Chrisette Michele, You in Danger Girl

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Do you hear that silence? That is in fact the sound of Chrisette Michele’s dying career. Ever since I’ve seen the social media fallout slowly unfold after Chrisette Michele decided to turn her soul into a horcrux by agreeing to perform at the inauguration of orange Voldemort.

Word on the street is that she received $750,ooo for her performance, and in an interview with Billboard she stuck to her story, of agreeing to hit the high notes for the new bogus POTUS in the name of unity; “We can either shift for love or we can shift for division,” she said, “and I’d much rather shift for love.”

Um, Chrisette? Gurl, bye.

I’m not sure how she thought that coming out of whatever Forbidden Forest she was hiding in, after missing in the mainstream for like five years and then selling her vocals to the devil for a few hundred thousands was her “shifting for love.”

The country is shifting for faux populism, dictatorship, censorship, and inequality what it ain’t shifting for is love, dear.

In her interview, she states that her family disowned her for agreeing to perform, and plot twist she performed at one if the inauguration balls and notes that Trump didn’t even shake her hand.

Why would he? She does not look like one of his brethren, she does not reflect the 53% who uplifted his unethical values.

Can we expect other black folks with public platforms to serve as activists and mouthpieces for us all? I’m still trying to sort out my own feelings about that. Many comments online criticized the backlash against Michele and stated that she is a performer and not an activist, and that she probably needed the check.

I have no doubt about that, because I fear this might be the last chunk of change she sees for a while because any possible collaborators of hers are now worried that Trump’s bad juju has rubbed off on her.

There is not enough coin in the world that could have convinced me to set aside my values and the fact that much of the world would rather that any one with brown skin not exist in order to go hum a few tunes and shuck and jive for the president that shall not be named.

Chrisette, you in danger girl.

How do you feel about the whole thing? Do celebrities who are members of marginalized groups have a duty to side with the marginalized? Or is all fair in love and coin?

Let me know in the comments, and lawd jesus may we all find some tlc.

-Tiff

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Why We Need To Discuss The Lack of Mentorship Within The Black Community…

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Of all of my favorite quotes about success, the G.O.A.T has got to be, “Supporting another’s success won’t ever dampen your own.” Bars!

But no, I’m not sure when the shift happened among millennials, is it when we realized that our college degrees are worthless without technical skills and connection? Or is when we realized those things and stopped deciding to help uplift the people who look like us.

If I learned nothing in this past year, it’s that you can in fact be a person with the most questionable morals, shady business deals, and a bad wig and become a leader of the free world; which I guess is one of the ultimate success stories.

But on a smaller and less evil scale, the idea of success has come to be less about making an impact on the lives of others and pursuing a passion and more about being a workhorse and getting a job that pays the highest salary. Success is subjective, but there tends to be a common thread in all success stories, and that is the idea of having a mentor, someone that you can learn from, who can vouch for your talent and work ethic, and serve as a confidant.

So where are all of the black mentors in the black community? Maybe I’m biased or just out of the loop, but it is no lie that most jobs are secured based off of who you know, and from what I have seen of other races, especially white people, is a greater willingness to put a friend, peer, or colleague in contact with a key person, or to read a blog post you’ve been writing, or art you’ve been creating.

Whereas, I’ve witnessed far too many instances of not supporting black businesses, black artists, or even our friends. So not only does our talent often fly under the radar, so many of us are stuck not knowing how to promote our skills because we are starving for a mentor.

A mentor is defined as a “an experienced and trusted adviser,” it can be your friend who knows the computer program you’ve been trying to learn, it can be a professional in a field that you are trying to break into, a professor, or your grandma’s friend’s cousin.

And yet, when trying to figure out how to brand a blog, social justice initiative, and market myself as a writer there were very few people willing to offer me guidance. There are far too many black people with all of the ambition in the world who cannot find a single person to support their work and guide their progress.

School would be the first place to think of when looking for a mentor, but in 17 years of schooling I had very few. While there may have been a professor or to who told me that I could write and that I could go into many different fields, the conversation stopped and started there. There was no meeting over coffee where I could pick their brain or gain insight from shared experiences; not to mention that there always seemed to be a disparity in who received mentorship and who did not?

So where are all of the mentors?

If I had to give three reasons, just based off of my own opinions, I would say that the lack of mentorship in the black community is due to:

Fear

The success of others should not diminish our own light, and yet there are too many instances of people not sharing knowledge because of competition that does not exist. A win for one is a win for all of us as far as I’m concerned, so if sharing your knowledge of video production, or proofreading someone’s novel, or telling someone who is new to your company about your experiences makes a difference then that is no way threatens your own achievements.

