three questions.

[I asked my twitter followers for blog post suggestions. Here was one: How do you know when you are ready to date?]

Well, I am far from a relationship expert. However, i do believe that there are three questions that everyone should ask themselves before hopping into a relationship:

My first question is: Are you confident enough to date someone?
Often times, people look for a counterpart who will compensate for their flaws. For example, lets say Tanisha (random name, I know) is beautiful, outgoing, brilliant, and extremely insecure. She is hoping that her next boyfriend will give her confidence. He cannot do that because ultimately, he has nothing to do with her insecurities. All of his compliments, pampering, and attention cannot feed the beast that is her inner doubt. Paranoia, worry, anxiety, and jealousy will get the best of Tanisha, regardless of the man she’s dating. you have to date someone with the intent of complementing one another, not completing them.
I have dated men in the past that punished me because of their insecurities. They accused me of things or acted out because they assumed that I would get “bored” or “tired” of them. It was a classic “hurt them before they can hurt me”. Now, if they knew me at all, they would have known that I do not cheat – simply because I would never want to inflict that pain. Regardless of how many times I attempted to reassure them, they could not see me- they could only see a reflection of the men they were not. Make sure you are confident enough to date someone… especially in an era when people are more social, desperate, bold, despicable, and morally confused.

My second question is: Are you humble enough to date someone?
I know this question may seem out of place, but humility is just as important as confidence. It takes a humble heart to listen with open ears. It takes a sense of humility to admit that you are wrong- to put your pride and ego to the side for another person. Vanity, narcissism, and arrogance are not attractive ... in fact, they’re too transparent to even be interesting. Sometimes, it can pleasantly surprise the person you date when you ask, “How are you feeling about us?” It implies that their perspective MATTERS. It implies that there are two people in the relationship.

Third question: Do you know what you want?
This answer is not crystal clear for everyone. A wise man once asked me, “What do you NOT want?” and I was so flustered because I had not prepared that answer haha. Nevertheless, sometimes, understanding your deal breakers will help to weed out the frogs from the princes. If you are the “list type” and you want to write down the things you want, I suggest that you write eternal things first and physical things last. That, my friends, will also be your order of importance when dating. If you do not know what youre looking for...how will you know when you've found it?

ehh. but hey, what do i know?

Signed, the birthday girl xoxo

Thank you so much for all of the birthday love yesterday! I am so grateful that God allowed me to see 22 years of age. I would not be here without his grace and mercy. [Thanks to my family for the mass texts and emails. Thanks to my friends for surprising me lastnight with a lil' party. Thanks to Lea for my cake shaped like something unsavory and thanks to the Audster for working with my crazy friends to surprise me lmao. You guys are great!! ] Let's see what 22 has in store for me :)


thank God for nagging sisters.

I read a twitter post today that said, "Don't Wait. The time will never be just right. - Napoleon Hill". 

Now, I have no clue if Napoleon Hill really said those words (we love to treat twitter like a scholarly source) but I DO know that the tweet hit home for me. Just two days ago, one of my strongly-opinionated (but loving) friends berated me on the phone. She was telling me that i cannot wait for "perfect timing" because there is no such thing. I listened half way with my eyes rolling and then realized that I was definitely waiting for something that was not coming - a euphoric circumstance. That, my friends, is when your soul, mind, heart, circumstances, relationships, career, familial situation, and finances are all in the perfect place. This is when you have all of the answers, all of the time, and all of the security that you can possibly have in every aspect of your life - forever. Yeah, that doesn't exist. We are often times waiting for the "perfect circumstantial bus" to pick us up ...and well ... we'll be waiting at that bus stop all day.

It kind of reminds me of diving into a pool of cold water. You stand there, impatiently. You anticipate how cold it's going to be and you think that if you wait long enough then the water will "magically" become room temperature. You even go far enough to dip your toe in the water (and nine times out of ten, this makes things worse). The only solution is to jump in the pool and test things out. If it's freezing, then you will wade around in the pool and get adjusted. Our minds can be our biggest handicaps at times. 

So, while my friend is badgerring me about the things that i put off, I listen as humbly as I can without arguing back (lol). She was right, though (and loving). Waiting for the perfect circumstance will have you waiting forever. Besides, a lot of the time, success comes to us during the times when we are outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes, we simply have to dive in. 


action + compassion = change.

[I have to post this story- not only because it is shocking and disgusting, but also because I'm not sure if it will see the light of day. A friend of mine and recent graduate of Morehouse College went to his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina and experienced ... well, I'll let him tell the story:]

*  BTW, please do not let the amount of text deter you from reading. it needs to be read.

"My name is Jonathan Wall, and I am a 21 year old black male from Raleigh, NC. I was born and raised here, and just a few weeks ago I graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. This fall I’ll be headed to grad school at Harvard to get a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management. I’m in Raleigh for the summer before heading off to grad school.
As the story begins, on last Saturday night around 12:30am, I and 2 other friends went to Downtown Sports Bar and Grill off of Glennwood Avenue. The night got interesting as soon as we got to the door, and the bouncer told us “you need a membership to come in tonight, I’ve never seen you here before.” My friend Chris and I looked at each other in curiosity, knowing that the establishment was a bar and not a club, and that people in line before us walked right in after showing their ID. The only difference between those people and my friends and I was our race. Still, we stood at the door in bewilderment asking “What?” as he further tried to explain that we weren’t going to be able to come in because of our “non-member” status. However, as he was explaining this, a police officer walked up to where he was standing to tell him something unrelated. As soon as he caught sight of the officer beside him, he said “Never mind, y’all go ahead.” This was the first interesting ordeal of the night, but not the last.
We were downstairs for all of ten minutes, when my two friends dispersed. My friend Chris went to the bathroom, and my friend Kristin went upstairs to get some fresh air. Only a few seconds after they left, what appeared to be a bartender came from behind the bar to clean drinks off of one of the tall bar tables that was near me. After he cleaned the table, it looked as if he was headed back behind the bar when he came up to me and said “Either buy a drink or leave right now.” Again shocked, I replied “I’m just waiting for my friend to come back from the bathroom.” He responded, “I don’t care, get a drink or leave right now.” I said “Okay” and began texting. He walked away from me, then went and sat with his back to the bar as he stared me down. Being non-confrontational, I looked towards the bathroom, waiting to see my friend come out so that we could leave. I also took notice of how many of the people surrounding the bar and the club area didn’t have drinks in their hands. I felt as if I was singled out. The common denominator, again, was that I was the only black person around. After staring me down for about 30 seconds, he walked back over and said “Are you going to buy a drink, or are you going to leave?” I replied, “As soon as my friend comes from the bathroom.” Before I cold utter another word, he grabbed my right wrist and my left arm and threw them behind my head in an effort to constrain me, although I was speaking to him a calm and non-aggressive tone and didn’t once even gesture. He then used excessive force to push me through the crown and out of the club while I was still in this “headlock” of sorts, before pushing me out of the front door. As soon as he grabbed me, I let my body go limp because with the degree of force he was already using, I didn’t want him to think I was trying to fight back. I accepted that he was on an ego-trip, and let him guide me through the club in this position before pushing me out. I was completely shocked and more saddened that this was happening than angry.
As he was walking me out, my friend Chris came out of the bathroom and ran up to where he we were, asking him what I did wrong. He didn’t reply. I had done nothing but suggest that I would wait for my friend to come from the bathroom and leave instead of purchasing a drink. After making sure I was all right, my friend and I went to the bouncer at the front door to try to tell him what had just happened and get an explanation. He waved us off and told us to just get away.
I walked up and down Glennwood Avenue looking for a police officer to talk to—again, not angry, but sad and shocked that what I believed to have been blunt and undeniable segregation was taking place in an establishment in Raleigh, the city I was born, raised in, and love.
