Wednesday, December 16, 2009

College Degree vs. Experience

I graduated from college on December 13, 2008. One year later and I still haven’t scored my dream job. No one told me it would be this hard. No one taught me how to strategically search and apply for a job. And no one prepared me for the rejection I would soon face. Therefore, I blame no one… but myself. It’s my fault. I admit it. I should have taken the initiative and set the standard for my own life. But it’s too late. Or is it?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Element of Freedom

I may be biased when it comes to critiquing Alicia Keys. So what?! It's blatantly obvious that I am one of her biggest fans (notice I said biggest and not die-hard). I will not follow her to every city she visits and I can't tell you everything about her personal life. But, I do know the words to all of her songs, the title to every CD she's released, her real name and many more irrelevant facts.

The fact of this matter is, her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom was released today (and yes, I bought it). Another classic collection of heartfelt songs indeed. Too hard for me to pick a standout favorite, so I won't. Each track brings about its own feel and I dig each one. However, I'm secretly hoping that "Put It In A Love Song" is chosen as her next single.

If you haven't copped it yet, go do so now! Or download it... your choice.

Just give it a fair listen.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Precious

After sitting through two screenings, reading various reviews and engaging in multiple conversations about this film, I am finally able to develop my take on it.

Precious, such a fitting yet ironic name for a 16 year old girl who is not treated like a dearly beloved, darling child. She is sexually abused, impregnated twice and infected with HIV at the hands of her father, physically and verbally abused by her mother and cast out by society because she is "different". This tragically beautiful story, based on the novel Push by Sapphire and set in 1987, causes a surplus of emotions to arise within viewers.

The misspelled introductory credits bleed away from the screen to unveil Precious sitting in class, partaking in one of her many daydreams/hallucinations. This time she's fantasizing about having a rendezvous with her math teacher. The fantasy is interrupted by a call to the Principal's office. Precious gets kicked out of school for being pregnant a second time and then sent to an alternative school for a supposed chance at life. The fact that she can barely read or write is then revealed, but her lesbian teacher, Blu Rain introduces her to a world of words where both love and hope exist. Ms. Rain helps Precious to realize her worth through deeply involved reading and writing sessions, despite her many heartbreaking circumstances while a glimpse of faith is showcased when Precious daydreams of singing in church.

The film is at times uncomfortably funny as humor is used to overshadow the extremity of events taking place in Precious' life. Her father abandons the family, leaving Precious to endure the scrutiny of her mother, Mary who progresses through several stages of vicious attacks in psychotic, jealous rages, foolishly blaming Precious for stealing her man. Mary uses any object within her reach to throw at Precious (and her baby in one scene), coinciding with degrading profanity and insults. But in the end Precious fights back, showing that she is more than an obese, illiterate, welfare dependent teen. However, Precious' dreams of being rescued by a light skinned guy with "good hair" and seeing a white girl every time she looks into the mirror are unintentional, but obvious racial innuendos that vilify the African American race. On another note, inspiration in the film is minimally recognized and felt, but is exemplified through Precious' unbelievable strength and raw inner beauty.

Mary begs for forgiveness when she is brought face to face with her daughter after months of separation, but Precious is unyielding. Remembering all the pain she suffered at the hands of her mother, she bids her goodbye. The conclusion is confusing and incomplete. It simply shows Precious walking down the street with her two children, leaving viewers uncertain about what her future holds. Much like Precious, one can only imagine and hope that she went on to live a happy life (as the theme song "Happy" by Leona Lewis alludes).


"Dey talk like TV channels I don't watch."--Precious


"Push yourself!"--Ms. Rain

SN: Mo'Nique and Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe both deserve an Oscar nod for their roles.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bye Bye Bobby

Bobby Bowden announced his retirement on December 1, 2009. "The bowl game will be my last game as head football coach at Florida State," said Bowden. "It's been a great 34 seasons. I'd like to thank my wife Ann and my family for their love and support. There were a lot of nights when I was on the road and not at home at the dinner table. We all know that's part of it. I'd also like to thank the coaches and their families who helped build the program into something that is special. You can't have a successful program without players and we have been blessed to have young men who are winners both on and off the field. I want to thank them and their families for committing 4-5 years of their lives to me and to FSU. Finally, I'd like to thank the University and FSU fans who have supported the Florida State program. We've got one more game and I look forward to enjoying these next few weeks as the head football coach."

The Seminoles haven't had what some may call a decent season as of late, struggling to win games against mediocre opponents and dealing with the conflict of trying to find solace in a solid quarterback. However, Bobby Bowden created history with the team, setting milestones and breaking records that
will more than likely go unmatched for years to come. He exits with an overall coaching record of 388-129-4 and a plethora of memories for fellow colleagues, players and fans to savor.

National Coach of the Year six times (1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999)

National Championships in 1993 and again in 1999

12 ACC championships

14 straight seasons among the Associated Press' Top Five

Two Heisman Trophy winners

and a Rhodes Scholar

Induction into the College Football Hall of Fame as an active coach

Second in all-time wins by a D-1 coach

34 years as the head coach at Florida State with only one losing season

As a graduate of The Florida State University, I am proud to say that I bleed garnet and gold... No need for band-aids. Despite the circumstances, still screaming: Go Noles!

True Seminole til I die.

Farewell, Bobby. Wishing you a happy retirement.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Living Color... Purple

The Color Purple Musical came to town... my town. Who woulda thunk it? I was fortunate enough to be able to attend on opening/press night as a media invite. After the show, I met and mingled with some of the cast, got to meet Angela Robinson/Shug Avery (whom I interviewed by phone and concocted an article about for E U Mag... she welcomely autographed my article, proud moment for me) and my mom also got to tag along. "So, this is what it's like to be a writer," she solemnly asked. Needless to say she was a bit starstruck. So was I.

The Musical deviates from certain familiarized elements made popular by the movie and the novel, but it still contained the core theme created by author, Alice Walker: progressing through grave pain to reach pure love. Though some audience members complained about it being too long (like the movie), the elongation was much needed considering the newly incorporated scenes and messages. In the musical, the relationship between Celie and Shug is explored a lot deeper, Mister redeems himself by showing remorse for his cruel actions and Nettie's African journey is also highlighted and showcased through a dance breakdown coinciding with Celie reading her letters.

The song selection drove it all home. Music mixed with dialogue and visuals lured the audience in for active participation and allowed them to completely connect with the action on stage. Truly an experience I will never forget. Can't wait to see it again this Saturday (as a regular, without the urge to critique).

"God get pissed off when you walk through a field and don't notice the color purple."--Shug Avery

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Good Hair"


After seeing Chris Rock's "Good Hair", I am overwhelmed with mixed emotions. A little offended by the unexpected truth, but it is what it is...

The documentary is based on the upkeep of the African American mane. I gasped during many shocking revelations throughout the film, partly embarrassed and somewhat ashamed of the value we (African American women) place on something so simple, yet so complex: hair.

The most angering assumption is that black women get relaxers to look more like white women. Although I can only speak for myself in this case, I can safely say that the majority of black women will expel that claim. I got my first relaxer before I turned 10 years old and it wasn't because I wanted to look more like the little white girls. My mom gave me a "kiddie perm" because, like most little black girls, my hair was too nappy to comb.

My reasoning for getting relaxers now, besides the fact that my hair is now addicted to the chemicals, is because it makes my hair a whole lot easier to manage. It's no secret that relaxers can in fact damage one's hair, but once you go crack you can never go back. Nicknamed "creamy crack" for obvious reasons, the formula, for some, is much needed. Ironically, though I got my first relaxer before I got my period, I don't recommend nor do I condone little girls getting relaxers before they enter high school. Nor do I respect a male who chooses to rock relaxed hair like it's manly. But that's a different story...

Weave = the second aspect of the film that opened my eyes to the ugly truth. Surprisingly, it has been a year since I've worn "fake" hair. I got my first weave shortly after I got my first relaxer, for the same reason. Weave is a black woman's best friend. Sad, but true. Every black woman will or already has gone through the experience of bonding, tracking, braiding or netting (Google for explanations of each). However, if we all knew where the "fake" hair that we choose to wear actually comes from, the weave franchise probably wouldn't be as successful as it is.

In the movie, Chris Rock highlights the origin, showing Indian women being shaved bald and donating their hair for religious purposes... only to have American women flaunt it religiously. Crazy ain't it? Some women will pay thousands of dollars for someone else's hair. That's a major problem. The most I've ever paid for a hairdo is $150 and I considered that to be way too much. In hindsight, we as black women are popularizing and exploiting a product that we don't even own. However, when it comes to white women and weave, it's not considered that big of a deal. Maybe it's because their fake flaunting, labeled as extensions, is never obvious... but I digress.

"Good Hair" was very informative, but at times it seemed as if Rock was mocking the black woman... as if it's wrong to place such value on hair when behind it is where beauty lies for some women. Or making a joke of black men not being able to touch it. Damn right! Especially if I just spent eight hours at the salon suffering from relaxer burns and toasting under the dryer just to get that perfect look.

All joking aside, hair is hair. And what one chooses to do with it is his or her own choice. Freedom of bleach!

Me rocking my "natural look"
Good hair? You be the judge...

