The credit score system is a scam, but there are ways to play the game and win

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I was on “TheGrio with Marc Lamont Hill” last week, and one of the topics we discussed was a new service called Score, which bills itself as “the dating app for people with good credit.”

In order to join the app, you have to have a credit score of 675 or better, and this is verified with a soft pull on your credit before you are even allowed to join the app. Your score will not be shared with other users, and no one will be able to access your credit information, but the app promises that everyone else you encounter on the app will have a score of 675 or better. 

I had to let out a hearty chuckle at the entire idea behind the app, beginning with the idea that 675 is a “high” credit score. 

While 675 may get you that apartment you are applying for or that credit card you want in the credit game, according to the three major credit reporting bureaus, 675 – while not a bad score – is definitely not the definition of good credit. 

Marc asked me and Feminista Jones if we thought this app was a good idea, and we both thought it was laughably ridiculous. 

Please understand that a good credit score is no more an indication of wealth than a bad credit score is indicative of poverty. There are rich people with bad credit and poor people with good credit. I heard there’s a “rich” person right now who is running for president, and he doesn’t pay his bills either. 

It’s also important to understand that the credit system is arbitrary and almost purposely confusing to the average consumer; most people don’t have a firm understanding of what drives their credit scores and how they can improve them, and this leads to many wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars on “credit repair” companies — which, in my opinion, are also a scam. 

The credit score system is a scam, but there are ways to play the game and win

Charlamagne tha God fat shamed Reesa Teesa, and it’s not OK

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“I’mma be honest with you, man,” he said. “I hear a lot of big back behavior. Does she have a big back?”

“She do,” Jess Hilarious replied. “She do give Sheila that was driving up the mountain.” 

“OK. OK. Sheila was beautiful though,” Charlamagne said.

I want to pause here to point out how he was very careful not to diss Jill Scott, who played Sheila in the Tyler Perry franchise “Why Did I Get Married?” even though he’s dissing other women who look like her, and that’s telling.

He went on to say, “In a situation like this, some of you big backs … y’all gotta stop being so thirsty for a man. There’s a man out there for you, OK? This woman believed all of this because she wanted to believe all of this. Big-back belief isn’t like everybody else’s belief. She said it herself, ‘he said everything I wanted to hear.’

“She wanted to believe whatever was coming out of his mouth,” he continued, “because she wanted a man so bad.”

Continuing to make it about her size and not the fact that the man she was involved with was allegedly a liar and scammer, he then asked his co-hosts, “How big is she?”

As Jess begins to try to explain how big she is, Envy interjects that her size doesn’t matter, but Charlamagne insists that it does. 

“It does because this is big back behavior. They be thirsty for men,” he asserts. 

Charlamagne tha God fat shamed Reesa Teesa, and it’s not OK

The tragicomedy of the Florida sheriff’s deputy who got into a shootout with an acorn

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I don’t trust the police.

I am a Black woman in America who has seen the police do dangerous and corrupt things over the years, and it has left me believing that the threat they pose to the safety of the general public far outweighs the supposed benefits that come with having an active police force. 

I recently heard another story that affirmed this for me. I will preface this by saying that the story I’m going to tell is wild, son, and there are parts of it that are going to make you laugh, but even as you laugh at what could be called the stupidity and illogical fear of a Florida law enforcement officer, please keep in mind that his actions unnecessarily endangered the life of an unarmed Black man and that sobering fact that is the most important detail in this story. 

The tragicomedy of the Florida sheriff’s deputy who got into a shootout with an acorn
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If you are an adult, there is no such thing as ‘dressing your age’

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“On Wednesdays, we wear pink” is a line from one of my favorite movies of all time, “Mean Girls.” (The original film, not the musical, although they may say the line in the musical as well, I haven’t seen it yet. I’mma fix that real soon, though.)

Because I love “Mean Girls” so much, I buy every graphic T-shirt I can find that has catchphrases from the film. In addition to the aforementioned line, I have ones that say “I’m a mouse. Duh,” “She doesn’t even go here,” and “That’s so fetch!” I have the feeling I’m forgetting some, but you get my point. I have a lot of “Mean Girls” graphic T-shirts. 

