I usually try and start the newsletter on an inspiring angle but thanks to the pain of PMS, I’d rather wallow in reality. Let us start with this video of flooding after a night out in Alexandria, Virginia:
I’m not sure if I’m the girl in the mint hued shimmer dress or the man trying to carry her or am I the last man who saves the day? Being a complex character I encompass all three, depending on the hour. We’re all just out here trying to keep our head above the murkily contaminated and forceful waters of 2021.
Let’s jump right in the sewer and wade through the late, great and neither here nor there of last week:
🇭🇹 HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE 🙏🏿
As I’m sure you’re aware by now an earthquake has rattled Haiti yesterday and the death toll is over 700 as I write this.
I’ve been seeing lots of warnings not to donate to the Red Cross. I’m going to take some time over the next week to find some reputable places to give back and I’ll share them in next week’s volume 18.
I was already planning to discuss Haiti next week as August 21st 1791 marks the start of the Haitian Revolution. Haiti is an essential beacon of black liberation light, being the first nation to overthrow and ban slavery.
🎰 FRIDAY THE 13TH PROPAGANDA 💃🏾
If you’re reading this, you’ve survived yet another Friday the 13th. So I guess it wasn’t that bad? I was raised by a Southern superstitious woman so I’ve always fear this day as well. This year, I started to wonder why.
According to the explanations I found on Google, 13 is considered unlucky because Jesus’ killer Judas was the thirteenth person to arrive to the Last Supper. Wouldn’t he just be unlucky?
Fridays are considered unlucky to some because that’s the day that Adam couldn’t control his temptation and ate the apple and also the day Jesus died. Have you ever experienced a Friday? Usually good stuff.
So then I dug deeper to find some important things about Fridays and Friday the 13th which make me feel robbed for ever thinking it was bad:
Friday in Latin is “dies Viernes” — day of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. According to some viral memes Friday the 13th pre patriarchy used to be Goddess Day, where women were celebrated. If true, that sexist biblical rebrand is crazy!
Friday 13th 1831 — During a solar eclipse, legendary freedom fighter Nat Turner had a divine vision from God to rebel against his slave masters. Days later he organized dozens of enslaved to rebel and kill 55+ slave owners/whites in the way.
Friday 13th 1920 — The Pan African flag is formally adopted by Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association + African Communities League.
All in all, it’s a scam and super late to think Friday the 13th is bad luck! Do your googles please.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE
🧼Celebrities who don’t bathe 🚿
Several people who can afford nicer soaps than me, like Ashton Kutcher and his wife and a slew of other Caucasian celebrities (and Uncle Terry Crews) have voluntarily came out and let us know they don’t bathe often. And we wonder why Delta is spreading.
Being a researcher and marketer for fun and by trade respectfully, I had to dig deeper. I saw a theory referencing the California droughts and wondering if this could be some sort of reverse psychology to conserve H20??
Is it cultural? History tells us that European colonizers didn’t bathe but wore white linens that they believed kept/proved them clean. Or is this all some proactive roll out plan for Fenty Fungal Soap 2022 ala the perfume reel?
🇳🇬Jollof Bieber 🇨🇦
The only thing bad about Friday the 13th this year was Justin Bieber’s remix of Nigerian superstar WizKid and Temi’s “Essence.” The non-Bieber version has been dubbed the song of the summer:
Sonically, the song didn’t need Justin… just like Justin didn’t need those measly dreadful dreadlocks we discussed in volume 2.
Of course we are happy for WizKid that this will take his career to new levels, although he was already an international star in his own right. It just reinforces the fact that despite black culture being super influential and imitated, the true gatekeepers of success are still largely white.
However, maybe the 2020 Census is proof that this will be changing soon…as America (or at least those who filled out the Census) is becoming less white. Wishful thinking.
The song better go number one or else it was a waste of everyone’s time.
Men who quit
A few days after we released volume 16 last week, Cuomo stepped down as Governor of New York. Before doing so, he had his lawyer hold a press conference and refute everything in Attorney General James’ report.
After that, he finally announced he would leave in 14 days. Lol. That’s privilege to quit because you’re about to be fired for touching women, killing grandparents and writing a book about it…but in two weeks.
Also, Britney Spears’ dad Jamie Spears has announced that he will step down from her conservatorship. This is a big win for the Free Britney movement, and for Britney herself.
They say quitting is bad…unless of course you’re bad at your job. In that case, giving up is your best option.
Happy Birthday Hip Hop!
August 11th 1973 marks the date that legendary Jamaican American DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell) threw an epic Back To School Jam for his little sister in the South Bronx at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. This party is formally known as the birth of hip hop.
DJ Kool Herc is an innovator. His sound system setup paid homage to the iconic reggae selectors of his native Jamaica. For the first time on August 11th 1973, the crowd listened as he experimented with a new sound.
Using his turntables and the mixer’s crossfader, he live looped the rhythm section (the break beat) of records continuously and also blended records together…which had never been done before, as legend has it.
I’m truly a hip hop head, and so grateful for this man and the genre. It’s more than just music. It’s the pinnacle of black expression besides prayer (and this newsletter) honestly. It’s poetry over beats, not just any beats… there’s a science to all of it.
I feel a way to think about the South Bronx literally burning, often times intentionally, in the 1970s. That was the first PPP loan: landlords would set their blighted properties on fire to collect insurance money, leaving the poor to persist in the rubble.
It was these conditions from which one of the greatest loves of my life was born. Is it because I can relate to the feeling of despair? The angst and the anger of being born into a fucked up scenario that I did not choose?
Beyond the destruction, hip hop has paved the way for black wealth. Jokingly we questioned should we “rob Rihanna” last week because she’s a billionaire… but somewhere deep down inside it’s fly that she is because of why she is.
She got her start thanks to hip hop. She was signed by a Brooklyn rapper from Marcy Avenue. Hip Hop DJ Cipha Sounds was the first to play her on NYC radio… further emphasizing the grand importance of the DJ. If Kool Herc didn’t throw that party, would we have Fenty Beauty today?
Breakdancing will be a sport in the next Olympics and graffiti has become a corporate motif. Hip hop is global and more influential than even I know. I’m grateful for it as it has saved me a million times and still does.
I could go on and on about my favorite artform but I’ll just leave you with one of my favorite songs from the legendary Roots crew. Also my total mood right now:
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