I saw the musical The Heights last week. I enjoyed it. I think people that enjoy musicals will enjoy it but it’s not the greatest musical ever. Hamilton was better and I can name five musicals off the top of my head that are better than The Heights. It’s not great. It’s OK yet entertaining.
The Heights takes place in a working class, Latin, immigrant community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The film focuses the hopes for the future and struggles of the characters. The actors are nice looking, there are movie romances that follow the arc many movie romances do, there are a few laughs and dancing in the streets. The film also addresses modern concerns such as gentrification and The Dreamers.
There was some controversy about the film. Many thought the cast was whitewashed and did not accurately reflect Washington Heights New York. When I saw the commercial for The Heights I questioned the casting too. I’ve never been to Washington Heights but I would guess there are a lot more visibly Black people in that community than what is portrayed in this film based on what I’ve seen of NYC. The film itself is more diverse than the commercials promoting it.
Here is a clip from my favorite part of the movie. The woman that describes herself as Chile Dominican Rican performs my favorite minute of the movie. She’s a hoot.
The movie has a Hollywood happy ending and is very pro American and patriotic from an immigrant’s perspective. It’s lighthearted if you approach it with a light heart. If you enjoy musicals I suggest you give it a try. It not in my top five musicals but The Heights was very popular on Broadway and it made Lin Manuel Miranda famous so it may become one of your favorites.
There is a labor shortage in America. This shortage is particularly prevalent in the service industry. Since businesses reopened from COVID lockdowns American workers have not rushed back to work in restaurants and retail establishments. I don’t care and I have no sympathy for the service sector.
I’ve had many service industry jobs. I know how they operate and why they are having problems. The service industry is racist, sexist, ageist and selfish. They see their team members as expendable unless they are young and White. A young, White person in an entry level job will be seen as someone who can be promoted and someone worth an investment from the company. Young, White, particularly male people are valued in the service sector. That’s who they want to have in front of customers and placed in leadership positions.
If you’re not young and White you are a grunt to the service sector. You are there to give lunch breaks, and give managers time off. You’re there to do work that managers don’t want to do when they don’t want to work. It doesn’t matter how long you work for an organization.
I’ve had jobs where a young Black man with tattoos and dreadlocks works in the stock room for years and is very knowledgeable about the store. The same can be said for middle aged women (often minorities) who perform well in a sales floor position for a matter of time yet are never invested in or promoted to higher paying, leadership positions if they apply. The service industry is rife with age discrimination and will find a reason to fire older workers. I suspect it has to do with health insurance payments.
Restaurants favor undocumented workers for back of the house positions. I assume they are able to hire and retain them for less. However, undocumented workers are often a transient population. Their roots are in a different country, not the US. They often move about the US from city to city. Undocumented workers can easily leave behind a job and burn bridges. It’s a lot easier for them to go elsewhere and even change their identity if needed. But that’s who the restaurant business preferred to hire. I bet many of them went home during the pandemic lock downs.
Most service industry jobs go by the mantra “We are going to do what’s best for the business” which translates to, to hell with you we are going to do what’s best for us. If you can’t meet our expectations we will find someone who will. If a retail or restaurant employee has to take time off from work their manager doesn’t make any effort to accommodate them. They will simply write them off the schedule and fill their hours with other team members or new applicants.
The service industry doesn’t hire most of it’s employees full time so they are able to hold hours over team members heads. Retail managers don’t make it known but employees are in a contest for hours. Employees that do things like open the most credit cards, sign up the most customers for the company loyalty program etc. are given more hours and therefore make more money.
A person can have a job at a department store and work thirty hours a week consistently over a period of time. If management hires someone new they can give the new person the hours simply because they fit the image that the company wants to project, i.e. young, White. This translates into the first employee losing money that they obviously need in order to make a living.
The working conditions of the service industry are terrible. Service industry jobs require working nights, weekends and holidays. Typically, a service industry employee will be on their feet several hours a day walking across concrete floors. They also have to deal with a lot of different people from managers, to co workers and customers. Dealing with so many different people is exhausting. To top it all off the wages are low. All of these conditions take a negative toll on a person over time.
