Quick Question

Do you ever feel like you’re being punished for your actions in life? Like no matter what, you’re getting the bullshit end because of earlier decisions you made in life? Quick example. I honestly feel like I’m being punished for taking responsibility and being a single mother. I know how crazy that sounds…but hear me out. I’ll break it down.

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Indecisive During the Pandemic

Has anyone else felt an overwhelming feeling of indecisiveness during the pandemic? For me, I am already a very indecisive person. This is because it seems as if every decision I make affects my life in some kind of negative way. It’s also not just MY life that hangs in the balance, but my kids as well…which brings more anxiety and makes every decision nerve wrecking.

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Baby Mama or Wife?

By now, if you’ve been following me for all these years, you should know that when it comes to relationships I have the absolute worst luck. Even with just sexual partners…(http://iamjeaninenicole.com/2013/07/31/the-list)…shit just goes downhill. As I have been able to sit back and think on the reasons why, the main one has always been how much I hate interacting with others. Like, I literally have to give myself a pep talk and a few shots, before I have to have conversations with people. I don’t care about your day…or care if you care about mine. I just want to be left alone when I want to be alone. With that being said, I wholeheartedly feel that I would prefer to be a baby mama vs. a wife. Continue reading

Top 5 of 2015

It’s that time. The good ole end of the year where I will read a million, “New year, new me” post before noon. You guys know the routine and you should know that I am always going against the grain. Screw the New Year and deep posts about what I’m going to do and change. (I’m probably not gonna do it anyway so why lie?) This year I wanted to focus on my favorites of 2015. Things that helped me to grow as a person, laugh, and just helped keep my sanity. Last year, I wrote a post on some of the top positive black representations in the media, http://iamjeaninenicole.com/2015/01/02/positive-black-representation-makes-waves-in-2014/, and this year I want to keep that trend going. So here we go…my Top 5 favorite’s of 2015.

5. The Wiz Remake

I will be the first to admit that I was very wary of this remake. I absolutely loved the original and didn’t want those memories tattered with horrible acting and singing. When I learned it was a remake of the actual Broadway play, I was a little more at ease. That night, I was so excited. I actually made my kids go to bed so that I could enjoy on my own without a million questions being asked. As soon as it started, I was in awe! (I discuss it more in full length here: http://iamjeaninenicole.com/2015/12/04/the-wiz-live-40-years-later-it-is-still-needed/) The reason that this was one of my faves is because it came at a time where it was needed. Our community needed to see something positive and uplifting. After what seems like 24/7, negativity against Blacks, it was nice to see us being US for a change. Us being funny, us singing, dancing, being beautiful and vibrant. It was a great change and I don’t mind saying I cried at the end.

4. Cooking Bae’s

So, you should know by now that I love to cook. I love exploring different flavors and jazzing up old boring recipes. This year God blessed me to somehow follow these two lovely ladies and I have fallen in love more and more, with each tweet. Angela Davis, @MissAngelaDavis, is a personal chef that reminds me of a soulful Ina Gartin. Like Ina, Angela cooks amazing hearty dishes that look absolutely stunning. I’ll admit that I was very intimidated looking at her pictures because it just seemed like it was something I couldn’t accomplish. But slowly, I became very intrigued with her flavor choices and even more intrigued with her as a person. She is very much a strong woman and a loving mother. In my head, she is that big sister that will kindly snatch someone in place while kneading biscuit dough. And anyone who can finally show me how to properly fry chicken is a fave to me.

