Tag Archives: Respect

Silence Still Equals Death

We tend to become emotionally involved when something is personal. The loss of friends and loved ones to HIV/AIDS over the course of thirty years produced a perpetual cycle of loss, pain and goodbyes.  It was the start of my emotional involvement and decision to speak up and do something.

I can’t address the scientific similarities between HIV and COVID-19, but I do know that both had and continue to have a devastating impact on the Black community in this country.

Black people represent 12% of the U.S. population, but account for a much larger share of HIV diagnoses (43%), people estimated to be living with HIV disease (42%), and deaths among people with HIV (44%) than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.  Similarly, Black people in the U.S. are infected with COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of White Americans.

Poverty, the lack of access to health care, the lack of awareness and stigma all contribute to the devastation brought on by both diseases.

The bigger culprits are ignorance, indifference, and silence.  Far too many of us are guilty.  The production of COVID-19 vaccines provides optimism and hope. But in this moment, we need more than hope.  We can no longer be silent.  We have to speak up, friends. We have to do something to help each other combat the devastation.  We have an opportunity to increase COVID-19 and HIV education, testing, community involvement and treatment in communities of color – simply put, Silence = Death.


“Ghetto Uber” or When S%*t Works Out

I had meetings in Los Angeles last week and flew into LAX.

I didn’t make arrangements to be picked up like I normally do, assuming that I’d order a ride from Uber when I landed.  I was surprised and disappointed to discover that Uber cannot pick up passengers at LAX.

So, I did the next best thing – stood in line for a cab. 

As I stood waiting a young brother approached me and asked if I needed a ride.  He was neatly dressed in a black suit with a white shirt, armed with an Ipad and had an outwardly friendly disposition. 

I told him yes, I did need a car and gave him my destination. He plugged the address into his Ipad and quoted me a fair based on the 20 mile trip. 

“All Love and Respect will get you there right away Sir, and much cheaper than a cab.”

Meanwhile the arrival area at Terminal 7 was absent of cabs and I was the sixth person waiting in an ever growing line. 

I thought to myself, why not give the young brother a try? 

I agreed to his terms.  He grabbed my suitcase, explained that a client’s flight was an hour and a half delayed, led the way to his car and off we went. 

His Lincoln Town Car was immaculate and the complimentary bottle of water was a nice touch.  The a/c was on full blast and the dulcet tones of Anita Baker provided the soundtrack for our ride. I spent the 1/2 hour car ride on my cell and ended my last call just as we pulled up to my destination. I thanked Taylor for getting me there so quickly. 

I am not in the habit of getting into unmarked cabs and I am certainly not the trusting type.  This experience proved that you can never judge a book by its cover.  It wasn’t Uber but it produced the same results.  A young Black Entrepreneur focused on giving superior service. The right time.  The right place. A chance encounter.

“Ghetto Uber” that demonstrated “all love and respect”…or a perfect scenario when “it” worked out?



Bringing Up The Rear

I heard the muted giggles and snickering before the object of the public ridicule caught my attention.

Call me ‘old fashioned,’ “not hip” and, perhaps, “out of touch,” but there is something very wrong and not cute about inappropriate clothing behavior…especially among Black people.

Some might raise the bar and suggest that it is unacceptable, (or acceptable?) regardless of race.

That is neither my argument or the point I am making.

As Black people, we have a shared responsibility to lift one another up and encourage each other to always put the best foot forward or at least make the effort.

What one wears in the comfort of their home is an entirely separate matter.

Once outside, parts of the anatomy that are typically covered need to stay that way.

If you have a 36″ waist, those 32″ jeans are no longer appropriate because, simply put, they don’t fit.

While low hanging jeans project a fashion forward image when worn by an artist or a pro-“baller,” if you are neither, pull your pants up and put a belt on it.

First impressions count.

They matter.

This I know is to be true…especially as we all struggle for equality and the right to be treated with respect and dignity.

The next time you see someone that you love, care about and/or have a vested interest in – all young people – pay it forward.

Tell them the difference between self-expression and self-respect.

Tell them to put a belt on it, to cover up and tell them that you are doing it because you love them.