Monthly Archives: February 2013

The 25 Best Breakup Songs Ever

Well, here we are. It’s time for the top 25 breakup songs. If you missed the first 25, take a moment to revisit them. If you don’t want to read through them all, I’ll be nice and give you a quick rundown.

50. “I Don’t Ever Wanna See You Again” – Uncle Sam
49. “The Sign” – Ace of Base
48. “Heartless” – Kanye West
47. “Marvin’s Room” – Drake
46. “The One I Love” – R.E.M.
45. “Butterfly” – Mariah Carey
44. “So Sick” – Ne-Yo
43. “Where I Wanna Be” – Donell Jones
42. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
41. “Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty
40. “Gone” – N*Sync
39. “Nobody Knows” – The Tony Rich Project
38. “We Can’t Be Friends” – Deborah Cox
37. “Pretty Wings” – Maxwell
36. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morrisette
35. “Used to Love U” – John Legend
34. “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child
33. “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” – Alicia Keys
32. “Burn” – Usher
31. “We’re Not Making Love No More” – Dru Hill
30. “Song Cry” – Jay-Z
29. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson
28. “Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse
27. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
26. “Emotional” – Carl Thomas

Gotye25. “Somebody That I Used to Know”  Gotye featuring Kimbra (2011)

I could not get away from this song for seemingly all of fiscal 2012. Somewhere in there, I learned to love it. Somewhere in its quirkiness rested a tragic tale most of us can relate to. The song describes two ex-lovers that can’t be friends. Not only are they not friends, they have nothing to do with each other…they don’t know each other anymore.

Madonna24. “Take a Bow”  Madonna (1994)

Before RiRi told Chris Brown her ex to take a bow a few years ago, Madonna had already told hers to do so…in much bigger and better fashion (seven weeks at #1 on the charts)…in 1994. Hell, she had Babyface singing backup on this. The entire song is a metaphor about a masqueraded relationship that is now over. No one likes having their love taken for granted, and Madonna does what so many of us are afraid to do…”say goodbye.”

BrianMc23. “Anytime” – Brian McKnight (1997)

Confession: I’ve been here. I’ve wondered what an ex is doing. I’ve wondered how she’s doing. I’ve wondered if I ever cross her mind. I’ve since moved on…thankfully. A hauntingly lonely song that mirrors the haunting piano licks that make it so memorable. Brian hasn’t let go of his former lover just yet. He misses her and seems to be holding out hope that she’ll come back to him. Don’t hold on too long, good sir. It’s not healthy.

Gloria22. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor (1978) 

I’ll probably die still hearing someone singing this song off-key and a crowd of empowered women dancing and singing along word for word…and for some reason loving it. In two lines, this song offers timeless life advice for anyone having trouble moving on: “As long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive / I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive.” Absolutely perfect.

Lauryn21. “Ex-Factor” – Lauryn Hill (1998)

On again, off again. This track is for that one person we love the most, but hurts us the most. It describes a relationship in which one person keeps trying to leave and whenever he/she does, the other person unsuccessfully tries to fix things. “You let go, and I’ll let go, too…it ain’t workin’.”


BillWithers20. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers (1971)

Yes, Bill, you “ought to leave the young thing alone” if she keeps leaving and not telling you where she’s going or how long she’ll be gone. I know, I know, I know, I know, you know. While Bill Withers is the originator of this classic, have you heard young Michael Jackson blow the lid off of it? Thank me later.


MaryJ19. “Not Gon’ Cry” – Mary J. Blige (1996)

This countdown would’ve lost some credibility if it didn’t feature a song from Waiting to Exhale, right? Blige takes on the persona of a scorned ex-wife who was getting cheated on. She’s not going to cry, though, because he’s not worth the tears. “Ee-lev-uhn years of sacrifice…” *ahem* Sorry, I couldn’t help it.


Dido18. “White Flag” – Dido (2003)

Dido is a ghost of an ex past in this song. She vows to “go down with the ship” (relationship) and to fight until the bitter end. Her poor ex. What’s he supposed to do? She admits that she caused problems in the relationship and doesn’t blame him for moving on, but she hasn’t. She won’t. This song gives credence to the tag, “it’s complicated.”

