RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 6, "Value" by Aquillia Mikel

This Episode's Big Thought or Question

What is your value?

Scene: Looking like Black Marie Antoinette.

We open up to Van meeting a friend in a beautiful restaurant. We already get vibes that this girl is a goldigger and a frenemy because all she's doing is throwing shade at Van the entire time. Van's homegirl gets a bottle of wine and starts talking about her fabulous life, private jets, London, Paris, and how much she doesn't want a kid. This is just an awkward conversation all around. She tells Van that women need to be valuable, but especially Black women need to be valuable. We also see that Van is out here in these streets a lot more than we thought she was when she mentions that she's out here getting it in and declining Earn's phone calls. Black Marie Antoinette (Jade) takes a photo of her food to put on the Gram and then tells Van that she invited some dude to take them out to a listening lounge, without Van knowing it. How are you going to do that, girl?? On a girl's night out?! Van says she's going to the bathroom but she actually dips.

Scene: He wants me high, trust me. 

Van is walking through the parking lot when Jade rolls through in her Benz and offers Van a chance at some kush that she has stashed with her. We cut to what seems to be the perfect girl's night out: smoking weed on a rooftop, listening to Jeremih, talking about boys. Jade asks to have a picture of her smoking weed and blowing smoke because that's what girls with booking info in their bios do and they end scene in what seems to be a legitimate friendship.

Scene: I DON'T KNOW.

Van wakes up and she is frantically searching for her phone when she realizes that she has a drug test today. How does one not remember that they purposely calendared a drug test in their phone? If you have to calendar it, then you already know you smoke weed, right?! She calls Jade who is carefree in the world and tries to ask for him help (this is all after she realizes she left her house keys in the door from last night). Earn comes home and says that she looks weird to which she replied that she's just tired. She then asks for Alfred's number so she can try and get some tups on how to pass her drug test. She's sitting on the toilet, googling her life away, and catching multiple L's. 

Scene: I thought smoking weed was, like, irresponsible.

Van calls Alfred with her tail between her legs because she knows that she gives Alfred hell for smoking weed in the first place. Alfred tells her to put clean pee in a condom and tape it to her leg. She doesn't know where can she can buy clean weed at this point before work so what she does next is just....filthy as hell. She cooks her daughter's pee from her dirty diapers in a pot that she cooks normal food for her family in, in her kitchen. And I mean she funnels it, purifies it, warms it up- she creates organically crafted pee to use for her drug test. She walks into her school feeling like the man when she is stopped by another teacher who is dealing with a hellion in whiteface in her classroom. Van doesn't have the time, though, because she's going to have pee running down her leg soon if she doesn't get this condom situation together. She shows up for her drug test with the condom taped to her leg, tries to open it with her mouth, and the pee explodes all over her. In her hair, IN HER MOUTH, all over her clothes. All of that cooking pee in the kitchen for what, Van?!!!! FOR. WHAT.

Scene: Girl, you sloppy as fuck. 

Van flat out tells her principal that she smoked weed and her principal says that she understands because everyone smokes weed but but still fires her. She then tries to give her a hug, but Van smells like weed and pee now, so I'm sure she REEKS. She then tries to get Alfred to sell her an eighth over the phone which Earn then replies that he doesn't sell and she's just over her day. She goes into her classroom to finish out the rest of her day when she sees the creepy Tobias sitting in the back of the class. IN FULL WHITEFACE. Poor Van. 

 

 

RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 5: "Nobody Beats The Biebs" by Aquillia Mikel

 

This Episode's Big Thought or Question

"No one wants Justin to be the asshole. They want you to be the asshole. You're the rapper."

Scene: You're the dude who shot someone.

Alfred is on the F list celebrity basketball red carpet being Black and not knowing how to handle being semi-important. They are trying to sign in when Alfred sees this white girl that he is trying to talk to. White girl is not going, even though Alfred is giving it his all. And I don't know why because this girl is SUPER weak and it is very clear that she is extra wack. Any white girl that says "gangster" with the stress on the ER is going to be a no for me. 

Scene: Oh, shit. It's Justin Beiber.

A BLACK JUSTIN BEIBER WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR AND I AM INSTANTLY DECEASED. He's so disrespecful and brazen and Earn thinks Alfred should work with him because he's hot right now. Alfred hates him, though, so I don't see that happening. They separate and Earn is mistaken for someone named Alonzo by some unassuming white woman. At this point, Earn is confused and I am thoroughly confused because this white woman really has no idea that this Black man isn't like all of the other Black men in her wack life. She thinks that he's a manager that she had an entire business relationship with. That's how oblivious she is. 

Scene: Donate Bieber to me.

We cut to Darius waking up and getting fresh and he hears dogs in the background. A few seconds later, we see him at a gun range and one can only imagine what he is doing there. We cut to Justin Beiber peeing on the wall and Lloyd's beautiful face pops up on my screen. Alfred and Justin start playing ball and we can already tell that Alfred is over it. Quick cut back to Darius at the gun range and we see him hanging up a poster of his own and we see that it is a gun poster of a dog. He starts shooting at it. Mind you- there is a gun poster of a family right next to it. Hold on to that image. Cut to Alfred and the Biebs- who I am hating more and more by the second. They're throwing a lot of basketball shade by telling each other to eat a bag of penises and being broke and the Biebs ends up scoring and dabbing in a haze of irritating, reckless confusion. 

Scene: You can't shoot dogs. What are you...a psycho?

Darius is wrapping up his rounds at the gun range when he is accosted by angry white men who tell him that he can't shoot at a dog poster at the gun range. Darius tries to explain that it is for his protection because he has rabid dogs in his neighborhood and even when he does that, he is still escorted out by a man with a gun. Mind you, there are pictures of Dads, Mexicans with knives, and ISIS posters that other patrons are shooting at. Cut to Earn getting his networking life together and feeling important at the celebrity basketball game with the other agents. He's even giving tips to the bartender even though he knows HE'S BROKE. Janice, the racist white lady, comes over and tells the person that she thinks Earn that loyalty is important to their peers. So, apparently, the other Black Earn has wronged Racist Janice in some way because she tells Earn (Alonzo) that she wants to destroy his life because apparently he threw her under the bus once. SHE TELLS HIM TO WIPE THE SHARECROPPER SMILE OFF OF HIS FACE AND THEN PROCEEDS TO GIVE HIM A DEMENTOR'S KISS. We cut to Alfred completely wiping Beiber out on the court and then they get into a fight on the court. Jaleel White, Lil' Zane, and Lloyd make an appearance and my teenage heart is simply fluttering away.

Scene: Play your part. 

A press conference is being held where Black Bieber totally gets to transform his image after the fight that he has with Alfred. Alfred then tries to sidle up to the white girl and tells him that he also isn't the guy that he just showed himself to be. This white girl tells him to play his part. Then, Alfred and Earn both dip because they have had the craziest of days and I imagine that they just want to go mellow out with some weed right now. 

And we all wait until next week. 

RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 4: "The Streisand Effect" by Aquillia Mikel

Intro Trap Song: Xavier Wulf, "Philosopher's Throne"

Scene: #Zanlivesmatter

Earn and Alfred are standing outside of a club when they are accosted by a racially ambigous man who proceeds to use the word "nigga" way more than I am comfortable within a manner of 30 seconds. He trolls Earn and Alfred in real life by trying to be apart of their squad and pushing the following hashtags: #zanlivesmatter, #zanstan, #zansexual, #zanlife. This is the moment when Black Twitter goes up because we know we've run across this type of trollin real life. Racically Ambiguous Man brings the scene to a close with his antics and we know that we will be seeing him again real soon. 

Scene: Everything is made up. 

We see Earn waking up and he is straight into the barrel of a gun. Alfred realizes that Racially Ambigous Man (RAM) is going off on social media about how wack Alfred is- so Alfred starts thumb thugging in retaliation. Darius and Earn are going off to run an errand together which leaves me to wonder when they ever became friends. Earn and Darius are having a heart to heart talk about which white person or government entity started AIDS on purpose when we find out that Darius is Nigerian. (NOPE.) Alfred is still checking for his RAM troll online when he realizes that he has made even more videos about how his music is trash and this gets Alfred big mad. Trolls for the win. 

Scene: Black people don't know who Steve McQueen is. 

Earn and Alfred are in the pawnshop because Earn is trying to sell his cell phone for money. He's just about to get paid when Darius calls him over to get a sword. Earn was about to get $190 which was more than his last direct deposit and I'm hoping that he hasn't done anything foolish. The pawn shop owner tells both of them that even though he has a Steve Mcqueen poster hanging up in his shop- he has no idea who he is and he only keeps it for protection from getting robbed. 

Scene: How am I supposed to spell failure when you're out here taking all the L's?

RAM is out here flaming Alfred online again, calling his music trash, his rap name trash, he even has fake blood coming out of his ear as he is listening to the mixtape. I hate him but love his petty genes. Also, I'm here for the cracked Iphone. Alfred is concerned that his business infrastructure (drugs) will be affected by all of this trash talk on the internet. An old man tells him that RAM was looking for him earlier in the day when he was smoking a swisha with no weed. The old man then tells him that he knows where he works, so you know they're going to find him.

Scene: Can you block someone on a flip phone?

Alfred and Darius are still trying to travel on the pathway to more success so that they can swap this Kill Bill sword for some more bread. They trade in the sword with some Asian dude in an Asian crackhouse (?) and their connect comes out with this enormous dog instead of money. A quick tradeup, Darius says. The plot thickens.

Scene: It's all a game. We're all just hustlin'.

