Nikes Up in Flames

Furious rage spreads like wildfire among former Nike consumers following the multinational brand’s 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring, former 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick on Monday, Sept. 3.

As people across the nation relaxed from a day off work: indulging in festive barbecues and parades; the fate of the nations political stance relied on (Kaepernick) who yet again broke the internet-not by taking a knee this time, but standing in alliance with the iconic brand, inevitably sending social media users into an enraged frenzy.  Which led most to raid their closets and rid their wardrobe of Nike apparel. Supporters, applaud Nike for its act of morality in commending Kaepernick rather than condemning.  

Since the announcement, social media uncontrollably buzzes with supporters reposting Kaepernick’s controversial Nike ad.

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Along with celebrities and ordinary civilians, alike, creating their own variation Kaepernick’s photograph.

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The country now in divides as Nike supporters take a celebratory stance on this decision versus the opposing side igniting flames to their Nike gear.

When did freedom of speech and protest represent disloyalty?  Athletes and public figures, who have an established platform are entitled to exercise their personal beliefs and advocate for unresolved social injustices (i.e, routined police brutality).  When did protesting for basic human rights and equality become a symbolism of national hatred or deemed as unpatriotic?  

Even with all this heat Nike faces from protestors, the brand seems to have its laces tied tight, in preparation to walk through the fire, refusing to kneel to the status quo. Even if it means jeopardizing the global brand.

According to Edison Trend most recent sales report, mentioned on MarketWatch, Nike has witnessed a 31% increase, in opposition of the anticipated decline influenced by national protests.

We are not too sure what the national divide in consumership means for the future of Nike sales performance. Evidently, Nike is unwavered by the protests and threats.The company remains optimistic about their choice and refueled to extinguish any flames set in their path.

“Are your Dreams Crazy Enough? If they seem impossible right now, you’re doing it right.” (Quote featured on Nike’s official website page.)

Feel free to indulge in some hilarious and controversial memes featuring familiar faces. Enjoy!

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Black Panther: A Hidden Gem

Is Black Panther really for the culture?

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Some claim the film to be over-hyped, while others perceive it as a cultural movement.

After all the hype and major suspense, leading up to the official premiere day of “Black Panther.” I finally bought my ticket (a few days later because the movie was sold out the entire weekend) and with the company of my 7-year-old nephew, we headed out to join the glorious nation of Wakanda. (sigh) No, we didn’t join the wave of wearing traditional African garb. Truthfully, I don’t own any at the moment (yea, yea, I know shame on me). However, we still looked pretty good in our casual modern, westernized ensembles.

It’s refreshing to see Black actors (of all ages) step away from Hollywood’s stereotypical “Black roles” which often limit our narratives to enslavement, and a variety of other societal forms of oppression: drug dealers, impoverished/ struggling working class people, drug addicts and common victims of authoritative inflicted violence.

Let me just say this, any movie that makes you want to join a fictionalized nation is- in my opinion- a life changing and enjoyable experience. I’d love to live in Wakanda; if it were a real nation, I’d revoke my American citizenship and move there in a heartbeat.

I mean no shade to the hundreds of other classic Marvel superhero films that have countless remakes. Once again, no shade, noooo shade:(#AllMarvelSuperheroLivesMatter). It’s just Black Panther’s story-in contrast to his fellow Marvel counterparts- was never brought to the forefront and popularized in the mainstream. Black panther isn’t a new super hero on the scene, he’s nearly 6 decades old. So, yea, he’s pretty mature at this point.

I guess it’s fair to say, some of the best things are worth waiting for. & 2018 was definitely Black Panther’s time so shine.

It warmed my heart seeing various hues of beautiful brown complexion grace the cinematic screen and deliver their roles with ferocious power.

Black Panther presented more than just vibrant, intense combatting; dope high tech equipment, afrocentric beauty; national/cultural pride; innovation and traditional rituals. It depicts, the story of Africa in a positive, uplifting and forward thinking way- without the spoon fed HIStoric accounts of poverty and emaciated people. Before someone comes on here and tries to burst my proud ‘black panther bubble’ let me clarify; Yes,I’m aware the story is fictionalized. But there’s no denying that the influential sources derive from actual African cultures.

WahKinda LOVE? WAKANDA LOVE.

 

Another thing, I’ve been keeping in my hypercritical mind when it comes to watching movies are the overt portrayals of love and the role(s) each love interest plays.

Now, we all know it’s clear who the film’s central love interests are: T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)

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T’Challa plays the role of a powerful leader who is both influenced and weakened by women. His sister Shuri, is a young innovative scientist, whose technologically advanced inventions- with the use of a natural resource (vibranium)-enhances T’Challa’s abilities, allowing him to seem nearly indestructible against his opponents. It’s with Shuri’s inventions that T’Challa simultaneously defeats and protects his precious Wakanda.

 

The film projects heterosexual love in a different light for both genders; Love is perceived as patient, unwavering, persistent, protective, and eternal. The love T’Challa displays for his country and lover, Nakia, are somewhat similar, yet deeply disparate.

The romanticized stereotypes of male obsession, sexual acts, conversations revolving around the male figure were not present in this film. Tbh, I’m relieved. I’m beyond tired of these redundant, cliche plot lines.

Neither, T’Challa or Nakia, portray cliche gender biased characteristics (i.e., the female= submissive or usually lacking self-confidence, sometimes both; male= dominate, popular and physically attractive) instead T’Challa and Nakia demonstrate their strong rapport through mutual respect and balance. The males in the utopian society of Wakanda level the playing field by showing respect for their women through, inclusion, understanding, leadership and influence. There is an overall respect for female influence in Wakanda.

I find  T’Challa’s inability to think or speak freely in Nakia’s presence so cute and innocent. What’s even more humorous about it, is how often he’s teased for his act. Once again, there is a clear message of the strength feminine aura upholds in this society and its undeniably powerful influence on men.

Nakia asserts her power by vocalizing her wants and aspirations to T’Challa. Although Nikia is offered the  honor of claiming the throne as T’Challa’s wife and Queen of Wakanda; she chooses  to follow her own path and fulfill her desires before settling for a life blanketed with comfort (You go girl!).T’Challa respects her wishes and continues to show his undying love for Nakia in other ways.

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I appreciate the writers and most importantly the characters for showing us that it’s possible to express love far beyond the confines of physicality or intimacy. Not once was there an act of sexual expression or subliminal messages. Thank God! It would’ve been awkward having to explain that to my nephew. 

Both characters were aware of their significant roles in one another’s lives, but used their love to join forces to fight for their even greater love, Wakanda.

So, to answer the question. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe Black Panther

is the culture

for the culture

and is a representation of the culture.

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Brothers Lessons

As a child, you teased me making sure my skin was tough enough for the cruel world and mean kids.

As a child, you showed me the definition of unconditional love.

As a child, it was you who taught me to fight with my hands, making sure I protected myself at all times. Protect myself from the bullies and people who tried to test me.  

As an adult, It was you who taught me to refrain from physical confrontation (unless necessary) but instead retaliate with my intelligence, wit and words. Always advising me not to allow anyone to be in control of my emotions. 

As a child, you told me to stay away from boys by saying “they only want one thing” Of course I didn’t listen, but i never once forgot what you told me and eventually had to discover the truth on my own. 

As a teenager, when you sensed I was getting a little too rebellious you purposely embarrassed me in front of my friends to keep me in line.

As a teenager you gave me “the talk” which you admitted was awkward and difficult to have at the time. Nonetheless you didn’t shy away from it, and in fact stood your ground. As a pre-teen venturing off into high school you taught me to observe my environment, most importantly the people surrounding me and not become “that girl”.

As a college student, you went against guy code and gave me the emotional insight of a guys mind. Sharing with me that males and females are actually more similar than society tends to make it seem.

As a college graduate you taught me to not undermine my degree and not allow terminations from temporary jobs tarnish my determination. You told me to stop bawling and go back to the drawing board. 

As a college graduate, you told me to hold my head high and be persistent, constantly reminding me “Yolanda you have a Bachelors degree, you’re one step ahead of so many other people”. You told me NOT to give up, but instead continue searching and diversify my options. 

As an adult, you supported my decision either way between packing it all up and returning home or sticking through the difficult times and living on my own.

