Lil Durk And Dej Loaf Channel Their Inner Q & Monica In New Video

I have definitely been slipping these last few weeks! Def Loaf done copped herself a boo, Lil Durk. They appear together in his new video entitled, My Beyonce. The video was realsed back on January 11 (damn how could I have missed this!). I was just on iTunes looking for some new music, and I stopped by Dej Loaf’s page. Look down and see a video that looks like one of my FAVORITE movies of ALL-TIME Love & Basketball. So OF COURSE I click to watch. OMG, this is the cutest videos I’ve seen in a long time! I may be over reacting a little because of how much I love Love & Basketball. But seriously this was done well. The couple, producer, and director did such a good job on this one. The video pretty much sticks to a few key scenes from the movie, I love how detailed the video is. Over all really cute video, check it out below. ✌🏾

 

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How I Found Life Through My Sister’s Journey and Passing From Cancer

It’s been an emotional two weeks for me. Last week was one of the most draining and emotional weeks I’ve had at my job in a very long time. I am a social worker, and now that I am a processor, I love my job. I am grateful for it. I go to work, put my music on, and process paperwork. For the most part I love it because it is peaceful, and with the new changes in Medicaid, and President Obama’s Obamacare, in my own little way I am able to help thousands of people be able to obtain medical coverage. I’m also learning to be positive and thankful for what God has blessed me with. With all this being said, last week, my spiritual guard was down and I allowed some negativity to get me off track. My job can be very stressful and some of the people can be very negative. I am learning that I have to work extra hard to keep negative vibes and people away from my spirit and mind. Last week I didn’t do so well. I am human, I had a bad week, I almost allowed situations and certain persons make me feel like I am the worst person in the world. I almost allowed the devil to get in my head and have me on the road of negative thoughts about myself, but then God sent a reminder through my now angel in heaven Alaia Robinson.

Last Friday, I came home and instantly laid down for a nap. Like I stated earlier I was seriously drained, it was a VERY long week. I figured if I just closed my eyes, and slept it off with a quick nap, I could wake up refreshed and get some other work done. Although I managed to get a nap in, I was awaken by a thunderstorm. Like most people now a days, the first thing I did was roll over and checked my phone. ‘One missed call from Aliyah, ok I will call her back in a few. Text message from Frenchie “Hey Sis, Alaia isn’t doing well”. Damn it, ok so now I understand Aliyah’s call’. For some reason I subconsciously didn’t respond to Frenchie’s text. I think for me, had I responded via text in writing, that would have made her comment too real to me.

I opted to called Aliyah back. As we spoke about our basketball sister Alaia we shed some tears. I switched up the convo and tried to bring light to a sad situation, trying to convince myself more than Aliyah that God is in control and we have to trust His plans. By the end of the convo it was agreed that we would be going to go visit Alaia the following morning. Before hanging up, Aliyah and I told each other we loved each other, something we don’t say often but its understood. The following morning, about 6 of us hopped into a couple of cars and rolled to Alaia’s hospital room in Manhattan. We do this often, usually about 5 or more deep. We simply go spend time with our sister. The bond I have with my basketball sisters is amazing and such a blessing. It’s amazing that we are all connected through basketball, a simple round object, a game that has tied us together since childhood, and which has bounded us all as family now as adults. We grew up playing with and against each other. We all went away and came back and still play with each other throughout the years. My Jersey basketball sisters are an amazing group of women. We honestly are a family and I love each and every one of them, through good, bad, and ugly.

For me, this particular Saturday was a little different from past trips I’ve made. This was my first time meeting some of Alaia’s extended family members. We all spent about 5 hours in the room as we usually do, with Alaia coming in and out of convo from sleep. We laughed, we spoke politics, sports, life, lessons, religion, goals, and our love for Alaia. Doctors and nurses came in and out all day, and it amazed me that even in Alaia’s physical state, which wasn’t good, she still managed to ask each doctor, and nurse how they were doing. On the few occasions when we as a group had to leave the room so the doctor’s could do their thing, upon our return, Alaia would ask for each of us. It was like she wanted to simply put her eyes on us, or wanted to check and see if we were ok and still there. We shared so much love in that room, and by the end of the visit I felt I had gained more family.

Leaving that hospital, again I was reminded of strength. I made a mental note, ‘Ok Jae, if Alaia can find a way to keep fighting and stay so positive and upbeat through her pain and cancer, surely you can’. I was ready to take on the week. The following Monday October 12, 2015 was the year anniversary of my friend Aki Jones’ passing. It was an emotional day but with the conscious reminder of Alaia’s light, and my little cousin Chevie and home girl JD, they helped me get through the day. A brief catch up for those of you who may not follow me on social media, and don’t understand the dynamic person Aki Jones was. He was this larger than life man literally and figuratively. Aki and I went to Fordham University together. He was a beast on the football field and an comically cool asshole off. He was an amazing person and great friend. Aki Jones is another significant young person in my life, who daily helps remind that life and short and I should never take it for granted. Fast forward to Wednesday October 14, 2015 a little after 10pm, as I’m leaving a get together at my Fordham team-mate Lara’s home, I get the call that Alaia passed.

