Sean Carter Confessionals: Family Feud

The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.

-James Baldwin

A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich. I watched Godfather, I missed that whole shit…

-Jay-Z

 

The year is 2444 The home is rich and lavish. The setting is coldness, anger and betrayal. Michael B. Jordan storms angrily into the bedroom of Thandie Newtown’s characteron a particularly “important day” loudly berating her capacity to be the head of a clearly powerful family only to find her in bed with a dude played by Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. I notice immediately how pale Thandie, Michael B. Jordan and X are. The only colors you see are like pale blues and yellows. But the paleness of their skin tone makes me think of sickness, deficiency, greed heartlessness and death. Sure enough, before the scene is done, both men are killed, Mark by Trevante and then Trevante by Thandie’s character, Game of Thrones style, because she wants the family “Throne” for herself.

2444

Both Anthony and Trevante are both wearing clothing at the waist inspired by garb worn by men in ancient Khemit. Thandie wears a scant bandage outfit nearly identical to the one Milla Jojovich wore in the “The Fifth Element” a film set in a future that opens in an Egyptian temple and where the planet is under threat of total destruction if an essential element, which is embodied by a woman is not recovered.

Jay Z Family Feud screen grab Credit: Tidal

In the year 2148 an indigenous woman, Bird and Jacob played by Irene Bedard and Omari Hardwick are joint world leaders hailing from two great families. They respond to questions from a citizenry council about violent events that have lead to Jacob’s rise in power. Jacob recounts the legacy of his family and their struggle to uphold and maintain law and justice throughout generations. He talks about how one of his ancestors who played a major role as one of the founding mothers.

Founding Mothers

She was the primary architect of something called “The Confessional Papers” in 2050 and revised the constitution with a group of amazing women, played by Janet Mock, Neicy Nash, Mindy Khaling, Rosario Dawson and Rashida Jones just to name a few.

His ancestor, played by Susan Kelechi Watson in the year 2050 by is none other than Blue Ivy Carter.

Now we’re in Blue Ivy’s  narrational 2050 memory as she recalls her father’s words, “Nobody wins when the family feuds.”

Beyonce-family-feud

Cut to 2018 which is basically now, where there the musical narrative of the video for Jay Z’s “Family Feud” begins. Jay-Z walks a present day Blue Ivy to sit in a church pew and then walks the front to start rapping before Beyonce who Amens at him from the pulpit in royal Blue, looking like a sanctified and sexy ass Popestress. She also appears in a black mini dress and billowy white sleeves behind the screen of a confessional as Jay speaks to her from the other side. The metaphor is plain to see now. And there is still so much left to unpack. I want this to be movie or a television series!

Blu ivy FF

I’m still on the floor!

I don’t know about you but I’ve already watched this video about five times now. I know I will lose count of how many times I watch it again and of how many other pieces of symbolism I pick out of this brilliant work of art and revolution made explicitly for the culture. I also know that 4:44 is a fierce, proud and unapologetically Black call to action to each of us who are about that life if there ever was one and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to arrive as 2017 comes to an end and 2018 kicks the door and our asses in.

Here’s to a Black Ass, Woke Ass 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Only Yoda made me cry…

STAR WARS LAST JEDI SPOILER ALERT.

This is not a review of “The Last Jedi” which by the way, I think was an okay film. This is just about one moment in the movie that caught me off guard and produced unexpected eye water.

Reya (you don’t really need to know who she is) has come looking for Luke Skywalker, the great Jedi to save the rebellion as usual. He has isolated himself on a desolate island with a dark secret and no intention of going anywhere to save anyone because he thinks it’s time for the Jedi way to die, namely because of his dark secret which is basically  a mistake he made and cannot face.

Long story short, his sister Leia gave her bitch baby son Kylo Ren over to Luke for Jedi training and despite his greatest efforts, Luke found himself to be matchless against the strength of darkness in Kylo Ren. One night in a moment of weakness he came to Kylo’s bed with his saber and for a moment was poised to kill him. By the time he thought better of it, Kylo woke up and saw him and well, you know, defended himself and then ran off into the night to be all dark and whiny.

yoda-you-must-unlearn

Yoda, the great Jedi who taught Luke only appears once in this movie. And when Yoda shows up, it’s never trivial. After Luke burns a temple on the island with the only Jedi texts in them, Yoda’s spirit appears and laughs at him which clearly you can do when you’re a dead Jedi and no one can try and kick your physical ass anymore.

