Tuesday, March 28, 2006
A few weeks back eye posted the link to a video that showed a toddler man-handling a Slingerland. The rhythms were not perfect, but he swung the sticks with such precision. His wrists flexed just right as if he had been doing this for a while in stadiums across the country. When eye showed the performance to my husband, the consummate musician, he politely chastised me for considering it fascinating.
"Huh?" eye looked at him with contorted lips.
"He's not doing doing anything that Mags doesn't do on the Djimbe. The sound that Mags gets out of it. It's amazing." he spouted passionately.
Guess he told me. Boy, did here ever. Hence the name. Right? Magnificent!
So Magnificent just came up to me singing "Moneeey. Moneeey", in perfect key. Just as it occured to me that he was asking for our Spring Break anthem, Money Can't Buy Me Love" by Blackstreet. Indeed he was. He walked over to the CD player. opened the top, and put in a cassette (he's only (19 mos). So eye grabbed the CD, put it in & skipped to Track 13. As soon as the first word dropped, Mags was along for the ride. He sang the whole chorus - word-for-word. Kana & eye stared with our mouths wide open - first at him, then at one another.
Then eye came here to post. You are truly sharing in the moment folkx. Thanks for reading.
Teddy Riley is our unsung hero around here. Heads just don't get it. What he has offered black music in our era surely goes unmatched. See discography.
One of my favorite independent records of all time would have to be Shannon Sanders, Outta Nowhere. Dwight bought me the record for Mother's Day back in '99 (or 2000) & it has most def seen thousands of spins. For some reason, this record never resonated too far beyond the Southern U.S. region. What a shame! Anyone who claims to love R&B needs this record in the collection for reference, if for no other reason. As a matter of fact, Heather Headley's new song, In My Mind, is a Sanders cover from this very album.
Eye shared space with Shannon this weekend & eye was totally smitten. Being both Nashville natives, we have always run in many of the same circles, but when we spoke on Sunday, we seemed to make a fresh connection. One of my dream projects is for Count & Shannon to produce a gospel album together. They would absolutely kill it! Both coming for church background, chords & sacred arrangements are key aspects of both of their productions. We'll see what comes of it, when the time is right.
The last conversation that eye had with Granny just the day before she returned to the essence was completely inspired by Shannon. "Long as I Live", a tribute to the grandparents that raised him has always jerked me to the point of tears. Never have I heard a song so real from this perspective. When the song came on the morning of March 2, 2004, my instinctual reaction was to phone my own grandparents, who helped rear me, as well. As the track played in the background, what would be my final moments shared with Granny via phonelines took place. The call was short because she was in the middle of home therapy. She told me to be sure we had a good day. I love you were the last words exchanged. A call to my grandfather followed. He's still here at 81. Boy...do eye miss Granny something awful. Eye have not been able to listen to the joint since.
Many of you may know Sanders best from India.Arie's first record. Not only was (is?) he her musical director, but had everything to do with the abundance of Grammy-nominations that she received behind it. The singles that brought her to household recognition are due predominately to his genius.
Thank you for the inspiration, homeboy. I will continue to sing your praises!
Saturday, March 25, 2006
"IF NOT CAREFUL, ONE CAN END UP IN JAIL BEHIND THESE CHILDREN"
Some phrases spoken are just the plain truth. No filler. No fluff. No big edumacated words. Just the real deal.
When a child backs up the entire home plumbing system with toys, pens & pencils, how are we parents expected to respond? Is it ever o.k. to react when hard-earned ends are flushed down the toilet only because they chose to act a fool since being reprimanded for swinging sticks around their siblings with intention to harm?
A sister-girl shared with me last night the complexity of keeping it all together no matter how inappropriate the little one's behavior. Shoot...her aggrevation came through the phone lines & resounded off the kitchen walls. To not resort to the child-training techniques that my guardians used means refining notions deeply embedded. Of course, that's good. Nothing but. However, it also means that we spend a lot more time talking & repeating than it seems we should - according to old school chastising.
Talk to a child? Huh? Wish eye would have requested that we sit down & "talk about it". Communicate? That's like a plague in the Black family - at least in mine. Even suggesting such would have gotten me more licks...& harder.
Well, here in the Oprah-age, times have changed. No matter that she has no babies of her own, years of "talking" to people with child has apparently influenced many of us that hitting our children is wrong. While this observation is sarcastic, Neo & ridiculous all at once (again, gal ain't got no kids!), as humans, our genetic structure stands to possibly change as a result of us abandoning another primal behavior. This is seriously revolutionary business. Wouldn't it be great for our grans & greats to possibly come to know peace all because Oprah Winfrey (Eastside represent!) never stopped running her mouth about how parents should raise their own kids.
