Sunday, April 30, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee

This movie is great. You have to see it and tell all your friends about it too.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
The above speech by Nelson Mandela was orignally written by Marianne Williamson who is the author of other similar material.

Wake up everybody, no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin,'
Time for thinkin' ahead.
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be
So there is so much hatred war and poverty.
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way.
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say.
Cause they're the ones who's coming up
And the world is in their hands
When you teach the children, teach'em the very best you can.

The world won't get no better if we just let it be
The world won't get no better
We gotta change it, yeah, just you and me
-Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes

Sunday, April 23, 2006

For Bridesmaids who have considered suicide/When the wedding was Enuf

I'm going to be a bridesmaid in my high school friend's wedding in a couple of weeks. I went to the bridal shower on Saturday that was organized and hosted by all of the bridesmaids. This event was planned without me since I live in a different city. I must admit that I was very upset about the expenses that these people had created all in the name of making this a wonderful event. It's a good thing we split the costs. My biggest gripe was that the cake cost $130. Can you believe that? A cake that is going to be eaten within a few minutes cost $130, and it wasn't even the wedding cake. We could have bought a really nice cake from Walmart, but that's not what they wanted to do. The cake was decorated like a Victoria's Secret box. It tasted good, but it should have been phenomenal for the price we paid. The theme of the shower was Victoria's Secret, so there was pink everywhere - boxes, bags, napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths, balloons, forks, punch, our shirts. Everything was pink. I hate pink. Anyway, the event did go very well and the guests seemed to enjoy themselves. The bride was very happy, and that's what really mattered.

Then came the drama. We had a meeting with the bride after the shower. She started off by saying how much she enjoyed herself and that she was glad to have us there. She also apologized to the group if anyone thought that she was being mean or short-tempered throughout the whole process. She said that she'd been very stressed planning for the wedding, and she was sorry if she came across the wrong way. She also said that if anyone did not want to participate in the wedding for any reason, then they could let her know and she would understand that. One of the girls said she didn't want to do it. The bride was okay with that and told her thank you for being honest. I thought that was settled and we would move on to something else. No hard feelings. One of the other girls said that it shouldn't happen like that. The bride and "the quitter" should talk and she should stay in the wedding. I said that she shouldn't be forced to do something she doesn't want to do. "The quitter" started raising her voice and accusing the bride of being selfish and seeking all the glory. I'm sorry, but I thought the bride (and groom) was the star of the wedding. I didn't see her point at all. The other girls were still saying how she should be in it. I didn't want to stick around for that nonsense, so I got my things together, including some of the leftover cake, and went outside. The bride came out a few minutes later and we talked for a few minutes. I told her I understood what she was saying and we agreed that there was no need for further discussion. The girl didn't want to be a bridesmaid anymore and she didn't want her in the wedding if that's the way she felt. Apparently, this had been going on for about a week, but I didn't know about it since I wasn't around. She called me later and explained what had happened the week before. She apologized to me for even having to listen to that crap. I tried to comfort her and let her know that she was doing the right thing.

Planning a wedding can be very stressful, especially if you're doing it alone and you have people around you who are not willing to relieve some of the stress, but add more to it. I believe that it is my job as her friend and bridesmaid to support her and honor her wishes. Even though I hated to spend money on an expensive cake, I gave my part because that's what I was told she wanted. Although, based on our conversation last night, I don't think she would have minded a less expensive, non-Victoria's Secret cake.

I have been in several weddings over the past 10-12 years. I have also been an observer most of my life because my mother coordinates and decorates for weddings in her spare time. I have seen stressed out brides before. I have seen weddings that were executed seamlessly because of the planning and dedication involved. I have also witnessed a disastrous wedding, and heard of other marriages that should not have taken place.

