“This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” – Barack Obama

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So after my Trap Yoga class last week (don’t judge me lol), my yoga mates and I stayed behind to have a discussion about the latest happenings in the Black community and the lack of support from Black men, which I’ll save that part for a later date. *rolls eyes* Don’t you just love being around socially conscious, beautiful, BLACK women??! Anywho, one of the women from our class brought up this amazing article by President Obama in Glamour Magazine, and I was immediately evoked to share it with my personal community here on the blog. It is kind of lengthy, but please stick with it as it is just a fruitful! Also, let me know your thoughts! I definitely want to hear what you all think about feminism and the Black man’s role in the movement.

There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. But there are some perks too. Meeting extraordinary people across the country. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. Air Force One.

But perhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store. For many years my life was consumed by long commutes­—from my home in Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, as a state senator, and then to Washington, D.C., as a United States senator. It’s often meant I had to work even harder to be the kind of husband and father I want to be.

But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women.

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That isn’t always easy, either—watching them prepare to leave the nest. But one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman. The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist.

In my lifetime we’ve gone from a job market that basically confined women to a handful of often poorly paid positions to a moment when women not only make up roughly half the workforce but are leading in every sector, from sports to space, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court. I’ve witnessed how women have won the freedom to make your own choices about how you’ll live your lives—about your bodies, your educations, your careers, your finances. Gone are the days when you needed a husband to get a credit card. In fact, more women than ever, married or single, are financially independent.

So we shouldn’t downplay how far we’ve come. That would do a disservice to all those who spent their lives fighting for justice. At the same time, there’s still a lot of work we need to do to improve the prospects of women and girls here and around the world. And while I’ll keep working on good policies—from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights—there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws.

In fact, the most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.POTUSPQ

This is something I spoke about at length in June at the first-ever White House Summit on the United State of Women. As far as we’ve come, all too often we are still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave. One of my heroines is Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American to run for a major party’s presidential nomination. She once said, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’ ” We know that these stereotypes affect how girls see themselves starting at a very young age, making them feel that if they don’t look or act a certain way, they are somehow less worthy. In fact, gender stereotypes affect all of us, regardless of our gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

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Now, the most important people in my life have always been women. I was raised by a single mom, who spent much of her career working to empower women in developing countries. I watched as my grandmother, who helped raise me, worked her way up at a bank only to hit a glass ceiling. I’ve seen how Michelle has balanced the demands of a busy career and raising a family. Like many working mothers, she worried about the expectations and judgments of how she should handle the trade-offs, knowing that few people would question my choices. And the reality was that when our girls were young, I was often away from home serving in the state legislature, while also juggling my teaching responsibilities as a law professor. I can look back now and see that, while I helped out, it was usually on my schedule and on my terms. The burden disproportionately and unfairly fell on Michelle.

So I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty aware of the unique challenges women face—it’s what has shaped my own feminism. But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.

And those same stereotypes affected my own consciousness as a young man. Growing up without a dad, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was, how the world perceived me, and what kind of man I wanted to be. It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity. Life became a lot easier when I simply started being myself.

So we need to break through these limitations. We need to keep changing the attitude that raises our girls to be demure and our boys to be assertive, that criticizes our daughters for speaking out and our sons for shedding a tear. We need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs.

We need to keep changing the attitude that permits the routine harassment of women, whether they’re walking down the street or daring to go online. We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.

We need to keep changing the attitude that congratulates men for changing a diaper, stigmatizes full-time dads, and penalizes working mothers. We need to keep changing the attitude that values being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace—unless you’re a woman. Then you’re being too bossy, and suddenly the very qualities you thought were necessary for success end up holding you back.

We need to keep changing a culture that shines a particularly unforgiving light on women and girls of color. Michelle has often spoken about this. Even after achieving success in her own right, she still held doubts; she had to worry about whether she looked the right way or was acting the right way—whether she was being too assertive or too “angry.”

As a parent, helping your kids to rise above these constraints is a constant learning process. Michelle and I have raised our daughters to speak up when they see a double standard or feel unfairly judged based on their gender or race—or when they notice that happening to someone else. It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.

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It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.

The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles. From the young men who’ve joined our It’s On Us campaign to end campus sexual assault, to the young women who became the first female Army Rangers in our nation’s history, your generation refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking. And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody—men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise. These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.

This fall we enter a historic election. Two hundred and forty years after our nation’s founding, and almost a century after women finally won the right to vote, for the first time ever, a woman is a major political party’s presidential nominee. No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality.

