Category Archives: Lists

“Sing America”

Cue the O’Jays melodic hit, “I Love Music.” I’m sure you’ve gathered from previous posts of mine that I am a lover of music. You will catch me dancing to a playlist with songs ranging from Prince to New Edition. I’ve always been drawn to great music, no matter the genre. From the electrifying beats to captivating lyrics, the combination of those two elements will send me careening down the path of nostalgia and into musical captivity. Music is powerful. While it can act as an escape on one hand, it can also help create an awareness that you’d otherwise remain blinded to in your day-to-day.

For years, black Americans have used music as a tool to give a voice to the cries of the oppressed—sometimes with in-you-face, heart-wrenching lyrics, and at other times more subtly disguised within thumping basslines and rocking guitar strums. This Black History Month, I encourage you to take a voyage through the land of black music.

I’ve compiled a list of songs from black artists, which range from issues of social injustice to the calls for unity. Allow yourself to become really engulfed in the music. Listen to the hearts of the artists. Discover their messages. Join along in their passion. Familiarize yourself with their pain.

Some of these songs are quite heavy, but the history of Black Americans is quite heavy. When we begin to learn this history and understand the journey of our neighbor, then we will be able to join together in harmony. Go ahead. Sing America.

 

  • A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke
  • Ball of Confusion by the Temptations
  • Brotha by Angie Stone
  • Can You Feel It by the Jacksons
  • Facts by Lecrae
  • Forward by K. Michelle
  • Four Women by Nina Simone
  • Free Your Mind by En Vogue
  • Glory by John Legend ft. Common
  • Hood Villains by Dee-1
  • I Can by Nas
  • I’m Black and I’m Proud by James Brown
  • Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) by marvin Gaye
  • It’s Time by the Winans
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson
  • Living for the City by Stevie Wonder
  • Love Train by the O’Jays
  • Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
  • On My Own by Lecrae
  • Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson
  • Scream by Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
  • Stand by Trey Songz
  • Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
  • The Knowledge by Janet Jackson
  • They Don’t Really Care About Us by Michael Jackson
  • Think by Aretha Franklin
  • To Be Young, Gifted, and Black by Nina Simone
  • U Will Know– Black Men United
  • Wake Up Everybody by Harold Melvin & the Blue
  • We Are the World by U.S.A. for Africa (Michael Jackson)
  • What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye

(This list is not all inclusive. Go discover the world of music!)

Awesome Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

You might not officially have a month off work in order to commemorate this special time of year, but there’s plenty to do in celebration of Black History Month.

  • Search for the hidden gems in your community by paying a visit to a local black-owned business.
  • If you’re a music lover, diversify your playlist with the jewels of black artistry. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
    • Listen to the bluesy songs of Ettta James and Ray Charles.
    • Uplift your spirit with the angelic vocals of CeCe Winans.
    • Hum along to the country tunes of Darius Rucker.
    • Relax to the smooth sounds of Leslie Odom Jr. and Miles Davis.
    • Kick back to the soulful harmonies of Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, and H.E.R.
    • Dance to the up-tempo masterpieces of Michael and Janet Jackson.
    • Fall into nostalgia or experience something new vibing to the hip-hop tracks of artists spanning from Eric B. & Rakim to Lecrae.

(As you can tell, I’m definitely a music lover.)

  • Watch a film about a black, historical figure or Binge watch a new series with a majority black cast. There’s even cool shows for the kiddos to watch, like the Netflix Series “Motown Magic.”
  • Cozy up with hot tea and a warm blanket while reading an inspiring book from a black author. Upgrade your Must-Read list with favorites like Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Make Room: Finding Where Faith Fits by Jonathan McReynolds.

For even more ideas, click here!

Happy Black History Month!

5 Myths Associated With Black History Month

(1) It’s only for black American people.

Black history Month is a derivative of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week, which was created in order to reflect on the many contributions of African Americans to society. Black history is very important to core of America. Note the following: “[B]ecause our history is American history, erasing the contributions of black Americans makes it impossible to accurately tell the story of this country.”  -This is a quote by Taryn Finley, editor of HuffPost Black Voices, in this Huffington Post article.

Not only is black history American history, but it is also world history. People of African descent have made contributions across the globe, and countries all over the world are beginning to fall in line by providing recognition.

