Chapter 2016

I spent a lot of time reflecting on 2015, and my main takeaway is to keep being good and to continue to get better. I think I've laid a solid foundation, so now the name of the game is maintenance and building. 

Spotlight: Amadi

Actor. Model. Blogger. Amadi does it all. 
I got the chance to speak with Amadi, one of my favorite up-and-coming entertainers, on everything from his future projects to creative inspiration.

Why do We Sice People that Don't Deserve It?

"'Cause you're not that cute...and your hair is look dusty!"

Everybody swears they're the type to keep it 100, so imagine my confusion when I see hot messes during my day-to-day activities...where are your friends at, y'all? 

Don't Be That Friend

So annoying!

If you don't have that friend, then it's probably you...

15 Times We Fell in Love With Barack & Michelle

America's Coolest (and Cutest) First Couple

I don't even have anything to say; I just think they're adorable.

No Boo, It's You...Part 3: Ride or Die

Even loyalty has its limits.

The phrase "ride or die" has been manipulated to the point where it insinuates that the person you're riding for is going to put you through hell and only a "loyal" person will stick around for that mess.

What You Need to Know About #Mizzou

Supporters embrace each other following the Monday announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign. (Halee Rock/Missourian via AP)

This is not an invitation for the HBCU vs. PWI debate. This is not a time for victim-blaming. My purpose for writing this piece is to simply inform you on the events that have taken place over the past few days at the University of Missouri.

Essential HBCU Songs

8. New Impressionz - Found Myself a Clappa

East Coast HBCUs tend to have a large number of students from Washington D.C. and its surrounding cities (DMV area) You're almost guaranteed to hear this and other GoGo songs at least once a week (twice if you go to Hampton).

19 Things I Learned Before My 19th Birthday

In honor of turning 19...

I decided to do a bit of reflection. Getting older is scary, but cool at the same time because I've had some great experiences. Here are some of the things that I've learned during my lifetime.

You Just Don't Listen, Do You?

This is you getting judged.
It's so hard to have stubborn friends. No matter the consequences that they face, they refuse to change their bad behavior. Remember Let Them Be Great? We're past that point. Now it's time to wash our hands of all of their troubles.

The Ultimate Neo-Soul Playlist

In no particular order...

It's the middle of the week, last week my school had homecoming and I really didn't want to get into anything deep. I created a playlist for you all to chill and study to. Should I have added a song in? Should I have left a couple of songs out? Let me know!

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

When the inside doesn't match the outside...

What is ugly ducking syndrome?

When you look like this...

Gabrielle Union, yes lawd!
...But think you look like this

Fix it Jesus.

Ugly duckling syndrome doesn't care if you're a male or female, young or old, black, white or anything in between. If you don't think you look good, then it's a wrap.

Let's Talk About Sex

Chances are, you don't know what you're talking about.
I stole this picture from BET.
The amount of sex you have is not an indication of maturity. In fact, from my observation, the ones who talk about sex the most are the ones who know the least about preserving their health; don't be one of them.

Always Gotta Flex on Somebody

Humble yourself.

When you think of all your blessings, if only material possessions come to mind, then you don't know what it's like to be blessed. What are your goals? Do they include helping others, complete strangers even? If not, you've got to get some new goals. Now, I don't know about you, but I know my life's purpose isn't to stunt on people. 

I Don't Identify As "African American"

It was my turn to get interviewed...

She could've fooled me in this picture.

Do you remember Rachel Dolezal? You know, the white NAACP chapter president from Spokane who pretended to be black (and it all kinda blew up in her face). During her brief time in the spotlight, she raised all sorts of questions regarding racial and ethnic identification. 

At the height of the #AskRachel questions, my friend Ashley asked me a few questions herself.

What About Your Friends?

We have good friends, we have bad friends, and we have good friends that sometimes do or say the wrong things. This is a guide for you to decide for yourself, is a person really supporting you or are they plotting your emotional downfall?

Dear White (and Other "Colorblind") People

This prom situation:

Remember the last GOP debate? Well, during the 12 seconds #BlackLivesMatter was mentioned, Ben Carson suggested that we live in a post-racial society. How is that so, if black people think race relations have worsened since 2007? How have we evolved past racial issues when the number of white supremacy groups has skyrocketed during the Obama administration?

"Hey, I Know You!"

How to Approach People You Know From Social Media in Real Life

If you attend a college or university, then you probably follow many people that you don't personally know on Instagram and Twitter. Truth be told, it's kinda weird, especially when they share too much personal information. Social media is a great tool for connecting with others, but a lot of the time, we forget to be social in real life. Do you want to approach these stranger-like people once and for all? Here's how!

Who is Your True Enemy?

They're closer than you think.

