH FOR SIGNS

I have made the mistake of underestimating the amount of time that people can live while being fake and, trust me, they can go the distance. 

But, I’ve learned that, eventually the real will always come out. 

I’ve had two friends while in school that people have completely warned me about but I ignored it and instead defended them because I wanted to base my reactions to them solely on my experiences. In hindsight, I completely wish that I would’ve listened to those people, but I didn’t, so I had to eat that loss.

I didn’t believe these things because people are so good at pretending to be things that they are not. They immitate the things that they see being attracted by others. They become so good at the facade that it’s undetectable to eyes that want to believe what they see.

But, I’ve seen that faking it gets exhaustive and they will eventually show their true colors. Some people don’t last a week, others take months, and one took years!  

 My advice to myself and others would simply be to jump ship as soon as the first sign becomes apparent. We’re so inclined to ignore the little signs because we’re enjoying the bigger moments, but trust me, cutting these people off early on is always best. 


So, there you have it! 2018 has taught me A LOT about people and how I should approach the next batch that I meet in life.

But, most of all, 2018 has taught me to look at situations from multiple angles: yes, losing a job will hurt, but there are so many benefits to it; yes, losing a ‘friend’ will hurt, but I’ve gained so many more who actually seem good; and, yes, loving someone is difficult, especially when you’re on completely different wavelengths as far as life is concerned, but opening your heart to someone has the never-ending benefit of showing you so much about yourself!

So for that, 2018, I thank you! 🎊🎊🎊

XXXII: Can I Break It Down For You? #EverythingIsLove

There is so much to unpack from this beautiful album. The more you know (about Beyonce, Jay-Z, history, etc.), the more you catch. But, what I like about this work of art is that you can know nothing at all and still just enjoy the songs and vibe to the melodies. 

However, if your "Woke Meter" is on Crissle, then you're catching every reference and your cracking up with Beezus and Jova! I'm only catching a few of the references and getting help from others with the others, but what I do catch gives me life, so I'm sharing the life with you! A lot of this will sound repetitive because it is so hard for me to find words that are perfect enough to describe this album, but bear with me as I try. 

Let's unpack:

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APESHIT

So, occasionally Beyoncé has to remind y'all that she knows who she is. This is that reminder. Also, I cannot move on without mentioning that they shot a flawlessly BLACK video in Le Louvre in Paris! Now, the artistic significance of the paintings to the meaning of the words, I didn't catch. But, how beautiful was the video? There were beautiful Black people dancing in the Louvre. There were beautiful Black people doing hair in the Louvre (with a pick)! History was made that day, in the Louvre, and I see it as nothing but beauty. 

Also, she raps better than 89% of the rappers that are out today. What category can she not take? I don't think said category exists! They are all hers. 

However, what's important to know about this song is the fact that Beyoncé knows the type of work she's putting out, she knows that people are going crazy for it. So, "put some respeck on [her] check" and continue to empty your pockets for her!

Sorry to bounce around, but who else was shocked to hear the Migos on this album? I know that I was shocked, not that I actually know who they are, but it was exciting to look into the people that Bey and Jay allowed on this project. It helped create a sound that, I'm sure, many of us weren't expecting. 

One more thing: I cannot ignore the fact that The Carters want y'all to know that they DO NOT care about this "fame" thang! It's so great to see because fame and likes are all people live for these days! I love seeing them kill it without a care.

Your fav simply could never. 

SUMMER

I love the vocals by Beyoncé on this song. Her voice just sounds like bacon-wrapped perfection, but beyond that, the message is adorable. 

I think that Damien Marley's outro on this song tells us listeners everything that we need to know about where Beyoncé and Jay-Z are in their relationship. They are connecting with each other, away from all of the noise of publicity. They've found peace and in their peace, rekindled their love and strengthened their connection with each other and it's very noticeable. I love it when the music or the artistry shows all of the work that's being put in behind the scenes -- whether that's the work of Bey & Jay in fixing their relationship, or the work that it took to create the album. You can just see the work. 

The lyrics, however... Bey & Jay just being and existing together is what they're talking about here. It seems so raw and so personal--this space that they've entered into. 

As someone who is so into connections, I enjoy listening to these songs and I enjoy watching their chemistry on stage because it shows their connection with each other. They are fun together, they laugh together, they've cried together, and to me that's worth more than being with someone. They just get the best of both worlds. 

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Love is Universal.
Love is going to express itself as a form of forgiveness and compassion for each other.
— Damien Marley

LoveHappy

"Y'all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather." 

Love this joint! We get to hear about genuine, real, and happy love. I think that it's amazing. The music is music and, like some believe, it could be for complete entertainment purposes and nothing more, but I really believe in this process because I've lived it.

