Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category

Chescaleigh weighs in

I love Chescaleigh. That is all.


What is your PASSION statement?

Last week a friend and I were leaving the “You Can Touch My Hair” social experiment in Union Square (separate post coming about that) and we decided to just hang out. We found our way to Argo Tea and had some delicious tea and great conversation. As we were chatting, I noticed this on the wall:


I’ve seen many companies list their mission statements for customers to see, but what stood out to me was that Argo chose to call their’s a “passion statement” and that got me to thinking.

Whenever you write a resume, the first item after your contact info is always your objective, or mission statement. What is your mission. What do you plan to obtain. But what about your passion? What would you do for free without complaining? We are so caught up with just surviving and making sure bills are paid that we forget to actually sit down and ask ourselves:


There is nothing more rewarding than doing what you’re passion about. We often times wonder how someone can be so rich yet so miserable, and yet the broke filmmaker is the happiest person in the universe. That’s because the broken filmmaker is satisfying a part of their soul that money could never touch. They may not have to dopest shoes or brand new jeans, but they are fulfilled and are doing what THEY want to do, not what someone else is telling them to do.

Take some time out this weekend to sit down and figure out your passion. When students tell me they are having trouble figuring out what they want to do in life I ask them, “what is the one thing you would do for free? That one thing that will never feel like work.” That is your passion. Figure out how to do it and make a living off of it and you will be surprised at the amount of joy you will feel.

To be clear, following your passion isn’t always easy. It will be difficult, but nothing worth having comes easy. And that hard work you put in makes your success that much sweeter. If you want something, TRULY want it, then you’ll do what you have to do to achieve it. It’s human nature.

So what’s your passion statement?

Sistas Represent at Nerdland!!

I have been watching Melissa Harris-Perry every Saturday and Sunday (when I can) on MSNBC from 10a-12pm for some time now. (Shameless plug, I know.) Professor Harris-Perry covers a wide range of political, economic, and social issues that affect not only minority communities, but America as a whole. Her guests reach across both sides of the political arena as she welcomes guests from various viewpoints and with many different opinions.

During this past Saturday’s episode, “Nerdland” as Prof. Harris-Perry has coined the program, focused on issues such as family structure in America, what President Obama’s second term means, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s agenda. There were three particular segments that caught my attention. Prof. Harris-Perry welcomed Ms. Emily Carpenter from Girls for Gender Equity, INC (GGE) and they discussed the impact that Malia and Sasha Obama growing up in the White House has had on black girls across the country, especially since Malia will be able to vote for her father’s successor in 2016. Prof. Harris-Perry also welcomed Rochelle Ballantyne, a former student of I.S. 318 here in Brooklyn and 4-time chess champion, along with assistant principal John Galvin to discuss the new documentary Brooklyn Castle which chronicles the lives of students at I.S. 318, a low-performing school, as they win National Chess Championships and deal with hardships at home. For her weekly “Foot Soldiers” segment, Prof. Harris-Perry featured Southern Louisiana University junior Whitney Cristy and her initiative #Swabbin4Robin.

Emily Carpenter Courtesy of GGE

18 year-old Emily Carpenter, a youth organizer for GGE, discussed how seeing Malia and Sasha grow up in the
White House impacted her and how Malia is serving as a role model for young girls. She also mentioned how she has become more educated about the political races now that she is older.

Watch Emily here

Rochelle Ballantyne Courtesy of Black Celeb Kids

Rochelle Ballantyne and I.S. 318 assistant principal John Galvin talked briefly about Brooklyn Castle and some of the challenges she faced being a young lady playing chess as well as some of the lessons she learned.

Watch Rochelle here

Whitney Christy Courtesy of SELU

Finally, Prof. Harris-Perry introduced us to Whitney Christy, founder of SLU’s National Society of Leadership and Success, Be The Match Foundation supporter, driving force behind #Swabbin4Robin and Bone Marrow Donor. Christy helps organize bone marrow drives on her college campus and has added over 250 names to the national bone marrow donor list. Her #Swabbin4Robin campaign, an ode to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, who recently received a bone marrow transplant from her sister Sally-Ann, has begun to pick up steam and gain national attention.

Watch Whitney here

I would like to thank Prof. Harris-Perry and everyone at Nerdland for showcasing such beautiful, positive images of young black women. Also, thank you to Emily, Rochelle, and Whitney for doing great things within the community. Keep up the great work.

Catch Prof Harris – Perry every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 12pm on MSNBC.

Doing What You LOVE!!!

Cuba after Sandy. Pic from The Telegraph

By now we all now of the devastation Sandy left on the East Coast and Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other islands in the Caribbean as well. As a result, New York’s Public Transit was a complete and utter mess. The 1st few days after the storm, there was no transit except for a few limited buses. Gradually, bus service was restored as was limited train service. However, no trains where running between Manhattan and Brooklyn as a result of the East River flooding and the area around 34th Street having no power. To compensate, MTA offered free shuttle buses between Manhattan and Brooklyn, from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 54th and Lexington Ave, and from Jay St. – Metro Tech to 54th and Lexington as well.

It sounds nice and simple, and it did flow well. MTA did the best they could with what they had. However, many New Yorkers rely of public transportation therefore they depended on those shuttle buses. Granted there were other modes of transportation; drive if you have gas and 2 other people in the car, bike it (which I need to seriously start considering) or stand at the bridge and try to be the 2nd or 3rd person in the car to cross the bridge (I’m not joking, Bloomberg made it a temporary restriction). There were also dollar vans charging $5 and $10 to get across (if you’re ballin’ like that). Still, for thousands or NY residents like myself who didn’t want to spend $20 round trip, or jump in a strangers car, or have a stranger jump in their car, free shuttle buses where the only option. And they where a time-consuming option.

