March ’19 Hot Topics

March has been jam packed with hot topics that have taken the world by storm from major regional weather issues to traveling issues to various celebrity issues and I am here to catch y’all up on all the tea this month! So lets jump right in, this month’s hot topics in my book are:

  • Boeing Plane Issues #Boeing737Max8 On Sunday, March 10, a new Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed en route to Nairobi from Addis Adaba leaving no survivors. Six short minutes after takeoff the aircraft, a Boeing 737 Max 8, lost contact with air traffic controllers. The plane crashed right outside of the Ethiopian capital, Bishoftu and it is not clear what caused the crash since the plane was just delivered to the airline back in November. Since the crash the Federal Aviation Administration is grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft operated in by US airlines or in US territory for the time being. Some of the major airlines affected by this are Southwest Airlines who had to ground 34 of its’ planes, and American Airlines who grounded 14 aircrafts. Dozens of other countries have grounded their ‘737 Max 8’s, and some have banned them all together. Nonetheless, travel season is among us and it seems like appropriate actions have been taken to ensure passenger safety but fly at your own risk.
  • Stranded Cruise Ship #CruiseGoneWrong The Viking Sky cruise ship was stranded near the coast of Norway on Saturday, March 23, for 48 hours. The ship was carrying 1,373 passengers and were more than half way through the 12-day cruise exploring Norwegian towns when they got stuck in the middle of a storm with 43 mph winds and 26 feet tall waves. On top of that, it has been reported that the cruise ship was also experiencing engine trouble due to low oil levels. Around 400 passengers were evacuated by boat and helicopter throughout the night. The Viking cruise ship was able to successfully dock on Norway’s coast Sunday afternoon. There were 20 reported injuries. Thankfully there were no fatalities, however, I was thinking about taking a cruise later on this year and I’m not going to lie that this spectacle has me on the fence about if I should.
  • Cardi B Video #SurvivingCardiB About 3 years ago, Cardi B made an Instagram Live video where she admits to drugging and robbing men to make a living. Rather than avoiding the limelight, Cardi B owned up to what she said in the video and put it into context where she says, “the men I spoke about…were men I dated…that were conscious, willing and aware.” She continued on and said “I am not proud of it and feel a responsibility not to glorify it.” However, social media was ruthless as usual and created #SurvivingCardiB to compare her actions to those of R. Kelly sexual abuse docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.” People are even out there comparing her to Bill Cosby who is currently serving 10 years for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. Through all of this, Cardi B has shown the world that she owns up to her past actions and is trying to grow from them, in her words, “she never claimed to be perfect.” I think that unless one of Cardi B’s men come forward and speak to her drugging and robbing them, nothing should come of this video.
  • Jussie charges dropped #JussieSmollett In February’s Hot Topics I wrote about the Jussie’s case for staging his own hate crime attack. Jussie was being charged for 16 felony counts which were all dropped on March 26. The Chicago Mayor and Police Department were not in the least bit happy about the state prosecutors clearance of Jussie’s charges. Despite the haters, Jussie has remained unapologetic while maintaining his innocence. I am personally not surprised the charges did not stick because there is no hard proof just circumstantial evidence and the brothers word against his.
  • The Gayle King Interview with R Kelly #rkellyinterview CBS This Morning released the exclusive and explosive interview with R Kelly to give him a chance to respond to the grievances placed against him since the release of the Surviving R Kelly docuseries. The interview has become a topic of conversation with R Kelly’s unstable behavior and Gayle King’s ability to keep her composure through it all. R Kelly puts on a grand act by claiming all the accusers that came forward in the docuseries were “lying on him.” He was very defensive throughout the interview and trying his best to twist the story to his favor. Gayle King also interviewed R Kelly’s current standing women/girlfriends Jocelyn Savage and Azriel Clary who both spoke in his defense that they are in a consensual relationship with him and their parents pushed them into R Kelly’s arms for money. In the video he plays the victim and busts into tears amidst a temper tantrum as he says, “I’m fighting for my fucking life…y’all killing me with this shit!” There were so many moments in this interview that could be picked apart but the moral of the story is that the fire has been lit to burn this monster to the ground and to say the least, he’s feeling the heat.

Well that’s all I have this month in regards to hot topics, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other issues that were hot topics of discussion. So what were some other major takeaways this month for y’all??

#MusicMatters: Karma×Queen Naija

I believe that music connects with people in the most powerful way where it just uplifts your soul, speaks to your heart, and manifests the words weighing in your mind. Music is therapeutic and the majority of songs really put into context some of the beauty and hardships you experience in life.

