Friday, August 6, 2010

A Brief Note: Power and Art and Renewal

I am contemplating the timeliness of Kanye's new song "Power"...not so much in terms of what it means to him as an individual artist/being but how the shift it speaks to represents the dawning of a new era of art and creative thinking and living. Power is being redefined as it tries to recover from all it has destroyed. Meanwhile, the artists and creators of the world are being empowered to make the growing pains of all of this transitioning a little more bearable for us all. Oh the irony...exciting stuff, no?!?!? I suppose it's why I have been suffering from insomnia all summer...the good kind...the kind that keeps me up...where I create and breathe in others' creations and...dream about them all day long...

Speaking of dreams...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why I Haven't Blogged In Like...Forever...

Long time no...blogging, eh?

Honestly, I am not exceptionally lazy or anything. I really do want to blog regularly and think that I am intellectually capable of doing so. The honest to God truth is simply that I have too much on my mind at any given time. Thus, I suspect that I may spontaneously combust in the midst of a blog entry and we don't want that. At once I am thinking about the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, state of Hip Hop, Oscar Grant travesty, depiction of young Black women in the media and networking via social media to name a few. On top of all of that, I am bogged down with my own issues like research proposals, raising money to finish my album, writing new songs, paying down debt, advancing my career, spending more time with family, fixing up my apartment, going to the gym more, eating better, traveling and an array of other things...being a Vogue-toting feminist aint no walk in the park my friend...let me assure you! With all of that on my mind, I am always afraid that I will say the wrong thing and although I have the ability to edit...I can't be too careful.

Cop out? Maybe. Yet this is how I have been feeling, what I have been thinking and why I haven't been blogging. I will say that this exercise of full disclosure has been quite therapeutic so perhaps it will aid me in unpacking some of this mental/spiritual baggage...

Actually...this feels really fingers feel liberated and my brain a little lighter. If this is any indication of what is to come, I think I will be in good shape. Note to self: You will not know how things are going to turn out (like writing a blog entry) until you actually sit down and give it a go. What do I have to lose really? Aint nuthin to it but to do it...seize the day...go for what you know...YOU GET THE POINT! I herein now declare that I'm going to try this bloggin regularly thing again real soon...I promise. Until then...Good day sir, I said GOOD DAY!!!

(HINT: Shirley Sherrod, who may be my new hero, is likely to show up on this thing real soon!!!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Woman of Interest: Rue McClanahan (1934-2010)

I will let this genius speak for herself...bye for now dear Blanche...I hope you rest well on that Lanai in the sky...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beyonce on the Desperate Housewife (w/ Grammy's to boot)

"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.

Is this another installment of B's brand of scantily clad, 21st century feminism?
Are we to be empowered by this display?
Not hating at all...this is a genuine question...
What are your thoughts?
I will share mine at length once I have lived with it a little longer. As for now, I think I am living for this video! This is of course minus my cultural critique hat as I simply tap into my inner drag queen. YE$ MS. BBBBBBBBBBB! LOL!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Woman of Interest: Mrs. Cherry Wyley (September 6, 1923-April 3, 2010)

My dear Aunt Cherry passed away this past Saturday. I was fortunate enough to spend the last fours of her life with her. Not only will the moment when I realized she was about to take her last breathe stay with me for the rest of my life, but I will cherish all the moments we had together; especially the Sunday afternoon dinners with Mrs. Green and crew. I've known Aunt Cherry my entire life, but we became really close about ten years ago just before my Uncle Ed (her hubby) passed away in 2000. We were really like two peas and a pod! LOL! Everyday I realize how much I am like her in so many ways: feisty, ambitious, loyal and about our business (among other things)!

Words cannot express what she has meant to me over the years. She's dropped so many pearls of wisdom and surrounded me with so much love and just warms my heart to think about hearing her raspy Black Jewish lady! LOL! Aunt Cherry loved her Matzahs! Although I will miss her, I am happy that she is in a better place with the loves of her life: her Lord and her Ed.