I’m not totally sure that it has really hit me that I will not be able to see this amazing woman ever again, but I thank God that she is with Him. I thank God that my sister is no longer in pain. She fought an amazing fight against cancer. Well over 3 years of pushing through. The light she gave me will help illuminate my darkest days. Although I am nowhere near where I want to be, Alaia Robinson has shown me what it truly means to be a fighter. She has shown me how to appreciate life. Although my current career as a Family Service Worker is not my ideal career, I will thank God for it and continue to do my work to help change the world.

There were a few times during Alaia’s battle with cancer, that her medical coverage was cut. Times when she couldn’t come into the office to do paper work to reinstate her medical because she was literally in the hospital fighting for her life. I never personally handled Alaia’s case because this would be a conflict of interest in which I could lose my job. However, I thank  God who trust and bless me with the job and knowledge of who and what needed to be done to help Alaia. I take my job seriously. Everyday I have the opportunity to help a person who may not have had medical coverage for years because of whatever reasons. Through an my angle Alaia Robinson, I have learned to push through, to be in the present instead of stressing my past mistakes. I have learned to appreciate the now, and the time we have on this earth. I am not the best person in the world when it comes to reaching out to friends and family, but I understand quality time. Quality Time is definitely my strongest Love Language. Alaia Robinson, Aki Jones, and Charlie Slade are a few phenomenal people who came and went too soon. They all help motivate me to be my best and continue to push through even when I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be.

I will never understand why it had to be them. And although it hurts like hell our loved ones may no longer be physically walking with us on this earth, we must not forget to thank God for the time we have together and the lessons we can all learn from each other and every situation.

Why I Turned Down 2.5 Coaching Jobs in the City of Newark NJ In the Past Two Years

From the title alone, I’m sure I’m being judged. Either your reading this trying to figure out why I’m such an idiot to turn down money. Some of you may be the same persons who have been running your mouths and kicking my back in, making accusations as to why I didn’t take these jobs. And others may have a genuine interest as to how could I turn down 2.5 jobs. So for the first time ever on a public platform I will share my reasons.

Last year, my high school basketball coach the legendary Vanessa Watson stepped down as head girls coach of Malcolm X Shabazz high school. Being a former Shabazz All-State and County athlete (Basketball and Volleyball) I’ve been blessed to be able to be a part of the Shabazz family. So when Coach dropped the news, I already knew. Coach had been saying for years she was ready to step down, but each year she thought she was going to, God kept her in place. Coach had more lives she had to read, she had a few more extraordinary female athletes she had to mode, and a few more milestone wins and championships she had to rack up before stepping down. However, time finally came last year. Coach announced that she was handed over her title of Shabazz head girls basketball coach to her former player (my Lil Bulldog Sis) and University of Pittsburg’s standout Point Guard Jania Sims. I was happy for Jay! Coach and I’s originally conversation, was she wanted me to be Jania’s assistant coach, I was cool with this. Jay had been coaching under Coach Watson for the past few years, so she already knew the ends and out of the system Coach put in place. Besides, I understood that Jay would be filling huge shoes, and she needed all the love, support, and backup she could get in an assistant coach. I had no problem being Jay’s assistant coach, however approaching the basketball season I learned through a friend of mine (not Coach nor Jay) that they decided to hire another one of my Lil Bulldog Sisters Iasia Hemingway. (Side bar: For those who don’t know, Iasia Hemingway is another Shabazz standout who also cracked heads in the Big East at Syracuse University. Real talk, the Big East should definitely cut Coach Watson a reimbursement check for every ALL-AMERICAN beast she produced from Shabazz who went on to dominate in the Big East…. only if this were legal).

I digress back to story, so again I heard this news from a friend of mine, not Coach Watson or Jay, and to be completely honest, I was hurt. Let me be clear, I was hurt because the lack of communication and the way I found out. I have, never was, nor will I ever be jealous of my little sisters. Let me say that again, when it comes to my little sisters that followed behind me at Shabazz, I HAVE AND WILL NEVER BE JEALOUS OF THEM. I am a proud Big Sister and am filled with nothing but joy for all my little sister’s success. I can, however admit that I was hurt in the break down of communication. Prior to being offered the freshmen job at Shabazz, for years I’d given away my services and knowledge away for free. I volunteered with different AAU teams throughout NJ/NY, I helped with different camps and clinics and even volunteered with Coach Watson here and there. During the Spring and Summer I would gather a group of athletes (collegiate, professional, and retired) in West Side and Weequahic park for conditioning three times a week. I was an assistant coach at Rutgers Newark for three years, before taking a head coaching job at Newark Vocational high school for a year. So when offered the freshman job at Shabazz, I had no interest. I had over 5 years into coaching and I had no interest in going backwards in my coaching career. Wait as I think about it, I was never “officially” offered any coaching job with Shabazz. Hence my .5 jobs Some called it being too prideful, I called it simply knowing my worth. Whatever you call it, at the time I simply had no interest in going backwards in my coaching career. Besides that, September 1, 2014 I was involved in a really bad car accident which left me without a vehicle for over 8 months, and sometimes unable to leave my bed, in excruciating pain, I was also in the process of trying to get custody of my niece. With all that on my plate, I know I would not have been able to give Jay the undivided support she need in her first year.

