All Articles Tagged "Arrogance"
Love him, hate him, there is a lot that we all can learn from Kanye West, particularly the benefits of believing one’s own hype:
New York Times: “Even though you had always wanted to be out in front, was there ever a point where you valued your anonymity?”
Kanye West: “Yeah, I held on to the last moments of it. I knew when I wrote the line “light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson” [from the song “Slow Jamz"] I was going to be a big star…”
For Real Kanye? It was that line right there that was going to propel you into stardom? What cued you in to this revelation Kanye? Were you sitting in your room one day, scribbling down lines in a black and white composition notebook when – all of a sudden – the skies opened up, thunder clapped, and the voice of hundreds of tiny cherub-faced angels with harps descended upon you with a chorus of “Ave Maria”? Was there a blinding light and a deep voice, which harkened; “Go forth and share with the world, ‘Got a light-skinned friend looks like Michael Jackson/Got a dark-skinned friend looks like Michael Jackson…’ I am your father. This I command you?” If so, pass that to the left hand side…
He was right though. About the fame I mean. And I guess to some extent the line too because damn if it isn’t one of my favorite Kanye-isms. If you haven’t read the entire New York Times piece, do yourself a favor and go right now or you will miss other self-promoting gems like: “I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump.”
Way to speak about yourself in the third person. Nevertheless, West has a long and prominent history of inflating his own virtues. After the New York Times piece went viral, Vulture decided it would also compile a list of all the other wonderful thoughts West has had about himself, including this one:
“I’m a pop enigma. I live and breathe every element in life. I rock a bespoke suit and I go to Harold’s for fried chicken. It’s all these things at once, because, as a taste maker, I find the best of everything. There’s certain things that black people are the best at and certain things that white people are the best at. Whatever we as black people are the best at, I’ma go get that. Like, on Christmas I don’t want any food that tastes white. And when I go to purchase a house, I don’t want my credit to look black.” — Spin, December, 2007”
And this one:
“There’s nothing more to be said about music. I’m the end-all, be-all of music. I know what I’m doing. I did 808s in three weeks. I got it. It’s on cruise control … Man, we talked about music for God knows how long! Now let’s talk about how my sweater didn’t come back right from Korea. That’s what’s interesting me.” — Details, February, 2009”
And this one too:
“[In regard to a life-size poster of himself] “I put me on the wall because I was the only person that had me on the wall at that time. And now that a lot of people have me on their wall, I don’t really need to do that anymore.” — Rolling Stone, April, 2004”
West is the prime example of ‘ain’t nobody gonna get hype about you until you learn to hype yourself up first’. Yet folks generally have a hard time with being their own cheerleader and advocate. Many people go through life with such poor self-images of themselves, and the world in general, that the very idea that they might be deserving of a little praise renders them paralyzed. Instead, it’s much more comfortable to self-criticize and beat one’s self up because it means living without the burden of expectation. No one expects a person who doesn’t feel they are talented or having anything worth sharing with the world, to actually achieve anything. Therefore, they hang out in the shadows, feeling sorry for themselves and being cogs in the systems of someone else’s dream and ambition while the world pretty much passes them by. It is that endless wall-flowering, which keeps folks from going out into the world and commanding the respect that they deserve – whether it be a raise at work, from your significant other, or even with something you want to buy for yourself.
But having an almost narcissist view of one’s greatness is a perfect shield from the negative messages we tell ourselves as well and are bombarded with daily. People will tell you – out of concern, fear and flat out hateration – why what you are doing is a waste of time. Sometimes they will have legitimate points. However (and take my word for it), indulging in too many cautionary tales and giving weight to other people’s doubt – no matter how pragmatic they are – will only slow you down. If you sincerely feel like you have talent, you have to be arrogant enough to say, ‘despite everyone’s objections and my own fears, I do believe my s**t is hot, therefore this is where I’m going to put my faith.’ And by faith I mean the actual task of dedicating time and energy into something in addition to the unwavering belief that your craft has value.
