mardi, janvier 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King

April 27, 1927 - January 30, 2006

I'm too sad to write anything. Edit: Boogaloo says it best.

lundi, janvier 30, 2006

"You're Welcome, Lady, Thank You"


in my younger years
before i learned
black people aren’t
suppose to dream
i wanted to be
a raelet
and say “dr o wn d in my youn tears”
or “tal kin bout tal kin bout”

or marjorie hendricks and grind
all up against the mic
and scream
“baaaaaby nightandday
baaaaaby nightandday”

then as i grew up and matured
i became more sensible
and decided i would
settle down
and just become

a sweet inspiration

Nikki Giovanni, From Black Feeling Black Talk/Black Judgement (1968)

vendredi, janvier 27, 2006


For the love of Jah when you respond to an e-mail do not reply all or cc all the addressees. This is pure harassment by the reply aller. You are the internet version of a telemarketer. Oftimes the the people you're replying all to don't even know you. Stop in the name of all that is good and merciful.

Edit: So the sinner who evoked the blog wrath of an angry Jah, my sister, just got buck with me on the internets (I never thought I'd say this, but, "word to Dubya!"). Anyway, here is the (edited) conversation which started when I sent a few friends and family members a link to a tragicomic post by TAN on a New York Observer article discussing the percentage of people of color employed in major New York media outlets (virtually none) vs. the percentage of people of color in New York city (damn near evrybody):
Quoting Jalylah:

Why A POC might kill himself for a byline.

Anyway in the future don't read Gawker 'cause they suspect. I called them on a MODERATED comment (commenters are registered and limited in number) on their site which referred to Kimora Lee Simmons as a "jungle barbie." At last check they refused to acknolwege my complaint or remove the comment.

On 1/27/06, Aisha wrote:

Is this blog for real?

On 1/27/06 Jalylah wrote:

please do not reply all. that's my biggest effing pet peave

On 1/27/06, Aisha wrote:

oops. total accident. My apologies. and it is peeve not peave. Spelling errors are mine ;)

On 1/27/06, Jalylah wrote:

do not get smart with me. you littering my friends e-mail boxes with frivolous questions.

love you anyway,
I'm using my brilliant sis' (double ivy league degreed and working on a third) as an example because she can't excommunicate me (blood is thicker than water) but many of you, my dear friends, have done the same and dammit I want you to stop. And I'd like to state for the record that I was Spelling Bee Champ in the 3rd grade. Shout out to Mrs. Tracy and the whole of Sand Point Elementary.

mercredi, janvier 25, 2006

Sick Wid It

The Jabene ensemble killed it last night at their global debut at the Blue Note. I took their sound in with fated MacArthur fellow and TV & Film critic Court' (Look out for her short story collection in the coming future) and had a lovely time.

