Showing posts from 2013

I'm Trapped in the Internet and it Sucks

I remember when I got my first login name for AOL. I was 10, and I can recall the sheer joy of hearing the dial tone of the phone line we set up just for the internet like it was yesterday. I believe my name was BlueQTbaby, and I had the account with a parental block, which means no year 2000-era Worldstar searching for me. But I didn't care. I was now a member of the web world, albeit a small one with limited connectivity. A few years later, I pestered my father to upgrade my account so that I could officially graduate from blocked pages and use AIM. AOL Instant Messenger was the zenith of my post-pubescent internet experience. I was ecstatic. Time spent there was always engaging, full of laughs with all of the people I knew, song lyric away messages (which was damn near the predecessor of the subtweet), and GroupMe's great-grandmother, the chatroom. That block of time when you knew everyone would be logged on was a thrill, but it didn't consume us. At some point in th

Sip, Seek: A Short Story From Nowhere

A roaming imagination becoming words on a page: Sip, Seek. I didn't want anymore of my drink. My tummy was mostly unlined and mildly unstable, but I took a long pull of whatever was left of my long island through a lightly nibbled straw. I winced and forced it down. I felt that. Truth be told, I'd felt it when the tops of the ice cubes were still kissing the rim of the cup. I can thank the first tequila sour for that. But I felt it work the way I needed it to as I looked down across the bar at my reason for the $12 purchase. Past the flirtatious bartender whose breasts seemed to spill over the top of her crop top and onto the tray with the lemon wedges, orange peels, olives and cherries. Past the damp dollar bills lined up on the counter for her by smiling gentlemen whose eyes never quite made it up to hers. Past the slurring woman who was too weak to push her hair from hanging over her face and too drunk to verbalize that she just needed some water. To him. The one wit

Black & Excellent in 2013: Ungraspable Phenomenon

Ah, to be black and excellent in 2013. It's been quite the conundrum for folks. No one truly knows what it means. Well, except black people, but what do we know? Our thoughts don't count for much anyway. To be black and excellent is "surprising" as we've seen from a handful of mainstream outlets (eghem, USA TODAY). The Best Man Holiday -- which included a crapload of seasoned black actors and actresses (and a hint of vanilla swirl) -- was instantly deemed race-themed, and therefore a different, lower rung on the entertainment ladder. It was such a shocker to see a black person direct an excellent film (#2 to Thor ) about people being excellent and funny and tear-jerking and everything that a functional human can be, but that all just happen to be black. The film didn't happen within the chambers of an NAACP meeting, nor a protest, nor a vigil for a slain teen. It was family, Christmas, sex, success, struggle and forgiveness. I wasn't aware those themes

Photo Therapy: A Day With Nia

This weekend was like therapy for me. By the end of it, even though the frigid outdoor temperatures had my thighs and the tips of my fingertips numb, I was warm and tingly inside because I got to reconnect with my real love for the weekend. Photography, honey. For an entire Saturday, I got off my behind and left my borough to put Roscoe Flash (my beloved Canon camera) to work.

What Would I Do If I Wasn't Afraid?

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?" Clearly, Spencer Johnson (or Sheryl Sandberg, whoever to you) knows the contents of my heart and managed to mold it like dough into quote form. During the idle moments of my day -- which I now have a lot of since I started a new evening position -- I loop this question through my mind. It may not always be in question form; it's just become a normal thought process of life, a byproduct of an everyday action. When I catch up on news and blogs, I think it. When I play stylist in my wardrobe, modeling outfits I dream up and imagine on Wherever-In-The-World Fashion Week attendees donning, I think it. When I start writing the first few sentences of a new essay, I think it. When I nod off on the subway, I think it. All whilst conjuring up (semi-) empty promises to one day act on the thoughts I have. It kinda sucks. I'm both a Pisces and a writer, so my creative mind tends to roam freely, but this inexplicable fear dwellin

How MK Asante Saved My Life with “Buck”

Okay, okay. My title is little dramatic. I like dramatic titles, sue me. But honestly, I read an advanced copy of “Buck” by M.K. Asante while at my job. I always rummage through the mock library for new literature. I never really look for anything in particular, just something that catches my eye. This particular book stood out to me: it had no cover artwork. It just said: BUCK A Memoir MK Asante And other less important book sale date jargon. There was no forward. No epilogue. No opening dedication. No author bio. At this time, I had NO idea who this Asante fellow was. Everything was just TK (which is “to come” in editor lingo). What in the absolute hell is this book about? All I know is that I have an affinity for memoirs and books about urban life. “MK Asante” sounded pretty ethnic to me, so the book seemed like a win/win. So I grabbed the book off the shelf, flipped to the first page of the first chapter and skimmed. I couldn't even make it past the first

