The Mic Check

The purveyor of truth

Stans and “Haters”: But what about us in between?

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My feelings and view on Beyoncé are more or less in the middle. While I am not the type to go on tangents of why I hate her (which I do not), I also am not the type to praise her from the mountaintops as if every fiber of my being depended on her existence. I employ Aristotle’s Golden Mean when it comes to a polarizing public figure such as Beyoncé. In other words, I am one of the many who like her music, but is far from both of the extremes. Living in this space is exhausting and can sometimes have you in a place that is harder than being a person who “hates” Beyoncé. But more than being difficult, it is rather annoying to have to constantly defend our beliefs towards her, only to get attacked by people on both sides for not picking a side. Is there a place for people like me in the world of Beyoncé?

As I sit in utter shock, disbelief, bewilderment of the winter finale of ‘Scandal’, I spot tweets of astonishment that Beyoncé was releasing an album within a matter of minutes. Wait a minute?  No promo?  Not a single in sight?  And she’s on a world tour?  WHAT!?  When did she find the time to do anything? Not to mention it is a full-length album with accompanying videos. I had to give Beyoncé her accolades. Clearly she is making major moves and like a true boss, she did so without havaing to tell people she is a boss. By the time her album had finally become available for download, I was already applying my armor for what was about to come.

The madness had already commenced. There was an air of, “yaaaaaaas b*tches, y’all better bow down to the KING with your miserable life,” to, “I guess I’m the only person who doesn’t care about Beyoncé, you know the album garbage anyway. I don’t see how y’all like that woman.”  Oh, and how can I forget the sad and tired Keri Hilson memes?

For people like myself, it is a hard road to travel. We have to tread softly in the world of Beyoncé. When we do like a song, we’re called bandwagon fans and are referred to as lessors because we weren’t down for Beyoncé from the beginning, nor are we worthy of her gloriousness. Or, we’re Judas’s and have disgraced the anti-Beyoncé club because we liked one song. It is as if we’re in between a cold war of people fighting for our allegiance when all we desire is to like, or not like, her music without repercussions. Am I wrong to say screw groupthink?

I refuse to be vilified for having a differing view. And when you have a differing view about Beyoncé, it comes at a high cost. Why should I have to think like you because you adore Beyoncé and I do not?  Why should I have to be a member of your Beyonce-boro Baptist Church coalition because you dislike her and I do not?  I shouldn’t have to do any of those things just for solace and the ability to maintain face.

With the advent of social media, participatory culture is at an all time high. Blogging and micro blogging websites such as Tumblr, WordPress, and Twitter, have made it possible for everyone to take advantage of their own personal soapbox. I will admit that when I go on my “rants,” it is great to have a place I can go to and release my inner thoughts. Not that I use social media to express my deep and most personal thoughts, because that’s what journals are for, but I appreciate HEALTHY discourse. Sadly, when it comes to Beyoncé, the sanctuary of people like me to have been tainted by the overly maniacal people on both sides of the Beyoncé fence. We’re forced to either remain silent, or become a debate gymnast. What do I mean?  Let me explain.

Whenever we encounter a conversation about Beyoncé, you might have to perform a floor exercise. We have to perform verbal summersaults to keep from having HEATED debates. We have to maneuver in a graceful manner and maintain our poise so that we do not go outside of the lines while attempting a punch front to explain our opinion. We must meticulously perform on uneven bars and hope that we end on our feet, or we’ll wind up on our backs with aches and pains. Finally, we must straddle the balance beam to maintain our stance between “King Beysus” glorification and Beyoncé condemnation.

People like me are neither fans nor haters; we just want to appreciate Beyoncé’s music without having to fight in the Kumite because we refuse to cry “matte”, and succumb to the pressures of zealots. There isn’t an award for who’s the biggest Beyoncé fan, nor will you be praised for being “different” for not liking her, like millions of other people.

To disregard what Beyoncé just did would be a mistake. There isn’t an artist who can accomplish releasing a full-length album, with accompanying videos, while on tour, and not have anything as much as a hint of what was to come. This was an accomplishment that should and could be acknowledged without venom being spewed by yay and naysayers concurrently. Doing so disfigures your point and makes you intolerable. It also places us “fence straddlers” in an awkward predicament and frankly, we’re tired of having to silence or cover ourselves with full armor to protect us because you cannot hold a logical conversation about Beyoncé without tweeting Keri Hilson death shade, or releasing your horde of fellow extremists on us because we refuse to join your army. We ALL should be able to operate together and coexist without coming to blows over differences.

