All Saiyans Go to Heaven

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Powerful, flawed, genuine, and always late. When you think about the famous Saiyan Goku, these words come to mind. These words also come to mind when you think about Tyrell aka “The Finesse god.”

Just like Goku, Tyrell was powerful. People were awed by his artistic talent and drawn towards his energy. If his artistic ability had a power level it would probably be equivalent to Trunks during the Cell saga. Not the strongest in the universe, but you knew that wasn’t his limit. Hella potential. You were excited to see little Trunks grow up.

Tyrell was also very flawed. He had a dark side, similar to the Saiyans. He had to battle his darkness everyday. He had to fight against himself to become the Finesse god we all knew.

Unlike Vegeta, Tyrell didn’t think he was the best. No matter how much people believed in him or told him he was great, he wouldn’t listen. He just trained. He worked day in and day out on his craft. There were moments when I would go days without seeing him, and when I finally visited him, he had 3 or 4 new art pieces hanging in his house. He worked so much he didn’t need a hyperbolic time chamber.

If you knew him, you probably have never met a more genuine person. He always had a goofy smile plastered on his face. He told you how he felt, and always tried to be welcoming and warm.

Although he was often a warm energy to be around, he was not always friendly. He was genuine because he didn’t try to hide his darkness from you. He was a Saiyan that still had his tail attached. You loved him anyway. He would always tell you when the full moon was coming around.

Tyrell was also genuine in his portrayal of Master Roshi. He loved the ladies. Period. Unlike Master Roshi the ladies loved him back. He was still a perv though.

Goku was known for being late to battles. I can’t think of one DBZ saga where Goku was on time to fight the enemy. Much like Goku, Tyrell was late to everything. He worked on his own schedule. He would tell you that he was on his way when in reality, he was still sitting at his computer working on a design.

We don’t have dragon balls or Shenron to wish him back. We don’t have King Kai to help us communicate with him from the heavens. What we do have is our memories and his legacy.

Although we will miss him, it’s nice to think that our Saiyan is running on Snake Way,  getting ready for his next adventure.

Just like you did on earth brother, keep working hard, don’t fall off that path, and show them why you earned the name “Finesse god.”

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Let Black Children Be Children

They deserve it. 

All children deserved to be treated like human beings. Black children deserve to be treated like valuable and fragile little human beings — like other children get to be treated.

We hold black children to the standard that we hold most adults and that’s not fair.

When a black child does something wrong, why is the child often referred to as a “man” or “woman” or “adult” by the media? Did our children not earn the right to a childhood because they were born Black?

When Trayvon Martin was murdered, some media reports referred to him as a man. Same with Tamir Rice. Same with Michael Brown.

Maybe it’s because black boys are perceived as older than they actually are. Maybe it’s because Black children are adults until proven innocent.

What’s more problematic is that society often blames black children for their behavior, but excuses the same behaviors that occurs in other children.

One study even stated, “When it came to how often schools doled out punishment, students’ race appeared far more significant than their actual behavior.”

Black children are suspended at exponentially higher rates than their white peers for the same infractions. Even Black children in preschool are criminalized for what should be considered kid behavior.

Black kids are more likely to get arrested than other students. Black students are more likely to be disciplined for subjective offenses (defiance and loitering) while white students are punished for more objective offenses (vandalism, fighting, truancy).

Gender makes no difference. Black girls are suspended at higher rates than other girl students for the same offenses. Black boys are suspended at higher rates than all other students for the same offenses.

Why are black children being targeted for their behavior when study after study says black children exhibit the same behavior as their peers? Why aren’t black children allowed to make bad decisions — like children tend to do — without the behavior being associated with their character? There are no bad children, they just make bad decisions.

There’s also an equally insidious problem that is preventing black children from having a childhood.

I teach in a school that has had more than a number of serious behavior issues from students. My school is entirely African-American, and some of the behaviors I’ve seen at my school are reminiscent of scenes from Lean On Me — and I teach in an elementary school.

