It’s Not About Money

“It’s never ’bout the money ‘cuz I burn bread. It’s the principalities like Big Worm said” — Fabolous

Some people get so caught up with the dollars. I couldn’t care less about what my bank account said if I knew I lived in a nation that cared enough to make sure that I didn’t ever lose it all. I’ve been there and I can say that pursuing happiness can be pretty tough when you can’t pay your rent/mortgage, don’t have health insurance, and are working a job you hate just to make ends meet.

Bankruptcy and poor credit don’t only affect those whose names they are attached to, but also the people attached to those names. Families get evicted, children lose memories as a result of going from home to home, and those things that could’ve grown to mean the world to a person end up in a storage auction never to be seen again. Or, worse, uninsured people enter a hospital only to be told they will be helped only to a certain level and, after that, they’re on their own. What makes any one human more or less deserving than another to receive quality medical care, housing, or nourishment?

America, if you take anything at all from this blog, know that it’s not about the money. It’s never been about the money. Money just provides security. But what if (imagine this…) community provided security? What if we didn’t let our neighbors slip through the cracks? Or if we buy things to fill the voids we created by not giving our family time? What if we taught integrity before integers? We shouldn’t be privatizing education. Actually, we should be doing the opposite and equally distributing the resources that elite institutions (private and public alike) have.

If we want to make America great in the truest sense, we have to teach love and empathy. Yes, we have to take care of our own households but who will really want to kill us when we show them love? Proposing a truce (within reason) isn’t weak in the eyes of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to a toxic school of thought. I am a vocal proponent of self-defense but let’s have a little faith in God’s ability to put the humanity in mankind. And, in our everyday lives, let’s exhibit that humanity. We should not let anyone be homeless or hungry. Our children ought not learn untruths that the school system teaches. We can change this world together, one neighbor at a time.

And if you think me telling you to love your neighbor is too political, you probably don’t understand the denotation of the word “politics.” But there’s a wonderful book someone put together once that’ll explain that to you if need be.

 

Make money an avenue to improve the world as opposed to a goal in and of itself.

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Take the High Road: Grappling With Issues of Ethics

I’m not perfect. I used to claim to be working on being perfect and, eventually, I realized that’s all I’ll ever be doing: working on it. I was chatting with Aaron, one of the managers at Union, this afternoon and we were in agreement on the fact that perfection is not a destination but a lifelong journey.

That being said (and completely unrelated to my discussion with Aaron), there are some things that one cannot overlook. To willingly work for an institution whose values directly contradict your own is challenging. To do so and begin to side with the morally mistaken institution, however, is just plain ridiculous. We have to pay our bills but do we have to sell our souls? I just cannot do it. I cannot look my family in their eyes and say that I agreed to sell them out so that I could bring home the bacon.

I’m an effective team member who takes ownership over his own and his organization’s success. But I’m not going to sit silently and assist in propelling a M.A.G.A. agenda. And no one else should, either. America will not be great until it chooses to love everyone before it hates anyone, which it hasn’t done since it was first colonized.

I thought I was done but now I’m not. It sucks. So many institutions, from universities to fast food spots to the companies that sell caps and gowns use slave labor. If you have a mobile phone or computer (which you do), you’re supporting the privatized prison system. They’ve legalized human trafficking. People buy stocks in human beings being locked up. We all support it. In the United States, it’s impossible not to. But it is possible to speak out, to wake up, and to demand change.

The slavery isn’t just in the prison system though. It’s in paying people minimum wages. It’s in keep people shackled to student debt. It’s in poisoning us with McDonald’s and Burger King and all the preservatives in our foods so that we become too dependent on the jobs to say 🤬 the jobs. It’s in holding us hostage by forcing whites to believe that every Latinx is a member of MS13 and forcing blacks to believe that we are going to be killed by cops while forcing cops (who are just glorified elevated slaves) to believe that all blacks are looking to pull out a gun on an armed officer. The powers that be no longer need the whips. Our minds, regardless of race, have been colonized. The solution is choosing to take the hard road by loving others when it’s easier to embrace fear-inspired, self-serving hate. That is the greatest rebellion of all time.

Make maintaining your integrity a priority.

An Open Letter: This Thanks Is For You

Dear Everyone,
It is an empowering thing to see us breaking down society’s rules of what it means to be successful and, instead, define it as our happiness. Certainly, many of us stunt a bit on S.M. but we are making progress and that’s what matters. I love scrolling down my timeline and seeing my friends defining success and joy for themselves.

Whether they just got out the bing or started their own business or got a promotion or switched careers or decided to pursue dreams of spitting bars or finished reading a book or learned a new word or quit their job to travel the world, I’m happy for you. You may have just saved your first $100 or $100,000. I am happy for you. You may have just gotten engaged or announced you’re having a kid out of wedlock. I am happy for you. I am happy because I know that every step you take, even if it is a challenging one, is another step toward your destiny. You are going to be great and you’re getting greater each day you do something that causes love in and for yourself to grow.

Life is short. If you aren’t loving it, you’re wasting it.

Sincerely,
Deryle

Turkey Before Thanksgiving

Istanbul, Turkey was an unexpected stop on this trip but it ended up being an awesome experience.

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Eid Mubarak! Ramadan ended and the boys are back to live it up!

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Gotta hit them, hit them angles…

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Streets is watching, two point oh.

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I love to see people who love to do what I love to do.

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Faith is a beautiful thing when it’s relationship-based.

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Amateur tip: Don’t drink Turkish coffee without knowing how to drink it.

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No discussion needed. Just do it. Thanks.

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Like father, like son.

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Orville who?

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Sunset on the southern coast.

 

 

Paying It Forward

Next week, it’s time for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s homecoming! Best time of the year for me every year since 2006. Shoot, it’s so great that we got married around the time of G’s homecoming.

Today, I had lunch with two members of the UNCG family and we discussed giving to the school. Many of my friends who don’t give don’t because they are paying their loans. And yes, you’re paying money back but are you paying opportunities forward?

Were it not for UNCG, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have met my best friends. Secondly, I wouldn’t have been made a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by way of the Playboi Pi Zeta chapter. And, thirdly, I wouldn’t have received the education I did.

Now, many would say that education is the primary reason for going to a university and I agree. But it’s not the most important thing I took from my university. From it, I took relationships, a spirit to give back, and a better understanding of both business and African-American studies (along with many other subject areas). UNCG made me a more well-rounded and more prepared adult.

That’s why I give back to my institution. Why do you give back to yours? And, if you don’t, you should give something. Every dollar counts.

Make giving back a priority.

Death to (Workplace) Rape Culture

Let’s talk about the side of America and the American workplace that no one wants to: the misogynistic side. Just as America was built on the brains and backs of black people, it was birthed from the wombs, works, and wisdom of women. Why do we treat those we owe so much to so poorly? Will that forever be an inherent human flaw?

Yesterday, I had a discussion with a good, long-time friend. She told me that she has been made to feel increasingly uncomfortable at work by her (male) supervisor. Now, no matter what “level” of society you’re at, this is unacceptable but, just to give some perspective, this pretty young black lady is well-educated, makes a very good amount of money, and is more competent than a lot of people I know, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic background. She went to college in order to secure a better life for herself and then got a job that would allow her to do exactly that. So why is she being objectified? From what I understand, she does her job and does it very well. Why, as a supervisor, would you jeopardize your own integrity, career, and team in order to strong arm someone into inappropriate relations?

Why? Because you’re a man, because you’re higher up, and because you know that Human Resources is not there to serve the employee but to protect the company. As a man, sure women will say little slick things to us and, yes, we guys do get sexually harassed at work but, historically speaking, because corporate power sides with men, we’ve always had the upper hand, sadly allowing us to do lower things. Women have been harassed, terminated, blacklisted, and forced to relocate because we men could not keep our unwanted hands to ourselves (I’ll take ownership because I’m a member of the offending group and haven’t done enough to stop it).

I’m not saying that intraoffice romance is wrong. If two consenting adults can work together without a nepotism issue, by all means, go for it. Love is a beautiful thing. But when you try to use your power to get what you want or, when you go out to office socials and try to buy shots with hopes of getting someone on your team so hammered that she “consents” to let you go home with her, you’re promoting rape culture not only in your work environment but across this nation. You’re saying that what you, as a man, want, is more important than what that woman says. And, to the HR professionals/departments that support these actions in hopes of “protecting” the company, think about it this way: If you allow rape culture to be swept under the rug and, eventually rape turns to murder, you’re an asset to murder and your company will be paying a pretty hefty sum out.

Men, your mother/sister/aunt/cousin/wife/daughter may get sexually harassed if you don’t speak out against this nonsense. Am I certain it will happen? No. But I’d rather not take that risk.

It’s sad that I had to paint that familial picture but, for some people, that’s the only way to put a human face on this epidemic that is too often overlooked. But, you know what is also sad? I had to suggest to my friend that she: A) look for another job and B) tell her direct supervisor that she has a boyfriend just so he would stop harassing her. Men, let’s take ownership over our problems and educate our sons not to be boys that will be boys but instead be young men who can and will display restraint.

 

Make respect for womanhood a priority.

What’s Really Important

The three most important things in my life are God, love, and peace. Is money nice? Sure. But I’ve had (what I saw as) obscene amounts and I’ve had none. Funny thing is, I was least happy in my life when my checking account balance was the largest it ever was as a single man. And, one of my favorite memories came at a time when I had no job, no money and my dad gave me what he had because he knew I needed it.

Love and peace are key because you cannot buy either. No matter how much money you have, you cannot purchase peace. You have to practice tranquility so that, when life does happen, as it always does, you can maintain a level of calm.

Simultaneously, love cannot be bought. Eventually, the money and the stardom dissipate. That is the ebb and flow of things. Kanye West won’t always be on the front page of The Inquirer. Joe Blow won’t always be in the unemployment line. Love has to be built on more than the right here and now.

Now, can a bunch of other subcategories be placed in those three? Certainly. I, personally, cannot have peace without health so I have to continue eating better and working out. I’m investing now in my future peace by going through a controlled level of struggle in the gym day by day. And, even though money isn’t everything, do I need to be saving so that I can enjoy retirement? Yes. Once again, it is an investment in my peace and the peace of my family.

Figure out what three things are important to you and how those three can connect to the rest of your life. Let that push you day by day.

 

Make figuring out what’s important a priority.