Here are some lessons that I have learned:
  1. Pray about your marriage. Listen to what God tells you.
  2. Listen to your heart. Don't marry for convenience or appearances.
  3. Don't try to do it all yourself. Surround yourself with 1 or 2 people who are competent and willing to help you.
  4. Do not allow children at the wedding/reception. People don't realize how annoying a crying baby is to the bride, groom, and other guests when they refuse to take them away from the ceremony.
  5. Stay within your budget. If you told the hotel/caterers 150 people, then don't allow 50 more people to talk you into allowing them to come.
  6. You don't want to start a marriage on the shaky ground of debt. Don't spend all the money you have (and don't have) on the wedding. You will need to live after that day.
  7. Don't allow everyone to tell you what you should do. If you want a beach wedding do it. If you want to wear a green polka dot dress, then do it. It's your wedding.
  8. Don't expect someone to change after the wedding ceremony. If he didn't pick up his socks before, don't expect him to do it after the honeymoon.
  9. Don't be afraid to say no. Don't let your mama, her sisters, grandmother, and your cousins try to control your wedding. You can't please everyone.
  10. Don't put a child in your wedding who is too young to walk down the aisle alone without crying.
  11. Everyone in the wedding should look happy throughout the ceremony. The Maid of Honor should not walk down the aisle with her head down or wearing a frown. You spent too much money on dresses and other things to have people mess up the pictures.
  12. There is nothing wrong with creating your own vows. I think that writing your own vows is more sincere and causes you to actually think about your love for the other person.
  13. You can also cut out traditional phrases or segments of the ceremony that you don't like. Why do you need someone to stand up if they disagree with the marriage? They should have told you that before the wedding. You don't have to light a candle either. It's all up to you.
  14. Hire a professional photographer or designate 1 amateur (maybe an uncle) who will take good pictures and organize the photo session beforehand. You do not need 20 people taking pictures of you and telling you to look at them.
  15. Take as many pictures as you can before the ceremony. Don't make the guests wait on the bridal party to take pictures. Allow them to go to the reception area or another designated place to wait.
  16. Little girls should look like little girls. I don't like to see 3 or 4-year old flower girls who are made up to look 21 (like Jon Benet).
  17. Send thank you cards within a month of the ceremony.
  18. Start on time.
  19. A wedding is only an event. A marriage is a lifelong commitment.
  20. Have fun.

That's the end of my list for now. I plan to stick to those rules when my time comes.

Stay tuned.

Someday When I'm awfully low

When the world is cold

I will feel a glow just thinking of you

And the way you look tonight

Yes you're lovely

With your smile so warm

And your cheeks so soft

There is nothing for me but to love you

And the way you look tonight

-Frank Sinatra

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Just Say...Yes?

Ray Charles
David Ruffin
Mary J. Blige
Frankie Lymon
Rick James
George Clinton
Billie Holiday
The Beatles

Do you see a pattern?

All of these people were great artists who were addicted to drugs. I know, I know drugs are bad. I am not condoning drug use in any way. Drug free is the way to be. However, some of the greatest music of all time was created by people who had serious issues. Some of them died before they were actually recognized for their talent and hard work. Ray and Mary were able to recover and get their lives back on track, but some say their music suffered. Is that what's missing from our music today? Would songs be more meaningful and sang more soulfully if Beyonce was on crack or Chris Brown was addicted to heroine? Perhaps, older artists turned to drugs because they didn't know how to handle the demons of their past, the blatant racism, and the huge responsibility that was placed on their shoulders. They were not afforded the option of a therapist or reality show. They chose the only way they knew how to escape. Perhaps, the artists of today don't have anything heavy to write or sing about because they just haven't experienced anything.

Once again, I am not saying that anyone should use drugs for any reason. I just wanted to point out how the quality of music has changed. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the greatest music was created by people who were on something. A more important question might be why we as consumers allowed the bastardization of our music to occur and we continue to buy it.

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves
Blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
The scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather
for the wind to suck
for the sun to rot
for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
-Billie Holiday

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Other "N" Word.

The comments below this article are worth reading too.

I will talk more about my hair story later.

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within
- India Arie

I am so much more.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Beer Bash Recap

I went to the Beer Bash with my cousin. We really had a good time. I filled her in on what happened between us so she would know the history. We thought that we would not know anyone there. We both saw a couple of people we knew as soon as we got there. I was shocked to see a guy a know talking to Larry (He and Brandy set me up with Apollo). It turns out that he is Apollo's line brother. I know this guy from somewhere else. He likes me, but he's not strong enough for me. AJ told me that Brandy - The Perpetual Matchmaker- had tried to set her up with him too. We both felt the same way about him. He wasn't right for us because he was too nice. I also saw one of my friends from college. He gave me his card and told me about this birthday party he's having tomorrow. He told me to give him a call, and I reminded him of what happened the last time I called him. Some crazy woman called me back asking how I knew him and why I was calling. I don't have time for drama.

Oh, I digress.

So Apollo was walking around with a bottle of Grey Goose giving people shots. He was soooo drunk. We spoke briefly and kept flirting with each other the rest of the night. It's nice to know he still likes me and we can get along. We'll see what happens next.

I met some other people too. I think all of the men there were his frat brothers. I was hoping that they would have more than beer and they did. They had several coolers with punch too. The blue one was very tasty, so I knew I couldn't drink too much of it. It was one of those sneaky drinks. You couldn't taste or smell anything. Maybe it enhanced my dancing, maybe not. You can definitely tell that AJ and I are related by our dancing. Although I think she's probably a little better than I am at dancing. Overall, it was a good night.

It's a small world afterall
It's a small world afterall
It's a small world afterall
It's a small world afterall
-Annoying Disney Song