It’s Not “Just” Pepsi…

For This Case:

Imagine after a long night or early morning, you start the day off with either a canned Starbucks drink or an energy drink like Amp. Be that as it may, however, today there is time to whip something up. Everybody loves Quaker – oatmeal, granola; easy peasy. Consequently, from the thickness, you have a glass of Tropicana or a Naked juice. It is probably midday and time to hit the gym because, well – you know, “summer’s coming”!

If you are a gym head I suppose you drink Gatorade?

Eco-friendly? Life Water.

Broke? Aquafina.

Above all, you aren’t that gullible, are you? You don’t actually pay shipping and handling for IG tea, do you?

Brew Lipton‘s. Buy Brisk.

Seeing that you’re exhausted, by now you have showered, rolled up and now have the munchies, yes? As a result, you head to the corner to cop quarter bags of that good: Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos and Lays. You despise Ruffles. Right! So! It is the weekend and you intend to get litty (in the house, obviously). You also buy cans of 7UP for the Vodka, MistTwist to go with the Gin and then a Mountain Dew for tomorrow’s hangover. Ooh, ooh! Are those Tostino‘s pizza rolls on deck for the 2 for $5? All right, all right, now – you are back in the house. You check social media: #PEPSIisTrending.

I’m perplexed —

  1. Are gentrifying pale women the face of this modern-day revolution?

  2. Is it specifically Pepsi that humanizes military cops?

  3. Ain’t no POC’s working at that company to have disputed this concept?

You a Cola fan, anyway, shit –  Boycott Pepsi!!!

Suddenly, you become conscious of PEPSICO. the company and not just “Pepsi” — the brand.
#BoyCottPepsiCo. 

Photo Cred: Youtube & cspdailynews.com

 

 

Abstractly-Defined Artists Restore Humanity

Artists Restore Humanity

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with both an old college professor and a local artist. Comparing both conversations I found some striking similarities; both came from backgrounds with troubled family dynamics which is arguably the foundation of every artist. Independently, yet simultaneously – they have taken their personal experiences and embedded them into ridiculous institutions [by way of teaching] with the objective being either to entertain or report possibilities in real-time.

Collectively, all three of us are teachers, writers, and visual artists; captivated by distorted truths attempting to integrate them with genuine realism. One believes the creative process is individualized with hopes of gaining perspective. The other is steadfast at creating safe spaces for P.O.C’s regardless of their gender identification.

The Professor who Restores Herself

I remember being a sophomore at Augsburg College and enrolling in Sarah Myers Improv Theater class first semester. One of our first assignments was viewing the stage play “Neighbors” featured at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis. To be frank, the production blatantly and [to some] disrespectfully discussed racism. The show was so captivating I saw it nine times! As a young creative, I both intrigued by the artistry of the writers but also offended by the intolerable stereotypes that cowered over the actors.

The healing that Myers offered me as a young, Black woman has forever indebted me to her. For the first time, at 19, I had my first real conversation on race with a middle-aged white woman. Unbeknownst to me, then, Myers had her own share of discrimination by simply being Jewish. A bisexual Jew.

Sarah Myers, a native of Chicago, IL, and active professor at Augsburg College, utilized expressive are in her stage play, ‘I Do Today’. Myers, a self-proclaimed “Bi first – queer now” woman of Jewish faith said that writing the play was a healing process for her. She is an introvert and doesn’t share specific moments of the play publicly because, well – “people make assumptions”. Myers “draws from personal ordeals” with something she has a strong emotional connection to for her creative process.

Whether it’s in front of or behind the stage (she prefers to be behind the scenes) Myers battles with internal issues that would surely perplex her professional community. What are Jewish laws for being bisexual? Can you be bisexual and have a heterosexual marriage? That’s one for the theologians.

The Revolutionary who Restores the Culture

I had the pleasure of meeting Keno Evol 3 years ago in a kitchen, on the south-side of Minneapolis. Ganja blew on the balcony and hood politics discussed in the kitchen. A room full of Black people is so poetic; influenced by recreational substances harmoniously engaging in the most relevant conversation of their lives. 

Keno Evol is a local artist, performer, spoken word artist, dancer, and director. He spent 3 years in the foster care system as were his 8 siblings. Evol now sits as the founder and executive director of Black Table Arts, an arts-based organization centered on conjuring other worlds through Black art, connecting creatives and cultivating volume in Black Life.

