Tour Guide Pride (My Piece For A Yahoo Contributor’s Assignment)

Yesterday had to be the worst day to be put on tour duty. As a tour guide at the University of Maryland, College Park, making the guest experience as comfortable as possible was a challenge in 100 degree weather. I was assigned a group of about twenty. All of them looked exhausted before we even left the visitor’s center. I threw on my shades and my smile in order to get this show on the road. The tour was 75-minutes long and consisted of a 1.3 mile walk. Sounds fun, right? I gave my introduction and we were on our way around the campus. About two minutes later, I could already feel the sweat falling down my back. It felt disgusting. Before we even made it to the first stop, my water was already half gone. The intensity of the heat caused my breath to shorten, making it harder for me to talk about the key points. The stop at our academic mall was the one that I dreaded the most. That was the point where there was no shade to be found and the sun was it its highest point in the sky. I could have just melted right there, but I had to keep moving. As we continued to walk I could hear the complaints of the visitors with each step we took. Some were parched, some were sweaty and some were both. I was part of that group. When we reached out mascot, whose statue is made of copper, I could have just about burned myself when I touched his nose (it’s for good luck). When we made it to the air-conditioned point of the tour, we all felt relief. But, we had to make our way back into the heat. By the time we made it to the near end, I could barely speak loudly. The heat knocked the wind out of me. Not to mention that my clothes were drenched in my own sweat. I felt so much relief when I made it back to the visitor’s center. I could have kissed the floor because I was so thankful to be out of that heat. But unfortunately, I have to do it all over again today.

No Regrets

Adaptation. Adapting to change can go one way or the other. Whether it is wanted or is not, change is guaranteed to find us all. My particular change came when I began my freshman year of college. I walked on to University of Maryland’s campus with the notion that I would leave being the same Taylor that I was the day before. Boy, was I wrong. Upon arrival to campus, change was already beginning and I was not aware at the least. Just transitioning from one place to another was an automatic alteration. I was coming from a predominately African-American high school in Maryland to a predominately Caucasian college campus. Did that bother me? No, not at all. I was excited about learning about those who did not look like me. I remember being told once that an HBCU should not be the way to go for me because “the world is not made up of just black people.” I took that statement into consideration, and used it to motivate me to mix with other ethnicities on campus. While I did that, I also remained close with some of the friends that I had previously in high school. Since we all were already good friends since our high school days, we made it a point to remain close to each other throughout college as well. We wanted our bond to remain.

            The first phase of change came through in my studies. I was an all-around honor student during my high school years, but once I made it college a different story was written. Upon arriving, I was so overwhelmed with various forms of involvement with different clubs and organizations. I told myself that I have to do this and that so that my resume would be nice and full. Yet, I had not taken into consideration that I was a student before anything else. Along with trying to be the president of every club, I was also trying to become a social butterfly. In high school I wasn’t all that “cool” or “popular,” so I wanted to start fresh. That meant social club meetings and parties just about half of every week.  Looking back, those things most certainly were not the responsible things to do. Also, due to my interest in things that were not of major importance, I began to neglect going to class and putting my all into my school work. At the end of my first semester, I went from being a 3.5 average student to a 2.0 average student. At that point, I hit rock bottom.

            The second phase of change came through relationships. As I mentioned earlier, I had come to college with a few good friends of mine from high school. In the beginning, everything was good. We still had our fun times and our great memories. And without fail, change was once again upon me. I noticed a negative change in my friend and I did not want any part of it. My boyfriend had always warned me to watch my back, but I did not want to listen. I wanted to give this person the benefit of the doubt because we had been friends for so long. One day, my rude awakening came. I was betrayed beyond belief. So much that I am still kind of hurt just thinking about it. People who I did not even know were against me and I had no idea why. However, when people go to new places, they meet new people and gain new outlooks. So, that is how I look upon this particular situation. This particular event in my life made me build up an unnecessary wall. A wall that would reluctantly let others into my life because I had lost all in trust in just about everyone. This situation also caused me to become tougher. I would no longer allow others to get over on me; no matter how long we knew each other in the past.


            The final phase of change came through moving on.  As the year ended, I took it upon myself to reflect on all of the mistakes that I made. There were several things that I really needed to work on, from my priorities to my relationships. I can honestly say that my freshman year of college will mold me to be the better person that I am striving to be. I lost focus of myself along the way and I will never allow that to happen again. The negative change that occurred in the beginning stages of my college career were changes that I felt I could do without, but now looking back I see that those changes were needed in order for me to move forward toward my promising future. I gradually accepted those changes and I have no regrets. 

The Harsh “Reality”

The quality of reality television has quickly become a concern with viewers. Vh-1 sponsored reality shows are filled with drama and chaos for all audiences to see. The portrayal of the lives of the cast members get many to believe that their storylines profile that way that life really is. From men openly disrespecting their girlfriends to women bullying each other, reality television shows a “reality” that does not coincide with the powers that be. 

“Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta” is the current reality sensation that has everyone watching, including men. On this show, it displays a man openly balancing his long-time girlfriend and his “artist” that he has an emotional connection with as well. Along with such a complicated predicament, the girlfriend has continued to cling to this man while he disregards her needs and continues to remain interested in this other woman. This does not promote to young women that strength is of importance. Several women rely on their male counterparts to provide for them and to love them. Unfortunately, some men do feel that they can play both sides— to have their family and to have their fun. What happened to empowerment? What happened to self-respect? What happened to dignity?

“Basketball Wives” is another reality show that has black women tuning in every week. This show surrounds 8 women and their daily lives. One would think that such a show would display sisterhood and uplifting, but that is very wrong. This show has been filled with negativity since the pilot season. Bottles, punches and drinks have been thrown. Women have been taunted, bullied and constantly disrespected. This show displays continuous messages that make it seem as though it is okay to not be loyal to your friends, to taunt a person who may not be as tough as you and to resort to violence to get your point across. 

Although these shows have solely been created for entertainment, some view these shows a guide to the lifestyle that they want to live. Some of the actions displayed on these shows can be tactics that one person may use against another. Of course, it has been said that parents should monitor what their children watch, but should these type of shows even be displayed for millions to see? Shows like these display both men and women in a negative light. No matter the race or ethnicity. Shows such as “Mob Wives” and the “Real Housewives” series on Bravo, display the same content with just a different cast. Can this be stopped or will it continue to grow to be an unstoppable phenomenon? 

Anthony Mackie Covers Uptown Mag

32-year-old Anthony Mackie is Hollywood’s newest IT guy. You may remember him as Tupac in ‘Notorious.’ Mackie was also seen ‘The Adjustment Bureau.’ This New Orleans native has an incredible swag that Uptown Mag could not resist.

Check out some previews of the spread below and pick up your copy today!

And The Petitons Continue: Love & Hip-Hop ATL

Once again, the petitions have continued. Previously, television viewers have been disgusted with the story lines and actions involving “reality” television programs such as “Basketball Wives.” Now, the new victim is “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta.” Although only one episode has been aired so far, 3.6 million viewers now want the show off of the air.

An online petition and boycott against the show has been started. Here is the statement to accompany it:

"After we made a ruckus about Basketball Wives, sponsors began to pull ads. Well, it’s that time again, folks!

While we should respect the perceptions and experiences of the men and women featured on “reality” television shows, networks are airing stories that could be very helpful for people to hear, but they’re telling these stories in EXTREMELY dangerous ways.

We all know premium digital crack rock is ‘slanged’ in digital hoods other than VH1. We also know the problem is not just TV–it’s a big, mean, social monster that we’ve gotta shoot down one non-violent bullet at a time. Nevertheless, somebody’s gotta be the face of this lovely movement. And since VH1 has chosen to give us yet another beautifully-blinged jewel of commercial exploitation (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta), they might as well be the face of change. By the way, shout out to all African Americans who received Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta as their Juneteenth gift! You won and lost at the same time!

As we work toward national- and local-level change, let’s tell VH1 and their sponsors (again) why people from a broad range of backgrounds will NOT stand for the exploitation of the lived experiences of people who may not even know they’re being exploited. This isn’t a “Black or White” thing, this is a HUMAN thing…and we should all understand.

P.S. That “turn of the TV/your kids’ TV if you don’t want to watch” argument doesn’t work here, VH1. A good number of the kids who are most at risk don’t have the luxury of living with parents who can just “turn off the TV”. Why? Because their parents are out working multiple jobs (thanks to this lovely thing called poverty); one or both parents are on drugs, dead, or in jail; or they’re raised by ill grandparents, relatives who aren’t that interested in their future, or foster parents who abuse them and only foster to collect a check.”

Is this a reasonable argument or just plain “hateration”?

The Heat Win the ‘Ship!

Congrats to the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA Championship! Their triumph against OKC lead them to a 121-106 victory.

And LeBron James finally earned his FIRST ring! (hint: no more jokes!)

Check out Pusha T’s new song ‘Lambo’!

Jay-Z And Rihanna to Perform in London!

This summer, catch Jay-Z and Rihanna together as the perform during the London Festival 2012 to kickoff the Olympics!

Get More: Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

If you thought the premiere was full of drama, next week’s episode has more juice for you!

Here’s a sneak peek

D’Angelo is BACK!

For all the neo-soul lovers out there, D’Angelo is back!  After a 12 year hiatus, the singer will be making his first televised appearance on the BET Awards which will be airing July first. The awards have been known for great surprises, including the return of Maxwell a few years prior. Make sure you tune in!

GQ D'angelo