Friendship Is Essential To The Soul

As a child, I thought Black boys grew up and went to college and became brothers in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. I grew up watching my father, my Uncle that’s actually my father’s brother and other Uncles that became my father’s brothers through this fraternity reminisce about old times, discuss present times and teach us about becoming men. I was so proud of my father and uncles; so proud I used to wear a “My Dad is an Omega Man” t-shirt as often as I could.

I went to college but did not pledge Omega Psi Phi. I didn’t pledge at all actually. I missed out on having those relationships I saw my father and uncle nurture. But I did learn one thing from their experience with their fraternity that I find more value in my life now more than ever.

The motto of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is “Friendship is essential to the soul”. The older I get, the smaller the number of “friends” I have. It took a while to recognize the true difference between a friend and an associate and life experiences teaches you these things in the strangest way. Anyone can drink a beer with you. Anyone can smile and rejoice with you during good times. Anyone can sit down and eat dinner with you. But what happens to those people in crucial moments in your life when you need them most?

Here’s a test: List those that would be present at your wedding. Now from that list, who’d come to your funeral? Now from that list, who would you trust to raise your children in your absence? Those remaining are your true friends. Those are the people who know you best and will make sure your children grow up with the necessary tools you would’ve given them had you not have passed. Your associates aren’t bad people. They just aren’t friends. An association with people is as important to your well-being as having a Pepsi in the desert. Sure that ice cold Pepsi will be refreshing to have temporarily but how beneficial will it be in the long-run in that desert?

Friendships are essential to the soul…
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Filed under Nostalgia, relationships, The B2 Xpress

I Love Tacos

I love tacos!

I could’ve just left this post after that exclamation point because I believe everyone who reads this would I agree that tacos are a gift from Latin Jesus. The deliciousness that is referred to as a taco makes me salivate at the thought of them. Even the preparation of them makes me smile; who wouldn’t enjoy the smell of marinated steak, chicken or shrimp soaked in garlic cloves, paprika, cumin, lime juice and cilantro cooking? Things that go with tacos are fun too. Cadillac margaritas, simple margaritas, margaritas with salt, without salt, beer. Mmm, beer.

Tacos are so damned delicious, you can supplement proper ingredients with lesser ones and still enjoy the savory thing-a-ma-jiggy that’s taco-esque. I’ve used Fritos Scoops with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, and canned salsa and called it tacos before and loved it. Please forgive me Taco Gods.

I love other foods like steak too and am a seafood fiend but nothing compares to a taco. When you come home and rave about the NY Strip you had for dinner, people ask, “What did you have with it?” most times. Not with tacos. When you say you ate tacos, that’s good enough.

A taco isn’t a sandwich. A taco is not a meal. It stands alone as a taco. Latin Jesus should’ve trademarked the taco and publicly traded stock in the likeness of it. The Church of Ladder Day Taco Lovers across the world would’ve been very grateful for that. We would’ve been paying NY Yankee salaries in tacos. Nonetheless, thank you Spanish speaking Jesus. Thank you for inventing this.

Man, I love tacos.

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Road Trippin’

I’ve traveled approximately 9,376 miles this year in the beautiful US of A. Here are a few snapshots of my ongoing voyages.

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I’m Not As Smart As I Thought

It’s been a year and some change since my last confession…I mean, blog entry. You know this tune: “A lot has changed”, “I’ve grown up a little”, “I’ve met the love of my life”, and so on and so forth. So I’ll skip past all the back-patting and thumb away on my touchscreen keyboard.

I am not as smart as I thought I was.

Seriously, I’m not. I woke up today after a few hours rest and asked myself: “Self, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Self responded with some mumbo jumbo, politically correct answer because Self didn’t want to bruise his own ego. But I ignored Self and listened to Her.

I haven’t known Her for too long but it feels like I have. I hurt Her with little white lies that I thought were collateral for time I needed to correct insecurities about my Self (see what I did there?) without evaluating the ramifications of them inevitably coming back to haunt me. And man did they come back to haunt me tremendously.

Trust is earned through honest words and sincere, pure, non-confrontational actions that support those words. I failed miserably at doing this recently and in lies (ahem…) this confessional (I mean, blog entry).

A little white lie will most definitely lead to others. Sooner than you know, you’ve planted a field of white lies so thick it’s covered all of what’s true about yourself. And when those white lies blossom and die like all living things, your true Self is covered with wilted petals that give life to weeds. No one wants to plant roses in a garden full of weeds.

I tried to get away with that and the roots to the roses I was planting became suffocated. An “I’m sorry” isn’t going to repair the damages done to my garden. It’s time to put the gloves on, get down on my hands and knees and get dirty. Problem is, I’m not well versed in gardening.

I thought I knew a little bit about everything but I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

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Make Up Your Damned Mind!

