Saturday, March 4, 2017

Remember the Time - Throwback Saturday!

Today, I felt like reaching back and watching a feel-good video. That's why I'm calling this my throwback Saturday.

How many of you remember this video by Michael Jackson? I will never forget the first time I saw it. I wasn't conscious of holding my breath until we were a few seconds in. For me, it truly was breathtaking, and to see so many familiar faces --I loved it! It was like a mini-movie. To our knowledge, this type of thing hadn't really been done before then.

I even Remember the Time that my sister, I, and our girlfriends, tried to get the steps. It was our thing to hang out on a Saturday, shopping, preparing to go to the club; whatever. This time we wanted to have the steps just right, hopefully before anyone else. Silly, huh? We didn't care. We were so excited, we recorded the video. We ran it back and back, time and time again. We stood before the mirror, practicing. It was so much fun. We'd watch the one who did a move just right. Then we'd try it. We'd bump into someone, or occasionally step on a foot. We'd sing along, We would even double over in a fit of laughter. We'd drink something cool, then it was, "Let's do it one more time." That was back in the day. It was what we did. As blossoming young women, we didn't have the adult worries and woes that we do now. We had hope, for the future, for the world, and we had joy. We had youth and smarts on our side.

Watching this video brought some of that joy back. It made me smile. The music made me want to get up and try those steps all over again. When I watched this video, it reminded me of how every day I carry my girls -- who all happen to be formidable women now -- in my heart.

I hope you watch this video. I hope you feel just a bit of what I felt, then and now.

Welcome to my th'owback Saturday, y'all! Thanks for letting me share a memory. You know it's what I sometimes do.

Luh U.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Luh Dat Man - An Ode to Prince

Hello Friends and Fam,

I haven't gotten with you in a long time. Yet knowing me as some of you do, you are aware that I never stop writing. You know too that sometimes life takes over, preventing me from blogging as much as I should or could. However, today I just had to get with you. Actually, I've been meaning to for a few days.

As of this writing, the world knows that we recently lost our iconic musical genius, our diminutive demigod, the unparalleled artist known as . . .Prince. Due to this loss, millions of people are deeply saddened. Why? Because we luh dat man, present tense, although he is now gone.

Listen, on the day that we lost him I had someone say to me, "People die; what is the big deal?"

What is the big deal?! I had to consciously breathe. Slowly. Now I must explain.

Prince Rogers Nelson was not just another singer, lyricist, performer, guitarist, or musician. He wasn't your ordinary patron of the arts, philanthropist, or music mentor, either. He was the height of those things, and then some. To his die hard fans he was the ultimate. It was the reason we followed him through his many evolutions -- from the late seventies until 2016. 

When he wasn't in the public eye, as his true fans we eagerly awaited his return. To paraphrase his song, Call My Name we knew it had only been three hours, but without him we felt like we just might have gone insane. We felt that way because...we luh dat man, and we did for a plethora of reasons, a few of which I will try to encapsulate right here, right now.

Why we loved that man:

Reason # 1
He was just so darn aesthetically appealing. Eye-candy, he was pleasing to look upon. Forever fashionable, he was a vision, from his beautiful and ever-changing mane, to his gorgeous guy-lined beautiful brown doe eyes. Who could forget his pretty pucker, those magic hands, or that lithe body that he kept so tight and trim? And the way he wielded his guitar, the consummate phallic symbol; need I say more?   

Reason # 2
He was unbelievably sensual, and he knew it. To paraphrase him again, in a word, [he was] sex. He wasn't only sexy of body, but in mind. The former was how he hooked us. The latter was how he reeled us in, and kept us his willing and captivated audience. And talk about his prowess as a musician; how he could make a guitar weep! No wonder he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Then he had an arsenal of primal sounds, the likes of which you'd be hard-pressed to hear another man utter. Hearing it would just raise goose flesh. As a woman, I will just go on and say it: he was sexy -- as sexy as I am. Mind you now, for most women, there just aren't enough men we want to say that about. 

