Quote of the Day...

"Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” -Oprah Winfrey

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I Won't and You Can't Make Me

Written by Sister Toldja

Single Black Tragic Woman Theatre is in effect mode. The things we used to discuss amongst ourselves in Essence, in beauty shop and on ladies nights are now being placed on the national stage. The invisible woman got the whole world watching...and instead of celebrating her, they're trying to figure out why she can't get a man. How dreadful. How embarrassing. How wholly unsurprising.

I'm not linking any of these articles or news stories. They are easily found via Google. I'm not giving them any more hits. If a major network or paper wants to holler at ME, they can do that. Send some readers my way, pay me back for the mental anguish I have been caused for the past few weeks since you all have decided to make Black women look like a tragic and lonely monolith. Quote me, pay me, apologize...do something.

I don't hear anyone acknowledging how centuries of oppression and a systematic destruction of the Black man, woman and child could render us unable to love one another . All I hear is Black women who are successful are lonely because they are surpassing their men in class, outnumber them regardless of class and may be too picky. All I hear are people who got all the nerve in the world for trying to fix someone else who are telling me what I am doing wrong with my life. I am not comfortable with short sighted arguments for a subject as life altering as my chances of ever being married and starting a family.

What is REALLY burning my biscuits though is the tired advice being thrown at sisters and one suggestion in particular has me vexed. We are being told to date out of the race. This is problematic on a number of levels:

1) I believe that most of the sisters who want to date interracially have already started doing so without any one's permission or urging. This "advice" implies that sisters haven't the wherewithal to consider making this move until someone else tells them it's okay.

2) It's insulting to men of other races to pose them as a second prize trophy of sorts.

3) It's a slap in the face to sisters who have declared themselves to be loyal to Black men to hear "Naw, we good. Go on 'head, we don't care."

4) It disregards the fact that many Black women are simply not interested in dating men of other races.

I understand how numbers work. I get that if every Black man got married to a Black woman, there would still be some Black women left over. I get that while most Black men who marry will marry Black, they are more likely to try something else than we are. I even get that the media would rather harp over the tragic Black woman than to engage long term solutions for healing Black men so that the man shortage disappears over time*. I get all of these things, I accept them and I proceed with this knowledge.

What I do not get are the number of people, usually Black women and White men, who treat me like I am some short of racist leper for not being willing to date men of other races. I do not get the resentment thrown at Black women who do not choose to entertain non-Black men. If I unpacked my loyalty to our men and completely disregarded my father's wish to see me bring home a strong Black man like himself ...I still wouldn't be physically attracted to men of other races. If I were somehow able to change the latter, I'd be compromising my commitment to the former....

Read the rest here: http://thebeautifulstruggler.blogspot.com/2009/12/i-don.html

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Support Our Own...Sweet Honey Desserts







One of my fellow bloggers, Sister Toldja, is selling bake goods through the holiday season and on into the new year. She says her specialty is her "Winter Boo Bread Pudding", but she also can do a mean sweet potato pie, a tasty rum cake, excellent eggnog cake and a host of other goodies. She can do deliveries in the NYC area and also will ship her treats across the country! She has a blog devoted to her sugar hustle (http://www.sweethoneytreats.blogspot.com/) and she can be reached at sweethoneydesserts@gmail.com.


Support our own...if not us then who?

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Keeping Up Daily..Top News Stories to Help You Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...




About 400 million pages of government documents – from World War II through the Cuban Missile Crisis to the final days of the Cold War – have been sitting in boxes for decades, their secrets hidden. But a new order by President Barack Obama will declassify them within four years unless they meet narrow exceptions. The President isn't the only one getting rid of the old, New York is losing one of their oldest attorney's. For more than a generation, Morgenthau was the district attorney in Manhattan, making him the face of law and order in the nation's most densely populated county. Today is Morgenthau's final day in office. He is 90 and ran the office for 35 years, serving longer than any other prosecutor in New York. What a historical moment, and this next story keeps the historical talk going. The Negro Leagues will be featured on upcoming 44-cent stamps as part of the postal service's 2010 postage program.


-Keep Up!

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Keeping Up Daily..Top News Stories to Help You Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...

Johnson & Johnson is expanding a voluntary recall of Tylenol Arthritis Caplets following consumer reports of nausea and stomach pain. Well, following the attempted terriorts attack in Michigan on Christmas Day, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will begin using bodyscanners on all passengers taking flights to the United States. Looks like someone else is making a recall. General Motors is recalling some 22,000 Chevrolet Corvettes, because of potentially leaky roofs.

A New York citywide jobless map reveals that areas that were occupied by minorities were worst hit by the recession, with some areas reaching an unemployment rate of 16%. I am not surprised, but this next story probably surprised a lot of people. Demarte, a three-year-old Texas boy, is being called a hero after saving his grandmother from a fire. This next person might not be a hero, but he is defiantly getting attention. Peaches Golding will take the ceremonial office of Bristol's High Sheriff in March, becoming the first black high sheriff since the post was created 1,000 years ago.

Teddy Riley, of R&B group Blackstreet, has been accused of attacking his daughters with a guitar from the Wii "Rock Band" video game, according to TMZ, and the daughter has filed a restraining order against her father. Speaking of entertainers, Mary J. Blige will sing and Queen Latifah will take part in an all-star musical number when next week's People's Choice Awards ceremony kicks off the Hollywood awards season. Speaking of the people's choice, African-Americans are extremely supportive of President Obama, but their enthusiasm appears to have dramatically dropped from earlier this year, according to a new national poll.

-Keep Up!

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The Story Behind Kwanzaa...




Written by Sister Toldja from The Beautiful Struggler

I've been the Kwanzaa girl my whole life: often times, I was the only one in class or in my friend circle who's family celebrated the holiday. I get amped for Kwanzaa time like other folks do for Thanksgiving or Christmas and I wish more of our people would give the holiday a chance.