My collection of “Mean Girls” shirts is as large as my collection of “Daria” T-shirts. 

Me and graphic T-shirts go together. I’ve lost count of how many I have, but I’d say at least 100. I have so many that it would take me months to wear every single one I have. 

If I don’t have anything else going on, my standard casual outfit is a graphic T-shirt whatever bottoms I put on that day (shorts, jeans, sweats, or leggings — which are in fact pants), and a pair of Chucks. My Chucks collection is large and full of different colors. 

I’m telling you all of this because as a proud member of Generation X when I became an adult and could spend my own money on my own clothes without anyone telling me what I could and could not wear, I decided to wear whatever the heck I wanted, and my clothing choices became an expression of my daily mood.

If you are an adult, there is no such thing as ‘dressing your age’

This might be the worst Black History Month pitch ever

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I’m a Black journalist, so of course publicists and PR people approach me all the time to cover anything they think is even tangentially related to Black people or Blackness. 

Let me let y’all in on a little secret: Most times the thing they are pitching is only related to Black people or Blackness by the tiniest of threads or not even at all, but that doesn’t stop them from sending a wall of text email pitching their client or idea to me anyway. 

Such was the case Monday when I opened what was an impersonal email that was obviously mass-sent to a bunch of Black journalists and writers to see if anyone would engage with it. The email I opened was in fact a follow-up email, and I recognized that when I opened it and saw I had missed the first time it was pitched to me a few days ago. 

The subject line of the original email was “Black History Month // More Than 50% of Black Women Report a Lifetime STD, Expert Commentary Available.”

This might be the worst Black History Month pitch ever

One bar in Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Hiss’ sent Nicki Minaj into a 72-hourlong online spiral

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Nicki acted like she had all this smoke for Megan, and in the end, it was imaginary smoke. It was steam and not even a big rush of steam like from a caboose or something. It was that little hiss of steam that came out of your iron when you put water in it before adding that crease to your khakis.

This was her beefs with Remy Ma and Lil Kim all over again. She didn’t have a real answer for them either, and it makes me wonder where is the fabled Nicki that everyone says has a wicked pen game?

Where is the Nicki who allegedly wrote the verse on “Monster” that made us all say that was her song and not Kanye’s? “

My latest opinion column for TheGrio discusses Nicki’s less than mid response to Megan Thee Stallion diss track “Hiss.”

One bar in Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Hiss’ sent Nicki Minaj into a 72-hourlong online spiral

Ron DeSantis Was Never Going To Be President Because GOP Voters Want Donald Trump

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Ron DeSantis made a key point in his concession speech that we all need to be paying attention to: He was never going to be president because GOP voters want more of Donald Trump.

Make no mistake, the Republican Party would have loved to have put Ron DeSantis forth as its chosen candidate. He checks a lot of Republican boxes, and he is certainly more polished than Donald Trump. He comes with a level of political experience that Donald Trump lacks. He doesn’t come with all the unnecessary baggage that Trump is dragging with him. He’s smarter and he’s savvier than Trump. He’s a Yale graduate with a Harvard law degree. He could have been a contender, and at the beginning of his campaign, many considered him to be the biggest threat to a second Donald Trump presidency.

The problem is, Republican voters want Donald Trump, and the GOP voters – not the GOP itself – are the loudest voices on that front.

While the GOP could be said to consist mainly of rich and powerful white men, the GOP voter base is a mixed bag of rich and powerful white men, racist white people, uneducated white people and indoctrinated white people who believe their demise is nigh unless they ensure white supremacy is allowed to continue to exist unfettered. At the center of the Venn diagram where all of these groups come together is Donald Trump.