(For more insight on Angela and her recipes, http://www.kitchenistadiaries.com/ and check out her E-book at http://www.blurb.com/user/store/kitchdiaries)

My second cooking bae is the sexy and hilarious Resha aka @kanYebreast. Now, I have always saw this lovely woman retweeted on my TL, but never thought anything of it. She was gorgeous and funny, so I figured that’s why so many people loved her. It wasn’t until Chef Roble, my other cooking bae, said he was working with her that I decided to check her out. LORD BLESS THE GODS FOR THIS!! This woman here is more than a chef. She is pure comedy in a bottle. I love her multi dimensional personality  and the fact that she gives zero fucks about what she says and who she says it to. When it comes to her cooking, she is hands down the best teacher. She doesn’t just tell you the stuff to buy and follow a recipe. She breaks down the science to why you are doing it and you remember that when preparing other meals. Simple things like turning the pan off when you cook eggs to drying your meat before searing it are life changers!

(For more with Resha and her cooking you can visit her website at http://carnaldish.com/ and follow her on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/carnaldish)

3. Black Twitter

Yes, I said it. The infamous Black Twitter has definitely been my sanctuary of sanity and self care. It is the place where I go to be reminded that there are intelligent people in the world, and they are quite witty at that. Black Twitter is a place where people can instantly find receipts on someone faster than the FBI, a place where we come together and talk shit about the ignorant reality stars who claim to be musical geniuses, a places where phrases like, “Meet me in Temecula,” and “$200 dates” are common knowledge. You can go there and find comedy. You can find the ratchet.  You can find a bearded bae. You can find advice that you didn’t ask for. And most importantly, you can find comfort and solace. Black Twitter is home. It’s just that simple.

2. Unapologetically Black Attire

Among the tragedies against black lives in this year, there has been an uprising of ways to show your love of being black. From promoting more black businesses to showcasing black art, black pride is on the rise and it couldn’t make me happier. You ever just felt so proud of something that you wanted to shout it to anyone within range? Share it with every person you came into contact with? What better way than a t-shirt! They are bold, make a statement, and everyone will see it and understand exactly what you stand for. It’s that simple and I absolutely love it. Here are a few of my faves, including one of my own, that I think should be in everyone’s closet going into the next year. Many of us feel like we cannot do much to help when it comes to the injustices that are done, but that is far from the truth. Being Black and PROUD is more of a weapon than anything.

 

Here are the links for the shirts if you would like to purchase. Please beware of any FAKE copies and make sure you are buying the original. Support the creators.

“Boldly Black for the ’99 & 2000”- http://www.teespring.com/boldlyblack99

“I love my Blackness and Yours”- https://teespring.com/i-love-my-blackness-hoodie?tsref=search

“Black by Popular Demand”- http://www.hautegreekscouture.com/collections/urban-pitfalls

“Magical Black Girl”- https://teespring.com/magicalblackgirl?tsref=search

“Pure Black Nutritional Facts”- https://teespring.com/Black-Nutritional-Facts?tsref=search

“Because of Them We Can”- http://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/products/signature-t-shirt

1.  MJ Crying Face

Okay, because yall know I am goofy I had to end it this way. A lot of people don’t think this is still funny, but you cannot tell me that this damn face is not the most hilarious thing of 2015! Black Twitter will literally put this on anything and I am in tears. Seriously, they just had it on someone’s flat tire and I was doubled over. This notorious face has been on everything from losing sports teams logos to actually body parts. Anyone or thing taking an L this year has had this face superimposed on to them. There is no limit for this face and I honestly don’t see it staying in 2015…until we get another one of course. Here are a few of my faves. Enjoy!

So that is it! My Top 5 faves of 2015. I know 2016 will bring even more and I cannot wait to see what is in store! Enjoy your New Year’s Holiday!

Empire…Using it’s Platform or Making a Mockery of the Movement?