Dr. Malauna Karenga, a community activist and professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, created Kwanzaa in 1966. It began as tool of healing for the community torn by the Watts Riots of 1965. Dr Karenga also said he wanted to "...give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." He borrowed elements from the harvest celebrations of various African cultures, including the Ashanti and the Zulu, for ideas. The name is taken from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which is Swahili for "first fruits".

Full disclosure: Dr. Karenga, founder of Kwanzaa, has a checkered past. He was a suspected informant against the Black Panthers, amongst other heinous crimes. Most Pan-Africanists/ Afrocentrists fall into one of two camps when it comes to Kwanzaa: those who eschew it because of it's creator and those who celebrate it because of it's important values. Since my parents embraced the holiday full on before I was born, I was raised to do the same and as an adult, I have chosen to continue celebrating. I do not think on Dr. Karenga when I light my kinara, nor when I recite the Nguzo Saba. I appreciate the holiday that he created and I keep my personal thoughts about him seperate. And I answer questions about him every year, which is why I chose to include this in my post.

There is a principle assigned to each day of Kwanzaa, which begins on December 26th. You light a candle on your kinara (candleholder) and discuss the meanings of the day's principle with your friends and family. While we pay special attention to the Seven Principles-known collectively as the Nguzo Saba in Swahili-during Kwanzaa, they are certainly to be reflected upon throughout the year.

The Nguzo Saba are:
Umoja (Unity) To build solidarity within our families and communities.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa celebrations typically include music (especially African drumming), dance, poetry, feasting (you know how our people love an excuse to throw down!), etc. Some people mistakenly believe that Kwanzaa is a Pagan or anti-religious holiday, likely because it falls close enough to Christmas to seem like it's competing with the Christian Holy day and because there is an emphasis on celebrating ancestral spirits that some religious folks find off-putting. However, Kwanzaa is a non-denominational holiday that was meant to be celebrated by people of all religions. Many churches celebrate Kwanzaa and have found ways to relate the Seven Principles to their message and worship.

There are many books and websites devoted to the celebration of Kwanzaa. Last year, writer and filmmaker Molefi K. Asante released "The Black Candle", which is a documentary exploring the global celebration of the holiday and is narrated by none other than Maya Angelou. It has been running on TV One, though I’m not sure when because I don’t have cable. This year, share the gift of Kwanzaa with your friends in family! You can plan an extravagant Kwanzaa Karamu (Kwanzaa feast) or simply take the time to discuss ways in which you can connect the Nguzo Saba to your daily lives. As a people who were snatched from Africa with no claim to our original culture and traditions, Kwanzaa gives us an excellent way to connect with our history and build a better future for our people. So "Keep Up" with Kwanzaa this year and for the years to come!

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Keeping Up Daily..Top News Stories to Help You Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...





U.S. government photos obtained by ABC News show the underwear device alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had on when, authorities say, he tried to blow up a Detroit-bound American airliner.The photos reveal slightly singed briefs with a packet of powder sewn into the crotch. We already have to take off our shoes; I wonder if this means that we will have to take off our pants now? I hope that the machine doesn't go off when I come through and I am accused of maybe having something in my pants. Senator Max Baucus was accused of being drunk during a floor speech on Dec. 22. Baucus denies it. I hope for his sake that he is telling the truth. This next couple hoped that their GPS system would save them. A Nevada couple letting their SUV's navigation system guide them through the high desert of Eastern Oregon got stuck in snow for three days when the GPS unit sent them down a remote forest road.


I think we all saw this one coming. Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin's oldest daughter is seeking sole custody of her son against Levi Johnston. The Palin drama is at it again, and the pirates are at it again. Somali pirates have seized two vessels. I still do not understand how this is happening, but I am more concerned that when I get jury duty I will not be able to tell my twitter followers that I am bored. That's the new rule in Michigan, where trial judges are now required to order jurors not to use phones or other electronic devices while in trial or in deliberations.





-Keep Up!

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Keeping Up Daily..Top News Stories to Help You Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...


R.I.P Percy Sutton


Someone is going to have a surprise gift that will come after Christmas this year. Kentucky lottery officials say there was a single $128.6 million winning Powerball ticket sold in Georgetown, making it the largest jackpot won in the history of the Kentucky lottery. The winning numbers were: 32-36-37-41-53 with a Powerball of 30. This next number won't make anyone happy. Some 125 pilot whales died in New Zealand after stranding on beaches over the weekend. Department of Conservation ranger Steve Bolten said one of the whales may have been sick, or their sonar may have led them into the shallow harbor and they couldn't find their way out again. While some seemed to be have a Merry Christmas this year, it appears like others didn't come close. Authorities say actor Charlie Sheen is accused of using a weapon in an alleged case of domestic violence in Aspen, spending half of Christmas day in jail.


And it seems like there a few more people frowning a little this Christmas. Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest tripped over a box and fell down a flight of stairs at his home on Christmas night, suffering a concussion and left elbow injury. Ron Artest will be ok, but he isn't as happy as June Daley. Miss Jamica UK and its founder June Daley celebrate 20 years after thinking she could start a contest that would reconnect young women born to Jamaican parents in the United Kingdom with their roots, never imagining it would grow to be this big. Daley helped make some Jamaican history, and this next guy made a surprising turn in history. Oklahoman Johnny Lee Clary became ordained by Church of God in Christ, one of the largest black churches. The fact that he is white made the moment historic, but the fact that he was a former Ku Klux Klan member, put the icing on the cake.




-Keep Up!

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Quote of the Day...

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." ~George Washington Carver

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Black Athletes of the Decade...

Here is a list of the Black male and female athletes who made the list of athletes of the decade from SI.com:

Males:

1. Tiger Woods: Won the 2008 U.S. Open and became the First Athlete to reach $1 Billion.

5. Usain Bolt: Set World records at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

7. Kobe Bryant: 2009 Finals MVP award and won Finals without Shaq.

12. Tim Duncan: NBA's MVP in 02 and 03. He became Finals MVP 03 & 05

14. Shaquille O'Neal: Regular-Season and Finals MVP in each of the Lakers' three consecutive titles from 00-02. Won championship for Miami in 04.

