Chronixx in Antigua

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Reggae artiste Chronixx (right) alongside his father Chronicle performing Big Bad Sound Source: Jessica Russell (Me)

 

Chronixx performed live in Antigua for the first time at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and he was amazing. Chronixx and The Zinc Fence Band were on point like a newly sharpened pencil.

The thing I liked most about Chronixx’s performance is the fact that he sang his songs right through. If you are familiar with how many Caribbean artistes performed you’d be familiar with the notorious “pull up” and in my little bit of experience this usually winds up being anticlimactic. You want the pull up to result in the artiste going harder than before and taking you on a euphoric journey through one of your favorite songs but then you swiftly realize he/she restarted the song only to never finish it. Chronixx did do “pull ups” and went into some other reggae songs while performing which resulted in roars from the audience. He sang a little bit of Driver by one of my faves Buju Banton and Tenement Yard originally by Jacob Miller which he later redid along with Miller and Inner Circle.

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Chronixx performing in Antigua at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium Source: Me

At one point he was singing a song (I can’t remember the song’s name) and when he mentioned “Haile Selassie I” he did so in the way he sings it in Big Bad Sound which is one of my favorite songs by him. I thought at that moment he would have gone into the song just to tell you that his mash-up was just AMAZING. He wound up doing Big Bad Sound later on in his set alongside his father Chronicle who has amazing vocals which offers Barrington Levy kinda vibes.

Another thing I loved about Chronixx’s performance was the fact that he did not engage in a bag ah long talking. Meaning, he came to sing and sing he did. There were times when he did drop some information on his personal beliefs but he stayed on the path of delivering the songs people came to hear.

The first time I saw Chronixx (he did not perform then) was at a guest lecture put on by culture enthusiast and now retired lecturer Dr. Carolyn Cooper at the University of the West Indies campus in 2015 . I also saw him perform for a short time at Major Lazer in Kingston in December 2016. Seeing him now, it’s great to see how both he and myself have grown over the years. I mean, he went on to get nominated for a Grammy Award since then.

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Chronixx at Guest Lecture at UWI Mona in 2015 Source: Me

Big up to Chronixx and his band. I wish him all the best in his endeavors. His future looks pretty bright and I’m sure he is determined to reach as far as he can.

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Current Favorite Songs

I really haven’t had a decent list of songs I felt strongly enough about to write about for some time. However, I have been inspired and so I have compiled a very short list. I hope you like them.

  1. Anointed by Miguel. This song is the reason for this list. I have had this song on repeat since last night. There are points in the song where he takes it up a notch for example at 1:05 and I am feeling demigod-ish at those times. The instruments, lyrics and Miguel’s voice come together to create the divine.

 

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Insecure Season Finale

Yes, this post is hella late so let’s get right to it.

The season finale of HBO’s successful show Insecure was dubbed Hella Perspective as the show displayed what was happening in the lives of key characters- Lawrence, Molly and Issa.

 

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Lawrence showing up at the apartment he once shared with Issa. Photo from Spoiler TV

We see that Lawrence actually pursued a relationship with Aparna but he is battling insecurities as he knows that Aparna slept with a co- worker and she seems to be quite comfy with said co-worker to date. Mr. Lawrence just does not know how to be single and is walking about bruised from Issa cheating on him. He gets into an argument with Aparna in his car over her relationship with the co- worker when Aparna sees a call coming in from Issa on Lawrence’s phone and she walks out. Oh and I’m ready for Lawrence to walk out of this show because he is hella boring.

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Molly at work meeting. Photo from YouTube

Moving on, we see that Molly is back to seeing her therapist (YAY!) and decides to open up herself to the possibility of dating the brother with the “pastor’s body.” This is where I had to say nay. I saw people on social media saying that Molly should give this man a chance after the previous episode but I do not believe in forcing feelings in a relationship. Yes, be open to the possibility of doing things outside the norm but please do not force the feelings. Molly, open up yourself to possibly seeing this guy romantically but do not try to conjure something that isn’t there. All I could see coming from someone doing something like this is hurt, pain and possible cheating because you find out later on that you really are not interested in the person on that level.

