Here’s the Tea: Tokies on the N- Word

All my life I had to fight! (((Trigger Warning))) This week on #TokiesPodcast we discuss the notorious “N-word.” How we feel about it and how our relationship with the word has been changing post-college. After the last year I’ve had, this word has been brought up by both co-workers and students and my relationship with the word has shifted. Check it out

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Prominent Civil Rights Activist Darren Seals Found Murdered In St. Louis

It always comes as a shock when any young person loses their life to senseless acts of violence, but this couldn’t be truer when it come to the murder of Darren Seals. On September 6, 2016, Seals was found fatally shot inside of a Burning car in the Riverside area of St. Louis just before 2 a.m.  (See Video Below)

http://usat.ly/2cDEtMm

County police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda stated that “We are working with potential witnesses and doing everything we can, the same as we do in every case,” Granda then followed up by saying that “[the] police had no suspects.” and that “We need the community’s help on this.”

d-seals-by-mathis-m-robinson
Photo: Mathis M. Robinson

Now I have no doubt in my mind that the police are doing all that they can in order to bring Seals’ murders to justice (Side eye), but it all seems to be a bit TOO convenient when looking at the publicity that Seals was receiving nationally as a civil rights activist and speaker and at the commotion Seals was making for holding police officers in his community accountable for their actions.

 

Not even two months ago, Seals tweeted  that he and his 14-year-old brother were pulled over at gunpoint by police who warned him to “choose your enemies wisely.”

We have already seen the acts of police brutality towards black men (and women) all over the country and have even witnessed many of these horrible acts on camera, yet all too often do we not see police officers held accountable for their actions.

What upsets me and makes me question the validity of the homicide investigations (besides the fact that Seals already stated that he was being threatened by police officers) is that fact that when the St. Louis police gave the victim’s first name, they spelled it as “Daren,” Any quick google search would show you that the victim spelled his name as “Darren” and his social media accounts, local news and members of the community could show that. (Yes, people make mistakes. Myself included, but when you have such a prominent person as a victim, I would think someone would have double checked.) Now this whole investigation just screams foul play to me, and their credibility is not in question.

Either way, Seals will be missed. Lizz Brown, a local attorney for the St. Louis area, stated “(Seals) was a young man who cared deeply and passionately about his community…Whether he was paying for Christmas gifts for the kids in the neighborhood or organizing young people. He will be missed.”

We all hope that whoever did this is brought to justice and that real change can start happening here in America. Until next time…Take Chances. Make Mistakes. GET MESSY!

Taylor Swift donates $1 million to Louisiana flood Relief

Even in the middle of the Kim and Kanya West scandal (click her for more details) Taylor Swift is still being her all-American girl self and donated a crisp 1 million dollars to aid in the current Louisiana flood relief efforts. According to CNN, the PA native stated that

“We began The 1989 World Tour in Louisiana, and the wonderful fans there made us feel completely at home….. “The fact that so many people in Louisiana have been forced out of their own homes this week is heartbreaking. I encourage those who can to help out and send your love and prayers their way during this devastating time.”

Taylor Swift is known for her philanthropy and a huge heart, but part of me is wondering….did this come from a place of love? Or is this a strategical move on behalf of Taylor Swift and her PR team? Personally, I would like to believe that it is the former because I still rock hard my girl T-Swift, but there is till a little voice in my head going “OOOh Girl. I see what you did there”

Thanks to T-Swift’s swift actions, other celebrities such a Lady GaGa and Louisiana native Ian Somerhalder have also sent their love and support publically to the water-logged state.

Though the amounts donated by these two celebrities are yet unknown, it is great to see that Americans are coming together in order to aid their fellow citizens. Especially since The American Red Cross has stated that this devastating flood is now the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy four years ago.

To everyone in Louisiana….stay safe

My Heart is Heavy: Living In America As A Black Gay Man

As of July 7,2016, police officers in America have killed 136 black people in 2016 alone.(TheGardian.com) As someone who identifies with the black queer community, I can’t even fathom how one minute everyone can be morning the loss of our 49 brother’s and sisters who lost their lives in Orlando, yet condone the shooting of two unarmed black men (YES TWO BLACK MEN) IN THE SAME WEEK! America we need to get it together.

This morning after hearing about the second shooting, I came across an article from July 5th about how the Black Lives Matter Movement shut down the annual Gay Pride Parade in Toronto Canada. It was also not the first time LGBTQ groups and the Black lives movement have clashed. Like myself, there are thousands of other black LGBTQ people out there in the world and many allies who identify with both movements. I think it is interesting that sometimes when the two groups come together, people are not about collaboration, but about only furthering their own movements.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that the world is all sunshine, rainbows, and ponies. I know that it is in human nature to further our own agenda, but I’m just curious as to why this had to be the time and black to do so, especially with trans women of color accounting for the majority of all LGBTQ attacks and killings here in the United States. If you are a person or Ally of the LGBTQ community, yet you are silent about this, rethink your life! The same could be said for all the black people out there saying that “All Gays Should Die!”. We are all in this together, and you need to wake up! SMH

