Come Through NJ’s Own Ms. Lauryn Hill๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿ”ฅ

I am STILL on a high! But before I go all the way in on this blog, let me give you guys a precursor. Please don’t get it twisted! Although I am a HUGE fan of Ms. Lauryn Hill, if I felt like her show was bad I would say so. I am not bias when it comes to live performances. So with that being said, MS. HILL JUST GAVE ME LIFE LAST NIGHT!.

Yes this was a #BucketListConcert for me. I became a TRUE ย Lauryn Hill fan pretty late in life. I think it was Spring of 2000, I was playing AAU with the NJ Monarchs. We were all piled in this van going someplace, and in the background, Ms. Hill was playing. Now let me be clear, I knew who L-Boogie was in these Fugee streets. I loved her in Sister Act 2, her singles played all the time. But prior to this particular road trip, I never took the time to fully and truly listened to The Miseducation. Please don’t shoot me, I was young!!! My life consist of Gospel, Jazz, ย Country, Church, School and Basketball. I didn’t have older siblings that let me sneak and listen to their music. Therefore, my education on anything outside of theses things were a tad bit delayed.

I will never forget the moment my life changed. As we are riding along crammed in this van, Every Ghetto, Every Cityย starts to play. Now me being a Newark Girl (Brick City Born and Raised). Ms. Hill had my ear, ย “Story starts in Hoodaville, Grew Up NEXT To IVY Hill”. ย Wait, what Hoodaville, Ivy Hill, THAT’S MY NEIGHBORHOOD, I thought to myself. As I attentively set up, took notice, and witness Ms. Lauryn Hill run down every spot of my life. S. Orange Ave, Boylen Pool, Main St, Springfield Ave, Frelinghuysen, Hawthorne and Chancellor’s beef, Hillside, P-S-P… I felt like my heart was pumping out of my chest! Like I knew Lauryn and the Fugees were from NJ, but it wasn’t until this day that I knew they were FROM NJ. Not just NJ but MY NJ. This was the first time I’d ever heard someone break down so much about my childhood and area I grew up in, I was hooked. I’m sure my Monarch teammates were so done with me, I asked Coach Fu to run the track back like three times! Since that day, I could never get enough of Ms. Hill!

All that being said, coming into last night’s concert I was already on a natural high! I purchased a solo ticket, and took my happy self to the concert. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the show. Listening to all the “stories” one hears about L-Boogie, I expected her to be 3 hrs late, and we wouldn’t leave until like after 2am. Although all the rumors stated Ms. Hill usually put on a bad show, I wasn’t worried. I had faith! Shoot, clearly Ms. Hill loves NJ like I do, so I KNEW she was going to put on a GREAT show!

Based on me knowing Ms. Hill was going to be a little late, I didn’t leave my house until 8pm.Got to venue by like 8:20, parked, stood on line for about 10 mins and walked damn near straight to front of the stage! Ms. Hill hit the stage at around 9:40 which is NOT bad for an 8pm show. I think the longest I ever waited was at the Jay and Em concert at Yankee Stadium. This is pretty common in the hip-hop world of concerts so I was cool. ย So here I am, in all my glory waiting for Ms. Lauryn Hill to hit the stage. While waiting for Ms. Hill, made friends with a group from Brooklyn who recently moved to NJ. As the DJ started to spin, I’m Snap Chatting my life away, in anticipation of Ms. Hill!

And then she walks out, and my life is again changed forever! Man people say the b.s about Lauryn Hill, but she put on an AMAZING show last night!!!! I tried to catch every bit of it on camera. Had to put my phone down a few times to fully be in the moment of the vocal and lyrical BEAST OF A WOMAN!!! I imagine Ms. Hill to be a perfectionist, because she wanted nothing but greatness from her band, as she directed her life throughout the concert. I am still in awe about what I witnessed last night.

Over all Ms. Hill is simply put A BEAST! I stood in amazement as she flexed her vocal talent, and laced the crowd with lyrical insightful rhythms. I tried to share as much as I could to the people to prove that Ms. Hill is always and forever a GEM in this wold of music. I was doing a pretty good job, my twitter, IG, FB, and Periscope followers were loving Ms. Hill. I feel bad because for whatever reason, my phone started acting up during the BEST performance of the night. Sorry to my Periscope friends. My phone was acting up on the BEST SONG OF THE NIGHT!Ms. Hill slayed, killed, gave life, killed again and gave more life through her Nina Simone “Feeling Good” rendition!!!! WHY WASN’T Ms. HILL BOOKED FOR THE NINA MOVIE AGAIN ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜ถ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค” ๓พŒฆ?! Ms Lauryn Hill not only CAME THROUGH NJ, but she gave her soul!!!!

