Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Return of Quitters - Tia



So clearly we completely fell off from Quitting. I could make a bunch of excuses, but why? Excuses are what people make when they dropped the ball and want to feel better about it. Yeah...I'm not going to do that. So apologies for the inexcusably long delay and without further notice, let's get back to the Quitter Challenge. Or in the immortal words of C. Brezzy: LEGGO!!

Quitter Challenge Chapter 6 - There Will Be Hustle

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits - Thomas Edison (yes, THAT Thomas Edison)

I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise that one of longest chapters in the book was about the amount of work you'll have to put in on your dream job while still maintaining your day job. And for some reason conquering that chapter became a formidable task for me. It seemed longer than all of the others combined. Harder to read. At one point in the wee hours of the night as I flew back from (insert location I can't remember here) I found myself wondering if I'd forgotten HOW to read because I was having so much trouble finishing this chapter. "K is a vowel, right?"

But it finally hit me on my 9,736th go at trying to finish Chapter 6 that my laziness was preventing me from moving forward in the book. I didn't want to hustle. Hustling means working harder, faster, smarter. I didn't want the extra work. I want to breeze through BGLU. I want to post something insanely clever, have the right person read it, have the aforementioned person show up at my door like Publisher's Clearing house with a giant check (giant in size AND amount) made out to Tia and Toya and be shuttled away to a furnished loft/apartment/bungalow in the Hollywood Hills, where I can look out on all that I survey and write witty, sometimes pithy anecdotes about being a fun black girl in the city of angels. Ummm...yeah...I just don't see it panning out like that. (Aside: If there IS someone out there who likes our blog and finds it worthy of a giant check and subsequent sponsorship, please know that we are NOT opposed to that. )

The truth of the matter is if you want something, anything, worth value, you're going to have to work at it. You want to lose weight you have to work out and eat well. You want to build wealth, you have to stop spending money on pointless things and save. You want to marry a British guy, move to London...(wait, that's from my personal vault...ignore that.) If you want it, you have to work for it. It's that simple.

"...our desire to complicate [our dream] is all too often just a cover for laziness or fear." - Pg 142

Jon talks about being "terrified of the work involved." (pg 143) I circled that and wrote, "ME TOO!" I work really hard on my day job. Between traveling, long days looking at medical records and late nights writing reports, I usually put in no less that 50 hours a week. It's just the nature of the job. I travel a lot. And while it sounds exciting, lugging a laptop bag and carry-on through airports, sleeping in 8 different hotels since the 3rd week of January, literally waking up and having no clue what city you're in, being recognized by airport workers because you travel so much and they know your face, is neither relaxing or easy. And doing it all for a job that causes your feelings for it to vacillate from mere disdain to abject hatred is not the business. I say all of that to say that because of the work I put in to keep a roof over my head, I'm not often moved to put in more work on something else. But that shouldn't be the case. My day job should spur me to hustle harder on my side gig in order to one day be freed from the tyranny of my 9-5. Isn't the goal of Quitter to eventually be able to "give us free" from the thing that doesn't motivate us so that we can do the thing that does?

I often say, "I do what have to do until I can do what I want to do." That is the very nature of Quitter and Hustling. If I want the blog to be successful then I have to write more and consistently. It's the if/then principle. If I want to (insert dream here) then I have to (insert the nature of the hustle here.) And so for me (and for some of you) that means making more hours in the day by starting earlier. And, real talk, I hate that.

I am not a morning person AT ALL. While I appreciate the quiet and stillness of the morning, I don't care enough about it to partake in it. But several weeks ago I realized that if wanted to have time to do anything other than work and travel then I'm going to have to start going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. The first time my alarm went off at 5:30 it went something like this:



As much as I hate it, the morning before the day starts is the perfect time to get things done. There are fewer people at the gym. My work blackberry hasn't started chiming incessantly as if it's about to explode. (Seriously, do I need to be CC: on EVERYTHING?!?!) And most importantly, my doubts and laziness haven't kicked in. My drive hasn't yet been squashed by the TSA agents/300 page medical charts/crappy airport food. In the morning I remember why I love to write because the demands of the day haven't rendered me forgetful. I remember why I continue to pursue the things I love...the things that bring me joy. So like it our not, you're going to have to make time to hustle.(And..ick...it may be in the mornings.) But the beauty of it is, as you hustle more, though you may be busier, you'll find yourself being being busier doing the things you love and that matter to you.

