The Nonchalance of the Social Blogger

On August 23,The last song that played on my MP3 was  Chris Brown’s “Just Fine.”  By the morning of  August 24, nothing would be just fine. Upon waking I read on several news,social media sites, and blogs that a shooting had occurred at Chris Brown’s 1oak VMA party last night.

The story had minor nuances and major differences from one news outlet to another-as expected in a story such as this one. I appointed my browser to http://www.NecoleBitchie.com, to read the comments regarding the events .NecoleBitchie readers always seem to post the funniest,poignant and sometimes ridiculous comments. Before I read the comments, I decided to read the post and was totally disturbed by Necolebitchie’s blatant disregard for the (proposed) Blogger’s Code of Ethics .

With the continuing prominence of social media and the blog era, the blogosphere stands divided on if a Blogger’s Code of Ethics is necessary or enforced. I feel it is necessary to call out these violations. NecoleBitchie’s disclaimer on her site’s contact press page states ,” Disclaimer: This is a blog site, not a news site. All posts are based on my opinions and thoughts on what may already be reported in the media. I am not a journalist nor do I aspire to be. I am a blogger who created this site as a hobby. And yes, I am bias. I only report on artists/celebrities that I like or find interesting. Thanx – Necole .”  The disclaimer itself violates various standards of blogger ethics.Is bias ever ethical? Should opinion or armchair journalism be consumed as truth  ?Whether identifiable as a  journalist or veteran blogger Necole Bitchie,real name Nicole Kane, should realize often a blog is the only news some readers may come across. So that news needs to be truth and the rest clearly stated as opinion.

Ethic Violation: Tell the truth at all times.

Let’s focus back to the particular article in scrutiny though. Majority of the  article-headline and all- is focused on Chris Brown being shot at and the target of the 1oak shooting. There were Instagram clips (videos have been removed) of brown standing on the table during the shooting and the Necolebitchie.com caption (also removed) stated that Chris was confronting one of the shooters. The video and  screen caps are so grainy one wouldn’t be able to  identify Chris brown, if it weren’t for his trademark blond ‘do.  So how and why was it being reported that Chris was talking to the shooters in the midst of the shooting?  This statement is purely ridiculous speculation  at  best. Also if Chris Brown was the target, he would’ve been a very clear target.

Ethic Violation: Be critical of everything,(even your self). Tell the truth at all times.

Halfway down the page, the story takes another point of focus. Apparently, rapper The Game and his friends got into an altercation with 1oak security. Reports state The Game left the scene and his friends stayed to party.The Bitchie post continues ” They may have turned the rapper(The Game) away because of a previous, decade-old feud with Suge Knight, who was inside at the time.”  Here’s the real story: An ongoing riff between rival gangs  result in the shooting of Suge Knight at Chris Brown’s album release/pre-Vma party. NecoleBitchie is very irresponsible for posting a story, which makes Chris Brown the focal point. Anyone with a brain would know that other than Chris Brown’s name being associated with the event, this story is not about him at all.  Necole knew that by spinning the story her site would get more hits. Interestingly enough, her readers aren’t that gullible. Countless comments point out the shooting was caused by obvious drama between Knight and Game.

The Suge Knight shooting story  on that particular blog is just one example of why bloggers need a Code of Ethics, especially when reporting news stories. Though many bloggers don’t claim to be journalist, they are in fact armchair journalist. If your informative writing is going to be consumed by an audience, one should honor a code of ethics. Without a code of ethics,there’s really not much difference between gossip blogs and fiction.

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27

Today, I thank God for 27 years of  life. For me birthdays are more reflective and personally significant than New Years’. As I look back on my journey thus far, I wander what are some things a woman should know/do. This list includes some insight to important ideas and tasks I have gathered along the way.

*Cooking skills- Everyone is not going to be as capable as the next. But, that’s ok. Here are my tips:

1. Season thorougly 2. Cook Thoroughly 3. Don’t  Burn 4. Cook with Love

Thanks to my mom and granny for passing the desire and the love of cooking to my sister and I.

*Be strong!

*Keep it clean – Yourself,your home,your car,your attitude,your spirit.

*Know your history.

* Separate the real,from the bullshit.

*Be prepared to dress for any occasion.

*Know your values and beliefs, BEFORE you get into a situation that challenges them.

*Lively up yourself! – At  least be capable of: styling your own hair from its own NATURAL state, give yourself a mani and pedi, facial, and shape your own brows. Even if you choose to utilize the service of professionals,you never know when you may have to rely on yourself to get these things done.

