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Timeless Artistry

MUSIC BLOG

Talent is not a trend; musical artists with great talent are classic. Music is at the core of many cultures, shaping ceremonial dance, creating soothing or celebratory atmosphere. Music helps to complete the event. African American, Black, Urban (whichever term you prefer) culture has a musical core. JAZZ, BLUES, FUNK, ROCK, HIP HOP, R&B and pretty much all forms of music have a history that parallels with OUR history.

With so many musical artists débuting regularly, Hip Hop and R&B seem to constantly change. Whomever presents a trend that sticks or connects to the people, stays on top until another trend hits. I’m so glad we have talented timeless artists that keep REAL music circulating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   D’ANGELO    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Infamous for making women holler at the TV screen, begging for the cameraman to inch down just a little lower. This man has been off the scene for years, and released an AWESOME album with ease. Not saying It wasn’t hard work putting it together, but this album seems uncalculated. Of course you can listen to the entire thing straight through, and almost get a little disappointed when it comes to an end. He’s just one of those artists who won’t ever go out of style.

If you are a lover of music, you were pretty anxious to get your ear on this new album, and satisfied when he didn’t disappoint the fans. There are numerous artists in rotation on the TV, radio and music streaming airwaves, but only a few have the talent that can breakthrough any trend of today. Artists like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Usher and a few others. Even Bruno Mars has impeccable talent (highly underrated), but that’s another topic.

The above artists can always drop a single, or a entire album without a single and fans will approve.

Thank you for taking advantage of your talents!

Just a lil of The TRUTH…

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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Our Culture/Our World

 

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Divas? In the Eye of the Beholder.

hollywood-divas
I guess the title DIVA is up to one’s own interpretation, or in the eye of the beholder. I’ve recently observed vastly different versions of a “Diva”, some being the high maintenance type, others being an attitude of a prima donna. The most beloved Beyoncé views a diva as a female version of a hustler. I view divas as the high maintenance, attitude of entitlement type. There are various acceptable definitions of a diva, but there are also some definitions of what doesn’t constitute a “DIVA”
divas

TVOne hosts a new show entitled HOLLYWOOD DIVAS, with black actresses in Hollywood who feel like they deserve their “spot” in Hollywood, having reoccurring roles on television or notable movie roles. They sing the constant song heard throughout black actresses and actors “Not enough roles for “US”. Many can agree with this statement as do I, but what I disagree with is the women on this show being labeled Hollywood Divas, divas who feel their talent and abilities have been overlooked.

The cast of HOLLYWOOD DIVAS: Paula Jai Parker– she says she believes she has been blackballed from the industry because of her marriage. She is living in a hotel during this first episode with her husband and child. She lists her claim to fame as a voiceover on the cartoon THE PROUD FAMILY. I mostly remember her from Woo “…a chicken hoe Lenny?…” and I keep mixing her up with the actress that played MOESHA’s rude college roommate. I honestly forgot her role as a whore on Hustle & Flow, and Phone Booth. She mentioned that Hustle & Flow should have gotten her more recognition. Right!!!! Because if you play a stripper, you’re on your way to the top. Just ask Lisa Raye McKoy-Player’s Club. Countess Vaughn– known for her role as the clueless best friend of MOESHA, later getting her own spinoff THE PARKERS, where she was the star of the show. I don’t consider her a Diva, and definitely don’t think she’ll ever have that role of an award winning actress. Her best bet is to find her way on the set of a sitcom. Elise Neal– She sees herself as a triple threat-actress, dancer and I guess singer, I haven’t heard her vocals yet, but hey-who knows. She can dance, and is in great shape for her age, or any age for that matter. Catch a flight to NYC and work on or off BROADWAY, they don’t need you in LA. Let go of the HUGLEY’S I think that show even knocked D.L. off of Hollywood’s radar. Golden Brooks-Mya Wilkes, one in the same. I can’t tell the difference between her personality on this reality show and her personality on the sitcom Girlfriends. Don’t get me wrong, that was my favorite show while it lasted, but she rubbed me the wrong way throwing shade at Countess Vaughn when all she ever had was a co-star role, and nothing more. Lisa Wu– Real Housewives of Atlanta… how does she even consider herself a Hollywood Diva? She could be a diva, but not in the sense of an actress. She should have stuck to the housewives empire and followed Nene Leaks onto the set of GLEE.

I respect Paula Jai Parker’s idea, but she could’ve just been just the director, and casted the likes of: Joy Bryant, Lauren London, Kyla Pratt, Tessa Thompson, or an older version with Stacey Dash, Vivica Fox, Thandie Newton, all women who deserve an award winning role, or at least another shot at it. I WONDER if any of these women were offered and turned it down.

