DopeReads Bible Challenge

My religion is squishy.

I grew up watching my grandfather, a Baptist minister, whoop in the pulpit.

I went to Sunday School every week at my grandmother’s Presbyterian church.

I attended masjid with my mother and fasted during Ramadan when she was a practicing Muslim.

I sang Gregorian chants in the choir at my Catholic all girls high school.

As you can see, my life has been influenced by many different religions and perspectives. However, I want to understand the tradition that I’ve known longest a little bit better, to get a better sense of what it means, if I can.

I want to read the Bible. Cover-to-Cover. In 90 days.

Now, that’s not some insurmountable feat. But who really reads the Bible? Like, outside of theology students and grandmas, who? I figure, for as much spiritualizing as I do, for as Christian as I claim to be, I should read the Good Book and see if I’m really as Jesus-like as I think. And it’d be interesting to see where all the people I think are crazy conservatives are getting their ammo.

So, if you’re down to read it to, I’ll be leading a discussion every Wednesday at 8:00 PM EST on Twitter, beginning 7/18/2012. Follow @dopereads and use the hashtag #DBC (DopeReadsBibleChallenge). My college homie will also be weighing in from time to time to hopefully offer some insight from a theological perspective.  If you need a tool to help you tick off the amount you’ve read, you can use this, and I’ll be using the English Standard Version of the Bible.

What do you think? Have you ever read a holy book (Bible, Quran, Torah, sutras) all the way through? What did you learn? Will my brain melt?


Audio Book Review: The Kite Runner

If you have not read “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, you need to do it ASAP. Peep the discussion below as Devon and I talk about how power this book was, and how much we learned about Afghanistan and its history from a fictitious novel. Change your life.


DIAGRAM: Black Twitter Line Chart

*Note: There are many different Black Twitter universes, but this diagram focuses on the general Black Twitter population

Every morning, before I brush my teeth, after I open my eyes, I roll over and turn on my iPhone. The first order of business: check my Timeline.

Twitter is an addiction.

And without fail, I come across the same four things in my feed:

  1. Slander/Diatribes/Rants
  2. Intellectual Discourse
  3. Horoscopes
  4. Twitter AfterDark

That’s it. With these four powers combined, Twitter becomes the Captain Planet of the social networking platforms. And being that I am a resident of Black Twitter I find that my TL is a treasure that you don’t understand unless you live and read it on a regular basis. How brilliant is the #RandBQuestions trending topic? Where else can you go to get news, gossip, and hair advice, AT THE SAME DAMN TIME?! To illustrate this awesomeness, I have created a diagram. Behold, the Black Twitter Line Chart:

Looking at the chart, you’ll notice a few interesting patterns:

1. Horoscopes signal a shift change – When Twitterscopes start showing up in your TimeLine at 6 am, that’s when you know the night is done and the day has begun. It’s like the witching hour for Twitter. The Twitching hour, lol. People’s accounts are momentarily hacked by horoscope zombies that give terrible advice on your love life, and those annoying little nuggets of made-up life predictions mark a time when the people who have to be up in the morning for work rise and shine, and also represents when the creeps, strippers and celebrities who have been up all night living the good life go to bed.

2. Intellectual Discourse is highest from 9 am to 5 pm  – A coincidence? I think not. It’s because the people who are likely to have political discussions (college educated, job-having folks) are sitting at work toggling between spreadsheets and Twitter arguing the merits of the Affordable Care Act and whole grain pasta. Also, stop trying to minimize your screen every time someone walks by, your boss totally saw your Twitter handle. Get over it.

3. Slander, Diatribes and Rants are the life force of Black Twitter – Everyday someone’s wig gets snatched.  *hums Dave Matthews Band* Are you a woman who requires a man to take you on $200 dates? Someone is coming for your edges. Are you a grown man that allows his du-rag cape fly in public? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Think you can sing better than Beyonce? Don’t get stung by the beehive. It’s also important to note that SlandeRants and Intellectual Discourse often overlap, so it is perfectly normal to have someone go in on Mitt Romney’s baffling lack of connection with real people or his political flip-flopping by using a Lafayette gif. Getting (emotionally) cut to the white meat on Twitter is not game, so tweet with caution.

4. Twitter AfterDark skyrockets after 9 pm – No shit, Sherlock.  #LonelyTweets and #Thirst start bubbling to the surface because Marcus comes home from his 9-5 and only has Moscato and left over pizza to comfort him. So he starts TwitPic’ing his abs and putting them in miscellaneous DM’s, hoping to catch a Twitter boo. The Thirst is at an all time high during this point in the evening, particularly during cuffing season. Don’t get lost in the sauce.

Anyway, let me me know what you think. Am I way off? Am I on point? What do the alternate Twitterverses look like, does anyone know?


*Disclaimer: this is not based on real science.

True Independence

By now everyone knows, or think they know, about singer/songwriter Frank Ocean’s sexuality. He recently released an achingly beautiful letter (dated 12/27/11) about first love and heartbreak via Tumblr – and it appears that the first love he encountered was with a man. Besides being poignant and incredibly written, this letter shows Frank to be honest in a way that many of us are not.

On Twitter (my timeline, at least) people are lauding the move, and wondering how”hip-hop” will respond – will his OFWGFTA teammates play nice? Will old-heads disown him? Will people still support him? How will this impact sales of his new album?

All that really doesn’t matter. When you operate authentically things have a way of working themselves out. Frank’s courageousness in letting us see his true self, his vulnerability in this era of pretending not to give a f*ck, is the embodiment of Independence Day. If the letter is real, he is the one who is truly free. His light can shine absent the shame of hiding who he is. That is real bravery, true independence.

Happy 4th of July!


Audio Review: Salvage The Bones

Shoutout to everyone in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area who are still living that lights-free life after the storm. This week’s book, a National Book Award winner by Jesmyn Ward, deals with the life of a teenage girl (Esch Batiste), who finds herself pregnant in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Check out the review below.

Devon made a really good point after the tape stopped rolling: the storms in DC made us both realize how we take basic services for granted. When we flip a light switch, we expect, no, demand, that the electricity works, but for many people across the world and even in rural parts of this country, electricity, clean water and safety are not guaranteed. Definitely a wake up call. You can buy Salvage the Bones here.