*Be vigilant.Never get so comfortable you stop paying attention,especially in unfamiliar territories.

*No fear of  work- work outside home,inside home, work/learn to make yourself better at all times.

This is not a definitive lists.Some of these things I have mastered,others are still a work in progress. Anymore suggestion?  Please add in the comment section.

It’s Funny How Money Changes Situations: The Err of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill at Central Park

Lauryn Hill at Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s funny how money changes situations
Miscommunication leads to complication
My emancipation don’t fit your equation

– Lost Ones, Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

On August 13, The US Marshalls Service released Lauryn Hill’s mug shot to the public. The mug shot was taken in June when  Hill pleaded guilty to three counts of tax evasion. She reportedly did not file taxes for the  years 2005-2007 and could be facing up to three years in jail.  Ms. Hill’s reasoning  for not paying taxes maintains ,“I left a more mainstream and public life, in order to wean both myself, and my family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it…If it had not been able to make contact with, and establish this community, my life, safety and freedom, would have been directly affected as well as the lives, safety and freedom of my family.  Failure to create a non toxic, non exploitative environment was not an option,” she wrote on her tumblr page in June.

Hill’s accusation against the entertainment industry is no paradigm. She is not the first mega-celebrity to make such negative assertions about the entertainment enterprise, particularly concerning the music monopoly. Michael Jackson,Mariah Carey, and Dave Chapelle have all stepped away from the limelight in order to loosen the controlling grips of the evils of the industry. After the stars’ social and/or physical retreats they were promptly labeled as crazy. This is no coincidence. All the stars in this list have achieved great success in their respective areas, so taking a break when the pressures got overwhelming would seem a fitting thing to do. But, because of the relentless grip of contractual agreements and not-so-secret entities in Showbiz these awesome achievers are humiliated and threatened. Faced with losing all signs of soul and self, they flee. Thus, the case of Lauryn Hill.

Lauryn Hill has some great points to why she left the mainstream and subsequently did not pay taxes. Attempting to protect her own and her family’s freedom and  quest for sanctity are very noble reasons to run and hide. There’s one major issue though: THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN MONEY.  Even though Lauryn stated that she took a respite from it all, physically she still resided in the US and earned wages here. When it comes to taxes, we’re all playing THEIR game. I just know she didn’t she think she was gonna make over $1.5 million, not pay the government their share, and get away with it. This is why her actions are confusing. I totally get that she was making a stand by recoiling, but not paying taxes makes her more than a rebel. It makes L-Boogie fodder for perpetuated persecution against all perceived threats. Unless she’s yelling “Baby I gotcha money” her rationalizations will fall on the IRS’ deaf ears.

Consequence is no coincidence,Hypocrites always want to play innocent
Always want to take it to the full out extent
Always want to make it seem like good intent
Never want to face it when it’s time for punishment 

I wonder if Lauryn Hill could, would she revisit some of her old rhymes to recapture the knowledge that lies there? Lauryn originally wrote these words for the oppressor, unfortunately the state of her situation will cause these words to be discombobulated in order to destroy her.

Now you wanna bawl over separation
Tarnish my image in your conversation

The biggest concern and loss in this situation is in consideration of the fate of her children. Yes,  she valiantly shield them from the evils of Hollywood in those non-taxpaying years. But, what now? If she goes to prison, will her kids not suffer? Is this movement worth the damage her kids may inherit by their mom going to jail?  Sounds like a lost one.

Happy Birthday Devin : )

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Happy Birthday!

32 years ago today, God blessed Lois and Benjamin Alarcon with their son (my fiance)Devin Benjamin Alarcon. It’s mind-boggling to consider that all of our little lives start out so new. A seemingly blank slate with endless possibilities. Lord willing, we all grow up – and with purpose.  Though some people may have a hard time finding their purpose; Devin’s journey shows he’s here on Earth for a reason!

In honor of his birthday, I am going to list 32 character strengths,quirky things, and fun facts about Devin. After you read this, you’ll  understand what makes the birthday boy so great!

Thirty-two Devinesque Items

32. He’s a dreamer – “Wake up, dreamer” is something I’m always  saying to Devin. Sometimes I”ll notice him,eyes adrift,  and I can only surmise he’s on a thought cloud. He told me that he used to daydream so much as a child, his brother used to pull him out of the street mid-daydream. This quote perfectly explains Devin’s penchant for dreaming:

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.

