Under The Radar Significant Contributors To Black History

bhmBetween the 1st and the 28th of February, Black History is having the best month ever. We just heard a few days ago that DMX is going to fight George Zimmerman #justcuz on Pay-Per-View or something which…you know what? Let me go ahead and say this. What if DMX loses? Zimmerman will basically be 3-0 against Black people. He killed Trayvon Martin, beat the system in Florida, AND knocked out DMX, something the legal system can’t seem to accomplish. Point is, if I’m DMX, I’m really rethinking this idea.

Moving on and back to Black History Month. During this month we of course get all of the necessary tributes and odes to giants past. But there are some folks who have made some fairly significant contributions to Black History, but under the radar. To discuss these contributions, I’ve enlisted the help of the VSB superstar, The Articulist, Shamira aka Sham-Diddy (clap for her) to help give some nouns their proper place in history.

I’ll start it out. I’d like to nominate Cam’ron. Why Cam’ron? Well, he’s possibly had a direct influence in one of THE most important aspects of Black History. You see, Cam renaissanced Harlem. Before Cam’ron and DipSet came thru and painted Harlem pink, Harlem had lost a bit of its cultural caché. I mean, it was still Harlem but it wasn’t what it used to be. Enter DipSet and Harlem once again rises and becomes relevant for years. I mean, DipSet took over America. And therefore Harlem World’s prominence was restored. And anybody who knows anythign will tell you that Harlem is a central figure to Black History. Sham-wow, What do you think? And yes, I just called you Sham-wow.

Shamira: *cringes at Sham-wow*  But hey…the Articulist, huh? I rather like that. Gotta save that name for when I finally release my mixtape on DatPiff.com. Don’t worry Peej, I’ll give you co-writing credits.

We all know of my absolute stannery for Cam’ron. If you don’t get it, well…you MAAAAD, dawgie. Cameron Giles irrefutably influenced music, cinema, AND the news industry. And you know who else did?

William Ray Norwood, Jr. That’s right, Ray J the GAWD.

Oh, Ray, how do I love thee? Let me list the ways. Not only did he give us the seminal piece of entertainment known as “For the Love of Ray J”(Never Forget:”Danger, She Smashed The Homie”), and the ultimate Bitter Brian anthem known as “I Hit It First”…he provided what might be the best radio interview of the 21st century.  Under presumably the finest of state-altering drugs known to man , he was Ray Charles to the FCC and proceeded to inform the public of all the ways he was better than us.  And I have to say…he was right. I mean, I indeed do not have seven Rolls Royces outside. Nor do I have indoor/outdoor pools, and corresponding basketball courts. And MOST IMPORTANTLY….I do not have ride or die goons that are willing to defend my right to play piano in Floyd Mayweather’s living room (although if we were all being real with ourselves…One Wish goes, man. When’s the last time y’all listened to it?).

Basically, Ray J is all of the most ratchet parts of black twitter combined. He’s like Captain Planet if the five elements were Subtweets, Absurd Stories, B!tchmade Behavior, Delusions of Grandeur, and Wayyyyy too much free time on his hands. Brandy’s brother is tired of being humble, and we should all thank him for that.

P: Grand choice. Just grand. I’m an avowed Ray J fan. I own most of his albums (okay, I downloaded them on my Spotify Premium account, they’re on the same playlist with Jagged Edge) and listen to them after I read my leatherbound books in my mahogany scented apartment. It’s not quite as big as Ray J’s pool, but hey, we can only aspire.