Reason # 3
We loved him because he said the things many men find hard to say. Perhaps some find it tough to articulate certain sentiments because to them it is foreign. Or maybe some are not as in touch with their soulful side as we would like them to be; I do not know. I only know that our beautiful Prince wooed us. Cerebral, as women are, he understood our most important unspoken rule. We need to hear the words, and often. You see that's why he could say Let's Go Crazy and so many of us wholeheartedly went, shedding clothing as we did. 

Reason # 4
He was fearless. As a writer, that was the quality I prized most. I believe that lack of fear, or pushing past it, enabled him to elevate his songwriting to the level of art form. Those of you who know more than just his commercialized works understand where I'm coming from. He often allowed whatever he felt to flow. I imagine it coursed through him, thereby giving us lyrics, guitar licks, and the imagery in song of which we could never have dreamed.

That fearlessness was inspiring. It gave me the courage to write the type of books I write. His audacity gave me the pluck to write this to you today. That was the gift he gave; if it happened, it found its way into one of his songs, into the studio, then ultimately onto the stage that he so masterfully commanded.

Reason # 5
We loved that man because he was spiritual, and he didn't try to conceal it. He was on a quest, and his thirst for knowledge would not be quenched. Wanting to know things, he avidly sought the divine. He did not want to know someones Grandma's God, alone, he wanted more. This led him to fervently pursue  deity. As a result he allowed deified creativity to flow through him. Thus, he could move millions to tears, to near-frenzy, worship, or to any emotional level or combination in between.

Reason # 6
He was philanthropist, one who gave untold sums to charities and grassroots initiatives. Many times he did so on the hush, minus the fanfare that so many narcissistic celebrities seek. It was his desire to see children educated so that they could in turn grow up and become college graduates or successful in other areas of life. Although his causes were many, he never forgot individuals. When they least expected it, he would surprise the unsuspecting with much needed aid. He had a heart for people. He mentored scores of musicians. It was also his belief that even those deemed terrible offenders could be reformed.

Reason # 7
We loved him because he was knowledgeable. He was aware of things going on in the world surrounding him. He kept abreast of politics. He spent time with and was often interviewed by some of the greatest minds of our time. Proving he wasn't all fluff, when he chose to, he could hold his own, articulating particular points of view in the most viable and straight forth manner. 

For some, nothing is as big a turn-on as one who is willing to learn and grow mentally. A smart man? Who doesn't love one, especially that man who isn't arrogant about it, but just wants to drop a little knowledge when he can? Who doesn't love a brotha who can talk till the wee hours, and yet enthrall while speaking on any and every thing?

Those of us of a certain age can remember landlines, and late night marathon phone sessions. Those are the times Prince took us back to, when he so chose -- rappin' till the sun came up. . . Remembering these types of things are one of the reasons some of us are reeling, and still feeling like we did back in the day. We know others think it is time, time to let go, but we can't. We can hardly bear to do so without (to quote him again) tears of joy falling down on us

However, in knowing that our lovely Prince has transitioned, we must remember what he said. We shouldn't waste any more prayers.

Sure, we're not ready to disconnect, not from him, because we would still like to hold him, in our hearts and minds. We want to hear his voice, see his image, and gaze upon his likeness in concert just one more time.

Why? For all the reasons above and more. 
Simply put: we luh dat man, 

Adore him we will . . . 

Until the end of time.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I had to say bye-bye to my boy...

I've got to tell you who are pet owners, I've had a rough few days...and now I am a bit saddened. I had to say bye-bye to my boy. We had to put my cat, Sparky, to sleep. (That's him relaxing on my lap during happier times.) 'The Sleep' was our last option. My little boy was ill with no chance of recovering. I'd prayed, took him to the vet, and did everything I could. Yet his insides were failing.

