Power

There are many different definitions of power. However, they all run along the lines of explaining that it is as the ability to actualise an idea and make it a reality. Some people view power as being a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum lies people with the most power and the other side represents those with little power.

Throughout time, power has often carried with itself a negative connotation. This is due to power being misused in a way that has lead to negative realities being actualised. An example of this would be Hitler’s Nazi far-right political party or even just a smaller scale example of a teacher using their power to treat students unequally would still fit suit. Nevertheless, we need to remember that power can also be used in positive ways (which tend to actually have longer lasting affects).

In order to find yourself on the side of the ‘spectrum’ that allows you to have a lot of power, it is thought that you need to have a broad and clear understanding of the world. A wide ranged understanding of the society that you find yourself in is important. This understanding needs to include knowledge of social matters, politics and current affairs.  An awareness of reality consequently leads you to the resources that can indeed make you a powerful person. These resources include money, education and social support. This explains why the majority of politicians (that have a considerable amount of power) have such powerful statuses. Their parents often had the money to send them to high performing private educational institutions. At these institutions, they have a huge amount of social support as there tends to be a value consensus status quo.

This theory is evident in everyday situations. When somebody has a wide understanding of a situation, you tend to respect their opinion a lot more. This also happens often when you are aware that somebody has a lot of money, a big educational qualification (a degree for example) and social support. In addition, in today’s society, money tends to be the biggest influence of an individual’s power status as social class is somewhat always determined by monetary success.

So, as said before, those with power generally have a greater understanding of the world along with the resources of money, education and social support. With all of that being said, there are still people out there who find themselves in powerful positions without the resources that usually enable you to be powerful in the first place. This often leads to power being used in nonconstructive ways. Nevertheless, it isn’t always too late to change that. Jay-Z is an example of a man that arguably didn’t use his powerful status constructively in the beginning of his success. Although, he has now used his power (and money) to educate himself and others on social matters to try and make a positive change to society by having important conversations about politics, social justice and even love. Without his efforts to have a better understanding of the world, it is likely that his power would been misused.

In regards to the main message to this blog post, I wanted to explain why certain people may or may not be seen as powerful. Maybe you could use this information and make yourself more of a valued, powerful individual (for good reasons). You can become someone that has the power to influence or actualise an idea. Educate yourself on social, political and current affairs. Knowledge equates to power. If you aren’t someone who can easily get the resource of money, your knowledge will often outweigh it. A lack of education leads to limitations and you don’t want to find yourself in that situation. Let’s make ourselves able to make the right decisions which impact ourselves and our surroundings in a positive way. As a result, you’ll also be viewed as a much more valued individual in society.

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January.

Happy Friday. It’s not often that I post on Fridays but it’s 2018 now. So let’s just say… New year, new me, right?

January. A time for us all to join the gym? Set some new goals? Maybe even start up a new diet plan. I think it’s funny how all of a sudden, once the clock strikes 12 on January 1st, everyone seems to rebrand themselves as if they’re contestants on The X Factor. If it motivates you and makes you a better person then go for it. However, it makes me giggle how some people have been ‘rebranding’ themselves for the past 7 year and are stood in the exact same spot; saying that they’re going to do the exact same things as they were going to do almost a decade ago.

This year, I didn’t set myself any new year resolutions. It sounds ridiculous considering that I’m an athlete and A level student. I even wrote a whole blog post on how goal setting is important (which you can read here). Of course, goal setting is important but it shouldn’t be forced simply because it’s January 1st. A constant and steady flow of goal setting is much more productive. After all, we grow as people everyday and nothing is going to magically happen over night.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this blog post and to be completely honest… I began to think about how January feels like it’s never ending this year. (Hence the title ‘January.’). I was struggling to come up with some ideas to write about. Prior to that, many of my peers wanted me to write about the whole Logan Paul situation. People mentioned the H&M scandal and even Offset’s homophobic song lyrics that caused outrage. They’re all popular culture topics of which I felt I could write confidently about, but I wanted to be unique. Until I saw today (Jan 25th), that Logan Paul has quite literally ‘rebranded’ himself in his new YouTube video which aimed to raise awareness on the topic of suicide. This was after he was globally criticised for essentially mocking suicide earlier this month.

It’s astonishing that within the space of  25 days, Logan Paul went from ignorantly fooling around in a suicide forest, to now being an advocate for suicide prevention. This is a genius move by him. Only in the sense that he has been able to maintain a growing audience with little criticism by ‘rebranding’ himself. The general public were waiting to see what his next online move was going to be after all of the commotion (including myself). To many people, him suddenly becoming an ambassador for suicide prevention comes across as very cynical. In all honesty, people have every reason to believe that it was only done so that he could continue his career on YouTube as a social influencer (with minimal backlash).

Which takes me back to my initial point of ‘rebranding’. Are we really making some of these new goals for the right reasons, or is it to satisfy others and be strategic about situations that we find ourselves in?

17 Best Albums of 2017

It’s been a few weeks since I last uploaded a blog post but I’m back now. It’s unlikely that I’ll be posting every week as thinking of new blog post ideas is proving difficult and my free time is slowly decreasing; as A levels and athletics begin take over in the new year.

But anyways, I thought I’d end this year with a post listing what I consider to be the best albums that have been released this year. Seventeen of them to be precise. These are based on artistic content and not popularity. So, if you’re a pop music fan then this probably isn’t a good read for you. I listen to A LOT of albums. I add them to my library weekly when they release on a Friday but these are the ones that stood out for me. I consider some of these albums to be literal masterpieces. I hope that I persuade some of you to listen to a few of them at some point if you haven’t done so already. For reference, I find the majority of my music on Tidal.

Let’s do this in chronological order as listing them from best to is proving too challenging for my indecisive self.

IMG-36081. Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

This album is self explanatory in the sense that there are elements of sweet, sexy and savage throughout. Kehlani entered 2017 with a bang with this debut album and she has demonstrated how hard work really does pay off. The vocal arrangements and production are astonishing. She really put her foot down to claim being the new R&B princess.

2. Sampha – Process

Process is another debut album that I would recommend. I often listen to it when revising as it is somewhat relaxing.

IMG-36113. Stormzy – Gang Sings & Prayers

I first listened to Stormzy’s album with a closed minded perception of him. I now realise that it was a result of the media’s representation of him being unintelligent and unable to make ‘real’ music. However, ‘Gang Sign’s & Prayers’ is artistically exciting and is cohesively satisfying. Stormzy has had a big impact on British music and grime in particular with this album and I am somewhat proud of him for it. I would definitely recommend for people to and give the album a listen.

4. Khalid – American Teen

Despite how commercialised Khalid has become over this year, I have to admit that his album is generally an enjoyable listen. I like how carefree and youthful it is.

Here’s where it starts to get really good…

IMG-36135. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

DAMN, Kendrick really made a genius album this year. The cohesive elements of the album is magical and he continues to  deliver hard bars that are often underappreciated. I feel as though Kendrick Lamar has truly created one of the most clever albums after announcing that it was actually meant to be listened to backwards due to the narrative. I would be very happy to see him take many Grammy awards for it in February next year.

IMG-36146. SZA – Ctrl

Now, Ctrl is one of THE best albums of 2017 and best debut albums that I have ever listened to. I wrote a whole blog post on it here if you would like a more in depth analysis. SZA is what the R&B scene has been missing for years.

IMG-36157. Lorde – Melodrama

I have gone on about this album so much this year, labelling it as the ‘Best Album of 2017’, a ‘masterpiece’ that has a powerful narrative of a breakup and heartache. Of course, I wrote a whole separate blog post on this album which you can find here. I just love the honesty, narrative and brilliance of this album. After being nominated at the Grammy’s for ‘Album of the Year’, I would be so happy for Lorde to take the award home with her.

8. Jay-Z – 4:44

The legend himself, Jay-Z dropped ‘4:44’, exclusively for Tidal customers and the honesty, empowerment and buzz that it gives off is astonishing. I was shocked but pleased with him after revealing untold truths about his infidelity. The mature approach to subject matters of a black empowerment and equality concerning race and sexuality only made me praise him more despite his life mistakes. I wrote more about this album and the messages behind it here.

amine-good-for-you9. Aminé – Good For You

I have a growing love for Aminé, every time I listen to ‘Good For You’. The causal and cheeky feel that he gives off in his debut album can only lift your mood. Its pretty ‘litty’ in my opinion. I wrote more about ‘Good For You’ earlier this year in a blog post here.

10. Daniel Caesar – Freudian

This is probably the most fresh feeling albums of 2017. The cohesive album ‘Freudian’ is a personal favourite in terms of listening satisfaction. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Frank Ocean or Solange Knowles. I am definitely excited to see him and his music career flourish in the future.

IMG-375111. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II

This album had me SOOK on so many levels. The irregular ‘boy-band’, BROCKHAMPTON produce some of the best rap bars that I have personally listened to in terms of originality. I don’t even know how to explain the production and sounds on this album. Just go and listen to it for yourselves, PLEASE. They released three albums this year, part 1, 2 and 3 of the SATURATION trilogy. Part 3 was only released last week! It’s crazy. They will forever leave me mind-blown.

12. Sabrina Claudio – About Time

I would say that ‘About Time’ is another refreshing album that is somewhat relaxing. I look forward to hearing more music from Sabrina in the future.

13. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

I don’t tend to listen to the big ‘pop’ albums, but after watching Demi Lovato’s Youtube documentary, I felt like I had to go on to listen to her album. The documentary was rather deep at times. For the album itself, it’s pretty good if i’m honest. I was surprised with how strong her voice really is.

IMG-375214. Kelela – Take Me Apart

‘Take Me Apart’ is an album that I would say it up there with ‘Melodrama’ and ‘DAMN.’ in terms of its artistic ability. The album is cohesive and is a personal favourite of mine. Kelela created what I would call a masterpiece here. With it’s ‘breakup’ theme, Kelela goes in hard on this LP.

15. Willow – The 1st

This album is just adorable. Willow never fails to produce good music. Despite it being a short album, I was truly satisfied with the music that was produced.

Don’t judge me but…

IMG-375316. Taylor Swift – reputation

I don’t like Taylor Swift personally but I decided to listen to ‘reputation’ due to it being one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. I was definitely surprised. I have to admit that this is a really good pop album with some great pop anthems throughout.

…And finally…

17. Chance The Rapper & Jeremih – Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama Re-Wrapped

Released literally LAST NIGHT, Chance and Jeremih dropped a surprise Christmas album and it’s amazing. Whenever they collaborate together, they make wonders happen. The R&B sounds that they’ve been able to incorporate into this album are so inventive. Plus, they even got Noname to feature on it.

…And that is my list completed.

It’s interesting that around half of what I would call the ‘Best Albums of 2017’ are actually debut albums. Hopefully this means that the artists are only going to produce even better albums later down the line in their careers. It’s strange that the albums that stood out for me the most this year had themes of love and heartbreak. It must mean that I’m a sucker the emotional stuff. Lol. Anyway, I’m excited for what music 2018 has in the bag for us. See you all in next year 🙂

Love, Lifestyle and Love Island

Appearance and physical attraction has arguably become the most important and first thing that people look for when seeking love. Natural beauty and personality is becoming less valuable. More and more people would much rather appear to have a lush lifestyle instead of a ’10/10′ personality.

We use social media sites, dating apps and even watch programmes such as Love Island which all contribute to the pressure of finding someone to fall in love with. However, this “love” that is being drilled into us seems to be based on what people look like. The individuals shown on shows like Love Island all have something in common. Materialism. They all appear to be the type of people that are buying the latest brands for clothes, makeup and gadgets. Is this representation of a perfect lifestyle damaging though?

I admire people who present themselves well. I think that it’s important. However, it’s also important to not fall for someone simply because or their way of living. In ten years time, your lifestyle changes. A lot. Don’t think that because someone you’re attracted to has an iPhone X now, they are going to be seen as trendy in 10 ten years time. Because they won’t, and neither will their iPhone X. If your significant other is caring. Genuinely caring, not to look good in front of others but because they really CARE. That’s ‘attractive’. Or it should be anyway. However, shows like Love Island haven’t really emphasised how important those sorts of qualities in relationships are. In ten years time, if your partner is still caring, then you’re the winner. Logic. Simple logic.

We all know that personality is important. We understand that Love Island is for entertainment purposes and that it’s fake and set up and blah blah blah. The problem is that young people genuinely can’t disconnect the fact that Love Island is a show and not real life. Fourteen year old’s are growing up with the mindset that money can buy you happiness and a partner can make you look fancy. Love Island is just one of the shows that push this ideology and it’s all rooted from capitalism but let’s not get too deep for the sake of Love Island being the lead example.

It just seems weird that these shows are portraying perfection as something that it really isn’t. But that’s entertainment for you. We have to admit that these shows are addictive and fun to watch. I didn’t watch this years series but I watched last years and I genuinely enjoyed it. These shows are great for entertainment, just don’t be one of those people that can’t disconnect reality TV and real life simply because Kem and Amber are still ‘together’.

Why did I start blogging?

Around three months ago, I started my blog, TREXTHOMAS. In this post I would to reflect on the reasons as to why I began blogging.

As I stated in my first blog post, I’ve always enjoyed writing about things that interest me. Especially the things that I have good knowledge about, enjoy or have an opinion on. Being a student, blogging sort of links into my A level subjects and the things that I tend to write about all intertwine with the topics within my A level studies. I’m also an athlete and although I’ve not written massively about athletics itself, I think that I am lucky enough to gain an audience of readers from that aspect of my life. It’s exciting because I know that people from all over the UK and even abroad read my posts. I’m lucky in that respect. I think that blogging is definitely an opportunity that I had to grab.

With reading and writing writing, I’ve never really been a person that liked to read books. I used to read and I definitely enjoyed it but I always felt as though I was forcing myself to. Reading felt like a chore to me. With the way that society is today, everything is online and it is so easy for you to put out messages for your friends and followers to read. The messages you read online also tend to be things that you’re interested in so on you’re not forced to read them. You get so much choice as to things that you want to read online and they don’t have to be books. Although I like to share things on apps like Instagram and Twitter, they’re slightly limited. 140 characters is shorter than you may think and blogging has been a great way for me to develop my writing skills.

I am also aware that by writing my blog posts, I somehow have a positive impact on my readers. I know that people take away tips and pointers to enhance their lives. I know that I often persuade people to be more open minded about things and I’m really happy about the way that my blog has flourished.

Blogging is simple but definitely a challenge in some ways and I’d definitely recommend it to young people. You get to write whatever you want. Put your message out there and build a platform for your yourself. Be unique. Make yourself known.

Is it time for you to start a blog?

Goals

Apologies for not posting yesterday. Long story short – I was busy 🙂

Anyway, let’s get to the post.

I’d like to think that goals are important. In my experience, I know that I achieve better in specific things when I know I  have an end goal. I’m always searching for a new goal that I can set mentally. Whether that be in education, athletics or just everyday general life.

When you run out of goals to aim for, I think that it’s very easy to drift off into a space of carelessness. Having a bunch of goals to keep you well driven will always keep you on track. Short term and long term goals will benefit each other and help balance things out. Let’s take a small example of my own… It’s half term for me now and I reached my goal of trying to keep a 100% attendance at sixth form. This enabled me to keep on top of my work and go through the term smoothly. This short term goal will help be in my long term goal of trying to achieve good grades at the end of the year.

It’s important to not let your goals consume all of your energy. I would definitely advise people keep a healthy balance of ‘work’ and ‘play’ time. This will of course help with your mental state too. It’s also important to know that you’re not always going to achieve your goals. Especially if you aim high. As long as you deal with failure in a pro-active way with a level head on your shoulders, you’ll be able to move onto your next goal swiftly.

So, no matter how big or small your goals may be, they’ll always be beneficial to you if you have the right approach. You will prosper.

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.