On the state of US

It’s obvious we’ll always have issues.

You heard me.

You and I are incompatible.

At one point things were okay.

You let me go to school.

I let you delegate.

And dictate.

Imprison.

Lie.

Cheat.

Steal.

And murder.

I gotta tell you…

I’m over it.

Seriously though, with all of the things going on, how can we even breathe? It’s like everything out there in society has been systematically designed to attack us.

Life is now an attack on our intelligence.

Or our bodies.

Or even our souls.

When did I/You, Us/we become so ill-matched?

At any rate…

As if there was any question…

My stream of conscious writing is a result of pent up frustration..

With life.

With people.

With myself.

I can do better. I WILL do better.

You can do better.

You can and YOU will.

Even if we don’t see eye to eye, I wish nothing but contentment on you and your endeavors.

If I know you, I love you. Agape love, which is a sort of ironic unconditional love. Why is it ironic? Because you hold onto those you love, but sometimes people can be poison, and so you let them go. Sometimes that love you have for them dissipates, other times it doesn’t.

Say goodbye, my Love.

I really want to be the best husband, step-father, employee, and writer I can be. I love life a little too much to die before my time. I will leave my mark on you’re heart. My soulful entries will prick your conscious and provoke you to glance past your android; toward the horizon.

Toward a more meaningful future.

Toward your desires.

This is the State of Us. A country divided, but with similar hopes, goals, and dreams. But the bottom line is that we’ve got to reunite sometime before the end. Because although we are two puzzle pieces that fit naturally, we still managed to accomplish quite a bit.

On Sandra Bland, Her Case, Speculation, And Edited Footage

Let me preface all of what I’m going to write about here by saying this:

Whatever comes of this particular case, I have seen enough videos and shows (cops) in terms of how the police handle “routine” traffic stops. Some of them go off without a hitch, and others escalate to something worse. There is a gray area that isn’t attractive enough to report on, because society will forever focus on the problems. Which is fine when it comes to the improvement of our justice system and those that enforce it. Let me also state that I’ve been around, seen, heard, read, or watched citizens who have been pulled over for a traffic stop handle the stress in a way that escalates their own misfortune. So a ticket becomes a search of the vehicle. A search becomes a trip to jail or maybe even another host of suspicions and accusations thrown at said citizen.

There.

I’m done with that.

Now…

Yesterday, I read an article via NBC news reporting on the backstory of one Sandra Bland. It gave some information on her relationship with her family, some of what was going on in her life leading up to her arrest and subsequent death while incarcerated. I had heard about Bland and the case, but was not following it as closely as I am now. The article I linked above was my first understanding of what went on.

Now this is one of HUNDREDS of articles from around the blogosphere about Bland’s death being ruled suicide because she was depressed. Or at least that’s the way in which it was written. From a standpoint that Bland’s story was a tragic one. She had bouts with depression, of which her family did not think was anything too serious. She had reportedly told family members that she had thought about suicide. It even states that she told jailers she had thought about suicide. And so many like me read the news, and went on about our lives.

There were others however, who saw the video:

Here is a link to the wired.com article that has the 49 minute video of seemingly sketchy footage of the entire incident that lead to Bland’s arrest. For those that would like to play it in this article without jumping, I’ll try and embed it below as well:

Multiple sources have noticed inconsistencies with the video in question, and it appears very likely that it was edited in some shape or fashion.

What does this mean?

What are they trying to hide?

Who are THEY?

The police?

The media?

The media and the police?

Who are you suppose to believe?

Get as close to the source as humanly possible. The closer you get to the source of a story, the more things will become clearer. But what if the closer we get, the more confusing things become? In all honesty, the way my understanding of the case has been:

My initial research of the Bland case just screamed that this poor woman had suicidal tendencies, was frustrated about being pulled over; and even more upset that she was jailed not too long after obtaining a brand new job. Perhaps she believed being arrested would lead to her being fired from her job? And then she started having..those negative thoughts again? About how she wasn’t sure she belonged in this world. Then maybe while sitting in her jail cell she grabbed a trash bag, tied it around the shower curtain and…

Wait, they don’t have trash bags in jail cells. Soooo….how did she get a trash bag?

Also, why did police release two videos of the incident in question? Was it to shutup the people who thought the initial video was edited, or was it because they (the police) KNEW it was edited and did not want to risk any further probing of THEIR (the police) inconsistent stance on the nature of how Sandra Bland went from getting a new job to committing suicide in a jail cell with…a trash bag.

