Monthly Archives: February 2016

Growing Old…Together

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*My husband George and I at an event in 2008

I can still remember the exact moment that I met my husband. I was at my cousin’s party and he walked in the door. He was a snappy dresser then, everything matched. I asked my cousin Connie to introduce me, and she said ” I’ll take care of it” and she did. So began our love affair. We had a lot in common, we both were divorced and wanted to take it slow. Every week we went to drive-in movies, lounges, softball games, dances, concerts and restaurants. He was and still is a avid Saints fan and at that time was a season ticket holder. He purchased season tickets for me and we attended the game together. It was a magical time.

I can remember when he asked me to marry him, after three years of dating. We decided on a June wedding with all the trimmings. But our plan did not go as planned, when we discovered that we were going to be parents. So on October 6, 1979 we were married. I can still see me walking down the aisle on my father’s arm toward my future husband, George. He had the biggest smile on his face and love was in his eyes. I will always remember that time in my life.

Fast forward two children, three grandchildren and thirty-six years later and the love is still there. It’s not the can’t wait to see you love, or the I love you so much I can bust love either. It is a comfortable love, the love knowing that he is there, the love when he cooks my favorite meal, cuddling as he climbs into bed for the nite. Yes we both have changed, my hair is gray, and I am not a size seven anymore. He has lost his hair and has a little stomach. But we love and appreciate each other, we are God willing growing old together.

Well folks, I am signing off, until next time.

Bottoms Up !!!!!
Deb's Signature

Dear “Woke” White People: A Letter To White People Everywhere That Get It.


Photo | weareNOLAW

“Woke” (verb)

A slang term that means being aware/Knowing what’s going on in the community relating to Racism and Social Injustice.

3 weeks ago Beyoncé pulled a…well Beyoncé and surprised the world by releasing a video for her new song “Formation.” The video was AMAZING to say the least, in true Bey fashion she danced her behind off in the visual, but it was something about the song “Formation” that was a little different from other Yonce songs.

After watching the video for the second time I listened to the words and paid close attention to the imagery. “Formation” isn’t just a fun turn-up Bey song, but a song with a strong pro-feminist and Pro-Black message. I immediately knew that conservative White media would be highly bothered by this new trap-style Pro-Black anthem. Well a few days later, once AmeriKKKa got wind of this song they had an upright fit. White media and “white twitter” began to slander Beyoncé’s name by calling her “racist” and “anti-cop.”

As “Formation” began to gain more headlines, I began researching articles about how white people (and individuals of other races) really felt about the underlining message of the song and I must say I was shocked by my findings. Yes, many of their viewpoints were downright ignorant, some even scary, but for maybe the first time I saw White people understanding that Pro-Black doesn’t equate to Anti-White. I was pleasantly surprised that some white people were finally not just saying this, but actually internalizing this notion.

For years…decades…hell centuries, African-Americans have been pleading for Caucasians to acknowledge the injustices Black people endure because of the color of our skin or trying to prove that racism isn’t just a fabricated idea. So it was refreshing to know that some of your racial counterparts are actually hearing you. Being a thought-provoking writer, I could publish countless articles expressing the sentiments of Black people and our frustrations, but if I am not getting to the people that are creating the problem in the first place my posts are somewhat in vain. 

I must say though, White people being “woke” is not necessarily a new concept. There has always been a few White people that weren’t afraid to speak out against racial injustice. For instance during the civil rights movement activist and freedom writer James Zwerg performed the heroic act of getting off a bus and being beaten by members of the ku klux klan in order to save Black activists from being killed. Or even presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was arrested several times for participating in demonstrations during the civil rights movement. 

As a Black activist, I think it’s important to remember that all White people aren’t the enemy, and to acknowledge our racial counterparts that are empathetic about “the black struggle.” For all of the White people who don’t ask questions like “Why is there no white history month?” or say things like “Talking about race makes me uncomfortable.” this post is for you. Please know that Black activist see you and appreciate you. Thank you for using your privilege to bring awareness to the daily issues African-Americans face. Thanks for demonstrating with us. And most importantly thanks for understanding that me being Pro-Black and saying phrases like “Black Lives Matter” or “Black Girl Magic” doesn’t mean that I’m Anti-White.

 Please continue to discuss racial injustices with others even when there are no Black individuals around. I am a firm believer that the only way to bring about change is to have an open dialogue about the problem. So activists of every race continue to stand together against racial injustice. I have faith that one day we will be heard, and that majority of the people in this word will be tolerant.

Until Next Time,
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Thee List!

fashionista items
Photo | thefashionistasdiary.com

“What is your indulgence? Tell me what’s your vice?”

– Christina Aguilera

Get a sheet of paper. *I’ll Wait.* Now write at the top THEE LIST. Underline it.

This is the start of the crucial understanding of your needs and wants. On that list, put down everything that you want and splurge for and the prices.

My list includes:

Peter Thomas Roth 24k Gold Mask ($80)

BUNDLES. VIRGIN BUNDLES. ($200-400)

OnePiece Onesie ($129)

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide Eyeliner ($20 @ Sephora)

Anastasia Hollywood Dip Brown in Chocolate ($19 @ Sephora)

Grand Marnier ($39.99)

Pandora ($25.00)

Dates ($25.00-100.00)

All of these things and a few others are NOT my daily essentials however when I am ahead, I know they are my immediate go to items. So I ask you, are you buying your splurge items on the daily or weekly basis? If so, what do you work towards? The key to this list is to allow you to have something to work towards and also to help you find the items that you can look forward to buying with a few extra hours in the office or a few side hustle moments. I am a firm believer in the fishbowl full of money (use a money market account). However, the only way to get ahead is with three firm money sources.

Your Everyday Spending Account (ESA). Utilize this for bills, gas, groceries. This account is for this and this only. If your light bill is $366, guess what, its budgeted in as $400. So your light bill is $400, get over it (GROSS overshot lol). Use this process to constantly be ahead on bills and stop charging your gas as credit (I do it too, smh), that one action can greatly increase the accuracy of your spending knowledge.

Your Savings account. Tell yourself every day that you will deposit $1 dollar into that account. Hell add $2 if you’re feeling jazzy. In a year, trust me, you’ll appreciate the number in that account more than the extra calories you put on from the dollar menu. The key to this account is to consider not the end result but the fact that it is constantly growing if you put in work and budget. Let it motivate you.

Lastly, Your Splurge Account. Total out your splurge list. Whatever that total is (for one of each item), use that as your endless month goal for your splurge account. If at the end of the month, you have met the other requirements of your accounts, use the splurge account. If you didn’t, then wait til next month and then reevaluate if you can splurge. HOWEVER, remember that regardless of if you wait two months to splurge, on splurge on ONE of every item on the splurge list a month at max.

Let me know how that goes for you. I’m enjoying this shxt low-key even though I don’t get to splurge every month lol.

Stay creative, Stay inspired, Stay awesome,
Brad's Signature

Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud: 10 Songs That Glorify Your Melanin! 


Photo | nubianmessage.com
*Original album cover for James Brown’s hit single “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”

When James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” was released in 1967, it caused quite the stir. Mainstream America was not use to a Black mainstream crossover artist telling their people to embrace their melanin. As many of us know, February is nationally recognized as being “Black History Month,” and people all over the country will be celebrating significant contributions African-Americans have made to society. In honor of Black History Month, I’ve decided to put together a playlist from some of my favorite new-age artist with songs that glorify the beauty of “blackness.” Check it out below.

1. Liquorice x Azealia Banks

2. Black Majik x Commom ft. Jhene Aiko

3. Black Boy Fly x Kendrick Lamar

4. Dark Skin Women x Goldlink

5. Formation x Beyoncé

6. The Blacker The Berry x Kendrick Lamar

7. Nobody’s Smiling x Common

8. C.N.B. x Vince Staples

9. Black Skinhead x Kanye West

10. Alright x Kendrick Lamar

For all of my Black people everywhere may you always stand tall, be proud, and embrace your melanin.

Xo,
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#BlackBoyFly


Photo | rapwave.net
*Jaden Smith the epitome of a carefree Black man, and the phrase #BlackBoyFly.

I recently had a conversation with a few of my friends about what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable for a Black man. The entire convo I found myself being so annoyed that the carefree Black women I was discussing this with were being so judgmental when it came to their male counterparts. They all were just so mean, and I got a real glimpse of what comes along with being a carefree Black man in America.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a lot of strong Black males around me, whom were all very different. So at a very early age I got a chance to learn that Black men (just like everyone else in the world) were versatile beings that couldn’t be placed in a box.

I’ve always felt like Black men have never gotten a real chance to express who they truly are, because they’re so busy trying to combat a stereotype. And if they do express their true selves they are often labeled as being “gay.” But why? When’s the last time you’ve heard society question a man of another race sexuality for being thoroughly expressive? Men of African descent should be allowed to be mentally and emotionally free without being stripped of their masculinity. I am so tired of the close-mindedness when it comes to Black men. As a Black woman I want to be able to openly express myself without being labeled or looked down at, so why wouldn’t I want that same freedom for my brothers.

Black men have enough bullshxt to deal with, and shouldn’t be subjected to the mental stress of “Am I masculine enough.” A man’s masculinity should not be measured by what his style is. People should be allowed to radically express themselves in any matter they choose without their sexuality being questioned.

Black guys please know that it’s okay to rock skinny jeans, have piercings, dance uncontrollably, or even have semi-colored hair. Those acts are forms of expressions and do not measure the amount of masculinity that you have. And for all the people that condemn Black men for expressing themselves in a carefree manner, SHAME ON YOU. Everyone in this word is entitled to having their own form of originality. So no that Black guy isn’t “gay,” “crazy,” or “weird,” he’s just comfortable with being himself, enjoying his life, and being #BlackBoyFly.

Until Next Time,
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14 Sexy Songs That Will Create The Perfect Vibe For Valentine’s Day!

couple listening to music
Photo | essence.com

As many of you all may know, this upcoming Sunday is Valentine’s Day. You know that one day a year where you are required to have a sexy time with your lover. In honor of this sultry holiday, I’ve decided to put together a playlist that will set the perfect vibe for you and your bae. Check it out below!

1. Make Up For It x Eric Bellinger

2. Champagne Kisses x Jessie Ware

3. Coffee x Miguel

4. Midnight x Iman Omari

5. Unfold x Alina Baraz & Galimatias

6. Bedroom Wall x Banks

7. Aquarius x Tinashe

8. Flick x Trey Songz

9. Pretty Dirty x Miloh Smith ft OG Maco

10. So Beautiful x Musiq Soulchild

11. Pause (Interlude) x Jill Scott

12. Get Away x The Internet

13. Sex On The Beach x PartyNextDoor

14. Rocket x Beyoncé

I hope you all have a fun and sensual Valentine’s Day!

Xo,
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Thoughts, Sex and Retail: A Letter To Couples

black couple
Photo | buzzghana.com

Dear Couples,

Beware, the time has come around again, where the love you and your partner express 364 days of the year will be judged. Card companies will pitch their generic expressions onto you, fatty chocolates will be the taste of love, and Victoria will share her Secrets ( hopefully with a discount). That chubby angel with the arrow and small penis has shown his face, St. Valentine is back….again!

So what does one do? Most of the marketing for retailers is for single people: How to get the girl? Wear this for the guy? It all plays into the infatuation stages of a relationship. So, every other couple who has passed that stage? Retailers have seem to just give us the template V-Day starter pack: going out to eat, buying flowers, having sex on 300-thread count sheets, etc. Where’s the excitement? The spontaneous moments that make the “greatest hits” list in your memory.

Retailers are not the enemy. After all, they allow us to purchase tokens of beauty that can express our appreciation to our partner. But there’s need to be more. If V-Day is about celebrating love, why not make it specific to your relationship? Whether it’s the traditional or unconventional, let the day be about your relationship. Go have fun with your partner celebrating the quirks of love.

Herb's Signature

The Single Girl’s (and Guys) Guide To Surviving V-Day

single...taken...who cares
Photo | pinterest.com

Well it’s almost that time of year again when society tells us that if we’re not paired off with someone than you’re kind of well…worthless. Okay, okay, worthless may be a little harsh of a word to use but you get what I’m saying. Valentine’s Day has always been a rather interesting holiday for me. I’ve had a few V-Days that were simply beautiful and very reminiscent of a cheesy romantic comedy and some were…just not so good.

I could sit here and write some bs like it doesn’t matter if you’re single or not, celebrate Valentine’s Day anyway, but because I am Dev, and Dev is extremely honest, I am not. The truth is if you don’t have a valentine then you shouldn’t be concerned with Valentine’s Day. Seriously. This holiday is just not that big of a deal. 