Years and Years: Worship

Once again the band Years & Year has created an amazing work of art that also makes a powerful statement.  In their latest video “Worship”  the trio uses sexual undertones to expose the seedy underworld which is male prostitution. According to nobullying.com, 20 percent of the world’s prostitution population are men and that “[the] Mortality [rate] among prostitutes is substantially higher than the mortality rate of the society in which the prostitutes worked or lived. The study showed that the general population had a mortality rate of 1.9 per every 100,000 people, but the mortality for prostitutes was 391 per 100,000 people, and active prostitutes have a mortality rate of 459 per 100,000 people. ”

In this video, lead singer Olly Alexander sways sensually while and older gentleman seems to be closely watching and even possibly pleasuring himself in a parked care nearby. Throughout the video, Olly is seen licking and rubbing against objects which could be a metaphor for giving oral sex. This is again referenced when Olly pretends to be biting down hard on an imaginary object and the older man creepily watching him from his car begins to freak out….presumably because he has had his penis bitten.

I think it is very interesting how Years and Years have recently begun to speak more openly about issues which are near and dear to their hearts, specifically, LGBTQIA issues and topics. I believe with all of the anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric which has been filling news outlets lately; I think it is necessary for big name celebrities and politicians to speak up against these issues and create a social dialog where people will be able to express their opinions without being disrespectful to either side of the conversation.

I’m actually quite proud of this video, and I didn’t even work on it! I think it has a great message, and if you look up the lyrics, you can see the thought process and message which the artist was trying to convey. Way to get messy guys!

#ProudToBe

After the shooting in Orlando last week, a number of individuals from around the world, including myself, have taken to social media to show their support and solidarity for the victims of this mass shooting and for the LGBTQ community at large. It was during one of these social media movements that the hashtag #ProudToBe was developed.

As you can see from the video above, #ProudToBe is meant to give people a platform where they can come together to celebrate their individual identities, as well as the Identities fo other members within the LGBTQ community. So whether you identify as being one of the many sexual identities in out LGBTQI rainbow soup, or as an ally. You too have a voice that needs to be heard. With this hashtag, people are able to say “Hey, this was something terrible that happened in our community, but we will not allow this type of hate and bigotry to silence our identity and what we stand for”.

I personally feel like this was one of the greatest gifts that YouTube could have provided us with this year for Pride. Through this hashtag, people are able to share their stories and ideas about what it means to identify as something. This is also one of the reasons the other Tokies and I decided to dedicate a podcast to identity and haveing pride in one’s self.

Check it out here: Episode 6 of the Tokies Podcast

So remember my friends! BE PROUD TO BE YOU!

Happy Pride Moth All!

Happy Pride Month : Redefined

Every year I look forward to Pride Month here in the US. For me, it’s a glorious time where I can sit and reflect with friends and family about how far the LGBTQ community has come. We also discuss how far we as a nation and a species still have to come for there to be justice and equality for every citizen regardless of their sexual identity, race, religion or any other identifying factor.

On June 12, 2016, 50 individuals lost their lives in a gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida and another 20 people were wounded.  Acts of violence such as this one are becoming way too prominent. I honestly cannot wrap my head around why someone would want to do such a thing. The more I think about it, the more sad and confused I get.

For me, I believe that the events of last night, as well as the crazy events which have transpired in my life this past year, have made me come to terms with what it means to have Pride. I’ve also been redefining how one should address people when they have issues with your pride. I don’t want to get into too many details because I plan to share my feelings on my weekly podcast the Tokies, but I felt like I needed to post something. Mostly just for myself and to get my thoughts and feelings out into the world.

Stay tuned my loves! And don’t forget! Take Chances! Make Mistakes! AND GET MESSY!

To learn more about this situation visit here:

 

The Skin Deep [THE AND] Series

Since moving back to New Jersey and beginning to piece back together my life after doing removed from “the real world” for a year. I’m starting to think about dating again. Yes, I have been on dates while living in the middle of nowhere, but nothing which I thought would be more than I simple movie or a dance night. Now that I am around more people who share the same or similar life values as I do, I think it is time to just dive back into that big ocean we call the dating scene.

I’ve been single for quite some time now and the last week of me searching for a job and thinking about life, in general, has given me the opportunity to reflect upon what I want in both a career and a partner. With my birthday right around the corner and the increasing amount of my friends getting engaged, I have begun to think…

I want to be able to share my life experiences with someone. To learn and grow with them and to be challenged. Every time my friend speaks about a new destination she and her husband has traveled or the new tile they have selected for their kitchen remodel, it just reminds me that I don’t have anything like that. I have my iron will to survive and a slightly neurotic puppy who like to steal my apples. Weird….I know…

I digress, what I want is to be happy. I know I know, this is such a Millenial thing to say and do, but it’s the truth. I just want to find my passion in life and an outlet to express my emotions. Also being financially stable wouldn’t hurt either. So I am reflecting on my past year and learning from the crazy. That is when I discovered the Skinn Deep channel on  Youtube. This channel is all about reflecting upon the relationships you have cultivated with people and learning from past mistakes and failures. One of my favorites so far is the following video where a married couple speak about their relationship and reflect upon how they met and how things have changed for them. There are so many people in my life who I would love to sit down with like this and just have a face to face conversation with and just talk….reflect…and be.

Check it out!

 

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