Here’s what my trip looked like:

  • Catch the bus from home to Atlantic/Barclays Center
  • Catch the Shuttle bus from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 42nd and Lexington
  • Walk to Times Square
  • Catch the 2 train to 125th Street

Sounds relatively simple right? Let me add the time to it.

  • Catch the bus from home to Atlantic/Barclays Center (1 hour)
  • Catch the Shuttle bus from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 42nd and Lexington (If you lucked out like I did, 45 mins, if not, 2 1/2 hours)
  • Walk to Times Square (10 mins)
  • Catch the 2 train to 125th Street (40 mins because it ran local)

That was going TO work. Coming BACK? Make that shuttle bus trip 3 hours.

And there you have it. My Thursday commute came to a grand total of 8 hours of travel for 4 hours of work (I work part-time).

I spoke with my Director and he agreed to let me work from home (or the library in my case) because the travel time in correlation to my work time made it useless. Friday came. I get to the library, get on the PC and an hour later they all go offline. So guess who ended up making that journey to work?

While I was calling my Director to let him know I was coming in after all. I had an epiphany. Actually, I saw a picture on Instagram of a person smiling after traveling 5 hours to get to work. Then it hit me…..

If you love what you do, then having to travel 5 hours will may be a small inconvenience, but you’ll gladly do it because you are invested in what you do and are fulfilling your goals and/or ambition. You do what you love and nothing will stop you from doing it.

How many of us have jobs that we need in order to get by? Because we have bills? I know I do. I don’t hate my job. I actually like it, but I know this isn’t what I truly want to do. As a result, while I was making my treck to Harlem, I made the decision that I need to do what I love. But how am I going to achieve that goal? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Sit down and write out what you want. 
I am a visual person. I comprehend things and remember things better when I see it. So writing what I want helps me visualize my goals. Make a list of everything you want. Don’t worry about organizing it. Just get it out your brain and on to paper. You want to own a car? Write it. You want to start you own business? Write it. You want to go back to school? Write it. You’ll be surprised how much comes out your head once you get those juices flowing.

2. Re-read your goals, define, organize and assign due dates.
Once you’ve gotten all your goals out your head, begin to organize them by what’s more important to you and what can be accomplished quicker. For example, let’s say your list looked like this:

  • Get financially stable
  • Start working out
  • Apply for grad school

Short and sweet. Once you’ve gone back over your goals, defined, organized and assigned due dates, your new list may look like this:

1. Start working out
– Join my local gym
– Begin working out 3 times a week minimum
Join gym by: November 21, 2012

2. Get financially stable
– Re-do my budget
– Identify which expenses can be eliminated
– Pay $100 on credit card monthly
– Save $100 monthly
Have credit card paid off by: April 2013

3. Apply for Grad School
– Research 2-3 schools that offer my program of interest
– Contact admissions office for more information
– Research Scholarships and grants
– Contact possible references
Completed Application by: May 2013 for 2013 – 2014 School year.
– Begin classes September 2013

This is just a basic example. You can be more thorough if you like. I actually recommend it. Be specific about your goals and when you want them done so you can focus and work on them. You can make this into a Honey-Do list. I also recommend making a vision board. Whatever you create, make sure you place somewhere that is readily visible i.e. the fridge, your bedroom door, the apartment/house door.

My vision board. I’ll probably re-do if for the New Year.

3. Put your plan into action!
This may be the most difficult part. We may say we’re going to do something yet not follow through. I’ve fallen victim to that pesky trait known as procrastination. That’s why it’s important to post your goals. It serves as a constant reminder to yourself that you’ve made a commitment to yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a really good friend or family member who can act as a stakeholder. This person can join you in creating a plan of their own and you all can hold each other accountable. You may have similar goals (i.e. working out) that you all can accomplish together.

We’re nearing the end of 2012 so this is a perfect time to start figuring out how you’re going to do what you love. Good luck on those plans!!!

First Lady Au Natural?

Over the past few weeks, an altered photo of First Lady Michelle Obama has been running miles around the internet:

This picture is obviously photoshopped, however one can not deny how beautiful the First Lady would look with a head full of natural curls. Of course, Mrs. Obama is already stunning.

If Mrs. Obama did show up to a event with a natural hair style, what would the reaction be? Even though many black women have begun to embrace their natural textures, we still live in a society where bone straight hair is seen as professional and natural is not. This is not in any way attacking our sistas with perms. Do ya thang Queens!! It’s just unfortunate that sistas with natural hairstyles are sometimes under more pressure and scrutiny because of their natural curls.

Nevertheless, the picture above is beautiful and I would love to see the First Lady rock an afro one day. What are your thoughts?

Entertain Me Mondays: Kalae All Day

Courtesy of Kalae All Day

There’s nothing better than coming across a dope emcee on someone’s Facebook page. That’s exactly how I was introduced to Kalae All Day. This emcee/singer/songwriter has been leaving her mark all around New York. The Harlem native has opened for the likes of Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, and Keith Murray just to name a few. She has blessed many NY hotspots including the Knitting Factory, Southpaw, Santos and Highline Ballroom.

Kalae recently released her FREE mixtape Passtimes and Crasslines. Her EP The Sun, The Moon, & The Stars is available on iTunes. Make sure you cop BOTH.

But wait! Did we mention she also has her own accessories line? Kalae’s UttaKAOS is a line of custom made jewelry that scream “FLY AS HELL!!” After you download the sista’s mixtape and EP, make sure you cop a necklace.

Check out her single “20 Kit Kats for the Riff Raff (Brain Power)” below and see for yourself why this sista is a force to be reckoned with.

Sh*t White Girls Say…To Black Girls

Check out this parody of “Sh*t Girls Say” done by Chescaleigh. I thought it was funny. Thoughts?