When Facebook Friends Die

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Everyone with a Facebook account has “friends”. What’s a friend? It’s a classmate from middle-school; when your American family was stationed in Germany back in the eighties. A “FBF” (Facebook friend) is often a real-life BFF (best friend forever), a close acquaintance, a current or former coworker, sometimes a sworn enemy whose status you’d like to observe; an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, a college roommate, a cousin, a mother, the majority of your highschool graduating class, or even your child.

Then there are the STRANGERS. Those people who, ironically, are not so strange at all. You discover that you enjoy interacting with a new person; a person that have never seen. For some reason, you find them worthy of interaction with you.

And then something happens in the course of daily living: After posting a witty or inspirational or funny or angry or insightful or raunchy or crude or whatever-particular-style-of-posting-you-have-come-to-expect-from-them “status,” the person dies. WTF and OMG. Let that sink in.

If it’s happened to you, then you’re familiar with the shock and bewilderment that can descend upon you as you scroll down the person’s page to read Rest in Peace postings from their acquaintances. Worse; the final declarations of love and the gut wrenching grief expressed by their closest friends and family members. And you follow suit, posting your virtual goodbye to a person who will never reply.

From YouTube to Twitter and Instagram, there are abundant ways to meet and interact with interesting people who stimulate our minds, teach us things, intrigue and attract us, repulse and disgust us, and etc. People who spend hours on social media each day become accustomed to seeing the same faces. But when one of your favorites actually succumbs to illness or injuries and dies, what are you supposed to do?

1. Identify and accept your feelings.
You can grieve for whomever you please, whether you knew them in actuality or online. When popular vlogger Domineque Banks succumbed to lupus on April 9, 2014, hundreds of thousands of people felt the sting of shock and in their own way, grief. It’s natural to grieve after the death of someone you know; whether in real life or online. Give yourself permission to feel shock, grief and loss. Express these emotions to your close friends and loved ones who will understand.

2. Remember the Good Times
If you feel dismayed at the passing of a beloved FBF, take the time to consciously appreciate the things you liked or remembered most about the person. Treasure the videos, photos, posts and comments; screenshot or print them in remembrance of your FBF.

3. GET CLOSURE
If possible, find the person’s obituary, research the cause of death, express your condolences and attend any memorial or funeral services if it’s practical to do so. You may be surprised at what you learn about the person once you’ve heard his or her eulogy or met their family members. And grieving families might appreciate knowing that their loved one was loved by many more people than they ever knew!

4. Evaluate Life and FOCUS on Important Matters

No one expects to die suddenly; a few hours after Instagramming a picture of their lunch. But in some cases, life is short. Death forces us to remember this fact. What can you learn from the death? What will it take for you to seize the day(s)? How much time do YOU have left. Pose these hard questions to yourself and honestly assess your priorities, timeline and goals.

Grief is never typical; each person’s grief is unique. Likewise, we each grieve differently for celebrities, friends and family, and yes–social media acquaintances. When a social media friend dies, there isn’t any oneway to react or respond. Simply listen to and process your emotions, cultivate gratitude for having known of the person, then ascertain the story of what happened and apply the life experience of your social media friend to that of your own life; helping you begin your personal grief process and continue on without your friend. Because life goes on; regardless of how you feel. Live well.

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“I Would Like to Thank the Academy”: Lupita and Black Self Esteem

In the weeks prior to the 2014 Academy Awards, Lupita Nyong’o floated down red carpets to the absolute delight of fashion designers and critics. Svelte, statuesque and sophisticated; skin the color of black coffee. Lupita enchanted Hollywood with her Afrocentric goddess qualities as black America looked on with awe.

No longer the despised and destitute slave girl she portrayed in Twelve Years a Slave, Lupita emerged into the Hollywood scene as a startlingly gorgeous and unapologetically African beauty; a standard.

Although Lupita’s beauty, talent and achievement inspire legions of fellow humans beyond the community of black women, nowhere else is her reign more celebrated. As she joins the ranks of the six other black women who have won coveted Oscar Awards, she gives billions of Africans, African Americans and dark people permission to be and feel beautiful without the chemicals and artificial enhancements that have caused physical and emotional damage to so many celebrities and pedestrians of color. Bravo!

Hosea Williams Rolls Over in Grave

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That’s Hosea Williams on the left.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta traveled southbound to coastal Georgia, visiting Savannah for another round of the hilarious hijinks that make it Bravo’s top rated show. In spite of the few catty spats, the episode delivers substance; by acknowledging the legendary story of black America’s rise from bondage, and exposing the rampant lack of knowledge thereof. Poor Porsha!

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Porsha Stewart, granddaughter of Civil rights giant Hosea Williams, frequently makes ignorant comments on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

The Underground Railroad, which, one might believe sounds like…an actual railroad was anything but. It was a series of hiding spots, paths, safe houses and more, by which black Americans eluded capture as they escaped their white captors on foot; not so long ago, when it was legal for white Americans to buy, sell, own, enslave, rape, lynch, breed, beat, mutilate, burn alive, murder and ext., black Americans.

During a touching moment at First African Baptist Church, America’s oldest black church and a safe haven along the Underground Railroad, Porsha says the following: “…Somebody’s driving the train. It’s not electric like what we have now.” Incase you, like Porsha, thought the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad and/or train, it was not.

Routes along the Underground Railroad

Routes along the Underground Railroad

Porsha logically pictured trains, but historically, the Underground Railroad looked more like this.

Porsha pictured trains, but historically, the Underground Railroad looked more like this.

Adding weight to the mistake is the fact that Porsha’s grandfather is the late legendary militant civil rights activist and protestor Hosea Williams, who was so entrenched in the pursuit of liberty for American blacks that he was present with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on the day he died.

Although poor Porsha faces public judgement for her ignorance, her comments indicate a clear necessity; the urgent and fervent re-education of black America.

The late Hosea Williams is known for his courageous protests, for serving on the Georgia Legislature, for being a part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Staff, and much, much more.

The late Hosea Williams is known for his courageous protests, for serving on the Georgia Legislature, for being a part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Staff, and much, much more.

Loyal RHOA viewers know that passing references to Hosea Williams pepper the show since Porsha’s debut. Yet how many know who Hosea Williams was; and why Dr. King referred to him as “my wild man?” Porsha is likely a reflection of plenty of people’s ignorance.

This isn’t the first time Porsha has made ignorant comments. Viewers may recall Porsha saying “265 days a year” and other phrases that make her look less than brilliant. So after this latest incident, the public wonders how much Porsha really knows. Although Cynthia properly states that Hosea would likely disapprove of his granddaughter’s lack of knowledge, it is also likely that he would enjoy the fact that his name is trending.20131223-020111.jpg

Go Mama Joyce! Four Reasons Kandi and Her Mom are Both Right

Kandi's mother objects to these two being united in holy matrimony and she is speaking now.

Kandi’s mother objects to these two being united in holy matrimony and she is speaking now.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is always a breeding ground for controversial topics. The opinions are hot; never lukewarm, as beautiful and talented black women expose their celebrity lives to an addicted public. For millions of people, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than by checking in with Kandi Burrus, Nee Nee Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Phaedra Parks and Kenya Moore.

This season, Kandi’s mother, Mama Joyce, takes on Todd, Kandi’s fiance, confronting him about everything from signing a prenuptial agreement to being an opportunist and allegedly sleeping with Kandi’s best friend. While Kandi doesn’t believe the allegations, Mama Joyce’s protective, confrontational nature and knack for candid quips create a riveting television experience, and a lesson in woman and motherhood. The following is a list of five things every woman can learn from Kandi Burrus and  Mama Joyce.

Mama Joyce protects her cub.

Mama Joyce protects her cub.

1. A LIONESS PROTECTS HER CUBS

Mama Joyce never pretends to like people just to keep the peace. She confronts Kandi’s best friend, outright accusing her of sleeping with Todd, in the middle of Kandi’s bridal fitting. Although the confrontation escalates quickly, Mama Joyce’s vehement defense of Kandi shows the passion and conviction that mothers should employ when protecting their sons and daughters. Mama Joyce dissects Kandi’s entire life: Todd is a gold-digging opportunist and her best friend is less than loyal; using Kandi for the various perks her celebrity brings. Again, Kandi disagrees with her mom, but you’ve gotta love how fiercely Mama Joyce confronts anyone whom she believes to be less than worthy of inclusion in her daughter’s life. Do you know your kids’ friends? Boyfriends? Girlfriends? Although Kandi Burrus is surely wise and mature enough to chose a mate, Mama Joyce’s concern and action are admirable. Surely Kandi’s success is due in part to the guidance of her mother, and a mother’s guidance is priceless at every age.

Kandi knows how to keep her cool

Kandi knows how to keep her cool

2. A QUEEN ALWAYS KEEPS HER COOL

Kandi very rarely engages in yelling, arguments or conflict on camera. Yet she’s still a wildly popular reality television star, just like the women who pull out each other’s weaves and punch each other’s lights out. Sure, she gets upset on screen and is known for crying and being an emotional person (most great musicians are), but this season’s drama has been intense and Kandi has shown controlled strength.

When Todd insists that she “stand up to her mother,”  and when he dials Mama Joyce’s number and tells Kandi she will “figure out” what to say, Kandi remains cool. When Kandi’s friend tells her “she has a choice to make,” accuses her of letting her mother “run her life,”  and tells her she’s “always riding the fence,” Kandi quickly puts her friend in check and refuses to disrespect her mother. She’s too cool for that. She respects her mother’s opinion, yet makes her own decisions. Even amidst the allegations that Todd is sleeping with her best friend, Kandi remains objective and logical. And anyone who’s watched the show knows that Kandi smiles through it all. A queen always keeps her cool; or at least tries to.

Kandi's relationship with her mother has promoted the success she enjoys today.

Kandi’s  close relationship with her mother has brought about the success she enjoys today.

3. REAL WOMEN ALWAYS STICK TOGETHER

Not only did Mama Joyce openly oppose her daughter’s nuptials, she brought two sisters to support her. The sisters weren’t just warm bodies. They had specific opinions and they didn’t hold back. Again, Kandi disagrees and has already stated that she will marry Todd regardless of anyone’s opinion. That’s not the point. The point is that Mama Joyce and her two sisters presented a united front in the protection of their beloved Kandi. Who doesn’t need the wisdom that the elders offer? Although Kandi doesn’t heed their advice, at least the positive image of elder women protecting and advising younger women has made it to reality television. They may be wrong in their judgement of Todd, but isn’t Kandi fortunate to have the support and guidance of strong and decisive women; women who would never stand by and let anyone take advantage of their cherished daughter. Mama Joyce and her sisters stick together. Kandi and Mama Joyce stick together. Phaedra and Kandi stick together. Kandi even refuses to diss Wendy Williams, who is also vocal in her opposition to the union. It’s hard to hurt women who stick together!

Despite the fact that Wendy Williams is being blamed for staring the Mama Joyce versus Todd beef, Kandi respectfully disagrees but expresses love for Wendy.

Despite the fact that Wendy Williams is being blamed for staring the Mama Joyce versus Todd beef, Kandi respectfully disagrees but expresses love for Wendy.

Kandi knows who she is and what she wants.

Kandi knows who she is and what she wants.

4. MAKE FIRM DECISIONS AND REMAIN FOCUSED

Maybe Mama Joyce is so aggressive because she knows Kandi is hard to sway. Viewers may have noticed how determined Kandi is to to marry Todd despite what anyone else thinks. Sure, people get married and divorced every day, and it’s true that not every relationship is a good relationship. The great thing about life is that everyone gets the chance to do whatever the hell they want. Kandi has never been married, so naturally her current relationship is headed in that direction. At some point, Mama Joyce will be forced to step back and watch her daughter’s decision become a reality that affects all of their lives. The hidden jewel within this dynamic conflict is Kandi’s decisiveness and strength. Never do you witness Kandi seeking everyone’s approval of her relationship. She doesn’t waver based on what anyone thinks. She’s always wanted to get married and she’s on a mission to check it off her list of things to do. No one can change her mind.

Mama Joyce tells Kandi's friend Phaedra that she should have introduced Kandi to a professional man, not "one of the workers," referencing Todd's former role as RHOA staff.

Mama Joyce tells Kandi’s friend Phaedra that she should have introduced Kandi to a professional man, not “one of the workers,” referencing Todd’s former role as RHOA staff.

America’s Obsession with Big Assets

We’ve written about the Real Housewives of Atlanta before. With the eruption of the hot mess that has been called Black Booty-Gate, it’s time to revisit the show and examine the implications of America’s obsession with voluptuous asses. As former Miss USA Kenya Moore and Atlanta Attorney Phaedra Parks bicker about who can do a better workout dvd, and which is better between a donkey booty and a stallion booty, millions of impressionable women around the world check out their own physiques and decide that their natural asses just aren’t good enough. There’s nothing wrong with working out, but in an age where teenagers beg their parents for surgical enhancements, there’s no telling how many women will receive and act upon the subliminal message embedded in the show: Obtain a big booty; by any means necessary.

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Rap star Nicky Minaj is often criticized for having a cosmetically enhanced ass. While her voluptuous figure is great for her image and record sales, women around the world are getting back-alley butt injections in record numbers to keep up with her. Some women don’t survive the procedures.

Phaedra Parks decided to film a DVD called Donkey Booty, designed to help women enhance thier butts the old-fashioned way–with exercise. Her rival, Kenya Moore, has chosen to call her video, Stallion Booty. So just what consitutes a good butt?

