Wednesday, December 29, 2010


"Last night Jesus shined a heavenly light
Through my window in the dark of night
He made me see all of the joys His love could bring

He makes my spirit move endlessly, I am a child of the heavens
Alleluia, my Jesus died for me
Thank You, Father for all the songs You've given me"-Teena Marie, "Light" from the album Starchild
Yes Father. Thank you for all the songs you've given us through Lady T. 
She is terribly missed. I still can't believe it. - Toya

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not Sure Who To Be Mad At - Tia

****SIGH****

I have so much that I want to write about but simply don't have the time at the moment. So I'll start with this topic and hopefully add the rest in the coming days. 

Unless you've been under a rock, you have to admit that the last few weeks haven't been the best for black females. Coming off the major success of Black Girls Rock, I have seen/heard/been subjected to no less than 3 incidents that have made me sad as a black woman. From Nicki Minaj getting groped by Regis to Keri Hilson doing the most hoe sh!t that I've seen in a long time, black woman empowerment has not had a stellar few weeks. I plan to address Keri's situation in another post. (But know I don't like Pretty Girl Rock and The Way You Love Me gets two thumbs down and a Bible thrown at it.) But this post is dedicate to Ms. Minaj getting her booty groped by an old white man. 

In case you're not familiar, this is how it went down: After performing her current single, "Right Through Me", Nicki was being interview by Regis and Kelly per usual. Regis made a comment about Nicki's outfit and then playfully, and seemingly innocently, tapped her on the butt. Both Regis and Nicki seemed to laugh the incident off and continued with the interview. Later on her Twitter account Minaj laughed the whole thing off simply saying, "LOL. I was in shock." You can see the whole thing here at around the 3:45 mark.



Here's my problem,  I'm not sure who I should be more mad at: Regis or Nicki. Regis is entirely too old to behave like this. And call me sensitive, but his actions conjure up actions of the past when blacks were just property and could be treated in any manner their owners saw fit. It's no secret that black women have for years been  hyper-sexualized and viewed as objects rather than people. So when this behavior is perpetuated on a national scale by a 79-year-old white man it's no wonder that the erroneous attitudes persist in our culture. Additionally, I have a hard time believing that if an artist like Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, or Beyonce had been in Nicki's place that Regis would have taken such liberties. 

As far as Nicki goes, I'm irritated with her because she let the incident pass without so much as a passing side eye of disapproval. We all know that Nicki is by no means the bastion of ladylike behavior. I'm not hating on the girl but by her own admission she is the current head chick for female empowerment. (read: A$$ slanging and hoe sh!t) However, if you want to be the head chick in charge then shouldn't you demand respect? When a man who is two steps from a complete stranger takes it upon himself to feel on your goodies, shouldn't you love yourself enough to correct said stranger and put him in his place? Now hear me, I'm not saying Nicki should have snapped on national television and gone all "ignint black girl" on Regis (we already have a hard enough time dispelling that stereotype.) But there is a way to correct people that not only puts them in their place but let's them know that you demand your respect. And it does not involve any eye or neck rolling. Nicki could have very easily said something that may have sounded jovial but would have been understood as, "That is NOT okay." Regis would have been humbled to the point that an apology would have been forthcoming. However, her inaction basically told millions of people that, "Yes, it is okay to treat black women like sexual objects. Just smile and carry on."

I could very easily go on for days about how certain black women in the music industry set back black women around the world but I won't. My anger at this moment is at a point that I can't say anything constructive. I'm angry at everyone: The executives who push the ridiculousness down our throats, the women in the industry who do hoe sh!t and set back our race and gender, the men in the industry who co-sign and help perpetuate the negative stereotypes, the parents who don't raise their kids....you get the picture. 

Anyway, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. So feel free to get on your soapbox in the comments section and let us know what you think. If you think I'm being too sensitive feel free to share. If you think I'm right, you're right, I am....I'm kidding...Mostly. But we welcome your opinion, comments, feedback....good, bad or indifferent.    

 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hot Mess Championships: 2010 American Music Awards: Toya



You know how we do. Here’s a play by play on my thoughts during this year’s AMA’s:

  1. I'm really the only one who likes Rihanna's hair aren't I? There's something about Rihanna’s outfit that really makes me wish Neneh Cherry would make a comeback.  Everything in me is fighting to not like this “What’s My Name?” song. And did she get a bit verklempt at the end? Let’s just say she did.
  2. So...wonder what Adam Lambert's doin' at the house tonight. Putting up Christmas decorations? Getting a head start on that green bean casserole for Thanksgiving this week? Just wondering.
  3. I haven't heard Ursh's album so I really don't have anything to say about him winning this award. His Europop/Soul music thing he’s into right now is of no interest to me whatsoever. Also his lyrics are the pits. “She got some boobies like wow oh wow”? >_>  (That’s a side eye).
  4. Nooooooooo to Skating with the Stars!!!
  5. Will.I.Am’s hat: Are...those...LEGGOS???? It's official: I wouldn't mind having too much money.
  6. Enrique just got real confident taking his ear piece out. REAL confident. I see your “I Like It” and I will raise you Ricky Martin’s “Cup of Life” performance at the Grammy’s.
  7. Miley, Stevie Nicks would like to have a word with you after the show. You know what? She’s going through a hard time right now so I will leave her alone. Let’s just say “I see your gypsy”.
  8. They just announced Diddy Dirty Money and by Diddy Dirty Money I hope they mean the return of Total.
  9. Did yall see how fly Taylor Swift looks?!
  10. Who in the front gave Diddy a standing ovation? A seat filler? Cassie?! Cassie working as a seat filler?!?!?!?
  11. There was just a mass exodus to the kitchen when Kid Rock came on.
  12. We’re talking about John Mayer not being there. He only goes to the CMA's where he's welcome. Much like Chris Brown at the BET awards
  13. BEP has the best songs for cardio. "And grapevine left, grapevine and right..."
  14. I voted for Justin Bieber and I'm not ashamed.
  15. You know I love Taylor Swift and she is a true artist but at this point I would not be against her using one of those auto-tuned microphones. She hurts me every time.
  16. Everyone in the room is chipping in to get Katy Perry that song two keys lower for Christmas.
  17. Ok it just got serious. Apparently not only is Justin Bieber playing piano tonight but he is also starting with the man in the mirror and asking him to change his ways. 
  18. Bon Jovi is on! Jersey stand up!!!!
  19. Did Richie Sambora bring his own sound man?
  20. I just explained to Tia that the Tommy & Gina reference in “It's My Life” is from “Living on a Prayer”. "Remember Tommy used to work on the docks?"
  21. That Justin Bieber "Smile" song gives me the giggles and warm fuzzies which is more than what I can say about most of these songs on the radio now that make me want to go to the clinic just in case.
  22. Go Pink!!! This is definitely my favorite performance so far.
  23. So I tweeted for the third year in a row “Yall know Ne-Yo and I go together right?” and got a bunch of responses back from people who thought I was playing. Why is everyone in shock about my crush on Ne-Yo? I'm so serious!
  24. Why is Eminem in the Pop/Rock category? That makes absolutely no sense.
  25. Burlesque 2010= Showgirls 1995. I’m not saying that Christina Aguilera’s performance was as bad as Britney Spear’s tragic comeback performance on the VMA’s a few years back but it was reminiscent. And SOMEBODY needs to tell her that “ha” she does after she thinks she’s nailed a riff is equivalent to high fiving yourself in public.
  26. I can't take anymore of this Europop music. I really can't. Mat Kearney said it best when he said “Remember when you used to buy an album and it had that really weird dance remix at the end? Now that’s all you get.” It’s so true. I don’t hate this “DJ” song by Usher but ugh! I just…*Sigh*
  27. Ne-Yo and Usher make me want to go into a middle school music class tomorrow, gather the kids around and tell stories like “Now class, a long, long time ago in a land far, far away, people used to sing AND dance live on awards shows and do it WELL! No, really. It’s true!”
  28. *@#! I thought they said ADAM Levine not Avril Lavigne!!!! Where is Maroon 5 anyway?
  29. Whatever barber does Mike Posner’s lineup is not a joke, forget what you heard! Is he from Philly? It’s so precise!
  30. I love Train but hey… Soul Brother? Your PANTS!!! I can't!!!
  31. Well Michael Buble’ won instead of Train disproving my "You perform, you win" theory.
  32. We are living in a time where Ke$ha's performance (which I didn’t hate) is better than Christina Aguilera’s. Get ready church. We are in the last and evil days.
  33. Maybe this Gavin Rossdale/Carlos Santana number sounds better live. I'm just trying to be nice.
  34. Why did that guy who just jumped in front of the camera look like Anthony Evans? (I found out later it was).
  35. Back to Skating with the Stars: Does the word "star" mean something else now?
  36. I know some of yall don't like Justin Bieber winning but at least that last award didn’t go to Ke$ha.
  37. I…I’m sorry. Did NKOTBSB just come out stepping to “Atomic Dog”? Can’t you get fined for that?
  38. Ok NKOTB is killing BSB right now. It's not The Temptations and The Four Tops but I'll take it! NKOTBSB!!!
  39. Jordan Knight does not age. I seriously don't understand. I didn’t even holla over him when I was in high school but I surely did just jump off the couch. Those boys look GOOOOOOT (no typo)!
  40. BSB has got to step their game up. I have $20 that says Kevin Richardson, formerly of the Backstreet Boys, DVR’ed that performance and was in the bed at 9 o’clock. He told yall he was too old for this.
  41. That concludes this year's AMA Hot Mess Championships. Favorite performance: Pink "Raise Your Glass".  The floor is now open for comments…


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BGLU Approved: "Lay With You" El DeBarge ft. Faith Evans



*Sigh* I promise after I post this I am going on an El DeBarge fast until his album comes out on the 30th.  I have a friend who is a huge D'Angelo fan so much so that every morning for years the first thing he does is look up any new news on him. I am getting almost that serious when it comes to live clips of El DeBarge singing on Youtube because he is just a BEAST! Him coming back to the music scene was like an early Christmas present to me. He is one of our last true soul legends and I could not be more elated about his return. OMG and this HERE?!?!?!?!?



I would have walked on into glory if I would've heard these three (Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, and El DeBarge) sing together. Check out Torrence Glenn's blog over at BET.com for more pics from Donna Richardson-Joyner's birthday bash where all of this went down.- Toya

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why I Watch Glee - Tia





As you already know I'm a self professed Gleek. I have loved this show from the beginning. And I don't mind that I'm probably not their target demographic. I LOVE this show in a special kind of way. I mean, I was a Cheerio for Halloween. I'm. A. Fan.

The musical numbers on this show never cease to amaze me. When they did River Deep, Mountain High I was ecstatic. That is one of my favorite songs of all time. But while I am often blown away by a lot of the songs, there are times when I couldn't care less about others. So last week when I read they were doing Teenage Dream, I wasn't really moved. To be quite honest, I don't really care for the song. Or at least I didn't until I saw tonight's episode.

I watched Glee at my friend's house and after seeing this performance I wanted to excuse myself so that I could come home and download the song IMMEDIATELY.






You know you're doing something when you can make me care about a song that I didn't previously like. They killed...KILLED this song. I don't know who that little boy is who's singing lead but I hope he becomes a regular. His voice is SICK.

While I'm not a huge fan of some of the story lines, (Am I just out of touch or are the kids at William McKinley High REALLY promiscuous?) it's the music that keeps me watching. So as long as they keep cranking out stuff like this, I will keep watching and iTunes will keep getting my money.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why I'm going to NKOTBSB or Why I can't be alone with Donnie Wahlberg - Tia

Donnie Wahlberg has been and always will be a problem for me. It started when I was young. He was always my "bad boy" favorite. 

And this right here didn't help. 

Toya almost had to physically pull me away after this picture was taken. He's a problem. In the right wrong circumstances, there's not too much he couldn't get away with with me. This video is helping NO ONE'S cause. Donnie in them jeans is hurting a sistah's walk. 


I probably SHOULDN'T go see the New Kids and BSB. But since we all know that I am, I may just try to get tickets in the back or something. Let me stop lying. I'm calling in every musical favor I have and I'm getting good seats and backstage passes.
Jumping the Broom - Tia

I have to be honest with you. I'm not one of those people who goes to see a movie simply because it has a "black cast." While I am all for supporting minorities in the arts, I also am a fan of quality. So don't try to make me feel obligated to see your crappy movie just because we share a similar hue.

But with movies like Soul Plane and The Janky Promoters (a gem of a train wreck I had the pleasure suffering through at a friend's house) it's often hard to get behind movies with black casts (I refuse to call them black movies because I feel that limits the audience. If non-minority movie-goers think it's a "black movie" they'll be less inclined to see it even if the film's message is universal.) So when a movie comes along that protrays people of color in a positive light, I'm usually on board from the start. 


I discovered this trailer via The Game's Facebook page. They had me at Paula Patton. (She and Kerry Washington are my top two girl crushes.)  But after watching the trailer, there was no question that this movie would be getting my $10 on opening night. 

Set in Martha's Vineyard, the movie tells the story of two different families, one wealthy, one working class brought together one weekend for a wedding. The film is packing some serious star power with Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine. And with fantastic comedy actors Mike Epps and Deray "without an arm, I spit" Davis, there are sure to be some seriously funny moments.

I sincerely hope that Tristar puts the promotion machine in high gear for this film. From the trailer, it seems like this movie could have a very broad appeal. And while Paula Patton and Angela Bassett have some crossover appeal, without the proper marketing this film may be relegated to "black movie" status. And from what I've seen so far, that would be a bit of a tragedy.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jessie J IS THE TRUTH - Tia

If you're just now hearing about Jessie J aka Jessica Cornish that's your own fault. We here at BGLU try to hip you to the next big thing. We told you about Jessie J months ago. You remember her...she's the girl who sat on the floor in her pajamas and proceeded to sing the paint off of the walls. 

I have been trying to keep an eye on Jessie ever since I saw this video. While she has been working on her album, she hasn't been cranking out singles like I would like her too. So you can imagine how happy I was when a friend of mine dropped this song in my inbox. If it sounds familiar it may be because you heard a snippet of it in Step Up: 3D. (I refuse to watch that on the basis that some stuff shouldn't be in 3D. Looking at you Jaws.) If however, you haven't seen the movie then I'd advise you to take a seat and prepare yourself to be completely FLOORED. This girl is singing notes and hitting riffs that I didn't know were possible. The 3:26 minute mark almost put me UNDER MY DESK. This broad can SANG. Not sing...SANG. I absolutely can not wait for her album to drop. No word yet on a release date, but you can keep tabs on her progress on Facebook or Myspace and at her website: www.jessiejmusic.com


One more thing, I am NOT feeling her song "Do It Like Dude" but I'm being told that the song is only being released in the UK. Hopefully that's true. But I'm sure if we get it here it will be a hit. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Today's Signs of the Apocalypse News...

Get right, church. The Lord is strapping up His Birkenstocks and is about to crack the sky!

NKOTB and the Backstreet Boys announced today on Ryan Seacrest's show that they will be touring next summer together as well as performing on the American Music Awards on November 21st. I had NO idea this was even in the works so I'm a little shocked. Now I know that there are people all over the place going "who cares?" but let's be honest: some of us do. Sure, I am going to clown this until I am in the stadium going IN on "Favorite Girl" and "All I Have to Give" but truthfully, I aint mad at it. If El DeBarge can make a triumphant comeback and The Jets can reunite and tour, I say MAKE THAT MONEY YALL! I aint mad at ya. Check out http://www.nkotbsb.com/ for details.

So what do you all think? Do you think this tour "aint nothin' but a mistake" or will it have "the right stuff"?-Toya

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Bruno Mars,




Please stay off "that stuff' so you can continue to flood the airwaves with beautiful songs like this. Music is in desperate need of them right now.

Sincerely,
Toya
BGLU

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today's Smack in the Face Brought to You by Staci Eldridge from the book Captivating...


"Over the years we've come to see that the only thing more tragic than the things that have happened to us is what we have done with them.


Words were said; painful words. Things were done; awful things. And it shaped us. Something inside of us shifted. We embraced the messages of our wounds. We accepted a view of ourselves. And from that we chose a way of relating to our world. We made a vow never to be in that place again. We adopted strategies to protect ourselves from being hurt again. A woman that is living out of a broken, wounded heart is a woman who is living a self-protective life. She may not be aware of it but it is true. It's our way of trying to "save ourselves."


And, we also developed ways of trying to get something of the love our hearts cried out for. The ache is there. Our desperate need for love and affirmation, our thirst for some taste of romance and adventure and something to be wanted for is there. So we turned to boys or to food or to romance novels, we lost ourselves in our work or at church or in some sort of service. All this adds up to the woman we are today. Much of what we call our "personalities" is actually the mosaic of our choices for self-protection plus our plan to get something of the love we were created for.


The problem is, our plan has nothing to do with God.

The wounds we received and the messages they brought form a sort of unholy alliance with our fallen nature as women. From Eve we received a deep mistrust in the heart of God towards us. Clearly, he's holding out on us. We'll just have to arrange for the life we want. We will control our world. But there is also an ache deep within, an ache for intimacy and for life. We'll have to find a way to fill it." Captivating, pg 74-75

I (Toya) needed a nap and a cold compress after reading that. This rang true to how I used to be as if she put my first, middle, and last name in the book. If you haven't read Captivating, Tia and I highly recommend that you buy it, put Kirk Franklin's "Imagine Me" on repeat, and go sit down somewhere for a while. It'll bless you.

August 20th of this year marked my 10 year anniversary of living in Nashville. I did myself a big favor that day. Everything that happened prior (being laid off, mistakes I've made, embarrassments, Tag, Guy A, and other disasters) were put in what I call the "10 year vault". Anytime those things creep back up I quickly say to myself "Nope, that's in the vault. Can't bring it up." This has been so freeing for me because it has given me a clean slate. I can't not do things because of past failures because that stuff is locked away. I can't be afraid to love anyone based on past mistakes because there is now no reference. I think this will allow me to love from a healthy place versus expecting someone to fix something that someone else jacked up. It allows me to be fair to others and myself. The last thing I want to do in this next season of my life is bring old baggage over. Thank God for clarity! I am really looking forward to new experiences and fresh beginnings. At the same time, I am really grateful for the lessons I learned from what's been stored away forever in "the vault".
Your Mid-Week Motivator: "Ladies First" Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love



I remember being in high school performing this at the lunch table. Can't remember which part I loved doing more, Queen Latifah's or Monie's, but MAN it was so fun! And even though my ovaries are betraying me this week, I have to agree with Monie Love when she says being a woman is great. I wouldn't want it any other way.- Toya

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lip Gloss Love:Jesse's Girl Cosmetics- Toya
A good lip gloss makes me so happy that I have promised myself to buy one every single payday be it from, MAC, Victoria's Secret, or my newest favorite Jesse's Girl. Now if you are an old school BGLU reader you already know that Tia and I are most likely to get behind most things that reference the 80's. So it really should be no wonder that when I heard about this line I couldn't wait to know more about it.

I was at dinner with Melanie The Wise Pixie when I realized that I made that dreadful mistake of downsizing from a bigger bag to a smaller one and had not brought my lip gloss. Melanie being the kind hearted friend that she is offered me this little tube of happiness:
 


"Oh my gosh, where did you get this?" I shrieked. "Yeah I thought of you when I bought it." she said, no doubt referring to the infamous story of when Tia and drove to St. Louis to fulfill my pre-teen dream of seeing Rick Springfield. She bought it at the Rite-Aid around the way and I made a mental note to go there as soon as I could. It only took one try and Jesse's Girl Lip Juice easily became my current  favorite drugstore lip gloss.

It's not easy for me to find a good lip gloss sometimes. Reason being, my lips are dark and often the color of most lip glosses doesn't show up on me as one would think when looking at the packaging. However, this little $3 tube of joy packs so much color that I didn't even need a lip liner. It goes right on perfectly. And if you didn't know already, Melanie and I (seen in this picture together) look like "Sunrise/Sunset" so it pretty much works well with any skin tone. She let me keep her tube and I have been hooked ever since.

I headed over to the Rite-Aid over in her neck of the woods on Friday Rodriguez (my affectionate term for Friday paydays that I love about as much as Adam Rodriguez) and saw that they have all kinds of lip glosses. I picked up this fun sparkly tube called Formula 13 Lip Gloss in Strawberry for $4.99.

No lie, I put it on in the car because I needed some, looked in the mirror, and then got out of the car to go get the Black Cherry formula because I liked it so much. I have been rocking it with MAC's Chestnut lip liner pencil and it really is the perfect red for me which I have been desperately looking for this season. There are a few minor drawbacks though: Once I wipe my mouth it is a little hard to wipe the glitter off of my face. Another thing is that the consistency may be a little thick for some but I actually like that so it's all good. I am pretty sure come next Friday Rodriguez I will be back at Rite Aid trying another color.

Be sure to follow Jesse's Girl Cosmetics on Twitter (@IWantJessesGirl) as they are having a contest right now for their 1000th follower. To enter, new followers must tweet "I followed @ thanks to ____" for their chances to win a prize pack of their lipglosses, eyeshadows, nail polishes and other fun products. Hey, we wouldn't be mad if you told them that @BGLUBlg sent you. Not mad at all.

Have you tried Jesse's Girl Cosmetics? Let us know what you think.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sesame Street vs. Willow Smith- Whip My Hair



Confession: I (Toya) like this better than Willow Smith's video and I think it's only because I'm getting old. Those youngins make me dizzy. Oh Lord did I just say that? Why do I sound like my name is Mabel or Lulu Jean or somebody? Anyway, someone on Youtube commented that this may be the new "Single Ladies" for kids and I think they may be right...as well as possibly a few drag queens. I'm just sayin'.

Here is the original entitled "I Love My Hair". No matter how many times I have watched this, it warms my heart everytime. Way to go, Sesame Street! For more on how this clip came to be, check out the story of the father behind it here on NPR.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time Will Reveal- Toya
It's been a while since I wrote a post like this. There's been a lot of pop culture on our site lately and I am starting to think that it's because Tia and I are still waiting on some answers to some questions in this season of life. Sure, it would be much easier to write about how much I love the new Kings of Leon record but I'd like to get back to writing more about life lessons. Hopefully, this will be a start of a string of lessons that I am actively learning.

