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siKa J

Culture

We Need To Talk: 28 Days Isn’t Enough (A Timeline)

I didn’t began to celebrate Black History Month until I entered junior high school. (Attending a private Catholic institution was obviously not within the guidelines of educating its students on such a broad subject.) My church held programs during the month. Big Whoop Dee Do. Recycled information year after year. Never anyone new. Posters were positioned on the first and snatched by the 28th in the public schools I attended. Overall, I just felt like the month in itself was as if we got freed out of timeout for 28 days. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Once McDonald’s started commericializing it, my disgust for this particular month grew annually. Its a disrespectful titled month that I can’t seem to get jiggy with nor find the appreciation that others seem to find. Most say to be thankful we are at the least acknowledged. I say, “hell naw!” Out of all the contributions and acheivements of our people, 28 days is a spit in my damn face.

Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, famous entertainers or athletes don’t even scratch the surface of what our race has done, yet they get shoved down our throats as if they are the only contributors. To be even more specific, we should’ve been taught first off all of the things we are responsible for that exist in this world that another race took credit for.

When I started my matriculation at Tougaloo College, Dr. Woods’ (History Professsor and an major assest to the African American culture) teachings eased my mind as and when I became infuriated with the fact that African American History wasn’t a required, general education course all over in any and all institutions. I was also pissed because 28 days just isn’t enough for our history. Are you kidding me? We debated for months. He kept telling me that I don’t get it, that’s why I was puzzlingly pissed.

By the end of the semester, I sat down with him after finals and he left me with one question, saying, “They control our thinking by controlling the way they educate us; but its up to you to find the answers and ask the right questions. Do you think you can that?” I smirked while closing his messy office saying, “Hell yeah!” That was our last convo to say the least and I haven’t really dove into the subject since then so how bout now? *Drake voice*

WE NEED TO TALK

Let’s do a timeline:
January 1, 1863 – Emancipation Proclamation

January 31, 1865 – 13th Amendment (Two whole years later. Real cute Abe!)

1926 – Negro History Week (The second week in celebration of Abe Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th and Frederick Douglass’ birthday, February 14th) coined by Carter G. Woodson in efforts to coordinate teachings of the history of American blacks once approved by the Department of Education (go figure!).

July 2, 1964 – Civil Rights Act

1976 – Black History Month in the U.S. was granted. It was coined by the Black United Students at Kent State University, which initially transitioned it from Negro History Week into Black History Month. It launched in 1970.

1987 – United Kingdom adopts Black History Month

1995 – Canada adopts Black History Month in honor of Black Canadians

So now its recognized in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and supposedly Germany (I have my doubts). While any improvement is a step to some, others prefer the right improvement over any improvement.

The month is so patronizing to me. The timeline above will make you ask so many questions as far as timing is concerned if you truly dissect it. Anyways. You do the math. Over 400 years of slavery cannot equate to 28 days a year dedicated towards our particular history that didn’t start being publicly recogized until 1976 in the first place. The over generalization of the month is an umbrella cry for attention that we will never get. No other race has this labeled month marked upon them. We have enough marks already.

Have you ever wondered why there are so few $2 bills? My guess is because John Hanson, the first black American President of the Constitutional Congress, is on it and they probably cut the printing of them years ago. I should do some research on that. Anyways. Have you ever wondered why you were only taught about the same particular individuals when it came to Black History? Or why Malcolm X was painted so graphically and Martin was portrayed as the main solutionist? Have you ever even traced your own family roots? Who are you? Where do you come from? Why are you here? What are you doing? See. Half of us don’t even know the answers to those questions.

My problem is, we are and have been conditioned to learn particulars that if needed be, we couldn’t be able to defend our race factually because we only know of the commerialized facts. Our race isnt simple, so why as a people are we so simple towards this?

We need more than 28 days and we don’t need to advertise that we are getting knowledge of our history. To say the least, we are too satisfied, easily satisfied at that. Some Mississippians know only certain facts about the state itself – Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, etc. but how familiar are they with names like Dr. Henry, Fred Shuttleworth, Diane Nash, Ella Baker, I could go on and on.

