Relationships

Juice Soul’s “Made Her A Woman”: A Relationship Counternarrative for the Fellas

While male artists, especially those in R&B and Hip-Hop, often receive charges of employing sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic and divisive imagery and language, Juice Soul, Jason Williams of Augusta, Georgia, offers a mature, balanced and compelling counternarrative to those charges. Too many songs across musical genres present an oversimplified ultimate reason why numerous intimate heterosexual relationships fail: it’s the man’s fault. Yes, admittedly, men, more often than not, create the core challenges and problems that plague relationships and inevitably lead to their undoing. In many cases, however, women contribute significantly to these relationship challenges and problems. “Made Her A Woman,” one of the hit tracks from Juice Soul’s 2005 100% Concentration album, boldly, yet respectfully, ventures into this frequently slanted, deficient in nuance discourse.

Juice Soul’s dexterous melding of urban contemporary R&B and neo-soul lends itself useful to illuminating his characteristic deftness in relating an enchanting story through song. The powerful art of storytelling represented in “Made Her A Woman”—and most of his works—facilitates heartfelt emotions expressed. Although the title, “Made Her A Woman,” might give the impression of a standard patriarchal song, the artist deploys an ironic title, to surprise, challenge, unsettle. Early in the song, Mr. Williams disabuses the listener of any thoughts about this work being laced with misogynist or patriarchal words or themes.

Juice Soul Jason Williams

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

The artist longs for his former love to appreciate the substantial contributions he made in her life that helped her to evolve into a mature and productive woman. Her unwillingness to give him the gratitude he deserves results in a vexing loneliness; a loneliness that engenders a primarily dejected mood. Pain, however, seems to motivate the artist to rise above the limitations of his extant inauspicious circumstances, communicating a slight sense of optimism about his future love life.

Williams’ oeuvre appears intimately grounded in realism. The type of raw emotion and zeal he delivers suggests mostly biographical content rather than purely fictional content, which could explain why his songs connect so strongly with fans.

“Made Her A Woman” taps into the universal human condition by engaging common feelings experienced: loss, loneliness, heartbreak and disenchantment. As an adroit and shrewd lyricist, Juice Soul always releases a sincere, candid piece. This track conveys an important message: heterosexual men’s relationship narratives possess great value, and when artists proffer those narratives without fear, we behold poignant, beautiful art—the type of art represented by his Summer 2016 song featuring rapper L.T. Terror, one of the best songs produced this decade, “Tasteless.”

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Consequences of Being the Other Woman

Adultery

(Photo Credit: Singapore Divorce Lawyers)

Why allow yourself to experience the misery of being “the other woman”? When you become the other woman, you’re exacerbating the low self-esteem problems already present. You should value your body as more than a commodity only useful for a man’s exploitation. If you sleep with a married man, you will suffer numerous consequences. Do wonder why you’ve become such a messy woman? It’s the life you’re living with another woman’s husband. Do you wonder why your depression continues to grow more severe? Yep, you guessed it; it’s the sinful relationship you’re engaged in with a married man.

At some point, you should become exhausted with struggling to find a private room or office or house to have sex in. Is it really worth it? It’s quick, weak and little anyway, right? To cap it all off, you only get it when his wife is away. See, that’s setting yourself up for failure, for pain. You’re an option and not a constant.

Men who commit adultery typically have several other women. When you, therefore, sleep with him, you’re just one of several to get his little filthy genitals. He’s nasty and you’re nasty; he’s a whore and you’re a whore.

In short, stop being a whore and get your own man. Leave that woman’s husband alone.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Show People Themselves

Couple Arguing

(Photo Credit: Urbanette)

One of the most effective ways to show people how they behave is to respond to them the same way they respond to you. This, of course, goes against what is traditionally taught in most faiths. From time to time, however, you need to expose people for who they are by demonstrating to them how they act. Jesus often employed parables (elementary teachings) to make profound and enduring statements. You might contemplate approaching people in the aforementioned way as a means of adopting a similar pedagogical practice used by Jesus.

By temporarily choosing the ways of others, you can cause them to abandon their unfavorable conduct, considering they will not like when these ways are used against them. This strategy presents a meaningful opportunity for you to teach them valuable lessons and change their lives potentially forever.

At some point, you simply have to let folks know their behavior is unacceptable, and you must engage in efforts to discontinue their troubling conduct. You possess the power to ameliorate those around you.  Although they may not know yet, you’re the change they need to see in their lives.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Santresa Glass Celebrates 36 Years of Life

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Happy birthday to one of my best friends, Dr. Santresa Lolita Glass! Yes, I wrote your whole name. And, if you don’t like it, I can revise the previous sentence to include your other names, names that are more apt fits: stalker, for example. Just let me know. On to even more important things, though, I want you to have an excellent birthday; one that is filled with joy, relaxation and peace. With such a great heart, you deserve only the best. Unfortunately, that great heart will never make me desire you—don’t get it twisted sweetie. (I know how much you despise being called “sweetie,” especially from a certain group of people, but that’s another story.)