Here is what happens when I type in “define asphyxiation” into the google search:

In this question, asphyxiation is a noun that means the condition of being deprived of oxygen. This is a word for dying from lack of oxygen. Anyone who chokes to death dies from asphyxiation. This is a medical word for a horrible thing that could happen to anyone.

For the record, Bland could not hold her breath to choke herself. She could not have say, covered her own nose and blocked off oxygen until death. She would have had to crafted something within her jail cell–which was the size of a 4-bedroom cell (FYI)–to kill herself. To the person who has a casual to mild interest in the case this seems plausible. But then you have to consider the rules and regulations, the way things work inside of a jail. Let me give you one example:

In a jail, everything is hard. Cold, metal or steel all around, even the bed is made out of the same, cold hard material. There’s this strange, thin cushion that’s velcro-strapped to the “bed”. The sink and toilet are one giant, futuristic looking piece of steel. There’s toilet paper. Bacterial soap for the sink. The warden’s instruct us to hold onto all trash until they come by to drop off our sack of goods.

Goods?

Baloney sandwich, apple, goldfish cheese crackers.

See?

Goods.

From that personal experience, I can only speak on what it’s like the first night after an arrest. But once you’re transferred to an actual prison, things are different. You share a room. You have roommates. Everyone shares space, and uses their beds like desks and offices. You aren’t allowed of your room for long stretches of time. When you are out, you have an even shorter amount of time to do recreational activities:

Read the newspaper.

Play card games.

Watch the local news.

Eat.

Call your families.

Then when time’s up, it’s “wash, rinse, repeat”.

I say all that to say this:

Bland’s time incarcerated is the biggest question mark in this investigation because:

Number one, we don’t know the setup of where she stayed. So we can only speculate.

Number two, we don’t know the schedule of the guards there or the particular regulations. So we can only speculate.

Number three, Sandra got into contact with family and was planning to be bailed out of lockup but instead decided to kill herself. What happened between that time? We don’t know, so we can only speculate.

You see a pattern here?

The #blacklivesmatter movement is crucial for sure, but it’s also got to be careful of one thing:

Speculation. It’s what raises suspicion and keeps everyone on their toes. It can be used for good and bad. It can bring something into perspective or further complicate the situation. By definition, speculating is the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence to support it. So while we march for our (black people) social rights, and we as a nation march for equality (whatever that may be), we have to be careful when allowing speculation fuel our perspectives. Because at the end of the day, while these investigations are still looming,

We can only speculate.

150717-sandra-bland-01_501031590f7638412a10ec28ab8ea9ef.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

“May she rest in peace, circumstances to the wind, this woman did not deserve death and had the potential to do some good things. My prayers go out to her family during this trying time.”

Princess of the Caribbean: Carla Campbell

What do Foot Locker, FUBU, Victoria Secret, Nike, L’Oreal, Avon, Maxim, Target, and Miller Beer all have in common? They’ve had the distinct pleasure of having someone as gorgeous as Carla Campbell grace their respective advertisements and magazine covers.

To Put it simply, Carla Campbell is about as beautiful as it gets!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

As I continue my celebration of all things Jamaican, Ms.Campbell gets a shoutout for being something younger aspiring models can look toward. In 2006, she appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue. She’s also the second model to be featured in Victoria’s Secret! Born November 22, 1980 (or possibly 1981) she’s a working model who has made her mark. Being unique for possessing a toned, athletic body, but also being equally curvy. A very attractive woman, to say the least!

On Publicity

You know we’re the reason Justin Bieber is famous, right?

And the same goes for anyone who did not rise to stardom ‘the old fashioned’ ways: Being born into it, or having parents with the right connections. Bieber, DC Young Fly, and a host of other internet stars exploded onto the scene around 8-10 years ago. We shouldn’t be surprised. We ‘liked’ their videos, we commented about their potential, and gave feedback. We typed ‘rofl’ so many times, that many of these new stars couldn’t help but take it as a compliment. So why the hate? Just below the surface of our love for these ‘self-made’ celebrities exist this contingent of fans who despise them. Not for what they are, or what they’ve done, necessarily–but because of what the represent. Let’s take Justin Bieber. He posted videos of himself singing, and singing well. Comments, likes, and shares lead to more publicity; which in turn lead to these videos being seen by record executives. Bieber put in the work, and got the opportunity to shine. And so shine he did. Is that not the idea immigrants think of when coming to America? Started from the bottom? For some reason, I feel like as a whole; we’d prefer to be the success story. Know body really cares about THAT guy making it big. We only care when WE do. So while we’re throwing bottles at his concerts, or throwing bottles at her stand-up; we are also practicing our own routines.

