Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Need Oswald Chambers to Mind His Business!!!!!!- Toya

I read Oswald Chambers' "Utmost for His Highest" devotional everyday with one eye open because he breaks my face on a continuous basis. This devotional that I got on Saturday darn near gave me a black eye...

I read this and was like DAMN OSWALD CHAMBERS!!!!!!!! He was gangsta. My favorite part is "No, you will not."

My Utmost for His Highest - April 25

Title: Instant In Season

Key Verse:

Be instant in season, out of season."

Click link below to study this verse: 2 Timothy 4:2

Many of us suffer from the morbid tendency to be instant "out of season."
The season does not refer to time, but to us - 'Be instant in season, out
of season," whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel
inclined to do, some of us would do nothing for ever and ever. There are
unemployables in the spiritual domain, spiritually decrepit people, who
refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof
that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel
inspired or not.

 One of the great snares of the Christian worker is to make a fetish of
his rare moments. When the Spirit of God gives you a time of inspiration
and insight, you say - "Now I will always be like this for God." No, you
will not. Those times are the gift of God
entirely. You cannot give them to yourself when you choose. If you say you
will only be at your best, you become an intolerable drag on God; you will
never do anything unless God keeps you consciously inspired. If you make a
god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your
life and never come back until you do the duty that lies nearest, and have
learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments.

Somebody's Watching Me-Toya
I think it's hilarious that Rockwell also had a song called "Peeping Tom" off of  The Last Dragon soundtrack.

I am so not being productive today. Perhaps I am just uninspired. So I will blog.

I have a slight crush on a guy. Very slight. The thing about having a crush in this day and age is that if you are interested in someone, you can look him up various ways.  I've been on his Facebook (we're friends), Myspace, and Twitter (stalk much?). Funny thing is if this guy tried to talk to me at the mall I would be like, "Umm...probably not. Sweet though." Physically not my type at all but he's soooo cool and we have similar passions. To top it off, he's shy. I love shyness. Chances are he has no clue (I've only told 4 of my girls and he doesn't know any of them) and I'd like to keep it that way.  For now it's just cute. I'm the kind of person where if I like you I am pretty much going to take it to the grave. There have only been about 2 times where I have let on and that was because I was told to.  I was told that guys need to know that they remotely have a chance.  Now I don't care. You wanna know then you best to ask somebody cause I'm a vault now. 

I haven't remotely liked someone in months, maybe even years. No, months. It just feels like years. I needed a break! If you have been reading this blog long enough you may wholeheartedly agree. I can definitely tell I have grown a bit because of who it is and why it is. He's younger than me but he's not at all a Tag or any version of them. Speaking of Tags, I met Tag 4.0 a few months back who was trying to holler and I was like NO THANK YOU AND PLEASE TAKE MY NAME OFF OF YOUR MAILING LIST!!!!!! Now it's just ridiculous.

So we'll see. I prayed about it. He knows I'm alive and thinks I'm cool. I mean, it's Spring. Anything can happen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Toya's Coffeehouse Confessions

We have really sucked at keeping up with BGLU and I am so sorry. There is a ton going on. Some uncertainty but it's looking sweet.  Here are some random things that I would like to share and discuss with yall...

1. My songs that I am playing the FOOL out of right now are B. Reith's "Rain Down" and Ju'Not Joyner's American Idol performance o
f  "Hey Delilah". I can't play either one of them just once. "Rain Down" JACKS me up.  It's the most unlikely worship song but something about it gets me teary almost every time I listen to it. As for "Hey Delilah", why this brotha did not make it to the Top 10 on AI is an abomination before the Lord and mankind.  This song leaves me in a puddle on the floor after I listen to it.  I think I bought it last week and my play count is at 45 or something like that.  I just can't stop listening to it! I never even cared about this song or the words until I heard him sing it. If a couple of the contestants would not have gotten mercy votes (yes, I said it), he would've been a shoe in.

2. Speaking of America and votes and such, I am so pissed about this whole Miss USA vs. Perez Hilton on gay marria
ge thing. Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, how in the hell can you be ridiculed for exercising your right of freedom of speech in an American pageant? Are you kidding me???? If I get started on this I am going to get more angry than I need to be right now and I already have a headache.  I just don't understand how you can have the right to believe in whatever you want to believe in as long as what you believe in agrees with a popular agenda... in America. I can't emphasize that enough. Seriously. I am so mad about this. Moving on...

3. Swagger: I HATE this word.  Let me explain something: I have a hard time believing that you can be under the age of 40 (I will even go as far as to say 38) and have swagg
er. If you are making songs about swagger, you don't have it. Swagger is unspoken. Only grown men have swagger.  Billy Dee Williams in Lady Sings the Blues? CRAZY SWAGGER!!!!!  Souljah Boy?  NO.  President Obama? The Ambassador of Swagger. Lil' Wayne? NO.  Oh my headache is getting worse...

Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy the book Zora and Nicky.  Now listen, I am not saying buy it beca
use it is about an interracial couple. I know Tia and I seem like the poster children for that and I would be lying if the cover didn't catch my eye for that reason but this book is a must.  Here is the book description from

Two Hearts, One God.
Should Anything Else Matter?

