Black Safe, General, Let's get into It

Travel Interview with your boys at Objectively Black – F. Dougie

So I’ve been hearing that you guys, the people, want us to pull back the curtain a bit. You wanna hear more bout your boys Idris Gray and F. Dougie. Sure, we go on crazy adventures and give you the info about whats going on in the world, but you want to know more about US, right?

Well, say less. We’re taking some time out of our very busy lives to give a little of that personal world view we call perspective. More and more our readers have been asking us to give more travel recommendations and to share some of that worldly knowledge we’ve been picking up in our travels. Say no more people. The man, the legend, your mans F. Dougie is giving you a little more about how he likes to live. Listen up. You just might learn something.

Idris Gray: It seems like we’ve been everywhere lately. You gotta tell me though, What’s your all-time favorite travel destination?

F. Dougie: Japan. Easily.

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are all amazing cities. Tokyo and Osaka are an insomniac’s dream, and Kyoto has so much beauty and history, it’s hard not to get lost in everything they have to offer. Its funny, I find myself day-dreaming of my adventures in Japan quite often and I guarantee that I’ll be flying over there on the next chance that presents itself.

Of the countries you’ve been to, can you tell the people which were the most fun, challenging, or inspiring?

Most Fun – Aruba. Aside from being an island paradise, Aruba has so much to do. You can kick back and do nothing or go swimming in crystal clear water. If you want to get active, I actually recommend an ATV tour of the entire island. Its small and you can see most of it in half a day. Also, definitely go Jet Skiing at least once.

Most Challenging – Paris, France. Paris is incredible but it can be a lot if you don’t have a good grasp on the language. Honestly? My best recommendation? Go on a bike tour and learn as much as you can that way. You’d be surprised how much history you can pick up just riding around with a guide for a few hours.

Most Inspiring – Positano, Italy. Wow. Easily one of the most beautiful locations on earth. All of the food is freshly gown on the island. The people are unrealistically nice, and I’m not even sure that the word “stress” exists here. Taking private boats and swimming to hidden grottos, dipping in the ocean on a moonlit night, grabbing a bottle of wine and just sipping it while the cool Mediterranean breeze blows over you. Heaven.

So where we goin next? What’s on the bucket list? If you could name your top 5, where would you like to go next?

The list is long and it is distinguished, but if I have to do a top 5, lets spread out the love a bit. We’re hitting at least 3 continents, people:

Zimbabwe – Gotta hit Victoria Falls, one of the 7 wonders of the world, right?

Austria – I just bought some new hiking boots that need breaking in.

Switzerland – You ever been hang gliding? Neither have I. We going.

Argentina – All dat meat. Patagonia is cool too I guess.

South Africa – Mandela wen through too much for me to not get over there and acknowledge his contribution to the world.

Ok, I see you. No chillin on these trips. Straight Adventures, huh? Well what’s your typical travel attire?

I’m more chill. Give me some joggers, Nikes, and a long-sleeve t-shirt. Maybe a packable light down depending on where I’m going and my Yankees fitted. When I’m in the airport or on the plane, I wanna feel like I’m at home on the couch. Comfort is key and you wanna make sure to layer as well because these planes be -10 degrees.

Window or Aisle?

I like to stare out of the window and see what’s down there. I’m long, but I’m not really cognizant of what the flight attendants are doing so if I doze off (which is rare), best believe I’m hitting hit with the cart.

What’s the survival kit look like? Name 3 items you NEVER travel without.

Sunglasses – Gotta lay low, you know? Plus I like my destinations sunny.

Watch – I always travel with some sort of diver or sport watch because I typically need something multifunctional that works well if I’m swimming, hiking, or if I wanna look good when I’m out on the town. Not to mention, you never know how long you’ll typically go without a phone charge. If I don’t have a phone on me, I always like to know what time it is.

Noise Cancelling Headphones – Because no. Just. Just, no.

Music is everything when you travel. Name 5 Albums you don’t travel without.

