Tag Archives: atlanta

You Winning or Naw?

Black Twitter is outraged at Amanda Seales, who portrays Tiffany DuBois on the hit HBO series “Insecure“, for pointing out a few of the ways in which you’re either winning or losing in life. I personally agree with her Tweets, particularly these:

Yes, that is a screenshot from my phone. Yes, that is my reply to her tweets.

If you’re mad at Amanda Seales’ tweets, welllllll…. do better, get out your feelings, then watch “Feel Rich” on Netflix. It’s a similar concept, but directed towards our health and eating habits versus our spending habits.

Fact: We spend too much money on the wrong shit, usually material possessions, because we’ve been taught a lie that we need that shit to feel good, look good, be successful, have sex, have friends and be happy.

Wake up.

After we buy that shit and we don’t feel better, look better or get anything else we were promised, we just go out and buy more shit, then complain about all the money we don’t have, so we can’t do things like travel, eat right, exercise or learn something new.

Wake up.

Improving yourself is possible at every income level. No excuses. No debate. You either want it or you don’t. But don’t get mad at the spoken truth. Don’t get mad at Amanda Seales because you think she’s talking about you. Get mad at yourself because YOU FEEL LIKE SHE’S TALKING ABOUT YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE DOING THE SHIT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.

It’s true that a person’s life experiences (traveling for instance), are of greater value to their lives than buying material things (houses, shoes, cars), regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic level. And if you can afford Jordans you can also afford to travel simply by saving the money you would have paid to buy those Jordans.

“But traveling is too expensive, let me count the ways…”

Planes aren’t the only form of transportation. There’s MegaBus, Amtrak, Greyhound and they all cost less than a pair of Jordans. Google it. If you can’t afford a 5 star hotel, there’s AirBNB options that are affordable. Hell, I’ve used AirBNB and could afford a 5 star hotel, but I just like getting more bang for my buck when I travel. Let’s also keep in mind that Living Social and Groupon are in the travel business now and have great destinations and inexpensive deals.

Traveling can be spontaneous, but it can also be planned, like a goal, and give you something to look forward to, which is something that also adds value to your life. Look at places that interest you now, pick a place and save up for the cost, then go. You always plan on buying those Jordans, so you can plan a trip, too.

“Only rich, black people from the suburbs can travel and have passports.”

I’m from Detroit. Not Detroit adjacent, not Detroit proper. Detroit. Born, raised and educated. The “hood”, and I’m proud of it. I own 2 pair of basic Nike’s that retail for less than Jordans and I still bought them on sale, so they cost me less than $100 each. I own a passport. In 2016 alone I traveled away from my state by plane or car a total of ten times. In 2017, while at the airport, I enrolled in CLEAR. I’ve already paid for my hotel stay in Miami for my 7th trip there in 2018. I’ve also started my plans to return to New Orleans for Essence Fest in 2018, which has become an annual trip for the last 6 years, regardless of where else I go. I’ve been traveling since I was in the first grade, so maybe I’m not the typical black person from the hood. However, I’ve been more places than some people I know who make more money than I do and have more education than I do and live in suburban anywhere. I can honestly say I’m surprised by how many successful, affluent black people I’ve met that don’t travel, but own expensive shit. It would he nice if more black people in general set their priorities better and strived to do more than impress people by buying Nike’s or Louboutins, especially if the greatest distance they ever traveled was either on someone else’s dime or only one state away from home.

You can’t convince me that traveling is hard to do if you wear expensive shoes, that you waited on for months and stood in line for hours to buy. But if that helps you sleep at night and gives you a false sense of winning, by all means, enjoy yourself.

Personally I’d rather stand in line at TSA and at my designated gate…..but that’s just me winning.

Super Woman Resigns

Quitting is not an option for a superhero. At least, it’s not supposed to be. One of the reasons I’m called Super Woman is because of my persistence, regardless of any adversity. I keep pushing forward and fighting obstacles, trying to resolve issues whenever I believe that it is possible to do so. I make the impossible possible even though I can’t explain how. I don’t know if it’s because I’m resourceful or blessed, or a combination of both. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m crazy, other times I think it’s a gift and a curse. The one thing I do know is this – It’s a thankless, tiring job, to say the least. I once thought that being a parent was the most thankless job in the world. But it isn’t. Being a good, reliable person is the number one thankless job. Always being the she-ro to others isn’t easy at all, I just make it look like it is. I rarely hear “thank you” or “good job“. People rarely call me and ask if I’m okay or if I need anything. When I am tired, there is no sidekick I can call. When I’m sick, everything comes to a screeching halt. When I am in need, there’s no one I can turn to because I’m everyone else’s she-ro. On more than one occasion people whom I have “saved” have turned their backs on me in my time of need and berated me to others behind my back saying things like, “she’s nobody special” or “I never liked her“, yet they smile and tee-hee-hee in my face asking for my help to improve their lives. When I cut them off because they are ungrateful I become the villain.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of quitting like I would really like to.

