Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teen murdered after Twitter argument over Beyonce

A Florida teenager, whose family asks that he remains anonymous, was murdered Monday, after a Twitter argument about Beyonce. The boy, aged 17, allegedly posted a tweet agreeing with R&B singer Keyshia Cole about the hypocrisy over singer, Beyonce's mixed messages when it comes to her song lyrics. "Beyonce says girls run the world one minute, then wants them to bow down to her the next," writes the teen in one tweet. A twitter war ensued between the boy and several of his followers, many of whom attended his school. The boys mother reported that the boy abruptly left the house after being on the family computer at about 4 p.m. and never returned home. Investigators are looking into the Twitter conversations and have good leads on suspects. The boy is survived by two older brothers aged 19 and 25.

I grew up in the height of the rap era. I'm talking real hip hop when LL Cool J licked his lips under that Kangol and DMX scared the living daylights out of me with an album cover of him covered in blood. Those were the days when rap wasn't just a genre of music, but it was a movement. It represented a culture. But things often got heated and rap was warfare. You didn't just have competition, you had enemies and your label was often times gang affiliated. You didn't just represent where you were from, you fought for it. When Biggie Smalls was murdered, it was a sure sign that things had gone too far. During the 90's, fans crossed into a dangerous place of obsession where they believed the enemies of their favorite rap star were there enemies as well. They even believed that an entire side of the country they lived in had to be obliterated. As the wars waged between the west and the east, families mourned their loved ones and music lost two great musical icons, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. 

Flash forward to 2013 and this same turbulent culture is evident even now in r&b music. Sure, singers are suppose to be calm cool and collected. They are suppose to make love not war but now and again, shots fire; And it's not just between the men, but between the women as well. Keyshia Cole has caused quite a stir with her controversial comments about Beyonce and Destiny's Child. With one tweet, she was able to mobilize an entire "Beehive" (Beyonce fans) into attacking her and anyone who supports her. Now we have a child dead over the silliness. We have young people who take celebrities so seriously, that they resort to crime to settle their petty difference of opinions. We have a media which exploits, fuels and encourages it. 
To be fair, Beyonce has not personally attacked anyone. (At least not by name) But her new song, "Bow Down Bitches" where she boasts about wearing the crown and curses like a drunk hoodrat, stirs an environment of hostility. Now Beyonce is by no way, shape or form responsible for anyone's murder, but she does bare responsibility in the type of messages she puts out. Telling people to bow down will surely anger some people and start heated arguments between fans. 

What a lot of people fail to realize is that young people are very impressionable and they take these pop stars very seriously. Whether they signed up for it or not, they are role models. A lot of kids do not mirror themselves after their parents but rather who they see on television. I know that was true for me when I was young watching Ally McBeal. (Don't ask) I know parents should be fully engaged in providing an example for their children but there is only so much you can do. Children will develop most of their opinions about life outside of the home. They will develop their entire personalities separate from the home as they figure out their sense of style and politics, all of which come from the media and pop culture.

I hope we can get to a place in our society where we are beyond this crabs in a barrel mentality. Where people can be proud of others successes  and where those who are on top can help bring others up with them. I too was confused by Beyonce's 180 switch. I thought at one point she wanted girls to run the world and was all about girl power and let's rock together. She's got a female band and emerged from a female girl group. But now she's commanding all of us to bow down and ignore anyone else who would dare take her spot. I feel this is dangerous for the fact that a child is dead. We seem to forget how powerful words can be and how seductively persuasive music artists can be for the youth. 

Children spend a lot of their time arguing over athletes and music artists. They spend too much of their time molding themselves around the beliefs of others and living vicariously through the lives of celebrities. This has exploded in the advent of reality television like Jersey Shore where young people are told that hard work isn't needed in life, all you need is an audition tape and many bottles of alcohol to be a star. You will be rewarded for your dysfunction (Teen Mom) and you will be popular if you act out of control. 

Beyonce has run the world for way too long. It is time for everyone to run the world. It is time for all of us to realize that we are all valuable and the accomplishments of others are just that, the accomplishments of others. You don't get to boast about someone else, go to war over someone else, you just get to prove yourself and rise to your own occasion. 

