I’m not quite sure when it happened but over the last 2 or 3 years the word “trash” has become the go to adjective to describe things we don’t like or approve of. “In & Out Burger is trash!”, “Sprint cell phone service is trash!”, “Mumble rap is trash!” and if you’re like me and you spend way too much time on Twitter you’ve definitely seen “MEN ARE TRASH!” once or 100 times. Calling something trash is mostly hyperbole because nothing is as trashy as people say it is…well maybe a few things. “Trash” has become so good as a negative classifier it’s now the best was to discredit or even offend someone. Let me share something with you all, no one is really trash but we all have a few trashy characteristics. Some of us have more than others. The good thing is that when you know you’re a bit trashy you can start taking out your garbage and cleaning up immediately. I started taking my garbage out 6 years ago when I became vegetarian and today I’m the best man I’ve ever been.
“Bitches Ain’t Shit” (Dr. Dre), “Loyal” (Chris Brown), “Don’t Save Her”(Project Pat), “What These Bitches Want”(DMX). These are some of the most memorable and fun songs of my generation. Amazing beats, catchy hooks, beloved artists.
As great as these songs are (I regrettably know ALL the words to B.A.S), they definitely don’t do anything to make women appear to be great romantic partners, let alone good friends. In fact, aside from a few Bonnie and Clyde type references, I can’t think of many songs that speak about men’s appreciation for women as ‘just friends’. So, in the spirit of International Women’s Day I’m blocking all songs like the one’s mentioned above from my mind and I’m showing love to the real BFF’s.
Men dread the question “what are we?” or “what are we doing?” from their lover, mate, friend etc. Actually, neither men nor women want to hear it because if you’re not the person asking then obviously your satisfied being umm…whatever you are.
The “what are we?” convo always comes at the most awkward and unexpected time. If you’re
around your clueless mate the question is preceded by an eerie, deep, thick silence then
she just lays it on as you as you’re enjoying a good foreign film on Netflix. Not only are you bothered because you can no longer keep up with the subtitles but it also dawns on you that this Netflix moment probably won’t end with any chill.
Curren$y is one of my favorite rappers of all time. That’s right all time. Last year he dropped a project every month and if you count his official album release “Canal Street Confidential” that makes music 1 project for 13 straight months, not including his YouTube series “Raps n’ Lowriders”.
“Been Real” is one of my favorite tracks from his last serving Andretti 12/30 for lines like this
“This is for those who wanna thrive not just exist/ to survive and surpass all this shit”
He backs up his motivational bars with clips of him going from handing out turkeys in his community to cruising through the streets in his Rolls Royce Wraith. That’s real.
This past Sunday evening much of America’s TV viewership tuned into the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards. Like many folks of my generation, I “watched” via my Twitter feed. No really, Twitter streamed the red carpet and all live via the app. Most people know when I say “watched” – I received the play by play through tweets, memes and video clips from the awards show because that’s how we view award shows now. Its so awesome, you should try it.
There was a solid amount of representation with this years nominees as shows and movies like Insecure, Atlanta, Black – ish, Moonlight and Fences were all nominated in different ways for their brilliance. Then the victories started rolling in. Tracee Ellis Ross made history as the first Black woman to when for best actress in a musical or comedy since 1983 for her role in Black-ish. After four nominations in previous years, Viola Davis finally won for best actress in a supporting role for Fences. Donald Glover came through with an all star caliber night first filling the stat sheet with his win as best actor in a musical/comedy. Then he later scored one in the column for best musical or comedy show for Atlanta, which he wrote, directed and starred in. If that wasn’t enough he helped propel fellow Atlanta natives Migo’s song “Bad & Boujee” to #1 on the Billboard charts by shouting them out during his acceptance speech.
So what does all this have to do with activism? With all the aforementioned winning at the GG I feel like I also witnessed a form of elegant lowkey activism. Great artists and entertainers stepped up, not only showing that they belong in Hollywood but proving it by producing great content and NOT COMPLAINING. Breaking down more doors for Blacks in Hollywood. Along with the awards came beautiful speeches. Speeches void of shade, full of light and gratitude. Not aggressive or bitter or resentful. I saw it as a graceful and stylish way to push back on the judgment and prejudice Blacks and other minorities have faced in America especially in entertainment and performing arts at the highest level.
