Thursday, December 13, 2007

Up 2 Me

Another song... sorry guys. I'm a music head. These things happen && again- Lupe sheds more light.

Up 2 Me ft. Kev Samples (Lupe's verse)

If I was in charge of it...
I'd stop feeding all of the nonsense,
I would starve all of it.
I'd have em' put the black experience on Mt. Rushmore,
I'd make em' carve all of it.
& then film a movie titled 'We Made It'
& it stars all of us.
I'd write the theme song,
& we'd all cut it.
Give us a deal,
then ball on the budget.
Start a magazine
& put us all on the cover.
I'd give all the awards to the single baby mothers.
I'd resurrect Malcolm, have em' talk to the hustlers.
I'd resurrect the slaves & I'd give em' all butlers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It Is What It Is

Wow. Where do I begin? I've been meaning to post this for a while now.

Last Sunday, I went to a church in NY that I had never been to before: just wanted to check out a different church while in the city, and a friends mom referred it to me. Anywho, I'm running a little late (everything that could have went wrong on this morning-did), and I'm welcomed into the church by a WHOLE LOT of singing. Being considerate of the fact that I'm late, I tell myself that this is probably just the period of their service where they sing selections.

After more then a few songs, they have alter call. Now I'm not quite a Bama, but I've spent the last 3yrs. at a small church in North Carolina, and I'm used to what I'm used to. At my church, altar call usually takes place after the message. I spoke to my pastor about this though, and he informed me that some people have altar call before the message so that the congregation can be spiritually prepared for the message it is about to receive. So, they're having altar call. If you aren't a church goer, altar call is basically what it sounds like. The pastor calls people to the front who would like to receive special prayer over a special situation, or just want prayer in general (who doesn't need prayer? I mean, really). I believe this is supposed to be a personal decision, and I also don't care too much about random people praying over me. So, I decided to stay seated. An usher walks over to me and says, "Girl, don't let everybody receive a blessing but you." That got me... and before you know it, I find myself at the altar- awaiting prayer.

They sung a song. The end. No prayer of any sort, and I was completely blown. And I'm saying to myself, "Brandi, this isn't your church- the pastor can't address each person individually, just wait to hear the message." Nonetheless, I was getting a bad vibe. Then, to make a bad situation worse, there are two women "feeling the spirit", and the ushers are bringing attention to the situation. I, in no way, down a person getting their praise on in church if you know what I mean. Excuse the slang, but I surely aint mad at a person who catches the Holy Ghost either. However, I'm not quite a believer of those who speak in tongues. So, as the ladies are having their "episodes", the ushers are kind of egging them on. Then a woman starts speaking in tongues (a gibberish language you can't understand that supposedly God can). I'm still telling myself, "hold out til' the message comes."

Here it is. The message. The preacher stands in the pulpit, does some high pitched- what I believe was supposed to be- singing, and reads a passage from the scripture. He begins his message, and (I kid you not) is done within 3 minutes. He could not have said any more than 5 sentences when he decided he was done, and it was time to close the service in prayer. It's bad enough there was no correlation between the scripture and the message, BUT THERE WAS NO MESSAGE! On top of that, he didn't call members to the front for salvation. What purpose does church serve you if you aren't offered the chance to be saved and renew your spirit in the eyes of the Lord? Bottom line, the church seemed down right blasphemous. It was crazy. Definitely an experience I won't forget.

Initially, I thought I was being too closed minded. However, as I looked around- I noticed I wasn't the only person who seemed blown by this entire "production". I always wondered how you were supposed to compare churches. A building intended to deliver God's message was just that; what could make one worse than the other? The answer I received was that the difference comes in what feelings are stirred up as a result of you being in the building. It is what you make of it and what you get out of it. Furthermore, take note of your surroundings. If the members of the church don't seem to be getting any more of a message than you are, or they just seem too influenced when nothing appears to be happening- that is a clear sign of what's really going on. With that being said...

"The first time someone calls you a horse, you punch them in the nose. The second time someone calls you a horse, you call them a jerk. But the third time someone calls you a horse- well, then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle." Lucky Number Slevin

2fingers and blessings,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Working on "H.E.R."

I was on a roll with the daily post right?

Sorry. Crazy as it seems, I've been thinking a lot about hip hop and the relationship that I have with it. So, more than ever, I've been stringing together lines that randomly come to my head and putting together the pieces of what I think will be one of the greatest poems I've ever written. Forgive me for my momentary abandonment. I will post later tonight, a thought is in my head about 9/11 that needs to be released. I had actually started posting it and deleted it on mistake. I'm a genius, right? So I've opted for this, and hopefully you'll check back tonight for the 9/11 recap of sorts. Just letting you know my status. For my faithful readers, glad you're still with me. I'm not missing again. Still very much in tune. Stick with me.

2fingers and blessings,

9/11 Was Needed


So... you probably read the title of this post and was like, "What the hell, it was needed?" Seriously though, here's a thing or two to think on. Let it marinate before you start throwing out opinions.

First and foremost, take into consideration the "crabs in a barrel" theory. I was reading a book, and it spoke about how blacks were the crabs in a barrel. We were pulling each other down in every way imaginable. A few people get successful and forget about those who helped them get there; they don't do anything to embetter the place and people that helped them get to where they are. On the other hand, some people reach a certain level of success and look behind themselves to find that those who helped them get there, no longer have any support to offer because they're envious of what that person has obtained. Not to mention, the racial barriers we've set for ourselves. There's the light skinned black person and the dark skinned black person, and everyone knows- the light skinned one is supposed to be superior. Stop the madness!