I get it. Sometimes kids make really really bad decisions. Sometimes it is hard to not punish students for their bad behavior because, well, the behavior isbad.

Still, there are no bad kids. There are bad adults.

Now I’m not saying teachers are the problem. I’m not saying parents are the problem. We all are the problem. Society as a whole has deprived black children of their right to be a child.

Black children are disdained by the media. Forgotten by the community. Shunned by adults — parents, teachers, and community members alike. Forcibly given adult responsibilities because of generational poverty. In many ways, they are grown. They were forced to grow up. A history of implicit biases, institutional racism, generational poverty, and a general lack of human respect took their childhood.

So how can we expect black children to act like children when, in so many ways, they are forced to be adults?

Children are not responsible for how they are as children. We are responsible for how they are as children, and if we do not look for ways to give them their childhood back, we will be responsible for how they are as adults.

Stop asking “What’s wrong with this generation?” and remember that we are the ones that raised it. We bred the kids into mini adults, then we punish them for being children. When we see children behaving in extreme ways, what do we expect? This was our creation.

Black children are growing up in a system that punishes them and tells them they are bad, and the adults that look like them are telling them the same thing.

We can give Black children their childhoods back by loving them. No matter their behavior. No matter how much they curse or fight or act “deviant” they are, and always will be, children.

We may not be able to change a child’s poverty status. We may not be able to change how the media perceives them.

As a collective, we can change school policy. Disproportionate suspension rates must stop. We can love black children in ways that shows them that they are valuable human beings. “It is easier to build strong children than to fix broken adults.”

We need to stop blaming Black children for their behavior, and find more ways, even when it’s hard, to love them.

Black women don’t like you cause you’re crusty, not because you’re nerdy

Clear the flakes off your skin before you try to come for black women. 

It won’t stop. My social media is filled with men claiming black women don’t go for the “nerdy” type and that’s the reason why nerdy black men only date white women. “Black women only go for thugs and hood types and that’s why” blah blah blah.

First of all, shut the hell up.

It seems like “nerd” has replaced “good guy” in this never-ending debate about what black women are doing wrong when it comes to dating. Ever think that maybe YOU are the problem huh? HUH? 

Crusty ass self-proclaimed nice guys think they are entitled to women just because they don’t call women bitches (to their face) and ugly ass nerdy men think women are turning them down cause they like anime but really it’s cause you musty. 

You know why black women don’t like you in particular? Cause you dirty. You don’t wash that marvel shirt you’ve been wearing for 2 weeks and you haven’t showered since Fortnite was released.

Okay. Maybe you have decent hygiene. Black women still don’t like you and you’ve convinced yourself it’s cause you are a nerd. Have you ever thought that maybe you’re just not her type (as in ugly)? 

Men are not entitled to women (any woman). It doesn’t matter if you are a nerd, nice guy , or drug dealer. If you want to date a black woman, be a decent person, wash your face, and don’t be socially inept. Try it and see how that works out for you. 

Stop thinking black women don’t like you just because your interests are different. Most of us like someone that can teach us something new or show us something different. If for the life of you, you can’t get a black woman to love your nerdy ass I advise you to put your nose under your armpit and take a deep breath. Was it ripe? There’s your answer right there. 

 

 

Fuck them Highlighter Ass LimeBikes

Fuck them E.T. phone home cruiser but no beach limewire ass bikes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of increasing accsessibility to people across social-economic statuses. We all know St. Louis needs some help increasing accessibility for those that need it with the city’s refusal to expand the MetroLink. But I loathe the fact that people are equating having these bright ass bikes as something “nice for the city” *insert mocking spongebob meme here* and that people “stealing” them and vandalizing them is why St. Louis can’t have nice things. 

