Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hazing: I Don't Get It....

If you don't know who Robert Champion is, you should.  He was the 26 year-old drum major in FAMU's well-known "Marching 100" band. A super talented, handsome young man who was in the prime of his life.  He became ill and died following the Florida Classic football game in Orlando last Saturday.  

The city's sheriff has gone on record, saying he suspects hazing was a factor in Robert's death.  FAMU has fired their band director and announced that they'll form an independent task force to investigate this incident.  Florida Governor Rick Scott has even weighed in.  He has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to review Robert's death and the circumstances surrounding it.

This is serious.  Really serious.  Under Florida law, any death that occurs as the result of hazing is a third-degree felony.  
Robert Champion
I don't get hazing, I really don't.  I feel like it's...organized bullying.  By all accounts, hazers appear to be people who have acquired a small slice of power. With power comes control, and quite often that control shifts to a state of violence.

've never understood it and I don't think I ever will.  Many supporters of hazing (yes, there are many) use words like "tradition" and "history" to justify it.  Several of my close friends and family members who have experienced hazing, didn't/don't feel victimized. Many feel that it made them stronger, both physically and mentally. By enduring the violence, intimidation and humiliation, they somehow felt that it said something about their character. Something good.  It seemed to validate their dedication and loyalty.... I don't get that. 

Although hazing has been formally prohibited at most universities, it's still a real problem. There are smart, ambitious, young people who are willing participants in these sometimes life threatening initiations.  Why?  To fit in?  To show their love and respect for the brotherhood/sisterhood?  I don't get it....

When hazing becomes physical, it has the potential to hurt people and we can't take that lightly. It's unfortunate, but I don't think Robert's story will deter other students from participating in these rituals.  It will continue to be a part of society's fabric because people accept it, condone it and oftentimes ignore it.  It's sad, but true.
I'm convinced.  Hazing is wrong.  It's not OK.  People and real relationships are not made stronger by pain and humiliation. True bonds are developed through experiencing things together and working with each other towards shared goals.  If you can't encourage someone to value your group, organization, fraternity or sorority without the use of violence, then maybe it's time to re-examine the significance of its existence.  
Robert and an aspiring young drum major

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 10 First Date Tips & Turn-Off's (For Ladies)

This list is comprised from the many conversations, debates and arguments I've had with my male BFF's, co-workers, ex's, associates and strangers.  *exhale*  Here we go....
                                      *** Disclaimer: I'm just the messenger. ***  

  1. Ladies, remember this is just a first date. Talking about marriage & babies will surely make him uneasy. FYI: Rarely do first dates go so well that men consider a marriage proposal. That happens mostly in Hollywood movies.

  2. Don't forget to mention you have kids (No, I'm not kidding). Very misleading...

  3. Enjoy the date. Let your guard down. Don't sweat the small stuff. Have fun!

  4. Refrain from talking about your ex's if you can. Talking about them sends a message that you have baggage & you haven't really moved on.

  5. Look your best.  Sounds like a no-brainer, but gorgeous hair, lipgloss and a nice outfit will get his attention and go a long way.

  6. After the date, do not immediately 'friend' him on Facebook or follow him (publicly) on Twitter.  Don't do it.

  7. Turn down the Diva. Excessive mentions of yourself, your shopping habits, your collection of shoes (red bottoms), connections, etc. will not make you a prime candidate for date #2.

  8. Don't overdo it in the scent department.  Take it easy on the perfume. 

  9. A vocabulary that consists of mostly profanity gets annoying real fast. Be a lady...

  10. Afterwards, show some interest.  If you're pretty sure he's interested (like 90% sure), it's OK to give him a call. Remember....you snooze, you lose:)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kim Kardashian & Herman Cain Need Paddles - They're In the Same Boat!

I work in public relations, so I view the world through a PR lens. It's my filter for everything really. I can't help it.  I pay attention to news stories for the angle, I listen to interviews for the messaging, I rate the media savviness of popular celebrities (Kanye West is a genius), and I watch closely when there's a high profile crisis happening right before my eyes.  I think to myself...if I were the lead PR counsel for this, how would I handle it?  What would be my strategy?  My tactics?  My plan of action?  And then, I put on my Snuggie, hair in a ponytail, pop some popcorn and sit back & watch it all play out.     

Case in Point: OK--you'd have to be in a Halloween candy coma if you haven't heard the news about Kim Kardashian; no need for me to elaborate, right?  And Herman Cain.... Well, he's been in the news a lot lately because he's vying to be the country's next President.  But, things have gotten a little sticky recently.  The public now knows that not one, not two, but three women accused him of sexual harassment in the 1990's. *cue in dramatic music*   
For Kim... She has some serious damage control to do here.  Her image, in the court of public opinion is in the gutter right now. She's already apologized to her fans. OK--I get that.  But Lord, this girl has got some major work to do!  My advice to Kim:
  • Confront each & every negative accusation and rumor... Be careful - what you say is important, but when, where and how often you say it is even more important.
  • Don't attack the media...you need them.
  • No dating for a while...let's move away from what got you into this mess.   
  • Buckle up...it's gonna be a long ride.

Mr. Cain...
Sex and politics is, and will always be a very, very fascinating news story. The media loves it and people just can't get enough of it.  *Sidebar: Hey, I don't make the rules, but it is what it is...  My advice:
  • Understand...this issue is not going away.  
  • Address the charges head on.  Tell the truth.....and tell it early.  Time is ticking (10 days and counting). This story is getting bigger and bigger, and more complicated by the minute.
  • Keep planning ahead.  Since this issue isn't going away, anticipate and prepare for the worse. 
  • Buckle up.  It's politics.  Bumpy, nasty, dirty ride...

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