Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tell Your Story

Write. If you feel it in your heart to be a writer, write with everything you've got.

Speak. Don't hold back what you feel most passionately about. Reveal to the rest of us as deep as your heart will let you dig. I'm pretty sure you have some history that will put someone in awe and allow someone to heal from their own scars.

If you have nothing to tell, gain experience. Don't hold back because you lack in funds. The government is in debt and still we function. Don't talk yourself out of leaving your comfortable environment because everyone around you is scared. The people you meet from different cities and states left their own comfortable environments. Let your own fear be encouragement to achieve something.

The greatest part of our daily routines is what we do now will change someone's life later. The blog post created now could possibly affect someone 10, 15, or 20 years from now. Someone could stumble upon it a year from now and it'll be just what they needed for inspiration purposes. It doesn't mean that it is old news. It will be new and what you were trying to say will live through them.

I woke up yesterday hearing news of Maya Angelou's death. But I couldn't believe it. Not the poet laureate that inspired me. Not the phenomenal woman who shared her whole life with us. Not the woman who will continue to inspire women all over the world. Maya Angelou lives because she wrote and she spoke and she gained so much experience in this world. She lives because we will keep her alive. She's not resting in peace as we like to say. She is living in peace as she sees her life continue to have a positive impact on the rest of us.

There is one more. Express yourself because it feels so much better to share your stories.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#RBDivasATL Listen To @KeKeWyattSings Self Titled EP

KeKe Wyatt is singing her heart out on that new EP of hers.

R&B Divas Atlanta currently shows KeKe Wyatt calming down from her previous crazy lifestyle. She's gotten help with her temper problems, is bonding with her family more, and is helping her mama get counseling lessons too. However, in real time she has some new music that will blow you away.

The EP titled KeKe consists of five songs.
Fall In Love
Rain (featuring Pusha T)
Another Lifetime
Remember (featuring Nitty Scott) 
Lie Under You

Fall In Love is arguably the best of them all because every woman wants to make a man fall in love with her. Most of us have convinced ourselves that the way to a man's heart is in between our legs. Of course it's not true. The music just makes the dream that much better. Listen to the rest of the songs below and purchase the EP if you like what you hear.

Pictures & Expectations Beyond The Internet

"I realized it was bad when chicks started settling for dick print pics instead of telling a real nigga to come thru smh."- via @seefrvncis

As I spotted this down my twitter line I couldn't help but laugh. Although it's not just the prints we women are getting. Men are sending pictures of their dicks without any expectations of seeing the woman they've sent the picture to. Even more, we women are settling for the pictures. It's so much more complicated than only seeing a picture though.

Many of these men are in committed relationships. Some of them are wearing wedding rings as they type. Some are so horny they would probably have sex with anything (not just anyone) anyway, so pictures are safer. Then there are the men that are extremely bored and have pictures ready to send at any woman's request.

I received a picture yesterday that was totally unexpected. I asked for it, but didn't expect the guy to send it. Because of what I did I probably should have been sending him something privately, but the power of woman makes men totally miss the little details. When did twitter make it possible to send pictures through direct messages anyway? Oh, and I have no idea where this guy lives and he has no idea of where I live either. The expectations didn't surpass twitter.

However, I do realize that some of the pictures are being sent with future expectations. This part is complicated too. How much do I trust a man that is getting my attention over the internet for purely physical reasons only? Do I meet up with him? Pictures are supposed to make you yearn for the real deal. In the year of 2014 where Love & Hip Hop exists, women that kissed Flavor Flav keep getting new love interests, and untraditional preachers that didn't even wait until marriage to produce children have television shows, is whatever happens on the internet meant to just be internet fun?

I know the answers. What do you think?

P.S. If you happen to read this and feel like responding to me, don't ask why I didn't include anything about us women and pictures. There are a million a day voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily. Men don't have to ask.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#LHHATL Married Or Not, Who Cares?

There are so many crazy scenarios going on with Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, it's hard to focus on one main problem. However, there is one storyline that cast is trying to hold on dearly to. It is whether or not Joseline Hernandez and Stevie J. are married. But who cares?
Via Twitter 

Well duhh, MiMi cares. When Stevie J. first appeared on the show he was with MiMi. They had shacked up so long that a baby had come into the picture and he was living off of her. Even though no rings had been bought, they might as well have been in a certified faithful union. Well, MiMi was in one anyway. Stevie was cheating on her with Joseline, but he didn't just cheat. He muddied up MiMi, tried to drown her, and even tried to make her play a side chick role.

And that is the problem with not being married. Another woman can come in, convince him right out of what he has been calling home, and there are no court documents to tell him what he is doing is wrong. He didn't take any vows with MiMi, so he was free to walk.

Side Note: The Millionaire Matchmaker did an episode where she hooked up two of NeNe Leakes' friends. During an episode of Arsenio Hall she also admitted that all the men with kids told her they had purposely avoided getting married to the baby mamas.

However, so many people are shacking up now. We have all the baby mamas being created with lack of condom usage. There are the successful single mothers. Then there are the couples that are making no plans to get married and they are happier than ever. Oprah Winfrey, for example, has no plans of ever signing papers with Stedman. The couple around the corner from you are cool too as long as their families don't start forcing wedding details on them.

Shacking up has become normal, so who cares if Stevie J. and Joseline are not really married? MiMi shouldn't. I really don't.

Afraid Of (False) Love & Other Drugs

"Got me afraid of, you're so fine sometimes I forget to breathe." 

As I listen to Amel Larrieux's song "Afraid" I can't help but imagine love. I can't help but think of dates, spending time together, cuddling, and good sex. I imagine a man creating butterflies in my stomach every time I see him and surprising me in the sweetest ways. However, when I look on social media and walk outside it's hard to hold onto that picture of perfect love. 

The hottest topic in the last few days has been a fight between T.I. and Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather took a picture with Tiny and T.I. felt the need to check him on that photograph. Although Tip is known to cheat on Tiny, the conversation between us regular folks went a lot of different ways. 

On instagram someone tried to check her for her behavior, so she pointed out all she has to deal with in that marriage. On twitter one of my male friends from FAMU pointed out that his cheating is just a way of preserving their marriage. His argument was basically that since Tiny isn't attractive, it's okay for T.I. to be with other women. I think if a man is going to creep, then he can't be approaching the woman (or men) about her doing the same. I also saw someone say that Floyd could be dealing with much prettier women than her, so he was wrong. However, who the fuck cares about looks? 

