FINALLY, SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!!!💐🌺🐦🐝🌿
We’re almost at the end of the first quarter. Goals are being met despite circumstances not being ideal. But that’s life, right? Lots of ebbs and flows, but you try your best to work with what you’ve got. As I draft this post, it’s about 70 degrees, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is blasting in my earbuds, and I’m writing outside, which does wonders for the psyche. Life may ebb and flow, but at this moment in time it’s good—good good good.
My creative well is full. Wellness and holistic living are front and center, and Ms. Harper is thriving! Inspiration is everywhere. I’m still trying my best to help some of my family members get back on track (IT HAS BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER, Y’ALL) and take time out of daily activities to appreciate the little things. Most importantly, I’m pausing when things don’t go my way, pausing when others frustrate me, and figuring out the lesson in each of those moments. I’ve been slipping in the past and letting minute things throw me off, but I’m regaining my center. I believe many of us have lost touch with our emotions and fly off the handle when all it takes is a moment of quiet and solitude to reflect on actions before saying or doing anything to exacerbate a problem. Anywho, enough about my emotional and spiritual journey. I hope for next month’s post I will have an announcement regarding a release! WHEW. WOULDN’T THAT BE GRAND? In the meantime, let me tell you about all the shit I’ve been digging.
Music Related 🎶🎤
While I love many new school girlies on the radio, I’m feeling these pioneering ladies hard. Dinah Washington’s “What A Diff’rence A Day Makes!” (Expanded Edition), Lena Horne’s “Feelin’ Good,” “Lena in Hollywood,” and Roberta Flack’s “Quiet Fire” have been in rotation. These albums are exquisite! Effortless singing. Talent unmatched. Add them to your arsenal. Also, can we talk about how fly Roberta’s Afro is?! That Fro is a thing of beauty.
Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of Our Lives
I mentioned my love of documentaries in past blog posts, but music documentaries are a next-level love affair. I recently watched Clive Davis, the Soundtrack of Our Lives on Netflix, and it is PHENOMENAL! That man’s career is glorious! His contributions to the music industry are legendary. I mean, damn, the man had no interest in being a music mogul. He was a lawyer who didn’t have any knowledge of the inner workings of the business. What I find most interesting about Clive’s story is how plans are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We’re all guilty of going through the process of mapping out our lives at a young age based on societal and family expectations. The goal is to set ourselves up for a life of comfort. The Universe then steps in like, “Sure, you thought you wanted to do this, but… LET’S TAKE A DETOUR, SHALL WE? This may be better suited for you. Stay awhile. Let go of preconceived notions and go with the flow.” Imagine unlocking a gift you never knew you had. Truly amazing.
Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James
I have been a Rick James fan for a looooong time. Music has always been a part of my life. Growing up, my parents used to throw house parties most weekends, and when they didn’t have parties, our record player (later cassette player) was ALWAYS on. Rick James was in heavy rotation in our household. His brand of funk was unlike anything my parents had heard. They could identify with Rick. “Street Songs” was a gamechanger. If you have Showtime, you have to stream Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James. A tragic ending to a great career, but the hustle mentality was strong in that one. If you believe you have what it takes to change the cultural landscape, nothing’s gonna stand in your way. Nothing.
You’re Watching Video Music Box
If you grew up in NYC in the 80s/90s, Video Music Box with DJ/VJ Ralph McDaniels was a thing. Channel 31 for the folks that didn’t have cable. My parents didn’t get cable until 1993, so MTV was non-existent. This was especially true in many Black and brown households. My sister was a teenager in the 80s, and I was always glued to her side, so whatever she watched, I watched. Viewing the doc was bittersweet because I know she would have loved the trip down memory lane. Ralph saw hip-hop as iconic before anyone realized the possibilities. Another reason why representation matters. Despite dominating radio airwaves, MTV refused to play music videos by Black artists. CRAZY. Still, when industries do things like this, they leave money on the table. Leaving money on the table presents an opportunity for hungry artists. When you don’t see yourself reflected in larger conversations, you find a way to bring the people what they want. Sad that this is an ongoing issue in most industries.
Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, is currently streaming on Netflix. Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James was available on Amazon Prime, but I believe it is now exclusively available via Showtime. You’re Watching Video Music Box is also available on Showtime, but it can be purchased on Amazon.
Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy (Jan 24 episode) is all about learning how to cope with what life hurls at you. Remember at the beginning of this post, I mentioned I’ve been taking moments to pause and reflect before reacting? This episode focuses on techniques you might find helpful when dealing with conflict and tragedies.
The Washington Post looks into The hidden cost of police misconduct (Mar 9 episode). Cities around the country have spent more than 1.5 BILLION DOLLARS between 2010-2020 to settle claims involving officers who have repeatedly been accused of misconduct (REPEATEDLY?! 👀). Fair warning, this episode was one enraging wild ride. I find it remarkable that in 2022 there are still people who believe police officers are above scrutiny. We can scrutinize virtually every industry, but law enforcement is somehow off-limits? Make it make sense. *headdesk*
Spider-Man: No Way Home
I haven’t seen the inside of a movie theater since 2019. It doesn’t sit right with my spirit to go to the movies or an indoor concert venue these days. Even with masking. I haven’t reached the point where normalcy has returned. Everything still feels odd. In any case, I’d much rather wait until I can view a title On Demand. I desperately wanted to break my streak and see Spider-Man: No Way Home on IMAX, but I held tight. I even managed to avoid spoilers which is a miracle within itself. First, let me say it’s such a good movie! I loved how the previous Spider-Man films were incorporated. The entertaining plot + Tom Holland and Zendaya’s cuteness overload = So much to enjoy. Spider-Man: No Way Home is available for purchase at most major e-retailers as it’s not available on any streaming platforms and probably won’t be for a long while. 😣 Sony and Columbia need to make a deal with Disney+ so that I can get my Marvel fix all in one place.
A historical about rival magicians? Snoozefest, right? Noooooo! I wrongly judged this movie, folks! My friend Felicia suggested years ago that I watch it because it’s good, but I was stubborn and refused because, again, rival magicians? Girl, bye. 😂 Well… Fee was correct, and I was left eating crow. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale held my interest the entire time. AND THE ENDING… WOW. LOL, I screamed at my TV, “WHAT THE FUCK?” I wasn’t ready, peeps. If you want something intriguing and suspenseful, I highly recommend The Prestige. It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön
Every day it seems like the world is filled with terrible news. Inflation is on the rise after damn near 40 years. People who were already struggling since the COVID pandemic hit are finding it more challenging to make ends meet. It was inevitable things would change after 2020, but as much as we like to think we were prepared, sadly, we were not. Stupidity is running rampant in our political spheres. First, it was masking of children in schools. Now it’s Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, banning books, bringing criminal charges against parents of transgender kids, and Don’t Say Gay Bills. People fear what they don’t understand. And please believe most politicians do understand the power behind their words but instead choose to insinuate untruths because it suits their agenda. It gets them votes. Controversy is what leads folks to the polls. Not equal access to affordable healthcare, not social justice, not financial stability. Logic and logical viewpoints have no place in politics, and it’s maddening. Then, we have the war raging in Ukraine. Most of the international community has sided with Ukraine because Russia’s president is a power-hungry troll. Overall, it’s a sad state of affairs. So many lives lost, and there seems to be no end in sight. It’s overwhelming. People are suffering all over the world, and it’s hard not to feel helpless. I picked up Taking the Leap to provide some perspective, and it was a great decision. The message of the book is summed up in one quote:
“The primary intention is that we might follow the advice contained here in order to prepare ourselves to look beyond our own welfare and consider the great suffering of others and the fragile state of our world. As we change our own dysfunctional habits, we are simultaneously changing society. Our own awakening is intertwined with the awakening of the enlightened society. If we can lose our personal appetite for aggression and addiction, the whole planet will rejoice.”
Being kind is free. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes who lives an entirely different life from you is free.
We’re all works in progress but wouldn’t it be great if we could all become 1% better each day? We wish for better days, but a better world starts at the individual level.
Till next time, y’all. Stay safe. Peace and blessings! 💕