Follow by Email

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Living by Bread and Water Alone and a Little Advice

Okay let me ask you guys, for a little advice first. So this weekend I heard some very disturbing news about a friend of my family. Now I'm not suppose to know this, but I heard from someone close to them, who told someone close to me, that their family is taking serious advantage of them. There was a huge tragedy, that occurred to them, and their family is taking this time to get all they can get from so many words, their family is robbing them blind. You would think at a time like this, their family would be coming together and doing all they can to help this person out, during what I would without a doubt say, is the roughest time of their life, but what are they doing instead, taking the biggest advantage of their vulnerability, extremely hard, and emotionally sensitive time, to get money and things from them. Now my gut reaction was to go to them and tell the family friend to stop it all. However I have been told and reminded, that I wasn't suppose to know, and that it isn't my family, so I can't say anything. I'm not suppose to know, and I understand that, but it hurts, that after all this person has to go through, their family is basically robbing and taking advantage during this time, because they feel they can, and know that even in a better time, this person would never go to them and tell them off!

Now here is my question, what do y'all think I should do leave it alone, because I'm not suppose to know, and only family would really know about what I know, and I'm not family....or go to this person and talk them...tell them, "Don't let people take advantage of you, and to take back what's yours and be strong during this time, because I know they have that strength in them!"...What do y'all think?

Okay this post was actually a lot longer this morning, but lets thank ,"ButtahflyChronicles", for blowing up my spot, and making me feel so horrible, and wrong, tha tI took the second half up my post off as soon as I read her comment.

I had not read the particular scripture she wrote before, and welll I just thought I would share, an intimate thing, that I am doing this week, but apparently I had to nip that right in the bud...Got me feeling all stupid and ig-net!!!That's alright I Love Buttafly, but I got cha...don't worry I got cha!!!

I even changed my second picture, no need for that either I say...I decided to keep the first one, becasue well, I think it still needs to be said, that Fasting Can Change Your Life!"

So I am going to just leave this part up with my advice question, then I am going to come back later this week, with my post thatI interrupted for this inspirational post that was here today....My next post "BLACK,DOWN LOW and the MARRIED MEN"...I'm sure Buttafly will have something to say on that.

Anyway I will be back with some much needed update post about the Mens in my life nad other things....So stay tuned, and pray for me and my uh will power...Love Y'all

Saturday, July 25, 2009

E. Lynn Harris, You & Your Words Will Be Missed!

"Say a Little Prayer" for the Family and Love Ones of E. Lynn Harris
(June 20, 1955- July 23 2009)

Yesterday afternoon, when I was in my car, after turning off my CD player, that I had been rocking all day and turning on the radio, I happen to catch the end of Michael Baisden's show, where he was sending out his love to a fellow author and inspiration, who had died. I think my fellow bloggers, can understand my shock, when I heard it was E. Lynn Harris at age 54. I'm not sure what he died of as of yet, none of the media outlets have disclosed or are not sure of what exactly he died from. I'm not sure it really matters, what he died from, the fact is he is no longer with us. I read in one report, that his assistant said he had been having declining health issues, for a while now. For some reason, I don't want to hear what those health issues may have been. If anyone can understand that. One report really got me, and it was a CNN online report. It had interviews from other fellow authors and friends of E. Lynn Harris. Some who had started selling their books the same time, he was trying to get his self-published first novel, "Invisible Life" out. He was a pioneer in his subject matter and he was a pioneer in the self publication of his early work. Michael Baisden mentioned, how E. Lynn Harris having to self-publish his early work, is what inspired him to do the same. Many stories relate to what I have read from other bloggers, as well as to myself. What it was like the first time, they read either "Invisible life" or any of E. Lynn Harris other books.

For me it was "If This World Was Mine," that was the book that started me on the E. Lynn Harris ride. This book came along right around the time I started to get into reading novels. Now I had read before this book, but around I want to say the last of middle school years, I really started to get into books, not for school or for a book report, but into books, just for entertainment. I remember I reading this book right after reading Eric Jerome Dickey's "Milk In My Coffee," which came after Terry McMillan's "A Day Late, and a Dollar Short". To this day E. Lynn Harris' character Basil Henderson, is by far one of my favorite literary characters, I have ever read. I just love this character to death. Anyway although I enjoyed Mr. Harris book, it didn't really resonate with me, along with his other books, until my high school years. His books and subject matter is where I started to feel at home, or a real connection with. I started to discover and realize certain things about myself through his work. I remember feeling like he was writing for me. I'm not sure when it went from me reading about a couple guys who happen to be in love or have sex or live double lives, to "I think that character is me!"...but it did. If those who don't know what his subject matter has been about, it was about homosexual love, and about Down Low situations and circumstances. I think he was the first real mainstream author to talk about it and and write about it. He wrote from a place of personal experience. For E. Lynn Harris writing "Invisible Life" changed him and helped him deal with his sexuality. He even said, "When I wrote 'Invisible Life,' it had to be the first book out of me -- it helped me to deal with my own sexuality. For me, my 20s and early 30s were spent just hiding and running, because there was no one to tell me that my life had value and the way I felt was okay."

In that CNN report, they talk about what hurt him the most, which was criticism for his work. During his career some criticized him, as being just a mediocre writer, who just happened to stumble on a winning formula. He would respond, "I am not a James Baldwin," although I do find it ironic how he won the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. One friend of his explained that "E. Lynn Harris wrote assessable literature for the masses". I personally don't think every writer has to be the most depth worthy or have the most intricate and over vernacular writing style, to make a point, to tell a story and to reach a reader. He was also criticized by the same community he wrote about, the black gay community. As some put it, for not accurately portraying them and the community and for some telling to much about them, I'm assuming those were the DL sub community, with that criticism. That apparently hurt Mr. Harris the most. It actually makes me feel even worse about myself, for trashing his last novel,"Basketball Jones" on this very blog, a few months ago. The same book he was on the road promoting and doing a book tour on, when he died in Los Angeles, on Thursday. However for me, I had other reasons for not liking his last book, than him telling too much about the DL community or not accurately portraying gay black men. I think for ever critic there is a cheerleader. To me on an average, his books helped me to discover and realise things about myself even more, I thank him for that.

Even after his death, I am finding things he said or wrote a inspiration or a connection to me. On one of those online report, this one coming from Black Voices Newswire; he said, "I think I've been a success because I write about things I'm passionate about and have something to say, and I think people relate to me because they know I relate to them." This had me really thinking. I am very passionate about what I write about on my blog and I have so much to say, but I don't always say it. I neglect writing about a lot of things, I think I should write about. I started my blog to talk and say the things I want to say, and yet I still don't say it all.

I really want that to change though. Anyway I want to say E. Lynn Harris We will miss you....I mean I will miss you. You just don't know what your work meant to me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Death of Dr. Timothy Wright and the Rebirth of Bobby Valentino

I know I have been on one of my M.I.A kicks again, but I have been really busy and my schedule has been crazy, and when I get online I haven't felt like writing. Anyway I think my schedule is going to be clearing up soon, so I decided to start with a well over due Music of the Moment from a while back. I will do another soon too, so consider this Part I. Most of this is in the past tense, as it WAS my music of the moment, for a couple months ago.

My belated condolences and prayers for the family and church congregation of Pastor Dr. Timothy Wright
(June 17, 1947-April 24, 2009)Last year about this same time. I talked about the terrible accident that Legendary Gospel singer Dr. Timothy Wright suffered in. An accident that killed his wife Betty and grandson. Well right after my last Music of the Moment, where I talked about and shared my condolences about the death of Pop Winans, Dr. Wright died. Well I want to first take the time out, to talk about Dr. Wright as well. I hate to say this, but I'm glad he is not suffering anymore. After the accident last year, he had been paralyzed, I believe from the neck down, but I could be wrong. He has been suffering ever since. He was known as the "Godfather of Gospel," and had been directing choirs for over 40 years. If you never picked up a Timothy Wright album, you are truly missing a gifted and anointed man. I don't think I have been to a church, in the last couple years who hasn't song at least once his Hurricane Katrina song, "Jesus Jesus Jesus." It has some what became a church staple in some areas. He was a very beloved man in the gospel circles, and other gospel artist. Gospel singer, Pastor John P. Kee, has even been paying his church mortgage since the accident, last year. I think everyone hoped and prayed, and assumed that he would recover from his severe injuries last year. However that wasn't in God's plan. He fought and held on as long as he could, but he is truly in a better place now. Through everything we go through, God has a purpose.

