Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Destiny's Child?!

During Sunday's VMA presentation, Singer, Actress, Writer, and Performer, Beyoncé Knowles made a shocking and unexpected announcement. She's preggo! Rumors have been speculating for years that her and husband, Rapper, Mogul, and Businessman, Jay-Z were expecting their first child on more than one occasion. However, they were always quick to deny those rumors with the common dismissal, "It will happen when the time is right." Well, apparently the time is now.

Media outlets went crazy when Beyoncé surprisingly revealed this "secret" on the VMA Black Carpet arrival preshow. She proudly showcased her new baby bump during a freeze, look-at-me-now moment after giving a spectacular, this-baby-won't-stop-me-from-putting-on-a-good-show performance, boldly dropping the microphone with the fan blowing her hair, glowing with happiness and accepting a congratulatory standing ovation from her peers and her ecstatically proud husband... fiercely declaring, even with a bun in the oven, that she's still the baddest chick in the game. However, the self-proclaimed hardest working woman in entertainment will be forced to take a break from promoting her latest album, 4, and will more than likely postpone scheduled tour dates while fans and haters patiently wait for about 6 more months to see what baby B&J will look like. Oh boy (or girl)!

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Beyoncé

Thursday, August 25, 2011

G.A.C. 4 Life!

"The best mirror is an old friend."--George Herbert

Around this time 10 years ago, I walked into Samuel W. Wolfson High School as an inexperienced 14 year old freshman. I was entering a new stage of maturity and had no idea how to conduct myself as a young adult. I pretended to be unafraid, but the extremities of my shyness were exposed when I began the process of making new friends.

I remember sitting in the gym bleachers, mingling with new faces and in walked a set of twins, both dressed in basketball shorts and a T-shirt, obviously unaware that we wouldn't be dressing out for gym on the first day of school. That embarrassing moment led to the development of my friendship with two sisters who just so happened to be split from the same zygote.

I met Rachel and Riana Winters in August 2001. Together, they function as the core of a group that we formed in high school, The G.A.C, an anonymous acronym that only we know the meaning of. The G.A.C is a sisterhood that is currently comprised of 7 best friends and operates on the basis of support, loyalty and trust. Over the past 10 years we've maintained an indescribable bond that defines the true meaning of friendship. We've witnessed each other's transformation into womanhood and shared the effects of both positive and negative experiences together.

Too often, I've heard that it is impossible for a group of girls to remain friends for a lifetime. Although it is true that some women are catty and lack the ability to watch another woman succeed and commend them without spite, the women that I associate myself with make it easy to dismiss that type of stereotypical judgment.

To further promote the spirit of back to school week in Duval County, I would like to encourage every young adult to cherish the friends that you make as an adolescent. It is my hope that you will be fortunate enough to carry those relationships into adulthood and someday be able to reflect on memorable times, like my girls and I frequently do.

Most of all, never forget that "Knowledge is Power(ful)".

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: The Help

"Courage isn't just about being brave. It's about overcoming fear and daring to do what is right for your fellow man."
--The Help

In an era of inequality, discrimination seems to be an ambiguous fallacy that will never digress. Although The Help depicts past occurrences of racism, it was an eye opener for the large spectrum of racism that still exists today. An even more ironic eye opening notion arises in the fact that I viewed the film in a theater full of the Caucasian race, with only two other African Americans. The film's intentions unexpectedly became a foreshadowing effect in that real-life moment.

Based on the novel by Katheryn Stockett, The Help tells the story of a group of African American maids in Jackson, Mississippi, who have spent their entire lives being mistreated while working for white families. Main characters and best friends, Aibileen and Minny are the subjects of a white journalist's (Skeeter) desire to convey the harshness and obscenity that lies within the cruel treatment of "The Help".

The story is subsequently told from the maids' perspective, through Skeeter's understanding, and it is later revealed that Skeeter's color blindness is a result of the personal connection she shared with the maid who raised her. Her willingness to be sympathetic towards the circumstances allowed Aibileen and Minny to realize that all white people did not possess the same beliefs. This becomes an important awareness when dissecting the hesitant resistance and faithful loyalty that Aibileen displays as the film progresses. She vehemently protects the child that she is currently raising while dealing with the effects of neglecting her own.

While Aibileen is reserved and more prone to following strict orders, Minny is a sassy and outspoken rule breaker who refuses to accept her role as a servant. Her disobedience is a direct correlation to the comedic relief that she provides throughout the film. As she gains a sense of power through opposition, she is also forced to face the severity of her own personal struggles at home. 

The Jim Crow era is heavily represented in various ruthless scenes, including an elevated spotlight on the use of bathroom facilities. Additionally, racial tension is heightened during periods of the maids being stripped of their dignity while their individual pain from the abuse is showcased.

Aibileen's narrative voice is the key to grasping the viewer's interest and attention. However, it is evident that her pain stems from something deeper than the lack of respect and appreciation for her dedication to building the self-esteem and confidence of each child she has raised. While telling her own story, she becomes the voice of "The Help" and the author of her own fate.

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."--Aibileen

Grade: A-

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cutting the Red Tape: iWrite4orU

"Good things happen to those who wait..."

When I graduated from FSU in December 2008, I foolishly had this idea that I would suddenly become a famous writer. I assumed that I could just flash my degree and a major publication would immediately hire me. I was tragically awakened from that conceptual dream.

Although I started working in healthcare at age 16, it took me 3 months to find what I thought was a degree-worthy job after college. I submitted my resume and writing samples to every publication in Florida, but I was declined by most because they all assumed that I was unwilling to relocate. While waiting for my "big break" I was offered a well-paying job in collections. I accepted the offer. Two weeks after starting, I received a response from White Publishing Company for an (unpaid) Editorial Internship position. I accepted that offer as well. Theoretically, I was working two jobs. In July 2009, I received a response from one of the local publications that I reached out to, EU Jacksonville. I was asked to write a story about a stage play being presented by a local theatrical company. That was the beginning of my official writing journey. I have been a Contributing Writer for the publication ever since.

My internship ended after three months and though the money was plentiful, I decided to quit the collection agency after 6 months because of the stress and uncomfortable scenarios that came along with it. I figured my luck would change if I went back to school to get my Master's degree. So, I went back to working in healthcare (a sly, but worthwhile industry) until I earned enough funds to cover half the cost of my first year's tuition. Shortly after, I received another opportunity for an (unpaid) internship with The Artist Series, a production company that presents national and international Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. As the PR intern I learned what goes on behind the scenes of a production. I assisted with marketing and promotion while maintaining all social networking websites and updating the company's blog.

"Experience is the best teacher..."

I was accepted into UNF for the fall 2010 semester, but was later informed that I was ineligible for financial aid because I had not taken enough Literature courses as an undergraduate student. I would have to fulfill the requirement of taking 4 classes and earning 4 A's as a non-degree seeking student before I could be officially accepted into the Master's English program. This was the case because I had chosen the Creative Writing track for my major at FSU. I continued the process anyway because 1. I had already paid for the first class and 2. I wanted to accomplish the task of earning straight A's in college.

Unknowingly, as a non-degree seeking student I could not register for classes until the day before they were scheduled to start. As a result, I ended up with a middle-of-the-day course and was forced to decrease my full-time healthcare hours. This weighed heavily on my income. I needed to find a job that would be understanding of my constricted schedule and allow me to set my own flexible hours. I then remembered a conversation that I had with a friend about substitute teaching. I was always asked if I wanted to teach after revealing that English was my major. My answer was always no. However, after witnessing various mentions of Duval County Public Schools on the news, I became somewhat of an advocate for education. I didn't and still don't want to be one of those people who complain about change while failing to participate. So, I decided to use substituting as a trial and error for deciding or not deciding to become an English teacher.

I completed one full school year of filling in for permanent teachers at more than half of the schools in Duval County, at every grade level. Although I became frustrated after learning about the professional certification process (3 exams and 15 hours of education courses), I was surprised by the amount of inside knowledge that I gained from the experience. I received my status of eligibility for a 3 year temporary teaching certificate, took the subject area exam for English grades 6-12, and interviewed with two principals... only to find out later that due to budget cuts, a hiring freeze would become effective upon the end of the 2010-2011 school year. I sadly became reluctant in my quest to make a difference, but made the decision to continue to pursue the professional certification requirements. I was satisfied with my progress and planned to spend my summer solely working on finishing up my first novel until the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

Two weeks into my vacation, I received an unexpected phone call for a job interview. The recruiter for a company that I had somewhat heard of saw my writing resume online. I interviewed on Tuesday and was hired on Wednesday.
"Everything happens for a reason..."
I am now a Quality Control Editor (with full benefits) at a million dollar company that specializes in website design and online marketing for small and medium sized business owners. It is my duty to edit the content and design elements on all in-house created websites from a critical perspective. Shortly after starting this position, I received a phone call from one of my aunts. She asked me to assist with writing excerpts for her book and then proceeded to give me a pep talk about life and career choices. This aunt of mine is a retired English professor. We had previously discussed my own teaching aspirations and for various reasons, she strongly urged me to reconsider. She said many things in our last conversation that struck me deeply, but one simple declaration stood out the most, "Do what it is that you love to do." I immediately took her advice. In church the following Sunday, my Pastor challenged everyone in attendance to, "Do for yourself what you do for them." I again immediately obliged.

Those back to back commands were not ironic occurrences. I truly believe that they were signifying messages meant to dismiss my inner fears. In just two short months of working for a prestigious company, I have already acquired knowledge on how to build and maintain a successful company while helping others to sustain their own. I now understand that the mild failures I endured in my career pursuits were necessary in order to prepare myself for an ultimate victory.

I realized that I had to become more proactive in my attempt to succeed as an accomplished writer. Therefore, I made the bold move to start my own writing company, a platform for offering writing, proofreading, and editing services to the public. iWrite4orU was instantly created from the depths of my passionate love affair with words. It is my goal, as an experienced writer and young entrepreneur, to efficiently serve clients in need of professionally written content for business and personal use.

Please visit my website for more details.

Contact me at for questions about services and prices.

*Music is Life... Poetry is Love*