RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Passion Rutledge

Another Letter from the Editor


To My Beautiful, Glorious, Empowered Readers:

Me in 2013

Me in 2013

Leading up to and in this new year, 2013, I have reflected, analyzed, and mulled over many things. And to some of your disdain, my posts have become a bit less frequent. I figured I at least owed you an explanation as to why. So please allow my transparency. Maybe it will help someone.

Over the last few months in my relationship with Mr. Right-For-Now, I have been obsessed with one thing and one thing only: the ring. Much of this blog has been about me learning how to Love and be Loved. I’ve dedicated myself to elevating higher than the you-can’t-find-a-man-and-keep-him-cuz-you’re-too-sassy-independent-and-unattractive rhetoric geared toward black women. All with the hope that if a regular, young black woman could do it, so could others! And as I’ve become a better and better girlfriend/woman/partner/lover/friend, through my self-exploration, relationship classes, and relationship research, my impatience with the dating game increased. Because if I’m honest, the goal of all this elevating was a ring–the ultimate pudding proof that I (and others like me) can do this Love thing in spite of everything. And although I’m smart enough to know everlasting Love doesn’t start nor end with a ring, I wanted what I wanted how I wanted it.

Sometimes, our own wants and desires blind us. We cannot hear or see God’s working or more importantly God’s timing. This may happen a bit more often in my life lol but maybe someone reading can relate. I feel like I do the work, I do what God asks me to do, and then I want my blessing. My own ego and entitled-ness does not permit me to hear God clearly shouting at me, your time is not now! Prior to this ring example, it took me five years to graduate college with two degrees. But in a last-minute effort to graduate on time, because I simply wasn’t the kind of girl who needed to do a fifth year, I took 18 credits, in addition to working an overnight job and acting as president of my collegiate honor society. As a result, I failed two courses–which severely lowered my GPA–and missed out on many hours of sleep. And still ended up doing a fifth year. It was a completely humbling experience. I remember crying to my sisterfriends, a bitter and angry spoiled brat because I hadn’t yet graduated. But who was I to think myself above having to do a fifth year? In the end, that extra year resulted in my meeting Mr. Right-For-Now. Had I graduated on time, I may not know him to this day and I certainly would not have dated him.

Mr. Right-For-Now & Ms. Not-Right-Now at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball 2013

Mr. Right-For-Now & Ms. Not-Right-Now at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball 2013

So when I realized my impatience for my ring put a dark cloud over my relationship, I pulled back on the reins. Whoa there. Easy girl. I must be here again because I did not completely learn my lesson the first time. And God will bring me back here again and again until I get it right. So I’ve thrown my hands up. And accepted the most simple of facts, if he hasn’t proposed, one of us or neither of us is ready. I could read a hundred more relationship articles today and that fact will remain. Now I’m not going to trick you and tell you that I’ve been some kind of happy camper since this realization. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve been struggling and at a loss of words and advice for my other young sisters and brothers out there–hence the lack of posts. Because I do not have the answers. And I’m questioning the questions. I don’t know if we’ll work out and I don’t know if Mr. Right-For-Now will be Mr. Right-Forever. All I know is that there is a protocol for waiting that I haven’t been following. So I’m attempting to become a better waiter in 2013. And I don’t mean in the sense of waiting on my man or any person really. But because there will be lots of waiting in life. Especially for the finer things. And I figure I better get good at it now.

I love you all. And wish you LOVE in all shapes, sizes, and colors this year! There is no force greater than that of Love on this earth. Love connects us all.

Yours Truly,

Ms. Not-Right-Now

Advertisements

The Catch-20something


The Monica and Quincy characters from “Love & Basketball” serve as a classic example of a catch-20something.

“I wouldn’t come to Paris with you. I have a child.”

