5 Quick HIV Facts

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In light of the alleged Charlie Sheen news and all the misinformation out there, i thought I’d give a few quick facts about HIV/AIDS.

 

5 HIV facts:

1. HIV is a virus and AIDS is a syndrome that comes from leaving HIV untreated. You CAN’T catch AIDS, it develops over time.

2. HIV/AIDS is NOT a gay disease. Anybody can catch it.

3. Not matter what any Tyler Perry films says, HIV/AIDS is not a punishment for being bad.

4. HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. There are over 1000 medications for the virus and countless programs to help pay for those medications.

5. HIV is usually transmitted through body fluids or blood with some one who had the virus.  The  rate of transmission is decreased 90%  among sexually active persons who actively take prep (Medicine taken to prevent catching the virus).

 

Source:  Google.com, its free and there, use it

The Truth About Yourself

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Honestly when dealing with personal issues is key to growth and development.  Many times we are not honest with ourselves and it hurts us.  Whether it be about how we feel about ourselves or our present/past situations, we find excuses or reasons to ignore how we truly feel.  Ignoring it means we don’t have to deal with the emotional impact it will have on us.  We are afraid it may tear us down or inhibit us from moving forward.

I didn’t like to think I told myself negative things.   Who could possibly tell themselves all day everyday that they weren’t good enough and that they will fail?  This was impossible right?  Wrong.  Once I became honest we how I felt, I couldn’t believe all the crap I told myself.  An acceptance had to happen out of the disbelief.  It makes me sad and cry sometimes, but that’s apart of the struggle.  I still struggle accepting what I tell myself so I can change it. This is a short post, I’m trying to get back in the swing of things.

The Mental Strain of Activism

Black Community, Black Lives Matter, Self Help, Uncategorized


The week of Sandra Bland’s death and my subsequent post got quite a few hits.  I actually got reblogged by the actor Jesse Williams on tumblr which was pretty cool.  Afterwards, came the bombardment of images, videos and speculation.  Normally, I don’t follow hearsay when it comes to cases like these until I get all the facts, but I’m only human and got caught up in the moment.  There were so many allegations going around, I thought I was following the Bill Cosby case for awhile.  Needless to say, it took a mental toll on me.

I try to be informative and write posts that change hearts and minds.  I want people to understand the movement black lives matter and what racial inequality exists, however I want to be fair and balanced and not throw out accusations like I see most people, even some of your favorite activists do from time to time.  Walking this fine line can be rather difficult sometimes…

Attempting to change minds and hearts is the worst because some people just don’t get it not do they want to get it.  Others get it but are afraid to speak out.  Sometimes I feel like a lone wolf out there fighting for justice in a world full of ignorance; I wouldn’t do myself the disservice of only speaking to people who agree with me like I see most activists do on Black Twitter, however the alternative is so mentally exhausting.  In addition, how do I display my love for black issues without coming off aggressive and combative.   I took a mental break these last few weeks to get my head together.  I think I’ve gotten a balance and I can give you a few easy steps in helping you.

1. Step Away From Your Social Media

I can’t stress this Enough.  Stepping away was the best thing for me.  I was able to relax, go to the park and clear my head.  I was able to prioritize things in my head including my personal life and goals with my activism which was a big concern for me…

2.  Choose your battles

There are so many injustices happening towards black and brown people everyday that it’s hard to keep up with some days.  As sad and foul as it is, you can’t champion every single issue that comes across your timeline or newsfeed.  Think of yourself as an editor of a newspaper, things you care about this most should be the things you post or retweet.  You’re only human, you can’t cover it all.  There are people who get paid to do that.

3.  Some People just aren’t going to get it

Some people just aren’t going to get it.  It’s as plain as that.  You can preach until you’re blue in the face, they aren’t not going to get it.  You shouldn’t waste your time debating or arguing with them.  Someone who believes racism nor police brutality exists, no matter how many black and brown men/women get killed, doesn’t deserve your time.  Allow them to live in their blissful ignorance.

4.  Find distractions

For the past few weeks, all I posted on Facebook was funny videos that made me laugh.  Not only did it warm my heart, it was a balance to all the crap that was going on at the time.  Sometimes you need to laugh and escape.  We, as a black race have been doing it for a long time.   Read a book, meditate, go spend time with friends or fam and remember there is a world outside of social media.

5.  Keep hope alive

You have to stay strong during these times.  Going to work with people who don’t understand how you feel to seeing friends at home who just don’t seem to care, you sometimes loose hope.  You can’t though.  Everybody has their part to play in this huge movement.  Whether you retweet a story or are on the front-lines,  you are somebody in the bigger picture.

Those are a few of my tips/steps.  If you have any, please feel free to share in the comments…

What did I ever do to God?

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Life is tough for everybody, I suppose.  I get that but for some of us, it is a bit tougher for some odd reason.  Every time we get a glimmer of hope, something comes and dashes that hope.   It’s like bad luck follows us around or like we’re cursed.  You try so hard to be positive in life and ignore the negative, but life just keeps throwing you lemons.  Sometimes you just want to throw your hands up and ask God, what did I ever do to you for my life to be such a struggle? I chose to write a letter to God.

 Dear God/Universe, 

I don’t know what I did, or what those who came before me did, but I fully apologize.  I worked so hard to win in life and I do understand that bad things happen, but damn why does it seem like  my life is on extra hard journey.  All I ask to work on my career, to be happy and for my loved ones to be well.  That’s all.  Yet, something always happens that makes me wonder if you really want me to win or if it’s set up for me to win.  Can I get a sign to let me know everything about will be ok?  Thanks. 

The Trouble with Being Myself is…

Self Help, Uncategorized

  
  Last night was pretty fun, I had drinks with my acting class and we discussed our careers and goals.  We all gave each other constructive criticism and said what we could work on.  I was told  that I’m a good looking dude and if I kept up with my appearance more I’d be on track for my career in entertainment.   This caught me off guard because I thought I had become more comfortable with who I was over the years.  I remember being so scared thay I wouldn’t even speak or give me opinion out of fear of judgment, and I’ve grown so much since then.  Honestly, I could give a shit about what I wear or how people perceive…..who am I kidding, I care so much I’ve given up on trying. I hate this because it stiffles me from being happy. Low self esteem has plagued me my entire life.  

 I took this test earlier today that told me I had low self esteem.  It’s something that I’ve always battled with my whole life, but never wanted to admit.  I’ve battled with having a low opinion of myself and what I offer ever since I could remember.  I’m in an industry where having confidence is probably the most important thing.  Looks have always been last priority to me.  I barely shave, I dress pretty plain although I have my moments that I look fashionable, but I dress to not be seen or stand out.  If I have to dress up for an event or audition I will, but normally I’m just a plain dude.  Btw, I hate ties and suits.  If I were back home, this would be applicable.  Here in Los Angeles, it makes me stand out but not in a good way. 

I’ve never admitted to myself that I cared so much and even thought I was above it.  I told myself on shallow people care about looks and my talent and personality would shine through. That was a lie. I cared so much about people thought about me that it was easier not to care at all.  So where do I go from here?  I haven’t decided yet, but I do know I’m going to start doing things and making choices that make me feel happy about myself.  It’s easier said that done because it’s easier to sabotage myself and do things that contradict my happiness.  I have to do it though because I’m tired of being unhappy with myself…

Letting go of insecurities 101:  My personal journey and how I’m letting go

Self Help, Uncategorized

 Letting go of my insecurities has been one of the hardest journies in my life.   Everybody  has insecurities, but some of us know how to embrace them sooner than others.  Personally, it took me a while.  I’m certain where they started.  Most of mine stem from school as early as 4th grade.  I grew up dirt poor in the hoods of Milwaukee and Jackson, TN.  My mom wasn’t perfect, nobody’s is, but one thing she provided to me was a safe place to be myself.  I could laugh and play, listen to NSYNC and Britney Spears.  I could watch the Million Man March on TV, listen to Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu to enlighten my mind.  I felt safe at home for a while.  School was different.  I was constantly teased and taunted in school and by my some of my family for being ‘different.’ I didn’t walk, talk or act like the other guys in my school.  I was smart as fuck, shy by nature and hung around all women, yet I had a quirkiness to me that made me stand out.  I wasn’t aware of any of this, I just wanted to be myself and fit in.  Every time I tried to embrace who I was my manhood, masculinity and intelligence was constantly called into question.  This led me to be very insecure in who I was growing up.  I always questioned every step I took.  If I walked like this, would I be ridiculed?  If I talked like this, would I stopped being teased? It overtook my brain to the point where I couldn’t think straight.  The only thing I would think about was being accepted.  At an age where children developed their identity and who they are, I lost mine and it took me half my life to get it back.

I’m sure you would love details, but I’ll save that for my best seller I write after I win by 2nd Emmy and get my first Oscar Nod.  Letting go of those insecurities has been a battle I’ve been battling my entrie life.  There are a few steps i can share that I’ve been learning along my journey:

1.  Get out of your head

This was big for me.  I used to be so obsessed with what people thought of me and how I looked.  These thoughts took over my life until I just got out of my head.  I learned a trick from my friend about replacing every negative thought with something positive.

2.  Dig down to the root

Dealing with the root of a problem is always helpful.  The root of my manhood issues was my lack of father or male role models.  I always felt inadequate and ‘less than’ the other guys.  Once I found out the reasons behind these insecurities, I was able to actually understand them.

3.  Changing what you can

I had a real issue with the way I spoke and my voice.  I had a stuttering problem as a child and it took a long time for me to get over.  It made me insecure about the way i spoke.  Once I learned how to speak, I couldn’t anunciate my words and spoke to fast.  Once I got to college and the real world, I got so tired of people telling me to repeat myself. I worked really hard on my voice.  Change what you can about yourself.  If your issue is your weight, start working out.  If your issue is the way you dress, go shopping.  It sounds cliche but working to change your insecurities in stead of sitting around griping about them is a lot more productive.

4.  Accepting what you can’t change

This is the hard part for some.  I tried to bend, shape and move myself to fit in with my classmates and collegues.  I put on this fake facade that people eventually saw straight through.  I can’t be like every one else, I realized.  All I can be is Romane.  Once I accepted this, I let go.  If you can’t change something about yourself, like having a big head or webbed feet (I kid) accept it.  Be real with yourself.

5.  Realizing You’re not the only one

You aren’t the only one feeling the way you do.  Every body in some form or facet feels insecure about something.  It’s human nature.  We often think we’re the only ones with this particular problem when, in fact, we are one of many.  Hearing others stories and journies will make you feel better and not alone.  You aren’t alone.

Man in Denton, TX follows police orders, still shot

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This video showed up on Twitter about an hour ago showing a man complying with police but ultimately shot anyway.  It’s sad as a black man you can do anything a police wants and still be shot.  I’m at a loss for words… 

 
Here is the Video caption: 

@BTP_TACO: After actually witnessing police brutality I look at that shit a whole different way bro smh #DentonTx http://t.co/tCYzmbk9Ih

Why Trayvon Martin means so much?

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I haven’t written on here in a long time, but if the events of the past year and more importantly, this past week have let me know, our society has a long way to go.  Being an aspiring artist and actor myself, I try to steer way from anything that may alienate future supporters of mine so I began to steer away from political discussions for which I am passionate about.  However, this case and the verdict struck a cord with me as it did with most African Americans in this county, especially males.  It reminded me of how hard being a black man in this country really is.  Not just blacks though, through protests I’ve seen how all races see the dangers we face living in America.

Its a sentiment I don’t think any other race can and nor ever will understand. The case brought up a shit-load of issues and fears we as a race try to suppress but can’t any longer.  Racism is alive and well.  Somebody made a good point on tv tonight, racism isn’t dead, it has just evolved.  Gone is the Jim Crow laws and separate, but equal titles and in their place are minimum drug sentencing, Voter ID Laws, and stand your ground laws.  Yes, we have a black president and yes, the Civil Rights Act was signed almost 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean racism went away with it and that doesn’t change the institutions and laws that have been passed since then to substantially target and oppress minorities.

Racial profiling happens.  It is a reality and is legal.  If you’re a darker skinned minority chances are you have been targeted or frowned upon in some type of way just for the way you look and how you dress.  Hispanics, Blacks, Arabs, Indian we have all felt it but I don’t think nobody is systematically felt it stronger than Blacks in America.  Guilty until proven innocent is what I call it.  The looks, the scoffs, the police surveillance, the constant having to walk around on egg shells can either do to things:  Make you very angry or very pessimistic.  Admit it, If a big black guy was following you in the dark while it was raining, how would you feel?  If you really admitted to yourself scared, uncomfortable then imagine how it feels to be a black man, esp young black man in America and being a target just because you ‘look suspicious.’  None of us ask for this.  What happened to Trayvon is a story most of us are too familiar with.  We want to live our lives just like everybody else without fear of being terrorized by the very people who are supposed to protect us.

Personally, I have been humiliated and degraded numerous times by law enforcement since I became of age because I was stopped and frisked for no reason other than because I fit a description.   I was one of the lucky ones to make it out of poverty, graduate from college and move out the hood, but that doesn’t mean I have been above discrimination and prejudice.   To be labeled a thug, a menace to society, and a problem when you are just trying to live your life like everybody else says something about the way America thinks about its young black men ;  It was the very same thing they labeled Trayvon to be based off of a few pictures on facebook and because he was wearing a hoody.  If you don’t understand how stereotypical and racist that is, then you need to look at yourself in the mirror and figure out why?  Not all young black men are thugs, Not all of us are coming to rape, steal or kill somebody.  We often judge and cast aside those who don’t dress, look, talk or act like us.  We all have done this at one time or another.  However, when it comes to young black men, the hatred and fear has creeped into our laws and judicial system.  Once a certain section of American who may not be too often exposed to blacks realize this, the centuries of fears and hatred may start to erode.

Why does the Trayvon Martin case mean so much to blacks in America?  Its a problem most of us face as a daily reality.  I honestly feel like if you’re not understanding the problem then you’re perpetuating the problem. As American citizens we were promised three things in this country by the Declaration of Independence:  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  When that isn’t being fulfilled, it’s time to rethink and change our attitudes so that we can can live and prosper in this great country.

Wake up: Voting Rights Act Challenged!!

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Never thought I’d see the day the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be challanged.  I, like most Americans, take freedoms like these for granted.  However, today the Supreme Court will be hearing challenges to the Voting Rights Act by states who want to enact the “voter id” laws.  These ‘Voter ID” laws are used to disenfranchise voters from voting.  We HAVE to fight back.  This is not a pro-black post, this is a pro-American post.

I remember being in school and learning every February about Martin Luther King Jr, Medger Evers, Fannie Lou Hammer and many others who fought for our right to vote.  They fought and, for some, ultimately paid the price so that we can have a voice in our democracy.  We are not beyond racism and there are still people out there who do not see us as the UNITED States of America, but still as ‘us’ and ‘them.’  This is not a post-racial America like people want us to believe just because Obama was elected.  I wish it was, but it is not.  If you saw the lines outside the voting polls in the inner-city precincts of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin then you know this is no post-racial America.

The part of the Voting Rights Act that under fire is section 5 which targets specific cities and districts to clear any changes they want to make to their electoral process through the Department of Justice.  They cannot pass any of these discriminatory laws with section 5 still in tact.   If this is, in fact, gutted out the Voting Rights Act, we are headed for major conflict. Slowly, some states are challenging every freedom we ever took for granted and it is time to stand up.

The civil war was over 150 years ago, yet we are still suffering the effects of it.  When our forefathers imagined the American dream and drafted the constitution, I do not think they went far enough in protecting the freedoms of all people.  So many things are left up to the interpretation of any and everybody (kind of like the Bible.)  However, i don’t think they would have imagined a country this divided. Our American dream of success built on capitalism has gone to some peoples’ heads to the point where they are willing to put the lives of others at risk to protect their own selfish interests.  Pro-gun legislation, voter suppression laws, prison industry, anti-union laws, anti-women’s health laws and the list goes on and on.

I hope you are taking notice and being informed about the current issues that are going on in your state.  It is not enough to vote a black man into office and feel good about yourself.  Stay with the process because there is much more that has to be done.

I dislike Herman Cain and I approve this message…

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Despite my best efforts, Herman Cain has somehow kissed enough white ass to get in the lead and has even scored some black votes. I have never went into explanation as to why I do not like Herman Cain. The whole black republican thing has always confused me. I get the whole ideology about black folks doing it for themselves and welfare and blah blah…but I never understood how could you support an economic theory where we sat around and waited on the top to invest in us. They haven’t for over 400 years, what makes one think they will do it now. How could you support a party that allowed members who didn’t support civil rights legislation How could you even sit across and debate with a man who voted against renewing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Rand Paul.) Did I mention how broke the 999 plan that he farted out his ass would leave our country and how it would really hurt the poor and middle classes? Some of the things that come out of his mouth leave me stunned to say the least. I really was fired up when he said to the unemployed that they need to quit whining and find jobs of their own. Really Herman, I’m pretty sure you have unemployed people in your family being that this economy has disproportionately affected blacks. You do remember that is your color, right? I want you to go tell them to quit wining and find them a job. I want you to go tell recent college grads who are working for minimum wage trying to pay interest on student loans because the profession they can’t find a job in the field they studied. I do not even think Michelle Bachman would say anything that dumb…wait. Nevertheless, my disdain for Herman runs deeper than probably what telling you.

The black experience is something nobody could ever imagine; I don’t care how many lattes at Starbucks you drink. Although this black experience sometimes stifles us from growth, it is also what binds us in the past. I feel like Herman Cain has lost this experience and his rationality. It seems like people like him, regardless of color want America to be a melting pot. I do too, but we can’t achieve that until everybody is on the same level playing field.You can’t just   throw shit into  a  pot and expect your recipe turn out decent,  can you?  No.  You have to mix and measure everything perfectly until everything turns out perfectly.   Disparities have to be recognized and addressed and differences have to be settled and enjoyed. (In this capitalistic society, we live in a culture where we put someone down to get ahead and it has plagued us in so many more ways than it has helped us. In captalism, there will always be those who for many reasons will never be able to rise to the top. Didn’t mean to give a speech against capitalism, but that was a side note.)

Herman Cain is not the answer. He also doesn’t speak or represent blacks and minorities. There is so much press about him lately it makes me sick to my stomach. I just hate to someone who looks like me act the way he has been acting. As an American, I hate to see the Republican party act the way that they do. Its a three ring circus!..However, I will speak on that at a later time.