Black history is the ebony thread woven throughout the tapestry of humanity’s past. It is beautiful, yet distinctive. It reveals the essence of who we are as a society and what we’ve accomplished. We all should want to embrace the fullness of history.

(2) Black History started with slavery.

So much black history pre-exists slavery. If you think slavery is the beginning, then you’re doing yourself (and others) a disservice.

(3) Recognizing “Black” History Month is divisive and racist.

Short answer: No, it’s not. For years, textbooks have glossed over the brutal truth about the treatment of blacks in America. Furthermore, recognition for contributions by African Americans was usually “decades late and a reparation short.” In 2019, we can recognize the plight of African Americans  and we can appreciate the beauty of diversity. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

For a more in-depth answer, read a full article on why Black History Month Isn’t Racist.

(4) I’m black so . . . I already know enough about black history.

No matter who you are, there’s always more to learn! Go forth and explore the untold stories.  Read about the unsung heroes.  There’s so much history that is waiting to be discovered, and there’s also the history that is being made right now. The study of black history is never ending!

(5) There’s no actual way to celebrate Black History Month.

Are you kidding? There are a ton of ways to celebrate. Check out these links for fresh ideas:

Happy Black History Month!

Bacon, Mariah Carey, and Wi-Fi: A Random List of What I’m Thankful For…

Every year we mention the things we’re thankful for, but I wanted to put together a list of things that are not typically on everyone’s list but still hold a special place in our hearts.

  1. A strong Wi-Fi signal–  I don’t always have a strong signal, but when I do… Thank you Lord!
  2. Google–  Information at your fingertips.
  3. Clean Public Restrooms–  Unfortunately, these are few and far between, but when you find one, it’s truly refreshing.  Otherwise, I brace myself for muscle cramps, “holding it” until I get home.
  4. (Speaking of restrooms….) Good, Quality toilet Paper
  5. Moving Dollies– Whether you’re moving into some place or moving out, these things are always SO helpful.
  6. Mariah Carey– We are lambily.  She’s freakin’ A+mazing!
  7. Janet Jackson– And I’m a part of the “Jan fam.”  <–Uhh… yeah!  Also awesome!
  8. Bacon– Self-explanatory.
  9. Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people.)
  10. The ability to block people on social media (Again, self-explanatory.)
  11. Bags flying free–  Thank you Southwest.  🙂
  12. Paraben-free makeup– No breakouts please.
  13. Chick-Fil-A– Sent from heaven.
  14. Matinee Movies– I can get in and get out before the crowd gets overwhelming and annoying.
  15. Lyft or Uber, whatever– Hey, as long as I don’t have to drive when I’m on vacation…
  16. Movies with Denzel Washington– This is not even up for debate.
  17. Emojis and GIFs– Some things cannot be expressed with mere words.
  18. Back scratchers–  They come in handy when no one is around.
  19. Disinfectant spray– Protecting us from germs since 1889.
  20. Anyone who is reading this- Because you guys ROCK.  🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Just so we’re clear, neither Mariah Carey nor Janet are random, but this list is.

What is something random that you’re thankful for?

Last Minute Christmas Gifts to get the Struggling Millennial

As youngsters, many of us never realized how difficult adulting would be because the Baby Boomer generation made it look so easy. After approaching many adulting hurdles in my own life, I’ve created a list of useful Christmas gifts that would make this adulting thing easier for the average millennial.

 

1. Offer to pay a bill. Now before you go on your rant about entitlement, let me explain why this is a nice gesture. If you’re of the older generation, then you should remember how tough it was for you in your young adult years. You tried to create some stability for yourself and become your own person. While you may have struggled to pull it together, getting a little help during that struggle was like a breath of fresh air. Because millennials are facing the pressures of debt unlike any other generation before them, helping to relieve some of that pressure is a big deal. I am in no way saying to begin taking on all of your loved one’s expenses to the point of enablement. I’m just saying that it’s an awesome Christmas gift that suggests, “Hey, I see you’re working hard. Good on ya.”

 

1.5. Pay something on their loan interest. Now this suggestion is if you’re feeling         EXTREMELY generous. Because the interest rate percentages appear to be steadily increasing, it can be financially burdensome on the student borrower. Any relief of that burden is greatly appreciated.