"You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you." - Lisa Kleypas

A lot of the time, we're too focused on pleasing everyone around us, trying to hold onto things that need to be let go, and most importantly, discouraging ourselves. I personally know this feeling all too well. Overthinking about everything and everyone just leaves me confused. 

This For Everybody and They Mama

First featured writer ever alert! 

As the summer winds down, we are approaching that time of the year that we affectionately refer to as "cuffing season". No particular time of the year is needed to start a relationship, but for those who have their heart set on taking things to the next level in the upcoming months, here are some tips to make your relationships flourish.

12 Ways to Tell If You're Basic

North Face + Uggs + leggings = basic. Adidas jogging pants + green military jacket + standard DMV guy haircut = basic. There are a million ways to be basic, but some don't get as much recognition as others, so I decided to list 12 of my favorites!

"As a Woman, You're Supposed To..."

Women can be misogynistic too!

Think about the speech "We Should All Be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie featured in Beyonce's song ***Flawless. 

Scrippas Demand Respect

Yesterday, I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline. Imagine my confusion as I saw retweets about a spat between Nicki Minaj and her pal Taylor Swift. They're both leading the music charts and always express admiration for one another. So what popped off? Apparently, Taylor dug herself into a hole by commenting on Nicki's MTV VMA tweets. Here are just a few of them:

No Boo, It's You...Part 2

Because you clearly didn't pay attention the first time.

If you need a refresher, here's No Boo, It's You...Part 1.


And you continuously ignore obvious red flags because you want to be "loved" but you have to love yourself first. If you know that who you're struggling over isn't worth it, and you know that you can't separate love from sex and you know that you don't have yourself together, don't sleep with them! You'll be so quick to play the blame game, even though you were quick to give it up, but I'm sleep...

Let Them Be Great

People hate when you try to change them because it leaves them vulnerable and makes them feel inadequate. I completely understand what that feels like; I can't do that to someone else. We don't know how long it's taken someone to get to where they are, because they might be a million times better than they were before we met them.

Being Black in America is Exhausting

I know I'm not the only one.

The number of police and race related deaths are taking their toll. I was devastated when Aiyana Stanley-Jones was murdered by police in MY city back in 2010. By the time that nine churchgoers were murdered at the hands of a white domestic terrorist (call it what it is), I was nearly defeated. 

Father's Day

Let's try something new this year!
Me and Daddy on my first birthday in 1997.
Mother's Day is for mothers. 

The amount of negativity that surrounds Father's Day is almost ridiculous, especially since there are just as many bad mothers as there are fathers in the world. But, of course, it would be disrespectful for someone to shame their mother on Mother's Day. Don't use Father's Day to shout your mom out as your mom and dad. That's not to say that single mothers can't raise amazing individuals (they do it all the time), but no woman can take a man's place in their child's life.

Isn't She Lovely?

#WCW #MelaninMonroe

On May 31st, Brooklyn based Renaissance man Moise Morancy uploaded a video on his Facebook page. In the video, he addressed the struggles and triumphs of 90s babies. One of the most memorable lines in his 3 ½  minute video is "...and I don't need a trap queen, I need a Melanin Monroe." 

Support Artists Who Support You

Last December, we were greeted with J. Cole's platinum-selling 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

By March there was Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Charts. Last week brought us the release of Surf, a collaboration album between Chance the Rapper and Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment.

"Detroit" According to Snapchat

That was not what we were expecting.

On Sunday, Detroit was given the honor of having a live Snapchat story. For anyone who doesn't know what this is, find out here

How to Find Freedom in Failure

Yesterday, I lost out on an internship, and I was pretty sad...for like an hour. The process took a while and I did not get my desired outcome, but that's okay.

Too often do we become discouraged when things do not work out in our favor. Just remember, what's for you will always be for you, and nobody can take that away from you...except for you. With that being said, here are a couple ways to thrive (or fail):

No Boo...It's You.

What if the world really isn't against you like you've allowed yourself to believe for so long? What if all the problems you have aren't even problems at all? If your life can be put into an Instagram or Tumblr post like this 

Wise Words From (Former) College Freshmen

Now that freshman year is over...

It's time to share what has been learned. I reached out to some of my amazing classmates for their advice to incoming college freshmen. Class of 2019, get ready because very soon, you will begin the rest of your life!

The Thoughts of Young Black Men

Christopher Bates being interviewed by Arielle Wallace

Howard University professor Ivory Toldson set the record straight back in 2013: "There are 1.4 million black men in college right now, and there are about 840,000 black men in prison."

I'm Really Excited

This is going to be a very brief post, but I just wanted to let you all know that I've got a surprise. Technically, it's been in the works since Christmas break, but all of the elements are finally beginning to fall into place. It feels really good to know that all these weeks of preparation are coming to fruition (not without help, of course). With that being said, be on the lookout for next week's post, where the surprise will be unveiled...