So we all know, or should know, by now that Empire is our own little Black telenovela that comes on every Wednesday night. Because of this, we let the overly dramatic and loosely written scenes go over our heads and still become enthralled in the music and storyline of the show. For me, I see it as a form of self care. Something to watch that takes me away from the everyday headache of society. Everyone needs that mental release from the world and this is my little guilty pleasure. With that being said, Empire has a looooooooooottttttt of explaining to do with the recent “support” or acknowledgment of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

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With the season opener, there is a huge concert with the hashtag #FreeLucious. This was strike one for me. Unless you have been under a rock, or stuck in some type of privilege and refuse to acknowledge the real issues of society, Black Lives Matter has been a movement that has been going on for some time now. It began over the countless killings of young black men at the hands of white cops. What started as hashtags turned into protests and rallys for these innocent bodies. Let me say that again, INNOCENT BODIES!! Empire…what? How are you going to have a protest reminiscent of the movement, but it is for a man who was clearly guilty??? This already shows the mockery because now it makes it seem like the work that people are doing to fight against innocent people being killed at random is a joke and they are really protesting against nothing. Oh wait…and let’s not forget Cookie coming out in a gorilla suit. (I don’t think there is an explanation needed for why that was wrong in so many ways. But hey, Fox is gonna Fox, right?)

Now, when I finished watching that episode I will say that I had to shake it off. They obviously were trying just a little hard and they did use their platform to bring some type of awareness. Also Jussie Smollett,(Jamal Lyon), is very active in the “Black Lives Matter” movement so they got a little bit of a pass. I needed this show to not turn into THAT show. I wanted to support my Black actors and actresses, but I needed them to stay aware of what they were putting out there. So, I’m watching last night and everything is going smooth. It’s the normal, all over the place, Lusious hates Andre because of his mental issues and the mental issues his mother has, Jamal just wants someone to love him so he can write his music, Cookie is being loud and crazy, we are great! Credits roll and I am able to keep Empire on my watchlist. And then it happens. They show scenes from the next episode and Cookie is put in the backseat of a car. “If I die in police custody, I did not commit suicide.”  giphy-facebook_s

“Nah…that didn’t just happen did it?” I asked invisible bae, who was just as dumbfounded as I was. Did they really just use a Sandra Bland reference…on this show…as a means to be funny? Now, once again for those privileged rock dwellers, Sandra Bland was a Black young lady who was wrongfully taken into police custody and found dead in her cell a few days later. Many people protested this event because they did not believe that it was a suicide and suspected foul play. From the dash cam of the police car, Bland was very adamant about fighting her case in court and did not seem at all like she was ready to go down without a fight. The phrase, “If I die in police custody, I did not commit suicide,” was something that was started after the death of Sandra Bland and a way to show a united stance with her and her family. This is something that has me very conflicted. There are several people who have been fighting hard…HARD…for our rights and for the world to see what is really happening when it come to police brutality against people of color. To throw it randomly in a scene with no real care, is just foolish. This is where I begin to lean more towards the mockery aspect with Empire. This is not like the time when Shonda did her “Mike Brown-esque” episode on Scandal. Shonda did an entire episode on the matter and in no way made fun of the movement. Scandal is not a comedic show and hence the appropriate platform for it. Empire is doing this all wrong. Everything that comes out of Cookie’s mouth is pretty much a joke, we love her for it, but still.

If you want to bring awareness, there are ways to do so without throwing jabs and random twitter sayings and hashtags around in every scene. Wear a “Black Lives Matter” shirt or throw a benefit concert for families affected by the police brutality, but don’t just give references out of the blue and say you are “bringing awareness.” No…you’re not. You are doing the complete opposite. You are turning this into a minstrel show and discrediting those who are out there every day fighting. Those who have actually been arrested for simply protesting, those who have been shot with rubber bullets, those who have been attacked with tear gas. You are dehumanizing people involved in the movement and making it look like they are all just foolish characters, fighting for something that isn’t a real cause. Fox…I mean I guess we should have expected this, but at what moment do we start holding our celebs accountable? You can’t tell me they read that and didn’t feel a certain way. And, honestly, if they did read it and thought it was okay…that’s a problem in itself. The same problem that we always have when it comes to our people on TV. I don’t want to see a shuck and jive show with pointless references. I want to see real acting. The show doesn’t have to say a thing about the movement at all if it cannot do it properly. Don’t think that just because you have a show full of Black people, you have to throw it in somehow, because you are doing more damage then you realize. All in all, Empire needs to get it together…QUICK…before next Wednesday it’s going to be a collective, “same phone…who dis?” from their biggest audience.

Photo credits: kontrolmag.com, sheknows.com, giphy.com

The Jig is Up

Remember when we were growing up and the main thing that everyone said was that once you get out of college your life is going to be amazing? As long as you did your best, studied, didn’t party(who listened to that?), and didn’t get pregnant, you would be on the fast track to your perfect life. Who the hell made up these lies??? Why weren’t we taught the truth in high school about real life and real problems? Guess what society…the jig is all the way up!

When I was younger, I always said that I would be married and have two kids by 24. I had other career goals, but this was really what I was focusing on as I prepared for life after high school. Because of this, I had two fast and shitty relationships and thus, my two sons were produced. I didn’t understand the concept of dating and living life without children early. This was nowhere in my vocabulary because this wasn’t the idea that was sold to me coming out of high school. We all see the movies of the college sweethearts struggling through college, getting married, and having a pretty good life. That was all I wanted and yet, that’s not at all what I got. I often wonder if I was shown a different type of idea or notion of living… if the end all wasn’t kids and a husband, where would I be right now? I was a young mother so I never got to partake in late night clubbing or random dates or the ability to just walk out of the house and go wherever I wanted. I envy that freedom that those who are childless have. I envy those who are able to fully figure out who they are instead of trying to figure it out at the same time as figuring out another different way to prepare chicken so your kids will actually eat it. That lack of being able to accomplish this makes me understand why there are so many unhappy people in the world. Yes, your kids are a blessing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be upset in the manner that it is affecting your life.

I feel like high school should really prepare people for the real world…the REAL WORLD! Not the made up one. Tell the truth. College is not a necessity in some(majority) careers. It’s just one of those things that people are used to doing right after high school. Don’t get me wrong. If you want to go to college, then by all means go…just don’t be surprised if you are 30+ not working in your field because of lack of experience. This is what I mean. They don’t tell you those things. After you graduate, they make it seem like life is going to be amazing and you’re going to be working in your field and making big bucks. WRONG(Charlie Murphy voice). It is simply not true. When I was 19-20, I always knew I would be rich by 30. I was going to be settled in my career and doing it big. I’m 29 and nowhere near that. Is it lack of hard work? No. It is the harsh reality of life. Shit happens. Instead of selling this preposterous dream, I wish that they would have equipped me with the truth and ways to handle/overcome it.

You wanna know the truth? The truth is you are not going to be where you want to be at the age of 30. It’s just not going to happen. You are going to find yourself inadequate in some form or fashion, whether it is career, self, relationships, living situation, etc. You are going to likely struggle to find work in your field and may have to end up working in a completely different field just to make ends meet, especially if you have children. You are not going to be in the best relationship of your life. Most are not even married at this age or working on their second one. It is not the end of the world. Explore life and your options. You may get lucky, you may not. It is okay. Now, some of these things may happen to others and some times it may not, the point is that majority of the time it doesn’t. You will not know it all by the time you are 30. You have to understand that life is really just beginning and you need to be okay with that. Don’t let the fake dream that they sell to you in high school determine your future and your outcome. Everyone’s journey is a different one. Learn how to walk your own and not compare it to anything else. Be smart, see the jig for what it is, find peace, and make it work for you. 🙂

Photo credits: http://www.brainlesstales.com

The Easter Challenge

Okay, so before you get excited, there is no real challenge. Per say. There won’t be a prize at the end and you racing to do ridiculous things. The title is actually a challenge between mind and spirit. My mind and spirit. It is one that I have been battling for quite some time and have just now developed an understanding to. It may come to a shock to some because you know how it goes when Black folks bring up any questions against religion, but eh. It won’t be the first time I have ruffled some feathers. 🙂