-Edgar Allen Poe

31. Sense of  humor – He is crazy-goofy. Devin is always telling jokes,funny stories, or talking in weird voices.

30.  Handy – If there’s a door that needs to be fixed,closet that needs organizing or reinforced,a computer desk that must be assembled, a car battery that needs to be installed. He can and WILL do it!

29. Smart – There’s a big brain in there. Trust me.

28. Thoughtful – That big,smart brain causes Devin to be full of thought. Not to be confused with his daydreaming.

27. Goal-oriented –  Devin is steadily achieving his goals one step at a time. He’s currently taking California Architect Licensing Exam.

26. Action – is a driving force in Devin’s quest for achieving his goals and changing the world for the better. He has started his own business Carson CAD Drafting,volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

25. A great artist – Superheros.Drafting houses. Me as a South Park character. Awesome!

24. Cool musician – Devin plays a mean guitar – bass,acoustic,electric.

23. Handsome – (See pictures)  ;  )

22.Patience- If an issue is lingering, Devin has no issue being still and letting a problem resolve on its own.

21. Leader –  All of these attributes above and below are what make Devin an ideal leader. He’s also…

20. Tactful – Devin knows how to approach a difficult situation with care, precision, and discretion.

19. Courageous – He never runs from a problem, he instead faces them head-on.

18. Adventurous-  Devin loves to try new restaurants with weird foods, travel to far-away lands, and take-on professional  challenges .

17. Cheerful – He not only has a great sense of humor, but carries a bright spirit everywhere he goes.

16. Generous – Devin will give his time and/or his last dime, if  he notices someone has a need he can fulfill.

15. Hardworking – Along with taking the CALE, Devin has been working as a drafter with a Long Beach architecture firm for 9 years. He always has professional and personal projects on his plate. I often wander if he’s hiding, extra  minutes in his day.

14. Humble – To really see how humble Devin is, I will be very amused to see him try to refute or undermine these characteristics and accomplishments.

13. Mature – I can simply joke about our five year age difference, but that is not an issue. Devin is wise beyond his years and    often shows me how to take on life with his similar brand of maturity.

12. Dependable – Devin is never late. Always  does for you, even before you know you need something.

11. Calm – Rarely upset and never for too long. When I’m flipping off the wall crazy over something, he’s always there too lend me some of his cool.

10. Interest in knowledge/education – He’s perpetually studying developments in the field of architecture,religious doctrine and artifacts, and current events.

9. Encouraging – Devin is also assertive in others interest in knowledge and bettering one’s self. He is always pushing me to do my best in striving towards my professional, fitness, and spiritual development goals.

8.Charismatic – Very cool, very charming. This characteristic is why I coined the term devinesque . <<< If you must know more.

7. Innovative-  I’ve already discussed how good Devin is with fixing things and enhancing lives in the process, but there’s more. If necessary, he will invent a new approach in order to tackle the issue.

6. Family love – Through his actions he shows his love for his mom,dad,brothers,nieces and nephews. He also is very loving towards my family as well. And you know what they say, you can tell a lot about someone by the way they interact with family.

5. Observant/detail oriented –  I think the artistic side of Devin is what makes him appreciate nuances that are unnoticeable to most.

4. Personable – He is the good-looking guy with a great demeanor AND a warm spirit (I can go on and on).

3. Devoted – Even for the most minimal thing, Devin gives his all. All the time.

2. Loves me – The past 2.5 years have been great fun. But, other than that he tirelessly expresses his love to me  verbally  and through his actions every day.

1. Loves Jesus Christ! – This is the most important thing to know about Devin, above all. I know without Christ there would be no Christlike love; and our relationship would not exist in the depth that it does. I thank God for bringing Devin into my life. I thank God everyday that my Devin knows HIM.

Chick-fil-hate? : Something to Crow About

 

August 1, Mike Huckabee’s proclaimed Chicken Appreciation Day is a success.  The Christian owned Chick-fil-a chain’s 1600 stores were packed nationwide. Here’s the feet-n-feathers on chicken, religion,politics, and free speech.

Hatching the Idea

S. Truett Cathy built his business on Christian values, since the first Chick-fil-a opened in 1967. The company ‘s official statement declares their purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” Cathy’s beliefs are also responsible for one of the chain’s distinctive features: All Chick-fil-a locations are closed on Sundays,Thanksgiving, and Christmas. S.T. Cathy stated,”Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business.”

Since 1967, Chick-fil-a has maintained its position in upholding Christian values-why would same-sex marriage be any different?

