All Articles Tagged "ratchet"

Six Steps To Help A Ratchet, Or How To Deal With A Friend Who Loves Drama

May 4th, 2016 - By Patia Braithwaite
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a ratchet friend in your life. Don’t feel bad, we all do. I bet you can think of that friend right now: the one who finds new and exciting ways to make his or her life as stressful as possible. The one who says she (or he) should be on a reality show, and you know they mean Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta. In my mind, ‘ratchetness’ has less to do with implications of etiquette/appropriateness, and more to do with the ability one has to relish in needlessly stressful situations. Whether it’s work-related drama or relationship problems, we all have that friend who seems addicted to drama.  In fact, most of us have been that friend at least once or twice in our lives.

What’s that you say? Not you? Just me? It’s cool. I’ll own it.

Whether you define ‘ratchetness’ as a set of isolated practices or a consistent state of mind, we can all use some tips for communicating with our strong-willed friends. These steps can help us:

Stop calling your ratchet friend a ratchet (remove judgement):  NYC relationship coach, Trenia Parham, encourages us to “…focus on the other person’s humanity, instead of reducing them to a flaw or mistake they’ve made. People are whole, flawed, complex beings. Both saint and sinner.”  While you may not call your friend a ratchet to her face, if you’re already judging your friend, then real communication is impossible. Just like we can tell when someone is silently undermining us, you can’t support someone you don’t respect.

Check yourself (assess your intentions): “I think the way we communicate with friends that are full of drama is more about [us] than about them,” Parham said. To that end, we have to ask ourselves how WE are gratified by constantly being the go-to friend. Does it make us feel needed? Smart? Loved? Important? Parham goes on to say that our friends don’t need our advice as much as we think they do. “[Your friend] has as much agency to be as  ‘ratchet’ as she wants to be, but now you have to decide if that’s something you want to be around, and that makes you responsible for your part.”

Talk less; listen better (listen actively): Active listening is defined as a way of communication that promotes mutual understanding.  What does that mean in real time? Parham offers us grounded examples. “Stop formulating responses in your head while the other person is talking. Put down your phone or thoughts about what you have to do when the conversation is over, and focus on the person sitting across from you. Does your friend need a friend to listen to or a therapist? As a friend, stop trying to fix it, that’s not your place.” It’s when we open our hearts and practice listening WHILE being empathetic,  and sometimes all a person needs is space to vent. I truly believe everyone has wisdom and knows what’s right for them. And when a person has a safe space to talk things through, they can generally find the answers they’ve been looking for.

Step 4. Keep it real (practice compassionate honesty):  One of the biggest pieces of advice Parham gives is to refrain from offering unsolicited advice. At the beginning of the conversation (or at the end of the rant), ask if they’re open to hearing your take on the matter. “If they want your opinion, offer it with honesty, but don’t wield the truth like a weapon,” Parham said. “Hearing something you may not want to hear is hard enough without someone delivering the truth without tact. Make the decision to be supportive regardless of if they want to do things your way.” At every turn, we have to let go of our own agenda for our friends. There is a chance that you will give an epic pep talk full of great advice, and most of it will go unfollowed. As friends, we have to learn to be supportive without being attached to the outcome.

Know when to end the conversation (set boundaries): Many folks (ratchet or otherwise) live their lives in circles. They keep dating the same guy; they keep having the same fight with their boss, and while they pretend to want your advice they really just want to keep venting. Though we think that being a good friend means we have to listen every single time, Parham believes that having healthy relationships means setting our own boundaries. “Be honest. If they keep getting cheated on by the same dude and aren’t willing to leave the relationship, tell them you don’t want to talk about it anymore if she’s not ready to do something about it.”  I know, from personal experience, when I listen against my will, I’m more likely to gossip out of frustration. That’s not helpful to anyone involved.

University educator and creator of the brilliant #lemonadesyllabus, Candace Marie Benbow recently Instragramed herself wearing a shirt that said, “Ratchetness as praxis.”  I love the shirt because, though the word has different meanings in different circles/contexts, it hints at a truth: There isn’t ONE acceptable and credible way of existing in the world. ‘Ratchetness,’ for all its negative implications, is beautifully unapologetic. To that end, the only real advice one needs, when thinking about how to support our headstrong homies, is to take five giant steps back and trust that they have it under control. We can call this minding our own business, or we can, as Parham encourages, call it an attempt to “stop looking at people like they’re broken. When you see your friend going through a hard time, think about how you would want someone to treat you in your messiest moments.”

And that, in a nutshell, is how we can help a ratchet (and ourselves).

