As the youngest adult generation, Millennials seem to be under constant scrutiny from those a bit more seasoned. Why can’t they get off social media? Why are they so fickle in relationships? And how do they listen to this bastardized version of something we used to call hip hop? How could anyone think booming 808s, triplet hi hats, and synths were hip hop? Where are the break beats? Where is Ja? Sometimes this generational judgement is well intentioned. A heartfelt plea for improvement. But at other times it’s plain off base. If you’re going to come at us, come correct.
The worst most flagrant offenders on social media? 40 and 50 year old aunts and uncles bombarding your timeline with photos of their decades-too-late glo up. (Hi #MrStealYourGrandma — also known as MrStealYour14-Year-OldBrother'sStretchSkinnies.) Relationship drama? Mostly skittishness from watching your baby boomer father try to juggle two families on the same street. And hip hop? Timbo has been playing around for ¾ time for a minute. Uncle Luke had the 808s bumping and there’s always been lyricists and party rappers. That dichotomy didn’t start with trap. It was there with crunk, it was there with ‘jiggy’ rap in the late 90s, it was there during the infancy of hip hop.
The start date for Generation X is commonly accepted as somewhere in the early 1960’s coinciding with the ability to “get it in” with a few less consequences thanks to birth control. There’s a few differing opinions on the the break between Gen X and Millennials. The Pew Research Center sets the divide at 1980, but 1981 is more appropriate. 1981 included some major events that experts consider for the exact date of the generational split: May 13, (The day Pope John Paul II was shot) or August 1st, the launch date of MTV. But those of us in the know agree on September, 4 1981, also known as B-Day.
Beyonce, of the House Knowles, First of Her Name, Queen of the Beyhive, Leader of the Formation, Slayer of Ivy Park, and Mother of Blue, is the first millennial.
The accepted end dates for millennials vary between 1995 and 2000, but the end date of the millennial experience trends earlier. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date but a number of significant occurrences in 1995 could be agreed upon. On May 18, 1995, Michael Jordan lost a playoff series to the Orlando Magic that Gen Xers pretend didn’t happen, Microsoft released Internet Explorer, 2016’s last resort web browser on August 16th, and the state of California released OJ Simpson, 2016’s most talked about 90s celebrity from custody on October 3, 1995. Take these dates into account when you’re staring at Desiinger like Fabolous or commenting on the activities of the Smith children. They are not Millenials. Anyone born after the Summer of 95’ can make no claims to Millennialhood. They are future soldiers of zion against the machines, led by Jaden’s mother and Laurence Fishburne.
Now, that you have an understanding of “who” to slander, let’s get into some of the real shortcomings of Millennials that are worthy of correction or at least soft spots ripe for ridicule.
Gen Xers, unlace your timbs, recite the Living Single theme song and look in the mirror to practice some of these talking points:
Millennials, please stop using GoFundMe to fund personal leisure travel. No, I’m not going to chip in 5 dollars so you can have a spiritual awakening in India. This isn’t Eat. Pray. Love. How about you Save. Your. Money. Extensive travel is a luxury that many people do not have the ability to do and even though travel is an enriching experience, traveling doesn’t make you “better” than those who can’t. It would behoove you to use your ability to crowdsource funds to start a business with friends, put a down payment on a vehicle, or pay for education.
Millennials, skipping church for brunch does not make you modern or truly agnostic. How many Christian boomers in your own family have arabic names? How many five percenter rappers did you grow up listening to? The overarching cultural hegemony of Christianity in Black america is powerful, but don’t think that Millennials were the first generation to question it. Alice Walker had Shug Avery and Celie talk about their idea of God in the “Color Purple” in 1930’s rural Georgia. Maybe you could learn about that struggle from someone older than you.
Millennials, teaching is hard. Respect teachers before you complain that Teach For America didn’t train you enough even though you only joined as a plan B because you couldn’t pass upper level biology. Don’t tap out of the profession because you feel angsty that your master’s degree can’t save every child. While some Gen Xers and Boomers may be jaded, others have helped thousands of children and can be resources for continuing to fight for youth.
Millennials, drugs are bad. Now, doing drugs or even being addicted to drugs does not affect your intrinsic human value. We’re all people. We all deserve love and crab legs. We certainly don’t deserve to be locked up. But, drugs do affect your health, finances and relationships. At some point, especially, in hip hop, the cool guy character changed from a hard drug dealer to a hard drug user. Children of the Ronald Reagan era should be a bit more scrupulous about swinging by Walgreens before the function just because Future said so. Lil Wayne’s history of seizures, Pimp C’s death, and DMX’s latest Breakfast Club interview should be enough of a warning to leave Xanax, Percocet, lean, deer antler spray and ghost pepper sauce alone.
Hopefully, these are helpful tools to keep your millennial slander on point and keep you from being a hypocrite. (Which we all know is very difficult for you.)