By: Twitter Buttons

Thursday, 16 December 2010

2010...The Year of the 'Hater'?

Well it's the end of the year in a few days and the social networks are alive with reflections of 2010 as well as people looking forward with renewed motivation to 2011. Don't worry, you won't see any "2011 is my year, next year watch me blow" kind of statements around here; '2000 and Grind' absolutely jarred my head back in '09. I think I'll just keep my head down and get on it with it. Nevertheless, as I look back into 2010, there are three words that come to mind, a phrase that was thrown out at every opportunity, the statement that was such a cliche, saying that it was a cliche actually became a cliche....yep you've guessed it: 'He/She's a hater'.

Now there are two sides of my fence here, the second side annoys me slightly more than the first. Let's start with the first (well obviously). My question is have we become a nation of haters? I've been asking myself this for a while. Yes the term has been around before 2010 but this year for whatever reason (ahem Twitter) it has entered my viewing space on more or less an every-day basis. The rise in the popularity social networks, which by their very nature invite people to comment, and programmes such as X Factor and Dancing with the Stars where we all become singing and dance experts, means that we are encouraged to state our opinion - good and bad. Now I'm all for that, having an opinion. Well I blog, if I didn't have an opinion then I wouldn't be here. But has it come to a point where the negative comments are outweighing the good?

Well taking a look at one days worth of my Twitter and FB news feeds, I would say otherwise; I see supportive comments, retweets of projects that others are working on, encouragement and praise etc. Obviously there are the odd jibes at Cheryl Cole or an up and coming Team UK rapper but perhaps its because I follow positive people, I'm not surrounded by too much negativity. This is a principle that I apply to my 'offline' life also, therefore the so-called excessive 'hateration' doesn't bother me so much. To me, it appears to be so easy to get rid of people that you deem negative: cut them off, block them, delete their number, you get the drift. However, for some reason the cries of 'Hi Hater' still seem to be on repeat on my airwaves.

Now this is what annoys me, the second side of my fence, the issue that led me to a midnight rant on FB which had me furiously typing away at my Blackberry, eyes wide open like a crazy woman - it was in no way the 'Carrie' image that I have of myself whenever I blog or write. I was being voyeuristic, catching up with what all of my 200 odd 'friends' had been up to that day and was astounded by the number of 'hater'-related status updates there were. Nowadays, it seems like everyone has got haters, from Diddy venting his frustration to his fans via UStream, to Abdul from the Lion's chicken shop down the road complaining about the chip shop around the corner stealing his customers. It has become endemic amongst our generation - if you are anybody then you HAVE to talk about about how many haters you have, how you're going to prove your haters wrong and how much they motivate you to 'grind harder'. Stop begging it. You don't have haters. Damn, all I said was that I didn't like your trainers and now I'm a hater of your life goals and achievements???!! Maybe it's because over the years the ideology of celebrity and fame has become more prominent in our society, whether it be red-carpet fame or fame-on-the-road. The media and shows like X-Factor have told us to believe in ourselves and not let anyone tell us we can't achieve our dreams, so much so that now it appears that we have inflated egos where criticism is dismissed because the person who said it, that blasted dream-killer, is obviously just an ugly person inside who is simply jealous and doesn't know what they're talking about. For example, I am a Beyonce fan but that doesn't mean I'm going to like everything she does. I made a comment about B on my blog a while back (you see, so close we're on first-initial basis), one negative word and the stans came at me like flying banshees. Now I love Beyonce, yes I complain about her being overexposed but throw on 'Baby Boy' and I can do the entire sand-dance routine blindfolded - backwards roll and everything! Does a negative comment make me a hater? In fact, at what point does someone become a hater? Is it five negative comments in a row, or if they make a positive comment now and again then that's ok? Who cares!!! I'm so over hearing this word! (Closes eyes, inhales and exhales for ten seconds).

Not everyone is going to like what you do; it's inevitable you will face negative comments one way or the other. Yes there may be some people out there who never say or do anything positive but why is that an issue to you, ask yourself that question. Do you rely too much on external validation perhaps? If naysayers do criticise you, decide whether it is constructive or not; if it isn't, then don't let it bother you. Personally, I don't let it affect me either way so for me to talk/tweet/FB/get annoyed or angry about 'haters' is expending energy in a wasteful manner when it could be more useful elsewhere.

What do you think, have we become a nation of haters or do people just have inflated egos which means they find it difficult to swallow criticism? Speak on it.

If you like this post, feel free to comment and share (new feature alert!) I appreciate your support. If you don't like it, comment anyway, I don't care -you're just a hater! ;)

Monday, 8 November 2010

What Rule Book? Ladies, Go Get Your Man!

I'm just going to go straight into it. I've been staying in New York for a little bit now and when it comes to the topic of dating...they seem to do things a little differently over here. Now I'm not talking personally (disclaimer alert!), but from speaking with my friends who have been here for a while through to my own observations on the street and on the subway, there are clear (and hilarious) differences between the way women and men act on opposite sides of the pond. New York especially is known for its 'go get em' attitude; everyone has a business card, everyone is constantly networking, the city never sleeps, people are here to pursue their dreams and go for what they want; including the man they want. Now I'm not saying that in the UK there is a complete absence of this approach to life but when it comes to women being the power players in the whole dating game, I think New York can teach us a few lessons.

Let me start at the beginning: before I came out here I was completing my masters and for my research paper I conducted focus group sessions which touched on the topic of relationships and dating. When discussing whether it was appropriate for a woman to pursue a guy, with the all-female group there were cries of "no that's not how a woman should act, why should she make it easy for the guy, she's going to give the impression that she's sexually loose, if the guy didn't have to work for it then he's never going to make an effort, no guy would respect a woman like that" - etc etc you get the message right? On the flip side, the guys seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with this (yeah I bet!). Instead they found it attractive that the female was going for what she wanted, they said that it showed she was confident and it would not necessarily lead to them having less respect for her. Now you could say that maybe I picked a conservative group of girls here or maybe the boys' opinions are not truly reflective of the male population, however even over the years speaking with females in particular it seems that most of us have picked up these dating rules and codes of conduct that we are encouraged to live by. Take a flight to NY and these rules are basically redundant - there's a new sheriff in town and he's called "Purlease...You Better Go Get Your Man!" But why the difference in attitude?
There seems to be two types of men I have come across in NY - I hate to generalise but in the interest of time and my wish to avoid repetitive strain injury from typing so much I'm going to get out my boxes and throw you all into one or the other, ok guys? First type is the super-fast dude who doesn't beat around the bush, let's you know exactly what they want from you - and its not usually a nice 'respectable' date - and if you're not on the same page, after trying to entice you with a few camera phone pics (that's another post altogether, I think I'll let Miss X take care of that one), they usually get the message and move on. Then you have the nice guy, cool personality, open to taking you out for some frozen yogurt but one problem - he is super sloooooooooooooow: one word BBM conversations, constant text messaging that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, goes missing for a few days then reappears as keen as ever. I have come to the conclusion that these guys that feature so heavily in the stories I hear on a daily basis are not playing some twisted game of hard to get - they are just lazy! Put it down to the statistics (or the heavily publicised myth) that in the US women heavily outnumber the amount of available men and there you go: you have a sought after guy with so many options he can just sit back and chill while the women fight it out. Some might say that perhaps we need to go back and watch the film 'He's Just Not That Into You' but I think this might just explain why the women I see over here throw two fingers up to the rule book: if they see something they like, they go get it because it sure isn't going to chase them! Just today, I saw a guy get on the subway carriage, he was looking at a girl in a way that I assumed he was attracted to her but he didn't say one word, just stared. She was looking at him too, so she SUMMONED him over, started talking to him, laughing and joking (it was so sweet!) then SHE took his number while he walked off smiling like he just scored a touchdown. How times have changed and I'm not necessarily knocking it. Some of you are probably shouting at the computer screen saying 'well it's the 21st century, who says a woman can't do that, why are you so shocked, women can be powerful and in control, so what?' Others might be questioning this idea of power; if a man can now sit back while the woman makes all the moves, then in actuality who is the one in control? Either way, I've found it interesting seeing the differences in attitudes...not entirely sure that I'm up for this new game though, let's hope for beginners luck eh?

Friday, 22 October 2010

I Just Wanna Be...Successful

This post was inspired by a tweet by the very talented UK Hip Hop artist 'AKS' (he is also a fellow blogger over at NothingMoreNothingLess).

"Whilst watchin da MOBOs I was filled wid emotion @ da realisation dat my aspirations no longer include receiving accolades in such fashion...the appeal of chasing the glitz and glamour of industry and its approval has worn off."

Some might say that he just sabotaged himself in that one day he might actually want a MOBO or a BRIT or some other institutional prize, but I take his tweets to mean that while they may be flattering and deserved, they are no longer his sole pursuit. This, along with what I have seen, read and heard over the last couple of weeks, made me think about what it means to be 'successful' and what do people have in mind when they are pursuing 'success'.

Over the years, my interpretation has changed numerous times; as a teen success to me meant working for a great company, later on as my ambitions and mind expanded, success meant being self-employed and achieving my ambition which extended to travel and other experiences. While this still is true, I have realised that success comes in a variety of forms, it's not all about work and external motivations; I want to be successful as a mother, wife, sister, friend and as a person - someone who is honest, has integrity and is selfless. In all honesty, I am still learning what being successful in each of the above categories entails but the point is that the typical images of success such as career achievement, fame, money, who you know, respect from others, awards and recognition can actually cloud our vision in the other areas of our lives where focus and attention is needed.

But with the media having such a large impact, we are faced with these typical images of success all the time, from music videos, reality television, magazines and even at award ceremonies. Just the other day while watching a 'reality' show and listening to the characters get into a hissy fit over the most trivial 'he said-she said' issue, I said to myself "Really?! Honey you have way too much time on your hands". Despite the money, the fame, the 'success' I found myself rolling my eyes - this is definitely not the "success and all its trappings" that I aspire to. Now I am nobody to turn my nose up at someone else and their lifestyle but like AKS, I think that it's time that ambitions are re-evaluated and people question what success means to them and more importantly why they want to be successful - to help others, self fulfilment, status? I know what my answer is. What's yours?


Friday, 1 October 2010

The Pursuit of the Opposite Sex

Yes yes yes, it's been a while since my last post so I bet all of you got tired of checking back to see if I had written something new, or maybe you were not even that bothered (Kanye shrug). Either way after the stressful season of coming to the end of my masters, dissertation deadline and planning and packing for my 3 month NY/US break, I am now finally settled and ready to pay FantasyRide some much needed attention!

Something that has been on my mind ever since I landed here in NY is the heavy focus on being a two-some, one half of a couple, no longer a solo act. Yes there are glossy mags in the UK talking about the latest hook ups and power couples but over here it seems that it is emphasized even more. From TV shows such as 'The Bachelor' and E! News constantly reporting on the plight of 'poor old Jennifer Aniston' having nobody to cuddle up with at night to attending an event and seeing the embarrassing looks on the faces of those who had the audacity to turn up without a plus 1; being single is a disease pure and simple, one that most people are trying to avoid. Even Twitter-land co-signs this belief; a tweet saying that any woman who says that she is happy being single is talking 'bull****' received so many retweets from men I was like 'Really?' (Wendy William's voice) 'Really? Do y'all think you're oxygen, that women can't breathe without you? Do you think that all women are desperate for a man to define their happiness?' Now I am not denying the warm, fuzzy feelings that being in a relationship can bring and I do believe that love with another person is an amazing blessing, but does that make it superior to being single?

This interest of mine has been heightened by a book my sister Steph gave me to read on my travels (clap for yourself, you get a shout out-that doesn't happen very often on here). It's called 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' and is by a young man called Joshua Harris. Now before you get your knickers in a twist and commence the bra burning, it isn't a female-empowerment-feminist-self-help kind of book but in it Harris describes how the traditional rules and rituals of dating can actually lead us down a path of unnecessary emotional turmoil and regret and instead proposes alternative methods. What actually stood out to me the most in the book is how Harris describes being single; not as a curse and a realm to leave as soon as possible but instead a moment in your life that you should be thankful for and utilise to the fullest. He has a point; singledom is a time where you have no attachments, no strings, no stresses diverting your attention from your other priorities in life whether that be your relationship with God, career goals and even your friendships with others. You can take the time to travel and see the world, develop important skills, focus on your business plan minus the distractions or concentrate on your growth as a person so that you are complete in yourself without feeling that someone else is going to complete you. Now it could be argued that you can still do all of this while still being in a relationship; what's the point of having all of these amazing experiences if you don't have anyone to share them with? But can you honestly say that you are paying all of the activities listed above their full attention without compromising a little? Compromising your standards just to be able to double date, compromising your career goals just because you can't bear to be away from your other half for too long, compromising your friendships and other personal relationships because you have limited time to share with them because your focus is all on one person. I'm not flipping the script here and promoting the idea that being single is now superior to being in a relationship -there are benefits of both - I'm just saying that being single isn't a situation that should be handled with rubber gloves and an anti-infection mask!
In perfect harmony with my thoughts over the last few weeks, friend and gorgeous fellow Bloggers Delight member Amber aka Phresh Mentality has written a poem titled 'Single' which you can hear her recite over at MTV's The Wrap Up. Made me smile and I'm sure you will too!

What are your thoughts? Did Phresh Mentality hit a nerve, if you're afraid to be alone does that make you insecure, why is there a large focus on being in a relationship, what's wrong with being single, when a girl says that she's happy being single is she really just lying to herself?


Monday, 5 July 2010

"I'm Attracted to His Personality"...yeah right!

One of my favourite programmes Dating in the Dark is back for a second series on Living TV. If you've never seen it, basically it's a 'social experiment' where strangers take part in a series of dating activities with members of the opposite sex - but all in the dark. At the end of these tasks, they have the option to pick someone to see in the light - cue hilarious facial expressions and intakes of breath when they find out that the person they have been canoodling with in the dark room is the spitting image of Sideshow Bob...or if you're lucky, David Beckham (dreamy exhale!). Finally, contestants then have to decide if they want to be reunited with the person and ride off into the sunset hand in hand...also known as a ride in the back of black cab to the nearest Wetherspoons. Here is a clip of Ellie deciding between the charming Ryan and the arrogant, cocky, thinks-he's-God's-Gift Eddie...should be an easy choice shouldn't it?

So despite having a great personality and really connecting with Ryan, Ellie picks Eddie even though she even stated herself that he wasn't exactly a nice guy. When speaking to my girls, this is a common topic of conversation - females going after bad boys, nice guys finishing last, not having that so called 'spark'. Yet we complain that the guys we choose end up being the biggest idiots on planet Earth. Yes, I would say that it's all about finding a balance of personality and someone that you're attracted to, but that plan doesn't always work out. Can you be with someone you are not physically attracted to but give it a go because you really connect? Does physical attraction have to play a central role or can it work if you're simply attracted to their personality? Does it make you shallow if you turn someone away because you don't like the way they look? Can you become attracted to someone you didn't previously find attractive - can you learn to love that pot belly, bald patch and the one-eye-bigger than the other?

When talking to mother dearest about her younger days and how she fell for my Dad, she always says she was attracted to his personality, how he gave the impression that he was ambitious, a hard worker and most importantly for her, would do absolutely anything to see his children happy. Was she physically attracted to him, yes I guess so but according to her there were a lot of handsome men vying for her attention (my mum is a gorgeous saucy minx by the way) but she chose my Dad for the qualities previously mentioned. I have adopted that same attitude, like mother like daughter (including the gorgeous saucy minx part!) but if I'm honest attraction still plays a large part in whether I give someone a go or not. Is it because we're living in different times where the emphasis on physicality is a lot more prominent in society? Maybe for my mother, coming from a small village in Ghana, West Africa where there were not a great deal of opportunities available, she was attracted to someone who would be a good partner in providing her future children with the needed support to be successful in life; her priorities were different. Maybe it's because nowadays in the culture we live in there are a lot more options; everything is disposable, everything can be upgraded - including your partner. I guess there are a lot of reasons but it does make me think that our preoccupation with the physical means that we are actually missing out on an awful lot. Maybe our modern society and culture is not the best recipe for a Happily Ever After after all.

What are your thoughts; have you ever dated someone you are not attracted to and more interestingly, have you grown to find them attractive as time went on?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Fashion's Inspiration

I know, I know, it's a bit late for a Sex and the City inspired post but this has got a little bit of a twist to it. So reading the reviews, Twitter and numerous blog posts and comments, I guess it is safe to say that quite a few people were not too keen on the scene where the Muslim women took off their burkas to reveal pieces from this years Fall collection!! While the intended message was probably along the lines of "fashion is global and touches women worldwide", it could be seen as condescending - "look at us Muslim women, we're just like you westerners underneath our burkas, we look up to you, you inspire us, yay Louis Vuitton!" However, that's not exactly the real story now is it. If you remember The Devil Wears Prada and Miranda Priestly's fantastic monologue when Andy commented on the two belts looking exactly the same: it's not blue, it's cerulean, fashion isn't just 'stuff', it inspires but most importantly of all, it is inspired. My point here is that London, New York, Paris and the designs on fashion catwalks worldwide take inspiration from the rest of the world. Case in point; Marc by Marc Jacobs' 'tribal' inspired jumpsuit:

Now all you Africans raise your hands if you remember your mother wearing a 'tribal' wrapper around the house, baby on her back optional (Michelle raises hand). Oh and who could forget, in 2007 the infamous 'Ghana Must Go' bags made their way onto the catwalk at a Louis Vuitton show.
So yes, fashion inspiration comes from all over the world but if countries in places like Africa and Asia can breed so much inspiration, why aren't their fashion industries internationally known and recognised? Lack of networks, resources, a number of reasons, some obvious, some implicit, some too deep and political to go into here but there are many people and organisations working to change the tide and invest in its development.

One of them is Nigerian UK based stylist and fashonista Arieta Mujay who is launching Fashion Camp, a week of fashion seminars for fashion savvy teenagers teenagers aged 13-18. The first of its kind in Lagos, Nigeria, FC aims to help teenagers with an interest in fashion learn and understand the ins and the outs of the industry. With the help of Biki John, another UK based Nigerian stylist and fashion writer, the week long fashion seminars will include classes on photography, styling, the art of design, fashion PR, blogging as well as visuals and graphics. Through this, FC hopes to paint a precise picture that shows how both African and contemporary fashion have evolved and what lies ahead for the future. In collaboration with Deola Sagoe, FC hopes to be the first of its kind and the beginning of a partnership that will benefit the next creative generation in Nigeria.

Fashion Camp is due to take place 2nd - 8th of August. For more information, you can contact

Sounds like a great initiative, Good Luck!


Friday, 21 May 2010

Miley Cyrus and Lucky Number 17!

So not long ago, teen sensation Miley Cyrus revealed her new video and 'new direction' for Can't Be Tamed. She certainly shouted as loud as she could that she is trying to distance herself from the sugar-pop-sweet-as-pie-Hannah-Montana-persona that she is so famous for.

At age 17 it could be argued that yes she's growing up, experimenting, it's what artists do. This is the trend - Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson - you hit lucky number 17, (18 or 19 depending on your record company but not too old now, 20 is pushing it) and its time to get naked...because of course that's what growing up means, getting naked and dancing erotically; the interview-friendly response is 'exploring my femininity/sexuality and all that jazz.

When did this become the norm and why does it have to be this way? I do sympathise with pop stars in that they are often pulled in a million directions by management and record labels in pursuit of millions, plus they have the burden of being placed in a box, one that sells but is not necessarily their true identity and what they stand for. Yes, Miley is growing up and having the Hannah Montana label is one she has grown out of, however the question is since Hannah Montana gave Miley a legion of fans that were core to her success in the first place, does she still have the responsibility to them in that her songs and image remain 'appropriate'? Ok, some could argue that the 7 or 8 year olds that watched Hannah Montana have grown up with her so its not that bad, however Hannah Montana first aired in 2006 so these 7-8 year olds are still only 11 and 12 years old.

There is the constant debate of the media and other influences in society sexualizing our children but I'm trying to figure out where does the responsibility lie - is it with the artist, the key players in the entertainment industry who push these sexual ideologies or is it with the parents who should control what their children watch, read and listen to? This is not coming from an old prude here, very much the opposite but I sometimes worry about my younger siblings and my future children and whether I'll be able to even allow them to switch on the television at all! Ah, reminiscing about when I was younger....I guess now Steps and S Club 7 don't seem so bad after all.


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