Five Stages of Consciousness

FreeYourMind

The cool thing now is claiming to be “conscious“. Many people are using this new C-word to describe themselves often unrightfully.

There is a process to consciousness. It is not something you are born with. You don’t have to be a part of the oppressive body to have it. It is a process that takes you through a host of different emotions that transform you as a person. At the end of it all, you might be less happier with the world but you will be more accepting of yourself.  Here are the steps of consciousness as I have experienced it. If you are not conscious, it is not too late. If you are not conscious you might not even know. This is the first stage.

1. Ignorance

Ignorance

People love to call others ignorant. Often they use it interchangeably with stupid however; they do not mean the same. Ignorant is lacking knowledge or awareness. For example, I am ignorant when it comes to physics. I don’t know shit about physics. So if a physics scholar called me ignorant, I’m not taking that as fighting words. It’s the truth. To claim your journey to consciousness is to seek knowledge and awareness of something. Therefore, the first step of coming into consciousness is admitting to not knowing.

2. Disbelief

Disbelief

After you hear something like, “The Government made orders to murder Martin Luther King Jr.” or “Black men are being targeted by law enforcement to fill privatized prisons which is an evolution of slavery” or “History is being diluted and erased to serve a larger agenda”, they can sound like a hoopla of conspiracies but these facts aren’t that secret. No, there is not a room of white men planning for world domination since the making of the Constitution. (Joking, but not really) But because these facts are so off-putting they can easily be dismissed. This dismissal is disbelief. No way J. Edgar Hoover initiated COINTELPRO which murdered and framed black revolutionaries of the 70s-90s. No way these same strategies are being used on black activists, specifically the Black Lives Matter Movement. Sorry boo, it happened and is happening.

3. Anger

Anger

So now that you know the truth, you mad or nah? The truth hurts. It might’ve been better not knowing. That’s why so few people are conscious. Some stop in stage 2 or they live “blissfully” in stage 1. Conscious folk know that ignorance ain’t bliss and disbelief of facts is like those Christians that don’t believe in dinosaurs. It makes no sense. And now we should know that consciousness has ALL to do with sense. So, you’re angry now? You hate institutions and people, you might even hate yourself a little for finding this out so late. This anger and frustration is unhealthy to sit in though it could last for years. As hard as it might be, move past this and you will see the light in Stage 4… or not.

4. Awareness

Awareness

With years of slowly winding your eyes open you now see the light and realize that the light isn’t light. Light is an illusion. What I mean by this is that, the way you now see the world is not in binaries and opposites: rights and wrongs. You realize that life is more complex and grey. You see things in a way you did not before. Your preferred conversations change and you begin to analyze the awareness of your surroundings and your circle. The people you admire change and you start to think that the Black Israelites on the corner of Jamaica Ave. and Sutphin or by Gallery Place aren’t as crazy as you thought. (Though, yes they can be quite extreme) You start to question every fucking thing. You almost feel like a toddler with the sponge brain and infamous “why” questions. Though the new information usually isn’t good news, you will be so satisfied in knowing that you know. It’s like learning your numbers or how to spell your name.  This is a rebirth. Cradle this newborn awareness and nurture it. Feed it, clothe it, and reintroduce it to the world. Hopefully this is the new and improved you.

5. Hopeless/Hopeful

Hope

Sometimes being hopeful can come across as naïve. When I speak of hope, I speak in terms of change and one’s hope for a meaningful change. Is it possible or is it impossible? You choose your position. Once reborn your sight is clearer than ever and how ironic that the world becomes so grey.  How unpleasing and grotesque. I think this is the stage I am in. After my awareness of the world around me I felt that there was hope in purifying the ugliness of the world. Recent events brought to light by video footage such as the murders of black and brown bodies often makes me feel hopeless. Sometimes you might feel there is no avenue to lift the root of the issue. I didn’t want to go the leaf or branch route because the tree still stood. Are you following me?  After questioning your faith and loosing yourself, you are lost and only have your consciousness. You find comfort in someone that shares your consciousness and this allows you to exhale but it’s not enough. As depressing as it sounds, find comfort in this feeling. Find comfort that because you have gone through this process of consciousness that means you are an agent of hope. Find comfort in feeling alone. You won’t be alone for long.

Realize that consciousness is cyclic. All through life you are learning but you will reach a point when you feel confident enough to use this knowledge toward advocacy. There is no way you can be conscious and not feel moved to change your surroundings. And those that seek change through service are not necessarily conscious. Consciousness, overall, is a learning journey and I believe it has no end. The world is forever shifting thus; one’s knowledge of the world will do the same.  I don’t believe that being hopeful is the final stage of coming into consciousness. I think it is the beginning of advocacy that can transform the world as we now see it.

SteveBiko

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5 THINGS NOT TO DO THIS SUMMER

bbhmm5

  1. Reconnect with your ex

Spring comes before summer and if you’ve done your spring cleaning then you should’ve left homeboy/girl in the trash. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Don’t bring sand to the beach” especially if it’s the sand from last summer. As you take your vacations, attend dope music festivals, hit the day parties, etc. network with a new boo or a few and enjoy your free self.

  1. Take a cheat season

Surely you spent the long, cold months getting your summer body ready. Maybe you substituted meals with protein shakes, ate boring salads, and probably tried being a vegan for a week. The gym trainers greet you by name and now you don’t just walk around the machines looking confused. You are (on the verge of being) a professional in the gym and maintaining a healthy balanced diet. DON’T STOP! Keep hitting those workouts no matter how nice the weather. Stay away from the junk and take shots instead of mixed drinks. Less calories.

