Tag Archives: Money

“Bathroom Blues”

We complain and spend time on how public restrooms are used.
What’s the bigger issue? There has to be more than the bathroom blues.
Since you’ve  decided to deny the rights of those who are different, let’s focus in on the what really makes bigots selective.
The mirror is set up, look in if you wish.
Are you afraid that a deeper look will make you acknowledge someone else’s glitch?
People are people, just let us be. I’ll respect you if you let me L-I-V-E.
What you’re afforded should be afforded to me.
The stall next to you might contain, a rapist, killer or domestic violence victim, if they admitted guilt or cried out for help would you even listen?
Bathroom blues…
These stalls are not confession booths. That’s not why they’re used.
What gives you a right to make someone choose?
If we were out in jungle, just me and you, no boundaries or space definition, what would we do?
Would you know Laverne Cox was born a man if she never announced herself?
Lay people down  on  couches pull down books from a shelf– to analyze how you think they are  messed up in the mind based on a decision they made for their health.
Stop, please stop! The water is running and he didn’t wash his hands for more than 30 seconds.
He just finished jerking off to child pornography, now he’s going to shake hands for political elections.
You don’t care that he’s in the bathroom with you, but we are tied up in pointless conversation about who pees and where they release? Bathroom blues, or is it pink bathrooms for girls?

-Sharieka Breeden

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Life over death

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Check out my thoughts on gun violence, what we need to do to combat the issue and a breakdown of President Barack Obama’s address to the public on the issue, reform and where we are headed as a nation.

Stay Peace…

Don’t just live, live well -Episode 2

See what Chris Wilmore  is doing in his community to make a difference. People will watch paid boxers and MMA fighters fight. These individuals are doing it for their lives and handling their issues without a gun. No charge. Check out Guns to gloves

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“And the Winner is: Part 1”

By Sharieka Breeden
Kendrick Lamar is up for 11 Grammy nominations. J.Cole is up for three. If the matchup for “Best Rap” Album was determined by who had the most nods for their work, it is evident that Lamar would be leaving with a win. It’s not though and honestly while Cole might not have as many nominations as Taylor Swift who has seven, in my opinion he is the only artist deserving and questionably worthy of exiting the stage with the award in a category where Lamar is featured.
Let’s see the lineup: Shedding some light on Art that illuminates
“A reflection on “To Pimp a Butterly, Lamar” and “Forest Hills Drive, Cole”
Kendrick’s  impact
The number alone make’s it evident that Lamar is a gifted artist with the ability to create music that people relate to and love. His lyrics are stimulating conversation-starters for many. As my partner and I delved into his third studio album, we found ourselves fascinated and immersed in his reflections on issues involving race, black masculinity, and economic status (to name a few).
As an artist Lamar uses  “To Pimp a Butterly” his work ranges songs like “King Kunta” where he embodies the energy and attitude of a character in the popular series, “Alex Haley’s Roots.” A psychedelic beat sampling and accompanied by catchy lyrics shed light the rise to fame, what that journey is like and who is with you along the way. It’s an introspective look at what it means to stay true to self and roots while moving up the ladder. The work also does what art is supposed to which is bringing people up to speed about parts of culture and life that they could’ve missed. It’s a nice tribute to a historical showing of the slave experience in America and the strengths of blacks willing to lose a foot to maintain themselves (to me it’s deep,  thought provoking and lends itself conversation which far exceeds what I touched on in a few lines.)
References to biblical scriptures and stories in “How much a dollar cost” question self worth and accountability while forcing us to think about self and what our obligations are as people.
The way that Lamar forces us to take a deeper look at reality is refreshing. Occasional comical undertones compliment the work helping to soften a message that is delivered in hard, impactful fashion.
For me, Lamar’s music makes him a leader in times where many aren’t willing to accept the role. His interview-styled conversation with Tupac during “Mortal Man”  left me with chills and allows us to revisit the thoughts of another genius while reflecting on how too many black lives are lost prematurely to senseless violence and systematic practices.
“U” and “I” are both spiritually tuned reflections of self that are relatable for many listeners who battle with what it means to exist in a world where we are forced to have a grasp on who we are and who we are trying to become. Recording music is one thing and taking it to the next level to use it as an educational tool is another. Kendrick’s thought on the debated “N” word is powerful. The breakdown and delivery of his knowledge of the roots of the world was a brilliant way to jump into tracks where the uses it While listening, I reflection and continue to question the usage as I kept his insight in mind.
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Addressing the black community is a must, especially in a time where accountability seems to be a failed practice for many. Lamar challenges the black community in “The Blacker The Berry”  These lyrics ring out loud and proud on days where t’nice enough to roll my windows down or on morning runs. “You never liked us anyway, fuck your friendship. I meant it  I’m African American, I’m African. I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village. Pardon my residence. Came from the bottom of mankind. My hair is nappy..” Being real and powerfully voicing truths about identity, expectations, stereotypes along with publicizing the power and beauty that comes with being black is a strong point for the Compton based rapped. He also doesn’t shy away from talking about the harsher realities that come with the skin tone. His work makes you recall leaders during the civil rights moving who endlessly work to deliver the message of “Black Pride.”
The brother is deep combination of many things. The 5’5 rapper eloquently relays a message with radical thoughts and sounds that push boundaries. He’s deserving of the nominations and there’s only one category where I’ve even thought to question a victory.
Rap’s modern day: Ali vs. Frazier– Cole’s Corner 
I don’t see anyone as a formidable opponent for the lyricist other than J. Cole with “Forest Hills Drive” album. (Contenders in the Best Rap Album category).
While I see Lamar’s album as the album of the year and him as deserving of each nomination he is up for, Cole’s work can’t be forgotten and his lyrical wordplay forces you to hear him, embrace every word and then listen again. “What’s money without happiness?”. It’s questions like these that make Cole’s album feel like a conversation experience throughout. His work is the blueprint for looking within and seeing what it means to go for success and to truly value your circumstances.
Cole’s work embodies hip-hop flare and flavor. It’s also the journey of a rapper/artist who has progressed and taken great leaps to far exceed his previous work (Born, 2013 and Cole World: The Sideline Story, 2011)
The album is one that can be played while in any mood and also serves as a mood-setter.
Cole demands attention and respect in tracks like “January 28” and labels himself as the games greatest mc with lines like “You n*(gg*s might be L, or you might be Kane or you might be Slick Rick with 19 chains or you might be Drizzy Drake or Kendrick Lamar, but check the birthdate… You ain’t the God.” The line is accompanied by poetic and memorable remarks about black on black violence and continually working to be at the height of hip hop and life.
While he effortlessly makes his argument for being the games best and calls out white rappers for their imitation of what started as black art (appropriation) in “Fire Squad“, Cole draws minds to subject matters that parallel many issues in society such as the gentrification of neighborhoods, the devaluing or art and work for capitalistic gain and history’s role on modern day.
He also delves into the hearts and experience of listeners in “Wet Dreams” as he talks about his first time and shares the nerves and excitement of a young inexperienced virgin.  In “No Role Modelz” he shares an inside look at himself as well as his perspective on today’s women vs. women respected and culturally loved like Nia long and Lisa Bonnet. He paints a picture of the now and then and how culturally we’ve stepped away from values, attachments to not being sold for a dollar sign and the power we possess to get back there.
The tempo and pace on tracks like “G.O.M.D. and “Apparently” make you vibe out and just get lost in the content. Cole delves into his emotion on “G.O.M.D“. where he talks about the value of love and how it’s absent in society. The song is the perfect balance of reality and asking  questions about stereotypes that plague our community. I spent many road trips listening to Cole serenade and pump out uplift “I keep my head high…I keep my faith strong.”  He makes feel good music that make you think about what is necessary to feel better.
J.Cole
In songs like “A tale of two Citiez” Cole shows the world what it feels like have ambitions of obtaining materialistic that are praised and sought after in society. He effortlessly tells stories and brings you into his world of how robbing and crimes in cities where opportunities are lacking become the option. Cole is socially aware and focused on helping others get to that point. He’s honest and doesn’t shy away from revealing his ambitions and what it means to endure, and be involved with certain experiences based on circumstances.
Forest Hill Drive was a hugely improved showing of his ability to use his work as activists.
Both Lamar and Cole have created work worthy of listening to, worthy of discussing and repeatedly playing. It’s work that depicts the times and tells the individualized stories and experiences of two individuals that have great insight on what’s reality for an often overlooked population.
The albums dropped at a time where social and racial injustices are at the surface of societal issues that are echoed by terroism, violence, poverty and poor nutrition. As a black woman, proud of my heritage, culture and ambition to stay connected to my roots, I take pride in listening to artists who take pride in making art. Both Lamar and Cole do this because they shed light and raise awareness to the ills of the world while challenging us to do our part and put a mirror up for reflection .
As I said before, in my opinion Lamar is deserving of every grammy he is up for. The only category I have questioned involves both him and Cole “Best Rap album” Cole says he’s the best, while Lamar arguably just shows it.
Here’s Part 2 in the “And the Winner Is?” series.
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The time is now

By Sharieka Breeden 

Shielded in suits…Planting false proof, drenched in fear, working to stop us from being here. You call it in accident. I call it genocide.

Promotion of guns, everywhere we turn.

How can you call yourself pro-life when you express little concern about those who exist?

When will we learn, when will it matter? Treat us like we are walking destruction or natural disaster.

Sick and tired. Tired of being sick of he treatment and the failed nutrition.

Whether it’s a gun or the food, human kind is facing doom unless we stop being quiet about the elephant in the room.

Inferiority in the workplace. Inferiority in the court and the church. How can you make a living when you don’t feel equal at work?

We must stop it, put an end to it now.

Time to search for answers and find out how.

No need for words like later… Let’s do this now.

Have a sense of urgency, a sense of pride.

Journey on like Harriet, revolt like Nat. Make sure their spirits are alive.

Either stand together, or elevate above those who see that we fall… Because justice isn’t supposed to be one-sided. It’s for all.

images                                        turnerrevolt

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Worth More.

By Sharieka Breeden

Artificial accessories delivered on a doorstep. Visions of success interrupt night rest, so when the sun rises it feels like you haven’t slept.

Foreign policies on homeland. Bills and proposals put into place that we can’t seem to understand.

Rattled, out of place. Working hard to grasp the concepts that are presented to you. Born. Live. Die. The only thing in between it all is living.

We are infatuated with the breaths we take, unconsciously aware of their value. In the seconds where we acknowledge the importance of our existence, we count them as significant.

Memories are created as we live minutes that mean everything. Time is what we have. We are not owed it, but we are granted and awarded it.

Still we allow ourselves to become consumed with a system that counts our value in dollar signs. Limited amounts that decrease our values make it simple for systems to organize and monopolize our lives into meaningless frames where we can’t recognize the significance of our essential selves.

We are worth more than they all credit us for. We are time. We are valuable. In us, are memories worth gripping forever and time that we will never want to let go. Bigger than a system, more important than constraints and limitations that come labeled “In God we Trust.”

Valuable beings. Existing with a purpose. Standing tall, defining important, never letting dollar signs   count you as worthless. Bank accounts, can’t determine your amount, worth of self is defined by what you put out.

Put out genuine mindsets with your creative energy, visions of beauty that you want others to see.  Living in between the phases of our existence, taking away the power from that which is insignificant. We are worth more.

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Calling on the Revolutionary Inside You

By Sharieka Breeden

We must have leaders who won’t sign their names to contracts that sell us back into slavery. We must have individuals who understand that our cause is bigger than our cost.

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In a country where money is the foundation of our creation and we are driven to be divided by classism and status, don’t add to the struggle by settling for exchanges from companies and from false allies that make it clear that their intentions are to carry out the works of the oppressors who caused chaos before them.

We can’t look to the these men and women who only see dollars and identify their perception as powerful.

To: Russell Simmons-To create such an ignorant portrayal of a hero like Harriet Tubman that helped to define freedom for many slaves, lets me know what you think about women as a whole. Russell Simmons, you’re a sexist with backwards intentions to equate the work ethic and abilities of women to laying on their backs. We are worth much more and are givers of life. We have served as assets to humankind and will continue to shape and influence the world. As a self-made entrepreneur, you more than anyone should understand what it means to build a legacy. I can’t understand why you would take it upon yourself to deliver your perception when there is nothing in history that shows it to be true. We as people, as women, as black women don’t have to trade sex to free ourselves from bondage. Our minds, our words, and our work ethic have been the fabric of this country and the stitching of the universe. Women have clearly helped to enhance the world we live in. From Sojourner Truth and Phillis Wheatley to modern day icons like Oprah Winfrey, Nikki Giovanni and Angela Davis, these women have all left an indelible mark on history and have been instrumental in our development as people. Don’t downplay their contributions by suggesting prostitution just because you pimp the game.

To Jay-Z “Sean Carter” We’re in a position and a place as people where the dollar sign shouldn’t define us any more. Cash, clothes, materialistic items that can be purchased shouldn’t define our souls. Hello Mr. Nice Watch… I’ve supported your work and your albums. That’s what fans do. I looked at you as a connector for the world. You were somebody who took the struggles of the streets, the culture, plight of some and made it relatable to all. As people we are so much deeper than man-made money. Our focus should be to uphold our legacy and to define our history. Leaders of today can’t be the same individuals who demean our race and only make music that perpetuates their concepts of foolishness. You’ve been blessed with a gift, a gift to paint images with words. I admire it. Be an engineer and create and lead without any attachments. Don’t be good, be great. I challenge you.

We still have people imposing methods of discrimination. Red-lining in communities, those who are working to eliminate us and thrive on the idea of minorities being non-existent. Don’t join them. Keep building Barclays centers and being an entrepreneur, you don’t have to red-line with them. You’re an innovator.

I’ve never envisioned you as a sellout so don’t  sell us out. If you partner with those who won’t treat us equally in our endeavors, you’re no better than a slave master. We all need to eat, we all want to live and have access to the highest quality of life, but I don’t think that creating and contributing our skills to those who don’t have our best interest at heart shapes us and makes us heroes. Stand for the visions and dreams of those who have supported your dream and vision.

How can you use your voice to abuse our status and send us back into the dilemmas that the heroes before us have worked so hard to eliminate?  In 2013, where the year means nothing and the only thing that can be heard are the voices of those screaming  to tell us that we can change the definition of words that were used to demean us, we must have a dependable source and voice.

You can be that voice. It’s your choice. We don’t look to you because we need to. I suppose it’s your God-given ability to lead, but where will you lead people? What will you deliver? How can you shape and enhance the world when you sit at the table with people who won’t feed those in need?

Sit with us and travel through history as a leader and someone who helped to evolve the world we live in.

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Capitalist

Capitalist
Foreign issues
Money used to be a foreign issue. Now it’s a familiar issue. We read the unemployment rates as they rise. Causing the demise of young college graduates. Building a foundation of struggle, loss time and misfortune. Families struggle to eat at the dinner table, unhealthy eating, opportunity in a smaller portion. Gas tank reads empty while the owners of Citgo and British petroleum increase every time we roll up to the tank. No money so I overdraft, forced to pay the bank. Can’t look at my inbox or walk out to the mailbox because they’re full of error messages, letters denying my intent to progress. The look in a mothers eyes when she realizes her child’s fate will present homelessness. Building a war so some can explore the lies and deceit that this country ehas in store. Sleeping in kingdoms while the working class can’t even get off the floor. Hungry for more. Starving to manifest, home of the free, land of the brave. Does that shit even exist. All I see is cowards as I sit feeling powerless. Companies can’t deal out benefits for workers but CEOs take all expense paid trips. Declared insane because you no longer have any energy or desire to search for happiness. Stuck on stupid. Reluctant to produce. Stagnant in thought. Have absolutely nothing so there is absolutely nothing to lose. Cynical mindset. Everything is on sale. Enslaved by the system. Internet has us in a net, our minds imprisoned, souls in jail. Heart still beats with no idea how to feel.

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