Alfred is waiting for RAM to get off work, which surprise-he works at a pizza place. He invites Alfred to ride with him and I see this little kidnapped Black boy in the back of his car. Alfred tries to explain to him that online harassment is not cool for business and even though, it may look and feel fun- it can damage people's reputations. RAM tells him that everybody is out here trying to make a dollar so what does it matter how he gets it? Alfred tells him that he hustles because he has to (he scares people at the ATM). RAM tells him that he is exploiting his situation to make rap and he is just exploiting Alfred's exploitation. We find out the kidnapped Black boy is actually a true life Vine star that is RAM's business partner who is famous for having a filthy trashcan mouth. Alfred is not impressed with Trash Can Mouth and tells him to put his seatbelt on. 

Scene: I need to eat today...not in September. 

We find out that Trash Can Mouth delivers pizzas for RAM on top of being exploited for being poor and Black. Trash Can Mouth gets robbed as he is delivering pizzas and RAM records everything. Alfred is fed up with everything and he just leaves. Meanwhile, Earn and Darius are finishing their pathway on the road to more success. Darius tells him that he will get 2k-4k for the dog, and Earn is hella excited. Darius is super excited, but Earn doesn't see any money. Darius says that he will get the money for the dog in September after the farmer breeds the Cane Corso puppies. Earn is ready to FLIP because he's broke and can't afford to wait until September for his come up. He needs it now. Darius tries to explain to him the benefit of an investment, but he knows he messed up so he offers to give Earn his phone because he switches it out every month to make sure the government isn't tracking him. Earn then looks into the sunlight because- what is life?

5 Songs On "A Seat At The Table" That Will Move You To Buy Black by Aquillia Mikel

No sooner than a day later after Solange told all of the disrespectful non-black people NOT to touch her hair, someone had the audacity to touch mine.

I was in the middle of WTF, Illinois in the year of 2016 on my family's annual apple picking trip (yeah, we do that!) when all of a sudden a woman exclaims that she *HAS* to touch my hair and then proceeds to do just that. It is experiences like these that give me a very unfortunate lens into the world around me. How do I, as a consumer, learn to actively support brands that actively support me as a human being? As I am listening to Solange telling me to rise as her album begins, I can't help that it's a call to action to all Black people to fashion your OWN chairs and demand a seat at the table that we always provided sustenance for, but were never given the privilege to be invited as guests. So, here are 5 reasons why buying Black should be the first move whenever you consider parting with your dollars.

1. "Weary"

This track just sounds like Solo has had more than enough. In this moment, she is over asking for a seat at the table because she knows she doesn't need to ask for permission. She knows she belongs there, and is challenging you to take what is owed to you as well. How many times have you walked into a space as a consumer or even a guest and felt as if you didn't belong? How many times have you been online shopping or browsing though ads or commercials or shows or whatever else and wondered where YOU were? As I've become more intentional about shopping and supporting those who look like me, I find myself asking if I belong less and less. How can I not belong when everything was created by someone in my image?

2. "Cranes In The Sky"

I have lost count over this past year when I have been totally overwhelmed with Black murders in these last couple of years and I have found that it is incredibly easy to feel alienated. Sometimes, I just don't have it in me to pretend as if nothing is wrong, but when I get around Black people- I don't have to pretend. 

3. "Mad" 

Non- Black (mostly white) people are often confused when we are angry about situations that remind us that few people believe that we are human. When we hear things like "white people get killed by police officers, TOO" or "Maybe you guys should have said Black Lives Matter, TOO", it makes us want to punch you in the face. But, then when we do that, we're perpetuating a violent narrative about Black people that white people created.....the cycle continues....do you see why we're so mad? Here's the thing: when you buy, support, encourage, and choose to shop with people that have the same stories as you- you don't need to explain why you feel the way you do. They just get it. And when you know you're spending your time and money with people that are helping YOUR people on a larger scale, you have a little less to be mad about. 

4. "F.U.B.U" 

If this song doesn't remind you that things that are made by us are better FOR us, then you need to stop, pause, rewind and play until you get it. Not only should it remind you of this, but it also reminds you to not feel bad when white people don't understand why you're supporting or loving on yourself. There doesn't need to be an explanation, nor will you get one. I'm choosing to support my own because I love my own and I want to see my own grow. Get over it. 

5. "Junie"

This song takes an opportunity to address cultural appropriation, so imagine for a second all of the companies, brands, and "icons" that benefit from wearing our culture like a costume. Everyone wants to be Black, but do they, really? I don't even have to ask myself that question because I don't have to and I don't want to. I would rather do the work to try and figure out what businesses are Black and offer excellent products, then figure out, email, pray, and ask for non-Black businesses to recognize me and take my needs into consideration. I'd rather go back to Black.

 

 

 

An Open Letter To Kid Cudi: The Man On The Moon (And In My Mirror) by Aquillia Mikel

kid-cudi1.jpeg

 

At first glance, I am the worst Kid Cudi fan that you have ever laid eyes on.

Actually, I'm probably the lamest of them because I don't smoke, I don't drink, and I don't like to get lit in the moshpit at his concerts. But he's my favorite rapper. I don't care if you think that he is the best rapper alive, or the coolest, or the best writer or even deserving of my accolades- he is my favorite rapper because he is one of the few that I know that openly shares his struggles with his fans and within his music at will. And he is himself at all times- take it or leave it. So, this letter is to him as he has (as of October 4, 2016) admitted himself into a facility to gain clarity about his mental illness. Remember: mental illness is VERY real and to avoid talking about it is to give it more power over you. In order to empower ourselves and other people, economically or otherwise, you must take care of mind, body, and soul FIRST. 

Dear Scott,

I'm writing to you because I can't get my mind to focus on anything else. Last night, you admitted that your battle with depression and suicidal thoughts has gotten to a point that you cannot overcome on your own and that you would be reaching out for help. The magnitude of that act alone is one that requires a lot of courage. The elephant in many a Black family room is the discussion of mental illness and its actual prevalence in our lives, our culture, and our people. Your willingness to seek help (no matter how long it took you) is a testament to your character and the true devotion you have to the people that value your music and your life. 

I don't know what brought you to this point of realization, but I can only speak about how I have been feeling as of late. It's hard to talk about feeling down when what's bringing you down is something intangible. The feeling you get when you wake up in the morning to news that someone who looks like you was murdered because they look like you. The feeling you get when fellow teachers have to strike for basic needs to help their students through a system that doesn't truly want to see all of them win. The feeling you get when your family is sick and you feel helpless because you don't have enough time or resources to do anything that makes a difference. The feeling you get sometimes when everyone thinks you have it together and so you hold yourself to that standard even when you fall apart as soon as everyone takes their eyes off you. Cutting people out of your life in order to be mentally healthy. I can speak to all of that and more.

But really, Scott, my man on the moon- I just want to show you gratitude. I want to give you your roses while you are living because your life matters. Every song that you've ever made spoke to me in some way- whether it was to make me feel that I was not alone, or crazy, or too out there. Thanks for being unapologetically yourself. I can literally go down every tracklist and show you a lesson that I've learned in each one. I'll just give you a few, though, because that will take all of my life. :) Here are a few to let you know that I'm thinking about you-

"In My Dreams" made me feel limitless and that I had all the power I need to be whatever I wanted to be.

"Trapped In My Mind" helped me realize that all of those times that I woke up in night sweats with nightmares that only God knows about- you were somewhere waking up with them, too. And that I wasn't alone, after all. 

"Unfuckwittable" showed me that nobody could ever have power over me unless I gave it to them. 

"Too Bad I Have To Destroy You Now" reminded me that I am control of the energy in my life and that people who do not love do not deserve any piece of my mind, heart, body, or soul.

"Live and Learn" taught me that mistakes don't define me and everything I learn I can use to make someone else in my path better. 

"Handle With Care" reminded me that I don't have to push people away that love me. I just need to be very open and honest with people who decide to go on this life journey with me. 

"The Prayer" taught me that I need to leave a legacy for the days when I am no longer here and affect everything positively while I still am here. 

"Sky Might Fall" taught me that sometimes life will just SUCK. A LOT. But, that I always have hope for the next day because, when I make it there, it will be a gift from God.

Like I said, I could do this all day. 

I don't know what you were planning with Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin', my love, but I pray that you learn to slay your demons while you're away. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with your progress. Be loving to others who want to help you and support you. I know it's crazy to think that people you will never meet in your life are willing you to be well, but it's happening right now. There are prayers being sent up just for you. You've taken this step and I'm sure you have encouraged many others to follow. Remember: they'll never you take you alive. Take your roses, Kid, and let your garden grow. 

We love you.

I love you.

To the moon and back,

Q

 

 

 

 

 

RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 3: "Go For Broke" by Aquillia Mikel

Intro Trap Song: Kodak Black, "SKRT"

This Episode's Big Thought

"I just think we need a chance as humans to fail in order to discover what actually works, you know? People don't think there's a process to being happy."- Earn 

Blackest Moments

Putting pop in your courtesy cup of water.

"Just try not to die." "EVERY DAY."

Best Darius Quotes

"Selling drugs is easy. People are addicted to them."

"Your assumed aversion to the word "Daddy" is stemming from your fear of mortality, man."

"I'm going to handcuff the briefcase to my wrist. Cause it's professional, nigga, we ain't no duffle bag boys."

 

Scene: I don't see no kids.

Earn walks into this fast food restaurant and tries to order a kid's meal because....broke. The girl at the counter is doing way too much and feels like she made it in life because someone just promoted her to shift manager and she has a nametag now so she's REAL important. She tells Earn that she can't risk losing her job because she's just giving out discounted meals all day. Like, girl- do you have stock in this here restaurant? Are you paid on commission for every fry, drink, and burger that you show receipts for? She continues to give Earn hell until he simply asks for a courtesy cup of water which her annoying behind finally gives him with pleasure. This is the kind of girl that would lord over her broke boyfriend that SHE has benefits and prestige at her job so SHE should be treated like a queen. Girl, bye. Earn takes that courtesy cup of water and proceeds to fill it with soda because....again....BROKE. A nosy employee looks like she wants to snitch so Earn gestures to her to shut up and then he dips. Show starts.

Scene: Try not to die.

Earn is sitting on the couch talking to Alfred and Darius about his broke lifestyle and they try and convince him that he should sell drugs because the business is downright "lucrative...because people are addicted to them." Alfred tells Earn that him and Darius are going to see the Migos (a play on words that we learn about later) to complete a huge drug deal and Earn tells them not to die. It is at this moment that Alfred replies with "EV-UH-REE-DAY" which is in part hilarious because of the way that it's said, but also poignant because he is a Black man in America and that is what we have to be ready to tell our sons in the event that we will never see them again. (See: Trayvon. Philando. Freddie. Tamir. Do we have to go on? Do we? #BLACKLIVESMATTER). As Darius is cleaning out his gun to prepare for the Migos meeting, he loses a bullet in a cereal box because he is Extra Lit, he lives in Darius World and not super in touch with reality, and we are best friends in my head.

Scene: My dreads are in a bun.

Van comes in the house with the baby girl and she's pissed because Earn hasn't been doing anything of value all day and she has to watch the kid. Earn apologizes for being inconsiderate and then asks if she would like to go out to dinner the next night. (NIGGA, YOU'RE BROKE!!!) Van then says that it is too late and he tells her that he can get a corny nigga to eat it with her- which again is confusing to me because Earn is hella corny (am I alone on this?) Van then tells him that he forces her to appear like the angry Black woman when she gets frustrated over his lackadaisical behavior and he shadily agrees. The fact that we can even have a conversation, even a light one, about the prevalence of the angry Black woman on cable TV is a gem to me. They start talking about stereotypes and how Earn is the stereotypical Black father who can't take care of his kids as he responds that it is working out just fine for him because he's homeless and he's laying in her bed. This is a life lesson for all you working women who let your trife partners have a roof on their heads when they're not helping to put any money in your pockets. He's not going to change, he's going to still be broke, because he has somewhere to lay his head- thanks to your free provision. Take notes. 

Scene: How are you broke on payday?

Earn wakes up and checks his direct deposit and he has received a whopping $96 in his bank account. He calls his friend to get some FB (F___ boy) advice to find out the best place to take Van on their date. F__ Boy is in the car with one of the girls that he messes with and he overhears everything (which usually is the move when you are not the main) and he is totally unbothered and simply shrugs her off when she proceeds to look pissed. Can we just pause here and just note that this girl is driving HIM around?! Ya'll want to keep getting mad at these men, but you don't feel any type of way about them using your gas money up? It couldn't be me. Earn goes into the house and finds a bottle of wine on top of the cabinets and thinks to himself that he just may win tonight when he takes Van out on this date. We can all tell from the brand and the dustiness of that bottle that he will definitely be taking an L tonight.

Scene: You call your gun Daddy?

Darius and Alfred are in the kitchen cleaning their guns in preparation for their Migos drug meeting and having a conversation about what they each call each of their pistols. Darius calls his gun "Daddy" and Alfred believes that is extremely weird, which YES. Darius brings up the idea of girls calling Alfred "Daddy" during sex and Alfred also agrees that is weird. Darius asks about the word "Papi" which Alfred says is less weird because it's cultural. Oh, so because it's a culture that most Black people constantly fetishize, it's cool, right? COOL. They continue to banter and then get serious about the meeting details. At 9pm that night- their Migos meeting is going down. Darius tells Alfred that he's going to handcuff himself to the briefcase in order to look more professional during their highly elusive drug deal and I know something is about to go very, very wrong.

Scene: We all we got!

Lloyd is blasting his beautiful vocals as Van and Earn try to find parking on their date. Earn suggests that they park in the neighborhood wino's pop up parking lot where he tries to hook them up with neighborhood security and a parking deal. This is a man on a hustle and you have to respect that.....but you don't have to trust it. "We all we got!" he exclaims when Van starts to doubt how safe his pop up parking lot will be. Earn makes a point that there's not a lot of police security over there which we know all too well, and Van does not want to park there so they keep it moving. 

Scene: Trapping Is Boring As Fuck. 

Alfred and Darius pull up to their drug drop off spot in the middle of the woods where Black people are camping. The leader of the Migos (Quavo) tells him that trapping is boring as fuck which is a nod to all the cool (white) kids who think that trapping is this glamorous, dangerous lifestyle that hood Black people learn from birth. Sorry, kids- people do what they have to do to survive. This isn't for our personal enrichment. They have to wait for Quavo to finish a previous deal which includes him terrorizing someone that probably owes him some drug money. (See, kids? Death is involved.) As they are waiting for this unknown person's demise, Darius is nervous because he can't find the handcuff key to open the briefcase and after seeing one black man get killed that night (spoiler alert: that random man dies), it is no problem for him to become the next victim. 

Scene: We got ourselves a hipster.

Van and Earn finally find parking and are sitting down in a restaurant that I know is making Earn sweat because it looks like money in there. Earn asks the waitress about the happy hour menu and I knew that it was going to be downhill from there because NIGGA, YOU'RE BROKE. He finds out the F____ Boy has completely sent him off because the cheap happy hour menu has been discontinued because that's how Earn's life is set up. Van starts with a drink that I know Earn can't afford and then everything goes to hell. They're ordering all types of fish of the sea and other drinks and appetizers to wash it down with. Van asks who he is texting and we know who it is because we've all had a moment where we had to text Chase to see what's up. Van starts to tell him teacher stories from the day because she is oblivious to the fact that this meal is leaving Earn with 10 cents to his name, but he can't focus because he knows that he just overdrafted so he goes to the bar to ask the bartender how much "market price" is. The bartender clowns him, but proceeds to help him out. 

Scene: Hand me Percy over there.

Darius is still trying to figure out where the handcuff key is as they wait for their impending death. Quavo does in fact kill the unknown dude that inevitable owed him money with a gun names Percy. Like, he just completely ends his life, and, of course, this calls for more panic for Darius who is pretty much assuming that they're going to die now. 

Scene: You're killing me, tonight.

Earn and Van have a heart to heart about dreams and ambitions and everything seems to be on the up and up and then Van dismisses herself to the bathroom. The waitress comes back and tries to upsell Earn and he curses her out. Like, way out because it seems like she's just trying to watch him fail tonight. I can't figure her out- like if someone is asking you all these questions about price- why would you offer his girl all of these options? What's wrong with you?! The waitress looks offended, but not more offended than Earn's debit card right now because that account is TRASH McStuffins.

Scene: Hello cousin, how are you?

Alfred and Darius are with Migos trying to complete this drug deal when Earn calls and asks Alfred to put $20 in his account. Alfred does the perfect impression of a Black person in code switch mode when he tries to answer the phone calmly. Earn can't keep his mouth closed on speakerphone so he lets on that he knows about the drug deal in front of the Migos. Alfred quickly hangs up and they kind of sit awkwardly for a second. Back at the restaurant, Earn can finally pay the bill because Alfred transferred the funds and Van is either doing this on purpose or she really is ignorant to the fact of how broke Earn really is in true life because she leaves a tip that I know he can't afford. Alfred and Darius make moves to close the drug deal and meets Quavo's Latino cousin who is a huge fan of Alfred's mixtape. His presence will complete the pun now: they are the 4 Migos (amigos). Get it? K. I'll go over it again in the next scene. 

Scene: That's some dumb shit, Earn. 

The drug deal goes well and we finally learn that they are Migos by name but also because the Latino cousin completes the Four Migos. Pun finished. When Earn and Van get home, they are fighting about their individual dreams and goals in life. Earn wants to be a rapper, and Van wants to open a fashion boutique. Earn has this complete heart-to-heart with the door after Van slams it in his face and after all those words that he truly felt from his heart, Van comes out and is completely unbothered by all the stupid stuff that he really thought he was making sense of. He then goes on the balcony and he reports his debit card stolen BECAUSE HE'S BROKE. He drinks that bottle of champagne that I told you he would be drinking very much alone by the end of this episode and you can only hope that his life goes on an incline from here.

RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 2 by Aquillia Mikel

 

This Episode's Big Question: How else would you know you're alive unless you knew you could die?"

"Food in jail is genetically modified to make you lie."

"As humans, we are always close to destruction. Life itself is but a series of close calls. I mean, how else would you know you are alive unless you knew you could die?"

 

All right. Let's get started. 

Scene: GINA!

We open up to Alfred and Earn having a conversation in jail about how they ended up there. (Remember in the last episode, Alfred shot that dude in the parking lot, so clearly he got caught.) They talk about the half a blunt they didn't finish, a video vixen from the T Pain video, and how the cops tried to get them to snitch on each other. I started couch dancing to the super beautiful + super ratchet "That Law" intro and then we get into it.

 

Scene: I hate this place.

Alfred gets out and the lady in processing is SO polite until he starts asking too many questions. And then, she goes off on him out of nowhere.  Darius comes through with his beautiful headwrap to pick up Alfred. He gets accosted by a police officer in such a weird way that I'm still processing it. The cop wants to take a picture with him because he's a rapper and apparently he loves rap. We find out that he really is just a jerk who doesn't deserve to wear the badge. He tells him that he locked Gucci Mane up and to do a back to back picture for the Instasluts. Earn calls Vanessa and asks her to bail him out AND pick him up. The police officer is being nosy behind him and is laughing at his trifling request. I mean, yes, it is triflin- but dang, can Earn live?

Scene: Man, fuck you, Grady!

Earn is in processing, but he's not allowed to fall asleep until he's in a cell. I don't know about ya'll, but I didn't know that was an actual rule- so I used the Googles and it checks out. So, he wakes up and is forced to deal with the nonsense that is going on in the prison around him. As always happens, whenever you don't feel like talking, someone desperately wants to talk to you. Like they actually believe they are in dire need and must talk to you right then at that moment or else they will implode or something. Anyway, we learn from this man who talks entirely too much that he is in prison because of his low down friend Grady who made him get drunk on the porch and chill after not seeing him for 12 years. Also, we learn that our boy (Earn) is clearly not made for prison. He looks like a deer in headlights and I'm hoping that someone gets him outta there before this episode ends. 

Scene: Lemon pepper wet?

Darius and Alfred are in a restaurant and Darius is playing with the condiments because he's an awesome wonder. Darius waxes poetic and then the waiter brings out their food. He tells Alfred how much he loves his music because it basically promotes violence and that he hates the "singing ass niggas" of today. To show his gratitude, he makes them the extra coveted lemon pepper wings with the sauce on them and they can't take it- like they go nuts with joy. The waiter then tells Alfred and that if he doesn't keep making kill-a-nigga music- then he will basically kill him. At the end of this scene, Alfred starts to realize that people recognize him- but he doesn't seem to be excited by that. He looks wary of everyone around him. 

Scene: He looks like he needs help. Man, shut up.

Earn is served some inedible trash from the prison workers and basically gets his lunch finessed by an old man who has no faith in him surviving in jail. Earn notices a man who is clearly struggling with mental illness that everyone is taking for a joke. He learns that the man is in jail every week and asks why something isn't done to help him. He's quickly shut down. The mentally ill man then dips his cup in the toilet and everyone looks on in disgusted wonder to see if he would drink it. He does and then, seconds later, spits it on a correctional officer. That officer then beats him silly with a nightstick while everyone else looks on. Lee continues to scream in agony as he is being accosted like an animal by the police.

Scene: Is Paperboi Atlanta's Tupac? They say no.

Alfred is getting press for his music, but he doesn't really care. He wants to get his energy right, and Darius is trying to be a good friend and take him out. Alfred decides to get his chakras aligned by taking a stroll through the hood. Alfred sees some kids playing with fake guns and pretending to be him. He watches them play and then one of the kid's mothers comes out and yells at them for playing with guns because black kids are seen as violent adults by the police (basically.) Alfred tries to do a back to school special on guns and the mama is like "and.....you are.....?" They don't believe he's Paper Boi so he raps his wack lyrics and then Mama instantly tries to slide in his DMs. She wants pictures, only claims one of the kids, and demands to put her hand on his Alfred's chest. Yikes.

Scene: So you think I'm gay?!

We go back to Earn in jail and he is in the middle of this extremely weird conversation between two gay men. I mean, I instantly know that they are both gay, but one of them seems to be in denial. They reminisce about their sexual experiences while Earn sits very uncomfortably in the middle of this conversation. It is not clear that this man understands that he has been talking to a man for the majority of his life, so the rest of the men help him turn his lightbulb on. His "girl" Lisa looks at him like "yeah......you should have been known that I was a man, my dude." The jail philosophy on black male homosexuality is then stated as follows: if you have sex with other men in jail- that's just survival. If you do it outside of jail- then you're actually gay. I love when Earn tries to make the closeted gay man feel more enlightened by saying that sexuality is a spectrum, but he's not here for that. Nobody is. He really can't admit to being gay and he is freaking out on everyone, ESPECIALLY Earn who he gets incensed with because he's "acting weird."

Scene: "You got the juice, man."

Best friend Darius is trying to encourage Alfred and get his energy right. I kid you not, a man in a Batman mask comes to the door and asks if Paper Boi lives there. Darius says yes. And then he just dips. Like he runs over a hill at full speed and DIPS. Darius suggests that Alfred is getting a little too hot in the streets. 

Scene: Ay, remember that time we had to pick up Daddy from jail?"

Earn only gets out of jail because Vanessa bails him out and she's pissed. Which, duh. Their baby is in the car and you can tell she just loves her dad so much. I just love that they show the two of them together all of the time. Earn makes some awkward jokes that would make me swoon normally, but I'm on Vanessa's side right now and I'm kinda pissed at him. They drive off to the song "Grandma's Hands"- which Blackest thing ever (didn't add that above- so there ya go.)

If you liked this recap and made it all the way to end: first of all, amen and thank you.Second, tweet this.

What did y'all think of the second episode?

RECAP: Atlanta: Season 1, Episode 1 by Aquillia Mikel

Because Georgia Peaches and what not. 

Because Georgia Peaches and what not. 

 

This Episode's Big Question

"If you could use a rat as a phone, I mean that'd be genius. I mean, they're like five rats for every one person in NY alone. Everybody would have an affordable phone. Yeah, man- I mean it'd be messy but...worth it."

"I was just wondering- can I measure your tree? ...Not right now? That basically means no, man."

"When is an appropriate time to talk about my balls being smashed?"


All right, let's begin.


Scene: "Boy, you so gahbage!"
The rearview mirror of Alfred's (Brian Tyree Henry) car gets knocked off and Earn (Childish Gambino/ Donald Glover) gets out of the car in his a-little-longer-than normal short shorts running through a hood parking lot. There's a standoff and someone yells Worldstar.
My best friend Darius (Keith Stanfield) gets deja vu- throughout the season, I truly believe that he will reveal himself as a clairvoyant. The man who is going off on Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry but also Paper Boi) is telling him the Postal mixtape is garbage and he has no idea what "mucking." We later find out that this term is a portmanteau of "massaging and f_____ing" which is the laziest term for foreplay that I have ever heard used, but there it is. Then, much like a scene from a western, guns are drawn and someone who is being nosy in the parking lot yells "this is definitely going on Worldstar!" Earn tried to calm it down, but someone get shot. We start to hear a very VERY black intro that I am certainly here for. And, the show officially starts.


Scene: "What IS that....curry?"
Ugly sleeping is so necessary when trying to show the authenticity of love and we get a glimpse of that in this scene with Earn and Vanessa (who is lovingly called Van and portrayed by Zazie Beetz WHICH IS THE COOLEST NAME EVER). Also, Vanessa is giving you Regular AF Black girl that we never get the privilege of seeing on TV- especially when she asks the question "who's the girl- what she look like?" when Earl starts to explain his dream to her. At first glance, you want them to be together and you think they are honest and real enough to be together and then- we all get our relationship goals dreams stomped on just a few seconds later. He laughs awkwardly when she says tell me you love me- and he's clearly uncomfortable with saying it. She's like you know what-  I'm going to take out these cornrows and announce that I'm going OUT and I AIN'T SORRY cause you're being weak. Also, we get to see a shared moment of love between a Black father and his daughter when Earn picks her up and snuggles with her. Adorable. He then tells her that Mommy is going out with some corny dude and this is where I pause because I already love Earn as a character- but in my head I'm like- what is your definition of corny? You're the corniest person on this show- so you really get to define what corny is?


Scene: "Fuck you. I know, right?"
We switch to "a day in the life of Earn's job" and he works with some fine dude who's name I can never remember (Harold House Moore)  that clearly he tolerates but doesn't really want to be friends with. We get a pan on Freaky Deaky Grandma (Earn's work competitor + overall disturbing individual) who is doing something strange for a piece of change as she flirts with any PYT that decides to giver her commission.  Fine Dude pulls out the Paperboi video and plants in Earn's head that he could get money if he works with his cousin. So Earn dips from work early because he wants to start getting REAL schmoney.


Scene: "You gon invite me in?" "No- I can't afford it."
Earn walks him and his Backpack over to his parents house to say hey (except not really) and his dad greets him at the door like love don't live there anymore. Earn's mom is hilarious because she clearly loves him but also knows her son well enough to know that at this point in his life- he isn't about ANYTHING. She's so calm with it, though, it makes you wonder if a smidgen of her doesn't believe that Earn can't get it together eventually. In a petty turn of events, Earn's parents are more excited to hear about Vanessa glowing up and going on dates which lets you know even more that they are tired of his trash behavior at that point. No matter how old you get- your parents will always call you out on your trifling behavior. After they treat his life for leaving grown man turds in their bathroom and analyzing it for unhealthy eating habits, they dismiss him and him and Backpack dip.


Scene: When the last time you was nice to a girl you didn't want to smash?
My best friend Darius and Alfred are chillin at the house, having a convo about the most opportune time to use spoiled milk when Earn comes to the door. Alfred greets him with a gun because he already knows what he is there for. Earn denies that he only wants money from his cousin, but everyone be pulling Earn's card so we can all assume at this point that they're right. They have this awkward moment about smashing women for favors that involves his daughter and then Earn says that he wants to manage his cousin- not look for handouts. No one believes that Earn has a manly bone in his body- which at his age is just being another version of a fuckboy. Alfred also comes at his life when he says that needs a Malcolm, not a Martin and that Earn may be too soft for the job.  (I'm not taking sides on who is manlier, you can check Hotep Twitter for that.) You get to hear more ridiculous gems from Darius until they say something about being "late" and it's because they have missed their official 4:20 time slot to smoke on a random couch outside.


Scene: "Ain't you homeless?" I'm not real homeless- I'm not using a rat as a phone."
On this beaten down couch that sombody's granny put in the alley days before, Alfred and Darius are smoking weed.  Earn doesn't want to smoke, and Darius and Alfred debate if he can actually manage a rapper if he doesn't smoke. We learn that Earn is a Princeton dropout and he was only supposed to take a year off, but it's going on year 3 of finding himself. We get this feeling that he dropped out for a reason bigger than what everyone else thinks and I can't wait to hear what it is.  I have a feeling it's race related because.....PWI. Darius then brings up the idea that rap is no more- that actually it is D-E-D. So, there's that. Earn breaks down for him all of the ways that Alfred is not groundbreaking in this industry and his cousin tries to convince him that he is selling sex and connecting to the people by way of his rap explanation of mucking (please see above). At this point, Alfred is still not convinced that he's his manager. Earn says that he still has connects at the local radio station, but Alfred does not see it for him because Earn ain't real. Earn ain't been in contact with Alfred since his mom's funeral and now he wants to buy in? Nah. Where ya ass was at, Earn?


Scene: Really, nigga?
Earn runs into this white dude (Griffin Freeman) in what we later find out is the radio station parking lot and he throws shade instantly by asking Earn "did you just come from that dumpster?" But the way Earn replies, he may slick have just done that. Not important though. I don't see it for White Boy at all. White Boy starts telling a story of a party he attended the night before where they were playing wack music (Flo Rida, to be specific). He then punctuates his story with "really nigga." He sees absolutely no problem with that word at all. Earn tries to get him to spin the record and White Boy isn't going unless he's getting the coins. White boy says nigga AGAIN and I just can't stomach him anymore especially when he walks up to some other Black people and calls THEM "dudes." Earn teaches us all a valuable lesson when he realizes it's not what you know, but who you know when he makes a deal with the garbage man (Prince) to get him into the station later. He also learns that white boy never says nigga to anyone who can beat his ass. Duly noted.


Scene: Not right now? That basically means no, man. 
Alfred and Darius pull up to Earn's parents house and Mama throws more shade at her nephews high class activities. They're happy to see him though- way more happy than they were to see Earn. Darius asks to measure the tree and you can just see the confusion spill over on everyone's face. They have a convo about Earn being Alfred's manager at the same time as we Earn is putting in work for Alfred on the radio. This is when I realize that Earn is with the shits- even if he is lazy. He is just one of those creative types that don't mind being broke and demand that you be ok with being broke as well should you choose to date him. Like, there's some type of broke magic that will eventually get the bills paid.  Earn shows up to the radio station and gives that record and the $500 to KP- instead of White Boy. Swerve. And we realize that, in fact, Earl does things on his own terms like his dad has just said off screen.


Scene: Bite this sandwich.
Earn and the baby are on the bus. Someone who appears to be from the Nation is giving Earn a shoulder to cry on as he asks the big question that I mentioned above. He seems to give Earn the advice of punking out when he says "let the path push you like a broken branch in the current" which basically means "lay down and take it." And Earn is like "yeah ok- im going to not choose that option that you just gave and I'm going to be successful. He tells him to bite a sandwich and then he like disappears into a forest- I'm not sure if the Nation Man is an apparition or a freak but we see him dip off the bus. Earn drafts a message to his girl finally saying I love you, pauses for infinity, and takes an incoming call from Paperboi instead. His cousin says that the song is on the radio and Earn is feeling good because he knows that he was the plug for that and asks again to be manager.

 

Scene: Say hi to KP for me. 

The end scene loops us back to the beginning where we met at the hood parking lot. Earn finally agrees to smoke. White boy walks up and wants to know how Earn finesses his way into the station since Earn swerved him with the cash. He lies and says that KP is pissed, but Earn calls his bluff and is like "nah, it's on the radio." Earn tells him to tell the Flo Rida story again and he omits the word "nigga" this time because he's amongst real niggas and he gets played. Earn gets petty and feels good about it. His cousin yells out the window to a girl and they sit in the car cool when two important things happen: his cousin reveals that he hates his own song and Alfred's rearview mirror gets knocked off by the boyfriend of the girl he called a "stank broad."

Scene: You're outta wine. The bottle?!

Comes home from her date and turnson the news and sees her baby daddy on the news for the shoot out in the parking lot. She realizes once again the kind of dude she has chosen to procreate with and we roll to credits.

 

If you liked this recap and made it all the way to end: first of all, amen and thank you. Second, tweet this.

What did y'all think of the first episode?

The Art Of Anticipation: On "Blonde" + Black Business by Aquillia Mikel

Most of you don't know who Christopher Lonny Breaux is. And that's fine- I'm sure when he started to make music, he wasn't concerned with fame. But for those of us who do know him, we were in awe of the collection of almost 65 songs from a young Lonny during the height of the Datpiff days. I know I had never heard anything like it. 65 songs- all fire but all very different in their delivery. How someone mass creates this amount of songs for one mixtape is beyond me. Either he was writing through an influx of emotions one day and threw them together on one tape or he had been waiting years to release his thoughts in this one moment and he thought that was all he could get.

 

Y'all probably don't know Christopher - but if you're reading this- you know Frank Ocean well. If you're lucky, you caught his waves on Nostalgia, Ultra when he was making love underneath the cherry leaves and asking how his nature felt. But, even if you didn't catch it then- everyone felt the heart-rendering magnitude that was Channel Orange. The stories that he wove together, the storytellers that he brought in to sing with him, the lyrics, the vibes were totally unmatched. And then- he disappeared.

 

And we waited.

And he said he was coming back soon.

And we waited.

He hit us with the name of the album.

And we waited.

He had a whole listening party and didn't invite me. :)

And we waited.

And waited.

AND. Waited.

 

Some of us wrote desperate tweets to bring him back to our world. Some of us wrote angry tweets because....misery loves company. Some of us swore Frank Ocean off forever. Some of us promised to do whatever it took to get some of his music back into our lives. So, after a spell, he gave us Endless. Then- one early Saturday evening- Blonde arrived.

 

And everything you thought you were doing that day was canceled.

 

How does a successful Black owned business cultivate the art of anticipation? Whether it be for a service or a product, if you're going to survive as a Black business owner- you need to create something that everyone has already been waiting for. You need to fulfill a need. How many times have you heard someone say that they desired (x) in their neighborhood or city and knew that you were the one to bring it to fruition? Be the business or individual that people are waiting for. "Blonde" is a fulfillment of a need to feel like we once felt when Channel Orange arrived. For me- that feeling was completion. Understanding. Love. And acceptance. If I could feel that again with Blonde- then Frank Ocean absolutely had me. Which I did- so he won.

 

Let's backtrack a little though. Before you can fulfill a need, you should have already proven that you're the one that people can trust to fill this need. Channel Orange solidified our love for Frank- what will solidify your brand loyalty with your customers or your community? You need to be great first so that anticipation can build around your next creation that will be fulfilling that need. If it's not awesome the first time- no one cares. NO ONE. CARES.

 

Also- don't try and give people what they didn't ask for just because you think it's a good idea. I'm sure someone thought "Endless" was dope- but I didn't ask Frank to build me a set of stairs while singing Isley covers. I WANTED THE ALBUM and everyone else did, too. And when it came a few days later, he had finally fulfilled the need of the people who support him and love his music.

 

So, cliffnotes for success:

 

1) build anticipation throughly initial excellence

2) fulfill a need- be the one we've been waiting for

3) give the people what they ask for

 

Until we talk next....

Rain. Glitter. Black Magic.

Team Future or Team Desiigner: What Happens When That Black Business Ain't What You Thought It Was? by Aquillia Mikel

ItsRoutine ain’t Drake- but you couldn’t tell me that the first time I listened to Erykah Badu’s “But You Cain’t Use My Phone” mixtape. First, because I knew that Erykah and Drake knew each other it was logical for him to join the project, and also, I just wasn’t expecting anyone else to sound so much like him. You would think I would have been more woke by the time Desiigner dropped “Panda” like a month later, but I was still happily watching Panda dance routines on Youtube thinking that it was Future. (And I wasn’t the only one.) Also, unrelated, Desiigner is substantially younger than me. How do these trap-producing children keep getting favorited in my Iphone playlists? (I’m looking at you, Rae Sremmurd.) At any rate, those two got me thinking about my bird tendency to get lost in cool beats, but also this whole controversy surrounding Black owned companies that were (but are no more) and Black owned companies that have remained just that. Understandably, people have a reason to be all up in arms when they believe a company to be Black-owned, but have a whole ‘nother face running the game console. (This is just how my brain works- keep reading if you would like to see more of mental inner workings.) But, I’m not talking about companies that pretend to be Black owned to get Black dollars- they’re trash. I’m talking about companies that started out with a voice we recognized and came to love, and then switched up the game on us with this brand new person who sounds and operates like you- BUT AIN’T YOU.

Before you continue reading- I need you to choose a side. You are either metaphorically Team Future (which is translated to Black Owned or Bust) or metaphorically Team Desiigner (which is translated to I’m Wit It If They’re Wit Me). I’m not going to tell you which team is the right one to be on- I will just tell you what I believe the philosophy of each one is. Got your team? Ok- let’s gets started.

Team Future (Black Owned Or Bust)

If you’re on this team, you are probably livid any time one of our Black owned giants merges or sells to another (whiter) corporation. BET did it, Carol’s Daughter did it, (we’ll get to both of them later) and many smaller companies did it that you may not even know about yet. And, no- I won’t be posting them here because one of the characteristics of belonging to Team Future is that you are good at doing research. You started supporting Black businesses because you understood that by doing so you were helping to circulate those dollars back into the community. You were siphoning money away from big corporations that don’t see Black consumers as human beings. We know that Black owned businesses hire more Black employees (shout out to the Gazelle Index) which is definitely a plus. Public profiles of Black entrepreneurship provide examples for our children to aspire to- that feeling of “if they can do it, my kid can do it, too”. They certainly have an investment in creating educational opportunities for our youth and redeveloping our hoods- and I’m here for all of that.

When BET was bought by Viacom, Robert Johnson had someone to assume the majority of his debt (and he had HELLA) and still provide resources to see it grow. He believed that there were some benefits to it (BET could get help from CBS in expanding its news operations and BET could gain global distribution for its music channel BET on Jazz), but my issue came when the merge was said to “better help the Black community.” Besides that amazing Prince tribute at the BET awards and the acquisition of my faves over at Black + Sexy TV, I haven’t seen much growth, have you? This is what makes this argument so strong- conscious consumers know that mergers have the potential to bring about false promises or a lack of genuine interest in the community- which is completely fair. It also brings about potential lack of representation when it comes to decision making. And also- what about legacy? Dang- can WE create something and keep it in the fam for once? When we’re in charge- we have the say on who we pass it down to. When we don’t run the show, we just sit back and watch our hard work be passed through the lineage of someone else. Because of our emotional attachment to entrepreneurs that look like us, we get mad when we think one of us can do better, because we’re not here for anything other than Black excellence. I get you, Team Future- but let’s look at the other side, too.

 

Team Desiigner (I’m Wit It If They’re Wit Me)

Just to be real about it- some of ya’ll weren’t really about supporting Black businesses exclusively until VERY recently (at the max 5 years ago), and some of these businesses had been struggling for a WHILE.  When Carol’s Daughter “joined the L’Oreal family”, it was because she didn’t want to worry if her company could stand the test of time because of some of economic pressures that specifically exist for entrepreneurs of color. Business is a long game, and what she created for women of color is something that is still very necessary and prominent in our culture. Her love for the women that she created for didn’t get scooped up with her acquisition- it was just that she didn’t want her business to vanish. We all know that love don’t pay the bills. We don’t know what funds she started with or what her economic journey had been up until the point of selling.

Many of you want to project their zeal for why they believe that Black entrepreneurs should exist- on people who may not have the same vision that you have for them. Maybe some Black businesses who sell to non- Black companies aren’t trying to change the world- maybe they just want to make sure that their families are good- and that’s ok, too. Entrepreneurs do not have to be moved to social activism because that is what the times or society are pressing them to do. And who’s to say with greater economic freedom that they can’t do more to inspire change?  realize more and more that folks love to tell OTHER folks what they should be doing with THEIR money. If the CEOs of these companies want to sell and decide to stay on to direct the vision that they had in the first place, that’s their choice. As a consumer, you have the freedom to say “I ain’t wit it” and scoot your All Black Everything dollars elsewhere. This sensationalist discussion of “selling out” comes with a luxury of not being directly involved with the financial matters at hand. Everybody wanna be in Carol’s wallet, but don’t want to pay her bills.

At the end of the day, I rock with Future at the club and the cookout and Desiigner’s “Tiimmy Turner” puts me in a crazygoodtrippy mood that I will only let Snapchat capture. Future has made some questionable life choices that ain’t my business and I will never really know if Desiigner practiced in his bedroom mirror at night until he got the perfect Future pitch down. What I do know is that just like I have a choice on whose concert tickets I actually buy and who I simply stream on Apple Music, I am fortunate enough that Black people continuously create, buy, and own in order to give us a choice on whether we can even support Black businesses only or not. We all win when that happens.

 

Suckers For Pain: Economic Disparity + The Rise of "Suicide Squads" by Aquillia Mikel

Song: Sucker For Pain

To Read:

[Vice]: How New York City’s Gang Culture Is Changing

[Vice] How The Gangs of 1970’s New York Came Together To End Their Wars

[The American Prospect] Gangs In The Post-Industrial Ghetto

The Kenny Report also gives insight on politics and economic violence in the UK if you are interested.

Ok, so I’m just going to admit this to you right now- I found out about the movie Suicide Squad through Snapchat. That’s a hard pill to swallow because 1) I have to admit that those annoying newly-implemented ads actually have some acceptable conversion rates and 2) because I couldn’t remember what Suicide Squad was before I put that terrifying filter on my face. I had to dig deep into my childhood to remember the origins of Harley Quinn and the Joker and from there- I was all in. So nerds and Blerds- please don’t bombard me with your fandom antics. I get it- I’m not as cool as ya’ll. But, it wasn’t the scary clown faces that moved me to Fandango on that Saturday night- it was the theme song.  “I’ll torture you” is the first three words that I heard and then, subsequently, couldn’t get out of my head- which can be fairly problematic to people sitting beside you on the bus. (Fair warning). Then, out of nowhere, I have this beautiful blend of sounds coming from not only Imagine Dragons, but Lil’ Wayne, Logic, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, and X Ambassadors and I’m sitting there trying to figure out what they all want to say. What’s the story here?

Suicide Squad is a band of people who have been alienated or forgotten by their society for whatever reason- and now they are living to make a name for themselves, the ones that they love, or they are living just to spite the people that want them dead- which is a suicidal mission in itself. One of the greatest things about cartoons in the 80’s and 90’s is that they served as a critique of the larger society around us (much more than now) and “suicide squads” don’t just exist in the Marvel Universe. What happens when Black people, riddled by economic disparity and government abandon, squad up to provide opportunities for themselves in the midst of generational poverty? “Sucker For Pain” serves as pretty adequate guide for the relationship between economics, alienation, and gang culture- so let’s break it down into a few ideological pillars that I believe resonate within the gang framework.
 

Gang Culture Is A Direct Response To Societal Indifference

I'm a sucker for pain/ I got the squad tatted on me from my neck to my ankles/ Pressure from the man got us all in rebellion/ We gon' go to war, yeah, without failure/ Do it for the fam, dog, ten toes down, dog/ Love and the loyalty that's what we stand for/ Alienated by society, all this pressure give me anxiety

This is the declaration. Mention of the squad, rebellion, and alienation all let you know about the formation of this group is a reaction to inaction. Bearing the characteristics of the squads (tats and the like) shows ownership and belonging in a group created out of necessity. The “pressure from the man” is not a call from “the man” to get better- it is “the man” asking the question: “why do you poor, sad humans exist at all? Away with you.”So, as many of us in the inner city know, many of our fellow residents do go to war with each other, the government, and themselves because that at least brings immediate change to incredibly messed up life situations. Economic inequality is oppressive and when you feel alienated by a government that is supposed to provide opportunities for you, then it is easy to see how rebellion can be the next logical step. And even though the word “rebellion” carries a negative connotation, these groups originally formed out of the throes of political activism and the need for protection. Frederic Milton Thrasher (which isn’t that name so apropos? It’s just too good...) created many theories about gang culture through the study of urban geography and economics. He basically described gangs as a “symptom of the economic, moral, and cultural frontier” that young men had to navigate in large cities, but, specifically, Chicago. They were formed to respond to a "a broad twilight zone of railroads, factories, deteriorating neighborhoods, and shifting populations.”

Basically, people didn’t want to live in trash and they were like: “This is wack- let’s create our own ways to get money.” That’s not the mind of an indifferent, unintelligent person - that’s the soul of a change maker.


 

The Government Is Interpreted As An Enemy, Not A Help Mate

I know I been bustin', no discussion for my family/No hesitation, through my scope I see my enemy

Basically, people are just out here trying to function. No matter how you want to slice it, a lack of businesses and economic opportunity is going to have some people going against the grain. I don’t know a single soul that won’t do what they can to look out for their families.

Gangs arose out of a slew of broken economic promises. Basically, the government was like “hey….yeah…..we have jobs, but we would rather give them to skilled professionals. The reason why Black people are not skilled professionals is because we fought you every step of the way to provide opportunities for education and upward mobility, so we can’t hire you for THESE jobs, per se.” (I definitely imagined that this was said like that dude from Office Space- have you seen it?)  Most people without a formal education could not ride the wave from the industrial economy to the post-industrial world, so we got a rise in economic inequality and way more poor people. So, yeah, people made their own rules and governments as a way to survive and police themselves and began to see the government as an entity that aimed to watch them fail. Which….

 

The Predatory Activity Comes From A Need To Feel

I'm devoted to destruction/ A full dosage of detrimental dysfunction/ I'm dying slow but the devil tryna rush me/ See I'm a fool for pain, I'm a dummy/ So I don't fear shit but tomorrow

I love how Thrasher frames predatory activity as ‘commonplace’- “no more moral opprobrium for the ordinary gang boy than smoking a cigarette.” But why is that- why would one be devoted to destruction if they didn’t continuously feel a loss of power. People can be conditioned to like pain or receive it as an appropriate response to an action because it allows them to just...feel. When I look around at some of our neighborhoods in Chicago that are essentially wastelands, food deserts, and abandoned- I think: why fear suicide when your economic situation is rushing you to die? You begin to beg the question: what am I really in control of or have influence over? If I can’t reverse my immediate circumstances- how can I make everyone feel the pain I feel? This is when I think of Deadshot and EL Diablo- products of their environment, born with gifts that they use to make themselves feel powerful. Until life goes really wrong- but I digress. Watch the movie. Or read the comics. Whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote- shout out to Dustin.

 

Suicide Squads Employs The Intelligent “Unemployable”

Used to doing bad, now we feel like we just now getting it/ Ain't got no other way so we started and finished it/ No emotion, that's what business is/ Lord have mercy on the witnesses

For some reason, many people seem to underestimate the intelligence, skill, and insight of those entrenched in gang culture. They have systems that keep their infrastructures running, but are never seen as businessmen. So, out of necessity, they create their own. BUT, because they thrive off of necessity, many of them become selfish and only seek to protect themselves and take out people who they don’t believe to be down for them. This is where I’m like: “See, I understood where ya’ll were coming from in the beginning, but now we gotta dial it back.” By the way, I would be the worst Suicide Squad member. I fancy myself to be a Harley Quinn because she’s cool or whatever,, but I probably would have dipped when I got the chance. I don’t know- anything’s possible. Continuing on- this is where we find ourselves in a sort of catch 22- you create the gangs out of economic and social need, but NOW, they continuously eliminate many avenues of economic and social growth because of the violence that comes with it. So yeah, according to Vice, poverty is a huge reason why these gangs exist, but the neighborhoods began to become increasingly more poor because violence becomes the norm: schools become more violent and reflect prison culture and the community becomes divided. Gangs put hella strain on local economies and make it hard for people to set up shop there, because, violence. This is what suicide looks like in an economical sense.

