Why I Think Modern Relationships Are Failing?

Written by Dominique Bancey- Dominique Bancey is the writer of our new column The Thought Banc, where she writes on all things mental health and black culture.

This topic of failing relationships have always intrigued me and honestly, believe me when I say that this definitely will not be the last time I talk about it. 

First off, let me begin by saying that these are strictly my opinions, they aren’t facts. It’s what I believe based on observations and experiences. 

Trust Issues

It seems to be quite a common thing for many persons in this generation to have trust issues, but the issue with this is that they actually allow it to ruin their relationships. They get into one relationship, that person breaks they trust, then they get into another relationship and they refuse to trust (or completely trust) their partner, because they assume that they’ll break it. Yes past relationships are lessons and they teach you what to do or not to do, but at the same time, you can’t treat your current partner like your exYou might as well be dating your ex again. 

Selfishness

Not wanting your partner to have friends or to go out with anyone because you fear they’ll ‘find somebody better’ is something I hear way too often. Being in a relationship doesn’t stop the both of you from being your own individual selves, it just brings the both of you together. Therefore, both of you are allowed to continue to do your own things (as long as it won’t hurt your partner or the relationship). This also ties in with trust

There are many other things to be mentioned but let me just share this.

I’ve cheated before in past relationships. I moved on. Got into a new relationship. Told this person everything (about the cheating and all). Then… They used it against me

How?

Well, they told me that because I’ve cheated they have more of a reason not to trust me because I’ll probably do it again. 

I don’t agree with the whole ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ statement. I know for a fact that I was a different person with a totally different mindset when I did cheat, so I didn’t think this was fair to me at all. 

In the end, we didn’t even work out. 

And, I didn’t cheat. 

Until next time. 

This Artist and Content Creator is Using His Platform to Dispel the Stigmas of The LGBT Community

 Rahim Brazil has been creating music sine his middle school days. Starting of off as just a music artist, he has now added the title of content creator, director, and producer to his name, with his new web series Twisted. We spoke to the Atlanta, Ga resident to learn more about his brand, new talk show and more.
We originally know you for being a music artist. When did you get into music, and what are some of your musical inspirations.
 My interest in music begin when I was in middle school. After begging my father to buy a keyboard, I began to write, rap and compose songs. One thing led to another and I begin singing when I joined the school choir. Some of my musical influences are Missy Elliott, Eminem, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Michael Jackson. 
How was the transition from becoming an artist, to producer, as you started your own web series? The transition was challenging but also rewarding. 
As I transitioned from being an actor to a director, I had minimal experience, and no guidance. The rewarding part was in learning and training myself to work with the unfamiliar elements of being on a production set, working a camera, and leading a set. I am however, still learning because I believe that creatives have to continually grow. 
 Your web series Twisted shines light on the LGBT community. Give us more details on the storyline of the show. 
Twisted follows the life of a group of individuals who deals with the stigmas surrounding the LGBTQ community. The story follows a trans-female who tries to help a group of guys who deals with these different issues all while getting Twisted within each of their stories. It is more so about the connection of the Community, the connection of heterosexual community and the embodiment of the human race. 
How are you using your platform to dispel the myths people might have about the LGBT community? 
We are continually finding new ways to bring awareness and education to this particular community. When we started Twisted we started with a focus of whom we wanted to reach. We accomplish this by using our visuals to tell our stories as well as others. 
How did you go about casting for the web series, and are you looking for any new talent?
We are always looking for new/fresh talent. We believe in the power of opportunity. We first held one-one auditions, where we were able to meet and greet the cast. We also held an online video auditions for individuals who were not able to make it but wanted a shot at Twisted. 
Tell us about your new radio show The Rahim Brazil Show
The Rahim Brazil Show is a show that caters to all individuals in the matter of business, arts, and entertainment. It is a conversational platform that highlights social issues, life situations and and personal achievements. We are able to capture this by allowing individuals a platform to connect to our listeners to which they can provide an informative description of what ever they have to offer. 
 What can we expect next from Rahim Brazil Productions? 
Rahim Brazil Is more than a person, but a brand representing various forms of entertainment and artistry. I will be releasing a new season of Twisted, a new Album, a new short film by Belinda Rogers “Divided We Fall” directed by myself, as well as introducing a new Music Series in 2019. The bar is set really high and people can expect us to take our independent Platform and make it mainstream. 
What advice do you have for other upcoming content creators, and creatives? 
Persistence, hard work, drive and dedication are all important elements of achieving our goals and dreams. I would tell upcoming creators to put aside all fear, doubt, and rejection and works towards whatever they wish to achieve. They do this by being passionate about their own art; even if they feel like no one is watching, continue to create because someone will see it. 
Follow him online at @rahimbrazil
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpxb0iu4dt0sXQNLLlDT-yg

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Wife Create Fund To Fight Homelessness

Named the richest man in modern history, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie recently launched the $2 Billion “Bezos Day One Fund” to help combat homelessness, and assistance with early childhood education. In a statement Bezos tweeted on Thursday September 13th, he stated that the fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations “doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in “underserved” communities.”

Charitable giving and fighting homelessness is nothing new for Jeff Bezos and the Amazon company. Earlier this year, The Washington Post owner partnered Amazon with Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit, to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. Amazon customers have been able to order items from the Mary’s Place’s wishlist on the site, since 2016. They also previously helped the nonprofit temporarily house 200 homeless people.

The Bezos family also recently donated $10 million to With Honor, which is a nonpartisan organization focused on boosting the number of veterans in politics. The couple donated one third of the organizations $30 million funding goal, to help elect a minimum of 30 American military veterans in November.

 

 

3 Spectacular Website Builders For Your Small Business

Written by Salina Jivani

Nowadays, if you’re a business owner, having a website is a non-negotiable. Whether it exists to help drive customers to your brick-and-mortar store or to make your presence known against those of your competitors, having an attractive, comprehensive website is a must-have. Luckily, building one is now easier than ever before with some great easy-to-use platforms.  

Wix

Wix is popular because it’s free if you use its web subdomain (in other words, your website address would end in websitename.wix.com) and it’s a great drag-and-drop website building solution. Its onboarding assistance tool makes it easy for novices to set up and configure their website with minimal effort. Wix is perfect for people who have no idea how to code or have never built a website and don’t mind having pop-up ads on their site.

Weebly

This is an all-inclusive website building solution that offers you pretty much everything you’ll ever need to build and grow your website. Weebly lets you pick the layout and design of your site, but takes care of the more serious things, like protecting you against hackers and making sure your website speed is up to par. Like Wix, if you use the Weebly subdomain, your site will be free. Unlike Wix, you don’t have to worry about pesky ads infiltrating your site.

WordPress

Perhaps the most popular website building solution out there, WordPress is highly reputed. It allows you more flexibility to build and maintain the look and capabilities of your site than other options because it allows you to actually code your site to your specifications, if you want. Various plugins available to you allow you to add different capabilities and features to your site (like a pop-up banner, fancy comments section, etc.) so that it’s more customized to your needs. But unlike Weebly and Wix, it can be a pricey option.

Whichever option you go with, remember it’s not about how much or how little you pay for your site, but more about whether it meets your needs and represents your business well.

Why Married To Medicine Star and Entrepreneur Genise Shelton Is Dedicated To Living a Healthy Life: Her Story

Written by Genise Shelton

I’d like to begin by telling you a story. About eighteen years ago, an African American woman in Chicago was living the somewhat typical life of an American married woman.  Some would say that she was living the American dream.  She and her husband owned their own home.  His income was sufficient to take care of the family so she didn’t have to work outside of the home.

She was a homemaker and she was good at it. Taking care of her husband and children was her full-time job and she put everything she had into it.  Her oldest daughter was away at college.  The four youngest were at home, including a one-year old.  The woman’s days were long and filled with all the duties that are required of a wife and mother…dozens of loads of laundry each week, changing diapers, running errands, caring for her husband, cooking meals, cleaning, checking homework etc. In addition to these duties, the woman had to look after her mother. Although her mother lived in her own home, she required some help due to an illness. But overall, life was pretty good for the woman, until 2003.  That’s when everything began to change.

In February, the woman’s brother died of a stroke.  In August, her mother passed away and in September her husband left her for another woman all in the same year.  After her mother’s death, the woman moved herself and her children into her mom’s home, while her husband and mistress took over the family home.

In addition to fulfilling all the duties required of her, she had to find a way to put food on the table now.  She had to go to work. This was especially difficult since she possessed very few marketable skills and little-to-no job training.  Eventually, she found work at UPS during the night shift.  She had no choice but to leave her baby at home with her other children because she simply couldn’t afford daycare.

The job only paid $9 an hour and obviously wasn’t enough to take care of her four children.  The financial pressure was too much for her to bear, so her oldest daughter began to send money home to help with bills and food.  Her daughter also drove her car to Chicago and left it with her mother to make it easier for her to get to work. During this transition, the mother was under a great deal of stress and worry…not just because she was working a low paying job and caring for the kids.  She also had to begin caring for her aunt, who was childless and had developed a serious illness.

And just as it is with many mothers, this woman was so consumed with taking care of her family that she failed to take care of her own needs. After all, that’s what most mothers do…. especially African American woman.  She was in survival mode and didn’t have the energy or the wherewithal to do anything other than to make sure that she took care of her responsibility to others. Unfortunately, the woman’s choice to neglect her health had far reaching consequences that she never expected.

One day in 2006, while talking to her oldest daughter on the telephone, her speech began to slur and she became confused.  The daughter became alarmed and insisted that her mother call 911. By the time the mother was taken to the emergency room, she had suffered a major stroke and a huge pulmonary embolism.  Her condition was so dire, she spent several months in the hospital.  The effects of the stroke left her partially paralyzed, very weak on the right side and unable to walk.  At the age of just 48 years old, this woman no longer was a caregiver. Instead, she became the one who had to be cared for. This story is very tragic, but it is more than that to me. It is personal.  You see, the woman that had the stroke is my mother and I was the daughter who was away at college.

These devastating life altering events led to my passion of health and fitness.  I began to educate myself and found that my own risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure and stroke are very high.  As I thought about my family members; my mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins…all are obese!

I had seen what high blood pressure could do to a person.  After all, my mother had never been treated for it because she refused to go to the doctor. And since she didn’t go to the doctor, her condition went undetected. High blood pressure caused my mother’s stroke.

I also saw what havoc obesity could wreck on an individual.  My youngest brother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure at the age of 12.  My mother refused to curb his overeating habits due to her misguided guilt over the dissolution of her marriage and her now disability.  She didn’t understand that she was not helping my brother by refusing to insist upon a healthy lifestyle.

I was determined to change this generational curse of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes that haunted my family. I began to read everything I could about living a healthy lifestyle.  I began to eliminate various foods from my family’s diet and incorporate those foods that promoted health. We hired a personal trainer and he began pushing us to meet our goals of fitness.  Most weeks, I worked out 3 to 4 times a week.  However, my goals quickly changed when I saw my trainer’s girlfriend, who was a figure fitness competitor. When I saw her, I made a promise to myself that I was going to look just like her one day.

From that point, I began to train to be a competitor.  Working out went from 3 or 4 times a week to 6 to 7 days a week.  Instead of working out for an hour, my workouts were at least 2 hrs. Since I was small, my regimen was primarily weight lifting, hit cardio, and a strict diet. I placed second in my first all natural fitness competition.  I won 1stplace and overall in my 2ndfitness competition, which promoted me to professional status where I received my pro card as a Pro Bikini Fitness Competitor!

So when I walk that stage competing, winning a trophy isn’t the most important thing for me…what’s most important, is the commitment, discipline and determination that my kids see in me to live a healthier lifestyle in return a long fulfilling life. My prayer is that through competing I can break my generational curse for the future of my children’s children and their children.

For those who do not know my story, I have a blended family. My husband’s former wife died from a rare cancer and left behind three small children. I told my husband that I was dedicated to making sure that we were healthy so that, if possible, our children didn’t have to suffer through losing another parent to illness. I hope that my story inspires you to become a better and healthier you!

Genise N. Shelton

4 Common Misconceptions about Depression

Written by Dominique Bancey-Dominique Bancey is the writer of our new column The Thought Banc, where she writes on all things mental health and black culture.

There are many things people say about depression that just simply isn’t true. I will be naming a few and giving a few short explanations about why they are indeed misconceptions

Depression is a weakness

Depression isn’t picky. It doesn’t look for the person who has just been kicked out, or just got fired, it’s a condition and it doesn’t care who you are, or how strong/weak you are. Having depression doesn’t lessen your strength. 

Depression = Sadness

This is one of the most common misconceptions honestly. Especially in today’s society, many individuals go through terrible periods in their life that is filled with immense sadness yet they say, “Oh I’m so depressed.” Feeling down and being depressed are two different things. Depression can be brought on by feelings of sadness, but feeling down doesn’t last as long as an episode of depression.

Everyone who has depression experiences it the same

After all, depression is a mental illness, there is no way everyone with it is going to experience it the same. When you and your friend have a cold, you may have similar symptoms, but the both of you aren’t going to experience it the exact same way, and that’s the same with depression and any other mental illness. It causes different people to react or to feel different ways. 

Depression is all in your head

This is definitely a very popular one. Someone with depression can’t just shut it off or ‘suck it up’. Persons from the outside only see the emotional side of depression where you may be acting different or doing things differently, but they don’t see how it physically affects you. So they automatically assume that it’s a feeling you can easily control. They don’t realize that it’s not a light switch you can turn on or off, that’s not how it works

Unfortunately, there are plenty of other misconceptions about depression, but hopefully these will be understood by you and you will share it with others. 

Until next time.

How to Eat Healthy Without Giving Up Sugar?

Written by Benjamin Roussey

After salt and fat, sugar is the big no-no in today’s diet charts. You are encouraged to bid adieu to of all types of sweeteners—table sugar, honey, maple syrup, refined flours, condiments,  fizzy drinks, desserts, even select fruits. 

The diet gurus are right. The excessive intake of sugars can cause obesity that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart ailments, and certain cancers. 

The average American consumes as many as 20 teaspoons of added sugar every day! Though White Goodman at the end of Dodgeball was blowing that number out of the water. It is amazing how entertaining that movie was compared to ridiculous movies like Jurassic World, Thor III, The Force Awakens, and Neighbors II but this is another topic. 

Consequences of sugar-free living 

Giving up sugar altogether is far less effective than avoiding processed foods that contain excess added sugars. There is no scientific basis to abstain from sugar completely. In the worst-cases cenario, it can lead to fear of foods and other such health issues. 

The dieting mindset 

Having a list of what you can and cannot eat leads to creating a diet mindset. The people who have concerns about food—relating to weight or effect of food on body—are more likely to diet. 

The body’s resistance to diet

Research has proved that in the long term, dieting causes weight gain. The brain interprets diets as periods of famine and accumulates fat for future use. 

Dieting leads to stress because of which the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that leads to fat accumulation in areas such as abdomen. 

Apprehensions about food can cause tension, fear, and depression, the primary symptoms of orthorexia—a condition similar to an eating disorder where the person obsesses over the merits of eating and not eating each item. An estimated 7% to 58% of the population may have this condition. 

Choose good food 

Fruits are fiber rich and dairy products have natural lactose which are both great for the body. Risks of cancer and osteoporosis increase in absence of fiber rich foods. The best alternative is to eat healthy. Plants, whole grains, and fruits are good for the body. Choose them over “sugar-free” foods. 

3 Easy Ways to Fund Your Start Up In No Time

Written by Salina Jivani

You’ve got a brilliant business idea brewing. Or maybe you’ve already launched your small business. In either case, at some point, you’ll probably need an extra influx of cash. Of course in those instances, you can consider the typical avenues, like applying for a loan through a bank or credit union, or you can get a little creative to drum up those extra funds. Here are some lesser-used options to consider.  

Bootstrapping

If the thought of taking out a loan buried with interest and then being tied to it forever (or what feels like forever) makes you a little nervous, you can always bootstrap. This is basically a self-financing method where you pool together available funds from your savings account, personal funds, credit card, home equity, etc. In most cases these funds equal enough to give most businesses owners the extra stash of cash they’re in need of—minus the interest.   

Angel investing

If you’re looking to get more than just the few grand you’ll probably gather from bootstrapping, you might consider angel investors. These are business professionals who have excess cash they wish to invest. In most cases, angel investors are a good option if you’re looking for anywhere from $10,000 to a few million. A few places to search for these investors are AngelList and Angel Capital Association, both of which help connect entrepreneurs with willing investors.

Crowdfunding

If you’re passionate and skilled enough to promote your business idea in a way that persuades people to put their dollars behind you, try crowdfunding. With no interest, loan term or strings attached, crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to find the extra injection of cash your business needs. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are known to have given many entrepreneurs the jumpstart they needed.

If none of these options sound right for you, consider talking to a banker or lender about other alternatives available for your particular situation and business.

How I Use Art to Cope with Depression & Anxiety

Written by Dominique Bancey– Dominique Bancey is the writer of our new column The Thought Banc, where she writes on all things mental health and black culture.

Many persons I know who deal with depression, anxiety, or both, often say that they’re not sure what their coping mechanisms should be. Often times they can only think of bad coping mechanisms such as, drinking, smoking, or causing self harm to themselves. However, there are better things you can do to cope. Mine, happens to be writing.

Art overall is a huge thing for me. Though writing is my go to artform, sometimes I draw abstract pieces as well. Doing these tend to get my mind off of my own thoughts. I’m forced to simply focus on how I went this poem or drawing to go, so I have no time or space in my mind to be consumed by the negative thoughts that linger.

Many times it’s difficult to stay motivated to actually produce a piece of art. This is something I notice a lot of creators have issues with as well. For me, poetry is a routine, it comes natural. Whenever I feel down, I immediately grab my laptop, phone, or pen and paper. It took time, lots of it, and lots of practice as well. When I just began writing as a coping mechanism, I found it hard to completely focus on just that. But now, I don’t even have to think about it.

Let me tell you, all you have to do, is train yourself. But how should you do that?

It’s more simple than it may seem honestly. When you’re not even dealing with negative thoughts, you should write. Sometimes there is a lack of inspiration, but what I do is this – always keep a list of topics/potential titles to write about. That way, when you’re lacking inspiration, you can look at your list and you may have an idea to actually write on something you once saw.

When you train yourself to constantly write, it will come to you as a natural thing to do regularly, whether you’re feeling down or not.

Your coping mechanism may not be the same as mine, but the thought process behind it is the same. Hopefully what works for me, could possibly work for you. If you wish to discuss it, you can send me a dm on Instagram (@dom.thepoet).

Until next time.

Music Group Half Mile Home Brings Awareness To Skin Disorder Vitiligo with New Campaign

 On an inspiring roll in the wake of three consecutive Top 15 Billboard Hot Gospel Songs. The Akron, OH based R&B/Hip Hop Group Half Mile Home blends funk, soul and “woke ness” on their dynamic upcoming single “I Won’t Judge” – a portion of whose proceeds will be earmarked for the Vitiligo Research Foundation (www.vrfoundation.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and instigating research for the chronic skin condition across the world. We spoke to the group, and member Deaken in particular, who has Vitiligo, to get more insight on the disorder and the campaign as a whole.

VEU– For those who aren’t familiar with it, tell us what Vitiligo is—

DEAKEN– Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, which causes loss of skin color in blotches. 

 VEU– Were you born with it, or did it happen over time?

DEAKEN– I was not born with Vitiligo. I began to notice it around 8 yrs old after a severe case of chicken pox.

 VEU– Many people like to cover up their flaws as if they don’t exist. How did you gain the confidence to openly talk about your skin disorder and spread Awareness for others?

DEAKEN– Unfortunately many people do try and cover up their “flaws” while many others embrace their uniqueness. Myself I’ve always just enjoyed life, stood tall, and let my character define me as opposed to someone’s perception or based on what they may see physically. 

 VEU– Tell us about the Half Mile Home Campaign/ collaboration bringing awareness to the disorder

DEAKEN– We decided as a unit to write a song about vitiligo, it sparked our minds when a young lady stopped & starred at us when we we’re in the mall one day shopping for an event. At that moment we knew that we had to take the opportunity and a make this a movement.  

 VEU– The group also released a new song entitled “I Won’t Judge” . Talk to us about that and inspiration behind it.

DEAKEN– I really love the single mainly because I’ve been given the opportunity to enlighten and send a message while being the voice for millions and millions of people in the Vitiligo community. “I Won’t Judge” is direct and to the point and of course it’s personal. 

VEU– What is the most important thing you want people to know about living with Vitiligo? 

DEAKEN– The most important thing I want people to know is that living with Vitiligo is a journey with many bumps, curves, roadblocks, and maybe even a few stops, but NEVER a dead end. Never let it define you. Life is great! You can drive this thing or just enjoy the ride.

VEU– What advice do you have for other people who are dealing with Vitiligo, but still  trying to become comfortable in their own skin? My advice for those dealing with Vitiligo is simple, embrace your uniqueness and love the skin you’re in.

DEAKEN– My advice for those dealing with Vitiligo is simple, embrace your uniqueness and love the skin you’re in.

 VEU– As an inspirational group, what message do you all want to get across about self love, and  awareness?

DEAKEN– It’s very important for all humans to understand that we all are who God made us, your skin color, size or nationality doesn’t determine your self worth. Each person have to love there self for you are who GOD made you. We all are BEAUTIFUL in a unique way. So know matter what enjoy the skin your in daily. God Bless us all

#iwontjudge #halfmilehome