Tuesday Tunes just for me

Tuesday Tunes just for me

I haven’t really been feeling like writing lately because I’ve been in one of my down periods but with effort I’m in transition mode to being ok. But as has always been the case, music has been my place to turn when I can’t express how I feel. So here’s a taste.

So when I stumble off the path
I know my heart will guide me back…

Ooh hey I’m trying to decide which way to go
I think I made a wrong turn back there somewhere

Free your mind and find your way
There will be a brighter day

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

There’s a shadow hanging over me.

Now I need a place to hide away…

Either i’m going to trust you or I may as well walk away
’cause stressing don’t make it better… don’t make it better, no way

There ain’t nothing too hard for my God, no
Any problems that I have, He’s greater than them all

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Black Power Mixtape is a Must See

Black Power Mixtape is a Must See

On Saturday, a group of us went to see Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, and I’m telling you, if you’re in Atlanta, you need to make your way over to Midtown Art Cinema during its limited run. I may go see it again. This is a film I’d love to have in my DVD collection.

This film is the culmination of footage shot by Swedish journalists who came to the U.S. to get a first hand look at the civil unrest that was going on during that time. It was amazing to see that there was an article in a Swedish newspaper that questions the U.S.’s stances on several issues, particularly racism and war. In response, the editor of TV Guide wrote an article calling Sweden anti-American. This was of the highlights of the film for me (of MANY) because it just shows how the media was then and still is connected in various ways and can sway the reader if the reader doesn’t care to try to get a full perspective. This same guy who wrote this article for TV Guide was President Nixon’s right-hand man. There was another journalist, an American, who was interviewed who said that television is just a way of distracting people and it’s a useful tool. Isn’t it amazing that the some of the same things we say today were being said in the 60s and 70s?

That’s one reason I really enjoyed Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. Seriously, so many of the same issues that are going on now were issues then too. They were talking about the working class and the need for living wages, about equal opportunities, about the need for health care for all, about the need for quality education, about resources being wasted in war, the conditions of prisons, and the list goes on. The difference is that over that 30 year period since, somehow the powers that be have made some of this stuff seem like an afterthought–or like Erykah Badu said while narrating, that we should just be happy to have what we have and not focused on what injustices exist–or like Malcolm X said in the film, like people who respond to mistreatment are the extremists. The film also reinforced in this brain o’ mine how important community and organizing is. One of the things that has always made me sad about the portrayal of the Black Panthers is that so many people don’t know about the programs they created to help the poor communities they represented. They were the ones that started the free breakfast program for kids. They had community schools for students whose parents were fed up with subpar conditions. They had free clinics for people who couldn’t afford basic medical care. But they rarely ever get credit for that because people focus on the gun toting, on the most wanted lists parts. And most of the time you hear rumors that they were anti-anyone who wasn’t black, yet in almost every interview, they said they were for the disenfranchised, no matter what color they were, and were willing to work with anyone who had similar goals–but it’s so easy to put people in a box in order to downplay who they are and the influence they might have. YOUNG people got this done. And had such an impact that America’s favorite gangster J. Edgar Hoover ruled the free breakfast program a top threat to the country and launched COINTELPRO, which we know derailed the organization. Now, let’s think about this. How can a free breakfast program be a threat, let alone a TOP threat?? Because they were feeding and educating these poor kids. Starve a kid of food and knowledge, and you don’t have to worry about them ever questioning their position in life. During our discussion after the film, someone raised a really good question–what ever happened to those kids?? I’d love to know.

Other parts of the film that really stayed with me were seeing people I’ve heard about in different settings than usual. Stokely Carmichael speaking out of the country. Even more moving, Stokely Carmichael with his mom or just chilling. Eldridge Cleaver in Algiers–I’ve so often heard about Panther leaders being exiled or moving overseas, but I’ve never really known what it was like for them or what they did after they moved, so hearing him interviewed while exiled was like whoa! Also, y’all know I love me some Angela Davis, just because she is so unafraid to say what’s on her mind and because even when she was on the America’s Most Wanted list, she stuck to her guns. She was interviewed in jail, and she connected her childhood in Birmingham, which included knowing the four little girls who were killed in the famous church bombing, and her interviewer asking about violence. If I were to cry during the movie, this would have been one of the moments–she told him how crazy it was to ask her about violence when she grew up in violence that was almost unquestioned.

It made me really sad to see the last couple of chapters focused on the War with Drugs that later turned into the War on Drugs. It’s so crazy how our neighborhoods were flooded with heroine and later crack. And it’s amazing to know that there are people overseas who have seen what this nation has put black people through. It’s amazing to me to see all this footage and know that we’ve come a long way, but there’s no way anyone in this country should ever think that we’ve overcome our past. Black people collectively are where we are–little to no wealth esp when compared to our counterparts, still disenfranchised, still suffering–by design. But we have people like Herman Cain who really believe that if you are not wealthy it’s completely your own fault, and there’s no institutional component on the other side of the personal responsibility coin. And at the same time, we’ve lost some of our gumption to act collectively for a solution to our own issues. It’s sad, but I still wonder what we can do now together that can impact this world the way our predecessors did.

So, GO SEE THE FILM!! It’s playing here in Atlanta, as I mentioned before, and it’s also playing in Boston, Philly, San Fran, Seattle, and DC. And it will be in Detroit, Minneapolis, San Diego, and St. Louis soon.  Please go see it and tell me what you think!

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Last night a friend of mine posed the question:

What happens after happily ever after?

I replied that there is no after after the after. Got that?
“Happily ever after” is the rest of time. After the story ends, no matter what else happens during “happily ever after,” the main characters will be okay.  They will overcome obstacles, and life will continue to be worth living.

So why have I been searching for “happily ever after”?  I’m already in it! My life is definitely worth living, and I already know through the blood of Christ, that I’ve already overcome all of my obstacles.  Every minute of every day won’t be “happy,” but I know that through my pain, I find greater appreciation for joy.  Because of all the goodness in my life, I can find joy in my life despite hardships and disappointments.

You have to find “ever after” with the Most High.  It really is all about perspective.  What do we choose to focus on?  Would you rather worry or meditate?  Both require focus–the only difference is the object of that focus.  For instance, I have had some romantic failures.  I am lonely.  Long term companionship seems to evade me.  BUT should I focus on that? Or should I focus on my family, my friends, all my wonderful accomplishments and triumphs, all the projects I have going, all the dreams that I know will one day come to fruition…  Umm, my life is kinda awesome.  No really… It is.

As a dear friend told me during a crying spell, if the only thing wrong is my loneliness and I have everything else pretty much going well, why am I spending my energy on the loneliness?  As I continue to move forward in life, I have to trust that “one day my prince will come” (and stay).  And positivity comes from focusing on all the great stuff.  It’s like the serenity prayer says:

Romance is not the only piece to that “happily ever after” thing.  But having a relationship with Christ is.

It’ll take a whole other post to discuss it, but once we as human beings submit to Christ and reflect his light, we are then able to submit to one another.  I look forward to the day I will reflect the light of some great man who will cherish and adore me.  But until then, I’ll be patient. I am okay with rolling solo, being who I was made to be.

Erykah Badu, as y’all know, is one of my favorite artists.  And she captured what’s in my heart very well in this song.  Enjoy.

I’m an orange moon, reflecting the light of the Son (sun)…

I’m an orange moon, and I shine so bright cuz I reflect the light of my Sun
I praise the day He turned my way and smiled at me
He gets to smile and I get to be orange

Mushy Musings

Mushy Musings

Here are a couple of songs I can’t stop listening to.  Join me in my mushy daydreaming fest.

Sir Greendown, I need your shining light…

Say you’ll go to Nirvana.  Will you leave Samsara? … Let’s find forever, and write our names in fire on each other’s hearts.

Don’t sleep on Janelle Monae…  If you haven’t purchased her new album, you need to do so as soon as you finish reading my blog. 🙂  It’s a banger from beginning to end.

Hearts led, baby–it’s your deal. Umm hmm

Same goes with New Amerykah Part II.  Erykah Badu keeps me on my groove thang.  Really, I could just make this whole post about Janelle and Erykah, who are performing tonight in Memphis and I so wish I would be there.

Back in them days my heart never made a sound/Now it’s beating like my head’s in the clouds

Oldie but goodie.  I love Alice Smith’s voice.  She will always and forever make my Mushy Moments playlist.

My arms brag to each other about how you feel–from conversations, I know what they feel is real…

This is one of my fave Algebra songs.  It just put words and a melody to some special feelings.

I think 5 is a good number.  There are PLENTY more I could post though.  Music is so good for the soul.  One more day till the weekend, my friends!  Keep the positive vibes going!

Women and Love

Women and Love

I usually don’t watch the Monique Show, but I had to watch to see one of my favorite artists of all time, Erykah Badu.

Here’s a quote that really touched me:

Drummers need a camp where they can learn how to drum better. Teachers need a camp where they can learn to teach better. Women need a camp where we can learn how to love better, especially ourselves.

Check out the show.

Brain Dump

Brain Dump

Whoa nah!  I have tons of stuff on my mind, and I don’t even really know where to start or what I want to get off of it.

So this post may end up being total stream of consciousness.  And I’m random like that, so that’s a-ok with me.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that I tend to have a grudge-holding problem, but I’ve been actively trying to combat that because as we know acknowledgement is the first step, but there are still other steps.  So after prayer and meditation, I made some steps toward reconciling with an old friend.  The convo started off kinda tough because expressing pinned up emotion and listening to other people tell you want they think is wrong with you usually are, but I was able to put the right amount of compassion into my responses to her, and I think we’re on our way to being friends again one day.  BUT the good news is that I have let go of my lingering frustrations and bad vibes over that situation.  I was able to release it, and all it took was allowing myself to express my feelings in a constructive way–despite what she said to me.  No yelling, no blowing up.  Stay cooool. 🙂 *Progress!*

Speaking of old friends, one of my childhood friends emailed me yesterday morning and let me know that her nephew is having brain surgery.  You know, the stuff you kinda just think happens on TV.  So she, her nephew, and their family have been at the top of my prayer list.  She sent me an update this morning and he made it through the surgery fine, and now we’re waiting to hear what the new test results are.  I really hope he makes it through, ready to enjoy a full, happy, inspired life.

Inspiration… What inspires you?  What inspires me?  Feeling like I’m making a difference inspires me.  I had a hectic week at work last week, but it was all to the good because I really feel like my job is setting me up to make some real impacts.   Even seeing a reference in a newspaper article to a research document I created set my spirits on fire.  I’m not just working everyday to earn a paycheck (although that is oh so necessary lol)–my work is being prodded and probed and considered and acted on.  It’s because of my long hours that somebody somewhere made a decision that will have far-stretching impacts in a city, a county, or even a region or state.  That matters to me.  I’ve come to learn that I put in my hardest work when I feel like I or it matters.  If I don’t see the significance, it’s hard for me to buckle down and get er done.  Knowing that is helping me to prioritize and better use my time (and say a much needed no more often).

And a certain something has me daydreaming and grinning.  Buuuuuuut I’ll let that stay in my head for awhile. Just for superstition’s sake.  No jinxes please.  Just fun times ahead.  Hmmmmm…

Speaking of fun, softball has been kicking my lazy, out-of-shape butt, but being around black folks in a ball park has done something to me.  It makes me feel more at home.  I can remember going to the ballpark with my mom to watch my dad play.  It’s a really vague memory, lol, but I remember, nonetheless.  My aunt would be keeping score or somewhere near us.  And it was just fun times with laughter and sometimes the smell of food on the grill filling the air.  It took me 8 years to find that in Atlanta!!  And right in time for the summer.  Yippie ya!

I don’t even know what else is swirling around in this complicated mind o’ mine.  Besides that something I don’t want to deliberate on. 🙂  lol you want to know, don’t you? Too bad, so sad!  haha  Anyway, there have been lots in the news I could talk about, but most of it is negative and I’m in too good of a mood to get on my soap box today.  So maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, get your groove on with one of my newest jams.  I know you want to…

P.S. If you don’t have one–get a mantra or two.  Mine are “Positivity prevails” and “Focus on the miracle.”  They come in handy!!  You gotta align your perspective up with your circumstance to make it through tough times.  Remember that your attitude is often your testimony.  Ok, I’m done for real this time.  Tootleloo!