Looks fade. Sometimes our looks last longer than we suspect they will, but still as time goes on they start to fade. We have to appreciate the ways that our bodies change, the wrinkles that form, the sagging that begins, the bellies that form. Wait, looks fading isn't my issue. 

Recently on twitter a bunch of people started talking about relationships and cheating. Some guys felt that if their woman isn't giving them sex as much as they want, they have a right to find another woman to have sex with. Of course not everyone agreed. I think the foundation of a relationship should be built upon faithfulness and trust, so if a man can't keep his dick to his woman the foundation will crumble. 

Of course some women are fine with open relationships. An open relationship means she's single, but some women are absolutely cool their men only being part time lovers. Some men believe in never settling into the faithful mentality and that's cool. However, it seems like we hear more from the men about how a man will be a man, but at the same time we hear about how us women have to be trained to handle men. You've seen the relationship books written by Steve Harvey and many other men. 

I've read a few relationship books to see what I could learn. However, there is nothing to learn if the man's mentality is to always get with whatever woman he pleases. Even after he's settled down with one woman and had kids, it's pointless if he is leaving the home to get new pussy for the Hell of it. It's also hard when men that are in relationships are sending me messages. It's easy to tell which ones on Facebook are in relationships. It's harder to tell on twitter and when getting approached in random places. 

"I dream of you nights and daytime too, like someone slipped me something and that something's you." I want the image of these words stuck in my head and not concentrate on all the unfaithfulness going on. The beautiful thing about an Amel Larrieux song is it will remind you of you pure love is supposed to be. It's not dragged down by Love & Hip Hop, or trying to imitate edited porn videos, or even the pressures that are put on us women to be as perfect as a man's imagination stretches, as our own imaginations stretch. I just have to get to that point of believing in real love again and not this conditional stuff I see people talk about every day. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

(Everything's Bigger In Texas) Excerpt From "Instinct"

"Moving away would include uprooting my wife and kids, and taking my mother with us after she had lived over six decades in the same area. We would be leaving the small--town warmth of our cocooned community and launching out on new wings.But would we fly? Or flutter momentarily before crashing to the ground?

It was a huge risk, but I had to take it. I had to leave my cage. Not only did I feel God's prompting to make the move, but something deep inside me knew it was where I belonged-even if I didn't exactly know why. Needless to say, I have never regretted my decision to follow my instincts and move to Dallas. No, instead I discovered that my move was not just an open door to me but was in fact the intersection of the destiny of thousands if not millions of others whose lives would forever be changed, all predicted upon me releasing my fear and mustering the courage to be stretched beyond my comfort."

Excerpt from Instinct, The Power To Release Your Inborn Drive by Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Do you have this feeling that is leading you to believe you can be more successful somewhere else? You spend 8 hours working and then at least 5 more hours working away from the job. Maybe it's not about work specifically. Your life may have hit a stand-still and you just can't move forward staying in the same place. Its time to go and grow.

 Lately I've been practicing being a little less scared. I'm trying to accept debt into my life more. No one ever became successful by not spending any money towards their goals. I'm trying to visualize where I want to be, so it can become easier to plan getting there. That means not listening to parents or other people when they ask why and say discouraging words. The ones with the most discouragement never have the answers to what direction you should go in anyway. I can already feel the difference a mindset makes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

(Slavery Isn't Over) August Alsina Makes A Crazy Statement

"Rest In Peace Aug. Forever missed #holdyoudownforlife"

Overnight August Alsina used Instagram to say goodbye to himself, or maybe he was saying goodbye to the past and hello to a new future. Who knows what it means? All we know is he put on a hot leather suit towards the end of May, decided to pose for a camera with a noose around his neck, and confuse the internet fans and haters. Wasn't starting a beef with Trey Songz and embarrassing a 106 & Park host enough?


Monday, May 19, 2014

(Exclusive) Interview With Michele Fletcher, CEO of LFF Publishing

"Being an entrepreneur is rough. It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it. *laughs*"- Michele Fletcher, founder and CEO of La Femme Fatale Publishing

LFF (La Femme Fatale Publishing) has been in business for a decade. It is currently one of the leading publishing companies for African American authors and also a popular publishing firm for reality television stars. This publishing house contains many familiar faces we're used to seeing such as Somaya Reece, Rahidah Ali, and Erica Mena. Even Walnita Dacur, Lil Boosie's first baby's mother, has a book through LFF. You probably wonder how all of these strong opinionated women are able to sit down and be so productive off camera. Recently I was able to speak with Michele Fletcher, CEO of LFF.

Via LFF Publishing 
In the interview she revealed how it is being an entrepreneur, the difference between a publishing house and self-publishing, creating a balance between work and free time, and dealing with the different personalities on an everyday basis.

How Being An Entrepreneur Works And Why She Started Up La Femme Fatale Publishing
It's a 24 hour a day, every day work constantly to get things done because the whole teams relies on you. So that's how I got started and branded behind my concept of women, Femmes Puissantes, powerful women in French. So I believe that women have a lot to say, and women have a lot to contribute in their lives and women have a story to tell. 

All About La Femme Fatale Publishing
Basing my company around that, we have prospered. We've been in business for 10 years and we've been just doing well around the whole writing drama. I have been called the baddest publishing house in the industry. So many blogs have said LFF is doing they're thing.

How The Authors Are Chosen
We pick the people who want to tell a story and that's compelling and they actually come to us. They've heard good things, so we get them out there and get them going with their story. It's just every day hard work, believing in the women that are behind our line, and believing they all have a story to tell.

Whether Or Not Everyone Is Chosen
Everybody doesn't get accepted, so when you have a good story we will accept you and then it comes to me. So I've never went out there and found anyone. Everyone has come and submitted their stories and at that point we took over.

The Difference Between A Publishing House and Self Publishing
Self publishing is when an author finishes their book, companies out here that prints their book, and they print it for the regular basic sale; home sale, you know, sale at the church, local community. They do whatever they need to do.

For major publishing, that is what we do because we distribute to the major Barnes & Nobles, Books A Million, things of that nature.

