YouTube: The JayBee Show

Hello Lovelies,

Just dropping by to let you know that your girl has finally  gone and done it. I’ve only gone and created a YouTube channel.  YAY!!!! Head over to my channel  now to see my my first ramble over at The JayBee Show, where I pay homage to my natural 4C hair.

Please ‘like’, ‘subscribe’ and support me in this new endeavour it would mean the world, or you can watch my first video right here!

Thank you ❤

Racism Still Alive They Just Be Concealing It!

A few days ago, my best friend and I took a trip to Notting Hill Gate to celebrate the release of her debut book ‘Twenty-Four’, which is a collection of poetry about culture and the diaspora (click the link to support please).

As we were in Notting Hill, we therefore decided to venture into the many different boutiques which line Portobello road. We stumbled across a vintage store that my friend was eager to go into, as her eyes were drawn to the visual merchandise. She is very big on aesthetics.

So, there we were two carefree black girls entering a store to peruse its goodies. The boutique like many in Portobello is small and intimate and as it happens we were the only customers in the store at that point in time. The entrance of the store directly faces the cashier desk and as we entered both the cashier and the other store worker glanced up at us and carried on with their conversation. Ok, so far so normal. We’re not too bothered by this as we are Londoners after all.

We walk in and start going through the racks of shirts. Minutes pass and my friend eventually holds up a black shirt with green feather lapels and exclaims that she likes it. In that moment two white guys enter the shop and are immediately greeted with “Hello. How are you?”

We freeze and instantly look at each other.

Micro-aggression strikes again!

So there we were, two black women standing dumfounded in a store that no longer made us feel welcome. Two black paying customers who didn’t even receive a customary greeting. Two black ladies that were clearly made to feel invisible by the cashier and her work colleague.

I was shocked, annoyed and above all so confused.

We decided to exit the building. We firmly understood that our business was not wanted.

I know there is someone out there reading this and screaming:

‘Why you making this about race?’

My answer to this interrogative is simply this:

In this instance, race, was definitely a defining factor.

What else could it be?

Let’s look at the facts:  Two black females walk into a shop and are treated differently from two white males. One pair is treated with open humility and the other ignored. Both pairs are dressed ‘appropriately’ (I put appropriately in inverted commas as your attire or choice of dress should never be a reason as to why you are marginalised), however, one is greeted whilst the other receives no customer service whatsoever.

Micro-aggression is real!

I can hear another question crop up from the naysayers:

‘You said that you wasn’t bothered, so far so normal, what’s changed now?

My answer:

Now i’m bothered because they went out of their way to ‘other’ us. If they had ignored the other customers like they had us, then we would have put this down to  a lack of customer care, given that we would have both received the same treatment. But as you can read, both pairs were given two different experiences to the same situation.

Black people do not make this stuff up for shit and giggles. We live this day in and day out.

Both workers failed to greet us as they did not want to see us.

Do you know how deep this is?!


I’m getting annoyed just writing this and re-living the situation again.

It is also ironic that this micro-aggressive act took place in Notting Hill of all places. A place built on the blood, sweat and tears of Afro-Caribbean migrants. A place that not too long ago was a slum and left to minorities to regenerate. A place, where nowadays people that look like me are no longer welcomed.

I am disgusted.

I really wish we had said something before we left the shop. Let them know that this wasn’t ok, nor was it acceptable and it is certainly not the way you treat people, let alone customers that are willing to spend in your store.

But, as we have seen recently from the media, Black people speaking out against racism and discrimination are met with derision and scepticism.  Look at what happened to Munroe Bergdorf who spoke out against systematic racism and was rewarded by being fired from the L’Oreal diversity and inclusion campaign.

Racism is still alive, they just be concealing it.

My best friend and I will be taking our hard earned coins elsewhere.

It’s Just A Little Crush

Have you ever had that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realise that you are slowly starting to develop a crush on someone. Someone you have no business crushing on.

One day you are just sitting with that person, laughing and talking it up a storm and the next day you wake up in a cold sweat, as you catch yourself having an amorous dream about them.

This crush hits you like a cyclone, knocking the winds out off your sails. You’re verklempt. Unable to articulate the strength of your feelings. You don’t understand why this is happening all of a sudden.

Nothing has changed between you. No kiss has ever transpired, no hand holding, no lingering touch. But you feel an ache so deep for this person that it hurts to imagine them never being with you.

Everytime you see them you start undressing them with your eyes. You start to wonder what it would be like actually to kiss them.

