Sign in

LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

This you?

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium. Source: Getty Images.

Let’s be real, you need all the sleep you can get. Sure, you used to pull all-nighters for no reason at all, but these days, you can barely stay up past the first half of Laker games. (Make sure you get your naps in!)

6. Pro athletes look much, much younger than you do

Speaking of professional sports, all of the athletes in your age group are in the twilight of their careers — that is, if they’re even competing at all. Commentators talk about these players like they’re damn dinosaurs, relics from another time. Don’t take it to heart, fam.

5. Acid reflux is the norm

Your body is gonna pay for that order of…


This is not a vacation day. This is sick time.

When the police killing of a Black person makes the news, I call off work the next day.

It’s not anything I announce or work out with my boss. I don’t go on social media and put my foot down. I simply commit to watching as much verifiable news about the story as I can stomach, go to bed, and when my alarm goes off the next morning, I call or email to say I won’t be working. That’s the rule.

It doesn’t matter where the Black person was killed. It doesn’t matter if the officer’s body cam was working…


It’s time for Black men to step up and answer the call

Photo: Emmanuel Sasu Mensah

I was raised in an abusive environment. So when I see Black women mistreated, silenced, and erased, it hits close to home.

One in three Black women will experience either physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives. That number has always felt much higher in terms of the women I knew, given the cultural, political, and economic violence targeted toward Black women globally.

Many of the women I’m close to have shared countless stories of abuse in their personal and professional lives. In some cases, we’ve been able to work together to take meaningful action. …


I found freedom in my pandemic-era hair journey

Photos courtesy of author.

These days, you’ll find a vast selection of hair products inside my bathroom cabinet. Bottles and jars, big and small, lined up side by side like soldiers. It’s funny to think one year ago I wasn’t even aware of some of my essentials, like Originals Hair Mayonnaise and Shea Moisture’s enhancing cream. I had no clue about the cost of growing and maintaining my hair. Everything changed when salons and barbershops closed at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the midst of those dire times, I finally decided to take my haircare into my own hands.

Before the world…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Step away from the freezer, people!

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

An integral part of an iconic hip-hop hook? Yes, indeed. A top-tier ice cream flavor? Not even close. If the only way you can describe the taste of something is “tan,” best to keep it pushing.

6. Cookie dough

Yeah, we said it. We meant it, too. Enjoy your uncooked dough, savages! (Look, if you’re not willing to let the yopper spray, don’t be out here making lists.)

5. Strawberry cheesecake

The main philosophical question you have to ask yourself about ice cream is: Does being in the form of a frozen dairy dessert make these flavors as good as or better than they would be…


Doughnuts, fish plates, cash… whatever works

Source: Getty Images

This past March, a corporate executive aware of his vast customer base had an idea to speed up the efforts to vaccinate more Americans and help end the ongoing hell that is this plague: a free doughnut in exchange for proof of vaccination.

Given the realities of life in 2021, of course this campaign prompted criticism from some within the medical community, including doctor and frequent CNN talking head Leana Wen, MD. Apparently, Krispy Kreme giving away some of their frosty-ass doughnuts is a bad example of how to incentivize vaccinations. (And don’t take that as shade, Krispy Kreme lovers…


An underwear shot revealing a little bit of a gut isn’t exactly the bravery we’re looking for

Source: Will Smith / Instagram

Let’s get one thing clear right away: Will Smith isn’t fat.

Smith recently posted a couple of pics of himself on social media with no shirt on, exposing his lack of six-pack abs. It’s probably the first time he hasn’t had visible abs since the mid-90s when he made his sex symbol debut as the trigger-happy cop Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys. It appears that Smith, like millions of other people the world over, added on a few pounds during the pandemic, and I’m almost spot-on with the amount. But by the time you read this, he will have likely…


The infuriating impact of a toxic breakroom

Photo by Outcast India on Unsplash

Did you see me smile?

Was it even funny? Are you trying to test the plasticity of my face as you beckon me in with a warm, inviting interlude before launching into racist commentary that only gets uglier with each passing second? Our co-workers hang on for the punchline — the twisting knife that mocks several cultures at once in an adept play on words.

Look how clever you are.

How do I feel about your latest round of racist jokes? Should I stay silent because of my need to fit in with the group?

Wait, is that another Jew…


No matter how much I try to evade, political rhetoric seeps into every conversation

Source: Getty Images

My friend was a force of sanity in this crazy world. But now, it seems like she picks a fight every time we talk.

The reason? The lead-up and aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. If you’re a liberal American with Donald Trump-loving friends, you may have noticed this inevitable shift since Biden defeated him back in November. Even when you deliberately avoid talking about politics, it worms its way into every conversation.

Since college, my friend has identified as an Independent, but I’m pretty sure she voted for Trump twice. …


The Only Black Guy in the Office

After more than a year of WFH, I can’t imagine it any other way

Illustration: Michael Kennedy

A couple of weeks ago, my manager, Richard, sent out an invitation to join him and a few other co-workers for a Saturday picnic in a local park. Prior to 2020, this was par for the course; here in Seattle, the coming of spring weather is so satisfying, people would throw a full-blown parade for the occasion if they could. But last year, Covid-19 made spring feel as dark as winter. The only invitations we were getting were to Zoom parties.

This year, however, things are starting to feel somewhat normal. Citywide restrictions are being lifted on restaurants and businesses…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store