Cleveland strong

A long time ago, back when I was modeling, I had an audition in group interview format. A company was looking for promotional models in the Cleveland Metro area, and asked us what qualities that the city embodies. Almost in unison, we answered “resilience.” From the weather, to the economy, to our sports teams, we’ve been through a lot. It’s a collective Midwest experience, where the factories close, jobs evaporate, and there’s an exodus of people (feels like most of the people in Atlanta are actually from Cleveland).

However, Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years– the Cuyahoga River fire, the “Mistake on the Lake” nickname, close playoff and championship losses, the LeBron James saga, the “Hot in Cleveland” television show, two viral “tourism” video parodies (“We’re not Detroit!”), and more have been fodder for comedians and haters nationwide. When I tell people I’m from Cleveland, some will respond with, “I’m sorry to hear that.” Most will ask how I feel about LeBron. It’s annoying every time. But, after years of collective disappointments and snide remarks, we’ve developed a thick skin. We also get up again and again, every time we get knocked down.

The last time I visited my hometown, I was proud to see a revitalized waterfront, vibrant downtown, and joyous people. With new businesses, attractions, and luxury housing, Cleveland is on the upswing. But, there is still a lot more work to be done. Job growth in Ohio still lags behind nationwide rates, and the number of unemployed increased by 5,000 persons from June to July, according to Cleveland.com.  Hopefully, positive changes will be implemented and sustained by the politicians elected (or re-elected) in November. There are Clevelanders around the world rooting for the city to win!

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Content to just be a baby momma?

Kim Porter
Kim Porter

I’m tired of seeing stories that read like this:

“Tyrone Jackson, small forward for the New York Knicks, married his longtime girlfriend, Aisha Smith, this weekend.  The couple has been together for ten years, and have three children.”

WHAAAAT?  Now, I’m sure many money-loving women would have babies with a millionaire just off of GP, but this foolishness happens with non-rich folks too.  Why would you have three kids with a dude that hasn’t married you?  Have you ever heard of condoms and other forms of birth control?  Basically, Tyrone and Aisha (not real people, made up names) started dating ten years ago, he has had numerous girlfriends/hookups/other bm’s since then, and maybe she dated other guys in between (hopefully didn’t have other random babies with these men too).  They kept having sex without protection for some odd reason, and she kept having his babies.  Why?

And why wait ten years for him to marry you?   Like my grandmother told me: You spend all that time grooming a man and you’re just getting him ready for the next girl.  And that will be the girl he meets and marries within a year.  Case in point: Lamar Odom’s bm who was with him for ten years and had three kids with him.  They were at one point engaged, but never married.  Then he meets Khloe and FOUR WEEKS later he’s married.  Honorable mention: Jocelyn Ebron who started dating Kobe when he was 17 and thought she was still dating Kobe when he proposed to Vanessa (after knowing her for SIX MONTHS).  BUT Jocelyn and Kobe were on different coasts and were young so I’ll give them a break for not pressing the relationship.  Still, shame on Kobe for letting her find out through the media that he was engaged to another woman.  Double shame on Kobe for not making Vanessa sign a prenup.  But I digress…

A few more celebrity examples: Kim Porter (a son and set of twins w/ Diddy along w/ a kid by Al B Sure), Tiny (a kid w/ an ex and two kids w/ T.I. before he married her), Savannah (two kids by Queen James, now engaged to him), Tiffney Cambridge (two kids by rapper The Game and perpetually engaged), and Monica (two kids w/ ex-bf Rocko, now pregnant with her husband’s baby [NBA player Shannon Brown]).

Now, it may seem like I’m putting all the blame on the women in these situations.  Yes, I do put most of the blame on them.  Ladies, it is your body.  It is your decision.  And 97% of the time, the child will be living with you, fed/clothed/cared for by you, and sucking up your time, money, energy, freedom, etc.  Realistically, who will have primary responsibility of raising the out-of-wedlock child?  The mother and maybe the grandmother.

There are white celebrity examples, but unwed births are pervasive in our community, not theirs.  Blacks are the ones w/ nearly 70% of kids born to unwed mothers, compared to whites at 26%, Hispanics at 43%, and Asians at 11% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).  Why?