The service industry has never been glamorous but thanks to social media we now see exactly what people think of service industry employees. I’ve seen on line discussion about how service industry jobs are kid jobs and people that work in them that are older than eighteen are just stupid. During the pandemic numerous videos circulated the internet of restaurant and retail workers being treated horribly by customers. Besides rudeness some service industry jobs like working at gas stations are some of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
The COVID lock downs were a blessing to many. It put the world on pause and gave people a moment to think. A pause or separation can be a great thing. It gives you time to reassess things. I believe service industry workers were use to their grind and went along with their lives with a degree of contentment. Once ties were severed with that industry they realized how nice it was to not have people in their face all the time and they had no desire to return to that environment.
The service industry has competition that it didn’t have in years past. People can start an on line business or place a service such as gardening or tutoring on Craigslist in order to make money. The service industry has failed to realize this and they failed to compete for talent. They took for granted that they would always have a plethora of applicants to burn through.
This is a case of having little to no respect or appreciation for the people that were willing to work with you. It’s fun to watch the service sector unable to cope without the people that treated as disposable. Besides that COVID took the lives of a lot of people in the service industry. Some of their former employees may have died or have lingering health problems from Coronavirus which makes them unable to return to work.
Big business has been threatening American workers for years with automation. I think now would be a great time for them to implement their robot workforce. That will be good for another laugh. I’m sure they’ll find that humans are easier and cheaper to work with even with wage increases. Good luck with all the software upgrades and system shut downs.
This is what happens when you are rigid, greedy and disrespectful towards people that helped build your business and industry. The labor shortage is being blamed on unemployment insurance by politicians. Even if that is true unemployment benefits shouldn’t pay more than a paycheck. The US workforce created this problem with it’s poor business practices.
I finished reading Outwitting the Devil by Napolean Hill this week. It’s not something I typically read but it was recommended to me so I gave it a chance. Outwitting the Devil kind of falls under the umbrella of self help which I don’t care for but the fictional narrative made the story enjoyable. It’s interesting and it offers a compelling perspective. The book is written from the perspective of Satan.
The book is about an interview with the devil himself. A man who goes by Mr. Earthbound, asks the devil about his tactics and strategies for deceiving mankind. To make a long story short, the Devil seeks to distract humanity by any means available. He uses our universal human weaknesses and learns our personal vulnerabilities.
Primarily he seeks to control the minds of human beings. He says that’s what we have complete control over and that’s what he wants to control. Everything else in the universe follows natural order. Human minds are the only things that can be manipulated.
Once a person’s mind is controlled by Satan it is called being in drift which is being distracted and filled with fear. He achieves further submission through hypnotic rhythm which means you an individual is stuck in a rut and has accepted their circumstances. The devil says there are only two kinds of people in the world, drifters and non drifters. The vast majority are drifters. That’s it in a nutshell.
Outwitting the Devil was written in 1938. It reminds me of the popular book and documentary The Secret from the early 2000s. I’m glad this book was recommended to me even though it borders on self help. The narrative was creative and made the book entertaining. I would recommend it.
The great thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice. The bad thing about social media is that it gives everyone a voice. White supremacists use social media to amplify their voices. They utilize current local news events in particular as anecdotal evidence to support their racist claims. Social media has become a PR tool for White supremacy.
I’m a news junkie and a social media fiend. I’ve observed that when Black people are accused a crime White supremacists flock to the comment section of the media outlet in order to point their finger and say see, I told ya. They particularly love to comment on crimes that Black people are accused of committing against White people.
The interesting thing about my observation is that there isn’t much sympathy for the White victim. The White victim is collateral damage. The focus is condemning all Black people for the crime of a Black individual. They also like to say it should be labeled a hate crime. They ask where BLM is. The racists also like to take that opportunity to make some sort of statement about self defense.
