“Won’t stop, Can’t stop”… DIDDY goes after COLLEGE GRADS

diddy graduates image

(paperblog.com)

When I was in college the Bad Boy Record Label was still going strong with the mega hit “Whoa” by Black Rob, which could be heard blasting in the University’s court yard any time of the day. The label had survived the death of its biggest artist, Notorious BIG, and the numerous rap families that were emerging onto the rap scene who were perfecting the formula of having one big star and a supporting cast. I wanted to be a member of Diddy’s “hip hop” clique since I was in the 7th grade, and was not alone with wanting to grow up and be the next Lil’ Kim. Bad Boy’s influence on pop culture was astounding.  Come hell or high water, I was going to find a way to be apart of the lavish lifestyle they portrayed that kept it’s people in the best all black or white outfits you could find.  So, it is extremely surreal for me to watch Diddy give a college commencement speech. I didn’t do that well when I began college because l was practicing becoming a great lyricist in hopes of being signed by the likes of Diddy or someone similar, instead of hitting the books. I had plenty of company with those that were waiting for their opportunity to shine, or for all of their problems to go away when they were instantly signed by a record label. Eventually, I understood that people like Diddy were creating a fantasy for the masses that didn’t match the struggle that I was surrounded by daily. With this revelation, I decided to finish school with a degree in English Literature at age 20. However, their were many who didn’t catch on to the mirage that Diddy and his peers created, and for them music ended up taking way more than it gave.

Diddy’s ability to make something out of nothing, while getting people to believe his vision as a true representation of what success looks like, has garnered him the reputation of being brilliant in business. However, he is known almost as much for being accused of shady practices by former artist and colleagues. With that being said, I admire that he didn’t let the gray cloud of negative perception and poor decisions hang over him. He refused to let any of it stop his potential, or allow himself to be satisfied with only achievement in the music industry, and being just known as the guy who invented the remix.  He has become a fashion mogul, a pioneer in reality television, a broad way actor, the face of high end alcoholic beverages, and competed in and finished the New York Marathon. Not to mention the tons of men that follow his footsteps in hopes of becoming a famous party promoter, drawing in massive crowds, and becoming a brand that all types of people want to be affiliated with. No matter what Diddy told the graduates of Howard University about not stopping, taking a chance, and knowing your own power, he actually said more with what he didn’t say.

Diddy giving speech image

(blackpressusa)

By giving the commencement speech at a school that he only completed 2 years of, he told the audience that ultimately you write your own story, determine how it ends, and to never let anyone or establishment dictate who you will become. In the audience listening to him, was the man that gave him his first break in the music industry, Andre Harrell, and who also fired him. This firing led to him to starting Bad Boy Records. Diddy’s speech, while maybe not captivating or even life changing, his life certainly is. And now he was receiving an honorary doctorate degree, giving him even more the ability to tell his nay sayers “take that, take that”.

suave diddy picture

(afrocentricmews.com)

The one thing any graduate, whether from a University or of life, should be able to take from Diddy’s speech is the only way to silence your critics is to not listen to them. Your ambition should not be limited to what others feel you deserve or feel you should go after. Your dreams should only be controlled by what you want. No Diddy, wasn’t the first person to start and run a successful record label, he wasn’t the first person to throw elaborate parties, he wasn’t the first person in music that became interested in fashion, and he certainly wasn’t the first person to complete the New York Marathon. But you know what, he acts like he was. And, inspite of who may not like it, there is certainly more that love it.

Diddy’s Commencement Speech

 

Rachel Bryant Lundy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallelujah! The First Look at Church Sensationalism

image of preachers

(christiannews.net)

Preacher’s of L.A. is set for a comeback, will probably be here for years, and let me explain why…

One of the perks of being sick is that you get to either catch up on old movies or watch something for the first time. I’m one of those fortunate people that after I watch something brilliant, I obsess over it until I fully understand to the best of my ability the film maker’s vision. After being “over” the many talk shows and the unavoidable glimpses of Maury Povich, I came across a black and white film, with an African American cast called Halleujah!, filmed in 1929. This coupled with watching the tragic tell all story of Natalie Wood, has kept my mind occupied the entire weekend. I’m always fascinated by the creativity that took place in cinema despite limited technical advances, and acting opportunities in the early 20th century. Let me tell you, this film did not disappoint, and is a must see. Even though it was made over 80 years ago, this movie parallels much of the successes and pitfalls that we see in today’s modern church.  And furthermore, showcased the ills that continue to plague society; such as violence, the allure of fast money and fast women, and the never ending influx of shady characters to overcome when you are trying to do the right thing.  It made me ask the age old question, does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? One has to wonder how much of the film was inspired by church traditions, and how many church traditions were inspired by the film?

