Trials & Tribulations

I’m not even going to create an excuse as to why it’s been so long since my last blog post. I’m just going to say that I really don’t give a fuck and it’s not like anybody’s reading this anyway.

So today, I found out that my ex of a year has moved on to somebody new only after 5 months of us being broken up. And not only has he moved on with them, he’s at the cusp of a new relationship where he’s telling the guy “I love you” and shit. Now this would all be realistic and cool if we hadn’t been dating in March. So simply put he’s been interested in someone else despite dealing with me. And when he was tired of me, he simply gave up. I’ve reached out to him in previous months and instead of telling me, “Hey, I’m with somebody new. I’m happy. I’m over you” he preceded to make me feel like I was the guilty evil bitch when in fact, it was something totally different.

I’m writing this not because I love airing my dirty laundry – because I honestly don’t – but because I don’t ever get to vent or deal with things as they are. I never cry and hurt for too long because I always worry that it’ll give me a perception of being weak or bitter. But I couldn’t really give a fuck. Yes, I’m bitter. Yes, I’m hurt. Yes, this may be petty. But god dammit if you haven’t felt this pain, you wouldn’t understand and if you have, keep reading.

Man, my love life is just a dismal spiral of disappointments. My best friend is in this beautifully committed relationship and I couldn’t be more happy for him but Jesus, it is a pain trying to find your own conquest in a sea of turds. Maybe I keep dating the same guy or maybe I just have some issues that I have to work out within myself. Whatever reason, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have deserved an official announcement that we were over. I feel like calling him and cursing him out. But I deleted the motherfucker’s number. I’m such a dummy bitch.

This is where my story ends. This is where I pick myself up and realize that I can’t really expect much from anybody even if they tell you how much they love you and how much you’ve been there for them even after a whole fucking year. This is where I find my new beginning and cut my hair I guess right? Oh fuck it. Where’s the liquor and Kanye? It’s rare that I get to feel bitter.

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Life Is But A Shadow: The Kelly Rowland Story

Next week, Kelly Rowland, one third of the multi-platinum girl group Destiny’s Child, will be releasing her fourth studio album, Talk A Good Game. There’s a bit of anticipation as Kelly’s status has boosted over the past years since she dropped “Motivation.” She hosted the Oscar pre-show, stunned with very coordinated fashion choices and in a world of R&B chicks currently stands as #2 in the game. Who’s ahead of her?

Well of course, her sister, her bandmate and her biggest competition, Beyonce. This isn’t the first time Kelly has fought to have her own identity outside of Destiny’s Child and the reigning Queen B. During Destiny’s Child’s height, Kelly got the opportunity to come out as a solo artist with her duet with the hit rapper of the time Nelly. “Dilemma” was a huge hit and unlike Beyonce who at the time was struggling to find her own solo success (see “Work It Out,” “Fighting Temptation”) – Kelly had the world in her hands.

But instead of working with big name producers and crafting an album that would produce the same hit records as 2001’s “Survivor,” Kelly spent three months in a studio, releasing “Stole,” a pop/rock record, as the first single. While the song wasn’t a bad choice for the album, it seemed to be a risk considering her foundation had always been set in R&B/Hip-Hop music. She had all of the accessible producers in the palm of her hand and turned them down in favor of a lukewarm debut. By May, Beyonce had arrived with “Crazy In Love” and Kelly officially had stepped back into the shadows.

Some have argued that Kelly Rowland subconsciously fears stepping out on her own as an individual and because of this, she sets herself up for failure. For instance, Rowland was blessed with another opportunity to reinvent her career after a stint on X-Factor UK. She began working with David Guetta, who helped her establish a worldwide hit with “When Love Takes Over.” Although it wasn’t really popular on a domestic front, Kelly had found her niche. Of course the obvious decision would be to follow her gut and complete an entire dance album with Guetta, thus cementing her footprint as the new dancefloor diva. Mind you – this was in 2009. There was very little competition in the dance area. She could’ve easily been a threat overseas and just the same way many artists such as Emeli Sande and One Direction have successfully taken over the market in the US and UK, Kelly could have done the same. Hell, we knew who she was already.

