Tag Archives: Instagram

Are You Woke Yet?

​As I watch how we’re being treated by law enforcement, I observe something else. Have you noticed that primarily the shooters are white male officers? There aren’t any white female or black female police officers impulsively gunning black men, women or children down in the streets because they feel threatened by us. I remember years ago a Latina police officer chased a black man, on foot, who had just committed 5 criminal acts, including causing a car accident with my car. When she caught him, he beat her badly, and she had to be hospitalized as a result, but she didn’t panic and kill him and she would’ve been justified if she had. 

A couple years ago, I was arrested and detained for 4 days in a men’s jail. When I was taken into custody, two white male police officers handcuffed me behind my back, then one grabbed me hard by my arm. As they walked me to their squad car, the one holding the vice grip on my arm said “If you try to run, I’ll shoot you in the back”. I immediately stopped walking and stood right there forcing him to stop. I didn’t jerk away from him or anything they could claim was resisting arrest. I just planted my feet and didn’t move. When he turned to look at me because I stopped walking, I looked him in the eyes and said calmly “why wait for me to run? Just shoot me in the front while I’m facing you if you’re going to shoot me.” I think that surprised him. I was pretty much calling him a punk to his face, but I think HOW I said it was what made him drop his head as he loosened his grip on my arm to something more humane. When he stepped towards the car, I released my feet. I don’t know why I did that, but I don’t regret it. I come from a long line of defiant negroes who saw loved ones lynched and burned in the South. If I was going to die that day, for something I didn’t do, I was going to look my murderer in the face. So when I see how we’re treated by law enforcement, particularly some white males in law enforcement, I get really pissed…and sad. 

Today headlines on major news outlets say “What lead to Alton Sterling’s Death?”, as if we don’t know. The simple answer at the root is racism. The deeper problem is the systematic and obvious inequalities in our country between white people who hate and profile people of color, along with the fact that laws and programs have been implemented in our society over a number of decades that have limited the amount of people that look like us from being those that protect and serve us, including WOMEN, which as you recall don’t seem to be the shooters in these murders. Further, we have been subliminally programmed to “get over”, ignore and not talk about hundreds of years of oppression, slavery and racism because “we’ve come along way”. No we haven’t, we’ve taken a step forward but we have a million miles to go. We’re still being held captive, but now it’s in privately funded jails due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws and schools that have textbooks that alter history to water down the truth of who ALL people of color truly are and where we came from. We’re still being treated as lesser people when hundreds of people are murdered by police officers, dozens on video, yet no officers are convicted. We’re still being lynched in the streets while showing our “papers”. We’ve been programmed to compete against each other and hate ourselves, while those who hate us profit off of all the things they say are ugly about us. We’ve been conditioned to fear an enemy called Isis so that we’ll forget about the enemies we have right at home with guns, badges and political power. We’ve been drugged (the never ending war on drugs), experimented on (lead in our water supplies), raped (thousands of untested rape kits) and violated in countless ways, since the first of our ancestors were traded for beans and guns and chained to the bottom of ships and called cargo. It hasn’t ended. You’re lying to yourself if you think we have come along way. History is simply repeating itself, while the world is watching it go live on Facebook, stream on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and loop on Vine. And whether you want to believe it or not, a select amout of people are making millions of dollars off of it all. 

Don’t you sit behind your computer ot smart phone thinking for a second that white people don’t see the injustice and discrepancies, because they do. Some of them are just as angry, fed up, disappointed and woke as we are. Then there are some who could care less because they forget that they could be next in line for police brutality. They think their white privilege protects them. They might want to think again. These officers murdering black people because they can do so without fear of retribution or consequences are a new form of predators. What do you think predators will do after they kill all the niggers? They will turn their guns on their own. The woke white people know this already. They know that if Black Lives don’t matter, eventually their lives won’t matter either. 

Then there’s the blind black people who lie to themselves and say we have freedom and equality. Black people like that are a danger to themselves more than they realize. They are the black people who convince others to sign petitions against Jesse Williams for telling the truth. They are the black people who think their education, money and Instagram followers make them exempt from being victimized. They are the black people who are complicit in everything that does and has happened because they don’t vote and don’t speak up for victims of violence because they’re dead. My biggest pet peeve is the black people that say “just pray about it”. 

We prayed, now what? 

Are we supposed to load our guns, make gun manufacturers richer and have shoot outs with the Sheriff like its the Old West?

Are we supposed to walk around with tactical body armor or bullet proof vests on, just in case we get pulled over or approached by police? 

Are we supposed to keep the cameras on our phones on at all times even though all the video evidence in the world hasn’t resulted in a single conviction? 

Are we supposed to lock ourselves in our homes and never venture out because we’re black? 

I ask these questions because we already prayed. 

And Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were still murdered this week. Are you woke yet?

“Faith without works is dead” – Bible, Book of James 


Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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Enjoy Your Success Today

Sometimes I wonder if people want to be successful, or if they just want to be famous.

There are times in someone’s life when they can’t have one without some of the other. However, I observe people who are very successful and they don’t seem to realize it at all. They are seemingly chasing fame instead of celebrating the success they already have and the added success coming their way. The level of success they currently have is spectacular and impressive, and they are already accomplished and awesome, but they are constantly minimizing it themselves and their success because they desire to have fame and a lot fans. Having fame and fandom on any level isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. Being famous involves a lot of responsibility that many people truly can’t handle. Sometimes being famous can actually destroy your success.

Success requires work, sacrifice and maintenance. Remember all of those college classes you took and that student loan debt for those degrees? That was work. Remember all of the friends you lost and relationships that failed because you were studying or working? What about the long days and nights you spend striving towards meeting a deadline? Those are sacrifices. Think about your continuing education or leadership classes, conferences and networking events you attend. That is maintenance.

Fame is fleeting and unpredictable; it can help, but it can also hinder. Fame also has limitations. Everyone has different gifts and talents when they come into this world that makes them unique and contributes to the quality of their lives. When you are aware of what your gifts and talents are you can use them towards being a success, instead of trying to emulate others. Everyone won’t be a famous author. I know this because I receive phone calls and emails from people who haven’t completed a manuscript. Everyone won’t be a YouTube sensation overnight or at all. Yet daily people invest a great deal of time in doing so. Every woman with curves won’t become the next Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose, but on a daily basis women strike a pose on Instagram in hopes of being discovered. Becoming famous for most people who do isn’t about their gifts or talent. They are dependent on societal trends and timing. Without that fame formula coming in to play for them, we’d never have heard of them at all. Years from now we won’t remember most of those famous individuals for anything meaningful, if we remember them at all.

I’ve learned that you can’t reach the next level of anything in your life or career if you don’t appreciate where you are currently at. Appreciate the success you have today, no matter how small you may think it is. There’s something to be said for having gratitude in your current situation. There’s a lesson in this moment of your life that you need to learn in order to elevate to the next level.

Even if your name is never in lights on a marquee, strive to be success in your life, not famous. Success comes in various forms. For many people success is being able to pay their bills on time, feed their children and help others in their communities. Success for some people is never going before a judge or having their children go to college. Success for some people is having an opportunity to go a job they love everyday. Success is what the people who matter in your life will remember you for when you are gone.

Gratitude is extremely powerful and pushes you closer to your purpose in this world. Be grateful for what you have in your life and career today. Change your perspective and begin working towards improving upon the success you have without expecting to become famous for it. Your life will be more fulfilling and you will be happier when you do.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault