Things Black People Say?

This pictures has nothing to do with this post. I just felt like showing everybody how far Ice Cube has fallen. Those Coors commercials hurt my soul.

In a previous life when I used to frequent places where ratchetness always ruled the day and the potential for crime and/or uncivil unrest was always at a fever pitch, there were a few signs I’d always look for to indicate that some violence was about to go down. There’s the tried and true, almost slow motion-like, Bionic-man level speed of a herd of ninjas all running the same direction that-a-way, but away from something. Anybody with Black relatives knows that means either somebody pulled a gun or somebody used a gun or somebody just got stabbed.

Or more simply, the Loss Of Life Potential Index was at a 9. Even if you didn’t know what was going on, you can always trust the crowd in those situations. Always. Run first, ask questions later and hope nobody named Ricky is running beside you. Seriously, if a ninja named Ricky is running next to you…trip him and keep running.

Another sure sign of violence is the quick removal of a shirt. I don’t know what it is about ninjas who are about to get in a fight and taking off shirts. I suppose muskels are supposed to be imposing, but unless you’re Hancock, chances are those triceps aren’t stopping elephant bullets, laughing boy.


Elephant bullets.

So yeah, running crowds and random ninja shirt removal are two signs. There’s a very famous third though that should set off anybody’s spidey sense. And it’s the first in a line of statements that I’m wondering are only uttered by Black people. Seriously…


Almost on cue, every single time I’ve seen two ninjas (who obviously don’t know each other) begin to do the pre-fight cat daddy where they more or less circle the wagons, one person is ALWAYS going to say to the other, “you don’t know me!”, almost hoping (I guess) that the other person will realize the fact that 1) they don’t know them; and 2) the potential for what they may have in store. We so simple. I’ve always thought this was a stupid statement in and of itself in these situations because well, it lends nothing to the situation. But hell, I’ve said it before and because I’m cerebral I had an internal convo with myself on some “P, that’s dumb…he knows he doesn’t know you. He also isn’t scared of you. And genius, you don’t know him either. This could end bad. I should offer to do his homework or something…” Either way, I wonder if other cultures go down this route. At least it’s good for something; like I said, it’s a violence indicator.

2. I’m just saying.

The words “I’m Just saying” have had a tremendous resurgence as of late in our community. It seems like every n*gga “is just saying” something. Like we’re all the innocent victims of facts or something. “Yo, your b*tch is ugly dog. I’m just saying.” Newsflash, it doesn’t absolve you from sh*t and it definitely doesn’t make you a soothsayer. And yet, its almost as popular as saying, “my neck, my back…” well you know the rest. I’m amazed that no song has been made out of this saying. Oh wait…that’s right, Young Jeezy has a song called, “I’m Just Saying”. Nevermind. N*ggas.

Speaking of…

3. I’m doing me/Imma do me/Do you boo

I’m sure there are various iterations of this in other cultures, but there’s something about living in Black culture that requires us all to let others know that we’re just doing ourselves. Like other people won’t let us live so we do our thing and hope that the haters stay away. I hate haters. That might be an oxymoron or the universe might have just exploded, either way, keep doing you boo. Oh, and I’m realizing the best statements all have songs. Like Rocko’s hood classic, “Imma Do Me”. Kwame is rolling over in his condo.

4. Haters gon’ hate/Can I live?/various iterations of pseudo poetic self-motivational shots fired

You know, us Blacks are a poetic people. I’m just sayin’. Everybody’s out to steal our joy and everybody’s tryign to steal our shine. Allegedly. I’m just sayin. I wonder if other folks say this same sh*t also but not as poetically as we do. More like, “people are always going to try to tear you down, Jill!” Real talk, “haters gon’ hate” is much cooler.


5. Real talk

This is the first cousin of “I’m just sayin” or maybe they’re kissing cousins. Maybe they’re from West Virginia. I don’t know. But I’ve never heard anybody not of the melanin who made a statement using the words “real talk”. It’s not even slang. It’s just a statement indicating that what I just said was a fact. Maybe that’s our problem. We keep having to validate what we say with other validating statements in attempts to validate that which was said that needed validation. I feel like I just watched That’s Not Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta again. My bad y’all. My bad.

Those are a few joints that I wonder if Black folks are the only ones to use? Are there any others? I’m sure there are. Let’s create a list and send it to the “listserv” for a response.

By the way, go Heat. Thank you and good night.


