“Tea”πŸ«– or Mental Health?

I’m choosing the latter.

I started my website primarily to showcase all my professional work and experience in the media field. Eventually, it turned into a blogging website as well. My blog, “Tama’s Two Cents,” allows me to give my own opinions on whatever I seem interested in what’s trending on social media. Yet, lately, I’ve got nothing. Yes, nothing. I just don’t have the desire to scroll on social media for hours on end while comparing myself from afar or hearing about a tragic or sensationalized story one after another.

For the past two months now, I’ve rarely posted or liked content on my Instagram and Twitter pages. I deleted the Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn apps (yes, LinkedIn is a social media site) from my phone, respectively. I still have my YouTube app, where I watch videos that I subscribe to. But even on YouTube, I try to stray away from any videos that will upset me –– news, politics. I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone, but I’ll sign in mostly to look at notifications from Facebook groups that I’m a part of.

Receiving a lot of information across multiple mediums can be overwhelming. There’s too much information out there, and most of the time, the topics are wrong or heavily exaggerated. I’ve noticed that since limiting my time on social media, especially Instagram and Twitter, I’ve felt better. I’m not constantly comparing myself to how someone seems to be “living the good life” on Instagram or LinkedIn or digesting outrage from whatever sensationalist topic is trending on Twitter.

Since limiting my time on social media, I’ve realized that I don’t care about half of the trending topics on the news or social media. I’m learning to filter out things that make me upset, even if it’s a human rights issue (and I’m very passionate about human rights). Life is too short to dwell on things that don’t make you happy.

10 English Actors that currently have Me swooning with Love

I just finished watching the Netflix series “Shadow and Bone” and it was thrilling! The show starts off slow, but gradually gets more interesting and exciting. Apparently, the show is based off of a popular YA Fantasy book series of the same name. When I was younger, I used to read lots of books from that same genre, including Twilight (yes, THAT one) and Fairest (the same author who wrote Ella Enchanted). But my main reason for tuning into this show was for none other than the beautiful, talented man himself –– Ben Barnes.

This man plays the main antagonist General Kirigan, a.k.a. The Darkling. He is power-hungry and misguided in his anger, but also devastatingly handsome. I fell for his charms just like Alina did. I mean…who wouldn’t? Especially if it’s BEN BARNES playing that character. Our Narnia boy is back!

Seeing Ben Barnes on my screen had me reminiscing of other English actors that have blessed us with their presence. Their accents combined with their charmingly good-looks keep us locked in. Here are 10 English actors that have blessed me with their presence:

  1. Henry Cavill

2. Regè–Jean Page

3. Daniel Kaluuya

4. Harrison Osterfield

5. Idris Elba

6. Alfred Enoch

7. Robert Pattinson

8. Alex Pettyfer

9. Clive Owen

10. Tom Holland

March Sadness, April Pain.

The gun violence pandemic returns in America.
Mykal McEldowney/Indy Star

Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Atlanta, Georgia.

Indianapolis, Indiana.

Austin, Texas.

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Windsor, Virginia.

Chicago, Illinois.

In one month, we have seen multiple incidents of mass shootings and police murders against unarmed black men. It seems like every day, lives are taken in such a graphic and violent way. Every time these incidents happen, protestors demand gun control and defunding the police. Media outlets will report the stories about the shootings (in the case of police murders, some focus on the riots) as a novel event. The words “thoughts and prayers” are recycled by politicians in D.C., yet nothing is done to strengthen gun control, background checks and end qualified immunity. It’s a cycle of death, protests, words and indifference.

When I see incidents like this, two things come to mind: 1. How can anyone not want to prevent tragedies like this from happening? 2. This is embarrassing. Even President Biden said in his press briefings that these incidents are a “national embarrassment.”

My tweets often say that these incidents DO NOT reflect the behavior of an exceptional country. But after some thought…they do! These incidents are uniquely American. The obsession with gun rights, institutional racism and nationalist ideologies all work together to create the mess we have today. America IS exceptional at that.

With the influence of politicians, media and elitists, they have shifted the conversation away from any legislation or idea that is progressive. I don’t mean “progressive” in the political sense, but “progressive” in the moral sense. We are the only country that demonizes gun control, racial equity, class equity, climate change and other social issues. These influences reshape the debate as anti-American if one believes in progressivism –– “us” versus “them.” I see this rising with far-right, nationalist extremist groups and political figures that serve in Congress.

