jeudi, avril 26, 2007

Under My Umb-re-lla

My favorite blog, Malefactor, expired some time ago (key in the url to Bloglines to read old posts) and I quite miss it but I have some new favorites:

My Private Casbah: I only became aware of this blog when its author left a comment here about a comment I left on America Blog. The author has a unique vantage point as a disabled woman of color in the south and has got informed and incisive commentary on a wealth of subjects. Here are just a few notable posts:
I Just Told You She's My Sister & Disablism/Ableism & The Problem With "Able-bodied"

Rhymes With Snitch: The first line of blogger That Bitch!'s about me section reads "This is not a fan site" and succinctly explains my affinity for the blog. The author is critical of black celebrity and not just in a "look at her bad weave" or "look at his ashy knuckes" sort of way.

Bossip: They had me at "Blood Diamond Russ," their nickname for Do You! author, noted lisper, coonery champion, misogyny apologist and blood diamond denier Russell Simmons.

Brooklyn Record: Goings on in Brooklyn Zoo.

Konstant Kontact: Listen and learn. I'm particularly partial to the Girls of the World post.

And in parting, I'll quote Kenneth's cousin Jesse upon meeting Tracy Jordan: "I loved honky granny be trippin'"

mercredi, avril 25, 2007

I just ran into Harold Ford, Jr. on 5th Ave. around 16th St. He's maybe my height, so shorter than I imagined. His eyes are really blue and smiling. His suit was functional not fancy, maybe even a little wrinkled. Having recognized him, I was just gonna walk on by and maybe email my friend Nat in TN but he, on his cell phone, made eye contact and mouthed a hello. What the politician. And yes, I am very much crunk upon it.

Ah Um

Originally uploaded by cattycamehome.
+All things being equal, I still won't go to this tonight although I'd really like to. Schuller, Cosby (who I still love), Mingus in memoriam... Last check, there were still tix and JALC does that half price rush ticket thing for members.

+All things work together, so I'm offering this heads up: my birthday is exactly 30 days away.

+Always. Just cause the bright warmth makes me feel like I do when I hear that song. Incidentally, last night I broke out into the Cockroach Dance Mania dance at home (I accompanied myself acapella with the theme song). I'd like to bring it back. Never has dancing been so daunting than in NYC where unrealized dance professionals crowd Sputnik and, weather permitting, the crabgrass of Fort Greene park. I know no acrobatics, maneuvers or merengue (albeit instruction from Colombians and Dominicans) and sometimes I get confused during the cha cha slide but I can still dance, right? Dancing is supposed to be democratic. I think it's high time someone stood up to the YouGotServedization of big haired Afro beat friendly BK.

mardi, avril 24, 2007

"Stay safe or enjoy the festival."

lundi, avril 23, 2007


Pic swiped from Maiva

I haven't interneted much between last Wednesday and today so I missed the leaked D'Angelo track. Could someone please e-mail me "Really Love"? (Got it. Thanks!) I have long been enamored with all sounds D and I would appreciate it. I am also still looking for a live version of "The Root," which I am not even certain exists since rumor has it that D deemed the song to weighty too tackle in concert.

mardi, avril 17, 2007

...All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men

An e-mail from Aishah Shahida Simmons was forwarded to me. It is excerpted below. I can't really comment 'cause I still got to do my taxes but she is on point as usual. Me and Moya were just talking about that Duke e-mail this weekend and Simmons' elucidation of the realities of sexual assault (it's not like Law & Order SVU) is crucial. Her documentary, which I have seen a few times over the years in various states of completion, is important but incredibly marginalized. I emboldened a few parts of the e-mail to add emphasis:

From: AfroLez Productions
Sent: Sun 4/15/2007 3:34 PM
Subject: But Some of Us Are Brave---In Support of the April 28,
2007 National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina

But Some of Us Are Brave---In Support of the April 28, 2007
National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina
By Aishah Shahidah Simmons

While there are many folks who are rejoicing that Imus was fired, I fear that we may have won a battle but could have *temporarily* lost this relentless racist/sexist war against Black women in the United States. While most eyes were focused on the outcome of Imus' fate, the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team were exonerated. Very, very tragically, many of the same Black (overwhelmingly male) voices who were demanding the firing of Imus, haven't said a peep about the recent dropping of charges against the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team.
Additionally, in the ongoing mainstream media discussions about Imus calling the predominantly Black women's basketball team at Rutgers University "nappy headed-ho's," there hasn't been any mainstream media correlation/analysis/commentary/discussion about the fact that:

1. Some of the (White) Duke Lacrosse team members called the two (Black) women "niggers" and "bitches";
2. One of the (White) Duke Lacrosse members threatened to rape them with a broomstick;
3. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member spoke of hiring strippers in an e-mail sent the same night that threatened to kill "the bitches" and cut off their skin while he ejaculated in his "Duke-issued spandex;" and
4. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member shouted to the (Black woman) victim as she left the team's big house, "Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

Instead there were subtle and not-so subtle racist implications that hip-hop is the cause of Imus' racist/sexist comments; and that the Black woman stripper/whore (not daughter, not mother, not college student, not sex worker) lied on/set up the innocent White Duke Lacrosse team members (who hired her and her colleague to perform for them).

