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Post Grad

So you hear your name called, walk across the stage, celebrate with your family and friends, and then….. what?

The moment after the parties are over, your family has left, and the excitement has settled is one of the most sobering moments in one’s life, at least it was in mine. I kept waiting for this one big moment that would live up to all the rising action, but it never came. Sure graduating was great, but there was never that movie moment where all of a sudden everything in your life made sense.

Even though I was one of “the lucky ones” who knew what they were doing next and actually had a life plan together; I still couldn’t help but feel… unsure. And I wasn’t the only one. Almost every week I speak to someone from my class who has, is, or avoiding feeling the same way.

"The world is yours," said First Lady Michelle Obama to me and my fellow Aggies at graduation. But now that it’s ours, what are we to do with it? What’s the first step?

Everything up to this point of my life had been a given. I grew up in a household where college wasn’t an option, it was the next step. Now, for the first time in my life, I have so many options.

Do I go to grad school or do I work? Is it worth the massive loan or should I just join the majority of American’s who didn’t follow their dreams? If I go, do I commute or get my own apartment? Can I afford that? What about my car? Do I work the summer or take the last break I may ever get in life? What’s for dinner!? Ok maybe not that last one, but the list was endless! I’ve been waiting my whole life to actually get to plan my life, and once that the moment arrived all I wanted was for someone to tell me what to do, give me the answers, point me in the right direction, something!

For a Type A personality like me, this was enough to drive me insane. I mean of course I’d gotten a chance to experience a level of day-to-day freedom in undergrad, but this was so different. It was officially time to start making my dreams a reality, to start my career path, to decide where I want to live, on top of knowing that all of these decisions would affect the family I decide to start, whenever I decided to start one. Dizzy yet? Exactly.

The truth of the matter is, there’s no right way to go about starting YOUR life. The only mistake is not to start. We’ve already laid down the right foundation by graduating college. Our degrees are what allow us all of these options, and that is a blessing.  

So how did I overcome the dreaded post grad uncertainty? I manned up and made a decision. Once I felt what it was like to actually make a big decision and watch it come into fruition, all the insanity was worth putting a piece of my puzzled life together.

Maybe that’s what your 20s are: a big scavenger hunt for the puzzle pieces that will eventually make your life make sense.

So to my fellow 20-somethings, especially the class’ of 2012, my advice to you, to us, is to simply make a life decision and make it your own. If it turns out to be a bad one, fix it. What’s a scavenger hunt without a couple wrong turns right? It just makes the journey more interesting. Personally, I plan on making mine as memorable as possible. I have all of my 30s to be practical.

12:39 pm, by ybfonline 6  |  Comments

The Real Achievement Gap

Watch The Throne was easily one of my favorite albums of 2011, I still listen to it regularly. One of the most thought provoking songs on the album is Murder to Excellence. One of my favorite lines in it is when Jay says, “Domino, domino, only spot a few black the higher I go. What up to Will, shout out to O, that ain’t enough we gonna need a million more.”

As usual, he brings up a very good point. In my lifetime it seems like our race has had individual success, but that’s about it. When was the last time we really succeed as a race? An achievement that every single one of us could benefit from? The civil rights movement perhaps?

I’d even take it a step further to day that for every success a black person has achieved, 100 more have failed. Excuse my math, I’m just trying to illustrate a point.

This issue holds true in multiple aspects of life today but for the sake of time I’ll only highlight a few.

Let’s start with Education. We’ve had African-American’s graduate from all kinds of schools with all kinds of degrees. We’re way past being able to name the amount of us that have attained PhD’s or attended Ivy League’s. Not only are we getting full scholarships to the countries top universities but we’re also teaching at them. There are many distinguished black professors shaping the minds of tomorrow. However, according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, out of the 42 million people in the U.S. who identified themselves as black only 18% of blacks 25 years and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher that year. On top of that, only 2.9 of our population were currently enrolled in college that year as well. That’s nowhere near enough.

The realm of politics isn’t any better. Some might be surprised to hear that considering we currently have a black president, but like I said, this isn’t about being able to name one token success. There are currently no black senators; none at all. In fact, we’ve only had six (yes count them six) black senators in history. How ridiculous is that? 123 African-American’s in history have served in congress, but there are 435 seats that are up for election every two years. Maybe these numbers are so low because only 11.1 million of us voted in the 2010 congressional election. Making the number that didn’t vote somewhere around 30 million.

In entertainment, Jay Z pretty much named all the heavy hitters. In the long history of critically acclaimed awards, only two black actors have taken home the top award of “best actor/actress” at the Academy Awards. And although our artists are seeming to dominate the radio right now, we don’t really have true control over the music industry. The power belongs to the owner’s of the record labels and sadly must of the black ones are gone.