Ron DeSantis Was Never Going To Be President Because GOP Voters Want Donald Trump

Hear me out, post-sex goodie bags are a great idea

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I am not at all opposed to a gentleman giving out post-sex goodie bags or send-off bags, or whatever you want to call it. Hell, some of y’all need to give out parting gifts to compensate for your lack of adequate performance. If I’m not leaving your house flushed, blushing, blissful and pleased, then, as Denzel said in that interview with Jamie Foxx that one time, I’m leaving here with something. 

Hear me out, post-sex goodie bags are a great idea

A ‘colorblind’ society upholds white supremacy

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Hello friends, non-friends and white people who claim they don’t see color. 

I want to give a special shoutout to the “colorblind” white people. Life must be so special for you. How do you even match your clothes on a daily basis? Is your colorblindness related to the racist bone that is not in your body? 

These questions need answers, but since we are already here, let’s talk about this idea that we should be a “colorblind” society in America.

You see, there are some white people who will tell you that bringing up race and color is the real issue. They say it’s divisive and only causes more problems. If only we would stop talking about race and color, all the bad things would go away, they say. 

That is a lie. The truth is that ignoring race and color means ignoring the injustices that go along with race and color in this country. Declaring yourself “colorblind” means you are also blinding yourself to the inequities and injustices suffered by Black people.

A ‘colorblind’ society upholds white supremacy

America continues to gaslight Black people about racism

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This past Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, and if you ever needed an example of how America continues to gaslight Black people and play in our faces, look no further than the tweet the FBI sent out in “commemoration” of that day. 

“This #MLKDay, the #FBI honors one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement and reaffirms its commitment to Dr. King’s legacy of fairness and equal justice for all,” their social media person wrote as a caption to a photo of the MLK monument in Washington, D.C.

A Twitter community note added to the tweet said, “The FBI engaged in the surveillance of King, attempted to discredit him, and used manipulation tactics to influence him to stop organizing. King’s family believe the FBI was responsible for his death.”

America continues to gaslight Black people about racism

Stephen A. Smith voiced what we’ve all thought about Jason Whitlock

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Jason Whitlock is a disgusting human being and a disgrace to the Black race.

He adds absolutely nothing to the culture or the community, and every time you see his name in headlines or trending on social media, it’s because he’s yet again done something coonish or buffoonish. 

He is an attention-seeker, a click-baiter and the kind of dude you would love to see get his ass kicked publicly as many times as possible because he deserves it. 

Wednesday night, that ass-kicking showed up in a video rant, and the person kicking his ass was none other than Stephen A. Smith. 

In case you missed it, the ESPN commentator and “First Take” host spent nearly 40 minutes on his YouTube podcast, “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” flame-broiling Whilock — who he referred to as “a fat bastard that has gotten away for far too long talking his bullshit.”

Stephen A. Smith voiced what we’ve all thought about Jason Whitlock

Black women can’t save you, Jonathan Majors

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Someone on Jonathan Majors’ team doesn’t like him very much. 

That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why they have repeatedly allowed him to make himself look guilty and look like a fool for the last nine-and-a-half months as he has been arrested, charged, tried and convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. 

I don’t think we have ever witnessed a “grand opening; grand closing” moment happen as swiftly as it did for Majors when news of his arrest for the incident hit the news in March of last year. He went from being the timeline’s most wanted to the timeline’s most hated so quickly, I’m sure even his head spun. 

Black women can’t save you, Jonathan Majors

Everyone needs to see The Roots live at least once in their life (but probably more)

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The Roots are one of hip-hop’s greatest acts, hands down. There are no qualifiers. 

It’s not just the fact Black Thought is one of the greatest MCs of all time. It’s not just the fact they’ve given us an entire catalog of evergreen classics that we can relate to no matter what phase of our lives we are in. 

It’s about the way The Roots are an actual band, and no matter how many times you see them live, you will never get the same show twice. 

I’ve seen them multiple times a year every year since 2002 (save for the quarantine/shutdown years). Their shows are an “in the moment” vibe reminiscent of jam bands like Phish and the Grateful Dead. 

If the culture of Dead and Phish shows translated to hip-hop, people would be recording and swapping Roots shows because each one is that unique. 

