Today is either my birthday or the one year memorial of my death. I’m not certain what to call it as yet. You see, I literally left the planet on the sudden cardiac death express a year ago today. Luckily for me, my friends and medical personnel weren’t cool with my departure and decided to delay my ascension to the pearly gates by way of CPR, defibrillators and induced comas. So what’s life been like since 4/21 (never forget)? Well here are a few highlights from the last 365 days in the first year of my second life.
- I have since been laid off from my place of employment (rhymes with Smorgan Spanley) as a result of “corporate restructuring.” The best part is I only took a month off to recuperate from death and returned to work because in my mind (and against all advisement from friends and medical personnel) I needed to be back to work to secure my position. It would seem coming back from the dead doesn’t even grant you job security in today’s market place. Ah well. The timing of my layoff literally couldn’t have been any better because it occurred the day after the bullet point below.
- I finished writing and editing my first book after years of threatening to do so. Not only has it been well received but for the first time in my second life, I paid my rent with income generated from doing something I love. The significance of that is non quantifiable to anyone who has ever wanted to a) write a book and b) survive on their artist’s income. No one can predict how long that will be sustained so consider this paragraph my victory dance. You don’t really have time to dance when you’re slangin’ books like Jay Z in the early eighties however so…”Grand opening / grand closing.”
The most important lesson the last year has taught me is I am still here to learn lessons. The highs and lows of life clearly remain and I used to be deathly afraid of death but now that I’ve actually tried it (I don’t recommend it by the way), I can definitively say there is nothing to be afraid of. Most ignore death but that ignorance actually decreases your quality of life in that it takes away the urgency of time and the subsequent actions that follow (like finishing a book for instance). Consider life a party that had no end time listed on the flyer but you know it’s gonna end. May I suggest you eat the mac and cheese and get a few drinks when you walk in the door because this party could end at anytime.
I was recently asked hypothetically that if I knew the exact date of my death how would that effect how I lived? I struggled with that hypothetical question because I do know the date, it’s 4/21. Seriously and more importantly, it wouldn’t affect the way I lived. Most certainly don’t know the exact date of their demise but we all know there is an exact date and today could be that day. A year ago, it was for me. That’s a completely morbid notion but the exact converse and duality of that sentiment is if you renew your perspective, any day could also be your first day, including today. A year ago, it was for me.
Most of you will never have the luxury of dying and coming back so take it from me (my friends hate it when I play the “death card”), get to learning life, get to living life and get to loving life!
Sidebar: Happy birthday to me!!!! Happy to be here!! Sidebar complete.
Why You’re Racist and Don’t Even Know It
All of the people who are reading this currently were at some point, mindless, dribbling idiots who didn’t know their asses from their elbows. Some of you may disagree. Now if I said everyone reading this was at some point, a baby, no one would argue that point (except for those who believe their children were self-sufficient Einsteins right out of the womb). Behold! The power of labels! It’s easy to accept or disavow labels simply because of the generally perceived connotations they evoke, especially when that perception is negative. But if you study the parameters that define those labels and compare then to your own behaviors, can you rationally dispute that you are what they said you were? With that said and before you continue to espouse that you are all rainbow hugging flower children who loves everyone equally, have you ever truly defined what being racist is before you professed you weren’t?
- prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
Based on the contextual definition of racism, I don’t even understand why there’s a contextual definition of racism. The definition may as well just say “Human” because quite frankly, I haven’t met one person who hasn’t discriminated or been prejudiced based on race. Just look at your spouse, friends, living environments, etc.. Now does making decisions based on race make you a bad person? YES!!! It absolutely does!! And the only way you can be a good person is if you first accept that you are racists, then stay aware of that so it doesn’t affect your future decision making. Once you acknowledge that you have a preference, it becomes easier to entertain the ideal of equality.
Most people agree that racism has benefited far too few in America and disenfranchised far too many. I am one of those people. The oddity of that is some unknowingly suggest racism as a solution to racism. Can you truly level the playing field without being temporarily racist? Can you justly deny a race of people jobs in 2019 to correct not giving a different race of people opportunities 200 years ago? Is it really fair to deny any Caucasian any opportunity in the name of correction when A) that specific Caucasian did not cause the issue and B) What the hell does equal mean in the first place? Physics tell us that 2 things can’t occupy the same space at the same time. So if there is only space for one thing at one time, can the concept of equality even exists if we have to remove one for the other to flourish? More importantly, can we ever get to a point of resolution if we haven’t accepted and can’t publicly admit that we were susceptible to stereotypes, prejudicial, most likely raised by people with unrefined ideas of other races and are in fact racist in the first place?
We are all human and for better or worse, we were all raised by someone else. This means some of our baselines for interaction with other races were predefined by people who were also probably racist. It’s ok. It’s not your fault. You didn’t choose the world you were born into but you do have a say in the world you leave behind. If you don’t acknowledge that you do have a say however, you probably won’t say anything and leave the next generation to navigate the perils or racism. Choice is yours.
Sidebar; For those who say African Americans can’t be racist because we are the marginalized population, even the contextual definition states “typically” but not solely. So sorry to burst your reverse racist bubble but although you may not be as savage, you may be just as prejudiced as those who aren’t marginalized. Sidebar Complete.
Hip Hop Now
Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.
Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”
From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”
Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”
Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”
Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”
Aegyo – What the What?
You know how you and your significant other do the baby talk thing? Come on, you do it, admit it. Sometimes you talk to each other in a childish voice or make silly little gestures that you would never use at, for example, a business meeting or at the dentist. Well, this is a whole cottage industry in South Korea and they call it Aegyo.
Aegyo, a tool long leveraged by South Korean ladies to get what they want through sheer cuteness, has been leveraged by male and female K-Pop Idol groups to ginormous success. In fact, there are songs where one can do little cutsey gestures to the whole thing. Two popular aegyo anthems are The Gwiyomi Song and Oppaya, and there are videos aplenty on YouTube where folks of all ages and backgrounds vie for cringe-worthy cuteness. Some of these videos have millions upon millions of views. There’s even K-Pop Idol shows where folks watch each other express aegyo and react with howls of laughter.
Holy cow, the more I talk about this, the weirder it gets. Yet, I can’t look away.
Other cultures are jumping on the band wagon, too. Check out the videos below for some adorable examples.
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