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December 19, 2014

'We, As A Nation, Have Failed'

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What Happens When We Send Minors To Adult Prisons

Black Jail
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Al Sharpton Calls For Action Against Sony Executive

Al Sharpton
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Scott Walker Ready To Call In National Guard To Respond To Dontre Hamilton Protests

Scott Walker
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Obama Talks About His Own Experience With Racial Profiling

Barack And Michelle Obama
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Michael Brown's Father: 'I'm Real Tired Of Our Kids Getting Misused And Abused'

Michael Brown
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HuffPost Reports

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Takes Powerful Step To Discuss Race With Employees

Starbucks
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14-Year-Old Wrongly Convicted Of Murder Exonerated 70 Years Later

George Stinney
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Passing of Natural Hair Pioneer Titi Branch

Titi Branch
Getty

America's Oldest Black College Could Face Financial Collapse

College
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Key Witness In Michael Brown Case May Not Have Actually Seen Him Die, Report Says

Darren Wilson
AP

Jon Stewart Hits Back After Hannity Calls Jay Z A 'Crack Dealer'

Jon Stewart
Comedy Central

UPenn Fraternity Suspended For Using Beyonce Blow Up Doll In Photo

Blowupdoll
Phi Delta Theta

Obama Applauds LeBron James For Wearing 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirt

Lebron James Obama
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How Giving Cameras To Formerly Homeless Detroiters Also Gave Them A Voice

Lucretia Portrait
HuffPost

49ers Player 'Terminated' Amid Sexual Assault Investigation

Ray Mcdonald
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Cop Designs 'Breathe Easy, Don't Break The Law' T-Shirts

Breathe
Facebook: South Bend Uniform Co.

Hillary Clinton: 'Black Lives Matter'

Hillary Clinton
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An Open Letter to Penn's Phi Delta Theta Fraternity for Their 'Beyonce' Blow-Up Doll Holiday Card

Racism
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U.S. Wealth Gap Hits Record High

Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center

Protester: We Can't Be Silent When Women Are Shot By Police

Aura Rosser
Aura Rosser

NFL Player Emotionally Explains Why He Won't Apologize For Protest

Andrew Hawkins
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Group Slams Bill Cosby For Comment About 'Black Media' Coverage Of Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby
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Race In Film: 'Criminality From People Of Color Is Viewed As Inherent'

Breakfast At Tiffany
Paramount Pictures

John Crawford III's Family Sues

John Crawford Iii
ASSOCIATED PRESS

9 Absurd Justifications For Police Killings Of Unarmed Black Males

Protests
AP

How School Suspensions Disproportionately Target Black Girls

Black Teens In Class
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Bill Cosby's Daughter Addresses Sexual Assault Allegations

Bill Cosby Daughter
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When White People See Themselves With Black Skin, Something Interesting Happens

African American Face
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Teen Boy Fatally Shot While Defending Twin Brother During Robbery

Demario Bailey Shot
Photo provided

Cleveland Police Union Refuses To Back Down From Criticism Of NFL Player For Tamir Rice Shirt

Andrew Hawkins
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Artist Collective Takes Responsibility For UC Berkeley Lynching Effigies

Noose
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Student Allegedly Pulled Over For Playing 'F--k The Police'

Fuck The Police
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Artists Explore The Many Influences Of Ebony And Jet Magazines

Jet

Protesters Chain Themselves To Oakland Police Headquarters

Oakland Police Flag
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This Is What It Looks Like When New York City Erupts With Cries For Justice

Millions March Nyc
Emily Kassie

Bill Cosby Says He Expects 'Black Media' To Remain 'Neutral'

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Police Nationwide Alter Tactics, Bolster Arsenal After Protests, Killings

Protests Police
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Black Churches Pray In Protest Of Police Brutality

Black Church
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Half of Black College Students Graduate $25,000 in Debt

Tamir Rice's Mom: I'm Looking For A 'Change For The Nation'

Tamir Rice

VIDEO
John Crawford's Girlfriend Aggressively Questioned After Fatal Shooting

Joe Crawford Iii
H/O

'It Doesn't Matter Where You're At -- People Have Guns Everywhere'

Newtown Anniversary
Twitter: VPCGLA

Shakeup In Haiti

Lamothe
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NBA Veteran Graduates From College, Nine Pro Seasons Later

Jarrett Jack Nets
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Pamela Wright's Son Was Shot Dead A Month After Newtown. This Is Her Story.