After about ten minutes and two redirections I was able to talk to the police sergeant, who was also on Glennwood. I explained to her everything in the previous paragraphs. She told me that this was a very unfortunate occurrence, but not an isolated instance. She explained that this happens all the time, and that if she approached the bartender about it, he’d have witnesses that would corroborate whatever story he made up as to why he kicked me out in such an aggressive manner. She then explained that my options were limited because if she proceeded with getting statements from both of us and conducted an investigation, the end result could be worse for me: either it would get dismissed in court, or we would both be charged with what is the equivalent of “fighting” and both have a misdemeanor. She said “He probably has a few charges already, but you’re young with a bright future ahead of you, and you don’t want that on your record.” I understood what she was saying, but wasn’t exactly sure whether I should trust a police officer within the network of bouncers/officers who worked the many clubs/bars of Glennwood. Just then, the man who threw me out came to the front door. I pointed him out to the officer, and she approached him to talk about the incident. They talked for about 3 minutes before she came back to me and said, “I knew this was going to happen. Now, I don’t believe him one bit, but he says that he has three people who witnessed you throw an elbow at him before he restrained you.” Shocked is an understatement. As I said earlier, I talked in a non-confrontational, clam and respectful tone, and didn’t even gesture when talking. There is no way that he could have perceived me as having thrown an elbow and I didn’t understand how three people would lie and say that I did. I asked the officer about video camera footage. If the club used cameras, they would show the conversation, and his aggressiveness in constraining me despite me posing no threat and remaining calm throughout the conversation and his constraining me. She said that it would require a search warrant and that there was “No telling” how the video could be edited, tampered with, or even done away with before it would be required to be handed over to the investigators. What troubled me about my conversation with the officer was that she seemed to assume the worst case scenario in every possible solution to my encounter. She kept talking about how much paper work would be involved, as if that were going to deter me from seeking justice. Still, it was 2am, and after speaking to both of my parents and my friends, I realized that justice couldn’t be served that night. Because of the lack of witnesses, it would simply be my word versus his (and that of his three “witnesses”), which could potentially yield extremely negative consequences for me, even though I had done nothing wrong throughout the entirety of the ordeal.
The next day, Sunday, my mother told my aunts and uncles about what happened and I found out something even more interesting. After my aunt told my 21-year-old cousin about what happened to me, my cousin called me immediately, requesting the name of the bar where this had happened. I told her the name, and she gasped before telling me that earlier that night, she and group of 4 of her friends had tried to go to the same bar (Downtown Sports Grill and Bar) but were told by the bouncer at the front door “I’ve never seen y’all here before. You can’t come in.” Confused, she asked “What?” and he replied “You’re not allowed in here because I’ve never seen you before.” My cousin didn’t feel like arguing or being somewhere she didn’t feel welcome so she and her friends simply walked away. Still, the only common denominator in her and my own dealings with the bar was one single factor: race. We were both African-Americans trying to enter and enjoy a bar that seemed to only welcome those not like us.
It is absolutely ridiculous that this still happens in America. It is even more ridiculous that it’s happening in Raleigh, North Carolina, one of the fastest growing and, increasingly, most diverse cities in America.
I talked to my attorney who said, simply, that although what happened was undoubtedly wrong and unjust, the fact of the matter was what I had assumed before: it would be an uphill battle to reach any kind of legal resolution. She then suggested that I contact the I-Team Troubleshooter to see if there was any possible solution when the media asked for answers as to why and how this was allowed to occur. She also suggested that I check whether my and my cousin’s stories were not isolated instances, and whether media coverage would expose more stories of racism and exclusion at this establishment.  
I thank you in advance for reading this, and for any help or assistance that you may be able to offer."


whoa worthy.

"Dear White people" is a satire about being a black face in a white place. It follows black students at a PWI (predominantly white institution) where a riot breaks out in response to a black themed party. It tackles the idea of a "post-racial America" and black identity. So far they have raised 13,000 out of 25,000 for the film and they have 29 days left to fund raise for this film. The larger your donation, the bigger the perks (apparel, seats at the table read, credit love, etc). You can donate at donate to 'dear white people' here .

I am not supporting this film because it is about black people. I am supporting this film because it is controversial, thought-provoking, and insightful. We don't always need typical Tyler Perry films and T.D. Jakes love stories (no offense). We need something that everyone can relate to! Any who, the cinematography looks great and I think it's something worth checking out.


finding your inner fortune teller.

[So, I'm sitting here watching "Tough Love: New Orleans". Their exes were reintroduced and these women didn't know how to react. One woman hides in her closet, having a panic attack. Another woman allows her ex to come back and make her feel insecure about her looks .. again. It made me wonder how these middle-aged women ended up this way. I could honestly say it stems from a lack of fortune telling.]

When I say "fortune telling", I'm not referring to crystal balls and reading of palms. I think every woman reaches a pivotal moment in her relationship when she is forced to reevaluate - "Is this relationship going in a positive or negative direction"? I have often told my friends (the ones in unhealthy relationships), "Imagine yourself in this same predicament ... three years from now. Five years from now. Seven. Can you deal with the tears and headache that long?" Honestly, the years can pass in a blink of the eye when you are too busy being emotionally abused, cheated on, and lied to. Before you know it, you are waist deep in a dangerous relationship that you cannot escape. It's SO easy to get there.

I don't know why young women think that their insecurities are simply something that they will "grow out of". Insecurities, untreated, can grow into a cancerous virus that ruins your life. Basketball Wives, Housewives of New Jersey/Beverly Hills/New York/Chino..whatever... they're all examples of people who have let their insecurities get a hold of them. They're all examples of women who let men manipulate those insecurities to get what they wanted. Insecurities - your face, your smarts, your circumstances, your lack of financial stability, whatever. Each one of those women reached a crossroad when they could have left or stayed. They stayed, blinked, and ended up in detrimental, ten year + relationships... without love, without commitment, without confidence. In fact, it seems like the only time these women are sure of themselves is when they're fighting out of embarrassment or crying out of shame.

One of the best feelings in the world is having a guy look at you like he understands and appreciates who you are. One of the worst feelings is seeing the same guy look at you like your interchangeable. Don't become so addicted to the first feeling that you ignore the latter. When you do that, you forget what you deserve and become accustomed to taking what you can get. 'Tis all.


Yes, Nas. Yes.

[we have to show love to thoughtful, positive music. i love this video...]

OPPORTUNITIES! cheggitooooout .

For Immediate Release:


By: Kobi Ansong (Kobi.Ansong@gmail.com)

Atlanta, Georgia – June 2, 2012 – Take a group of brilliant tech entrepreneurs and world-class mentors, throw them on the world’s fastest cruise liner, and circumnavigate the globe. Sound unreasonable?  Good.

In Spring 2013, a grand partnership between Unreasonable Institute, Semester at Sea, and Stanford’s d.School will give birth to Unreasonable at Sea.  The program will take a group of technology entrepreneurs to 14 international locations including Japan, China, India, South Africa, and Spain.

Only ventures that have the potential to solve the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges will be selected. Unreasonable at Sea will open doors for participants to expand their ventures internationally. In each port, they will explore economies and form key relationships with top government officials, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs. 

Daniel Epstein, 26, is the founder of Unreasonable Institute and Unreasonable at Sea.  His experiences abroad with Semester at Sea as a college student changed his perspective forever and led to the creation of the Unreasonable Institute.  Now, his program has come full circle and returned to the place it began.

From the rickshaw taxi drivers of India to the street vendors of Ghana, entrepreneurship sustains people across the globe. Epstein began to see the world through the lens of an entrepreneur while on Semester at Sea.

“When you get off at the ports and you walk through the streets, you realize that everybody is an entrepreneur,” said Epstein.

Unreasonable at Sea holds an unwavering conviction that entrepreneurship will solve the world’s grand challenges. 

“When entrepreneurs look at problems or challenges, they see solutions and opportunities,” said Epstein. “I think that’s the type of thinking that we really need.”

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Unreasonable entrepreneurs may apply at http://www.unreasonableatsea.com.


Dear Future Spelmanite,

Do not run for the hills. This atmosphere takes adjustment. I moved from the sunshine and comfort of California to the humidity and culture shock of Atlanta. The first month or so, I wanted to go home. Everyone calling me their "sister" seemed so disingenuous. Believe me, you will gain SISTERS here as long as you remain genuine. It may seem like a new world. Nevertheless, the most growth occurs when you are out of your comfort zone. Do not stay crammed in your room (unless you are studying). Go out. Meet people. Try new things. See the city.

Get Internships.
Apply for Scholarships.
Call your parents to confirm that you’re alive.
Call grandparents …they send money.
Study Abroad.
Never accept “No”. The school has the money- find it. If they do not want to, make them. You deserve Spelman and make them know it.

Do not chase "hype". A lot of times, people come into the AUC looking for the popularity that they did not acquire in high school. This is college. If you thought high school was ruthless, you were only in the minor leagues. People have sharper tongues in college. People have more creative ways to hate on you in college. Hype is short-lived and disloyal. Instead, find friends who could care LESS about campus drama and "fame"(if you will). Find sisters who are too busy trying to save the world. Societal superheroes are cooler than “college prom queens”.

Go to a Beer Bash.
Go to a pageant.
Go to a park.
Go to Merkerson's. 
Go to Founder’s Day.
Go to a Chapel Service.
Go to Sporting Events.

You are the perfect coal. (lol) I know it does not sound that glamorous to be considered a coal, but don’t underestimate the power of coal. We all aspire to be diamonds, but that occurs after immense time and pressure. Before you reach such a high stature, you need to use your circumstances to light a fire in your community. Ignite passion amongst your fellow sisters. Whether it be through activism, politics, spirituality, dance, science, or mentorship – nothing is wrong with doing the niddy-griddy work of a coal. Before you know it, you will be a Diamond Girl (50+ year alumnae of Spelman College).

Mentor someone. Yes, you are of age.
Protect your name; people would love to throw it in the mud .
Engage yourself in dialogue.
You are beautiful.
Cause awkward, controversial silences in class.

In college, your greatest asset will not be your AP classes, your interpersonal skills, your popular boyfriend, your big chest, your greek affiliation or even your parent’s influence. In college, your triple threat will be God, God, and God. Morehouse men and Spelman women tend to get their minds steadfast on being “renaissance men and women”. While that is admirable, some students treat “religion” as one thing on their resume to appear “well-rounded”. Your relationship with God is more than that. It will keep you grounded to your beginning and it will be the catalyst toward your future. Create and nourish a GENUINE bond and dependency on God. 

Class of ... 2016? (i felt so old saying that), Welcome to Spelman. Congratulations. 

All of My Love,
Stevi Renee


so now we have an infestation of zombies? that's cool.

check her ouuuut..

[I post a lot of Jasmine Mans' poetry & spoken word on my blog. Finally, she's coming out with a book of poetry. Everyone should check it out. I'd imagine it would be amazing!]

3 Documentaries You Need to See

"Bastards of the Party"
This Documentary was produced by Alex Demyanenko and former Blood gang member, Cle Sloan. Focused on the gangs of Los Angeles, California, it traces the history, stigmas, and myths regarding gang life. When i came to college, i realized that people outside of my hometown had so many misinterpretations of gangs. Even more so, People could not fathom how REAL it is to fear for your brothers, sons, cousins, and safety of loved ones. It's so informative and so interesting.

"Four Little Girls" 
This Documentary by Spike Lee is phenomenal. Brutal, raw, and touching, it serves to bring light to the racial and social injustice in Alabama during the 1960s. Based around the Birmingham church burnings in 1963, this film is SO necessary. Our generation has a tendency to remove ourselves from anything that did not happen ...last year. This movie humanizes the event and causes the audience to be accountable for their own sense of humanity. 

"An Inconvenient Truth"
Al Gore's 2006 documentary about societal strain on the environment is informative, groundbreaking and sound. Although there is more information about Gore than i would have cared to see, it is still so interesting to watch. I have never seen so much QUALITY information and so many valid arguments being placed on the screen at a time. It's kind of crazy, actually. This is a film that you have to watch a few times... to keep your conscience afloat. (BTW, most people have seen this documentary. If you have not, get on it!)