One can’t bring up Ray J and his contributions without bringing up his one time Co-D, Lil Kim. Which brings up an important point. There are contributions, but then there are Black woman contributions which often go unnoticed, even when heaping ceremony upon our people. Michael Jackson did it first followed by Sammy Sosa (“these b*tches love Sosa” – Chief Keef), but Lil Kim took up the mantle for Black women by being the first Black woman to take Black Sheep’s seminal song “The Choice Is Yours” (the remix of course) to heart and go from this (Black woman, “Crush On You” blue/green wig video hot) to that (racially ambiguous, Canal Street Face/Off knockoff hood chick who put her camel toe on blast). While Lil Kim will never get the accolades she deserves as a rapper and for inspiring this generations misguided young women, she did become the first Black woman to Go MJ In De Face and that says something. Michael Jackson was an icon. So what’s her contribution you ask? She in the Black face arts. And a cautionary tale for kids everywhere.

S: Black face arts, though??? I wish I knew how to quit you.

Well, if we’re going to bring up black women presenting cautionary tales, we’ve gotta thank none other than Yandy Smith for showing us the other side of that ride or die life. For too long, the men of America have been able to champion Tameeka “Tiny” Cottle as proof of the rewards you reap when you hold your trappin’ man down. Yeah, you might have a few outside kids who’s ages in the timeline of your allegedly monogamous relationship make you question everything you know about how conception works, but hey, its the 21st century. Break babies are de rigeur!!! You give that man a firm…er…”handshake” while visiting him in the clink, and he’ll reward you with everything your heart desires. You might even get a TV show out of it that positions you as the modern-day Cosbys, cable-knit sweaters and all!

OR….you can be in your Bronx studio with two kids, only one of whom is actually yours, wondering how your fairytale went wrong. You may end up believing that your fiance who thought he was Big Meech, Larry Hoover, whipping work, hallelujah has gotten shafted…because after all “there are still murderers out in these streets.” You may convince yourself that after a year in federal prison, they are still working on getting him out on bail. You may even find yourself going to K. Michelle for advice on how to raise a man! (Spoiler alert: her answer? You can’t)

And you may even find yourself uttering these words with sincerity: “I mean he’s in jail, what else does he have to do but think about me all day?”

Yandy Smith reminds all of us that while your degrees may not keep you warm at night…your dope boy probably won’t either. More importantly, she taught us that if your man’s name ends with an S, pronouncing it is optional. Or maybe you only pronounce the S when you’re mad? The jury’s still out on that.

P: You know, I have no idea if you pronounce the “s” on the end of Mendeecees either. Maybe its like the “p” in Ptolemy, pneumonia, or pbreakfast. I think the most important contribution that Yandy and Mendeecees have made is this: we live in a world where a ninja named Yandy and a ninja named Mendeecees, met, fell in love, and procreated. In terms of Black name scrabble board, they motherf*cking WON at life.

I’d like to toss in Dwayne Cleophus Wayne (Brooklyn, NY/Hillman College) for his contribution to the Come Up. My man showed up to college as a nerdy doofus on some Can’t Get Right from Life steez. I mean, he weng from Walter Oaks questioning if his mother liked him to having the baddest chick in the game wearing his chain. He pulled Whitley, Freddie wanted him (my big haired muse), and even Denise Huxtable considered it even for a second. If anything, he’s the wavy lightskint girl whisperer which is a contribution all to its own. He went up in Byron’s wedding and said, “don’t be mad. Your b*tch chose me. So we can handle this like some gentlemen or get into some gangsta sh*t.” I may have the lines a bit wrong on that one. Point is, Dwayne Cleophus Wayne doesn’t get enough credit for his contribution to Black Cool. His guidance is the truth, the light, and the way towards realizing your full potential and pulling a bad ass light skint chick. Konishiwa, b*tches.

S: Dwayne Wayne did prove that Nice Guys (TM) can indeed win, internet proclamations be damned. He ruined poor Byron’s life though. Dude went on to marry Olivia Pope’s mom and became the evilest evil to ever evil. (YOU. ARE. A. BOY.)

I just realized that we’ve offered all these women without shouting out the realest chick that ever did it. That’s right…Remy Ma.

