Category Archives: Uncategorized
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.
*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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
want need is to grow as I go.