One of the most important movies to me Moonlight — depicting the struggle of being a Black gay man won accolades this earlier this year. Each and every day I continue to hope that being black and queer becomes normalized and LGBTQ+phobia becomes a thing of the past in the Black community. We can’t move forward as black people in America or Europe or elsewhere if black-on-black prejudice exists.
“Black, gay men shouldn’t feel the need to conform to these archaic stereotypes. No one should have to act in a way that is unnatural – regardless of race or sexuality. We need to stop pigeonholing – not all gay men are effeminate, not all black men are masculine. Men shouldn’t feel any less ‘manly’ for being gay, or acting in ways that are not traditionally ‘masculine’, and gay men shouldn’t feel any less part of the LGBT+ community if they do not fit the effeminate gay stereotype. It’s about time we ditched these preconceived ideas of what people should look, or act like. There are no rules.”
— Jamel Sherard, Ditch the Label (2016)
Say it out and Loud and Proud:
“I am NOT your faggot”
“I am NOT your batty boy/batty mon”
“I am NOT your sissy”
“Stop calling it a lifestyle”
“Let there be Love! “Love has no Gender”
“I am NOT your black gay stereotype”
“I am NOT your gay stereotype”
“I Don’t Belong to You, I Live Life on my own Terms”
Mel B attending the “Americas Got Talent” Radio City Post Show at the Radio City Music Hall
It is officially June which for many, will be the month of multiple high school graduations across the country. And most likely they will be attending college in the fall. Somewhere in the jungle of New York City, the sunny beach of Flordia and maybe the suburbs of Ohio.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in October 2016, 69.7 percent of 2016 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities.
So like the meme that is going viral: Congratulations to surviving the easiest part [4 years] of your life. Literally. Because college is a whole DIFFERENT ballgame and in my mind, a lot of you guys are glamorizing college as what you see on bougie kids Instagrams and Snapchat. And as pillar of the community, I will share with you 100 college tips..I got this idea from asking several students what would be their advice for the incoming freshmen coming to New Haven. Most of them said don’t come here. So here goes something:
Don’t buy textbooks. At all. Rent them. It is Way CHEAPER. You will be tight if you paid over $300 for textbooks that when you try to sell at the end of the semester, college textbook stores and vendors will only buy from you for $32.
Get along with you roommate as much as you can. You don’t have to be best friends or friends with them. You just have to co-exist with each other. As long as there is respect given you’ll be alright.
Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck (unless you know you have a tendency to lose things quickly)
If you’re coming to the Northeast or Middle America from a warm state like California or Flordia, bring the proper clothes to get you through our brutal winters. Cause I’m from Long Island and I went to college in Boston for a year. WINTER is brutal.
Don’t take 8 AM classes at all (unless you’re an early bird which most of my friends & colleagues are not) You’ve spent four years waking up at the crack of dawn for 7 straight hours of school. Unless you absolutely have to take it because there’s only one section of the required class offered or open.
5 classes are enough. Most colleges consider a full-time student to be someone taking 12 or more credits.
Don’t join 1400 clubs, you need to FOCUS on your studies and your freshmen year where people are rooting for you to succeed. Trust me, your grades will suffer because you join a whole bunch of organizations and didn’t allocate time to study or perfect that paper.
Join clubs (but not too much)….I understand many of you guys have a hermit/I-Don’t-Like-People personality…but it only helps to get involved on campus. For example, you’re a Communication major like me..it’s essential (if you want to land a job after you graduate) to be involved on campus at places like the Film/TV club or the radio station. because employers don’t just care about your high GPA or letter of recommendation… a lot of them want to see that you made a difference on campus or making strides towards your dream career. Also as a transfer student, it is very essential as well…. me deciding to join organization and come to their meetings was how I ended up meeting new people and making friends as it can hard for transfer students coming into a new school (half re-living freshmen year/half upperclassmen without knowing anybody)
Don’t become an RA only for the free housing/meal plan. Listen I sympathize with a lot of you who go to an extremely expensive school and need to find ways to save money and loan debt. I had a financial hold on my account for almost four months that barred me from registering for classes. But being an RA is way more than just receiving free housing…it’s a full-time job and whole lot of stress. I personally don’t give enough fucks to want to become an RA. RAs & especially Senior Resident Assistants have to give up a lot of their free time to dedicate it to helping their residents and putting on programs.
There’s a website called RateMyProfessor.com and it comes in total clutch. You’re able to see ratings and reviews of the professors at your school. Trust me, you need to check out if your future professor a complete asshole who is very disorganized or the professor from heaven.
Apply for financial aid early. The earlier completed, the more money you’re likely to get.
Thursday is the new Friday….why? Most people don’t have classes on Friday so Thursday night is the LITuation (#ThirstyThursdays)
Wear whatever you want. If you want to wear pajamas to class, go ahead!! No one is going to penalize you.
The Deans of Students is the college equivalent to the High school principal’s office that you to if you get in trouble.
The Freshmen 15 is real. In college, you’ll get a meal plan. And you’ll want to pig out in the dorm. But know that the dining hall food IS NOT going to taste like your mom and dad’s home cooking.
Don’t spend all your meal plan dollars before the semester ends. You will regret it.
GIRLS: beware of the upperclassmen boys. They’ll only want to date (or get with you) because you’re freshmen (= freshmeat). You guys are new which means you don’t know how they operate (or operated in the past) like the senior, junior female students know.
COMMUTERS: Don’t feel like just because you’re commuting 15-40 minutes to campus means you can’t be (heavily) involved in the campus community. It’s the complete opposite. The editor for the Arts & Entertainment section of my school newspaper (and is in a sorority) happens to be a commuter. You’d be surprised to see there are residents barely leave the room instead of partaking in the Student Activities.
Black and Latino Students: If you’re attending a mostly white school (like me), then you know it’s important to surround yourself with a community that looks like you. If your school has a Black Student Union (of it could be called African American Student Union) or a Latin American Club join it. (You’ll probably find someone that could do your hair.) If you see one or two of us in your classes, be there for them.
Avoid dormcest. Dormcest is defined by Urban Dictionary as sex between two (or more) people living the same dorm[itory]. Because when things go sour with you guys, it’ll be awkward running into each other in the hallway and on your way out to the building.
Unless you and your bae is serious, ditch the long-distance relationship.
Use your RESOURCES. Your tuition $$ pays for it. Go the tutoring center, see your first-year success advisor, go to the library to have them show you how to use the database for when it’s time to do your research papers.
Don’t like your major? Change it. But do it as soon as possible so your graduation date isn’t delayed. You don’t want to be a senior and be unhappy that going to walk away with a degree that you’re not going to pursue a career in.
If you get even one D or F….it will bring down your GPA…big time. Withdraw or drop classes before deadlines.
As far as professors go: Befriend your professors. Ask questions during and after class, utilize their office hours, email them. Show them why you’re valuable outside from just the classroom. Step out of your comfort zone.
Don’t give into peer pressure….remember it’s your choice.
Find an on-campus job. If you don’t come from money like I do, start a bank account and seek student employment on campus. You could be eligible for work-study which gives you a part time job that help pays your tuition and gives you paycheck paycheck. If you’re unsuccessful, then look for places off-campus to work (that is convenient). I went to college in Boston for a year and Boston loves hiring college students. The career center also helps as well and can help fix your resume.
Carry your Student ID with you at all times.
Coffee is will your best friend.
You will not enough sleep. Trust me.
Be prepared for the truckload of homework and required reading that will come your way.
Take a chance and study abroad. It’s a life changing experience. Save up if you have to. Plus there is study abroad scholarships.
Befriend upperclassmen. They are a great source of advice and they pretty much know the campus culture.
Take out student loans. Don’t be afraid. You’re not the only poor students. If you work hard in college, you will land a career that will allow you to able to pay them back.
Professors don’t like Wikipedia
Have a good laptop. It’s a necessity these days in college. There are student discounts offered for a laptop (and tablets).
Don’t cheat and DO NOT plagiarize. You will get in SERIOUS trouble. I’d rather take the L in that Philosophy quiz than risk being kicked out of school. And as far as plagiarizing goes, there are websites that will scan your paper for plagiarism.
Use Grammerly.com. Call me crazy. I make sure I reserve $29 in my bank account so I can pay the monthly membership cause it is worth it.
Google Docs, Powerpoints, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and GroupMe is a college in 2017 starter pack.
If you have a lot going on during your typical week in college, you probably won’t have that much time to watch television. That was me this year. I missed many episodes of American Horror Story & Riverdale.
You will meet some of the best friends of your life at college. Compared to HS, you will have a lot more control over who you want to be friends with, spend your time with, and get close to. It’s so easy to find a group of friends that are the right fit for you. They’ll make you see all of the things that you can be.
When drinking, know your limit.
Befriend your RA….it could keep you out of trouble
Start or join a study group. Whether it’s in your dorm’s common room or the library.
Finals week will be hell….and professors will clutter you with end-of-the-year assessments all at the same time.
Friendships and associates can change. And sometimes the person you least thought you weren’t going to be friends with, become your friends. Opposite attracts sometimes.
Use a condom. The school offers them for free.
In class, don’t ask to use the bathroom. Just go.
If you walk in late to class, just do it calmly. Don’t disrupt the professor’s lecture.
Read the syllabus.
You can’t be constantly late or absent to class. Most professors cap the absence allowances to 2 or 3 before taking off points.
Some people make great roommates but bad friends and some people make great friends but bad roommates.
When you’re angry about one thing, you’re suddenly angry about everything. And that’s just life in general but it’s applicable to college. I’ve gotten an F on a paper and spent the whole day livid about everything else going on.
Don’t be prissy (or uppity). People aren’t going to like you if you act that way.
Go the football or basketball game…for the experience.
Being a student athlete doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off on your work.
Set short term goals and long terms goals.
Participate in class. Ask questions and provide input in ongoing class lectures. Your grade will most likely depend on it.
Learning to survive on a budget. Penny pinch if you have to.
Utilize public transportation. And Uber as well.
Take advantage of free stuff (and free food) as a college student.