Here are some facts:

  1. LimeBikes are tracked by GPS and are contolled by smart lock that prevents the back tire from moving until the bike is unlocked by phone.
  2. You can literally park the bike anywhere you want. Yes, that includes the North Side of St. Louis. That’s the whole point of it being a bike sharing company. 
  3. You need an app to unlock the bike and it costs $1 to unlock for 30 minutes and 15 cents a minute after that. Also, if you don’t relock your bike when you park it/finish riding it, it is essentially unlocked and a free ride for anyone that comes across it . 

Now that we have the facts out of the way, let me address the problems:

  1. When you see a group of LimeBikes being ridden by a group of black youth and assume they are stolen YOU are the problem with St. Louis. YOU are the reason we can’t have nice things because you hate Black people. I already explained that these bikes are tracked by GPS and locked through technology. Did I mention they have alarms on them? So if they are locked but you are moving them, an alarm sounds. And if the bikes really are being stolen — fuck them bikes. If the kids in St. Louis can’t get a decent education, access to healthy food, and a safe environment, the least they can get is a free bright ass bike. 
  2. Yes. Some bikes are being vandalized, but guess what? This has happened in every single city that this company launched in. It’s not a St. Louis thing. It’s a people thing. The company anticipated vandalism when they started the company. People vandalizing bikes is, again, NOT why St. Louis doesn’t have nice things. You know why St. Louis doesn’t have nice things? Racism.
 Seattle (AKA not St. Louis)

Seattle (AKA not St. Louis)

 Seattle again (AKA not St. Louis)

Seattle again (AKA not St. Louis)

 Dallas (AKA not St. Louis) 

Dallas (AKA not St. Louis) 

Fuck LimeBike and fuck anyone that thinks a million dollar company bringing ride sharing to our dilapidated, segregated, and racist ass city is the greatest thing to happen here since the invention of the ice cream cone. If you want, use the bike to help with short commutes or ride around the park or take a trip downtown, but shut the fuck up about these bikes being nice things cause at the end of the day, it’s just a bike. And what we need is a lot nicer than that shit. 

 Don't worry, this is Dallas (AKA not St. Louis) 

Don't worry, this is Dallas (AKA not St. Louis) 

Of Magic and Madness

Early last year, I lost my mind.

I was trying to process losing my brother from gun violence. Still grieving from losing my dad in the same way 6 years prior. Still trying to forgive my body for losing a child. Still trying to heal from trauma after trauma.

And I lost it.

I remember going to bed that night, and as I lay there, I started trembling. I was shaking so badly my headboard was banging against the wall. I started hallucinating. I started remembering things that didn't happen. I felt physically ill and didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.

And I stayed that way, shaking and seeing things, until 7am the next morning. I know now that I had a mental breakdown back then. I felt like I was broken, but even after that night, people kept telling me that I was so strong and powerful to have endured so much and still push through.

I wanted everyone to stop telling me that I was powerful. They didn’t see the night terrors I suffered from. They didn’t see how my sweat soaked through my sheets and how my trembles caused my bed to shake and how I couldn’t decipher what was real from what was just in my head. I thought, when everyone told me I was powerful, they were lying.

Then I started writing. I wrote about losing my mind. I wrote about being hurt. I wrote about losing life. And I wrote about happiness, peace, joy, and love, too.

And somewhere in that cathartic process of writing out my ill and affirmative experiences in life I realized that power does not always equate to strength. Sometimes being powerful is having the ability to help others realize the strength they have in them.

The poems started off just being words of affirmation I felt I needed to get through my breakdown. Then I saw that I needed to also write about my breakdown to process it. Then I started writing about everything in between.

Before my brother was killed, I wrote a completely different poetry book. He was working on my book cover and was never able to finish what he started. After writing so many small affirmations and descriptions of my pain, I realized I had enough content for a completely new book. I decided to scratch my old book and I began compiling my work to create a new one.