But before you think it's all hustle and rainbows and lollipops, hear me..or rather hear Jon: Pursing your dream is work. Closing the gap between your day job and your dream job is a hustle. You have to put in work. And regardless of how much you love your dream job there are going to be times when it is hard and frustrating and you want to throw the book about Quitting out the plane window for stating such. (Just me...?) But there must be diligence. There must be practice. There must be hustle. I know that I need to write and write and when all else fails, WRITE. I need to put in the time, the material, the everything else if I truly want BGLU to become good enough to be my dream job. So while I may currently want to shoot the bird that is so happy about the coming sun that it WON'T SHUT UP, the fact that I'm up early enough that I am subjected to the the wretched creature so that I can blog brings me a bit of satisfaction. And I know it's hardly a huge step. But it's a step.

There's a whole section about doing your dream for free. I'm going to let Toya address that further. I feel she's got some special insight on that. Moving on...

I am the eldest of 3. I am Type A with smatterings of Type B. I am pretty organized. And I am often grossly competitive. I NEED TO WIN!!! I like to win. I am Monica Gellar.



And you know what...I'm fine with that. But up until very recently, I felt the need to be good at everything. If I couldn't be good at it, I didn't do it. I had to be right. *coughPRIDEissuescough* So when I found myself seeing the success of other blogs that hadn't be around as long as ours, I'm embarrassed to say that I had some hater issues.

"Pitting your dream against someone else's is a fantastic way to get discouraged and depressed. Nothing good comes from measuring your dream against your competition." - Pg 162

There is a blog that I'm familiar with that will remain nameless and for a time I was completely baffled by the success of the blog. I genuinely wasn't trying to be a hatress. But I just didn't get it. Why did this blog have so many followers? Why did the author get to do a bunch of cool stuff? Our blog is way cooler. (Did I just admit that out loud?)

I came to realize a few things. 1. I seriously need to work on humility and my pride. 2. The author of the blog is the DEFINITION of a HUSTLER. 3. The reason I found the blog so boring is because it wasn't geared toward me. I am not the target demographic. But thousands of other people are and the author of the blog knows that. S/he works his/her tail off, posts regularly, networks incessantly and does what needs to be done to ensure the success of the blog.

"Comparing your unique dream against someone else's is like comparing apples to skateboards. The two will never measure up precisely." - Pg 163

So while we and the aforementioned blog may have some things in common, to compare their site and their numbers/followers to ours does BGLU a complete disservice. That's not to say there shouldn't be some sort of measurement. But what should you and I be using to ascertain importance, scope, progress? Say it with me now: HUSTLE

"Measure hustle first. I think measuring the effort you're putting in is a much more honest gauge of your progess. It's the only part of this process you can control." - Pg 168

I can't be held captive by the number of page views we get. If traffic is down, it's probably because we haven't posted in a while. And if we haven't posted in a while it means we're not hustling. And if we're not hustling, then we can't be mad that we're not progressing. Do you see what I did there? I can only be mad at my own laziness if I don't succeed. While there's something to be said about page views, re-posts, Twitter followers and the like, even if all of those things are down for a time, if I know that I have given everything that I've got, pushed past my exhaustion and disdain for early mornings and screeching birds, and in general hustled like a champ, then I can rest assured that I didn't miss the mark unnecessarily.

So there will be a Hustle. There will be work. There will be late nights and early mornings. But the goal is the dream. And one can not simply dream. One must also hustle.

Alright, y'all. I must now get to the hustle of the 9-5 portion of my day. Love you all like cooked food.

Friday, February 24, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: Good Deeds- Toya


"You need to go find what makes you truly happy."

