8.4.05 Belize

I just found this. I think it was on my first blog too.  Wow. It’s an interesting look back. This was written a decade ago. I was on my first vacation abroad alone in Belize. To see that woman through the eyes of the woman I am today. Married Expat still fighting the same fears, but in different incarnations. With both evolved and devolved aspirations.

 

I’m trying to get out and do things.  Just like at home I’m gripped by fear before leaving the room.  So I’m forcing myself to go snorkeling with a group today.  Tomorrow I’ll go to the jungle and the ruins.  Tonight I’ll figure out a way to make into town and go to the festivities for Miss Central America.   My fear response is to get sleepy right now.  

 

I really want to be on this vacation with somebody.  Of course it’s romantic, but just to be with someone who knows me.

No, it is romantic and I do want to be with a man I care about here.  That’s not unreasonable.  I got an email from a friend who always plays the “when we’re in…” game with and boy did that make me sad.  Sure I love him (all friendly like.  Well that’s not altogether true.   I know he’s wrong for me and not that into me and has never had a relationship past 2 months and I don’t’ want to risk our friendship for me to be the first one and he hasn’t approached me with the proposition which I would of course take in a heartbeat.)

This is going to be the time of all of these hypocracies and idosyncrises.  Maybe 31 should be my year of the hypocrite.  In order to conquer fear I do the exact opposite of what I know to be right.  I trust my instincts on physical danger and emotional harm, but fuck it.   I live such a safe right life.  I want more adventure in my life and the only way to go about getting it is to go out and get into more trouble.  I almost censored that out.  I don’t know if I would call it trouble, but my life is so calm.  Nothing changes if I don’t change my behavior.   I wish one of these vitamins was to give me the courage to just do anything I felt like doing.  I am going into town tonight.  I’ll just arrange it.  I have the money. Or at least I will when by the time I get this going.  I have the best people around me.  I am so blessed.  Who’d have thunk that I’d be so lucky?  I have a great life .

 

But again it begs the question why don’t I have a man to share it with.

Insecurity.  Not feeling perfect.  Thinking I have to be in order to get the man I want.  Daydreaming about men I don’t know and thinking I have to do all of these tasks to be worthy of the company of a rich, smart, beautiful man…who could be a real asshole.  

 

What do I want to write that would sell?  What could I write?

 

If I turn this trip into a type of travel log how would I go about it?  

For me though, outline the romance.

Laying on the chaise rubbing oil onto my own back I longed for a touch that wasn’t my own.  I’ve grown weary of my own touch.  I long for the meaning behind casual caresses.  The conversation behind it.  I long for the silences.  To be able to communicate entire paragraphs in the silence of a touch.  Lifetimes.  Safety.  Empires.  In one touch.  It must be a beautiful gift.  In my fantasy life I meet this man that can’t take his eyes off of me.  He approaches me with something off beat and witty.  I counter equally as witty and maybe a little farther offbeat.  We start talking and can’t stop.  [I’ve recently come to realize that I don’t know what to do to flirt with a man.  I mean someone I don’t just want to take home.  How to entice a man into wanting to get to know me better.  I’m so busy doing my own thing, (and my mistype of doing my own think was accurate as well) that I may have dropped too many of the things that make a woman a woman too early.  I don’t have the power and success (in capitalist terms) to make my hardness warranted.  I’d love to be all soft and gooey, but I’m not soft and gooey for  myself.  I’m practicing,- no. no but.  As with anything I have to practice.  I’m practicing writing.  I’m practicing being a writer (whatever that means).  I’m beginning the practice of being a paid writer.  That hits my core self esteem issues.  That is the core worth issue.  What if I’m no good.  I’ve said I want to write.  I call myself a writer.  The only treatise I’ve written is that thesis.  

 

Well time to go snorkeling.

 

More later.

Prince Died

Prince

Prince died. I don’t even know what that means. I walked in the door and Ben was there, hugged me and I started weeping.

 

Prince is wrapped up in my burgeoning sexuality, concepts of love and romance, friendship, commitment, weirdness, boldness, confidence, blackness, integrity…plus a lot of stuff I don’t even know. Mommy started buying his albums in 1978 and I have no memory of musical life without him.

 

All of my friends growing up were Prince fiends. I always said that if I ever met him I’d shake his fingertips, then my uterus would fall out, then I’d die, then he’d touch me and I’d be resurrected. When I got older, Carl and I would use Prince lyrics as writing exercises. I have some stories based on The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, Forever in my Life, and If I Was Your Girlfriend. I wrote poems based on When 2 R N Love, a lot of poems in my teens to that as a matter of fact.

 

A lot of my childhood icons have died in a matter of months. I’d started writing about Vanity earlier, but got sidetracked by a barrage of celebrity deaths that I just muddled through. Vanity and Prince. My youthful loves.

 

When I’m about to do something scary and take a risk, I listen to Baby I’m A Star. Always will it’s my #1 theme song. I listened to it on my wedding day, every time I stepped on stage to tell a story it was my walking in strut music. Bad day: Baby I’m A Star. Good day: Baby I’m A Star. Indifference: Baby I’m A Star.

 

Money Don’t Matter 2nite. Got me through 2008-11.  I was singing it to Ben last week.

 

Me and my relationship with clothes and brocade fabrics bitches.

But it’s also about us facing our own mortality.

Demigod- it would be like if we were in ancient Greece and someone was like, oh, Apollo fell out of the sky today, or Dionysus died.  Died?!! Get the fuck out of here.

 

Latchkey kids were raised by Prince. He’s the nasty talking uncle you want, but you never saw that side of him, he was always sweet with you. Our parents were working but they were just meeting him too. But as adults who knew what he was talking about. But he taught me the word masturbate. I was 12. That learnt me quick. I don’t know if this hit gen x more or not…i don’t know. I know my mom is a mess. She’s the one who started all of this.  She was in her 20’s still when she met him. But we’re from chicago and come from a funk soul tradition. He’d opened for Rick James, so that’s the space

 

In mourning. I have a friend who recently lost her father, that’s real talk, but she reached out to me in my time of grief.

 

Prince is still dead. It still sucks balls generational gap filler. I’m 13 years older than my little sister. She was upset too, crying upset, and she’s pretty practical about this kind of stuff.

 

She doesn’t know a life w/o VCR’s, microwaves, remote controls.

 

8:28p on EasyJet- I don’t have too many more of these in me.

 

Arms of Orion in an airplane with dead Prince.

 

Growing up my best friend Dana and I would ask what our favorite love songs were. Hers was Stevies’ Always, fine choice, but mine was Adore.

He helped shape my concept of love and romance as well as sex.

 

I developed a strange romantic worldview. Because I listen to words. And his words gave me a view of men that were confident, vulnerable, sexy, sexual, thoughtful, sweet, smart, funny, cunning, witty, poetic, talented.

 

And the thing is the boys my age were like that then. Because the listened to him too. Black radio loved him, at least in Chicago they did. He created the space for them to have more dimensions to their masculinity.

 

I remember waiting with a tape to try to get Erotic City recorded from WGCI when morning radio host Bob Wall was suspended for playing the whole thing.

 

Then as a teenager, he did the Batman soundtrack. The first one. w/ the Scandalous Sex Suite, him and Kim Basinger!! Whoa! (And then the rumour that she bought him a town in like South Dakota or something…ask the innerwebs…) By then I was fully ready to have sex and now that I had the soundtrack…almost all Prince sung and the ones I received as flowers.

 

Did I lose my virginity to Prince? Probs. I remember the boy and the music a lot of moany, gravely, breathy business.

 

In college, I broke up with my 1st & only college boyfriend at the same time I got my first CD player. First CD I bought was The Box Set. I hadn’t heard some of those songs since my mom had boxed up her records.

 

I’d taken 2 actual albums 2 college (cause I started with my double cassette player with a record player that I’d gotten for my 16th BD and was already obsolete I digress).

The roots soundtrack & Vanity 6 (I can’t even on Vanity, though in brief, she was jolt to the kind of woman I was supposed to become vs. the kind I wanted to be.)

 

[Nothing Compares 2 U {full disclosure, so was Bitch Ass Nigga-Onyx} my friends wold pass notes with the lyrics to Pink Cashmere on them. We were all obsessed. And had come from all over the country as Black kids to The Mecca and found each other.

 

Prince, Howard…sex, love, unity, pride, 17 Days, Pink Cashmere, Erotic City on CD!!! Diamonds & Pearls, STROLLIN’! I LOVE STROLLIN’!!! Strollin’ just made me tear up on a flight to Spain.

 

So here I am today, living in England & hear the terrible news. I guess I haven’t been quite right since. It was too much public. As public as I am about him, I needed a minute. It’s taken me days to write this when it should take me weeks. I need the amount of time it takes for Jet to come out at least. The space.

 

I am Violet the Organ Grinder, will die but I won’t go away.

 

Here’s a church, here’s a steeple, here’s a muthafucka that I’ve got to blow away.

Here’s my chance to cure the ills of the people, but not until I make this muthafucka pay. Oooh baby, I count the days.

 

Great day in the morning, my choir sings a pretty song.

Everyday I’m wit yo ass is another day wasted I swear is a day 2 long.

 

Countin’- like Frankie Beverley w/o Maze, I’m countin’ muthafucka I count the days.

 

That got me through tough freelance jobs.

 

When I was a kid, my mom got drunk. Drank too much at a wedding on the Northside and was driving us home south. She was throwing up out of the car at stop lights then flew down Lake Shore Drive. There’s a curve that if you take too fast you’re a goner, I didn’t know it then but do now, and it’s terrifying to think she did that. As we got closer to home Let’s Go Crazy came on the radio and I blasted it along with the air conditioner (it was summer). The song stayed on until we pulled in front of our apt building. I rarely remember that. I think I wrote a story about it as well, then put it out of my mind. I knew she loved the song so we sang loud and stayed alive. The next day she had no recollection of what had happened. First blackout. A year later she was in rehab. Thank God for Prince, she said.

 

My mom said it felt like a member of the family died. Gutted was the word she used and in 40 years, I’ve never heard her use that word, and both of her parents are dead. But I guess that’s what all of this is about. There’s not a significant event in my life be it grief or joy that he wasn’t there with me in song & spirit.

 

 

 

Nina, girl, I know

I’ve been mad since 2012 when it was announced that Zoe Saldana was playing you and I saw the pictures of ‘you’ in blackface. Oh miss Nina, I’m so sorry they did that to you.

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Those of us who know, who you taught through your life and your music are heartbroken.  I have no real opinion of Zoe Saldana, you know how there’s always gong to be someone who doesn’t know. Someone not invested in your community. Not interested in how your art and activism for Black people, who you so loved, was integral to your being. Someone who’s never been called ugly because they were Black or had any barriers placed before them because of how they looked.  It wasn’t her story to tell, she should have said no, but she’ll learn…if she’s interested. She’s in a really terrible situation and Hollywood is on some real bullshit right now. The days of reckoning you talked about are upon us.  The frequent quote about her is that she “gave her heart and soul” to the performance to which I say, so what? She should have said no. She’s not the artist for this. She hasn’t seen enough, but then again, I don’t know that girl.

But let’s deal with the thing that I love most. Context.

They took you out of context and for that I’m sorry

& they don’t know about Mississippi at all anymore.  Goddamn indeed.

 

Cult of Personality, Inc

Here’s my business proposal that I wrote for a class (Cultural Criticism) in the early aughts. Ironically enough, I was totally onto something and should have searched out a VC company for it.

BTW, DON’T STEAL MY IDEA, I’ll gladly sell it.

In the late 21st century the marketing arena changed from a capital based system to a personality based system. No longer were big corporations able to inundate the public sphere with commercial product advertising. Consumers wanted to not only to buy the brands that they were exposed to but wanted to become the brands themselves. This all started with a brilliant young artist and her desire to move away from the commercialism that was now intricately linked to advertising and not only show off her art, but show off herself. That’s how our company, Cult of Personality Inc., was created.

“The spectacle erases the dividing line between the self and world, in that the self, under siege by the presence/ absence of the world, is eventually overwhelmed; it likewise erases the dividing line between true and false, repressing all directly lived truth beneath the real presence of the falsehood maintained by the organization of appearances.”[i]

  • Guy Debord The Society of the Spectacle

Cult of Personality began with the premise of what would happen if, in a market driven society, people- everyday folks- began using a more complex marketing or sales paradigm for their personal relationships.   No longer was just meeting a person and the weight of the interpersonal relationship the deciding factor in the level of activity or the basis of the relationship. What if all interpersonal relationships were based on some sort of mediated advertising or marketing model. It’s of course apparent that, to a degree, this is what human beings do. From clothing, to hair, to education, to the type of house they own or car they drive, they all say something about a person’s personality. Yet what if a prepackaged persona were created? What would be the impact on corporate marketing if the market were flooded with “reality advertising”? What kind of things would people sell about themselves?

In trying to see if this question had any validity, a survey was sent out to a random selection of people. The questions were formulated not only to discover how people felt about marketing themselves and how they were influenced by current marketing techniques, but also how that influence influenced their responses.

The answers were hilarious, idiotic and enlightening. The enlightening part was that everyone had an idea for how they’d market themselves. Some people took it more seriously than others, but that’s the American way.   People do think of themselves in terms of product. That, on the one hand goes without saying in America, but on the other hand, few would sell what it is they do for a living.  What did this prove about how Americans would market themselves?   Nothing. Only that everybody (at least everybody surveyed) would be famous if they could and many of them may be sociopaths.   Yet if they are, they are indeed “[t]he individual[s], …condemned to the passive acceptance of an alien everyday reality,… driven into a form of madness in which, by resorting to magical devices, [they] entertain the illusion that [they] are reacting to this fate.”[ii]

Company History

We began in the late-21st century after the “Great Advertising Boom”. There wasn’t any space left that was unmediated and didn’t have some sort of corporate sponsorship of some kind attached to it. Human’s were even getting huge salaries simply to get tattoos of brands like Coca Cola. We were “in the midst of “an onslaught of ads that accost Americans at every turn’”[1] There was no getting away to not get bombarded with brands being sold by huge transnational conglomerates that cared about consumers only as dollar signs on year end reports. Congruently, the social media landscape was also changing. There was a proliferation of “reality TV” shows that leveled the playing field between the famous and the rest of the world. Anyone could get famous if they warranted the support of corporate backers. There became entire channels devoted to the viewing of anyone doing anything they wanted. The Osbornes, The Anna Nicole Show, Survivor, Fear Factor, these shows had sprung networks devoted to the shock value and suspension of belief that they were real. Then came the John Traina Show. He was one of our first clients. This was a show devoted to trouble. Not in the Tom Green/ Jackass sense of trouble, but here was a real “normal” guy with no stunt men and just a buddy with a camera devoted to causing trouble. Later when asked why he did what he did he replied that he wanted to start “trouble, plain and simple. I, as a product, can almost guarantee, that if you follow my instructions, you will have more trouble than you can handle.” And he did. Only it took off. More people wanted to go out and do what they loved doing and not get paid for it, just do it. Without corporate sponsorship. On their own. That’s where Cult of Personality came in. We used John Traina’s idea of personal marketing. He would market himself “like telemarketing, in that I would go directly to the people to find potential customers. I would seek out these people wherever they may be, in person, get them into some trouble, and let things follow their own course. Direct advertising! Maybe a little too direct.” At first viewers were skeptical. They were already aware that the introduction of a television camera into a “real” experience automatically changes the dynamics of the space.

Yet the idea of actually becoming an individual again was appealing. Not having to drink only Coca Cola. People started drinking water out of the sink. It was a small step, but it was felt in the pockets of the largest conglomerates in the world. Tags were being cut out of clothes. People began writing their own names on things again (as opposed to using the “property of” stamps they were paid to use). It became a small countercultural revolution.

Then came Amanda W. and her turning the tide and being the first person to market herself “Because she wanted to.” This idea was not new and had been debated in the late 20th century. When large transnational media corporations began their conglomeration stage, the voices of dissent and skepticism felt it was a conspiracy ploy to destroy the “public sphere” and create an environment for mass consumption only. It was felt that “it is in the interests for the controllers of multinational capital to keep nation-states and their citizens in a state of disunity and dysfunctional ignorance united only by market structures within which such capital can freely flow, while at the same time they develop their own private e communication networks”.[2]   Amanda W. wanted to challenge “a commercialized culture industry effectively clos[ing] off the possibilities for dialogue (dialectical conflict) because intellectuals (such as journalists), including those with oppositional ideas, [were] forced to sell their skills to the culture industry.”[3] She wanted to sell herself, but not for money per se. Sure, as an artist, she would love to make some cash we still existed in a capitalist system, but more than the money she wanted to be famous. She had held a lucrative job as an architect but wanted to sell herself in another way.