On July 14th, what would be my dad’s 55th birthday, I held my debut poetry book in my hand. Releasing Of Magic and Madness meant more to me than checking off a goal on a bucket list. It meant being able to tell my story in its wholeness. Being able to show people that it is ok to be strong and broken. I could show people that yes, I am powerful, but I also hurt a lot .

I think we get so caught up in believing we can only embody one thing, we forget that humans are multidimensional with many modes of existences. We all live in the gray area of life, and that’s actually the most human thing to do.

I’m human, and something about that is powerful. I can endure inexplicable pain and suffering. Sometimes I make a mistake and enact that suffering on others. Sometimes I channel the hurt into something good. But all the time, I keep trying to get it right.

And there has to be some magic in that. 

Making Sense of Losing My Brother Pt. 3

I know people that have been shot and survived. I know people that have been riddled with bullets and are walking breathing and loving today. I know people that have lived through gunshot wounds.

My dad did not. My brother did not.

Every night I try to wrap my head around this. When I got the phone call that my dad was shot I was worried, but I didn’t think he was dead. My dad was superman in my eyes. A gunshot wound could not take him down.

He let me down. He didn’t survive gun wounds that many before him and many after him have lived through. His death made me realize that no one is impervious to guns.

When I got the call about my brother I didn’t even have a chance to have hope. The caller told me straight up he didn’t survive. My brother was dead.

Unlike my dad that was able to have family members around him immediately after being taken to the hospital, my brother lay in the hospital for hours with no one.

I was the first of my family to know my brother was dead and I was the first to arrive at the hospital. I had to wait to see him. The hospital wasn’t able to contact family members and had to confirm that I knew him.

I had to wait just to see my brother’s dead body. When the doctor finally came to tell me what happened, I halfway listened. I just wanted to see my brother. At the end of her explanation of his death she asked did I want to wait until my mom arrived at the hospital to see him. I told her no. I needed to see him first.

Every night when I close my eyes I see the image of my brother with dried blood coming out of his nose and mouth.

I see my mother’s face when she arrives in front of the hospital and I tell her I will go park her car, cause I didn’t tell her that her son didn’t survive and I wasn’t strong enough to break the news to her.

I hear my mom crying — no, screaming — for her baby and yelling “who did this?!”

I see red, red, blood soaking through the white cover laid on top of my brother as my friends frantically look for another blanket to hide the stains from my mom.

I stay up every night until I’m too tired to function because I have night terrors. I can’t help but think about how I knew my brother was gone the moment I laid eyes on him lying there — alone — in that hospital room. I couldn’t feel life around him anymore although he looked like he was just sleeping.

My brother should not have lost his life. My dad should not have lost his life. Today is my 6th Father’s Day without my dad. Today was the first time I had to go through this day without my brother to help me get through it.

I can’t make sense of their deaths no matter how much I think or how much I write. It isn’t right and not meant to be sensible, it’s just senseless. Senseless death that has cost me and my family way more than the measly $30 my brother had on him that night.

Making Sense of Losing My Brother Pt. 2

I’m afraid to share my pain. We are all hurting. Some of us more than others, but we all are filled with heavy hearts and wet eyes. Although I feel like the weight of the world has been placed on my shoulders, I am afraid to share my hurt.

I know what it feels to hurt. I know how it feels to believe that life will only get worse. I know how it feels to think that death might be peace from the cyclical, devastating pain in life. Yet, I do not want to lay that weight on any one else.

It’s heavy. Real heavy. Most days I feel like I can’t stand up straight. Most days I feel like I shouldn’t be able to stand at all. I don’t want to share this load with anyone else. I know we all have our hands full already.

I didn’t cry even once during my brother’s funeral. I knew if I lost it my mother would lose it too. I held it together for her, and everyone else that was watching me and drawing from my strength.