The Rain Has Never Been a Friend

I've never been a fan of the rain. As is the story of many black girls, my initial disdain with precipitation came with the responsibility of maintaining a fresh perm. Hued women of all ages would turn into Usain Bolt to avoid having their slick tresses make contact with H20, and no one was above making a bonnet out of a corner store plastic bag. As my days of creamy crack fizzled away with age, so did most of my efforts to shield my curls, but my hate for storm clouds hasn't lessened in the slightest. Now, many of my young adult counterparts equate a passing storm with prime time for cuffing. For me, it's a bad luck omen. A vacuum for news of death, to be specific. I still remember the first day I noticed the trend. I was walking from a tutoring session in Washington, D.C.'s Adams Morgan. The air was chilly and I had a strong craving for a hot chocolate from Starbucks to warm my stomach. As I waited for the light to change, my phone buzzed in my pocket. It was my

Eff You ‘Merica, You Let Omar Down

Yesterday, millions of inhabitants donned their favorite red, white and blue attire. Star shirts and striped socks. White linen shorts and dresses hugging rolling hills. Red lips puckered to cameras: "Happy Fourth!" Eyes raised to the flag, fingertips to brows, in salute. "From sea to shining sea." I took no parts in this. My celebration consisted of my allegiance to family and food. I stuffed my face with ribs, burgers, roti, curry, Mac and cheese. White plates, blue drank, red solo cups, my own patriotism. Why show respect to a country that doesn't have its stuff together? One that makes me mourn just a few hours after a day of celebration because our neighborhoods aren't safe enough for our bright young minds to exist in? I didn't know Omar Sykes personally, but family is family, and I grieve all the same. He was a Bison and I could assume the following: He was a black man defying the odds against him. He gave a damn about his education. He lik

A Writer’s Rant: Committed to the Pen Game

When I brainstorm, it’s as if I’m about to birth a child or something, and I get very particular about my creative tools. I need a clear area, five bright lights, a post it pad, about three notebooks (seriously) and two ballpoint pens. While this makes it harder and harder to shimmy away from my “bag lady” persona. I find that reverting to the pre-technology era leads to more organic (okay, just better) ideas. I remember when I lost my planner in May of 2012, I was a wreck. For the two years preceding that, I’d been scribing my life to the minute – it was technically an appointment book – and scribbling ideas in the margins. Every time I started a new journalism class or internship, I was gifted a reporter’s notepad. I must have gone through at least seven of those. My life changed when I received a blank, line-less moleskin for graduation. Let me tell you, I was ecstatic. From then on, I decided that I would carry it everywhere, so that if I had a sporadic thought, a pitch, a lif

39,000 Feet: A Short Story

Note: I was over 30,000 feet in the air when I wrote this. And I felt so much better after I did. If she had a watch, she’d probably be counting the seconds. Her phone was off because it had to be, so watching prayerfully as each digit increased was impossible. An hour and forty-seven minutes of terror. “Either pray or worry, but don’t do both.” She could hear her grandmother’s voice now, pensive and heavy with wisdom. Usually grandma’s words rung true, but right now they were extremely difficult to believe. How could she? She felt every jolt, tremor and turn. Turbulence . She made a mental note to look that up when she got home; if she got home. She pressed her lids together hard, exhaled and shook her head, trying to free her mind from her dad’s trademark pessimism. Why did the “worst-case scenario” trait have to be hereditary? she thought to herself. Her stomach suddenly lurched in discomfort as the craft fought through the deceptively innocent fluffy clouds and made a dip.

