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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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Hair, Our Hair

A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE Letter “H”:
Since the times of Madame CJ Walker (maybe even earlier than that), Black women have had a strong interest in their mane. Her development of hair care products for black women was revolutionary. Now it may be that this affection we have for our hair comes from a desire to be accepted by or assimilated with the cultures and appearances of our European masters. Wanting our hair to be “fried, dyed and laid to the side” to be deemed beautiful and presentable, worthy to be looked upon, comes from slave mentality. Our culturally spirited broken ancestors instilled in us the maintenance of our hair, passing down the beliefs and practices of “good hair”.

There are several blogs, song and movies about our hair, excepting our hair, loving ourselves as God made us, and so on. This is not one of those posts. This blog was inspired by the recent uproar and petition about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby Blu-Ivy. People are complaining about the toddler’s hair looking wild and almost dreaded at the ends. Comments were made about a mother spending as much time and money on her hair as Beyonce, shouldn’t have a child running around with an unmanaged mane.
Yes, I think the petition is ridiculous, and that there are a lot more pressing matters than a two year old’s hairstyle. I can recall several pictures of myself and others running around with fly-away strands as a child. Several of us look back at our childhood pictures with the sponge roller bang and question our parents’ sense of style and taste in hair design. However black people, women especially take pride in our hair. It is who we are. Our hair is a part of our culture. Braids, beads, locks, curls, waves, afro, twists, blowouts etc. This is who we are. We are a people who take much pride in our appearance and as a part of that, our hair. The great thing about our hair is the variety of styles we can rock. Understanding India Arie’s lyrics to “I am not my hair”, we aren’t defined by our type of hair or style in which we wear it, but our hair is as much a part of our culture as music and dance.
What J & B choose to do with their child’s hair is their business. If it makes them happy, who are we to nationally request for action to be taken? Hair health is of more importance than the style, but we are a stylish people by nature. It’s in our genes.
Just a lil of the TRUTH …
A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE Letter “H”

 
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Posted by on June 24, 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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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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Empowerment of Us

Black is Beautiful

I’m black and I’m proud
My Black is Beautiful
Black Girls Rock
Fight the Power

There once was a time in which our entertainers had the same goal of black empowerment and racial progression as the civil rights leaders. Getting back to a time where we embraced being ourselves and took pride in our race and appearance sometimes seems so far off. Will such a time ever return? The natural hair trend made a comeback and is sticking around for a while. The Zimmerman v The State trial, the election of our President Barack Obama, the reelection of our President Barack Obama; These events pulled our people together, but was the string strong enough? We seem to drift slowly apart. What element is missing from today that was prevalent during the BLACK POWER movement? Our songs and television programs lack self acceptance and don’t bring awareness to injustice in America. As of late few movies (Django, The Help, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave) have made major statements and attempts to bring injustice back to the big screen for awareness purposes, but what happens after the awareness? Where is the massive action that comes after?

No one wants to be controversial. Controversy however, brings about change.

Rather than rallying the troops together for a riot, raid, walk/march or sit in, Black America is choosing to prove our greatness through positive actions. The composure held throughout the President’s two terms has been the blueprint on fighting this battle of equality and acceptance as American people.

The televised award ceremony Black Girls Rock honors Black women and girls for their achievements and community involvement. Shining the light on deserving women who may otherwise get no recognition because they choose greatness over ignorance; Women and girls such as Misty Copeland-a talented black ballerina; Ameena Matthews-a community activist who puts her life on the line to help annihilate the violent streets of Chicago; Mara Brock-Akil- the voice of black women in sitcom television whose speech was so powerful it helped awaken the writer inside of me; Marian Wright an advocate for education and children in poverty; And young girls who speak out, and step up to make a difference in their communities through outreach programs, and keeping our neighborhood safe and clean. Such a refreshing revelation, Visine to a hazy eye. Awakening the awareness of “Awesomeness” possessed by our people. Accomplished hosts Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross elegant and eloquent; poised and proud to celebrate being a black woman. Performances by the great Janelle Monae, Kelly Rowland & Sevyn Streeter and EVE, Jennifer Hudson, Ledisi, Amber Riley, and Ms. Patti LaBelle. Showcasing talent and beauty of all shapes, sizes and skin tones. This was simply a night to celebrate US and feel good about being black in America.