Patia Braithwaite is a New York City-based writer who is probably somewhere being ratchet right now (whatever that means). You can find out more about her relationship and travel exploits at She also tweets and Instagrams when the mood strikes her: @pdotbrathw8

Ratchetness Holding Her Back? K. Michelle Addresses Not Crossing Over Because Of Her Attitude

January 23rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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"K. Michelle pf"

Source: Instagram

Nearly two years ago, when K. Michelle was just coming onto the scene. I wrote an Open Letter to her in which I warned that her behavior on the reality show, threatening to fight cast members, stirring up unnecessary drama, calling men gay etc wouldn’t lend well to her career path. I wrote that even though she had been through some mess, she shouldn’t allow it to keep her from moving on to the next level.

I doubt she read it.

Instead, K.’s behavior escalated as the show progressed. She started fighting and bickering with people she had once been cool with… Record execs warned that her behavior was tarnishing her brand. And eventually she admitted that she needed to leave Atlanta so she could focus on enjoying life and the blessings God had bestowed on her, career wise.

And her limited appearances on the New York cast of “Love and Hip Hop,” her lack of appearances in the blogs and the extension of the olive branch to Tamar Braxton–even though she didn’t accept it– all prove that she really is trying to do better. And we have to commend her for that.

But apparently there are some who aren’t quite convinced that K. Michelle has in fact turned over a new leaf.

And so in response to those people, the soul singer recently posted this video, answering the question of whether or not her attitude and behavior will keep her from “crossing over.”

Well, I didn’t come in the game to be class favorite. I didn’t come in this game for people’s approval of my everyday’s life behavior. I came in this game to shake it up a little bit, to be 100 and offer honest music. And that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Whatever I want to sing, I’m going to sing it this year. It doesn’t matter, no one’s going to box me in a genre and no one’s going to tell me what I need to sing because of my ethnicity or because of my attitude.

Listen to her full response in the video below.

What do you think, will K. Michelle’s attitude and behavior on reality show hold her back in her career? What do you think of her response to those claims?

15 Of The Most Ratchet Celeb Moments Of 2013

December 30th, 2013 - By Deron Dalton
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2013 was a big year.. a big year in celebrity ratchetness that is. So many celebrities showed their behinds this year that we had to recap it. This listicle is only a reminder of the entertainment news that had everyone from news outlets, Black Twitter, your friends and your mama all like… “oooh, they’re ratchet!”

There’s so much celebrity ratchetness that after going through this list, but if there’s anything we’ve forgotten, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.

making up with K.Michelle

Source: Instagram

K. Michelle and Tamar Braxton bickering.

These two have been feuding for a minute! Something K. Michelle has addressed twice, trying to be the bigger woman and bury the hatchet. Braxton hasn’t been listening though. Their feud started last year, but their dislike and shade-throwing about each other’s success has continued throughout 2013. It makes them both look silly — being that Braxton said the feud started as a misunderstanding, which should be all the reason to let it go! K. Michelle has reached out to Braxton and later on,  said they have both been through hell pursuing their music careers and should squash it. But Braxton isn’t trying to hear it.

What ‘Chu Say Boo? Caption This Picture Of A Woman “Twerking On Baes Grave”

November 25th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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twerkin on baes grave

Source: Tumblr

The internet has brought so much joy to my life. So much joy. This past weekend, my sister and I were on YouTube watching random comedy videos when we ended up on KevOnStage’s channel. If you don’t know him and you could use a laugh, check him out. A week ago, Kev posted his reaction to an image that had been circulating around my beloved internet. I don’t know if it first appeared on Tumblr or Twitter but either way, it’s here and it’s captioned “Twerking on baes grave.” Lord, have his mercy. In case you can’t tell, the image features a young woman in the slip position bouncing, tooting, popping over someone’s grave.

There are levels of wrongness to this image. Let’s list them shall we.

– There’s the split position.

– The use of the word bae

– The fact that the word “baes” does not contain an apostrophe.

– Her tongue is out.

– And of course she is indeed twerking over somebody’s grave.

– The disrespect.

But we’re not going to front, all of the above is what makes the picture so friggin’ hilarious. So now it’s your turn ladies and gentlemen, caption this picture of what you think this woman is saying as she’s “twerking on baes grave.”

My Appreciation For Ratch & 9 Other Reasons I’ll Never Be A Proper Lady

October 23rd, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Every woman knows there are some unspoken rules about what it means to be a lady. A lady does this, a lady doesn’t do that. Everyone has their own version of “the rules.” Whatever they are, there are a few of them that I just don’t follow.

He Did What? Rapper Plies Shows Off His Trayvon Martin Tribute Gold Chain!

September 7th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Plies Trayvon Martin tribute gold chain pf"


Whatever you just said to yourself, I’ve already said it. Deal with it and let’s move on. Rapper Plies recently showed off his brand new Trayvon Martin Tribute gold chain.

Rapper have always been known to find their own unique ways to show love, honor and respect to someone or something that meant a lot to them. We know that many of them were deeply affected by the death of Trayvon Martin and the results varied from rap songs in dedication to tattoos in Trayvon’s memory.

Earlier this week, Plies posted a video on Youtube showcasing his new Trayvon Martin tribute gold chain.  In the video, he stated:

“…Wanted to make sure I had the homie around my neck at all times. He impacted my life just that much.  Double salute to the whole Martin family. I wanna tell you rest in peace, homie. I’ma keep you around my neck at all times. It’s just that important to me, man. Trayvon, you’ll forever live on.”

Sure, there’s a lot you can say about this. “Oh, why didn’t he donate some money to the foundation?” “This is stupid.” I’m sure there are valid thoughts and opinions across the board; however, this is what he thought was most appropriate for him.  Plies is not known for intellectual rhymes (he might be the most recent king of ratchet and raunchy music) so I don’t think anyone would expect him to write some deeply moving article or anything (but don’t get it twisted – he’s actually not an ignorant man at all).

That said…I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Check out the video below!

Azealia Banks Blasts Lady Gaga On Twitter, Implies The Pop Singer Has Become A Copycat Who Is ‘Out Of Ideas’

September 3rd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

So um, do y’all remember back in May when we told you that after getting into several social media squabbles, Harlem rapper Azealia Banks reportedly turned her Twitter account over to her management team? Well, it looks like she got her tweeting privileges back.

Over the weekend, the 22-year-old emcee took to her Twitter account to express her displeasure with none other than Lady Gaga. Her rant began with a simple question pertaining to Lady Gaga’s orginiality (or lack thereof).

As you all may have guessed, the tweet didn’t sit too well with Gaga’s “little monsters,” who quickly responded on behalf of their “mama monster,” but an unfazed Azealia didn’t seem to mind.

Now according to The YBF, Azealia is pissed because awhile ago, she did a feature for Gaga’s new song, “Ratchet,” but word on the street is that somewhere down the line, the “212” rapper’s part was cut from the song. It appears that Azealia also went on to imply that Gaga is trying to reinvent herself by stealing from underground artists such as herself and jacking her “seapunk” style.

Do you think Azealia has a point?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.

Pass Or Play: K. Michelle Lets Her Man Know He’s Got “The Right One” In New Video!

September 1st, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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It’s always a toss up when it comes time for a new “Pass or Play” moment from K. Michelle.

Now that the singer and reality star is doing decent numbers with her debut album (she’s on pace to hit 100,000 albums sold when the charts are released next week), K. Michelle knows she has to keep promoting and cranking out videos.

In her latest video for “The Right One,” K. Michelle sings about how much she hates – no, for real – the dude she’s been seeing.  Apparently, he’s been playing her (in the video, he was caught creeping with another woman) and she has enough. As the lyrics tell it, he blasted her on Twitter so she blasted back, boasting that if the guy wants “ratchet,” she can be that for him.

Well then.  Let’s see, who could she be talking about (you know she’s always singing about someone in particular)? I’m going to go with New York Knicks player J.R. Smith. Do I have any wagers on that one? Any other people you think she could be talking about?

If you have her album Rebellious Soul and haven’t heard this song, that is because it is on the deluxe version only available at Best Buy. Her team is clearly behind her this go ’round because if you’re feeling the song, there’s a big chance you’ll now go buy a deluxe copy of the album. No, you can’t even find this one on iTunes.

So check out the song and video and let us know what you think: Pass or Play?

Really, It’s Not That Deep: NY Mag Does An Unnecessarily In Depth Piece On The Word Ratchet

April 12th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Beyonce Can I Live

For those of you who have been hoping the word “ratchet” would die soon, I wouldn’t count on it. In fact, I’m willing to bet it’s about to become an even larger part of mainstream culture, i.e., white folks are about to start using it,  thanks to an exploratory piece on the term in NY Mag. Titled, “Ratchet: The Rap Insult That Became a Compliment,” the article by John Ortved seeks to uncover the origins of the word in a way that leaves me asking the (ratchet) question — although I’m not even sure that’s the correct use of the term now –what the f#&% for?!

As the piece goes:

Ratchet can be traced back to the neighborhood of Cedar Grove in Shreveport, Louisiana. “You talk to working class black people [down there],” says Dr. Brittney Cooper, a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective. “Ratchedness comes out of that. And some of that particularity gets lost when it travels.”

You can certainly say that again. For an example of that lost particularity, see this entire article in NY Mag.

The first appearance of ratchet in a published song was in 1999, when Anthony Mandigo released “Do the Ratchet” on his Ratchet Fight in the Ghetto album….In 2004, Earl Williams, a producer known as Phunk Dawg, recorded a new version of the song, featuring the better-known Lil Boosie (currently incarcerated), from Baton Rouge, as well as Mandigo and another Shreveport rapper named Untamed Mayne…. In the liner notes of the CD, Phunk Dawg wrote a definition of ratchet:  “n., pron., v, adv., 1. To be ghetto, real, gutter, narsty. 2. It’s whatever, bout it, etc.”

But the popularity of the song, and the adoption of ratchet by other, bigger names in the business — especially as rappers from the “Dirty South,” like Lil Wayne, T.I., and Juicy J came into vogue in the later 2000s — meant the definition of the word could not stay in the hands of Lava House Records. “It’s not necessarily negative. You could say ‘I’m ratchet’ to say ‘I’m real. I’m ghetto. I am what I am.’ It can be light, too,” Williams, the producer, explains. When ratchet is used in hip hop, it can also mean cool, sloppy, sleek, or flashy.

When I read these definitions of the term that black people have been using since the ’90s, I really question what service Ortved thinks he’s providing with this article. I guess it shouldn’t be all that hard for me to figure out considering NY Mag’s readership and the obvious understanding that people who have been using this word without needing an urban dictionary explanation of it already know what it means. So is Ortved trying to introduce this word to the mainstream so white people who want to be cool can add it to their vernacular? Or is he trying to shield them from some “underground” term that they have a right to know the meaning and connotation of to either avoid use of or use against us? Or my third explanation, which I personally believe is the case more than anything, is he wasting everyone’s time with much ado about nothing.

Michaela Angela Davis would likely disagree with that last point, as she seems to believe the term “ratchet” has far-reaching consequences for black women, telling NY Mag:

“There’s an emotional violence and meanness attached to being ratchet, particularly pertaining to women of color. We’re only seen through this narrow sliver, and right now that sliver is Ratchet. We don’t get to be quirky and fun and live in Williamsburg. Wolves don’t fall in love with us. The only interest that pop culture has in black women is this ratchet world.”

And the use of this term is to blame for that? Pop culture has only been interested in Black women’s failings since the beginning of time. Ratchet may be the catch-all phrase that captures the negativity those outside the black community may enjoy shedding a light on, but whether this word is here or not, the light won’t shine any brighter or dimmer. And to be perfectly honest, I’ve never thought about the term ratchet in any specificity to Black women. In my own personal use, I relate it to everything from behavior that is ignorant and suspect to the utmost level, as well as simply “turning up,” as one would say now (i.e. having a good time) I wonder if there will be an expose on that phrase next?

And I hate that this article even makes me think about what things I apply to this term because, frankly, it’s not that deep. Yes, you should absolutely be aware of the language you use and when, where, and why, but taking an urban slang term and turning it into something bigger than it needs to be is not just counterproductive, it’s a waste of time. I’m still trying to figure out what Ortved got out of his research and what he thinks his readers will get out of this piece other than a headache and a feeling that yet again African American culture is being set up to be misappropriated. Have we spent this much time exploring the origins of frenemy and what white women’s embracing of this term could mean for the future of female friendships as we know it? Or how the use of “fetch” further spurs the growth of mean girl culture? Of course not. Those are safe words, right? The people using them could never mean any ill intent. It’s only when Black people come up with slang terms that they have to have a covert negative meaning.

Since Beyonce was so heavily referenced in Ortved’s ratchet expository — which I don’t even have time to touch on — I’ll just take a page from her Instagram and ask: can we live?


Bow Down: Beyonce Teases With New Music And Puts All Other Singers In Their Place!

March 17th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Well, if the new music is any indication, the rest of the year is about to be a wrap for any and all other female pop and r&b singers. Several seats is what they’ll all need to take.

The internet is on fire right now as Beyonce’s team just dropped what seems to be a teaser of two songs, “Bow Down” and a chopped and screwed joint, “I Been On.”

Where we all need to focus is on “Bow Down.” This is not your typical Beyonce. This is gum popping, hair patting, gold tooth having Beyonce. Ratchet, even.

The lyrics are not humble and has a few words for everyone:

“I know when you were little girls/ You dreamt of being in my world/ Don’t forget it, don’t forget it/Respect that/ Bow down b**ches/I took some time to live my life/But don’t think I’m just his little wife/Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted/This my s**t/Bow Down, b**ches…”

Well, now.  There’s not much more to say than that. Sure, Beyonce probably curses in her personal life and has been known to slip a couple in her songs but this one is…a lot.  No word on whether or not this is the full length version or if it will be an intro/interlude.  Produced by Hit Boy (he’s worked a lot with Jay-Z), “Bow Down” might be a sample of what’s to come when the album is released.

Check it out!