Music Monday: An Ultimate Love Song For You

Atlanta, GA native, Jamie Grace

Atlanta, GA native, Jamie Grace

Lately I’ve been consumed with all things pertaining to love. I’ve even convinced myself to believe that Spring is really the cuffing season of the year (sorry, Winter). Love is in the air, and everyone is basking in it, so it seems. This month’s music discovery fits the scenario wonderfully.

When I listened to “To Love You Back” by Jamie Grace the first couple of times, I cried like a baby. Meditating on the lyrics, I reflected on how God loves me despite my imperfections, my sins, and how I don’t have to feel guilty when I focus on His undying love for me. Then I started thinking of how wonderful it is to have someone to love me in the same capacity; that was when the tears really started to overflow.

Jamie sings about the kind of love I believe we all long for deep down. A love from someone who has a selfless heart. wpid-phpthumb-1.jpegWouldn’t that be the greatest thing of all much like the commandment itself? I strongly believe that this kind of love (agape love) is the love God intended for us to have in our significant relationships but only so many fail to reach.

There’s nothing more I can say but only to suggest for you to take a listen to the lyrics and imagine having such a love where your significant other loves you just as God loves you. You’ll likely not want anything short of it again.

(Either the day of or the night of our wedding, I don’t care. This song will be played.)

*k*

Jamie Grace – To Love You Back (Official Lyrics Video)

Crush Groovin’: The Series Finale

Oh my goodness! Has it really been a year since I’ve jumped into the blogasphere? It’s hard to believe I started Skinny Girl in a Curvy World last April! I’m surprised myself for committing to blogging for this long.

Here’s the thing: I dedicate most of my writing time to completing a story I’ve been working on for almost a year now that I don’t have time to write about thought-provoking topics. My thinking cap is too occupied with an imaginative world where people I create actually live. But blogging does have its perks even if it’s not my preferable thing to do as far as writing goes. (My strength and comfort zone is in writing fiction.) Ah, who am I kidding? Enough with the excuses. Let’s get on with the final entry for Crush Groovin’.

In the past, I’ve praised women who I thought were sexy and/or talented beyond measure. Women I thought possessed the qualities men want and the physical beauty that most women desire to have. Women like:

1. Esperanza Spalding: the talented jazz musician
2. DJ Havana Brown: the stylish Aussie D.J.
3. BoA: the Korean queen of K-Pop
4. Tracee Ellis Ross: the risible actress (with a home-grown derrière worth mentioning here)
5. Aaliyah: the beautiful angel gone too soon.
6. Tami Chynn: the Jamaican dance-hall prima donna
7. Tessanne: the powerhouse voice who actually won “The Voice”
8. Chrisette Michele: the spiritually gifted singer
9. Sarah Jessica Parker: the cute humanitarian actress
10. Sabi: Cali’s own beautiful songstress
11. Erykah Badu: the eccentric soul goddess
12.

Ironically, number 12 recently had a birthday this month (as in April, not May–depending on when I can get this published. Edit: it was published in May). It would’ve been nice if I would have had this entry written up by then, but of course . . . my timing is always lacking in perfection.

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Who gets the honor of being named my ultimate girl crush? She is by far the first woman I was ever inspired by when it comes to fashion even before she was globally recognized as a fashion icon and way before she made her mark as a fashion designer. She’s funny, attractive, fashionable, and British! She’s Victoria Caroline Adams Beckham Posh Spice, and yes, I want to be best friends For.Eh.Ver with her.

I’ve been staning this woman since 1997 when the Spice Girls first hit the international scene. The other girls were brash and in-your-face while the quiet one with the pout, dressed in “the little black Gucci dress,” was the one who really commanded your attention. I attribute my interest in fashion completely to her. Victoria somehow manages to make everything she wears look good, not the opposite. (I wish I could say the same for me. I’m just now learning how to really wear clothes.)

Victoria Beckham: My ultimate girl crush of all time. And here are the photos to prove it . . .

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Quote: "You're allowed to take the piss out of being thin. You're not allowed to say anything about people being fat.

You’re allowed to take the piss out of being thin. You’re not allowed to say anything about people being fat. -Victoria Beckham

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Her first official album. Thanks to Amazon, I ordered it as an import. One of my top 5 Pop albums on constant rotation to date.

Her first official album. Thanks to Amazon, I ordered it as an import. One of my top 5 Pop albums on constant rotation to date.

