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 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:
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on April 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
When we hear about Peter, also known as Simon Peter, denying Jesus 3 times it usually makes us feel disgusted. How can Peter walk with Jesus and witness him perform miracles but still deny him? Where is his loyalty? As Easter approaches and the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ once again comes to the forefront I ask myself the question. Is there a little Peter in me?
When Jesus told Peter he would deny him, Peter was surprised. He couldn’t imagine himself denying Christ. I can’t imagine myself denying him. But to be honest, have I or we denied Jesus without even realizing it?
We deny our mothers and fathers the love and care that we may feel they don’t deserve.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. - Exodus 20:12
We deny the homeless man on the corner because we aren’t sure if he is really homeless. We wonder what he did to deserve to be put in that position.
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. - Matthew 25:40
We deny everyday people of our spiritual knowledge, consideration, and patience.
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. - John 21:17
Of course we’ve denied Jesus. We deny him every day when we don’t keep the commandments.
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet.
We deny him when we don’t take a stand on what the bible says is right. More than anything we deny him with our silence.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on March 31, 2015 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
Is there a fine line between destiny and speaking things into existence? Do things happen because you believed it would happen or because it was destined to happen? When I ask this I'm questioning 3 things: 1. The death of Tupac Shakur 2. Vision boards. 3. My life.
The late rapper Tupac Shakur has been described as a prophet. He often rapped about having a premature death. I often wonder how Tupac knew. Did God speak to him directly? Did he receive a prophetic word? Why was he so convinced? In fact, he was so convincing that some people believe he is still alive. Now as a Christian I can’t help but look at things from a spiritual point of view. Proverbs 18: 21 says, death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 23:7 says, for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Matthew 12:36-37 says, but I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Did Tupac speak death over his own life and therefore create his own early departure? A famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi is, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.” When I remember Tupac is his later years he acted like someone who didn’t plan on being here for too much longer. I hate to say this, but he seemed like he just didn’t care. Maybe I’m just too spiritual? Maybe I’m misinterpreting the scripture? Maybe I’m misinterpreting Tupac! Either way, I’m sure you’ll let me know.
You still with me?
Okay. Good. Now let's talk about this vision board. You can spot an entrepreneur by the vision board in their house, office, or cell phone. The popularity of the board derived from a book and movie called, The Secret. The secret is that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness. As I watched the movie I found myself thinking…this isn’t a secret. This is the bible. That leads me back to the scriptures mentioned above and that you have to ability to speak, imagine, and therefore make things happen in your life.
Now let’s talk about my own life. I can remember being a small child and allowing another small child to read my palm. Does anybody remember that? Palm readings? Well, this child looked at my hand and said that because of what she saw on my hand that my life would be a certain way. One of the things that she mentioned that always stuck with me was concerning my life line. She said that it appeared that my life started out strong, but then it gets weak…or whatever. I can’t remember. Anyway, at that time sickness came to my mind. Now I never went back and researched palm readings, so I am unsure of whether or not she was even correct in what she was trying to do. But still, what she said penetrated my mind so much that as a child I had a huge fear of getting breast cancer, scoliosis, and in later years HIV, HPV, and anything that anyone recommended one get tested for. Now this is where it gets interesting. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The crazy thing is that I wasn't surprised about my diagnosis. It was almost like I expected it all along. Not Crohn’s disease, but sickness. Now the palm reading wasn’t something that I spoke about. I never said to anyone that I feared sickness. But when I think about it now, I wonder did that child speak something over my life that I allowed into my heart and therefore it manifested? Or was God preparing me all along for what was to come? Or does God not work like that? I don’t know, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on March 20, 2015 at 11:10 PM||comments (0)|
1. This woman spent 17 years in jail behind a man. She comes out of jail and her major focus is to get back the company that she helped build before she went to jail and maybe just maybe get her man back. Now, this is my problem with that. That man should be the last thing on your mind. In reference to the company, I understand the concept of wanting to get what you feel is rightfully yours, but this should not be your major focus. Why? You have three kids that you haven’t really seen or talked to in 17 years. And the moment one of them calls you a bitch to your face you should now realize that you have bigger fish to fry. You have 99 problems and rebuilding your relationship with your kids should be number one!
2. Now this is a woman that hasn’t been around her kids in 17 years and as soon as she comes back around she participates in a war putting them against each other. She shouldn’t be #teamjamal. She should be #teammykids. Just sayin.
3. What is her issue with booboo kitty? Cookie went to jail. She came out and her man had somebody new. Okay… What did she expect? Maybe she expected him to remain faithful. Then she should be upset with Luscious. He is the one with whom she has a covenant with. He is the one who moved on. Now BooBoo Kitty did not make it easy for Cookie in the midst of her return, but was she supposed to? I mean Luscious is now her man and they are running that company.
4. Cookie tried to make Luscious appear like a monster and he is one. But, I think Cookie may be in denial about her own monstrous behavior. Cookie, like Luscious, wanted to get rid of Camilla. Cookie knew Luscious and Anika were planning a life together and she practically sabotaged it and then proceeded to just walk away. Cookie treats her assistant like crap, and I don’t care how you try and reason it. Cookie had a man killed (anonymous red rose) and was ready to kill Luscious!
5. Cookie spends the entire season coddling Jamal because he is homosexual, when all the while Andre has mental issues and has practically been having a breakdown the whole season. Now she didn’t know Andre was bipolar, but she didn’t see that he was struggling with “something?” She is his mother. Then when she does find out her major concern is Luscious should be here to support him. True, but what about you? Cookie spent all of one scene being concerned about Andre and the whole season being concerned about Jamal. Jamal aint got no problems!
This blog is all in fun. I support Empire, the cast, director, and writers. This is intended to be a "lighthearted" analysis of the Cookie Lyons character. I support ALL urban programming. I look forward to season 2.
(Cookie giving me the side eye lol)
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 28, 2015 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever had a 2 year old ask you for something like a toy or food? You tell them no. What do they do ask again either in a repetitive mode, cry, or whine. Sometimes they even try and get it themselves. Usually, the outcome is that they get what they want. Whether it’s right then or 30 minutes later they get it. Why? Because you become tired of hearing them ask for it.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Be Nice! Learn to apologize and how to forgive.
Have you ever had a 2 year old reach out and smack you? No, then you haven’t been around them long enough. Anyway, in the moment you are stunned and slightly angry. Your reaction may be to scold the toddler. Their reaction is usually to cry or at least appear sad. Depending on how the toddler was trained he or she may say, “I’m sorry” or give you a hug. Sometimes neither happens and you look up seeing them doing something cute 10 minutes later and guess what. All is forgiven.
Luke 17:3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
Give and accept support
Have you ever seen a couple of toddlers playing together and then one of them gets hurt? Sometimes the other toddler will try and hug or help their friend and magically the friend is all better. But then sometimes when the toddler gets hurt and their friend reaches out the toddler rejects the friend. They are upset and they don’t want the support of their friend. More than likely they want the support of an adult. The adult is bigger and more powerful. If they would recognize that there friends have the ability to help as well they would be able to move past their issue a lot faster without waiting for the support of a bigger entity.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Failure is not an option
At some point in a 2 year’s old life they think they can do everything. They want to shut the door. They want to carry everything. They want to take off their own diapers. You as the adult are baffled as to what makes them feel they are capable of doing any of this. They haven’t processed failure. Plus they may have done these things before…with your help. Even though you may not be physically helping them this time your presence gives them the confidence that they can still do it.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Have you ever seen a toddler attempt to jump off something high? You ask yourself do they not realize what will happen once they hit the ground. No, they don’t realize that there is something to be afraid of. What about when they hit the ground, start crying, and you have to calm them down. You think they will know not to do that ever again. Not exactly, no less than 10 minutes later they are at it again.
Also at what age do we become afraid of other people? I have never met a 2 year old that was afraid of another 2 year old. If they are hit by a fellow toddler they have no problem hitting, biting, or pinching right back. If the toddlers hit them again, they just hit right back. No one walks away. Usually an adult has to intervene. If the toddler doesn’t hit back it’s usually not out of fear but out of trained reaction. They have been taught not to react like that or they are not used to being hit.
Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Have you ever had a 2 year old run up to you crying because another child took their toy? You immediately look at the child that “allegedly” took the toy and try and figure out if you should take the toy and give it back or just see what happens. Usually something does happen, like the child drops the toy and moves onto something else. You try and get the 2 year old’s attention to inform he/she that the toy is now free. They are so distraught that the toy was taken away that they can’t process the concept that the toy is now free. Eventually they get it, but the child that took the toy realizes the toy is once again a hot commodity and ends up running back and gets the toy before the 2 year has a chance to get it back. Lesson learned: Don’t let crying and complaining allow you to miss out on a new opportunity.
What you want a cookie?
Have you ever potty trained a toddler? Usually, when they “go on the potty” you reward them with a piece of candy or maybe a cookie. Why? It serves as an initiative. It provides motivation. It works too! They get so excited when they potty because they know what’s coming. You are excited too because your plan is working. All is good. Then something changes. They are now potty trained, but they still expect you to be excited when they potty. They still want the reward…the cookie. Your attitude has now changed and you don’t feel that your toddler needs to be rewarded for something they are now “expected” to do. They (You) have accomplished what they were expected to accomplish according to their age and ability. It’s like celebrating a high school graduation two years after it happened. It was great when it happened, but now you have to move on. Continue to elevate.
Eventually you have to let the pull ups go!
I’ve potty trained toddlers in a day care setting. Usually parents bring their child in and say they put the child in pull ups and the training has begun. As a teacher you are excited for the child and parent. You still have other kids in your class who are wearing diapers and you hope that they will be motivated by seeing their friend use the potty. Then something interesting happens. A child that was in diapers shows up in pull ups, masters the potty, and is now wearing underwear. You look at the original pull up wearer who is still in pull ups and say, “what happened?” Why haven’t you elevated to the next level? Your friends and peers have surpassed you and they started behind you. It’s something to think about.
During my experience with toddlers I have often watched them play together. One of the most interesting things is to watch them build a tower with blocks. Either one or two things always happens, a friend comes around and tries to add blocks to the tower to make it higher or a friend comes around and knocks over the tower. When the helpful friend comes around, the toddler is often on the defense and tries to make the friend go away. He or she doesn’t understand that the friend is just trying to help. Now when the trouble making friend comes around and knocks over the tower they always have a look on their face like, “what did I do?” They know what they did but they didn’t realize the impact that it would have on their friend. In life you will be the 2 year old building the blocks, the helpful friend, and the trouble maker. When you are the one building the blocks make sure you allow help when it comes. When you knock down a tower, an enterprise, or an empire the least you can do is help the person rebuild it.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
So about a week ago, a week ago (is that getting old) I was informed about the popular web series Money and Violence. A week later, I have watched all 24 episodes and enjoyed every single one. This is why.
1. 24 Episodes
It seems like a lot, especially for a web series. But those 24 make room for the best character development I’ve ever seen. Because of that we are allowed to understand the actions of each character. We may not agree with the action, but we understand it. Let’s take the movie Juice into consideration. Love the movie. I’ve seen it a bunch of times, but every time I’m left wondering…why is Bishop killing everybody?
2. Week by week shooting
Each episode was shot, edited, and presented to us weekly. The first thing that I took away from that was that you don’t have to have everything figured out when pursuing a goal. You just have to start somewhere. Because it was shot each week and presented the same week they were able to incorporate current events into the storyline. It gives the audience the feeling that our lives are intertwined.
3. Bring new life to old characters.
I‘ve seen these characters before, but not like this. And when I say that I’ve speaking about Ty, Leon, Shane, and Rafe.
4. Real fear
There is a scene where Shane is explaining to Miz how he lost his gun and Miz responds saying something like, “And you outside?” I was asking myself that same question, but I was referencing all of them. Gun or not why do any of you all come outside? The streets is real.
5. There’s lessons to be learned
6. How many people are involved in this series?
A lot. That shows what can happen when people come together. Like how do you get that many people to get behind a project with no money involved? That’s impressive.
7. No sex scenes
I can see why too. You got to pay for a sex scene. I’m just saying people can’t just start taking off their clothes and kissing their homies just because somebody pulled out a camera. (Ty voice)
The initial reaction from most people after watching this series was that it’s low budget and the acting is bad.
As far as the production, it’s like this. Imagine sitting in a room with the lights on. Then someone turns the lights off. Initially, you can’t see. But you soon adapt to the darkness and if needed can get up and walk around. How do I know? I do it every day in the middle of the night to go the bathroom. Anyway, after the first 5 minutes of the first episode you become used to the production and it is no longer an issue.
Now as for the acting, YouTubers say the acting gets better each episode. Lies! The acting is not bad; I just don’t agree that it’s changed over the course of the series. Look at episode one and then look at the finale. The acting is the same. What’s happened is that by the third episode you are hooked. You have embraced the characters, accepted the storyline, and got past the production. Therefore, you are able to watch it without looking for something to be wrong.
I think this series has a couple of ***Stars***.
Miz: Every gangsta flick needs a fine dude. Boyz in the Hood had Tre. Juice had Raheem. Menace II Society had Cain.
Leon: This dude has natural acting ability and I don’t care what anyone else says. His timing, gestures, and reactions are flawless. Flawless, ya heard me!