It's hard to highlight one player from the extraordinary bunch. Bilal, whose music I love, and whose eccentric and unpredictable performance style all but guarantees an abundance of laughter, completely underwhelmed on vocals which is no swipe at his undeniable talent but, in my opinion, vocals were unnecessary and distracting to the compositions. In his defense, he was peripheral to the ensemble (I suspect was added to the bill for marketing purposes) and he got going near the end of Thelonious Monk's "Criss-Cross." Gregoire Maret (dude redefines the harmonica) I'd caught with Cassandra Wilson some time ago and pianist Robert Glasper (musical director for the ensemble) backed Bilal at a show I caught at the Jazz Gallery and, more recently, Sa-Ra at the Canal Room. Bassist Derrick Hodge minimalist playing was jamming (I can't say "on the one" since the time signatures varied) but he definitely got the expressionless Roy Hargrove going. I think it's interesting in experiencing/understanding/writing music to make note of one's own responses to the performance and the audiences but, if possible, musicians' peers. Roy is stoic in the smoke-a lot sense but he jumped back at some of the things Hodge was doing or rather wasn't doing on his bass solo. I want to say Roy Hargrove is Roy Hargrove since I have this immense respect for his musicianship but I honestly don't own any of his recordings and I have only seen him perform once at Metrotech for the BAM Summer R&B festival so I'm not sure how I came to that conclusion but dude is something else. His song closed out Jabane's set and stratespherically rocked Blue Note overshadowing his capable bandmates songs. Nevertheless the night belonged to two cats I had never heard of before: Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke and Texas drummer Chris Dave (Why does he have two first names?). If my memory serves me correct Chris backed Sa-Ra at the Canal Room as well and layed an unwavering funk along with the baby-faced bassist that kept me dancing all night long. But anyway Chris Dave is crackish (a non-perjorative variant on the Jamie Foxx coined term) on the drums. It looks and sounds extra-hominine. Seriously. It made me recommit to a long-since-abandoned goal of becoming the black Sheila E or since Cindy Blackman already did that, the brown-skinned Cindy B (There I Go!). That was until I noticed sweat trailing from underneath Dave's cap and if there is anything I'm fastidious about it's not letting my hair go back (except in the aforelinked picture when it was strictly "juices and berries." A gold star to the first one to comment "That ain't nothing but an Ultraperm!" ®). Anyway, dude was clean and far less perspirous then fellow drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts or our community's most unsure performer, Whitney Houston, but an hour and half of rapid, discordant and controlled movements will do that to you. So I realize that drumming demands endurance, coordination and a willingness to look a hot mess in public and therefore might not be the creative pursuit for me. Dave held it together, though. He was dressed much better than the other players in a multicolored sweater, ironed jeans, Bapestas and the aforementioned newsboy cap camouflaging the dripping evidence of his exertion. Despite Dave's dexterity I would have to say the star of the story was Lionel "where you been all my life" Loueke. I don't have any words for what he does and conjures (the spirit is real y'all) but it's good.

This week in music: AH tonight and LT tomorrow (Underwhelming show. I don't understand his mystique which caused the crunk-upon-it dude standing next to me trying to convert me into LT groupiesm to whisper in my hear that maybe the "electric guitars were too hard for my soft ears." Negro please!

lundi, janvier 23, 2006

We did it, Seattle!

"The Indian dance to bring our reign back?": Seattle defensive tackle
Rocky Bernard steps over fallen Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Bernard sacked Delhomme twice in the game.

Full disclosure: One week ago at the Philly Hilton, an amiable new acquaintance, upon learning that I was from , said, "You must be proud of the hometeam." I replied, "The Seattle Supersonics? Not a fan. I've always preferred the Trailblazers. The Supersonics never fail to dissapoint." The hotel room erupted in laughter. "No, honey, I mean the ," she explained, at which point I inquired, "What are they doing good this season or something?" I was then brought up to speed by a bunch of east coasters about the Pacific Northwest's pigskin supremacy (NorthWESSYDE!). They were patient and kind enough not to correct my use of Supersonics, the long since truncated name of our punk ass basketball team (excepting the dreamy Ray Allen) but quickly, overwhelmed by my obliviousness, changed the conversation to local hotspots. My point is: I don't know the name of one player on the Seahawks roster. I am a fairweather fan (now I got that damn Johnny Gill song stuck in my head) and I'm shamelessly crunk-up-on our team's February 5th prospects and how said victory could forbode for Seattle's underachieving and overlooked sons and daughters. A Superbowl win could be "the Indian dance to bring our reign back" or "in", really, iniating a much pined for Emerald City era.

mercredi, janvier 18, 2006

"I'm Not An Addict..."

"'s cool. I feel alive."

Since today is the 16th anniversary of former DC mayor Marion Barry saying, "Damn bitch set me up!" I might as well call attention to Marion Barry's recent relapse. While I believe in miracles, you & me, God, forgiveness, redemption, I don't believe in politicians, esp. junkie politicians, esp. black junkie politicians who manipulate the black public with salient but misappropriated race rhetoric to save their sorry black behinds. And despite Kanye's tireless efforts on behalf on the chipmunk-cheeked I don't believe in turning the other cheek. Swollen jowls just don't appeal to me. I'm far enough from heaven to believe in second chances but they should be doled out prudently (i.e., I, for example, should always be forgiven for whatever transgression you project onto me. Perception--too often someone else's--is reality).

