It's 2010 and…

…I’m loving it!

2010

Here’s the hitch though:

I need a break from blogging. I’ve pretty much been blogging for a year straight. I posted almost 200 articles last year. I got really burned out from it because I felt like I started it for fun, but then I got caught up putting pressure on myself to respond to certain things. Those who know me know that I’m always on “the Koolaid” and I’m always happy. It just burns my britches to see bitterness, petty behavior, and snide gossip all the time. Being a blogger, you often feel the need to pick up on the latest story and give your spin, and so forth and so on. It was tough on me being constantly faced with all the drama of the world. Oh I’m still faced with it, and I’m still fighting it, I just need to not put pressure on myself to constantly respond to it.

Another thing is as I inch closer to starting my MBA this fall there is a lot to get in order. I was already struggling with finding the right time to write my blogs, that’s only going to get worse, so I need to set some time apart to put together my Vision Board, and really restructure my life so that in the upcoming months I’m not stressing out as I get prepared to leave the working world and become a student again. Once I do that I can schedule time to write as well as a schedule of consistent posting. Again with the timing, my involvement in my community will continue to increase as I continue to mentor “My Kids” and I become more involved with the plight of the homeless via The Samaritan House of Atlanta. When I make my move for school, I’ll be needing all of y’all to recommend to me some great programs to get involved in. So stay up!

I’m not quitting blogging, I’m just going to move this site to a free one, and use it for more personal rants, and then post my really good and deep topics on TheFreshXpress.com and Single Sisters Speak Out. So all the content will be moved and I’ll still be writing. It’s just my more personal thoughts will be reserved for those that truly care and can relate. I have amazing stuff going on in my life right now (apparently I managed to escape the plague of Black Woman Single Syndrome the media is hyping up beyond swing flu) and I should be able to share that with close friends and efriends alike. Just make sure you’re subscribed to TheFreshXpress.com and stay linked to this blog so that you’ll get more information on where it’s moving and when. In the meantime, please get connected to me so you can catch my Twitter #rants that could also be turned into a blog one day. 🙂 Also, add me on Facebook as a friend but let me know where you are coming from so I don’t ignore you into the abyss. 🙂

It’s not over. I promise.

Thank you so much for supporting me. You guys give me life!

JG*

P.S. I know I’m not done blogging, not even a little bit. I love sharing life’s experiences and lessons. I said I’d start on my book this year, and it’s coming. I feel like I can do that now and I have the focus, the direction, and the confidence. But as I begin the path of a Black MBA student this year, prepare to see my ewriting pick up. 🙂

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What exactly is a "Good Black Man"?

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I know that question seems kind of dumb, and everyone will have a different definition replacing some key elements here and there, but seriously, let’s talk about this. These days as women, particularly black women, are fretting about being independent and yet still single you often hear the phrase “I’m out here looking for a good black man.” This is saying that there’s a pool of black men out there, some are good, but most are bad, therefore this search is often difficult.

I don’t like that.

I especially don’t like that because often times I believe the criteria for “good” is lacking in real substance. I hear these women out there talking about having STANDARDS, and I agree wholeheartedly that one should have them. Hell, I have a pretty strict set of standards as well. My only issue is that half the time these standards have very little to do with what I believe make a relationship thrive. A pretty common concept for black women is having a man that has what they have i.e. a degree, corporate/impressive job, etc. However, nowhere in the rule books does it say that a degree guarantees that he will love you, nowhere in the rule books does it say that his job will keep him from slapping you across the room. The only thing the rule books say in that regard is that crappy people are crappy people regardless of what they have in life. Truth be told, and it pains me to say this, but “having what you have” is going to be harder and harder to find as the gap in education gets wider. That doesn’t necessarily mean the gap in good men is getting wider. Hell I know several people who have degrees and have no job, does that automatically stack them in the evil, undateable, unworthy pile? Not to me at least.

So please, can someone explain to me what this mysterious Good Black Man is all about? People talk about him as if he is a Centaur (no Iota…JOKES!), or a unicorn, or the lochness monster. People swear that the only ones that exist are snatched up by white women, or men with Prada shoes. This makes me laugh because I look around my circle of friends and I see PLENTY of Great Black Men. We’re in our twenties so many of them don’t have that first million in the bank. Chances are many of them never will only because that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Sure we all want to be millionaires but the world aint big enough for all of us. But these men are great. Perfect? Of course not. However they have vision, goals, plans, put in hard work for the people they love, and they are just generally great to be around. Yet and still, while being their friend I’ve seen many a woman abuse what they had to offer, or leave them high and dry for that “greener grass” that amounted to nothing more than a financial upgrade.

Now I’m painting with a broad brush here but it seems that when women are looking for a “Good Black Man” what they are really wanting to see is his resume, not his character. Good School? Check. Good Job? Check. Own Property? Check. Check Check Check. Meanwhile overlooking the fact that he aint about a dang thing. I’m not saying these things aren’t great, but they can’t be the sole factors we consider. I’ve seen people fall for the above things without even considering the rest.

Sure I understand that you want security, but what if a man could provide that without a degree? Or without the pretty job? Would those things still matter? For the super-duper independent woman that laments how much she’s got her own and she doesn’t care what he’s talking, does it matter to you his pedigree? Since you have all that you could desire minus the man, it would seem to me that all you would be looking for is a man of the highest quality character regardless of what he owns. Yet and still, sometimes it’s these highly paid, highly successful, Benz driving women, that are out there boo-hooing because they can’t find a man that’s more successful, more paid, and driving a Benz and a Rover since that’s what they deserve for amassing their riches. It’s funny because you will see a million dollar man with a five dollar woman. This always shocks and astonishes women. “Why is he with her?”…. maybe because he likes her for more than her bank account or her accolades.

I’m just going to be honest with you. I’ve never concerned myself with these things, and I think it’s paid off. One of the men I dated in the past had little to nothing in terms of networth. Had a degree, but barely had a job, didn’t have a flashy car, or a swanky spot, but I completely only saw him. While he and I didn’t work out, I can fast forward to now and see that he’s very successful, and doing quite well for himself. He just needed time. When it comes to relationships, I’ve always been pretty lucky to find someone that if the bottom fell out, we would be okay. Clearly they didn’t always work out, but the material stuff was never an issue yet we were always okay. I can say my current Gentleman Situation is the same. Should the flashing lights disappear we would still be kickin. To me that’s what’s most important. Remember things can be here today, gone tomorrow. So when defining that “Good Black Man” look a little bit deeper. Also, chances are you walk past him every single day, put a smile on your face, maybe he’ll stop. Open your eyes a little bit, and maybe he’ll stay.

Save OUR children!

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This post will remain sticky on my site for the next two months as I attempt to turn ripples into WAVES!

In light of the recent events surrounding the murder of Derrion Albert and how many of us were put face to face with a major issue facing our communities I am stepping up MY efforts to make a change where I live. I implore you all to do the same. I’ve been volunteering most of my life whether it was with school, my sorority, on my own, mentoring, cleaning, building homes, anything. However, this time I want to take it a step further.  I had an idea that I tweeted about a few weeks ago, but I allowed the lack of response to distract me. Now I’m going full force with it.

First watch this video.

In this video the distraught mother of Derrion Albert speaks on how her son was headed toward a future that should be every child’s dream. Honor Roll student, college-bound, never in trouble. He loved Chicago and made it his home.

There are other kids out there that are just like Derrion Albert. Maybe they have a computer, maybe they don’t. Maybe they are on the honor roll, or maybe they aren’t. Maybe all the need is someone to show some confidence in them, and provide them access to things that otherwise would be out of their reach. I’m all about personal responsibility but I am also about social responsibility. I will not sit here and pretend like the children in my neighborhood could just suck it up and pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get out there and get the same level of education as the children in Roswell. I won’t do it.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to raise money and use it to buy Old/Used Mac’s for the Dogwood Branch of the ATL Public Library system. That’s in my neighborhood of Bankhead. Then I’d like to start teaching a computer class for the children and teenagers to get them to learn more about technology and using different types. If anything this will open them up to new things and maybe get them interested in something they didn’t even know existed. One child. If I could at least help one child.

Here’s where you come in, there are supposedly 100 subscribers to this blog. If each of you gave $10 I’d be 1/3 of the way to my goal. I have 800+ followers (minus the spam) on twitter. If each of them gave $5 I’d be way over my goal. So all I’m saying is the gifts don’t have to be large. I have over 1000 Facebook friends so all I would need is $3 from each of them.

I’m going to talk to the head Librarian there and post our little interview here on the site so you know that I’m not BS’ing. But please, start helping out NOW! December 25th is the end date for this fundraiser, so let’s do it! Let’s exceed the goal! For everyone that was “inspired” and “moved” by what happened to Derrion Albert, let’s go! Drop $5-$10 in the Chip In and let’s try to help some children have hope and see a different path! If you want to do something like this in your city hit me up!

Reflection | Celebration

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Today’s post got ate up somehow but I will just pour from the heart for a second and ramble.

Today I just want to reflect on how far I/We’ve come in the past eight years. I don’t have to talk about what happened, where I was, or how I felt because we all have the same story, just different places. In all honesty, it was so tragic what happened then the violence that took place afterward the attack that I don’t think we will EVER be okay. Surely we don’t stop and think to ourselves “this is a trickle down effect of Sept 11th” but quite often, I feel like there is a lot to be attributed to that day. While I’m focused on celebrating the fact that we’re still here and there were no further attacks I want to make sure that we as a people are focused on growing as a society.

Don’t let ignorance drive your actions. You don’t have to be a Muslim to understand the religion of Islam and know that it is a religion of peace. There are extremist in anything, and I’m sure many Christians in America would not like to be defined by the actions of some of our extremists.

I think we let each other down when we allowed this country to be lied to. We have Freedom of Speech, but sometimes we don’t use it in the right way. It’s one thing to yell YOU LIE! to the President as he is giving an address to the country, but it’s another thing to come together as a people and demonstrate to the President and his office that you will not shed our BLOOD for your lies. We were angry, but we didn’t do enough about it. Eight years later we look back on a shameful war.

Stop and learn about what’s going on in the world around you. I feel like with all of this I’m preaching to the choir, but maybe I’ll catch one person. There is a lot going on in the world that we as Americans are ignorant to. Middle America has no clue why the Somali Pirates ever started to take up and protect their waters. People have no clue what colonization has done to the continent of Africa. Many do not realize how outside countries moved into the Middle East, sold them weapons, trained them in warfare, and then went after their natural resources. We Don’t Know These Things. Our media doesn’t take the time to tell that side of the story. Go, find out for yourself. I’m learning new things everyday.

Be proud that you are in a country as great as ours! Be proud that on this day eight years ago we all came together and did what we could. We gave blood, we donated money, we gave our time! Just don’t forget and let’s continue to learn from it.

Writer's Block

So I’m suffering from a bit of writer’s block this week, but I was still able to bang out a few. However, today I’m piled up under a bunch of work (Who knew right?) and my writer’s block is not allowing me to come up with anything in anyway quickly. However, I do know where you can go for some good reading.

Today I’m featured on The FreshXpress Roundtable. Six young black stars and six hard hitting questions. Come check us out, and add your own thoughts!

Catch me next week! Also off to the right there’s a box where you can suggest blog topics for me. Please use it!

The Tahiry Effect: Women and their tricks

Most of my blog topics stem from conversations or requests. This one is no different. As am I often found doing, yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend on the complexities of relationships. I was talking about the newest phenomenon in cosmetic procedures: hydrogel injections, affectionately known as Butt Shots. My friend was utterly disgusted, confused, befuddled, and angered. All at the same time. I explained to him that these injections give women with little to no derriere (no Dereon or Beyonce for that matter) the Tahiry effect. I don’t know if she’s fake, but I’m just going to say that these extreme dimensions are pretty rare. And I’ve seen some coke bottles.

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Now while there are plenty of women that naturally have bodies that people like me admire and most men of melanin desire, there are far more women who fail at this. It’s quite alright. Just like other stereotypcs about our people and our men, it is not always true that black women have big ole juicy apple bottom bootys. My friend then went on a mini-rant about how it’s not fair that women are constantly tricking men (in this case, it don’t matter if YOU got it).  He argued that it’s not right to make a man fall in love with your backside and it aint even yours. I’ve heard this argument plenty of times from many men. Some men hate weaves, even well-done weaves, breast implants, liposuction, spanx, injections, acrylic nails, and even make-up.  They hate the idea that they will meet a beautiful woman and she will wash away in the shower. I totally understand, that’s not a very nice thought.

My initial argument with him was that it could be a reaction to the imagery that men like to idolize. Women tend to care a little bit more about looks and tend to be a bit hard on themselves. When we’re with our man-friend and we catch his eye wandering to the girl that walks by with a booty that is beating like an african drum, a small piece of us inside looks back at our own mamase mamasah moomakusa (RIP MJ) and feels a bit dejected. While we’re rocking the sexy Halle Berrrrrrrrraye circa 1991 Strictly Business thinking we’re fly, yet our man is constantly oogling the girls on TV with the indian hawaiian silky down their backs, we begin to seriously consider that sew-in. Now I’m not saying it’s always to this extreme. A bit of it is because sometimes we let insecurities creep in and I’m not going to sit here and pretend that not even really strong black women don’t fall to insecurities. We’re human and it happens. But just like men go out and buy the cars and the bling to make women sing, women go out and do the things they believe will attract men. If we aint got it, we can buy it.

Take a look at this. She’s a pretty decent chick originally, but what this magazine did to her took her to anoher level. Men fall in love with photoshopped girl and this becomes their version of how a woman should look. This becomes what he’s out looking for, and “normal” women just don’t stack up. When in reality, this version doesn’t even really exist.

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He then challenged me that there is someone for everyone. Just like there are men who prefer long hair, there are men that love a girl with the ‘fro. Additionally, he said that men falling in love has more to do with timing and less to do with the dime that just walked by that he has just got to have. He said, it doesn’t make sense for a woman to go to all of these lengths to look a certain way beause she feels like that’s what some man wants, because it really won’t be the deciding factor for him as to if he wants to be with her or not. If he’s ready, he’s ready, if he’s not, he’s not. Getting your flapjacks filled with hydrogel won’t speed the process. Of course he added, at the end of the day it’s always best to just be yourself. Agreed.

I then countered that perhaps the whole thing was shallow on both ends. Men fall in love too quickly with the way a girl looks, so fast it becomes all they care about. If she’s an awesome person deep inside (out the gutter please) then who cares if her looks wash away. Perhaps she wasn’t trying to trick you, but she just loves the process of dressing up, putting on make-up, and getting her nails done. Or maybe whether you like it or not, she just loves the way her face looks with makeup on. Perhaps she loves doing different things with her hair and so she enjoys getting weaves just to try out random styles. She may not even need it.

Now let me say that I do not fully support cosmetic enhancements because I am one to believe that you should be happy the way God made you. At the same time it’s like, do what makes you happy. I’m sure if Tahiry’s assets are in fact a figment of our imaginations and she didn’t get it from her mama, it was still a healthy investment. She’s getting hers. It trips me out though because this is becoming a widespread phenomenon. I’ve heard of Butt Shot parties where women line up and a woman with a syringe comes by and makes their dreams of being the newest member of the Twerk Team a possibilty.

It’s crazy out there. What do you Random Readers out there think? Are you cool if a woman has had some enhancements to give her the body of your dreams? Women, would you or have you had some work done? How do you feel about it?

Signed,

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BET, What can I do to help?

It’s late. And this post is belligerent. I apologize in advance.

