Friday, April 30, 2010

Why I continue to sweat Drake - Tia

I have been sweating Drake since last summer. Now mind you, I wasn't always on board. I distinctly remember sending Toya an email that said something to the effect of, "Wheelchair Jimmy from Degrassi fancies himself a rapper now." But after eating crow and finding myself listening to Best I Ever Had every day for about 3 months, I am officially on board the Drake/Aubrey Graham train. (I say Drake and Aubrey because Drake the performer is the way. But Aubrey the writer is not a bad look either. Please see Alicia Key's Unthinkable as a reference.)

The second cut from his much delayed album Thank Me Later was leaked to the interwebs yesterday. The first track, Over, is just now entering rotation on a lot of stations so I was surprised to see a second song already. But maybe the machine around Drake realizes that if they want to take this summer by storm like they did last year they're going to have to make sure the hits are played until they're earworms.

Drake's second track, Find Your Love, caught me immediately. A departure from Drake the lyricist that we saw on Over, Love introduces us to Drake the singer. And if I'm being honest, he's not all bad. And I applaud him for stepping away from Autotune...I wish other people would take note.

The song is produced by Kanye West and could easily be a lost track from Ye's somber 808s and Heartbreaks. The forthcoming video was shot by Anthony Mandler who did a beautiful job on the video for Over.

If you're a Drake fan, you'll like this track. And if you're like me, it will leave you checking the web daily for any updates on when the whole album may actually drop.

New Kids on the Block/The Roots
on The Jimmy Fallon Show- Toya

First of all, why didn't anybody tell me that New Kids on the Block were on The Jimmy Fallon Show? Just because I clown doesn't mean I don't care. I clown BECAUSE I care. It's my love language.

I love how Rosario Dawson is ecstatic in the beginning of this. I aint mad at her. I've said it a million times, grown NKOTB is fine as HEY-YULL! I still rebuke Donnie Wahlberg Miss Celie style in the name of Jesus though:

It's the only way I can protect my situation. I have to almost pretend like I don't see him sometimes.

I'm glad to see they are holdin' it down after all these years. And speaking of holding it down, I'd like to cast my vote for The Knight brothers to win this year's 2010 Black Don't Crack but There are Exceptions award. Good gawd! And have yall seen Jonathan?! When Tia and I met them a bit ago, he was so fine that everytime he was on the big screen you would hear a gasp in the crowd and a collective "Dayumn!". I am not playin'. I saw Jordan a few months back in Nashville and he's got that Ralph Tresvant gene. I am not mad at them at all.

If anyone has any tales from last year's NKOTB cruise, do tell. OH PLEASE, do tell.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Currently Jacking Me Up:

Fine Frenzy's "Near to You"- Toya

I don't know who I need to talk to at my church to see if we can get the praise and worship team to sing this but I need to find out because *Whoosh*. This song will minister! Now grant it, it's not really a praise and worship song per se. But I am telling you, you put this on at a Beth Moore conference and women all over the place would be lying prostrate. Loving this right now.

Be Happy: Getting Back to Me
Part 2- Don'tcha Get So Mad About It by Toya

So apparently I have a bit of a pride issue that I am currently striving to get free from. Last weekend after my staycation I came to the realization that I get really mad when people don't take my advice. I mean, straight up and down offended. I didn't notice it until Sunday. Tia and I have a mutual friend who, well, I am not going to put their business in the blog streets so I will just say that they cry victim but then do what they want to do. So when this happened for the umpteenth time despite what Tia and I have said to them, I couldn't wait to tell Tia. I mean, I was burnin'. "Some people don't believe boo boo stinks" I said to Tia immediately after I picked up the phone. My dad used to say that all the time. In fact, he probably still does. I went on to tell her how this person just won't listen. We conversed about it for a bit and came to the conclusion that we hope it works out for them even though we could bet one month's salary that it won't. After I got off the phone with her something began to bug me. Why couldn't I wait to tell her that? What is the real issue here? And why did I spend so much time talking badly about others that make poor decisions after I give them my two cents worth of common sense of what to do? The question was not why do I care. The question was why was I angry?

Because I think I know everything. Yup, that's it. I know everything. And so when I tell someone what to do, if they would just do it, POOF, the problem will go away! Riiiiiiight. Somewhere along the way I forgot to look in the mirror and remember that growth is a process. Letting bad habits go is a process. Hell, I could've looked at my bank account to remember that. There is one particular instance that happened in my life where not only was there an intervention but had it continued, I don't doubt that some of my friends would've tried to put me on some talk show to get me to see the light. I just couldn't seem to get out. I didn't want to really. It was so hard and the issues behind it just ran too deep. So because I have friends that didn't give up on me and stop talking to me about it (it really was ridiculous) I pretty much owe mankind a favor to bear with others. I mean, I have a lifetime of paying it forward.

I'll say this though: I have a limit. I have friends who I have had to tell "Look, we don't talk about this anymore. In order for us to be friends, this is off limits."I can't listen to people complain about stuff that they continue to get tangled up in but will argue you down to the ground that what they are doing is right and then turn around and complain all over again. I won't do it. The only difference is I am not getting mad about it anymore. Do you! Why should I get mad about it? I can't care more about them getting free than they do.

Bottom line, to get mad at people for not taking your advice is prideful. It's called your advice because it is YOURS. People are entitled to refuse anything you try to give them. I have to admit this has really been freeing. I have had a few relapses but for the most part I am happy with everyone right now. No grudges, no shaking my head at anyone. Everyone is on their own journey. Life is hard and people should be able to live it without my passing judgment. Now if I can just stop getting mad at people with stupid opinions. Yeah, this is going to be a long process...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Be Happy: Getting Back to Me
Part 1: Back to You (My Journey Back to Natural Hair)- Toya

Yup. It's going down. Big Hair Toya, as I used to affectionately be referred to, is making a comeback in 2010 and I will be happy to see her. I came to this decision after a much needed "staycation" this past weekend. A staycation is when you take a vacation at home. Anyone remember on The Cosby Show when Cliff took a vacation at home complete with a Hawaiian lay, coconut drink and ukulele? Yeah, like that.

I knew I needed a break when Tia left me with one parting question during her last visit. I was leaving for work and had just got finished telling her about all of the things that I had on my plate. "Well, let me ask you something. What do you do for yourself?" See I had gotten busy work confused with me time because everything I was busy doing for others are things I love doing. They weren't some big sacrifice. I welcome the connections and industry experience. Yet that question rang with me for days. All I could come up with was sleep! That was the only thing I did that I was doing by myself and for myself. So when my sleep got jacked up (falling asleep sitting up in the middle of an email was a hint) I knew I needed to do something and fast.

Last Friday I was sitting in my car after going through yet another drive through about to call Casme's manager to ask him about what time I needed to be on set for her video shoot for her new single "Call Me Whatever" (which I love by the way. Check it out.) As I was going through my schedule in my mind, I realized that it would be three whole weeks before I was able to come home straight from work with no responsibilities. Three weeks? I'm in my mid-thirties now so I have a pretty good grip on who I am. Three weeks of no time to myself is going to cause me to start talking to people really crazy. I needed to make the right decision for myself and cancel. I called her manager and explained why I wouldn't be on set and he completely understood. "Hey I am taking a vacation next week myself. No calls no nothing. Do what you gotta do. My grandaddy always said to pay yourself first and to take care of yourself first. Do you." Feeling slightly guilty, I headed home and went straight to bed before it even hit 7 o'clock.

The next day was absolutely beautiful as it rained all day long. Rain is my favorite music. I'll take it over anything. I once heard Kirk Whalum say that God was a jazz musician and I wholeheartedly agree. I will turn off everything in the room just to sit and hear the rain and I did. I just sat by the window and listened. Every time a thought came into my head I pushed it away. Sometimes you need to not even think. Not even pray. Just sit. Eventually I fell back to sleep.

I woke up around 5 pm, turned on The Princess and the Frog which I still had not seen (I bought it for my goddaughter though so I did support) and sat down to FINALLY do my vision board from I had been promising to do this for months! I sat and I sat for a while not sure what pictures to add to it. Suddenly this thought came to me: I didn't know what to dream about because I wasn't really happy with who I had become. I was just going through the motions with busy work. I had lost myself. I stopped doing the simple things that made me happy. There were no simple things. "I need to get back to myself" I thought. I used to be way happier than this. And as with any life change that has ever occurred in my life, the first thing I wanted to change was my hair. I quickly sent the following text message to my hair stylist: "Toya is not to cut any part of her hair aside from her bangs as she will be growing her hair out this summer to return back to her natural hair. Please save this message and slap her if she says otherwise." I just want to be me. All the time. Not a more sophisticated me with a slick hair cut and four different types of eyeshadow on. Just me. I found a pick of a girl with big curly hair and put it in the corner. After that, the ideas just kept coming and coming. When I finished my dream board, I noticed that these weren't big dreams that I couldn't attain. They were things that I always wanted to be and can be if I simply take care of me first.

I think of my vision board all of the time now. When I don't feel like drinking more water, I think about the picture of water bottles on my vision board. When I think of overspending, I think of my "debt free" sign on there too. Sometimes you need to just see what you want to be. Speaking of which, I also have a picture of a couple whose relationship that I really admire. Keeping a picture of what you want constantly in front of you can keep you from settling for anything from the wrong man to a cupcake.

So when the back of my hair is in that weird in between stage where I always give up and cut it off, I will think of the girl with curly hair on my vision board and remember that this is all a process. I made a promise to myself to do what makes me happy. Sometimes that's not instant but it's possible and worth it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident...

This may perhaps be everything I (Toya) ever wanted to say while I was in high school in under 4 minutes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Harvey- By Toya

Well you know what they say: Don't talk about it, be about it. So I decided to be about it and tell Steve Harvey exactly how I felt about tonight's Nightline panel discussion "Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find A Man?" Those that really know me may read this letter and notice that I walked on eggshells in expressing my opinion. Reason being, for one, I didn't want to be long-winded. And two, I love Steve Harvey to death but he can get a little emotional and put people on blast if he feels the need to get defensive. I mean, have you heard his Strawberry Letter segments? So here it goes...

Dear Mr. Harvey,

I love all that you do for our community, specifically in the area of trying to help black women find love. I admire your genuine concern and it means so much. And although I have come to trust your views on the matter of relationships, when I found out about tonight’s Nightline panel discussion, I wasn’t sure if I could take hearing anymore about why so many black women are single. I am glad that I did though and would like to share with you what I thought about it.

I am a 35 and single black woman. I know plenty of women in my age range of different races that are single and come up against a lot of the opinions expressed on this show tonight. This isn't JUST a black thing. I am starting to think that this is a generational issue and until there is more male accountability, it is only going to get worse. There were two opinions that I wish got more than the 30 seconds it took to express them. One was by you who said that until we start producing better men we aren't going to have better men. Hill Harper added that happily married men need to express more to single men that they are happily married and that there are great benefits to being married. To me, all of this boils down to male accountability. Women can read your book and every other book backwards and forwards, pray for men and follow "the rules" but at the end of the day men are the pursuers. They are born leaders and I think a lot of them have forgotten that or don’t know what that entails. We need to stop asking women why they are single and start asking men why they aren't looking to get married. We need to stop asking women to not be intimidating and start asking men why they feel intimidated and then show them that they shouldn't feel that way. You have said that a man needs to know where he fits into a woman’s life. Some of them don’t feel like they have anything to add and that is not always our fault. That’s an esteem issue. So many men disqualify themselves based on that a lone. A lot of these men are dealing with issues that need to be challenged and dealt with by another man. I understand the importance of mentoring boys but I think some grown men need to be mentored too because so many of them have not a clue as to how to treat women. I am talking about GOOD men. They simply haven't been taught and women are complicated. So instead of having all of these discussions to teach women how men think, how about helping men understand how women think?

