Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hope Calling - Tia

A month ago I was let go from the job that uprooted my life and moved to NYC for. Long story. All I'll say is I was thrown under the bus by a co-worker and it was NOT cool. I walked out of the building the day it happened and cried uncontrollably. I had never felt so lost in my entire life. I had given up my apartment in Atlanta and just written a check for almost every dime I had for an apartment in Brooklyn. Because I lived in NY, I could no longer claim GA unemployment because I couldn't physically get back there to do the required check-ins at the unemployment office. And because I had lived in NY for all of 2 weeks, I couldn't draw unemployment here. I felt lost, screwed and pissed. Pissed at the guy who got me fired, pissed at myself for not planning better and PISSED at God for letting this happen.

I cried all the way home (two trains and a bus. that's a lot of crying.) As I walked in the house wondering if I was going to have to break my lease and move home, my phone rang. It said Hope Calling.

An old acquaintance named Hope had inadvertently dialed my number. Though she had unintentionally done it, her call gave me a modicum of hope in one of my lowest moments. About an hour later as I lay curled up in the fetal position on an air mattress with a hole in it, in a room that was far too cold, it happened again. Hope Calling.

At that point I began to shout at God. SHOUT. I was so angry. I felt so hopeless. I could have stayed in Atlanta and been several thousand dollars richer. I would be close to my dad and my surrogate family in Nashville. Instead, I was unemployed, alone, in a cold city, away from everything that I knew.

I wish that I could tell you that after my shouting and weeping the sky opened up and the audible voice of the Lord spoke to me and everything was great. Yeah, that didn't happen. The days after my initial shouting were filled with more shouting, crying, attempts at worship and a variety of other things that did nothing but make me wonder how the hell I ended up in a city that isn't really my first choice, with no job, running out of money, and wishing I'd never left Atlanta.

Try as I may, I couldn't seem to feel that hope that I'd briefly felt the day I lost that job. Fast forward to Thanksgiving, as I sat amongst old and new friends all I could think about was how I was running out of time and money and unless I get a job in the next couple of weeks, there are only so many days left until I will be forced to move out of my apartment move home to my dad's house. As I played the role and laughed and smiled like I was okay, my friend's father bluntly told me, "You've been mad at God lately." (That was putting it mildly.) He then went on to tell me that I should continue to trust that God not only loves me but would provide ALL of my needs. For reasons that I can't even begin to get into right now, trusting in God and believing that he truly loves me are not things that come simply for me. But the hope I felt that day began to tug at me as he and other spoke words of life and encouragement into my life.

It's late and right now my heart is heavy and my eyes continue to fill with tears at the prospect of waking up tomorrow with the burden of knowing that at this particular moment in time I have no means of paying rent, car payment or anything else. But deep (DEEP) down I feel hope calling. No matter the outcome, no matter how angry I am, no matter what, I know that this time, this moment, this situation is not the end.

I will do my very best to keep you posted but A.) I am not one of those people who does well with uncertainty. I turn inward and as such I'm less inclined to write because I really have nothing to say and B.) My laptop is literally on it's last leg. The cord is frayed from trying to move it every which way to keep the battery charged. A battery that is almost completely dead mind you...Seems fruitless most of the time but in those moments when it does power up and come on I do the hallelujah dance. And right now I will take any little bit of joy that I can.

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles and you care about the anguish of my soul. - Psalm 31:7.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


You Should Know: Johnnyswim by Toya

Quick, name three male/female duos off of the top of your head: *looks from side to side* Okay off of the top of my head I thought Kindred Family Soul, Peaches and Herb (seriously?) and...Koffee Brown? With a little more notice I would've come up with Sam and Ruby, Matt and Kim, Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johannsen but the fact remains such duos are few and far between. As anything new that can keep us from overproduced auto tuned music is most welcome, the luscious stylings of Johnnyswim are pretty refreshing.

According to their bio, husband and wife Abner and Amanda Ramirez started writing and performing together around Spring 2006. Their 2008 released EP "1-4" (available on iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.) is a beautiful collection of blended folk, soul, and pop songs that are good enough to be played in any kind of weather and good enough to just about any kind of ear. My fave track is "Why'd You Do It?" I can't wait for their full release. For more info on Johnnyswim, be sure to check out http://www.johnnyswim.com/ .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BGLU News by Toya

This Just In:

According to Billboard.com, Sade is about to come back in the game and show you broads how it's done come February 2010 when she drops her first disc since 2000, "Soldier of Love". Now this is bringing some sexyback that we can get behind.


