A League of His Own (NOV/DEC 2016)

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A League of His Own I November/December 2016


From The Editor I’m truly excited for readers to digest this issue of Mamarazzi—so I’ll keep it short! I want to thank everyone featured for sharing their amazing journeys with me. “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” —Arthur Ashe Owner/Editor Ti’Juana Hardwell

Cover Design Kingstun Graphics/Kwame Rowe

Cover Photographer Baby Ruth Vinova

Issue Sponsors 2 Beatz Mobile Boutique 42 Degrees Below Justin Locs Steele Designs Mamarazzi Entertainment Magazine is based in Wichita, KS. The publication is available in print and online. For more information: www.mamarazzimagazine.com I mamarazzimagazine@gmail.com 2










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LOCTICIAN-JANASIA PORTLEY One woman chose to capitalize on Wichita’s loc (dreadlock) journey by helping others begin and maintain theirs. Over the last six years Janasia Portley has established herself as one of the city’s most popular locticians. “My oldest daughter’s dad had dreads and I helped him to maintain them,” says Portley. “Then I took some classes to learn more about it.” Portley says she learned about the importance of the loc bases, the beginning process and texture for locking. She built her clientele out of her home calling her dread locking business, “Like No Other.” It became a statement and a standard. “My locs set me apart,” explains Portley, with pride. “Everybody has their own style but when

you come to me it’s not going to be the same as if you [went to] anybody else.” The “Like No Other” brand has evolved to include the production of custom vinyl tees, something Portley first launched when promoting her dreadlock services. The traffic from both ventures pushed her to open a storefront she’s managed for 2 years. She even left her 9-5 job. She had enough of trying to juggle her job at Cox Warehouse with growing businesses and home -life. Making the decision to resign had a larger payoff than Portley imagined. “I was capable of making more money [doing locks and tees] than at my job,” says Portley, mom of two. “Before, it seemed like I didn’t get to spend time with my kids and now I can.” A storefront also urged clients to respect her business a little better, showing up on time and keeping with appointments.

“When you’re doing business out of your home, people don’t always understand that you’re trying to keep a schedule,” Portley explains. Her clients use StyleSeat, an online scheduler, to check her availability and schedule appointments. Her online reviews rave not only about her trendy styles but also her speed. A few months ago Portley set out to begin her very own loc journey, something she shared with her social media followers. But she tapped out after just 2 ½ months. “I wasn’t ready,” admits Portley. “My hair wasn’t natural, I had perm in my hair and some parts were straight.” She was able to comb her hair out just as it was beginning

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to lock. Portley is unsure if she will ever return to achieving a foundation for locs but says she would support her daughters should they choose to. “I’d be down for it,” says Portley, whose eldest child is age 6. “But I’d wait until they were about 10.” She wants to ensure they really want them and it’s not just because they see mom doing dreadlocks for others. Portley recognizes that kids are more prone to hair breakage--not as careful with protecting their crowns. She says it’s something other parents should think about before allowing their children to dread lock. At the top of the year Portley will offer classes to teach about dread locks. But for locs ‘like no other,’ schedule with Portley at www.styleseat.com/likenoother!##


For more than two years, Justin Hall has documented his dreadlock journey in a series of YouTube tutorial videos. He invites viewers to follow him as he maintains his ‘4-years-andcounting’ locs--welcoming feedback in the comments section (good and bad!). “There was one video where I was supposed to be showing an edge up around my dreads but I didn’t clean it up as good as I could have and someone called me out on it,” admits Hall.


“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Y’all have no filter,’” Hall jokingly says about his video followers. “They will go right for the jugular.” He kept the video up and worked on sharpening the standards for what he posts. “I like the transparency,” says Hall about his decision not to delete it. “I’m okay with [criticism].” Prior to initiating the locking of his hair, Hall was inspired by others with


