Category Archives: Relationships

The relationships category provides man to man advice to young men of color. There are topics and discussion that men need to discuss. This category provides a platform for that firm discussion.

What to take away from the Solange elevator attack of Jay-Z

When I was looking at the elevator video, I was thinking, “Why is Solange attacking Jay-Z?” As I was watching Jiggaman, waiting for the punch, I thought, “This is going to be bad, if he hits her…it’s a lawsuit.” then I had to consider that this is his sister-in-law.  I’m not an advocate of a man hitting a woman but let’s be clear, everyone has a threshold. After watching the entire video of the attempted attack, I was impressed. At one time, it appeared that Jay-Z was about to lose it, while he held her foot, but again he showed impressive restraint. Hov didn’t shoot, slap, punch, kick or stomp his sister-in-law. I was impressed that Jay-Z, rapper, hiphop icon from the Marcy projects in Brooklyn, NY, didn’t beat Solange down. The entrepreneur, sports agent, philanthropist, 500 millionaire, mogul, Shawn Carter prevailed.

In our world, the Jay-Z world, walking away or not retaliating promotes weakness. I’m sure in his 12 narrative albums of bravado he boasts differently, but in the civilized world where people don’t try to go to jail, Shawn’s reaction is the norm. Think about it, if Shawn Carter retaliates and hits his sister-in-law, what is the outcome?…criminal charges, lawsuit, attorneys, court appearances, money wasted, apologies, press conference and possibly jail time.

Wait, that’s if Shawn Carter hits someone, if you hit someone, there’s no press conference, no recorded apologies, you don’t “Run this town”, your black @$$ is going to jail. Period.Then you’re an ex-con, can’t get a job, jail visitation, you barely have 1 let alone 5 passports, you can’t leave the country. I say this because we see the examples of ignorance played out where someone loses it and hits someone. That’s assault, it may not be aggravated or with a deadly weapon but it is considered a crime if you hit someone. Yes it feels good and yes they may deserve to get hit, but for real, it may be the biggest mistake of your life.

Shawn Carter while sporting a white tux, solidified his image as a millionaire businessman, friend of the Obamas, owner of the Nets and more importantly a husband with a wife that depends on him and a daughter that’s going to need him. Shawn has responsibilities and intangible values that a husband and father shouldn’t live without. I feel like his reaction exemplified maturity. You, my young black man, have to be smart, intelligent, controlled and mature. You can’t “lose it”. So remember the Shawn Carter reaction more than any other images of ignorance you witness.

We can all learn from Mr. Carter.


“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Sun Tzu


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Show your mother you’re becoming a man.

Mothers work and live to support their children, you.

They support you, they buy and cook your food, help you with your homework, clean up after you,buy you nice school clothes… iron them, get you the latest Jordans, buy gas to take you to school or practice,  throw you birthday parties, meet with your teachers, buy your game consoles with the expensive games!

On top of what they want to do for themselves, they support you first!

As a parental obligation, this is mom’s life, it should come natural as a parent. Today is mothers day and what do you do…give her some flowers, take her to dinner, on just this one day. For the other 364 days what do you do? What should you do? What is your role in the household?

This blog is not about your mom, this blog is about you. Mothers put themselves second, you need to put them first. You’re never to young to help moms out. Do more around the house. I don’t want to call them chores because everyone has to clean up after themselves. Mom doesn’t have chores, but they’re the same identical tasks; ironing your own clothes, cleaning up after yourself, washing the dishes, pumping the gas, vacuuming the carpet. Yeah, you can do that!

I’m not suggesting you do these things because you’re supposed to, I’m saying do it to show your appreciation for your one and only mommy. Go to school, do you homework, get good grades, this is all part of it. So she can feel like she’s supporting the good that you do. Your mother can feel happy with the young MAN she raised. Make her proud every day of her life, why?…for nothing that’s why. She deserves it, she gave you life.

Two last things cause my I’m spending time with my mom right now…

1> You go to  school and get good grades because you need to start being responsible for YOURSELF. Your mother can’t continue to do things for you, you have to take on the responsibilities of a man. Cook, clean, work, pay bills, pay rent…yes…it’s your turn. Do it…right now.

2> As you start to do more around the house for your mother and yourself, you’ll pick up these good habits. You’ll feel better about yourself, it’s a man thing. When you get older, these habits will attract women that appreciate those habits. There are random things that attract women, but a man that works and takes care of himself will will attract the right women.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and NEW mothers!


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Everybody can’t be a rapper!


I wanted to save this blog for next week but my friend Jarrett motivated me to address one of the phenomena among our young men. Thanks Smokie! This desire for all young men to be a rap artist…yes, rapper. Not entrepreneur, not accountant, not construction worker, or engineer….a rapper.  The percentage of successful rappers compared to the numbers of young males that want to be rappers is disheartening.

Everybody can’t be a rapper!

Even the term “successful rapper” is a slippery term. There are a few rappers that are doing well, about what…20 rappers? No let’s raise the estimate to 50, no let’s say 100 rappers are living the life.

African-Americans make up about 12.6% of the US population, that’s 38,929,319, almost 40 million people. There are many different careers to pursue but the number of young black males that want to be rappers are like comparing a grain of sand in the beach. It’s an extreme ratio compared to other realistic attainable careers.

Why do you want to be a rapper? No really, what are your reasons?

Give them to me, no, think about it… then give them to me.

I’ll wait…

If you said money…ok how much money?

Do you think you’re intelligent enough to manage that money?

Do you think that amount will last you the rest of your life or until your next hit?

Before we talk about hits, let’s get some money wisdom from Left Eye from TLC (RIP)

Did that 2 minute video help you out…did that dose of reality change your perception? Good.

So, are sure you’ll have another hit? Wait, do you think you’ll have a first hit?

Can you even handle being a celebrity? You want to be a celebrity?!…OK it sounds cool but I warned you. Have you watched the “Unsung” series?!?! Just saying.

You’re going to need to hire an accountant, an attorney, an agent…and you don’t even have a hit yet.

Prerequisite to be a good rapper:(Just my opinion)

Witty, good understanding of English structures, metaphors and a similes specifically. Your talent has to be out of this world or you have to know someone in the industry. I honestly don’t know how else to break into the industry, but that’s my point. If you pursue a traditional career you don’t have to “break” into it. There’s little opposition to your success, just a little hard work.

To me personally there’s a bright side. I do have a close friend, Tracey Lee II that actually had a nice album back in ’97. I remember Christmas night of ’97 driving to Jersey with my mom, brother and sister in the car.  I heard the beginning of the song broadcast on Power 99 FM…”It’s Party Time…” I yelled, “That’s TRA!!!” My mom, brother and sister were in the car and they started looking outside the windows like Tracey was actually outside the car somewhere on the dang highway. I yelled, “No No…that’s Tracey’s song!” pointing to the radio in my old acura integra. I was dancing and rocking the car all the way to Turnersville, NJ with my mom complaining the entire time. You’d think it was my song. Later the video came out with Casey the dancing bear, doing the dances he showed us in the club, the RNF cats, Pi, Guru, it was good times.

“You know we get down…oooooh!”

The bright side is not the album or even the hit single, the bright side is the side of his name that now has Esq on it. Tracey is now, Tracey Lee II Esquire, he’s a legal attorney. He went on the get his degree and still performs. He’s one of the few artists that I would actually pay to see perform. Yes I like to support my friend, but I actually like listening to his lyrics. They’re witty intelligent, and not some jingle, I can actually listen to him. He and his wife, yes wife not baby mama, run a company LLEFT entertainment and are making moves in media.

“Tracey’s whirlwind music industry experience prompted him to seek additional education in an effort to become more knowledgeable about the legal side of the music business. As a result, he earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from Southern University Law Center making Tracey the 1st former major label hip-hop artist to earn the abbreviation Esq. behind his name. Some of his clients include Eric Roberson (Grammy-Nominated R&B Singer/Songwriter), Invisible Productions (for Kelly Rowland, Solange Knowles and Kobe Bryant), and DJ Young Guru (Tour DJ & Engineer for Jay-Z).”

I actually need them to help with me with my script…ttyl.  So…yes, married, degree, successful with an occupation and a passion not chasing a dream, doing well.

