A look back at Prince

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Today is Prince Day. Prince Day was a day that was declared by the Minnesota governor, Mark Dayton to remember and celebrate Prince’s musical legacy. And it also happened to fall on his birthday. If Prince would have been alive, he would have turned fifty nine years old. However it is my mission to remember and celebrate how Prince’s musical legacy how I see it. Hence the importance of Prince’s musical accomplishments must be highlighted to accurately celebrate him, as a musical legend.

Growing up, I always knew who Prince was. My mother had been a huge fan of his and always played his music(well not the songs with sexual connotations in it) often. In fact, she went to see Purple Rain when it was in theaters back in 1984. Though I liked a few of his songs, I didn’t quite understand him. I thought he was weird and effeminate. I felt that it was odd that she held such reverence towards him despite me not thinking much of him. Fortunately, I didn’t really start to like Prince until I was a teenager. I had grown tired of listening to the music of my peers and started to listen to the Classics and oldies. I started to listen to his music and realize how much of a musical genius and pioneer he  was. There wasn’t many online ventures that played his music, but I looked hard enough for the few that did. When I would listen to his music, I would feel a sense of chills and awe from the listening to the sexual connotations of Little Red Corvette and Cream. For some reason, I saw him as edgy and his lyrics spoke to my underlying sexual desires and feelings. I did my research on him and realized all of the influences in his life that led him to create the music he created. Then it donned on me that he wasn’t as weird or effeminate that I had thought he was. Needless to say, I didn’t really start listening to the music from his catalog until after he died.

On the evening of April 20th, 2016, I was texting a guy that I was seeing. He told me that he was going to come see me with a friend. It wasn’t long until he came for me and I met his friend. We walked around and drove around the area. He offered to take me out to eat but I declined. I had already ate that day. Then he stopped outside of my apartment to talk and walk around. In fact, one of the conversations we had was about music. I mentioned Prince as one of my favorite musicians and how I held him in high regard. Then I told him that I had to go to bed because it was a school day. I hugged him and told them goodnight. I went to bed. I didn’t get any news of Prince’s death until a friend of mine texted me the next day. I had just came back from attending Math class that morning and had come back home to take a shower. I was doing some homework when I got an alert from my cell phone. I read a text message that Prince had died. I didn’t believe her until I googled it on my laptop. I couldn’t believe it. Prince is dead at age 57.  So I started to search endlessly for his music and listen to it whenever I can. It wasn’t long until I started to even listen to lesser known songs of his such as I’m Yours from his first album, For You. The more I learned about the music on his catalog the more I began to appreciate the musical greats he left behind for the world to enjoy and appreciate.

What are the main highlights of Prince’s career?

  1. He won an Academy Award for the Best Original Song Score in 1985 for the movie, Purple Rain.
  2. Prince won a total of seven Grammys including one in 1985 for Purple Rain soundtrack.
  3. His albums, 1999 and Purple Rain are rewarded in the Grammys Hall of Fame Award.
  4. He won a total of four MTV Music Awards.
  5. Prince knew how to play over twenty seven instruments.
  6. He produced and wrote all of the songs and played all of the instruments on his 1978 debut album, For You.
  7. His estate, Paisley Park was his home and also a built in studio for him to record his own music
  8. Prince left Warner Brother’s contract and protested against the music label’s control over the content and production of the music he produced. He wrote the word, slave on his cheek as an act of defiance.
  9. Chaka Khan’s song, I Feel For You was originally written and composed by Prince early in his career.
  10. Prince is often compared to his counterpart, the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

More over, I appreciate the musical legacy and catalog that Prince left behind. Millions around the world were devastated by the news of his death like I was. Fortunately, he will live on through his music and accolades he achieved while he was on earth. There wouldn’t be another musician like him ever again.







America in decline: My views on a society hellbent on self destruction

As I woke up and read an article about a Somalian woman being beaten by a White man in a hate crime. I was horrified to read about the details of such an incident, but it is becoming more common place. Between the rise of hate crimes brewing in the country and Donald Trump’s dysfunctional administration woes, I have been concerned about the direction the United States is headed morally, economically and politically. The direction of this country has been having me thinking about the long term consequences of Donald Trump’s actions and the actions of millions of Americans and the world.

