Between May's randomness and June's endless heartbreak, I was beginning to think that July would be another moment of Summertime Sadness. Nevertheless, the artists of this week show that there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm. With the broken-hearted out of the way, room has been made for the fun ("Pink Noise"), the smiting ("Around), and the downright in love ("Sinner").
Get ready to turn up the heat with these latest hits that will be sure to reignite your summertime happiness.
"Pink Noise" - Laura Mvula
First of all: You're welcome.
Second of all: Thank you, Laura Mvula.
Everything this song is and everything this song tries to be is nothing short of excellent. Supreme. Top-notch and/or whatever whimsical adjective you fancy. This 80s-fueled dance pop track, "Pink Noise" will have you moving before the ten-second mark begins and you won't stop until long after it concludes. It's the fun summer song you've been looking for, long deprived of and my goodness it's a shame we haven't gotten it sooner. There's no denying that this song will have you hooked with its Janet Jackson and Grace Jones vibe. With its audacious trumpets and compelling vocals, "Pink Noise" is a summer hit I pray doesn't go ignored.
Also, if you're in the mood for a little self-care, treat yourself to Laura Mvula's newest album Pink Noise. Now available on all streaming platforms.
"The Jackie" - Bas ft. J. Cole & Lil Tjay
Juxtaposing their previous collaboration "Tribe," Dreamville's Bas and J. Cole return with a summertime hit made for the clubs. With the addition of rapper Lil Tjay, Bas and J. Cole share stories of their adventures while traveling along Jackie Robinson Highway, which connects Brooklyn and Queens ("The Jackie"). This song will definitely become a summer anthem. Between J. Cole's catchy hook and verse, Bas and Lil Tjay sing-song-esque melodious flow, the song is guaranteed to make you move. This is J. Cole's first appearance since dropping his latest acclaimed album, The Off-Season this past May. Meanwhile, Bas is rumored to be dropping an album later this year.
"Around" - JONES ft. Nardeydey
"Around" by JONES ft. Nardeydey perfectly captures and recreates the butterflies one gets in their stomach whenever a crush is near. It's the dopey grin you never knew you could make. The little giggle you're too embarrassed to release. It's the nervous feeling you get when you're uncertain if your crush feels the same. The excited feeling you get when you discover they do. It's incredibly cute. And it's the perfect summer vibe in a time where breakups seem endless. Perfect for a summer jam, "Around" is a charming, melodic tune worthy of being saved to your library.
"Get Up" - Logic
Logic returns from his short-lived retirement, with his second single in two weeks, "Get Up." In this reflective and acoustic-heavy single, Logic reflects on his journey and career as an artist. Focusing on his accomplishments, he gives recognition to his family, friends, and team for helping him get this far. Though, he is willing to also give some credit onto himself, crediting a lot of his success to his own determination, ambition, and perseverance. With lyrics like "every time I fall, you know I get up," Logic's new single "Get Up" is the motivational song you need for the summer.
YS Collection Vol.1 album, including single "Get Up," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"I Love You, I Hate You" - Little Simz
From the upcoming album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, is Little Simz newest single, "I Love You, I Hate You." Reminiscent of 90s and 80s rap, Little Simz confronts her absent father over a grooving baseline and eccentric jazz track. Entering and leaving the chorus, she mentions that she loves her father, but because of the person he chooses to be she hates him. The verses are raw and impactful as she explains her resentment and hatred toward his absence and denial. Ultimately, she discovers that she must forgive her father for herself and that it is OK to simultaneously love and hate his existence.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert will be released September 3, 2021.
"Day Off" - Cynthia Erivo
"Day Off" is the second single released from Cynthia Erivo's forthcoming album Ch. 1 vs. 1. Perfect for an early morning, or relaxing evening, this calming track is an alt-R&B song about making time to spend with a significant other. With Erivo melodiously requesting for one to take the day off, it's hard not to be allured by the soothing plea. By the time the song has concluded, you'll be so enraptured by the soul-stirring synth and tranquil vocals, you'll be compelled to do just as she asks.
Ch. 1 Vs. 1 will be released September 17, 2021.
"Make U Go" - Duckwrth
In his upcoming EP SuperGood 8, newly independent artist Duckwrth returns with single, "Make U Go." In his signature rap-singing flare, Duckwrth sings about the pleasures that he can give a woman, should he be given the opportunity to. Ever the confident one, Duckwrth assures her that she will have a great night, one worth bragging about to her friends. Though, despite his experience, she will not need to worry because despite his "thotty ways" she is the only one he wants to make go "ooh." This single is fun, relaxing, and the very song you need during this summer of break-ups. It's playful without being silly and smooth without being cocky.
Duckwrth's EP SuperGood 8 drops September 3, 2021.
"ARE YOU WITH THAT?" - Vince Staples
Having just released his self-titled album, Vince Staples returns with his second single, "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" In an album meant to offer fans and peers a new insight to who Staples truly is, "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" questions what Staples is down with and what he has outgrown. Throughout the song, he mentions gangbanging and violence nonchalantly and as a former aspiration. When he was younger, all Vince Staples imagined was being "a thug," now that he is older and wiser, he questions what he is willing to return to and the life that he now chooses to claim. With a more somber take, this song might not be a club sensation, but that's a sacrifice one is willing to take with a song of such substance.
Vince Staples, the album, including single "ARE YOU WITH THAT?," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"Go(l)d" - Mereba
"Go(l)d" is serene. Warm. Hopeful. And a little romantic. Beginning with a soft acoustic guitar and brooding rhythms, Mereba reflects on her journey and how she has changed during its travel. At the end of this journey, she has seen hardships, and she is unsure what everything she has seen means. Nevertheless, despite what she has seen and the confusion exploring the world has created, she manages to still "believe in gold" and the good things that the world has to offer. Doing so might make her crazy, nonsensical, or even a little naive, but in this new chapter of life (motherhood) a little faith can go a long way.
AZEB EP, including single "Gold?," is now available on all streaming platforms.
"Sinner" - Adekunle Gold ft. Lucky Daye
Nigerian singer-songwriter Adekunle Gold collaborates with Lucky Daye in his newest single "Sinner." Smoothly romantic, the song begins with a violin reminiscent of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" only to later take a calming trance with the addition of drums and Adekunle Gold's melodious vocals. The song could easily fall into the a cliched romance about love being almost sinful, but with his entrancing instrumentals and a gentle, confident approach, the song is anything but. Instead, we are left with a something that reflects the peace one exudes when finding the one. This might be about sinner, but it isn't about one remorseful of their sin. Instead, Gold believes that if their relationship is sinful, he is more than happy to worship at this alter.
For more new music releases in the month of July so far, keep scrolling:
"Wild Side" - Normani ft. Cardi BNormani x Cardi B – “Wild Side” Out Now!Listen Here: https://smarturl.it/xWildSide Follow Normani:https://www.twitter.com/Normani https://www.facebook.com/n...
"Bouncin" - Tinashe
"F Yah Job" - Childish Major
"MIA" - Ray BLK ft. Kaash Paige
"Lonely As I Ever Was" - Spencer.
"Romeo" - Jungle ft. Bas
"Type of Day" - BJ the Chicago Kid
"My Lil Dance" - Hotboy Wes ft. Gucci Mane
"Nevada" - YoungBoy Never Broke Again
"Plastic Surgery" - YN Jay ft. Lil Pump
"Section" - Ant Clemons ft. Kehlani
"Fuck Him All Night" - Azealia Banks
"Whole Lotta Money (Remix)" - BIA ft. Nicki Minaj
"Wake Up" - Drumma Boy ft. Lil Got & Kollision
"Feeling Good" - Ledisi
"Worth It" - Mya
"Aura" - Mariah the Scientist
"Shirt (Partial)" - SZA
The 48:26 mark, thank us later.
"Good Good" - Tanerelle
"Gametime" - Amine & Lil Tecca
Featured image via Giphy
- New Music Releases This Week: Add to Playlist - xoNecole ... ›
- New Music Playlist: WILLOW, Tyler the Creator, Jorja Smith ... ›
Taysha Robinson is a writer and high school English teacher, based in metro-Atlanta. A self described philomath, you can find her reading books and articles of every genre, attending educational conferences, and hiking wherever the terrain will allow.
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
I should have probably stopped at the first master's degree, but I didn't. Instead, I got another master's degree. And when I decided to get my Ph.D. I told myself when I was applying to Ph.D. programs that I just wanted to be the smartest person in the room and that people would see my value because I am “Dr. Allen.”
I believed having a Ph.D. could make people view me as worthy and know how much I deserved to occupy space. People would undoubtedly see me as a difference-maker. They would think I matter.
I was wrong.
I remember moving to West Texas to start my Ph.D. program and truly believing this was the fresh start I needed, but every day, I was reminded of my Blackness. On the first day of class, I met my cohort, and of course, to nobody’s surprise, I was the only Black student. But I took it in stride, and I said if they just saw how smart I am they will accept me, and I’ll make friends because we are all in this together.
So I showed up every day, dressed nice, and smiled, but no one wanted to be my friend. I mean, they were nice, and they smiled when they saw me, but no one truly cared about me. I did not make one single friend, so during the first two years, I was alone because no one bothered to act like they saw me.
I pushed myself even harder and even faster. I decided to do the most in my power to be seen. I got all A’s, spoke at events, and won awards to show everyone that I was important. I volunteered to help out at events and even joined organizations.
People still did not see me.
I remember sitting in one class where a professor felt so uncomfortable talking about the experiences of Black women that she just ignored me. All semester, she ignored me. Even after voicing my concerns about her not talking to me or acting like I existed, she turned to my white counterpart to ask him, “Do you believe what Nia is saying?” Like my words and feelings were not enough coming from a Black woman. Luckily, he agreed with me and told the professor that I had been treated differently by her.
Even though he had my back, my professor just further validated my feelings that even in this space, getting the highest level of education, I am not enough, and who I am or what I have experienced does not matter. Because they don't see me.
The classroom was not the only place I was ignored. I was ignored at events, in the hallways, and even in the local community. It was like no one could see me, which made me feel like I could not see myself. I was determined to finish school earlier. They would see that once I got the “Ph.D.” letters behind my name, I mattered just as much as they did, and I fit in.
The one thing I set out to prove to the world was breaking me down in ways I never imagined.
I became stressed, so I pushed myself harder. My body fought back, but I did not listen. I gained over 100 pounds. I had constant anxiety and panic attacks; my skin broke out so bad I didn’t recognize who I was anymore. But I kept telling myself to just keep going; so I accelerated the speed.
That all came to a head in June 2022. I found myself in the emergency room because my heart was not functioning normally. I was hooked up to all these machines to monitor my heart, and finally, I got scared because here I was at 33, thinking I was about to die.
My 7-year-old son was going to lose his mother, and all the stuff that I wanted to prove so bad would not have mattered at all because the most important person to him in this world would be gone.
He knows me beyond my accomplishments. I am the person who fixes him breakfast every morning, laughs at his jokes, and cheers him on at soccer games. And to him, that’s just enough.
When the doctor came into the room to tell me my fate, I will never forget the first three words he posed to me, “Are you stressed?” And I took a long pause and just simply said, “Yes.” I replayed every single thing over in my head of what I had been doing: pushing myself harder, the burnout experienced from being the only Black person in a space, and the nights I cried myself to sleep. So yes, I was stressed, but who isn't, right? The doctor told me to monitor my stress, get some rest, and sent me on my way.
Rest? What is “rest” for Black women?
I made up my mind that the doctor did not understand the pressure I was under as a Black woman, and I just could not “rest.” Resting means I am doing nothing, and people would think that I am lazy, right?
So, I did not stop.
I kept pushing myself until one morning when I broke down and cried in the Starbucks parking lot after an anxiety attack. I had been pushing myself so hard that I was losing myself.
I remember sitting in a meeting with my dissertation advisor later that day. She told me, “Your priority in this world is your health, your son, and your family; everything else comes later. Don't let this degree stop you from realizing that and being able to enjoy those things later.”
She was right.
From there, I acknowledged how burnt out I really was trying to prove myself, push myself, and hustle for my worth.
I started to look back over my life and realized that I never saw my mother rest, and I know my mother sacrificed her rest for me. She wanted me to have the best education, she wanted me to go to undergrad debt-free, she wanted me to own my first car outright and she wanted me to have an advantage in life.
I realized I never saw any Black woman in my life ever rest. They were always on the go because they had to be, the world literally depended on Black women to change it.
But that ain’t my problem anymore.
I stopped to breathe and started focusing on me. I left the middle of nowhere Texas and decided to take my time with earning my Ph.D. And now, when people ask, “What are you going to do after you get your Ph.D.?” I simply smile and say, “Nothing.”
I won't lie; sometimes, the feeling of worthiness stops me, and it still does sometimes. I realized I equated my sense of being or feeling like I am enough to how many goals I achieved or how many degrees I get, a lot of Black women do.
So instead of putting my worth and value into the “Ph.D.,” I put it into me.
I made my dissertation about Black women and our power, and honestly, it fed me more. I put my own worth and value into the work that I do and only things I can control. For me to feel I am good enough and that I matter, I have to matter to myself. I learned to celebrate the wins, no matter how small or even how big. I learned to tell myself constantly that I am enough for myself and that being enough for me is okay.
Now, I can rest in the fact that the need to feel "good enough" is not worth dying over. It is not worth my son losing his mom.
I think as Black women, we push ourselves so much because we feel we have to show people we deserve to be in certain rooms. I thought by doing the most or being the best at every single thing I was proving that I was not only good enough but that I belonged, that I was deserving. But in learning that to feel good enough, I have to matter to myself. I have released myself from the standards of others and freed myself to accept myself.
I am worth it. I do matter. I am enough.
And I am more than deserving.
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