Anyway, we see Molly being a good friend to Issa and the two ladies dressing up in traditional Moroccan garb (Issa got the man’s garment while Molly got the lady’s wear, lol :D) as Issa could not afford to go on an exotic vacation. We also see Sister Molly trying on some lingerie and opens the door looking like she’s ready for some action… and who’s outside the door? Dro. 😩 😩 😩 NNNNNNOOOOO!!!!! I really do not get what Molly sees in Dro. She knows she cannot have a flourishing relationship with this man so why is she still messing with him? If it is just sex, we saw that she had no issue in that department in previous episodes so she needs to just let No… I mean Dro go.

 

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Issa supporting Kelli at marathon. Photo from Colour

Then we reach Issa. Issa decidess to move in with her brother because she cannot afford the rising rent. She has to do a final walk through and her brother gives her a ride back to the old apartment. Before moving out, Issa told Lawrence that he could come and collect his “bouch” between a certain time because she wouldn’t be there. But when Issa came into the house she saw Lawrence there where they had a heart to heart discussion that many people said was needed. I’m the type of person who doesn’t need an apology to forgive or move on but Issa and Lawrence benefited from the discourse as Lawrence FINALLY said that he wasn’t ish for the past two years. #growth The two tell each other that they love each other and Lawrence begins to leave but turns around, drops on one knee, asks Issa to marry him and their future just goes on to be sunlight bright… in Issa’s head. But Lawrence bids Issa farewell in real life.

Then we see Issa showing up at someone’s house and we could foresee that living with her brother would have been problematic because he is just tew much (spelling deliberate) but when Issa shows up at the house, who answers the door? Sexy body Daniel and Issa says, “I’m sleeping on the couch” and Daniel nonchalantly responds with, “I know.”  Some persons online were disappointed in Issa “going back” to Daniel but I see no issues. She has a history with Daniel that made her feel comfortable enough to cheat on Lawrence with him, she and Lawrence are over soooooo…. what’s the problem?

Miscellaneous happenings:

  • Issa got demoted at work for failure to report Principal Gaines’ prejudice whereas Frieda got promoted.
  • Tiffany is pregnant.
  • Kelli is on a fitness journey.
  • Molly is looking for a new firm.

I think it was a good show that tied up a major loose end between Issa and Lawrence but left space for new happenings. We still don’t know if Dro is really in an open marriage, we don’t know if Issa is going to end up hurting Daniel or catching feelings for him, we don’t know if Issa is actually going to take a risk and finally get a job that pays. There are endless possibilities. I love how while this show addresses issues in the Black community as we saw with Lawrence being fetishized, unfair pay not only for women but black women and had subliminal messages with Molly sporting the “Trayvon” hoodie, I think that this show allows black women to just be women. Not role models, hood rats, prostitutes or anything extreme. Black women are portrayed as normal, regular, shmegular women and I like that.

 

My first Insecure Review

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Photo from Hidden Remote

So, I absolutely loved season 2 episode 7 of HBO’s Insecure- Hella Disrespectful. The scene opens with Issa recalling her experience to Molly of giving Daniel a blow- job and getting his semen in her face. I could tell from the low energy that Issa was giving that her reaction to what transpired between her and Daniel had a lot more to do with what was going on with her internally than what came on her. Pun intended. 🙂 Anyway, Molly tells Issa that she’s still “seeing” Dro. Issa is a bit taken aback by that but the best friends promise to stay out of each others relationship business.

Issa is headed to work and winds up sitting next to a Latino student who she sees studying for PSATs and recommends that he signs up with We Got Y’all for additional assistance and learns that Principal Gaines told the student that the program was full, bringing back to mind the problematic sentiments that Principal Gaines has about persons from the Latino community. Issa is seeing that students are being affected by his opinions because he is actively turning students away from getting needed help.

We then learn that Lawrence and “work- bae” Aparna have been seeing each other outside of work and old girl already ran ahead and told co-workers about it. To me, that seems to be problematic but Lawrence lets her down easy and tells her that he has just gotten out in a relationship and he’s trying to take things easy since he’s already made the mistake of rushing into romantic situations too soon. But Aparna does not seem to understand that people can be emotionally unavailable as throughout this episode I thought that she was doing waaaayyyy too much.