Here is the picture of the Somalian woman I was discussing. She was harassed and beaten by a random White man after protecting another Muslim woman. Her face is fractured and she lost four teeth. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Unfortunately, the hate and xenophobia of many White Americans has no boundaries nowadays.

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In Portland Oregon, an alt right/White Nationalist rally was held where White Nationalists gathered to congregate. Many left winging and anti racist groups protested such activity and marched in retaliation. But things turned deadly when a White supremacist named Jeremy Christian stabbed three people in an attempt to block his speaking to two young women. Protestors on both sides had clashed and many arrests were made. Recently, Christian had been arrested with counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder and intimidation. In his courtroom appearance, his rants about freedom of speech wouldn’t have been more bizarre as he compared his actions to ”patriotism”. Christians concluded, “Free speech or die, Portland. You call it terrorism I call it patriotism,” Christian shouted. “If you don’t like free speech get the f*** out of my country.”

While I believe that every American has the right to freedom of speech and expressing one’s self, this man went too far. His actions were inappropriate, and a poor reflection on his character. From hollering at two young women to stabbing three people (one fatally stabbed), his using of freedom of speech to excuse his actions are poor. However his actions and use of the ”freedom of speech” to cover up for his behavior only represents the wider problem of xenophobia and wanting to preserve America’s traditionally Anglo Saxon, Christian heritage to the expense of everyone else. Many White Americans like Jeremy Christian see America as ”their country” while minorities such as African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners, Pacific Islanders and racially mixed individuals are seen as ”outsiders” taking away resources that ”rightfully belong” to White men and White women. The rise of the alt right movement and White Nationalism, headed by leader, Richard Spencer is a personification of the rising dissent among many White Americans about their declining birth rates, the country’s population growing browner, and immigration. I believe that Donald Trump and the Republican party along with his supporters are more interested in bringing  down the country and ruining the world for future generations than to share resources and be tolerant of those unlike themselves.

Donald Trump’s election as the forty fifth president of the United States is the culprit of the rising xenophobia and racism in the country. He ran his campaign on hatred of Muslims, calling Mexican immigrants rapists, talking down to the Black Community, and the release of a tape that showed Donald Trump telling another man to ”grab women by the pussy” solidified his disgusting rhetoric. Not surprisingly, White Nationalists such as Richard Spencer showed their support for Donald Trump as well as Republicans, working class White voters, and White evangelists. Many White Americans feel that they found solidarity with him on issues regarding race, sexism, immigration and economic issues. Many working class White voters believed his campaign promises that he would bring coal mining jobs back, secure Medicare and Medicaid, help restore economy and capture ISIS. After all, Trump ran as a populist. Sure, many of his voters and supporters did agree with his economic policies, but they were much more drawn to his rants such as ”Hillary for prison” and ”Build that wall”. However my observations have shown that Donald Trump hasn’t really carried out the promises that he has promised his supporters. His ”travel ban” on Muslims from seven Middle Eastern countries had been revoked numerous times, his healthcare bill has yet to pass the Senate, and his budget proposal threatens to cut many social programs for the needy. He tweets endlessly, golfs at Mar a Lago, and embarrasses the nation whenever he visits a foreign country to meet with a foreign leader. His confidante, Kellyanne Conway always appears on television with another lie to tell American viewers. His daughter, Ivanka Trump and son in law, Jared Kushner have their own wings in the White House and even confide in the president despite not being elected officials. How is this not nepotism? I can elaborate more on my observation of the actions and on goings of the Trump administration, but it is best to notice how many of his ridiculous actions affect the economy and direction this country is going in.

How have his actions or lack of affected the direction and state of the country?

The growth of the economy has also slowed down. In April, reports have shown that the economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 has only been 0.7%. Such percentage is much lower than the average 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and throughout the eight year tenure of President Obama’s term. It has been estimated that this has been the slowest in three years due to sluggish consumer spending and offset business retirement investment. Many malls and businesses are closing down or being brought out by bigger commodities. All of this isn’t an indicator of Donald Trump’s handling of the economy, but it just shows that maybe his presidency does have a negative impact on the economy.

