Happy Black History Month!!! Today We Salute… The Hater

Today we salute the most controversial person of all the people we will honor in Black History Month… The Hater.  People say the best way to deal with the Hater is to ignore them, but Haters are not to be ignored, they refuse to be ignored, they will not let you ignore them, and you should not ignore them.  The Hater is confirmation that what you are doing is impressive.  So keep doing it!  Remember when you were good at baseball and everyone told you how well you were doing?  What happened?  You didn’t want to play baseball the next year, instead you learned how to smoke weed with your friends without getting caught.  Remember when your teacher told that you were good at Biology and that you should think about being a doctor?  Now you are pulling double-shifts at Wendy’s trying to keep a roof over your head and looking at those ‘you can still get a degree’ commercials they show during Judge Judy in the afternoon, like you still have hope.

You need the Hater; there was that time your brother told you that you would never beat him.  Within a year you were kicking his ass up and down the block, he started locking his door at night out of fear that you would walk in at 3 in the morning and resume the ass whupping.  Think about the time your friends said you couldn’t dance and laughed at you for hours, then days, then weeks about it.  That became a running joke on the block, so much so you stopped hanging out and stood in front of your TV watching Rap City and 106th and Park until you learned how to do the Bankhead Bounce, the Harlem Shake… the Roger Rabbit.  By the time the Spring Dance rolled up, you were killing it on the dance floor (if you did learn the Roger Rabbit, you were hurting the ankles of the person dancing behind you), man you were coming in 2nd and 3rd place at lunch hour dance competitions!  How about that time your ex told you that you would never amount to shit?  Well, the jury is still out on that one, but you are still trying to prove them wrong!  See, praise does nothing for you but a Hater can turn your whack ass into a star.

You think Barack Obama always wanted to be president?  Hell no, that brother wanted to be Dr. J, but you try being the only Black dude walking around a private high school in Hawaii, he got sick of being ignored by everyone but the basketball coach.  As soon as he could, took his but to the main land, started off in Cali, then finished up hitting the East Coast, finally settling in Chicago where a brotha has to be a brotha.  Before you knew it that dude was walking around the hood talking to people like he grew up on the South Side, eating rib tips, and eventually got him a big booty sista as confirmation of how you do the damn thing!  You see how he walked up to the podium after they killed Bin Laden?  You don’t “learn” that walk… you EARN that walk.  You earn it by putting Haters in their place.  He has Haters now, Mitt Romney, let the unemployment rate dip below 8% in the next couple of months, when people come to see Obama talk they are going to have to wait a couple of minutes from the time he gets to mic to when he says his first word.  Long enough for him to take off his hat, get a swig out his glass, and put on his sunglasses… so he can see what he’s saying!!

Remember how George Jefferson was walking during the opening credits of “The Jefferson’s”?  Remember how hard he was pimping as he escorted his woman into their new building up to their ‘deluxe penthouse in the sky-i-i’?  That was the first time George had ever walked like that, if you look really close you can see and lip read Weezy’s mouth you can see her saying “why in the fuck are you walking like that”?  He had no idea that was the first time he had ever walked like that.  People called it a ‘pimp’, that was not a ‘pimp walk’ that was George stepping on every Hater in his life.  With each step he crushed another Hater, “take that Archie Bunker”!

People focus on their ‘swag’ now; you cannot have swagga without having Haters.  When you see a 16-year-old kid walking around dressed like a fake member of Young Money, claiming that is their ‘swag’ they do not have it.  When you have Haters you do not need to dress a certain way, you just carry yourself a certain way.  You do not need skinny jeans that would just give the Hater another reason to hate on you.

You eventually realize there is nothing you can do about Haters, but appreciate their hate.  The Hater will talk about how your brand new, fresh off the lot, BMW 650i “ain’t all that”, then turn around and ask you for a ride to the ‘sto’.  A Hater will clown you about your new higher paying job, then send you an email at your work account asking if “y’all hiring”.  The Hater will disrespect your new home, tell you it is too small, that the neighborhood sucks, that they wouldn’t be caught dead over there, but they never miss a cookout and is the last one to leave.  The Hater looks at your watch and say “its a’ight”, then pop up 3 weeks later with a fake TAG Heuer and act like it the most expensive thing in the room.  Don’t get upset and challenge the Hater, you might beat the brakes off the Hater all the Hater will do is get up, wipe the blood from their lips and tell you his little brother and sister hit him harder than that when they were kids.

Let your Hater be your motivation, matter of fact any time you have spent too much time with your Hater go home and put on “Motivation” by Kelly Rowland.  Zone out for a few minutes and let your success show itself to you.

The saying ‘behind every successful man is a great woman’ is only partly true.  It should actually be gender neutral and more to the point “Behind every successful person, is a Hater… still hating on them”.  Keep doing you, you are fine and close to reaching your goals.  We need our Haters, so today let’s celebrate the Hater in our communities.  Call your Hater today and thank them for everything they haven’t done for you.  The only thing The Hater has ever done and will ever do is give birth to some hating ass kids. But if you do not know who The Hater is in your life… Hi Hater!

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Happy Black History Month!! Today We Salute… The Thug ‘As A Fashion Statement’

As important as the ‘Jheri Curl’ or the ‘Zipper’ jacket Michael Jackson wore in the “Beat It” video.  Bigger than an Andre 3000 bow tie or Throw-back jersey with some S. Carter Reeboks and dookie gold rope chains, the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ has lasted longer than the careers and lives of rappers. 20 years ago rappers started dressing like they were going to rob their fans.  NWA came on the scene and even though they looked tough, nobody could remember seeing their local gang member walking down the street in a black Raiders hat with matching $200 Starters jacket.  That changed after an arrest and eventual release from jail of Tupac Shakur.  Tupac emerged from a precinct after making bail, spitting on camera men and cussing… acting like a real G!  From that point on, people wanted to dress like they were ‘real’.

In 1994, a group out of Cleveland, Ohio emerged and changed not only the sound of rap for a brief period, but changed fashion… for a really long time.  When people became fascinated by the sound from the song “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”, they ached to see who these guys were.  When the video “Foe the Love of Money” appeared on BET (where else), people finally saw what a ‘thug’ wore.  Looking like they were in the same clothes they rode the Greyhound bus to Los Angeles wearing, young men began to dress like they couldn’t afford anything else, on purpose.  Bones Thugs and Harmony not only made Eazy E relevant again; they put iron and ironing board manufacturers out of business.  They also saved a lot of money on the wardrobe budget… MO WEED MO WEED MO WEED!

Schools across the country had to issue uniforms to offset a student body looking as if they would shoot you for getting a Master’s in Education.  This did not stop the thug ‘as a fashion’ statement, the thug ‘as a fashion statement’ is intelligent in his ignorance; “you want me to wear a uniform?  I won’t put on the belt”.  The thug ‘as a fashion’ statement never grew out of (or into) their choice of clothes.  They became 35-year-olds with a closet full of oversized jeans, 40 pairs of Nikes but not a pair of slacks or dress shoes for a job interview.  The thug ‘as a fashion statement’ helped society in one major way… it let companies know who not to hire.  The unemployment rate has been tied to trends in the economy, bad decisions by the Federal government, even the greed of Wall Street.  High unemployment rates can also be tied directly to a large number of people in the ‘hiring pool’ that don’t own a tie and think their whitest T-shirt is appropriate interview attire.

The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ has a hard time making connections.  He questions why the police are always stopping him when walking down the street.  He fails to make the connection that REAL thugs only wear hooded sweatshirts, in 90 degree heat, when they have something to hide… like when they are trying to hide their gun or their face, after they have used their gun.  Police are trained to stop people who look like they are hiding a gun, they learned this in class they took while in the police academy called “Characteristics of Individuals Carrying Guns” which has been retitled “What Thugs Wear”.  Those characteristics happen to be the style of choice for the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’, oversized clothes to hide the bulk of a weapon, pants sagging from the bulk of a weapon, walking slow as if the they are being slowed down from the weight from the bulk of a weapon.  The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’, thinks that looks cool… because the thug ‘as a fashion statement’ is stupid.

Real thugs have learned that when a cop stops you, talk to him.  If you act like you have nothing to hide and not give a police officer a reason to arrest you, the cop probably won’t arrest you… cops do not like writing ‘arrest reports’.  The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ always runs and he is always caught.  Because he is not wearing a belt, so his pants fall to his ankles, causing him to trip and fall, allowing the fat cop to slowly walk over to him and place him in handcuffs.

Real thugs dress like this out of necessity or lack of money to afford better.  The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ can actually afford to buy proper and better fitting clothing.  Instead they shop at “Thugs Iz Us” and pay 200 percent more for a style a real thug gets from the Dickies section at Wal-Mart or from his older brother after he grows out of it.