Zora Nella Hampton Johnson knows exactly where she comes from—and her daddy won't let her forget. Of course for that privilege he keeps her in Prada and Kate Spade, Coach and YSL. He chooses her boyfriend, her car, her address, and ignores her love of painting, art, and the old ways of her grandaddy's soulful AME church—where the hymns pleaded, cajoled, and raised the roof. Her daddy may be a preacher, but some-where among the thousands of church members, the on-site coffee house, and the JumboTron, Zora lost God. And she wants Him back.

Nicky Parker, a recent graduate of Berkeley and reformed playboy, also suffers the trials of being a preacher's kid, and he can't remember the last time he saw eye-to-eye with his white, racist, Southern Baptist father. What he does remember—and it will be forever burned in his brain despite myriad prayers to Jesus—is the way Zora looked the first time he saw her. Like Nefertiti. Only better. When they meet at a bible study far from their respective home churches, the first churlish, sarcastic sparks that fly sizzle with defensiveness. But God has a special way of feeding the flames and though of different flocks, these two lost sheep will find Him and much, much more.

I love,love, love,love,love this book. If BGLU had a bookstore we would sell this book with a copy of Angel Taylor's latest CD. I swear.

5. I think I am really close to getting a job. Really close.

I have been watching a lot of The Church Channel lately and my favorite preacher right now is Pastor Andy Thompson out of North Carolina. He comes on Thursdays.  At first I didn't want to watch him because truth be told he is fine to the 2nd power (notice I tried to be very respectful and put up a picture of him with his wife) but he is such a good preacher so I had to make myself focus at first(when you tell the truth, you shame the devil or so they say). Last week he was talking about hope. He said that hope is the sum of desire and expectation.  Sometimes we desire things and pray for them but we do so without expecting to get them.  Well if "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1) could it be that we struggle to get the things that we need because our faith equation is off?  I am not saying that God is in heaven pointing a finger at us saying "You better get this thing down perfectly" but I do believe that a relationship with Him is so important to Him that He wants us to know that He wants to bless us and we should expect that. I believe that this has been the case for me. I've struggled so much in the past with guilt over past mistakes that I tend to ask God for what I need with my head down.  The bible says we are to come boldly before the throne of GRACE.  God has so much grace for each and every one of us, especially when we mess up again and again and again.  During this month at church we have crosses in the sanctuary where we can nail things to them in remembrance of the crucifixion. By nailing our past to the cross, it symbolizes that Christ died for our sins and mistakes and because of this we are not to walk around guilty.  So I wrote "guilt for simply not being perfect" on my card and walked up at the end of the service and nailed it to the cross. The sound of the hammer nailing my shame to the cross was so intense and so surreal.  I definitely feel like a better person.

7. Along with having a new attitude, I also got a new haircut.


It was just time is all.  I needed a change.  People have their opinions about going from natural hair to straight hair. Truth be told, it's just hair.  I like it and that is all that matters.  And of course it has rained three days straight since.

8. Tia plans to be here in Nashville on Cinco De Mayo, otherwise known to us as Margarita Day. We don't celebrate this day with anyone else.  I mean, our husbands better be REAL cool dudes if we ever decide to celebrate it with them because we don't invite anyone EVER.

9.  I'm still getting used to having roommates. My roommates are great. I am just in my own world and my room is it's own mess.  If you're a guy you might not want to read this next part:
On top of stress, I have suffered bad allergies and a menstrual cycle that lasted a week.  The thing about living with other people is that I can sometimes be concerned about how things look. Not having a job, I don't want them to think I am just bumming all day watching Rock of Love or something.  Oooh, this brings me to my next and final point....

10.  WHEN did it get SO bad for women that we have opted to go on national television and do relay races to get a man?????? What in the hell is wrong with our gender??????  Now I will say this:  If my parents didn't raise me well and LL Cool J was single, I perhaps would consider doing a 3 legged/potato sack/some type of Field  Day (remember those) type race but that's Todd Smith right there and not Flava Flav, Brett Michaels and Ray J.  I may punch the next man in the the throat that says women are too intimidating to approach nowadays. We live in a country where Flava Flav has had his pick of over 20 women to choose from TWICE.  I can't...

Monday, April 13, 2009

LaToya Goes to Jail- Part 7
"Who even knows I'm here?" I said out loud. The guy behind the window shrugged and said,"Well you probably didn't have to make bail but I guess you don't have to worry about it now." Embarrassed to see who could be there to bail me out, I got up and followed the security guard to yet another hidden room. As I waited for him to unlock the steel door, he thanked me for my patience and "for not cussing him out". "I'm the one in jail." I told him."Why would I be mad at you?" "You'd be surprised" he said opening the door. As I walked into another room to sign yet another set of forms, there was my best friend Tia on the other side of the glass. We exchanged some pitiful, pouty, waves to one another as I mouthed "thank you" before I signed the forms. Funny (now anyway) it reminded me of that scene in House Party where Kid goes to jail and Tisha Campbell's character Sidney bails him out (I know Tia is not going to like that one bit). I say that because in the movie Sidney is the only friend with any money. I love my friends but chances are had Tia not been in town for the Adele concert that night, I would have had to arrange my own benefit concert from jail.

