First things first Rest in Peace Uncle Phil

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‘First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil
For real, you the only father that I ever knew
I get my bitch pregnant I’ma be a better you’- J Cole- No Role Modelz
J Cole echoes the same sentiments a lot of kids faced growing up without a father and how they would run to a TV screen to see how a father was supposed to act. We studied them, follow their moves, repeated their stories with the hopes that one day we will replace and hopefully the cycle would continue. As a kid, I would watch TV and compare the fathers on TV to my dad. I remember getting bad grades one time and showing them to my father hoping that it would just be a speech like Heathcliffe Huxtable would do but this is reality and I got the James Evans scolding times 10 followed by the belt and some swift hands to the gut. It isn’t until now that I realize that those were sitcoms and after 30 minutes we go back to reality and deal with the father that our Father gifted us with. At times you wish James Evans or Uncle Phil was your father but always be thankful for the father that you have. To be honest some of these TV figures served as fathers to those that have absentee fathers. I remember watching Lean on Me when everyone wanted to bash Joe Clarke and a girl said, “Mr. Clarke is more than a principal he’s a father to us”, that’s the same we feel about the fathers we saw on the TV sitcoms. I know they say we put too much on emphasis on TV but some of the TV programs that we watched brought us some of the best examples of fatherhood and to this day can be used in our everyday life. It feels great to hug my son when he’s crying like Uncle Phil hugged Will after his dad played him. It’s moments like this that lets me know that even though I’m a father that has a lot to teach myself there are others that depend on my knowledge to help them prosper in such a wicked world.
There have been great black fathers on TV since the beginning of TV whether it was Fred Sanford (Sanford and son), George Jefferson (The Jefferson’s) to Lester Jenkins (227), Carl Winslow (Family Matters) and many others… If you had to pick your Mount Rushmore or in layman’s terms you’re top 4 who would you pick.
Black Fathers to consider in your decision:
Dr. Huxtable-The Cosby Show
James Evans- Good Times
Fred Sanford- Sanford and Son
Raymond Campbell- Sister Sister
Frank Mitchell- Moesha
Carl Winslow- Family Matters
Michael Kyle Sr. – My Wife and Kids
Uncle Phil- Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Lester Jenkins- 227
Pops- The Wayans Brother
Robert Peterson- The Parenthood
Julius- Everybody Hates Chris
Anthony Anderson- Blackish
Terrance Howard- Empire
Other

