This cannot Continue

One quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., has become a touchstone for those who seek to understand why those individuals in Minneapolis have taken to the streets: “A riot,” King said, “is the language of the unheard.”

So much ugliness in the world has added so much stress to the strain of us finding betterment and common ground. Time and time again America has neglected to positively build and/or acknowledge this: if we are truly in this together then where are the genuine bridges to empathy, compassion, and respect for cultures beyond one’s comfort zone?

In this season we’ve seen some folks flaunt so much self-righteousness, lack of empathy and leadership beyond comprehension. Simply put, cowards cower and leaders lead. I often find it strange that when we go the route of a peaceful protest, we have often been met with disdain, violence, and callous judgment. For months we’ve seen sad insecure people go to our capital throwing temper tantrums with their guns without being tear gassed. Instead of a protest, it almost looks like a festival was taking place.

We’ve been told over and over to get over situations in this country that continue to happen recklessly. Meanwhile, some wonder why there is so much mistrust and misunderstandings that unfortunately continue to occur. We’ve been beyond shock and awe in this country for a very long time without resolution. It is beyond madness that white supremacy, which is terrorism, isn’t treated in our own backyard like it is when we prep to go to war with Al-Qaeda or ISIS. We have a running faucet of Black American citizens who continually are being treated as if they are expendable yet they are in fact American citizens, colleagues, friends, etc. They all belong to people who love them and should not be cast out as garbage. It is common knowledge that we do not get justice: instead we only get swept under the rug. However, the first shall be last and the last shall be first and in this very long season of neglect and apathy it all has a hefty fine to pay. My black skin isn’t to be weaponized, and I am not to be treated as a criminal and/or target practice to cover any perpetrators who steal joy because of hatred and insecurity.

The heinous repetitive murders that we see are tragedies that shouldn’t be happening, but because we are here once again, we should be mourning together as a nation without it being a second thought. We truly should be advocating for proper de-escalation and support.

If you are an officer in the community, you should be working for your community and stop being trigger-happy soulless puppets. Too often we receive brutal force from police instead of receiving protection.

Two months ago I was walking for coffee in my neighborhood, which is in Grandin, when an officer asked what I was doing and where was I going?

If I were white walking in the Grandin area, would it have been a second thought? He then circled around the block and looked at me with anger in his eyes.

I am angry as hell. However, I still choose love and to open my heart to connect with people where they are and love beyond my comfort zone.

This cannot continue to happen, and we need to grow in this season by holding our leaders accountable and truly working with people who are willing to do the work of leadership.

The Long Haul

  My friend  and I talked about this journey of healing that we’ve both been on and she was curious if I was ready to love again. We talked about how we overcame our personal obstacles and what we are learning . I can be honest in saying of course I am ready to love and I truly know that it means now to be truly selfless. All this time alone gives you time to think about everything and I do mean everything. There is nothing you can do but learn from your past and move forward to what’s shaping your future. I am very self aware about everything and seeking wisdom healing to be better. It is important to be gracious when loving someone and true to your love and not take it for granted.
  I relate to losing a great relationship I had to one of those last runs that you see in old gangster films.  The last run always gets the Scarfaces, Frank Lucas, and anything that Ray Liota plays every single time. You get this so called rock n Roll excess to things and you take why you are doing the things you are doing for grantedIt’s a privilege to perform ,to have people relate to your calling, and to be able to grind it all out. I had walked away from a 10 year job and started a prestigious job and planning a future with a wonderful soul that I should’ve truly savored every moment with. My problem has always been I try to go all in and rush the process of learning what someone is about. I saw this beautiful woman and her children and thought to myself this is what I want and what I want to do. It takes time to develop a relationship and so often we sell ourselves like a shoddy car salesmen but the truth is when the salesmen is done and completed his sale, you may end up with a lemon and with that lemon comes disgruntled feelings and mistrust from the consumer.
 I was that used car salesman because I focused so much on being what someone desired that I didn’t  leave much room for me and when I couldn’t get the affection that I longed for I would allow others to fill that space. I was an addict for attention and I didn’t want to face that demon until time forced me to really look at myself. I am accountable for why I am where I am and I’m not proud of it at all. I was so fucking toxic and I had no hazmat suit
I personally am not proud of my doublemindedness and past indescretions with the opposite sex. If I focused on building a partnership and friendship instead of  being so consumed by who was serving me I’d be alot better off. My lust filled heart and trash antics are why I am where I am. I made a negative choice to leave a toxic door open thinking I could balance it with my budding potential future and it blew up in my face because God doesn’t bless a mess.
The hardest thing but the greatest thing I experienced was true love and the greatest lesson that I learned was from losing love. Hours of E&J and Al Green on my record player, constant flashbacks, pictures, and brainstorage chewing up my brain like a caterpillar but it was evidence of love that I chose to reject because of the spillage of unchecked toxic emotions.

  I had a woman a full fledge one of a kind classy woman who depended on me to be solid for her, who felt safe enough to be tender and vulnerable with me and in this day and age that is very fucking rare. I  used to search my brain and often wondered what it all mean? It means  WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!!!!
   It means let go of the fabricated stereotypical so-called relationship norms that we assume work like spending our time painting humans into our sometimes fractured selfish image instead of just loving them for who they are and truly building them up. It is important to find out what makes you whole and to be happy for you instead of pressuring others to make you happy. To be content and to be solid is the best way to be instead of the constant running on fumes addicted to people who feed the ego instead of feeding the soul. 

DIARY OF A BUDDING INSOMNIAC?

So I am not sure if it is insomnia but for the most part the past few months I  have just rested briefly  just laying looking at my ceiling. The magic hour for me is 2 am where I post up on the couch for code black urban indie films probably directed by Dwyane Martin no doubt. Sometimes I just drive around the city trying to find inspiration. I often lately hit these creative spurts to write from a reflective place of pain but sometimes I am not sure who this blog is for? I guess in a way it’s therapy or a venting space but whatever it is I haven’t been frequent in doing it so here is going forward in keeping a rhythm.
      Today I met a fellow creative for lunch and it felt like I was doing a magazine interview. I sometimes find it awkward answering questions about my creative process but I guess I have to humbly accept that I am a writer. I think about the low moments  and how negative people try to judge you by the chapter that they walk in on. I feel it in the air that I’ve been tested in my life and I must find comfort in the uncomfortable moments. They serve as a teacher and can provide a testament that heals you in moments of being transparent and vulnerable.
 Today I went to coffee with a person who had just started writing. She asked me about my spiritual walk and how I got to a place of truly choosing Christ. I told her the good, the bad, and the ugly and she listened without judgement. I enjoy the real time and the genuine connection made and how refreshing it was to just talk.
  Time is currency and how we spend it is very important so it’s definitely important to choose to spend it wisely. We live in such an age of social vampires that want our essence by any means so it is important to protect the spirit and rid ourselves of things (people) that hinder us from thriving.
 I am saving my testimony for my book that will be published and I detail all the feels. The days   are great but the nights are somewhat lonely but I’d rather be lonely than miserable. I sit still on Sundays and put on Duke Ellington. I forgot about how the sound of the record player can fill my heart and can provide an escape from my pain. Pain helps the healing and it lately has been something I feast on more frequently.
It hurts sometimes going out seeing families and wishing that I had my own but this is the life that is supposed to be and it is cool. It isn’t easy but I’ll be ok and what will be for me will be for me as long as I let love be an active catalyst for change in my spirit.  It is important to be content and to go boldly into our futures. More and more I’ve realized that I had to mature as well as grow into the man that God wants me to be. 

Love and what not

The biggest lesson I learned was you have to kill the ego and truly allow someone to love you when given a chance to truly love. The moment that you are given a chance just move forward in building something bigger than yourself. There is absolutely no room to be selfish or double minded in this experience. I speak from experience from all of the trial and error that I’ve been through. I got to do a podcast last weekend that reminded me of self reflection and the importance of exploring what makes me, me and also what needs to evolve. To boldly sit with yourself and to be reflective about what to do better instead of holding on to the idea of a stereotypical fabricated tainted version of this worldly conditional love.   I personally have always been insecure and had spent so much time worrying about acceptance of others but it truly isn’t needed. Spinning your wheels of needing acceptance and validation is tired. These past few months going to places where some grieve the loved ones they’ve lost have been such a profound teacher in what to do and how to just simply love.  A family is truly the greatest love and treasure to receive.  Success is cool but to have someone genuinely rooting for you and in your corner is greatness beyond measure.   Seeing myself unsatisfied and full of envy had me on a quest of self destruction and crashing phenomenally in love taught me going forward that I better take my time to truly value a  precious heart  and savor the time given to love selflessly. To be whole for yourself and to be  truly honest about the good, the bad, and the stankin’ ass  ugly with someone else. Love is a privilege and yes to love is Divine. It is vital to truly give someone  a chance to choose you instead of hiding and wearing a mask.  I was given so many different chances to love but saw the same things over and over again because of my unwillingness to strip myself of selfishness and ego. God truly is love and with love we should all be moving parts that heal, motivate, elevate, and grow something bigger than ourselves. 

