4 Lessons Jermaine Cole Taught At For Your Eyez Only Tour

This past Wednesday I had the privilege to soak in music for a couple of hours with hundreds of other people in Orlando. It was a stop for J.Cole at Amway Center on his For Your Eyez Only Tour. Rap concerts have always been therapeutic to me, having attended shows by a slew of different artists all across Florida. August 16th was different. The circumstances of this country are completely different than the last time I attended a show of this caliber. It was healing. It was motivating. It was everything that I needed at this particular moment to remind me that I have to keep pushing no matter what. You can easily head over to Google to catch up on everything that is wrong with this world right now, I am not here to catch you up on any of that. For a minute I had gotten a bit stagnant at preparing for the future. I didn’t think there was going to be a future anymore. And any “future” that we were going to have was going to be even more heavily stacked for those in vineyard vine polos and red hats. Fuck those thoughts. We all fall cruel to negative thoughts, but I come back to you reborn from the ashes. J. Cole, Jermaine, the Dreamville guy who I thought was too boring in the beginning taught me a handful of things that night. These are lessons that I think all black youth should have been present to receive. I know that wasn’t possible for all of us this go around so I’ve got you covered with the 4 lessons Jermaine Cole taught at his For Your Eyez Only tour:

1. There’s Beauty In Living For The Moment

“Living only for the moment you’re going to feel the whole weight of it good or bad,” Cole told us. It is very easy to miss the blessings that you are currently getting when you are so caught up on what’s next or what happened in the past. Sure you may not be planning as aggressively for your future plans, but you are appreciating every blessing for what it is at that exact moment. This hit me hard because I know that I can easily obsess over what’s next or get caught up in the past that when good things are happening in that moment I don’t give them the proper attention that they deserve. Now I know that there is nothing wrong with taking everything for what it is and feeling it to the max. A piece of advice that I am going to hold close as I transition to new things this year.

2. The Black Family Is Beautiful

Cole took a seat and gave the audience an intimate performance of “She’s Mine Pt. 2”. The screens in the stadium were filled with home videos from various black families. They were all so happy, calm, and beautiful. Nowadays we hardly have images of a happy black family on television. Our families are ridiculed of needing assistance, of being homes without fathers, and homes of violence. That isn’t the case for most black families and I loved how he championed them that night. These images are encouraging and uplifting at a time where we don’t have our Obamas to look at so elegantly as we have for the past eight years.

3. Build A House In Our Communities When We Get Bread

The first thing we as black men especially do when we get a little bread is get a house in the white neighborhood. This ended up being Cole’s kryptonite as all it took was a little call to the police about suspicious “black activity” for them to assemble a SWAT team to his residence. Jay even spoke on this as well in his latest LP. Buying up our communities and building them up is crucial to our existence at this point in history. I think a lot of times we seek inclusion when we really should just be putting ourselves on. A very important reminder for me when I seek to become a home owner in a few years.

4. Black Men Can Be Carefree

There was a moment where Cole told all the tough men that it was okay to unfold their arms and let them sway Wednesday night. It was okay to lose yourself in the music and sing every word not worrying about how cool you look. Black boy joy is more necessary now than ever so I made it my mission to act a fool in that moment. I mean I was going to act a fool anyways but having permission I really did. Black men, we can be carefree, we can have fun, we can live without boundaries and still be black men.

All in all, I wouldn’t mind being buried at a rap concert. The energy is unmatched and outside of a couple R&B concerts here and there, I never want to attend music events outside of this genre. Music is always therapeutic, but there’s something about breathing the same air as an artist and really listening to the words they are saying that is incredible. I hope these lessons stir some thinking on your end as they have on mine, and as always I am here with you to talk about music, the black experience, and life after college, only on Black Grad Life.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

Featured Image: Andres Tardio @AndresWrites on Twitter.

Vinyls, Game of Thrones, & Not Left Off Bad And Boujee

I think updates are in order. It’s been about a month since I last posted my thoughts here. Not to worry, I have still been pushing my pen elsewhere. It was my pleasure to review Pretty Girls Like Trap Music for Off Tha Record earlier this month. I also as of last night dropped a first listen review to Vic Mensa’s Debut, ‘The Autobiography’. This review over at blacpire.com is where I will frequently be covering music among other things. I started the BlackGradLife to give myself a voice on topics that I didn’t feel were accurately broadcasted elsewhere. While I will continue to use this platform as a place to speak my opinion on all things black culture, the black experience, and life after college, I will also be working hard to get my work published on other avenues. Which at the end of the day was my main goal when I started all of this last Decmber.

