Monthly Archives: January 2012

Motivational Mondays

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”
(c) Oprah Winfrey

Happy New Week to you all!

Now that the weekend is over, it’s time to hit the ground running. You’ve probably walked into work to a mountain of messages, seemingly extra bubbly people who you simply don’t have time to deal with and you are probably less energetic than on Monday mornings than you are after you’ve worked a full day. I know it’s been ingrained in us to absolutely abhor Mondays, I propose we try something different.

Mighty O

For me, Oprah is the most inspiring person I have never met. While she is wealthy, it is not her wealth that makes me want to do better, it is because she is unapologetically her authentic self no matter who is offended. I. Love. It! What I also love is her willingness to share with the masses the wisdom she’s gained over the course of her life’s journey. Since she’s shared it before, I am going to share it again.

In the quote above, the Mighty O states that your future can be changed by simply changing your attitude. I happen to be a believer. We may not all have control over what happens to us in our lives but we do have control over our attitudes. Our reactions. Our ability to roll with the punches. How we treat others. I want to encourage you to shift your thinking and subsequently your attitude toward Monday. Let’s start by dissociating negative terms from it like mad and manic. How about we start using positive words like mighty and masterful or majestic. There is power in words, use it to your advantage.

Some years back, Oprah discussed on her show, the power of “The Secret.” The secret to success is all about willing great things to you. Part of that is speaking it to existence. That being said, speak greatness to your Monday and then speak it to the rest of your week.

Go see Red Tails…

For the past couple of weeks, the interwebs have been abuzz with talk about the movie, “Red Tails.” It’s a fictionalized story about the all-black regiment of fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, set in Italy in World War II. We get to meet a bunch of (fine ass) black men from different walks of life who were all a part of the “Tuskegee Experience” that wanted to test whether or not black men would be smart enough to be fighter pilots.

While I would just love to give you a history lesson, I would much rather you click this link and educate your damn selves. Personally, I interviewed a Tuskegee Airman so, I’m good. It’s a wonderful story in which all people need to be aware. I sincerely hope this movie will make people want to know more about it. Now, as for the movie and all these damn critics …

Dear Universe, you will never be able to satisfy an entire group of people. All men aren’t fans of the same thing nor are all men neither are all white people and definitely not all black people. “Red Tails” is no different. This movie has gotten a lot of attention because it is an all black cast and Mr. Star Wars, George Lucas, put up $100 million of his own money because he couldn’t get Hollywood to invest. That being said, black folks everywhere set out to prove Hollywood wrong and support this historic biopic. Problem is it wasn’t a biopic. Negroes flocked to the movie in droves expecting to see an Oscar-worthy film starring black men who were men of honor who were being snubbed by a system that sought to keep them down. They got an action movie.

I’m not sure if you are familiar with action movies but they aren’t famous for the dialogue, the sentiment or their maintenance of the integrity of whatever period they are highlighting. Action movies are known for action. Fights and explosions and shit like that. But because this one was financed by George Lucas and involved Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, black folks expected something major. *smh* Look, if you went to see Red Tails and went to learn the story of the Tuskegee Airmen and you were disappointed that you got an action movie, that’s your fault.

Nobody ever billed this movie to be anything more than an action film. But because it stars an abundance of black men we turned it into a demonstration against the racial injustice in the Hollywood establishment. We have to get over ourselves. We need to realize that more black quality films aren’t being made because we aren’t demanding them. Some of us continue to be pissed about movies like Red Tails yet they line up in droves for the latest in Tyler Perry’s never-ending story of the downtrodden black woman with the dark-skinned villains.

I have never in all my movie-watching days seen reviews more mixed for a movie than this one. Ever. “This was an awesome black film!” “That movie sucked! Don’t waste your money!” “I wish they would have done more.” “Why weren’t there any black women in the movie?” “He was with a white woman!” Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah! *smh* Some of y’all need to see this movie for what it was – entertainment. I looked at this movie the same as I would “Captain America,” “Superman,” or any other hero movie. The only difference here is there were actual Tuskegee Airmen.

Personally, I think “Red Tails” made strides in how black men are perceived in hero movies. Up until now we only had Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sam Jackson. Now, we’ve got an assload of black heroes for them to choose from. Let’s just support this movie for being what it is, the first all-black action flick since the blacksploitation period and keep it moving.

Let’s stop taking shit to higher and higher levels of foolishness and irrelevance by getting in our feelings. I need for y’all to come out of there and join the rest of us in the real world. This movie was made to see black men catapulted to the role of hero not to give black films relevance. That’s our job. You want to see more quality black films? Let’s support the ones we do have coming out and demand better of our own filmmakers. If nothing else, go see it for yourself and stop taking everyone else’s word for it.