Love Jones

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There’s come a point in a man’s life where playing the field gets old and the waters become murky especially as you get older in life. Of course things happen like having kids, lifestyle changes, financial changes but one thing that can change all of that is love. See once you find love you have to find a way to keep it. Sometimes you will have to compromise, sometimes you will have to hold your ground and out of respect for her you don’t belittle or make her feel less than a woman. Sure you won’t agree on everything but because you love her she can only respect it and work towards resolution.
I say all of this as a prelude to my dedication to my wife Quianna Grayson. See a lot of times I’m known as the big black funny guy but when no one is around and no one is laughing who is in my corner …and that’s what counts the most. Back at Morgan where I met her I always thought she had a style fitting her personality perfectly and after a few conversations and learning we have similar interest it was a no brainer that she was the one that I wanted to be with. There are always variables that can derail a relationship but the biggest one in my opinion is timing. In college there are so many factors that play into that word timing whether it’s the amount of credits that semester, trying to pay for school yourself since you didn’t get the Pell Grant like some, trying to find sense of purpose and many other things but you still make the best out of the experience.
Was it love at first sight??? Yea…In the sense that I would love to get to know her better. In the sense that I would love for her to take interest in me but I can’t force it. Love has to be organic since it’s supposed to be everlasting that’s why Quianna and I are a love jones combination. This love isn’t your typical love because it seemed forbidden at the time. It was like taboo for us to be together because I was known as ‘just sonny’, I never understood what that meant that but hey life goes on. There have been moments in the past where the opportunity could and should have presented itself but the powers that be deemed it the wrong time. In my mind every day was the right time but God saw things differently.
Yea we flirted, smiled, laughed and joked with each other but it never went beyond that after a few attempts I just took a final chance and poured my heart out to her and my feelings and wouldn’t you know she actually was interested. It’s hard for me to express my feelings because I was taught not to express them or when I did express them I was always met with rejection so I made the decision to not share them or make them into a joke especially when I looked into a woman’s eyes and I saw fear or ‘the I hope he ain’t serious’ because I don’t view him like that. I used laughter as a defensive mechanism and quite frankly I’m good at it. But once you get to know me I’m actually a cool guy. It became a point where it was like when is this shit going to stop or what about me is that appalling to where no wants to take a chance with me. I can’t wallow in self-pity just continue to put on my armor and move forward.
Homecoming 2007 that fatefully day where I decided to not go with my intuition and I decided to pursue Quianna. It was effortless because it was organic. I wasn’t trying to run game on her, it wasn’t a one and done like I genuinely liked her and hopefully the feelings were mutual. Even though the room was crowded it was just the two of us in my mind as I tried in a non-politician type of way to see if I had her vote for a chance to be her knight and shining armor. Things were going well and then I heard ‘Sonny are you serious’. I had to pause and think and then I realized in order to be comfortable you have to be uncomfortable first so I answered the question, ‘yes I’m serious’ and I proceeded to pursue Quianna.
Who would have thought I would get a date with her? I can’t mess this up. I have to prove to myself as well as her that I am just as good as I advertised myself in the past. I was nervous like a stuttering kid reading out loud in class but I took the chance and the first date turned into the second and then the third and then onto an exclusive relationship. Things were good and then I received a call from her stating that I would be a father. Talk about nerve racking but this was the next step in my transformation. Some people thought I wasn’t even responsible for myself how can I be responsible for somebody else. That’s why I rekindled my relationship with the Lord because I knew if I can’t do it I know there is someone who can guide me in the right direction and turn that don’t into a do.
The love I had for her never wavered in fact it increased because she allowed me to become a father. Feelings all over the place but one thing remained the same is that I love this woman. Sure parenthood isn’t easy. I’m 25 with a newborn and not the job that I want and at the same time I’m still have to make sure that my lady is ok. Decisions were made and families begin to gel and I thought to myself, ‘how long before I stop this charade and make her my wife instead of a baby mother?’ I had to mentally prepare myself for such as a commitment as this was the ultimate test of letting my guard down and expressing my feelings. Beside God, I didn’t know how to open up to people without feeling a sense of judgment so I just wouldn’t do it. Luckily, with God’s guidance I was able to realize that if He sent her to me then I have to be ready for all that comes with it. He hasn’t been wrong before so why would He be now. I took his advice and on Christmas day I asked for her hand in marriage and for the first time I seen the ‘ugly Quianna cry’. She said yes and it was a weight lifted off my shoulders as if my guardian angels got me over the mountain of doubt and God patted me on the back and said ‘now you’re thinking boy’.
Things couldn’t be better now it’s time to move into our own place and begin the next stage of this transformation which was living together on our own. No more parents just Quianna, Morgan and I. It was an adjustment but if you ain’t moving then you’re dying and I don’t want to die. I’m watching relationships grow around me at a rapid rate and yet the biggest move I had to make was changing this lady last name. I got her permission now it’s time to execute. At times even now I ask myself ‘How did I get lucky?’, ‘what took us this long to get together?’ The answer to that as always is timing. The perfect timing creates the perfect relationship between two people. I know nothing is perfect for everybody but she is perfect for this somebody. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be her husband and I showed my appreciation by making sure she had 2 more of my kids so that’s 3 kids in under 6 years and now I’m the new Danny Tanner.
Throughout it all was seems like 4 years is just the beginning of a lifetime and I’m glad that she chose me. Let’s see how this plays out.

I got a story to tell

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The alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button about 3 times so about 30 minutes past and then I realize what today is…It’s the day I’m getting married. See I was home alone the night before because my wife to be went to the hotel and spent time with her family and her girls before the big day. Let’s backtrack the boy Sonny B is getting married. That’s the second shock. The first shock was having a kid out of wedlock when I was deemed by my friends the last one to have kids and get married but yet I’m second. If that aint God slapping his knee saying ‘dis earthling Sonny B is in for a shock for his life angels send him Quianna’

Mad shit was going on that day. First trying to get 7 black men together to meet at 10 am for a 6 pm wedding was a task all in itself. But there was a method to my madness. See I knew someone would be late but if we taking pictures before the ceremony we needed to meet up early. Speaking of madness, March madness was in full bloom so we meet up at my grandma house to get dressed. I’m as nervous as a black man getting pulled over…it doesn’t take me much to sweat shit I sweat in the winter time so to keep the collar of a white shirt clean was going to be harder than predicting the weather. I received a couple phone calls before I got there like you sure you wanna do this Sonny B. I will never forget that convo:

Homie: ‘Sonny you sure you wanna do this look at all that pussy you giving up”
Me: ‘Man unless I’m fuckin ya bitch next then I’m straight with ya dumb ass” (for the record we talk like this on the regular so there was no shade)
Homie: “don’t do it reconsider…read some litera…ture on the subject… you sure”
Me: “fuck it”
Homie: “you gonna have some jawns at the reception tho right and open bar and buffet right cuz you a fat boy so you know you gonna be hungry you ol cedric the entertainer lookin ass”
Me: “man you lavell Crawford neck having ass mothafucka you just better be on time”

If this is the tone of the day then shit will be awesome baby with a capital A(dick vitale voice). Well I arrive to my grandma house around 10 and I was just watching TV passing time as the single man known as Sonny B is about to transform into a married man. As the groomsmen began to arrive things were getting real. So I ask my cousin for something to drink and he pulls out 2 Ciroc bottles. Then my man pulls out a duffel bag with 4 more bottles and some orange and at the moment I knew it was gonna be a good ass day.
Instead of getting dressed we drinking and watching march madness. I said we should eat something so we ain’t furred for the pictures or at the church because my mom was one the pastors marrying us and I know she wasn’t having that shit. So my best man comes up with the bright idea of being greasy ass pizza from Mondawin Mall for us to eat. I can’t make this shit up if I did I would be a screenwriter who still wouldn’t get nominated for an Oscar. We looking like babies with these bounty paper towel bib so there is no grease on these rented tuxedos. It felt like the marriage scene from ‘The Wood’ movie because all of this happens in about 2 hours. So we taking shots watching basketball then we begin to get dressed.

Of course all the clothes were wrinkled so we drinking liquor niggas sweating then you got the hot ass iron on so I look like an offensive lineman leaving football practice. To circumvent the sweating I had 2 washcloths one for each hand and we began to get ready. We go to our cars and then this was said… ‘Hey sonny I have to make a stop first’. In my mind I was thinking aww shit let the shenanigans begin but since I was already furred by noon fuck it let the good times roll. It’s bad enough one of my groomsmen was meeting us at the pickup spot because he had a dentist appointment but to make matters worse he decides to go and get dressed in the hallway of the reception. We’re talking a hallway not a bathroom but a hallway (Allen Iverson voice).

We all link up at the reception spot to drop our cars off because we all knew we was going to be fucked up so it’s no point risking that drive over west from the other side of town. Anyway we are waiting for everyone when my man pulls up with some fabric and some fabric scissors and in the parking lot made some pocket squares. Man this is something else only me right but this is why we do shit like this to create memories.

The next step was to get on the party bus and meet up with the women so we can take the pictures while it’s still daylight and then go to the church for the actual ceremony. We all dressed up so are the ladies and damn my wife to be was looking amazing. We on the bus we drinking listening to rap getting lit before the pictures maybe too lit for some because a couple of us was gutted before we got to the picture spot. We pull up the excitement is building up and like I said earlier a couple of us were too lit to function niggaz was gutted on the bus and my wife to be is looking at me like ‘nigga you know we aint say I do let don’t fuck this up’. We shake it off and then the fellas take their pictures first then it was the ladies. Before we get to the ladies two of my groomsmen need to piss you thinking TMI right. But we in downtown Baltimore so you would think there’s a public restroom not for these niggaz so they decided to piss on a tree in front of a museum like nothing is wrong. Talk about the old saying, ‘can’t take you niggaz nowhere’. Oh well we shake that off and finish the pictures now it’s the ladies turn. As the ladies were taking their pictures all I kept hearing was, ‘yo a nigga hungry fa real…where can I get a sandwich in this motherfucka… drunk nigga in full affect’. We downtown so I’m thinking it’s a homeless dude or an actual drunk nigga looking for a sandwich I aint think it was one of my groomsmen. I’m like yo it aint 3 o’clock and yo fried that like for real this is going to be insanity. So what you think happened…you guessed it my man went to the store to get a sandwich.
Now it’s time to take group pictures and we like yo someone is missing and that’s when it hit me son like this dude really left for the sandwich and we sitting around waiting for like 5 minutes but when your jawn is mad at you 5 minutes seem like a church service with the long winded preacher.

Everybody looking and yelling at me and I’m like ‘yo a grown ass man dawg but if he bring you back a sandwich are yall still bitching’. Their response ‘hell no because we hungry as fuck too’. He come back all refreshed and rejuvenated like he just had a Gatorade and ready to roll and I’m like ‘yo you frying me out here got all these people yelling at me and shit’. His response was ‘hey sonny you want me drunk and belligerent or sober and calm as a matter of fact take a bite out of this sandwich because you look hungry anyway’. We finish the pictures head to the church on schedule surprisingly and the countdown is getting realer. It was only right to take one more shot of henny in the choir room but two of my friends were dumb enough to take a red cup in the sanctuary.

Are you kidding me (reggie miller voice) and what made it worse was that the pastor says if I smell liquor then I won’t marry you so I’m like shit what are we going to do then my best man came through in the clutch like a working transmission on a car and passed out mints to everybody. Man you are the MVP and your jersey goes up to the rafters. After a mint check the pastor says these last words: “are you ready”… then the beat drops and on to the day my life changes forever.
I was still nervous but it wasn’t until I see all the bridesmaids walking down the aisle crying then it became real. I can’t front I was shook for a second because when my wife came down the aisle she broke down crying not just a normal cry but an ugly cry and I thought ‘oh no please don’t have a whitley gilbert from different world moment and change your mind on me’ But my daughter Morgan went up the aisle and grabbed her hand and we met one last time as single man and woman and then the preacher began the ceremony that united us as one.

It’s the Ten Weight Commandments…what

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‘I been in this game for years, it made me an animal It’s rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual A step by step booklet for you to get
your game on track, not your wig pushed back’-Biggie Smalls (Ten Crack Commandments).

As I was lifting weights yesterday, I was vibing to the classic Ten Crack Commandments and I felt in the zone. See for me the gym is my safe haven for all the bullshit that I encounter whether it’s people at my job to my kids being on 1000 as soon as they get home or just the mere fact since I love big women to the point where I married one and I need to be able to make sure my strength stay on Incredible Hulk. Whether you consider the gym to be the foundation to wearing tank tops in the summer time and not look like you need a bra or a place to connect with your friends, there has to be rules better yet commandments. I was there from about an hour or so and I got to thinking if it’s Ten Commandments in the Bible as well as in crack shouldn’t there be at least 10 for the weight room. It’s probably more than 10 but let’s start with 10 for now.

Rule 1: Wipe it down
If you lifting multiple sets on a bench or you jump on a bench after running a marathon on the elliptical when you finish please wipe the machine down. No one should have to put their head on a bench and there is a spot wetter than the couch Darryl’s family used in the movie Coming to America. Aint no soul glo in my hair then it shouldn’t be none in the chair

Rule 2: Walk Away man just walk away
I know Biggie said, ‘never let your man know your next move don’t you know bad boys move in silence and violence’. In this case let me know your next move. If you using a machine and you need to move somewhere like the bathroom, get some water or anything put a shirt a towel or something on your machine. The last thing you want is for someone to go all Christopher Columbus on your stuff claiming it was his when the whole time it was yours. If you see something on a bar or a bench don’t move it because ‘I done see mad fits by these cats for their weights and shit’

Rule 3: No Air Boxing
For some reason every gym has the one guy that wants to be Mayweather so bad. They even make the psst noise to make the punches sound faster. Ayo my man stop that dumb shit. You look stupid as hell and you scaring the ladies.

Rule 4: Leave the person with the Headphones on Alone
This rule is so underrated… Keep your convo and the headphones completely separated. Words and headphones don’t mix like two dicks and no clit Find yourself saying ‘are you serious bitch’. This is the equivalent of when I used to see girls at Morgan on the phone at 8 in the morning knowing you aint talking to nobody and plus your free minutes don’t start to 9 but we got the point don’t talk to me.

Rule 5: Stop Reminiscing
Stop telling people in the gym your high score. You are not Uncle Rico and no one cares if you could lift 315 at 19 and now you’re 40. Stop digging in the crates and by the way no one likes a bragger. To paraphrase Meek Mill, just because you lift 315 don’t mean you thorough…..pussy. Do the workout to the best of your ability and move forward.

Rule 6: Don’t Hog the Weights
Timing is everything. If you go to the gym at the wrong time it’s like the Martin episode when he’s at the DMV and you will be waiting for the weights all day. If you are one of the lucky ones to get weight please don’t hog them. ‘Everyone eats b’…that isn’t just for the drug game this is real life. Let other people get swole as well don’t be selfish.

Rule 7: Don’t Lift Heavy Without a Spotter
Look man social media is at an all-time high and you don’t wanna be a Worldstar victim because you tried to bench 405 or squat 550 and you get stuck or worse you get injured. Have you ever got stuck and you have to leave the weights on your chest. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s as bad as you being a victim of Catfish. It’s ok to have help.

Rule 8: Wear Proper Shoes​
I know at times we feel like Bruce Leroy in the gym but don’t kill your own vibe because you got on Jesus shoes and you lifting a 100 pound dumbbell. My voice turns into Kevin Hart when I see this, ‘well will you look at this please someone come over and look at this’

Rule 9: It’s not a fashion show
You’re entering a world where a lot of people don’t visit. It’s nothing but blood, sweat and tears that separate the feast from the famine. There is no idea why everything you have on matches or you walking gingerly because you don’t want your shoes to crease. You aint in there to be pretty. Lift those weights get sweaty and go the fuck home and for the love of God no more selfies after every set or a snapchat saying Gym Flow but then you don’t lift no weights.

Rule 10: Wash your Hands
This should be self-explanatory but you will be surprised how many people I’ve seen take a piss or shit and not wash their hands. That’s disgusting and you should be ejected from the club and you need to be suspended for at least a day. Don’t be that person because cleanliness is next to Godliness.