#TimesUp A Woman’s Fury (My Story)

Times UP Tracee Ellis Ross

It was the first warm Saturday in April after a viciously long winter season. My friend and I were at a bar, enjoying the weather and a tropical drink. The vibrations in the packed restaurant were high, everyone having the same idea to get out of the house and enjoy a delicious dinner. We had to stand at the crowded bar because the wait for service was over an hour and the bar seats were taken. Engulfed in my friend’s story, I was shaking my head in agreement with her as she spoke. Then I heard an “Excuse Me” and I was shifted out of my place by the bar and moved to the side. It was a man, trying to get the attention of the bartender. I do not know what was worst, the fact that he said excuse me while shifting me to the side or that he physically shifted me. All that I know is that I was livid. I questioned if I was PMS’ing because I got so mad. I’m usually pretty calm and understanding about these situations, especially considering how packed the restaurant was, but I was angry.

I could not continue the conversation with my friend. I just stared at him. My friend catching the cue stared at him too. He must’ve felt our ice-cold eyes on him because he ordered his drinks and then proceeded to tell the bartender, “Whatever they are having put it on my tab because clearly, they stopped talking when I came around.” With a straight face, I said, “You touched me. You literally shifted me.” He replied, “I was only trying to order, I’m sorry sweetheart.” I rolled my eyes and he called me mean. He said my friend clearly was the nice one. If you know me and my friend, then you know the irony of this statement (hehe). I am usually nice but I was angry at that moment and I didn’t know why. He offered to buy us dinner but we declined. It was a girl’s night and we were enjoying each other’s company. Later on, when he was done with his dinner, not only did we finally get a seat at the bar, but he approached us again. I was able to explain to him how offensive yet inoffensive his gesture was. I tapped him on his side, since I couldn’t physically shift him, because he was bigger than me, to illustrate how invasive he was to my space and my body. He finally agreed that I was right and moving forward he would be more aware of it. It was a happy ending to a complex history of objectification and patriarchy. The next day, I questioned if I overreacted. Then I heard Tracee Ellis Ross’ April 2018 TED Talk and I realized the root to my anger. In it, she refers to a similar situation that happened to her friend at a post office:

“This fury was not my friend’s alone. Her fury was ignited by lifetimes of men helping themselves to women’s bodies without consent…There’s a culture of men helping themselves to women, and in this case, in a seemingly innocuous way, where a woman’s body is like a saltshaker: ‘Get out of the way so I can get to the fries.’” –Tracee Ellis Ross

It’s sad that it took Tracee Ellis Ross’ speech to give me permission to feel comfortable with my reaction. She gave me permission to not only be angry but furious and to revel in that fury because it’s generational and it’s a compilation of the fury of my ancestors. The fury of the women before me who had no agency over their bodies…their bodies! Yes, my personal anecdote may seem innocuous and I probably would have never written about it had I not seen this TED Talk, but #TIMESUP

#Podbyky Epi. 18 Pay It Forward W/Toni Robinson

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Toni Robinson is back on the Lifestylebyky Podcast, this time to tell everyone about her “Start your Repair Business from Scratch Academy” which launched on October 11. We talk about paying it forward, the importance of a business model, enjoying the journey and the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. I thank Toni for thinking of us whenever she drops something monumental like this. To access the Start Your Repair Business from Scratch Academy, visit her website. She also has an amazing Facebook group with a community of passionate people from all walks of life. Find all of the details below:




If Issa Was My Friend… Insecure Season 2 Epi. 1

Photo Cred: The Atlantic

The season 2 premiere of Insecure was like soul food. Issa’s character awkwardly over thinks herself into crazy situations, setting her expectations high and leaving her disappointed, similar to what I do on a daily basis, especially when it comes to my love life. As the twists and turns of the episode unfolded, I found myself shaking my head and screaming at the screen “No Girl.” Not from a place of judgment but from a place of understanding. Been there and done all of that.

Thus, If Issa was my friend, was born. Unlike a recap of the episode (which is great, but there’s tons of those already), my Iyanla senses wants me to get to the root of Issa and Molly’s decisions this season. I want to be apart of their friend circle anyway, so this is kind of me bringing the idea of having a best friend in my head to life. See how that works?

If Issa was my friend, I would’ve told her, “No! Don’t have sex with Lawrence. They always come back but that doesn’t mean you should give up the goodies as soon as they do. He’s just not ready.”

Breakups are rough, especially when the woman is the one who cheated and is at fault for it. Some guys in these situations, develop these self-righteous attitudes, like they are so much better than the cheating woman. They act as if they are so disgusted by the presence of this woman. Even if the guy wasn’t so innocent in the relationship himself, something happens to his ego when a woman cheats and he pretty much changes.

This is what we are seeing happening to Lawrence. Lawrence loved Issa but now that Issa betrayed his trust, he’s unforgiving. My only issue with this, is societal double standards that are in favor of men when they cheat but not when women do. When a man cheats, the woman is supposed to forgive and get over it. Which in most cases we usually do. Society tells us to accept the reality of a cheating man because “ALL MEN CHEAT.” Whether that is true or not, we have desensitized cheating for men, but have not done the same for women. When a woman cheats, the consequences are grim. The men in these situations are not as forgiving and they are conditioned to walk away from the situation without any chance of reconciliation . Lawrence first instincts wasn’t to forgive Issa, it was to hurt her as much as she hurt him. It was to sleep with other women. Not once was it to hear Issa’s pleas of forgiveness. I am not condoning cheating for men or women, but I think the standards for each gender should be equal.

Issa created an awesome plan to show Lawrence that she’s living her best life by throwing a Wine Down party. She thought he was coming over but he in turn sends that disappointing text that he wasn’t going to make it. The feeling of defeat on her face was a little sad. Getting disappointed by an ex that you love and so desperately want to make amends with is always rough. But he eventually came around.

What we saw happen on that couch was not an act of love. That was a quick F***. Let’s not get it twisted. Issa opened a door for a friends with benefits situation. Lawrence and Issa are not back together, just yet. Lawrence is not looking at her in a loving way, although he still has love for her. She’s a sexual object now, a release for his pent up anger and that kiss on the cheek at the end was a slap in the face. I know we’re supposed to believe that he’s coming back. I know that cringe worthy smirk on Issa’s face at the end of the episode, means that even she thinks he’s coming back, but he’s not. Not yet. He’s hurt, his ego is bruised, and he still has to unpack some of those feelings. Sometimes men jump to other women to deal with that type of hurt. Lawrence is now with Tasha who seems to uplift him, despite her messing with the chances of him and Issa getting back together. Issa however is going to have to figure out how to live life without Lawrence in the mean time and iron out all of her issues so when Lawrence does finally come back, which he will, she’s ready for the relationship that they both deserve. If she still even wants that.



Amoi, (how cool is her name?) is the creator of ” Making of A Millennial Mogul”which is an online show where millennial entrepreneurs and moguls in the making share their journeys giving viewers an inside look into what it takes to achieve success. Amoi and I met at a Blavity conference and the bond was formed since. Both of us are pisces (born just days apart),Christians (we love the lord), and we often refer to ourselves as the future Ava + Oprah, speaking success into existence.

During this podcast we discussed millennials, the importance of sharing your whole success story (bad times included) and what our dream jobs would look like.

When we think of successful people, we often get the cookie cutter version of their story. We don’t get the “grind” narrative but the overnight-success one. I felt that it was important to interview Amoi because I am over those stories, and I believe she is doing something monumental to change that. She’s talking to millennials while they are on their journey, shooting interviews that are candid and transparent, so the path to attaining success that we often see is not misleading but real. One of her first interviews for her show was with Damali Elliot , Founder of Petals -N-Belles, which you can watch here. Since then, (we shot this podcast in Sept 2016), she has shot a few more interviews that are absolutely captivating.

As always I asked her if she’s living in purpose and what she wants to be remembered for. At first,while editing this recently, I thought, why would I ask such a heavy question? But putting our lives into perspective is something we all should do. Focusing on the present is monumental, but if you don’t have an idea of what you’re working towards, and the type of success you seek, then how will you remain consistent?


Follow Amoi:

Website: http://www.millimogul.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MilliMogul/

IG @Millimogul

Twitter @Amoi_MilliMogul

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#Podbyky Epi 15 Stilettos & Screwdrivers w/Toni Robinson


This podcast, which is intentionally being dropped on International Women’s Day celebrates Women In Technology. I sit down with “Wonder Woman” Toni Robinson Founder and CEO of Stilettos & Screwdrivers and author of “She Conquered” and discuss her trajectory to the successful mobile electronic repair business she has, as well as dissect some excerpts from her book “She Conquered”that she authored with an array of other successful entrepreneurs.

Some would say Toni has it all – she’s a mom, wife, entrepreneur, CEO, author, and speaker, but she remains humble when it comes to all of these things. What I enjoyed most about speaking to Toni was understanding how she balances everything and also the sacrifices she had to make as a working mom, which in her case led to her starting her own business and rejecting the 9-5. Toni’s intention was to show her two daughters and other young girls and women that they not only have the capability to be in tech but excel in tech and not feel like they have to compromise their femininity.

Toni has an amazing book out called “She Conquered” which you can learn more about and purchase by clicking the below image:
I couldn’t start the conversation without asking her if she saw the movie “Hidden Figures” and I couldn’t end the conversation without asking her if she’s living in purpose.

If you’re an Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Interested in STEM or just want some good ol’ inspiration, then this podcast is for you!

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Follow Toni and all of her endeavors:

Web: http://www.stilettos-n-screwdrivers.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/hottechssns/

Insta: @stilettos_n_screwdrivers

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#Podbyky Epi 14 The 3 P’s (Patience, Process, Purpose)


Patience-Process-Purpose, are the three lessons I learned in the last couple of years navigating my life but more specifically, my career. I was discouraged for some time but at the right time, God came through and answered my prayers for the direction I wanted to go in my life.

Patience: Sometimes we need to humble ourselves in times of frustration. We need to take a deep breath and realize that although we are in a situation we don’t want to be in, it’s only temporary. So be patient, let God work in your life until your blessing is harvested.

Process: You learn the most on your journey to success during the process. You have to enjoy the moment, it makes you resilent. Learn as much as you can during this time and put your trust in God that you’re going to be fine in the end. Spend this time learning your passions. The process promotes growth.

Purpose: Isn’t this the goal? Sometimes we have to go through everything we do before God reveals to us what our purpose is. Keep believing.

Follow my podcast on Itunes Lifestylebyky and Soundcloud 

Inspired by Memoirs

The word memoir, used to sound like the most boring thing ever when I was younger. I stayed away from those types of stories. But within the last year I’ve read more of them and it has grown into one of my favorite type of narratives. I think there’s something so inspirational about reading someone’s story (dead or alive) and learning how they navigated life. Life is full of ups and downs and we don’t have an instruction manual for it. Sometimes we all get confused about our place in it or if we will ever achieve our goals, but when you read how others navigated their lives and see that their situations were no different from yours it gives you a sense of hope and sometimes may even inspire you to take risks and go after dreams. I am one of those people who google the age of celebrities that I admire to compare where they were at my age. I know this is an odd thing to do, but I do it, to make sure I am on the right track. Most times I realize that I am, but there’s always that extraordinary person who’s killing it in their teens or twenties. For me, some of the key elements of really good memoirs are:

  1. Transparency: I love memoirs where the author is transparent about their life and their mistakes. No one wants to read a memoir that they can’t relate to.
  1. Started from the bottom: I love memoirs that take you on the journey of life staring from the beginning. Society and social media tend to show you what success looks like without showing what it took to get there. I like when authors take you on the journey from the bottom up and not just the “up”.
  1. Evolution or Growth: As humans we are constantly evolving and growing. I love memoirs that shows a person’s growth. If you are the same way at the beginning of the story that you were at the end, something is wrong. Life should always push you to be better, greater, stronger. We are constantly learning and evolving and I love memoirs that illustrate that.

Some of the memoirs that I read recently have all three of these characteristics:

Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcom X

Assata An Autobiography by Assata Shakur 

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock 

The Education of Kevin Powell by Kevin Powell

My Voice by Angie Martinez 

A memoir that I am looking forward to reading this year is: Foxy: My Life in Three Acts by Pam Grier. I absolutely love her and I know she has a powerful life story.

What are your favorite memoirs?

#BlackTwitter17 Conference

I don’t know what I expected from the Black Twitter 2017 Conference, but since it was being put on by the National Association for Black Journalist (NABJ) I knew  it would be a great event. The event was held at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. I love this school, it’s very high-tech and modern. There were 6-Panels for the day. So to avoid this being a long post, I am going to share one key take away from each:

Panel: This Year in Black Social Media with Dr. Sherri Williams(Wake Forest University) and Dr. Meredith Clark (University of North Texas) via Skype

Advice for balancing social media and your career: Think about it like an ongoing audition. Don’t put anything out there that you cannot stand by.


Panel: Black Media Post-Election. How will black media and black journalists operate during the Trump Presidency? with Wesley Lowery (Washington Post), Cherri Gregg (KYW Newsradio Philadelphia, Jamiles Lartey (The Guardian), Errol Louis (CUNY J)

“People’s online reading behaviors is intregral to the editorial process for better or for worst.”-Jamiles Lartey



Chat and Chew with Blavity + Buzzfeed

This chat was really cute. Sylvia Obell  interviewed Brandon Harden about the things happening over at blavity. I thought the both of them would interview each other, but it was more one-sided. However this was a highlight of the event for me. What Buzzfeed and Blavity is doing right is they are not afraid to take risks and they are setting a new standard in the industry and among millennials. They are putting out videos about how many strings will it take to break a watermelon or 17-aunties that everyone has and this content is real, raw, and authentic. We can all learn from the innovation and creativity of these platforms.


Panel:Social Media Activism with Tyler Tines (SB Nation), Steve Pargett (The Dream Defenders), Aaron Morrison (Mic.com) and Misha Cornelius (The Advancement Project)

“You never want to be in a situation where a story is covered by a white colleague and they don’t get it right and you were sitting right there but didn’t speak up.” -Aaron Morrison

This comment stuck out to me because it’s not shade to white people, but we can’t expect them to completely understand our culture and our perspectives because they are not black, which is why diversity is extremely important in the work place.


Panel: Top Tools & Branding for Social Media with Jozen Cummings (Bleacher Report), Rhonda Elnaggar (Buzzfeed) and Benet Wilson (Aviation Queen)

You need to keep yourself and your relationship with social media healthy – which means when something is too much for you to see or watch on social media, turn it off ie. Alton Sterling shooting. Self-care in the age of social media is so important.


What’s Next in Social Media? with Sarah Glover (NABJ President) Manny Fantis (Sinclair Broadcasting), Teghan Collins (Sinclair Broadcasting)

Use Facebook as a tool, not just a publishing platform, get folks over to your brand.


By Ky Books: The Mothers by Brit Bennett


The Mothers: A Novel

Religion. Suicide. Abortion. Sexual Abuse. Failed First Love. Grief. Depression. This book does not hold back on the issues it addresses. But although those topics seem heavy, the author Brit Bennett, does such an excellent job with her writing and character building that you don’t feel weighed down by the story once its over. It feels real. At the core of this story is an abortion that beautiful Nadia Turner, the main character feels like she must have. She doesn’t confide in anyone including her boyfriend, she’s just hell bent on getting one. This book tackles the choice women make when they either have an abortion and pursue the rest of their lives and their dreams or not to have one and birth life. The idea is that both choices comes with costs and for Nadia, having a child would mean halting her dreams of going to college and becoming successful to stay at home, where being home meant dealing with grief and depression that her heart could no longer take.

I would identify this as a coming of age story that is representative of reality not those coming of age stories where characters jump in lakes and try to soak in the last real summer before adulthood, this story is hits home for several reasons and really illustrates the reality of young adulthood for some people. It tackles real life issues while intertwining religion and often time the hypocrisy of it. I don’t want to give too much away, but I liked this book, I didn’t like the ending that much but I enjoyed reading it overall and loved how the author developed such powerful relationships that may or may not withstand the test of time.

If you’re into podcasts, For Colored Nerds on itunes has an amazing interview with the author Britt Bennet who gives further perspective into the narrative of this story.

Simple Relationship Advice

You’re Worthy.

As a girl-friend (not girlfriend), the week of Valentines Day is always rough. Valentines Day is a troublemaker when you’re in a relationship or in a situationship because men either don’t pick up on the clues or don’t acknowledge you or the day at all and either situation is problematic to a woman. As much as we say we don’t like Valentines Day (I am not included in this narrative), some women still want to be acknowledged and appreciated. Some women want to know that they are worthy. Some women want to know they are not giving their all without something in return. I think the general consensus is being acknowledged on valentines day doesn’t have to equate a big elaborate gift. It can be as simple as a rose, a poem, a box of candy, or a thoughtful card. Yet, this goes over a lot of guy’s head and they might send a text (and that’s it) or act like the day never happened and call you the next day like “What’s up?” :/

So, as you can imagine there were a lot of fires that I needed to put out that weekend following the big V. It’s important that my friends, other women, and even myself know that we are worthy. What does being worthy mean? It means that as an individual you are an amazing person that deserves everything your heart desires. You deserve the recognition and the acknowledgement that you want and if you’re not getting it then you have to make some adjustments in your life.

Valentines day also helps to put a lot of relationships into perspective. Needless to say I received a lot of calls from fed up friends who were ready to just let it all go and move on from a relationship. My only advice there is Make sure you clean out your closet before jumping into another relationship.

What that means is check yourself. Sometimes we have the tendency to jump in relationships and make the same mistakes with the next guy because there’s something within us, maybe insecurity or a soul tie, maybe we haven’t dealt with past hurts or rejection that we don’t want to resonate. Cleaning house means taking the time after a relationship ends to work on you and build a stronger relationship with God. It means directing your focus away from someone else and giving it all to yourself and what makes you happy; building yourself up so you can be a better person and girlfriend or wife (since that’s the goal for most women) the next time around.