To close out the first decade on this new millennium, I took the challenge from My Brown Baby, to write five defining moments of the last ten years. Here goes
"Welcome to the Atlanta Daily World"
I started this decade as a freshman in high school, sure I wanted to be a lawyer or a math teacher during the day and radio dj at night (even had my name . . .Lady Cha Cha which my dad still calls me:). Then I joined my school newspaper staff junior year, because I liked writing and they had long lunches. That summer I did a program with 30 students throughout Atlanta to intern at different companies.
I wanted a law firm.
I got assigned to the local Black newspaper.
After getting over the disappointment, I looked up and was home. From calling companies to place ads to writing local arts stories, I was doing something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.
I also learned you can't wait for opportunity to knock. I saw Andrew Young and Jackie Reed walking by our office outside, in town for the BET road tour. I ran outside and took photos with my disposable camera, and smiled bright the next week, when those pictures made the front page.
"You have Hodgkin's Lymphoma"
I have been saying I'm going to Howard U. since 8th grade. And I finally made it to my top school, with two of my best friends in 2003. I joined the newspaper staff after emailing the EIC the summer before, too naive to know no freshman were on staff. Sophomore year began, and one of my best friends back home lost her mom to Breast cancer. I came home feeling the weight of life and death. That Christmas break, at my grandmother's urging I finally checked out a little bump in my groin.
And after a biopsy, I got big news. Being diagnosed with cancer at 19, rocked my little world. As my classmates returned for the second semester, my parents drove me up to get my stuff and come home for treatment. Thankfully, after chemo, radiation and a new bald head, nine months later I was cleared to return to school. Even now, I don't enjoy returning to those memories, though it definitely made me stronger. And this decade I am pushing myself to share my story.
Empire State of Mind
I returned to college knowing intimately how short life really is, which gave me an ongoing boost to live it to the fullest. That spring I was back on track to graduate on time and was awaiting word about a magazine internship. I got the email I had been waiting for. I was accepted into Asme and had gotten my first choice of Essence Magazine. I cried. Almost a year to the day I had lost my hair, here I was about to go to New York. God is good. The next day was our magazine conference and I walked up to Essence EIC Angela Burt Murray to tell her I was coming to her magazine. She welcomed me and said with a smile, "Be ready to work hard."
And she was right. I had the time of my life and it was hell adjusting back to college life. I was in NY every chance I got, and a position opened up on their website staff right before I graduated. Four days after hearing Oprah speak to the graduating class of 2007 at Howard, I was at my desk at Essence, after finding my first apartment the night before.
Love Comes Along
I fell in love this year. Hard. And I am still getting my bearings. That balance of building something beautiful while not losing yourself is a work in progress. I had a moment a few months back, where I was feeling down, and looked to my boyfriend to fill me up.
It scared me. And I had a wake up call, that it will still always be my job to be my best friend. No one will ever treat me as good as I can treat myself. And I have worked on keeping my relationship with myself the strongest. It made me better. It made us better. And I am so enjoying the ride. We just celebrated nine months of officially going steady and went to see "Princess and the Frog." Love ya Tiana, but the real thing is so much better than a fairytale.
The Next Level
This year alone has been a defining one filled with firsts. I lost my grandmother this summer. And along with getting my first job this decade, this year I got laid off for the first time. It was a turning point in my life as I felt myself get off cruise control and return to the driver's seat of my life. I had my dream job at 24, so it was time for new dreams and new goals. And I know exactly where I want to go next. Though I still miss my grandmom, I have the greatest peace I have ever known. And I definitely did not get here alone. I have had amazing mentors in my corner and parents who really make me believe I can move mountains. Here's to a fab 2010 and beyond!!
If you have to be laid off, let it be from a large company with great benefits!
Along with a decent severance to keep me afloat for a few months, I received outplacement services courtesy of my former employer.
I finally made it to the orientation program yesterday, and wish I had went earlier!
The company provides one month of one-on-one career coaching for a month, and six months of access to their career seminars, and offices you can use as needed, with printers, copiers and a 212 phone. oh my.
Working from home is great, but I do miss a fax, printer and copier at my disposal. I attended my orientation with one of my fav former coworkers, Bridgette, and two women who worked in HR at the company. There stories were especially touching . . . and shocking. Both had wind of layoffs as there department prepared, but werent aware of their own pending cuts. One even was stuffing the folders given to each laid off person, a folder she ended up getting herself. ouch. When she asked her boss, why she would be asked to do that knowing she would be cut, she was told to keep her from being suspicious of being left out . . .
After a great session, I hurried over to meet a friend of a friend's little cousin, who was a college student in town from Chicago with dreams of going in to magazines.
There is nothing like looking into the bright, hopeful eyes of someone you once were, to make you smile and realize how far you have come. She asked me about my time as a intern in the city and going from intern to editor. I told her stories of my time, and more importantly my strategy to getting hired, and being positive opportunities would come. I got up this morning looking for a picture for a blanket I want to make my mom, and stumbled on pictures from that summer (included some in this post). I smiled clicking through, knowing dreams really do come true. And it aint over yet!
Then she looked around, picked up her flat iron and begin pressing her hair, with its blond ends and black roots. She heard footsteps from behind on the wooden floor, and quickly tucked her iron under the desk and straigtened up. The moment calmed my nerves, as another exec came to bring me back for the interview.
First up, they told me the job had shifted some from the posting I saw on Mediabistro. The added duties were even more in my lane, and I felt myself getting excited. Instead of a list of questions, after giving them copies of my resume, I was given the floor to tell them about me, and make it sound good. They shared more of the daily duties of the job, something I could definitely see myself doing with my days and thriving in.