Damita Jo's "Number Ones" CD drops today nationwide and by looking at the track listing, I am most definitely copping this. It has "Diamonds" on it!!!! I had no idea that was a number one hit but I am glad that it was included.


One of BGLU's first You Should Know artist, Britten, will be releasing his EP "Six Strings and a Drum Machine" on December 15th.



Go to his blog http://www.whoisbritten.blogspot.com/now to preview the EP. If you need a great pick me up song in the morning, "She" will get you movin' in no time (it sounds like John Mayer and Adam Levine had a love child). Check out his Myspace page for tour dates.


ABC will be airing Jennifer Hudson's Christmas special, Jennifer Hudson:I'll Be Home for Christmas on December 14th. According to Access Hollywood the special takes place in her hometown of Chicago where Hudson goes to different locations and shares with her audience her holiday memories. The show also features a duet with her and artist Michael Buble'.



















We are all going to see Disney's The Princess and the Frog right? I said WE ARE ALL GOING TO SEE DISNEY'S THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG RIGHT?!?! LOL!

Disney's first movie featuring a black princess comes out in theaters on December 11th and I could not be more excited. Is it just me or does her love interest favor Adam Rodriguez?


Well maybe that's just my own personal princess fantasy.

Carol's Daughter has released a limited edition kids bath and hair product collection to celebrate the release of The Princess of the Frog on their website just in time for Christmas. To check it out, go to the Carol's Daughter website for details.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It's That Time of Year Again: Commentary on the 2009 American Music Awards AKA the Hot Mess Heisman- by Toya

This year’s American Music Awards…*sigh*. I mean, wow. I normally find much delight in sharing my commentary on what I like to call our society’s “Hot Mess Championships” but this one wasn’t as much fun for me. To borrow from the crazy lady on Wife Swap, this mess was dark sided…and no I am not only referring to the Adam Lambert performance. Here it goes…

1. Janet Jackson’s opening performance: 2009 is the year of the comeback indeed. I hate to say this but Michael Jackson’s passing may have helped Janet Jackson’s career immensely. The industry was very unforgiving towards her years after her “malfunction” (yet, we can’t get rid of Justin Timberlake? I can’t.) but there seems to be a sympathy factor here that has allowed the industry to embrace her again. “In every season, turn, turn, turn…”

I love Janet but her dancing wasn’t nearly on point as it used to be. I won’t compare her to her brother Michael for two reasons: Michael was an unmatched talent but Michael was addicted to drugs that helped his performance. I liken her performance much to Whitney Houston’s comeback performance on Good Morning America however I think she will bounce back very soon. Being out of shape and irreversible damage are two different things. Regardless, she is still the Queen of Pop. Her song “Together Forever” bears a whole new meaning now for all of us I think.

2. Daughtry is about 2 centimeters from being Nickelback but I like them anyway.

3. Ok, I didn’t see a step show coming. Is Shakira now a part of the Rhythm Nation? Whose sorors are those?

4. Confession: Adam Lambert looks hot in that manliner and pompadour. I’m just sayin’. I like a little glam sometimes

5. Too little, too late: Yall know I love Michael Jackson forever but I don’t really get all of the nominations for him this year. Now if we are talking reparations for him not getting anything for “Butterflies” then rock on.

6. Kelly Clarkson: Sooooo Beyonce’ wasn’t available to sing “Halo”? I dare anyone to start singing “Already Gone” and not end up singing “I can see your halo, halo, halo”. Ryan Tedder is DEAD wrong for writing the same song twice and I need him to own up. In other news, yall can stop clowning Kelly Clarkson’s weight. Every time I see her perform I put a lighter up for squishy, fun sized women all over the world. I aint mad at her.

7. Commercial for Dancing with the Stars is on: if Mya wins this, 2009 will go down in history as the Year of Career CPR.

8. I love that Taylor won and is in London. Some place far, far away from Kanye West. Not that he would’ve…well. Anything is possible. I’ve learned not to get my hopes up with him.

9.Alicia Keys and Jay-Z “Empire State of Mind” performance: This was a good performance. Really good. However, I find it interesting that hip hop is so widely accepted that one rapper can get thousands of people to chant “Jesus walks” and then label owner of said rapper can get the same thousands to recite the lyrics “Jesus can’t save you. Life starts when the church ends.” Hmm, interesting. And I know I am beating a dead horse but my joy would be so complete if cameras panned over to Lil Mama being surrounded by security guards.

