Monthly Archives: December 2009

Do Black Parents Slack On Their Parental Responsibility?

Note: This is a guest post by a chronic back-seat blogger. She’s always telling me what to blog about, and I’m always like “If you’ve got so much to say, write it your damn self!” And so, without further adieu (and only the most minor edits)…

Kudos to the Nigerian terrorist’s father for trying to blow up his son’s spot before he did any real damage, even though no one listened to him.

Nutso’s father’s actions got me thinking about the difference between Black and White parents and how they deal with their children’s issues.

Of course, this is a generalization, and I’m not suggesting that my observations apply to all parents of the respective races, but in my experience it’s more the rule than the exception.

It angers me that Black parents aren’t as vociferous about advocating for their children who need help with educational or emotional issues, or act like nothing needs to be addressed with their antisocial, depressed, disturbed or special needs children.

When a White parent has a child with special needs, they form or attend support groups, make sure their children interact with other children who are similarly situated, and fight like marines to make sure their children’s educational needs are met.

If their children show signs of emotional disturbance, they take them to a therapist, seek out the school counselor or do something – anything, proactive.

Our people, on the other hand, act like something is wrong with the person raising the issue about their child’s behavior or issue, rather than address their child’s issues head on.

We don’t want to acknowledge  that anything is wrong and can’t stand the thought of airing our “dirty laundry” in a support group.  Of course it’s not easy to accept that your child is less than “perfect” but I feel that perspective is in the eye of the beholder.

Your children look to you for cues on how to respond and if your response is shame and denial then they will feel and believe that something really awful is wrong with them without you saying a word.

If, instead, you treat them like champions and fight the world for them, then they believe it’s us against the world and even if other people don’t understand or get them, they know their parents and family do.

Culturally, whether we are African–American, Caribbean or African there is a stigma associated with mental illness and disabilities that is pervasive with adults in our community, but  I think it’s unacceptable when it applies to children.

It’s almost a furtherance of our self hatred that is being passed down through the generations. It’s as though parents think  if my parents beat me and ignored my needs then why should my children deserve any better?

Like it’s part of our culture to not address our children’s needs because that is how our parents and grandparents were raised. It’s  a new day and that doesn’t hold water anymore.

Get up on your own counseling first and work out those demons so you can be a better parent. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the imbalanced classification of our children (specifically our boys) as requiring special education.

This over-classification partially goes to the failure of the parents of these children to fight for fair classification, and allowing the school system to take charge, and is partially attributable to blatant racism.

More often than not, there is no correlation between the classification and the educational or economic level of the parents.

I have witnessed professional Black parents with absolutely monsterous, troubled children that make excuses for them or act like their behavior is cute.

These same kids will grow up to be the nut jobs that people will say “we always knew something was wrong with him way back when he was a kid.”

It’s our responsibility to address our children’s issues and fight for their rights at every turn regardless of what other people within our community think.

Why is counseling and therapy something that ‘White people do’ and isn’t considered a viable treatment for helping to heal emotional and mental pain?

So, if your child is depressed because they are ADHD or struggling with autism and are ostracized by other children then he should just suck it up?  How is that helpful?

If the school is trying to classify your child and you haven’t already taken him to see a doctor to diagnose the issue, how can you have an effective dialogue with the teacher?

I don’t have a degree in early childhood education but I can read, I have access to  the internet and a library card, so I research the matter as best as I can, instead of being all “yessum boss” when called in to discuss my child’s needs.

As a parent, I have a ‘challenging’ child, and not only do I fight for her at every turn, but I let everyone know that she is hyper, talkative and energetic before they interact with her.

She has told me that she feels  “wild inside” and I have to deal with her in a very patient, measured way and so do all of her teachers and everyone else that interacts with her.

If she says something rude at a playdate, I make it a point to give that parent permission in advance to reprimand her, so she learns that it’s not acceptable to say every little condescending, tactless comment that comes into her head.