On the subject of integrity and black leadership I must address The Boondocks MLK Jr. Episode. Up until today I hadn't seen any episodes. From what I'd heard The Boondocks is buffoonery (albeit with satirical intent) but the brief clip discussed on Nightline got me thinking esp. Aaron McGruder's comment that there wouldn't be space for MLK Jr. in the contemporay context like literally MLK Jr. spoke to slow for contemporary televised punditry. Anyway it was not in King's spirit to Cosbyficate but The Boondocks has a point, he'd probably be dissapointed.

Links via Boing Boing and Nah Right

lundi, janvier 16, 2006

Reminder to Self

Coming Up Short: Women & Sexuality
Sunday, February 12, 2006 6:30 PM
Pioneer Theater (155 E. 3rd St. NYC)
Silence: In Search of Black Female Sexuality in America (Mya B.)
What would cause black women to become `mute' about their sexuality from generations to come? In this 74-minute documentary, Mya B. entertains us with street interviews juxtaposed with socio-academic experts and religious leaders talking about contemporary black sexuality that has historically been shrouded in silence.

Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography (Becky Goldberg)
Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography takes a rare and empowering look into the pornography industry and feminist community to see how they intertwine within the politics and poetics of female sexuality. It shows women who are committed to making and supporting pornography that includes their feminist values and will go up against an entire industry, stereotypes, and sexism to get what they want.
Filmmakers will be available for Q&A after the films. Tickets are $9 ($6.50 students/seniors) and can be purchased at

vendredi, janvier 13, 2006

Life Gets In Your Way

Jennifer, Sheryl, and Loretta at The Imperial Theatre in 1981.

Loving/living life in 2006 but a little too tired and lethargic (despite the steadfast raw foodism) to post the things that come to mind. I think about processing in pixel and then I up and do something else like dancing or listening or venturing down to 'Philly, Philly' Martin Luther (The) King, Jr. weekend to see Dreamgirls (boo boo on the Beyoncé casting for the film adaptation).

A lot of things are on my mind though. I have been angry, not in a self destructive way but rather I experience myself being disconcerted out of my NYC-induced disaffection, my 'penny with a hole in it'-ness, if you will. I'm lucid. So when you go telling me no again and I wonder why I am asking for your permission.

Coretta and Martin: "Happier than the Morning Sun"

I like this picture. They are without a doubt in a struggle for OUR lives but they are happy (esp. the woman with her right arm extended on the far right; I wonder what her story is/was?) I been tired of tear-streaked faces, distended bellies, ashy ankles, cardboard-encased feet and other markers of black despair paraded across T.V. screens for bug-eyed consumption. Scenes of Subjection. Saidiya ain't lie. No more patronizing laments on cyclical poverty in one breath while scarfing down rare (and yet still black) carcasses in the other. Bernie got that "beat 'em to the white meat shows" somewhere from some damn(ed) body. I am a lover of freedom, esp. my own, but I could not bear the thought of sacrificing my life much less my peace of mind to save white people from themselves but this man-- a representative of a fearless body of unsung women and men-- did. It's not a game. It was not that long ago. White supremacist capitalist patriachy is alive and f*cking well but I am not gonna risk raising my blood pressure by testifying to their trespasses and I damn sure ain't ready to forgive.* And folk wonder why we all suffer from hypertension! (Please believe it ain't just soul food that's killing us. Plenty health-conscious black folks is taking they medication twice daily. What did Chris say: "I ain't worried 'bout Al Qaeda...") Let me stop. I gotta go to sleep. I got a hair appt at 7:30am and a train to catch soon after but since I won't be back before Monday I would sincerely hope that we all honor Dr. King and the brave black women and men of the Civil Rights Movement this weekend. Like somebody, probably Jesse, said, "It's a day on not a day off."

