I just watched Aly Raisman read her victim impact statement at Larry Nassar’s sentence hearing, and it was absolutely amazing. She spoke with so much grace and elegance. She was poised and fierce, and made her point very clear that she is not a victim, but a survivor. She also spoke about how so many girls were brushed aside when they came forward about their experiences with the doctor. I find that to be absolutely appalling. The fact that organizations such as the U.S.A. Gymnastics and U.S. Olympic Committee enabled this monster to continue practicing while dismissing the countless allegations against him makes me sick to my stomach. These organizations proved that they were only concerned about their athletes winning. They did not value these girls as human beings at all. It’s so heartbreaking to know that while I was watching these girls compete for medals, they were being molested and abused.
Aly and the other girls are not just winners at the Olympics, but they were winners in the courtroom. Their voices were heard loud and clear, and I’m so proud of them. I hope that they continue to heal and go on to live healthy lives.
WARNING: The following film contains scenes of drug use. Viewer discretion is advised.
Last Tuesday Jhené Aiko released her third and final installment of her 3-part project, M.A.P. (movie, album, and poetry book). 2fish (a poetry book) has been highly anticipated since she released a surprise album Trip, on September 22nd. She released a short film by the same name just two days before.
Trip (the movie) follows the life of a young woman named Penny as she tries to navigate through life after losing her brother. She reluctantly takes a road trip with a stranger, and experiments with different types of drugs. While on the trip, Penny begins to accept the fact that her brother has passed and finds her way back to herself. The movie is emotional and captivating, containing original poetry written by Jhené Aiko.
Trip (the album) closely mirrors the movie, as Jhené processes her own feelings and emotions in dealing with the loss of her brother in real life. The 2 disc album serves somewhat as an audio diary as she expresses the pain of losing her brother. The album covers feelings of suicide, love, drug use, and hope.
I’ve been listening to Jhené Aiko’s music since her first single, “Dog” on B2K’s Pandemonium album, so I’m extremely proud of her. Being able to pull off a short film, an album, and book on top of touring is absolutely incredible and proof of Jhené Aiko‘s dedication to her art. She is in every sense a “supreme, bright other.” She also announced via twitter that she has been sober since the release of the album, so big kudos to her. I hope that she continues to find success and every good thing that comes along with it in the new year, and the years to come.
Back in 2015, I wrote a post about alcoholism, which highlighted songs from both singer, Sia and rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Two years later I find myself doing it again, only except this post is on a different note. In this post I’ll be highlighting Sia’s 2016 single, The Greatest, which features Kendrick Lamar.
First of all, I was so excited when I heard that Sia and Kendrick Lamar were on a song together. They are both extremely talented artists. In the song, Sia sings, “I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive.” That’s basically the premise of the song, being free, alive, and great. This song has such an incredible message for anyone who’s ever felt like giving up or quitting. She even repeats, “Don’t give up” several times throughout the song. This song is so encouraging and it’s a song that everybody can relate to. It’s definitely been on repeat on my playlist! The music video is so haunting yet artistic, I just can’t stop watching it. The choreography is absolutely phenomenal. The kids are amazing. I’m sure by now everybody’s heard the song and seen the video, but if you haven’t (welcome back to earth. lol), go check it out! The Greatest is definitely one of the greatest songs written in the past couple of years, in my opinion. I love songs with a positive message. There’s so much negativity and horrible things happening in the world, for some people, music is their only escape. If you ever feel like giving up, remember that you’re alive for a reason. You have all of the freedom to be yourself and nobody can ever take that away from you, no matter how hard they try. In Kendrick’s verse, he talks about how his scars and letdowns only made him stronger. I don’t believe that Kendrick is an exception. I believe that anyone can turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones if they don’t give up.
Ahhh, the holiday season… Time for connecting or reconnecting with friends and loved ones. Picking up where you left off, reminiscing on old memories, and creating new ones, -if only I could find their phone numbers…
Ok, I’ll admit it. When it comes to keeping in touch with people, I’m not that great. It’s not that I don’t want to stay in touch, I do, honestly. It’s just that somehow, I just lose touch. I’m a texter, I love texting and social media. To me, it’s one of the greatest things to ever happen to the phone. I rarely ever actually talk to anybody on the phone. Maybe it’s my introverted personality, but being on the phone any longer than five minutes with someone is absolute torture. And it’s always been that way. I’ve watched my mom hold telephone conversations for over an hour in pure amazement. I don’t know how she does it. If I’m not shooting you a text within 5 seconds of receiving your phone number or vice versa, chances are that I’ll lose it. On the other hand, if I do have your number or social media handle, you can expect messages on birthdays and all of the holidays! I’ve also got a thing for greeting cards. I absolutely love shopping for the perfect card. So I guess I’m not at a complete loss when it comes to keeping in touch, but there’s definitely room for improvement, and I’m up for the challenge.
If you’re like me, than gift giving time makes you a bit anxious. I mean there’s secret Santa parties, white elephant parties, and gift exchange office parties. Finding a gift that’s within the agreed upon budget, that’s thoughtful, but not too personal can be tough. And of course nobody wants to go up to their recipient and say, “Hey, I pulled your name. What do you want?” (trust me. I’ve been on the receiving end of that conversation. Super awks.)
So I checked the mail the other day and pulled out a Z Gallerie catalog. I began flipping through it and came across the “gifts” section. Z Gallerie has tons of gifts for both him and her. Starting at just 9.99, I’m sure anyone can find the perfect gift.
If you’re more crafty, there’s tons of gift ideas on Pinterest. You could make customized gifts for everyone on your list.
Last but definitely not least, if you’re feeling charitable, there’s plenty of causes to donate to on GoFundMe.com
Hopefully, these ideas made your gift giving season a little less stressful. Happy giving!
“… When I would do good, evil is present with me.” -Romans 7:21 kjv
I first became aware of Cyntoia Brown’s story a few years ago, while watching a series of documentaries on YouTube. I was shocked by the entire story. I was mostly shocked at the sentence that she received.
Cyntoia Brown was a sixteen year old girl who’d experienced a life full of hardship since conception. She was born to a teenaged mother who drank during her pregnancy, and used drugs after her birth. Cyntoia’s birth mother also suffered from mental illness, which had been genetically passed down for at least three generations. At eight months old, Cyntoia’s mother gave her up for adoption. Cyntoia lived with relatives and family friends for the first three years of her life; even being kidnapped at one time by relative. Needless to say, Cyntoia developed some abandonment issues as well as trust issues. Cyntoia was raised by Ellenette Brown, a family friend. And while things seemed picture-perfect on the outside, that was not the case. Cyntoia claimed that she was being physically abused by her adoptive father.
At the age of sixteen, Cyntoia ran away from home. She was exploited and trafficked for sex by a pimp named “Kut throat” for three weeks, before he told her that she needed to go make some money. Cyntoia went to a part of the city, known for prostitution, where she met a forty-three year old man. This man offered her (a girl- twenty-seven years younger than him) $150 dollars for sex. Cyntoia, young, desperate, and afraid agreed. She got in his car and went to his house. He told her about all of the guns he owned, and how well of a shooter he was. As Cyntoia recalls, the man became aggressive during the transaction. When he reached over to grab something, Cyntoia, feared for safety and grabbed a near-by gun and shot and killed the man. Afraid to go back to Kut throat empty-handed she stole, the man’s wallet.
These are the events that led to a sixteen year old girl being tried as an adult and convicted of 1st degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery.
My heart completely broke while watching this documentary. Imagine my shock while scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I noticed Rihanna sharing a post about Cyntoia. I’m so happy that once again, someone is giving a voice to Cyntoia. She didn’t let a failed system take away her life, though it took away her freedom. She studied and received her degree while in prison. She is still fighting for her freedom and now few celebs have joined her. It is my hope that Cyntoia will be freed from prison, not at age 69, but in the near future. It is also my hope that the justice system in America will never again criminalize a victim. It is absolutely incredible to me how many times the system failed this girl: at birth, throughout her childhood, then in her adolescence.
To learn more about Cyntoia Brown’s story go here.