Dear 80s baby: a letter to my younger self

Born on the heels of the Baby Boomers, the 80s baby was introduced to society around the time of the drug boom, during the birth of the neon fashion craze and big, wild hair. We were the rockers, the hip hoppers, the techies. Oh, how I wish I had a crystal ball, a genie in a bottle or superpowers so that I could freeze time or take a walkabout into the future. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d give the greatest pep talk of the 20th century.

Dear 80s baby,

Enjoy life…period. Make more memories during elementary school recess, snap up more polaroids with the family and knock on just one more neighbor’s door, run like hell so you can laugh about it later. 80s baby, you may not understand it now but relish in the creature comforts of blissful youth because what’s in store for you later will make you cringe at humankind.

You think curfews are bad now? Just wait until the two-thousand-teens when you’re afraid to venture outdoors.

Imagine police in riot gear in your neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon, reckless and rebellious youth, mother nature wreaking havoc on far reaches of the globe, gunmen shooting down innocent bystanders, our country’s wayward justice system, historic and unprecedented elections and men dying helplessly in the street while their suspects go free. I’m merely touching the surface. This is your life, 80s baby.

Mama will never tell you that there would be days like this. She will; however, tell you that history repeats itself but you are the captain of your destiny. YOU are at the helm of your life.

You’ll experience tragedies – lose family and friends and become overwhelmed by personal struggles. But, you’ll also observe many triumphs. It may be that you have to work twice as hard or that you may be passed up for some advancements, but not to count you out, in the end, you will make it and celebrate in your victories.

You’ll be in the class of firsts, you’ll witness history in technology, social media will be the bridge to reuniting families and friends and developments in medicines will allow many patients to live longer.

80s baby, we still have a long way to go; you were born to be resilient. Your grandparents fought the race, your parents carried the baton and now it’s up to you to finish it. You’re just getting started. You see, there are decades to follow, and you’ll have lots of time to put your stamp on it. And, by the time you peer into the 20-teens, you’ll know that 30 years earlier, wasn’t just a walk in the park, it was training day. #ibedamned.


Your future self

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Who You Callin' a Bitch?

VH1’s Love & Hip Hop

When boredom strikes, I turn on the tube. Not much of a reality TV fanatic, but my eye is drawn to a show that’s speaking my language, Sisterhood of Hip Hop. I initially think the show is about strong bitches…oops, I mean women making an impact in the rap industry. For about 20 minutes, I’m correct in my assumption. The cast members are five women from different hip hop meccas across the US; from New York to Atlanta, Georgia.  I’m drawn in even more when I learn that each woman comes with her own unique style; from hardcore street vibes to sultry Jamaican patois. I was about as eager to watch this show as I was when VH1 premiered Miss Rap Supreme in 2008. Unfortunately, it managed to fall flat and was not renewed to return a second season. Foreshadowing, I presume. Legend femcee Queen Latifah made an appearance on Sisterhood and the women were tasked with remaking Queen’s U.N.I.T.Y. The song is about selfempowerment and women uniting to defend one’s self against degradation and violence. In the lyrics, she lashes out, “who you callin’ a bitch?” as if to respond to a harassing male on the street. I remember hearing this song as a young female adolescent hanging out with my girlfriends, chilling on the block and feeling like giants among men because we had a song about us and for us; a ladies anthem, if you will. During the few minutes I chose to bestow my full attention to this episode, I was relieved to see a series where women were working together with a purpose of promoting their careers, honing their passions and where women were not objectified as lustful, sexual beings. I figured I had embarked upon a DVR-worthy treasure.

Lupe Fiasco “Bitch Bad.”

The original song, U.N.I.T.Y from 1994 was slightly altered and the original hook was slowed to play host to a more 21st Century sound. Each rapper stepped to the mic and what I heard was contradictory at best. While it was wrong for a man to call a woman a bitch, it was ok for “a bitch” and her “bitches” to “ride together” and have each other’s back. With every bitch-laden verse, I was agitated. I couldn’t see the unity for the bitch trees. This seemed to be almost the opposite of Queen’s U.N.I.T.Y‘s meaning. Why not use words like, sistas, ladies, women, queens or my girls? How can you differentiate between a good bitch from a bad bitch (bad meaning bad)? In which friendly voice should one use in order to call another person a bitch? 9188466002_e01ae69764_mApparently, they’re not the only groups or persons to use the word, but it’s more disheartening to hear a female acknowledge herself as a bitch and think it’s a display of strength. So, I’m inclined to question myself: Am I a bit too traditional? Is Bitch a term of endearment? Can we be reformed? Or, am I merely too bitchy about bitches just being bitches? I would love to hear your response.


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