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Marital Mondays: He Says, She Says. What Say You?

He Says: “The kids should only listen to positive things and watch positive images, because their brains aren’t developed enough to parse out the difference and deal with the desensitizing effect of said images and lyrics.”

She says: “The kids need to hear and see a combination of positive and negative. This creates a balanced, whole person. Sometimes negative images are necessary as instruction tools (i.e. history, science, etc.). If children never see those things and have them explained to them, then they’ll never be able to parse out the difference. Watching a lion eat hyenas is part of nature. It happens. Listening to KPFK has taught the kids so much about the world around them. Knowing the lyrics to popular songs has helped them bond with kids they don’t even know. Sheltering kids is socially damaging.”

What say you?

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Marital Mondays: Don’t Let Money Get You Down

School is starting back, which is fun for the kids, but if your child goes to private school it can leave you drowning in a sea of tuition payments. When all the summer fun winds down and you’re on a tighter budget and a tighter schedule, it can cause a serious case of marital drama.

Money for you, money for me, and money for us

I don’t believe in joint accounts. My parents didn’t have them, and they rarely argued about money. Hannibal and I have separate accounts and we have them linked for transfers.

One partner’s debt belongs to the other

If you went to college, you have debt. As a matter of fact, if you’re over 25, you likely have debt of some sort. Playing the blame game can lead to fighting and, moreover, it won’t eliminate the debt. Come up with a plan. Tackle it together.

No financial secrets!

All big purchases should be discussed with your partner before hand. I learned this one the hard way. I had quite a bit of Paypal dough from my design business(which adds even another separate account), so I bought a bike for Mooch (which turned out to be too big, but that’s a different story). When Hannibal found out the bike was $350 plus $50 to have it assembled, he was not happy! I didn’t have any secretive intentions, but he felt left out or like the money should have been spent differently. There haven’t been any large purchases since, but in the future, I will definitely discuss them first.

Choose joy, but plan for the worst.

Every family should have three months of living expenses saved up. Anything could happen! You don’t want an illness, accident or pink slip to catch you off guard. We have a tendency to dip into savings, so I started a money-market account. Get one.

Budget together and discuss the money bi-weekly.

Sit down together and plan out the money. Even if only one of you is the brains of the operation, you both need to know what’s in each account, what came out and why.

It’s frustrating to talk about money. Don’t do it every week, and don’t do it in front of the kids. The last one is a note to self. Mooch knows way too much about our finances, and it’s my fault. I’m a work in progress.

Donate together.

Money is currency, and “Gimme stops the cycle.” What goes around comes around. It’s important give back. I know you’re thinking, “We’re in a recession. I’m broke. I have nothing to give.” If you sacrifice your morning latte for one day, you can donate $3-5 to a kickstarter account of your choice. Most non-profits will tell you that no amount is too small. Find something you both like and give back to it.

Don’t sell your kidney overseas just yet.

I scoured the internet this weekend looking for opportunities to bring in extra dough. Here’s what I found:

Tutor a rich kid
Teach a language
Do internet research for people
Run Errands
Become a life coach
Set up a garden for someone
Fix computers
Bake and sell to local coffee shops
Pet Sit
Sell things on Ebay
Make and sell on Etsy

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Thematic Thursdays: Blood Lace Fronts?

Is covering up your balding edges worth a few people’s lives? A group of Facebook users say, “No.” The “Rally Against Lacefronts” has garnered nearly 10,000 supporters who say, “Lets all take a stand to stop this plague that is causing so much grief on the streets of our black communities around the world!!!!”

To quote Haki Madhubuti, “Every action of an oppressed people is political” — even your unkempt edges. Your desire to “whip your hair back and forth” like Tyra and Beyonce could be causing more damage than your yaki-covered brain is aware of.  In certain areas of the country (I’m not naming any names, but they like to get hyphy there), stylists have been pepper sprayed and jacked for a bucket of hair. Right here in Los Angeles, Bliss Hair was robbed at gun point just a few months ago.

This doesn’t mean you have to lose all versatility and cast weaves to the wind. Just stop buying that “Blood Yaki” out of stolen Novas and get your tracks from a reputable source — preferably a black one.

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Thematic Thursdays: The Hook Up – Is It Worth It?

No, I won’t place neat rows of gently planted braids in your hair, I’m not teaching your rugrat to dance on my freshly glazed hardwood floor, I won’t edit your paper, and please don’t send me the details to design your fortieth birthday party invitations all for FREE. The point of being in business is to make money. How can black entrepreneurs and business owners thrive if everyone wants the hookup?

Products and services cost money to create, develop, market and deliver. If black business owners are expected to give said products and services away for free-ninety-nine, they will have no dough to put back in the pot. I can’t buy your peach cobblers if you don’t pay me to design your logo. Your barber cannot give you a free fade for the club if you expect him to be able to patronize your car wash before his trip to Vegas.

When I find a black professional that I like, I pay them for their goods and services — period. I don’t want them to hook me up. I want to hook them up with my spending, because then they can really hook me up by growing the local tax base, creating jobs, supporting community organizations — or just having enough cheese and a predisposition to reciprocate. Money must circulate for economic empowerment to happen. That’s why it’s called currency — “The act of being passed from person to person.” A great example: the owner of Earle’s Grille on Crenshaw paid me to teach his daughter to dance back in the day, I now take my daughter to buy veggie links at Earle’s Grille once per week. Keep the money cycling.

Let’s support each other. Even bartering is better than offering nothing at all. I’d like to see as many wealthy black families and communities as possible. Something from nothing equals Tyrone struggling to pay his light bill while you dance at the club with the fresh new weave he put in for free. The hook up is played out. Stop hitting up the homies for freebies! If you really believe in the products and services they have to offer, then pay for them as you would pay for the products and services of any other business.


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Thematic Thursdays: Don’t be a Retrosexual!

This is not about decorating your wee-wee with flowers and peace signs or jacking off to Jimi Hendrix. It’s about how often you decide to go online and flirt with your ex after “kicking them to the curb.” Whether in a new relationship with a mole covered hag or drop-dead gorgeous brainiac, it’s hard for people to ignore the power of having an ex a few clicks away. Don’t let Facebook ruin your new joint, here are some tips for putting out that digital “old flame.”

Don’t be a Retrosexual!

1. Remove his/her special ring tone from your phone. As a matter of fact take their picture off of your wallpaper, and delete their number too!

Sidenote: Gmail has a feature, where you can auto-delete emails from specific senders. Go ahead and set that filter, and you never have to see an exes email again!

2. If you can’t muster up the courage to delete them, put them in an “Old Business” Facebook list that can’t see your status updates and hide their status updates in your feed.

Sidenote: Stop looking to add that broad from three exes ago. You left her for a reason. Remember?

3. Don’t go on MySpace. No one does that anymore anyway. There’s nothing but skeletons and forgotten STDs there. Stay away.

4. If you have his passwords … Why do you have his passwords??? You’re a stalker. Get help. I can’t save you.

5. Don’t look at pictures of the two of you together, because that will only make it worse. Fortunately, the “Photo Memories” feature on Facebook won’t show pics of people you’ve listed as “in a relationship.”

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