Everyone needs to see The Roots live at least once in their life (but probably more)

My 2024 wish list of things white people need to stop doing

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I came up with a list, and I’m going to share it here in hopes that the white people to whom these things apply will take notice, take stock, exhibit some personal accountability (as opposed to the endless amounts of hubris, entitlement, and white privilege) and make positive changes that will have a direct and positive impact on the daily lives of Black people in America. 

My 2024 wish list of things white people need to stop doing

For Black People, Reparations Are About More Than Slavery

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It is important for any discussion of reparations to include the ongoing and lasting impact of the legacy of slavery, but we cannot allow the conversation to be derailed by those who seek to whittle it down to the simple act of the enslavement of Black people.

Those people are either oblivious, willfully obtuse or flat-out disregarding the lasting impact the enslavement of Black people in America has left behind.

It’s not just about people being treated like chattel. It’s about the ways in which America has continued to do its best to subjugate an entire group of people who played one of the biggest roles in the building of this “great nation.”

For Black People, Reparations Are About More Than Slavery

Women like Cassie don’t come forward sooner because the culture doesn’t allow them to

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I want to start this off by providing a content trigger warning: This column discusses sexual violence,  sexual assault, sexual abuse and everything that goes along with those things. If these topics are triggering for you or otherwise make you uncomfortable, I recommend you do not read it.

I was in the middle of writing this piece when news broke of a fourth lawsuit being filed against Sean “Diddy” Combs; this one, which also alleges sexual assault, accuses one of the most powerful men in hip-hop of sex trafficking and gang-raping a 17-year-old girl in 2003. 

Women like Cassie don’t come forward sooner because the culture doesn’t allow them to

André 3000 may not have given us the album we wanted, but he gave us the album we needed

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I can personally attest to the focusing powers of listening to music at 432 Hz while writing. 

As a writer, I cannot listen to music with lyrics when I write because my brain will automatically start trying to sing along, and that breaks my concentration entirely.

During the same time I’ve been listening to the album to fall asleep, I’ve been listening to it during the day while I do other things, and let me just say that “New Blue Sun,” a joint of some fire sativa, and coffee got me all the way through cleaning my apartment this weekend without taking any breaks. 

André 3000 may not have given us the album we wanted, but he gave us the album we needed

Cassie’s revelations should be the beginning of the #MeToo moment for hip-hop

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Hip-hop is where women are bitches and hoes and only good for sex, but when they talk about sex on their own terms, it’s suddenly a problem because they are controlling their own narratives and not centering men.

Hip-hop is where women can repeatedly accuse Trey Songz of physically assaulting them, drugging them and sexually abusing them, and he continues to get a pass while appearing as a featured artist on hit after hit because that’s how this game works.

The hip-hop game is rigged, and it’s rigged against women, and as a woman who loves hip-hop, I’m tired of dancing around the issue, both literally and figuratively. 

Cassie’s revelations should be the beginning of the #MeToo moment for hip-hop

Let’s talk about some words that trigger white people

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Moist. 

“Moist” is a polarizing word out here in these streets. There are so many people I know who hate the word “moist,” and I don’t know why.

Is it because it sounds wet when people say it? Is it the weird combination of letters used to spell it? Why do people hate the word “moist” so much? 

There have been many articles written over the years that have tried to explain why people have such a bad reaction to that word.

My editor, Genetta Adams, is one of those people who doesn’t like the word moist. When I asked her why, she said, “It’s stupid for me not to like it, and I know it’s stupid, but the way you say the word ‘moist’ just sounds nasty.

“Only weird and gross things are described as moist,” she continued. “That’s basically it. It just sounds wrong. It just sounds icky.”

“Cake is the only good thing that is described as moist,” she added. “Otherwise, it just feels like you are describing something dark and dirty.”

Most people recognize that their aversion to the word “moist” is irrational, and their reactions to hearing it usually never extend beyond cringing, shaking their head or asking the person to stop saying it. 

I’m sure they recognize the word is not actively harming them, so they don’t have to treat it like a grenade. 

I wish the same could be said about (some) white people and certain words that seem to trigger (some of) them whenever they hear them or see them in print. 

The words that seem to feel like hot grits on the delicate and fragile skin of (some) white people are “white,” “race,” “racism,” and “racist.”

Let’s talk about some words that trigger white people

Let’s end these toxic conversations on relationships and dating once and for all

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I love Cheesecake Factory. 

Call me basic if you want, but let me tell you something: That bistro shrimp pasta goes hard in the paint, you dig? 

I not only love Cheesecake Factory, but I love its bougie sister, Grand Lux Cafe. 

I know their menus are bigger than that annual Sears Catalog at Christmas, but once you figure out what your faves are, you don’t even need the menu anymore unless they add new or seasonal items you might want to sample. 

Brown bread me and bring me a cucumber lemonade with a shot of your best tequila in it, please. And make sure that butter is soft for my bread. 

Let’s end these toxic conversations on relationships and dating once and for all

Lori Harvey is a grown woman who is allowed to make whatever dating decisions she wants

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There is a double standard at play here.

When a man is linked to multiple women over the course of a few years, he’s “an eligible bachelor” and “a playboy.” 

When 26-year-old Lori Harvey does it, she’s loose, promiscuous and any other insulting thing people can think of to say about her as a means of discrediting her, dismissing her autonomy, and shaming her for her choices. 

Lori Harvey is a grown woman who is allowed to make whatever dating decisions she wants

Young, successful Black women like Sexyy Red can have babies if they want to

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Sexyy Red is currently on her “Hood Hottest Princess” tour with dates all across the country, and she has been proudly performing with her baby bump on full display, and a lot of time, she is doing so without her shoes on, which is so cute to me

The biggest difference between Sexyy, Keke, Cardi, Serena and the rest of us is money and resources. 

Rappers, movie stars and professional athletes have money and resources that allow them to have children and continue their careers comfortably. 

Young, successful Black women like Sexyy Red can have babies if they want to

Keith Lee exposes the bad hospitality at Atlanta restaurants, and Black Twitter is rejoicing 

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He’s become so popular that when he gets food from restaurants he wants to review, he places takeout orders and has one of his family members pick the food up so he does not receive any type of special treatment in the process. He prides himself on paying for his own meals and delivering honest reviews that don’t disparage restaurants even when the service is poor. 

He simply relays his personal experiences, and all 14.2 million of his followers pay attention. 

Knowing all of this, you would think Atlanta restaurants would have been on their A-game when he showed up in town, but this was not the case for two of the more popular joints — Old Lady Gang, a restaurant owned by singer, actress, and reality television star Kandi Burruss, as well as The Real Milk & Honey — received incredibly polite but bad reviews from Lee. 

Keith Lee exposes the bad hospitality at Atlanta restaurants, and Black Twitter is rejoicing 

Let’s argue. Do you prefer sweet or savory grits?

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I personally put garlic salt, pepper, and cheese in my grits. I use different cheeses depending on the mood I’m in. On regular days, it’s mild cheddar cheese, but when I’m feeling fancy, I may go with fresh parmesan, smoked gouda or even Gruyere. 

The Bahamians in the audience will tell you that you have not lived until you’ve experienced boiled fish (grouper) and grits for breakfast. There was a time when tourists in Nassau had to get up super early if they wanted to partake in this traditional island breakfast because it would sell out quickly — most days before 10 a.m. 

There’s also shrimp and grits, and I say this knowing that all shrimp and grits are not created equal, but if you find someone who really knows what they are doing in the kitchen and they make the grits creamy, the shrimp tender and delicious, and the sauce not too runny, go with that person. This is a delicacy. 

Let’s argue. Do you prefer sweet or savory grits?

Candy corn is delicious, and I’m not going to argue with you about it

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There are other candy corn haters out there. They reveal themselves every year at this time, tagging me in posts across social media platforms to poke fun at me and otherwise taunt me about my love for what some of them have called “the devil’s ear wax.”