Now, I didn't live the mature man realizing his wrongs, getting the help that he needs by talking it out with a therapist, and then actually changing. I lived the part where I figured out that I was worth (1) a man that knows what he has from the beginning, that cherishes what we have and is my biggest fan; or, (2) a man that will take the necessary steps to change after whatever it is that tears us apart in the first place. These are the realizations that allow you to leave a situation no matter how comfortable, no matter how public, and no matter what the public perception will be of you leaving. Beyoncé really left Jay-Z. She was ready and willing to let her man go because he forgot, however temporarily, how to be her man. A lot of girls/women will not do this out of fear of being alone, or fear of how this will look. I commend every woman who values herself enough to walk away at least until a change is genuinely made.

And, speaking of, a lot of the Beyhive has just been ready to write Jay-Z off (or worse), but Bey and Jay had a connection (to them) that ended up being worth the work that it would take to rekindle what they had and to fix what was wronged. Some relationships are worth this, and, although I see girls forgiving guys that could care less about them and continue to blatantly lie because they know that they'll be forgiven, that wasn't the case here. Jay immediately acknowledged that he was wrong and began to take the steps. He even asked for the Hive's forgiveness in this album, so I'm no longer a Hive member that will roll my eyes at him when I see him in concert. 

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You can't have a Beyoncé ANYTHING without hearing about home, Houston! I just love how Houston she is. 

This song is a story. It's Jay-Z telling the short version of them getting together, breaking up, and getting back together. Jay-Z is at a point where he's able to admit that he messed up. He's able to be open with Bey about it and listeners about it, and he's able to admit that he was dead wrong. He goes on to tell a bit about what he had to go through to get her back and thanks women for all that they do. 

The question always remains, 'but why do y'all have to put us through these things just to see how great we are', but I guess that's just become the reality of relationships (???... Help me out, I don't date). 

 

 

BOSS

"We measure success by how many people successful next to you..." 

This song, to me, is testament to the hard work that Beyoncé and (I guess) Jay-Z put in on the regular. They are able to chill and make millions with their toes in the sand because of the fact that their grind does not shut off! She let us know that her great, great grandchil'ren are already rich and they aren't even born yet! She KNOWS! We see her working the day after she comes off of tour! Those braids come back and her laptop is at the ready -- her grind does not stop. You cannot knock a hustle like theirs. 

In this song both Bey and Jay address misconceptions like, people thinking that they don't have real-world problems, as well as the thought that you can't stand next to someone and also be as good as them or surpass them (Jay addressing the fact that people won't even work with him because they're busy wanting to be better than him).

Friends

This is my favorite song, hands down. 

We rarely hear Beyoncé go in depth about her friendships. We hear that her people are poppin' and that she's poppin', but rarely do we get the "I need my friends", "I love my life" vibes that we get from this song, so, now that we're getting it, I LIVE for it!

Surprisingly, one of my favorite parts of this song is Jay-Z's part. I love when he mentions everyone allowed at his house. Throughout this song, both Bey and Jay tell the listeners how small their circles are with no plans of it getting bigger. Jay addresses selfish "friends" like Kanye who is still butthurt about how it looks that he didn't attend his wedding all while Jay and Bey were beefin'. Jay has to let him know that a real friend would understand that he's not going anywhere when he and his wife aren't right! You shouldn't have to tell real friends certain things. The idea is that they would know, but let's be real, no one knows how to be a real friend these days!

My other favorite part is the end. Beyoncé's lines at the end hit home for me:

"Your friends are faux, My friends are goals
Closer than kin, Our souls exposed
Your friends are frauds, All they want is applause, Yeah
And my friends, real friends, Closer than kin"

This hit home for me because, if you've read previous posts at all, you know that I am big on friendships, connections, loyalty and honesty. They all play a role in what others get to be within your life. And, in a field where honesty and integrity are supposed to matter most, I am learning that few (if any people I'm surrounded by) even have these qualities. 

Beyoncé is someone who is nice to everyone that she comes across. She's sweet and kind, and these qualities usually give weak people the space to speak negatively or speak lies about her (similar to real life). But in this album, I love that she lets the listeners know that she's not having it. She let y'all know that she no longer has room for new people, she's keeping her circle small. She reminded y'all that she's Beezus (because Kanye has been overstepping lately), so my advice this time around (for all the haters) is the same as hers -- Watch the Throne (& also keep my name out ya mouth -- Heard About Us). 


I definitely didn't get to all of the songs, and I for sure did not go into detail as much as I could have on the songs that I mentioned (shoot I think I got so distracted that I didn't even unpack them), but I hope it is very clear that I truly love everything about this album. 

I love the blackness of the video for Apeshit. 

I love that they mentioned being good on any MLK Boulevard, and for those of you that don't understand that... There are plenty of sell-outs these days: they sell out their families, they sell out their culture, they sell out themselves. The Carter's are letting y'all know that they have not sold out at all, so they're free to walk from Boulevard to Boulevard (& the Blackest of Boulevards), but a lot of people can't say the same thing (Kanye, for one).

The amount of little things that there are to catch in these songs is insane, and I guarantee that I will continue to listen to this album on repeat for months to come! 

I hope y'all enjoyed my scattered break-down (that wasn't so much a break-down but really a STAN SESSION) of this album. If you haven't heard it (probably 2 people in the world), go listen now. 

#EverythingIsLove 

#OTRII