B.A.M.N.

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I’m exasperated with the fact that I am forced to write about another unarmed Black person being gunned down by the police. What’s most disturbing to me is that so many people still don’t understand why we are upset. We continue to protest in an attempt to get national attention and recognition, yet the protests end with no resolution and little to no change with police brutality against Black people. America just continues on with business as usual. That’s exactly what America is: A business.

22 year old father of two, Stephon Clark was shot 8 times in his back by the Sacramento police department. He was shot in his own backyard. Allegedly, his cell phone looked like a gun. Someone thought it was important to say “he was running from the police.” Wouldn’t you run from a group of people that are notorious for killing people that look like you without consequence? Running from the police is not a crime. Saying something that’s considered a smart remark to the police isn’t a crime. Even when a crime is committed, the punishment does not equal death.

There is always some twisted justification made by people when it comes to the killings of Black people at the hands of the police, yet a White male can go kill 17 kids and the media creates empathy for the shooter. The surviving students get major media attention and support. Their faces are placed on major magazine covers. We, however, are never allowed to be victims. Even our corpses are criminalized. Our plight is constantly over shadowed. That’s why there was a need for the creation of The Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s constantly encouraged to silence our pain because the world doesn’t want to hear it. Many of us are suffering from PTSD because of our plight, and having to walk into offices filled with White Americans that are all too eager to share their uneducated opinions and biases about recent Black horrific events makes it worse. It’s stressful to have daily examples to remind you that the system was never set up to help or protect people that look like you.

Stephon Clark’s brother Stevante Clark has been ridiculed for his CNN interview with Don Lemon. It seems that what viewers don’t realize is that Black men suffer from PTSD as well, and that tragic events such as your brother being murdered can cause your psyche to break and go in and out of realities. Their family hasn’t even had time to grieve because they have been swamped by the media since Stephon Clark’s death.

Sacramento protestors shut down the basketball arena to bring awareness to everyone about Stephon Clark’s murder. Even then, protestors had to explain to the public why this measure was necessary! Stevante Clark had to burst into a city council meeting with protestors in order to be heard.

Police officers are supposed to serve and protect civilians, but instead of serving and protecting, they have been allowed for centuries to beat, torture, bully, rape, and kill Black people without probable cause, and without punishment. Even when officers are caught on film, they are still not punished.

Until Police are held accountable for their atrocious actions, we will continue to knock down doors, barge into meetings, and stop people from viewing events like basketball games that are held with such importance. When people are desperate to be heard, respected, and granted the same human rights as everyone else but instead are being ignored and dismissed, they go into survivor mode- which means that in an effort to protect themselves and their loved ones, anything goes!

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Chill on Bruno!

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Originally posted on http://LetsTalkRaStyle.com/chill-on-bruno

A LITTLE INFO ABOUT BRUNO
I’m guessing that Bruno Mars’ multiple awards wins last month is what ignited the flame of the culture vulture (appropriation of Black culture) conversation. So, let’s talk about it. Bruno’s ethnicity is Puerto Rican. A couple of months ago he had an interview where he seemed to be livid because he was being accused of denying and/or hiding his roots. In the interview, Bruno stated “My Daddy is a Puerto Rican pimp!” He also went into grave details about growing up listening to the greats in “Black music,” and that all music can be traced back to Africa.

LET ME TAKE YOU TO SCHOOL
What is culture? Culture is the behaviors, beliefs and characteristics of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. Cultural appropriation is KIM KARDASIAN! (Just kidding, but not really). Cultural appropriation (cultural misappropriation) is the adoption STEALING the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture.” Now, let me give you a little history on Puerto Rico. Free Africans (Moors) came over to Puerto Rico with the Spaniards (Colonizers). When the Spaniards began to colonize Puerto Rico, they wanted more free labor so they began to participate in the Atlantic slave trade. Therefore Taínos (the indigenous people of Puert Rico) were combined with the African slaves.

INTERNET SURFING
I ran across a video of a popular YouTuber named Seren Sensi Aishitemasu. She is a well spoken Pro Black intellectual. But, I must admit I was disgusted to hear her comments about Bruno Mars. To say that Bruno plays up the fact that he’s racially ambiguous in an effort to continue to appropriate Black culture/music is (1) Insensitive and (2) It’s not true! To be mad at  Bruno Mars for selling records based on the way he looks is the same thing as disliking Black people because they were born Black.
If Bruno grew up listening to “Black music,” doesn’t that make it part of his culture? Seren also said he uses his racial ambiguity to jump from different music genres, such as Rock & Roll, Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop! NEWSFLASH! ALL genres of music are Black genres of music!
One thing that I do agree with from Seren is that “White people prefer Black music from non Black artist.” That’s true, but it’s always been that way! We know the colonizers love everything we have as long as we aren’t the ones providing the good (s). It sounds like the anger and outrage should be directed towards the consumer, and not towards Bruno.