He is also the founder of Black Lines Matter [sharing the same acronym as Black Lives Matter] a “writing arena where social politics meets the poetic”; centered on producing historical and contemporary protest projects by Black poets awhile building Black comprehension. An atmosphere that is “free to the public yet highlights and produces premium Black writing” is the mission. His personal goal is to “constantly hold a free space for us to invite more folks to the table, sharpen our swords and lead with love”.  *Black Table Arts meets bi-weekly on Saturdays from 6-8 pm at The Loft Literary Center Room 303

She Who Restores Life

After speaking with both artists I reflect on the times I did something creative to counter pain. It’s effortless to get something either over-the-counter or “under-the-table” to reduce the imposed upon melancholy. Artists are never normal because we are too complex like a contradicting oxymoron. Writing, however, keeps me sane, sober and solvent.

I recalling leaning on my pen more than my pipe to inhale forgiveness and exhale domestic violence, sexual violence, and low self-esteem. I’ve been molested, physically assaulted and raped. Uniquely, I have a tattoo, orbiting my ankle, that reads ‘Dance, Laugh, Sing’ – a daily dose of remedial acts.

As artists, where do we lie down our vulnerabilities when our audiences want silly little anecdotes about love and relationships. A reader once actually told me to write more about my romantic relationships. Perhaps if she knew what all I was still applying Preparation-H to she wouldn’t be so eager to exploit me all in the name of creativity. How ironic is it, though, that my personal pain cleverly disguised as creative works shall be the remedy for her ailments.

My responsibility as a creative is not just to honor humanity but dammit to restore it. Often times it is a tedious expense to invest in humanity but to give up would leave the wound uncovered. In the words of the Notorious B.I.G. “we can’t change the world until we change ourselves”. I say we can’t heal the world’s problems until we hear our own; the cure

is ART.

Photo Cred: augsburg.com, blacktablearts.com & Pinterest

 

 

Are You Waiting to be Great or Ordinary?

People are always waiting for something;

usually to be ordinary. I remember when I was a kid (which was like…last week) and, you know, I couldn’t wait until I turned 16. I would finally be allowed to call that boy my friend, get a cell phone and a job – not just volunteering. Then I couldn’t wait to be 17 because that’s when I would graduate from high school. Next it was 18 to officially be legal and, of course, 21 to buy that first drink. What are you waiting for now? There was nothing waiting for me except 25. I’ll be a quarter of a century – old. 25, however, should bring complete financial stability and independence.

Go Out & Chase Life

Once I hit 25 I will have already moved clear across the country, on my own, with nothing but $75 and a suitcase. I’ve rented a studio apartment, bought a car and had a few pregnancy scares. I grew to become confident about my physicality, more aware of my sexuality, deeper in my mentality and stronger with my spirituality. Yet, and still, there were moments when life completely left me behind, choking on dust.

When I touchdown on that 25 though – I’m done with that. The first half of my twenties was all about character building, finding a voice and liking how that voice sounded. Now I make no apologies whatsoever, okay? Also, at this stage of my existence – it’s game time.

Embrace YOU

I will have finally came into the woman who I was born to be. I’m will be happy. Why? Because I make it a point, now, in everything I do. When you try to live a regular life it’s sometimes hard to remember what the destination is. They tell you to go to school, work, pay taxes – pledge allegiance and then die. Talk about tunnel vision straight to the grave. 73 billion mofo’s on the planet and a good 72 of them find ordinary life to be “the norm”. Who do you think you are? The next Steve Jobs, Kobe or Beyoncé? Yeah, right. I know the secret though: it’s all about your daily actions. You gotta make time for it! Steve had to go through some thangs before it was all that; Kobe stayed shooting in the gym; Beyoncé…is Beyoncé.

 — BREAKING NEWS —
This Just In…

Ordinary life does not consist of things that benefit you. Ordinary life consists of things that benefit other people at the expense of you. I don’t want to be ordinary and, quite frankly, I never was. I always had questions that seemed to defy authority.  used to get called into the manager’s office and hear, ‘you think you can just walk in here doing and saying whatever you want’. You goddamn straight!

Am I supposed to care that you’re a manager? Nope! You are not about to slave me. You clock in and out just like the rest of us – salary or not.  I don’t have ill feelings towards “authority” the way I got issues with bullsh*t so don’t bring it my way. Cause ya girl ain’t ordinary. You take that lunacy over there to Tom or have that conversation with Mary but not Brittney. Hell, fire me. Capitalism reigns supreme and there is another job out there selling something to somebody. Better yet – I quit.

Don’t let life pass you by before it’s too late: you’re married – with kids, too many stretch marks and not enough wine glasses happiness. That’s what happens when you choose to be ordinary; bamboozled into indentured servitude. Nothing in this world will be given to you, especially if you black – especially if you a woman. You must take it and I’m finna [yes finna] take that shit.

Don’t believe me? Oh, honey — just watch.

Photo cred:livinglifecounseling.com