I looked at him perplexed and tried hard not to cry–though I doubt he’d even see the tears in the dim light. Opening my big mouth somehow turned an intimate conversation over a romantic dinner into the end of forever. It was just a hypothetical question. But yet his answer said everything. If I stayed with him, there’d come a time and a place when I’d have to choose between him or my dreams. I couldn’t, wouldn’t have both–at least not here with him where I wanted to be so badly. Maybe I should’ve recognized the warning signs–his dropping out of college and fighting for complete custody of his daughter–but until that night, I never suspected we weren’t walking in the same direction. We Loved one another more than anything it seemed. But that didn’t change the fact that I wanted to go and he needed to stay. So when I finally walked away, he did me a favor and let me leave.

Every day young 20 something adults find themselves in the ultimate life dilemma: Love or livelihood? Dream career or dream (w0)man? Whether it’s that new job that just called you across the country to start tomorrow or an acceptance to a medical school in the caribbean, success, ambition and the pursuit of happiness have a hefty pricetag for young Lovers. No one ever wants to watch a Lover walk right out of his life. But no one wants to be the reason someone gave up on his dream either. Though the details change from relationship to relationship, I hear these stories everyday. I call them Catch-20somethings. They may not be unique to our cohort but I hear them most frequently from young, less established individuals. And many of us, it seems, choose career. We put off buying rings and grab instead for briefcases. This would at least explain the drop in American marriage rates, the new tendency toward marrying later in life, and the alarming notion that “marriage is for white people” amongst young blacks. It might also explain the propensity my single peers have for these more casual arrangements–settling for less than their fair share in the name of companionship. I mean why go through all the hassle of a relationship, if I’m just going to move away soon anyway? I am not talking for anyone. In my senior year a Temple University, even after meeting Mr. Right-For-Now, I thought like this myself. I’d left a previous Love because we had two totally different 5-year plans. And I had no intentions on starting a new fire, now that I knew firsthand how hard it could be to extinguish. But I was also tired of spending my nights alone. When it seems that most young people don’t want to be tied down unless they have children and the working world doesn’t offer as much stability at the entry-level, what is a young romantic to do? What do you do when you’re getting it from both sides?

When it comes down to Love or Basketball, Monica initially chooses basketball.

While many would say drown yourself in accomplishments, I disagree wholeheartedly. In the coming months, I’ll be relocating to Atlanta to attend graduate school and Mr. Right-For-Now decided to come along with me. This time around, I didn’t have to give up one for the other. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I will get to have it all. Through my recent experiences with Mr. Right-For-Now, I figure I know a thing or two about navigating the Catch-20something. So I’ve come up with what I’d like to call The Stuck Between a Rock & a Hard Place Survival Guide.

Step 1: Determine The Big Picture of What You  REALLY Want

Is a life of Love without a great career okay for you? Will you wake up and hate yourself in 30 years? Or do you suppose all of your money and accomplishments will keep you warm at night? Most people want it all not either or. But if you concentrate solely on one aspect of your future and not the other, you will wake up with a life that is overdeveloped in one area and lacking in the other. Take 60 seconds and imagine your ideal life in 25 years down to the very last detail. If you have a great job AND a great Love, then that is what you really want. So no compromises!

Step 2: Be a Savvy Single

Savvy singles are the wave of the future. Acting as relationship moderates of a very bi-partisan dating agenda, savvy singles tend to get the best things out of life. They aren’t bitter, scorned relationship haters or anti-social workaholics. But they also don’t hop in every bed that opens to them. Savvy singles wait for Love but they wait vivaciously. They date themselves and do the things they Love to do while simultaneously believing that Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there. If you spend single time bettering yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically, Love will find you.

Step 3: Don’t Say No to a Good Thing Because It Seems Logical

When Mr. Right-For-Now first propositioned me, the most logical answer would’ve been no. He was graduating while I had a year left. That meant starting off our relationship long-distance. And even after I graduated, I planned to go anywhere but back home–where Mr. Right-For-Now resided. At least that was the plan. But where did life actually take me? I landed a job in my field back home with Mr. Right-For-Now no more than a 20-minute drive away.  The moral of the story is it’s good to have a plan. But sometimes Fate (God) will take you somewhere else that’s actually better for you. The same can go for a job opportunity. Don’t turn it down because you know your boyfriend won’t want to move. Let possibility do it’s thing first. Sometimes, things work themselves out in an illogical fashion.

But in the end, basketball feels empty without the Love of her life.