I SAID WHAT I SAID
It seems like people aren’t recognizing that the Fat Joe’s and J. Lo’s of the industry grew up in the same neighborhood as the Slick Rick’s and Remy Ma’s. We have similar plights and connected history! You can’t appropriate a culture that you’re already a part of, and you certainly shouldn’t punish a person for their genetics. There are tons of celebrities that appropriate Black culture, but Bruno just isn’t one of them.

AR15s and things..

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There is no doubt that the USA has a serious issue when it comes to mass school shootings. There have been 18 reported school shootings in 2018 alone, even though this is only the 2nd month of the year. There has recently been constant conversations about the latest shooting that took place in Florida, which includes the victims’ parents and other students coming forward demanding something to be done.

It seems that everyone is blaming someone or some group of people. I read one article blaming the police for not storming into the school immediately. Apparently it’s not known that storming into a school with an active shooter isn’t police protocol. Then there are those that blame the NRA, and are focused on gun control policies like banning AR-15s. I am not a fan of the NRA by any means, and I actually feel they’re a rich and racist terrorist group. I am also not a fan of guns. However, I do believe that people should have the right to bare arms.

The real problem and cause of mass shootings or school shootings is White male patriarchy when dealing with aggression, rejection, or dare I say not being able to have their way. Could you imagine the entire world being constructed to appease and accomdate your very existence, and all of a sudden being told that you’re wrong or forbidden to do something? It could very well have you sitting on a high horse of rage- Ready to demolish anyone that stands in your way!

The privilege of White male patriarchy is further enforced after he’s killed children by trying to justify his actions with mental illness claims. At what point will this country get to the source to prevent another mass shooting of any kind? It may also be a good idea not to have schools in suburban neighborhoods so open. Anyone shouldn’t be able to just walk into a school. There should be one door for entry, and that door should have a metal detector and a security guard just like the schools in the inner cities. Perhaps the suburban schools need an armed guard. At least a guard would create a first line of defense. A first line of defense is better than arming teachers to fully engage in a shoot out if need be.

Dismantling the culture of White male patriarchy in combination with dealing with anger, rejection, and aggression is the real preventative measure, but it has to be acknowledged and addressed first.

How many more children have to die before this country gets to the root?

Sent from my iPhone

California Love

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A couple of months ago I wrote a blog titled “War on Drugs.” The article discussed how the Government consistently threw African Americans in prison if they were addicted to crack cocaine and for the use or distribution of drugs. It also discussed how currently White Americans are addicted to heroin, synthetic heroin, and prescription drugs the Government offers them free rehabilitation. Not jail time! Thanks to Twitter that blog has been revived, shared, and new comments have been added.

It has been brought to my attention by a fellow blogger and LetsTalkRaeStyle reader that some wrongs are trying to be corrected when it comes to certain drugs and jail time. In 1996 California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use.

California legalized the recreational use of Marijuana in November of 2016. Since then citizens and politicians have been discussing the possibility of releasing inmates from prison that were locked up for marijuana charges.

However, only about 4,800 people petitioned or contacted lawyers to get help with their cases due to financial reasons after the law was passed. Most inmates and their families can’t afford to pay a lawyer, court fees, and additional cost proceedings. People that have been incarcerated on marijuana charges are poor. The “war on drugs” was an attack on the poor, and petitioning the court can be expensive. The city of San Francisco decided to make an attempt to go above and beyond so, financial reasons won’t be a factor.

San Francisco’s District Attorney George Gascon is clearing all the misdemeanor convictions. The felony convictions have to be reviewed before any jail time and convictions can be downgraded/and or reduced. In order to qualify the inmate can’t have a violent conviction in addition to his or her marijuana conviction. Gascon and his team are doing all the work themselves.

Gascon is hoping that his work and efforts on this project will help create a larger discussion. Although this is just happening in San Francisco thus far, other areas of California are paying close attention to the procedure. This is a great effort that should be expanded.

It’s an attempt to correct some serious mistakes, and it helps that cases are being reviewed dated back to 1975. Hopefully the entire justice system will be revamped sooner than later. Until then Gascon is leading in taking a small step in the right direction.

