Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love That Girl.

this song almost brings me to tears every time, if it weren't for them being closed so tight from grinning so wide.... oh i, oh i love this song! (i wish i could be in love right now with someone who wanted to be in love with me..... "soooo sweet and tender....!") ...meanwhile, i'm ready to go on tour with Saadiq as his number one background vocalist. i'm just sayin.

You can tell by her smile
she's such a love child.
And every man in this place
would love to be in her space.
As the night settles down
she'd meet a lot of clever clowns.
And ill do my best
to be better than the rest.

She is soo (so sweet and tender)
and im glad (so glad we've met girl)
Shes sooo (so sweet and tender) and im glad
(so glad were makin love)
oh i oh i love that girl oh oooh

Then she walks my way
and said boy I hope your free.
I'm thinking how could this be
feels like a dream to me.
Then she gives me this kiss
that gave my whole body a twitch.
See your just much more than pretty
gave my heart an eclipse
She is soo (so sweet and tender)
and im glad (so glad we've met girl)
Shes sooo (so sweet and tender) and im glad
(so glad were makin love)
oh i oh i love that girl oh oooh
She is soo (so sweet and tender)
and im glad (so glad we've met girl)
Shes sooo (so sweet and tender)
and im glad(so glad were makin love)
oh i oh i love that girl oh oooh so glad we found each other
......holding hands...
kissing....and making love
and saying

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You gotta appreciate an email

from a man who knows how to express what he feels about you... even if it's merely in friendship.

One of the most precious emails I've gotten from a man reads as follows:

"You know, that semester when we met was my second semester there... and I didn't start enjoying SLC until that semester. And it was all because of those walks to the train station with you. I think I might have fallen in love with you a little bit during those walks... in a safe and clean but tender way. I miss those walks..."

The love he speaks of is purely phileo (despite race and ethnicity and social and cultural and political and spiritual differences), and I truly understand what he's talking about. I love falling for people in this way. Loving the essence of a person just for who they are. It doesn't happen with everyone, but tends to take place when an unexpected kinship occurs with the most unlikeliest of persons in the most unlikeliest of situations. Which is what developed with this very friend and I when we studied at Sarah Lawrence College and inevitably had to hike about a mile to the station and ride the train back to the city together every day after class. Had we not met at school or even both needed to come back to the city, it's unlikely we would have become such good friends and confidantes during that time. Between his character, conversation and his writing, he really became a part of positive experiences and cherished memories I have from SLC. I don't know that I knew to what degree I'd made an impact on him, but me being me, I tend to be in the dark about the impact I'm making on a guys' life sometimes, it appears, until years later when they feel the need to express their gratitude for me having been there at that time. When all along, I was just being whimsical ole me enjoying them in the moment.

Anyway, this is the second time this month I've gotten such a precious revelation, and I can dig it. I may actually need to hear it at this moment, so I give thanx for the sharing of true feelings. Cause Lord knows I share mine enough!

Monday, January 26, 2009

In just a few hours,

the semester starts.... I'll try to remember to tell you all about it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Response to "What Being in DC Meant to Me"

THIS is why I LOVE my Daddy!


Hey Lady,

I am so glad that you were able to experience this great part of American history. I say American history because, in all of the world, we are truly unique.

There are great and note worthy people in our Black American history. There are people like Fredrick Douglas, Sojourna Truth, Harriet Tubman,W.E.B. DuBois, A. Phillip Randolph, Booker T. Washington, Martin, Malcom, Huey, Stokley and so many others.

But, I tend to think of this being my country, your country and every other black American's country because of the thousands upon thousands of Black people who built this country; because of the thousands upon thousands of Black people whose blood was shed for this country. The inventions and contributions of Black people to the growth of this country. We paid an extremely high price for this country to be THIS COUNTRY.

I think of your personal history in this country. Albert and Georgia Erby, your mother's parents, who left the Arkansas cotton fields and came to California. He worked three jobs and she cleaned white folks houses so that they could send 7 children children to college. Your mother, who decided to become a teacher so that she could contribute to the growth children in the community.

There was Amy Perkins, your great grand mother, who fought off the white land owner that she worked for when he tried to rape her. When she fought and got away, he shot her in the back of the head with a shot gun and killed her. The local law in Texas ruled her death a suicide. She died fighting for her life.

Your great great grandfather, Henry Richardson, stood up for himself when they tried to lynch him in Texas. Others said that he never did bow and he never did kneel. They say that he told the white men that he knew that they would kill him but, at least one of them would die with him. Before they killed him, he killed one of them. He died fighting for his life.

Frances "Chick" Burroughs, your great great grand mother, Henry's wife, did many wonderful things to help her family, including teaching me to read before I started school. Your great grand mother, America Brown, was an adventuress, loved to travel, but made sure her children were taken care of.

Betty Jean Richardson (Perkins), your grand mother ( whom you know as grand-grand) brought me, your father, to California in 1946 so that I would not have to grow up in the racism of Texas at the time. She did what she knew to do to protect her child and to provide a better chance at life for him.

I grew during an exciting time. Negroes were becoming Black and beginning in mass to demand the life that we had paid the price for in this country. I was in demonstrations, sit-ins. I debated and encouraged other brothers and sisters to stand up and BE. I challenged whites to wake up and free themselves from the stupidity of racism.

I have seen and experienced so many things that lead to the precious moment of my daughter, you, standing on the White House Mall to be a witness to the swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the first African American President of the United States, our United States of America.