I couldn’t keep it together at the burial. I saw my mother getting up to leave because she couldn’t take the sight of her son in a coffin. I watched my brother’s best friend in tears as he laid a jacket on the casket before they closed it in the vault. I saw two men lowering my brother towards the ground.Right next to the same place they lowered my father.

I lost it.

I couldn’t fight my tears anymore. I couldn’t protect my mom from seeing how losing her son has affected her daughter. I couldn’t be strong anymore. I sobbed heavily and nearly yelled in protest of my brother being buried. After about a minute of nonstop crying, I stopped. Crying is contagious. It places your hurt on others and I can’t share. I won’t share.

Friends and family have been calling nonstop for the past week with the same question: “Do you need anything?”

I do. I really do. I need more than anyone would ever be able to give, but I won’t ask. I can’t ask. What I need more than anything is for everyone to be ok. I need everyone to live, laugh, cry, and remember that life has a purpose.

I need everyone to love.

Although I feel like I’m crumbling. Sometimes I even feel like I’m broken beyond repair. I won’t ask you to take some of my load. I know how this hurt feels and I can never put this on anyone. I don’t know if anyone can take this much pain.

Making Sense of Losing My Brother

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I lost my brother when I was 25. He was shot and killed minutes away from my home. The fact that I can write this using nearly the same introduction as a piece I wrote about my father makes me unable to breathe.

I didn’t lose my brother. He was killed. He was suddenly snatched from my world and from the world of the many people he touched. I didn’t lose him. Someone took him away from me.

Tyrell was 28-years-old the day he was killed. 28. In his prime and reaching new levels with this craft. He was shining so brightly that I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about where he was about to go with his work. I would think “man he’s going to go really far from here.” Now he can’t go anywhere. My brother is dead and you can’t go up from death.

I’m just trying to make sense of my brother’s death. I recently hit the “acceptance” stage of the grieving process with losing my dad. I’m still struggling with the depression stage with losing my daughter. My brother was not supposed to be a part of this cycle.

I don’t want to ask why. I’ve learned that asking that question doesn’t matter. In the end, the person you are grieving for will never return to the earth. You will never get to speak with them. You will never get to laugh with them. You will never get to be with them.

Asking “why” will just leave you feeling empty and afraid. Empty because your question will never be answered. No matter how much you go through, you will never get a straight answer to why things happen. You will feel afraid because there is something out there that can shake your entire world, and completely ignore you when you ask why the ground is shaking.

I haven’t stopped shaking yet. My tremors have reverberated around my body so much that I no longer notice I’m moving.

But I am moving. That means I’m breathing. That means I’m here. A broken soul. A spoken word. A mother’s cry. A shifting presence. And there has to be some beauty in that. There just has to be some beauty in that.

Why We Should Stop Ghosting Through Relationships

I opened my text messages and read another text from a guy that has been waiting for me to reply for 3 days now. It read, “I guess you’re not interested in me anymore.”

I was going to ignore it and go on with life because he was right. I was no longer interested in him. He was a nice guy. We had several phone conversations. Always text. Never calls. We had been talking for maybe 2 weeks. Banal yet polite conversations about what I was doing or how his workday was going.

We went on one date. After the date I decided I wasn’t interested in him. No reason. I just knew the chemistry wasn’t there. No point in continuing something you know won’t work out, right?

Prior to the date we would text each other everyday or at least every other day. After the date I stopped responding to his text messages. I would receive a “what’s up,” read it, and go about my day without second thought about responding.

He text me again the next day. “Hey.” I did it again. I ignored his text and went about my day.

The next day he text me again. I was confused as to why this guy did not get the picture already. He had already double texted me without a response, and was now putting himself out there to ask if I was no longer interested.

I was about to ignore him again, then I paused. I thought back to times when I’ve been really interested in a guy and tried to get to know him, just to have him ignore me and cease communication with me out of no where.

I remembered how I felt in those moments. Thinking what did I do wrong to have someone just stop talking to me. Especially when I thought we were cool.

