Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Flashback

Thursday, January 30, 2014

This morning

So I get on the elevator to head back to my department after getting breakfast and coffee, and this woman (I never saw before) asked which floor I needed, and said 'the same floor, thanks.' (she had already pressed 6), then she had a bewildered look on her face, and when the elevator door opened on our floor, she steps out of the elevator and before I could step out, she looks at me and ask '...Are you lost? Can I help you find something?' I told her ' I know exactly where I am, thank you.' And I walked around her to get past her and on my way back to work. I don't always want to assume things, so I'll leave it at that. After all, my badge was out for everyone to see, and I didn't even see one on her.

With age comes wisdom

With age comes wisdom. It took me a while to realize that friends of my friends aren't necessarily my friends, as hard as I try to befriend them. They will never be my friends, so I'm going to stop trying. What that means from now on, is that when I get invited to social events, I'm not going to attend. I would rather be by myself rather than to stand around trying to fit, listening to people make plans that don't include me, at every conversation. I miss feeling like a fish in water. I need to make my own local friends. I find it difficult to do that in Portland, but I live here and I have to try.

TWICE ( Little Dragon Cover) Lianne La Havas // In The Woods Barn Sessions 2013 .

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Songs in my head





I miss Prince of this era.

Ok

Did you know...

The Isley Brothers received a Grammy lifetime achievement this year? Without The Beatles, the '60s might not have happened. But without The Isley Brothers, The Beatles might not have happened. Paul McCartney said as much — according to Ernie Isley, the youngest surviving member of the legendary Teaneck R&B group. "One of the things he said is, 'If it were not for The Isley Brothers, The Beatles would still be in Liverpool,' " says Isley, who appeared at a benefit with McCartney in 2012. "And he said that onstage." Along with his brother Ronald and sometime Isley Brothers member Chris Jasper, he'll be receiving a 2014 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, the day before the televised awards show. Among Saturday's other Lifetime Achievement recipients: The Beatles. Certainly, it's hard to imagine the early Beatles without two of their breakout hits, both covers of Isley tunes: "Shout!" and especially "Twist and Shout" (not written by the Isleys, but a pre-Beatles hit for them). "As far as rock-and-roll anthems, 'Shout!' and 'Twist and Shout' are definitely up there," Isley says. "They're like the 'Happy Birthday' of rock-and-roll. Everybody knows them." It's a big year for both the Isleys and The Beatles. The Isleys are celebrating their 60th year in the business. The Beatles are commemorating the 50th anniversary of their 1964 conquest of America. Other Lifetime Achievement recipients this year include Kris Kristofferson, Kraftwerk and Ennio Morricone. "We have a great sense of appreciation and gratitude, on this journey, for the support of audiences and music lovers along the way," Isley says. Even apart from The Beatles, both "Shout!" (recorded by the Isleys in 1959) and "Twist and Shout" (1962) have become utterly iconic. It was "Twist and Shout" that Bruce Springsteen and McCartney were singing in London's Hyde Park in July 2012, when irate officials, citing local noise ordinances, pulled the plug on them. It was "Shout!" that Bluto, Otter and all the other ne'er-do-wells of "Animal House" (1978) shimmied to at their frat party, and "Shout!" that Garth Brooks sang at President Obama's 2009 inauguration in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And it was "Shout!" with its little-bit-softer-now, little-bit-louder-now climax, that no other act wanted to follow when the Isleys, back in the day, closed the show with it. "It was so dynamic, you'd have to wait a half-hour, 45 minutes, before another artist could take the stage," Isley says. "Smokey Robinson, in his autobiography, said he was always trying to write a song like 'Shout!' " Ernie Isley, a younger brother who officially joined the lineup in 1969, and his older brothers Ronald and Rudolph are the only surviving Isleys from the group, which launched in 1954 and consisted in its most famous incarnation of brothers O'Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald. Through their 60-year career, Isleys have come and gone: Vernon and Marvin (now passed, as has O'Kelly), and Isley in-law Jasper were part of the group at various times. With Rudolph now retired to the Christian ministry, The Isley Brothers continue to this day as a group fronted by Ernie and Ronald (who's served time for tax evasion). But from first to last, it's been a family affair. "The Beatles were four people, and if you removed any one of them the whole thing would collapse," Ernie Isley says. "With the Isleys, it's like that. We're brothers. At a certain point it has nothing to do with music. It's like Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo. There's something there." The family, which began singing in Cincinnati in the 1950s and then moved to North Jersey, had other hits too, of course: "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" (1966), the Grammy-winning "It's Your Thing" (1969) and — on into the 21st century — "Contagious" (2001). Ice Cube sampled the group in "It Was a Good Day" (1993), Aaliyah remade "(At Your Best), You Are Love" (1994) and the Isleys were featured on R. Kelly's "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" (1995). The Isleys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. "There are some people who know The Isley Brothers from MTV and hip-hop and rap," Isley says. "Some people came in with 'Twist and Shout.' It's cross-generational." Isley was only a kid growing up in Englewood when older brothers Ronald and Rudolph, then Teaneck residents, were having their first monster hits. In 1964 they started their own label: T-Neck Records. "I didn't find out until much later that there were people in New Jersey who loved the fact that there was a record company called T-Neck," he says. "They would peel the label off the record to make collages in their room, or to put on their notebooks." Along with his brothers Marvin and O'Kelly, there was another resident in his Englewood home in the early 1960s: a young guitarist then playing with the Isleys. "I was seeing him on a regular basis around the house, literally," says Isley, who grew up to be an acclaimed guitarist in his own right. "Pretty cool. Very down to earth. Real sense of humor. And played very well." There came a day when Isley — Dwight Morrow High School class of 1970 — heard everyone in his study hall talking about pop music's big new sensation: Jimi Hendrix. "They read in a magazine that he used to play with The Isley Brothers," he recalls. "They said, 'Why didn't you say anything?' I said, 'Because you didn't ask me. If you came by the house a year and a half ago, you would have seen him coming in and out the front door." Well, it wasn't televised. This influential, prolific, talented group didn't even get the opportunity to perform. The Isley Brothers.

True or false?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Obviously, it's not about the music. Far be it from me to assume there’s any rhyme or reason behind who wins Grammys. But it’s hard not to look at this situation and wonder if the Grammys put politics before music. I do like Macklemore's music. He played the game. I hope other rappers have learned that the secret to winning is to rap about things that other rappers won't rap about.

Pic of the day

This pic made me smile this morning. Hope you have a great day!

You have to chose your battles



Lately I've been choosing to be silent, not because I can't find the right words, but because if I say something I would be accused of being rude for no reason or sensitive when in actuality I would be responding to  a back-handed racist comment that no one else will have heard because I'm always the only person of color in the room, and I pick up every nuance, every word that is said. And I'm sensitive to racist bullshit and I like for people to take ownership of what comes out of their mouths. So I just roll my eyes instead.



You have to chose your battles. Not everything is worth questioning. 

Recently, again this happened, and luckily a latino friend was present and he heard it too. And he responded the way I would have responded, and he was accused of being rude and thinking everyone hates latinos.

Amerikana

I had just awakened from a dream. A really bizarre dream. I decided I needed to blog about it now that it's fresh in my mind rather than later when I would only remember bits and pieces: Gabriel Aubrey was lying in my tub. He was wrapped in my prayer mat. His face was still black and blue from when Olivier Martinez beat the hell out of him. He said that Alexander Mc Queen was waiting on him to try on some clothes. I told him Alexander Mc Queen died a couple years ago. My friend Paco's three chihuahuas were standing guard over him, running along the edge of the tub. Then Halle Berry appeared, yelling at him, asking "What do I need to do to get you out of my life?" And I turned around to see that she was wearing one of Daft Punk's helmets. She asked if I had bandages to cover Gabriel's face, and I said no. Then she removed her helmet and gave to him to put on, and I noticed it wasn't Halle Berry. It was Salli Richardson-Whitfield. When Gabriel put on the helmet, he turned into three chunks of raw meat which the Chihuahuas ate up. Then Salli Richardson-Whitfield and I went to bed, and then we heard a knock on the door: It was Halle Berry. She yelled, "Remove those cameras or I'm leaving and returning with my new baby daddy."
I told Salli Richardson-Whitfield to ignore her, as the door was locked and she couldn't get in. Then she walked through the door-a wooden door, entering my bedroom. She was holding a dark-skinned baby in her arms. Salli Richardson-Whitfield told Halle Berry to take her family to France where they all belong, and then the baby said "The white side of you is so American. How about that time that side of you realized that huge plot of land they took ownership of had natives?" And then I woke up.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Look who's 50!





                                             The First Lady, Michelle Obama

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This

Song in my head

I love how I haven't heard this song in years and I still remember every verse, run, hook and bridge. This whole album stands the test of time

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Listening to ...

Song in my head

--Faith Evans

100 should be enough but it's not

It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice. 
                                 --Deng Xiaoping
This became the mantra behind China's quest for efficiency if growth was to be achieved. This is also something I'd like to say every time I've showed up for a face to face meeting after a successful phone interview-- when I see the veiled look of disappointment on their faces. I remember being flown to Pittsburgh PA for a face to face. The phone interview went so well that they flew me in  from Madison Wisconsin, paid for my car rental and even put me up at the Omni William Penn Hotel, a 4-star hotel, and when I showed up-wearing my freshly dry cleaned dark blue suit, crisp clean white shirt, and  light  blue and white striped  tie, polished black shoes, black socks, shaved head, no facial hair ( I even removed my diamond studs)-in order to look as professional and as conservative as possible- they took one look at me and you could almost feel a chill from the hiring manager. Though on the phone ( talking to about 5 people ) they had planned on my spending all day at that particular insurance company and they were going to  show me the different departments and take me out for seafood for lunch -- they were cold to me once they saw me.  They didn't even spend a half an hour talking to me. This was a friday morning and  I was to fly home on sunday, I booked a flight from there to see friends in DC, and then I went home from there on Sunday. My grandfather always said to be so good that you cannot be denied: 100% is not enough. He said to be 150%

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

all i wanna know is

.... When is the new album dropping?

I'm cool

My nephew doesn't remember writing this for me when he was 8. I was packing my bags, returning home to DC from a holiday trip to Madison. It used to be very hard for me to leave him. Adults understand why you have to leave for a job, but not kids. Anyway, I think it was harder for me than it was for him: when I was packing my bags, he wrote this on a piece of paper and gave it to me. 10 years later, I still have it on my bedroom door; my reminder that my nephew thinks I'm cool .

Jesse!