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Brokeland

Black Conscious

Four Weeks Towards A Better Bag



Today marks the 100 day of the year which means it’s time to re-evaluate how your year is going. More importantly, shall I ask how is your bag is rolling?


If it’s anything like mine, my bag has been running, dragging and annoying the sh*t out of me. With that being said I’m starting over!

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Here’s play by play on how I intend to get it done.

April marks financial literacy month meaning it’s time to get back on track! This week I intend to write out my financial goals for the rest of the year. I need to sit down and be honest with what were my past financial goals? Where did I go wrong or right? What are my current personal finance goals? How I can save weekly towards it etc. etc.  Although the first week of financial literacy month is behind us, it doesn’t mean these steps have to be postponed, these steps were curated for you to start any time. Here are four steps you can take in four weeks to work towards a better bag.

Week 1: Write out your financial and money goals. 

Find out your spending temptation. What causes you to spend impulsively vs. saving?


Week 2:  Develop alternatives to curve your impulsive spending. 

The next month is fastly approaching and hopefully so will the Spring weather. Who doesn’t want to pop out for the one time?


However, since we’re being rational it’s important to yield not to temptation. How do you do that?  For starters, if you feel tempted to shop you can develop a wishlist for the sites where you are tempted to hit the checkout button. In developing a wishlist after leaving the items there for a while you will realize dammmmn, I really don’t want you in my closet anymore. Currrrrrrrrrrrrrrrve the spend so your pockets can win!


Week 3: Rework your budget.

I learned a budget does not consistently work month to month especially if your income and plans for the month change. Great budgeting consists of consistently reworking your budget and tracking your spending habits.


Week 4: Fund your money goals.

Now that you have reworked your budget it’s time you start putting aside money for your money goals. Remember, being realistic and idealistic is key. You must be able to set up a goal you can actually obtain. For example, wanting to save $2,000 when you only have $2,000 may not be a realistic goal. However, saving $500 in increments of 4 or $200 in increments of 8 can help you reach your end goal.


Working towards a better bag or keeping more of your bag is the goal in mind.  Do you agree? If so, your week starts now. I’ll be checking in soon to share my results with you and to see how great your outcomes will be.

Don’t Be Fooled By ​Social Media Flexing


My beloved friend appeared to be insecure and impressed by a man riding a Benz.  

So, I had to hit her with a serious question:

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Does he own it?

That’s right, because it’s 2018 and no longer are we going to subject ourselves to feeling beneath anyone over material sh*t. 

This is especially true if it isn’t owned. So what if he rides a Benz, an Escalade, or a damn hooptie. Does he own it? Does he have good credit? What does any material item have to do with your worth?

If the roles were reversed and she was riding in a Benz I would hope a potential candidate of hers simply wouldn’t care enough to give a flying hoot.  

I said all this to her to say it’s the principle in assessing why are you so hype or intimidated over material items. Just because someone has a luxury item doesn’t mean they are living the"oooh ooh you got it", the glamorous life. If an individual chooses to flex whether or not it's intentional or subtle, a flex is a flex. To be quite frank there’s no need to be impressed by the flex.

Too often we are consumed by conversations and aesthetic social media views of what others have. We have become consumed by people and their journeys and pictures without any clarity as to what really goes on behind the filters. We don’t place any thought to the stories given to us at face value but, we choose to compare them to our worth.

I’m just going to need these comparisons to stop. 

I don’t want us to be pressed by those with Benz or any other material items we lack. This is especially true if the Benz is not helping to increase our personal net worth and if the person one is pursuing is struggling to keep up with the Joneses.

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Our world surrounds people who post a picture, tweet a few words all in the name of bragging rights. We post our best looks to stunt and proclaim we live our best lives, even if we are dying to live on inside. Someone of us even unfollow people who make us feel anything less than golden. 

It’s like we need to be consumed about our net worth, growing assets, consumer debts vs. non consumer debts. More importantly, understanding how much does flexing really cost? I’m not talking about the financial values of a flex but the emotional and mental impacts.  How much does it pay you to worry about another’s flex?

Someone can have a Benz and be able to “afford it” because they are living with their parents and saving. 

On the other hand someone can afford a trip to  #IMLIVINGMYBESTLIFE and have that life sponsored by a Citi credit card. 

It can appear that someone is getting money, when in reality their net worth is decreasing by the debts they owe. 

We see the glory of others but we don’t know their story. We tend to crowd our own stories obsessed by false narratives and visuals of journeys that are not our own. I think it’s time we start focusing on our own narrative. 

I Decided To Open An Account With A Black-Owned Bank



Black banks are important to the economic progress of the Black community. Currently, there exists over 35 Black-owned banks and federal institutions. Black banks were created prior to the Civil Rights Movement when other banks did not allow Blacks to open accounts. Today, they are one of the most resourceful institutions for Black people. In fact, Black Banks helped to secure more than 60% of mortgages for Black people in 2011.


I knew I was switching to banking Black this year because I believe in investing in institutions that serve to assist my community. More specifically, I wanted to align my interest of increasing my financial literacy with an institution invested in my social justice interests and personal growth. Here's how I did it:


I set out to do research on what bank was most fitting for my needs. 

I looked through what each of these banks had to offer in terms of their rates, fees, and accessibility. I reside in Albany and there are no Black-owned banks in my area.


I wanted to know the reputation of the banks

What mattered to me in terms of selecting my Black-owned bank was: What kind of messages does this bank market? More importantly, what things within the community do they support? What is their motto? What kinds of programs and workshops do they offer to the community?


Does this bank offer online banking? 

I know. I know. This is not an uncommon question because there are banks that simply don’t offer online banking even though we live in the era of technology.


Can I maintain this bank account? 

This is not a joke. I was dead ass serious in answering this question because I wanted to ensure that I could keep a healthy and consistent relationship with my new bank account.

After going through these questions I finally chose my bank. For the sake of those who are interested in pursuing a Black Bank, I will refrain from saying the bank's name. I do not want to persuade you on your journey or choice. However, I support your decision and hope your relationship is as fulfilling and rewarding as mine! Yes. I'm satisfied with my decision!

Do you bank Black?

Let's Talk About The Broke Burdens of Children


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I’ve watched children from impoverished families forced to financially contribute what they didn’t have all in the name of “love” and finance. Then, they became a part of the cycle of struggle with no cushion, no talks and no discipline on how to build a strong  and comfortable relationship with money. I’ve watched people live for “family”, using their empty pockets to protect the empty pockets of others instead of saving  and building a cushion for their future. In all of my observations I’ve learned there are many burdens that exist upon children in financially struggling families.

I heard all the classics:

“You working now, you got money.”  (The line that may be used when assessing the pockets of children.) 

What folks seem to forget is that working doesn’t necessarily mean one has a plethora of funds. It may mean they have a wage and  a financial goal they’re working towards.

“You can’t do for family?” (The line that may be used when a child refuses to exert the last of their funds on something within the household that could have been accounted for earlier.) 

No, because that’s not in my budget. However, what is in my budget is ensuring I have a couple of racks under me to secure a foundation for us.

“It’s time for you to pay bills”. (The line that may be used on you when you graduate from college and  try to stay home and gather your coins.) 

It’s time for me to pay bills but, what support do I have for the progression and development of creating my own financial path?

Recently, I was conversing with my sister and we were discussing what are some of the biggest lessons we learned in poverty as children. For her:  “it’s that we can’t fault people for the way they were raised to think about money but, we can criticize their efforts in not adopting new habits especially when their behavior is detrimental to their family and future generations”.

 A WORD.

For me,  I said  it’s the burden that we as children don’t openly challenge the money issues that exist within the home. We are not brave enough to “check” the financial state of our families or our elders.

We can’t talk about “it”, it being money  because that brings up a serious case of internal issues, perception of how we “value of our lives” and  how we society looks our state of brokeness.

After our discussion, I then decided to ask around, I wanted to know what people thought about the biggest burdens on children in poverty.

They responded:

“Conflicting emotions about whether or not you should spend your money on food”. Edwin, New York

“Feeling a step behind, some use it as fuel out of your circumstances other harbor their feelings with money and it becomes a hindrance, and insecurity.” - Michelle, Texas 

“Feeling of inadequacy that stems from not having the same things as your peers and classmates. In terms of materials and opportunity. Feeling inadequate in other sectors well as in terms of personal and professional development”. - Michelle, Texas 

“Not having enough money to pay your bills”. - Candice, New York

“Eating struggle meals”.Susan, Massachusetts 


The broke burdens of children in struggling families is that they often are caught between the fine line of making it out vs. adapting unhealthy habits that continue the cycle of living in brokeland.


So, how do we remove these burdens? I was interested in hearing from the perspective of my elders.

They said:

“We have an open conversation with our children about the state of finances and poverty”. 

“We give children a voice to discuss their emotions and reflections on their current financial circumstances”. 

“We support our children through building their cushions and don’t need to feel entitled to their earnings.We don’t become jealous of our children because they are doing better than us. That’s what our children are supposed to do, put their families in a better position than last. That’s the key in “doing for family” even when we can’t give what people request of us in the moment”. 

This word from this last elder was the biggest word I received.

What are your thoughts?

*Special thanks to everyone who answered my texts and call for this post! You all were extremely helpful in assisting me through this topic and helping me find clarity. More importantly, thank you for sharing your voices regarding a topic we collectively feel an urge to more exploration more within our family and personal conversations. 

A List Of Basic Stuff We Need Money To Do

I don’t want to hear conversations about how money isn’t everything. Why? Because money is what makes the world go around. Money, is the force in which we aspire to hold in order to maneuver through this society. As Wu-Tang taught us without money life is hectic. We constantly think about the ways money functions for us or may not fulfill our personal needs.

*N*ggas with no money act like money isn’t everything - Drake*
I was speaking to a close friend the other day and we discussed the basic shit we need in life that requires funds. We noticed when we were younger we had a third lens on how money influenced our life. I guess it was us assessing how much money impacted our life because money was very much absent. Whether or not you examine money, it is essential to living a fulfilling life. Notice I didn’t say key, because I know people who are very happy, broke and optimistic. I also know happy, broke and optimistic people who would not turn down funds if they were offered to them. So, this is a list of sh*t we need money to do! 1. To Breathe It costs to keep my health together. 2. To Die It cost about $10,000 to die. TO DIE. 3. To Eat

I don't like an empty belly!
4. To Sleep There’s nothing like peaceful when you have money. 5. To wipe my Black ass It pays money to stay clean. 6. To go to school I’m not saying you need money to get into school. I’m saying you damn sure need a little change in your pocket to maneuver through it. 7. To break the cycle of poverty Give me $3,000 MAYBE EVEN $4 my saving would be off to a great start. 8. To graduate from school I need to graduate on time and have access to a job with GREAT funds. 9. To eat NUTRITIOUS FOOD I need access to healthy shit and the funds afford the healthy shit! 10. To maintain a roof over my head I need money in order to lay down. This goes back to #4! 15. To live in Brokeland It pays to be BROKE! Actually, It kills to be broke it really does. 16. To move I can’t move anywhere when I’m broke. I mean I could and be the next Taraji P. Henson but….#ITWASJUSTADREAM *Nelly Voice* 17. To buy a $5.00 meal $5.00 seems so expensive when you barely have a nickel. 18. To start a side hustle What service shall I provide that doesn’t cost funds? 19. To make a bet If I lose I’m sh*t out of luck. 20. To buy cheap sh*t Let’s face it, It’s cheaper to keep her (by “her” I mean money). The more you spend on cheap sh*t because it’s cheap, the more the cheap ish will reveal itself. Just remember to shop smart and make investments. 21. To buy expensive sh*t YOU DON’T HAVE IT BRUH! TRY TO FIND A QUALITY ITEM THAT WORKS IN YOUR BUDGET. 22. To read this post In the amount of time you read this post, you could be finding creating ways to make passive income.



What other basic stuff can can you think of? *Honorable mention: To drop food!* We can't afford to waste ANYTHING around here.

Nola Darling Taught Me...

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ENTER: Bobby Womack’s 1972 song: A Woman’s Gotta Have It 

A woman's got to have it, I believe
She's got to know that she's needed around
When you kiss her, you got to make her feel it, every time, boy
She's got to know that she's not walking on shaky ground

A gem indeed. If you can’t tell by the lyrics just know Bobby is explaining why she’s gotta have it. 


ENTER: Spike Lee’s 2017 Series She’s Gotta Have It 31 years later. My pearls are hanging snatched from my neck because I clutched them too. damn. Hard. Just as the 1986 film, the series explores the life of Nola Darling but reveals deeper in the labels of sexuality, Gazes of Black men and women oh and the sands of time. I thought about this carefully that I found myself lying in the middle of a Netflix binge trying to understand the 100+ messages that were thrown at me. Hence, this is exactly why I have taken my time to draft up an article on the netflix series. However, the time has come to get real on the lessons taught in this series. With that said I am introducing Nola Taught Me…
The Difference Between Boys And Men Are The Lessons They Learn - Kid, Biker Boyz
Did sis really just use a Biker Boyz quote? Yes, I did. In fact, I love the movie. The key thing to take away here is:


The Difference Between Girl and Women are the lessons they learn - Charli

So when watching Nola Darling in all of her essence in the show I realized a few things.
These n*ggas only want one thing - Daddy Charles

When I was a little girl, I learned a few things of sexualilty and sex as a Black girl:
  • A man who is interested will put in the work!
  • Keep your legs closed, no one is worthy!
  • Did I say the only thing open past 11 pm is some legs?
Now on to the show: 

Welp, for those who did not enjoy the show I have news for you,  I am the complete opposite. 

*Shrugs*

Personally, I felt there were many lessons, artistic platforms, imagery and songs used to examine the stories presented through the world of Nola. I believe that no matter how much people felt the women story lines lagged or were wack, subjecting Black women to Instagram models and such the show provides so much more quality lessons. 

Yes, I think the exploration of Queer identities needs a stronger approach. This is because it is Nola's most concrete relationship. I say that in terms of how Opal genuinely cares for her. I think that Nola’s phase of exploration is a cover up for what she really wants and what she fears: COMMITMENT. 

I think that Nola is playing the game because she simply can’t find something that fulfills her experience of dating. I think that her character allows us as women, Black women in particular to rewrite everything we ever understood or could commit to in our understanding of sexuality. Nevertheless these are the lessons I’ve learned from Nola:


1. Stay in control of your loving bed.
Don't let a lover make you feel like a prisoner in your own bed. If they do, you probably shouldn't be sleeping with them.

    2. It’s okay for you to experience the phase of exploration! 
Go out and find what you like and want by experiencing people. Experiencing people is not limited to sex and d*ck appointments for those of you in the back.
    
3. On that note it’s okay for you as a Black women to want D*ck!
I say this because as Black women we are oversexualized and negatively stigmatize for wanting to pursue our sexuality. 

    4. Sex comes with emotions and even if you move like a fake ass savage you have feelings too. #AWORD
If something feels good to you, if it pleasures you , if you like it these are emotions. These emotions are associated with the people we choose to keep around.

    5. Labels are simply labels and society is full of sh*t. 

    6. "Talking phases" and dating is full of sh*t too. 
F*ck a "we talk" my n*gga I want to HEAR your heart beat. #HOLLAIFYAHEARME

    7. Even when we don’t feel pressured by our society we subconsciously are!

    8. Take a break from soul searching and find yourself ! 
If you do love may end up finding you. 

     9. Be the milker not the milk!

    10. Yes. Someone can love you even if you’re BROKE.   
  MONEY is an important factor in relationships.

    11. Being attractive is a privilege! #AWORD

    12. Be straight up with anything you want in life!

    13.  Do you want me? Do you want him? Cause I want you!  BILAL CAN YOU PUSH THROUGH ONCE MORE WITH THE PRINCE PERFORMANCE? 

    14. Consistency is key and if someone is not persistent they probably are not pursuing the right thing. 
Silly Rabbit, tricks* are for kids.

    15. LEAVE NEGATIVE ENERGY BEHIND.

   16. Love is important but, sometimes it can blind you from your true needs.  

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 17. Lust expires. 
   It’s exciting to be in love and interconnected with another soul. However, if this is the type of love you want know that this connection is not lust! Lust is a temporarily fulfillment,   a temporary tease of L.O.V.E. Lust is fake love. #AWORD 
If love is what you desire seek self love FIRST

  
  18. Being broke is TEMPORARY!

  19. STOP. LETTING. PEOPLE. PLAY. GAMES. WITH. YOU. 
No one has time to deal with your ass loosing sleep over someone whose does NOT care about your health and your well being. You baby deserve the best and anything less is an insult to your Queendom! 

20. YOUR FRIENDS MATTER. THE LIVES OF BLACK WOMEN MATTER. HELL ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER!
When Nola went to Jail for stepping in for Papo my heart cried. I saw it as a Black woman coming to the rescue of a Black man  whose life stood at the fate of officers with guns. Black women always come to the forefront for our Black men!

21. While you decide to worship living in New York City remember that there are people living there who want to get out. Remember there are people living there who want their neighborhoods to stick to their roots. The Black roots that are being erased by gentrification. #RESPECTTHETRUTH 

22. BLACK ARTISTS MATTER. #SHOPBLACKART
Shout out to the artist Tatyana Fazlalizedeh! She is the artist behind Nola's masterpieces in the show. Fazlalizedeh pieces constantly remind me that art is love and art is political. #ALLFORMS 

I honestly felt like binge watching this series killed my spirit to write separate posts for each of the episodes. This is because they were soooo good. I ended up talking it out, texting finding common themes etc.  As much as I've elaborated on reviews of Insecure, I feel like I committed more time to writing about such episodes because I didn't have access to the whole damn season. I will admit every episode of this She's Gotta Have It deserves a run down and I will do better. I'm off to re-watch the show! I hope to gain more insight!