The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’, believes that the world is against them and that everybody hates them because they are constantly being jumped and attacked by large groups of teenagers.  When in reality, the thug ‘as a fashion statement’ fails to realize that real thugs beat up anyone in a ‘thug uniform’ they do not recognize.  It is a defense mechanism for real thugs; they have come to learn that people they do not recognize that look like they are carrying guns are probably carrying guns.

What is most upsetting to grown men, that act like grown men and dress like grown men, about the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ is not the embarrassment they feel when they see men from their community looking ignorant.  Not even the initial fear that comes across them when they see the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ until they realize they are not real thugs.  What is most upsetting to grown men, that act like grown men and dress like grown men, is that at least 3 times a week because the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ is not wearing a belt they look at another man’s ass to realize they have on the same pair of draws!

Because you are not going anywhere, reluctantly we honor you the Thug ‘as a fashion statement’.  Even though the rappers that influenced your style opted for $3,000 suits as soon as they could afford them (have you seen T.I. in a crooked hat and sagging jeans since his third album?  Nope), even though we tried our best to forget about you for some reason you held on until we had to embrace you.  Kind of like Betty White, you out lived everyone in your generation until we had no choice but to give you a Life Time Achievement Award… The Thug ‘as a fashion statement’ the “Betty White” of Black History Month.  Please accept this award, this job application, and this belt.  You can either put it on and wear it at an appropriate level or we can whup your ass with it, the choice is yours.

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH!!! Today We Salute Flava Aid

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Flava Aid, not KOOL AID. You did not notice when mom started buying cheaper meat or the off brand vanilla cream cookies or saltines instead of Ritz, but when you saw Flava Aid instead of Kool Aid you knew your family had some money problems.

That day you helped your mother with the groceries, you put the pork steaks instead of the usual pot roast in the freezer without a question.  Grabbed the store brand loaf of bread out the bag, not once did you question where the Wonder or Sara Lee bread is at.  But when you pulled out 50 packs of Flava Aid instead of the 20 packs of Kool Aid you became use to, you screamed out “Flava Aid… why you being so cheap?  What you be doing with your money?”  Learning two very important lessons at that moment, your mother has a serious left hook and don’t ever question her about how she spends her money.  The next thing that crosses your mind, after  you stop seeing stars, is that times is rough and how can this happen to your family.  You go to church, you don’t steal anything other than your neighbors cable and they are tapped into their neighbor’s cable so the original sin is on them anyway.

The Flava Aid revelation now has you more than interested in stock market ticker at the bottom of that one  boring channel you zoom by on your way to watch BET.  Unfortunately you don’t know what Kool Aid’s ticker symbol is, so your theory that the cost of Kool Aid has sky rocketed will remain unfounded.

“WHY DID MOMMY NOT INVEST IN KOOL AID???  We would be rich; I would be belly deep in purple Kool Aid right now if she did.”

That’s okay the president speaks tonight to the nation, he will surely address the rising cost of high quality drink mixes.  At 8:00 PM that night, you are in front of the television with an ice cold glass of water (you’re still not a hundred percent sure of that cheap stuff)…

“Mr. President, I could sure use your leadership right now.  War?  Crimes against humanity?  The right thing to do?  Man please… who elected this clown!  My mommy can’t afford my drank, deal with the issues man!  I can’t wait until I can vote.”

The next day you are at school, in English class your teacher asks you to draft a letter to someone you miss.  Your letter to the “Hey Kool Aid Man” is heartfelt, emotional… you get a “B” on it, but your teacher writes a referral to the school social worker about possible ‘issues’. You do not have time to talk answer questions from a professional about ‘uncles’ and point at puppets, you have to get to Chemistry class.  Dammit you will make your own Kool Aid!  How hard can it be?  Sugar, ground up Jolly Ranchers, and water… off you go!

Okay, that didn’t work out Kool Aid is not as easy as you thought it would be and while trying to ground up the Jolly Ranchers into a fine powdery substance, a piece broke off and hit that slow kid in his eye.

“Detention, I have to serve detention for trying to help financially challenged kids.  Oh well, Martin Luther King went to jail for his beliefs, an hour in the library for mine is worth it if it means a better life for all.”

Heck, half your friends are in detention so not so bad.  Plus, you all can kick it at your house after school, play Nintendo, and drink Kool… FUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGG.  Now you have 4 thirsty and judgmental ‘friends’ on their way to your house and they keep asking if you have red or green Kool Aid in the fridge.  You cannot stand privileged kids.  The fear that you feel creeping up on you as you near your house is only trumped by your outrage at the government for allowing it’s citizens to reach such levels of poverty.

You arrive at home with 4 ‘rich kids’ following you, your mom meets you at the door.  No company!!! Punishment???  Yes, I am on punishment!  Awesome.  I had to deal with a backhand left hand from mom and a possible concussion… but questioning where mom’s money was going has turned out to be an ego saving move.

“Bye… I gotta go clean my room and take out the garbage.  Thank God!”

Next day at school you figure the need to take interest in history class for the first time.  You want to know about the history of Kool Aid, which excites the class.  Everybody wants to talk about Kool Aid.  Who wouldn’t, until one kid asks the teacher if it is true that a man killed a bunch of people by poisoning their Kool Aid.  WHAT???  The teacher tells the class that the incident was at Jonestown and adds an interesting note about what they were drinking, “people for years have said it was Kool Aid they mixed up, actually it was Flava Aid”… you’re definitely not drinking that shit now.  And how stupid were those people to follow a broke cult.  If you ever join a cult they will have a lot of money and if you ever notice them switching out the Kool Aid for Flava Aid you know what’s going down and that the guy next to you is welcome to your glass.

Eventually, your mom pulls into the driveway with a small bag of Kool Aid and all is well again.  You’re not going to lose the house, you won’t have to spend your weekends walking around town with a stolen cart from the local Safeway collecting aluminum cans on the side of the road.  You can sleep peacefully again, knowing that your family has survived a serious financial crisis.  So on this 3rd day of Black History Month we salute Flava Aid, knock off drink mix, the drink of choice of deranged insecure cult leaders everywhere, and economic indicator for little Black kids.

“I Ain’t Having It In 2012″… Yeah Right

So for the last few weeks I have had to listen to mindless chatter about what people are changing about themselves in the year 2012 and get asked if I made any resolutions (yes I did, next year I promise not to slap the shit of people who ask me if I am making resolutions.. SLAP).  My favorite one was while I was on the L heading downtown, some woman was on her phone talking loud to someone, who I can only assume had this woman on speaker phone so everyone in the house could get a good laugh out it.  The lady on the train had to take time out of everyone’s day to let us know that she “ain’t having it 2012”.  I am looking at her thinking “yeah you are, you’re having all of it”.  I believe she is going to put up with the same mess in 2012 that she did in 2011 and probably 20-plus years prior based off of the lack of restraint while talking on the phone while rolling on the Green Line and the 22 oz Schlitz she was halfway finished with.  So if you have told people you ‘are not having it in 2012’ let me be the first to tell… Yes you are.  You are gonna have all of it this year, like you did last year and the years before, and you are gonna take it like a porn star.

I have a problem with resolutions because people plan them out, think about it for weeks and months like it is their prom and picking the wrong dress will get them talked about once every ten years for the rest of their life.  What is wrong with thinking about things you want to change about yourself, you are probably asking especially if it is designed to make you a better person.  Absolutely nothing, except when I think about something I need to change about myself on October 29th, I begin changing it on October 29th and on November 19th it is a part of my life.  Why on the 19th? Most of you know this, but some of you have no clue to why that date (probably you jag offs that made resolutions) psychologists and researchers have determined that it takes 21 consecutive days of conscious effort to do something different to make it a habit.  Going by the 21 day rule, if you are going to change something about yourself in 2012 you should be done by the 22nd of January.  What are you going to do the other 343 days out the year?  I would knock out 16 more fucked up things about myself if I was as fucked up as you!

So let me help you upgrade yourself, I will even make it easy for you.  Instead of dealing with the thing you want to change I will deal specifically with 17 things that you really do not want to do or be, okay?  Let me explain, the biggest thing going into a new year is losing weight.  Well most people do not make this goal (probably because they thought about doing this in October, put it off 2 months and ate themselves into a bigger pair of jeans during the holidays) so to help you help you make your resolution come true, instead of you promising to lose weight in 2012 I say your resolution should be to not be a fat ass in 2012.  So my list is not a ‘how to’ list but a ‘how NOT to’ list… heck let’s start with the weight thing.