Before I knew it, I was shaking hands and back on the streets of NY. Smiling. Not sure how they felt about me, but satisfied with my performance.
And then I felt the hunger pains from not eating breakfast (Staples became my friend that morning). I headed over to the BF's place for leftovers from the great Sunday dinner we whipped up. Cooking together is the ultimate win-win. Fun and frugal.
That night I got my socialite on, hitting an alumni party for former employees at my old job, and then the cocktail party for A Belle in Brooklyn. It was great to see old and new faces at both! That's me and Elaine at Belle's event, where she thanked me for inviting her to my bookclub meeting her first weekend in NY - where she met her best friend in New York till this day. Just a testament to being good to others and it comes right back.
And things just kept on getting interesting. Tuesday I saw another voicemail on my phone. Again I had missed a call from the company!! I know, i know.
I called back and was informed I was one of four finalists for the job, and needed to complete an edit test in 24 hours to possibly make it to the next round of two people, one to be picked for the job. I was ready for the test and she sent it over.
It was . . .intense. I started my research and then it was time to head to a CNN networking reception with exes and journalists of color.
I got there and was excited to see a mentor/homie who had helped show me the ropes in NY. We caught up and she told me she had been on an interview the day before, and gave a description of the job . . .and I named the company. Yep, she had interviewed for the same position and also was a final four. We both felt good that if we didnt get it, we hoped the other did.
After meeting amazing folks at CNN, I headed home. It was time to get to work on the edit test. I overthunk some parts and made it a little harder for myself than i had to, but today, as the deadline neared, I hit send and felt good. We shall see . . .
So, Im going on my first post-laid interview tomorrow.
An interview that almost didnt happen.
In a dream in the wee morning hours of Thursday morning, a friend told me he would come by since I didnt check my voicemails. I humphed and rolled over. Woke up around 4 am and grabbed my phone.
There was a cousin of a friend asking if I had time to check over his resume. A sweet mom VM.
And then there was one from Tuesday, as a woman with a fun British accent invited me to come interview for a job I saw on mediabistro. I smiled, then cringed. It was two days later, the day she wanted to start interviewing folks and I was kicking myself for just hearing her message.
Later that morning, once a decent hour arrived, I called her office. It took 15 minutes to get to her extension as the company's automatic receptionist asked me to press in letters on the phone - letters totally different on a Blackberry. Finally I got her extension! . . . and the voicemail picked up. I left a message. And in the mean time dusted off the job description and email I sent to her weeks earlier, to see what exactly I was asking to do. I smiled and started researching the company and ideas for how I would execute, if offered the position.
I havent applied for many fulltime jobs, as I'm not in a rush to take on someone else's dream and only applying for jobs I want to spend my days doing. But I have been wanting to interview, just to stay sharp and see if I got "it."
She called back and invitied me in tomorrow. Bring resumes and clips.
So outside the mental prep with resumes and research, its the image plan.
What to wear? And for a hair hopper like me, how to style these tresses?
Im going for exciting earrings, and trading the wild wet and wavy for a slicked back ponytail. Black tights and black skirt and top.
Ill be back with full details!
Excuse the hiatus! I went on a 10 day trip home to Atlanta followed by a little soul searching. The feedback has been great for the blog as friends and strangers alike share their like of the concept. Thanks much!
But then I had my doubts.
A) I didnt want to seem ungrateful of the phenomenal opportunity I had at my first job. I got my dream job at 23! And I had a great run. I am also never one to wallow, so when the pink slip came, I was already mentally on to the next phase of my life (my futuristic aquarius ways)
B) I didnt want to be branded as the laid off girl, or to wrap my identity in what could be a temporary thing. But after tweaking the header to reflect that fact we are making the most of a situatuion we didnt choose, I am ready to move full speed blogging, and boy do I have stories.
So "home" in Atlanta was many things. Great to see the family! Crazy hosting a princess slumber party for my ten year old sister and her 10 year old friends! Kicked myself for booking a trip sooo lonnng! By day five, i was ready to get back to Harlem. . .
It was the first time I visited Atlanta, and didn't have serious thoughts on moving back sooner than later.
It was the first time I felt like a visitor in a place that much of my mail still goes to.
It was the first time my mother had news on me she felt needed a press release for.
"So, what should I tell people?" she asked reluctantly when talking about me being laid off.
I laughed. "The truth mom, the truth." I was laid off. A fact Im not embarrassed about. Im still me. Im doing fine financially and doing some consulting that brings in steady checks, alongside severance.
And finding a speech I shared at a youth program in the city the year before made me smile. The theme was Solid as a Rock, and I talked about my then job and though cool, I couldnt build my foundation on something that could be taken away. I couldnt wrap my identity in something not eternal. because if taken away, I still had to be me. Not any less cool. God has such a sense of humor.
So Im back for daily updates on the laid life (including my first job interview next week, the first in more than a year) and nudging the BF to share more of his stories . . . while I was eating hot wings and watching cable in Atlanta, he was hitting up the Fela premiere dapping Jay-Z and Questlove, Im not jealous . . .really.
And speaking of Jay-Z, I blame his wifey Beyonce for the grown poses my lil sis and co had at the party!!!!
So when the laid news came, the flood gates opened for great events.
After some birthday parties, happy hours, and the Wendy show, Tuesday I went to a luncheon at the Paley Center with 50 AMAZING women, to discuss ways the media can help mobilize women and girls around the globe.
