Volume 5: Blame It On The Alcohol

  “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with fools                                         -Ernest Hemmingway

     Someone once told me that a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts. My only thought after tonight is: NO MORE HENNEY FOR MEever! For those that don’t know, “Henney” is the name that people often use when referring to Hennessy Cognac. The lethal combination of Henney, Women, a Hood-ass club and my crazy frat brothers…and it was destined be a night that I’d never forget.

     I attended a game night with my frat brothers in Philadelphia. After a competitive game of Taboo-where the Ques-with the help of an Alpha, soundly thrashed our sister sorority-the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta. We shared a few more jokes and we were off to the Houlihann’s Restaurant for a late meal and drinks. When we got there, the kitchen was closed, so the plan was to get stupid drunk . After a few drinks, the question on the floor was, “Ok. What’s next?”

     Someone proposed the idea of crashing a Birthday Party at The Stinger, a club located at Broad Street and Belmont Avenue. My Spidey-Sense was tingling. The Stinger was located in North Philadelphia, which is probably the worst part of an already infamous city. 


For those that aren’t familiar with “North Philly”, imagine one of those CNN reports where they show the after effects of US missile attacks on Iraq. Now, add a bunch of black people to the wreckage and assume that they actually live there; that is what some parts of North Philly look like. Perhaps in my old age, I’m becoming a bit “uppity” with my reservations about going into the hood to party; especially crashing a Birthday Party in North Philly. I always pose this question to my frat brothers who can’t seem to stay out of the hood: What is the point of coming from the inner city, going away to a college or University, working hard, graduating, then searching for a great job to make enough money to move out of the city…if you’re just gonna keep going right back into the city to hang and party with the same negative people that you worked so hard to get away from?!?  To this day…no one’s ever given me an answer to that.

     I pleaded with the group to instead think about doing something in Philadelphia’s Olde City area, an area located Downtown, with a much more diverse crowd, less violence and strict dress codes enforced at several locations. After all, dress codes are like kryptonite to thugs in Philly. They may have guns, knives and criminal records…but bet you a million bucks they don’t own a pair of dress shoes or a tie…so their asses won’t be partying with me that night! Hahahaha! Now, some may call that “uppity” or assume “he thinks he’s too good.” I call it smart and proactive. I just wasn’t in the mood to get shot that night. After all, only 10% of Americans go to College; an even smaller percent graduate! We’re elite…and I figure that we should act like it. Too bad the group didn’t see it the way I did, because minutes later, we were on our way into North Philadelphia to go to the Stinger. Damn!!

     After a twenty-minute drive, we found parking about a half block from the club’s doors. Two Police Cruisers are parked on the curb outside-not a good sign. We enter and show I.D, as well as receive a thorough search from the police. We climb a flight of stairs and I mutter to myself about the stupidity of crashing this party. We enter a room on the 2nd floor and immediately I see that I’m waaaaaay overdressed for this club. I’m there in a sweater, dress shirt with a tie…jeans and shoes. I look around and everyone’s wearing Timbs, hoodies and white T’s down to their ankles. I realize that I’m wearing the same expression that Kayne West would have if he were shopping at Target. Shit, just call me RON-Ye West! Usually the underdressed man or woman feels embarrassed, now I’m embarrassed for being overdressed.

     My frat brothers have a natural knack for being the life of any party, so they’re working the room, flirting, meeting people…even though we’re CRASHING the damn party! No one knows us, and we’re not supposed to be here, but there they were…eating food in the buffet, cutting birthday cake, and dancing with the birthday girls’ sister! LOL Never a dull moment with the Brothers of Omega Psi Phi. I on the other hand, felt outta place…so I hit the bar up for a drink. Followed by another. One of my frat brothers went to the bar to get me another drink. He came back with a small glass with a dark colored drink with a lemon in it. “Try this”, he said, a devilish smile forming on his face.  The taste could only be described as…well…piss. “It’s Henney,” he said. I finished the Henney and tried to have a good time. Minutes later…the buzz had kicked in full swing. I no longer felt dumb as shit being overdressed, or gave a flying fuck about that girl’s birthday party. My alter ego was emerging-the alter ego that my friends playfully named “The Jamaican Sensation.”  After two more shots of Henney, I was drunk-and conversing with a bunch of hood-ass chicks that I had absolutely no desire for...


     I remember us waking up to one group of females. We go around and introduce ourselves to them. The Big One is looking at me, smiling from ear to ear…like I’m dinner! There’s always that token loud friend and even though I’m drunk, I’d swear she was staring right at my dick.

