Friday, October 30, 2015

20th Anniversary of the Million Man March

During the first million-man march I was only a child, but I grew up hearing about the historic event. I promised myself that I would attend the march if I ever had the chance. Well on October 10th of this year, I got that chance! It was a blessing to be raised in a community of strong men. My father, uncles, and grandfather all provided me with positive role models. As the day grew closer my excitement grew about the potential of having a million men with similar feelings of community responsibility. 

This memorable day began rather hectic. Per usual, I was late even when I attempted to be early. I sped the entire way to the bus station blasting gospel songs hoping to flood the atmosphere with Jesus vibes to ward off potential tickets. I arrived just as the bus driver was preparing to close his door. I remember sweating from all the excitement as I sat in my seat. Once I sat down, gathered myself and looked around, a calm came over me that lasted the entire day. As I rushed off the bus and attempted to navigate the DC subway system, I was at a stand still with which way to go next. I looked up for help and my eyes were met by another man who shared the same gaze of confusion. A young man who favored this gentleman’s looks stood behind him consumed by his cell phone.  These two men joined me on this journey even though we did not share our names with one another. We greeted each other as brothers and began to navigate the subway.

The elderly man spoke of how he attended the first march 20 years ago and how excited he was to experience this nostalgia again with his son. I saw the pride in his eyes as he mentioned the first march he attended, telling his son how amazing the atmosphere was back then. He went on to say how monumental today would be and the enormous amount of men who will be in attendance today in Washington DC. We arrived to the march within moments of the keynote speaker taking the podium. Did I want to hear this speech? Absolutely, but I really wanted to see the beautiful faces of those who supported the cause.
As I walked around I was greeted in peace and love, called King and Brother by strangers. I saw my people in every shade and age ranging from the elderly being escorted through the crowd to babies on their mother’s hip. I saw white people with their children, Native Americans in their traditional clothing, same sex couples holding hands, and interracial couples embracing each other all the while listening to the keynote speaker. What I saw and felt on this day was love. I have never felt that much love from strangers. It was so overwhelming; I had to have a seat to reflect on what I was experiencing.  This was about the right for every American to pursue happiness! 

I sat there overlooking the masses of people thinking about the past, present and future. I thought about the beauty of this moment. I envisioned what it would be like to share this moment with my future wife and children and suddenly tears began to rapidly fall from my eyes. I couldn’t control these feelings and I didn’t want to. I began this day intending to fully embrace the moment and every emotion that came with it. An older man sat down beside me and put his arm over my shoulder. We did not speak to each other, just sat in silence embracing this powerful moment. Thoughts were flooding my mind, why couldn't it always be this way? Why cant people of all colors come together in peace and love outside of an organized event? Why couldn't this love be felt every day all over the world? I thought about the dreams the enslaved had for their children of freedom and the many marches and protests their children endured for us to have equal rights.

 I thought about the present, about my life as a black man. My future and if my children will still need to march for equality regardless of ethnicity, gender and who they love. While the elderly man stood up, hugged me and continued on his journey, I wondered if we shared the same images in our minds as we looked around the crowd. I wondered if he felt hope seeing how far we’ve come but still felt sorrow of where we need to go.

October 10th was my call to action. I will love more, forgive more, understand more and feel more. My purpose is to ensure we don’t need another march in 20 years. My duty is to help in any way possible to ensure every person has the same opportunities as the next regardless of what they look like and where they are from. Happiness and love is the ultimate goal here. The love felt on 10.10.15 should be felt every day. I’ve accepted my call to do my part, and will make that goal a reality.

Please see the 1568 visuals from Million Man March
20th Anniversary of the Million Man March


Monday, October 19, 2015

Let’s buy a suit- but FIRST, you need a tailor...

Let's buy a suit- but FIRST, you need a tailor….

There is no better feeling than getting out the shower listening to James Brown’s “The Payback” (if that’s not your wave, maybe “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake), thumbing through your closet, looking for the suit you’ll wear for the day. This is the reason why if I have to wear a suit to an event, you better expect me to be at least thirty minutes late. It is a FULL ON dance party while getting dressed. For those of you that are judging right now… don’t judge me on my vices (IF you can call it that) and I won’t judge yours. I’ve never stood in line for a different color of a sneaker that came out when I was middle school (No Shade). Like any person trying to get you addicted to something, I won’t attempt to jump you to my level of affection for wearing suits. Think of this as the “Gateway Drug” of Suit Addiction. So we’ll start with the very first thing you need to do before you worry yourself about fabrics, three buttons or two buttons , double or single breasted; finding a tailor.

A tailor is one of the most important people in your life! Why, you may ask? Because a good tailor will not only make you look good in a suit but they will also save you time and money! And if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that’s very near and dear to us! If you don’t have a tailor, you may not fully understand the duties or benefits of having one dedicated tailor. So allow me to educate. I buy suits like most men buy sneakers. I’ve never been into sneakers (but don’t test me, I have a collection that would still impress), suits have always been my thing. Like most children I looked forward to Easter, but only because I looked forward to getting that brand new suit. Of course the suits were Stacey Adams collection (think Kings of Comedy- baggy, loud colors), but I was happy none the less to be in a new suit. As an adult male, events where you’re required to wear a suit will sometimes pop right up on you. For example, I was recently invited to a black tie gala, and didn’t own a black suit (Black suits are like air force ones, if you have a pair cool- but it’s not like you really need them). So I had to run to my tailor and drop garments off to be tailored. Most tailors would require at least two weeks, which if I relied on the stores tailor, would’ve caused me to miss my event. But with my personal tailor knowing the way I like my suits cut, this allowed me to get garments altered within a day.

You may be thinking there’s no way you’ll ever need a suit in your line of work. Sure, you can wear a shirt and tie to that wedding, but you’re not a teenager anymore bud, that isn’t going to fly. Think of it this way, you know when your lady puts on that black dress how much you like it. She feels the same way when she sees you in a well-tailored suit. Your tailor is the person that can provide that look! Now here’s how you save money…

Idiots will tell you that you need to buy a name brand suit. If it’s not made by some fancy designer, then it isn’t a good suit. I call bullshit! No matter who a suit is made by, a (good)tailor can make it look like a designer suit on you! Don’t go wasting your money on a suit, thinking the more it cost, the better it will be. Whenever I have time to kill in a city, I normally stop into suit shops and browse their inventory. I’ve came across some great finds on clearance racks. Are these suits made by the who’s who of the industry?? Nope. But do I get the same reaction when I put them on?? YUP! Why?? Because I take these suits to the tailor so that I can get the cut that looks good on me.

So don’t spend too much thought into getting expensive suits, but focus on getting a great tailor. If you see a guy that wears suits often and you like the cut of his suits, ask him for his tailor’s contact. One of the cool things about the suit community is we don’t mind sharing our tailor’s information, which might not be the case in the sneaker head community. Once you have the contact information of the tailor, give him a call and set up a meeting. Going into this meeting, you need to bring your ideal look. Your ideal look should be a picture of what you want you suits to look like on you. But fellas PLEASE keep in mind, if you’re big and tall, don’t take a picture of Kevin Hart in a suit. Be honest with yourself and your tailor. Also discuss turnaround time and price.

Final word of advice, take your lady with you. Sure you’re having a suit tailored, which is a normally a man event, but as men we have to understand who it is we’re putting the garments on for. Not one time have I ever cared about what other men think of me in my suit. Men get dressed in suits for women because they are the only ones who care. And if you’re in a committed relationship, your lady’s is the only opinion you care about, but she cares about what the other women think of her plus one. So bring her along to save embarrassment later on at her friend’s wedding.
- @theNewCheap

Monday, October 5, 2015

The New "Lit"

You're getting old- it's time to face it!!
Listen folks, it's time we wake up and smell the coffee. We're getting old. Either you can bow out gracefully or end your career looking like Shaq in a Celtics jersey. We had a good run- a hall of fame worthy one, but it's time we retire. What are we retiring from? The idea that weekends should be spent “turning up” in bars and clubs. Listen, I’m no saint on this issue. I’ve been there and have two t-shirts to prove it! There was a time I would walk out of the office on Friday and become a different person. Gone was the quiet guy sitting at his desk listening to smooth jazz and here was hype man for the rapper Future, ready to spend the weekend messing up commas. Nowadays the turn up days are few and far between. While I’ve known this day would come, this summer was my first year of full retirement. All things considered, I probably had one of the greatest summers of my life. Sure I had a couple of bar nights in there but those weren’t the highlights. The highlights were baby gender reveal parties, laser tag birthday parties, and these two past weekends.
The past two weekends were spent with family and friends. One weekend was spent in my hometown for a family reunion and the other sitting around a house watching Disney movies with my friends and their two year old daughter. No craziness. Life is all about progression. You have to grow to a point where you realize what’s important. These days I realize watching Aladdin with a 2 year old who's never seen it is far more rewarding than being drunk in these city streets. With this growth, you will save money for what's important. Instead of buying a round of fireball shots, you can buy ingredients to make smores with the children in your life. That is a memory that they you will hold on to forever. Everything that happened this weekend was monumental and will be remembered forever. Trust and believe, I am not telling you to give up drinking on weekends! Because after that UGA and BAMA game, we ALL needed a drink (Go Dawgs!). But as you sip on that drink and look at your surroundings, can you really be upset? You’re amongst family and friends having a dance party to BeyoncĂ© and your wallet hasn't left your pocket all weekend. Some would call that lame or boring- the complete opposite of "lit" aka a good time. As you know, we at the new cheap like to change the meaning of words. With that said, my weekend of Disney movies, football, and takeout was "lit"!!  It's lit because you’ve grown to adulthood and realize it is good time spent with the people you love.   And I will never chastise your spending when it's TIME with people you love. So enjoy growing up!

- @TheNewCheap

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It’s time to buy an engagement ring…..


It’s time to buy an engagement ring…..


Fall is upon us- winter is right around the corner. Your Facebook timeline will be filled with engagement pictures with the same hashtags #isaidyes (vomit). It seems like we can’t enjoy a day of football and home cooked meals without pictures of holiday proposals. I wont knock your cliche hustle but if this sounds like something you are attempting to do… start shopping NOW. The biggest rackets in the world are the makeup and engagement ring industry. Of course the diamond folks at your local jewelry store know what time it is, so engagement rings will be marked up during the winter months. So if you’re looking to lock in with bae, start looking for that ring now (I only used “bae” because my little cousin told me it was cool, I apologize if it was used incorrectly). While this is no attempt to sway you over to my methods, I am providing the strategy I plan on using.

Fellas and Ladies who are looking to propose ( #lovewins), the number one thing you have to realize is, the ring isn’t about what you think. Sure you have to “pick”, but the opinion ultimately lies with your spouse’s friends and families. I suggest bringing these folks and getting them up to speed. There’s always that one friend your girlfriend has that you would still call your friend regardless of the common connection with your partner. You should call that person up and ask them to accompany you. Girls tell each other EVERYTHING, and I’m willing to bet my life that this person knows exactly what your partner wants. Next, you need to bring a family member of yours. Family involvement is essential to a union; why not include them in the ring selection process? Last, but not least (arguably, the most important), bring the BOUGIE friend. We all have that one friend, always asking what you’re wearing and if it isn’t designer they aren’t wearing it! This friend is most often single. Why do you invite her?? If this bougie person signs off, you have the blessings of the upper (middle) class. Now I know what you are thinking, this is a runaway train to a jewelry store. To avoid spending your life savings, go to the jewelry store alone first to have a discussion with the jeweler. Explain a few things, start off by telling them how much your lady means to you. Remember, you aren’t buying a car, it’s not about having a stare down over offer sheets. This is the love of your life, and if you’re buying an engagement ring, you’re planning on spending the rest of your life with her. By telling the jeweler how much you care about your partner, this lets them know that you and the team should be a priority. And you’d be amazed what jewelers do for true love….. The last thing you need to discuss is the price. When your team comes in, have all of your preselected rings put in front of them for their choosing. They are only going to pick out of the batch that you chose and can afford. Ask the jeweler to remove the prices so the bougie friend doesn’t use that as a measuring stick. This is done months in advance to the actual date that you want to propose!!!! So start now, outside of wedding season. You then talk with the jeweler about pricing, get the discounted price he’s offering you. Most stores get their Black Friday sales around October, so don’t be afraid to ask what they will be offering. THEN check online to see if this discount can be used elsewhere. Sure, you have a relationship with this jeweler at this point but you also have to keep in mind the cost of the wedding and the house. If you’ve read the blog and follow our suggestions, you have a ring fund saved up. Go into the store and purchase the ring with your rewards credit card. As soon as you get into your car, PAY THE RING OFF (and use the rewards dollars to start the wedding fund).


You’re welcome.