I do realize that humbleness is a virtue. I also realize that there are too many people, faux-profiling, posing and gushing over social media sites without having done the work to warrant such self-flagellation. But I also understand that a little arrogance is needed when at times true confidence is hard to find. You know, faking it until you make it? Odds are, it was probably West’s inflated ego, which gave him the gumption to fund his very first music video at a time when his label wanted to put his project on the back burner for easier and more marketable hip-hop artists. And there is no doubt that it is West’s continued stroking of his own ego, which compels him to step out the box and test the limit of his artistry. You have to be a pretty vain mothersucker to sing on an album knowing damn well you are nowhere near close to being a singer. And yet, it totally worked (off-key and all), because he was going to make sure it worked.
In Zoe Saldana’s recent Allureinterview, the Afro-Latina female actor has once again stated that she is unconcerned with any backlash she receives for playing legendary singer and activist Nina Simone. In a perplexing statement, she compares her controversial casting as “The High Priestess of Soul” to Elizabeth Taylor playing Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII in the 1960s.
“Let me tell you, if Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina — I’m sorry,” Saldana, 34, said unrepentantly. “It doesn’t matter how much backlash I will get for it. I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am.”
Who Saldana is may be clear to her, but her understanding of who Nina Simone was and from where the criticism stems appears to be minimal.
Saldana: Out of touch with African-American audiences?
Contrary to Saldana’s personal beliefs, the vast majority of observers who have weighed in on director Cynthia Mort’s decision to cast Saldana, from India.Arie to Nina Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, are black and view it as the ultimate show of disrespect. Not only because it is an aesthetically horrific choice that relies on blackface and prosthetics to pull off, but because Nina’s rich, dark skin, kinky hair and full lips shaped her life’s experiences, subsequently shaping her music.
Nina Simone would not have been able to conjure “Mississippi Goddam” and “Four Women” from the depths of her soul had she been born with more European features and straighter hair.
Further, it is both fitting and unsettling for Saldana to compare herself to Taylor. Cleopatra, whose black African heritage has been passionately argued for and against, has been described as both “tawny” by Shakespeare and a “negress” in some historical texts. For Saldana to claim that casting the extremely pale Elizabeth Taylor to play her somehow justifies her own misguided role as Nina Simone is a slap in the face of the black community she claims to represent.
Her history of ignoring racial history
And this is not Saldana’s first time brushing off criticism as inconsequential.
“What keeps me focused and what kept me from getting stressed from being hurt by the comments is I’m doing it for my sisters, I’m doing it for my brothers, and I don’t care who tells me I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me,” Saldana said in an interview with HipHollywood.com.
“I can only rely on that and maintain as much humility as possible, so that when I have to face the world and we have to then give the movie to the world to see, and share it with them, that if it comes back in . . . a negative fashion or positive, I’m gonna keep my chin up. And Nina was like that too. I did it all out of love for my people and my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman, and that’s my truth.”
Colorist privilege with questionable consequences
That curious blend of arrogance and accessibility seems to be the root of criticism aimed at Saldana. She is not embracing her community; she is saying through her dismissiveness that how we feel doesn’t matter. By ignoring the hurt of Nina’s family and the pain of black women who have been deemed too dark, too heavy, too ugly to be portrayed on film as anything other than maids, slaves, and whores, Saldana becomes part of the problem.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
A year ago, if you walked up to me and said, “Girl, that is a gorgeous skirt!” My response might have been something like this:
*bashful blush* “Aw, thank you, but girl, I got this at Macy’s when they were having one of their huge sales. It was only $15. I’ve had this thing for years. I need to go shopping because I need new stuff…”
*cue awkward silence*
A year ago, 99.9 percent of the time, if I received a compliment I didn’t just utter the only two words necessary (“Thank you”), I launched into a reasoning fit, a full-fledged campaign to explain myself away and shoot down any reason to have been given the compliment in the first place. I had no clue I was doing it and, to be honest, I don’t remember the turn of events that made me aware of it. But somewhere along the way I began to examine my interaction with others. It was/is nothing for me to compliment someone else. To express my appreciation of their wit or intellect. To fawn over the next woman’s style. To affirm the next person’s beauty. I actually enjoy it. But to receive such recognition, even in my newly enlightened state, has been and still can be most uncomfortable.