Knowing the history is so gruesome, no way in Hades would the law mandate teaching the truth of it all because they want to erase our memory oh so badly. There are so many things that distract us from knowing who we really are in society that it is truly a personal responsibility to educate yourself. Always has been. Always will be. When this month was granted by law to our race, it was only necessary to be taught in public institutions, not private, hence why I never was educated on the matter until I enrolled into public education. That in itself is sickening to me.

I do however applaud the progress over no progress at all. Truth is, nothing will be done about this month, some see no issue with it, some find it comical, some find it unnecessary, some love it. To each its own. As for me, its patronizing and disrespectful. We deserve so much beyond reparation. Starting with our history, actually knowing it is the only way true progress can be found but never on divided ground can that happen. But hey, that’s just me.

No Black History Month for me. February isnt the only month we did something. Every week of every month can be dedicated toward educating on a significant African American in history. That’s 52 indiviudals and we still aren’t scratching the surface and you wonder why I find this patronizing? Ha! Now that my friend, is funny!

Culture

We Need To Talk: …About What Spike Lee BEEN Said

Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.

During the late 1980s, I take it Spike Lee had, “HAD ENOUGH!” of the bullshit going on in the world.

Think about it this way – he was born the son of a teacher of arts and black literature, as well as a jazz musician and composer. He has been educated by Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and New York University professors – there was practically no way for this man to think or even live in any conventional way. He had too many perspectives to view to simply settle, so instead he indulged until he could grasp the true meaning of things. Everyone calls him a lunatic because of his controversial nature but to be honest, controversy only exists because someone wants to knowingly parade untruths that another can’t simply allow. Fast forward to today and his messages of yesterday are rated “G” compared to the world we live in now. Right or wrong?

WE NEED TO TALK

In the mid-1990s Spike was called to comment on the rash violence of Air Jordans saying manufacturers shouldn’t be blamed, instead we should “deal with the conditions that make a kid put so much importance on a pair of sneakers, a jacket, and gold.”

(And I ask you, why do you post all of your purchases? *clears throat*)

This leads to the urban side of our race. We are the ultimate consumer, probably to every race and to the least of our own. We buy into anything without reasoning. Due to our lack of education, we also lack the ability to rationalize. Its easier to be thought for, right? The recent death that has affected the hip-hop scene in Jackson has left my heart aching for the children. Rappers and fellas beef over everything they can’t even protect themselves from (social networks, females, raps, cliques, money they don’t have, drugs they don’t need, etc.) rarely realizing their actions will fall upon their children. Then they seek revenge (but you wonder why “they” question our level of anger as and when killed by another race). No one is focusing on developing into a better version of themselves and it leads down a destructive path for generations to come. None of that shit that you think matters does. That “want to change life” for the better is what matters but y’all flushing the wrong shit down the toilet.

Spike has had so many controversial moments in his career, we know he’ll never be done. In May 1999, he was bashed for his joke, “Shoot him with a .44 BullDog” in reference to Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association. He was responding to whether Hollywood was responsible for school shootings, stating, “The problem is guns.” YES SPIKE! If it was a problem in 1999, what kind of problem has it developed into in 2015? We don’t even want to know the answer to this. I know I don’t because I’m too damned paranoid.

Los Angeles Gun Buyback Program

Los Angeles Gun Buyback Program

 

Guns roam the streets like people do, which keeps me uneasy at any given time. I wonder why all states don’t participate in gun buyback programs regularly throughout the year and not just after a massive killing has occurred. The hell if I know. There are several solutions even if there is just one problem. Less guns on the street is a start, right? The buyback program intends to reduce firearms on the streets. Citizens turn them into law enforcement without the fear of prosecution. It has proven to lower gun violence and death. Seeing it is a voluntary and anonymous program, I’m confused as to why it isn’t in place every damn where. I’m sure fear weighs in and although I understand, I can’t help but take fear as an excuse.

As horrid as this world is becoming, we can’t afford to play better safe than sorry until we kick the bucket. All that does is make me realize that once we are gone, we will have failed in building a nest to catch and save our children. If we keep dropping the ball, we will never make a shot. Seeing all would not be comfortable with buybacks, it leads me to question the streets. If you men are tired of losing, challenge each other to give up guns, use your words and fists if necessary. If not, who is going to make it safe for our kids?

In October 2005, Spike made beef with the government. Gotta love it. He stated, in reference to Hurricane Katrina:

“It’s not too far-fetched. I don’t put anything past the United States government. I don’t find it too far-fetched that they tried to displace all the black people out of New Orleans.”