I’ve got the power …

I just started Week No. 13 of unemployment and FINALLY the North Carolina Economic Security Commission has decided to start giving me my money. I tell you, it’s not much but Lord knows it’s way more than what I was getting. There is nothing like bills coming in and no money to pay them to make you real humble, real quick.

Last weekend, I attended the Brand You workshop put on the Triad Association of Black Journalists, my local chapter of the national organization. I learned a lot, got to see some friends and really put into thought what my next move should be. Because it’s already been three months and I’m still unemployed, a lot of folks who want to help have been asking me “what is it that you want to do next?” I can honestly say, I have no idea.

I've got the power!

I’ve been working as a professional journalist for the last eight years of my life. I’ve dabbled in retail and working with kids. When in college, I did a little bit of IT work, but at this moment in my life, I have no clue as to what I want to do next. This weekend while answering the question of “what kind of jobs are you looking for,” I realized there is not a single ounce of shame in not knowing. In fact, I think there’s some power in it.

Wherever I go and whatever I do next is all on me. If I decide to go back to school, work with kids, roam the Earth like Caine in Kung Fu – it’s MY decision. I’ve got the power. That is scary and exciting all at the same time. If I succeed, it’s my victory. If I fail, it’s my fault. A year ago, I would have flown into a full-on panic attack. Today, tho, I’m peaceful. Today, I’m ready – for whatever.


Congress is at it again, y’all. While they should be coming together to create jobs, they are out here working on -ish that isn’t exactly a top priority. I’m sure you guys have seen that some sites have gone black today and several of us have replaced the avatars over our various social networking accounts with graphics encouraging Congress to “Stop SOPA.”

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the bill sponsored by house Republican Lamar Smith. In theory, the bill and its Senate cousin, PIPA, Protect IP Act, is designed to protect intellectual property by getting a handle on rogue sites. The way it sounds, it seems as if the bill would be in place to protect those creatives amongst us from having our work stolen and passed off as someone else’s. Right? Wrong. When you read through all the legal jargon, SOPA is essentially creating a situation where they will have total control over the internet.

That’s right, you read just right. If SOPA and PIPA pass in the house and senate, it will change the internet as we know it. All these things we love like YouTube and your favorite social networking sites all have the potential to be censored to the point of being shut down. Why, you may ask? The smallest things are being deemed as piracy. And with that, Congress is proposing that websites suspected of copyright infringement be blocked or access to the illegal portion be blocked. While I agree that something should be done to stop the piracy, a.k.a. bootlegging, I just don’t see how violating everyone’s first amendments rights will make that happen.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If these bills pass, my blog, your blog and all blogs you like could be deemed illegal because everything from a YouTube video to a gif someone decides to post in response to a post can all be deemed copyright infringement. Those videos I’ve done with music beds playing in the background … Copyright infringement. Artists sharing their mixtapes with us… Copyright infringement. The gov’t will be able to force sites like Google, bing, Adsense and others to cut ties with you because you or someone who comments on your site have violated this law. Something as simple as organizing a petition online can be deemed illegal. This, my friends, violates our first amendment rights.

While some of you who are not creative can afford not to care, those of us who are can’t. I urge you to visit this site and sign the petition to urge Congress to vote “no” on SOPA and PIPA. Do it for me!

Paula Deen + Diabetes…

Paula Deen

During my daily exercise of masochism, I logged onto Twitter via the web and saw that Queen of Southern Cuisine Paula Deen will soon announce that she is living with type 2 diabetes. It’s the same type I have. With the average weight of Americans on an uptick so are a lot of these chronic and sometimes avoidable diseases like type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and millions have already been diagnosed. Type 2 is most common in folks in ethnic minority groups and the older population. It’s a disease where your pancreas does not make enough insulin to properly use the sugar (glucose) in the body for energy. Type 2 is commonly found in people who are overweight and who have these nasty habits of eating foods with entirely too many simple sugars.

Unfortunately, a lot of the foods Deen is known for cooking and eating are filled with these nasty simple sugars and things that are bad for you. Simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta made with bleached flour and white rice and all the things that Southern folks are known for making are full of things that diabetics simply should not eat. Oddly enough, as a diabetic food is both your ailment and your cure.