And when I say amazing, I mean leaders of top outlets like Lifetime (who is on a serious come up!! LOVE Sherri), and my buddy Courtney from Feministing sitting next to Donna Karan at the table ahead of me. Aside from making great clothes and scents, she had some innovative ideas on healthcare.
And just as I felt myself shrinking in my seat from being around such powerful women, Gayle King waltzes in.
After a great pow wow luncheon, there is mingling. I try to get to Gayle to say hello but she keeps getting stopped and I keep mingling so Im not hovering - no one likes a helicopter. I see her grab her bag and begin to head out. I sigh at the missed moment when she whips around and taps me and waves like we're old friends. Wow, I think. (OWN is also on my lists of businesses Im watching closely). She says how pretty my skin is. I compliment her on her pretty purple dress and she jets out.
I floated back home and worked on my personal website, inspired to make moves.
The next night I went to a dinner Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism hosted, honoring an amazing newspaper reporter who saved lives in Chicago by exposing the great errors of capital punishment cases there. Walking on the campus, it took me back days on the Yard, running around campus covering events for the school paper and researching papers (Im a nerd and was lucky to do papers on issues I wanted to know more about).
Just because Im laid, doesnt seem like the social calendar is cooling off . . . with ten days home in Atlanta next week!
And it just has been a reminder on the importance on building real relationships versus a contact or grabbing a card. Staying in touch with great people has doors opening.
(Thats me partying at my friend's surprise birthday party the night after being laid . . . thought it was my coming out party . . .and no, thankfully there is no name for that awful dance:)
Not so good.
I wrote this whole post on going to the Wendy Williams show and it somehow has disappeared. Ah well, the post must go on.
Thats me, my work buddy Jocelyn, left and her buddy. Minutes after we learned most of our team had been axed, she asked me to come along to the show, as she celebrated her BIG 3-0!
Bright colors, sequins, animal print and long hair were everywhere! And the set made me smile.
I actually interviewed Wendy over the summer while she was on the treadmill, to talk about her new show:)
And as her swole husband/fellow producer walked around, he gave her no nod when she thought of belting the football jersey for a show promo for Charlotte. A fellow sinched waist fan I see:) Her stylist opted for a clip in the back to tighten the look.
I heart Gabby Sidibie. Seeing her on Conan's couch makes me smile. She's plus, sized, chocolate, and you totally fall in love with her.
She was also the last interview I conducted at my old gig. I was laid off the day before it was to be turned in, so technically I didnt have to write it up as many of my coworkers shut down right after getting the news.
But of course I did because Precious is a story of many nameless and faceless girls around the country, and Gabby was an enigma I wanted to share, as she was just like and nothing like Precious at the same time. We laughed at her purple obsession and her living with two HOTTIES, including the guy from Precious's fantasy scenes. She giggles with Conan on her N'Sync obsession. For girls like Precious, it's great to see the glow of Gabby. Oscars better recognize . . .
So being laid, has given me a chance to not only wallow in my bed, but also my thoughts as I get off of cruise control.
This morning me and the bf had the best heart to heart on church, religion and spirituality (three totally different things) that we have had in months.
Now I'm sitting in my apartment alone, working on my own website. And I feel a tightness in my chest, as A Keys belts out.
Alicia Keys's "Nothing Even Matters" is my jam. But with this new feeling me, I consciously feel what my subconscious has long felt: Not you too Alicia!!
I'm not extra old fashioned when it comes to matters of the heart and open to the many ways love can come knocking.
But a married man is married until he's not.
I didn't rush to judgement on the Alicia Keys/Swiss Beatz love triangle rumors, hoping she would say, miss girl power respects women enough not to go after another woman's man. But the pictures and a personal note from his ex-wife, have made it harder to ignore, especially as Alicia makes the rounds to sell the new album on love, mute on her own love life. I was flipping through People on the train yesterday and there she was being recognized for the great work she does for children with AIDS. That's the Alicia I am happy to have as my little sister's idol. Not the one rumored of home-wrecking.
I don't think celebrities should be held to a higher moral code or the sole role models of kids, but dating someone who is single isn't too much ask.
And if you brand yourself as the superwoman shero, it's not a stretch that married men not be a part of your dating pool.
At least let the ink dry before you swoop in. This goes to Gabby too. Your lack of discretion does a national nod to it being ok to mess with another woman's man.
I was a volunteer for an organization doing amazing things and building a charter school for orphans. So learning the founder was dating and had a child by a prominent and married business man who I admired was offputting. I think she is amazing and her child a doll, but any way you slice it, it is stll messy and having a relationship with another woman's husband.
Of course you can say the relationship was over before you got there and that he's not emotionally involved with her, but if you have to have that many excuses for your love is it really that right?
You didnt take those vows, but he did and is still technically someone's husband. A married man can't cheat if their aren't women who join the party. We all deserve more.
Let's be real . . . the laid life still costs money.
Severance is nice and having side projects helps, but you still gotta save for a rainy day, and in the laid life the umbrella is your expense.
So that means we are all about the fun freebies!!
I went to my first opera at Carnegie Hall Saturday night - free!
So, I may have watched too many movies getting all black tie glam when some dress pants and a top would do, I saw from the crowd . . . :)
And last night me and the bf checked out a staged reading of Illmatic by our friend Shaun Neblett, coordinated by his girlfriend and fab publicist Thysha Shabazz, my plus one for the opera who was fab in sequin tights!
The play is inspired by Nas's classic album. We had a blast listening to Shaun's amazing writing and drinking wine . . . at no cost. Thysha has had me inspired to get on my indepedent consultant grind, as she runs her own PR firm from her sexy Harlem studio. It's not easy, having how much you eat depend on how hard you hustle, but it's definitely fulfilling!