16. Lebron James: Youngest NBA Rookie of the Year(at age 19) and 09 NBA MVP


Females:

1. Serena Williams: She won nine of her 10 Grand Slam singles titles and two Olympic gold medals in doubles (with her sister Venus), and she recently reclaimed the No. 1 ranking.

5. Lisa Leslie: She won three of her four Olympic gold medals, three WNBA MVP awards and two WNBA championships, and made seven of her eight All-Star appearances.

6. Venus Williams: Won four of her seven career Grand Slam singles titles in 2000 and '01 while racking up a 35-match winning streak that remains the longest of the decade.

15. Sheryl Swoopes: MVP three times 00, 02 and 05 and Defensive Player of the Year an unprecedented three times in a row 00 through 03. And picked up two more Olympic gold medals in 00 and 04.

20. Tirunesh Dibaba: Olympic golds in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters 08 as well as a bronze 04 and four world championship.

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The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem Sing "Oh Holy Night"

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Does 'Avatar' Have a Racial Subtext?




I need to see the movie to determine how I feel about this much practiced theme, but I would not be surprised if the movie has a racist subtext. Like many stories, they are taken from previous written stories and re-created. We constantly see movies and read stories where the White man saves the day. This is the story that is often seen in our history books also. So why would anybody be surprised?


One day we will be able to see a reflection of the "truth" on the movie screens, but probably not anytime soon. People would have to know the "truth" first. Well, I will let you know what I think of "Avatar" once I see it. I am sure I will pick up the same subtext, but probably will enjoy the movie nonetheless.


If you have seen the movie, what did you think of it?


Did you pick up on the racial subtext?

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Classic R&B Christmas Song Videos

Classic Christmas songs performed by some of your favorite R&B singers, old and new.
















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8 Ways to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday season can be a time filled with plenty of celebrations that include large meals. This can also be a time where much weight is gained. Below are a few tips that might be able to help you keep the holiday pounds off a little.

1. Eat in perspective. Do not overeat just because the holiday food is there.

2. Do holiday activities like ice skating, shedding, skiing, and walking around to see holiday decorations in your neighborhood.

3. Do not skip meals before a celebration meal. This can prevent you from overeating at a big meal as well.

4. Spend less time in the kitchen. Only go when it is time to make your plate for a meal.

5. Do not go to holiday parties hungry.

6. Do not rush while you eat. Slow down and enjoy your food.

7. Fill up on the fiber. The veggies will fill your stomach up faster.

8. Continue to drink plenty of water...

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Major Differences in Senate, House healthcare bills

The Senate passed health care reform with 60 to 39 votes, but before the bill can be delivered to President Barack Obama to sign the bill, the two chambers must work out the differences in their bills.

Here are some major differences:

Insurance Market Reform

Both bills create insurance exchanges where small businesses and individuals without employer-sponsored health benefits can shop for coverage.

1.
The Senate bill creates state-based exchanges

The House bill would create a national exchange but allow states to operate state-based exchanges if they meet minimum requirements.

2.
The Senate bill would allow insurers to charge older people up to three times what they charge younger people.

The House bill would allow insurers to charge older people up to twice the amount they charge younger policy holders.


3.
The Senate bill would allow young people to stay on their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26.

The House bill provides for such dependent coverage until the age of 27.

4.
Senate bill requires insurers to spend at least 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care in small group markets and 80 cents in large group markets.

The House bill requires insurers to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on medical care.

The Public Option

1.
The Senate bill has no public option. However it requires the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the health policies for 8 million federal workers and their families, to contract with private insurance companies to offer policies on the exchanges.

The House bill includes a new government health insurance plan that would compete with private insurers on the exchange. The public option would have to meet the same coverage requirements as private insurers.


Financing

1.

The Senate bill includes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans. It also raises payroll taxes for Medicare, the government health insurance plan for the elderly, to 2.35 percent from the current 1.45 percent for individuals earning $200,000 or more and for couples earning $250,000 or more. The Senate bill includes special fees on insurers, drug companies and medical device makers and it imposes a 10-percent tax on indoor tanning services.

The House bill would impose a 5.4 percent surtax on individuals earning more than $500,000 a year and couples making more than $1 million. It also raises money by imposing a 2.5 percent excise tax on medical devices.

Abortion

1.

The Senate plan would let states opt out of including plans with abortion coverage on the exchanges and require anyone with abortion coverage to write two separate premium checks -- one for the abortion coverage and one for the rest.

The House bill contains tougher language that would require anyone seeking coverage for elective abortions to purchase separate insurance riders.

Medicaid Coverage

1.

The Senate would make Medicaid, the government healthcare program for the poor, available to everyone with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level.

The House would expand the Medicaid program to everyone with incomes up to 150 percent of poverty. The poverty level for an individual in 2009 stands at $10,830 and for a family of four at $22,050. Many states have eligibility requirements well below that level.

Coverage Mandates

1.

The Senate would phase in a $750-per-person annual penalty for those who fail to get coverage, up to $2,250 per family or a penalty of 2 percent of taxable income, whichever is greater.

The House would impose a 2.5-percent penalty tax on income up to the average cost of an insurance policy.

Employer Mandates

1.

The Senate bill has no employer mandate. But large firms with more than 50 workers would have to pay a fine of $750 annually per worker if any of their employees obtain federally subsidized coverage on the exchange.


The House bill requires employers with payrolls above $750,000 to provide health insurance to workers. Those who fail to do so face a penalty of 8 percent of payroll. Employers with payrolls between $500,000 and $750,000 pay fines on a sliding scale of 2 percent, 4 percent and 6 percent of payroll.


(modified and made simple from the original text FACTBOX-Major differences in Senate, House Healthcare Bills.)

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Keeping Up Daily..Top News Stories to Help You Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...