10. Possible Wardrobe Malfunction Award goes to ….Kate Hudson who is in desperate need of a dickie.

11. Black Eyed Peas performance: Hold up, did this just turn into a rave? What is really happening right now? No hate here. Fergie has been in the game since Kids Incorporated and what yall know about some Wild Orchid?

*crickets* *crickets*

Anyway, I’d be a liar if I said that “Boom Boom Pow” is not one of my favorite jams of 2009 (I love dance club music) however Kris Novoselic, Dave Grohl AND Courtney Love ARE COMING FOR YALLS BEHINDS for that Nirvana “tribute”. You know they’re touchy about that stuff.

12. Oh they gave MJ his first award of the night! Michael wanted me to tell you all “God bless you”. He’s here playing dominoes with me and Tupac. (Obviously I am still in denial.).Something else I am in denial about? Jermaine naming his son Jermajesty. Not okay.

13. Oh look it's Kris Allen. Man he was SO close to winning American Idol this past year but…what? Oh he is the guy that actually won? Did they announce this publicly?

14. Rihanna’s performance: I really don’t have much besides the question “Why is everything so dark?”. I am still processing. The lights on the jacket were cool. Yeah, that’s all I got.

15. Carrie Underwood: I'm sorry, I like my country music relatively wholesome. I want it to only talk about Jesus, pickup trucks and beer. I can't get behind this at all.

The awards had already seemed a bit darksided and out there but then it took a more drastic, ugly turn when…

16. OMG why do I always feel the need to go Old Testament and take the blood of a lamb and brush it over my doorpost when Lady Gaga performs on stage? What is really going on???? Call me crazy but for some reason I could not make it all the way through this performance. I am all for performance art and such but something just did not sit right with me and I am still not sure why. It reminded me of when Marilyn Manson closed out the VMA’s one year and Chris Rock yelled to the crowd “"Take your a** to church!!!” That mess had me rocking back and forth like Miss Sophia in The Color Purple afterwards.

17. I know yall love Drake and all but I still see Wheelchair Jimmy from Degrassi High, sorry. No, I’m not.

18. Confession: No hate here but I haven't bought a Mary album since Share My World. Much like Alanis Morrissette, I have not bonded with Happy Mary as much. I am so glad that she is happy but I think some of her more recent singles have fallen under the category of “Hot Tracks but not Good Music”. LOVE Mary though and her band killed.

19. Wha, what is a Gloriana and how did they win an award for breakthrough artist???? *shrug* Well good for them and a gold star for Nashville. I aint mad.

20. J Lo is up…*sigh* so many questions, so little time. First of all, I have $20 that says this song was cut from the “Enough” soundtrack. I have another $20 that says that there is a drag queen at Play TONIGHT doing this song 10 times fiercer. Janet and J-Lo, I love yall but forget what you heard. 40 IS NOT the new 20. I’m not saying they don’t still have it. I’m just saying it may take a little longer to warm it up than it used to (This just in: I just found out that she was not saying “Louis Vuittons” but “Louboutins”. I have never claimed to be fashion forward.).

21. Whitney’s performance has given me inspiration to finally comment on the Rihanna performance. These two performances contrasted in quite a few ways aside from the obvious contrasts in talent and vocal ability. Whitney displayed more of the strength and victory of a survivor standing in peace and in all white than a gloomier Rihanna did on stage with what looked like a surrounding militia of dancers bearing arms. Whitney looks like she has finally gotten over. Rihanna looks like she still has something to prove and is far from over.

22. I am checking the tint setting on my TV right now. Leona Lewis and Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba CAN NOT be that orange!

23. Alicia Keys performance: There is sexy and there is slithery (Please lookup Sade if you need a visual). There is a lot of umm,”slitheriness” going on at these awards this year. And why is everything so dark? And wait, are those The Fly Girls? Where's SW-1? THAT LOOKS LIKE THE IN LIVING COLOR SET!!! Now J-Lo, this could’ve worked for you. I’m just sayin’.

24. Eminem’s performance: I have no idea why he is doing this terrible song and talking about licking his nether regions on network television. ABC has lost their minds. However, he is real bold doing his verse off of Drake’s “Forever”. He just reminded us how painfully obvious it is that his verse is infinitely hotter than everyone else’s on there. Still not a fan though.

25. Timbaland’s performance is…still…on…still…going…some…one…wake…me …when…*snore*

26.*Whips out pen and paper* Dear Green Day, You used to rock. I know you are old. So am I. However, all 4 of us are younger than the Beastie Boys and they would still break the faces of your “punk band” if they came up there right now and did “Sabotage”. I think “21 Guns” should be changed to “21 Yawns” because that is how many I have counted through this entire song.

27. Ok Taylor won Artist of the Year over MJ. Again, the fans vote. If you didn’t vote (and I did), then don’t hate. Besides, she is not crazy or delusional. She knows that was a long shot.

And now the moment THEY TOLD US we were all waiting for: Adam Lambert’s performance.

It was at this time that my roommate wanted to come in and talk to me about the movie “Precious”. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that interrupting me during an award show was much like interrupting a die hard sports fan during the playoffs so I listened. I missed the male on male simulated oral sex part and the make out kiss with one of his band members but I did see him put a woman’s face in his crotch and grab another woman’s vajayjay. The only thing I have to say is this: I have the same problem with the name American Music Awards that I do with the name Black Entertainment Television. One would be led to believe that the programming on both is what entertains that particular group of people. For instance, gratuitous shots of big booties, “thug” life, and overtly sexual images among other things, entertain black people according to BET. According to the American Music Awards, every single performance not only represents the best we have as a country but it is what we reward. Bra-freaking-vo.

I looked up Adam Lambert’s lyrics to the song he performed last night and here is an excerpt:

Oh, I bet you thought that I was soft and sweet
‘Ya fallen angel swept ya off ya feet
Well I’m about to turn up the heat
I’m here for your entertainment
It’s alright
You’ll be fine
Baby, I’m in control
Take the pain
Take the pleasure
I’m the master of both
Close your eyes
Not your mind
Let me into your soul
I’m a work ya ’til your totally blown


Call me a scaredy cat but those lyrics are creepy and explain the "not so fresh" feeling I had after his performance. If I was back at home, I would've crawled my grown behind in the bed with my parents last night. Uh uh.

In a nutshell, the type of behavior displayed in this show is what is unfortunately considered mainstream entertainment now and this is why I can and do get behind Taylor Swift. I have to. While she has a lot of growing to do as a singer, something in me has to believe that being a talented and wholesome songwriter who keeps their clothes on and does not resort to making out onstage pays and pays well (And before peole start acting sensitive, I don’t care if Adam Lambert went and made out with Lady Gaga for 10 seconds or if Keith Urban grabbed all of his musicians in the crotch and full on made out with his WIFE on stage. None of these scenarios are appropriate nor have anything to do with musical talent.). I have to believe that the good guys don’t always have to finish last. We need more “good guys” and quick because if something doesn’t turn fast, 2010’s awards are going to be a hot mess in a hand basket. The floor is now open for comments…

Friday, November 20, 2009

How Did We Not Know About This?!

The Roots doing Yacht Rock with Christopher Cross and surprise guest Michael McDonald? Tia and I would've simultaneously spontaneously combusted if we were there. *Sigh* I HATE THAT I AM NOT IN NEW YORK!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BGLU News-by Toya
Hello all. I know I've been doing a lot of music news lately and not as much personal news and neither has Tia. Tia is in NYC with a busted computer and trying to get her hustle on because of reasons that I am certain she will disclose soon. As for me, it is way too early to start talking about the passing of my grandmother. I may get into some personal stuff soon that has nothing to do with that but for now, I need to take some time. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your encouragement, sympathy and compassionate messages. They have meant a lot. This was my first experience with the death of a close loved one so I really needed support. I love you all very much for that.


Res Makes Second Album Shelved by Geffen Available FOR FREE on Her Website

(Thanks http://www.soulculture.co.uk/ for this heads up)

The epitome of a BGLU singer, Res, announced on her website that her second album "Black.Girls.Rock!" is now available as a free download on her website at http://www.the1res.com/ . She describes it as being a little more singer/songwriter than her debut "How I Do" (if you don't have it, I need you to cop that quick). I took a listen to it today and was beaming to finally get to hear some new music from one of our all time faves. It's a keeper for sure. For more on Res, be sure to check out her site as she has more info about more new music coming soon.
Let's Discuss: John Mayer's "Battle Studies"- by Toya

For where I am in my life, this is the first album by John Mayer that I don't identify with at all and that's a good thing. I'm not fighting with anybody, I'm not fighting with myself, and I have been years from heartbreak *Stops to give the Lord a hand praise*. So maybe that's why I don't love this record like the others. My not relating to this record is not why I don't think that this is a great record though.