This led him to address the government’s previous atrocities with the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, just like they ignored HIV/AIDS in the 1980s as seen in the movie, “The Normal Heart,” starring Julia Roberts. This leads me to address the town hall meeting the citizens of Belhaven held with law enforcement official Lee Vance.

Okay…. I have several issues with this imagery that the news happens to be floating for all of us to see and discuss.

1. The advertisement of a white society meeting to fight against crime was a direct hit to the blacks showing what we DON’T do and what we SHOULD be doing. This imagery immediately made me think, the last thing our race wants is to be told what another race is doing and how they are doing it better. Our dynamics will never be leveled so there’s no comparison there. Different strokes for different folks. Y’all know what that shit means. Don’t act like you don’t. And therefore, you catch my first drift.

2. Its nice to see that people can sit down with the law peacefully and form solutions. That is unfortunately not the case for our race. Trust me. I’m sick of the race card too but hell, you know I ain’t lying. Unlike our race, some races have the ability to not fear or distrust law enforcement. The law is Batman and Superman in their eyes while it serves as our dictator, so to speak. We’re aware of the race dynamics of treatment and respect across the board. Now without even jumping into meetings, what they do and don’t do, if our race were to hold one, attendance would be low (consisting of elders and the people not committing the crimes), it would be on CP time, and solutions will be short lived because the meeting probably wouldn’t be organized and dialogue happens to be our weakest suitor. Meetings become just talking because no one has solutions to bring to the table. They’re mainly looking for someone to blame and they usually end in a segrageted gossiping manner, having us leaving out worse than how we came in. And to place the law as the head of a meeting definitely defeats the purpose. This leaves the criminals refusing to talk with them, of all people.

3. Considering all the failures the government has oppressed on our race, what makes you think that of all days NOW they would want to meet and greet? For all thugs sake, I’m sure they would be apprehensive first, as to if it’s a setup considering how many have warrants. Not gonna happen people.

4. I’m going to catch hell behind this one, but oh well, call it a Spike Lee moment. I agree we cannot place a the faults of a city on its elected officials and by all means, I have nothing but good intentions when I say this. You cannot expect people to not look to these officials for answers. You all are always saying who can and cannot speak depending on if you vote. Man, regardless of if you vote or not, the taxes can’t be dodged and for that alone, let these people speak and vent. Hell, you dont know who voted and your assumptions mean nothing. At least they are talking so that we know what needs addressing. Right or wrong? Any who. Elected officials ask for votes, promote that they will decrease crime, increase employment, and they actual patrol the streets during election periods, some stick to it after being elected, some don’t. To defend a man who can defend himself is one thing but to expect a citizen not to question what’s being done when they consented to let these officials take the lead position of their territory is baffling to me. That is a part of the territory they gain whether you feel it is their responsibility or not. That’s not your call.

This is why I don’t care for elections because the hard work ethic is seen before the results but when the job gets rusty, supporters confuse citizens’ outcry as critics and want to spray something on the rust and easily wipe it off as if it doesn’t exist. Your opinion and life story is not everyone else’s. Just because you feel there are other things on the plates of a city’s officials that need more attention doesn’t refute the fact that some people look to them for refuge, hence why they voted. Be sensible to the people. They don’t understand politics and the gist of it. So the people, in my opinion, do have the right to ask what’s up with a solution. Stop telling them they don’t.

5. Who are we left to really trust? Scary question. There aren’t too many directions we can go for help, leaving us to clean up our own mess. Sometimes the government forces its hand and cleans up too…gentrification. I used to despise the word until this week. I hate to say it but how else can we escape the hood if we don’t choose to leave rather than being forced out? I can’t deny gentrification is cruel but also not advancing your family’s growth and safety, outside the hood at that, is cruel too. Complacency and ignorance keeps generations on top on generations living recycled lives in the same projects for decades on top of decades. This is the molding of a generation and you know how toxic mold is. Living this way gives no room for progress, changing the mindset, and defines what “product of the environment” can truly be in the worse way and how we serve as our enemy. That’s one reason why I suggest removing yourself if you see no real hope out of it. Staying only leaves your life at chance’s say so.

