People constantly tell me that they are jealous of the relationship I have with my brother. We are extremely close, we get along better than most siblings, and we act as if we’re twins, even though we’re three years apart. When people point this out, I can’t deny it, but the truth is my brother and I have been solidifying this relationship for YEARS, so I think, after all of our hard work, we deserve a good relationship.
When times got hard, rather than separating and growing apart, we stayed close together, becoming each other’s support system and we fed off each other’s strength. This was how we managed to progress and develop our individual peace, balance, and success, despite whatever madness was going on. Over the years, my brother has become my best friend, my business partner, and my mentor, among other roles he plays in my life and I honestly could not have created a better big brother… Well, maybe he could be less stubborn, but I guess nobody’s perfect. Either way, I literally cannot imagine my life without him and I feel honored to share so many journeys with him.
Today is my brother’s 25th birthday and, although he has accomplished so many things already, I know there is so much more he’ll achieve in the next chapter of his life. Happy Birthday Junior!
If you’re anything like me, then you got your first glance of Aubrey (Drake) Graham on Degrassi as Jimmy Brooks. You were shocked to see him get shot and end up in a wheelchair, but you were even more shocked to see his character, along with so many other core characters, slowly be taken off of the show. However, it wasn’t long before Drake’s Comeback Season began playing in your ears (and, if you’re a true Drake fan, you know about Room for Improvement, too). Soon enough, Drake was everywhere and So Far Gone was being nominated for a Grammy. Flash forward a few years and Drake has released three more albums (working on another one now), has become one of the most popular rappers in the industry, and has clearly moved on from his Degrassi days.
Needless to say, I’ve been a big fan of Drake’s since early on in his career and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him perform live twice. Both were great shows which is why I’d see him again, but my admiration for Drake isn’t solely because I watched him as Jimmy Brooks or because he makes “music for women.” I appreciate Drake because, most times, I feel like his music is a reflection of my life and it is so relevant to what is happening in my life. Whether he’s talking about the struggle and hunger to be successful in “Say What’s Real” or “Lust for Life” or if he’s venting about dealing with changes in his personal life in “The Motion,” “The Calm,” or “Hate Sleeping Alone,” each lyric is in some way relevant to me. Even songs like “Look What You’ve Done” make me think about my own family, while his triumphant songs like “Trophies” and “We’ll Be Fine” remind me of all that I’ve accomplished. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Sometimes Drake gets a lot of heat for being light skinned and Canadian, but, in many ways, he is a strong and necessary voice of this generation. At least the part of this generation that finds itself constantly caught within a dichotomy. There aren’t too many artists, not just rappers, who don’t represent the reality of the situation enough, but Drake does that. If he gets heat for it, then so be it because at the end of the day he’s still worth about $50 million, so he must be doing something right.
Anyways, Happy Birthday Drake!
A couple of months ago, I celebrated my 22nd birthday and the start to my Year of Cano. Most people claim the Year of Jordan when they turn 23, but, in my case, Robinson Cano is a reason to celebrate. To give you some background, Cano was born on this day (October 22) 32 years ago in the Domincan Republic. When he became the second baseman for the New York Yankees in 2005, his jersey number was 22. After a couple of seasons, he had to give up his number and became 24. Flash forward seven more years and Cano is now second baseman for the Seattle Mariners and is back to number 22. Thus, the importance of 22.
As many of you may know, Cano is my favorite baseball player (with Jeter’s recent retirement, there’s no more battle for first place) and I feel honored to have been a fan of his since his major league debut nine years ago. Throughout his career, I have seen Cano go from a rookie with potential to a Yankee star and now the Mariners’ best weapons. Cano has become, arguably, one of the best baseball players in the league and I’m sure he’ll only continue to solidify himself in baseball history. Outside of baseball, Cano has proven himself to be an admirable man, only making me a bigger fan of his.
Simply put, Happy Birthday Cano!
Today is the day the world was blessed with the birth of my dad. He is an interesting mix of being the smartest person I know along with one of the most taboo and outrageous personalities I’ve ever encountered. Simply put, he is truly one of a kind. At first, it was hard seeing the similarities between me and my dad, but the resemblance has become more apparent over the years. Besides my book smarts, I mainly attribute my dad as the reason why there are times where I have no filter, but, over those characteristics, I thank my dad for the position I’m in now. I know that, without many of the sacrifices and decisions my dad made in the past, my present would be a completely different scenario. I’ve learned things happen for a reason and, if one thing is for sure, my dad is a person I can count on for almost anything, no matter the situation. Not many people can say that about anybody, especially their dads. So, on his birthday, I want to celebrate the beautiful bond we’ve developed and how proud I am to call him my dad.
Happy Birthday Pa!
This past weekend, my sister celebrated another birthday, which is closing a memorable year to welcome in an even bigger year. During the past year, my older sister has become a homeowner and, by this time next year, she’ll be a wife. Later this week, we’ll even be picking out her wedding dress. Who knows maybe after her next birthday she’ll be preparing to be a first time mommy?! In her mind, that’s a no, but why not throw it out into the air? Either way, it was nice spending the day with her and I’m glad she enjoyed her special day. I know this is the start to a wonderful year and I wish her nothing but the best.
As I sit here on the morning of my 22nd birthday, I can’t help but think about all of the things I have experienced thus far. I have gone through plenty of hardships and difficult times that most people will never even fathom. They’d be shocked, if they ever learn about the things I’ve had to overcome, but I would rather have them not know. I feel like those experiences were life lessons soley carved out for my life as my foundation.
I recognize that there are others who have it worst than I do. That’s probably the root of my positive thinking. I’ll never complain about what I’ve gone through, nor will I ever try to tell the world about those things as a way to victimize myself. On the contrary, I am thoroughly grateful for each moment I have lived because, without those moments, as cliche as it is, I would not be the person I am today. I may have never have found my strength, ambition, compassion, and independence and that would have been much more tragic than anything I’ve lived through.
By living through the first 22 years of my life. I’ve learned to grow into who I am today. I’ve built a sturdy foundation for myself and Have placed myself in the position to gain opportunity. I am currently at the best place I have ever been in my life, spiritually, socially, personally, and in any other way you can imagine. I am happy and I am confident in my potential and with my place in the world. What better way to bring in another year? But the best part is that, although I’m happy with where I am, I know that this is not the best I’ll be. I know there are greater things to come that the first 22 years of my life have prepared me for. Right now, I’m living in the moment, enjoying my time, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see what another year has in store for me.
Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday, so to celebrate his life and everything he represents, I’m sharing with you all the work of Marco Cianfanelli. This artist created this sculpture in honor of the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s capture by the apartheid police, which stands in South Africa.
“This represents the momentum gained in the struggle through the symbolic of Mandela’s capture. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy.”