As the pimps say, spitting it out of our mouths will influence the way that they think by shaping their perspective. Over time, this seems likely to be more effective than generating fear through physical violence. Parents automatically associate changed actions as "lesson learned", which has been proven untrue over & over again. We should put ourselves in our child's shoes as we had hoped our parents would have. Any person of superior position that picks on one defenseless is a bully. That's just my opinion. It becomes more clear to my spouse & eye that we don't have any reason to bully our own children. There are other ways to control the little fuzzy monsters. The nicerways do make for regular sore throats, extreme fits of frustration & the occasional desire to run as far away as my long legs will carry me. Keep it real! Still, communication creates a much more harmonious environment in the living quarters than violence, so for that reason alone, eye am working at it agressively. Cheers to those of you who join!
Me? Locked down over a tantrum? No. Not me. Too much to do. Too much to cee.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Leafy greens just do not hit the bottom. Ever. Not like greasy home-cooked fried chicken. Yes, chile'! Gluttony in the best light. Though "organic" & "no water added", my soul nor my stomach sits well right now. These craving for protein have lead me to a guilt-filled path of backsliding. With all the grease involved, my clutch is so slippery that "getting a grip" hasn't happened yet.
Plus, the way eye am looking in these here jeans...uhm,uhm,uhm! Granny would be so proud!
The meat just settles in my hips nowadays. & that's a marvelous sight! Having been mostly underweight (except during pregnancy), it does a body good to celebrate womanhood. While so many of my sister-girls complain of excess, the Great Architect makes certain that eye work for every pound. With the foul-feed, my weight has peaked at 135 lbs. That's at 5'11". My regular weight is around 127, but during strict Vegan periods eye might hit 115. That's just how it goes.
(Over)Indulging in a habit that was supposedly 10 years "controlled" has me buggin' out.
Is that a sign of extreme weakness? Has hunger simply gotten the best of me? Can recommitting exclusively to nuts & tofu really get me past this?
Photo: Pregnant w/ Kush in 2000
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville) has an exhibit, African Traditions, that the children & eye just cannot experience enough. We invited another family to visit the Museum with us today for our the third viewing. We had a nice time.
Too see the guide looking to me constantly for approval each time she spoke on the culture was totally humoring. After a while it felt uncomfortable because as the others in our appointed tour group noticed her behavior, they began to look to me to help her clean up her sketchy details about Afrakan culture.
"Do you know about this?", a gentleman asked me, as the escort tried to find the words to describe the traditional "Rites of Passage" Ceremony that takes place at 13 for many young ladies on the continent. Time after time she referred to it as "Bush School" (commonly named), but she lacked the insight needed in order to convey the ritual without sounding pejorative. Just as she did when she pointed out Western influence in many of the paintings and remarked that everyone around the world "tries to do what we do in the West."
But it's cool. It's common. Still unfortunate how the truth about Afrakan culture has to come in slow-leaks, not overwhelming indoctrination like the teachings of Europe. One would think that we would have easy access to truth related to our earliest existence as earth creatures. The research has been done. Why hasn't it been made readily available? Hmmm...
We were able to release a bit of creative build-up in the process. That was fun!
No matter this is the third mask we've made this year. This one is definitely my best yet.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
If you think that this photo from last Friday shows me more exhausted than usual, you can only imagine me 4 days & approx. only 22 hours of sleep later. Let's just say...it's not so pretty. Eye imagine that "charbroiled" would be the best way to describe myself this cooked. Eye am done! Ya hear me?
When eye go for weeks on end with minimal sleep & few completed REM cycles, negative aspects of my person that are normally beneath the surface become proactive like teenage acne. Moods shift from aloof to grouchy at random. The scramble taking place in my brain becomes evident by the clutter formed in various piles around my workspace. Insomnia continues to have it's way with me even though my body craves rest.
Help! Save me from my restless self.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Things sometimes become so complex that you just need to hear yourself outside of your own mind for a change. Friends are good for manifesting such moments. One of my dearest sister-girls (of 16 years) afforded me the chance to sort aloud tonight. We spent 3 1/2 hours just sharing, which we only do about once a year now. We both have four children plus extremely demanding careers so most of our interaction ends in send these days. Our exchange tonight was magical, as we both needed the exact same thing at the exact same time - each other. Being able to capitalize on that dire desire is what continues to grow our sisterhood.
