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My name is Tré

My name is Tré and this is my first blog post. I spontaneously got the urge to create myself a blog. I’ve always had a passion for writing about my opinions on specific things. Predominantly about things that I am passionate about. Things that I enjoy and things which are ongoing around the world in discussion. This is probably a reason as to why I chose to study sociology, communication & culture and media at A level. After quietly always wanting to begin blogging or something similar to it,  I’ve never fully put my efforts into it. I thought that creating a blog for myself would be a great way for to explore my urge further. I am particularly interested in music, social justice, current affairs and public figures. Consequently, I think that my blog will follow these key subjects throughout the most but things always change right? Hopefully, I won’t just ‘give up’ and I will actually write more than just a few posts. I have a few topics that I have ready to write about so I have faith that I will gradually continue posting. After all, who knows how this blog will develop further.

Being a teenager in 2017

Before I get into this one, I would just like to say that I hope everyone got the grades that they wanted today on their A level results day. If you didn’t get what you hoped for then please there are still many things that you can do to maybe improve those grades or take an alternative route that could be just as beneficial in the end.

 

“You lot have it easy these days”

That’s what the adults of our generation repeatedly say to us as we silently build up frustration within ourselves.

Our teenagers don’t have it as easy as you may think. Yes, we might get more pocket money, have better gadgets and get more holidays abroad. But maybe, just maybe it isn’t all that simple.

With the rise of social media and the use of apps like Instagram and Snapchat, young people feel more pressured to fit in with others. Feeling like they have to wear the same clothes, makeup and have that perfect ‘summer body’. We have role models like Kim Kardashian along with the latest stars from Love Island. Boys feel like they have to go the gym and girls, have to get the new Kylie Jenner lip kit. And if you don’t have an Instagram account then… well that’s another matter within itself. Our peers and role models undeniably cause teenagers to feel less worthy. It’s almost like life is becoming a competition of materialism.

When it comes to academics, teenagers are pushed to excel in ways that only a few did 30 years ago. With the expectation of good GCSE grades leading onto A levels and university further down the line, young people have to constantly worry about their futures at an incredibly young age. University was virtually unheard of in working class backgrounds but now it’s becoming the ‘standard’. It often makes me wonder if all of this pressure is doing us any good?

A thing that teenagers find frustrating is that we are often expected to be ‘adult like’. We’re encouraged to taker responsibility for things despite being treated like children. Confusing. A lot of the time when speaking to adults, you’re made to think that your opinions aren’t valid simply because of your age despite you having more/better qualifications than them. Yes, life experiences teach you a lot but allowing teenagers to form their own opinions on things won’t cause any harm.

Teenagers often understand the struggles that adults had as teenagers. I think that teenagers would like adults to understand theirs too. At the end of the day, disregarding problems won’t solve anything.

When you walk into a room, do you bring light or darkness?

Just a short one.

I came across this question recently on social media. It genuinely made me think about myself and the way in which people may perceive me.

The question isn't asking about literal light or darkness. It's about the impact that you have on others. How you make others feel and the mood that they associate you with.

In my opinion, you shouldn't be thinking about what others think of you. You should always be yourself, live a joyful life and mind your own business. But this question made me realise that maybe we should question ourselves, just occasionally. Reflect on what we choose to present to others.

We all know those people that we naturally warm to. We also know those that we try to avoid immediately. Which person are you?

Don’t Touch My Hair

Despite my love for Solange’s record ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ , an angry but peaceful anthem along with her visual artistry of a music video, that’s not what this post is going to be about. Let’s talk about people feeling the need to touch afro hair and the problems the come with it.

Touching my hair for your own pleasure isn’t cool. I hope that this post helps to explain and justify my reasons for why this isn’t just black people overreacting. Personally, I take offence to people who ask to touch my hair (or touch it without my permission). This is not only because it’s annoying, but I also understand why it’s problematic.

Firstly, it’s simply rude, annoying and uncomfortable for me when someone asks to touch my hair. It’s abnormal. However, people seem to think that just because my hair is has a different texture theirs that it’s okay to touch it when it pleases them.

It seems that only a small amount of people seem to understand that touching my afro hair is actually an act of a racial microaggression. A subtle, non verbal action that communicates negative messages. I do understand that it’s rarely ever done with the intention to make us, feel uncomfortable, but it does. When it comes down to the microagression, touching our hair makes us feel ‘different’ and not ‘normal’. This makes sense because people say that our hair is ‘exotic’ and ‘unfamiliar’.

Society has created a phenomenon that wearing natural afro hair comes with labels of unprofessional and deviance. These are negative labels causing black people, especially women, to make the decision not to wear their natural afro hair. They’ll wear weaves etc instead (because of the negative connotation that come along with it) which isn’t fair.

The Eurocentric beauty standards also contribute to the microagression the majority have created an idea that you’re a “beautiful” woman if you have a thin nose, white/tanned skin, a slim body, light coloured eyes and STRAIGHT HAIR. Black people just don’t naturally fit into these categories. This is why it is difficult for us to let you touch out hair because you say it feels ‘different’.

Plus, if i’m honest, there’s nothing special about my hair. It might smell good, but that’s all. So please, don’t touch my hair.

Instagram: what’s behind the smile?

We’re bombarded with images of happiness on social media. But what’s behind the smile?

These days, everyone has an Instagram profile. A place for you to share images and videos with your friends, family and other followers. We all see those Instagram models with 100k+ followers. Their lives look great right? Well, probably not as great as you might think. An Instagram profile is almost like the media industry as a whole. The media (or person in this situation) will only show you what they want you to see. We’re all guilty for it. Just think about your Instagram feed. You’re only showing your followers elements of your life that you want them to see, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s not a bad thing.

However, we have to admit that our Instagram accounts aren’t a ‘fair’ representation of ourselves. Unfortunately that has caused 12 year old’s following these so called ‘Instagram models’ that they look up to. It leads them to staring to compare themselves to them which isn’t great for the good old ‘mental health’. It makes you feel unsuited to the rest, almost not good enough. When you’re young and naive, you have a much more of a narrow minded outlook on the world and this is why it happens.

People will always aspire to be like others without taking into consideration that things are never perfect for anybody. So, the next time you compare yourself to that Instagram model, top athlete or musician, just remember that it wasn’t too simple for Oprah to become a billionaire.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram here and criticise me for my bad representation on Instagram.

(This one was just a short one. Nothing too deep, just a few thoughts that I thought would be good to write about.)

Are our REAL sporting legends getting paid what they deserve?

You might have heard in recent sporting news that the Brazilian, Barcelona football player, Neymar recently got signed to transfer to PSG for a £198 million deal. Yes, £198 million. The guy is earning £3,200 an hour. Madness.

I don't know too much about football or any other sport for that matter apart from athletics. However, I have a clear understand that footballers are earning way too much money. You could argue that football is the sport that 'dominates' the world and that is clear, but £198 million is a lot of money. We have Olympians globally struggling to get any sort of funding or sponsorship and it really doesn't make sense.

Maybe the problem lies at the beginning. From my own experience at school, football and rugby were the sports that teachers would push us to do. Athletics was almost unheard of. This creates an ongoing problem as without new top quality athletes coming through the generations, athletics as a sport will risk having the funding opportunities it needs to essentially survive. The less British athletes we have excelling in the sport, the less people will want to watch the sport on TV as well buy tickets to attend competitions such as the British Championships.

As an athlete myself, it angers me that I never properly got the chance to do the sport that I wanted to in school. I'm sure that athletes across the country would agree that we don't get the recognition for our national/international achievements from teachers and other students.

Usain Bolt gets paid around £1.7m purely from race wins and £23.2m from endorsements. Does he need all of that money? Possible not. But let's not forget that Bolt is the world record holder over the 100m and 200m. A legend, the fastest man of all time is getting paid nothing compared to the top paid football players.

Going back to football, we also have the women's England team qualifying for the European 2017 championships which is astounding. However, I'm certain that they won't be getting the money that that they perhaps deserve for it. We hear about everyone wanting women to achieve in football (and many other mainstream sports) but without the funding, there's only so much that they can do.

We need to recognise that there is a problem with funding across many sports globally. So many sporting legends are missing out on opportunities that they shouldn't have to miss out on. I'm assured that Neymar is an amazing football player but maybe managers need to reconsider how much money a player is really worth. £3,200 an hour is something that I struggle to comprehend.

Are you a feminist?

“Feminist. the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

You might have heard those words in Beyoncé’s hit song ‘Flawless’. Feminism is a pretty simple concept but for an unclear reason, so many people aren’t able to grasp the importance of it. To make it clear, feminism isn’t the battle between men and women. Nor is it the mission to make women superior to men. To break it down, a feminist is someone who believes that men and women should be able to have equal rights when it comes to everyday life. Political power and equal pay is just a small part of it.

Before, I go into too much detail, you have to be able to accept that men are way more privileged in society compared to women. We have more male leaders and men are constantly getting paid more then women. All you have to do is look at the recent headlines stating that men working for the BBC are getting paid way more than women in most instances. We have to recognise that women aren’t given as many opportunities to excel financially or gain political power too.

The government is the organisation that essentially runs our country. But when you take a step back, you will realise that the government is predominately run by white men. Only 208 women MP’s were elected at the 2017 General Election which only equates to 32% of MP’s overall. But if these people are representing our country then how does this make sense? Is it representative? Should it be 50% men and 50% women? Those are questions that you can only answer for yourself. Similarly, only 8% of MP’s in the House of Common are from an ethnic minority background. But that’s another issue in itself which could have it’s own blog post.

You might argue that Theresa May is the current Prime Minister. You’re right, but let’s not forget that she is only the second female Prime Minister in the history of seventy six UK leaders.

There are many other issues when it comes to women’s equality. All you have to do is google them. Keep an open mind and read explanations for things instead of bashing feminism without any real knowledge of it. You might realise that being a feminist includes being able to believe in the equality for all women. That includes, black women, Muslim women and trans women. They all have the same struggles as well as having the struggles of being a minority in society too. Make sure you keep that in mind.

Feminism has come a long way over the years, from women not being allowed to attend school to women being able to take part in the general election votes. Its crazy to think that the women in our own families weren’t allowed to vote in the early 1900’s. So, are you a feminist? If you’re not a feminist then you need to ask yourself why. Is it because you don’t believe in gender equality or is it because you’re worried about the labels that may come with it.

It’s simple, if you think that women should have the same rights as men, then you’re basically a feminist, pal.

The important messages behind Jay Z’s 4:44

Disclaimer: I always wanted to write a post about this album but I was unsure about how I was going to set it out. Therefore, I kind of just left it. However, I then remembered how much I enjoyed writing my Lorde – Melodrama album review so I thought i’d just give it another try.

Jay Z, Hova, Jigga, the rap legend is back with his 13th solo album and it carries a lot of meaningful messages with it.

rs_634x789-170306082546-634.jay-z-beyonce-blue-ivy-carter.3617After listening to the album, I realised that the 47 year old businessman had a lot of things to get off his chest. Yes, the biggest shock was that Jay finally confessed to cheating on Beyoncé. He also addresses a few other hiccups in his life that we all wanted answers to. For example, the shooting of his brother, the stabbing of Lance ‘Un’ Rivera and that all so very heated elevator incident with Solange. He even mentions how he would hate for his children to find out that he was ever disloyal to Bey. Despite all of that, i’m only going to talk about the important messages that could benefit others from this insightful album.

Jay gives advice to new and upcoming young rappers in this album. Those rapper that are getting unthinkable sums of money so quickly causing them to be irresponsible with it. He advises them to make investments instead of wasting money on pointless things such as flashy cars. He says “Fuck dying broke and living rich” and he kind of has a good point. It makes more sense to leave money behind for your children. Towards the end of the album is the track ‘Legacy’ he goes on to rap “That’s how we keep Carter money all in the family”.

The Shawn Carter Foundation Hosts An Evening of "Making The Ordinary Extraordinary"Along with sharing financial advice, Jay shows his support to his lesbian mother who had four children  before coming out. He explains how he has no problem with it and that he will love her no matter what with the lyrics of “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love, don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her, I just wanna see you smile through all the hate”. This is something that I think will help tackle homophobia in the black and  hip hop community.

Finally, lets discuss Hov addressing the subject of black excellence. Despite all setbacks of being a black man in America, Jay has been able to achieve many things within his career. From creating thirteen solo albums to being the founder of Roc Nation and owner of Tidal. Shawn has created an empire for not only himself, but also his family. I feel as though Jay has set the bar for major success and it is something that more young black kids should aspire to be doing.