My dad and I talk every Tuesday at around 8 pm CST like clockwork. I try not to be busy during that time because that's our designated time. Sure I can talk to my dad whenever I want to but there's something about having a designated father/daughter time where we can chop it up about pretty much everything from what's going on in our family to what exactly did I mean by when I said what I said on Facebook...on someone else's page. Yeah, my dad is nosy AND on Facebook. He's also the best dad ever.

Dad: So are you over El DeBa....
Me: Nope, not at all. Uh uh. THAT is going to take a while.

I get my love for music from my father. We can sit for hours and listen to Motown and talk about the songwriting, the horn section, all types of things. And in this season of our lives, we have another thing in common: God has us both in holding patterns. We were both laid off around the same time. I found a full time job that I am grateful for but bored to tears with and eventually the same happened to him. We often talk about how we can see God working in our lives and the constant messages we get to wait and believe that all of this has happened for a reason. During my dad's unemployment, he was able to go down to Louisiana to be with his dying mother. He had always hoped that if anything would have happened to her that he could be there to take care of her. While we may be saddened that all of that happened, God was gracious with how it happened. Grace has been a key word for the both of us.

As I recapped "El DeBarge Day" for my dad, I was excited to tell him what has remained my favorite part of the entire day. "This, Dad, was even better than him telling me I was pretty." My dad chuckled. "I promise, that was a very, very close second to what he said about going to prison." To hear El DeBarge tell it, he wasn't locked up in prison for drugs. He was locked up for 22 years on drugs. He was rescued in prison. He said that he prayed and prayed for God to help him get off of drugs and God answered his prayers by sending him to prison.

God..answered his prayers...by sending him...to...PRISON????

Think about that for a second. God didn't just say "Voila! You now have no desire for crack." There was nothing instantaneous and since He is God it very well could have been. But no, he saw fit to put El in seclusion, have him detox in prison (where he said that even your hair hurts) and day by day walk him through his preparation to come out better than he was before. Not just rehabilitate him, but make him BETTER. Have you heard that man sing lately? BETTER (Also have you seen him? The combination of grace and mercy is one heck of a moisturizer!) This reminds me of Zechariah 9:12

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

Prisoners of hope. That's what I have felt like for about two years, a prisoner of hope. We have a little over two months of 2010 left and yet and still I believe that before that ball drops on New Year's what my family has been so believing God for will come to pass. We need restoration of our finances and we need restoration for our dreams and our purposes. We aren't sure how restoration will come much like when you are looking to be rescued from a drug habit, prison is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

It's funny. Joseph in the bible was thrown in prison and it totally wasn't his fault. El DeBarge was in prison and it totally was his fault. I feel like my family and I have been in "spiritual incarceration" for about three years now and we are in between: some of it is our fault, some of it is circumstantial. We could all have made better choices. But I will say this: Fault or not, leaning on God's grace and believing that because He is love that He will do what is best has been an invaluable lesson. I didn't always get that. I didn't know why I had to feel so isolated in order for God to get my attention. That is until one day this song woke me up out of my sleep:

What can I do?
To make you feel secure
Remove all your doubts
So that you know for sure that you're the apple of my eye, girl
Fulfillment of my dreams 
And time, will show the value of just what you mean to me
More precious than silver, more precious that diamond rings or anything that I can give you
It wouldn't mean a thing
If you didn't have my love beside you there to guide you through
But aint it good to know you do
I know just how you feel
love's for real
In time it will reveal
This special love that's deep inside of us will reveal in time
DeBarge- "Time Will Reveal"

I will confess that even though I have said I have been expecting God to do some wonderful things and make things clear in my life that up until  last night, when I had a great revelation, I had walked in a great amount of fear for years. I have said that I expected the best and in my heart expected the worst as if everything God allows to happen in order to teach us lessons is unpleasant. That is simply not true. I think that's why some things haven't happened in my life yet. If God were to give me the things that I have asked for without me grasping the concept that He loves me and Love does what is best, I could have very well gotten those things and made idols out of them. I would have ignored the fact that I have spent a good portion of my life serving a God that I haven't really come to know. You may say that you know that God loves you but if you don't believe that He will do what's best for you then you truly don't know it in your heart. God just doesn't want to do stuff for me, God wants to love me. And He doesn't want me to give him stuff either. He wants me to love Him back.

What is so comforting to me is that God KNOWS this is NOT easy. He "knows just how you feel" (OH how that song gets to me every time!). Faith is hard because it's difficult to trust someone you don't know let alone trust someone you don't love. And I don't think there is much shame in saying that you don't love God as much as you thought you did. I don't think God expects us to have faith in Him before we truly love Him anyway. I don't think it's possible. I have been a Christian for almost thirty years and am just now really trying to know and listen to God and not just simply know about Him. I am grateful that He is patient. And hopefully with these newly found revelations, I can be "released" soon. But until then, I will keep on doing my time.

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews 6:18

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whip your hair baby girl - Tia

I am tired. I am in the first of five hotels that I will living in for the next ten days. I have work to do because our main system at work has been inaccessible for the last five days but is now back up. And something has made my arms and legs break out so I need to find a Walgreen's like NOW. Basically I could be and need to be doing ANYTHING else but blogging. But I COULD NOT let this go by. I had to support little Ms. Whip My Hair. Yes ma'am.

Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" drops October 26th. Vote for the video on BET's 106 & Park here.
My Question to El DeBarge at the 92Q Meet and Greet- Toya



I was just about to go on an El DeBarge fast (writing wise because there is still so much I could say) but then I went on the site of one of my new favorite blogs, The Queen's Castle, and found the clip of the Meet and Greet I was invited to go to. This is a treat because you can hear his wonderful testimony as well as me asking my question at the 1:50 mark.

If you are an artist, PLEASE listen to his answer to my question of what he wishes someone would've told him and his siblings before they entered the business. It will save you a lot of heartache.
G.O.O.D Music Always Wins: BET 2010 Hip Hop (term used rather loosely, but I digress) Awards Cypher featuring Kanye West , Pusha T , Big Sean , Cyhi The Prynce & Common- Toya

As much as I love to post commentary on award shows, or Hot Mess Championships as I like to call them, I simply can't with the BET Hip Hop Awards. Like most old school fools who weep tears of joy during VH1's Hip Hop Honors, I weep tears of grief over what passes for hip hop nowadays. However, this clip was worth the grief.



"Too many Urkels on your team, that's why your Wins-low".

And that is why Kanye is my favorite rapper. And not to take away from Common's flow in this cypher because it was tight but please believe that he is doing the Lord's work in that suit. Yessir!

Friday, October 15, 2010

El DeBarge Plays Nashville- Toya 

I was all prepared to talk about this today but I simply can't. It's silly I know. I praise God that He installed some sort of delayed reaction part of my brain where things don't hit me until the next day. This is probably so I wouldn't try and lay my head on El DeBarge's chest yesterday and beg him to "sing pretty" to me.

I looked up this clip of him singing last night and almost burst into tears. Be warned, the sound of the video is horrible but he was flawless the entire night. He sounds BETTER than the records. How in the world???! I know how: God's grace and mercy. He made it abundantly clear yesterday that is why he is where he is today.

This...really...happened. It's too much to think about really. El DeBarge, my favorite (living) singer came to Nashville and not only did I get to hear these songs that mean so very much to me live but I got to meet him too? I am about to take some Kleenex to the bathroom and just let it all out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So This Happened Today...




Toya unexpectedly gets invited to an El DeBarge meet and greet. Her friends fear that they may have to pull together bail money but she seems to contain herself despite the following events that transpired: 

Toya: "Heeey El!"


El: (Taking Toya's hands)"You are just so pretty. I noticed ... *words, words, words*

El's voice starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to Toya for a moment because her brain shuts down because he said she was pretty and then she snaps out of it.

El:... you know you have the same complexion as my mama. You remind me of her. And you know black don't crack."

El makes silly face.

Dude snaps the picture.

Toya doesn't like picture but doesn't ask for another because she needs to get away from El Debarge before what he said starts to register and she embarrasses her parents and eveyone involved with her meeting El Debarge.

And scene...

More details tomorrow along with a review of tonight's show. I can't wait!!!
R.I.P The Word "Diva"
Sunrise 19??-Sunset 10/14/10



VH1 Divas 2010 Headliners to Salute the Troops: Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj and Paramore

I'd be a bold face liar if I said I didn't like at least one song from each of them (I love Paramore) but DIVAS?! I think they are throwing that word around rather loosely.Who authorized this?!?! I can't. Seriously, am I the only one trippin'?

Read the story here.- Toya

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So I (Toya) Won Tickets to This for Tomorrow Night:


Yup! I am going to finally get to see my favorite living singer, El Debarge, in the flesh tomorrow night. Tia is going with me and is currently preparing to learn CPR. She may need it, especially when this song comes on:



Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!
BGLU Beauty News- The *Magic Is Back at MAC- Toya


Dear MAC, *Brokeback Mountain voice* I just can't quit you!

Trying to stay fly on a budget is hard, especially when it comes to makeup and hair products. Trying to save money can backfire on you when you try to replace more expensive department store items with drugstore bargains. Just recently, I broke one of my own rules and that is to never compromise when it comes to foundation. Paying fifty bucks for the right shade beats paying ten bucks for a shade that doesn't match.

But desperate times call for desperate measures and so I tried to convince myself that I could ween myself off of MAC cosmetics for a cheaper brand. I spent some time on Youtube checking out makeup reviews (this has become my new online obsession) and decided to give CoverGirl's Queen Collection a try because it got good reviews. After going to five stores trying to find it *blank stare* I found that the shade I picked just wasn't the best match for me. So off I went back to MAC just like some shameful infidel trying to return to their ex after leaving them for someone they cheated with...and I'm glad I did because they now carry *trumpets sound*

MAGIC LIQUID POWDER!!!!!! 

Now if you are a big fan of Prescriptives like I was, this may mean a lot to you but for those that don't know what I am talking about, MAC's limited edition Disney Venomous Villains line includes an identical and less expensive version of Prescriptives innovative *Magic liquid powder called MAC Magically Cool Liquid Powder. If you've never tried it, you must! It's a cooling powder that is 70% water that feels wet as it goes on and leaves a beautiful luminous glow.It just adds a certain dimension that highlights your face that to me has more of a glowing effect than a bronzer although you could probably use both but I really don't see the need. It is gorgeous and comes in two shades: Truth & Light for our porcelain skin sisters and Cajun for our chocolate skin sisters. When I was a counter manager for Prescriptives back in the day, this was the easiest item to sell because it was the hardest to resist once I put it on a customer. Now although Prescriptives has announced that they are putting their best selling products back into production to be sold online, the *Magic powder for dark skin will not be included. And even though the Cajun powder is one of MAC's limited edition products, a little birdie told me that it may stick around longer after the Villain line expires!

*sits down to write another letter*

Dear Prescriptives, I'll be turning 36 this year so I will be hollerin' at you for some eye cream but until then, it's MAC for the win. Be blessed and have a nice day.

For more info on MAC's Venomous Villains line, go to www.maccosmetics.com.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gleekin' Out - Tia



I have been a fan of Glee since DAY ONE. I remember watching the first episode after the finale of American Idol and being HOOKED. I emailed a friend of mine who'd majored in Vocal Jazz at USC and told her that she needed to watch this show because she was going to love it from the first note. (By the way, she watched and loved it just like I said.) 

I have seen every episode. The only reason I haven't purchased the box set is because I'm on a financial mission to get my credit cards paid off. And since my friend Brandon has every episode DVR I'm not too pressed to buy the set just yet. But don't sleep, I am a fan. I'm even trying to be a Cheerio for Halloween. 

As a faithful watcher, I've come to expect certain things from the show. Someone is going to be making out with someone else. Kurt is going to be gay. And Brittany is going to say some of the funniest, dumbest stuff you'll ever hear on television. But even knowing all of that I was ILL prepared to see two Cherrios making out and talking about things that I wouldn't want my high schooler (if I had one) talking about. The whole episode threw me off because it came off a little too sexually charged for my liking. And even with all of the unnecessary banter it was kind of boring, save for one performance: Santana and Mercedes. 

"River Deep, Mountain High" is one of my all time favorite songs. Of course, the Ike and Tina version trumps all but the Celine Dion version is a strong second. Or at least it was until I saw tonight's performance. Them girls sang the hell out of that song. I watched the show at a friend's house. But I dvr'ed it myself and proceeded to watch Mercedes and Santana tear it up about 15 times. And just when I didn't think I could take it anymore I went on iTunes and downloaded the single. I am currently having some back issues but the minute I get mobile again I will be working out to this song on repeat. Glee truly killed this song. 

If you didn't get a chance to see it you can check out some clips here. And for your listening pleasure here's the full audio version.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch it again for the 16th time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

There's Something About Faith - Tia


Okay, I have to be honest. The initial intent of this post was to blast the industry for, per usual, not putting any press behind one of the best R&B singers out today. 

I had no idea that Faith Evans had a new cd out. But I am very aware that Rihanna is working on a new album.  Ke¢ha (she get's no dollar sign from me) just dropped a new video. And Justin Bieber is coming out with a line of finger nail polish based on his songs. (I didn't make that up. Google it if you don't believe me.) All of that to say, when it comes to R&B you basically have to walk nekkid through the streets before people realize you have an album out. 

So that's why I was really surprised, and then subsequently angry, that Faith has a new cd out that I've heard nothing about. I was watching VH1Soul (possibly my favorite station of all time) and the video for "Gone Already" came on. Now, I'm going to be nice and not say anything about the Praise/Drama mimes in the video. (If you've ever been to a black church with a drama team you know exactly what I'm talking about right now.) I'm going to let them slide because I LOVE the song. But trust, the mimes got a side eye out this world when they first came on the screen. 


Based solely on this song, I went out and bought the cd. The problem is I haven't been able to get pass track 6 which is "Gone Already" so I really don't yet know if I like the album or not. So, that being the case, I decided that I would just post my top five favorite Faith songs. I mean, who wants to read another blog about how crappy the music industry is...?

Now I want to start by saying two things: 1. These are in no particular order. 2.) Narrowing down my favorite Faith Evans songs proved to be more difficult than I thought. This woman has HITS!!! A while back Toya and I were talking about artists who need to do greatest hits albums. We finally came to realize that Faith would need to do a greatest hits box set. I mean, everybody has AT LEAST one Faith song they like. 

"Never Gonna Let You Go" might actually be my favorite Faith song. That bridge kills me EVERY TIME. I have car and shower karaoked this song many a time. And you can't tell me I'm not SANGING. When you sing an artist's song hard like YOU wrote it, that's how you know that artist put they thang down. 

Oh and what you need to know is that I watched this 3 times before I moved on to the next video. 


I know it's not too ghetto....OH this is my song!!! Every time I see this video I want to pack up my stuff and move back to Cali.

My little brother is something of a rap snob. But even he respected Faith for putting down her own (albeit brief) flow in this song. You might not love Faith but you GOTTA respect her. 



"Never Gonna Let You Go" may be my favorite Faith song but "Again" is a CLOSE second...possibly even tied for first. The thing I always loved about Faith is that she seems real, like she would be you cousin from around the way. I remember reading a interview in Vibe years ago and the thing that struck me the most is that Faith didn't seem to come off as high and mighty in ANY way...I mean the woman even talked about how her tracks were wiggling every time she scratched her head. A woman that real could be my homegirl ANY DAY. 


"Again" was my theme song for a long time. Something about the way she sings about embracing her past and looking to God for the future resonated so deeply in me that when this song came out I listened to it on repeat for at least a week. 




When the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack came out I laid on the floor and listening to the song on repeat for so many weeks that I lost count. I will never forget it. I was in high school and I was dating Dan Henning. And I also remember having to ADAMANTLY reassure my mother that regardless of my infatuation with the song and with Dan I was NOT having sex. But we were making out a lot...that's neither here nor there.


Okay, I know this isn't technically a Faith song. But no matter how many times I listen to this version of the song I always get the chills during Faith's parts. Besides, she (along with everyone else in the song) won a Grammy for this. And I'm almost positive that it had very little to do with the fact that the song sampled one The Police's best song...very little at all.



I know I said 5 but I wouldn't be a true fan if  I left out "Soon As I Get Home." This also came out when I was in high school. I was dating Shane from Ridge High at the time. (If you haven't already figured it out I associate a lot of music from high school and college with the guy I was dating at the time. That little "technique" almost ruined Carl Thomas for me after a bad break-up but that's another story for another time.) This song is classic 90s R&B. It's the kind of music that you can't help but reminisce about....And since I'm now thinking about my senior year and all of the great music that we listened to that year, I'm going to  go have a glass of wine and make a "High School" Playlist. 

