Real friends....how many of us? How many of us? That's a Kanye West song off of his Life of Pablo album. The lyrics are very simple, but they pose an important question. How many people out there are true friends?
Think about all the friends that you have and/or had. Can you call them true friends? Are you embarrassed to share certain information with them?
Do you fear being judged? Are they trustworthy? Do you feel comfortable around them? Can you be yourself? Do they pressure you into things? Are they supportive? Can you actually call them...a friend? On September 10th, Kenneka Jenkins, a nineteen year old Chicago teenager, was raped, murdered, and stuffed in a freezer at The Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel & Conference Center in Rosemont. She was young, she wanted to have fun with her "friends." There's a reason why I put friends in quotation. These young men and women that Kenneka surrounded herself with...they were not her friends. Let me explain what happened to the individuals that don't know much about the story:
There are so many conspiracy theories as to what might've happened to her. If you have not educated yourself on the story, I strongly feel that you need to.

Kenneka resonates with me. Kenneka and I are the same age, Both of us are African American women. Both of us are from Chicago. I could've been Kenneka, there are so many young women (and men) who could've been in a situation like Kenneka's. There are so many women and men who have been in situations like Kenneka's, and they perished as well. When I was younger, I would have given anything to have friends. I was a weird, awkward, black girl. I had platts in my hair and round glasses while I was in elementary school. I was teased, ridiculed, the whole bit. It was hard, and some times I would stray away from my truth. No one wanted to hang around me! And if they did, they wanted something from me. I would hang around people that I knew good and well I had no business hanging around. I wanted to be apart of a group. I didn't want to be alone. I am not sure if that is Kenneka's case, but I can only explain how I relate to the story. It took me a long time to realize that I have to follow what I believe is right. Not listening to your mind, body, and spirit can get you into a world of trouble. The beginning of my sophomore year of college is when I finally got this into my thick skull. The girls that I flocked around weren't terrible people. They had their perks. They were funny, they knew a lot of people, and I could get into all the parties I wanted to hanging around them. Even though I had fun with them, and I am thankful for some of those memories, I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. We always fought. It seemed like if I voiced my opinion, they would get mad at me. It wasn't a vast difference. There was this one time where the girls and I were discussing relationships. This was recently. Everyone but me was saying how much they wanted a "crazy" boyfriend. One of those boyfriends that blows up your phone and gets a little aggressive with you. I thought they were crazy. One of the girls were stating all the things that this man...pardon me, boy had said to her. They were all triggering, and quite disturbing. But all of them thought that this was the most romantic gesture under the sun. I voiced my opinion. Was my opinion asked of me? No, and that is something that I am working on, but I felt like what they were saying was completely misguided. They completely shut me down and ignored me the entire night. They eventually stopped talking to me all together. I am not the one to beg for ones attention, so I went on with my life. There have been many times prior to that situation where I felt like I should get out of the friendship. When they would start fights with me over nothing, when I felt like I was disconnected from the group. I kept it to myself and hid it, thinking that the feeling would go away. Oh, that's just me being sensitive and worrisome. It's not uncommon of me, I do over think things. However, if the feeling keeps coming back, and it comes back frequently, you might want to go with your gut. If something feels wrong, target what you think it is and go with it. It may be hard at first, but it'll save you a lot of trouble later. What are your friends' goals? Do they lift you up? When you accomplish something, are they one of the first people to praise you, or do they try and discredit you? See, these are the things that you have to take into consideration. There is such thing as the wrong crowd. Being cool isn't worth your freedom or your life. Know yourself. Staying to yourself doesn't mean that you're antisocial or a lame as some people say these days. If you do not vibe with the people around you, that's okay. You will find someone that will. That is something that I wish Kenneka knew. She was a beautiful, young, black woman. She had a future. She had a family that loved her, and what happened to her? She was murdered over jealousy. She was murdered because the girls and boys that she trusted didn't value her as much as she did them. This is a lesson that all of us can learn from. Be careful, and test authenticity. God bless her family and her "real" friends.