Take the Hate with Grace: Life Lessons from the Grammys

By Kelly A. Harris

How do you deal with winning and losing?

Favoritism is not just in the music industry; sometimes it’s in families, too.

How do you deal with adversity when everyone is watching? I believe beyond all the Grammy

chatter there are some real life lessons for all of us.  Here are a few worth considering:

1. There will always be someone who believes you don’t deserve what you have – Got a job

promotion, new house or car, recently engaged?  Watch out! There’s someone looking at you

who may be applauding but is silently ranting about how unworthy you are of the moment.

Don’t second-guess yourself.

2. Remember, this is not high school– Eliminate people who are always keeping up mess. Your

allegiance should be based on principles not popularity.  Hold people accountable for using

downgrading, ignorant and hurtful language against people who don’t deserve it. Reading

what’s on the internet can be like reading the bathroom wall. Don’t feed the monster. Be


3. It’s Ok to be critiqued – We all want a pat on the back. We all desire praise and support, but

we all need to be able to see ourselves at a healthy distance.  Finding people you trust to

provide honest feedback/assessment about you is necessary.  I have a special circle of people I

check in with. I pose questions to them like:  Am I over-reacting?  Did I handle that right?

Healthy critique will prevent you from acting out, lashing out or, as Iyanla Vanzant calls it, being

out of order. This is hard because most people don’t know the difference between hating and

critique, and very few people are willing to be honest about their own issues.  If you can

embrace healthy critique, you’ll stop living a reactionary life.

keep calm image

4. Never underestimate the insecurity of a beautiful woman (or powerful man) – My mother

told me a story once about a beautiful woman who was always hostile to her. Even without

makeup, this woman was drop dead gorgeous. Just beautiful. She had a husband, drove shiny

cars, and lived in the most desirable neighborhood. In contrast, my mom—who cleaned up

houses, had three kids, did hair on the side and was always trying to make ends meet – could

not understand why this woman, a first lady of a church, would treat her so mean.

Years later, they bumped into each other at a mall. My mom said hello, but remembering this

lady’s antics, wanted to keep it moving—fast. But the woman insisted on talking and then

apologized.  She admitted to my mom that she was jealous because church folks always

requested my mother’s cooking (especially her cakes).  My mother styled many of the women’s

hair in the congregation in our basement. This woman said she hated that people came to our

house to eat and get their hair done instead of coming to her. In her mind it seemed everyone

had fun with our family instead of hers. My mother was just dumbfounded at the reasons this

woman gave for making her life hell all that time.

5. Take the Hate with Grace– Throwing shade seems to be the newest acceptable tantrum of the

day. We use terms like “shade” and “hater” as if there are real explanations for behavior.  Daily

we are surrounded by varying levels of envy, disrespect and egos that often require us to shrug

rather than fuel the flame. Some people feel it’s their right to be dogmatic. Other times,

conflict just cannot be avoided. Have you ever had a moment when you’ve asked yourself, How

did my name get caught up in this foolishness?”

I have and I know many of you have too. Being graceful in challenging moments is not a

weakness—it’s a sign of maturity.


Kelly Harris is the founder and Editor of BrassyBrown.com. Follow her on twitter at @brassybrownnola. Subscribe to the BrassyBrown.com newsletter to stay connected.


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