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Run Black Men Run:The Marathon Continues

“The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) No truer words have been written by one of the wisest men in the Bible, King Solomon, son of David, succeeding ruler of Israel. While trying to understand this verse, I had to dig a little into King Solomon’s life. Ecclesiastes was written shortly before King Solomon’s death where he reflects on his earthly journey. This book explores the meaning of life without purpose. It says no matter the good or bad you do, you die and that’s it. That sounds morbid, but in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon gives us hope on how to live a meaningful life by saying, “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) Our purpose is to fulfill the purpose God has designed for us and our lives will have the meaning we are looking for.

I believe Nipsey Hussle was living in the purpose that God had designed for him. Is it God’s design to end his life so short? I’m not here to discuss that and to be frank, I really don’t know. However, I do want to discuss the impact that he had and still has on the world by living his life in his purpose. His death hit me. Harder than I had anticipated. I didn’t listen to his music, but I listened to his interviews and watched his moves. He did what every black man should do, take care of home. The lives he has touched at the young age of 33 is remarkable. I remember being at my parent’s house watching tv when I got the Twitter notification that Nipsey was shot. I just knew he was going to pull through. Then a couple minutes later, another notification came through saying that Nipsey was pronounced dead. My mouth was agape. Whoa! Nipsey Hussle is gone.

Couple days after his death, we would get to know Nipsey’s killer. Nipsey was executed by another black man because he embarrassed him by calling him out for being a snitch and his ego couldn’t take it. With the death of Nipsey, I can see a slight shift in the way black men treat each other. I hear black men saying I love you to one another. Black men are now checking up on each other. Black men are feeling again. We run such a tough race, so why would I stick my leg out to trip my fellow brother? If my brother is ahead of me in this race, I know that I too can get ahead. It’s a marathon and Nipsey knew this. He wanted to give others a head-start by giving back to his hometown. His business acumen was incredible. He was buying back the block and making it accessible to those who couldn’t afford it. He invested in his own community because he wanted to see it thrive. How can you kill someone like that?

My message to my fellow brothers is to run, run like hell. Run like you have never ran before. Nipsey has shown us that the marathon continues even after death and what you leave behind will help the next man succeed in their race. We need each other, and we cannot afford to lose. If you kill your brother, you kill yourself. I love you all and I mean that with my whole heart.

 Rest in Peace Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle.

Health is Wealth

On Tuesday night (2/5/19), after The YBO Radio Show (which is every Tuesday from 8pm – 9pm on 104.1 Riverwest Radio or www.riverwestradio.com), I left the radio station to head to the grocery store. This was roughly around 9:30pm or 9:45pm. When I got home, I seasoned the steak that I bought and put it in the oven. During this time, I was on the phone with someone having a conversation and suddenly, I felt like I was about to faint. My heart was racing fast and my body started to get chills. I thought that perhaps I was hungry and just needed to grab something to eat. There were ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, so I grabbed one and drank a Gatorade. I still didn’t feel too well, but eventually, after my body settled down, I was able to go to sleep.

The next day, I immediately went to the doctor. I told them what happened and they starting to run some tests. They drew blood and requested a urine sample which all came back fine. Then they tested my heart which was fine as well. The nurse checked my temperature and then my blood pressure. My temperature was normal, but my blood pressure was through the roof. The reading was 184/98 and the average blood pressure is 120/80. I had no clue on why it was so high. The doctor prescribed a water pill to take in the morning to help lower my blood pressure and suggested I get a physical done right away. I was so angry at myself because this was the first time I had to take medication besides for a cold. Needless to say, I did as the doctor suggested.

The following day, I went to work. I felt okay, not 100%, but okay. However, that changed throughout the day. Near 10:00am, I felt like something or someone was standing on top of my chest and would not get off. I could hear my heart beat and see it thumping through my chest. I started to feel weak again. “Is this what a heart attack feels like?” “Am I having one now?” Normal people would have left work, but I thought I could tough it out and I did. After work, I went back to doctor to let them know that it felt like my heart was about to explode out of my chest. They did another blood pressure reading, and it was higher, 194/114. They gave me some medicine to calm me down, which mildly worked, and ran some more tests. They concluded that it was my blood pressure that caused the pain. The doctor prescribed some more medicine which makes it two pills that I am on.

Today, 2/8/19, I went for my physical. They checked my blood pressure and it was down, but still far beyond the target blood pressure goal. “Diet and exercise is the key Mr. Thompson and I am upping your dosage. You are too young!”

With that being said, I am on a mission to live as long as I can. Even though this is “whack”, I see the blessing in disguise. Once I achieve my goal, I can help others with my testimony. I can’t lie, part of me was scared. Could I have been over dramatic? Yes, but this is new for me and I don’t want to die young. So, I choose life and I am determined to shed these pounds, in which I’ve already lost 6 just by changing my diet slightly.

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Ac·count·able

The dictionary defines accountable as, “required or expected to justify actions or decisions”. Last year, I sat with a group of men that shared some of their personal stories. I listened as one man shared that he had a drinking problem and was on the brink of losing his family. Coming home from work, he would get a drink to relax his mind and fall asleep. Then he would wake up and go out with his friends to drink again. It made him angrier and more irritable. Arguments were started with his wife until one day, she gave him an ultimatum. Either get cleaned or she was gone.

 

Fearing that he might lose his wife, he went to get some help. While at an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meeting, he listened to the stories of other people. A lawyer mentioned how they would show up to court smelling like alcohol. The drinking became so bad that they were eventually disbarred. Other husbands talked about losing their families to drinking. After hearing these stories, the man knew that he needed to make a change. It started with him recognizing the problem he was causing in his life and marriage. Now over a year sober, his marriage is stronger. Drinking uncontrollably ripped him of his manhood. He became irresponsible and inconsiderate. If he didn’t acknowledge his actions, he probably would have lost his wife and his battle with alcoholism.

 

Learning from his story, I had to come to terms with my own irresponsibility. I met a woman a couple of years ago, towards the end of my senior year in college. We were just friends at first, but we developed a sexual relationship. I’d used to call her over to my apartment to watch a movie and have sex. It was fun and enticing. Over the course of our “friendly” relationship, I started to notice that she developed feelings for me. She would get clingy and upset if I talked about other women in front of her. I did my best to be upfront with her and told her that I’m not looking for a relationship. In fact, I was willing to cut the sex out. Understanding my position, we continued having sex.

 

For sometime, the situation was perfect, but slowly and surely the questions about a relationship came back. Irritated, I told her we shouldn’t have sex anymore. She became upset and started to believe I was having sex with someone else. I wasn’t, but she was willing to do anything I wanted. Guys at her office would try to talk to her, but she would tell them that she had a boyfriend. I started to feel guilty. I felt like I was robbing her of a true relationship. Ultimately, I cut all communications off and stop interacting with her. Last year, I reached out to her to apologize. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of her heart and I should have been more responsible in understanding her feelings. My honesty was appreciated, but I broke her heart and she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I assumed that if I told her my position upfront, then I was clear of all wrong doing, but I took advantage of her. It was wrong and I lost a friend.

 

Being a man means being accountable for your actions. It’s about not blaming others, but taking control of yourself. Whether it is in our careers, friendships, romantic relationships or family, we have to recognize the roles that we play.

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