LIKENOOTHER316 dreads. For more than a year and a half he educated himself, watched tutorials and followed hair bloggers. He survived “the ugly phase” where dreads don’t look the most appeasing. Hall’s twisted strands have grown between 12-14 inches in length. His tutorials demonstrate how to keep dreads moisturized, the process of hot oil treatments, and style tips. Really, anything his followers want to see, he makes happen. “As the climate of our country is tipping, beauty standards and their definition [are] shifting as well,” says Hall. Natural and Afro-centric hair styles are being adopted all over the country as both political and social statements. However a district court just sided with employer Catastrophe Management Solutions (CMS) who offered employment to a black woman that successfully interviewed for a position within their call center. Chastity Jones dressed professionally and wore short dreadlocks when applying. She was asked to complete new -hire paperwork to begin work. That’s when a Human Resources manager noticed her hair. The manager advised about the company’s policy banning them before adding, “[Dreadlocks] tend to get messy, although I’m not saying yours are, but you know what I’m talking about.” Jones would have to get rid of her dreadlocks to work there. She didn’t surrender and therefore not hired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which protects against employee discrimination, took

“Don’t touch my hair/When it’s the feelings I wear/ Don’t touch my soul/When it’s the rhythm I know/ Don’t touch my crown” Solange Knowles Don’t Touch My Hair

Jones’ case to a district court in 2014. The court sided with CMS and they fought back with an appeal later that year. This past September, CMS’s decision was unanimously supported by the Court of Appeals

for the 11th Circuit. They found no fault and said discrimination had not occurred. They cited that dreads are not an “immutable characteristic of black persons.” The decision means that businesses have a legal right to fire employees or to reject job applicants who have dreadlocks. “I would hope that I wouldn’t be defined by what’s on my head or how my hair is,” says Hall, a Wichita State University graduate who works as a music minister at his church. Hall says if faced with the same decision he would also refuse the job. “I would most likely not [cut my dreadlocks],”

says Hall. “Although the Court of Appeals ruled in support of jobs to have discretions, it’s inherently discriminatory because of the significance locs have in black culture.” “It can be valued and there is a place for it,” he adds. Hall acknowledges that dreadlocks can peak the curiosity of others, in and out of the black race. Singer Solange Knowles recently warned, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” on a track appearing on her studio album entitled “Seat at the Table.” But Hall welcomes it! “I’m not offended as long as they ask first,” Hall says. “Dreadlocks are definitely a conversation-starter.” Subscribe to the “Justin Locs” YouTube Channel to for front-row seats to his dreadlock evolution. New videos are uploaded on “Monday-ish!”##




The young producer sits down with Mamarazzi to discuss the business of beat–making and producing in the Wichita market. T

his summer was especially hot with help from Yellow Brick Music’s Jamal “Smoove” Harris and local beat producer Leon “Pliznaya (Naya)” Flowers. Smoove, who made Mamarazzi Entertainment Magazine’s “Ten to Watch” list, released a fire-hot album project on September 1 entitled “Trappin’ On a Naya Cut.” It’s a head-nod to his long-time friend and beat maker. “It was like Jordan and Pippen when we started linking up for what we call ‘cook up sessions,’” says Smoove. “Everything just comes so easy with the chemistry.” Smoove says there was a lot of anticipation on what the project would sound like after the release of “Open Up Shop,” also produced by Leon just earlier this year. Leon was born and raised in Wichita and began dabbling in music at age 8. He, like many other young boys, aspired to rap. He created music under the pseudonym “Pliznaya.” In 5th grade he and his


friends all wanted Z’s in their rap names and got creative! Push forward to a couple of years ago, when he and his friends struggled to find quality beats to rap over, so he began making some of his own. “My stepdad got me Fruity Loops [software used to create instrumentals],” recalls Leon. “That’s typically the start for a lot of beat makers.” He had no mentors and resorted to YouTube tutorials for instruction. “I’ve spent countless hours messing around with the software and teaching myself how to perfect my beats,” says Leon. In 2014, the young producer earned a business degree from Washburn University. He was a student athlete playing as the small-forward on the team’s basketball roster. Attaining an education was important to him and it’s something he attributes to his knowledge of the industry today. Leon believes in “tagging” his beats to ensure

he receives credit for his production work. The mainstream music industry pays beat makers thousands of dollars for beats. Tagging beats helps to prevent “jacking” by those who have not paid for the right to use it. The 25-year-old producer can be hired for beat production by artists and accepts upfront deposits to secure his work. “I charge and that’s how I know if someone is serious,” says Leon who has sometimes been hounded by artists who want free beats. “Once you make that initial payment that’s when I get to work.” He says working with Smoove is always easy to do. In their middle-school years the two battle-rapped and would even do so via text message. “His work ethic is beyond his years,” says Leon. “He enjoys it and it’s like it’s not even

work to him.” “It’s like working with myself,” Leon says of the producer-artist relationship he has developed with Smoove. Musicians have the ability to buy beats online but typically don’t know the beat-maker or the authenticity of ownership. They run a very high risk that those beats will be sold to a flock of other artists also admiring the beat. They can even be blocked from receiving compensation if the beat is not exclusively owned. Although Wichita is not the mecca for music, like the city of Atlanta where Leon’s favorite beat producer Lil Jon hails from, he feels there is still a market for beat producers to prosper. “We have to put our face out there so artists know who to come to,” says Leon who sometimes posts video feeds creating beats from scratch. “The music scene here is growing and there will always be more artists than beat makers.” He is hopeful that Wichita-based artists could make it big with locally-produced beats and it benefit both the artist and the producer. CD copies of “Trappin’ On A Naya Cut” ran out as many fans requested the project. However, it’s now available on Spotify as well as Apple Music. Fan-favorites include the tracks, “All I Wanted,” “Strippers & Tippers,” and “Playoffs.” Smoove recently released a promotional music video for “All I Wanted” available on YouTube. ##


Trappin’ On A Naya Cut (Secure beats by Naya.)

All I Wanted (Don’t forget the struggle.)

Strippers & Tippers (Tip the dancers.)

Feel Like It (Do what you want.)

Trap Rich (Thou shall not snitch while trappin’.)

Purse First (Make a lady invest!)

SEAN BOLDEN He tours with Grammy-award winning singer Estelle, acts and stars in videos alongside Drake. But the Wichita native says the city he hails from is what keeps pushing him!

If you thought Sean Bolden looked familiar, you have every reason to! He made a shirtless cameo in Drake’s unforgettable “Energy” video. He snagged the visual’s very first seconds before the Toronto rapper even appeared--mostly impersonating other famous people. The musician/actor has spent the last few years rubbing elbows with tons of celebrities. He currently tours as the drummer for Grammy-award winning singer Estelle who reached stardom with the hit, “American Boy.” Bolden’s love for music began at age 5, in his hometown of Wichita, Kan. His mother, a devoted church member, urged him to take the place of the church’s head drummer after he left. In middle and high school he performed with the band,

achieving many honors including Honor Band, All State Band and All Region. After graduating from West High School, he accepted Wichita State University’s offer to join their music department to learn from accomplished percussionist Dr. J.C. Combs. Bolden served more than 10 years in the military and deployed to Iraq before retiring and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. According to Bolden he had to relocate away from his hometown in order to advance his career; as few outlets exist for discovery in the area. “You have to go to a place where you can get that exposure,” says Bolden, explaining his moves to LA and Savannah, GA outside of the Atlanta area. “When you want to make it, you have to go somewhere and make it happen sometimes.” Father to three daughters he shares wife Lanyae, he has to juggle being there for them and accepting paid gigs that require he travel--sometimes with little notice. The phone call from Estelle’s music director asking Bolden to come onboard happened around 4 ‘o clock on a Tuesday morning. He had to learn all of her music, three albums, to perform just two

days later. “It’s very hard and not easy managing a career that has you on the road a lot,” admits Bolden.

“They want daddy and husband home as much as possible.” “It’s always, ‘When are you coming home?” Bolden says. When he is home, he has to make it count. That means giving everyone their own special attention. He has come to realize how important every little moment

