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For The Grown & Sexy — The Ill Community

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    Serious question.

    these are questions only for you to ask and answer yourself....some may apply and some may not.

    I ask because whats stopping you from reaching your greatest point of potential....

    do you not have anything to wake up and go to work for outside of paying bills with enough left over for some sneak...

    do you wake up with a sense that you need to better than you was yesterday.

    do you wake up and see if the chick you want to smash , texted you in the night..

    do you look at yourself in the mirror and are happy with what you see or what you have become...

    do you have or have you made any future plans..

    where are you in your future plans? how far does your future plans go?

    are they listed step by step with contingency plans or are they just dreams of something you want?

    when was the last time you was proud you completed something, a task?

    Are you aware of how your surroundings effect your thoughts?

    whats your ringtone? what does it say about you?

    Are you strong enough to block out the negative or must you be in the middle of drama to feel alive?

    does you music you listen mostly consist of being in the club, fukk this bitch, i fukked a bitch, beat a nigga ass, im tough like Nigerian hair, alpha male, jumpman jumpman? do you understand how these lyrics effect your thought process and how you view the world?

    When was the last time you heard or had an inspirational song in your rotation that didnt have nothing to do with getting illegal money or bagging a hoe?

    speaking of hoes....are hoes appealing to you?..why?

    if they are women who give themselves freely to any man, how is that attractive to you? regardless of how good she looks, do you think you deserve better? even if its just to get a nut, do you think you time is more valuable than to be laid up with a known cumrag.

    Are you happy with your health?

    are you happy with your body?

    they say a man is only as good as his last challenge...what was your hardest challenge....when was the last real challenge. Are you ok with easy more than you are with hard?

    Are you the smartest in your group or the dumbest?

    are you a man of strong moral values and principle that cant be changed no matter whats in front of you?

    are you a manager or you family or a leader?

    do you push those around you to be better or are you ok with being the best and fukk the rest?.

    Do you share your knowledge or do you keep it to have an advantage over those you hold close?.

    do you make your family or does your family make you?

    Are you goals something you would like or something you wont stop until you get ?

    Are you living for today or planning for tomorrow?

    Do you have a plan for your grandkids if your kids fukk up?

    If you die tomorrow...will your family be able to move forward without struggles?

    If someone asked a lil kid that knows you.....what do they see when they see you...what would they say?

    Do you think your viewed as a person to be admired because you are not to be fukked with or a person to be admired because you have strong morals and ethics.

    All these get you to ask yourself....who are you really.

    are you the person you want people to see you as or the person you want to be or the person you think you are.

    you deserve your best you.

    you have alot of motivating things on this site,

    @kai is a black female sceintist
    @sion is smart as hell and wont be told he can not be a billionaire and stays up all night to stay ahead of the game. and knows investing.
    @Will Munny lived his dream of fight an MMA fight. got his ass beat but he did it.and he is ok with being himself and going hunting and fishing. seems hes ok being him.
    @not_osirus_jenkins building up himself an empire. one flipped house at a time.

    are you motivated yet....
    @EmM HoLLa. driving around in porches and sneaking in shots of his watch....are you motivated.

    @BOSSExcellence be lowkey stuntin.... saying he at the movies and sends a pic to prove it but lets all know he was wearing loubintins.

    but i guess your not motivated by money.
    @BigBallsNoWorries travels around the world. so does @scorpio4lfe @vagrant-718 @Knock_Twice @Figo @usmarin3 and alot others.
    are you motivated

    @zzombie @Cinco invested in homes and their futures are set . imagine being 30 and not have to go to work anymore....

    motivated yet. no

    @Young_Chitlin posts weekly links or youtubes about getting outta debt...

    helpful posts and links are always in the business forum

    @Black_Samson and @SimptimusLEMZUS are into fitness. are you afraid to ask them to hook you up with a program to get into shape. scared to video chat with them to scream at you to motivate you ?

    all these examples can choose to think its all a why come here if you think that. that say more about your mindframe than it does anything else....

    do you only come to pass the time.....even passing can network for future potential.

    dont trust internet people ? ok,,, do you think an inperson broker can be trusted. they dip out with peoples money everyday.

    those that are rewarded are those that take risks.

    so many things...where are you in your life. honestly answer yourself.

    honestly create a timeline of your life and see where you came from and where you trying to go and where you are in obtaining what you want.

    what drives you ..

    what motivates you...
    are you happy with who your laying next to at night?
    are you happy with where you go to work at?
    are you happy with where you are living?
    are you happy with what you look like?
    are you happy with your physique ?
    are you happy with what you are driving?
    are you happy with what you see when you log into you bank account?
    but more importantly

    and lastly,

    Are you happy with your life.

    what are you waiting for....tomorrow will be today in a few hours and yesterday was once today. how many more times does that need to be said to be a better you.

    greatness should not be should be required.

    have a good day people.

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    Wife has friends and associates in Las Vegas right now. They talmbout there's an active shooter near Mandalay Bay. I'lll see if I can get a link, but some chick was streaming that she was an Uber driver and dropped off fare and as soon as dude got out the car he got hit in the chest, so her ass bailed on foot streaming the whole time.

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  • 01/20/14--15:15: The Random Facts Thread
  • Im just going to put all the facts i find on the internet into one thread, kinda like chitlin and his news thread.

    I just got these off the internet, i dont know if they are true or not. Google it if your so curious.

    Ill post infographics and cool educational type gifs in here as well.

    Feel free to post some too if you come across any.

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    The Explosive New Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Bill O’Reilly, Detailed

    Roger Ailes is out at Fox News but the troubles for the network might just be getting started.

    In a new lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleges she was among a number of women sexually harassed by, yes, former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

    But she also alleges she was sexually harassed by the network’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly. The suit alleges that O’Reilly attempted to lure her to Long Island where he told her it would be “very private” and that she could show him her “wild side.”

    [C]ommencing in February 2016, Bill O’Reilly (“O’Reilly”), whom Tantaros had considered to be a good friend and a person from whom she sought career guidance, started sexually harassing her by, inter alia, (a) asking her to come to stay with him on Long Island where it would be “very private,” and (b) telling her on more than one occasion that he could “see [her] as a wild girl,” and that he believed that she had a “wild side.” Fox News did take one action: plainly because of O’Reilly’s rumored prior sexual harassment issues and in recognition of Tantaros’s complaints, Brandi informed Cane that Tantaros would no longer be appearing on O’Reilly’s Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor.

    This isn’t the first time O’Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment. In 2004, he was sued by Fox producer Andrea Mackris who alleged he “repeatedly subjected her to sexual harassment through dinner and phone conversations variously described as lewd, lascivious, vile and threatening.” The allegations included O’Reilly trying to lure Mackris to his hotel room.

    The lawsuit alleges that Tantaros was ultimately removed from the air in retaliation for her complaints to Shine and others. Fox News later offered to continue to pay her through the length of her contract if she provided general legal releases to Ailes, O’Reilly, and others. The release would have also prevented her from discussing her time at Fox News in perpetuity.

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    With over four million listings across more than 65,000 cities worldwide, Airbnb has not just upended the global hospitality industry -- it has inadvertently created an industry within an industry: demand for services that help hosts manage their properties efficiently and professionally.

    It's a hot space, for sure. GuestReady, a one-year-old contender based in London, has pulled in $3 million in new funding as it looks to grow its presence in Europe and Asia.

    The round -- which is described as seed stage -- by was led by Impulse VC, the Russian fund that is backed by billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, with participation from Australia's Xponova and Boost Heroes, a VC led by Lastminute founder Fabio Cannavale. Existing backers Swiss Founders Fund and Senn and Partner -- which contributed a $700,000 raise last year -- were among others in the round.

