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That's Deep

December 28, 2008
I dont have to appear extra deep to have depth right?
Thanks. I just wrote this post that wont see the light of day because it wasnt upbeat and happy, some of my better qualities Ive been told.
Today 66 people at my church were baptized. I've never seen anything like it. They kept the pool open and people poured in, young, old, men, women, white collar, no collar. God isn't looking for us to be carbon copies so I dont have to think of being this conscious person. I can just be, yeah?
(said in my British accent . . .love how they put a 'yeah' at the end of sentences, and yes Im pretty excited to be going to London in the spring to visit one of my buddies who is a Marshall scholar)
Yesterday Shani O came to the city and she, me and Channy hit up HU's Kwanzaa event at Akwabaa Mansion in BK. It was cool and had me reminiscing of my Kwanzaa events at church growing up that always made me want to speak Swahilli (or just have a cool meaning to my own name all you Nia's:)
We hung out more in BK and talked about politics, careers, religion and inevitably men and love. I told them I now had the 300+page manuscript of novel guy at my place and as they each shared a heartfelt story I mentioned a line from the Essence Young Women's Leadership Conference on the having it all panel on you may have it all, but might not have it all at one time. Lola from NYT/CNN went on to break it down you may have the dream job now and just a homie-lover-friend at home, and a great husband later with a lull in your career. Reading Six Figure Sister's post on that Friday night situation (she notices the empty spot in her bed the most on Friday nights) had me happy I realized it's better to be patient and ready when the real thing comes, then to waste your space on a substitute. And I only say this after sampling the substitute.
And thinking of London, had me googling this magazine in London I used to write for and got me inspired to get back on my grind.
*this pic is not from last night but just a cute one of the three of us:)

Have I Been Punked?



Please . . .get your cousin . . .

Having Our Say

December 27, 2008

Over the break I picked back up Allison Samuel's book "Off the Record." I was really excited to meet this amazing journalist at Howard, and I won't lie I hoped to follow a path similar to hers as I already had the Georgia background (she's from Augusta) and HBCU connect (she went to Clark) down. Her career at Newsweek has been historic as she has been a real griot of the biggest stories in Black entertainment - Tupac/Biggie beef, Denzel thanking her the night he won the Oscar for the impact her profile on him and the Oscar, Angela Bassett and Whoppi's reactions to Halle's win. And honestly her stories show what an amazing reporter she is and something else is clear - she is telling stories only she can tell. (who knew Snoop partied with his jurors after the murder trial or his hair was more laid then his wife's at their wedding?)

I cringe looking back at my attitude to covering stories like a Kwanzaa one I was asked when I was interning, when I wondered if I was being asked because I was Black and why not Hanukkah. Well, yes my race may have been a part of the assignment, but is that bad? Who else better to tell that story then someone who grew up participating in Kwanzaa events at church and ironically am going to one today? Sure you don't want to be pigeonholed into only Black stories, but with so few of our faces and stories in mainstream media (well, pre-Obama:) her story made it clear how vital it is having people knowledgeable in a culture telling that culture's stories to a broader audience. And there's nothing more American than that

I'm a Writer, Really

December 26, 2008
While cleaning, I have been through old boxes and stumbling across random notebooks I see where I have jotted down thoughts, to do lists, journal entries - and poems. I love poetry and prose, and though I have written poems here and there since childhood like every other kid, I've never considered myself a poet. I respect poetry a little much to consider my sporadic melodic writings enough to make me a poet.

But that didn't stop the amazing women of JAWS deeming me their poet laureate after on a whim I decided to write and perform a poem for their talent contest. Surrounded by amazing women in journalism who have fought so hard for me and future generations to enter newsrooms and have our high octave voices heard made it easy to sign up when they were looking for acts for the show. I knew I wasn't about to sing or dancing, but writing I can handle. And I was pretty proud of the poem I wrote an hour before the show, and they must have too, as I was asked to perform a new poem at the conference's opening program the next year. Then the poet laureate name came and I was intimidated. Like I mentioned, Im not a real poet. But hearing Connie Schultz speak as keynote, made me question what the notion of a real poet is as she challenged us as woman to stop being our own critics and naysayers with a phrase that stuck of, "You have enough people who will doubt you, don't be one."

So going through my old notebooks I came across a few poetic words that made me realize, well, there may be a poet living in me after all , and she may not appreciate my doubts.

I didn't even remember I jotted a few words after seeing President Obama in Regan a few years back pre-secret service, private planes and a White House Win. But looking through my notebook, there it was.

My President - 3/01/06
I saw you in the airport today.
First thought was I didn't know you flew commercial. . .the poem started

Then there was another I saw from that spring that I knew the pressure to show I hadn't "changed" when I went home and caught up with old friends.

Bad English is sexy.
Ain't that right?
When I be talkin proper,
I'm just trying to be White

Don't need no 't' in yo dis and dat
And when you use a double negative
Girl, now you soundin' Black

But can't I just be talkin' gray?
Proud of my education
and having something conscious to say?

Marcus Dahhhling . . . .


Earth Kitt's legacy will definitely live on. At Christmas dinner in Mount Vernon today (a great time and my first Jamaican Christmas meal . . . and now I know Jamaican fruit cake is really rum cake), among the many crazy topics discussed was her passing and how our generation knows her more from Boomerang and other 90s cameos, including Living Single which just came on this week. I remember seeing pictures of her on the red carpet a few months back and all I could think was look at those legs! She was sexy and still a class act and opened the door a little wider for what defined a Black woman.

I also remember researching her a while back to see if she was married to a White man to go in a interracial gallery I was working on and though her daughter's father was white she had not been married. I remember looking at pictures of her and her daughter and her daughter's children and thinking what an interesting picture they made. My condolences to their family. And my thankfulness that today's interracial children get a little more acceptance than what Eartha received growing up. God is love.

Merry Christmas . . . "I'm Pregnant!"

December 25, 2008
This morning I went to Christmas service at my church and all I can say is wow. It's in those moments I feel the growth of myself as a woman when I don't look at people in the bible with stars in my eyes of times long gone, but woman to woman, like, dang, Mary was a bad girl. Pastor Mike broke it down that Mary was probably about 14 or 15 when an angel came to her and told her she was carrying the son of God. She had not one reservation and was grateful and up to what God called her to do and ready to tell the world, "Im Pregnant." An unwed pregnant woman at that time could easily be outcast from the community. And she walked boldly into her blessing not waiting for her womb to grow to believe and knowing her task was much bigger than herself.
And at the same time her cousin Elisabeth who was up there in age had already been blessed with being pregnant with John the Baptist for 6 months. When God moves in our lives he is often moving in many others as well and there's room for everyone to get a miracle. Deep stuff indeed.
So just was a lesson for me on being ready when you are called to do what others would tell you is CRAZY.
My holidays in Harlem have been GREAT so far. Last night me and Channy went to the Den for their weekly open mic. Yeah, I kinda LOVE live music and a few Christmas songs mixed in was a perfect holiday time. Earlier that afternoon I was smiling extra hard as I left the library on 5th Ave with a bag of books and a renewed sense of purpose as I researched some new ideas and picked up new books from my fav authors including Rosa Guy. I don't deny I am very much a nerd, so I honestly felt like I was getting dumber taking no classes and staying stagnant in my knowledge since graduating. Going to the library, was a jolt to my system that the world really is at our fingertips. As I walked up the steps to the beautiful library, of course a thought of Carrie and Big popped in my head when I went in the lobby and it was such a beautiful library where they were to be married - and totally not the circulating library where you can actually check out books;). So they send me across the street to a library that looks like, well, a library and Im like this is more like it. Five floors of books!
Ok, let me not totally show my magnet kid side (what me and the bff realize is a lifestyle after being surrounded by the smart kids growing up, you have a nerdy sense of humor . . .that may not always be appreciated;) Well, maybe one joke (tee hee). The roomie found this one absolutely hilarious a while back. Not sure how it came up but I told her in my math class in high school my best friend and our guy friends would rag on each other and sometimes use pictionary to guess who it was. Well, me and my girl were blessed up top but not filled out anywhere else, so we quickly became "no slope" - lines that have no incline, for our flat butts. I warned you we were too clever for our own good (better than saying corny:). And for the record we both got a little slope or at least hips as we matured.
Well, time to head to Mount Vernon for dinner with my God sister and God mom. Merry Christmas and be ready when what sounds like the absurd is God sending you into something life-changing!