But I will always bring you back to THIS- Black entrepreneurship in our Black neighborhoods and beyond can shift the culture of many infrastructures- including suicide squads. If gang culture was originally created as a response to economic need, we have more means than ever to proactively fight against that now. We are increasing in our buying power and we are on trend to become the largest group of entrepreneurs in America (shout out to all my Black and Brown women). Same needs- different means. What would happen if we started to rebuild our neighborhoods with the tools it needed to survive WITH and FOR the people who were supposed to systematically die off a long time ago? The most powerful way to say F you to a system that wanted (wants?) you to fail is to succeed in spite of it. That’s what my girl Harley Quinn and her squad did- me and mine can do that, too.

 

 


 

Usher Was Going To Leave The One He Was With...But You Won't Even Think About It by Aquillia Mikel

Usher is fine. We can just start the conversation there to get this going. THEN, I would like to add that when "You Make Me Wanna" first came out- I was still too young to process what was fully going on in his world, but I got all the feels anyway. 

"You make me wanna leave the one I'm with/ To start a new relationship with you/ This is what you do..."

I remember feeling really bad for his girlfriend because she had no idea that he was thinking about leaving her for his best friend. Then, when I got older this song confirmed for me why best friends of the same sex is a no-go in relationships. (You can debate me, buuuuttttttttt you would be wasting your breath.)

This song popped into my head when I was sitting in the nail shop that I had been going to since I was in high school. I love this shop and they have done me right for years. I can get a mani/pedi (NO CHIP) for under $50, I can bring my dog Honey in while I'm getting a pedicure, and they understand that I have ticklish feet so they don't look at me crazy when I'm getting a pedicure. This shop is owned by a Vietnamese family, and the fact that I go to this shop when I know that Black owned nail salons that I would love just as much are here....somewhere.....makes me feel a little shady sometimes. 

It's the same feeling I got when we (Black people) started spreading the word that we were going to move all of our money to Black owned banks, when I swear by Chase's mobile alerts and Quickpay functions. I felt like extra trash when Solange said that she had moved her money to a BOB already- because YOU KNOW that's my girl. 

Here's the thing. If I'm being honest, I don't really like change. If I found something that I love, I usually like to stick with it because it takes too much effort to find something I love all over again. And if it's treating me well, then I really can't wrap my head around why leaving would be a good idea. Does that sound familiar? Have you looked at all of this discussion around Black business in the past two years and thought: "Ok, that's cute...but I'm good"? If so, it's because you are either selfish, afraid of change, or truly don't understand how cooperative economics can truly shift the culture. That's it. 

If you're selfish, you've said: "That doesn't have anything to do with me. I'm good- you all can figure out some ways to positively affect the culture. I'll be here when you get back."

If you're afraid of change, you've said: "That's a nice idea, but how long will it take me to find a brand/business I trust again? I'm scared."

If you don't understand how cooperative economics can truly shift the culture- then welcome to the Rebrand Ride! 

Like I said, I love the shop and my bank- but I actively search for Black businesses to give my money to. It's not that other businesses aren't awesome, it's just that I know that supporting Black business can lower unemployment rates in our neighborhoods, ease the effects of gentrification, and provide examples of entrepreneurship for the generations that are coming after us.

THAT'S why you should consider leaving the one you're with if it's not Black owned. I don't consider myself to be an activist, I'm a below average protestor (I always seem to be running late), but I can certainly put my money where my mouth is. Because at this point, the situation's outta control- I know you don't mean to hurt them, but you ....GOTTA LET 'EM GOOOOOO. 

Ya'll- Usher is everything. 

Ok- I'm leaving. Let me know when you make the switches you need to- I'm rooting for you. 

 

 

 

If I Can Forgive Bryson Tiller, Then You Can Support Black Business by Aquillia Mikel

So, at first, I was going to call Bryson by his government name- Bryson Dajuan Tiller because that's how upset I was when I sat down to write this.....but I didn't have enough research to verify if that was his actual middle name- so I rolled with this title.

Let me recall what happened. It was July (2016) when I waited five hours for Bryson Tiller to come on stage. Not 1, not 2....you get it. A smooth 5. I went with a friend to see him in (what I thought was) an after show he was holding at Lollapalooza. I'm getting ready, all excited- putting my dark lipstick on because Bryson's music makes me feel vampy and like I'm right around the corner from walking into an ex-boyfriend. Between Hours 1-2, I'm getting turnt with the DJs on stage, there are random girls on stage dancing and taking pictures which makes me...thoroughly...confused, and the vibes are good. It's during Hour 3 when I'm considering the fact that Bryson is making me wait longer than Lauryn and my Nike Dunk wedges are getting slightly uncomfortable. Hour 3 1/2 and he strolls in, signature baseball cap in tow, and walks right off the stage in to VIP. I'm thinking it's cool- he may be a little parched, he had a long journey to the venue, let's get him a moment to get a glass of water. (Is that what they drink in VIP?) Hour 4 slid into Hour 5- and then he came down the stairs, across the stage, I was getting my brain ready to say "DON'T" at the actual beat drop of his song, when he says- "A'ight, Chicago, I fucks with ya'll real heavy" and DIPS FROM THE VENUE. If you are on my Snapchat then you know that, soon after, riots ensued. 

My question to my friend after this fiasco was: "Ok, so now- we're done with Bryson Tiller for life?, right"- which made me think of all of the times that people have mentioned bad experiences with Black businesses and how we are so quick to cut off ties with our own as quickly as we connect them. Even if they are quality, top-performing Black owned businesses. And because I still have the song "Don't" in my head, you may (definitely) see my explanation laced with some lyrics. Fair warning. 

As Black consumers, we are emotionally tied to Black businesses whether we want to admit it or not. You don't have to tell me that it's true- your actions do. This is why the biggest complaint we have about Black business is the customer service and furiously mumble to ourselves that "we need to do better." We look at the owners and the employees and see ourselves in them. We think about how we would run the business if we were in charge or look at the people who are providing the service or product as if they have let our entire race down. When most of us shop with Black businesses, it is because we have made a conscious decision and went out of our way to support our own and we feel personally slighted when we feel that the service was unsatisfactory. EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT.

"If I went out of my way to support you, then you should be able to do xyz."

"Bryson, if I waited 5 hours for you, the LEAST you can do is give me a cute vocal run, boo!"

And, I get it. It's not always easy to find Black businesses at the ready because there are so many societal, environmental, economic, AND racial factors that influences Black ownership in our cities- especially Chicago. But, where are these grumbles when you shop with other major brands or businesses? You will shop at these same stores, receive the same service, and then stay with them because the prices are right. OR because it's straight up easier to find them everywhere because of the same societal, environmental, economic, AND racial factors that make it difficult to find quality, Black owned businesses. Notice I said QUALITY. I would never ask you to support a business that is NEVER clean, NEVER timely, NEVER professional or anything else. You shouldn't give your money to any establishment like that. But IF a quality Black owned business does you dirty one time, give that business room to grow. Don't even try to act like you haven't given that grace to non-Black owned businesses. DON'T EVEN DO IT. I've had Bryson's album in rotation since the day it came out because it pretty much speaks to my soul and is brilliant, and his last concert in Chicago was dope. At least from what I saw on Twitter because I missed it - but that is entirely a different story for later. 

When it comes to Black business and a few of their slip ups- work on giving feedback. You put time and energy in finding these businesses in the first place so I know you care about seeing them get better. If customer service is awful, tell them and demand better. But, don't stop supporting them- no one gets better when you do that. After I found myself doing a little shoulder bop to Bryson's "502 Come Up" when I thought I had sworn his music off forever because he stood me up, I realized that he's just too good to fight the funk. Bryson is quality, girl- he is talented. There's a reason why I waited for hours to see somebody younger than me give me all his vocals- even if that never happened. When it's good, you'll always come back to it- and who knows? If you give it a second chance, it might just come back and be better.  

 

 

 

Nas Gave Us Some Major Keys, But Some Of You Are Still Playing Yourselves by Aquillia Mikel

As you are reading, here are some of helpful links to guide you. I'm going to reference them throughout this post and I want to make sure that you can find them easily when you're done reading. 

Song: Nas Album Done

Black Owned Grocery Stores

Bevel

The Read

The Friend Zone

Maggie Anderson: Our Black Year

Tristan Walker Says "Nah" To Gillette

GO. VOTE. 

Gentrification

Leakage

Food Deserts

How Much Money Do Black People Have?

GQ: Nas Is Still Rhyming Truth To Power

Complex: Return Of The Don (2012 Cover Story) 

The Hustle: Nas' Investment Portfolio Is Straight Nasty

First and foremost, Nas always has been and always will be for the culture. This is something I've gotten to learn as I've gotten older because my mom was not letting me listen to rap when I was younger. When Illmatic came out, I was 4 years old and would have gotten slapped in the mouth if I repeated some of the things that he mentioned in his songs. So, like I said, I know his philosophy because of my understanding of him during my college years and reading about his life through articles- some of which are linked above. I think I realized that Nas was about building true wealth in his life and the community when I saw him on the Bevel ad, but we will get to that later. Nas was able to pull himself up from the midst of tax troubles to setting his sights on Silicon Valley- and he's trying to tell Black people to do the same. "Nas Album Done" dropped on DJ Khaled's "Major Key" album, but too many people got lost in the beats for my taste. Yeah, the album is done, but what else is he talking about here? Let's go through some of the major points. 

