Be strong… Be VERY strong…

             For the past couple weeks I have been on my “Tiggalo ish”, for those who may not understand what that means, Tiggalo is the alias/alter-ego for Hip Hop Renaissance Entertainer Phonte (1/3 of the rap group Little Brother and crooner for R&B super-group Foreign Exchange), who happens to be one of my new favorite musical entertainers. After finally getting a chance to download his recent release, a solo album dubbed “Charity Starts at Home,” I gave the album a quick listen but there was a song that I had to go back to “Sendin my Love.” On this track, he really gets personal in the struggles that many men and matter of fact people in general struggle with daily “Life Choices.” For him the choice battle surfaced when he allowed a woman from his past to conjure up feelings of lust and temptation, hence my initially mentioning the men. We all have vices
that lure us and tempt us but in the end we have the ultimate choice to make, to do right or do wrong. There are guys out there that will argue that it’s not in them to be with one woman or be faithful but I call BS on that, just like you choose to get up every day and go to work, or choose not to rob/steal/kill,
the choice of doing right by your significant other carries the same weight. We ALL get faced with the option of falling for the“furry temptress” but it boils down to what really matters to you… I can hear some of my guy readers saying that “I have drama at home” or “I’m not appreciated” and that may be so but at the end of the day you still have a choice. Part of what made the temptation so much greater in the Phonte song was because he was having issues with his significant other, but as with most things in life the Devil looks for entrance ways to cause strife and mess in even the happiest circumstance.

Here are some ways you can avoid falling:

Surround yourself with positive men who will keep it 100 with you:

There is nothing worse than you battling a  temptation issue and your boys are encouraging you to cheat or giving you  avenues to do so. At this stage of life your boys/friends/frat brothers should  be doing things to build you up no break you down. If all you have around you  are people who encourage that negative behavior then it may be time to change your circle. And if you are one of these guys who are encouraging your boy to act up GTHOH, time to grow up and leave the juvenile games of “chase the cat” back in the bachelor days, your friendship should mean enough to the point where you don’t want to see him jack up his life.

See beyond the “moment”:

You can’t give in simply because you got a hard on, wifey tripping and a blast from the past is pushing up on you. As science says the blood the fuels the erection comes from your brain, thus reducing your ability to think logically. You have to ask yourself is that momentary “release” with this fling worth jeopardizing all you  claim you love and worked so hard to build. Whether you are married or single,  you being in a relationship took some investing in and are you really willing  to lose that for a chick that you won’t want to deal with the next day.

Communicate with your significant other:

A lot of men say that they look elsewhere  because there is a disconnect with their significant other. But how often have  you tried to bring things back together is the key question. In my own  experience I’ve learned that things have fallen off simply because the guy saw  it one way and his significant other saw it differently. But keep this theory  in mind in the conversation “when she’s wrong she’s RIGHT and even when you’re right you’re wrong”

Avoid tempting situations when having relationship issues:

We all will have relationship disagreements  but there is nothing worse than having one and then putting yourself in a  situation to be tempted. More often you will let your anger/frustration in the  relationship diminish your common sense and allow yourself to be put in  compromising situations that you then try to justify. So calling your boys up and running to the club (strip or dance) may not be the best idea if you just go into it with your girl. Even if you dont necessarily want to be around your girl, go somewhere that you know is a safe haven like the driving range, a cigar bar or the gym… on second thought maybe not the gym considering what some of these ladies wear to work out nowadays.

Walk away:

If you are constantly fighting temptation and even giving in to it, it may be time to call that relationship a wrap. Yes we know that can be easier said than done but I guarantee that your girl will  appreciate you a lot more if you end it that way than her having to find out  via Facebook, email, text or in person. If you are married with kids and in this situation you have to look at whats best for the kids because once you had them it no longer became about you, their welfare/safety/protection SHOULD have become priority #1 but considering you thinking about doing a selfish act of cheating, I may have to reconsider if you are thinking of anyone but yourself at this point.

Shoot you may even have to do like Phonte and  talk yourself out of it. There is a point in the “story” of the song  where he has a decision to make; either go with his ex or go home to his wife and we find him repeating to  himself “Tiggalo be strong, be VERY strong…” While it may seem silly to have to  mentally talk your way through the situation, you are distracting yourself from the temptation, allowing the lust to subside and perhaps even laughing at
yourself because you feel silly for having to talk to yourself but by that time the moment has passed and you are back to thinking clearly.