Wow! Is that the theme for this week or what?  I am so excited to see Good Deeds this weekend for a number of reasons. For one, Tyler Perry gets to try his chops starring in a romantic drama without Madea. Regardless of if you like his movies or not, I think a lot of us can agree that taking risks and stepping outside of one's comfort zone is a big deal. For that reason alone I hope he is successful. Also I'm a big fan of Gabrielle Union and who doesn't love Phylicia Rashad AKA the classiest woman to ever grace the earth? I swear every time she speaks it's like jazz. Also in the film are Thandie Newton, Rebecca Romijn, Brian White, and Jamie Kennedy.

Another reason I am excited to see this movie is because it is nice to see blacks in a present day film.  If you remember, one of the reasons I didn't want to see The Help was because I just got tired of not seeing black people in every day, PRESENT DAY, situations. I think the public is way too comfortable seeing black people as maids. I mean has a black person ever received an Oscar nomination for a romantic comedy or romantic drama?  There aren't enough movies like that out. I'll be honest with you: I may finally be able to see The Help after this. I'm just sayin'.

Finally, it's no secret that Tyler Perry is big on charity. Lionsgate has partnered with Covenant House for the Good Deeds Great Needs campaign. Every time the trailer is shared from their website, Lionsgate will donate to Covenant House, an organization for homeless youth. For more information about the film and the Good Deeds Great Needs campaign, be sure to check out GoodDeedsGreatNeeds.com.

Fun Music Fridays: "Fill Me In" by Craig David


Happy Friday yall! "Fill Me In" by Craig David is on my list of top 10 favorite songs of all time. I fell in love with it the moment I heard it. The track is just so sweet!  I've never seen this version of the video before and I think I like this video better. Truth be told, I would've snuck out with Craig David too before I moved out of my parents house. I'm just sayin'.  Who would you have snuck out the house for as a teenager?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I. Am. Obsessed.- ThisIsMyJam.Com


Just yesterday, I wrote a post about finding those things that make you happy. Well I can't think of anything that makes BGLU happier than music- especially songs that within the first two notes make us holler "That's my jam!" *insert stank face*.  Well the British have given us reason #1812 why they are cooler than us: ThisisMyJam.com

This genius idea that you are going to be mad that you didn't come up with is pretty much my latest and hopefully last (we know that's not true) internet obsession. While I have managed to dodge Pinterest, this was inevitable. According to their Facebook page, here's the idea: This is My Jam is "a place to put your favorite song of the moment & hear great music, handpicked every day by friends."  So basically you look up your current favorite jam through their database, which includes audio and You Tube videos, and post it to your page.  I love this idea! I think most of us know the difference between our favorite songs and our jams.  The reason why I love it is because it's pretty specific. I mean saying that something is your jam means that it just hits you in that special spot.  A jam makes you put on that stank face.  For instance, Slick Rick's "Mona Lisa"? My JAM! Lisa Loeb's "Stay"?  Not so much.

Another great thing about it is that you get to discover new music.  Today I was introduced to Lianna La Havas, through someone's Jams list.  I have never heard of her before. I am definitely feeling this.


So check out This is My Jam and tell us what you think. Oh and you can also follow people so if you join up, follow me at www.thisismyjam.com/toyaisrandom.  I'd love to hear what your favorite jam of the day is.  You only get one so don't get overzealous like I almost did.

In related news, someone asked us via Twitter about a BGLU trip to the UK. Yeah I think that we are long overdue for that. However at this rate, our tickets may be one way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Than Fine- Toya


When I wake in the morning,
I want to blow into pieces.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.
When I'm up with the sunrise
I want more than just blue skies.
I want more than just ok, more than just ok.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.- "More Than Fine"- Switchfoot


Almost two months into 37 and I tell you; I have never experienced so much non-stop craziness, sadness, and drama in my entire life. It's only February!  I'm hoping that 2012 is in the process of doing a 180 where it starts off craptacular but by December it is absolutely wonderful. Because right now? This ain't cuttin' it. But with shifting comes realization and one of the things that I have realized is that I am not happy. Now before I really get into this, please know that this is not a cry for help. I'm not depressed at all. Well not anymore anyway. I did have a good two week long pity party not too long ago that involved Chinese buffets and long hours of zoning out and playing Angry Birds but that's an entirely different story. What I mean is that I have been doing myself a disservice for quite sometime by acting happy for so long, that I never really checked to make sure that I was actually BEING happy. And the truth is, I can't remember the last time that I was actually consistently happy. Not at all.