I make sure she feels good about herself without indulging bratty behavior, or turning a blind eye because it’s easier.

When I come across disturbed children (more than just bratty or ill mannered) and I see no action on the parent’s part, I no longer allow our children to interact with them, because that off-the-chain behavior rubs off on other children.

I can’t stand when one of mine comes home sassing me, or asking me why can’t they play video games until their eyes bleed, like so-and-so. Or worse, that this other child said or did something really disturbing and their parents blew it off like “kids will be kids.”

I don’t play that with playdates on home turf.  You can show your little behind all you want when you’re at home, but when you step up in here I demand magic words ( I don’t work for you) and polite demeanor with me and my  children  or you won’t be asked back (they usually comply).

If you’re not going to take care of your kids, who will?  Who’s responsibility is it, the judicial system?

As I said at the outset of this post, ‘Kudos’ to the parents of the Nigerian would-be bomber, for having the guts to alert the authorities to their disturbed child.

More of we, Black parents, need to take a hard look at our own children to make sure we’re getting them the help they need before we have to turn them in.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Parenting

My nieces are so over Facebook.

Facebook, some people are so not into you.

As a technology and social media evangelist, I regularly recommend that my clients explore using technology and social media platforms to reach niche audiences, by employing the medium used by these audiences. Invariably, services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and their progeny feature prominently in my discussions.

With the ever-increasing number of users, and the development of widgets and other technologies, like Tweetdeck, which enable users to access platforms on-the-go, social media services are becoming inextricably intertwined in the way many of us live our lives.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the younger you are, the more familiar you are with advancements in technology, and the more readily you adopt them. Conversely, the older you are, the more out of touch you are when it comes to technology and social media platforms.

Take me, for example. I’m fairly adept at texting, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. But when compared to my 21 year old brother, I’m a sloth, groping blindly to grasp the nuances and intricacies these platforms have to offer. I figured that my little microcosm reflected the real world. However, as of recent, my assumption has been turned on it’s head.

You see, this weekend, I spent some time with my nieces, students at Spellman, and I was amazed to learn their perspective when it came to their use of, and familiarity with technology and social media platforms.

My older niece is a texting monster. Every few seconds, her Blackberry Curve is buzzing. She regularly engages in multiple conversations simultaneously. With many of her friends far away at their respective homes, texting became their main form of communication.

She loathes Facebook and Twitter, as unnecessary invasions of privacy. She sees no purpose in posting every intimate detail of one’s life online and believes that it gives strangers (i.e. friends of friends) access to information that they would otherwise not be privy to if they didn’t know you personally. Her younger sister, also an avid texter, is similarly Facebook and Twitter averse.

Both of them regaled me with stories of the various ‘beefs’ raging on Facebook, caused by one person posting a status update or picture that offended another. They narrated one instance in which the reputation of one Spellman student was put on full blast, because people she had friended, engaged in a smear campaign using the viral nature of the platform to spread misinformation about her.

This lack of privacy and ease for abuse has made many, like them, very Facebook averse. So while Facebook and Twitter are all the rage for some, for others, not so much.

As this little insight into social media from my nieces demonstrates, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And while brands may have different concerns from college students, many of the issues they face will be similar.

Knowing which nodes to tweak to reach which person becomes invaluable as user preferences differ widely. The digital and social media marketing mix employed by brands should be designed to tap into the digital spaces in which folks naturally congregate.

At the end of the day, I encourage my clients to jump, feet first, into the technological/social media fray, because you can’t have a dialogue with folks, if you don’t speak the language.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I know why the caged bird cleans.

I never understood the phenomenon of cleaning up before your cleaning people arrive. I mean, isn’t the whole purpose of hiring a cleaning service TO CLEAN? Why, then, do people feel compelled to tidy up before they get there?

I’ve never been so balling out of control that I was able to afford hiring cleaning people, so it has always been an abstract outside-looking-in sort of query. I knew that if I ever hired cleaning people, I’d be damned before I started cleaning prior to their arrival. Shoot, I might make it MORE messy, just for GP.

