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Bling It On: The Sad Redundancy of a Show and Tell Mentality

Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim

It’s lamentable when I turn on the radio and hear many young men talking about what they have, did or will do. This show and tell false bravado seems to permeate the air waves.  Attention-seeking behavior rarely appreciates the level of appreciation it receives. It’s never enough. Modern day hip-hop culture has helped to norm this approach to life for many of our young. Now this begs a question about a certain segment of our culture, the poor and marginalized youth who seem to use self-glorification as a way to build their persona due to the fact that most visible means of support are missing from their lives, and the question is this: why? Why do so many feel compelled to act in this manner? Dr. Ryan T Howell hits the nail on the head when he wrote this article “What Drives Us to Get Our Bling On?” (Psychology Today):

“According to the urban dictionary, the term bling came in to the modern vocabulary in the 1990s, possibly imported from Jamaica by American rappers, and meant to indicate either the imagined play of light bouncing off shiny jewelry, or the sound of the metally bits of jewelry “blinging” against itself.

Whatever the specifics of its origin, it turns out to be no accident that a term meant to describe and draw attention to shiny, expensive possessions grew out of low-income, inner-city environments. As a new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology demonstrated, the ostentatious display of expensive personal adornments is most likely to be practiced by people who perceive themselves to be of low status.”

As a black male raised in an athletics-oriented family, I remember a gnawing desire to distinguish myself and be good at something. Muhammad Ali was my idol so I learned to talk trash, play the dozens and stay witty. Most of this was fun, but some of it was insecurity and false bravado. Fortunately I had a strong father who curbed a lot of this. I learned from his example that self hype was meaningless. He said, “Let someone else toot your horn. If you are really worth something they will.” Sadly, many of our youth don’t have a strong male figure in their lives to curb the excessive showmanship that constantly competes with peers in the form of possessions, women and trash talk. Stuck in a state of perpetual adolescence, the music reflects the wounds of children screaming for affirmation, even when they are well into adulthood.

This social commentary is about a chronic insecurity that has caused many of our young, disadvantaged youth of today to substitute gimmickry, fashion, sexual prowess, material possessions and catch phrases in the place of substance and gravitas. The unfortunate thing is this: once that behavior sets in it proves difficult to change and continues well into adulthood. The cries for attention can be concealed in religiosity, business, sports, entertainment, athletics and just about every other platform. Sadly, no amount of applause, bling or recognition can fill that void. Bling is to fool’s gold what character is to a good name. This is what we need to teach. This is what we need to live.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Celebrates 106 Years

L to R 1st Row: Mrytle Foster, Ruth Harris, Annette Weathington (President), Rev. Paul S. Munford, Darnetta Duncan, Twillea Evans-Carthen, Harriet Moore, Joni Wright; 2nd Row L to R: Devorlynn Celestine, Carol, Yvonne Ashe, Geri Fox-All Kater, Earnestine Warren, Alice LaTouche,  Olivia Taylor-Smith, Lorraine Melbourne)

L to R 1st Row: Mrytle Foster, Ruth Harris, Annette Weathington (President), Rev. Paul S. Munford, Darnetta Duncan, Twillea Evans-Carthen, Harriet Moore, Joni Wright; 2nd Row L to R: Devorlynn Celestine, Carol, Yvonne Ashe, Geri Fox-All Kater, Earnestine Warren, Alice LaTouche, Olivia Taylor-Smith, Lorraine Melbourne)

RIVERSIDE, CA- Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Eta Nu Omega Chapter of San Bernardino-Riverside chapter celebrated the founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.106 years of “Service to All Mankind” on Sunday, January 26 at New Joy Baptist Church in Riverside.  The ladies were the guest of golden member, Ms. Darnetta Duncan who has been a member of the sorority for over 50 years and a current member of Eta Nu Omega Chapter.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is known for being an international, community service organization of college women founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by 16 courageous young women. It is the first Greek letter sorority for black college women with over 260,000 members in more than 900 chapters around the world. It is an organization whose mission is to provide “Service to All Mankind.” The sorority implements this through its many service projects such as the Emerging Young Leaders Program for middle school girls, which benefits the Inland Empire.  Happy Founders’ Day! For future events, please visit www.etanuomega.org

Tribe of Judah Brings Hope to Haiti

Gloria, Olivia, Janine, Joan, Tammie, Beth, Tamera, Charmaine, Audrey, Eleanor, Below: Dr. Theresa, Dorcas, Andrea, Pauline, Donna, Dorla, Suezanne and Lea’ann

Gloria, Olivia, Janine, Joan, Tammie, Beth, Tamera, Charmaine, Audrey, Eleanor, Below: Dr. Theresa, Dorcas, Andrea, Pauline, Donna, Dorla, Suezanne and Lea’ann

Devastation, disaster, agony — words that still speak volumes in the hearts of lives of those affected by the 2010 earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  At least 300,000 people were injured and over 316,000 were killed.  This earthquake left many children as orphans in the surrounding cities. Although there have been many programs created by generous organizations throughout the years, Haiti still needs help.  A youth outreach program called Tribe of Judah World Outreach has decided to help Haiti on a continual basis. After 13 years of serving in ministry, working with youth and families across the United States, their focus is on the orphans left to fend for themselves on the streets of Haiti.  They have partnered with Dr. Michelle Corral and her ministry Breath of the Spirit and have also started Chesed for Jesus, Youth World Missionary Team.  An orphanage was purchased in the beginning of 2013 in Gonaives, Haiti and named The Fathers Treasure Orphan Home, where 100 children now live and are cared for daily.  Along with the orphan’s home, Chesed for Jesus runs medical clinics, feeding programs, educational instruction, provides spiritual care for the children in Haiti, and gives school supplies, school uniforms, and room and board.  Their main goal is to share the love of Jesus in practical ways by giving specific and direct support to those who are in need.
The team stayed in the County from December 5th to 10, where they interacted daily with the children; making arts and crafts, playing educational games, teaching English, singing worship songs in their native language of French and Creole as well as English.  The team taught the children a stomp routine which they wanted to do every minute.  Daily feeding for the children was done, along with a toy give away.  School uniforms given to every child, along with a medical clinic for the children and all the people in the village.
If you are interested in contributing to the cause, please visit www.sosyouthandfamily.com, or mail in a payment to Tribe of Judah, P.O. Box 2223, San Bernardino, CA 92406. All donations go directly to the children for their day to day care.  As a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, all donations are tax deductible.