The mental gymnastics and willful ignorance to the mass shootings and police murders of black people are upsetting. We have become indifferent to trauma, because trauma is normalized. Are we not tired of seeing violent death? Are we not tired of seeing families devastated by these killings? Are we not tired of “thoughts and prayers?”

Apparently not and that is troubling.

Labeling the Pandemic

11 months have passed since the pandemic shut down the world and changed our lives forever. We cleared out the toilet paper aisle. We cleared out the Lysol aisle. We mass produced face masks. We started working from home. We limited our contact with our friends and family to be safe.

With social gatherings limited and most of us at home, we had to get creative. So we made Tik Toks, we watched Tiger King and Love is Blind on Netflix, we made banana bread and protested against police brutality in the summer. We will forever refer to this moment in history. The story we will tell our children will have so many side stories.

Here are a couple words people said to describe that moment in 2020:

  1. COVID-19
  2. Coronavirus
  3. Covid
  4. Pandemic
  5. The ‘Rona
  6. Pandemonium
  7. These Corona Streets (my own invention)
  8. The Panoramic

Should Aaron Rodgers Retire?

Morry Gash / AP

No he should not!

If you know me, you know I am a diehard NY Giants fan. The Giants have upset me every year since 2012…the last time they won a Super Bowl. We had a great, but flawed quarterback that was with us for 16 seasons. Now we have a young quarterback who is left with a shitty O-line, terrible coach and bad management.

But enough about my Giants. Let’s talk about my second favorite person in the NFL –– Aaron “Hail Mary” Rodgers. When it’s crunch time and he needs to get that ball to a receiver, he will launch that football so far out of his hands, that it soars through the air and into the end zone.

Last Sunday, at the NFC Championship game, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers faced Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two number 12’s battling for a spot in the Super Bowl. I hate Brady and I love Rodgers, so of course I rooted for the Packers. The game went like this: the Buccaneers defensive line was strong and the Packers offensive line was weak. When the Packers defense would make good defensive plays [ i.e. making Tom Brady throw three interceptions], the offense would miss easy passes and couldn’t run the ball through the Buccaneers defensive line. Meanwhile, Brady’s receivers were missing passes in the first half of the game, but the offensive line protected him in the pocket.

The saying in sports goes: “offense wins games defense wins championships.” This worked in the Buccaneers favor and they are now headed to the Super Bowl πŸ˜’.

I felt bad for Rodgers, because this was his second shot in about a decade to win another Super Bowl ring. He has the talent, but the Packers organization –– much like the Giants –– keep failing their veteran QBs. The Packers apparently drafted a first-round QB instead of giving Rodgers better players that build the O-line and protect him in the pocket. He deserves better! He deserves another shot at the Super Bowl and a team that’ll invest in him.

Tom Brady was a New England Patriot for 20 years. He has six Super Bowl rings with them. When they lost in the first round of the playoffs last year, you could see the disappointment on his face. By April, we learned that he opted out of his contract and was searching for another team. He landed a spot on the Buccaneers and has since turned that organization around. They gave him a solid team in return. One year later and he’s back to the Super Bowl.

Rodgers is 37 and Brady is 43. Most people would say football athletes at those ages should retire. Yet that didn’t stop Brady and it shouldn’t stop Rodgers.

I hope he returns for another season and continues his 4-year-contract with the Packers. Actually, I hope he decides to do what Brady did and demand a trade! He’s a Hall of Famer and one of the best QBs to ever do it!

In Rodgers we trust. πŸ™πŸΎ

“This is not who we are,” says Americans after the riot at the Capitol

Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

Jan. 14, 2021

WASHINGTON –– This was the phrase many journalists, politicians and citizens said after Trump supporters broke into the Capitol last Tuesday.

“It’s surreal, it feels like I’m talking to a correspondent reporting from Bogota,” said Jake Tapper, a CNN anchor.

“The scenes of chaos of the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are,” said President-elect Joe Biden.

“There is nothing patriotic about what is occurring on Capitol Hill. This is 3rd world style anti-American Anarchy,” said Sen. Marco Rubio.

