Monday, August 13, 2007

Talking real heavy to me...

There are times that I'm completely oblivious to the signs, too caught up and comfortable mastering left when I should head right. Unforseen transitions can be hard because I want to be ready. So once I catch a clue and peep the change coming my way, I frantically start packing my mental,emotional and spiritual suitcase, hoping to cram every and anything in there that may help me on my next journey. But there isn't always time for all that. And that's when my Higher Power makes a housecall and stands in my doorway, telling me to step out on faith that I was given all that I'll ever need.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Overheard on the 4

5 year old boy: When I'm 8, I'm going to be that tall (pointing to the ceiling of the train car).

Middle-aged mother: Mmmhmmm

5 year old boy: And you're going to be old.

Middle-aged mother: Mmmhmmmm

5 year old: When I'm 8, you're going to 25.

Middle-aged mother: MMMMMMMMHMMMMMM! (giving her son a huge hug).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I am so hearing you...

She smiles, I smile
She walks, no she glides softly by me changing night into day
She opens her mouth to speak, and so sounds ring in my head
She speaks, and I want to dance to her rhythm
She moves ever so gently, increasing my desires,
As I place my arms around her waist,
Hold and squeeze unto me,
I want to melt into her body, and discover the base of her warmth
Her beautiful black body that, no human mind could ever conceive
Shes love
Shes truth
Shes real, as real as the stars that shine in the heavens
As real as the sun that bathes her body,
As real as the moon that glows and the birds that sing and the rose
That blossoms in spring for she is that rose
And not just any rose,
But a black rose,
Black rose stands tall and stronger than any other plant
A black rose, that stands as creator, of nations of
Black rose
That never loses her petals, and blossoms all year round
Black rose,
Sweet rose,
Thornless rose
Eternal rose
Please look my way,
Please look my way
Please look my way
Black rose

-- Dead Prez "Mind Sex"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quote Unquote

When asked to share a favorite tv show that he would love to star in for just one episode, one of my 8th grade students replied, 'I would like to star in the first episode in the miniseries 'Roots', 'cause it shows how we used to live before slavery'.

Nothing at all

Back on July 5, 1852, Fredrick Douglas asked, 'What to the slave is the fourth of July?'

In 2007, I'm wondering the same thing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm sending up much thanks to God, 'cause I can look back and remember when...

I am grateful for the things that You have done
Yes, I am grateful for the victories we've won
I could go on and on about your works
Because I'm grateful, grateful so grateful just to praise You Lord
Flowing from my heart are the issues of my heart...

Monday, February 05, 2007

gettin' up, gettin' out and doing somethin'

have you ever seen a ghetto bird?

sure, you say, of course.

there's dawn who lives down by lexington

with her 5 kids and deferred dreams.

oh, and don't forget mrs. ann's kim

who left here

only to come right back

with a habit

you're right, the kims and dawns

are ghetto birds too

but not the kind i ask of

i'm talking about that one ghetto bird

who always seems

to have its eyes cast


while the rest of the flock

is busy pecking

at the fruitless concrete

have you ever seen a ghetto bird fly?

fly? you ask. they don't fly

i mean, not too far from here anyway.

there's a few that try

but wind up discouraged

and eventually content themselves

with only hopping

from perch to perch

i've seen a good number of

high flying ghetto birds, i share.

i've seen them soar

above the jagged mountains of

at risk

and through the stifling haze of


have you ever heard a flying ghetto bird's song?

no, you admit. can't say that i have.

well, once they're used to

trusting their wings

they sing a song

to the other ghetto birds

down below

it goes:

i'm soaring

reaching heights unknown

freeing my soul

as much as i wish

you could be up here

with me

i've realized it's

too hard to teach

someone with their feet

planted so fimly

in the ground

how to


Monday, January 29, 2007

soul that lives within...

"Eventually I knew precisely what hair wanted: it wanted to grow, to be itself, be left alone by anyone, including me, who did not love it as it was."-- Alice Walker, Living By The Word: Selected Writings 1973-1987

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This goes out to you and you...

Today, I’m really feeling like one of those rap stars accepting an award at one of them hip-hop ceremonies or artists who have five pages in the back of their album dedicated to everyone they’ve ever met.

Excuse me as I give a shout out to my peoples and ‘em.

Dad: Thanks for giving me your charm and your walk….which bothers me a bit, ‘cause either you had a questionable twitch or my stride isn’t as feminine as I thought.

Mom: Thanks for being the originator and allowing me to be your remix. I know, I know “mad” corny, right? Waking me up early every, single Sunday has definitely shaped my cooking skills. I’m honored to be considered a part of your fortune. Yup, more corn. But you’re a mom and love that kind of stuff.

Shirlgurl: Your text messages keep me going during the day. Though I’m not really down with all that “princess” stuff, I have to admit your boughetto ways are cute and very witty.