 I tried my best to be friendly as I was introduced to the group. The tallest one said very bluntly, “You are cute. You look very nice tonight.” My eyes surveyed her. She was covered with tattoos and one of them stood out. On her left arm was a large tattoo, which read: Man-Man. As she fired off compliments, the alcohol running through my veins made me wanna ask, “Whooo the fuck is Man-Man?” Instead I smiled sheepishly and continued to listen. Somehow she was asked by one of my friends about her assortment of tats. She began to explain them, each story seemingly dumber than the last. After a few minutes, one of my frat brothers whispers to me, “Yo…She’s on you!”  With my patented sarcasm, I whisper back, “Well…get her OFF Me.”  He seemed confused as to why I was not interested in this girl, who appeared to have the I.Q. of French Toast, but would probably be more than willing to do my bidding by nights end. “She got a fat ass though,” he retorted. My mind wandered, wondering what else she probably had. He offers me another drink, and my dumb-ass accepts. What else but…the Henney!

     I decided that I didn’t wanna end up in an alcohol-induced coma that night; nor did I wanna wake up naked and handcuffed to that strange girl’s bedpost…so I was done drinking that night. Philly clubs close at 2 a.m. and shortly before 2, looked like they were trying to make plans to actually leave with these girls! A few female friends of ours showed up, foiling those plans and saving me the embarrassment of being in a stupid situation that night. Thank God for Deltas! LOL No more Hennessy for me!!! Ever! But I can’t lie; we had LOTS of fun that night. Fun in Philadelphia with zero problems? Wow. Perhaps Philly has some potential. I’ll keep you guys posted…

…These Are The Random Thoughts of Ronald Gray…


Volume 4: DEATH

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the Eulogy.”

-Jerry Seinfeld


            There have been a few issues on my mind as of late. Today I wanted to address the issue of death. I can’t front- I’m afraid of dying. I’m afraid to die because I know virtually nothing about death, except what I’ve read. And guess what? Of all the scholars and philosophers who write about death, guess how many of them died and came back to confirm their theories were true? None.

            I figured as time goes on, I would become more familiar with death. I would have eventually attended enough funerals for loved ones, to ultimately become dare I say “comfortable” with the idea that all of us will eventually die- But I just haven’t yet. And every now and then there are deaths around me…stories of death and situations that make me fearful again. I’ve had a few close friends die; some the victims of murder, some found guilty of killing others. In Philadelphia, you see a lot of death and if you’re not careful, you can become numb to news of homicide. Many are the end results of physical or verbal confrontation, but what’s up with these random killings that mean absolutely nothing?!?

            We’ve all heard the story: Random Guy is involved in a relationship, Girl fools around with another man, now the two men argue and fight over her. Next thing you know, someone’s shot to death over the female. Police arrest the Boyfriend. Woman Grieves. 3 weeks later, she’s got a brand new set off balls in her mouth again! LOL What is the point of trying to HURT another man over a female? In the end, neither idiot gets the girl. Only a paragraph in the local newspaper, with a nation of people shaking their heads like “Damn, people suuure are dumb!”

            Another common story is the notorious shit-talker in the club. He’s the 5’4 fool that has one beer and all of a sudden thinks he’s Suge Knight! The problem is he gets his ass kicked up and down the club. Upon being thrown out, he has the option to just go home and sleep it off-with a shred of dignity still intact. But nah, he can’t…and he waits outside the club until 2:00 am when the party is over…and shoots up an unsuspecting crowd in retaliation. This moron is usually a lousy shot and winds up killing innocent bystanders. Stupid Idiot.

            I read the Philadelphia Daily News every day. I read today how a Philly Taxi Cab Driver got a call to come to a house to pick someone up. A 19 year old male got into the car and had the taxi driver take him to another apartment complex. Once there, the guy in the told the driver that he had to run upstairs to get the money to pay for the cab. He asked the driver to wait at the door while he got the fare. The driver gets out…and now he’s getting robbed at gunpoint! The driver gives up all the cash he had-which was about $700…is brought into a nearby alley, and gets shot in the head for no reason. Afterwards, a call comes through on the dead driver’s radio, telling him that he needs to go to another location and pick up another fare. The 19 year old guy who just killed him answers the radio and tells the dispatcher “He ain’t gonna be able to make it. I shot him and he’s dead now.”

The dispatcher calls 911 and the police track the car. The guy ditched the car about 5 blocks away, but of course the moron was caught anyway about 2 days later. Good. All of this happened on Christmas! I’m thinking to myself, who the hell kills a taxi cab driver on Christmas?!? Somebody get me outta this city!! Auuugghhh!!!

These Are The Random Thoughts of Ronald Gray…

Volume 3: Makes Me Wanna Holler

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.”                  