Its truly unfortunate to see people hit rock bottom, and in Hollywood it happens very often due to drugs, addiction, disease, or a flopped film. Had you googled HOLLYWOOD DIVAS prior to the production of this show, none of these ladies would have populated. Kudos to Paula Jai Parker for taking a cue from every other washed up or bankrupt celebrity and making her problem profitable.

My suggestion to these ladies is to catch a flight on DELTA and audition for Tyler Perry. I might not like his movies and shows, but I support his efforts, and he’s making it happen!

Just a lil of the TRUTH…

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2014 in Random thoughts

 

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Substance Abuse

“…Anything that has substance… we as a people [black people] reject it.”

I heard an interview with Rico Love on Atlanta’s 107.9 and this statement he made inspired this post. He was discussing (as I’m sure many of our parents have discussed) how some of the hip hop music of today is cookie cutter and lacking substance.

I understood where Rico Love was coming from. Most of the songs of today are not songs that will carry us past our 40’s. What’s scary is being stopped at a red light and a 40+ year old, blaring the latest song pulls up next to you singing along. Some songs of today are of good quality, providing good melody, and thought provoking lyrics, but those songs rarely make it to the top, those artists rarely receive a Grammy. Underrated artists like Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Wale, B.O.B. should have a bigger or more prevalent platform. Not to say there is no quality music out these days, but there is a lot more rubbish than rubies out here. It seems that unless a song is a crossover song it doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. We don’t accept the great songs unless there is a certain level of “turn up”. We ought to be able to put our quality artists over the top like we did back when SoulTrain, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, and Smokey Robinson were in the forefront of the television screen.

Substance is lacking in not just music, but other areas:

Television Programming- Reality TV for starters, everybody has a show about anything. These “wives” themed shows are the ringleader in lacking substance, from the character to the storyline its all junk.

Food- Now days even the organic isn’t organic, you damn near have to grow it yourself for it to actually be considered food. So many preservatives, additives, and artificial in our diets, we might as well eat the package it came inside of.

Clothing- Thin, shredding with each turn, lightweight, overpriced junk. Pay high prices for QUALITY. the garments hanging on the rack have strings unraveling at the seams, lightweight, frail zippers or buttons, uneven hems, mismatch patterns at the seam… think I’m lying? Next time you are shopping, check the hem or seams of ANY garment. Unless you are in a NORDSTROM, SAKS, and maybe BELK, you will find substance lacking attire.

Not being preachy, I’ve dabbled in a few of these substance lacking areas, but writing this post has inspired me to go a little further, search a little harder and spend the extra dollar for SUBSTANCE. I encourage you to no longer abuse substance, beating it down, neglecting it, and forgetting about it’s existence.

Just a lil of The TRUTH..

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Our Culture/Our World

 

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Detriment to Our Race

blackprideA-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE: Letter “D”
Derogatory, Degrading, Dumb, Disrespectful, Disparaging, Depreciatory.

In honor of the Letter D-these words express the feelings other cultures and races have on our race and culture. This is not a post discussing racism or the mistreatment WE’ve received on a daily basis for hundreds of years. This post is about the ALLOWANCE. Our race receives so many blows that we either have no knowledge of or may not even realize. The media calls our attention to certain cases or incidents of racism-Don Imus, Donald Sterling, Stand Your Ground laws, Justin Bieber, and many others. We rally up for a few weeks, posting on social media outlets expressing our disdain. What about the little jabs and stabs made in the office, at the gym, or other places not reported. These small comments are the ones that lead to larger acts of racism. Stopping these jabs and ignorant assumptions or comments may help to alleviate the local acts of discrimination we see in our community.

Often times comments are made, generalizing our race, and often times our people help to perpetuate the negative stereotypes that some of us try to alter. Rarely is anything done about this. There is little to no correction of the misconceptions or ignorant comments being made. If ignorance is stopped in its tracks, many mistakes could be avoided. I refer to this as the BLACKFACE SYNDROME. A minstrel show character portraying a stereotypical black slave or freed man. The image of a blackened face (with grease, or burnt cork), red or white painted lips, would dance and speak using slave “dialect” making stereotypical jokes (chicken and watermelon type). When black people help to perpetuate negative stereotypes, or allow comments to be made without addressing them, they suffer from this syndrome.

Kudos to the women of HOLLYWOOD EXES calling out Jessica-Ex-wife of Jose Canseco. They approached her with concern about her comment of black girls and white girls not mixing. Bothered by her own comment, and not wanting to explain the ignorance of the comment, she gets upset. I’ve experienced people of other races making comments on “how black people talk”. Both of these instances referred to our speech being spoken as broken English, verbs and antecedents disagreeing, extra endings or no endings on words. My reaction to the first instance was calm yet extremely bothered. I let it be known that I heard the comment, disagreed with the comment and wanted an explanation for the comment. I was offended by what was said as a generalization about my race. I spoke up about it, in an inquisitive manner and the person immediately backpedaled explaining how I was a “different type of black person”. The second time this was said I didn’t respond or react. Not sure if my reaction or lack there of on different occasions made any affect on the people that were involved. Maybe the person I responded to will think about what is said before making racial generalizations. The person whom I didn’t respond to, will continue in negative thought and speech about our race.