    To recap, the startup is present in five cities -- London, Paris, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong -- where it provides all manner of services that an Airbnb host could need for management. That could include cleaning, laundry, or check-in and out services.

    "Staying at an Airbnb is always a great experience but sometimes it is not as professional as we’d like it to be. Sometimes it is the small things, like waiting for someone to let you in or an apartment that isn’t really that clean," CEO Alex Limpert told TechCrunch when it first launched.

    That continues to be the vision. The company currently manages over 600 properties and, to date, it has helped hosts with more than 20,000 stays from Airbnb guests. Talking to us this week, Limpert said the new money will be used to grow the tech team, double down on existing cities and expand into new ones.

    To take a running jump, the startup has acquired a smaller rival. Three-year-old Easy Rental operates in London and Paris and its addition will help GuestReady grow in those cities.

    Despite progress -- and apparent profitability in two cities already -- GuestReady has learned that not all markets are ripe for its wares. Earlier this year it exited Amsterdam, which was one of six initial cities when it went live.

    "We were excited about Amsterdam very early on, still in 2016. When we launched, we deliberately opened a few markets at once so that we could see which markets gain the best traction and then double down on them. In Amsterdam, demand for our services was very limited so that we didn’t reach the planned traction and decided to focus our limited resources on the markets that were doing best," Limpert explained.

    Despite that setback, the immediate goal is to open in one new city before the end of the year, with more planned for 2018.

    "We see good growth opportunities in Southern Europe and in more developed urban areas in Asia," the GuestReady CEO added.

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    Twitter Rips Gorka’s ‘Black African’ Crime Comment: ‘White Nationalism on Display’

    Former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka is drawing quite a bit of attentions over his recent remarks about “black African crime.”

    Gorka appeared on a Sinclair town hall on guns, and he called for expanded police action in order to deal with “black African gun crime against black Africans.” He made this point by pointing to Chicago and other Democrat-run cities where black people are killing each other “by the bushel.”

    The panel prompted Gorka to clarify that he was referring to “African Americans,” though he’s still turning a few heads for how he originally described “black Africans” with respect to an epidemic of violence. As such, plenty of blue-checked Twitter users, including “Black Africans,” have some thoughts about the racial connotations of Gorka’s words.
    Gorka: ‘Black Africans’ Are Shooting Each Other ‘By The Bushel’ In Chicago – Talking Points Memo

    Former White House adviser and self-proclaimed terrorism expert Sebastian Gorka on Monday said that “black Africans” in Chicago were killing each other “by the bushel.”

    In a round-table discussion on gun violence aired by WJLA — the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate that was purchased in 2014 by the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group — Gorka attempted to make a point about the legislative effort to ban so-called bump stocks. The gunman behind the shooting massacre in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 had several bump stocks, which mimic the firing speed of automatic weapons, in his hotel room.

    “The biggest problem we have is not mass shootings, they are the anomaly,” he began. “You do not make legislation out of outliers.”

    “Our big issue is black African gun crime against black Africans,” Gorka said. “It is a tragedy. Go to Chicago. Go to — the city’s run by Democrats for 40 years. Black young men are murdering each other by the bushel. This is a social issue. Allow the police to do their jobs and re-build those societies. Legislation will not save lives.

    “I assume what he’s talking about is African-Americans,” one panelist said after Gorka finished.

    “Yes,” the former White House official replied.

    “Well, that’s not what you said,” the panelist responded. “I couldn’t figure out who these African— “

    “African-Americans,” Gorka said.

    Chicago is a favorite political scapegoat of the Trump administration. The President has frequently threatened to send federal agents into the city, often seemingly as a blunt political jab.

    Gorka has a documented history of connections to far-right groups and made a name for himself, under the shingle of “counter-terrorism expert,” as fiery speaker on the supposed dangers of Islam.

