Monday, January 16, 2017

#MLKDay: What if we never had to overcome?

What if the US actually treated all persons equally from the beginning?
Where would we be? 

Have you ever stopped and wondered where this country might be had, at the end of slavery, former slaves were granted full citizenship rights and privileges...separate but (un)equal never existed...the Black Codes, Jim Crow, lynchings, and firebombs never happened? What if all citizens were treated equally?

What if redlinging, restrictive covenants and gerrymandering were never implemented, and therefore neighborhoods weren't cut off from building and fully enjoying the benefits of economic prosperity?

Black men fighting for the Union in Civil War.
Where might this country have been, had these human beings been treated as human beings...finally free to determine their own fate in life without facing the terrorism visited upon them within the bounds of this country? How far ahead of the competition might this country be, had it implemented fully the ideals it espouses so boldly these days..of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

What if grand marketing schemes built to dehumanize Black citizens never existed? What if people were punished for crimes and rehabilitated from criminality equally without thought to race, socioeconomic status, religion or color?

Where would we be, if the history taught here included all contributions by all citizens with no thought to the color of that person's skin? What if we didn't have to name a movie Hidden Figures because the figures weren't hidden?

What if jobs, dignity, and lives weren't the payment due for being treated as mere human beings and citizens of a country? What if the Civil Rights Movement was never necessary? What if oppression and inequality never existed in the United States? Where would we be as a country?

Signing of the Civil Rights Act July 2, 1964.

Print transcript
Deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome.
Now I join hands often with students and others behind jail bars singing it: ìWe shall overcome.î
Sometimes we've had tears in our eyes when we joined together to sing it, but we still decided to sing it! ìWe shall overcome.î
Lord before this victory is won some will have to get thrown in jail some more but we shall over come. Don't worry about us, before the victory is won some of us will lose jobs, but we shall overcome.
Before the victory is won, even some will have to face physical death. But if physical death is the price that some must pay, to free their children from a permanent psychological death, then nothing shall be more redemptive. We shall over come.
Before the victory is won, some will be misunderstood and called bad names and dismissed as rebel-rousers and agitators. Oh But we shall overcome.
And I'll tell you why.
We shall overcome because the arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.
We shall overcome because Carlyle is right: "No lie can live forever."
We shall overcome because William Collin Bryant is right: "Truth crushed to earth will rise again".
We shall overcome because James Russel Lowell is right: "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. Yet that scaffold sways the future. And behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadows, keeping watch above his own."
We shall overcome because the Bible is right, "You shall reap what you sow."
We shall overcome. Deep i my heart I do believe! We shall overcome.
And this with this faith we will go out and adjourn the counsels of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism and we will be able to rise from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope. And this will be a great America! We will be the participants in making it so.
And so as I leave you this evening I say, ìWalk together children! Don't you get weary!î

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Friendships: Choose wisely

Real Housewives of Atlanta costars Kandi Burruss
and Phaedra Parks' friendship implodes. 

2017 Friendship Tips by HK
Choosing good friends is like walking through a maze filled with explosives and determining who's there with you at the end and whether you helped each other get through or just happened to arrive at the same place at the same time.

People toss the word "friend" around too freely and then wonder how they end up falling apart, realizing that they had the kind of "friend" who was never an actual friend but just ended up in the same place at the same time. Friendship, for me, is that we both actually care that the other makes it through and sometimes we may even make sacrifices for  each other to see that our friend is good. It isn't necessarily about where that friend can take you or you him/her, it's the concern that no matter where you end up, the friend has your back and you his/hers.


Like any relationship, friendships aren't supposed to cause you pain and suffering. Yes, misunderstandings happen and hurt feelings occur, but a true friend will not take actions to cause you harm. That means a friend will not disparage your name, lie on you, operate dishonestly with you or seek to become your competition.


Friends hold each other down and are dependable. In having your back, your friend will be an addition to your life, not a subtraction. Hangers on are not friends. I always like to use LeBron James as an example. LeBron has his friends as part of his management team. These guys actually work to add to James' bottom line. He doesn't have a group of male groupies from his old hood just hanging around to get access to what he's earned. They bring something other than a good time and trouble to the table...that way everyone contributes and everyone eats. Folks hanging around who are just eating off of you will watch you starve as they get fat. Those folks aren't your friends.