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lyrically Speaking


Music is my soul
the method of my existence
A day without song leaves me drifting in the distance

I function to the beat
It guides me as I jive
Can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think, can’t drive
without the fuel that keeps me alive

The rhythm gets me moving
Left, right, forward
Constant inspiration
for the goal I’m leaning toward

One listen to a tune
Now my day can begin
The hours tick by and the same way
it ends

Words ignite in me
A pyrrhic sensation
So I write
until I reach an emotional revelation

Harmonious sounds caress my ears
and release me from all of my constricting fears

I’m free…

Not a victim of soundless tranquility
But an obsessor of beautiful melody

I can see, I can breathe, I can dream, I can be

Because

I have Music
and Music has me
I sat down for 10 minutes and quickly jotted down 20 of my favorite R&B songs, no particular order or era:
  1. Brandy-Have You Ever
  2. Alicia Keys-If I Ain't Got You
  3. Mary J. Blige-Not Gon' Cry
  4. Usher-U Got It Bad
  5. Mario-Let Me Love You
  6. Beyonce-Irreplaceable
  7. Ne-Yo-So Sick
  8. Keyshia Cole-Love
  9. Aaliyah-The One I Gave My Heart To
  10. LeToya Luckett-Torn
  11. Boys II Men-I'll Make Love To You
  12. Trey Songz-Can't Help But Wait
  13. Mariah Carey-We Belong Together
  14. Whitney Houston-I Will Always Love You
  15. Monica-Don't Take It Personal
  16. Nsync-Gone
  17. Chris Brown-Say Goodbye
  18. Rihanna-Take A Bow
  19. Omarion-O
  20. J. Holiday-Bed

Judging from the list, it appears as though I have a thing for love songs. Hmmm...

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Monday, September 28, 2009

KiD CuDi

Man on the Moon: The End of Day= classic Hip Hop. Kid Cudi is a lyrical genius with no regard for any particular genre, hence the alternative/pop feel of his sound. A different type of Hip Hop indeed.

Cudi pours out his soul on each track, shedding light on personal events that helped shape his style and ability. Man on the Moon: The End of Day is a true presentation of self-expression. Kid Cudi's smooth delivery makes him pleasing to listen to and easy to understand.

The Cleveland, Ohio native pulls from his environmental experiences, concocting a mature, melodic flow with a creative mixture of riffs.

My personal favorite tracks are "Pursuit of Happiness" and "Soundtrack 2 My Life" but the CD is a definite no-skipper. Go cop it!



*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mama Whit

Whitney Houston has returned with a new album, new attitude and a new look (please, pretty please... don't call it a comeback). She insists!

Her latest studio album I Look To You was released on August 31, 2009 and contains 11 breathtaking, Whitney-still-has-it tracks. "Million Dollar Bill" is the second single and also my favorite song on the album (track #1 if you're wondering).

Whitney's vocals are noticeably conditioned, causing her to sound tremendously better than ever. She has shaken all the negative controversy surrounding her personal life and is ready for a new start. Go Whitney! Welcome back (not that she ever went anywhere)!


Winter storms have come
and darkened my sun
After all that I've been through
Who on earth can I turn to
I look to you
I look to you
After all my strength is gone
In you I can be strong
I look to you

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Friday, September 18, 2009

2009 VMAs

Oh, Kanye.

The 2009 VMAs were quite er um ah... surprising, to say the least. Definitely some shocking moments. I must say I was extremely impressed with the opening MJ tribute, totally blew BET out of the water. Then again, MTV did have more time to prepare so I digress. The HD quality seemed to be heightened during the live performances, very enticing... felt like I was there live in the middle of all the action. However, there were one too many mishaps. Security must have been asleep all night, allowing two perpetrators to bombard the stage at the beginning and end of the show (i.e. Kanye West and Lil Mama). Hilarious, but despicable. Get it together MTV! You've already replaced your music programs with an excessively abundant amount of reality shows. This is strike two! I'm just sayin...

Let's take a look back at some of the OMG and WTF moments:
Performance Highlights.

R.I.P MJ

Madonna!

Russell Brand = The worst host ever!

Oh my, Katy Perry.

Pink = gutsy

Lady Gaga = No words.

Hip hip hooray, Beyonce saves the day!

SMH @ Lil Mama. The look on Jay's face = priceless
*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Despite what some might say, Tyler Perry is a cinematic genius! However, critics are quick to downgrade and at times overlook the messages within his films.

Perry has grown to become a very influential figure in the African American community and movie-goers (black and white) respect his effort. A wise person once said, "men lie, women lie... numbers don't." His 7th feature film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself shot straight to #1 its opening weekend. Tada!

Tyler Perry continues to ignore the negativity surrounding his work while focusing on touching and entertaining those who actually appreciate the sentiments portrayed on screen. I Can Do Bad All By Myself mimics Perry's obsession with pain as Taraji P. Henson explicates the effects of agonizing events that occurred throughout her life.