Good night everyone. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The times they are a-changing….okay…not really - Tia

The times they are a-changing….okay…not really - Tia

Much has been made recently about Crystal Renn walking the runaways of NY and Paris. So many publications are going on and on about the shift in the fashion world toward “regular” looking models. Many feel they should be applauded because it shows openness toward women of all shapes and sizes. This is where I call B.S. 

I’m no fashion guru. While I subscribe to Vogue and purchase Marie Claire and Vanity Fair so often I might as well subscribe, for the most part I’m not THAT up on fashion. But it’s mostly because fashion doesn’t really like girls like me. (More on that later.) However, as a fairly frequent reader I am cognizant enough to know that while the fashion industry may throw us “regular” girls a bone every once in a great while, they are FAR from making this a norm or a trend. All anyone has to do is flip through the September issue of Vogue and you’ll quickly see that regular in the fashion world equals size 0-4.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no hater. I know that these girls make a lot of sacrifices and the modeling world is cut throat. But don’t insult my intelligence by saying that one size 10 girl = REVOLUTION.

And while I’m thinking about it let me take a minute to talk about Crystal Renn. I have been a fan of hers for a minute. Back in the day I loved her in the Lane Bryant ads. She was always the FIERCEST chick in the photos. After doing some digging I found out that she struggled with anorexia at the beginning of her career. But after getting help and taking control of her life rather than letting fashion’s dictates control it for her, she went on to be a successful plus size model.

I absolutely love an underdog story so, of course, Crystal became one of my heroes in the fashion game. But it seemed like the longer I followed her, the thinner she got. I finally found myself wondering, “Is she even plus sized anymore?” (She is by the way)


You have to love the internet. All I had to do was google Crystal’s name to learn that I wasn’t the only person wondering what happened to our favorite thick girl model. By her own admission Crystal has lost weight. She began an exercise program and went from this: 
http://i46.tinypic.com/otf60p.jpg


To this:

But even with the svelte frame, at a size 10, she’s still considered a plus size model. And that, in my opinion, is where all of the confusion and frustration comes in. While the fashion industry sees a size 8 and up as plus size, the rest of the world DOES NOT. I dare you to walk into a Lane Bryant as a size 8 and ask for a pair of jeans. This “change” that the fashion industry is so quick to pat themselves on the back for is slow moving. And it for sure has not been disseminated to retail stores or mass media. Don’t believe me, pick up any magazine and look for a model bigger than a size 4. Turn on the television and count how many female actresses you see who are bigger than a size 6. Go to any high end store and try to find a designer label in a size bigger than 12. Change…I can’t call it.

Now I would be a raving hypocrite if I didn’t mention that I’m currently on a weight loss mission. As a former athlete and (VERY) part time former model, I’m currently dissatisfied with the state of my body. And while I want to get in shape for health reasons, I also want to look better in clothes from designers who basically don’t support girls like me. I love cute clothes. But as a former size 16, I learned that being tall (about 5’10”) and thick pretty much guarantees that you will not be able to shop the labels that you see in the magazines. I’m not a label whore by any stretch, but I do love a well tailored garment. But somewhere along the way, it seems like someone whispered in the ears of fashion designers that girls bigger than a size 10 don’t care what they wear. Regular chicks like me often get no love from the designers who make the trends.

So the question is, whose fault is it? Is it fashion’s fault for telling us that the only way to be pretty is to be thin? Or is it our fault for buying into the hype? Everything in me wants to point at the industry and yell, “You did this to us!” But then again, once you have knowledge it falls to you to do something with it. And while we’ll probably never see a girl like Crystal on the cover of Vogue, I believe it’s up to those of us who care to support the girls who look like the rest of us, support the labels that realize that every girl isn’t a just a hanger for clothes and most importantly understand that beauty is NOT a number. Anna Wintour could put the Crystal Renn’s of the world on every page of Vogue. But it won’t mean a thing unless we realize that our beauty is not a number on a scale or a certain size pair of jeans. The fashion industry is always going to believe its own hype. The real question is: Are you going to believe it too?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BGLU Beauty News- Prescriptives is (Sorta) Back!!!!!!- Toya


See, this is why I STAY on Twitter. I saw a tweet one day from Pretty In the Queen City http://www.twitter.com/prettyintheqc about what cosmetic lines did women of color seem to love. I responded that I use MAC and used to use Prescriptives. Not too long after that I received a tweet from Prescriptives saying this:



 Prescriptives 
@ Great news! We've made the decision to resume production of our top-selling products at this time. Visit .


Hello Super Line Preventor Serum.Oh how I've missed you.

Unlike many others, when I found out that Prescriptives had discontinued their line, I didn't rush to get my faves or buy a bunch of products to sell to desperate women on Ebay. I just wanted to quit cold turkey and bitterly find other alternatives. On the other hand, I felt bad for Tia because their Virtual Skin foundation is the only one she ever wears and she doesn't wear it that often. I'm not quite sure why they haven't yet put this good news easy to find on the front page of their website yet. Nevertheless I wanted you all to know that some of your faves are now in production and only available online including the aforementioned wonder working Super Line Preventor, select shades of Virtual Skin Foundation, their second to none Magic Powder (however not in the dark formula) and many other favorites. After receiving that tweet, I received another referring me to the website to chat live with a rep where I was free to ask which of my favorite Prescriptives products were going back into production. The live chat rep Jen was extremely helpful in answering all of my questions concerning which products were going to be available online. Sadly, the PX moisturizer for oily skin has been discontinued forever but she was able to recommend an alternative under the Estee Lauder umbrella. I am hoping in the future that they will provide a list on their website of products that will only be available online but until then, it is good to know that Prescriptives isn't gone forever. This is particularly helpful to me because I will be 36 in December and am in the market for a good eye cream. Be ye not deceived: black may not crack, but I have seen it crinkle.