Romancing the Stone

December 21, 2008

This weekend I kinda seduced myself, something you have to do every now and again. Moisturized my skin, took bubble baths, lit candles, cooked a nice meal, played good music and just valued my own company. (India.Arie's is the perfect soundtrack especially "Private Party" and "Beautiful Flower") Friday night I hit up the Red Tie Soiree, Mark's fab annual event in NY and Atlanta. I was listed as a cohost for the NY event which made me feel a little cool. The snow storm didn't keep everyone away thankfully, and as I predicted to Channy earlier in the day on why she should come, the snow had a greater impact on the ladies than the gents, so the numbers were in our favor. It was great to hang with myguy buddies Gare, Sands and Young L. I mixed and mingled a little and met a hilarious Howard guy who I felt like has great spades partner potential as he referred to my graduation as the Oprah year. I've never used that phrase but loved it! After the soiree me, the guys, Linds and Eni headed uptown to another party. After a full week, I was beat and started nodding to sleep on the train and of course they had to take pics and quickly try and tag me. Facebook is going to be the end of so many would-be political careers I tell ya. Once we're uptown, Sands brings up some other party. I know I only have one more stop in me before I conk out, so me and Eni make our way to Tiff's bday party up on 146th, kinda in my neighborhood. Me and Tiff interned together back in 06 so seeing her always brings memories of my best time in life so far. The party transports me to college with folks sitting around, crunk music playing from the computer, red cups and spurts of shhhh to keep it down with neighbors on the verge of complaining. I had a good time mingling and catching up with Eni who I don't see as much as I'd like, the case with most of my friends. I spot this tall guy with one of those hats with fur flaps over the ears on the wall and tell Eni I think he's cute. Instead of him, this other loud guy comes over and starts talking and quickly dubs me as mean. Somehow he works into the convo he played pro ball for a little. If only he knew . . . being an athlete did not work in his favor. He goes away another guy comes over who was really cool and teaches biology in CT. Too bad I can't remember his name to facebook friend him like we agreed. Black men teaching always makes me smile and feel hopeful. As we're talking fur hat comes over and sits in front of me. Yale teacher walks away and me and Hat guy chat. he's funny and of course a little weird. He's working on a manuscript and somehow has looped me in to being a proofreader, or was that just a smooth way to get my number?
Saturday I slept in and loved it. Then it was on to errands of laundry, groceries, cleaning and beyond. After debating a movie night, a chi chi dinner party uptown my Aleksander Petrovsky was hosting or drinks and dinner with Eb the Celeb and some other bloggers on Lower East Side right by Vault where the soiree was, I decide to head downtown and invite Sierra to tag along. Eb is already full of life and shots when we arrive and we all quickly feel like old friends. She has her own story with a athlete and I wonder is it something in the water. The food and drinks are great at Boca Chica and I bond with the lone guy of our crew who happens to be my birthday twin. As an Aquarius he is also creative and is an accomplished piano player who Eb keeps telling everyone just got off tour with Janet. I give him a sheepish look as she is his put you on blast publicist for the night and he all of our date, picking up the more than $300 bill, which was rather sweet. Today church was good and my pastor was back after a few Sundays away. Great message of turning into what God is calling you to, as Moses did with the burning bush. Deep stuff. I got home and this movie with Vivica Foxx and David Allen Grier as a married couple whose kids put a spell on them to switch bodies to stop them from arguing is on. He happens to be a NFL player for the Saints. . . I use to love my Disney movies and not sure how I missed this one. I cooked dinner later on and was pretty proud. After my sweet potato pie high from Thanksgiving I tried again all by myself with no coaching. I didn't have the jiffy pie crust mix, so I made my crust from scratch with flour. The pie was pretty good, though the crust a little chewy, Maybe needed more eggs?
Then I chatted with the bride of the April wedding Im in and with my little sister from our first book club pick - The Cheetah Girls.

Private Party - India.Arie

Guess I'm Not A Pretty Kid?

December 19, 2008

I don't hold entertainers to these high standards or think they should be who our kids look to as role models, but they are in the spotlight and reflect what our society's values are.

And Ne-Yo seems to have the beauty views of a recently freed slave. He was being interviewed by a radio host who happened to be white. She got excited when she learned he was single and said she wants him all to himself.

His response:
"All the prettiest kids are light-skinned anyway."

As I said, I don't expect more from entertainers to be these intellectuals but I did hope for more from Ne-Yo. He definitely said nothing like that when I interviewed him for ESSENCE.com and gave him his props on giving Independent women due praise, not that that's surprising.

It's in plain sight that light is the preference in women in hip hop and pop culture. But It's still a little off putting to hear people say it out loud. And a non-light skin brother at that. I don't think his skin color has anything to do with how people view Ne-Yo's attractiveness. As I type this, Beauty Shop just went off and Snoop's reality show came on and I completely love the fact his little girl is as brown as they come.

As a chocolate girl myself, I honestly never felt any less pretty because of my skin (much to the surprise of some). And maybe my self-esteem is so locked when it comes to pigment is of my mom, who happens to pass the brown bag test, and because I understand society's color issues are a direct link to slavery and the inferiority complex placed on our people that Black was a negative, thus the closer you are to white the better you are. To believe light is better is to believe in the premise that Black is bad.

Denene's post on staying out of the sun as a kid made me thoughtful of my own childhood as I spent Georgia summers playing jump rope, playing hop scotch, jumping on trampolines, catching lightning bugs and everything else until the street lights came on.

Guess for Ne-Yo his love of Michelle Obama and Gabrielle Union are the exceptions. Just makes me that much more thankful for our new president and first lady.

Blind Dates

December 18, 2008

Somehow I have become the friend that all my friends want to hook up. And I take some of the blame for talking about relationships a lot (one of the perks of my industry is I get paid to pick the brains of men on love.) At first one of my best buds in NY tried to hook things up with me and one of her guy friends on the sly when we all hung out last week. She had me rolling with her high school cupid attack, "he said you have a nice smile. He may be too shy to ask for your number so I may give it to him."
I just laugh.
Then I hit up the Christmas party of one of my magazine buddies on tonight. She is so excited to see me and I quickly learn why. The guy she has been telling me is a great catch for months is there. And he's easy to spot as the lone Black guy there:). He's cool I guess and the biggest plus was his really cool childhood friend who was hilarious as we worked together to build the best ginger bread house there. I held down the shingles!

Tis true what you ask for you just may get. As the year winds down I must say I did pretty good on my get out and date more resolution. And as far as blind dates, I guess I should tell my friends I prefer a guy at least 5'10 though it's not a total deal breaker:) The best matchmaker is still life though as I've met the best guys just out walking or traveling (speaking of which, we are compiling a list of the best places to meet Black Men, so let me know if you know of a undercover hot spot to meet guys . . .mine is the airport:)

Are Bitter Black Women to Blame?

December 16, 2008
I read this op-ed in the New York Times a few weeks ago about the failure of Prop 8 in California for gay marriage and it brought up a new possible reason. Yes, Black people voted 70% to ban. We know. And the majority of Blacks who voted were women and Black women go to church much more than others. But a new possible reason Charles brings up is that because Black women are the least married segment, the idea of men marrying men can be a bit much.

