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.

 

 

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More Than Beautiful

Women are the greatest creation on earth. Though not made to be men, they can create men. Though not prescribed by society to lead, they have broken down doors and led. Women are both beautiful and bold.

Romanian photographer Mihaela Noroc traveled the world to show what beauty in all colors and from all cultures looks like. Click here to see what she discovered and, please, share it with everyone you know. Men and women need to know that neither Marilyn Monroe nor Beyoncé are the global standards. Beauty is much more than what western media tells us it is.

 

Make open mindedness a priority.

God Just Might Be A Black Woman…

…And Jesus was definitely a Middle Eastern man.

Tonight, I’m watching The Shack. It’s a film about a man who meets the Trinity. In it, God the Father is a black woman. God the Son is a Middle Eastern man. God the Spirit is an Asian woman.

This film got many negative reviews from the general public because of those representations but I love it because it makes people question their belief systems. What makes us believe that God is a white man with a grey beard? And, by the way, this post has nothing to do with what we believe religiously but, instead, what we believe about power in this world of “ours.” If most of us see the most Supreme Being as an old white man or a young white man or a ghost, then how could we possibly have the utmost respect for anyone who doesn’t look like that?

What I’ve taken from this movie is that we don’t see the most supreme being but, instead, we feel her or him. And, if you feel that spirit in anyone else, you love them. But that means that, before determining that person is good or bad for your life based on externalities, you must feel his or her spirit first.

Maybe there’s a lot of whatever Supreme Being you do or don’t believe in within the person you never took a moment to get to know. And, who knows? That person just might be a black woman. Either way, there is a bit of Her (or Him or It) in us all. So let’s treat one another with such respect.

In the film, God the Son said, “I don’t want slaves. I want friends.” Let the rules go, in and out of the work place. Develop relationships built on respect and trust. The rest will surely come.

Make not judging people a priority.

Why Do We Ignore It?

Rape. Rape culture. Sexual harassment. Gender discrimination. Unequal pay. Distasteful jokes. Sexual assault. Male privilege.

All words we men hate to hear but things that we fail to actively work to change.

This week, #MeToo has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter. Women have been sharing very traumatic, extremely personal experiences that center around them having been sexually harassed or assaulted. Some were in the workplace and others weren’t but, when you have situations like the stories of these fourteen women who were attacked after refusing the advances of interested men, an active stance must be taken.

From presidents of the United States to the college intern at a startup’s water cooler, men have gotten away with far too much for far too long. And it’s not just the frat boy-esq. 23 year old who is fresh out of college. Nor is it just the dirty old man who has bundles of money that he uses to purchase companionship. It is all of us. Every man in the world.

If the reason you stop is because it could be your mom or sister or daughter or best friend, it’s better than no reason at all but how about stopping for a better reason? Why not stop because she is a human being?

Honestly, crass jokes wouldn’t be so bad if they went both ways and there wasn’t a double standard. They’re funny, right? But when the environment is one that devalues those who make our entire existence possible, we have to reevaluate our self-proclaimed “progress.” All these jokes do is perpetuate a lack of respect for the women around us.

It’s 2017. Just as we shouldn’t have to say #BlackLivesMatter, no one should be saying #MeToo in response to the devaluation of women and blatant rape culture that exists.

Make equality in and out of the workplace a priority.

Smart Starts Young: How Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Prepares Young Women To Thrive

by Susan McPherson
This week, UN Women and SAP hosted a forum focused on the advancement of women and girls in the innovation, technology and entrepreneurship fields. Promoting gender equality in these industries requires multiple approaches, from passing equal pay legislation to changing corporate culture to increasing the visibility of female role models. Meredith Walker, the co-founder of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and a speaker at the forum, suggests another approach: building confidence early on. Through Smart Girls’ digital content and programming, Meredith and her team help young women cultivate their authentic selves and develop their unique voices. In doing so, Smart Girls lays the groundwork for these young women’s continued success – in the workplace and beyond.

“Amy (Poehler) and I talked a lot about our pre-teen and teen years and remembered how good it felt when someone wanted to hear what we had to say. When someone let us be our goofy selves,” said Walker, when asked about the inspiration behind Smart Girls. “Being yourself is a challenge because the world seems to always have other ideas about who you should be. Learning to be yourself takes time, effort and determination. It comes only after asking yourself who you are and what is you, honestly you.”

A big focus for Smart Girls right now is giving girls a place to voice their opinions, thoughts and concerns — but also emphasizing the importance of having opinions that are based on fact. Not only does this lead to more constructive dialogue, but it also teaches young women how to be effective advocates for the issues they care about. According to Walker: “Gender equality is critical because it is about being valued as a human being. It is about the dignity of every person. If we are not of equal dignity and value in one place, then we may also be devalued and dismissed in others as well. If you want to be an advocate, you have to know what you are talking about. We live in a time when actual facts are (in some quarters) considered suspect. Yet, facts are vital for informed decisions and an informed electorate. It is worthwhile to realize the limitations of our own views and to become better informed every chance we get.”

Check out the rest of the Forbes article by clicking here.

 

Make gender equality a priority.

Stop The Cattiness

I hear from too many women I know that they don’t hang out with other women because they’re too catty. But, if you find the right group of like-minded queens, the sky is the limit. You cannot expect to overthrow a patriarchal society without working alongside other women. George Washington didn’t win the Revolutionary War by himself. He needed Crispus Attucks and Paul Revere as well.

Make getting on the same page a priority.

The Strength to Embrace Change

I look at some of the women in my circle and I am always astonished at their success. My awe lies not in the fact that they are women who achieve but in the fact that they keep pushing against a system that paints them as weaker human beings. Still, they go against the grain, work harder than their male counterparts (often for less), and they do all of this for what? To spur change. To secure their professional futures. To allow young ladies of the future to be moguls of entrepreneurship and industry.

So, ladies, today, I take my hats off to you. Yes, you are mothers, wives, caretakers, homemakers, and everything sweet that the world needs. You are all that and so much more. You are engineers, mechanics, doctors, scientists, artists, athletes, owners, traders, investors. You can do it all but you shouldn’t have to do it all. It is our responsibility as your male allies to stand alongside you and help women, all women, even out the playing field.

Make women not having to work harder than men a priority.