But instead, Kelly threw that entire idea out of the window in favor of a tepid R&B album, “Here I Am” which showed little to no growth from the previous “Ms. Kelly.” The single, “Motivation” was the only instant smash on the record. She managed to survive the rest of the flops based on her name and status.

All of these different instances including the most recent where Kelly debuted “Dirty Laundry” as her second single knowing that the lyrical content was way too ‘heavy’ for radio, could easily solidify this argument. But I really am far from concerned about Kelly’s marketing choices and how she chooses to sell herself as an artist. I’m more interested in her story.

For starters, Kelly’s family life has always been very private. The story goes that she was adopted into the Knowles’ family eventually leading many to believe Matthew Knowles is in fact Kelly’s estranged father. Regardless of this, Kelly states her family is very ‘funny’ and made for reality TV in a recent interview. But imagine this. Put yourself in Kelly’s shoes.

For one – your family decides to ship you off to live with another family where there’s already a lead star (played by Miss Beyonce Giselle herself). You guys form a group where Beyonce takes center stage. This group gains success thanks to Beyonce’s father, known for being a very tyrannical figure. You stand in the shadows and are only known for a period of time as the ‘dark-skinned chick’ (something Kelly also states she dealt with emotionally). Then things go awry. The two other girls you grew up with are switched out and you’re supposed to deal with it – because it’s business.

Then you’re forced to deal with the personalities of two new people you don’t know while grappling with your own personal and professional relationship with the family that took you in. Your loyalties lie with them obviously. Finally, things seem to go alright with the group and you all are successful as ever. You get the chance to collaborate with a hot new rapper. You’re huge. Your album is now the first one to be released and you buckle out of fear. Meanwhile, your sister becomes an even bigger star outside of the group.

All this to say that when watching “Life Is But A Dream,” I realized who had the actual real story. Beyonce’s perfect little world was entertaining if you were idealistic and lived with your head slightly in the clouds but Kelly, Kelly is the interesting one. She’s the underdog. The black sheep. She’s the one we root for time and time again. And we want to hear her story. We know there’s more to you Kelly. We’re all rooting for you. Don’t let us down.

P.S. – Talk A Good Game is your best effort. Not saying much but way to go girl. Small steps.

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Twenty Years Old

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a post. In my absence, a lot of things have happened for me professionally, academically and personally that I’ve had to come to terms with. Overall, I’m proud of my accomplishments this year and although improvements will be made, I have nothing to complain about. Basically, I’m blessed and highly favored – so hate on bitches.

I struggled with what to talk about for my first post of the Summer. There’s so much going on everywhere including in my life. I guess I could start by saying how appreciative I am for making it through to my twenties. There was honestly a point in time when I didn’t think I’d get here. My birthday (May 9th) was absolutely phenomenal. I spent time with people I loved and did exactly what I wanted.

In entering my twenties, I realized that there was so much happening in my adolescence that I had no control of and so much I suffered from that my twenties would mark a change. Here I take chances, here I take risks, here I accept, forgive and move on from the woes of my past and the struggles that I face currently. This is my time and my moment. Nothing can stop me from getting where I want to be. And this isn’t to convince you. This is to ensure that I believe in myself. This is for me.

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There’s Nothing to Fix

In the May 1st issue of St. John’s University’s school newspaper The Torch, a recent article was published by junior Journalism student Shannon Luibrand. In the piece she attacks St. Lourdes Way, affectionately known as The Strip, a local “runway” between the Montigoris Dining Hall and the Residence Halls. It’s known for being the epicenter of music, fraternity and sorority activities and a virtual hangout for many during the Spring and early Fall. While the Great Lawn is also seen to some as a host of celebration, many minority students feel welcomed on the Strip which has led to many organizations such as Haraya and the Carribean Students Association showcasing their support

So it amazes me that in the face of unity amongst the St. John’s population, Luibrand only voices rather pedestrian complaints and arguments about how “frustrating” the Strip is and in particular the issue of “catcalling.” This amazes me because a large majority of those who patron the Strip are women. Women just like the author who attend St. John’s University with the same aspirations.