I didn't wake up in a new Bugatti, and that's FINE

Did you wake up in a new Bugatti today? Chances are, you didn't. There's a popular song that has taken over the airwaves entitled, "I woke up in a new Bugatti!" The auto-tuned rap song, which features rappers Future, Rick Ross and Ace Hood is another typical bottle poppin rap jingle which glorifies material wealth. The funny thing is, these rappers probably aren't super rich themselves. Rented Bugatti's in the video as well as loaned jewelry, they put on heirs with someone else's budget. Their roles are to bewitch the youth of our capitalistic society into the notion that money will bring you happiness, "bitches" and self worth. And with that money, there's no need to invest it into a good cause like starting a foundation or a home for a family you dream of starting, no; all you need to do is buy a Bugatti. But why wake up in a Bugatti, when you can wake up in a warm bed? It is a sad state of affairs when in this society, it is deemed more desirable to wake up in an expensive car than wake up in a warm bed in a one bedroom apartment. It is a sad state of affairs when artists like Beyonce claim that they can upgrade you with material things rather than upgrading someone with love and a deeper perspective on life.
As a Capricorn, I've always been rather frugal. When I get money, I am afraid to spend it because I enjoy the feeling of COLLECTING money and I am always paranoid of something happening tomorrow that will take away my money. So the more money I have in my reserves, the less of a sting something like a parking ticket will have. Of course, I am not rich, no where near being able to have disposable income, but I know that Bugatti's and shiny things aren't important to me. I never understood the fascination with expensive cars in the first place. Hell I've totaled three cars, but while I had my 05 Toyota Corolla, it got the job done. It may not have had a drop top, butterfly doors and one hundred dollar bills flying out of the exhaust pipe, but it was something that was mine. It was comfortable to ride in, good on gas and got my black ass from point A, to point B. See to me, a car is just a car, and I understand people have car fetishes where they dreamed of riding in a Ferrari ever since they rode their bike on training wheels.
But I just don't understand why we spend so much time worrying about the latest model, who else has it and how much it costs. Women can't just have a bag to put their shit in, they have to have a Hermes or a Coach bag. It has to have someone else's name on it, someone else's ego etched all over it. Don't you realize? This is THEIR wealth, not yours. You had to swipe your credit card to make THEM rich. At the end of the day, all you are carrying in that five hundred dollar bag is condoms, tampons and lipstick. You aren't carrying THE HOLY GRAIL.
I need for everyone to just take a long seat and understand that life is about THE LITTLE THINGS as India Airie sang when she had a career. I cannot express to you how euphoric it is to bite into a well seasoned, juicy grilled cut of zucchini on a skewer in the summer with friends who love me. The taste of my mothers sweet mint tea and the way the summer sun reflects off the ice cubes through the glass. How about those worn down slippers that fit just right. They are so comfortable and like a second skin, but they look a hot mess. But see you don't care, because they feel like home. That is what life is about. Laughing until your stomach hurts, rolling around in the grass with your dog and staring into a pair of eyes which love you unconditionally. Wealth is nothing but the accumulation of shit which has no soul, no heartbeat, it's just a security blanket. Yes we need money to survive, we need money to pay our bills and we need money to feed our children. If you have a dream, any dream, you need money to achieve it. You can't be a successful singer one day if you don't buy up some studio time to record a mixtape or demo. You can't be a successful lawyer if you don't spend money on law school. Money makes things happen but it doesn't make things easier. If money is your PURPOSE THAT DRIVES YOU, then you will NOT be successful. What should drive you is aiming for the form of happiness which will make you feel loved, secure and at peace. Striving for a mansion is empty, however, striving for a HOME to create memories in, is purposeful. If you build a mansion of wealth, all you may end up with is a bunch of walls with no one at the dinner table who gives a damn. The common story for a lot of the elite in interviews is that the grass isn't greener on the other side. P. Diddy said, (am I really quoting him?) "Mo money more problems" The common story for the elite is that they had the most fun when they were poor and trying to make it.
Fergie's song "Glamourous" illustrates how she fondly remembers the drive-thru at Taco Bell with a Mustang full of friends. I guess my point is that materialism evades a sense of self identity. If we all have a Bugatti, then what's the big deal? If we strive for it, then what makes your dreams so unique and what makes you deserving? If we all wear Tommy Hilfigure, then what happens to the idea of fashion being an art form? It's not art if it becomes commonplace. So before you dream of waking up in a NEW BUGATTI, why don't you work on waking up to begin with. Open your eyes to the splendid wonders of this earth. There is so much you have already been given. You have so many talents and there are so many amazing things you can do in this world without decorating yourself with other people's dreams. What is beautiful to you? What is happiness to you? I guarantee you, it's not 24 inch spinners or a mansion full of whores. It's something deeper. Don't dig for gold, dig for souls. We are not here for the objects of this world but for the but for the life force that is NOT OF this world. Too many of us have fallen victim to the sell spell, to the notion that THE WORLD IS TO GIVE US what we need when in actuality, we are here to give IT WHAT IT NEEDS. We are the seeds. Unfortunately for many of us, we have forgotten to germinate.
The world will not water us if we aren't even aware that we are seeds and refuse to plant ourselves firmly in that belief. This world can give you Bugatti's but what it cannot give you is LIFE. You create that for yourself and you radiate it outward so that others can catch it. When all is said and done, it won't matter about the bank statements, what will matter, is the statement you made to this world.