Archive for the ‘Self Help’ Category

My Vagina Monologue

In Self Help on November 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

October is breast cancer awareness month, as was clearly made evident by the pinkification of all things around us. For the sake of awareness, the manliest of men graced the streets with pink paraphernalia in a show of solidarity to the millions of women who either suffer from this affliction or have lost their lives as a direct cause. Not one soul batted an eyelash at NFL line men delivering bone crushing, “I ain’t never scared” hits in a stylish pair of pink cleats with matching mittens And rightfully so. Social taboos should be cast aside in an effort to highlight matters relevant to the diaspora. So as much as it pains me to reference the vagina in any manner other than my typical pubescent school boy banter, I will go against my norm in an effort to highlight another affliction that disproportionately affects African American women; Uterine fibroids.

So a few years back, one of my close friends had been hospitalized due to uterine fibroids.The details of this experience involved rapid weight loss, surgeries, loss of blood, medication and multiple unpleasant events of the like. I, being the need to know it all that I am, naively asked: “What’s Uterine Fibroids?” I’m sure I passed out several times in my head as she described it to me but managed to maintain some form of acceptable male decorum. It wasn’t so much the “what” it was as it was the “where” it was that had me wanting to leave where I was at. All in all, It was comforting to know that she was on the road to recovery and felt much better. What I wasn’t aware of was that I would be hearing that exact same story from three to four other women in the next few years. What in the world was going on?

So what exactly are uterine fibroids and why is it so frequent in African American women? From what I gather, Uterine fibroids are typically benign tumors that grow on the uterus. It is treatable but in worst case scenarios can result in a hysterectomy and is most often the leading cause. Age plays a significant role in that fibroids are more likely to occur in women during their middle and later reproductive years. A ha! Since most or my peers were reaching their middle and later reproductive years, that explained the multiple occurrences but not so much the racial disparity. So what exactly was going on in black women that caused fibroids to be more prevalent? Somehow I think fried chicken is behind this.

The more I heard of fibroids, the more unconfirmed rumors surfaced. Hormones used in the growing of foods were said to be the cause. Chicken had a turn at primary suspect . Just being an African American woman was also sent up to bat as a root source. After some time, I couldn’t tell what was fact from farce. The only thing I knew for sure was that every time I said the word fibroid in a room, someone (or 3) had a story about themselves or a family member that had endured that ordeal. So how come it was so frequent but equally undisclosed?

Rather than speculate on a subject of which I have very little knowledge, It would be prudent to defer to those who actually do have an expertise through research and personal experience.

The Fibroids Project ( was created by Renee Brown in an effort to centralize the information, treatment and research associated with uterine fibroids as well as provide support for those who require it. Given the frequency of fibroids, that information, research and support pertains to about 80% of women. It would also behoove the 80% percent of men who are either with these women or related to be informed. In a few years when our collective prostates are under duress, we all know it will be women who will be there to support us as they always have so why not pay it forward now?

The Fibroids Project Podcast



In Self Help on August 6, 2010 at 6:05 am

Don’t you hate it when you are attempting to cross the street and some butthole driver is valet parked in the crosswalk? Clearly, he/she has overshot the red light. As a result, you are forced halfway into oncoming traffic, all the while praying to Jesus that your tender kneecap doesn’t get clipped by an oncoming Kia Sport. As you menacingly eyeball the driver of said vehicle (with your peripherals firmly affixed on the oncoming Kia), you curse everything the driver stands for and hope that they run out of gas on I-95… at night… in the middle of winter…in a Kia Sport. You are after all justified in your displeasure as YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.

Don’t you hate it when you are sitting at a red light and after the light turns green, some slow schmuck still crossing the street doesn’t even pretend to scamper across but gingerly strolls as if he/she were plucking petunias in the park on a Sunday afternoon? The nerve of this arrogant bung hole! As the thought crosses your mind; “If dying weren’t permanent, I swear I would run your monkey ass over twice then drive away blasting Lady Gaga”, you sedate your inner sociopath and angrily await the crossing of said discourteous pedestrian. You are after all justified in your displeasure as YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.