Are you a Blackberry user and are having a few issues with your email and Internet these pass few days? Well, technicians are working to resolve email messaging delays in North and South America. People have also been complaining via twitter that their Internet is not working either. I was wondering why my Internet wasn't working yesterday, amongst the other drama I was experiencing in my life. Looks like Kristy Lee Roshia brought a lot of drama to her life and the First Families life. The Secret Service says Kristy Lee Roshia called its Boston office last month and told a receptionist, "I will kill Michelle Obama" and "I will kill Marines." Agents arrested Roshia on Saturday after she told them she knew where President Barack Obama and his wife would be staying during a visit to the islands later this week. While Roshia thinks that she knows the "secret" location of the Obama's, ABC News seems to know a secret that the FAA might have been hiding. The report suggests that the Federal Aviation Administration slipped in a three-week holiday boondoggle disguised as a managers meeting earlier this month, that cost tax payers $5 million. ABC News said they went undercover where they saw drinking, one employee said they couldn't wait to jump on the table, and another one asked one of the undercover reporters if she was a prostitute.




The world's smallest baby, who was born 9.1 ounces, about the size of a coke can, is set to go home from the hospital. Oliviyanna Harbin-Page, an African American, was born August 5th at USA Children's & Women's Hospital, and was born the smallest of a set of triplets. That is very good news for the Harbin-Page family, and Serena Williams joins them with a smiling face. She was named 2009 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. Hewlett-Packard made a lot of people unhappy with a feature on their webcam. HP is looking into a claim that their webcam can't see Black people. In a video on Youtube, two co-workers are playing around with the camera. The webcam appears to follow Wanda Zamen, a White woman, as she sways in front of the screen and stays still as Desi Cryer, a Black man, moves about. HP acknowledged in a statement e-mailed to CNN that the cameras may have issues with contrast recognition in certain lighting situations.


-Keep Up!

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Keeping Up Daily: Top News Stories To Help Us Keep Up

The fastest way to read the morning news...

The morning news is back after a long break. Make sure to tune in every morning to read your morning news in the fastest way possible!


Four quadruplets gain admission into Yale! (photo takena from The New York Times Blog)



Archaeologists unveiled what they said were the remains of the first housing in Nazareth that can be dated back to the times of Jesus, which could shed light on what is was like during the time that the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy. I can only imagine what it might have been like during the time that Jesus was said to live, but I don't have to imagine what it is like to be stuck in an airport because of a delayed flight. Airlines are now under new regulations to protect people traveling. Airlines operating domestic flights will only be able to keep passengers on board for three hours, they will be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed, and they must provide medical attention when necessary. This is great to hear, but it is never great to hear that someone is being sent to prison, especially when it comes to something as stupid as stealing money from your own family. Anthony Marshall, Brook Astor's Son, and kin to John Jacob Astor, the first multi-millionaire in the United States, got one to three years in prison for scheming to bilk millions of dollars from the late philanthropist's estate.



Mexico City lawmakers made the city the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, a change that will give homosexual couples the right to marry and the right to adopt. As Mexico City makes history and gives a group of people equal rights, we have lost someone that was born during a time when she couldn't vote because she was a woman and the color of her skin. Ann Nixon Cooper, the Atlanta centenarian whose name Barack Obama invoked in his post-election speech as a symbol of America's struggles and progress, died Monday. She was 107. Speaking of Barack Obama, he is moving closer to passing healthcare reforms. After much argument, Senate Democrats got the 60 votes they needed to agree a bill extending coverage to 31m uninsured Americans. While our lawmakers are fighting to provide healthcare to all Americans, this one lady couldn't even get medical help from trained professionals. A pregnant Brooklyn woman suffered a fatal seizure in a coffee shop after two city medics continued to buy their breakfast, and informed the people at the coffee shop to call 911 because they were on break. Investigations on what really happened are going on now. Both the baby and the mother passed away.


Four Black quadruplets all gain admission to Yale. What an amazing and touching story. The four siblings don't know if they will attend Yale, especially because of financial issues, but it is a great achievement nonetheless. The actor Sinbad is not in such a great situation. He owes more than $8.15 million in delinquent federal taxes and the U.S. Attorney Generals office wants his house sold to help satisfy the debt. Speaking of actor, the actress/singer Alaina Reed Hall-Amini from the sitcom 227 has passed away at the age of 63.



-Keep Up!

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Holiday Traveling Tips!

Traveling during the holidays can be such a nightmare, but I was just praying that my traveling experience would be more like a dream. Boy was I wrong! I am typing from a random airport wishing that I was at my final destination. What started off as a flight leaving from New York at 4pm and arriving in Detroit at 6:00, has now become more like a two day journey. So below I have provided a few traveling tips that seemed to slip my mind a little bit. Another blond moment or maybe I simply needed a reminder, but I don't want you to be in the same position as me.

1. Make sure that you arrive at the airport at least three hours before your departure time. The lines will be long, and for some people it is taking two hours just to get their tickets.

2. Do not forget that you must be checked in 30 minutes before departure time.

3. Make sure that you pack a change of clothes and tooth brush, and put them in a carry on. There is a chance that your flight can be delayed due to snow, or you might be too late to your flight because of the large lines. Remember that your luggage will still be sent to your final destination, and you will need that carry on to help you through the night.

4. Make sure that you bring snacks in case your flight is delayed until the next day. All of the restaurants will close by 10pm.

5. Do not pack your phone charger in your checked luggage.

I hope that those five tips help you travel a little bit more at ease during the holidays. Have a happy one! :)

-The Socialite

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Keeping Up Daily: Rihanna- Hard

I love when artist put a lot of work and creativity into their projects. If you aren't going to come hard, why come at all? I love to see my people "Keeping Up" and showing us what true art looks like. Take a look at how Rihanna was indeed Keeping Up with her new song Hard ft Young Jeezy.


