Category Archives: The B2 Xpress

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

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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Filed under Photography, The B2 Xpress

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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Filed under Music, The B2 Xpress

These are the days of my life…

It’s been a 21 days since my last post. Within those three weeks, Michael Jackson passed away and the media frenzy began dissecting his life every minute of every hour of the day. Was he crazy? A pedophile? A good father? Did he overdose? Who’s going to inherit his money? Steve “Air” McNair was shot and killed by his mistress and the only thing folks cared about was the mistress. How long has he been cheating? Was he a bad father? Where did he travel to with his mistress? Did she kill him then herself? Here in DC, two Metro rail cars collided, killing nine, I started bartending, got into a bar fight with a Neo-Nazi inbred, and Marion Barry was set up again. It seems I cannot stop questioning the sanity and sheer madness of other people and I may have to go to therapy in order to cope with other people’s choices.

Life is about perception and for those that disagree, try to count how many times you pass judgement before you have all the details. I can remember when my mother would comb my hair to the sides and comb out a part in my head so I’d look like my parents took good care of me. Nevermind the patches in my jeans to hide the grass stains from when I played football at school everyday at recess. Don’t worry about the scuffed up Kangaroos or British Knights whose shoe strings looked like my rottweiler chewed on them all night while I slept. As long as I had that part, my mother’s reputation was intact. I was taught not to put my elbows on the table, hold the door for ladies and say “thank you” and “excuse me” when necessary. But since I said hi to 30 (Jay-Z) the world has begun to look very strange to me as if no one else was raised the same.

Those that know me personally know I’m extremely inquisitive. Even if you don’t know me personally, if you have and inkling of some sort of intelligence you can read in my posts how weird I can be. But I don’t think I’m all that strange.

Today I noticed a woman from across the pool deck that I attended elementary school with and tried to make eye contact with her. It seemed as if she’d seen me too because she kept looking – what seemed to be – in my direction. But I soon noticed the fear in her eyes and the imperative movement in her steps towards the pool were not attempts to greet me. Once she jumped into the pool fully clothed I knew something wasn’t right. A child, someone close to her, the son of a friend, laid motionless, face down in the pool. I ran to assist her in helping him as she rolled him over, unconscious, not breathing at all and lungs and stomach obviously full of water. Pandemonium set into the entire scene and it seemed to be the first encounter of the sort to everyone there but me, including the lifeguard. CPR was administered and after 1 or 2 minutes, the child opened his eyes, spat out a lot of water and began breathing. Sadly, what shocked me most was that there were several other adults within arms reach of him who noticed nor did a thing, even after the woman jumped in and screamed for someone to dial 911. As I knelt down to give chest compressions, I heard one of the adults say, “Oh my God, is he dead?” while steadily eating her french fries. Where’s the sympathy? Why was it so easy for her to be so crude and insensitive to the mother of the child who’s fearing death is upon her son?

After the paramedics took the child out on a stretcher as a precautionary method, other parents began pointing the blame and responsibility on the lifeguard. True, he should have been sitting a little closer but my disgust was towards the mother of the child. This kid drowned in 3 feet of water so it’s safe to say that he could not swim at all. So knowing this, as a mother, why allow your child to enter a pool and not have him in your sights? I touched her son before she did and came from behind the bar where I was preparing a drink for a patron.

The night before I decided to meet a friend of mine for drinks in Bethesda. He had a hookup where we were going and I’m all for that in my life. So, we’re chilling, drinking our first drink of what we planned to double before we left and out of nowhere, “You ghetto niggers! What gives you the right to come into my bar?” At that point it was eye for an eye, insult for an insult. My friend replied, “We didn’t know we walked into the Poor White Trash bar, cracker.” The dude literally spit in my face after that and he then accidentally head butted himself with a Bud Light bottle he’d previously sat on the bar before he insulted us and spat in my face. A fight breaks out between my friend and I and his friends and we fled once we heard, “I’m calling the police!” Well, we ran but we almost ran right to the police as they sat on their squad car at the corner. We did a 180 and began to retreat. They followed, and followed and followed us as if we were the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I felt like a runaway slave hiding from the police as I took off my baby blue Polo shirt as if the hounds would catch my scent if I’d kept it on. Once we lost them we went back to our cars and went home. Well, I did at least. My friend had glass in his hand from the bottle and he went to the hospital to get stitched up.

There are three other strange things that have happened to me over the past three weeks that raised a brow and left me baffled. Due to my extensive readership I’ll keep those stories private in fear of sure backlash if I disclosed details. Still, ’til this day I have no idea what the hell she was thinking, nor her stupid friends for encouraging such behavior, but they all thought they were justified in their childish ways. I suffered a few days of punishment afterwards but had no idea what I was responsible for. I also have no idea why another acquaintance of mine feels I need to apologize to her when I’ve done nothing wrong but point out to her that she’d done something wrong. At this point I beginning to feel that my problem is that I don’t have a problem.

Will I continue living life looking at other people’s actions and asking why? Do you all live peaceful lives where nothing and no one affects your day? If so, how do you do it? I hear people say they don’t care what people think and often use rap lyrics and slang terminology like “brush them haters off” or “I’m just keepin’ it real” to support their decisions to be ignorant. I feel that that thinking is exactly why I have so many issues. No one cares that they are rude, obnoxious and just plain ol’ dumb anymore. No one cares that they will be perceived as someone whose mother never taught them right from wrong or how to respect others.

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Shutter Island

Originally seen on kanYe West‘s blog:

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Filed under Film, Movies, The B2 Xpress

Artomatic

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Artomatic celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the soon-to-be Half Street Hotel in Southeast DC.

55 M Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

May 29 – July 5, 2009

Fri-Sat: Noon-1 am
Sun, Wed, Thu: Noon-10 pm

Take Metro! Located directly above the Green Line Navy Yard Metro Stop, West Entrance

info@artomatic.org

The event features artists that paint, photograph, film, sculpt, draw, dance, sing, rap, graf (graffiti artists…you know, spray painters), and more. I thought I’d stop by today and take a look and already have plans to return tonight and tomorrow as well as special dates with guest features throughout the month.

Here’s some of what I captured today.

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Jeff Nyveen, a USC graduate who moved to the DC Metropolitan area several years ago, features several photographs of visual memories of his travel.  But don’t let me bore you with my interpretation.  After viewing his website and photographs I’m sure you’re going to schedule a few flights to exotic lands and purchase a nice camera to capture the evidence like he has done for years.

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Jared Davis‘ piece, Hurdi Gurdi. This guys scene design and staging is phenomenal.

Check back later for more updates from my sitings at Artomatic!

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Filed under Film, Music, Photography, The B2 Xpress