Economically, sure Diddy, Lil’ Wayne, Will Smith, Beyonce, and Oprah top the Forbes 100 Celebrity list but that’s nothing when you think about how our unemployment rate is the highest its been in decades. I mean, the 2010 household income median for blacks was $32,068.

So I ask you, why is it that black people are continuing to succeed individually but fail as a race?

07:32 pm, by ybfonline 1  |  Comments
ask me [race] [life]

Words of Wisdom: Paula Madison

I was recently at a NABJ gala where the keynote speaker was, one of my favorite journalists, Paula Madison. You may have read about Madison in more than a few magazines. Madison is probably most known for her past position as Diversity Officer for NBC Universal. She is currently CEO of Madison Media Management and she and her family own the Africa Channel and part of the LA Sparks.

I first met Madison at the NABJ convention in San Diego and loved the way she gave it to you straight. That evening at the gala it was no different:

During her speech, Madison shared  several anecdotes, ranging from the siege in Harlem to being racially profiled, despite being a multimillionaire.

Madison also shared a few jewels of wisdom with the crowd. She encouraged students to spend their money wisely

“Be able to pay of your mortgage, that’s sexy,” she said.

She advised the students to have multiple incomes so that they don’t have to depend on one person/company for financial survival.

“Want to fire me?  Fine. I won’t go homeless, the house is already paid for,” is a refrain that stayed with Madison through each career move.

She also talked about making sure one’s performance at work was excellent at all times. “If you’re not confident in your review from your boss, you shouldn’t have red soles on your feet,” she said poking fun at the expensive trend if Loubiton shoes.

Madison joked that her husband often picks on her for being so frugal, saying “What’s money if not to spend it?” to which she replies, “to count it.”

Madison had the audience spellbound as she continued to divulge her secrets about investing, owning businesses, and not being afraid to start over if need be. “I’m not above any job,” she said. “I will work at McDonald’s tomorrow and time how long it will take for me to own it.”

She concluded by demanding excellence from the next generation of journalists.

“I implore you to be committed journalists. If you want to be mediocre you can take that somewhere else,” she said.  “We want excellence in NABJ, and we want it on behalf of black people.”

Paula Madison didn’t become a journalist for the money.

Rather, she entered journalism more than three decades ago because there were too many stories going untold in the black community, particularly in her native Harlem.

During her speech she described how she, as a teenager, narrowly missed being killed when law enforcement unleashed bullets in a Harlem Temple, just blocks from her home in Harlem.

She arrived home, expecting to see the event on the evening news or in the newspaper. The story never aired or ran, she told the audience of students, professional journalists and journalism faculty.

It was then that Madison, a child of welfare who started reading newspapers at age 3, decided to become a journalist. The decision proved positive, allowing the New House graduate to work in several broadcast news positions over several decades, including president and general manager of KNBC. In that position, Madison was the first African-American woman appointed general manager of a network-owned station in a top 5 market.

The crowd gave Madison a standing ovation. 

07:07 pm, by ybfonline  Comments

Top Relationship Issues

No relationship is perfect. Anyone who has been in one can tell you that. Good, long lasting relationships take work. That is something I believe many people today have forgotten with divorce suits being filed left and right. Every relationship has its specific challenge, but there are a few common ones that a lot of couples go through. I went around polling different couples to find out what the top challenges were and how they went about combating them. Here’s what I found:

1. Communication

Most people will agree that communication is one of if not the most important things in a relationship. Ironically enough, it is also one of, if not the hardest, things to master in a relationship because you have two different people from two different backgrounds trying to find common ground in something that is already innate in us by the time we start dating.

Personally, I always struggle with communication in the beginning of a relationship because its the time where you are still getting to know each other in these new roles as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” It’s important to learn your partner’s expectations and needs when it comes to communication and care enough to meet and fulfill them. And vice versa. A lot of the time we know what our partner’s triggers are but choose to push them when we’re angry, but what does that really solve? Was it really worth it after a long drawn out argument and then all you may have to do to get back in the other persons favor?

For example one girlfriend admits to shutting her boyfriend out when she’s angry. But not allowing him to speak to her or explain only prolongs the issue versus solving it. She also may spend time being mad about nothing without even knowing it.

In another relationship the boyfriend said that for a while he never realized that his girlfriend couldn’t emotionally handle the way he spoke to her in arguments. Her sensitivity surprised him because she was such a strong person in every other aspect. But once she was able to put her pride aside and admit it, he was aware and they began to handle their problems much better versus it turning into a big argument because they were hurting each others feelings. As the old saying goes, “communication is key.”

2. Priorities

A lot of issues can be lumped under priorities which is why it made this list. Sometimes one of the toughest adjustments is rearranging your priorities once you enter a relationship. When you are single all you have to worry about is how you want to schedule your work load, family, friends, school, free time, etc. Once you are in a relationship, time management is taken to another level. You have to decide as a couple where your relationship falls on your list of priorities. Couples did agree however, that a good partner will force you to put them before things like school or family, but support you while you handle those aspects of your life. That being said, it is important that you give your partner time.

A common priority struggle for men tends to be going out with their “boys” versus spending time with their girl. One boyfriend shared how he handles that specific problem, “Even though I often find myself having to choose between hanging out with the guys or hanging out with my girl, a lot of the time I chose my girl because she is my best friend. That’s why I think its important to date someone who’s your best friend because it’ll be natural for you to want to spend majority of your time with them.”

3. Trust

Trust is probably one of the hardest issues to overcome, mostly because it is a pretty cut and dry issue. I couldn’t be in a relationship where there is no trust because I can’t be that girl whose checking your phone, twatching your every tweet, checking your Facebook inbox, following your every move, etc. That’s all too exhausting and frankly its unhealthy.

The easiest example to go to for trust is cheating. A lot of the couples agreed that cheating is the most selfish and fatal things a person can do to their relationship. If you’ve been cheated on, the choice to stay or leave is a personal one but if you do chose to stay therapists agree that it is vital to let it go once you forgive your partner. If you constantly throw it in their face or refuse to give them your full trust again, the relationship will continue to suffer.

To those who have a problem staying faithful, here’s some advice from a someone who used to suffer with that same problem, “Take things day by day. It was hard for me to look at the whole year because 365 days is a long time, but when I take it day by day it doesn’t seem as daunting. Soon days turned into weeks that turned into months that turned into a year.”

4. Sex

Sex is a lot like communication. It’s important to learn your partner’s expectations and needs and care enough to meet and fulfill them. And vice versa. Whether its how often, where, what kind, etc., everyone has different preferences when it comes to sex. The couples all felt like when it comes to sex, a compromise needs to be meet. “It’s important for both sexual desires to be met, but its also important to not let the sex drive the relationship,” said one girlfriend. She also added that contraception shouldn’t be a compromise, it needs to used, unless you both want to get pregnant. “You may need to reevaluate the relationship if one person feels otherwise,” she adds.

5. Friends

When it comes to involving other people in your relationship the solution is easy, don’t do it. It’s ok to vent to close friends from time to time or get an outside perspective, especially if there’s a serious issue. However, most of the time you know when you should leave before anyone else even tells you. So the problem comes when you put another persons perspective above the ones that matter; you and your partner. Also, don’t put your problems all over Facebook and Twitter because at the end of the day that makes you look stupid. Handle your problems with the one who can fix it.

By Sylvia Obell, From my monthly column “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” in The A&T Register

04:42 pm, by ybfonline 2  |  Comments

Movie Review: Red Tails

"Red Tails" is an extraordinary tale of courage, bravery, and strength that is inspired by the equally extraordinary story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

During United States’ involvement in World War II the Tuskegee Airmen were formed as the first African-American aerial combat unit. Unlike the 1995 HBO movie “The Tuskegee Airmen”, “Red Tails” is set in 1944 Italy when WWII is already in full swing.

Despite the fact that these men heeded the call to serve their country, they still had to deal with the prejudice laws and attitudes of the very nation they were fighting to protect.

The story centers on the unit’s plight to prove that African-Americans did not lack the courage, discipline, and intelligence to be fighter pilots, as was the belief at that time.

Three major things stick out about “Red Tails.”

Let’s begin with the outstanding group of black men that made this movie. Behind the scenes were some of the men responsible for the most controversial African-American shows. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire”) directed the film and the screenplay was written by “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder, and John Ridley.

Big names like Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tristan Wilds, Nate Parker, Ne-Yo, Method Man, and more created an outstanding ensemble of African-American actors.

Each brought so much personality to their character; you couldn’t help but get attached. If Nate Parker didn’t have you convinced he was a force to be reckoned with after “The Great Debaters”, he confirms it in “Red Tails.” I found his performance quite compelling, and boy can that man give a speech. If you didn’t have goosebumps after his “We Fight, We Fight, We Fight,” chant then something is wrong with you.

Though Parker was amazing, in my opinion, the standout performance goes to David Oyelowo. The new face did an amazing job playing the arrogant and disobedient, yet loving and loyal Joe “Lightning” Little.

The next thing that stood out was the beautifully put together story. You’ll laugh, cry, feel anger and joy, but most of all you’ll leave the theater feeling inspired. Allow me to speak as a black woman for a moment. Movies like this make me proud to be part of such a strong people.

