Now I'm willing to accept this fate You and me just can't cohabitate (c) The Kinks

So you get married.... and you move in together. I've found that in my experience that men and women tend to look at this transition differently, PARTICULARLY if you didn't live together prior to marriage and you decide to practice "stereotypical" gender roles in your marriage.

Perspective #1  
Spouse #1 - I don't get it. They're getting full course meals frequently, the home is clean, I'm adding value to their life
Spouse #2 - That's cool and all but I still have to share my space

Perspective #2
Spouse #1 - This is a whole lot more work than living alone
Spouse #2 - There are SO MANY benefits to being married

These are the two most common perspectives I've seen after talking to newly married couples that opt for stereotypical gender role format.

I've found that in perspective one the disconnect is that the spouse that doesn't get it is learning what their partner values, and that is their space. You can cook and clean all day but that is how you chose to come into the role of husband/wife, and that might not necessarily be what your spouse appreciates or values. Talk to them and find a balance. I think people get very caught up in what the perception of marriage should be like instead of finding a routine that works for them specifically. Don't go into it with preconceived notions. Find a routine that works for both of you.

In perspective two this is most commonly the case when one spouse carries the brunt of the work in the household. Things become imbalanced. Naturally a bulk of keeping things in order does fall tend to fall on one person **cough cough most times the woman cough cough**, but I encourage the spouse doing said work to make sure the spouse not pulling their weight attempts  to develop some particular sets of skills. Things won't always be equal, but I like the idea of both parties actively contributing to the betterment of the household, I think it will make things much easier long-term even moreso if you decide to add kids into the mix

Since LaFlore and I are new to this we haven't ironed out the full logistics to how we operate as a unit yet. However, we did iron out one thing....

Cooking.

I cook, I enjoy it. Four dinners a week is all you get from me (technically 8 total because I always make enough for both of us to bring to lunch the next day)
When I cook, Jason cleans the kitchen, or at least that's the goal

I pretty much ALWAYS forget to take pics of my meals but here are some I actually remembered to photograph! :)

The transition from living as individuals to cohabitation is a big one. We still have so much to figure out:
Groceries
Cleaning
Laundry
Bill splitage
Bank accounts
Name Change... to name a few

I plan on tackling each of these topics in detail as we embark upon this journey of two becoming one. Not gonna lie, having one thing marked off the list does offer a sense of relief. This transition doesn't happen overnight that's for sure. 

Is there one? (c) The Usher at church asking visitors when the doors of the church open

First I’d like to give honor to the Most High (Snoop Dogg), the members of the pulpit, the pastor, his wife, his mistress, the mother of the church, and all the saints and sinners in the audience. I am here today to ask for your prayers.

I am about to endure one of the bravest tests of character and faith a person can endure. I feel like Daniel headed into the lion’s den. I feel like David preparing to fight Goliath. I feel like Job getting ready to ... well, Job kinda got effed over because he got caught in the middle of a bet, but you know what I mean.

I’m boycotting the NFL this season, even though I know it probably won’t work.

It seems antithetical to a profit-making venture, but it is true. The NFL has created a business model where its profits are not dependent on how many people consume the product. Even if people stop watching, the NFL makes the same amount of money. Here’s how it works.

The vast majority of NFL revenue comes from television rights, which are paid in advance. In 2014, CBS, NBC and Fox agreed to pay $3.5 billion every year for the rights to air NFL games on network television through 2023. DirecTV will kick in an additional $1.5 billion per year until 2022. Disney pays $2 billion per year to air games on ESPN and ABC. Amazon.com threw in $50 million to air games, along with foreign rights holders, who pay $500 million. The NFL network also makes around $1.2 billion from various affiliates.

That means the league will still make close to $9 billion from television rights this year, even if not a single soul tunes in to a football game. The NFL won’t even have to look at these deals until years from now. The checks are already cut. That’s a lot of tithes and offerings, church.

The rest of the NFL’s revenue comes from licensing, merchandising and sponsorships. Like the television deals, these contracts are made far in advance and are not dependent on ratings or ticket sales. In fact, every owner in the NFL knows they will make a profit regardless of how many tickets they sell. The only other venture that makes money without having to deliver results is ... well ... this one. The church.

I know... I know.... Television networks don’t even care about the ratings. The NFL brand is so powerful that the television networks don’t even care about the ratings. Last year the league’s ratings fell 8 percent, but advertising revenue increased! That’s because with a limited number of available ad slots, networks force companies to outbid one another for commercials. It’s kinda like when the church isn’t full, so the deacons ask you to dig deep into your pockets for the building fund. It’s the oldest trick in the book.

