When I initially introduced my perspective on this project last month, it was with due diligence that I asked you all to give it a chance. Because often times, most of us are always pre-judged and stereotyped one way or another, before we’ve ever had a chance to convey our message. I felt empathy for the women of The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond, because despite being from a certain kind of area and having children outside of marriage, they described their intentions as being purely positive. With a heavy heart, I heard and saw all of the feedback on social media, which suggested that some of you still felt “some type of way”. Apparently, these ladies sold a positive quality program that would not only “Put Richmond” on the map, but also tell the story of Real single parent mothers in the city… however fell short of accomplishing this goal their first go-around on public access television.
Waiting patiently for some reaction from the cast and crew… there was dead air. I grew lethargic waiting for the show and its creator to speak up, after she blatantly posted that her television program CD recording skipped. Even now as I write this, there still has not been any comments or response from the cast, which may even indicate that they themselves may have jumped shipped and abandoned the ratchet titanic before publicly sinking and being chalked up as the negative aspect of RVA. (*Note: Since editing, the Producer left a comment here) I really wanted great things to happen with this project, and I hoped that they would have proved most people wrong… However, what is not meant for us, is not meant for us.
I recently sat on air with Kiara Lee and Zenobia Bey this past weekend, for the new Kiara Lee Show (airing this July). We discussed black women images on television. I refused to throw these people under the bus, but it’s apparent that positive intentions and actually hitting their target were foreign concepts as of last night. These black women do not represent me or any of the black women I associate with, but they do have a testimony. However, having an actual plan on how to convey that testimony, that is another story. In today’s media, we don’t need one more reason to defend our race or culture, because of shows like this. (Below are screenshots of comments, criticisms, and opinions that either made me laugh [because I'm human] or concerned me about how we are being viewed in the public eye, Either way these people are entitled to their opinions and it’s not a personal shot against any particular person or group)
After the initial interview, I was a little taken aback because I thought this was meant to be a preview of what we can expect. I was concerned because of this.
Let’s be clear:
Age, Weight, Race, or Income does not matter at all… so all criticism regarding that is irrelevant.
People are just not willing to allow certain entities to represent them, and that’s cool. The biggest lesson from this for all of RVA and the world:
I’m not a single parent, but many of my friends and family are. I know how they feel about these ladies representing them as Richmond “Baby Mamas”, however they don’t allow them to speak for their personal lives and circumstances. They post pictures, they are out there in the community, they network, they’re handling business and connecting with individuals that can see firsthand what a single mother in Richmond is capable of looking like and behaving. If these women can have a platform, any woman can. Don’t just scream your distaste, create the example you want to see. From here on out, there should be as least three new shows coming soon that counteract the TRBMOR show. Get to work!
How do you not spend the first episode giving us a back story about the main characters of the show? Every reality show I’ve ever watched, introduces you to the cast in episode 1. I don’t understand, why this show just assumed everyone knew all the characters and we’ll just all fall in love at first sight. That is all.
I’m under the belief that the producers of the show really didn’t factor in how extremely big this idea could get until it was too late. I don’t think they had a clue at the gem they had, and dropped the ball on making a real difference in Richmond. When we end up on MediaTakeout.com, I’m like… WTF! RVA should start bangin’ with all types of creativity at this point. Momentum people!
After this program, it was clear that we should be more ambitious than ever to change whatever the current circumstances are in a hood near you. I personally felt that despite what they were trying to do, we should look at this as a blueprint on what needs to be rectified for women and families in situations such as these.
There are people who don’t like the Honey Boo Boo show. There were thousands of people who petitioned against Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives. I will not give a pass to a certain project because there are other shows that exist. If you aren’t going to bring something of quality and motivation to my demographic, than you are just taking up space online. Show us something we can learn from, regardless of who is doing what. You may get money down the run, but what is the price of gold, if you lost your integrity and sold your soul?
The Camera, the Camera, the Camera!!! This was all I heard last night. The camera quality was poor and the footage was not up to television standards. However they had photo shoots, after photo shoots and these ladies, in their own way… dressed up and showed out with outfits, hair, and shoes. If more time was spent on the content of the show, and not the marketing photographs, the public would have probably been able to focus on the message of this reality series.
I think I was more embarrassed by the diversity of the hate and the comments about being ashamed to be from RVA. Considering I’m not a native myself, I felt that these women had an opportunity to really put a light in a dark places and make it shine for all those closest to them. Without trepidations, I say they dropped the ball. Forget the T-shirts, and the club parties, and the constant footage of you holding your hips. They could have really erased some local stereotypes about black women, and due to poor execution failed. It’s not over though, a great thing to do would be to respond to the public and your supporters… because although misguided at times, many of them are looking to you to set the example, otherwise… why have a platform at all. Keep on trucking and don’t stop, never give up.
You may not be ghetto, hood, ratchet, or trifling’, but because of your address, how you wear your hair and how you communicate, people will always find a way to throw you into a box. Your job isn’t to lash out and go off on anyone who disagrees with you. Your purpose is to be the best person you can be and do what makes you happy. Educating yourself and learning about the world outside of your project community can do wonders for your life. Because of this program and many like this, black women are being viewed in ways that make me uncomfortable. It’s a crying shame the way we’re treated, and if many more women would use their platforms to solidify an image of excellence and positivity, then you wouldn’t catch young people sighing in disgrace, wishing they weren’t black and from a certain city.
It doesn’t matter what your tax bracket is, if you are rough around the edges… you can still conquer. Don’t allow yourself to be limited because of who you are and where you’re from. Make your dreams come true despite the obstacles that come your way.
The biggest hilarity of the evening, was after NB12 covered the story and opened the door up for many more people in the community to learn about the ladies of TRBMOR, Everyone’s favorite News anchor Curt Autry threw a slice of shade of his own. I love the news! Although, the “Baby Momma” in question wasn’t the one coming off the bus (also known as “Rich B***h), he pointed out the contradiction and made us all laugh.
Aside from the footage and the first premiere of the show, realize that these women have to start somewhere. If you have $1.00 and a dream, don’t let your bank account keep you from your purpose. Start now, but watch for progress and growth in your journey because we all need that to reach our fullest potential. Nevertheless, do your research and educate yourself on the best way to make that dream flourish, don’t ever step into your purpose half-ass.
Overall, I’m not impressed, I’m devastated, and quite frankly… disappointed. You get points for effort, which is more than we can say about many. This is not a reflection of all black women, all single parent mothers, nor everyone that happens to live in the hood or low income community. However, who are we to take someone’s dreams away. Let them live. They got us good. No experience and they attracted more attention than many of us could have ever imagined. You can hate all you want, but if you tuned in… You gave them ratings. So if you don’t agree with them, just don’t tune in… or create something of your own.
It is my hope that these events are making us reevaluate how we carry ourselves in public, online, and throughout social media. I also would like people to provide some constructive feedback on how they can improve and truly make a difference. If you don’t like what you saw, create something that you would like to see. Anyone can do it obviously, so let’s all get to work. Nevertheless, if you have a project or brand you want to put out to the public, ensure that your messages aren’t being thwarted by miniscule details that a little research and knowledge could avoid. We all start somewhere, the difference is.. how many of us haven’t even started at all.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
From comments posted on social media to conversations had at the salon and barber shop, Richmond Virginia has been buzzing about a reality project called, “The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond”. It was made evident that a lot of people wasn’t going to like the idea of several women banning together to share their testimony on single parenting, while representing RVA without a few folks making some noise. I must admit, initially I was concerned about whether this was going to be a mockery of African American women bashing their child’s father and acting a fool. With the travesty of Shawty Lo almost getting his own show with all the baby mothers he has, I wasn’t prepared to support anything that was going to make us look bad.
However, I watched people commenting on the project, making false judgments about what they were going to see and cyber bullying these women, when the show hadn’t even dropped yet. Expected to air June 10th at 9pm, the cast of ladies have been spotted taking photos and doing interviews all under the watchful eye of the public. It’s true that ratchet (some use to describe ghetto/hood behavior) does sell. Nevertheless, the ladies urge that their project is nothing ratchet, it’s their life. So why so much controversy around their reality show? Well apparently, people are up in arms about the fact that Pumpkin, the creator of this project decided to call it the Real Baby Mamas of Richmond. The term Baby Mama has long been used to describe the mother of a child to whom you are not married nor in a relationship with. You had a baby with her and now you must either co-parent or continue to provide her with child support. During our interview, the ladies stressed that they did not aim to celebrate the fact that they are Baby Mothers, but bring to light that this is a situation that affects many women, and they just want to share how they survive day to day.
Mostly quiet and reserved, some not as social as others, the cast gave me their nicknames on the show which I guessed was meant to reflect their personality. My impression of the women during our sit down conversation and taped interview, was that although they seemed defensive to the idea of being labeled and ridiculed online, that they honestly just want to change their situation. You can’t fault someone for wanting to make a way out of no way. Let’s be real, who would be banging down a lot of your doors begging to give you a reality show based on your struggle if that’s what would get you out of the struggle in the first place? I’ll wait. So this woman decided “I’ll do it myself, and I’ll bring a few understanding women with me for the ride”. That’s inspiring in itself. She made her own reality show, now it’s just making sure that her project has a message. Because without a distinct message that will resonate with audience to be more positive and to seek a better life, it can and will get thrown in that bucket of “ratchet-ness” and stay there.
From haters and naysayers to supporters, many people feel some way or another about this representing Richmond. Many have commented that Richmond women don’t look like the ones depicted in the project, bringing to light that people can be judgmental about your physical appearance without even knowing your purpose. During the interview another good point was brought to light, if you felt that you were a better representation of what single parent mothers look like in Richmond Virginia, then why didn’t you attend the audition? Pumpkin stated that she had many inquiries of women interested in being a part of the show, even now many women have expressed a desire to join the cast, yet only so many people actually showed up. We all know individuals who wait until something becomes successful or until it’s a guarantee hit, before they decide to participate. I think it would be a crying shame not to share your testimony as a single parent, if it could inspire some other young woman doing it all by herself… and you technically can do it yourself like the cast of RBMOR are doing. *hint*
Most of the judgment comes from people who aren’t in their situation. Having multiple children with different fathers, shouldn’t automatically categorize you as a hood chick with no future. However, let the internet thugs tell it, they snatched the pic, post it on their page and go to town, laughing and ridiculing these women about their story before the show even aired. I had a few people I know personally try to justify their judgmental comments, and my questions was politely, “Do you know them?” Everyone has a story, and yes we have our full of reality show drama, but just maybe it’s not meant to hurt or hinder… just maybe it’s about to make a difference in how we see each other. Who can say only a certain type of woman can get a reality show, why can’t some of our most struggling brothers and sisters share their journey as well, regardless of their fashion style, personal appearance, and the title of the project? The definition of coming up is trying to progress from where you are to something better. That’s a struggle for everyone, not just the people in your circle. They deserve the same opportunities as the rest of us, a chance to try to come up and make a change for their children, regardless of their address or family tree.
I’ve had conversations with several people about this project, expressing that as long as it’s not what a friend of mine affectionately calls “Coonery Bafoonery”, I can’t be mad at them. I wouldn’t want any black woman to get on a platform that thousands or millions can view and make a mockery of a lifestyle that many other black women struggle with. Please just make sense, just be real, and understand the influence you could potentially have on your supporters. I just stress that in the end, the message should be a positive one. The ladies mentioned that viewers tune in everyday to watch Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta and New York, Basketball Wives, & 16 and Pregnant, all reality series that have been described as ratchet as well by most of the general public. Yet and still, people tune in weekly to watch the madness and be entertained. So why aren’t they supportive of these women sharing their journey as single parents in a city that has been notoriously described as being unsupportive? Weird, huh.
Well time will only show and either prove you all wrong or not, however The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond is coming on the air, and honestly a few of you have already decided to tune in. Don’t front! Whether you are spectating to watch them fail or to truly support them, realize that every second counts as you give them the ratings they need to be successful and to change their situation for themselves and their families. Which I believe is basically what this is all about, they want to make a difference in their circumstances. They strongly stated that their intention is to do nothing more than be constructive, and that’s exactly what we need to see. With everything going on in the world, we can’t seriously accept anything else.
I can’t wait to see what unfolds and I truly pray that this project does inspire many mothers (single or not), because everyone’s testimony can bring light to someone.
Check out their Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealBabymamasOfRichmond
Their Official Website: www.therealbabymamasofrichmond.com/
After an hour dance class, my hair is dripping wet with sweat. After about twenty minutes of running my mouth with my friends in the lobby, I notice that my hair starts to dry. A lady walks up to me and says, “Oh wow! What do you put in your hair to get it to do that curl pattern?” As straight forward as I am and as tired as I can be of this question I answered bluntly, “Sweat!” She laughed, not immediately catching my sarcasm, and asked again, “No seriously, how do you get your hair to curl this way, I mean you’re obviously black… so how do you get “good” hair?” So offended by her assumption and ignorance I just walked away leaving her with my friend to go put on my shoes and leave. I overheard her say to my friend, “She doesn’t have to lie to me, and I just know there is NO dark skin girls who have a curl pattern like that who don’t put something in their hair.” Normally this kind of debate would anger me. However, I’m starting to see that there is a serious disconnect among black women when it comes to natural hair and I’m confused.
I thought natural hair what was naturally coming out of your scalp. Pardon me for thinking that it didn’t matter what products you put in your hair, but your natural hair was whatever state your hair was in without any enhancements, curling puddings or soufflé’s, or any treatments, etc. With all the natural hair modifications that some women purchase to get that perfect curl pattern, is it really considered natural? I long for the days in the 70’s, 80’s, and even the early 90’s when nappy was awesome. It wasn’t about some shining curl pattern, black women were proud to wear afro’s that may or may not have frizz. Nowadays, some of these natural sisters throwing shade on other naturals for being too kinky and too nappy and not enough body and shine. GTFOH!
I know currently the natural hair community is a money making business, profiting off some women who want to feel included in the club and seeking knowledge about it. I get it. However, for me going natural wasn’t only about accepting myself for who I am, but also for convenience. If I have to shell out $10 for curling products, $10 for ant-frizz, $10 for curl refreshers, $10 for twisting gels or oils, and more money on other crap, then I might as well go and get that $5 box of relaxer because the natural hair community is stressing me the hell out.
I literally don’t have the best curl pattern in my hair and with a lot of manipulation my hair gets frizzy and nappy just like other people. However, I have never had to shell out a lot of money to achieve the best wash & go for my hair. I don’t see myself getting that involved in the community because I choose not to spend a whole lot of money, to be something that is already natural to me. Many of my friends feel the exact same way. Like how could the industry mess yet another awesome thing up as black women accepting themselves for who they are? Going natural is hard enough, then to have your fellow sisters judging you and telling you the best style for your God-given head, the way to achieve the perfect curl according to the majority. Why would black women approach me and say they can’t go natural because their hair will not come out like mine? Who is feeding them this garbage? I think a bunch of insecure naturals are gathering trash tips and making other insecure naturals feel bad about their naturals. Some black women are delivering a message of self-hate in a community that is supposed to be just the opposite.
My hair is an accessory, my beauty is from within. Therefore whether I’m natural on Monday, weaved –up on Tuesday, and flat-ironed on the weekend, it doesn’t take away from who I am and what I believe. God made me just the way He intended me to be, no amount of products and enhancements will change who I really am. Don’t allow people to make the simple things that we enjoy so damn complicated. You can always tell the insecure from the confident, because the confident could give a damn if they were like everyone else or not, they walk to the sounds of their own music and live without looking back… naturally.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
It’s that all too familiar conversation, you see someone online and their following is steadily growing, their popularity is picking up, and people begin to want to have that conversation, “Are They Going Somewhere?” The truth is, we live in a generation of people that assume that if it’s not on their timeline, on their IG account, and Twitter trending topics, that it’s not news and it’s not real. Unfortunately, because of people like this I strongly feel like the world is going to sh**! There are far too many myths, half truths, and straight lies floating around about what an internet celebrity is, what social media fame means, and who is the sure enough most popular, lucrative, & greatest in Entertainment, Networking, Media, Writing, etc. In Reality, most of the lifestyles that people actually have, are actually sensationalized and made to appear more glamorous, important, and productive, than they really are. This is a scheme to intimidate the weak, peek the interest of the ill informed and lazy and to manipulate the insecure and ambitious who just want to make it.
We don’t have fans. We have supporters, lurkers, and potential clients. No one on Twitter, especially in your local scene can attest to being internet famous with followers in the range of less than 6 or 7 digits. Most of the people on our list are people trying to push their stuff on us, not paying attention to what you’re doing. In addition, some people stoop so low as to buy followers, create other twitter accounts and follow themselves, so truthfully basing your entire career on how many people you follow and who follow you in return, is almost as stupid as when hood dudes fight over government funded project territory that they don’t own. If the internet crashed today, would you still be relevant?
