to the kids all across the land, take it from me… parents just don’t understand.

Millennials. Born around ehhhh 1982 to 2004ish. 14-36ish. This is different. We set the rules now for the future. They’re doing our dances now. They’re asking us questions about cell phones and 4k tvs. You’re getting the news from Twitter and watching videos on YouTube and so are they. Both of which weren’t here just 15 years ago. Listening to your Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder and Prince and Ice Cube on Tidal instead of 8 tracks and vinyls. You guys are joining in on our protests in support of Colin Kaepernick.

But parents just don’t understand.

First off, we are products of y’all. You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t know what’s in the water you’re drinking but…” or “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”? Yeah. Well we did not get here by ourselves. The conditions of the world we live in, the fashion (yes, sagging pants, too), raunchy comedy, racism, sexism, music, diet, and sex habits ( I mean, the term baby boomers wasn’t created for no reason). We are products of you. And I’m okay with that. I love y’all.

Let’s get started.

We are new slaves. Slaves to labels. We need labels. Jordan’s. Red bottoms. Apple logo. Nike swoosh. Holding a Hennessey bottle into the party. Leasing a Benz while being a struggling student at a community college. Stealing and robbing folks for that gold nice watch. Run it. While listing these items that my generation are slaves to doesn’t make me proud, it’s reality. Understand it. You guys didn’t have Twitter and Instagram. You guys didn’t have the pressure of thousands of peers instantly being able to judge you without being in the same room as you. You guys didn’t have to worry about being humiliated via internet in which word and pictures spread in seconds.

Also, parents, you didn’t have live video messaging. You didn’t have Skype. FaceTime. You didn’t have Facebook Live. You didn’t have Marco Polo. Parents, try to understand this is how we connect. We don’t have to write letters and wait days and weeks for a response. Try to understand it’s not intended to be rude. Try to understand Snapchat is how we have fun now. Snapchat is our Polaroid picture. We can record our favorite artists live in concert and let others experience, vicariously, the joy. Understand texting is an immediate form of talking to 1, 2, 10 people at the same time. We have the power to connect to family members and friends and managers and boyfriends and girlfriends and buy plane tickets and get directions from Oakland to Portland ALL WITH OUR PHONES. I’m not saying Marco Polo isn’t loud. My dad HATES Marco Polo. And I’m not saying Snapchat isn’t annoying. I’m just saying parents just don’t understand.

Kids nowadays need therapy. That isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. Therapy is just a way to voice your thoughts, worries, concerns, fears and emotions. Kids are stressed nowadays more than ever. Understand that, parents. Understand that kids are now pushed to be more independent and smarter and financially stable than ever before. Understand that when you used to get into fights back in middle school and high school, there were no camera phones. Hell, wasn’t even cameras readily accessible. Now, 100% of students have camera phones. Then after that, 60% of students will post that fight of your kid on their Twitter, win or lose. Then after that, that fight has the potential to be shared on worldstar or on The View. Your kid can be embarrassed in the lunchroom or at a concert. Understand that your kid literally has that in the back of their mind. Nobody wants to hear “wooooorrllldddstaaaar!!!” Check up on your kids. When your kid wyl out, discipline them. But how people in complicated relationships say “you don’t know —– like I do. You wouldn’t understand.” Parents. Do not say “I was a kid once. I know what you’re going through.” You don’t. Parents do not understand the complexity of kids daily lives nowadays.

Parents, fashion recycles. Don’t be so harsh on these young women who wear crop tops and leggings. Don’t be so dictatorial when you see a 20 year old woman with a nose ring, belly ring, nails done and a rib tattoo. Parents, let women live. Let women grow. You didn’t have premarital sex? Hmmmm okay. If you say so. Didn’t know every one of y’all were virgins until 25 or whatever age you got married. You didn’t chill in cars with dudes after high school football games? You didn’t cuss? Okay. Every guy who treated you poorly, you dropped and didn’t give 2nd, 3rd, 4 chances? Sure. Be easy. I’m not saying that every millennial woman is perfect. Not calling them angels, I’m just saying parents just don’t understand.

Parents don’t understand rap. Parents don’t understand why we sag our pants. Parents don’t understand Hip Hop culture. The fast spitting that Twista and Bonez Thugs N Harmony display, naw. Our parents say they can’t even understand them. Has anyone listened to James Brown? Can ANYONE repeat what the Godfather of Soul, Hardest Working Man in show business said besides “this is a mans world?” and “Say it loud. I’m Black and I’m proud!”. The drug references of Lil Wayne and 3 6 Mafia. I understand they talk about syrup and poppin pills. What was Ray Charles talking about in the song “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and “Let’s Go Get Stoned”? Not Julius Erving and not about he who cast the first stone. Ray was a heroin addict. I’m not making light of drug addiction. I’m saying parents just don’t understand. He without sin shall cast the first stone. So y’all look in the mirror, double check y’all appearance.

Hip Hop has made more Black millionaires than any business I can think of. Hip Hop has fed millions. Hip Hop, started out in the park and has become a billion dollar industry. You don’t have to like it, but respect it. Fashion “moguls” aren’t creative. Hip Hop culture are the creatives and Gucci and Prada and Louis Vuitton are vultures. High end fashion must learn and respect hip hop and understand it’s influence and pay homage and not exploit these artists. Shell toe adidas became synonymous with Hip Hop in the 1980’s. Chanel made millions of emulating Hip Hop culture on their runway in the 1990’s. Presidential candidates were hitting the dab in 2010’s. When we wear good chains and rings, it’s ghetto. When they do, it’s high end. Nobody wants to dress like a country singer. No one fantasizes over the life of a classical musician. Kids are dabbin. Kids aren’t river dancing.

Rap is art. Parents must understand Hip Hop artists are the rockstars now. Rappers are your kids most influential figures. I’m not here to say rappers are great or bad role models. That’ll be a very irresponsible and general statement. What I’m saying is learn to understand Hip Hop culture. Take time to understand Jay-Z DEvils when he says “we used to fight for building blocks. Now we fight for blocks with buildings to make a killing. The closest of friends when we first started. But grew apart as the money grew, soon grew black-hearted.” Understand Hip Hop is some of the realest story telling one comes across. Parents will watch CNN and be appalled by what happened last night. Listen to Warning by Notorious BIG. Listen to Brendas Got a Baby by Tupac. Time to watch a Tupac interview. Hip Hop is the news. Hip Hop is current events. Hip Hop is a direct response of the Black consciousness and community. Listen to us. Hip Hop will keep you up to date. Understand that Hip Hop is only 45 years old. I know it’s raw. I know it’s blunt. I know it’s explicit. Parents, know that it’s culture. Parents, understand that Hip Hop is THE way.

*peep the hat.

Terrell Owens is 2nd in nfl history in receiving yards. Randy Moss is 2nd all time in regular season receiving touchdowns. The were 1a and 1b in showmanship. They played the game they loved and had fun doing it. Parents, you didn’t have Sugar Ray Leonard shuffling in the middle of the ring? You didn’t have Deion Sanders? Ricky Henderson?

Parents, we don’t necessarily want to live at home until we’re 26 27. Parents, you had the opportunity to move out when moving out didn’t mean $1900 for a studio or $2200 for a 1 bed room. When my dad had his first child, my oldest sister, a 1 bedroom was $125. I heard in San Francisco around the 80s, a 3 bed room was $925. Understand that gas isn’t 80 cents. Understand that millennials must balance a car note, rent, school, cell phone bill, Wi-Fi, cable bill, Netflix account, Amazon Prime, a PlayStation/Xbox, bottled water, and 24hr fitness membership. I’m not saying all of these are imperative to live. I’m not saying all of these are life necessities. I’m saying parents just don’t understand. It’s different.

Parents. Tattoos are okay. They’re not scary. They don’t always determine what job you have. Tattoos don’t always symbolize being in a biker gang or a thug. Weed is normal. Stop labeling kids who smoke weed as bad or hippies while you smoke cigarettes or cigars. Stop criminalizing kids who drink Patron and Hennessey because y’all only had Budlight and E&J. I’m not a rebel for growing my hair. I’m not untamed because I’m free. But you won’t understand. You’re a parent.

Confidence makes us beautiful. Confidence makes us strong. Understand that Kanye West is a product of Muhammad Ali. When Kanye said “my greatest regret is to not witness myself perform live,” Ali once said “if you ever dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”

Traditional walls are collapsing.

Parents are the same no matter time nor place. They gotta understand us kids are gonna make SOME mistakes. To all the kids all across the land, no need to argue, parents just don’t understand.
*Listen to Parents Just Don’t Understand by The Fresh Prince and DJ JazzyJeff. DEvils by Jay-Z. Warning and Things Done Changed by Notorious BIG. Brendas Got A Baby by Tupac.

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