Posts Tagged ‘Not So Social Media’

Warning: Both video clips use excessive language in the lyrics. NSFW!!

(Contains NSFW lyrics)

Long ago, when rappers didn’t rock with each other (keeping it PG-14 here), and it hit a fever pitch, they ended up on a Beef DVD and engaged in RAP BEEF (Hence the obviously NSFW Boondocks clip). The series, for those that don’t remember, spoke on some of the biggest beefs in hip-hop–and some not so much. Beef III, per Wikipedia, was released in 2005, followed by a short-lived BET series, then left in the early-to-mid-2000s like snap music.

(But, even snap music had beefs. Contains NSFW lyrics)

These days, when rappers don’t rock with each other, instead of dropping diss tracks and/or appearing on camera slugging it out, they’ll usually hop on Twitter and spew their disdain, then drop the bars. Part of me is like “cool. If it keeps dudes from killing each other over stupid ish, let the boys cook on Twitter, drop some IG bars, and keep it at that.” But, I’ll be honest. I miss those old days when rappers would actually go at each other on tracks if there was animosity. Heck, I even miss the days when artists would knuckle up, beat their differences out of each other, then get back to their business(es). Now, I’m not condoning violence in music. Nor am I saying that artists should beat the crap out of one another every time they’ve got a problem. There’s enough black-on-black violence in the world. But artists should–oh, I don’t know–hash out their differences artistically!

Twitter Novels and “artsy” selfies (ugh) be damned, we know that Twitter isn’t (that) artistic, y’all.

Perhaps the root of this “Twitter Beef” rap era still falls upon the deaths of so many hip-hop artists because of overblown beefs, rivalries, set trippin’, etc. Artists, as angry as they are at each other, they don’t want to live and die for their music. That’s commendable, as it’s often not that deep of an issue to kill over someone going at you on a track or whatever. But, at the same time, wasting energy to tweet “oh I don’t eff with Rapper B” when they could’ve used that time to make music or what-have-you? It comes off as sneaky and disingenuous, kind of like a troll in a message board who types racist ideologies just to get a rise from people.

I’m the type of artist that’d rather use whatever fuel you give me to go harder on a track, so I just don’t understand tweeting about not rocking with someone. Can someone out there explain it to me?

…”or nah?”

Until next time.

Speed on the Beat

I’m going to try to keep this one mostly safe for work.

It’s 2014…well, almost. Do you know where your children are? They’re not in the 1980s, that’s for sure. The kids (and older people) these days are kind of focused on other things aside from the dangers of being arrested for breaking curfew, and/or creepy old men in white vans. Today, they’re probably more likely to be getting into some sort of debauchery a few steps away from you making a Vine, twerk video for YouTube, or attempting to curse some pseudo-celebrity out in 140 characters (or less). But why? Well, in hopes of usurping that pseudo-celebrity and become…(Twitter) famous

Part Three of this series (link highly not safe for work, as it was the last time we posted it here) got me thinking a bit. What if there was another method to Reina’s madness? What if it wasn’t about just making out on camera or teaching the world to be appreciative of themselves, regardless of their makeup (or lack thereof)?

Baxt-X8IEAAVn_A

Disregarding that she looks like she’s 12 in this photo, what if this young woman, like many before her, is just trying to “make it” through social media usage. We’ve seen this sort of thing before (Kat Stacks, “Superhead,” the Love and Hip-Hop cast), never ending well and usually playing out as follows:
1) IDGAF attitude with some insults thrown in
2) Giving the masses/the thirst buckets something to salivate over, usually sexually charged
3) Receive hatred/buzz from your actions
4) Still DGAF, but show some sort of remorse/”humanity,” usually through showing yourself without makeup or try to blame your actions on your childhood (whether or not it’s true)
5) Minimal fame
6) Repeat ad nauseum until the world gets tired and moves on to someone else, usually leaving the initial person broken and shaking their head at the disillusion of “what could’ve been”

One has to wonder, if there are so many people who do this sort of thing (in any form) and fail, why repeat the mistakes/actions that put person A into this position?

(I apologize in advance for taking this in another direction, but this is what happens with a complicated topic.)