I’m sure some of you out there in the pews are thinking, “So if a boycott won’t have an economic impact on the NFL, the owners or the networks, then why do it?”

Well, saints, there is a verse in the book of 4 Thessalonians that reads, “And lo, He said unto them: Sometimes a nigga hath to do what a nigga gotta doeth.” (That’s not the King James Version.)

This is the point of protest. When Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, I’m sure he didn’t think police would see it and say, “You know what? I was going to shoot a black boy in the face tomorrow, but I changed my mind.” I’m sure that when Muhammad Ali refused to join the Army, he didn’t believe that the U.S. military would say, “Well, if Ali ain’t coming, maybe we should wrap this thing up.” In fact, Kaepernick’s protest didn’t have a single quantifiable impact on black lives.

But he started something.

Last season, on the biggest stage in all of sports, he forced commentators of every color to talk about inequality. They discussed it on every pregame show. Announcers debated it during the week on sports radio across the country. He opened the door for players in other sports to talk about it. High school football players imitated it. White soccer players did it.

Even though he doesn’t have a job in the NFL this year, they are still discussing him. Players who would never have taken such a bold stance are beginning to do it in his absence. Isn’t that what protest is about?

Most importantly, church, I’m doing this out of solidarity. There were people who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott who had never taken public transportation. They shuttled neighbors to work. They carried signs. They loved their neighbors as themselves. (I think I just made that up. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?)

Sometimes the reason our voices are ignored is that they can always find another Negro to point at who is cool with riding in the back of the bus. I don’t think those people are sellouts. Maybe it’s more comfortable on the back of the bus than walking 5 miles to work. It’s a long walk. Maybe his or her feet hurt. Maybe he or she is tired.

Aren’t we all tired?

Turn to your neighbor and say, “I ain’t tired yet.”

That’s why I’m not watching NFL football this year. It’s going to hurt me, but one of our problems is that we think resistance should be easy. We think progress can be achieved through social media memes instead of tired feet and sweaty necks. We think change is supposed to come without bruised knuckles and bloody skulls. It doesn’t work that way.

I am not under the illusion that if every black person stops watching the NFL, Colin Kaepernick will get a job. I don’t even think the owners, the commissioner or the networks care whether black people watch or not. It will not affect their bottom line at all. There probably aren’t enough people willing to do this to have any measurable impact on the most powerful sport in the world.

But once, while sitting in these same pews, I heard a story about a little boy named David who managed to kill a giant by himself. I bet after he killed that giant and everyone was giving him high-fives and buying him shots of Hennessy, someone asked him how he knew he would kill Goliath. Was it because he heard a loud booming voice? Was it because David prayed more than the rest of them? Did he know he’d win because his faith was stronger than everyone else’s? I always imagine David turned to that person, put down his Henny and said:

“Win? I had no idea whether I’d win or not. I just knew I had to fight.”

May Dogg bless you all.

 

Word to Michael H.

 

SEVEN WHOLE DAYS (c) Toni Braxton

7 days away... I can honestly say I'm not the least bit anxious or nervous. I'm excited to be married and have my life back. These WHOLE past 14 months have been dedicated to planning this wedding. So many of the things that calm me down and bring me peace have been sacrificed... But all the other women that I know that were not into having weddings that had them have said in the end it was all worth it, so I'm so ready to have that feeling because I cry every other day at least and am inundated with stress. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my Mom, Ky and the Girl Talk gang... I feel like this whole year I've been an emotional crabby mess, but planning a party for 200 people is A LOT. 

Things I did that I feel made things so much easier:

1. If you want things done your way, pay for it yourself.
Money almost always equals some sort of stipulation or some kinds of strings attached. Unless you make it abundantly clear that you are to do with the gifted money as you see fit, just avoid it and skip taking the duckets all together.

2. Don't have a bridal party.
The people that want to help...will, no title needed. Plus, be a good friend, save your peeps HUNDRED'S of dollars for make up they won't like, a dress and shoes they won't wear again, and a hairstyle that isn't flattering to their face.

3. Do what you want.
Often times too many people are focused on what others think. Stay true to you or you will regret it. Do what feels genuine to you and your future husband and don't focus on what others may think

4. Don't get caught up in the tiny details.
Folks almost always remember the food, the music and how they felt. So don't beat yourself over the small things.

5. You need a coordinator... a GOOD one.
The point person of the day is an important choice. They put out all fires and handle things on your behalf so it should without a doubt be someone that knows you and the groom's vision and someone you trust will get the job done. So much is contingent upon the coordinator's ability to keep things going. Don't go with your heart when you make this choice. Be logical.