How Is It Working With Reality Stars
We have some heated conversations. I handle them just like you would see them handle on tv. They have to come to my office.

People say 'Michele you've got everybody, Somaya Reece.' I have everybody in the gimmick in the industry under my eyes, people always say, 'how do you deal with all those personalities in all those ways?' and I always say you know what. Think about that actual, how you deal with them, how you do everything with them. You treat them as they want to be treated. So it's actually like a zoo. When it comes to animals birds chirp *laughs* when it's feeding time. You have those people who are really just as they are on tv and you have to heed to them accordingly. 

The Kinds of Personalities Michele Fletcher Comes In Contact With
I have everybody. Everybody has a personality. I have the quiet, timid, the passive mild mannered, the passive aggressive. I have the aggressor. I have everybody, so everybody's attitude and work position is different and we just handle it as a business. It's a business first, but if you want to handle it as a comfort zone, if you want to have special treatment and things like that, there are some people on my line that has nothing to do with reality shows. They're just normal human beings. 

Not Every Reality Star Writes Autobiographies
Rashidah Ali wrote a fiction book. Who else do you we? Somaya Reece is writing about health and fitness, so it's not reality in reference to (reality). It's only one person that really wrote on their life. It was an autobiography, so editing it was very different. It was compelling. You don't know which way to turn when someone is trying to tell America something and let everything out.

How Michele Fletcher Takes A Break From The Business World
Family helps me get that reasoning. It gives me a sense of calm because when I'm dealing in my life with work everyday it's hard. I can tell you all of the experience of everybody's life comes on me, dealing with people, this process in life, you know feeling for them as a person, but then you have to deal with the contract of everything, so I would say family. For me, how I relax is visiting family, spending time with family, spending time with my loved ones. I don't do that without goodness at hand, meaning that I'm always working with my family. So my family sometimes kinda says, 'Can you put the phone down? Can you put the computer down? The phone stopped ringing.'

I love the water. Water brings peace to me. I love to be at peace. I love to write. Sometimes as an entrepreneur you feel your company is not going to go on without you, but sometimes you have to make it go on without you, because you can't let it control you. You  can't let it take over you. 

Whether Or Not The Authors Get Along
I have over 120 women and yes we spotlight reality. We spotlight a lot of stars from it. But you've got a ton people with more issues than reality people do. Sometimes I think they need a reality show.

One particular LFF author that is not from reality shows is Shari Solomon. Shari is an adult entertainer from Miami.

I try to be a mother figure to these women, but I also have to stand firm on my job. It's more of when you're dealing with women on their everyday life and they're coming to you because they have a story, they write a story, they get information on publishing, they cannot function on doing their job as an author because they have life issues. So when their life issues become a problem then it takes over their job as an author. Then they cannot do their job as an author, and when they can't do their job as an author then their in trouble being an author. One thing leads to another and it's just a constant back and forth, so you have to keep them straight and on the narrow. You have to keep them straight understanding life, understanding this is a job.

The misconception of Authors
The misconception of author is they believe, 'I write a book. I've done my job.' But there are a million authors out here. So what sets you apart? You have to be about your job and that's hard, and a lot of authors don't attach the two. And when they don't attach the two it becomes problematic when its down to the nitty gritty for the sales and how you sale, and they have to have marketing, and how do they get their product out, and how do they do this, and how do they do that.

The Demands Authors Have And How They Reveal Self Esteem Issues
I have one author says that she can't write unless a fireplace is on or she lives through the characters that she's writing about because she wish she could have done something in her life when she was a child. She wish she could have followed her career as wanting to be a doctor. She didn't follow her career, so all her characters in her fiction book are about things she wish she could have accomplished. Then you have the writer who is always abusing men in the books, because they're being sent home by their men. 

In any publishing house business is writing period. It has a lot to do with self esteem and how women take time with themselves. 

 You can find out more about LFF Publishing on their website.

Punishment Can Make Or Break A Child's Self Esteem

Punishment can make or break a child's self esteem. I learned how to stand up for myself as a child.

In the latest Life Class episode Dr. Shefali Tsabary talked about new methods of parenting. Punishment was one of the main focuses of the conversation and soon an audience member chimed in about his experiences. He said when he thinks back on how his parents raised him, he's grateful. He said he was grateful for being grounded and for other old school methods. However, not everyone feels the same way.

Some children grow up and become grateful for being hit with a belt, but more often they don't. Some are scarred for life and some become more defensive toward everyone else. I remember getting in trouble growing up and it made me more mad than anything else. What was I doing wrong? No one explained it to me. I was hurt by someone who was supposed to love me. I was mad and hurt every time I got hit with a belt, was sent to my room, or was screamed at.

There was a time I was given the latest R. Kelly C.D. My mom took me to the store, let me pick it up, and paid for it at the cash register. I was so happy. We made it home and I listened to it for as long as I could. However, family members were in town. They found out what my mom had done and told her I was too young to be listening to that kind of music. She immediately took the C.D. away. I was so mad that I stood up for myself. I said something along that lines of how I really wanted it and it wasn't fair that it was being taken away from me after already being given to me. She couldn't handle that, so she took a belt in front of everyone and beat me. I spent the rest of that night in my room crying and becoming more angry. I had to be angry. If I wasn't angry, how would I ever be able to stand up for myself? How would I ever be able to handle anyone who thought I didn't deserve something or just didn't see the best for me?

So I did have some times where people walked all over me. They bruised my ego and then wondered why I wasn't as happy as they thought I should be. However, I recovered and toughened up.

The girl who went from being my best friend in high school to making threats on my life (she even told a teacher) tried to become friends again once I was in college. You know how Facebook brings people back into your life without actually being in your life. She found me on Facebook and I accepted the request. I pressed accept because it was a way of saying, "I forgive you," but at the same time I was not the gullible 14 year old anymore. I forgave her. I really did. However, I couldn't be best friends again. We couldn't exchange secrets and laugh together anymore. The time had past. I couldn't be as open with her. It upset her and she soon disappeared out of my life again, but I stood up for myself. I knew what was best for me.