Artist Note

I do not condone violence in any form! I don’t usually like explaining my art but it is important to note that I am referring to the mind as a gun to be used to shine and to express myself unapologetically with creativity. Also, I am speaking about the importance of finding out what makes you different . I found so much comfort in creation and to evolve with purpose is my goal. It is imperative that we define success for ourselves and define what you care about. Don’t substitute the judgment of others for your own because you are the expert at you. I appreciate your love and I hope that you enjoy my directorial debut . I included Artist Bryce Cobbs amazing public mural of Nipsey Hustle because Nipsey’s music was truly a motivator in my darkest moments and Bryce’s work is spectacular. It is truly one of the things that shines so brightly in our city. This is my first time just playing around with my equipment and so critics you already know what to do….. it’s still love tho!!!!!!

-Bryan “Harvest Blaque” Hancock

Pruning

 Pruning is a horticultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, improving or sustaining health, reducing risk from falling and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. In this season I feel as if God has been doing some pruning in my life, spirit, and soul.  I spent the beginning of this year very lost and very distraught over what wasn’t changing in my life instead of being content with my life. There were also things changing in my life that I wasn’t ready for but here I am facing them.
        Some people look at the small social media window as life but it isn’t all that glitters. I don’t talk about it much  but I’ve been in and out of treatment for four years for depression and it isn’t something that I am not ashamed to admit.   I was forced to take a serious look at my life and build a foundation for myself. I spent alot of time in my life not embracing my gifts and being outside of myself straining myself to fit into boxes. I was   playing a role in other people’s lives instead of being myself and the results were catastrophic. I felt often restricted and resorted to accepting  scraps as a meal in my life.  All I’ve ever wanted was to truly be loved and appreciated but I never did that for myself. You indeed have to love yourself and nobody can do that for you.  It is so very important to be secure in our own skin and to not drain a love one with the burden of the insanity of trying to fill a hole with a hole.
    I was coasting 8 months ago with a false sense of confidence thinking that where I was in my life was a good start to being comfortable but there is absolutely no such thing as being comfortable. We are either growing & adapting to change and adding value to our families, friends, community, etc. I’ve lost alot of friendships due to my shortcomings as a human being but with those losses came personal lessons that were brought to my attention whether I wanted them or not. I took some friends in my life for granted and some days I just didn’t feel like peopling. Some folks showed toxicity and counted me out when I thought I needed them the most.
  The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is to be careful of the people and things that we put on pedestals and to also know what your identity and worth is  in all personal and professional relationships. We can easily make so many things false idols in our lives that paralyze growth and healing.
 There is in fact pruning taking place in my life  and I feel the lord is in fact doing it to help my growth. I have come to a place of accepting this and being at peace about it. Although facing some heartbreak earlier this year stung ,it showed me what it truly means to be secure on my own and how to say “no thank you ” to people, places, and things that don’t reflect  or support my personal values. I’ve also had time to learn how to speak about the things that I like and don’t like. It is so important  to learn what it means to stand firm  for healthy thriving environments/people  instead of being  in positions that don’t provide nourishment.
 Co -dependency isn’t love, it is the reinforcement of seeking unhealthy attachments which in turn robs us of the time to learn and flourish into who we are supposed to evolve into. As long as we are breathing we should keep learning and evolving instead of growing cold, desensitized, numb, and tired from foolish things that separate us from what’s real in our lives.To be honest..the old me would characterize an ex or someone I disliked in my life  as a villain in my life but the truth is we are all people who should look internally at how to love ourselves better and examine our hearts on how to push righteousness to the forefront.