What ties everyone in the show together is a birthday party being for Derrick- Tiffany’s husband. Everyone is invited- Kelli, Molly, Dro- and dear wife, Candice, Issa and Lawrence. Tiffany did give Issa a heads up about Lawrence being at the party and Issa takes to Facebook to do a check up on him- well, she tries to do a check up because she learns that she has been blocked. Anyway, she tells Tiffany that she is a- okay about Lawrence being at the party.

Before the party, we see Issa confront Principal Gaines about him turning away students but Gaines is dismissive of Issa, saying that she can do whatever she wants with the program. We also see Aparna essentially invite herself to the party after Lawrence said he’d be late for their date because of his commitment to go to the birthday celebration. Now, I am not a social butterfly but who does this? Most people who are new to a relationship and mind you, Aparna and Lawrence barely even know each other much less to be giving each other labels and Aparna is setting herself up to go to an event with a possible love interest where his ex is going to be and the mutual friends of the former couple are going to be and that just sounds hella awkward but Aparna is all for it. We also see Dro talking to Molly and Molly showing discomfort at learning that Dro’s wifey will be at the party.

Daniel calls Issa to apologize for their situation as Issa preps to go to the party and Issa seems to be forgiving him until my boy decides to say, “I guess we’re even now.” Daniel, sometimes you just need to shut your mouth. He turned the situation right back against his favor. Issa curses Daniel out as she thinks what the incident happened on purpose and storms out into her brother’s car to head to the party. All of this foreshadows what we know will be a mess of a party.

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Photo from HBO

The party is going on and Tiffany is doing the most as per usual talking about her getting Derrick high- end Cuban cigars, Kelli is being Kelli and Molly is a mess. Molly is so shook when Candace reaches to hug her that she spills her drink and Dro’s disgusting self volunteers to get another drink for her. Anyway, when the guests begin to assemble at the table, Molly drops to sit next to Dro who pulls out her chair. However, Tiffany informs Molly that there is a system set up and Molly needs to get in formation and sit at her designated seat. Shortly after everyone is seated including Issa, Lawrence walks in with Aparna. Lawrence says that he didn’t know the event would be that formal but he opts to stay and introduces Aparna who tries to drop a cringe- worthy joke about being the random girl to show up.

Throughout the night, there is conversation that indicated to me that Lawrence didn’t really have an identity or anything going for him. He’s asked how he knows the hosts and his response is- he knew them through Issa. There’s a conversation going on about a building close to Issa’s apartment and Issa and Lawrence identify the place simultaneously as Popeye’s. All of this had me side- eyeing Aparna because how could you not feel uncomfortable in this situation?  After Tiffany raises a toast to her man who she loves so much, Issa walks out to be followed by Derrick. Aparna, girl can you not see that this guy isn’t over his ex?

Anyway, when Lawrence approaches Issa and begins to apologize for bringing along Aparna (which I thought was sweet) Issa starts insulting Lawrence and telling him that he’s full of shit and Lawrence responds with Issa cheating on him but Lawrence is not much better because he has also ran over people’s feelings like Tasha and he’s about to do the same to Aparna in my estimation. I don’t condone cheating but the older I get, the more I realize that cheating isn’t black and white. To me, Lawrence was campaigning really hard for dat knuckle (Antiguan term for cheating.) There is nothing attractive about a man sitting at home not doing ish and not being ish while your partner supports both of you. I don’t think that Lawrence and Issa have to get back together but I want them to be able to take responsibility for their actions and grow from it. Anyway, Lawrence throws the lowest of blow by calling Issa a ho shortly before Miss. Aparna runs in on them and Lawrence and her take off who he winds up kissing later on (he’s out to do more damage.)

In other news, Dro and Molly meet up in the bathroom and Molly is like, “OMG, you and your wife look so good together.” And Dro continues to fill Molly’s mind with sweet nothings by saying that despite how he and his wife may look together he and Molly are still “us”. Like what the hell does that even mean? After their rendezvous, Dro advises Molly to wait back to get out of the bathroom to avoid raising an alarm.  Now, that would have made me feel like trash if I was Molly and I would be even more suspicious about this “open marriage” situation because if they are open about their doings why is it that we are creeping around? Do the rules of their relationship stipulate that they don’t mess with people the other partner knows? And in any event, I would still find it shady that he is having sex with me while his wife is literally in the other room. That indeed is hella disrespectful, open relationship or not.