These statements ignore the truth of America’s history. We are a nation built from wars, riots, slavery and occupation. Saying these things reinforces the belief that insurrections only happen in “third-world countries.” In fact, these statements are imperialist and erase the numerous coups America has inflicted on said countries. The riot at the Capitol reaffirmed that this is who we are.

Last Tuesday morning, Trump spoke to his supporters saying, “…you have to get your people to fight and if they don’t fight we have to primary the hell out of the ones who don’t fight. We’re gonna let you know who they are –– I can already tell you though frankly…” This speech targeted Republicans who he “helped get elected,” Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even his own Vice President, Mike Pence.

Trump praised Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Jim Jordan for siding with him in delaying the certification of the electoral college results. In fact, Cruz specifically said he would want a 10-day audit of the electoral college results before making any final decision. Both Cruz and Jordan joined Trump to push false allegations of election fraud.

Both the speech and Trump’s allies in congress incited the riots. He may not have explicitly told his supporters to destroy the Capitol and hurt law enforcement, but he did imply it. Some legal scholars say his speech was not protected by the first amendment because of incitement but others say it was and cited the Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969).

Trump has used these dog whistles to rile his base. From calling Mexicans “rapists” to saying “very fine people on both sides” in response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Since the riot at the Capitol, five people were killed including a Capitol police officer. Many social media companies banned Trump from using their platforms, including his favorite one –– Twitter.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for the second time. Before the impeachment proceedings, Trump walked back his words by calling for “peace” and “no violence.” He is the first president of the United States to be impeached twice.

Op-Ed by Tama Moni

A Most Unholy Ending to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Source: Netflix

Marking the end of 2020, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premiered its fourth and final season. After Netflix announced its cancellation, fans were very much disappointed. That left the show runners no time to properly end the storylines. A rushed ending usually does not help the show.

Season four continued with Sabrina Spellman and Sabrina Morningstar living their lives as teenage witch and Queen of Hell. Ambrose warned Spellman that she should never contact her Morningstar half, because it would affect the timeline. We see Morningstar enjoying ruling hell, connecting with her father Lucifer and marry her lover Caliban. Spellman, instead feels empty and lonely as everyone around her seems to be moving on in life. Her ex-boyfriend Nick dates Prudence, Roz and Harvey and Theo and Robin are booed up and Aunt Hilda weds Dr. Cee.

The void Spellman feels ties in to the main plot of the show –– when exiled former high priest Faustus Blackwood releases the Eldrich Terrors. These are the universe’s worst forms of evil: perversion, weirdness, darkness, resurrection, endlessness and the Void. Spellman and her crew defeat all of the terrors except the Void. It represents hollowness and nothingness and I think the writers did a great job using it as a metaphor in describing Spellman’s emotions. But, from episode six to the end of the series the plot gets sloppy.

Spellman and Morningstar are told by the celestial angel Metatron that they must merge together in order to stop the other realms from colliding with one another (it doesn’t happen). Then Spellman takes Nick back, just as she finally moves on with her life. Mambo Marie, the voodoo priestess that Aunt Zelda falls for, is really a voodoo master of the dead and leaves to guard them. Randomly, the writers tell us that Roz is a witch and comes from a long line of psychic witches. Ending the season –– the crew defeats Blackwood, the Void is destroyed, Greendale is safe, but Spellman and Morningstar die. *SPOILERS* They die because the Void is inside Spellman and in order to save the town, she had to be cut open. Lilith gets revenge on Lucifer by killing him and taking his celestial power, thus ruling hell. Nick kills himself to be with Spellman in the afterlife.

Then that’s it. The story just ends. We don’t know what happens to The Academy. We don’t see if Prudence and Ambrose repair their relationship. Does Roz become the “new Sabrina” in her group because she’s a witch now? Why didn’t Lilith reveal herself at the funeral? What will happen to Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda’s family mortuary? Do Roz, Harvey and Theo graduate high school? There’s too many plot holes.

I wish Netflix had allowed them to do a season five so we could get answers to those questions. I also wish they hadn’t killed off Sabrina because it made no sense. Nevertheless, great cast and I hope they all rise in their careers after this. Especially Ambrose (played by Chance Perdomo). He’s cute, young and talented.

So did you watch the latest season of CAOS? Do you agree with my analysis? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Time To Shine 2021

Dear 2021,

Your older brother 2020 was a nightmare! 2020 constantly stressed us out the entire year. In January, he caused wildfires to damage over 25 million acres of land in New South Wales, Australia, then made the United States almost start World War III and finally, killed 8 people in a fatal helicopter crash that included retired basketball player Kobe Bryant.

In February, he decided not to remove President Donald J. Trump from office after he was impeached by 2019 – your younger sister. Then he sprouted a couple hundred cases of COVID-19 across the world. The World Health Organization was panicked and so were other major public health organizations across the world. We were warned, but still going out and about.

But by March….ho-ho-ho! By March, 2020 said, “I’m gonna make them remember me.” COVID-19 cases continued to increase, deaths were rising and it was finally declared a pandemic. He shut everything down! No more graduations, no more proms, no more going out to restaurants, gyms, hair salons or anywhere. He made people stay home.

Now, for the rest of the year, you would’ve thought 2020 would’ve slowed down right? Nope! Every month presented a new problem. Murder hornets. Running out of toilet paper. Scarce cleaning products and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Summer COVID-19 infections. Hungry Monkeys in Thailand. The Pentagon releasing UFO sightings. Three major police brutality cases in the United States sparking massive protests across the world. Months of anti-government riots. More celebrity deaths. And so on…

He showed NO MERCY. But he did bring us clarity. Clarity to the societal issues of the world and where we stand in them. A necessary consequence for his destruction.

It won’t be easy 2021, but you have the power to change things. You have the power to make a first-impression this year that sets the tone for a kinder, more progressive world. You have the power to bring smiles in a world of frowns. You can do this! We believe in you.


All 7.8 billion of us humans

Ranking the Hulu shows I watched this year from best to worst

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., stores (except for essential businesses) closed, public gatherings were banned and most states enacted lockdowns –– keeping us home…and bored. In the early months of the pandemic, social media featured people baking banana bread, whipped coffee, excessive cleaning and lack of toilet paper. Like me, you spent time at home catching up with your favorite shows. Here are my favorites from Hulu:

  1. Catfish the TV show

Yep…this is the number one show on my list. Why? The highly addictive drama of online couples meeting for the first time since talking on social media. Almost every episode featured a predictable, but surprising twist in which the person the hopeful single was chatting with, did not match the profile. Max and Nev’s bromance, comforting their guests who were heartbroken. Max acting like the tough older brother scolding the catfishes for lying and deceiving the guests. It’s aired for 8 seasons and doesn’t seem like it’ll stop any time soon. I hope it doesn’t!

2. Helstrom

Hulu recommended this show on Halloween this year as part of their “Huluween” special. It looked interesting enough, based on the shadowy strokes coming from the heads of the two main characters. The show, which only ran for one season (thanks Hulu and Marvel), features a brother and sister who have special powers from their serial killer/satan father. Halfway through the show I found out this was based off the Marvel comic series “Hell Storm,” and that excited me more. The acting was believable, the mood was dark, and the special affects were masterfully sinister. I hope it gets picked up again.

3. The Mindy Project

Two words: toxic masculinity. This show stars Mindy Kaling playing “Mindy” who is an OBGYN at a New York clinic and has dating problems. I saw clips of this show on Fox but once it got to Hulu, I decided why not. Mindy in the first two seasons was likable and smart, but the remaining four seasons I saw her character get ruder, dumber, more isolated and racist (not kidding, the “race jokes” are very cringe). Her relationship with Danny, a fellow OBGYN, starts off cute but quickly turns toxic. He went from being the rough-around-the edges guy to a misogynistic, controlling man-child. Also, the guys she dates rarely last for two episodes before they’re written out, so I never got to see the conclusion of her relationships. Once it ended though, I did feel like I knew the characters more on a personal level. Mindy’s fashion is cute too.

4. High Fidelity

Zoe Kravitz FTW! I’ve been following Zoe Kravitz’ work and style since she starred in X-Men: First Class, so when I heard she would be in this remake, I was excited. The show stars Rob and her two friends Simon and Cherise as they navigate their dating lives through vinyl records. This show introduced me to classic hits from genres ranging from hard rock to house music. Hulu canceled this….*sigh*….after only one season. I went from rooting from Rob in the beginning to scolding her cheating of her first boyfriend and ignoring the new one. Nevertheless, the jokes were funny, the music good and the setup for Cherise –– the only dark-skinned woman on the show –– deserved to shine.