The institution

If you choose to put money, and your future into the hands of higher education, then you deserve to receive mentorship and advising that will help you realize your strengths, capitalize your passions, and that also offers constructive criticism. It is not a mentor’s job to merely pat you on the back, the same way that you cannnot be a mentee who is unwilling to hustle. But there are far too many “advisers,” who simply collect a paycheck and offer little support or professional development to students whose livelihood can be determined based upon connections and a solid series of mentors. Almost, two years out of college and I’m still looking for a mentor, after a failed program that was unable to match me with an alumni mentor, and a stint in grad school that also came up empty. If academic institutions cannot offer career resources, access to a mentor network, or provide an advisor who will be honest about the fact that now writing jobs expect you to have digital design skills, then they are wasting our time. The institution needs to do better.

Division

Whenever melaninated people speak out about social injustice those voices are often snuffed out with a “oh but you do the same thing to your people,” sort of argument. Most of the time that argument holds not water. Except in this instance. There has long been a schism in the black community between those who are college-educated and those who are not, as if at the root of it all we don’t all face the same issues, and thanks to the woke black person trope, there is a gap between the “woke,” and the “unwoke.” Whatever side you exist on, pride often gets in the way of supporting members of our own community. There is often too much pride in not asking for help, or support, or wise words when you desperately need them, the same way that pride keeps those with valuable know-how and life experiences from sharing it with those who they think are unwilling to receive it.

Given the fact that Lucifer-reincarnate will be taking over the Oval Office in exactly two days, there is no better time than to believe in your worth, and to be someone who can help others believe the same. Yes, many of us know about struggle, and starting from the bottom, and doing so alone. But that should be the exception not the rule.

 

How To Practice Minimalism If You’re #BrokeAF

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Hi my name is Tiffany, and I have been sucked into The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  and while I never managed to finish reading the book, I can jibe with the basic premise of ridding your life of too many possessions and seeking out less tangible, but worthwhile things…you know, like happiness, peace of mind, etc.

Last year, the term minimalism was tossed around in health and wellness culture, as much as the words “self-care.” If you have been out of the loop, minimalism, according to Merriam-Webster is “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.” Picture living with only two pieces of furniture or maintaining a 33 item capsule wardrobe; the mission is to focus more on acquiring positive experiences and less junk that serves you or you 300 sq ft apartment, little purpose.

I’m all for the principles behind minimalism, but I’ve raised an drawn-on eyebrow or two at most of the imagery surrounding the lifestyle. Stop reading this and go watch the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things, and you will see a self-proclaimed “homeless,” man who is actually a nomad traveler who has no permanent address, because he travels to a new country every month, and two authors who live with one chair and two shirts…and nothing else.

Depictions of minimalism tend to be very extreme and very whitewashed, but that’s for another post. If you find that you can’t afford $300 loafers instead of a closet full of cheap shoes in the name of quality versus quantity. Or that you very much like the comfort of your own bed and room of one’s own then here are  five smaller, more practical ways to integrate minimalism into your daily life.

Try a “dry” month

I remember the thrill that came with turning 21 and being able to partake in an adult beverage or two, and while at 23 my liver ain’t what it used to be, I still enjoy a nice glass of wine. Which can run anywhere from $7 to $10 on a good day, and if you go out for drinks often, the damage is probably reflected by your nearly empty bank account. Try not buying alcohol for a month or if you can’t do without liquid courage buy a bottle of your favorite brew and skip the happy hours.

Clean yo’room

You’d be amazed at what reveals itself when you round up dust bunnies and bust out some Clorox wipes. I found tons of DVD’s that I haven’t watched in years, note: I do not have a DVD player. I also found dryer sheets and three tubes of muscle rub…what was I doing that required that much pain relief? When you eliminate duplicates of things and tidy up old thingamabobs it changes the energy of a space.

Meal Prep

While meal prepping is currently en vogue, so is saving money by planning out your meals in advance and only buying food that you need. Stop ordering five rolls of sushi and get you  the biggest slab of salmon you can find. Voila! Dinner for the week.

Pick out your most worn pieces of clothing

What do you wear on a daily basis? Now mix and match those pieces, donate everything else.

Be neutral

As in neutral colors…with clothing and decor, find a color that feels clean and crisp, now integrate that color into your aesthetic, something about grays, whites, and blues just feel more peaceful and offer a certain calm.

Tiny plants and lone vanilla candles are optional, but minimalism really is less about a look and more about a feeling. I know that when my outside feels crowded and disorganized then my mental peace is compromised, so trying to narrow down everything in my life from people to possessions is a conscious effort that helps me feel like I am living my life with more purpose.

Have you heard of minimalism? What principles have and have not worked for you?

Let me know in the comments, and as always may you #findsometlc.