The anime obsessed man didn't understand how we were not equally yoked. I was in college and he was a couple years older than me. However, he acted as if he was 18. He hung around a lot of young people, wasn't enrolled in school, and could barely hold onto a job. I liked him upon meeting him, but quickly realized that a relationship wasn't going to work out. I had to stand up for myself and rejecting him pissed him off. I pissed him off more than once. The first time I told him I wasn't that interested in him, the second I left somewhere that he was with one of his male friends, and the last time he tried was before a birthday. He asked me to help him plan it out, but then when it came I purposely didn't show up. Nothing says, "We're not meant to be together" faster than not showing up for their birthday. But I knew what was good for me.

Actually, being punished as a child taught me more than how to stand up for myself. It taught me how to be secretive, how to be gentle with others, and how to hurt another person. That last part makes me afraid of becoming a mother. I don't want to hurt my future child for than left him/her up.

If you were punished as a child, what did it teach you?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

High Self Esteem Is…? #SundayReflections

High self esteem is knowing I can make it across the monkey bars at 27 years of age. Yeah, I was at the park swinging, climbing the monkey bars, and even rocking back and forth on the animal things. I really believe that kids have the highest self esteem.

Kids are pure. Their imaginations have no boundaries, they still believe they can be whatever they want to be, and they base their goals around having fun. They may not call their plans goals, but they sure do follow through with whatever they put their minds to.

They have lots of fun at the park. They plan play dates with other children and then ask for the permission from parents. They decide on the new toys that they want without having any money to buy those toys. Even in professional establishments like the doctor's office or a restaurant, a kid doesn't let everyone else's somber moods stop him/her from getting up and making his/her own fun.

Recently I read a horrifying story of child abuse. A woman was arrested for beating her 6 year old to the point that school officials had to send the child to the hospital. She broke bones in the child's bottom and the child had some damage to his head from getting hit. This beating came from a report card where the child had an N. N stands for needs improvement. Actually N on a report cards stands for nothing at 6 years old. This doesn't determine whether that child will grow up to be a doctor or a live on the streets. It doesn't determine whether his 12th grade report card will be all A's or even if he'll be making $150,000 per year when he's an adult. That fact that she beat him wasn't the scary part. It was the fact that at such a young age he has been taught to get rid of his imagination with no boundaries. He has been taught that grades are more important than being a happy kid. He's been pushed into the world of stress at a very young age.

To me high self esteem is having no limits in doing whatever you put your mind to. Kids know how to do that until you take it away from them.

#RUN! Beyonce & Jay-Z Have Movie Trailer Fun #OnTheRun

Jay-Z and Beyonce are using Bonnie & Clyde as inspiration for creativity again. As the controversy between the Carter and Knowles family has started to die down, the Carter clan gave us something new to talk about.

Over night Bey & Jay released a movie trailer titled "Run." As we all know they will be starting up and "On The Run" tour soon, but is this why the trailer was made. I'm guessing it was released months in advance as a way to turn bad press into good press. Anyway, I'm loving it. It's all for fun though. The end of the video says "Coming Never."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

(Music) Jeremih~ Don't Tell 'Em

"Body like the summer, fucking like no other." Unlike many other artists that have appeared on the Love & Hip Hop franchise, Jeremih is showing us that can he still come hard with the music. This year we've been used to hearing his voice on Ludacris' Party Girls song, but Jeremih has his own new music out.

Although it's called "Don't Tell Em," we're pretty sure Jeremih wants us to hear this new song. The lyrics follow a popular theme out right now. He's asking for a companion, but at the side time telling that special girl his in life not to tell anybody how he worked her in the bedroom. Remember that scene where Jeremih was being nosy at the door as Karlie Redd had words with Yung Joc. Now we not what it's about. He likes to keep his goodies on the down low. Listen to "Don't Tell Em" below.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Stella's Reminder To Continuously Get Her Groove Back

Stella always needs to get her groove back, or at least find a groove.

The times of making plans with others just for them to not show up were horrible times. There was one time not too long ago where I invited a friend to go clubbing and even said I'd pay for her. I knew money was that tight for her and I wanted to have fun without being alone. However, she decided not to go. In fact, she acted like she had forgotten about it the day of.

Although this was recently, it happened often in college. There were times when I just wanted to hang with friends or go out and no one was around. Obviously my time was too invested in others. Then came this Je'Caryous Johnson play. I asked several people about attending and most said they would think about it. In my mind this play was not something to wait for others before deciding to go. Without having a car and no plan to ride the bus there, I bought the ticket. It was really a quick walk to the place the play was held at and someone had offered to pick me up after. So I went nervously but left feeling renewed. The play was excellent, the actors were hilarious, and I did something I had been wanting to do for a while without dragging anyone else along.

Every once in a while I get so wrapped up in the stresses of life that I have to remind myself to get my groove back. In figuring out how to get my groove back, I remind myself that it's not hard. I don't need a bunch of friends around to have fun. I don't need to operate on someone else's time to finally get out the house. I can create memories all on my own. Below are my current ways of creating these memories.

  • Socially Clubbing

This basically means every once in a while I hit up a club alone. Sometimes it can be awkward and sometimes it can create memories you otherwise wouldn't have with a group of friends around. I took a friend to a club I liked to go to alone and she didn't even like it.

  • Dating
Some women like their friends to meet their current man, but living on the wild side is cool too. Plus, I'd rather show my future husband to the world and if he doesn't fall into that category of long term relationship, "Keep it on the down low, nobody has to know." 
  • Dinner & A Movie
Or it could also be either dinner or a movie. I like to eat expensively and eating alone is better than with others. When other people are around they love to stare down your throat as you chew each and every bite of your food. I don't like people watching me eat. On the other hand watching movies alone makes it so much easier to concentrate on the movie. 

  • The Park
On a date the park can be turned into a romantic place, but alone it holds the answers to all of my deepest questions. Okay, maybe there are no answers. But there is lots of walking, a nice breeze, and I can easily listen to a majority of the songs on my iPhone because it's calming.

These aren't particularly done in any order and definitely not all at the same time, but they are ways for me to let go of the stress-filled environments that I spend the majority of the week operating in. What do you do to get your groove back, or even keep a groove? 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

(Music) Reminder by Cal & Jay Jefe

"I know some of the realest niggas and they all with me." If you ever wonder what artists are keeping Hip Hop alive, Cal and Jay Jefe are on the list.

Together they form the group FM and they're giving us real life issues in their lyrics. In their new song Reminder, Cal and Jay talk about various topics such as smoking weed, goals, and getting to the money. "Sell my shit full of dreams more." Listen below.

Find them on twitter at @AHigherCaliber and @_strippas.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

CUT THAT D*CK OFF (Cut Her Off Remix)

"It ain't nothing to cut that dick off." My favorite summer anthem was just released. If you loved Tiny and Shekinah on Family Hustle, you'll  love them even more now. They've remixed K. Camp's Cut Her Off. 

"You thought you was something cause I let you lick the cat. Had to let you go cause I see you really whack." 

"I need G's. You ain't got it so you can't fuck with me." Listen below. 

Shattered Vision

Blood ran down her hand as she shattered the bathroom mirror. After 15 pictures back to back she still couldn't come up with a flattering image. No one would like those; not on Facebook or twitter, and not even on Instagram. If she couldn't get attention online, how could she ever step into the real world? 

Her butt didn't look big enough on the counter. The camera enhanced the bump that proudly sat in the middle of her forehead. Her skin was just brown; not sweet chocolate so good you can taste it before biting into it brown and not the cookies and cream brown everyone loved to stare at. It was just plain brown. At least that's what she saw. 

In some of the pictures she desperately made flirty faces and tried to look different ways to appear closer to her age. Even if it meant posing at weird angles and even if it meant standing in front of a stove pretending to cook, she was doing what she thought she needed to do. Everyone reminded her that she looked so much younger, so she was desperately trying to erase the little girl images. She wasn't little anymore. She was an adult. She wanted to be told she had the assets that every man wanted, not that she still looked 15. 15 year olds had to prove themselves. She was tired of proving herself to the world, but she didn't know how to just be herself?  

How could she ever survive in corporate America? People with low self esteem get preyed on. How could she ever get to that fairytale love life? If she struggled to see perfection, no man would ever see it.  How could she ever stand up to the haters? She was her number one hater? She internalized what everyone else felt about her and attempted to change over and over again just to impress them. She lost sight of anything that excited her. She attempted to put her goals to the side because more people were getting frustrated than actually supporting her. She imagined 10, 20, 30 years going by and wondered if she would ever be comfortable with settling for less than she deserved. 

"Do you know how powerful you are?"

She had heard over and over again that she had this power to change. She could change into a woman that made impressive achievements. She could become so powerful that she would change some man's world. She even had the power to bring life into the world. However, the more she thought about this power the harder it became to recognize it within herself. What power? 

And then she cried. So much was wrong with her that she couldn't see the good. As she picked up a piece of the broken mirror she looked for beauty within herself, but couldn't find it. She cried harder as she searched for strength. She was trapped within her own sadness, but didn't know how to escape from it. She needed help, but couldn't do it alone. How could she start this road to recovery? Was it even achievable? She contemplated suicide, but didn't want to bring any more pain into others lives. 

So I just found out that it is Mental Health Month. If you see someone suffering, reach out and try to help. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Diddy's Howard University Commencement Speech

"Do you know how powerful you are?" Whether you call him P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, or now Dr. Combs, there is no doubt that he is one powerful man. However, he definitely wanted the graduating class to know they are just as powerful.

The spring 2014 graduating class at Hampton University was blessed last Saturday with an amazing commencement speech from Combs. Watch below.

Using Short Hair As A Step To Repairing Self Esteem

August 2011 I was looking for me. Not the girl who kept getting her feelings hurt and not the girl people took glory in trying to boss around. I wasn't looking for the girl who could settle for a boring, but comfortable situation that would make someone else happy. I was looking for what Lashuntrice wanted.

In Self Esteem Is Not Formed Out of Thin Air I wrote a little about seeing a girl in the mirror that people see as irrelevant up until the point that they've pushed her to the edge of the cliff. In order to function, to get someone to even notice my effort, my success, I have to always be standing at the edge of the cliff.

That was one of the reasons why I got the big chop back in September of 2011. No one was expecting me to do it. For months I'd been wearing wigs over my permed hair. At the same time I was bored with life, tired of always hearing about what I was doing wrong, tired of living under someone else's roof, tired of my surroundings, and just needed to do something different. It was time to cut if all off and make another big change. I took having short natural hair as a step to finally be able to start doing me with no excuses.

Once you change your hair, you either become super confident or you go crazy like Britney Spears.

Actually, taking steps to do what I needed to do for myself wasn't that easy. It is still a huge struggle and I'm working on putting instinct before doubt.  At one point I felt like all I needed was time and I could achieve anything. Then a time came where all I heard was the economy is horrible, that I should wait for everything until later even though later was at that moment, and all the things that people felt I was doing wrong. People talk about being strong, but it's incredibly hard to be strong when you're hearing way more negativity than positivity. So I used my hair as my coping mechanism.

Some things are out of my control. Unless I'm wearing heels, I can't become any taller, or try to fix the weather to the perfect temperature, or even change the way anyone else is thinking. However, I have control over my life and the first step for me has always been my hair. When I desperately wanted to have free flowing braids, I finally had them my freshman year of college. The girl who did them practically braided them down to my butt and I loved it. It did wonders for my confidence and responses to ignorance. When I wanted to get braver in life, I did bright red braids to show just how brave I could be. It was about more than a hairstyle. So when I took the short hair leap, I just knew then that it would do wonders for my confidence in other areas of my life. I can't really explain the changes in my self esteem to you. That's up to you to judge.

