As a full advocate of the progression of black people, I always seek out moments that keep me amazed at our resiliency.
I recently read an article that discussed the death of Kobe Bryant in relation to the vulnerable side of black men that we often don't get to see. And with the media attaching us to negativity as often as they can, as a black woman on an empowerment platform, I accept full responsibility in welcoming any moments in the culture that eases that image.
In, comes along the phenomenally revolutionary hashtag #blackboyjoy.
Coined by The Root, and made popular by the #blackboyjoy king himself, Chance the Rapper, the hashtag became a centralized hub of black boys and men who were happily being themselves outside the confines of the media's portrayal of gangsters, criminals, or the latest victims of police brutality.
I decided to list 12 moments where #blackboyjoy had us smiling ear to ear.
Matthew Cherry Wins Oscar And Takes De'Andre Arnold To The Ceremony
Matthew Cherry, a former NFL player, decided to write a short film titled Hair Love about the trials and tribulations of combing his daughter's hair. This film took off from there and remained highly-rooted for with the help of a manifested vision.
Cherry went on to win the Oscar, joining the ranks of the likes of other former athletes, such as Kobe Bryant, who also retired and explored the film industry.
On top of his Oscar win, Cherry took DeAndre Arnold, the young teen from Houston who was told he could not participate in graduation due to his locs, as his guest.
As our sis, Shellie R. Warren put it, "Matthew A. Cherry reminds us that celebrating Blackness is always worth it."
William Bilal Plays The Trombone Like You've Literally NEVER Heard Before
In 2016, William Bilal was at student in high school standing in the bleachers and playing his trombone during rehearsal. What was recorded became history, and 1.6 million views later, he continues to blow what seems like the entire internet's wig all the way back. The passion, the level of difficulty, and the effortless way he made his trombone sing—at THAT age—you just had to know that the ancestors were watching and losing their wigs too.
Bilal has since gone on to attend Benedict College in South Carolina, and has other (clearer) videos floating on worldwide web. But this is where it all started.
Sidebar: the song played is Al Jarreau's "Black and Blues", which is a very popular among HBCU marching bands.
Fair warning, you will not be able to watch this just once.
The Viral Black Man Skincare Thread
It all started when Twitter user @SoOulzZz said: "Let's start a thread of black men doing skincare here pls."
And boy, did Twitter deliver.
What followed were men openly sharing their skincare routines, offering tips, and as an amazing turn of events, allowed the ladies to just sit back and watch in awe.
The High Fives Of A Lifetime
I mean...come on!
Men Openly Show Off Their Love On Twitter
Twitter user, @KeyKey_Shepard, asked Black men to "upload a picture of the Black woman that you're treating right, having sex with on the regular, and making happy." Hundreds of men of all ages blessed our feeds with a tribute to their partners that will give you all the feels.
"Say Less," one reader responded.
You have to see the best responses, they're hilariously sweet.
Everything About Shaquan Parson, Who Is An Entire Mood Every Time He Lands A Trick
Shaquan Parson is training and competing to be the best self-proclaimed power ranger in the game. The stunts, the tricks. Whew. You have to see for yourself.
But the best part (at times) isn't even the acrobats.
It's his reaction after each successful landing.
If you don't root for yourself, who else will?
The Top Quarterbacks in the NFL Are Black And ESPN Coins 2019 the #YearoftheBlackQB
In a notoriously...let's just say, “conservative"...league, for the first time ever, the most statically superior, and discussed, quarterbacks in the NFL were all black:
ESPN took notice and created the television special “Year of The Black Quarterback" with a panel of key components to commemorate.
Go crush the field in 2020, fellas!
Black Lawyers Casually Create A Multi-Million-Dollar Room
A group of Chicago lawyers were captured during their quarterly dinner to vent about their work, offer each other support, and to discuss ways in which they can use their platforms to move the culture forward. The magic came in them assembling in a room, and quietly creating a buying power larger than what we're often exposed to outside of athletes and entertainers—which is a celebration within itself.
I don't know about you guys, but all I see are successful black men smiling, laughing, and being carefree Wakandian Warriors. #kanyeshrug
A Couple Friends Enjoying A Quick Dance Battle
Sometimes, you just have to pull your friends into your silliness with you, and sometimes being black AF on dance cam is necessary. My mans, @neversayneveraj, is a legend at both.
A Young Prince Sings "Standby Me" For His Class
It was Mr Sorto's classroom's tribute to the late Ben E. King for their Black History Month performance. The moves, the commitment, and the microphone stand for him...omgggg.
The preciousness is too much to handle.
Send this baby some love, he did his parents and teacher proud!
This Guy Took An International Solo Trip And Had A Great Story To Tell
Vandyke’s entire trip was a wild ride of randomness, from renting his Airbnb for four nights for only $120, to hanging with locals, to surviving on $5, and being invited to his neighbor's 87th birthday party (who didn't speak a word of English). He truly had a trip to remember.
I personally read the full story in a travel group, but the photo caption details more. There's one thing for sure, he knows how to have a good time, regardless.
Live your best life, king!
A Head Football Coach Learning Chemistry For His Students
Coach Darrell LeBeaux, Head Football Coach of Pleasant Grove High School in Birmingham, Alabama went the extra mile to literally re-learn the chemistry lesson of his player’s class. He was captured in full student mode—all while each of them were beaming in their magic.
This football season, Pleasant Grove went on to be ranked #1 in their region, and are nationally ranked as a program to look out for—and we can see why. We're forever rooting for any educator that shows a little more effort in developing young boys into men, through example.
Great job, Coach LeBeaux!
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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