I think it’s a societal thing that’s exacerbated by social media. Yeah, I know. We always want to blame society. We never want to take blame for our own actions. However, societal values, whether attributed or ascribed, do have an impact on everyday behavior. Sex sells, and in a society where people are often reduced to their genitals and the like, you’ll get a person with that “I’ve gotta use what I got to get what I want. Damn the consequences” type of mentality. Add in social media and we will get people that have body issues because they don’t look like the models (or even the “models”) they are constantly bombarded with on websites, television, and so on. Because of this, they very well could attempt to “correct” their imperfections through surgery, caked-on makeup, and so on. Lastly, because of these societal issues and the explosion of social media, so-called trolling exists as it does because trolling is considered funny (which, I mean, it can be–just not all the time).

I don’t want to go too off-topic, so I’ll leave the trolls for another day. Staying with the issue of body image (and all that entails), Camille brings up some great points in her post “My Body Doesn’t Exist For Your Entertainment.” If you haven’t checked it out, I advise you do. Now, from a male perspective, I agree with a lot of what she’s saying. A woman should have the ability to say “oh, I’m going to be this or that” and not have to worry about what a man–or even another woman has to say about it. That’s all fine and good. I support that, and I try not to shame a woman’s image. It’s not how my mom raised me to be.

A while back, I was dating someone. We’ll call her Kelly. Now, Kelly was a younger white woman from Baltimore County. Stick with me, because this eventually ties back to the “social media and sex” aspect of this post. Now, Kelly? She learned from an early age that, in order to get what you need out of life, you have to show off. She also was “trained” to believe that, in order to keep a black man (as a white woman), she had to whore herself out to him and be his whipping girl–to atone for sins committed in slavery and that sort of thing. This girl was so messed-up from her “truths,” she was unable to have a decent relationship with a guy. I didn’t know this about Kelly until she sent me nude photos and rudimentary “flixxx” of herself (this was before smartphones, so the quality was atrocious–but that’s beside the point). I also didn’t know how deep it went until she started speaking about how she’d cut herself if a guy constantly didn’t say she was pretty enough, or “sexy” enough, or what have you. The last I’d heard from Kelly, she had three or four kids, was unhappy, and wished that she’d someone to teach her something besides what she learned growing up.

This brings me back to Camille’s post and my own issues with body image and sex in the media.

My issue is in addition to the patriarchal set-up of what’s considered “attractive.” My issue appears when it starts to trickle down from “the top” (read: Kardashians, video girls, even Michelle Obama’s scowl face to “That Selfie” to a degree) onto the so-called “rest of us.” And, because of this trickle, you get twelve-year-old girls posting booty shots on Instagram with captions such as “My azz so phat.” My issue is when children are doing these sorts of things trying to get some sort of buzz/notice online because they’re not loved at home. They feel that this is (partly due to social media’s obsession with instant gratification, sex, and so on AND partly due to horrible parenting) the only way that they can get that love, even if it’s a feigned “love.” My issue is, I’ve got a son who’s almost three-years-old who’s going to have to grow up in this society obsessed with instant gratification through, among other things, the sexualization of our young people. But, it goes even deeper than just “oh, society tells me that I need to be ‘sexy’ to be ‘famous.'”

Because of these ascribed traits, we start to not only question our own self-worth, but the (self-)worth of others. That’s how we get memes such as “Light/Darkskin N*ggas Be Like” or “Black B*tches Be Like.” And all the while, while you’re up in your house thinking of memes and so-called funny crap to talk about…they’re just laughing.

Who’re “They,” you ask?

Those that make the “rules,” but never seem to have them broken because people are too damned busy focusing on frivolous stuff and focusing on that perfect booty shot to notice that there’s a war going on outside. A war not for money, or oil…but for our freedom of self and for our minds. And, before you get all “Speed’s being all militant,” I’m not just talking about upper-class white people. This sort of thing goes beyond race. Class, not as much, but definitely beyond race. And as I’ve mentioned, it’s not even (just) a social media issue. However, the use of social media expands the problem to the masses in ways once thought to be impossible.

Until next time, I’m out. Hopefully, this will help guide you along a better path of knowledge and a path to make better decisions in life. If not, at least think on it for a bit.

It’s 2014. Well, almost. And, at this point, I’m sure that some of you a good portion of you have – even snarky or sarcastically or “just for giggles” – used a social media website or the like to gain a leg-up (no pun intended) and get some alone time with a potentially special someone. Gone are the days where online “dating” would require a box of tissues and a high-speed internet connection – mostly, anyways. Instead, we’ve got an entire boatload of websites dedicated to sad sacks – and not-so-sad ones – finding love at first sight (or, at least, love at first…yeah…).

This entry into “Not So Social Media” is dedicated more so to a cautionary tale. If you’ve followed my personal blog/website, you may have heard some of it. Arteest, feel free to cut me off at anytime if this gets too out of hand/too BroBible for the blog.

After my break-up with my son’s mother in late 2011, I, in 2012, decided to try my hand at online dating. Yeah, I know. What a stereotype! A (mostly) black man leaving his child’s mother to date other women. Well, if you knew, mentally, what I was going through at the time, you wouldn’t really judge…as much. Anyhow, I said to myself “what the hell? I mean, Facebook’s turning up blanks. Barhopping’s turning up more Beckie’s and Becca’s than I can shake a stick at. (I may have actually ran into Becca Martinson, now that I think about it. (No wonder she didn’t respond to my interview requests) I definitely don’t want to date a stripper, even though they’ve (kinda) tried.” The first couple of times, I drew wildcards straight out of Baggage Claim (for Men). First, there was a woman who, after we went out for drinks, said I smelled like alcohol. Secondly, there was a woman who I met on a Tuesday, kissed on a Tuesday, and ended up having sex with on a Thursday. Suffice to say, the spark in that “relationship” faltered quicker than RG3 in the 4th Quarter. (Too soon? Don’t worry, I’m a Washington “American Football Team Club” fan, too) As all hope ran dry, and as I finally dusted myself off and started to see clearly, all hell broke loose.

My face after the first two. #ThankYouBasedTiaMowry

My face after the first two incidents. #ThankYouBasedTiaMowry

I met Angela D. Boston. Obviously, Angela’s not her real name, but since I’ve already talked about it on my blog, I figured I’d save her some anonymity – something I didn’t allow with my whole Dezeray/Heartbreaker/I’m-Losing-My-Ish dilemma. Angela, who had a habit of calling herself “Flawed Perfection” or some derivative of that idiom, was about two years older than me. She worked in PG County at a phone store. Angela, like me, had just broken up with her long-time boyfriend who she lived with. The break-up, apparently, was kind of an OMG! Moment. She was, according to her, very freaky. She liked to drink, nerd out, kick ass in Call of Duty, and still do “girly things.” She, unlike a lot of the women I’d talked to previously, also had female friends. (SOTB Tip: Ladies, this is clutch. If you want your man to grow tired of you, stay around him 24/7. If, however, you want a healthy relationship, make sure that you and he both have your own sets of friends to hang out with. Hell, they can even mingle, to a degree, of course.)  All in all, the girl was pretty awesome.

Until it all started unraveling.

That face you make when you know it's all about to go to ish.

This is my “aw hell, I done got myself into some ish” face, as displayed by Paula Patton.

Now, you’ve seen Catfish, right? If you haven’t, you’re a sad excuse for a millennial. This story takes Catfish and spins it on its MTV-funded head. First, Angela starts sending me photos that don’t really match up. Secondly, they’re all from the neck up. I’m thinking, “ok, maybe she’s got a crappy phone, or maybe she’s just kind of a BBW or something. No biggie.” Of course, she starts rejecting times we could hang out, date, or even just have sax. Then, she starts questioning me about things that most people don’t know about. This, in itself, isn’t that harmful. It’s one of the things that allows people to get to know you. However, when you factor in that I’d never even met this woman and she’d rejected all attempts to actually meet her…you get a stalker vibe from questions such as:

“Why do you have so many pictures with [your son’s mom] on your Facebook?”
“Why do you want to get a tattoo of the Orioles Bird?”
“Why aren’t you over your son’s mom?” (This is something I mentioned to no one, ever. At all. On Facebook, Twitter, or otherwise. And, at the time, it was no one’s business, either way, of my feelings for her)
“Why is your middle name Everett?”
“How old is your mom?”
“How did your cousin’s kids’ mom get evicted from her new place?”
“Why do you have that slight split in your eyebrow?”
“Why don’t you come out and play? I’m right outside your window!!!”

But, the problem wasn’t even (just) the vibe of the questions. It was the way they were asked, like some sort of scorned ex-girlfriend who’d be willing to show up at my house with a shotgun, a tarp, and a shovel. She sent me a text that was longer than Dan Snyder’s fight to keep(?) the Redskins name. I tell my friends about it, and they pretty much confirm everything I already knew: Angela was bonkers.

Ya...don't say, Speed?

Ya…don’t say, Speed?

Not that Bonkers, but the face still applies. So, as apparently is the norm for awkward, potentially psycho pseudo-girlfriends, I hit her up via phone and text and said “hey, this is probably not the best thing.” This was, of course, after I flipped because she was creeping me the hell out. But, at least, I was warranted in my disdain for the situation. And, that was that, we didn’t talk and everything was hunky dory – or so it seemed! 

(I had to.)

A couple of months later, I end up needing a phone charger. I’m on Route One. This is because I’m meeting my son’s mom to celebrate her new job. So, I stop at this strip mall and go into a phone store. Just my luck, it’s the same one where Angela works – and she’s actually on duty. The photos, obviously, were of other people – or of her when she was in high school. As much as I tried to not make eye contact, out of fear of, you know, being turned into stone (or being hacked up into little bite-sized Speed on the Beat pieces), I do.

I go from this…SONY DSC

To this…hayate_sweat_drop
To this…awkward-face

Paying for my charger, and not even giving a damn about change, I hop back in my car and speed off. I’m pretty sure I spend $30 for a $23 charger. A couple of minutes later, I get a text:

“Couldn’t say hi?”

In the immortal words of Nino Brown, I had to cancel that…well, you know. Blocked her number, her friends’ numbers, her friends’ friends’ numbers, and to this day, I have never gone back to that phone store.

And, I don’t plan to. And, I’m pretty sure my soul will be required in hell at some point because of this whole thing. Let’s hope not though, shall we?

It’s 2014, almost anyways. Do you know where your friends are?

-socially-awkward-penguin-wasnt-invited-anyway_20120416114305

Has social media created a generation of socially awkward penguins? Oh, the irony.

A better question. It’s 2014, almost anyways. Do you know how to make friends? I know that’s a damning question to ask. I can hear the pitchforks being sharpened now. I also hear the rumblings from the peanut gallery. “What? Does this Speed guy think I’m socially retarded? Eff him!” (RAGE!) But it’s one that’s serious and, while almost cliché to a fault, needs to be answered.

In talking to a friend today, he mentioned to me he’s deleting his Facebook as social media’s, to him, “a crime against humanity” worse than reality television. This is mostly because it keeps people from actually interacting with each other and, instead, trains them to focus on instant gratification and, to quote Drake, “worry about [their] followers.” Mind you, I’ve known this guy for almost eight years–longer than I’ve been on Facebook, Twitter, or even known as Speed on the Beat. So, when he talks, I usually listen, and vice versa.

And, well, it got me thinking. Even more so than usual, of course.

pokemon_twitter_by_polexis-d33fc05

Gotta Tweet ‘Em All!!!

I have over 1200 “friends” on Facebook. A decent portion of them I’ve met personally at UMD, City College, or elsewhere. Others, I’ve not met, but I have networked with through music, blogging, and so on. Hell, some of these “not met in person” friends have helped me out in things even more so than some people who I’ve met and known for years. Thus is the power of the internet–sometimes.

But, an alarming amount of my Facebook friends, I’ve realized, I couldn’t tell them apart from a hole in the head. I mean, if someone showed me a hole in the head and a random Facebook friend, I may just shrug and ask which one is my “friend” again?

Social media was, at one point, a way to network and actually create some sort of trail of people who you could use to better yourself.

Somewhere between The Facebook and Bitstrips that message/goal got lost, and it became less about actual networking and more about a Pokemon-like mentality. Was it because of teenagers young people and their need to feel validated in the world? No. Teenagers and the like will always do this sort of thing, social media or not. It’s just what make them who they are. With social media, the seeds of this Pokemon mentality were planted, in some ways, from the beginning. You join a network hoping to network. Through this hope, you find more and more people with similar interests and the like, and build your network. Soon, you find that your “friends” and your friends’ “friends” have interests. If you’re not careful, you’ve got a million friends, a trillion Farmville requests from 2009, and thirty-thousand Bitstrips per second flashing in your face.

But, maybe I’m finally showing my age. I’m in my mid-to-late 20s, which, in social media world, is older than George Burns. There are a portion of you that will look at that name and ask me who in the holy Big Krizzle am I talking about. That may be a problem.