*"righteous cause for sinnin'" not withstanding "man, I gotta get my soul right"

lundi, janvier 09, 2006

" the space"

"Jayne Cortez is an energy, a nourishment; a Black Nation song."
~Gwendolyn Brooks

In The Morning

Disguised in my mouth as a swampland
nailed to my teeth like a rising sun
you come out in the middle of fish-scales
you bleed into gourds wrapped with red ants
you syncopate the air with lungs like screams from
like X rated tongues
and nickel plated fingers of a raw ghost man
you touch brown nipples into knives
and somewhere stripped like a whirlwind
stripped for the shrine room
you sing to me through the side face of a black

In the morningin the morningin the morning
all over my door like a rooster
in the morningin the morningin the morning

And studded in my kidneys like perforated hiccups
inflamed in my ribs like three hoops of thunder
through a screw
a star-bent-bolt of quivering colons
you breathe into veiled rays and scented ice holes
you fire the space like a flair of embalmed pigeons
and palpitate with the worms and venom and wailing
and somewhere inside this fever
inside my patinaed pubic and camouflaged slit
stooped forward on fangs
in rear of your face
you shake to me in the full crown of a black rooster

In the morningin the morningin the morning

Masquerading in my horn like a river
eclipsed to these infantries of dentures of diving
you enter broken mirrors through fragmented pipe
you pull into a shadow ring of magic jelly
you wear the sacrificial blood of nightfall
you lift the ceiling with my tropical slush dance
you slide and tremble with the reputation of an

and when i kick through walls
to shine like silver
when i shine like brass through crust in a compound
when i shineshineshine
you wail to me in the drum call of a black rooster

In the morningin the morningin the morning
gonna kill me a rooster
in the morning
early in the morning
way down in the morning
before the sun passes by
in the morningin the morningin the morning

In the morning
when the deep sea goes through a dog's bite
and you spit on tip of your long knife
In the morningin the morning
when peroxide falls on a bed of broken glass
and the sun rises like a polyester ball of menses
in the morning
gonna firedance in the petro
in the morning
turn loose the blues in the funky jungle
in the morning
I said when you see the morning coming like
a two-headed twister
let it blowlet it blow
in the morningin the morning
all swollen up like an ocean in the morning
early in the morning
before the cream dries in the bushes
in the morning
when you hear the rooster cry
cry rooster cry
in the morningin the morningin the morning

I said
disguised in my mouth as a swampland
nailed to my teeth like a rising sun
you come out in the middle of fish-scales
you bleed into gourds wrapped with red ants
you syncopate the air with lungs like screams from
like X rated tongues
and nickel plated fingers of a raw ghost man
you touch brown nipples into knives
and somewhere stripped like a whirlwind
stripped for the shrine room
you sing to me through the side face of a black

In the morningin the morningin the morning

~Jayne Cortez from Mouth on Paper (1977)

dimanche, janvier 08, 2006

"Black Like Bernie Mac"

I love Stevie Wonder, I love black colleges-I am a grateful product of one-and I grew up on the UNCF's Lou Rawls Parade of Stars. We watched it every Christmas Eve in our townhouse in the SandPoint neigborhood of Seattle. My mother always called in and pledged as much as she could. So I can remember when the UNCF's Lou Rawls Parade of Stars was aired on Network T.V. in primetime no less. But those days are gone; it's fucking two o'clock on a sunny Sunday and The Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence, as it is called now, is on NBC. This year's telethon is honoring Stevie Wonder. A bunch of black performers are attempting underwhelming but well-intentioned covers of Stevie's vast catalogue. James Ingram and Kathleen Battle joined forces on the grave and contemplative "They Won't Go When I'll Go." I've been listeing to Fulfillingness' First Finale a lot these days and I know every vocal twist and turn. James is ill suited for the material. Kathleen sounds amazing but the arrangement should have been adjusted (read: slowed down) for her operatic style. Donnie McClurkin just butchered "Jesus Children of America." Toni just got up and sang a forgettable selection from her recently released and overlooked album, Libra. Her weave is especially bad and her songs falls flat on account of its attempt to grasp at the young market. Kirk Franklin's doing his booty dance. What else would you expect! The song is the jam, though. I wish his obese, big-voiced choir got some shine since they are doing all the work (I also want to consult with them on healthy diet and exercise. I want them to fully understand that our bodies are our temples). Terrence "punk ass" Howard is on stage shucking, albeit slickly (thanks to his throwback conk). I despise him 'cause he spites us in his performance and public comments. Come on black people! Why are we so fucking masochistic?! Let's renounce black people who denounce us in thought words, and deed. Let's develop some motherfucking cultural self-esteem. I saw Stevie this summer at the Apollo and Stevie's back up singers would murder all these "stars" but Stevie is sitting and often standing there clapping and cheering on these performers sincerely. That's Stevie's heart. That's his spirit. I am not there yet but I've been trying. Lord knows that I've been tryin'. You gotta love Stevie and you gotta make a donation to the UNCF. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" but black people are too often seen- in their own eyes and those of other races-as disposable, mind, body, and soul. I do not ascribe to this philosophy.
"We must always remember that being here on this planet is a blessing in of itself."
~Stevie Wonder