Issa goes home to find that there is a pending rent increase and winds up smashing her apartment in sheer frustration. It also made me think that she could have been saving money during the time she was supporting Lawrence and although she did cheat. But through it all you could sense Issa being utterly dissatisfied with her life and just needing to get it all out and I can relate to that.

This episode was the best that I’ve seen and was a redeeming factor as some episodes this season had the characters being absolutely insufferable. However, this episode just showed them as frail, hurt humans trying to maneuver this thing called life and made me tolerant of the missteps that they have taken.

Equal rights and justice for all…

 

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Photo from European Movement International.

In the bedroom that is. Dancehall artiste Ishawna has come out to say something that has probably been on the minds of many women. Ishawna declares in her song, “Equal Rights” that she can go lick for lick with a man in the bedroom. If a man wants oral sex, he by all means should be willing to “deal with me like a bag juice.”  The song, as you can imagine has caused major backlash on social media, primarily by men might I add, with some saying that the song is “promoting slackness” and that it promotes whore like behavior. :|This just goes to show the lack of logic undertaken by men who blindly follow the rules and regulations of masculinity in the Caribbean and namely in Jamaica. How does a woman requesting that she receives equal pleasure to what she is giving her partner equate to whoring? Why does a woman’s vagina that has been sang about in many different ways by male artistes suddenly become the most repulsive thing, especially when a man in most cases would be down for getting a blow job? Now, I am not suggesting that you have to be into oral sex; if it’s not your thing, fine. If your girl does not want you to “chew on her like French fries” but she will give you a “shine”… cool. But if you are in a relationship and you like fellatio, why is it that returning the favor is abominable? Why is it that by all means, you must stick to the rules of manliness laid out by men whose sexual lives you do not know?

 

 

Some guys would say, they wouldn’t share a spliff with their male friends because they don’t know if their friends “bow.” But have any of these men stopped to think, the young lady that is doing such a great job at shining their rifle, just might be that good at it because she has done it before? So some men have no reservations about sharing a spliff with a woman who just may have had some penises in her mouth before but a man who has sucked a vagina is gross? Some men want to look so macho to other men it sometimes makes me wonder which side of the fence they are on.

Gage made a song about fellatio in 2014 and it did cause a buzz, actually it’s the only song that I can name from the artiste and the song raised interest but the outrage of oral sex being performed on a  man being unacceptable was not a sentiment that I remember coming across. Even now when I look back at comments on the song’s video, the song received positive comments from both sexes. But, how dare a woman in 2017 come out and say that for a man to get head he must service her first? Criminal, isn’t it? I don’t believe that in changing times and globalization that every trend that comes out a person has to subscribe to, but, double standards should be erased. The notion of the “ever- blessed pum pum” that has been praise by many in the dancehall sphere and entered into without a shield of protection is something that is mentioned in numerous dancehall songs but don’t you get your lips close to it although your woman has made your day by pleasing you with her mouth, because her genitalia is dirty. Remember, blood comes from there… even though urine comes from your penis.

The outrage is rooted in  sexism to me. I know that everyone is  quick to play social justice warrior now and look for something to be mad about but I am not mad. As I have said before, I have no problem with a man not wanting to give his woman oral sex provided that he does not expect to receive it and if for whatever reason a woman is fine with not getting cunnilingus performed on her for whatever reason but is willing to go down on her man- I see nothing wrong with that. It’s the hypocrisy in men receiving blowjobs and accepting it as a norm but demonizing women receiving the same that irks me. #EqualRightsandJusticeforAll

Are you pressed by self- governing women?

We doing this or wah ?!? 👙: @_mariecollette_

A post shared by Kaci Fennell (@kacifen) on

Jamaican beauty queen, Kaci Fennell is in Trinidad for Carnival and appears to be more than ready for the road. Fennell, who placed fourth in the 2014 Miss Universe pageant posted the above picture to her Instagram feed that seems to have raised the ire of many. Foota Hype (a Jamaican personality) decided to take it upon himself to repost Kaci’s image with the caption, ” don’t care if this is miss Jamaica or miss world this nuh look good u favor ediot carnival mek u degrade uself exposing uself smfh better u did come a one dance Inna one batty rider” and then added  #ilovedancehall

The cultural issues that seem to be involved with Jamaicans embracing Carnival I will not get into because I simply can’t relate. In many Caribbean islands, the festival is put on by the government and is embedded in the culture  whereas in Jamaica, the “franchise” is privately owned and seems to cause a divide between different social strata so the implications of some Jamaicans being Carnival fans while not embracing dancehall culture is something that I am able to speak on.

However, what I will address is how perturbed some people are with the decisions that grown women make in their own lives. Kaci, in her clap back to Foota’s statement said that she wore her outfit for her- not for the sake of anyone else. However, some people seemed to believe that Kaci did not have the autonomy to make such a call. In comments on news and social media sites, some stated that  Kaci as a married woman ought to dress better. One person asked, “Would you feel good to know that your daughter or wife dresses this way?” But why is it that some seemed to overlook whether Kaci, the person actually sporting the ensemble felt comfortable in what she was wearing? Why did the morality of what she had on have to lie with someone other than her? I don’t get it. If you do not like the outfit, fine. If you found it to be distasteful, fine. But what made other persons qualified to dictate what a woman should wear? Why should a woman be obligated to put the feelings of others over her own in choosing her attire?

To whom it may concern, I never respond to hate like this but something inside me couldn't allow myself to see this and brush it off like I usually do, especially with what our women have been going through recently. I have grown to completely ignore comments like these. This type of man here is a big part of the problem we are currently facing, not everything I do will be accepted by everyone and there is nothing wrong with that, the problem lies with this person believing he has the authority to comment or even dictate how a woman should carry herself. Instead of celebrating us they tear us down, this type of man makes women second guess themselves and that is absolutely unacceptable because our women are heaven sent and it saddens me that situations like this lower their self esteem. I wore this for me! I felt so beautiful and sexy (thank you @mariecollete) at no point was I seeking for anyone else's approval but my own and that's how it should be always. To any one out there that has been a victim of cyber bullying I just wanted to let you know that you are loved, you are wonderfully made, you are beautiful, you are a masterpiece…. Don't you ever let another person ever make you feel otherwise. Continue to be yourself no matter what negativity may come your way. Wait till him see what I wearing tomorrow đŸ€” Ps. I love dancehall, when have I ever said I didn't ?!? 🙈

A post shared by Kaci Fennell (@kacifen) on

Kaci’s response to Foota’s comments.

I am so over men taking their fastness and feeling that because they have a bit of flesh hanging beneath them, they are automatically some kind of oracle  and ought to be enlightening the rest of us earthlings on how we should live and conduct ourselves. Foota openly admitted on On Stage to hitting the mother of his child, dancehall artiste, Ishawna. The manner in which he spoke of the subject made it seem as if he believed it was the most natural thing for a man to hit a woman that he is in “relationship” with. Imagine that a man that is so openly depraved found it within himself to be worthy of speaking on what is correct women’s behaviour. 😩

The mere fact that Foota Hype could be so open about committing domestic abuse while wanting to play dress code police for a woman made me wonder about the potential faults of the persons who commented that they shared Foota’s sentiments. We can be so quick to think that we have the right to dictate how strangers should be without taking into mind our own flaws and without considering others’ family background, education, social circles and a myriad of things that cause people to put together their own standards which are subject to change over time.