Eye love you, Na! Family time tomorrow ;-). All together now...
"Spike" Shelton Jackson Lee ( his last two names the inverse of my middle two) celebrates his birth on today. His latest works always seem beneath my radar as late. Eye faithfully followed everything from Joe's Bed-stuy Barber Shop to theHuey P. Newton Story. After that, my cinematic transcript gets sketchy. Too bad he doesn't have a website.
During the shooting of the "Sandwiches" video shoot, we shopped at Spike's Joint West. We purchased a few pieces that would make for great wall hanging if we ever unroll & frame them. Maybe that will be our tribute to him. Matting our classic "Do the Right Thing" movie poster for display. Jeah!
A review of the"Oriana lee EP" has landed in Sister Kelli Anderson's web-journal. You shole know how to lay the shine on! Thanks for letting me live, Queen!
Spring Break begins right now. As my alarm rings alerting me to prepare for skool, eye sit here typing & gloating at the prospect an inhibited pace through the next 5 days. Whoopee! Eye can hardly contain the anticipation.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Adrian Constant came through with his camera & lights this week & ended up with hundreds of incredible shots. This guy's photographic eye has so advanced since we started working together a little more than a year ago. Saving my most sincere expression of appreciation for the man himself, allow me to simply state that Adrian's willingness to share himself with us so readily restores a sense of hope that kind souls do still exist in this snakepit known as the business. Though he has done a superb job capturing us aesthetically, his gentle spirit has captured my affection. This picture he took of us during the session for Something To Cope last summer ('05).
From last week:
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Maskuline Phyzeke channels his creative energy into perfecting his Super gear. Without the TV to zap all of those wayward ideas, the children have kicked play into high speed. Hooray for bad electrical wiring!
With no working television, youtube serves as a fill for what would traditionally be brief, sporadic, unconcentrated moments of eye-candy.
Peace Be Upon the Infinite Hiphop Instructor, Professor X (Lumumba Carson) who returned to the essence today.
X-Clan has been credited for leading so many of us to the Afrocentric well back in '90. A homeboy of mine had a tiny,crunched up, a-b, dull yellow hoopty. The tape deck in that ride ran so many cycles of To the East, Blackwards that we were unknowingly creating a militant motor that would eventually refuse to endorse our juvenile rhethoric. Without the comfort of the car, we found creative ways to get out of class in order to sneak off to listen in a walkman (usually sharing the same device & headset - he left; me right) just long enough to get gassed about "the revolution" that we were planning at our high school. That plan was sabotaged minutes prior to "takeover", but eye will eventually disclose those details at another time.
Having spoken with Brother J several times on intimate terms over the past year, the news of The Overseer's asension rushed my blood just the way Dilla had weeks prior. Too much eye tell ya'! Too many connections!
Condolences to family & friends. You are in thought & prayer. Brother J, you are covered. Peace, Blak.
Peace Be Upon the BLAK MAN known as Sugar Shaft.
To have arrived in my own dream only to witness many of the familiar peripheal images literally vanishing along the walk as they appear within approach makes it difficult to keep looking around because eye now recognize that the dream is indeed an illusion.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Synthesis arrived today. It's all good! Their designer decided to go with the same Adrian Constant photo that Unchaste used for their site. BTW- Adrian will shoot studio (A Padded Room Room With A View) flicks this evening. We're hoping for some good ones for Act Your Waist Size, as well as the Something To Cope promotional campaign. That's the thing about picture taking. One never really knows which one will be that shot. Let's just hope for a couple classics. Word up!
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Corey Bloom must have done some serious scribing in the new issue of Synthesis Magazine. Feedback has come from various folks, so it has finally moved me to go down to the bookstore to find out exactly what the hype is all about. He said that he put a few copies in the mail, but it seems that eye will go take a sneak peak.
My youngest sister came to visit this weekend. As always, we had a complete blast! It's so odd even still that my sisters live in a different city from my mother & self. They never returned home from college, but rather sculpted their own lives. That was my plan too, only a high school sweetheart gave me only a foot or two of rope allowing me to roam only as far as Murfreesboro, TN (30 mi. outside of Nashville). So much for getting away...huh?