I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this too is their inheritance. I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part to ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.

That’s what twenty-first-century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Honoree Jesse Williams accepts the Humanitarian Award onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/BET/Getty Images for BET)

A Calling For Justice and Equality

On Sunday evening at the 2016 BET Awards, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams received the Humanitarian Award from BET Chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee and delivered the most intuitive, socially conscious acceptance speech that touched the hearts of millions. His  passion for our culture and willingness to exist beyond his profession catapults my comprehension and respect for the #BlackLivesMatter movement into another dimension! Additionally, it’s just something about seeing a handsome brother who’s honestly…..WOKE AF stand up for the rights of Black people but especially Black women!

Check out a full transcript and video of Jesse Williams’ amazing BET Humanitarian Award acceptance speech below:

Thank you Debra, thank you BET. Thank you Nate Parker and Debbie Allen for participating in that. Before we get into it, I just want to say, you know, I brought my parents out. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career—they made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also I thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now—this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. Alright? It’s kind of basic mathematics.

The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women, in particular, who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can, and will, do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data. And we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s gonna happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our country, or we will restructure their function, and ours.

Now I got more, y’all. Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice‘s 14th birthday. So I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

The thing is, though. All of us in here getting money? That alone isn’t gonna stop this. Dedicating our lives—dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back, for someone’s brand on our body. When we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies. And now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There’s no tax they haven’t levied against us. And we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. You’re free, they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so ……. free.

Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But you know what, though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple of things straight, just a little side note: The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright? Stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance—for our resistance—then you’d better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest… If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo. And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment, like oil, black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, and then trying us on like costumes, before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

The thing is though, the thing is, that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you. ”

jesse williams – full speech from Josh Begley on Vimeo.

Be Present.

 The most uncomfortable feeling I’ve experienced would have to be facing the unknown. Seriously, the restraint of not being able to decipher what’s to come is simply annoying. The thing is, we cannot control everything. We make all of these immaculate plans for our lives, all the while God is laughing because His plan is THEE PLAN, and His plan for us supersedes anything that we could ever think or imagine for ourselves. Whenever I am faced with the uncanny feeling of approaching the unknown, I take a step back and remind myself that faith has and will forever carry me through… It’s always been that way. Not to mention the fact that if we don’t get out of our own way, nothing can be. PERIOD.

In the mist of this perplexed space, I have to remind myself to be present because it forces me to realize that this very precious moment is the only thing that I can be absolutely certain of. So whenever your mind starts to ponder over the future, or you find yourself stuck in a frenzy due to your past, remind yourself to be present and let your faith guide you through the rest.“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

Until next time……Peace & blessings to all of you.

S2 | Myra

Top: H&M (Old)

Fringe Statement Necklace: Charlotte Russe

Shoulder Bag: H&M — similar here

Midi Skirt: Sold Out/Missguided

Heels: Shoedazzle

*links = exact or similar items*

Photos by ShaMyra

A life well lived is the most exquisite work of art.

0ede5c2e1f1298794eacba6c53c50a89As a millennial forever on-the-go, it is important that we keep health on the forefront of our agenda. Not only is health our wealth, but being sick completely sucks! Now when I say health, please understand that I am not only referring to physicality. Our mental well-being is just as salient as our physical condition. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health, adult African-Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than are adult whites, and while African-Americans are less likely than whites to die from suicide as teenagers, African-American teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than are white teenagers (8.2 percent v. 6.3 percent). We have got to do something about this, and it starts with self-care!

Possessing a healthy mind, body and spirit is an amazing feeling, but frankly, it’s hard work. With the prominent health issues in our communities, it is imperative that we take charge by utilizing preventative care methods. Scheduling general medical examinations, such as an annual physical and/or biometric exam, is a great way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. In addition to recommending medical examinations, I want to share with you 4 mobile apps that help me maintain a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically, in hopes that they will contribute to your well-being journey.

Fooducate Weight Loss Coach:

unnamedFooducate is like a food coach, calorie counter and a nutritionist all in one entity that teaches you to eat REAL food! Oh and the recipes……AMAZING! Not only does this app help you achieve your health, fitness and weight loss goals, but it also counsels you on how healthy foods are based on their nutrients AND ingredients! Just scan a product’s barcode to discover the things manufacturers don’t want you to notice:
– added sugars vs natural sugars
– trans fats tricks
– high fructose corn syrup
– MSG and its cousins
– controversial food colorings
– GMO – genetically modified organisms (premium feature)
– dangerous additives and preservatives
– artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
– and more…

Headspace meditation app:

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Headspace is a pocket-size mind trainer… Literally! The 10 minute meditation and mindfulness techniques are developed and proven to help you train your mind for a healthier, happier and more enjoyable life. To start, you’ll participate in the Take10 program which teaches you the basics of meditation in just 10 minutes. If you enjoy the program and want to learn more, then you will just opt to continue and gain access to hundreds of original meditations, both guided and unguided, ranging from 2 to 60 minutes.