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I don't follow fashion and I don't follow trends. I just follow my instincts and think  what do I want to wear? What am I feeling for next season?

I don’t follow fashion and I don’t follow trends. I just follow my instincts and think what do I want to wear? What am I feeling for next season? -Victoria Beckham

Exactly my style! How elegantly chic!

Exactly my style! How elegantly chic!

Fun Fact: It wasn’t their catchy pop debut song Wannabe that pulled me into the fandom of the Spice Girls. 2 Become 1 earned my love for them. Traveling back to 1997, seeing the sassy energetic quintet in a time-lapsed video of New York City (the city I love) is when it all began. I used to watch Vh1 all day just to catch this on “Pop-Up Video.”

About Crush Groovin’:
Understand that this was my way of paying homage to twelve women . . . whom I can’t help but to fangirl over whenever I see them; that’s the best way I can word it. They are laudable women I relate to. They are women I would find attractive if I were a man. But since I’m not a man nor do I want to be, they are women I wish I could call up and maybe attend fashion week in Paris with or something. Or maybe we could trade beauty secrets! There are a few honorable mentions like Jill Scott, Shakira, Naomie Harris, Minzy and CL, Gwen Stefani, Kat Graham, and Iman. But listing twelve was my limit. Thus, this concludes Crush Groovin’. Thanks for reading. For additional eye candy, be sure to check out the others I’ve listed.

*k*

Music Monday: Still Alive

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Covered up with a smile I’ve learned to fear . . .

Yes, I’m still alive and I’m back on all social network systems (SNS): Twitter, Facebook, Instagram . . . that’s about it. I have to draw the line somewhere. Today’s Music Monday post is seriously delayed. It’s so delayed the day is actually Tuesday now. April approaching so fast may have something to do with it as I haven’t really drafted this post in advance like normally. (Actually, this IS the draft, so forgive me for any misspellings and grammar mistakes. Be kind.) I simply regret how remiss I’ve been with running my blog. Writing, working, and life in general has taken first priority. I’m also having to wait before I can revamp it the way I want to. That’s the price you pay for when you have to wait on others, I guess. (It’s a surprise and I can’t wait to see the final result!) Enough with the excuses and on to the song on my playlist. Which one will be featured in today’s . . . ummm . . . tonight’s post? (More like Music Tuesday, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it, so Music Monday it shall remain.)

METhe year was 2011–perhaps THE darkest year of my life to date. During that time I was going through a lot mentally and emotionally. I was unsure of myself and left feeling confused most of the time. A lot happened during that year. I choose to not go into detail about what caused me to become despondent; that’s not what this is about. But the featured song was one that helped me get back on my feet and heal from the pain I’d suffered from.

Her name is Faith, by the way.

Her name is Faith, by the way. A tough broad with a tattooed map on her arm and a tattoo on her eye. Mess with her if you want!

I suppose we all have at least one song we can relate to. For me Still Alive was the song that gave me enough courage and inspiration in some majestic way during that year and part of 2012. How did the healing begin? I heard this remix by Mt. Eden and I had it on constant rotation every single night after. (Strange how a dubstep remix managed to make such an impact on my musical heart. I take that back. It’s not so strange after all given my taste in music.) There were many times when I would ride out, playing it loudly with all of the windows down late at night when hardly anyone else was driving on the streets of Birmingham–the bass turned to the max, my hair blowing wildly in the wind. All it took was one listen and I was completely sold.

I think the piano chords, mixed in with the humming bass, are what initially seduced me into loving this song overall. Then I found out the song was a remix of a theme to a video game I’d never even heard of. Curious, because that’s what I am, I looked it up; found the original; read up on the game’s sypnosis; and I found myself loving the song even more. (The original video by Lisa Miskovsky can be seen here.) After watching this introduction (probably my favorite VG intro ever), I wish I could find the time to play the actual video game . . . or become a free-runner, whichever comes first. Knowing me, by the time I get around to playing the game the sequel will be released. I stand a better chance at becoming a free-runner, I think. Oh, well. One day, for sure.

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Click here for a peek at parkour if you want to see how insane free-runners really are.

I’ve learned to lose, I’ve learned to win
I’ve turned my face against the wind
I will move fast, I will move slow
Take me where I have to go

Still Alive

*k*

Getting to Know Me: 15 Questions Answered (Part IV)

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Source: ask.fm/elegantlychic

The following are questions others have asked me in the past. More to come.