One of my favorite Cherry Wyley sayings is what she told me she used to say to Uncle Ed all the time, "Love me less, understand me more!" YES! I could not have put it better or more plainly. Every time I hear that...I think to myself, "Aunt Cherry gets me and I get her! That's why I love her so and she loves me."

Aunt Cherry...I love you and already miss you terribly but I am so glad that you stopped by this way a little while to show us how this life thing should be the fullest! I think I am going to hit up some conventions and take some cruises in your honor...I may even finally learn how to play Pinochle and the rules of parliamentary procedure! You were good at and knowledgeable of so many things and did not take anybody's junk but you also knew how to really have fun...even when you were not feeling your best. Not only that, I admire the way you shared your love with us (me, son Stevie and others) and sang hymns and praises even until the very end. You were and continue to be a shining example to me...I will never, ever forget you. Truly, we are all going to miss you because the work you've done will continue to speak for you. Rest in Peace...

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Woman of Interest: Yes Ms. Stanwyck! (Absolutely!)

Per Mr. Ebert's recommendation, check out this awesome scene between Henry Fonda and the amazing Barbara like pepper and hilarious, to boot! ;-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

parlez-vous francais? or My Epic Fail Turned Inspiration

Being a resident of such a diverse city like NYC, I am often stopped on the street by people of various ethnic backgrounds and nationalities who claim that I remind them of home. Where is home? As long as they are brown, it doesn't really matter. I am sized up by folks from Trinidad, South Africa...even southern India. It all depends on how I am wearing my hair that day (see photos)! Honestly, I am flattered when this happens to me. I like to think of myself as a world citizen so, if a bunch of different peeps think we are some kin...I AM ALL FOR IT!

I am sure you are asking yourself, "where is all this coming from?" Well, today I had another one of these moments. A couple approached me though they did not come out and say, "you're like home." Still, they scanned the drugstore we were in for a person that looked familiar, sized me up and then asked a sizable question in French; a french dialect that sounded West African and beautiful to me. I looked at the woman puzzled. "Do you speak French?" she said in her best English. "NO...well...un peu," I said in my twelve year old voice. "D'accord" little was obviously good enough for her to launch into asking me another very detailed question in French! But here's the funny part...I knew exactly what she was saying: "Do you know if they sell IMAN cosmetics here?" Unfortunately, I could not say anything comprehensible back to her. Instead,I started into the embarrassing pantomiming that New Yorkers tend to do when trying to direct an international guest towards the right direction. I almost panicked until her husband came over to me and asked in English, "Where can she get it?" with a big ole smile! I told him. They both thanked me and gave me the warmest we were family. I felt better and kind of fell in love with them for a second. I can be super sentimental at times. Still, I had failed to use the French that I have been studying and practicing off and on for the past couple of years. The VERY language that I hope to use in my research on women of the African Diaspora and how they communicate in beauty salons! HELLO...MCFLY!

Though I played the fool yet again, I learned three important lessons today:

And that is how you learn from your failures folks! That is all. ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woman of Interest: Ms. Jackson (if your nasty, of course)

I would be lying if I told you Janet Jackson was not a huge influence on me as a young performer. In fact, she was very much the prototype for a triple threat(behind Ms. Debbie Allen of course...more on her later) when I was a teenager. However, as I got older and became more "refined", I began downplaying the impact she had on me. Besides, she was "just" a pop icon and I had begun discovering greats like Sarah, Ella and Billie as a singer and Babs, Chita and Patti LuPone as a triple threat performer. Still, looking back I remember those days in the mirror "trying" to do all of Tina's choreography (especially the one in the video above! LOL!); not so much! Ironically, as a member of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's Mini-Stars, "Rhythm Nation" was one of my biggest solos; which gave me a chance to perform her dope choreography on a regular basis in front of people other than my Cabbge Patch doll! Although I was merely fifteen years old at the time, this solo is still a career highlight for me.

I could really go on and on about all of my JJ moments: the concerts, the DVDs, the cassettes then CDs...the first time I heard "That's the Way Love Goes" while sitting in the beauty salon getting my hair done for my senior prom! The bottom line is this: Ms. Janet is an icon who is very much her brother's sister...she has more than proven herself worthy of her last name...she can go toe to toe with the best of them because she resides among them in the Pantheon of American Performing Artists...I've seen her in concert...the woman is no joke....and she was Penny for goodness sake!

Unfortunately, as our pop icons get older they are forced to make decisions about their career that can either make or break them. Ms. Jackson has been no exception as she too has struggled to make the adjustment like so many of her predecessors and contemporaries. How do you continue to portray powerful and sexy at 40ish in a business that glorifies 20ishness? Who matter what...we can't deny the amazing body of work Janet has already given us. Though she continues to make the transition into her full womanly awesomeness, I am sure she has got decades worth of greatness still in her to give. I can't wait to see what she does next besides "Why Did I Get Married Too!" I aint hatin...I'ma be up in that show...#imjustsayin

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beauty Jonez #1: Burt's Bee Repair Serum

Yesterday I made an innocent trip to Rickys NYC for some Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream and Rosebud Lip Salve and just happened upon this fab facial product. I've only used it once but honey it's already everything to me! And to top it all off I got it for 50% off...$ that will have a girl Beauty Jonezin' fo' sho! It smells delish...all face is glowing but not reapplication necessary and its nearly a word, it is pure AWESOMENESS.
Try it...K? Until next time...stay beautiful on your own terms...;-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Woman of Interest: Lorez Alexandria

A few years ago I stumbled upon the treasure that is Lorez Alexandria. Her career was relatively short lived compared to her contemporaries in jazz vocals but her impact is yet least on me. My views on music and jazz and what it means to be a woman in music have not been the same since finding this gem. I am a different woman and a different kind of singer as a result. Enjoy...

For more information, go to:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

...Writing's The Thing...

I have a paper to write today
And I can't seem to find the words I need
So here I am in my little corner of the writing sky
Word hunting and stretching out my thoughts on this little cyber bed

Sitting still, staring at a blank screen
So for the last year
I am going to give writing a go every time
Even if I am moving in the wrong direction
I'm moving, aren't I?

Epistemes and ontologies
Turns and valences
Nature, nurture, culture and society
Humanities, science and technology

This is me trying to steer my ship back to the straight and narrow
Right now its the only way I know
Because brainstorming and thinking and drinking joe
And tearing out your hair and ripping up your cuticles

And sneaking on Twitter (who are you hiding from?)
And wikipediaing the random
And texting your bestie
And crunching on Pirates Booty

And having a little stretch break
And taking a nap
And beating yourself up
...I suppose they are all viable options...but

Writing's the thing, really

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy New Year +35 days!!!

I am the worst...I know...I am late for New Years! I know, I know...this post is WAY overdue. Excuses are not my thing but I have to say...I was in a major crisis at the top of the year. I had a 20 page paper due and my entire premise collapsed by page 5! So...I totally freaked and made a big deal of the paper as if it were my PhD dissertation. I really need to stop being so hard on myself. That's so 2009!

Anyways...I am sooooooo excited about 11 or so months! I have so much I want to do. For starters:

1. I want to finish out the first year of this anthro grad program with decent grades (need funding!)
2. Finish writing, recording and release my sophomore album
3. Continue tricking out my apartment so I can feel more like a grown up and less like an overgrown undergrad
4. Another maturation issue: better control over my finances...
5. Stop being such a fear monger! ARGH! So not cute...
6. Get started on a research project which may shape up to be my doctoral focus (or not)
7. Get my french going...I've got to get beyond these measly table manners
8. MORE WRITING (Submit for some journals, blogs, sites, conferences, etc.)

Not a bad start, eh?

I am super hopeful about everything. I am not sure if I will get everything done but I am going to keep working while I am waiting. ACTION!

P.S. I chose this pic of lovely Ms. Grier because it just says beauty and empowerment and looking ahead to me. I love!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010