Step 4: Share Your Dreams Early

When dating, asking the heavy questions early prevents you from learning things about your partner after you’ve already fallen for him or her. Although it may seem weird at first, share your goals and dreams with any potential mates (which makes for great date conversation). And listen to the goals and dreams of the person sitting across from you–operative word being listen. People will tell you exactly who they are and what they want out of life if you just listen. The one that’s truly for you will have a life plan that doesn’t conflict with yours.

Step 5: Live Life Together

After you find that special someone, decide to completely share your lives prenuptially. Let him or her into your finances, your religion, your career, your family. Share EVERYTHING. So when she asks you to move to California with her for a job, you’re willing and able to do so because you always wanted to move to California anyway. When you’re not married, this doesn’t seem like something you need to do. But Mr. Right-For-Now and I almost broke up over the selfish decisions we’d made without consulting or including one another. What may be best for you is not necessarily what’s best for your relationship. It’s okay to sacrifice when sacrificing doesn’t mean giving up on your goals and dreams. If you want to be together in the end, you have to live life together now. Give him or her the chance to support you by including your partner in everything.

Have you experienced your own Catch-20something? How did it work out?

“20 Hot Dates Under $20”

Posted on

In the real world–and by real world I mean life post-college NOT the TV show–dating can hit a suitor’s pockets pretty quickly. When movie tickets range anywhere from $11-$17, your date better not even breathe the word popcorn. And while I in no way encourage women to “go dutch”, I don’t believe a slack wallet should completely prevent a good connection with a good person. But I also don’t believe lack of funds justifies dating laziness. So the broke dater has to get a tad more creative, yes? I present to you “20 Hot Dates Under $20” broken up by couple type. Sporty? Go bowling. Foodie? Farmer’s Market. Some of the dates might seem a little dry to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to like them all. Just find a few you’re willing to try out. And if you don’t like those, I have a few of my own that me and Mr. Right-For-Now have sort of accidentally indulged in.

(1) The Window Grocery Shopping Date

How do you window grocery shop? You go grocery shopping, only you don’t buy anything. You talk about the food you would’ve bought had you actually been grocery shopping. It’s a very good date for learning what he or she likes. From favorite cereal to favorite hot sauce brand, it’s important to know your grocery shopping compatibility before it’s too late. Although I warn you, this date isn’t for the hungry.

(2) The Library Study Date

One of my favorite (and cheapest!) recent dates with my honey bunny was going to the library to study together. Got a real estate exam? Theology classes? Papers to grade? The dim lighting, quiet atmosphere, and closeness of the study corrals, truly brought us together as well as any restaurant would–only we didn’t have to pay for anything AND we both got our work done. Now that’s a date no one feels guilty about keeping.

(3) The Classic Park Stroll

Walking and talking hand in hand never goes out of style. It works for the young couple and the aged couple, the new couple and the veteran couple, the active couple and the lounging couple. You exercise without realizing it, you set the atmosphere for excellent conversation, and you spend time with nature. This is an all around A+ date. You can up the ante to jogging or take it down a notch and set up camp with a blanket and a deck of cards.

(4) Car Shows

Ladies, want to impress that cutie in the next door cubicle? Take him to a car show. I’ve yet to pay more than $10 for a car show. I’ve even gone to free ones. But you get a lot of horsepower for your buck. And the guys go ape shit! Tis true what they say about boys and their toys.

(5) Faux Mattress Shopping

If you go to a customer service based mattress store, they’ll take the two of you on a sleep journey. In fact, the good mattress stores work kind of like a dating service. And as you hop from bed to bed finding out what you like and don’t like, feel no shame. You don’t have to take any of them home to meet Mom.  Have fun hunting for the bed you both agree on (you’d be surprised how hard that is)! At the end, simply explain to the clerks that you didn’t find one to suit both of your needs. Although it’s more work for the clerk (so this isn’t a good idea if the store is crowded), a woman never forgets the first guy that got her in bed.