We All Got Crabs, Man: The Drag Down Effect

Today, I had to shake my head a lot more than usual. Black people, we have to do better. Somewhere in the world, a white person is sitting behind his or her computer marveling at the prospect of “Black Twitter,” trying to master the twerk performed by ebony honeys and bookmarking an epic community melee on WorldStar .   Meanwhile, instead of trying to counter the ratchetry constantly on display (simultaneously for our entertainment and our exploitation), we’ll picking petty battles with EACH OTHER over the digisphere. Look, I’m all for playful boasting and a healthy competition never hurt anyone, but when our negative words overshadows the mission of us functioning with a sense of camaraderie IN FRONT of those who doubt us, that’s just a shame. I say I love my school (HU, You Know!). You throw shots about how we ain’t sh*t and how your educational upbringing makes you superior to us. Honey, you're reaching for low-hanging fruit in the form of ruffling feathers for page

I Finally Lost My Miami Virginity

Sure I’ve explored the southern shores of Florida before, but it was just fooling around. I never really got my feet wet. It’s always been a transition spot for a cruise, an airport pit-stop or a family trip. It's never been an intimate experience; never hung out there for more than a few hours as a post-21 adult. Until Memorial Day weekend, that is; possibly the most daring weekend to get a little frisky with Miami. Winnie said it best: our first night in Florida was one big knock-knock joke. After almost 48 hours of madness, confusion, the runaround, anti-sobriety agents and a couple standout memories, we sat piled in a hot Volkswagen after getting a jump from the bouncer at the first club we tried to get access into (and clearly failed). At almost 5 am. It was Memorial Day weekend in Miami (and Ft. Lauderdale) and it felt like the hangover in Vegas.

Am I Really an 'Onion,' Or Do You Just Not Know Me?

My mornings always wind up entertaining in some way or another, today especially. This morning -- at an ungodly time of 9:20am -- I was diverted from my usual dollar van Jamaican banter by a text from one of my most inquisitive comrades: "Aren't I like an onion? You ever heard Shrek say that? 'Like an onion, I have layers.'" Honestly, my initial response included a couple of blank blinks and a nonchalant, "No, Bink." No one looks for deep and mind rousing discussions before the heaviness of last night's sleep leaves their eyes. But being the Bink that she is who gives no damns about the time of day, she continued on with the mini fireside chat. And it made me wonder a little about myself. Am I an onion? I feel like I've heard so many one-liners about my elusive nature that I should, in theory, feel that way. Not so much that "I'm an onion," because that verbiage is uber corny (sorry Bink). More so that I'm this person with

White America Makes Me Laugh Sometimes

You know, I have to laugh at history. I know it makes for some good reading and reflecting material, but for comedy? I never thought America’s history would give me such a giggle. For work today, I had to put together a slideshow of various Sambo images. Now, you know me. At first, I was instantly annoyed. It was the passive kind of annoyed that only merits an eye roll, but it’s annoyance all the same. My eyebrow spiked every time I embedded another image of a bug-eyed, tar skinned, ape-faced, cranberry & swollen-lipped “coon.” This one image that read “All Coons Look Alike to Me: A Darkey Misunderstanding” baffled me the most. Is this seriously what they saw? Like, seriously? I know the intent was to hurt us, but c’mon son, you’re reaching. My crowd is usually a positive thinking, semi-progress assembly of friends – my the-world-is-so-great bubble – so I have occasional lapses in judgment where I forget what a messed up place America was (and still is) and what assholes peop

9 Ways Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu Give LIFE in the “Q.U.E.E.N.” Video

If you haven't seen Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu's new video for "Q.U.E.E.N.," please readjust your life. When I heard the song, I wasn't married to it. But I love me some Monae, so I looked forward to the video. I was not disappointed. At all. I mean, I'm still not fawning over the song, but if this video is their way of selling it, I have emptied my wallet. Oh, why you ask?" Everyone is fly down to the “extras.”   If you can even call them that. The whole video setup is brilliant. As all the members of her crew hold their places in statuesque form, they are all flawless and crisply styled. It’s all in the details.   From her elaborately decorated pinkie nail to the gold tooth on the skull record player to the tuxedo shoes perched on a pillar, little glimmers in the video set up stand out in a good way.

Coming in for the Kill

Okay, I'm about three weeks late (sue me), but here's week 3 of the #AprilWritingChallenge for ya... Day 15:  “I’m selfish when” is a hard phrase to get used to, because more often than not, I’m never selfish. And I need to me. Nothing’s wrong with a little me time. A little pampering and TLC. A little time where I turn off my phone and concern myself with my thoughts and my thoughts alone. I have to allow myself to say “I don’t care about you right now.” I’m such a giver and a carer and love to see when everyone else has a smile. It really does bring a flutter to my heart. BUT I often find myself wearing everyone’s burdens but my own, and don’t have time to sort through my own baggage. I check mine at the door and try to figure out how to make myself work for everyone, when I really need to figure out how to make sure life’s good for me. Maybe later on, I can actually continue to statement: I’m selfish when… 

Playing Catchup is the Hardest Thing (Sometimes)

Week two of the #AprilWritingChallenge . Legho! Day 14: Social media is the enabler of all things insane, obsessive, lazy and compulsive. It's got the same thrilling yet destructive effect as a line of cocaine. Sure it helps make things more instant and convenient, but it takes away the satisfaction that comes from patience, distance and working hard for something to make sure it's top quality. Think I'm exaggerating? 1. Think about how social media has screwed up how we enjoy our celebrities. I liked the 'from a distance' thing that existed a few years back; we had a good thing going. We had a chance to MISS celebrities so that when they made a comeback, it mattered. 2, Think about how we don't know how to entertain new acquaintances in a quiet space or a small function. Literally EVERYONE is staring at their phones, refreshing their Instagram every 12 seconds in search of the next likeable flick or in a GroupMe conversation with the person approximately

Flowing Thoughts Like a Stream. But Not Really.

Oh, hello again writing challenge, #AprilWritingChallenge to be specific. Take part , because you have nothing else better to do than read my blog. Maybe you do usually, but 9 times out of 10, at this particular moment, you don't. Join the Young Writer Gang. It's better than the Beyhive, I promise. Day 7: The most annoying celebrity is one who does not keep his or her overly adorning fans in check. If all you're focused on is more and more promo and publicity and not curbing your followers' reckless acts of Standemonium, you're inching further and further towards my burn book. Using Beyonce as an example will be too easy; anyone who knows me knows I'm not scared to criticize her in the presence of her worshippers. But believe it or not, that's the only reason her very being irks me. Knowing she is the epicenter of the lives of a million too many blind-eyed admirers, and they fiercely defend her very name as if they passed through her mind EVER... it blow

5 Unrealistic Promises I Keep Making to Myself

The inner jerk in me keeps bribing myself with peach flavored lollipops, luring me in and convincing me that I can keep up with these overzealous, wide sweeping reoccurring promises of mine. BWAHAHA. So not happening. Warning: This post is littered and laced with all types of grammatical errors. I’m learning to UN-filter myself. It’s gotta start somewhere.  1. Be more outgoing.  F*ck it. I’m shy. There it is. I keep lying to myself year after year after year, and enabling you all to lie to me too, about me one day hinge-kicking out of my shell and becoming this loud, exuberant ball of energy. Even on my most inebriated of days, this isn't the case, and we all know how far liquid courage can go. I need to get real so that I can get some real results from some practical solutions. Which pretty much means hang around with more outgoing people and live vicariously through them. I’m sure it works just as well at baiting adventure. 2. Date .  Lol. Big LOL. Due to bulle

Bad Poetry Relieves Stress

I don’t’ know what to do with myself when I am stressed, idle and unable to put into words how I feel. This article I read on ThoughtCatalog (I’ll dive into that a little later) said you have to get out all the bad stuff so you can get to the good. So… this is my rambling, cliché, melodramatic poem: I’ve never felt so stuck as a writer Nothing to say really Forcing a concept until I see it more clearly Drawing a blank more often than not Glimpses of ideas one moment. The next… damn. I forgot. And what is this ‘writer’ title anyway This name we so swiftly dub ourselves Without the corresponding resume Forcing it Not saying sh*t Even now as I clutch the pen It’s apparent that I’m struggling My prose flows differently than my thoughts go That’s a problem How am I both the blogger dying for their first print And the editor sent to stop them? My creativity’s getting choreographed I can much less even describe a laugh That joy I had when the sun tea

Feelings Schmeelings. And Trayvon Martin.

I’m having a dry spell. A really, really longstanding drought. If you know anything about me, I’m emotional. I like to express my feelings. I’m a smiler. A crier. A feeler. And as of lately, I haven’t been able to connect to anything at all. I’ve never felt so detached from… stuff. Yesterday, I had a lot going on in my mind... It’s hard to get the thoughts out now because of how major of a blockage there is. A disconnect. None of this is going to make much sense to you. Hell, doesn’t make sense to me either. But anyway, yesterday. Yesterday was the closest I’ve felt to being connected my desires to flirt. To sympathize. I won’t address the former too much. I’ve been dead to the whole courtship idea for a minute now. Perhaps that’s what’s been hindering my true Piscean nature. Alas. The sympathizing. After that moment passed, a couple of friends and I headed over to the candlelight vigil in Union Square commemorating one year since Trayvon Martin’s death. The air w