The film reminds my generation why we need to be proud of who we are. It reminds us to look at the generations of our grandparents and great-grandparents with admiration and respect for all they did.

It inspires us to create a history that can leave our grandchildren feeling equally as proud.

All of these sentiments had me leaving the theater wondering why I’m not able to leave a movie feeling this way more often.

It’s not like African-Americans don’t have tons of amazing stories to tell. Which leads me to the last thing that stuck out about the movie: the ironic parallels between the actual movie and the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. Both had to overcome adversity despite being almost 70 years apart.

The movie tells the story of how the Tuskegee Airmen proved to the entire U.S. Air Force that black men were not only equally capable of fighting in combat, but that they could be exceptional.

They had to fight for the opportunity to get real missions and once they got them those brave men met every challenge that was assigned by “lighting up the scoreboard,” as Terrence Howard’s character so confidently put it.

Then, 70 years later “Red Tails” executive producer George Lucus has to take the huge risk of funding and releasing the movie entirely on his own because no Hollywood studio would believe in an all African-American cast.

It is a sad truth that shows how others view our star power as a race when it comes to motion pictures. This weekend was, in essence, “Red Tails” first “fighter mission.”

Like the Tuskegee Airmen, the movie has everything to lose if it doesn’t exceed Hollywood’s already low expectations for it. If this movie doesn’t “light up the score board” it can be ages before we see another big-budget African-American movie.

That being said, I encourage all ages and all races to go see this film. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is something everyone should know as well as enjoy.

By Sylvia Obell, Published in The A&T Register

04:14 pm, by ybfonline 11  |  Comments

The infamous “Back Home Boo”

 

I have a relationship column in my campus newspaper The A&T Register, wanted to share my most recent column with you all on the topic of “Back Home Boo’s”

With holiday breaks quickly approaching I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about the infamous “back home boo.”

You know that person back home who you never quite had closure with.

They could be your high school sweetheart, a past summer fling, or maybe even someone you connected with after high school but never gave it a chance because of the distance. Whatever the situation, we all have one.

  I discussed this topic with a mixed group of both male and female Aggies and they agreed that the love interests back home can be separated into two categories: The “back home joint” and the “girl/boy next door.”

  The Back Home Joint: Someone who knows up front what the situation is. When you’re home you spend time with them and when you’re not home you’re seeing other people. There’s a sort of friendship bond at the base of it because you two have known each other for a long time. They could be an ex, or someone that you tried something with but ultimately figured out that nothing could come from it. He/she is usually still at home because they went to community college and have yet to finish, had a baby, or for whatever reason they just couldn’t make it out of the neighborhood.

  The Girl/Boy Next Door: A person back home that has the potential to be more. You know how the song goes, “If I would have knew the girl next door would have been you…” In this case the only reason it hasn’t been taken to the next step is because of the distance.

 He/she is usually attending college somewhere else and your hometown is the only common base.No matter what your particular situation may be the situation should always be handled with care. In situations such as these you do not want to make things too messy so honesty is always the best policy.

During the discussion one man pointed out, “Never mess up the back home joint because they’ll always be there. She’s the one joint I’m most likely not to lie to.”

So what happens when you find yourself in a relationship? How do you handle going back home for break knowing that you’ll run into your “back home boo?” After some debate, the men and women were able to agree on a few cardinal rules:

1. Let the “back home boo” know before you get home that you’re in a relationship.

"Most of the time she’ll be able to handle it because she knows the deal. She’ll be upset that you messed up the flow but at the same time she wants you to be happy. In the back of her mind though she’s probably thinking it’s only a matter of time before your new girl bites the dust like the ones in the past," said one guy.

2. No matter what, don’t let the back home boo mess up your functional relationship. There’s a reason why they are just a boo or “joint.” It won’t work and you’ll find yourself alone.

"I wouldn’t get back with my ‘back home joint’ because we broke up for a reason," another man said.

3. Don’t put yourself in situations during break, where you and him/her will be alone.

"I usually work it so my boys know not to leave me alone with her. It’s inevitable that we’ll run into each other because we have a lot of mutual friends, its just about making smart decisions," said the third young man.

Also, it’s crucial that you don’t slip up and get too attached during break. Don’t get all caught up in the holiday season and forget that it’ll be back-to-reality come January. Because as sure as a new year will begin, you’ll have to come back to Aggieland, and you two will once again have to go your separate ways.

On the flip side, if you’ve been at school for a couple years and still haven’t found anyone who compares to them, that could be a sign that you two should go ahead and take that plunge. With good communication, dedication and a little creativity, a long distance relationship could work. You don’t have to see a person everyday for it to be a healthy relationship.