Now grant it, I've recently had some happy moments. My friend Anne Marie's wedding last year was the happiest day of my life. That's right. HER wedding was the happiest day of MY life. And while that's sweet and all, I am concerned that I have not spent enough time being concerned with my own happiness.Outwardly I am one of the happiest people you ever wanted to be around. I spend so much energy and take so much care to make sure it comes off that way.  However inwardly, not so much.  I don't think I've been faking it.  I just think that when it comes to my own need for happiness, I've been ignoring it.   I'm not sad...currently. But I am definitely not happy. I'm just...okay. And by okay I mean the bare minimum of what constitutes being okay.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Funnies: Maya Rudolph as Beyonce' on Last Weekend's SNL: "Jay Z and Beyonce's Baby"



 Sometimes SNL is hit or miss but I don't think there was any doubt that once the hilarious Maya Rudolph came back to host it last weekend that it was going to be great. Check out this hilarious skit where celebrities like Nikki Minaj, Prince, and Brangelina go to visit the Carters to welcome baby Blue Ivy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fun Music Fridays: Bruno Mars - California Gurls



So here's the thing...I (Tia) have very few regrets in life. There a couple of men I'd wish I'd never met and some regrettable hair styles. But overall I'm content with the choices I've made. But one of the few things that I'd wish I'd given a longer shot was living in LA. I was in a rough place when I left and I really think that if I'd pushed through I would have learned to love the greatness of it. Yeah, there's traffic and real estate is sky high. And there's always that residual feeling of anticipation that the whole state is about to fall into the ocean because of some huge earthquake. But then there's the sun. The diversity. The hole in the wall food joints that serve the best sushi/Thai/Mexican/hot dogs/pizza/etc.

And I mean..,C'MON ON...no where else in the world do the girls get their own theme song.

I liked Katy Perry's version of California Gurls enough, I guess. It was cute. I sang along. But I LOVE Bruno's version a million times better. (Aside: Can we talk about how I prefer Katy Perry's songs when other people sing them? I STILL don't like her version of Teenage Dream but I LOVE Glee's version. She should get other people to do all of her songs. #shade)

I have said it before plenty of times. An iPod on shuffle is a beautiful thing. I forgot I even had this song until yesterday while I was working in Akron. I was minding my own business and this came on while I was elbow deep in medical records and bottles of drugs. I proceeded to listen to this song for the rest of the afternoon. Sleep on Bruno if you want...but that little man can SANG.

After his Grammy performance this year I was genuinely disappointed that I haven't been able to see him in concert. I'd been a fringe fan but I've come to realize the Bruno is going to not only sing but perform. So I may have to make a concerted effort to see him if he ever comes back my way. Until then I'll just have to run YouTube clips like this...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Ursh! Usher "Climax"-Toya

Climax by diplo
I heard this song while I was driving last night and could not believe it. Did Usher finally come out with something I can believe in again? He hasn't dropped anything that I've really cared about since the Confessions album. I really love it. Tell us what you think about it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Return of the Hot Mess Championships: My Thoughts on the 2012 Grammys