With this meditation app you’ll get:

– Free access to Take10, Level 1 of the Foundation Course – learn the basics in 10 x 10 minute meditations
– Personalized progress page to track your stats
– Buddy system for you and your friends to motivate each other in your journeys
– Rewards for regular meditation
– Reminders to keep you on track with your practice
– Options for you to continue your journey after Take10, with inspiring packs and one-off sessions on a range of topics such stress, happiness and appreciation
– Ability to download sessions for offline use

Check out a quick video of how it works here!

Sworkit:

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Sworkit is pretty simple! I use it as my personal trainer and yoga instructor! It allows you to customize and participate in personalized video work outs, demonstrated by professional personal trainers, focusing on strength, cardio, yoga and stretching. This app allows you to select time intervals ranging from 5 to 60 minutes, and then follow the video trainer to know exactly what to do! You can even Swork-out anywhere at any given time because no equipment is needed, which means no gym. NO EXCUSE! I’ll take personalized workouts that fit my schedule vs. rearranging my schedule to go to the gym any day! Additionally, the Sworkit routines can be synced with Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, RunKeeper, Jawbone, Strava, MapMyFitness, Azumio, DailyMile, Garmin, Misfit, Moves, Striiv, Withings and many more great fitness apps. Just choose your high-level focus area, and then pick among any of the dynamic length video workouts.

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Create your own custom workouts (or modify any existing one) using any exercise in the library for a fully personalized experience. Sworkit is perfect for:
– Focused Routines: Target any areas such as abs, back, butt, chest, hips, legs, stomach, thighs, etc.
– Injury Recovery – Remove moves you can’t do, or add rehabilitative ones
– New Challenges – You can insert running in place and push ups between every other exercise for the ultimate boot camp!
– Coach Created Training – For personal trainers, sports trainers, physical therapists, PE teachers and more.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock:

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Ahhh finally… Waking up made easy! Sleep Cycle, developed using proven sleep science and years of research and development, is an intelligent and very generous alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase – the best, most natural way to wake up feeling rested, relaxed and refreshed. As you sleep you go through different phases, ranging from deep sleep to light sleep. The phase you are in when your alarm goes off is critical for how tired you will feel when you wake up. Since you move differently in bed during the different phases, Sleep Cycle can use the accelerometer in your phone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in and determine the best time to wake you during a 30 minute window that is within your set alarm time.

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√ Detailed sleep statistics and sleep graphs for every night.

√ 15 carefully selected, high quality, alarm melodies.

√ Snooze by shaking or tapping the phone lightly.

√ Customizable wake up window. From instant (regular alarm clock) up to 90 minutes.

√ Background mode – set your alarm and exit Sleep Cycle – sleep analysis will continue in the background

√ Sleep notes – see how events such as drinking coffee, eating too much or having a stressful day affect your sleep quality

√ Long term graphs – track sleep quality over time, see which days of the week you sleep best and much more

 

Guys, I hope that you are able to take advantage of these apps to assist you in reaching all of your health and well-being goals! They have been very beneficial to my everyday life, so let me know how they work out for you! Oh, and always remember that your body is special. Your body is sacred. Be careful who you let in, and never ever become a slave nor entertain anyone or anything that can cause impairment to you. Someone really needed to hear that.

Until next time….

Peace & blessings to you all.

S2 || Myra ♥

Imani

Guys, please forgive me for my absence. I am approaching the end of my college career and things have gotten soooooo hectic! Nevertheless, I have some awesome things coming up that I cannot wait to present to you! For right now though, I have got to share this playlist with you all! It has been getting me through all of my assignments, deep thoughts and meditations over the past two weeks. I’m talking heavy rotation on all of my devices! This EP was curated by IAMNOBODI out of Berlin, Germany, who’s—okay, you guessed it— a part of Soulection! For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge Soulection junkie! DJM! Anywho, IAMNOBODI decided to drop this little EP for the freeski on SOUNDCLOUD before releasing his long awaited album, and I am so grateful that he did! Luthers Joint, track #2, is my ishhhhhh! Without further ado, the Tune of the Week is The Imani EP… Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Until next time….

