The Jay-Z and B effect

The Jay-Z and B Effect.

By now, I’m sure we’ve all seen the articles and statistics regarding the demise of marriage in the Afro-American community. Numerous articles have been written such as this one in the Washington Post by Joy Jones, “Marriage is for White People” (…), whose premise is that perhaps marriage is for white folks. And the breakdown in the family in the African-American community is widely accepted as being at the root of the challenges we see there today. At every turn and every news outlet, we see more bad news suggesting to us, we will not make it as a people.

But a funny thing happened on the way to societal Armageddon, black folks started getting married again. In the past year within my circle of family and friends, I’ve been invited to six weddings and have been made aware of two additional engagements. And while you may question the validity of my sample size, I know it to be true that we’ve turned a corner in the lives of a people. Just as I knew the Tech sector was making a comeback well before the talking heads on CNBC declared to be so, because all my techie friends were getting calls last January, I know too the wedding alter is no longer the lost artifact of an age gone by. But alas the media will not discover this new trend until sometime in 2011. And being positive news, it will be buried on page 64, if mentioned at all.

And if I am correct, why is this so? Why now? Well, I’m sure if you ask a sociologist, they’ll suggest that it has something to do with the economy and how the downward turn caused people to look more toward family than material things. Surely, every storm carries its own blessing, and while I certainly believe the economy has played a role, I think another, less obvious event served as the tipping point (shout out to Malcolm Gladwell). Jay-Z and Beyonce got married. In effect Jay-Z and Beyonce have made it “cool” to be married. And perhaps the most impressive part of their union, is that it really seems to be more about the marriage than the wedding. And by not allowing their wedding to be the media spectacle it could have been, they have also conveyed a subtle, unmistakable statement, that it’s not about the pomp and ceremony as much as it is the love and commitment.

This power couple were preceded by Will and Jada, Brad and Angelina (blacks folks love them both) and more recently Alicia Keys and Swiss Beats. And although I’m sure that some will cast stones at each of these, each has shown that marriage is the goal, something which has been missing in the black community (Side note: Having an Angelina, Alicia Keys or Sade, for that matter, coming after your man, is like the IRS coming after your assets, meaning, that it’s really beyond your control. However, having such an Iconic woman, with worldwide swag in your personal circle, wanting your man, is highly unlikely). But none of these couples resonates in the black community as well as Jay-Z and Beyonce, and none could have created a point of inflection (intentionally or not) as these two have.

Having said this, Jay-Z and Beyonce have feet of clay, just like the rest of us. But they have set upon a good course and that is all any of us can do each and every day or our lives.

So, “if you like, put a ring on it”.

Alan Jones

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p.s. We all, regardless of race, will make it. Adaptation is what we, the human species, do. We were built for this.

p.p.s. Men have a choice, regardless of who steps to them.

Those Who Get It

Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to get it? Be it on the job or in their personal lives, they just seem to have it all figured out.

Being an observer of people, I have found that people fall into one of four categories in their professional and personal lives (of course, there are people whose success and personal behavior defy description).

As professionals you have:
1) Those who get it,
2) Those that don’t
3) Those that don’t want to hear it
4) Those who won’t.

1) the 1’s get it. They understand what it takes to be successfully and are willing to do it. They understand the sacrifice and appreciate those around them who understand too.

2) The 2’s, those that don’t get it, bounce from job to job and are either asked to leave or leave on their own because they aren’t being promoted fast enough. They have bought the hype, and always assume that they’ll be a top 5% earner in their chosen profession. They don’t really understand sacrifice or the level of effort it really takes to successful.

3) The 3’s, those who don’t want to hear it, understand in their heart what it takes to be successful, but are in denial about it. They understand cost to be a 1, but many of them are often seduced by short cuts and get rich quick schemes. The collective energy they’ve put into pursuing these pots of gold, could build the dreams they pursue if they just had the focus. They burn through most of their 20’s in this state, but they eventually figure it out, and at such an age do develop an appreciation for the 1’s who have already. This group contains many who might be called “Twixters”. In today’s dating generation, this is the largest of the 3 groups. They may be just as smart as 1’s, they just don’t “get it”, until they’ve run in circles for a while.

