Is it just me, or does it seem like folk are hella pumped for 2016? I’ve been blessed to ring in 25 new years so far, and I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed the level of optimism and enthusiasm that I have this year. From people creating vision boards to sharing inspiring testimonies, I’m already loving the spirt of Sweet ’16. I think 2015 was the year a lot of folk — myself included — got legit schooled on life.
For many people, December 25th is a day for exchanging gifts, spending quality time with family, eating hella food for no apparent reason, and psyching kids out with that Elf on the Shelf craziness (where did this even come from???). To my fellow Christian folk, it’s a day to recognize the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (in the words of Brotha Kirk, “Santa ain’t got nothin’ on ‘dis.”). And for all my realist folk, it’s nothing more than a historical pagan holiday of merrymaking debauchery — Saturnalia — which the Catholic church adopted and simply renamed “Christmas” as an incentive for the Roman pagans to covert to Christianity (oh, y’all ain’t know that? Do ya research, boo). [Read more…]
Once I reach the 18th floor, I get off the elevator and pass by a few apartments before arriving at my destination at the end of the hall. The front door is already cracked open, but I knock first, then hesitate for a few seconds before entering. A tall, handsome gentleman greets me at the door with a friendly smile and one of those warm, good-cologne-smelling hugs. I do a quick scan of his place, which actually looks pretty dope from what I can see so far. The foyer — or Hall of Grind, as he likes to call it — is ornamented with a collection of artwork and accolades that hang proudly across the walls. One of which is a framed Game Changer jersey he received during a Pistons’ game ceremony, in which he was recognized for being a commendable community leader. The main living area, where we would be hanging out for the evening, was decked out in a cool, modern décor, complete with a cozy accent rug, a huge flatscreen TV (which almost took up an entire wall), a theater-style black leather couch, and a small area with gym equipment for his daily workout routines. Oh, and not to mention the gorgeous view of Downtown Detroit from the large windows stamped around his living room — simply breathtaking. [Read more…]
In case you didn’t know, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies hashtag made it extra special this year. For the past few days I’ve been bursting out in random spurts of ugly cackles as I witnessed all the hilarious but extremely accurate memes on my news feed. For your relentless lack of chill, Black Twitter, I am forever grateful.
Per usual, we had dinner at my house. But we didn’t have all the family over this year, so we actually still have enough leftovers to last us through the next week or so (’cause y’all know Thanksgiving dinner = breakfast + lunch + dinner for the next five to seven days).
Anyway, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of what it represents: family and gratitude. During this time, we often list off all the wonderful, important things we’re grateful for, like life, health, family, food, clothes and shelter. But I’d like to take this time to recognize the smaller things that I hold dear to my heart. So, here goes:
- Mint hot chocolate: Liquid euphoria. A warm, cozy blend of minty, milky, chocolaty perfection. I’ve never tasted anything so heavenly since…ever. To the sweet Asian lady who runs the coffee shop in my job’s office building, thank you for making each cup with love.
- My hairbrush and silk scarf: If you are a Black woman, you cherish these two utensils like gold. But we never really appreciate them until we decide to crash at a friend’s house after a late night out and realize we don’t have anything to wrap our hair with.
- Baby oil gel: Now that it’s getting colder outside, I need this more than ever. No matter how much lotion I throw on my legs and feet, once that Michigan wind hit them bad boys, it’s over. If it weren’t for Johnson & Johnson’s baby oil gel, my toes would be looking like snowball cookies.
- My car seat warmers: Aside from getting me from Point A to Point B, there is nothing I appreciate more about my car than my seat warmers. Some people need leather interior, some people need 24-inch rims. I need seat warmers.
- My multipurpose Tupac shirt: It works well as a nightgown or a cute top to wear with leggings and a leather jacket. And it has Tupac on it. #Thuglife
- Google Maps: Where would I be without Google Maps? No, but seriously doe.
- Uber: The world’s number one designated driver. The one thing that makes me feel like I’m Diddy on a budget. Thank you.
- The B-list Black movies on Netflix: My diamonds in the rough. They may be low budget, but they’re entertaining with a great story line.
- Black Twitter: For your relentless lack of chill, thank you.
- My favorite pair of boots: You know that one pair of shoes you can wear with anything? That’s these bad boys: the real MVPs.
For all of these things, I am forever grateful.
“Hey, Kori, I’m parking my car now.”
Me: “OK, cool, I just parked. See you in a minute.”
I hopped out of the car and headed towards the restaurant to meet Joniero Bryant, a tall, caramel-skinned young brotha with one of the friendliest smiles I’ve ever seen. Now before y’all nosy folk start busting out the eye emojis on me, this wasn’t a date.
Joniero was actually meeting me to share the story behind his inspirational clothing line, Knockout Clothing Apparel. When we met Tuesday evening, he was wearing this dope hoodie — like it literally had “Dope” written in bold, custom-designed lettering across the front — with the Knockout brand name and logo. It was one of Joniero’s latest designs that he created on his vinyl plotter machine, an investment that nearly cost him the roof over his head. [Read more…]
The past weekend was pretty amazing for me. Friday after I got off work, I went and got my hair did (no, not done — did) and celebrated my beautiful Aunt/Godmother Nedra’s 65th birthday party (shawty actually looks half that number). Saturday morning I got my makeup done by my girl Verlena before doing a photo shoot with my dope photographer-friend Justin Milhouse (I’m so excited for my pictures!). After my shoot, I spent some time with my relatives who came into town for my Aunt Nedra’s birthday celebration. Then Sunday I pretty much spent the entire day writing while watching B-list black movies on Netflix. So like I said, my weekend was pretty amazing. But unfortunately, for numerous people across the world in Paris, their account of the same weekend was tragically different.
For those of you who may not have heard, a series of terrorist attacks took place last Friday at several locations throughout the heart of the French capital. This included restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France soccer stadium, which was hosting a match between France and Germany at the time of the attacks. As with every other terrorist-related incident that has taken place recently — with the exception of white cops killing innocent black folk, of course — the government and media have once again unhesitantly pointed the finger at ISIS for the 132 untimely deaths caused from last Friday’s attacks.
Per usual, this tragic event has been plastered and replayed all over the media, to the point where we can damn-near lip sync the news reports. The hashtag #PrayforParis instantly went viral across the Internet. Zuckerberg whipped up the latest edition of his custom profile filters in honor of the Paris attacks. Now, millions of Facebook users have enhanced their traditional profile pics with a French flag-replica filter, as a display of solidarity and sympathy for the victims of the attacks. *cues in the Facebook wars*
For the past few days, I’ve witnessed a myriad of social-media reactions to everything I just mentioned above. Some were angry, some were ignorant, and some were an even mixture of the two. I’ve read statuses/commentary about how the Paris attacks were meant to distract everyone from the countless, ongoing atrocities that have been taking place here against black people. Or how people who choose to sympathize with the victims of the Paris attacks are obviously being brainwashed by the media to value white lives/deaths over black lives/deaths. Or how we need to stop allowing Islamic people into our countries because they’re all terrorists. Or… I’ll just stop there because my brain hurts now.
With that being said, I’ll just dive right into my personal views on a few things pertaining to the recent attacks on Paris:
- On the new Facebook profile filter: Mr. Zuckerberg, this one is for you. I assume you have the best of intentions when you create these profile filters, and I commend you. After all, they were designed to promote solidarity in controversial issues such as gay rights, and now, a ton of innocent lives that were lost due to the Paris attacks. But unless, “gay rights” and “Paris” are the only key phrases you have set up on your Google Alerts, I’m sure you know that there’s a lot more ish happening in this world. Take countless Black people being arrested and/or attacked and/or killed for no apparent reason, for example. Where’s the filter for that? Or numerous girls and women being drugged and raped every single day. Where’s the filter for that? Where’s the filter for domestic violence? Racism? Discrimination? Poverty? Curing terminal illnesses? All the other crazy ish happening in this world? Don’t get me wrong, the profile filter idea is cute and all — you’re just missing a few.
- On certain Black people’s reactions to the media coverage: Y’all do know the media is pretty much run by rich racists, right? You can tell simply by how we are portrayed in television shows and films that this is fact. So why do we constantly seek validation from a source that is run by people who are already against us? Why do we exhaust ourselves with anger over every little thing they choose to broadcast, based on their own personal bias and perspective of us? Why are we allowing the media to control so much of our minds and emotions? Do you realize how much power we have as a people? Do you know that if we actually took all of our dollars, put them together and actually invested into our own people to create news stations, TV networks and other businesses, we would be flourishing? Maybe if we stopped wasting our time, money and energy trying to change a system we were born to fail in and instead invested all of that into supporting our own people, we wouldn’t be so frustrated. Let’s stop yelling at the TV and start figuring out some real solutions.
- On certain Black people’s reactions to other Black people showing support for the fallen victims in Paris: Do y’all know what compassion is? If not, look it up and then get some. Yes, our people are killed in droves everyday, and yes, we do need to continue to bring light to this issue and seek justice, but does that discredit the many innocent lives that were lost this past weekend? Does this mean that we turn our head in apathy to every other person being killed who isn’t Black? Absolutely not. Despite everything we’re going through, now is not the time to be callous. Our hearts and minds are too big and too limitless to be boxed into ignorance and hatred. We have enough of that coming at us already.
- On stereotyping Islamic people as terrorists: I recently saw a post of Facebook that read: “ISIS is to Islamic people what the KKK is to Christians.” That ish is deep. Because what so many people fail to realize is that a lot of these extreme hate groups were created by religious people who misinterpret and manipulate religious doctrine and principles to fit a corrupt agenda. But those people are not ALL people. Yes, we must guard our hearts and use wise judgment when dealing with others, but we must constantly check our perspectives and the way we treat people.
- On everything else: Stay prayed up and woke. That’s all.
My biggest struggle lately (as in the past 25 years) has been getting up in the morning. Mostly because, well, it’s morning. And also because when I do decide to get up, I rarely have enough time to do everything I need to do before I get my day going. This primarily includes praying, meditating, and working.