Years ago, women with large butts were considered fat or sloppy. Women in magazines and on television never flaunted voluptuous asses. Then came Jennifer Lopez. With Jennifer Lopez’s exciting career, signature curves, and sex-symbol status, curvaceous booties became acceptable. No longer did everyone want to be a size four. Sure, some people still value slim figures, but equally as many people now advocate thickness, and go to desperate lengths to obtain it.

The Dark Lore

Black history month is about repairing the damage done to the black community over a period of centuries.

Black history month is about repairing the damage done to the black community over a period of centuries.

February is a significant time of year for blacks in America. Why? Not because we need to know who invented the traffic light or cellular phone. February is the one month of the year that American blacks actively and collectively focus on empowering the entire troubled race through information, affirmation and love.

Those who oppose the celebration of February as Black History Month generally fall into two categories; some feel it’s too much: Why should a historically despised and downtrodden race receive a special month? Others feel it’s not enough: One month of historical trivia, ironically the shortest month of the year, is not sufficient to educate the African diaspora on its unique lost ancestral records, original religions, native family languages, culture, customs, spirituality, and even knowledge.

Both sides believe themselves to be correct. People complain that “there is no WHITE history month, LATINO history month, IRISH history month..,and the list goes on and on. Black Americans complain that all other historically abused races have received proper apologies, reparations, favors, etc., that blacks do not receive.

What’s so special about black people? Weren’t Jewish people, gassed and tortured by Hitler, also persecuted? Didn’t they bounce back? Yes, they did. Jewish people, although they suffered tremendously as a people, are now fully protected by the greatest armies in the world, have managed to maintain their distinct culture and religions, are  and cherished in Christian theology, and to top it off, they have a reputation for being filthy rich. But back to blacks.

Black people in America still suffer from complexes of inferiority.

Black people in America still suffer from complexes of inferiority.

Why haven’t blacks “gotten over” their tragedy? What IS the tragic story of black people, and why does it NEVER go away? In 2013, America has a black president, but blacks in America continue to suffer through generations of poverty, crime, incarceration, discrimination, police brutality, failure, under achievement, disappointment, disaster, disease, teen pregnancy, broken homes, abuse of every kind, domestic violence, and more. Black people in America, without the advantages of college education or some other legitimate path to financial stability, tend to repeat cycles of struggle. Poor parents raise kids who immediately obtain dead-end jobs to raise their own kids, who get dead-end jobs to raise their own kids…until someone breaks the mold and finds a way to earn more than the minimum wage. What’s wrong with black people?

Self esteem seems to be the biggest problem. In every neighborhood, black children are being informed that they are ugly, dumb, and/or a number of other undesirable adjectives. They are being called “big nose,” “nappy head” and a host of other names; usually by other black kids. When they’re smart, they’re called “sellout,” “Oreo” or flat-out “white.” Kids who act ignorantly are being rewarded with popularity. In black communities, it’s often considered “cool” to be stupid, violent, disrespectful, shallow, materialistic and wasteful while pursuing money through illegal means. What’s wrong with black people? Why do so many black people perpetuate the negative stereotypes we see in the media? Why are black people continually struggling? Killing each other in gang wars, amassing great wealth to waste on expensive cars and sneakers? Wearing fake hair pieces and chemically straightening their hair as a general rule? Bleaching their skin? What’s wrong with black people?

Many black people bleach their skin, believing that dark=ugly.

Many black people bleach their skin, believing that dark=ugly.

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Black women have naturally curly hair, but they straighten it with chemicals, wear weaves and wigs, and even go blonde to attain white standards of beauty.

There is no one answer to this question. We can, however, examine the stories, the history, the legends, and the experiences of black people. Piecing together the history of a people I the first step to understanding its present state. And no, one 28-day month is not enough time to tell black America’s story. The story isn’t always pleasant, but it isn’t finished. Whether flashed across our television screens, extracted from rare historical books, or spread by word of mouth, healing the African-American race starts with understanding its lore. The Dark Lore is an offspring of THE LORE; dedicated exclusively to uncovering and publicizing the story of the world’s darkest people.

Inspirational Song of the Day: NUMBER ONE!

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Music; it can change your mood instantly and create positive and/or negative emotions. This song was chosen because of its high energy, intense vibe. This song seems to conjure the image of a strong and fearless conqueror. Use it for your workout. Use it while you cook or clean. Ride to it in your vehicle. Hope you like it. If not, don’t give up on The Lore. We love a variety of music genres and we’d love to take suggestions for a motivational song of the day. Have a nice day.