Luke sits beside him looking forlorn and lost, watching his holy things burn. Yoda thinks it’s funny that Luke believes this symbolic destruction means anything since the teachings are still within him. Luke starts blubbering about how he was too weak to help his nephew. And Yoda tells him something like, yes, teach wisdom, knowledge, all these things are important, but teach failure also. Failure is a great teacher as well…

I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect to understand that even Luke Skywalker was someone so full of shame and self judgement that he would hole away and deprive the rebellion of his talent, because he had failed in one way no matter how many times he had succeeded in others. He still hadn’t learned to be patient and accepting with the darkness inside himself, so how could he be patient and accepting of the darkness in Kylo Ren or in anyone? Worst of all, he had exiled himself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, punishing himself for his failing before anyone else could.

And Yoda said simply that as a teacher you have to allow failure to be a lesson as well, that there has to be balance between the lessons of success and failure. Clearly that’s not what society teaches us here or in a galaxy far far away.

So finally Luke shows up and confronts his abandoned disciple, whom he’s really been hiding from since the night he almost killed him. But really, he also confronted himself and the darkness he wouldn’t allow himself to accept so that he could finally transform.

Experience is a great Gift to ask for

On more than one occasion, my girl Khalilah has talked about how experiences are the only things she really wants as presents. The last few years or so, we’ve expressed how unaffected we are by the Holiday Madness that ensues during this commercially over developed marketing period called Christmas. As we get more mature, things are not really on our wish lists any longer. I know all I wanted this year were Sephora Gift cards! LOL!!!

Seriously. That was all.

But this year, Khalilah mentioned again that all she really wants is a vacation to someplace sunny.

I hear that!

But I never think to actually ask for it. Because…

Well who does that?

The first time I ever asked for an experience as a gift was because our wedding registry site provided it as an option. Such a thing had never occurred to me simply because I had never allowed myself to think it was something I could request.

Glass Blowing

I asked guests to fund a glass blowing workshop in Brooklyn. I have always been fascinated by the art of glass blowing. And it seemed like something extravagant and impractical that I might otherwise never get to experience. So we went! And I loved it! And I learned that glass blowing isn’t extravagant all. It’s not even cute! LOL!

You wear  clothes you’re comfortable in and not afraid to get dirty, you have to work outside because the heat from the glory hole and all the kilns would be suffocating in an enclosed space and you really have to focus to avoid losing limbs or burning the crap out of yourself. At least I did. But watching glass in a malleable state be blown and manipulated is still pretty hot to me. Pun intended.

And did you know that the craft of glass blowing has hardly changed since ancient times? What could be more practical than that?

Think about that next time you’re drinking…

from

a

glass…

 

If nothing else, America has shown me that nothing is off the table with regards to what we are allowed to demand. It’s just that we often we ask for things, not because we actually want them, but because we’ve been told what to want.

Black Spa.jpg

So far, my holiday wind down has consisted of a Winter Solstice trip to Spa Castle with Khalilah which we have managed to make for all the seasonal equinoxes this year (YAY US!) and which is something that gives me so much life, and rejuvenation. I think I slept that day at Spa Castle more than I have slept in all the times I’ve been there.

The next day, my husband drove us up to a house in Saugerties, NY that we like to rent out for deep but brief decompression and unplugging. It’s a cozy and comfortable house owned by a dear friend of mine. Every time we’re there it feels more and more like a second home. I feel that it is very much intended for simple, meditative contemplation. I mean it’s surrounded by nature, so it’s kind of hard not to be drawn inward by its energy.

Cute Cottage
Cute Cottage

A whole lot more sleep happened there. LOL! But the quality of rest when you’re away in a place that provides a unique and needed experience is just qualitatively more enhancing to your life than a material gift might be. These experiences and more are things which resonate most authentically to my spirit. Aside from glass blowing, which I would love to do again someday, spa time and time away in nature are things I return to over and over to reconnect and center because they always work for me.

So this idea of wanting experiences vs material gifts of is really onto something. It’s something I want to focus more on in 2018.

Stuff; I got. In fact, I’ve been thinking s lot about adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and I’ll come back to that another time.

But asking for experiences? Funding experiences that will enhance, educate, evolve, heal, inspire and motivate?

More of that please…

73 Questions with Sean

I’ve recently become obsessed with Vogue’s 73 Questions interview on Youtube. I love a great interview and one that boasts 73 questions is also more like a crazy challenge than just a run of the mill interview. My first favorite one is with Tracee Ellis Ross and since then I’ve just been looking for “73 Questions” with Black people because I like to keep my Youtube viewing Very Black.

