Scenery like this makes coming home even easier. #ShenandoahValley

Scenery like this makes coming home even easier. #ShenandoahValley


Real Talk: Victim Blaming

I had a stream of consciousness on Twitter that I felt the need to expand upon here. I had a conversation with a friend last night regarding the disappearance of a young woman here in Virginia by the name of Hannah Graham. This friend and I expressed our shock and sadness over another person being added to the list of missing women in our area in recent years

Shortly after this, however, the conversation took a turn. The topic became Hannah’s choice of clothing on the evening of her disappearance. As if the clothing she wore contributed to her going missing. This friend did not mean any harm in these statements, but it spoke to a larger issue that went far beyond the conversation we were having.

Growing up with my sister, I became aware that although we grew up in the same house under the same circumstances, there were different rules that guided our conduct in the world. Young ladies should dress this way, act this way, be extra careful, etc. because there are dangerous people out there who could hurt you. As a boy, I was not given the same guidelines. As I grew up, however, I learned the would could be dangerous for young black men as well

A common theme I noticed in the lessons I learned and what I learned from growing up with a sister is that the burden of responsibility relied on us to not become victims. If you dress a certain way or act a certain way, bad things may happen. And if the bad things happen, it’s your fault. 

But, why? Why do we teach our girls and young women that they shouldn’t dress a certain way so as to foster unwanted attention and possible victimization? Why do we make it partially (if not entirely) their fault if they are assaulted, violated, or killed? Instead, shouldn’t we be teaching our boys and young men that it is not okay to assault, violate, or kill a girl or young woman? 

The fact is, clothing does not matter. Morgan Harrington, Alexis Murphy, Sage Smith, Samantha Clarke, and Hannah Graham came from different backgrounds, were of different ages, were of varying races, and had different outfits on at their time of disappearance. Their clothing had nothing to do with it. 

This world can be a scary place. For both young women and young men (especially those of color). Clothing does not solve the issue nor should it be the focus of our conversations around the issue of violence. Rather, we need to have a conversation about the perpetrators of these crimes and the culture that allows them to not only exist but flourish. 


People’s beer of Richmond. #RVA

People’s beer of Richmond. #RVA


I am way too modest to go out in public with these ambitions but I applaud this guy for being honest. #RVA

I am way too modest to go out in public with these ambitions but I applaud this guy for being honest. #RVA


Look at these thots… #seewhatididthere

Look at these thots… #seewhatididthere


A better shot of the Peachoid.

A better shot of the Peachoid.


Saw this sexy building on the way to the club. And yes, buildings can be sexy.  (at AT&T Midtown Center)

Saw this sexy building on the way to the club. And yes, buildings can be sexy. (at AT&T Midtown Center)


Just passing through Frank Underwood’s hometown. No big deal.

Just passing through Frank Underwood’s hometown. No big deal.


I know that’s right, @napoleontaxi. So am I. And happily so. 😎

I know that’s right, @napoleontaxi. So am I. And happily so. 😎


"H8" is such a strong abbreviation.

"H8" is such a strong abbreviation.


…what the hell is the point?

…what the hell is the point?



It took a ridiculous amount of time to take one decent picture. I felt I had to share it with all of you.

It took a ridiculous amount of time to take one decent picture. I felt I had to share it with all of you.


halphillips:

You can judge an era by its failures.  We remember the trailblazers, not the countless forgettable imitations, but these imitations reflect the zeitgeist.  They were not exceptional; they were aggressively normal.  With this in mind, I give you the East Coast Family.

After successfully shepherding Bell Biv Devoe, Boyz II Men, and Another Bad Creation to fame, Michael Bivins was ready to cement his role as an R&B mogul.  He labeled his collective the East Coast Family, founded Biv 10 Records, signed a bunch of up-and-comers, and put out a compilation.  Most of the songs were leftovers from his big stars, but the leadoff track, “1-4-All-4-1”, is a sampler of all his new proteges.  And its video, essentially a commercial, introduces the next wave of East Coast Family superstars, including Fruit Punch, Tom Boyy, and a group of white guys called Whytgize.

Sadly, none of these acts were ever heard from again.  I don’t mean they were unsuccessful; I mean they literally never released anything.  No failed albums.  No forgotten singles.  Just this one silly little non-song to remind them that 20 years ago, they thought they might get famous.

This was not a hit.  It is not what people were listening to in 1991.  But it is kind of what mainstream R&B sounded like in 1991, at its worst.  This is a historical document of what happened when a bunch of marginally talented singers in 1991 tried their best to do what they thought was expected of them.

Full disclosure: I remember begging my father to let me stay up later so I could catch this video.

So, once upon a time in the early 90s…this happened. 

One thing of note: not everyone in this video faded into obscurity. Over two minutes into the video, you might recognize a familiar face. That’s Yvette Nicole Brown, better known as Shirley from NBC’s Community


The Reluctant Role Model (Real Talk)

This following is adapted from a Facebook post I made after a lengthy conversation with my little brother not too long ago. Figured I’d share it because maybe someone else could relate. 

What started out as a brief text message ended up as a phone call (mainly because I was tired of typing and I realized that I could just, y’know, pick up the phone and actually SAY what I was thinking versus sending and iMessage). And what started out as a moment where a big brother is sharing knowledge about the awkward, uncomfortable clusterfuck that is middle school with his younger sibling turned into something a little deeper as I thought about it and as we continued talking.

I may not be anyone’s father at the present time, but this applies to anyone who has children looking up to them: your actions and decisions have more of an impact than you may realize. Children look up to their parents, grandparents, guardians, aunts, uncles, and even their much older siblings (in my case) and what you say and do can affect them a great deal. Look here, here, here, and here if you need empirical data to support this claim.

The example you set and the lessons they learn from you can either be good or bad. And those moments when you think it doesn’t matter may be the ones that matter the most. It is up to you to determine what example you provide. You can either be a hero or a cautionary tale. Choose wisely.