Onmysquare’s 2012 “How Not To” list:

1)      How not to be a fat ass:  First, close your mouth when you breathe, nobody should be at work with you and take a look over at your desk 4 times a day because you sound like you fell asleep.  People should not sit in front of you during a lecture and have the creepy sensation like you are getting closer to them as if you’re Jason Voorhees.  You can be a fat person without being a fat ass, the Notorious BIG was fat, but not a fat ass.  Luther Vandross, Big Pun, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa McCarthy… all fat none a fat ass.  Newt Gingrich, fat ass, you would think a man with a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s would be able to see if Macy’s had Purple Label shirts that fit him.  Being a fat ass has very little to do with weight but everything to do with how you present yourself when you carry a little extra weight.  To pull this resolution off, when you get dressed think America Ferrera or Queen Latifah not Kirstie Alley after her Jenny Craig contract is up.  Guys think Alec Baldwin or Forest Whitaker not Tracy Morgan or the fat guy from Lost (how are you on an island for seven seasons and never lose a pound?).  Another thing every time people talk about going out to grab something to eat, stop suggesting buffets!

2)      How not to stink:  So you have decided you want your do something about your appearance, you want to dress better, take a little more time when buy shoes, in other words you want to look like you don’t stink.  Because people who look like they stink, do.  Here’s what you do, I love to dress and can do it on the cheap.  Easiest thing to do is layer your clothes; layering for men keeps us from looking like mommy let us pick our clothes today, yay!  You do not have to invest in slacks, if you do no pleated pants.  Keep it flat front, trust me.  Rock button-up shirts, solid colors or tight stripes don’t go outside your lane on this one.  Put a sweater over it, tuck the shirt in a shirt not tucked in and hanging from under the sweater will cause you to look like a fat ass.  Make sure your jeans fit, not saggy, not too tight (read my first post for more information on this).  Now how not to really stink, shower!  Put soap and water all over you and rinse, apply to any area that folds or creases please!  88% of all stink comes from areas you think nobody should be able to smell, rule of thumb should be if people CAN’T see it/people CAN smell it.  Use deodorant.  You can stop right there, you would be surprised how much the smell of soap turns women on.  If you do want to roll with cologne, apply one spray to your stomach after the shower as you dry down.  After you put on a shirt, you can take another spray down the back, if it is a strong cologne like any “Aquas” I stop there!  The most you can take it from there is a small splash to neck.  NO MORE THAN 3 SPRAYS!!!!  NO MORE THAN 2 IF YOU SIT CLOSE TO PEOPLE AT WORK!!!!  People may not run to you and tell you how nice you smell, but trust me they refer to you as ‘the good smelling guy’.  A little smell good makes women want to get closer so they can get a better whiff, too much is stinky.

3)      How not to overload your schedule:  So you decided you are going to stop drinking or cut back.  Well you are not hanging out at the bar anymore or meeting the girls out for drinks, now you have to find something else to do.  People make the mistake of finding too many things to do when they stop drinking.  “Oh I was at Bar Louie 5 nights a week, I could learn how to play the piano and join a book club with that time”.  Dumbass!!! If you could have learned how to play the piano you would have stuck with it when you learned the scales in the 4th grade.  Read??  You fuckin’ drunk, you don’t read!!!  Now you have picked up way more than you have time for, before you know it you’ll be bringing a box of wine to the book club.  Look, until the judge orders it… keep drinking.

4)      How not to go to jail:  You’ve decided you are going to be a calmer person, let the small stuff go.  When she says something about you, let her.  When he breaks a promise, so what.  You are not that irrational person that goes off when you feel you have been wronged.  People will not say they are afraid to tell you anything for fear of being yelled at… I know, I know, one time someone tells you that you left the lights on in your car and slapped the ship out of them.  You are not that person anymore.  What you are is a future resident of one of your state’s fine correctional facilities.  Look, you are not a stable individual you yell at people and hit people you love because you do not have the capabilities of keeping that shit inside and dealing with it in healthy ways.  What’s gonna happen is you are going ‘let things go’ for months, then one real hot day in August when your air goes out and no HVAC person can get to your place and fix it, you are going to go see Tyler Perry’s new movie, because you like him, you are an irrational person so you relate to Madea, and the theater has air conditioning.  Well you decided to go to a Tyler Perry movie on the weekend it opens, you didn’t know it was this many Black people in your state.  One person blows their horn at you as you walk through the parking lot, because Black people never read the part of the driver’s manual that says ‘pedestrians have the right of way’, two people asked you for change and they both had on new Nikes, one person called you outside your name because you didn’t want to buy a bootleg of the NEW Tyler Perry movie you are on your way to see.  You have done well, until you get to the ticket booth and the high school kid trying to make enough money keep up with his Xanax addiction tells you politely, “sorry Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Hell is sold out”.  Who knew your arm could fit through the small slit where the money/ticket exchange takes place, who knew your arm was long enough to allow you to grab his neck and choke that lil’ fucker until pills pop out his ass!  Who knew his father was an Assistant District Attorney and his colleagues figure you need to be the poster child for cruel and unusual punishment.  Who knew… I did, keep being you leave this resolution alone.

5)      How not to raise lame kids:  First, don’t name them Blue.  Second, let your kids be who they are and when they make a mistake, beat their ass.  So this year you are going to be a better parent, get your kid involved in more activities, be their friend… blah, blah, blah.  So you have decided to pass your insecurities off on your kids, awesome.  You sucked at sports and blamed your dad for not being around to teach you how to catch a football.  Maybe your hand/eye coördination sucked so badly that if your father did stick around to build you into a first round draft pick, his shame in your lack of athletic ability would have drove him away from you anyway.  Okay your pops fell in love with some strange ass outside the home and got a 2-bedroom in the next county for him her, and her 2 kids.  Maybe your mom should have learned that trick with her tongue and dad would have never left.  DO NOT take your kids to do anything they have not expressed interest in, yes you can visit some museums, musicals, plays, soccer matches, and if your kid asks about it you can suggest the best way to learn is to get involved, but DO NOT do anything with your kids based on what your next door neighbors are doing with their kids.  Their kids are going to be screwed up in the head because they were never allowed to express themselves as people and are Menendez Brothers plotting on their parents.  Let it go, forgive your father, but give your mother hell for not letting her inner-whore go twice a week.

6)      How not to infect the gene pool:  You decided you want to start a family, raise some kids… yawn.  Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do you have tattoos on the side of your neck?  Do you have on a shirt from any of the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies?  Are you in the Tea Party?  Do you own more than one Maroon 5 CD?  Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Does everything in your house come to a stop when “Meet the Browns” come on?  Are you in high school?  Are you still high from last night?  Are you still high from this morning?  Are you about to go get high?  At this moment do have one or more babies crying in the other room due to lack of attention?  Do you find Dane Cook HILARIOUS?  Do you like thugs?  Do you believe you can turn a hoe into a housewife? Have you seen 2 or more “Madea Goes To… “movies/plays?   Is your name Britney Spears?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes… you should not have children, you should walk into the woods and get lost or let a bear eat you.  It is in the best interest of the gene pool.

7)      How not to like bad music:  You feel like life is passing you by, so you are ready to get back out.  There are clubs open now that you have never been to, there are hip people walking around everywhere and you want to know them.  Before you know it you’ll be walking around in MMA style t-shirts, joining a gym but walking on a treadmill for 4 minutes and walking around striking up conversations before you hit arms… again.  You’ll head out to some club with some of the trainers from the gym and by the end of the week you have techno music pumping from your car and find yourself looking forward to the next Nickelback CD.  Idiot.  Just keep getting old, it is infinitely cooler to be the 55-year-old guy, comfortable with his age, knows a little about a lot, and likes to see people 30 years younger than him be 30 years younger than him.  Just let yourself grow up, you get cool again.

8)      How not to smoke crack:  First and this should go without saying, stop hanging out with Bobby Brown… Second, if you find yourself in a puff-puff-pass session with DMX do not smoke anything he rolled.  So you decided to quit smoking and you are making a big deal about it, such a big deal about quitting smoking that the addiction must be really strong, you keep talking about it to the point I say to myself “cigarettes can’t be that bad, are you giving up smoking crack”?  So I am going to treat you like you are trying to get over a crack addiction.  Considering my knowledge on crack addiction is limited to After School Specials, “Say No To Drugs” campaigns in the 80’s, and post 2004 Whitney Houston… I can only assume you’re fuuuhhhhked.  Good news is, if you can actually go 21 days without taking a hit of crack, you may have actually been able to quit smoking.  Good luck with your addiction!

9)      How not to annoy your family:  You want to spend more time with your brothers, sisters, and mom.  Be a good brother/sister/son/daughter.  I got good/bad news for you, your family has become use to not seeing you.  Seeing your family more would actually piss them off, because they are going to assume you need to borrow money and building up the courage to ask.  I suggest you just think about them more often, put up some pictures of them around your house so when they come over they realize you love them.  Real talk, ain’t nobody feeling you like that to see you more than they see you now.