Stick Your Neck Out  

 Dan Cathy,son of Truett Cathy,serves as President and Chief Operating Officer at Chick-fil-a (a position he has held since 2001). On July 24,2012 the younger Cathy shared his views on same-sex marriage with a Baptist communication. Cathy stated he supports the biblical definition of marriage- a union between a man and a woman.After this statement, Dan Cathy reinforced his stance on the Ken Coleman show by saying “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.”

Along with D. Cathy’s reasoning, the process of REdefining marriage is non-sense for various reasons. Same-sex couples have commitment ceremonies. Their push for marriage seems to go against the very thing they are trying to avoid. To redefine marriage as anything other than marriage, would be as disastrous as swapping the definition of two random words.Let’s try car and pineapple for example:I am going to drive my pineapple today, while eating my car. Then,I’m going to get my pineapple washed and make a car smoothie. But, only if I don’t get into a pineapple accident.See? It .Just Doesn’t. Work. You can’t call something, something that it is is not.

Putting Up a Squawk/Egg on Your Face

 Of course, when Cathy’s stance was publicized and reinstated the LBGT communities were not happy. LBGT individuals and corporate/supporters voiced their disagreement through social media and news outlets. The issue became a movement when Former Governor Mike Huckabee took to his Facebook proclaiming August 1 as Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day,taking a stand not only  for religious freedom but for freedom of speech as well. “This is something not just for Chick-fil-A but for America, and for people who believe the First Amendment applies to everyone, including Christians,” he said.

Sidebar: I hope President Obama is taking notes. In this Chick-fil-a scenario there’s  an individual,a corporate organization, and political leader taking a stance and not wavering. Not switching teams (pun intended) when it’s convenient or popular. Yes, they are faced with persecution but they are well aware and prepared for such. 2 Timothy 3:12 states, “ In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” It’s ironic how hard Barack Obama fought to prove he’s a natural citizen, including repeatedly identifying himself as Christian (not Muslim). Then, because it’s an election year completely fly the coop on such a fundamentally Christian issue. To me, that’s a million times more deplorable than anything Cathy could say.

Strutting Around Like a Banty Rooster

 While gay support is on the rise, so is discrimination against groups labeled as anti-gay. The homosexual agenda is being served on a platter and at times it feels as if nothing can be done about it. The culture’s constantly celebrating who’s out of the closet and all things gay. Even  Kindergarten teachers are being trained and expected to teach about homosexuality. While everyone is being forced to be tolerant to homosexuals, are they being sympathetic towards non-gays? The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is rallying August 3rd as National Same-Sex Kiss Day to be held at Chick-fil-a restaurants nationwide. Again, tolerance is not a one-way street.

Raise Your Hackled Feathers

Chick-fil-a was crowded today, but where are people when it’s time to vote ?  Where are the masses of Christians when this chaotic world desperately needs to hear about God?  Why are Christians reluctant to stand up for their beliefs in a country formed off those same core beliefs?

C’mon!  Everyone knows you have to break eggs to get an omelet!

ORANGE FOR ALL: IN DEPTH REVIEW OF FRANK OCEAN’S DEBUT ALBUM

“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.” -Wener Herzog

On July 3 Frank Ocean scared his monster out the closet, by blowing the lid off  his sexuality in a Tumblr post proclaiming his first love to be a man.  Before  THE LETTER, he was already being heralded as the next up-and-coming r&b/hip-hop collaborator/experimental/singer/songwriter. After THE LETTER the vastness of Ocean’s recognition and impact has reached tsunami status. His perceived openness has created a catatonic drone of Ocean devotees; his Twitter followers have increased by the tens of thousands. The scrambled screen cult-following literally happened overnight.  Unleashed as well is his monster ability of unique songwriting and make-believe.With the release of channel ORANGE, July 9, Ocean fans will have more reason to stare at the screen which is the window into Frank’s world.

On October 28,1987 the New Orleans native was born Christopher “Lonny” Breaux . After Katrina’s destruction in 2005, Lonny Breaux moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. He joined Los Angeles group Odd Future in 2009. Later that year he was signed to Def Jam.In 2010, he changed his name from Christopher Breaux to Christopher Francis William Ocean via a legal website. As Frank Ocean he has written songs   for artists such as Justin Bieber, John Legend, and Beyonce – to name a few. He also appeared on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s 2011 collaborative album “Watch the Throne”.Ocean also released two mixtapes in 2011- The Lonny Breaux Collection and Nostalgia Ultra.The latter garnered undeniable critical and public acclaim.

Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia forced the public to realize the potential of the gifted song-writer as a talented solo artist. It was special  for many reasons.Despite his work with some of the industry’s best, he was relatively an unknown artist and still not intimidated by future expectations. Nostalgia also could not be placed into a specified genre, thus encompassing many genres seamlessly. And best of all,  Frank’s songwriting and storytelling skills were phenomenally revealed.

The next phase became channel ORANGE.

Ocean said of the album’s meaning  “It succinctly defines me as an artist for where I am right now and that was the aim. It’s about the stories. If I write 14 stories that I love, then the next step is to get the environment of music around it to best envelop the story and all kinds of sonic goodness.”

channel ORANGE is a kaleidoscope of vivid imagery, humor-filled skits,and angst fueled laments. The 17-track offering serves as an outlet for political and socioeconomic commentary: highlighting crooked cops, the obtrusive division of social classes,spirituality,drug addiction, sexuality, and finding and losing one’s self simultaneously.

TRACK-BY-TRACK BREAKDOWN

The intro entitled Start gears the listener up for the adventure to the sound of Frank loading up his Playstation 1. If that’s not nostalgic…

The dreamy and falsetto-laced primary single,Thinkin Bout You, is rumored to be one of the song’s written about Ocean’s same-sex infatuation. Initially the song was written and recorded for an artist named Bridget Kelly. But Frank delivered the song so perfectly the song wound up on his album and hers.

Fertilizer,another flash interlude, has few words other than “I’ll take bullshit if that’s all you got.” In life and relationships a person is often in a crappy (pun intended) situation. The beauty in the predicament comes not from tolerance but the ability to be fortified from the ruins.

In the form of spoken word and concurrent singing, Frank Ocean gives parenting advice to a fictional younger version of himself on Sierra Leon.

The second orange single, Sweet Life ,is a jazzy mid-tempo nod to the kids “livin in Ladera Heights, the black Beverly Hills.” Little do they know the comforts of  living a life so glucose filled will get them nowhere outside of that environment. They must choose to stay in a realm of the surreal or face doom.

Not for the Money is one of the funniest,unexpected,yet complex tidbits on the album. This interlude consists of someone’s mom (yours,mines,Frank’s) fussin’ out her materialistic child, who refuses to understand their fragile financial state. Yet, he keeps requesting to do or have things that cost money. Not for the Money serves as a great connection and contrast between Sweet Life and the next song.

I know without a doubt the Super Rich Kids party with the Sweet Life crew. Perhaps, they are the fake friends who talk about each other behind one another’s backs. The song includes an interpolation of Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets and  Mary J’s Real Love. The SRK seem to have a plan for each day which is the same exact plan every day,until the faithful day when the narrator slips off the roof in a drunken stupor or commits suicide.

Pilot Jones provides a red-eye through a broken relationship between Ocean and his stoner girlfriend. The breakdown of the song is my favorite part because of its snaps and distortion. For some reason the height in this song makes me think of the Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky. The ethereal air of the song drifts higher than anyone could ever imagine,  like the elevator ride in the skyscraper at the end of Vanilla Sky. Despite the unhealthiness of their love, Frank still offers her a place in his “condo on a cloud.” Truth is, Ocean is jonesin’ for this girl endlessly. He let’s her pilot despite the imminent nose dive. Then again, she would be into that.

The rebelliousness of Crack Rock follows, continuing the mid-album drug-induced binge. Ocean’s detail-oriented account  of the crack head is  unparalleled. The damage crack cocaine has caused,especially in urban communities, is no secret. Everyone of us has/had friend or family member that got turned out by the rock. The sad thing is if the “crooked cop” is removed the lust for crack will remain. The government’s infiltration and promotion of the cyclic crack epidemic has destroyed the community from within. And the effect is permanent.

Bad habits lead to prostitution,folks. Queue Pyramids. Cleopatra is the main character in this juxtaposition between ancient and current promiscuous women of power. On the first half of the song, ancient Cleopatra has risen to power only to be stripped by contradictory means. At this point Cleopatra’s own cheetahs are coerced to attack her. In another instance Ocean is begging for her return. Meanwhile she  faces  reprimand “What good is a gem that is not precious?” Though death is forthcoming for ancient Cleopatra he leaves her one final option saying, “We’ll run to the future.” Fast forward a few millenniums and present-day Cleopatra comes into view. She is apparently a prostitute and a stripper. By society’s standard this  girl is scum.Through his eyes, present day Cleopatra is his  pyrimidion. He’s a loser that worships her, so to him she deserves that place at the top. Lastly, I must not fail to mention the pimpish 70s vibe of the song and the ending’s awesome electric guitar solo provided by John Mayer.

Lost is the shout out anthem to those with issues: drugs,insecurities, uncertainty. Despite Frank singing “girl” his vulnerability is starting to show. This is the first track that can actually be a metaphor for his life thus far. Ocean may have experienced these feelings of loss and being lost after Katrina,relocating to Los Angeles,Def Jam disputes and exploring his sexuality.

John Mayer intercedes again, supplying White, a soul-stirring wordless electric guitar-led interlude. Being that this part of the album focuses so heavily on drugs, perhaps White is suggestive of cocaine. Maybe White is coming down off the drugs. Whatever it is, White feels good.

Monks highlights a spiritual connection between an artist and their fans. The imagery in this song is quite deliberate and he almost drops several religious figures on their heads by allowing “monks in the mosh pit and a stage diving Dalai Lama.”

The color orange is thought to be a healing color. Orange’s Bad Religion is Frank’s therapeutic confessional. His Bad Religion is the unrequited love between he and his homeboy. The emotion and vulnerability in this song cause me to believe, this is not a fictional story. “I can’t tell you the truth about my disguise…It’s a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you”, he cries.  “I could never make HIM love me.” The doubts I had about Frank’s interest in men being for publicity, are slowly dissipating.

In Pink Matter Ocean is in a theological training session with Sensei (God). While sparring with his own humanity and Sensei’s rhetorical way of answering, Frank inquires about love,life, and outer space. “What do you think my brain is made for? Is just a container for the mind? This great grey matter.” Frank is thinking on a mental level and Sensei is forcing to him to analyze himself in deeper ways. “Sensei replied what is your woman? Is she just a container for the child? That soft pink matter.”  God knows Ocean better than he know himself, so he challenges that Frank’s desire for a woman is to objectify her as solely a breeder or child bearer. Frank goes further describing how “she gives him pleasure” with her soft pink matter (vagina,in case you missed it).  Later in the song Ocean challenges “Nothin mattered…Dim the lights and fall into you. Giving me pleasure over matter.” Initially Frank Ocean specifies that this pleasure is caused by  a woman.  In  the latest”fall into you”, there are no context clues that alludes to what gender the pronoun you represents. Eventually, Frank decides that pleasure is more important at any cost and is the only thing that matters regardless of who he gets it from. Andre 3000’s feature was  expectantly great. His lengthy verse recounts various experiences he’s had with his woman, including those outside of the bedroom. Thus assigning a  value to her as a companion, instead of just a child bearer. Somewhere along the way 3000 gets jaded by the woman and tries to recant his account of her, but he’s just really upset she’s no longer in his life. Towards the end a distorted voice says “Blue used to be my favorite color.But,now I ain’t got no choice.”  This indication suggests Frank had a typical sexuality growing up and due to societal gender implications enjoyed blue. Blue is a masculine color. Now based off of his relationship with the male friend, Ocean enjoys blue (symbolizing men) in a way he feels he does not have control over. Sensei and Andre seem to have been testing Frank’s own understanding of his affinity for either sex. Ultimately, Ocean seems to be undecided about his preference and may have to participate in another sparring session to find the truth.

Forrest Gump, the final full-length song, is told from the perspective of Forrest Gump’s lover. Ocean sings ,”You run my mind boy.” This song is said to really fuel the fire of questioning Ocean’s sexuality, despite his common use of first-person-usage in whichever character he chooses to tell in his musical narratives . “I wanna see your pom poms from the stands” seems to be told from Gump’s point of view. After  THE LETTER was published, Ocean received loads of pom pom waiving particularly from the LBGT community.It’s great that Frank Ocean is receiving  an abundance of shine.Nevertheless, this attention should have been garnered for his tremendous talent and not his perceived sexual preference.

The End contains snippets of a previously released ballad entitled Voodoo. Frank sings “All we got is each other. The truth is obsolete.” The music fades in and out as he is having a conversation with a young lady. Rain is pouring in the background and the end a car door slams and footsteps are heard clobbering through the muck. In life sometimes you have to walk alone. Sometimes the truth is obsolete, if it’s not your own.

channel ORANGE reveals the spirit of Ocean as teeming with enthusiasm and stimulating creativity. As we tune in to the 24-year-old’s upcoming projects and appearances, he will continue to present his world and the fantasy worlds beyond. There’s no telling what idea,color, or story will inspire Ocean next. For now, channel ORANGE is glowing through the speakers. Stay tuned.