This article was timely because of the issue with Kaci Fennell, but it is not just about her. It is about women who swear and are told it’s not ladylike; it’s about women who maybe just want to have sex and go about their business. They don’t want a relationship. It’s about women who may not dress traditionally feminine; it’s about the women who cannot throw down in the kitchen; the woman  who seems to be unable to grow long hair while society teaches her that it is what she should aim for;  this is about the tall girls who feel insecure and afraid to wear heels because they are taught that they should be smaller than a man and therefore less threatening. There is so much that a woman is expected to be that seems to cater more to the egos of men than to her own well-being. Women are not a monolith. We do not share the same standards nor do we share the same stories. We have different interests and some of us whether we are married or single want to go to Trinidad and wine up with our butts hanging out. This may not be your cup of tea and that’s fine. You will not be forced to participate but the throwing around of expectations of what a woman should and should not do especially by people who do not know her personally ought to stop. We can argue that we just want the “best for someone” and that’s why we give unsolicited advice but sometimes we really need to know our place and back off. Kaci has a husband, family and friends. I’m sure that the persons closest to her have her best interests at heart and she like many of us would prefer to hear recommendations from people who we have proven to really be looking out for us.

We can make our own decisions. Please respect that.

Do you esteem the Grammy Awards or nah?

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Adele at the 2017 Grammy Awards (Source: Getty Images)

Did you watch the Grammy’s on Sunday night? I didn’t. But the aftermath of the awards show did catch my attention. There were persons who were perturbed that their fave, BeyoncĂ©, once again was denied the Album of the Year Award for her offering entitled “Lemonade.” Even Adele, who won the award for her 2015 album “25”, seemed to protest receiving the award by lauding BeyoncĂ©’s work over her own in her acceptance speech and breaking the award in half.

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Beyoncé performing at the 2017 Grammy Awards (Source: Getty Images)

On Twitter, I recall seeing a tweet that said something like this, “BeyoncĂ© being snubbed is evidence that a Black woman has to work twice as hard for half as what a white woman has.” Is that 140 characters? Anyway, there were many tweets that expressed such sentiments and it brought feelings of  dĂ©jĂ  vu as I believed that we traveled this road in the not so distant past. In 2015, when Beck was awarded with the Album of the Year Award for “Morning Phase” there was much unrest online. Beck’s Wikipedia page was altered to include him being an award thief and Kanye West ranted about Black people not being appreciated for their art. Or what about the famous #oscarssowhite, which was a response to Black actors being omitted from being nominated for the best actor in lead and supporting roles for the second year in a row?

Do you remember Jada Pinkett- Smith saying that begging removes dignity? Although some may doubt Pinkett-Smith’s genuineness as it seemed that her call for the boycott could have been triggered solely by her husband not being nominated… She made a good point. Begging for something does remove dignity and at the end of the day an award tends to be different from a reward. You work hard for something, you may get promoted, a raise in pay and respect from your peers. But an award is something that whoever the body giving the “honor” has the absolute right to give to whomever it sees as fit or not to give that award at all. I understand that challenging the status quo has caused us as Black people to overcome many obstacles set against us and gain basic human rights that we deserve. But the “right” to an award is not something that I see as falling under that category. It seems as if we have not grown weary of becoming black and blue every time that we run to be acknowledged by a predominantly white audience and are pushed back with disdain in rejection. If BeyoncĂ© was to win the Album of the Year Award for whatever her next album will be, will you be able to sleep better at night? Have you ever done the absolute most to get into something deemed as exclusive and when you get it, you’re like, “This is it? This is what I was killing myself about?”

And then, there are some people, Black people, who genuinely do not believe that BeyoncĂ© deserved Album of the Year Award. I saw tweets and retweets from Black people that said they would put on an Adele album before a BeyoncĂ© album. Does that mean that they are haters or self-hating? Although that in the world of social media policing it can seem as if we should suffer from the spiral of silence that shames us into pretending to have opinions we truly don’t have- there are some who are bold enough to say that they don’t think BeyoncĂ© is all that. So maybe the members of The Recording Academy genuinely do not think she is deserving of the Album of the Year Award and those opinions maybe do not necessarily fall on a standard set by race. I’m just saying.

Now, there is Adele who broke her award which has been interpreted as her extending a half to BeyoncĂ© because she felt that BeyoncĂ© was the rightful winner… But why was Adele at the Grammy’s? Was it not to be awarded by the actual academy? I do believe that Adele had the best of intentions but in reality, the reason why people- Adele included esteem the Grammy’s is because they find it to be an incredible honor to be recognized for their work in the industry by the academy which consists of a group of people who may not necessarily share popular opinion.

