Category Archives: Uncategorized

IamAME

Photo cred: CNN
Photo cred: CNN
I realized a couple months ago that I haven’t been writing… Not because I had nothing to say, or hadn’t heard any good music or been inspired by a soft breeze while lying in the sun (all the cliches). I just hadn’t. But today… Today, I’m overcome with emotion for the group of folks who were minding their own business during a church bible study in Charleston, SC. A group of strangers who welcomed in a young man who later gunned them down simply because of the color of their skin per his own words. A young man (his name I will not speak and whose photo I will not share) who then went about his day of escaping, driving away from life. I imagined him calling his relatives, the people who loved him most or perhaps ignoring their calls because he didn’t want to hear what they had to say when they saw his picture flash across their tv or social media networks. The nine who were shot yesterday will never again have the chance to do any of that. They can’t escape. They can’t go about their day. They will never again be able to receive or dismiss a call. As I have watched all the debates occur surrounding this incident regarding race, faith, gun control and other issues it is the latter facts that strike me most deeply. I have tried to lose myself in the music that I usually like to critique. I’ve intentionally ignored related posts and refrained from commenting all while banishing all the thoughts and a keen desire to weep into my now cool mug of hot tea for all who were lost and the loves they unexpectedly left behind. I’m not winning today. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Let’s Play in the Mud (Clay, that is)

Thanks to my farm-raised mother, as a kid I always loved to run thru rainy puddles with my bare feet. I developed a special appreciation for pressing my toes into the squishy, coolness of mud and would later enjoy pulling night crawlers from their muddy holes during late nights in my neighborhood. My siblings and I earned money doing the latter from local fishermen and bait stores! While I still don’t mind walking into cool wet grass with my bare toes, I’d given up playing in the mud for more girly things like clay. Crafting ash trays and vases from clay was a favorite activity in art class and I always thought I’d pick it up later. While on the back to natural journey, I learned that many naturals wash their hair with mud/clay! If you didn’t know there are popular brands such as the one by Terressentials which can be ordered online. But you can also make your own, saving big $$$ just as I did last weekend. I already owned some clay which I use for homemade facials. In preparation, I wet my hair with a spray bottle:

You can buy Aztec brand clay at many local health stowethairwithspraybottleres, including Vitamin Shoppe, Raisin Rack and Whole Foods. Looking around on the internet I found some recipes. When determining a recipe, I sort of pick and choose the ingredients that I know my hair likes or NEEDS. I create my mix based on that information. This time, in the following order and in a plastic bowl (do not use metal as it changes the properties of the mix), I mixed:
2 tbsp Aztec Secret Healing Indian Clay (about $5)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1Tbsp of honey
Essential oils (depends on my hair needs – this time I used peppermint and basil)
1/3 c. of water or aloe vera juice (you can warm it a little for easier mixing). You may use more or less as it should be the consistency of pancake batter.

I then poured it into a bottle (must get a funnel for next time!). I applied the mixture to my dampened hair and scalp. I saturated my hair with the clay wash and rubbed it into my scalp. The basil and tea tree oils are stimulators, so it felt tingly! After applying, I put a plastic baggy on my hair and allowed the wash to perform magic on my strands! You can see from the picture that when I finished, I pinned the sections with bobby pins.mudappliedLetMudSit20Minutes

20 minutes later I washed it all out in the shower. Remember- this is actually for washing your hair so you don’t need to shampoo afterward. Don’t allow the clay to dry on your hair as it will become more difficult to rinse. Thoroughly rinse the clay from your hair with a cheap conditioner. I just took care of it in the shower which is how I lost my eye shadow and lipstick! LOLMudRinsed_ahhShrinkage

Afterward, I applied my leave-in and styled per usual. Now… this “shampoo” really does remove any product build up from your hair. You may not even know that you had any especially if you’re using products with silicones. For me, the wash encouraged my shrinkage (see the pic above) but left my hair clean, soft and shiny. I loved it and will do it once a week as I long ago abandoned shampoos. They leave my hair feeling stripped and dry which is why I mostly co-wash. Below is the twistout I got after styling. It’s full of shine, body and bounce!

That’s it folks! Will you or have you given mud washes a try? Share what were, or are your results!

Peace and love, naturally! AfterMudStyle

If you don’t know Missy Elliott…

Last night, singer/songwriter/rapper Missy Elliott performed with Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show. Dare I say that Missy stole the show from Katy? Yes. I dare. From my Facebook feed, I encouraged Missy to “turn up” as she performed a medley of her hits including Lose Control. While I briefly wondered where was Ciara, I bounced around on my couch and sang- “I got a cute face, chubby waist, thick legs, in shape, rump shakin, both ways, make you do a double take!”

Not long after my post, a friend said that she’d never heard of Missy Elliott. Later, Buzzfeed revealed that my friend was not alone. I looked in disbelief at a post that shared the tweets of a bunch of folks who questioned Missy’s existence and suggested that Katy Perry was going to blow up the career of Missy just like Paul McCartney. Whaaat??!!! Who are these people?  Is there a music rock that people hid under during the early 2000s and beyond? Today I found out that if said rock exists, my CEO and CFO were under it also. Have they also never heard of Aaliyah, Timbaland and Ginuwine? I mean, I know boy bands were all the rage then, but this is tew much.