The Importance of an HBCU Education

High school kids across the country are often torn between attending a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) or an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Obviously, I am biased towards HBCUs because I attend one of the most illustrious ones, Hampton University. At HBCUs everyone pushes everyone else to be the best at what they do in order to compete in mainstream society. However, most of my friends attend PWIs, so I do not have any ill feelings towards them.

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day is supposed to be a day where people play practical jokes on one another. I don't see the need in dedicating a day to pulling pranks when people do it every day. This year was no exception; I didn't trick anyone and nobody tricked me. Since I've never had an eventful April 1st I asked a couple of my friends about their own experiences.

Conferences, Celebrities, and Diabetes? - A Class Project

With the "suggestion" of my professor, I am writing this blog post for two reasons. First, I am supposed to explain what I learned at my university's Black Family Conference. Then, I have to tell you all about a celebrity who lives with diabetes. If you're still reading this, I have to thank you for your cooperation, and hopefully you learn something from this.

Don't Underestimate My...

...Conduct towards others

If you need food, I got you. Money? I'll give what I can. Someone to talk to? I'll be there. Being good to others is my default setting. But just like anything that has a default setting, alternatives are possible. People talk a lot about cutting people off, and I totally understand. For me, when a person's presence physically drains me, I know that they are not good to be around. I choose to be nice, but when I decide that someone isn't worth the trouble they cause, then I'm not very nice anymore. My well-being comes before all else.

What Does the Future Hold for the Next Generation?

Michael Brown has been dead for six months. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced their decision to not file criminal charges against former police officer Darren Wilson. I won't get into the details of the case, but of course I'm disappointed.

Don't Forget the Little People on Your Way to the Top

As society as a whole becomes more racially inclusive, we also become more economically exclusive. The main purpose of dividing the races was to allow wealthy landowners to keep political power and wealth. 

Nowadays, people of different colors are more inclined to call each other brother; it's only when one moves up a tax bracket that problems arise. Now, I don't want anyone to think that I'm against upward mobility. I wouldn't be in college if I didn't anticipate on making a decent living. But don't forget the ones who were around when you were broke(ish).

By all means, cut out the money-hungry losers, but please know the difference between those who can't do for themselves and those who won't. Minorities, I'm speaking to you especially, and I know you already know why. Support of one another is sometimes nonexistent, much like crabs in a barrel.

Most importantly, be nice to the people that you pass on the way up, because if you don't, the fall back down will be even harder...

Hampton University: The Unofficial Set of Frozen

The past couple of days have been ridiculous...

        The weather, the weather, the weather! It's the middle of winter, and snow is an inevitable symptom of the season. However, my illustrious university and the city of Hampton at large seemed largely unprepared despite enough forewarning. 

"I told you not to catch feelings..."

What did you think was going to happen?
When you're in college, you meet a lot of people and begin to form relationships, whether they be friendly, romantic or professional. This is a great thing, but a lot of you are causing a lot of unnecessary drama by participating in unhealthy relationships. 

I Should Have Done That Yesterday

I've been slacking a little bit lately. I've got textbooks that I haven't cracked open yet, I have essays still in their beginning stages, and most recently, I didn't post a new entry on Wednesday like I was supposed to. 

People Think I'm Mean Before They Meet Me

I once read a study that says it only takes seven seconds to make up your mind about someone. This number is applied to a professional context, but think about how it can apply to everyday relationships! How many opportunities have we missed out on just because of our everyday look? It's kind of crazy when you think about it.

How I Got Into a Race Debate, Part 2

If you read last week's post, then you know what to expect. 

The gist of this debate revolved around police brutality and citizen responsibility. The image used to begin the debate was posted on an Instagram account created by a "conscious" brother who supports black unity and power. The person that I and another user debated with will be referred to as "@j".

How I Got Into a Race Debate, Part 1: Started with a Rihanna Post

It actually wasn't bad.

Several weeks ago, Rihanna posted a picture on Instagram in regards to the Michael Brown killing. Being interested in the comments, I began to read what others had to say. In the next few screenshots, you can see the discussion that I had with someone who will only go by "@g"...

@g is a white guy. He had no idea what white privilege was, so I felt the need to educate him.

Even after I finished contributing my two cents to the conversation, he still did not understand how white privilege worked. (Take a look at some of the other comments, so many people have different opinions!)

The Importance of Giving Back

Let's talk about community service!

The holiday season may be over, but that doesn't mean that we should stop doing good deeds for other people. Donating your time or money (or both) to a worthy cause is a considerable idea for several reasons.

Image taken from Urban Cusp