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Favorite African American Christmas Songs

1. This Christmas – Donny Hathaway

2. All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

3. Let it Snow - Boyz II Men

4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – The Jackson 5

5. Silent Night -Temptations

6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas -Luther Vandross

7. Do You Hear What I Hear -Whitney Houston

8. I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus - Jackson Five

9. There's no Christmas without you- Kirk Franklin and Family

10. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

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21 Gift Ideas for Christmas During the Recession!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but with these hard financial times, a lot of people are not really feeling the Christmas spirit. Many people are stressed out on how they are going to make this holiday work in their favor. I have created a list of gifts that are nice, but not expensive. Before you look at the list, remember the most important thing this holiday is spending time with your family. For many this is the only time they get to see their family. For some they don't even have a family to spend the holidays with. Take advantage of this wonderful time of the year.

1. Make someones favorite meal

2. Send online greeting cards.

3. Starbucks gift card

4. Scrapbook

5. Picture Frame with a message

6. Make your own gift basket and fill it with the person's favorite little things.

7. Locket with photo inside

8. Books

9. DVDs

10. Itune music gift card

11. Journal with special inscription inside

12. Gourmet popcorn (different flavors)

13. Board Games

14. Speciality Cookbooks

15. Manicure Kit with Nail Polish

16. Soaps and bath stuff

17. Hat, mittens, and scarf

18. Scented Candle

19. Wine

20. Shot glasses (with funny message)

21. Savings Bond


A few ways to save money:

Try shopping at Cotsco, Sams Club, or another warehouse. You can buy things in bulk for a number of people, and it will be cheaper.

Re-use old gift bags from past gifts given to you.


Re-give! Sometimes there are items that you do not use anymore but someone else might love.

-The Socialite...Tis the Season to Give!

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The Princess and the Frog Sparks Fire in African versus African American

There has been much discussion on my blog about if the prince from the movie Princess and the Frog was black. There has also been discussion on if the prince should have been of a darker skin tone. A lot of people argued that at the end of the day it was simply great seeing a black princess and although wish that the prince could have been clearly black, it doesn't really upset them. Someone brought up the point that they wish that little black boys could also see themselves as a prince like little black girls get to see themselves as a black princess. Below is the response right after that comment:

Reader: Who really cares!!!There are a lot of mixed couples. There are a lot of African Royal Families in Africa. The difference is Africans from Africa exude extreme elegance and fantastic style and etiquette. They are not into all of these things. They are confident and also not into beat boxes, chicks and nice cars. They are into education, classical music, opera and very high scaled activities. They are not concerned with what is black and what is white. This is stupid. All things are the same! There have been African Princesses and Princes for ages, but they DO NOT have the same attitudes as do minorities in the USA. It is time to stop all of this and take pride in who you are as individuals and began to carry yourselves as you should.

Here was my response:

The problem is that minorities in the USA can't take pride is something they don't know. Many blacks have no clue who they are because for years they were stripped of it. That is why it is important to show positive images for them to see. If a little black boy or girl can see themselves in a positive light, then they too can have as much pride as "Africans".

It hurts my heart as I work with the youth, and they think all they can be is a basketball player or singer in order to be successful and happy. They see themselves as the ones on the lower end of the stick. They don't like how they look. They don't like who they are. If you wake up everyday and white is pushed as right, then you have nothing that makes you think you can be better.

How dare you compare minorities and the impact of slavery to other people. It is a different situation then in Africa no matter which way you spin it. You ask who cares? I care!!!! Work with youth in the inner city and you might care. If you already do, listen harder to what is going on in their heads. If you still don't think they need to see images of themselves in a positive light, then that is your opinion.

Yes, there is other things that need to be done to give them more confidence, but it does not help if they have to look on TV and think that they can't even be a prince of a fake made up country. Please don't ask who cares. Africans might have went through a lot, but they have a sense of who and what they are. They for damn sure no where they came from. They understand that they are Kings and Queens. Blacks in the US here have no freakin clue. If asked where they are from, people don't consider them Americans and clearly Africans look down on them. You want them to have as much confidence as an African. I'm extremely confused on how you expect them to be at that point. Again how dare anyone compare the two. Let's not tell people to not see things as black and white, let's encourage the media, television shows, and the government to not see things as black and white first.....then tell the youth to follow. Better yet go back into the communities and show them!

Sorry I got mad, but I am with people saying that maybe it wasn't that deep that the prince might not have been black. But when you get into comparing other people and their pride to Blacks in the US, it angers me that people don't understand why we lack pride, and what truly needs to be done to fix that problem.

-The Socialite

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Oprah Winfrey Donates $1.5 Million to Atlanta Middle School

During this recession it looks like Santa Claus is still climbing down chimney's and trying his best to bring smiles to as many faces as he can. Wait, I think we might have to say her, instead of he. It looks like Oprah Winfrey is taking on the roll as Santa this year. Oprah donated $1.5 million to The Ron Clark Academy, an Atlanta middle school, that has been struggling to raise money during these hard economic times. The school sits in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and is hoping to expand its campus by building a cafeteria, gymnasium and theater.

You can play Santa this year also. You might not be able to donate $1.5 million to someone, but you can bring a smile to someones face. Make sure that at the least, you are making sure to spend quality time with your family this holiday season. There is no better gift than family!

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Support Our Own...Miss Mykie: That Pink, That Green Vol.2

Greek Love...Let's Go!


Hey Fam! I am confident that when Jay Z said "everyday a star is born," he wasn't lying, especially when it comes to this young lady that comes straight out of Houston. She is a Howard alum and a lovely lady of Alpha Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ladies and Gents meet Miss Mykie. She has just released her highly anticipated mixtape: That Pink, That Green Vol. 2. Take a moment to check out the Youtube video to hear a snippet of what the mixtape will sound like. Also, make sure to click on the link below and download her music. You know the drill...


If we don't support our own...who will?








