Happy 37th Birthday to Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Santresa L. Glass)

Most friends speak about they’ve had their “ups and downs” as friends, but we’ve never experienced any “downs.” For 16 years, you’ve been one of my best friends, and I’m grateful for our incomparable friendship. Too many people wait until someone’s funeral before sharing expressions of love, but we make our love for one another known weekly, even if it’s just a “love you” text. You’re undeniably beautiful on the inside and outside.

I’m so proud of all you have accomplished. When I think about the fact that my best friend is a pioneer in research on social media’s impact on small and medium-sized businesses, completing one of the earliest doctoral dissertations in this area, this makes me even more proud of you. I look forward to the future research you will conduct and publish in this area, and I look forward to collaborating with you on some empirical studies involving this interesting and important research.

The great work you’re doing through your non-profit organization, Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc., is commendable. Each day, your organization, under your leadership, works tirelessly to bring increased awareness about all forms of cancer—not just one or two forms as almost all other cancer-related organizations do. Again, you’re innovative and revolutionary approach to cancer prevention, education, support and treatment makes you a standout leader and thinker in this sector of the non-profit community. I’m intrigued to see what Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc. will do next. By the way, I hate cancer! (You already knew that, though.)

My prayer for you, on your 37th birthday, is to have a day of joy, peace, relaxation and reflection.

Without question, you’re one of the best gifts God has ever given to me.

Thank you for being who you are.

I love you.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Juice Soul and L.T. Terror’s “Let Me Have My Way”: A Critical Review

"Let Me Have My Way" Juice Soul

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

“Let Me Have My Way,” the second single from the forthcoming album Too Dark to Turn Back, features the ingenious collaboration of R&B and soul artist Juice Soul, rapper L.T. Terror and producer Chevalier Coleman. These gifted independent black male talents are among the best in the music industry. Without question, they will soon be household names. Last summer’s hottest song, “Tasteless,” their brainchild, put music fans in the mood for romance. With “Let Me Have My Way,” the hot, the sexy, the romance returns—just in time for summer love and lovemaking.

Trained in the Department of English and Modern Languages at the renowned Albany State University, Juice Soul masterfully wields compelling storytelling in his new single; this engrossing storytelling is a singular and characteristic element in his oeuvre. Mr. Soul’s euphonious, mellifluous vocals never disappoint, never auto-tuned, always delivering classic and disarming sounds that drive the ladies wild.

Drawing on the power of vivid, evocative storytelling, Juice takes his listeners on a journey, a love journey, one where sexual satisfaction is promised. We, the listeners, witness a cohesive and intriguing narrative, one apposite for an episode of a quality television drama.

A general proclivity in postmodernism, a historical and cultural phenomenon and the historical and cultural epoch in which we reside, as articulated by cultural critic and theorist Fredric Jameson and scholar Elizabeth Atkinson, is to welcome disorder and ambiguity. Resisting this postmodern impulse, Mr. Soul proffers a substantive story that’s logical and perspicuous and that resonates—he does not simply string some words together, as is, unfortunately, increasingly becoming the case for many popular singers and songwriters. Even some of his distinctive lyrical phrasing, where the vocal styling appears to blur or fade words intentionally for musicality purposes, still permits audiences to understand fundamentally what he attempts to convey.

The song anticipates feminist critique: both artists respectfully invite their desired women to share in an intimate experience with them. In Soul’s case, he wants it to last perpetually: “I never wanna let you go.” Sexual intercourse for him is communal, appropriately tasteful and delicate, never sacrificing, though, healthy masculine performance: “I’m going to give it to you so nice/Tell me how you feel about this?” The artist expresses a genuine interest in evaluative feedback—even during the sexual encounter, suggesting a true wish to please his woman. As artist, father, and professional, Juice Soul remains relentlessly authentic.

