Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Pestilence of Ignorance -Tia

I sincerely hate stereotypes. I hate false truths. And I despise ignorance. Not the general, rule of the mill, book learnin’ type ignorance. I’m talking about the ignorance that seems to have no meaning. The type of ignorance that is perpetuated by stupidity. (Chew on that one for a minute.)

I just got back from St. Louis. With the exception of Atlanta, St. Louis is one of the blackest towns that I visit with any sort of frequency. There are brown folks everywhere. And for the most part the ones that I have encountered seemed to be very nice, hard working folks like myself. And I’m not going to lie, I LOVE being called "sister" by the brothers and "baby" by the "older" ladies. You know, the grandma types. But y’all know how we do. There’s always a small but vocal group of ignint folks that just screws it up for everybody. And St. Louis is not without that group.

I was on the cross trainer at the hotel and a commercial came on that literally made me want to go down to the establishment and pimp slap EVERY LAST ONE of the employees. I want to line them up and just run down the line and slap them a la Stephen from The Real World Seattle. The commercial was for Get A Car. We’ve all seen them. They’re the type of place that will give anyone a car regardless of credit or finances. It’s not the establishment that I’m against. People have to get around. But the commercial itself served only to set the race back AT LEAST 2 decades. It went like this:

Customer Number 1 (Average looking brother)
I’ve only been on my job a week
I owe child support (Meaning he has not been paying it…?)
Look what Get A Car done for me
(Camera pans out to show a Ford Excursion)

Customer Number 2 (CLEARLY a street pharmacist)
I’m self-employed and get paid in cash
Look what Get A Car done for me
(Camera pans out to show a Lincoln Navigator)

Customer Number 3 (A black woman leaning into the camera like she has a secret)
I’m on AFDC (That’s like WIC for those of y’all who don’t know. I think it stands for Aid to Families with Dependant Children.)
I get social security (You look young and able bodied enough to work…lazy heifer)
And I get a check from my baby’s daddy (You know what….I’m not even going to go there…)
Look what Get A Car done for me
(Camera pans out to show a Lexus SUV)

The commercial then went on to say how Get A Car could get anyone into a ride regardless of…anything. The commercial ended with the staff standing on the lawn yelling, "Come to Get A Car, ‘cause we don’t give a damn."

I will not type what I thought; suffice it to say I immediately had to repent. I don’t know where to begin. I don’t know what I was the most angry about:
- The fact that the commercial perpetuated the myth that black people only care about material things and will spend our last dime to obtain such.
- The fact that the commercial perpetuated the myth that black people are ALWAYS going to try to get over on "the system" and spend their government aid on STUFF.
- The fact that the grammar was HORRIBLE or
- The fact that the myth of black man don’t support their kids and/or that they don’t stay with their child’s mother was portrayed in a one minute commercial.

I told Toya about the commercial and she said, "And then..? When did the joke come in?" I told her that there was no joke. It was real. Her response, "No (while shaking her head) I don’t believe you. That didn’t happen."

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bourgeois. But that mess was just IGNORANT. Pure, unadulterated, for no reason whatsoever, make Malcolm, Martin, Huey and all the rest roll over in their graves so many times that they’d bore to the earth’s core IGNORANT. And during Black History Month no less.

And if that weren’t enough the commercial ended with:

Coming Soon: Get A House


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Grammy Rundown-Toya
I am trying to write this while watching a Mos Def video block so it will be short. I don't know how coherent it will be either. Oh. My. Word. I love him.

This year's awards were just a-ight. I love that Queen Latifah hosted this year and was sad that we didn't see her too much. She was a natural. My pick for next year would definitely be Ellen Degeneres.

Favorite Performance: My favorite performance of the night, hands down, went to Alicia Keyes with "If I Aint Got You". My neighbors probably thought I was watching a church service with all of the "Sang, Alicia!!!! Go ahead girl!" going on in the living room. She was incredible. The "Georgia" duet with Jamie Foxx was great too. Was that a tattoo in the back of Jamie Foxx's head? I couldn't tell.

Best New Artist: Maroon 5!!!!!!! I was so stinkin' happy! First of all, I didn't even know that they were up for it and when I found out, I didn't think that they had a chance. I honestly thought that it would be Kanye West or Gretchen Wilson.