A boss pulls you into the office and tells you that you’re lacking, you’re slipping, and you’re fired. A boss calls a meeting with the competition to discuss issues. A boss never shows that he/she is affected by the moves of those that object to him/her. The problem with social media is that, you can always tell who is a boss. You look crazy if at noon, you’re discussing how you’re making so many moves, you are hustling, “grinding”, and building your empire, but then you are easily affected by post, comments, and humorous photos that speak things people can’t say in real life by the end of the day. When has the telephone become extinct? Passive aggressive one-liners aren’t the norm for the people that I look up to and are inspired by. People that say that they are busy working, are really busy working. They don’t have time to scroll through and see what other people are doing and indirectly commenting about it. You got questions or comments about someone use this: @TheirName, otherwise that comes off as weak and submissive, and what BOSS wants that? You can’t say you don’t have time to do that, because you’re using that time to be indirect, just saying. Your team should hip you to that, I mean they are your friends, right?
As I mentioned before, you have supporters, lurkers, and potential clients all following you and seeing your behavior. You cannot assume that just because you have certain people under your list of followers, that they are required to click your links, share your info, and Retweet your bodies of work. It doesn’t work that way. I remember doing a spoof video that was about beefing with people online. The video had a message, but it had strong language as well. I knew a few of my friends and supporters watched it and enjoyed it, but some of them couldn’t share or Retweet because of the curse words. Did I take offense to that, no I didn’t. It’s understandable, because we are all building a brand and we need to be careful how we are perceived to those we are trying to work with in the future. If you post something, some of us may click on it and some of us may not, that’s life. If you really want us specifically to see it or it pertains to us in some way, of course feel free to tag and attach us to the message. However, what you won’t do it just plaster stuff on people’s personal Facebook page, get in your feelings when I don’t Retweet your post, and try to gangster somebody into supporting you. If that’s what you came for, you can kindly leave; nobody has time for that! How do I look having your adult saturated material next to a picture of my kids? Like a fool, so get that and wrap that up nicely in a bow, we don’t do stuff like that around here. Send a newsletter, an email or just wait for me to click the link, stop acting like a spam troll, thirsty for people to see what you are up to.
Internet Celebrities, Locally Famous, and everyone in between… Many people are all trying to make their dreams come true. What some of us do it with respect and humility; they call that weak, wack, etc. Some of us do it with aggression, ratchetness, drama, etc. and they call that “go hard” and grinding. Smh. The truth is, many of you aren’t seeing a clear picture of the real lives. We all have struggles and tribulations, but overall its how we overcome them that set people apart.
Some of the people that are trying to make it, have some of these issues going on, that you may have no idea about:
Unpaid bills and potential evictions
Receiving government assistance
Warrants and cases against them
Owe money to other “local” celebrities
Have false and fake limbs and prosthesis
Are sexual deviants
Fund their businesses with food stamps and unemployment checks
Live at home with their parents over the age of 25
Loss of relatives and/or jobs
Neglecting their children and/or spouse is cheating
Own broke down jalopies and/or have no transportation
Copies ideas from actual famous people and make it their own
Are insecure, suicidal, and self-destructive
And much more…
Therefore, if you look at someone’s followers, their Klout score, and all the things that they are doing… you may not see the above-mentioned things. Of course, you wouldn’t see that, it would mess up the painted picture of success. You have to discern for yourself, based on attitude and humility, those that are truly blessed and successful.
“The Loudest one in the room, is the Weakest one in the room” – F.L
Can you honestly say that what people do doesn’t matter to you? Truthfully. Well, if you are actively trying to find information, having entire discussions around someone and their work, it’s safe to say that it does indeed matter to you. The biggest myth of all is that someone can literally have a monopoly over anything anymore. New personalities, businesses, and ventures popping up all over the place, there is no way to “takeover” anything. When you’re doing great work, somebody can sell his or her work right next to you and it wouldn’t matter… You’re still doing great work. I recently had a conversation with someone who didn’t want to throw a certain type of event, because somebody else was doing one two months later. That is most absurd thing, I’ve ever heard. You can’t get money, live your dream, and be amazing in your purpose, because someone else is also doing that as well? Stop allowing people to intimidate you from seeking your fullest potential. If they are bothered that you want to do XYZ, it’s because they feel threatened. They feel as if you have embarked on their territory and there is some evidence of fear and uncertainty. Otherwise, why would it matter? It’s enough clientele and blessings for all of us, when we stop acting like crabs and hermits, we will start to feel that. You cannot expect everyone to like you or appreciate what you bring to the table, therefore there will always be that person who will fill the void for those people you can’t reach. It’s not realistic to assume you can take over a market, a community, and a generation if your message isn’t pertaining to every single person within that realm. Stay in your lane and do what you have been called to do, don’t worry about other people. Don’t feel threatened by anyone else, because as I proved earlier… most of them dealing with their own stuff anyway. As we all know, “hurt people will hurt people”, so don’t allow anyone else’s insecurities and lack of talent dwindle your shine. They are only discussing you and seeking to destroy you because YOU MATTER.
I close this in saying, if you truly have a purpose in mind, a goal you are trying to reach, and work that needs to be done… do it! Stop allowing people to pull you down with them, distract you with their nonsense, and pull you into their ratchetness and drama. No one who is seriously busy has time for that. The folks doing the most shouting about how you can’t do what they do, how you will never be on their level, they are the best, blah, blah, blah… are the folks most concerned that we don’t know it and haven’t seen that yet. People who are talented and secure in their position in life, don’t need that confirmation and reassurance. What’s for you is yours, God will see to it that you have it regardless of what those regular people say and do. It’s just a matter in you having faith in yourself and Him, that you will eventually see that flourish right before your eyes. Debunk the myths that people can take from you what you have set up to win, if it ain’t anointed, it’s not going anywhere… believe that. It’s about time to lift these smoke screens. I want to see more winners and less whiners.
Love and awesomeness,
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
As the product of a dysfunctional upbringing, it was always important for me (as a parent now) to ensure that my children don’t ever look back and wonder why I wasn’t a better mom. Work, school, bills, relationships, events, activities, and life as a whole will pull on us everyday, whether we like it or not. However, the blessing and opportunity to love our children, not with things, but with our hearts and souls… only comes to a very few. So why aren’t we taking greater advantage of it?
Lately, I’ve been reminded that many parents are depending on the school system and its administration to steer their children in the right direction. They are probably never considering that school systems deal with politics and bureaucracy, that some teachers may be there for only a check, and that your child is in a classroom with over 15 children at a time. No one at school can dedicate that much time to your kid in such a short period, with several other children from various backgrounds pulling on them constantly.
Therefore, some other parents are depending on the childcare/daycare to help ease some of the stress. However, let me explain that most of these businesses are only required to keep your child physically safe, away from harm and danger, and well fed and healthy until you return from work. They are not required to ensure that your child can read, write, or even speak proper English. They are not required to ensure that child has an adequate amount of self-esteem, knows right from wrong, or that the teacher in the classroom doesn’t have emotional problems of their own. It’s about money most of the time, if they enroll your child then its income for the business.
So, what do parents have left? Ourselves! It is our responsibility to ensure that our children know the basics from saying “please” and “thank you” to more complicated topics like “stranger-danger”, child abuse, discipline, and something as important as washing their filthy hands after using the bathroom. Our relationships will come and go, our jobs, although important are essential because we have children to care for. Therefore, to ignore the very seeds we put on earth, to get that paper and keep up with the “Joneses” makes absolutely no sense to me.
Last week, I had the displeasure of witnessing two very troubled children cause chaos all over a daycare center just because they could. Of course, the mother was dealing with so much on her plate, with her new employment and being a single mother, she had her hands full. My heart was heavy for her because if she could get the help she needed, without worrying about being paid, bills, or other life struggles, she could very well turn these kids around. However, despite the children’s bad behavior and her struggles, the kids managed to have brand new sneakers, video games, and even quoted lines from recent movies in theaters right now. I knew then, it wasn’t about the struggles anymore, it was about parents not having their priorities straight. It’s about people assuming positions of change, yet allowing the dollar to become priority over their purpose. Everyone gave up on these kids, so the kids gave up on themselves. I literally sat there and saw a child inflicting injuries on herself, crying her soul out for attention (needing someone to intervene), while one of the staff members videotaped her tantrum supposedly for legal purposes. This girl was irrational and her parent was at work, this was kind of situation that required a hospital and psychological professionals. It hurt so bad to witness this, more so because in my position there was nothing I could do. As a mother, I wanted to scoop her up and figure out what was wrong, set her straight and comfort her all at the same time. It was then that I knew, we as parents depend on the system too much to raise our children. The system is only depending on your fee.
I spend a lot of time with my children. I teach them right from wrong and I have the tough conversations with them early. I have a lot on my plate and I am by no means a perfect parent. I do as much as I can, because I don’t want to depend on school and daycare to parent my child, it’s my responsibility. My son will learn a lot on the streets and from other kids, but it’s my duty to ensure that he knows the facts. His behavior and his actions are a reflection on my abilities to be an adequate parent, and myself. I’m accountable for my actions, as any healthy adult should be. I can’t blame school and daycare for what I failed to do at home. So relationships, business, and other stuff to the side, if your children are acting up, think about what you did to contribute to that behavior. Is it the movies and television you allow them to watch that has them acting like fools? Are they seeing your adult behavior when they shouldn’t be? Are they privy to your idle gossip and grown-up conversations when you think they aren’t paying attention?
We can’t complain about the world and all of the messiness, when we unknowingly contribute to it. Not steering our younger generations in the right direction is the first strike against making any positive headway at all. Chasing money and trying to make sure your family looks “fly” only covers the surface. The kids that are neglected the most always seem to have the priciest labels and latest gadgets, has anyone else noticed that? Our focus should be their physical, mental, and spiritual health as well as looking good. That also includes our own health as well. If we are at our best, then our children are at theirs. It’s our job to be awesome parents, let’s make sure we do it to the best of our abilities regardless of our circumstances.
Love and awesomeness,
Follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Plain and simple, I was floored. From the beginning to the end, I was captivated and inspired. I know I throw many words out there, but speaking from the heart, Zakia Jameceye made me want to be a better woman… period. It sounds crazy, right? This woman saying that she was inspired to be a better woman by Zakia and a group of professional Female Impersonators, would probably make many of you weary as to what in the world I’m thinking. I don’t care! It’s the truth. The All Red Affair managed to take entertainment to a completely different level and I’ll explain why…
I’ve been to drag shows before, who doesn’t love Godfrey’s brunch on Sundays. Get the mimosa, honey it delicious. However, it’s so much going on during those shows between my plate and the hard-core entertainment; I’m spent just thinking about it. I enjoy it! Nevertheless, last Saturday in a hotel conference room, Zakia and her entertainment family, Nationz Pageantry Systems managed to take me from loving my femininity and myself oh so dearly, to wanting to be straight fierce, ferocious, gracefully elegant, and majestic all at the same time, every second of every day. I know they were performing, but hear me out. These entertainers, Mr. Nationz included managed to take an art form and push the envelope so far, that you have no choice but to be greater than what you are. You have to be there to understand the magnitude of what I’m saying, but allow me to paint a picture I know you’ll get…
If they can be that beautiful, that intriguing, and that spectacular on stage and they weren’t born with all of the amazing things that got them there to that point (you know what I’m saying), then what’s YOUR problem?
I thought about this deeply as I watched them cascade up and down the aisles casting spells on the audience with their glamour and fierceness, I want to be better. I want to feel better; I want to feel free and uninhibited to captivate just as much minds as they did on stage with my words. I too am a DIVA!
Now some of you may have your feelings right or wrong about female impersonators and/or drag queens, that’s your right. I support the LGBT community fully and I won’t apologize for that. This isn’t about that. What’s important is that these amazing men and women took art and inspired in the way they know best. I loved every minute of it, the crowd was drunk off excitement and support, and it was the best entertainment showcase of performances and glamour in a while. I appreciate Nationz Pageantry System for inviting me and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
They are currently looking for qualified promoters to produce official preliminaries. Visit www.nationzpageants.com to get more information.
Support their events and check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationzPageantrySystem
Check out this preview of the evening events:
It’s impossible to think that with any ounce of beauty, talent, or self-respect that everyone is going to love you and adore you everyday. There are people out there that hate their circumstances so bad, hate what you represent, and compete so hard that they will go out of their way to step on any ounce of respect you may have for yourself. Truthfully, you can say you don’t care, but deep down inside that’s false. You care and it bothers you. Why can’t people shine without getting some shade by some people around them? Why is it difficult to make moves in your life without the obstacles of haters, negative comments, and gossip/rumors? If I go to the bible, it’s clear that even the most perfect individual, Jesus Christ dealt with haters and naysayers, so what makes you so different? However, let me break down how to overcome the responsibility of being great and doing great things. Because with every step of glory there will be groans and moans of envious, jealous, and hateful people. How you deal with it makes all the difference for yourself and your life.
This is a hard task, please believe me. I often want to spazz out, snap, go off, and start hitting below the belt when folks talk to me or about me sideways. In fact, I used to go all out to destroy people verbally and even physically at times, frustrated that they had the audacity to come against me. However, I remember that my purpose is greater than that. I’m a mature woman with values and goals that don’t include petty people who aren’t happy with themselves. It’s not easy to be nice all the time or kill them with kindness, but that’s how you are supposed to live. Vengeful/vindictive behavior is just a vicious cycle that will never end. Treat them with kindness regardless of the hate and shade thrown at you. You don’t have to be fake and buddy up with them, but cordial doesn’t cost a thing and swallowing your pride is fat free.
People are going to talk about you… and badly, too. They are going to gossip about you, insinuate things, and assume that you are something that you might not be. It doesn’t matter. When you are called to a purpose and you are driven and focused, it doesn’t matter what people say. You don’t have to address every hateful comment or every rumor that comes back to you. God can handle it. If you ask Him to deal with the small stuff, so that you can keep working, God will have your back. Don’t respond to the foolishness; don’t give your haters the luxury of pulling you down with them. Let them reach; let them talk, because they have the time. You only answer to divine descriptions of yourself, you answer to greatness.
Don’t you ever, ever, ever dumb yourself down, ugly yourself up, or limit your possibilities for the sake of other people. You may not want to step on people’s toes, but don’t starve yourself and your glory. Be the best person you can be, be the awesome individual God created. Don’t worry about people talking about you or hating on you. They will do this regardless if you fail or if you win, so stay focused. If they can’t take your shine, then inform them where they can get some sunshades or tell them don’t look straight at you. I’m going to shine despite what they say, what they do, and if my shine makes them uncomfortable, they better back up and give me some room… it’s about to get hot! That should be your attitude, don’t feel like you have to limit your abilities for the sake of someone else, because they’ll either stifle you or despise you, both of which is not your concern. Shine bright!
Life has a way of throwing obstacles in your way. Bills, illness, loss, setbacks are all apart of the system. However, don’t worry about what people can see and what they might find out. You belong to someone greater and more divine than any of us, you answer to Him. He knows your heart. Your life should be pleasing to God, not people. Therefore, so what if you have to downgrade your house, car, or your style, God is going to bring you back when you are ready. We aren’t in a race with other people; we are on a journey with God on our own. Through all the obstacles and circumstances, find something to be grateful for and praise God. Find things in your life that you know are blessings and thank God despite the pitfalls. God wants to know that you know how to keep your light shining through it all.
It kills me when people talk about how awesome they are, and how blessed they are with talents, materialistic things, etc. However, despite being blessed in one way or another, they spend most of their time trying to prove… “I’m the best”! So much energy goes into getting people back, proving people wrong, hurting those who have wronged them, and vindicating themselves, that they don’t even realize that they’re going in circles. God doesn’t bless you so that you can beat it upside someone else’s head and make them feel inferior. God blesses you, so that you in return can be a blessing for someone else. Therefore, if you haven’t fully dealt with your own insecurities and trials, you will lose ultimately in the end. Spend your energy on your purpose and fulfill that. You don’t need to prove that you are untouchable, unstoppable, and the best at what you do with words of grandeur and idle threats to no one in particular, your actions and good will speak volumes to the people. Spend your energy on being pleasing to your Creator and not on the people throwing you shade or shade that you created for yourself. Spend it being awesome and blessed with your acts, not your boastful tongue.
I want to see people be the best that they can possibly be, I know it’s difficult… but it is possible. I used to think limiting things myself, but I’ve learned that if we are truly honest with ourselves and we deal with our insecurities within, we can overcome anything with His glory. I’m excited to see what happens next. God bless and have an awesome Easter Weekend.
Love and Awesomeness,
For more of the baddest creative motivation follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
She was my Spanish teacher in High School, a time that probably was the most confusing in my life. I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do, all I knew that I needed to get out of my house. Everyday, I would come into her class with some crazy drama after another, most of the time taking attention away from the day’s lesson. She would shake her head at me, laughing behind her chic framed glasses, saying, “I’esha, you’re a trip!” I loved her, probably one of my favorite teachers ever. She was young, fun, and just the coolest person ever. I admired her so much. Her style, her confidence, her short hair, and her spunk, was something I wanted for myself when I reached her age. She held a sense of freedom and laughter that most of the teachers at that school seemed to have lost down the road. Her youthful spirit and her love for the kids that she taught made her standout among the other staff, which made her our favorite. Although she was great at her job, she didn’t hold back from being real either. She talked to us like the young adults we were and never pretended to be perfect. That characteristic alone made me realize the kind of person I wanted to be growing up.