         Who is Ronald Gray? Well, I’ll tell you who I am not. I am not a controversial man. I am not an angry or bitter soul. I am simply a man who has questions; and there are people out there that I don’t understand, and there are things that they do that irritate me on a daily basis. Being Born and raised in Philadelphia’s inner city, I can appreciate the things that it has done for me-the lessons I’ve learned. But there are things that occur in Philly that drive me up the wall! Maybe life in the suburbs wouldn’t be too bad…

1)   Have you ever wanted to decapitate the KICKING ASSHOLE IN THE MOVIE THEATRE-who sits behind you and kicks the back of your seat 4,000 times during the movie?!? We’ve all been there. The jackass sits right behind you and kicks your seat over and over. Is it that difficult to sit still during a movie?? You’re sitting there thinking to yourself, This fool has to know he’s kicking my seat, but the apology never comes. You try to ignore it, but the kicking commences. You attempt subtle things to let them know they’re minutes away from an ass-whoopin’. First comes that heavy sigh…then it escalates to you visibly shaking your head in front of them sighing…followed by a mutter…then it escalates to you turning around in the seat and looking right in their eyes-giving them the death stare!

2)   Another asshole that frequents the inner city movie theatre is THE DUMB PARENT WHO BRINGS THE CRYING BABY TO THE MOVIES- They are usually the family of blacks or Latinos, who instead of hiring a babysitter or just staying at home, think it would be a great idea to bring their infant son or daughter into the 10:00 p.m. horror movie! (shaking my head) It’s nights like this that you wish that the popcorn that you paid $5.00 for came with complimentary duct tape for their crying child. Who in their right mind brings a BABY to the movies?!? It’s a recipe for an ass-whoopin’.

3)   And finally, we have the worst of the worst. THE IDIOT THAT REFUSES TO SILENCE HIS CELL PHONE DURING THE MOVIE. We’re imperfect. There are times when we may forget that our phone is on. But this idiot always has their cell on- and turned up to the highest settings, to ensure extra annoyance. They even had to incorporate previews before the feature presentation that ask you to silence your cell phone, but to no avail. Then after the asshole disturbs everyone within 50 feet during the movie with their blaring ring tones, he or she actually has the NERVE to accept the call!!! They sit there and have a conversation-as if none of you are there! Is it wrong to  want to bash their heads in!?!

4)   Have you ever been driving down a neighborhood block in Philadelphia-or any other major city and notice the moron who’s double parked on the street you’re driving down??? Right next to several perfectly good Parking Spaces! So you sit there behind them, waiting for them to move out of the way, or at least PULL OVER!!! And they simply sit there and talk. It’s times like these that it becomes inevitably clear why Philadelphia’s homicide rate is so high. 30 seconds later, I’m beeping the horn impatiently for them to move, secretly wishing that my Honda Accord was really a HUMMER- so I can plow them into the nearest car! (sigh) Only in the inner city…

Sadly, those were four things that I had to deal with today, all because I wanted o enjoy a night out in the city. Suburbia may be right up my alley at this stage of my life…hmmm…


…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

Volume 2: The Modern Day Minstrel Show

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”  -Anatole

         I’m sitting here at work today, thinking about the state of Black America. I thought about the things that I wanted to cut back on this year, and eventually refrain from altogether. One of those things that I’ve chosen to cut back on are things in Hip Hop Music and things on T.V. that make us look and sound like a bunch of idiots. Working in Corporate America, I realize how influential Hip Hop is. YesHip Hop! Because if you think that only black people listen to hip hop…you’re about as dumb as dog shit. Statistics show that 70% of all hip hop sales are purchased by white people. That means that they are the ones mostly responsible for some of your favorite artists’ multi-platinum sales. For every ten CD’s that are purchased…Peter, Cody, Billy and Brett bought seven of them! Jamal, Hakeem and Jermaine purchased three! We as black folk gotta become more aware of how we are portrayed to those who aren’t black and start to take responsibility.

         Those who converse with me on the regular have noticed that I no longer use the word “nigga.” I hate that word now. And please don’t give me that crap where black folk try to justify it by saying “it’s just a word”, or that we took the “er” away and put the “a” there…taking away the power of the word. Malcolm and Martin should be able to crawl outta their graves and beat the HELL outta the next person that says that. If you think it’s just a word, just envision your Boss coming over to your cubicle and saying “Good Morning, Nigga!  Did you finish those reports?”  For those that actually read newspapers and watch the News (VIBE magazine and BET.com do not count), it’s easy to see that history is beginning to repeat itself and more and more, we’re noticing non-black people are getting caught out there using the word “nigger.” I remember when people were straight terrified of black people. Now you have Don Imus talking shit on the radio, you have Michael Richards losing his damn mind on stage during a comedy show, every Quentin Tarrantino movie has the word “nigger” in it, The Jena 6, construction workers hanging nooses at construction sites in front of black workers-and then telling their bosses that it was “just a joke.” Wooow. Evidently, there are many people who have grown too comfortable with the Corporate Negro…and perhaps need a re-introduction to the fed up brotha or sista from the streets!

         I’m ashamed to say that I was one of millions of American’s responsible for watching VH1’s “Flavor of Love” and “I Love New York.” Both of those shows are nothing more than modern-day Minstrel Shows, where we watch mindless black folk take us back 50 years with their buffoonery and antics. For those that don’t know, Minstrel Shows were a very popular show business phenomenon in the U.S. from 1828 through the 1930’s. 

The genre played an important role in shaping perceptions and prejudices about people…BLACKS in particular. Minstrel Shows had “black face”, which was makeup for conventionalized comic travesty of Black People. The makeup was used by performers to imitate a negro. In other words, they were CLOWNIN’ US!!! The minstrel shows contained buffoonery and comedy, by way of self parody. Back in the days blacks couldn’t perform unless THEY had blackface makeup. Didn’t matter how dark skinned you were. Performers had blackface, white gloves, and ruby red lipstick. Muh-fuckas walked around with big shiny teeth. That same image ended up going mainstream and was seen all over Toys, Children’s literature, Jewelry, Comic strips, etc. Even some every day things you see today have a black face influence-like Mickey Mouse or Aunt Jemima Syrup.

         In the 1950’s, the NAACP brought alotta attention to those depictions and they slowly started to fade away…until now. Now we got Mutha-fuckin’ Flavor Of Love…which is COONERY at its best! I feel fucked up because a few of my friends had me watching the show with them one day and got MY ass hooked on that bullshit!!! LMAO 

I watch this damn Coon…a former semi-celebrity, dressed like a fuckin IDIOT…eating fried chicken every day and running around a house full of mostly black women…who fight, curse, dance, and do all kinds of dumb shit for his affection. It’s a minstrel show all over again. Blacks in Minstrel shows were always smiling (like Flav) and were loud and obnoxious (like Flav) and were always portrayed as lustful and constantly had women on the brain-Like Flav! I feel like I’m getting dumber every episode watching that shit and VH1 force-feeds it down people’s throat with season after season. There are producers who write this kind of stuff and come up with the concepts for the show. Jews and many other non-blacks get RICH off of these shows, while our reputations take a hit.

         Everywhere you look now, you have black people “Coonin.” We went from Cheesin’ in minstrel shows with Watermelons to Cheesin’ in rap videos with platinum fuckin’ teeth! We went from Shuckin’ and jivin’ for white folks on stage to the same movements while doing the Chicken Noodle Soup dance. But who the fuck eats chicken noodle soup with soda anyway?!? Am I the only person that doesn’t understand that? Sistas wonder why men reach out and grab ya arms in the club…but it’s done on TV. It’s done in rap videos. If rappers-who are celebrities, don’t know how to properly address or approach you, then why would the average Joe in the street know how? I was born in 1979 and when most from my era fell in love with Hip Hop, we knew what was real and what was solely entertainment and enjoyed it. NWA said “Fuck the Police”, but we knew that when the director said “Cut”, they were probably going back to their Bel-Air Mansion and never had malicious intentions for Officers. Today 50 cent says “Buss Ya Guns” and people Die! Jeezy talks about selling Keys of Coke and people think that’s the American Dream. I apologize. This may be a little too much for some, but working around a bunch of white people who see us depicted in this way…I really wonder what they’re thinking sometimes. Some other ethnicities don’t have much contact with us, so T.V. is what educates them about our culture. I don’t have any Arab friends, but the average American who thinks of an Arab- thinks of a guy who looks like Osama Bin Laden, running around with a turban, sandals, and a bomb strapped to his chest! That’s what T.V teaches you. Turn on the T.V, and you’re likely to see a bunch of blacks acting fucking stupid; Wearing construction boots and doing nothing constructive in them…On the Maury Show, denying paternity…On BET rapping…Being chased by officers on some COP show…or glorifying jail like it’s a fuckin resort in Jamaica! Don’t allow people to think that’s who we are. Look at how Mexican’s are perceived. They’re stereotyped as hard working muh-fuckas that speak little English and only earn income as yard workers or professional Boxers! LOL The way our society is, you can probably google the word Mexican, and a picture of a guy wearing a sombrero pushing a lawnmower will pop up! I hate this damn country. Lemme get my ass back to work…


...These are the Random Thoughts of Ronald Gray…