For those of y’all who are not acquainted with Remy Ma. Lemme learn you a lil bit. She is the leading lady of Terror Squad. A mentee of Big Pun. She’s the chick in the Ante Up Remix that makes you wanna fight everybody. She taught me that my life is not complete until I am able to utter the words “who’s that peeking in my window/nobody cuz I live in a penthouse, baby.”

She has also been in jail since 2007. Now I know what you’re thinking. Another cautionary tale, Shamira? Au contraire, mon frere. She’s a teacher. What’s that lesson, you ask? Money and friends don’t mix.

You know how the story goes: you shy against lending your friend a few Gs, they avail themselves to it anyway, promise to pay you back with their next paycheck, and then they’re waiting for their tax refund…next thing you know you’re in front of a bar at 4 AM mad as hell. What’s a girl to do? Well, probably not shoot the girl in the stomach…allegedly….and rifle through her purse for your money while she’s laying there wounded…but that’s besides the point here guys. Remy Ma knew how money alters friendships and so she just had to explain it to the girl. Forcibly? Perhaps. But I bet the girl won’t forget it.

By the way, we have so many “Free (Insert person who absolutely did the crap he was arrested for but we like him so it shouldn’t count here)” Movements…Boosie, Max B, why not Remy? Patriarchy, I tell you!! I mean, she has two Source awards. TWO. I would argue that “There’s Something About Remy” stirs something in the little hoodrat inside all of us. I should start said line, and y’all should Support Black Businesses, because it’s February. I mean, if Mama Jones can do it, why can’t I?

*Toe wops all the way to the T-Shirt printing store on 125th St*

That’s what we have. Who do you have that made a significant contribution but flies under the radar? And why?

Happy Black History Month.

(Also, if you are offended and feel that we’re trivializing Black history month…bye Felicia.)

-VSB P and Shamira

Black Cinema, The Best Man Holiday, and Mainstream Malarkey

[Admin. Note: Sometimes a writer hits me up with something I was going to write about, beating me to the punch in some fashion with an interesting perspective. Today is one of those days. So open your minds and hearts to Tonja Stidhum. Welcome her to the house.]

"So let me get this right: I got a light skint negrro to my right and a white man to my left and this is STILL a Black movie? F*ck out of here."

“So let me get this right: I got a light skint negro to my right and a white man to my left and this is STILL a Black movie? F*ck out of here.”

I’ve always loved the phrase, “same difference.” My mama first introduced it to me when I was a kid, and just the pure wit of it attracted me. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve noticed that it was more than a biting comeback… it was truth.

As a screenwriter, I am fully immersed in film culture and truly get my life from industry news. I’m the ninja that reads every Deadline dot com email and they send about a hunnid thousand trillion of those a day. No real exaggeration. I can talk for hours about dissecting a film, the politics of film, the soundtrack of a film, the film award season, and even how film relates to chicken.

One particular aspect of film culture that has always garnered my interest/angered passion is the term “mainstream.” For years, Black films have been in a cinematic struggle-fight, attempting to be inducted in this mysterious mainstream club. Black films aren’t films, they’re Black films. And there’s this secret mainstream formula that Black filmmakers haven’t figured out yet.

Ummm… except not.

The Best Man Holiday, the nostalgic-filled sequel to The Best Man, premiered in nationwide theaters this past weekend and it regurgitated this conversation in full-swing. The successful opening of The Best Man Holiday had Hollywood tongues wagging, pulling in 10.7 million bucks on its Friday debut. This was bawse-sauce as it was up against Thor 2, a superhero film, which is basically the equivalent of going up against Ali in the ring. As the weekend rounded out, however, Thor 2 ended up winning the weekend war, prompting yet another layer of the on-going conversation on “race-themed” films. Shout-out to USA Today for that gem. (-_-)

Here’s my issue: The idea that Black films are mutually exclusive of mainstream culture is the poopiest part of bull poop (I know… mature, right? Bite me. … Also mature). As much as Hollywood and society tries to straw-feed us that mushy mess, I rejected it wholeheartedly. The “mainstream audiences can’t relate to Black-themed stories” argument? I don’t even buy it with Monopoly money.