OK fine. But when a White person or usually any person that is not Black is accused of a violent crime there are very few comments made at all. The comments that are made focus on the individuality or the accused or sympathize with the victim. Very few comments are made referring to the race or cultural background of the perpetrator. It doesn’t matter how heinous or perverted the crime. The exception is when Black people decide to return insults. But those kind of comments are minimal in comparison. The White supremacists PR social media machine seems to be an organized and concerted effort.
A case can be made for or against anyone. White supremacists make their case by creating conversation around Black criminal behavior while completely ignoring White criminal behavior. In this context it can’t even be called White criminal behavior because the behavior is attributed to the criminal being White.
Social media can be a great tool. It gives everyone a voice which is valuable and detrimental at the same time. Be sure to discern between the voices. And remember that absolutely everyone that wants one has a voice on social media.
Anna Duggar and Yandy Smith don’t have a lot in common other than being cable reality TV personalities. Anna Duggar married into the fundamentalist Christian Duggar family of TLC reality TV show fame. Yandy is known from the VH1 program “Love and Hip Hop New York” . Both were married on TV to men that would end up incarcerated. Other than reality TV Anna and Yandy share the dubious distinction of being ride or die chicks and having it all blow up in their faces the same week.
Anna’s husband Josh was arrested for possession of child pornography two weeks ago. Josh is currently out on bail. Those kind of allegations are always shocking but Josh has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past. When Josh was young he sexually assaulted his younger sisters while they were asleep. Josh did not serve any time for what he did to his sisters. Instead he went through therapy at his church. Josh who grew up in a strict Christian household and he has also been caught on websites for married people seeking to cheat on their spouse.
All of the revelations came out in 2015. At the time Anna and Josh had four children. Anna made the decision to stay in her marriage and remain loyal to her husband. One would think that Josh would change his ways after being exposed in the media and publicly humiliating his wife. Instead he got worse and the allegations became even more dubious. Anna’s forgiveness, loyalty, patience and love didn’t amount to anything.
Yandy and her husband Mendeecees have been featured on “Love and Hip Hope New York” and “Couples Retreat”. Mendeecees was convicted on drug related charges and served four years in prison. His wife Yandy waited for him and supported him faithfully during his incarceration. She also became a prison reform activist.
An episode of “Couples Retreat” recently aired and Mendeecees was asked if he would support Yandy the way she supported him if she was incarcerated. He said he doesn’t know how he would react if the roles were reversed. The man that promised to be by her side through good times and bad admitted on a reality TV show that his vows were not sincere. Again, Yandy’s love and devotion amounted to a hill of beans. Her love is unrequited and unmatched. Yandy wasted her time and energy. She gained absolutely nothing.
I too have been a ride or die chick. About fifteen years ago I dated a man who was in the Army. The relationship happened while American troops were being deployed to Iraq. I thought I was in love with this man and I threw myself into supporting my soldier. I called him sometimes, wrote him and sent him things that he asked for. I watched the news every night and cried in front of the TV when the loss of troops was reported.
One day with tears in my eyes I tried to visualize my suitor sitting in front of the TV crying for me. I couldn’t see it. It didn’t seem feasible. That was the beginning of the end of our relationship. I began to question his feelings and intentions for me. He became dramatic and argumentative. I began to distance myself from him after that and the relationship fizzled out and ended. I wasted my energy, time, emotions and money. My love, care, loyalty, patriotism and devotion to this man amounted to nothing.
I took a long break from dating after that relationship. I remained completely single for about eight years before I took an interest in dating again. In those eight years I learned to make sure that any many I dated proved genuine interest and good intentions to me. I learned to take my time to ensure that a man invested in me. I am not interested in reciprocity. I’m interested in leadership. I don’t want tit for tat. I want a man that chooses me and proves to me that he is worthy to be a loyal husband.
Once I started dating again my circumstances improved. I have a boyfriend now who is clutch and very cute. But aside from that I learned how to get rid of men that weren’t showing me that they were sincere early on. Women need to understand that it doesn’t matter how much she loves a man. It doesn’t amount to anything. It matters how much he loves you.