Of course, I am proud of Barack. But, my main pride is in the fact that you had the opportunity to be a part of it. You were there. And with all that this country has gone through, all that Black people have gone through in this country, all that my family, your mother's family has gone through, for you to be free to be there means the world to me.

My daughter at the inauguration: That is the greatest.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What being in DC meant to me: To BHO, With Love

(This is where I will write at length
about my singular experience
in a globally communal moment
of history.

There won't be any stories
of balls and parties and
making power connections.

I did not experience that.

I will, however, reflect on
my mere presence
at the Capital
during one of our most cherished
collective moments.)

~The experience of a bonafide HOPEMONGER

I was up before the sun on the morning of January 20th. Like most of the residents and visitors of the District, I could feel the monumental magic of the day brewing, and laying around in bed trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes wasn't an option Tuesday morning. I'd only gone to sleep about three hours prior to receiving a text message from NJOB aka NateJones asking if I was up already. I wasn't, but the moment my eyes sprang open, my heart was racing and it was all I could think about to get ready to get out! I already knew Ro and his family weren't planning to be up super early; they planned to be out of the house between 8:30a and 9am. That wasn't gonna cut it for me though. So I jumped in the shower, threw on a few layers of clothes, grabbed a little something to eat so my tummy wouldn't be completely empty, and was out the door within 40mins of waking up! Ro just happened to stir a bit to check his phone, and so he let me out and pointed me in the direction I needed to go to reach the Capital by foot. I left his house on NE E Street and busted a left on Maryland Ave where I could see hundreds of people already making their way towards the Capital. And those who weren't making their way yet were out in their yards selling tea and coffee to inauguration-goers. As I walked I texted and called a few people (cousins and friends), but I wasn't able to reach anyone but a friend in Cali who was on his way to bed since it was close to 4AM PST! We exchanged a couple of exciting text messages then he said GOODNIGHT! Hahahah... So of course I called to bug my mom! I was walking to the Capital on the morning of Barack Hussein Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of these United States, and I needed to talk to someone! I eventually left her to get a little rest as well, so I could pay attention to where I was headed, because other than knowing I wanted to be in the area of the Capital for the Inauguration, I didn't know where I was going to end up!!

My adrenaline was so high as I walked that I kept taking my gloves off and loosening my neck scarf so that I could get some cool air on my skin! I'd later realize just how frigidly cold it was and wish I'd had on some thicker gloves, socks and boots, but not as I was walking! There were SOOO MANY PEOPLE! I mean, it seemed like Woodstock, or the great exodus, or even a Hajj pilgrimage when I saw that sea of people! It was quite moving, to tell the truth. And actually, I'm surprised at how easy it was to move about throughout the crowd. I mean, once I got into the flow of people that I determined to be "Ticketless/General Admission", I just kept moving forward. Of course, I was praying along my journey, especially as I approached the Capital because I literally didn't have a clue as to where I was going, the mall or the parade route? or if I'd be somewhere where there were big screens and speakers? or if I'd run into anyone I'd know? OR if I'd feel like, "This is waayyy too much, I want to turn around and find someplace inside to chill and watch this!" To tell the truth, I had a bit of anxiety about that last "or" because I really wasn't sure how I'd feel about being in the middle of thousands of people without an easy escape if I wanted to go inside. But after I prayed "Lord, which way to go????" I just kept following a particular sea of folks around corners and through road/sidewalk blockades, between buildings, and around more corners down past the Smithsonian, til I finally realized that I had meandered with a few thousand people right onto the National Mall!!! I mean, by the time I got there, I still wasn't quite sure that this was where I needed to stop or keep moving forward, but when I noticed the big screen and speakers and realized that I could see and hear everything really well I decided to stay PUT! So I did my whole "Scuse'me/Pardon'me" routine until I found a comfortable spot, and that was it! It was sometime in the 7:00 hour on the morning of Inauguration, and I was in position to witness history unfold! And by then, boy was I COLD! (Cold chillin for the next five hours!!!)

Once on the mall, it really dawned on me that I was out there amongst, if not millions by that point then THOUSANDS of people, by myself to stand and wait and witness the whole event. It didn't bother me though, but as I looked around I noticed the couples hugged up and families cheering, church groups and lodges, HS classes and children with grandparents, basically every variation of community that had come to share this experience together. Because I hadn't reached any of my cousins or friends by that point (well I reached one who was en route, but I knew we wouldn't be hooking up out there), I accepted that it'd be a singular experience I'd revel in that day, as opposed to a shared one like most others. Although it was apparent that you should experience this type of historically monumental event with a loved one, it was extremely meaningful to have an introspective, almost reverent feel in the moment as well. I later spoke with a friend who was so stressed with hosting friends and attending parties that he said he wishes he'd had a moment to be introspective about what was taking place. I loved that as I looked around, America's diversity was so apparent and united. It's easy for some to forget that the country is not just Black, White, Latino and Asian English speakers, but that we are a country of natives, citizens, and immigrants from every ethnic background that God has created. We all call this place home, and we were all standing there on Tuesday. That's one of the many reasons why I love Barack: *EVERYONE loves him. Everyone supports him. Everyone is comfortable with his presence, leadership, intelligence and humanity. Everyone can see a bit of who they are and who they aspire to be in Barack. It's like the end of the film Malcolm X where all the kids around the world were like "I AM MAL-COLM X!" And so, the WHOLE world (that's in God's hand) was represented on that mall like "I AM OBAMA!" And there I was standing in the middle of it, taking it all in via my Cannon D60. (pics to come!)