While L.T. Terror maintains this authenticity in the song, the rapper does it in a divergent way from Juice. The sagacious rapper, disabusing potential critics of arguments about the song being too idyllic, too mawkish (and it’s not), communicates frank intentions about his desires for the sexual experience, one ephemeral by design, yet vowed to delight. A central characteristic of postmodernism is an explicit embracing and engaging in textual fragmentation, that is, intentional textual discontinuities, and Terror’s lyrics, from a first reading, seem to represent radical textual fragmentation, especially when one juxtaposes them with Juice’s. Sex, however, does not have to be an enduring commitment; it can be a “one-time” experience, as Juice Soul intimates.

For L.T. Terror, this “one time” sexual interaction will include psychic stimulation: “My favorite position is in your mind.” Although the artist isn’t looking for a long-term physical commitment (and isn’t willing to give one), he hopes the woman will eternally remember their time together: “trying to find a home inside of your thighs.” Candid as possible, though, the rapper does not want good sex mistaken for love: “Might see love inside of my eyes/But that’s one big disguise/I’m such a horrible guy.” In other words, enjoy this magical moment, but don’t catch any abiding feelings.

Ironically, the divergences between Juice Soul’s lyrics and L.T. Terror’s form a totality, a unified whole, one reflecting real possibilities, diverse interactions and reactions, and nuanced notions of authenticity.

The track can be purchased on iTunes, and one can hear it on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

Let’s make this single go viral by sharing this piece and keeping the song in constant rotation on our favorite listening devices and music platforms.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

15 Non-Sexist Word or Phrase Substitutes

English teacher helping students

(Photo Credit: Reference)                            

When one writes with his or her reader or audience in mind, the individual employs non-sexist language. An awareness of non-sexist language communicates that you’re a careful, considerate writer. This piece offers 15 non-sexist word or phrase substitutes.

  1. Replace mankind with humanity.
  2. Replace policeman with police officer.
  3. Replace man-hours with work hours.
  4. Replace mailman with police officer.
  5. Replace chairman with chairperson.
  6. Replace a man who with someone who.
  7. Replace anchorman with anchor.
  8. Replace cleaning woman with domestic.
  9. Replace Englishmen with the English.
  10. Replace fireman with firefighter.
  11. Replace foreman with supervisor.
  12. Replace man-made with artificial or manufactured.
  13. Replace postman with mail carrier.
  14. Replace salesman with salesperson.
  15. Replace self-made man with self-made person.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Should Church be a Restaurant?

Black People Eating at Kitchen Table

(Photo Credit: The Main Board)

While occasionally incorporating food into church events or activities is fine, one should never view church as a restaurant, as the place to eat. Eat before you come to church. Many of the folks who love to eat at church are the very ones who don’t need to be thinking about food at church. When a church becomes so focused on, so consumed by food, it’s a symptom of a larger, more disconcerting problem: a church that has become too jejune, too casual, too insipid—devoid of purpose.

Yeah, we all know people primarily attend church on Easter to eat, especially black folks in the South. An all-year Easter mindset pertaining to food, however, should never develop. Church leaders who posit or assume that maintaining and increasing church attendance necessitates food need to benefit from retooling, from a reappraisal of their leadership approaches and strategies. Lacking confidence in delivering compelling teaching and preaching, some pastors substitute food for engaging, authentic, transformative ministry, ministry centered on the Word of God—not decentered from the Word of God.

Ineptly handled, unfortunately, food can produce significant problems. Even though one may think it’s a nice gesture for a meeting or service, too many parishioners become distracted by food, losing their proverbial heads about it. You really have a chance to witness just how “saved” someone is when it comes to food at church. For church leaders who insist on food being served, they need to grow in their practical awareness of how their congregants respond to it. It may be the appropriate time to have an “altar call” when those foul attitudes and discordant spirits emerge while food is being served.

Pastors and church leaders, stop organizing meetings and services just to eat. Ultimately, you guys and gals are the problem.

Church hospitality leaders and staff must play a more instrumental role in ameliorating this problem. Keenly aware of the real issues with serving food, hospitality leaders and staff need to inform their pastors about how challenging it is to prepare and serve food regularly. It can even be a challenge to keep non-hospitality staff out of the kitchen. Why does non-hospitality members need to be in the kitchen? Because they feel entitled, because you’ve allowed them to do what they want for so long, because you’re not being adamant about rules governing the kitchen and food service. Do you actually have rules? How are they promulgated? Are the rules disseminated in such a clear and professional way that all members and visitors are aware of them? Be willing to be firm, even aggressive, with your pastor about your requests—and demands.