All this brings to mind a current music trend that has been bothering me a great deal. When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90s, my entire family could enjoy local radio stations. Deejays played artists enjoyed by my parents as well as those enjoyed by us youngsters. This means that adult artists like (to name a few) Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Barry White, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Hall & Oates, Phil Collins, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and James Ingram would get just as much radio play as artists enjoyed by those of us in the youth category, i.e. New Edition, Madonna,  Hi-Five, Bell Biv Devoe, Tevin Campbell, Whodini and LL Cool J. As one of those youth, I learned to love them all. There was diversity in music long before diversity became a subject in the workplace and in schools. It was a lifestyle. Hence, my confusion. Why did Missy’s appearance occur as a stumbling block for some viewers during the Super Bowl? There is no reason why any of the popular artists from the last 15-20 years should appear on a show and have a multitude of persons express oblivion to their very existence. It’s not like she’s even retirement age.  Herein is one of my complaints. Music doesn’t have an age, nor retirement date and neither should those who make the music. Yet that assumed expiration date is revealed when musicians like Missy reappear after even a brief hiatus.

One of my friends posted that Missy should return to the 2000s. I was further confused. This frame of thought around music is exactly what is killing the industry. It is part of what forces us to listen on radio to the same artists and their songs on repeat. As an adult, I should still be able to expect that my favorite artists are getting radio play. I am speaking of their new music, not those songs deemed good enough to be on the oldies but goodies stations. My generation loves music, has tremendous buying power and yet the music powers-that-be largely ignore us. We just KNOW there are some deranged 60-year old men (and women likely) determining what is cool enough to make radio. Like a dream killing Wizard of music, they pull the strings, tell US what is cool and what isn’t by simply paying the stations with the most access to repeat a handful of artists. They force us to like even the worst songs of Beyonce, Katy Perry (she’s cool), Rihana, Trey Songz, Chris Brown (whom I actually love) and a plethora of artists under 30. Meanwhile amazing artists like Tank, Goapele, Amel Larrieux , Raheem Devaughn, Slakah the Beatchild, Eric Roberson, Kindred and a host of other artists go ignored. So, heaven forbid an artist like Missy comes out of retirement so that the soup du jour can “make her career”. No people. Aaliyah sang it best- Age ain’t nothing but a number. Give all artists an opportunity to be heard beyond the pay-to-play schemes so that people can see there is more to music than top 40 and under 30! Additionally, mix up these radio stations. It’s nothing to hear Sam Smith on an urban station, but Top 40 stations will never play say… Mary J. Blige. Yet another reason, why artists aren’t know across genres. But I digress… It’s time for us (the consumers) to stop drinking the kool-aid. There is plenty of room in the pitcher but the big industry folks only wants us to stir in one flavor. We’ll call it cherry, but it tastes like a travesty. Now go- get your freak on!

P.S. If you dare follow her on Twitter, then you will see that Missy too was baffled and amused:

the new kids think I’m a new artist &I’m bout 2blow up like Paul McCartney Lord ha mercy chile I love me sum y’all

We’ll save the numerous other problems with radio and the music for another post.

Fall is here and pumpkin soup is back!

I have to confess. I’m on an eating plan called Whole30 (whole30.com if interested) and it prevents me from eating many things that I normally enjoy this time of year (fall) but especially my favorite pumpkin soup. Until about 6 years ago, I had only experienced the flavor of pumpkin in baked goods and sweets. Now it is everywhere, including in the ever popular Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks (artificial flavorings and not nearly as good as this here!). Well, I can’t have those either. LOL! No shade to Starbucks by the way- I’m a gold member! 😀 Continue reading Fall is here and pumpkin soup is back!

Listen up: Integrity and The Sidepiece Agreement

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Circulating the web this week, thanks to Huffington Post and Facebook were the rules to being an effective side chick. They termed it, The Sidepiece Agreement. One male friend however, (who clearly does not watch Scandal) referenced them as the Olivia Pope Agreement. This fun little slice of policy (perhaps written for fun) included a list of wonderful rules like (and these aren’t verbatim):
1. You are the other woman. Act Accordingly.
2. Maintain a positive vibe while we are in each other’s company
3. Don’t ask where this “situationship” is going and don’t tell anyone
4. Oh, and by the way, I’m still sleeping with my wife who I tell I love
As I explained on my friend’s feed, said rules did not apply to Olivia Pope because the person to whom she reports for duty is in love with her. He actually wanted to abandon his position and run off to Vermont toward a new life WITH her. Also, there is the point that his wife knew and encouraged the relationship as long as she did her duties and kept the boss in shape for election. Finally there is the most interesting point about Olivia Pope- she IS NOT REAL.

So, let’s talk about what IS real. First, some people really believe this crap. The second, ZERO INTEGRITY, applies whether the sidepiece is a male or female but for sake of time, and since the agreement focuses on the female, we shall focus on the male who drives said relationship/situationship. There is a serious lack of INTEGRITY in any male who carries on such a relationship but its often the female who is downgraded to a piece or pawn (as if she isn’t human) who gets shamed for it. Really? The truth is that it is a very passive aggressive situation in which the male doesn’t have the guts to tell his spouse/significant other that he wants to leave, nor to just leave without notice. Instead he boo hoos and pretends to the sidepiece that he is doing this because he is SO miserable that his legs won’t allow him to walk out. Sounds like bullsh-t, doesn’t it? That’s because it is and he (you if you’re one of them) is a PUNK. Today on the news there is a story of a man who left his child to die from heat exhaustion in the back of his car. After feigning shock, it has been found that he was sexting with other women the entire time AND he had told them that he was unhappy in his marriage. He told them… Up until now, his wife has defended him. She has gone so far as to say that she was the one who searched the level of heat required to kill a child in a vehicle. Apparently, that is something they just both wanted to know. I wonder if that charade will continue now that the truth has come to light. The truth is such a slippery slope these days. It’s so slippery that people no longer feel they should be honest with someone they call their spouse/significant other in the face of the public. It’s so watered down that they can have an excuse for being deceitful and only become sorry when they are caught. It has become such a water slide that they will invite stranger danger into their lives all for the sake of having a little excitement via the rules and agreement listed above. And yet, they could get the same exact freedom and excitement by simply… leaving.

I was thinking about NFL player Steve McNair who was also carrying on a sidepiece agreement with a woman who would later kill him at the secret apartment he shared with a “good friend”. He had gone on exotic vacations with this young girl. Obviously she hadn’t seen the agreement because she was waiting on him to leave his spouse who knew nothing of her (at least specifically). That’s a scary situation for anyone when you think about it. I see similar stories on murder/mystery documentaries and it never ends pretty. Further, its certainly unfair to the person with whom you formed the original agreement that is certainly not deemed null and void just because you don’t have the guts to be honest and have some integrity about yourself. This isn’t the 50s people. You can get divorced, you can leave, you can simply walk away. You don’t have to hurt or risk the lives of people you love just to escape from the pit of hell you have made for yourself. Go find some integrity in your personal relationships. It exists and your spouse/significant other will thank you for it after the pain of your departure. They don’t have to find out you’re a piece of crap once the truth of who you really are comes to light, nor should you wish that revelation on them. Your reflection in the mirror alone should cause you to want otherwise. Have some integrity. Deceit never begets anything positive. Man or woman up people.

P.S. And as for the sidepiece agreement- only an idiot believes that someone with whom you have a relationship built upon lies and deceit would abide happily forever after by rules you’ve made up in your head to suit your ego and dress up your lies. Maybe to your face, but during the 164 hours per week (give or take a few) you’re not around she has likely broken all of them. Yeah, I said it. Know your audience.

Speaking of new music: Goapele is back!

Most people are familiar with songstress Goapele (pronounced gwa-puh-lay) thanks to her song Closer (to my dreams). True fans know she has had much more to offer than her 2001 (yes, I said 2001) hit. But none of them have received radio play in my city, Columbus, Ohio. We may be fashion forward but when it comes to bringing new music- radio sucks. But I digress (pretty often too). Fast forward 13 years later and Goapele has delivered a flirty, radio friendly groove titled Hey Boy. It’s a great summer jam and infectious enough to get your head bobbin. Goapele teases, ‘If you want it, I’m not trying to wait around.’ Well, Miss Goapele- neither are we! Check it out via Soundcloud here:

http://soundcloud.com/goapele/hey-boy

Side note: Hey Boy was written by British singer/songwriter, Estelle. It reminds me a lot of another song, also titled Hey Boy by Hil St. Soul (another Brit) from her Soulidified project, released in 2006. Could be total coincidence but I must investigate that connection! Don’t know Hil St Soul? Check out her song of the same title below and then cop Soulidified in its entirety. You can’t go wrong with either track! 

http://youtu.be/eQSIiAnzWUA

 ~ Listen upside down

Music Review: Lil John Roberts ft Musiq Soulchild and Chantae Cann – It’s Your Time

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Woo! So hot off the presses, drummer Lil John Roberts has a new joint featuring Musiq Soulchild (one of my faves and I only have two!) and Chantae Cann. I love Chantae Cann’s voice! She can sang! And of course Musiq never fails. Lil Joh

n lets the artists do their thing on this release and together, their harmonies are magical- my sangin friends and I all agreed! Lil John has been playing the background for a minute as drummer (you may know him having been previously linked to Jill Scott, Ledisi, Saadiq and many other majors). Much as the lyrics proclaim- its your (his) time to shine! I dig the inspirational flavor of it and I’m a sucker for meaningful lyrics and a good track. What say you, listeners? I caught this on the singersroom.com and it deserves a listen. Can you dig it or nah?

Listen here:

http://singersroom.com/content/2014-05-09/Lil-John-Roberts-Its-Your-Time-Ft-Musiq-Soulchild-and-Chantae-Cann/