MJ17. “She’s Out of My Life” – Michael Jackson (1977)

This song represents conflicting emotions post-breakup. Do you laugh or cry? Do you live or die? Do you embrace the freedom of being single or dwell on the past? MJ accepts the blame for taking the relationship for granted for two years, locking his love deep inside and away from her, and his pride getting in the way. Live and learn is the best lesson that one can take away from this song.

JT16. “Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake (2002)

Britney Spears left JT in a bad place. This ventilating masterpiece was birthed in that bad place. He loved her, did everything he could for her, but she cheated on him, and destroyed any possibility of a future together. He has cried his tears and dealt with the pain from the breakup and passes it on to her. Vengefully beautiful.


Erykah15. “Tyrone” – Erykah Badu (1997)

We interrupt this countdown of downers and tales of heartbreak to bring you Erykah Badu’s ode to a trifling ex. Tyrone is the friend of the cheap and clueless ex-boyfriend Ms. Badu so eloquently describes in this song. Fellas, this is what can happen when you don’t take care of your woman. Pay attention to your woman. Spend some money on her. Spend some time with her!

NoDoubt14. “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt (1996)

How many songs in the history of music have featured exes on the very song describing their former relationship? Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal dated for seven years before this song came out and gave the world a glimpse of the fallout. Here, the writing is on the wall and words aren’t even necessary to explain that the relationship has died.

Mayer13. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” – John Mayer (2006)

Lonely apart and dangerous together. That’s what I think of when I hear this song. Here’s a toxic relationship that needs to end, but drags on. Both parties know that the relationship is over but both of them are afraid to pull the trigger and officially end it. “Slow dancing in a burning room” or holding on to a dead relationship. Pick your poison.

Guns12. “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses (1992)

If this was a countdown based on instrumentation alone, put this in the top two. The last two minutes are nothing short of epic. It’s part of a trilogy of heartbreak songs that Guns N’ Roses blessed us with in the 90’s (along with “Don’t Cry” and “Estranged”). This is a song about not wanting to deal with unrequited love. Axl is still very much in love with a woman, but she is no longer in love with him. “Everybody needs some time…on their own.”

Coldplay11. “The Scientist” – Coldplay (2002)

Going back in time is a power some of us wish we had. Chris Martin has messed things up in the relationship, and he wishes to erase it all and start over. He wants to return to a happier time in the relationship when she loved him, and when she was still excited to learn about him. Those days are long gone, but they still haunt him.


Toni10. “Un-Break My Heart” – Toni Braxton (1996)

How do you not feel the pain exuding from this song? Ms. Braxton was dumped by an ex and still wallows in the heartache. She asks this ex to come back, undo the pain that he caused by walking out her life, and replace them with the happy times while he was in her life. The video paints a tragic, dark, and bleak picture as her lover dies in a motorcycle accident, thus leaving her forever. Powerful lyrics. Powerful song.

Boyz9. “End of the Road” – Boyz II Men (1992)

Boyz II Men perfected the art of harmonizing, so sometimes it’s easy to forget that this is a song about a breakup. Denial, really. The relationship is over, but these boyz can’t let go and realize that it’s not “unnatural” for lovers to go their separate ways. I really do miss those mid-song, deep-voice raps, though. Music just isn’t what it used to be.


Isley8. “Voyage to Atlantis” – The Isley Brothers (1977)

What to say about this gem? Hmm…it’s a wonderful deception. Obviously, it’s about a breakup. Ron Isley is selling hopes and dreams. He tells his ex that he’ll always come back to her and that they’ll reunite in a “paradise out beyond the sea” (Atlantis). Newsflash: Atlantis is a mythical place that doesn’t exist. No flames will be rekindled here. Damn, I love this song.