I Can Do All By Myself is a true story of triumph. Perry utilizes the power of music, love and religion combined to deliver each main character to a peaceful conclusion.

Grade: A-

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Broken Record

When is the last time you actually heard a song that you immediately thought was Grammy worthy or even deserving of Billboard Hot 100 placement? Those songs seem to be pretty rare these days.

The state of today's music industry is forcing listeners to accept trendy sing-a-longs that are repeated constantly on the radio. I'll admit that I'm caught up in the craze. Can you blame me? We (you included) have created a supply and demand type of relationship between artist and fan. But, there is a reciprocating effect.

How do we decide what's hot and what's not when record sales don't really suffice for the actual quality of a song? In hindsight, lyrical content. A song can be lyrically enticing with a beat that supports its message while still lacking the ability to sell.

What causes this? The answer is downloading. Illegal downloading that is. Within its realm lies an unforeseen method and a logical tendency. Why pay for something that's free? Not a rhetorical question at all, however when your favorite artist is not able to reap the benefits of hard work who's to blame?

You decide...

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Facebook vs. Myspace vs. Twitter

And so the debate begins...

You or someone you know has fallen victim to the cyber world: myspacing, facebooking or twittering your closest friends or in most cases, total strangers. However, each site has its perks and peeves.

Let's examine:

Year of Origin: 2004
Facebook: an authentic networking universe allowing users to poke and message friends in the midst of updating profiles, receiving friendly birthday reminders, adding thematic photos and posting back and forth wall-to-wall comments. Facebook users can switch networks to attract friends from around the world, add unique page applications, participate in randomly odd surveys, chat live and add meaningful notes in blog form. Objective: win the poking game.
Perk: The Poke Button
Peeve: Applications

Year of Origin: 2006
Myspace: formerly known as the most popular social networking site. Since debuting, Myspace has been trampled on by its rising competitors. However, its creators refuse to lose in the battle of the fittest. There have been recent changes in the appearance of the home page and message screen. Users are able to add a playlist of up to 10 songs to their page while decorating it with fancy backgrounds and other linked icons. Objective: find new songs to download.
Perk: Music Pages
Peeve: Young Users

Year of Origin: 2007

Twitter: a SMS text-based networking site that recently exploded onto the scene. Users are urged to type constant status updates, better known as tweets. Twitterers can decorate their profile background, upload pictures directly from their phone and direct reply to the statuses of their followers. Objective: gain as many followers as possible (follow me @littletera).

Perk: Twit Pic

Peeve: The @ sign

If you were forced to choose ONLY one site to network on which one would it be... Facebook, Myspace or Twitter? Tough choice, I know.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oo La La

I saw Maxwell LIVE in concert this past weekend, amazing/deliciously awesome! He is the ultimate crowd pleaser--seductive splits, mic humping, sexual allusions and freestyling of dirty lyrics--a sight for mature (female) audiences only.

He performed a mixture of songs from each of his four albums including, "Lifetime", "Fortunate",
"Bad Habits", "Pretty Wings", "Cold", "This Woman's Work", "Til the Cops Come Knockin", "Sumthin Sumthin" and "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)".

I've had his latest album BLACKsummers'night on repeat since the day it was released, definitely an album you can listen to all the way through without skipping any songs, a musical masterpiece... and worth the wait. Go cop it!

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baldy Scaldy??!!

So this is what's hot in the streets these days... female celebs shaving their heads and thinking it's cute? Stop the madness ladies! When Britney Spears did it, we all knew she was losing her mind. But lately I can't tell what kind of statement these women are trying to make. I understand maybe doing it for a movie role, but not "just because". The half-shaved head thing was kind of cool and creative at first, but now that everyone is doing it, it's lame/whack/psycho! And they're going to have a hell of a time trying to grow it back evenly...

The Bald and the Beautiful
Britney Spears: Performing Artist

Natalie Portman: Actress, shaved her head for her movie role in V for Vendetta

Demi Moore: Actress, this pic is from her 1997 movie role in G.I. Jane

Grace Jones: Jamaican-American singer, model and actress from the 80's

Amber Rose: Model aka Kanye West's arm candy

Amelle Berrabah of the English girl band Sugababes

Cassie: One-hit-wonder, Model/Trendsetter

LaLa: TV Personality, Carmelo Anthony's eternal fiancé

Kelis: Singer/Songwriter, Fashion Diva, ex-wife of rapper Nas

Rihanna: Performing Artist, Model, Fashion Diva #2

Solange: Recording Artist, Beyonce's younger sister
Who will jump on the Bald Bandwagon next?? Time will tell...
*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*