Like many women, it has been ingrained in me from youth to be humble. To smile and revel in someone calling me “Such a pretty little girl” when I was a child, was to think too highly of myself. To be genuinely excited and talkative about an academic accomplishment was to forget that God was the source of my success, not me. While I had no problems thanking God for equipping me, I didn’t quite understand the logic of repressing personal glee and I still yearned for even the smallest glimmer of pride in my loved ones’ faces.
I very rarely caught a glimpse.
So, I boxed up any shadow of pride in myself and set it on a shelf somewhere in the least used compartment of my brain. I unintentionally learned how to mask self-satisfaction, until one day I looked up and truly didn’t know how to be satisfied with myself at all. I hated being fussed over. I ducked for cover if someone even looked like they were pointing a compliment in my direction. What the heck were they seeing, anyway? I spoke more about my flaws than anything else. I didn’t know that there was a difference between self-esteem and arrogance until I reached my mid-twenties. So, I settled into a mindset purposely ill-equipped to accept compliments.
And so it is with so many women. We are taught to be docile and meek. To accept a compliment with a simple “Thank you” and a smile would be haughty. To know and play up our strongest suits is to define conceit. No, we are taught to be self-effacing. To explain away our good qualities, our accomplishments, our style, our beauty. We’ve become prize marksmen, shooting down with precision anything good with piercing ammo made of our flaws. There’s an intense subconsciously manic management of what others might perceive about us that so many women seem to develop from childhood. It’s debilitating and stifling and we don’t even realize it.
On the flipside, I caught a glimpse of the total opposite in men. A healthy dose of overconfidence in a man is just what the doctor ordered for business. It’s eagerly sought after in relationships. He better be sure of himself or fake it until he makes it if he ever wants to get the girl or close the deal.
Should women aspire to emulate men? Absolutely not. But the fear of being seen as conceited cannot overpower the basic self-esteem that every human being should be able to feel and exude freely. It’s quite alright to smile and say, “Thank you!” No explaining. No downplaying. Why downplay something so outstanding that it prompted someone to compliment you? It’s alright to be proud of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. It’s a beautiful thing to be a beautiful woman and to own it. No one else can own it for you. There is no downside to simply accepting the good about yourself.
I have realized over time that how others feel about me and what they perceive is wholly a reflection of where they are, of who they are – however, right or wrong, good or bad that may be. I cannot sit shiva and worry for every misconstrued interpretation the next person has of me. And TRUST, there have been and will continue to be many.
I smile my biggest smile and say, “Thanks!” with as much heart as I can when complimented now and I stay G-checking the urge to explain myself away or downplay my good qualities. If I am a modest person, it will show in the way I live, not in how many compliments I Barry Bonds away.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and positive change. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and her young women’s empowerment blog: www.hersoulinc.com.
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With the growth of relationship experts and advice, it’s quite rare that you will find that the tips doled out are catering to the do’s-and-don’ts of men. Women are told what to expect, how to behave, what to say and when to say it in order to keep a man, but men are told very little if anything at all. And ladies, we know, relationships are work and call for the full participation of both parties. It is not only up to women to be the keepers of knowledge of what makes love and relationships work, while the men get to run around doing what ever tickles their fancy.
So, to help balance all of this information, I present to you seven things men should refrain from doing to keep the attention of the women they want in the “courting” phase. These are matters that women tend to discuss amongst themselves, but I think it best that we allow the men a chance to learn of these nasty habits in order to prevent any possible love mishaps.
It’s amazing how often I’ll tell someone good news and get the response, “you’re happy, right?” It’s probably because I’ve told them in my classic, monotone, don’t show too much emotion, Visine commercial voice that I’ve become accustomed to when it comes to sharing something positive. It’s sort of a buffer I’ve developed since I realized that people will try to rain on your parade faster than an anti-LGBT group at a rainbow pride event if their lives aren’t going equally well. And so, for the most part, I celebrate in solitude, share the news with people around me when I get around to it, most times downplaying the achievement, and block out their reaction like they never said a word to begin with.