Purple7. “Purple Rain”  Prince (1984)

First off, what is “purple rain?” I’m pretty sure it signifies a girl crying. When she cries, her eyes would “rain” purple mascara. Poetic. Why is she crying? At first, Prince is describing the pain he caused this woman, but he only wanted to make her happy. He didn’t mean for her to fall in love with him. Instead, he just wanted to try and make her happy, but he made her cheat, so he left her behind for her own benefit. Prince, ladies and gentlemen.

Journey6. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”  Journey (1983)

If it’s possible to make a beautiful breakup song, this does it masterfully. Sure, our relationship didn’t work out. Yes, we made promises we couldn’t keep. However, I still love you, you’ll find love somewhere else, and love won’t desert you. Why things don’t work out with the couple isn’t explained, but this song probably wins the award for ending on the most peaceful, loving, unselfish, and heartfelt terms possible.

Adele5. “Someone Like You”  Adele (2011)

“I wish nothing but the best for you…” Much like a lot of songs that have preceded it, Adele’s piece of perfection is performed from the perspective of a jilted lover. What sets this song apart is the fact that she assures herself that she’ll find someone else and harbors no ill will toward her ex. She makes it no secret that she’s not over him, but she puts her pride aside, and only asks to be remembered. Pulchritudinous paradox.

Bonnie4. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt (1991)

I’ll go ahead and call this the saddest song on this list. Bonnie is in a relationship and deeply in love, but her partner isn’t. She can’t make him love her, and “in these final hours,” she’ll lay down her heart. She doesn’t stop there. In the midst of lying in bed with her lover, she asks for the night to give up the fight of trying to get her lover to reciprocate the feelings she harbors. Impeccably written and performed. My goodness…

Fleetwood3. “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac (1976)

Okay, so “Don’t Speak” wasn’t the only breakup song featuring ex-lovers describing their former relationship. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham open their world to our world. From the lyrics, Nicks and Buckingham had an on again, off again relationship, but there’s some finality to this song. Here I was at 11 thinking that this song was about Forrest Gump going his own way across the country. It’s so much deeper and better than that.

TheBodyguard2. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (1992)

I’m running low on words to describe amazing songs. There isn’t a lot I can say about one of the best selling songs of all time, either. Whitney was at her absolute best here. She made it her song. I know this is a cover, but it is her song. The third verse sums it up perfectly: “I hope life treats you kind. And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of. And I wish to you joy and happiness. But above all this, I wish you love.”  Bittersweet. Beautiful.

Lynyrd1. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973)

Remember when I said that “November Rain” was instrumentally in the top two of songs on this list? Meet the other one. It features one of, if not, the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard. That’s not the only reason it’s number one, though. “Free Bird” found a way to make a song about a breakup mirror life itself. On the surface, it’s a typical breakup song. He’s breaking things off with the girl. There are places he wants to see and things he wants to do. The deeper meaning behind the song suggests that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. In other words, some people are wild at heart and cannot be changed (tamed).

There are literally thousands of breakup songs. I’ve sifted through my library for three weeks now looking for my favorites and the best. These are my 50. I welcome any songs that I left off, so give me your thoughts/songs/etc.

Oh, and just in case you wanted to hear for yourself what the Top 25 sounds like, I’ve put all together into one playlist which you can enjoy and download here.



Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Countdown, Music, Relationships


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Post-Valentine’s Day Special: The 50 Best Break-Up Songs Ever (50-26)

Now that Valentine’s Day is over and love has faded away like smoke from the air, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every loving relationship, there is an equal and opposite failed relationship. This list is for the brokenhearted and heart breakers. This list is for those who are fixated on an old flame and for those who extinguished what used to be a burning flame. No disclaimer will be necessary on this one unless you can’t handle a list full of raw emotion. Actually there is a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: Taylor Swift did not make it onto this list.

Uncle Sam50. “I Don’t Ever Want To See You Again” – Uncle Sam (1997)

Talk about a downer of a song. Not only is the love of Uncle Sam’s life cheating on him, she’s cheating on him with his best friend. Uncle Sam takes correct and proper action by moving on and vowing to never see her again. Let’s hope he doesn’t want to see his best friend again, either.