10)   How not to live on a budget:  You are gonna get your finances in order this year, live within your means, and buy only what you can afford to while paying your bills and saving.  Why?  Fuck it, file bankruptcy.  Next.

11)   How not to be dumb as fuck:  I see you, ready to read more, take some classes get a degree.  Nice, my friend, self-improvement is honorable.  What is that book?  Confessions of a Video Vixen, oh wow a book by Zane… you’ll learn something reading that.  What classes are you taking?  Getting an MBA, awesome!  What night are your classes?  No classes?  Oh yeah you’re right you do not have to necessarily take a physical class at the University of Phoenix.  So you are going through an MBA program but not going to sit in classes with people who you can make life long connections with that can benefit your career.  What are you dumb as fuck?

12)   How not to get hit upside the head with a purse by an old lady or get jumped by a group of Black guys:  You have made a resolution to help more people, change starts with you, you can make a difference if not in the world but in your city.  You are going to volunteer at a senior citizens home, sure the first few weeks are great, you bond with a sweet lady drink coffee and talk about the news with her.  You miss one week, because you had tickets to see Nickleback (dumb ass), you return to the senior citizens facility to spend time with your buddy.  She is not in her room, you sit and wait.  A few minutes later she walks in with her cup of coffee getting ready to watch the evening news, sees you sitting there.  Throws her coffee at you, burns your arm! She throws anything she can get her hands on at you, including her purse which cuts your eye.  The nurse comes in calms her down, another nurse comes in and gets a bandage over your cut and tells you that your old lady friend is senile and does not remember things well past 9 days.  So you figure you’ll just go home and relax.  You also decided you would use public transportation more often, since you were cut and needed a little treatment you stayed a little longer than usual.  Embarrassed by your cut you tilt your hat a little over your left eye to kind of hide it.  Bad ideas, as you walk to the bus stop, the thugs in the neighborhood are out on the block and they all have their hats tilted to the right.  Not knowing any better you foolishly walk through the brothers, saying “what’s up”.  “What’s up?  Did this muh’fuhka just ask us what’s up?”  Now you are getting beat on like Vanilla Ice giving up his publishing rights to Suge Knight, all because you decided to make a difference and like bad music.  See this shit never ends people!

13)   How not to lose shit:  In other words you decided you are going to be more organized; it takes you 30 minutes to find things that you should find in 2 minutes or less.  Let me tell you something my mother told me that can help you out… “Why don’t you throw some of this shit away?”  You have too much shit, you don’t have to become more organized you need to toss some shit.  Spend a day; throwing shit you don’t use anymore into a trash bag, throw that shit out the house, you won’t have a problem finding the shit you need.  You are not unorganized, you are filthy.  You made the wrong resolution with your trifling ass!

14)   How not to be rejected:  This is the year you are going to find the love or your life and get the job you always wanted.  What the fuck ever!  You did not try to find a job in 2011?  You didn’t blow a relationship with someone you liked a lot last year?  You turned down a six-figure job or something last year?  Your ex didn’t break up with you because you got caught giving head to somebody you met in a bar one night?  Face it, you are a loser.  I am not saying you will not ever get a great job or find someone who brings you joy but your history clearly states otherwise.  If you do get any of these things it probably won’t be because of anything you set out to do.  Guys you want to find love with someone awesome that you never thought you could have, focus on getting a better job… Rich guys marry hot chicks.  Ladies you want to find love from an awesome guy, I have no advice for you.  You see how many women are kissing other women in bars these days, the pickings are slim.  Buy some flannel shirts and the next time the lady at the gym that works out in blue jeans, boots, and has a haircut like your brother says hi to you don’t smile and keep it moving… chat it up a little.

15)   How not to set yourself up for failure:  You didn’t like my suggestion about filing for bankruptcy, you set a budget and been saving money.  In the words of former NBA Power Forward Derrick Coleman “woopdie, damn, doo!”  Now you are feeling yourself, going on a nice vacation, a cruise to an island.  Taking care of yourself for once in your life and feels good.  Dumb ass, you’re doing the same dumb shit that got you broke in the first place.  You saved $1000 in 9 months and used $400 of it to pay the balance on the trip.  Spent $200 on clothes and instead of limiting your drinking to all-inclusive package on the ship, you decide since you’re are on the island you’ll buy some drinks for the cute locals.  Later you find out that someone there stole your debit card information and as far as the credit agencies are concerned that is your responsibility now.  How is bankruptcy looking now you fuckin’ failure!

16)   How not to look like a pussy:  Way to go!  You are going to save the environment, going green!  Recycling, cutting back on fuel, might bike to work on nice days.  Trading in your Jeep for a Prius… you come up to a stop light for the first time.  Look over in the car next to you, the hottest chick you have ever seen, she sees your eyes and smiles.  Then she checks out your brand new Prius, frowns runs the light to get away from you.  Women don’t date pussies!  Women like their men sensitive to a point; you’re driving around in a Prius, crying for dolphins and the ozone layer.  Have you ever see a football player get out of his car on Sunday before the big game in a Prius?  The kickers and punters drive F-150’s and BMW’s, you drive a Prius… you look like a pussy.  Tim Tebow drives a Range Rover and he prays for the guys trying to rip his head off… BEFORE THE GAME!!!  Instead of spending time working on this resolution why don’t you put your time to better use, like waiting for your testicles to fall.

17)   How not to make resolutions:  Be you, always.  If there is something you do not like about yourself find out the cause of it and then embrace it as a part of who you are.  If you feel you need to lose weight, ask yourself if you can love yourself as you are, if your answer is yes the pounds will fall off.  Your love for who you are will fix anything wrong with you.  Happy New Year.

The Soundtrack To My Life

Track 1: “Fuck the World” Tupac

{They try to say that I don’t care}
I woke up and screamed, “Fuck the world!”
{They tryin to say that I don’t care}
Got up and screamed, “Fuck the world!”
Haha, fuck the world! Fuck it
I hear my niggaz screamin fuck the world!

They wanna know if I claim the click, that I’m hangin with
And if I’m down with this bangin shit
Well homie I don’t give a fuck if you Blood or Cuz
Long as ya got love for thugs
But don’t try to test me out, stall that
Homie this is Thug Life nigga and we all strapped
I been through, Hell and back, and if I fail black
Then it’s, back to the corner where we sell crack
Some of you niggaz is bustas; you runnin ’round
With these tramp=ass bitches, don’t trust her
But don’t cry, this world ain’t prepared for us
A straight thug motherfucker who ain’t scared to bust
Fuck the world!

Yes this is the first track on my soundtrack!  My life is not Love Jones, Nia Long is not coming back to Chicago with the hope we may kick things back off and it ain’t gonna end with Tom Hanks kissing Meg Ryan.

My mother raised me in a rough city but provided many opportunities.  She had the opportunity to move us out of the area when I was entering high school, but she believed I was better ready for the world by growing up in Gary, IN. She was right, I have been in slums and élite communities, fit into both.  It is easier to make the social élite feel comfortable with your presence than the hood.

I was a good student, stayed out of trouble, but my friends were thugs.  I was cool with the smart kids, had classes with them.  I was captain of our academic super bowl team, but I was a back of the bus fighting until I got to my stop kid.  I was going to college, but I fought, figured out my hustle to make some cash, and made more cash by looking out for the older dudes when they were breaking into cars.  I have lost so many friends; I am desensitized to random acts of violence.  Hell I shouldn’t even be here, sometimes I think about how a cop car drove past right at the moment some guy put a gun to my head.  I do not know if he would have shot me, but I grew up in a city called “Murder Capital” if you put a gun to someone’s head you finish that shit off.  So I can only assume…

I been through, Hell and back, and if I fail black
Then it’s, back to the corner where we sell crack

I have had a lot of good, I graduated from Indiana University, I have had some great opportunities, I have a good job, live in a great neighborhood.  But I still have “FUCK THE WORLD” pumping through my veins.  I have been through a lot, I have had way too many friends shot and killed.  My best friend killed during lunch on my 18th birthday, my little sister dead, sat up in lock-up while a cop wrote up some bullshit charges on me, held back for what I am perceived to be, family on dope, passed over for opportunities I am more than qualified for.  So yes FUCK THE WORLD and thank you for reading this, but catch me at the wrong moment, fuck you too!  It is nothing personal, it is me screaming… we all have to scream and Pac through this song screamed for me.