At some point, most have occupied the role of both pedestrian and driver in the aforementioned scenarios, with little to no regard for the antagonist. The rational that disallowed for empathy in those instances, and ultimately brought about frustration, were the entitlements assigned to the titles of “pedestrian” and “driver”. Once you embrace a title, you are bound to a set of “inalienable” rights and restrictions. These labels are not determinants for any definitive outcome however. Pedestrians get hit everyday and road rage occurs frequently enough to be given it’s own term so titles should really be taken with a grain of salt. But why take my word for it? Feel free to ask any gainfully unemployed “college grad”, unhappily never married “beautiful” woman or fabulously unwealthy “hard worker”.

So why do we place so much emphasis on titles? We quit gainfully employed careers if we haven’t received the title we feel has been earned, even if the compensation meets our needs. Most often, one has to demonstrate the skill sets applicable prior to obtaining said position so technically, you are already a “insert title here”. You just haven’t gotten the subjective say so from the powers that be.

Some folk will end long-term relationships in which one could very well be happily shackled if said title isn’t eventually suited for suits. That title however can just as easily go from boyfriend/girlfriend to married, unhappily married, or single so be cautious as to the ultimatums you set forth when title searching. When you find the perfect companion (no one) and the career that satiates your every desire (doesn’t exist), you won’t care if you are officially titled the Single Sh*t Shoveler so is the issue truly the title or an insatiable sensation that you are somehow deserving of more?

There are instances when the presumed skills associated with a title are necessary, particularly when lives are at stake. For the sake of law and order, I would appreciate anyone with the title of “Police Officer” to have police officer skills, or at the very least, nun chuck skills. However, as we have witnessed multiple police officers drunk with power to the extent that they violate the laws they are sworn to uphold (like running red lights at the very least), it becomes ever clear that titles can be quite damaging, especially when one embraces these titles then sets forth to either fulfill, dispel or abuse the entitelments.

Labels represents not just a title, but more importantly, the values, most often societal imposed, associated with said nomenclature. The acceptance that comes with a sought after title is unparalleled. Introducing your millionaire banker beau to your friends evokes a much more appealing response than your broke bartender boo. When the banker is Bernie Madoff however, then title becomes convoluted and the subsequent values need to be reevaluated. Values that already constantly evolve contingent on the agreed upon deeds that led to the title. Values that already constantly evolve contingent on popular consensus. Values that already constantly evolve contingent on the ruling class. As some things are better left unsaid, maybe some things are better left untitled.

Act Like a Man a.k.a Insert the World’s Smallest Violin Here

In Did You Notice?, Humor, Self Help on March 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I think I was about 15 years old when I received my first and most important “man law”. There was a party being thrown by a classmate of mine and due to my academic shortcomings, I was told that I need not prepare an Oscar outfit for I would not be in attendance. I wasn’t aware at that point that even if I were a straight A student, I probably still wouldn’t have been allowed to attend but I had managed to arm my folks with the gift of bad grades as grounds for their latch key aspirations. So as I began to cry like a punk biotch, my dad sternly instructed me that “Men don’t cry!” Ok. Fair enough. I’ll suck the snot back up. What Pops failed to do however was to alert me as to what alternative and acceptable means of emoting was officially sanctioned by the male code of ethics.

Men, and especially African American/Latino men are emotionally crippled. Since we are disproportionately afflicted by all other societal ailments, yada yada yada,,, Not sure where it originates but social conditioning and fictitious male archetypes tend to dictate acceptable means of emoting. We look to the toughest of tough guys for emotional guidance,both on the block and in our blockbusters. The best part of every action movie is when our hero fights through some sort of unimaginable emotional (“you killed my father!”) and physical injury. Nothing says MAN” like dispensing of an adversary while a 30-inch blade dangles from the puncture wound in your upper chest. I don’t know about you but if you shove a blade through my sternum, you can label me whatever size vagina you like as I am most certainly hitting the floor while yelping like a new born calf as I clutch my chest and question the universe a la Nancy Kerrigan (“Why? Why?”).