    The director of Islamic studies at Duke University told TPM in February that Gorka “opines on everything from the Koran to Mohamad to jihad to Islamic history to contemporary politics but does so in a way that is inaccurate, sloppy, superficial, bigoted and ideological.”

    Before joining the White House staff, Gorka was an editor at the far-right outlet Breitbart News.

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    This spot called the Tuscan Market located north of Boston, the food was on point!
    Yall share your recent culinary experiences here.

    You're welcome

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  • 10/25/17--10:51: RIP Fats Domino
  • He died at 89

    Tbh...I thought dude was already dead

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    Every number in that image is wrong. The most recent data available from the FBI (which is for 2015) indicates that 89.3 percent of black murder victims that year were killed by black perpetrators. Among white murder victims, 81.3 percent were killed by someone who was white. It’s also obviously not the case that 3 percent of white people who were murdered were killed by police — the debate over police behavior would be very different — but none of this seems to have given Trump much pause.

    At the time, this tweet was largely treated as another unprecedented move from an unprecedented political candidate — who seemed to many to be unlikely to win the Republican nomination, much less the presidency. That Trump accepted the obviously bogus data is one thing; that he decided to retweet it to his followers is another. But it got washed away in the flow. Two weeks later, Trump called for a ban on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries.

    Then he won the nomination and the presidency. Then he appointed Sebastian Gorka to serve as an aide in the West Wing.

    Gorka’s tenure in the White House was relatively brief, coming to an ignominious end in late August after Gorka had spent most of his time, it seems, defending the administration in television interviews. Once he left, he found other opportunities doing the same thing, now hosted by the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    On Thursday, his duties with Sinclair, which owns scores of local television stations, had him participating in a roundtable discussion on gun violence in the United States for WJLA-TV in Washington. On that panel, Gorka proceeded to argue that efforts to regulate guns after mass shooting incidents was the wrong focus.

    The problem was not “inanimate objects,” he said, noting that the Boston bombers killed several people with an illegal inanimate object — a bomb. (That 19 times as many people were killed with the inanimate firearms used in the Las Vegas massacre earlier this month was not noted.) No, the guns weren’t the problem.

    Related: [Black Lives Matter activist speaks on stage at pro-Trump rally]

    “Our big issue is black African gun crime against black Africans,” he said. “It is a tragedy. Go to Chicago. Go to the cities run by Democrats for 40 years. Black young men are murdering each other by the bushel. This is a social issue. Allow the police to do their jobs and rebuild those societies. Legislation will not save lives.”

    Panelist and former Maryland state delegate Jolene Ivey challenged him on that point, noting that a key reason that most black people who are murdered are murdered by black people is that, as with white murder victims who are murdered by whites, they’re more likely to spend time with people who share their racial identity.

    “You think it’s a geographic function?” Gorka asked. When Ivey said she did, Gorka replied: “If they move out of their neighborhood, it will be fine, right? If they move to another neighborhood?”

    Related: [After Las Vegas, gun-control group seizing moment to push for tighter regulations]

    The conversation quickly devolved from there, when Ivey said that Gorka was being ridiculous, and he replied by suggesting that Ivey was saying that murders were ridiculous.

    But that last point from Gorka is worth highlighting, for two reasons. The first is that Gorka is arguing that it’s inherently ridiculous to assume that moving someone out of their community would affect their behavior. Specifically, he’s talking about moving people who live in inner cities, as made clear by his references to Chicago.

    One of the factors that overlaps with black-on-black crime is economic status. Poverty and crime are correlated, and low-income neighborhoods often see more crime. Black and Hispanic people are more likely to be poor. It’s difficult in many circumstances to extricate the effects of race from the effects of poverty, and that’s certainly true in this discussion. If we assume that we’re removing this theoretical criminal from the place that he or she lives, are we then also assuming that we’re changing his or her economic status?