So the next time you are  faced with that tempting moment talk it out, even if it is to yourself, and  long as you don’t answer yourself you won’t seem crazy and by the time the one-sided conversation ends,  you will have built  up some confidence in knowing you can fight off this temptation and take it on home…

I was able to find the audio on YouTube, so take a listen for yourself and while you are at it just  go out and buy this man CD… #QUALITYMUSIC

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Proud of you… Thank you Mom

 

MOTHER TO SON

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair

-Langston Hughes

The mother to son relationship one is a very unique one, especially in today’s society where many males are raised only by their mom without influence from their biological father or any male for some. I was fortunate and blessed to have both parents in my life, but my mom still held a special place in my heart. I remember coming home from school laying across her bed while she watched her taped Young and the Restless episode for the day and her bugging me with her favorite phrase “tell me all your business.” I also remembermy mom constantly telling me that I wasn’t like everyone else and that   “you are different”; Yes there are plenty parents out there that believe that their child is special and the rest of the children pale in comparison to theirs but she truly believed it and because she said it so much I began to believe it as well. There would be things I saw my peers do and get away with as a young child and the minute I tried it, BUSTED!!! I would be the one to get caught. Or there would be a new trend or fashion out in the 90s’ but I was either never the one to get it or by the time I got it, the fad had faded. Being a child often I struggled with the internal battle of wanting to do what everyone else was doing but always hearing my mom say “you are different.”

During my formidable years of growth (high school and college) she was there for me when I didn’t want her input but also whenI needed that reassuring confidence. She was the one who made me go back to playing baseball after I quit my sophomore year, she was the one who said she would kill me if I got an earring, but she was also the one who pushed me when I struggled in some of my business courses (we had the same major so she understood the hardship) and she was there to bail me out when I fell prey to the lure of college credit cards. Even when I tried to avoid it, I always heard her whisper “you are different”

I always told my “ma” thank you and thought I was being appreciative but it wasn’t until we as a family were forced to spend significant time together that I really realized how much I loved and cared for her. My parents purchased a house and decided to do the renovations ourselves, and what was initially thought to be an easy remodeling turned into, renovation hell. Often times my dad served as the slave driver while me and my mom stuck together to outwit the evil LB.  But during the 2.5 years it took to fix-up the house, we had no choice but to speak more and open up which  took me back to those “on the bed” moments.

The biggest growth in my relationship with both my parents took place when I moved to North Carolina, for one they didn’t believe I was moving until they started seeing me pack my belongings. My mom tried her best to keep me in MI even saying that she was worried about the weather with it being hurricane season. Being the good son I delayed my trip and I could tell it soothed her worried heart. Being so far apart allowed us to communicate more because that’s all I had and on a regular basis she would ask “when are you moving home” knowing that I had no intentions to, but she still had to try. She (they) did all they could to make sure my stay in NC was a covered one. We became closer spiritually due to our individual growth in God and being a man who sometimes reverted to childish ways, I had to remind myself when she irritated me, that she was only being that way because she cared

I gave you all that background because yesterday she called me to tell me how proud she was of me. She asked me why I never fell prey to the pitfalls that many of her nephews, sons of friends and black males do… and I simply told her I always remembered her saying to me “you are different” and I kept it to my heart. She happened to be in Atlanta for a funeral this past weekend and the conversations she had made her wonder why I never gave into some of the society lures (tattoos was a big one for her). Beyond having a healthy fear for my parents I just was never followed through with a lot of the things my peers did, trust me, I thought about it numerous times but like I told her I was scared that because I was so different I would be the one to get the skin rash or have things not go as planned, so once I got past that stage of youthful experimentation, it was old and pase’ for me.   

I love who my mom is so much that I searched the earth (well maybe not the earth but the east coast) for someone who made me feel like her and thank God I found her. I told someone this week, that I am like my father in a lot of ways so I KNEW I would need someone with my mother’s spirit to balance me out. 

While I was so blown back by her being proud of me I also must say how proud I am of my mom, there were many things she has dealt with and endured but she always remained strong. While we both are crybabies, I knew when she did break down it was because that issue was something she was passionate about. And while I may not be able to lay on her bed as much as I want, I know she is only a phone call away and the conversations will be just as good, because now I have no problem “telling her all my business” (well sometimes lol).