I went back to the women's side of the holding cell area and waited...and waited...and waited some more. I really thought that getting bailed out would have me out in no time but I was dead wrong. I heard the women around me say to one another "How did she make bail?", "I've been here longer than her. What she'd do anyway?", "Yeah. What DID she do?" "Ask her!", "I aint askin' her nothin'!" Great, I thought. Tia bailing me out is going to get me beat up in jail. That's exactly what I needed to happen today. I sat there and continued to ignore them and looked straight ahead...and waited some more.

"Honey can I just ask what you are in here for if you don't mind?" the woman next to me kindly asked. "Traffic violation. License got suspended." I tried to answer back with a smile. I wasn't sure what she was in there for or if she was trying to patronize me. It then entered my mind that maybe I should make my violation sound worse than it really was because I really didn't want to talk to anyone at this point nor did I want to get picked on or interrogated. Like maybe I should tell people that my traffic violation was getting out of my car at a stop light in East Nashville and punching the person in front of me for not going at the green arrow light. "Me too" she said. I lightened up upon hearing that we had that in common. "My dad is not going to be happy with this." she said. "I know mine isn't" I responded, wondering if I should tell him in the first place. I then remembered that my mom was probably at Linda's either badgering Brandi and making her feel entirely uncomfortable and nervous or she had just figured it out already. Maybe Tia called my mom and told her she was bailing me out. I had no idea what was going on on the outside.

After what seemed like 2 more hours but was only about another 40 minutes, the security guard came and called my name along with three other people so we could finally be released. As we filed out of there one of the inmates took it upon himself to leave us some parting words of encouragement. "Alright, yall take it easy out there. STAY FREE!"  

I took a deep breath and searched my belongings that they returned to me to make sure everything was there and signed myself out. I went outside (oh how great it was to see the outside) and hugged Tia as she rapidly explained to me how she found out exactly what was going on. She then told me that we needed to go directly across the street to see Mike the bondsmen. Mike the bondsmen had me sign something that promised that I wouldn't skip town and not make my court date. I made a mental note to put the reminder on my refrigerator first thing upon entering the house. 

Tia drove me to S.I.R. to meet Linda and my mom because as I forgot to mention in this story, we were having rehearsal for my show What's the 411 Live benefiting Magdalene House which was the following day. I didn't even want to talk about it when I saw my mom. I just wanted to go inside and act like nothing happened. The more I thought about the day, the madder I got probably because I was around someone that knew me so there was no need to front. We walked into rehearsal and the only one that knew that anything had happened was Brandi's husband Jon who is also my music director. "You need a hug don't ya?" he said. He gave me a big hug and then I just spilled to everyone what happened to me. I knew the only way I was going to feel better was to tell everyone that yes, I, LaToya, went to jail.

This concludes LaToya Goes to Jail. Thanks for reading. Stay free.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

LaToya Goes to Jail- Part 6


Before me was a room of over a hundred people, men separated from women. Every part of my body screamed "HOW BIG IS THIS FREAKING PLACE?!" I was PISSED. I hadn't been mad until that point but I was furious. I sat down away from the group of women that were talking and pouted. After about five minutes of that, I decided it was time to make my one phone call.


I pulled out my list of contact numbers that the guard was so kind to let me write down before they took my phone from me and tried to dial. I heard no dial tone. I went to the guard at the desk. "Excuse me." No answer. "Sir, excuse me?" Still nothing. "Sir, I am trying to make a phone call and I don't hear a dial tone." "There is no dial tone" he finally acknowledged. I went back and tried again, and again, and again. Still no connection. I walked back to the sweetheart of a security guard and told him that the phone didn't appear to be working correctly. "Are you dialing a cell phone?" he asked me. "Yes" I replied. "You can't call a cell phone from here. Do they have three way calling?" " I don't know if they do or not." How would I know that? And who even has a home phone anymore? Defeated, I sat back down with the rest of the inmates and pouted some more.


I was surprised to see that there were almost as many female prisoners as male prisoners. There was a steady flow of noise in the room but it wasn't very loud. Within this large room were separate holding cells, some had a few people in them and some had just one person. Hanging from the ceiling was a television for each section. It was just hitting seven o'clock (I had been there since a little before 5) when some of the female inmates called the security guard over to change the channel. "Ooh American Idol is tonight." I thought. "I really want to see who is getting voted off this week." I decided to keep my mouth shut. There was no need to be walking up into a new situation like this and start making requests. The guard started changing channels listening for the approval or disapproval amongst the majority of the women. I was really surprised to see that there was cable in jail.


"Ooh keep it there. Keep it on that!"


I looked up and the guard had stopped to CSI. Really? The last thing I wanted to do was watch a show about The Man. Someone then yelled out a channel I wasn't familiar with. When he turned it, some of the women cheered. "You have GOT to be kidding me!" I was livid! The guard had turned the channel to Dog the Bounty Hunter! How are we IN jail watching shows ABOUT jail??!!! I wanted to watch anything that had nothing to do with jail. ANYTHING. Why not HGTV with some home and garden stuff or better yet the Food Network. I wanted to watch something about the outside! I sat deeper in my chair fuming.


