Friday, April 28, 2006
With every fashion season, there is always a color--pink, grey, green, brown--that becomes "the new black", meaning it should be a staple in everyone's wardrobe. Well, with celebrities trying to do a little good and become politically active, it seem as though white celebrities in Africa is this season's new black.
I'm not really sure how I feel about it all. While I am happy for ANY amount of attention being paid to the issues in Sudan and the AIDS pandemic in Africa, I am a bit weary that the only face presented to the masses is that of George, Angelina or ___________ (insert popular white celebrity here).
Whenever I see white celebrities championing the rights of the poor and defenseless dark continent, I get a little uneasy and I start wondering, where are the black people? Are we too busy partying , or is it yet another case of media-bias? I find it ironic that BET can follow around musicians that talk about nothing, but can't report what's going on in Africa. Sure, there are a few who are actucally doing something (Alicia, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte). But what's really going on with Black Hollywood and their response or lack their of to the many issues in Africa?
I am so curious to know your thoughts. Am I the only one who feels...conflicted?
Talk to me y'all.
*shout out to Racial Realist for getting me thinking about this whole thing.
Related Tags: politics, Africa, Sudan, Activism, Celebrities, Angilina Jolie, George Clooney, Alicia Keys, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Hollywood, America
Thursday, April 27, 2006
just a quickie. catch me waxing poetic about the great mommy debate over here.
*Sidenote: Being Mama Daily is a FABULOUS blog that publishes stories of mom's raising black children. It's always interesting, fresh, and new. You should check it out (then call your mommy & tell her you love her!).
Related Tags: motherhood, parenting, single-parenting, moms, sons, stay at home moms, working moms
I am looking at 1985.
Regan was inaugurated for the second time (uh, why?), Volcanoes scorched Columbia, Earthquakes shook Mexico, the Huxtables were ruling Thursday nights, and I was a giggling, wide-eyed kindergartner that loved chasing my older brother, watching kung-fu flix on Saturday afternoons, and listening to the Get Fresh Crew.
Seven years separates my brother and I. While he was free to roam around our neighborhood with his friends, I was confined to the boarders of our yard, the only break in my confinement coming when my brother would let me tag along with him. I was so happy to be down with the crew. I was special, the only girl to be let into the circle. Did I care my brother would roll his eyes when our mom said that he could go to the store or the park or down the block, "as long as you take your sister with you"? Heck no! I was just happy to be along for the adventure.
Back then, our South Central neighborhood was a reasonably maintained, working-class section of LA. There was a park a few blocks away, a slurpie shop, liquor stores, and a make-shift arcade. When I was allowed to tag along it was usually to venture to the slurpie shop for ice cream. At the shop, the owner, who was also the Rec. Leader at the park, would allow the kids to crank up KDAY on the radio.
Through the speakers of someone's boombox I heard a man making music with his mouth. Later I would learn it was called beat-boxing, but back then, I thought it was so cool to create music with nothing but one's mouth. My brother and his friends would try to imitate Doug E Fresh, mimicing trumpets and telephones with their voices. While other boys posted up on the tables to Slick Rick's lyrics.
This is how I learned the words to the first song I ever memorized.
Somewhere between slurpies and beat-boxes, I sat and watched and tried to wrap my 5 year-old brain around the words on the radio. I kept coming back to Ricky D's "Tony the Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiger" line, because 1)I loved frosted flakes and 2)Tony the Tiger always looked so cool on his commercials. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of my love affair with music, and in particular, hip hop.
Every single significant year, moment, and memory of my life has a theme song. If a song comes on the radio, I am instantly taken back to where I was or what I was doing when I first heard it. My life, in essence, is a musical. Every memory inextricable connected to the rhythm and the rhyme of the music that moves me. Music is always there, like a trusting, welcoming friend, each and every time I sit and listen.
What's your theme song?
And what were you doing in '85?
Related Tags: hip hop, music, Doug E Fresh, books, 1985, Los Angeles, Politics, Art, Poetry
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
so today the little one had his 6-month well-baby visit. i can't believe it has been 6 months already!! he is growing so fast. here's his latest stats....
- Weight: 18lbs, 11oz (+ 2lbs. & change)
- Height: 27 inches (+ 2 inches)
- Head Circumference: 18inches (+ 2 inches)
- shots this visit: 2
Sunday, April 23, 2006
I never understood the power of words until I was 14.
It was '94, and as I'd do every Saturday night, I was getting my blank tape ready to record the World Famous Wake Up Show. I loved listening to that show. Growing up in a fairly convseravitave, South Central household that subscribed to church on Sundays, the Lakers, and Chaka Khan (my mother's favorite), hip hop music was only sampled in small parts, usually when my parents weren't home and I was running behind my older brother and his friends. Listening to the Wake Up Show-- bedroom door closed, lights off, headphones on--I rocked with the best of them.