Yeah, I hear you. Music is a big part of travel and getting hype for a new adventure. Not to mention, who knows how long you’ll get stranded in the airport, right? I typically keep the same albums in heavy rotation on a trip:

American Gangster – Jay Z

Illmatic – Nas

Stadium Arcadium – Red Hot Chili Peppers

AM – Arctic Monkeys

The Blueprint – Jay Z

How would you describe your style of travel? Are you a planner or do you like to freestyle?

I plan EVERYTHING in advance. That’s typically because I’m usually travelling with a group and there is nothing worse than a group of grown-ass men standing around with no idea what they want to do after spending thousands of dollars on a vacation.

Dude 1: “Ay man, what’s the move?”

Dude 2: “You asking me?! I booked the flights!”

Dude 1: “I’m sayin, I got that last taxi tho…”

Dude 3: “So, we gon eat or….?”

Dude 4: “……aight, I’mma head out”.

If I’m traveling alone, I’m more apt to go off the cuff. Just wander around and see what’s what, you know? Some of the best adventures come from things that weren’t planned.

Lastly, do you have any advice for first-time travelers abroad?

You really have to get outside of your comfort-zone. Find new things to do and just get out there and get crazy. Bare in mind, you are in a foreign country, so be respectful and keep your head on a swivel, but don’t be afraid to try new things and really shake things up. 

Traveling is always easier with a great international credit card. Those foreign transaction fees add up quickly, and when you’re on a budget, there is nothing worse than shelling out extra money that you didn’t originally account for.

Honestly, be easy on the electronics. Vacation is for relaxation or exploration. Its hard to get inspired and experience new things when you’re plugged in and worried about what @janice_4he_un1corn is doing on IG.

Again, I stress trying new things and having fun, but be safe out there but trust your gut and keep your head on a swivel. Theres a sucker born every minute. Don’t let it be you.

Learn how to tie a Weaver’s knot. It may save your life…

Bring extra cash and don’t fake on the travel insurance! You don’t wanna be out here waiting on transfers from your checkings to your savings, back to your checking….

Try to learn at least some basic language for the country you’re visiting. Theres nothing worse than an arrogant American yelling at the top of their lungs: “CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TO GET TO THE LOUURRRRVVVEEEE?” *makes rocafella sign*

Catch y’all next time!

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Black Safe, General

Objectively Black Does Brazil

We know we know, the summer is winding down. The fun is over right? Wrong! The weather might start cooling down here but it’s nice and warm in Brazil. Vitoria Brazil to be exact. And yes, while my Objectively Black brother was wining and dining in Turks and Caicos, I was partying it up in Brazil of all places. Do yourself a favor and forget everything you heard about Brazil. Allow me to briefly fill you in on how amazing this not so touristy piece of paradise is like. I know you’ve heard of Rio and favelas and the crime and blah blah blah. “Leave that one my friend”.

Ok, so first I need to be completely transparent, I went there for the wedding of an old friend. I was only there for 4 full days but after some quick maths I was able to determine that the fun per day metrics were right up there with my other trips in South America this year. Comment if you need that formula. Anyway, in that short time I was able to hit a few spots downtown in an area called  “Triangulo das Bermudas” where I danced, ate and ate some more. Normally what we like to do is give you a play by play of our time at whatever spot we were lucky enough to travel too. This time I’m gonna try and distill the whole experience down to 7 reasons you need to hit up Vitoria.

1. The People

This is by far the biggest and best reason to go here. And it’s the same reason I almost didn’t come back to NYC. I’m not trying to shit on my fellow New Yorker’s, but we can be a lot sometimes. But I’m not gonna focus on our flaws right now, let’s focus on the beautiful people in this great city. This wasn’t my first time in South America this year but there’s always some nervousness when I land in a new city. But as soon as I landed, I was greeted by friendly faces. Yes one of them was my long time friend, but even strangers seemed to be invested in making me feel as “at home” as possible. Seriously everyone was nice. From the staff at the hotel, the waiters at the various restaurants, and too the several friends I made during my time there. And yes the language barrier was tough to get over, but everyone I met made a strong effort to try and connect with me. I felt like I was in the midst of family after only a few hours there. So in the words of the Terminator I’ll be back y’all.

2. The BBQ

In the 4 nights I spent in Brazil I had Brazilian style BBQ 5 times. The times I didn’t have BBQ for dinner, I had it for lunch. And the other times I just put fruit on it and called it dessert. Remember I told you about the skewers? Yeah so I’ve been back in the states for sometime now and still refuse to eat anything that isn’t served via big metal stick. I’ve lost 15lbs. Let me give you a recommendation. GET THE CHICKEN HEARTS. Don’t argue with me just do it. Matter of fact get everything and anything that they serve on a skewer dammit. The sausage, the “Filet Mignon”. Fuck it if they have humming birds on that damn stick you eat it and you enjoy it. It’s good for your heart and for your soul. I’m pretty sure.

3. The Hotel

Ok… So I can’t speak to the other lodging areas in the city, but I can speak to Hotel Senac Ilha do Boi. Hotel Senac is about 45 minutes away from Vitoria Airport, located on top of a hill that has the most amazing views of the city. More on the views in a moment. Among the hotel amenities are a steam shower, sauna, poolside bar, tennis court etc. The list goes on. And the best part is the hotel is right on the beach. Yes with just a short 5 minute walk down a tree lined staircase you can be on the beach soaking up the sun. If that’s your thing. Personally that poolside bar got more use out of me. But “cada um na sua” (to each their own).

4. Nightlife

If you’re like me and love to dance and party a bit ‘after hours’ then don’t worry, Vitoria has you covered. And you don’t need to worry about whether or not you’ll be safe. I was able to walk the streets at night with a friend in search of bars and clubs to go to on a Sunday night without any trouble. There were plenty of people on the streets and no one bothered us. In fact, most people were friendly. Now you do have a variety of scenes to choose from, you can do quiet bars, bars with live music, and legit clubs for those of you who need a laser show to get it in. I’d suggest Triangulo das Bermudas. It’s the bar district in Vitória. It’s got all those things I’ve just mentioned and also plenty of food spots to fuel your night out. More on that later.

Vitoria Skyline -Credit @dronar.es

5. Views

I can not front. As far as the views of a beachfront city.. This has got to be up there with the best. Lima’s huge shopping famous shopping complex was built right into a cliff overlooking the beach but Vitoria itself sat less than a mile from the beach. It was like being in paradise fam. No wonder everyone there is so happy. They get to see the most amazing sunsets year round. And those aren’t the only natural wonders you’ll see while you’re there…

6. Shopping

Listen, I know. I don’t like malls, you may not either. But Vitoria has several places to shop and I found myself at one of them – “Shopping Vitoria”. Now How did I find myself in a shopping mall? Well, like I said I went for a wedding, and while the fit I brought was dope, I forgot to bring a belt. So I marched down to the mall which wasn’t too far from the hotel and picked one up. I noticed during the walk down that there weren’t many folks on the street minus the runners and dog walkers. But when I entered the mall. It was clear where all those people were. The mall seemed brand new and pretty big even by our standards here in the states. In fact it exceeded the malls I’ve been too in many ways. There you can find several places to eat and relax to refuel you after some heavy shopping. You can also catch a movie if you want. But please note, this place aint exactly cheap.

Tapiocaria Nordeste Capixaba

7. Restaurants

Now it might be overkill to mention restaurants after already mentioning BBQ. But I do think that BBQ and restaurants each deserve their own section. I think my new Brazilian friends would all agree. From fast food to high quality dining, you can find it all here. Trust me, during my time here I ate way more than I slept. But I want to shout out some places that you need to check out. And feel free to drop my name at any of these places for to get a “What the fuck are you talking about” look from the waiter. Tapiocaria Nordeste Capixaba, Bilac Bar E Restaurante and  Figata Pizza & Birra were just a few of the places I was able to hit while I was there. All had great service and even better food. Figata even let me and a friend stick around late to finish our dinner way past closing time. Check them out for sure.

Ok that’s seven reasons. There are several more that I could go into more specifically but this should be enough to get you started. I know the trip is long and I know the flight is expensive. But do yourself a favor and go see Brazil like a local. Eat, dance, go to the beach and have chicken hearts. Sure, you can go to a resort and be hand fed grapes and shit. And while that does sound nice, I’d say you’d have a much better time getting an authentic experience in Vitoria. Like I said, I was only there for a few days, but I certainly intend to go back. 