Ace of Base

49. “The Sign” – Ace of Base (1993)

While most of Ace of Base’s songs sound alike, this one stands out. Maybe it’s because the album is called The Sign, too. Maybe it’s because of the fact that it packs quite a punch beneath the upbeat, 90’s, Euro-pop sound. This is a song about growth. It’s about seeing a former lover after a significant amount of time apart and wondering why the hell you dated that person in the first place.

808s_&_Heartbreak48. “Heartless” – Kanye West (2008)

I could put the vast majority of 808s and Heartbreak on this list, but I’ll stick with this song. I won’t speculate as to who the muse of this song was (even though it’s not hard to figure out), but it’s pretty apparent that she hurt Kanye pretty badly. Hell, the guy went from rapper to auto-tune singer because of her. Judging by the lyrics, there was no closure or resolution after the relationship ended as he “left it wrong” and she couldn’t “make it right”.

take care47. “Marvin’s Room”  Drake (2011)

I was extremely tempted to put JoJo’s version of this song at this spot, but it just felt disrespectful. Drake made this a hit. Okay, we’ve all done it. Drunk dialed or sent a drunk text to an ex. It probably didn’t end well, either. Here, the ex has moved on to someone else, but Drake is bitter. He has resorted to surrounding himself with females and burying his sorrows in the bottle, but hey, “[he’s] just sayin’ [she] could do better.”

R.E.M.46. “The One I Love” – R.E.M. (1987)

I love this song. It’s twisted, evil, and awful, but it has a certain charm to it. It sounds like a love song. The title makes you think it’s a love song. It’s not. It’s about a girl (really, more than one) that the singer once “loved” and left behind. She turns out to be a “simple prop to occupy [his] time.” Never has the concept of “love ’em and leave ’em” sounded so…good.

Butterfly45. “Butterfly” – Mariah Carey (1997)

Breaking up is never fun, and it usually hurts a great deal, but some songs make it easier to cope. This is one of those songs. Mariah Carey lets her lover go to “spread [his] wings and prepare to fly”. Whether it’s because of a job, to follow his dreams, or some mixture of the two, she lets him go in hopes that he will one day return to her. Beautiful song.

Ne-Yo44. “So Sick” – Ne-Yo (2006)

A lot of times, when a relationship ends, old habits must end with it. Ne-Yo sings of changing the answering machine, fixing the calendar marked with an anniversary, being done with wishing his girlfriend was there, and not listening to “stupid love songs” anymore. He soon discovers that these things are not the easiest things to do.


Where I Wanna Be43. “Where I Wanna Be” – Donell Jones (2000)

Mr. Jones is forthright and honest when he tells his girl that he’d “rather leave than to cheat.” Basically, his playing days aren’t over yet. He’s been with this woman for years, and he wants to see what else is out there before he settles down. Donell Jones made a hell of a song about a hell of a decision to leave.


Police42. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police (1983)

File this one away in your “Creepy Classics” folder. People have different ways of dealing with break-ups. Some cry, some drink, some reflect. Sting stalks. He wants his ex back, but he goes about it all wrong. I hate when people misinterpret this song. It’s not sweet. It’s not protective. It’s not cute. It’s disturbing. While it’s a great song, do your family, friends, and guests at your wedding reception a favor and refrain from having this song played.

Tom_Petty_Full_Moon_Fever41. “Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty (1989)

For such a sweet-sounding and freedom-seeking song, this one starts off pretty damn icy. Here’s a guy who has a great girlfriend. He wants to be free, though. He leaves her in the suburbs of L.A. with a broken heart to pursue his freedom and independence. At first, he doesn’t even miss her, but after his days of being a “bad boy,” he realizes how empty it feels and how much he misses her.

'N Sync40. “Gone” – ‘N Sync (2001)

“Bye, Bye, Bye” could have gone here, but I think “Gone” is for this list. Justin and his backups aren’t quite sure where Justin’s girl went. They don’t even know why she went wherever she went. Maybe it was something he said. Maybe he was too blind to see the warning signs. “The truth remains [she’s] gone,” and he’s miserable. He vows to “hang around and find some things to do to get [his] mind off missing [her].” Good luck with that.