Friday, May 9, 2014

(Guest Post) How Others Opinions Affected My Views On Myself

It was difficult for me to write this. Between working 40 hours a week, maintaining my 2 side hustles, being an entrepreneur, my strict workout routine of 20 minutes cardio, 400 squats, 200 push-ups, and lifting about 150 lbs.…..I mean how could I find the time? I also have to pre plan my meals of baked protein no seasoning, asparagus and card boa…I mean rice cakes. When I’m done, it’s a must I get my hair, eyebrows and nails done because I have to look incredible; after all, I am single (wink wink). The little time that remains in my schedule is reserved for taking pictures of everything I do and see, then posting them on all 30 of my social media sites so I can get a bunch of likes and comments from loved ones and people who don’t really care!
Now that I have driven away some readers that probably think I am either stuck up or judgmental, allow me to introduce myself. Hi! My name is Melanie and I am a 28 year old who went from collecting checks to….well….ummm….collecting checks; I just work now. I am 5 feet 9 inches and well over the 150-160 lbs. my doctor says I should be. I have my Bachelors in sarcasm, my Masters in Oh snap! I really don’t give a damn, and if you’re still reading this blog, then allow me to give you V.I.P access to what really goes on when the curtains close.
The truth is I did have difficulty writing this blog. Not due to the lack of my time, but because self-esteem is a subject I often avoid.  I was never the girl who spent countless hours getting ready in front of a mirror, or the girl who bashfully giggled at the sound of her crush’s joke. Instead, I was the girl in Nikes and sweats with my hair tied up playing tag, basketball or any activity that involved not being cute. Growing up I often wondered why the boys in my class never liked me. I guess they figured if they wanted someone to play video games or basketball with, they would call their friends. I was all about having fun, not swapping spit or practicing how to make babies. (At the time…*wink* *wink*) I’m just joking. Anyways, not being liked had a huge impact on my self-esteem.  From that point on I thought I was never pretty enough.
I figured in high school something had to change. There is no way in hell that I could come from a private school of just 30 students per grade, to a public high school of over 400 students, and still not have a boyfriend! By the beginning of 11th grade, I figured it is time to give it up. No one wanted my ass! I even encountered more issues. Girls turned their noses up at me, started fights with me, and guys walked straight past me as if my soul didn’t exist. I finally ended the 11th grade with a boyfriend, only to get cheated on months later. High school wasn’t always a nightmare, but it sure felt like hell some days.
I’ll spare you the long autobiography of how the rest of my life went. In a nutshell, I wasn’t the most popular, my personal life wasn’t quite stable, and as I got older I was cheated on, physically abused, and raped. I’m sure you can imagine by now that I was called every name that had nothing to do with positivity. After all of the hurt I encountered with exes, family and friends, I was ready to buy a $500 weave, some breast and butt implants and invest in some lypo. One day an anonymous co-worker slipped a lot of laser hair removal coupons in my drawer while I wasn’t at work. It was then I knew everyone was in agreement of my ugliness.
My self-esteem dropped so low, that even the devil prayed for me. I mastered how to get dress and style my hair without a mirror, and I began to believe that everyone who showed interest in me either wanted sex or to use me for something else. If anyone called me things like pretty, gorgeous, or beautiful, I was convinced they were a walking lie!
Now I can sit here and lie to you by saying I now believe I’m beautiful and no one can bring me down, however I’ve been transparent this far so why cover up now. I know that God has created an absolutely beautiful woman on the inside. I am caring, intelligent, loving, respectful, honest, giving, humble…..the list goes on. I understand that I should not allow another human being to break me down and have a huge negative impact on the way I view myself. Just a few months ago I came to terms that no matter how many squats I do, or bottles of Nair I buy, I’ll never have an ass like Nicki and I will forever be more hairy than the grizzly at the zoo. Point is, I will never be beautiful, sexy, accepted, liked, or loved in the eyes of many…..BUT I’LL ALWAYS BE MEL: Maximizing Everyone’s Love! Too corny? Ok what about Motivating Extraordinary Leaders? Screw it…Just remember that if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? You are beautifully and wonderfully made!

~Confessions of a Poetic Angel

You can find Melanie Anderson over on twitter at @theregoesmel.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

#TheSkinImIn Self Esteem & Sexual Satisfaction

When a man puts it down just right birds are chirping in the middle of the night, flowers bloom in the middle of winter, the neighbors learn both our names, morning time comes before either of us can fall asleep, and cuffing season doesn't seem so bad. 

That is an exaggeration. When a man really gives you good ass sex you feel refreshed. You feel like you can achieve anything just because he made your night. However, when the sex is bad so many doubts run across your mind. Even when the sex is good and it continues to go on, it'll eventually get bad when the right components aren't there. I'm talking about really liking each other, having a relationship, creating a bond, and moving to new levels. 

It was a hot April day when I called him up. Let's just call him the convenient one. I was bored and had been driving around for a few hours, but was currently at a park. It was only the middle of the day and I wasn't ready to head back home. At the time I was still living with my parents, so I called the convenient one up. He just happened to be home and said I could come over. I had been single for a couple of months. It was the type of single where I was always solo and cool with it, but during that time my hormones were raging and I just needed to be around some testosterone. I actually didn't go to the convenient one's house to have sex. It just happened that way. But happened next was also something I didn't want. 

He wanted me to keep coming around. He was cool with it. However, I wasn't his type. He liked girls with long hair, were into anime, and liked to chill. I did have something he liked and that was a short stature. He liked short girls. But I wasn't the type that liked to sit around for fun and had a fetish for cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Plus I started to get real bored with seeing him. He wasn't offering me anything new or exciting and it was affecting my self esteem. What was wrong with the convenient one that he couldn't at least try to impress me? 

He was having a conversation with my best friend. We'll call him that fraternity guy. While they were talking they discussed everything from college majors to traveling and future career choices. They were having a real conversation, but I was crushing hard. She told me to talk to the frat guy and see where it could go. He gave me his phone number online and I called him. Two sentences into the conversation I was so nervous that I skipped all the important topics and brought up sex. Then we really had something to talk about. We made plans to meet up, but what the Hell? Did he only want me for sex? I had put myself in the situation. Was I only good enough for a moment or two? 

At the time I thought I wasn't even good enough for sex with him because we never even got to that point. The frat guy was too afraid to act on it. He made up some crazy excuse, but I knew he was afraid of messing with me on that level. This frat guy was actually a good guy. I took it as something being wrong with me though. 

The late night creep was my favorite, but not because of his personality. Between blogging and working odd hours, it didn't seem like I had time for dating. However, the late night creep was persistent and a night owl like me. We met up a couple times at different places before he invited me over to his house one night. What started out as normal conversation ended up as some great ass sex. What made it great was the fact that I was lost in the moment and didn't even care. It was out of the norm and something unordinary was what I need all the time needed at the time. We continued up until it no longer seemed spontaneous and fun. 