Black people have a powerful presence being positive or negative. Knowing the negative images will be automatically acknowledged, its great to spotlight the positive images in our people, making a difference in the community and within self. This show gives young girls an image of self acceptance with hopes of wiping out the mental image of video girl, sports groupie/baby mama as being a successful future. Black Girls Rock is a show and program promoting black empowerment, and positive imaging for young girls to look up to as a reflection of themselves. They host leadership camps and workshops for young girls of color; making a great deposit into the future of our race.

The social media community chimed in during the airing of this show with positive and negative comments which is always expected, but what was shocking was the sad attempts at comedy coming from some black men watching the program. Ignorant comments about body shape, outfits and hair styling was all some men could obtain from the showcase of wonderful black women. A major problem with the image of women comes from ignorant men! (Another blog another time). The response from the women in regards to these negative comments was all positivity. Proving that Love conquers all. If we can continue on this path of self empowerment and acceptance our race can advance to a level that is needed to overcome the mental incarceration placed on our ancestors which we’ve inherited.

KUDOS to BET

Twitter posts:

Mary J Blige-‏#BlackGirlsRock is a prime example of all the exceptional women of color who continue to strive for greatness in their respected fields.

zellie ‏@zellieimani: We are living in an amazing time to see the creation and growth of projects such as #blackgirlsrock and @BlackGirlsCode

Nikia ‏@chitown_fashion: Shouts to Ameena Matthews for taking a stand against gun violence in Chicago! She is the epitome of fearlessness. #BlackGirlsRock…

Demetria Lucas ‏@abelleinbk: “Even if no one else sees you, I see you.” — Mara Brock Akil #blackgirlsrock #BET #dontwasteyourpretty

Just a lil of the Truth

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Our Culture/Our World, Random thoughts

 

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Acceptance through Assimilation

This month's cover of O Magazine

This month’s cover of O Magazine


Watching TV, (DVR only, don’t watch commercials much anymore) Dish Nation, my favorite radio TV show, and the topic of discussion is OPRAH and the Cover of this month’s magazine. The cover features Oprah as most of the issues do, only this time she’s rocking a blown out extensive afro. LOVE IT! Heidi Hamilton, the radio host of The Frank & Heidi Show of 95.5 KLOS Los Angeles made negative comments in regards to Oprah and her fro. This surprised me, as all of the comments I heard about this cover expressed how great this photo was. But was that only in the black community in which I immerse myself-friends, talk shows, TV & radio stations?
Instagram posts and comments from US

Instagram posts and comments from US

Instagram post and comments from US

Instagram post and comments from US


(CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO BETTER READ THE CAPTION! sorry for the strain on your eyes)

On INSTAGRAM I came across a few photos that expressed the same dislike of Oprah’s magazine cover. Comments about her hair being ratchet and crazy. This made me wonder was it because they truly thought this picture was bad or was her hair considered “BAD”?

Instagram comments & posts from "Them"

Instagram comments & posts from “Them”

Instagram comments and posts from "Them"

Instagram comments and posts from “Them”

Instagram posts and comments from "Them"

Instagram posts and comments from “Them”

Now I can’t knock people’s opinions, especially radio hosts-that’s their job; What bothers me is the fact that THIS particular cover depicted a strong powerful WEALTHY woman in a NATURUAL hair state (Given there were hair pieces added). The texture of the hair is kinky curly, as opposed to her other covers where it’s straightened.