For the remainder of the year, just breathe, just live.

I’m so fortunate to have you as a best friend. When a person is loved by you, he or she is blessed with authentic love. You love your friends and family genuinely—not for what they can give you or do for you. Always know that your life has tremendous value; it touches, affects and makes the difference for numerous people.

You matter. What you do matters. What you say matters. What you think matters.

Too often, people take for granted the ability to be a true friend. This ability is a gift from Jesus. Having a real friend is a gift from God, and being able to be a real friend is a gift from God. No matter what anyone says, know that you possess the gift of friendship—in both forms.

As I continue to live this wonderful life in Christ Jesus, I learn that the untrustworthy and selfish people in my life will inevitably be exposed. Just recently, I discovered someone I long supported, devoted time and energy to, and loved demonstrated pure selfishness and deceit. With you, San, I never have to concern myself with such foolishness. You’re never thinking about how you can take advantage of someone to fulfill your selfish longings.

Thank you for being a giver. Thank you for being kind. Thank you for being selfless. Thank you for being my friend.

Well, I’ve wasted enough of my day on you—valuable time that I’ll never be able to redeem. You’re not that special to consume so much of my time. Duh!

Understand that I’ll never want you—no matter how many creative advances you try to make—I’ll never desire you. You’re simply obsessed with me and, at this point, it has become really pathetic.

Anyway, have the best birthday ever and know that I love you—not like you want—but with the love one of the best friends in the world deserves!

P.S. Although I will not have time today to give you a live concert, just know in the days to come you will be blessed with the gift of mellifluous, yoke-destroying, harmonious, and chart-topping song.

Love ya,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels (your wildest fantasy)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 35th Birthday to Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Santresa L. Glass

Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass

I want to take this opportunity to wish Dr. Santresa L. Glass, my best friend, a Happy Birthday! San, as she’s affectionately known, is such a loving, caring and thoughtful person. She’s passionate about friendship and love. Whenever I have good news to share, Dr. Glass is always more excited about the news than I am. In a world saturated with jealousy and envy, one must truly treasure that aforementioned aspect of a person. We have a friendship like none other. It’s a joy to wake up each day and know that you have someone in your corner with the love and support that Santresa extends. Yes, my life is great because of Jesus dwelling on the inside of me, and Dr. Glass is one of those precious treasures He’s given to me that makes life even more special.

Although we disagree 99% of the time, our ardent discourses always add to our friendship rather than take away from it. Too many people are looking for “yes men” and “yes women,” but San and I seek authenticity, and that’s exactly what we receive from one another 100% of the time. We always honor each other’s authenticity because it comes from a genuine place of love. Dr. Glass and I embrace each other’s differences and those differences help us to learn so much from one another.

One of the dimensions of our friendship I appreciate the most is how she’s able to give me valuable insights from a woman’s perspective and I’m able to offer her meaningful insights from a man’s perspective. You would be really surprised how we’ve used this “insider knowledge” to our advantage.

While many still believe we have a sexually intimate relationship, our friendship is not based on sexual relations at all. We share an intimacy that is much deeper and rewarding than what people experience in relationships involving sexual intercourse. The essence of our intimacy and love is best encapsulated and delineated by William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Our love and intimacy cannot even be eradicated by the ravages of time.

San, I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished. Whatever you set your mind to do, you conquer—no matter what challenges and problems you encounter. As you know, I’m only a call, text, tweet or Facebook message away. It’s my prayer that God’s Grace will manifest into your life on this day an abundance of spiritual elevation, divine health, love, peace, joy, happiness, wealth, faith, favor and miracles.

I love you and want you to have the best birthday ever!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Santresa L. Glass!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Overcoming Undercover Enemies

Backstabber

(Photo Credit: Money Matters 101)

Your greatest enemies may not be the folks you think: they may be the people you least think.  It’s vital for you to keep your eyes and ears tuned to what’s going on around you. By doing this, you can become more aware of things that can be transpiring behind your back.  Unfortunately, too many people hang around individuals who they think support them, but behind-the-scenes they’re stabbing them in the back.  Yes, folks will laugh with you on the phone and when you hang out, but that does not mean they really like you. They may be using their ability to stay in close connection with you to plan and execute their evil hidden agendas.