“31 Ways To Know You’re In The Right Relationship”

Posted on

Whether it’s a couple walking down the street hand in hand or a story of 25-year-old marriage triumph, I always like to see relationship positivity. And that’s mostly what blogger Karen Civil accomplishes in the post “31 Ways To Know You’re In The Right Relationship“. She writes the post out of frustration with the negative and dismal relationship pieces that we’re all a bit too familiar with. Though I agreed with my sister-blogger’s motives, I had a problem  with the fact that the first 15 ways on her list all have to do with things you don’t do if you’re in the right relationship. Take a look for yourself:

Don’t get me wrong, I get the point she tries to make with all of these. These aren’t healthy behaviors to have in your relationship. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to define a “right” relationship by what it’s not or what doesn’t go on inside of it. It implies that if these things do happen then you’re not in the “right” relationship. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. I, for one, have done several of the things on this “you don’t” list. I have feared, I have hid things, I have snooped, I have thought I was superior, I have stewed, I have lost myself at times…If I keep going there simply won’t be any amount of correct punctuation to list all the things I’ve done and avoid a run-on sentence. But I’ve learned from each and every one of those relationship mishaps and became a better partner because of it! Just because I snooped through Mr. Right-For-Now’s phone before, doesn’t make him and I any less “right”. It just means that in that moment, I succumbed to my distrustful emotions. Even a healthy person puffs on one of life’s cigarettes every once in a while. We are human and we make mistakes in our relationships.

At the end of the day, I know it’s right because of what we are, not because of what we aren’t. What do you guys think?

I Laughed, I Cried, I Had My Faith Restored

Posted on

Have you guys seen Still Standing? It is a documentary on the things that have kept [black] people married for years and years. It follows about 5 couples–each with their own struggle. Money. Infidelity. Blending families. Sickness. Naysayers. Although it is skewed towards the black american christian community (meaning there will be plenty of mention of God and Jesus as the keys to getting through troubles), I found it helpful and encouraging. It is about learning from the people who came before you. “You do not have to reinvent the wheel,” as the woman says in the trailer. Check it out. And keep fighting the good relationship fight. Happy Father’s Day!

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

Posted on
1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

It’s funny how you can date and cry over somebody for three whole years and never truly see them for who they are. I know that’s why they say Love is blind. But what they mean to say is First Love is blind. Because you look in your First Love’s eyes and see a hologram projection of what you think Love is–a projection born from your early childhood experiences and messages, the media, and the people around you. You see almost everything BUT the person in front of you. How could you possibly see them? You are navigating a new sea of emotions, feelings, and chemical imbalances, a new relationship dynamic featuring a strange dependency, and a new awareness of self. Where exactly does the actual person you’re dealing with fit into that myriad of mess? I’m here today to tell you what no one told me. First Love isn’t meant to last because First Love is all about you.

I understand that I may have already lost many of you. Because life has taught us that First Love is this wonderfully great thing. Love  in and of itself is enough to carry a relationship through anything. And that oftentimes, you’re first Love is your only true Love. Many of us, despite moving on and dealing with new people, stay stuck in First Love one way or another. Sometimes, we physically go back to the person. Sometimes, we never really give up hoping that our first Love comes back into our lives so we don’t give new prospects a solid chance. Sometimes, we fall in Love again but we keep tabs on that First one. And many more of us haven’t even left our First Love yet despite that nabbing feeling that it’s over. I’ve been in all four of these predicaments. This post was born out of my personal grapple with First Love. And when I realized Mr. Right-For-Now had a similar debacle, I figured we can’t be the only two that have experienced this. So I wanted to make an argument that First Love is a very necessary experience because you learn so much about yourself. But there’s more to Love than First Love.

