I want to write a story that will inspire and enlighten the public. A work of art that is moving like Zora and provocative like Spike Lee. I wonder what it will take to inspire me to “grind” the way they did. And by this ambiguous verb “grind” I mean research, seek knowledge, remain focused and continue to persevere. This month my goal is to create a piece paying homage to my race, culture and history. In honor of black history month I want to collaborate with my Xtreme Teen Theatre Program participants in constructing a phenomenal work of art that celebrates African American history, culture and the future.
“I love my thick nappy curls,” Eden confessed. “But I noticed when my hair is all laid & straight, I get approached way more by guys. Otherwise, black men treat me like my natural hair makes me instantly ugly. That’s kinda why I approached you first.”
She removed her headband & ran her fingers through her huge, natural curls, as her brown skin glistened in the daylight. I marveled at her beauty before replying.
“Some males who are hesitant to approach women with natural hair are intimidated by the confidence you’re displaying by wearing your natural hair & he cowers at the possibility of you rejecting him,” I explained.
By: Ebrahim Aseem
Author of the book, “Why Men Cheat on Loyal Women”
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Earlier today I received a text message from a friend requesting that I read an article he posted on Facebook and to give him my “view” on it once I read it. Of course my curiosity was stricken so I indulged. When I saw the title of the article I knew exactly where this was going; it was entitled “Why Black Men are NOT ATTRACTED to Nappy Haired Black Women” .The article was written by a black guy who obviously appreciates the “natural black woman”. In this particular instance they focused on natural hair, which means without chemicals such as a relaxer to straighten the hair. He shared the dialogue between himself and a room full of other black men, some of which were unable to appreciate a black woman’s natural kinky hair. I won’t do a review on this article; if you are interested, click the link above.
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Life is a journey of self-discovery. We are constantly trying to establish ourselves in society and become financially, emotionally and physically content and stable. The American dream has influenced us to become established with a career and family in order to find happiness. In doing so we are utilizing our identities in order to make a living. For example, my 18-year background in dance has allowed me to become a paid dance instructor. I am using my hobby to make money while I am in school and teaching is also a future goal of mine. As an emerging adult I am able to use what I identify with to earn money and gain experience in my career field. The struggles I face as I transition into adulthood do not compare to the struggles of adolescents.
Adolescence is a period where youth are at risk.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Risk is defined as “(exposure to) the possibility of loss, injury, or other adverse or unwelcome circumstance; a chance or situation involving such a possibility”. Adolescence is “an affliction that inevitably occurs regardless of social or cultural circumstances” (Cote). Adolescence is a period where youth are trying to develop identity and transition from childhood to adulthood. This period of life cannot be avoided; therefore it is up to you to proactively intervene in your children’s lives. Adolescence fits the category of risk.
- My first criterion for a “risk” is chance of losing something of value. One of the adolescent elements is risky behavior. Youth are easily influenced because they want to be socially accepted and seek approval from their friends. If parents do not show interest in their children’s social lives then their children are at risk of going down the wrong path. As children get older they become more socially influenced and this becomes more important than their home and parental influence. As a result adolescents become exposed to risky behavior in which they could partake if they lack parental guidance.
For example, the phone app “Kik” is very popular among adolescents because it is a new form of social networking that allows people to communicate via messenger without giving out your contact information. On January 14, 2014, Fox News released a news report on a sexual predator luring a teen using the Kik app: “39-year old Manuel Salto, a convicted sex offender, lured a 13-year old girl from Jenison to his home in Grand Rapids” (Spencer). This investigation revealed a relationship resulting in a pregnancy. Social media plays a major role in adolescents lives and helps them form their identities. Being active in social media also has risks and parents need to inform their children of the dangers of social media. Today’s rapid growth in technology allows youth to be influenced even more by pop culture and society because they have access to societal and social influence right at their fingertips.
Adolescents are easily influenced when they are misinformed of the consequences of their decisions. Parents need to know what social apps their children are active on and learn how the apps work and the risks their children are taking from signing up. The 13-year old on Kik lost her sexual innocence because of her poor judgment on social media. Adolescents need to be guided as they take on the dangers of society. While allowing them more social freedom you should still monitor their decisions and inform them of the risks they are taking.
- My second criterion for risk is the probability of uncertain future events. Adolescents tend to make impulsive decisions and think in the now instead of thinking long term. They make decisions without thinking of how it will affect them later, and as a result this could affect their futures. According to the World Health Organization, “Many adolescents face pressures to use alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs and to initiate sexual relationships at earlier ages, putting themselves at high risk for intentional and unintentional injuries, unintended pregnancies, and infection from sexually transmitted infections”. These are some examples of risks adolescents take that can impact their futures. Some that plan to go to college after they graduate high school see a change in their future events based on the decisions they make. For example, a girl that is sexually active in high school might get pregnant her senior year and may have to put college on hold because of her pregnancy. Her plans and priorities will change as a result of her decision-making and risk taking. Adolescents need to understand that the decisions they make will impact their futures. Irrational decision-making can result in an unexpected future. As parents you can guide young people in understanding that they can control their futures based on their decisions.
There is no doubt that adolescence can be perceived as an enlightening period for youth. Parents can form strict rules and provide maximum supervision to prevent adolescence from being a risky period. But in order for youth to practice and discover independence they have to make decisions on their own and as a result take risks. While parental control can lessen social harm in adolescence it cannot prevent the period itself from occurring. Adolescents will face pressure and take on challenges. If you are a strict and overprotective parent during adolescence then how will an adolescent transition into adulthood? As parents you should allow adolescents to make their own decisions while maintaining parental guidance and influence in their lives.
Cote, James. Adolescent storm and stress: An evaluation of the Mead-Freeman controversy. Psychology Press, 2013.
Graber, Julia A. and Julie C. Hill. “Childhood and the entry intro adolescence: A pivotal period in health-related behaviors and prevention.” Defining Prevention Science (2014): 59-86.
Mikami, Amori Yee, et al. “Effects of a Teacher Professional Development Intervention on Peer Relationships in Secondary Classrooms.” School Psychology Review 40.3 (2011): 367-385.
“risk, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web.
Spencer, Dave. “Police: Kik App Used by Sexual Predator to Lure West Michigan Teen to Home.” Fox 17 Online (2014).
World Health Organization. Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. 2014. <www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/adolescence/dev/en/>.
Unfortunately I missed my first day of school because I twisted my ankle the day before school started.
I e-mailed some of my professors to inform them of my injury and they all seemed sympathetic…
…Others did not respond.
I knew there was a reason why I managed my schedule to only have school 3 days out the week opposed to my usual 5. So I only had to play catch up for the first day of class. And how difficult could that be?
That Wednesday morning after much involvement in the “healing process” (involving me icing, elevating, and compressing my ankle while binge watching “Breaking Bad”, I did not know what to expect on my first day of class…(with the exception of embracing one of UMD’s ginormous hills to get from one class to another)
Of course I was late and limping to two classes that were on the big hill. Whose idea was it to schedule two classes back to back that are on opposite sides of the campus?
But aside from this I managed…and ran into some friends (and as we parted I kept thinking “I hope they don’t look back at me and see my awkward limp”.
I don’t know what this semester has in store for me but I hope for nothing but success.
When I visited my parents recently, I sat down with my mother to show her photos on my iPhone. There were photos from Thanksgiving, from Hanukkah and from my father’s eightieth birthday celebration, along with pictures from back in the summer — some really good shots I took of our family Fathers’ Day brunch in Los Angeles and my nephew’s college graduation dinner.
Although my mother enjoyed the photos, the problem, she says, is that they’re not real. You can’t touch them, put them in an album, let them gather dust in a closet until you pull them out for special occasions.
I assured her that the photos can be printed and that we would make this happen.
After we got home, I emailed the photos to my wife, who uploaded them to walmart.com. For about three dollars, Wal-Mart printed them and mailed them out to my parents.
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By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘selfies.’
Selfies are simply pictures you take (and post) of yourself.
What started off as a way of capturing yourself in the moment, in the absence of someone else to take the picture for you, has transformed into a global phenomenon.
It’s so serious that selfies now have their own Olympic Games (of sorts).
The Selfie Olympics started this week and they are over the top.
Peep #SelfieOlympics on Twitter if you want to keep up with them.
Folks everywhere are taking selfies.
But there are folks out there, who have mastered – MASTERED – taking selfies.
Veritable Selfie Masters.
What makes them masters?
One glance at their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds, and you’ll know that they take taking pictures of themselves seriously.
You know when you’ve encountered a Master.
Their pictures contain the tells.
Look for the eyes.
Sometimes wide-eyed. Sometimes, narrow…
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After tuning into the Golden Globe Awards, I paid attention to the nominated films and television shows. I was rooting for “12 Years a Slave” in every category it was nominated in because it was the only film out of the nominations that I had seen. Other movies included “American Hustle” and “Behind the Candelabra”. One thing that I noticed about a majority of these prestigious films is that they are all adaptations of real life historical events or books, (which usually are about real life situations). Today’s media and entertainment business is drawing inspiration from relatable material and actual events. But as soon as this material hits a Hollywood studio it becomes glamorized and embellished. But this does not happen to all movies. I watched “12 Years a Slave” after watching an Oprah interview with a few members of the cast and it was one of the most realistic films I have seen in a long time.