This week I noticed one with Puffy Sean John Diddy Love Combs.

Let me just go ahead and say that although I’ve been a fan of Diddy’s work I have never really like him as a person. I’ve loved several of his hits and people he’s produced and I even watched “Making The Band” but I’ve always thought Sean was obnoxious, his brand of flamboyance has never resonated with my taste level and well he’s just not always been my cup of tea.

But in under 9 minutes and 22 seconds I began to like Sean John for the first time, as a person.

I can tell he’s grown up a lot just from the answers he gives in this video. From his pride in Kaepernick to his wishes for happiness, peace of mind and economic independence and prosperity for Black people, it’s just not a Puffy I think I’ve ever imagined he was before and maybe he has been for longer than I’ve known or let myself see. It was beautiful to see one of his sons for a minute, to hear him talk about how proud he was to win the CFDA award. As a fashion junkie I remember that first Sean John show at Fashion Week years ago when I was glued to Full Frontal Fashion every day and it was some unapologetically Very Royal Black shit! I had it on tape and I think I must have cried when I accidentally taped over it. It was unforgettable. It was like a fusion of the wedding in “Coming to America” And Grace Jones landing at the Winter Gardens in Battery Park in “Boomerang.” It was the first time I saw male models walk the runway like some masculine fucking men, with the swag and the diddy bop. It was sexy as hell.  I was like okaaay Diddy. You got it.

And he did have it.

He still does.

Who’s on Your Buy Black on Black Friday List?

You do have one right?

‘Cause if you’re in the Diaspora and haven’t noticed the incredible things that are coming out of Black owned and small Black businesses lately, you’re definitely missing out. I mean not only is there are there always Black owned and made jewelry and make-up for junkies like me, but my Soul Sistah, Khalilah put me on years ago to the Black owned companies that create the kind of basic goods we use in our lives every day! Detergent, cleaning supplies, deodorant, toothpaste, and more. If you follow  We Buy Black, you are sure to find anything and everything you have bought for years from “trusted” White owned brands (that we don’t even think of as White owned because White supremacy is constructed to be invisible) made by and for us!

Now look, I’m not saying everything I buy is Black owned…..

YET!

But I damn well am working up to it. Because every time I scroll through IG or on the interwebs or Khalilah, who is herself a Black entrepreneur, shoots me a link to some dope Black owned business, or Dupe Black on IG which puts me on to Black owned beauty alternatives, I get so hyped at how beautifully reflective, soulful, industrious and entrepreneurial we truly are. Heck, a girlfriend of mine just recently sent me the product summary for a brand she’s planning to launch soon because she needed some feedback and a critical eye. I am so proud of her and honored that she would tap me to hold her accountable. I am so proud of all of us, who push past fears designed to keep us trapped in economic slavery to materialize our dreams of liberation, spreading Black Joy, health, love of community and empowerment.

Vote Black

Just this week I recently got some amazing soaps from HerbnEden and a few beautiful pairs of earrings from Toni Daley that I just adore! They are items that fill me with a satisfaction which is more fulfilling than what comes from base consumerism. Knowing that my money is going directly to supporting a business that is Black owned allows me to see the broader return on my investment in my community. I also love  how much more transparent small Black businesses are. I connect with so many of the owners online because they are so much more visible and accessible to their community and that feels so connecting and conducive to building and cyclical support.

I was gonna be stingy and keep my list to myself but that’s sooooo White Supremacist. LOL!! So I’ll share a few. I used to hate Black Friday but now that it’s been reclaimed by actual Black businesses I am so excited to invest my dollars where it counts, I can hardly wait!

JXL Pops is an earring maker of some seriously “Poppin” earrings and her Black Friday sale online is going to be “Poppin with Purpose” I am really looking forward to this sale. I have seen sneak peeks of her new Blackkity Black line and well, if you wanna see it you know where to click.

This is The Read, one of my favorite podcast has Black Friday merch that probably launched already which means that they might already be sold out because their stuff goes mad fast. But it may be worth a check out.

Juvia’s Place is the only beauty line I own three eye shadow palettes from and they’ve been on sale for days now so Black Friday is gonna be real. I’m virtually crouched and ready to grab the Saharan palette so if I push passed you to throw it in my cart it, don’t take it personal. LOL!!