My love/hate relationship with Facebook #30in30

When I first began using Facebook, I thought it was a pretty cool site.  It allowed me to keep in contact with people I hadn’t heard form in a while and connect with classmates.  I thought it was very useful.  Now, I kind of dread it.  If it’s not the constant changes to the layout, it’s the plethora of game invites I receive, or the stupid ‘Like this if’ pictures.  It’s become overwhelming.

A few days ago I was switched to the new timeline feature against my will and I despise it.  The layout is confusing and personally, I just think it’s horrible.  Did I mention the vexing Facebook chat?  Have you logged on real quick, probably to write a generic happy birthday on someone’s wall, and found yourself with five chat pop ups?  I try to stay logged out of the chat but every once in a while, maybe due to a “glitch” on Facebook’s end, I find one of those pop ups at the bottom of my page.  Facebook and these facelifts have got to GO!

Another thing about Facebook that I find to be annoying are game notifications.  In my mind, Farmville is spam and I honestly wish people would stop inviting me to play the game.  I can’t forget about the people who add you to a group and then send 10 messages to the group a day updating you on the event they’re planning.  I don’t need to know every time a new artist is added to the line up of your show.  I’m glad you’re putting on this showcase for a good cause, but please stop with the unsolicited notifications that clog my inbox.

The last thing that I REALLY don’t like about Facebook are pictures like these that I see in my news feed more than I’d like to.  Is Jesus really going to send me to hell for not liking a picture?  Or does it mean that I don’t love God as much as you because you shared the picture and I didn’t?  I missed that in my King James Version.

Am I saying that I hate Facebook?  No.   I do like how Facebook reminds me of someone’s birthday.  I’m pretty sure this in one of the primary reason’s everyone uses Facebook.  Like any social media channel, Facebook has its ups and downs.   I just wish that I could go a day without 50 game invitations, 20 even updates, and someone telling me I’m going to hell because Jesus said to ‘Like’ this photo.

What are some things you don’t like about Facebook or any other social networking site?

Marriage or a ring? #30in30

In an attempt to learn more about each other in the class, my theory professor used skittles to help us with the task.  Each color represented a different subject we were to discuss.  For example, a red skittle meant we had to say what our guilty pleasure was and if you had a yellow skittle, you had to say what you would do if you had more money.  This is where the icebreaker got interesting.

One of my classmates had yellow and she expressed that if she had money, she would get engaged.  Apparently, she wants to marry her girlfriend, but her girlfriend said that she wouldn’t marry her unless she has an engagement ring followed by a big wedding.  It made me wonder if she cared more about the marriage or the ring and wedding.

I’ve always been a person to cherish marriage over a wedding.  A wedding lasts for a few hours, while a marriage is for a lifetime.  A few years ago I was having a conversation with someone and I expressed that I don ‘t need a ring to get engaged.  Ok, hear me out before you call me crazy.  My reasoning was that if a man wants to marry me but didn’t have a ring, would I say no because he didn’t have a ring?  In my head I would be putting more emphasis on having a ring instead of wanting to spend the rest of my life with a man who loved me.

Now, I know this might sound crazy to some, but I truly believe that if you want to marry someone, then do so.  Will demanding an engagement ring make that person love you anymore and ensure that your marriage will last any longer?  In addition to demanding a ring before planning the wedding, I’ve also heard people say that they want to get married but they can’t afford the expenses of a wedding.

I know there is someone reading this is going to think I’m crazy again, but so what if you can’t afford a wedding.  You can always go to the justice of the peace or have a small intimate gathering with immediate family members.  Weddings today are costing about $30, 000.  Yes, it’s a special day.  However, if you REALLY cannot afford to spend that kind of money for that Coming To America wedding, why go in debt to pay for it?

Spending an exorbitant amount of money for a wedding won’t make your marriage last any longer.  If I had to choose between a diamond ring and a glamorous wedding, or a long-lasting marriage, I’d choose the latter.  Diamond rings are nice but they aren’t this girl’s best friend.