Every year, I watch desperate singles almost drive themselves crazy trying to force someone to be their valentine, and quite honestly it confuses the hell out of me. Maybe it’s because I’m a “satisfied single” like comedian Loni Love would say or maybe I just don’t care that much. And yes I get it, Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful holiday for lovers and couples, but if you don’t find yourself paired off with anyone you shouldn’t stress yourself.

People you’re going to have to learn to be okay with being by yourself. Being single doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with you. Sometimes you need to be single in order to learn and appreciate who you are. So this year single gals and guys just act as if this Valentine’s Day is just another day. I promise the moment you begin to not make a big deal out of V-Day, the less you’ll care about it.

Well Until Next Time,
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8 Songs That Will Put You In The Mardi Gras Spirit!

mardi-gras-indians
Photo | houseofdanceandfeathers.org
* Mardi Gras Indians, traditionally the Mardi Gras Indians parade every Fat Tuesday (as well as other notable New Orleans holidays) to commemorate the victories of the Buffalo Soliders.

Today is the day that most New Orleanians live for…it’s Mardi Gras! Being a native New Orleanian, Mardi Gras is one of my favorite holidays and I look forward to it every year. It’s the one holiday a year where you can eat & drink as much as you want, and dance obnoxiously in the middle of the street and not a thing will be said. There is just a spirit that fills the city during this time that is unlike any other. In honor of Fat Tuesday, I’ve decided to put together a carnival inspired playlist that even if you’re miles away from New Orleans, will make you feel like you are standing on Bourbon St. Check it out below!

1. “Do Whatcha Wanna” x Rebirth Brass Band

2. “Iko, Iko” x The Dixie Cups

3. “Carnival Time” x Al Johnson

4. “Hey Pocky A-Way” x The Meters

5. “Roll With Me, Knock With Me” x Lil Rascals Brass Band

6. “New Second Line (The Mardi Gras Song)” x Dave Bartholomew & The Maryland Jazz Band

7. “I Ate Up The Apple Tree” x Pin Stripe Brass Band

8. “Mardi Gras Mambo” x The Hawkettes

Have a Happy Mardi Gras Everyone!

Xo,
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Happy Mardi Gras!!!

mardi gras blvd
*Mardi Gras Blvd Sign, located in Algiers, LA. Taken 02/06/16

It’s officially Fat Tuesday everyone! One of the days of year us New Orleanians LIVE for. The parades, the food, the drinks, the culture…it’s all so wonderful! During this time of year New Orleans is just filled with such an overwhelming spirit.

Although many people know what Mardi Gras is, they have no idea as to why New Orleanians celebrate it. Orgins of Mardi Gras go as far back as the 17th Century. People of French-Catholic descent would party and feast as much as possible, before entering the Lent Season. Weekly festivities (such as society balls) would begin on “King’s Day, and then on Lundi Gras a grand parade would take place. During this parade, a procession of masked horseback riders carrying flamed torches would march down the street. On the actual Mardi Gras day, 16 men carrying a bull’s head would parade down the street signaling to the townspeople that Ash Wednesday would be beginning the next day.

cuzzos and I at Bacchus parade

*My cousins Trenelle Johnson and Ariel Johnson and I at the Bacchus 2016 Parade.

To this day, many of the original traditions that were used to celebrate Mardi Gras still take place. Elegant society balls hosted by carnival organizations are widespread throughout the New Orleans area during the Mardi Gras season. We still attend extravagant parades and party non-stop before entering the Lent Season. And several individuals “pig out” on as many fatty foods and alcoholic beverages as possible before “giving up” something for the Lent fast.

parades marines

*Marines often begin parade processions, Bacchus 2016 Parade

*My alma mater Warren Easton High School marching band, Bacchus 2016 Parade.



*Parade float at Bacchus 2016 Parade.

Mardi Gras is a beloved tradition throughout the Louisiana area, and continues to grow even larger with every year. If you’ve never been to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season then you are doing yourself a grand injustice. I guarantee you, you’ll have some of the best fun of your life. Make sure to add Mardi Gras 2017 to calendar next year. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I hope you all enjoyed this brief Mardi Gras lesson!

Until Next Time,
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