Then there was a louder form of activism. Still elegant but more bold and direct. It didn’t come from one of the minority winners of the evening but rather the very familiar face of Meryl Streep. Someone we make look at as the old-guard in Hollywood, which would be a poor assumption. She sure shocked a lot of people with her speech after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award. She spoke out against the ignorance, disrespect, and lack of responsibility of the next President of the United States. She even threw egg on the faces of the people who may act like and support him.
For me this is welcomed, important and praised as I believe we need more people of privilege and power to speak out against that type of behavior. This is when the bridge begins to extend from the other side offering more understanding, more common ground, more diversity, and more love. I hope Meryl and Tracee and Viola and Donald all set a trend for more elegant activism in 2017. Even if that wasn’t their goal it can still a part of the plan.
Earlier this week I fired off a stream of consciousness rant on twitter sparked by a chance run in with one of my really good friends from high school. Below are some of the stand out tweets…follow me at @iquell for the full story
She says “thats right u can’t share your plans/dreams w/ everyone cause they’ll try to talk u out of it” she’s absolutely right. – 8:44 am
You can have the greatest friendships at a distance and not so great friends in close proximity. – 8:48 am
How often do you tell your friends I love you? Do you even love the people you claim as close friends? – 8:55 am
If we been in a fight together …I say I love you on sight. Even when the fight was your fault. – 8:57 am
(an article posted by iquell from Medium, follow all his post here)
My friend has a Rolex. I don’t know if it was a gift from our other friend that played 8 years in the NFL or just a gift to himself for all his hard work (he worked more OT than anyone I know back then). Either way, it’s really nice and well deserved. No diamonds or exotic metals but it stands out. He showed it to me about 5 or 6 years ago, maybe longer. At the time my priorities were out of wack and I was actually shopping for a used Rolex via Gilt.com, a popular flash sale site. I told him that I’m not really a watch guy but I’m not buying another watch until I can buy a Rolex. That sentiment still holds true today and with my priorities in proper order I know that I’m not anywhere near buying a Rolex, new or used.
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Well the price of tea in China may change but a Rolex still holds it value. It may even appreciate. In the past year or so I’ve been having my personal ups and downs, so much so that I felt like I’ve lost value. That my figurative “price” has declined. Lately I’ve been getting back to my better self and I see that I still have the same core values. I look at my wrist and I’m still wearing the same Timex I had on when I was talking to my friend about Rolexes, except today I have on a swanky new watch band courtesy of J.Crew. That’s a clear reminder to me that I am who I say I am. That I appreciate the same things, adhere to my same principles, and project the same valuable “Rolex mentality”. Getting a Rolex watch doesn’t make me a better person or prove my worth but my “Rolex mentality” shows that it doesn’t matter who’s judging me, even when I’m judging myself, even if I feel like I’m in the dumpster, I’m still worth what I SAY I’m worth! I’m well respected. I’m to be handled with care. I’m undeniably valuable. And you are too!
You are undeniably valuable. You may feel underappreciated. You may feel like you’ve been trashed. You may feel like all the Audemar’s and Patek’s are getting all the love in rap songs but that doesn’t change your actually value. When you’re being your best self and/or making improvements you are valuable. Highly valuable. Now if you still don’t feel valuable then you need to reevaluate, put forth better effort, make better contributions, make sure your Roley doesn’t “tick tock”.
Ask anyone, like myself, wearing a Timex if they would decline the offer of a free authentic Rolex. HELL NO! You know why? Because even though it cost them nothing, they already know the value of a Rolex and the feeling that would come with possessing said value.
So if you’re down remember you’re valuable despite what anyone says or tries to do to you. Remember what you’re made of, get back to handling yourself with care. Dust yourself off, find a place on your own shelf for your good watches. Now grab that watch off the shelf and follow the instructions of the late great Notorious B.I.G “Throw your Rolies in the sky!”