FROM VINTAGE TO PRISTINE: AN INTERVIEW

Image Image

In a sea of Los Angeles fashionistas,fashion wanna-bees, and fashion designers it’s a challenge to be fresh,afloat, and established. By infusing classic fashion techniques and her own contemporary twists, stylist Shavonna White is teaching fashion some new tricks. In a candid sit-down interview,Shavonna White plots out her company Vintage Pristine’s humble start, her inspirations, and eminent takeover of the fashion world.

By Rahni Porter

 Rahni Porter: What’s the inspiration for your company’s name, Vintage Pristine?

Shav White: Basically, vintage is something old. Pristine is bringing something new to life. With the name Vintage Pristine, I wanted to show that something tried-and-true could be re-created and made new.

RP: When and how did Vintage Pristine come into existence?

SW: I’ve been a wardrobe stylist since 2009. My start-up company was called SLM or Swag Like Mine. As time passed, my style and company name evolved into Vintage Pristine. The services provided by Vintage Pristine are fashion consulting,wardrobe styling, and personal shopping.

RP: What would a typical consultation with Vintage Pristine entail?

SW: The first order of business is to establish what aspect(s) of your style or wardrobe would you like to change or enhance. Basic questions to ask are: What are your preferences or favorite items to wear? What would you like to try? Do you want to simply add something new to your style or totally reinvent your image from scratch? What would you never consider as part of your new style integration?

For example, I wouldn’t suggest one of my clients were a bow-tie if they’ve already disclosed this is an item they would never want to try. My goal is for my clients to be comfortable and confident with their new look. Vintage Pristine also focuses on achieving that special look that will also consider the client’s price range.

RP: Describe your website.

SW: My website Vintage Pristine is hosted at Blogspothttp://www.vintagepristine.blogspot.com/). It’s a themed website for love and fashion. It includes my previous photoshoots and look books. My site also includes money saving fashion tips,price comparison/look for less, new styles and advice about love. I also host give-aways from time to time. Right now, I’m giving away a wallet that I designed. Basically, to me this website’s purpose is to make someone smile. Fashion can do that. It just makes me happy.

RP: What stylists do you look up to?

SW: Rachel Zoe is my favorite because of her versatility. I really admire how much she loves her job and that she works hard.

RP: What’s the stylist without the celebrity? What celebrities would you love to style?

SW: I would love to style Gabrielle Union because she’s beautiful. And I love the way First Lady Michelle Obama dresses and I would love to style her. Also there’s Denzel, Russel Brand,Katey Perry,Rihanna. Diddy. The list is so long, there are so many celebrities I look forward to dressing.

RP: I noticed that you mentioned several male celebrities. Most of the female stylists I’ve met focus on styling females. What is your experience in styling the male form?

SW: A good stylist should be able to style a man or a woman. I actually enjoy styling a man more than styling for women,because it’s simpler. With good styling you can make any man look great. Sometimes, I apply masculine attributes to my own style as well. I love dressing feminine. But, I love it taking it edgy,with a little masculine flair. For example, today I am wearing masculine rider boots with an otherwise feminine outfit.

RP: What are your favorite fashion houses?

SW: Most of all I enjoy tagless items, such as one of a kind vintage pieces, or even thrift finds. The famous designer brands I love are Betsey Johnson,Ralph Lauren, and Yves St. Laurent. I loved Yves St. Laurent even more when I learned how much he valued the beauty of the black model because of her curves. I really admire him for that.

RP: It’s very refreshing for a European designer to openly embrace ethnic models. How will you continue on in celebrating diversity in the fashion world?

SW: My look books and photo shoots include models of all ethnic backgrounds. Also, if anyone gives me a call I would style them.

RP: With the popularity of newcomers in the fashion industry, what makes you different from the rest? What would you say to any naysayers, any doubters of your abilities?

SW: When I style a client, I am one with that person. I focus on body type,age,personality and other factors to get a look they can be content about. I never look solely towards trends because my primary concern is bringing out the confidence in my clients. I style them from within.

Beyonce Knowles: Award Winning Journalist?

She does faux journalist so well.

By Rahneisha Porter

On May 3, Beyonce was awarded a New York Association of Black Journalists Award for her July 2011  Essence article.