I got the chance to spend the first couple of weeks of this month back at home in Georgia. Being able to go home is always amazing for recharging your energy. It is reassuring to see familiar faces and familiar buildings still holding up. It is what inspires me to keep going.

Not much has changed since you last heard from me. I’m still playing vinyls in my apartment, obsessing over Game of Thrones, and not getting left off bad and boujee. I guess I’m just working harder at zeroing in on my skills. I’m taking much longer to edit, I’m pitching and working with editors, and I’m not aspiring for anything. I am in the act of doing and being, life is to short to aspire. I guess I’m just getting better at keeping promises to myself. Which at 24 is more than I could have hoped for. Six months ago I didn’t think I would be getting paid to write my thoughts. So not only do I want to keep promises to myself, I want to keep a promise to my blog as well as my readers. A promise that I won’t quit pursuing what makes me happy. I think alot of times we as people get discouraged from hearing so many no’s that we forget that all it takes is one yes.

Currently it is raining for probably the 100th straight day in Florida. Pyramids by Frank Ocean is blaring from my bedroom. I opted to write from the couch today. Besides the lights from the tv and over my stove, my apartment is completely dark. My thoughts are scattered between ordering delivery from Texas Roadhouse later, what Diddy’s set is going to consist of on OVOSound radio tonight, and at exactly what minute is this thunderstorm going to knock out my power. I’m just thankful for the smallest things these days. Like how I don’t have any adult responsibilities today. Like the laugh I’ll have when my mother calls me tomorrow to complain about my father not cleaning up after Sunday dinner. Anyways, it will always be the black experience, music, and life after college here at Black Grad Life.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

How To Successfully Avoid Police Shootings On Social Media​

We live in a world today where almost nothing can happen without it being posted on social media. The sandwich you had at lunch, your outfit of the day, your night out, and most recently police dash cam footage. The latter, however, can not be unseen. Seeing a young man or woman gunned down by a police officer murderer never leaves your mind. It leaves somewhat of an imprint. What makes it worse is that even after the footage surfaces on social media we are hardly ever given the justice that we deserve. That the victims and their families deserve. Cops are given a slap on the wrist, paid leave and or maybe they are fired. It is completely demoralizing to the youth who now have to grow up with the fear that they could be next at any given time. Safety is very important these days, not only in our neighborhoods but in our minds. No matter what side of the fence you may stand on in the argument, there is no reason why there should be a list this long:

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Unless you have been living under a rock or are completely unplugged from social media (I applaud you), you will have seen headlines on the release of the police dash cam footage of Philando Castile. I had to sit this one out. For the sake of my mental health, I could not expose myself again to any footage where people that look like me were getting killed in cold blood. So I figured I’d share a few tactics that have kept me mentally safe this past week.

For starters, you have to master the “super scroll” like it is nobody’s business. I pretty much programmed my brain to wherever I saw any type of video attached to Philando’s name, my thumbs and eyes would immediately move forward. This took a little time to get used to. Mostly because I know there are people, silent “allies” who have been scrolling past these events for the past five years without even an ounce of compassion. You just have to remember you aren’t scrolling because you want to remain ignorant. You are scrolling so that you can continue to have a positive mental state. You are scrolling so that you can continue to show up for life.

Next, if you are like me you may have people on social media who share these events. I can understand sharing to bring more attention, but I know my mother would never want strangers sharing my death on social media no matter the circumstance. So now may be a time to temporarily unfollow/unfriend those people. You don’t need that constant reminder every day, and this will save you from that. If you can utilize a mute feature that could also substitute. Mute those keywords that are bringing up media that you do not need to see. I muted “Trump” for a couple weeks earlier this year. It was such a vacation, but just like how all vacations come to an end so did that. I realized that I had to unmute it just in case he decided it was time to legalize slavery.

Lastly, make sure you take some time to do the things that relax you and make you happy. I think as young adults we can forget about this sometimes. Everyone is so caught up in making it seem like they have it all together so much that when they really aren’t there they panic under the pressure. Whenever I think that this world is stressing me out I just think about the PlayStation 1 startup sound, or Christmas in 2000, or maybe even turn on my favorite movie.

Speaking of movies, I just also want to speak on them and television and how often art can imitate real life. My featured image is from the season 2 premiere of Queen Sugar. I don’t want to go into a review for anyone who hasn’t seen it, nor am I going to promote that you watch it. This was strictly for me, and I just wanted to say thank you to Ava DuVernay and the writers of Queen Sugar for not letting this situation end like so many of them have in real life. I also want to take a moment to memorialize Philando Castile, the angels listed above, and the countless other people whose lives have been turned into hashtags. I pray that your families find peace, and I’m sorry that it has to be like this. Here’s to one day where none of this ever happens to anyone.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for the Second Job Search

I find myself in the midst of preparations for my second big job hunt out of college. My one year anniversary at my first job post graduation falls on Tuesday and wow have I learned a lot. Not only have I learned about the corporate world and the intricate workings of the work refrigerator, but I have learned a lot about myself and what I want when it comes to a career. I felt that it was only right to share my cheat sheet for this job search with you guys in hopes that it would maybe help someone else on this journey. I know the second job can be seen as kind of scary from afar. You have to meet new co-workers, get equipped to a whole new work culture, and start over fresh. There is also this feeling of guilt that you may have about leaving your first job. They were the first ones to believe in you and give you a chance. They might have even responded to your follow up e-mail and given you another interview when no one else did. You have to shake this feeling because we are now in an era where people don’t keep the same jobs forever. The whole “getting a job and working there for thirty years” thing is over and it is time you snap out of it and catch a grip. Well let’s get to it, these are just a few things that I think will be vital on the job search.

  • LinkedIn Jobs App

The LinkedIn Jobs app is a major key for job hunting. I don’t think I used it at all when I was applying for jobs my first go round. Sure, I had my LinkedIn profile cleaned up and looking nice, but I didn’t take advantage of this easy app. Not only can you search for all kinds of jobs in any state or country you want, but they also have this dope feature called Easy Apply. With Easy Apply, for jobs that have it enabled, you can just send your profile directly to the recruiter. This cuts out all of the grunt work of updating a resume in Microsoft Word. You do want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is clean and up to date though. You can also even set up notifications for jobs you want or maybe even a certain area you want to move to and you get a notification daily right on your phone.

  • Your Friends

Don’t forget that word of mouth goes a long way. Let your friends know that you are on the hunt for a new job. You’d be surprised how quickly the conversation over drinks at happy hour can turn into you being recommended for a position by your friend to one of their friends. Also stick close to those friends who are doing exactly what you are trying to do. Pick their brains and learn what you can from them. Make sure they know that you are trying to do what they are doing. A good friend like this can always be a walking referral while they are doing that job that you want day to day. Another thing to keep in mind is that you may have friends who work for companies that offer bonuses for referrals. Trust me they will want to get you hired and will do everything to make sure that your resume is sitting on their hiring manager’s desk.

  • Spending Time Looking for Jobs

This one may seem like a no brainer, but it actually does take some time and effort. I would suggest spending atleast a half hour to an hour a day applying for jobs and or editing your resume. Having that level of intensity will ensure that you have options in the long run. And that is what you want…options. At the end you want to be sorting through offers like the top high school football prospect. Also don’t be afraid to follow up. You actually should be following up until you die. Every millenial’s tombstone should have the quote, “Just wanted to reach out and follow up”. You’d be surprised how much following up helps. It shows that you are actually interested in getting the position. It shows persistance.

  • Tailor Your Resume for the Jobs You Want

Another important thing is that you can’t just clean up your resume. You also need to tailor it to the exact job that you want. Get rid of the stuff that is not important for the job that you are going out for. No one cares that you were the assistant manager at the smoothie bar for two years when you are going out for a position as the lead editor for a magazine. You should actually have multiple resumes that fit for different jobs that you can use accordingly. Lastly, make sure you look up sample cover letters or templates for the job you are going out for if they require them. Should they require a cover letter you will have already worked on one that is molded specifically to their criteria.

  • An Amicable Relationship with Current & Past Employers

This is really important if you value references. Form a good relationship with your current employer so that you can use them as a resource for your next job. And don’t feel scared to hit up past employers to make sure they remember you. What you don’t want is to blindly use old employers as references, and then when they are actually contacted they have no clue who you are. Next you want to make sure that you don’t just dip on your old job. Give your boss proper notice so that they have time to replace you. You also want to make sure you don’t burn bridges. No matter how much you may have hated your job or co-workers don’t burn bridges. You never know in five years they may have a new position that fits you perfectly. If the bridge is still intact you can feel free to cross back over if you see fit.

  • Highlight What You’ve Learned Since Being Employed

This is where you can shine. These highlights don’t have to just be work skills, but also what you have learned since joining the work force. This is what will set you apart from all of the new grads. Make sure you are highlighting things that you are actually and truly skillful at. Things that you are comfortable ellaborating on in an interview and not stuff that you might have touched on junior year that you now no longer remember. It could get very awkward if you are asked about a skill that you really don’t know anything about. At this point don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Talk about all those milestones and deadlines you helped meet. Talk about how you were the president of all those organizations. Talk about the projects you have been apart of. Sell yourself.