As soon as the intro blared through my headphones, I was open, hoping to hear something new, something dope, and something that spoke to me, like Dre's G-funk just couldn't. I wanted to be taken out of LA and exposed to something other than drive-bys and jerri-curls. Then it happened.
Tune it up it's the corrupt novelist, Nas
Involved in this liveness radio waves
Slaves thrive inside of this
Wake Up Show flow, hip-hop's alarm clock, the bomb spot
Mellow with ganja, that makes my eyes turn yellow
What? WHAT was that? I couldn't wait for the show to be over so I could stop my tape and rewind. Now, this wasn't the first time I heard Nas. I heard the Main Source joint, I'd seen Zebrahead and heard "Halftime," but up until then, Nas only appeared in spaced out pieces. But hearing his voice--smoke-filled and grimey--on a weekly basis made me crave more.
Enter, "Ilmatic," the single most influential album/piece of art in my entire life.
Beginning high school was such a tumultuous time. My parents had just split for the last time, my mom scrapped up enough change to move us to an apartment in an upper-middle class neighborhood, and I was entering yet another private school where I'd feel out of place. My whole world seemed to change in an instant. After hearing Nas every week on the Wake Up Show, I knew I had to buy his album. I bought it, hid the cover deep in my drawer, and proceeded to listen to "Illmatic" constantly. My yellow, Sony brick walkman was always buzzin & glued to my ears. I found myself writing "The World Is Yours" on everything--lockers, notebooks, desks. Through this album I fell in love with language and the power of telling one's story. My story.
I found the courage to document my world and the thoughts that formed in my head. Soon writing rhymes turned into writing poems. And dreaming of becoming a pediatrician gave way to wanting to be a writer. "Illmatic" came into my life and switched my whole shit up.
Today as I sit to write another letter to my beloved, I am once again reminded of the magnificent power of words. I am aware that I must not only mean what I say, but I must be clear in what I write, because words remain. They live on and leave indelible etchings in our memory. Amazingly, these letters fill the gaps and the spaces between our fingers. They stand in place of a hug, a knowing look, and a well-placed kiss. Words sustain. They have the power to inspire or the power to destroy.
And for that I am so thankful
Related Tags: music, nas, hip hop, books, writing, poetry
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Silhouette is painted on the wall
How many times can I say that I miss you
And everybody wants to know what's wrong
It's just the 700 mile situation
Why don't you tell me what you're scared of
You make me breathe so easy
And I'm a mess with reminders of you
I often wonder where you are sometimes
I close my eyes and picture it for a while
I rise, awake to find myself without you
~Res from "700 Mile Situation"
my beloved gave himself
to me arms open and smiling
I arrived home, checked the mail box, and there he was, wrapped in 5 envelopes, waiting to be held. this time i was patient. i didn't devour him on the spot. i waited. the little one and i went inside, i fed him, we played, he got fussy and finally fell asleep. once i put him down for the night, i turned out all of the lights, except a dim lamp in the corner of the bedroom, and stretched across my bed.
i always organize the letters first. i open them, check the dates and arranged them in chronological order. i do this because i love watching him move. i always make sure to put the dates of my letters on the outside of the envelope, because he likes to do the same. after i arranged the letters, i began reading and crying and laughing along side my beloved. slipping from easy chatter concerning old memories & our son's latest developments, to heavy conversation about God and books and life after he comes home. sometimes i talk back to the letters, as if he can hear me. maybe he can; someplace deep within, my voice resonating in his heart and mind, causing a smile to escape. or even a laugh(?).
i devour his words, quickly. then i read them again and again enjoying the crumbs he left behind.
sometimes i cry when i'm done. not only because his letters were so hopeful and sweet and sometimes sad, but because they are over. and i am brought back to the realization that he is not sitting beside me. holding my hand or stoking my head ever so gently.
i miss my beloved so much.
there are not enough ways or words to say this. i carry him always, just beneath my blouse, in my pocket, over my heart.
he is always there smiling.
"wha gwan baby"?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
because i'm a gemini, i'm always changing. the itch for a new look got the better of me &i decided to switch it up a bit. thanks to blog frocks, my space has a fresh new face.
ps: so obviously they're are some glitches in the matrix. but soon, they will be made smooth.
Good Friday found my beloved being released from the box (solitary). While he waited for a pin number for the phones, he arranged for one of his brethren to call me and let me know he had been moved back to general population. I was so relived and happy. i have a very active imagination and all I kept thinking was that he was stuck in "the hole," some damp, dark place that was painfully small. So when I found out he was out, I almost did a cartwheel.
