What’s on My Summer Playlist?

It’s summer time again and as the weather heats up, so should our playlist. What are some of the songs blazing up my playlist this season? Keep reading to find out.

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  1. Formula– Alkaline

Whether you are a fan of Alkaline or not, you must admit, di yute hab some catchy tune.  Formula is about working hard and stuntin’ on the haters as you reap the benefits. While you’re sculpting your body for summer, (no folks, it isn’t too late), Formula is bound to get you moving with its upbeat tempo.

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  1. Fire and Desire– Drake

I was never a Drake fan. Not even a mega- hit like Hotline Bling got me into his music. BUT, this Views album is doing things and changing lives…. Well, maybe changing lives is a bit of an over exaggeration but you get the idea. Fire and Desire probably won’t get you moving like Formula but with lines like, “You a real ass woman and I like it” and “I need you inspired, I need you excited,” this song just heats up my emotions.

 

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  1. One Dance– Drake ft. Kyla and Wizkid

“Baby, I like your style…” Lawd, can I tell you how much of a feel good song this is? The African inspired hit makes you want to do a little jug and has rather PG 13 lyrics that should probably sit well with most audiences. But if you haven’t already picked it up from Alkaline being featured on my list… quite a bit of unwholesome lyrics are permissible by me.

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  1. Ova Dweet– Popcaan

Before the full audio was released on YouTube in April, a flatmate and I were blasting the teaser like it was the real thing. That’s how hype this song is. And by its over 3 million views at the time of posting, I anticipate that this song will continue to be played frequently at summer events.

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  1. On Di Beach– Vybz Kartel

“Roll up pan di sand like waves did…” I know this is an older song but every time I hear it I just feel good. The Cure Pain Riddim featured a lot of good songs with each artiste bringing a different aspect to the rhythm. Not only were the topics were different but there were little tweaks added to the rhythm for On Di Beach and other songs that added something a little special to each tune. On Di Beach will probably always be a favourite of mine ‘cause regardless of where you are in life, sometimes, you just want to be mentally transported to the beach and this song does just that.

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  1. Feel Good– Popcaan

Popcaan with his singy- songy goodness just outdid himself with this one. The song, produced by Notnice is perfect to grind to. “Baby mek mi tell yuh why mi love yuh so much…,” are some of the lyrics featured on this super sexy, sizzling track and I’m sure the ladies will get excited when this track is played at summer parties.

Of gods and energies.

As an island gal, I’ve done my sentence of hard labour in the religious field. However, after a series of events, I am now not religious, spiritual nor any of the fanciful words used by people to describe their relationship  with the unknown, unseen and unproved. I respect that people use religion and other belief systems to deal with life but what I do not understand is the use of religion to avert the progress of one’s life by refusing to deal with issues within oneself.

People who embrace religions and the belief of positive and negative energies oftentimes seem to believe that they spew rainbows, butterflies, peace, and happiness… however, quite often, the contrary is true. People seem to easily dismiss their role in how people view and respond to them. They are the ones always wrongfully being met by opposition by persons who can’t stand to see them shine and by all means must separate themselves from the negative energy or have the bad vibes revoked in the name of Jesus. Sometimes, we get what we give. I will not be as presumptuous to insinuate that everything that we are met with is the result of our actions and I believe in having a positive mindset but I don’t take it to the mystical, esoteric levels that other people do.  A lot of religious people, namely Christians in the Caribbean that have interacted with, have a mentality of entitlement. As a “Child of God” they should be treated well, get the promotion at work and a host of other great things. I remember hearing of a Christian woman who was acting in a position at work and being a deaconess at her church, she would be called upon from time to time to lead prayers. Once, while leading the church in prayer, she  got into mentioning her taking on the position at work and aggressively said her subordinates that were giving her trouble “WILL submit”…. of course, in the name of Jesus.  Although there may be some opposition to climbing the upper echelons of the workplace and the usual “bad-mind” that we Caribbean people like to blame for people not favouring us, there is also the reality that people may sometimes have difficulty with adapting to change. There could also be the chance that she was not conducting her new duties efficiently that caused people to be displeased with her. It could also be that she lead with an iron fist. But instead of considering these possibilities, she made it into a holy war.

Now allow me to address the energy folks. I remember working on an event that started about an hour after it was scheduled to start. As you could imagine, in the between time of when it should have started and when it actually started, people who attended were getting agitated. A young lady who was working on the event with me then said, ” I can’t take being around the negative energy”. Seriously, though?  People getting agitated ought to be expected because our event is starting late. How people are reacting is based off of our own inefficiencies and not their malice. Too often have I seen people blame other people for being the cause of chaos, for being standoffish and a host of other negative things only to realise upon deeper inspection that the persons doing the blaming are only projecting their insecurities and hang-ups on other people.

It’s a difficult world out there and I understand that  belief systems can help people deal with this craziness called life. I know there are MANY straight up haters in the world. I know that we can put our best foot forward and still not be well received. But what I do know is that too many people enjoy hiding under the veil of religion and mystical beliefs that counter their own progress because instead of taking the time to look the ugly truth in the eye. Taking the time to reflect on ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for our own progress or setbacks will prove to be more rewarding as we take the power out of the hands of others and take practical steps at improving ourselves. We shouldn’t be afraid to look people in the eye and address issues that we have with them if it becomes necessary and furthermore, we shouldn’t be afraid to look at ourselves. It’s a look worth taking and when we are honest with ourselves and resolve to improve who we are from the inside out, the results will be beneficial.

1 step forward, 2 steps back?

We as Black people in the West have come a long way (pause for applause). We managed to have a remnant remaining after the Trans- Atlantic slave trade, go through colonialism, lack of access to education, money, and the right to vote and continue to face many other socio- economic issues.
We have also been taught to hate ourselves and have despised persons that have the features most associated with being Black. I am not a fan of simply branding features as being “White” because if a Black person has features such as a thin nose… how can the feature truly be considered as White? So before I get into some of the issues still prevailing in the Black community, let me clarify that I do not believe that certain features such as looser hair, a thinner or straighter nose or lighter skin makes a person less Black. Such perceptions are the ones that come back to frustrate people in the Black community who are tired of being asked, “What are you mixed with?” if they have hair that is more loosely coiled or not as dark in complexion as our other brothers or sisters. I have read comments of people… Black people saying that East Africans look like “white girls dipped in chocolate” and that is a statement that doesn’t sit well with me. Again, I think that it serves to divide the Black community and somewhat disenfranchise Black people who were born with a thinner nose, looser hair, etc. from their right to truly be considered Black. It’s like saying in order for you to be Black you have to have stereotypical features of blackness rather than to just be Black. Black people will even sometimes tell another Black person that they, “sound white” if the person is able to speak in complete sentences… do you see the problem with setting standards of blackness? Anyway, acknowledging that East Africans were not a part of the Trans- Atlantic slave trade does not negate the fact that they are still Black and we here in the West do not get to choose who gets to be called Black or not.
However, the problem is that we as Black people still tend to try to fit into the European standard of beauty. There’s a beauty popular YouTuber that is Black and has blue eyes and Black people seem to be in a frenzy over it. It’s like, “Yes, look at us, we can meet the standard” all while overlooking the fact that the young lady’s eye colour, as beautiful as they are, are an abnormality. There are posts all over Instagram saying that, “Mixed doesn’t have a look” pretty much stating that this girl is Black and her eyes are naturally blue. “Yes, take that! We as Black people can meet the standard”, is what I am getting from this obsession. Again, stressing the fact that I understand that features do not exclusively belong to a particular race, I still see us as Black people doing the absolute most to make it seem as if we can fit into the very tight box that the Western standard of beauty is stuffed into. Even these social media pages that are supposed to uplift Black women sporting natural hair sometimes look as if they are only trying to fill a quota of posting a dark-skinned girl with thicker hair once every two weeks. Whether we like to admit it or not, we as Black people have a long way to go in finding ourselves and loving and embracing who we are.
I believe as much as media representation is important in painting Black people as more complex than liking trap music, doing drugs and trying to be rappers and whatever else it is that the media says about us, it is important for us to love ourselves. No, I don’t mean look over at other Black people who we deem to be more attractive than us because that person falls into a certain standard of beauty but I mean looking into the mirror and loving the person looking back at us. Too often I have heard Black people say, “Yes, he’s fine.” And they begin to note the attributes that make him fine, “He’s light-skinned. And oftentimes, these comments come from people with the darkest skin tones. Or what about comments like, “I don’t have ‘nice hair’, I have real African, nappy hair”. How can a person that looks nothing like their own perception of beauty really think that they are attractive? This is why I believe it is so important for us to build up ourselves and not even rely on people in our own Black community to build us up because the people that we may be looking to for validation may be suffering from their own complexes. Recently, I heard a young man who is literally black say something to the effect that for a woman to be nice…. She has to be light-skinned. Granted that this guy is a straight up misogynist and idiot and I ponder what kind up-bringing he had, I still think it’s quite pitiful that Black people too often tend not to rate other Black people and try to pin negative characteristics on our own. We cannot even use adjectives such as “nice” to describe thick, tightly coiled, what is now known as “4C” hair, because we have given that adjective away to persons with looser hair types. For eyes, as soon as we see someone with lightly coloured eyes, the person’s eyes are immediately deemed as being “pretty” and he or she becomes bae. We simply do not celebrate ourselves enough, we do not wave our banner of blackness or black consciousness. We dismiss ourselves and because of our own self-hatred we cannot lift up our people. I think that we need to stop looking to other Black people to uplift us (yes, Black women stop waiting for Black men to do so), the Oscars and white media to accept us and learn to love ourselves. We should start on the individual level and let that light from within cause us to be a beacon of light to others because oftentimes in our campaigns to build up the Black community, it’s like we take one step forward and two steps back because of the inconsistencies in what we say we believe. We believe in Black beauty… but in only one type of Black beauty and that does not reflect liberation but a mental slavery that only we can free ourselves from.