Favorite Acceptance Speech: Kanye West. I was definitely like everyone else waiting to see if Kanye would throw another temper tantrum if he didn't win. But like he said, we'll never find out and I'm glad. I'm not the biggest Kanye West fan but I would almost hate to see anyone outside of Eminem get nominated for that many awards and not win.

The Worst Waste of 5 Minutes that I Will Never Get Back: What ON EARTH was that whole "Change the World" all-star collab crap about? It was hideous! Why didn't they just let Rufus Wainwright sing it? Didn't he do a remake of it or was it Jamie Cullum? Or Gavin Degraw? Or one of those other male singers that came out last year that I always swear are British? Anyway, it was painful.

The Good Googa Mooga: BGLU favorite, Matthew "Good Googa Mooga" McConaughey introduced Lynyrd Skynyrd and good gravy, I love that ol' country fool! My mom and I just had a conversation this morning where I told her that I was officially off of white boy hiatus. After being head over heels for the same brother for almost a year and a half, I told her that "it is still my preference to marry a black man but if I come home with a white man, I don't even want to hear it. I tried, okay?" "Well", my mom replied,"I just want him to love Jesus and love you. It's your daddy that's the racist." Let me just say this: if the Good Googa Mooga all of the sudden loved Jesus and then loved me, I would give my daddy two fingers (that's the peace sign) and a chin, hop up in Matt's red pickup truck and holler "Love ya daddy but we're gonna go see Skynyrd! Free Bird!!! Free Bird, dangitt!!!!" I'm just playin' yall. Sort of...

But, what about Usher?: Usher was nominated for 8 Grammys I believe and I didn't get to see him win ANY of them. What was that about? I hate that.

And finally, the Jennifer Lopez/Marc Anthony performance: 3 words: Telemundo Soap Opera. I'm through, really. I'm through.
Are You New Here? - Tia

I’m sure some of you are wondering, “Has it become Black Girls Like Me? Where is Tia?” Well here’s my problem: I sit in front of a computer for about 7 ½ hours a day. I have some interaction with people, but for the most part I spend my time in my 9x9 cube with my headphones on listening to music, typing my sanity away. So you can understand how I wouldn’t want to come home and look at ANOTHER screen. As such, anecdotes, deep thoughts and anything else I might have been inclined to share with you are tossed aside with a dismissal shrug the minute I walk through the door at home and see my HP.

However, at the moment I’m feeling somewhat motivated and as such I figured I would share.

Currently in rotation

Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal

It’s that guitar that gets you. Honestly, I love this album. I put it on repeat last Thursday and only turned it off because I was on the verge of burnout by Saturday. And I don’t know who wrote track 8, The Feel Good Drag…but DANG.

Was this over before
before it ever began?
Your kiss, your calls, your crutch
Like the devil’s got your hands
This was over before
before it ever began
Your lips, your lies, your lust
Like the devil’s in your hands

I’m going to assume that Stephen wrote the majority of the songs. I’m also going to assume that he is NOT referring to his current girlfriend in this song. But the lyrics beg the question: Who is this girl? I mean, he refers to her as his greatest mistake. Ouch…

Anyway, overall I think the cd is amazing. It was well worth the 2-year wait. And just for clarification, NO, I’m not just saying that because I had a big crush on Stephen. (Yes, HAD. Several weeks ago I realized that I needed to lay my crush on Mr. Christian to rest. Why? Because Stephen is a real person…with a real girlfriend. So:
1.) Was it crush or was I on the fast track to being the girl in song 8?
2.) How would I feel if someone had as huge of a crush on my rocker boyfriend as I did on Stephen? Someone who is 1 degree of separation from my boyfriend…
3.) It just didn’t feel right. It was cool when he was that dude in that band. But when he became that guy that we sorta know who reads our website and is flattered by the things that we write…then it became a little too personal. Like a crush on a brother…He's still really cute in that picture....okay that's the last time....I promise)
Blueprints for the Black Market is still my favorite though. And Stephen, if you’re reading, NEVER EVER EVER stop singing Readyfuels. (If I were you, I would put it on every album until the people RECOGNIZE how fresh it is.) Your t-shirt is on the way.

Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

So what Breakaway is the story of my life right now…SO WHAT?!?!?