My mother always had me in the church and involved. We weren’t there 24/7, but I knew God and Jesus as my savior since I could remember. I loved going to church and hearing my pastor preach. He fed so much life into me, at such a young age, and I attribute most of my sanity to his preaching. As I became older, 18, I didn’t go to church as much. And after my pastor died, I really didn’t want to period. We soon settled into another church with a pastor who was actually my youth minister at my previous church. I felt at home because he was an amazing preacher as well. But, I would find myself feeling a certain type of way when certain passages were read in the Bible. I often had questions but knew that it could go one or two ways. Either I would find out a truth that I would not be comfortable with or I would be looked at as different because I was challenging the word of God. So, I kept it to myself. Telling myself that I could enjoyed the sermon and take from it what was needed and move on. Years later, with kids, I  have been conflicted again. As my oldest is coming to the point where he wants to be baptized, I am questioning myself again. I have always vowed to allow my children to learn things on their on and never push my opinions on to them. This is with anything, food, clothing, and religion. But I also wondered if this was the right thing. As a parent, you are suppose to lead your child in the right direction. Was there a way that I could introduce him to God without overly pushing religion on him?

As stated before, I grew up in the church. If it wasn’t for my knowledge of Him and knowing that He could get me through anything, I would not be where I am today. It is my experience with God, my daily conversations, my knowing of his grace and mercy that allows me to believe in Him. This is what I want to instill into my children. I don’t necessarily want them to believe in man or an institution or a religion. I want them to believe in Him and Him only. But, as kids do…they have questions. It is hard to answer these questions without a bias opinion and this has been my biggest problem. I don’t want him to ask, “Why should I believe in Jesus?” and my answer is because I said so. I want him to come up with these answers on his own because everyone’s journey is different. What I believe in and what works for me may not be what works for him and his life.

Then, I am challenged with what do I fully believe in. I believe in God. I believe that He created everything and He has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life. I believe that He is the reason for any and everything that is happening and will happen to me. Here comes the conflict. I do not believe in the Bible. I actually never have. As a writer, I can’t shake the thought of several creatives sitting around and writing an entertaining self help book. There are things in the Bible that I cannot agree with and therefore, I feel like I can’t believe in the full book. Can’t just pick and choose what you want to believe. So because of this, I often question my belief in Jesus Christ. The only thing saying that he is possible is the Bible and I have already denounced believing in that, so therefore I should not believe in Jesus. See, that’s where it gets tricky. Because I believe in God with every fiber of my being, I can easily believe that Jesus is real. I can believe that it is possible that he died and rose. God is that powerful. He may not be real because of what is written in the Bible, but I do not deem it ridiculous if he was. Does that make sense?

So, with this Easter Challenge, I am challenging myself to be more open with my beliefs. Easter is a holiday dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As someone who somewhat believes in this story, should I still fully celebrate it? Should I allow my children to celebrate it and educate them on what it means without putting my two cents in? I have decided to teach my children both ways. If they have questions, they will be answered wholeheartedly. I will give them my full and honest opinion and let them make their own decisions on what to believe. I will instill God in them and as they become older, they will choose their own paths. While it is still in the early stages of thinking, I am still praying and adjusting as I go. One thing that I have made certain is that I will not participate in the Pagan part of this holiday. There will be no Easter baskets full of candy. There will be no Easter egg hunts. I have no clue what this has to do with Jesus’ resurrection and I refuse to play into it any longer. I want my sons to be fully educated and not just go with what society deems is correct. Society wants us to spend money for a holiday that is suppose to be solely based on something spiritual. Nope! Not anymore.

Being more open with my beliefs allows me to be closer to Him. I am seeing things more clearly and He is allowing this to happen. It is nothing better than being awakened, in your own mindset, and not being afraid to share it with others. With so many people and different religions, I have never been one to judge. I can only speak on my experiences with God and what He has done in my life. I can only do what is right for my life and my journey. This “challenge” is not so much a challenge, but an opportunity to realize who God is in my life and being okay with that.