***DISCLAIMER***

This post is specifically towards women and it ain’t no feel good, brighten up your day kind of subject (Don’t judge my grammatical errors either. There’s a time and place for everything and “ain’t no” is fitting.). So if you’re feeling a little under the weather and need a pick-me-up, come back and read this post another day ladies.

I had a discussion the other night with a female friend – one that I’ve never dated nor had sexual relations with – about her failures in choosing “Mr. Right”. She’s approaching that milestone age of 30 that most women fear. It’s like they look at their life like death is upon them once it’s reached. The truth is, most haven’t really become women until that age anyway. All the other years of adulthood were spent being a little girl in a grown woman’s body. But it got me to thinking about my confusions with women and how it wrecked my brain trying to figure out how to make one woman happy. The best advice I can give a man going through the same: “Make yourself happy and hope she follows. If not, there was nothing you could have ever done to please her.”

A woman named Angie said, “I want to marry a nice guy. Someone who loves and respects his mother” but dates a drug dealer or a known womanizer from the age of 22 to 25. Then she meets a nice guy who loves and respects his mother and decides to go out on a date with him. He picks her up, opens doors and pulls out chairs, asks periodically how she’s doing and if she needs anything. He makes sure the conversation during dinner is about lighthearted subjects and things that would make her smile. He walks her to her door after the date and tells her how much he enjoyed the night and that he’d love to go out with her again. Later, Angie receives a phone call from her girlfriend who’s inquiring abut the date. “Girl, dinner was wonderful. He took me to a really nice restaurant, was very charming and respectful. I enjoyed myself,” Angie said. “That’s nice. I wish I had someone like that. So when are you two going out again?”, the friend asks. “I don’t know. I don’t think we’re a good match. He’s a little too reserve for me”, Angie replies.

Angie decides to let the relationship with the nice guy who loves and respects his mother die, even though he tried and tried to win her back. She’s now 27 years old, single and back out on the scene. She’s hitting the clubs, happy hours and taking trips with the girls to Vegas, Puerto Rico and Miami. Life is wonderful. She’s being courted by well established men who treat her like a princess but nothing too serious; just the occasional trip here, the random one-nighter’s there and then it’s on to the next thing. This goes on for two years and Angie begins to grow tired of it. She’ll be 30 next year and now wants to settle down and marry, start a family.

If Angie knew she wanted to marry and be a mother one day, why’d she choose to live the life of a whore and expect a good man to clean up behind that? A whore isn’t just the woman who performs sexual acts for money in motels. A whore is one who sells their soul for minuscule, non-rewarding gifts. A trip to Miami and a weekends stay in Bal Harbor is nice, but it can also cost you the life with a man you’ve always wanted. A trip to Montana in the end of January when you know you don’t ski and hate the cold could cause the man that loves you to never be able to trust you again. Being the fixture at the celebrities table at the club may label you as the wrong woman to “wife up”. My suggestion to these women: pick a lane and stay in it.

Satisfaction isn’t about settling, it’s about having peace of mind. Everyone fantasizes about their future and what they’d want in it. But if happiness in a relationship is what you ultimately seek, then your counterpart’s career goals or education or wealth should be secondary to that. Would you rather be married to a rich man who keeps you as a trophy or a poor man that loves you like his Queen? The nice cars and houses and trips may be attractive but what does it matter when you can’t rightfully call it yours?

Men do this too, but today, my thoughts are directed towards women who deserve good men but choose to fall victim to what’s popular instead of what’s right, pure and a direct reflection of who they really are. The character “Angie” that I created for this story is alive in a lot of you. Part of the reason we hear the common phrase “there are no good men left out here” is due to that woman’s existence in yourself. Angie is also a part of the reason most men feel we cannot show you how genuine, loving, caring, and supportive we are too. So change up your existence and make up your damned mind!

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Why Can’t I Get Married, Too?

Yep, I’m back…again. This time by request.

I took a leave of absence because I was told by a few folks that my opinions and comments on certain topics swayed their thoughts of me. Honestly, I laughed at first at one individual in particular but then shortly thereafter became curious as to why and to what extent her thoughts had changed. Well, the answers I received made me laugh even more: “I never knew you were so shallow and judgmental. It made me think twice about opening up and being honest with you.” The contradiction in this statement baffled me. I wanted to point it out but I realized that I was speaking to a foolish person.

So, here lies the reason I’m back, posting my thoughts away for the world (27 or so people) to read and then – undoubtedly – pass judgment upon me for being honest. “B, why can’t I find a good man? Someone who will just act right and make me his wife? I mean, am I asking too much?”