5. Dollface

More familiar celebrity faces! This show features Brenda Song, Kat Dennings and Shay Mitchell (Suite Life of Zack and Cody, 2 Broke Girls and Pretty Little Liars). Looking for a new show to watch, I stumbled upon Dollface after looking at the weird trailer of women with cat faces for heads. *No, really.* It follows a young woman whose boyfriend breaks up with her because he feels like he needs something new after dating for so long. He…got bored of her basically. She goes to the friends she neglected during her relationship and they snap her back into reality. They remind her of her complete devotion to her boyfriend, lack of self-worth and abandonment of her friendships. It’s a satirical show on dating and identity and totally relatable to the struggles that is being in your 20s in the digital age.

6. Woke

Literally clicked on the show because of Sasheer Zamata (SNL alumna). She had a movie on Hulu called “The Weekend” and I didn’t like it? Hehe hehe! *awkwardly raises hand* But I follow her podcast and liked her on SNL and decided to check out her performance. The show follows Keef, a black cartoonist who is about to score a big break. He lives a colorblind life, blissfully ignorant of microagressions, until he’s racially profiled and arrested by a white police officer. He becomes “woke” about his experiences and tries to rebrand his work. Decent enough plot line, but disappointing in the end. The plot was too predictable and *SPOILER* –– he should have opened up to his black girlfriend about his profiling experience instead of ignoring her and assuming she wouldn’t understand his pain. My commentary clearly doesn’t matter because the show got renewed for a second season. Oh well, that means more Sasheer Zamata screen time.

Christian Capitalism: How the Republican party uses faith as a catalyst for money and power.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

Today marks the fourth day of senate judiciary hearings for Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Her legal and ideological records are being questioned to determine whether she should serve on the bench. From what I’ve read and seen…she doesn’t deserve that seat. Yet she’ll be confirmed anyway. When she enters the court, it will officially lean Republican with a 6-3 majority –– impacting judicial rulings in America for a long while.

This hearing is one of many examples of Republicans embracing far-right policies under the guise of “evangelical christianity.” It happened in the 80s when they nominated Ronald Reagan for president, who won promoting the “nuclear family,” “christian values” and “small government” but heavily ignored the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., increased wars in the middle east and branded black people as the face of the crack epidemic. In the 90s, Clarence Thomas became a supreme court justice even though he had sexual assault accusations from professor Anita Hill and other women. Also in the 90s former president Bill Clinton was impeached by the republican-led House of Representatives, who questioned his fitness to rule after a cheating scandal. Meanwhile, the speaker of the house at the time, Newt Gingrich, was also found cheating on his second-wife with his third.

The modern Republican party, who claims they are “the party of Lincoln” (ignoring the southern strategy), call themselves conservative, the tea party, republican and right wing. The party runs on four major principles: small government, faith, the 2nd amendment and taxes. Yet, these same self-proclaimed “morally right” politicians reveal themselves as hypocrites. They monopolize discrimination based on religion, while campaigning and passing laws that discriminate against Muslims. They preach “family values” but pass laws that limit social safety nets, abortion rights and discriminate against LGBTQ families. Scandals emerge of the same individuals preaching these values, violating them: cc Jerry Falwell jr. They criticize the Democrats for massive spending and tax increases, yet every Republican administration increases the defense budget for costly wars and tax cuts that benefit the 1%.

This all boils down to what I call –– Christian Capitalism. What does that mean? It means the use of Christian doctrine to benefit an individual or group of people for financial and political gain. Republicans continue to portray themselves as the morally good party that follows Jesus Christ, but do not practice his teachings. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham are some of the most powerful senators in congress. They preach these same values but are corrupt to the core. Example: At a town hall in Florida, students affected by the Parkland mass shooting, asked Marco Rubio if he receives money from the NRA. Rubio denied he did, but voted against every gun control bill in favor of NRA donations. How can a party that claims they are “pro-life” vote against gun control laws?

Their constituents love this and will support them even though many republican-led states are poor. There’s also the racism appeal. Christian Capitalists decry “black lives matter thugs” “socialists” and “radical Islam” yet support far-right extremism, nationalism and wealth inequality. They are christian in name only and act just like the groups they so boldly condemn.