Know what you’re getting yourself into before taking out a credit card or deciding to get an off-campus apartment.
Expect greater diversity. People will come from all over, from different cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations and walk of life. And feel free to educate yourself on what a microaggression is as well.
It’s okay if your friends come from all over the place in the country. Some of my friends are from Boston, Rhode Island, and Maryland.
Exercise. Use your school’s fitness center.
Let your friends change over the course of four years…it’s probably for the better
Check out the different fraternities and sororities on campus…it might not be for everyone but give it a shot.
Be careful about what you post on social media apps.
Take an elective class outside your major. It’ll open up your mind.
Call your parents at least once a week.
Ramen Noodles will be your friend.
Your school will most likely have a student portal to submit assignments and communicate with your professors.
Take college serious from the start. This isn’t high school anymore.
Professors will not accept late assignments. When my News Writing & Reporting professor Susan Campbell says submit by 6 pm and not a minute later, she ain’t playing.
Know that there are counselors available on-campus to see if you’re having issues. They can help you cope with stress and other mental health dilemmas.
Take a break from studying if you have to.
Don’t treat yourself like a workhorse. Reserve some “me” time.
If you go college far from home (like across the country far), check out the policies of staying on campus during the breaks. Maybe make a friend who lives somewhat close to school, whom you can spend Thanksgiving break with.
Try to get your textbooks beforehand or wait until the first for the professor to let you know if it’s required or not.
Learn how to do laundry. Buy TidePods.
Go to your RA if you’re having issues with your roommate. Don’t let the tension build up.
Flip Flops in the bathroom.
Set up 12 alarms to wake you up.
Care packages come in clutch.
Have fun your first two year of college because when you’re a junior and senior…things get serious.
Go and explore the local area surrounding your school. I didn’t realize until I came to UNH how downtown New Haven is a hidden secret between NYC and Boston.
Be open-minded and get ready to defend your stance on things.
Explore different career if you’re unsure of what you want to do.
Get an internship after a year or two of college, it’ll help get your foot in the door to your future job field.
You can get a lot of discounts just for being a college student.
If you’re truly unhappy with you school, don’t be afraid to transfer to where you know you truly want to be. The application as a transfer student is exhausting but is worth it in the end.
If you’re the first person in your family to go to college, give yourself a pat on the back. No, I actually mean it.
It could be a race to get into a class that you want when it’s class registration time.
Girls (again): Please be safe..because campus sexual assault is very real. If you’re going to a party, go with a trusted group of friends. Don’t leave your cup anywhere. If you want to exit a situation immediately and are concerned about frightening or upsetting someone, it’s okay to lie. Know about the emergency services (number) at the school. *Boys can be raped too*
Think about grad school later in your college career.
Start a club, be an advocate for yourself, become an activist for a cause that’s close to you.
If you’re thinking of dropping out, DON’T. College isn’t easy and you’re going run into situations that you don’t like but you got to suck it up and deal with and walk away from college with a diploma. Trust my friends and I all have the moments where we feel like throwing in the towel. Cause shit gets real. There have been times I’ve contemplated dropping out and becoming a gay porn star. But then I realize I came to college for a reason and so did you. In Bible verse, Jeremiah 29: 11 reads “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” You gotta trust your struggle.
Today is Father’s Day, and I expect many of you guys and gals to be posting photos on social media of you and your dads, how much you love and appreciate them for taking you to your first little league game or Disneyland and what not. However, I did not have the privilege of growing up in a two-parent household or have two parents period. I am part of the 72 percent of Black children who are raised in a single parent household.
I remember last years Father’s Day, I broke down and cried. I had wished that I didn’t trigger this emotion by going onto the internet and social media that day and the next to see what I’ll never have the chance to experience or even relate to. I think at this point today future Father’s Days to come, a fire in me will be there no matter I do.
My father’s name was Kenneth Oliver Crowder Jr. He was born in August 1958 and raised Queens, New York (“where they listen to a bunch of Nas“). His mother Minnie and father Joseph moved to Queens sometime around the 40s or 50s from Alabama. My dad never went to college but did pursue trade school. He knew my mom from when they went to church as kids and ran into her again in the 1980s when she was working as a bartender in Queens, and he was delivering newspapers. I don’t know many fun facts about my dad except for that he was a fan of the New York Mets and that he loved hip-hop music. For those who don’t know. New York (particularly the Bronx) was the place that birthed hip-hop in the mid to late 1970s before reaching the masses in the 80s and 90s. I’m sure my father was into all the Golden Age/Old School Hip-Hop of that heyday. My dad married my mom who already had two kids of her own and had my brother in 1985 and me in 1996. For awhile he worked at the Marriott hotel and then worked in a deli at the hospital where I was born.
There was a time my dad and my mom were separated as he had some issues, like infidelity and “letting the streets tell him what to do.” Towards the end of the 90s, my father developed lung cancer which was caused by heavy cigarette smoking. There was nothing the doctors could do to help him succumbed to the disease on October 2, 1999.