CREADnyc.com, founded by my girl Khalilah will launch the pre-sale of “The ABCs of The Black Panthers” this Friday at 9am! I was honored to play a role in editing the book so I got first looks at the incredibly beautiful illustrations and lovingly crafted narrative that guides both parents and children to learn about the members of the Black Panthers and other seminal Black Activists who played key roles in their formation and ideology. I plan on buying several copies myself because the holidays are right around the corner.

UMMM… soooo this is not Black Friday related and I know I’ve mentioned it once or a hundred times already but you know Fenty Beauty is dropping her Stunna Red Lip Paint on the world on Thanksgiving right? I’m hoping she’s got like 5 other lip colors poised to stun us as well but I’m getting it no matter what. That’s just one more dope thing to be thankful for.

Take my phone?

 

Through a my good girlfriend, I had the fortunate opportunity to see Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour a couple of times at a secret showing in Brooklyn last month. And I was thankful to see it there at the BAM Harvey theater because it was nice intimate setting and a Very Black experience. Oils, cocoa butter, Spike Lee, Toure’ (Toure’ is always there. LOL!) and like my husband said when we went the second time, Black people show out when we show up for someone we love so the show is in the audience as well as on the stage. It’s just beautiful all around.

The set was hilarious, and though I haven’t always agreed with him, I’ve loved Rock’s comedy for a long time. Many of his jokes from this set stayed with me long after we left but there’s one that I’ve wanted to write about for a while, one that I keep turning around in my head. Like all good jokes, it’s obviously more than that.

Rock, in his candid discussion of his divorce (he was married for 16 years!) and the reasons he felt it occurred, said that his parents has been married for 40 years, and yet because of technology and social media, he feels that he was had more contact with his wife for more of time that they were together and that essentially he and his wife had been together longer than his parents. LOL!!

He went on to explain that his parents didn’t see one another all day and when they finally saw one another after work was done they had “pertinent” information to share with one another. There was no face timing, texting, liking, posting. They were apart for hour and hours in which all manner of things could have happened to them or their families (especially in pre-civil rights America)  and they would not have been able to get word to one another until the end of the day. Rock said that with technology and social media, there’s no way to miss anyone these days and that missing people you love is important for the relationship.

It really made me think. Social media is always touted as a tool for connection across so many barriers, real, imagined and constructed. And in many ways I believe it is. But in other ways, I feel like we’ve never been more estranged, isolated or lonely as a society.

Here’s a good example, still related to the Chris Rock Show.

I’ve been to plenty of live show tapings before but this was the first time ever that I was at a taping where we were all asked to lock up our phones in a pouch that could only be unlocked again once we left.

Oh, it’s like that?

I was game as long as I could still keep my phone on me. LOL!

I’m not gonna lie. I’m a photographer so the first time I went with my girlfriend,  my eyes were consuming the set like a meal at various points during the beginning of the show, thinking of all the amazing angles and shots I could have taken. But slowly I began to just take in my surroundings, take in the show and be fully present.

The second time I went with my husband, they took longer to seat everyone so I just looked at all the people shuffling in, the beautiful hair styles, the unique and eclectic outfits, the way people moved, greeted one another, waving at friends, dancing, yelling, hugging, dapping. Plus the people in our section smelled amazing. LOL!

During one of the opening sets by a Black woman comedian I tapped the woman sitting next to me who was there with her bae and asked if she had heard the comedians name. She didn’t and tapped her bae to ask him. She said the woman’s name was Janelle James.

No biggie right? If I had my phone I probably would have just googled what I made out phonetically. If I had my phone I might have been in it the whole time and hardly ever looked up and anyone. If I had my phone I definitely would have been bitching about the time and when the show was going to start.

By the time Rock came out the entire audience was on their feet clapping and cheering. No pictures could be taken, no recording, none of the material or anything about the experience could be leaked. And I think it was a great advantage for everyone.

All of the jokes, stories and setups I remember from Rock’s show were from memory alone. Of course I did see it twice but still. LOL! I made a list of notes afterward.

I know I use social media to avoid and distract myself from a lot of things. But sometimes I’ll be watching YouTube or scrolling through IG and it will hit me that I’m only looking at moments in time, edited moments, some contrived, including my own. My husband will tag me on ten things throughout the work day but when we get home, we’re often tired and rarely ever talk about any of the stuff we posted. We hang out in different spaces of the internet and so much happens, so much information is consumed and shared that it’s not possible to process or discuss it all. It’s not even necessary. More than half of it is just junk food, click bait, fodder, waste.

When did so much waste become so much more important than finding time to connect with one another?

Rock joked that after all this social media engagement with their SOs women have the nerve to say something like “We never talk anymore!” to their husbands.