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Support Our Own...MJ's New Mix Tape: The Thrillers Back




No, sadly Michael Jackson isn't still alive, but a new MJ has hit the music scene. MJ Baby is an up-and-coming rapper, and is beginning to shake up the rap world with his much anticipated mixtape-The Thrillers Back. This Philly native hits us with 25 tracks that express life on the streets and the fast life. DJ Drama, DJ Scoob Doo, and DJ Amir are hosting this tape! Click on the link below and show some love to one of our own.


Support our own...if we don't...who will?




Let me know what you think or give him some words of encouragement!

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Quote of the Day...

"If you send up a weather vane or put your thumb up in the air every time you want to do something different, to find out what people are going to think about it, you're going to limit yourself. That's a very strange way to live." -Jessye Norman

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DNA Testing Clears Man Who Served 28 Years in Prison

A man spent 28 years behind bars for a rape and murder he said he didn't commit. The conviction of Donald Eugene Gates, 58, was based largely on the testimony of an FBI forensic analyst. He will be the first D.C defendant who spent significant time in prison to be exonerated based on DNA evidence.

This is why I don't believe in the death penalty. Of course the main reason is because I don't think we should have the power to take a person's life; it should be left in God's hands. But the other reason is because the system is not perfect. There are so many innocent people behind bars. Can you imagine how many people have died that were innocent?

I also think that innocent people wrongly convicted should be compensated if found innocent. At least there should be something to start their lives over again. It is the least that could be done after someone served years behind bars for something they did not do.

Do you believe in the death penalty?

What do you think should be done for people that are found innocent after serving years in prison for something they did not do?

Original Story taken from the Associated Press by Sarah Karush

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New Age Limit For Staying on Mom or Dad's Health Insurance Plan...

Health care has been the topic of discussion for months now, and I know everyone is going back and forth on how it might effect them. Without even thinking about the health care reform, I ran into an issue of no health care when I got laid-off from my job. I remember being in college and being able to receive health insurance from my parents jobs, but understood that I had reached the end of the qualifications for being able to stay on my dad's plan. I soon found out that I was not alone. Young adults age 19 through 29 are the largest growing age group in the country at risk of being uninsured. How the new health care reform might change these stats were sent to me today, and gave me a little hope for the future of this age group regarding health.

Under the Health Insurance Consumer Protections, the security you get from health insurance reform, will extend coverage for young adults."Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26." It will also be extended to adults not enrolled in college full-time. They must be unmarried, and not have any dependents themselves.

So, if you were wondering how the health care reform could help you or the future generation, there you go. I am confident that many of my readers would sigh with relief if that law was put into place. Pass this information on to help people become aware of benefits they could receive from the passing of health care reform.

For more information visit: www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14497

What do you think about the extended benefits?

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Quote of the Day...

"If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything . . . that smacks of discrimination or slander." -Mary Mcleod Bethune

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Dating While Black...

Finding and meeting quality young black professionals seems to be a major issue amongst blacks, especially in New York city. So myself and a few friends have decided to fix that issue. We created a company called Dating While Black.

At Dating While Black, our goal is provide all Black New York singles with progressive platforms for meeting other singles in a variety of safe, non-threatening environments. Whether you are looking for new friends or your soul mate, DWB will provide a fun night for you to be able to do just that.

If you receive an invitation to the event, prepare to see partying and dating taken to another level. For more information send me an email @ datingwhileblack@gmail.com

-The Socialite...taking everything to the next level!

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Teacher Cuts Seven-Year-Olds Braids Off

A Milwaukee teacher at Congress Elementary school is under fire for cutting off a seven-year-old's braids. The child's teacher reportedly grew "frustrated" by the girl being absent-minded while playing with her braids. She said, "Don't play with them anymore or I'ma cut off the rest." The little girl started crying as other students begin to laugh.

Why? I'm so confused on how our education system has teachers in it that could become so frustrated that they would punish a child by cutting their braids off. They are children, and they are going to do things like let their mind wander off into space. That was such a minor behavior issue. I am afraid of what the teacher might have done if the student had been doing something a tad more outrageous than that. I hope the teacher get's fired and is not aloud to return to education.

In a world of troubled kids, we don't need a teacher that will react to minor issues.

What do you think should happen to the teacher?

Story reported on BlackAmericanweb News

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Princess and the Frog...


Yesterday, I made it a girls day out and went to see Princess and the Frog with my lovely line sisters. I was debating back and forth on if I was going to show up to the theater with my African head scarf because I was feeling like royalty, and I know my royal bloodline comes from a country in Africa. I opted not to, but I was still feeling like a queen as I headed to the Harlem movie theater to see the first black Disney princess.


When the movie came on, it immediately took me back to the days of classic Disney shows that someone how taught me life lessons, but also entertained me in an amazing way. As soon as the little black princess hit the screen, my mouth began to reach from side to side. I was smiling harder than a kid at a candy store. It was amazing that finally little black girls would be able to see their face under a tiara and see that their dreams can come true also.

Overall, the movie showed that dreams combined with hard work can take you anywhere you want to go. It also showed you that love conquers all, and to never forget the importance of it. The only thing that I wish could have been different was the prince. I am not sure what race he was suppose to be, but I don't think it would have killed them to have a dark skin brother from a country in Africa come over and make someone's dreams come true. Maybe next time! I encourage everyone to hit the scene and catch this movie in the theater, and if you can, take a little girl to see it with you!

-The Socialite

What do you think about the color of the prince?

What were your thoughts on the movie if you have already seen it?

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Tis the Season to Get or Give a Love One a Pastry!



Fashion trend-setters Vanessa and Angela SimmonsS-- stars of the hit MTV Reality Shows “Run’s House” & “Daddy’s Girls” are continuing to turn heads with their popular footwear line Pastry which is a hit with their millions of fans. Now, just in time for the holidays, FANS CAN WIN THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY GIFT: A pair of the stylish new Sasha Pastry boots sported by Vanessa Simmons at NY Fashion Week during Fashion’s Night Out. Take time to enter to win a pair of boots for yourself, or a little girl in your life!