This is especially true with the “girl/guy next door” because sometimes, as one young lady pointed out, that’s where you’ll end up after graduation. “At the end of the day I’m not staying here in Greensboro, I’m going to find a job closer to back home.”

06:28 pm, by ybfonline 38  |  Comments

Album Review: Take Care

Drake is back raw, uncut, and emotional as ever with his second album “Take Care.”

The 25-year-old rapper clearly knows nothing about the sophomore album curse. The album embodies its title “Take Care” as Drake croons an interesting mix of cocky yet endearing lyrics like only he can.

Its becoming signature for Drake to take listeners through a impressively honest journey through his current state of mind. “Thank Me Later” was very much about the effects of the new found superstardom he was experiencing; now those feelings are not-so-new and he addresses the repercussions that come with fame throughout the album with lyrics such as, “I think maybe I was numb to it last year, but you know I feel it now more than ever.”

The album appropriately starts out with “Over My Dead Body,” a melancholy track in which he addresses the public’s expectations of him, other rappers, burdens that come with money, and more; he does the same more aggressively on the albums first single “Headlines.” Arguably Drake’s cockiest track, the quick-paced song is full of bars in which he allows himself to brag about, well, everything while simultaneously shutting down anyone who would tell him to do otherwise.

It would not be a Drake album without those infamous “3 a.m. confessions” type tracks. Whether he addresses just one ex-girlfriend or a slew of strippers we will never know, but his heartache certainly makes for great music. The summer blockbuster hit “Marvin’s Room” epitomizes that as Drake emulates the infamous and completely relatable act of drunk dialing. “Shot for Me” is the closest thing to a male version of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” as Drake boldly tells his ex that he made her, she will never have another like him and to cope with that pain she can take a shot for him.

My personal favorite moments on the album are the passionate yet cold “Doing It Wrong” and “Good Ones Go Interlude.” The emotion on those tracks is so evident anyone who’s been through anything remotely similar cannot help but feel his pain. “Look What You’ve Done,” where he gives listeners rare look into his family life. And “Lord Knows” featuring Rick Ross Drake delivers some of his strongest bars on that song. It is a certified radio hit.

There are a number of great collaborations on “Take Care.” My most anticipated collab was with artist/producer The Weeknd. He and Drake’s styles compliment each other very well and the OVOXO duo doesn’t not disappoint, delivering a notable theme song for “crews” everywhere. Other notable collaborations include Rihanna (Take Care), Andre 3000 (The Real Her), Stevie Wonder (Doing It Wrong), Nicki Minaj (Make Me Proud), and Lil’ Wayne (what song wasn’t he on?).

Drake has delivered one of, if not the, best album of the year. The question now is how much the album leaking - a whopping nine days early - will affect his record sales. There are a few tracks on the deluxe album that did not get leaked such as “Hate Sleeping Alone,” “The Ride,” and “The Motto” that those who choose to buy have to look forward to.

Don’t get me wrong, this album isn’t 100 percent perfection, there are a couple moments where the album drags, and as I mentioned before, Lil’ Wayne appears a few too many times. However, all in all, Drizzy did not disappoint. But don’t take my word for it, take Drake’s, “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it….and take care until next time.”

Grade: A

Favorite Tracks: Doing It Wrong, Good Ones Go Interlude, Crew Love, Lord Knows, Look What You’ve Done, Ride, The Motto…. yeah its hard to narrow it down.

By Sylvia Obell

Originally published in the November 16, 2011 issue of The A&T Register

02:39 pm, by ybfonline  Comments

What Happened To The Thrill of the Chase?

Recently its become increasingly obvious to me that a lot of guys don’t approach women anymore. 

I know that’s a strong statement, so allow me to explain. I mean that fellas are playing it safe. They’re asking other friends to “put them down with [insert name here]” or talking to women under the safety blanket of social networks rather than being bold enough to approach a woman who catches their eye in a respectful way. And if they are using the timeless face-to-face approach they’re only doing it to girls who are giving them reassurance in some way that they aren’t likely to turn them down. In other words, they’re approaching the girl whose been dancing all over them all night, or the girl whose so drunk she’s likely to say yes to anyone, or the girl whose been eyeing them down all night, etc.

What is even worse is that guys have no problem approaching a woman they may want a night or two.. or three or four… in bed with, but not the woman with whom they would actually be interested in getting to know. So the question is why?

In my opinion, the reason behind this is fear of rejection. Guys are too afraid of being shut down. As a result, there are plenty of great catches out there going to waste. During a conversation with a friend, she shared that she has never been asked out by a guy. Ever. Period. I was shocked. [I just want to take this moment to say that I understand why some girls never get asked out, she doesn’t fit that bill I promise]. She’s an attractive, smart girl. I still can’t wrap my head around why no guy has ever approached her in any way. And this is just one of many stories I could tell. 