I am asking BET what I can do to help because with the rant I’m about to go on, I know that I need to be a part of the solution and not the problem. I know BET is all “we” got but it aint ours anymore, and any social responsibility it ever had is gone. I would like to see BET do better before we get rid of it. I’ll forward this to anyone I can. To appease all the people that cannot stand a person with an opinion let me say a few disclaimers (you know I love my disclaimers). First of all, everything I say is my opinion. I mean really, who the heck am I to be spouting facts like I am the original Wiki? Unless I state something is a fact, i’m typcially rambling my simple a** opinions. Secondly, I understand Free Speech. I am all about people saying what they want, but just be cool with me replying. I also get that this goes both ways. Lastly, I am not a hater because I dislike something. I’m a hater if I don’t have a reason.  Ohhh and I am not just hating on BET. I know they are owned by Viacom, and I’m sorry, I don’t like them either. I don’t watch MTV, VH1, or BET or any other channel associated. I watch True Blood and Frasier. And the Cosby’s of course! Sorry, this is LONG.

First I’ll say the good things, then I’ll rant belligerently.

Janet, you looked amazing. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that for every pang I feel at a memory of him, you feel it a gillion times over. You were so classy, and your words were brief and to the point. I am praying for you and your family. Beyonce, your voice was beautiful (but the performance was weird. You kinda walked around like a stiff barbie. I know girl, they need to quit with them corsets on you). Ne-yo, you did some amazing performances, and I feel like you have redeemed yourself in my eyes. Maxwell, they could have ended the show with you if it wasn’t for Ms. Janet. Welcome back. Jay-Z, I was pleased to see you perform, however the way that Jamie hyped up what was about to happen, I was a bit disappointed when it was you. I loved it, but  I was really hoping that was going to be MJ Tribute time.

Now. The rant.

I just watched the #BETAwards (Take that you trending topic nazis. A-holes and losers) and I give it a big fat D+. I mean…. Holy ham and cheese. My biggest gripe with the BET Aawards was that they hyped it up to be this major event and the greatest tribute to MJ EVAR!!!! This is the only reason I patronized the award show this year. I am extremely distraught over the passing of Michael Jackson, and I felt deep inside that BET could pull it together quick enough to really pay tribute to Michael. Again, to you defenders….I KNOW BET only had 3 days. I know that the show was already planned and ready to go. But where I come from, that’s called EXCUSES! Either you’re going to do it, or you’re going to pack up your stuff and go home. I wasn’t asking for fireworks and acrobats. Just a GOOD tribute. I saw it tweeted that the show was extended an hour to pay tribute to MJ…. ummmm I must have missed this.

You shortened the nominee listing, extended the show an hour, and the tributes were less than flattering. Ciara singing Heal The World? She’s a bomb dancer, why wasn’t she dancing? Beyonce performed I Can’t Help It last week at her concert in tribute to MJ and KILLED it, why wasn’t she allowed to do that along with Ava Maria? Ne-yo (that’s right, I’m supporting Ne-yo) and Jamie SAVED this show. You would have done better to have the whole crowd do the Thriller dance all together. That way you could have saved yourself all the double and triple and overtime and it would have still been an awesome tribute. You could have put together a 30 minute mini-movie of rare video clips and interviews, some childhood memories, and some of his best songs and videos. At the worst, you could have loaded up YouTube and just played a playlist and let everyone party! If it wasn’t for the last 10 minutes of the show, I would have more than likely started shaking. Playing Michael Jackson songs as you cut to commercial was nice, but such an afterthought. The random stories people told were touching but it seemed like you snatched them up 1 1/2 minutes before they were put in front of the camera. I just felt like you let a lot of MJ fans down. I’ve seen better tributes on youtube. I would have been pleased as a pickle if you just paid someone to read to the audience this man’s blog on the awesomeness of MJ. All those people you wore out, tired themselves in vain. I know some people are saying “well just be glad that they did anything at all! A for effort!” and I get that. But that doesn’t take away my ability to voice my opinion, and I’m not in elementary school so effort needs to actually add up to something. I don’t understand celebrating hard work even if the work sucks. Do I pat a successful bank robber on his back because hey…. he put in hard work? We gotta stop just accepting mediocrity as “it was the best they could do”. I doubt it. OH and let me not get into why on earth Chris Brown did not get to perform? Someone tweeted that Al Sharpton blocked Chris from performing, but he denies that. I don’t know, but what I do know is that if they would have let him do a 20 minute set for MJ, my blood pressure would be at a nice number right now. Don Cornelius beats his wife and is arrested for it more than once, but Chris Brown is still being villainized. I’m saying, at 19 are we showing him that it’ll be 60 years before we can forgive him?

