Still, we persisted

My rights, my wrongs; I write ’til I’m right with God/Wouldn’t you know/We been hurt, been down before/Nigga, when our pride was low/Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?”/Nigga, and we hate po-po/Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’/Nigga, I’m at the preacher’s door/My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow/But we gon’ be alright/Nigga, we gon’ be alright/Nigga, we gon’ be alright/We gon’ be alright/Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright -Kendrick Lamar

The year of our Lord 2017 has been a trying one for many, namely because like the Book of Luke told us would happen, the hearts of men have been unearthed. It seems like every commentator, reporter, and pundit has been peddling existential dread and the energy in the air, even during the holidays, seems heavier and thicker than normal. However, no hater can block a blessing and no bigot can impede upon a purpose. Joy always shows up and achievement is simply a result of trying. So, we decided to do an unranked roundup of 20 awesome unapologetically black achievements of 2017. This is by no means a complete list and we invite you to share more by commenting on this post or via Twitter @unbasicpodcast. Here we go!

  1. Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture
  2. Beyonce, Janet, Rihanna, Solange, Zendaya, Yara, and Amandala, just GP
  3. Seven cities elected their first Black mayors: Cairo, GA, Georgetown, SC, Helena, MT, Milledgeville, GA, St. Paul, MN, and Statesboro, GA
  4. Two cities elected their first black female mayors–  Charlotte, NC and Framingham, MS
  5. Get Out and Girls Trip were two of the highest grossing movies of the year, both with Black directors.
  6. Cardi B became the first Black female rapper to have three singles in the Billboard Top 10 at the same time and have a single with no features go triple platinum
  7. Tiffany Haddish became the first Black woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live
  8. Neil deGrasse Tyson made science cool with his New York Times bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (which has been on the list 34 weeks and counting)
  9. There were more television shows with African American leads than ever before: Blackish, The Mayor, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder, Claws, Insecure, Snowfall, Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, and The Carmichael Show
  10. Rihanna’s make-up line Fenty Beauty shook the cosmetics industry with over $70 million in earned media value in less than six months
  11. 2Chainz turned the concept of a trap house on its head and created a place of community, cultural exchange. and understanding by painting a home in midtown Atlanta pink and staging it as a “trap house.”
  12. Jay Z’s album 4:44
  13. The “Moonlight” music video/Friends spoof that came out as a result of 4:44
  14. Black women in Alabama saved the Democratic party
  15. Keisha Lance Bottoms continued the legacy of Black mayors in Atlanta
  16. NFL players took a knee proving that football has a remarkable impact on public opinion (and Papa John’s Pizza)
  17. A black investment group purchased a park in Memphis, TN and has vowed to remove the Confederate statues in that park.
  18. Meghan Markle found her prince
  19. Dr. Carla Hayden completed her first year as the first woman and the first African American as Librarian of Congress.
  20. Andrea Jenkins became the first openly trans black woman to be elected to public office, taking her seat on the Minneapolis City Council. YAAASSSS!

Season 2, Episode 7: Unstuck

“You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.”

In the latest episode, Unstuck, we’re saying the words left unsaid about getting unsaid about getting out of a slump in career, familial relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. We dig into how to set healthy boundaries, letting go of fear and making bold moves to live your best life. Listen and let us know your thoughts on Twitter @unbasicpodcast.

Season 2, Episode 4: Unclothed

Let the church say Amen! In the latest episode of the podcast we are talking about religion and spirituality. We met at church, grew up in church, and stopped “going to a place called church” in our twenties. In fact, we’re not the only ones, and many traditional religious institutions have seen a decline in young people attending. So, what is the cause of this? Outdated religious doctrines? More ways to stream church? Disbelief? We’re saying the words left unsaid about millennials and religion in the south, gender roles in church in the south, the lessons we learned from going to church, and where we are now in our spiritual practice. Take a listen and be sure to tweet us your thoughts @unbasicpodcast, and share your spiritual journey with us!

Season 2, Episode 3: Underrepresented

After the whole SHEther beef between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj, we started thinking about women in hip-hop. As 80s babies who grew up in the 90s, we grew up during the Golden Age of women in rap music. In this episode, we’re taking a walk down memory lane and discussing the women rappers who were also role models when we were growing up. We are also digging into the state of women in hip-hop today and hopefully introducing you to someone who might become your new favorite MC. Below we’ve listed the names of women rappers who have influences our culture. Be sure to tweet us @unbasicpodcast and let us know which female rappers are spitting new flavor in your ear!

Angie Martinez
Azalea Banks
Bia
Briana Perry
Charlie Baltimore
Da Brat
Diamond
Eve
Foxy Brown
Iggy Azalea
Jean Grey
Lil Kim
MC Lyte
MIA
Missy Elliot
Naeemah Supreme
Princess
Queen Latifah
Rah Digga
Salt N Peppa
Siya
TLC
Trina
Vida
Yani
Yani Mo
YoYo

Can we talk about 2 Chainz’ pink trap house?

For the past couple of weeks Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz has been causing traffic jams in the west midtown neighborhood. As a part of the promotions for his latest album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, he painted a home pink, put a hoopty in the front yard, and painted the word TRAP in black capital letters on the front. People from all over Georgia and the southeast have been driving to Atlanta to see this monument of trap music’s integration into pop culture.

For those who are unfamiliar with trap music, it is a subgenre of rap that emerged from drug houses during the era of the crack cocaine epidemic. The music is meant to be motivational– to encourage those who are making, weighing, measuring, and bagging drugs to work faster and harder to earn more money. During the 1980s and 1990s crack cocaine wreaked havoc on communities of color, leading to the incarceration of black men and women. Literally, a generation of children were left without parents and lived in dire poverty because of drug addiction.

So, it’s a bit conflicting to see the glorification of trap music and the dark realities that it narrates. The black community has not recovered from the splintering of the black family perpetuated by crack, and black people have not forgotten the government’s hands-off approach to helping black people. We’re reminded every time we hear about a white person’s life being saved by a Narcan shot after a heroine overdose. Yet, on any given Sunday, there are more people at the trap house than the church house.

That said, the pink trap house is also a genius guerrilla marketing scheme, and it is not the fist that the rapper executed to promote the Pretty Girls Like Trap Music album. 2 Chainz hosted a group workout class where attendees participated in a 45-minute workout while music from the album played. At the end of the class, they passed out pink yoga mats. As of last weekend, a pastor has started having church in the backyard of the trap house and says he wants to find ways to help those people who are still caught up in the trap house. This is a righteous cause, especially since Atlanta has the widest income inequality gap in the country. Less than 5 miles from the extremely gentrified west midtown neighborhood it has never been more visible.

How do we reconcile the popularity of trap music as the beat of the club, the gym, and rush hour traffic, but also as the rhythm of oppressive socioeconomic circumstances? Is it empowerment or exploitation for a rapper to capitalize on the popularity of trap music in order to make money off of the white people who download it? Tell us what you think by tweeting us @unbasicpodcast with the hashtag #pinktraphouse.

Episode 5: Unable to can

We’ve been away for over two weeks and so much has gone down in the world. From Muslim bans to the GRAMMYs we are saying all of the words left unsaid about current events. We’re talking about the “Cash Me Outside” Girl, Hurt Bae, the Remy Ma/Nicki Minaj “ShETHER” dis track, and everything that has gone down in the meantime and in between time. We also have a new #QTNA (questions that need answers) segment where we dissect national and world politics. Give us a listen and tweet us your thoughts @unbasicpodcast.