BNP Testimonies (Extended): Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Self Care

In response to the staggering election results in which many members of marginalized communities experienced how disconnected they were from their fellow citizens as the country elected bigotry and hatred; Black Nerd Problems put out the call to hear how people were coping. Here is a collection of short essays on what we’re doing, just to get by.

The Threat:

Brandan Tate / Twitter: @MarlonBrandan

Black Male, Hip Hop Aficionado

A couple weeks ago, Q-Tip had announced that a new ATCQ album was on the way. So I had created my own “low end theory” on how to properly celebrate the return of the rap group that saved my life. No hyperbole there. They saved my life.

The album was set for release on the Friday of election week. So I had it all planned:

Sunday: People’s Instinctive Travels
Monday: The Low End Theory
Tuesday: Midnight Marauders
Wednesday: Beats, Rhymes & Life
Thursday: The Love Movement
Friday: The release of the new and final album, We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service
Saturday: SNL hosted by Dave Chappelle with Musical Guest, A Tribe Called Quest

I couldn’t have planned it better.

So of course, my week starts off dope with a capital “D” then Election Doomsday, my bad, Tuesday rolls up and the outcome sent me on a deep, introspective, and extrospective journey of my life, my friends, society and the prospects of what’s to come in the next 4-8 years. As I thought about these things, the horrible things I’ve read, heard and seen over the past year, darkness washed over the dude. Anger, confusion, fear, all the main ingredients to create a future Sith lord.

But amidst all that darkness, there was still some light. It was Wednesday. Beats, Rhymes & Life, Track 2: Get A Hold.

“Y’all really need to go lay down cause positivity has risen.
We hitting, yo bust how we too strong to be broken”

Tip was in my ear, literally, telling me to get a hold. So that’s what I did. I stayed off social media because I didn’t feel like battling trolls. (But, I WILL be back. Everytime I get blocked by a troll, an angel gets their wings.) My methods of self-care was playing the video games (Arkham Knight & Fallout 4) that I bought and never opened, watching the movies (Batman v. Superman & Sicario) I was too busy to see in theaters, and most importantly I stuck to my Tribe regiment. To put it simply, I was selfish for once and looked out for me…and my 2 dogs.

Through that, I found inner peace.

Friday comes, the new ATCQ is released and it was like catching up with a close childhood friend who has a bunch of new stories to tell. The 1st lyrics of the album hit me like a ton of bricks.

“It’s time to go left and not right
Gotta get it together forever
Gotta get it together for brothers
Gotta get it together for sisters”

It inspired me. I got focused and got busy on the projects that I put off for far too long. Started writing daily, studying artists whose work I admire, reading the books that were collecting dust on my bookshelf…I feel like I’m experiencing my own personal renaissance.

Finally, my ATCQ week culminated with the epic episode of SNL hosted by Dave Chappelle. While Dave was excellent as expected, (I mean c’mon, Dave’s gonna Dave.) my final lesson from the Tribe came when a giant painting with Phife’s face glued on the head of the drawing was revealed during their performance. I thought about how short life is, how tomorrow isn’t promised or owed to anyone and you can’t, you CANNOT let things that are out of your control beat you down. It’s ok to sit with it for a minute and analyze but don’t get so lost in your analysis that you’re in paralysis. I’ve wasted a lot of time this way. I know I’m not the only one. And I’m fairly certain that given the events of that week, I would’ve been down that rabbit hole a lot longer if it wasn’t for the Tribe.

I don’t know, all that may sound corny. But truthfully, I don’t really care. I DO know I’m dealing with all the craziness a lot better than I’m seeing others dealing with it. I DO know I’ve been more happy and productive than I’ve been in a while. And I DO know, 1nce Again, ATCQ has saved my life. I got it from here, ATCQ, thank you 4 your service.

I hope you all take a bit of time for yourself to practice some self-care and find your happiness, especially when things are at it’s darkest.


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