6. Have a wedding script. 
I am a planner. I've been to weddings that didn't have one and I could tell. I mapped out the wedding from start to finish; readings, song selection, reception EVERYTHING. This makes things run so smoothly, your coordinator and vendors will absolutely LOVE you for it. Check out mine here. 

That being said on MY end I think everything is complete. I still have some lbs to lose but I've gotten all my gifts and my "look" is complete. My friends are really excited so that truly is the wind beneath my sails that keeps me pushing on, cause lordt I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to give up. THE END IS NEAR AND I CANNOT WAIT TO CELEBRATE WITH FRIENDS AND FAM! :)

ALLLL BYYY MYYYYYSELLLLFFFFFF (c) Celine Dion

Sooooo, I planned a surprise bachelor party for Jason the weekend of July 21st.  He has made A MILLION hints about wanting a surprise something of some sort. His co-worker had a surprise b-day party thrown by his wife and he KEPT bringing up how thoughtful it was.... I was like I get it, I get it lol. So.... I made it happen. It definitely was a labor of love. Anyone that has tried to organize an outing for a group of men knows my struggle. I started the planning process in March, so by the time July rolled around I was exhausted.

Since we opted not to have a bridal party I figured the "traditional" events surrounding getting married would be up in the air... I KNEW Jason wanted a bachelor party. I also knew he wouldn't plan one himself, or reach out to anyone about helping it or doing it for him. I figured not having one would definitely be something that he'd regret so I reached out to his friend Matt to help me. Matt went above and beyond and I am STILL trying to figure out a way that I can show my gratitude.

So let me breakdown the plan....

                ...As you all know if you've been following this blog the plan for me was to always head to NOLA for my bachelorette weekend. Welp, funds were low and debts were high and I realized that I couldn't fund a bachelor party for Jason, get to NOLA AND save for a wedding with a 200 person guest list so I fell on the sword and opted to turn my bachelorette party dreams into a solo dolo thing. I am a music festival enthusiast and the line up to FYF Fest was life changing. I NEEDED that in my life. I had already grown a bitter taste in my mouth about all the things I'd missed out on thus far for the sake of this wedding, I couldn't let this be yet another thing I wanted to do that couldn't. SOOOOOOOO I got the tickets, and because FYF holds down folks they even had a payment plan option. SCHWEET. So the plan was that I would be in LA for FYF Fest while Jason participates in all of the debauchery. SCORE!

He had friends flying in from all over so the plan was to get him to the AirBNB, so when he walked up all of the fellas would be there and surprise him... Getting him there was a chore because Jason works a lot or is always making plans at the last minute. I told him that there was a secret exhibit going on that I heard was cool and asked if he could meet me there for an hour or so for our date night.... he agreed and I gave him the address to the AirBNB. I didn't give many more details and surprisingly he didn't ask for more info which is very unlike him because he is known to annoy me by asking a million questions about everything. He had TWO other things planned that evening. A work BBQ and then going to the movies, but my biggest task was to get him to the AirBNB. Throughout all of this I was on the plane flying to LA, so thank the lordt for Wi-Fi because I was able to reach out to Matt and Jason and didn't have a four hour gap of time where I was not responsive. After Jason pushing me further and further back he FINALLY arrived at the AirBNB almost two hours later than I had requested he get there. Lordt, if EYE was actually waiting we all know I wouldn't have been happy....and his friends were getting bummed because they were all so anxious to surprise him. But when he got there Matt told me he went crazy and was legit surprised.... And that was honestly all that I needed :).

My weekend....

My phone died so I didn't even get to capture Solange, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Run the Jewels, Hannibal Buress, Bjork and so many more.... But man. This festival was EVERYTHING... and I got to check two things off my bucket list... I stayed in a hostel AND I surfed for the first time. All in all this solo trip was much needed for my mental health and I was so happy I did it! :)

Ain't I A Woman? (c) Sojourner Truth

 

Today is International Women's Day... Also known as 'A Day Without a Woman' and just like with the Women's March on Washington, I have issues... I am a feminist by definition. I believe that women should have the same rights as men. My qualms are with the feminist movement, and it's lack of inclusion and refusal to acknowledge that the intersectionality of sexism, class oppression, and racism make the experience of Black Women inherently different.

I'm gonna opt out of the #daywithoutwomen deal because too many of Y'ALL were completely MIA when it was time to #SayHerName. I was there, at every Sandra  Bland rally, and I could barely find a white face. I'm opting out because it's unrealistic for affluent white women to keep asking the rest of us women to continually sacrifice our income to go stand in the street to further their aimless agenda. They voted against their very own interests, but now we're supposed to be in observance? NOAP.

I will continue to champion for ALL women's rights. But, it's time for y'all to fix the mess y'all created.