Just like being in a wheelchair doesn't stop someone from trying to be gangta, being incarcerated doesn't stop someone from trying to mack. A group of four guys sauntered over to one of the phones in front of our group and loitered awhile staring at some of the women on the other side of the room. To the delight of some of the women, a few leaned down doing some of their best mack poses all the while pretending to be using the phones. "Oooh he fine", I heard one of the women say. "They ALL fine!" another said. "Especially that dark one. I likes 'em BLACK!" Ok, for the record they were NOT fine. Not a one. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but fine is debatable. For example, Morris Chestnut? Fine (actually he is FOIN. That is fine to the fifth power). Souljah Boy? Not fine.


A skinny white female who looked so young that she must have just missed the cutoff for juvie yelled, "I mean, do you discriminate? I'm just sayin'." "Help us" I prayed. What is wrong with some women and their standards these days? You are in jail! We are ALL in jail! I didn't get it.


"Haynes go to desk 5!"


I got up, found desk 5 and sat on the other side of a window to talk to someone who I assumed was going to let me in on how much longer I would be there. The man on the other side of the glass window looked more stress than I was. He was sweaty, shirt half way unbuttoned and moving about frantically. "What's your name?" he asked me. I told him and he typed something into his computer. He then reached over to the side of his computer and grabbed a water bottle that contained some nasty brown liquid and spat into it. "You can't be serious right now" I thought. He continued to move about frantically spitting ever so often. "I"m sorry" he apologized. "It's just that I am supposed to be on my break right now. I really should be on my break. But there are so many people in here today who have been here so long and I am doing my best to help everyone so please be patient." Sympathetically I said "Oh it's quite alright. Really. It's fine. Thanks for your help." "Thank you" he said. He looked at my record some more and said "Well it looks like here that they have you set up for pre-trial. It doesn't look like you have a record so it doesn't look like you have a bond or will have to post bail..."



The security guard headed my way and yelled three words that I never EVER thought I would hear associated with my name...


"You made bail."


Part 7, THE FINAL CHAPTER, coming soon...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We Love You Pop Winans- Toya

I have mixed feelings about Pop Winans passing. On one hand, I am JACKED UP in the library watching this.

I am so sad for his family. I feel sad for anyone that loses their father. You don't get more close knit than the Winans. However, for him? I could not be happier. He is so happy right now. There's not a doubt in my mind that upon entering the gates he heard a hearty "Well done".

LaToya Goes to Jail- Part 5

“What in the ….”

I stopped myself because I didn’t know who could hear or see me in this dimly lit room that was no more than about 10’x10’(I'm sure I am off but let's just say it was smaller than a downstairs bathroom). I was afraid that they may have had hidden cameras or mics somewhere and the last thing I wanted to do was look belligerent. In this tiny room was nothing but a phone and screen console on the wall. No desk, no Commissioner in uniform with an interrogation light and a desk full of folders. Just a phone console on the wall with one sign that said “Pick up phone to speak”.

So basically, The Commissioner is the Wiz. Awesome.

I reached through the phone slowly as if I was in some type of horror movie. The screen on the console was divided into four parts, one that showed the top of The Commissioner’s head who was indeed a woman like I had imagined and the other one showed me on the phone. Don’t even ask me what the other two showed. I was trying my best to focus.

“Ms. Haynes”


“You are in here for….” And then it happened. I zoned out. The room, the eeriness, me talking into this weird phone to this person who was in an unknown room some place in the universe was too much for me to take in all at once. Not to sound proud or anything but I have zoning out down to a science. I usually listen for two things: inflection and my name. I never lose eye contact and I nod every once in a while and smile. Sometimes I make it back to the conversation, sometimes I just can’t.

“Do you have any questions, Ms. Haynes?”

Dead silence. There it was, inflection and my name. This was no time to play like I heard and understood everything she had said. This was too important. “Could, could you repeat all of that just ONE more time, please?” The Commissioner of Oz went on to say that I had to wait for a Pre-trial where I would possibly have to make bail. All that meant to me was more waiting. I walked out of the room and thought about when I could make my one phone call. I sat by the booking desk just in time to see the security guards supervisor come out and scold the female security guard for letting the Muslim woman keep her shroud. “Do you know that she could be placed in a cell and hang herself with it?” I do remember them asking us as we were booked if they were suicidal and two other conditions, one that I think was insane. I don’t think the third one was insane because I would’ve asked them to describe exactly what they meant to see if I fit any of the criteria. The security guard apologized to her superior for the confusion and then went over to talk to the Muslim lady who was standing against the wall for her mugshot. “Oh no!” she began to cry. “I can’t go over there without this with the men, I can’t go over there with the men.” The lady next to me leaned over and said, “I wonder what she did?” “I know, right?” I replied glad that I finally had someone to talk to. She then turned to me and said, “I hope you don’t mind but can I just ask you what you are in here for?” “Oh just some traffic violation type thingy” I said. Traffic violation TYPE THINGY??!!! Did I just say ‘thingy’ in jail? Seriously? She gave me a once over and half smile that said “Yeah I thought so” and continued to look over to see what kind of drama the Muslim lady was raising. Later we found out that she was arrested for fighting a woman who they separated her from across the room who was in a poorly fitted wife beater and some ratty pink sweatpants. You know, parents always want to make sure you leave the house with clean underwear on in case you get in an accident. They don’t ever tell you to not leave the house in something you wouldn’t want to be arrested in.