“I know everything you did today!” He said. “And I know how everybody felt about it.” LOL!

But do we really know how we feel?  I have to schedule time to check in in real ways with people I care about these days in ways that used to happen all the time when I was younger. Most of my high school years, before cell phones and Facebook, I spent actual time with people I cared about. If we hung out, it would be to really interact, to share an experience, to sit down and eat together. There was nothing virtual about it. And there were a lot of feelings! LOL!!!

Nowadays it’s like my feelings only get explored deeply with another person when I’m sitting across from my therapist or once in a while with my good girl friends or when I make concerted effort to ask bae when he’s available to have a “talk.”

These days, a lot of our connecting has become all click click, swipe, post, like, thumb up, send, cut, paste and then every once in a while, eyes will meet. Every once in a while, a real conversation will occur. Through social media, we consume waaaaaay more tragedy, intimate detail, emotional drama, celebration, protest, and a variety of other complex performances, and behaviors than we ever could have before.

And it’s exhausting.

But it’s become normalized.

Chris Rock is a youthful 52 and I can tell from what he posts on social media that he’s more of a in the moment kind of guy. He’s had to get used to social media as a business  and promotion tool so that he can stay current and relevant and I totally get that. I mean despite everything I’ve just said about all it’s ill, there is so much I  love about social media. And as someone who has taken on a second job working for an organization run by a courageous entrepreneur, I can attest to how important it is to be consistently visible on social media platforms because much like the physical spaces we used to socialize in before, social media is literally where the major hangouts are now.

Hanging out in virtual reality. Jamiroquai was not lying.

This brave new (keeps getting newer LOL!) social media world is our new normal, just like every technological advance has always pushed society into new levels of communication and exploration of connection. We can’t go backwards. But times like this, sometimes it’s really a relief to have someone else to take your phone away, lock it in a bag, give it back to you and be like, now enjoy the fucking show.

 

 

Maaaan..if I hadn’t read Zora Neale Hurston in HS, I woulda been even more of an asshole.

I was editing a fantastic blog entry for CREADnyc last week about the importance of Black female authors in Highs School. Please get your life, go there now and read it but remember to come back! LOL!

Among the 3 Black women authors Khalya wrote about, she mentioned reading Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” for the first time in college.

The crazy thins is I had been thinking about that book a lot lately, not necessarily because it was among my favorite works of fiction, but because it was assigned reading in my high school humanities class and because it was the first ever book I had ever read in dialect. And I can remember like it was yesterday how quick I was to look down my uppity nose at that writing until it was made clear to be my my teachers that this book was not only worthy of cannon like status, but that it was, and is, a brilliantly written piece of literature, meant to be studied, deconstructed, theorized and revered.

As Khalya mentions in her piece, we all know what it’s like to struggle with Shakespeare, but love iambic pentameter or hate it, we see Shakespeare held in the highest esteem absolutely everywhere. And as Khalya also points out, no one has ever spoken like that. Where as dialetic is a phonetically written expression of the way real ass people talk. We hear it all the time. But we rarely ever read it. The only other example of a book written in dialect I can think of is, Trainspotting by Irvine Walsh which the film by the same name is based on. I love that movie and I totally respect that it was written in Welsh dialect but ain’t nobody got time for that! LOL! I had to watch the film with subtitles!

But back to Zora. See, when I was a teenager, I was already walking around thinking I was better than other Black students because I thought I acted and spoke the way I was taught was acceptable and appropriate. And although I hated reading dead White people classics, I never said a word in protest about it. By 9th grade I had already started reading Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis’ collections of Short stories and Terry McMillan and I was very proud and feeling myself about that. But that just meant I was a snobby Black chick. I couldn’t stand Donald Goines and a lot of the work that came from what was at the time,  just developing “Black lit” genre from publications such as Triple Crown. I never read Zane or Push by Sapphire because I didn’t think these writers were worthy of being considered “literature.” Even in an alternative, progressive public charter school that was very subversive in it’s approach to education, I had still developed an idea about what I considered to be good writing that was of course informed by oppressive White supremacist media. I knew what kind of writing flooded the mainstream and occupied the majority of my YA bookshelf and none of them were written by in dialect by Black women.

In America, a young Black person’s learns very early that the only rewards worth anything are the ones we get for aspiring to Whiteness and hating ourselves and one another. Racism never sleeps. Slavery was never really abolished.