Cheap Publicity

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Let’s just get right down to it. I believe that the H&M ad was done intentionally to get people, in particular Pan Africans emotionally involved for publicity. It worked people are talking about it, hell I’m talking about it via social media, and now I’ve made it a blog. Of course they are going to have their PR team put together an apology about the “insensitive ad.”

Anyone who has ever listened to an elder, read a book, or taught anything about racism knows that racist White people compare Pan Africans to monkeys and call us monkeys! Should the situation be taken lightly? Absolutely not! However, we seem to be an easy mark because many of us don’t think it’s a big deal or don’t care because “we like H&M.” I guess ignorance really is bliss.

Think about that for a moment… Publicity at your expense because you don’t even take yourselves seriously…. I wanted to just remain silent o the issue but then I wouldn’t be true to who I am and the entire reason why I started this blog was to inform the uninformed! Know that the constant attacks on Pan-African people are deliberate. If you don’t stand for yourself and people like you who will?

I will not be posting the picture of the ad because I feel the the same way about that picture as I do about fight videos! I don’t want to see them therefore I’m not sharing the image (images). I’ve given that company too much light already..

Thanks for visiting LetsTalkRaeStyle.com

 

Potty training blues

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Written by Katrina Hamilton

 

I was recently scrolling through my Facebook timeline and came across a post from a mom asking her followers for pointers on how to quickly get her daughter potty trained. Her comments section was filled with all kinds of pointers from physically disciplining the child, to bribing the child, to making the kid run around naked for an entire weekend, to taking time off work to get it done. My husband and I recently conquered the often dreaded potty training quest ourselves, and throughout the journey, I learned one important thing from it: Potty training your little one is much easier when you don’t try to force them to do it! I don’t even remember when I first started trying to potty train my daughter (yes, it took me so long that I lost track of how much time had passed!), but all I know is that I initially and unnecessarily caught the blues trying to potty train my daughter because she simply wasn’t ready.

I’m not a fan of forcing small children to do things they don’t want to do. I don’t believe in bribing them to do things to try and make them learn faster and I’m definitely not a believer in physically disciplining a child because they’re not learning at the pace that you want them to learn, so I just stopped forcing the issue. When I’d ask her if she wanted to use the potty and she said yes, I let her do it and I cheered her on. I squealed, clapped, made up songs, danced, and did everything else short of throwing a party for her to encourage her. When she didn’t want to use it, I didn’t press the issue. Because I chose this method, it took forever to get her trained! However, when she was ready, she pretty much trained herself. It literally only took her less than 2 days to go on a consistent basis! Now she even asks if she can sit on the toilet when she doesn’t even really have to go!

I said all of that to say this to all of my fellow potty training moms and dads: These stages of our babies lives are supposed to be fun, carefree, and stress free. At this age, learning is supposed to be fun for them (and us)! Every child learns at a different pace, and forcing them to do something that they’re not ready to do just adds stress to them. Also, if your child is anything like mine (who acts JUST like me), trying to force them to do something that they’re not ready to do or that they don’t want to do only makes them purposely prolong the process! Why put yourself through that?!
We as parents are already half crazy and stressed out about 85% of the time (Ok, Ok. About 95% of the time), so why not eliminate some of that stress when you can? I understand that as a proud parent, you want to be able to say that your child can keep up with everyone else’s, or even say that your child can do more at an earlier age than the average child, but is the stress on you and your little one really worth it?
My advice to those mommies and daddies who are in a hurry to rush your little ones along is this: Don’t do it! Sure you may be tired of paying $30 for a case of diapers or pull-ups every couple of weeks, and maybe you’re tired of feeling like other parents are forcing you and your child into some kind of competition with them and their children, but you owe it to your children (and your sanity) to just let them learn and grow at their own pace. These years go by lightning fast, so just relax, have fun, enjoy watching your babies grow up, and give the middle finger to anyone who tries to make you feel like you and your children aren’t keeping up!

Rake it up the re-up

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How much money did you spend on Christmas gifts? Did you add additional people to the list at the last-minute? Did you dip into your saved money to do some extra things over this holiday season? I know many people are still buying outfits for a big New Year Eve party or get together. Some of us got new outfits to sit in our families living room for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas is now over, and if you don’t have a New Year Eve outfit yet I wish you the best of luck out here. It’s important to start replenishing your cash!

You probably used your credit card too. Watch out for those interest rates. I know you still want to go to brunch on a Sunday or two after the holiday. I’m also sure you want something to eat other than holiday food. I didn’t even take any leftovers home. I can’t eat them after day 2 anyway. If you’re one of those people that don’t need to replenish any funds be it regular spending money, savings, or savings for Christmas funds next year then bravo to you! The tips I provided are not for you, but maybe you know someone that may be interested.

Below I’ve have 10 tips on revamping your stash. It’s all about discipline.

1. Go over the amount of money spent over the holidays.

2. Decide how much you want to save or replace per pay cycle.

3. Create a budget for groceries, toiletries, and gas to last you until your next pay. STICK TO THE BUDGET!

4. Don’t dine out unless someone is treating you. You’ll save so much money by eating at home.

5. You don’t have to go to every single event you’re invited to. Instead invite people over for a game or movie night.

6. Stop yourself from ordering merchandise online. You don’t need it because you’re not doing that much hanging out, remember? Refer to number 5.

7. When shopping for your toiletries get them from a store that you don’t like to be in for long periods of time like Walmart. It’ll be beneficial to get what you need, and get out of there!

8. See if there are extra hours available for you at work. If you have your own business big or small run a sale on some items or services that you provide.

9. With the money you have remaining from your pay cycle you can pay more toward your credit card balance if you used your credit card, and the rest you can stash in your savings.

10. Repeat the cycle until you are back on track with your dollars.

Happy Savings!

Meditation Stimulation

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It seems like more and more people are interested in learning the art of meditation, or just trying to relax their minds. To some folks meditation is just a fad, I mean it has become very popular and mentioned in every day discussions. For me meditation is my solitude. Meditation is my way of relaxing, connecting with the Universe, changing my reality, recharging my positive thoughts and energy, as well as a form of prayer. I began to meditate in or around 2013. It started off pretty rough for me because I have a hard time quieting my brain, and I wasn’t consistent with it. I secretly had a meditation mentor (Mashonda), so I would ask her questions and listen to the feed back that she provided others. As of today I am much better at meditating, but still not a master. I’ve even meditating with someone before.

Although I am a regular sometimes there are people and noises around my house, which takes me a little longer to get to the level in which I seek in meditation. The level that I like to achieve is the feeling of floating (astral journey/projection). I actually read that it’s recommended to readjust and realign oneself when meditating if you begin to have this experience. It’s described as an out-of-body experience, which is not encouraged. Those that teach meditation approach is to connect a person with their inner feelings, and to discover the Universe within. Sort of igniting your spirit within yourself.

So, meditation experts feel that the out-of-body experience is mentally beyond meditation. Since I don’t feel disconnected in that moment I don’t see it as an issue for me. Although I must admit I was a little blown away by myself the first time I felt the feeling of floating. It’s as if you have no body weight, and you’re being lifted in the air. I don’t always reach that level, but it’s certainly my goal.

Since there are only 4 more days left in this year, meditating is a perfect way to closeout the year. You can get rid of all of the negative feelings, sadness, pain, anxiety, and fear that may be lingering in your mind and heart through meditation. I have put together a list of 10 suggestions to help beginners or maybe even regulars meditate.

1. Focus on your breathing. Regular deep breaths: Inhaling and exhaling.

2. As you are trying to clear your mind random things will come to your mind don’t focus on pushing them out. It’s natural, and the more you focus on your breathing those thoughts will go away.

3. I have aphorisms and/or affirmations that I repeat in my mind as I am meditating. I suppose you could call this a mantra. You should create your own and repeat them in your mind.

4. If your background noises are distracting to you I suggest you plug your ear buds into your phone and put them in your ears. I listen to the album “Meditation music Collection New Age.” It’s super relaxing.

5. I usually sit in the dark Native American style or I lay flat on my back (In the bed or on the floor. It’s up to you.)

6. Know and understand that meditation takes time and patience.

7. You might fall asleep. That’s just how relaxed you’ll be. Don’t let that discourage you, it happens. Either keep going or go to sleep.

8. Many meditation sites suggest that you meditate during a certain time of the day to make it part of your routine. I am not suggesting that. When you’ve meditated about 3 times, everything in you will tell you when you need to meditate.

9. You may want to create an ambiance. If so go ahead and light some candles.

10. Don’t be afraid of the process. This is for your wellbeing.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your meditation session!

1st of the month

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It’s the first of the month! Time to set new goals! How much holiday food did you eat? I had more macaroni and cheese than I’d like to admit to eating. It’s back to the workout grind! Especially if you slowed down or didnt workout at all while you enjoyed those days off for Thanksgiving.