  • Negotiate

My favorite part of job hunting is negotiating. Now if you didn’t get a chance to do this on your first go round of the job search, please utilize it this time. Trust me, if a company likes you and sees that you are a fit for them, they will do just about anything to get you before someone else does. Negotiate for relocation, a sign on bonus, an earlier/later start date, negotiate it all. Now of course you have to know when you are getting a little outrageous, but honestly no one is going to give you anything unless you ask about it. Negotiating salary may seem like a tender subject, but forget all that. I mean salary is the reason why you are even looking for a job anyway. If the numbers aren’t looking like what you expected don’t hesitate to negotiate a better number. If they like you they will do whatever they can to make sure you are happy with your salary and any other bonuses they may be offering. Don’t forget to mention what you were making on your last job and what they offered as collateral. And the last thing with negotiation is to make sure that you don’t settle. Don’t settle for the first thing that sounds good unless it is your dream job. Let them know that you are interviewing else where, let them know what other companies are offering you. In parting make sure that you remember that you are the prize. These companies don’t want to just pay you because you have a great personality. They want to pay you because they believe you will benefit them in the long run.

I hope you can take something from this in whatever type of job hunt that you may be embarking on. Lastly, just be patient if you can afford to. Don’t feel ashamed if you have to move back in with your parents or stay at that job you may not like for a little while longer until everything aligns. Because trust me, trouble doesn’t last always and neither will this situation. Ten years from now you may be working a position that isn’t even thought about today. If that doesn’t help the grind I don’t know what can. If you’re reading this with a little bit of uncertainty about moving on from your first job, feel free to check out this post for some motivation: 5 Hints it’s Time to Move on From Your First Job

Yours Truly,

Joe.

Not A Kendrick Fan But I’m Still Playing DAMN.

I was the one who didn’t give a shit about To Pimp a Butterfly or Section 80. I don’t even have the Good Kidd…notice I don’t know how many O’s or D’s I need for that tittle, but yeah I don’t have that in my library either. I have never been much of a Kendrick fan. I respect his art and his casual featured verse here and there, but I never considered myself a fan. His music just never really stuck with me. I’ve given albums like TPAB a listen or two, but they never garnered a “Keep in Rotation” notion for me. DAMN is different in this setting. I’m not sure if it’s the production or the lyrics, but DAMN has done what the previous LP’s of Kendrick’s has failed to do for me. And that’s keep me interested.

Before you Hip Hop heads born in 1993 start to shout for my hanging, if you know me you know what I like when it comes to the music. Hopefully you’re not reading this crucifying me for not being “intelligent enough” to get the concepts of Kendrick’s bars…because if so exit left please. Let’s be honest here, I’ve always felt that if I needed a so called “conscious rapper” then that man for me is and always will be Jermaine Cole.

For me what Kendrick does differently on DAMN is that yes he remains conscious, but what he does differently on DAMN that he ceased to accomplish on TPAB, was that he was able to attain consciousness while staying on the radio. K.Dot remained conscious while also being able to play in the club as well. A stat that many of the die hard fans will be quick to brush off. Not saying that I neccessarily want to hear Kendrick while I’m out getting faded, but it is definitely a nice change up. Humble, the lead single succeeds in being a conscious record with a message all the while staying true to this image that the rapper has laid down for himself. I’m in no way equating success to having your record played in the club, but I think this flair for Kendrick is what helped me to be able to keep looking up DAMN on Apple Music.

At the time of TPAB I thought Kendrick was a huge hypocrite for calling out for our youth for needing to be more respectful to the cops all the while dropping an album centered around the culture. That turned me off. Especially coming from a black man with influence. In an environment where we have youth that are being gunned down whether they are respectful or not.

For me, I am jamming for most of the album, but then I fade out after XXX and then pick up when he puts the album on reverse in Duckworth. The replay value stands out for DAMN. For anyone who is not a strong fan of this guy like me, you will appreciate the flow of this album I promise.

This is me speaking exlusively for tracks 1 through 12. And for all of you comparing this to More Life please kill yourself :). Now I am not saying that this is converting me to any type of fan to this young man, but it is for DAMN sure a start. Until next time…

Yours Truly,

Joe.

 

 

Why We Have To Check our White Friends When They Use the N-Word​.

