Ya’ll. I know it has been forever and a day since I have posted and I am so sorry to my loyal readers. I am ashamed, but I am feeling inspired. SO much has happened, so much has changed but I will save that for a later post.

About 8 months ago I had the opportunity to run across the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It was a book that I was not able to put down and finished it in no time. It was so raw and real with such a powerful message. A few months ago I remember sitting on my mothers couch seeing the trailer for the movie. I just about fainted ya’ll. Every day I had a friend tagging me in the trailer and every day that inched closer to October 19th I found myself unable to contain my excitement. FORTUNATELY there were select theaters with early releases to see the movie so guess who took a 35 minute drive for this solo mission? THIS. GIRL. & honeyyyyyy let me tell you. It was totally worth it. George Tillman really brought this book to life!

THUG LIFE.

The Hate You Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody.

Tupac Shakur stated the tattoo across his stomach was not meant to glorify being a thug. It wasn’t about being a thug. It was about the underdog. The system built against us. A warning that if we continue to raise children in an environment surrounded by racism, violence and oppression the cycle will continue. Thug Life was about the individuals who have nothing, yet find a way to succeed overcoming all obstacles. Watching numerous clips of Tupac explain “Thug Life” I had an epiphany. I thought about the many unarmed black people who lose their lives every day. How this all stems from a prejudgment of who we are driven from hate. Not who we present ourselves as, but how we look..the color of our skin. The response from the black community is usually hate or anger, sometimes leading to riots which would for most people seem like a bite in the a**. WE then act (though provoked) in the way they seen us all along. Dangerous thugs. The hate given initially at some point comes full circle, screwing us all.

I am not ashamed to admit, at one point in my life I didn’t think about stuff like this. I didn’t truly face racism until I went off to college. There were a few occasions where things were said, incidences happened but it was never directed at me. & The few incidences that did happen didn’t put me in harms way, it was more political than anything. I was told continuously I wasn’t “one of them” I know it had a lot to do with who my family was, but it never dawned on me that eventually that would not save me from the real world. As soon as I crossed that state line to head to Southern University I learned quickly that I was in fact “one of them,” and by one of them I mean black. Now before I cause any confusion I am not saying I don’t identify as black. I was just a girl with both parents involved in my life, well known athlete, well spoken, made good grades and lived in the suburbs. Now I know what you’re thinking…black people can’t attain those qualities? We absolutely can. But ya’ll know good and well growing up usually these kids (including me) were called Oreos. You know…white on the inside, black on the outside. I had friends from both spectrums, but they never really crossed. I think that’s why it is so easy to relate to Starr. That’s why this book and movie are golden. Constantly reminded by your parents you need to know when to turn it off and on, Don’t use too much slang, don’t come off aggressive, keep the neck rolling and attitude to a minimum because that’s how they want you to act. I know I am not the only black girl whose parents had to talk to them about this so by no means am I singling them out, just stating facts. Starr battles with being too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids. Which again… TOTALLY relatable. When I went off to college, I truly found me. There were some unfortunate circumstances I had to deal with. Ones that were unnecessary and scenarios that were not provoked. My crime was being black. It was at that moment that I realized no matter what organization I was a part of, how good my grades were, how well spoken I was, I was still black. That’s when I started to think about Thug Life. The unfair system. I thought back to being in high school and hearing the comments that were made about “those type of black people” and not speaking up. Not speaking up because I had an image to keep up and I didn’t want to step on anyones toes. I didn’t want to come off as the “angry black woman.” So I kept my cool. Wild thing is, that’s probably the reason more than half of those people look at me crazy now from the stuff that I post. Why many will have an issue with this very blog. In The Hate U Give there was a quote that said,

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

I am ashamed to say that was me at one point. I think that is why I love the character Starr. You grow so accustomed to doing it day after day until something life changing happens and you absolutely snap. I believe for the most part many of us can relate to her. I allowed people to create this false idea that racism didn’t exist as long as I carried myself in a well behaved manner. That if I acted accordingly, nothing bad would happen to me. Over the years I have watched injustice after injustice. I read about all the great things these individuals had accomplished, some with similar backgrounds as me and think “that could’ve been me.” It shakes me to the core.

I encourage anyone who has not read the book or seen the movie to do so. The message is powerful. It will absolutely move your spirit.

“Your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter, Be the roses that grow in the concrete.” 

-Angie Thomas

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