So, in this very direct way the corporate owned media message to the American public is that Black people, especially Black women, are the perpetrators of violence against White men (and I would argue Black men too).

Based on the overwhelming deafening silence from mainstream Black (predominantly male) 'leaders' and organizations about the documented racist/sexist comments made by the White Duke Lacrosse team members, it's clear to me that no one will speak for us-- Black women--but ourselves. It doesn't matter if you're a rape survivor, a child sexual abuse survivor, a domestic violence survivor, a stripper, a prostitute, a lesbian, a bisexual woman, a heterosexual woman, a single mother (especially with several children from different fathers), on welfare, a high school drop out, college educated, working in corporate America, working at a minimum wage job with no health insurance, or working in the film/music/television entertainment industry. Yes, I placed what some people would view as very different/distinct categories of Black women in the same category because I firmly believe that if any of the aforementioned Black women are at the wrong place at the wrong time (which could be at any time), we, Black women, will be left to heal our very public wounds alone.

I was the young Black woman who in 1989, at 19 years old six weeks shy of my 20th birthday, said "Yes", while on a study abroad program...I was the Black woman who broke the rules of the university where I attended by agreeing to sneak out, after hours, to meet the man who would become my rapist... I was the Black woman who after breaking the university enforced rules started to have second thoughts but was afraid to articulate them and was afraid to turn around because my friends were covering for me... I was the Black woman who paid for the hotel room where I was raped...I was the Black woman who said to my soon-to-become rapist, "I don't want to do this. Please stop." I didn't "violently" fight back. I didn't scream or yell to the top of my lungs" because I was afraid. I didn't want to make a "scene." I blamed myself for saying, "Yes"...for breaking the rules...for paying for the hotel room.

I am one of countless women, regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, age, sexual orientation, class, religion who experientially learned that the (often unchallenged) punishment for women who use poor judgment with men is rape and other forms of sexual violence. And the reward for those same men who perpetrate the sexual violence that we (victim/survivors) experience is the opportunity to perpetrate again and in turn say "WOMEN LIE."

"For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence...For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence...For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture..." come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Join the numerous individuals and organizations from across the United States who will come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007 to participate in "Creating A World Without Sexual Violence - A National Day of Truthtelling."

This mobilizing event is organized by a coalition of organizations including North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Ubuntu, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL).

For more information on the National Day of Truthtelling, visit:

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is a Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, writer, and activist based in Philadelphia. An incest and rape survivor, she spent eleven years, seven of which were full time to produce/write/direct NO! (The Rape Documentary), a feature length documentary which looks at the universal reality of rape and other forms of sexual violence through the first-person testimonies, activism, scholarship, cultural work, and spirituality of African-Americans.

Eleven years in the making, NO! is an award-winning feature length documentary, which unveils the reality of rape, other forms of sexual violence, and healing in African-American communitites.

"If the Black community in the Americas and in the world would heal itself, it must complete the work [NO!] begins."
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, The Color Purple

"This DVD helps raise awareness about sexual assault and violence. Especially useful for counselors working with high-school and college students facing similar pressures and situations."

lundi, avril 16, 2007


"I've never really thought about being smart; I've only really thought about being good."

Ornette Coleman, who don't look no part 77, won a Pulitzer today. I like the idea of him more than his music, in fact, I don't much listen to his music--I'm partial to soulful pianists--but I imagine I'll grow into it. Still, he's got a style that I admire and I adore his former partner
, Jayne Cortez.

I will weigh in on the Oprah show which was awesome (SC represent!), demain.

PC Load Letter

So of course all the printers in my office either ran out of toner or stopped working altogether, as they are prone to do. I have a non-work related project due so I was forced to head to Kinko's before I made my way here. Did you know the f#ckers at Kinko's charge 50 cents a page to print? That's means a 60 page document will cost you 30 dollars. Highway robbery. Not to mention their computers are slow as hell. There was this other guy in there who was so confounded with the pricing that he asked every patron per page printing price 'cause he just couldn't believe the signs. Still baffled he asked a bunch of staff people and even after they confirmed the price, he remained convinced that it was an error. I don't blame him; he had 120 pages to print. That's 60 Kinko dollars. I'm never going back.

In more exciting news, watch Oprah today (when she repeats at 7pm or 1am). She's talking about Imus and rumor has it that a few of my Spelman sisters will be speaking their piece.