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Just a skinny kid from Wichita, Elbert Mack III aspired to succeed in whatever he put his mind to doing. He grew up to become a professional football player who defied the notion he couldn’t. But when he stopped enjoying the game he walked away from it all. At 5’10 Mack weighs only 175 pounds making him a small guy on the NFL field. After finishing his college football career at Troy University, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the league’s 2008 Draft. Nonetheless, this was a

feat over those who said he didn’t have the prowess to do it. “I was the kid that maximized every opportunity growing up,” says Mack. “But I wasn’t at the football field all day, every day.” Mack says he was able to enjoy his upbringing because he took an interest in a multitude of things aside from football. The eldest child of three sons, Mack says it was a home of “brotherly love” for him, Chaz and Kameron. They weren’t pressed by parents to be pro-athlete giants or to go in any one direction. “My mom cared about us graduating high school and

college and that’s it,” says Mack about mom, Paula. “All she ever said is ‘Don’t have the police calling.’” He recalls that when he wasn’t practicing football, he would play videogames or push pieces of toilet paper into cassette tapes to record songs. Kameron would usually sing and Mack would rap. Mack’s cousins would chase him around pretending to be crazed paparazzi and he would run away from them like a celebrity wanting his privacy. Mack also began his love of barbering in his adolescent age. His knack for cutting hair came in handy during times that his football teammates needed an emergency

“It wasn’t fun anymore and I didn’t want to sit around in pity.” 11

Elbert Mack III (right) and his brothers kept each other entertained as kids, even making music together.

Photo Courtesy of Elbert Mack

years to come,” says Mack. He was on the field as a New Orleans He went back to school and earned Saints when he intercepted a pass from Eli his license to barber. He put his stake in Manning early in the first quarter. He to pursue entrepreneurship and returned in 73 yards for a touchdown. The envisioned what kind of barbershop he Saints were not wanted to game victors; launch. He however Mack’s enlisted help power-play put a from new and smile on his grieving tenured barbers family’s faces. and opened the “My grandfather doors to [Elbert Mack Sr.] Midwest Blends passed away that barbershop. morning and there I One of those was doing something tenured barbers positive and was Devin “Dev electrifying in his The Barber” name,” says Mack Kindle, whom who had already even in his endured the loss of passing, is highly his father, Elbert revered by the Mack II, before community for entering the league. his charity “It was very through emotional for me barbering. He and I knew my family would lend was at home countless hours watching and--I can’t cutting hair for even put it into Elbert Mack III (far right) pictured with mom Paula and brothers Kameron (far low-income left) and Chaz. Photo Courtesy of Elbert Mack words.” families Mack later preparing to signed with the Houston Texans but put his send their students back-to-school. NFL career in his rear view mirror in fall of “[Devin] treated the shop like it was 2014, at age 28. his own,” says Mack. “He was a great “For me it was just [having] a peace of friend who comforted me when I felt mind,” says Mack. “It wasn’t fun anymore overwhelmed, helped me save money and I didn’t want to sit around in pity.” when I needed to, and spend money [on “I chose to move forward and invest shop improvements] when I needed to do into something that I was going to enjoy for that.” barber!


Mack prides himself on keeping MWB sophisticated and welcoming to a diverse group of barbers and clientele. “It’s not a hangout [spot], this is a business,” says Mack. “You can have a fun work environment but you have to keep that standard.” The space he acquired is up-scale with a lounge area facing flat-screen televisions and furnished with comfy seating. MWB has wood-finish flooring and is kept clean. The staff is able to take advantage of washer and dryer systems to clean towels without taking them home. Mack’s barber’s chair is first in line beyond wall photos commemorating his glory-days as an NFL athlete. When I visited the shop, I overheard a customer telling Mack that he didn’t know he was a former-NFL player. A girlfriend told him. “That’s crazy man,” says the client, taken aback. “I didn’t even know but that’s --Wow!” The man apologized for “sounding like a groupie (customer’s words)” and laughed for feeling like one before shaking hands with Mack. Mack didn’t shy away from the reference to his past NFL career and humbly thanked the man for coming into the shop. Nowadays, Mack is fulfilling other ventures that satisfy his appetite for success like his “Twisted Teef Thieves” merchandise line and his independently recorded music. He’s been performing under his rap persona, “Skinnychipyatted” which describes his thin stature, the chipped teeth he now embraces and his heavily tattooed body--a mural for art. “Treed Emotions” was released in September. He’s performed tracks at concert events and has traveled to

“When people say ‘You’re lucky because you were in the NFL…”

promote the album project as an indie-artist. He recently shot a music video for “My City.” Like other musicians in the town Mack feels it is important to have the city behind him. He understands how complex it is to achieve mainstream success. Mack believes that for a Wichita performer to gain momentum, the city will have to rally behind him/her, including sharing and requesting their music from DJs and radio stations. These are challenges that even he must overcome now as a musician. “When people say ‘You’re lucky because you were in the NFL,’ they think I had it easy or that I have all of these connections,” says Mack refuting the idea. “I had to put in the work to get there and to be there once I got there.” “Everyone doesn’t get the multi-million dollar contract,” says Mack. “There are guys that don’t and they still get out there and do the dirty work [on the field].”