Unfortunately, society also champions gratuitous bravado in reality. Even after long and illustrious careers (6-7 years) professional athletes barely allow themselves to cry upon retirement. Said sports hero must suck it up, pause, forgive himself for having emotions, pause again, hold their hat, shirt or clipboard in front of their face, then preface his crying with the statement, “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry”. It is no secret that men are not supposed to exude any sort of emotion that is not marred in seriousness. A little humor is ok but not too much. Unless your last name ends in Pryor, Murphy or Rock, no one appreciates all that mirth and glee.

Even our true masters (women) prefer the strong silent type. Unbeknownst to them, women are ultimately requesting the strong serial killer type but who am I to question preference?

For the record, men are allowed to cry when A) An extremely close relative dies & B) An extremely close relative dies. And even then, no facial expression must be shown. A stiff upper lip with an occasional tear begrudgingly streaming down a man’s cheek is enough to alert the world that he is dying inside. After the funeral however, he is on his own. I am no way calling for a nation of blubbering brothers but the alternative seems to be an inability to deal with common, everyday stresses, and it is killing us.

When you don’t present someone with healthy emotional options, they will find new and imaginative ways of dealing. Most internalize or resort to Jack Daniels and Mary Jane abuse but some will surly resort to extreme forms of “Man crying” a.k.a punching holes in walls, throwing things and eventually, throwing people. Stress induced heart attacks and the prison industrial complex are the end destinations for many emotionally maladjusted males. Too many are hell bent on keeping it real, not realizing that their version of reality bites. We all know what happens when keeping it real goes wrong so It’s way beyond time we figured out how to deal. Real talk.

*Sidebar- Acknowledging that most stresses are self-inflicted is Advanced Emotion 102 so let’s just stick with the basics for now. Sidebar complete

Man to English Dictionary: What he says vs. what he really means:

“I need to go to the gym” – “I need to get some of this aggression out before I kill somebody.”

“I’m going out with the fellas.” – “I need to tell someone who I almost killed this week.”

Silence. – “I’m about to kill somebody”

“Leave me alone.”– “I’m about to kill you”

“Nah, I’m good.” – “I already killed somebody.. Sell my stuff and tell the kids I love ‘em.”

Mixed Nuts

In Humor, Race Relations, Self Help on April 16, 2009 at 12:15 am

Slavery often gets a bum rap. We are all aware of the inhumane practices, reckless murders, degradation of self-esteem, destruction of the African American family structure for generations, yada yada yada, so forth and so on. But once you get over that (and you have to), you also have to consider and accept that there had to have been some positive, latent benefits to forced, race based, 168-hour workweeks. It must have been so much easier to pick up a spot up shooter from the house for your three on three b-ball games, or forge a quartet from the fields to work out all your harmonies, arrangements and progressions as an aspiring song writer (“Why I always gots to sing baritone massa? I sangs da’ baritone last time.”) “Wade in the Water”, along with several other Negro top forty spirituals were all borne during that period and have stood the test of time so it is quite evident that hardships brought about the best in artists (and no, we can’t force rappers into slavery for some better lyrical content . . . but what if . . . NAH . . . not even a little slavery . . . NOT GONNA HAPPEN . . . how about if they mirror the Army Reserves where they are only slaves on the weekends, once a month . . . I SAID NO!)