Breakaway is leaps and bounds ahead of Kelly’s freshman debut. Honestly, far less pop. Much more depth and she makes you remember why she won American Idol. Don’t sleep on her. Beautiful Disaster made me want to run out and buy tickets to her show. Much like Martina McBride, her live voice far surpasses her studio stuff. Unlike some people *coughAshlee Simpsoncough* I have hurt myself many a time singing Since You Been Gone during car karaoke.

4th Avenue Jones - Stereo
Remember when hip-hop was good? I know it was a long time ago, but think back. Remember when folks had something to say? I mean besides calling us b****** and h*** and harping along day after day ad nauseam about bling, rubber bands, drugs and other such ignorance. Okay, do you remember? Yeah you do…I see you smiling. Now think of that goodness and shake in a little rock and soul.

I’m often amazed at what now passes as hip-hop. After you hear
4th Avenue Jones you sorta have to wonder who is letting the rest of that crap through and what can we do about it?

MOC – Jersey Chica

She’s my roommate…And she’s good.

We Try To Tell You
We want you to be cool like us (ha!) and be in the know before anyone else. Not too long ago, we mentioned one of out favourite newcomers,
Mat Kearney. Well, it was just announced that Mat Kearney has signed with Columbia. Why yes, that is John Mayer’s label.

I just had a thought….what if John got saved…?!?!? Ooooohhhhhh, then I really COULD marry John Mayer.

I was on the bandwagon. I’m not going to lie. I wanted an IPod. They are such the accessories to have at the moment. I was going to use part of my tax refund to get one. (I use Turbotax in case you’re wondering. Filed on the 1st, refund back on the 9th.) But even as I was perusing the features of the all coveted MP3 player there was still the slight hitch in my craw…(Did I just say that?!?! Someone get me out of the south.) I didn’t like the idea of ITunes or any of the other downloadable music services for that matter. I don’t mind paying for music. But .99/song seemed a little steep. For someone like me I could rack up hundreds of dollars worth of charges without trying. I often wondered why there wasn’t just a monthly service. All the downloads you want for a set fee. Even something upwards of $30/month would be okay. Cause don’t think I wouldn’t get my, yours, and everyone else’s money’s worth.

And then (insert heavenly chorus and bright light here) Napster came riding in on white horse. Napster just announced that they now offer unlimited downloads for $15.99/month. Even on my trying to save money to move budget, I think I can swing that. But of course, there is a catch. As far as anyone can tell, IPods only support songs from ITunes. Bummer. That being the case, I currently have my eye on the Dell Jukebox. And from what I can gather they’re cheaper, the sound quality is just as good (some say better) and most importantly, they’re compatible with Napster…

Viva La Napster

Update: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is....I hate them all....

Too Funny To Not Be True

Would you buy a BGLU t-shirt?
If so, how much would you pay for it?

Just brain storming…

Random Aside

I just realized that I don’t have the Rocky IV soundtrack. Now you may be asking, as did one of my bosses, why I would want that particular soundtrack. But see here’s the thing. You can’t really sleep on the movie or the music from it. Come on now…

There’s no easy way out
There’s no shortcut home…

And let’s not forget Hearts On Fire, Living In America and One Way Street (by Go West, come on…it’s GO WEST!!!) No Easy Way out will motivate you to stay the course finish the race, and all that other never give up, never surrender type stuff.

untitled - tia

Off the top of your head, can you think of an antonym for bitterness? And no, “not bitter” is not the right answer. I actually had to look it up. And most of the alternatives were pretty poor in my opinion: affection, goodwill, friendship, love. I think the reason those didn’t really apply was because they didn’t seem to fully convey the depth of the word I had antecedently attempted to define.

No one wants to admit that they might be wrong. And heaven forbid one of us should have a character flaw. We are all perfect in the lands of our own creations. But it is when we are forced out of this fraudulent utopia, that we are slapped in the face with reality. There is a spoon and it cannot be bent.

I received a heaping dose of this unfortunate reality last weekend. It began with an uncomfortable feeling Sunday morning and subsequently culminated with me crying into my nachos at Matzatlan that afternoon.

As I was walking into church Sunday, The Voice as clear as the dawning morning sky above spoke to me and said, “Bitterness.” That was all. There was no crack of lighting, no clap of thunder and Gabriel did not appear before me. As I neared the door mulling over what I’d just heard, a thought came to me. The same thought that I'd had a lot recently. “Lord, PUH-LEEEEZE don’t let me see Ben Covington.” (These incidents may seem disjointed but stay with me. I’m going to tie them up with a ribbon and a pretty bow in the coming paragraphs.) I walked in, found my seat and proceeded to have an awesome worship time. After church I had a lunch date and that’s pretty much when the tears hit the Mexican food.