After the show, we headed to the meatpacking district to grab dinner at the diner. My old editor put me on to their veggie burgers and Ive been hooked since. Unfortunately, they were so good, I went right to sleep when we got in, ending the part two of the night which was scary movie time. Tomorrow is another day.
We're not sacrificing date night because of our laid status. Just being smart and staying connected (as I type, just got a text for free mani/pedis on Lower East Side:)
Send those freebies our way!!
I got laid off from my first job . . .
I was ready and am embracing the opportunity to go full throttle with the things that make me happy and fulfilled.
And as it seems to be with the story of my life, their is a juicy story.
The coworkers and I read the day before all the news of company wide layoffs, and after a streamline of the work of the department, we knew our department would somehow be cut.
Well, after the majority of our team was sliced and popping bottles and eating sweet potato, i headed to Saks with a coworker for a special event with Maya Angelo.
"Nice to meet you Ms. Jackson" she said, with her warm hand around mine.
Her quotes were pinned in my cube, on my mirror and the bottom of my emails. Her life has touched MILLIONS. I was spellbound and grinning at such a day for me.
Laid off for the first time from my first job out of college. Excited for the rest of my life.
And I have been settling into my new life (watching some daytime TV . . .How you doin Wendy:), making plans for the future and enjoying a moment to have the summer I skipped to go to work.
Me and the bf have even started a new blog to share our laid off life stories as we pursue our passions and live life to the fullest.
see the latest posts and please email your stories to post: http://www.gotlaidco.com/
Change came to America on November 4, 2008.
And on the one year anniversary of president obama's election, change came for me and the majority of the web team I worked for, when we all got laid.
Was I ready for being told This Is It. Yes.
Was I ready for the way it happened? Not even.
I got up that morning and dressed in my fly girl best, in case my name was called. I knew I was making a contribution to the team, but I also read gawker, the New York Times and other outlets to know company wide, they were slicing hundreds of heads.
And in my department, things had recently been streamlined, so less workers could get things done.
We usually had a morning meeting, but were told it would start late because the number two was running behind. Walking to my cube it clicked that the "spring cleaning" of a senior person of her entire office may have been preparing for this day - and not just a routine clean.
She confirmed the news as her and her protege backed their offices and shut down, after officially being told they were laid.
I sat at my desk. An aim window popped up from one of my best work buddies.
"They let me go."
What?? How? I didnt even see her get up OR come back??
My heart pumped with a mixture of emotions. Sadness for seeing her go, peace for her bright future ahead and wonder if I would be called soon. "Don't leave me!" I wanted to type
We aimed and I talked with another coworker. Then I tried to start working.
Another window popped up.
"I'm outta here" messaged the other work homie I just was talking to.
Again, I didnt even see him get up or sit down, and in ten minutes he had gotten the news.
What is going on??
The two get up thinking they are the cut two of our crew and head off to chat. Im bummmmedd. I was prepared to be laid off, but not for the reality of working without two of my favorite people there.
I run into the office of my big sis of the office. We started at the same time and were the longest ones there of our small team.
I tell her I cant believe what is happening.
She sighs and says "Yep, today is my last day"
I reel back. "What?? I came to tell you about the other two! I didnt know you were laid off too. what is going on?" We talk. Just as I say "I better get called too." my phone rings. I run over and know its THE call. I smile and grab my notepad and pen for the green mile.
The chat is pleasent and my former boss and a company exec exclaim at how calm and bubbly I seem. Guess my peace shined through (which they could appreciated as ?I heard later everyone's chat wasnt as peacful . . .)
Back at my desk I look around and we all realize we had all been laid off. 14 out of 18 people.
And then the party begins! Everyone is packing up, as sweet potato pie and cheesecake are served. Bottles are popped and someone even breaks out their bottle of Hennessey Black for the special occassion.
I call the boyfriend, who had been laid exactly three weeks prior, that I was joining the team!
pic: That's me two years ago at the beginning of my first job journey.
You've heard the news. Oprah went on her show and laughed about being blackmailed for having multiple relationships with young people on her staff just hoping for a break. Many right out of college.
Guests give her high fives for being such a player in middle age - though she is in a relationship.
Her ratings go up as more people tune in to her one woman show of workplace romances and she's on the cover of magazines for how she is dodging such a big bullet.
Oh wait. That wasnt Oprah. That was David Letterman.
Because if Oprah, who is not married like Letterman is, had been having sex with young staffers it would have been treated as an abomination even for the Queen of Media. No one would be laughing along with her as she confessed to multiple trysts.
So why is Letterman getting such a pass for cheating on his wife at work with young impressionable women? Why is that so cool?
Dont tell me racism and sexism dont exist.
I have this theory that I mostly keep to myself, but our First Lady made me want to share.
Real Talk From Reah: Parents, don't fall too deeply in love with your kids.
Yes, you should love them and want more for them and make sacrifices to provide for them. But you cant stop living your life or indulging your interests. Because though you birth them, kids aren't possessions that you will control forever and they have their own life to go off and live. So if you are only living for them, what happens when they go start their own family? Love them and help shape them to make the most of their own life - while continuing to love yourself.
So seeing Mrs. O's quote on feministing from Prevention magazine made me smile, on learning what not to do from her mom, which is to sacrifice your entire being for your kids:
"She'd say being a good mother isn't all about sacrificing. It's really investing and putting yourself higher on your priority list."
"Throughout my life, I've learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. . . So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health."
"That's hard for women to own. We're not taught to do that. It's a lesson that I want to teach my girls."
See why I heart her?
Gasp. There are good guys who happen to play a sport for a living. And I had the pleasure of interviewing one.
Meet Thomas Jones, everything you thought an NFL player wasn't.
Yeah, he rocks the big diamonds, Gucci belts and plenty of tats. But he's also finishing his Master's degree in Education, and still says yes ma'am and no sir to his parents - who happen to be married for 35 years and raised seven kids (they had to take two trips to church on Sundays to get everybody there in their one car).
He has shown his little brother the ropes, who also plays professional football, and shares proudly how happy he was to retire his mom, after she worked 20 years in a Virgina coal mine.
As I sat and chatted with this man, I was estatic to see guys like him existed and hope more people encounter Black men like that - who credit their dads for their success (Niema has a great post on the impact a good day makes up now), who give back till it hurts a little, know where to give credit for the success to, and appreciate the love of a strong and spiritual woman - his happens to be actress Megan Good.
He's not perfect. But he is trying his best and making a difference.
I need this series on DVD in my life!
Did some serious digging for a gallery of Black couples on sitcoms today and came back across Jill Scott in Botswana in "The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency." I didnt have HBO when it was on the air and now really want to see. Found out it is on DVD - at $50. Mamas working on being a better budgeter (saving for the big things) so this has to wait a little. And if you want it for a gift, I wont mind at all:)
But the tough time I had finding Black couples on TV made me sad - and miss all the shows that have come and gone. (Cosbys, Different World, Family Matters, Fresh Prince, In The House, Sister, Sister, Amen, Girlfriends, Martin, The Parkers, Moesha, Everybody Hates Chris, shoot - Id even take Out All Night with Morris Chestnut's sexy behind)
So excited for Sherri Shepherd's new sitcom on Lifetime. Theo . . .I mean Malcolm Jamal Warner plays her ex-husband. I stopped by the set of the show to interview her about her weight loss and realized how much I missed Black sitcoms still on the air.
I mean, for a lot of people the Cosbys were one of few examples of happily married Black couples they knew. Just imagine if those reruns werent on now, what would the kids have to see?
"I just went on a date," I said, all giddy on the phone.
My boyfriend wasn't as amused on the other end, as he called last week to see if I was wrapping up at work.
He asked if I was going to elaborate. I relayed the fun afternoon of coordinating a date for actress Yvette Nicole Brown - her first blind date.
She had dropped by the office earlier in the week discussing her new show "Community" on NBC. Of course we had to ask how the dating scene was going in Los Angeles. She was candid on the lack of interest men give women with natural hair and curves in Hollywood. She also mentioned how much she was enjoying the attention from guys in New York, and being called 'sis.' So we took the bait and asked to set her up on a date.
Me and the fab BB went through our rolodexes for men and I stumbled on a possible great guy. Poet and professor Mo Beasely. I met him at Howard's Kwanzaa event (who doesn't love a Bison man:), and loved his energy. And the man can sure write and perform a poem. I called and he was right up her alley, 41 and up for a fun and no pressure or strings date.
After appearing on Wendy William's show last Thursday, Yvette came on by the office. And while on the show Wendy of course asked her about dating, and Yvette slid in we were hooking her up!
We chatted withYvette about dating, passed her some beauty goodies, talked natural hair, showed her picture of Mo who she thought was Cute and then it was time for the date! We walked over to the restaurant and I went to meet Mo. He looked great walking up and was excited to meet this down sister. He walked in and the two embraced like old friends and were off to their date. We sat giddy at the bar as they headed off and enjoyed an afternoon lunch, for Yvette had to head to a acting gig. I felt like cupid:)
Monday, Yvette called into the Wendy Williams show and described the date, and meeting Mo. Then today Wendy shouted out the date photos and story featured on Essence.com.
Bang, Bang. Cupid just bought a gun, as the homie Hal Linton says. Saw him this week at Singersroom.com event on Bowery with my fellow GA peach Bethani. Good times. Love does make your soul crawl out from its hiding place, as Dr. Angelou says and we gotta something different if we want new results in our love lives! For Yvette, it was her first blind date!!
Music by Singersroom.com | More on Hal Linton
So, I have been itching to post about the amazing time and life changing experience I had at the Women + Power Conference at Omega.
I met phenomenal women from around the country, and was definitely humbled and jolted by their passion and action to change the world.
It reminded me of the power in us all to make a difference - something I had almost forgotten. And that everyday people make change. People like Gloria Steinem, Helen Thomas, Elizabeth Lesser and Isabel Allende who still make themselves laugh.
And I was more certain than ever of my mission to do my little part in this big world. My mission is doing my part to help build stronger couples and relationships, which are the root of strong families and communities.
Helen Thomas at 89, is still covering the U.S. President, a job she has done for every President since JFK. I just was soaking up her knowledge. She didn't sugar coat the facts of women losing some of our inate humility and compassion to play with the big boys in Washington. Much like the quote the mesmerizing Elizabeth Lesser shared by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
And this picture made me think of a topic early at work: the phrase Hair Hoppers. Our fashion and beauty editor wanted to know if I thought it would be offensive. Not at all. I am the queen of Hair Hopping. I go straight, curly, long pony tail, tight puff, and sometimes all in one week.
Its no secret I LOVE Living Single and coined this my Regine season about a year ago, fully allowing myself to try out new styles and mix and mingle with new guys at my fancy (cue Lorraine Hansberry's quote;).
So I did check out of the dating scene but my hair hopping continues, especially in the transition i find myself in returning back to natural hair, after a short perm stint.