Little did I know that she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She mentioned it briefly back then, but as a kid, I couldn’t even imagine researching it, let alone already knowing what it was. According to WebMd.com (http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/default.htm), “Multiple Sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision. Other possible warning signs are muscle stiffness, thinking problems, and urinary problems. A multiple sclerosis diagnosis is made by the history of symptoms and a neurological exam, often with the help of tests such as an MRI or a spinal tap. No one’s sure what causes multiple sclerosis, but it may be hereditary. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis, but treatment can relieve worsening of symptoms.”
I didn’t see any signs of it back in 2003. She appeared fine to me. She danced in class, she play fought with us, she jumped up, laughed, and had a ball every period we were sent there to learn the Spanish language. Fast forward to present day, many years have past, two marriages between us, and my two little boys in the living room watching us converse. She is limited physically, her body not moving as frequently and youthfully as it once did. Her speech is different, but her smile remains. Only in her thirties and this disease is trying to make her appear older than what she is, what I know her heart feels.
I think about my life and the lives of all the people that I know. To lie and say that we don’t complain would be foolish. To pretend that we don’t get frustrated with our day to day, with the hustle and the grind, is blasphemy. While Joy, my beautiful friend and former Spanish teacher is confined to her home most days due to this illness, we have the ability to go outside and to be mobile. While she struggles to walk and often depends on her loving husband to assist her, we can do whatever our hearts desire. How shameful am I to have ever complained! God still manages to put a smile on her face, no tears or pity saturate her eyes and she often lacks the very thing that most of us take advantage of daily. The ability to move and be free.
When I think about how hard life is, and the struggle that even my own people seem to want to put me through, I have no choice but to fight. While she inspired me as a child, she still inspires me this very day. I think about how something we don’t even think about like MS can take the small things away from her like that, and how it could happen to anyone of us. Despite losing basic freedoms like wearing heels and going out, driving to the beach and having fun, running around with the children, she still smiles and still laughs. She still loves with all her heart and still cares. I tell myself everyday…
I must because Joy can’t
I must get up, I must keep going, I must not stop, I must not fall, I must love every minute of this struggle and enjoy the abilities that I have. I must because she can’t.
She is my inspiration. I saw her when she was different, I knew her before MS took over and I love her. I love her today, because when most of us would’ve been too in pain, to hurt, and too embarrassed to smile and laugh and reach out to friends. She keeps going. She keeps striving. When even the strongest of us would’ve given in to this disease and used it as a crutch, she is a fighter. Joy proves to me that if she can, I better! I had better strive, I had better fight, and I had better win… for JOY!
More than 400,000 people in the United States have MS.
An estimated 2,500,000 around the world have MS.
About 45 percent of the people with MS are not severely affected by the disease.
Diagnosis of MS is usually between 20 and 40 years of age.
MS affects more women than men, with a ratio of 2:1.
About 85 percent of those who are newly diagnosed have the relapsing-remitting form of MS.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about 50 percent of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will become progressive at 10 years.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about one-third of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will be using a wheelchair at 20 years.
MS does not significantly affect life span.
The course of the disease is unpredictable and no two people will experience the same set of symptoms.
There are four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing.
Among young adults, MS is the most common disease of the central nervous system.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS.
MS is not contagious.
MS is a progressive disease for which there is not yet a cure.
Increased understanding of MS has led to the development of many new treatments that target both the disease process and its many symptoms.
In countries further from the equator, the incidence of MS increases.
Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning hardening of tissue or scars.
MS is not inherited or genetically transmitted, although there does seem to be some genetic susceptibility to the disease.
This weekend, March 16th at A2, TAG (The Alliance Group) will be holding a day party and charity event to benefit MS. They have collaborated with Jamia Thomas Crockett, an advocate for MS who travels the country sharing her story on life with MS and inspiring many. Check out Jamia’s story here: (http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/myMSheels). Although Joy and I can’t attend I encourage you all to be there and support. The details are here on their Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/578271065518182/
You might have been laid off, or struggling with a job situation. You may have been given a notice that the rent is seriously overdue or the lights are going off. You may have seen a shift in your relationships with certain people, and you’re wondering what in the world in going on. It may just seem like you are being attacked for one reason or another, and you just can’t get up.
I know the feeling. Many people know the feeling. The insurmountable agony of trying to overcome one obstacle and another, all without catching your breath sometimes can wear you out. I wouldn’t dare lie to you and say, it doesn’t get hard sometimes. I lose it. I cry. I vented to people that I probably shouldn’t have, knowing all the time… all I needed to do was pray. Therefore, don’t feel bad… just have faith.
It’s struggle trying to be a better human being. Life is full of temptations, easy routes, and shortcuts that look so good to you. You’re trying to make things happen, you want a blessing or two, and everything around you is saying if you only do this, it’ll come to pass. It’s easier to succumb to negative ways; it’s easier to rely on negative people, its so darn easy to just talk about it, rather than be about it. Pretending the struggle isn’t there doesn’t make it go away. Pretending that you can hustle your way out isn’t going to make the struggle less painful. This is something I’ve learned the hard way.
My husband, children and I were just in a car accident, I never said a word. My health started to take toil on me; I kept smiling the whole way. I kept getting offers to do things that the “old I’esha” would’ve jump at for the chance to make some money, but I turned them down. Why did the “weed lady” from six years ago call my number, asking me if I wanted to cop? I sent that woman straight to voicemail and deleted the message. Another individual broke my heart, and I still extended love and respect. I’m in a war at this very moment, as even as I write this I’m battling. It would be so easy for me to revert to old ways and old behavior, because back then when I was “that” chick, life didn’t seem to attack me. Back when I was not praying, not reading, and not being anything close to a virtuous woman, life was gravy.
That’s how I know… I’m doing well. I know I’m walking right, because the enemy doesn’t attack someone who isn’t a threat. I know I’m pleasing God, because the dumbest things will happen to try to push you into being that awful person, that negative thinking individual, but I kept saying “Thank you God!”
In the accident, I said, “Thank God we’re still here and the car still works”. As my health started to affect me, I said, “Thank God I can still move and I have my life”. After the drug dealer called, I said, “Thank God, I’m able to handle my issues without smoking”. When my heart was broke, I said, “Thank God for the time spent and the lessons learned”. When the bills piled up and temptation came with opportunities for money, I said, “Thank you Lord for confirmation that my work is being recognized”, despite the fact I said no.
I’m in a war! They want me for something, but they can’t have me, because I belong to something greater. I can’t go back now.
Through all this fighting, I had to tell you just how awesome He is. I had to share that I am being blessed beyond measure, with more than I deserve. It’s a fight though, but I’m staying prayed up. I just hope that you are as well.
What’s for you is yours. However, no matter your circumstances, believe that it’s just preparing you for something awesome down the road. We’re in training for greater things. Say “Thank You Lord” for all things, big and little, in times of hurt and of plenty. It’s amazing the moves He makes, when we just believe. I wasn’t supposed to update today, but I needed to get this off my heart and into yours. God has something so spectacular for you… just wait.
With Love and Awesomeness,
We all do it… glance at our phones, our desktops, and laptops, and ask ourselves “Why is this person on my timeline?” I’m a victim to this all the time. Although all of my posts aren’t motivational and inspiring, I still try to keep all of my audience on social media in mind nowadays. However, every so often we get a whiff of some of the most straight up outlandish thoughts festering in the minds of the people around us. I don’t know if it’s drunk texting or just people trying to get a reaction, but so often I’m finding myself feeling compelled to click that unfollow button. It’s almost as if I’m enabling you when you post certain things, and I just keep browsing through. Now everything isn’t that bad, I haven’t seen a semi-naked pic since last year, which is great (claps hands), but lately I’m wondering… Did these folks think this through?
Ladies, this is how this “gentleman” feels. Is it funny? On the other hand, is it just plain truth according to him? Are we really allowing people to use us like this, while we buy them sneakers and weed? Are you really going to let a man drive your car around off the strength that he may or may not provide you with good sex? I hope not! Nevertheless, he is being Retweeted and favorited by people who agree with this method of marketing. Let the world know, “I don’t have any specifically positive qualities about myself, except the fact that I know how to please you sexually, therefore I’m going to promote that to everyone on Twitter. I’m the man!” You can allow your man to embarrass you like this and look foolish for being THAT girl, but I can’t…
When I get that delicious plate of food in front of me, I feel so compelled to share it with my friends. I’m about to eat a masterpiece of a meal, and I need you to see its beauty before I devour it. I’m not as committed to this Instagram ritual as everyone else, but that’s for a reason. Presentation is everything! You need to check your room before you take outfit pics and make sure it’s clean. You should always check for boogers before you snap selfies of your pretty face. Lord please help them. You should always ask yourself, if I saw this plate in a magazine would I be as hungry? You cannot snap pictures of your food, just because you made it. Don’t gross us out. So many points deducted for posting a pot full of penis on Instagram. That’s nasty. It looks seriously foul. It looks like it stinks. It appears as if you may have chopped off your fingers while chopping onions. Instead of going to the hospital, you just said, “So what! Let them eat my fingers”. Let’s focus on the task of cooking healthy, edible food, then after mastering that… you may snap your IG pics
In the spirit of Black History month, there will be many events to attend and people to see. It’s exciting, especially where I am. However, a little before February, a few promoters in a certain area decided to incorporate the late Dr. Martin Luther King (Martin Luther the King, in my house, lol) on a club flyer with two beautiful video vixens. OMG! I love a good party, of course one that had a purpose. However, creativity is at a stand still when you put one of my cultural leaders on a flyer sandwiched between big booty vixens. It’s false advertising. Will Dr. King be twerking it to Trinidad James at this party? Absolutely not, because he passed away. Have some respect! I draw the line at my attendance on that one. MLK would not have made it rain on these young women… out in a public venue. Just stop!
I keep telling folks, stop disrespecting your home. If you’re not going places in your career, there is reason other than you pointing the finger to everyone else. Are you branching outside of your circle? Are you out there networking and handling business, or do you expect everyone to come to you because you’re the loudest person on our TL after 8pm? I can’t stand how local people say their trying to give the whole city some shine, when your light is barely flickering for yourself. It’s arrogant and lacks professionalism. Go somewhere else and get love, but if that’s how you really feel. However, don’t expect too many people to continue to support that disloyal attitude. I may not get all the love I WANT where I am, but the love I do receive, I appreciate it. Sometimes, you should keep those negative self-sabotaging remarks to yourself. Don’t be discouraging, display how you’re building from the struggle.
This is so funny! You’re mad about some messages you’re seeing that you may believe pertain to you. Therefore, you pull up your tweegram application, you type a message of your own, pick a nice background, and you send. This message is so powerful and so thought provoking that you can’t wait to share it on Instagram, which will ultimately be shared on your Twitter and Facebook. Except you forgot one thing, not only are you contradicting yourself… but you’re doing the same thing that you’re complaining about in your message. We spend too much time trying to get people back. I know, because I got a few songs written about me by some local rappers with no relevance. However, if this person would have just picked up the phone, sent a direct message, or ignored the situation, eventually she would have gotten her answers. I say leave it in 2012; because our haters and non-supporters aren’t worth that much energy, considering we’re too busy giving them a reason to hate us. Let’s get to work, stop the subliminal bullcrap!
I want to see more of this. I want to see more people uplifting other people with their words, their minds, and their hearts. I want to get motivation from my timeline, a good laugh, and one of those inspiring jolts, which come from a positive place. I think if you’re learning something free, then you should share that with people. Allow them to get on your level, instead of stooping down to theirs. Retweet positive things, funny jokes, and remember anyone can see you. We’re not perfect but aim for your own version of perfection and put your best foot forward. I love seeing messages like these on a constant basis. Let’s free our minds with love and light from here on out.
I take pride in what I do. I’m not perfect by any means, but I know I go hard and I get it in. I started this process with the intention of it being a business, so with all do respect to the hobby bloggers out there, I’m working. I enjoy going to events and mingling like the next person. Nevertheless, when I get home, a mission is in front of me that must be completed. I set my deadlines, I make my contacts, I take my photos, I edit my videos, I travel, I network, I run the GaptoothDiva show. I am not made out of a team of besties that love the limelight. I am one woman, one camera, and a plethora of words thoughts and ideas. I put sweat into this. I grind until carpel tunnel seems close to arriving in my wrist and I’ll walk five miles in heels, if it meant an inspiring story. Team no sleep, was my life years before twitter. I do this!
Therefore, when basic women attempt to make assumptions about me, as if I’m thirsty for their attention… it’s a little more than disrespectful. I’m polite, I’m courteous, and I’m considerate. I never put people on blast, despite many of you needing it. I never acknowledge nor promote negativity or scandal, although I’ve been provoked a time or two. I’m altering my lifestyle to accept more positive in my life for my family, and myself but right now, I feel the need to explain that. So why would people assume that I’m anything but that type of person, is beyond me. The tattoos, the hair color, and the outfits are all extensions of my personality but they do not define the type of woman or entrepreneur I am. I will not allow someone to tell me what my brand is to him or her, when his or her brand is just a carbon copy of someone else’s. I’m original and my works speaks for itself. Period.
Now, the truth is I love natural hair. I appreciate the styles, the beauty, and the confidence held by so many women who wear it. I relish in the intricate details it possesses and the cultural significance behind it. I think all types of hair are beautiful, not just curly large afros on women with light complexions. I think nappy TWA are gorgeous, I love a kinky Mohawk or a barely there fade or baldy. I love natural hair! Because of its extreme popularity as of late, it’s easier for me to express that and myself, to say I don’t want a weave anymore. It’s not a trend for me; it was a certified lifestyle change. Therefore, when a woman asked me on Saturday, how I got this curl pattern, I said bluntly, “God gave it to me!” I’m no product junkie. If my hair does a weird kinky curl, that’s what I consider natural hair. I’m not going crazy for the latest Miss Jackie, Miss Jessie, and Curly gel/mouse/pomade, whatever. I wash and go. That’s who I am.
I understand the need to venture on a business that is hot right now. I get making money on the latest trends and promoting the popular thing. What I don’t agree with is making something positive, into a clique. I won’t stand behind someone who will literally ostracize people that they can’t profit off of or make into a minion who is thirsty to be included.
My kids can’t eat your natural hair product samples. I can’t feed my family your FREE swag bags. I can’t pay my electric, gas, or rent with free tickets to your events. My work should be compensated. Unless, I indicated otherwise.
If you charge X amount of dollars for an event, then enlist ten people to market and promote your event (bloggers) to their audience of, let’s say one hundred people. That is ten times one hundred people (1,000 people) that you are marketing to with little to no effort, on a regular basis. Now let’s say that you charge $15 to get into your event. Now because of your bloggers (online marketers), 1,000 people show up to your event. That’s a total of $15, 000 made at the door. That doesn’t include the free stuff from sponsors, the rate you charge for vendors to sell at your event, which ranges from $100 to $500 a table. That also doesn’t include advertisers’ on your programs, etc. So out of $15, 000 made off of your online marketers, you only offer a swag bag (which everyone gets by paying the admission fee and attending anyway) and a discount on tickets to your bloggers/vloggers? Can somebody help me make sense of this? How can these individuals write a thorough review, without attending the event? Are you suggesting that your media, SEO, and marketing providers pay to go to work? I’m not suggesting that they all are paid, some people may be doing it as a hobby and just enjoy being among the people. Nevertheless, there are people who are doing it as a business. Therefore, cannot be compensated for their time energy, videos, blogs, articles, pictures, etc. in the form of shampoo and olive oil.
Now let’s pretend that you offered your bloggers/vloggers a stipend of $25. That’s 10 people being paid, which a mere $250 is coming out of $15, 000. Where I come from, that’s not a dent at all in your profits. It just goes to show that people will pay you in free stuff before they pay you for real. The free tickets and the swag bag are necessary for an adequate review, but the gas spent to get there, the batteries on your laptop, camera, and cell phone, the software used to edit, blog, and market, they are all business expenses that isn’t covered by free curly soufflé and Shea butter. I’m just being honest. Therefore, although it’s cool to be among the community of natural hair enthusiast and people who want to support and promote natural beauty, if it comes down to me being hustled. I rather not, thank you very much.
I will continue to promote positive things in the community and support beauty, fashion and culture in my own way. However, what you will see more of will be me advocating for the rights of people that may not fully understand that no matter where you are in the process, get all the facts. You may want to make a name for yourself and build up your credibility. You may just want to go to events and support on your own dime, I still do every now and then. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t just accept everything that is told to you and you should always value your time and efforts. People will claim to build you up and give you opportunities, but just like they are reading this post right now (thinking of ways to counteract the truth), do your own research. Don’t get paid in hair products. You’re worth more than that.
Love and awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
You know I love you. I really do. To love you means that I’m going to keep it real with you always and forever. I felt compelled to speak candidly about some of the behavior that a few of you have thrown out there, and the audacity that some of you have. Don’t be mad, but just heed to what I’m saying. I don’t want to attack you, but I do need to let you know that ya’ll have been tripping, lost your minds, and are about to get your feelings hurt. I don’t want that, so I want to just give you a heads up before the ish hits the fan tomorrow. Therefore, here is my love to you:
Valentines Day (or at least that feeling of love, compassion, and romance) is supposed to be something you experience all year round. If your boo thang, man/woman, significant other, or lover only shows you romance on this one day or somewhere around it… you have a loser on your hands.
Don’t stress about the flowers because they die. The candy turns into feces down the line. The card will end up in the trash. The jewelry, you may keep (especially if its real), but you’ll always want bigger, brighter and better. It’s about the act of romance, not the money spent. Don’t dog somebody out because he/she can’t afford to buy you something.
The Valentine’s Day holiday is for show! It’s commercialized and gaudy, we are expected to take pics and post all of our wonderful gifts to employ other people to buy for their loved ones. The dollar store is about to make a large profit, I promise you.
If you can’t cook or at least feed your significant other, you don’t deserve anything. So don’t ask!
If you never worn lingerie before, don’t act brand new. You were a wack a** girlfriend/wife/baby momma all year, don’t turn around tomorrow with your hand out!
Tell your man, he should also buy his daughter something. A little girl that gets a valentine from her father will think the world of him. Every man she meets will have to match the quality of her dad.
Don’t just sit around waiting on your gifts. Make plans to romance him, massage, candles, dinner, and a gift for him as well. Don’t buy him any boxers, a tie, or socks. Do for him, as you would want him to do for you.
Write poetry; put post-it notes in his lunch bag, his jacket pocket, or his car. Get him just as excited about the evening as you are. He may act tough, but he’ll be thinking about it all day.
Brush up on your skills. Read a book, watch a video, and research something new to shock the heck out of him. Don’t come strolling in all pretty, with the same old Valentine’s Day moves from last year.
I think of Valentine’s Day as the romance new year. It’s a way to start over in the love department. So make a vow to continue the excitement for the rest of the year, not just on holidays. Our rule is: at least three dates a month (2 outside and 1 inside), make love more than you argue in a week’s timeframe, and always kiss hello and goodbye. Show the passion all the time, and February 14th won’t seem like such a big deal.
It’s NOT all about you. Show some love and compassion, too. Confidence, security, compassion, and strength keep a good man. Whining, insecurity, selfishness, and weakness make you look foolish therefore vulnerable to be played. Woman UP!
I felt the need to write this for all of the females that will be sporting their Valentine’s Day gifts and hauls tomorrow, but have been complaining for the last 11 months about the weak dude on the couch, who is lazy and trifling. I also wanted to inspire the women who may not know what to do, but feel it deep inside that just giving him the same sex he got last week, may not be enough. Step outside the box dolls, its beautiful over here.
Happy Valentines Day Ladies!
With Love and Awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
Follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
The other day, I witnessed a very talented young woman go in (I mean H.A.M) online about why people don’t come out to support her, why people don’t pay to see her perform, and everyone is cheap and about themselves. This isn’t the first time; I’ve seen people rant about people not supporting them. Even as I write this, I know damn well, it won’t be the last. It really got me thinking about the truth. As someone who spent the better part of her career, getting exposure and supporting people with no return on investment, I think I understand more than the average person, why most of you… sometimes even myself, can’t get the support we need.
First, let me say, that this list isn’t intended for everyone. Only you can determine whether you fall victim to any of these behaviors or situations. If you are honest with yourself, you probably can tell if you have been a perpetrator as well. This isn’t to point the finger, because truthfully you know what your motives and purpose are. However, based on observation, I can certainly tell you that many of us have fallen into any one of these categories before.
This pretty much sums it all up. When you see people complaining online or hear them ranting on in real life, ask them if they are guilty of any one of these violations. It’s easier to point the finger at everyone else and say people just hate, but because some of us live where very few famous people have started, we struggle to get somewhere and be a martyr, when we should just be satisfied with living with a purpose. I’m excited for you all and wish blessings on all your endeavors, just remember why you’re doing it and don’t worry about who loves you. The one that gave you the vision and the talent is the only approval you should seek.
With LOVE and Awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
I’m sitting in my office, GaptoothDiva.com up on the screen of my desktop computer. I have light bill, gas bill, and a money order for my car note in my hand. Thinking to myself, something has to change. I’m looking at the second love of my life, my son watching television and coloring on my living room coffee table, all the while wondering how we are going to make it until the end of the month. The struggle for me is real.
There will be hindrances and roadblocks on the journey to your dreams. Bills will continue to pile up, you may have to humble yourself and ask for help, even when you know you may be rejected. The world doesn’t just stop revolving around, because you decided to pursue your life’s ambitions. Frankly, the “world” doesn’t give a damn about your ambitions. You have to face all of the problems head on, regardless of what’s going on in the background. I remember having a deep conversation on Facebook, with one of the businesses women I praised so heavily on my website. She’s an amazing artist and designer, so focused and meticulous in her craft. However, like so many of us she suffered from some slight depression, piling bills that overwhelmed her, and a little self-doubt. While I tried to encourage her and motivate her to continue on, I realized that I was in fact, encouraging myself. I also wanted to give up at one time. The pressure of supporting people freely was weighing heavily on my pockets and hurting my heart. I want to help, I want to spread the word, but while my interviewees were making money, I was struggling to keep it together. The woman I was talking to said she felt inspired by our talk, like so many of you that direct message me your problems and concerns, I will always take the time out to encourage you and give you a good word. That I will do for free until the day I die. Nevertheless, I choose to take some steps to help me overcome some of the obstacles I faced. I hope this is something we can work towards together. Let me know if this helps you, and I’ll share with you regularly how it’s helping me.
You don’t have to see the finish line approaching to know that you are winning the race. As long as you believe in yourself and your creator, everything will work out. The enemy wants you to panic and trip out without thinking logically and spiritually. That’s why we blow the handle and snap at the slightest thing. Stop, pray, and meditate. Have faith that you will be victorious always.
People always tell me that I don’t ask for help as much as I should. It took awhile, but now I understand what they mean. I’m so protective and passionate about my vision, that I treat it like a pot of gold. You wouldn’t leave it with anyone and trust that he/she won’t steal it? However, I had to remind myself that what is for me is already mine, so there is no need to worry. Ask for help, tell people what you’re trying to do, then you will be better able to discern who wants to help you and who is out to get you. Better to know now that later.
I laugh at one of my closest friends because her hustle cannot be matched. She goes hard, she hands out her cards, she is networking and connecting the dots like she never sleeps. However, even though its amazing to watch, it is also inspiring. People fear going hard because they don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to step on people’s toes and come off like they are better than. I was one of those who thought that as well. However, why we’re sitting here hungry not wanting to ruffle feathers, other folks are eating and not caring what you think. Go hard in everything you do, don’t worry about losing people. Success can almost guarantee that people will fall out of your life. That’s not your problem. Think about those bills, those kids, the dream to inspire you. Those who matter don’t mind…. You know the rest.
I just recently stopped dealing with somebody because I felt that they didn’t have their own ambitions. I felt that they just wanted to “get on” by any means, even if it meant copying other people. It made me so angry to see someone with so much potential, just take the easy route and swagger jack other folks. We have to do what comes natural to us. Be ourselves, whatever that means. We can’t try to fit in, because then we are setting the wrong standard. When you pursue your dream, it’s your dream… a vision with you in it. If your dream has someone else as your face, then stay your a** sleep! It’s ok to be inspired and/or influenced by someone, but don’t try flat out do what he or she do. Take your influences and make them your own in your own way, or take the recipe and tweak it to represent you. In order to succeed your vision/dream should have purpose. If you’re only purpose to have what someone else has, then you failed before you even started.
Don’t portray something that isn’t your reality. A fraud can be spotted a mile away. If you aren’t about that life on the daily, than don’t pretend to be that kind of person for popularity. I know first hand a few jokers who post things online, but their life is a very different way. You see celebrities all the time ousted for the simplest things, because they care what other people think. If you willing to front about something for fame and popularity, neither which pay the bills, then what else are you willing to do when the money starts rolling in? Don’t sell your soul. Be yourself and forget all the nonsense.
I’m excited about what’s to come in the next couple of weeks. I can’t wait to share everything with you. I hope that you all can continue to overcome the struggle, and rely on your faith and yourself to get through. If you don’t believe, then who will. We’re in this together.
The Baddest Creative Motivation,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes <3
I’ve wanted to talk about this subject for a while. Ever since I announced my pregnancy last November, the idea that I should be ashamed of having children was heavy on my mind. It appeared that many of my so-called friends were dropping off the social calendar at rapid speeds, and I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t until a former friend of mine decided to be completely honest and admit that people with no children are much more fun than people who have kids. I found this statement to be a little more than ridiculous, considering that the person who said this… had children herself! Was I hearing this correctly? Were young mothers being made to feel ashamed of having a family of their own? Another former friend of mine was pretending (online) that she didn’t have kids, when in fact she has a daughter that is about 8 years old. While she’s tweeting about getting drunk and smoking, having sex with other people’s husbands, and going to the club every weekend, her daughter sits in her room and watches cartoons. When I asked her about her role as a mother and how it plays into her life online, she stated, “Nobody wants to hear about my kids, girl. That’s not hot!” To imagine pretending that I don’t have these two fantastic little boys, for the attention I get online, send me into a raging fit. Why can’t my children and my family be apart of the equation?
I have a very small amount of friends that are doing something closely related to the entertainment industry, and have children. Most of the people that I meet are single and have no children. Some even stating that they don’t plan to have any kids, because they fear it will negatively affect their careers. Those that are in the industry and have children, most likely had those children mid-career or after they’ve established themselves in their niche. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have both; it just means that it will take much effort and dedication on your part. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was made to feel like I was in the way. People approached with sorrow, instead of joy initially because I would no longer be able to “party” with everyone. No more late nights drinking and dancing, no more clubs and chaos until after the baby was born. It seemed as if all the talk about babies and family life, made me older than my years while everyone was screaming “YOLO” to the top of their lungs.
Now that I’m not pregnant anymore, and able to say I have my body back, things have changed a little. Those old friends want to hook up for drinks and dancing again, but my priorities are different now. I’m more interested in spending time with people that appreciate that I am a family woman. I can’t go hang out at the clubs as if I’m single and childless, because that’s not my reality. I’m married and I have two sons, and I don’t mind if my life reflects that. When a former friend of mine told me that seeing so much about my family, reminded her of what she didn’t have and it was annoying, it hurt. I don’t throw my blessings in people’s faces with the intention of them being jealous or annoyed; I just want to show how proud I am of my beautiful family. Therefore, when I am not invited to Girl’s Night Out, by people like that, I already know the reasons. I just appreciate their honesty and chalk them up as old friends. If I can’t post pics of my kids and my husband, for fear of annoying some envious friends, then they are not really my friends.
People have to understand that we all are at different places in our lives. Some of us have made decisions that may have changed the dynamic of how we live our lives. I’ve made some bad decisions in the past, but having children and getting married was not one of them. Motherhood is hard, its work, and it’s not always glamorous and sexy. Nevertheless, having kids didn’t take away my personality or make me dull; it just made me more responsible. Therefore, if getting wasted at the club and going home with strange people is your idea of fun, I probably would be boring to you.
One girl came to me recently and admitted to me that she chose to “pay me no mind” when I first started to promote GaptoothDiva and the website. She said that she didn’t think it was going to go anywhere because I wasn’t as provocative and wild as other people were. She admitted that it wasn’t until she got pregnant and I started to talk about my family more, that she felt that she could relate to me. Prior to her pregnancy (back when all I did was promote local artist), her priorities were very different. All she wanted to do was tweet, drink, smoke, and have sex. She said that when she got pregnant, she wanted to learn more about having a family and still work towards your dreams. I felt honored that she included me in a list of people that now have her attention, especially since her mind-set is in a more positive place. When people tell me that I’m not their cup of tea anymore, because of my family situation and motherhood, I realize now that they aren’t the audience I want.
Motherhood is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what age you are. You will have to change your focus to include your children, so partying and people shouldn’t be your main precedence, but that’s not a negative thing. People will assume that your lifestyle is an obstacle to be overcame, or they may not understand the obstacles you do face because you have children, either way it is not your responsibility to explain that to them. If someone can’t respect the fact that you have children, then they probably aren’t people you should deal with. It all in what you make it. If you want motherhood to be glamorous and sexy, then make it that way. If you want it to be exciting and fun, then plan so that it can be. I never looked at single people with no children and seriously considered them luckier than I was. Yes, I’ve joked about having kids and not having a sitter sometimes; but to deny my children to anyone whether we’re online or IRL is absolutely a no-no!
How someone could shame you into denying your children, I don’t get it. I know that some people aren’t ready get married and have a kid, that’s their personal choice. However, to ever try to make some feel small for making that decision, is just plain wrong. Blame it on jealousy, and the envy of secretly wanting a family and that level of love themselves. However, I would never say that behavior like this is ever justified. If the limitations they propose are really limitations that you face, you should find alternative solutions to them yourself. Don’t live with the notion that you can’t pursue your dreams and accomplish your goals, because you have children. We weren’t given anything more than what we can handle, so don’t make excuses. Love your children and do the best you can, keeping up with other people (with or without children) isn’t the purpose of your life. Obviously, if you’re a mother, you already know what your purpose is… live it, with no apologies. Never allow someone to shame you into denying your motherhood. You’ve earned it.
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram: @GaptoothDiva
We are coming upon the last days of this pregnancy. I must admit that I’m not at all excited about anything other than getting the baby out of my uterus. It’s been a long drawn out road of ups and downs, sickness and health, and most times, it seemed like death do us part. I never imagined being this sick, especially since my first pregnancy went by without a hitch, however this time around I was in for a fight. I had a fight internal as well as one with my own mind. I had to learn to fight the urge to want to please everyone around me, promising myself to make ME a priority over the success of anything else. I could have easily fell victim to overextending myself for false friends and networking colleagues, but the truth is my unborn child, my family, and my health came first. I couldn’t sacrifice my well-being for the sake of being liked, even if that meant redeveloping my brand after everything was said and done.
I especially think it was hard, because I never tried to operate my own business with the task of being pregnant. Therefore, with all the events and invitations I received, I never really had to discern which events were more appropriate for me to attend so thoroughly. In the past going to a party in some nightclub, affectionately themed after some grown and sexy cliché’, wouldn’t have sounded like a bad idea. However, after being pregnant I realized that some things are best left to the childless and unmarried crowd. I couldn’t imagine getting down at the “shortest shorts” event or hanging out at the “mid-week ménage” with no other purpose than to raise funds for some local charity. It’s just not about my image anymore, a fact pregnancy drilled into my mind quickly. I want to set an example and show people there is more to life than getting wasted and partying. I know some people mentioned “I’m foul” cause I don’t cover their events anymore or attend and “support” them. As ridiculous as that is, I initially thought they could possibly be right. After much prayer and deliberation, I had to accept that those who mattered didn’t mind, and you know the rest. I have to think about the people I’m trying to reach, my audience. My audience extends well-beyond the party “yolo” type, more into the ambitious family-oriented person looking to improve themselves and their environment.
Its crazy the type of things you think about when you’re forced to sit the game out, watching other people play non-stop. I must admit, I was scared for a while worried that an unexpected addition like our new baby may stop me from doing what I truly love all together. With some guidance and reassurance from those I love and respect, and of course some faith, I realized what’s for me is always going to be mine. I still had the passion, the drive, and the creativity to make my goals happen, so what was there to fear? Although a new baby meant some new challenges and more work, it doesn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t accomplish those same ambitions. I know plenty of women who have children (more than one) and can’t seem to cross over into legitimate entrepreneurship and success because of the challenges of motherhood. However, they do not define the role of Motherhood and Business Woman in my book, and I will do best to not look at them as examples of what to expect. I’m still scared, being that I never planned my sweet little bundle of joy and I have no idea how to incorporate him into the flow of things, but I pray and God got it for sure.
I don’t expect to be a perfect mother, I never even seen one of those. Nevertheless, I do want to be the best mom I can be. If that means that I have to put some selfish ambitions on the back burner (because I do love to have a good time and party all night), then it is no question… that’s what I’ll do. It should never be something of a sacrifice, when it comes to your babies. I want to set the greatest example for my sons, of what a REAL woman is capable of providing for her family, without neglecting their needs and image. It’s important to me that they know what kind of woman to eventually grow up and look for when they get older, despite what society and the corrupt media tries to portray.
I know now more now that some people read this website, not with the intention to be inspired or motivated, but to try to catch me slipping. They think they know me personally and they look to see what new things I’m into, what strides I’ve made if any, and what’s going on in my life. I assure you, it doesn’t bother me. I know that what I have is mine and mine alone and that no mere mortal can take that away. If watching me and quietly commenting amongst each other, is how they get through the day…. Continue to do so. It doesn’t do anything for me, if you didn’t know. I will say that I’m happy, whether I update this site every single day or once a month, I’m making moves. The satisfaction I get out of life is not measured by my peers, past or present. I’m in love, I’m healthy, and I’m blessed. My life is not measured by my status on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, so stop checking my timeline for updates, because if you were worthyof some juicy gossip… you wouldn’t be twatching- you would know.
This baby is coming to a loving family, not too concerned with the world and its fickle ways. He is coming to two parents in love with each other and with life. That is all that matters to me. I’m planning to have a c-section, because I care about my vagina… just kidding (no not really). I plan to drop another video on Youtube soon, providing new updates and craziness with the Hubs, so be sure to check that out on my channel GaptoothDivaTV. So as I plan to have this c-section, whenever I go into labor (within the next 3 weeks), I know for sure I will really be out of it. Bear with me… I’m sure not giving up.
Check out more new photos of my family and me on Facebook, under my personal page www.facebook.com/GaptoothDiva