Why?

Because if I quit, who is going to do it? Of course, it’s easy to say that someone else CAN do it, but the question is WILL they? Honestly, I don’t think other people would step up and do the things I do. If someone else were both willing and capable, I doubt people would ask me to complete the task in the first place. When I think about how we view our Superheroes, both “real” and fictional, I realize that Superheroes get a raw deal no matter what. Superheroes have minimal private lives. Superheroes are expected to be able to handle what ‘normal‘ humans can not. Superheroes never get a day off.  Superheroes are expected to confront villains on their own turf and defeat them. Superheroes are expected to start and end sh*t while they rescue kittens with both hands tied behind their backs during thunderstorms. 

Well, maybe I don’t want to be “super” anymore.

Being “super”  comes with the burden that people believe that you don’t need them for anything, so they never approach a situation with committment. People often assume that because I’m “super” that everyone else –  besides them –  will be there for me when the time comes, so they don’t have to. I’ve experienced this in my personal and professional lives. In my personal life, there have been many men that have told me that they never asked me out on a Saturday night because they assumed I already had a date. They never called and asked, they just assumed. As a result, I grew accustomed to going places and doing things by myself socially 99% of the time. If it weren’t for all the “honey, where’s your date?” questions from socialites and their husbands, I would be perfectly comfortable in any situation alone.

Professionally people always disappoint me and rarely if ever apologize for doing so. They think it’s okay because they assume that I can do it without them anyway. They assume that there are enough other people who will do the work or attend the event, that them not being there won’t be noticeable. That is what is happening now. Sequins & Suits is being cancelled because everyone is assuming that everyone else will attend, volunteer, assist and sponsor so they don’t have to. They assume that their few dollars won’t matter anyway, so why even try. As a result, it will take a miracle and a half to pull off the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference a few months from now. Which, by the way, I’m considering cancelling now to prevent me from being disappointed again later. After all, no one feels it’s that important anyway or they’d be doing something to help it come to fruition.  

People are selfish. People are hypocrites. They don’t care about anything or what happens to anyone else, until something happens to them. When something happens to them, their child, their parent, their school or their nonprofit organization they want everyone to rally on their behalfBut when someone else needed you before that tragedy happened, where were you? I was trying to adjust that selfish mindset and do so in an entertaining way. But no one cares. I was trying to do something preventative to uplift young women at an early age. But no one cares. A teacher told me this weekend that there is a 10-year-old girl in her school who is pregnant. Those are the young women I’m trying to reach before they get pregnant. But no one cares. Maybe I’m just not popular or dramatic enough for people to pay attention.

Detroiters don’t care, but want to cry and beg for help when things get worse. What were you doing before things got worse? Oh, I know. You were assuming someone else would do it so you wouldn’t have to. You were assuming that someone “super” would swoop in and rescue the kitten.  

Well, I’m not doing it anymore. This is my new manifesto:

I will not plan any charitable events or large-scale social events in the city of Detroit ever again out of the kindness of my heart, for the greater good or because it is the right thing to do. If anyone wants me to use my “super” powers and save the day in the city of Detroit, you will have to pay me to do it. I will consider planning events in other urban cities like Chicago, New York and Atlanta, but they will have to pay me too. I’ll host your Detroit event, but you will have to pay me. I’m not going to support anyone who doesn’t support meprofessionally and personally. I’m not even buying a membership to your organization if it doesn’t directly benefit me. I’m no longer investing my money, my energy or time to do anything for people who don’t care or reciprocate.

If people in the city of Detroit don’t have the mindset to see the value in what I do or what I offer, I can’t force them to. If people in the city of Detroit don’t appreciate my efforts, I can’ t force them to. Therefore, it’s in my own best interest to only do what I need to do for myself, my family and my company. I’ve prayed all I can pray and I’ve done all that I’m capable of doing at this time. When the people of the city of Detroit wake up and start caring about something more than following trends, and doing the same old fuckery they’ve always done, maybe I’ll start giving out of the kindness of my heart again.

Until then, I quit.      

Not that anyone will even notice.     

Talent in Detroit

With all of the bad news, crime statistics and potential for receivership under an Emergency Financial Manager (regardless of what Mayor Bing said in his State of the City address a few days ago), we often forget about the talent that is deeply rooted and often overlooked in the City of Detroit. Detroit receives worldwide attention for the North American International Auto Show, the government scandals and the uprise of foreclosures leading to additional blight, but Detroit doesn’t receive the same level of attention for the talent that has grown and exists here. So many people have left the arms of the City of Detroit for the softer, greener pastures of Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York (where the competition is stiffer), in an effort to become break out stars. Many of whom have achieved that goal, while others have been sent running home with their tails tucked.

As I look at all of the talented people in Detroit, I sometimes overhear people stating that they want to step out on faith, leave the city and become successful elsewhere. This makes me wonder ~ If they put the same energy into remaining and working on their craft here, as they put into their plans for exodus, how successful would they become? The same plans a person has to become successful in another city, can be implemented for them to become successful in Detroit. Don’t get me wrong, I clearly understand that Detroit is behind the eight ball in technology, infrastructure, commerce and entertainment compared to larger urban meccas like Atlanta, the bright lights of Hollywood and the always busy streets of the Big Apple. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. Improvement requires people with ideas, just as much as improvements cost money. I sometimes think that we’re getting what we get from our leadership simply because we don’t demand more from them. They have cut the arts from schools, they don’t appropriate Federal funds into the community the way they should and they would rather lay people off from work than have an Emergency Financial Manager uncover their corruption. This results in people losing hope and feeling that the promised land is elsewhere instead of underneath their feet. Those are some of the same issues other large cities have. It’s the national recession. It just hits cities like Detroit harder.

This weekend I had the privilege of attending Fashion in Detroit, an event sponsored and organized by Denise Ilitch (her father is the founder, owner and business mogul behind Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers), and Joe Faris (Project Runway contestant and Michigan native); two individuals who obviously have business and creativity in their blood. The afternoon was full of beautiful fashions designed mostly by Detroiters. Yes, fashion is present and alive in The D. Have you ever heard of a talented young lady by the name of Tracey Reese? She’s a graduate of Cass Technical High School in DETROIT.  Have you heard of Kevan Hall? He also is a native Detroiter. Shoe designers Shane and Shawn are also Detroiters and graduates of Cass Technical High School. If you didn’t know this, please allow me the privilege of educating you briefly…

Detroit has been fashionable since it was named Motown.  

Then there are the big names in entertainment like Tim Allen, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ellen Burstyn, Francis Ford Coppola, Jeff Daniels, David Alan Grier, Madoon, Eminem, Tom Selleck, Kid Rock, the late Sonny Bono, the late Aaliyah, Blair Underwood, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Bill McKinney, Big Sean, J Dilla, Brandon T. Jackson, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, The Clark Sisters, The Winans, and many, many others. The list of heavy hitters in entertainer from Detroit is so long that it would take another 500 words for me to name them all. But I think you get the point. Detroit is full of talent. But we have to nurture its growth. Even if success eventually pulls people from the city, we need those people to be proud of where they came from. It doesn’t hurt for them to come back and visit sometimes. I honestly believe that if the most successful people who originated from Detroit, would occasionally show up and embrace this city as their home. and use their influence to improve the city’s image, the leadership here would be compelled to do a better job representing the community. That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. But will anyone step up and attempt to prove me wrong with action? Worse case scenario: Detroit receives POSITIVE media attention.

I know that the city requires a lot of work to rise from the ashes of the last several years. I believe that it can be done. I”m working to do my part to change its image. But I’m just one person. And I’ve noticed that the Detroit community hasn’t quite embraced The Brand; mostly because it’s not what they are accustomed to. Michigan is a working class state. As a result, creativity is often frowned upon and viewed as mere craziness. This attitude results in talented people feeling the need to flee to other cities where they hope to be more “accepted”. I’m blessed to have the encourage of my supporters to keep me from feeling defeated by the lack of love I receive from my city. The first major publication to interview me was Rollin’ Out Magazine which is published out of Atlanta. The first talk show to contact me to make an appearance was also in Atlanta. There are a lot of opportunities for me in Atlanta, that I will take advantage of very soon. Taking those opportunities may result in me temporarily relocating, which I’ve planned for when the time comes. But my movie writing career is rooted here in Detroit (more on that forthcoming) and my business is headquartered here. These are things that will always spark me to declare that I’m Imported from Detroit. I hope that one day my city re-embraces creatives and supports the local talent more than it has over the last several years. If not, it won’t limit the opportunities for creatives elsewhere, but it will have a detrimental effect on the way the world views what was once called Motown.