We live in a society where women are constantly being told that they are too much and not enough all at the same time. Hearing these statistics about black women being single day after day is tiring and at times hurtful. We can only do so much and trying to figure out what else we need to do to correct what is happening in our society feels like an overwhelming losing battle. We need men to help men.

Thank you for all that you do,
Nashville, TN

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Have I Not Been to Tokyo Again???-Toya

This is old news (February) but I just got hip to this situation. Lord, help. Kazuhiro Kokubo is the biz-nass. I aint mad at him.

We Miss You Guru, We Miss You Yo MTV Raps, WE MISS YOU HIP HOP!!!!

We Love and Thank You Dorothy Height

“The fact of the matter is that we do not want black power for American negroes. We don't want white power for American whites. . . . The kind of power we seek is the power of freedom in a colorless society -- the power to help build a constructive nation and a constructive world together with our fellow Americans." Dorothy Height, Matriarch of Civil Rights Movement

First of all, how freaking adorable was she? I read that she never really raised her voice but commanded attention whenever she spoke and was a woman of controlled strength.

In the bible it talks about how David did not die until he fulfilled everything that he was to do in his generation. Doesn't mean that there was no more to be done, he just did all that HE was supposed to do. Now that Ms. Height has fulfilled her destiny, may we work hard to fulfill ours with similar tenacity and dignity.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Heeeey Brody - Tia
I don't care what you say, Adrien Brody could have it. I know some of y'all are scratching your head, giving the screen the side eye...I don't really care. Adrien is THAT DUDE!!!

There aren't too many people Toya and I would fight over, but I think we would duel to the death over Brody. I mean, for real...It would be some Clash of the Titans type stuff.

This is one of my favorite commercials of all time and I'm so bummed that there is no sound to it. But you don't need sound to get the gist of it.

And should you ever be fortunate to come across a copy of Restaurant (like in a Walmart bin for $1) DO NOT HESITATE to buy it.

Anyway, all that to say Happy Birthday Brody!!! Holla at me if you're ever around the way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Butt Naked Wednesday!- Toya

If you have not seen the documentary "Before the Music Dies" PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE purchase it and/or watch it here on HULU. If you love music at all you will appreciate it. It is a must especially if you have anything to do with the music industry. In this hilarious clip Erykah Badu talks about how easy it is to become a female pop star by doing some controversially desperate mess. Now, I will say that her classic quip "Butt Naked Wednesdays" is what came to mind when I saw her video for "Window Seat" but I sincerely believe that her message in her video is much different than the message of desperate, seductively scantily clad female artists out there. I still can't help but wonder if she shot it on Wednesday though.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Can We Talk?: Erykah Badu's "Window Seat"- Toya

I would like to pose a question: Do you think that if Erykah Badu wasn't black and didn't have the physique that she has that her video for "Window Seat" would be viewed as so indecent and be surrounded by as much controversy? Case in point, the video was inspired by Matt and Kim's "Lessons Learned" which I am willing to bet less people are familiar with than Badu's latest video.

Mind you the following message on Youtube came up when I looked for "Window Seat":

This video or group may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community.


The are only a few differences I see between the two videos. According to this interview with Matt and Kim on Pitchfork they had a permit whereas Badu did not and has since been fined. Matt and Kim were in Times Square where there were also children around. Another difference, if I may just put it plainly, is that Kim is not as umm, endowed as Badu is? Grant it, you see the side of Kim's behind in their video but I am willing to bet that even if you would've gotten a rear view, there still would be no uproar over their video. What if Badu would've just stripped down to a bikini? We can be inundated with pictures of Kim Kardashian in a bikini but Badu is deemed inappropriate? What's the real issue here? If you ask me, a good part of the issue is this: the mass of the ass.

