"I can't breathe" speaks from the grave and describes the circumstances faced by many who are being choked by a system that treats different races and classes of people unequally.
Although everyone could probably benefit from a smart-spending lesson or two, today, we're talking to you 20-somethings. While you haven't had all that much time as an adult to establish your shopping routines and habits, you've had enough time to start developing some.
I honor the enthusiasm, the tenacity, vigilance of all who have marched, took rubber bulletts, made financial sacrifices, and found strength to go on anyhow. But as you assess where you are, and you find that this work is in your purpose, grab hold to your lane and stay in it with consistency and persistency.
You've heard a lot of information about retirement planning basics: contribute regularly to tax-advantaged accounts like your 401(k) or IRA, choose the right mix of assets for your age and risk tolerance, and rebalance regularly. But you still can't help but wonder if you're missing something crucial.
On the surface, there is absolutely no reason to update the classic Broadway show Annie, which was already adapted for the screen in 1982. But this multicultural cast redux adds a hip swag to the classic kid's story. This Annie is urban, emotional and fun. But far from perfect.
The recent airing of Sorority Sisters on VH1 has many people really upset (a slight understatement). Social media lit up with emotional rants about crying and broken hearts, threats to snatch sorors up, calls for boycotts, tweets to brands... the list goes on. I get it. Kinda.
All were willing to step up to make a difference, to lead when it could be dangerous, and to let their lives be shining examples for others. We should remember them when we face stormy and cloudy weather in our national life and become bright rainbows of hope like them.
The news media--people in our society who could play a pivotal role in creating a "dialogue" about such injustices as police killings of young black men--have fallen short.
We will not move forward as a society until we can bring ourselves to listen and respond to the cries of those whose spirits have been crushed by the chokehold of poverty and racism.
As an employee of a bank offering a national student loan refinance and consolidation program, I often speak with recent graduates looking for guidance on questions regarding their student loans. So, for those of you who still don't fully understand how student loan refinancing works, let me help you out.
The only way to say the words and not fall to pieces under the crushing irony doled out by a double-talking justice system is to understand "Black lives matter" not as a slogan or a hashtag but as a meditation. A mantra. A prayer. Or...
We need to take a hard look at what is causing this income disparity. Is it prejudice? Is it lack of economic or educational opportunities? Is the system corrupt, and if so, where? And what questions need to be asked to change that?
I am not interested in using the unfortunate deaths of my black and brown sisters and brothers as a platform to advance myself or my "brand," rather I am much more interested in how I can lead from behind.
Wondering what story to tell when you preach on race? Tell the story of how your congregation came to be predominantly white in the first place.
Be the one. At your family dinner table. In the bar at happy hour. At your job. In the cafeteria. In the classroom or at rehearsal. In the courtroom, in a chat room. In your church, in the choir, in your synagogue or in your mosque.
I believe the revolution has begun and we are ready for change and soon no one will be able to mislead us and we will take advantage fully of the voice we have on a regular basis. Not just in extreme times, so if you want to be a part of this revolution, look on your phone or computer.
At the same time, events like the ones in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland, and the responses to them dominate the news. All of these things remind us of the truth that anytime anyone is treated less than equal because of who they are, we are diminished as people.
Fourteen years ago, a then-15 year-old Monica Denise Arnold burst on the music scene in 1995 with her 'Miss Thang' debut – making history as the youngest singer to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart.
And since then, she's had her fair share of ups and downs.
Today, her personal and professional life are on display with a new BET reality show, titled 'Monica: Still Standing.' The mother of two sat down with the BV Newswire to chat about where she is in her life and how she was talked into putting her life on display for the world.
"As artists, the media glorifies what happens to us, but they don't tell the kids how we made it through," the Atlanta native said "This show altogether was a blessing...it will encourage the kids to keep pushing through trials and tribulations."
The 'Don't Take It Personal' singer said that she never thought about having a reality television show, but is "excited and grateful" for the opportunity to tell her story and reach people.
And although she and Keyshia Cole are friends and even recorded a song together, Monica clarified that 'Still Standing' will differ from 'Keyshia Cole: The Way It is.'
"Keyshia is a really dear friend of mine and we have a lot of similarities and we also have a lot of differences too, which makes our shows independently great," she said.
She rattled off a few of the key contrasts between their BET programs, "My family comes from the country in Newnan, GA and are all extremely close. My first cousin manages me. I have two children,"
Separate from the personal differences between the two entertainers, it is clear that the timing of Monica's new docu-drama series comes on the heels of the Grammy Award-winner's musical comeback of sorts. Her last album, 2006's 'The Makings of Me' included the hip-hop friendly 'Everytime Da Beat Drop,' which remains her least successful single to date.
Now with her upcoming fifth album, which is due in stores this Dec., the 29 year-old is hoping to return to her R&B roots.
"People want to hear music of substance from me and they still want to hear me sing, that was the only error in that particular album. I still appreciate the million people who bought that CD. It didn't do what the other CDs did, but it was a good learning experience," she noted. "Now, what I do is, if I don't feel it, then I don't record it."
Her J Records release, also titled 'Still Standing,' includes a song produced by Polow Da Don and featuring T-Pain, which she described as a track "about a guy and girl that were in a relationship and now that they are apart are critiquing the other person's mate." Included on the album is also a ballad called 'Here I Am,' that Monica says is "more true to who I am." She's also hoping to release a song with her fiancée and the father of her two sons, 'Umma Do Me' rapper Rocko.
Ultimately, Monica said wants the world to know that she's survived the difficulties of the music business and hardships in relationships, but she is here to stay.
"'Still Standing' is two words that if you put them together signify strength and I wanted that to be the basis of the show. I don't want them to feel sorry for me or like I'm the victim. I would like for them to see what I have learned as I've grown. I understand the mistakes I've made and I've moved on and that's where my strength comes from."
"All I can do is focus on being Monica the person and Monica the artist, and conveying that through my music."
'Monica: Still Standing' airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on BET.