Don’t be a ride or die chick. No sincere man wants a woman to be a ride or die chick. Only selfish men want that. A man with good intentions wants to be ride or die for her. A man that loves a woman wants her to be as stress and burden free as possible. He wants her to know that she can rely on him is she has struggles. It’s never the other way around.
American police are creating instability and ill will across the country. Their actions are causing demonstrations and riots where people are hurt, property is damaged and commerce is lost. Since the LA riots of 1992 this country has had civil disturbances every five years or so. The catalyst is always police violence.
Incidents of police conduct continue to happen without penalty. The public does not get an apology or any acknowledgement of wrongdoing. There is no revision to policies and procedures. The police simply continue with their business as usual and destroy any goodwill between people groups in a multi racial society.
Not only do the police increase tension across the US they are bankrupting local governments. Police officers are rarely punished for their recklessness but cities usually pay the victims or their families a settlement. The tax payers are penalized for the losses that police officers cause.
I have to wonder if this is by design and if police officers are simply agents of chaos used to create racial tension. If it is not part of their purpose someone clearly benefits from this byproduct of their practices. Police officers seem to want to intimidate and be authoritarians to the communities they surveil.
By now the police surely could have made changes to how they conduct their business and treat people particularly Black Americans who make up the brunt of their victims. But they don’t, they simply defend their actions with no remorse. Officers in high profile police brutality cases have even been arrogant enough to write a book or be interviewed by a newspaper in which they see themselves as victims. It’s maddening.
American police are creating instability in the United States. American police are bankrupting local governments. There is no excuse for behavior that is repeated with no attempt to change. If American policing doesn’t change America is going to implode. The conflict that police cause is not conducive to a functioning country. It is not sustainable.
I recently finished reading the autobiography of rock start Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule. I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend the book but there are conditions. I’m biased because I’ve been a Lenny Kravitz fan since the 90s. People that aren’t fans of Lenny Kravitz may find the book to be a bit dull.
Lenny Kravitz has a charmed life. He spent his early childhood in New York City in the 70s and early 80s. I’m grateful to have grown up in the 80s because children had more independence and a sense of safety. At the same time there were not as many children only spaces so children had the opportunity to observe adults more. They just had to stay out of adult business.
Lenny grew up playing on NYC streets with friends and when he was a bit older riding the subway himself to museums like The Met and exploring art. Lenny’s parents were a sophisticated couple and exposed Lenny to fine restaurants and theater as a child. Lenny crossed paths and even had close relationships with entertainment legends. One night while out with his dad Lenny met Frank Sinatra. His godmother was Cicely Tyson and her husband was Miles Davis. Lenny’s stylish parents enjoyed entertaining and he described himself as having numerous glamorous aunts. That is great for character building.
When Lenny was in middle school his mother was cast as Mrs. Willis on The Jeffersons. He was disappointed in having to leave New York but he resettled in sunny southern California and his parents bought a home in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. LA is where Lenny discovered his love of music and developed his talent.
Lenny had a contentious relationship with his father. Their personalities clashed. Lenny’s father spent time in the military and he didn’t mesh well with his free spirited son. Lenny and his dad fell out so badly during his teen years that Lenny got kicked out of the family home and was homeless for a while. But Lenny’s father was key to his success and prosperity in many ways.
Lenny Kravitz married Lisa Bonet in Las Vegas in his early twenties and had a baby shortly after. Lisa and being a young dad were also key to his success. Lisa helped him become more comfortable with who he was as a young man and being a father grounded him. The book ends after the release of his album Let Love Rule. I hope Lenny writes another autobiography because I want to know more about his career, his marriage, his divorce, fatherhood and acting career.
Lenny’s life is pretty wholesome so his story is not one with a lot of action, trauma or tragedy which is what propels most stories these days. Some people may find it a bit dull. But I’m a Lenny fan so I enjoyed the book. Lenny has a very blessed and glamorous life even with the pit falls and false starts. I would recommend this book.