In this digital age, there are certain things that I miss at times like the importance of a landline phone, or a good paperback book and talk radio shows with music and hilarious discussion topics. I’ve jumped on the podcast bandwagon. I love them. I laugh with them and shake my head in agreement with their commentary. There are five in particular that I look forward to every week to get me through my 8 minute ab workout or help me get through the digital pile of deadlines that find their way onto my desktop.

The Friendzone 

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I’ve been a HeyFranHey fan since my earlier Tumblr days in 2009 and she serves as the right amount of balance between Assante and Dustin with their hilarious antics and commentary. Listen along every Wednesday as Dustin Ross, HeyFranHey & Assante explore mental hygiene, because who in the hell wants a musty brain? 

Girlboss Radio

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In case you’re ever in need of some morning inspiration #Girlboss legend Sophia Amoruso finds some of the most brilliant women entrepreneurs and gets all the inside scoop on their building process, career gems and strategies. It’s also girl chat as well.

Black Girls Talking

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It’s like dialing up for girls on a conference call. Black Girls Talking is a podcast wherein 4 black women discuss pop culture, Beyonce, & the pursuit of the perfect body oil.

Another Round

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Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.

2 Dope Queens

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Join the 2 Dope Queens, Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, along with their favorite comedians, for stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys, living in New York, and Billy Joel. Plus a whole bunch of other s**t.

Produced by WNYC Studios.

So you know, while you’re brushing your teeth or while you’re getting dressed or frying you an egg or simply making a smoothie, give one of them a listen and get ready for some morning laughter.

 

 

Erykah Badu’s song “Bag Lady” released in the year 2000. I was only in the 5th grade and I would ride the bus to and from school on the other side of my city, but I remember the bus driver would always have the radio on and it would always be on the soul and R&B stations so on our way to school and on our way home from school the bus would be full of kids singing along loudly, not fully understanding what these songs were actually about.

I remember listening to “Bag Lady” literally thinking it was just about women carrying too many bags. Like the kind you see struggling to catch the bus, with a bunch of groceries or shopping bags, but as I got older I began to understand the figurative meaning of carrying bags. We as women tend to carry a lot of them and often times when we’re told to let them go…we don’t know how.

Sometimes as black women it’s hard for us to unpack the luggage we carry because often times its not our own but someone else’s so we don’t even know it’s there. But it is and it affects us and those around us deeply. If you’re one of those women it’s time to start doing some self-checking on the state of your mental and emotional well-being. If you haven’t done so, now’s a great time to start. Who’s bag are you carrying?

There are times when I’m around certain people and my entire attitude just shifts. I find myself easily agitated, complaining and upset and it’s really unnecessary for me to be feeling that way. There are times when friends are going through a tough time and while it might be ideal to be there for them, their energy is taking a negative toll on you. It’s okay to let all of that go. It’s also okay to be there for them without taking on their baggage. It’s possible.

Don’t burden yourself with someone else’s baggage. Women we are often guilty of doing that. We absorb the burdens of our children, our family, our friends, our significant others and we carry them with us. We can’t resolve them because we don’t even know that the death of your friend’s grandma’s sister’s cousin is stuck with us. You don’t know that your best friend’s boyfriend’s financial issues are now your burden because she talks about them whenever you’re around each other. You don’t know that any of it is there simply because it isn’t yours, but it’s there. We are the original empaths, but while we’re emotionally investing in others, who’s checking on us? Who’s bags are we carrying?

So in the words of Ms. Badu “let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go.”

Often times, I see and hear that black men need to be more supportive and loving of the black woman and often times, I agree, but I thought why does it have to be such a difficult task? Why is it so hard for us to just support one another and I realized it’s mainly because we simply don’t know how. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much positive representations of black love and support on a romantic level and a platonic level and when there is, it’s usually boring as hell. So it’s no wonder people get hyped up off drama. There’s the idea that yeah, we’ll support our sistahs, but with exceptions. Meaning they’ll support a certain type. So I decided to make it easier for the fellas who are making a conscious effort…and for those who aren’t…DO BETTER!

Appreciate our NATURAL beauty

It’s cool if she rocks long weaves or crochet braids with a “beat” face, tight dresses and stilettos, but it’s also cool if she doesn’t. It’s cool if she doesn’t take hours to contour and highlight her face and prefers a simple lipstick. It’s cool if she doesn’t touch her eyebrows. It’s cool if she’s the wash and go queen and only needs an afro pick to start her day. Fellas, it’s cool. It’s cool for you to have a preference, but it’s not cool for you to bomb on and bash other women because they aren’t your “cup of tea.” Appreciate the things that make her who she is, physically. That means cut the crap on the dark skin slander, quit it with the nappy jokes, and stop making us feel like anything less than the amazing women we are because we don’t look a certain way.

STFU and Listen Bruh

One of the most important things a black man can do for his black woman is listen. Seriously, we’re not asking you to be Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent and fix our issues all the time, we just want you to listen. Don’t be so quick to label a black woman as angry and bitter because she’s upset about something you did. Don’t rush to the defensive side so quick. If you love us and sincerely want to support us, you’ll hear us out. She ain’t angry or bitter, she’s just tired and it might not necessarily be with you. It could be work frustrations, the perils of motherhood, her interactions with others, the list goes on and she could just use a fresh pair of ears. Otis said it best in try a little tenderness. So stop flapping your yaps and open up them ears and LISTEN.

Show the Hell Up

Black women…we show up, for everything! We show up for everyone, but when we need our men to show up for us all we hear are crickets unless you’re the son, father, husband of the woman that dragged you to the event. Recognize us! Acknowledge us and quit leaving us hanging! So what if we’re hosting a panel discussion for women or a writing workshop for kids, show up and make yourself useful.

You Ain’t Got the Green Light

The one thing I hate when it comes to respecting the black woman, is there’s always an exception. There should be no exception to giving someone respect! There’s the idea that if she doesn’t respect herself, then no one else will. NO. You show her respect still and help her see the value in her worth. That doesn’t give you the green light to join in on the hate train. If you see something, say something! If you see a woman being bashed on social media or in public, don’t share it for shits and giggles, or be a silent spectator, say something! Be accountable for your brotha that’s bashing your sistah. Stop it with the respectability politics. You can’t say you love black women, but then pick and choose which black women you’re going to respect based off your standards, usually physical ones.

Our Lives, Our Choices

Seriously, can we live? Live without society policing our every choice? Can we at least get that freedom to choose from our men without judgement? Let us be great. Let us be great and single. Let us be great and taken. Let us be great and natural. Let us be great weaved out. Let us be great twerking on a Friday night at the Hookah lounge. Let us be great in Sunday morning worship. Let us be great in a tight bodycon dress. Let us be great in a hijab. Just let us be great and respect that our choices are our choices and unless it’s causing you any harm and danger then you shouldn’t be speaking except to edify.

Check ya Ego

She don’t want you bruh and you know what, that’s okay! Life goes on and it will literally be about five minutes before you’re cat calling the next woman who walks by, so you don’t need to call her a bitch, slut, fat or ugly because she didn’t want you. Check ya ego and squash it. Also before you open up your mouth to speak to her, ask yourself, what can I do for her life? Why should she stop for me? Am I being respectable in my approach?

Now, before anyone starts with the “same goes for women,” or “…and vice versa,” let me just say I’m not addressing women right now, I am addressing men. I’m talking to you brothas. I applaud and send kudos to black men holding it down for black women. The black men who know that the only way black people will progress is if we start loving each other unconditionally. The black men who knows that black women are the future.