4) The 4’s, won’t play by the rules. If they don’t have an illegal hustle, it’s because they really don’t think the risk is worth the reward. 4’s aren’t stupid, they count the cost, and realize, in their own minds, that they just really don’t want to work that hard. They have sense enough not to chase their own tail, but watch yours around them, for if they can come up quick and get away with, they will.

In relationships you also have:
A) Those who get it,
B) Those that don’t
C) Those that don’t want to hear it
D) Those who won’t.

A) Those that get it: These are the people who, since the age of 16 have never had an issue getting or holding on to a mate. And if they should somehow find themselves single again, there’s a line of folks ready to get with them. It has little to do with looks or money, although neither hurts. But these folks know how to take care of a mate and how to show love. There is a light inside of them, that other folks who get it, see as well. Those who “get it” in their personal lives tend to pare off. But folks who get tend to recognize quickly when things are not going to work out. Those who get it make great same sex friends, in that they are the last of the four types to ever try to poach your mate, for they understand, and honor love above sex and money. Professionally, these people are often 1’s. Even if they aren’t high earners or near the top of their field they understand what it takes and sincerely appreciate it in other. A’s have a gift for being real, but they are equally as gifted in seeing the qualities that they want in others. They know emotional talent when they see it.

B) Those that don’t get it: In relationships B’s are befuddled as to why all their relationships end poorly. They may be 1’s professionally, but run off every potential mate, by lack of attentiveness, or if a 2 or 3 professionally, they may lean towards making themselves too available. B’s, and particularly women, want the fairly tale relationship they dreamed about growing up. B’s, who are largely women, are generally more honest than C’s or D’s, but they can become desperate, and that might not be a good look around your man. B’s and C’s both project, but B’s tend to really over inflate a relationship, but on the other hand they are some of the sweetest people in the world, they just don’t get this thing we call reality.

C) Those that don’t want to hear it: They say they’re looking for a 50/50 love, but what they really mean,is that any relationship needs to start at least 50/50 and lean their way from there. They refuse to accept that they might have to give more than they get. They are in denial about how real relationships work, and if they are giving more than 50%, they are ashame of it. The A’s understand, that as long as you get what you need, what does it matter? The B’s don’t really understand the concept of working on a realtionship. There are just as many men in this group as there are women. And professionally, these folks tend to be 2’s and 3’s. But like in their professional lives, they are often either looking an available upgrade or weighing thepossibility of taking a short cut to what they want. They know where the line is, and don’t typically cross it, but if you are having issues with your S/O, they might begin to rationalize investigating futher. So, you want to watch your mate around them, in those cases. C’s aren’t likely as B’s to go Fatal Attraction on you, reality does typically win the day with them. But unlike A’s, C’s often have to figure it out the hard way. As they mature, C’s can grow into A’s, but they must always be on guard not to back slide to their old trifling ways. B’s and C’s both often suffer from poor mate selection. Women of both groups tend to project onto a man how they would like him to be, rather than who he is, C’s just happen to eventually figure out what the deal is.

D) Those who won’t: These are the people who don’t play by the rules and it bugs the heck out of A’s, B’s and C’s. Each has his or her own rules. They ain’t gotta take your man, and often times don’t want to. They just want what they want. And men of this ilk, often actually prefer married women, so they don’t have to commit. Both D men and women, will say whatever their potential lover needs to hear. They really believe all’s fair in love and war. The ironic thing is that D’s are just as adept at spotting talent as A’s. They are very efficient with their time, and don’t waste it with those who can’t or won’t provide their needs. D’s are almost always 1’s or 4’s professionally. But if they happen to be a 4, when and if they decide to settle down they often find someone to take care of them financially. Social norms just seem to be a big waste of time to them. Although, all D’s are certainly not sociopaths, certainly all sociopaths are D’s.

Some parings within an individual are more likely than others, such as some being a 1A or 1D, with 1B’s being less likely.

So, who are you? Or better yet, who is the one you’re with?

Disclaimer: Again, I say that not every person falls in one of these catagories, but just as in other parts of life, you can only prepare so much for random events, or people for that matter.