Sure, there are inside jokes and nuances of a Black film that everyone can’t relate to. But, guess what, Chicken Butt? All of those things are also in every other film/TV show ever. Let’s go with a “mainstream” example in media: Sex in the City. When that show was in its heyday, I remember one of the popular criticisms of that show was how unrealistic the lifestyle was. How the main protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, was able to afford her luxurious wardrobe on the basic b*tch budget of a writer. Generally, the main demographic watching that show couldn’t relate to that lifestyle at all. And yet, somehow, that same demographic watched the show… in droves. And that “somehow” had to do with the core of any form of storytelling. The underlying themes. What the regular Jane Doe demographic could relate to were the themes of friendship and love. And that is the point of connecting with a film and TV show. It has little to do with being able to say, “Girl, I totes always buy a pair of Manolos on my way to the dancery!” and more to do with being able to say, “Girl, I totes know what it feels like to love someone and our timing is never right.” The latter is what keeps us staring at that idiot box every Thursday night and what keeps us paying 10 bucks (each!!!) for what is no longer a cheap date.

The Best Man Holiday, while rife with race-specific jokes and references, had each of those themes. The only difference was the the main ensembles’ skin tones. Which brings us to a very uncomfortable conversation. Because it forces us to break through all the bull… all the detracting arguments that never amount to anything real. Mainstream culture can surely relate to Black films, especially Black romantic comedies. What the French toast is more universal than love?!

Mainstream culture/Hollywood claiming that they can’t relate to Black films only tells me they’re watching films wrong. And I am hard-pressed to believe that is the case because somehow, the reverse happens all the time. Black audiences can watch “mainstream” (read: White) films and not relate to any of the nuances of those characters, yet somehow connect to the film’s overall theme/story. Black audiences definitely factor in the success of mainstream films so if we can do it, why can’t they?

Oh, but they can. And they know they can. The problem is… they refuse to. Ooooh… to piggyback off a filmic phrase: and the plot thickens.

We are all different in infinite ways and I embrace all of those. I think it’s the beauty of humanity. But, what connects us all… is how we’re the same.

Same difference, indeed.

What say you, mainstream blog nation? Do you believe it is possible to  replace  a White lead with a Black lead and it still be the same story, as it’s truly the themes that matter? Or do you believe that Black films are that far removed from everyone else? Speak on it.

Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter, lollygagging (in third person) in Chicago. Working on that “for pay” part. You can catch her occasional musings at embracethej.tumblr.com and follow her scatterbrained thoughts at @embracethej.

5 Reasons Why Black Men Love Weaves…And Don’t Even Know It

[Admin. Note: Apologies for the lateness of this post. I usually schedule my posts and let the guinea pigs running the Internets handle the rest. For some odd reason, this time, it didn't post at midnight like usual. Damn shame what happened to that dog though...]

[Today I'm handing over the podium to writer and all around woman extraordinaire, Iman Milner, cofounder of Edge Magazie.  The floor is hers. Let's play nice!]

Track star.

Track star.

I see it everyday.

Some Black man gets on his high horse on some social media about how he doesn’t like weaves and wants to run his fingers through a woman’s hair without having his hand smacked away.

(PJ Note: I hear women say this and I’ve heard of this “social media”, but I’ve only actually ever met one man in real life who has ever said that refuses to date a women with weave. He also said he won’t date women with tattoos. But his girl got a girlfriend…and tattoos. My point, people say a lot of things. STREETS IS TALKING.)

Black women respond with “yo mama got a weave” and “go get you a white woman den” and someone starts the hashtag #WeavesGiveLife (PJ Note: they do though, I saw Good Hair) and dissertations on how white women were the first to wear weaves anyway pop up on the internet for about a week straight.