I recalled that last year about this time, we were in a similar cycle. However, after a stay at the vet and with us implementing a different diet, he recovered. We got to spend one more wonderful year with him. Thinking on that, and how Sparky -- whom others had abandoned as a kitten -- barged into our lives one waning summer afternoon, a sweet peace filled me up inside. That was when I knew, of a surety, that it was time. We had to let go.

I drove to the vet's office and held him and told him of all the joy that he'd brought. With my throat aching, I whispered through tears that he would soon run free, on another plane, minus the little body that was ill. Then it became very liberating to watch him just drift off. I just had to be there at the end. Sure, it was painful; I'd seen another woman on the pet hospital patio bent over and crying her eyes out as a man tried to comfort her. Looking back, now I know she must have had as hard a decision to make as I did.

I also wondered, why can't we do something similar for our human loved ones when they reach the point of no return? To all you euthanasia haters DO NOT WRITE me. One: today, I don't want to hear/see/read it. And Two, I'm just doing the equivalent of thinking aloud. So again I say, let this one go.

One good thing did come of that hurtful experience though. We got to meet Dr. Josh, D.V.M. He was informative and patient and so very comforting. He and the other pet staff members there are truly the best.

I have since realized that when the time comes for us as humans, God will easily receive us too -- doesn't matter how we exit.

Well my darlings, I sincerely thank you for being here for me today. In parting I must say that I will always cherish the memory of my little Sparky. He had such a sparkling personality -- thus his name. Although he is gone, I am so grateful that my precious pet entered my life.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beyond Forty and Fabulous

You too can be beyond forty and fabulous. "What do you mean?" and "How?" You might ask. Well, there once was a time when a woman approaching her late thirties would begin to balk. Why? for the simple fact that she knew that the big 4 0 was looming.
Now days though, many women don't succumb to that notion. We realize that our twenties are the years of discovery. During that time we often enter the workforce and begin to carve out our place in the world. Then  the age of thirty and above brings change. We no longer have to  strive so hard to cause people or institutions to take us seriously, perhaps because by this time we've got a few achievements to our credit. Then bam! We're fabulously forty and beyond...
These I deem the opportunity years. I say so because by this time, we are complex multi-faceted individuals who resist the notion of getting older and beginning a downward spiral. Conversely, we know that we are getting better. Therefore, it is onward and upward! Often pushing forty, and beyond, we have left mindless frivolity behind. We find ourselves building something -- a  life, a portfolio, perhaps even a legacy. We have been, and have yet to go many places. By this time we are at least willing to think about trying something new, something that may even reside outside our comfort zone.
By forty and beyond, we may also have learned another language. Or like a few fab female friends of mine, we may have obtained a license for, and have learned to ride our very own motorcycles. Perhaps we parasail,  mix the perfect drink, or we just might be that sister who gives great party. Beyond forty, we have experienced enough to know ourselves, our likes and dislikes. We know others too; we are no longer naive girls just waiting for someone to 'pull the wool over our eyes.'
As women who are beyond forty and fabulous we have learned to trust our instincts, as well as temper our hearts -- we don't get carried away with every whim. We have distinctive tastes, and our own unique sense of style. We have opinions, and we know we don't have to always keep them to ourselves. Beyond forty and fab women are aware that we are oh so sexy and intellectual in tandem. We don't desire to look teenaged or twenty. In fact, the majority of us would not re-take the journey to get here; it was just too hard. However, we can acknowledge that along the way, we achieved and learned priceless things/lessons.

Beyond forty and fabulous women often have tried-and-true skin care regimens. We've got confidence and style. We're young at heart, and in so many ways we are endlessly formidable. In a world, my darlings, we are impressive -- to say the least; think Tyra, Hillary Clinton, Nia Long, Jill Biden, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah, Selah ward, Halle Berry, Kelly Ripa, Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer, Alice Walker, Danielle Steele, Robin Roberts, Lisa Ling, Iman, Beverly Johnson, Judy Dench, Roshumba, Sally Field, our late great sage, Maya Angelou... The list is endless!