I was only three years old, and my brother was 13. I literally have no memory of my dad while my brother does. So growing up with a single parent was normal to me. When people ask me about my brother I low-key cringe because I don’t think he’s really been the same (mentally and emotionally) every since my dad died. I’m not going to delve that much into it at this moment, but he and I have had a tumultuous relationship which is why I try to keep communication with him at a minimum as much as possible as I pray that he gets help for his issues.
I’ve always fantasized how different my life would be if my father were still around. Or even if I had a step-father or some type of father figure. Men aren’t really prevalent as parents in my family as much. Most of them, off the top of my head, either left, died or went to jail.
I remember as a kid watching sitcoms where if a child’s parent said “no you can’t do or that,” then he or she would to the other parent and ask the same thing. I imagine that would’ve been the situation if my dad was around. Maybe my dad and I would’ve gone fishing or play baseball or basketball together. Shoot then I would be in shape today.
My dad and I would’ve debated over rap music because we both share a love for it. He probably would be one of those black father’s who tries to tell me that Migos, 21 Savage or Drake doesn’t compare to his hip hop back in his day. (My mom who became an ordained minister four years ago, can’t stand rap music or anything that isn’t gospel, smooth jazz, or Sade period; she also hates music with profanity in it).
There are other things I do ponder about. Would our financial situation be better? Would, my dad, be supportive of me going to away to college? Would he have been accepting of my brother, older cousin (who’s basically like a brother to me) and I being gay? (Cause me trying to be heterosexual is like Snoop Dogg quitting the chief) Would my father have been able to tolerate his son’s uber-obsession with Beyonce and the Destiny’s Child/Knowles alumni? Would he have that birds and bees conversation with me? Would he have given me the best childhood as a loving, supportive co-parent? Sadly I’ll never truly know.
What I do know is there are times I get in my feelings because I wish he were here on earth with me. I already have trouble forming ace boon coon friendships with other black men (despite going to a mostly white campus) out of fear they will be intimidated by me being gay. I feel like parents are the first friends you have in life and my dad would’ve shown me the way in life.
Even though I’ll never a father in my life, I still want to be a father myself whether the blueprint is in hand or not. Though that’s subject to change as I have those days where I’m other people’s children and I think to myself: maybe this isn’t for me.
I’m still debating when I would have children post-college years. I’m thinking my late 30s and 40s. I pray that I’ll be married to a great husband by then and we’ll have the coins to have a surrogate mother carry our kids. At the minimum, I want two. From our sperms that we’re even.
Where I’m Calling Home: My mama’s crib in Long Island where that’s been my home since 2001.
What I’m Looking Forward To: My new internship role at Radio Free Brooklyn continuing to get more hands-on experience in my desired career field, meeting new people at work, hopefully getting some exercise and some summer relaxation but most of all, stacking this BREAD.
What I’m Dreading: Living some distance from my main college pals, being afraid of not being able to give my all, taking the Nassau County bus to and from work.
Exciting Things from Last Month: I’ve fixed this blog and have become active on it now that I have free time since I’m on summer vacation. I’m halfway done with college (71% according to my degree audit). 46 more credits to go. And my GPA is back to stabilization. I will have a new on-campus bursary (non-work study) job as a Bartels Building Manager for the Office of CSELO. I also got hired at Chipotle Mexican Grill at Nassau County’s Roosevelt Field mall. And I joined the Caged Bird Magazine team.
Current Term GPA: 3.20
Major GPA: 3.65
Progress on Last Month’s Goals: I didn’t exactly have a substantial amount of goals I wanted to accomplish, but by the end of the year I knew I was going to try to get a job no matter how aggressive I had to be for this summer and the next school year. I was still going to get as much experience in broadcast journalism as much as I can despite not landing my dream internship. I made sure I was in good academic standing.
Short-Term Goals: Get a ticket to Day 1 of the Panorama Music Festival and the Billboard Hot 100 festival no matter if I get someone to come with me or not, find ways to occupy myself this summer when I have downtime, tackle my ADHD, creating a savings account, pay my tuition and get supplies ready for next year, apply for Orientation Leader position again for the 2018 summer.
What’s on my playlist at the moment: I absolutely love SZA’s new album CTRL (I love her stripped-down voice with melodic-styled neo-soul and R&B), Dancehall artist Spice’s Sheet (Raw) is my new workout song and I know all the words to Cardi B’s “Red Barz” track and Mary J Blige’s new song “Glow Up” (with Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled and Quavo) on her new album Strength of a Woman.
What am I binge-watching: I still haven’t finished 13 Reasons Why and Riverdale. I’m currently watching the second season of British comedy show Chewing Gum. I will try to continue to watch the TNT’s new show Claws. (watch out for a blog post about it)
Long-Term Goals:Grow my networking, learn some more adulting-skills, get an entry level job in broadcast media after college, explore downtown New Haven more since I have two more years in Connecticut, find a boyfriend.
Now that I’m out of school for the summer, I finally have the time to catch up on new television shows that may have premiered over the duration spring semester. I missed the new CW series Riverdale after 3 episodes. (Gotta catch up on that). While FOX’s Empire may come to an end sooner or later, I might stop watching altogether as it’s becoming more and more uninteresting to see with each episode.
