This is a blog. I have no intention of offending anyone. If I do, let me know and I'll ease up.:)
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on January 7, 2017 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
When I saw the commercial for ABC‘s documentary special titled Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers I was immediately intrigued. I remember the Menendez case or at least I remember watching the movie Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills starring Edward James Olmos and thinking these were sociopathic teenagers that couldn’t handle the expectations of their father.
I thought that in 1994 when I watched the movie and I thought that when I set my DVR to watch the ABC documentary on Jan 5th, 2017. I thought that until probably the last 7 minutes of the special and then I had to be real with myself. I had to let go of my 20 year judgement of the Menendez brothers that was formed as a child and welcome what my adult mind was telling me. These kids snapped! They lost their mind! They went crazy. Whatever verbiage you would use to describe what happens in a person’s mind when they realize they have been wronged and begin to put a plan into motion to seek revenge or in their case freedom. That’s what happened.
It reminds me of the movie about Nat Turner, A Birth of a Nation. In that movie Nat Turner was a preacher that obeyed his slave masters by doing what he was told. After a series of unfortunate or should I say horrific events; he snapped. He began thinking differently and therefore preaching differently which eventually caused a violent and historic rebellion. I consider myself to have a mind that is not easily swayed so after watching Nat Turner’s story I questioned my ethical viewpoints on this rebellion. What it right or wrong? Is violence the answer? Is it what Jesus would do? I don’t know but I do understand why Nat Turner snapped and I now understand why the Menendez brothers snapped. I’m not saying they were right. I’m not saying they were wrong but what I will admit to is that I completely understand their “why.”
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 30, 2016 at 11:25 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever seen a group of small children all joined together by a rope? If not, then you don’t work with small children. I do and we use a rope, usually decorated with shapes or animals to help the children form a line. We use this line to go from one part of the building to another. We use it to walk around outdoors. Some brave souls even use it to cross a street. Eventually, all children reach a maturity level to where they don’t need the rope. They know how to walk in a line without causing a major disruption. They listen.
The small children that I work with aren’t there yet so they hold the rope. It’s interesting because in their world it’s a very big deal on who gets the luxury of being the “line leader.” Of course the line leader is the person that leads the line. Now I must tell you I work with a total of 16 children and not everyone can lead the line. They have all attempted, but some are better than others. For example, I have one little boy that is easily distracted. He starts out good. You know all the kids are walking down the hallway and then all of a sudden something catches his eye. “Ms. Nicole there is a rock!” He flops to the ground to pick up the rock. What do you think happens? Well let me tell you. The person behind him is pulled to the ground and it becomes a domino effect. Why…because they are all holding the same rope. Now if you are at the end of the line and you flop to the ground this won’t happen because everyone in front of you is still walking forward. The most that will happen is that you will unfortunately be dragged along until the line is forced to stop or you jump back up.
I have a little girl that is at times afforded this great opportunity of being the “line leader” but can’t stop communicating with the children behind her. “Ms. Nicole, he’s pushing me!” Then she turns around to retaliate and hits the boy behind her. When she turns around the whole entire lines gets turned around and not in orderly fashion or some sort of about face. It’s more like Charlotte’s web. Usually in both situations I end up having to replace the line leader. I know right, the poor little child gets his position taken away. It’s sad, but as the teacher I have an agenda as well. We have to get the playground at a certain time and more importantly without total chaos. In my class I have my “go to” children that I know can handle the line leader position. Usually, these kids walk straight with their head forward until we get to our destination. If I say stop, they stop. If I say walk faster, they walk faster. If we come across another teacher and he/she speaks to the line leader they usually reply in an assertive but respectable manner. “We’re going to playground.”
I often wonder does God see me as a line leader. Am I easily distracted? Will I bring the people attached to me to the ground? Will I get his line all turned around and therefore become the creator of chaos? Will he grant me the position and then take it away upon realizing that I wasn’t ready? Will I be in the back of the line being dragged along by the people who remain focused on the mission? Will I be forced to watch other people continue to get great opportunities because they are God’s “go to” people? Can I lead his line? It’s something to think about.
Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 4, 2016 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Who are we (minorities) supporting in this upcoming election? I’m assuming that it’s not Trump due to all the not so subliminal messages that I’ve seen or heard in the music, on TV, and especially on social media.