I feel that we should act in ways that cancel out the negative stereotypes. Remaining true to our culture, but being civilized and humane in our actions. Education (of all types) is the key to this change. Not just higher education, but all education, through conversation, reading and listening, through life experiences.

I hope that my response to people and their judgmental actions and comments help to change their negative opinions of our race. Regardless of the effect I have on these people, I feel better responding to or dialoguing about their feelings towards our race. The conversation needs to be had. I believe these issues still exist because there is no understanding or care of who we are as a people.

We may not be able to change the world, but hopefully we can change the hearts of those around us.

Just a lil of the TRUTH…

A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE: Letter “D”

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Our Culture/Our World, Random thoughts

 

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Absentee Father

black-fatherFirst post of the A-Z Challenge Letter “A”:

How ironic, this post is being written the 1st day of the month we recognize our fathers, or the men in our lives who play a fatherly role. Father’s Day in the black community has a different tone than that of other communities. Sad to say a lot of our fathers are missing. A lot of our fathers are the “reasons” for our short comings and flaws. My father was taken from me at a young age, so I’m not writing from life experience, my references are that of conversations and observations.

THE BLAME GAME: In watching different television shows displaying bad behavior (in my Iyanla Vanzant voice), I grew tired of hearing men and women blame their actions on not having a father in their lives. I understood people reacting to the absence of a father in the household or in their lives period, but I couldn’t understand adults blaming their behavior rather than accepting responsibility for their actions. Children blame their actions on others, as adults you have the mental capacity to understand that your actions and reactions dictate the journey you take. Shows such as Bad Girls Club, Basketball Wives, Fix My Life, Locked Up, Beyond Scared Straight and any other shows that display bad behaving individuals seeking help to right their wrongs, often tried to get to the core of the issue, placing all the blame on not having or knowing their father. It irritated me to hear the reasons for their behavior or the reason their lives turned out to be jacked up was because they had not fatherly influence. What about those of us who are doing well in spite of…?

I do believe that fathers play a major role with influencing their children’s behavior, I understand that different people react in different ways, but I don’t think its okay to blame another for your actions. What about that bad behavior exhibited by those who come from a two parent home?

INACTIVE FATHER: I found it interesting that at one point this year, I had a conversation with 3 different men about their fathers. I hadn’t asked a question to spark the conversations, the guys just spoke about recent incidents dealing with their fathers. Three different men, 3 different parts of this country, 3 different lifestyles and personalities discussing with me the idle (not idol-understand the difference) role of their fathers in their lives.
One father-never around throughout his son’s childhood, and suddenly has an interest in being around him as an adult. This man wants nothing to do with his father, expressing anger towards his mother for updating his father on their son’s well doings and whereabouts. Feelings of annoyance seep out when any amount of concern or advice is voiced. Conversation of attending his funeral one day, with doubt of emotional reactions.

Another father-Remarried during their childhood, remarried a woman with a child from a previous relationship. Treated stepson better than own sons. The boys spent summers with their father, hating it. Resentment lasting well into adulthood. The men respect their father simply because he is their father, but get no enjoyment from spending time with him. Resentment has severed their bond.

Another father– Son never met father, has no desire to meet father, and only has the goal of being a better father to his daughter than he had for himself.

Not knowing why these men felt compelled to share their feelings on this topic, it was clear that it was a common theme in our community and that I needed to write about it.

So now what? What do we do besides try to break the pattern? We definitely should forgive, but forgetting will only lead to misunderstanding. Is it ok to resent your father for being a better father to a different child than he was to you? Should you just be happy that he worked on some things and eventually became a better father? How true is the forgiveness in these situations. Should/could you allow your father another chance to play an active role in your life? Regardless of the reasoning behind the missing father, the lack of a strong male figure in the household as either role model, disciplinarian, or confidante affects the mind and structure of the black family.

Shout out to all the actively involved fathers, role models, uncles, brothers and friends that help to mold the lives of children. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
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Just a lil of the TRUTH…
A-Z Challenge Letter “A”

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Our Culture/Our World, Random thoughts

 

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Woman Worthy of Words

A lifestyle dedicated to helping others better their lives. A career dedicated to helping better the futures of numerous black students, creating a safe and caring environment in which the students of her school can be comfortable learning, in order to pursue their life goal of obtaining an education and living to see their name on a graduation announcement. Elizabeth Dozier is a principal who takes care of her students academically, as well as tries her best to protect them from the danger lurking the streets traveled to and from school.

The world’s initial introduction to this woman was on the first episode of CNN’s Chicagoland, an inside look at the happenings of Chicago. A look at the different events taking place in Chicago, in the life of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, the police superintendent and prison system, different families affected by the school closings and the principal of Fenger High School, Elizabeth Dozier. Principal Dozier monitors the students’ actions inside and outside of school, maintains constant communication with the security at the school and the on duty police within the district. The show Chicagoland even shows Dozier reaching out to a past student in jail, helping to set up a life for him post incarceration. It shows how Dozier makes visits with the student, picks him up when he is released, and sets him up in a “halfway house” to help protect him from the temptations in his environment that sent him to jail the last time. This is evidence that her dedication goes beyond the four walls of her school.

In an interview with Mark Brown, Dozier speaks of how she wants people to understand that her school is a good school, and the children are capable of achieving success, that her school is not just a dumping ground for troubled youth. Not once in the interview does she mention herself, or how giving back to the community makes her feel. She is completely in the business of creating positive change for the community. Dozier handles situations that may be common in many other schools with similar demographics’. However, the grace in which she handles these challenges is what makes her worthy of recognition. Definitely qualified for national recognition, Elizabeth Dozier is a great role model and inspiration to many. Hats off to all service workers making a difference in such a challenging line of work.

Just a lil of the TRUTH…

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Our Culture/Our World

 

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12 Years a Slave-Generations of Oppression

black historyA great film with superb acting. This film showcased dynamic writing skills and impeccable acting from the main character Solomon Northup-Chiwetel Ejiofor to the children actors, from the co-stars to the extras. This film also introduced us to the beautiful Adepero Oduye on the big screen. Everyone in the film put their best foot forward, showing the harsh reality of our history, making this book come alive across the big screen. Importantly so, this story needed to be told, and the observations made during the viewing served a reminder of how the African American race has been mentally poisoned, slowly dieing off.

The initial thoughts prior to viewing this movie rang out with tones of “not another slave movie.” and “here we go again.” During the movie feelings of annoyance, frustration, anger and sadness filled the theatre. Unspoken, the emotions seemed to seep from our pores. We felt each other’s hatred, hurt, depression, oppression and inferiority. Our subconscious mental inferiority causes some of us to rise to the occasion and beat the odds, to become better than expected. Causing others to rebel and perpetuate every stereotype, mostly out of anger and ignorance. The most powerful message came from the smallest roles. The minimal roles showed the mental paralysis of the slaves. Survival by conforming. This mindset is prevalent today, doing what is needed to make it day to day regardless if it is demeaning. Often times we sit and listen to people disrespect our race and culture, abusing our words or even our fashion. In casual settings and even our workplace, racial comments and generalities are made with no correction or confrontation as a rebuttal(enter Richie Incognito stage left). Often times, nothing is said out of fear-losing job, friends, lack of support; Shock/Stun-being put off guard, disbelief; These issues aren’t widely addressed as frequently as they occur because of confrontation. Often times we wonder if it’s worth it to get ourselves upset over something we feel may not make a difference.

In conversing with others about this movie, I realized why these movies are continuously made. The younger generations who may have forgotten the turmoil of our race need a refresher course. They are cognizant of our history as it relates to slavery, but still ignorant to the brainwashing that has led to a possible genocide. They may have never seen Roots, Rosewood, Amistad, The Birth of a Nation, and other movies depicting the hardships our ancestors endured, and need new and graphic visuals of the mistreatment of our people. Schools haven’t ever taught the subject in its truth, so young Black America lack that ever present knowledge of our history. The black history that is taught doesn’t show the greatness of our people. Unless its read in a book or researched through self initiative, the successes of those who came before us are unknown. Many people are unaware of the affluent black community dating back to the 1800’s and earlier. This movie depicted a small part of this, but just enough to spark a curiosity amongst younger blacks with hopes of personal research. We have done well for ourselves for a race that was born out of hatred, greed and contempt. We’ve come a long way for equality but our sense of community and unity is worse off than it has ever been. We now live with the “Everyman for Themselves” mentality with no regard for the race as a whole.

Unsure why, but I feel as if these past few years’ racist actions have been a lot more blatant than previous years. Or is it that I am more aware because of natural maturation. So I challenge myself as well as others to represent themselves in such a way that uplifts our race.

“The ghetto is a place to be from, not a person to become. Not who I am not what I am. Being black doesn’t make me ignorant, being black doesn’t make me a criminal…”-Nana Ochi

Just a lil of the TRUTH…

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Our Culture/Our World

 

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