I sat rather soberly in my friend’s car as we rode to the restaurant. I was tired from the previous night and in a rather pensive state to boot. As we began to talk I poured out my heart to her about the night before, how I felt about my life, my family, Ben, and everything else. She listened dutifully and then said the COMPLETE opposite thing I expected to hear. “It sounds to me like you’re dealing with some pride and maybe a little bitterness.” Now mind you, I hadn’t mentioned the whole bitterness moment from the morning, so her words came as a complete and utter shock to me. I expected to be coddled, told that everything was someone else’s fault and that I was well within my right to feel the way that I felt because TRULY I was the victim. Yeah…um…no.

People wrong us every day. Someone will say something ignorant or do something insensitive and, if we allow ourselves, we’re left with a slew of hurt feelings, animosity, grit and general run of the mill bitterness. It’s often hard to forgive, particularly when someone close to you wrongs you. My parents, God bless them, have a penchant for ignorant-anus words and deeds. Especially my mother. It wasn’t until Sunday that I realized that I hadn’t forgiven her for the crap that she took and continues to take my brother and I through.

And Ben…well, he’s not the innocent in everything that happened, but he’s not fully to blame. Yeah, he did a crappy thing by bringing the idea of an “us” to the table and not backing it up or at the very least wrapping it up and giving it an end. But the fact that I walk into church every Sunday praying to, pleading with, beseeching God to not to let me see him should have let me know that there was still some residual grit hanging around the corners.

No one likes to be wronged. It’s in our general nature as human beings to protect ourselves. But we live in a fallen and imperfect world. A world where people say things that weigh heavier than imagined and do things the cut like a knife. But it is not the incident that defines us but rather our response. We have millions of choices everyday and sometimes the most important one is how we react in the moment and in the moments to come.

It falls to me to forgive and TRULY forget. I’m not talking about the “forgiveness” that a lot of us like to do. Forgive but still want to slap the person every time we see them. Or the forgiveness that lets the “accuser” know how much they wronged you but also let’s them know how big of a person you are because you “forgave” them. “You cut me deep man. I cried for weeks. But (and this next part is said very solemnly with the eyes rolled heavenward) I FORGIVE YOU.” That’s not what I’m talking about. That forgiveness will get you booked on the redeye to Bitterville. And bitterness is ugly. We all know that person who’s been beat on a little too much by life, or had a husband/boyfriend/father say/do something incorrigible or just not had things go the way they planned. They have the look of bitterness. There’s a tightness around the eyes. A downward pull in the face. The eyes always seem stormy. And there is never any joy…for anyone. They can’t let whatever it is go and have let the pain of it all take root grow and turn their hearts to charcoal. They want to be happy but they don’t know how. They’ve held on to the hurt for so long that they can scarcely remember what it was like to be free from it.

I don’t want that for myself. I’m too cute to be all scrunched up in the face. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m super human. I, unlike Chandler, am not dead on the inside. But I do have to forgive. My prosperity as a person is contingent upon it. Even if I never get an “I’m Sorry” from Ben, I still have to forgive him. Genuinely forgive him. Not the smile is his face and grit behind his back forgiveness. And for all of the mistakes that my parents have and will continue to make, they are still my parents. They’re the ones God gave me and I have to love them unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I have to be a doormat and take everything they, or anyone else, dishes out. But I do have to look beyond the hurt to the Healer. Forgive and love beyond myself. Be sincere even when others are not.

