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??