I understand you are entitled to your opinion, but those are like Belly Buttons-everyone has one, yet mine is cuter.

It floors me, and I’m unsure why-I know the image of a black woman in the natural state is intimidating- yet I guess I just forgot that some White people can’t take the look of black people. From the wide spread nose, plump juicy lips to our various complexions, curves and kinky curls of hair. I bet “they” were happier than “us” when the invention of “hair refining” tools came about. “Finally! Tame those N**g*s and that hair!”

The way we are just isn’t good enough.

How many years have we been in existence in this country and we are still not accepted as we are. We only become accepted as a people if we look and live as White people do, assimilating to their image of perfection, which is more than disturbing. I was guilty of being annoyed by the massive fashion trend of Black women and natural hair. Now I want us all to revert back to our natural state of being, forcing “them” into loving US. When “they” start hating on the richest woman in the world we DEFINITELY have a problem.

Embrace us as we ARE

Embrace us as we ARE

Just a lil of the TRUTH

Blog address I stumbled upon when browsing the internet for hours on end (as I do regularly)Natural Hair:
http://www.sisterswithbeauty.com/2012/02/history-of-the-relaxer/

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2013 in Our Culture/Our World, Random thoughts

 

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Mental Maturity

mature 3 Band geeks, cheerleaders, sport jocks, sexy jocks, drama freaks, smart geeks, smokers, sluts, skateboarders, choir crew, artsy, drunks, gothics, smart jocks, dumb jocks,

My school had them all! I was the type in high school to hang out with a range of people. Never did I have a “crew”. I kicked it with whomever was doing what I wanted to do at that time. I played sports for a while (a week) before deciding it wasn’t for me. I sang in the choir for 3 years, and even tried my hand and cheerleading-switched to dance later and then quit that too. I was just a cool chick (still am). I didn’t need to validate myself by assimilating to a particular group. I didn’t have to hang out in the front hall intimidating people as they made their way to and from class. I did my share of ditching school, cursing teachers and fitting into the typical high schooler.

That being said, my high school reunion was this past month, and let me tell you: it was pitiful.
It was nice to reconnect and make new connections with people from the past. It was cool finding out what interesting journey’s my classmates had embarked on. What was sad was the attitude of a few. Four girls who were seemingly popular the four years of school were dry. They barely spoke, they had STANK written all over their faces. Me being, who I am, spoke to each of them and joined in on the conversation or lack their of. They were very negative in their thinking, and their demeanor gave the impression that they didn’t want to be their. They spoke of how different some people looked. They spoke of how many people were there that they didn’t know. When asked about their “CREW” they responded “They’re at home”. I got the impression that they were their to “spy” on the reunion and report back to their “crew” who felt they were too cool to come. Looking at their behavior was amazing to me. They hadn’t matured mentally in ten years. They were stuck in that “Front hall, cool kid, mean girl” mentality. I laughed inside and out, and moved on to reunite with others.

Watching Oprah’s Next Chapter with black actress discussing the fight it takes to be successful in the movie industry. Actress Gabrielle Union was speaking on how she would rejoice in fellow actresses demise because she saw them as competition. She came to a realization after working with a life coach that being negative about other’s success didn’t help her to grow in any aspect of her life.

This was a direct parallelism to how I felt about the girls at the reunion. They made negative comments about being there, about some of the people there and the different activities that were planned. These comments and feelings could have only made them feel better for the moment, it couldn’t have made them more progressive in life.

The fact that no one really showed up was the first sign that many people hadn’t done anything with their lives, or that they weren’t satisfied with whom they’d become. Possibly ashamed that the energy they put into their high school days left them too exhausted to hit the ground running post graduation. At what point do you gain that maturity? What do you have to see, or go through to understand that bringing down others will never give you internal satisfaction? All in all, one must be content with themselves in order to have peace. Self Satisfaction- regardless of what you are doing, are you happy with who you are?

Just a lil of The Truth

 

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