This is what stood out in the picture that mirrors today’s society:

  • The Pastor discovered God after witnessing a family member become a victim to senseless violence that he helped to cause by engaging in illegal activity.
  • When the Pastor accepted salvation he instantly had “swag”. He was no longer the humble and simple share cropper, he was now strong, charismatic, and well dressed. Who knows if this new confidence was due to an awareness of being a child of God, or more of an awareness of the need to use pageantry and tradition?
  • He was eventually lured away from his position and his family by an unscrupulous female who thought she was following God, but really was infatuated with the power that came with being romantic with a Pastor. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Although the film did contain the deep moments as previously mentioned, I was highly entertained just as much by the spectacle of it all.  And it’s not hard to see why today the same topic garners much attention, with the rise of the profession of a Pastor being glamorized, and made into several must watch reality television shows. The progression of the “business of church”, has made many see it’s potential as being very lucrative. It is clear that what is very different from the old church as compared to the modern church is the overt increase of wealth and status of the clergy, which at one time was thought to have been a position one took in servant hood and humility.

 

image of hallelujah movie

(ahashare.com)

There is also a fairy tale or “rags to riches” reference when some people think of today’s popular Pastors. One reason individuals feel like they can identify with them, is because the position looks attainable. You could have had a horrible past, done everything wrong, and it does not eliminate you from achieving that title. In fact, your mistakes often make you relatable to the masses. Once attained, this position is usually influential, can provide a very comfortable lifestyle with adoring fans, and people that want to be associated with you as if you were a rapper or an athlete. Sadly, I have known a few people that had no talent, but decided they could easily look and sound the part of a minister, and would make that their path to money and power- shaking my head.

And, just because of how profitable entertainment through the church is, the Mega hit Preachers of L.A., after much controversy will be returning for a second season with all six original cast members. Again, people couldn’t get enough of the story lines about sex, drugs, and money by way of the church. This is interesting because not all the cast was happy with the way they were perceived on the series. While it has made them more popular secularly,  it may have done some damage to their ministerial reputation… but I guess money talks. Plus, the producers of the show are set to create even more spin offs based out of New York and Atlanta.  It looks like we as a society will forever be fascinated with this genre that seems so close, yet so very far away. To be honest, I am a fan of a few of the cast members. My only hope that is this time around they show more of the ministering and less of the melodrama, but I doubt it.

 

Rachel Bryant Lundy

 

 

 

A FOOL and his Gripes

v stiviano best

There are so many harsh realities and lessons to be learned from the Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano debacle. But the one I am particularly interested in is how one relationship had the power to instantly demolish the reputation of a millionaire, who was well known for his philanthropy to charitable organizations. Not to mention, cause him to lose controlling interest in a basketball franchise, as well as single handedly make the topic of race in Sports and in America stay in the headlines for weeks. If you are not familiar with the story, Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano recorded him making racist comments against African Americans. They were leaked, and triggered an in depth investigation about his discrimination practices.

Putting the grotesque racial remarks aside momentarily, I am curious to know why Mr. Sterling thought it was beneficial for him to entertain the company of V. Stiviano. I’m always interested in learning what makes people take extreme risk, given the amount they stand to lose. Was he not competent enough to understand what was at stake by having the relationship? Maybe because he could afford to have her around, he couldn’t see why he shouldn’t?  Did V. Stiviano give off the impression that she was innocent, harmless, and needed someone to take care of her? Did he interpret this as meaning that he could be careless with his actions around her? Whatever the case, he severely underestimated the impact that this person could have in his life if things didn’t go well (side chick gone bad). And, we as a society may also severely underestimate the impact that an abundance of wealth and power can have on an individual, who for all intense purposes has already seen their best days.