All because of @IRespectWomenWithoutWeaves’ personal preference. But one venture onto @IRespectWomenWithoutWeaves’ instagram account and you see where his true problem lies…he doesn’t know a weave when he sees one.

And he’s not alone.

(PJ Note: Before I let her explain to me about what I don’t know about weaves, I’m going to go ahead and agree with everything she’s about to say with one caveat. We might not know a weave when we see one, but we know bad weaves, and I think that’s what most men are talking about when they say. If we don’t know its a weave…is it really a weave? #deep. Okay, not deep since the answer is obviously yes, but you get my point. Bad weave is the root of Black poverty and the downfall of every Black politician’s career.)

Here’s the thing brothas, your favorite female celebrity, of any race, is wearing a weave! WHAAAATTT? Yes. Yep. Kim K, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Aniston too. That fine girl who made your coffee at Starbucks this morning with the perfect curly fro…she may have an extension or two in the back to make it fuller. Day ruined? Get over it.

The fantasy of a woman with illustrious curls swinging down her back is one you all have perpetuated for so long and the truth of the matter is about 20% of the women in the world actually have the hair you all desire.

(PJ Note: I think she’s overstating how many women have weaves – 80% rocking that extra? Not buying it. That sh*t is expensive. PUN! And given how many people reached out for free tickets to see a movie that will come out two days later, either we’re broker than I think or cheaper. Either way, I’m starting to poll Black women I see on the street. It didn’t go so well this morning, but I’ll try again tomorrow. Some women are sensitive about this topic.)

What do you mean we all desire, girl writing on VSB today, you don’t know me?!?!?!

Here’s 5 Reasons Why Black Men Love Weaves…And Don’t Even Know It

  1. Beyonce. Yep. Her Majesty of Lacefronts. I don’t know a Black man who doesn’t find Beyonce attractive. You may not necessarily be ready to give it all for Queen Fony Pony but you ain’t passing up a chance to sample her waters if it ever comes your way and let’s face it—you ain’t never seen Beyonce’s real hair. Ever. Part of the fantasy of Beyonce is that she is a man’s dream: curvy body, long glamorous locks, talent and slightly can’t read or talk. Am I wrong?
  2. Kim K. I just picture Kanye getting into bed with Kim for that first time, starting to run his fingers through her hair and Kris Jenner popping in with the evening tea right before he could discover the truth. Black men love Kim Kardashian. Y’all will defend her honor until the end of time and swear up and down that all of her body parts are real. I’ll let the body parts one lie for now and turn your attention to the hair on her…head. I don’t know how many but believe me you…there’s an extension or two. I’m a poet and I don’t even know it.
  3. Instagram and Tumblr: I hung out on my homeboy’s IG page one day as I scrolled through I said “Homeboy, why are you following all these girls who look the same way?”…and he said, “You know men love booties and long hair at the end of the day”. My response was “most of these girls have weaves though, Homeboy”. His response was: http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/shocked-will-smith.gif. Yeah, we see y’all thirsting after every Brazilian silky on your IG timeline. We SEE YOU. And Tumblr is much of the same…
  4. “Is That Your Real Hair?” The answer to this question has launched a thousand thirst traps. Let me be the one to tell you: in today’s world weaves are harder to spot than real talent in a room full of pop stars. You’re being lied to…daily. Especially by women who you assume would have naturally long hair or hair of a certain texture. You’re being fooled! It hurts, I know.
  5. Your Dating History. Yep, I went there. You’ve dated a woman with a weave. You have. You’ve kept your hands out of her head and/or have gotten the evil eye after pulling too hard while making the beast with two backs. You’ve watched her pat her head into submission to keep from scratching her scalp and some of you have paid for her to have her very own Sasha Fierce moment.

So stop acting like weaves don’t run the world. They do. And you love it.