Tony Rich39. “Nobody Knows” – The Tony Rich Project (1996)

I swore up and down that this was Babyface when I first heard it in the fifth grade. Turns out it was a one hit wonder. Here’s a song that outlines what can happen when you keep your emotions hidden and don’t fully appreciate what you have while you have it. Lonely nights, sad days, and thinking about a love gone wrong. He’s going to go find his ex-lover and tell her what he should have told her a long time ago, though. Once again, good luck with that.

Deborah Cox38. “We Can’t Be Friends” – Deborah Cox featuring R.L. (1999)

I love songs that can put new spins on break-ups. Here we have a former couple that realizes that they can’t go from lovers to merely friends because they’re still in love with each other. That “let’s just be friends” quip doesn’t always fly, and here is one of those instances. Beautifully crafted.


Maxwell37. “Pretty Wings” – Maxwell (2009)

I used to always have to remind myself that this song was about a break-up. It’s called “Pretty Wings”. You’d think this song was about a happier subject than two lovers going their separate ways. She wronged him. He wronged her. These facts almost get lost in the mystique of Maxwell’s voice.


Alanis36. “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette (1995)

This is that raw, unadulterated, and bitterly sarcastic, final haymaker thrown by a jilted lover. Another woman has entered the picture, and Alanis perfectly captures what it feels like to be replaced by someone who isn’t nearly as good, selfless, or freaky as she is. And when she scratches her nails down someone else’s back, she hopes her ex feels it. Read between the lines. Bold. Brash. Brazen.

John Legend35. “Used to Love U” – John Legend (2004)

Loving someone with all you have and realizing that that’s not enough. That’s this song in an eggshell. Everyone has their limits, and Mr. Legend reached those limits here. No one likes being unappreciated and taken advantage of, and this song serves as an anthemic declaration of empowerment. “You’ll miss me when I’m gone” rings so loudly.


Destiny34. Survivor” – Destiny’s Child (2001)

Honestly, this song would be a little bit higher if it wasn’t for Michelle’s verse. Sorry, I’m just being honest. I still really like this song, though. It’s a female anthem that doesn’t bash the ex-boyfriend in the process. They’re better than that. They wish him the best, hope he’s blessed, and that he finds happiness. Well done, ladies.


Alicia Keys33. “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” – Alicia Keys (2009)

This song expresses that harsh reality of heartbreak perfectly. If you’re going through sleepless nights thinking about that ex-lover, this song is for you. If you’re struggling with those feelings that are still there after the relationship is over, this song is for you. If you’re not going to let said break-up destroy you, this song is for you. Alicia Keys caught lightning in a bottle by making this song sad and uplifting at the same time.

Usher32. “Burn”  Usher (2004)

So succinct. So direct. So painful. So good. Usher actually lays out how to break up with a significant other when the relationship has reached its end. It’s “been a long time coming,” and it will hurt, but it must be done. Great song and a great album.


Soul Food31. “We’re Not Making Love No More”  Dru Hill (1997)

Dru Hill takes us into the bedroom, but in a depressing way. The relationship has fallen apart and these lovers are moving further apart every day. They don’t talk anymore, they used to be best friends, and well, they’re not having sex anymore. “How did it slip away?” You’ve given us a laundry list of reasons. Which one do you want? In my mind, this is a song that represents the very last moment before the actual break-up.

Jay-Z 30. “Song Cry” – Jay-Z (2002)

Every now and then, you find a song from a dude you wouldn’t expect to show his vulnerable side. This time, that song comes from one, Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z. Jigga was in his feelings on this song, but what a great song it turned out to be. Most guys have that one ex-girlfriend that they regret screwing over. Many of those guys still find themselves reminiscing over her from time to time. Thanks for this one, Jay.

Kelly29. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson (2004)

Freedom. That’s the word that comes to mind when I hear this song. When you’re out of a relationship that was going nowhere, you can breathe again. You can move on. You can walk into your ex-boyfriend’s house and destroy everything. I really hope people didn’t get any funny ideas from this video.


Amy28. “Back to Black” – Amy Winehouse (2006)

Sometimes after a relationship ends, people go back to something comfortable for them. In this instance, Amy Winehouse goes back to drinking and smoking while her ex goes “back to her” (his ex). I never said there wouldn’t be dark songs on this list. This is one of them.


Soft Cell27. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell (1981)

Sing it if you know it. *ahem* “Sometimes…I feel I’ve got to *clap* *clap* run away….I’ve got to *clap* *clap* get away…” While the credit goes to Gloria Jones’ original, Soft Cell made it the catchy, karaoke special that it has become.  The meaning of this song is simple. A guy has had enough of his girlfriend and her “tainted love”, so he tells her that he’s packing his things, leaving, and not to touch him. *clap* *clap* Good decision.

Carl Thomas26. “Emotional” – Carl Thomas (2000)

Sting keeps finding multiple ways to get onto my countdowns. Here, he lends Carl Thomas the music from “Shape of My Heart,” and Thomas makes the most of it. We’re presented with another relationship that has fallen apart. When you find yourselves spending more time fighting for a relationship than actually having one, then maybe it’s time to call it quits. That’s exactly what Carl Thomas does. It hurts, but “the love is through.”

Stay tuned for the top 25 coming very soon…


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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Countdown, Music, Relationships


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How My Audition for the Twerk Team Went!


I am probably the most militant (maybe second after Chad) person on the thread, so it really hurt me to think of this post… but it had to happen. I’ve lived in LA for about 9 and a half months now. It’s been an interesting adventure. There have been a lot of ups and downs during this journey as I’m in a very interesting situation. Right now, I am my boss’s only employee, so it’s been kind of hard meeting peers. And after the week I had, I decided to write this blog.

While trying to meet new people, I have realized that black women are the unfriendliest women (at least in LA). As I’ve had many encounters here, I’ve been surprised how various women have responded to me. I have a friend from college that I’ve been hanging out with. She’s friendly. She’s spunky. She’s accepting, and she’s white… So we go to a lot of bars and have wine nights watching Pitch Perfect. But being who I am, I can say I do crave [doing hoodrat things] with my friends, so I did go on a search to find some black friends. What did I decide to do? I joined the LA Urban League Young Professionals.

I went to my first event this past week. I was excited. I have a magnetic personality. I’m funny. I have to meet one friend, right? As I lightly campaigned about just moving here and made small talk, every single female ended up giving me the “we already have our friends leave us alone” stank face. I would join conversations, and these females would literally turn their lip up at me. Really? It wasn’t even about bourgie black people perceiving that I was less than because I clearly just paid dues. So why look at me like this? My jokes were funny. I even had the comedian laughing, so I questioned why I left the event feeling awkward, bruised, and empty handed.

The next night… I go out with my spunky, LA best friend, and a couple of her ex co-workers (one Caucasian, one Asian-American). We hit a nice, dance infused, spot. Mostly black people. I got to shake my lovely lady lump. The downside of this place? It was the upstairs of a restaurant and only had one, unisex bathroom. If you know me, you know that I am the bathroom queen and probably will go 3 or 4 times during the night. (It’s probably because I drink so fast… don’t judge me!) While in this abyss of a restroom line, a Latina taps me and tells me how pretty I look in my shirt. We then strike up a conversation. She recognizes my accent, and I tell her that I haven’t lived here for long. She then invites me out to a comedy night. We exchange numbers. (She was in line with her boyfriends, so she wasn’t hitting on me). A simple bathroom trip, and I gain an associate. Interesting.

I wish I had some profound logic as to why black women are the way we are, but I don’t. We get in our groups, and we treat encounters like they are twerk team auditions. I’m not being a pot calling the kettle black, but I am now aware of what we as black women do. And if we do it to women, many of us wonder why no men approached us at the club. We’re missing God’s blessing by being so unfriendly, so I’m challenging myself to smile at everyone and not give someone a stank face when they try to have a conversation with me. Let’s see what will happen! #BlackPower



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