Let’s Talk: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man with Matthew McConaughey

Had an enlightening conversation/ debate for the first time in a while at my work place today. For those who don’t know I work as a part-time server, so you can imagine how monotonous the job at hand can be. In short, this conversation ignited a fire that I knew had to be relit and as a result, felt inclined to share this video with you guys today. It’s moments like this that remind me of how short sighted I can be in recognizing my own individual power, thus inhibiting my own self from continuing on my mission as an artist and educator.

For those who self-educating on the subject of social inequality and injustice, I advise you to give this video a moment of your time. Emmanuel Acho interviews Matthew McConaughey in calling out his own behavior as a white individual in the perpetuation of systematic oppression and racism. It is an interview that only scratches the surface of but is insightful and impactful never the less. Acho discusses the analogy of coronavirus to the black lives matter movement and touches upon the argument of “all lives matter”, white allergies, back-handed compliments, micro aggressions, etc. Never meant to point fingers and making this a blame game but only to acknowledge the importance of history and simply act upon this acknowledgment.

Check out more of Acho’s videos on his channel here.

6/14/20 BLM Protests in LA & Music Inspo for Social Change

Today is the big day. Protests are occurring all throughout the Los Angeles area in Long Beach, Inglewood, DTLA, Hollywood, etc. to address the racial inequalities and injustices that black community struggle with a daily basis. While I feel almost guilty for not attending, I also know that I can show my support in other ways that I could identify and resonate most with.. and that’s music. It was the year 2017 when I realized the true impact music has on people to become inspired and to inspire others. It was also the same year when I picked up my pen again and began to hone in on my song writing skills. That was when I realized I could put my love for writing and music together in order to create music that express the deep emotions I felt when learning about the corruption and darkness that pervaded the world while attending my sociology courses in college. Though I may not experience racism as overtly as in the same way as the black community, I have and currently experience micro aggression that, in hindsight fortunately, has left me feeling almost lonely & outcast (which may also be contributed to my introverted & artistic tendencies). However, I was keen of the different nuances of human interaction & treatment that existed in our hierarchical society today. And while I felt the sadness of the world, it left me feeling almost powerless and overwhelmed myself. And I think the realization was a pivotal moment for me, because it led to me to resort back to music as a way of escapism but also on the same token, a way to create social change. Almost 4 years later, and my disposition has not changed. Here is to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement of 2020. Hope at least one of these songs incite or invoke some feeling and desire of change within yourselves and consequently, to the real world. Comment your favorite below!

much love x Lo

Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone (1968)
I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people, yeah yeah

A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke (1963)
It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there above the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change’s gonna come, oh, yes, it will

(click here to purchase A Change Is Gonna Come on Amazon)

Preach by John Legend (2019)
I can’t sit and hope, I
Can’t just sit and pray, that
I can find a love, when
All I see is pain
Falling to my knees
And though I do believe
I can’t just preach, baby, preach
Whoa, oh
I can’t just preach, baby, preach

(click here to purchase Preach on Amazon)

Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas (2003)
People killin’ people dyin’
Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preachin’?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin’ on
Can’t we all just get along?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where’s the love)

(click here to purchase Where Is The Love? on Amazon)

There’s Got To Be A Way by Mariah Carey (1990)
There’s got to be a way
To connect this world today
Come together to relieve the pain
There’s got to be a way

(click here to purchase There’s Got to Be a Way on Amazon)

Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson (1988)
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

(click here to purchase Man in the Mirror on Amazon)

Year of 2020: Time of Self-Reflection

As you may read from my previous posts, I have been looking inwards through contemplation & self-reflection.

2020 is such an odd year, isn’t it? There is so much going on in the world that I have no where else to look but inward.
Judge if you may but as I was reflecting, I played with the idea & came to the realization that the back to back occurrence with Corona Virus & the BLM movement might just be a direct message (if you will) from the high power above to all humans regardless of your skin, hair, and eyes. Why else would this happen in such a timely manner? Can we simply call this a coincidence? Maybe this is a wakeup call for us to grow in understanding & solidarity, check our individual & cultural privilege, so that we better understand ourselves as human beings & as a society. Because in the end, we are not meant to be pitted against each other, only to help. It’s a phenomenon that I think is long over due but ultimately a moment of social & global change.. speaking to all non-black races, how can we change the world when we don’t change ourselves?

That’s why I thought it was so important that I use this time to dig deeper into the person I am underneath the facade, societal pressures, etc. Who am I without the fancy car? Who am without the constant pressure of outside noise? without my job? without my friends & family? without my bank account? What speaks to my soul? Why am I here? And I’ve realized, that you if you don’t value yourself enough to become you, by simply doing more of what you love & what gives you life than how can you come to wholeheartedly & genuinely accept & give life to someone else? for long-term support? Not gonna lie, these moments of deep reflection isn’t easy. For me, I have felt moments of pure weakness, existential crisis, & disempowerment. I understand for you it may be a difficult idea to sit with & even more uncomfortable process to ponder, but one that is so very necessary to undergo. And I am telling you now, it’s gonna get harder, but you’ve got to go through it to get through it. No one said anything worthwhile is going to be easy. I am still going through it.

I really suggest that for those who find themselves overwhelmed, distressed, or saddened by these times, I hope for ya’ll to spend this critical time to look within yourself first before committing to change outside yourself. Because with today’ social media, it is much easier to post than act. to say than do. and I do not buy the ‘allyship’ some of these people claim. But I am grateful to say that now that the BLM Movement has become one supported by protestors in countries outside the U.S. such as the Portugal, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia etc., it is not one that can no longer be shoved under the rug, but instead forced to discuss. While I wholeheartedly acknowledge & appreciate the space of the Black Lives Movement, I also respect the value of yours as well. To make change on a macro level, we must start with ourselves.

much love x Lo

BLM Movement 2020: Little Help Will Go A Long Way

These times have been a bit overwhelming for me to say the least.
As you have probably seen on the news.. riots are breaking out everywhere in the cities.
In Los Angeles, they have broken out in Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, Santa Ana, & just recently, Koreatown area where I am hearing police sirens go off every couple hours.
Other cities include: Atlanta, Minneapolis, New York, Miami, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Washington D.C. to name a few.
And it saddens me to see people suffering & in pain. It’s absolutely heart breaking.
However, while I do not condone violence, I also know that these protests are very much needed in our times today.
I also thought I’d mention that while I also stand by the black community, I feel the loots are unnecessary and uncalled for because it makes the black community look bad. These people are resorting to pure chaos & violence that will not solve the issue at hand.
It’s not for justice & humanity, but for pure greed & lack of moral integrity is one thing I cannot tolerate.

As a sociology graduate, witnessing this pandemonium unravel (on top of COVID pandemic) saddens me but gives me hope in the future as well. I know, sometimes for myself, I struggle to show my support although I feel it in me. And so, these times have become somewhat of a blessing in disguise as I reevaluate my stance & values & the ways in which I can further support the POC community & incorporate that into my lifestyle.

Needless to say, though I know this fight for the black community; I stand by them as they express their frustration & suffering. I can not continue about my day without expressing my support for them in which way I can.

Because I am almost positive there will be massive change to repair & comfort those feel broken.
And though this change may not entirely eradicate systems of oppression, I know we are one step closer to where we need to be.

For those, like myself, who have not attended any protests, any efforts of support (big or small) makes all the difference. Every effort is worthwhile.
Below are some of the ways you can participate/ support:

  • sign petitions
  • post on social media
  • start meaningful & thought provoking conversation about race
  • provide any sort of emotional support for the black community
  • begin researching
  • donate to black non-profits

My first chosen non-profit to donate to was Black Visions Collective. Black Visions’s mission is to incorporate self healing behind the strive for black liberation. Freedom starts with the self & and so their missions allow individuals to speak up for themselves & the community. Funds will help national coalitions & campaigns needed for long-term change. You can find out more about Black Visions Collective here.

The second is Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code’s mission is to help increase black female involvement in the STEM field through exposure to computer science and technology. This will allow black females opportunities to fill computing job openings and increase African American representation within the STEM field. I completely support the development of black females lives. You can find out more about Black Girls Code here.

Lastly, the third was Reclaim the Block, which is an extension of Black Visions Collective within the Minneapolis area. Reclaim the Block pushes for community-led initiatives reducing reliance on police force. Reclaim the block will also provide support to those with addictions while help fund for the shortfalls of COVID 19. Donations will go towards paying local artists, offering food at community meetings, making copies, and more. to allow for safer and healthier spaces within the community.

Thanks for reading ya’ll & remember these times are crucial & so whichever way you may support, MATTERS.

much much love x Lo