At that moment I decided to change that. I texted him back, “Hey it was nice hanging with you. I appreciate the date, but I’m not really interested.” Simple.It didn’t hurt me to express what was going on, and letting him know was better than having him text me with no response and no idea what went wrong.

Ghosting is described as “The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.” Basically it’s taking the easy route out in dating. It’s much easier to ignore someone than it is to tell them that you’re not interested, right?

Except it’s not right. It’s childish, and frankly, rude. People have feelings.When we ghost people we are being selfish and not respecting the other person as an emotional being.

If we take the time out to get to know a person, learn their likes and dislikes, sometimes even go as far as getting to know their family and friends, we should have the decency to let them know we don’t want to continue anything with them. I mean, we let them know everything else about us so why not communicate with them?

In any relationship, communication is key. That includes moments when you are ending a relationship. Whether you are dating, “talking,” or in a serious relationship, don’t ghost your partner. Let them know what’s up or you just might end up on the opposite side of “ghosting” next time.

Sins of the Father

“Don’t let the birth of your black daughter be the first time you respect a black woman”

My dad held me on a pedestal. In his eyes, I could do no wrong. I could tell that he cared for me by how present he was in my life. He was at every basketball game, every awards ceremony, every play, everything that was centered around his only daughter.

He respected me as an equal. He believed in my potential so much that many conversations were spent on talking about how much I was going to achieve and how successful I could be. My dad showed me how to be treated by a man, but he was flawed.

How he treated his daughter didn’t always transfer to how he treated women.

My dad was, for a lack of better words, a player. He was charming. Very charming. Growing up I noticed how women always gravitated towards him. Women. Plural.

When I was a teenager I witnessed my dad have several women rotating in and out of the house. Sometimes it seemed like he had a new friend for everyday of the week.

I don’t want to disclose all of his business (God rest his soul) but I witnessed him exhibit characteristics that he warned me about. The ain’t shit men I should avoid. For me, he was the perfect man. For women he courted (or whatever he was doing), he was exactly the type of man he didn’t want me to end up with.

He taught me to be strong and never fall for the type of man he was to other women. He taught my brothers that women were disposable.

The cognitive dissonance I experienced growing up caused me to rationalize the constant misogynoir I witnessed. Misogynoir from the hands of my father and brothers and close friends and other family members. It seemed all the men I knew were indoctrinated in the same poisoning patriarchal system.

I rationalized: “Maybe those women deserved to be played, but I’m different. I’m my father’s daughter.”

When he died I ended up with the exact type of guy my dad wouldn’t want me to end up with. Worse even. I had to realize I am not above any woman. I amevery woman. We all deserve to be treated better.

We are bombarded with images of black men holding guns with their daughter and her prom date. Black men are saying “Respect my daughter or I will end your life.” But are teaching their sons that is ok to be sexually irresponsible. Teaching their sons to be unemotional and detached when it comes to women and relationships.

You are teaching your daughters one thing, and telling your sons another, forgetting we have to meet up one day. Who will protect your daughter from someone’s son? A son that was brought up the same way you were. The same way you raised your son to be.

In Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons” she explores how her dad taught her to be strong against men. In her chorus she repeats:

“With his gun, and his head held high
He told me not to cry
Oh, my daddy said shoot
Oh, my daddy said shoot

Her dad told her to “shoot.” Which is really reminiscent of images of daughters and their gun totting dad’s in prom photos.

Later she says:

“When trouble comes to town
And men like me come around

Her father is preparing her to protect herself against men just like him. Like my father did for me. Like many fathers do for their daughters.

The problem with this message is that daughters that have a great relationship with their father want a man just like their father. Daddy’s girls are going through the world looking for men that can live up to the expectations set by their father. An expectation that can never be realized because not even our fathers lived up to the hype.

Don’t let the birth of your black daughter be the first time you respect a black woman cause her being your daughter won’t stop her from being affected by your sins.