can must agree that the term “hating” is overused. Yet, literally for lack of a better word, we label it dismissively to anyone who doesn’t agree with us. I am critical of Lebron James as a basketball player, and the immediate retort is that I am “hating” on him. This guy, for all I know is a great father, community activist, and respected teammate. I just dont like the way he goes about playing basketball. This is not to say he is not talented. This is not a personal dis to the city of Cleveland. This is not an personal affront to fans of King James. The problem is, people take it personally. How did we get to a place where we take on the burdens of rich people we never met? Dont get me wrong, I respect loyalty to the utmost, but like respect, its a two way street. I have loyalty to my faith, my family, and most importantly my friends.
I believe in my friends as much as they believe in Lebron James. The way I want them to believe in themselves.
The thing is, they can return me that favor. The reason I have never over adulated over Michael Jordan, even as a Chicagoan, is due to my mom. Mike was everything to Chicago in the 90’s. I had the lifesize poster, the autographed basketball, and of course, the shoes. One day a group of guys were talking about him, and my mom flat out said “he aint all that” and sipped her tea, literally. That changed me. It tempered whatever celebrity infatuation I would never have. In an instant. I still agree that Mike is the greatest to ever do it, but if you don’t, it doesnt hurt my feelings. Its ok to not like things. Rapper Common said it best “if I don’t like it, I don’t like it, that dont mean that I’m hating.”
The male ego is a very interesting study. It, has many times been the driving force behind many critical decisions I have made. From which college would make me feel the most empowered, to getting into comedy, to starting this blog and being the Black male version of Carrie from “Sex and the City.” There takes a high level of self-confidence to believe “people want to hear my thought.” On the flip side, there are harsh realities to putting yourself out there. The rejection, the betrayals, and the failures that people see in one year, can all happen in a day for an artist. But like Aaliyah said, “you dust yourself off and try again.” I learned this lesson from my grandmother, Rosie Jones, who passed away this week at the age of 97. She was a Black woman who started her own business and ran her own church. Amazing. I would never diminish the systemic racism and sexism that pervades our society, but in my own blood, I have always had an example of someone who moved past it and did everything people said she could not. Although all signs pointed to her being a victim, she didnt accept it. So, to quote Kanye West, “with that in my blood, I was born to be different.” But, as another friend decides not to work with me, or another industry opportunity passes, I realize there’s no guarantee, no matter how much you believe in yourself , things will turn out like you thought. Use your ego as a boost, even when the engine wont start. But dont let it deflate your tires, when that same engine wont start. One time my grandmother caught me bowing in prayer and asked me “who you talking to?” I replied, “Grandma, Im praying to God.” She shook her head, pointed up to the sky and said, “but God is up there.” Things are not always what they seem. You understand that once you let your pride go, and stop being so damn egotional.
white people, you simply can not ask the person who is up for the job or whom you’re having sex with, if something is racially insensitive. Get you some black friends who don’t need you for shit. Matter of fact, find a few who dont like your ass at all, then find the balance. You can’t be a “house nigga” if you own the house.