With everything going on in the media these days surrounding the use of the N-word, I felt it was only right to deliver a synopsis on why we as black people must hold our counterparts accountable when they use the word in our presence. I think the reason for the recent spike in the bravery of non-people of color using the term not only sparks from the election of their president but also simply that they don’t have friends checking them on their shit. I’m not putting all of the blame on them though. You’d be surprised how many people can just laugh it off when Greg or Samantha jump stupid. Now you may have heard all of the excuses under the sun, and I am here to tell you that none of them are valid.

First, it does not matter who they are friends with or who they grew up around. That is completely irrelevant to the narrative. Furthermore, those friends they may be speaking of are not you. To just assume that because their childhood friends let them say it, that you should let them say it is just wrong. This comes back to the accountability that I mentioned earlier. They aren’t used to being held accountable, hence the people they grew up around. So now it is up to you to actually set some standards for them to follow.

Something that has nothing to do with checking these friends is just the fact that they shouldn’t want to say the word. The N-word has a heavy history, a history that depending on the friend, their ancestors started. Your great great grandfather Jefferson definitely wore out the original term enough for you not to want to even whisper it. I can understand that it may seem cool, because we reclaimed the word and use it completely different now, but still you just shouldn’t want to be in on this one.  This stumbles into my next point…somethings are just for us by us. Everything isn’t for you and this doesn’t just go for the N-word, but this applies to life as well. Just like you know you can’t handle the conversion of day drinking into going out for the night, know that you can’t handle this either.

And for those of you who are “famous”, I would for damn sure just leave the word alone entirely if your skin tone doesn’t match because Black Twitter does not forgive.

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Poor YesJulz is the most recent victim. After posting a picture to Twitter featuring the N-word on an article of clothing that she considered wearing to an upcoming festival, she was hit with so much hate that she was even dropped from two upcoming events in Toronto. She has since taken to Snapchat to apologize in a slew of videos where she speaks empty I’m sorry’s aligned with some thrifty crocodile tears. Cases like this make me wonder if she even has any black friends with any sense. I mean this is a girl who openly profits off the culture for her own financial gain. You would think she would have some type of friend or maybe even a decent publicist to tell her she should leave the N-word off all her social media accounts. And it’s not just NahJulz, a reporter in Atlanta recently resigned after sliding in a Twitter user’s DMs using the word to try and get the latest scoop. I don’t even feel bad for the Jenny’s at this point, no one can legit be that stupid.

“I don’t want to make it awkward.” Why are you worrying about this? If it is awkward it is very easy to drop their ass. We are supposed to be checking our friends for the dumb shit they do on a daily. And if you are worried about making something awkward, then they really can’t be solid friends, my guy. Another one I love, “It’s just a song. Am I supposed to censor myself?” Hell yes. I don’t care what you have lined up on your iPod when the song comes on and we’re out, you sing the clean version. You don’t mouth, you don’t say it…you can think it, but yes you censor yourself. This is just best for both of us, especially if we are out in public. Could you imagine, you are out with your white friend and they just freely rap the N-word along to the song around other black people they don’t know? All I know is if five random OGs want to jump you because you couldn’t censor yourself, you are taking that beating alone homie. 😅😅😅 I might even get a couple kicks in for the culture and for you potentially putting me in danger.

In conclusion, it does not matter what part of the “White Spectrum” your friend sits on. Machine Gun Kelly white can’t say it just as much as Voted For Donald Trump white can’t. And just remember that it is up to us to educate and hold up the standard in everything we do. Sometimes people just jump stupid out of ignorance, and if they are truly your friend they will understand where you are coming from.

Thanks for rocking with me through 20 posts of The Black Grad Life. When I wrote my first sentence on here, I didn’t know if I was going to be consistent with this or where it was going to take me. I have enjoyed having this outlet for my thoughts and views, and I will continue as long as I have you here reading with me.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

Cookout Essentials for Summer 2017

With graduation SZN on the horizon, I find it a very opportune time to put out the blueprint for the perfect cookout tunes. The coveted cookout playlist has always been a stroke of genius. You were in awe when the family DJ would take your favorite song and mix it into Return of the Mack. You never had to experience biting into your burnt hot dog to a top 40 hit. If you can’t relate, I’m sorry. For those of us who didn’t spend as much as thirty minutes from where the music was spraying from, you have been being primed for this moment for years. Now while every great cookout playlist is lined with classics like Summertime, I wanted to touch on a handful of current to somewhat current jams that I feel are ready to be inducted into the cookout hall of fame. Feel free to leave your cookout favorites in the comments or tweet me, as I’m always up for making a playlist.