Real Dreams Come True

Real Dreams Come True

Again, I don’t want to stay negative on your dream to be a rapper. I just would like to inject some reality to your dream. Everyone has dreams and it’s not my place to tell to anyone not to chase them….BUT I have no reservation warning anyone about chasing a dream. I use the word chasing because the goal is not a fixed goal, it’s a dynamic target that evolves based on genre, geographic location, age, industry politics and trends.  So… yes you will be chasing the dream. My concern speaks to the reality of chasing vs planning. . If you plan to be an accountant or any traditional profession, there are key points in the planning that reinforce the trajectory of success. A degree, an internship, a job, wealth, stability, the right path and choices that get you closer in a reasonable bracket of time.  You’re not chasing… you’re becoming a professional. I just don’t want any of you to exhaust your life trying to be something and end up with nothing. No degree, no job, no family, just a dream that can empty your life of everything else. You don’t want to sacrifice your real life for a dream that may not materialize. Tracey worked his passion into what he does for a living. All I’m saying is, you can’t just have a dream and no life. If after you’ve read this and still have what it takes to be a rapper, call Tracey and hire him, you’ll need him.

Me & Tra living our dreams

Me & Tra living our dreams & eating cake!


“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

Albert Einstein




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If you put your mind to it, you can do anything!

If you put your mind to it, you can do anything

As a child, I heard that statement ALL THE TIME. To be honest, I didn’t believe it. As a young black child, I wasn’t capable of understanding the possibilities of my future. The positive male examples around me were few. I didn’t know any black men that went to college, I knew men that enlisted in the service. I knew men that had good jobs; the postal workers, bus drivers, and grocery guys. That was then in 1980’s, now in 2014,  there are men and women of color that are successful everywhere.

I’m sure YOU may not understand what possibilities are out there for you…trust me there are too many to count. Don’t measure yourself to people who don’t value their opportunities. I don’t want you to be short-sighted like I was…you have time on your side. You really can do anything you want to do. You have time to mess up, you have time to try different things. Find out what you like, find out what you don’t like. Can you make money from what you like to do? Can you make it a career? It’s up to you to find out.

A pivotal moment in my life occurred from a simple discussion about someone else’s future. When I was 15 years old I had a discussion with my best friend Lydell. I remember walking next to him asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He replied, “I’m going to be a doctor.” He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t say try to be, thinking about, or probably.

He said, “I’m going to be a doctor.”

Again as a young black kid from North Philadelphia, I didn’t see black doctors. I saw some on the Cosby show but that’s about it, and that was tv. I wanted to respond to Lydell with, “Brotha you crazy!” but I didn’t, I kept my mouth shut. I realized his statement was serious, unwavering. I realized he had a goal, not a dream, a directive. At that very moment, his response taught me that I need to have a goal too. He asked me what I wanted to be, I told him I wasn’t sure but computers made me curious.

All of my uncles Rusty, Greg and James told me different paths to get to whatever goal I had in my head, all paths involved college. When they were growing up, college wasn’t something that many black kids considered an option. All my uncles, insisted that I go to college, even though none of them attended college. When people love and care about you, they want the best for you even if they don’t possess what you could achieve. I initially wanted to be a lawyer or doctor but that was just what everybody else wanted, but I knew I liked those new computer things, so I went in that direction.

Many of my closest friends went to college, but some didn’t. College doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful, but it was the best time of my life.  My business associate, ‘Savoy’ from the Calvert County chapter of Concerned Black Men, has a career/business in sheet metal. He’s successful and doesn’t have or need a college degree. At a young age, he was entrepreneurial with a grass cutting business. He doesn’t have to work for anyone, he works for himself. That’s awesome!

A few years back, I was golfing with Lydell in Dominican Republic. He had shot two balls in the water and was standing next to the pond. I walked up next to him trying to hold back my smile and said, “You know that’s 4 strokes…”  He responded, “I KNOW!” Putting one ball in the water was bad enough but two…jeesh. Right there on the edge of the water I said, “Look at us man, you have your own practice and I’m a system engineer, remember those two poor little black kids? Look at us now, playing golf in the Caribbean…crazy right?” We both nodded our heads proudly and continued our game. I reminded him to take his drop. LOL

MPM & Lydell in Dominican Republic...(Two positive young men of color from the Philadelphia, products of single parent households)

MPM & Lydell in Dominican Republic 2006…(Two positive young men of color from the Philadelphia, products of single parent households)


“There is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Nelson Mandela

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