Listen, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a little hint to put you at ease but we women can’t always make sure we’re looking approachable to you 24/7. Confidence is sexy, be assured enough in yourself and your swag to take that chance. I mean what’s the worst that can happen? She says no and you move on. No harm, no foul.

This is just one part of the issue. A lot of the guys who are approaching women are doing it the wrong way. Thirst at its finest. While getting the nerve to walk up to a woman is half of the battle, the other half is what to say once you do. As usual, I’ve brought back-up. I’ve asked a few Young, Black, and Fancy women to share the best and worst way they’ve ever been approached. They’ve also each added a way they’d like to be approached. Trust me fellas, they’re right on with what I hear from most females. So take notes, and thank me later : )

Autumn 

Worst Way: Guy from sitting in the passenger seat of his friends car (true scrub status) “Ey Dark skin! Damn” He then proceeded to get out of the car and follow me down the block. (terrifyingly aggressive way to approach a girl.)

Best Way:  While sitting eating lunch with a friend, a guy came over and asked if he could join us. He introduced himself and apologized for the intrusion but said he was really interested in meeting us because he noticed me from across the room. He wasn’t super forceful but after chatting with us (both my friend and I, which I thought was polite) He said he’d find my on fb; kinda corny but refreshing none the less.

General Rule of Thumb: Ideally I’d like to be approached very casually, with no aggressive phrases. Guys with swag are my weakness, no very cool calm and collected is the best way. A polite handshake or wave and a smile would be cool, no pressure like asking for my phone number in the first 

Jasmine

Worst Way: The thought of a drunk guy in my face isn’t a pleasant one. For example, my girls and I went out to a club because it was the first time we’d all been together since May. We wanted to have a good time together so we got some drinks. Soon, some drinks turned into a few drinks, and then a few drinks turned into “how many was that for you?” The next thing I knew, I was grabbed around the waist as tequila spilled in my hair. Then, some random started yelling in my ear about how his friend was jealous because he was talking to me, and then he actually tried to get my number. I was surprised he had the balls to ask after the impression he’s made.

Best Way: The best way I’ve been approached was by a guy with whom I had this running joke. We kept seeing one another with food, and only enough food for one person. So, for almost a week, we joked about buying each other dinner. I would ask him what he bought for me, and he would quickly say, “Nothin’.” Then, he would ask me the same question the next day. One night, he saw me in the courtyard, and made the same joke, but instead of just laughing and returning to his conversation as he normally did, he insisted on taking me out the next night. It was so easy to say yes because some resemblance of trust and comfort had been established over that week.

General Rule of Thumb: I think that when a guy starts a real conversation, and manages to find some common ground before really trying to close the deal and ask you out, shows a lot about his character. It shows that he’s not concerned with just your physical beauty, but with your inner beauty. It shows that he wants to learn about you as a person. I think that would be the best way for a guy to approach me: start a conversation, find some common interests, ask to meet up again because of a common interest (museum, movie, concert, or even just to talk).

Courtney

Let’s just start by saying “If you forfeit the chase you give up the prize” -ME

Worst WayTalking at me or speaking loudly about me so I can hear you. Weak. (ex. “Damn she bad and her *** is phatter than a snickaaaa”). Now if that is just a comment and you don’t expect me to stop that’s cool but don’t get mad when I keep walking.

Best WayA guy who masters enough courage TO approach. It is okay to case out the situation and to actually walk up and say something simple at a later date (I saw you staring all night anyway). But the initiation says a lot. 

General Rule of ThumbThe best way to approach me is to say something beautiful. I like random compliments they brighten my day. I will kindly thank you for the compliment but I’m afraid these days I’ve got to keep it moving b/c my man don’t play that!

11:00 am, by ybfonline 13  |  Comments

A little inspiration for my YBF ladies.

The October issue of ESSENCE Magazine is muy inspirational! I encourage every single one of my fellow Young, Black, & Fancy ladies to pick it up! As if seeing our First Lady glowing on the cover as she embraces the fact that she is one of US at the end of the day isn’t enough… the issue is chock full of advice, stories, and inspiration to help the young black women of the world find our POWER.