Track 2: “Healing Hands”- Citizen Cope

I will never forget your healing hands my love
I thought my heart had stopped
I swore I had given up
I will never forget your healing hands my love
You gave me daylight you gave me sunlight

Turn the tape recorder on
He just left Jackie O for Marilyn Monroe
We’re all bought and sold
For tobacco, firearms and alcohol
What’s a pocket full of gold
Without a woman that you could hold
Can’t afford to be on the back burner no more
Now I got a lot of places to go

After the rough opening and shoving my middle finger up your ass, I have to fall back quick.  What better way than to smooth the ride out with my man Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood) who I remember from the hip hop group Basehead.  Cope is the cat singing “Sideways” on Carlos Santana’s Shaman CD.  I will never forget some, sometimes there is a touch that you will be able to recall years after they touched you for the last time.  Hopefully you find and hold on to someone who can touch in such away for the rest of your life.  You can be rich, but lonely… you can be poor but with someone who loves you in your life you can feel like a million bucks.

 

Track 3-“Mother Pray”-Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama

Around the old homeplace her cherishing smiling face
Was always bringing comfort joy and cheer
And when she used to sing to her eternal King
It was the sound I loved to hear

If I could only hear my mother pray again
If I could hear her tender voice as then
How happy I would be
It would mean so much to me
If I could hear my mother pray again

There will be a few recurring themes in the movie on my life, one will be the joy I receive from a song written, produced, and performed by Prince, another will be I am not a very stable person, and more than anything else my love and respect for my mother has been the driving force in my life and her death tore me and continues to tear me apart.

My best friend kept this track from me, he knew I would eventually get to it seeing how I enjoy Ben Harper, my friend did not want to be the person responsible for me hearing this song knowing that it would move me tears.  When he saw I had the CD, he told me that saying “I wanted to tell you that was out but I knew ‘Mother Pray’ was too much for you to handle”.  It was.

I remember walking into my mother’s room and seeing her in prayer.  I could tell by her brow if she was praying for our protection or because she was appreciative of God providing for us when we needed His protection.  Those moments always ended with me throwing my arms around her and getting a look from her that seemed to thank me for understanding why we may have struggled at that moment.  More than anything, I loved hearing my mother sing… anything.  Her voice was beautiful, powerful, a rich alto that could make it to soprano with ease.  I have prayed to God to let me hug my mother one more time, I would give Him anything he wanted to let me tell her I love her one more time.  I keep a journal of hers kept tucked away, because she wrote in it before falling asleep and still smells like her perfume.  Needless to say, some days I take that journal a give it a good whiff so I can feel close to the woman who sacrificed everything for me.

Track 4: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”-The Beatles

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

My closest friends know I am a Beatles fan, since my high school locker, I have had a picture/poster of the Beatles or John Lennon in any space that was deemed ‘mine’.  At work there is a picture of the Beatles on my desk at home John Lennon sits in my living room.  They represent, to me, talent coming together with personal growth, hope for something better for something other than yourself and being all those things at the right time.  Then recognizing when it was over and being comfortable with letting the moment go when others thought you stupid for doing so.  I feel to know the Beatles you have to learn George Harrison, who wrote this song, his laid back style did not make him seem to be a leader.  He seemed comfortable letting John and Paul get the attention, but his wish to give his life greater meaning showed his place in the group because the other people followed his steps.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a beautiful song and sometimes you just need some beauty in your life.  I wish I could write something this moving and simple, something that when I am gone stands as my eulogy.  What makes this more remarkable is that George wrote this as a test to himself that all things happen for a reason.  He said he would write a song based on the first words he randomly looked at from a book he randomly picked up.  George grabbed a book, opened it and saw ‘gently weeps’.  I cannot say there is a reason for everything, but this story makes a strong case for it.  Though I do not think everything in my life was meant to happen, I do believe that everything that has happened to me has been an opportunity for me to learn more about myself.   Just like George, I want to take time to learn about myself.

 

Track 5: “Fool to Cry”-Rolling Stones

You know, I got a woman
And she lives in the poor part of town
and I go see her sometimes
And we make love, so fine
I put my head on her shoulder
She says, “Tell me all your troubles.”
You know what she says? She says
“Daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
and it makes me wonder why

Some songs speak to my soul, I consider myself a Rolling Stones fan own CD’s and if you were raised in Chicago or spent any time in the clubs here you know that “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” still gets play from DJs here.  Chicago may be the one place outside of London where Black people run to the dance floor when a Stones song comes on.  The first time I heard “Fool to Cry” I walked into Potbellies on Wabash and Van Buren for a sandwich.  I knew it was the Stones but I never heard it and the song stuck in my head all day.  The song caused me to pause; I waited until the song was over before I ordered.  I will admit to my tears, but not every situation that my tears flowed were worthy of them and later I feel stupid for allowing myself.  It would be nice sometimes to have someone love you so much to be that honest and tell you how foolish you are for crying.  Can you imagine how reassuring that is to have someone believe in you so much that they feel a situation is not worth your tears?

 

Track 6: “Seven Nation Army”-White Stripes

I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera forever more
I’m gonna work the straw, make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I’m pleading, and I’m pleading, and I’m pleading right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me and I will think no more
And the stains coming from my blood tell me go back home

The best guitar riff of the last 30 years aside (outside of Slash’s on “Sweet Child O’ Mine”)… “All the words are gonna bleed from me and I will think no more”… This line completely explains why I write.  I do not write because I am in love with it (I am), not to make a name for myself (I wish), but so I can stop thinking.  When I need to let something go, I write about it, so I can stop thinking about it.  I write about social ills so I can stop worrying about it, I write about women so I can let her go, I would like to have a day without thinking.

 

Track 7: “Sometimes”-Bilal

Sometimes, wish I knew life with no pain, yeah
Wish I held the keys to this game
Sometimes, I pretend ‘cuz I’m afraid to be, ‘friad to be
Sometimes, I hope I live to see twenty five
Sometimes, I wish I could be like Moses
Round up my people, move out the ghetto and live a better life

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t try so hard
Sometimes, who knows truth any way
They don’t know nothing, who needs that approval

The sun in your hands player
Move at your own pace, listen to your own mind
Do your own thing, yeah, yeah
I’m saying it because I love ya
And I wanna grow with you, yeah, yeah

But you wanna run in the other direction
So I got to stay on my path until I win, I win, I win, I win
I wanna win, I wanna win, I wanna win, I wanna win

When things are bad, I mean real bad, I mean grab a gun and think about bad things bad… I need this song.  I spend every waking moment of my life wishing I could change myself and the conditions of others.  Wondering if I will live another day, wondering if I even want to live another one.  To know pain much more than happiness is a horrible way to go through life.  What makes it even worse is to know that I could have changed this, I let these feelings happen because sometimes I did not do what was right for me or my people.  Sometimes, one time, just one muthafuckin’ time at the right damn time I should have done something with the purpose of getting the win.  Fortunately, with each day I realize that I am given more opportunities to get my win.

 

The next four songs could be called the Paisley Interlude, Prince is my favorite artist.  Honestly I could “Girl 6” this soundtrack and every song could be performed, produced, and/or written by Prince.  I should “Batman” soundtrack this, have Prince lay down 9 tracks of music that sounds like what he was doing five years earlier, give Sheena Easton one last shot at the pop charts, and get him to give up his publishing in the process.  What I will not do is “Graffiti Bridge” this… because that would mean my movie sucks.  Although I snatch the first Prince song is from “Graffiti Bridge”.

Track 8: “Pink Cashmere”-Prince

Girl, can u understand
I never used 2 go dancing
I…I was the kind of man who rather stay at home

Now, when I think about
How much I miss u
I wanna jump for joy
And thank him I’m not alone (I am not alone)

Ooh, Im making u a coat of pink cashmere
U got 2 know how I feel about u baby
How I always want u near

Im making u a coat of pink cashmere
Im gonna count every minute of every hour
Until u r here (til u r here)

Shouldn’t every man feel this way about a woman?  Shouldn’t every woman have a man that feels this way about her?

Track 9: “She’s Always in My Hair”-Prince

Whenever I feel like givin’ up
Whenever my sunshine turns 2 rain
Whenever my hopes and dreams are aimed in the wrong direction
She’s always there tellin’ me how much she cares
She’s always in my hair

She’s always in my hair, my hair

Whenever I feel like not 2 great at all
Whenever I’m all alone
Even if I hit the wrong notes
She’s always in my boat
She’s always there tellin’ me how much she cares
She’s always in my hair

She’s always in my hair, my hair

9th Grade, English class, Mrs. James teacher… the first person to look at my writing and tell me I was good at it.  The first person, not my mother, to tell me to believe in myself, stand up for myself, to put me in situations to grow and show my talents.  I only had her that one year but she stayed on me all four years.  Senior year she pulled me into a program that she organized with guys from all over the city, that challenged me to perform and in the long run led to lifelong friends.  She was at my college graduation, visited me at my first job, came to my early shows, was at my mother’s funeral, found me in New York City… She is always in my hair.

Track 10: “Do Me Baby”-Prince

Here we are in this big old empty room, staring each other down
U want me just as much as I want u, let’s stop fooling around
Take me baby… kiss me all over… play with my love
Bring out what’s been in me for far too long
Baby, u know that’s all I’ve been dreaming of

Do me baby, like u never done before
Give it to me till I just can’t take no more
Do me baby, like u never done before
I want u now, I just can’t wait no more, can’t wait…

Here we are looking for a reason for u to lay me down
For a love like ours is never out of season, so baby please stop teasing me
What ya do, I can never love no other, ure the best I ever had
Whenever were not close to one another, I just want u so bad

Of course any movie about my life would have at least one gratuitous sex scene.  There are so many songs to pick from, but I am a freak!  There is nothing that lays it down, stands it up, bends it over, or rides the rhythm as hard as Do Me Baby.  “Adore” is lovely, “Scandalous” is sexy, but “Do Me Baby” is forget the bullshit take off your clothes and let’s catch our breath in the morning music.  This scene will feature the lovely Nia Long.

In my other gratuitous sex scene (the studio had to talk me down from 8 scenes) will have D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” playing in the background and I would have broken up with Nia because I am the type of person that loves you until I find your physical flaw and by the time we get to this scene I would have found hers.  Though stunningly beautiful I would have had enough of trying to figure out of if she was cross-eyed or if her eyes are just set too close together and replaced her with the lovely Kerry Washington… HELLO!

I obviously have a ‘type’

Track 11: “Joy in Repetition”-Prince

Up on the mic repeating 2 words, over and over again
Was this woman he had never noticed before he lost himself in the
Articulated manner in which she said them.
These 2 words, a little bit behind the beat.
I mean just enough 2 turn u on.
4 everytime she said the words another one of his doubts were gone.

Should he try 2 rap with her? Should he stand and stare?
No one else was watching her, she didn’t seem 2 care.
So over and over, she said the words til he could take no more, (no more)
He dragged her from the stage and together they ran through the back door
In the alley over by the curb he said tell me what’s your name
She only said the words again and it started to rain (rain, rain, rain)
2 words falling between the drops and the moans of his condition
Holding someone is truly believing there’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.
There’s joy in repetition.

This is my favorite Prince song and Rolling Stone called it the ‘perfect song’ in its review.  All lyrics are up to the listener to find meaning in.  Some people believe the repetition of the beat is where you can find joy.  Some believe it is the love interest of the song repeating ‘love me’ is where the joy lays.  Well, to me there is one thing that involves repetition that brings me joy… and that brings me to gratuitous sex scene number 3.  Which is an “8 Mile” style Eminem/Britney Murphy quickie featuring me and Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child, starting to see the type now?

 

Track 12: “Still Fly”-Big Tymers

Gator Boots, with the pimped out Gucci suit
Ain’t got no job, but I stay sharp
Can’t pay my rent, cause all my money’s spent
but thats OK, cause I’m still fly
got a quarter tank gas in my new E-class
But that’s alright cause I’m gon’ ride
got everything in my moma’s name
but I’m hood rich da dada dada da

There is always one song on a soundtrack that has no reason for being on there outside of the fact that it just sounds really good and kind of cool, “Still Fly” is my “Wanksta”.  There was no reason for “Wanksta” to be on the 8 Mile soundtrack except for the fact that 50 Cent was Em’s new artist and the track was hot as hell! Don’t lie, we all like to look like we can buy the bar even with 3 dollars in our pocket and 19 bucks in the checking account. Other examples of songs that did not fit, but so cool you did not question their inclusion on the soundtrack:

Moulin Rouge “Lady Marmalade”, question… does anyone have a version that does not include Christina Aguilera doing her impersonation of what she thinks a Black singer sounds like?  I assume the only reason why they didn’t bring Patti Labelle in to sing her parts again was because with Missy Elliott there could only be one other woman in the video nobody wanted to see in a bustier.

City of Angels “Mama You Got A Daughter” every John Lee Hooker song is cool!

Above the Rim Okay, every song on this soundtrack fits the category.  Considering it is a basketball movie based in New York City, at that time Wu Tang Clan and Black Moon would have been better choices.  However, the entire soundtrack is West Coast/Death Row, which was the ‘hot thing to do’ at that time.  Honestly, I love this soundtrack my all time favorite and unfortunately the beginning of songs on soundtracks having nothing to do with the movie.  So to pick one song that does not fit but is so hot you roll with it… “Afro Puffs”, ha you will not be able to get this song out your head today.

Garden State sure Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” seems to be the obvious choice, but there is a really good reason why this song is included that I will not go into, because I have given enough clues on how big of a nerd I am.   The song that stands out is “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay, only because it is like every one of their songs.  You are afraid to admit you like it out of fear of being beaten to a bloody pulp by your really cool friends.

In my opinion there are only 4 perfect soundtracks that feature songs with lyrics, where every song serves a purpose:

Trainspotting

Superfly

Grease (another nerd clue, but you know the words too!)

O’ Brother, Where Art Though?

 

Track 13: “W-4”-dead prez

What a nigga gonna eat when the refrigerator empty?
Work all week let the bossman pimp me
Can’t pay no rent till the fifteenth, landlord call the police to evict me
Lookin’ for a job in the want ads
Have you ever been to jail? Know they gone ask
Ever took a piss test that you didn’t pass?
In between jobs in the past? How you get cash?
I done worked over hot ass stoves, I done picked up trash off roads
Winter time in the streets and the cold
Many times had to sleep in my clothes on the floor
What you know bout bein’ po’ seein’ most of yo kinfolk be on dope?

I been workin’ all my life but ain’t got nothin’ to show
I ain’t tellin’ you nothin’ you don’t already know
I been workin’ all my life but ain’t got nothin’ to show
Wanna run up in the white house and kick in the door, woh ooo oh

My J-O-B
Is just like a plantation
They owe me
But got me fillin’ out this application

I dig everything dead prez has ever done, from burning dollar bills during shows, to telling brothers how to cheat the system, putting Mary Jane in one of their videos, not waiting on record companies to press their CD’s to get music out to us.  I appreciate they live what they speak; they have the same hero I have, Fred Hampton.  Without a doubt dead prez is everything I wanted to be as a person but was too afraid to do.  “W-4” sums up my life, at moments, and my feelings about working to just pay bills.  I listen to this song often because I often question my life choices.  How am I walking into work at 9:00am every morning knowing this is never what I wanted to do in life?  This is that Andy Duphrane “crawl through a river of shit” moment in the movie.  The moment in the movie where the Kid’s father shot himself in the head trying to kill himself, somehow survives, and he has to go on stage and prove not only that he deserves his slot at First Avenue but that he is really the most talented performer there.  The even though Rocky loses the fight he wins the love of his life moment.  It could be the Denzel Washington in “Training Day” moment, where the Russians kill me at an intersection and instead of feeling sorry for me you sit there looking at the screen saying to yourself… “Yeah, that mutha fucka had to die”.

Track 14: “U Know What’s Up” Donnell Jones

Ooh, say what, say what, say what
Ooh, girl u know what’s up
Ooh, say what, say what, say what
Ooh, girl u know what’s up

I’m diggin’ u and I’m feelin’ u
U know what’s up
Said i’m diggin’ u and I’m wantin’ u
So tell me what’s up

Peep her thighs and I’m zonin’
Right around two in the mornin’
Lookin’ fly with a sundress on
Think I feel a bone comin on
Girl u got it wide open
Want all day and in hopin’
Baby don’t front
Back seat Jeep, u know what I want

My movie takes place mostly in Chicago; very few songs represent SUMMER TIME CHI like “U Know What’s Up”.  The vibe of the song is how we roll in the summer and this verse hits on exactly how it is on a summer night.  Leaving the club a little early, you either hitting one of the after hour spots or you hitting baby with that summer dress on.  I have never enjoyed winter, considering we get seven months of cold weather in Chicago, 2 and a half months of iffy weather, those 2 and a half months of nice warm weather must be pretty damn good to keep you here… those 2 and a half months are that damn good to make you put up with January and February they have to be.

This is also where gratuitous sex scene number 4 was, until the studio got me to agree to cut it out to avoid an NC-17 rating.  It featured Keri Hilson… sorry fellas.