As an adult, you advised me friendships change, people change, while assuring me it’s all apart of life. All that matters is that I do not allow those external factors to break my spirit and ruin my self perspective or self esteem.

As an adult, you told me there’ll be moments in life where I’ll feel alone, but I have to get through those times to discover and understand myself.

As an adult, you told me I have to create my own happiness by finding my happy song and playing it even on my bad days

As an adult you told me to stop trying to impress others and just focus on myself.

As a child, I wanted to be like you. As a child, I felt protected and safe in your presence.


Now as a woman I want to thank you for every new life lesson you ALL teach me

As a little sister, (the wash belly) and the last of the bunch, I’m not exactly sure what I’ve taught you all. I just hope whatever it is, it was worth it. 

Even if I had the option, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

Thank you for the brother lessons.

“If I ruled the world” America’s Youth Edition 

Recently I’ve been on an obsessive binge watching spree of Radio interviews. I have this urge to be educated by the latest media coverage, podcasts, blogs, documentaries and interviews. Whichever source has some vital points and topics of interest, I’m all eyes and ears. At this stage in my life I’m beginning to realize the power young people have, unfortunately, we’re not taking full advantage of it. My older brother and I had one of our weekly lengthy convos, which of course includes his updated on my adorable niece Nila, family drama, his life then maneuavers into politics and the latest news. As much as I despise political conversations, partly because I don’t care for politics, the parties or people in it. Yet, he made a valid point when he spoke about Jamaican parliament and it being controlled by ancient dinosaurs refusing to renounce their place in power which inevitably comes with loss of money and national recognition. Instead of allowing young people to breathe new air into the beautiful land, the dinosaurs denounce the thought of young educated, innovative and forward thinking leaders becoming their successors. Then I thought of American politics and the depressing current state most of us are in right now. As we all know, America has recently announced President-elect, Donald Trump as the upcoming U.S President. Trump, who is the embodiment of traditional patriarchal spokesman as opposed to forward, contemporary and innovative leader which is what America needs. Instead of moving forward and helping the country expand, I think with this decision we just placed America in a time machine.  This week my brother, Carl enlightened me about the powers of the youth. After watching several interviews with prominent entertainers from Jidenna, Trevor Noah, Erykah Badu to Pharrell whom all spoke profoundly about their concern for the nation and encouragement of youth involvement.   After Trump’s expected win, I was hurt and disgruntled with the nations supportive decision of Trump. Nonetheless, I was the least bit of surprised.  Anyways, back to the youth. There’s so much power in our voices and ideas, we have to stop allowing the older generation in politics-not power- from perceiving us as inferior solely because of our age. So many of us, whether college educated or not obtain more knowledgeable than the so called antiquated thinkers with leadership roles. I’ve heard numerous leaders use the cliche phrase, “The Youth is our future” “we do this for the youth” on numerous accounts, yet why won’t anyone give us a open platform to hear our thoughts, view situations from our perspective and allow us to be leaders of the nation? Young people we are innovative thinkers. Young people when we collectively group together and implement our ideas we can reform the ancient systemic ideals. Young people we are the future. the decisions we make now, actions we make and platforms we set will garner a newly improved American nation we always dreamed of. Forget about the past ways and what used to work in America. Strive for new change and national progression. Can’t you see that most of our current issues pertaining to education, racial tension, economic deficit, climate, inequality, m housing, immigration are all just examples of history repeating itself. We’ve been taught from a young age that anything toxic or causes a hinderance towards progression should be evaluated then eliminated. Americas old leaders are unwilling to let go of their positions and traditional views simply because of absolute fear. Fear of the greatness this nation has the potential to achieve without a percentage of their influence.

Out with the old and in with the new.

For a first world country, which prides itself on forward thinkers and leadership, America sure does rely heavily on the past rather than reform old habits and replace them with new ones for the future. American chose a man who is the epitome of the racial ideology and belief of traditional America. 

Personally, I don’t want America to revert back to its racially oppressive, segregated ways. Anyone who wants to read this and decides label me as:

Ant-America

Anti-White

Anti-Trump

Well go ahead, after all your first amendment allows you to think freely and express your opinions freely. I’m not Anti-anything but what I am is, anti-racist and anti-sexism.America needs a change and old traditional ways is not the resolution. Is it re-election time yet?