The article is entitled Eat,Play,Love. The tone of  the article is inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir Eat,Pray,Love. In true Beyonce form, an enigmatic experience has  to be borrowed from a template. One original quality of this journey  is that Bee took herself from the stage and studio for the first time in 15 years. Based on the article, being away from the music scene allowed her to gain ” inspiration from regular, everyday things.”  That’s if you can call taking a luxurious, first-class vacation around the globe ordinary.

Authors Joshunda Sanders and Diana Barnes-Brown categorize this type of literature or media as private literature(or priv-lit). The label is given to works “whose expressed goal is one of spiritual, existential,or philosophical enlightenment contingent upon women’s hard work, commitment, and patience, but whose actual barriers to entry are primarily financial.”  That statement is Beyonce exemplified. This type of Oprah-ish enlightenment simply would not have occurred on a working class individual’s salary.  Beyonce is constantly verbalizing her yearning for normalcy, while ironically removing the simplicity herself.

The only thing more basic and ill-executed than Beyonce’s vacation – the article itself. The Essence  feature article (July 2011) is wrought with run-on sentences,cliché, and generalization. For example she wrote, “I discovered I love artichokes and that a salad and fresh fish are not only healthy choices but incredibly delicious.” She uses the words awesome and amazing so liberally; one would think no other adjectives exist in the English language. The article jumps around like a flea in the city pound, barely being saved by sub-headings and editing devices. With limited organization, the article moves from memories of her childhood  to performing and recording  to  her life-changing vacation. The story-telling aspect of the article may be an endearing quality and even it seems forced at times. Sure, the NYABJ’s award is not a Pulitzer. But, this particular article does not deserve any type of positive recognition.

How many people have ever taken a vacation? Taken pictures? Wrote about it? Many people would answer yes to these questions, so this can’t be the only criteria for  the NYABJ’s prestigious award. Upon research of the criteria, none were found. President Michael J. Feeney commented that the NYABJ  “is going to be looking at the criteria for next year”. This comment seemed more like an explanation to counter the criticism of  Beyonce winning this year’s NYABJ award. Eric Deggans, media critic for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, who chairs the Media Monitoring Committee of the National Association of Black Journalist  expressed his concern regarding  Beyonce and the NYABJ award.  He stated,”Our awards should be the final place where we insist that work meet the highest standards. If groups that are supposed to be about maintaining journalism excellence are willing to lower the bar for a celebrity or because that’s the only entries we got for our contest, why should anyone else respect our reputations?”

Journalism has suffered an extensive makeover takeover in the past decade. The creation of the blog alone has flipped the world of journalism on its head. Many publications have shut down because the form of the news has shifted from print to digital – and they did not get the memo. Bloggers who started off as common internet users with no formal schooling are gaining notoriety and profiting as journalists. Entertainment or gossip blogs attract a huge readership, causing celebrity pop culture to become such an important topic to writers. Celebrities have picked up on the significance of the blog. Some openly endorse their favorite blogs. Other celebrities are rumored to be paying off certain websites to keep their names in the press. Celebrity loyalty is partly responsible for Beyonce’s success and her winning of the NYAJB award. Fans possess a huge allegiance to celebrities, but the relationship is not one-sided. Celebrities know that fans or consumers cause them to thrive; they brand themselves through every endeavor possible in order to be appealing. Nowadays the titles singer, actor, perfumer,fashion designer,and resturanteer may belong to one person. Celebrities become so interwoven in the fans’ life that admiration turns into idol worship. This type of favoritism has come full circle in how the media even handles celebrities – hence Beyonce being named as the winner of a  NYABJ award.

Beyonce Knowles is one of the most renown and successful celebrities of all times. It’s hard to believe a woman with 16 Grammys and countless other musical awards, can keep adding new achievements to her list. In the past year alone, Beyonce has become a new mother and People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Woman Alive.” Unfortunately, her massive celebrity status and her writing ability are polar opposites of each other. Despite the NYABJ’s award, Mrs. Knowles-Carter should not be recognized as a journalist.  At least she won’t be seen as one – on my blog!

The First Time Ever

By Rahneisha Porter

Beginning and endings have a lot in common. The prior begets the latter. The latter forces recollection of the beginning. The beginning and the end share a relationship in which one can not exist without the other.

When I complete a season or milestone in my life, I inevitably find myself drifting back to the incipience. What were my initial thoughts? Have I changed? Am I satisfied?

This time I am not going to start my journey at the finish line.

All I want need is to grow as I go.