I am still on a natural high! Ms. Lauryn Hill gave me life last night! Vocally STILL A BEAST in the game. Her lyrical rhythms left me speechless. I still feel like a little kid lol all night I dreamt about the show! I’m blessed!! Ms Lauryn Hill not only CAME THROUGH NJ, but she gave her soul!!!! Again s/o to my ๐Ÿ”Œ Amanda Chanel Hill and Jazmine Wright, I was simply happy to be in the building! Even if y’all couldn’t have, I was excited! But y’all did and made my life that much more amazing! The ONLY thing that would have made my life even better is if Ms. Hill had performed Every Ghetto, Every City. But I have no complaints. Love and Peace to the Queen Ms. Lauryn Hill THANK YOU! ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿ’๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ”ฅโœŒ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ˜˜

 

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!).ย 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.ย 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. โœŒ๐Ÿพ

 

Not For the Weak Stomached or Minded ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿพ

I’m way too hard on myself. I am my toughest critic! I’m sure many people can say this about themselves. But I’m like really REALLY hard on myself. I expect greatness at all times! I know my strengths and how far I can push myself to achieve greatness. I’m an athlete so this is second nature to me. I’m on a new path in life, and I’m actively making some conscious decisions to change to live a healthier lifestyle. And one of my choices happened this morning.

I called out of work today. For some, this isn’t anything special. People call out of work all they time. I legitimately don’t feel well. It’s not the flu nor a head cold. I’m not dying and I can walk, so why did I call out today? My f’ing PERIOD! Damn my bad, that was kinda rude to just hit y’all with it like that! So let me give you a headsup, this will be a blog about my body, my menstrual period, and other feminine issues. If you ain’t about that life, I understand if you tap out now!

Now what was I saying again?! Oh yeah, I called out from work today because of my period. Now before the judgemental side eyes start, let me go back and explain somethings. I didn’t get my period until the summer going into my freshman year of high school, I was 13. For the most part, my periods have never really bothered me physically. I’ve ALWAYS bled REALLY heavy, but I figured out how to layer up and change out every 30-40 minutes. I understand now that this may not be common, but I’ve been dealing with my cycle for the past 19 yrs so I’ve figured out some life hacks. But for the most part I don’t have any crazy stories about having to miss school because of cramps or any other menstrual symptoms.

Growing up, I was extremely active in sports. As a teen my doctor once told me this was the reason I didn’t have bad symptoms. I didn’t fully understand it, but would thank God that I didn’t have bad cramps! In school I knew some girls that were out of school every month because of their cycles. In my younger, super naive and judgemental mind I would call these girls weak! I didn’t understand their pain. For the most part I just bleed way too heavy which only granted me some me pretty embarrassing moments. But for the most part, outside of the bleeding and occasional mood swings, I was good. Because my period never hit me that hard, there have been times in my past, I’ve been extremely desensitized to what women actually go through…. Until now!

I will never forgot the change. It was a late Spring night. A group of us were packed in my ball sister Frenchie’s car headed to play open gym. Sidebar: We used to have some EPIC battles at Rahway Open Gym, I digress. Somehow we start comparing “Period” stories. My naive ass was in awe of the stories my basketball sisters were telling! I had never experienced any of this growing up. I would often call girls who complained about their periods WEAK! Shame on me. I remember Frenchie saying “Just wait until 25”. I was 24 at the time, and didn’t believe the hype. But oh hunnie, when 25 hit, my body definitely decided against my will to shift!

It seemed as if I started bleeding even heavier and all of a sudden I started having crazy painful Cycle Symptoms! Extrem fatigue, back pains, bad cramps, dizzy spells, the works! I tired for the first two months, to woman up and take it like it was. But bye! I couldn’t take it anymore, plus I had full Heath insurance so I went to my OBGYN. Of course her reason was because I wasn’t as physically active any longer, my body was changing. She said some other things but ultimately she convinced me to go on birth control. We decided the Ring would be the best way for me to go. At first the ring was cool, my flow was light for the first time in my life! I had gone from five heavy days to only three! I’m on a high again, I had mastered the period game once again, back on my grind.

Fast forward a few yrs to this morning. No longer on birth control, laying in my bed in bloody pain, calling out of work. How the hell did I get here again? I thought I’d figured this thing out. How am I this weak, to call out of work because of a period? As I’m disappointedly asking myself all these questions, I check myself! ‘Jada Girl Bye, you are human. It’s ok’ I tell myself. This is life, this is the moment I am currently faced with. I have two choices at this point. I could try and be Super Woman again today, push my body passed this pain, pop MORE pain killers. Go to work and unproductively get all my cases done or I could take a day.

As you already know, I choose the latter. So as I’m soaking in my jacuzzi tub, with a hot cup of tea after placing my soiled sheets and pjs in the washing machine, I breathe. This is not the end of my word, I am not a WEAK woman who can’t handle a “simple period”. I am a conscious woman who now understands that I must respect my body in order to maintain a healthy mind, spirit and lifestyle! As long as I’ve grown and learned from this experience, I have overcome a huge mental battle. Im good, I will live to fight another day!

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.