I know that's crass. It's downright ridiculous! But I am telling you, women are dressed like that in music videos intentionally quite often nowadays. In no way am I saying what Matt & Kim and Erykah Badu did was right. I'm not even talking about that. What I am saying is if she was shaped like Kim of Matt and Kim in some boy shorts, would this even be an issue? I posed this question to Candice Benbow over at
Selah and Amen who just blogged about Pastor Jamal H. Bryant's announcement that he will pay Badu's indecencey fine (yeah, you need to check that out for real. He is on some other stuff) and she said this:

"A) What she did was illegal and b) there's always been a black law and a white one. I thought they had a permit. I feel the same way about theirs as hers but legally, I think they were covered. Had she gotten a permit and gone through the proper channels, she'd be straight. I think if she was shaped like Kim and Black, it still would have been problematic. Many artists have made statements like this before but they did it correctly."

Just like my winning card in Spades, I am taking the race card and sticking it on top of my forehead for this one. And I still say some of it has to do with the mass of the ass (I really need to stop saying that and I need to stop liking to say that. Seriously.) Thoughts?

Monday, April 5, 2010

So Common Made Me a Mixtape- Toya

Common made me a mixtape of some of my favorite songs by The Jacksons, Prince, Bobby Caldwell, and The Gap Band and disguised it as a mixtape for his upcoming movie co-starring Queen Latifah Just Wright.

What? You don't believe me? "Crazy U" by Prince and "Morning Glory" by Jamiroquai on one mixtape and you think he's not trying to get my attention? "Give It Up" by The Jacksons???? Seriously, no one knows how much I love those songs. Say what you want, Common is trying to woo me...and it's if he ever really needed to try but still.

This mixtape also includes great songs by Stevie Wonder, Bjork, Dwele and more. You can download Common's musical profession of his undying love for me for free here on his website.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thought of the moment - Tia

Yesterday morning while preparing to spend an ignorant amount of time in the car I found myself listening to Tyler Perry on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. They were taking calls from listeners and one particular call stood out from the rest. It wasn't so much the caller's question, rather it was Tyler Perry's response.

The caller began by running down all the things that TP has his hands in: production company, new movie, two shows on TBS (Which I think now stands for Tyler Bought this Station because clearly he is running things over there.) and his own talk show. The caller then asked, "When do you take time for Tyler." Tyler's response was fantastic. I'm paraphrasing but this is what he said, "I'm not really thinking about that right now. I'm just going to ride this train until it stops. I remember what it was like to not have anything. So now that I have so much going on I'm going to work as long as I can."

Yes...and AMEN....

I have been saying for years: Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. TP did what he had to do to get out of poverty and homelessness so that now he does what he wants to do. But I realized there's a part two to that. Once you're doing what you want to do, you have to keep doing it until you can't do it anymore. I'm sure that it's easy to become successful and then sit back and rest on your laurels. But to maintain that level of success, you can not stop. At least not for very long...

Yes, with success comes an enhanced level of comfort, but don't let that comfort lull you into a false sense of security. There is always more to do. We have not been put on this earth to be stationary for very long. We gotta keep it moving.

Proverbs 24: 33-34 - A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
You're Beautiful - Tia

I'm always interested in how people find our site. I'm especially intrigued by the searches people conduct that lead them to us. You may (or may not) be surprised that a lot of people show up here looking for porn. (And the fact that I just typed the word porn ensures that we will be in a new batch of searches for people looking for African American chick porn. C'est la Vie.) But I've also noticed a lot of people get here simply searching the phrase "black girls." Now this probably falls into the category of naive, but I want to believe that some of those searches are not done for nefarious purposes but out of admiration or because folks are simply searching for kindred souls. I want to believe that contrary to what mainstream media would have you believe there are A LOT of people out there who truly admire and adore all that is a black woman.

As such, I want to start taking more time out on this blog (and in life) to extol some of my favorite brown skin ladies. Today's lady: Kerry Washington
Ohhh....Emmmm....Geeee...I have the biggest girl crush on Kerry. She is GORGEOUS. And I love her range as an actress. I've seen her go from the stereotypical single teen mother to wife of a powerful African dictator. She even played a wild child on one of my favorite shows Psych. This chick is BAD.