*k*

What’s your favorite method of shopping?
Online. I don’t like going to the shops to look and buy unless I know exactly what I am looking for.

What is your zodiac sign?
Virgo.

Would you leave your home country for the one you love?
After much prayer and if we were for certain getting married, yes.

What’s your favorite dessert?
Doughnuts. I seriously, probably could eat an entire box of Krispy Kreme…by the dozen. Turtle ice cream pie is another favorite.

Do you have phobias?
I have a phobia of spiders and snakes. I hate seeing either one.

How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a woman who always kept her word.

What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Sleep. Haha.

Do you believe in aliens?
I’m an alien. So, yes, I do. 🙂

Do you care what other people think of you?
To a certain extent, but only if it is because of my integrity. My integrity is more important to me than a reputation. I have a nonchalant approach most of the time when it comes to people’s opinion about me. In the end, people are going to think what they want to and they have that right. It’s not up to me to try and change their opinion. If they don’t like me, chances are I don’t care enough to even realize it.

What is your idea of a romantic evening?
I like to keep it simple and not so elaborate. The two of us listening to chillout or jazz music while drinking the finest wine–the entire bottle. We wouldn’t need to say one word. Our eyes would do the talking.

If you were to give someone a tour of your hometown, where would you take them first?
I would take them to the Civil Rights Institute. I think anyone who comes to Birmingham should go since the Civil Rights movement began here. Afterwards, I would take them to one of the many stellar restaurants in my city to discuss the impact of the movement over a wonderful meal.

What can’t be bought with money?
Love. Well…some people have to buy it. *laughs*

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Racism. It’s such an ugly thing!

What are you obsessed with?
Music. Definitely. It’s almost like a drug for me.

What kind of guy do you NOT like?
I don’t like guys who use harsh, profane language. It doesn’t do anything for the listener or the conversation. I also don’t like guys who need help with approaching me because they come off as being weak. I like confidence. Asking my friends to “put in a word for you” is a surefire way for you to get the boot. Just approach me even if you think I will reject you. I don’t bite. *laughs* Sensitive/spoiled men are a major turn-off, too.

Blog No One Reads

While I don’t have an anonymous blog, the thoughts conveyed in the following post are the same thoughts I’ve had before.
*k*

KindaAnonymous

It’s strange to have a blog that no one reads. I’ve had a few blogs, but none of them were entirely anonymous, so I always had to write through a certain lens. I’d write every entry, imagining how every friend with a link might read it. I was restricted. I’m free here. I’m as anonymous as you can get with detailed blog updates on the internet now-a-days. I could write some very personal thoughts. I could share sexual stories. I could write about how I really feel about some people. I could share intelligent ideas that might be slightly controversial. I could let you know my real opinion during all of those times I agreed to disagree, said I wouldn’t say anymore, told them I’d remain neutral, or didn’t say it was and didn’t say it wasn’t what I thought. Or, I could just share some mundane insight I made…

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Music Monday: (Love) It’s About Time

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It’s another Music Monday post, and you know what that means: it’s the first Monday of another month. (March came so fast!)

Surprisingly, I’ve yet to include a jazz song as part of my assorted Music Monday compilation. Somewhere in between listening to electronic dance, foreign pop, and contemporary christian music, I often listen to different styles of jazz by jazz singers, old and new. (It’s the genre I prefer next to chillout.)

There isn’t much I want to say about this inspiring love song performed by English jazz-pop singer, Jamie Cullum. I won’t even mention how or when I came across this breezy melody. The disappointing downside to this post? I can’t find the video of the audio anywhere like I was able to once before. All I get in return of the search are uploaded covers by people who are not Jamie Cullum. But I think for this exceptional case, posting the lyrics will do perfectly fine.

It’s About Time by Jamie Cullum

Walking down to the water’s edge
Where I have been before
If I don’t find my love sometime
I’m walking out that door

Some may come and some may go
But no one seems to be
The person I’ve been searching for
The one who’s meant for me

Biding my time, trying to find a heart that’s lonely
Looking for her, my love my one and only
Maybe I’ll dream tonight about the girl who’ll be coming my way
So I’ll take this chance and celebrate the day

When I’m making my way through an open door
I’ve got some love and so much more
And I’m ready to make someone mine
Making my way through an open door
I’ve got some love and so much more
And I’ll find her ’cause it’s about time

You try too hard and it feels just like
You’re running on thin air
Why does luck happen by surprise
If you don’t really care