Not choosing to find out if a person has your best interest at heart, but instead allow them to tag along and enjoy all the fruits of your labor can be an easy pitfall. Especially, if you feel that you are not the sharpest, youngest, or most attractive person available. However, any engagement with a person who does not have as much to lose as you creates the potential for a dangerous situation. This may be even more so if you are getting involved with someone that has proven in the past to not be wise in their behavior and choices. Typically, any guidance you offer will be rejected and resented. One of the biggest risk with keeping the company of those who are known for being foolish, is that they are perfectly fine with sabotage and ruining lives solely to get attention. And, they are often protected by those who have enabled them. If your looking to teach them a lesson, it will pretty hard to do.

Attempting to remember what is the likely outcome when interacting with a fool can be a struggle, whether the person is related to you, a mere acquaintance, or someone you are considering having an intimate relationship with. Often, if the fool is a family member it can be hard to not try to assist or enlighten them because you care. It can be challenging to let a fool lie in his foolishness, because a fool is frequently in need. The individual may look harmless, but given the right opportunity they can become quite powerful, and in a moment take down everything you have built. On the bright side, a fool is usually able to let you know who the other fools are based on their response to his or her actions, and this could end up being a future strategic benefit.

Here are some tips on handling fools:

  • Don’t expect appreciation or loyalty. If you do something and they happen to benefit, keep it moving.
  • Don’t have fools around people and places that matter to you, they don’t see the same value, and won’t have the same respect.
  • If you have to engage with them, keep it to a minimum. A fool enjoys bringing you down to their level.

Rachel Bryant Lundy

Scandalous Lessons from “The Other Woman”

the other woman

(Photo: moviepronews.com)

Never, ever would I have thought I could find a story about womanizing to be amusing and also enlightening. But fortunately, I occasionally hang out with people who have different taste than mine, and sometimes you just got to take one for the team. About 6 of us on Friday night went to see this movie after work, hoping for a quick escape from reality, and to finally enjoy the movie theatre too conveniently placed around the corner from our jobs. For the bulk of the film we were that group that talked throughout the movie, hysterically laughed at “so-so” punch lines, and made comments about the women’s bodies and style choices – payback to those who’ve done it to me. But in the midst of the hilarity, each woman displayed small doses of vulnerability that I could relate to. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin it for you. There is still plenty to laugh at after reading this post.

Begrudgingly, I have to admit that although the douche bag of a husband did scheme and cheat, the women did some things that made it easy for him to try and justify his behavior. The wife dressed way too comfortable at bed time (plain terry cloth night gowns), initiated disinteresting and gross conversations, while constantly undermining her own intellectual capacity, which gave him a reason to do the same. The mistress’s emotional detachment and focus on her career made it easy for her to give off the perception that she did not require a commitment, because she was too focused on herself to notice he wasn’t around. And, the younger woman just didn’t have enough experience to question the legitimacy of anything he told her.

The good news is that ultimately the female characters are able to tap into their potential and build a great life after experiencing heartbreak. But this success was contingent upon them forgiving, supporting, and helping one another get there. Each woman in the film had the power to greatly affect the other woman’s happiness. Not one of the women could get to that place on their own. I wondered how much farther myself, friends, and family members could be if we simply chose to let things go and encourage each other. As well realize that we all have more in common than what attempts to divide us, and typically we are trying to overcome the same things.

After having a disagreement with someone, you can choose to let the relationship go, or you can be determined and bold enough to put egos aside and find out what the two of you can offer each other. Deciding to love and let in a special person in your life, means way more than the momentary satisfaction we get by choosing instead to judge and keep people out. Encountering the loss of love and the gain of new friendships that each one of them experienced was a requirement for them to get to their next level. The movie also had a strong moral compass. Often these days cheating can be seen as common or not a big deal, and depending on the person, being someone’s mistress could be seen as a coveted role. However, I really respect that in this modern day tale none of the women involved wanted to be the “other woman”.

 

Is there a time when you had to admit to someone that their significant other was seeing another man or woman? Do tell.

 

Rachel Bryant Lundy