I don’t listen to those people. 

I am a candy corn lover, and I always will be. It tastes good; it satisfies my sweet tooth, and it’s something that I look forward to enjoying every fall. Absolutely no one is going to take that away from me. 

Candy corn is delicious, and I’m not going to argue with you about it

Dear Will and Jada, please take us out of the group chat

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Jada Pinkett Smith has a new book, called Worthy, out Tuesday, and it is important that we keep that in mind as the internet once again takes in the latest inflammatory statements made by the actress and wife.

In a clip from an NBC interview with Hoda Kotb, Pinkett Smith revealed that she and husband, actor Will Smith, have been separated since 2016, though the couple has no plans to divorce.

“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever,” Pinkett Smith told Kotb. “And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

However, she said, “I think by the time we got to 2016, we were both just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

The Smiths have been making headlines for years, and there’s no need to rehash everything that has gone down between them because a) there’s too much of it, and b) there are enough stories out there that simply typing their names into Google will give you all the tea you can sip. 

Dear Will and Jada, please take us out of the group chat

Move over, Oprah. Beyoncé is now the most powerful Black woman in the world

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When the Queen puts on a spectacle like the Renaissance tour, it is expected that those in attendance are going to dress accordingly, and the fans understood the assignment. They spent money, hunty, and the looks were out there. People traveled to different cities to see her, buying airfare and spending money on hotel rooms across the globe. 

This isn’t just about ticket sales. 

It’s about the impact of a woman who has carved out a lane for herself where she stands tall and no one is even coming close to what she is accomplishing, regardless of the way the Recording Academy continues to play in her face every single chance they get. 

Move over, Oprah. Beyoncé is now the most powerful Black woman in the world

When it comes to Black homeownership, these people are keeping it in the family

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In 2021, the Black homeownership rate in LA was 33.5%, according to the U.S. Census, the 124th lowest among metropolitan areas in America. At the same time, 58% of white households in the LA metro area owned homes. Besides a legacy of discriminatory housing practices and policies that historically prevented Black families from buying homes and building generational wealth, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers said, the ability to come up with the 20% down payment required to buy a home with a conventional mortgage is also an impediment.

In short, Black people often make enough money to pay a house note, but they lack the ability to build enough savings to make a down payment. 

The high housing costs aren’t unique to big cities. In the 2023 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America, the National Association of Realtors Research Group said “rising mortgage rates and home prices significantly hurt affordability, forcing many buyers out of the market.” The report stated mortgage rates have doubled since the previous year and housing prices have reached an all-time high.

When it comes to Black homeownership, these people are keeping it in the family

Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, and the way old white people refuse to relinquish power

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As far as Blackness in the U.S. Senate, there have only been 11 Black senators; Butler will be the 12th. She will be the third Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. 

I think you get the picture. While we are actively contributing members of the U.S., we are not represented in a way that honors that. 

Sounds about white. 

So when someone like Feinstein remains in office well past their expiration date, we are robbed of the opportunity to put new blood in with the old. We can’t inject fresh ideas into our government because the old ideas have the government in a chokehold. 

And while we may have never seen Dianne Feinstein short circuit on national television the way we have with Mitch McConnell, the point still remains. Putting them in a bowl of rice every time is not the answer; electing new people to get the job done is. 

Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, and the way old white people refuse to relinquish power

Eboni K. Williams had a good point, but a lot of people missed it

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If we contrast this conversation with the conversation we had last week about Tyler Perry, what Eboni and Dr. Bean are saying makes a lot of sense. 

People were upset with Tyler Perry for saying Black women should settle for “struggle love,” but they are also upset with Eboni for saying Black women who achieve success have a harder time finding mates who meet their standards as they get older. 

Eboni is not lying. 

In my friend circle, all of us are successful in our careers, make above a certain amount of money, and live a lifestyle we have built for ourselves and become greatly accustomed to. In my immediate circle, none of us have ever been married. 

Eboni K. Williams had a good point, but a lot of people missed it