Watch out for those people who are always talking about someone to you; chances are they’re talking about you with someone else.

We often don’t engage in enough careful thought about the people in our lives.  Those people you allow in your lives can be some of the very individuals causing you to experience the most vexing problems.  From my experience with people who have been my undercover enemies, I can tell you that I didn’t take serious the warning signs they might be or become my enemies.  While I placed trust in them and devoted significant time to them, I failed to recognize the impact their selfishness and low self-esteem would have on me.  When you love someone, a natural proclivity to accept all that comes with him or her surfaces.  I Peter 1:8 informs us that “love covers a multitude of sins.”  When you have true love for someone, it will, indeed, cover a multitude of  his or her sins.  What you have to do, however, is not allow your love for people to keep you in a state of blindness.

When people don’t really care for you, they will do some direct and subtle things to you.  It’s your job to look for those direct and subtle things.  The subtle things can be the most challenging to detect, however.  What I have found to be one of the most useful ways to determine if someone close to me or someone I spend a considerable amount of time with is really against me is to have honest conversations with him or her about our relationship.  I’ve learned to ask the following questions and more: What do you like most about me? Why do you enjoy spending time with me?  What do you dislike most about me?  What’s one quality you adore most about the person you admire most?  When you ask the aforementioned questions and more, observe any selfishness you see in the responses and any low self-esteem that could ultimately cause problems in your relationship.  Look for any uneasiness the person has speaking about the relationship you share.

If you talk to a person long enough, he or she will tell you everything.

Again, I’ve had some enemies I was unable to identify, but I’ve provided you with ways to recognize your own undercover enemies.  Although you might not want to hear it, you should watch out everyone; nothing’s wrong with being too careful.  Even your closest friends and family members may allow themselves to be used by the forces of evil.

What do you do now that you’ve identified your undercover enemies?  Don’t let them know you know who they really are.  Discontinue hanging out with them and talking to them on the phone.  Let the relationship die a natural death.  Most of your undercover enemies are arrogant enough to think you’ll never discover who they really are, and they will think they hold a certain power over you with this “secret knowledge.”  You will, however, be the one with the real knowledge and power.  You will have removed their disguises and they will not even know it, and you will have the power to turn their evil plans upside down—they’ll never see it coming!

What are some of the problems you struggle with?  Share those problems with me.  We may be able to arrive at some solutions together.  It’s a good thing to converse with people who are genuinely committed to helping you solve your problems.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Get to the Heart of the Matter

White Couple

(Photo Credit: Daily Mail)

When you desire to have a serious discourse with someone, be sure you’re ready to be transparent with him or her. Beating around the metaphorical bush with the person you’re communicating with can cause him or her to distrust you.  It can appear to him or her that you have something to hide.  If you truly don’t have anything to conceal from the person, then get to the heart of the matter; that is, let the person know what’s truly on your mind.  When you’re having an important conversation with an individual and you’re not as forthcoming as possible, one has to wonder if it’s really a conversation or not; it could just be a performance.

No one wants to feel like he or she is banging his or her head against the wall just to get you to offer a smidgen of candor.  The reality is many people aren’t prepared to engage in frank discourses with others.  One can posit that most relationship problems, including legal separations and divorces, are a result of a failure to have bold communication.  Too many people lack the boldness to have the conversations that need to take place.

People will never really know what’s bothering you if you’re not willing to tell them.  You will discover that it’s liberating to disclose to people how you’re really feeling.

Although it may not be what you want to hear, you reveal yourself to be a coward when you lack the courage to say what needs to be said.  This is why it’s vital to help people to overcome their fears.  By helping more people to overcome their fears, there will be a reduction in the number of people who allow the fear to communicate candidly to hinder or sever their various relationships.

Some people are afraid to have bold conversations because they are fearful of confrontation.  It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing confrontation.  Those individuals who aren’t afraid of confrontation and who aren’t afraid to have frank discourses with you are demonstrating maturity.  There will be some who will say they just love drama, but the reality is mature people never leave what needs to be said unsaid.

Being bold about what you say does not mean being intentionally hurtful to others.  You can speak truthfully to people without being abrasive. Just don’t let the potential of someone getting hurt by your words prevent you from saying what needs to be said, however.  Ultimately, the person who receives your candid words will be better off having heard your words.

When a person is honest with you, what he or she says to you may make you angry.  Give the person credit for being truthful.  Respond to the truth in a mature way.  You don’t want people to avoid speaking candidly to you because they know you will react immaturely.  The way we receive truth will unveil important revelations about us, even some revelations we may not be ready to receive.

It’s time to get real with the people around you, and it’s time to get real with yourself.  Have the essential discourses you need to have today.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison