The Gray Area

The Gray Area

Archive for January 2009

Pardon Me Sir…

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Is it me? Yeah, it has to be me. Yes, it is definitely me. Natural law suggests that the energy we emit into the Universe travels 360 degrees back in our own direction. This is how I know that I am indeed a work in progress. I come in contact with people on a daily who cause me to recognize who I am in every situation. It is not always fun, but necessary for my manner of being. I find myself making things explicitly plain to some folks, men mostly. Now let me give my little disclaimer before I proceed.

**When I make reference to men, I do not speak of all men in general. I feel that there are definitely righteous representations of Manhood and those that fall short, and I can surely tell the difference.**

Now on to the business…Please help me understand something. Is it truly vital that a man express his self proclaimed superiority over a woman through acts of domination? I’m having a hard time accepting that as truth. I am extremely fortunate enough to have an amazing Dad. He shows me the respect that I earned as a woman he readied for this world. Who would I be to allow a man, or any other person whom I have a close acquaintanceship with, to behave disrespecftully in my regard. I know not to treat them that way. And, it’s not like this person has invested massive amounts of time, LOVE and money in my welfare like say, my father. So, I just can’t see it. I have a good enough example to make reference. Its easy to see through the lies of the Great Pretenders…

Honestly fellas, the way I am designed as a femine creature disallows me to embody malicious characteristics from the start. In my opinion, most women truly want to live this way, they simply do not know how. But this is not our only issue. We also will for YOU to rise up to your grandest potential. It’s rather difficult hold high visions for us both when we rarely receive the LOVE and support in return. It baffles me how instead of leading into LOVE by example, some men choose to rule with tyranny.  I will be the first to admit that some women’s behavior does not warrant the utmost praise. They are often erratic and difficult to sustain. However, I do NOT believe that one person should allow the actions of another to dictate his/her own actions. It would server us most beneficially to rise above negative influences and become the most exquisite versions of ourselves. Thus giving others a glimpse of how Miraculous life truly is.

Let’s face it. Every person living and dead has had to acknowledge the inner battle between good and evil. We are ALL capable of being Grimy, Weak, Cunning, and Deceptive. Thankfully there are those of us who choose to abandon these methods of behaving. Unfortunately, these souls often interact with the lesser and it is indeed a test of fortitude and endurance. I’m just gonna put it out there. If, the Real/Genuine/Sincere people don’t rise up and let themselves express, we will continue to be lost. Crooks and Thieves will forever prosper and the world will assumingly complain.

Anyhow, MEN…all I really wish for you to do is simply BE who you say you are. For those of you who are not aware, your word means much more than you think. When you become conscious of your words, you will be much more aware of your deeds and the desire to do boyish things will likely disappear. (Yes, these declarations also apply to the fairer sex.) Us women are eager to witness your Greatness when you behave in a Kingly manner. But we are making the decision daily on whether we can hang around until this Greatness is discovered by you.  In the meantime, we regress and exhibit behavior unbecoming of a Queen, but as I said earlier, we are all works in progress…let our first lesson in life during 2009 be PATIENCE

Still Thinking,

Ms. Larrieux, Shu-Shu

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Written by areagray

January 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Yeah I Said It…Now What?!

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Please allow me to tell you a story…for those of you who may not know, I am an employee at one of the largest retail conglomerates in the World…yup you guessed it, Walmart. Now on this particular day, I was assigned to register 19 (I’m a Cashier), which is 20 items or less. This register is special because it is the only place in the store where you can purchase cigs and Lipil baby formula. Needless to say, it is my job to keep the line moving…

So, up walks this woman with a cart half full of groceries and a handful of WIC checks. WIC is its own transaction that requires a bit of time, which means by the time I got finished checking out the woman we will call Red, for the ridiculous weave she had propped on top of her head, the line would be severely backed up. Therefor, as she approached the register, I politely told her that she had more than 20 items and I would not be able to check her out however, she can go right across the way to register 22 where another associate was waiting to serve her. I personally saw no problem with the way I handled the situation, but Red definitely did. As she walked away from me she mumbled something to the effect of “stupid muthafuckas @ Walmart think they smart…”

Now, after she was out of my face, I was done with her, snide remark and all. But Red just couldn’t let it go. She approached the new cashier, counting each item as she takes it out of the cart especially loud so I could hear her. When she got to like 35, minus the WIC, I just laughed a little to myself and proceeded to help my next customer. 5 customers later Red is still being checked out and to my surprise, still talking shit. It’s past hilarious at this point. So, another cashier T comes over to me for a brief chat when she senses that the vibe was off in our area. The oldest girl around 18 or so who was with Red is now standing directly behind T but staring all in my face trying to decipher my words. T is trying to figure out why the girl is all up on her, I just say I’on have a clue, and comment on the fact that she is burning a whole in my face with her glare. We laugh it off and continue  on wth our conversation. T walks away and all of a sudden Red’s aggitation turns to rage…

For some insane reason, the girl has gone back and told Red that I said something out of the way to her. Given the fact that I said nothing at all to the girl, I found the whole situation a bit bizarre. After telling the new cashier that I was just mad cause I work at Walmart, Red then turns around to face me and yells “Yeah, that bitch better be lucky that my daughter won’t tell me what she said, cause I will go over there and straight check her ass. She fucking with the wrong one…”

Call me crazy or did I miss something about this entire scenario. Was I wrong for sending Red to a different register better equipted to take care of her? Since when does working at Walmart require security?

The other Cashiers who observed this situation were taken aback by the fact that I never responded to anything Red had to say. I expressed to them that arguing with her would have been futile, I know who I am, and I know who I am not and I am not the type of woman who argues with people who lack basic knowledge. Why would I risk my livelihood to appear prideful in the eyes of others?

I shared the story about Red to give a living example of how regnant these ghetto circumstances are. Ignorance is killing our people in massive numbers. You saw the trickle down effect from mother to daughter in the way the two women behaved toward me for simply doing my job. I actually felt sorry for Red and her offspring. Personal responsibility, civility and overall respect was completely absent in these lives. They judged me by the fact that I held a position that alot of people consider to be low. The funny part is though, people like me are the source of her WIC and welfare stipends. Besides, I’m sure that all of the unemployed people out here right know would love to have my job, just on the strength that it is a means to earn income.

Anywho, our behavior as a culture has always been an issue, but it’s even more serious now that we’ve made history with President Obama. I question the knowledge and integrity of all of the African Americans who are so caught up in the fact that Mr. President is a Black man.  It is not enough to simply be proud of him. What are we going to do to assist him? If you do not plan to make the necessary changes in your life to uplift your community, culture or nation in general, then what exactly is your point? If you screaming “Obama Ya’ll!!!” and you still killing the hood with drugs, murder, and larceny, what the fuck is your point? Ignorance is not bliss, that was one of the biggest lies ever told. Do we not understand the severity of our children’s illiteracy rate, not to mention the baby momma epidemic.

All I’m saying is, President Obama has given us a reason to be proud, shouldn’t we return the favor?

As Always,

Shu-Shu

Written by shushularrieux

January 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

Hip Hop Shows Signs of Life in 2008

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Whether or not you believe Hip Hop is or was dead, it’s still fun to say so. For argument’s sake, let’s just say it got its ass kicked and was lying comatose in the hospital for a while. The artists listed here are signs that Hip Hop has not completely punched the ticket yet.

The Roots  – Rising Down

Hip Hop can always count on The Roots to deliver, even in the midst of all the madness. While, to me, this wasn’t as good as Game Theory, it’s kinda like complaining that you got head instead of a blowjob.

Joe Budden – Mood Muzik 3 & Halfway House

My favorite rapper.  Joe Budden puts my emotions into words. 2008 was a great year for Joe Budden. He grew a lot musically, and put out two dope mixtapes, not to mention forged what could become the dopest hip hop group EVER (Slaughterhouse – Joe Budden, Royce 5’9, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I). He is truly one of the artists who improves on every project he works on. I hope this trend continues. I kinda almost prefer him to stay a dope ass mixtape artist, as opposed to making a mainstream name for himself. This way, he’s still (pause pause pause) my secret. Here’s MM3. And Halfway House.

Fav track

  • MM3 – All of Me

Royce 5’9 – Bar Exam 2

Royce is BACK! I haven’t cared about a Royce song since Bad Meets Evil. Bar Exam 2 shows that he’s still a force. One of the better things to come out of Detroit.

Fav track

  • Done Talkin

Stryfe – Detroit Rap City

Stryfe hooked up wit a French producer named Jihazed for this album. This was truly a bright spot in the year. I think it came at a real good time for me; I was LOOKING for something new.

NERD – Seeing Sounds

Does this count as hip hop? Even if not, the shit is dope, and deserves recognition.

Fav track

  • Sooner or Later

Detroit CYDI – The Rhyming Dictionary

Merry Christmas! I can always count on these guys to deliver hip hop how it should be: FUN! They’re lyrical, funny, and creative. It’s a much-needed break from the norm of “gun-clappin, drug-sellin, nigga-robbin” rap. Very refreshing. Grab it!

Black Milk – Tronic

Black Milk is part of the reason Slum Village stayed so dope after Dilla’s departure. He’s got his own sound, but was clearly influenced by Dilla. On top of that, he’s got rhymes. This album bangs from front to back (with the exception of maybe one track).

Fav track

  • Long Story Short

Elzhi – The Preface

I had given up on an Elzhi album 2 or 3 years ago. When this actually dropped, it caught me by surprise, and I was actually not that excited to listen to it. Once I got into it, all that original enthusiasm returned. Not one song on this album that I skip.

Fav track

  • Fire (remix)

Charles Hamilton – The Pink Lava Lamp

Charles Hamilton is like Lupe Budden Jr. He’s got Lupe’s imagination and eclecticism, with Joey’s emotion. On top of that, he’s an actual musician. He plays to complement his samples instead of letting the sample drive the track. This album consists of songs that I’ve sampled for my own beats, or WANT to. I love listening to artists whose shoes I can picture myself in – this, (and Black Milk) was that for me this year. I relate to his lyrics right behind my own and Joe Budden’s. “My lifestyle needs a Lifestyles; fuck the world!”

Fav track

  • Boy Who Cried Wolf

Murs – Murs for President

Some thought he “sold out” to commercialism on this album. I kinda noticed what they mean, especially with the Will.I.Am track. And one thing that bothered me is Murs stopped sayin “nigga” a couple albums ago, but brought it back for this one. Iono if it’s for the sake of reaching the general hip hop audience, or just had a change of heart about it. Anyway, it’s a solid album.

Fav track

  • I’m Innocent

Q-Tip – The Renaissance

It’s Q-Tip, do I have to explain???

Drake – Comeback Season

Drake is nice!

Feel free to add more. I’m sure there are mad others I’m leaving off.

Written by TomDaBomb2u

January 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm

F*cks Wit Your Head: Grant Morrison on the Individual

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If all goes well this will be the first in a regular series where we bring you fascinating tidbits, random provocative thoughts, and general reality-distorting madness.

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

Grant Morrison is an interesting dude. When he’s not giving Superman sun poisoning, bringing about Batman’s demise, or just introducing general chaos and craziness into the world of comic books he’s lecturing on about some pretty interesting topics.

I caught Grant Morrison in a conference with Deepak Chopra at Comic Con ’08 and I have to say it was one of the definite highlights of the convention for me. What Morrison is talking about here is essentially part of the thesis of Chopra’s Book of Secrets – the idea that there really is only one reality and we essentially dick everything up when we start dividing things into dualities and dichotomies, separating things from each other and ourselves from the world around us (including God). I’d highly recommend checking the book out (or pretty much anything by Deepak Chopra for that matter).

You can check out his entire talk at the DisInfo Conference by following the YouTube link, but I thought this part was particularly interesting.