Unapologetic Part 2: Stones to throw

We spend a lot of time putting people on pedestals who show off being the perfect social gurus with the perfect lives until things hit the fan.  When I am often related to as a “Brand” I rip off that  lie and say nope because I am what I am. We always lived in a  time of  informational bias so jammed up that critical thinking  and candid conversations are few and far between. It seems like everyone is an expert on everything until it is time to know where you truly stand.  We live in a world so fixated on perfection that some cannot seem to muster up the courage to be human. I rather tear off the lie and work towards being great instead of pretending that  I’ve got it all together and if you do have it all together let me know your secret. I’ve seen too clearly what wearing the mask can do and it’s not healthy.  When you really come to the conclusion that you don’t need acceptance it is indeed freeing. My advice is just strip off the lie and learn that you father God’s plans are better than your own. We too often throw stones but who amongst us would be so willing to open our closets beyond fluff and disguise it as vulnerability.
If you proclaim to love Christ I hope you lead with a voice of healing and not a voice of apathy, judgement, and having a pharisee spirit. Too many times we also see people prescribe Christ to others as if they themselves are all knowing and aren’t willing to truly be a blessing to others. Passion in us often leads to our disappointment in others. Disappointment leads to frustration. Frustration leads to anger.(this part sounds so Yoda) Anger is expressed in an attitude of spiritual superiority and leaning hard on others.Along the way, without even recognizing it, a disciple becomes a pharisee.
    To have grace, love, and mercy for others is so very vital. Grace is the remedy to those who struggle… and  grace looks beyond the flesh of who a pharisee assumes doesn’t measure up. If we see who they are in Christ, rather than who we wish they were as growing Christians, it changes our view. I am not an expert but I am learning more and more about what leading with love looks like.

The Fog pt 2

if you see greatness in me, it comes from my lord and savior. I am imperfect but I know that I praise him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by him. I’ve learn this last year that it is easy to get into a false sense of comfort. Corrupted by the illusion of what may feel good until you find yourself addicted to the sugary existence without substance. The accolades as much as I wanted them won’t set me free, there is only salvation and freedom in Christ. The obstacles and moments of discomfort in our lives are a reminder to surrender to what’s greater which is the God within ourselves so be encouraged and do not be pigeon holed to man’s labels & expectations. When you are in the thick of a bad situation you look to try to save your own hide instead of listening to truth plus, you selfishly hold on to false bravado and toxic behaviors. It is important to shed the cocoon and become who you are supposed to be. Be you on your and make your way according to the word. So many times we look to fill a hole with a hole, this mundane chase that leaks toxicity all over our lives. Moments we fabricate made for the highlight reel yet we are more complex than what we show and do for likes and appreciation. I found out last year that there is no sacrifice in being too comfortable. I was arrogant and very proud, becoming addicted to the highlight reel and put off learning new lessons for coasting and hot dogging. I was so selfish and I somehow got lost in so many ways. I definitely was lost in looking to make a name for myself but what is the use in making a name if it ain’t making a difference? I had been humbled and I am still being humbled and molded. Now, I am working on what I am feeding my spirit and being more mindful of time and energy. Some will be offended by this and some of us live in a constant state of offense but when you know what master you serve, it clears a lot of the fog. I know in many ways some look for who I was but he is in fact dead and gone. I appreciate those who truly gracefully loved me for me and challenged me to be better. In this season I choose wisdom, I choose peace, true love, and the dope moments to just cherish without the optical illusions.

The Greatest Of All Time Died on March 9th

Picture if you will a chubby 14 year old latch key child who sat around the house babysitting his younger brother everyday reading comics while his mother worked two jobs. A kid who ate syrup sandwiches and often got made fun of at school because he was fat and wore wind breaker outfits & k-mart brand shoes every day. That kid was me and I wouldn’t have traded any of it because it made me who I am.
  I had low self esteem and often wanted to escape everything  and although I was very lonely, through it all I had my music.I grew up in a house that listened to everything A to Z but I always chose Hip-Hop music.  I remember my mother gave me my first discman for Christmas one year, It was skip resistant with the bass boost switch. She took me when she could to spend my allowance at wherehouse music inside of Valley View Mall. One Saturday in particular changed the way I listened to music, it was the Saturday that I bought The Notorious B.I.G.’s certified classic  “Ready To Die”.
     “Ready To Die” is a dark,funny mind blowing album that is a mixture of soul piercing beats mixed with graphic vivid storytelling.  It never left my discman as I would study it syllable by syllable track for track and to this day I consider it a bonified  masterpiece.  Biggie’s wit, his angst, his truth spoke to me and opened my mind up to being ok with just being myself.
My favorite song was “Everyday Struggle”  which illustrates Big’s life hurdles and the burdens of an inner city youth just trying to maintain. Each track was like a movie to your ears revealing layer after layer that brought you closer to his life.
We need more artist like this now more than ever who will be willing to delve deeper into who they are and use lyrics to artistically display the challenges of being who we are and the challenges we face when we look around.