King in You…

I had been going back and forth with doing this blog for a long time, but now I realize not because of uncertainty but because it wasn’t time. If I would have done it weeks ago, it may not have had the same impact that it will today.

dr king

In celebration of one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a double entendre posting. Many see the title and reflect on if their life is truly living up to the dream that Dr. King had, but also it is to ask if we are living as if another King is within, The King of all King, Jesus Christ. I have had a gospel song resonating in my spirit for the past couple of days “There is a King in you” by Donald Lawrence. We all have been created with greatness within, made in the image of God, but sadly not enough of us embrace it and live it out. As many know I am a social media junkie and between Facebook, twitter and other blog sites I frequent you would be amazed the level of hate the world has. Yes pop culture has bought into this false theory of the term “haters” and that there are people out there who take joy in making your life journey difficult. While on a small scale that is true, what I have seen the most lately is SELF HATE. People are now sabotaging their own lives in order to have a reason to complain and wrongfully attach blame to others, when in fact their biggest enemy is themselves. Look at the status updates/tweets of those you know and I bet it will shock you to see how many people on a daily basis speak negativity into their own lives (life and death are in the power of the tongue; what you think you shall become), and in doing that it makes it that much easier to “hate” or bring down others, as the saying goes misery loves company… I know personally I dealt with this affliction for many years; depression, doubt, envy, and hate dominated my psyche until I realized and embraced the fact that I was never created with those feelings I adopted them along the way. God created us for LOVE, because that is what He is and being created in His image we are naturally lovable and able to give love. But not enough of us truly believe that. We think what happened to us, where we are, and what we do define our destiny. But it doesn’t, the song says we come from royalty and that the number one goal of the enemy is to keep us from knowing who we are. They do that by placing doubt/despair/uncertainty/false sense of hate within us and once we begin to focus on those things it becomes so much harder to see the good in life let alone yourself. Yes you have been hurt, yes you have been disappointed but those things are what happened to you, NOT who you are. Realize you do have a say in your happiness, or would you rather wallow in the pain/rejection/negativity because that is easy. Realize this if NO ONE else in this world loves you, God does and that is the greatest love ever. How many people would, in spite of what you do to them, still embrace you, give you numerous chances fix your relationship with them daily?

\”There is a King in you\” by Donald Lawrence    (Audio link)

You come from Royalty
An aristocratic dynasty.
The goal of the enemy,
Is that you don’t know who you are.
There’s power when you speak.
Be mindful of words you release.
I know that life has challenged you,
But the King in me speaks to the King in you.
You were born to rule.
There is a king in you. [Repeat]

[Bridge:]
Is there no King in you,
Then why do you speak, speak with such defeat.
Is there no King in you,
Then why do you speak, speak with such low esteem.

I know life has challenged you,
But the King in me speaks to the king in you.
You were born to rule.

There is a King in you [repeat]

 

This song is so appropriate especially for this day because we are celebrating a man that stood for so many great things and that many in the world give high reverence to. Sadly beyond this weekend I believe not enough of us have a desire to live out the dream he spoke of so eloquently on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Please do not get it twisted as much as I am pointing this out to others I too am accountable for not doing all that I can to ensure that the speech that I recited as a young boy to the congregation of True Faith Baptist Church in Detroit MI is more than just words.

What is a dream? Webster defines it as

“A series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep”

What will it take for us to wake up from our slumber? What was spoken by God in this moment of rest that is supposed to change the world? But as long as we fail to recognize that King in us it’s easy to be distracted by things that really don’t matter thus keeping us away from recognizing the dreams… We are better than what we have allowed ourselves to become, but does it even matter that we are not realizing our own personal dreams let alone the dreams to change the world, if not you are doing Dr. King a great disservice and he probably would rather you not even waste your time acknowledging him for one day only to go back to the life of despair for the other 364 days of the year.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 

What has happened to the dreams you deferred?