(PJ Note: I don’t think we love it. I just don’t think we hate it either. I don’t think most of us care. We get annoyed by all of your products in the bathroom but have no idea what 90 percent of them do. Point is, unless we wake up and your hair is laying on the floor in the morning, most of us probably couldn’t care less one way or the other. Only the vocal minority on Twitter is claiming they hate weaves. But that vocal minority hates everything. Literally. They also spend way too much time on Twitter hashtagging their lives away. If Twitter goes bye-bye, them folks cease to exist anywhere, then we’re back at square one. PJ has spoken.)

So what do you all think? Do we really loves weaves and weoeno (it)?

-IMAN MILNER

Guest Blogger: A Not-So-Short List of Rules on Interacting with Short Ninjas

[Admin Note: Today we hand over the carpet to VSB commenter, Dara Mathis. Be nice, and enjoy!]

five_tiny_ninjas_by_ihni-d3hhsirNote: I fully expect PJ or Champ to pepper this with short jokes. I’m ready. (PJ Note: No.)

The first and last time I almost punched a white woman, she had it coming. (I know that 99.9% of black women can beat me up, which is why I specified the race. There would’ve been no punch attempts on a Michelle Obama).

(PJ Note: Okay, I’ve got one comment…that opening line was everything. If this blogging thing doesn’t work out, she should consider writing a book and starting it with that line. It has to be used somewhere; an album cover, a bar mitzvah program, old Civl Rights literature. El fin.)

I was taking my final tour as a grad student through my university’s book store, when the store manager stopped in front of me. I was almost 25 and she was fairly middle aged, dressed in an appropriately old lady suit with a skirt.  She proceeded to lose her mind. Maybe it was the backpack slung over my shoulder or the lack of makeup on my face. Either way, something foolish possessed this woman.

She crouched before me with her hands on her knees, until her face leveled with mine, as if she were my first-grade teacher. A molasses smile spread across her face and she drawled, “Can I help you with something, dear?” (Why yes, ma’am, you can help me with deez nuts!) I had not asked her for assistance or even glanced in her direction.

I told her no. Punching a university employee might put my graduation at risk, so I held back. Most students on campus were adults. She had no reason to think I was a child or treat me like one. But I knew why she insulted me like that; I’m 4’10” and I’ve been shortchanged on respect my entire life.

Ignorant as she was, it is only a drop in the bucket of ridiculous behavior I’ve witnessed. Short people (especially black ones) are supposed to be witty to fend off jokes that are not really jokes. I’m no Kevin Hart. So I have mastered my fake laugh, but still give people the benefit of the doubt. I like to think that folk forget how to treat short adults because they have no home training. My mama gave me plenty, though; consider this my each one teach one. If you’re looking to date, wife, cuff, befriend, or not get shot by chill with a short ninja, here are a few ground rules.

  1. Do not pick up and carry/body slam/tickle a short person. Don’t do it! They don’t care if you can bench press them (yes, someone actually said this to me), and they don’t need a demonstration. Bruh, if you want to show me how strong you are, help me move my living room furniture around, so I know it’s real. It impresses no one when you pick up humans the size of a 9-year-old and strut. And you might get assaulted once you put them down. It’s not safe.
  2. Shorty or Shawty is not the default short girl’s name. Non-negotiable. You are far dumber than you think you are if that double entendre makes you feel clever.
  3. Make no assumptions about their bedroom prowess, like: “Oh, I don’t date short girls because their box can’t take all this,” or, “Short guys can’t handle all this donkey. You need to be 6-feet-and-taller to ride.” First off, whenever someone refers to their body parts as “all this,” it’s seldom “all that” anyway. Second, the horizontal hustle does not come with height requirements. Vag to height correlation is a myth. People of all sizes, can, um, get it in.
  4. “You mad low to the ground” will not work as a pick up line on short women. Nor will any other insult compliment about being short. Conversely, for short men, telling women that you’re long where it counts only makes it sound like you have a Napoleonic penis complex. Approach like you’re not height-conscious and it won’t force others respond in kind.
  5. Stop treating shortness like a disease. It’s cool if you prefer not to date short people. But the sound effect “Ugh!” preceding “I don’t date short ninjas” implies that there is a value deficiency in being short. There isn’t, by the way. Short ninjas deserve respect, too, even if you’re too tall to see them from up there.
  6. If you live with a short ninja, let them keep their dignity and wait until they ask you for help. My husband is 6’2” and has a “three strikes” rule before he reaches over my head and hands me the plate I was jumping for. But he lets me try and I appreciate that.
  7. And finally, never ever, ever, ever crouch down (hands on your knees) and tell a short person “get on my level,” or some other condescending bull better left repeated 50 times on a Trillville song. Trust me.

