As National Mental Health Month comes to a close we have a responsibility to ask; are you okay, sis? This may seem like a simple question, but you never know the magnitude it holds until someone asks you and you've been holding the weight of the world inside for too long. A few years ago I had my first bought of depression. I mean, I was a happy person who had a thriving social life that was always out of town, making new friends and loved the lifestyle my job provided. Then it happened...I became irritable and withdrawn, hated my job and the people whom I worked with, besides for work rarely left my house, stopped going out to have fun, didn't shop (this was my favorite past time), nothing. It all stopped. After joking with Phoenix how I was so tired and needed time off to regroup, she recommended that I seek therapy. Like most black families, mine didn't discuss mental health outside of dementia, schizophrenia, or PTSD when someone you all knew was diagnosed and you received the gossip. Mental health along with other subjects are just taboo in the black community.
I must admit, I took Phoenix's suggestion with a grain of salt and figured it would be a joke. Boy, was I wrong! Therapy helped me to realize not only did I have major daddy issues, I had mommy issues as well. She helped me to understand that I hated my job because I wanted an out to pursue my entrepreneurial endeavors but was too afraid to do so because I didn't want to lose my cushy lifestyle. It helped me realize that I needed to ignore society's standards for what my 27 year old self needed to have accomplished. Therapy helped me to realize that I'd listened to so many of my friends and families issues and didn't have anyone I felt I could really talk with about how I was feeling. Not because they weren't there, but because I put their needs before my own. I'm the strong friend you read about. The one who will lace up her too-tight Timbs (you've heard the story on episode 3 lol) to go gather some edges, the one who will help you fill out those business and grant applications, the same one who will be right there to pump you up because you deserve more. I strive to be the friend that checks on her friends, but fall short in doing so consistently. So I needed help and therapy was that outlet I so desperately needed. Acknowledging that I was depressed was one of the hardest things for me to do because I'd heard the horror stories and saw the judgmental looks and such. Outside of therapy, I could really only talk to two people who knew exactly what I was going through and we supported each other like no other.
Today, I grieved. I grieved for a man whom I didn't know. I grieved for a recording artist. I grieved for a philanthropist and community activist. I grieved for a community hero. I grieved for a Crip. I grieved for a man who loved his community and invested heavily to ensure those who would normally not be employable because of their criminal records, were. I grieved for a legal marijuana dispensary owner. I grieved for a cryptocurrency investor. I grieved for a man who took Crenshaw and put them on his back. I grieved for a brother who ensured that both his brother and sister were able to start their own businesses to begin creating generational wealth. I grieved for a friend. I grieved for a son whose mother with the calmest voice was able to soothe the souls of thousands. I grieved for a wife who experienced love at it's deepest depths that one could only wish they'd experience or you'd read about in some black novel. I grieved for three children who will no longer have their father there to tell them just how great and loved they are as he burns sage around them before taking them to school. I grieved for the culture, who has not felt this great a loss since Michael Jackson or even Tupac. Today, I grieved.
I first heard about Nipsey Hussle two years ago when we started on our cryptocurrency investment journey. I'm not sure what put him on my radar, but I remember looking him up and seeing how he started the clothing store and purchased the shopping center that the owners threatened to close because of the unsavory traffic it attracted from known gang affiliates, etc. I was especially intrigued by the opening of Vector 90 as a co-working space as this is something I've dreamed of opening in my area. Now, before his passing, I'd never heard any of his music (I'm feeling Racks in the Middle hard now) as I'm not big on West Coast rap/hiphop besides Kendrick Lamar and Tupac (don't bring up how I dislike all those features in his songs with Dogg Pound and 'nem-this isn't about him). Then a few months ago while on Instagram, I saw the GQ magazine images of him and wife and actress, Lauren London. I remember thinking, damn they're cute together.