Great job LL!
 My favorite group in the world, New Edition, performed in town the night of the Grammys. No way I was missing them for the Hot Mess Championships. That's what DVR is for. These are my real time thoughts while watching this year's Grammys.
  1. Love that Jersey is opening the show. Go Bruce! Bruce Springsteen is a sexy beast at 63, aint he? *Cough* Jersey water *cough* Max Weinberg is killin’ on these drums. Steven Van Zandt always seemed like he is a really close talker to me.
  2. Pray Deacon LL! I wish that him praying and his wedding band would distract me from counting how many times he has licked his lips already but no such luck. Pray for me.
  3. Lici called him Yum Yum Cool J.  I can’t take it.
  4. Carrie Underwood looks great.
  5. Seriously, LL is such a distraction.
  6. Sitting behind Adele: Did they say that was Taio Cruz? Ooooh Victor Cruz! Never heard of him.
  7. OMG Taylor Swift get away from Nicki Minaj. Who sat them together? Is she still young enough to have a guardian?
  8. Bruno Mars is a cross between Frankie Lymon, Johnny Mathis and Israel Houghton. He is killin’!  Can he close the show too?  I had no idea he had all of this in him!  Let's give a hand for Sexual Caramel!
  9. Now the Etta James tribute.  I have friends that sing who call Alicia Keys “Alicia Off Keys”.  I can't always tell that she is off. My ear's not that sharp.
  10. Sing Mother Raitt! Bonnie Raitt looks like she keeps that good candy in her purse.
  11. I live for Adele's makeup.
  12. Chris Brown's on. That's right. You mad.
  13. “Beautiful People” is my JAM! I really like this performance.  I'm glad he doesn't look like one of those kids from Meteor Man anymore though.
  14. Yeeeah “Otis” won!
  15. Yall were wrong for letting Kelly Clarkson go onstage with her weave looking like that. She's done nothing to deserve this injustice.
  16. Poor Jason Aldean.  His mic just gave up the ghost.
  17. Foo Fighters!  BFF Fact: Tia has loved Taylor since he played drums for Alanis Morrisette and I have loved Dave Grohl since Nirvana days. I flew to LA to see The Police reunion and that was the only show on the tour they were opening.  We missed it because a 45 minute drive took 3 hours. That is why I hate LA to this day.
  18. I’m so proud of LL right now! He’s doing great.
  19. Rihanna's vocals are...better. 
  20. Okay “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place” makes me want to just be young and reckless. Like I just want to start spray painting stuff and running through the streets like that movie The Warriors. I like this performance!
  21. I’m not really feeling this duet though. Yikes.
  22. Is Coldplay still on? Is this a label showcase? Why is this so long? I hate a showcase (that was for you Tonya)!
  23. Teach the babies, Dave Grohl! Great speech!
  24. Ryan Seacrest is our Dick Clark. I just feel that he will be 65 looking just like he does now. He’s a machine.
  25. Adam Levine's high pitched singing and caressing of this microphone stand is not conducive to holy living. That's really all I have to say about that but yeah for PJ Morton playing on this Beach Boys tribute!
  26. Foster the People look adorably nervous right now.
  27. The Beach Boys have a combined age of 896 and still their harmonies are killin’ everyone in the place right now. It’s really that simple.
  28. In case you didn't get that, Stevie Wonder's “ok” after the audience couldn't clap on beat can be translated as “Yall are slow”.
  29. I. love. Paul .McCartney.
  30. Taraji looks great! Side note: I know that she and Common used to date. I don’t understand how one can function as an ex of Common. I really don’t. Not without a restraining order. Moving on.
  31. So Chris Brown won. Besides El Debarge’s record, I haven’t heard any of the albums that were nominated so I have no opinion. 
  32. Watching Joy Williams in the Civil Wars reminds me that you never know where God will take you and your talent. I'm encouraged by that.  I'm now salty that I didn't go see them play The Ryman.
  33. Say what you want about Taylor Swift. I can hear her song one time and know all of the words to the song by the second time I hear it.  That girl writes. It has to be so liberating to sing “Mean” on the Grammys. That “alone in life” line cracks me up every time.
  34. I like so many Katy Perry songs...except this one.
  35. Yes Adele. Fun sized girls stand UP!  I can't tell if her voice sounds different or not since the surgery. I need her to come out with a clothing line.  I will say this about Adele though:  I appreciate her but I do think that she's a tad overrated. However I also thought Lauryn Hill's debut album was overrated. At the time it was released there wasn't too much greatness out there, similar to right now. It's easy to shine. Not to take away from her talent. I’m just sayin’.
  36. I have completely blacked out during this Glen Campbell section.  I don't know any of these...wait! *Fist in the air* ”Like a rhinestone cowboy!!!!”
  37.  Ok until "Rhinestone Cowboy" came on, I actually forgot that I was still watching the Grammys.
  38. I love that Bon Iver looks like a physics teacher. I'm gonna check him out.
  39. Is Tamar Braxton Lady Gaga's seat filler?  Umm...hmm. Okay.
  40. I think that Jennifer Hudson did a great job doing "I Will Always Love You" her way under the pressure she was under. I have no problem with her not doing the “big ending”. It sounded as if she was singing to Whitney directly and she seemed rather emotional. The pressure of hitting that note after losing one of your idols the day before?  Much like the critiques following the performances at the Michael Jackson memorial program, I think people have been very unfair to her.
  41.  I know some people were salty because they didn’t show pics of Etta James and Don Cornelius during the tribute to those that passed but they did each get their own separate tributes. Who they didn’t show ANY love to however was Jani Lane from Warrant and yes I do feel a way about that.
  42. If they don't bust out with a Soul Train line, this is going to be one crappy Don Cornelius tribute.
  43. That was one crappy Don Cornelius tribute.
  44. I thought Chris Brown was J Cole when he came out. I don't know how I feel about him performing twice, even if it is with David Guetta. They couldn't get someone else on a song?
  45. And why are the Foo performing again? I'm confused by everything right now AND I have a headache.  I'm getting too old for all these glow sticks flashing. I don’t understand at all what is happening right now. What is this?
  46. If you can't dance to dubstep then why is it called dance music?
  47. Umm, right after Drake introduced Nicki Minaj, a commercial came on. What have we been spared from?  Is this so we can gather for prayer before we watch it? Okay, it’s back on.
  48. Real talk?  I'm concerned. I’m very concerned. Like, even I can't clown this. I’m so serious.  And everyone from her label to the Academy to CBS who okayed this in rehearsal is suspect to me right now. Something is really terribly wrong.
  49. I love that Adele is weeping and wailing over winning. She’s adorable.
  50. I love Paul McCartney and all but why is he performing twice again? What is really going on? Can we just bring back Bruno Mars please?
Well that’s it.  I'm yawning heavily and it's only 9:30. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this year's Grammys. It was just… a-ight.