Uhhm. Another subtle way to call us bitter and I don't like.

I have never looked at a gay couple and thought one of the guys was meant to be my husband. It is tough out here for sisters but we have overcome a lot more than this with our pride in tact. Homosexuality is something we have to tackle as a community and get over and that is a large part connected to the Black church. I almost broke my neck Monday morning, trying to put on my boots and laughing hard at the prank call on the Steve Harvey morning show to the minister of music. Nephew Tommy called and told the guy he had been fired as choir director because of his antics. Between lip smacking he said 'what exactly did you mean.' And soon got to cussing on him liking to have his hair done like everybody else and his green and gray contacts that coordinated with outfits. And as soon as they let him know his mass choir pranked him he's back to saying oh lawd. I can't . . .

Our inability as a community to acceot being gay isn't only impacting gay rights but our health with the stigma of being open. That's why I so love my church. The topic came up a few months ago at bible study and I held my breath wondering what Pastor Mike would say. After one man went on and on about it Pastor asked him what did Jesus say about it and the guy flipped and flipped through the Bible. And the point was Jesus didn't say anything about it. Pastor Mike didn't condone homosexuality, just said in the bigger scheme it wasn't that big of an issue for Jesus to pick up, but what is a big deal is that we love one another regardless. I dig that. Because I always thought with the "it's a choice" debate, in this society with so much hate, if it was a choice, no one would be gay.

Well, seems I have a lot of thoughts on this one and should head back to once again Black women being labeled as bitter. A lot of us may still have issues with interracial dating - though I think sometimes interracial couples are looking at you to react and I've sort of scrunched my eyes like why are you starring at me, i could care less. Two men wanting to share insurance isn't causing me to lose sleep, so start looking at the pulpit for Prop 8 and not the single ladies





Christmas in the City

December 15, 2008

I am pretty excited about the holidays and it will be my first Christmas in New York and I can't wait! Aside from plenty of sleep and finally decorating the place I am looking forward to getting some things done Ive been putting off for weeks, months even. Returning calls, reading books and shoot, hopefully a little Maury. I had a bad cold last week and even took my first sick day, ever. Sidebar: who knew Steve from Jerry Springer had his own show?

Now I'm feeling better even though I still sound like a guy. The charity I work with had a successful fundraiser on Friday and I am pretty excited as we work towards building a school in Liberia. The mission is phenomenal.

After the fundraiser I hit the roomie's bday party at Slate Plus and did my good duty making sure she got home and we had a good time. Even my work buddy Jonte came out who is a straight up clown(exhibit A: our picture above:). Saturday I made it to the run Mitz had organized and am still feeling it. We ran (I jogged/half ran/a few walking minutes) around the reservoir in Central Park. As we're walking up the first thing that comes to my head is "this is where Charlotte runs on Sex and the City." It was beautiful out there and we are set every month to do it as part of The Mission To Save our Thighs;)

Saturday night felt like I was back on the yard after the Notorious event, at a house party hosted by Howard alum. I even saw this guy I thought was so cute and shy when I was in school. And none of my usual lines could work since I had seen him around before. Ah well. Sunday morning Jonte dropped off his couch which is rather nice and a free hand-me-down as they upgrade to the black leather. Church service was great and just the jolt I needed to start the week.

Once home I told my dad of my plans not to come home after realizing how much maneuvering it would take with buying a ticket close to the date and renting a car to get around. he took it in stride and my little sister was still excited for the first book she just got in the mail for our new book club. We're starting with the Cheetah girls:)

So as I daydreamed of all the things I want to do next week, I got a message for a guy I know in passing to go on a date on Christmas eve. He seems like a nice guy, but come on, Christmas Eve is kinda special and I don't plan on my company being an early gift. We'll see.

Notorious

December 14, 2008


I had a chance to meet the cast of "Notorious" over the weekend and all I can say is wow . . .
You had to be living under a rock not to have felt the impact of Biggie, Bad Boy and Tupac during the 90s. So preparing for the release of the biopic tale of Biggie's life and death is a monumental event. Derek Luke plays Diddy (still Puff while Biggie was alive), Angela Bassett plays the mother of a generation, Ms. Voletta Wallace, Anthony Mackie is Tupac, Naturi from 3LW is Lil Kim and newcomer Antonique plays Faith Evans. And they all worked it! It is a project like few others we've seen where each of the characters are folks we already know and have our opinions of. I found myself starring at Jamal Woolard who plays Biggie himself in the film. The mannerisms and facial expressions are eerie. And sitting talking to Ms. Wallace about the disappointment of seeing a side of her son she never met humbled me big time. Checked me on every critique I've had of stars because this story is a true reminder that fame doesn't change the fact we're all human with real feelings and real hearts that get broken and get us to hurting other people.

And I was sure to ask them all what their favorite Biggie song is. "One More Chance" got the most votes, which is hands down the best song of the 1990s. And watching the movie and seeing Faith and Biggie's relationship the song takes a deeper meaning.

Shoot, the older I get the notion of One More Chance becomes more real. I blasted all the songs and made my way around the skating rink with Tupac and Biggie playing, but I was still a youngin when these young lives were taken too soon. Tupac only 25 and Biggie only 24. It was so sad to relive their deaths but also sobering to see how much they had achieved so young.

Check out some hot photos our photo editor took while talking to the cast

The Weakest Link

December 4, 2008



Messy Jessy ready to castrate Obama for calling fathers like him to step it up was disappointing.  But the latest round of Black politicians trying to tear down our President is just disgusting. The fact is he won. So even if he didn't have your support, for the sake of the dire state of this nation, get in line to help rebuild.

But oh no (Uncle) Clarence Thomas and the Almost Senator Alan Keyes. You can't stomach the idea of  Black Politician outshining you without having to sell out himself and his first born (and for the record the intelligent and observant Malia would never go for that). The best you can try and find is some loophole in the constitution and around Obama's birth in Hawaii on how he's not really natural born, so not really qualified to run. Let's be real. If there had been some real credence to this, Hillary's camp would have been on the Supreme Court steps a year ago. So why now? Why try and dim the shine of this incredible moment? I mentioned earlier the great time I had at the opening of White Christmas on Broadway. I didn't mention I was one of the last faces to enter the theater and the only one I saw that looked like mine. Looking for my seat I felt a lot of eyes scrutinizing me and got little help as I politely asked what row this was. As I felt a little uncomfortable and looking at a sign say White Christmas, I thought of Barack Obama and stood a little taller. He's President of us all.

But the part that burns me the most with Alan Keyes is he is spending his time and money to fight Obama's right to be President trying to find the tiniest loophole with Obama's birth in the Constitution. I respect the Constitution as much as the next citizen and as a living document it has stood the test of time. But for a Black man to stand on it above all else is a dangerous thing. That same document allowed your ancestors to be shackled like cattle and owned like property. To not even be considered fully human,  but 3/5ths of a person. These wolves in brothers clothing are the living stereotype of what we don't need in the Black community. If no one gave them the memo, I will do the honor of announcing slavery is done and our people are free. There is no battle to be in the house or the field. We are headed to the biggest house of them all. And they don't like it . . .

And again, a teaching moment from our president with matters like this, brush those shoulders off!

Knocks Me Off My Feet

December 3, 2008
Watch this video and know what I mean. Oprah is . . .

Salute_to_susan-4_full


Sometimes you have those moments that stop you in your tracks. Watching video of the legendary Oprah Winfrey and the great Ms. Susan L. Taylor gave me pause. I got chills reading an account of Susan's national intiative to get us to mentor.
Watch the video here:
http://www.essence.com/news_entertainment/news/articles/salutetosusanltaylor

Mentoring is so important. You are more amazing then you realize and have plenty to offer a young person even if it's just a smile. I have been participating in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters workplace program at my job and each time the kids leave me I am in a daze. Josephine Baker may have been on to something with her house full of adoptive children. I have a 9 year old sister who I live miles away from. I wish I could be there for her more and just am thankful for those who give her a pat on the back or a kick in the behind.