Well, the late night creep also said shit that irritated me. He would mention how he didn't want a relationship. I wasn't pressuring him. However, he wanted his ego stroked too much. I didn't want to say his name during sex. That was too personal. I also didn't want to fulfill fantasies he had. I used his requests as the way of ending it. As far as self esteem goes, the late night creep left me alone for a minute and then persisted to do some things that would make a good story line for an original Lifetime movie. He was only interested in me sexually, but wanted to try to ruin my state of mind because I was done with him. Dealing with him made me question my own sanity for a second, so I guess his actions worked. 

You make room for what you want. I'm pretty sure at this point that the key to sexual satisfaction and high self esteem is all about creating a bond, making that relationship official, and creating new levels to keep the romance fresh. At least getting involved with men just for sex isn't the answer. 

Do you have any stories that involve your self esteem being affected by sex? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

(Guest Post) What A Nameless Stranger Taught Me About Self Esteem

 I wholeheartedly believe someone screwed up by coining the expression, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Because, whoever conjured up that phrase was clearly a god or goddess among us mere mortals.

Last week, a nameless and faceless commenter called me a “naive little shit” following a post I contributed to another site. And, yes, it hurt me. It was the kind of comment that friends kept telling me to ignore. They told me it didn’t matter. They assured me that the person was an idiot and I didn’t need to care because I had gotten published on a popular website. And, in retrospect, all of those things were true. But, none of them mattered the first time I noticed that someone I never met threw such palpable venom my way.

Writing is personal, and maybe I lost sight of that when I opted to expose my writing to an audience I had never known. So, when someone spewed acid at me, it felt personal. It felt like a match lit to all of my hard work and the confidence in my ability to string sentences together. It was a blatant strike at the very words in which I took so much pride. It was a needle to my balloon of excitement after having been published on a well-known site. It was a poke, prod and punch at my self-esteem. I questioned whether or not it was a good idea to have submitted the piece. I wondered if I really was just another twenty-something with an inflated ego that did not match her life experience. I didn’t doubt my ability to write, but more so my ability to connect with other people in a positive way through my work. I worried that all of this time I had been blinded by a biased line of cheerleaders who had been so supportive of my work.

But, those doubts and anxieties did not fester for long. It only took a day or two to embrace the experience for what it was—part of the growing pains that come along with being online writer. Ironically enough, when I submitted the piece and had to select why I wanted to be published on this site, I clicked the option that said, “To grow as a writer.” And I did grow as a writer. I learned that you are not necessarily weak or fragile because someone’s words affect you. Instead, you are strong and tenacious for deciding just how much and just how long you allow those words to affect you.

Maybe I say all of this to say that other people, even strangers, do have the capacity to affect our self-esteem. Maybe they don’t affect it permanently. Maybe they don’t affect it for long. But, they do have the capacity to affect it. They have the capacity to leave an imprint on us, even if only for a moment. Even if it is the kind of imprint that soon fades as our emotional shape is restored back to its original form. Words are paramount. Words are what I have built my career on. Words are what I have built my relationships on. Words are what I have built a good fraction of my self-esteem on. Words matter, especially when it comes to how we perceive, respect and, ultimately, love ourselves.

Tyece is the creator of Twenties Unscripted where she writes a sincere, sassy and sometimes smart-assy take on growing up. You can follow her@tyunscripted.

Monday, May 5, 2014

(Guest Post) My Friend Had To Remind Me I Was Beautiful

Do you know that you're beautiful? The following is a guest post writing by La'Janee Cosby of I Can Repeat It. She talks all about how she realized she was beautiful.
Many have high self-esteem. But not too many people actually value their beauty.
In this life, we're taught to be honest, work, pay bills, and do the best we can. And somehow in between doing those things we're supposed to remember to have self-esteem. We're to remember that we are beautiful, competent, and worthy. That's what we're supposed to know, right? What about valuing our beauty, our natural beauty?
Whose responsibility is it to teach us this? Is it our parents or friends? Or is it our responsibility to teach ourselves about our own self-worth?
For as long as I can remember, I've always had high self-esteem. Yes, I was picked on because I was always the heavier chick in school, and some guys didn't want to date me because it wasn't cool to be seen with a big girl. But yet and still I accepted myself and knew I was beautiful. Of course, I dealt with a few insecurities but all in all I knew who I was. But it wasn't until I graduated from college that I actually valued my beauty and who I was. 
One day I was on the phone with a guy that I was dating, and he was telling me that he admired me and my beauty. And I was like, 'oh ok.' I knew he liked my curves, my full thighs and lips, long hair, and my ASSets. So, when he said this I wasn't excited. I guess he could tell in my voice that I thought he was just going on and on talking about my physique and I wasn't moved.
The conversation continued and he said, "I really admire your beauty. You're a very beautiful woman. Yes, I like your body but your smile and your skin are beautiful. You don't need any make-up. You're naturally beautiful. “He continued and talked about my gap and the things that made me so attractive. He even talked about my accomplishments and my hustle mentality.
Once we hung up, I started to think about what he said. All my life, I had self-esteem but I didn't value my beauty. I didn't realize that my gap was a flaw that was imperfectly perfect. I had no idea that my dark chocolate smooth skin was something that many people admired. I was oblivious to the fact that I'm a natural beauty.
From that moment on, I was less afraid of not wearing make-up. I would go bare faced with just a little gloss and be just fine. I started to pay attention to my beauty and most of all I started to appreciate it.Sometimes we just need that one somebody to break it down for us and help us see the big picture. And I'm glad that my friend told me that I was beautiful. At the time, I didn't even know that I didn't value my beauty. It wasn't until we had that discussion that I believed that I was beautiful. It’s funny what a person can teach you about yourself.
Who taught you that you were beautiful or handsome (for the men)?

#TheSkinImIn Giving A Man Total Control Will Affect Your Self Esteem

I absolutely hate the idea of a man making me. I hate the idea that my success is dependent on a man always being there to guide my way and that I'm nothing without him. That's why reality television became a little too real during the 3rd installment of this season's Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion.
As I stated in the Self Esteem Is Not Formed Out of Thin Air post, this month is dedicated to self esteem topics. So let's get the story out of the way before we get to the problem.