Mack has had his share of adversity. During his rookie year, he was going through some personal family issues, and NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks became aware of them. He gave Mack a signed book by another Hall of Famer, Tim Brown. Mack, father of two children, accepted

Continued From Page 9 means to the little women in his life. He also carves out time to return to Wichita where his mother resides. She has endured some health complications making time spent with Mother Bolden is even more precious. When he gets a chance, he likes to perform in the town he hails from. “I enjoy traveling and playing, but when I get to [come] home and play, it’s the most rewarding,” explains Bolden. On the day after Thanksgiving he’ll perform with friend and fellow musician, bass player Dale Black. They’ll entertain patrons at R Coffee House located at 1144 N. Bitting Avenue near Wichita’s historic midtown area. But it’s always back home to await more work assignments from his agent, Susan Duff, mom to Hilary and Haylie Duff. She has assisted him with other opportunities like acting gigs. “I kind of just fell into acting,” says Bolden. “My agent told me about some small roles that were looking to be filled and I went.” In 2017 he’ll share the screen as “Maniac,” the older brother to Jessie T. Usher (Survivor’s Remorse/ Independence Day: Resurgence) in a film called “Stronghold.” “It’s about gang life,” Bolden says describing the story. “You have the little brother trying to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and he sees that

that’s not what he really wants for himself.” Bolden drew inspiration from gang members he has come to know. He observed them as they talked and how they would possibly respond and interact with one another. “It’s very difficult to try to be someone you’re not and to commit to portraying that person,” says Bolden. “I try to make it as organic as can be.” That’s not to say that Bolden is taking every role thrown his way. He was cast in a small role on mega-successful TV show, “Empire” with Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett. He later turned the part down; uneasy with the demands for the character. “Because of some of my standards and beliefs, I choose not to do certain things,” says Bolden, referencing his church upbringing. He did get a chance to perform a music set with actor Smollett whom he describes as having incredible energy and being “very much Jamal,” uncanny to the role he portrays. Bolden is honing his talents and enjoying the ride. He continues to work with Estelle.

Sean starred in Drake’s “Energy” video.


the book titled “The Making of A Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity.” “[Brooks] took the time to do that and to talk to me,” recalls Mack. “That let me know that it was bigger than football,” adds Mack. “It meant the world to

me.” Mack has proven that he can go yards in distance and get into the end zone-on and off of the field. He will continue to set his own rules in artistry, barbering, fatherhood and manhood.

“Estelle is very professional,” says Bolden. “When it comes to taking care of her musicians, she really takes care of them.” He has also launched an independent production company he named “Seanice.” Under that umbrella he develops music artists and assists with music writing. The Wichita native has come a long way since his days on Lorraine Street. He visits schools to share about breaking-out as an entertainer and more importantly

There is still a lot to aspire for Mack, now in a league of his own.##

overcoming adversity. He says that his pursuit is bigger than just him. “I got away from that thinking that I couldn’t make it [because of] where I’m from,” says Bolden. “Barry Sanders used to live two blocks from where I grew up and he became the best running-back [in the NFL].” “You have been from Wichita who you can say, ‘Look, they made it,” adds Bolden. While still pushing to become a household name, he is happy with the direction he is going. For him Wichita will always be the source of his energy.##

TYSON PETE’S TELL-ALL BOOK IS BOUND TO PULL SHEETS BACK! CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIED BI-SEXUAL MAN Self-published writer Tyson Pete chatted with Mamarazzi to discuss his complex sexuality, marrying his best friend and the motivation to write his tell-all book. And his wife joins the conversation too!