The government kills two birds with one stone through gentrification – a truck load of money and decreased crime (almost instantly). I mean, I know we don’t expect them to upgrade the hood and let the people stay. No way. It seems we hold no power to remove ourselves so we become destructive to our own nature leaving the oppressors to have one more thing to snatch away from us. Y’all gotta wake up and stop bullshitting with your lives out there.

The BOTTOM LINE is this – I dont claim to have the solution but I have a suggestion rather than refuting the next venting human.

I suggest brave, bold, courageous men to get in the streets and get dirty. Reek havoc on those youngsters who think they are in control but be productive after the scaring straight because just like any addiction, it has to be maintained and nurtured. Become men not only to your own seeds but to the forsaken ones drenching our streets with blood. Our own blood. These streets desperately need the right men. The boys aren’t becoming men anymore, they’re becoming “aged boys” looking to fit in the wrong places at the wrong times, every time, be that with bad word, women, drugs, money, etc. But ultimately, crime is a major drug addiction that is overlooked by them and they gotta get that crime high/fix frequently unless the mindset is changed as well as the environment they are intaking.

The work is never done as easily as a meeting coming to an end. It’s gonna take a real Spike Lee, “Do The Right Thing” scenario to take place. Desperate and drastic times call for what? Besides shipping them off to battle/war zones replacing the ones that are overseas fighting but would rather be living life and not stealing it, what’s left to do? Go watch the majority of Spike Lee’s race relations, colorism, and conventional thinking films and ask yourself was the man crazy or right on point?

Who cares about being politically correct when the death count is alarmingly growing? Not me. You shitting me? So will the men ever start a revolution towards building safety nets for our future or no?

Spike ends all his “joints” using credits like, “By Any Means Necessary,” “Ya Dig,” and “Sho Nuff,” and frankly, if we don’t get this in order, “by any means necessary,” we are “sho nuff,” destined for Doomsville, your hash tags will be deemed irrelevant, mundane, and repetitive slander (#stopthekilling, #riptos.o.s, #frees.o.s.) and that ain’t what I’m trying to see our world crumble into, as if it isn’t crumbled enough, “ya dig?”

Healthy Living

We Need To Talk: Our Strands

Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.

A tree expands through its roots. The seed contains the strand of its DNA. Its branches are the results of how it evolved. I chose the word evolve because its branches are the product of its environment. Trees have no mobility to roam the earth like humans can, preventing it from having to make choices that will affect its development.

Our seeds contain our parents DNA. Our roots are our hereditary makeup. Our branches are the result of our choices. Could “the strand” be our ultimate definer? Let’s see. I’m viewing it from a mental and spiritual point of view.

WE NEED TO TALK

After birth, how we’re conditioned, raised, and what we intake is seemingly a still stage because our parents or guardians are guiding and preparing us for life on our own. For our region and race, religion serves as the backbone in rearage. Our mental thoughts, behaviors and emotions are things we seem to dodge more than society needs. Every race is embedded with a story so it’s safe to say that every race is embedded with a particular behavior pattern that can be traced back to hereditary and generational mental health.

When we reach the stage of being able to make our own life decisions, we then have the opportunity to control and contain what we build into our spiritual health. We will either balance our personal spectrum with how we’re raised or one will outweigh the other. Regardless of order, what we place into our strand is seen through our branches to our tree of life. It takes effort to form habits, patterns, conditioning ones self to something new, to seek knowledge for self, and we use what we choose to input, if we use it at all. Your spiritual health can be religious, most people attempt for it to be that way, but does not have to be.

Now let’s break this mental and spiritual thing down.

When people say things like, “I’m depressed,” “I’m bipolar,” “I’m crazy,” it really bothers me. Throwing weird around so carelessly is dangerous and not okay. Once you lose people to actual mental health issues, it teaches you not to use words so immaturely. People are being medicated and have to seek professionals to deal and cope with depression, mood disorders, hallucinations and more. We don’t talk about it though. We damn sure don’t consider empathy as and when we noticeably see people’s moods shift irradically. Instead we label them, dodge them, or mock them.

It is noted that our race has failed to take proper action or take seriously our mental health and its state. Considering slavery, broken homes, poverty, gentrification, drugs, gangs, murders (through us and against us), suicides (voluntary and involuntary), over bad worded-ness, unjust and unruly living, there’s no way half of us have been diagnosed, treated or examined mentally. No wonder generational patterns and curses exist. Our thoughts play a major role towards our mental (see last week’s article) plus what’s built into our mental strand.

Our spiritual strand is probably the most complex because there are so many directions a person can take. It’s up to you to choose what’s best for you. I vouch for what makes you a better person. We confuse spirituality with religion but the two differ. However, your religion can be considered your spirituality. The easiest way to know the two differ is by knowing all kinds of spirits exist and not all are of religious value.

There are several doctrines I study for mind training, emotional training and to learn how to adjust to a changing world and people. Neither doctrine belong to the faith I previously belonged to. Personally, I don’t partake in religion. The past year I’ve studied the teaching on the Dalai Lama. It wasn’t until I separated from religion that I dug into spirituality and I understood it to be your personal belief for you and your way and walk of life. Humans have been classified into three categories: those who believe in religion, those who are against it, and those who are uncommitted. We know where the majority falls. Communist Chinese are against religion denouncing it as a poison, claiming it harms economic growth and is a tool of exploitation. They may not be for religion but they are certainly spiritual, which was my unbiased approach of showing you how religion and spirituality differ.

I believe all religions have practices we could all use. It’s supposed to cause harmony but we rival with and against it instead of taking the opportunity to learn from different angles. Rather than being confrontational, judgememtal, or condemning about it, I think it’s anyone right to pray when they see fit, as long as the prayer is of good intent. I think it’s anyone right to not pray if they don’t choose that method. I think it’s wrong to judge both that do or don’t. Same thing for church goers and those who don’t. No one has the manual for your life but you. Truth is, you’re writing it as you go along.

Seeing that religion isn’t a top priority as it once was in the world (due to births of several donominations) I think its safe to pay attention to our spiritual health and soul. Although people may find it hard to believe if your faith is real they can’t deny what type of vibe they get from you and that would radiate from whatever is in your spirit honestly.

When we practice certain patterns (religions, beliefs, mantras, meditation, etc.) to better ourselves, our inner beckons outwardly. Refuting disturbing emotions and negative thoughts helps us with self-control and mindfulness. All of these traits lead to happiness.

When we engage in wrong doing, self centeredness, consdecending behavior, gossiping, wishing down upon, and more negative traits, we are training our spirits for nothing but harm to self and others. Forget about who wants to be around that mess. Imagine what you’re building up in your soul. A disease is a body that is not at ease. A body not at ease has obviously succumbed to temptations of all sorts. Introducing bad habits with temptations is a deadly cocktail for the spirit. Even if you do go to church every Sunday, it doesn’t refute what type of spirit you possess if you are trying to cleanse it. It may be easy and feel good to give in but remember you deal and feel with your emotions and conscious alone. We have to give light to things that elevate our spiritual health and dim, if not darken, all negative things that can attack the spirit or another’s spirt.

If your mental and spiritual strands are imbalanced, I suggest you map out the pros and cons of your characteristics, create a blueprint/outline on things to eliminate, ways to improve and replace good habits with bad ones. If you feel your strands are balanced, keep in mind that the work is never done. Everyday we must strive to be a person than we were yesterday. Everyday is a new chance. Nothing is a mistake. Regret is a teacher. Resolve your regrets at the end of every night. Strive not to repeat regrets daily. Be you, unrestricted. There is so much to learn and so many areas to dig. If you are not sure where you stand with your strand, find out. Be true to yourself and it will pay off in the long run.

If I could leave you with one thing after all I’ve said, it would be:

“Don’t tell people how to live their life. Give them stories and let them find a way to relate to it.”

That’s it. We have ourselves to get in order. No way we can correct the order of another. The elders still say they are learning, so that gives you an idea of when we will “really get it,” this thing called life and how to balance. If asked for an opinion or help, give it, only genuinely, if you can. We can never win if we don’t get right within mind, body, and spirit.

I don’t usually suggest books to people because they seem to get offended when you do but all judgments aside, I suggest reading, studying, and taking notes for your mental and spiritual health the following:

THE PATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT
AWAKENING THE MIND, LIGHTENING THE HEART
CORE TEACHINGS OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM (THE LIBRARY OF TIBET)
HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA

We all have, want, or need something to believe in. Some more than others. We do not reserve the right to classify the effectiveness of a person’s choices. Be mindful. Be aware. Be fair. Be silent if you do not understand. Be respectful. Our mental and spiritual health as a whole depends on it.

Sex, Love & Relationships

We Need To Talk: …About Sex

Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.

What in the hell am I going to rant about this week? A damn Instagram post that’s been circulating. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I’d like to know if you agree or disagree. I’d like to know how do you think things became this way. I’d like to know a lot, so since I decided to take on this topic, I had to dig to make sense of it all. I won’t keep you wondering.

WE NEED TO TALK

Let’s talk bad word, shall we?

I mean, hey, everybody is doing it like life ends tomorrow, so there’s a fascination going on here that we need to discuss. Relationship or not, the vast majority are phenomenas of bad word. That “any time, any place, your situation doesn’t matter, it’s cool if we’re discreet” type bad word. You feel me?

What the hell is phenomena? Refer to Immanuel Kant for coining that term. It’s philosophical and means ‘what is experienced is the basis of reality.’ Kant theorizes in his work that the human mind is restricted to the logical world and thus can only interpret and understand occurrences according to their physical appearances. He wrote that humans could infer only as much as their senses allowed, but not experience the actual object itself. Thus, the term phenomenon refers to any incident deserving of inquiry and investigation, especially events that are particularly unusual or of distinctive importance (like bad word).

IN OTHER WORDS… Unexpected behaviors that we induldge in with a restricted mind towards the logic of it because of our ego and physical appearance and want; its the temptation you would condemn another for partaking in because of ethics and morals but yet one you could easily get loss in if you’re “lost and wandering” in life. So, where am I going with this? I’ll explain.

You’ve seen the post mirroring the dating scene for 1994 and 2014, right? Take a look at it up top – it captures a man kneeling with roses proposing a date to the standing woman with 1994 below. The other half is reversed with a woman kneeling and performing oral bad word on the standing man in 2014. Now before I even I even break it down to you, let me break down some other things first.

all-that

It’s 1994, I’m six years old, the music was jamming with artists like Biggie, Pac, LL Cool J, Heavy D, Brandy, TLC, Aaliyah, Janet Jackson, Outkast, Snoop, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Da Brat, Girl and Boy R&B groups and the old jams. Damn was probably the only curse word you would hear on TV. I don’t recall condom commercials. Nickelodeon, Nick at Night, “Boy Meets World,” and some other junk made TV amazing. “The Lion King,” “Forrest Gump,” Nas’ Illmatic, PlayStation, Sega, Yahoo!, “Friends” and Amazon debuted. Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley and he is accused of molestation. OJ trial began. Left Eye started a fire. Medgar Evers’ murderer gets sentenced and Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. The style of dress was not provocative in any scene and rated R contained little to no nudity. I’m talking about bare back, side boob type nudity, nothing more.

lauryn-hill

It’s 2004, I’m sixteen years old, I’m still jamming the same artist plus Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Common, Mos Def, Nina Sky (remember them), ratchet down south rappers (and tuning into their beef: T.I. vs Lil Flip, Nelly vs. Chingy), Mase came back and Usher made Confessions. At this age, I was sneaking to parties and as and when certain songs from Yo Gotti, Crime Mob, Project Pat or some other hood artist came on, fights were inevitable. I wasn’t bout that life, by the way.

Facebook, Gmail, Napoleon Dynamite, The Passion of Christ, “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Desperate Housewives” launched this year…plenty celebrity hook-ups and break-ups. The TV show “Friends” ended. Serena Williams gets beat by Maria Sharapova. Janet shows us her boob during the Superbowl half time show, Martha Stewart goes to jail, Fidel Castro bans the American dollar and tapes of Osama bin Laden’s involvement with 9/11 are released. More curse words and rated R things were getting more graphic in the entertainment world. They seem to not care about censoring during these times. In the next year, 2005, Trojan will premiere it’s first prime time condom commercial… and it begins.

young-thug-gay

It’s 2014, I’m twenty six years old. Music has no substance. I listen to old school or artists I know and support, as well as create it myself. I hate the radio. I hate TV. Nothing but reality shows and straight garbage, even the news. I hate these so called artists we are forced to pay attention to through media. Yung Thug? Shall I continue or nah? Nah! The news is saturated with war, kidnappings, threats, Ebola, bashing Obama and Blacks. 12 Years a Slave wins. Jay Leno’s show ends, Jimmy Fallon’s begins. Too many Black men killed to count but rarely discussed in justifiable ways by media. Protesters and riots. Failing justice system. Social media has replaced real communication and respect is earned through likes and followers on these networks. bad word is every damn where. You see it and hear about it nonstop. With all the turmoil going on, I’m sure people find it a perfect release regardless and treat it as such with excuses such as, its just bad word. Yeah, just like its just an STD. No biggie right?

