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“As a black man, you are my equal, my counterpart. America looks down on us simply because of the color of our skin, so I expect us not to put each other down. Life me as I lift you, support me as I support you, love me as I love you.” – Nerd Boo

That was the response that I received today when I asked that question. I followed that up by asking do I make her feel safe and protected when we’re out? I was told that I do. What made that come up? Well, it seems as if with more issues of street harassment on the rise, more ladies are wishing that more men stick up for them. Now I’m starting to wonder am I doing something wrong? When I’m going to work or elsewhere in my travels, I’m alert to my surroundings. But am I supposed to be a vigilante searching out for justice?

I know that these things occur because I hear about them often. It’s disgusting what ladies have to deal with on the daily but if I’m accompanying them, I don’t hear none of that. Now is it because I may be an imposing figure? I get that a lot. “Oh Derek, you’re so intimidating.” I’m actually not. I remember I was dating a young lady a few years ago and a co-worker of hers was in town as well so we met up with them and he thought I was mean as fuck. I’m like really?!

But the point of this post is for us to have mature dialogue on this subject. You say that you want us to help you, we need to know how? I’ve seen hashtags and other posts on this but we need to communicate to each other and not play tit for tat. In the end, we all need each other. We can do better as a united front rather than cause further damage being divided.

Where has the days gone? Idk but here is another Wednesday and another five thoughts. So let’s get into it!

1. DMX And His Love For Dog Food: Oh me, oh my. While in an airport, TMZ and DMX had an exchange about dog food which lead to the rapper admitting that he’s eaten it. I don’t know if it was the brand of crack in the past or was he just curious but sheeish.

2. Tiny Asks “What The Fuck You Gon Do”?: Remember when Tiny was in Xscape and she had her solo moments on their albums? Well, she has a new song out where she’s asking her lover (I’m going to go with T.I. here) what is he gonna do if she leaves? Interesting how this will turn out.

3. Tony Dungy Clarifies Remarks Based On Michael Sam: Former NFL Coach Tony Dungy made some comments that implied that he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam. After catching criticism about those comments, Dungy then stated that his comments was based on the fact that a reality show was being planned for the NFL rookie at the time and that would have brought on unneeded distractions. Michael Sam brushed off the comments as saying ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinions’. The question is will Michael Sam be able to cut it in the NFL? Like actually play on defensive snaps, read the offense, stop a 3rd and short? Things like that.

4. One Sided Debates: If you’re going to just proclaim that your argument is right and that anyone else that doesn’t agree with you is wrong, I’m just going to write you off as an idiot and not take you seriously in any future discussions.

5. For Harriet Editor Sparks Outrage With Article: Today on Twitter, I came across an article where the editor of For Harriet, a site for women of African descent, states that she won’t march for Eric Garner. (The Staten Island man killed by the NYPD that was caught on tape.) In her article, she states that she will not will not rally for him because she’s ‘reserving my mental and emotional energy for the women, the Black women, no one will speak for’. As I continued to read the article, it seemed that the author made this a point about street harassment that women of color face and how no one wants to stick up for them. Now, while we all have the right to say what we will and won’t rally for, the fact that I’ve seen people use this man’s death as an agenda to push across their pettiness is uncalled for. We have to pick and choose our battles while being mindful of what reactions this will bring from others.

Mase

Mase

“I was Murda
P. Diddy named me pretty
Did it for the money, now can you get with me?” – Ma$e from “Lookin’ At Me

I remember waiting the weeks that Ma$e sophomore album Double Up was getting ready to drop. I was ready because it was the Summer of ’99 and we needed some heat. Then the news came out that Mase was retiring from the rap game to ‘pursue a calling from God’. Double Up finally dropped and that was that. I remember when Ma$e was doing speaking engagements and people were showing up in droves hoping that he would change his mind. He was steadfast in his decision (at that time).

“If I could do it all again, I’d do it all for Christ
Whoever thought the limelight or the super-stardom
Whoever thought there’d be a problem comin’ through Harlem
Can’t even chill, cats wanna make me a villian” – Ma$e from “From Scratch

Back in 2012, I spoke about this same topic. But it seems as if this time, he’s dead set on his intentions of making a splash once again. He hopped on Troy Ave’s “Your Style” remix. He also has a new single titled “Nothing” featuring Eric Bellinger, where he’s giving props to ladies that don’t need men for anything.