With that said, every once in a while when I find a song that speaks to me that I think has some valuable information that we can learn from and interpret on a deeper level I will first post the song lyrics and then breakdown the song for the major takeaways I think someone somewhere can relate to.

Our first song for #MusicMatters is Karma by Queen Naija that speaks about a relationship breakup where her partner just threw her to the side for the next chick. This is one of my favorite songs right now. Its been out for a hot minute but every time I hear it, the words she sings resonate deeply within me where I can terribly relate.

**Disclaimer** I think it is best if you first read through the lyrics and then listen to the song.

“Karma”

I held you down for the longest
And I was there through all of your darkest moments
Feels just like yesterday when we were homeless
Got you some bread, and start treating me bogus

Talking about you wanted something new
Like I wasn’t good enough for you
Guess you done caught you a case of amnesia
Maybe you should take a look in your rear view

Cause obviously you forgot all the times that I held you when you cried
And don’t you remember that even if you was in the wrong I stood by your side
No, I guess not, I guess not
Cause you let them thots take my spot
Congratulations to you what you wanted is what you got now

So you don’t got to worry about me
You made it clear that you’re unhappy, yeah
Go ahead and have your fun now
Just remember what goes around comes around

You don’t got to worry about me
You made it clear that you’re unhappy, yeah
Go ahead and have your fun now
Just remember what goes around comes around

I remember when you said that you could have somebody better
And I can’t even lie to you, it really messed my head up
Have me looking in the mirror disgusted with myself
Wishing that I look like someone else
Like the girls you liked on Instagram, damn

And you really had the nerve to call me insecure
Maybe it wasn’t you
Maybe it’s true I didn’t know my worth
Maybe maybe I should have loved me first
Maybe maybe I should have loved me first

So you don’t got to worry about me
You made it clear that you’re unhappy, yeah
Go ahead and have your fun now
Just remember what goes around comes around

You don’t got to worry about me
You made it clear that you’re unhappy, yeah
Go ahead and have your fun now
Just remember what goes around comes around

What goes around, it comes around
What goes around, it comes around, yeah

Let’s begin at the name of the song “Karma.” Karma is generally defined as “what goes around comes around.” In which, means that you will be held accountable for the choices you make and the actions you take. So in this song she’s taking us on a journey about how she held her significant other down when they literally had nothing, and the second they got on their feet, they started acting brand new, and thought they could have someone better than her.

I think so many people can resonate with this principle because living in todays world where you can connect with someone with just the touch of a button on any social media platform is scary. Your significant other can literally leave at any given moment and it won’t necessarily be someone in your town but can be anyone in the world. The person you’re with today can wake up tomorrow and decide they don’t want to be with you anymore for whatever reason.

However, that’s a mute point to the main point I’m trying to get at. When she says, “I remember when you said that you could have somebody better, Have me looking in the mirror disgusted with myself.” Really hit me like a ton of bricks because your significant other is one of the only people in your life that can lift you up or tear you down, and sadly sometimes it’s the latter. And that stuff stays with you, you remember the putdowns more so than the compliments and if anyone speaks to you negatively in such a way you need to nip it in the bud immediately or get to steppin’.

The last verse really was the message that stood out the most to me where she says, “Maybe it wasn’t you, maybe it’s true I didn’t know my worth, maybe I should have loved me first.” These lines right here are crucial in this world as a woman and especially while within a relationship. Before you can be with any one and truly love them and be loved, you have to love yourself first. Ya’ll already know I’m a huge advocate for self-love and I think this song drives home that necessity.

You can never allow yourself to get lost within a relationship where you lose sight of your self-worth. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough. And you are worth it. Always know your worth because if you don’t no one else will.

Ultimately, if someone does you down right dirty, dust yourself off and keep it moving because they will get what’s coming to them, one way or another.

Well, that’s my dissection of the song, I hope y’all enjoyed the song, and the valuable lessons it teaches. And remember, treat others the way you want to be treated because karma is a b!tch!