Peace & blessings to you all.

S2 || Myra.

One Thing I Know for Sure ….

I am an educated Black woman, and to some that’s a threat. My ancestors shed blood, sweat and tears for me to be able to exude such prestige, which essentially reflects the fact that I am a force to be reckoned with. Every since the days of slavery, constraining Blacks from an education was used as a method to quell slave rebellion, and that denial only intensified our urge to learn. Because of principals such as W.E.B DuBois and Booker T. Washington’s many sacrifices to continue the torch of wisdom—although they had conflicting philosophies regarding Black education—I have the possibility to be considered a candidate for a Master of Science degree in Strategic Communications from Troy University. For that I am thankful and forever indebted to those before me. In the midst of my uncertainty, I know one thing for sure… I can be denied everything I strive for, but the ability to learn is not one of them. With that notion, I would like to dedicate this opportunity, this degree and my overall literacy to those who paved the way for Blacks to attain a formal education and beat all odds that were devised for their omission. Education is one of our most powerful weapons, and with it we have the power to change the world!

ShaMyra Sylvester

Still I Rise.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?

Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like suns and like moons,
With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise
I rise
I rise.

– Maya Angelou

Until next time, peace and blessings to you all.

S2 | Myra

Blazer: Zara

Tee: Forever21

Pant: Zara

T-Strap Pumps: Target

*links = exact or similar items*

Photos by ShaMyra

Everything Will Be Okay…..

This week’s vibe is just a reminder to keep going. It may seem gloomy and lonely, but the end of the tunnel is straight ahead… Oh, and don’t wait until hardship has passed. You have the power to find your light (positive energy)  in the midst of all darkness. Always remember that! The Tune of the Week, “Everything will be Okay,” is brought to you by G-Eazy ft Kehlani. Let me know what you think!

Peace & blessings to you all….

S2  || Myra

 

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy HeartA Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy HeartA Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy HeartA Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

Do you ever take out the time to just meditate on how far you have come and the things you have accomplished thus far? As I sit next to my window with the sun beaming on my face, I cannot help but to be anything other than thankful. Thankful because this little black girl from Mobile, Alabama, is living her best life and sharing her passion with others like you. Not many people can say that. It is so easy to journey through life thinking that our hard work and dedication is the cause of our glory, but without Christ bestowing upon us his wisdom, knowledge and understanding we would have and be nothing. By being thankful, it allows us to step outside of ourselves and give credit to others because a multitude of people have contributed to us in ways that we can’t even imagine. Friends, family, Ms. Linda next door who grabs your packages for you when you’re out —thank you so much Ms. Linda ♥— all the way down to the people that we exchange smiles with while walking down the street, have a benefaction in our glory.
A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart
So, when the troubles of life begin to weigh you down, combat them with words of gratitude and affirmation! Start looking at the glass as half full, because things could be a lot worse, instead of empty! I challenge you to go to war with negative thoughts by using your light and positivity as your armory to fight your way out of those dark places. Instead of saying, “I really wish things were easier,” say, “I am thankful for the way things are because nothing easy is worth having, and in the end I know it will all be worth it!” Now, I know that all of this is easily said than done; however, I am speaking solely from experience. Once you start letting gratitude guide you, you can take a step back and admire the beauty of perseverance. It’s a beautiful portrait once you put the brush down and step away from the grumble.

A Thankful Heart Is A Happy Heart

As always, thank you so much for reading. Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section below, and I will see you all in my next post.

Until next time……Peace & blessings to all of you.

S2 | Myra

Coat: Zara

Fringe Clutch: Sold Out/Missguided — similar here

Kicks: Nike Roshe One

*links = exact or similar items*

Photos by ShaMyra

Hours Spent Loving You

Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I thought that I would share one of my favorite EP’s with you guys! Whenever I felt lonely or unsettled, I would put on this mix and vibe all the way out. So I thought what better way to show my love than to share this melodious euphony of words with all of my followers! It brings me great joy to introduce to some and present to others, the Tune of the Week featuring SPRKT & Sango’s EP “Hours Spent Loving You!” This EP is a summation of how relationships are viewed both earthly and heavenly. This project was created for the people who have deeply supported SPZRKT & Sango. So in return, they felt it was right by giving thanks, and allowing these people to understand their stories in and out. Be sure to listen to the tracks straight through! I guarantee you will be ready to show your partner some love and affection, or you will channel your inner India Irie and start singing ” I Am Ready For Love….” At least that’s what I did.

Be sure to comment below and tell me what you think! I love each and everyone of you guys! Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

S2 || Myra