Friday, March 10, 2006
" I GOTTA' KICK SOMETHIN' THAT MEANS SOMETHIN' "
"Nature is so naturalistic", as Kana feels it; she speaks it. Radnor Lake happens to be one of Nashville's best kept nooks. Wilderness amidst the hustle & bustle. We go on field trips every Friday, so today, this was our outing. As Spring makes itself more evident, eye can only imagine the life that has yet to present itself in this pastoral surrounding. Let's just say, we will return for many Friday's to come.
Who loves "Raise It Up" like eye do? Just go on give it up. As Payroll tells it, every woman has been put in a position where she has had to consider hoeing. While what he offers makes sense, his backing is lacking, so who really knows. What eye can say it that something about Jay Dee's music makes the pelvic area move. Maybe we all consider "dancing" in like moments. Shesh...can't even lie about it.
Thursday, March 9, 2006
As another oddity, we have some weird type of indirect tie to Superman developing this week, so this all hits even harder as a result. More on this later.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Three greats passed on yesterday. How ironic, this particularly being the day that marks two years of Granny underground also happens to be the day the Creator choose Gordon Parks to return to the essence. The Learning Tree was my introduction to his talent, and ever since he has been a famed icon in my world. Though he obviously walked a full path, my world seems less intuitive...less insightful.
It has been my natural desire to post for the past few days, but thank Blogger for my absence. There has been no functionality within this system for a minue, therefore no correspondence. Then, once eye finally decided to try MySpace for the blog angle, technical difficulties got in the way all over again. Just don't think that it's me "acting funny". Not this time anyway.
Saturday, March 4, 2006
Would you believe that one of my closest sister-girls jokingly accused me of having rescinded my "ghetto pass". She told me that she was going to report me to the "Ghetto Officals" as a sellout. We laughed & eye threw a few playful jabs back letting her know that her point was moot. And while we obviously do not share opinion, based on her ever-all encompassing hood perspective, she clearly makes sense.
1. She has noted that the children talk like they are from another country since they carefully annunciate each word. Also, their dialect is virtually unidentifiable which seems odd stemming from our twangy roots here in Nashville.
2. "How you not gon' eat cheese on pizza?" she has questioned. Our mostly wholistic diet perplexes even the astute vegetarian at times, so we know that whole grains & fresh mixed greens do not fit in directly with the heavily-fried over-processed meals that we grew up devouring.
3. Since bearing seeds, we have gone out of the way to plant in low-crime neighborhoods. We all know that poverty breeds desperation drives crime. Period. Our current community is multicultural, which greatly differs from the makeup of Shepherdwood.
All said to note that eye understand. But wait...there's more...
My beloved sister-girl is only "right" by her standards; and eye respect that. Not that being "ghetto" is anything to aspire to anymore - my sisters & eye used to work at it a lil' bit since Granny did not allow us be natural hoodrats - but, not anymore. Fact is that my ghetto makeup may not be as evident in the light of post-ghetto living, but like it or not, it will always exist within.
Learning to survive in the ghetto makes it possible for me to fight through each day with the same vengeance that eye once had to in order to defend my physical self. Kicking butt from time to time was a way for me to assess my physical strength. Now we fight to keep our minds sharp. That's the only difference.
Friday, March 3, 2006
It's 3:03 p.m. right now. Eye just sat down to post & there you have it. If you think this moment was planned, then you know. Premeditated? No.
1 : the act of predestinating : the state of being predestinated
2 : the doctrine that God in consequence of his foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation
After two days of premature summer-like weather here in Nashville, our setting appears more normal today. More appropriate for the season. Gloomy skies cover the mid-morning in a haunting back-to-the-future moment that throws me behind two years to the day. Since then, 303 has become among the most visible math in my ever-consciousness - present throughout the sequence known as my post-Granny era.
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Here's proof that television most definitely affects the erratic behavior of a precocious young king with locks. Positive or negative - influence evident.
Okayplayer JohnBrook poses a very compelling argument regarding the effect that music has on behavior! His examples support to the fullest. See "The Lesson".
I second the emotion that he raises!
The old adage that what "can" happen "will" happen surely comes to fruition at some point. Influence, in any manner, indeed will be very simply negative or positive - likely both (balance). Also, everyone will not dispel the energy generated from music and specifically lyrics in the same way. While someone may be influenced to fight anybody in sight (Shook Ones :Part 2 scored an all out brawl at my college graduation party), another may just boob their heads with all of the force their bodies can muster.
But knowing that music is truly the most universal form of communication, leads me to be believe that it can sway or "influence" behavior as all other forms.
Speak Brother John!