Alright the floor is open. What did you all think?

PS. One more thing: I know I said that I wasn't going to say anything else about Nicki Minaj's performance but someone put this pic up on Facebook and I think it pretty much sums up how a lot of us feel.


Monday, February 13, 2012

“Why Does It Hurt So Bad?” Toya's Thoughts on the Passing of Whitney Houston

I can't believe she's gone.

The range of emotions I have experienced since Saturday night have shocked me to say the least. I have a hard time functioning when I don’t understand my emotions.  So because I am still figuring things out, please forgive me if I ramble, repeat myself and go long.

It's crazy.  I wasn’t even 1/8 the fan of Whitney as I am Michael Jackson and her passing has hit me harder than his did.  With MJ’s passing I was numb for about a day.  But with Whitney’s passing I just can’t seem to shake this sadness. It wasn’t until I read a tweet by Questlove did the pieces start to come together:

@Questlove: man. 4:40am & this whitney {stuff} is still {messing} w/ me. dunno why....i mean MJ was my idol & i cried but i wasn't depressed. THIS however...

And that’s when the lightbulb came on.  Michael Jackson was magic. I mean deep down we thought he MIGHT be a regular dude but he was still Peter Pan. He seemed to be this untouchable mystery.  But Whitney? She was one of us.

It was when I remembered why I began working on an idea I had called The Hilltop Society, a ministry for Christians in mainstream music (http://www.thehilltopsociety.blogspot.com/), that I began to understand why I was taking this new reality personally.  Whitney Houston embodied the very type of artist that I hope that ministry, once it gets off of the ground, reaches. The music community is full of Whitneys.  There are plenty of artists, aspiring and accomplished, that grew up singing in church and are incredibly gifted. I have plenty of loved ones like this. Now while it may not reflect on the radio, it’s very true. Unfortunately most are ill prepared for the pressures that the spotlight can bring.  And that’s why I started it. To give artists and others in the industry the support that they need and that the church for the most part has neglected to give them. That is why this hurts so much. Because I feel that I have a responsibility and I know I haven’t done enough. That is going to change. It has to and it will.