February ’19 Hot Topics

In the spirit of establishing blog traditions for Straight Gurl Talk, here is my list of February 2019 hot topics. Of course, there are tons of topics I could include here but I just wanted to touch base on a few elements that I think stirred the pot a little bit this month and just add my two cents on them. So lets jump right into it…

  • Jussie Smollett Attack. #inthenews On January 29, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett reported being beaten and doused in bleached, which was perceived as a hate crime since his attackers said racist and homophobic slurs during the attack. Where events took a turn for the worst, was when Chicago police said that Jussie set up the whole thing by paying his attackers prior to the event. So they are basically saying that his alleged attackers, who happen to be brothers, and have worked on the set of “Empire” with Jussie and work as a personal trainer for him, have proof of a transaction that took place between them. This apparently equates to Jussie paying them to stage the hate crime just so that Jussie could get a raise from “Empire” production. I know most are saying he’s an attention whore and is guilty, (there are some mean memes circulating social media) but I just don’t think Jussie is that stupid to set himself up like that and with someone that can easily track back to him. I guess we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out and who has the most believable storyline because it seems like it’s going to be a “he said, she said” type of case.
  • Black History Month. #celebrate I’m pretty upset I wasn’t able to make a post about the importance of celebrating black history month but I for sure wanted to include it here as we look back on the month of February. And I think the main thing I saw in the media regarding BHM was people disrespecting the African American culture and people (of course, there were black history celebrations and honors as well). There was a huge controversy with Gucci Mane and his turtlenecks, then there was the school that created black face representations during a BHM song tribute, and then there were numerous instances of blacks attacking blacks like the whole Steve Harvey and Monique square off. I just think we as a people (not just African Americans) can do better and should do better in celebrating the black community and how far we’ve come as a people.

There’s a saying that goes: you have to know where you came from to know where you’re going and I think that’s the true purpose of BHM; to learn about black history in its entirety and learn from it.

Furthermore, if you would like to broaden your horizons and knowledge, there is a great application provided via Facebook Messenger called Push Black that will send out daily, weekly, or even monthly updates (you pick how often you want to receive notifications) on black history. I signed up for it a couple months ago and do the weekly updates and it has really opened my eyes and educated me on black history in every which way. Moral of the story: don’t sleep on black history, it’s a critical aspect to the fabric of the world!

  • The 91st Academy Awards. #movies For the first time in the past 30 years, The Oscars was produced without a host due to the Kevin Hart debacle (if you don’t know, he had posted a series of homophobic tweets) that happened late last year. Needless to say, the show proceeded fairly quickly and many complained that it wasn’t as “put together” without a host. Regardless, there were still some memorable highlights from the award show such as Lady Gaga’s and Bradley Cooper’s groundbreaking performance of “Shallow,” Black Panther becoming Marvel Studios first Oscar winner, and the official Lion King trailer being released during the show. Also, in an effort to thwart the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Spike Lee finally won the Oscar he should’ve gotten years ago for Best Director, Black Panther racked up three golden globes, and Regina King won Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk. There was a major uproar with the movie Green Book winning Best Picture, as the leading upset for the entire show. However, it was a great year for Lady Gaga making history as the first person to win an Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA in a single year!

With that said, I think the Oscar’s does shed light on movies that just might be worth watching that you might have not considered before. So if you weren’t able to catch these films at the movies, maybe go check them out (at least, all of these movies have been added to my must-see list):

  1. If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Green Book
  3. A Star is Born
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Black KKKlansman
  6. The Favourite
  7. Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
  8. Roma
  9. Free Solo
  10. First Man
  • The Grammys 2019. #musicmatters This year was the 61st Annual Grammys Awards and boy was it one for the books. There were grand performances from Kacey Musgraves, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Travis Scott, Camila Cabello, H.E.R., Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, and Miley Cyrus, just to name the few. Profound moments were in abundance throughout the show such as Jennifer Lopez’s Motown tribute (which was a huge controversy beforehand within the black community), Dolly Parton performed with Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry after being named as the MusiCares Person of the Year to honor her charity work, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance during the show opening, and Andra Day, Yolanda Adams, and Fantasia performed A Natural Woman Tribute to Aretha Franklin. The notable winners from this years show were: Cardi B becoming the first solo woman to win best rap album, H.E.R. won two awards, including Best R&B album, Childish Gambino’s “This is America” won four awards, Ariana Grande won her first Grammy, and Kacy Musgraves won four awards, one of which was album of the year. Needless to say, the award show featured a considerable amount of amazing performances, celebrity appearances, and fashion statements maintaining its claim as the most prestigious musical celebration award shows. I know I will now be downloading Kacy Musgraves album to my Spotify to see firsthand what I’ve been missing out on all this time.
  • Tax Season. #taxreturn January 28th marked the official start of the tax season which is the best time of the year for some or the worst for others. You either see people balling out with their tax refund acting like they never had any money or you see the people who are paying money out their ass back to the IRS for whatever their situation may be. So which one are you? Do you take less money in your paycheck throughout the year for a larger payout during tax season or do you like to see your money in your paycheck and just take the lower tax refund during tax season? Based on the simple time value of money, you should prefer to see most of your money in your paycheck and forego the larger tax refund because you are basically giving the government an interest free-loan if you choose the latter. Here are some facts for you, the average tax refund is down by double digits this year in comparison to last year. Precisely 17% lower. Last year tax refund average was around $3169 and this year has lowered to $2640. This due to the change in tax law which eliminated some popular deductions and revised withholding tables which caused many taxpayers to under-withhold their income for taxes.

Therefore, we need to wise up and adjust accordingly when it comes to taxes so here are a few tips I have for you:

  1. Check your W-4s make sure your tax withholding is in your benefit. I say take as much money in your paycheck as you can get!
  2. Don’t be a thirst for your refund check! Meaning: don’t be dependent on your tax refund to make stuff happen, save throughout the year so you aren’t pressed, manage your money wisely year long.
  3. Get your refund direct deposited into your bank and leave it there! Currently, I work as a bank teller and let me tell you we absolutely dread when tax season rolls around because people really get upset when we run out of money because everybody and they momma wanna pull out their entire refund as soon as it hits! I really think it would be more beneficial if you just leave your tax refund money in your account and watch it grow. Use it as a jumpstart to your emergency savings or at least use it to pay off some major bills, don’t use it all trying to flex and going on a full blown shopping spree.

There you have it ladies, those are some of my major takeaways from the month of February. What else would you say was a hot topic from February 2019??

The Day of Love

As soon as Christmas passes, store aisles are decked out with heart shaped balloons and chocolates, teddy bears galore, and an unbearable amount of pinks and reds. Valentine’s Day has become one of the worlds most profitable holidays, coined as a grand marketing scheme Saint Valentine himself couldn’t have imagined. Designed to put pressure on people to showcase their love for the rest of the world to judge, and those who are lacking love to run and hide. Regardless of how you feel about the holiday, there is an added pressure on us gurls to hold the holiday to a higher regard unnecessarily.

Valentine’s Day has a mixed connotation associated with it, specifically with women, that needs to be addressed:

  • Love Day. If you see it as an issue that you are single and not in a relationship on Valentines Day you are unrightfully setting yourself up for a gloomsday. With that said, I thought it was important to address the negative juju associated with the holiday because one day should not have the power to magnify your singleness to the point you feel lonely. And, there is absolutely no need to feel a certain type of way about the holiday just because you are single at that particular time. The holiday is not to solely celebrate your love with your significant other but it is meant to celebrate love, which comes in many forms. Relationship or not, you have some sort of love relationship with someone, whether it be your parents, or child, or even your friends. So I say, if you are single, relish in your singleness. Enjoy being alone. Take yourself out on a dinner date. Send yourself some flowers. Because remember no one’s going to love you like you do anyways.
  • Relationship Pressure. Most of those in relationships, dread the holiday because of the price tag and romantic expectations associated with it. Generally, women expect their significant other to spoil them with flowers and chocolates, and a grand romantic gesture. Restaurants are packed so that you can flaunt your relationship to the rest of the world. Quite frankly, we want chocolates and flowers and jewelry so that we can run and tell our gurlfriends about it or put it on Snapchat. However, I know plenty of couples that don’t even bother with celebrating the holiday because it’s unrealistic to limit showing your loved ones how much you love them to one day within a year. It should be done throughout the year.
  • Love Making. I’ve spoke to many women who feel that giving it up on Valentines Day is their partners gift or there are the women who reserve that night for pulling out all their tricks in the bedroom. However, the main flaw here is that we believe giving up our body is a requirement on Valentines Day which couldn’t be farther from the truth. If that’s the tradition you and your significant other have started then believe you me, I am not hating. But, what I want to stress is that if you’re in a new relationship and feel pressured to take this next step, please remember you are not required to do so in the name of love.
  • Gift Giver or Receiver? Or both? The hallmark holiday has been marked with consumerism and commercialism at the forefront which generally places additional pressure on men to show up and show out for their partner so that they don’t end up in the dog house. I’m not going to lie, I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day. I enjoy the flowers and heart shaped chocolates because they are available in an abundance around this time of year. However, I try not to make a big deal about it because I don’t want my husband to feel like this is the one time he can do something nice for me. He needs to be showing me love year round. On the other hand, I do make sure I do something nice for him for Valentine’s Day because I’m not as lovey-dovey as I should or could be, so it serves as a friendly reminder for me that my husband needs love too and it’s my job to show it to him. So ladies, if you are celebrating Valentine’s Day and expect a gift, get your partner something too!
  • Singles Awareness/Appreciation Day. Most singles refer to the holiday at Singles Awareness Day (SAD) adding a depressing vibe to the holiday. However, February 15th is now known as Singles Awareness/Appreciation Day, created as a humorous holiday to celebrate being single. I literally just found out this was a thing this week, and I love the idea it was founded on–the day following Valentines Day was chosen to allow single people to turn it into a joyous occasion versus a festival of self-pity. This day was made as a reminder to embrace your singleness to the umpteenth power!

The main point I’m trying to drive home here is that Valentine’s Day is held at way too high of an regard with pricey expectations. If you really think about it, it really is a silly holiday. So if you’re able to really see it for what it is, you won’t put those societal pressures on yourself that come with the occasion. Just allow yourself to fall in love with love all over again on this day because that’s the point. 

Regardless of your relationship status, take on Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love. Celebrate your partner, your parents, your children, and don’t forget yourself. And let the holiday serve as a reminder to the power of love and how we need to show it to one another more often.

January ’19 Hot Topics

Each month I will do a culmination post that goes over a few hot topics from that month which will include anything from social trending, music, TV shows, and even major news events, etc.

Outside of the typical January hot topic of “new year new me” trends, I want to touch on a few hot topics that I wasn’t able to make a full post about. Now the items that make it on my list are just things I’ve noticed as huge talking points amongst my friends and family, social media, co-workers, and based on my location.

So lets jump right in, here are the January hot topics:

1. The Government Shutdown. #inthenews The longest government shutdown in US history lasting for 35 long days has started the year off with a bang. The shutdown has prolonged this excruciating amount of time due to Trump’s demand of “the wall” along the Mexico border. This shutdown has cost many federal employees paychecks to be nonexistent and critical services out of reach to the people. Trump agreed to lift the government shutdown temporarily for 3 weeks on Friday, January 25th but he has not let go of his will to build the wall. He has made it clear that he is prepared to enforce another government shutdown if the bipartisan committee does not construct a deal that meets his border security demands. 🙄 Lord be with us.

 

2. 10 Year Challenge. #socialmediatrending If you use any form of social media whether it be Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you have seen people posting then-and-now profile pictures. You probably participated in the social media phenomenon yourself. As I watched people post pictures, I noticed that most people had major glow ups and I think it serves as a friendly reminder that where you are now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life in the last 10 years and man I’ve come a long a way, I’ve been through a lot of shit, but I’m grateful for where I am today. I’m not where I want to be but at least I’m moving in the right direction! Own your glow up ladies 💁🏽‍♀️ Here’s my #10yearchallenge for kicks and giggles:

 

Gurl the struggle was real…don’t judge me lol

3. Surviving R. Kelly Docuseries. #BlackGirlsMatter This has been a touchy subject for me because there are so many opinions surrounding the types of issues brought up with this documentary but it has been a major talking point in the black community. So if you don’t know, Lifetime created a 6-episode docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly that basically broadcasts the cruel, demeaning, and straight up foul sexual (assault) acts R. Kelly has performed against young black women including his former wife. There’s honestly so much you could talk about concerning this documentary but it was most definitely eye opening and disheartening that he’s been getting away with his behavior for so long because he’s dealing with young black girls. The documentary was launched to correlate with Lifetime’s Emmy award winning Stop Violence Against Women Public Affairs campaign and although it is hard to watch due to the unspeakable sexual misconduct there are lots of teachable moments. With that said, if you haven’t watched it yet, check it out, and take notes on how we can be better and know better collectively as women.

4. Soulja Boy Shenanigans#memetastic Ya’ll already know I’m obsessed with memes and Soulja Boy has hit social media by storm with his memes in correlation to his Drake comment made at an interview with the Breakfast Club. The interview itself is about an hour long and Soulja Boy touches on a lot of things from his shoot out to being the godfather of streaming music but generally he’s perceived as the butt of the joke. Even if you don’t know who Soulja Boy is, I’m sure you’ve at least seen one of his memes. Here are some of my favorites:

5.   Winter Weather Advisory. #coldasshit These winter storms have been coming through the US with no mercy at all. I live in upstate NY right now, so naturally it is already cold out here but I don’t thing the temps have creeped past freezing point for the majority of the month. One of my sisters who lives down in Florida was even busting out her “winter jacket” and turning on the heater this month whenever the temps went below 65 degrees. 😂 All jokes aside, it has been reported that 15 homeless people have died in the US from the bone chilling temperatures. Some states are experiencing temperatures below negative 50 degrees with the wind chill! If you don’t know how cold that is, be thankful because that’s too cold; cold as f*ck! So stay warm out there and commence cuddle weather.

There you have it ladies, those are some of my major takeaways from the month of January. What else would you say was a hot topic from January 2019??