We gotta be the village

Miss Independent

November 30, 2008

I am loving the love!! Women who are hustling just as much as men are getting our props in pop culture and it feels good. Thank you President and First Lady Obama for showing a superwoman doesn't have to be less to be with a superman. Sarah Palin . . .the jury is still out with a world map in tow. I still jam to Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” like it just hit the airwaves. The remix is hot with Jamie Foxx and hearing a chorus of “She Got Her Own” keeps me motivated. 

But I almost went on a feminist rant with my great uncle – on his bday no less. Yeah, common sense was telling me to simmer down but before I knew it the phrase “I was put on this Earth to do more than cook” slipped out of my mouth with some serious passion.

It started innocent. I was making a plate of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers that Friday after a little shopping with my cousins and getting my energy up for some card playing while the Cosby's first season played and Claire Huxtable flitted through the house as mother, wife and career woman extraordinaire . 

My southern mother raised me with manners that I cling to and while I make a plate, I asked my uncle if I could get him anything. He said yeah to fix him a plate. Would have been great if the sentence just ended there. It didn’t. “Yeah I’ll take what you are having, which will be good practice for when you are married.” I laughed and said, yeah, If I’m up I’ll fix it. And if he is, I expect the same.

All weekend he’d asked me and my other female cousins if we can cook as a gauge if we are good marriage material. I hoped my little quip was enough to drop the subject. I was ready to dive into mac and cheese and dressing, both of which I was excited to have a hand in. It wasn’t to be.

He continues. "Well, if you want to get married you better keep those cooking skills strong. After a hard days work a man is going to expect a hot meal and it will be your job to make sure he’s fed a hearty meal." She’s got him spoiled I tell my great-aunt who I see a lot of myself in and is as spry as they come. And blame it on the hunger but I was on the verge of offering a not so peaceful piece of my mind about working just as hard as a lot of guys before reality and the appropriate behavior kicked in. Ok, I may have added something about are we talking about a child or a husband before I dropped it. I am traditional in a lot of ways, but Im not old fashioned. I do enjoy cooking for people, and definitely a guy I like, but NOT because I feel obligated to. Maybe because I had just talked to a chef who I was surprised to learn had never been cooked for by a woman, I came to Thanksgiving with a mental apron wrapped around my waist and ready to learn some new culinary secrets and work on my own. But the notion that this was not just out of love, but my duty just because I am female got me ready to boycott the kitchen and pick up a book.

Just chalked it up to generation differences. Miss Independent lives on.

Spirit of Thankfulness

November 28, 2008
It’s still sinking in Thanksgiving has come and gone and December is almost here. Thanksgiving was good. .Saw my loved ones. Shopped a teeny bit. My family is dealing with a tougher time as my grandmother is on the mend from a fall. . .then when she checked into the nursing home for a short while for her to get physical therapy she misjudges her ability to get around and falls out the bed onto her ankle. Breaks my heart. Put hearing her tickled at the fact she has a pink cast on her foot makes me smile. Knowing the stubborn streak I have is hereditary makes me smirk. Neither of us have a thing on her mom Katie who I’m named for and who was as strong as they come shooting squirrels out the South Carolina trees. Between old stories and big laughs slices circulate of my first sweet potato pie, and bean pie, by my cousin who is like a sister to my mom. Bean pie being one of the dishes she has mastered since converting to Islam. I got spanked in gin, then spades, then Phase 10 that night. Then gin again the next day by all my cousins. My brother bought his new girlfriend who my mom refers to as his friend and her 4yr old daughter who is hilarious and into everything and names her new doll after me. He brought his ex last year, a huge move for him. . . He shuffles. I cut. My aunt isn’t taking her anti-depression meds which makes her a loaded pistol around the house to snap at you. We all pray about it and the joys and pains of the last year – and continue to enjoy our sweet time together. 
Business at usual for our clan.

And I pray for a spirit of humility to be able to truly grasp what I do have.
Peace of Mind, Family, Friends, Love, Financial Freedom, Right to Vote and feeling it Count, A Career.

My glass is more than half full. 

the whole pie

November 27, 2008
She's right. I do drop names. . . Probably more than I should.our society is oversaturated with celeb, and I look at entertainment sites everyday. Sorry for being a part of the problem:) But if there's anything President Obama's campaign taught us is the power within each of us to be one very cool person worthy of note. I'm not that cool and don't think Ill ever be where meeting folks I've admired is no biggie. For me those folks are usually writers or editors of some sort. I don't deny I'm a cool nerd. My roomie was laughing hard when I told her in high school me and my bff got called "no slope" by our guy friends for our less than round booties.

I had an amazing chat today on my first paying speaking gig (yipee!), something I had on my list of possible ways to get more streams of income in these tough times and I was blessed to happen. I haven't met this lady in person yet and she mentioned seeing the blog and I felt like saying, wait, there's more to me. Lol. So I guess in Jesse Jackson style I'm saying enough of the fluff ...

Showtime

November 25, 2008
Sorry for the funk. I had a moment, And like most moments it involved a boy. Well, a man. A really tall one. And like most of my stories, it's got a little unexpected drama and I'll just have to tuck this story away for a rainy day.
But yesterday was a grand day. Well, so was Saturday. I meet up with my godsister/cousin (we go back and forth on what to call ourselves, my mom's best friend's daughter and my play sister is a mouth full)who came to town for her bday from DC, after we had such a good time down there a few weeks back. Her Knicks connect didnt come through with tickets this time, but that didnt stop us from having a blast. Today I went to my church and Channy came along too. It was a great sermon as our young adult pastor said, "Hey, I love T.I. - now Live Your Life" Using the scripture of a woman on her last piece of bread and the power of faith to live your best life was a message we both could use. Afterwards we headed to the Den on 135th which has a good brunch, a bad DJ who plays the best smooth jams, and never-ending mimosas. Over waffles and shrimp she broke down maybe that guy was just an appetizer to my great entree, to get me ready. I replied what if the entree was big enough and I wanted that for my meal. Of course she broke that down oh so eloquently and I opened my heart and cleared the table for the main course to come . . .
That evening she, me and the roomie headed to opening night of a White Christmas on Broadway. I got asked how many tickets I needed from a friend of a friend who was coordinating seat fillers. Once we got there, we got the news seats werent guranteed. And guess it worked we did'nt know that ahead of time, because we probably wouldnt have gone and the place needed a little diversity. We made it in just before the show starts and they got the two together and found my way to a seat in the middle of the row in the middle of theater. They got a kick of an older lady laced in fur having to move out of their seats so close - and closer than Joan Rivers's.  And I remembered how much I love musicals and live music. Im on the hunt for my old tap shoes over the holiday;) The set was amazing and just a fun way to start the holiday season. Today I felt I could see the end of the tunnel of all the work to be done before the holiday. Me and one of my coworkers headed to a screening of Cadillac Records. After being turned around we made it in just as Muddy Waters makes his way to the screen.
And I liked it, a lot. Columbus Short was absolutely amazing. I love period pieces, and was daydreaming of being  an extra in a Mos Def a la Chuck Berry scene just to wear the clothes - which Im sure I have something appropriate in my closet. Beyonce stepped her acting game up majorly. The music took it there. I actually had the cool experience of visiting the set when they were tapping in Jersey. The scene where Etta records "I rather go blind." Ill have to give the blow by blow sometime. It was the first time I've ever been star struck. Beyonce coming and plopping down very close to me and discussing the film. Maybe because I rolled out of bed that morning with no idea that would happen I just was a little like, woah, you are Beyonce . . . .

Live Your Life. That's all we can all do.

Nite

Times Like This

November 17, 2008
She hasn't told her yet.  How was her young daughter doing I asked my coworker, after she shared with me she had been a part of the latest round of layoffs at the company. She said she hadn't told her, nor was she sure she would understand anyway.

She's talented. She'll be fine I tell her and my heart knows she will be.

This city is losing jobs by the tens of thousands per company. per building, per floor, per cube. And you are to just keep chugging along. 

It's sobering. It's real. It's time to be innovative.

I wish that raindrops would fall . . .or better yet, I wish I was sitting on a couch under a big blanket as Eddie Cain Jr. serenades us on "The Five Heartbeats."

Dreamgirl

November 14, 2008


I have absolutely no idea what it feels like to have a dream and have never seen anyone accomplish it. Not that I don't dream big, trust me, half the stuff I think of I know folks aren't ready to hear because the first half usually has them looking at me with a twinkle in their eye and a smirk with a heartfelt "good luck." And I just say thanks with Lorraine Hansberry, Michelle Obama, and Amy Barnett on my mental vision board.

But the greatest thing, is the more I grow and expand, the more God places women in my path who have been there and done that. Women I have idolized from a far are now a message away - and respond when I hit them:)

After working at a magazine I realize the countless hours and many faces and names it tak
es to create an issue. In high school when my life's mission was to be EIC at Honey, I didn't know that. I just zeroed in on one fly girl and her life became my goal: Mitzi Miller.

Her Road Trippin column made me smile every time and she was a friend in my head before I even knew what that phrase meant.

So as I began to work in the field and meet people who worked with her I was amped to be that much closer to her. And looking back it's easy to see the straight line from my dreams to reality. Professor Lamb at Howard,
 who I owe my my whole young career to put me on to Joyce Davis at Upscale when I wanted to intern after freshman year but didnt want to be far from Atlanta.  Joyce had hired Mitzi as her intern when at Honey, as she had done me at Upscale. (btw, doesnt Keyshia Cole look FAB on the new double covers?)

Fast forward two years, it was time for me to come to NY and intern at Essence and I remembered Joyce's Honey stories and close relationship with Mitzi, who had gone to Jane after Honey closed. Joyce was already a great role model as we had so much in common - reppin Decatur, Ga, hitting Howard U. and magazines. I hope to continue to shadow some of her footsteps - including moving back to Atlanta with a career that continues to flourish and books!

So of course, I checked with Joyce if I could name drop her to Mitzi. She gave the green light and the subject was actually like, "Joyce Davis Sent Me" or something equally as crazy and name-dropping. And it worked! She said any friend of Joyce's was a friend of hers and we set a lunch date!! She came by and we chatted like old buddies and I had to remember to not let my jaw hang as someone I had idolized became real. Before we left the office for lunch, she said hello to different people she knew and I felt cool being with her. She went by Angela's office as "The Vow" had recently come out, which she Angela and another of my amazing mentor-friends Denene wrote together. And I remember feeling like I had been let into this intimate circle as they caught up in Angela's office and I sat by. 

And she's been the homie ever since, even hooking me up on freelance work and challenging me to be the best I can.

Now that Mitzi is full-time working for herself and writing and books, articles and everything else fabulous down to the cute dog, again she remains my role model  - and a road dog. For her birthday I am trying to get her blog linked to 25 blogs. It'd be much appreciated by me if you linked this amazing lady, with the funny blog (her daily polls, albeit intrusive, are hilarious:). Message me if you can and do. and if you've already done so, thanks.
 

Muchos Gracias!
(Still on my Puerto Rico high that I do plan to post about . . .)
CJ

*The pic is from the 2007 Magazine conference at Howard where I invited Joyce and Mitzi. See how that all aligned perfectly? Prof Lamb couldnt be there or she would have def been in this pic.

Black Girls DO Rock

November 9, 2008

I kicked off the historic week by hitting up the Black Girls Rock Awards! at Lincoln Center. 

It was . . .amazing. Pam Grier. An amazing and humble Erykah Badu. Iman. Yeah, good time. And plenty of Howard folks. I really felt cool being greeted by the fierce Susan L. Taylor who always makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world and the dapper Emil the editorial mastermind who's dimpled smile always makes him look like a cool college guy more than the legendary editor he is.

Then the votes were cast for the 44th president of these United States. And a blessed day it was. We saw a Black family celebrate their moving to the White House and the beginning of a new era. A man from a single family vote for himself as president. First Lady Michelle Obama   . . . Ok, so I don't deny my complete adoration for this fierce woman.

I watched it as we worked to keep updated info on the site. And before you kn
ew it, CNN had proclaimed him the winner. A moment of elation then move, move, get the info out. McCain's speech was the best we'd ever heard from him and a new guy. And our President-elect and his family took the stage. I had teared up a little earlier, but when he acknowledged Michelle and said: 
“I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support
of my best friend for the last 16 years, The rock of our family, the love of my life, the
nation’s next first lady, Michelle Obama.” 


I couldn't hold it back as we felt the power of love and the Black family and what the audacity of hope really means. We did this.

We all rode that high out and felt the importance of reaching our own potential. I went to Essence's Young Women's Leadership Conference and had a fab time. I had only planned to go for the day but Candace convinced me to crash in her hotel and boy did we have a ball. I invited my Godsister Courtnay who I never see and six successful women (including the fab Dee and Johnica who I had only laid eyes on, on facebook) met and of course much of the conversation centered on men . . . Being back in DC, and strongly suggesting we hit my fave thai spot in the city, Simply Home, had me nostalgic for our Nation's capitol. And I could certainly see myself back there. After dinner we still were up to hang and went by Busboys and Poets. Saw more familiar faces and familiar feeling of all being right, that honestly, had alluded me a little lately.

Black Girls DO Rock. And are coming to a White House near you:)

Girl Talk

October 28, 2008
I got the sweetest comment from Kayla, a ballsy young lady who like me, knows the power of a good google search:) I'm pretty honest when I don't know something. But what I do know, Im definitely willing to share, so if you ever have a question feel free to hit me at harlem.charm@gmail.com. 

So on to Kayla's question . . .


OMG. So I was doing a Google search on Fredricka Whitfield and Howard University and your blog came up. This is really random, but I want to commend you on everything you've accomplished. You're living my dream, lol. I'm filling out my Howard app now. That's my dream school. I know that you're probably busy, but could you offer any advice on getting into HU, earning a spot on the Hilltop staff and landing a good communications job?

Thanks!
Kayla

Hi Kayla,
Thanks for checking out the blog and for your kind comment. You make me feel like all my name dropping may be a good thing:) You definitely are already on the right track by gathering information on something you are interested in from various sources and starting early!

* Getting into Howard
Show you are versed on the long history of the school and how you can add to the rich legacy. Also show how well-rounded you are and that you are active and have diverse interests. I was a student ambassador (A sexy title for campus tour guides) and we also helped out with applications in the admissions office. Having a strong list of interest and clubs you are involved in can make the difference in getting you in.

*Getting a spot on The Hilltop
Be ready to work hard and dependable. When I was on staff the folks we loved the most and promoted and gave the best assignments were people who you knew could come through. In any newsroom, there is always a need for fresh ideas and practical ways they can fit into the current plan. So show up at that first budget meeting and don't leave without a story! Then work hard to make it the best and turn it in before the deadline. Go above and do some secondary reporting. If they ask you to interview a new rookie bball player. See if you can get a quote from his middle school couch who always knew he'd go far, or his high school girlfriend on what a great guy he is to add some color. 

*Getting a job in Communications
Though the face of media and how we get our information changes, there's no doubt that their is demand for info. My first piece would definitely be to get skilled in the many ways to tell a story. Take online classes and a few broadcast because newsrooms whether magazine, newspaper or broadcast are asking their reporters to work across mediums. Also, start now with reaching out to people who you'd like to learn from (like you already did). It's much easier to build a relationship now, then to wait until you need a job or internship and cold call. Attend every workshop or speaker that you can in the school, even if it's not your area. The circle of people in media is small, and even smaller for people of color. So when you meet someone, not only do you connect with them, but all the people they know. Often jobs you are interested in are never posted on a job website, but filled by people who are recommended. That isn't to sound disheartening, but just shows how important it is to expand your network. My biggest mentor and inspiration at Howard, Professor Yanick Lamb, always says, "You have to circulate to percolate" . . .and as usual she was very right:)

Now the most important part for it all, BREATHE.

It will all work out and hard work and having a plan will always pay off. Get ready to have a great time in DC with a historic president in the White House.


CJ


Being Healthy

October 21, 2008
Growing up, we weren't big Halloween people. I remember dressing up in Kindergarten and that was about it until maybe 13. And honestly, I didn't miss it. My mom bought us plenty of candy to compensate for trick or treating and we had our share throughout the year (I have the fillings to prove it!) 

So once I was older and October also began to include Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it just made for one spooky month. It wasn't until later I realized some of my favorite people always seem to be Libras.

But I would be remissed not to remind myself and all ladies to remember how important your health is this month and others. This pic is me and Robin Roberts at Howard's School of Communications First Visionary Awards Luncheon in 2006. It was extraordinary . . . and I prayed even harder for her recovery once she was diagnosed with breast cancer after meeting her.

And youth isn't a free pass to great health. Outside of living in NY, pursuing journalism, loving Howard U, and working it in power suits, me and Robin have something else in common . . .we are cancer survivors. 

I was blessed to catch mine early when I was a sophomore in college and after six months of chemo and three months of radiation, I have been all clear with thankfully a great chance of no return.

One of best friends mom wasnt so lucky and her death from breast cancer and a hypochondriac cousin  gave me the kick in the butt to see if a small lump in my groin was anything to be concerned about. It was. And I'm always overwhelmed with thankfulness I went and checked it out.

If we are honest, all our days our numbered in this world, but let's work to maximize our time by having those checkups and making the most of the time we do have.

My admiration of Robin has only grown since she was diagnosed with cancer and boldly and gracefully allowed viewers to share in her personal experience. 

Happy health this month and others and make yourself a priority! 

The Buzz

October 17, 2008


A few years back my Godmom, a retired library director, gave me The Secret Life of Bees to read on one of my trips home from school. I added it to the stack and it sat on my book shelf for a year. I picked it up to read. Another book caught my eye. I put it down for another year. Along came the spring, my second as a New York resident, I had read a little more of the book when a meeting with the Fox Searchlight people and a few folks from the job popped up.

We saw clips of the film - and more importantly learned of the amazing cast and I was hooked. I went home and picked back up the book and was hooked. Such a beautiful story, and as a brown girl from the South reading of times of Segregation always makes my heart beat a little faster. Some of my book club also read the book and the amazing story of lost, heartache and finding yourself is something we all can relate to.

The Saturday before the site relaunched my editors and I went to a screening of the film at the Urbanworld film festival. Queen Latifah was stunning in person, but I was there on a mission, to see this movie and I was anticipating greatness. And I was not dissapointed. The cast did their thing. Gina Prince-Bythewood nailed another film - and not just because they played my all time favorite India.Arie song that got me through high school when I though I would combust if I had to stay home another minute.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Gina and ask her questions about bringing the story to life onscreen. I have gotten better since a while back when I would be talking over my interviee, interjecting and a little too excited. But Gina almost made me revert to that old self as I wanted to inject my two cents "yeah, that was a great scene" "I know, can't believe that" "ooohhh" To see someone doing what they dreamed of and worked hard to get to, is always inspiring and comforting. And the fact that she met her husband Reggie at her first gig out of school - A Different World and the two still have a beautiful relationship where they are a team, just makes her that more cooler.

Like Russell Hornsby and his wife
. Adorable! He looks at her like Barack looks at Michelle. Love it:)

This movie is PHENOMENAL . . .the first one in months I am determined to buy a ticket and see the first weekend

Bridal Block

October 8, 2008
I love weddings. I would go to one every week if I could. I encourage all my girls to get married just so I can go . . .but I must say things are getting out of hand. I didn't think folks would actually listen to me.

The latest bride is my RA from freshman year (ANNEX!). She is such good people and I remember my first day at Howard like it was yesterday. My black power tshirt and fresh kinky twist (eww, why did I fall prey to that trend, glad my hairline survived), she just had this natural cool as she welcomed me to the floor and the longest nails EVER. And now she's somebody's wife. And now Im looking in the mirror wondering when did I get to this spot. I remember how immediate it was for my pack of aunts on questions of me meeting a special guy as soon as I hit college. I just scratched my head at how quick it had went from NO BOYS to get engaged. Cant a girl just chill and enjoy dating and relating for a few years?

Maybe the thought of me getting married is so foreign because of the current prospects. One part of that sabatical I've been on from the social scene is I haven't met that many new guys. I take that back. I haven't met any worthy of a good daydream. Yes, you can put it on Barack Obama for raising the standard. And everytime you say that, you know the fellas are ready to come back, "well, are you Michelle?" And I'm working on it. Getting some brooches this weekend when I head home

Get Your Shine On

October 6, 2008



"Hey MIA," my hip hop dance class teacher at the gym yells to me, as we do our warm up routine. "Im just gonna call you that today" I was a little surprised and embarrased, but couldn't deny the fact I hadnt been there in weeks, maybe months. Though my ego, wouldnt let the moment pass without feeling itself that my absence had been noticed.


Then one of my best buds in NY said I was MIA in a gchat I actually replied to. I'm trying. really. Just my work ethic is probably my detriment at times. Is enough ever enough?

Yes. It is.

And I was excited to enjoy the little things over the weekend as my cousin Rob came to town who has been like my brother since our births a few months apart. Friday, we hit up my buddy Z's bday costume party and with a shiny dress and no official get up, I became a Dreamgirl. Jessica became catwoman, and was not feeling about all these kittens with official costumes . . .got a little catty:)We had a good time, till Long Island Rail Road came on the wrong side and we ended up in Far Rockaway . . . :/



Saturday we grabbed breakfast with my cousin and her friend. Though she totally blasted me in an email on all my shortcomings and why she only puts up with me because we are blood, we had a great time. Guess she's decide Im worthy of her time? Who knows. But she does have a fab new apartment on the bottom floor of this brownstone on 119th. Love Harlem!



After we hunted down this blazer at Banana Republic he had to have, we hit Central Park for the 30th birthday picnic of my 149th st neighbor and fellow SWD alum, Rakia. Met her at Belle's Young Legends Dinner and she has been like a big sis ever since. And for some Decatur girls, a picnic with friends means spades. We made great partners even with all Rob's smack talking and his partner trying to mack him a little I think. Get it girl!

That night we had great Thai at Room Service and realized we couldn't hang like we used to and took it to the house. Today was a good feeling as I saw myself getting tagged in photos - proof I am back in action

A Spike Lee Joint.

September 26, 2008

After you watch the debate, go check out "Miracle at St. Anna."

