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Photo by blocks on Unsplash

Growing up, I was always exposed to different genres of music in my household, such as reggae's greatest artists, Bob Marley and Barrington Levy ( I have Caribbean roots), jazz saxophonist Kenny G, and soul via Soul Train, which was always such a blast for the younger me.

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Class Classroom Tables - Free photo on Pixabay

Growing up in an area where I was the minority, it was rare for me to see teachers or other authoritarians of color. When I did eventually encounter them, they were substitute teachers or security guards. I would notice their expressions when confronted with social, racial, and economic issues that minority students faced. Still, they were often hesitant because they didn't want to say the wrong thing or didn't want to educate other staff members on anti-discriminatory practices (which is something people should already have a grasp on).

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NBC News anchor Kristen Welker moderating the final presidential debate

Photo by JIM BOURG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Within our friend groups (and other acquaintanceships), we've all experienced at least one situation where we've bumped heads because of deferring and downright uncouth, biased opinions, right?

If you answered yes to that question, you might also agree that there's always another friend on neutral ground that can act as a mediator in times of strife as Kristen Welker did at the la presidential debate last night between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

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Haunted signage

Halloween, just like every other holiday we've had this year, looks different.

With the backdrop of Covid-19, people will most likely practice social distancing until next year. This means parades, Halloween kickbacks, and trick-or-treating are not the most recommended activities.

Virtual experiences have become more popular since the pandemic began, including museum exhibits, train rides, and even virtual vacations to tropical islands and Europe.

I ventured on a few virtual trips to Antigua and Madrid, Spain.

You can now add Halloween to the list of virtual activities to participate in, while keeping yourself and loved ones safe and getting a good spook in.

If you want a good scare, there are many virtual haunted houses to explore before October ends. Some of which are proclaimed "real" haunted houses, while others are glitzy, Halloween-themed houses for those aren't the type to be troubled by creepy and disturbing sights.

Check out some of these virtual tours to get you in the spirit of Halloween, all at the tips of your fingers.

Lizzie Borden House

File:Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts.jpg ... File:Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts.jpg ...

The widely recognized and gruesome crime is now a haunted house attraction. But the house, which is rumored to be haunted by Lizzie, her father, and stepmother, is also a library and museum. You can take in-person tours of the house in Fall River, Massachusetts, or take a virtual tour on the website.

Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum with Roger Conant Statue - Salem | Flickr Salem Witch Museum with Roger Conant Statue - Salem | Flickr

There's no Halloween without 'Salem' being the topic of discussion at some point.

The Salem Witch Museum is dedicated to the Salem Witch trials of 1692, which was responsible for the deaths of 25 people. Undoubtedly, there have been many ghost stories to come out of this deeply flawed time in history, including ghost sightings in the town. The museum has several tours for important locations in the town, such as the Salem Courthouse, Jonathan Corwin Corwin House ( a.k.a. The Witch House), and taverns, to name a few.

Check them out here.

The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel Photo Credit:

For those who are fans of Stephen King, you might remember The Stanley Hotel as the creepy backdrop for The Shining. Located in Estes Park, Colorado, the hotel has been rumored to be haunted for quite some time. Now, you can get in on the spooky action without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Thanks to YouTube, you can tour the hotel virtually, even checking out Room 217 which is supposedly the Presidential Suite where King and his wife stayed for the evening.

The Pittock Mansion

File:Pittock Mansion, 2017 - 4.jpg - Wikimedia Commons File:Pittock Mansion, 2017 - 4.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

In Portland, Oregon, the Pittock Mansion was once the home to publishers Henry and Georgiana Pittock, and was vacant for many years until becoming a historic landmark museum. The owners are rumored to have never left the house after passing away. Take a virtual tour of the mansion here.

Winchester Mystery House

File:Winchester House 910px.jpg - Wikipedia File:Winchester House 910px.jpg - Wikipedia

The Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, California, once belonged to Sarah Winchester, the heir's widow to the family that created the Winchester Repeating Arms Company (they patented the Winchester rifle). The word on the street is that Sarah spoke to spirits that threatened her to keep the building by the house. It's also alleged that she built doors and hidden pathways to hide from the ghosts. View the virtual walkthrough.

50 Cent attends the 50 Cent Walk Of Fame Ceremony on January 30, 2020 in Hollywood, California

Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for STARZ

Curtis "50 cent" Jackson is one of the few rappers I can say branched out rather skillfully into other avenues such as becoming an executive producer of the STARZ series Power and Power Book II: Ghost and many other entrepreneurial ventures.

Despite the success of these endeavors, what became a shock to rap and TV show enthusiasts ( as well as myself, to be quite honest) is his endorsement of Trump in the upcoming presidential campaign. Especially considering Biden's proposed tax plan for people making more than $400,000 a year, which would no doubt affect the rapper.

50 urged his supporters to vote for Trump in November, claiming to not care whether Trump hates Black people.

"WHAT THE F**K! (VOTE ForTRUMP)," wrote 50 cent on Instagram. IM OUT F**K NEW YORK The KNICKS never win anyway. I don't care Trump doesn't like black people 62% are you out of ya f*****g mind."

Many have criticized him for this endorsement, dragging him for thinking of his personal finances over the health and social justice disparities our nation is facing.

It doesn't stop there.

Earlier this year, conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren said she went through a "phase" where she listened to a lot of the rapper's music, interestingly enough. Now Lahren can openly praise the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' rapper due to his public support for Trump and his administration.

Expectedly, several Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon, using 50's endorsement as a weapon of tokenization, including Candace Owens and Tomi Lahren, making commentary on the importance of 50's voice.

Screenshot of Candace Owens tweet by Breanna RobinsonScreenshot of Candace Owens tweet by Breanna Robinson

Even though Tomi Lahren has said many things about him in the past, she extended the olive branch, inviting him to the chaotic Trump Train.

Screenshot of Tomi Lahren tweet by Breanna RobinsonScreenshot of Tomi Lahren tweet by Breanna Robinson

"Welcome to the Trump Train," she exuberantly wrote on 50's post. She also felt compelled to celebrate on Twitter, praising the rapper's endorsement and adding,"Let's go!!!"

If this is not the year of exposing one's true intentions, I don't know what is.

Brick Wall with a Heart

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

People often say that this year —given the course of events—is the year of realization and transformation. This revelation is true to my life in so many ways that I've started to dive deeper into the world of self-love and what it means to transform yourself for the better.

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