Apparently Deen will be endorsing a new medication from the pharmaceutical company Novartis. I’m not too familiar with it as I am on the generic form of glucophage, metformin. Since I’m not sure of whether Deen is taking pills or insulin, I can’t offer up any opinions about it. Thankfully I am still taking pills which are designed to have my blood sugar start at a manageable level in the mornings and be maintained throughout the day with diet and exercise.

We have no idea how long Deen has been living with this disease so all we can do is heed her revelation as a warning. Too much of anything (especially rich food) is bad for you. I got my diagnosis when I was 26. My doctor suspected I had been living with the disease for 10 years before I knew it. My advice in this post is to add an A1C test to your annual blood work. That will give you give you an indication of how good (or not-so-good) your blood sugar has been over the past three months.

I wish Mrs. Deen well. I also wish she would watch her son Bobby’s show on The Cooking Channel, “Not My Mama’s Meals.”

Education = life changing …

For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved to learn. Cracking open a book, speaking with knowledgeable people, watching documentaries, reading the newspaper – anything that could guarantee that I would know more than when I started, I am all for it.

Because I love learning so much, my goal is to pass it along to as many folks as possible. Every time I get a chance, I encourage my nieces and nephews, godkids, cousins and everyone else’s child I meet to use all the resources available to them to learn as much as they can.

We have to do right by them...

While I’m still looking for work, I decided that I need to make myself useful and volunteer my time with a local organization run by my cousin and one of her classmates from high school.

This program is designed for low-income children who have failed their end-of-grade tests in reading and math. Because of my background in journalism and my minor in professional English, I am working mostly with the kids who are great at math but have problems reading. Early on, I figured out their problems with reading. These kids don’t speak English.

While they are American, they were born here and have lived here all their lives, they simply do not speak standard English. When you can’t speak a language, it usually translates into your reading. If you don’t understand what it is you’re reading, you can’t comprehend it. If you can’t comprehend what you read, you get labeled as dumb, slow, stupid and in America, that translates to inferior. I understand this life. I used to live this life.

While I have always enjoyed learning, I have never been a great test taker. In working with these kids, I see why I wasn’t. For the longest time, I’ve always heard that standardized tests are culturally biased and that the only universal part is the math. Now, I understand completely. The questions are worded in ways these children don’t speak. The people who create these tests word them in ways that are confusing to not only these children but to some of the people helping them learn about these tests. Somewhere these kids, and some of these adults, didn’t get what they needed in English and language arts classes.

A lot of these kids in this program live in the very projects where I spent my childhood and as much as I’d like to say that the neighborhood has changed for the better, it hasn’t. While it has improved aesthetically, it is still filled with an abundance of undereducated people who have deemed it uncool to be smart. It’s not popular to get good grades and God forbid you try to speak standard English. In trying to help one of my students better understand what he was reading by helping him to correctly pronounce words and making his subjects and verbs agree, he was ridiculed by his peers for “talking like a white boy.” We have to do better.

Though we didn’t give birth to them, these are our kids – all of them. As much as we hate to admit it, we’re getting older. Somebody will have to run this world when we no longer can. If we drop the ball in educating our kids who the hell will take care of us when we get old? You’ve set up your 401K and your IRA so that you’ll have money to take care of yourself but guess who you’ll be paying to do it? These kids.

A lot of us have similar stories of how we grew up in poor circumstances but overcame that by going to college. These are the stories our kids need to hear not the crap about a beef between Drake and Common. I am begging you guys to reach within your families, your communities or wherever to show these kids you care and just how your education has changed your life. We have GOT to do better, y’all!

Motivational Monday

It seems that everyone hates Mondays. It’s the first day of the work or school week and for a lot of folks that brings on great stress and aggravation. Whether it’s a mound of e-mails and never-ending string of voice mails or you have simply had your peace broken by the annoying co-worker, Mondays just aren’t anybody’s favorite day. Well, I’m aiming to make it just a little better.

Make Monday your bitch!!!

We have to start looking at Monday like we do the new year. It’s a new beginning, another chance to get it right. I say we celebrate it. Starting today, I shall give you guys a quote and my take on it. It could be from an intellectual. It could be from a movie. I’m just fulla surprises. :) Hopefully it will help y’all breathe, put your head down and get to work.

“The best way out is always through.”
(c) Robert Frost

Guys, Mondays are not against you. I know it seems like they are but they really aren’t. Take a few deep breaths, put your head down and power through your work. You have to take Mondays one task at a time. Develop an order of doing things and do them without complaints and I promise your day will pass by faster. A watched pot never boils and time doesn’t go by when you’re watching the clock. Stop watching and start working.

Happy Monday!!!