When 9/11 occurred, America was offered one of the rarest opportunities that could ever be presented. We were offered a chance to present a truly united front and stand behind it. And for a moment, I thought we took the world up on their offer. Suddenly, it didn't matter so much if you were Asian-American or African-American... just that you were American. Flags were flying everywhere, and people were patriotic beyond belief. I was so proud to be an American, no pun intended. Nonetheless, it's not hard to see that we've fallen right back into our old positions. Ground Zero is simply a sight for tourists, and situations like Hurricane Katrina and the Jena 6 have made a mockery of the so called "land of the free and home of the brave".

I'm not wishing another tragedy on America. I'm nothing close to a terrorist. Bush, if there's a slight chance in hell you're reading this: I am not a terrorist, nor am I a crook. However, I am one disappointed American. Guess I should join the group huh?

All I'm saying is, it's about time we come together. If you haven't taken note of global warming and all the tragedies happening world wide- the worlds definitely coming to an end soon. Not to be all "Brady Bunch"ish but can't we have some sort of happy ending? Is unity really such an unrealistic thing to ask for? Or should we only expect people to act humane when tragedy strikes then turn our backs and have deaf ears when things go back to "normal"? Get real.

2fingers and blessings,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"If" for Young Women

(A poem I read that I just couldn't keep to myself)

If you can trust yourself though others doubt you
And conquer fears that limit what you dare
So you can then enrich the world about you
With skills and talents that are yours to share;

If you enjoy both quiet introspection
And festive times with friends and family,
If you make time for dreaming and reflection
But still find joy in others' company;

If you can balance dreams with practicality
And deal in facts but never lose ideals,
If you can face the harshness of reality
And find the truths that prejudice conceals;

If you can be courageous when defeated
And humble in the face of victory
Or give your best until a task's completed,
However difficult the task may be;

If you can be sincere when giving credit
And work at building bridges and not walls
Or strive to reach a price until you get it,
Yet never fail to help someone who falls...

If you can temper facts with understanding
And manage well the things in your control
And neither be too lax or too demanding
But keep in mind the worth of every soul;

If you can reach objectives, not begrudging
The patience, time, and effort you impart,
And look at others' actions without judging
And see not with your eyes but with your heart;

If you can take resources that surround you
And use them in the way you feel is good,
You'll be successful... and all those around you
Will be the richer for your womanhood.
-Barbara Burrow

2fingers and blessings,

Just American Dreaming

"I am the greatest, I said that before I even knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest." -Muhammad Ali

This picture of me was taken some time ago. Like Ali, I claimed this idea before knowing the truth it would hold in my future.

I wake up, fall asleep, and spend the day thinking about different things to write. Just about anything inspires me. I am actually considering doing things toward living out the things I've always seen myself doing. Not to be to cliche, but it feels as if the sky is the limit. It feels like my options are endless, and I am steering the boat that's leading to my success. Most parents always tell you you can be whatever you want to be. I've never taken the time to really consider this, but I'm starting to believe it's true.

Granted, God is in control and things will happen at his will. I make the decisions that lead me there. I carry out the actions that effect my life. I create my own American dream, and I plan to live it out. The American dream is what you make of it. If you hear the term and think white picket fences, two children running through the yard with their golden retriever, and parents sitting on the porch swing watching their kids in adoration, with no worries... than more power to you. I think of writing best sellers that get mentioned in every book on every list of "must reads", of being someones favorite poet, of people quoting my lines all around the world, of speaking to students and inspiring them to follow in my footsteps and live out their passion. That is my American dream.

If you think I'm being arrogant or unrealistic, who asked you? If you really want someone to know what you feel, write a blog :) No, really. I can do bad by myself, and I don't care to entertain negative energy. As my dad says, "People will always tell you what they would have done when it's something they never could have done," and as Bret Jones said, "Arrogance is a term used by those who cannot discern themselves with the immense confidence of a man who knows he has no limits".

Think about it.
Sleep on it.

2fingers and blessings,

"Nevermore will I ignore the sounds that tell me I was born to write.
My first responsibility is to let my caged words take flight,
and not believe the hype that what I say don't make a
Stop falling for the false fate.
Stop acting like your thoughts, words, and deeds don't carry real
in the universe.
Vibrations don't call you with a date.
Don't wait for you to be ready for things to take effect.
Realize you create your own fate.
You walk yourself to heavens gate.
I can't wait for my destiny; it's something I make.
See, I'm getting older..
so I got less time to act like I got time to spare." -Mayda del Valle

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Generation Y Not?

So.. I'm on the train trying to catch in a few Z's, and there's this little voice that's speaking loud and stumbling over his words. I look up, slightly annoyed, and an immediate smile spreads across my face.

There's a little boy trying to read the sports section of the newspaper to his dad. Maybe I'm becoming a softy, but things like this just light me up. I wanted to take a picture, but this is a rare occassion where I didn't have my camera (and I doubt they would appreciate me just snapping a picture of them anyway). So, I opted for the next best thing. I just sat there and listened as if he was reading to me. As he got to different basketball terms, his dad would explain to him what they meant, and then he would keep on reading. He did this the entire ride, and by the end of it I was completely smittened. Yup, I'm a definite softy :)

Whatever the case, as I mentioned in the blog before this, it's just heart warming to know our community isn't slipping the way others have made it seem. Rumor is that Generation Y and the ones that follow will be the most lazy, unprogressive, group of people created thus far. I beg to differ.

2fingers and blessings,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Still Here, Never Left

There's this theory that the American community is losing the ties it once had. Granted, we no longer sit on front porch with our neighbors, eating tangerines, exchanging stories... I don't think we are as far off in the distance as other may make it seem. We're still here, you just have to look a little closer. You don't have to get your binoculars out; take into account that times are changing and what amused those before us brings us no entertainment so our comradery centers around a different set of values.