Track 15: “U Don’t Know” Jay-Z

That’s another difference that’s between me and them
Heh, I’m smarten up, open the market up
One million, two million, three million, four
In eighteen months, eighty million more
Now add that number up with the one I said before
You are now lookin at one smart black boy
Momma ain’t raised no fool
Put me anywhere on God’s green earth, I’ll triple my worth
Motherfucker – I, will, not, lose

“You don’t know.. what you’re doing, doing, doing, doing..”
Put somethin on it

I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell
I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well
I was born to get cake, move on and switch states
Cop the Coupe with the roof gone and switch plates

This has been my theme song for the entire 10 years since it was released.  It came out right when I decided to go live in some other places and challenge myself to do different things and see where I stood against other people.  It was in the car rolling with me on my way to Miami.  Bought me up on stage through the Midwest, playing in the background when I was writing in Atlanta, banging in my ear buds when I landed in NYC and disturbing the neighbors when LA called for me to come out and write.  The song gets me on two levels, anywhere I have been I made it, may have been a struggle but I claimed more victories than L’s “Put me anywhere on God’s green Earth, I’ll triple my worth” and the very next line… “I WILL NOT LOSE”.  It has been on the display screen of every cell phone I have had for a decade and when I feel like quitting, that saying pops up in my head and I can run another mile.

Track 16: “Who Would’ve Thought”-Marvin Winans and Donnie McClurkin

I know You, Lord, since You’ve entered in
Oh yeah
I can’t believe the things You’ve done
You came and you saved me, changed me and forgave me
And then You took me in as one of Your own
As one of Your own

Now when I feel my world is falling apart
Oh yeah
I can just bend my knees and pray
You know what?
Feels so good to feel this love in my heart
Who would’ve thought I’d get to know You this way?
Say who would’ve thought I’d know You this way?
So glad I’d know You this way

This track serves two purposes, I think any CD/Album worth its salt should have 15+ songs, so here is the +.  Also, every Black movie is legally obligated to have one ‘inspirational gospel song’ on the soundtrack.  Well I am Black and this is the soundtrack to my life, so I have to fulfill my contract.  All Black movies have to give a mixed message, lots of sex, a little violence, drinking, cussing, and then we justify it by putting Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, or Marvin Sapp on the soundtrack.  Hey Tyler Perry does it and he is rich, so that makes it right… right?

Side note, I love this song.  Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin, and John P. Kee are my favorite voices and you can feel their joy coming through the song.  You can also get a feel for the brotherhood they share, which can be rarely seen between Black men.  It’s talked about in fraternities and on the streets but it is just that talk.  Hypocrisy is as rampant in the Black community as single mother households and under-employment.

Track 17: “September”-Earth, Wind, and Fire

Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Ba de ya – say do you remember
Ba de ya – dancing in September
Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day

This fulfills another Black movie obligation.  All Black movies must feature at least one song by Earth, Wind, and Fire and if using only one song by Earth, Wind, and Fire it must and can only be “September”, the original version with Maurice White singing lead.  If you do something stupid, like pull a “This Christmas” and allow Chris Brown to remake the song their attorneys will squeeze your nuts until you hit those Phillip Bailey high notes.  Also, you can only use the song during a family reunion or wedding reception scene and everybody must have a huge smile on their face while doing the “Electric Slide” and the scene fades to black and the credits roll.  Maurice White makes so much money off this one song he just sits his ass in Los Angeles while the rest of the members tour with some dude singing his parts.  Maurice said ‘F this, I’m rich… Let my brother Verdine hit the road.  He could use the money for relaxers and more skintight leopard skin pants.”

 

Bonus Track: “Roses” Mos Def featuring Georgia Anne Muldrow

I have found, just the perfect feelin
Finally cause I’m grateful
I can feel your spirit, comin closer on me
It is grand, just to be reminded
Reminded of the good things
Living in a new day, that no one can tear down
You don’t have to, cut up no roses
Please just leave them living
Got my pencil, got pretty paper
Please don’t worry we’re forgiven

Yellow for friendship, red for love
Black for the universal stars above
Pink buds that I bought her on Valentine
She said it was forever then she changed her mind
I said a little prayer then I cleared my eyes

 

Fin

(That’s that film school shit right there Joe!  ‘The End’ is for suckers)

 

 

The Doula Do Her… She Don’t Do You

Chicago, IL 3:23 AM December 13, 2011 at 22 and a half inches, 9lbs and 6 amazing ounces my first child, my son Noah made his entrance to the world.

What I learned?  The placenta and me have a lot in common, could be useful in the future, nobody talks about it, and is the part of the birth that just has to be dealt with.  After birth and after thought is what we are and that is cool.

I went into the day being supportive, labor had to be induced, I knew the day would be long and luckily it lasted only 10 hours (I am sure there is someone I am very close to that would not talk to me for the rest of the week and if she had the energy choke the hell out of me for saying ‘only’).  The most important parts of this are healthy baby and healthy mommy this was not about me.  I did my part in causing this day and will learn to play my role under the direction of the two stars of this event.

A few of my friends sent me texts asking how I was holding up and my response was “this is not about me”.  I have taken mental notes from family members and friends and went into this knowing that I could not be present and have the same impact on the event.  There is nothing in the world that could have kept me from seeing my son born… unless it involved $10,000,000 and knowledge of every tax loop-hole the Republicans are protecting, my son could use a rich father too he should be in the 1%.

I ready for the treatment I will receive, to prepare for my role in this production I have studied every non-essential member of groups, teams, and pairs for the last 50 years.  I have read up on the feelings of Tito Jackson, the other two members of the Police, every member of Young Money not named Lil’ Wayne, Drake, or Minaj.  I reached out to and spent time with Dan Quayle, the other guys from Maroon 5, Kobe Bryant’s back-up, reporters on CNN not named Anderson Cooper, and Jon Cryer from ‘Two and a Half Men”.  It is surprising how easy it was to get in contact with these people, most of them are still listed in the phone book and in the case of Jesse Carmichael from Maroon 5, I was leaving a message for Jesse while doing that my phone beeped with a call waiting.  I took that call said ‘hello’.  “Hey this Jesse, sorry it took so long for me to call you back Rob.  What’s going on?  Wanna hang?  I can fly you out to LA!  Better yet where are you at?  I’ll just drive there; I could use something to do”.  Kind of sad, I just hung up on him when he started to Google me.

Even more surprising was that I received phone calls from Gloria Cain, both of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives, and Nick Cannon.  So as you can see I am ready to be ignored by others and not made reference to by anyone including my spouse.  This should be minimally humbling for me; my son may actually have some respect for me after this.

Wrong, the nurse comes out to roll my wife to the room.  That is fine, one problem, I was standing in front of the wheelchair.  I am 6’4” I am not invisible, but I do not exist today.  Everyone comes in and speaks directly to the mommy-to-be, which is the right thing to do.  I take issue when they try to include me int the process.  “Ok daddy, you just keep sitting down in that chair like you are, that is a nice hat you have on.  What is that the Cubs?”

“No, it’s my hair.  I haven’t had time to get a haircut.  By the way, I’m standing right next to you.  I’m like right behind you… hello?”

“So daddy’s a Cubs fan, that’s nice.”

We bought in a doula, not that we were going for natural child-birth.  All medication was an option going into the day.  Why not use everything available a combination of natural and modern science is a great combination.  The doula arrived to the labor room, she was carrying an exercise ball and some snacks.  Awesome, some unique relaxation techniques for mom and something for us to snack on through the night… how nice is this?  Wrong, before I could tell her hello, she threw the exercise ball in my hands took the seat I was sitting in, ripped open the snacks and began eating.  Apparently the exercise ball was to keep me occupied.  While they are doing real work I could do some stability sit-ups and work on my core.

I had such a fear that I would be called every name possible, say something that would irritate and cause great anger that I was so careful with my words, that it is possible that if someone documented every word I said the entire 10 hours they would form a haiku.  By the time the doula showed up, the baby was well on his way.  An epidural was administered and 8 hours of slow progress went into hyper-drive.  My wife went from 4cm to 9cm in less than an hour, in simple terms… IT IS ON!

The doula actually took the heat I was expecting to get, it probably did not help that she was arrive a couple of hours later than when she was really needed.  Once the needle went into the spine, the doula was to be regulated to camera operations and shut the fuck up duty.  The doula would make suggestions and in return get pretty much a verbal slap.

“Just try to breath”

“Obviously I am breathing, I’m not dead”

Nice

“I’ll just rub your leg”

“Actually could you stop that, the epidural has kicked in my legs are numb, and your hands feel like sandpaper”

Wow… awesome

I have done a great job keeping my mouth shut, such a good job that the person she handpicked to be the voice of reason in the room is getting the verbal jabs.  Cool, I will keep this going until my son gets here so I can finally get some attention and he can stare at me.