Tia and I have always had this theory that the best song on an album is usually around the 6th or 7th track. I'm serious. We had a whole discussion one time where we listed a bunch of albums we loved and noticed that the bomb song on every cd was at track 6 or 7. So when "Assassin" came in around track 6, it was no surprise to me that that was the moment where I actually sat up and took notice. The structure, the vocals, the arrangement for this song is crazy. That was the John Mayer nugget of goodness I was waiting for. While I adore the Beatles-esque "All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye" as well as "Perfectly Lonely", "Do You Know Me?" (does that sound like "Stop This Train" to anyone else?) and "Heartbreak Warfare", I didn't get anymore moments from this album outside of "Assassin". "Continuum" has great moments ("Gravity", "Stop This Train", "Dreaming with a Broken Heart") as do his previous albums. However for me, this record has only one great moment which left me wanting for a lot more after that.

I'm going to sit with this record a little more and see if anything else grows on me. "Who Says" already has. Regardless, I am already anticipating the next record. And who knows? He'll be here in February and a lot of times I have grown to like a song more after I have heard it live. Your thoughts?

Monday, November 16, 2009

BGLU News- by Toya

This. Sucks. : Prescriptives Cosmetics Goes Out of Business



Pour out a little tonight for Prescriptives Cosmetics as it is going out of business. This has been my favorite line since I was allowed to wear makeup at 16. I even worked for them at Macy's as a counter manager for a little bit (yall remember the stories about that crazy lady Gloria that made me develop a twitch?). I am really sad to see them go as I recommend them often. If you are a Prescriptives fan, what are some of your favorite items? My faves are the Super Line Preventor, Moisturizer for Oily Skin, and Magic Powder. All of these products are second to none. Stock up while you can. Oh and make sure to score some brushes. They last a lifetime.


Tia's and my honorary pastor , John Mayer, is holding a Holy Ghost Revival (I mean, have you ever heard "Gravity") tomorrow night at The Beacon Theatre to celebrate the release of his fourth studio album "Battle Studies" which comes out tomorrow. If you can't make it, no worries, Fuse, one of the only music channels that acts as such, will be airing the performance live.

If you haven't heard "Battle Studies" yet, you can check it out for free on Rhapsody. I've been listening to it for about a week but didn't want to discuss it until its official release. I will say this though: "Assassin" live is going to be A PROBLEM. Lord, help.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I...Am So...Scared....- Toya

This is Robin Thicke's new single "Sex Therapy". I am listening to this at my desk and umm...*looks from side to side* IT IS TOO HOT IN THIS OFFICE RIGHT NOW !!!! I am REALLY scared about his next record. If we can't get "Thicke" back then well, this may have to do. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go put on some Fred Hammond so that I may renew my mind...

BGLU Music News

BGLU Approved: Melanie Fiona- Toya


I'd like to give a strong shoutout to http://www.rhapsody.com/ in this recession. Since I have renewed my subscription, I have been able to peep out some artists that I have been curious about. I hate to say it but there aren't too many "album artists" out there anymore; there are only a hand full of artists who I never have to hear a single from for me to buy their CD. Simply good music has been sacrificed for hot tracks and ringtones. *steps down off of soapbox*.

That's why I think Melanie Fiona's new album The Bridge which dropped this past Tuesday is most definitely a keeper. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, especially my fave track "Monday Morning". With a record like this, I can finally forgive her label for letting Adam Rodriguez get killed at the end of her "It Kills Me" video. Check her out this Saturday on BET's Rising Icons 11/10c.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grandma's Hands- Toya

There is a part of me that is still in shock that she is gone. I miss my friend very, VERY much. I have never felt this kind of grief before but I am doing alright. Thank you so much everyone for your prayers and concern. They have meant so much and has encouraged me to want to be there for people who experience loss. I am not in a place where I can write about this right now because like I said, I am still in shock. I just don't believe that she is not here and won't be here.


"Grandma's hands
Soothed a local unwed mother
Grandma's hands
Used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma's hands
Used to lift her face and tell her,
"Baby, Grandma understands
That you really love that man
Put yourself in Jesus hands"
Grandma's hands" - excerpt from "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update

Hey guys. I just wanted to let you know that Toya's grandmother passed away last night. Please send your prayers out to her and the rest of her family.
 
Thanks