Phaedra and her husband must have had a major conversation before the taping of the reunion, because they teamed up to throw shade at Kenya. They threw so much shade that Kenya couldn't even respond. KENYA DID NOT RESPOND. However, Kenya's silence wasn't what had me shocked. It was what Apollo said to her. Apollo told her that she has no storyline and he made her. He also said if he goes to prison she needs to send him some money to add to his bank. He created a place for her in his mind and went straight below the belt with his attack. It's horrible when a man tells his wife that he made her. It's a whole new level of insanity when a man tells another woman while his wife is sitting next to him that he made her.

What is up with these men and ultimately needing control over everything and everyone ? I get the idea of letting a man be the head of the household. I even get allowing a man to think he's in control when you're really the one running things. I just struggle with the idea of a man trying to take all power away from a woman by using those words toward her.

I grew up and adopted a lot of family into my life. They weren't my blood, but they became family and one thing some of them didn't realize at first was that my dad wasn't my biological dad. I don't have one of those stories where I never knew my biological dad or he died when I was very young. He's very much alive and more than likely despises me. At least that's the rumor that's been handed over to me. Even without the rumor, I gave him a lot of my power as a youth.

I did what I thought I was supposed to do and that was communicate with him. However, after talking to him or attempting to I was always left feeling sad. When I did have his number I used to call him every single birthday. This was done for a couple years straight, but in 27 years I never received a call from him on my birthday. He'd either cut our conversations extra short because of the long distance bill or ignore my calls altogether. He rejected my high school graduation invitation before I could even give him an exact day it would be on. Do you see how a girl could feel hurt after all of this? But I'm not totally innocent.

At some point in college I became tired of giving my power away to these men. Whether my blood or some random guy, I was just tired. Lashuntrice had to be in charge of her life. So years ago my grandfather on that side of the family passed away and I had to be there. I called an uncle and asked to stay with him. I was no longer giving my biological dad the power to hurt me. He didn't even want to claim me in any way other than a last name anyway. However, I had to come in contact with him. He was hurting because his father had just passed. He was grieving and then on top of that he had to see daughters that he'd never bothered to raise. When we did speak for more than 2 seconds we ended up getting into an argument. I was so mad at myself, because I let him take me to an ugly place and once again snatch power away from me.

Last time I heard his voice he was very cold. I later heard a rumor that he was claiming I had told him I was not his daughter. While those words never came from me, it was a reminder that men have these damn control issues. Even when they don't do any positive shit for you, they want you to bow down to them. They want respect and admiration, but if you don't give them that then they'll try their best to make you feel horrible. I cannot support this.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gabourey Sidibe Answers "How Are You So Confident?"

Via Twitter
"How are you so confident?" Some questions absolutely suck. However, some people know exactly how to respond to any question that gets thrown their way. "How are you so confident?"

Recently at the Gloria Awards and Gala, Gabourey Sidibe gave a very touching speech on confidence. Below is my favorite part of her speech. "How are you so confident?" "I'm an asshole." Read the excerpt below and click on the link to read the whole speech.

"How are you so confident?" "I'm an asshole!" Okay? It's my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I'm an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. They wanted the best life for me, and they didn't know how to verbalize it. And I get it. I really do. They were better parents to me than they had themselves. I'm grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, because if they hadn't made me cry, I wouldn't be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears] If I hadn't been told I was garbage, I wouldn't have learned how to show people I'm talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn't have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn't told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn't tried to break me down, I wouldn't know that I'm unbreakable.

Read the speech here

Thursday, May 1, 2014

#PreachersDaughters Tori Elliott Talks About Overcoming Struggles

Via her Instragram Tori Elliott shared with us a poem and message about overcoming pain. The second season of Preachers Daughters is almost over and the daughters this season have faced some tough issues.

Kolby faced lots of embarrassment as Victoria Koloff came up with new ways to educate her youngest daughters on no sex before marriage. Kolby's older sister Teryn Koloff Chapin was really the daughter with the issues as she faced marital problems.

Taylor Coleman battled her feelings as her dad went through dialysis because of kidney failure. In the last episode we saw good news. Her mother was a match, so he could get a kidney transplant right away.

Then there was Meagan Cassidy, a new face to the show. She was struggling with being a normal teenage girl that crushes on boys and sometimes get caught up in bad situations. At the same time her father was transitioning into being a full time pastor. It's hard to be a teenager who likes the idea of smoking weed and kissing boys when your father is a full time pastor.

While the other girls had serious issues, there is always one that needs more help than others. That girl just happened to be Tori Elliott. Tori had her heart broken severely by a man who asked her to marry him and then he disappeared. She also joined one of the toughest careers fields, becoming a police officer, but couldn't handle the pressure. Initially she seemed like she just loved to party too much, but it was just the surface of what she was going through. We witnessed Tori drinking a lot, smoking weed, and taking all kinds of pills. However, there is a happy ending. After the last episode she posted a message to her Instagram account. Read below.

I wrote this the night I decided to tell someone about what I was going through. I'm not telling anyone this to feel sorry for me I'm telling you this so that you can SEE it DOES and it WILL get BETTER!! I promise! Don't give up on life!! If you can just make it through one more SECOND, one more MINUTE, one more'll feel so much better one day. #StayStrong #StayAlive

I'm inspired by how all of these girls are able to tell their stories. They are preachers daughters and they are all being judged much harder than the rest of us. They are all brave. 

If Only For One Night (Poem)

The following poem is free-writing. I was listening to a song and this is the result. Enjoy! 

If only for one night, wrap your arms around me. 

As the air-conditioner cools the home down, try your best to hold me tight. I can see it in your eyes that you’re not the loving type, but try your best to make me feel special. 

I’ve rehearsed this moment a thousand times, how to get you to notice me, the moment we’d finally be alone face to face, how your lips taste, how many rounds the sex could last. 

But please don’t rush the night. Let’s do it in slow motion, finding out a little more about each other, like what’s your favorite color again, and what’s your ideal place to take me to. 

Even if we never see each other again, seven whole days you’ll have forgotten about me already, let’s set the mood, a small lamp illuminating the room, highlighting the beauty of my brown skin against your brown skin as I ride you, or you take control, sex so good have me screaming out your name, still dreaming about you weeks later, making me wonder how can something so good hurt you so much. 

But pain is pleasure and tonight you’re allowed to hurt me good. Even if being with you is wrong, let’s abandon the rules and have crazy sex.