The security guard that came out and told me to see The Commissioner came back out and called my name and about six other people to come follow him to pre-trial. “This might almost be over” I thought. I envisioned that we were going to something like night court where I would have to plead my case with an attorney by my side. We filed in the hallway and followed the security guard to another door. He opened the door and I almost fell out.

Part 6 coming soon…

LaToya Goes to Jail- Part 4

After ten minutes of sitting in the corner in jail so no one would talk to me, I became sad that I had been sitting in the corner in jail for ten minutes and no one would talk to me. Jail and the DMV have been the only two places in town where I have not known one single person (that's probably a good thing regarding jail). My eyes started to scan the room to see who else was there. There were about fifteen of us including a couple of guys in orange uniforms (Orange is my favorite color but it sure wasn't that day), Wheelchair Gangsta's brother, a few women, and a guy that was dressed in a black and white striped jail uniform that I didn't know they made people wear after the 1940's. All that was missing was a ball and chain. On the back it said "Sumner County". What I thought was odd was that a lot of them seemed to know each other. I don't mean just became jail buddies, knew each other. I mean, knew each other and/or had mutual friends. As I heard them talk about what they were in for I realized that even if for me being locked up for a traffic violation was mortifying, it was quite laughable considering those around me. I kept to myself and stared at the television.

"Haynes, go to the next available desk."

I got up to get further processed and then was directed to get my mugshot taken and to get fingerprinted. The guy who was fingerprinting me was rather intensely nice. "Awww, this is your first time, isn't it?" he asked. "Yeah, it is." I answered sadly. I went on to tell him what I was in for and how I thought that I had taken care of the matter when I went to pay for the ticket. "Oh no, baby". He said looking so concerned. "See paying for it is only part of it. Once they take your license away you have to go get it reinstated. You see..." He then began to explain the process to me from beginning to end all the while looking so concerned. He then said that he was certain that I would just get a pre-trial because I didn't have a record and probably wouldn't have to pay any bail. "Yeah, I guess I just didn't understand. I know now though." He chuckled and then showed me where to put my hand to be fingerprinted on this rather high tech machine. They have this computerized machine where you take your hand and roll it while pressing down really hard on it and your fingerprint image comes up on the screen. "I want one if these in my house!" I thought. I turned to the side and saw him looking at me rather intensely again. "I reeeaaaallly like your hat!" he said nodding his approval. "Thanks a lot" I said. I thought, "I have about four more of these at the house and you can have every single one if you can guarantee that my mugshot doesn't wind up on the internet". I then stepped over to have my mugshot taken. I think this is the only picture I have ever taken where I wasn't concerned if I had enough lip gloss on. 

"Look straight ahead, sweetie".

I thought about how cute Kimora Lee Simmons mugshot was and contemplated winking at the camera but I just didn't have it in me. I took one pic forwards and one sideways then glanced over to look at the picture. I have no doubt it would win first prize in the most depressing mugshot picture ever taken, at least locally. You couldn't even see my eyes because I was looking straight down at the floor. I thought they were going to ask me to take another one but they didn't. 

Instead of going to sit back in the corner, I decided that if I was going to sit there for only God knows how long then I might as well sit where the action was. I made my way over to sit closer to the booking desk. Next to me was a woman who I overheard was in for shoplifting again and across from me was a woman who just only about 15 minutes ago I thought was a man. She looked ROUGH: Rough voice, rough skin, doo rag, baggy clothes, missing teeth, white T and a thick tuft of a graying sideburn on her right cheek. "Oh, that's a WOMAN! Woooooow!" I thought to myself , convincing myself to stop looking at the one sideburn. I crossed my legs indian style and started listening to what she was loudly complaining about. "I wish I had a tape recorder!" She gruffly yelled."Yeah, a tape recorder and a video camera to tape how they be talkin to people up in here! This is ridiculous!" The male security guard who had already proven that he is not above putting people on a time out in jail came over and warned her that she would be finding herself in a holding cell if she didn't quiet down. She quieted down but only a little bit. "I've been in here all day long! All day. I'm tired, I'm hungry, I want a sandwich." Sandwiches? Were they giving out sandwiches? I shook the thought of a Jersey Mike's sub out of my mind and continued to be nosy. "I got stuff to do! "I gotta get out of here! I can't be sittin up in here all day and..." "Alice?" the woman sitting next to me said to her. "Huh?" she answered. "What do YOU have to do? Seriously? What is it that you REALLY just GOT to do?" I had a hard time keeping from laughing. They went on to talk about their kids. I turned to look towards the door to see yet another person get frisked when a huge security guard walked into the room and said "When I call your name you need to go in this room and see the commissioner." He started calling names and I looked back over to the booking desk. Up next was a Muslim lady who was quite upset. The female security guard kindly said to her "Now I am going to frisk you. I understand that you can't take that off." She was referring to her shroud. She began to frisk her as the woman wept silently. 

"Haynes, go see The Commissioner."

Startled, I got up to go to the back of the room to see The Commissioner and somehow got lost and ended up at another steel door. "It's this way" someone redirected me. I turned around and walked back to a very small door that wasn't easy to miss. I walked in expecting to see a very serious lady in uniform sitting behind a desk with a stack of folders and one lightbulb in the middle of the room. What I got was completely different.