I've stayed in New York for the past two weekends, and the community gatherings I witnessed were a huge eye-opener. Not to mention, there's an elementary school right beside my campus, and there isn't a day I walk by and don't find children playing in the court yard. Long story short, we are still holding on. I was at a flag football game today for 11yr. old boys, and the team spirit they had blew my mind. These boys had NEVER won a game. Nonetheless, they were there on time, jerseys on, and ready to play. They even had plans on winning the game (those plans didn't take place, but hey, happy thoughts are nice). There was also a group of older men playing on the other side of the field. What's my point? It's 11 in the morning on a Saturday. Now I don't know where you stay, but I don't know too many men who make plans to meet on the field Saturday morning to enjoy an activity they aren't being paid for. Not to mention, an activity that's probably going to leave them on bed rest the following day with achy knees.

LETS NOT FORGET THE LADIES! There were girls practicing as well, and one girl had a serious throwing arm. I was impressed. Hell, we could have used her on our team :) Long story short, our community has not failed us. We may be located on fields between two project buildings or in the street fooling around (those "bad ass kids" you wish would get out your way when you're in the car, headed only God knows where- that's us!). So what we aren't in a location of your choosing. We're still here. We aren't leaving. Deal with it.
2fingers and blessings,

"Times are slowly but surely changing
and you're fighting to keep our generation silent.
So you call our persistence aressiveness
and to imprison us, you label it violence..
But the taller you stack our barriers
the taller you're forcing us to grow,
and the more you try to stupify us
the more you're forcing us to know" -An excerpt from a poem I wrote

Friday, November 9, 2007


Educated, black men.

"He's misunderstood, some say that he's up to no good- around the neighborhood
But for your information - alot of my brothers got education
You got your wallstreet brotha, your blue collar brotha,
Your down for whatever chillin on the corner brotha,
Your talented brotha, and to everyone of yall behind bars...
You know that 'Brandi' loves ya"
-Brotha by Angie Stone

Just felt like reminding my "brothas" that I'm still with you. Not to disregard any other male of any other race, just felt the urge to show love for mine.

2fingers and blessings,

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Am My Brother's Keeper

This phrase orginiated from the Bible when God asked Cain where Able, his brother, was. The question above was his reply to God. Lately, this has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Furthermore, had Cain asked me this question.. I would have told him yes, he was. With that being said..

I am my brother's keeper.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
My strength is my weakness: I care too much.

More than ever, I've noticed the value of my friends and family. More than ever, my friends have surpassed the title and became my family. I can remember when I was younger and my mother passed away, I felt the urge to comfort my older brother. I was always seen as the emotional child or the sensitive one. He wasn't so good at expressing himself, and I always felt the need to protect him. My grandmother, as well as my close friends, all say that I act like a mother. I try to take care of everybody. I make everyones problems my problems.

This is so. I have accepted that about myself.

I just heard the news that a friend of mine tried to take their life away and it hurt me to my core. I have so many mixed emotions about the situation. My friends, the few that I have, are my friends to the heart. I care about them in a way that surpasses explaining. I would do just about anything for them that I'm capable of doing and even attempt the impossible, if necessary. It hurt me when they shared this information with me, and what hurt even more is the fact they were worried I would be mad at them.

In the middle of my senior year in highschool, I was having a huge emotional breakdown. There's no point in being descriptive, just understand that I was in shambles and hanging on a thin piece of thread. The same friend that tried to take away their life, was there for me when I felt like I was no longer in control of mine. They made it clear that I had a friend in them and that they were only one call away. At all times, through all endeavors, I try to reciprocate the same sentiments. So, it's hard for me to understand why they would do such a thing. I know it's easy to feel alone, to not want to share your burden with others, and to believe nobody cares despite what others may tell you. In the same token, I've come to notice a certain amount of selfishness that comes with "taking the easy way out".

When people feel as if they are going through something they can no longer bear, they may think that the best thing to do would be commit suicide. However, in taking away your pain, you are transferring it to the other people who care about you. The person who comforted me while I was worrying about my friend shared this idea with me, and it couldn't be more true. You are not doing anyone any favors by taking your life away.

I am here to help you carry your burden, as your friend.
Please, don't leave this world and force me to carry your burden alone.

People tell me that I can't take on the worlds problems, and I can't. However, I can be me the best way I know how... sensitive, emotional, and caring to a fault. If that makes me weak, I wear my weakness like a badge of honor, because nothing can stop me from feeling the need to protect those I hold close to my heart. Maybe I do get too involved, but I'd rather be too far in than standing on the outside, cold.

With so many things happening to my friends (in NC) while I'm in Philadelphia, I have come to despise the fact that I chose a school so far away. However, I know that God don't make no mistakes, and this is where he wanted me to be.

I repeat, God don't make no mistakes: YOU'RE STILL HERE. Mission failed, and this is not one of those things you need to keep trying "if at first you don't succeed". You are here because that is where God wanted you to be... here, with me. Should you need me to hold the title, from Philly to Japan, I am your keeper. I love you.

2fingers and blessings,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Raise the Bar

To Whom it May Concern,
It is quite alright to have standards. Furthermore, if you have yet to meet the person who has met you standards, do not assume your standards are too high. Assume that you have not met the right person. Nonetheless, take note of the 80/20 rule mentioned in Tyler Perry's new movie. In a relationship, you will only have about 80% of your needs fulfilled. However, there are people who come along offering that 20% you're missing out on, and it looks appealing because you don't have it. Be able to seperate those offering 80, from those offering 20. Do not allow yourself to settle for 20 thinking that 80 is not a realistic set of traits in a person. As Deborah Bolling, the speaker mentioned in my last blog, said:
"If I get married, he'd have to be a remarkable motherfucker!"

2fingers and blessings,

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baffle Them w/ Bullshit

A lady by the name of Deborah Bolling came and spoke to my department today. You can pretty much say that seeing her speak was instrumental to me choosing to stick with my selected career path. Ironically enough, regardless of me being a "God Given Poet" (read the blog with that title), I was still unsure of whether or not I was majoring in the right field. Writing is my passion, that's understood without saying. Nonetheless, it doesn't promise financial stability, and I'm also good with business. Two weekends ago I met my favorite poet, last weekend I performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe... my sister considered these signs from God that I was on the right path and where He wanted me to be. If I had any remaining doubts, she cleared them up.

She started off as a film/music producer, and did that for 20 years (worked with Biggie, Pac, Prince, etc). Then she became a journalist for 10 years, she worked for print as well as radio, and she also did PR work for the mayor of Philadelphia. This woman cursed like a sailor, but inspiration to keep on rang in her every word.

ie: "You can dazzle them with brilliance, or you can baffle them with bullshit"

She said this, and I started cracking up. Her point in saying this was, if anyone ask you what you are capable of, do not admit to not being able to do something. If they ask you "Can you...?", your answer should always be yes. As the saying goes, "You can do anything you put your mind to". She went on to explain that while we're in college, (not to be cliche), but we are in the prime of our lives. This is the only time when it's strictly about us and our dreams and setting our future. If you don't have children and you're living on campus, than you don't have to worry about bringing home the bacon or feeding your child. You just have to figure out what your passion is and live it out. As she said:
"Keep throwing stuff at the wall, something will stick."

Her biggest point was you have to be willing to take risk, be willing to "fuck up" because you learn the most when you make mistakes. Not to mention, in whatever job you're doing, the person before you was just as lost when they started too, so you aren't alone. Nonetheless, you have to be 100% committed to whatever it is you're trying to do. You can't put in half of your energy and expect the whole pie. Only you know the caliber of your work, so don't be mad if you put out BS and get BS back. Commit yourself to a project, let it take flight (and as she said), "sit back and see what the fuck happens". The main goal is to be sure that you are following your heart. If you do something because you're passionate about it, you will excel. If you do something because you're good at it, you might be wealthy, but you'll be miserable.

A girl asked her if she felt any remorse for not having children or being in a relationship, and her response was, "I smoked herb on a glacier, top that shit!" Before saying that, she explained that had she been tied down to a man or child she might not have been able to do what she wanted so freely. She was shooting a commercial with Eskimos, and they were smoking, so she smoked too. In her perfect world (she said) her husband would have been at home watching the children, and she still would have been on a glacier, smoking herb.

Bottom line: the woman made it clear that it's best to live out your passion, and that's exactly what I plan on doing. I've never been one to keep all the wise words I've heard to myself (obviously) so I just wanted to share her words with you, maybe they'll do for you what they did for me.

Side notes: ***For print journalists, a point she made about pitching ideas is- "Why should anyone but you care about what you're writing". If you can pitch an idea that causes people (beside yourself) to care about it, then it's probably a good article. If you're the only one interested in the topic, it's probably bullshit. Seriously.
***For broadcast journalists: Call the film office in your city and see when people are taping there. Find out and show up on set ready to work (not prim and proper, in pumps). Look for a woman with a headset on, no tools on her waist, who looks completely absorbed in what she's doing. Ask her if you can do anything for her. More likely than not, the area will be blocked off, so make sure you're walking up to "her" AND (most importantly) don't look lost. Look knowledgeable, as if you know what you're doing, and you're supposed to be there. Show up every day. Nine times out of ten, they're going to want you to be there to help them the next time they're taping. This is called networking. You might be doing this for free. But as she said, it's only a couple of times before you're set up and established.
***Also noted: if you're more concerned about relaying your message to a group of people then you might want to stick with print. Broadcast journalism, specifically TV, brings in a lot of money but provides less satisfaction. On the other hand, print journalism brings in less money but provides more satisfaction.

Last but not least, her definition of luck: Luck is being ready for the shit you've always been dreaming of happening when it happens.

Makes sense right? Thanks to her, I think I just might be ready.

2 fingers and blessings,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Food for Thought, Grab a Plate

"Life is full of required courses; it's the electives that are a bitch."

Ironically enough, I discovered this quote while registering for classes this coming semester. Yes, the topic has gone back to this era of my life titled.. College. Anywho, all the classes I registered for were classes required for magazine journalist. I was going to take an extra course, but decided that 5 was enough since they were all in my field, and passing them wasn't optional. Nonetheless, the whole hassle of registering was overwhelming.

Not to be a punk, but this "being thrown into the real world, adult thing" is not as easy as people make it seem. There's no one walking beside you, nodding their head, assuring you that you're doing the right thing. Yeah, the freedom is nice, but at the same time, when you aren't sure what to do in the free time, it's not hard to feel like you're in over your head. Furthermore, if you look at the quote mentioned above, and consider the elective a metaphor for choices.. it hits home even more.

There are things that people do for us, show us how to do, and expect from us. On the other hand, there are things that we decide to do free willingly. As fate would have it, these are usually the things that mold us. The things we choose to partake in are usually the things we have no control over, and we're just stuck in the middle of them. The only thing we can control is our reaction.

More than ever, I've made a point to be cognizant of my reaction to things that are thrown at me during this time in my life.. whether I'm prepared when they hit me or they catch me off guard, I'd like to believe I'm still taking things standing up. And, should I fall, I'm dusting off and stepping back up.

No one said that this life would be easy.. and I'm sure there are people having more than "college" struggles right now who aren't whining about it in blogs :)
2fingers and blessings,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nuyorican Poets Cafe

As I said in the blog prior to this one, I went to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe this weekend. I saw a live jazz band. It consisted of a piano player, a bass guitarist, and a drumb/cymbals player. They were phenomenal, and the atmosphere was stimulating yet relaxing. As things happened, I took note of them in this journal I carry around.. just sharing my experience:

***A man was on the mic singing to a song the band was playing. He decided to dance with a young woman in the audience. An older woman in the crowd approached him with all the grace in the world and (out of nowhere) burst out with a bunch of dips and spins you could never imagine. She was just vibing to the music doing a type of jazz dance, making me wish I was born in her generation so I could physically express myself in such a way. All my generation knows is pumping, slow grinding, and booty claps.
***Initially, I wasn't allowing myself to enjoy the cafe. I was with my ex-boyfriend, and I wasn't sure how he would respond to my enjoyment of the setting we were in. It's true what they say, there's strength in numbers. His cousin is a major music buff, and sat with his eyes closed, playing imaginary keys. Seeing his response to the band, made me feel more comfortable. Imagine that. Me.. of all people.. cheating myself of a good time, in the environment I was made for.
***My eyebrows were constantly raised with anticipation, wondering when the drummer was going to end the mellow drum roll he had began.
***At one point, the host asked where all the lovely ladies were in the house. That's not really my thing, and I'm nowhere near reserved, but I chose to keep my hand down. A lady seated in front of me with a thick Jamaican accent encouraged me.. "Guhl, put ya hand up!" Her friendliness touched me. Everyone just seemed so connected.. meanwhile an older lady in the back was waving her hand like crazy. Free spirits have it best.
***The bass guitarist and the piano player were so in tune with each other. It's as if their chemistry was created through the music notes. The piano player could start hitting the keys to a song the bass guitarist didn't know, the bass guitarist would watch him play for a bit, and just jump in when he felt comfortable.. you would never be able to tell he didn't know the tune, had he not had to look at the piano player in the beginning to catch on.

Nothing major, just some notes I jotted down during the event. The entire environment was so tranquil. I highly encourage others to go and check it out. You can see when they are having different events at their website,

2fingers and blessings,

God-Given Poet

There's a saying that goes,
"Natural talent is God's gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God."

This weekend, I went to New York and spoke during open mic at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. I was a bit hesitant to speak because I hadn't been on stage reciting my poetry in a while. Nonetheless, the feeling I had as I walked off the stage was liberating. It reminded me that when I'm on stage reciting the words I've put together to form meaningful messages.. I am living out my passion.

While at the bus terminal headed to New York, the manager issuing my ticket at the front desk asked me if I was going to NY for a day of shopping. I told him that I was going to NY to perform. The clerk at the desk asked me if I was a dancer. My reply was-
"No, I am a poet."
I had never claimed the title to myself aloud. I have been called a poet by others, but never said the words for myself to hear. It felt good. Felt natural... and I got to thinking about a poem where this guy questions why someone decided to call themselves a poet. He was saying that just because you wrote one good piece doesn't make it who you are. So, while at the Nuyorican- I ask myself, "Self, what gives you the right to call yourself a poet?"

My soul responded with these words:
"I am a poet. Not because I make words rhyme when tranferring messages or because I have a niche for performing at coffee houses, but because I wake up and fall asleep thinking about words and writing. It's not a hobby, it's a calling. I'm the one who thinks of the captions to pictures as I take them. My friends call me when they want a catchy phrase for their myspace name and headline. My brain is stocked with lyrics from every genre of music, phrase, or quote that I've heard and liked.. and 9 times out of 10, these lyrics/phrases spill out in the midst of my conversations. I carry a pen and pad around for the rare occassions when my brain can't hold anymore information, and I hear something that I just have to remember. I am a poet because if I couldn't express my thoughts in written form, I would explode. God put words in me, thoughts in my head, ideas that have to be released. All I am is the vessel who does as it is instructed.. so when I feel the urge to write, I push my pen. I am a poet because that is what God intended me to be."

And though this answer may not have been enough for the man who put the initial question in my head. It was more than enough for me.

2fingers and blessings,
B aka: The God Given Poet

p.s. Photographers take pictures, poets put pictures into words and allow you to see the image in your minds eye just as clearly

Saturday, November 3, 2007

You & Me Shall Never Part

sister: [sis- ter] noun
1. a female offspring having both parents in common with another offspring
2. also called a half sister, a female offspring having only one parent in common with another offspring
3. a female friend or protector regarded as a sister

I have 8 siblings, and I'm a huge family person. That pretty much goes without saying. Everyone whose anyone knows that I adore my youngest sister (she's 3) to the utmost power. I worry about my older brothers more than I should. My youngest brother is my "little man", and it amazes me how much I think the one older than him is unlike any one of us, but how proud of him I am. Not to mention my two 11yr. old sisters who are like night and day. They get on my nerves, but I just want what's best for them. Nonetheless, my older sister and I have a bond unlike any other.

I'm sure most people, who get along with their siblings, believe they're close. However, I KNOW FOR A FACT, that the bond we share isn't comparable to that of another persons. I am truly learning to appreciate it now that we're older and there's more going on between us. Since I was younger, I've always admired her. If she did it, I did it. Her word was basically God. She stayed in North Carolina, and I stayed in Virginia. Our grandmother always tells us the story of when we first met. She introduced us, and my sister took me by the hand and showed me around the entire house. From that day forward,we were joined at the hip.. and don't think about seperating us. Whenever I would leave North Carolina for the summer, her house would be our last stop, and it always resulted in tears. When I moved to North Carolina for highschool, no one could stand us. She lost ALL her friends in my defense, and didn't have one complaint to speak of.

These might not seem like major events, and truthfully, they aren't. You have to witness it to understand.
-We share everything [ie: when we go out to eat, we make sure we get what the other doesn't so that we can eat off each others plates]
-We live through each other vicariously, meaning what happens to one of us happens to both of us [ie: when she was pregnant with my niece, we were pregnant :)
-We sit extremely close to each other at all times [it's the weirdest thing because we'll sit down and randomly notice that we're basically sitting on top of each other]
-We hold hands in public [another weird thing.. some way or another, mid-conversation, we always end up holding hands.. just to notice that we're holding hands and seperate them :)
-We plot together [we take time to perfectly construct our lies (sad, but true), talk with each others boyfriends (before she was married) just to keep a close watch on what's happening
-I check in with her [been going out of town a lot lately, she's the "in case of emergency" person that knows where I am... as Christina said on Grey's Anatomy- "she's my person"]
-We laugh about nothing [you know that best friend you have nonverbal communication with? we have that.. we look at each other and start snickering- this used to make our stepmom think we were talking about her all the time :)
-People can't be around us for too long [her husband's jealous of us, yup, her husband.. even my niece is.. one time my sister was rubbin my head cause I had a headache, and out of nowhere, my niece dropped the laptop on my head.. apparently I was sitting on her mommy too long and my sister swears she didn't see her walking over with a laptop :)
-I had a hard time giving a toast/speech to her marriage at her wedding [guess I'm jealous of her husband just as much as he is of us.. but "I had her first" :)
-When one of us cries, the other cries... even if we don't know why we're crying [if she calls and I hear sadness in her voice, my tears involuntarily start to fall, and she starts crying when she had been doing good at not crying.. than I go and mess it up]
-We compare ourselves to the sisters in The Color Purple [I'm Celie, she's Nettie-even though Celie is really the older sister.. I always say she's the one who got the rocks thrown at her]
-She was the first person to sit me behind the wheel and teach me how to drive [in her old car, formally known as Putt Putt]

I'm rambling, but I just want someone to understand how close we are. She doesn't pass judgement when I do things that are out of line, even if they end up reflecting poorly on her. She just points out the error in my actions, and leaves the rest to me. We can talk about everything and anything. We have NEVER gotten into an argument. Hell, she's threatened my dad for me (and you might not know, but my dad's a big dude), that's love.

Basically, we're the epitome of sisterhood.

So much for being modest right? Truthfully though, I am more than greatful for our relationship. God knew what we was doing when he made us siblings. It's ironic cause our younger sisters can't be around each other more than 15minutes without arguing, and I always tell them that's not acceptable. However, my dad always tells me that the relationship me and my older sister have isn't the norm... and I've come to realize, he's right (for once).. and I'm glad about that.

With all that being said, I love you "Nettie"

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"You and me shall never part,
You and me- we have one heart,
Aint no mountain, aint no sea...
That could keep my sister away from me" -The Color Purple

2fingers and blessings,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Missing in Action


Needless to say, I have been somewhat.. ok, that's an understatement.. I have been EXTREMELY absent from this blog for (pretty much) the entire month of October. So, here I am, back in business, to explain my absence.

Long story short, it has been one hell of a month.

I went to DC with some friends of mine on campus to Howards homecoming. The following week, I went back home (North Carolina) to be with my best friends at A&T's homecoming. I also met my favorite Def Poet, Black Ice, that weekend. This week I've been catching up on school work because clearly, I didn't spend the weekends studying. Not to mention, I will be going to New York tomorrow to "spit a lil' something somethin" at NuYoricans Open Mic Night.

This, in no way, excuses my absence. I just acknowledge it and send out my apologies for it. I plan to blog (damn near) daily this month, I do realize that this is necessary. People in my future line of work (journalist) can't choose to not write for their publications because they're busy. It's just not acceptable. On the up and up though, here are a few random pictures from my weekend back home.

Me and My Besties back in NC.. the pistols to my holster
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That good ol' country cooking I've missed.. a cheeseburger & hashbrowns
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Me.. sipping on sweet tea.. something like a southern delicacy.. Philly doesn't know what they're missing
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W/ My Favorite Def Poet, Black Ice (also the author behind the lyrics I posted comparing boys to young men)
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Another country meal.. cheese grits and sausage on toast
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They say some people eat to live, and some people live to eat. I took so many pictures of "southern meals", that it's ridiculous. So, clearly, I'm one of those people who live to eat. On another note, as I said before, I'm back in business. Be on the lookout for some frequent blogging.

2fingers and blessings,

Friday, October 5, 2007

Keep it Simple, Stupid

Taylor Mahli, a poet featured on Def Poetry, wrote a poem about how people have started this trend where it's cool to be ignorant and uneducated. I never declared this poem as a favorite. It was cool, but I wasn't overly impressed-just entertained.

Nonetheless, I'm in college now and I've noticed people STILL take pride in not knowing anything. As if they came to college for a change of scenery and a new schedule. Maybe it's just me, and everyone else is on full scholarship, but tuition is too expensive to be skipping class for popularity. I am my worse critic, and I do everything short of beating my own ass when I oversleep. Missing class intentionally isn't even an option. Long story short, shout out to all the people who are actually our there doing something with themselves and making use of the education they're receiving. Furthermore, shout out to all the artists who make it known that there's more than the music biz and entertainment industry.

"Success is tangible, don't wait for fame."

"If you're a girl with the aspirations of being in the background with ya asses shaking
Hitting clubs and skipping out on the class you're taking
I ask you to have some patience, you're worth so much more... "

Lupe Fiasco-
"You been shedding too much light Lupe
You're making them wanna do right Lupe
They're gettin self esteem Lupe
These girls are tryin to be queens Lupe
They're tryin to graduate from school Lupe
They're startin to think that smart is cool Lupe
They're trying to get up out the hood Lupe
I'll tell you what you should do.. Dumb it down. "

Of course there are numerous other examples I could have used, these were just ringing in my head. The Lupe line is so true. The song basically targets people who tell him to change his message, no one wants to here about progression, and you're actually getting into the minds of people, making them want more. I applaud him, along with anyone else, whose making people desire something beyond what they have and letting them know it's can be obtained. The people who spread knowledge, whether it be something you learned through experience or read in a book are what makes the world go round. To those who walk around with the preference of stupidity, let me be the first to remind you- ignorance is bliss BUT knowledge is power.

2 fingers and blessings,

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry

If today were a song, the lyrics would go: "Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mama said." -Shirelle

*Take note of the song playing, it expresses this entire blog exactly.

I don't know if it's just me but I've been seeing these shirts A LOT lately. The timing in which I saw it today couldn't have been any better. Today was another one of my "feeling like a failure" days, and being that I am my worse critique- it was highly discouraging. I was beating myself up about a quiz I took (and bombed) this morning, the one tomorrow that I'm not prepared for, and other work that's just waiting to be done. Fergie's line "it's time to be a big girl now and big girls don't cry" kept playing over and over in my head. I realized that I came to Philly (from North Carolina) and I'm not getting this college "gig" right. The expectations my parents have aren't anywhere near being met, and they set the bar high. Not to be mistaken, when it comes to academics, I've given them reason to expect the best from me. However, this time... I don't think I'll score as high on the charts as they'd like. Than I realized, I am in college now.. this is about me. It is my time. I can't do what I'm doing for anyone but me. No longer is it about letting them down, it's about letting myself down. I know what I'm capable of; I know who will be most effected if I come out of this with my head bowed, feeling defeated. I have to make decisions, the right ones, and live by them.. blood, sweat, and laughs (no tears). God is in control, but I have to take the path he has laid before me. If I want to walk on water, I have to get out the boat.

Got a bit side tracked.. back to the story- I'm walking around feeling like a loser and I see someone wearing that shirt. It immediately brought me back to reality. The only logical thing to do would be to get up, get out, and make a change. I can't let the burden of anyone, not even my parents, weigh on me. I have to make myself proud. I come first. No shedding tears or calling parents asking for help. Those days are behind me. I'm a big girl now. In the words of Billie Holiday:

"Mama may have,
Papa may have,
But God bless the child that has his own.."

2 fingers and blessings,


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sisters & Young Men.. Bitches & Boys

It's pretty well known that I'm a music junkie. Truth be told, I'm more lyrical than anything.. it's not necessarily the beat on a track but the message that's being sent through the airways. I was listening to a track called "Take ya Time" by Black Ice ft. Musiq and he basically states the difference between young men and boys. In comparison, Jay-Z has a track called Sisters and Bitches where he describes what seperates a sister (a female worthy of respect) from a bitch (a female who is often disrespected). I'm posting the lyrics to both.. food for thought, grab a plate.

Bitches and Sisters: Jay-Z
Sisters get respect, bitches get what they deserve
Sisters work hard, bitches work your nerves
Sisters hold you down, bitches hold you up
Sisters help you progress, bitches will slow you up
Sisters cook up a meal, play their role with the kids
Bitches in street with their nose in your biz
Sisters tell the truth, bitches tell lies
Sisters drive cars, bitches wanna ride
Sisters give-up the ass, bitches give-up the ass
Sisters do it slow, bitches do it fast
Sisters do their dirt outside of where they live
Bitches have niggers all up in your crib
Sisters tell you quick "you better check your homie"
Bitches don't give a fuck, they wanna check for your homie

Take ya Time: Black Ice ft. Musiq

Boys don't know how to crack

They try to holla out the window of they ride
Young men know how to act
They humbly pull you to the side
A young man is genuine, he don’t suck up to ya moms
But a boy will kiss her ass and try to fuck before the prom
A boy will play hustler cause he think he's hiding through it
A young man would keep it on the low and hate they gotta do it
A young man is in his dorm room with a big poster of Pac
A boy know his songs word for word but cant get off the block
A boy wanna hit it, young men wanna hit it
Young men wait patiently and boys rush to get it
After school, a boy rushes home to jump on Playstation
A young man will stay late and try to further education
A boy wont say nothing if his homies try and sound you
A young man will defend ya honor if his niggas ever clown you
A young man sees practicing and studies with his team
But a boy don’t see nothing but crack and triple beams

Some people have problems with labels, but are those same people the ones with labels that aren't so pleasing? Where do you fall in line? Take time to think about it.

If you aren't being called a title that is becoming of you, you might want to become something different.

2fingers and blessings,

*Thanks Beans

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Niggas & Figures

Being as this blog is inspired by my writing, it only makes sense that I put my pieces up here as well. This isn't one of my greatest, but I like it... get with me.

Niggas and Figures

I guess you find it necessary for your every sentence to contain a curse word
As if cursing or being loud is the equivalent of being heard
But in all honesty it just makes those around you wish they could tune you out
I'm walking what I'm talking, but are you about what you shout?
It's as if
I'm whispering the truth while you're hollering the lies
And since you're all they can hear, it's me they're starting to despise
Looks that speak louder than words, asking why I can't keep "my kind" tamed
I'm not contributing to the noise, but I'm receiving all the blame
..because our skin tones are the same
So they group us like numbers and figures
I'm minding my civilized business, but
you got them calling all of us niggas
..and though it shouldn't
Your actions reflect on all of "your kind"
So the next time you open your mouth, I hope you will keep that in mind
I'm not saying you should assimilate.. imitation is not the way

But you speak with so much authority; I just want you to mean what you say

Every black mans story was not built on guts and glory
Famous inventors spent nights up toiling while other people spent theirs snoring
To each his own, I do believe, but please
stray from the black man the media potrays
Drug dealing, cursing, and stealing is not how all have spent their days
Some got dealt a bad hand, and instead of folding-they did what they could
But you don't have the same cards before you; As a matter of fact, your hands looking good
They went through the struggle for you, and we should keep their memories alive
Learn from their experience and grow, but don't back pedal and live their lives
In all actuality,
we've got it easy- the most spoiled generation yet
The basis of our education is technology, and education they had to fight for us to get
So take advantage of what's before you; don't give them a reason to call you a nigga
And should they still categorize you- Oh well..
Cause now you're the one with all the figures

2 fingers and blessings,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Talking to the (Wo)Man in the Mirror

First and foremost: Jena 6

-Around campus, those protesting the trials of the Jena 6 are wearing black (representing strength and mourning) or green (to symbolize growth and surpassing hate). There are people protesting around our bell tower (the center of campus), and it's pretty hard to get around it. Am I complaining? HELL NO! I think this issue is worthy of all the attention it's receiving. Three black boys sit under a tree in the "white section", and the next day there are nooses hung. The principal wants them expelled, yet the city education director overrides this decision because he sees it as a harmless practical joke. Kids will be kids? Is that not ridiculous? The fact that there is a white section in the first place blows me. Apparently, seperate but equal still holds credibility some places. Than 6 (black) boys get in a fight and they receive charges, get put on trial, have ridiculous paroles set for them, and actually get sentenced.
This issue is making a mockery of the progress America has made since slavery.. or the lack there of.