And God bless them folk at Virginia Tech.*

* I literally just found out and although I don't know anyone there and I'm emotionally overwhelmed.

mercredi, avril 11, 2007

Jody Rosen's "How Akon became a star." My comments here.
Excluding Missy (who is unique rapping/singing phenomenon), do any major label female rappers remain?

mardi, avril 10, 2007

Not for nothing


I woke up sucking a lemon. I had fresh squeezed oj for lunch and I still can't much fathom feeling unfettered. I looked to my horoscope, I looked to the bible but this time it might not be so easy. I was distracted from the malaise by this vintage interview with James Baldwin from Henry Lyman's Poems to a Listener public radio show. I am supposed to be buddy-passing my way back to the city of lights this June and I very much hope to venture down to Saint Paul de Vence where Baldwin intermittently lived and died. In life he was: his words*, the evidence:
From "Staggerlee Wonders"

They've still got influence with wind and water
Though they're in for some suprises with clouds and fire
My days are not their days
My ways are not their ways
I would not think of them one way or the other
did not they so grotesquely block the view between me and my brother
Here's more.
What is it that this people cannot forget
Surely they cannot be so deluded as to imagine that their crimes are original
There is nothing in the least original about the fiery tongs of the eyeballs, the sex torn from the socket, the infant ripped from the womb
Nothing orginal about Judas or Peter or you or me
We are liars and cowards all
All nearly all
All nearly all the time
But we also ride the lightening
Answer the thunder
Penetrate whirlwinds
Curl up on the floor of the sun
And pick our teeth with thunderbolts
Then perhaps they imagine that their crimes are not crimes
Perhaps that is why they cannot repent
*Transcibed by me from the NPR audio so please excuse any errors.

lundi, avril 09, 2007


Marsha Ambrosius at the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation Q Prize Awards on January 24, 2007 in New York City

I'd been seeing a lot of pics of songstress Marsha Ambrosius without her floacist, Natalie Stewart, and wondered what was up. Now I know:

Growing pains: Marsha Ambrosius goes solo and loses a friendship in the process
by Kenya Hunt / Metro New York
APR 9, 2007

When a reason­ably successful rock or pop band loses a key member to solo stardom, it’s often devastating to the other members — even more so when the group is only a duo. Marsha “the Songstress” Ambrosius and Natalie “the Floacist” Stewart had worked together as songwriters and producers and later as the R&B duo Floetry, which earned seven Grammy nominations, for 11 years. But when Ambrosius, the singer with the effortlessly commanding voice and quiet disposition, told her partner, Stewart, the effusive MC, back in December that she had accepted a solo record deal with Dr. Dre, their longtime friendship took a hit. They haven’t seen or spoken to each other since.

“She told me that she expected it. But it didn’t feel like she was really happy for me. Our friendship got a little twisted, so it was very bittersweet,” Ambrosius says over the phone from Atlanta, where she has spent the last few days recording with Usher and a new producer named Oak. During the weeks before that, she was in Los Angeles recording the bulk of her upcoming solo album with Dr. Dre — a stark contrast from her experiences mostly providing the hooks and choruses to Stewart’s verses.

“I got into Floetry based on my friendship with Nat. As a performer, I gave her the ball and always took the back burner because I wanted her to shine. She’s a phenomenal writer, and I wanted the world to hear her words,” the 29-year-old from London explains. “It’s sad. I know deep down, she knows what kind of friend I am. I’ve prayed on it. I made the compromise, and it was a beautiful compromise,” she adds as if trying to convince herself, as well.

Ambrosius says her new album will be somewhat of a departure from Floetry’s neo-soul sound.

“It’s Dre at his most genius, plus my melodies and song concepts. I did all the writing,” she says. She first met the CEO of Aftermath after a Floetry concert in 2005 when he approached her at the Roxy in L.A. A year later, Dr. Dre, who is credited with turning Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent into the platinum-selling artists they are, offered her a deal.

“I was shocked, but I went for it. Who could say no to that?” she says. Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, Scott Storch and Just Blaze also contributed work to the album.

She’ll test out the new material during a set at S.O.B.’s Wednesday night. The gig will be one of her first as a solo artist.

“I’m nervous and excited. I have so much new material I might need to bring my composition book onstage,” she says laughing.