A friend takes time to understand you, hear you out, make critiques in love... not to tear you down. Friends are honest with you and don't play you sideways. True friends are vulnerable with each other and protective of their bond. They do not have to fake it to make it and realize each party to the friendship is an individual, not a clone. They honor and respect each person's need for autonomy (individualism and free space to grow) and know that the friendship goes beyond a persons growth and development. When a friend can no longer thrive within the dynamics of the friendship, the friendship dynamics can adapt. Time and space do not change a friend into an enemy, it just adjusts the structure of the friendship. And that is okay.

I wrote this particular blog because a hot topic in the uber superficial social media sphere is the fallout from the break up of Kandi and Phaedra's friendship on Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Real Housewives of Atlanta is one of my TV watching guilty pleasures. As with all reality TV, I see the entertainment in it, more so than believing the "reality" of it. Sure, these people purport to give audience a free pass at voyeurism, but it is hard to believe that anyone would truly allow you to see that deeply into their lives. Plus with edits and re-shoots, it is difficult to get a clear picture of what really goes on behind the scenes.

What does often come through, however, are the personalities of the subjects and some glimpses at their individual character. On the show, I believe Cynthia and Kandi reveal more of their real lives than the other ladies. I believe Kenya shows some but not all and I definitely don't believe she ever lets the audience see into the gamut of her real life. From the beginning, I felt like the show was just another acting gig for her and she's playing a role and not taking it too seriously. I actually think Kenya is super private.

I have felt from the get go that Phaedra is the original Joanne the Scammer and Porsha and Sheree are there for the check.

That said, the end of Kandi and Phaedra's "friendship" did not come as a surprise to me. I never thought they were BFFs. I thought they happened to be at the same place at the same time and clicked. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people you just click with and it isn't as deep as it seems. However, people confuse clicking with true friendship and treat the clique (intentional change of words) in the same way they would treat a friendship.

Cliques are for good times and commraderie, they are not for confiding  in or bearing your soul to. I'm sorry...some members of your clique ain't about 💩and you all know it! Cliques are good for a ki-ki, but you can't trust them to always keep it 💯, have your back or do you no harm.

If all you have is a clique and you don't have real friends, ask yourself what kind of friend you have been and have sought out. Sometimes it is best to role solo if a person cannot be a true friend to you or you to him/her. Check out Hassan K's friendship tips above and handle yourselves accordingly.

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blogging 2017: Growth, engagement and planning

Blogging is more than just writing.

Blogging for me began in the Fall of 2010. I had no plan, no direction, and no real end game. My sole purpose in blogging was writing. Over the course of the six plus years that I have been blogging, I have learned that it takes more than great writing skills to blog successfully.

Year after year, I promised myself, and my readers, that I would blog more professionally. Blogging as a business was low on my radar, and honestly still is. However, blogging often brings a number of opportunities that require good business sense.

I have had so many doors open for me through blogging, most occurring within the first two years of starting. Brands have reached out to me to help with promoting their products, I have hosted events and appeared as a reoccurring guest on a local morning radio show. I've written two books, interviewed celebrities and attended and/or been invited to numerous events and concerts.

What I have not done, but should have done, was build from all of those things. I should have built my audience, I should have built a business plan with strategies to grow, I should have built a stronger engagement plan for my audience.

So, going forward in 2017, I resolve to do better with blogging.

My 2017 blogging goals are:

Growth- I would like to grow my audience and grow my brand.

Engagement- I would like to engage more with my readers. I want to hear from you. Let me know what you would like to see more of on here and what you want me to get rid of...

Planning- I plan on creating an editorial calendar and some events of my own.

What are your 2017 resolutions when it comes to personal and business undertakings?

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fix a Black man's heart

Black man
Black men appeared on Iyanla Fix My Life to unravel the stereotypes
and issues that plague many of them. 

Fix a Black man's heart was the title of an Iyanla Fix My Life series that played out over three episodes from October 29th through November 12th. This blog post will be about that series and how many of the issues broached can be about any man, no matter his race.

Friday, November 11, 2016

FIU player severely injured in domestic violence attack

Mary Gasper faces felony aggravated battery charges
after domestic violence attack on Jonnu Smith.

Mary Gasper of Miami Gardens, Florida viciously attacked her boyfriend FIU senior tight end Jonnu Smith on Halloween night. The news just hit yesterday about the domestic violence that may have ended Smith's very promising football career.

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