NIP

A man that was for his community. I looked up to you as a young teenage black kid who wanted to explore the world. You taught the people to have ownership and to always be behind anything that you worked hard for. I appreciate what you’ve done for me despite the fact that you never knew I existed. You’ll never get to understand this but you made a big impact on my life.

I remember watching your first interview when you were 20 years old. How many people at 20 talked about investing in real estate? You were different and I loved that about you. Since you came into the rap game you were fearless and alway went your own route. Fourteen years later your impact was still relevant to my life even before you left.

I can still remember being that 15 year old kid trying to explain to everyone how good you were lyrically and that you always had a story to tell. The others didn’t believe me at the time. They said I knew nothing about hip hop because of the fact that I brought up your name every time we discussed music. I don’t know where those guys are at now, but I guarantee that they regret ever disagreeing with me. Years after that you blew up and I was happy for your success.

Once you dropped Victory Lap, I listened to every song word for word. I could tell that you approached this project differently from all of the others. You gave this album your all. You talked about topics that were very relevant to what goes on in the black community on the daily. It was no doubt that you had one of the best albums of 2018. And what stands out to me was that you owned your masters and platforms for the project.

You’re an inspiration to us. You’ve changed so many lives throughout the world that you probably never even realized it. Hopefully one day I’ll be like you. My goal is to make an impact on my community the same way you did when you were still here. You’ve shown that black entrepreneurship is a real thing and we have to continue to be wealthy and take care of our families. It’s safe to know that once I become successful, I’ll mention your name and say that I learned from the best.

… And the marathon continues.

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Nick Andre

A kid who searches for acceptance. A kid who searches for love. A kid who is just searching. He often questions others characters on who is there for him and who isn’t. He’s a kid who finds it hard to trust because there’s always change that occurs throughout his life. His life is pretty unique in many ways. If anyone were to sit down and have a conversation with him their minds would be blown.

He has been through so much pain and overcame so many obstacles that it’s crazy to believe that he is still standing in front of us today. He’s only had two decades lived and hoping for many more to come for him. The kid has many dreams and admirations that he wants to achieve and puts forth the effort before it’s too late to do so.

How would you describe this person in Nick Andre if you were to first meet him? Would you describe him as unique and entertaining? Or would you describe him as weird and introverted? He always has so much on his mind but would rather keep everything to himself before starting much commotion.

This is a kid who is about piece and loves good energy around him at all time. He needs to have a true friend with him to kick it with on a daily basis. Hopefully he finds someone to open up to and begin to have a good relationship with. Why is this kid like this? Why does he seem so hard to understand? Does he even know that we wonder about him?

Well, maybe we should take the time to get to know him more. It’s not okay to judge without knowing. If we actually talk to him, he probably isn’t what we thought he was and he could be bright minded after all. We want to hear more from Nick Andre in the future and hope that he is doing great mentally and physically.

In Dependents: A Romance: Written By Sarah Welch

Part 1: Indecent Encounter

 

In the midst of the most reckless summer of my life, I found incredible love in an unexpected place. This discovery started a continuous period of incautious decisions that would lead to a brand new life in comparison to the one I was living. From child to child-bearing, there was no turning back. My time to step up had arrived, and would not be easy.

 

At 17, I was a few things. My parents maintained a semi-stable residence in their best attempts to contain my dramatic lifestyle. My daily ritual of crumbling frosty nugs and heading off to the job I hated had become way too comfortable. Highschool happened in my bedroom. My old twin bed was where I rested after nights of sneaking out and ogling the guy with the long hair that I was strictly forbidden to see. Little did I know that miserable job of mine would hand me the key to my entire future. 

 

Territory Invasion

 

In rows of desks dotted with dusty PCs, I claimed my space. Standing in my cube I made call after call with intent to sell complete strangers random TV channels that they really didn’t need. The training at this place was laughable, but I excelled at this weird persuasion so I floated along fairly well. It was rare to see an amateur with a chance to touch my sales expertise.

 

Employees arrived and departed as if the building were an airport during the holidays. On a June morning, shortly before lunch a team of 15 or so recently “trained” associates were escorted to the row of cubicles adjacent to mine. I eyed the sad bunch as if asserting my dominance, appeasing my curious nature. A tall, red-haired man with light eyes and the impression of a chewing tobacco can in his pocket seemed confident as the others wore their apprehension. My competition had arrived. 