Those words spilled from her mouth with such sincerity I proceeded to talk to this female friend of mine for about 45 minutes about our views on the topic. We both went on and on about why we thought dating and marriage between African-Americans suffer so much, why biological clocks with women and the emergence of financial success in men cause a disconnect between the two, even why interracial dating is more prominent now than ever witnessed before. She supported almost every bullet point with an ABC News special on this exact topic. I hadn’t seen the special at that time but I’ve heard the story a million times over. Successful Black woman has worked hard to furnish herself with this, that and the third but still can’t find the man of her dreams. What’s wrong with the Black Community? The conversation between the two of us started out a healthy one, but then I became bothered by some of the things I heard her say about Black men in general and why “we” can’t and won’t commit to “them”. “Well, since you’re such the relationship expert nowadays B, why don’t you spread the wealth of knowledge?” She meant this sarcastically but nevertheless, here ya go!

First of all, women – not just African-Americans – need to stop with the demands and the excuses you call reasons for having them. I have this, I have that. He should this, he should that. No one owes you jack. Putting labels and setting bars on men because of your accomplishments is just as shallow as him saying he won’t settle down because he wants to take advantage of his options. I have several female friends who I consider marriage material – women who’d make great wives and wonderful mothers – that are single, bouncing in and out of relationships to taking a break from dating to being smitten by the guy who calls and asks how her day was. There’s no problem with Black men. This isn’t an issue of Black men being incarcerated, you never considered them your “type” anyway. The graduation rate of Black men has absolutely nothing to do with it either. Ladies, it’s you!

Secondly, start treating the relationships you do have with more respect. No man enjoys dating someone that doesn’t show him that he’s appreciated and wanted. If ladies want to be treated like Princesses and Queens, I’d suggest you learn how to treat us men like Princes and Kings. If you don’t then you’re “hustling backwards”. It’s like having a “Filet Mignon appetite with a dollar menu bank account” or “expecting Crystal with a Boones Farm mind-state”. No one opens a bank account with $10 and then expects to withdraw $100 from the ATM afterwards. The same goes for a relationship. While you’re looking at him to do all the work in the relationship – expecting him to sweep you off your feet – he’s wondering when and why you don’t feel it’s necessary to do the same for him.

Lastly, learn how to let a man be a man. We’ve all seen it before: A woman arguing with a man who doesn’t want to argue with her. He tries to walk away from the situation but she just keeps forcing the issue. I sometimes try to predict how much time goes past before he leaves her, or worse, smacks her across her face. (I don’t condone hitting women – especially in situations like this – but you got to admit, sometimes you understand when it does happen.)

My grandfather has a 6th grade education but runs the family farm, has 15 children, 22 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and loved my grandmother ’til her last living day so education and wealth have nothing to do with a Black man’s ability to be a loving father and committed husband. If every Black man looked at his accomplishments and demanded that a woman meet those standards, he’d be labeled “unreasonable” or “selfish”. It’s similar to a prenuptial agreement, the same agreement most women who make less than their counterpart deems disrespectful when asked to sign. So stop patting yourself on the back and making senseless demands on the men you date and start putting emphasis on the important things that really matter. Would a Black man with a degree, 6 figure salary and a respectful financial portfolio that hates children, dogs and your friends be a sufficient candidate for marriage? If so, consider yourself a shallow, gold digging…you-know-what. Now take away the accomplishments and replace them with modest achievements but add the fact that he loves you, cherishes your children and treats your friends like his own…is he looking a little more promising now?

My advice to these unfortunate, beautiful, successful Black women of prominence who have been mistreated by society, are under-appreciated by men because of all of their accolades and can’t find a Black man to marry them would be to get a grip on life and stop looking to men to grant you a life you don’t know how to give yourself. Your relationships as boyfriend and girlfriend should serve as practice before marriage. So, learn from them. If you keep hearing you’re an insensitive bitch, well, who the hell wants to marry that? Lastly, stop comparing yourself to others, especially chicks on television shows like “Desperate Housewives of…”, “Basketball Wives” and anything Beyonce sings.

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Filed under relationships, The B2 Xpress

Remixes and Remakes

I love a good remix, especially when the original was good but not quite the best it could be. I also love it when an artist who’s perceived to be on top of the world releases a hit and another up and coming artist takes a leap of faith and remixes that hit and succeeds.

Remember this song? Of course you do…

Yes, New Edition was at the pinnacle of R&B back in the day but if this wasn’t evidence that these brothers were performers/entertainers – not singers – then maybe this will help.

Boyz II Men even remixed their ad-libs and those sounded better.

But the reason for this blog is to actually plug an artist I’d love to hear more from by the name of Novel. One of my favorites from Novel is actually a remake of Gary Jules’ Mad World.

Here’s the original (which is actually very very good):

And here’s Novel’s version:

It’s a very bold statement to open up a door using someone else’s salutation but if you can pull it off and sound good doing it – like Novel did with his version – then more power to you. By the way, no one – and I mean NO ONE – will ever succeed at doing this when it comes to Stevie Wonder.

What say you? Do you have any?

Well if you’re into old school music and how it has influenced some of the new stuff we enjoy today take a listen to “Sample Junkies” mixed by DJ Matt Cali, beats and breaks compiled by Russel Fong.


Download the link here.

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