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Black Safe, General

Objectively Black does South America – Pt. 1

It’s been several months since your uncles at OB have traveled. Our last trip to Denver was “lit” as the kids are saying, but we were long overdue for “another one”. In picking a place to travel there were several things that we had to consider. For us it was important to travel someplace that we had never been before. Somewhere with a different culture entirely. And most importantly somewhere with extraordinary views for Instagram. Bitches love views.

Some other things that we needed to consider was our less than extended time off. Sadly our swagger-less day jobs don’t allow us to take that much time for vacation. We thought about doing South America because we could hit several countries. Europe has a similar draw, but everybody goes to Europe. Here at objectively black we are different… and we also like salsa. Initially the plan was to hit Brazil, Columbia and Peru. But at the time of booking, Brazil was too hot. There were ridiculous stories coming out about Brazil and we didn’t want to fuck with that since Spanish was already a struggle and we knew zero Portuguese whatsoever. We did meet several people during the journey who didn’t speak Spanish and got along just fine. But I suggest that if you can, learn some of the language of your destinations or fly with someone who knows it. It just makes everything easier.

I should mention now that we traveled with a buddy who was from the Dominican Republic and was fluent in ‘Spanish’. He really was responsible for what we thought was an authentic experience. We didn’t want to be some gringos in SA. So we finally decided on Peru for 4 nights and Cartagena, Columbia for another 4 nights. We’re going to break each stop on the trip into 2 separate articles. This is part 1.

Peru

Our first stop was in Lima Peru. The plan was to stay one night in Lima and fly out to Cusco the next day. We flew Avianca Airlines which was pretty dope. The flight was broken in 2 with a layover in Bogota. The connecting flight to Lima was delayed for 5 hours but that kind of thing happens when you travel overseas. Expect it and go with the flow. After we landed in Lima we took an airport Taxi to an Airbnb we booked that was 15 minutes away from the airport. Our plan being to see some sites around the area and still be very close to the airport in case we got drunk and need to sleep in. Driving through the city of Lima right outside of the airport was a bit surreal but also familiar. The born-and-bred in New York City side of me found it a bit foreign naturally. The streets were dark and the buildings or houses all looked a little run down. There were huge piles of trash on the median’s, and the driver had me nervous. These drivers were aggressive to say the least. The Nigerian American in me, the guy who’s been to West Africa a few times, to me this felt familiar as fuck. We were officially in the 3rd world. And I was nervously loving it already.

The nervousness got real once we arrived at our Airbnb. To say the least we weren’t in as comfortable a location as I would have liked. I had to reach out to some friends back in the States to point me in the right direction. They instructed me to change my Airbnb from a place in San Amadeo De Garagay to a hostel in Miraflores. So that’s what we did. After a 40 minute Uber it was like we were in a completely different country. Miraflores was “gorgeous gorgeous”. It’s also where all the tourists were in Lima. I should be clear though that these tourists weren’t just American. We met Brits, Spaniards, Brazilians and Dutch peoples in just in a couple of hours at the hostel.

We stayed at two hostels during our time in South America. Depending on what kind of trip you are looking for, your noise tolerance, and your age you may want to stay clear of certain hostels. You don’t have to worry about Selina hostel in Miraflores, which was safe for all. Even though we booked it that same night we were able to secure a private room for cheap (by US standards). It was quiet, they had a nice bar with good food, and the bartender was super helpful. We asked him if there was anything to do on Sunday night and he pointed us in the direction of Calle de los Pizza. Sadly, because it was a Sunday night this strip wasn’t popping. Do we say popping anymore? Still we were able to find a couple of clubs that are open. We decided on Son de Cuba after a little encouragement by what seemed like the manager of the spot. The next day we walked the streets of Miraflores. The weather in Lima was pretty comfortable at about 60 degrees, with constant cloud cover, so we just walked around in t-shirts. The streets are filled with beautiful artwork and the architecture reminded us of the Art Deco structures in Miami. The people stared a bit but I may have been the blackest tallest person they had ever seen in life. We made sure to eat a good meal of Lomo Saltado and see a few nearby sights like Larcomar and Huaca Pucllana before our flight to Cusco.

Cusco was a different beast all together. Firstly, the flight up there was only an hour but we were warned about the turbulence. So in natural fashion for me I made peace with my God and prepared for whatever might come next. I also left specific instructions with my family that if the worst should happen, i’d like to be buried with all $523.24 of my checking + savings account (Shout out Drake). Needless to say the flight went fine with very little turbulence. When we landed we called and Uber to take us to our 2nd hostel. Wild Rover. Remember that short warning about hostels? Well Wild Rover is one that you may want to research a bit before booking. It honestly wasn’t that bad, but I am a very light sleeper so it just wasn’t for your boy. Still the people were very nice and we did have some fun at the onsite bar for the 1 night we stayed there. 

Cusco is an amazing city just visually. The streets are cobblestone and the entire city is on a hills/mountains sides. Not only that, but the city itself is surrounded by mountains. So anywhere you look you see breathtaking views. Be sure to have some of that coca leaves tea  because you will want to walk, and that altitude will get your ass. After our first night we hit the ground running with Laguna Humante which we booked through one of the several tour companies with offices across the city.

We had to get up 4:00am to get on a bus that stopped right outside of Wild Rover’s gates. We got on the bus and finished our sleep but awoke to some next level views of the sun rise. Seriously the back of your neck is gonna get toned from looking up all the damn time during this trip. But it will all be worth it. Now if the sun doesn’t wake you up, then the driver whipping that bus around those tight turns to the base of that mountain will. Anyway, after a meal and a bit more driving you are face to face with the base of the mountain looking up at what will be a 1.5-2 hour trek up at 4,200 meters in elevation. Don’t worry though. If you aren’t in shape and aren’t willing to suffer a heart attack on the side of a mountain in Peru, you can take a horse. I am not in shape but I am certainly willing to stress my own heart instead of these senoritas doing it for a change. So we climbed…

And it sucked.

But it was worth it.

On the last day in Peru we took a train to Machu Picchu on the PeruRail. If you aren’t doing the 4-day hike to Machu Picchu, then this has to be the 2nd best option. The train is equipped with huge windows on the sides and the top of cars allowing you to see the whole 360 view of all the surrounding mountains. The conductor stopped the train at certain points and on the loudspeaker you can hear an explanation of historical significance of the spots along the way. Also they serve beer. This was also the point when we realized how shitty our work-life balance is. On the trip up to Machu Picchu sat across from 2 young Australian ladies. They were both on the tail end of a 5-week trip across South America. We were lucky we got a week!

Anyway, they were cool and wanted to hang out after the tour so we never talked to them again. More on the train though. After the tour we got in one of the first class train cabins and were treated to a fashion show as well as what can only be described as Peru’s version of a Jester. A dude dressed up in masks and danced around the train for our amusement. I just wonder what other first class experiences I’ve been missing my whole life. In short Machu Picchu was dope. I’m not a historian and I couldn’t do our tour guide Percy any justice, but I hope this pictures will suffice. 

By the end of Peru, we did not want to leave. The experience we had was definitely life changing. Seeing how other people live and being around so much beauty everyday is something I could definitely get used to. But sadly it was time to hit the next spot on our journey, Columbia. I can guarantee that I’ll be back to Peru. I’ma try to do that 4-day hike to Machu Picchu and I’ma eat all the Lomo Saltado I possibly can until I go back. 

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Further Discussion, General, This B****

Art Collection Review — The Dean Collection Present’s: Deluxx Fluxx

SWIZZ BEATZ AND THE DEAN COLLECTION INVITE YOU TO EXPERIENCE DELUXX FLUXX – A SITE-SPECIFIC INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION THAT COLLAGES IMAGERY, SOUND, LO-FI GAMING, AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY CREATED BY THE BROOKLYN-BASED ARTIST DUO FAILE & BAST.

The Dean Collection

Tonight we went to Swizz Beatz‘ Deluxx Fluxx presented by The Dean Collection. For the uninitiated uncultured dilettante,

“The Dean Collection, founded by legendary music artists Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, is a contemporary, family art collection focused on the support of living artists. In addition to being custodians of great artworks, TDC develops platforms that encourage progress in all facets of artistic practice.”