  1. Unforgettable (feat. Swae Lee) rs-french-montana-unforgettable-swae-lee-cdd3a3a0-0126-4cda-998e-73c09c4c7dd9

    We’ve recently been hit with a string of “dance challenges” over social media, and this bop falls right in line. From the catchy hook down to the smooth beat, this song definitely shows why it should stand up amongst the senior cookout playlist tracks. With the spark Unforgettable got from the challenge videos, it is safe to say the cool cousins will definitely be making their own version when this drops as the sun starts to go down on little Ray Ray’s birthday bash.

  2. Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos) CALVIN

    I MIGHT! Sorry, I couldn’t contain myself there. This track might have 1,600 plays on my iTunes alone, but that’s none of your business. I didn’t know I needed a Migos x Frank Ocean collaboration until I got one. Not only is Slide good enough for the younger generation, but I’m willing to bet you that the favorite auntie will definitely bust out the electric slide to this joint. Well she was going to bust out the electric slide anyway, because that’s all the auntie’s go to. That is neither here nor there, I didn’t think Calvin Harris could pull a more genius move than dumping Taylor Swift, but boy was I wrong. This track definitely deserves to get remixed in a few times throughout the cookout as new guests enter and exit. Just act like you’re in the zone when you hear somebody say “We already heard this”.

  3. Work (feat. Drake) rihanna-work-video-drake-2016-billboard-650-1

    If this isn’t our oldie at the cookouts in 2060, then all of this was for nothing. I mean come on, Work spent 9 weeks at the top of the charts. It would be utterly rude to leave it out of the cookout discussion. Just picture it, it’s around 4 p.m. and you didn’t eat all day waiting for this food thats about to bless you. The angst has built up at this point, but then the DJ throws on this joint and instantly you are at peace. No matter the mood or the time of the day this is going to rock, and it deserves to follow Mary J. Blige’s Real Love on the playlist or else.

  4. Shining (feat. Beyoncé & JAY Z) beyonce-parkwood-entertainment.jpg

    This should actually be playing as you pull up to be honest. I forgot they robbed Bey at the Grammys when Khaled dropped this single. I thought about ribs with all the fixings by the time I got to the end of my first listen. Jay and Bey are not new to the cookout playlist, I mean you should hear them together and separately a few times at the cookout or the DJ is slacking. “All this winning? I been losing my mind.” Sounds like every senior’s thoughts after seeing their final grades.

  5. Passionfruit drake-sade

    This came into the rotation while you were in the kitchen sneaking that last little bit of crown into your coke. Your mama’s friend caught you and just started laughing because what can she say, you are a grown man now. This is the jam you save to the later parts of the cookout when all the randoms have made their ways on to the next move. Sure ya’ll are fighting off the mosquitoes, but once you get back from packing your to-go box, you can discuss with the family over Passionfruit what your future plans are. The vibes this track exudes are undeniable. The older crew will definitely approve. Get ready to have your singing interrupted by all of them asking every other five seconds, “Is this Drake?’.

  6. Redbone Childish-Gambino-2-–-photo-credit-Ibra-Ake-1479413359-640x427.jpg

    Stay woke. A reminder for every black individual on this Earth. Now while cookouts bring us together for many things, the summer is normally a host to cookouts dealing with graduation or going away get togethers. While both of these situations represent a new chapter of life, this track from Mr. Glover is definitely essential to not only soothe the mind, but also to remind us to remain vigilant. The old school vibe of Redbone will also pair very well with some of its older counterparts. Making it a very easy choice from current selections to be added to the mix.

  7. That’s What I Like bruno-mars-thats-what-i-like-video-1488420227

The whole 24K Magic album could bump at any point during the cookout and you’d be safe, but this is definitely a crucial bop. Bruno adds a little funk to this that is just too hard to resist. The youngsters won’t be able to discern this track from the old jams that they’ve heard in the past. But don’t get it twisted, when you hear this tune early on Sunday, it isn’t your mom warning you that it is cleanup day, but that it is time to get the alcohol flowing and throw the steaks on the grill.