 

Fanta and The Catalyst

 

My rambunctious personality leaves no room to be bashful, and in my own habitat, I made my presence known. The following days carried a light-hearted sense of rivalry between myself and this intriguing character as his close rate steadily approached mine. A mutual friend of ours, Brittany, sat between us, serving as a connection to my interests and his. Small talk and facetious comments about each other’s lack of skill had created a mild familiarity by the third day.

 

The clock was approaching lunch time as I wooed a customer into another unnecessary purchase. Standing in my box with my attention on my pitch I turned and locked eyes with this human who seemed like he was waiting to talk to me. Noticing my preoccupation, he mouthed the words “what time is break?” with a cautious smirk. As if triggered by his ocean-eyes, my palms became clammy and the Fanta that I was sipping slipped from my grasp and toppled over on my desk, leaving a bubbly, orange puddle that was dripping to the carpet. Muting my microphone to laugh at myself, I struggled to maintain composure through my dull script before quickly disconnecting the call. In kindness and mutual humor, I was met with handfuls of paper towels and a partner to clean with. In return, I gifted my cell phone number through a folded note thrown over the cubicle. This led to a same-room text from myself to this man that said “I don’t even know your name.” His response? “My name is Brandon.. But you can call me Mr. Sexypants.”

 

Minutes to Midnight

 

My typical rebellious nature found opportunity through the mutual friend Brandon and I shared. The two teens lived only blocks from each other at the time, one town over from mine. With not-so-careful planning I was quickly on my way to making hazy memories with the pair. After some quick decisions and a ridiculously cool parent-to-parent phone call assuring my mother that I was with Brittany, I was free for the night with my new potential love-interest.  This single night turned into a string of blended sunsets and sunrises. As it turns out, we actually really connected more than a shared laugh and a shitty job. Two weeks into this erotic escapade, after two sleepless nights of sharing every thought with this human as we explored the silent streets of his town, everything changed. One single conversation led to a comment that led to a commitment of coexisting as parents. “It will get way harder before it gets any easier, but it will be worth it” he said as we confronted the reality of this decision we had made. In less than 3 weeks, this stranger had become everything to me, and we were about to embark on a journey that neither of us, alone, were prepared for. Together we were unstoppable.

 

Sarah is a writer and blogger who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three young and beautiful children. When she isn’t knee deep in toys and piles of laundry, she is busy building a successful freelance writing career. As a writer, Sarah is passionate about sharing her experience through words and highlighting life’s beautiful weirdness. You can find more from Sarah at “Breathe Deep” https://www.breathedeepblog.com/

FEAR AND CONFIDENCE

I met Fear when I was 7 years old. As a child growing up with a single parent alongside not fitting in with certain groups of kids, I would often question life and wonder who I really was as a person. Fear walked up to me one day and told me that I was not good enough to do anything in this world. I believed what he said and had a feeling that maybe he was telling the truth. As the years would pass by, I continued to keep Fear around and followed his path as he would show me how pathetic I was and made me really shameful in everything that I would do.

Fear stopped me from doing things that I wanted to do because he made me feel very insecure. For instance, I would never speak out and voice my opinion whenever I believed that something was right. I also never took opportunities to do things that could have potentially made me successful in the long run. I began to feel ashamed of myself. At this point, I couldn’t believe that I allowed Fear to take one step into my life. I saw myself begin to be less of a leader and more of a follower the more I hung out with Fear and listened to him. I also began to want so much of others lives instead of mine because Fear made me believe that my life was worthless and there was nothing fascinating about myself. There were many days I went home crying asking myself why did I allow this person to put these negative thoughts in my head. Then one day I thought to myself; Fear was the only person that would talk to me and give me the light of day. He only was honest with me because he viewed my life from his own perspective. Just because Fear told his perspective about me doesn’t mean it’s true. So why did I have to believe anything he says?

It wasn’t until one day when I met a guy named Confidence. When Confidence and I first met, it was hard to accept him as a friend because I felt as if he was too positive for me. He showed me how great I was as a person and how my life was very interesting to him. This was very new to me because I was so used to being neglected and brought down. It was shocking to find a friend that really enjoyed my company and accepted me for who I was. As Confidence and I got to know each other more, there began to become a change in myself. I had a new type of swagger and I felt happy as ever the more we became friends. Fear began to see the change in me and became livid. He didn’t like the secureness that I began to show so he tried to come back in my head to bring me down again and make me feel worthless. He made fun of me and told myself to stop looking at myself in a good way. It wasn’t until I officially cut Fear out of my life and kicked him to the curb for good. It was a decision that should’ve been made long ago but it took a while to realize who was important to be in my life and who wasn’t. After that, my relationship with Confidence began to transition from more of a friendship and into a brotherhood.

I was happy to know that I finally found a friend who was fascinated with me and accepted me for who I was. When I was really in a bad spot in my life, Confidence came to the rescue and I can never forget what he did for me. I still thank Confidence every so often for changing my life for the better and making me the person that I am today. In this very day, Confidence and I still remain friends and we will continue to have a relationship from here on out.

A HAND FOR A HAND: Written By D.K. Harvey

Is he who holds a boulder, stronger than he who holds a hand?

Who is the one that can change the world and make it so grand?

An eye for an eye they say, a tooth for a tooth,

Man and Woman, seeking the truth

Stand shoulder to shoulder, you and I,

Arm in arm, not afraid to cry.

War and anger all over the land.

But what can really bring peace, is having a hand for a hand.

Black Excellence

I love to see my people strive and succeed through life. To see them set their standards very high is a big accomplishment for them and I’m happy to see them win. They won’t take no for an answer no matter what obstacle they have to face in order to get to where they want. They dream big and make sure they are doing everything right to be the best person they can be. I love how my people take advantage of their freedom that they have in their modern day compared to our people over a half century ago. Their ancestors fought hard for our future generations to have a better lifestyle and to hopefully make something out of it one day. It is important for my people to continue to hold their heads high and never look backwards from where they are at prior to their success.

My people seem to have an ignorant target on their back from others believing they’re not smart enough to accomplish the things that they’re accomplishing. Others look at their circumstance and believe they’re not good enough, they don’t think big, or they don’t pay much attention to detail. They tend to look at my people on television and social media showing inappropriate behavior and they get the picture that we all share the same actions and tendencies. In reality, all of these stereotypical perspectives of my people are just wrong. Little do they know, my people work extremely hard to overcome their obstacles and demand respect from the other cultures of the world.

Although they do not live the same luxurious life as others may have been given, they still live in good households and are pushed to the limit by their parents to be as great as they can be. A lot of my people have different personalities, different intentions, and different ambitions. They do not want to be overlooked and not recognized when it comes to success. Most of them later on in life have prospered to become doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, psychologists, Journalists, etc. My people are just as smart as anyone whenever they can put their mind to anything they want to. They take much pride in what they do and do not take anything for granted. Because of their skin color, they sometimes have to work twice as hard because they may have been discriminated by others believing that they weren’t knowledgeable enough. But that’s okay because when they stay disciplined and remain focused, they eventually achieve whatever it is they want to.

I know that it is my job to change the perspective of my people to other cultures and show them how they strive just like many others and they function the same as well. At the end of the day, I know that my people will continue to strive for greatness and I hope they continue to stay strong in the future ✊🏾.

Big Brother

He was 5 years older than me. I always looked up to him and wanted to be just like him when I got older. We both had neither one of our fathers in our lives, so we were never able to have a father figure to teach us right from wrong. The way that we had to learn how to become men were from our personal experiences and moving in certain directions that we believed were good. My brother always told me to stay in school and to continue to keep my grades up. He wanted to see me one day become successful and overcome my boundaries. We grew up in a poor neighborhood where the other guys on our block began to sell drugs. Most of the guys we knew are not here today due to them getting caught up in a bad situation that caused them to get killed on the streets. My brother taught me to not be like the guys we grew up with and learn to stand on my own and go my own direction in life. One thing that I can say about my brother is that he was always there for me when I needed him. He never allowed anyone else to mess with me because he never wanted to see me upset or hurt. He might have been the most loyal person I ever met and he never steered me wrong no matter what. When we both got older and he was in his 20’s, he gave me the blueprint to life and told me how to be happy and live life regardless of what goes on. He gave me the best advice that day and I told myself to always remember what he said to me as I got older. Then, one day, I got a phone call with devastating news. I found out my big brother was killed in a car accident and my heart dropped the second I found out. I felt how could the most important person of my life just be gone in that second. Then I also remembered the time told me about life and to always be happy about it. So I humbled myself and cheered myself up as I would always cherish the moments I had with him now that he was gone. I have a younger brother that is only a couple years younger than I am. He looks up to my big brother and I so much that he wants to be exactly like us. Now with my oldest gone so soon, it’s time for me to fill in his shoes and become the big brother to my younger brother that he was to me. I have to make sure that I teach this young man everything right from wrong and guide him in the best position that can lead him to success. It’s crazy to believe that I am now the big brother and I’m the one that has to lead by example, but everything happens for a reason and I’m happy to have this position now. I will miss my big brother forever, and I hope when he died he realized what a great big brother he once was. Now it is my turn to keep his legacy alive and become the best big brother that I can be.