At age six, dating was not on my mind. At age sixteen, sports and music was on my mind. At age twenty six, I have dated and understand everything about bad word from the physical to mental, as well as dating. During 1994, bad word was not paraded or advertised and 10 years later it increased and now it’s out of control, while they pamper our minds with things like refraining from bad word, Plan B pills, contraceptives, ways to cope with STDs, etc. – steadily feeding us the same bullshit “spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down” Mary Poppins crap. And you know the sentiment, tell me what I shouldn’t be doing and that is exactly what my urges will gravitate to, ultimately killing us like the STDs statistics seems to be silently killing us in Mississippi. The reason why the dating and bad word scene has changed is because times have changed. We DONT TALK! We’ve slowly been programmed into being phenomenon of whatever society feeds us to help destroy us and we’ve fell for the trap.

From a lesbian point of view, if I may, in 1994 the obsessions with most people came in proximity to television and magazines. There were no social networks to stalk peers like there are now. Focus was more on self and family versus parading self for likes and validation. So once the females stopped taking things so serious and became more materialistic and attention proned beings via social networking, the motives of dating changed. Men noticed and some began participating. Either way, the seriousness was wiped out leaving us to be self-centered, competitive and jealous beings for no particular reasons.

Men sung, begged and professed their love in music to women. They put it all on the table, apologies and all. Where is that now? When men refer to women in music now, we’re objects not treasures or trophies like they have us singing along with them to. Being a product of your environment is very real people. Just open your eyes and see. On the flip side, some women are so competitive they will do ANYTHING! The picture has her kneeling now because bad word is the gateway to blindness. Women know how to use bad word to distract the man from the real issue that he will have to face if he continues to stay. So giving oral or bad word, first off, is a trap that every man loves being a part of and that every woman who behaves as such uses to keep her chances high on getting that ring or getting paraded as someone’s trophy. Tricks and trades. Between dishonesty, lack of respect for self, body, mind, and reputation, egos, nympho behavior, negligence of knowledge of whom we may hop in the bed with, dating with motives (down low men or dating someone for revenge, rebound, or jealous reasons), horrible bad word track records (ask yourself what’s your number? don’t even get me started on a bad word link chart…), blah blah blah, we wiped the dating scene clean, with the help of society, with these habits leaving the scene no chance but to flip.

Most people don’t really date. They text, kick it, take pics together to let it be known what it is. Everything is usually put on the table at first leaving nothing to look forward to. There’s no adventure to every day like there was in 1994. There’s no reverence or demanding of from the man like it was in 1994. For the single world, there’s more confusion and lies in that scene leaving only bad word to be the benefit at the end of the day. Nobody wants to try. They would rather bad word it out until they’re ready to settle down. Everything is different from 1994 til now. What we see, eat, hear, etc. Awareness is at its all time low. We are a product of our environment. Therefore, that post, shows us where we are headed and what kind of environment our children will be a part of. Now think about that? Bet you want to do something about it now huh? Females are now supporting the males financially and defending his ego and habits effortlessly as if he is her son. Males spend more time with the homies and would rather get with a girl when it’s about that time but not on no QT type shit. And life is a reality show and lived for the camera. We have failed to stop the cycle of the death of dating and it’s protocols. Therefore, this is where we lay.

What do you think?

Culture

We Need To Talk: Let’s Be Real, What Kind Of Platform Are You Running?

Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.

In lieu of all the turmoil going on every time you log into any social network, you will see the remnants of tyranny being treated as a tally mark in the game of tic-tac-toe. These “X”s and “O”s will never be able to represent hugs and kisses. Instead, the “X” serves as the elimination of our race and the “O” as the whole advancement of those outside of the circumstances we face daily. So I’ll lighten it up.

