Click here to listen on Apple Music and listen on Spotify by clicking the link below. Also available on Tidal.
HBCU Homecoming Rules + Playlist
It’s HBCU Homecoming Season! The time of year when historically black college and university alumni from across the country come together to fellowship for the biggest friends and family reunion football game of the season.
I can already smell the food on the grill, see the hugs, hear the band, and see the pageant waves from the homecoming queen and the royal court during the parade, but before you make your homecoming plans here are a few rules for alums:
1. Pace yourself! You’re not 21 anymore.
2. Don’t go uninvited to people’s personal tents and eat their food and drink their drinks when you haven’t been invited to do so or didn’t contribute.
3. Have a place to stay or get a hotel room.
4.Have fun! This is not about work or your career right now.
5. Drink some water and stay hydrated and know your limit.
6. Stretch before you go to the party, so you won’t have to utilize an Icy Hot patch the next day after strolling, droppin’ it too low, or dancing too hard.
7. Take pictures and make new memories. However be aware that you have a job-career now, so be cautious of what you upload to social media or update your “privacy” settings or “close friends” list.
8. Do NOT act like you’re single when you are not!
9. We remember you Before the degrees and titles and also how you treated folks years ago. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “People may forget what you said or did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel” remember that and act accordingly.
10. Get tickets for different events you and your crew plan on going to and have cash for various vendors.
11. Have a portable cell phone charger.
12. Wear comfortable shoes at the tailgate and walking on campus
13. Do NOT pretend like you were a student at that school when you weren’t.
14. Think about a weather friendly hairstyle. Example: You just got your hair pressed and it’s gonna be humid or cloudy out, so plan accordingly.
15. Last, but certainly not least don’t forget to contribute your time, money, and resources back to your HBCU to impart into future generations.
Follow me on Twitter: @asiamber and let me know what HBCU you represent in the comments below!
The Beyoncé Bracket & Playlist
I finally finished The Beyoncé Bracket. I didn’t create this game. I just found it on social media and filled it out. As a member of The Beyhive, 🐝 I found this bracket’s song selections were kind of difficult to choose from, and certain songs on the bracket are better performed live in concert versus just listening to in your headphones. I’m excited about The Renaissance album era! The new album drops 7/29/22!
There is also different energy on stage when Beyoncè is performing on tour alone versus performing with Jay-Z. I’ve also provided a blank copy of the bracket, so you all can play too. Click the link below to listen to my favorite songs on my Beyoncé Playlist on Spotify and click here for the Beyoncé Playlist on Apple Music and here for the playlist on Tidal.
This bracket game is similar to the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament bracket instead of teams it’s songs. Out of the categories given you pick the song out of the two that you like more and that song advances to another round with other songs. Kind of like 2 basketball teams play a game and the winner moves on to the next level game and competes with other teams. It’s fun! Let’s play!
What are your favorite solo Beyoncé albums so far?
Michael Jackson Playlist
It has been 13 years since Michael Jackson passed away. I’ll never forget when I heard the news on the radio as I was picking up my brother from baseball practice and all the pop and r&b stations started playing Michael Jackson’s 🎶 catalog. I had a chance to write about Michael’s song “Stranger in Moscow” from the HIStory album. Click here to read it. What are some of your favorite Michael Jackson songs or albums?
Check out my Michael Jackson playlist available below on Spotify and click here for Apple Music.Spotify Users:
Freshman Year (HBCU) Advice
In 2009, I graduated from a small private predominately white high school and in 2013 I graduated from a historically black college, Fort Valley State University. These two totally “different worlds” and school experiences have shaped who I am and who I am becoming. I wanted to share my knowledge of being a former student leader for freshman year students. Listen or watch the podcast below and check out the list of advice below. Do you have any advice you’d give a new college student?
ADVICE FOR FRESHMAN YEAR:
1. Establish rules and communicate early on with your roommate(s). Y’all don’t have to be best friends, but you live together now so respect people’s things and have boundaries.
2. Please be yourself and talk to people you don’t already know.
3. If you’re feeling down and need someone to talk to go seek out your university’s infirmary and seek free counseling if available.
4. I know it’s a new environment, but try not to go home every weekend and try not to stay in your dorm all day.
5. If you have a car make sure to get a parking decal asap!
6. If you have a car make sure you’re not being used by others who won’t even give you gas money or say thank you for giving them a ride.
7. There’s pros and cons to everything. In my opinion if you’re not a morning person don’t take an 8 A.M. class or maybe you are a morning person, so take the class and get it over with and have the rest of the day to yourself.
8. Check out websites like Chegg and Google other book rental sites before going to the bookstore.
9. When dealing with advisors, professors, financial aid, etc. make a copy of everything they give you. Keep your receipts and emails!
10. Figure out what campus activities or clubs fit your personality.
11. If you are interested in a historically black fraternity or sorority do not tell everybody. Focus on your grades and community service.
12. Be careful about what you post on social media. There is life after college and future employers look at that.
13. If you have an online class or have to upload an assignment online upload it early because sometimes depending on where you are or what time of day it is the WiFi won’t be as strong.
14. If you don’t understand something or need extra help seek out a tutor and go to your professor during their office hours to ask questions or get clarity on something you didn’t understand during the lecture.
15. Try to call or text your parent(s) at least once every few weeks and not only when you need or want something.
16. Focus on your required classes before permanently choosing a major. So if you choose to change majors you won’t lose so many credits.
17. Talk to your academic advisor. This person is vital in helping you know what classes you need to take in order to graduate on time.
18. Go to class and try your best to sit up front and take notes.
19. Get a part time job. It’s nice to have money in your pockets and good to have work experience.
20. Take advantage of free things your campus may offer.
21. Invest in a good umbrella and get some rain boots because when it rains on campus at FVSU it poured down!
22. I know the cafeteria has various food options, but try to eat healthy when you can. Don’t forget to try to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
23. Get involved in the community and city your college is in.
24. Go to the library and study there.
25. Study Hard, but Play Hard. Enjoy your college years and cherish the moments!
Gospel Samples in Hip Hop
Many secular rappers have sampled Gospel music in their songs. Here’s a playlist I curated of some of those featured songs. See below for Spotify and click here for Apple Music and here for Tidal Music.
What moving away taught me.
I moved away from my hometown in Columbus, Georgia for a job in South Carolina back in August of 2019. If you would have told me that a global pandemic would happen 7 months later and that by the end of the year I would be back in my home state due to the office closing and then becoming a caregiver for my Dad I probably wouldn’t believe ya! However, there is nothing like having an opportunity, getting out of your comfort zone, and moving to a different city with no close friends or family there. Whew Chile! It’s been an emotional journey. These past two years have shown me how to stop relying on myself so much and to rely on God more, and trust His plan and not my own. Starting a new job position in the middle of August 2019 and also having to quickly find a nice affordable apartment and moving all within a two-week time span, to meeting new people, making new friends, and adjusting to life in a new city and state, then moving back has been a lot. On top of all this back in October of 2019 I was in a car accident that totaled my car. I was fortunate enough to walk away without any physical trauma, and I was able to quickly get another vehicle. Praise God!
I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit closer to God and am becoming an even stronger person that is blossoming into more. Sometimes it takes going elsewhere to really see what you’re capable of. It makes you more appreciative of certain things that “home” offers like never having to use a GPS device or always having somebody nearby if an emergency happens and oddly you see who really is your “friend” when you are away in a different phase of life. I also see how certain people are your friends for reasons, seasons, and life times.
Thank God for technology like text messages and video chat apps like iPhone’s FaceTime and the “old school” phone call. Sometimes living in a different city is a fresh start for better and more opportunities and a new chapter in the book of life for lots of people. I’ve never been afraid to explore or go on adventures, but it’s a difference between visiting a place for a short time for a vacation versus living there for a while.
In 2009, I went to college in-state at Fort Valley State University, which is only an hour away from my hometown. While I was a senior in college I studied abroad through a scholarship award in various Italian cities. After graduating from undergrad I’ve traveled to different U.S. cities and European cities and not speak the language, but to up and leave everything I know to go elsewhere has been exciting, scary, lonely, and fulfilling all at once. Living in a smaller city like Columbus, GA all my life things were in my comfort zone.
I am not bashing my hometown or the people there because it’s helped in shaping who I am and who I am becoming. In my opinion, sometimes certain cities lack certain industries or scenes for people of certain age brackets, and more or better opportunities sometimes exist elsewhere. Of course, if all you do is go home and to work and never do any activities outside of that or try to go places or participate in things that interest you then ANY city you’re in will be boring or easy to complain about.
There are pros and cons to anything in life, and so many creative, talented, smart individuals from smaller cities and towns leave because they may feel limited or want better for themselves or maybe they’re tired of running into the same people they had middle school math with at the grocery store or the same people running and doing the same things all the time.
You get my drift. Overall moving so far has been beneficial for me and I would recommend anyone whoever has a good opportunity to move. I know it’s scary, but life is so much bigger than your town and you can always visit or move back. So many people live in regret, but you only get one life. Never forget or be ashamed of where you come from and as The Notorious B.I.G. said: “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it and live the phrase sky’s the limit.”
Some people on Twitter started a debate about which R&B singer is better? Chris Brown or Usher? In my opinion vocally Usher is the winner! He’s been a star since he was a teenager in the 90’s til now in 2021. Usher performed on stage with Michael Jackson and helped pave the way for other male R&B stars like Chris Brown. I think Chris Brown is a great performer and dancer, but recently I haven’t heard him sing without auto tune. Longevity, dance moves, and good music clearly makes Mr. Usher Raymond the winner! Click the link below to here the Usher Playlist on Spotify and click here for Apple Music and here for Tidal.
Janet Jackson Jamz
In honor of #JanetJackson’s documentary on Lifetime, and her ESSENCE Fest performance I curated a playlist of some of her hit songs. Apple Music users click here for the playlist. Tidal users click here and Spotify users click below for the playlist and podcast episode of my concert review of Janet’s 2017 #StateoftheWorldTour.
Janet Jackson 2017 concert review.
BET Awards 2022 #BlackMusicMonth
Listen to The As-I-Amber Podcast on Apple Music, Spotify, and other podcast platforms and watch below on YouTube.