Here's how the contest is going to work:
You must submit an email writing about what you love about any particular Pastry shoes. That is it! Just by sending an email, you can win a brand new pair of boots for yourself or let this be an amazing gift for someone else.


You can view the Pastry collection at: http://www.lovepastry.com/

The contest will end on Monday December 21st!

Good luck and make someone smile this year :)

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Why Women Who Marry Rich Are Stupid...

Today I'm asking you if I can really keep it real...

Yesterday we had a conversation about the high divorce rates in our country, and reflected for a second on the clown shows that are put on by celebrities, who look at marriage as merely a chance to up their celeb ratings. Some of the relationships to the rich and famous could be real, they just somehow don't last beyond the 10 year mark. But besides my utter disgust for what marriage has become, and the examples thrust upon us in the media, I am also disappointed with some of the decisions made by the women who marry rich.

If we are going to live in this ugly reality of failed marriages, let's consider the end possibility. Most men cheat, and rich men are at the top of that list. You marry rich, might not have come into the relationship with much, he could cheat, and then you are stuck with the decision of parting with your amazing lifestyle, or sticking with constant cheating behavior. And in the world of prenuptial agreements, you might not leave with half.

I for one don't believe in divorce, but it doesn't mean that my beloved husband won't. That is why I admire women that marry rich that consider their own futures and don't just depend on their husband to be there through think and thin. I admire women like Kimora Lee Simons who decided to open her own clothing line. She became her own brand, and not just some rich guys wife. She also was able to stand alone once the marriage didn't work out. I believe women like Kobe Bryant's wife are stuck having to live by the rules that their husbands play by, because they never take advantage of the situation they are in.

The point of this, is that regardless if you marry rich or not, you need to make sure that you are able to stand alone, if for some reason your marriage doesn't work out. Ideally you should have goals and accomplishments before you enter your marriage, but if you don't, do not just sit in your marriage while someone else is making a name for themselves. If you are fine with simply being the support while your husband makes a name for the family, all I can say is be smart!

Learn to make your marriages and relationships work, but learn to make "you" work also. If you are equally beneficial to the relationship, then you will equally run the relationship. Consider this no matter what type of relationship you are in. Do not be stuck on the end of the stick that depends on the other side to keep them up.

-

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Is is it Cheaper to Keep Her? ... Did You Ever Plan On Keeping Her?

Recently, our favorite blogs, news stations, television shows, and magazines have been loaded with stories on Tiger Woods many affairs. If you tuned in yesterday to the blogs, you also found out how much the judge ruled for Nas to pay Kelis for child support and spousal support. The total was 51,000.

I am starting to think that marriage has simply become an extension of a serious relationship that simply is considered the next step. Watching celebrities get married and then break-up within 10 years is becoming more of a bad reality show then watching the beauty of two people joining under God.

The sad thing is that it is indeed a reflection of reality as hundreds of people declare divorce everyday, as if they are simply ending a gym membership. Does marriage mean anything in our society today?

Do we simply ignore what coming together as one means, and are we joining a union with people that quite frankly were never meant for us in the first place? Are we falling in love, but never building a foundation that could hold us together if indeed for a second the feeling of fairy tale love is gone?

Do we now have to face the fact that we very well might have the "big moment" twice in our life, as society has presented a fate of a failed marriage? I for one would love to go back to the promises we make under God and indeed live up to them. Below are why I think marriages are failing:

1. We get married for superficial reasons.

2. We never build a friendship or foundation with our mate, leaving no room for growth beyond a sexual attraction.

3. We get married too fast, without having the chance to get to know the real person, but instead fall in love off of the 1st year relationship lust.

4. We don't realize that your relationship is a partnership, almost like a business partner. We don't take the time to make sure that the paths we are both headed down will be able to come together as one path.

5. We give up too easily once we come together. We have forgotten how to forgive and work things out, because it is easier for us to just move on.

Families are becoming broken, and the idea of the Huxtable family is slowly leaving our realities, and becoming a thing of the past.

Do you think that the idea of long-lasting marriages is a thing of the past?

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NYC HOLIDAY PARTY DECEMBER 16 and SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS ONLINE GIFT EMPORIUM

Still reporting live from my blackberry until my computer is turned back on...

Tis the season to be giving...and if you aren't...what are you doing that is more important?

Well, if you need a little help in coming up with a way to do so, below are details on an amazing initiative and event:

NYC HOLIDAY PARTY DECEMBER 16 and SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS ONLINE GIFT EMPORIUM

Join the Global Giving Circle on Wednesday, December 16th at 7pm for their
first annual holiday party, ChrismaHanuKwanzakah: A Holiday Anxiety RELIEF
Spectacular at Galapagos Arts Space in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Upright Citizens
Brigade Theatre, a company of actors trained in the art of improvisation
founded by SNL's Amy Poehler. They will riff off of any memories the
audience is brave enough to volunteer. So bring your best worst moments on down for a holiday catharsis!

Tickets are $25 and include a glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage,
holiday treats, and party favors. Ticket sales will benefit Urban Arts
Partnership, a non-profit organization that provides arts programs to
underserved inner city public schools in New York.

In addition to the evenings performances, the Global Giving Circle will
solve your holiday shopping needs with their holiday gift emporium: Global
Gifts That Matter. You'll have the opportunity to purchase innovative,
philanthropic gifts ranging from $10 - $100 that support high impact
non-profits and social enterprises. Gifts include jewelry, handicrafts,
organic chocolates, purses, bags, books and much more!

Can't make it or want to get your shopping done before December 16th,
please visit the GGC’s online gift shop at
http://www.globalgiftsthatmatter.org.

TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED HERE: http://globalgivingcircle.eventbrite.com/

Remember: If you wake up everyday, that alone is a reason to help bless someone else.

-The Socialite

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Ask The Socialite..Are Whites Accepted at HBCU's?

Hi Fam! I know I have been gone for a few weeks. First it had to do with me being on vacation, but when I got back my computer crashed. I am attempting to write to you via this wonderful invention called the blackberry. Let's see if the little device created for the "on the go" American can truly serve it's purpose.