Slavery was one of the greatest historical examples of integration I can think of. Dr. Dre and Eminem aside , slavery allowed the White Man and the Black Man to harness each other’s natural abilities and work in tandem. Many milestones and accomplishments were spurned by these close-knit working relationships, forged between master & servant, and across multiple fields of expertise. Strides were made in arenas such as:

Culinary Arts – Lil’ Niecy’s Smoked Chipotle Chitterlings Recipe was one of many dishes birthed from slavery. It never really took off but her Uncle & Aunt (Ben and Jemima respectively) had tremendous successes with their product lines.
Sports – The Cross Country / Long Distance / Escaping / Running /Hurdling /Wading / 2000 IM / Marksmanship /Decathlon was the first fully integrated sport that put the strength, will, and endurance of both races to the mettle. Something tells me Kenyan’s were in New York City sipping on Coolata’s way before Harriet Tubman ever contemplated crossing state lines, pre emancipation.
• Sports Part Deux – Equestrian memberships were at an all time high whilst in the pursuit of said Coolata capturing Kenyan’s (“I am very happy to be here “.)
• Entertainment / The Advent of the “N” Word – Without slavery, the social significance of C.W.A (Coloreds With an Attitude) would not have resonated throughout America’s streets and brought light to the plight of urban youth. “Colored Please!” See? It’s just not the same.
The Economy – That was the whole point of slavery in the first place.
Nation Building – Like America for instance.

Let us also pay homage to those brazen individuals who transcended racial barriers and became shining examples of the wonders and benefits of integration:

1. Woody Harrelson / Wesley Snipes
2. Larry Bird / Magic Johnson
3. Gene Wilder / Richard Pryor
4. Mel Gibson / Danny Glover
5. Michael Jackson / Michael Jackson
6. Eminem / Dr. Dre
7. The Police / The Killers (both rock bands are heavily influenced by rhythm and blues, as is all rock music. What did you think I meant you racist?
8. The Label / The Artist
9. Corporate America / The Mailroom
10. The Cookie / The Cream

And what of all the mixed couples, both past and present, imagined and real:

1. Seal / Heidi Klum
2. Halle Berry / Tommy Lee Jones
3. Bill Maher / Superhead
4. Ted Danson / Whoopi Goldberg
5. Bill / Hilary Clinton
6. Obama Daddy / Obama Momma
7. Nick Cannon / Mariah Carrey (this is the first time it is visibly evident that she’s got a little black in her. I keeed I keeed.)
8. Prince / Every hot white woman you could ever imagine (and two you can’t.)
9. The entire cast of Interracial Babes Volumes 1 through 15 (good work guys.)
10. Big “Blond Dizzy” Bird / Mr. “All the Ladies Call Me Chocolate Long Trunk” Snufflelufugus

As we, the offspring of prior generations, both black and white, old and young, shaken (by the remnants of racism) and stirred (by the possibility of change), who will never have to endure nearly as much hardships as our ancestors, go forth into the new millennia (insert graduation commencement address here), I verily yay say on to thee, gaze not into the hard stares of adversity that arise in your lives with fear and apprehension, but rather, as opportunities to turn lemons into lemon flavored Kool-Aid, cotton into fresh White Tees, and the “N “word into the IN word. And for the racist remaining, I have two words for you; As my mentor Peter Griffin once said, “COME ON”. Can’t we all just get along? Besides, your son knows every single word to Rick Ross’s new single and he thinks Lauren London is hot (and rightfully so.) So you betta’ break yo’ self sucka because in addition to being the grand wizard of the KKK, you could also soon be the new granddaddy of the next Grandmaster Flash. Aint life Grand?

Sidebar; The Los Angeles Police Department would like to extend a belated and heart felt thank you to Rodney King for his assistance in the testing and implementation of the New and Improved Ass Flog brand Billy Club / Behavioral Correction Mechanism. “How many hits does to take to get to the center of a Black man? The world may never know.” Sidebar Complete.

A Penny For Your Thoughts (Blue Book Value)

In Self Help on April 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm

I got an email about a month ago from a guy in Holland stating that he really enjoyed my 99 Problems remix on You Tube (I’m up to 215 thousand views so I’m having a one-fifth platinum party). He enjoyed it so much so that he requested I send him the instrumental track. After feeling myself extensively (not in that way, at least not today), I was immediately suspicious. I asked if he was an aspiring rapper to which he replied yes, which made me twice as nervous. Now most producers and aspiring producers have always struggled with disbursement of their materials without compensation. Not only is it subject to plagiarism, the whole point of trying to produce music professionally is to get paid. At some point, you grow weary of all the pro bono work vying for your attention and respectfully request that someone (anyone) “CUT THE CHECK!! Everybody ALWAYS wants something for free and you can immediately discern who is serious about their craft from who is just having fun / trying to get over by a) compensation b) payment for services rendered and c) CUTTING THE RA$$CLOT CHECK!!

Back to Holland. Does it make sense to distribute your music to every Tom, Dick and Sven that makes a request visa vie You tube? How do I know MC Pedophile isn’t going to put my songs on repeat and play them audibly as he is captured, then subdued on Dateline NBC with Chris “Tough Actin’ ” Hansen? Certainly any press is good press but I do not wish to be on any potential pervert’s play list, lest I be blamed for his actions, circa Marilyn Manson and Columbine (and why is it always the first time these sickos have ever done something like this?) In addition, Hanz Da’ God Emcee could very well (but not likely) be the Swedish version of Diddy and here I am providing masters for his Dutch, multi million Daalder empire (did someone say Dutchmaster?) Given the amount of culture vultures, swagger jackers, and coincidental incidentals in and around the music industry, one should be extremely cautious as to who is privy to one’s club bangers and street anthems. Based on all the reasons listed on why not to send the track, I converted the instrumental from AIFF to MP3 format and sent it immediately (you should’ve seen that coming).

In order for me to even be presented with this quandary, I had to remix the track and video in the first place. And to do that, I borrowed the Tears for Fears album I sampled from my brother. I also distinctly remember not asking Jay Z for permission to use his lyrics, making the track with my mom’s electricity, mixing with my boy’s recommended engineer, downloading the original video from Limewire, we won’t talk about how I acquired the video editing software (I am the Jack Sparrow of the internet), then uploading the finished product to Youtube. Now after taking from every possible source available to me, I had the cahones to be apprehensive of someone asking to use “my” intellectual property. There truly is no honor amongst musicians. Further to that, everything I have ever achieved musically has not been on my own. To be honest, once your parents gave you life, you are terminally indebted to someone else for a majority of your accomplishments. This is why parents are always third on everyone’s Grammy acceptance speech, right after Clive Davis and God, and in that order.

The next time you are doing whatever it is that you do, and someone pays you a compliment, before you claim full ownership for your achievements and your gradually inflating head causes your body to tilt, then eventually collapse under your ego’s weight, stop and think for a second. Should you be excited or humbled by the proficiencies achieved in your profession (achieved by learning from someone else), aesthetics inherited from your parent’s genetics (you really did get it from your momma), the fashion sense you obtained from watching music videos, the alleged intelligence you committed to memory from someone else’s sources (print, spoken or visual), then regurgitated, your brand of wit, eerily similar to George Carlin sharing a one bedroom apartment with Dave Chappelle and Andy Rooney, or your riches, whose value is collectively determined by everything from the Trust you have in God to the literal price of tea in China. I say all that to say; Get Over Yourself!

Sidebar; A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to witness Dr. Cornell “Fredrick Douglas Incarnate” West and Dr. Michael Eric “Hippa to the Hoppa and You Just Don’t Stoppa” Dyson engage in a spirited debate about hip hop and it’s global influence at Carnegie Hall. As Dr. Dyson elaborated on the significance of “N*iggas Bleed Just Like Us (which to me is the craziest Notorious B.I.G song EVER recorded), he also stated that the concept of intellectual property and the idea of even owning an idea is a relatively new phenomena, spurned by, what else, capitalism. Who knew the possibility of even profiting from selling music has only been around since the early 19th century. I wonder if the guy who came up with the idea to sell ideas trademarked his idea? Sidebar complete.