Now please note that when I say “working” I’m not talking about my job. There is a huge difference between my “work” and my “job” (although I am working towards merging the two). My job is what I get paid to do; my work is what I was born to do. My job is my paycheck; my work is my divine purpose. By day, I’m a communications/social media coordinator. By destiny, I’m a blogger, published author (in the making), mentor, motivational speaker, future wife and mother. [Read more…]
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I met a girl with a big personality and bigger dreams during my freshman year at Howard. Her energy was super contagious and she was always the life of the party. Dorothea McDonald was her name, but everyone called her Dot. Dot and I instantly became close friends during our freshman year and evolved into each other’s personal therapist during our sophomore year as resident assistants (because therapy was very much needed for that role).
Oftentimes Dot and I would talk about achieving our lifelong dreams after graduating. I would one day become a magazine editor (check) and a best-selling author (check…in advance lol) and she would become a world-renowned actress, racking up all the gold statues in Hollywood (check and triple check in advance). Although post-grad life (aka the twentysomething struggle) has gotten the best of us, Dot is still my boo and words cannot express how proud I am of her. Babygirl is doing her thang out in these Hollywood streets, and is a living testament of stepping out on faith to pursue your destiny. All that said, I am BEYOND honored to have her as my second Sista Spotlight feature. Check her out below! [Read more…]
Today is awesome for a few reasons: 1a) I’m alive; 1b) It’s actually warm and sunny outside (Michigan weather be tripping); 2) I had court today — traffic, not criminal (before y’all start spreading rumors) — and my ticket got thrown out because the witness didn’t show up (I Hallelujah’d and shabached right out of that courtroom); and 3) Today is officially my one-year blogaversary! *cues Tony! Toni! Toné!*
It’s so crazy how God just turns things around. ‘Cause exactly one year ago today, my life was a hot mess. Forreal doe. I was dealing with relationship issues, my moods were constantly up and down, and I felt like no one could truly relate to anything I was feeling. While the majority of folk in my age group were busy getting engaged and/or married, popping out babies, and receiving job promotions, I was merely searching for some peace of mind.
The other night I went to the movies with my best friend Jaz to see The Perfect Guy, which was basically another corny, fatal attraction-esque ordeal: Girl meets guy (or vice versa), guy is perfect (hence the poorly ambiguous film title), girl and guy sex each other crazy, guy turns coo coo, girl breaks up with guy, guy becomes even more coo coo, everybody dies. The end.
If it weren’t for the ridiculous overload of onscreen eye candy — Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut and Sanaa Lathan together was all types of fleektified Black beauty — I would’ve walked straight out of that theater and turned in my $7.50 child (of God) ticket for a refund, spent 80% of that on a pint of Talenti Caramel Apple Pie gelato on the way home, and found a nice, low-budget Black rom-com with a juicy storyline on Netflix. But instead, I sat through an entire 90 minutes of predictability so I could write the above movie review and save your $10.50 (because you never thought of just buying a child ticket from the kiosk — they never check). You’re welcome.
Anyway, Jaz and I had a little time before our movie to grab a bite to eat, so we settled on getting appetizers at a nearby restaurant. A little while after we ordered our spinach dip and calamari, I began to look like this dude…
Me: What is taking our food so long? All we ordered was a couple of appetizers.
Jaz: *rolls eyes* She literally just took our order 10 minutes ago… You gotta get you some patience, baby girl.
I smacked my lips, partially because I wasn’t here for a lecture, but mostly because I knew Jaz was right — patience has never been a strong suit of mine. And anyone who knows me, knows that.
I’m the type that will send someone a message on Facebook and an hour later, wonder why they haven’t replied yet. ESPECIALLY if I see that the message was successfully deliverd’t and “Seen” five minutes after I sent it (thank God I don’t have an iPhone).
So yes, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to patience. But in my efforts to improve in this particular area of my life, I’ve adopted a few strategies to help increase my levels of long-suffering. They’re listed below:
- Giving folk the benefit of the doubt: I have a tendency to jump the gun easily, so I have to constantly remind myself that everyone thinks, acts and responds differently. On top of that, people have different situations that they are dealing with outside of my concerns. I have to remember to take all of these things into consideration when dealing with others.
- Realizing that everything is not on Kori’s time: This ties into No. 1. As much as I’d like to think so sometimes, this is not The Kori Show. Which means everyone else is not on my time. They have their own jobs, families and personal issues to tend to, which leaves my concerns at the bottom of their priority list. And that’s fine. I’m learning that everything is not personal, nor meant to be taken as such.
- Learning not to get easily frustrated: I’m discovering that getting frustrated about every little thing that doesn’t go my way is not going to change the situation. There’s no point in getting agitated over things that are out of my control. All that makes me is an idle chick with a bad attitude.
- Doing yoga: Yoga is the business. I try to do it two to three times a week. Even though I mostly just sit in child’s pose with my eyes closed (don’t judge me), the mere practice of breathing while in total stillness plays a huge part in helping me to develop more self-discipline and patience.
- Trusting God: At the end of the day, He got me. So what am I tripping for? I can wait.
Even if it’s just for some spinach dip and calamari.