Living every moment

Sometimes when we think of “living life” or “living life to the fullest” we think about what it is that we can acquire so that we can start “living”. We have to be able to vacation in Dubai… this summer of course, lose 30 pounds to fit perfectly into the new Victoria’s Secret tiny bikini and feel fabulous. But, what do we do in the interim? Are our breaths between our goals in vain? No, babe. Live now and enjoy every moment of it. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the little things in life… trying a different treat at the pastry stand, trying on a new outfit… simple ish. It could be something as simple as finding out what make- up looks work for you or what job you want to work, remember you only have one life to live and don’t be afraid to live it. Don’t be afraid at to try new things and don’t let naysayers keep you from going after what you want, all you will do is wind up resenting the person and resenting yourself. All of our ambitions may not work out but the thing about trying is that we learn, we learn about ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses and what we can do to make improvements for self development. So set goals and ferociously go after them, but don’t hold your breath in between .  Little things add flavour to life, so why not enjoy them?

Is Youth Really Wasted on the Young?

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young”, but is it? I don’t think it is. My interpretation of the statement is that people in their youth do not take advantage of the countless opportunities available to them by virtue of their age; but I affirm that I am not worthy of saying that life is ever wasted on anyone. I think that if we choose to make decisions that may not be applauded by  the majority of persons viewing our lives through a microscope, those decisions are still ours to make. It doesn’t mean that our time was wasted. Sometimes, we make mistakes, something that is innate to the human experience but mistakes give us experience and allow us to learn and grow from them if we choose to. If we choose to live our lives going through the same things over and over again… I conclude it is still a valid life to live as our lives are our own.

Life is not as simple as black and white. There are varying shades of grey peaking out at every crevice and sometimes we have to go through things for ourselves to learn. Life is more than well meaning self-help books. Sometimes, our emotions even keep us from understanding what books or other advisers are trying to say. Our lives are our own to live and our own to learn by.

We are all presented with opportunities regardless of our age and sometimes people believe that they are “too old” to fulfill a life-long dream. In some cases, they resist the earnest urges of their hearts because they value pride over actual accomplishment. Too afraid of being the oldest person in a class, too old to learn to read, too old to dream. There are more factors than youth that keep a person from fulfilling their dreams. It is our choice to prioritize which obstacles are worth getting over to accomplish our heart’s desire.

Do not despair. Drawing the breath of life is enough to make the most of the life you have now with where you are and what you have. Do not be afraid of “wasting your life” or “wasting your youth”. We are humans and mistakes will try to cripple and inhibit our progress; but stand assured that you can overcome and live until you die.