What I am not clear on is who we are supporting. All I’ve heard people (my people) say in reference to Hillary is, “I don’t trust her, she’s trying too hard to get the black vote” or “she thinks that we will automatically vote for her because of Bill.” So…y'all not voting? Cause let me tell you…NOW is not the time to be indecisive. I promise you it’s not! When Diddy initiated the VOTE or Die campaign in attempts to keep Bush out of office again we knew who we were voting for…the other guy.
So why are we so unsure now? People say Hillary thinks she doesn’t have to work for the black vote. Well I know that she don’t have to work for mine. One reason is because I’ve been waiting for Hillary to run again so I could support her. The other reason is….she’s running against Trump!!! It’s a no brainer. Let me ask you this, did I miss something? What happened or what was said that made y’all turn your backs on Hillary Clinton? And don’t bring up those emails!
When did we become so bourgeois with our votes? Is it because we've experienced the luxury of having President Obama for 8 years? Because, before Obama, we were voting for whomever the Democratic nominee was.
I don’t know. Maybe I’ve only been talking to people that have only voted for president Obama. I guess if that is the only president that you’ve voted for in your lifetime then you would be a little sadity with your vote. All I’m saying is if we’re supporting Hillary then say it! Scream it! Let it be known in the same way that you shout your nonsupport for Trump. Otherwise you allow me to believe that you are not voting at all, and I guess that’s fine. I mean if you want 12 years a slave to be your reality then don’t vote. But as for me and my house we will vote for the person that is running against Donald Trump. Just so we’re clear that person is…Hillary Clinton.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on December 31, 2015 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
I spend my days with toddlers and and am expected to teach them daily but most days I find that they are teaching me.
A couple of weeks ago I sat down at a childlike table and made a gesture for a little boy to come sit next to me. I’ll call him David. I instructed David on how to do the art project that I’d prepared. He gladly did it and within minutes he was done. Another child, I’ll call him Sean, said “Ms. Nicole is it my turn?” I said yes and told David to get up so that Sean could sit in the chair. David gladly got up but before Sean could sit down another child sat in the chair. I’ll call her, Amy. I stood up because I needed to hang David’s art work so that the other children wouldn’t get to it. As I was doing so Sean began to repeatedly hit Amy because he was upset that she was sitting in “his” chair.
After calming Sean down and hanging the art simultaneously I kindly asked Amy to get up. She did not move and it made Sean even madder. I said “Sean it’s okay you’re next.” He continued to cry and Amy continued to resist my command to tell her to get up. While I was up walking around I did a couple of small things before returning to the art table. Once I sat back down I calmly looked at Amy and picked her up out of the chair and told Sean to sit down. Though he was still frustrated he sat down but not before turning to Amy to try and hit her one more time while saying “MY CHAIR!” I looked at Sean and I said. “No Sean! We do not hit” Overcome with frustration he ignored me and continued to lash out at Amy. Watching this I became frustrated and made a surprising decision. I said “Sean get up and go clean up the block area and when you get done you can try again.” Then I turned to Amy and said, “sit back down let’s do art.”
I laughed to myself thinking how much adults are like 2 year olds. In that classroom I’m God-like and though I repeatedly told Sean that he was “next” because it didn’t look like he was next he frustrated himself. He allowed another 2 year old that is not qualified to make any decisions for his life allow him to bring himself to a point of self-destruction. He was so overwhelmed by his situation that he blocked out my voice and my instruction. Even when it was finally his turn instead of just stepping into it with joy he couldn’t get past his frustration over a situation what wasn’t what it looked like.
Then I thought about Amy and how though she was wrong, because Sean failed at his instruction she was able to gain what at that moment was not for her. Now she would have gotten the opportunity to do art, but it wouldn’t been right then.
You may wonder did Sean ever do art? No, he didn’t. Why? Sean continued to ignore my instruction. He didn’t clean up the block area. In his 2 year old mind he couldn’t comprehend what picking up the blocks had to do with doing art. In reality they are two separated activities, but the point was that I told him to clean up the blocks. I needed to see if he would obey me given another opportunity and he didn’t.
You may wonder well what about Amy? You let her get away with “murder.” You’re right because I was more frustrated with Sean than Amy because I chose Sean. I expected more from Sean so when Sean couldn’t act right the disappointment was heavier.
I wished Sean had just picked up the blocks because I wanted Sean to do art. I really did but before I could enjoy his art I needed his obedience.
The good thing about this story is that I am not God and God is not petty. Two year olds are expected to make mistakes and there’s always another opportunity for Sean to do art. I mean we do it daily so there’s always tomorrow. What about us as adults? We don’t know that we’ll be here tomorrow let alone have another opportunity to do ART.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on October 3, 2015 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
I recently heard the poet Gaye McGhee say, “They took prayer out of school. Didn’t they know it was a tool? It got me thinking. Why did they take prayer out of school? I considered researching it in order to give you a factual answer, but then I said forget it. I’m just going to throw out some possible reasons and gain my own perspective. Was it because our children are no longer united under one God? Or was it because of a study? You know, “studies show….” That type of study.
While thinking about the elimination of prayer in schools I began to think about something else that has faded away. Why is spanking frowned upon in schools? Is it because of abuse? Did administrators take it too far? Or was it because of a study?
I would never want to attempt to tell anyone how to raise their children because I don’t have any. But I will say this…discipline your children at home and they won’t need to be spanked at school. This is where you have your Oprah “aha” moment.
Parents that believe in spanking their children laugh at parents that just put their kids in “timeout.” Well get ready to laugh harder. I don’t know if it’s because of a study but “timeout” parents are no longer using the timeout method. I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to inform you about the latest craze in parenting. Wait for it……
Are you still waiting? Well here it is…nothing. That’s the answer, nothing. Well they don’t call it nothing. I call it nothing. They call it…redirecting.
How do you redirect? Let me explain it to you. Little Justin wants some juice. You don’t think Justin should have any juice because he’s about to go to bed. Little Justin begins to throw a fit. You ask Justin if he would like to help mommy put some clothes in a basket. Little Justin says yes and forgets about the juice.
I get it. It sounds good. And I honestly think it will work. Actually I know it will work…when it’s just mommy and Justin. But what happens when Justin is at school and he wants something and the teacher doesn’t have time to play the redirect game with Justin, because there are 10 other Justins in class that all want something too? Just imagine that. Now imagine redirected Justin in preschool. Imagine redirected Justin in Highschool. Imagine redirected Justin as an adult. You really don’t have to imagine too hard. We all know redirected Justin. Redirected Justin is your employee that doesn’t understand why you have to write him up. He’s only been late 10 times. Redirected Justin is the guy that’s lying on your couch because his girlfriend kicked him out. Redirected Justin is the guy who doesn’t understand why he has to pay child support. The moral of the story is we all need discipline. Now, I do not believe that all kids need to be spanked. For some kids all you have to do it raise your voice or take a toy away and they get it. But then there are some kids that will laugh at you when you raise your voice. Do you get it? (Aha moment) Now if you are wondering if your child needs to be disciplined let me share with you some ways to tell.
1. The teacher at your child’s school gives you a bad report at least once a week
2. You have to get a babysitter in order to go to Walmart
3. No one in your family ever volunteers to babysit for you.
4. You let your child’s hand go while walking and they immediately run away.
5. You have a family member or friend that has said, “Let me keep him for one day and he will be a different child.”
Over the years we have changed our approach in raising and teaching children, but we have also implemented a lot of government funded programs that help children that have lost their way.
I realize that there are many studies out there that speak against spanking your child. Remember this; there isn’t a BA, MS, or PHD that can overrule biblical teaching. A wise woman once said anything that you need to know about life is in the bible. That goes for sex, marriage, and children. The bible says,” He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”(Proverbs 13:24)
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 24, 2015 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
Considering the recent brutalities, periscope is the last thing they need.
You really are going to be in a bubble now!
3. People who are unfaithful in their relationship
4. People at work
If Facebook and Instagram haven’t gotten you fired, periscope will definitely do it!
6. Drug dealers
Periscope is the new surveillance camera
8. Turn up queens
9. Silly people
10. Church folks shouting
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 20, 2015 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
This list is not in order of sexiness, but each artist entrance into the hip hop industry.
1. LL Cool J
2. Special Ed
3. Q Tip
5. Snoop Doggy Dogg
6. Sticky Fingaz
10. Mr. Cheeks
11. Kane and Abel
14. Mos Def
16. Memphis Bleek
Now ladies I know there are some fellas that I did not mention, that probably should have been mentioned. Keep in mind I decided on only 20. Now if it’s hard for me to narrow down 20 sexy men in Hip Hop, than hopefully Hip Hop enthusiast realize how ridiculous you sound when you can easily rattle off the 5 greatest rappers of all time. You are insulting the intelligence of Hip Hop when you do that. Why? There are way too many artists that have come through the game for you to narrow it down to 5. I could understand 5 a decade but 5 overall…in the entire existence…that’s just mean. Is it fair to compare Rakim's era of Hip Hop to Drake's? Even People Magazine realizes when celebrating the most beautiful people that the list has to be redone every year.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on July 10, 2015 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
In the midst of watching reality TV and more reality TV, I noticed that there was a documentary about Jay Z, ‘A Genius Leaves the Hood’ that was scheduled to come on so I DVR’d it. It took me a second to actually watch it. I had a feeling this would be more than leisure television watching. I knew this would be more like a seminar, lecture, or a good Sunday morning service. Basically, I knew this was an opportunity to learn. So almost like a student getting ready for class, I had to mentally prepare. I expected a rags to riches story. What I got was a documentary that categorized the rapper as a genius, but also an opportunist. I found myself thinking if this is what being an opportunist gets you then sign me up!
But seriously after the documentary ended, I felt some type of way. I found myself mentally defending Jay Z. Why? Because I realized that there is a common misconception across the board in reference to the entertainment industry. I’m not in the industry, but I’ve heard enough testimonials on shows like Behind the Music, Unsung, and Life after, etc. about how shady the business is. Apparently some entertainers go into the industry assuming that everyone they do business with is their friend, like family, or out for their best interest. The urban community gets hit the hardest in these situations because our cultural makes it a habit to create family environments wherever we go. So let me say this as a person on the outside looking in.
If someone pays you for a service they are your employer. If you pay them then they are your employees. If you are making money together and equally then you are business partners. If someone gives you money to start a business they are investors. It’s business. No different than corporate America or anywhere else. Technically it doesn’t matter how long you and that person or persons are around each other, if money is a continuous factor in your relationship then your relationship is business! Now if you and that person were connected before there was ever an idea to make money together than that is something totally different.
If you are working a 9-5 most likely you have someone there that you consider to be “your friend.” You like them more than anyone else at the job. If they get married or have a child they will most likely include you. That’s your buddy; I mean you’re in each other’s presence around 8 hours a day. Now what happens if that person quits? You may stay in contact with them for a while. I mean somebody has to keep them updated on the ridiculousness that is still going on at the job. But eventually, you lose contact. Why? It’s not because your “friendship” was fake. It’s because the core of your relationship was the job. And now you no longer have that in common. For some reason when you work at Taco Bell and making “some” money this situation is understandable. But when you are in the “industry” making “big” money you become “confused.” Like would you expect a person that worked at Taco Bell with you for a year to be in your life forever? Heck nooooooo! Why not? Probably because before you started working at Taco Bell you had real friends and real family and those relationships aren't centered around getting a check.
Label mate= co-worker
Co-star = co-worker
President of company= boss
Endorsement = opportunity for advancement
Missed performances/appearances/tapings = fired, replaced, and in the past
Decreased momentum = fired, replaced, and in the past
Not willing to work with other entertainers or public beefs= hostile work environment
Mentor= a boss that sees themselves in you and would like to teach you so that they can ensure continued relevance through you.
I can go on forever with this but…y’all get the point.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on June 13, 2015 at 11:20 AM||comments (1)|
Hello world. Wake up you've been sleeping in. And open up your ears with the secret he's been keeping. It's out, no doubt and here goes your sound bite. All opposing forces, this what gospel sound like.-Mali Music on KIERRA "KIKI" SHEARD’s "Since I Found Christ"
When I heard Erica Campbell’s I luh God I said to myself, “The saints are going to hate this.” You want to get the saints riled up watch one of their gospel artist do something out of the box. The true nature of the saints will always come out. And I understand that all are entitled to their opinion, but where are these fearless saints when real life is happening? You know when you need your rent paid, when a tornado comes through and destroys your home, or when you are homeless on the street standing with a sign? Oh I know, they are talking negatively about you just like they are doing Erica Campbell.
And just like they did Kirk Franklin when he debuted Stomp. Remember that? They couldn’t believe that Kirk was working with Salt, a “secular” artist. But if it had not been for Kirk Franklin’s Stomp, I wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time in the church when I was a child as I did. Thank you Kirk Franklin! Your music saved my life.
Erica’s music is doing the same for children and teenagers now. Saint’s I’m sorry, but nothing stays the same. Well, nothing but the word of God. But I guarantee you that the beat behind it and the melody will continue to change. If you don’t believe me then you don’t know your gospel music history.
Let me ask you a couple of questions.
Who do you want your son looking up to Jay Z or Jamal Bryant?
What do you want your child watching Love and Hip Hop or Preachers of LA?
What do you want them listening to in their car 2 Chainz or Erica Campbell?
Am I’m not saying the latter is greater, but I am saying by denying them both you are eliminating their options.
I’m going to leave you with this. The saints were real quiet when Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner. In fact, they pulled your hoe card on that one! But y'all want to turn up because Erica Campbell said, “I luh God!” Don’t be afraid to speak up when it counts, but then blow your top over a song intended to reach the youth and bring to them a message about God.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on June 9, 2015 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
“The concept of bringing organic food into Walmart. It may be great that you have your farmer’s market and you have your organic food and these local stores. But if it’s not at Walmart, it’s not reaching the masses.”
Artist Jidenna referencing his music and Wondaland Records.
Christian Hip Hop, Holy Hip Hop, or whatever one chooses to call it continues to struggle with support from mainstream media. A genre that has been around since the 80s with artist like MC Sweet, T-Bone, and Gospel Gangstaz has only recently received a nod from its counterparts as if to say, “We see you.”
In the early years even Christian’s were afraid to support the genre. They feared that with its hip hop base it was too worldly for church settings. While the world felt it was too preachy and religious for mainstream. So for the last 30 years the genre has become kind of like the tambourine player sitting next to you in church. You get it, find it necessary, and maybe even admirable but yet you still wish he/she would just put the tambourine down. Why? It’s too loud. It’s too much. It makes you feel like what you are doing in your effort to praise God is not enough.
I personally have begun to see signs of support for the genre through urban mainstream outlets like Sister 2 Sister Magazine and The BET Hip Hop Awards in support of artist like Dee-1 and Lecrae. It makes me feel good as I think to myself, finally they get it.
One may say why is it necessary for Christian artist to mesh with mainstream artist and their outlets? Why not keep the religion over there and the world over here? I say because there is a need. People, no matter what race, color, or level or ratchetness, want to hear music with a message.
Every time a considered “secular” artist makes a spiritual record it sells. Don’t believe me?
1. MC Hammer
-Pray (1990 Billboard Hot 100 2)
2. Mariah Carey Boyz II Men
-One Sweet Day (1995 US Billboard Hot 100 1)
3. Bone Thugs and Harmony
-Crossroads (1996 US Billboard Hot 100 1)
4. Kanye West
-Jesus Walks (2004 US Billboard Hot 100 11)
5. Carrie Underwood
-Jesus take the wheel (2005 US Billboard Hot 100 20)
-Dead and Gone (2009 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2)
7. Big Sean
-Blessings (2015 US Billboard Hot 100 2)
So don’t tell me people don’t want to hear songs with a Christian message because it’s already been proven that they do. And I think it’s necessary for Christian artist to be welcomed on the mainstream stage. Not just traditional Gospel artist, but all artists with a Christian message. Christian hip hop artist shouldn’t feel like they can’t consider their music “Christian” just so you will play it on your radio station or showcase them on your award show. Because the funny thing is they are not changing their music …just how it’s specified.
What’s the point of creating music with the sole desire to uplift people and bring souls to Christ if the “Christians” that run mainstream media don’t think your worthy of their platform? And if you can’t get your food (music) into Walmart (mainstream) where at least 60% of Americans shop then are you really feeding (reaching) people?
For more information about the genre: