society

Beyoncé is Not Jesus by Diamond Coleman

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It's rare in this day and age to meet someone who isn't obsessed with Beyoncé, or, at the very least, doesn't appreciate her talent. When you go on your Facebook and Twitter feeds, she's there in lyrical and GIF forms. When you turn on the radio, one of her songs is playing, and you inevitably begin bobbing your head and rapping or singing along. When she broke the internet (sorry, Kim K. Jk---I'm not) with the release of her new joint "7/11" a few weeks ago, my Twitter timeline was immediately bombarded with hyperbolic tweets. Because of this song, supposedly several proverbial wigs were "snatched" from the heads of non-believers and "peasants," while members of "The Beyhive" (the name given to the Beyoncé fandom) were seemingly incapable of turning off caps lock as they vividly described the apparent religious experience they were undergoing in real time. I don't think I've ever seen the limit of 140 typographical characters reached in such ways before. Nonetheless, I wasn't at all taken aback by this kind of reaction; in fact, I was expecting it. I mean, after all, it's Beyoncé, a woman whose significance has, through the eyes of several people around the world, surpassed that of Jesus. Yeah, THAT Jesus. I'd like to think of myself as a spiritual person rather than a religious one; the latter implies that I'm devoted to a specific religion and practice it regularly, which isn't the case. If anything, I'm agnostic. Agnostically spiritual? Spiritually agnostic? Clearly I'm a work in progress, but basically what I'm getting at is that even though I'm not devoted to a religion that believes Jesus to be the son or prophet of God, I find it offensive that some equate a human being---yes, contrary to what some of y'all believe, when Beyoncé gets paper cuts, she bleeds red blood just like us, not gold---to Jesus Christ. I mean, homegirl is even called "Beysus." Since when was it ever justifiable to make a mockery of religions that are the very core of many people's lives? Have we become so diluted as a society that we now turn to celebrities for guidance?

Yes, it's true that Beyoncé has saved the lives of many, both actually and figuratively; trust me, I know very well the healing power of music. And I give her some props for having the innate ability to have such a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people that she hasn't even met. But her fascinating influence on others isn't enough to warrant a comparison to a religious figure whose influence is far greater than hers. Exalting her to a divine level is not only ridiculous, but it's also demeaning to us everyday folks. If people continue to react as if they've just witnessed the resurrection of Jesus when she does, well, anything, it will only give more power to the impression that she transcends humanity. She doesn't. No one does. She knows this, so why don't we?

I am not a Beyoncé hater. Actually, I was a huge Destiny's Child fan growing up and when she went solo, I bought Dangerously In Love as soon as it dropped. I also bought B'Day and when her surprise self-titled album was released last year, I even succumbed to the hype and purchased it and the videos. But my opinion of her has definitely changed over the past 17 years (OMG, has it really been that long?!). No longer is she the woman who can sing and dance her ass off while still maintaining a humble disposition. Now, I don't think she's necessarily pompous, but I get the sense that she and her very famous husband are elitist. Is she a great performer? Absolutely. Can she sing? Uh, obviously. Is she pretty? Of course. She also makes catchy-ass music every now and then. But these attributes don't make her a deity; they just mean that she's really talented and possesses star power, whatever the hell that is.

Here's some truth for us all: Beyoncé wasn't thinking about us yesterday, she wasn't thinking about us during any part of today, and she sure as hell won't be thinking about us tomorrow. Not only is she one of the busiest people in the entire world, but she also has a major business to uphold, which means she has no time to even think about her Beyhivers, let alone grieve with them or hold their hand when they're going through a crisis. So why put so much faith into her? There's nothing wrong with being a hardcore fan; hell, I'm guilty of obsessing over some famous people. But now that I'm older and am fully aware that they, just like me, are human and are not infallible, I've chilled out with treating them like they're saints. They make a lot of money and sure, some days I imagine myself being in their shoes. But all that glitters isn't gold, kids.

Let's do better. Let's stop saying Beyoncé is Jesus, because she isn't, and she will never be.

Do You, Be You by Diamond Coleman

When you compare yourself to others, you set yourself up for self-destruction. There are very few things in life that are worse for your well-being and peace of mind than letting the actions of other people consume you, and doing so usually leaves you feeling inadequate.

The problem with comparing yourself to another individual is that it’s entirely way too easy. When you’re not where you want to be in your life and someone else is living the way you envision yourself living, it’s only natural for you to reevaluate your current situation and think hypothetically. Sometimes, this can even motivate you to work more arduously to achieve an objective. But what we must all remember is that each person’s destination and the path he or she takes to arrive there is different. There is more than one way to achieve a goal and no expiration date for one’s arrival to that goal; in most cases, it’s never too late to go after what you desire. Once we fully understand these fundamental facts of life, we will be incredibly more secure in our abilities and aspirations and stop beating ourselves up for not quite yet ascertaining what it is we want to do with our lives.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we never truly know what obstacles a person had to go through in order to get to where he or she is now in his or her life. Many people’s paths to success were paved with strife, trip-ups, deceit and tribulations that you were never meant to experience or witness. That is why it is that person’s journey and not your own. Each of us has a destiny, and the way that we get there is completely individualistic. There's probably some person whom you graduated with last year who is making $80,000 a year while you’re still struggling to make ends meet. But do you know if he or she is truly happy? Does he or she have an unbreakable support system like yours? These are the questions you have to ask when you find yourself descending into the abysmal, downward spiral of comparing yourself to another individual and making yourself feel substandard.
Of course, there will always be someone who will attain one of your ultimate goals before you do. That’s just human nature. And that person may be 10 years younger with less experience than you, but who the hell cares? That is his or her path that he or she was meant to take; you have your own unique path that was made for only you. If you allot too much of your precious time brooding over why you’re not in the same place as someone else, you'll only be deterred from your path. Do your soul a favor and nurture it by giving it the affection and attention it needs. That's the only way you'll grow and prosper.

8 Reasons Why Texting Sucks by Diamond Coleman

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Texting was once a fun and easy way to communicate, but now it's just a confusing and awkward feat. From autocorrect mishaps to those dreadful one-word—or even worse, one-LETTER—responses, texting is now more annoying than ever, and here are a few reasons why.

 

1. Autocorrect. I consider this to be the most aggravating part of texting, because it puts you in an awkward or embarrassing situation way too often. I can't tell you how many times I've misspelled a word while typing and my iPhone just decided to replace it with a completely different (and sometimes inappropriate) one. This can have many repercussions, some more dire than others depending on context. Below is an example of auto correct gone completely wrong between a mother and her daughter:

 

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 2. Contemplating whether or not to put a certain punctuation at the end of a sentence or word. Believe it or not, punctuation makes a world of difference when sending a text. Using an exclamation point could make your message seem happy and enthusiastic, while the absence of one may make it seem as if you're bored, mad, or indifferent when you're actually none of the latter. Similarly, when someone puts a period after the last sentence he or she types, it's often translated as him or her being annoyed with you. And maybe this is true. But when it's not, it really can be taken the wrong way.

 

 3. Not knowing whether or not to use a certain emoticon or smiley face. Ugh. Why does it take so long to decide if you want to use a smiley face or not? I could spend a good five minutes trying to figure out if a smiley face would be considered too much too soon. Let's be real: no one wants to look like a stalker or crazy person with the opposite (or same; whatever floats your boat) sex. And we've all received texts in which someone took a risk in putting a smiley face in a text and it just rubbed us the wrong way.

 

4. Getting one-word or one-letter responses. Really? I just wrote you the preface to a novel and you could only think of one word to respond with? I'll never understand this. And even worse than a one-word response is a one-letter or unnecessarily-abbreviated-word response. "K."  "Ya." If you're going to go the "one-word" route, at least spell the word in its entirety. Otherwise I'll never text you again, k?

 

5. Not getting a response at all. Yes, I know that some people's phones die and it's easy to forget to respond, but because I don't know your situation I'm just going to assume that you either a) saw my text and thought it was so pointless or insignificant that you didn't think it warranted a response, or b) got confused by something I said and had no idea how to respond to it so you decided to leave it alone, because if you did respond it would just confuse you even more and/or make things awkward.
*Runner-up: getting a response hours, or even days, later.

 

6. People misusing or overusing ellipses. One of my BIGGEST texting pet peeves. When someone puts "..." after a word, I always think that they have something more to say or are implying something that he or she doesn't actually want to say in writing. Texting someone "Okay..." indicates that you either didn't understand the text you just received from that person or that you think he or she isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Using an ellipsis may also come off as a bit creepy or insulting, as in the example below:You: Hey! It was really nice meeting you the other day. Maybe we can meet up some time?
Guy: It was really nice meeting you too. You're cool...Umm, okay guy. Is your incorrect usage of periods implying that I'm actually not that cool and you don't want to hang out with me? Do you want to do more than hang out? I wouldn't have thought twice about the meaning of this response had he just simply left out the ellipsis altogether. But because he decided to add some creepiness to this convo, I now feel a tad uncomfortable and confused. There's too much ambiguity here.

 

7. Misunderstanding what someone texted you. Because our generation has opted for digital interaction and therefore gets disgruntled at the mere thought of---dare I even say it?---having an actual, real life phone conversation, miscommunication abounds us. We've all received that text that left us utterly dumbfounded and wondering if the sender was drunk or high (or both). You then attempt to decipher the message as if it's written in Morse code. This misunderstanding is most likely the result of one, or a combination, of the aforementioned scenarios.

 

8. We're becoming more anti-social than ever. This may go without saying, but texting has really made us (generally speaking) less comfortable with speaking on the phone, which subsequently weakens our social skills a bit. Before I had a smartphone, I enjoyed and even looked forward to talking on the phone, and sometimes I still do. But now that I have an iPhone equipped with the best social media apps and iMessage, I'm more apt to shoot someone a message rather than actually call him or her. Texting does make communicating with others easier and quicker, but we mustn't forget the importance of human interaction. After all, there was a time when our only option was to call instead of text someone, and we did just fine with that.