Art by Faile

Thursday night’s gallery was presented by local NYC artists, Faile and Bast. Deluxx Fluxx obscures the lines between artist and consumer, and viewer and participant in an attempt to recapture the recent history of the Lower East Side as a haven for anti-elitist art practices such as graffiti and punk rock. It blends elements from the golden age of arcades, 80s-era basements, and the visual culture of nightclubs. It features the arcade’s signature day-glo palette and ten custom video game installations. Its simultaneously an interactive art project and an active performance venue.

The entire venue was an interactive visual delight. People were encouraged to dress in black-light accentuated clothing. People were dressed in neon’s with neon hair and danced like fools all night. It was a magical place. A place where the beer flowed like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talkin’ bout a little place called… Deluxx Fluxx.

One lady (CLEARLY married and out for the night) wanted a piece of anything with a Y chromosome. We even found her in a crowded men’s bathroom at one point trying to prove she’s still got it. Slow down Ma. Chill.

A master at work

Our homie Swizz was dressed to impress and started a lively DJ set right on time. He spun old school two step classics, NY staples like HOV, Nas, and Biggie, and a few choice tracks from his legendary catalog of hits. Swizz was more than gracious and allowed fans to take pictures and videos with him before encouraging people to put away their phones and really enjoy the experience. But that was short lived because all hell broke loose when his boo Alicia Keys hit the booth.

Looking effortlessly gorgeous, Alicia danced and encouraged the people to have fun. Phones and cameras are nice, but its not often that you get a chance to party with legends as gracious and humble as Swizz Beats and Alicia Keys. People really started to dance and make use of the entire space. Swizz’s pops even hit the floor and joined in the fun. It was a family affair for sure.

If I Ain’t Got You…

This event was one in a million. Keep your eyes open because there are always amazing events like this if you know where to look. DJ set or not, we encourage everyone to experience more of NYC’s art scene. You never really know what you’ll run into.

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General, Let's get into It

Black Billionaire drops $40M for the culture

           It’s graduation season and I’m sure you all remember the pride that you and your loved ones felt as you walked across that stage. Some of y’all are still struggling in that Accounting 101 class, don’t stress, you’ll figure it out.

4 years of blood, sweat, tears, and money went into that degree of yours and  now it’s time to enter society and make a living for yourself. But that ain’t the end of the story, because some of y’all will be paying Uncle Sam or Sallie Mae until you retire. You might not be able to afford a car so you’ll name your daughter Alexis.

Well guess what, the homie Robert F. Smith  came through for some members of the next generation.

If you don’t know who he is, Robert F. Smith is an entrepreneur and founder of the investment firm, Vista Equity Partners. He’s worth about $5 billion, according to Forbes and is the richest black person in America. The 56-year-old Smith was a chemical engineer for Goodyear and Kraft before attending business school. He worked for Goldman Sachs, specializing in tech investments before starting his firm Vista Equity in 2000. According to the company website, Vista Equity invests solely in software, data, and technology companies and boasts capital commitments of $46 billion.

While giving the commencement at HBCU Morehouse College’s 2019 graduation, he surprised the crowd by declaring that he’d created a grant to pay off all of the debt of each member of the graduating class.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus. Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward. I want my class to look at these these beautiful Morehouse brothers and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”

Now, we at OB often talk about creating black wealth. We have conversations about what we need to do in order to make a dent in the wealth gap that black Americans are beholden to.

I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African-Americans whose names I will never know,” Smith said. “Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve. My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward.”

Robert F. Smith

F. Dougie: This reached out and touched my heart. It really did. Not too long ago, we wrote an article about how fed up we were with all of the negativity and killing out there in society. Given that many of us are always taught that we should lift each other up as brothers and sisters, It hurts even more when we as black people are doing it to each other. But when we see people like Mr. Smith lifting up young black men, it really makes us feel like there’s hope. It’s really true, When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained. Now, hopefully these young men can use their gift as an advantage to make intelligent decisions and do even better than their parents before them. The possibilities are endless.