Their-Eyes-Were-Watching-God

The introduction of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in high school impacted me in ways I wasn’t even aware of until now because it was placed on the same level by my teachers with Shakespeare, Salinger and Harper Lee. In addition to Romeo and Juliet, we also read and did a class production of scenes from “A Raisin in the Sun.” We read “Down These Mean Streets” by Piri Thomas who grew up in the same neighborhood in Spanish Harlem where I attended high school. This was a rough book for me to get through as well, more because of the content than anything else but when I look back on it, I remember appreciating some it’s rawest moments the most.

As a huge fan of reading, if I hadn’t been exposed to these books as a teenager I might have tied myself to the notion that great fiction and literature could only look and sound one way or only be produced by a certain class of Black people. The fact that most of us are not exposed to these writers until college is no coincidence. Self hatred in Black people is a seed planted by institutional and systemic racism that historically has always been bent in one way or another on creating slaves.

Thanks to resources like CREADnyc.com, which I am continually proud to be a part of and the brilliant educators and writers there as well as Decolonizing Education Publishing which was created to empower Black children with sociopolitical consciousness and yes, thanks to the Cheeto in Chief, those who have dedicated themselves to Black revolution are providing integral entry points to the dismantling, diminishing and dencentering  of White supremacy.

Much like Janie, in “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Black people are the world and the heavens boiled into one drop. We don’t need to conform, convert or assimilate in order to be worthy of love, equity and humanity. We never have.

 

 

Staples: I have a few

UE Staples

Recently I noticed that I’ve been running out of some products that I feel like I can’t live without. Not just your cute shit that you get as a novelty to look at but you rarely ever use, but those things you use on the regular and even daily without fail. I don’t always make the discernment between sparkly stuff that catches my eye and the products that sustain, enhance and that I rely on every day so this is actually really helpful for me.

Spectrum Coconut Oil: Aka, Black people’s liquid gold. I use it to remove my make-up every night. A little goes a long way and though mine is running low, I’m pretty sure I can stretch it for at least another week or so. It can also be used on your hair, in your hair treatments, on your skin, on chapped lips and a myriad of other uses I’m sure I haven’t listed and some which may not have been discovered yet. Check out our video at Soul Sistah Series to learn more about the Coco Cure!

Rose Hips Oil: It’s filled with antioxidants and fatty acids and stuff which is scientifically proved to be good for your skin. All I know is, after I cleanse tone and serum each night, I put a small amount on my face and it absorbs it so well. It feels super soft and smooth. I’m oily so I was always scared to put oil on my face, thinking it would make it worse. I’ve learned some thangs since I started hanging out in the Whole Foods skincare section. LOL! My first ever bottle lasted a long time because you only need one good squirt a night. But It was done last week.

Shea Moisture Argan oil and Raw Shea with Frankincense and Myrrh: Another oil that does not leave my skin feeling greasy or sticky. It absorbs into my skin so well and again, leaves it feeling soft and smooth after every shower. Sigh…that shit is done.

EM cosmetics  Felt Tip Illustrative Eye Liner: There are a range of middling to great felt tip eye liners on the market right now and trust me when I tell you, I have most of them. LOL! I’m a wing tip cat eye junkie and I searched most of this year for a felt tip that would give me the most perfected, controlled line, the most pigmented black, the tip designed to give the best thick to thin release….(I know you’re like, what the hell is she talking about?) and Michelle Phan damn did it. It’s exactly what she describes it as. It is an illustrative (read graphic) Eye liner. Think calligraphic brush. For steady hands only. When it comes to perfecting a cat eye and painting my nails, I have very steady hands. I use this liner every day and it makes it so easy and so precise that I feel like a pro! I could tell my pen was running low last week and I cannot have that. Like I can’t. Drawing my cat eye in the morning is one of the great joys of my day.

Pumpkin Velvetine Lip color by Lime Crime: It took me a moment to realize that this was not just a matte lip color I love but one that I can wear with anything, every day and always look good. Let me just say that the Lime Crime liquid matte formula is basically everything. Light, comfortable, long wearing, never smudging, running or bleeding. And  the color Pumpkin is not represented well on the website at all. It’s a warm, earth tone in the terracotta family but with a vibrant brick/orangeish colored hue. It’s described as a “Brick red.” On my skin tone, it just always looks good. It’s the kind of lip color I can always wear when I don’t know what lip color I want to wear and I don’t want to think about it.

God, I need a dress that can do that. I need like ten dresses that can do that. 

