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 ...


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.


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."


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 . . .)

*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:)