Cousin Terrio illo

An Open Letter to Cousin TerRio

Dear Cousin TerRio,

If you ever get the chance to read this letter hopefully you will know that it was written out of love. I don’t know you personally, but I’m pretty sure when I was your age I had the same interests you have. I played basketball, listened to rap music, and loved to dance (on and off beat) every chance I got. From spinning and shaking, to the James Brown records my dad played, to that bass heavy bounce Timbaland and The Neptunes were pumping out, I kept moving.

When I look back at home videos now, I go through an array of emotions, usually a mix of happiness and embarrassment. Luckily, my childhood was during an age of green cell phone screens, VHS, and social media only extending as far as AOL chat rooms. The point I’m trying to make is that those personal moments are at my disposal. Now that I’m a grown man who can make rational decisions, I can choose to show people these personal videos if I want to. Unfortunately you will never have that choice.

Now I’m not going act like I haven’t watched any of your videos and laughed. But I won’t lie, after a while, it gets a little boring to see you doing the same dance over and over again. From time to time you’ll switch it up, running around with your shirt off, knocking on people’s doors and eating salads. Maybe I’m jealous ’cause you get to hang out with celebrities and hot chicks all day. So it doesn’t matter what I think since people still love you. My question though, is why do they love you?

Look brother, I don’t want to kill your vibe, and I actually hope that when you get older and you can look back can laugh at all of this. Life is all about choices my friend. You are a young black man and just like any other man you’re entitled to your dignity and self-respect through the choices you make. I don’t know your parents but I also don’t know if they are leaving you space to carve out your own identity. Hopefully they’re putting some of that money you’ve been making to the side for your college education.

Even as a grown man, you always have to watch those around you. Make sure people are not trying to exploit you. It’s good to make money, but ask yourself, “What am I sacrificing to make this buck?” For most people, it’s time and labor; for businesses, it’s developing products and providing services; for celebrities, it’s their talents and for the most part, their likeness and image. So I’m not mad at you player, I just want make sure that you and those around you are doing the right thing.



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