Everyday I receive emails from readers who have read a certain article and out of that reading developed questions that they had regarding their own choices in life. I decided that I would start sharing with you some of these questions, and hopefully it might be able to help you also. I also want to extend an opportunity for you to ask me anything you would like. I am no expert who studied with some great teacher in England, but I have experienced a variety of things life has to offer, and simply would like to share my opinion. Below is a question I got and my response:

Keeping Up Reader:

I recently stumbled across your article, "Is there a need for HBCU's to diversify?". First off let me say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am thinking about going to a HBCU but am starting to have some concerns. I will give you some background info on me. I would like to describe myself as a very intelligent, very open-minded individual.

I am a 26 yr old white male. I grew up in a middle class family in a smaller city of Houma just south of New Orleans. My high school was probably 60% black, 35% white, and 5% asian. When I was young my dad listened to jazz, Miles Davis, Sade and a pretty wide variety of music, while my mother listened to mostly pop and RnB, like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and stuff like that. So music is a HUGE part of me and I basically mostly listen to RnB music and am an amazing singer so that is the type of music that suits me best. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, although I do not practice anymore, I truly had a well and diversified upbringing. I met a beautiful black woman and have been with her for 2 years now.  We are moving to New Orleans soon and it is a goal of mine to finish college.

I cant really afford an arm and a leg right now so as I look at the tuition costs of the colleges. Southern University of New Orleans seems to be the best bet. As I said before I found your article and some of the readers posts gave me some concerns. I like to be different,I like trying new things. I don't like being stereotyped as "acting white" or "acting black" because I'm with a black woman or because i sing RnB. I like doing whatever makes me feel good.

The goal is to get a good education which I know SUNO can give me. That is not a concern. The concern is yes universities are forced to go after minorities. Do the majority of the students truly want me there? I've heard that other states actively recruit whites in their HBCU's. well I honestly have never seen any want or need to have other races in the HBCU's around here. All of the negative posts were from black readers. I do not want to go somewhere where i am not wanted. I've read many blogs and forums on this and I see the replies of "hey well I'm sure the majority of the students are supportive and things will get better". I guess reading those posts make me see how I will always be seen as The MAN even tho I'm nowhere close. I want a different experience but I don't want to hate to go class the next day after there was some redneck white guy on the news who did something ignorant to a black person. And everyone hate me for the week because I'm the white guy and I must be racist too. I dont know, I'm really confused about this now.

My first thinking on going was that "hey its college so that means there are mostly intelligent people and most intelligent people arent racist." but jus from what I've been reading I'm getting the feeling that black students that attend these HBCU's would rather me go to a PWI. But I don't feel like I'll fit in there either...lol..Please give me your thoughts and opinion on this matter. It is very important to me and I could use some honest Intelligent insight. Thank you so much for reading all of this.

My Response:

I am glad you stopped by my blog and even more delighted that you enjoyed my post. It excites me that you are a man that lives life for self and not one who strives to live up to the standards of others. I think that you should most definitely attend the University of your choice. Few have a diverse life experience, you do, and you should continue down that path.

In terms of the feelings and comments of Black students that attend HBCU's, these feelings stem from the history of why in fact these schools were started. As we were excluded from gaining an education at PWI, our founders developed institutions that would replace that exclusion. It is hard for Black's to let go of what HBCU's did and currently do for our race, and many feel like other schools do not provide the same experience. As a result, there is a sort of protectiveness for these beloved institutions.

However, I am very confident that these very same students are intelligent enough not to treat you in a manner that would make you feel uncomfortable. I am sure they will accept and embrace you. They will not punish someone of another race because of their feelings. At the end of the day these schools are becoming more diverse, and in my experience other races have had a comfortable experience at these universities.

I will not say that you will not have one or two encounters with someone that is prejudice, but that will happen anywhere you go, and quite frankly that is life.

I encourage you to go. It will be an amazing experience if you truly take time to embrace the history of the University, it's people, the knowledge offered, and the amazing culture of an HBCU. Good look on your future endeavors, and let me know your experience.

Remember life is full of choices that can lead you down paths that seem dark at the end. The ones that seem dark usually end up giving you the most light. Tackle something that may be a struggle and end up stronger than you were. The choice to go to an HBCU is indeed part of your journey. Good luck!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me @ bwomack@imkeepingup.com

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I'm Back..Cabo was Great!

Hey Fam! I am back from a wonderful trip out of the country, and I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I took a trip to Cabo, Mexico and had an amazing experience. You know every time I do something, I leave learning something new about myself, and leaving with one more piece to the puzzle that I will forever be putting together until the end of my journey.


Cabo is a beautiful place with beaches and water that we read about in books, where they paint a picture of perfect blue water, bright green grass, and the sun peeking out of the clouds as if it is winking down at you. I spent most of the time laying under the sun and winking right back at it. My earphones pumped out the latest Rihanna tracks as I sipped on my margarita with a salt rim.

The other part of the time I spent cruising on my rented jet ski or gliding in the air hanging from a thin rope tied to a boat. While I was grooving to the beat of the waves and far out in the middle of the water, I had a chance to put my life in perspective. I started thinking about the amazing things that the world had to offer, and was I truly taking advantage of them? There are places to see, activities to do, and so much knowledge that I know if learned would change my entire perspective on life.

Of course that slight moment I spent in the salty water alone forced me to create a list of things I wanted to do right away. I decided that it was important that I learn as much as I could while my brain was still young enough to soak it all in. So when I returned to the states I decided it was time I went on a reading spree, which would include me teaching myself Spanish and French.

I find it so amazing that whenever I attempt to simply have fun in life, I find myself adding to my outlook on life. I am so glad I took this trip to have a chance to relax, but also to further my journey towards learning more about myself. I cannot wait to give you reports on what I read.

p.s. of course I also enjoyed spending time with my family who came from all over the country! Nothing beats family time.

Tell me about your holiday!!!!!

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