I don't want men to feel left out. However, I simply happen to be speaking to my ladies right now, but men, we love you just the same. If you happen to be a fab beyond forty woman -- or even a man -- hit me up. Show me some love by giving me a like, or by leaving a comment. Hey, let's show the world, the fabulous beyond forty folk are a nation and not just a fateful few. And since that is the case, I believe advertisers and politicians need to take us into consideration a bit more, because indeed we have enormous buying as well as voting power.

For those of you that have yet to join this wonderful sisterhood, (and brotherhood), just know that all of the above are only a smidgen of what you have to look forward to. In parting, I can truly say what has been said for years: beyond forty truly is fabulous!

I will speak with you soon.

This post is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my fabulous Aunt Kitty.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't Go Changing the Dance

Hello Friends and Fam,
I know I've been unplugged for a while. Yet I am so happy to be chatting with you again,
so let's jump right in!

As I have written in the past, I try to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater – That used to be under the artistic direction of once-dancer par excellent Judith Jamison (below) -- whenever they are in town.
I happen to love this troupe that has performed for over 23 million people in 71 countries on multiple continents. I totally relate to the dances and the music that happens to be rooted in the unique African-American experience.

I also love that while creating his dances, the late great formally trained founder,
Alvin Ailey called forth his memories of the American south. He summoned the universal human experience so aptly expressed in the blues, gospel music, and Negro spirituals. Doing so caused him to create unbelievable works, one of which is his critically acclaimed and most popular, entitled Revelations.

Now don’t get me wrong. The company performs ballet and other dance genres. They also strive to preserve the wholly American modern dance heritage. Now more than ever is this evident. Perhaps it is due Robert Battle, who became the Ailey Dance Theater’s Artistic Director in 2011.

I must say this year, there was a distinct difference. In the past, while watching the performers, whose ethnicities widely vary, I felt powerfully moved, and stirred. I even thought about the origins of African Dance. However, there have been subtle changes which caused myself and others who attended to question whether or not the Dance Theater is moving away from the traditional, to become more mainstream.

To me ‘more mainstream’ like portions of the 2014 show are overkill. I mean who can’t turn on their TV or tune in to YouTube to watch modern dance on any number of platforms? For me what made the Ailey experience one that I looked forward to each year was the fact that the dance troupe reminded us that African dance has always played a vital role in the lives of tribal people. Dance was used in everyday life. It was significant in religious rituals too; it was used to request success from the supernatural, and to deter danger. Dance was and still is used to express emotion, and to celebrate life’s milestones.

I know that other ethnicities use dance in similar manners. 
However African dancers do what some others do not. 
They use their body’s different centers to create complex movements; 
whereas in parts of the world dancers simply move the body as a whole.

I love the isolation that African dance employs, which causes different areas of the body to rhythmically move while creating a breathtaking whole. I love the mood, set by the drum, the beat -- the actual steady heartbeat of the dance. The drum and the beat were carried to the new world when the enslavement of Africans began, in the 15 and 1600’s. In Spain, the Caribbean, and in the Americas, dance and the drumbeat were used to keep the African’s cultural connection with his and her homeland alive. However, in North America this became prohibited. Yet despite the oft times degrading harshness of their new existence, the African found a way to allow his and her spirit to occasionally soar.

My ancestors did so through beautiful transcendent dance. They allowed their moves, and their bodies -- unlike their souls and their dreams -- to adapt. Instead of lifting the feet, as prohibited, the hips took over, and the feet were slid or shuffled, as the rest of the body continued to undulate to the beat.

This type of dance is a powerful thing to watch. Not only does it speak to those of African descent, it simply speaks…to humans no matter their race, or ethnicity. This is evidenced by the millions, who like me; flock to see the Ailey Dance Theater. This is also evidenced by the dances that we see throughout the world, innumerable dances that have been Afro-Rhythmically inspired. As an African-American, I am proud to say: beautiful dance – African dance, and ethnic dance -- will forever live on. I simply hope it will do so in the performances of the Dance Theater that was founded by Alvin Ailey, the creative genius now gone who also believed in African-inspired dance.