Would it be gentle?

Would there be tongues?

Would they hold your face in their hands?

You know good and well that you have no business entertaining this crush. It is wrong and all types of fifty shades of weird but you can’t help yourself. You have fallen down the rabbit hole and it is proving difficult to climb out.

You start to convince yourself that they were made for you and that you were just too blind to see it.

You admonish yourself – you’re much too old to indulge in silly crushes. And so, you lock up your feelings in the deepest recess of your mind and pray to God that they don’t resurface.

Years go by and you are now distant strangers.

They will never know that you had a crush on them.

They will never know the fantasies you harboured.

They will never know why you became distant.

They will never know you cared for them.

They will never know that you were in love with them.

They will never know.

That’s the funny things about a crush – it comes tumbling down on you like waves and as quickly as it comes it stills itself again.

Now you have an empty shell of a friendship, all because you had a silly little crush.

Birthday Behaviour

Gemini season is finally upon us, which can only mean one thing; my birthday is just around the corner.

With only a matter of days to go until the big day, I can’t help but sit and reflect on what nearly 3 decades of living on this earth has bestowed upon me.

My life is still very much under construction.

under construction

I still haven’t quite managed to work out the finer details of what being an adult entails, namely trying to figure out what it is that I truly want from this journey called life. And although I’m still a work in progress, I am actually quite content with who I am as a person. My career and personal relationships may still be loading in the background, but me, myself and I, we are doing great.

I have invested so much time in the last few years carving a place in my life solely just for me. I am much more selfish with my time. I don’t put up with a lot of nonsense from people anymore. I’m comfortable saying ‘No’ quite often.  I’m just not willing to dim my light any longer.

I have been guilty in the past (and still to some extent to this present day) of putting the needs of others before my own, that I lost sight of who I am. I got lost in the fog of other people’s emotions and accomplishments that I found it hard to distinguish where others ended and I began. Living for and through others can really leave you in a sunken place.

My life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows but show me someone’s life that is and I’ll show you a liar. Every tear shed, every scar etched on my skin, every smile sprinkled on my lips have all made me the person that I am today.fairtyaly.gif

There isn’t a fairy godmother or magic pixie dust at the end of the tunnel to turn you into a beautiful swan. There is and will always just be you to turn your life around and do with it what you will.

Being the best you makes all the difference, not only to yourself but also to those around you.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I bemoan my lack of this or that, but I always catch and remind myself that I am doing much better than yesterday and everything else will come in its time.

I have come so far in my journey of self-love that there is no turning back.

So, as my birthday rolls around like a thief in the night to add another year to my life, I will raise a glass with my loved ones and give thanks that I am still me:

Beautiful, passive, giving, funny, sarcastic, loyal, annoying me.

I’m just me and I’m quite happy being just that.cake 3

What Is Your Type? 

What is your type? Seems innocuous enough of a question, however this is laced with an undertone of danger. This interrogative dares you to declare your prejudice and examine your dating pool selection.

My type of man comes in the tall, dark and handsome aisle. And when I say  dark,  I don’t mean tanned or olive skinned. I like chocolate, caramel and beige to be precise.

Some of my friends feel however that I’m doing myself a disservice by being too narrow in my search and that I’m too picky.

Some have also declared that they have always pictured me with a Caucasian. Now, I’m not too sure how to take this, but I’m inferring that they believe that I can get along with anyone regardless of race and creed, which is correct. Moreover, it would be a lie if I said that I don’t find white guys attractive, especially as I have had milk in my coffee before. However, I date with the aim of meeting someone who will one day become my husband and I want to find someone from a similar cultural background as mine, with similar upbringing and life experience to boot.

  • When I’m listening to afrobeats or dancing kizomba and chopping down on some fufu, I need you to be able to join in.
  • When my girlfriends and I are bantering about ‘our’ people and ‘our’ ways, I need you to be able to relate.
  • When my mother and my aunties are spouting off their pearls of wisdom, I need you to be able to understand.

This, I guess, narrows down my search to exclusively black men – besides, I want babies that look like me 🙂

Now, if you ask me what type of black men I go for, well that’s where the trouble begins.

When I was younger I had a thing about names. It was a very odd quirk which held me back from dating anyone whose name didn’t sound good on my tongue or who I couldn’t bestow an affectionate nickname upon.  To illustrate – I was once asked out on a date by a very nice guy called Coco and I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t picture myself dating someone named Coco, sounds stupid I know,  but hey I was young and dumb. Thankfully I have grown out of this silly oddity.