At least that’s what I thought.

This Christmas Eve, we’re hosting the traditional Cook Christmas Eve party. Dinner really, but I digress. Typically, it’s held at the mother-in-law’s place. But as her grands now number 10 (with numero 11 on the way), her space is a tad, how do you say, SMALL. So we’ve moved it to our five bedroom, six bathroom messy ass house.

And since our house is so messy (we try, but the kids relentlessly generate laundry, dirty dishes and dirt in their wake), ma-dukes-in-law offered to hire a cleaning service to get the place in order, in anticipation of hosting the party. We scheduled a few walk-throughs, got a few references, before finally settling on a service we liked.

I was sooo looking forward to someone beside wifey and I doing the major cleaning. Sure, the kids make their beds (occasionally) put away their toys (rarely) put their clothes in the hamper (more like on the floor near the hamper) and clear the table after they eat (by ‘clear the table’ I mean leave everything exactly where it was when they finish eating). But when you’re fighting the war on grime, any assistance is a welcome respite.

Anyway, in the days leading up to the cleaning people’s arrival, the wife started bugging out.

“We’ve got to get this place clean for the cleaning people.” she’d say.

And I’d be like, ” Woman, stop tripping. Why the hell are we hiring cleaning people if we’re going to clean before they get here. What the hell are we paying them for?”

To which she’d reply, “We can’t have people see our house like this!”

And I’m like, “Hello? Walk-through. They already have remember? That’s why they’re coming back, so that it won’t look like this anymore.”

And then she’d be like, “Stephen, I’m not asking you to do anything. I’m not going to let this place look like this.”

Of course, being that the wife is seven (going on eight) months pregnant, “Stephen, I’m not asking you to do anything” is code for “Fool. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”

The translation of “I’m not going to let this place look like this” is “You’re going to clean this place up so it doesn’t look like this when they arrive.”

I’m quite fluent in pregnant wife-speak.

So last night (and this morning) what was Stephen doing? You got it! Cleaning before the cleaning people arrived.

Now I know how Cinderella felt.

But as I got the dust-bunnies out of under the bed (where do dust bunnies come from anyway?), wiped around the toilet bowls (what’s up with these kids and their aim?), and tidied up around the house (why would anyone put an apple core in their shoe?), I realized why people clean in advance of their cleaning people.

Shame.

If you knew that you were living absolutely foul, would you invite folk into your house? Probably not.

Even though cleaning people are there to help you address the foulness of your existence, they are still folk you invite into your house. So the tension is there. To clean or not to clean.

If you’ve got home training (according to the wife, I have none), then even though you are paying people for the service of cleaning, that does not mean that you show them your whole dirty bum. You wipe it down a bit, so that the dingle berries and errant piece of tissue aren’t readily visible.

If, however, you’re an unsophisticated savage like me, you bitch and moan – but clean, lest you incur the wrath of she-that-is-with-child.

When the folks from the cleaning service arrived this morning, I was awash in dust bunnies, bathed in the stench of Pinesol, and glistening with a Martha Stewart sense of accomplishment that comes with not inviting people into a messy home – to clean your messy home.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Procedure. A Man Nightmare.

It takes a steady hand...

December 15th shall forever be remember as the day I was violated…the day I was robbed of my innocence…the day the earth stood still.

I should have known something was a brewin’ from the night before. The baby kept waking up and coming into our room. She was probably sensitive to the trauma I was about to face. But my interrupted sleep could not have prepared me for the horror I was to face.

Aside from the nocturnal interloper, the day started rather uneventfully. Got up. Made breakfast and the kids’ lunches. Chauffeured the kids off to school and came home.

I shat, showered and shaved. Not really, I shat and showered and got myself dressed. You see, today I was going to see Dr. Bachynsky, my urologist.

My wife and I said that, after the precious angel the Lord blessed us with, I’d have ‘the procedure’ so that we wouldn’t mess with a good thing (follow up a good kid with a bad one).

Since she’d suffered through the indignities of three pregnancies: stretch marks, sleepless nights and swollen and sore mammaries, I figured the least I could do was have a lil’ snip snip.

Three years and another pregnancy later, I realized I may have been a tad dilatory in getting around to having ‘the procedure.’ I decided the best way to make up for it was to make the appointment, see the doctor and schedule ‘the procedure.’

The doctor’s office was a few minutes away from the house, and I arrived (wife in tow) promptly five minutes late.

After a few minutes, a nice looking nurse (with her pants pulled WAY too high) summoned me to the back, and a few minutes later (during which time I flipped nervously through a People magazine with trifling Tiger Woods on the cover) I was joined by Dr. Bachynsky.

Dr. B was a short, stocky pleasant looking balding man, with a nice bedside manner. Little did I know he was a demon incarnate.

What’s the problem?

No problem. I’m here for ‘the procedure.

Oh, ok. I’ll be right back.

He returns a few seconds later with a diagram and accompanying literature.

Alright, ‘the procedure’ is performed as an out-patient surgery. You’re typically in and out in about 20 minutes. I start by pinching your vas deferens and giving you a local anesthetic. You might feel a slight pinch and burning.

Uh, huh. A pinch and burning? You want to stick a needle in my balls?

Then we make a small incision with a scalpel, and draw the vas deferens through the incision. We snip off a small portion of the vas deferens and cauterize each end. Afterwards, we place the cauterized ends back into the testis, stitch the incision with a dissolving stitch and repeat the procedure on the opposite side.

Uh huh. You’re going to put a knife and heat near my balls?

You’ll typically experience swelling the following day, so we usually advise our patients to schedule ‘the procedure’ for a Friday, so you can rest and stay off your feet. What do you do for a living?

I work from home.

Ok, so no heavy lifting?

No.

Then you should be fine. The soreness usually dissipates within a week. In two or three months, you’ll come in and give us a sperm sample. If the seminal fluid is negative, then you’ll come in a month later, and we’ll check again. Two negatives means that the sperm behind the procedure is all gone. But until then you’ll have to use birth control.

Two or three months?

Or about 15 ejaculations. That’s about how long it takes. Now let’s check you out.

Excuse me?

I’ll have to check your vas deferens and your prostate.

My prostate?

Yup. It’s part of the evaluation process. You can just drop your pants and lay on the table.

Wait, you mean NOW now?

I comply.

When you have ‘the procedure’ I’ll pinch your vas deferens like this. I’ve got to check that you’ve got ’em on each side. I once spent an hour looking for a patient’s vas deferens, only to learn that he’d been born with only one! Now turn over onto your side.

Turn. Over. Onto. My. Side. WHY!!!!

Sounds of latex being stretched over pudgy fingers and the splurt of of a viscous substance.

Now just relax…HOW CAN I RELAX WHEN YOU”RE ABOUT TO STICK YOUR…

And then it happened. My manhood was taken without the exchange of even the slightest of pleasantries.

Everything seems in order. Aside from the fact that you’ve got your finger in my arse, you mean?

You can call Cathy and schedule ‘the procedure’ whenever you’d like. He says while wiping my ass. OH! The humiliation!

I descend (sheepishly) from the table and pull my pants up from around my ankles.

It was nice meeting you. I’ll see you when you come back in for ‘the procedure.’ He says smiling, hand extended for the obligatory departure shake.

I can’t even look him in the eye. You beast! How could you?

Good day to you doctor….Mengele.

See you soon. Smiling still. I will slap that smile right off your pudgy little finger orifice probing face!

Oh the things we do for love!

20 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Smack talking

Kevin Powell knows how to throw a party.

I just arrived at Kevin Powell’s 9th Annual Holiday Party and Clothing Drive at Tribeca Cinemas and I’m happy to be out of the cold.

Kevin Powell's 9th Annual Holiday Clothing Drive.