What would you do? #30in30

As the bus approaches the stop, the father standing on the corner waits patiently for his daughter to exit the bus once it stops.  Sadly, when the doors opened, the little girl didn’t get off the bus.  When the father questioned the driver and aid about whereabouts of his child, they said they didn’t know.  The pulled off to their next destination and by this time, the father is worried about his daughter.  After an hour, the girl was found and brought home.  However, this ordeal could have been prevented.

At the end of the route, the driver and aide went to lock the bus down and to their surprise; the little girl was still on the bus.  Apparently the child had fallen asleep on the bus.  When the father asked about his child, why couldn’t the aide—who was the child’s driver last school year— check to see if the child was in fact on the bus when they reached her stop?  The bus driver went to drop the little girl home but made another mistake, he dropped her off at the wrong stop.  Luckily, she’s now home with her parents.

I’m glad this unfortunate situation had a happy ending, but I still can’t get over how it could have been avoided.  Why didn’t the aide and bus driver check the bus before they left her stop?  Were they in that much of a rush that it would have inconvenienced them to take a few minutes to check the bus for the girl?  Also, did they not see her get on the bus?  I know it was the first day of school and there probably was a bunch of little kids on the bus, but the aide was her bus driver last year.

I’m not a mother yet, but I have a niece and nephew.  If they somehow went missing, I know I would lose my mind.  I don’t even want to think about dealing with a situation like that.  While I know I would be devastated, it doesn’t compare to the pain a parent feels in that particular situation.

If you’re a parent and this happened to your child, how would you handle the situation?  Do you think that the driver and aide should be reprimanded?

First impressions #30in30

Do you believe that first impressions are accurate?  When I meet someone for the first time, I make sure that I keep my squeaky voice at an appropriate decibel.  I know that I can be loud at times, but during the initial meeting, I am self-conscious about the pitch and level of my voice.  I also try to balance my serious and witty sides so I don’t appear to be too jovial or too serious.  It’s not that I’m trying to be phony, but you don’t want your first impression to be memorable for the wrong reasons.  I’ve always heard the cliché, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and I always keep the idiom in the back of my head when meeting new people.

For the past two weeks I’ve had class with the same four women.  We are enrolled in a full time Masters program in which majority of our classes are in a cohort.  In short, most of my classes have only four students.   Today was the beginning of a new semester for the first time; we had additional students in our class.   First day of classes are usually filled with the formulaic introductions —where you went to school and your career goals— and today were no exception.

I finished my introduction and the next person began to speak.  I sat there listening to this one of the new students speak and all I could do was shake my head.  “I hope this girl isn’t serious,” I thought, “There is no way in the world she’s serious.  When the professor asked when did she graduate from undergrad, she replied with, “I don’t remember when I graduated.”  I was stunned.  How could she not remember such a memorable occasion?  The more she spoke, the more I shook my head in disbelief.

After graduation she moved to another state for about a year and she expressed that she did absolutely nothing.  When the professor asked, “how did you pay your bills,” she replied with, “well, I had a few odd jobs but nothing serious.”  I know this might seem stupid, but things went further downhill.   In the midst of her mindboggling introduction she mentioned that she had absolutely no idea what she wanted to do after graduation.  In fact, she didn’t know when she wanted to graduate.  Apparently, she is still trying to “find herself.”

Eventually the professor interrupted and expressed, in a nice way, that it’s expensive to enroll in this graduate program and not have a tentative end goal in mind.  I did my best to not look at her because I didn’t know how to camouflage my facial expression. As she finished her spiel, the professor asked if she was in the full time program and she laughed as she said the following, “No!  I can’t commit to a full time program at this time.”  She ended her

My first impression of her was that she’s a free spirited and has some commitment issues.  She approached every answer as if it was a joke and for the love of God I pray that I am not put into a group with her.   Graduate school is too expensive to not have some sort of a career goal in mind.  I know it might sound a little judgmental on my end, but honestly, would you want to work with someone like that?

First impressions can be misleading and I’ll admit that her first one wasn’t good.  Who knows, maybe I’ll like working with her.  I can only hope that my initial impression of her was false and she turns out to be the complete opposite.

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