In comes, the new series Famous In Love. Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family, is in need of another smash series on their roster as the pop culture phenomenon is known as Pretty Little Liars is coming to an end with its series finale premiering on June 27th. Carrying a formula similar to other Freeform shows (or teen-centric shows in general), the cast is made up of mostly unknowns which are cheaper than getting superstars (except for sexy Keith Powers whom you may remember as the co-star in The New Edition Story mini-series on BET earlier this year). However, the lead star of the show is former Disney star, Bella Thorne.
I’ve never cared to watch Disney Channel post-2009, so I didn’t know who Bella Thorne and Zendaya were on until later on when they became more relevant in the mainstream celebrity world. That didn’t happen until their show Shake It Up! ended. I started stanning out for Zendaya after she dropped her first album while Bella Thorne I didn’t care for at all. I know she took on the Drew Barrymore legacy playing the 2015 version of naive Casey Becker Nina Patterson in the first ten minutes of the MTV television reboot of Scream.
With the series Famous in Love, it seems like Bella Thorne is using this opportunity to as a stepping stone to help further distance herself from her Disney persona/audience. It’s not easy for former Disney/Nickelodeon stars to transition into adult roles that can help them be taken seriously by the industry. However, after watching five episodes, I don’t think this series does much for Bella Thorne’s post-Disney career. I’m confident to believe there isn’t that big of a gap between folks who watched Shake It Up and Sonny with a Chance to those now watching Freeform shows.
In a nutshell, the show centers around Thorne’s character Paige Townsen (without the d) who is a college student/aspiring actress in Los Angeles living in an apartment with her two best friends Cassie and Jake. Paige’s life changes when she is plucked from a cattle call and cast as the lead actress in a YA-book phenomenon turned major Hollywood film adaption called Locked. Paige stars along with:
Heartthrob Rainer Devon who is part Leonardo DiCaprio/part hoe
Alexia Green who apparently washed up (who acts petty towards Paige), desperate, and hiding that she’s bisexual
Jordan Wilder (played by Keith) who seems to always be in his feelings and in a love triangle dispute with Rainer
Tanger Turner what kind of name is that for a pop star a Rihanna/Beyonce-esque pop star who still has feelings for Wilder
Like any other teen series throughout the episodes are GAGs, twists, turns and messing-around-with-one-another as the character are all in a small world uncontrollably interconnected.
However the show looks fun to watch for a little bit, but it comes very basic, unrealistic and a little bit thought-provoking. I don’t know what the entertainment industry is like as I’ve never been in it or around it. So I could very much get an impression that people in Hollywood are straight up GRIMEY and that to become a celebrity is lose your individual soul and dignity. There are various scenes throughout the show where you see some of the young starlets doing ANYTHING to either keep their career or public image afloat. To the public, Jordan is an orphan who parents are deceased when it turns out his mom is alive and gives into her attempt to blackmail him out of thousands of dollars to keep this orphan story a secret. Then we have Alexia who gives a film director fellatio so she can get cast in this Locked movie.
The main storyline (at least this season) is unrealistic itself. So yes, Paige Townsen is going to be starring in Locked, but she breaks this news her pro-education parents (dad) who then makes a spreadsheet of how can she balance this and being a college student. We see for the next couple of episodes, Paige is BARLEY getting by completing her truckload of class assignments while participating in mandatory photo shoots and filming movie scenes day-by-day.
On behalf of being full-time college student myself, in real life, it wouldn’t be possible in any way shape or form to be able to keep up with college and shoot a major Hollywood movie at the same time. It is either you pick one or the other. Being a movie star (or the next Kristen Stewart) is not a part time job. Being a college student (with 15-18 credits a semester) itself is a full-time job despite not getting a paycheck. It is very demanding, and even if someone were to skip the extracurricular activities and events like Townsen, you still have to put in so many hours and effort into your school work while submitting it promptly. There’s a scene where Paige missed the deadline for her research paper and come to her professor’s office to try to hand it in asking if she can be excused “this one time” explaining that she’s late on the assignment because she was shooting a movie. The professor rightfully said no and gave the perfect explanation why. You would think the writers would give Bella Thorne’s character some common sense that college faculty does not put their students on a pedestal no matter if you’re about to be a movie star or replacing a member in a girl group.
Another unrealistic setting that stands out on the show is the character’s financial situation and the questionable apartment they live at. It’s gorgeous don’t get me wrong, but it’s Los Angeles, and they are college students (Cassie is on the brink of being kicked out school over the outstanding tuition bill while Jake doesn’t come from money as well). The rent for an apartment in real life like theirs has to be at least more than $1200 a month at best.
Overall, the show needs a makeover for the second season that is less cookie-cutter if that makes sense. And Belle Thorne could use a new hair color and more studious acting lessons. Thorne, who’s been famous since her pre-pubescent day, tries to play a normal character but it feels forced.
I will tell you it gets an A for diversity. Teen soap opera are increasingly getting more diverse in the representation of the character of many various races as exemplified by Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why. No longer are there Gossip Girl, and 90210-esqe shows with the token POC whose the only storyline in the show to propel their white counterparts.