40+ days ago when my beloved was moved into the box the COs "misplaced" all of his "property," so when I received word he was released, I immediately sprang into action. I threw on some sweats, got the little one together, packed up the baby bjorn & headed for target.
I got my beloved all sorts of goodies: a pair of shorts, jeans, socks, boxers, books, a soccer magazine, envelopes, stamps, paper, anything I thought that he might need and want. I want to make his time on the island as comfortable as possible, especially considering they don't issue clothes, shoes, etc. If you don't have those things you are out of luck, so I always want to make sure he is covered. Funny thing though, after visiting with his mom, he called and he seemed almost relaxed. After I told him all the things I got for him, he told me that he was very grateful, but that I didn't have to go to such lengths. 40 days ago he may have asked for more things, but now, he seems content with whatever I am able to give (and he has even asked me several times I want him to send me any money...how is this possible?). He even told me to stop buying things because he has too much *lol*
I am so grateful right now because he made it though those 40 days, and has come out seemingly more mellow, more reflective, and quoting Malcolm X like he's going out of style. I am thankful that the books I send him are both entertaining and enlightening, and that he is getting a lot out of reading them. I just hope that I am able to keep up. I haven't been able to fully read a book in such a long time, while he devours them so quickly. I am also grateful that we are able to talk more (3 times a day!), and things are back to "normal."
But should I really be happy that this is now our "normal"? I think about that a lot. I don't want either one of us to fall too comfortably into this rhythm. I don't want jail and/or prison to become a large part of our lives. I don't want to become an expert on how the system works. I would LOVE to remain ignorant to the whole thing, but I cannot. One thing I will do is keep reminding myself that this whole situation is temporary & will soon be over.
In the meantime
I click my heels
and imagine him home
Friday, April 14, 2006
Yesterday, April 13th was our 3-year anniversary. There are so many important dates (Feb 9th, June 23rd,Oct 20th, May 23rd, August 21st) , that's it's hard to keep track...but 3 years ago I met my beloved and my life has never been the same since. From the moment we met, there hasn't been 3-days in a row that we haven't spoken. The fire we have for each other has never dimmed, no matter what we've been through.
For all the memories, the hickeys, the fights, the laughs, the hugs, kisses, late night trips to MickyDs for shakes & fries. For all of the dances, the dub, the dancehall, the walks around central park, the late night subway rides, cabs from manhattan, walkes across the brooklyn bridge, bowling in Hollywood, pool-playing in Santa Monica, trips to Disney, Jersey, and Philly...thank you, thank you thank you.
Beloved, you have changed my life so profoundly & in so many ways that these words-any words-are not enough.
I love you for all of eternity.
your salty gal
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Yesterday I was jolted back to the reality of this whole ordeal with my beloved. With the trial date scheduled for 2 weeks away, I called his lawyer to confirm that it would actually be taking place on the scheduled date. If there is one thing I've learned throughout this experience, it's that nothing happens when it's supposed to. And because I'd have to make travel arrangements and take time off from work, I wanted to make sure it was still on before I made any moves. So I called and spoke to his lawyer, and as I suspected, the DA isn't ready and the trail won't be starting on time. I am torn. I want this whole thing to be over as quickly as possible so we know what we're dealing with and move on, but then again...I don't want to DEAL with the ordeal of a trial. My beloved's lawyer indicated that he may call me to testify, even though I wasn't a witness to the goings on, but he wants to remind the judge/jury of the type of man my beloved is & that he has a family waiting for him. This is all too much. I am scared to death. I've never had to go to court, let alone testify. All I keep thinking about is Jack McCoy bringing me to tears on cross examination, or becoming so frustrated I just scream. I don't know, I watch Law & Order way too much, but those are the things running through my mind.
It's so funny. My beloved and I both are able to separate ourselves from the reality of the trial, possible prison time, etc. It amazes me that we are able to do this considering he's been in jail for over 5 months now, but it keeps us sane to an extent. I think we'd both be much more on edge if we thought about it everyday. I know he thinks about being away from us, he writes a lot about it in his letters. He does a lot of apologizing to me & our son for "ruining" our lives. I try to reassure him that he hasn't ruined anything, but I wonder how far my words go. Do they stretch out like arms and hold him at night? Do they envelope his ears with the sound of my voice? I pray they do. I pray that we make it though this intact. When he reads my letters, he probably thinks I've gone crazy. The amount of times I tell him I talk to him throughout the day & I ask if he can hear me. The amount of times I demand for him to come back home whole (and now, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point.). I hope I don't add pressure to an already pressing situation, but I'm emotional & I feel like I have to share every emotion with him. So far he accepted them with love and returned them packaged in stamped envelopes with smiley faces and hearts. And it makes me smile and cry and laugh. At the end of the day I know that, as hurtful as it is to be apart, God has brought us a thousand times closer. And for that, I am thankful.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
i pray i will be this dope...
| (And I, I am no longer of that world)|
Naked, he lies in the blinded room
chainsmoking, cradled by drugs, by jazz
as never by any lover's cradling flesh.