Idris Gray: This is truly touching. As someone who is still paying for loans, I can’t help but to wish that I too was apart of this class. Or better yet, that my sister was a part of this class so that perhaps her loans could be taken care of. DO NOT CO-SIGN LOANS, PEOPLE!

Anyway this is really amazing for these young people and I envy them and applaud the selfless act of Mr. Smith. I don’t care how much money you make, you don’t want to spend $40 Million of it on an investment you’ll probably never see monetary gains on. That being said, the homie was sitting on 5 BILLY! I digress, but even if he never gave those students that loan forgiveness, he gave them something special. Inspiration. When we talk about the 1% we picture old white dudes, not black ones. So just seeing that this kind of thing is possible for black people to attain is dope.

It’s too easy for black men relegate themselves to being happy with any kind of employment when the stereotype is “broke black man”, or just straight up “criminal”. When thoughts like that run through your head you tend to accept the bare minimum instead of pushing yourself to get all the things you want out of life. Sometimes you forget that anything is possible with hard work and dedication regardless of skin tone. The list of great black business people, medical professionals, artists etc isn’t short. Still, we are depicted in a negative light on the news and in the media.

It’s time we stop feeding into this narrative. There are too many successful black male figures outside of sports and music. We are CEOs, entrepreneurs, writers, directors, engineers, and doctors, lawyers, and everything else. It’s over for all that. We need young black boys to know that they have more options than ball or rap.

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Further Discussion, General, Let's get into It

“I’m Not Black, I’m Tiger.”

          Last week, Tiger Woods completed one the greatest comebacks in sports as he won The Masters Golf Tournament after an 14 year hiatus and several knee & back surgeries. Many in the sports world told Woods to hang it up. Many said he’d never win ever again and that he was washed. Woods proved everyone wrong by reconstructing his golf game from the ground up. The result was an epic and historic win at the biggest tournament in the sport.

Today, Woods will visit his good friend Donald Trump at the White House to receive the highest honor that a civilian can be awarded, The Presidential Medal of Freedom. People are understandably upset that Woods is going and isn’t using this as a chance to take a stand against all the fucked up shit that Trump has done in his 2 years in office, but looking at the bigger picture, Woods has never stood up for big issues (in the black community or otherwise). This isn’t surprising considering he’s good friends with Michael “Republicans buy Jordans too” Jordan.

Why do we even care? We’ve always known who Tiger Woods is (even if Elin Nordgren didn’t). Do we expect too much of athletes? Black athletes especially?

I’m not Black, I’m O.J.!

O.J. Simpson

F. Dougie: Look, people can do whatever they want. I don’t think that we should be propping people up as heroes and telling them how to live or engage with the black community….But when you have Colin Kaepernick out here giving up his career to speak up for black people, when you Have LeBron James out here always speaking up for the black community and trying to empower us and emulating the example of Ali….. Visiting the biggest catalyst for the rise in white nationalism and hate crimes this century makes you look like an Uncle Tom.

“I’ve always wanted to say this….For Shizzle!”

– Dave Chappelle as Tiger Woods

Considering how many championship sports team have declined to go to the White House citing Trump’s racism, this presents itself as an opportunity for Trump to align himself with a popular athlete. I just see this as a lost opportunity and shame that Trump can once again use a black prop to show himself as a champion for black people when all the while he’s been winking and nodding at white supremacists.

Idris Gray: You’re right. People should be able to do whatever they please. I’m actually not mad at all about the honor I think it recognises the impact that Tiger has had on Sports. He’s basically the MJ of golf right? But I’m just being consistent. I didn’t want to see NFL or NBA champs in the White house because of the Don, and I don’t want to see Tiger in there either. You’ve stated the reasons already. He is a clearly the representation of hate for minorities. He’s also a misogynist. I don’t really see how anyone could want to associate themselves with him knowing his opinion of people who look like us. Perhaps this honor is too big an honor to boycott? But that’s exactly why I think that refusing to participate in the ceremony would send waves.