Following the above instructions may or may not snag you the short ninja of your dreams. But it’ll certainly save you the embarrassment of being coldcocked by someone who is the legal height of a Little Person. Govern yourselves accordingly.

-Dara Mathis

Dara Tafakari Mathis is a freelance editor who secretly counts the dots in your ellipses to make sure there are only three. She writes about life, race & culture, and nerd activities on her blog daratmathis.wordpress.com. You can tweet her @dtafakari.

Do What You’re Supposed To Do So You Don’t Have To “Do What I Gotta” Do

[***Today's post is a guest post from VSB commenter, Breazy Hale. He blogs at the site Corner Politics. Spread love it's the Brooklyn way. Clap for him.***]

Through out my short 33 years on this earth, I’ve heard the ”I gotta do what I gotta do” excuse from men countless times. Normally the person saying this has found himself in a desperate situation – back against the wall – and ends up doing something he otherwise wouldn’t do to get out of the situation.  While I’m not knocking the next man’s hustle or coping skills, I’ve come to realize that these “back against the wall situations” could have been prevented 9 times out of 10.

For some reason, us menfolk like to make things harder on ourselves than they have to be. Cutting corners?  That, along with taking the easy way out, is our norm. Because of the “do what I gotta do” excuse some of us men have, we’ve removed all accountability out of the equation in order to not be held to standards of mandom and to justify things like  dropping out of school, selling dope or being an absentee father.

“I gotta do what I gotta do” isn’t limited to the youngins wearing skinny jeans, dreads and listening to Lil’ Wayne, either - even though you would think so due to the influence that rap and YouTube has on this generation and the “I gotta get mine” attitude that is displayed.  Now some of our elders have used this excuse, probably as long as they’ve been alive, and you see them - grown men old enough to be our uncles and fathers - standing outside of liquor stores at 8:00 in the morning waiting for it to open. Or you see the old man playing scratch offs still waiting for his ship to come in. All because at some point in their lives they didn’t take care of business like they should have and decided to go the easy route.  This cancerous idea is learned and is no doubt passed down from generation to generation.

This attitude arises when we as men fail to reach our full potential and realize some of the fundamentals of manhood, so we start to justify our short comings.  Mainly we fail to realize one of the fundamentals of manhood; a man’s gotta do what a man is supposed to do.  You see, if a man takes care of business and does the things that he is supposed to do, then he won’t be forced to compromise himself and his beliefs by doing what he’s gotta do.  I repeat:  if a man takes care of business  and does the things that he is supposed to do he then won’t be forced to compromise himself and his beliefs by doing what he’s gotta do.

Doing what is supposed to be done may take a little longer or involve more steps but the reward is worth it. The certificate or degree that you earn from staying in school instead of dropping out to chase the fast buck will be yours and no one can take that from you, just like the sense of pride that you will have from being involved in your child’s life as opposed to skipping out.  So man up, take care of business like you’re supposed to, and reap all the benefits that you will gain as you travel down the road to becoming a better man.

-BREAZY HALE

DC VSB folks: Don’t forget that tomorrow night at Liv Nightclub is Karaoke 4 A Cause from 630-1030PM! Entry is a toy ($20 or greater in value) or a $20 donation. Get your karaoke on and pretend your Loofa for the cause.