-God Love

Did you go to school for that…

I tend to hear that question asked a lot when it comes to a couple of my giftings…

First it’s usually when people see me out with my camera… They are normally shocked when I tell them I havent had any formal training in photography. In 2007 I bought a camera off eBay and decided to become a photographer…I just feel it is a gift that in a lot of ways has been nurtured enough for me to be somewhat good at it… Through a series of divine relationships I met people who were willing to let me shoot their events (mostly for free) and through MAJOR trial and error I was able to improve. I look back at some of the events I have covered and have met, it was nothing but God that placed me in those RELATIONSHIPS (more on that word in a minute) because there were probably better photographers, but I was chosen. So the more I worked the better I got and the better I got the more I worked…I now look back at some of my beginning works with disdain because it’s so technically bad that its laughable. And in recognizing that there were some aspects that I needed to tight up, there are aspects of photography that I have taken the time to do some reading. Most of this occurs in the post-shot editing. When i first got my camera I was so Photoshop phobic that it was pretty sad actually. But after taking a class through my job and doing some trial and error I began to see how vitally important helpful it can be. I never would want to become so dependant on editing software that I become a lazy photographer. That perhaps is my biggest pet peeve in the industry now. You have plenty of people who have the money to afford high-end cameras, really don’t know how to use them but because they are graphic artist are able to manipulate their work to appear better than what it actually is… One thing that did help me through my growing pains of shooting on automatic was asking questions… I was blessed to know a couple of guys (my business partners) who went through their own trial and errors prior to me but was still willing to aid me in any way possible… I And just like with life, Photography is an ever-growing and changing art form, and it is ESSENTIAL to be able to adapt your craft to be successful (because you can never shoot one venue/person the way you shot something else)

The next thing I usually get asked that question for is when it comes down to conversations about relationships… Interesting enough during a conversation I had during my chapter’s monthly networking event, a couple of women within this group I was conversing, with after had taken their picture (multi-tasking is pretty cool), asked me was I a psychologist or did I goto school to be a therapist. I was truly flattered and honored to have my point of view during the conversation be that highly thought of. But no I don’t have a psychology degree or nor do I claim to be “Love Dr.” shout out to those who do it legit or as a game… I just simply consider myself a conversationalist and I tend to speak on things I am passionate about and one of those things just happens to be the topic of male/female relational interactions (the other being sports). Pieces of my knowledge comes from books/articles i read but the majority of it comes from experience, as they say “life is your best teacher sometimes”. I guess because for so long I didn’t have success in interactions with the opposite sex I made it a point of one bettering myself in it, then helping others navigate through their testimonial opportunities. (Ironically that is how i met my fiance; I used to write notes on Myspace, yeah I know it was that long ago, and she stumbled upon one of my rants on the opposite sex. She left a comment, I responded to hers and there ensued an internet friendship which led to a chance meeting at the airport which led to me finding the GREATEST woman in life) I call them that because everything we endure in life, good or bad, allows for you to be able to help someone else later on in life. Now we often times dont see it that way and miss out on our blessings and cause others to miss out on knowledge that would offer revelation for what binds them. As you can see I am using many spiritual keywords because I wholeheartedly believe my gift of gab in this arena comes from God and I refuse to dishonor him by not speaking of things He has processed me in.
The one thing I have had to learn to overcome is the frustration of people not being receptive of things given within my conversations/tweets/blogs. Initially I would be frustrated if someone misunderstood my point or got defensive about me trying to help; but I have learned being a vessel in this capacity isn’t about receiving accolades or pats on the back it’s simply about making sure that they now have the information. God will work out the judgement in how they handle His word, I just had to be sure to do my part in passing the word on.
Last night conversation was also a lot easier to have because half of the group was dating or married to someone, so I didn’t have to worry about my information didn’t have to be misinterpreted as “game” Ironically one of you women happened to have a conversation with her Beau while there and then ran up to me and let me know she told him about our conversation and how it made her feel that much more confident/secure/happy in their interaction; and at the end of the day that’s all I strive for… helping people be able to help themselves.

So the next time you feel a desire to do something healthy like draw, write, take a picture; TRY IT OUT, you never know that may be your predetermined giftings that while you don’t have the technical schooling for God has given you the provision to do it well.
-God Love

Play another slow jam…

LOVE SONG
black love

I love music… it is a big part of my life, it encourages me, soothes me and helps me through my life. Everything from rap to some rock music, I can say that i appreciate GOOD music. Since my taste in music always varied I was always one to make “mix tapes” of my favorite songs. Many of my mix tapes were genre specific; generally rap, R&B, and lately gospel. As technology evolved so did the way I constructed my musical masterpieces. As a youth most of the songs came through listening to the radio at night and popping a tape cassette (a true relic) and recording directly from there. Now I must say the quality was HORRIBLE and you always ran the risk of the song being cut off or a radio personalty talking over it, but i made due. Ill never forget going on a trip with my parents and the nights leading up to leaving listing to 96.3 in Detroit (when it still played urban music) and dubbing songs like kriss kross “Jump” and Vanessa Williams “save the best for last” (weird combo, i know LOL) I listened to that tape the whole trip over and over…