reciprocated his blessings. That's why I tuned in this year. Haven't watched the Parade since I left the nest. And I left a long time ago for sojourns abroad. So there it is. Peace be with him. SoulShower has a nice memoriam to Mr. Rawls with some choice mp3 downloads.

jeudi, janvier 05, 2006

Dance Mania

My fav, Steve Russell, front row, right.

Do not wear control top panty hose to the club. They seriously restrict your range of movement. For a part Benes/part jump 'n' funker like me that's troublesome. They do, however, reduce your thighs three fold, which, I guess, is worth it if you're not gonna be dancing. Oh and don't drink either because control top panty hose fit like a second extremely co-dependent skin and peeling them off for a Rosé fueled run to the restroom is a serious endeavor. Do pay attention to the label when you stop by Filene's after work to pick up black Donna Karan hose for insulation underneath party perfect tight jeans or prepare to feel the burn when you hit the dancefloor.

But my point is when I was feverishly dancing to Guy and Christopher Williams last night I thought of episode 411 of The Cosby Show and I started humming the theme to the Soul Train rip off Dance Mania and I felt really good.

My late night encounter with "I'm Dreamin'" inspired me to scroll through my iTunes for late eighties/early nineties R&B wunderkinds and I found Troop who came to me in my single digits. "My Heart" was my shit or as I would have put it then, "the jam" (I didn't start cussing 'til I was 19), and "Mamacita" permanently endeared them to my New Edition obsessed self but I hadn't uploaded Troop's eponymous debut to the shitty Dell yet (working on getting a Mac as we speak). I did notice a few tracks from their sophomore album Attitude "Spread My Wings", "All I Do is Think Of You", and the especially compelling "I Will Always Love You." Listen. "Shabba Dabba" sounds sweet even without the "tweet tweet tweet."

I was gonna call for an immediate reunion tour with Today (Big Bub, where ya at?) or Lo-Key as opener and then I saw that Troop put out an album last year four days after my birthday. I really want to see them perform. I don't care if they are old(er) and fat. I don't care if they still rock jheri curls (whatever your feelings toward curls, you can't front, theirs were hot. So was El DeBarge's and don't e-mail me claiming El's hair was naturally curly and juicy. I know a curl when I see one). I don't even care if they rock low budget Steve Harvey suits:

I just want to see them do the choreography from the "Spread My Wings" video that J-Lo jacked for the breakdown in her "If You Had My Love" video (Don't believe me? Just watch VH1 Soul). And I think it's telling that as many compile year-end best of lists (which I reserve the right to do in the near future) I consort with the ghosts of R&B past.

lundi, janvier 02, 2006


"Discipline doesn't work: The challenge with discipline is that it is a technique to rid desire, but discipline is based on desire. When someone says, "I have discipline," what they often mean is that they are experienced at taking one desire and making it stronger than another. Not that this doesn't get the job done. In fact, discipline often does works, temporarily. However, discipline will ultimately always let us down because one day (for some people, many days) we'll have a desire that can't be trumped. Often when discipline failed me I used these two questions:
1) What do I feel must happen in order for me to be myself?
2) What do I feel has already happened that is preventing me from being myself?"

~Dhrumil Purohit
While I'm here let me wish us fulfillment, contentment, peace, health, and wealth in the coming year and always. Let's (re)commit to being ourselves. Love.

And Rob Brezny says:
"In 2006, you will have the power and opportunity to translate something you're good at into a brand new sphere."