Independent author Tyson Pete is ready to take us to the Laundromat with a tell-all book that will have us quickly pulling back the sheets. “Dirty Laundry: Confessions of a Married Bi-Sexual Man” will be released at the top of the year with or without the permission of Pete’s past lovers. This is the third book penned by the self-published writer who has opted to give the book’s male characters pseudonyms-although telling what he alleges are real stories and drama he has endured in his quest to live life out in the open. Some of those mentioned are not openly gay-pastors, married men and heterosexual men. “I’m not trying to ‘out’ them,” claims Pete. “It’s a tell-all but it’s also intended to educate women on what to look for if your man is on the DL.” Pete says he has never lived on the “down-low.” But he feels women in relationships are entitled to know if the man they’re with has participated in gay sex.

little better,” says Renita. “But I’m not going to stick around for it.” Tyson has already been contacted by a couple of his past partners who want to make sure their names are nowhere in the book! But the hot water he got into with his wife could’ve put a halt on the tell-all book altogether. Why? Because he announced to his social media followers that he would be releasing the book--but didn’t even bother tell his wife of six years! “She knew I was writing another book, but she was mad--,” says Pete before being interrupted by his wife during the Tyson was approaching his teen years when interview. he first experienced same-sex relations. He went on “He didn’t tell me to have numerous relationships with men before anything and that’s the marrying. only thing I got mad The book reveals that his wife, Renita, is very about,” says Renita. much aware of her husband’s former gay lifestyle. “We’re married so you They met while in high school when he had already need to talk to me about embraced his sexual identity. what you’re putting out.” “He had just [come] to West [high school] and “It involves me everybody was telling me, ‘Don’t waste your time “Even if the truth hurts, as because we’re married and long as it’s truthful, then there girl--he’s gay,’” recalls Renita. your name goes with my Tyson recalls his wife telling him, “You’re too is no other way to present it. name,” Renita adds. cute to be gay,” and it actually bothering him. At the very least, readers will She insists that her The two became best friends, double-dating, recognize the courage in that relationship is not always introducing each other to prospects, and supporting and respect me for it.” Tyson easy to explain to others each other through break-ups. Pete and not easily understood They later explored the possibilities of by outsiders. But despite the criticism from friends and hooking up with one another and began dating. family, she does not regret her decision to marry Tyson However, they still entertained other people before and grow a family with him. reaching the decision to marry. “I walked into it knowing,” says Renita. “I had “I didn’t a focus and I wanted him in my life.” take the Excerpt from Confessions of a After almost a decade of dating, Renita relationship Married Bi-Sexual Man told Tyson that the time had come for serious until I got them to get married. Tyson says they married,” Pete “Do I feel bad about sleeping with one of my good friend’s man on her birthday after she fell asleep that night? Absolutely married a week later. admits. not. You see the problem with most women is they confide in “I wasn’t willing to give her up,” says Some of their so-called friends. Whether it be male or female. They Tyson. the encounters think that venting and telling you all their issues while trying to seek advice, will help. The problem with that, is that only Although Tyson admits to having “urges,” he details in the creates an opportunity for the next person to approach your he says Renita does not have to worry book occurred man, put their sexy on, whisper sweet nothings in his ear, about infidelity and that he is no longer when he and grope his dick and do what you wouldn’t do, and do it better. Does she know about it? No, but she will as soon as she reads engaging in any sex (with women or men) Renita were in a all the details in this chapter on her man.” outside of that with his wife. relationship but The upcoming release of his book is not married. The bittersweet. Tyson’s mother passed away in December Petes say their marriage, however, is not an open2014. She was one of his biggest supporters and rallied marriage and they are now in a monogamous his decision to be openly gay. She encouraged him to relationship. They raise their four children together. tell his personal stories through writing--something Renita says infidelity has no place in their Tyson is doing today. marriage and an extra-marital affair with a woman “Dirty Laundry: Confessions of a Married Biwould be totally unforgiveable. She could, however, Sexual Man” published by Tyson Pete LLC, will be be more understanding of his intimacy with another available for purchase in January 2017 at Barnes & man. Nobles, Amazon and other hubs.## “I can’t compare to a man so I understand it a