I could probably take this defense mechanism back to grade school and high school days with non-immediate family making me feel like certain accomplishments were never enough, but I don’t feel like going that deep today. Besides, ever since they realized it was possible for someone to survive New York for years without having a breakdown, going broke, being murdered, or getting knocked up, they’re pretty much in my corner on anything I do now. Unfortunately, I can’t always say the same for some members of the support system known as my so-called friends.
I remember a few years back when I was stuck in a job I hated with another girl who started at the same time and was equally miserable. We had grown very close and were both on a GTFOH mission to find new jobs pronto. We sent each other potential positions, looked over each other’s resumes, and shared whatever leads we had, but the race to the exit got a little more real when it seemed like I had a leg up in the competition. I remember I’d sent my resume for an open position directly to someone I’d had contact with before at the company and within a couple of hours I received a call for an interview. I raced over to her desk to tell her the news and was met with a “that’s good” that would be the equivalent of someone trying to convince their child getting sixth place in a race was still winning. I was shocked, angry, and hurt because I thought if anyone would understand why this was a huge deal it would be her. Instead I heard her slamming things at her desk, walking around with a red, puffy face, and if I’m not mistaken, crying by the end of the work day, as I ended up coming by and assuring her that she would find something soon. Ironically, I didn’t get that job and she ended up leaving the company before I did, which of course was all good because the shoe was on the other foot.
A similar thing happened to me not long ago when I was telling my best guy friend about my current position. As a little back story, I’d quit my job with a previous employer, moved back home to freelance full-time, and had no clue what was going to be next for me. Everyone knew how perplexed I was about the situation at first and they didn’t seem to mind hearing those stories of desperation, but when I had something good to tell, it appeared to fall on deaf ears. When I told him I’d be coming on with MN full-time, the phone went dead silent. I mean, check the phone to see if we were still connected silent. Then he followed that up with, “dang everybody is on a come-up,” followed by a quick anecdote of another friend of his who’d recently gotten a new position. Then it was, “I’m happy for you B.” I said thanks in my monotone voice, thinking you could’ve kept that, and unfortunately he kept going about how he thought it was a mistake for me to have left my other job so he’s glad it worked out for me. He ended up on my blocked call list for a few days, but not before I turned into my customary role of comforter trying to convince him good things come in pairs, threesomes, or however that cliché saying goes. I was sensitive to the fact that he’d fallen on hard times and was in desperate need of a new career path, but I really just wanted to scream, “can I get my 15 minutes?”
I don’t even have time to get into the “that’s cool” responses my ex would give me when I said I got a promotion or had a new opportunity before he started whining about his lot in life, and most of you are probably thinking why haven’t I just asked for my time to shine? It’s probably because of another issue I’ve always had with sharing good news which is feeling like I’m bragging. I’m not surprised that arrogance is the quality I despise most in people because somewhere along the line I learned that it’s not good to be boastful about your positive qualities or skills or accomplishments. Unfortunately I never learned the fine line between dimming your own light so others can feel good about themselves and not being full of yourself. I took the former route and felt as though when people didn’t meet my excitement with the same level that I anticipated, I must’ve been wrong for making them feel bad.
Even now, despite recognizing the way in which I share my random bouts of good news and needing to be excited to tell people anyhow, I’ve more so resolved to just keep things to myself, deciding that receiving no response at all is better than a lackluster one. Unfortunately that’s not fair to me. If I can throw parties, send cards, and relish in others accomplishments, I deserve to have the same from time to time. That’s why I’ve begun to realize it may not be the way in which I tell share my news that needs to change, but with whom I share it. And it has. So often people will ask why I didn’t tell them something and it’s because I don’t have time for pity parties when I’m ready to pop bottles. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking away from someone else when I’ve had something given to me. And I don’t want to have to reduce my excitement just so someone else can feel less disappointed about their own circumstances. One thing I can say for sure is that anything I’ve ever accomplished has been done through my own hard work and so if my achieving something makes someone else feel bad, I can’t take responsibility for the wrong choices they’ve made or the work they haven’t put in, or whatever season in life they’re going through. I haven’t quite put that lesson into full practice yet but I’m most certainly working on it as one other thing to add to my list of accomplishments. And then I’m gonna tell er’body. Just kidding.
Do you find that it’s hard for others to be happy for you at times? How do you handle it?
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