MUST read features in the issue:

The 2011 Power List of The Most 28 Influential Black Women

Michelle Obama’s Feature on “Why You Should Put Yourself First”

10 Principles of Power: “Embrace you power. Go for the success you deserve in life, work & love.”

Another great part of this issue is right at the very beginning in the Editor’s Note (let me take this moment to commend the new Editor-In-Cheif, Constance C.R. White on the great job she’s doing already at the magazine). I digress, the note is entitled “Young, Black, and Amazing” (hehe hence why it caught my eye). Here White takes the time to talk to us 20somethings directly. It includes a list of 15 things she wants to share with us and I really want to share that list with my readers as well:

  1. Ask yourself, What do I want to be doing at 40?
  2. Make a plan and work it. You can tweak it along the way.
  3. Reach out. You don’ have to do it alone. We’re here for you.
  4. Save a little bit every week, even a single dollar.
  5. Don’t accept negative things others say about you. If they have an observation, tell them to make it constructive.
  6. You are responsible for your own actions.
  7. Video dancer is not a profession.
  8. Be aware of the ways pop culture may try to diminish you. Reject them.
  9. Be patient with people’s shortcomings but not their bad behavior.
  10. Know that you can love someone and still walk away.
  11. Any job is better than no job. It’s not forever. It’s merely a stepping-stone.
  12. Any man is not better than no man.
  13. Men think about sex a lot. What’s on your mind?
  14. Whatever you dream, there’s a black woman who has already done it.
  15. You can do it, too.

This list is just a sample of the great nuggets of advice in this month’s issue of ESSENCE. I recently had the honor of meeting and interviewing Editor Emeritus of ESSENCE Susan L. Taylor. She said, “ESSENCE exists to put the reign of power in black women’s hands.” This issue is a perfect example of that. So what are you waiting for?! Go out and get it today! lol.

02:57 pm, by ybfonline 10  |  Comments

Remembering 9/11 on this 10 year anniversary of such a horrible moment in our history. This video is a look back on how September 11 unfolded in the news. My heart still breaks for what my country went through on that day. For all the lives lost. Never forget.

02:41 pm, by ybfonline 2  |  Comments
Today I can’t help but think back on all the numerous interviews over the years where Beyonce was asked where she see’s herself at 30… she would always say she hoped to be married and starting a family. Well, she was right : ) Happy 30th Birthday Beyonce.

Today I can’t help but think back on all the numerous interviews over the years where Beyonce was asked where she see’s herself at 30… she would always say she hoped to be married and starting a family. Well, she was right : ) Happy 30th Birthday Beyonce.

02:18 pm, by ybfonline 8  |  Comments

Summer Memoirs: Summer Lovin’

What is it about summer that causes sparks to fly? It’s ironic because in one sense summer is seen as the season where people live up being single to the fullest. A many of spring break-ups are blamed on summer being around the corner. People claim they like to be un-attached over the summer because it allows them to have fun with no consequences. They can dance the night away at a club with one person, wake up and go to the beach with another, and then go on vacation and meet someone else all without feeling guilty. Yet all of those things include the opposite sex. So in all actuality summer can be seen as the most romantic season of all.

In my opinion I see sparks fly and chemistry run ramped more during the summer than in any other season. It’s the commitment that lacks. But lack of pressure for commitment can sometimes make things even more romantic, because then you can just enjoy living in the moment versus over analyzing “where things are going.” To me, that is the beauty of a summer fling. 

I believe everyone deserves to have at least one hot summer fling/romance. Whether they fizzle out with the heat or turn into something more they are always memorable. I decided to ask a few guys to share their summer fling stories with me. Some blossomed into relationships, while others fell right along with the leaves as Fall settled in. What they all did seem to agree on is why sparks fly more during the summer. Keep in mind that men keep it short, sweet, and simple for the most part lol gotta love ‘em.

Q: What was your best summer romance?

GUY #1In summer 2010 I had a summer romance with this girl at my job who was a little different from the kind of girls I usually date, but i liked her. However, it was the summer time so it was all about messing around and enjoying myself. We did go out to movies and dinner a few times though. And no, it never turned into anything after the summer ended.

GUY #2: Surprisingly this summer I had one of my best summer flings that I’ve had in a long time. I actually enjoyed myself more than I have in any other summer. I got to travel with her… and not just to a city close-by but we road-tripped to another city in another state alone that was not something that I was accustomed to. We never had a dull moment, on that trip or once we got back. It was always something new and fun every time we got together. That being said, it was the best I’ve had. 

GUY #3 My love story began as a summer romance. Even though I had seen this girl time and time again at school I had never said anything to her. Until one day,  I approached her friend that I had known and asked her to “put in a good  word” for me. After she did it, the girl I liked appeared everywhere as if she  was following me. Ill admit I was enjoying seeing her everywhere but we  didn’t have a chance to get together and I went away to school and I thought she was lost forever. I was wrong and that following  summer while I was working at the mall I spotted her on my lunch break. We  talked for a while and just like that she was gone but I was determined not to  let her slip though my fingers again. So I sent her this long MySpace  message telling her everything I felt, I was in love and her reply back was,  “Thank you for the compliments. I’m single now and I too would really like to get to know you.” Though she was in Newark for the summer and I was in Trenton we talked everyday and the feelings grew and grew. What was then a summer love has turned into a 4 year relationship filled with good and even greater times, with more to be expected.  