As a longtime patron of the arts I have one thing to say. I plainly say to the present and future Artistic Directors who will helm this TRADITIONAL dance troupe, REMEMBER OUR ROOTS!

To see the beauty of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater click here. And be sure to see them when they visit a town near you!

To read another's point of view regarding Ailey, click here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Best Man Holiday - OMG!

Hello Friends and Fam,

I know it’s been a while. Yet I am so happy to speak with you today. I want you to know that over the holiday weekend, I got the chance to check out a few movies that I'd been longing to see, one of
which was 'The Best Man Holiday.'

Now I must tell you, some are calling this sequel to 1999's movie 'The Best Man' a comedy. However, I would much rather call this 2013 film that was written and directed by Malcolm D, Lee a dramedy. I say so because although it has its comedic moments, The Best Man Holiday brings the drama!

Reprising their roles from the original film were actors Taye Diggs, Nia Log, Terrance Howard, Sanaa Lathan, and Morris Chestnut -- just to name a few. To one and all I'd like to say kudos; a job well done. To director and my fellow writer, Malcolm D. Lee, I'm saying awesome, dude! To you reading this, I want to say, if you enjoyed the first movie, then run, don't walk because you've got to see this one -- and ignore the naysayers. You know how the haters are. They're always around, always spewing negativity, but forget them and just go.

Listen. Once, after reading a book I'd penned, a woman wrote to tell me that she believed my work was  universal. Well I want to say the same thing to Malcolm D Lee. Man, your work is universal. I feel like these characters that he's created could be any nationality, any race, or any ethnic group; yet within any of those parameters, the things that made this film so moving and entertaining would wind up the same. Not only is the movie about the coming together of friends and lovers, but it is truly about the ties that bind. The things that make life worth living.

Friends and family, I also love how the writer/director took a theme (I won't spoil it for you) and deftly wove it into the fabric of this work. I like the way the characters seamlessly carried it throughout.

Those of you who read me often know that some of my readers feel that my characters become 
their friends (in their heads). Well, my darlings I happened to feel that same way while watching Mr. 
Lee's first film 15 years ago. This go 'round I really felt that way again. Without spoiling the plot for
those of you who didn't see the movie yet, I just want to tell you that there are highs and lows
--devastating lows.

And let's discuss that sexy-a_ _  Morris Chestnut. My God, did he do a piece of acting in this film! Back in the day many of us fell in love with Mr. Sexy Chocolate. Yep you remember when he burst onto the screen in the movie ‘Boyz in the Hood.’ But sadly afterward he did a bit of a nose dive. By that I mean in each film thereafter, he never really seemed to become any of the characters he played. The characters always became him. Disappointingly, all viewers could  see was Morris Chestnut. However... in this film he again allowed the character to take center stage. Without being overdone or corny, he went there. Now I dare say that many a viewer has or will fall in love with him all over again.

And speaking of characters, Terrence Howard did his usual. With his flamboyant portrayal of Quentin, the outrageous character that one can't help but like, Terrence often stole scenes from his fellow actors. 

I must mention the ladies too. They were as believable, beautiful,and audacious as they were in the first film. Yet this time around, Monica Calhoun was no shrinking violet. This time she was absolutely formidable as the character Mia. Her heart-felt portrayal of a woman, a wife, a sister-friend, and a mother, who has to make peace with one of the toughest curve balls that life will ever throw one was truly inspiring. As Mia, this actress reminded me of the few things that really matter the most in life. And I ain't ashamed to tell you, most of the scenes with her in them had me dissolving in tears.

Well, my darlings, it's been fun but I've got to run so I'll leave you with this. If you do get the chance to see a few movies this holiday season, do make 'The Best Man Holiday' one of them. Oh, and carry yourself a few Kleenex. If your heart isn't hard, you're gonna need them.

Until we meet again... In all you do, be blessed.