Well just this past Sunday, I read that Dr. Timothy Wright's son, David Wright, officially became pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ, in Brooklyn, NY. His father appointed him pastor, before he died. David is quoted as saying he has some big shoes to filled, and without a doubt he does and they may never quite be filled. My prayers go out to him and his family and the rest of the Grace Tabernacle family.

My Album of the Moment WAS Bobby Valentino's "The Rebirth." I personally like Bobby Valentino's voice, I have liked it all the way back to his Mista days. There is this...I almost want to say smooth whinnies about the way he sings, that I really don't mind, but actually like. I liked this album, however I expected something different from him this time around. Here's the thing, usually when someone calls something "the rebirth," that usually means that they are reinventing their sound or starting fresh all over again in some way or fashion, however I did not get that message from this album, at all. Besides the fact that he left Disturbing the Peace and Def Jam, I did not get a "Rebirth" feeling. Not that I didn't like the album, of course I liked the album or it wouldn't have been my "Album of the Moment," it's just that I expected something different, than what I got. I thought with the new label, I would get a new sound from Bobby, however this sounds very much like his other albums, classic Valentino. I think with every artist you expect them to grow and mature musically, especially young artist like Bobby Valentino. Sometimes you wish for them to return to some of their originally music and style, like when they first debuted, however I have not come to that point yet with Bobby Valentino. I think he has a lot of potential and growing to do as an artist. He matured a bit in my opinion on his last album "Special Occasion," which I personally thought was a very underrated album, from his first solo album. However on "The Rebirth," in my opinion was no growth from his last album but instead had vibes of his first album, the "Bobby Valentino" album, as far as production goes.

Now with that said onto the highlights to this album. I have listened to this album several and many times over, but I got to say that I can not really see to many of these songs as album singles or radio singles for that matter. Now I know that my last statement, might sound very contradicting to this being my "Album of the Moment," but let me explain. Besides from the single "Beep" featuring Yung Joc, which I loved and it was once my "Ah That's My Jam" of the moment. I wish that they had included the remix, which I loved more featuring Ludacris, Lil' Kim, and Lil Wayne. Other than "Beep" I couldn't really picture to many other songs on this album as radio singles. Let me start with some of my favorite high points. He intros this album as usually with a song where the only words are in association with his name and album title, except this time he has help from fellow Atlanta's own and Gospel great, Dottie Peoples to help him intro the album. I will say that was a little unexpected. I wasn't quite as shocked that the gospel legend, Dottie Peoples would make an appearance on a R&B album, but more so shocked that she made an appearance just for just an intro, where she is just giving us her best church screaming and saying that "Some of y'all, thought he was out, but I'm telling you, Bobby's back...It's a brand new day!" You would think that she would be used better and on his closing song, "Give Me Your Heart," where although it is a love song ballad, he pulls from what I assume is a church background, to convey his message of enduring love for a girl. This being actually one of my favorites on the album, is him going to church on a love song to a girl about her giving him her heart.

Back to what I was saying, this album actually in my opinion is an album full of great filler songs, yet not too many I can actually see being radio singles. His second single release, the uptempo "Hands On Me," which is about him trying to say faithful, but women constantly tempting him; although decent, was a very poor choice in my opinion. I think there would have been better choices, my favorite choice would have been, "Make You the Only One." Personally I think it would have been the perfect follow up to "Beep" and the strongest radio contender, because of its catchiness and mid tempo softness, I could really image that one on the airways and a video. Other single contenders that are not necessarily my favorite songs on the albums, but I could see being strong enough to be released as singles would be either "Butterfly Tattoo" and "My Girl". I hate to say this but because they sound very much like other classics by Bobby V, like hit songs "Slow Down" and "My Angel" from his first album. Why stray from the formula that was working for him. Now for my favorites on the album. Always a favorite of mine, Bobby remakes Raphael Saadiq's "Me and You," with his new version on "Just Me and You" featuring Raphael Saadiq as background and musical accompaniment. Another hit for me was "Another Life," which is a great slow jam, fitting for any quiet-storm-midnight-love line-request like programing, which actually has thunderstorms in the background. I'm a sucker for any slow jam like that. Another hit, which was kinda odd that I was actually really feeling was "Dance the Night Away". An interlude, and not an actual full length song, but I liked the potential of this ballad and wished that he had made it, into a full 3 minute song instead. However he fills the end of the album with ballads to I guess supplement the lack of finishing that particular one. All in all I enjoyed the album. It was classic music from this artist. The only surprise I got was that it wasn't different from his other bodies of work, which makes the name "The Rebirth," almost a disappointing tease.

My "Ah that's My Jam" of the Moment, was Solange's "T.O.N.Y.", which stands for, "The Other Night, Y?" When Solange's album, "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams," was my Album of the moment a while back, this was my joint. It's my jam of the moment, because of recent air play and the music video, which gives one of the most over the top performance of someone taking a pregnancy test I have ever seen. I just love the 60's girl group vibe of a person regretting a one night stand, with a guy named Tony. I think we have all regretting a one night stand with a guy named Tony!

My "Ah that's my Jam II" of the moment was Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" featuring T-Pain, was and is a hot song. I loved the song and I thought it was fitting to have it spotlighted as my jam especially since unfortunately it was on of the only songs I actually liked from Jamie's album....sorry but the truth. Now I personally can never really blame it on the aaaa-alcohol, but I have been saying all over the place blame it on...on something. The song Was addictive and catchy.

My "Throwback Album of Heavy Rotation," En Vogue's "Funky Divas," is one that I have never really put away for to long. However after my post about their very much promising reunion, in the En Vogue Is Back! post, I decided to pull it out it again. Now I mentioned in that post, that this album was start of my R&B collection. Back in the '93 this album was fire, and yes your boy YB&DL could appreciate it at a very young age. I knew good music when I heard it, I guess I had the ear back then. Anyway one of the reasons I love En Vogue is very apparent on this album, every single one of them can successfully pull off leading a song strongly. They all have a unique voice, that I can tell right off back who is singing, yet they cane come together a be a very unison sound, that blend harmoniously together. There is no one or two leads that lead every song. Each one them can sing and have multiple songs they lead. You just don't find that anymore, I just think that was and is rare for girl groups, you always had that stand out singer, yet I think everyone had their own favorite in En Vogue, because they all could sing.

For me personally I find this album to be timeless, by that I mean I really can't think of to many songs that you would call dated and just a song of the time, being the early 90s. I think some of the songs fit then, can fit now and fit when some of them were originally recorded, by other artist. The "Funky Divas" consisted of a few remakes, two of the from Aretha Franklin's "Sparkle" Soundtrack and one from the Beatles. A fan of both Aretha Franklin songs, I would have to say that "Giving Him Something He Can Feel," is by far one of my favorite songs on the album. The song, whether in the movie "Sparkle" or song by Dawn is still a sexy song, and the video was sexy as well. I think most of the songs on this album were hits, one right after the other, very few misses for me. However the ones I always look forward to hearing is "My Lovin'(You're Never Gonna Git It)" I love just the whole production of the song from beginning to end. I especially love the acapella breakdown and the middle portion of the song, when Maxine does her little lines, where she establishes, "I give to the needy not the greedy...hmm mmmhh that's right, see when you lockin' you loosin'....and I'm the door!" Other favorites of mine are "Give it up, Turn it Loose" and "What Is Love," probably because I liked Maxine on them. Lastly the rock infused "Free Your Mind," which is about prejudice and stereotypes. Although very different from any other song on the album, it doesn't seem like an odd fit. All in all I really love, this album and is in my top five of girl group albums.

Now I'm not going to even lie, when Hezekiah Walker divorced Monique Walker 10 years ago, I thought it would be the last time I heard from one of my favorite soloist. I mean it had been years and no music or anything about her surfaced. However one day I happened to be listening to one of Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir's old albums, and I happened to think about Monique. I got home and Googled her name, and to my surprise, her name came up and a new album "My Genesis," appeared. "My Genesis" is the debut gospel album, from a music veteran. For some of you is unfamiliar with the power house Monique Walker, she was one of the lead soloist of Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, since the late 80s and early 90s to the Family Affair album in 1999, when they split up and divorced in the following years. In the "Let's Dance" music video, from the "Family Affair" album featuring David Hollister, she is the female soloist in the video, with the strong high cheek bones. Well anyway, after the "Family Affair II" release and the "20/85 The Experience," and still nothing was heard from Monique, I thought that she had went into Ex-spouse obscurity, and the last we heard of her singing on an album release ever again. However I am glad that I was wrong, with the album "My Genesis."

She named her debut album "My Genesis," after the first book and the beginning of the bible, and this being her new beginning. That is very much the theme that was carried through this album and through her songs. From songs like "Starting All Over" and "Right Now," she sings about how its her season and her time, to shine and reap her blessings from the Lord. This album has a very anointed impact from the beginning to the end. Although establishing herself as a solo artist and her own sound, she didn't stray to far from her roots as leading a choir. Half of the album is live with a choir or heavy music grouping of some sort and the other half is studio productions. Her first single "Crazy Praise," is just that a crazy praise, and just what a live production should do, make you feel like you are there. I for a moment get caught up and can actually image myself in the church sanctuary, being apart of this service and watching her sing and lead this song. I will have to say her ex husbands influences on her is very much apparent in certain songs like "More of Your Glory," and the way she directs the different sections, is a classic Hezekiah move. On one of my favorites songs on the album "Right Now," is without has that Love Fellowship Crusade Choir vibe written all over it. In the strong beat and everything from organ and I want to say the Hezekiah Walker horn sound. I can't put my finger on what is that sound, that distinguishes the Walker sound. I think this song has my favorite lyric on the whole album, "This is my season...this is my time, I'm not conceited, but I got to get mine!" Another one is the powerful and stirring, "Tried in the Fire," which is about how you can go through the fire, through so much in your life but with God you will come out your situation as gold.

Now for some it may seem weird that she would have a song on her debut solo album, from her past when she was singing with Hezekiah and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, like "Second Chance." However if you ever heard the lovely Ms. Walker perform this song you would know that she couldn't have her first solo album, without this song. Although Monique was lead soloist on many LFC Choir songs; "Second Chance" was her signature song, from the "Live in New York" album. It was her "I Will Always Love You" to Whitney Houston, it was her "I Will Survive" to Gloria Gaynor, her "Lady Marmalade" to Patti Labelle, it was the song she always sings. I have seen Hezekiah sing live multiple times, some with Monique and a couple post Monique, but there was never a song that brought down the house like Monique singing "Second Chance." It was always an emotional song that touches, and gets everyone. Now this is a different rendition than the "Live from New York" album. I don't know if it was purposely sung in the middle of the song or that's when they decided to start the live recording for the album or what, but I care for it when she starts off from the beginning, but still you get the effect of the song regardless. I will have to say the live recordings got me more than the studio productions, but they were still fire too. It's just she seems to shine more and really get you with a choir behind her and the powerfulness of the choir and probably the support of the audience. The heavily produced Darkchild singles "Greatest Gift" and "Trust and Believe," definitely gave her a new and different sound, that she probably needed to establish her self as a solo artist. However I think the soft sweet ballad "We Worship You," is by far the best studio song on the album. I just love that one. All in all this is an album to me was a very personal and powerful album, about trials and tribulations, and about making it through, with the grace of God. With his help anyone can cope and see the brighter day, that God has for us all. This is without a doubt an anthem album of claiming your season and what's for you no matter what anyone says, or you go through.