[NOT] Voting Is Not An Option

"Celebrity Apprentice a devil show/ Big up to Africa, Mexico"

Nas ain't here for Trump- PERIOD. And you shouldn't be either. So he gives props to a few of the minorities that Trump has treated like trash before and during this election, but it's also a moment to let you know that we shouldn't be with him and this is not a time to sit back and not vote. It doesn't matter that you think voting doesn't affect anything or you have to choose between Trump and Hillary so we're already screwed. Get up and vote and help change the culture. If you still feel like you didn't do anything after the voting booth, then do more. 

Generational Wealth + Leakage + Gentrification + Just Follow Me, Ok....Because It Gets Real In This Verse

"To all my ghost supporters, go support us like a local black-owned grocery store/ ‘Cause in the hood shit ain't passed down through blood/It's a dub on that, we get government aid
/Spend it at they stores, puttin' they kids through college/We need balance/ So we can lease and own deeds in our projects/ So I'm askin' Gs to go in their pockets/ The racial economic inequality, let's try to solve it

Let's go line by line here- because when I first heard this part my mind was blown. It was just so timely that I couldn't get over it. Come through with this knowledge, Nas. Ok- FORWARD. So, I'm going to leave the "ghost" supporters alone because I have multiple ways that can be broken down that I'll keep to myself, but black-owned grocery stores? Tweet me right now if you know right off of the top of your head if you know where one is that is still open and nowhere near being shut down. I mean that- tweet me. One, because I want to help you spread the word and, two, because I want to know that they actually exist. I know there are some sporadically that are still holding on by a thread, but seeing that many of our black and brown hoods are living in food deserts, it's imperative that we start supporting those or starting our own.

Then, he goes into the topic of generational wealth is a sad topic off top because we know Black people were not given a fair chance to build anything for our generations because of slavery and a host of other system practices that were put in place to keep us as consumers, and never owners. A lot of our money is focused on servicing the need right now because many of us don't have the means to look or build towards a future of comfort. For many of us, there are no trust funds, real estate developments, secret societies, or even adequate jobs with healthcare- so the idea of us saving to build more can seem ludicrous. But, it's so possible, ya'll. I promise. We have tremendous buying power- according to the Nielsen report, we have 1.2 trillion dollars in buying power and the trends say that we can increase to 1.4 trillion by 2020. That's why it sucks when he says in the next line that we're using that money to send other people's kids to college. So, thanks to leakage (see above), many other races set up shop in our neighborhoods and then dip when the sun goes down, meaning they take our money right with them when they go. This could be anyone from white people, Mexican people, Korean people- you've seen who owns the stores in our neighborhood. Most of these people (I won't say all because a very small percentage of them DO live among us in VERY FEW of these neighborhoods) do not invest in our banks, our homes, our parks, our movie theaters- NOTHING. That's why there is so much tension all of the time between cultures who camp out with us for the day and then drive safely home, but you'll have to read some of my links above for that. (Hint: Maggie Anderson gives you all the goods.) We need to own homes. We need to own properties. We have to stop wasting our time trying to get rich and start learning how to accumulate wealth otherwise we're going to continue to see ourselves being pushed out of areas that we have grown up in as children or see them implode altogether. OWN SOMETHING. You would be surprised how easy it is to buy a home. The amount of money you can put on a down payment is the amount of money some of ya'll get in your refund checks. THAT'S A FACT. We can solve racial ECONOMIC equality by looking inward and figuring out what's important to us. We have to stop spending money on things that we can't take with us when we're gone and that we can't pass down to our children. And, no, girl- your grandkids won't care about your dusty Louboutins, but they would go dumb over acres and acres of land. Don't forget that. 

Support Black Business

My signature fade with the Bevel blade/That's a major key/I told her she smart and loyal, I like that/That's a major key/Start a label, run it, sign yourself/That's a major key

This was the most important part of the song for me. I had been hearing about Bevel because of the ads that Tristan Walker ran during some of my favorite podcasts, The Read and The Friend Zone, and I was happy to know that there was a grooming line out there for coarse, curly hair BECAUSE GIRL. It was time. So, from then on, I started to follow Tristan's brand and watched out for trends and the moves that he was making. I knew that he was Black excellence, so I also knew that it would be a matter of time before some non-Black company tried to take over. Like, clockwork, Gillette shows up and offers Tristan 1.5 billion dollar for his company, to which he replies, "Nah." I don't know him, so that's not a direct quote. But, the most important thing is that a Black owned business turned down a White corporation so Bevel gets to stay Blackety Black Black, ya'll. Now, imagine my joy after knowing all this and then seeing Nas show up in a Bevel ad. AND THEN IMAGINE MY ECSTASY WHEN BEVEL GETS A SHOUTOUT FROM NAS ON A HUGE SONG ON AN EPIC ALBUM. It was too much. But, still too many people missed that Bevel was Black owned and doing it for themselves and it was being supported by another Black person who believes in Black people doing it for themselves. That's major. In the rap world, celebrities tend to focus on brands that could care less about its Black consumers and they wear their endorsements with pride. To see a Black man lift another Black man, an entrepreneurial one at that, should bring joy to your life because it brought it to mine. Also, he trusted Bevel to do his SIGNATURE FADE- you know...the one that Nas' brand is built upon? The one that keeps him looking scrumptious with the hair on the top and close to the ears shave on the side? Yeah, Tristan Walker got to be entrusted with that. 

This Is Getting Too Long And I Know I'm Gushing, But One More Thing....

Still paid, stackin', new stash /Went from hangin' with shooters and clappers/ To computer hackers

Nas came from the hood to having tax troubles to building WEALTH. The man has invested in more than 100 companies. Read that Hustle article I linked for you- some of the companies he's invested in you would not believe. 

Here are all of the links again because I know some of ya'll will not scroll to the top again to get them: 

Song: Nas Album Done

Black Owned Grocery Stores

Bevel

The Read

The Friend Zone

Maggie Anderson: Our Black Year

Tristan Walker Says "Nah" To Gillette

GO. VOTE. 

Gentrification

Leakage

Food Deserts

How Much Money Do Black People Have?

GQ: Nas Is Still Rhyming Truth To Power

Complex: Return Of The Don (2012 Cover Story) 

The Hustle: Nas' Investment Portfolio Is Straight Nasty

Beyonce Created a Black Girl Utopia, So Support These Girl Bosses To Help Keep It Alive by Aquillia Mikel

I don't need to tell you how transcendent Beyonce's "Lemonade" short film + album was. You're going to read a lot of think pieces (and stink pieces) regarding that very thing. I'm writing to you now in hopes that you will take all of the magic + glitter + superpower you are feeling right now and put it into action. Lemonade is a love letter to black women FIRST and then she urges the rest of the Black community to push towards our freedom. I fully believe that the best way that we can attain freedom is through economic empowerment.

The list below is by no means all-encompassing. Many of the women came to my mind because I saw work and images like theirs reflected in Beyonce's visuals. Some of these women are here to tell you to boss up and stop saying sorry when you know you're just glowing up. All of the women below have played a role in my life since I started Buy Black and blogging journey (in 2014 and 2016, respectively). I hope that they can serve as an inspiration to you as well. Please feel free to add anyone that you feel I missed in the comments or on my Instagram.

Go forth and use all your Black Girl Magic with a vengeance this week. 

For Vintage Fashion That Cannot Be Duplicated

8ty4 Vintage | Girl Goodies | ReVntg | Nostalgia's Attic

For Accessories That Slay

Limba Gal | Beads By Aree | The Wrap Life | Paula Michelle

For Holistic Wellness That You Can See

Alex Elle | GG Renee Hill | Warsan Shire | Nayyirah Waheed | Black Girl In Om | Shannon Boodram | Hey Fran Hey | Tracy G

For Food + Drink That Makes You Glow Inside

Synergy Foods | Mindful Mademoiselle | Sweet Potato Soul | Food Heaven Show | Love Tea*| Bee Sweet Lemonade (because OBVI.....)

For Music That You Can Feel

Ibeyi | Chloe and Halle | SZA | Wynter Gordon | Kelela

For Fashion That Has You In Mind

Fashion Bomb Daily | Nubian Skin | The Frock Shop | Andrea Iyamah | Shop Zuvaa

For Magazines (Online+Digital)That Reflect You

Hannah Magazine | CRWN Mag | Saint Heron

For Economic Change That You Can See

Ujamaa Box | The Finance Bar| My Fab Finance* (the bonus- charge it to my head and not my heart, all!)

For Hair That Grows + Glows

TGIN | Shani Crowe | Curlbox | Carol's Daughter | Whitney White 

For Body That Softens + Loves Others Well

Skin Deep Body Care | Shea Shea Bakery* | 80th and May | Scrub Fusions 

For Filmmakers That Tell Your Stories

Numa Perrier | Ava Duvernay | Jeanine Daniels

For Authentic Boss Chicks Who Will Help You Get Your Life

Claire Sulmers | Crissle | Saint Records | Winnie Harlowe | Issa Rae | Amandla Stenberg | Zendaya Coleman | Vashtie | Randi Gloss | Janelle Monae | Chescaleigh | Shameless Maya | Myleik Teele | Mattie James | Zim Ogochukwu | Solange Knowles | Regina Anaejionu | Maya Elious

 

AND A BONUS.....

 

Instagram Accounts That Ooze Black Girl Magic

@bebeautifulla

@soulpick

@wellreadblackgirl

@penielenchill

 

I just read a list of 67 Black women that I should be supporting right now. 

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