In this year of 2014 again I ask, do you as rap fans want a Ma$e return to rap? Will he once again rise to the top as he did back in 1997? What will happen to his church now that he has parted ways with it?

Ma$e

“We back, we back, we back, we back
We back, we back again
We back, we back, we back, we back
We back, we back again” – Ma$e from “Get Ready

Zhané

Zhané

Back in 1993, Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature introduced the world to two young singers from Brooklyn, NY. Jean Norris and Renee Neufville had the world singing “Hey Mr. D.J.” as the song was an instant hit reaching #6 on the Billboard Top 100 and #3 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. “Hey Mr. D.J.” sampled Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Knucklehead” and Michael Wycoff’s “Looking Up to You“. The hit track also featured a verse from Fam, who was a member of the Rottin Razkals. The debut single from Pronounced Jah-Nay was certified Gold in October of 1993. The duo had an instant hit single and that could only mean good things to come for them.

Pronounced Jah-Nay was released on February 15, 1994. The album’s second single was “Groove Thang“, which continued with the same flow as “Hey Mr. D.J.”. “Groove Thang”, which sampled Patrice Rushen’s “Haven’t You Heard“, reached to #17 on Billboard’s Top 100. “Sending My Love” was the album’s third single and the lyrics reflected the love that your lady wanted to send you as she was missing you. (“With my heart in your hands/I’m as helpless as a baby/I’m in desperate need of your love/So just send it right away/Ive been thinking bout you, boy/Because you’re so far way/Makes me want to send you all this love/Inside of me“) “Vibe” was the album’s fourth single as it continued with the uptempo theme of its singles. The final single released was “You’re Sorry Now” dealt with the ups and down of a bad relationship. (“You always come around when it’s too late/You can’t win back my love cuz baby, I can wait/You want me more and more/My life is moving on/There’s gotta be a better way“)

As great of an album that Pronounced Jah-Nay still is, I can’t help but to be disappointed that none of the ballads from the album were released as singles. “Love Me Today” could have been easily added to the late night slow jams playlist. (“Well, every little thing/Everything that made me fall in love with you/Started all over again/The moment you looked into my eyes/Held me so tight and said, you said/Love me today/And if you got to hate me/Love me today/Why don’t you do that tomorrow“) “La, La, La” is about the realization of that effect someone has on you. (“You’re on my mind/You’re on my mind, baby, constantly/I’m in a daze/I’m in a daze so won’t you rescue me/You’re in my dreams/You’re haunting me boy, you’re haunting me“) “For A Reason” is all about finally letting that relationship go. (“Letting go can be the hardest thing to do/When you truly care about someone/You can’t say goodbye enough times to make/The feelings last a lifetime/But all the memories never go away“)

Pronounced Jah-Nay went Platinum in October of 1996 and still is one of those throwback albums that will still get the party going. My mother purchased this album on cassette and I played it often. This was a rare feat for these two young ladies to drop out of nowhere and leave a lasting impact on R&B fans everywhere. Too bad they only released this album and the follow up, Saturday Night.

When word started to spread about the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner after being put in a chokehold by the NYPD, it just added to the long list of deaths of black/colored men by the hands of those that are ‘sworn to protect and serve’. In regards to Eric Garner, his record states that has had 31 arrests dating back to his teenage years and that he was selling ‘loosies’ (loose cigarettes or ‘LOOSE ONES, LOOSE ONES!’). The video that was shot shows that Garner was pleading with the cops to leave him alone and that they were always harassing him. Then you see one of the cops grab Garner in a choke hold from behind and slam him to the ground. You can clearly hear Garner say “I CAN’T BREATHE!” repeatedly. Garner died a short time after that. Two of the officers involved were put on desk duty the next day.

Incidents like these and prior ones (Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, etc.) leaves a fear among blacks. This is why I don’t say or do anything that would cause my mother to get a phone call one day saying that I died at the hands of the police. Might not even have to be doing anything at all. It seems like we’re marked with a huge target on our backs. In a blog on the Huffington Post, Elwood D. Watson discussed how violence against black women is often dismissed and gives examples of black women being attacked by police officers. In a 2012 study, it was determined that 1 black man was killed every 28 hours by police or vigilantes.

I’m not saying that we’re saints but this assault needs to be stopped. If the shoe was on the other foot, I’m sure that it would be an outrage and protests about.


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