Saturday, August 22, 2015

Go-Go-Gadget: Abundance.


Over the weekend, I was invited to host a special edition of Colored Boy and Friends as part of the Bondfire Radio Audio Festival. The lovely Tasty Keish granted me one hour to put my thing down, flip it and reverse it. So, I invited my homeslice Willie Jackson, the mastermind behind Abernathy Magazine, and the lovely, travelin' ass Bayyina Black, aka The Planet Blaster, the new TOMS Global Giver and we had a good ol' Black ass time. I also read the following essay, which oozed out of me after a warm-and-fuzzy-conjuring three-hour call with an awesome Somebody.

Before reading this on Sunday, I prefaced it with, "There's some gay shit ahead, so, you know, Hoteps beware." There was a delayed laughter. It was great.

go-go-gadget: abundance.
When I got back from Panama, I considered re-dating my first love. Not the ultra-wretched fling with the clueless and shameless manchild I did whatever that was with, but the man I met at 17 and aggressively dated for two years. The one who proposed during my freshmen year at Virginia Commonwealth University, only to be shot down via a barrage of hearty laughs and nigga pleases. The one who, a few years later, raised hell in my hospital room a decade ago as i lay possibly dying but certainly bloated and comatose because lupus.

I know him better than I know most people, and so it felt easy, familiar and safe. And since I had recently fled Panama to avoid hanging myself, easy, familiar and safe felt like the obvious move at the time.

We reconnected at a time when I was at my most emotionally flat. I wanted to feel normal, to feel alive, and diving into this easy familiar and safe thing felt like the right thing to do.

He was welcoming, understanding, and eager to be an Us. And while that is fantastic and sounded like peaches and sunshine, I wasn't quite ready to really take off the mask, peel back the scumbagginess and be Me as fuck, in front of someone I expect to respect and love me the next morning. Even though he understood and was down for the cause, I wasn't ready.

And so, I ran.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Hey there, Overwhelmed Person

Hey there, Overwhelmed Person.


It's hard out here for a pimp. Life kicks your ass sometimes. Work gets cray. Kids and spouses and bosses be trippin. Obligations make it hard to be great. Before you can be of any use to the world, you gotta take care of yourself. Forreal forreal. Lay your ass down and nap it out on occasion. Or "rest your eyes" or whatever. Recharge, dammit. Chill the hell out every now and then, say "No" more often and take a damn personal day (or seven) if you need to. It's fine to clock out and pull it together, for the sake of your sanity. Drink water. Don't put sugar in your damn grits, like a proper human. Get help if you need it. Asking for help won't kill you, but not asking just might. Cry if you must. Eat fried chicken often. Remember: Aunt Viv 1 > Aunt Viv 2. Season your food. And don't believe that "they sleep, we grind" millennial Fuckshit. Go the fuck to sleep, my dude/dudette. Haggard ain't cute.

With love and a hookup on baby Jordans,

-alex

My previous writing on mental health and keeping it the hell together:
Hey, Therapy [Abernathy Magazine]
One Depression: To anyone else living in a fog [Gawker]


NYC Fam, come check me out at the 2015 Bondfire Radio Audio Festival on Sunday August 16 in Bushwick, Brooklyn for a summer edition of Colored Boy and Friends, which begins PROMPTLY at 7PM. Come say howdy!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dear TJ & Bean: On Dealing With Badge-wearing Cretins and Trogolodytes


A few weeks ago, I was recently invited to participate in a Blackety Black ass workshop and story slam led by Jive Poetic and Kamilah Aisha Moon at the Centre for Social Innovation in Manhattan. I joined 14 opinionated, brilliant Black folks to come together to reflect on and share our experiences as chocolatey wonders in America in a post-Ferguson society. In preparation for the storytelling situation, we were tasked with writing a letter (to someone...or everyone), powered by hindsight, regarding some recent tragedy of extrajudicial murder or grave injustice. We split off and everybody went to work. The results were breathtaking. In those 15 or 20 minutes before the guests arrived, I penned some words to my wonderful nieces, as if I were speaking to them before shit hit the fan in Baltimore.

AND, I read a version of this today on TK in the AM.

And so:


Dear TJ & Bean,

It's about to get really shitty, really quickly, so beware. Living 16 and 17 years in this awful post-Teen Summit society, you should already be aware of this world's shittiness potential. You've lived through the end of Homeboys in Outer Space, "The Thong Song," post-Emancipation Mariah Carey and the rise and inevitable fall of that tired ass Australian rapping albino shitbag. You're already more resilient than you know.

A funny thing happens when a weak-minded cretin charged with upholding the tenets of terribleness that make the machine tick is given power, immunity and financial backing. That empowered cretin will fight, kill, evade, oppress, shuck, jive and subjugate with all their might to keep the terrible machine ticking. You see, as history shows us, the scumbagginess must persist at all costs.

When you challenge an empowered cretin used to immunity and the ability to kill and subjugate unchecked, chaos ensues. Recording and even threatening a badge-wearing shitbag with accountability guarantees tragedy. Riot gear, tear gas, deflection and wartime weaponry become the empowered and terrified cretin's tools of choice. Professional oppressors become professional victims and weary victims of this state-sanctioned murderous shitbaggery become responsible for explaining, ending and provoking said scumbaggery. It's inevitable. But even in the face of such multigenerational lunacy, antagonism and intellectual laziness, do not give into hopelessness. Do not believe the vile and demotivating hype. Do not despair.

Do not drink the mayonnaise.

Question the narratives that paint your skinfolk as monsters and mindless Neanderthals, for that ain't shit but projecting, and futile projecting at that.

Do not fear your fear or run from your anger. Your emotions are yours for a reason. Don't let the fear of being labeled "angry" dilute your passion. Anybody with skin, hair and ancestry like yours, who has eyes and a soul, should feel at least a twinge of anger. While our "savagery" may damage a 7-11 after a brutal murder at the hands of an empowered cretin, that cretin's documented savagery destroys nations, erases histories and eradicates populations.Their opinions matter not.

So rumble, baby, rumble.

It's a pity we need hashtags to remind us (and the cretins) that Black lives matter, but they do. So, too, do your voices and stories. Your words, images, perspectives and advocacy have shifted tides and initiated tsunamis of outrage and shitty publicity that brings about convictions and legislature, because exposure and shaming are an empowered, badge-wearing or public office-occupying cretinous shitbag's kryptonite. So share, shout, cry, record and challenge because your life, and the lives of your skinfolk, damn sure depends on it.

You'll undeniably be told or made to feel that you or someone with hair, skin and ancestry like yours somehow caused or deserved what happened in Charleston, Ferguson, Baltimore or elsewhere. These are lies, fairy tales and kale-flavored Fuckshit. Do not drink the mayonnaise. Your only responsibility is to live your life like a motherfucker, tell your stories and do your best to protect and uplift yourself and your people.

With love,

Uncle Alex

NYC Fam, come check me out at the 2015 Bondfire Radio Audio Festival on Sunday August 16 in Bushwick, Brooklyn for a summer edition of Colored Boy and Friends, which begins PROMPTLY at 7PM. Come say howdy!
Sip your way to better personhood

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

throwbackness: My favorite little lima bean




I met this shady little person a few hours after she made her debut in this cruel, post-Teen Summit world we're livin' in. I watched my sisterfriend's firstborn grow from a high yella lima bean with fists aclench...



...into an adorable scooting, emoting, hilarious little chocolate wonder. 


We read together...


...and we traded Yo Mama jokes...


It was beautimous. I changed many diapers and danced her ass to sleep many times, and my heart went all aflutter when she was finally able to recognize and giggle at/with me. 



And so now I'm having visions of Pappyhood and am obsessed with babies. But, only the cute, well behaved babies raised by loving people who know how to clean baseboards and overstand that sugar don't belong in no damn grits. Anyhow, I moved back to Panama just before she hit six months. She's two now, and Fat Mama acts real sometimey around me these days, because I only see her for hours at a time a few times a year and it's when she's surrounded by her 412 aunts and uncles, and that's okay. I know that during her valedictorian speech, she'll thank me for putting her on to Yo Gabba Gabba. 

(This was our mixtape cover.)

I'll wait.


Sip your way to better personhood

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Be Less Terrible #1: Count To Three and Do It

#1: Count to three and do it.

I have lists of lists I that I intend to make.

I am the Saint Damita Jo Jackson of procrastination. It goes dooown julie brown over here. It's not a game, okay? You don't wanna see me in a Battle of the Pussyfoots, my dude/dudette.

Since I'm striving to be a little less terrible each day, this week, I'm focusing on attacking a handful of these awesomely awesome ideas (and pieces and tasks and goals) that have been abandoned in my notebooks like a stray Alicia Keys note left by the side of the road.

I've been procrastinating on putting out a call for a college credit-seeking graphic design intern and an aggressive PR wizard to help me scale this Colored Boy operation and accelerate this journey towards that platinum-coated fried chicken shrine. Thug life confession: I wasn't certain I was ready for that step and so I put it off and, well, here we are. I've been meaning to cut the grass for days. Same for vacuuming out the car. I decided that THIS was the week that I'd start meditating...about four months ago.

And so on.

Kingdoms and fried chicken shrines do not build themselves, so it's time I got off my ass and took a step (or six) towards Better Personhood.

Join me.

Here's your challenge for the weekend:

Pick something you've been putting off. Could be a big something (filing for divorce, applying for a grant, swearing to the ancestors that you'll never let blue contacts touch your Negroidian eyes again, etc.) Could be a small something (canceling your Columbia House membership). You decide. I don't know your life.

You can't get back that time you wasted by putting it off so wallowing about putting it off won't help. Though it may be helpful to consider what held you back from taking the leap so you can try not to do it again.



Step 1:

Count to three and do it.

And finished.

If you don't die from doing this something, add two cups of water and a bay leaf and repeat.

Report back and let me know:

1. What did you choose?
2. Honestly, what the hell took you so long?
3. That wasn't so hard, was it?
4. What's next?

May the force be with you. Your platinum-coated chicken shrine awaits.

Check back next week so we can continue being less terrible together.

You're so pretty,

-alex.

Sip your way to better personhood.

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