Once I got to college, me and my boys at EMU evolved to the wonderful world of burning CDs and the pioneer of music file sharing; NAPSTER… Due to not having the resources ourselves we would make up lists of the current popular songs and give it to an indian guy down the hall and he would make us whatever we wanted… thinking about it, not even sure if we paid him for his services … then as each of us got computers we took turns flooding our hard drives with music (and plenty of viruses that came along with them) that would be the source of our many mix cds… I was heavy into rap music back then but every so often i would make a slow jam CD to try to impress a girl; some times it worked often it didn’t they just ended up wanting their own copy to play for a guy they were into LOL… Even after college I would make cds and give them titles based on the purpose of them, Generally named after a trip I was taking and would listen to the cd…

Recently I got the itch to try my hand at making another slow jam cd. For days I pondered over the songs I would use and how I would organize them. Then it hit me, do a story line and have the songs tell a story. When that idea first hit me I wondered if I had enough songs in my collection to make a flowing cd, little did I realize that not only did I have enough songs for ONE CD but I ended up having enough material for TWO. The more and more I listened to the songs I began to get a mental visual that played out like a movie and my songs were the soundtrack…

Chocolate Goodness Vol. 1: The Set up
1. Mrs Sexy- Robin Thicke
2. Okay- Usher
3. Here with you- Rudy Currence
4. Sobeautiful- Musiq
5. Here I am- Monica
6. Bad Habits- Maxwell
7. Friends dont let Friends Sleep Alone- Joe
8. Spending Time with you- Janet Jackson
9. Slow Dance- Keri Hilson
10. House- Kevin Cossom
11. Truly- Janet Jackson
12. Pany Droppin- Trey Songz
13. Sex Therapy- Robin Thicke

Chocolate Goodness Vol 2: The Close
1. Ready to make love- Trey Songz
2. So Good- Day 26
3. Bed- J Holiday
4. Can U handle it- Usher
5. Say it- Ne Yo
6. Storm- Jamie Foxx
7. Moist- Janet Jackson
8. Jupiter Love- Trey Songz
9. Freakin me- Jamie Foxx
10. Mirro- Ne Yo
11. Making Love (into the night)- Usher
12. She- Eric Roberson
13. Overdose- Jamie Foxx
14. In a Sentimental Mood- JohnCoultrain

Yes i know there are a couple of artist like Jamie Foxx, Usher, Ne Yo and Robin Thicke that had multiple tracks on the cd but at the time of conception their songs flowed the best. I also tried to showcase a couple of artist that many casual R&B fans aren’t aware of like Kevin Cossom (talented songwriter and soon to be the next big thing in R&B), Eric Roberson (one of the best neo-soul artist out, great performer MUST SEE) and Rudy Currence ( my frat brother from the charlotte area who was recently signed to Ludacris DTP label, another GREAT live performer) Now I have since found other artist that have songs that fit just as well and have toyed with replacing a couple of songs, but you never want to mess with an original creation. What may end up happening is a Vol 3 may be created, if it flows with the first two.

As you can see and hopefully hear (surprise later) the first CD has more of a structured storyline flow, whereas the second CD is straight to the point about what took place… In making the CD, I reflected on my dating history and it coincided, usually more work is put into the winning the girls attention and many details are lost during KEY acts of affection.

Now some people may wonder why Chocolate Goodness, well its two-fold. Those who know me understand and joke me for my affinity for darker skinned women, I LOVE CHOCOLATE 🙂 and the Goodness part comes from the feeling that you get if you are lucky enough to experience what each track embodies. The goodness of a new love interest, having the feelings reciprocated and the culmination of the physical union of both.

As I said I have a surprise, I found a website that hosts music files and uploaded the CD for those who may want to hear it for themselves… Please leave comments if you download, all criticism is appreciated

*DISCLAIMER* I cannot be held accountable for the feelings/emotions/desires that may evolve from listening to these CD so listen with caution and alone if possible LOL…

Chocolate Goodness Vol 1
Chocolate Goodness Vol 2