I often wonder about the idea of selflessness when things like this come up. Perhaps Tiger doesn’t feel at all slighted about the various things that Donald Trump has said and done in the past. Maybe he doesn’t identify with the various groups that have been impacted by the hate his presidency has encouraged. But at some point you still need acknowledge the problem even if you don’t feel them directly yourself. That’s why that O.J quote you mentioned is very problematic. The fame and wealth that you’ve created as an athlete shields you from the plight of average black man. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

What do you guys think?

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Further Discussion, General, Let's get into It

Avengers: Endgame — Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

Runtime: 3 Hours and 2 Minutes

Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring:
Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Evans
Mark Ruffalo
Chris Hemsworth
Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner
Don Cheadle
Paul Rudd
Brie Larson
Karen Gillan
Danai Gurira
Bradley Cooper
Josh Brolin

The Universe has been Balanced

We finally made it. We reached the end of Marvel’s Infinity Saga. The most ambitious and successful cinematic universe ever created on film. The reviews are glowing (96% Positive Reviews with a 94% Audience Rating as of this article’s writing) and the film broke damn-near every record imaginable by making $1.2 Billion in its opening weekend. You guys know the story by now.

When Marvel Studios launched Iron Man in 2008, they did so in the Marvel comic book style of storytelling beginning a 12-year epic saga (Imagine Game of Thrones or Harry Potter for comic movies). The creators and producers wanted to create a world in the movies that mirrored the Marvel Comics. Not a world where new characters would just appear in sequel after sequel, but a cinematic experience where those stories would work was as their own tales but also work towards a larger goal. A world where Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel could just drop by unannounced. In the comic world, these characters and stories were often tied together into larger overarching stories to tell a massive publishing wide epics.

“Whatever it takes…”

We personally recommend the following:

House of M – $17.99

Civil War – $17.99

Planet Hulk– $18.99

Secret Wars– $14.99

Siege – $15.99

Spider-Island – $23.99

Infinity– $29.99

Spider-Verse– $29.99

Secret Empire– $26.99

Their first goal was to introduce the world to several stand-alone superheroes and bring them together as the world’s greatest superhero team. The Avengers. The film was the biggest movie of its time and began Phase 2 of the next 8 years of storytelling. We came to grow with and love these characters. We watched their journeys and immersed ourselves in one of the most unique movie-going experiences ever created.

“We’re in the endgame, now”

Dr. Strange / infinity war

Years of character growth and development, seeding plot, easter eggs, hints, reveals, and meticulous planning has gone into this finale. The main actors contracts are up and it’s time for someone else to begin a new story. At this point, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America are as iconic as Christopher Reeves was as Superman. As fans, we’ve been loyal and patient. We’ve wanted an ending and some closure, but we’ve also been on the edge of our seats waiting to find out if the good guys can save the day.

Without spoilers, what did we think of the film and experience?

F. Dougie: You already know how I feel.

There were soooo many amazing moments. I feel very rewarded for being a true fan of this experience. We’ve been rewarded for our loyalty. The cast and crew got a great send-off, and the characters were all put in what I think were the right places. We laughed, we cried (I cried), we cheered.

I honestly don’t think something on this scale will ever be pulled off again. The bar has been set. I’ll share this experience with my grandkids. Yes, I’m sure they will make more movies. There is too much money at stake for them not to, but as far as this saga? For me, it was perfect, and nothing will ever take this away from me.

Idris Gray:

I’d consider myself a fan of the genre and a big fan of action movies in general, I’m nowhere near the size fan that Dougie is, but  I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel films and like everyone I have my favorites. Remember that scene in Winter Soldier where bucky rips the steering wheel off and Falcon just has that “I’m fucked” look on his face? How about Killmonger yell and point is this your king after handling T’challa? Listen there are a million scenes in the past 20+ films that we’ll remember forever, and Endgame just adds a whole lot more to that list.

Without getting into any specifics, there’s just never been a final movie in a series quite like Endgame. It stays true to the spirit of all the prior movies that came before it, while offering up a brand new element that had previously only been touched in a prior movie. They really dove into some new territory here, and it worked. They really did Stan Lee proud with this one.

The Infinity Saga is over and we’re more than satisfied with its conclusion, but we also can’t wait to see what the next generation of filmmakers does with these amazing characters. Here’s to another decade of Marvel movie magic.

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