Despite reports of him saving around eight hundred jobs at Carrier Plant in Indiana from out shored, many more jobs are still being shipped to Mexico. By December, around six hundred workers will be receiving pink slips through a five month span, starting next month. For a man that campaigned on being a job creator, he could have made sure all of those jobs stayed in America not just eight hundred. Another example of this is Trump’s deals with Boeing, an engineering company in Charleston, South Carolina. He promised to not ship any jobs overseas. However, the vice president of Engineering at Boeing, John Hamilton said on the campus’s website that ”hundreds employees” will be laid off and there will be a reduction in engineering jobs. The company is laying off worker due to accepting a round of voluntary buy outs. Engineering staff, who accepted the proposal will leave along with a thousand machinists. Instead, another business will be built in China. So much for Trump’s populism.

His denial of climate change will also cost America jobs. Due to the fact that he doesn’t believe in climate change, many renewable energy jobs will be shipped overseas. It also led to him pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement recently. There was much controversy surrounding his decision, but it also shows that America isn’t a world leader in protecting the sanctions of the planet. In fact, his stance on climate change has troubled many world leaders particularly German chancellor,  Angela Merkel.

America has lost it’s standing and reverence as a country of freedom and peace among the world. Many other countries look at America as a joke. There was a cartoon with Donald Trump throwing his golf club while there is water underneath him as a way to mock his stance on pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Recently, German chancellor, Angela Merkel made a speech about why she doesn’t believe that America or the United Kingdom(Great Britain) can be fully trusted as allies anymore. Especially America. Like many foreign world leaders, Merkel is concerned about Donald Trump’s lack of regard for the clauses found in NATO, and his lack of belief that climate change endangers the welfare of billions of people on earth. It was astounding to see that it took a foreign leader to address the dangers of having Donald Trump as president. Besides former Democratic candidate for the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders, not many American politicians have spoken up against Donald Trump’s dangerous policies. And this makes America look bad to other countries that such an incompetent leader is running the country.

Here is the illustration of the cartoon

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His xenophobic views on Muslims had translated into a series of Muslim bans, which has been stroke down by the Supreme Court. Even his revised ”Travel Ban” wreaks of the same Islamophobic belief system that spewed such legislation to be enacted in the first place. His hatred of Mexican immigrants translated into a belief that one has to build a wall between the Mexican border and American border to keep out illegal immigrants with criminal records. While I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to protect American borders from terrorists and criminals. I don’t believe that racially stereotyping a group of people helps things either. His racism has translated into hiring known racist, Jeff Sessions as attorney general and White Nationalist, Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist. Due to their influence on race relations, there has been reports of practicing voter suppression among African Americans. The whole goal is to roll back the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement back to pre-1965 quotas and limit the rights of minorities. The homophobia and transphobia in his administration will make sure to limit the rights of the LGBT. His sexism has translated into him signing the Global Gag Rule that limited women’s right to choose what goes on with their bodies on a global scale. Such legislation led to the Women’s March in January. Infringing on the rights of others to maintain some kind of false utopia of the glory of White prosperity will not work in the end.

Personally, I was disgusted to hear that he had won the election that November morning. As a Black woman, whose family is from Jamaica, I was (and still) terrified of how his policies on immigration will affect the country. Particularly my family. And the families of millions of people with immigrants. Think about how his policies will affect the livelihood of the world as well. Unfortunately, I believe that such staunch and totalitarian view of the world is leading to the inevitable demise of the United States of America.

















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My ”Holy Diver” into Heavy Metal

”Holy Diver. You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea. Oh what’s becoming of me? Ride the Tiger. You can see it’s stripes, but you know it’s clean. Oh don’t you see what I mean?”- Ronnie James Dio’s Holy Diver

Like I discussed in my previous post, listening to Led Zeppelin opened me up to listening to a multiple amount of Rock bands. But I will discuss delving into the realms of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Often times, listening to these bands has helped me cope with the pressures and difficulties I face in life. As I delve deeper and deeper into ”heavier” musical styles, my ascendance and interest in it will be dissected and analyzed by my perspective.

My graduation from high school in May 2014 and being accepted into an expensive four year university was the panacea to everything in my life. Being of working class background, I really looked forward to attending a university, because I felt that if I graduated from university with a degree will end the cycle of poverty and struggling in my adult life. Also I really looked forward to moving away from home and asserting myself as a young woman. I even visited the campus of the university to see how living on campus will be like for me. All of my excitement for attending this private university waned when I received a call from the financial aid office of the school. I was told that I didn’t have enough funds needed to cover the expenses of room and boarding. It was heartbreaking for me to hear. I was also told that there was some mistake with the school processing my Financial Aid. My family and I traveled to the financial aid office on campus to discuss ways to solve the problem, but I was told that I had exhausted all of the financial aid needed to attend that semester. I went home, feeling so lost and distraught. I slipped into depression as the months went by. To cope with my feelings of rejection and fear, I started to listen to the likes of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica and heavier bands to get by. Though I had been listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, it was pretty much inevitable that I would get into the harder musical catalogs. Listening to the music and lyrics was soothing and refreshing to my mind and soul, because often times, the topic of the song easily related to my life’s experiences.

Here is a picture of myself from graduation.



I went from this to becoming like this in several months

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The first picture is actually of myself while the last picture is from Shutterstock to illustrate how I was feeling in fall of 2014.

Fortunately, I was able to get into a community college and start attending it. My musical tastes did start to include the Beatles, but I found myself getting into Guns n Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Dio. For me, the heavier the better. I still enjoyed the light heart songs from Genesis, Beatles, Billy Joel, and Chicago, but somehow I resonated more with the fuck authority and do my own thing message that was very prevalent in harder Rock music. Recently, I have been delving more into Motley Crue, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, and Dio as I find listening to more bands and exploring my likes and dislikes broadens my outlook on musical genres. Fortunately, listening to Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Metal has broaden my tastes and outlook on artistry, musical forms and styles.

Most of all, I feel like the lyrics of the music speak to my emotions and inner self. I can relate to the Deep Purple‘s tune, Lazy and not wanting to get out of bed. Or the cold cutting lyrics of Rainbow‘s Stone Cold about love lost and infidelity. Either way, I believe that the music one listens to tells others a lot about their personality and who they are. And I believe that my musical tastes help reflect who I am as a person-for the better or the worst.


What Chris Cornell’s death means to me?

On May 18th, Thursday morning , I woke up with a sore throat. A friend of mine sent me a text that the lead singer of the band, Soundgarden, Chris Cornell had died. He was 52 years old. I was shocked yet sadden by the news. It made me think about all of the musical greats that had passed away over the past year. Why are all of these musical legends dying in their fifties? I said to myself.  Then I stopped and thought about the importance of how music plays a role in influencing my musical tastes and my life.

Like everyone else of my cultural background, I grew up listening to Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and Dance hall music, Especially old Reggae records that my mother had. But  listening to Hip Hop and R&B acts like TLC, Destiny’s Child, B2K, Tyrese, Aaliyah, Ashanti, Beyonce, Rihanna and Chris Brown was the mane of my existence. I never liked Gangsta Rap or Rap music, in general. But I did go along with my peers in ”liking” it for cool points. I listened to Hip Hop and music that resonated with my background and upbringing until I reached my teenage years.

How did I go from listening to Beyonce Knowles to listening to Led Zeppelin?

By the time I was sixteen, I was tired of listening to Hip Hop and R&B. I was more into artists like Katy Perry,  Rihanna and Lady Gaga than the rappers. Even then, I got tired of listening to them too. I didn’t like the newer Rap artists that were coming out so I started listening to the Rock band, Queen. I had always liked Rock music, but I never enthusiastically listened to Rock music unless it was commercialized band like Green Day. Then, I confided in a classmate about my dissent for the current day music scene and Rap music. He decided to introduce me to Led Zeppelin after he played the opening to Kashmir in my ear.  Instantly, I was hooked. I went home that day and looked up Kashmir on Youtube. From there on out, I listened to more of Led Zeppelin‘s music and became a fan of theirs. I got into Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Iron Maiden, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Beatles and many other bands, but Led Zeppelin stuck out to me. Their mystic and music always drew me and kept me interested in them. To this day, I still listen to Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Metal with some R&B and oldies thrown in the mix.