    Related: [Violent crimes and murders increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says]

    Which brings us to the second reason this argument by Gorka is worth highlighting. He scoffs that it’s ridiculous to think that moving a black person out of a predominantly black neighborhood would make it less likely that the person would commit a murder. In other words, he’s implying that there’s something inherent in black “Africans” committing murders against other black people. That it’s a function of who they are as black people, not of circumstance.

    Consider this phrasing: “This is a social issue. Allow the police to do their jobs and rebuild those societies.” Murder is a function of black social structures, apparently, which the police can “rebuild.” He’s not saying: “This is a social issue; we need to provide more economic opportunity and reduce poverty.” He’s saying that only law enforcement can fix what’s wrong with black communities.

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    tha weather is warming up tha drinks are cold and tha women are dressing less....lets get drunk.

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    Of all the provocative strategies to reduce harm from opioid addiction, the one that I am about to describe is near the top.
    Over the past several months, hardly anyone I spoke to about the abuse of opioids in the United States, including pain pills and heroin, had a neutral point of view about what is happening in a small but important corner of the larger epidemic.

    The place is where a former security guard named Hector Mata became an expert at reversing overdoses and probably saved 25 lives in the process. It is not a hospital or a clinic.
    Mata's infirmary is the Corner Project, a syringe exchange program that began operating in the New York neighborhood of Washington Heights, which houses a bathroom where drug users can more safely inject heroin.
    On first glance, there is not much that is special about this bathroom except that there is someone checking in on an intercom every three minutes to make sure the user is still conscious.
    "A moral obligation"
    If a user doesn't respond on the check-in, Mata, or someone similarly trained, will press a button to unlock the door and rush in, armed with a syringe full of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, and hopefully reverse the effects of the opioid drugs. After seven years and at least 25 overdoses, he says he has never failed.
    While to some people, this sounds like a "consumption room," or a safe injection site, the staff here say it is simply a bathroom. After all, injection sites aren't legal under US law.
    Opioid overdoses shorten US life expectancy by 2½ months
    Opioid overdoses shorten US life expectancy by 2½ months
    I sat down with the Corner Project's director, Liz Evans, and asked her just how a place like this legally exists. She told me that public bathrooms are the frontline of the opioid epidemic. "People are dying in those bathrooms, and so there's an acknowledgment that as a syringe exchange provider, we have a moral obligation to make sure that people don't die in our building." And so, the Corner Project has implemented a safety net to make sure that people don't die from overdoses in the bathroom in their building. Everything in this story is a murky gray.
    Perhaps the story of the Corner Project could have been predicted. A heroin addict goes to a needle exchange, obtains clean needles and immediately heads to the bathroom to inject drugs. After all, according to recent studies in New York City, nearly two-thirds of drug users visit places like abandoned buildings, cars, and public bathrooms to inject drugs.
    The Corner Project started out as a street based community outreach group in 2005. In 2009, when the Corner Project moved to its current brick and mortar location, the bathroom was just a matter of convenience for clients. Within a short time, however, there was an overdose in the bathroom, followed by another and so on.
    US heroin deaths jump 533% since 2002, report says
    US heroin deaths jump 533% since 2002, report says
    Without a system in place, the workers at Corner Project would hear a characteristic thud from someone passing out in the bathroom, make a mad scramble for the keys and then work to revive the person. Though they were mostly successful, it was always frightening.
    The Corner Project could have simply closed the bathroom or searched people before they used the facility, but the workers chose to do neither.
    Instead, they kept it open and put in safety measures, like an intercom system, timers, and naloxone to help prevent overdoses. They stayed open knowing that if they closed their doors addicts would simply find another public restroom to use their drugs, far from the people who might be able to save them.
    And with that, the Corner Project pushed the limits of harm reduction in the United States.
    Since last year, the New York State Department of Health has followed the Corner Project's lead and instituted regulations and recommended procedures on how to best prevent overdoses in the places where users are likely to use: syringe exchange bathrooms.

    Criminalization vs. rehabilitation
    In the great debate of criminalization versus rehabilitation, many commonly held assumptions have been torn to shreds. For example, some believed the legalization of drugs like marijuana would lead to increased use. Yet in Colorado, which legalized recreational pot, teen marijuana use has dropped. When it comes to opioids, the number of people who overdose and die from legal prescription painkillers is about equal to the number of people who die from illicit drugs like heroin.

    Another commonly held belief is that a safe injection site would implicitly condone the use of drugs and lead to increased use. And yet we now know that theory starts to fray when we look at what has happened at the Corner Project and at a place called InSite in Vancouver, Canada, which Liz Evans also helped found.
    Started as a pilot project in 2003, InSite is one of only two legal supervised drug injection sites in Canada. They are the only two in North America. Though the centers don't provide any illicit drugs, the medical staff are there to provide first aid, including naloxone for overdoses, addiction counseling and mental health assistance. InSite has seen more than 3 million people since it opened, treated over 6,000 overdoses and not had a single person die.
    Furthermore, a 2011 Lancet study revealed that in the neighborhoods surrounding InSite, in the two years after it opened, there was a 35% reduction in overdose deaths from the two and a half years before it opened, compared with a 9% drop in the rest of Vancouver. Although it is unclear the impact of InSite on decreasing the total number of drugs users, it has led to increased admissions for addiction treatment and detoxification.
    And that also means cleaner communities. Streets and public restrooms aren't littered with needles and other drug paraphernalia. In fact, a recent survey of drug users from an undisclosed safe injection site in the United States found that if they hadn't used the site's facilities, over 90% of the users would be using in public bathrooms or out on the street.

    Canada's safe injection center brings drug addicts 'out of the alleys'
    These statistics are now the subject of dozens of studies in medical journals and were also recited to me as Mata showed me around the Corner Project's bathroom.
    But he emphasized again, "It's not a safe injection site," he told me. He points out that unlike InSite, the Corner Project doesn't have actual medical professionals monitoring the bathroom. In fact, if a doctor or nurse were to actually supervise its bathrooms, he or she could lose their license. He also doesn't care for the term "consumption room," which has been around in Western Europe since the 1990s.

    the rest at:

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    Much to often people speak about their cities and the bad side of their respective neighborhoods and communities. In the midst of all the negative “socio-political” and negative “social epidemic”,
    What are some of the BEST things your city, community or neighborhood have got to offer? Opposed to the typical stereotype about your area!

    What are some of the things or ideas you find that can be done to change your city neighborhood or community for the better?

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  • 10/25/17--07:22: Poly-life or nah...
  • Here's the deal.

    I just had a baby and his dad and I are cool. He 'loves' me and I think that he's a 'nice guy', but between his health and a lack of sex, I think that we should have an open relationship.

    But.....there's more.

    The middle son's dad and I have been playing with the idea of being polygynous. (Polygyny is a man having up to 4 wives).
    He wants to work full-time while me and the other woman have part-time jobs/go to school. He is her kid's dad, as well. I genuinely care about her, too. Like, I'll go to war over her.
    The catch is that he wants us to move to Detroit. And idk if I can do that.

    I'm torn by what is good for me vs what's good for the kids.

    What yall think?

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    via HHDX

    R. Kelly is facing more allegations of physical, mental and sexual abuse in a new feature by Rolling Stone. DJ Kitti Jones, an ex-girlfriend of Kelly and member of the inner circle mentioned in Buzzfeed’s story about the singer’s alleged sex cult, opened up about the alleged torment she faced during her relationship with the R&B superstar.

    Jones claims the abuse began in November 2011 after she confronted him about the now infamous video that was at the heart of Kelly’s child-pornography trial. The conversation took place via phone while she was going to Dallas around Thanksgiving. When she returned to Chicago, an enraged Kelly kicked and slapped her multiple times on their drive home.

    “He would start kicking me, telling me I was a stupid bitch [and] don’t ever get in his business,” she told Rolling Stone.

    Thanks @rollingstone You allowed me to put it EXACTLY how it happened! I chose to do this with REAL JOURNALISM not a gossip blog who doesn't take these kind of issues seriously from BLACK WOMEN and will post it for fun and wait for despicable and low class people to comment on everything but the truth. Anyone with at least 15 -20 minutes today please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE before passing judgement it's long and detailed, keep in mind I have moved on it's been exactly 4 yrs and if you read the ENTIRE article you will understand why I am talking now and why I waited so long! -- Kitti Jones ❤️❤️❤️

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    Judge grants motion for expungement of former Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby's record

    TULSA -- Attorneys of Betty Shelby in court on Wednesday filed a petition to expunge her record in connection with the shooting of Terence Crutcher in 2016.

    Shelby was found not guilty in May of manslaughter in the shooting of the 40-year-old Crutcher.

    The motion asks that since she was acquitted by the Crutcher jury trial, and since she has no other convictions, that her record of the arrest and charges made against her be expunged and sealed so that it does not appear on her criminal record.

    The motion says that Shelby "faces dangers of unwarranted adverse consequences as a result of the arrest information unless it is sealed."

    The judge granted the petition after it was agreed upon by all parties present.

    Shelby was sworn in as a reserve deputy with the Rogers County Sheriff's Office in August after she had resigned from her position with the Tulsa Police Department.


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    I figure this is the best place to address such a notion. On the surface, it's just some chick at work (a manager, co-worker) who wants to get it in, so it's whatever right? Thing is, what if she's on some other shit and you ain't trynna fuck with her like that.

    I notice once you reject a chick with some level of authority, they start throwin' so much shade at work that one of you is gonna end up quitting or getting fired. I've been doing some research only to find out this shit is like super common.

    Any of y'all experience this level of thirst in the work place?


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    Let's talk about it

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    Last year I went on a tour of Western Europe in search of a city that I could potentially call home. I went to London, Amsterdam ... and I would have kept going, through the overpriced splendor of Scandinavia, or the lush, economically disenfranchised ruins of Athens, but Berlin stopped me in my tracks.

    It’s a city best described as charming ... and lawless. Somewhere between watching a green-haired comedian hammer nails up his nose at an underground comedy club at a punk squat, and attending a fetish club, where people in latex underwear debated politics before making out in an indoor swimming pool—I decided that this was the place for me.

    I’ve been here since August.

    Germany, and Berlin in particular, has a reputation of being progressive. With free tertiary education available to anyone, a strict recycling program and unimpeachable tenancy rights, it certainly presents as a pretty picture upon first glance. But much like the history behind this troubled, vibrant city, there’s a wall you have to break through first.

    The first thing local (or foreign) Berliners will warn you about is the bureaucracy. The authenticity of German stereotypes varies from person to person, but one thing that requires no exaggeration is this country’s obsession with paperwork.

    It’s wonderful to live in a city with rent control. Less so when it means filing a binder of documents, and a five-minute registration process that requires a three-month advance booking, a series of signatures and the occasional sexual favor. Not speaking from experience, of course, but that’s not to say that I haven’t felt royally screwed whenever I’ve left the Finanzamt (tax office) or Bürgeramt (registration office).

    There are just some things you accept as part of life in Berlin: being yelled at for crossing the street at a red light, offering to pay for dinner to avoid the awkwardness of watching a German man divide the bill, and having to systematically flash my paperwork to do, well, anything. In return, I get to live in a city where nature is fiercely preserved and radical queer feminists host summer barbecues where white people with dreadlocks are charged twice the admission as people of color.

    And even though it has a population of 3.7 million, 13.5 percent of whom identify as foreign-born, black people experience Berlin very differently from white people—a reality that became abundantly clear to Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor, an artist from Florida. Initially interested in just a summer visit, Taylor describes her first impression of Berlin as “pure, unadulterated magic.”

