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



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***


Lessons Learned Through Childhood Memories

I don't know why I picked this picture either.

I don’t know why I picked this picture either.

I’m a big fan of the days when we talk about ourselves. While I enjoy the back and forth of deep discussions (yesterday’s about education actually was a good one) I do enjoy learning more about the folks who venture here and leave their footprints on VSB lore.

That was deep. #deep

With that being said, I’d like to tell you all a story. What we’re about to do right here is go back. For the most part, I grew up in Germany…Frankfurt to be exact. While in middle school I was apart of an organization called Club Beyond. It was a religious based organization where we basically did Bible study but also took trips and did these huge outings. It was a huge church group through the school run by two people who I will never ever forget. Well thru this organization I was able to travel to Italy, Belgium, and Holland. There was a trip to Spain that my sisters went on but I didn’t make for some odd reason.

Shucks, it was through this organization that I met a young lady in 8th grade that I’ve yet to forget. I still have the letters we exchanged back when folks wrote letters and sent them to one another. That was a big deal back in the day in Germany…meeting somebody in another city (she lived in Landstuhl where the huge hospital was) and exchanging letters. Point is, this organization was lots of fun and through it I learned a lot, saw a lot, and met a lot of people.

Let’s switch gears for a second. Back in the day (when I was young I’m not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again) (do you know writing that made me venture to Spotify to beef up my “Straight West Coastin” playlist…if you’re on Spotify, follow a player) I was that dude when it came to early procurement of music. Growing up overseas we got everything mad late, if at all. We relied on folks who either went back to the States for vacation or got sent back home because they got in trouble to come back and bring tastes of what was happening. That’s how we kept up with the times. New folks would shuffle in and out and bring the latest styles of their hometown. Anyway, for two reasons I always managed to get music mad early: 1) my older sister had a friend whose boyfriend STAYED getting the newest stuff from the States and he’d always give her tapes which I’d steal and record then place back into her room. This is actually how I got into hip-hop. Classic cliche tale of jacking music and falling in love with the artform. Consequently, nearly all the music came from the West Coast. I guess homeboy was from Cali. 2) I had a homeboy who because he knew I liked music would always make me these tapes he’d get from his cousins back in Atlanta with all the newest music. We were fast friends. Years later, and without having had any contact in between times, in Atlanta I’d end up dating his ex-girlfriend who would end up cheating on me with him. Pretty sure I gave him a ride to Lenox right after he smashed my girl.

Yes, you read that right.

Anyway, like I said, many of these tapes had West Coast music. And thus brings our tale back to its starting point.

On one particular trip with Club Beyond we were heading to Amsterdam. I can’t for the life of me remember why. I’m sure we had a blast though. Anyway, on this trip, I’m listening to one of my tapes and it has AMG’s “B*tch Betta Have My Money” on it. I was listening to with one of my boys via a set of headphones where he had one earbud and I had the other. I’m sure everybody’s heard this song. It’s one of the most ridiculous songs ever. Not because of its content necessarily but because of just HOW profane it is. This song is also how I got into DJ Quik as a producer and he is still one of my favorite producers ever.

Well me and my friend (lightskinneded cat named Jermaine*)had the brilliant idea to figure out just HOW profane this song was. On a church trip. On a bus full of 12-and 13-year-olds. It seemed like a great idea at the time. I mean, for that age group listening to something like this was all taboo. Well, it spread like wildfire through the bus what we were doing. I don’t know why exactly, it wasn’t like we were the only people listening to music this questionable…but I also knew the words and was keeping track. I want to say we eclipsed the 150 mark before we got in trouble. As in, sh*t taken, parents alerted (which was a big deal back then seeing as everything was long distance). Now, we got in trouble because my boy was very proud of our endeavor and kept trying to be loud enough to be heard by other kids who were trying to find out what the two badarse kids were doing. And I wasn’t even remotely a badarse. I was an encylopedia reader.

I stopped hanging with that dude after we got back. Why? Because he’s a snitch. He sold me out.

What’s the point of this here story? Well I just used 900 words to tell you three things:

1. AMG’s “B*tch Betta Have My Money” is one of my favorite songs; and

2. Never trust lightskinneded ninjas on church buses with curse words and your earbuds; and

3. Always do your dirt by your lonely.

Aren’t you happy you read all this trying to figure out the point just to get to a point that I could have said at the very beginning? But didn’t you learn more about me? Of course you did. Happy Friday.

So since it’s Friday, why don’t we all share life lessons we learned during our youth! Some of you all have interesting stories. Break ‘em down. What’s an interesting or unique lesson you learned during your childhood?

Talk to me.


How Do I Feel About My Child’s Education? Shhh, It’s Private

kidsI’m a product of public schools. I’ve attended public schools in Alabama, Michigan, and the most public schools of them all, Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) in Frankfurt, Germany. Telling people that you attended school, public no less, in the state of Alabama often gets you side-eyes that register somewhere between the earthquake in Cali this week and a typhoon showing up in Kansas on the “I’m sorry to hear that” scale.

Despite my entire public school upbringing, I’ve found my education to be stellar. In fact, most of my closest friends all attended public school for at least the majority of their schooling, with smatterings here and there of a year or two spent in private school. All of my closest friends have graduate degrees. Amongst my squad are multiple PhDs, beaucoup lawyers, a few economists, etc. Everybody has at least a Master’s degree in something or other.

And here I am…putting my daughter in private school for her education.

On a purely cerebral level, it creates somewhat of a conflict of interest to me. I pay public taxes to live where I live to support schools I’d never send my child to (I do realize that  we all do this). In fact, there’s literally a school close enough to my front door that I could watch my daughter walk from the door INTO the school without ever putting on so much as a flip or flop. I always wanted to be one of those parents who supported the community and did his best to make his community better. And that’s still my goal…I’m just not about to sacrifice my child’s future towards that effort. To say the schools in my neighborhood suck would be a compliment. Such is the public school debacle that is DC Public Schools. I’ve written about this before at the beginning of the process towards looking for a school for my daughter.

Like most major cities, DC is a city full of people with means and people who mean to do really well but life got in the way, and thus our public schools probably rival most major school systems. Largely “not great” schools with a handful of really top notch public schools usually out of reach to those without enough money to own significant amounts of Facebook stock. There’s always the lottery process, but well, its called a lottery for a reason. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t win. And when everybody is aiming for the same schools, well, just like the odds of winning the actual lottery, your odds of winning decrease. Unlike the odds of winning Warren Buffett’s billion since it seems like the likelihood of that happening is about the same as me becoming in a white man AND being the first man to have a baby on the same day that Jay-Z gets sworn in as President of Texas.

I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends about the private vs public school process. He made a very valid point in that no matter what school we send our daughter to, she’ll likely apply to the same colleges (when we get to that road) no matter where she goes to K-12 because she’s always going to be smart and always going to excel. And that’s a very valid point. Point of reference, Young Panamontana is going to Spelman. She will likely be able to pull that off from anywhere. No shots. Just the facts, ma’am. But the issue there is the time between 5 and 18. Attempting to give your child the option to maximize their potential is where the questions start to arise. I know nearly every person with a child that they care about (the news really scares me sometimes with the stories of these people who clearly do not enjoy the parenting gig) spends at least sometime struggling with where to send their kids to school. Those lucky enough to live in districts where the schools are good are set. But the rest of us go on a mad dash towards choices. It’s a nerve-wracking situation because you want to make sure that you don’t make the wrong decision. It’s like getting into…actually, its not like at all…it IS getting into a relationship with a school where your hope your child will thrive and truly be able to shoot for that goal of being whoever they want to be.

It only sucks that in order for me to feel secure there’s very few public schools I’d be comfortable with. Charter schools are a great option here in DC but we’re already doing that and it’s time to let that ship Titanic. My child already goes to what is regarded as the most touted charter school for her age range in the city – the very school we’re pulling her out of is one many people are attempting to get their children into. But ultimately, you do what’s best for your child and in doing so, my family became one of those individuals who forewent the public schools for the private. And I couldn’t be happier.

As an aside, one of the biggest hangups I’ve had about private school has been the lack of diversity in most of these schools, namely The Blacks are obviously not very well represented. But let me tell you something, much to my surprise, quite a number of women I know went to private school which started more than a few debates about how well adjusted they are. Those debates often turn into what it sounds like when the HBCU vs PWI conversations start. Point is, via these conversations I’ve managed to realize that at the end of the day, my daughter has a father (and to a lesser extent a mother) who over-Blacks it at every turn. She’ll know who she is and where she comes from. There’s nothing like bringing that up in an admissions interview by the way. It’s interesting to watch the administrators reactions when you do indeed say,  “I’m concerned about the lack of Blackness here, since I’m pretty sure you can tell, our daughter is Black.” But it’s my job (and her mother’s ) to make sure her esteem and identity are in tact, not any school. So I let it go is the main bullet point. I just felt like sharing.

All this to say, nay ask, when it comes to your child’s (or future child’s) (or hope for your nieces or nephews if children give you the beegees), how much do you think about their education? You going public? Private? Home schooling?

Basically, how do you plan to teach the kids assuming that you believe they are the future?


It’s A Black Thing?: What Had Happened Was…


I have a question. Like a real one too.

I’m going to ask this for education purposes, intellectual reasons, and overall curiosity satisfaction. Creep with me:

Has anybody ever heard a non-Black person say, “what had happened was…”?

I’m serious. Kind of. I mean, I’m sure somebody else has said it. And by somebody else I mean a person who doesn’t celebrate Black History Month. Like Don Lemon. But is there any more statement that is so “Black” in nature? Like, short of my personal favorite, “I wish a motherf*cker WOULD do xyz…”

Quick aside: I actually do be wishing motherf*ckers would do such ‘n such. Like I have sat in my bed at home before, eyes clenched holding my comforter tight, asking and hoping somehow someway could it be arranged for X person to do Y thing JUST so I could act a complete donkey. I try not to pray about it because that just seems wrong. Then again, since I’m not praying, it rarely, if ever, comes to fruition because, well won’t he do it. God be knowin’ y’all or nah?

I still be wishing a motherf*cker would though; I can’t stress that enough.

Back to the lecture at hand though. While I can’t say that I know as many non-Black folks as others, and all of those that I do know have spent considerable time around The Blacks, I do wonder if that’s just a…ya know Black thing (and you wouldn’t understand).

Let me take a quick step back here. I’m fascinated by the evolution of language. For instance, I don’t know if you people realize this – I’m sure you do but why would you ever think about it – but we went as a species from communicating by saying “uggggggghghgh” to words like “onomatopoeia”. Do you realize how much occurred to get from one point to the other? Like, why is a door a “door”? These things keep me up at night. Language if fascinating. It’s also why I take such issue with other folks issues with words like “conversate” and “irregardless”, etc, two words that I’m fairly certain are considered uniquely Black though it is completely understandable how any one might arrive at both word usages. I’m not here to argue for them since I’ve already done that in a previous post.

People get very dogmatic about which words aren’t appropriate, whereas I couldn’t care less. I’m a creative…new words are what’s hot in these streets. Especially if you manage to put 3 or more words together to make an even more awesomer word like travashamockery. <— not a real word, but you understand exactly what’s being said there. Genius.

I’ve meandered and veered clean off the path I was heading down. That yellow brick road? Full of redbones. Bong bong. Das racist.

Back again to the lecture at hand. So words and phrases are created and divied up at the Ethnic Word Convention and it seems that Black folks ended up with “what had happened was…” It’s almost a rite of passage. Even the most bougie (“r” or no “r”) has likely uttered this.

I heard a coworker sound like he was going to give it a run one day but he left out the most crucial word in the statement. Buddy of the caucasian persuasion left out the “had”. He, trying to be funny, merely said, “what happened was…” and other coworkers laughed like I’ve laughed when somebody has lobbed out the infamous “what had happened was…” which makes me believe that while the sentiment is the same, there really is a “Black” way to say that thus making it a “Black” statement.

Granted, this all matters not in the grand scheme of things and a brother was pontificating this evening while looking at the moon when something happened that caused me to say, to another soul, that what had happened was…

Well this really all got me to thinking of what are statements that are uniquely Black, white, or other (Father forgive me for being too lazy to list out every other ethnicity like Aleutian Eskimo, etc). I presume that certain statements like, “I’d like a loan for $50,000 unsecured, right now” would be, ya know, white, but I’m sleep.

So what do you smart people have on my gas money? First, have you ever heard anybody non-Negro say “what had happened was…”? And further, what are some uniquely ethnic phrases across the board. And yes Puerto Ricans, the whistle counts.

Help me with my curiosity. PJ out.


40 Million Ways To Be Black. What’s Yours?


While talking to Panama a couple weeks ago about the reaction to the post about Pharrell’s GIRL cover and Black male privilege, the conversation somehow segued to us discussing how different our backgrounds are, especially when it comes to the ambiguous and amorphous concept of Blackness.. He’s biracial, lived in the Blackest state on Earth (Alabama), the Blackest city on Earth (Detroit), and Germany. (Yes. That Germany.) He also went to an all-boys HBCU, and currently lives in the Bougie Black Person’s Mecca (Washington, D.C.).

I grew up and still live in Pittsburgh, PA -- the Whitest major metropolitan area in the country. I also lived on one of the most dangerous streets in the city, but I was somewhat insulated from that because my parents sent me to private school in the suburbs and, from the time I was maybe 12 years old, I was a star basketball player. (By my junior year in high school, we moved to that suburb.) This awkward simultaneous connection to and distance from Blackness continued in college. I went to a predominately White university, and I immediately immersed myself with the BlackBlack people on campus. As a junior I was an officer in the Afro-American Society, and my senior year I was an editor of the Black newspaper, The Nia News. But I was also a scholarship basketball player. Which meant I was immune to many of the issues Black students faced.

The conversation then shifted to how the uniqueness of each of our backgrounds, upbringings, and character traits (both learned and innate) controls each of our thoughts and actions today. None of our beliefs, opinions, personalities, and biases happened by accident. All earned their way to be with us.

Maybe I’m not as dogmatic about love and marriage if I didn’t grow up in a household with two parents deeply in love with and committed to each other. Maybe I gravitate towards the back of every crowded room I’m in today because of residue from being so self-conscious about the shape of my head as a kid that I made sure to sit in the back of every classroom so there’d be no one behind me to tease me about it. Maybe I don’t finish our book and make the decision to write full-time if the program I worked for at Duquesne University doesn’t lose its funding…and maybe I don’t end up at Duquesne if I didn’t get tired of being in the classroom…and maybe I wouldn’t have gotten tired of being in the classroom if I taught at a better school district.

Anyway, to quote Dr. Henry Louis Gates, if there are 40 million Black Americans, there are 40 million ways to be Black. I just shared a couple snippets from my Black American story. What’s yours? How did you come to be who you are today?

(And, if you don’t happen to be Black, but happen to be reading this, share your story too. We’re all family here and shit.)

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

For the next nine days, you can purchase your own I Love Bougie Black Girls t-shirt via Teespring for the insanely low prices of $11.50 for a men’s shirt, $13 for a women’s shirt


and $24.50 for a hoodie.

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The campaign ends Sunday, March 23. We’re already halfway to our goal, but we still need to move a few shirts to reach it.

Anywho, they’re available now, so go and BUY!!! and be fly.