Category Archives: Information

WHO IS TODAY’S BLACK WOMAN?

Who is todays black woman?

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If I was to just answer this question simply based on what I see and hear on the internet and television that would not be to pretty. Those outlets do not do the black woman justice. I know I can hear people yelling, “Those are just shows”, “let them live”, or “we need all the roles we can get”. Trust me I understand all of that but I believe the impact that these images have are tremendously impacting young ladies and women of color all over in such a negative way.

Reality is imitating fantasy all the time. If Olivia Pope wears an outfit, the sales on that outfit goes up. If Mary Jane has a nice bag, the sale on the bag goes up. If someone has sex in the bathroom using a shower pole, the sale on that item goes off the charts. Life is definitely imitating art, good and bad. This is only part of it, when there are fights among black women on these shows, or cheating or any other negative behavior social media will have the same activity from ladies young and old. Now the stars on these shows are definitely benefitting and being paid handsomely for it, which some of them should, and why not since the companies are making tremendous money off of it. But at what cost? I asked a question on social media this week…Who is the most positive African American woman on television today? People were hard pressed to give me an answer. So many of the roles on TV are not roles that young girls should imitate. I hear you saying why not? Olivia is hugely successful, intelligent, savvy, well dressed, and beautiful. She is a leader, an entrepreneur, and very determined. Mary Jane is a business woman, gorgeous, stylish, fit, highly motivated and very successful. Cookie, although a little aggressive, is determined, resourceful, stylish, focused and intelligent. Aren’t these qualities that we want our daughters to have? I would have to agree with you there. However they all share a common problem, men. For some reason they all have men issues. As I do a lot of networking and meeting different woman a lot of them say they have the same issues as well. They are becoming more successful in business but not so successful in love. I believe that is a reason why these shows are so successful because people can relate to them so well.

Another big part of it is that men have done a big number on so many woman. They have called them all kinds of names (THOT, HOE, BITCH, etc.), treated them all kinds of ways. You even have videos now going around where so called men are fighting woman and posting it. Everyone knows black women outnumber black men, and men use that to their advantage. So if you have a young girl who does not have high self-esteem because her father, or parents didn’t fill her with confidence growing up. Now she begins to be called derogatory names and treated horribly by young boys and men, and she is watching negative images of black women on TV, she becomes a prime victim to men all over to be used and abused.

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I think of my mother, who used to work, come home, cook, clean, make 3 kids do their homework and put us to bed, then get ready for the next day. My father didn’t get home to midnight from work so she had her work cut out for her. I never heard her complain or say this is too much. It might have been but she handled it like a trooper. My grandmother did it with 3 kids the same way, and my great-grandmother did it for 8 kids, just the same. Now women have never had it easy in society, especially not African American woman. But they always seemed to persevere and shine through with incredible strength and grace. Somehow and someway they made things happen, came through when it seemed impossible and all with a smile. This is what I think of when I think of Black women. Not what I see on television or the internet.

So who is todays black woman? I know she is definitely not a THOT, whore or a bitch. I believe she is a strong woman who loves her family. I believe she runs her business or employment highly effectively. I believe she dresses as a queen and keeps her home in order. I believe she is not defined but TV roles, or social media but has high self-esteem and allows God to define her. Whether in a relationship or not she is confident in her abilities and talents. Who is todays Black Woman? I believe she is a true Queen. So no matter what society says, dust of your crown and straighten it out on your head. Just read Proverbs 31, I married one.

 

@THATSUITSYOU @PKSPITCH

Church 2015…Do We Still Need IT?

Black-Churches

Growing up my parents made sure that my brother, sister and myself attended church EVERY Sunday. When I say every, I mean every Sunday. Even when my parents didn’t go my aunt Linda was sure to pick up the slack and bring us….by the way, auntie, I meant to thank you for that!! Sheeshhh. It seemed to me like that was the core belief back then. Making sure that children received that basic belief of God, church, etc. Like it or not I do believe that has helped mold me in many ways to be the person I am today. However, it really got me to thinking, Is this still being taught? Is church attendance stressed like before? Is going to church still a priority for people of all ages in 2015?

No way am I saying growing up in the church leads you to have a perfect, no problems, everything about you is on point and you never make bad decisions, kind of life. That is not it at all. However I do believe that it can have some effect and help us in our decision making.

I had a long conversation with a few people about this topic and here are some of their views. I will use fictitious names (they may sound familiar to some of you) to protect the innocent..lol

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Fitz: My view is that I definitely believe that church is crucial to society today. If we look around and see all that is going on it seems obvious to me. If you ride the subways and listen to our youth, 90 percent of what you hear is “this nigga, that nigga, that bitch, this bitch. When you go to social media, it is definitely obvious. I can look at a timeline and see updates that say “PRAISE THE LORD”, “GOD IS GOOD”, and then the very next update is a twerking video, or naked photos from the very same person. I believe 2 reasons for this is a lack of understanding of who God is and the lack of the family structure. No one to show them examples of Godly living and no to take them to church. I am not perfect at all, but I do believe church and the teaching of the Bible have helped me in my life.

Hakeem: My view is on one hand I definitely believe that church can add value to one’s life, however on the other hand I have seen too many hypocrites in the church that it makes it hard for me to go back. I believe it adds value because the principles and teachings that you learn in church are very valuable. Especially if it is a church that teaches the Word. I am not one to be yelled at and condemned for 5 hours on a Sunday, no thank you. But if it is a church that teaches and explains how to make better decisions, then yes. On the other hand time after time I see too many people proclaim one thing and then purposely live in total opposition to that. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying people who go to church won’t miss it from time to time, but when they purposely gossip about others, have double lives for years, or other judgmental actions, it is contradictory. God will have to heal my heart to return because I know church has value but right now I just can’t get past the people issue. Now I know people say well it is hypocrites at the mall and I still go there but like I said right now I just can’t get past the people thing in the holy place.

Olivia: My view is people have it all wrong, the church is just a building. I am the church. The Bible clearly states that we are the church. The place of worship is just a building. Since I am the church, God is with me everywhere and I don’t have to go to a building to worship him. I know God loves me just the way I am. As a matter of fact I am doing better in life than most of my friends who go to church 3 times a week, which proves my point. Not that I am comparing myself to others but, it is what it is…

Andre: My view is I am God!!!

Maryjane: My view is I love God, I love the church but I really don’t have the time to attend. Although I don’t have any kids, I travel, work, and do more work. I run a few businesses so it leaves me very little time to attend a church. Like I said , I love the Lord and read the Bible every so often but I don’t have time for church.

Cookie: My view is I agree kind of with Hakeem. I keep the love of God in my heart but church just isn’t for me. I love to party, and I can’t lie, I love sex. I have to be real. I just can’t deal with the judgmental folks who would try to condemn me for what I enjoy. I mean, it may be wrong but at this point in my life this is what I enjoy. Maybe my future husband is in the church but until I find him I will continue to enjoy myself. I still pray every day and listen to Creflo Dollar from time to time, and I might occasionally attend a church but just not regularly. You are not going to include my real name right?

Ghost: My view is, I agree totally with Cookie, especially about the sex part.

Tommy: My view is a love God and I love my church. I will continue to go every week and bring my family

Do you see yourself in any of these? What is your view? We want to hear it…..

Man, I Could Never Be A Slave!!!

 

As we enter another February let us once again welcome in Black History month. A time set aside when the nation purposefully acknowledges the accomplishments of blacks throughout history, never mind that it is the shortest month of the year. As we begin the month I wonder does it still have the same effect as before.

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Just think, this possibly could be the last Black History month that we have with a black president for a very long time. Just the very fact that we have a black president seems to speak to how far blacks have come. However, as we look at the news we still continue to see crime, murders, gangs, imprisonment, and poverty as major issues that face black people. So while we can see noticeable improvement in several areas, as a whole we still have a long way to go.

I remember in grade school when it was time to hear about Black history there always seemed to be a collective groan in the classroom because we had to hear the topic of slavery. After hearing slavery taught in class my friends and I would say, “We could never be slaves”.  I also remember when ROOTS came on TV for the first time. We discussed it in school and around the neighborhood and said that “We could never be slaves”.  We felt we were to smart, and tough to be slaves. I bet even today most of the youth would feel that they could never be slaves.

What is the definition of a Slave:

someone who is the legal property of another

So when we said we could not be a slave this is what we were referring to, however there is another definition:

A person that is strongly influenced and controlled by something

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How many people could this describe? Although it is only one month, Black History month reminds us of great thinkers, inventors, and life changers. Whether it is King, Malcolm X, Douglass, Dubois, Tubman or many others they taught us to be different and not to conform. How many of us who said we could never be a slave (definition 1) are actually slaves (definition 2). Slaves to society and following the crowd. Flocking to the latest $200 dollar sneakers if we can’t afford them, the latest phone. Slaves to the opinions of others and what they think of us. Needing their approval or our day is not productive. Slaves to what society says beautiful or attractive is. Slaves to putting ourselves in debt to look important. Most importantly slaves to jobs or careers that we hate. Everyday waking up early to head to a job to spend 9 hours at a place we dread and not try to do anything to change it.

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Some of the slaves we heard about in the black history lessons from school would do anything to be free, risk their life to experience freedom. The joy of freedom far outweighed the pain of the whip or punishment. Many people today prefer the pain of the frustration of their jobs over the uncertain joy of living their dreams.

So I welcome this February, I welcome this Black History month, if it does nothing else hopefully the spirit and energy of the history of past leaders and innovators can continue to motivate us in 2015 to not be satisfied with how far we have come. There is plenty of work to do and plenty more stories to be told. Trust me, you don’t want to be a slave (definition 1) or (definition 2)!!!

 

Walk A Day In A Black mans New Shoes

I wake up, say my prayers, listen to some motivational words from Pastor Mitchell, Pastor Freeman, Bill Winston, TD Jakes or some other minister. Turn on the news and hear 3 black men arrested in a shooting spree, 2 black men caught robbing a bank, black man leaves his child home alone for 3 days, cops shoot and kill unarmed black man, or armed black men kill police officers, etc. I put my boys on the school bus, kiss my wife and get to work.

Getting to work may involve carrying 4 or 5 suits to a few different job training programs throughout the city. I have founded, That Suits You, which is a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes professional attire to qualified men. The team at TSY does this to try to help change the image of today’s black male. While we have given suits to all races and will continue to do so, I do not believe any image has a worse perception than that of the black man.

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The argument can be, well they deserve it or they bring it upon themselves by their actions. There are many occasions when the negative actions of some black men are totally irresponsible and definitely add to the perception. But from what I have witnessed all races have similar isolated incidents all the time. Yeah, but with blacks it is more frequent. That may be true, but if we just go by what we see in the media it would leave individuals to believe that 80-90 percent of black men are criminals, which is not accurate. I really dislike when I hear a black man proudly say, “I am one of the good ones!”, or “We are not all bad” Like there are only a handful of good black men around. But again that goes to that perception. Since starting up That Suits You I have come across plenty of “good” black men. However, that negative perception is very hard to shake. The “general” perception of almost every other race is nowhere near as bad as that of black men.

So as I am carrying these suits to men to help change that perception, I see difference all the time. We have some very wealthy donors, so when I enter their buildings or homes I can see the looks. When I am on the train, and someone decides not to sit next to me, someone holds their bag just as I walk pass them, as I enter a designer store security just decides to walk down my aisle, when I walk into a meeting and they say, “Oh you’re the founder”, when people say “Oh, I know they taking and selling those suits”, when I am the only person of color in an important meeting, and all this happens while I am wearing a nice suit, with a lapel, pocket square, colorful socks and shoes. So I can just imagine how black men are viewed who are not dressed in suits. Now I know simply wearing a suit will not change everything, but it can help men get to a place where they can do more for their family. I always tell people, a suit is not just for work, a suit is for you. You are the CEO of YOU, so always represent yourself the best way you can.

Another big thing also is that this perception is taught to every generation. ..lighter is better, don’t support black businesses, blacks are inferior. These thoughts most times are from other blacks. Yeah black men get it from all sides. The experiences, situations and challenges that black men go through daily from all sides can quite daunting. So it is time we stand up and not wait for the change to happen, but make it happen. Let’s destroy every misperception about black men and what they can do. Lets make a stand in unity and lets do it suited as well.

So through all the misperceptions, and negative images that we see on tv, or on the front of newspapers on news stands, through all the young black men we see sagging, through all the driving while black police stops, racial profiling, through all the jealousy and envy from different races, we can still stand strong and help others to stand with us. Some people say it’s lonely at the top, and I say only because you didn’t help others get there with you.

So after a long day, I go home to my boys and feed them, shower them, pray with them, then put them to sleep and do it all over again.

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