So much of the culture I grew up in (that’s black, Hip-Hop culture to the lay folks) is built around this idea of the individual. Hell, if you can’t confidently wax poetic about how you have the most, biggest, best, baddest, worst, craziest, or [insert other erroneous adjective here] than the next man you probably shouldn’t even be thinking about becoming an emcee. (You might end up like this guy). But if you think about it doesn’t all of this cause more problems than anything else? We could be sharing stories, exchanging ideas, and generally having a grand ‘ol time, but we seem to waste a lot of time and energy trying to one up each other all for the sake of gratifying our ego.

Rather than really make much of a statement here I thought I’d just sign off quickly and leave you with a few questions:

– You think you’re unique, but how different are you on a core human level?

– What makes you one of us (or them)? What makes them (or us) not you?

– If you take a problem and stop thinking about it in terms of duality (i.e. you vs. him), what does it do for the problem?

– Would things be so much simpler if we could let go of this idea of the individual (or at least change or current definition of it)?

* (-_-)

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Written by 32523452345234673573

January 9, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Addressing negativity. . .

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For the censored, abridged version, check here.

So for those of you who don’t know, I’m getting married (www.thomasandcarollette.com). I’ve noticed two distinct reactions from people when they learn that I’m getting married.

  1. They’re happy and congratulate me, or

  2. they’re pessimistic and sarcastic.

The latter of the two is generally from single (divorced), middle-aged Black men. Their responses generally range from cynicism to full-blown negativity. The typical reaction I get is:

::siiiiigh::, followed by a wide-eyed “Man, you SURE???”

What the fuck is this all about??? I’ll tell you.

There’s a difference between asking out of genuine concern, and trying to be a cynical asshole spewing turds of negativity atcha boy. As I mentioned, it’s generally middle-aged, divorced black guys (i.e my dad’s friends) sayin the shit to me – guys who got married either by force, or without thinking the whole thing through. As a result of their situation, they have a distorted view of marriage.

Granted, it’s not for everybody, but just because it’s not for YOU doesn’t mean you should try to talk ME out of it. Families are the cornerstone of a strong community, and our flawed family structure is part of the reason that lots of Black folks (and Americans in general) are so fucked up. . . but I digress – I won’t get on my “that’s what’s wrong wit Black folks shit.”

Fuck it, yes I will.

That’s what’s WRONG wit Black folks! Our family structure has been broken, and the “pimp” or “player” personae is glorified and emulated. Lots of us were raised outside the boundaries of a traditional (i.e – single-parent) family, and assume that since we’re not in prison or on drugs, that there’s no consequence in bringing up a child out of wedlock. There are certain qualities necessary to a child’s development that each parent brings to the table. And while it is entirely possible for a single-parent to successfully raise a child, the situation is far from ideal, and has further-reaching implications than what is readily observable on the surface.

My ol dude was never what I would call the ideal father, and we butted heads a lot. However, his presence in my life was definitely beneficial. He understood that a boy needs a man to teach him certain lessons. As well, there is a certain disciplinary hand that a father provides, which a woman just does not.

Not all of the lessons I learned from him were intentional. While he taught me valuable lessons on how to be a father, he also taught me exactly how NOT to be a husband. He provided the perfect template for the ultimate divorceable man. So in this regard, his presence was still immensely beneficial. Although I did not have the opportunity to see a healthy, functional marriage in my own household, I still have SOMETHING to build upon, instead of just going at it blindly.

Someone raised by one parent may not realize the disadvantage they’ve been given. They may say “My mama raised me without my daddy, and I turned out just fine!” They are more likely to perpetuate the single-parent epidemic plaguing our community. The lack of understanding of the big picture, mixed with the intense emotions of having a baby makes it harder to take into account the effects on society.

Strong, healthy families are the building blocks which will restore us to prominence as a people, and as a nation. This is a completely attainable goal, but it will definitely not be easy. If raising a child takes a village, imagine what it takes to raise the village.

Just some thoughts to start the year.

Happy 2009.

Written by TomDaBomb2u

January 1, 2009 at 12:00 am