The FOG

  You find more and more in this life  that we get so many high opinions that only come with low or zero commitments. We live in a world so immersed in vanity  and the willingness  to belong to perfection that we throw so many stones that condemnation has become our addiction.I allowed alot of mess inside of my heart that slowed me down this season but as long as i’m breathing I cannot be stopped and I must evolve with purpose.  At 40 my eyes have been opened to the fact that it is very important to guard your energy and to love the people who truly love you. To love is the bravest act of the soul and to selflessly give of your heart means  also being vulnerable enough to reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly to the ones we claim that we love so much.    I was lead to share with you Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” I found myself earlier a couple of months ago in a place where I was frustrated and down right proud & miserable . I found myself being very self destructive and I am not proud of that.  In times of turmoil we look everywhere for love and acceptance but from within and sometimes we neglect friends/family who truly love us for who we are. The key to acceptance is knowing that you don’t need it so be fruitful with your life and take a chance on you.  It is absolutely  so  important  to also be present  to love the people who truly love you unconditionally.  It’s hilarious how we run towards anything and everything but which can bring you peace , prosperity, and healing.
I see that even in the fog and the lostness is truly part of the journey yet on the other side of that trip we find out that we are often addicted to the optics and what looks great and feels good on the surface.
I was told that when your black at 30 the window shuts on being able to be loud and speak your mind but  I have continued to get louder in speaking my  mind and  truly learning from the testaments from how I tried and failed. Failure is the greatest teacher known to man but when you are seeing alot of the same things  on repeat,    God is truly warning you to surrender and to stop wearing a mask. A friend of mine recently  shared the story of how formula 409 got it’s name. She told me that The Formula 409 name is actually a tribute to the tenacity of two young Detroit scientists hell-bent on formulating the greatest grease-cutting, dirt-destroying, bacteria cutting cleaner on the planet. Thing is, creating the ultimate cleaner doesn’t just happen on the first try. She related this to me as if to say have the tenacity to keep trying  and to know that our testaments  are our way of destroying the dirt and grime in our lives. We haven’t gone too far to be made new and even when the world rejects you and says that you aren’t enough just surrender to the love of God that can keep you from falling.
I recently fell into this false sense of comfort in my life  and allowed myself to grow soft and cold even though great blessings were happening right in front of my eyes. Yes a false sense of entitlement covered me for a moment that had me clinging to selfishness sending a clear vivid message to someone I loved the most that only more disrespectful behavior could only be in store.  From that hurt that person became rightfully new and she no longer cares about anything I say or could possibly do because my prior actions were very self serving. I can honestly say that I put my selfish desires before my squad. From those negative decisions I only caused stryfe and pain to someone who had already endured much pain before I even came into the picture. I painted a false picture of perfection and hid my flaws in fear of rejection only to have those insecurities and falsehoods drop on her like an emotional anvil.   It severes established trust and brings in more emotional trauma and for that I humbly apologize. Going forward I shall be content, I shall be focused on leading with love and instead of chasing false treasures I will honor the greatest treasure that is family.
This season I learned much about stripping myself of those false senses of comfort and to be brave in going into the unknown. I am just a product of grace being built and if some don’t understand that then so be it.  See our dreams really come to life when we rid ourselves of fear and a false sense of comfort. It is hard to see the bigger picture when you are in the thick of it but it is important to be solid and above all else, patient. Yes I have weak moments where I want the instant gratification of the life I once knew but that life wasn’t the big picture. It was built on a faulty structure,a weak foundation of lies , a false sense of entitlement/ comfort. We must evolve and we must allow the pain  to actually make us stronger.