This is what I also found amazing: The flags. All those little American flags waving about. I mean, I'm used to seeing the American flag, of course. BUT I'm not used to seeing thousands of people, black people especially, proudly waving the good ole red, white & blue victoriously in the air. Living in NYC, it's common to see all kinds of Caribbean, African and other national flags of countries being waved around cause folks rep their homeland HARD! They wave their flags hard, they decorate their cars and homes with it, wear it as a garment or around their head as a bandanna, get it tattooed on their arm or chest, airbrushed on their nails, cut into a fade or WHATEVER they want to do to represent because THAT flag means something to them and who they are/where they've come from in this world. You get used to seeing some American Blacks with the Red/Black/Green flag, or if not the flag then the wristband, because they feel a African diasporal/heritage connection to the RGB. BUT NOT the standard United States of America flag itself. I see the American flag in front of federal buildings and on college campuses, waving from corporate businesses; you'll see it hanging from certain houses in the suburbs or down south somewhere, you see it with military personnel and police departments, but you (or rather I) don't see black people repping hard with the Red White & Blue. So, it was a bit surreal just to see people gung-ho and crazy with it! I mean, I never really grabbed one for myself, but I did find it a lovely sight, all the same. So! Barack got people embracing the stars and stripes AND feeling comfortable with, perhaps for the first time in many young (and older) people's lives, feeling like they want to say "MY president" (as appose to "THE president").

Hey Media, could THIS be what Michelle Obama was referring to when she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. Because it feels like hope is making a comeback”??? I think it is!!! And, to tell the truth, it's a beautiful thing. Very beautiful.

*By "Everyone" I mean the Majority of forward thinking, or even semi-, quasi-, marginally-forwarding thinking individuals.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

totally dreamt

about u last night.

it was

that's all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Such a good week...

All week I've been trying to get my thoughts together and bang 'em out on this keyboard, but I'm just getting around to it... and between my crazy sleep schedule, my even crazier social schedule, and my addictive Facebook schedule, there's been a lot for me to recount. So here goes....

On Tuesday I started a blog called "On making MAGIC! (Talkin bout Ella's blue skies magic :)"but never got around to finishing it though here's what I wrote:

Blue skies, Smiling at me, Nothing but blue skies, Do I see, Bluebirds, Singing a song, Nothing but bluebirds, All day long. Never saw the sun shining so bright, Never saw things going so right, Noticing the days hurrying by, When you're in love, my how they fly. Blue days, All of them gone, Nothing but blue skies, From now on...

Jesus is REAL, and I thank him for the predestined blessings that unfold in my life in the most unexpected of ways :) AND for guiding my footsteps each and every day. Amen.


Tonight's blessing unfolded in the most magical of ways. Like that magic you see in the cartoons where there's all kind of sparkles and colors and wind and majesty in the air. That kind of magic! It started about four weeks ago, when a dear sisterfriend of mine approached me with the proposal to do a studio recording of my "Ella Phantz-Gerald: The Jazz Singing Elephant" story. (A story I wrote two years ago for a character I conceived seven years ago. So I guess that means it started in 2002.) I was overjoyed by this suggestion, but I knew that I didn't/don't have money to go in and record at a studio because that's just not a luxury I can afford right now. But don't you know she told me not to worry about it, that she would take care of it because she really wanted me to come and record the story for her "Shine Your Light" Project, a benefit project for children in need living in MA. She had already recorded this great Hanna Montanna sounding song also called "Shine Your Light" for the benefit and was positively adamant that "Ella" should be a part of the project. She had me at "RECORD!" I was alll for it! So once we decided that it was definitely going down, I had to figure out how I was going to get a musical score for my story. ENTER NJOB and the rest of the talented brethren who I love and support as musician friends here in the City. I decided that I was just going to ask them to be apart of this project despite the fact that we don't have a budget. Even before this project appeared, it's been my vision to have an audio version of the story with a fun and jazzy accompaniment by bass, piano, trumpet and drums. The first three were no brainers, default go-to's. Finding a drummer took a little bit more effort, but finally the perfect percussionist appeared right in front of me one saturday night, and I was most grateful that the quartet was complete. I had my "Ella Phant-Gerald" band!!!!

That's all I wrote on late Monday night/Tuesday morning. I think it was like 7am or something and I totally was falling asleep. But you get the gist! PURE ADRENALINIC EXCITEMENT because I finally went into the studio to record my Ella Story! Since it is now late Saturday/early Sunday I won't try to finish that blog because, though the excitement has not worn off, the adrenaline has. So the tone of the post will not be the same. And that's alright. I go back into the studio some time next week to finish the narration portion to what we scored on Monday, so perhaps I'll feel like blogging about that once I get home.

As for THE REST OF THE WEEK, let's see if I can sum it really quickly. Well, first let's see if I can remember the whole thing... HAHHAHAHA!

Tuesday was fairly uneventful. Oh WAIT. No it wasn't. Once I finished talking to my dad at like 3:00 in the morning, and started the blog, then decided around 6'ish that I should go to sleep, what do I hear downstairs? My loopy landlord and his henchmen, I mean workmen, doing some kind of house/ceiling repairs in the foyer at like 6:45am. To make matters worse, at precisely 6:53AM this fool starts HAMMERING AND DRILLING in the house, as if it's sometime between 11AM and 2pm in Midtown Manhattan, and everyone is up and out. I couldn't believe it. I sent a text message to my neighbors downstairs like, "Is this fool really using a powerdrill to jackhammer at 6AM IN THE MORNING?????" She hits me back confirming that it was indeed what I heard going on, and that we shouldn't be surprised from The (Crazy Landlord) Show (somebody please cue the theme music)! I hit her back with "Have mercy, this is jackassery run amock!" To which she replied that she might as well go to work three hours early and sleep on her desk. (The couple of days afterward, neighboring households I saw outside asked me what was going on with the hammering and drilling at my house, though THEY BOTH KNEW what was up! Crazy Landlord!)

So. You may ask why we spent so much time text messaging each other back and forth instead of just going out and confronting Crazy Landlord. But I don't think you understand that the "Crazy" in Crazy Landlord is not figurative. This dude drinks a full glass of CRAZY ev-er-y single morning AND takes a crazy-pill at night before bed. So his dosage is HEALTHY (as evident in using a powerdrill and hammer inside of a private house at 6:50AM). The crazy thing is that if his wife is as sweet as saccharin, he is as volatile as poisin. She's constantly apologizing for his inappropriate behavior. I, myself, have gotten into at least one major confrontational blowup with the dude, and I don't get into confrontational blowups. It's not my style. But it IS HIS. And the day I got sick because the heat was not working properly in my apartment, I called him about three times with confrontational encountering that escalated with his coming over, feigning concern and "checking the apartment" while still managing to loud-talk and insult me in his Trini-accent. I was like "(Crazy Landlord) do not insult me. My father doesn't even speak to me that way, so YOU need to stop." Anyway, he and I went back and forth, me trying to reason with his craziness and ran-dumb excuses for why the apartment was freezing, saying crap that ranged from all kind of anythings and flatout lies, but then I had to reign it in and remind myself that you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT reason with a fool. Period. Not a real one. So at 6:53 in the AM, I chose to keep to my own apartment and try to sleep amidst the construction work that apparently couldn't wait til a decent hour. I finally went to sleep, though I was in and out while they worked for the remainder of the day. So I knew that I wasn't gonna be good to go anywhere that day. It worked out since the semester doesn't start until late January, but STILL! I wanted to rest peacefully. Daggonit!

Anyway, that was TUESDAY! LOL... a friend tried to get me to come out late Tuesday night for some live music, but it was freezing rain kinda like tonight, so I stayed my behind right in this house en frente de la computadora. Quite content!

So Wednesday was kinda phenomenal... even though it started out weird. That morning CL and his workers returned, though they weren't drilling and carrying on, but I decided to leave in the AM to go up to the Bronx Library. I passed CL on my way out, an encounter that I did very well in keeping short and cordial, even though he was testing me as much as one can while going down the stairs and out the front door. And that's all I'm gonna say. So I was off to the BX. A trip that proved to be a complete waste of time since they wouldn't let me use the library card I had. Apparently, even if someone else has given you permission to use their card, they will not let you use it without said person being present. But since said person and I will most likely not be present at the same library counter checking out books any time in the foreseeable future, there was nothing I could do to convince the librarian to let me check the books out. And these were books I wanted to peruse to see if I will teach from them once the semester starts... "Where's your card?" she asked, but it's none of her business that I have a $30 fine that I haven't gotten around to paying yet. I mean, I WILL, I just haven't yet. So I ended up having to leave the libary without the books, which caused me to think, "Well if I can't use the card I might as well send it back to (said library card owner)...." Which I probably will if I ever remember to...

So I get back home and since CL was still out front, I went in to check my neighbors, who I hadn't seen in about a week, and had a nice lunch before getting a call from my good high school and college friend, Julia asking me to come shoot some pics of her later that evening while she prepared for the "Notorious" premiere. She's playing "Jan" the Notorious B.I.G.'s first girlfriend and babymama in the film, her first major role in a motion picture and wanted to document her whole getting ready for the red carpet experience. So I left my neighbors' to go home and get a coupla hours of sleep in before going to get my paparazzi on. When I got to the hotel she already looked gorgeous and had her team of hair and makeup putting the finishing touches on her Covergirl face as her mother and sister got fabo as well! The whole time I was like "WERK!!!" *fingersnap*snap*! The excitement and adrenaline was high in the room because, like I said, this was her FIRST PREMEIRE and in such a culturally significant movie. So I got to work with my Canon D60 shooting pics in the room, in the lobby, at the car and at the actual theater while she was on the red carpet, and actually ended up getting a few shots of other well known black entertainers while I was out there (Spike Lee, Tocarra, etc). Straight PAPARAZZI out that piece!! That was crazy! And cool! All at the same time!

While I was out shooting pics, I got a text message from a musician friend that a trumpeter friend of ours was having an impromptu birthday party at his crib. So I left midtown and headed back to BK where the party was. It wasn't anything big, but it was nice to see cool friends outside of the regular "gig" environment, just chilling out with a table full of popcorn, crudite, hummus and KFC. I ended up meeting this producer from Paris who I convinced to give me French lessons in the coming weeks! He agreed, so we'll see. I met a few more people I didn't know, and then noticed my friend who invited me was putting on his coat to get ready to go. So I asked where he was going, and of course I realized that it was WEDNESDAY, which means that he was scheduled to play in NJOB's band at the "Taste The Stage" Open Mic. Since I hadn't been in ages and didn't have to wake up early the next day I told him to hold up so that I could get ready and go with him. So, we leave the birthday party, hail a cab, and are on our way to Clinton Hill to the Spot (on the way I get a cute voicemail from a cute guy serenading me with "The Nearness of You!"), and when I get there NJ is totally glad to see me in the building! I was glad to see him too cause he will always be one of my favorite people in this world! For the record, NJ on bass, J-The Genius on keys, and R. the King on drums with Mr. Rob on the strappy hand held keyboard thing (I think it's called an AX-1) are the absolute ILLEST in New York City on any given night if they are all on the same stage. Hands down. And I was so glad that I took the time to come on through.

And of course I never just SIT down and listen to the music. I'm always UP. Up front, UP DANCING! Listening with my whole body. I'm always dancing up in the Five Spot when they're playing. I can't even help it!!! Just adrenaline pumping excitement at what those cats are delivering! Then the host Jnyse sings his rawhide off EVERY time!! Once the band finished their customary opening jam, the host came and hit the audience off with a rocked-out version of Gnarles Barkley's "Crazy!" for which I provided totally rocked-out background vocals! That was a wild song! Afterwards, I went up and rocked Angie Stone's "Brotha", which was dedicated to all my brothas-from-another-mother in the building. I mixed in my "Old Fashion Girl" spoken word piece as a shout out to the sistren for good measure. And that was cool. The rest of the show was high octane that finally came to an explosive end (during which point I ended up on stage sitting next to the keyboard player while he showed me which keys to hit!) But of course since the musicians still always like to play after the show officially ends and the mic was still hot, I grabbed it and sang a few more songs like Faith Evans "I Remember", Mary J "Be Happy" and it seems like something else?? Oh they started playing "Anniversary" so I just vibed with it for a little while.

But eventually the show REALLY ended and musicians unplugged everything to get ready to get out of dodge. J-The Genius agreed to bring me home but said he needed to stop at this club not to far from the Spot called Sputnik to sign papers for a show his own band will be doing in February. He asked did I mind, and I was like "Man, I'm begging for a ride home, so whatever you need to do between point A and point B is all good! As long as I make it home, homie!" So on to Sputnik we went. Once we got there, why did we spend the next 40mins vibing and politiking with the owner Vic! I loved talking to him because he's had such a rich personal history in terms of his involvement with hip-hop and coming to produce live music events here in BK, something I would love to start doing on a more professional level. I had a couple of ideas while speaking to him that including writing a feature on him and the club for a couple of websites and also working with him in other musical capacities if the opportunity opens up. I also thought I may decide to have the "Oh Mai~Goodness Birthday Celebration Volume 30" there this April! He was like "Let me know, I'll put it on the calendar..." So I gotta let him know. Meanwhile, J and I thought it may be a great idea to convince NJ to move the open mic to that establishment instead of where it's currently taking place. Bigger and better in '09, right??? But that idea needs to be flushed out a little bit more, so stay tuned on that one.

So what day was that? OH! Right, all of that was Wesnesday. WEDNESDAY, PEOPLE!! Hahhaha Can you believe it! I'm tired just from TYPING it all. So on Thursday I knew I needed to get some freelance editing in and that I had to go to the city for a meeting with HU Alumni Club of NYC president ChrisWashington at 5:30pm (cause, apparently, I'm the treasurer and needed to deposit some money??? Into the club account, not my own!), and my goal was to lay low for the rest of the evening and catch ABC's stellar Thursday lineup (Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy, & Private Practice) but of course my plans were made new once Julia called to invite me to a VIP Screening of "Notorious" at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). She said she, her mother and sister would be catching a cab from midtown to BAM and that I should meet them there at 6:50, which was perfect. Only, when I got to BAM at 6:50 they were still in Manhattan trying to catch a cab!! So I was standing out in front of BAM (enduring 29 windy degrees) where hundreds of people were posted in line trying to get in through the regular entrance OR convince the doormen that they were actually VIP. (Mind you, if not for Julia, I woulda been right with the regular admission line down the block. Better yet, I would've been at HOME!) But she wasn't there yet, and we weren't sure if they were even going to arrive in time to make it in, VIP or NOT! While I was waiting I saw the Rev. Jesse Jackson walk up and through a special entrance (because of course, apparently, he's still VIP even though he wanted to castrate our new president :\) and then I later saw Faith Evans arrive with her children, which I found ironic since I'd just sang one of her songs the night before... I didn't say anything to either one of them, and wondered if maybe I should've had my camera on deck so that I could be snapping pics. But who wants to be paparazzi EVERYDAY? (I ask after just one day of playing the pap myself!) So, finally, Julia arrived with Ms. Judy and Shawn, and Shawn's friend comes up, who had been standing not too far from me, and the five of us role on in courtesy of Julia's new found VIPism (at least as far as "Notorious" screenings go!!) We go up to the VIP screening, which I found out was different from general screening and included a special Talk Back and Q&A with the director, cast, writers, and producers, including Ms. Wallace, herself! (This is where I'll ask: Why did Jessie Jackson find it necessary to speak on the microphone, at length, not once but TWICE, and manage to squeeze his 1988 run for presidency into his remarks? I'm just saying. At least he didn't talk about castrating fools this time..... and that's all I'm going to say.)

The movie itself was great, and Julia did her thing, as did "Gravy" (the actor who did such a wonderful job playing Biggie, and interestingly enough gained over a hundred pounds to play the role, against doctors orders, and said he is diabetic... he really wanted that role!), DerekLuke as Puffy (outstanding!), AnthonyMackey as 'Pac and the sistas that played Faith and Lil' Kim (who all made wonderful portrayals). What I found most moving about the film though is that this may be the first time I've seen a bio-pic of a person who was alive when I was alive, and whose complete rise to fame and subsequent demise took place during my lifetime. It was very emotional to watch, because you knew what was coming at certain points and you could totally relive those moments in your mind. It must have been so hard for his mom and Faith, Puffy and other loved ones to sit and watch the film, even though it does have a bit of a feel-good vibe to it (as feel-good as a movie about Biggie's life being cut down could be, anyway). That's all I'm gonna say about that. I'll probably see it again on the big screen, especially since I get free movie Tuesdays... and you should see it too, next Friday!

So that was Thursday. Friday, I got to hear my parent's excitement over listening to my recording of Ella!! They were soooooooooooo freakin' proud! My mom said she was dancing around the office (doing the jerk, if you will) while my dad bobbed his head to the music, cause it's LIKE THAT! We had a long conversation about my next steps with this project, and they were both very encouraging with their belief that it will go FAR! Daddy admonished me to make sure that I stay on top of the business side of the project now that I know that the creative side is coming together. And mommy encouraged me to continue to trust God to guide me in making the right decisions with moving forward.... But they were psyched!!!! Like TOTALLY!!!

Late Friday I ended up going out with Roro to not one but TWO clubs that I had no business being at... Meaning there were no bands playing, the djs at both clubs were playing the same mediocre rotation music I despise, the chicks were drunk (that was actually funny), and the dudes (for the most part) were WACK! I don't even feel like getting into the whole story, but just know that by the end of the night I did put Ro on probation in terms of our joint extracurricular activities until further notice, and informed him that I had filled my "club quota" for '09! Puh-leeze, Buh-lieve! Hahahhaaha What was cool about the first party, or can I say THE ONLY THING COOL about the first party is that I started talking to this nice looking young fella who turned out to be a FAMU graduate AND a sound engineer/producer. So I introduced him to Roro and we all exchanged info, and I'm sure we'll link up at some point to hear what he's doing musically. The actual best part about last night was that we didn't pay to go into either clubs and had free drinks.. Well, my drink at the first club was free courtesy of Roro! But his friend that invited us to the second club had gotten bottle service, so he was like "drink away!" (It turns out he was also in the Biggie movie and was having his people out to celebrate the premiere.) I'm not a Vodka fan though, and most often when people get bottle service its Grey Goose. So I only had a little sippy-poo with the fake cranberry "juice" that the clubs tend to use. Thankfully, we FINALLY left sometime during the 3:00AM hour and brought it on in...

And now, here I am at Saturday. It's 4AM and of course I'm wide awake... LOL. Again, I slept most of today, then spent the rest of the day between Facebook and working on this small freelance project for a friend (who I hope won't take long to pay me..) It snowed all day so I probably should've washed my hair since I knew I wasn't going anywhere, but I didn't get around to it. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

Oh you know one thing I forgot to mention, that took place late Thursday night, was that I got a chance to speak with a dear old friend. As I said in the previous blog posting, we haven't spoken in about 13years and boy did we have a lot of catching up to do. Suffice it to say, I'm SO GLAD I got to speak with him. He is NOT the same person he was in high school. Not at all. I mean, who really would be after 13years, but when I say he really has gone through a transformation, I MEAN THAT. I won't put his business out, but after catching up for close to two hours, he spent the remaining hour telling me his unbelievably extraordinary testimony of coming to the Lord when he was 20years old, a story which began two years after we were no longer in contact with one another. He basically had gone through literal hell and high water during that time in his life, and found that crying out to the Lord to forgive him and save him was literally THE answer to him being able to LIVE IN PEACE through God's design of FAITH. Whereas he had lost everything (which apparently was a lot because he was financially doing well at the time and had accumulated a lot of valuable possessions), including his mind it seemed, he recounted the experiences in detail that led to him being saved, and then how he immersed himself in the teachings of the Word of God (ie The Bible), and THEN how the Lord has restored his life. He now has a wife, more than a few children, a home in the hills, and successful career in entertainment that not just anyone gets to do for a living, all because he gave his life to the Lord and believed in faith/trusted what God told him. He said he believes that he has been put in the position he's in so that he can be instrumental in talking to and ministering to professional entertainers who otherwise wouldn't find themselves in a church or under the spiritual guidance of a Godly pastor. It was deep. And meaningful. We shared a lot that night, and it was amazing that after so many years we fell right back into this true friendship vibe. It wasn't even like I was talking to a boy I used to have a crush on; I was talking to my friend about how life had been over the past decade. I talked, he listened intently, he talked and I listened intently. And whereas I was not happy to hear of the earlier life/spiritual challenges he had to face, I was delighted to hear that so much had unfolded favorably for him in the most significant of ways. I don't know when I'll speak to him again, but even if January Oh-Ten comes into the building before we catch up again, I know that he's alright, and I know that WE are alright.


I look forward to the next. And hope my path crosses anyone reading this post in the most enchanting of ways!
Be blessed!
Yay & Amen!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Facebook's Blast from the past mechanism & Phoenix Friendships

Okay... it has be utterly amazing to me the number of individuals I've run into on Facebook in the past 24hours. I mean, amazing. And I've BEEN on Facebook for at least a year or longer. But I spent about 9months sleeping on it by barely checking in to see what was what. Between Myspace and Bison Roundup, I was like, fuhget Facebook, I don't have time! But sometime around October of last year (since we're officially into the '09!) I finally decided to get back into the swing of Facebook, and BOY am I glad I did!!! The sheer number of people I've connected with yesterday alone is mindblowing. I mean you hear the stories all the time of how your whole childhood/adolescence/early adulthood/professional life pulls up to the screen and waves at you like "Come'mere!" But when it really happens you're still like "WHAAAAAT!!!!!" And I can totally dig it!!! I love it!

So what made it even more mindblowing is one particular person I reconnected with who I haven't seen in yeeeeears! My promdate (and first official unrequited love- I say in gest!) whose profile name I just could not believe I was reading!!! Now, grant it, I don't actually believe I was in love with him back then, but when I tell you I liked me some HIM! All of my friends from that time period will tell you that's the understatement of the century!! I met him at the 2nd highschool I attended, and I don't remember exactly how our paths crossed... (or maybe now that I'm thinkin about it, I do remember exactly how we met... out in the front corridor of the campus...! I haven't thought about that in at least 15 years!) So yeah, he gave me his number on a folded piece of paper and I called him that night, and we must have become instant phone buddies. You remember how it is, you talk on the phone til all hours of the night but really don't hang out at or after school. That was all I was gonna do anyway, I was soooo wholesome and shy when it came to boys back then that I couldn't even imagine trying to spend a whole lot of extra curricular activities with him. But we were genuine friends! We had a connection that started with music (some things never change!) and grew from there. I do believe he is the person who got me loving Lee Morgan's Search For The New Land to this day! I knew he was out of my league though. Not in the sense that he was better than me or anything, but by 10th or 11th grade he'd already fathered a child, and I was barely even kissing boys!!! We had a lot in common, but it stopped with intriguing conversation on music and random other things church girls talk about! No mas, no menos.

So, whereas I don't remember all the details from my 11th grade year (which was his senior year) I do know that I remained in contact with him when he went off to college during my senior year, with me probably totally crushing on him the whole time. So as my senior year unfolded in the most memorable of ways prom was approaching, and since I wasn't dating back then I didn't really have an idea of who I would go with, though I knew I wanted to go with him. I think he was still out of town, or had just returned from the semester ending in May, so I figured I'd be brave and ask him if he wanted to go. And he agreed to my delight. So I settled on a color scheme and dress (a floor lengthed empire-waist/jackie-o style baby blue dress with pearl white elbow length gloves, with his white tux and baby blue cumberbun and bow tie) and told him I'd take care of everything while he agreed to get the car and corsage. My details are a bit fuzzy in my mind... I haven't thought about this in a hundred years!!!! But what I DO remember is that he called me up with less than a week before prom to say that he couldn't take me because his babymama (or child's mother, depending on how hood you are, who may or may not have been his girlfriend at the time, but probably was) didn't want him to go. Just like that, not going. (WAIT! I remember, this took place a couple of weeks before prom and before he got back from college because I remember that I wanted to just cancel everything and not go, then I was at school one day and unexpectedly saw him on campus, visiting since he was home from college, and during that encounter -which was the week of prom- I think he convinced me that I should still go and that he would go with me. I think that's how it happened. He may remember it differently! But we're going with my version!!!)

So here we were, back on again, and it's the day of the prom and he didn't get the car (who knows what happened)! And on top of that I THINK I remember that he didn't bring my corsage either!!! (Wooooooooo this story is a doosey, ain't it! :) But he did show up, looking very handsome! So we ended up taking my mom's car, which was nice but not what you do at PROM! LOL So we made our pre-prom rounds and ended up having a ball at the prom itself, taking pics and dancing, looking very classy if I do say so myself! I remember getting compliments from a few of the teachers and chaperones. But he'd only agreed to come to prom, so once it was over I had to drive him back to his house and say goodnight so that I could re-join the rest of my friends for Afterprom, etc. When we got to his house, I FEEL LIKE I REMEMBER that he was kinda lingering before he got out of the car, as if he was waiting for a kiss or something.....? (Am I remembering that correctly???? Probably!!!! I don't know, but I feel like that's what I remember!) But you know it didn't go down! So we eventually said goodnight, and I was on my way..... That is the last real memory I have of him. I think I ran into him once at the gas station sometime while I was home from college but that's it, our friendship basically severed at that point.

I say all that to say... WHY I RUN INTO THIS FOOL ON FACEBOOK YESTERDAY!!!!! HAHAHHAHHA Straight up and down, no messing around, saw his name as bright as a neon arrow, and it's one of those names you just don't forget. And I couldn't resist "friending" him nor could I wait to see if he would be just as surprised as I was to see him.... And don't you know, he was :)

"Maisha! Wow, I miss you more than I ever could tell you! I felt so bad how we left off. I am so sorry. I apologize for how I was with you in 96'. I missed you so much after that; it broke my heart. I was immature and going through differences. Please forgive me and allow me to be a good friend to you. You were one of my best friends."

Just like that.... 13 years later, we've reconnected and he felt moved to clear the air! And the funny thing is, because I don't hold grudges, the whole thing had been water under the bridge for years now as far as I'm concerned! Like, writing about it now is the most I've thought of the whole thing in ages!! I can't front, from time to time I've wondered how he is but never in a salty-I can't believe what he did when we went to prom- kind of way. Just wondered. I haven't even thought about the fact that we started off as such good friends in years; and NEVER thought he'd express that he missed me and would ask for my forgiveness for the way things turned out back then. Talk about left field! But it tickled my heart and definitely made me smile in a real way. I guess you can't front on that initial spark or attraction that genuinely draws people to friendship. It's a beautiful thing that people are able to grow into caring adults, and that we can laugh about our past pain. To a 17 year old, messing up prom is the worst thing imaginable. To a 29 year old, it was one of those quintessential childhood experiences that worked out for everyone involved. So I've totally forgiven him and am even excited to hear that life has been unfolding favorably for him with his career and family. SO I say to him, Hello friend, where ya'been! :)

It even gives me hope that in a few years I'll be able to rekindle some more friendships that seemed to have painfully ended. Losing significant friendships is not my style. (Just today I said "happy new year" to someone whose friendship with me has painfully ended, but it's apparent that there is nothing more than awkward one-word greetings to share at this point. And I knew that, but I miss him dearly.) So I tell myself: Keep living, keep progressing, keep loving the right way... and I'm sure it will come back around (I hope anyway). Cause I HATE to lose significant friendships that are life-changing. And when it does, I'll say, "Hello friend, where ya'been...!"

Friday, January 02, 2009


So happy to see we made it.

nye was pleasant. a lot of champagne and alpha punch (the host is a-phi-a), soul food and pah-tay-ta pie, karaoke and sh!t-talking, and straight up laughing all while ringin' in the new year!!!! So, apparently, when there's electronic score tabulation involved in the home-entertainment version of karaoke, it's necessary for each karaokeist to talk as much *smack* as they can while trying to beat the high score of the next karaokeist! And It's SERIOUS bid'ness! i'll be happy to say that (as least while everyone from the party was there) I maintained the high score of 86 points by singing (get this) THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER!! How random... I wasn't even looking to sing that song especially when I came out the gate with Bohemian Rhapsody, but I got a 64! And when people, professional singers and all, kept getting low scores like 65s and 67s from BLOWING on songs like SWV's "Weak" and other R&B greats, we figured this karaoke system must be on some other stuff (like diction and singing each word IN time). No room for sangin' like you on the gig if you want the high score!! No riffs, no improv, just sing the song straight. So this cat ended up getting an 85 by singing "Easy Like Sunday Morning" and was allllllll up in everyone elses face like "WHAT! WHAT!!! 85 BABY! Go somewhere with all this SINGING business! Booo-yah!" And of course folks were salty! So That's when I was like "Watch out! I'm gonna beat YOU and your 85!! Move! Gimme the mic!!" So I was planning to sing "IRONIC" (by Alanis Morissette)! But when I couldn't find "Ironic" his constant gum-bumping got so under my skin I picked the first song I could find that I absolutely knew, THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER! So I sing the joint and by the time I get to "And the hoooommmeee of the BRAAAAVVEEEE!" The score comes up as 86, ONE POINT from his Easy 85 and the whole room erupted!!!! "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SHE BLASTED YOU SON! SHE GOT YOU! SHE GOT YOU!!! SIT DOWN 85, STAND UP 86!!" So then, he had the NERVE to be like "YO! I'LL SING THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER AND BEAT YOUR SCORE!!!!" What! Come on dude, are you serious! He was seriously about to battle me on the Star Spangled Banner???!!!! THE NERVE! So we punch in #0299 and he starts singing with the music.... WHY he get an 84! Two points less than me, AND one point less than his own high score! So for the rest of the night he was 84!!! "84! SIT DOWN!" HAHAHHAH OHHHH that was sooo much fun!! Everyone had sumn to say! Even the non karaokers had all kind of comments and clowns to add to the mix! hahahhaha

So, well after 84 and his people had made their exit for the evening (more like morning), a handful of us still kept tryin to beat our own personal high scores.. I don't think I got higher than 86, though Augi eventually made 88 or 89, and this other girl made 87... So I ended up not having the overall high score, but hey... who's counting! hee hee hee.... It's been like over a year since I've done karaoke and I had a BALL!

so, January oh-nine came on in in the most positive way.

i stayed under the covers for the remainder of 1/1, sleeping, watchin pbs, facebooking, reading, etc... talked to a few people, my parents, grandmothers, a new friend for about an hour, an old friend until his phone died (by then it was Jan 2nd). i knew i wasn't going outside though cause it was just a little bit more than 20 degrees, which is rediculously cold weather to be walking around in. right now it's 32 and lightly snowing according to my online weather update. so you can guess that i'm still under the covers. but i have a surprise bday party to attend in a few hours, so i'm gonna have to brave the elements and get there before the birthday boy, J-the-Genius! anyway, it's still a holiday weekend as far as I'm concered, but come monday it's back to the grind in some form or fashion. i either need to get cracking on these books i have to choose for the African American Lit class I'm supposed to teach for spring semester, OR i need to follow up with the interview I had before Christmas to see what's good with the inception of a completely new chapter of my life all together....

so. bonne annee, feliz y prospero an[y]o nuevo, happy new year, and..... hears to life unfolding favorably.