I’ve also been told that I focus too heavily on looks. I don’t think this is a bad thing per se, I mean we are all visual creatures and I like to look at nice things. Besides the first thing you notice when you meet someone for the first time is their appearance. I can’t tell if you have a nice personality just by looking at you but I can sure as hell tell you if I find you attractive or not.

My fondness for eye candy has caused disappointment and led to me shedding a tear or two. Although,  parting ways had nothing to do with looks, but rather more to do with the fact that they some were immature beings who simply could not commit. I just wasn’t for them, nor them for me.

In all honesty, I just don’t believe that I have a type.

Now let’s stray away from the visual and focus on the inner beauty of a person. I would like someone who is principled, loyal and above all honest. The latter being very important to me. The qualities that I look for and admire in a person is another post in itself and I promise you the list is not exhaustive. I believe that the person you meet should complement you whilst also adding to your qualities, if they don’t, is it really worth it?

Truth be told, having a type is all well and good. However, 9 times out of 10 (please don’t quote me on this) we end up with people that do not meet our self imposed criteria or check all the boxes on our list. Having a type is a merely a guideline – a blueprint to help you navigate these dating streets.

So what is my type?


A man.

My So-Called Life

Ever heard the saying ‘life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans’, well dear readers this is the reason why I have been MIA for the past couple of months. Sorry about that.

Let me catch you up on the goings on in my life , here is a quick low down:

Business Owner – I am proud to announce that I am 1/4 owner of  AfroStar Tours. My girls and I had somewhat of an epiphany and realised that  we have a great passion for  black history. Being of Caribbean and African descent, we found  it highly frustrating that we were not taught about our inspiring history in school and had to learn everything regarding Black History through an American gaze. Black History Month in school consisted of tIMG_5351he same stories about the civil rights movements, watching Roots and a brief history about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.  Not to diminish the great legacy of these amazing people but where was the history of black Britions and what we contributed to the nation? and thus AfroStar Tours was born.  AfroStar Tours aims to showcase the history,  beauty and culture of Black Britain. This is a super exciting time for us and we can’t wait to take people on the journey of London Town to learn all about the Black Power Movement,  carnival, African art and so much more. If you are interested in learning further about us then please click here AfroStar Tour.

Down Under – I flew to Australia for my friends wedding in March and as one of the bridesmaids I was given a first class seat on their wave of love. It was such a beautiful lush day and we were surrounded by rows and rows of vineyards which made the whole day feel so zen. Now that I am back home, I can’t help but feel like Katherine Heigl in 27 dresses, my wardrobe is full to the brim with bridesmaid dresses. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride. I may have to charge people for the use of my services.  I digress, apologies. Australia was amazing, the weather as you’d expect did not disappoint. It FullSizeRenderwas hot, hot, hot near enough everyday that we were there and I could slowly feel my iron levels getting back to normal. Living in England certainty does damage to my health.

I did not experience any racism like I had been warned about, instead I found Australians to be kind and very welcoming or maybe the bride just has awesome friends. However, there was a glaring omission of people of colour and I failed to see any Aboriginal people during my whole 10 day trip. When I did come across a black person in the city, the man in question proceeded to pull  my hair and stared me in face and said ‘don’t you know when you see another African you must say hello?’ No, I did not know this! Is this a thing? I was perplexed. I also got called a ‘fucking idiot’ by a drunk white man that very same day so needless to say that was the only downer that I experienced in Oz. Apart from these two incidents the holiday went off without a hitch, that is until it was time to come home. Let’s just say that our flight was cancelled and we ended up staying overnight in China, an experience I do not wish to repeat again. I felt like a zoo exhibit. I have never been gawked at so much in my life, it was truly unsettling. But hey that is a story for another day.

Work, Work ,Work – The world of work has been stealing my joy lately. It has been draining me of all of my energy and as AfroStar Tour has not made me a millionaire just yet, I still have to wake up everyday and go to my 9-5. The joy 😦

F.R.I.E.N.D.S – I have tried to make a real effort these past few months to catch up with all my girlfriends and check in on them. A lot has happened in the past few weeks, we have  had new baby arrivals, marriage proposal, new jobs, new relationships and a heck of a lot of gossip to catch-up on. My friends truly amaze me. It is so easy to get carried away with our own lives that we forget to give our friends a look in now and again. Have you checked in on your friends today? if not, do it now you never know who needs to hear your voice.  To my girls – I love you guys so much and I miss you. Let’s make a concerted effort to see each other more.

Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed reading this mish mash blog post. My life at the moment has been very hectic and sometimes I absolutely have no clue what I am doing. The blinding lights of London is seriously making me super dizzy. I need another holiday.

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic *

Hi my name is Jay Bee and I am an online Shopaholic.
-everyone says welcome Jay Bee-

My problem started in my first year of Uni when my friend (she knows who she is) introduced me to the fabulous site known as ASOS. I. Could. Not. Get. Enough. I was hooked. Also seeings as I have perpetually nothing to wear, online shopping seemed like the perfect solution.
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As you may or may not know I am kinda lazy so to be able to shop in the comfort of my own home is Bliss. With just the click of a button and Open Sesame….. Clothes at the ready. I am now in Cyber heaven.

No longer do I have to put with arrogant shoppers, lazy checkout assistant and trawl through racks and racks of clothes to find the perfect outfit. Instead I can refine my search, even pick the colours I want and et voila my search is complete and MY dress is there just waiting for me to put in in my basket. CLICK!
My addiction was further fueled by student loan and More magazine. And now as a full-time working woman I have income at my disposal and magazines that show me all the wonderful clothes and sites that I can purchase from. This widened my field of vision. No longer was I a slave to ASOS, I  could now go on to Boohoo.com, Misguided, Pretty Little Things and many other great sites.

My basket is never empty even though my bank balance is depleting fast.

The clothes call out to me, they goad me into buying them. They say Jay buy me, buy me, BUY ME!!! how can I resist. They beg and plead until am sucked in.
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The Devil makes work for idle hands…… and soon enough, without me realising I proceed to checkout. CLICK!

Damn I have done it again. £50 down the drain plus postage and packages at £3.95. I should expect my items in 3-5 days and with that I am over the moon.

I proceed to Log Out. CLICK!

My name is Jay Bee and I need help. Fast!

ps follow me on Twitter @thejaybeeshow TWEET TWEET

*an old post but a good one at that.

The Curious Case of Ageing.

Getting older is over-rated.

Yes, I am ageing like fine wine and my black don’t crack, but as age slowly creeps up on me and my twenties stares at me in the rear view mirror, I can’t help but feel a sense of dread. A sense of foreboding if you will.

Adulthood has come at me faster than a speeding ticket and I am not prepared!

It has crept up on me like a thief in the night, stealing my childhood, my innocence  and all my nice things. I didn’t have time to insulate myself from the responsibilities that would be thrown my way. I didn’t have time to stop and breathe and process all that adulthood entailed. I didn’t have time to plead with it to give me more time. Please give me more time to put things right. But no, Adulthood will not be stopped.

Where has all the time gone?

I remember a time in secondary school sitting in the cafeteria with all my girlfriends and wishing ourselves older. If we could wave a magic wand then 25 would magically appear at our door. We thought that 25 was such a big age. Unreachable back then. 25 held so much promise. Carried so much weight. By 25 we would all live in a big fat mansion, with a husband and 2.5 kids. We would all be high flying ‘career’ women, jet setting all over the world. The world was going to be our oyster.

25 has now come and gone like the wind and all those youthful fantasies are yet to be achieved.

And now as ‘30’ looms in the background, casting its gaze over me, I can’t help but feel slightly perturbed at what is in store for me.

Youth is truly wasted on the young.

I wish I could go back and do things differently. I wish that i tried more things, new experiences. Explored without fear of reproach. Laughed more, danced more, loved more. But shoulda, woulda, coulda is a fallacy. A dangerous trap to be avoided. And besides I’m not dead yet, these things can all still be done.

So… as I am reluctantly forced to say goodbye to the days gone by, I’m determined to make it all count. Go out with a bang so to speak. I can’t let my fears hold me back. I’m stronger than yesterday and my future is still bright.

Youth is truly wasted on the young, don’t you know. And getting older is seriously over-rated.

Dating in the City: ‘It’s not you…it’s me’

Valentine’s Day is here already and no doubt a couple of days or months prior to this day some poor soul out there received these devastating words : it’s not you, it’s me. 

This has got to be one of the most dreaded phrases to have ever been uttered, alongside the ‘we need to talk’ speech.

This declaration thought to be the biggest cop out ever is the quickest get out of jail free card. The let’s leave on a clean slate argument.