Floetry in better times

Honestly, I can see why Natalie is so upset. I can't see her having much of a career without Marsha and I can see how she might been taken a back by this show of artistic independence because she definitely seemed to be the dominant member. I wasn't a Floetry fan until I saw them live. Those women put on a great show and had successfully mainstreamed/heterosexed their look by losing weight and getting a decent stylist. Sad to hear they broke up, but I am excited to see what Marsha comes up with on her own. She's a brilliant songwriter with an astounding voice, which admittedly she can tend to overmanipulate. I heard about this Marsha/J*Davey/Emily King show a while back and I really want to go but I have a lot of work. Probably won't make it.

vendredi, avril 06, 2007

For more on the subject, check KING.

mercredi, avril 04, 2007

Blue in Green

I don't often post about fashion; it's declined in importance since I inadvertently assumed a vow of poverty by moving to NYC. As the Drum Major Institute's recent study indicates you got to make 6 figures to live a middle class lifestyle in NYC and as someone who makes significantly less than that I've had to cut out the luxuries. No more Saks. No more Barney's CO-OP. No new clothes every month. No new shoes. In fact, even the good shit that I have-Tocca, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana, Nanette Lepore, Versace, Alice + Olivia (my favorite clothing line for the past 3 years), Bally, Katayone Adeli-doesn't get much play 'cause I'm a straphanger and stuntastic outfits are not suited for the inner city commute. Handcrafted leather shoes deteriorate quickly, floor dusting trousers accumulate grime, cute clutches can't accomodate the subway essentials, i.e. iPod to block out the crazies aural attacks, book/magazine to block the crazies' attempts at eye contact. But for some reason today I contemplated the beautiful things I can no longer afford (I so should have stuck with Finance) and ventured to the Barney's website, which now has a retail function where just a few years ago it was strictly informative. How time has passed. I found these beautiful flats by my absolute favorite design house, Costume National. I've got some beautiful boots by them nestled with other designer shoes that rarely see the light of day in my underbed storage. I want these so badly. They are unpretentiously stylish, simple but compelling, my favorite hue of blue, and perfect for late spring and summer.

costume national
And the price on these blue stunners: $490.00 tax excluded. Yep. Yep. I may have to embrace prosperity ministry this holy week.

Binary Star

From Rob Brezny:
Is the universe inherently friendly to human beings? The answer's got to either be yes or no. It can't be in between. Whatever you might be inclined to believe, you've got to agree that there's no way to know which is true with absolute certainty. So then isn't it stupid and self-destructive to live your life as if the universe is unfriendly? Doing so tends to cast a pall over everything. But if on the other hand you proceed on the hypothesis that the universe is friendly, you're inclined to interpret everything that occurs as a gift, however challenging it may be to figure out its purpose at first. Your assignment this week, should you choose to accept it, is to live as if the latter theory were true.

lundi, avril 02, 2007

Family first and foremost: Joyeux Anniversaire to my big sis. We celebrated at Pure Food & Wine last night (I'm a bit of a raw food aficionado but I don't recommend it. Save your money and check the tortilla wraps, lasagna and chocolate tart at their take out spot 'round the corner. It's overpriced and not much better and in some cases worse than much less expensive living foods spots.) On the plus side, Ilan was there. I stared and almost swooned. He's cool and he has raw vinyl collection. Then we headed to SOB's, endured the line and the hair frizzing weather for Helene and Celia Faussart, les princesses nubiennes and they did not disappoint. First, they are too cute and second, they were rocking the most tremendous jump suits known to womankind: mostly dress with a hint of pant, continental pattern fused with bright colors. Once I learn how to sew, I'm biting their style.

I took this shitty pic of Helene on my celly but checked Flickr and found this from Jon Cronin


Don't have One Step Forward or Echoes so a lot of the music was new but lovely. I recognized "Tabou", "Demain" and "Makeda" off the first joint and "Temperature Rising" from the second but they mostly spotlighted the poets featured on Echoes including Jamarhl Crawford and his rose petal shtick and Queen Godis. They were fine but I'm cool on spoken word. Crawford actually irked at first since he smushed and shushed us (I'm a grown ass woman. I can talk.) as he prepared to take the stage but he made up for it by apologizing and handing us roses on his way off. J. Period, of best of Lauryn Hill fame, was later subject of my ire for rolling up in front of my sister near the end of the concert at which point I rolled up on him. He was defensive and apologetic but didn't initially move talking 'bout he was fin to get on stage which I retorted was neither here nor there. What was imperative was that he stop blocking my sister's view of the stage. He apologized and said that wasn't his intent but he of all people should know, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Needless to say he moved (never got on stage either) and apologized repeatedly to my sis' and tried to give us copies of the best of Lauryn Hill cd. Although I didn't have Vol II: Water, I was cool on principle but he forced it into my sister's hand and told her to give it to me before he peaced out. Whatever. That was just a temporary annoyance. Les Nubians killed. They danced, threw a little afrobeat in the mix, they backed their keyboardist, Geno Young, with his song "Honeydew", they spoke on the importance of voting ici and là-bas. Magnificent energy. I had a great time. And remember if you see ma soeur, wish her a happy birthday. If you don't see her, drop her an e-mail or hit her up on Facebook.