Part 5 coming soon... 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Toya Goes to Jail- Part 3

I was led into what seemed to be a small pre-holding area. I looked straight ahead with no expression on my face because I promised myself that under no circumstances was I going to cry. I didn’t know much about jail but I had an inkling that this is not the place where you want to show weakness. I was also pretty mad at myself. I don’t know what upset me most: being arrested and put in handcuffs or being arrested and put in handcuffs over some stupid stuff. As I stood there miserable, out of nowhere my arresting officer started speaking to me in the most polite tone. “You know a lot of people have made the mistake that you’ve made. They think that just because they pay the ticket off that they don’t have to get their license reinstated. They probably didn’t explain everything to you….” I nodded as he kept politely talking to me confirming what I had thought all along: He really was a nice guy. 

Standing in front of us was another officer and two guys waiting to be booked. I don’t really recall what one of the guys looked like but I will never forget the one who was in a wheelchair wearing baggy clothes, cornrows, a do rag and a “platinum-ish” chain. He was so angry! He just kept talking big and bad about what he was and was not going to put up with; what he wished someone would say and what he wished someone would try, As they opened the steel door to the booking room, my arresting officer began taking off my handcuffs. “I realize these aren’t the most fashionable things” he joked. “Good luck”. As the theme song from Bad Boys began playing in my mind, I waited as The Wheelchair Gangsta got frisked. As his chain was confiscated, he yelled to who turns out was his brother who was arrested with him, “Dawg! Make sho they don’t steal my chain, dawg! Yall better not steal my chain, man!” The large female guard behind the desk with a stature custom made for this kind of job started to tear into him. “Don’t nobody want this fake a** tarnished chain! Calm down!” From what she went on to say to the male guard I gathered he was in the wheelchair because he had been shot and paralyzed from the waist down. Still, that didn’t stop him from bangin’ and he was picked up on gun possession…in a wheelchair. Seriously, that’s still too much for my heart. 

I decided to come out of my misery and put on a happy face. If someone had to be Little Miss Sunshine in this gloomy place, it was gonna be me. Besides, the people that work there must not see too many happy faces and I thought that perhaps I can bring a little happiness their way. As I stepped up next in line, I put on a great big smile and said “Hi!” “Hello!” the female guard answered back matching but not mocking my enthusiasm. “Can you take off your scarf, your purse and empty your pockets, ma’am?” “Sure can!” I said. I took my phone out of my pocket and looked at the incoming text message from Tia. “Why are you getting booked?????? What is going on??????” I quickly sent her a text with Brandi’s number assuring her that I was alright and to call Brandi who would tell her everything. “ I’m assuming she called Brandi immediately because minutes later, I got this:

“Dear Toya. I am whopping you’re a** for not calling me immediately about this. Your mom called Brandi. I told her to tell your mom that you are taking care of a ticket. Please keep me posted.” 

My mom was still in the company of Linda and roommate Betsega as all of this was going on. As the story goes, my mom got suspicious after waiting for a few hours and called Brandi to ask what exactly was going on with her daughter. Nervous and not wanting to lie to my mom she said “Umm, let me call you back.” and quickly got out of the inevitably uncomfortable conversation that no one wants to have with someone else's mother. 

The guard took out a form and began taking inventory of everything that they were confiscating from me: “1 purse, 1 scarf…” as she filled out the form I remembered seeing something like this on television however it didn’t dawn on me that I was actually IN JAIL. I just thought I was getting booked. I then asked another dumb question. “Umm, excuse me. Am I IN JAIL?!” “Yes!" she happily answered as if I asked her if she had some chocolate chip cookies behind the desk. "1 scarf, 1 phone…I’m going to need to take your phone.” A panicked deer caught in the headlights look came over my face. She kindly told me that I could take whatever phone numbers I needed out of my phone. I thanked her immensely and started writing down the numbers of my most responsible friends. Even though I know my mom’s number and Tia’s number by heart I wrote those down too because I had no idea what frame of mine I would be in as the day progressed. As I frantically scribbled names and phone numbers down, The Wheelchair Gangsta started up again. “They aint fiddna have me up in here talking to me any kind of way!” He went on and on to anybody that would listen. Finally, one of the officers had had enough. He went over to him without saying a word and wheeled his behind over into the hallway with his back facing everyone. I covered my mouth in disbelief. I don’t think I have to explain how being in a wheelchair and being wheeled away to be put on time out IN JAIL is jacked up on so many levels. 

It was now my turn to get frisked. The female security guard said “Ma'am, please spread your legs and put your arms out to the side for me.” I did what she asked and she began to frisk my arms and back. She then bent down and started to frisk the inside of my legs starting at my ankles. As she started frisking up my legs I was doing just fine until she went all the way up my…umm..”nether regions” to where her palms came together and she “clipped” me. My hands grabbed the desk. I turned my face to the side and darn near choked as my legs started to buckle. Before I could yell “BAD TOUCH” she was finished and went to the other side of the desk. I quickly pulled myself together and asked her "I am sure people have cried in here before but has anyone ever passed out or thrown up in here?" I felt as if I could have easily done either or both. "Oh yeah!" she answered matter of factly. She then instructed me to go over with the rest of the other inmates and have a seat. I found a place on the bench over in the corner by the television, brought my knees to my chest and sat down. Little Miss Sunshine was nowhere to be found. This was officially the most embarrassing day of my entire life.