She's set to play one of the colored girls in the Tyler Perry directed film version of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. I seriously can not wait to see this. I know she and her fellow actresses will be nothing short of AMAZING in it. Now if you'll excuse, I'm going to watch Fantastic Four 2. Not one of the best movies out there but it speaks to my inner geek and Kerry is in it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What a Fool Believes- Toya


*Sigh* I wish that Michael McDonald would redo this song with the genders switched so that some of us would REALLY get it and understand how foolish we can be sometimes when it comes to what or whom we give our heart to. It took me a while to really appreciate this song outside of its catchy melody. Now that I'm older, I see that these lyrics hold a warning in them that I so wish I would've caught earlier in life. This song will preach if you let it. Allow me to preach from the Book of Michael and give you my interpretation:

"He came from somewhere back in her long ago. The sentimental fool don't see, trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created once in HER life..."

The "sentimental fool" in this song sounds completely irrational doesn't he? Trying hard to recreate the memories that meant so much to him but to her are as good as forgotten? Does this sound familiar to anyone? Ever had to pull it together to have "the conversation" with someone about why you are hurting and they have no idea why you are so upset? I don't know of too many things more embarrassing than that. Why is it so hard to let go sometimes especially when the other person not only doesn't seem to care but has little recollection of what you are telling them they promised or said to you? I think this song answers that question.

"She had a place in his life. He never made her think twice."

I remember talking to some high school kids one day. One girl said that she didn't like other girls in her school because they seemed so "sensational". That word has cracked me up until this very day. I took "sensational" to mean overly emotional and in the moment. So many right things, wonderfully romantic seemingly heartfelt things get said at what seems to be the right time and are forgotten the next day because people can get caught up in the moment. Far too often women (at least I mostly see this in women) hold on for dear life to those moments that the other person has never thought twice about since they happened. I wish we would take more into account what people do more than what they say. So many women, including myself, have gotten caught up in what a man has said without paying attention to whether his words line up with his actions. I'm not blaming all of this on men either. Some of us just don't know how to accept compliments. For example, I know I would make a great wife. Just because someone says that to me doesn't mean that I should be their wife and I don't need to try to convince them that they should want me to be. Actions speak louder than words and some people's intentions are best figured out on mute.

"What seems to be is always better than nothing. There's nothing at all."

While that lyric is sung over a happy little piano driven melody it has kicked my ass for the past two years. How many times have I (or you) settled for a relationship (committed or not) because of what SEEMED to be or what would make sense in a perfect world if the other person would just work on something that realistically should be a deal breaker for us? We take more time and do more research about who should be our cell phone provider than who we should give our heart to sometimes. I think it's because what we have right now doesn't seem to be much. If you keep letting your standards drop like a limbo stick, sooner or later the only person left bending over backwards to make something work that should be left alone will be you.

"What a fool believes...he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away"

I don't know if I ever wrote about this but years ago some friends conducted some kind of intervention because of a co-dependent situation I had gotten tangled up in and couldn't see. And even though they and several other wise women that I had given permission to hold me accountable in life gave me reason upon reason to separate, I refused to live in reality. Looking back, any one of them should have slapped me and told me to shake out of it. Here's a bit of advice: If you have to convince people outside of your relationship that your relationship is healthy based on what is only seen in private between you two, there is a problem. Sometimes no one can get you out and life has to kick you in the butt. It sucks. It's hard. Unfortunately and far too often, it's necessary.

I've been a fool plenty of times; holding onto sentimental moments in my mind, trying to make the impossible work because it seemed to be all that I could get. I'll tell you what: I am not going to sit here and say that it was God's will to let me go through all of it. Some of it had to do with me making poor choices that He warned me about. The good thing is now that I have gone through some things and know that the actions have to line up with the words, I am more fit to be in the right relationship. Being able to recognize and avoid those things that used to trip me up in the past concerning relationships has also shown me that I am in a good relationship with myself. What you love, you want the best for and settling just won't do.