Pamela Wright
Everytown For Gun Safety

The Ezell Ford Autopsy Report Casts Another Glare on the Autopsy Debate

Ezell Ford
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Michel Du Cille's Stories Live On

Michel Du Cille
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mississippi Women Plead Guilty To Hate Crimes

James Craig Anderson
Facebook

In Wake Of Troubling VA Report, Group Promises Nearly 2,000 Homes For Homeless Vets

Homeless Veteran
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After Honoring Eric Garner, LeBron's Voice Could Have Been Louder

Lebron James
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Police Arrest Suspect In Shooting Death Of Auburn Player

Jakell Mitchell Suspect
AP

Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings

Washington Square
raphaelangenscheidt/Instagram

These Powerful Signs Illustrate The True Diversity Of The #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Millions March
Sebastian Murdock

Interfaith Efforts Work For Reconciliation In The Central African Republic

Central African Republic
ASSOCIATED PRESS

45 Arrested After Protests In Oakland

Oakland Protests
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WATCH
Grieving Mothers: My Son Would Still Be Alive If He Were White

Eric Garner
CNN

16 Quotes To Remind America That Black Lives Matter

What Happened When Two Students, One Black and One White, Participated in a Peaceful Protest

Alex Q Arbuckle
Alex Q. Arbuckle

Do You Think Bill Cosby's Rape Allegations Are a Conspiracy?

Sexual Assault
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FBI Investigating Hanging Death Of Black Teen

Swingset
Stephen Mallon via Getty Images

'My Name Is Michael Sam, And I Am Unbroken'

Michael Sam Unbroken Video
YouTube

Maine High School Displays Poster Protesting Grand Jury Decisions

Lewiston High School
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tamir Rice Death Declared Homicide In Newly Released Autopsy

Tamir Rice
Justice For Tamir Rice

Michel Du Cille, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer, Dies At 58

Michel Du Cille
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Undercover Cop Points Gun At California Protesters

Oakland Protesters
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images

John Crawford's Family To Join March In Washington

Joe Crawford Iii
H/O

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12 Gifts For Dad, The Most Impossible Person On Your Shopping List

Pizza Cone
Amazon

There's No One Reason To Dance. In Fact, Here Are 39 Of Them

Whyidance

The Incredible Christmas Oprah Will Never Forget

Own Oprah Where Are They Now Christmas Kindness
OWN

Jill Scott Set To Receive Major Honor

Jill Scott
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23 Beyoncé-Inspired Gifts To Make Your Home Look Flawless This Season

Flawless
AManicMonday/Etsy

'Shmoney Dance' Rapper Arrested

Bobby Shmurda
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Vivica Brings Hollywood Glam To The 'World's Leading Luxury Island Destination'

Vivica A Fox
Courtesy of The Britto Agency

The Impact Of 'Black Messiah' on R&B

Dangelo
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NeNe Says No Atlanta Housewives Have Seen 'Cinderella': ‘The Hate Is Real'

Nene Leakes
HuffPost Live

Kendrick Lamar Debuts New Song On 'The Colbert Report'

Kendrick Lamar
NBC via Getty Images

Obama Names His Favorite Movie Of The Year

Obama Smiling
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Analyzing J. Cole's '2014 Forest Hills Drive' And His Place In Hip Hop

J Cole
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Chris Brown's Bodyguard Sentenced For Assault

Chris Brown Bodyguard
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Model Says Bill Cosby Drugged Her And Licked Her Toes In 2008

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

45 Fashion Gift Ideas Under $100

Fashion Gift Ideas
Boy Meets Girl/Misguided/Charm&Chain

'Selma' Star David Oyelowo: 'Eric Garner Became An American Problem'

David Oyelowo
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Watch Mashup Of Darlene Love Singing The Best Christmas Song

Darlene Love Letterman
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Oprah And Jimmy Fallon Could Almost Make You Not Hate Auto-Tune

Fallon
NBC

Black Captain America Leading Comic Book Diversity

Isaiah Bradley
Marvel

Bill Cosby's Wife Breaks Silence On Sexual Assault Allegations

Camille Cosby
Bryan Bedder via Getty Images

Titi Branch, Miss Jessie's Co-Founder, Dead At 45

Titi Branch
Getty

Angela Davis Explains How The 'Prison Industrial Complex' Profits From Black People

Angela Davis
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PHOTO: 'Selma' New York Premiere And Afterparty

Selma After Party
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'Selma' Director Ava DuVernay Slams Racist Sony Emails As 'Sad'

Ava Duvernay
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Oprah On Protests: 'Y'all Are Not The First To Do It '

Oprah Winfrey
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9 Reasons Why No One Compares To Figure Skater Surya Bonaly

Surya Bonaly
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Naomi And Jourdan Land Major Campaign

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Listen To D'Angelo's First Album In 14 Years

Dangelo Singer
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This Roller Skating Man Just Elevated The Ring Bearer Game

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BrotherSpeak: Exploring The Lives Of Black Men

Black Man Mouth
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The Lack Of Black Emoji Has Sasheer Texting Some Strange Things

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NBC

'Selma' Cast Wears 'I Can't Breathe' Shirts At Premiere

I Cant Breathe
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The 22 Best Movies Of 2014

Best Movies 2014
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Mayweather Says He Wants To Fight Pacquiao, Finally

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AFP via Getty Images

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Raven-Symone Gives Mentor Debbie Allen A Heartfelt Surprise

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Kevin Hart Responds To Slam In Sony Email Leak

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Foreclosure?

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Watch Shaquille O'Neal Use An Easy-Bake Oven Like An All-Star

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Kendrick Lamar Teams Up With Reebok

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Netflix To Produce Nina Simone Documentary

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Gugu's Breakthrough Win!

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Tonex: Opening Up About Hysteria Over Homosexuality

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Gospel Singer Tonex Opens Up To Black Voices About Hysteria Over His Homosexuality
Earlier this month, clips of a taped television interview that gospel music sensation Tonex conducted for 'The Lexi Show' (on the Gospel network) surfaced on the Internet and caused a heated frenzy within the black religious industry. During the revealing conversation, the internationally renowned music superstar (nee Anthony Williams III) talked candidly about his homosexuality, his failed marriage and his thoughts on the black church. As expected, when someone touches upon such a taboo subject, it strikes a chord among others. But as the multiple Stellar Award-winning virtuoso tells it, in his very own words, it was a lot more than he ever bargained for. Below is Tonex's exclusive testimony to BlackVoices.com:

Okay, so now since it's really gone mainstream, there is really no backpedaling is there?

After all of the buzz surrounding the Lexi interview, things started spinning out of control. What was said, what wasn't said, and how after you tell the truth even that truth has the propensity to get twisted. However, it's never a crime to face yourself and speak your heart. And you must have heart to tell the world who you are.

I never thought in a million years that I would find the courage to speak so freely about where I am as a human, a man and a child of God. After much soul searching and Bible reading, I had to come to some decisions about myself that I knew weren't going to be the easiest to confront, especially since I was a prominent figure in the religious community and gospel music at large. How would my family deal with this when it aired? And would the content be congruent with what was actually filmed after post production? I have to say that Lexi kept her word about professional journalism, and if people watch all three parts, they will see the totality of what was covered -- not just the sensationalism.

I scheduled the interview, but I had no idea of the nature of the questions. I mean, I have yet to see faith-based journalists explicitly present these kind of questions to anyone else, but that's why they asked me, because they know I'm going to give them an answer. It was spontaneous, but I had already come to terms with myself and knew that I would be able to answer with clarity, calmness and truth. Why ? Because I was tired of being asked about my sexuality, and I was still on a journey to find the fullness of what that is. To be honest, I'm still on that journey. I'm studying daily on the subject of same-sex matters. I'm tired of echoing what I've been told. I want to know for myself the true interpretation of scriptures in Biblical text and well as scientific documentation.

You know, it's not easy growing up in a Pentecostal/Evangelical church, where everyone is pretty much anti-gay, although it's common knowledge that some of the most anointed musicians and singer-songwriters have, or have dealt with, same-sex attraction at some point. For me, it was particularly taboo because of my upbringing and the ministerial call on my life. I then had to think about the repercussions of this revelation. But I knew I had to get free. That interview was cathartic for me.

It turns out that was the very first time an award-winning mainstream gospel artist openly admitted these things about his or her sexual orientation. I didn't really think about that either until after the fact, when someone mentioned it to me. Believe me, that's nothing that I'm happy about. It actually kind of sucks. I had no blueprint; I was actually making one. I had no clue of what would happen; I would have to wait and see. People make telling the truth sound so easy, but it's not. Not because you don't know whether it's the right thing to do, but because you don't know what people are going to do with it once they hear it. And, more importantly, what part of the truth they really gonna hear.

There was so much more in that interview that I thought was, unfortunately, overlooked. So much more to my story then the sexuality part, but most church folks are sexually repressed anyway, so they naturally gravitate right toward that type of subject matter. I noticed parts one and three weren't juicy enough for the church or the public, yet they were the key to the whole puzzle. I talked about my same-sex attraction. I don't think that there was any new information here. I've addressed this issue in my music for years. But for many, I guess, it was a shock of sorts. But believe me, it wasn't for shock value. The real story is not cute, ladies and gentlemen. Freedom, my friends, is not for cowards.

Amazingly, after the interview, I could not believe that 96 percent of the responses were positive. Many were commending me on my poise, my intellect and the way I handled the entire process. No, everyone didn't agree with every point I made, but they had to applaud my courage for speaking out on such a private matter. I felt the need to address it candidly because we've been skating around the subject of homosexuality and the church for a long time -- enjoying the benefits of same-gender-loving people, yet abusing them from the pulpits.

No one said stop preaching against fornication, lust, lying, stealing or adultery. What I am saying is that we need to stop focusing on people's private lives and sexual orientation and preach the truth of God's salvation. Whatever your faith may be, no one has the right to blatantly disrespect or harass another human being. Beyond that, we have no need to go into people's closets and private matters. Teach the word, and let God handle the rest. His love is much greater than His judgment.

This is the position I am holding: God's love is indeed for everyone. Although that interview is being dubbed my "coming out," that was the least of what was being conveyed. Healthy, committed, monogamous relationships on both sides of the spectrum were mentioned, particularly marriage for a man and a woman (even though I have not come to terms about gay marriage). I still feel commitment is much better than promiscuity. Abstinence, of course, is ideal, but in this generation, it's just not a likely reality.

The other reactions are another story. Within no time, every engagement that I had to preach or sing in churches or faith-based concert venues was canceled. I suppose they did not want a demon-possessed homosexual on their stage or pulpit, although I never stopped preaching or teaching the same doctrine and principles that I spoke on before. I'm still the same dude today. I believe that people still have not seen the interview themselves; they are going by what they've heard someone else tell them.

I was the same person back then as I am now, the one that God used to help a lot of people. The phobias that I am witnessing are scary. People who serve this loving God are showing so much hate for one of His beloved children. And I understand where they are coming from, because it's never really been addressed this way. I'm standing out here naked. And, frankly, people are angry.

Some said I should have shown remorse; some say that I'm leading people astray. All I did was tell the truth. It's no wonder why people lie within this system. Not because they believe in everything man says but because they have bills to pay. The hypocrisy of this should have left me quite burnt out with the whole situation. So then I had to shift my focus off of religion and move toward being a pioneer. Charting new territory for an oppressed people that truly love God and have been ostracized beyond belief -- the sheep of another fold.

I speak of them in a song called 'This is All of Me.' I was speaking for all the "kids" around the world. Basically the kids are boys and girls that are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender), a group that has a 30 percent suicide rate among gay and bisexual youth. And the young men with more "feminine gender-role characteristics" and those who recognized their same-sex orientation at an early age and acted on those sexual feelings seem to face the highest risk of self-destructive behavior.

Because no one is affirming the existence of these young people. No one is showing them love. No one is showing them life or God or beauty. They are only shown hell, death, bigotry and damnation. But even for this community and other social outcasts, there is still room at the cross.

I will continue my recording activism, advocating fair treatment of all people, including these people, my own people, with whom I not only sympathize but empathize. I have experienced firsthand what it's like to be teased, abused, yelled at and preached against. I've been told that I am worse than a serial killer. No one can ever tell me that I willfully opted for choosing this road. I wanted it out of me. In the past, I had even attempted to take my own life, but God's mercy said no.

As I continue down this path of self-discovery, my prayer is that others will see that we are your sons, daughters, cousins, nieces and nephews silently crying inside, coping with fear and uncertainty. We need love and affirmation. We need to know that it's okay to talk about these issues in a safe family environment and that we will be respected not just for our art and talents but for the beautiful human beings that God created us to be. After all, He does not make mistakes. I would not be here typing had it not been for the prayers of the righteous and real friends who understand the challenge of taking the road less traveled. May we all show love toward one another. The greatest command is love another. Thank you for listening to my testimony.

The College Survival Guide

    A Fridge
    Regardless of whether you have a wonderful sized meal plan, your fridge may come in handy with leftovers or when you feel like stocking it with bottled drinks.

    Computer
    The convenience of a computer is essential when sending your kids off to college. Forget the hike to the computer lab across campus students need a computer in the comfort of their room. A printer comes in handy as well. Depending on whether your child plans to carry his laptop around campus, you might opt for a desk top since they're lighter on the pockets.

    Snacks
    You will surely survive with off of a meal plan but it doesn't hurt to stock up on snacks when you don't feel like leaving your dorm room. Bottled water, pop corn, cereal and Ramen noodles are all low budget snacks to stock up on. Just be weary of the freshman 15.

    Things from home
    Some college students suffer from homesickness the first year. It's best to surround yourself with things like photos of the family, pillows or even stuffed animals. Anything that reminds your child of home.

    MP3 Player
    With all the stress that comes from school and exams, sometimes it's nice to block out the chaos in your life and even your roommate with music. It's nearly impossible to find students walking to class who aren't jamming to tunes.

    Budget
    Students who enter college often come in at the ripening age of 18. A great time for credit cards. Parents beware, your child may end up ruining their credit at a young age

    Alarm Clock
    When you're in college you don't have the luxury of getting awaken by your parents. It's now your responsibility to get to class on time so alarm clocks are a must. But keep your roommate in mind. You shouldn't wake him up ever morning with a blow horn alarm.

    Cleaning supplies
    Now you don't necessarily need to bring in the rubber gloves, mop and gas mask but it doesn't hurt to bring along Clorox all purpose wipes for spills or dust. Vacuums and brooms come in handy too depending if you have a carpeted dorm.

    Bedding
    What most parents aren't aware of is that most college beds are twin sized but extra long and require special sheets. When shopping keep your eye open for sheets that clearly state 'extra long' or else your child may come up short.

    Shower shoes
    You really don't know what some people do in the shower these days. College showers are known to be creeping with germs so spare yourself the fungus and purchase flip flops for the shower. You'll thank us later!

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