So despite the outrage and probably as evidenced by the outrage… people still want that Grammy. And artistes and fans alike find it to be a great distinction. The reasons for esteeming the Grammy’s while gazing condescendingly at the BET Awards however is to determined.

Celebrating Black Musicians

I decided to make a post about Black musicians because I think that the arts throughout history have been a way of documenting where we are as human beings and capturing the mood of an era.

This will be a short list but I hope you learn something new, are inspired and look up some of the tracks mentioned.

 

Nat King Cole

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Nat King Cole 1919-1965 (Source: mtv)

I remember listening to a Christmas song  when I was a little girl and hearing my mother say, “That’s Nat King Cole nuh” and for some reason, I asked, “Is he Black?” And my mother responded with, “Yes.” I swelled with pride to know that this Black man with an incredibly smooth voice was singing this “old time music.” It helped me visualize Black people doing normal things in times that were so oppressive. Yes, Blacks were living and making incredible music with their incredible talents back then too.

Cole initially rose to fame as a jazz pianist and transitioned into  a pop icon.Cole, most notably known for songs “Unforgettable” and “L-O-V-E”, was the first Black person to host a variety show series in 1956.

 

Louis Armstrong

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Louis Armstrong 1901- 1971 (Source: Wallpaperscraft)

Heello Dolly! This is Louissss, Dolly! Louis Armstrong is a legend in jazz music. The renown trumpeter and charismatic singer also known as “Satchmo” (for his unusually large mouth that was said to be like a satchel bag) or “Pops” was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is probably best known for his songs, “What a wonderful world” and “La vie en rose.” Gritty voiced Armstrong was the first Black man to host a nationally aired radio show in the 1930s and the first jazz musician to grace the cover of Times magazine in 1949.

Louis Armstrong is one of the greatest jazz influencers having impacted the likes of jazz great Billie Holiday.

Bille Holiday

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Billie Holiday 1915-1959 (Source: AP)

Billie Holiday born Eleanora Fagan was as troubled as she was talented. However, maybe her talent could be partially attributed to the troubles she endured. Lady Day as she was sometimes called was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had a tumultuous upbringing- her father abandoned her family, she was raped at 10 and had turned to prostitution as a teen. However, as a teen, she also discovered jazz music and became one of the most prominent jazz figures of all time. If you’ve ever listened to a record by Holiday, you’ll her the pain and passion in her voice. Her style was distinctive as she delivered songs injected with emotion like no other could. Some of her most memorable songs are “Strange Fruit,” and “God bless the child.” Holiday sadly  had a habit of abusing heroin that led to her untimely death at the age of 44.

 

Nina Simone

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Nina Simone 1933- 2003 (Source: JazzSign/ Lebrecht Music& Arts/ Corbis)

Nina Simone was a brilliant pianist, singer and song- writer that was dubbed the voice of the Civil Rights Movement. Simone famously penned the song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” after being inspired by the Black playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. She also recorded the song “Why? The King of Love is Dead” following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Simone also recorded renditions of the songs “I loves you, Porgy,” and “Love me or leave me.”

 

 

What’s your fantasy?

Jasmine Tookes also known as “Bae” to me will be wearing the Fantasy Bra in this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I learnt of Jasmine’s good fortune in a video on social media showing Jasmine being on a shoot with the Victoria’s Secret crew only to find out that she would be wearing the bra. It was quite evident that Jasmine was ecstatic to be chosen to wear the undergarment. Tookes found out she would be wearing the bra in May, however, it remained a secret until last week.

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Jasmine Tookes poses with $3 million “Bright Night” Fantasy Bra designed by Eddie Borgo.

Jasmine’s excitement  about wearing the expensive piece had me thinking that our dreams really are what we make them. Jasmine was excited for the opportunity because it was something she always wanted and worked towards. Sometimes, people try to belittle our dreams, sometimes out of jealousy and their own insecurities but sometimes… people just don’t get us. Being chosen to walk in a heavily encrusted bra may be considered a minor feat to some, nothing to glory about, but it can mean the world to someone else.

So, what I recommend is that you go after your dreams with vigour. You know what you want and what makes you happy more than anyone else does and  you should not feel that you need the validation of others to pursue your dreams. Be fearless and live your fantasy.

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