Hindsight is 20/20, I had a lot going on, God understood this, and still everything is working out according to His plan. This where the story gets juicy. I had a few mentors, friends, and older sister’s reach out to me asking me why I wasn’t coaching with Jay and Iasia. I gave them the same answer I am giving now. Somehow, I’m guessing some BS got back to Jay because for months I felt a strain on your relationship. I have a strong idea as to who this person was who possibly ran back giving false information, but I never addressed the BS and simply prayed to God. I can’t change other people’s pettiness, and I had so much other crap going on in my life at the time, I didn’t have the energy to do so. I can simply say I am glad my God works everything out, and my sisterhood between Jay and Iasisa is soild. I didn’t have a car last year so I couldn’t support my little sisters but better believe I’m going to be in the stands and at as many practices as possible supporting My Bulldog Family this year!!!!

This year, I was offered a head coaching job at Weequahic high school, and an assisting coaching job at University high school, both in Newark. Yes I turned both them down not saying this to be arrogant, nor to boast. I feel that my reasoning is God’s purpose for my life. While in attendance at Coach Watson’s retirement party this past weekend, I felt some shade from a few people. I really wish they understood but at this point, I honestly feel like the vision I have is God’s purpose on my life.

So many people don’t understand the plight of the 98% of College Athletes who don’t go pro. Although I was blessed to be a part of the 2% who did experience playing professionally overseas (Ireland, Spain and Greece), when I was forced to retire because of a broke finger and not having some place to peacefully lay my head a night, I was emotionally confronted with all the same issues.

This is why I choose to turn down 2.5 coaching jobs. I’ve been blessed to be a coach on every platform except professionally. I have no doubt in my mind that if I choose to at some point return to coaching, I would still be a pretty good coach. However, I feel like every trail and tribulation I’ve encountered trying to transition into life after retiring from the game, wasn’t for me to simply figure it out. But instead to reach back and help other female athletes have a smoother transition. The name of my company will be ANCHorD21.

As a kid I used to have a dream of being a famous author. I used to wright novels as a child, I never released any because it was just a hobby/dream. Some where down the line, I picked up a ball, and quickly realized I was a pretty good athlete. It is very easy for me to drift away from a dream/passion I had prior to becoming an athlete. I knew that if I worked hard, I could get a full ride to a college, and them become more rich and famous playing in the WNBA and for the Olympics. It was easier for me to put all my eggs into one basket and become an athlete, I understood the time, and effort I had to put in to make this dream come true. As far as writing, I had no idea how to make that dream come true.

For many of us, it’s easy to get completely wrapped up in trying to be the best in our field, over look and not prepare for the next chapter in life, after our career ends. It is my plan to team up with the Mayor of Newark, Fordham University’s Women’s Basketball program, and other organizations to help give female athletes options, opportunities, and internships with a career and company they may find hard to normally get into because of their CRAZY training time, lack of knowledge or connections in the career they want after sports. Under the same umbrella of ANCHorD21, I want to be able to offer support groups, and possible therapy for athletes. This will be a safe place for athletes to vent and gain emotional support and advise to over coming the “Post Jock Blues”.

For many athletes, we put all our time and energy into perfecting our craft to be the best. Many of us from the inner cities have been taught how to struggle through life, instead of maneuvering. For many of us, we are born into very dysfunctional situations so its easy for us to throw ourselves into a sport for the hopes and dreams of one day going pro and be coming rich and famous, and being able to buy our family a house. For some of us we simply chase the dream and don’t think about life after the game. For many former college athletes, the void of sports, and trying to adjust to life after sports can take a serious psychological toll. For some athletes, the emotional toll is realizing that you put all your eggs in one basket, and never thought to maintain a successful internship while in school. The reality that after the game stops and you realize that you have basically no work experience other than working a few camps here and there, can cause stress. For some athletes returning home to the cold side eyes from friends and family may be too much to handle.

For all these reason, I feel that ANCHorD21 is essential. These are my plans, I am not afraid to share them publicly to the world. In some ways, my blog is my public vision board. I am dreaming, planning and writing again. Some how my blog will land me a career at Essence, ESPNW, Monarch, The Player’s Tribune, show how this blog will open a lane for me for not only publish my work but to gain wealth. I will be the cycle breaker in my family. I understand that what is for me is for me, and God gave me a vision. It is my responsibility to make His vision come to life. I am not worried about someone stealing my ideas, if someone has some advise or wish to help me make this dream come to pass, I welcome it! But I am only depending on my God given gifts and my God. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to become wealthy from ANCHorD21, however I know and understand the amount of time I am going to have to put in to make this vision come to pass, and I know God will make a way. He already has.