 

2.  Treat them to a spa day. I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, I’m the one who could use a spa day.” True. Here’s the thing. Everyone deserves some relaxation time after much hard work, don’t you think? Just think of how much sunshine you could bring to a millennial’s life with a spa day. A nice Swedish massage is perfect for relieving those tense shoulders that spent the majority of the year hunched over a textbook. A facial can help clear some of that adult, stress acne. A pedicure can turn those unsupported arches into instant happy feet after trekked around campus for an entire semester. And if you want to spend time with that loved one, the spa may even provide a two-for-one discount so you could get in on the action. How’s that for a deal!

 

3.  Create a nice care package. Millennial loved one can’t make it home for the holidays? How about putting together a nice box of elements you know they’ll love in order to remind them of home. The elements of the package need not be expensive, they need only contain the elements of your loved one’s personality. For the movie lover, buy a super-soft throw blanket, some popcorn, and a few new releases from their favorite genre. For the music lover, buy memorabilia of their favorite musical artist/band and offer to pay the subscription for a streaming music service. For the makeup lover, head over to your nearby make up store and ask the sells rep what is the hot makeup item for this year. (Note: if you don’t want to risk getting the wrong thing, purchase a gift card from a makeup chain like Ulta, Sephora or Mac. You won’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out their shade or taste. Plus, they could order online if there isn’t a store located near them.) Still not sure what gifts your millennial loved one could use? Keep reading!

 

4.  Practicality is the way to go. When in doubt, be practical. This is perfect if you’re pressed for time but you want to be sure to get your loved one something useful. Young adults won’t despise you for getting them things that they need but don’t necessarily want to spend their own money on. Gift cards for things like gas, groceries, or even coffee can go a long way.

 

5.  Money, money, money, money . . .MONEY! (<- I just wanted to quote the O’jays. You’re welcome.) If you don’t want the hassle of figuring out what to get them or pinpointing exactly what they need money put towards, just give the money to them. However, should you select this option, keep in mind that you shouldn’t micromanage how they should spend it. After all, if you’re giving the gift of money, let the receiver decide what to spend it on. Whether they want to take care of some responsibilities and adult some more, or whether they just want to use it as an opportunity to have fun, let the individual decide what he/she wants to do with the money.

 

Hope these tips help you to finish tackling that Christmas list. As for my family members and friends reading this who may still be struggling as to what to get me, please review the former six paragraphs.  🙂

22 Things You’re Likely Thankful For As A Student

  1. You’re alive after a final exam.
  2. Getting a good grade on an exam when you know you worked your behind off studying.
  3. You manage to pass an exam with a C even though you barely studied, if at all.
  4. Your professor cancelled class, which is a good thing because you forgot to do the reading from the night before.
  5. Someone continues to ramble on and on with questions to the professor in class which prevents the professor from ever getting to your name on the on call list.
  6. The professor decides to postpone giving a test because he or she wants to be sure everyone has a good grasp on the material. (Be VERY thankful for this one because some professors could care less about changing the date.)
  7. The extra credit opportunities you’re given to boost your grade.
  8. The professor goes over various topics in great detail and answers all of your questions in a review session a few days before the exam.
  9. A professor who doesn’t just stand at the front of the class talking about a subject, but uses various tools to help you learn such as supplements, power points, videos, etc.
  10. The hours of sleep you get to reboot during your winter breaks.
  11. The day your stipend drops in your account. (Living Expenses? Can you say, “Covered”?)
  12. Care Packages! (Hello! Need I say more?!)
  13. Actually getting registered in a class with a professor that EVERYONE wants.
  14. That moment when your favorite food place is still open late at night and will deliver to your study session.
  15. One Word: Coffee.
  16. Receiving an outline or study guide from student who you know does well in school.
  17. Learning that you and a good friend are registered for the same class so you won’t be sitting awkwardly in a corner by yourself.
  18. Those breaks during study group that turned into awesome dance sessions. (Or was that just me and my study group?)
  19. Receiving a monetary gift from a family member just because. (Cha-ching! Goodbye noodles, and hello pepperoni pizza!)
  20. Having great friends who allow you to vent about a horrible class or professor. They totally get it.
  21. Being one step closer to graduation each day.
  22. Having people in your life who love you and could care less about your not so good grade on a test.

Happy jurist journey!