I have listened and read our responses to the murder of Nipsey Hussel - rapper, father, brother, husband, son, friend, a leader in the community, gang member, entrepreneur, hustler, protector….and the list goes on for the many adjectives we can use to describe this man. However, I see him as a Black man, human, flesh and blood…vulnerable. He is my brother, he is an extension of me. However, as we go out into the world our lives become entangled with other’s; our morals, standards, beliefs, happiness, hurts, fears, and pain, just to name a few become entangled with everyone else’s. We try to align ourselves up with everyone else, but sometimes it just doesn’t jive. Even when we share some of the same life experiences it doesn’t mean that we will make the same choices. Nipsey chose to elevate himself and his community, he chose to educate and feed the minds of his community into thinking, no, into KNOWING they were greater than their environment. He showed them through his ACTIONS that anything was possible, that determination and a desire for better could get them anywhere, and he did not leave them when he easily could have, he stayed to help bring them with him, he stayed to be a light to his community and to show them the way to a better life, he never abandon them. Some would say that this is what got him assassinated, victim blaming – I say that outright jealousy got him assassinated. I would say that cowardice got him assassinated, I would say that entitlement got him assassinated, I would say weakness got him assassinated…the perpetrator was a coward, he was jealous, he felt entitled to something he wanted to be GIVEN, and he was weak.
Sis, we know we've been gone for a long time and we know we have some explaining to do. Just know that we took a not so brief moment to breathe, live our best lives, launch new businesses, cleanse, love, and all that great ish. Catch Charli and Kay on Twitter at @dobettesis_pod as we tweet various popular shows weekly. Current shows tweeting include American Soul, Boomerang, Proven Innocent, The Fix, All American, How to Get Away with Murder, Black Lightning, Empire, and Star. Listen to the first episode of, Tweet This! Be on the look out for new episodes with all of us as we strive to continue to do better, sis.
Hey guys, I had the pleasure of interviewing the illustrious, dope, and all things black girl magic Krystal Kantrell, author or "Grimoire of a Black Girl". Listen as chat about her book, HBCU experience, and so much more. Here's a bit about Krystal:
Krystal Kantrell is a poet from Waynesboro, GA. She is a daughter, a sister, and a friend to many. She enjoys and has a passion for reading, writing, and Cinnabons. She has been writing all her life, but decided to get serious shortly after Trayvon Martin was murdered. She gets her inspiration and hope from black people. Their lives and sometimes untimely deaths influence the emotion in her work. She has learned through first hand experience that black folk are precious and they embody resistance. Anything influenced by them is then, a form of resistance. She hopes that her poetry is as beautiful, as loving, and just as powerful as the people who inspire it.
“I want to be with you, but I want you to relax your hair”
I have heard and saw discussions about Black men that dislike Black women’s natural hair…you know the hair that grows from our scalp…like theirs. We are the mirror image of Black men and we accept them in their natural state, so why is it a problem for us to rock our hair in its natural state? Hell why the fuck is this still an issue? I’m beautiful and even White men love my natural hair…so why did it bother me so damn much? This man told me that he doubt if his dick would get hard because of my HAIR!!!! My hair y’all!!! What the PHUCK!! When I met this man about 20 years ago, he was just starting his locs, and we know that for the most part, that is not a cute look, but hey, I found him attractive and he had a nice body. We started working out together, he actually got me started working out, and we dated off and on for years. His locs got longer and longer, and I thought they were beautiful, he was beautiful…and I loved the way they smelled (I can smell them now….ahhhhh) he kept them very neat and clean. I used to breathe this man. Anyway, fast forward some years we went our separate ways because of some other bullshit with him, but I won’t get into that, he reaches out to me and tells me he has a surprise for me and to check my phone. I check my phone, and I see the beautiful white straight teeth I’d also found to be so sexy, gleaming behind sexy lips I knew so well….mmmmmm, but on the face of a bald-headed man…well not quite bald headed, but a low haircut. My heart hit the floor, my eyes watered, and I could barely breathe…what the fuck happened to my Black, long loc’d jesus?!!! I was heartbroken…but I got over it…he said he needed to cut them as they were preventing him from getting a decent job…I could respect that. I accepted it and moved forward…he was still the attractive man I was crazy about and I was still physically attracted to him. So that is the backstory. I am angry because this man who now has a receding hairline and couldn’t grow the same looking locs if he wanted to, he dare to tell me my hair is sexually unappealing? He also finds dark skinned women like Lupita Nyong’o unattractive and nappy headed…when he said this, my mouth dropped. How did I not see this 20 years ago?
Listen, I went to see “Black Panther” twice! I am considering going a third time to see it in 3 D with my nephew--*Wakanda Forever*. Watching the reported numbers so far--$1 globally the last I checked—is blowing my mind! With “Black Panther” absolutely smashing the box office, sis, you have to rethink investing! Investing is simply another way of supporting the things you love, use, or buy into as a stakeholder, as opposed to a consumer.