The past is gone the flames are out
From fires that have burned
New ideals and different thoughts
From lessons I have learned

Biding my time, trying to find a heart that’s lonely
Looking for her, my love my one and only
Maybe I’ll dream, tonight about the girl who’ll be coming my way
So I’ll take this chance and celebrate the day

When I’m making my way through an open door
I’ve got some love and so much more
And I’m ready to make someone mine
Making my way through an open door
I’ve got some love and so much more
And I’ll find her ’cause it’s about time

Got the feeling this could take a pretty long while
To find that smile
Put my faith in another piece of good advice
Well I tried that twice
Waiting for a little something more
To inspire, take me higher

And I’m ready to make someone mine
Making my way through an open door
I’ve got some love and so much more
And I’ll find her ’cause it’s about time
It’s about time

(Source: from the album Twentysomething)

photo credits: axs.com

Crush Groovin’: Erykah Badu

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She was born under water with three dollars and six dimes. Not sure what that means? Don’t feel so stupid. Hardly anyone understood it then when they first heard the lyric in On and On.

I don’t think I need to introduce this month’s girl crush. I’ll just let you scroll down the page for pictures of this musical goddess:

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Mmmhmmm. Miss Erykah Badu. Or you can simply call her Badu. Better yet, just call her a music goddess because that is what she is. Baduizm, Mama’s Gun, Worldwide Underground, New Amerykah . . . all of her studio albums are solid masterpieces designed to take you into the gifted mind of their creator. Aside from her music and distinct sound, I suppose it’s her eccentricities that land her a spot on my list. Hard to believe why she was able to capture the hearts of men like Andre 3000, Common, The D.O.C., and Jay Electronica, isn’t it? Not really, no. But what is this pull she has on men? Aish, I wish I knew.

Whatever Badu voodoo she’s releasing into the atmosphere, she needs to keep it up so she can continue churning out good music in a world full of studio created “singers.” I am all the way here for it.

*k*

Take an acid trip . . . without the acid.

Jump Up in the Air (and Stay There) featuring Lil’ Wayne and Bilal:

photo credits:
Okay player
Erykah Badu Official Myspace Page
Blow the Scene

RE: The art of connecting with an introvert

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Per a girlfriend’s request, I was supposed to write about what it’s like to be an introvert. Initially, I shunned the idea and told her I didn’t know what I could possibly say that would be any different from what’s already been said. That was several months ago. And while I had intentions to write about the life of an introvert anyway, I never started on it like I have other entries waiting to be published. That is why I am sharing this post from a fellow blogger instead. I’m not being lazy, I promise. OK, maybe a little. But I enjoyed reading lotusgirl80’s insightful version so much I could not not share it.

Click on the link to read her take on the idiosyncracies introverts have in common:

The art of connecting with an introvert.

I will say that this blogger’s opinion is 110% on point. To further support her basis, I want to exemplify some of the points made in her article.

Number One: Introverts are not the chatty type. Talking for the sake of avoiding the silent barrier that often forms between people we’re attempting to get to know is very tiresome for taciturn introverts like myself. Mental fatigue is the best way I can describe this. We’re internal creatures, so our minds are constantly on all the time. When we meet someone, we may appear to be socially awkward and shy to them. People mistakenly think I’m shy, but I’m really not. It’s just that I’m such an observant person who has to process the information my mind is collecting in a social setting. If that makes me socially awkward, then so be it.

As for being an internal creature, I can know exactly what it is I want to say aloud. Actually saying it aloud is another story. Articulating my thoughts can sometimes be challenging. What I intend to say comes out the wrong way, and so it often results in people being offended or feeling like I’m being too harsh in my judgment. Or what I intend to say sounds strange and unfunny when it was funnier in my head. So failing to articulate my thoughts result in me keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself.

Number Two: I find it amusing how my girlfriends are sweet enough to ask me to spend time with them or go to the big party of the weekend when they know I’m most likely to say no than I am to say yes. I do have my moments when I want to hangout with my girlfriends and have a good time (I rarely invite them out unless I’m absolutely bored and want to go dancing), so I’m not anti-social; not completely anyway. I find that once I’m out somewhere, after so long, I need to leave. I need to leave because when there are too many things happening at once and I’m around too many people it tends to drain my energy. Not physically but mentally. Social settings can be too much of a stimulation to the brain, so an introvert like myself has to remove herself from that setting to recharge the energy she has lost or else she will shut down. I’ve found that two hours is the most I can do. Anything above and it becomes grueling to just try to keep the party going.