I saw the film a few weeks ago and it was beautifully made and an incredible story. One of the things about screenings is it's suppose to be work so you aren't their as a consumer. If you really want to look like you are all business pull out your notepad. Though I don't believe for a sec you are writing in the dark . . .Mr. White Hair and glasses. That business facade totally didn't work at SATC when I fought back tears . . .twice. And in this film by Spike Lee based on the novel by James McBride, I wanted to stand and clap when it was done. This is the first time in a while I saw a movie that was based on a book and I hadnt read the book yet (though I dont agree with Belle that Devil Wears Prada's book was better than the movie.) If the movie was this good, I can only imagine what's in store for the book.
This week I had the pleasure to catch up with some of the Buffalo Soldiers of the film, my fellow bison Laz Alonso who was incredible in the film as we watched him go from a young soldier to an older man, the clever Omar Benson Miller who made me want to hum "Watch out for the big boy" with his charming self, and the calm and collected Michael Ealy who was nothing like I thought he would be. What I got was an incredibly sharp and subdued brother who was not the bad boy he can play his butt off as. And when he said he thought about going back to theater all the time and is looking for the next Lorraine Hansberry to create the next amazing play, I gave him the serious side-eye over the phone, as he pulled my card. I simply adore Lorraine and in my dreams we are old friends. Ok. When I am awake she is still my kindred spirit who I sometimes fantasize is passing her torch to me . . . Yes, it's that deep. Whit called me on my love of Lorraine on her blog and how I told her she could be Nina Simone (one of those moments you realize your craziness through someone else's eyes)
Anywho, in these times of Obama . . . we definitely have to remember how far we've come and how far we have to go
Now Im on the quest for a "Chocolate Giant" or am I just loving that phrase . . .

Loving the blog love

September 24, 2008
Thanks for your comments and for reading incognegro;)


Sorry if you read something and you don't get it . . .(Shaena is still scratching her head on the Spanx post, the joys of never experiencing your thighs touching .  . ..lol). I will just let it stay over the head  . . .tonight I heard T.D. Jakes speak. I now love that man and see why he's so huge. Felt like he was my uncle or something. That new book "Before You Do" sounds like hot stuff!

Mouth of Babes

September 21, 2008

"Are you registered to vote?" she asked when I picked up the phone.

No hello, no good morning. Took me a second to comprehend. It was Saturday and my first morning to sleep in weeks after working 12 days straight. I had spent the night before being a good friend and helping my buddy see if a male review was worthy of the upcoming bachelorette party she's throwing . . .

"Yes," I answered with a smile. And cradled the phone to talk to my 9--year-old baby sister, who I keep realizing is no baby. She was hanging with my dad outside of Wal-Mart as he helped register folks to vote. See why I love them? Earlier this year after the primaries she asked me had I voted and if I had voted for Hillary or Barack. If I could vote, I'd vote for Barack she said. She's been learning about weather at school and Native Americans (and excited I volunteered us to make some different types of corn for the holiday). She tells me to hold on as she applies her lip gloss. Then we sing our fav song: Peanut Butter Jelly Time.
This pic is from when the three of us went fishing for her 6th birthday. Dad made a rule whoever caught the biggest fish won. After fish 3 for her, I was still waiting for one to tug my line. I caught one. She caught 3 more. I catch a big one. She leaves with 9, me 3, but I did have the biggest . . .
I feel guilty I dont see her more. She asks when Im coming everytime we chat. I want to see her step team break it down at the PTA meeting next week. One day. Today duty calls

A lovely day

September 15, 2008

If I haven't returned your call/facebook message/text/bberry ping/twiter reply/email, missed your birthday or just been plan MIA, here's why . . .the new ESSENCE.com launched today!!

Take quizzes (and not just because I wrote the first date and Tyler Perry ones;), watch video and view photos!

Got a sexy social network too (friend me;)!

Also, Mo'Nique's October issue is now sale. I loved seeing this issue come together as a special tribute to full-figured women. Watch out for the big girls!!! Her story of surviving sexual abuse touched my heart and she really is a survivor.(changed this text because when I reread seemed like I had been a victim and I am so blessed to have never gone through any thing like that. Sitting around talking to my girls after my Charm Trunk sale a few weeks back it was scary how they said the stats is like 1 in 4 girls. Freaks me out! )

This morning walking in seeing all the news cameras outside to report the fall of Lehman Brothers was surreal. Made me a lot more thankful for a steady gig - and reinforced the importance of getting yo savings up.

Read a really good article by my buddy Courtney on American Prospect on how Palin would set women up not advance us if elected. Things that make you go hmmmm.

Me and the McCains

September 13, 2008
One of the perks of working at Time Inc is having access to all the titles. I scooped up the Obama family on People and put a cover up in my cube within minutes. That Sasha. What a Ham:). I had Reggie Love's profile asap when checking out the hot bachelors issue. And when the Obama's and Biden's made their debut inside, and Michelle referred to them as "her crew," I loved her even more. She is the homie!
So when we got the issue this week with the McCain's on the cover I zeroed in on the fact that one of these things is not like the other! Their Indian daughter has always intrigued me and I can't wait to read her story, which would be great if it were with us. So I was pissed to see her regulated to the floor, where you would put the family dog. J and Michelle I think enjoy how emotional I can get, and were quick to say, that it almost looked like me . . .

The next day in our morning staff meeting I went on a rant on as it sunk in how on newssatands you won't even see her the way magazines are stacked on each other and continued on my soap box again once, when I saw not only was she all down at the bottom on the cover, but inside the issue it was even worst how the whole family is sitting on the couch or standing behind and she is sitting on the floor. Not one of the brothers could say," hey sis, you don't have to sit on the floor. take my spot."

Had me speaking French. WutInDeeeHel. Later that night, I see Michelle and J chuckling and looking in my direction as we all work hard in prep of the new and improved site. J, saunters over to my cube and quickly pins this to the wall. We all BURST out laughing. I can't even lie, I blended perfectly. Photoshop is the devil


Spanx Me

September 12, 2008
He is by far one of the finest men I have ever laid eyes on. Dipped in chocolate. Dimpled smirk. Pearly white teeth. Big brown eyes. Nice natural muscular build. Plenty of swag. The longest eye lashes I've ever seen. {got a tale on fake lashes for another time } He is the living breathing fantasy man Midnight from The Coldest Winter Ever.

I smile every time I see him. Then always settles a sinking feeling for the great man he could have been, well that he could still be. If he wasn't in these streets making a living. If living is what you could call it with an uncut umbilical cord always pulling him back to the few blocks he has probably spent his whole life in. And in the shadows of the capital of the world. Damn.

We chat all the time. He makes me laugh. I overestimate my strength and underestimate how heavy eggs, milk and lean cuisine meals weigh. He helps me take my groceries upstairs. Never once has he said anything inappropriate. Did I mention he has serious swag?

Yesterday morning I saw him. We smiled. He was standing with a group of guys. I was rushing, like I have been every morning this week with the craziness of a relaunch over my head and mama has been stepping it up (ok, a few tantrums in between . . .)

The eyes of the guys he is with aren't as kind as his. At the last minute I threw on a dress after planning to wear jeans, when I remembered it was the first day of my new boss and I wanted to be in a dress. It wasn't one of my usual wrap dresses and in my haste I didn't put on some boy shorts or even a slip . . .

Midnight was cordial. . . and so were the fellas. Until I walked past: "You jiggling baby, go head baby," the biggest one sang. I didn't want to look back and see if joined in the laughing.

This morning I crossed the street when I saw a whole nother group of guys. I'm usually sweet and if you say good morning I speak. You never know how far a sweet smile and hello can go.

This morning, as I walked to the office from the train, I looked up at the clock at the Lehman Brothers building. Sank in further how bad this economy is. I should by stock in Spanx.

Preying Mantis

September 9, 2008

So last night my fab editors got me a spot at the last minute to come along to the screening of "The Family That Preys." We were rolling as the middle-aged WASP who sat ahead of us had grabbed four of the complimentary bags of popcorn and about 6 of the twenty ounces. Just greedy I tell ya.

Tyler Perry went to the front and said a few words and I was feeling the power of that Black man. The movie comes on. Im loving Kathy Bates in a TP movie. The plot good, the lines superb, timing on track. Im hooked! I almost wanted my money back from Meet the Browns, and I didn't even pay. Family That Preys has me figuring out when I can go support this good film, not good Black film, and I haven't paid for a movie in a long long time.

The after party afterward was a good time. Sanaa's fine ass boyfriend was just a nice guy, and Ill have to tell you what he said about a certain scene later as not to spoil it. Sanaa was gracious. I was definitely feeling Taraji. Sweet and real about them banging purple shoes being a killer for the big toe. And I almost took her up on the offer to offer my skin color for that banging dress she killed

Met me a new buddy to kick it with in Atlanta.

Good times indeed.

At Papi's Request

September 3, 2008

Me and my BFF had a blast this weekend. Our favorite veggie burgers at the Diner in the Meatpacking District. Hanging with some accomplished women in their 30s in one of their delux apartments in the SKY (read penthouse in Harlem) Chatting with one of our best buds from high school showing how little we've changed . . .and another person I can begin to annoy with my obsessive talk of Michelle Obama. ADORE her! Watcher her speech at Whit's. Watched Obama's at Rakia's in Dunbar.

Was rolling the next day reading Slate's Twitter of Obama's speech. Still no internet so Im typying fast before I head home to catch the hip hop dance class at the gym. Yay!

My fav commentary of the week though was William Jelani Cobb's blog post on Michelle. Here's a snippet and check out the whole thing if you get a sec:

When brothers see Michelle we see that game-proof sister who you planned to step to once you got your credit straight. Or the one that you approached on the best moment of your best day, and have been self-congratulating ever since. Before he made his own inroads, a chunk of his appeal was based on the idea that any cat who was swift, smart and skilled enough to put a ring on that finger was at least worth listening to. Brothers love Barack too -- but with a twinge of hate because deep down you really suspect that you might be the first black presidential nominee if you'd met her first.

I never felt so humbled to have been called unapproachable:) And tying in Fannie Lou Hammer? Just genius . . .

Till next time (still hoping to get wireless soon . . .Come on already Time Warner!),
Catch me on Twitter: HarlemCharm

You can be a star*

August 26, 2008

So iv'e been meaning to post about my weekend but this no wireless at the crib is for the birds! Friday night I had a date that was cute, but totally not what I was going for. Saturday I took my old intern to brunch (still getting use to the fact I can say that. . .and LOVING having interns). I worked some that morning since Obama announced his VP choice and got my NY Times email on his choice before I got my text from Barack, but still totally loving how tech savvy the whole campaign is. Saturday night I went to my buddy Sammy's housewarming in Spanish Harlem. It was great to see some of my old magazine buddies and met some new one's, including Chris an EA at People.
A really cool guy. Then it was time to make my exit to head over to Yasmine's karaoke bday party, which was sooo her (looking like an American Apparel model), and a blast.
I broke out one of my dresses I planned on saving for the fall lineup and took the mic for "Bills, Bills, Bills" Only now do I wonder if my personal life and the song choice were related . . .

Sunday church was phenomenal! Went home and finally got more of my stuff settled. Then headed to Chelsea to meet my pseudo Aleksandr Petrovsky for drinks. Which turned into him wanting to take me for Italian. Hadnt seen this guy in months since he's in and out of the country directing commercials, and I admit one of the main reasons I go out to meet him is to hear of his amazing travels. So the first spot is super crowded (and cute). We head around the corner to another spot on Houston called Bar Pitti. Wait is better and we sit on the bench and chat. Cool spot that has doubled in size in summer with tables all on the side walk. I see a girl who looks like Lindsay Lohan walk past and enter the restaurant. Me and my little cuz went crazy for Mean Girls a few years back, and those quotes still are classic:). Turns our it is her, her her mom and her girl pal Sam. I thought it was cool. But remember, Im with Aleksandr, so they arent on his radar, and I wanna appear cool so I dont harp on it. When they go out for a cig break, the paparazzi have suddenly appeared and its a weird frenzy before they walk back in. Later that night I casually mentioned it to my new People mag buddy, as we do our nice-to-meet-ya facebook chat, and then he asks for more details. I tell him I wasnt on my mamarazzi tip, and almost wish I were. He still got enough and I was pleasently surprised to get this link from People.com:)

I always was told I had stars in my eyes . . . Truth is so much cooler than fiction.


- CJ

*Love that song by Janelle Monae. I wont start to ramble on how much I adore her. And she really has blown up. Heard her song on the Lipstick Jungle commercial whil watching Project Runway. Kinda a big deal . . .

Paid in Full

August 19, 2008

The last few months Ive been working with Essence.com's Black in America website, posting stories from the magazine on the Black experience in this country. One of the last stories I pulled was on reparations. And I know lot of folks eyes glaze when talks of 40 acres and a mule come up, like its beating a dead horse (no livestock pun . . seriously). 

But this article checked me real quick, as it wasn't about looking for a handout, but strategically approaching big businesses who can directly relate their millions in profits to the backs of enslaved people.

 And the last sentence of the article startled me as it said big businesses like Bank of America had already given money to Howard University, the NAACP and other institutions while acknowledging slave labor paid a part in their success.

I went to Howard on a academic scholarship from the University. At first thought I felt a mix of emotions knowing my debt-free status may have come at the hands of enslaved Africans (I don't like to use the word slave to describe a person, but that's another post). Then I felt a sense of connection and responsibility. It wasnt about me. Someone else gave their life and freedom for me to get educated. Time to step it up for real. Last Thanksgiving, heading back from the mall on Black Friday, I made my cousin Rob pull over as we passed by these big cotton fields. They stirred emotion in me as I could sense Black people working in these fields, which in history, was just yesterday. We snapped a few shots. Armed with a college degree, I pulled my first piece of cotton in memory of folks who dreamed of a better life that we live every day . 

All Moved!

August 18, 2008

So, deciding to step up my blog game in the middle of moving and busy times at work, wasnt the most thought out plan . .but I got heart:) We dont have wireless yet. TimeWarner says 4 to 6 weeks . . .booooo, well maybe not since mama just got her 401K together and hopes you continue to love TimeWarner:) Weekend was fab. Moved the last of my stuff, after some movers tried to get over me, a friend made me wonder if you arent a friend when Im in need, are you really a friend indeed? And its sooooo good to be out of the old place and start the next chapter of life with bills in my own name.
Saturday night me and the girls bar hopped in Harlem and laughed till our ribs hurt. This one tall guy was GETTING it at The Den doing the Urkel dance . . .

And yesterday was fab. Mom called as she was leaving brunch with her crew after early morning church. And wouldnt you know they had just heard my pastor here at First Corinthian! Everything thing came together beautifully for my summer closeout Charm Trunk Sale! After hunting around harlem for some stools with no luck, I settled on the fact it would be like a real store . . .sparse seating. Folks didnt seem to mind. I felt the love and was just excited to be doing something I love. We grabbed dinner at Amy Ruth's (in the process of booking our Puerto Rico get away so thats the last Whiting and Waffles for a while:) Girl talk got raunchy and real . . .

First Impressions

August 12, 2008
So here is my work cube and across the street neighbor J. He keeps me up on the latest pop culture (read gossip) each day, along with hilarious stories of his friends and family . . .he's definitely my crazy cousin you aint like at first but slowly wins you over (I can feel the side eye:)

And now he's sharing his craziness with the world on his new blog, I Am Not Impressed (yet another funny story on his mom not being impressed with too much). I guess Ill share s
ince I get the live versions each day. I think everyone deserves an actor friend becau
se every story becomes a full out production, and you know I love a good story (the one with Loretta Devine and another with Lil Kim wasting her drink on his suede outfit . . .CLASSIC) 
Though, we may be cool but he still will never be given a pass to use my name and SMASH in the same sentence. Show some respect, boi! 

And yes, this is the same one I was killing in our hip hop dance class at NY Sports Club . . .lol

 His amazing discovery of the mystery of Will Smith's hairline is classic. And speaking of Will, You can also check Jonte in Hitch doing this strut in the pool scene looking real Shazza from Different World back when they both had locs:) I was almost impressed . . .