I have spoken to several friends and family about investing. The feedback has been very interesting. A majority of the feedback has been that many people are interested in investing, but are not sure how to get started, what kind of information they need to get started. Today, you’re in luck, sis! We are going to hand out some. Sis, sit back and let me tell you some things about investing to get you started on the path!
“Bend as much as you need, even til your nose touches the floor, keep bending, but don’t break.” Someone said this, and I readily agreed with it, after all, I was always told to never break no matter how bad things get, don’t break. That statement has played in my head over and over again, to the point it started to nag at me. Why not break? If you’ve done all you can do to stand under the pressures of life and the only relief you can get is to break, then why not? If you are constantly bending or straining to stay strong can that not eventually ‘kill you’, after all they say that “stress kills”. So why not break? If one breaks, is that not the same as just letting go? I guess it depends on how you want to look at it.
If a bone breaks, it will often heal on its own…yea look it up. The break may take 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or even 10 weeks or more to heal – the point is, most of the time, it does heal normally. Bending, but never breaking will never give you the opportunity to start healing, or for that matter, stand straight…it only allows you to keep taking on more and more stress. Someone will say, well Phoenix, not all breaks heal, and that I will say is partially true. All breaks do not heal in a way that you will be the same…sometimes you are never the same after a break, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I guess if you break a leg and you were a runner, then maybe a break that does not heal “correctly” could be a bad thing…right? Or if you break your arm and the healing causes you to lose a baseball scholarship, that can be seen as a bad break…literally. However, it is still a matter of perspective. In life, when you trust that all things happen for a reason, or all things happen for the good of the world, then it may stand to reason a break was meant to happen or was needed to happen to make a difference on a larger scale. That break may have been needed to prepare you to help someone else…to increase your compassion for others that are going through difficult times…to put you on a path to finally see your hopes, dreams, or goals manifest. How do we fulfill our destiny? Life can take us off course because shit happens that distract us, and we completely get off course, so what puts us back on course? Sometimes it can be as simple as someone checking you on how fucked up you’ve allowed your life to become and you have a moment of clarity in that moment and it puts you back on path. But, sometimes you are so far off the path that it takes a lot of struggle, disappointments, and betrayals to finally cause you to break. In that break, you finally come face to face with who you are and what you have become. In that break, you must decide where did it all go wrong. In that break, you must decide if you’re going to get up, go through the pain of seeing ALL that you are, find acceptance in your weaknesses and pride in your strengths, and decide to heal.
As you heal, you test how much you can endure at each stage of the healing process. It will be slow at first, but little by little you become stronger, yet cautious. You try to ensure that you don’t “break” again. Healing from a break causes you to focus…become more attentive to the decisions that you make. You have put yourself in a position to start fresh. It may not be easy at first, and it may seem like you made the worse decision to “break”, but if you TRUST the process Sis, lean on friends and loved ones when you need to, it’ll always work out the way it is supposed to. We are not here for ourselves, we are here for each other and the more we understand that, the better we all are. So, you can choose to bend and stay under the stresses of life, even to the point where your nose touches the floor under the pressure, or you can just LET GO, and break…believing that no matter what - you will heal, self-correct, and be back on course.
Let me just start by saying initially I wanted to hit you with one line for my review, but I later thought better of it because we're working to do better, right? Before we get into the review, I feel it is my responsibility to the culture to educate some and reintroduce to others the fictional Marvel character that is: Black Panther. Introduced in July of 1966, Black Panther was written by Stan Lee (we love him in every movie cameo) and Jack Kirby and first featured in Fantastic Four's #52: The Arrival. As the first super hero of African descent, protector and current King of Wakanda (Wa-Kan-DA!) with his access to technological advancements, wealth, education, and physical training, oh and the wealthiest of Marvel's superheros; T'Challa is a force to be reckoned with! In the comic series, he is married to Storm and in an alternate universe they share a son. The Black Panther character was created before the Black Panther Party and was briefly renamed to the Black Leopard after backlash about the BPP. Let me not forget to mention that he's appeared in several animations to include his own series on BET, which started Alfre Woodard and Jill Scott. We'll discuss the other Black Panthers to include his father before him and his sister alongside him in a later post. Anyway, on to the movie. **Spoiler Alerts Will Follow**
Read the extension of our podcast as hosts, Charli, Kay and Phoenix write about issues concerning woc simply because when you know better, you'd do better. Do better, sis.