Before we go any further, let’s define the undefinable. What is First Love? It is not to be mistaken with Puppy Love or childhood Love, first longterm relationship, or the first sexual encounter. Although all of these states of being can produce similar mind-numbing effects, First Love, for our purposes, is decidedly a bit more adult and independent. It has more to do with who you are when you feel it than what you actually feel. First Love is the first time you really get serious about another person and are mature enough to know what that means. Parents aren’t really involved. You go out on dates. You may have even lived together or seriously contemplated marriage. It is the first time you say “I love you” and have an actual concept for Love in your head. I’d like to argue that many of us experience this Love within the ages of 17 to 25. And that the mindset of someone in First Love is that Love is all you need. People in First Love put up with a lot from their partner. But always end up back together. It is a resilient Love, a committed Love (lasting 12 months or longer), and a passionate Love. It is an intimate Love–I remember feeling like my First Love knew me better than anyone on the planet. He knew me in ways I didn’t yet know myself. We all know the expression “fall in Love”. I think that when it comes to First Love, that is precisely what happens to most of us. You are walking down the street, taking an unfamiliar route, when suddenly your tire slips into a deep pothole. You are jolted and startled–no prior knowledge of this pothole or what to do when you hit one. I mean sure you’d heard of potholes, even seen them before, might’ve known a few people–your parents for instance–who’d fallen into them while you were in the car. But this is your first time being in the driver’s seat and running into one. You get to make all the decisions about this situation for yourself. It isn’t driven by sex. It isn’t driven by rebellion and teenage hormones. It isn’t even driven by a mutual agreement to parent a child together. First Love runs on pure Love power. I do not want to put First Love in a box. I know women who haven’t experienced First Love until after they’ve already been married once. But I do want to present cases in which I’ve seen it frequently arise. It’s euphoric. It’s exciting. But it’s selfish.

First Love is selfish. It is all about me, myself, and I. This Love is not about the actual person that we fall in Love with. It’s more so about what that person does for us and how they make us feel. Why does First Love have to be selfish? Because it usually finds us in a very selfish stage of our development. As I mentioned before, it comes in the time frame where we have to start making decisions about our futures on our own. Am I going to go to college? Am I going to get a job? Am I going to continue living with my parents? Should I buy a car? There is a newfound independence that we experience as we age and wean ourselves from the support of our caretakers. We have just developed a new power to think and do for ourselves. And we try to exercise this power within the confines of a relationship as well. The relationship itself exists to ensure fulfillment of our personal needs–the need for consistent sex, companionship, and adventure. And our problems all have to do with how the other person isn’t meeting those needs. He doesn’t take me out enough. She’s always mad at me. He’s all up in my face, can he go home! She doesn’t do it how I like it. First Love is also selfish because oftentimes, it’s born out of selfish motives. I remember I was seeing several guys on and off Temple’s campus flaunting my ability to be with whomever I pleased whenever I pleased, when I realized that I cared for Mr. Lies-About-Everything more than I thought. We’d been hanging out and talking as friends. He’d made it clear he wanted more than a friendship. But it wasn’t until I realized he’d been talking to another girl I knew that I figured I should have him all to myself. I didn’t decide to be his girlfriend because I wanted to take things to the next level and commit myself to someone I cared about. I decided to be his girlfriend because I wanted to have the right to be upset about who he dealt with. I needed to validate my own feelings toward him. Finally, First Love is selfish because more than it teaching us about the other person, it teaches us about ourselves. You begin to learn what turns you on, what turns you off, what traits complement you, what traits you can’t stand. That first person usually becomes the template for your future mate. They teach you all about your likes and dislikes. First Love also reveals your true identity. Before First Love, you didn’t know that you were the slitting tires kind of person. Before First Love, you didn’t notice that you really have a problem being emotional and vulnerable. It took me three years to really see Mr. Lies-About-Everything for who he was because I was so busy projecting onto him who I thought he was–who I wanted him to be. Oh I knew things about him. A lot. I’d stood close by his side for many a day and night. So I noticed when he lied to me and acted unfaithfully. But I didn’t intervene. Because my interpretation of Love was that even when the two people in Love do unLoving things to one another, the Love itself would get them through. I didn’t put my foot down. I didn’t make any demands on him. Because I figured things would work themselves out. That’s what I thought I’d always seen. My Love for him simply reflected what I thought I knew about Love. I never accepted him and I never accepted us for what we really were. My eyes were wide shut as they say. And I wouldn’t have known who I was in a relationship if we hadn’t ever fell in Love.