Food and church can coexist, of course; they do at successful churches. Just make sure you know what it takes to incorporate food effectively into meetings and services. The food needs to be de-emphasized and the purpose(s) of meetings and services should be elevated. That, of course, requires you to have a purpose and know it.

A misreading of this piece is to perceive it as an attack on food being served in a church. Quite the opposite is true: when you serve food, do it with professionalism, in a spirit of excellence, never distracting from the true purpose(s) of meetings and services.

Again, the best practice is to eat before you come to church.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Did Trump Teach You that God is the Supreme Ruler?

Trump Black Church

(Photo Credit: The Washington Post)

With the arrival of President Donald J. Trump, a “newfound” understanding of God as the supreme ruler of all has emerged. What’s most troubling about this, however, is the “novel” recognition is more about expressions of anger, protest, and resistance than it is about the truth of our sovereign God. Being “woke” should begin with the reality that God has been the sole ruler of all long before Trump—even long before George Washington. If you want to oppose, criticize President Trump, that’s more than fine. Please, however, don’t act like God just became the King of all of humanity and phenomena. The Lord’s supremacy should always guide all of our thoughts and actions, regardless of political party or ideological persuasion.

Psalm 82: God the Supreme Ruler

Psalm 82 states, “God presides in the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods he gives his decision: ‘You must stop judging unjustly; you must no longer be partial to the wicked! Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people. ‘How ignorant you are! How stupid! You are completely corrupt, and justice has disappeared from the world. ‘You are gods,’ I said; ‘all of you are children of the Most High.’ But you will die like mortals; your life will end like that of any prince.’ Come, O God, and rule the world; all the nations are yours.”

Justice and Political Action and Discourse in the Era of Trump

Presidents come and go, politicians come and go, kings and queens come and go, but God is eternal. His kingship is eternal and it’s not based on human votes or anything else of the material world: He serves by the divine authority of “the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods.”

Yes, as Psalm 82 makes clear, we’re to resist injustice and wickedness and champion the rights of the powerless, the voiceless (“the poor and the orphans…the needy and the helpless”). Without a true understanding and commitment to the already eternal supremacy of God, the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed, the marginalized will never find liberty from “the power of evil people.” If you, therefore, consider President Trump among “the power of evil people,” then a real sincerity toward God must govern your discourse, your approach, your resistance.

In short, God didn’t just show up on the scene when you surrendered your equanimity to the truth that President Donald J. Trump is your legitimate president of the United States—not simply to be called “45,”—but He’s always been the supreme ruler of all, for “all nations are yours,” even before any human was created.

Ground your protesting and resistance in the truth of God’s eternal supremacy, a supremacy that has always existed.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Transformative Power of Reading

Transformative Power of Reading

(Photo Credit: Black Christian News Network)

One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 41st Birthday to Tunicker M. Jones

Tunicker M. Jones

(Photo Courtesy of Tunicker M. Jones)

After years of her being envious of my best friend, Dr. Santresa L. Glass, I reluctantly decided to write a brief piece to wish Tunicker M. Jones a Happy 41st Birthday! Each year, I compose a piece, an ode to Dr. Glass on her birthday. Jones has desired the same, with me denying her request each year. She has the privilege of being my sister, which, of course, is the greatest fact of her life, of her existence.

Ms. Tunicker M. Jones earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Troy University in Troy, Alabama and her master’s degree in Special Education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a certified educator, Jones has over 10 years of professional experience teaching middle grades regular and special education students.

The passion Jones has for ensuring special needs students receive a quality education is commendable. She’s truly committed to helping every child, including our most vulnerable, to be prepared for the future and to experience success.

As I reflect on the vital and challenging work you do each day, I guess you deserve a little recognition on your birthday. Savor this piece, as it’s likely to never happen again.

Although the most important national and international holiday is on March 27th, which, of course, is my birthday, I’ll let you have today.

Happy Birthday!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison