But Where is the Music?

The Houstons: On Our Own reality TV series wrapped up a couple of nights ago, leaving behind unfinished story lines and failing to convince a creeped out, skeptical viewership, at least on my part, about the wisdom of doing this.  I didn’t watch much of the 14 hours of programming that they cobbled together raiding Bobbi Kristina’s psyche over the death of her beloved mother, but I followed the show through secondary means, like recaps and commentary from vloggers like the ladies below.

Does following the series second hand like that give me the right to form harsh opinions about the show? Oh yes it does! Think of it as reading customer reviews at Amazon.com before you put a product into your online basket. In any case, some of my opinions were formed firsthand. I skimmed through the first couple of episodes, which covered Mother’s Day weekend. There was a family brunch, a service at New Hope Baptist Church, which Krissy did not attend, and a visit to Whitney’s grave that forced me to walk away from my computer. I couldn’t watch that baby sit on the ground in that cemetery and cry over her dear mother, nor could I handle Cissy make an emotional case for her baby’s baby to keep in touch with her. So the computer watched itself while I stepped into the other room and folded some laundry.

The problem with this show was that it exploited Whitney’s death so that Pat could fulfill the reality show that she had been developing for some time. This wasn’t a documentary about a musical family, because there were not enough active, working musicians honing their craft and making things happen, like on “Braxton Family Values.”

• We didn’t get enough of Cissy or Dionne Warwick.

• We didn’t get to go into Damon Elliot’s studio.

• Gary kept his exceptional tenor to himself for the most part.

• CeCe Winans dropped in for only one measly episode, and there wasn’t even a family singalong at that beautiful white grand piano at Pat’s house. What’s it there for? To hold up picture frames? Krissy doesn’t seem to be proficient at piano, judging by the meeting that she had with Ricky Minor at one point in the series, and the fact that you never saw her play. That was surprising, given the first-rate musical heritage and connections she was surrounded with growing up. Even Bobbi Kristina’s father is a talented songwriter, one has to admit. In the same class as Ike Turner and Chris Brown, two other legitimately talented musicians, who were railroaded by the media.

So without much songwriting, album making or shows, aside from the heavy lifting that Cissy did for rehearsals for the BET Awards tribute and her clips from Gospelfest (that was me waaaay back in the last row at the back of the house, BTW!), what was the point of broadcasting a show about a family of Houstons? All we saw, aside from the contrived pseudo-dramas that fill up reality TV air time, were images of Krissy in the emotional throes of grief, Krissy being taken for granted by that feckless young man that Whitney took in, and Krissy getting very bad advice from cousins and uncles to reconcile with her father.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time criticizing Black men, partly because they’re making it way too easy, but let me just say that young adult children like Bobbi Kristina do not have an obligation to strive for a relationship with a poor parent. In fairness to his convoluted denials that he hit Whitney, let’s lay aside the conflicting reports about how she sustained a deep cut on her left cheek in Capri, reports from witnesses of her screaming for help from inside her limo during an argument in a mall parking lot in Hawaii, and the revelations that Whitney was cussed out in front of her mother and father in law, and then spat on in front of her child. All of that, including his lengthy rap sheet, are in the past. If the guy is still getting DUIs, and doesn’t pick up his daughter’s calls, then distance is required. Whoever it is, bloggers or whoever, who feel that his presence would be a good influence on her life now … need to wise up and stop interfering. They are training Bobbi Kristina to lower her standards and somehow accept the poor behavior from the first male role model in her life, which could carry over to her accepting wretched treatment from the men she chooses later. And didn’t the vloggers get incensed over an incident where the stray sped off in “his car,” (probably financed with Houston dollars) leaving Krissy somewhere at an event? I saw a preview clip of Krissy sitting on the ground in the night hunched over a phone trying to call this dude. Is this what Whitney would want for her baby, and for it to be on blast like that? This is not a good pattern, it should not be encouraged, and it should not be worked out on national TV and on the Web for everyone to see. Like her dearly departed mother said to Oprah in 2009 “some things are better left unsaid.” And where are the grown men in her life to grab that boy by the collar and make him apologize to her? *Sigh*

If I want to witness family dysfunction, missteps and tragic judgment calls, I could walk down one of the particularly ragged streets in my city, or ride mass transit or something. I won’t be subscribing to cable for this display of nonsense, mainly because they’ve connected it to the name of my first and foremost favorite pop singer. I wish I could say with confidence that the show is over and done with in its current form, as it should be. But I have the feeling that Robert Sharenow, the executive vice president of programming at Lifetime, will let this trash live another season, because he and other network brass seem desperate to race our collective national intellect to the bottom of the gutter in pursuit of ratings and ad revenue. After all, they have to come up with a way to beat Bravo TV’s housewives flipping tables, starting brawls at country clubs and working stripper poles, right?

I hope Bobbi Kristina follows all of Ricky Minor’s advice. She could be a polished, strong contralto with a flourishing career. Add her voice type to her grandmother’s soprano in her prime, and her mother’s mezzo-soprano, and she could complete the packet of Drinkard voice types. Then the music could go on, and she could begin to control her own narrative, instead of leaving it to others.


The Sage of Atlanta

'The Sage of Atlanta' holds court. Aren't we lucky?

‘The Sage of Atlanta’ holds court. Aren’t we lucky?

Ladies and gentlemen of Black America, meet your new moralist, Peter Thomas. He’s the one man who knows everything that we, as a people, must do to achieve correct behavior, upward mobility, and total personal and corporate wellness.

Why just the other day, as the airwaves and blogosphere percolated with reports that Olivier Martinez contributed a Can of Whuppass to Gabriel Aubry’s Thanksgiving Day feast, I felt that the coverage lacked authoritative insight from someone who knows it all. My virtual prayers were answered when ‘The Sage of Atlanta’—those of us on a first name basis call him Sagie—favored us with his opinions, though this interview to UpTown magazine.

Although I aim to dutifully follow his teachings, I think The Sage is way out of line in this instance, and for many reasons. To begin with, he launches into the hypothetical ‘if they were Black’ argument, which is completely out of left field and inappropriate.

You aren’t cool with what went down in Halle Berry’s driveway. Why?

“My beef is that, if it was two black men who go to work on each other like that, they would say that ‘it’s expected of us,’ ‘we’re criminals,’ ‘we belong in jail’ and ‘they should take the kid away from the woman and put her in a foster home.’

This is completely untrue, as evidenced by Nia Long’s own baby-daddy-and-boyfriend run-in a few years back. Did that confrontation, between two Black men who went to work on each other, result in all the condemnation that Peter Thomas says is the norm for Black men and women? There is nothing racially relevant about a fight between two white guys, and here I think the Sage is showing himself and other Black guys that he claims to speak for, to be thin-skinned and insecure about their public reputations. I mean if two white guys can’t duke it out without someone saying … ‘if they were Black …’ then there is no relief from over discussion about race. Can you say ‘healthy balance?’ But he goes on …

“When I look at the situation with a superstar like Halle Berry, an Oscar winner, and her laundry is out in the public in such a way and she got two French men beating the [ish] out of each other and that [ish] aint right, there is nothing right about that. There is nothing right about that. She may be half white but she’s half black too and this is not good.

Yet again, I fail to see what in the world Halle Berry’s racial heritage has to do with two French guys fighting through their disagreements over the family arrangements. If he’s trying to say that no Black woman should ever let these types of situations spin out of control like this one, then say that. And if he believes that two French guys have no place fighting over a Black woman, then he really needs to explain that one.

The interview goes on to put The Sage’s egomaniac, superiority complex on full display:

Why do you say that black people don’t embrace how you, Cynthia and Leon deal with Noel?

“Because I hear rhetoric like ‘how you gone have Leon up in your house like that brother?’ ‘Is that alright with you brother?’ ‘How you know those people not gone reminisce when you’re not around?’ and I’m like ‘if they want to reminisce then let them reminisce cause that’s what grown people gone do, they’re always gone do what they want to do.’ Me and my wife have the kind of relationship where she didn’t need be with me if she still wanted to be with Leon. I’m not sweating that. I’m not sweating that at all. But every time I set in any radio station, that’s the first thing they want to talk about is how the hell we can all coexist because them and they baby mama or baby daddy can’t coexist. What we are doing is 100 percent correct and our community isn’t embracing it. We should be celebrating what me, Leon and Cynthia are doing.”

As for Halle Berry’s situation?
“There are no winners in the Halle Berry’s situation because one day that little girl is going to grow up and she’s going so see those pictures of what that man did to her father and she’s going to hate that man for putting hands on her father and she’s going to hate her mother. There’s no way around it. Little girls love their fathers. To me Halle Berry needs to check herself because she has control over the situation.

Out-friggin-rageous! While ‘The Sage’ was busy giving his irrelevant opinions about someone else’s life, he forgot about the total lack of boundaries in his own. One can easily make the argument that if Halle, Olivier and Gabriel failed to set up boundaries to hand off little Nahla in a healthy, non-confrontational way, then he, Cynthia and Leon are giving Cynthia’s daughter some really unrealistic expectations about how blended family situations can be expected to work.

And who is he to predict that Nahla will grow up to hate her mother? What a spiteful, low-blow thing to say! Who is he to presume to know Nahla so well? Look at that child’s face in photos. She seems intelligent and discerning. For all he or any of us knows, she’ll grow up to understand that her father has a temper, used poor judgement that day, and bears some responsibility for what came to him. Over the years, she might see her father lose it with her own eyes on more than one occasion, and cut her mother some slack. It might turn out that she’ll be able to strike a healthy balance between them. Chances are, at least, she’ll show much better judgement that ‘The Sage’ himself.

And by the way, investigators determined that Gabriel Aubry started that fight, according to press reports. Apparently, he committed two acts of battery on Olivier Martinez before the guy retaliated. Sounds like Gabriel should have remembered, or looked into the fact, that Olivier’s father was a professional boxer. Maybe he woulda thought twice before ultimately having that knuckle sandwich for Thanksgiving dinner. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he has acted that way before. I’m inclined to think it’s no mistake that Gabriel was the only serious boyfriend that Halle wouldn’t consider marrying, if you go by her change of opinions on marriage through interviews over the years. (Why he was good enough to father a child, but not marry, is not for me to judge. It bears pointing out, though.)

‘The Sage’ believes that he and his wife Cynthia are “100 percent correct” about the way they live, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them is on the wrong track. We’ll see. I could be wrong with my deeply held skepticism about this guy. Uptown magazine, who keeps talking to this guy whose main claim to fame is that he’s the husband of a model and reality TV star, seems to think he deserves a platform to talk about people he doesn’t even know or influence. Maybe one day he’ll graduate to giving advice to anyone, anywhere in any situation, and knock Deepak Chopra off his perch. At that point, he’ll become the Oracle of the Diaspora.

I Love These Drama Queens

June is Black Music Month, when we are supposedly to pause and delve into the major musical contributions of Black men and women in this country. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. One would need a decade to get through everything important left to us by Louis Armstrong, Big Mama Thornton, Robert Johnson, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan—do you see what I mean? The list goes on. And I’ve only mentioned one person from New Orleans, the cradle of so much important Black and American music.

I want to shine a light on classical singers, who don’t get enough public appreciation, in my opinion. I’m also going to reach way back to Marian Anderson, Shirley Verrett and Leontyne Price, a contralto, mezzo-soprano and soprano, respectively, who all seem to be acknowledged as the foundational black classical singers of our time. Whether you download them on iTunes, read about them in archival Opera News articles, or sample them for free on the Internet, critics and devoted classical music followers laud them all for their technical execution and heart-breaking expression in their respective vocal classifications.

Anderson was that rarest of classical songbirds, a contralto. I didn’t know this until recently, but it is fairly hard to find a classical, much less operatic, contralto. Maybe it is because they love to sing arias like “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix,” originally written in French for mezzo-sopranos. Anderson handles this more beautifully, with more heartfelt expression than any other, if I may say so. She never signed with any American opera houses, although she did sing at the Metropolitan Opera House, and had a flourishing career singing in concerts and recording albums. That more than made up for the disgraceful way that the Daughters of the American Revolution treated her in 1939, refusing to permit her to sing before an integrated audience at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Those silly ladies basically wrote Ms. Anderson’s ticket to even bigger fame, as Eleanor Roosevelt made amends by arranging for her to sing at Lincoln Memorial instead. Apparently, Anderson never signed to any major opera houses, because she felt she did not have enough acting experience, apparently and even though she had several offers from major European companies. Well, we have her recordings and loads of footage of her audiences enthralled in her song.

Verrett, on the other hand, brought he acting chops to every one of her roles during her operatic career. The stunningly beautiful mezzo-soprano pretty much owns Lady Macbeth, as many opera enthusiasts will tell you. Or so I’ve read in the Times and Opera News. She is remarkable because she successfully transitioned from mezzo-soprano to soprano, because she was artistically hungry and wanted a broader repertoire than what was available to the mezzos. It worked, apparently. See what Opera News says of her stage career:

What Verrett had, no matter what role she sang, was an intense dramatic involvement and a burning desire to give her audience its money’s worth. She was a striking beauty, blessed with a voice that had a ravishing darkness, a solid core and a thrilling attack on high notes.

Oh, la la. I’d love someone to call me a ravishing beauty blessed with a thrilling attack on high notes. Here is Verrett as Lady Macbeth, and clearly she was born for a grand stage. I like to call her the Halle Berry of opera, in the sense that she is alluringly beautiful,  ambitious and hard working. Don’t you forget that gift, her soaring, exquisite voice. She outdid Callas as Tosca, do you hear me? I wonder if Verrett’s mother swaddled her in an opera cape in her bassinet.

Anderson and Verrett are no longer with us, but we still have Price!  And what a treasure she is. Her price is far above rubies. Whether she is singing as Bess in “Porgy and Bess,” or as Floria Tosca, she devastates and reduces to tears anyone within her hearing. And that is saying something, because I don’t fall apart for any old kind of singing. But you haven’t lived, you haven’t heard music unless you’ve heard Price stop the angels in their flight with her rendition of “Vissi d’arte.” Sopranos usually thrill us with their strong, high and sparkling voices. But how does Price manage to infuse her crystal high notes with such exoticism and warmth? Aside from Price, I’ve heard Verrett and Callas deliver this aria, and I must say Price easily surpasses all I’ve ever heard in this role. Her voice is so supple and commanding. It is really a wonder to hear.

All of these ladies overcame paltry racist attacks, in one form or another, as they honed their craft. The fact that they endured those indignities for classical music earns them my utmost respect.  The very first time I heard classical music was when my mother, who was co-director of choral music at our church, taught the senior choir to sing Handel’s “The Hallelujah Chorus,” for an Easter service. (Or was it Christmas?) Years later, she brought home a stack of LPs from her college music appreciation class. I sat on our living room floor while she played all of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, thinking, “Man, this guy was a genius. This music is out of this world.”

My mother was single, so she never taught me to play the piano like she did so proficiently, and I was too quick to give up lessons once the ascent into more difficult pieces began. I never sang. I always hated my flat contralto to what I thought were much prettier and appealing mezzo-sopranos and higher, and my mother had one of those voices.  Although Anderson was my singing hero, I preferred to read a book while my mother did her runs on hymns and traditional gospel music at home or at church. Who knows? Maybe if one of my books had contained more stories about how these ladies climbed the rough side of the mountain, I might have put aside my weakness, my fears, my general negativity and become a virtuoso pianist by now.

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When She Sings, We’re Happy

The voice from the heavens raises it “thence.”

At a certain point in Clive Davis’ tribute speech at Whitney Houston’s funeral  more than three months ago, he recalled a conversation with Whitney that struck me like a spooky premonition. Apparently, she told him that she was committed to quitting cigarettes, doing plenty of vocal exercises, swimming one or two hours everyday to stay physically fit, and presumably build her lung stamina, and that she would get her high notes back and be ready by August. Then, in what struck me as a spooky premonition, he said “Whitney, I’m gonna hold you to it.”

I don’t know what Clive meant by that, but a couple of her final recordings have been released in the last week. Both are from the soundtrack of the upcoming film “Sparkle,” which will be released in August. This one is her rendition of “His Eye is On the Sparrow.

I’ll also try to find and embed her pop duet with Jordin Sparks “Celebrate.” In my opinion, Whitney’s voice sounded a lot like it did in 1999. Although Jordin, another fabulous singer, pulls a good amount of the mezzo-soprano weight, Whitney’s high notes come through enough to tingle your scalp, just like the old days. Have a listen to Whitney and Jordin in “Celebrate.”

My Spring Cleaning

Colloquialisms, buzzwords and slang. We need them to get our points across and make the most of our busy days. Hey, I understand the need for phrases like “on the spot” or “get your ___ on” or whatever. Yet there are times when the sounds of certain phrases, just drive me nuts. They are patronizing, betray false modesty or insincerity of any kind, or they are so vacuous, overused and lazy that they are like … seriously? Really?  So in the spirit of spring cleaning, I’m digging these these phrases out from the back of my closet, stuffing them in giant plastic bags and hauling them to a pickup point for the municipal incinerator.

Don't let that sweet face fool you ...

Don't let that sweet face fool you ...

“That’s sweet of you” or “you’re so sweet.” No, I’m not sweet. Stop saying that. I’m a grown woman with a mortgage, a toddler, a career and a blog. Calling me sweet hauls me back to 10th grade when no one took me seriously and always tried to get over on me. Think about it: In a pinch, would you rather have a solid, go-to fighter on your side or a sweet little lady? Thank you! Thank you very much.

“That’s disappointing.” Politicians love this one, and I hate it. You know that they—except these Northeast mayors—would rather have a verbal throw down than peddle some nonsense about how a greedy businessman is screwing his citizens out of millions of dollars.

•  Any diatribe ending in the word “drama!”  We need to cut this out right now. Mary J. Blige had every right to use this on her 2002 album “No More Drama,” but when everybody from twittering tweens to horrific looking suburban housewives on a reality TV show  roll their eyes and talk about “all this drama…” I have to go. Please cut it out!

“I think you know that …” People sometimes use this phrase when they want to throw culpability on the other person, especially in situations where they should take some of the blame. Narcissistic bosses, aggravating neighbors and anyone else who just wants to throw you under the bus all the time use this phrase.
“Girlfriend …”  I may be black, but that doesn’t make me your girlfriend. Especially if I’ve known you for 10 minutes, you’re white, you went to an Ivy-league school and have at half dozen tailored suits hanging in your closet. On cherry wood hangers. Try again, sweetheart. See! You don’t like people using that patronizing garbage on you either, do you, toots?
Readers, these phrases have got to go. The fact is that Americans spend way too much time looking through cheap, bubble-gum colored celebrity gossip magazines, and on social networking sites absorbing this nonsense, compounding the fact that they troll these places in the first place looking for gossip. It is one thing if a character on “Friends” or the latest 20-something sitcom talks like that. But when the regular citizen picks up the vernacular of a reality TV freak and keeps it in circulation, well, that’s when I have to unplug.

James Roland: Aspiring Gospel Artist

Anyone who devotes a discernible amount of their talent to this underpaying genre is almost sure to get a listen from me, out of moral support. I just happened to come across James Roland, a self-starter in the biz, and gave a quick listen. The basic track is appealing, even if it is a little crowded with overly familiar R&B sounds. I could do without the high-register swoop, and think the lyrics are a bit of a hurried mouthful at times, but it’s worth a quick listen.

Here is a sample:

I’m not a singer by any means, a gospel concert or a concept album producer—although sometimes I wonder if it is not a missed destiny. But there is no other genre like gospel, in my opinion. It was born in houses of worship, created with the divine purpose of winning souls and soothing hearts. Musicians are the heroes of any Black church, and anyone with a decent amount of musical talent can learn a lot from joining the music ministry. First of all, the musical instruments are just there, paid for by the church’s collection. Think about all of the hours that organists, pianists, guitarists and other band members devote to working out perfect chords to accompany the singers. Imagine the drilling and practicing that the choir and lead singers subject themselves to in order to develop their individual pitch, and polish their ability to harmonize with others.

From humble urban storefronts to modern sprawling campuses, if a church has a band, you can almost be sure to be in for a musical treat on a Sunday morning. Gospel, with its driving base, soulful organ, especially on a Hammond, and power vocalists, is indispensable to Black congregations through out American history.

Gospel singers do not achieve the level of fame and wealth as secular musicians, because the market is a smaller one. We’re not exactly talking about a form of music that glamorizes materialism, substance abuse misogyny or violence, so of course it’s hard to make a living just off of making gospel music! Go figure. Although this is a tamer sleepier genre, at least its fingerprints—without the aforementioned dysfunctions—are all over a host of majorly influential genres.

These Two Are Absolutely Adorable

Gentle readers, I normally get incensed whenever I hear about a man beating a woman’s face. This morning, though, I got bored/sleepy on the train ride into the city, so I ended up trolling YouTube until I came across this video.

They are very entertaining and too cute, don’t you think? He’s there, bungling the whole process and globbing the powders and coloring—colouring!!!—onto her face. She’s bearing with him, trying not to wriggle and giggle throughout the whole process. I had to laugh when he started brushing on the gold eye shadow and blew onto her face to get the excess off! Even if the final result was not desirable, you want to just reach out and squeeze them both in a big hug, don’t you?!

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Are the Kids Alright?

Image from Amazon.com

Immigrant families from the Black Diaspora are familiar with this passage: moving to countries with thriving economies to make a better living, and leaving their children behind in the care of trusted relatives and friends. Of course, the separation is never permanent. Just long enough for the mom or dad to get working papers and authorization to bring his or her spouse and kids to where they are. The idea of making such a choice for economic reasons seems hard enough, but what if one’s humanity were in the balance?

What if it was the late 18402 and you were a young slave woman, say Mary Walker, visiting Philadelphia with your master? With three young children back on a plantation in North Carolina, you might not be tempted to succumb to the urgings of abolitionists to get away. But if you and that master argued so fiercely about something that he threatened to sell your kids away from the only home they’ve ever known, then what?

Mark Walker made a choice given those terms, and you can read about it in “To Free A Family,” by Sydney Nathans. The story is drawn from letters and lots of other documents to piece together Walker’s life and what it was like for her to live through those times. I’m not sure if I could bear to be separated from Baby, but if it were inevitable and I had to make a terrible bargain, I’d at least want to scrape up an ounce of my own humanity by booking passage on the Underground Railroad, instead of waiting around helplessly until someone tore her out of my arms.

Walker was a literate slave, and was articulate enough to impress northern whites, apparently. I prefer to read stories about slaves like her, honestly, because tales of brutality meted out on field workers always leave me emotionally zapped and near tears. Judging by this book review in The Wall Street Journal, Walker’s story had a more uplifting end.

A Deafening Silence

Black History Month is well underway, and with a paltry 29 days with which to revel in the achievements of Blacks here in America and throughout the African diaspora, we need to get moving!

Camilla Williams is a great place to start. A lyric soprano, her debut in the lead role in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with the New York City Opera on May 15, 1946, marked a triple threat. She had never performed in an opera before; the NYC Opera had never staged “Madama Butterfly”; and no African-American had landed a contract with a major opera company previously. Ms. Williams died just last week, at around 93 years old. Sadly, Ms. Williams passed away this week, as I read in an obit in The New York Times.

What a life Camilla Williams must have lead! She was the daughter of a chauffeur and a domestic worker, really humble beginning, like more Blacks who go on to earn a line in the history books. Williams started serious vocal training from a Welsh instructor who taught at a local white college. Jim Crow segregation laws, however, required that she take lessons at his home. She graduated college, became a teacher, and embarked on a series of vocal scholarships to hone her craft.

It is a tragedy, I think, that I heard about this American gem just as she left this world, especially because I genuinely admire lyricists. Enough of the contrived, digitally enhanced embroidery that peppers so much of popular much today! Let’s hear about life, love and loss from the masters.

The Times put it another way and more eloquently:

That Miss Williams’s historic role is scarcely remembered today is rooted in both the rarefied world of opera-house politics and the ubiquitous racial anxiety of midcentury America. And though she was far too well mannered to trumpet her rightful place in history, her relegation to its margins caused her great private anguish.

“The lack of recognition for my accomplishments used to bother me, but you cannot cry over those things,” Miss Williams said in a 1995 interview with the opera scholar Elizabeth Nash. “There is no place for bitterness in singing. It works on the cords and ruins the voice. In his own good time, God brings everything right.”

I’ve only been to see two operas: Carmen and La Traviata, but I immensely enjoyed both. It’s too bad that the hustle and bustle of everyday life prevents us from seeing more productions. The Met, the American Ballet Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are just a handful of the cultural institutions that I feel are sorely neglected today. I don’t understand why more people don’t see the beauty, so moving and perfectly executed, in the fine arts. Hubby and I took Little Sister to see the Alvin Ailey company when it came through Newark, hoping to instill an appreciation of a beautiful art form. She was languid and pouty through the whole thing, and not even the rousing, masterfully done “Revelations” could get her to stop slumping in her seat. It bothered me quite a bit, but I suppose that since the dancers were not bumpin’ and grindin’, or shaking her hands for their men to “put a ring on it.” their exertions were lost on one so young.

Please don’t get me wrong. I heartily congratulate Beyonce and her cohort on her well-earned success. It would be nice, is all, if somehow the public’s musical and artistic diet could be more balanced, and if they could embrace those shake our hearts, not their booties.

‘Something New’ + Natural Hair = Hilarious Video

It takes a lot of spunk to be a black woman who gets up on YouTube to talk about her hair journey. Some of us introverts would sooner DIE! But only a real man, who happens to be white and married to a black woman, can get up there to crack jokes about his “bald journey!” Take a few moments to enjoy this video, please. I watched it sometime last year, loved it, forgot to bookmark it and lost track of it. Then I found it again Thursday night. Good thing, too. It re-energized me after a long days’ work, and I’m now ready to refocus and write my work-related blog. Yes, at night, if you can believe that!