Luibrand attempts to attack The Strip’s incessant loudness during her studying time. This is quite amazing indeed as St. John’s has provided an adequate number of places to study at your leisure for as long as necessary. Studying in your room knowing there’s a party outside is ultimately a distraction in itself. It’s like putting yourself in a burning room and wondering why you’re hot. It’s fire my dear.

The author also complains about how seeing the various dances on the Strip cause her to feel nausea or want to “lose her appetite.” I would love to point out that St. John’s University is located in the most diverse city in the world, with tons of diverse dancing. Maybe she should find herself another home to host her concerns. I hear the Riverdance is quite popular in Hipster-ville.

Luibrand craves the hipster-vibe of the Great Lawn on The Strip, thus making herself the majority on the whole of St. John’s, a place which lacks much representation from its diverse groups in the first place. The catcalling is bothersome even though grown women who respect themselves populate the Strip. What woman enjoys being catcalled? As a Junior living in off-campus St. John’s housing who spends her time studying and voicing her concerns, how do you even make time to travel on the Strip?

But this isn’t an attack on the author. It’s with great hope that as a tuition-paying student, she has time to pull all nighters at 6pm and write as much as she desires. If only she would have removed herself from the situations and voiced her opinions elsewhere, those tuition-paying, frequent studying students on the Strip wouldn’t have taken such offense.

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ESPN: You Ain’t Shit

Recently I’ve subsided from doing blog posts due to various health, emotional and personal conflicts. I was originally going to post something a lot earlier but due to my lack of anything to talk about – the post was trashed. But these bastards just had to try me on my first day back at life…

Yesterday was an incredibly historic day. After decades of discrimination and literal invisibility in major sports, Jason Collins became the first openly gay active major athlete in US history. It came out of nowhere and for the most part was viewed with tremendous praise. Although many have made claims that he isn’t notable enough, this milestone will be the catalyst for what will hopefully be many more proud gay athletes defeating the stereotype that gays are suitable for more masculine geared occupations and hobbies. Not only do I see this as an American milestone, but it’s a personal watershed moment as well. Being a black gay man, I identify with Collins in every way. His story is my story. His triumph is my triumph.

So it fucking pisses me off when someone wishes to rain on my parade.

Okay, so the humorous tweets were one thing. I expected some drama from Collins’s colleagues. What can I say? Basketball players are assholes. Everyone knows this. But while every irrelevant little person shared their ignorant opinions on Twitter, somebody who has a medium and an egotistic opinion decided to step up to the mic and share their two cents.

Instead of simply trashing Chris “Dumbass” Broussard, I’m going to hear him out. Let’s go over his argument…

First of, the question was “Chris, he mentioned in his article that he is a Christian as well, Jason. What’s your take on that?”

Chris Broussard proceeds to go on a spiel about his personal beliefs instead of simply stating that he respects his views and albeit some may not agree, everyone has their own personal interpretation of the Christian faith. But who am I to think Broussard would be politically correct and diplomatic? He’s known for being a fucktard. 

The thing is, I have no problem with Broussard’s stance. If he views homosexuality as being a sin so be it. I don’t practice Christianity so his opinion isn’t worth much from a personal standpoint. But ESPN is a medium in which you voice the public’s opinion and focus on the man’s standing as an athlete. If you’re going to speak on Collins’s faith – it should be from a place of respect and decorum.

But the real stinger is that ESPN has stood by their bigot. And this is to be expected in some ways. I mean, ESPN is led by men. There’s barely any representation of females. I can’t expect them to progress as far as respect towards gays. But just a couple of months ago, Rob Parker was fired from his job on ESPN’s First Take for his comments regarding Redskins player Robert Griffin III (RG3). 

Parker was lambasted for being a racist and an overall douche. I find it interesting that Parker mentions that his comments weren’t in fact something he felt but words that he had heard amidst the general public. Although he did ramble on and on and dig himself into a bigger hole, ESPN definitely should rethink their decisions. For while ESPN offered a small apology and Broussard claimed his allegiance to the progressiveness of the NBA despite his views, it goes to show just how much Collins’s announcement meant for the country as a whole.

ESPN, I don’t expect you to fire Broussard just as you did Parker. I don’t expect much from you. But I would hope that amongst the amount of support Collins has received you would take a stand for his welcoming. Standing behind Broussard only gives others the advantage to target and disgrace Jason Collins’s triumph and name. Next time, let your analysts take to their personal blog for their trivial bullshit.

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Fuck You Rite-Aid

My Saturday night was great. I went out and hung with friends – new and old. Enjoyed the music of Phony Ppl. Had a lot of laughs – which equal to tons of days of additional life or whatever that statistic says. But either way, my Saturday was great.

Alas, everyone else lives in Brooklyn while I live in bum ass Queens. So I took my miserable tight-clothes wearing self back to Queens with 10% battery left. Needless to say, I got home, charged my phone, played my Fantasia album and acted like I had little to no care in the world. I laid my ass down to sleep when suddenly Miss iPhone wanted some more attention than necessary…

The bitch ass charger acted a fucking fool.

Now y’all know I already don’t like Apple’s fuckboy ass to begin with… 

So this ain’t nothing new. Provided the charger was on its last leg but the shit was still working before I left for Manhattan this morning. I don’t know why it wanted to get crazy with me tonight. But rest assure, I won’t be getting crazy with her no more. Fuck that bitch. She ain’t shit. Her booty stank.

But back to my regularly scheduled venting session…

So I decided that I’d try to bootleg the charger with tape or this pen coil shit I saw on Instagram.

That shit ain’t work.

So the next best option was to get a new charger. Now let’s see. I live on St. John’s University campus. The only thing I can get around here is a Bacon, Egg & Cheese from Double J’s and a dutch from 7-Eleven. How in the hell would I get a charger? The next best place would be Rite-Aid which stays open 24 hours. But that shit is approximately 1 mile away from campus. That’s a hell to the no walk in this type of 40 degree ass weather. Especially since I dress like a hooker on weekends.

But I called over there anyways. Had to get through the blockheaded automated machine. Talked to some chick with a hard accent.

“Hey, I was wondering if you guys had iPhone chargers.”

“iPhone chargers?”

“Yes. iPhone chargers.”

“I’m not sure if we do.”

*Dramatic silence* “Well can you check?!”

*Hears her screaming to someone in the background*

Seconds turn to minutes…

“Well I see a lot of iPhone stuff but I don’t know if it’s the right one for you. You’d have to come down there and see.”

NOW BITCH. 

Why would I walk my fat ass down there only to be discouraged? That’s basically you forcing me to snatch your dry ass ponytail.

And since when have I been one to turn down a good old fashioned wig snatch?

Unlike Sweet Brown, I grabbed my damn shoes and walked out because I knew St. John’s had that cute little van shuttle that drove us close to different places around the area. It’d take mad long to get around but at least I wouldn’t have to run around like Smokey from Friday looking for a place to charge my phone.

So I get to the damn Rite-Aid, walk around for a minute hoping to spot the area – and yes, I spotted that bitch from a mile away when I walked in, looking a dusty fucking mess, dry ass ponytail in all, big ass bitch, didn’t even wanna get up off of her knees to help me BUT ANYWAY…

Once the store was clear of other customers, I asked somebody other than her to point me in the direction of the chargers.

“All we have is car chargers.”