Junebug: I love all our late night catch-up convos, since you believe we don’t truly “know, know” one another. Thanks for laughing at my outrageous stories, which I promise are all unfortunately true. You're right, my life is a “poetic comedy” and I’m glad you’re interested in hearing alllll about it. Don't forget, your NBA contract is paying for my student loans. Everybody knows that pinky promises are just as valid as notorized documents.

Flojo: You’re the first best friend I’ve ever known and the co-star in a lot of my early memories/escapades. No worries, with a little time, we’ll get us back.

Jenny: The fact that we’ve never gotten into a fight in the entire 17 years we’ve been friends, says something. I love that we can spend close to 6 months with no contact, and start right where we left off. Thank you for accepting me how I am, smelling real good all the time, and sharing my X-rated sense of humor. I love that you make half wigs look so chique, so much so, you got me wondering if the Asians sell half ‘fros. Ummmm, nah, never mind.

Sawnee (said with a real heavy Brooklyn accent) aka Big Sis aka Mrs. Mike Black aka Sister from the Same Two Mothers by Spirit: Thank you for recognizing the woman I’m becoming – even when I don’t see it sometimes – and placing me on Crown Woman status. Thanks for conversations on God’s plan, finishing my thoughts, and putting me onto Arkansas 77's "no facts" reporting style.

Kindred: Thank you for being there when I laugh – hard and often – at the audacity of life, and laughing right along with me till our bellys ache and tears flow. This is just the beginning of not only a beautiful business collabo –our books will be best sellers, for sure—but a budding friendship. I think that we’ve officially discovered the cure-all for life’s mishaps: food, wine, and tons of laughter. Promise me, that if you ever get that newsletter inviting you to become an adult, you’ll throw it away. Psuedo grownups for life.

Jess: Even though you’re real brand spanking new in my life, you’ve managed to become one of the first people I seek advice from, and share my extremely hilarious and humbling experiences with. It’s wonderful to have someone who is genuinely enthusiastic for most of the things I do and want to do – no matter how small or out there. Thanks for all the email convos ,that we use like IM since the man likes to breathe down our necks. Your peach cobbler is sin in an oh so sweet pie crust.

Lis Lis: You’re mix of bitter sarcasm, dark humor, and love for poppin’ lockin’ and old school boy group R & B is always just what I need. Thank you for letting me see your tender side and understanding that ‘everybody needs some time away’.

2006: You’ve taken me from Ms. Pantene Pro-V, making the Dominicans a heck load of money, to psuedo Cape Verdean with the wet and wavy look, and now the ultimate earth mother rocking a fierce natural. You bought a lot of firsts, lasts, and change into my life. Every new year, I will recognize the impact you’ve made upon my life because, not only, did I survive you, but you’ve helped me to get so much closer to the woman I’m destined to become.

Last but not least, big ol’ shout out to G.O.D for giving me everything I need and not what I want, ‘cause sometimes -- depending on how the wind blows—I want some real off the wall stuff. Thank you for your patience. You gave me life and I keep you entertained as I live it --definitely not an equal deal, but it works. Something tells me you love me. I don’t know, just a feeling I have.

I know there are several folks I didn't mention and no one wants to be the "and 'em", but my wrist is tired from all this typing. To be continued.

Monday, January 08, 2007

some kind of wonderful..

"The way you cook, makes a brother feel good about himself," said by Junebug, as I prepared food for a New Year's Eve dinner party.

Thank you, God, for all the wonderful men and men-in-training that you have put into my life. Amen.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Goodness gracious

I was caught all up in my own mental-mind at the end of my break today. So, I didn’t feel like responding when a brother wished me a nice day, as I passed by him on my way back to work.

Big mistake.

"Sistah…Sistah,” he called, continuing his attempt at trying to get my attention.

I noticed more than a few people stop, in the middle of the busy city sidewalk, to see who in the world this man could be hollering at with such commitment, and why in the heck she wasn’t answering.

Occupied with my thoughts and slightly embarrassed, I tried to get lost in the crowd before the scene escalated.

No such luck.



Yes, I am sistah with the big legs and that’s what I get for being shady.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I spend most of my days on hold, while media relations people decide if they want to speak with me or not. Due to the classical or easy listening music that usually plays as I wait, I’m half asleep by the time someone decides to answer my call. If I ever have an office, when my secretary puts folks on hold I want callers to hear M.O.P’s “Ante Up”- probably the censored version. Regardless, of where I am or how I’m feeling that song never fails to get me amped and ready.

Yesterday, my thoughts fell upon my high school phys ed. teacher, Mrs. Gilmartin. With her long blonde hair and light colored eyes, simply by looks, she is the epitome of “all-American”. Out of the many people I’ve met in life, she is indisputably one of the realest. She is the same Mrs. Gilmartin who after asking the class to break into groups, noticed that a set of Jewish girls hadn’t budged. Without skipping a beat, she looked up from her clipboard and told Nicole to “stop being corny and sit next to those little Black children”. When it came to the swimming portion of her gym classes, Mrs. Gilmartin’s only requirement was that everyone had to fully submerge themselves into the pool at least once. Well, there were a lot of girls who tried to find creative ways not to get their hair wet. I remember one class Blair refused to put her head under the water. At first Mrs. Gilmartin paid her no mind; until the period was just about to end and she noticed that from her shoulder’s up Blair was completely dry. Twice she told her to go under and each time Blair refused. In a second flat, Mrs. Gilmartin jumped into the shallow end - clothes, sneakers, whistle and all – and dunked a shocked Blair under the water. Oh my goodness, I can’t forget one Bring Your Daughter to Work Day when a classmate asked Mrs. Gilmartin if the toddler with her was her daughter. “No, Tonya,” she said, “This here is just a midget I hired to follow me around all day”. All of my siblings have also had her as a gym teacher, and Mrs. Gilmartin told Shirlgurl that she felt sorry for our mother. My fondest memory of Mrs. Gilmartin is my senior year. A group of friends and I performed an African dance at the school’s Black Awareness assembly. Out of all the 2,000+ people in attendance, it was Mrs. Gilmartin who clapped the hardest. When we were done, she approached us with her hands clasped in front her face and a hint of tears welling in her eyes and told us , without her sarcasm or dry wit, that our performance was beautiful. Man, I need to pay her a visit.

I told a friend that for my birthday I want to go to some real illegal, sweaty, tight dance party in a concrete floored basement, underneath somebody's uncle's West-Indian restaurant. Monday, I got an evite inviting me to a weekend full of carnal exploits and hedonism, all in my honor. I love my friends.

Oh, to the brother who told me he loved my hair this morning and kept it moving – THANKS.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

For winter fearing women when bubble jackets aren't enough

Lately, I've noticed co-workers throw envious gazes at adolescent couples in Union Square, as they unabashfully radiate that pubescent I-can't-live-breathe-or-survive-without-you-and-even-if-I-could-I-don't-wanna kind of love. I listen to countless tales told by girlfriends who religiously hit up every happy-hour function, regardless of how many hours they've just put in at the office.

Winter is coming ladies and gentlemen, and all the single women around me are concerned with the impending season change.

Blouse buttons are released a little lower and sistergirl dinner plans are canceled two steps from the door, once a phone rings and a baritone voice is heard on the other end.

"Winter.Is.Coming," declares this fair weather friend, who seconds ago was starving, as she takes off her coat, gets comfy, and coyly coos into her cell.


You'd think that with all this fretting over winter, women would be running to buy BJ-sized bags of melting salt for the soon to be icy roads.

But the thirsty determination in their eyes, reveals the statement's true meaning: Ain't no female ,in her right mind, wants to trudge out in the numbing snow to any club, lounge, restuarant or the like to find a man. So, the hunt is now on and it's real. Cold weather snuggle buddies are wanted.

Jess said it best, as we waited on the subway platform for the A train:
'If you're trying to get got, you'll get gotten.'

Well, there's a whole lot of women praying that the gettin' gets good waaaaay before snow coats the ground.

Am I among them?

Ummmerah, it would be nice to spend frosty nights indoors with a brother- who loves Scrabble, eating, and Toni Morrison - shampooing my mini 'fro with peppermint hairwash, greasing every inch of my scalp (yes, Reg, with no gloves. LOL), and cuddling while reading Black classics. Yeah, nice indeed but I'm not beating those mean streets.

Good luck to all those ladies out there on a mission. I understand. 'Cause the cold and loneliness are truly real.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Treating tricks

After declining Jess' invite to witness how folks from the Bay area get down on Halloween, I sat on the four train next to a 3-year-old cowboy and five-year-old angel. Needless to say, they were too cute.

By the time we reached 125th street, both the angel and cowboy collected quite a few dollars from our fellow passengers.

I didn't get a dime.

I guess no one was feeling my make-pretend-grown-up/journalist-on-the-grind costume.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This just in...

Over a week ago, I ordered a book from Borders. I was told that if it didn't come within seven days I qualified for their " 7 days or It's free" giveaway offer.

As I still wait, I'm letting you know now....

*pulling out bullhorn*


Thank you.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome back fam

My father, an old school West-Indian man, respected anything that required talent, hardwork and discipline. So from birth my siblings and I have been sport fans. We've spent countless school nights in our pjs , ignoring bedtime and the scolding of our mother, watching the rhythmic intensity of tennis , transfixed by the delicate elegance of figure skating, and getting riled up by WWF's Royal Rumble - dad's personal favorite.

Over the years, we've adopted several professional athletes into the family, referring to them by their first name and memorizing their stats. To these select few we've remained faithful. We groan, yell, and curse at unfair calls made by bias game officials, give standing ovations for glorious plays that require heart, and cheer till our voices are hoarse when our favorites win.

In our household basketball will always reign supreme. My lil' brother has said numerous times that it is absolutely unacceptable for me to date anyone who doesn't play basketball. He doesn't have to be nice or hold NBA dreams, says June, just a great appreciation for the sport is enough.

Every fall since 2003 , without fail, I've asked June about Jay Williams. We've followed his journey as a star Blue Devil, assistant to Coack K's third NCAA basketball championship, college graduate within 3 years, and second overall pick of the NBA's 2002 draft by the Bulls. We were devastated when in June of 2003, Jay lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a utlity pole. With three of the four ligaments in one knee torn, a fractured pelvis, and a severed nerve in his left leg, there was little hope he'd ever return to the court.

Earlier this week, out of habit and genuine curiousity about his condition, I asked June if he heard any recent news. He shared that he thought Jay was a sports commentator now, giving up any basketball aspirations since his near fatal crash. A few days later, my little brother called me to see an article on about Jay playing the preseason with the Nets.

Tonight, we watched in disbelief as the New York Knicks played a game against the Nets, who sure enough had our man Jay Williams in their lineup.

They didn't win tonight, and that's okay. None of us are wishing for a championship ring. I'm simply happy that he is able to come back to a sport that he loves and the family loves watching him play. There have been many who have died from far less, Jay is blessed to have a second chance.

Last I heard, Jay wasn't picked up by the Nets for the season.

We stay fly, no lie

Yesterday, with my nervous hands, I pinned the visitor's tag onto my blouse and pressed the button for the sixth floor. As the elevator traveled to its destination, I said a prayer for my first interview after weeks of job hunting.

I tried to calm down and remember what my boy Reg said about everyone being people, who started out at the exact place I am now. When the doors opened at my stop, I quickly passed my hands through my hair and over my slacks, attempting to smooth out any wrinkles and self-doubt.

My nerves chilled, a bit, as I walked into the office of the publication's human resource director. Her easy-going banter and infectious smile were able to put me at ease, as if I was chatting with an old girlfriend who was glad I came by to visit. I taught her the meaning of diaspora and she shared with me pictures from her first walk against breast cancer, an illness that her close college buddy has battled for five years. But though I was comfortable, I remembered where I was and the position of the woman sitting across from me. I guess I passed the prelimiary round because within fifteen minutes of our meeting, she called a few editors to see if they wanted to meet me.

Our friendly conversation continued in the elevator, through the newsroom, and until we arrived at the office of the executive editor. With a quick introduction she was gone and so was my confidence. As the door closed, I had half the mind to call her back to save me.

There I sat, in his small office with several pictures of dogs and famous faces, as he grilled me on everything from my past experiences, last non-fiction book purchased, and feelings on 'skut work'. Under his critical journalist's eyes I felt like that little girl, who is more accustomed to wearing kicks and jeans, getting caught playing make pretend in her mother's business clothes. I tried my best to keep up with his quick, dry wit and prayed that my demeanor didn't betray the the flip flops that my stomach was doing.

At the end of our interview he offered to see me out. On our trip through the newsroom, I quickly scanned the workers that I hadn't noticed twenty minutes earlier. My eyes were met by faces, belonging to mostly white males, offering quickly disappearing thin-lipped smiles that followed my exit.

And that's when it happened.

At that moment, I ached for the false protection offered by conformity and the days countless Dominican hair salons helped my hair live the lye. Instead, my in transition strands seemed to sense their surroundings and defiantly stood on my head, reveling in all their naptified glory. With each step towards the elevator, the slacks, which were flattering when I left the house, tightened under the strain of my behind that was growing to monstrous proportions. My nose took over my face and my lips began to look like the after picture shown to hopeful patients before their collagen injections.

The executive editor offered a detached indifferent handshake, pressed the elevator's bottom button, promised to call within a week, and sent me on my way. It wasn't until I reached the city's sidewalk, that my body returned to normal and I was proud of the many months spent sticking to my natural headed aspirations. This morning, I immediately sent out my thank you notes and half-heartingly prayed that the position was mine.

A few minutes ago, at the top of my inbox sat an email from the publication's human resource director. Convinced that they were so incredibly unimpressed that they decided not to even wait more than twenty-four hours before giving me the bad news, I read her two sentenced email asking if I got her message and if I could start later this month.

I've been doing a non-stop victory dance that can rival any of Chad Johnson's post-touchdown celebrations.

My two youngest siblings, Shirlgurl and June, have been known to entertain the family and my close friends with hilarious catchy songs, that they write themselves. After hearing the good news, I can't seem to get the Dipset inspired, unabashedly braggadocious chorus penned by my little brother out of my head: Been through the fight (Can you feel me)/ Been through the hype/ Been up on top (Now I'm stuck)/ I can't get down from up.

Ballin'! HAHAHAHA!

Monday, September 11, 2006

True,you may need one but you won't find her here

I am not your ride or die chick.
Leave that to the Charlies, Kims, and Trinas.
I refuse to be your down for whatever secret
while your wife/fiancé/girlfriend
keeps thinking that she’s playing half to a monogamous commitment.
I don’t do shapes
so take your love triangle elsewhere.
Oh, and forget what you heard
Fights with women who hold your last name and your seed
is not what I do for fun.
How can one dare argue with a sister
whose anger is fueled by betrayal
and heart is broken from lies?
What did you say?
Ain’t no fun if the homies can’t get some?!
Are you hearing me?
Must I repeat myself?
Since you care about your boys and ‘em so much
why don’t you personally take care of their case of the blues?
And no, there isn’t any room in my purse for your glock.
Live out your Bonnie and Clyde fantasies with someone else.
I will not play Elvira to your pseudo Tony Montana.
It is not …
will never be…
that serious.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thinking Outside the Box

Much props to Saki and Trevis for recently opening up their All-Nite Upscale Apparel and Juice Bar and being featured in the recent Weekly Dig!

All those in Boston, make sure to head down to Grove Hall and give these brothers some support.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hindsight is Always 20/20...

because sometimes my pride and I are too busy rehashing all the should of, could of, would ofs instead of sitting back and silently take the L.

Recently, I disappointed and vexed a friend and, though it was hard to not add my two cents as he verbally let me have it, I understood 100% where he was coming from. I sat there taking it all in and when he was done telling me about myself, I apologized.

I guess, now and then, I need the wakeup call of loved ones to make me see my mishaps.

No one said growing is painless.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Must See For Sure.....

My man Spike is at it again. I've already been called a hypocrit for wanting to see this and not "World Trade Center". Yes, both Spike's Katrina documentary and the 9/11 film tell the story of two recent American tragedies, but I'd rather hear the story straight from the mouths of those who lived it, not Hollywood.

HBO will premiere Acts I and II Monday, August 21 at 9pm, followed by Acts III and IV on Tuesday, August 22 at 9pm. All four acts can be seen Tuesday, Aug. 29, the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, at 8p.m. to midnight.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Headed for Self Destruction

Summer days are melting away and I am coming to a semi-peace with the fact that, for this season, sleep and I have become distant friends. That's cool, for now, because rest hasn't been sacrificed due to idleness.

Though I have a dreamer's long to-do list, I'm satisfied that I've been able to put a check next to a few tasks. I'm especially glad that, after spending four years in the audience, I finally volunteered for this year's Roxbury Film Festival.

I not only saw several great films, that reinforced and slightly altered a few of my perspectives, but I also took part in a resourceful convo that has me 90% sure a master's degree in education is one of my future journeys.But I'm learning, from many past experiences, that while we make plans, God simply laughs. So I'm trying my hardest to leave all in the hands of the Most High and praying that we're on the same page.

The one thing I regret is not seeing the much talked about "Street Soldiers". Unfortunately, it was showing during the festival's last shift, we were severely shorthanded and hundreds of ballots needed to be counted.

About fifteen minutes into the documentary, as a fellow volunteer and I tallied, a woman exited the auditorium and walked out the front door without so much of a glance or word thrown towards our table. A few minutes later another woman did the same thing, leaving the building as if she was deeply offended. My curiosity finally got the best of me when a sister, I remember being pretty chatty when I sold her tickets earlier, also entered the lobby and prepared to leave.

I asked if something was wrong and the sister responded that the film was far "too bleak". She tried to convince herself to sit through it but instead decided after twenty minutes that she had to go. I knew that the documentary was on the emotional issue of the city's growing youth violence but I still didn't get it.

I asked her if she felt that the director could have done anything more to make the film better, in her eyes. She stated that he should have added an element to "Street Soldiers" that at least gave the audience a small bit of hope that the condition in our streets would improve. Frustrated and with her mind made up, the sister repeated that the film was too bleak and told us that she understood that the lives portrayed in the film were someone's reality, but just not hers. She declared that it was a bright, sunny day and she'd rather be out riding her bike

To the white teenager in Byron Hurt's "Beyond Beats and Rhymes: Masculinity in Hip-Hop", profiling in his dad's shiny Escalade bumping Fabolous' "Keeping it Gangsta" during BET's Daytona Spring Bling, and the sister cycling on a summer day through the same Boston streets where countless young lives have been lost: it's everything but the burden, right?

Sister, was it discomfort that truly caused you to leave? Are having the realities of Boston's youth come straight from the source, instead of an emotionally-detached newscaster, far past your comfort zone? It seems like you're looking for the hope of fairytales when "Street Soldiers" deals with real life.

To the brother who, during the Q&A, asked the director of "Kilombo Novo" how the teachings of the ancient Afro-Brazilian martial art form could be implanted into our schools, so that more youth could learn about life and peace: I see you.

I see your question's urgency and how it was thrown out there for the educators, decision-makers and parents in the audience, purposely putting the weight of necessary action on their shoulders. Brother, you understand that we are in a state of emergency and advantage must be taken of any moment we happen to come together, even if it is for entertainment.

At the conclusion of "Street Soldiers" a woman dropped her ballot in my box, after giving the documentary the highest score possible. She expressed that the language in the film was strong but as a mother of a 21-year-old Black male, who she calls every night to hear his voice and make sure he's more than alright, nothing could have made her leave her seat.

I shared with her the opinions of the woman who left earlier and she simply shook her head. She knows that "no one is going to save Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan but Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan."

Friday, August 04, 2006

i'm not perfect but nothing is wrong with me

Pushing over 250 pounds and with a Myspace page repping the infamous Castle Hill Projects, it’s understandable why the other teens don't mess with her.

But I know better.

I hear the excitement in her voice when she asks if he’s in the gym and quickly signs in so she can find him. Minutes later, I see her eyes slowly lose expression when she realizes he’s too busy flirting with girls who wear tight clothes over bodies shaped like old school Coca-Cola bottles, to pay her any mind.

Jaz knows that in order for big girls to get shallow teenage boys to like them they have to play one of two roles: the extremely funny big girl who hopes that laughs will distract attention from her size or the tough big girl who is, without question, down for whatever. She’s decided long ago to be that hard big girl, threatening to shoot the fair one with the girlfriends of her crew’s enemies and clap up anyone that dares question her gangsta.

Though her exterior seems rough and she takes pride in being the only female to know the crew’s exclusive pound, the Program Director and I both notice how she yearns for the hugs the guys reserve for the svelte girly girls.

Everyone wants to be liked in that special way.

Next weekend I’m starting a workout group for the ladies. I know how intimidating it is to exercise next to women who simply go to the gym for minor maintenance, while you’re trying to shed some serious pounds.

I won’t guarantee that her crush will return the same feelings but I do hope that,regardless if she loses weight, she gains some self-esteem.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

love of my life you are my friend

After almost two months of living under the Ghanaian sun my love has come back to me. She has returned in better health and with bit more meat on her bones (*rolling eyes*- "Yeah..yeah ...heffa you're butt got bigger"), both things Mom is definitely happy about.

My younger sis needed to leave because the world is meant to be seen, especially by one who craves knowledge and had never ventured too far from home. But I am more than happy to have her back because there are only but so many things that can be shared in emails, on IM or during five minute long convos on shady foreign cell phones and a Sam's Club phone card.

She's in Boston for a few weeks so one day, while I prepared myself for work, I tried my best to fill her in on all the goings on of mutual friends (Remember Rach from high school? The one with the beautiful voice? Mmhmmm. We're invited to the wedding") and the family ("Shirgurl is doing alright but I can tell she's sad he had to go"). All this said I knew the story she had truly been waiting for.

I braced myself and reluctantly dug into my memory, searching for every single unfortunate detail so that she could understand, and see the entire hurtful picture.

Her eyes widened and several gasps escaped her mouth as I shared with her the series of events that occurred before and after I decided to let go. Already late, I promised that I would tell her the rest that evening. But she would have none of it. She quickly put on some clothes and joined me on my commute to work.

As we rode the packed Red Line, she looked me in the eyes, in that personal way only loved ones do, and called the deaded relationship toxic.

No judgement passed between us because she knows we're from the same place. A place where folks give it their all, in faith, and sometimes hope, that things will work out and reciprocity is truly real.

I take pride in being the one who gets requests for birthday money and a few bucks to pay cell bills. I love giving advice on crushes, friendships, clothes, life and old high school chemistry teachers who simply refuse to retire. I'm used to being asked to talk to Mom ("Can you pleeeeease talk to her for me? You know she listens to you") and critique election speeches, and English papers over the phone. And though I embrace my role as the oldest, there are times that I too lose my way and forget how to get myself back.

My younger sis and I sat in silence, allowing the story to marinate.

As we neared my stop, she reached over and hugged me. Letting me know that it's okay for everyone's everything, to shed my armor and allow the unconditional love of my kin to protect and soothe my heart.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On Some New York Ish

Mad random, but lately Kindred and I have been wondering why seeing grown men in jean shorts just doesn't seem right.

And it came to me......

It's because I'm so used to seeing them worn with Timbs.

Aha. Aha! (like the old Jewish man in "Coming to America")

Just some of the randomness that is me.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

allow me to reintroduce myself.......

In my ear: Jay-Z Live Unplugged and some Lil' Wayne

Perhaps it's my pheromones or because the vibes I'm throwing out there are completely off.....Who knows? Whatever it is it's getting frustrating as all hell because the absolutely wrong people continue to approach me.

Tonight, I worked with the teens and met one of my coworkers named X. My first impression was that he seemed standoffish and uninterested in making small talk. I figured he was having a bad day, so I continued setting up the night's dinner and movie.

Later on in the evening as I tried to rewrite a press release, X apologized for his shady behavior and explained that his fulltime has had him stressed out lately. I told him not to worry about it and turned my attention back to my work. But I guess he didn't notice or care that I was busy because he commenced to talk my ear off.

Now, I can be a chatty person. I love learning about people and what interests them but once I have my glasses on, it's all about the work in front of me. Also, if we're going to talk let's discuss something interesting. But noooooo all X wanted to talk about was himself. He went on and on about all the things he's accomplished and how wonderful he is.

Yadda yadda yadda.

I fell out of my bored daze when the onesided convo finally found itself on the topic of X once serving as a teen director at a local center. Okay,I thought,perhaps we have something in common. I asked if he enjoyed working with youth and without hesitation he responded with a deadpan 'No'. I even observed his interaction with our teens tonight and he gets definite negative cool points. His tone was harsh and abrupt, as if dealing with the city's youth is far beneath him.

As soon as X started to ask for my number I immediately waved my supervisor over to critique my work.

Definitely not.

I'm aaaaalllllll set.

I used to get offended when guys I have no interest in attempted to holler. But now I wonder if it's me. Perhaps my presentation says I'm pretentious and often have an affinity for cooning.

*shrugging shoulders*

Who knows?

Reintroductions are definitely necessary because folks obviously have no idea.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Do Right Men and What They Have To Say...

Idris Elba, Hill Harper, Reggie Bush, Michael Ealy, Tyler Perry and 45 other single Black men, share with Essence why they love Black women. Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ashe, Ms.Dunham. Ashe.

"I wasn't concerned about the hardships, because I always felt I was doing what I had to do, what I wanted to do and what I was destined to do".
“I used to want the words 'She tried' on my tombstone. Now I want 'She did it' ".

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hip-Hop Tidbits

So Long to Black Jesus and Tip Drills

Not sure if it's 100% true but supposedly, after 6 years, BET has let go of the infamously controversial "Uncut". Hopefully, this means they'll try their hand at better programming but that's probably a futile dream.

Back to Where it All Began

According to the The New York Sun, New York is planning to open a hip-hop museum in the Bronx. Folks are already making noise about $1.5 million in capital funding being spent on such a project. We'll see what develops.

Suge's Never Ending Troubles

After being sued and filing for Chapter 11, Suge Knight loses control of Death Row Records. I guess it all makes sense. With Snoop and Dre gone, and the rise of the hyphy movement, Death Row has long since lost its strong hold on west coast music.

Welcome Back Danyel

Lately, I've been wondering what happened to Danyel Smith's blog. I guess it has to do with her,once again, becoming Vibe's Editor in Chief. Congrats Danyel! Big things are sure to come.

Hip-Hops Founding Father Sentenced
In non-hip-hop related news: Cassey Weierbach needs to be put under the jail for life. Her cell walls should be covered with photos of the 1 million plus African children who are now orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic. Maybe then, she'll realize how foolish she is.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

excuse me as I kiss the sky.....

I met JaHipster aka Tonya Matthews a few years ago at a NSBE conference and her cd of poetry still takes me to that place...

black angel haiku #6

It wasn’t slavery that stopped us
from flying.
It was

Monday, July 03, 2006

Who's Bad?

Last Sunday, a small group of us trekked out to New Hampshire for some fun on the beach. Our afternoon was spent splashing around in the ice cold waves, napping and building sand cities.

Sun kissed and satisfied, we cruised back to Boston with disc one of MJ's HIStory playing in the background. We snapped to "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and got a bit sentimental with "She's out of My Life"(I get choked up everytime I hear Mike's voice crack at the end). As we sang along to "Bad", it struck me how much things truly do change.

Your Butt is Mine

I remember watching the "Bad" video and thinking Michael was the ultimate thug. I know, I know crazy, right? But to my 8-year-old mind, a black cropped jacket with shiny silver buckles, long silky waves parted to the side, tight black pants and a group of hard male backup dancers, meant danger.

The word is out, you're doin' wrong
Gonna lock you up before too long
Your lyin' eyes gonna take you right
So listen up, don't make a fight
Your talk is cheap
You're not a man
You're throwin' stones to hide your hands

As his limber gang performed choreographed moves reminscent of West Side Story and Fame in a dark dank abandoned subway station, Michael menacingly thrusted his hips and grabbed his crotch. My younger self was scared for whatever acid washed jean wearing crew that dared to step to them.

Fast forward........

You Say You a Gangasta

Put that knife in ya, take a little bit of life from ya
Am I frightenin ya? Shall I continue?
I put the gun to ya, I let it sing you a song......
Y'all garages for bullets
Please don't make me park it in your upper level, valet a couple strays

Nowadays, supposed musically inclined thugs don't dance. Nah son, that's wild 'mo. Instead they have video honeys that handle that department. Oh, cropped jackets, form fitting pants and ballerina leaps? Yeah right! Are you serious? White tee night gowns are the uniform and the only time they're jumping is over cars and fences when the block is hot.

N***** know, the lyrics molestin is takin place
F****** with B.I.G. it ain't safe
I make your skin chafe, rashes on the masses
Bumps and bruises, blunts and Landcruisers
Big Poppa smash fools, bash fools
N***** mad because I know that Cash Rules
Everything Around Me, two glock nines
Any motherf***** whispering about mines

Today's 8-year-old? Maaaaan, they'd scoff at Michael's past claims of being bad, call him a wangsta and tell him to shut the hell up and sit down before 50 makes him cry. Kids are mean.

I'm scared to think who will be considered "hard" and "bad" when I have children.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

you can't sow yam and reap casaba

Have things ever weighed so heavy on your heart, that the pressure awakens you from your sleep? That's exactly what happened to me Thursday morning. I immediately recruited a friend to come along as I beat the streets and attempted to tackle my lengthy to-do list.

We ended up by Coolidge Corner, when a small, obscure art deco antique spot caught our eyes. As we explored the shop, we couldn't help complimenting the owner on his breathtaking collection. A sprite like older Jewish man with grand hand gestures, he told us that his store has existed at the same location for 39 years and how Luther Vandross once spent over $100,000 on his antiques.

Obviously, one who loves an attentive ear, Mr. Mark shared with us photos of his marvelous three-story South End apartment and stories of his youth. The story that touched us was how after repeatedly applying to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, he was finally admitted on his ninth try. When I asked why he didn't give up, Mr. Mark gave me an incredulous look and simply replied , "Because I wanted to be an artist." Point. Blank. Period.

He graduated at the top of his class due to his perseverance and the financial support of a Black woman who believed in the importance of artistic expression. It is her generosity that has inspired him to offer annual full scholarships to students entering his alma mater.

On our way out he left us with the quote: Live for today and tomorrow miracles will happen.

Inspired, we headed to Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store whose purpose is to ensure that artisans from countries like Haiti, Sri Lanka and El Salvador, receive direct profit from their crafts. On this trip, we were in awe of a set of delicate colorful multi-sized boxes made by large sea shells. As the store manager explained to us the process, I wondered how we could ever consider creators of such marvelous artwork to be have nots. We in westernized society supposedly have so much but I have yet to see us produce anything half as stunning. Our growing dependency on technology has blinded us to the beauty and value of our natural resources, making us the unfortunate ones.

As cliche as it may be, I believe wholeheartedly that all things in life happen for a reason. And as we left Ten Thousand Villages I was overcome by all my blessings. The pressure on my heavy heart subsided and right on the sidewalk, tears almost escaped my eyes as I felt the humbling power of how good God is.

I was overwhelmed by the realization that all I ever need to be fulfilled and happy, I've already been given.

Meet me at the's going down

Last Saturday, Kindred and her folks threw a celebration in recognition of her graduating from college and her two sisters finishing middle and high school. So, with our overnight bags, a bunch of us piled into cars and headed towards western Mass.

Forget the artists on Cribs and How I'm Living with their extravagant million dollar fish tanks, refrigerators filled with nothing but Cristal and shiny poles in the basement. I am not impressed.

Show me a home with a barn in the back and that's when I'll ooooo and awwww.

Yeah, I said it. B-A-R-N.

Right in Kindred's backyard is a dark red wooden barn, the same size of a one level, single-family home, with a front deck that leads to an above ground pool.

We spent the evening eating good ol' homecooked Haitian food, laughing, taking tons of pictures and dancing in the barn to music provided by our boy Jose from It Bees Like That Entertianment. As the sunlight subsided so did the debauchery and mayhem. In the late night we warmed up by a bonfire, ate s'mores and enjoyed the good company until 4 am.

With sleep still in our eyes, on Sunday morning we trekked down the road for breakfast at a small country diner, whose patrons obviously never saw Black folks in such large numbers before. As the temperature rose, folks said bump it to going back to Boston and hopped into the pool, in an attempt to beat the heat. Wanting to preserve my freshly done do, I opted to take a cold shower instead. But once they managed to push the Back Bay Madame , who's violently allergic to fun, into the water and she didn't come up swinging, my ache to cool off grew stronger. I finally couldn't take it anymore and jumped into the icy water, with my relaxer, pajama shorts, t-shirt and all. The humid afternoon was spent playing a hilarious game of water basketball and splashing around like kids.

My boy B from back home came through for the weekend and all my friends welcomed him into the family.

That weekend I finally, kind of sort of, understood the satisfaction those who aren't in school and are unemployed get from simply chilling. Being care and worry free definitely has its appeal but I just can't live that life for long. Way too ambitious for that.

It's nice to know though that when I need a little vacation and don't have the funds to jet out to St. Tropez and see a a man play the mandolin like Puffy, there's always a nice cozy spot in the boondocks of Massachusetts where I can hideout and relax.

The only sour part of the two day festivities was Kindred's teenage sister's friend (get it?) who is unfortunately lost. While folks scoffed at her behavior, were appalled by her choice of attire and deemed her destined for videos, my heart couldn't help crying for her. Because I know that people in her life are quick to call her degrading names and promise her material gains at the high cost of her selfworth. But who's taking the time to teach her her value?