It seems our mindsets are getting in gear somewhat as and when it comes to where we spend our money (#SupportBlackBusinesses); and since that seems to be the direction we are heading, let’s discuss where our support stands, why, and if what we’re supporting is providing and using a positive platform (if they have one) for the race and community.

In order to move toward more powerful and meaningful progress, awareness is more than important and being unaware is the same thing as being blind.

WE NEED TO TALK.

About what exactly? Platforms and what they represent.

sika-jTo finally get to the point where I realize how important support is, both ways (giving and receiving), the more I pay attention to the dollar that’s so hard to come by and where it is spent. I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to spend with certain big or small corporations because of affiliation and what/how they acknowledge what they do or do not support.

For instance, for me, Uncle Ben’s Rice is a no go (there’s a story behind these characters on the boxes, it’s just not graphics or the best logo chosen), business’s against same bad word couples and unwelcoming businesses. So before I extend my support, I examine the platform now more than ever.

Back in the day, you could stand on a hill or stage to be heard but now all markets are saturated and people are distracted more than ever. You need a platform (besides income) to enable reciprocation. How you represent this platform is actually shown through your support system (where you give your support, how you receive your support, and how you give back) and not through a mission statement, bio or booking info. Who you affiliate with, what you promote, who supports you and who you support outside of your business represents a lot. It persuades your tribe – contacts, customers, prospects, followers, and fans.

I said all of that to address a few things in our community that seem out of place. We can’t grow if only a few of us with platforms flourish while the others continue to wade in the water. That does nothing for us. As customers and supporters of black businesses, we must hold ourselves and each other accountable for the business we conduct and represent. Of course the revenue within the community will be great but besides that, it will encourage outside support (whom we’ve been supporting all along, when some have never needed nor appreciated our dollar) if we solidly and consistently succeed. BUT, we make it hard.

Between these five habits: negative competition, failure to extend a hand when afforded the opportunity, bad business, horrible customer service and promotion of ignorance via social networking, I don’t know which poison is our downfall or how many we can eliminate – but we have to start somewhere.

The way we present things socially represents more than we can afford and sometimes we can lose support due to the ignorance we display. We’ve always been watched and predicted. We have to learn how to use social media effectively when we’re fortunate enough to be in the position to do so. Actions like re-posting fights, bad word, drugs, hate, etc. when you call yourself having a platform is when shit becomes unacceptable and trust if no one calls it out, I will, because it doesn’t work, (unless you’re a rapper or something) for this mission that we are on.

Failing to extend a hand when afforded the opportunity to do so and when it makes sense not only represents crabs in the bucket but it also represents you cutting off the path way every step you succeed in making. The only reason for a person not to extend a hand to another is the possibility of it damaging their image. Not doing so because of personal opinions, past beliefs and/or feelings, whether they support you or not, who they “kick” it with, blah blah blah is why we are continuing to go in circles instead of going up. Check yourself. Don’t you realize that you could be missing out on something or someone just by doing such simple gestures? There’s so much to say in an invitation.

Competition can be inspiring if presented correctly. It’s sort of like constructive criticism without being told by anyone. We all observe one another, no doubt. One thing that is easy to spot out is negative competition, which I hate. Subliminally using tactics to persuade support out of a competitors direction speaks volumes. There’s not much to say on that but that. We are in an era where we have no room for error, especially among each other. I don’t have to go on a rant about other races and how they do what they do. That is wasting time on something we already know. I’d rather use my time on helping us connect better on all levels for all businesses. What other way are we going to become our own providers? There’s no way up if we keep indulging in these habits. The results are already there.

I know where I want my support to go and my dollar too but I care to know the platform (if there is one) before I do. And that’s not being judgmental – it’s being logical – there are several options for several markets within our race. The good always weighs out the bad but this time, we shouldn’t let the bad just remain that. There are solutions to every problem and some things can be fixed, I do believe.

In support of black businesses, let’s continue to give our communities no choice but to support their own surroundings instead of using gas to spend elsewhere. To our black businesses, do it right! Be consistent! Be aware and vigilant about the way you are and who you represent. Let’s build each other up this go round. Your platform and our platform as a race depends on it and you, so does our future.

Think about it!