Im giving my hair a break and been rocking a full sew-in that I got right before Puerto Rico to be able to swim at will with none of the Black woman hair holdups. It brings me back to getting crochet braids for a full year in 6th grade. My BFF still loves to laugh at those days and my braids, but you couldnt tell me a thing as I went every six weeks like clock work to get my real hair cornrowed and each braid literally crocheted to my cornrow. It took my short and damaged hair to down past my shoulders and my hair was healthy and blowing by the time I headed to middle school for 7th grade. thanks Ms. Sheila:)
Which also brings me to my issue with all this hoopla over Tyra Banks wearing just her natural next week . . .anyone who has had ll there hair cornrowed will tell you how much their hair grew. So five years of having most of your hair stored to grow and get healthy has me believing her hair will be looking long, and close to her usual do, thanks to her tight weave cycle . . .we shall see . . .
For now I'm continuing my hair hopping
God definitely works in mysterious ways, and when we get out of our own way, the real magic begins.
Last fall, as the country braced itself for an imminent recession, I brainstormed on new ways to bring in some more money. One was public speaking, something I did a lot more of before college and still enjoyed.
Before she could barely get the words I agreed to be a part of a segment on young feminist today. With my threaded eye brows (beauty really can be a pain) and pearl earrings, I dont mind at all to be labeled a feminist, or any "ist" that's about equal rights for all people. . . .
I wrote an essay about my journey to feminism for the blog Feministing Here's a snippet:
I stumbled into feminism through the back door. And honestly, I am still finding my footing. Growing up in a Black neighborhood in Atlanta's suburbs, going to Black schools, having Black ballet teachers and dentists, I was always exposed to women in powerful positions while being educated on the historical struggles of my people. So the thought that I could be denied things for my gender in this day was a slow one.
It was a big eye-opener to begin to network with powerful women journalists right out of college and be schooled on how recent many breakthroughs for women are in the business and still how far we have to go. Instead of being so tuned in to the lack of Black people in power at a company, network or editorial page, I was also counting the few women too. I left my Black bubble and came back to Earth, where women were only in bigger numbers when it came to births.
I had a new underdog that I was looking at in the mirror and millions of faces around the globe.
Hearing the heartbreaking story of an eight-year-old girl raped then shunned by her family keeps me pushing for change and for women of all walks to have our humanity. Watching young girls blame Rihanna for being attacked by her boyfriend keeps me hosting woman to woman chats with young ladies in the making. Witnessing our Secretary of State called a school girl and her husband step in to help bring women journalists home keeps me rolling up my sleeves.
Oh wait, I'm not wearing any sleeves, much like our fierce First Lady Michelle Obama who has weathered the storm in the mainstream on what it means to be a strong woman and a strong Black woman with grace. I am little late to the table, so I'm ready to make up for lost time.
Back from vacay . . .
That's me and Sherlock sipping daquiris in Puerto Rico. It was just what the doctor ordered. I woke up early most mornings, watched a little TV and took in the amazing view. I could see both waves and mountains from the balcont. Then it was on to swimming and a daquiri;)
They say traveling with someone is a true test and after five days of just me and him, I was still smiling, and the day after our return we finally checked out The Orphan, which I had been dying to see. Thankful I have somebody who gets me (even in all my forgetfulness . . .) Maybe its meant to be forever. Maybe its meant to be till tomorrow. Either, thankful for the time I do have.
And I strongly urge anyone to do timeshare or resort tours for nice freebies. We got a free couple's massage and a voucher for a three day stay at a Wyndham of our choosing around the country for a presentation, we didnt even have to end up seeing. I booked the appointment for the massages, and we got there they had filled it our for Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. Feminism at its best:)
But our layover on the way back tried to take the cake of the defining moment of the trip. We stopped in Atlanta, so dinner with the parents ensued, with my little sister, 10, along and her bff. My parents are the most functional divorced couple I know. If my sister's friend putting her on blast for being single and "lonely" werent comedy enough, my parents were in rare form. My mom had everybody rolling with my childhood stories of being greedy, and had a good one of her own on walking into the men's restroom unknowlingly and a stranger getting her reaction on a camera. She replied she hoped it wasnt on YouTube. 20 minutes later, Sherlock is working away on the BB. He shares all clear on mom's bathroom story on YouTube.
Then it was time for dad. Somehow he spills to Sherlock a Wall of Respect he's working on in his 25 ft hallway (I never thought it was that long). Along with posters of Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, he plans to have a certain deity on a cross at the center of the hall. Yes, that one. And i wish I were playing;) Gotta love the family.
So, I am getting back in my blogger grove with photos and more . . .
All the PR Pics here.
And I just am trying to not let anything slip through the cracks as I scurry along. Went to family reunion over the weekend which was a lot of fun, but meant getting everything done before hand to get out and have a good time.
I ate. I ate. I ATE. Fried fish, okra, peas, mac and cheese, BBQ chicken, watermelon and the rest. My dad had put out the word on the new boy and all wanted details. it is absolutely hilarious to me how my dating life and my dad's have parallelled in the last few years. We both were in the first few dates phase two years back and it was like talking to one of my girlfriends as I told details and he did the same. That feeling of your heart beating and you lips smiling when you are feeling on the way to possibly being in love isnt just for kids. As he drove me to the airport Sunday, he asked more questions on Sherlock and I told him of a chance to meet him in a few weeks. On our layover, coming back from Puerto Rico.
My dad was happy we were happy and shared of his own recent trip with his girlfriend a few weeks before to the beach.
My mom's response the day earlier was a little different. A few months back I mistakenly let it slip we were thinking of going to Jamaica. In that way parents jokingly say something but mean it she said he did not have her permission to take me out of the country. I respect her too much to remind her Im a little grown. I may think Im Miss Independent who got her own, but mom quickly reminds me Im baby girl.
So thats how I started the talk after Friday night's fish fry. I respect your wishes, so we are going to Puerto Rico, a US Territory. HA. And yes I know I probably will remember this moment when my own daughter finds a loophole in my words. Though she wasnt ecstatic, she was happy for me and to meet this guy all the way up in NY hanging with her only daughter.
Back at the office this week has been flying.
Today walked Eva Marcille around the office and was cracking up as her and her hair stylist knew all the words for "Tardy for the Party," Kim's song from the Atlanta Housewives.
Time to head out . ..
*picture of me and my lil cousin lil Wayne (he's a junior. HA) He writes and sings his own music. he's six;)
For our interview we got into why someone as fabulous, accomplished and gorgeous was single - and how annoying it is for someone to ask you why you are single when its not a disease, just a simple circumstance of not yet meeting that somebody special.
A couple of months back I attended a Alvin Ailey African dance class one Saturday morning with her and another fabulous young woman in the city. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch and great girl talk ensued. I gushed on Sherlock. Tai told me she had been engage when she was around the age I am now and how she called it off, knowing she wasnt ready to make that step. She shared how much more growing she has done since then and now she is the person she would want to be for a partner. Along with pancakes, I nibbled on her food for thought.
*That's her with the fab bangs at a dinner two years ago she hosted for young women in media. Good times
Had dinner with my beloved Mikey last night.
He met me at work. I was so excited to see him we started holding hands and crossed the street. I saw my coworkers KB and Tracey, and we stopped and said hello. I told KB this was the infamous Michael I told her about, my gay best friend. She smiled and started laughing. Then belted "Ohh, I was thinking, that ain't her man." We all laughed and she said how she was ready to go with whatever I said, as far a story on who he was. We went on and reverted back to our summer 2006 ways, laughing and telling stories over thai at Cafetasia. I could see my own growth through his eyes. I was proud to see his, after moving to Los Angeles quickly and never looking back. Only thing constant really is change:)
Today my first movers flaked, got some new ones to come a few hours later and all my stuff was moved in enough time for me to still make it to BK for the annual block party. Awesome weekend, with old friends and new beginnings
Before I stepped off the plane, I could feel the spirit of the ESSENCE Music Festival. Girls raising the question of why as they strutted through the airport in bright colored-sky high stilettos. Celebrities shuffling to the private lounge. I see you D-Nice, Salt, and Queen Latifah. Aboard Soul Plane I go. Round-the-way girls debating who sits with Queen Latifah in First Class as she casually flips through People in her ball cap and sneaks. Flight attendent apologies for lateness of flight. Brother requests a drink and wings to make up for it.
"We Had Him"
By Maya Angelo
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.
Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.
Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.
He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.
Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.
He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.
We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.
His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.
And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.
We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.
Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.
In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England
We are missing Michael.
But we do know we had him, and we are the world.
I woke up feeling kind of weird over the weekend. My mother, pregnant? was the first thought in my head after a rather detailed dream where mom dukes, holding it down in her late 50s, was preggers.
Yesterday I called my brother's girlfriend, who I hadnt talked to since my big fight with the brother in April. She text messaged me back that she was cool, though her back and neck were hurting. We talked some more. I got off the phone and immediately thought, could she be pregnant? Was there something she was hinting at with the soreness claim? From our first meeting, I knew she was in it for the long haul with my bro. She shared she was ready for another baby before long so her five-year-old daughter wouldnt be too much older. of course the fact that I am a few months older than her freaked me out a little, since she was so domesticated.
Tonight I finally googled any possible meanings to that crazy dream of my mom being with child. Seems when you dream someone close to you is pregnant it usually is someone else. I'm itching to ask. Stay tuned . . .
Sunday, June 21st
In the middle of the air somewhere over North Carolina or Virginia I am a little disgusted by Creflo Dollar. The mega-church preacher in Atlanta never impressed me ( I am pretty hesitant in general when it comes to prosperity preachers to the masses.) And reading Upscale magazine with Tyrese on the cover confirmed all my ill feelings. Asked who his favorite TV dad was as a special Father’s Day, I almost got a headache with the serious side eye I was giving his answer: George Jefferson .
Sherman Hensley created an iconic character as the quick-witted and hot-headed business man George, who had found his deluxe apartment in the sky. I grew up laughing at him with the rest of my family, but an ideal father he was not. He was quicker to call his neighbor Tom a honky before giving his hard working maid a raise. His son lionel found him insufferable sometimes and he could leave his wife beyond frustrated and profusely apologizing for his actions. And this is a man to emulate for a man of the cloth?
“Seeing George make his transition from the boroughs to a penthouse gave me hope that I could do that as well,” Dollar said, the perfect last name indeed.
But teaching that the love of money is the root of evil and trying to get a penthouse seem pretty contradictory to me.
No I don’t think God sent us here to be broke, but bling was never a part of the reason we are here either. Just look where baby Jesus was born (a broke down manger) and his worldly possessions (the shirts on his back and some simple sandals). I have many tv dads in mind who exemplified great family values the Black church often reinforces and George Jefferson is low on the list, right where my chances of ever tithing in Bentley-driving, atm-by the church dooring, submit your W2s for tithe confirmation then direct depositing Creflo Dollar’s church.