I think our greatest mistake is sometimes thinking that we have a right to STAY hurt. Notice I didn’t say BE hurt. Pain is going to come in this world, that’s a given. But when we hold on to the offense and the bitterness that accompanies it, we remain the victim. Think about being a victim. If someone with a gun mugs you, that person, for that brief moment, has the power over you. When you choose to hold on the pain and the bitterness i.e. to remain the victim, you choose to continue to relinquish the power. AND when you choose to stay bitter and not forgive, you also choose to NOT listen to God.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive your sins.
Mark 11:25

What if God was like us. Instead of forgiving us:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him
Psalm 103:11-13

He did what we have a tendency to do:

God: Well I know she asked forgiveness. But if she’d really loved me she wouldn’t have done that. So look here…I’m going to make her tire go flat on the freeway. Then she’ll come crying back to me. (They always do. It’s always “OOOOHHH….LOOOOORDDD HELP ME!!!!!!” when something goes awry…)

Sorry, love, it’s not forgiveness if you’re still grippin’ on to it. So in the great words of Teddy Pendergrass, “Let it go.” Take it to God and let him handle it. Forgive. Forget. Grow. Love.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hero Of The Moment - Tia

Queen Latifah

Last night I was watching 60 minutes while waiting to see my Blue Devils whoop up on Carolina. Queen Latifah was being interviewed by CBS correspondent Bob Simon. After a brief bio, the way-too-short interview began. Halfway through Bob mentioned that she was currently the spokesperson for Revlon and some other products including a plus size line of clothing. He then posed this question:
B: Why is it that every time I read something about you they always mention your size?
QL: (Laughing, but SO sincere) Because I'm damn sexy. They can't deal with my sexiness
(But this is what made me want to hug her)
QL: I don't know. Maybe they're just hungry too.



Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Never Take Friendship Personal: The CD, the Tour, the Movie?-Toya
Okay, maybe no movie but that would be pretty cool.

The CD

I mentioned before that I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Anberlin's sophomore album. I had so fallen in love with their first album, Blueprints for the Black Market, that I almost felt like I had to give it up to give this new one a chance. But I finally did give it a chance, after having it for almost a whole day before listening to it, and I am not in the least disappointed.

I won't compare this new album to Blueprints too much because first of all they are very different. Sure there are a few rock anthems on this one (the doo doo doo doo's of Foreign Language are replaced with some woo oooh, yeah yeahs in Time and Confusion) but for the most part, the comparisons stop there. What has stuck out to me more than anything have been the lyrics. I found myself calling Tia and repeating lyrics after only one listen. I don't know who "dance by yourself and think of me when you do" is about but I'm just glad that I know that it isn't about me.

Every band should show some sort of growth after each album, maybe not in every area but in at least one and I think this album shows that musically, they have grown leaps and bounds. Cuts like "(symphony of)blase'" (which serves as a really good lullaby on a rainy night) and the 7 minute "Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen" notably show that they aren't scared to branch out with the unexpected. Also, this album proves that Joe Mulligan is arguably one of the best lead guitarist in rock music right now.

I love this record. The more I hear it, the more I want to hear it and the more I hear it, the more I love it. I can't wait for the next one. Hopefully, we won't have to wait another 2 years.

The Tour
This past Saturday marked the first time ever that Tia, Renee and myself have all gone to a show together. Usually it is Tia and me or Renee and me, but never all three of us. It almost didn't happen either. I had some weird 48 hour flu thingy that has been going around our department and I called Anne Marie to tell her that I probably wasn't going. The first thing that I thought was "I can't get Stephen sick." I knew that if I saw Stephen that I was a)going to hug the mess out of him because he just makes my heart swell, he is such a sweetheart and b)I knew that we had all planned to hang out afterwards where we would probably talk and then he would get sick and it would be all my fault and they would have to cancel dates on their tour. Anne Marie assured me (after threatening me) that I wouldn't get him sick and to leave work early, get some hot tea and take a nap. Feeling guilty (but not too guilty to leave work early) I left work and took a nap.

While Tia and I were there to see Anberlin, Renee went to see a band, also on Tooth and Nail records called Showbread. Showbread is awesome for so many reasons but I will name two: they have two lead singers/screamers, one of which is black (no, I did not follow or harass him. I thought about it, but no.) and secondly, there is a guy in the band that plays the keytar. Those two things alone get my vote for coolest new band this year. Tia didn't seem too impressed but Ren and I marveled at how in sync they all were and how they all managed to fit into these little red pants (they all wear red and black, kind of like The Vines who wear black and white). The other lead singer had an Iggy Pop, slightly androgynous thing happening but it's rock and roll. I didn't hate it.

Anberlin went on shortly after Showbread and we danced our little hearts out. As sick as I was, I love dancing to Anberlin. There aren't too many rock bands that you can dance too. Although I sometimes fear that I may look like Molly Ringwald in "The Breakfast Club" when I dance to rock music, who cares? Anyway, you could tell that this was the first if not one of the first shows of the tour playing the new songs. There were some missed cues and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why if there were 3 band members with mics, Stephen, the lead singer, had to sing his parts and the background parts. Not fresh, not fresh at all. But it was Anberlin, our favorite band, the best band ever, and even with the flaws it was a great show. You'd have a hard time finding a better live singer than Stephen Christian anywhere.

To our dismay, the swet was too short. Way too short. Even with an encore, which was "Naive Orleans", my theme song of 2004, it was too short. We were all in shock when Stephen said that Ready Fuels was the last song but not in as much shock as we were when he took his jacket off, revealing a shirt that said "I Am A Lovely". There are some girls we know that also have a blog and they call themselves The Lovelies. They are good friends with the drummer and apparently, got to Stephen backstage and asked him to wear their shirt. As many props as we have given to Anberlin on this website, you know Tia and I were not having it.

The Movie
If there ever was a band movie following this tour, this probably would be in it. Not that this is so hard to believe, but this really did happen.

Three hot black female fans walk up to Stephen of Anberlin, played by Stephen of Anberlin

Stephen: (sees Toya played by Gabrielle Union- I look nothing like Gabrielle Union but I love her. She's great). "Hey beautiful!" (Then sees Tia, played by Tyra Banks-not at all far fetched to be honest) "Hey you beautiful girls, good to see you".
Danielle, played by Naomi Campbell (only cause she would want it that way-love ya D): Notice he only said that to her at first
Stephen: Well we have a special connection
Toya: Oh, I don't know about that
Tia: (Patting Toya on the back, knowing that she can be rather flip with the mouth) Now be nice
Stephen: (looking worried) "What?"
Toya: As much as we talk about you on BGLU, how on earth could you get on stage and wear a lovelies shirt?

Stephen then went on to plead his case, stating that he put it on right before he went on stage because he felt bad and he really didn't know what the shirt was about. To use his own lyrics, So let ME get this straight... a grown man wears a baby blue muscle tee that says "I Am a Lovely" on stage just because someone asks him too? Is he just too nice or does it have something to do with the fact that the girls that asked him look exactly like the Hilton sisters? I'm just playing. We're cool with them actually.

Tia and I admitted that it was really our fault and that as soon as we can, we will be shipping him his very own "BGLU's Finest" t-shirt. To that he replied that no abbreviation was necessary and that he wanted the shirt to say "Black Girls Like Us" clear on the front. We're pretty sure he'd wear it too.
Toya's Ramblings...Too Many Opinions, So Little Time

Alicia Keys vs. Usher. I am not sure who will get what actually. I loved the "Diary" record as a whole much more than Confessions and I think that the Grammys should be about who was the best artistically and not who had the most hype and sold the most records. We'll see.

I am not a huge Jay-Z fan but I loved The Black Album. How on earth did Kanye West's CD get 10 nods and The Black Album got one? I was thinkin that maybe it came out earlier and I just wasn't paying attention last year but no, just one nod. And I know Kanye apologized to Gretchen Wilson but I am still a little salty about how he acted at the AMA's which leads me into my newest obsession...

The Muzik Mafia
I have been here for almost 5 years and was pretty serious about not ever giving country music a chance and then I heard about Muzik Mafia. Muzik Mafia was started by Big And Rich, Gretchen Wilson and some other Nashville weary country musicians that decided to come together and do their own thing regardless of what the music industry standards were. They formed this collective where they all looked out for each other and performed together and soon enough, people paid attention and really dug what they were doing. Before they knew it, they went from playing on Tuesday nights downtown to being on major tours, Gretchen Wilson got Best New Artist at the AMA's and a few Grammy nominations. They also have a reality show on CMT that I am seriously stuck on. I wish more people in the industry would take this kind of initiative.

The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliot
We are so serious about this show in our house. We love it!!!! First of all, I love Missy Elliott. She is my new hero. Grant it, I don't agree with everything she has put out ("She's a..." WHAT?) but like the Muzik Mafia, she is another great success story. Also, the new song "Turn the Lights Off" that she did for Tweet is SO ridiculously good, I wanted to fight her when I heard it. But anyway, Road to Stardom is great because they actually give the contestants challenges that matter and have to do with the industry. They test how hungry these kids actually are. We weren't shedding any tears when they got rid of the "N-I-C" but it will be a sad day in the house when "Jesus is much more than my homeboy" Matthew goes home and well, he is going home, sad to say. Hold up....