Ty: Someone needs to create and name an acting technique after this character. His ability to be obvious to the audience while keeping everyone else clueless is amazing. YouTubers felt like the Shane character was dumb for not catching on, but if we hadn’t seen Ty’s actions when Shane wasn’t around we may have been clueless too. It’s like telling Cain in Menace II Society that O Dog’s was the one behind his cousin Harold’s killing and everything else that happened. He wouldn’t have believed you. Youtuber’s praise Miz for putting two and two together, but how Shane know Miz wasn’t setting him up. He knew he had the work on him. Then, just when you think maybe the actor playing Ty is just a funny dude and it comes naturally, his cousin gets killed and you see Ty with a whole different personality. I almost didn’t recognize dude when he wasn’t laughing. Then the way he goes from sad to manipulative while talking to Leon and Shay is nothing less than brilliant. Yall don’t have to agree. I’m just saying.
Cindy, BR, and Shane are just naturals. I was thoroughly convinced Shane had been shot in the leg. It reminded me of when I was starting to think Drake was actually wheelchair bound after he got shot on Degrassi.
9. Ladies first
a. I’ve never seen a hood flick where anyone past the baby momma received respect. All of these ladies are respected in this series. Even Cindy…
10. Urban Diversity
a. The series reminded me of the lack of cultural diversity on TV. I’m African American, but every now and then I would like to see other black cultures (Haitian, Creole, Dominican, Jamaican, etc.) portraying themselves on TV. We don’t need to get an African American to play a Jamaican. Find a Jamaican. They’re out there.
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 15, 2015 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
Photo Credit: Chelsea Taylor
Model: Nicole Jocleen
They fear you
by Nicole Jocleen
They fear you
That’s why you get the guilty verdict
They can’t just let you go
They fear you
That’s why your wrongdoers are justified
Trusting in the courts right,
For fear has left them blind
They see you as Nat Turner, John Allen Muhammad, and any rapper you name one.
So that makes it impossible for them to see you as a brother, husband, or a son.
The tragedy is that the fear was caused by the rising anger of an oppressed people.
Having to bear arms in the 60s cause otherwise…
Speaking out in defense since Lena Baker, Emmett Till, and those 4 Negro girls didn’t stand a chance
For Michael Donald, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown still forced to take a stance
Because all they can remember is that “one time” or that “one incident” when you became what they thought you were.
Hood circles would label that moment ratchet, ghetto, or downright embarrassing. Any who it’s damaging to the core.
How can this fear be replaced. It can’t. Come too far to be put back in one’s place.
Blaming the music, TV, and the internet are logical and illogical at the same time.
There is freedom in speech, but what’s often said doesn’t shed the best light.
I guess all we can do is…Pray, right?
Sounds so cliché
He said if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. HEAL THEIR LAND
With that being said…Amen
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 10, 2015 at 9:50 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 7, 2015 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
This poem is about the disconnect between the black man and the black woman.
Photo credit: Chelsea Taylor
by Nicole Jocleen
Clearly, there is a disconnect
I didn’t see this coming
Cause there was a time when all you knew was me
Now I’m treated by a distant cousin
That you love according to your words
But your actions rarely confirm
What did I do to make you hate me?
Is my newest concern
Why are you so hard on me?
I’m hard enough on myself
Your disdain is so contagious
That I have even begun to alter myself
You are so high and mighty these days
And of course I know that you are wrong
I would never let anyone know it though
My love for you is way too strong
Remember when I fought with you
And proudly raised my fist
I know things have progressed since then
But please let’s not forget
What about when I raised our children
When you were killed just for being black
Those times were so hard
It’s a wonder my heart didn’t crack
Remember when I nursed your wounds
Ol’ Massa could be so cruel
I guess we did what we had to do
I think that’s when I lost you
You never forgave me for leaving the slave quarters
And sleeping in massa’s bed
I didn’t want to I promise
If I’d denied him he would have killed me instead
I didn’t know what else to do
And it seems like ever since then
All I’ve been is a hoe, slut, and a joke to you
I’ve tried to ease your mind about it
I’ve tried so hard
But I guess some wounds won't heal away.
Slavery’s permanent scar
|Posted by Nicole Jocleen on February 5, 2015 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Natural hair is not new. I know at times it’s hard to comprehend the ideal that we were actually born this way. But…we were. There have been moments over the years where some women have dared to sport the natural look whether it was accepted or not. This black history month, I want to shout out those women who rocked the natural before the phenomenon, before the vlogs, and before the faux locs. These women are the real MVPs.
Before Solange, Viola Davis, Yaya DaCosta, Leela James, Corinne Bailey Rae, Marsha Ambrosius, and Janelle Monáe there was…
1. Phyllis Yvonne Stickney
2. Amel Larrieux
3. Joie Lee
5. Suzzanne Douglass
6. Lisa Bonet
7. Whoopi Goldberg
8. Lisa Nicole Carson
9. Tempestt Bledsoe
10. Tracee Ellis Ross
11. India Arie
12. Lauryn Hill
13. Lady of Rage
14. Debbi Morgan
15. Nina Simone