National and community service has been a cornerstone of my life, as I know it has been for many Americans. And with the daily struggles now confronting so many families, it's especially important for us to reach out to one another and offer a helping hand.
I've just launched United We Serve, a national initiative to tackle our toughest problems by working hand-in-hand in communities across the country. We aim to make a real difference right now and bring more and more Americans into a tradition of life-long service to make an even greater difference down the road.
I'd like to invite you to be a part of it by joining Organizing for America's National Health Care Day of Service this weekend. You can join up with other local OFA supporters to help improve health care services in your community and make a difference as we work to reform America's health care system.
Sign up now to participate in a National Health Care Day of Service event this Saturday, June 27th.
Service has played a transformative role in my life -- bringing me tremendous joy and helping me find the path that led to where I am today. As a parent, I believe service is a great way to demonstrate values and to teach our children firsthand what it means to commit to a purpose beyond ourselves.
It should be a part of everyone's life. From the moment someone can walk to the day they leave this planet, service should be a part of how we give back, how we say thank you, how we express our gratitude for the lives that we've been given.
So I'm deeply honored for this chance to support our United We Serve initiative and Organizing for America, and I hope you'll be able to participate this weekend. Please sign up now to volunteer at a local event:
First Lady Michelle Obama
Jill Scott and her beau caput. No, not the old break up from two years ago where she was divorced. The new one, her drummer she was planning to marry. Her son is just 2 months old. yes a mother can do an amazing job raising children on her own. But things like this make me wonder what is so bad that we cant work through this, yet were ready to get married and decided to have a child together not so long ago.
Question: Well, at least your hubby-to-be was there to support. How has he been adjusting to Jett?
JILL SCOTT: Yes, he was there and for a couple of days afterwards while I stayed in hospital, but John and I are no longer together. When you have a baby you're dealing with a lot of emotions and I don't know how much of it had to do with us breaking up, but it happens. We definitely love our son and we are co-parenting and working on being friends. It is what it is. I have a lot of support, so I want for nothing as far as that's concerned. I know some might criticize me or the fact that my son is being raised in a single-parent home, but I wasn't raised in a two-parent home and I had a good relationship with my dad. I have hopes for him and I'm sure his father will do his part as well.
And if you know me, you know I LOVE me some Jill Scott music. I love her in love singing about cooking grits for her man or doing whatever he likes. Maybe I care more than she does, but we need all the hope we can get on strong Black couples creating strong Black families . . .
I saw the same thing with a couple who just had a baby on MTV, with a breakup shortly after a birth. Another big reason I definitely plan to be married before kids, just because I feel we would fight harder for things to work, if we had pledged before God till death do we part.
My grandmother passed away last Sunday evening around 8pm (a number that continues to appear in my life).
Yes, i was, well continue to be sad, but glad she was at peace after slowly succumbing to sickness and even happier she had such a strong faith in God that continues to live in our family.
I worked Monday and Tuesday and flew to South Carolina for a grip Tuesday night, happy I was heading down as I could hear in my mother's voice, as strong as she was, she was having a weak moment.
By 12:30am that night I was on a driving dark rode to the small town where my mother and her two sisters were raised with my mom in the front seat. The next day I was in full grieving family mode, cleaning up the house, playing hostess to old friends and family who stopped by to show their condolences, as my mother and her sisters finished the details of the service (make sure someone get's grandma's Easter Star sash out of the Dry Cleaners, confirm flower order, make sure grave plot next to my grandfather is clear and marked, etc, etc). I also made a display presentation of pictures throughout my grandmother's live and seeing her young let me see a side of her I never met. A side of her that looked a lot like me. Thursday my other cousins arrived and we checked into a hotel, the first time ive never not stayed at my Grandmother's when in town. With everything moving so fast, I had little time to process how much I would miss her.
Friday my mother pulled out my grandmom's jewelry for me and my two first cousins to get a few pieces to keep. Charm Trunk doesnt have anything on my grand. And putting on her pieces and looking through pictures to see where she wore it, it hit me she was gone.
That afternoon we watched Young and the Restless across the street at my great-aunt's house, a lifelong smoker in Stage Four of lung cancer that has spread. her 28-year-old daughter, who is pregnant with her fourth baby (conceived on Christmas, this somehow came up in a convo) and her two sons are still coming to terms with the reality of her condition.
That night was the wake followed by a seafood dinner at grandmom's with some spades, gin and phase ten card playing. I wore some of grandmom's jewelry to her funeral and wake. Both were so healing and comforting as people could not say enough how incredibly sweet and sacrificing she was. I pray for that kind of grace and spirit of sacrifice. Our family choir sang, with me and my cousin Aisha and my mom joining in and my aunt singing the solo to "He's An On Time God." We got the church rocking and the preacher shared his surprise at seeing a family do the comforting at a love one's funeral. Many of my mom's friends from Atlanta came up for the service and so did my dad who stayed the weekend. Writing this helped more then I realized as I flew back to NY sunday night (flight delayed 2 hours in philly, sigh) and back to work today, with little time to think before back to the serious grind. But one thing death does remind you is how precious life is and to cherish each moment. Back to loving reckless:)
Convicted Asian American Journalists in North Korea. Sigh. What Mitzi said indeed.
Long before "The Secret" hit bookstores a lot of us already knew the secret to getting what you want was believing it would come. Since officially moving to New York two years ago I have been vocal that this city is one of the best to be a single Black woman hoping to settle down with a successful single Black man, much to the sighs of many friends. Im not saying mini Barack Obama's are hanging from the trees (I've met my share of toads), but good brothers are around. And I guess I have been branded that way.
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