Miles Davis coolly blows for him:
O pena negra, sensual Flamenco blues;
the red clay foxfire voice of Lady Day
(lady of the pure black magnolias)
sobsings her sorrow and loss and fare you well,
dryweeps the pain his treacherous jailers
have released him from for a while.
His fears and his unfinished self
await him down in the anywhere streets.
He hides on the dark side of the moon,
takes refuge in a stained-glass cell,
flies to a clockless country of crystal.
Only the ghost of Lady Day knows where
he is. Only the music. And he swings
oh swings: beyond complete immortal now.
*it's national poetry month y'all. you gotta love it.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
This weekend I got a glimpse of what life might look like if my beloved has to go upstate. My family went out of town, so it's just me and the little one. Although I LOVE having the place to ourselves, I must admit it's a bit lonely. I love my son, but there are only so many times I can play peak-a-boo. There are only so many stories I can read. Only so many times I can dance him around the room until I need a break. Who do you turn to when there's no one to give you a break? I don't mean that I need a babysitter, I have one. But just an hour or two, a nap, a chance to read a magazine, some alone time so I can regroup and play with him again. Times like these I wish my beloved were here. What am I saying? I wish he were here all the time. I wish he could play with our son. I wish we could pack up the car and head to the park for a day out. I wish he could give him a bath. Anything. Everything.
Today the little one and I went to target to pick up a few things. When I go to target I love to look around at EVERYTHING and I usually spend way too much money. But today, I browsed the home stuff--curtains, bedding, bathroom goodies, etc., and I all I kept thinking about was "When _____ comes home we'll decorate our house really nicely." I kept thinking about our apartment in Brooklyn, and how we picked out everything together. How we decorated it, carried it from Ikea in Jersey (on the subway *lol*) and adorned our place the way we wanted. I miss that. I miss having my own space. I love my mom for letting me stay and save money, but there's nothing like having your own space. I feel like our life is on pause. There are so many things I'd like to do, namely move into our own apartment, but I can't. I don't want to do anything big until I know what's going to happen with my beloved. So I wait. And I wish. And I pray for things to turn out the way we want.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
you know you want some musical healing. gon' head.
doing a little dance
The skies have opened up over the city of angels and it is pouring down rain. I could be annoyed, especially since it took me close to 2 hours to get to work, but I'm not. I'm thankful that God has blessed me with yet another day to be here with my family. I spoke to my beloved this morning. He is so sweet. He called VERY early (around 5:30am my time) to make sure I was awake & wouldn't be late for work. Yesterday he called me at the same time because he knew the time had changed & he wanted to make sure I was awake as well. He's still in the box, but he seems to be doing a bit better (thank God!). He only has about 2 more weeks to go in there, so I'm very happy he'll be out of solitary soon. I sent him a little box of "goodies" today. Being that he is in jail & not prison, he can't get any food or anything like that, but I sent him some fancy paper (that he will "sale" to others) and another book, magazines, letters, and some Adidas slip-on sandals for the shower. When they moved him to the box they lost all of his clothes, shower sandals, and shoes that I bought him. I don't want him getting a foot-fungus or any type of nasty rash by walking on the floor & taking a shower (I can't even begin to imagine), so I send these things. I certainly don't mind. It is the least I can do, since I'm trying to be there for him from a distance. Last night I received 4 letters from him. Do you know how happy I was? I've been doing the mail dance for the last week or so, so I was ECSTATIC to see his letters, my gifts, waiting for me when I got home.
I just got to work & I had a book waiting for me. I ordered some books from Amazon about a week & a half ago, and they are just starting to trickle in (I always buy the used ones, so they take longer...I'm cheap!). Anyway, the first of the lot is The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace. I was introduced to Mr. Lovelace last year in my West-Indian Novel class through his novel Salt, which I loved, so I thought I would give this one a shot. Has anyone read it? I'm always in the market for new books (and books I can share with my beloved). While we're on the subject, does anyone know of any good Jamaican writers? My beloved loves to read books that he can identify with. I introduced him to Colin Channer when we first started dating & he loved his books. Anyone else? (Contemporary writers). He is almost done w/ Malcolm X & he loves it. He says it is opening his eyes to a lot of things, mainly the type of man he wants/needs to be for me & our son. I'm so happy & so proud of him, that he is even open to reading whatever I share with him. And I am happy he is using this time positively. I only pray that soon, this will all be over & we can move on with our lives.
be blessed y'all.