Now enters in Kehlani. I hear about her in 2014 (maybe early 2015) through a former classmate who played her music while we were driving who even knew her personally. At the time, Kehlani was very much still an underground artist with some buzz floating around. She played her Cloud 19 EP, which I didn’t like except for one song. However, it was the songs I didn’t like, but it was her voice caught my attention. Kehlani carries a raspy-chilly voice, a mixture of sing-talking (what Bryson Tiller does) and can belt tunes very well. When she dropped her You Should Be Here mixtape, I officially loved her as an artist and a songwriter. Her songs felt very raw; like they were from the heart. I was afraid when she announced that she would be signing with major label Atlantic Records just out of thought her music whitewashed for watered down for mainstream listeners. Like The Weeknd post-2012.
With the release of the SweetSexySavage album, this wasn’t the case. The music felt just the same if not better. Yes, it’s R&B, but it’s R&B with a witchy-edge to it. The album I feel is designed to lead the way in modern R&B. Keep the roots (for Kehlani’s generation it’s the 90s) but move with the times of musical innovation which is currently on a trap-influenced wave. Lyrically, she is defiant, vulnerable, sweet but also confident (have you heard Too Much). I’ve been listening to the album non-stop since it’s release.
Outside of her music, Kehlani’s appearance coupled with background make her unique. For a female urban R&B artist, she has an unusual appearance aesthetic. She has tattoos all over her body (including her face), a septum ring, unpredictable hairstyles (from a Caesar-inspired haircut to hair dyed blue) and by appearance comes off as racially ambiguous to the average person. She identifies as a person of color (one of her songs is called Niggas): “African American, Caucasian, Native American, Spanish, and Filipino Native American” according to her website. (Note that I showed my 8-year-old nephew her album cover to which he said: “she looks like an elf” #Savage). What comes to most people’s minds when they think of a female urban R&B artist (post-1990s) is an African American woman. A melanin beauty queen (think Aaliyah or Ashanti) with luscious brown skin and straight hair (maybe braids or cornrows sometimes).
As far as the latter goes, I connected with Kehlani on a personal level as a young person going through many hardships before the age of twenty-two. Although I grew up more socio-economically privileged than Kehlani, I had dealt with depression, anxiety, the lack of men in my family and a desire to leave my town. I had, even more, sympathy for her when she attempted suicide after PartyNextDoor posted a pic of her on Instagram insinuating that she cheated on NBA player Kyrie Irving with him causing trolls and backlashers to attack Kehlani. Chris Brown even went as far as to make fun of her suicide attempt which made me dislike him even more than I already (low-key) do. As someone whose been down the road before, suicide attempts are never something that should be joked about ever. Maybe it’s the drugs that Chris Brown was, or he just likes to talk to be talking, but it was plain deplorable.
It made me for a moment about how millennials forget that each of us is all human who will make mistakes but shouldn’t be automatically burned (figuratively) on the cross for it.
Finally this year her life has come full circle. SweetSexySavage opened up at No. 3 on the pop 200. Now could she use more radio play?….issa yes. I’m still surprised her second single “Distraction” stalled at No. 85 on the pop charts and hasn’t even reached R&B/Hip-Hop’s top 20. The hook is insanely catchy and pays homage to the R&B music that came out in the year 2000.
Still, Kehlani continues to receive rave reviews especially after her performance at this years’ Coachella. She even steps out her day job to promote mental health, encouraging young girls out there, helping the less-fortunate and making unapologetically making political statements. Throughout it all, she’s been nothing but down to earth.
I don’t see Kehlani getting Hollywood-ized as her more and more people continue to take notice.
Female artists in urban contemporary music don’t get the same attention their male counterparts get from their label or even the success. And Rihanna and Beyonce could do but so much to as they drop album cycles every 3 or 4 years. Look at the current week’s (June 7th) Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart (where there are only two women) it’s basically a boys club.
Kehlani and TDE-signed artist SZA (who dropped CTRL on Friday) could be the antidote. Support them guys! Support them!
*Also Hold Me By the Heart will be my wedding song guys*
Also R&B singer Tinashe spoke to the Guardian yesterday and this to say about the lack of successful black females in the music industry:
“Recently, my cousin was with a friend of a friend, who was in high school, and she was like: ‘I’m a fan of Kehlani,’ but in a way that was like, ‘So I can’t be a fan of Tinashe, too.’ Then my friend posed the question, ‘Why not be a fan of both?’ It’s kind of like sport; people feel like they have to pick a side.” Suddenly she springs forward, her default laid-back demeanor temporarily out of the window. “There are hundreds of [male] rappers that all look the same, that sound the same, but if you’re a black woman, you’re either Beyoncé or Rihanna. It’s very, very strange.”
Rihanna is getting thick….and fat-shamed for it #WhatsWrongWithYouPeople
Rihanna has been spotted looking huskier than usual. People have been questioning whether she is pregnant or she’s just been eating good. I suspect it’s the latter. We would’ve known about Rihanna’s bae if she was expecting a child. For all her life in the spotlight, Rihanna has had a slim figure, but there’s no hate from this fellow right here on her eating her rice and cabbage. I love Rihanna. Her career-changing album that I’m currently playing Good Girl Gone Bad turned ten years old on the 31st, and homegirl wrapped up her tour back in August 2016 to support her recent album Anti. Let this live everyone. Besides filming two movies getting acting lessons and releasing perfumes, clothing, and sneakers, I’m sure the pop princess has had some downtime. I understand the traditional ideology that for musicians of her creed (which is the female pop star), they should be tooth-pick skinny but let these people live. It’s 2017 and the biggest model in the world is plus-sized. I’m sure Rihanna has gotten tired of her record label and management forcing her to run on a treadmill and eat salad with a bottle of water. Do you not know Rihanna is from the islands…Barbados 🇧🇧 to be correct?? I’m sure she has been chowing down on some oxtails, Jamaican patties, flying fish, plantains with some rice and beans on the side. Y’all are truly some hating ass niggas for body shaming her…..
Tiger Woods caught a DUI this Memorial Day Wknd… #HeMustBeOnSomething
Golf celebrity who is mixed Tiger Woods was arrested this Memorial Day Weekend.
According to TMZ:
“Cops say Woods was passed out behind the wheel when they approached the car.
He’s almost like a zombie in the footage — swaying, incoherent … and unable to even tie his own shoes.
At one point during the stop, an officer tells Tiger he smells the “odor” of alcohol on him — though Woods insists he did not drink. A breathalyzer later showed Tiger’s BAC was .000.”
I don’t really follow Tiger Woods’ career to be honest but I have been curious about how his professional life has been since the in the infamous ho-scandal of 2009 when it was revealed that he cheated on his now ex-wife with multiple women. According to this career timeline on ESPN…..he’s apparently, has had a lot of medical issues since 2009.
Kathy Griffin has gotten backlash for a picture with a bloody head of Donald Habenero Hitler Trump #YoureMyNewHero
During a photo session with famed photographer Tyler Shields, Kathy Griffin took this photo a bloody-beheaded Donald Trump which took the media by storm. Since this incident CNN fired the 56-year old comedian from her co-hosting gig at CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve program saying in a statement: “We found what she did disgusting and offensive.” She has also apologized for taking this photo in the first.
I’m not offended. I’m on her side so call me devil’s advocate. People are “offended” and “disgusted” by this,…but Trump is the same man who thinks it’s okay to sexually assault women and spread his other bigoted rhetoric. As long as Donald Trump sits in the White House, I don’t expect anyone (even celebrates) to not rip him apart publicly (figuratively). “There is not rest for the wicked”.
Mariah Carey Had Diva Demands on Set #DoingTheMost
Baywatch (the remake) actor Rob Huebel who? will be in the new Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler comedy flick The House coming to theaters on June 30th and went on the radio recently to spoke on what it was like to work with the We Belong Together diva Mariah Carey. Carey will be making a cameo in the film playing Bianca herself.
Huebel said that Carey was “four hours late” to set for the one day she was scheduled to shoot and that she demanded her trailer be filled with “all white roses” and “stuffed lambs” (that’s the name of her fan base). He went on to say that “she was hired to sing one song” and then said that she didn’t “want to sing that song”.
Carey is also supposed to be shot and killed in the movie but took to issue to that. She instead told the producers that “I don’t feel like my character would get killed by bullets. Like, what if I deflected them like Wonder Woman?”
Keep in mind folks that she only had spend ONE day to shoot her part in the movie and was getting paid well for this small appearance. If I was the director or producer of the movie, I deadass would’ve told her to go home. Either that are cut that scene from the film and put in on the DVD release as a deleted scene. Keep the money we gave because we’ll be reimbursed through the box office sales (this is a Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler headed-movie). Someone needs to put their foot down when it comes to Mariah. I’m surprised they even want her to sing in the movie because as you know she can’t even sing the way she could 20 years ago. I’m pretty sure that scene isn’t an essential piece to the movie but I could wrong.
Will.I.am confirms that Fergie has left the Black Eyed Peas to focus on her solo career #OkayCool
Will.i.am confirmed the rumors has been going around that Fergie is departing from the Black Eyed Peas. To a media outlet he had this to say:
“Since the beginning of Black Eyed Peas, we’ve always had amazing vocalists that appeared on the mic with us. People like Macy Gray, Esthero, Debi Nova, Fergie. On Elephunk, there were several females that appeared on that album,” “Obviously Fergie was the featured female, but on songs like ‘Let’s Get it Started,’ it’s Noelle [Scaggs], and then Fergie, songs like ‘Latin Girls,’ it’s Debi Nova, and ‘Request Line,’ it’s Macy Gray,” he added. “We’ll always work with good females.”
Fergie has slowly been phasing herself out of the group. She last performed with the hip-hop group at the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It was announced on Variety.com that she is leaving her label Interscope to start her own label at BMG. The group’s last album before taking a second hiatus was 2010’s The Beginning. Fergie is to release her follow-up to her debut album (2006’s The Duchess) but has had trouble getting her three singles released since 2014 to chart into pop’s top 20: “L.A. Love (La La), “M.I.L.F. $” & “Life Goes On”
Will.i.am also shut down rumors that Fergie was going to replaced by former Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. Fun fact guys: Nicole was originally supposed to join The Black Eyed Peas back in the early 2000s. Back in 2001, Nicole Scherzinger (like Fergie) was in a short-lived TRL-bubblegum girl group titled Eden’s Crush. Nicole was offered to join the Black Eyed Peas who at the time only consisted of Will.i.am, and Michelle Williams twins apl.de.ap and Taboo; they had two albums out that went nowhere. Nicole’s fiancé at the time said no to the offer. Fergie was added to the lineup and the group’s third album Elephunk in 2003 finally brought them to fame.
I’m very nonchalant about Fergie leaving. Pop music has survived out without the group’s presence. It’s not like it’s 2008; if it was I’m everyone would be in shock. I think Fergie should worry on her sophomore being a hit as many would consider her a dinosaur at this point.
Joseline Hernandez Quits Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta Over Beef with Female Pimp Producer Mona-Scott Young & Wants Oprah Involved #BitchPlease #DontBiteOffTheHandThatFeedTheStripper
Joseline Hernandez, the self-proclaimed The Puerto Rican Princess” cause who gas her up like that? yesterday posting a photo to Instagram saying “I Quit, Fuck #Mona”….she then added a caption to the post saying “Make Your Next Move You Best Move” and added a whole bunch of crazy hashtags (including #FUCKUPAYME) like every other 30 and older Instagram user loves doing for no reason. Then The Shade Room posted a video of Joseline Hernandez saying she want her fans to “hashtag Oprah [Winfrey]” so she “sit down” and talk with her about how Mona-Scott Young has “treated her motherfucking cast members and the shit that she’s done to us throughout the motherfucking years”.
Joseline needs to have several seats. I don’t follow Love & Hip Hop or the Stevie J spinoffs religiously to know what’s going on, but Joseline needs to realize that show is her ONLY livelihood. I don’t who she was before LH&H: ATL premiered back in 2012. Before that, she was a stripper/aspiring singer of some sorts. Joseline barley has done anything significant outside being the lead hoodrat on all Love & Hip-Hop franchises. Her music is terrible and I doubt her acting dreams will come true since no one will take her seriously. At least Cardi B, Remy Ma & K. Michelle’s fame and musical successful has made them soar outside the show.
And this is how you know, this chick is dumb. She wants people to “hashtag Oprah” when I think she meant to say for people to tag Oprah…..and two does she not know that The Oprah Winfrey Show is no longer a thing?? That doesn’t mean Oprah can’t have a special on her chapter where she sits down with Hernandez. But this isn’t Oprah-worthy. I’m pretty sure Oprah has a busy schedule and better things to give her concern to than this ghetto messy-ness. Unless Joseline has something head-turning to say (that has actual substance) I think this dilemma should be left to the couch of [my queen] Ms. Wendy Williams or maybe Iyanla Vanzant (on her show Fix My Life).
This past Thursday, I went home for a doctor’s appointment. I was supposed to just be home for the day, but decided to stay the whole weekend, because why not? I’m a 1 hour-30 minutes to 2-hour train ride from home, though I rarely go back on the weekends during the semester. In the fall, I only came back for Thanksgiving and semester break. There’s much more to do on campus, and I save a lot of coins not going back and forth between home.
I usually have a habit of staying up late, and I woke up in the morning, realizing that is officially April 1st. Also known as April Fools Day. However, there weren’t any jokes and pranks except for on the vast sea that is the internet and social media.
It has really sunk in that is April, and I only have little over a month left of school before summer vacation. That’s the perk of going to college, we get out in early May instead of late June and be relegated to just two months of break. What makes it unique, is, of course, the increasingly warm weather (which if you know me, I hate the cold or any outside temperature under 66°) but importantly the fact that I’m halfway done with college.
By the end of the year, I will have 57 credits. It still feels so unreal. I wasn’t necessarily pessimistic about whether I would make it in college but wasn’t sure I would make it this far without flunking out or taking multiple semesters off. Maybe it’s because of people around me gas up college to be really stressful emotionally, academically and socially…which is it is, but it’s manageable. UNH is my the third school I attended, and I will be graduating. It also creates the anxiety in me realizing that time is ticking before I get that diploma and be happily forced to go into the job market. I’m scrambling applying for mad internships and summer jobs because I need to do something this summer.
My mom also feels the need to press me about applying for scholarships, which at this point in my college career, I completely give up on. They only give a $500-1,000 which is nothing. I’m not a high school senior that takes out a lot of availability scholarship available to Communications/Media/Journalism majors that are NOT a female is rare. When its’ comes to black people awards, guess what I don’t go to an HBCU and they clearly fucking state in the requirements. I have a better chance being a prostitute sucking cock to get some money towards my tuition. But of course, telling that to my mother would do nothing but start a huge argument and Joel-Osteen-fucking-inspired pep talk.
Anyways I’m finally glad people realize I’m not indecisive when it comes to when it comes to school since I switched two times.
I’m just glad I made it this far and I have a long way to go…cheers to me.