Led Zeppelin

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Chris Cornell

What does my musical tastes have to do with Chris Cornell’s death?

Around late 2016, I found myself listening to and getting into Soundgarten’s music. I was also impressed with Chris Cornell’s solo works especially Audio Slave.  Much of the lyrics of the music was spoke to my inner conscious and made me think about what I went through in my life. But I never knew that Chris Cornell’s death would also play a role in my inner conscious as much as his music would. Or that his last performance on stage was connected with one of my favorite bands, Led Zeppelin.

A video of his last performance showed him performing the Led Zeppelin songs, In My Time of Dying. Interestingly enough, I had played the same exact song the same day. When I did my research, I realized that Chris Cornell, like many other fans of Rock music, were fans of Led Zeppelin‘s music. In fact, I realize that many Hard Rock, Metal and Grunge acts (like Soundgarten) were influenced by early Rock n Roll pioneers like  Led Zeppelin. Without the likes of these pioneers, Soundgarten and Chris Cornell wouldn’t be the influential Grunge Rock act that they are seen as today. In other words, Led Zeppelin paved the way for many other Rock bands to come and mark their mark in history.

Here is a video of Chris Cornell’s last performance. Towards the end of it, you will see him performing In My Time of Dying


Currently, there is investigation being done about what caused his death. His funeral will be held at a private service on Friday. Hopefully, his family and friends are comforted in this sad and confusing time while his fans remember him for his musical talent and dedication to his craft. Losing a musical great like Chris Cornell cuts music lovers like me to the core, but I do hope he is at peace wherever he is.


Unhappy Mother’s Day: Should I move out?


Yesterday, I looked forward to Mother’s Day, but something went wrong. There isn’t much food in the house due to my mother not getting her paycheck. I hadn’t received my last paycheck from my work study job yet. Then, I did finally receive my meager paycheck. I decided to buy some Chinese food for the family to eat for dinner. My mother didn’t like it due to the small quantity of the food and called me selfish. Nothing I can is ever right in my eyes. This time, I believe that it is time to go on my own and not look back.

In my twenty one years of living, I only lived apart from my mother for a year or so. I did so to get away from her, form my own sense of independence as I went away to college. I had to come back home due to not having a form of income to sustain a living. Though I had some spats here and there, I was able to tolerate living at home…..until recently.  The tension started to mount when I got the job at the admission’s office and started to make my own money. She would always rely on me for money despite earning money from two income sources. And she would get mad at me for trying to save my money for more valuable pursuits. Though my mother would always criticize me and make me feel worthless, the topic of money would exacerbates the problem even more.

Fortunately, I called a few friends to discuss the issues I was having with my mother. This older friend of mine suggested that I pray about it and find a way to move out while the other wanted me to stick it out.  But the most helpful advice came from a long time friend of mine. She told me to build up my self esteem and move out of my mother’s place as I get ready to transfer to University of Tampa. As much as I want to gain some independence from my mother, I truly want to cut off contact from her once I gain some independence.

At the end of the day, I believe that family can be one of the most troubling aspects of one’s life. In the case, it happens to be the dilemma. I realize that the best thing to do is keep my distance from her and eventually cut off contact. Cutting off contact from someone, particularly a relative, isn’t a rash decision. Unfortunately, I believe that it is set in stone for a non existent relationship with my mother in the coming future years. Outweighing the positives and negatives of cutting off contact from my mother and her side of the family, I believe that there will be more positive benefits from distancing myself from these people.

Changing my perspective on life

Fortunately, the semester has ended and summer vacation has begun. Between completing work study at my college’s admission’s office, trying to keep my grades intact, and taking care of my siblings, I barely had time to sit back and relax.  Now that I am out of school and work, I can lay back and meditate on everything that went on this semester.  Though the soft sands and roaring blue waves of the beach is calling me, I would like to look back on how many changes I experienced this semester is changing my outlook on the world.

One of the changes that I experienced was working in the admission’s office. I was a scanner, that scanned important documents and verified them. Though I was working there for three to four hours throughout the week, I found ways to attend class on time and complete the assignments on time as well. Sometimes work would interfere with whatever time that I have to study for tests. I would ask supervisors to ask me to use whatever time I had from work to study with a tutor so that I could do well on my tests. Then my supervisor told me that it was the last day of work study, it hit me like a lightening bolt, but I did the best that I could to do at work. Fortunately, I ended up with B+’s in both of my classes, though I wish I could have done better.

I’d imagine my workplace to resemble this scenario

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Instead, it looked more like this

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Another change that I experienced was Donald Trump being inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Like the majority of Americans, I wasn’t ecstatic about the idea of this man becoming president. His bigoted, sexist and xenophobic rants on immigrants, women(White), Muslims, Mexicans, and Black Americans alienated me and many other Americans. His lack of political experience marked a spell for disaster as one executive order after another was enacted into law. His constant tweeting, and ranting  makes him look foolish in the eyes of many.  There are constant reports of him firing members of his cabinet along with him having liar like Kellyanne Conway represent his administration in public.  There has also been a conflict of interest with him running his business and his daughter, Ivanka’s own clothing line even though she isn’t an elected official.  Fortunately, his presidency hasn’t harmed my interests yet…….despite being of immigrant background, Black and female. Let’s tune in to the progression of the Trump presidency.

The most major change I experienced was cleansing my mind from indoctrination from frequenting the so called Black Woman’s Empowerment spaces and negativity in Black Feminist/Black Woman Centric spaces.  I was growing tired of having to modify my opinions not to upset anyone(these spaces don’t allow free thoughts to flow through unless it agrees with the BWE message.  If you do disagree, you are a Mammy), classist and elitest thinking, xenophobia, misogyny, and lack of unity among the members. I deleted my Facebook account to get away from the BWE, and stopped listening to Breuekelen Bleu a few months ago. I couldn’t take the constant negativity and going back and forth with these women any longer. For the past two years, my mind was permeated with their doctrine and the empowerment and progression of Black American women in society.  That all changed due to the backstabbing, name calling and lying I seen and experienced in these spaces. It made me doubt everything I had learned from the BWE-good and bad.  Now that I have left the movement behind, I feel relieved that I no longer limit my thinking to one idea or doctrine, because I was going crazy trying to keep up with these gurus.

I expected to see this when I was becoming interested in the BWE

This is more of what I saw in these BWE and Black Feminist spaces, but it was mainly online

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What didn’t change was my devotion to my family and taking of my siblings. My family means alot to me despite whatever issue I may have with them. My love of family and closeness to them outweighs whatever negativity that I face out in the world. Along with family, close friends have also been a major source of happiness and solace in my life. Though family and friends have been a constant force in my life, my mind and outlook continues to change.

I don’t believe in or frequent BWE spaces anymore. Nor do I identify as a feminist. Through my experiences with them, I learned that identity politics doesn’t work. What is the point of having your own spaces designated for a particular race, ethnicity, culture or gender when not everyone from the same group agrees on everything? Especially if this particular group is marginalized and lack political and social clout. What is the point of these spaces when the people in it can’t get along and find a way to solve the problems plaguing it? I understand that many people want to have their own spaces to express themselves especially Black women, but I don’t believe that it solves any of the problems in society.  Political correctness has also stifled the expression of individuals in society. One would have to walk on eggshells not to offend others in the name of political correctness. Or hide their bigotry to not come off as racist or reveal their true colors. My growing dissent with identity politics and political correctness has led me farther away from the far left and more centrist in my view of the world. I don’t automatically think that every Black woman is out for my best interests at heart.

Changing my perspective on the meaning of life has been beneficial to my psyche. These days, I look at the character of the person before I decide if I can trust them and keep them around, not the faux racial loyalty.  I am no longer obsessed or worried about what the opposite gender of my race thinks of me. Nor do I have irrational fear of certain groups of people anymore. I look at someone’s character and assess it before I find a way to interact with them in an appropriate way.  Life is too short to worry about frivolous and fickle matters.