Time for a Change

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Yesterday, before I prepared for work, I heard about the news. Another “no indictment” for a black man killed by a white officer. What was different this time? The anger that rose in me. With Trayvon Martin, I was truly hurt. Hurt that a young man could be harassed and followed and killed by a man and the jury blame him and let his killer go free. With Mike Brown, I was confused as to how someone could not even go to trial and possibly be charged with the killing of an unarmed teenager. With countless others, I had these same sentiments. But this time, I was truly pissed. I could feel the hatred boiling over. Hatred for this country and it’s system. Hatred for those who supported these actions. Hatred for those who felt like they understood, but they really could never fully understand. Hatred for the blatant slap in the face that came with this no indictment. It was like a big “fuck you because we can” that came from America. I later, prayed and channeled that energy. I thought to myself about how I could effectively make a change. After the Mike Brown incident and seeing the countless efforts of the media trying to portray him into something that he was not, I came up with a plan. A plan that I could effectively commit to and something that would help our generations to come. It is in no way the only answer, but it is an effort in helping to change the entire problem. We all have a platform that we are suppose to use and it is up to us to figure out what that is and how to help others.

My love for writing and this media industry has became a little bit of a love/hate relationship. I have struggled with supporting this industry that has no interest in my people. I won’t go into too much details, but in a nutshell, there are little to no Black films out here that are actually good. This not due to lack of talent but it is lack of support from Hollywood. Chris Rock wrote an essay that further describes what I am discussing, please take the time to read: http://m.hollywoodreporter.com/news/top-five-filmmaker-chris-rock-753223?utm_source=twitter

In this essay, Rock talks about how Blacks are not given the same opportunities as Whites when it comes to media and Hollywood. Seriously, where are the black agents and managers that actually have a say in Hollywood? Because of this one-sidedness, you see less of our culture in the media. This is an issue. The lack of proper representation of Blacks in the media is truly sad. I keep saying to myself how I remember growing up and seeing so many positive Blacks in the media. Watching Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple” was the reason I became a writer. When I discovered black poets and writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, I was in awe. I was instantly inspired because I knew that it was an obtainable goal. To become a successful Black writer. Now, think about it. What, in the media, do our children have to look up to? What images do they see day in and day out that will inspire them? Our representation has gone more and more downhill and I feel like it is time for everyone to take a stand. You have the protestors who are taking a stand against injustice in the streets. I feel like this is my stand. My purpose. To bring more positive and inspiring images of our people to the media. When I look at Black women journalists, I become more inspired, but do you know how hard it is to actually find them? I cannot just turn on the TV and have an abundant amount of options. Thankfully, Twitter has been my resource for finding these women in my field that are inspiring me to continue with my goals.

Like I stated before, we all have a purpose on this Earth. It is our duty to leave this world knowing that we helped make it better for the next generation. My gift is in writing, therefore my purpose has to be attached to that. As a writer, I have the power and platform to inform the masses and that is exactly what I am going to do. I want our children to turn on the tv and see a representation of themselves that is real. Not what “society” deems us as being. We need more of our people in the media to continue to inspire and let people see that there is more to life than what you think. It is okay to have goals and aspirations because they are obtainable. You don’t have to claw your way to the top or make a sex tape or be the next reality star to actually be successful. Shows like “Blackish” should not be the only positive show that we have out there right now. We should have an array of options from children shows to adult shows that represent us correctly. This is my new goal. I mean, I do have a production company for a reason. 🙂 I challenge any and every person of color, that is in the media field, to think about this plan. It’s time to make Black Hollywood what it truly needs to be. Not what they think it should be, but what we know to be true. Representation matters.

Photo courtesy: http://www.pinterest.com