My man Richard Burroughs hipped me to tonight’s function. Rich is one of those ‘in-the-know’ folks, that I believe Malcolm Gladwell refers to as a ‘maven‘ (or is it a ‘connector?’) According to Rich, this was an event not-to-be-missed.

I’m fashionably early and my VIP credentials won’t be issued for another hour (thanks Tanya). So I follow two cats who seemed to know their way around to what I thought was the screening of the Bill Withers documentary, but what ended up being the inner-most sanctum of Tribeca Cinemas, where the beautiful people have started to assemble.

The very well appointed bar at Tribeca Cinemas. Gingerale, bartender. Clean.

Apparently it’s sound check, and a chick with pipes is checking her levels on stage. Note to self: find out who she is later. I walk around, taking it all in. There is a well appointed bar, four blank canvases on easels set up for an Art Battle, and lots of musicians milling about.

Art Battles

Art Battles paint.

Blank Art Battles canvases.

Three hours later I’m jamming to Maya Azucena and a host of talented artists and musicians, grooving to a wicked set from the world famous DJ Beverly Bond and having a frigging blast.

Maya Azucena rocking the stage at Kevin Powell's event.

The Art Battle being waged in the rear section of the lounge, produces four distinct and divergent pieces.

Art Battles completed pieces.

Alternating between the acoustic lounge, XBOX gaming room, the main dance floor and the VIP room, I almost forget that I’m at a clothing drive.

Upstairs in the VIP Lounge with DJ Beverly Bond.

The grandeur of tonight’s event is attributable to Kevin Powell, who brought together corporate sponsors, like XBOX 360, Fader magazine, Smart Water, Anheuser Busch and the New York Post, and some of the most influential personalities in New York for the Street Horizon Streetwork Project, one of the numerous charities to which he lends his support.

In addition to being a philanthropist, an acclaimed writer, activist, pop culture aficionado, and one of the nation’s leading voices of his generation, the night’s host is also my frat brother.

I track KP down and give him a pound for what is unquestionably the best charity event I’ve ever attended, before heading home, thankful that I did my part – and partied.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Barbara Walters’ list was bogus. The REAL most fascinating people of 2009

These folks were worthy of your voyeuristic attention this year.

Last night, I watched Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating People of 2009 on ABC, and let’s just say I was underwhelmed.

After wading through *YAWN* Lady Gaga (who looked like Barbara Walters her damn self), Jenny Sanford (played out by her philandering husband), Glenn Beck (racist wasp), Tyler Perry (he’s RICH b*tch!), Adam Lambert (“I’m gay.” Duh!), Brett Favre (bustin’ out at 40), Kate Gosselin (Jon is a punk), the Jackson children (and why exactly are they fascinating?) Sarah Palin (Moronic, yes. Fascinating, no.) and…wait for it, wait for it…Michelle Obama, I was like that was BORING!

Michelle Obama is Barbara’s most fascinating person for 2009. Why? Oh, because of her great arms. What kind of absolute nonsense is this? How can a woman’s arms make her the most fascinating person in the entire United States? Does Michelle Obama have the best arms of any first lady? She might, but who cares?

I was so disappointed that I decided to create my own list, as follows:

10.  Jay Z. 2009 was a big year for Jay. It marked the first time he had a Billboard number 1 single, Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys. He celebrated one year of marriage to Beyonce Knowles, and turned 40. Big things for the biggest name in hip hop.

9.  Bernie Madoff. Bernie made-off with an alleged $65M of other folks’ money. Even after he was caught and under house arrest, he tried to smuggle jewels and cash to his family and friends. I think they’re considering changing the name of the hustle from Ponzi to Madoff scheme, because Bernie took duping to new heights.

8. Dr. Conrad Murray. After the heat that Dr. Jan Adams (the doctor that killed Kanye’s mom) received, I thought that Black male doctors would have stepped up their game when it came to dealing with their celebrity clients. I was wrong.

7. Black women who support Chris Brown. What a commentary on the self esteem of women of color, when they rally to the defense of a punk ass b*tch who puts his hands on women. It’s one thing for his immature friends (Omarion, Ne-Yo, Puffy) to stand in his defense, because they’re boys. But the sheer hostility that other Black women demonstrated towards Rihanna, was SCARY.

6. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He had amnesia and forgot he was a black man. How could I NOT put him on the list?

5. Jaycee Lee Dugard. Props to this girl for living through kidnapping and 18 years of unadulterated torture at the hands of a pedophile (he needs to be castrated). Her story gave hope to thousands of parents of missing and abducted children.

4. Lil Wayne. Who else can be perpetually high, have two baby momma’s (Lauren London and Nivea Hamilton) give birth at the same time, be featured on three top 20 Billboard singles and have a documentary (The Carter) all at the same time?

3. Charla Nash. She’s on the list for courageously surviving being attacked by Travis the Chimp because she didn’t want her daughter to be alone in the world AND for showing us how she looked on Oprah.

2. Maria Belen Chapur (aka Governor Sanford’s mistress). Her milkshake was so good that this fool went AWOL for it. Bump governing South Carolina. Bump the wife, the kids. Gimme some of that Argentinean booty!

1. Tiger Woods. Until he was caught, he displayed panache worthy of the most fascinating person designation (what’s the count at now, 15?). Who knew that the squeaky clean, world’s number one golfer could be so trifling AND sloppy?!

Full Disclosure: I picked my wife’s brain for some of the individuals featured on the list. She vehemently disagrees with Jay Z (she thinks he should be number 15 or 16).

1 Comment

Filed under Smack talking

Best female rapper in the game? I think not. Who is Nicki Minaj, Part 2

I’ve gotten a bunch of push back from folk who felt like I didn’t give Nicki Minaj a fair shake in my post yesterday.

Is Nicki Minaj the best female rapper of all time? Nah!

A few suggested that Nicki Minaj is the ‘best female entertainer’ in the game right now. Others claimed that she’s got exceptional lyrical abilities, unmatched by her peers. And at least one person opined that she’s the best female rapper of all times.

Not one to forego an objective and even analysis, let’s examine each of these claims in turn.

Claim No. 1: Nicki Minaj is the best female entertainer in the game right now.

Response: Bullocks! Sheer and utter bullocks.

Rationale: For anyone to make this claim, and believe it, they’d have to say that Nicki Minaj trumps the likes of serious entertainers like Beyonce, Shakira, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, each of whom puts on a wicked live show.

If you focus solely on female rappers, then perhaps that claim has some validity. With Remy Ma doing a bid, Foxy Brown on permanent hiatus, Lil Kim struggling to make records, Lauryn Hill lost in la-la land, and Missy Elliott relaxing in her riches, there is an absolute void of female MCs. Moreover, artists like Trina, Da Brat, Rah Digga and Lil Mama, have ceased to be relevant, making this void even more pronounced.

Summary: Nicki Minaj is NOT the best entertainer in the game right now, but perhaps she is the most entertaining female rapper out today.

Claim No. 2: Nicki Minaj’s lyrical abilities are unmatched by her peers.

Response: Negatory. No. No. No. No. NO!

Rationale: Unmatched by her peers? It’s fair to say that Nicki Minaj is a rapper. That would place her in the same group as Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Rakim, Grand Puba, Tupac, etc. But we’re not going to pretend that she can hold her own with any of these icons. If we focus only on female MCs, then she’s in the ranks of Lauryn Hill, Missy, MC Lyte, Rage, Queen Latifah, Eve and Remy Ma (to name but a few).

Even the most cursory examination of the lyrics of any of her songs, illustrates that Nicki possesses fundamental lyrical ability. But she’s got nothing to match the sheer wordplay of a Lauryn, the complexity of Missy or the intelligence of MC Lyte. Even if we focus only on her delivery (if you can get past that annoying voice), she pales in comparison to Remy or Eve, whose signature staccato delivery can’t be matched.

Summary: Compared to virtually any of these rappers, her stuff is marginal, at best.

Claim No. 3: Nicki Minaj is the best female rapper of all times.

Response. Pure unadulterated nonsense.

Rationale: Nicki Minaj has a total of ZERO records charted on Billboard. Outside of her ‘mixtapes’ she has released ZERO albums. She has no real spins to speak of in BDS or Mediabase. Grammies? Nada. With most of the female rappers named in this post each generating units moved in the MILLIONS, she’s got a loooonnnnngggggg way to go before she can even be mentioned in the same sentence.

Summary: Nicki Minja does not possess the track record to qualify for the ‘greatest female rapper of all times’ moniker.

Cats need to slow their rolls when it comes to Nicki Minaj. She’s got passable skills and a banging body, but passable skills and banging body do not a female rapper make. Let’s see if she’s got staying power, and can come with something more than pity-pat simple lyrics.

12 Comments

Filed under branding

Eye candy. Lyricist. Flash-in-the-pan. Who is Nicki Minaj?

I don't recall Wonder Woman being black or quite that buxom.

I’ve been listening to the just-shy-of-gratingly-annoying voice of Nicki Minaj over countless records recently, and I struggle to accept how popular she’s become.

For those of you unfamiliar with Nicki Minaj (and I don’t blame you), feel free to check her out on Wikipedia.

If you can’t be so bothered, and are looking for an abridged version, Nicki’s on the Break Up Remix, with Mario featuring Gucci Mane. She’s also on Gucci’s Sex in Crazy Places, featuring Trina and Bobby Valentino; Shakin’ It for Daddy, with Robin Thicke; and Miss Independent Remix, with Ne-Yo.

She’s also been featured on songs with everyone from Lil’ Wayne, to Drake, Birdman, Lloyd, Beyonce, Yung Joc and Bow Wow.

Since she dropped in 2007, she’s released three mixtapes: Playtime Is Over, Sucka Free and Beam Me Up Scotty. Her current single, I Get Crazy, featuring Lil’ Wayne is all over hip hop radio, and she’s got a growing fan base. She’s got over 265,000 MySpace friends, 361,000 followers on Twitter, and 296,000+ Facebook fans.

Young Money Entertainment and Nicki’s management clearly have a handle on the effective use of social media tools. They’ve created a viral following for Nicki, leveraging tools, such as MySpace and YouTube, to seed the cloud with Nicki’s music and videos. There are over 14,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, and over 425,000 profile views.

In a word, Nicki Minaj is POPULAR.

For critical hip hop aficionados, Nicki may remind you of Lil Kim, Trina or even Remy Ma, but with the absolute lack of female rappers in the game today, she’s got no competition.

So while her voice may be annoying (it really is), she’s got the looks, the backing and (passable) skills to pay the bills.

And if you didn’t know, now you know.

3 Comments

Filed under branding

It’s Friday night and I should be partying like a rock star. But I’m blogging.

I got all dandified for my night out in NY last night.

But it’s 12:56 a.m. Saturday, and I’m sitting on this computer.

Something is not right here.

Let’s run it back, shall we?

I threw on my new Gap corduroy blazer I got on sale for $34.99, with a vest (fast becoming my signature) and Brooks Brothers silk chocolate tie, atop a white French cuff shirt. I completed my look with a pair of Levis and a pair of brown suede Kenneth Cole loafers.

Note: My brother strongly recommends Levis for their cut, comfort and timeless fashion. He was so enamored with them he gave me the very pair I’m wearing.

Stephen is stylin'! Ain't I!

Accessorized with silver cuff links from Harlem Thread, a distressed silver buckle black leather belt and my Movado, I was quite the dandy.

Tight. Aren't they.

I wore my hair up, to complete the look of a curiously handsome, and well dressed cosmopolitan man about town.

Ladies, simmer down now.