I’ll leave that alone for now.

Without the MJ shout outs (tribute is hard to swallow) the show was not the business. But I knew that it wouldn’t be because I don’t too much care for most of the artists slated to perform. I also disagreed with the nominees, and if it weren’t for having my hopes up about seeing some good MJ loving, I would not have watched it. See I know when to fall back. There were several things I did not understand:

Was BET doing a “Where are they now?” show? I’m not sure if those acts were already slated, or they just came out of the woodworks to see how they could contribute. Someone commented on my Facebook page,

Please blog about how BBD and New Edition looked tired meanwhile The O’jays looked like they just finished Diddy’s Boot camp Making The Band Style.

and I agree. While I actually enjoyed the BBD/Guy/Old school set, I was a little worried they were going to hurt themselves. The O’Jays came out and schooled everybody! Oh and were did they find these people? Tevin Campbell? Keith Sweat? Guy? They did their lil thang though. Good to see Tevin. Next year, I’m signing up to perform.

I know many people love Soulja Boy, but I just can’t embrace that. While “Turn My Swagg On” is catchy, watching him do it live was painful in my side. I hope he’s learning a lesson admist all of this tragedy. I hope we all are.

What on God’s green earth was going on with the Drake performance. If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would not have known that Drake had sprained his ankle. Now everyone who was ready to kill him for not standing up for BBD needs to say a silent apology. LOL I mean I wasn’t mad at him. Even if he wasn’t hurt if he aint like BBD or Guy why would he have to stand up? Either way, who told all them children to get on the stage? I don’t care if Weezy always brings his kids on during a performance, that does not make it okay. It just means someone needs to call Child Protective Servies. I was so embarrased. Yes, let’s have the kids on for “I wish I could F*** every girl in the world.” That’s a good idea. I can tell there was no run-through. Also, Weezy, no one heard a word you said. The whole rap was one big bleep.

Speaking of, Mr. Censor Man. WTF were you doing? Earlier in the show, you were trigger happy and ended bleeping words like “Boa” and “Blame” and “poptarts” and “smiley face”. Then Eddie Levert is on stage like he’s in the Barbershop with his boys and lets one fly and you sleepin on the job. You sir, #failed.

When Taraji P. Henson accepted her award for Best Actress, I was pleased that she won. However, she invoked Yvette and I tweeted that when she was saying “I love you” it sounded more like “I luh you Jody, I luh you!” And I was joking. Then, she came back to present an award, and they reenacted scenes from Baby Boy and I slid off the couch. Ving, WTH were you talking about? “Guns is Michael Jackson?” I mean, no. You got so far into character, not even Taraji could pull you out.

BET this whole thing just seemed rushed because it was. For the most part you didn’t even announce the nominees, the Censor man was trippin, the sound quality was horrible, and it lasted 3 hours and 40 mins for no good reason. I’m not sure what the initial show was supposed to look like, but I’m betting that it was going to be a fail too considering your adjustments were wompity womp womp. Jamie worked his butt off and I hope y’all break him off something extra. I’m so mad at y’all for the Tiny & Toya promos, Frankie & Neffie, The Mo’nique show, and that random game show. My advice to y’all is to gain a social conscience and start over.

I have so much more to say, but we’re nearing 2000 words already and that’s too much like a thesis. Tonight was just full of fail. It was fun, but it was a fail. Twitter was tripping as people got real reckless about the Trending Topics, and people lost friends because they actually liked the show. If you would like to see the performances, you can catch them here.

My Grade…. D+. I wanted my time back until Janet took the stage. I immediately started crying.

My Top Tweets:

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And many many more. I get it. BET is Black ENTERTAINMENT Televesion. I just think it sucks that it has no desire to uphold a bit of social responsibility for it’s community. Go ahead. Flame away. Just get ready for the comeback. 🙂 *evil laugh*