The beginning of the month is a great time to start new fitness goals! I’m starting a new eating plan today. Afterall losing weight is 80% of what you eat and 20% of working out. So, if you’re one of those people that hate to workout switch up the amount that you are putting on your plate. Eating on a saucer helps. If it can’t fit on the saucer it’s too much.

The meal plan I’ve created for myself is very little to no carbs/starch, little to no dairy, and I can only have something sweet (sugary) one day out the week. I’m going to go as long as I can without sweets. I’m somewhat addicted to them! Statistically it’s better to adjust the amount of your intake rather than completely removing certain foods drastically. It’s all mind over matter.

However, so many people associate food with emotions, and special occasions it makes healthy eating challenging. Every little bit counts! If you’re looking for a workout plan contact A&D Fitness, and they’ll get you together. Here is their Facebook page link➡️https://www.facebook.com/AanDFitness/ I have a great workout regimen from them that I do in my living room! You’ll definitely sweat!

Email me TheAshleyRaeBrand@gmail.com or leave a comment to let me know if you have any health goals this month. We can check each others progress and motivate each other.

Happy beginning of the month!

 

Drew Barrymore

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Random Rant: I wasn’t suppose to post this blog until December 1st, but I just heard that SZA was nominated for 5 Grammys! I’m so excited for her that I just could not wait! It makes my heart happy that someone could articulate so many different stages of growth that has affected so many people.

 

I began listening to SZA’s album “CTRL” a few months back. I hadn’t even heard her popular track “Love Galore” on the radio yet. I saw some people talking about her music on Twitter. Then I remembered hearing her on Rihanna’s album.  I always listen to new albums and artist the same way from beginning to end.

I had just arrived at the gym and climbed onto the stair climber and hit play on my IPhone. I listened to every song and interlude during my workout and finished the rest of the album on my way home. The next day I did the same thing. By the end of that week I had reviewed the lyrics and selected my favorite songs. Sza does an excellent job of boldly stating the thought and feelings that women often have when dealing with love, or what we think is love. The first track is called “Supermodel,” the very first verse sticks out tremendously. SZA sings “I’m writing this letter to let you know I’m really leaving And no, I’m not keeping your shit. Heard you got some new homies, got some new homies, even a new hoe too.” The verse may seem awkward to read, but trust me it’s quite catchy when singing.

It’s almost like Sza read the world her diary with a beat behind the words. I admire her raspy yet sultry R&B sound. Sza has been receiving tons of praise and love for her album. However, it has come to my attention that so many people are concerned about her track titled “The Weekend.” The Weekend describes Sza being in a love triangle with a man who has a woman. Her exact words are “You’re like 9-5 and I’m the weekend.”

She describes wanting him to do certain sexual things with her etc. Of course you have women on their high horse speaking negatively about the song and Sza for creating the song. In reality all Sza’s doing is telling a story that many women are familiar with. It doesn’t matter if you knew at the beginning of the situationship, or if you found out as it ended. Either way, you were still in the situation!

The topic of this song is bothersome to me because I am sick of women attacking other women, and also because there are so many other songs on the CTRL (control) album that deserve our attention! There are so many songs on the album that expresses other scenarios, feelings, and insecurities that women experience while trying to grow, find themselves, and find love that we should be highlighting and discussing! I mean that from track number 1, which is “Supermodel”all the way down to track number 14, which is titled “20 Something.” Everything in between is soul touching.

I titled this article “Drew Barrymore,” because I love Drew Barrymore as an actress and it’s one of my favorite songs on Sza’s album that deserves our attention and discussion. Sza named this particular track Drew Barrymore because she said the lyrics would be perfect for a role the actress Drew Barrymore played in such movies as “Poison Ivy,” “Boys on the side,”  and Never Been kissed!”

 

The album in its entirety is about self-worth and self-love. We discuss showing self-worth and self-love, but we often dismiss the feelings that we have about ourselves that demonstrate the lack of self-worth and love. On the CTRL album Sza openly talks about those negative thoughts, and the overactive consciousness of our brains that often trick us into untruths about ourselves, and others. It even highlights how we’re afraid to lose control even though there is nothing we can do about certain situations. Which, creates the art of letting go!

Listen to the CTRL album for yourself. If you’ve already listened to it,  listen to it again! Listen with less judgement on what you claim your morals and standards are! Listen with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart.

 

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