Smith Rosebud Minted Rose Lip Balm: It’s just my boujee petroleum jelly. It’s rose so it’s pinkish in color which is cute. It lasts forever. I get one. It lasts all year. It’s in a tin, not a tube because although I know we live in a germ infested world, I like touching my lips.

Honorary Staple

Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Foundation: Since I bought this foundation, I have given most of my other foundations away. I still have a few but I don’t know why I keep them. This is the only one I use. Fenty gave me what I never knew I always wanted in a foundation. It’s light but buildable coverage does not cover my skin as much as enhance it. Every night, when I remove it, I swear it’s like I’m just removing a light layer. It’s such a difference from removing a heavy formula, full coverage foundation that feels like you’re wearing a mask. I also love that there are at least 2 or 3 shades that match me. Currently I’m rocking 400, but 410 and 420 work as well. And kudos to Fenty creator Rihanna for raking in $72 million in just a month!!! All those empty spaces at the Fenty counter at Sephora don’t lie!

 

In My Dreams Staple (LOL!)

Flesh 3

Matte Trance Lipstick Flesh 3 by Pat McGrath 

I picked from the fruit of The Mothership Collection and now I am obsessed with the color Flesh 3 which is sold out everywhere but that’s the story of my life. I’m not super big into nudes but when you find a nude that suits you, the whole world is suddenly changed. LOL!! I did get one her Metamorphosis kits last year which included an eye shadow a pigment and a meh felt tip liner. Frankly, I haven’t used it in a while, but this Mothership Collection…It is seriously glam, and I dared not look at it directly for fear my wallet would explode. All I want for Christmas is for them to restock.

LOL!

Urban Eve: What I’m Listening to Now

lianne-la-havas-for-atc

My husband introduced me to Liane La Havas, “Is Your Love Big Enough,” one night (wink wink LOL!) about a month ago and I have been hooked ever since. I’ve played it so many times, I think even he’s sick of the album now.

The Song that Hooked me

Found myself in the second
I found myself in the secondhand guitar
Never thought it would happen
But I found myself in the secondhand guitar

-“Is Your Love Big Enough”

I have to say, I really pretty much loved this entire album when I first heard it. I was hooked right away. But I do remember feeling like I was at the beginning of an exciting ride when I first heard the title song, “Is Your Love Big Enough.” The energy of the music, and it’s bold inquiry reminds me of Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna go My Way?” It’s a great album takes me on a journey whenever I hear it.

HERIt was while I was listening to my Lianne La Havas Pandora station a few weeks ago that I started to notice songs by H.E.R. playing repeatedly. I’m always working while Pandora is on so I never see the names of the artists. I just know that whenever an H.E.R. song came on, something happened. I listened. What was once just music playing in the background would make itself fully present as the only thing in the room worth noticing. And with music, if I respond to anything viscerally that I’ve never heard before, I immediately stop whatever I’m doing, find the album on Tidal and upload it.  “Volume 2” is my favorite of the 2 volumes H.E.R. has released. And I love the Album cover art. The silhouette of a thick hood girl with a softly glowing halo of letters H.E.R. just above her head is endearing and sweet.

HER Album 2

The Song that Hooked me

If the world should end tomorrow

and we only had today

I’m gonna love you in every kind of way.

-“Every Kind of Way”

“Every Kind of Way” is about making love and pleasing someone and the pleasure derived in pleasing someone and how much she wants to please. I just think it’s beautiful. In fact, even listening to it now is like listening to it again for the first time. I just feel it inside me. It moves me.

 

Okay so I heard both these last two artists while listening to my Lianne Lahavas Pandora station. LOL! It’s my top fave station right now.

Sabrina Pic

I only had to hear “Unravel” by Sabrina Claudio once. And it was only half way done when I looked up and clicked on my Pandora window. I went straight to Tidal, uploaded “About Time” and I’ve been mesmerized for days.

The Song That Makes Me Emotional

 The flowers will be blooming
The leaves will be turning
And snow will be falling
While we’re making love
And the sun will be shining
The flowers still are blooming
Then leaves will turn again

But time will be frozen for us.

-Frozen

Frozen makes me think of those moments when you share a special time with someone that you don’t ever want to end from something as brief as a gaze, to something as long as  a ten minute walk. Yet as a matter or your ability to cherish the moment, it must in fact end. It’s bittersweet and I’m a sucker for some melancholy done right. And this is done so right. The music on it’s own is just, unraveling. I fall open whenever I hear it.

A well crafted playlist of all three of these three albums is in the works. I imagine it would be a great mix for nothing but chillin, making love, feeling good, sexy, introspective, smoking a L, crying, having visions and starting anew.

bomba_estereo1

My honorary fourth fave new artist is Bomba Estereo. A new friend I made over the weekend, at a Racial Justice conference I attended with Khalilah, explained the video for the  song, “Soy Yo” as it was playing over the speakers after an incredible night of deeply vulnerable shared stories and a hell of a closing speech by Michelle Alexander came to an end. “Soy Yo” is on the album “Amanecer” which means dawn.  I’ll also be checking out their album “Ayo” which I uploaded this weekend because the video for “Internacionales” hooked me as well.

 

#itwasamerica

I don’t have any close White friends. Acquaintances yes. Close White friends?

I might have like…three?

As a Black person, you can have White friends for years and they will never really know the core of you unless you’re the type of Black person who is unapologetically Black about your shit.

I have not always been the kind of Black person who was always unapologetically Black about my shit. Therefore I have White acquaintances in my life who think they know me…but don’t fully. And that’s totally on me. But the White people I’ve I rocked with, who I got to know in my late 20s and 30s; they are staunch anti-racist White people who do their best to own their shit, to push themselves and stay informed on how to really do their work and check their privilege constantly.

I was in Manhattan yesterday, on my way to an appointment and waiting on a train platform for an express so naturally I started to scroll idly through social media feed on my Facebook account. That’s when I saw this posted by one of my good White friends’ status feeds.

#itwasme 

i was complicit,
the sexist, offensive, degrading, locker room talk – there have been too many times when i haven’t stood up to it, when i was part of it. used my privilege to be in and out of spaces without being damaged and without standing up to damaging behavior.

i haven’t called out men, who i knew were crossing the line with their talk, with their threat of action, with their violence. 
i have looked, stared, thought, and not respected boundaries. 
it was me, i was complicit.

It is our turn to speak up…and to post and hashtag and pass along. Somebody is doing the harassing and abusing…it doesn’t just happen. I have stood by in silence too many times…no more.

Men…Don’t just like this post…own it. Share it. Copy and Paste. Do something.
h/t David Cohen

Once, years ago,  I did an enthography of an anti-racist reading group (which I had never heard of in my life before) for a Cultural Diversity class I was taking for my undergrad. I did interviews with about 3-4 White people (it was an all White group) for my paper. One of the White men I interviewed was a social worker who told me that essentially, along his journey towards becoming active in social justice and anti-racism he discovered how hateful Whiteness was.

I was stunned. He was the first White person I had ever met who openly admitted how destructive, violent, dangerous and generally not shit Whiteness was.

I didn’t know how to respond. I think I was a little worried about him.

I got over that shit after Trayvon Martin. I stopped worrying about White people altogether soon after that.

When I read this #itwasme repost by, I’ll call him John, I was caught of guard but then I was like wow, this is exactly what more White men need to be doing. Admission of implicitness in the endangerment of women and the nurturing of rape culture is a real step towards a conversation that might actually shift attitudes and practices that perpetuate this sickening Weinsteinian/Trump/Cosby scourge.

I think it was pretty decent of him to own up to it in a way that honestly, any woman would have the right to wanna take him down for.

But then I thought….

Well, how about the admission of the numerous times when White people, maybe even John were present during conversations that were racially insensitive? Because to be totally honest, (I’m naive) I would not have guessed that he was someone who would let sexist comments slide either. I guess this was another reason the post caught me off guard. At first I thought he wrote it. Then I saw it was a repost. But the repost was still an admission. So I’m like torn between applauding (I really have to fight that applauding urge) his honesty but yet also feeling like…emmm, if you could be silent here, where else are you silent?

See because, I like this guy and I feel he’s really doing his work…

and yet…

You see, if America (read White people) ever had the dignity to admit its unforgivable atrocities towards all Black Brown and indigenous peoples in this way, it would at least be the first step towards opening up a conversation about what needs to happen next.

But if America ever did admit it openly, willingly, at the risk of deflating White fragility, ripping away the veil of respectability and phony puritanical standards to reveal and take responsibility for it’s perverse, putrid, rapacious and psychotically divisive existence, I don’t know about you; I would be both stunned, thankful and yet also…

Ummm…you don’t get invited to the cookouts no more man.

And I don’t even have cookouts.

And I think that at the core, this is what White people are really afraid of. They’re afraid we won’t invite them to partake of our perpetually resilient abundance anymore the way we always have, not matter what they’ve done to us.

They’re afraid of being left alone with themselves.

It’s certainly not a reflection I would want to face.