  1. Be unproductive

Summer is the season to relax. You might have finished school or things might have slowed down at work however, this does not give you a season pass to laziness. Summer is the best time to work on yourself. Write up three goals and follow your progress. Maybe you want to blog about the music events you attended, network with new folks, or spice up your wardrobe. If you have the time fill it with productivity instead of idleness.

  1. Not drinking water

Water is so important. If it wasn’t then 71% of the Earth wouldn’t be covered by it and 60% of your body wouldn’t be it. While indulging in drinks and party favors, and standing or dancing in the hot sun, you must make sure to stay hydrated. Don’t be the friend that’s rushed to the hospital because of dehydration. It’s no good for your health and not fun for your friends.

  1. Fuck up your commas

I mean, if you have it like that then who am I to tell you how to spend. But, if you’re like me (balling on a budget) then summer can really screw your finances. To avoid the cringing feeling of brokenness set a savings goal, open a savings account, and put money in it. If you’re just beginning, get a jar and put all your spare change in after a long night barhopping. Set a goal and stick to it. You will be so happy when Fall comes and you have a couple hundred in the bank.

From No Julz to @YesJulz!

1am vibes

Philly is the move for this upcoming weekend for more reasons than one. Roots Picnic was already the highlight until YesJulz announced 1amVibes in Philly happening that night. Needless to say, me and my girls will be present to participate in the turn up. I suggest you check out her site for the upcoming 1amVibes near you.

I was first introduced to YesJulz early this year when a friend of mine showed me some very controversial tweets. Granted these were tweeted in 2011 and 2013, but they put a sour taste in my mouth. I won’t sit on a high horse and claim I’ve never tweeted anything controversial or offending towards other people. I have and I will admit that. The humanity of Twitter is getting a look into other’s thoughts, no matter what the content.

        YesJulz Tweet2

However, watching her climax as a social and marketing beast within the rap world, I was a little confused at how her speech of black women could be so careless at any point in her life and how or if this sentiment has ever changed. The tweet where she claims to be a black woman in Taz’s Angels is especially troubling because it suggests black women to be a persona that can be appropriated, which perpetuates the skinning of black female humanity and its value. I don’t mean to get too deep but What is a black woman? Just ass and tits? Of course not. Shame on 2013 Julz.

Rihanna Shake finger

I questioned her consciousness and sincerity necessary to actually achieve the work of changing perceptions of rap culture and the youth, which is saturated in black art, performance and expression. Rap culture was misunderstood before its birth. It is boxed as a genre solely about female exploitation, criminal activity and capital, but rap culture is more. Rap culture is about leisure, self-determination, climbing the economic ladder, breaking racial and economic oppression, while disrupting Western and Eurocentric ideologies. Rap culture is freedom. I think this is why we (youth, collectively) rage so hard to it.

As a Southerner, fan and advocate for Southern style rap combined with her expertise of marketing and extraordinary entrepreneurial intelligence, I believe YesJulz, at the very least, has a solid understanding of what rap culture means to all youth, specifically youth of color. I think this is the passion that pushes her work. She creates platforms to give opportunities to rising artists. Her and her team consistently release a #NewMusicMondayz playlist featuring mainstream and underground artists of different genres. #1AMVibes is all about artists joining the public in a harmonious turn up. She also manages New Jersey artist, 070 Shake, which has gained much popularity due to Julz’s marketing genius (And of course Shake’s musical genius). Julz’s image (fashion brands, hairstyles, hosting style, party structure, etc.) carries the aesthetic of blackness. To me, it’s clear she appreciates and values that aesthetic and as long as it is respected then I am in full support.

I’ve moved past those tweets and now look at Julz as a business. When I think of her I think of Jay Z’s legendary line “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man”. Her growth is inspiring; there is no doubt about that. Her ability to receive and most importantly, retain attention and hype is what’s remarkable. She does all of this by just being herself and being accessible. Julz can see that people yearn for accessibility and to be so close to the ones they admire. She feeds and nourishes that craving in her Snapchat and Twitter. This is how she is able to form and build relationships with all of her followers and that’s exactly how she captured me.

YesJulz Tweet3

Whether it was obvious or not, I was being shady asking her how she felt about the white face in Young Thug’s video. At that time I had only gotten to know her from the infamous tweets  so I decided that the question was fitting. I expected no reply or possibly a subtweet about how “people always make everything about race” and whatever bullshit people like to say to dilute racism and inequity but her response, as simple as it was, impressed me. Simply, responding was impressive and unexpected.

After this I followed her Snapchat, looked up interviews and reviews, and binged researched. Who is YesJulz? Where does she come from? What is she about? Below are some videos that gave me more of an insight into Julieanna Goddard’s journey to YesJulz.

#ADayWithJulz Miami Edition

No Jumper- The Yes Julz Interview

So how do I feel about her now? I consider her a role model for young entrepreneurs. She is smart, strategic, proactive, and personable. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she is gorgeous. As a young entrepreneur myself, seeing her success is compelling and influential. I’m intrigued by her work ethic, youthfulness, drive, and her service to young children in need. #HashtagLunchBagMIA I have the utmost respect to those who give back. She marketed herself so well that this skeptical black woman (talking about myself) purchased a ticket and convinced her friends to rage at 1amVibes in Philly. I’m excited to see her work in person and in progress. I just wonder how accessible she will be as she moves farther up.

  Stay tuned for a 1amVibes review from a first time rager. #GoodVibesOnly