Plans were to liaise with friends on the lower East side, attend a Magazine launch in Chelsea, and link with some Hollywood types from LA to wind out the evening.

I put in QT with the kids, and felt I had earned my hall pass. That’s right! I said it! I EARNED my night out.

With a preggo in the house, I can’t just be stepping out, I’ve got to put in my time, to wit:

I got up at 7:00 am, got the kids dressed. Asha and Chima generally dress themselves, so I really only had to get Banana (that’s Duran) dressed. But I’ll take credit for all three. Someone had to tell them to get dressed. Hello?

7:00 – 7:20 made breakfast and packed lunches

7:20-7:35 fed breakfast and took out garbage

7:35-7:45 got dressed and retrieved Banana from having hair done

7:45-7:55 got kids in car

7:55-8:35 drop offs and D&D run for preggo’s daily decaf-caffeine fix

8:35-9:00 shower and shave, call William Sonoma in the Short Hills mall to confirm that Zoku is in stock (it’s not)

9:00-9:30 Google and call various WS within 25 mile radius to find Zoku-stocked store (locate one in Paramus)

9:30-9:50 drive preggo with shopping list (where’d she get a shopping list?) in tow to Garden State Mall (exit 161 Garden State Parkway) in which aforementioned WS in located

9:50-12:00 acquire Zoku, Coach 2010 planner refill, Hello Kitty pen, Green Tea Frappuccino, and filet-0-fish meal

12:00-12:20 return to Montclair

12:20-1:25 click click clack on my MacBook, make a few calls and Skype chat

1:25-1:35 retrieve kids from bus stop (half day, ordinarily they would have been home at 3:00)

1:35-2:20 set the kids up with snacks, Kumon and homework

2:20-2:35 pick up Banana from Montclair Pre-K and bring her home

2:35-3:15 review assignments and get kids ready for weekly Kumon lesson

3:15-3:30 pile kids in car from 5 minute ride to Kumon

3:30-4:35 Kumon with the kids (Banana and I sit in car. Me click click clack. Her making Jim Henson with her bunnies)

4:35-5:45 Detour to Wendy’s for impromptu surprise dinner (Kumon instructor’s report was full of praise)

5:45-6:15 Back home, switch kids into pjs, lay out sleeping bags laid in living-room-converted-to-indoor-campground and set plasma to On-Demand Hotel for Dogs.

6:15-6:55 order Chinese for preggo, dressed and wait…and wait…and wait (Me: Helllo. Where is my food? Them: Very busy. Coming. He be there soon)

6:55-7:10 feed preggo, check on kids

As I said, I EARNED my night out.

7:10-8:30 drive to NY (ordinarily takes 20 minutes)

When I finally broke on through to the other side of the Hudson, I had missed my first rendezvous. The friends on the Lower East Side? Also running late.

Make more phone calls in the lobby of their apartment building…and wait…and wait…

He arrives. It’s 9:12. We shoot the breeze. Jay Z and Frank Sinatra at MSG are in hi-def on a 42″ LCD on Fuse. Next thing I know, it’s 11:44. Concert was banging (Jay Z is quite the showman), but I’ve totally forgotten about the launch party.

I call my man, and of course, it goes straight to voicemail (because he’s in the function, you see, and probably can’t hear his phone). Did I say that the function went from 9:00-1:00? When he finally calls back, it’s 12:11.

The launch party is clearly not in my future, and I convince myself I’m not really trying to hang out. Gracefully bow out from the Hollywood types, and head back home.

Hit a little traffic on 280 coming back to Jersey, and here I sit.

It’s now 2:45. I’ve been writing and editing.

I’m having an ephipany.

Love the kids. Taking care of them is a pleasure. It’s still work, but fun work.

Probably accomplished more NOT liaising with folks tonight than if I had.

Answered emails. Sent texts. Made calls. Worked on site with my developer. Closed a deal. Scheduled a few meetings.

Got a lot done today.

I like working from home.

It’s 3:23. Just had to tell someone.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized