Tuesday, December 13, 2011
What I love is that lil Khaliyl is going HARD with his, but I'm sure everyone's question is, WHERE HE GET THAT FLOW FROM????
Apparently, not only was he born with the gift, but his older brother, Kieyen, also has a golden mic in his hand! Here he is at age 3 spittin' a verse that seems like it's fiyah (if only I could understand everything he was saying)!! I know what' s really up though, @1:57 he declares "Nobody can test me now!!" And you know what... I BELIEVE HIM! Although, I kind of want to see Khaliyl and Kieyen battle it out on the playground!!! LOL!
These two lil toddler griots are the products of love from parents Femi Iloyi and Roucheon Iloyi. I haven't been able to find out much about who they are, but it seems they are indie artists/MC and songstress, holding it down on the London scene.
One cut from the mom, Roucheon, called "Midnight Melody" I'm really digging. I think it was produced by her husband, but I'm not entirely sure. It's got a summertime, party time cookout vibe to it! Definitely a headbob, bounce rock skate vibe, indeed!
And lastly, the father of the tiny prodigy MCs is Femi Iloyi! I watched this video of him with the older son highlighting their READING LIST which included Holocaust for Beginners, Africa for Beginners, Black Women for Beginners, The Making of Our President Barack Obama, and The Making of Our First Lady Michelle Obama. They also explain how they love comics and graphic novels: "We're a comic family," Femi says before showing a book called Black People in Comics. "We're comic fanatics, but most of all we love history books." I can dig it!
Femi stresses how important it is to read with your children, and clearly that is the first step to having brilliant lil two and three year old MCs with the illest freestyle worldwide, hands down!
CHEERS to the Iloyi family! I am really, really impressed. And I think the world is as well!!
Friday, December 02, 2011
Love and HIV: Couples forge relationships despite challenges
Kathy Jacobs-McLoyd didn't expect to fall in love with someone with HIV. But when the man she had recently spent time volunteering with in Kenya sent her a six-page love letter, she opened up to the possibilities.
"One day early on, I turned to look at you or say something and my heart just kind of skipped a beat, it fluttered in my chest … and just as quickly rose to my throat leaving me momentarily speechless," Peter McLoyd wrote.
Within six months, they were married. Now, they are among the country's growing number of HIV serodiscordant couples — or, more simply, "magnet couples" who are attracted to each other even though one partner is positive and one is negative.
As the HIV epidemic moves into its third decade, people who are infected with the virus are living longer, healthier lives, public health officials say. As a result, they are dating, falling in love and forming families, sometimes with a partner who does not have the virus.
Their stories underscore the power of love to conquer fear. But such relationships can bring significant emotional challenges.
For the person without HIV, there is constant worry about the health of his or her loved one. For the positive partner, there is the fear of unintentionally passing on the infection. And for both, there is often anxiety about how friends and family will react to the relationship.
Jacobs-McLoyd, 56, was moved by the love letter she received, but it went unanswered for several days. She knew McLoyd had HIV — he became infected as a result of intravenous drug use about 10 years ago — and she wasn't sure she could get involved.
"Did I want to? Could I? What does this mean?" she remembers nervously asking herself.
In the end, she decided not to let a virus get in the way of love. The couple sealed their commitment with a City Hall marriage in 2004, followed the next year by a traditional African ceremony in Kenya.
"I knew him already," she said. "I knew his character; people loved him. I thought he was a good catch. He was good-looking and sexy, and I thought, 'Why not?'"
In some cases, the HIV-negative person goes into the relationship not knowing their partner is infected — either because the information is not disclosed right away or it is not yet known. The eventual disclosure can be an emotional land mine.
During the dating stage, the biggest hurdle for the HIV-positive person is when to tell the prospective partner, said Celeste Watkins-Hayes, an HIV- AIDS researcher and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.
Later, as the relationship becomes more committed, couples often worry about whom to trust with the information, she said.
That issue can remain a sticking point until the couple come to an agreement about which family members and friends should be told, said Rae Lewis-Thornton, an HIV-AIDS activist in Chicago who has lived with the virus for 24 years.
"For many people, it is a difficult relationship because it comes with guilt on the infected person's part. There is always this layer of stigma and shame, which is very real in this country, particularly in the black community," said Lewis-Thornton, who was married to an HIV-negative man for four years before divorcing. "That is a barrier that must be overcome before couples get to a really good place and can be comfortable."
Joann Montes, 46, of Chicago, said her boyfriend of eight years doesn't want to tell his family she is infected. As she has become more open about it — she was featured Monday in the Tribune in a story about living with HIV — the public disclosure has put more strain on their relationship.
"We were friends before we dated and he knew about my status, that was never a problem," she said. "The problem came when other people found out we were dating. There were friends who thought it was not a good idea for him to be dating me. They made comments like: 'You can do better than that.'"
The remarks stung, especially because she was trying to come to terms with her HIV, she said.
Such couples also face the challenge of protecting the uninfected partner during sex.
"Couples have to come to an understanding about what safety means in the relationship, and they have to follow it to the letter of the law," Lewis-Thornton said. "That can be harder as you become more comfortable in the relationship. If the condom breaks in the height of sex, do you stop and risk him being angry with you?"
Debbie Rivera's husband, Mike, gets tested regularly for HIV and is uninfected, and the Chicago couple usually practice safe sex. But they agree it is a challenge.
"There are times when we're in the heat of the moment and we don't take precautions," said Debbie Rivera, 31, who tested positive for HIV in 1999. She said that because of antiretroviral medication, the amount of virus in her blood is at undetectable levels.
The chance of transmitting the virus is greatly reduced when antiretroviral drugs have lowered the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And for biological reasons, women are less likely to transmit the virus than men. But health experts say the virus can still be transmitted, and they recommend regular condom use.In Illinois, more than 32,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Chicago's HIV infection prevalence rate of 761 per 100,000 population is about three times greater than the national rate of 275 per 100,000.
"I know more and more people who are choosing HIV-infected partners," said Lora Branch, former director of the division of sexually transmitted infections and HIV at the Chicago Department of Public Health. "It's not that unusual anymore."
It is difficult to determine how many people with HIV are part of serodiscordant couples, because little research has been done, said Dr. Deborah Cohan, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California at San Francisco.
"It's a hidden population," she said.
But a study published in 2001 in the journal Family Planning Perspectives found that about half the HIV-positive men and women who were surveyed about their desire to have children reported their spouse or primary partner was HIV-negative, Cohan said.
Branch said she believes gays and heterosexuals make up an equal number of magnet couples, who span the demographic spectrum of race and class.
"The relationships that are most likely to last are ones where the healthy partner goes into it fully knowledgeable about the health risks, the medical challenges and other issues involved with being HIV-positive," said Watkins-Hayes, who is also an associate professor of sociology and African-American studies. "Those who enter these relationships unprepared for what it means are the ones most likely to fail."
The McLoyds, who live in south suburban Matteson, said they decided to be interviewed about their relationship because they wanted to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV. McLoyd is consumer development and advocacy coordinator in prevention and education at the CORE Center. Both have two children from previous relationships.
"We wring our hands about stigma," McLoyd said, speaking about advocates and people with HIV, "but we don't do anything about it. By putting a face to it, you reduce the impact."
Relaxing at home with their Great Dane, D'ogie, the McLoyds are comfortable in their relationship. But Jacobs-McLoyd had not told close family members about her husband's HIV diagnosis before agreeing to participate in this story. The thought of such a conversation caused her to take nervous, deep breaths.
"In the back of my mind, there was this fear they would treat him differently when they found out he was positive because of all the stigma," she said. "I didn't want to make a choice between family and my husband."
Jacobs-McLoyd said she sees she hadn't given her relatives enough credit. "I got really good feedback from those I've told," she said.
The McLoyds say more resources should be available to support couples in their situation, and they want to form a support group.
Jacobs-McLoyd said that although she fights the urge to be overprotective about her husband's health, the couple's relationship is more typical than not."(HIV) doesn't define who we are," Jacobs-McLoyd said. "We are just a married couple like any other couple.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Love blooms in Zuccotti Park: Protesting Occupy Wall Street lovebirds tie the knot
Activists met at protest in September
BY Sam Levin
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Originally Published: Sunday, November 13 2011, 1:27 PM
Two lovebirds who met protesting Wall Street in Zuccotti Park tied the knot Sunday morning at a humble ceremony in a small corner of the ongoing demonstration.
In front of about a dozen friends and onlookers, Emery Abdel-Latif, 24, and Micha Balon, 19, held a traditional Muslim wedding on Trinity Place and Liberty Street, perched on a small bench next to the park's famous sculpture of a seated man with a briefcase.
“We have to be able to understand truly how unique this relationship is,” said Khalid Latif, the chaplain at New York University who married the eager duo.
“You have been given a deep blessing today,” he said.
The two activists met in September when they were trying to find a space in the crowded park to pray. They immediately hit it off.
A month later, they both knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together - without delay.
“We met here and it’s cheap. We don’t have to pay anything,” said the giddy bride, dressed in a white skirt and blouse with a small cloak.
“I'm really glad God has granted me someone who cares about people in this world other than himself.”
Balon, a Hunter College student from Staten Island studying human rights and Middle East studies, said marrying in Zuccotti Park’s “sacred space” ensured their life together was starting on the right note.
“This is a good way not to make the marriage about ourselves,” she said. “We are fighting for equality here. This is a great way to start off our marriage.”
Abdel-Latif, a prospective law student from West Chester County, Pa., said Balon changed his life.
“I'm not sure I believed in love before I met her,” he said. “She's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
After they sealed the deal, the small crowd applauded and the couple scrambled to take wedding photos amid the sea of tents.
“I think it’s a cute love story - one of the cutest I've ever heard,” said Quainat Zaman, 19, a college friend of Balon’s.
In another part of the park, a huge phalanx of volunteer doctors and nurses dispensed free flu shots to protect the protesters with winter looming.
“We're getting 99 doctors and nurses here to help the 99%,” said Dr. John Jacoby with Physicians for a National Health Program. “We are here to say that everyone needs health care.”
Dr. Mary O'Brien, who was helping out, said: “Many people here are young and healthy. We'd like to keep them that way.”
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Last week, I had a conversation with someone who shared this story with me:
About ten years ago, at the age of 34, I was living in Russia in the process of a bitter divorce. At the time, a very spiritual women told me that I would have a long life after I journey to another place, perhaps to another country. I did not believe her then, but here it is ten years later, and I am here in America. Looking back, I was a young women who was very upset after my divorce process and I was thinking about my life. I wanted a happy life. So, I decided to see about meeting someone on an internet dating site and I searched for men in my city. After a while I noticed that I could change the city and even the country of your search, so of course I chose America, New York City! One day while searching I saw the picture of a very nice man and looked at his profile. When he saw that I looked at his profile, he wrote me. This led to us chatting on a regular basis. And that is how our love story began.
After 9 months of chatting every day, and later talking by phone three times a day - everyday - we decided to meet. At the time, we just happened to get very bad news that he had gotten cancer, and so, for me, there was only one option. We decided to fight it - together. That's how I got to New York.
and it was the happiest years
of my life.
But, one year ago, he died.........
After his death, I decided to become a registered nurse because I want to help people who have cancer or other diseases.....
She went on to talk about the determination she has in continuing this life here in NYC as a 44 year old widow who's trajectory changed just because she was willing to take an [extreme/life changing] chance on love.
At 34 (one and a half years older than my current age*), she was living in Russia, crushed over a marriage that did not work, unhappy and not sure what the rest of her story entailed. Someone spoke into her life that set the wheels in motion to her journey across many seas. Yet she didn't have the faith, or maybe the wherewithal that led to faith, to even know that the option this woman had spoken to her was even a possibility. And then one day, just on a whim, she changed a setting on her online dating profile which led to another whole existence one decade later. Who knew her love story would be only five or six short years. But it had such an impact beyond LOVE that not only did it bring joy ("the happiest years of my life") but it shaped who she is becoming for the duration of her journey in this life.
I've thought about this every day since hearing it. Mainly because, I'm a sucker for a precious love story; my parents have one, a few of my friends have them, I'm sent links to read about the stories involving couples I'll never meet but know through the snapshot of their love... I watch sitcoms that champion life changing love connections and daydream that I'll experience such a connection over the arc of many, many fruitful years with a warm fella who knows how to make me smile. But rarely do I think about, what if it's only five or six years that I'll have such a connection with said love before one of us is called into the next realm. (Nobody really thinks about that, right?) I mean, if such circumstance were to occur, even in the tragedy, surely it will have been worth the ride. (I am reminded of Sunshyne's short and sweet love story before going on into glory.) But it also underscores the degree to which that person you're connected with really impacts who you become in life and vice versa. To what degree is the love of your life helping to shape who you are becoming, in the most positive ways? That's a beautiful question to answer when you're with the right person.
So, from this story, I am inspired. Because it is a bonafide, legitimate love story. (Sidebar: I watched the movie "Love Story"with Ryan O'neal and Ali MacGraw about a year ago, and it had some of the same tragic yet inspiring elements....) But also because I am a witness to the impact of a person (who is no longer among the living) on their beloved, a woman who took the chance to love him back. First, in her broken limited scope of life, then from across the distance of continents, and lastly, through a major illness that ultimately took his life.
I applaud them both. And I cherish their story.
*I often jokingly, but half seriously, say that I'm such a latebloomer that I'll probably be 40 before I get ready to marry someone, let alone think about a kid, but I love how her story began at an age that I haven't even reached yet. For whatever it's worth, it just proves that there is no set time, parameters or time zones to determine when true love is going to hit you up! Werd.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
Taylor played Anna Huxtable, Cliff's mother, on The Cosby Show, beginning in 1984. She and Earle Hyman, who played her husband Russell, put together quite possibly the fullest portrayal of grandparents that the half-hour sitcom has ever produced. (Clair's parents, played by jazz great Joe Williams and Ethel Ayler, showed up much less frequently but just as effectively.)
Certainly, some of the credit goes to the decision to write them as revered, rather than just daffy, and to emphasize over and over that they were not dreaded as comedy grandparents often are. They were not unwelcome nags, they were not out-of-touch bundles of fussing and fretting — they were fun, and seeing them was a treat, without any of the impatience and eye-rolling that older relatives are assumed to inspire, particularly in teenagers.
And, of course, for Russell and Anna's 49th anniversary, the family put together a musical salute that, even when television wasn't heavily analyzed episode by episode and assigned grades by a hundred different internet destinations, was an instant and widely discussed classic. (Before discussion forums and texting, that's what happened — you went to school, or to work, and everybody said, "DID YOU SEE THAT COSBY LAST NIGHT?" Hard to believe, I know.)
But for all that characters come from writers, Taylor and Hyman also brought Anna and Russell both easy good humor and tremendous dignity. They were open about struggles (especially during the civil rights movement), but they embraced their son and his family with playful affection. They were in the family, not imposed upon it. Of course, as playful as they were, as kind as they were, they were also revered and treated as treasures. (When young Theo got his ear pierced, it was his grandparents who were assumed to be the ultimate in potentially condemning authority, but they turned out to be understanding — it perfectly sums up their role, really.)
"It wasn't Taylor's only role — she also appeared on Sesame Street, and in Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me, and in other roles. But, not for nothing, she may have been one of the most fully formed grandmothers that a half-hour comedy ever had."
Monday, May 02, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
One thing is for certain. I will never forget her. I will remember to keep her name in my prayers and I will think of her often. Because, her spirit is torn. She said, "I'm glad that my husband decided against taking the second wife, but I know that our relationship will never be the same." And that sounds like the comment of someone who knows she will remain there, committed to that relationship. And because she said that, I smiled as I reminded her that as every relationship has its horror and war stories, years from now, perhaps, she will look back and "remember" when things were really tough, yet bet be encouraged by how she was able to come through completely whole on the other side. Because as one of the panelists reminded us, "It's always darkest before the sunrise" and the seasons of life are ever-changing. In this case, I'd certainly like to think so.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
And He did just that. (Which is why the song "I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry" has been resonating through my being since the ordeal took place....)
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
It was because of my letters that I happened to stumble upon starting to acquire some kind of a homemade education. I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to express what I wanted to convey in letters that I wrote. In the street, I had been the most articulate hustler out there—I had commanded attention when I said something. But now, trying to write simple English, I not only wasn't articulate, I wasn't even functional. How would I sound writing in slang, the way I would say it, something such as, "Look, daddy, let me pull your coat about a cat, Elijah Muhammad—"
Many who today hear me somewhere in person, or on television, or those who read something I've said, will think I went to school far beyond the eighth grade. This impression is due entirely to my prison studies.
I saw that the best thing I could do was get hold of a dictionary— to study, to learn some words. I was lucky enough to reason also that I should try to improve my penmanship. It was sad. I couldn't even write in a straight line. It was both ideas together that moved me to request a dictionary along with some tablets and pencils from the Norfolk Prison Colony school.
I spent two days just riming uncertainly through the dictionary's pages. I'd never realized so many words existed! I didn't know which words I needed to learn. Finally, just to start some kind of action, I began copying.
In my slow, painstaking, ragged handwriting, I copied into my tablet everything printed on that first page, down to the punctuation marks.
I believe it took me a day. Then, aloud, I read back, to myself, everything I'd written on the tablet. Over and over, aloud, to myself, I read my own handwriting.
I woke up the next morning, thinking about those words—immensely proud to realize that not only had I written so much at one time, but I'd written words that I never knew were in the world. Moreover, with a little effort, I also could remember what many of these words meant. I reviewed the words whose meanings I didn't remember. Funny thing, from the dictionary first page right now, that "aardvark" springs to my mind. The dictionary had a picture of it, a long-tailed, long-eared, burrowing African mammal, which lives off termites caught by sticking out its tongue as an anteater does for ants.
I was so fascinated that I went on—I copied the dictionary's next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. Finally the dictionary's A section had filled a whole tablet —and I went on into the B's. That was the way I started copying what eventually became the entire dictionary. It went a lot faster after so much practice helped me to pick up handwriting speed. Between what I wrote in my tablet, and writing letters, during the rest of my time in prison I would guess I wrote a million words.
I suppose it was inevitable that as my word-base broadened, I could for the first time pick up a book and read and now begin to understand what the book was saying. Anyone who has read a great deal can imagine the new world that opened. Let me tell you something: from then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading on my bunk. You couldn't have gotten me out of books with a wedge. Between Mr. Muhammad's teachings, my correspondence, my visitors... and my reading of books, months passed without my even thinking about being imprisoned. In fact, up to then, I never had been so truly free in my life.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
Last week there was an interesting response to the first article, also on HuffPost, here's the link:http://www.huffingtonpost.
This is my favorite quote of the second article:
"...even though I know that marriage isn't a fairy tale, I'd still like to actually be madly in love with the person I'm going to do all of this sacrificing and fighting and laughing and struggling with. I've been in love before, with men who were arguably (and endearingly) more troll than Prince Charming, and I know it can happen again."
I'm not writing a response as a woman looking for a husband right now (I really enjoy being a free bird!) or bitter about the lack of commitment I've experienced in recent years (being a "it's better to love and lost" theorist), but as a woman thinking rationally about the situation and choosing to acknowledge that what the first author writes does not illustrate my experience. So, as Public Enemy said: Don't believe the HYPE!
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
After a bit of shopping, it was just after sundown, so we thought we'd make our way to Chateau Rouge, the little Africa of Paris. Before we arrived, we were in le metro and passed a young man singing Ordinary People by John Legend, so I decided to stop and sing with him!! It was great! Folks came by and stopped and put money in his little tip jar. And after Ordinary People we sang So High, also by John Legend... That was quite entertaining, and I actually made a point to video record all of the music I heard underground in Le Metro. I keep saying it, but it was all quite enchanting!