Why I Believe In Marriage (…And Why I Can’t Judge You If You Don’t)

Are there any Black wedding figurines that don't look like Robert Downey Jr. from Tropic Thunder?

Are there any Black wedding figurines that don’t look like Robert Downey Jr. from Tropic Thunder?

Although I’m getting married in three months, I have to admit there are parts of being single I will miss.

Actually, that is a lie. There are no “parts.” But there is one specific part, and all of the positive benefits of singledom stem from it.

Most committed relationships — well, most healthy committed relationships — require each partner to be aware of and sensitive to each others wants, needs, and feelings. And this consideration sets parameters on what you’re able to do. Singledom has no such limitations. If you want to go to India for a month or if you want to spend half your paycheck at the casino or if you want to quit your job and direct cat videos or if you want to f*ck your landlord’s daughter — and you’re able to do these things — you can do them without having to explain or justify or hide it from anyone.

Thing is, actually doing these things isn’t what makes singledom great. It’s the principle. It’s the fact that you can do them, even if you don’t actually want to. It’s not the physical act of getting “new p*ssy.” Its the mental acknowledgement that you’re able to entertain new p*ssy if you choose to. It’s the freedom.

For many, I imagine the idea of giving up this type of freedom to willingly enter a lifelong commitment to one person — a lifelong commitment to one person with no guarantee of happiness — is f*cking nuts. Even if this person checks each and every one of your boxes, it’s insane to sign away the next — and last — several decades of your life just because they made you laugh yesterday and they looked good as hell buttnaked in the kitchen today.

And, you know what? They’re right.

It is crazy. It doesn’t make any damn sense. And it is f*cking insane. There is no logical reason for me to dead my freedom for an archaic institution; an institution revolving around a commitment that, according to statistics, is likely to fail.

So why do I believe in marriage?

Because my parents were married. And they loved each other. And I grew up with that. And I wanted it for myself.

That’s it. It’s not about any ambiguous macro concepts like Black love and the Black family. It’s not about the community. It’s not about God and Christianity. It’s not about creating the best environment for a child. It’s not about tax benefits and building wealth. And, to be honest, it’s not even about love. As much as I love my fiancee, I might not have been as interested in marrying her if I didn’t grow up the way I did. If fact, we might not have even been together. Without my parents’ modeling, who knows if I would have even been interested in someone like her. (And, who knows if she would have still been interested in me.)

Obviously, there are people who didn’t grow up in a similar household but still believe in marriage. I’m not suggesting that modeling is a prerequisite for this type of belief. But, if someone didn’t experience that growing up…or if they did experience it, but the relationship between their parents was so unhealthy that they should have been divorced…or if they crunched the numbers and it doesn’t make much sense to them…or if they just value their freedom more than they value a marriage commitment, I can’t really fault them for it. It’s not wrong. It’s just not me.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ)

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There’s only two days left to cop a Bougie Black Girl shirt from Teespring. It’s the perfect way to be the coolest chick in your crew without actually telling everyone you’re the coolest chick in your crew.

And yes, we have tanks to show off your guns from all that winter gym time…

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…women’s cut tees for blazers and kickball…

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…and v-necks for…whatever people need v-necks for…

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…available until Wednesday at http://teespring.com/bougieblackgirl.

***Also, those who purchased VSB logo tees and I Love Bougie Black Girls tees should have received them this week. When you do, take a selfie — or just ask someone to take your damn pic — and send it in for our yet-to-be-determined selfie/damn pic day.*** 

On Mourning An Adult Entertainer

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The deaths of Hank Gathers and Reggie Lewis were probably the celebrity deaths that hit me the hardest. Part of this had to do with age. (I was 11 when Gathers passed and 14 when Lewis did.) But, even more than that, I felt connected to them. I didn’t know either of these men. But they were basketball players, like me. And they both died on what was supposed to be the safest, friendliest, and happiest place a basketball player can be: the basketball court. Both deaths saddened and scared the fuck out of me. (Sadly, my friend and former teammate Richard Jones died in a similar manner 10 years ago.)

I mourned them through memory. I (obviously) didn’t have the benefit of going to YouTube and watching old highlight clips, so instead of remembering them as they were in their last moments, I’d think of how they were on the court. And I’m sure many of the hundreds of thousands who also mourned their deaths did so in a similar manner.

This process wasn’t too dissimilar from how most of us mourn entertainers. Instead of thinking of them as dead, we tend to recall and reflect on the reasons why we were fans. We listen to their albums again, read their books again, watch their movies again, laugh at their stand-up routines again, read and watch all the features and interviews about them again; sometimes we’ll even scour the earth to possess all the things they produced that we don’t already possess. And sometimes, their deaths will make us consume even more of their work. 

We do this for two reasons: One, because it helps us feel better. We want to remember and embrace why we were fans because it makes us smile. The smiles are bittersweet, but they help. Also, this consumption is how we, as fans, honor their memories. We didn’t know them personally, so we can’t reflect on personal memories. Shit, in most instances we don’t even know what type of person they were. But we do know how their work resonated, and a posthumous recognition of their work is our way of eulogizing them.

With one exception.

Angela Rabotte was a 26-year-old mother who was found murdered last week. She disappeared two Fridays ago, and her body was found Thursday. She had been shot.

This by itself is a tragic story. Rabotte was a mother, a daughter, a friend, and much more. A person people loved and will miss.

But, as tragic as Rabotte’s death was, I’m writing about her today because of her (former) occupation.

Those familiar with the thousands of WorldStar/YouTube/Vimeo, etc twerking and/or stripping videos out there might recognize Rabotte as “Sexy Climax”, a popular Atlanta stripper. I’m not sure which club(s) she worked at, but I do know she was popular enough to be featured in a few WorldStar videos.

Perhaps you never heard of Climax. But you might be familiar with the Twerk Team, Cubana Lust, Lanipop, and the dozens more strippers, twerkers, video vixens, and porn stars who’ve been able to use the internet to garner some national name recognition.

Regardless of what you think of their particular type of entertainment, you can’t deny that they’re entertainers. They work to create and cultivate a sexual fantasy, and the people who consume their form of entertainment might spend as much time watching their videos as they do watching their favorite actors or listening to their favorite rappers.

But, when an adult entertainer dies, the process we use to mourn other entertainers just doesn’t seem to fit. I’ve seen Sexy Climax at work. But now that she’s dead, it just doesn’t feel right to watch her videos anymore. Same with all the other adult entertainers I’m familiar with who have passed. I don’t re-watch the videos I’m familiar with, I don’t scour the internet to find work I haven’t seen yet, and I definitely don’t fantasize about them anymore.

And I think that’s it. The fantasy part is what makes things…different. For instance, Whitney Houston existed as a singer, but we also recognized that she was a real person while appreciating her voice. Angela Rabotte was just as real of a person as Whitney Houston was. But, the people whose work revolves around sexual fantasy tend to be processed in a different way by the people who knew of them because of their work. Basically, they’re objectified. Appreciating her work posthumously the same way you appreciated it while she was alive doesn’t just feel wrong. It feels rude.

This idea transcends entertainment. Think of the cute barista in your work building or the co-worker you have a crush on. If they died tomorrow, would you still have the same sexual thoughts about them you did before? I doubt it. The nature of sex-based thoughts makes it rather, for lack of a better term, “creepy” to have them about someone no longer alive.

I’m sure there is someone out there who’s compiling an archive of Sexy Climax’s work. To honor her memory the way he (or she) remembered her. Which is their right, of course. But, I can’t do that. Because every time I think of Sexy Climax now, I think of Angela Rabotte instead.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Five Days Left For “Bougie Black Girl” Women’s Tanks, Tees, And V-Necks

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Only five days left to cop a Bougie Black Girl shirt from Teespring. It’s the perfect way to be the coolest chick in your crew without actually telling everyone you’re the coolest chick in your crew.

And yes, we have tanks to show off your guns from all that winter gym time…

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…women’s cut tees for blazers and kickball…

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…and v-necks for…whatever people need v-necks for…

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…available for the next week at http://teespring.com/bougieblackgirl.

***Also, those who purchased VSB logo tees and I Love Bougie Black Girls tees should have received them this week. When you do, take a selfie — or just ask someone to take your damn pic — and send it in for our yet-to-be-determined selfie/damn pic day.*** 

Shit Bougie Black People Love: #14. Lupita Nyong’o

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If you happen to see a Bougie Black Person, and they happen to be depressed, smile, ask them about their socks, and compliment their posture.

If this doesn’t work, ask them about their hair. If it’s a woman, make sure to ask her to share her big chop story. Also, try to use terms such as “freedom” and “essence” (both “essence” the abstract noun and “Essence” the magazine work) and “Miley Cyrus” in your reply. If it’s a man, ask him about his facial hair, and express envy that you “just can’t get your hair to grow like that.”

If still depressed, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Mention Lupita Nyong’o. Note: You do not have to mention Lupita Nyong’o in a question or even a complete statement. Just say the words “Lupita Nyong’o” and nothing else, and watch their countenance improve, their posture straighten, and their teeth magically whiten. They may even begin to cry. Don’t be alarmed, though. It will be tears of joy, and the crying will likely stop when they start praise dancing a few seconds later.

While they’re praise dancing, locate and grab the nearest chair. If no chairs are available, sit on the ground. When they’re done praise dancing, they will want to talk about Lupita Nyong’o, and you may not have time to grab a chair then.

They might begin with a list of the roles they believe Lupita should play. Don’t be surprised if a Matrix reboot (with Lupita as “Trinity”) a remake of The Iron Lady (with Lupita as “Margaret Thatcher”) and an updated The Ten Commandments (with Lupita as “God”) are cited.

Perhaps they’ll even share the dream they had last night, where they went to a late brunch with Lupita and had the best conversation about colorism in Hollywood and Canadian bacon.

***Read the rest at IshBougieBlackPeopleLove***

 

Only One Week Left For “Bougie Black Girl” Women’s Tanks, Tees, And V-Necks

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Only one week left to cop a Bougie Black Girl shirt from Teespring. It’s the perfect post-Lent gift for yourself. And the perfect spring gift. And the perfect “first day of April” gift. And the perfect “I need a witty t-shirt to rock with jeans” gift.

And yes, we have tanks to show off your guns from all that winter gym time…

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…women’s cut tees for blazers and kickball…

front (4)

…and v-necks for…whatever people need v-necks for…

front (5)

…available for the next week at http://teespring.com/bougieblackgirl.

***Also, those who purchased VSB logo tees and I Love Bougie Black Girls tees should be receiving them soon. When you do, take a selfie — or just ask someone to take your damn pic — and send it in for our yet-to-be-determined selfie/damn pic day.***