Part 4 coming soon...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Toya Goes to Jail Part 2

As Damien and Brandi pulled up in the Starbucks parking lot, I did my best cheerleader kick, pumped my fists in the air and shouted “I’m goin’ to the big house!” I had already made arrangements for Linda to pick my mom up from the airport and bring her to her house. Her flight was about 3 hours delayed, thank God. I told her that Linda would be picking her up because I had a traffic matter to take care of and I would head right over as soon as I was through.

Before The Man with a Lunch Plan pulled off in his unmarked car, I made sure I repeated back to him at least twice what I was to do to get this all taken care of: go get my temp tags, go get my license reinstated, and then go turn myself in like Chris Brown (you know you were thinking it too); of course not before I went into Starbucks and got myself all hopped up on caffeine. I knew that this was gonna be a long day.

We took off with Brandi driving my car with her 2 year old son Jax in the back. “ I feel like this is my Road to Redemption like T.I.” I said to her. “Please stop.” She replied. Turning to Jax in the back seat I pointed to myself and said “Jaxon, remember this face. You don’t want to wind up like me, a hardened criminal…a victim of these streets. Let THIS be your Scared Straight 2009. You don’t want to play around with The Man because The Man is not going to play around with you.” Brandi sighed “I’m done”. Jaxon then looked out the window as if he was thinking the same thing. I turned back around and thought “We are so getting cupcakes after this.”

It’s pretty much impossible to get your tags without a license, go figure, so the best I could do was go get my license unsuspended and turn myself in. The cop that pulled me over said it would take no more than 2 hours tops because I had no record. As I got out of the car to turn myself in, Jaxon started crying and reached his arms out towards me. “Aww buddy. Don’t worry. Auntie Toya will be right back I promise”. I think he knew better.
In case you were wondering there is no stylish d├ęcor in a jailhouse. I’ve never seen a place so bland and lifeless in my entire life. It’s just gray and almost monochromatic. There were a total of 3 chairs in the whole place, two vending machines, and a desk with a security guard. The guard told me to wait next to this girl that looked like she had already been waiting all day. I sat down and sent out a few humorous text messages to friends about this whole ordeal and waited to go in after the girl next to me had finally been called in. I was still checking my phone when she came out in handcuffs not too long after. “Oh @&*% !” I freaked out. This was MY Scared Straight 2009! Finally, it was real.


The walk from my chair to the bulletproof glass window must as well have been through a time warp because the officer on the other side bore a striking resemblance to Michael Winslow’s character from Police Academy. No joke. Brown skinned, mustache, afro…. I haven’t seen a brotha that looked like this since about ’87. I took a deep breath and began. “Yes, I think I am supposed to turn myself in because my license was suspended and there may be a warrant but I have never seen one so…” “Full name and date of birth”. He stared at me blankly with the emotion of paste. I have never seen someone so tight-lipped and emotionless in my entire life. After I rattled off my full name and birthday he opened the side door and walked in. For some reason, I didn’t follow him. I just looked around. It’s not everyday you enter onto the set of Hill Street Blues. There was one desk between two sets of lockers and a water dispenser. “It’s too late for me to pray now, isn’t it God? All I can ask is that You help me pay attention because I could zone out any moment.” I finally went and walked in.

He looked me dead in my eyes but his tone of voice never changed. “Do you have any bombs, guns…” 

“NO!!!!!!” I yelled in disbelief.

“…knives, chains, or anything else that would piss me or the sheriff off?” he dryly finished. I looked at him really hard and for some reason felt relieved. “He has to behave like this” I thought. “He can’t let on any sort of emotion. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a really nice guy”. I told him no and we sat down. I sat at the desk as he looked at my paperwork and tried to imagine what kind of jokes my brother and I would be telling at this point. There is no situation too inappropriate to make fun of when it comes to Damon and me. I thought about how much I missed him. I also thought about how I would not be above selling pictures of him in jail for cigarettes and socks.

I noticed on the officer’s desk that he had some chess pie in Tupperware. “I bet he eats cheese sandwiches at his desk for lunch” I thought. He then got up, took his Tupperware away (I mean, I wasn’t in there for robbery, good grief) and came back with a single form. I looked down and it said “Arrest Form”. “Am I being arrested?” I asked. This would be the first of many dumb questions I would ask that evening. He looked up stoned face again and confirmed without missing a beat and continued to fill out the form. My mouth fell open. What happened to just maybe 2 hours of processing? Since when did “processing” become code for “arrest”?! 

He led me to fingerprint my hand. As he pulled out the handcuffs, it was all I could do to not go towards “the light”. I couldn’t believe it. As I started to suck on the upper left corner of my lip and breathe quickly through my nose as I often do to keep from crying, I noticed his face soften as he looked at me. He put on the handcuffs so lightly, I could have pulled my hands out with no effort at all. We went outside and I immediately pulled my hands to the left side of me hoping that no one could see me cuffed on the sidewalk. I looked for Brandi who was across the street in my car. “Am I allowed to yell across the street to my friend and tell her that I may be a while?” I asked. ALMOST smiling, he said “I can’t let you do that.” Brandi didn’t see me being led into jail because she was turned around talking to her son in the backseat. I continued to look backwards walking as slowly as I could. I contemplated talking really loudly as I was headed in. “WELL I GUESS I HAVE TO GO TO JAIL NOW! I HOPE NO ONE IS WAITING FOR ME! I MAY BE A WHILE. WHO KNOWS?” I decided against it because the last thing I needed to do at this point was piss off the law. I took one last look back and headed inside.