“Well, that’s not what I heard.”

“Well what are you looking for? USB?”

“Yes. iPhone.”

“We no have that.”

At this point, I’m getting ready to blow up. And Ms. I Was In A Battle Between Grease and Dandruff & Guess Who Won? got her ass up.

“Oh you were the one who called? No! I remember seeing them.”

She waddled her behind over there and starts getting into a disagreement with the man about how she saw an iPhone charger and how the shit should work. They go back and forth. Meanwhile, I know it’s not there. I’m quite aware. And the more shit they pick up and try to convince each other that the shit exists.. the more I want to walk outside, grab a bat and go Monica “So Gone” on the whole fucking store.

“I feel like such an idiot. I’m sorry. I’m so dumb. I’m such a fool.” WELL I’M GLAD YOU KNOW BITCH. THAT’LL HELP ME SLEEP AT NIGHT!

I swear if she would have looked me in the eye I would have gone apeshit. But that damn shuttle stops running at 3am, and I ain’t about to beat no bitch ass and have to run home from the cops. Rule #495 – if thou shalt beat ass, make sure thou haveth getaway car.

I swerved her ass entirely, walked out cursing into the cold, walked through the stop lights with no fucks and waited for my ride. Because I knew that Jesus was on my side and if I stayed prayed up only miracles could happen.

As for Miss. My Edges Didn’t Die For This Struggle I know being that your Rite-Aid salary only affords you to have a Metro PCS flip phone, you don’t know what an iPhone charger looks like – but girl, karma is still after you. And you know I’m Creole too – it ain’t nothing to have your ass spinning around in mid air. Keep fucking with me. Ol’ bitch.

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It’s Not About You, It’s About Me

Today I had a revelation – it’s time to start focusing entirely on me and what I want.

In the past week, I’ve experienced enough to realize that worrying about the wants and needs and desires of other people is just going to drag my emotions down. I spend a lot of time devoted to analyzing, deciphering, aiding and rescuing other people from things. Naturally, I place my own life on the backburner. And it could be the littlest things – such as choosing to do my own personal objective in favor of something that an entire group may do.

This letter isn’t really a letter of bitterness. If I was bitter, I’d be up front about it. It’s more about the fact that I’ve reach a maximum of stress and anxiety. People tell me things without letting me know. People lead you on without being honest. And the people around me all are self involved. Which I think is great. It’s admirable. It’s something I should’ve been doing in the first place.

So starting now, I’m focusing more on me and what I desire. I want a nice apartment. I want to be whatever it is I want to be. I want people around who who are completely honest and reciprocate. And all of these things are happening or can happen. It’s all my decision.

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Happily Ever After

“You came from Virginia to New York and gained your freedom. But now what? Are you content with just that?”

For many years I’ve struggled with the idea of my happy ever after. I remember being 13 and having no clue what I wanted to do. I always saw myself as a decent writer but during that time I wasn’t really practicing the craft. I knew I wanted to act but I didn’t trust my skills enough to make that my only path. Plus, do you know how many people walk around saying, “I’m an aspiring actor?” I’d be ridiculous.

Believe me, I think everyone has a talent. I think everyone has a skill. I believe that everyone should have a hobby. And I have all of those things. But I’ve never really found a way to display it to people. Until recently, I didn’t have a blog simply for the fact that I didn’t think my life was interesting enough or I was consistent enough to keep it up.

But now with me entering my twenties in less than a month, I’m afraid. Your twenties are when you should have some clue of what’s next, right? Great things have happened to me since I moved to New York – my dream. I started up a site with a group of people that ended up achieving enough success for me to understand how the blogosphere worked and how you made connections within the city. I found out things about myself I never knew from working and befriending people – as before I went to college I had very limited social interaction. Shit, that’s why I’m so awkward. Everything is basically a first time experience.

Now I have this incredible internship, something I never even imagined for myself so soon. I have friends that I established on my own. Relationships I have to build and work on to flourish. I’m always doing something or trying out new things to get a feel for what I’m into or not. I don’t discourage myself from trying something new – even if I get frustrated. And although all these things coming together sound great, I can’t help but wonder if it’s getting me somewhere.

I think when I was a kid I was so deadset on just leaving rotten ol’ Woodbridge that once I got to New York I thought that would be it. I thought that everything would work out here. But no. I still get just as anxious if not more out here. I still hurt out here. Everything is still clicking the same exact way. I’m working way harder than I ever did. I’m having ups and downs. I’m losing people along the way that I never really wanted to leave behind. Everything is just so complex. And for one moment I wish that I could have the answer to at least one question. Or at least the question that my friend posed to me last night.

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Finding A Home

Apartment hunting is going to kill me. Literally. It’s driving a sharp knife into my heart and releasing it fast and rough.

I currently have a month to find a 1 bedroom apartment for under 1500 a month in Queens that allows co-signers within the Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows area. I’m definitely in need of utilities if the rent is over a grand so there’s that. Plus, I need it to be an area that doesn’t have its criticism directed towards rent inflation and a fucking rodent problem. Welcome to New York.

Okay, so maybe I’m acting as if I have all the time and the world – but to tell you the truth I haven’t seen much that caught my eye. I’m not willing to pay a broker’s fee unless absolutely necessary and studio apartments just remind me of a larger college dorm room. I always said I wanted to live in a studio apartment until I actually looked a studio apartment. Nah b.

As once was said on Sex & The City, you’re either looking for a job, a man or an apartment. Well shit, I’m fucked because I’m looking for all three at the same damn time. Either way, I can just hope that when I get back to the city in August I actually have a home to come to.

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Gay Is Not The New Black

Being a proud gay man, I am aware of the struggles we face as a community. The prejudice and ignorance I experience every day just on the basis of my sexuality is abhorrent and sometimes leaves me feeling discouraged about the progressive outlook of the LGBT community. Young gay teens are still at a high risk of committing suicide, many of us that are out find ourselves ostracized from family or friends – victims of horrible teasing in school and bouts of severe depression. It is pertinent that we do not forget the stories of Matthew Sheppard or teenagers like Raymond Chase , who faced vicious scrutiny for simply being who they are.

But let’s make one thing clear – the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement are totally separate from one another.

Before I am a gay man, I am a Black man. When people see me, their first perception of me may be that I am homosexual but the clear consensus is that I am a Black man. So therefore when I am judged without clear awareness, when I am persecuted by the police, when I am scrutinized by the “majority,” it is not always because of my sexuality. It is always due to my race.

The struggle is completely different for the simple fact that the gay rights movement has only had a precedence since the 70’s. Obviously, homosexuality existed but it was shrouded as deviant behavior and something of a taboo. Leading that frontier were white gay men – who already had power and a voice. Even today, when you look at the face of the gay rights movement, there is no diversity. The white gay male is the image.

While I celebrate the advancement of gay marriage, by no means does being gay mean you are the victim of harsh cruelties. It does not place you at the bottom. It does not make you not the minority. No one wears gay on their face as I carry my race with me. My back carries the strength of Langston Hughes, Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin. When Harvey Milk spoke and fought for injustices, he was not fighting for a particular race, religion or creed. He was fighting for his community. And while what he was doing was powerful, it was nothing compared to the power of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts or the Greensboro Sit-ins.

Making Matthew Sheppard into a new-age Emmitt Till is ignoring the violence perpetrated on those who were lynched, bombed, beaten and viciously murdered for what they stood for.

Comparing a harsh cruelty to another harsh cruelty is always a losing battle, but choosing to bandwagon off of the efforts of a movement that transformed not only this country but the entire world is ignoring the work and struggle of the hundreds of thousands of people who united against civil injustice. These were black, white, gay, straight, Jews and Gentiles hand in hand. Think before you speak.

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