I just thought of something. Nic was eliminated for saying something derogatory to Nyilene (sp?) during their freestyle match. When confronting Nic, Missy asked would he want his daughter or mother to be spoken to in that manner. If this is such an issue, why does she allow Ludacris, one of the most misogynistic rappers this side of Pluto to say in Gossip Folks "Got bi***** in the kitchen, never home alone."? This is on her OWN record. I don't get it. The bottom line is she had it out for Nic all along. She was just looking for a reason to oust him and he gave her one.

Anyway, I think Jessica has it in the bag. Deltryce is creepin' on a come up however. This is the perfect segue for Toya's Boyfriend of the Month...

Dallas Austin!!!!

His bio reads, "Austin remains heavily involved in the Dallas Austin Foundation, which he created in 2003 to develop the talents and skill sets of urban youth by exposing them to various facets of the music and entertainment industries. Key initiatives of the foundation include a college scholarship program, and the recently launched "Don't Stop the Music" program, created to keep music in public schools." Dallas has worked with everyone from TLC, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin to Tricky, Bjork, Fishbone and Duran Duran. I mean to come home and have John Taylor in the kitchen because my husband is working on the new Duran Duran record would be sick. I really don't understand why I can't have him. It boggles the mind. *Sigh...moving on, moving on...

Ossie Davis

I was soooooooooo sad to hear that not only did Ossie Davis die but that it was so unexpected and Ruby Dee wasn't by his side when it happened. They were both in separate places, working on separate projects. To me, they had a marriage which possessed a quality that a lot of people don't think about. They both were so like minded and knew that what they both had to do on this earth as individuals was best done together and they did it all with such excellence and class.

I had always hoped that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett were to be our modern day Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. That was until I read this foolishness today on

"In our marriage vows, we didn't say 'forsaking all others.' The vow that we made was that you will never hear that I did something after the fact. If it came down to it, then one spouse can say to the other, 'Look, I need to have sex with somebody. I'm not going to if you don't approve of it - but please approve of it.'"

Now because this was in the New York Post, the world's biggest joke of a newspaper and a most glorified tabloid, I wanted to completely rule this out. However, I have heard about their "open marriage" a few times before from different people and still there is a part of me that does not want to believe this. I need to hear this straight from the ass's mouth. Horse, ass, potato, potato, whatever...
A Good Day- Toya
This is one of those songs that I don't like to admit that I love. I blame Tia's love for the West Coast thugs for my late fascination with Ice Cube. Living in New Jersey, I would have never admitted that I think he is absolutely fine and as far as West Coast gangsta rappers go, I aint gonna lie, Cube is the only one that I like.

Today is my day off, my Sabbath if you will. It is 3:30 and I am still unashamedly in my pajamas. I woke up around 9 am, had some great quiet time with God, ate two bowls of Cheerios and went back to sleep. Today is a good day. I am debating on whether I am going to order Napoleon Dynamite on Pay per view or not and I better hurry up and decide cause we have practice for our show this Saturday in a few hours which I am rather excited about.

I have made two really good decisions as of late. One, to focus on only a few things at a time and two, realize that I am not and am never going to be perfect. I realized that my reason for quitting things was because I got so frustrated that I was just not perfect in how I did them and being way too hard on myself as usual, would just give up. At that rate, who could ever finish anything? So I have decided to calm down, know that God's "Strength is made perfect in our weakness" and just live life.

Things have been a lot more peaceful at work since Gloria left. I realized two days later that I had literally allowed that woman to break my face out. I was that stressed! And things still aren't all that great financially and one would think that I still have a great deal to be worried about but I am not. There just comes a time when you have to "let" God be who He says He is in your life. I have had my moments where I have been just sad about certain things but I have to remember that God has gotten me out of some pretty tight jams before and He hasn't run out of blessings yet.

In the past, it was so easy for me to be gung ho about God when everything was going great but when things start to crumble around me it was a whole nother story. The fact that I have joy in the middle of all of this uncertainty has shown me that I really am growing. I used to feel that I had just stopped growing at 25 and wondered what exactly had stunted my growth. But I see it now. 30 is going to be milestone year. I can tell already.