Do not think that I was smug about the direction of those daggers.  When the doula took it and had a tough moment, I looked at her with a supporting look, even offered to get her some water.   It was the right thing to do, I needed her there taking that attention away from me.  This is the best decision this family has ever made, since my great-uncle pistol whipped a restaurant owner for giving him cold food and the entire family left Mississippi before they got strung-up!

My wife is struggling supporting her head by now, I place a pillow behind her neck.  She says “thanks”, I am #winning!!! A few minutes later, my wife is still struggling with her neck and the pillow is a source of irritation.  “You need some help baby?”  What the hell did I say that for…

“I don’t need any help from you.  Here take this damn pillow!”

The pillow was thrown at me, hitting me directly in my face.  Where in the hell did she get aim from?  Stunned by the display of Brett Favre like accuracy and the sudden show of anger and frustration directed towards me, I looked at the doula for the same support I had been given her.  I just needed a kind look, something to tell me that I should not take any of that personally.  Only to look at the doula and to find her lips twisted up to the side with a “that’s what the fuck you get” look on her face.

Not long after that, the baby arrived.  I will spare all the details, I am under the impression all of you took 6th grade Health classes and have the act of child-birth burned into your memories.  I will share that Noah’s heartbeat got seriously low and we became scared.  After he came out, it was only a couple of seconds but seemed like an eternity to me, he was there on the bed completely still.  I immediately prayed for his well-being and asked God to let him be okay.  He moved his little arm and cried a little, the best cry I have ever heard in my life.  It helped that he only cried for less than 5 seconds so it never reached “okay kid that’s enough” levels.

He was cleaned, weighed, checked, tested, foot prints taken, all I could do is stand there and look at him.  The nurse said he was 22.5 inches long, tied the record for longest baby born at that hospital… already in the history books, good job kid!  Finally I said something, after being speechless and on the verge of tears for minutes.  I said, “hey Noah, I waited so long to see you”.  He opened his eyes like he recognized my voice.  I said “he looks like he knows my voice”.  The doula said, “He does”.  Great moment, this is what I was waiting for some attention from my son.

His blood sugar was a little low, so they kept him to check levels.  He was not near us too much after the first bonding period with mommy.  All wanted was that moment where he would be that person that would confirm my part in this process.  After seeing him, the usual things take place that should take place for any father.  Protecting him, giving him every opportunity, immediate comfort with letting go anything that gets in the way of your time with him, and that love at first sight is indeed possible.  I also made a renewed commitment to my dreams and goals, because he deserves to see me loving what I do for a living.  He deserves to know that it is possible to make dreams realities.  I believe the best way for me to provide for him is through my dreams.  Not because of money, but because he deserves to have a father that is happy and at peace with his own life.

I think about watching Bears games with him on my lap.  How I cannot wait to see his mother feeding him and how much healthier he will be from that.  That I wish my mother were alive to see his face and that I wish she were alive so I could still see hers.  I am cherishing the possibilities of time with my son and accepting every responsibility that comes with it.  Finally, he comes to the room.  After more much-needed bonding time with mommy, it is time for him and I to have that moment I have waited for what is at this point 24 hours of being ignored.

And how does Noah justify my much-needed time with him:

Even my son has had enough of me today

Time/date stamp is wrong

Yes that is my son… a very humbling moment.  He is allowed…

Living Through My Nephew

There are four young men walking this planet that call me uncle.  One of them is in Birmingham, Alabama with my little sister, I rarely see him.  The other three are closer, across the border in Gary, Indiana.  Those are my brother’s sons.  The oldest is in college now, he was cool growing up but grew into a pretty boy with an incredible ego, he turned out to be the guy I punched in jaw in college so he would shut the fuck up and leave anytime I walked into room.

Nothing against pretty boys, there is not anything wrong with being an attractive man, I try my best to be an attractive man (shout out to my barber Ike!  The best on the South Side… LOW END CRAZY ALL DAY, sorry I’m so Chi sometimes), but when a man feels that he is better than anyone because people think he’s cute, my open hand will find the left side of his face in front of a lot of people.  I know my oldest nephew will meet the ‘new me’ and realize how having your air supply cut off by a dude sick of hearing his damn mouth and begin to change his ways.  My brother, his father, agrees.  This is not about him, arrogant bastard.

My brother’s youngest sons are 9 and 7.  The 9-year-old is the most pleasant kid you will ever meet, keeps a smile on his face, he can walk into a room of 15 people stay five minutes and can make everyone feel like he spent all that time with them.  He is an incredible kid bright, loves being a big brother, and likes science.  Just an awesome nephew makes me happy to be his uncle.

The youngest nephew, everyone says is a little version of me.  He is not like I was when I was 7-years-old, he is like me now.  He is deceptively smart, makes the honor roll without anyone ever seeing him work.  He has comedic timing, something I believe I have, my brother has actually decided to stop taking him around people when someone close them has died.  My nephew has no boundaries.  My brother stopped by to pay his respects to a friend’s family whose mother died.  They walk into the funeral home my brother sees his friend, apologizes for not being able to attend the service later.  His friend says that is okay, he appreciates him just stopping by, mostly family would be at her wake.  My brother knows exactly the comment the youngest is about to make, and jumps out in action figure slow-mo mode… but cannot make it in time.  My nephew says “Wake?  I thought she was dead.”  Classic.

My brother beat the brakes off of him for that, had to.

My nephew says things I am likely to say, he always looks for the joke, my ‘filter’ is about the same… I let go with a good joke regardless of the situation or if it is proper.  Yes I have had many jobs and many meetings with HR.

Last week my nephew did something I have always wanted to do, said I wanted to do it, and said in front of him I wish I could do this.  My nephew like me and my brother, hate bullies and do not like to be messed with.  We do not let people pick on people, you may not like someone but everyone has the right to feel comfortable.  We will let you mess with us longer than we would let you pick on someone else, because we all know there is a limit and once you reach it will make it clear how much we will take.  I have choked people, my brother slaps people.

One time a friend of mine and my brothers came to me and said “you need to talk to your brother, he’s been going around slapping dudes.  Somebody is going to get his boys one day and run up on him.”

My response: “no they won’t.”  There was some silence and confusion I gave more “you said someone is going to get their boys to run up on my brother?  For your boys to run up on someone to defend their friend, said friend has to let those friends know why my brother needs to get stomped. It would not even get that far.  How can you get your friends to fight someone for you because another man slapped you?”

I would love to see the friends on the other end of that conversation:

“Yeah nigga we boys, we’ll roll with you.  What he do?  What he do? Huh?  Say that again… He slapped you?  What you do, not have all his money?  Get caught talking to another pimp?”

Last week my nephew had enough from a kid that was had been messing with him.  My nephew is in the second grade and this other kid is new to the school this year.  The other kids in the school have learned to not mess with my nephew.  Playground, this other kid throws rocks, makes jokes about, and picks at my nephew.  In class, throws paper, tries to get my nephew in trouble, treats my nephew like he is a straight punk.  My nephew has had it, the line was crossed.

He did the thing I have always wanted to do.  The thing I have joked about doing in front of him so often, he put it on his ‘To-Do’ list.  My nephew stands up, walks over to the other kid and proceeds to flip his desk over!  I am proud and jealous.  I have always wanted to flip someone’s desk over as a sign of anger and a statement to ‘keep fucking with me if you want to”.  Like Bernie Mack once said “it’s gonna be some furniture moving up in here”!

Can you imagine your punk-ass-boss giving you hell day after day, week after week, and you say fuck it!  Then flip his desk over.  What can he do?  Sit there stunned, that is all he can do.  Sure he will want you fired, but HR will have to block that because obviously your boss did something that caused you to reach this point.  So some time off, therapy, and a transfer to another department is necessary… to avoid a law suit.

Now that my nephew has pulled off the greatest feat in my family’s history, since my great-uncle pistol whipped a restaurant owner for not only making him go to the back door to order his food, but also for giving him cold food.  Here is that story, really quick:  My great-uncle Abe ordered steak and eggs with toast.  Gets his order handed to him through the back door next to the garbage, checks his order, puts the back of his hand on the toast and says “toast cold”.  The owner says ‘what’?

“Toast cold.”

“So what, boy get the fuck off my steps”

AND THAT’S HOW HE GOT PISTOL WHIPPED AND HOW MY FAMILY ENDED UP RELOCATING TO THE CHICAGOLAND AREA.

Honestly my wet dream is to approach someone say “toast cold” and then flip over the desk.  However, I am resigned to live through my nephew.

I had to ask him, “Hey man, what did the kid do after you flipped his desk over”.

“He did what he was supposed to do, Uncle Rob.  He got up out his chair, bent over, and picked it back up.”

Exactly, nephew, exactly.