Now, I didn’t give you a whole playlist, but if this isn’t motivation I don’t know what is. I don’t know about you but now I have a whole playlist that I need to get started on, and I already got dibs on the playlist title: ISSA COOKOUT, so I better not see it anywhere 🙂

Yours Truly,

Joe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Hints it’s Time to Move on From Your First Job

So you’re ready to move on from your first big boy/girl job? I’m proud of you for getting to this point, trust it didn’t come easy for me either. With a couple months to spare until I reach my one year anniversary at my first gig after college, I can’t help but feel this urge to spread my wings. I’m in the mood for a new scene, new friends, and most importantly, new bars. While not many of us were lucky enough to land that bombshell job that we started planning for halfway through Junior year, there is still hope in this post-grad voyage if you don’t get lazy and pay attention to detail. I’m gonna break down what I have noticed to be the Top 5 Hints it’s Time to Move on From Your First Job:

  1. You Hate What You’re Doing. 3o6Zt96dVw8unv0JvW.gif

    Let’s face it, this wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. It was cool the first few months, but then your body realized this was a permanent thing, and just rolling over like you did for that 8AM doesn’t work anymore. This gig at the end of the day isn’t even really what you want to do. You can’t see yourself doing this the next year let alone the next twenty. Maybe it’s not even in your field of study that you got your degree in? Maybe that’s a good thing, but if it is a bad thing for you then you need to be gearing up to move on ASAP. This job is also just down right tedious, an hour feels like four, and you don’t know if you’re going to make it to lunch when that coffee buzz kicks in at 10AM.

  2. You’re Overqualified. 26ufbRAPD31bstnig.gif

    Know yourself, know your worth. If the check isn’t matching what you expect it to for your qualifications, then it should be pretty self explanatory that you need to get a move on. Sure, you had to secure the bag before their president got into office, but you are worthy of so much more than this. A check is never worth a headache, especially if it’s gone the second you get it. Can you save, pay bills, and have some fun? If these criteria are important to you, which they should be, then I’m happy to say you’ve reached that point which we all have to get to shortly after graduation: Knowing when it is time to move on.

  3. You Hate Your Scenery. l0MYF2gsC3xKUrJ6M.gif

    It’s time for a new flower pot eh? You’ve outgrown that little pot of a town huh, same here. Or maybe you relocated to a new place thinking it was going to be the shit and it isn’t. This hint is pretty sensitive, because you don’t want to make the mistake of leaving your first job after college too early. Life is short, and you want to utilize every moment to be doing something that you actually enjoy, but busting out of a job too quick could turn off your future employers. But don’t let this small slight deter you, every person is different and you’ll know for sure when you are ready to change locations. You might even be ready to embrace new relationships, all of which comes with getting to that new place, that new chapter in your journey.

  4. Your Co-workers suck. FuvAuMnNkfUvS.gif

    Absolutely nothing makes your job suck more than having whack co-workers. Bad co-workers come in a vareity of different shapes and sizes. The rude ones who throw you under the bus, the sneaky ones who swipe at your lunch in the fridge, or the ones who feel necessary to point out all your flaws in an e-mail that they CC everyone on. Now while having co-workers may be new to you post grad, its not the weird personalities that you have to interact with on a day to day, but having co-workers is like being in a group project…forever. Think back to that one group project you had in school where you literally hated all the members. Now think of having all of those members as co-workers, for 40+ hours a week. Cue the sunken place, because that is literally how it can feel when the co-workers are legit that bad.

  5. You Settled TBH. tgzr4PF8n14Eo.gif

    To be honest you settled on this first job. You didn’t gamble, you didn’t put yourself out there, you wanted security. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who got hired before even walking across that stage for your degree holder. Remember that shit eating grin you had at grad bash when people would bring up plans after college, knowing that you were already set? Let’s be honest, you took the job because it sounded good on paper and it secured you a steady income. You wanted to be paid, and you wanted that financial independence from mom and dad over anything else. “Finding Yourself” after college just wasn’t an option. And neither was moving back in to the security blanket that is your childhood bedroom. I don’t understand how anyone can afford to find themselves after college everytime I look at my student loan tab. But it is important to find yourself daily, and even in this crazy journey of life after college I’ve learned to really put some importance in this somewhat forgotten art. Because I’ve learned that sometimes when you are lost, it can take a long time for others, for yourself to find you. Remember that you are impossible to lose once you’ve been found.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

“Struggling with Mental Health is not Something that Black Youth Experience”

As I was making my second way through the new book turned Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, I was triggered and yet fascinated at how easily mental health can be swayed. Of course, young minds learn a lot from what they have seen rather than what they know, but in watching this show I reached a higher realization in just how much of an impact the words you say and how you treat people matter. I won’t speak too much on the show for those of you who haven’t had a chance to listen to all of the tapes yet, but in seeing the things Hannah went through during her short stint at Liberty High, I wondered if I had been blind to this side of youth growing up. Everyone’s high school experience is different, but situations that played out in this story were very different from what I had seen and experienced. Which leads me to think, well it is just a show, right? No, there are girls like Hannah, boys too that are experiencing this range of emotions daily. I cannot relate with ever getting to the point of wanting to take my own life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t empathize with those who do. Now while the show doesn’t center around the mental health of black youth, I realized just how much the mental state of our youth or even ourselves is often not touched on. While I’m sure if Hannah had reached out to her parents she would have been affixed with the best therapists out there, minorities don’t always have that option. We often times have to rehab ourselves. Black kids often times have to figure it out themselves. Is that to say that if black youth reached out to their parents or support system when their mental state was low, that nothing good would happen? No. I think as black males growing up, we are taught to be strong in every sense of the word. To throw some dirt on it and keep your head up. Black females taught to be seen but not heard. And in being preached at on these matters, other topics rarely come up. Mental health should be talked about often regardless of if you’re a minority or not. And even if you aren’t going to talk to your parents, go to your friends, show them your cards. This then brings the question of how well do you really know your friends? There’s a phrase that says you never really truly know what someone is going through. I think that us as people sometimes we’re afraid to open up about what is bothering us, or what we are struggling with. This makes us humans, but understanding that there are people there to listen to you when you struggle can make a huge difference. Knowing that could be the difference between taking your life or moving on. Speaking of black youth, there were a couple of black characters on 13 Reasons who seemed white-washed to me. Sheri and Marcus were your typical token black girl and boy of the group. Neither embodied how I would think a black teenager would act in a situation like this. This further heightened my thoughts on the disproportion of action on mental health amongst the black community. Mental health? Suicidal? Killing yourself? “Oh that’s white people shit”, a phrase I’ve heard numerously through my 24 years here. But the demeanor of the characters in this show kinda fed into this phrase. Struggling with mental health is not something that black youth experience, so let us make sure our black characters are only suited for those black bodies who grew up in all white neighborhoods. Now while not maybe seeing an accurate depiction of yourself in this show, there was still no shortage of characters that I’m sure many people will be able to relate to. I think Hannah and the rest of 13 Reasons Why will shed a much-needed light on mental health, not only of the youth but us all as humans. I know that as a black male, after watching I feel a lot more educated and aware of the importance of everyone’s mental health. And I now know that moving forward and being a light, you never know whose life you could change. I pray that the mental health of minority groups doesn’t go unnoticed and that it can rise to a priority and stay there. Until next time, more ideas and stuff coming.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

Oh yeah, my first guest post on UNIDAYs debuted Monday. If you didn’t get a chance to check that out you can here 6 Reasons Drake’s New Album is the Playlist of the Year

I was the one who shouted “No New Friends” the loudest, but now I welcome strangers.

It has almost been a year since I made my departure from college to the savage streets of adult life. Amidst living alone and learning to manage my money, I took a look at the state of my friendships post grad. I realized that it is pretty hard to keep up with people period, but even harder when you have real life obligations you have to fulfill day to day. Suddenly, people who I used to talk to every week, I wouldn’t trade words with for months. College is a point in your life where you are constantly meeting temporary people, people who won’t matter a year or 6 months after graduation. I had always read about this theory, but it all became reality after hanging up my cap and gown in the dark corner of my closet. I realized that so many people, friends, were just in your life because they had to be at that moment. You all had that same class, or were out at that same bar, or were in that same fraternity. But in the end, once those mandatory meetings ceased to exist and people moved on with their lives, well so did those friendships. There is an end to every friendship which is bittersweet, but what started me to thinking was wondering when I would taste bitter. Maybe you can contribute it to living alone, and being obsessed with my own space and my own thoughts, but I stopped caring when things ended. After graduating, I found beauty in the end in every sense of the word. The end to me now meant new beginnings. The end to me before meant sadness. So, I started to wonder why I no longer felt remorse for getting to the end of a friendship. I was the one who shouted “No New Friends” the loudest, but now I welcome strangers. I think that when you grow up, new perspectives are always needed. Which is what I am now welcoming. I have garnered no new friends over the last year, but I have lost a ton. I believe this is preparing me for a rebirth of new ideas, new perspectives, and new memories. I may be in the 2% of people who never want to look back at college as being the greatest four five years of my life. There is so much I am still learning about myself, that there is no way I could ever look back and categorize this time as the “best years of my life”. But almost a year out of this chapter ending, I’m still waiting to taste bitter. I don’t think there is any love lost, only gained. I look forward to seeing people who lost my opinion, my guidance, my likeness still eating. Even though I will not be sitting at the table with them. I am very much so just thankful for those who I haven’t met an end with yet and looking forward to sharing new ideas with fresh personalities. I’m comfortable with meeting the end. I remember that all good things must end before your new beginning. Here’s to new beginnings, brand new vinyls, and champagne pops.

Yours Truly,

Joe.