Monday, February 14, 2011

Today is Feb 14th...

Valentine's Day.
This is the first year I've been single for Valentine's Day since 2003. I'm somewhat of a serial dater. I can't be single for too long. However, these past months have been different. I've been searching for myself and trying to figure my life out. That doesn't mean I want to be single, it just means it's been necessary the past few months.

But moving forward, I decided earlier today to write a blog about being single and Valentine's Day. I was going to take the stance of the newly single woman, going out treating herself, kicking it with her girls...you know. Doing that Destiny Child's "Independent Women" shit. Then I said "Who am I kidding?" LOL.

I honestly wish I did have a Valentine. I want flowers, candy, and some type of fancy gift. I want to go out to dinner in a nice ass dress with some **** me heels on. I want to be courted. Why is that so difficult to find? Why can't I find an old fashion man who wants to pick me up at the door and take me out for a night on the town? I think I'm awesome enough. Whatever...

So okay that's what I was going to write on. But then in the midst of me getting my thoughts together tragedy struck. And someone I know lost his 8 year old son. I will be honest, his death was not unexpected. He had been suffering from embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma for years. It was now in stage 4. He was only given a few days or a few weeks to live. Despite knowing this, the death of a child is always hard. Especially on the parents. (no need to name names...if you know them, pray for strength. if not, still pray.) There was an outpouring of love to him from a variety of people, friends and "foes". Love. It is beautiful.

Suffice in that moment, Valentine's Day became unimportant. Ironically death reminds you to enjoy life. What seems like a big deal or so extra important is really quite minuscule once you look at the bigger picture. This is not about me but I cried, because I know the pain of losing a loved one to cancer, losing a child, and the struggle it is to stay strong when all you want to do is break down. The sad thing is that while we realize what's really important in moments like these, they tend to dissipate as time goes on. Then we end up at the exact same spot we are now until another one falls.

While there is so much more I want to say, I fail to find the right words to describe how I feel inside. Sad to hear of the passing of a child. Happy because I know we can come together. I think Scarface summed up everything in his verse...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hip Hop Benefits don't include Health Insurance...

By now everyone has heard about DJ Kool Herc and how he needs money for an operation for kidney stones (I believe). Twitter and many hip hop blogs have been buzzing requesting donations via Paypal to help pay for the operation Herc needs to get better. (DJ Premier's Blog Requesting Help: Paypal for Kool Herc). Because of this request for assistance, people have been speculating and criticizing the hip hop community and DJ Herc himself (for "poor" money management). I will not give any shine to those who aren't knowledgeable, I'll just tell you how I feel.

First off it's a disgrace to the hip hop community that Herc's sister even has to ASK anyone, let alone fans, for money to help pay for his bills. I blame the disintegration of the black community. Somewhere along the lines from slavery to present times, the black community has lost their way and there is no longer a strong sense of "community" and helping out one another. Today's attitude is more about "I got to get mine, you go and get yours." Gone are the days when we'd help one another willingly and happily. But this is not about that. Herc is one of the pioneers of the Hip Hop movement and culture. The moment "Hip Hop" found out he was sick was the moment they should have stepped up. I have seen a few tweets here and there from some artists but to be honest, most of the ones trying to get the word out are in a similar position. Just because you see these people on tv, hear them on the radio, or twitter (with thousands and thousands of followers) does NOT mean they are balling like that. The people who are in the best position to help (*looks at Jay Z, P Diddy, 50 Cent*) are too busy in their own lives to care. Some of these artists are on twitter all day talking about "bitches" but can't tweet one word of support or kind words but are quick to twitpic pictures of themselves throwing away money on strippers, clothes, or cars. #FAIL

Secondly, this is not about poor money management. Let's keep it real, rappers, DJs, and the like were not making bank in the late 70s/early 80s. I can't deal with anyone who thinks Herc could have saved his money for a rainy day and should have had his own money to pay for this. I don't think many people realize how the industry was back then and how it is now. MC Hammer was one of the FIRST rappers to make any real money off this culture. Before them, people were making enough to be happy and get a nice little house, maybe a car and a big ass gold chain. And to be honest, rich people go broke all the time over medical bills even when they have insurance. Don't ever get cancer people.

But I digress...let's get to the real issue. Health care and Health Insurance. This is NOT just about Kool Herc. The fact is, approximately 46 million Americans are without health insurance. Why? Because it costs too damn much money. Why are people acting shocked that Kool Herc doesn't have insurance? Where would he have gotten this insurance? Most people who have insurance got it through their job...and  you know what "Hip Hop Benefits do NOT include health insurance." There is also no pension, no IRAs, no stocks and bonds, no tuition remission for their children, nothing.  These entertainers are not getting any coverage from Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or what have you. This is kind of ridiculous to me because it seems that the CEOs of these big music companies would provide something as simple as health insurance IN the contract to make sure their artists remain healthy so they can keep making money off of them. But I guess it's a better idea to pay them some random sum of money and let them get their own health insurance from whoever. So what's the other choice?

Oh yes, private insurance....which loves to rape people over and over. I got to be honest, if it wasn't for my job providing with insurance, I wouldn't have any. I got a quote for myself one time, it was around $300 a month. That's $3600 a year. As my eyes slowly become weaker and weaker, I find that my premium will begin to go up and up. Who has that money? Most people think like me and we'd rather try our luck and hope we don't become ill. Fucked up mentality but it's real. And yes I realize that "Prevention is cheaper than Treatment"...but the hope is that you never have to get treated.

 So now the even BIGGER issue is not the industries disregard to health insurance and taking care of legends as they get older and older. It's about health care in America. Reform is needed. Say what you will about Obama Care, but it's better than the system we have now. For a country as advanced as America, we fall short of something as simple as health care. There is no reason why preventative care isn't available to everyone in the country at affordable costs. There is no reason why CHILDREN and SENIORS shouldn't be covered for the basics, such as health care, dental care, and vision care. There is no reason why a person who has is suffering in pain should be turned away from a hospital because they can not afford to pay. <<<Yes, private hospitals can still turn you away. And hospitals that will take you only have to do the minimal to keep you comfortable. 

This is the real disgrace. A nation as strong and as powerful as America can not even provide the basics to it's citizens. The hip hop community can't provide what some rappers call "chump change" to a legend to get a basic kidney stone operation. So for now...let's hope the fans will continue to ride out for their heroes and keep donating via paypal until Kool Herc is better. I know I will.