Attending big parties or even a gathering with more than four people is a bit too much for me; however, I will admit that sometimes, especially when it comes to gathering with friends, I prefer for it to be with a large group. That way I won’t have to talk as much. The ones who are the gregarious types can have the spotlight and I don’t have to worry myself with trying to entertain a conversation. The downside to gathering with several people at once? The pressure to say something, anything, out of fear of appearing to be the weirdo of the bunch who hasn’t said a word all night. The perils of being an introvert, I tell ya!

Number Three: I can play instruments. I have a creative mind (I write fiction for crying out loud). And I daydream a lot (for an adult). Does that make me a nerd? Not really. I prefer the word eccentric to describe the creative side of me. It sounds cooler.

Number Four: I like receiving tangible gifts as much as the next person. Gifts that are created by the hands and from the heart are the ones I cherish the most, though. I’m a total sucker for handwritten (even typed) letters. Making a meal for me when I don’t expect it warms my heart. I remember when I spent the night over at the same friend’s house, she had made a breakfast sandwich for me. I didn’t expect that from her. I thought I was going to have to go to the kitchen and make my own breakfast or grab some from the McDonald’s on the corner. But she did that for me and I thought it was very sweet of her. (But she’s always doing thoughtful things for me, so that’s nothing new.)

I’m not great at picking out Hallmark cards to give to others, but I love receiving cards. I still have cards from my loved ones and old friends from my high-school days. I will, however, give you a letter. If I need to express my deepest feelings or if I don’t have a tangible gift to give someone for a special occasion, I will give them a letter . . . typed. (My handwriting is too unbearable to read. After all, I am an introvert whose mind is constantly going. My handwriting reflects that.) Oh, and big displays of affection (incessant compliments, too) are a turn-off. That’s why it is not a good idea for the guy to propose to me in a public place or even in front of family members. When in doubt always keep it simple.

Number Five: Whatever you do, don’t you dare ask me too many questions; that’s my job when getting to know you. And please, I beg you, don’t let your questions be too trivial or too vague or too open-ended. When I was somewhat dating seeing this guy, every time I talked to him or whenever we went out, he would always start the conversation with, “Tell me something good,” and he would always want to know what I did for the day. I dreaded having to talk to him because I knew the question was coming. I found myself trying to think of something to say prior to our causeries and outings just so I would be prepared for his repetitive inquisitions. I don’t like talking about myself; never have. Even if it’s something as simple as talking about how my day went, I just don’t enjoy doing it. I’d rather talk about things that reveal the character of a person: memories of their childhood, their favorite foods, the last movie they watched, et cetera. Mundane things don’t interest me. Talking is my time to escape from the ordinary things of life (remember, I daydream a lot). I’ll answer your questions, but please believe I’m secretly hating you for doing such a cruel thing to me.

untitledIntroverts are nothing but aliens compared to our extrovert counterparts. That is to say, we really do alienate ourselves from the world because our inner world is entertaining enough. And speaking of extroverts, I admit I do like being around them the most. Whether I need an extrovert as my mate, I don’t know yet. What’s important is for him to understand that when I say I need a break or for him to not talk to me, I mean just that and I need for him to grant me that request without being offended. The same can be said for friends. Luckily the real friends who have known me for a long time understand that I can’t deal with high-maintenance kind of friendships. A few of them still call me a “stranger” and it’s annoying when they already know that I’m not going to call or text them every week to see how they’re doing. Months go by before they see me or even hear from me most of the time.

So if you know an introvert, try not to make false accusations about their temperament. Understand their characteristics and let them know that you understand them. For understanding their characteristics goes a long way with these types. Demonstrate patience in getting to know your introverted friends or significant other and you will discover how absolutely amazing and exciting they can be as they unveil their many layers. Do this and they will appreciate your commitment to getting to know them in the long-run.

Getting to Know Me: 15 Questions Answered (Part III)

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Source: ask.fm/elegantlychic

The following are questions others have asked me in the past. More to come.

*k*

What inspires you?
Honestly, music does. My music catalogue is ridiculous and so versatile. Whenever I sit down to write, my soul is sensitive to everything. I can watch others and become inspired to take cues from their lives and situations. When I hear music, though, it incites my creativity. It’s weird.

Where is the most fun place you have ever been?
Disney World. *laughs*

What is your ideal type?
A man who is sure of himself emotionally and spiritually. I’m naturally inquisitive, always eager to learn, so he should be able to teach me something new yet be teachable as well. A man who shares my fashion sense would be great. A guy who is very funny goes a long way with me, too. As long as I am attracted to him on some level, he will get far in catching my attention.

Favorite Childhood Morning/Evening TV Show? (i.e. Fraggle Rock,Eureka’s Castle, Double Dare, etc)
Just one? That’s hard. When we (my family) had HBO I loved watching Fraggle Rock. From Nickelodeon, Eureka’s Castle. Guts! was one I dreamed of competing on. For the sake of one answer, I will say Lamb Chop’s Play Along was my favorite show. (But I loved so many! And still do!)

Favorite ninja turtle?
Donatello…I think. Or was it Raphael? Raphael.

How do you learn best: by listening, watching, reading or doing?
A combination of all, really. But I learn quicker by doing. I’m a hands-on person.

What question do you hate to answer?
Why I am single. I think this has to be one of the dumbest questions ever.

What’s the first thing you notice in a person of the opposite gender?
The way he’s dressed. I like a man who is comfortable with fashion since I tend to express myself quite a bit through clothes. He doesn’t need to be a “pretty boy,” but he definitely needs to be dressed well in order to catch my eye.

Favorite restaurant?
I don’t have a favorite restaurant because I love to eat anything and everywhere. I just love food haha.

Do you prefer tea, coffee or cocoa?
Hot [french vanilla] cocoa. I like tea, too. I don’t particularly like to drink a lot of caffeinated drinks.

Have you ever been to Jamaica or any other Caribbean place?
I haven’t! I really, really want to go to Jamaica.

What’s the craziest/wildest thing you’ve done in college? btw….Jamaica is awesome. You should plan a trip and go asap, with friends of course…YOLO!
I was the one who laughed at all of the foolishness around me. I’ve always been pretty level-headed and mature for my age. Some may say it’s because of being a Virgo, I don’t know. But I’ve never been interested in doing wild things for the hell of it; even now. On top of that, I was in a serious relationship at that time, so I wasn’t thinking of wild partying and drunken nights. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time in college because I did. It just wasn’t in a typical way…like in the movies.

If you could only pick one….Reeses or Kit Kat? And yes, there is a right answer =)
I like both, but there’s just something about a Reeses cup.
(Did I pick the right one?)


What is your idea of perfect relaxation?

Me, alone, with a glass of wine and jazz or chillout music is good enough. I often do this when I want to unwind.

If you could hang out with one male celeb and one female celeb, who would it be? sidenote: Reeses…yes!
(YaY!) For a male celeb, I’d love to spend a day with Choi Seunghyun, who is a Korean rapper that goes by the name T.O.P of the group BigBang. Of course, I don’t know him and it will never become a reality, but I think it would be a blast to hang out with him. But really he is my [male] fashion icon. He is in my opinion the best dressed man I’ve ever seen, so I admire him for his fashion sense. For female, I would love to spend a day with Tracee Ellis Ross. She’s a sexy woman for so many reasons. I can imagine trading hair secrets with her and maybe hinting at me wanting her gaudy jewelry, especially her trademark doorknocker earrings and unique necklaces. She seems like she is a fun woman with a bright spirit who gives off positive energy. I could use more of that in my life.

Black History Month: African-American, Black Culture

A little note to any of my international readers who stumble across my blog while looking for something else . . .

In America, February is known as Black History Month: a time when Black America celebrates the success stories and contributions to American culture as a whole. Stories of men and women who paved the way to give us hope for our future; to ensure we as a [black] nation received the same benefits and rights we deserved as American citizens when we were forcefully moved from our own homeland; stories of those who opened the [closed] doors on the road to greater achievements. I can go on and on about my people. But such stories are the reasons why we say, “I’m black, and I’m proud.” Black or African (American) pride is nothing we should shy away from. We have A LOT to be proud of as a people.

I’m not the type of writer who can write something heavy and profound and praise-worthy. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re not going to find it here. There’s plenty of that on the Net by other bloggers and columnists who probably get paid to write those kind of topics. But I thought now was the perfect time to share what’s to follow if you’re willing to continue to read anyway.

I’m writing a fiction (creative writing is more of my forte) . . . and please don’t ask me about what because people who write do not approve of others asking them about their creations and definitely would choose not to discuss it unless they voluntarily tell you about their works–and even they do so warily because of superstitions, but I digress.

Months ago, I was trying to come up with some ideas about African American customs and the culture that otherwise non-blacks generally may not be exposed to. And let me tell you, I was stumped! Yes, there is the music to consider and the soul food that we eat, but I needed something more. I even asked a friend of mine who is VERY Afrocentric and even she couldn’t really help me out. Hmm. Why was this so?

I enlisted the help of my other friend, Google, to try and find an answer to my question: what is African-American culture?

No, really. What is African-American culture?

I had never really focused on it before in my younger years. (Maybe because I took so much for granted as so many young people tend to do.) But I was hit with the realization of just how much my people had been stripped of our heritage. Unless our direct, immediate relatives came from Africa, we don’t have the luxury in knowing which tribe we came from. We don’t have the luxury in knowing if one of our ancestors was of royalty. We don’t even know if we’re from Nigeria or Kenya or Mozambique or where! We simply don’t know much about our heritage and that’s because . . . well . . . you already know why that’s so–no reason for me to recapitulate the history here. So understand why blacks become defensive and offended when other cultures, who prefer to not have anything to do with blacks as a nation, want to “borrow” and appropriate the culture we DO have and created for ourselves.

Moreover, I became frustrated, saddened, and angry over this realization during my research of my people’s culture. But then I came across an answer in the most unlikely place. Information I didn’t find from some reputable African-American journalist. I didn’t even find it on a blog. You know where I found it? (I’m not telling . . . you’ll find the source at the end of the read.)

Here is a sufficient answer that returned in the search for my question about the African-American culture. It’s not THE most scholastic answer there is, but on behalf of the anonymous writer, pardon the typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings:

African American culture is one that is s bit complex tro understand if you are not familiar with African Americans. First I would like to just tell you that we may as well be looked upon as immigrsants to fully understand the answer to this question. While a great deal of our culture is that of the mainstream American culture, much of it derives from our ancestors from Africa. African Americans first of all come from a background of many different shades of brown and black. We are descedents of African slaves (which were Kings and Queens from many places in Africa), Native Americans, and a variety of European or Caucasian ancestors because of the frequent rapes of African women throughout slavery.

Here, in the United States, you may find African Americans in each state, with the most African American population in the urban areas or major cities. Unfortunately, this race of people have not had the chance to celebrate or even acknowledge their differences in America because of the harsh treatment and racism in the United States. African Americans usually are stereotyped as loud, rude, uneducated, unattractive, and criminals. This could not be further from the truth. African Americans are proud people that unfortunately does not have a connection with their true heritage. For this reason, the culture is complex and at times, seems a bit silly to others.

Slavery imposed various types of behavior on the African Americans, most of which were survival instincts and mechanisms. First the family. The African American family structure usually consists of Grandparents, mother, aunts and uncles, and children. Yes, I left out the father because unfortunately I would not be being honest if I included them to talk about the African American culture in general though fathers are present in many African American homes. The Grandmother is usually incharge of the family as the parents often take their children to her for discipline and advice and guidance for themselves. The mother is the immeduite care taker of the family. Most African American women are single, never married , with children. These women have to support their families, thus they almost always have at least one job contrary to popular belief that they rely heavily on the government to car for them and their households. The African American woman is very nurturing and strong. Stereotypes suggest that they have short tempers, are bossy and uneducated. All I can say to that is don’t watch so much TV! If you were try to take care of a household of children and juggle that with the common denomintor of the absence of a stable partner (or the father of your children), then you may see why she is stressed and on edge. BUT DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP ON THAT! This is not the typical African American woman. The father, if present also works. Most African American children are street smart and most of the time very athletic (due to natural strengths and body make ups our ancestors have passed on to us) which is now being discouraged and instead trying to get them to achieve just as well academically. Today, it is common for African American youth to go to college and pursue their careers and exploit their own talented selves.