We’re sharping any modicum of skill we have because we know that at the end of the day…

WE

COULD

GET

A

SHOT

…..MAYBE.

The flipside to all of this, the media. Ever been checking your timeline on Facebook or Twitter and come across something like this?

“Fred Jones sent a private message to Cali Rogers, the infamous pornstar!”

Do you click? Do you scroll? Or do you click and scroll? 🙂

Seriously though, it’s really incredible what passes for news nowadays. Sure lousy reporting isn’t new, but we get completely engrossed in it online. Pseudo-celebrities being caught with pot, or some washed-up boxer being charged with indecent exposure. It’s like pop culture media has transformed into one giant tabloid, right? And why?

Because you let them.

….

…….

……

The clicks? The likes? The shares?

We honestly can’t complain when we click and read. It’s like the old adage on the internet; be careful sharing a post that you don’t agree with. All the time you see people posting fights, and violent acts, and questionable political memes about this or that–with little to no context. And unfortunately, I believe there is a large portion of our population that has begun to think and interact in real life (IRL) the way they do on Facebook. So the jokes, the silly philosophies about sex or drugs that are often meant as jokes; are being taken seriously. Not good. Don’t get me started on the wild frontier that is the internet and it’s thin, vague veil of a code of conduct. Do whatever you want, you don’t really have to worry about the consequences; unless you’re an idiot. And even that’s not a true statement anymore, because even the idiotic part of our population is computer literate now. What a time and place we live in! I guess to come full circle, we trash Justin Bieber like he’s just the worst person on Earth. People send him death threats, money, love letters, and gifts. If you really think about it–Bieber is one of us…a dude that honed his craft, got noticed, and is now a star. He’s kind of dimmed recently, but his story is still a tremendous one to consider, even if you don’t really like the guy. And publicity as a whole has done a lot of positive things too–#blacklivesmatter and the Trayvon Martin saga. But it’s definitely a double-edged sword.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2014 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 22 May 2014, during the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival. Photo by: Hubert Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Canadian singer Justin Bieber attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2014 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d’Antibes, France, 22 May 2014, during the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival. Photo by: Hubert Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

On the Future

It’s 11:55pm, on a Saturday. After another long night at the restaraunt, I sit down on the park bench outside the hotel with my co-worker Michael. He’s one of the three Jamaicans I wrote about last month. We spoke a little on the day’s stress, his wanting a new hairstyle, and other stuff like that. Then the conversation turned toward the future. I asked Michael about his plans after his time working at the hotel was over.

He said he always liked to have two plans. So that he could be prepared for whatever might happen…

He said he wanted to try and stay in the United States. He said he loved where he came from, and reiterated several  times more that he did–but he made it clear that he didn’t wanna live in Jamaica anymore. He also spoke about his desire to work for himself, and be his own boss.

I have a very creative mind. I’m only twenty-one years old but…I believe I have a very creative mind and I know what it is I’m going to do to achieve the level of success I want…

Again, this is a twenty-one year old guy who flew over to  another country to work at a high-caliber hotel and restaraunt. He’s incredibly well spoken and carries himself like someone much older than himself. I’m proud of his poise and determination. He’s very aware of not only the opportunity he has been given, but he’s also very aware of his blackness. Meaning he’s aware of how many others have also been put in a similar situation and have not taken advantage of it. The negative stereotype that African-Americans and other non-American blacks carry fall on his shoulders, and he’s doing his very best to not let it deter him from his goals.

There are so many others who could be great at what they wanted to do, had it not been for them being distracted. They will allow themselves to be preoccupied so much so that the tremendous opportunity they’ve been given vanishes.

And so I sat there, part of me tempted to pull out my audio recorder; the other half focused on my friend’s words all the while nodding along.

He was sharp. Like a thumb tack.

Ironically enough, after I had told him I was a writer, he suggested that I should write about my conversations with him and the others. I could only smile and nod in agreement.

home_pic2

On Future Gigs

I’ve been talking to some really cool people over at NexusGen Radio, and I may have a spot as a contributing writer. I’ve said this since I’ve been writing and podcasting–my goal is to provoke the reader/listener, to educate them. If I’m able to entertain them as well, all the better. I’m looking to attack the fandom of Pop Culture. Why? Because it’s incredibly hypocritical and convoluted. So be on the lookout for my fandom posts on NexusGen’s website!