Part 3 coming soon…

Friday, April 3, 2009

LaToya Goes To Jail Part 1- Toya

So I got arrested 2 weeks ago...

I always felt like this was going to happen between Tia and me. One of us was going to get arrested. However, I thought it would at least be for something honorable and not for being a dumb...donkey.

I don't always follow directions, mostly because I don't like directions. Let me clarify: I don't mind directions but I don't like a lot of WORDS. I need to know...go here, do this, turn right, sign this. Not if this happens, do this, in 6 days, call this, etc. I like cut and dry. The traffic system is anything but cut and dry.

They know me downtown at the department of safety because I used to always get parking tickets and my car never passes emissions the first go round so I annually get pulled over for expired tags. Well unbeknownst to me my license was suspended for...see I still don't know. I went in and paid it but evidently I missed a court date or something wacky and was supposed to go to a whole nother building to take care of the matter. The thing is I don't remember.All I remember is paying something and the man behind the glass window who recognized me when I came in started telling me something with a lot of words. About 8 seconds in he started sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher. Before I zoned out though, I vaguely remember him saying something about me not having to go to court and that this was no longer a problem. Oh it's never a problem until someone winds up in handcuffs.

Fast forward to Wednesday March 19th, the most beautiful day in Nashville thus far. I was driving on West End determined to get my second temporary tags for my car that still won't pass emmissions just in time to pick my mom up from the airport. The sun is shining and my window is down listening to my favorite Jamiroquai mixtape. I remember feeling so grateful, so free. And then I see some lights go off behind me in an unmarked car. It was The Man. The Man pulled me over right in front of Starbucks. He came to the window and I just knew I was scott free. I had a fool proof "see what had happened was" story already going for me: I was on my way to get my tags taken care of. When I told him this he was real cool , took my license to run it and said he was just going to give me a warning. A few minutes later he briskly walked towards my car with a rather pissed off look on his face. "Pull over. You're license is suspended."

I was so confused as I pulled over behind Starbucks hoping that no one I knew could see me but still hoping to be pubicly visible because well, it's the cops. I got out the car and explained to him that I thought everything had been taken care of. He said even though I paid the ticket that did not mean that my license was no longer suspended. After I paid the ticket, I was supposed to go to another building and get it reinstated.

The Man: "Now today is your lucky day. The only reason I won't arrest you here on the spot is because I have to go meet someone for lunch".

Me: "Ok sir" but thinking "I guess that would mean being lucky...if I didn't know what being lucky was..."

The Man: "I'm taking your license from you. You are not to drive. I repeat, DO NOT DRIVE. Get somebody to pick you up. You must go turn yourself in TODAY. Not tomorrow, not next week, TODAY"

"OMG", I thought. Not my GOOD license picture! That's the best picture I have ever taken! As he pulled off I stood there stranded and decided to call Brandi. Brandi's car had just broken down and Damien was on his way to meet her for a writing session. According to her ,(This is one of my favorite quotes), the conversation went something like this:

Brandi: Umm, yeah we need to go get Toya. She has to go turn herself into the police.

Damien: Toya WHO?

Brandi: Toya, Toya! You know, FLOWER DRESS TOYA?

Priceless...Part 2 coming soon...

So Is There Not enough News to Report in the World?-Toya

Why is the media acting like this is such a big deal! It's not like she full frontal hugged her like I would've (I sometimes don't hug appropriately due to excitement). It's not like she picked her up, carried her to her throne and sat on her lap. This is some bullshishery if I ever saw some...

Day by Day- Toya
This song is on dcTalk's Jesus Freak record. This was a very important record to me. I didn't hear it almost 3 years after it came out cause I knew nothign about dcTalk. I loved the writing on this because it helped me realize that you can be completely honest with God.

I am currently sitting at a desk in downtown Nashville where I am temping. My hair is slicked back (ran out of moisturizer) and I am wearing a blazer and neckerchief with my sexy secretary glasses. I just turned and saw my reflection in the painting of the city hanging behind me. I barely recognized myself.

I am confused. I actually enjoy having an office job. I seem to come up with my best creative ideas at a 9-5 job and I think it's because I am working on a specific goal. The goal of someday not having a 9-5 office job. I have discovered that I am a person that needs structure. I HAVE to be somewhere at 8:30 in the morning everyday. I have to be accountable. I don't think my creativity flows well when I am just left to fend for myself. This has been a rough 6 months, man.

My goal is to one day have an office that I can share with at least one other person. I already have it picked out in East Nashville and I know exactly what I want it to look like. In the meantime, I am going to sit here, answer phones, try not to drink up all of these people's Diet Coke and bottled water, and pray to God that an answer comes really, really soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Angel Taylor Album Out in Stores Now!
Tia's and my favorite girlfriend in the head, Angel Taylor, dropped her debut album Love Travels this week. Also, her single "Make Me Believe" is the free single of the week on iTunes. I hate to say that I don't have the record yet cause's the first of the month, cash your check and come on...

Make sure to go out and support this BGLU poster child when she goes on tour this spring.