GUY #4My best summer fling stemmed from what I thought would be just another hook-up. However when we finally got some alone time together we ended up not having sex, we spent the night talking about a little bit of everything. After that I couldn’t get my mind off of her. I realized I wanted more than just a one-night thing with her. It was what she didn’t do that got me to pay attention to who she was, and I got to find out that she was someone I really liked. We hung out a few more times that summer but it didn’t turn into anything. As much as I liked her, my ex was still in the picture and I didn’t want her to be a rebound.

GUY #5 My best summer romance, was summer of 2006, going into my senior year. A class mate of mind introduced me to her cousin, and after a few text message exchanges and even somehand written notes, we started dating. This was the first young lady that ever met my mom. This was also the first young lady that, I took on a genuine date. We spent a lot of time together through out the whole summer. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunications, and other smaller issues, when school started our relationship ended. But still though, that was a great summer romance.

Q: What is it about summer that makes causes sparks to fly b/w people?

GUY #1It’s the summer time so you can try new things, new people and make new moves. I mean it’s the summer time, it’s hot and things get hot lol.

GUY #2: Summer allows the freedom to do as you please, especially if you’re single. The warm weather, not being in school, it all gives you more time to be out. Say if I wanted to go to the beach one day, I don’t have school to worry about I can just go after work or take off. The summer brings out the best in everyone. In the summer time you feel like you’re superman and nothing can hold you back from what you’re trying to do. 

GUY #3: It’s just something about the summer that makes people more adventurous in the areas of love, lust, etc.  I personally think a major factor of appearance and what is being shown to the opposite sex has a lot to do with it.  Many people (male and female) like the summer time because of the heat and as we all know, the hotter it gets the less and less clothes people wear. There’s also an aspect of time and freedom one most include in the account of summer romances. With people spending less time in school or in the house and more time doing stuff whether it be with friends or family it is only natural that they’ll have an opportunity of meeting fresh new faces and forging bonds and relationships with those they already know.

GUY #4: Everything, people wear less clothing and buy more condoms!

GUY #5The weather is hot, booty shorts come out, fellas walk around with their shirts off. Everybody looks beautiful at the pool, the answer is simple, the reason why romance is so prominent in the summer time is because its easier. During the summer people stop thinking with their brains and focus more on the physical aspects of a person. After it begins to cool off and, body parts start covering up. Well we start to think with our right mind again, and the thrill disappears.

09:31 pm, by ybfonline 2  |  Comments

Beyonce is PREGNANT!!!

I can barely contain my excitement as I type this blog post! Tonight at the MTV VMA’s Beyonce made two very BIG announcements that she was pregnant BOTH done w/o saying a word! While on the red carpet she struck the traditional “pregnant” pose that sent the blogasphere and social networks ablaze as everyone wondered if the moment we’ve all been waiting for since Bonnie & Clyde ‘03 had finally arrived! 

Next her sister Solange tweeted “:))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” further confirming what we were all suspecting.

Then there was the undeniable pep in Jay Z’s step during his performance of “Otis.”

Finally at the end of her own performance of the very time-appropriate song “Love on Top” Beyonce unbuttoned her blazer and rubbed her stomach for all the world to see LIVE! The only thing more beautiful than the image of the iconic star beaming was her husband Jay Z’s reaction in the audience! Mr. Carter, a normally very private person, finally had some news that even he couldn’t contain! He got up and started pacing back and forth with a HUGE smile on his face GLOWING even more than his pregnant wife! An excited Kanye West took the moment to give his friend an encouraging pat on the back! It was all too much for words! I LIVE for that moment! Anyone who ever doubted that the love b/w those two wasn’t real can now promptly shut their mouths! 

 

I’m elated for my favorite celeb couple! I guess you can have it all! Congrats & let the media madness begin!

11:13 pm, by ybfonline 4  |  Comments

My FAVORITE celeb couple! I loved this scene in Beyonce’s “4” documentary where Jay Z helped Bey pick her final tracks for her album. It’s great how they support and consult each other. That “lets run this world together” type love <3

My FAVORITE celeb couple! I loved this scene in Beyonce’s “4” documentary where Jay Z helped Bey pick her final tracks for her album. It’s great how they support and consult each other. That “lets run this world together” type love <3


04:05 am, by ybfonline 46  |  Comments

In honor of the 10 year anniversary of Aaliyah’s untimely death I’m posting my favorite song of hers, "At Your Best." Rest on Baby Girl, the music industry is still missing you.

06:28 pm, by ybfonline 7  |  Comments