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.


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 . . .


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:

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