For all of my DMV heads: Next Wednesday, June 27, come hang out at the Penthouse Pool Club on U Street (didn’t even know this existed did you) from 7-10pm and get free food and free X-Rated Fusion liquor. I’ll be there hanging out and this is an invite only affair. You must RSVP and it gets you admittance for yourself and one person. Yeah, it’s that kind of affair. So peep the flyer, RSVP, and I’ll see you next Wednesday for a cool ninja extravaganza. With free stuff. (This is not a VSB event btw, just an event that a VSB will be at.)

The People Vs. Conversate

I get the feeling that one of these ninjas conversates and the other one converses.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why some Black folks HATE the word “conversate” so much. In the reading ninja commrunity, hearing a Black person say “conversate” is akin to a white person using the word n-word. All of a sudden the sky opens up and the spirits of dead slaves pour down their disappointments and blackberry molasses upon the souls of Black folks. You know somethings will never change.

But really, what’s the big damn deal? I get it. It’s not a real word. (Sidenote: According to, it is commonly recognized as a word nowadays, who knew?) But we make up words all of the time. Look —-> trill.

I know for a motherlovin’ fact that a huge segment of the reading populace was runnin’ around talking about how “trill” things were. I know I was. There was even a southern d-boy argument about who came up with the term. That’s how serious it was. Granted it’s a slang term and perhaps that’s where the argument breaks down. Perhaps the big problem is the assumption that people using the word “conversate” don’t actually know any better. These ignant ninjas really are ignorant. There’s no joke. No punchline. They’re allegedly using it because they don’t know that it’s “converse”. But are they really? Put a pin in that, we’ll come back to it later.

Now, I could chalk that up to syntax and English snobbery. Hell, Twitter has proven that even the smartest of ninjas really have no idea how to spell common words and phrases they’ve been using for eons. This commonly riles people up, understandbly, I suppose. For example:

For all intensive purposes. I can’t tell you how many people I know with degrees show up on Twitter or Facebook and write that statement and effectively admit that they have no effin’ clue what it is that they’ve been really saying despite knowing how to use it.

Back to “trill” for a second and this idea of not knowing any better. While the reading ninja in me loves made up words, I also know when to use them. I won’t be sitting in a meeting with my boss and point out how “trill” a certain estimate of something is. It won’t happen. And I think we can safely assume that most reading ninjas won’t. But, again assuming, that the people who use “conversate” don’t know any better, maybe the fear is that they WOULD use that word, on purpose, in a setting where they’d make us all look bad. Is that it?

Understandably, somebody who uses conversate might likely use that word in any setting or circumstance, regardless of who’s present. Whereas I, again, know better. Here’s another monkey wrench – does it carry more weight if a white person says it? I’m asking because I get the impression that this isnt’ a Black thing, it’s a “conversate” thing. It’s a tricky English language thing. I can imagine a foreigner mistakingly thinking that two people have a “conversation”, but one person might “conversate” with another. Would anybody be upset if that happened?

To make that even more f*cked up, you go from “orientation” to “orientate”. Tell me that ain’t confrusing, Young Buck.

Let’s be real, English is one of the hardest languages to learn because of how many other languages we’ve pulled from. Not to mention the myriad homonyms, synonyms, etc. Hell, I can barely make it through some of the books like Souls of Black Folks because of the language use and I’m a motherf*cking honeybadger. We’re all aware of people who are extremely learned who don’t have a full grasp of the English language and all its nuance. And it’s not SUCH a huge leap to think that “conversate” is a real word. I mean, my ni**a, Converse iz and are shoes.

Hell, quick, quick…somebody define, without looking up: gerund.

But “conversate” is like nails on a chalkboard for many a ninja. It’s almost like the delineating point between ignant ninjadom and breaking out of the hood or something. In an odd twist of irony, I think I’ve jokingly heard “conversate” so much that I’ve had to check myself before to make sure that it wasn’t actually the right way to say “talk to a ni**a”.

Actually, that might be the legal definition of “conversate”.

Here’s another issue, I think “conversate” actually sounds better than “converse”. Unlike “irregardless” which clearly sounds horrible and is a double negative. But that all comes down to personal preference I suppose. And seeing as my ignorance is sophisticated, for all intensive purposes, I only use “conversate” in the midst of a powwow with somebody who eats #flamingyoung. Or who can at least appreciate what just happened there.

If you have no idea what #flamingyoung is, then you also have no idea what #theplate is and need to spend more time dealing with Black people who deal with other Black people who spend inordinate amounts of time on Twitter.

So VSBNation, I ask you, what’s the big damn deal with the hatred for the term “conversate”? And why do we seem to conflate it to mean so much more than it actually is?

Conversate with P.