Back to the regular scheduled program:
My yesterday (9/19/2007) sucked. It started off with me not waking up in time for class and progressed into something even worse. Give me a brief moment to complain:

-I tripped and fell twice (get your laugh out), one trip was so hard that I actually broke my toenail
-I was EXTREMELY hungry, bought a sandwhich, and dropped half of it on the floor (just after I thought, "it would be ridiculous if I dropped this")
-My grandmother (Lord knows I love her) wouldn't stop nagging me about a loan
-the list goes on.. but this will suffice

It was one of those days that, had it been in a comic strip, the story would have been called "When Something Can Go Wrong, It Does". I was feeling defeated. A few days before I had called my sister to tell her I was quitting college. She immediately dismissed the notion. As a matter of fact, she said, "Girl shutup". She has the ability to make light of any situation, and though I was seriously stressing, I needed that reminder... it's not always that serious. Sometimes I just need to sit back and breathe, re-evaluate the situation, and figure out what I can do to make the best of it. My greatest advice to myself was be progressive or sleep (I stated that in the previous blog). Kinda dramatic, I know but efficient nonetheless. Well, it would be effecient if I could actually put it into action.

This is all beyond me. I went through highschool just gliding. It wasn't hard to keep up with school work, and good grades came with ease. Now, I get to college and I'm two steps away from needing a tutor in every class. It's not hard to feel imcompetent when I don't see anyone else struggling the way I am. Taking into consideration that I'm more emotional than most and I wear my heart on my sleeve, everyone doesn't show it as much as I do when the pressure is on and getting to them. I'd like to believe that this is temporary and I'm stressing myself out. However, the facts are that there is work to be done and I have to be the one to do it. Everyone isn't struggling as much as I am because they're doing more work than I am. If I do my best than there's nothing for me to feel bad about. Problem is.. I haven't been doing my best and that's where the worry sets in. Sometimes the answer isn't always so easy.

This time, the answer is simple.. get on my job. Admitting defeat is not an option. Jigga said it best:
I will not lose!
In order to change the world, I must first start with myself.

2 fingers and blessings,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Note to Self: Wake Up, Stay Up

I'm sure we've all heard sayings about how beneficial it is to be an early riser. When hearing these quotes, the speaker failed to mention that early rising doesn't always come with ease. Nonetheless, it's supposedly essential to having a productive day.
-It is the early bird that gets the worm.
-Early riser.. out before them other guys, that's the way to profit everytime.
-Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on level with the feet.

Any of these ring a bell?
Unfortunately... they all ring too many bells in my ears, and I've learned a valuable lesson.
Wake up when the alarm goes off, and stay up when the alarm goes off.

Like many, I have the habit of tricking myself into believing if I catch 15 more minutes of sleep, I will be better off. The problem that comes with this way of thinking is that those (measley) 15 minutes usually turn into an hour and some change. The problem? If you're in college, which I am, you've missed a class or two as a result of your "fifteen minutes" . Some don't see the harm in missing a class. People keep telling me, "Don't worry", "Everyone does it", "Just make sure you're at the next one".

However, I see a problem in this. It's one thing to copy notes from someone else. It's another, more informative, thing to hear the teacher elaborate on the notes first hand. Furthermore, just because everyone's missing classes doesn't make up for my absence. I have plans on changing the world; I can't do that following the paths of other people.

There needs to be some set of helpful hints instructing us how to rise early, effectively. For now, the obvious answer to me is- Go to bed at a reasonable time. I am a night owl, I usually don't hit the sack til' around 4 in the morning. That will have to change. Sitting up wasting the night away because sleeping just doesn't sound entertaining is no longer an option.
If the time I'm up isn't productive, I'm better off sleeping. That's all there is to it.

2 fingers and blessings,

*Random (yet, on my mind)- WHAT IS OJ THINKING ABOUT! Was it not enough that he got off with accusations of murder? Now he wants to test the waters and give robbery a try too. While I'm struggling to wake up in time for classes, he's creating another controversial issue for us to discuss in Journalism. And, for what? His own personal collection of sports memorabilia. Loser.

In the beginning..

I'm a freshman in college, and the only thing I'm (absolutely) sure of at this point is that I love to write. I take comfort in it. I see the power of words. I want to be a part of the movement.

So.. I'm starting a blog.

I have these random, sudden, nagging urges to write. This blog will be composed of my thoughts, poems, developing ideas, and whatever other material I consider news worthy or monumental.

During my orientation in July 2007, I declared my major (magazine) journalism-which is a basic foundation for writing; whose to say this will still be my declared field upon graduation? For me it was a simple equation.

Passion for writing+Money to be made as a journalist= Journalism Major

Why magazine journalism? I feel like it causes a writer to use different levels of creativity. I can write an editorial, straight news, conduct interviews, or learn the layout for magazines. Nonetheless, I'm not sure this is supposed to be my profession. This is definitely my calling, but I am supposed to study it in college or study something else and practice my craft freely? I think people should know their craft, so I guess learning it wouldn't bring any harm. After all, this is only the beginning.

This blog..
my career path..
taking my passion to the next level..

All of these are in their beginning stages.
The best is yet to come. Hang on for the ride and cross your fingers. I don't promise to fill these post with excitement that keeps you yearning for more, just an undeniable truth.. my truth as I figure this "thing" out. Let's hope thats enough.

2 fingers and blessings,