Memories of Tupac

This is my favorite photo of #Tupac, I believe from the infamous Vibe Magazine photo shoot with Snoop Dogg and Dre when they all signed a deal to be on Death Row Records with Suge Knight. I also remember exactly where I was when I got the sad news of his death. I was a student at Kent State University in my senior year in fall 96, riding in the car with my friend Heather and we heard it on the radio. For a couple of 20 somethings to hear about the demise of someone so talented who was our age, it was devastating. And who could have predicted that Biggie would also be gone only about 6 months later. #the90s #HipHop #OldSchool #CollegeMemories #BlogPost #the40andoverproject

Tupac Amaru Shakur (/ˈtuːpɑːk ʃəˈkʊər/ TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), better known by his stage name 2Pac and, later, by his alias Makaveli, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. He is widely considered one of the most influential rappers of all time. Much of Shakur’s work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of activism against inequality. #Wikipedia

PODCAST. NEW EPISODE. The Age of Digital Activism

Check out my newly branded podcast and listen to the latest episode, The Age of Digital Activism. Social Activism has taken on many forms in the wake of the many cases of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. In this episode, I discuss the current climate along with my own activism experience. If you have 40 and over topics you would like to see featured here, let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you for listening!

https://anchor.fm/the40andoverproject/episodes/The-Age-of-Digital-Activism-eivg3s

Back To School Shopping. Old School Edition

As parents prep to send kids back to school (or not) during this pandemic, I thought I would share some memories I think some of you might appreciate.

Back to school shopping back in the 1980s, was an annual event, that involved parents taking their kids to local popular department stores to get the best deals on clothes, shoes, and school supplies for their growing boys and girls for the new school year.

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and shopping local, was a thing, long before it was a thing. My friends and I often wax nostalgic over stores like Gold Circle (which I’m convinced became Target) and Value City, both Ohio and Midwest based chains, that were very popular in the 70s and 80s. Also, I’m old enough to remember the onset of “the mall”, which was a new phenomenon for a generation who was used to the “one-stop shop” department store concept, which, ironically, has made a comeback through stores like Target and Walmart.

Another thing my generation grew up on, was the catalog. There was the JC Penney and Sears catalogs. These catalogs were not unlike the size of a phone book and was very much the precursor to online ordering so your mother either called the 1-800 number to place your order or you pressed her luck with a mail-in order form and pray the item wasn’t on back order by the time the form reached the warehouse.

Also, I would be remiss, if I did not give a shout out to the Sears store, and the Garanimals clothing line for kids. What made Garanimals awesome was the concept they created for coordinating and color matching through the use of animal figures on the hang tags. This, to me, was a genius concept. It was like the Sesame Street of clothing, teaching kids about colors and matching through fashion. I loved it.

Unfortunately, the 21st century and the onset of online shopping, has seen the demise of multiple large department stores and catalogs that were once the stallworth of shopping for a whole generation. A piece of nostalgia, that recently filed for bankruptcy is J. Crew. If you are #40AndOver and attended college in #the90s, you probably remember receiving a #JCrewCatalog in your dorm/residence hall. It was probably the first catalog that catered to the college age student, so unlike the JC Penney and Sears catalogs of our parents and grandparents day. It was a hallmark of life on campus. I never ordered anything from them and I’m guessing not many of my friends did nor this current generation, because, unlike the JC Penney catalog (or Penny’s as my grandmother liked to call them), J. Crew was super expensive so really, most of us just looked at the pictures, it was actually more like a magazine for us, more of an aspiration, if you will, that was delivered monthly to our student mailboxes and front desks in our dorms. As J. Crew goes by way of JC Penney and others, the only thing left will be the memories of a whole generation who defined the what “Back To School” shopping really meant.

#the40andoverproject #OldSchool #memorabilia

A Favorite Professor

I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove

The Million Women March, circa 1997

The Age of Digital Activism

I was a huge Nike fan back in high school when I ran track and played volleyball, but it’s been a while since I’ve bought a pair of the sneakers with the swoosh. In 2019, Nike created a huge endorsement/marketing/sponsorship deal with activist football player, Colin Kaepernick. With one fell swoop, many of us pledged to make our next pair of sneakers, a pair of Nikes.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, it seems that becoming an activist has become extremely easy. No longer is it a requirement for people to march in the streets, like in the 60s, unless they want to. Activists today, have a choice as to how they want to participate. Activism today, can be something as small and easy as signing an online petition to boycotting a particular company because of their CEO’s political affiliation to protesting in the streets in Ferguson, MO or Minneapolis, MN, against the injustice of police brutality against black men and women.

Activism also affects different age groups in different ways. For example, I was a super student activist in college at Kent State University, in Ohio, in the 90s, during the time of the Rodney King case and O. J. I marched, I participated in sit-ins, walk outs, letter writing, rallies, etc. Today, I’m in my 40s and while I’d love to march in the streets, my activism leans more towards attending council meetings, putting my signature on petitions, participating in virtual rallies and other events, and giving monetary funds, when and where I can. Either way, whatever you choose to do, it all counts towards the efforts of standing up for issues of social justice, as long as you stand up for something.

So, with that said, it’s almost time for me to get a new pair of workout sneakers and you can best believe, my next pair will be Nike.

#ColinKaepernick #NikeAd #TakeAKnee #StandForSomething

A 50th Commemoration. May 4th, 1970

If you are my age, 47, and if you especially attended Kent State University, you for sure, know the date, May 4th, 1970. That’s the date that four students at Kent State, were shot and killed during protests over the Vietnam War. As a student at Kent State University, every year, the university provides a retrospective of that day. If May 4th fell on a weekday, like today, classes would be postponed at 12 noon so that students could participate in educational remembrance events and activities with special guests, etc. I remember being a student on campus during the 25th anniversary, featuring the show 20/20 as well as the 60s singing group, Peter, Paul, and Mary. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful day. This date will forever be seered into anyone’s mind, who has been connected with Kent State University. It’s also important to the larger history of protest and unrest in America, particularly that of the Civil Rights movement, since Black students were also in the middle of their own protest for equality on campus during this time. 1970 also marks the only other time that state universities in Ohio were closed for the remainder of the semester (much like the shutdowns for our current Coronavirus Quarantine situation). As a result, just like now, I learned during my professional work in Alumni Relations, the Class of 1970 at many universities in Ohio, did not have a formal graduation. As a Class of 97 graduate of Kent state University, I am always cognizant of our controversial history, but I realize that, this history, is part of what made me an active and aware student, made me a student activist and advocate for change, and what made me a proud alumni #KentStateForever

I encourage you to visit the link here to find out more about the history of Kent State and May 4th, 1970. A tattered history. #50yearslater #KentStateUniversity #MyAlmaMater

https://www.kent.edu/may4kentstate50