Understandably the concept of selling oneself leads the ear to either prostitution or slavery. Yet in a capitalist society, many citizens sold their time, their knowledge and/ or expertise, or their physical labor for cash. Résumés, job applications, headshots, and business cards, were all marketing tools necessary for those who wanted and needed money to find a way to get it. But what Amanda decided was that instead of using marketing to get a job, it was used just to try to get famous. In the vein of reality-based programming she watched some Americans do anything to get on TV or get recognized. Since renting a billboard wasn’t cost prohibitive for her she decided to rent one billboard stating she loves to paint. She wasn’t selling a service or product, she just wanted to get their face blown up to larger than life proportions and have people see it.

It’s important to understand the historical movements of the time to understand the ground breaking innovation of personal advertising. Then it was only large companies who took out billboard ads and had television commercials. Conceptually it was unheard of for an individual to market themselves based solely on acquiring fame. The founders of Cult of Personality asked the question what if there are enough individuals who through whatever guerilla marketing tactics decided they just wanted their faces to be seen. It was then the premise for a lot of “reality-based” television shows. What if every American, or world citizen for that matter, decided they wanted to be famous in this way (in this just wanting to be seen)- what would fame mean then? It was now possible with the Internet for anyone with access to a computer to create a webpage and market themselves on a global level.   Cult of Personality then went on to question: Why was it economically, politically and socially acceptable for “celebrities” (also known as people) to take out ads in trades asking for votes for awards which increases sales, not only to themselves, but also to movie production and distribution companies and so preposterous for an average Joe to do the same? Politicians bombarded us, on the television, in newspapers, on lamp posts, with statements illuminating how much better they are as people than their opponents to sell us on voting for them to increase their individual power in the government. The answer was that these types of advertising had socially permissible ends. Money and Power.

Cult of Personality changed the value of money and power and made fame the greatest asset a human could hold. That’s why now it’s not about how much money or power you have but how ubiquitous you are. How much exposure you can get as a human to increase your personal value which can translate itself into power (and if money was still used… that too).

When the bottom fell out of the Capitalist system Cult of Personality was there to fill in the gaps of personal identity the lack of commercialization had left. Without brands to give them a sense of identity what was just an artist trying to fight against a system and a potential sociopath who wanted to cause trouble- a new form of marketing was created for a new world order. The Revolution put the intellectuals back in power who were able to remove the stigma of big business from cultural production and use the media as the democratizing form it is today.   The key was to not allow themselves, the intellectuals, to become the dominant ruling regime. They didn’t want to become the next power to be overthrown. In stepped the idea of individual marketing.   Since money was in a state of flux, before it went away all together, there had to be some way of democratizing the people to not have an elite class. A way of socialization with out it being socialization per se. The media was the great democratizer.

Cult of Personality is about democratization of media images. We are the anti-thesis of what was the dominant mass cultural movement of the early 21st century. “If Freudian therapy involves encouraging a people to ‘confront’ themselves and their circumstances, the culture industry does exactly the opposite; it encourages people not to think about themselves or their circumstances but rather to immerse themselves in the ‘pre-arranged harmony’ of ‘distraction’, ‘escapism’ and manufactured leisure… Commodified culture makes people feel comfortable because it requires no effort and does not challenge them to think. It is a culture designed to relax, pacify and provide easy answers and ready-made opinion.” [4] Using you and your ideas of who and what you are in a simultaneously ultra mediated yet individually tailored environment, the creation of your media image is wholly up to you. We are simply here to take your ideas and thoughts to the level of the spectacle. There is no escapism here because you can’t really escape from who and what you really are. We work with you, a team of psychiatrists, media consultants, medical personnel, and spiritual advisors to help you find who you really are and how you want the world to see you. There is no discrimination here- only that your personality be compelling enough to sustain the magnitude of constant spectatorship. Even if it’s not when you come to us, it will by the time we complete your media blitz.   Here is the process:

 

 

Product:

You. Answer these questions:

  • If you were the commercial, what would you be selling?
  • If you were a commercial- what would you be? Name an existing commercial
  • How would you market yourself? (Give examples)
  • What medium would you choose for your ad? TV, music, film, magazines?
  • How do brands influence your personal style?   What brands are you?
  • Do you buy just for brands? What brands do you trust?
  • If you were a musician, or actor, or artist- who kind would you be? Why?
  • If you were famous, how would you acquire fame? (Politics, stardom, dictatorship?)
  • What are your favorite commercials? What medium? Why?
  • How are you influenced by ads? Do you notice them? Which ones work on you? Which ads influence you?

As we move you to a more personal branding a branding of yourself by you- It’s necessary for you to know how you see the world.   A lot of people are so jaded by the overabundance of images, that they don’t think about how much work goes into creating a media persona while trying to maintain some distance between the persona and who you are. Yet, we at Cult of Personality don’t believe it’s necessary to maintain distance between the two. That’s where a lot of today’s recent crimes come into play. We are working with the human psyche and melding the internal person and the external personae. This is not about illusions or escapism.

How we can help you

Being that we are the innovators of this form of marketing there is no company better than us. We are based on the principles of spectacular reality. There is no “acting” or “pretending” in the work we do. We are working from the Amanda W. / John Traina examples of real “reality TV”, as is were. It’s can be difficult to negotiate and unless the proper training and support systems are in place, as they are here, the mind can crack.   We at Cult of Personality have the superior distinction of not having one fractured psyche in our 75 years of individual marketing. What we have are a lot of satisfied customers.   We take you to the next level of you. We help you see the you that even you didn’t know existed.

Positioning

As the creators of personal brand marketing, we have the honor of having access to every piece of public space available. Even our competitors must come to us. That says a lot about them. Yet we are fair, since we were created in the spirit of democracy, and we gladly share space, but rest assured- our customers come first. So, except for some places of religious worship, we can get you whereever you want to be. Based on what approach you take, we can get your face anywhere on the planet.

Services

As we stated earlier, we work closely with medical personnel and psychiatrists to insure the physical and mental stability of our clients. Being in the public eye affects people differently and fame can sometimes be a little overwhelming. We understand that and take all aspects of fame into consideration. We’ve been studying the famous for years. Using the late 20th century as a model for fame’s excesses (like Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder) we’ve use these people who were up and then down as case studies for behavioral types. Now Dr. Robert Downey Jr. became Head of Fame Studies here shortly after presenting his Nobel Peace Prize winning paper discussing fame as commodity and revolutionizing modern economic thought. We also have a staff well educated in the Frankfurt School of thought emphasizing the importance of public discourse and maintain the omni- dimensional system of democratized marketing.

Pricing

Pricing is based on a case by case basis. See your consultant for more on this. We do accept Property Rights as a acceptable form of payment.

Notes:

  • Cult of Personality is not responsible for any sort of mental breakdown you might have as a result of being constantly in the public eye. If this is what you want- REALLY– want we’ll give it to you.
  • Cult of Personality is not responsible for any lawsuits arising from any actions taken by you or to you as a result of your fame. We make people famous. We can’t make people like you.   But we will have doctors available for to help put you back together.
  • Cult of Personality can not take responsibility for the cleaning of billboards, hate mail, or any other negative reactions to your ad. We will have doctors available with medications to make you feel better about yourself.
  • Cult of Personality cannot be held responsible for any unhappiness or lack of worth you might feel in the emptiness of shallow hollow fame. We do have doctors available with medications to make you not really think about that all the time and believe you know you more than anyone else could. Anna Nicole Smith has been cryogenically frozen and is unthawed bi-annually for such cases.

[1] McChesney, Robert. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. New

York: The New Press,1999. 41

[2] Louw, P. Eric. The Media and Cultural Production. London: Sage, 2001.92

[3] ibid. 97

[4] ibid. 97

[i] Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books, 1995. 153

[ii] ibid.

Saturday, I really saw Ice T at the Barbican

12 Movements: Ask your Mama

[I didn’t take out my notebook until after what would have been an intermission, so about halfway through. We’d had a few drinks while watching Liverpool beat the stuffing out of Man City so we were on top of the world.  This is what I scribbled in my notebook.]

Ice-T is here!

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Yes. That Ice-T!

It’s the dozens.

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Music: there were moments when it felt like the bass player was looking at the screen when a bass player came on and he was mimicking him. My eye went to the two of them.

The poems are lyrical. So lyrical that as a lyricist Ice-T can’t help but sing them. But it’s not sing songy.

They totally need an intermission. It’s a lot of information too. It needs a breather.

Blues, Afro-Brazilian, classic jazz quartet. Horn as voice. Ogun. “To the village of an anglo”. [Note to self: Langston Hughes tour (where he’s been, like the ones about the black expats in Paris)]

Cha Cha

White marshmallow drumsticks. Softer sound but cymbals have more ting drum solo during the Gods piece. DRUMS!!!

Sojourner   images-7

“Investigate them negroes, who brought them Doberman Pinschers.”

Music

In the quarter of the negroes

Sister Betty in her black veil almost got me.

images-11

It always gets me.

[I want the pictures (there’s a slideshow on a screen between Ice T and the band. Ron McCurdy as voice and horn) to tell a story they should follow Langston’s studies & experiences. Moorland Spingarn Library/ HU.]

Brits need you to play an instrument fast and with passion to clap. Like they have to feel you earned it. Or when familiar riffs are played. And this guy [piano player] is cheap.

some song I don’t know or know in some other concoction. Cheap. Jingoistic and Langston would have hated it. Or loved it, nah, I don’t think so.

Astute audience? I guess…***face scrunch***

Spread the Gospel of Langston!

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Ice T: music is too segregated and he hates a musical snob. music is here to make you feel good. Ice is having a baby this week.

Mood 12

Lindy hop, Savoy needed. Crisis covers.

There was a lady in our balcony section clapping and responding. But she might have been drunk.

 

So there you have it. I saw Ice T at the London Jazz Festival performing Langston Hughes at the Barbican with a jazz quintet.  What a sentence!! I need to find the visual producers Jumbo Arts Productions. If you know them, gimme a shout.

 

Why is Judge Judy on in England so much?

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In my unemployed, I guess I’d be called a housewife; only I’m not necessarily cleaning or cooking. I’m washing hella dishes and not averse to putting a load of clothes in the machine. But mostly I’m applying for jobs, trying not to beat myself up for not becoming an investment banker and having a soul, and watching TV.

We have SkyTV now, but when we were in “the other house”, I would see that Judge Judy was on and get struck by a longing I hadn’t expected. I didn’t really watch her at home as I had Judge Milian and Judge Hachette. Naturally, as a single woman, Divorce Court was a warming panacea reinforcing my choice to wait for MY dude. Hell, there were even cases of whether the people should even get married or not.

But Judge Judy, comparatively, was the man. Her old school insistence on having a job and not having babies out of wedlock had a certain Judge Mathis/ Joe Brown type of respectability politic built into it. It came on CBS and was for me the judicial equivalent of yelling, “get offa my lawn”.

That was til I came here. And I got older and although I don’t have a lawn, I wouldn’t want any darn fool kids playing on it.

But why is she on so much here? I can watch Judge Judy (and ANY of the Law & Order franchises- even Trial by Jury & LA) at almost anytime of the day here in the Blighty.

Is this to teach Britons with their barristers and House of Lords  how superior our legal system is? I don’t really understand this system as it’s not an actual democracy, I don’t think…but who am I kidding, neither is ours.

But why Judge Judy? Over our myriad other sitting know it alls? In watching her so much now, I think I get it. She’s such a boomer it’s not even funny. And it’s weird for me to think of her as such, but she is.   But while she gets what “the kids do” she doesn’t approve and still has a certain amount of Victorianism about her. Maybe it’s the robes. She doesn’t understand text messaging or why people use such bad language in it. (Thank God for Bird who’s there as her protector, translator and straight man.)

Which brings us to race. I know, I know, but if you don’t want to read about race and TV, you’re in the wrong place buddy.

I can tell when she’d made up her mind already based on how someone looks and sounds. Watching older ones I can see more compassion during the financial crisis then I can now as she suggests to the unemployed to go collect cans.

If a woman has more than 2 fathers of their children (try writing that sentence, awkward), I heard her tell a woman “you’ve been around the block a few times, madam”. Black man with cornrows…he’d better have an MBA and a shoebox worth of receipts.

More on this later.

TMI #1

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Yesterday I an older lady was rushing to get to the bathroom. She went in right before me. Then I heard, from her stall, her EXPLODE then the sound of utter relief. Like panting relief.  I wanted to say, “Good Girl!” because I know that there was a moment, a real moment, that she didn’t think she was going to make it.

That’s the stuff I think we should be able to share.

Her Name Sounds Like

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“Who chooses black women first and wins?” — Esther Armah

“Video helps us scan events; film expresses a worldview.” — a very beloved professor of mine

My friend and I were stopped by the police while sitting in his car, edge of Brooklyn, last hours of June.  Their car confronted ours, lights flashing and all. I cursed and immediately got into a look calm, no sudden movements pose. Irritated and mildly resigned and probably really scared.  I let him answer all the questions.  What are you guys doing here?  Where are you from?  You don’t have anything in the car do you?  I just stayed silent.

It was over as quickly as it started.  We pulled off, minutes later, in search of milkshakes. We both tried to act like we weren’t scared, but I know the deal.  Even if nothing “happened” to us, the climate right now is one of terror.  I haven’t…

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My $.64 on that lady that needn’t be named

Today some crazy racist terrorist went into a Black church, prayed with some people then shot them. That’s real. In a state with no hate crime laws. That’s real. Will they fly their Confederate flag at half-mast? Real question. So let’s put this silly bitch to bed.  I’d written it a few days ago for this website, but today it just seems silly. & I’m so tired.  Here you go:

2992B1B200000578-3128908-Wedding_day_Dolezal_and_Moore_got_married_in_2000_but_the_couple-a-10_1434592741412Everything’s fun and games until Rachel Dolezal gives an interview on the Today show.

Look, I had as much fun as anyone last weekend playing #AskRachel. As a black lady, I needed to laugh to keep from crying about seeing a little girl with her braids pulled, face pushed in the dirt with a cop’s knee in her back cause she wanted to swim in what was obviously the wrong neighborhood. I couldn’t even watch that video (haven’t is more accurate). Then came this silly bitch.

And that’s just it. She’s not stupid, not in the least. But race shit has driven her crazy. Well, welcome to the fucking club. Race is a terrible construct created for money, power and control. It has no redeeming features at all. It’s made up. Even my black self would be a bunch of different races based on where I am in the world. But regardless, I can’t tell anyone “I identify as white”.

But here’s the difference, I wouldn’t want to. I’ve been having my own race musings since moving to England particularly and having race conversations with my brown father in law who identifies as colored.

But what is it exactly that makes me want to choke the shit out of Rachel?

The fact that she can identify as black as much as she wants, but at any moment she can “decide” to become a white lady again.

Being black is more than a whipped do and some self-tanning cream. And her doing her social justice work is excellent, I just don’t know why she couldn’t do it in the skin she’s in.

More importantly is the fact that dumb ass Matt Lauer told her she’s begun a very important conversation on race. See, she still is in full usage of her white privilege. Blacks have been having this conversation since before Plessey, but now she get’s “outed” as white and quits her job at the NAACP. If she were really in it for social justice, she wouldn’t have put that branch of that organization in peril.

And who were the people who knew she was white and went along with her foolishness? This is where we get into socially constructed race. She looks like mothers and grandmothers of my friends (which says something else since she’s not an old woman, but lies will make your black crack, apparently). She looks like women and men I knew, in my family, all around me. My mother and I still argue about my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Jones who I say was white and mom says was black. Race is made up. And made up of the skin tones of Africans + every other person on the planet. Period.

But you know who doesn’t give a fuck about Rachel and this stupid conversation? The Dominicans of Haitian decent who are getting deported back to HAITI this week. To the girl’s family in Baltimore who doesn’t get to tell anyone what she identifies as because she was raped and murdered. To that baby who was thrown to the ground like a ragdoll by an out of control cop at the behest of some white ladies who began a fight with children over a swimming pool.

This world is nauseating. Oh, and has Nestle pulled all of the water out of California yet, or that community that needs to water their golf course, how are they doin?

But Rachel, who sued our mutual alma mater Howard University, for racial discrimination against her when she was still white (oh wait, she’s been identifying as black since she was 5…her story is a narcissistic web of lies) now gets to go on The Today Show because I helped her trend on Twitter. Here comes the book, the tour, the movie and I helped, because sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying. I knew this would happen, and she’s gonna do it. She’s gonna Sarah Palin her way into hearts and minds.

We laughed last weekend. Now we need to pay very special attention to this conversation, because it’s going to turn really bad, really soon. We’re talking about identity and racial identity and there are few things more fragile in the world of social media.