‘It’s not you, it’s me’ aims to soothe the recipient of the message and reassure them that they are truly not at fault. However the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ statement is just plain mean and wrong on so many levels. It just serves to absolve the person uttering it of any guilt, blame or wrongdoing and make the recipient feel like utter crap.

If you have ever received this speech then you know how demoralising it can be. It knocks the wind out of your sails. You start to question and second guess everything you have ever done or said in the relationship. It puts the whole onus on you to figure out why the relationship is ending. That, yes, it is you. You are to blame for this failure.

Not only have you been unceremoniously dumped but you have also received the Judas kiss. The blue screen of death.  A flawless victory in the form of those little 5 words: ‘It’s not you, it’s me’.  What a back handed slap in the face!

The ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ comes with its own pity party. A bitter pill to swallow. But once the dust settles, things start to become clearer. You really do start to understand that it really isn’t you but them. Their inability to make you happy or work with you to try and make the relationship work isn’t a reflection of you. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope or want. Sometimes the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ saves us from further heartbreak and a tidal wave of mistakes.

Like Beyoncé said ‘Thank God I found the good in goodbye.’

Those 5 little words :it’s not you, it’s me’ might just turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever heard.

Say my name, Say my name

This is a Public Service Announcement. Fellow citizens of the World, it is with the utmost pride and sincerity  that I present this dialogue, as a living testament and recollection of history in the making as today is the day when you finally learn to say my name.

Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is HOV  Jacyra. You may know me as Jay Bee.  Simply put:

Keep my name out of your mouth if you cannot handle its greatness!

woosah

Honestly, I’m sick and tired of people out here dissecting, interpreting, mispronouncing, remixing and putting a spin on my name. It really is not that hard to pronounce once you try. If you can’t get your head around 6 tiny letters on a page, please feel free to just ask me how to say it, I am more than happy to educate. But no, some of you do the most and would rather just take it upon yourself to try it out for size and see if it fits your narrow tongue. I mean, God loves a trier but sometimes just know when you’re defeated and ask for help.

My name is my name; you better start putting some respect on my name.

This post was triggered by an event that happened at work earlier this week.

Story Time: Once upon a time a delivery man walks into the work premises of Jay Bee to deliver some stationery. Delivery man scans the room looking for the intended recipient. He stands firm and proud and boldly declares in front of the entire office ‘Delivery for George Baptist’. Goodness child, who in the hell is that? wondered Jay Bee. She had placed a stationary order the day before but Delivery man must have the wrong office as no one in the office had that name. Unknowingly she continues to type away,the report is due at 5pm after all and she wants to leave on time. A couple of seconds later, Jay Bee’s feels a slight tap on her left shoulder. She looks up and it is one of her colleagues inquiring ‘Jacyra did you order some stationery?

How does the inventory say Jacyra Baptista but yet you fixed your mouth out loud to say ‘George Baptist’.

How Sway? I need answers.

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Delivery man clearly should’ve gone to Specsavers. Not only that, but how did you clean miss the ‘a’ at the end of Baptista to call me Baptist. The ‘a’ is not there for decoration.

Now… this is not the first time and certainly won’t be the last time that my name will be mangled beyond recognition, I mean I’ve been called:

Jasra, Jackra, Jazeera, Jerkeira, Jaycherie, Sarah

You name it!

But George really does take the biscuit. He honestly looked at the paper, saw my name and checked out of life.

I realise that my name is very unique and that not many people may have come across it before. However, if you only just take your time to break it down, you’d realise it that it is actually quite  an easy name to pronounce. I mean it’s only three syllables.

Let’s try it together:

JA.CY.RA

say-my-name
Say my name, say my name
I mean this is already the anglicised pronunciation of my name, I have helped you guys out enough.

To quote Warsan Shire:

“Give your daughters difficult names. Give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right.”

My name is my identity; I wear it like a badge of honour. I’m proud of it and it’s origin. So, if I can fix my mouth to say Meredith, Dipesh, Earl etc. Then you can say Jacyra.

And my biggest pet peeve is this – after I correct people not once but normally twice on the pronunciation (because some of you are hard of hearing) they then want to turn around and tell me what a beautiful and unique name I have. I know this. But you didn’t think this two seconds ago so stop trying to placate me. You have  offended me enough already.

Yes…. I know some people are being genuine when they say this. But whatever let me rant.

Nevertheless, morale of the story:

  1. If you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name, then please just ask them
  2. If you still insist on pronouncing it without help, please apologies when you get it wrong
  3. Just ask for the pronunciation!!

Thank you for listening.