The African American food cooked in the United States is called Soul Food. Why they use the word soul instead of African American can be traced back to slavery. The African slaves were not allowed to eat the food that was served to their masters, however they were welcome to the trash. The African’s ingenuity embodies the saying ,” if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. These slaves gathered the fat parts of the pork pig that was thrown out. They also grew collard, turnip, and mustard greens where they could and cooked them alog with ground cron and wheat which made what we call cornbread today. Throughout the early 1900s when slavery had been long ago abolished, but the Jim Crow Era was in full force, African Americans again made lemonade! The slaves fried chilcken and wrapped them in paper so that they would have food to eat on their trips in which they would walk (very few of them owned cars). Deep frying chicken was brought here from Africa to America with the slaves. Sot here you have it people, African Americans do love fried chicken and that’s ok! These foods mentioned, as we know today, may be the leading cause in many heart diseases, diabetes etc. These foods are not pumped full of processed ingredients and other things that weren’t back in the day. This may explain why the older generation of African Americans may not be as receptive to the “diet” era we are experiencing today. This brings us to the next important aspect of African American culture.

Healthcare simply consisted of herbs and other natural supplements that could cure anything in Africa. These ideas and practices were thus brought by the African slaves. The Native Americans and many other native peoples believed (and still do) in herbal medicine and its connection with religion is also something the Native American and Africans had in common.

Many African Americans (even more so in the Southern states Bible Belt) are Baptist Christians. If you have ever stopped to chat with an African American, religion or the word God/ Jesus comes up. It is common for African Americans to attend church on Sunday (sometimes all day Sunday) and Wednesday for Bible study. African American people are very cautious of their actions and the elderly in the church settings. Elderly people are treated with the upmost respect. The elderly people (mostly women) will be seated on the first row repectfully referred to as Mother so and so and the elderly men will meet you at the church door and show you to your seat. They are called Deacon so and so. The row of elderly women at the front of the church is called the Mother Board. It won’tr be hard to spot them because they will have on huge, but gorgeous hats (i.e. Aretha Franklin’s famous hat she wore at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration which is now in a museum). If you would like more information, sinply visit an African American church and not only wil you enjoy yourself, but you will get a Sunday lesson from an all but too dramtic and dedicated pastor. If you do not like loud enviornments, this may not be for you. Please be advised to bring a hankerchief to place over your legs if you were a skirt (suit) or dress that may expose too much of your legs once you are sitting down. If not, someone from the mother board will do it for you! Don’t be afraid, that’s why they are called Mothers. The African American church is their center focal point pf their communities and homes. It is looked down upon not to be in attendance for at least one of the many Sunday services on Sundays. After church, you are almost always invited to someone’s home for Sunday dinner and it is considered an honor if the pastor comes by. Most churches have dinner (at lunch time though) in another part of thr church so that you may eat at church and stick around if you desire. Many people do as it is also looked upon as rude to leave after someone has invited to eat. This is an unwritten rule for churh goers and it mainly happens in the South.

Music is very important for African Americans as it has always been a form of expression that may have other wise not been available. First, the African slaves brough the drums from African and to make a long story short, we still feel the beat! Hip- Hop, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Rap, soca, dance hall and many, many more genres of music derived from the influence directly or indirectly from the complex beat(s) of the African drum. The dances related to hip hop and rap are also. The African American body is one of the most beautiful things in the world, thus has been exploited carelessly in our music and music videos. Some of these provocative dances though are directly related to the fertility dances African women do perform in Africa, thus brought here with the slaves. It was only when the European slave traders and plantation masters were being excited and ignorant to the meaning of these dances did they get such a negative connotation. You may wonder why African American woman have such wide hips , plump lips, various skin tones, as well as notably big posteriors for the lack of appropriate words. You may easily look up these dances.

African Americans has had a surge in pride as the first African American (technically bi racial) President took his oath to be sworn in as the 47th President January 20, 2009. Though African Americans faced and still face multiple set backs since their arrival, they are a strong, determined people. African Americans are the only people in the United States that was kidnapped and brought here as slaves…meaning not being paid or recognized, and have survived living and learning in unbearable conditions, bias laws, and gentrification both here and in Africa. The lkatter does not even include the many diseases that plague the community for known as well as unknown reasons.. that’s all I’m going to say. You may read up on HIV AIDS, Crack Cocaine etc and how it came to be so destructive to the African American communities. The African American race is not the race most mixed with others. Accordoing to many statistics, in the near future, the African American race may be non existent , and may fall under the “others” or “bir racial” catergories.

And there it is! I liked the answer so much, I wanted to share it. As a black/African-American, Southern woman, I can definitely vouche for what was said. The answer wasn’t enough as it sparked an even bigger curiosity to dig deeper for more information about the customs of the African-American culture . . . my culture.

Guess I have a reason to spend a day at the library now.

*k*

source: http://wiki.answers.com/

Judge not. *laughs*