On the Wrong Side of the Tracks

Tanzina Vega's CNN Money special was a satisfying reassurance that there is no limit to what can be achieved. It was also a reminder that financial frugality is so very important.  The cars, the clothes, the gadgets - they all depreciate in value the moment they are used.  One of my grandfather's favorite sayings until this day goes "if it's on your ass, it ain't a asset".  

Financial responsibility is a learned behavior - perhaps natural to a few.  There are more black financial advisors than ever before willing to help others begin to build their wealth (scam free).   If you don't know where to begin, they are an amazing resource.  The lack of black faces in the 1% will only be short term, so long as we oblige to helping one another and sharing resources. 

What do you plan to leave behind for the generations to come? 


Art History with Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall was born in the 1950’s and exposed to the malice of racism as a young boy growing up in Alabama. His family moved to the west coast when he was 7 years old where he witnessed the Watts Rebellion and the effects of Jim Crow in California. Marshall has chronicled what it means to be black in America for the past 35 years. Using his knowledge of art forms from the Renaissance to 20th century abstraction, he has defied radicalized ideals of beauty, asserting black life and love into a medium where it barely existed prior to his arrival. 

His largest museum exhibit to date is on display at the Met Breuer in New York City through January 29th, 2017. Catch my favorites below.  


            image via Daytrotter

You gone get this black girl magic, whether you want it or not! Promoting self-care, body positivity and brown skin, Lizzo is fierce and uninhibited in her newest EP Coconut Oil. Her sound cannot be confined to one genre. She shines emphatically, mashing hip-hop, gospel, club and pop all within a half hour on the six track release. One minute we find her transitioning from rhyme to melody over soft strings and trap tempos and the next, she's serving funk and electro vibes with Sunday service soul. 

Lizzo is a Crewsader, using her pen and her voice to address her black experience in America, encouraging unity along the way. Almost a year ago, she writes of My Skin off her 2nd EP Big Grrrl Small World:

"My Skin literally matters. It matters because it’s the largest organ on my body. Because it’s my exterior...It’s the first thing you notice about me....My blackness is my largest assumed ‘accessory.’ Not my gender, religion or wealth. Because of it, I’ve experienced countless misconceptions from people— neck rolls and gratuitous gestures, overt southern dialects superimposed onto my own voice, perceived “ghetto-ness.” I laugh it off because it’s seemingly harmless, but when we think about where this originates it’s actually poisonous. Being black in America is a unique experience. All people have a unique American experience, but I can’t speak for all people. I can only speak from my unique experience as a black woman. The “African-American” myths that cloud non-black people's judgment are taken from the worst part of our struggle and paraded as fact. I could write this essay trying to debunk “black-on-black crime” and fill it with pleading persuasive prose, but I’d rather just tell you what I know.
Shortly after I found out a young man was killed while in handcuffs. His name was Jamar Clark. I don’t think it’s fair to kill someone if they’re already in handcuffs, but I found out many Americans beg to differ....People were hurting and crying; the pain of losing someone coupled with the pain of thousands of slain black men and woman hung like a heavy mist in my neighborhood. The leaders were benevolent and strong, yet another emotion began to creep in from outsiders and agitators: Fear.

Where does this fear come from? Why do people justify the execution of a man in handcuffs by saying the officer “feared for his/her life”? What is there to fear if a person is unarmed and detained? And then it hit me: his skin. His blackness was seen as a lethal weapon and used against him. Logically unsound yet so ingrained in American history is the vilification of its’ black citizens....We are constantly bombarded with subliminal and outright prescriptive messages from the media, our parents and our environment."