No one ever told me that First Love wasn’t meant to last. And that Second Love could be so much better…

13 Reasons I Love Black Men

Posted on

I’m feeling a little Angie Stone-esque with this post. I concluded a few months ago that I really don’t show enough outward appreciation to my black brothas. In fact, I flirted with the line of hate and disdain. Why? Mostly because I held onto the negative advertised image of black men these days. I believed and perpetuated the lazy, violent, non-kid-raising, womanizing stereotypes that I’d seen and heard from the black men around me. But that’s not who the black man is at his core. And that’s not the only story I saw once I opened my eyes a bit wider. To all the black men I know who have touched my life positively, I want to say truthfully from the deepest depths of my soul, I Love You. I need you. I respect you. And I appreciate you. But that’s just the problem isn’t it fellas? I’m keeping it locked up and tucked away. Well, it’s time to let the world–and you–know how I feel and why. Because Love locked away and unexpressed might as well be hate. So consider this post a proverbial embrace–a kiss on the cheek just for being you.

I Love black men…

13. … for their cool

I’m going to tell you guys the real reason I voted for Barack Obama. Although I read up on them, it wasn’t completely because of his policies. It wasn’t because he reignited a belief in Hope or Change. And it wasn’t because he is an attractive guy. No. I voted for Barack Obama because he’s just so damn cool. There is something in the walk and talk of a black man that the world finds definable only by the word swagger. And even that word doesn’t quite do you justice. It is an indelible and endearing quality that’s got the world wanting what you’ve got in your back pocket. From politics, to sports, to entertainment, to business, to the pulpit–when a black man leads, people follow. He is the ultimate trendsetter. And it’s this cool that will continue to change the world.

12. …for staying good men even when we don’t believe you exist

You know how they say good guys finish last? That goes for brothas too. If black women are honest with ourselves, we laugh at the ones that are too broke, too short, too unendowed (or unblessed. Hmmm?), too ugly, too emotional, too nice, too Christian, too etc. Even if they are good men! As the black woman increases her education, gets a bit of money in her pocket, and navigates her dreams and goals, we find ourselves looking over the good ones while complaining about how lonely we are and how we’re the least unmarried. Because a lot of us women don’t know what we want. And I know a few good men out there who fight through the slew of black women who think they’re ready for commitment but always date the same kind of black man and then complain about black men as a collective group. I can only imagine how frustrating that has to be. Thank you for hanging in there with us and for putting up with our ignorance and misinformation.

11. …for your persistence in the face of an unjust system

I would like to propose a toast to the ones of you who know firsthand being black on a Tuesday is grounds for police harassment, having a car that’s a little too nice will get you in trouble even if you worked hard and honest to get it, and simply walking into an elevator can cause the old woman next to you to clutch at her purse with every bit of force in her feeble existence. There are parts of this so-called “black experience” that are uniquely yours. And I want to thank you for dealing with the facts of black American life with poise, grace, and a whole lot of comedy. And I give even more kudos to the ones of you who have managed to avoid jail time in spite of a system bent on giving you some.

10. …for your humor

Speaking of comedy, black men are hilarious! From listening to Steve Harvey in the morning to watching old comedy specials of Richard Pryor, I’ve watched and laughed with the black men who choose to fight injustice and racism with politically relevant jokes. Comedians have the right to do and say anything under the guise of humor. And some of them use those opportunities to talk about taboo subject matters. But as we laugh, bonds are broken, stigmas are torn down, prejudices are made light. The best part about it is, when everything’s all said and done, the only thing that hurts are our cheeks from laughing so hard. Thank you for lengthening my life with a much-needed laugh.

9. …for your enlightenment and spirituality

Black folk Love them some G-O-D. And at the head of nearly every church congregation or mosque meeting in our community stands a strong black man. Not every religious leader gets it right. Some are clearly called while others are made. But every once in a while, you get a truly blessed black man using religion as an opportunity to do some things in his community. One such man heads Zion Church in Glenarden, Md–Pastor Keith Battle. Keith Battle gives away offering money to the people in need in his church, makes services accessible and applicable for young people, and talks about topics that other people in the church don’t want to talk about. He is truly an inspiration to me so thank you.

8. …for your Fatherhood

You always hear about the good for nothing brothers who have as many kids as Samuel L. has movies. But you know what? That’s not always the case. Some black men know the truth–parenthood isn’t a choice but an obligation. I work alongside two very dedicated black fathers. Both of them have sacrificed time at work to be nearer to their households and help their wives out with their kids. They truly speak the language of the new black man, the 21st century black man, who does more than bring home the bread and butter. They are ACTIVE and ENGAGED fathers, involved in every bit of the child-rearing process. And I must say, I respect it–so thank you for showing me that.

7. …for your appreciation of us

Although not all black men appreciate black women, the ones who do appreciate us REALLY appreciate us. While mainstream society shuns our hairstyles, our butts, our lips, our walk, and our attitude–the black man has cherished those very same things. The black woman finds herself the object of admiration in many a hip-hop song, R&B album, and neo-soul croon. As Drake profoundly puts it, “…a little attitude problem? It’s all good, it’ll make sh*t last”. The “angry black woman” who might pose a problem for some is a prize for you. I Love it when a black man declares that there’s no other kind of woman that he’d rather have by his side but one of us. And not because there’s anything wrong with any other group of women but just because he prefers the kind of woman who raised him. Because he knows her strength, he knows her glory, he knows her pain, and he shares her story. There’s nothing on Earth like a black man’s Love. Thank you for hollerin’.

6. …for your leadership

From Malcolm and Martin to Medgar and Huey, the revolution has been televised and the Best Supporting Male Lead goes to you. Many of the fallen soldiers on the frontline of this war on racism, have been you. And you’ve lead us with peace, with God, with guns, with words, with art, with Love, with silent protest, with athletic excellence, with academic perfection. Thank you to the black men of the past that sacrificed their lives, their Loves, their dreams, their hopes, so that I could have opportunities not afforded to them. Thank you for always being Kings.

5. …for their entrepreneurial (aka “hustlin”) spirit

As Cassidy raved, a black man could “sell Raid to a bug”. Many a cover of Black Enterprise magazine features the black men who have finessed the world with their business knowledge and innovation. Some of them know how to make money and make it honestly. Although I’m no huge fan of Tyler Perry, the idea behind his monumental success is a brilliant one. Perry found it important to own his movie making studio so that people could never keep him from making movies by refusing him funding. And I respect the hustle.

5. …for your creativity

Andre 3000. Kanye West. Spike Lee. Will Smith. John Legend. Musiq Soulchild. Tupac Shakur. Louis Armstrong. Marvin Gaye. James Baldwin. James Van Der Zee. Aaron Mcgruder. Some say art is more real than life. And the black man has consistently and abundantly contributed to art for life’s sake. Our art forms have transformed the world one canvas at a time. I am inspired and humbled by the beauty in the things the black man creates with his hands. Thank you for your art.

4. …for our shared history

When black women stood up on those auction blocks, it was black men chained next to them. When black women were tired from a long day’s bus boycott, black men were at home to rub tired feet. When black women complained about the itchiness of weave, black men stepped in to take out our sew-ins. We have stood and fought alongside each other since as long as we’ve been on this Earth. I can’t say that about any other kind of man.

3. …for your intelligence

Everyone likes to talk about the brothas that don’t go to college. And I know and Love those black men. But this particular section is for the ones of you that pursued higher education in spite of all the obstacles. This is for the brothas who enjoy reading books and learning about their history, their culture, their contribution to this country. This is for the men who took the things they learned in school with a grain of salt because they understood that education doesn’t always come from a curriculum. I applaud you for educating yourself and for adding to my stimulating conversations–intelligently. Thank you for not being too cool for school.

2. …for your excellence

A person shows true excellence when they succeed in spite of setbacks. Few men in America know setbacks like black men. And yet our people have excelled in all aspects in this country with great help from you. As astronauts and engineers, as professional athletes and hip-hop moguls, as real-estate tycoons and entertainment powerhouses, as men. You have set a standard of excellence that I can only hope to follow. I love you for setting the bar so high.

1. …for being the other half of Black Love

This needs no true explanation. You are apart of me and I, you. To Love you is to Love me. And that’s why I do.

%d bloggers like this: