Question of the Week

Photo Post #12: A Day Off For The NMAAHC

By nature of how technology works, journalists, influencers, and large donors spent the better part of September sharing photos of exhibits and intimate details of what thousands of visitors could expect from the National Museum of African American History and Culture during opening weekend. The nerd thirst was so real that Very Smart Brothas did an advice (satirical?) piece about how in-demand tickets for opening weekend were.

Thanks to Twitter, I happened to see when timed passes would be released. I’m not a morning person however this was worth setting several alarms for. I didn’t get tickets for Saturday or Sunday but there were a bunch of slots for weekdays. A few friends and I wound up making the trek into DC anyway Saturday morning and got a decent view of the ceremony too (pictured below). To be there was surreal having missed out on both Inaugurations. Taking in President and First Lady Obama one last time at a major event was so worth it.


When I told my boss I’d need a weekday off to go to the museum, he got excited and suggested we make it a group thing because he has a connect. Yeah, nah fam. Everything I’d read warned me that the curation of the museum’s artifacts and the story it tells needed to be processed delicately. And given the general tone-deafness of some white people, I didn’t have the capacity to absorb their reactions too. While the museum is one they need to see, I believe it’s an institution for us to consume privately first without white noise.



Understanding That Karma Doesn’t Work The Way You Want

Jorge Zimmerman is a repulsive, shameless, arrogant sociopath who can’t stay away from the spotlight, despite claims of fearing for his life and safety.

He continues to come back like a project roach. Zimmerman only exists on this planet as proof that he’s a soulless coward. To attempt to profit from a life he took is beyond reprehensible. But he also serves as a reminder that no matter how much bad a person does, sometimes karma plays us an unexpected hand.


Proper Grooming Has The Power To Transform

Yesterday, I had a chance to volunteer with my church’s missionary ministry. As part of the back-to-school season, the ministry’s leader asked for those who are skilled to donate their time and talents to give free haircuts. I signed up for 2 reasons: because I know how to cut hair, obviously. But the second reason was a little more personal. I know how important it is for a boy or young man – especially if he’s starting school or a new job – to have a fresh haircut. I didn’t have anyone take the care to show me how to shave. I taught myself how to cut my hair and it wound up being a side hustle for me when things got tight. I was honored to be able to guide a few of the older boys on how to choose clippers to keep themselves up between haircuts. It’s important for men of all ages to know how to groom themselves for every type of look and occasion.

A rare bare-faced me

A rare bare-faced me


This week on The Good Men Project, I wrote about how a great grooming experience has sometimes been the only thing that made me feel good about who I saw in the mirror.

What’s your grooming routine like? How often do you set aside time to pamper yourself?

Are The Giants Built For A Superbowl Run?

Yesterday, I had a chance to go watch the NY Giants training camp practice out in Jersey. I never paid much attention to preseason football. But this year presents far more interest than previous seasons.

With our old defensive coordinator back, a first round pick for the O-Line, and a few key players coming back from injury, this Giants squad has all the makings of a championship-bound team. Every roster experiences the injury bug and it bit hard last year. After missing the playoffs for 2 consecutive seasons, GM Jerry Reese used the draft and free agency to address most of the problems the Giants have had during that time. Let’s review, shall we?


How Does A Grown Man Make New Friends?

Since leaving for college over a decade ago, I’ve lived a nomadic life. I’ve lived in a few metro cities as well as having a couple of brief overseas stints. Experiencing different cities in a small time period left me little time to immerse myself into all of the social scenes. Life’s circumstances also left me closed off and insecure. I wasn’t really thinking about the importance of letting people fully in. Now that I’m planting roots, I find it necessary to be more sociable and authentic in connecting with new people.

The idea of making new friends in your 30s sounds hard. But it’s a task you have to embrace when moving into a new phase of your life. Read the rest over on Good Men Project.

Any advice or insight on how one can make new friends outside of the conventional environments?

What Am I Supposed To Tell My Black Son?

Being a NYer, it means nothing to be out in the streets all hours of the night. You’re never alone. In recent months, some nights I struggle to stay asleep. I often throw on some sweats and walk (or drive) around. The other night, like clockwork, I grabbed my iPod and was walking the streets of Flatbush. 30 minutes into my walk, I got a phone call from my Tia. Her voice was low and I could feel a tension that I seldom hear. “Come home JJ. Now.”

My first thought was something was up with my mom. When I got back to the house, it was as quiet as I’d left it. Tia was sitting on the couch and the only thing she said to me “I need you to stop disappearing at night JJ. Anything can happen and I don’t need that worry every time you decide to go out.” My instinct was to brush it off, but I just let it go.

As I thought about it driving back to VA with my mom, it all made sense in an instant.


#30in30 Day 18: Do You Know What Fulfills You?

I want to be successful.

I want to be respected.

I want to be financially secure.

But the main goal – the most important quest I’m on – is to be fulfilled. There’s something special and inexplainable about waking up everyday and knowing that you’re truly happy about where you are.

The other day I was listening to an interview with Domonique Foxworth. He’s a former NFL player who, after suffering injury, decided to retire and go onto something else. But that something else was a pretty big deal! He went to Harvard Business School and ultimately became president of the NFLPA for a few years.


In that interview, he discussed how he made the career change and maintained that confidence in a new arena. (if you don’t want to listen, you can read the full transcript)