    It was Berlin’s radical theater scene that appealed to her artistically and, ultimately, compelled her to stay instead of moving on to Paris as initially planned. That was eight years ago.

    “I was really impressed ... I was in awe,” she says.

    She describes Berlin as ripe for experimental performance art ... but also sorely lacking in discussions on race and intersectionality.

    Some years ago, she attended a prominent ex-pat magazine’s panel discussion about the African experience in Berlin, an event where distinguished Afro-Deutsche panelists were silenced from participating in discussions with which they had direct experience. She says the conversations revolved around that month’s publication, which featured a cover story about how one journalist spent his day with a black drug dealer.

    “It was unreal,” she says.

    That’s why she started Black in Berlin in 2012, a regular salon series that provides people of color a place to discuss the issues important to them ... and the occasional trap-music party.

    She says that racism has definitely been the biggest challenge of living in Berlin.

    “The city and the people are still very far behind,” she says. “The German word for racism, rassismus, wasn’t even put into the German dictionary until 1996. All the words used to discuss racism are in English. It’s a challenge.”

    Even though Germany has publicly atoned for the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, a political resistance to combat spiking rates in hate crime, along with continued denial of historical atrocities like the 20th-century genocide in modern-day Namibia, makes it a frustrating experience.

    Taylor is well aware of these double standards. And, after eight years, she reflects pensively on the time she’s spent here and admits that her feelings on the city are conflicted.

    “The spirit of this city is on shaky ground,” she says. Her initial infatuation with Berlin is now mixed with tension, but she finds comfort in the black, queer art community fostered over recent years.

    “The biggest thing I love about Berlin is that you can really be free to be yourself here,” she says.

    Mark Ivan Mukiibi Serunjogi, a digital marketing manager, agrees. He grew up in an East African community in Copenhagen and moved to Berlin in January of last year for a role with an e-commerce retailer. Serunjogi says that after living in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a while, he had really low expectations about returning to Europe, and that’s why Berlin has exceeded them.

    “After going to America, I became aware of so many things still wrong with our [Danish] society. We have this way of telling ourselves that we’re so great and we’re over things. ... America made me more aware. I was worried about coming back to mostly white Europe,” he says.

    But Serunjogi believes that working in an international business really helped to assuage those fears, allowing him room to explore the city with an open mind and heart, which ultimately led him to the Black in Berlin group. He says that Googling hip-hop parties in Berlin took him to a late-night event where he met a member who told him about the salon discussions.

    “He had me at ‘black,’” he says.

    With the added support of a community of color, a solid job and a place to live, Serunjogi says he’s made it work for himself here—but not everything is pleasant. “The worst aspect about living in Berlin is the dating experience,” he says. The city has a reputation of being hopelessly single, and regardless of your sexual orientation, you’re bound to come away with some pretty wild Tinder stories ... like that one time a doctor proposed to me in a WhatsApp message while high on LSD and MDMA (Ecstasy). Classic Berlin.

    But he agrees with Taylor that the freedom found in this city makes overcoming those challenges worth the effort—though he warns it’s not for everyone. When asked whether he would recommend the city to other black people considering Blaxit, he said it depends on one’s frame of reference.

    “Growing up in Denmark prepared me to live in a mostly white space again in Germany,” says Serunjogi, which is why his expectations were exceeded with the discovery of the local black community.

    “Living in Europe [before] gave me tools to deal with that ... but if you come to Berlin because you’re expecting something better, you’ll be disappointed,” he says.

    Advising that the best way to experience Berlin is to be open (and ready to be called out on cultural differences), Serunjogi says that giving new voices space to be heard is critical to anyone who has previously lived in America, as he has.

    Though Taylor admits that openness is one of the many benefits of living in Berlin, her advice is a bit more practical: “Learn German ... and use it as a weapon.”

    As a newly minted local, I can definitely say, “Ich stimme zu.”

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