In observance of IWD I did wear red... I'm also offering free legal services for the month of March to all women, including but not limited to consulting on negotiating job offers, raises and flexible working agreements. They gon pay what they owe! Enjoy the article below :)

DOPE ---> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/03/boxing-girls-kenya-170308085720850.html

#Masculinitysofragile (c) Black Twitter

Great NPR talk with the director of Moonlight

So I've been seeing a few black men (not many haleloo) talk about their lack of desire for wanting to see 'Moonlight' because it has been categorized as a story about gay black men... To that I say...

I saw 'Moonlight.'  I've been a fan of Barry Jenkins since 'Medicine for Melancholy' and it was through him that I was introduced to Tarell McCraney (the individual who wrote the play that the movie 'Moonlight' was based) and fell even deeper in love with his genius.

As black women especially we have always been forced to look at the person in the film, book, etc.; to look at the characteristics of the individual and make those relatable to our experiences as a person, but not as a BLACK person. That is why I can find myself in movies like Juno; in characters like Wednesday from The Addams Family, and Ally McBeal, because I have no choice. Characters that reflect how I am AND how I look are very few and inbetween, and to be able to connect on a deeper level I am forced to look past the differences, and focus on the commonalities. But, representation matters.... and so does authenticity. And there's something extremely special about seeing someone on screen that you can relate to, that also looks like you.

That is a privilege that white people don't even think about, and in this particular case, men don't either. These men that are so against seeing the film see someone that looks like them, but because of how they differ from the character on one thing, they refuse to believe that they could possibly relate to any other aspect of the character. The same way that white people will see a group of black people in a film and automatically label it a "black" film. Instantly distancing themselves from the narrative. With the influx of black programming studies have shown that more white people are tuning in and realizing that despite the fact that these characters don't look like them, they are indeed relatable. I think because black women are forced to view the world from this lens... Being so used to not "seeing ourselves" is the very reason why we are a lot more open-minded. But that's a blog for another day...

I wasn't going to say anything at all about the negative comments from black men that I've seen about the film; but I kept seeing the same types of comments, and it's starting to annoy me and since I can't mollywhop these folks, I figured I'd take the emotionally mature approach and be an adult and share my thoughts.

What I initially thought is that I relate to this, and I KNOW so many black men can identify with this narrative, and none of it has to do with sexuality. The absence of a father, the hopelessness of inner city life, the destruction that drugs cause, the longing for mentorship, and genuine friendship, the cruelty of other kids, and the lack of genuine love in the home or surrounding environment. Plenty of black men grow up with a skewed sense of who they are and should be, and are forced into these caricatures made up of figures present in their environment. 

I'm certain so many men I know, straight or gay, can identify with elements of the story of 'Moonlight.'  The struggle of a black man with barely any of the tools he needed to survive the world around him, trying to make it out of his environment while also trying to figure out how he fit into it in the first place.

**Spoiler Alert** 

I mean just look at The Allegra - the ending. Listen to his words - "Nobody has ever touched me like that." And then Chiron just laid his head on Kevin's shoulders. That moment had little to do with being gay, and so much more about needing another soul to connect to. It wasn't physical touch, it was needing to not feel alone. It was about being desperate for a connection and finding a friend. Now if you can't relate to that then consider yourself very fortunate. But if you just look at that moment in the film from the point of a person (ignore gender) telling another person (again, ignoring gender) "you are the only person who's ever touched me." If you can't relate to that and hurt for that person you have no soul..... And I'm SURE a lot of you f*ck boys outchea vehemently refusing to see the movie can relate more than you care to assess. #WhoHurtYou? #YouDon'tEvenKnow #BecauseItHurtsTooMuchToThinkAbout #SoYouJustContinueToHurtOthers #InsteadOfAskingYourselfTheToughQuestions #AndHealing.

I shall end this post with a great interview from bae Tarell McCraney :)

I just love black skin, I think it's so much more beautiful than white skin. (c) Viviane Sassen

As an introvert I've always gravitated to those that are "behind the scenes." I can rattle off cinematographers and directors a lot more confidently than I can actors... But that's just because I see a lot of myself in these people, so it is fun to live vicariously through them. I was able to hunt down an interview with the cinematographer of Moonlight; James Laxton. I LOVE Viviane Sassen's use of hyper-pigmentation shapes in her photography and I saw glimmers of her influence in Moonlight. I was super interested in his other influences as well. Needless to say I completely photography nerded out during this whole interview and it made me want to see Moonlight for the third time. I get sad thinking about how I won't be able to experience the full aesthetic of the film for much longer.... DVD will be great, but Moonlight shines brightest on a movie screen.

A talk with the cinematographer from Moonlight