After I considered that, I thought about how everyone probably has had a loved one like Whitney. Someone who battles addiction and whose ups and downs you are familiar with; who you pray time and time again that they can finally kick their habit.  Some of them have been successful, like I actually believe Whitney was at the time of her death, and some are still struggling. Some of you may even have been that friend or relative.  Even I can identify with Whitney on some level. A Jersey girl who grew up in church, loved to go with her mom to hear her sing, and has struggled under the pressures of the “good girl” moniker with an affinity for bad boys? Oh absolutely! Criticzed harshly by people of her own race for "crossing over" (remember when she was booed at the Soul Train Awards)? Yup. All day. Whether she was your idol and inspiration to start singing or you just loved her music, there was something about Whitney that made us feel like she was some sort of not so distant relative. I think that's why for many this hits too close to home. We saw her and accepted her at her worst. We absolutely adored some of her antics. Many of us had a “Oh that's just her way” type of reaction to her that many don’t have with a lot of artists. I think that was because she was so real and we could relate. I look back on Maya Angelou’s poem “We Had Him” that she wrote about Michael Jackson’s passing and it reminds me a lot of her:

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him. 
He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance. 

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that. 

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

This was not supposed to be the demise of someone with so much promise. Someone who at 19 was poised to be the next big superstar. And for anyone who says things like “we all knew it was going to happen eventually” or "I"m shocked but not surprised", I’d like to go half on a lottery ticket with you. Because unless you predicted that she would die in a bathtub after taking Xanax (this was what the reports are now saying), I’d like to extend to you a heartfelt invitation to shut up. I am so tired of society, especially the media, making it seem like your entire life is summed up by your last public mishap no matter your accomplishments or what you have done to become a better person. This is evident every time the Grammys come on and pictures of Rihanna’s battered face resurface all over the internet. It’s amazing to me how the public will hold a grudge longer than the people who have resolved their matters in private.

And while I am venting about people’s obsession with past mistakes, as a die hard fan of all things New Edition, I have got to address the matter of Bobby Brown performing after he found out that Whitney died. Now I’m not an entertainer and for those that are, if I am wrong with how I think he may be feeling, feel free to chime in. There is no place I’d rather be than around people that love me when tragedy hits. That airplane ride to the unknown around the time of tragedy is a rough one. I completely understand him wanting to be with five other people on stage who know exactly who he is and can hold him up. And from what I’ve heard from those that are performers, sometimes getting onstage and doing what you love is the cathartic thing to do. For all we know it could have been the absolute best thing for him to do in order to prepare for what he was going to have to face from now on.

So now I prepare myself to watch the Grammys tonight (we missed it because of last night's New Edition show) and not do the same thing that I have just pointed the finger at many for doing. To not judge people by their past or present mistakes. To understand that I will never know the pressures of those that at one time just wanted to sing and live out their dreams and are now caught up in the machine of the industry. It is my hope that the timing of Whitney Houston's untimely death (I don't even know if that phrase makes sense but roll with me) is a wake up call for artists and industry people alike. You cannot deny how crazy the timing of all of this is.  The King and Queen of Pop are dead and as of now there are no successors. We need to care about music again but more importantly, we need to care more about the people behind it while they are here.

1 Corinthians 13:6- 7 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Words.




We love you Whitney.

Open Letter to Jeremy Renner - Tia


Dear Jeremy,

I figured I'd better write this before it's too late and people deem me a bandwagon fan.

I have the feeling that you're about to have a big year. I just watched the trailer for the new Bourne movie and with The Avengers coming out this summer, I'm certain there will be a lot of oohing and ahhing over you. So I wanted to go on record early and say that you have been my boo in my mind for a minute.

It was S.W.A.T. that first did it for me.
Something about men with guns is appealing. Your unapologetic badassery made me sit up and take notice. But it was your portrayal of Ned in Neo Ned that let me know that you could do more than just sexily wield a gun. Though difficult to watch due to the subject matter, the way you and Gabrielle Union interacted was amazing and heartbreaking. She was already a favorite but Ned added you to the list.

28 Weeks Later officially cemented your boo status on my list. Though it was edited out of the final cut, you winking as you pushed the car out of the gas made me squeal with unbridled delight. The day I saw that trailer was the day I wanted you to be mine. *sigh* The guns, the saving of the children, the general badassery...yeah...Weeks made me fall in like with you a lot.

So this summer as you Hawkeye it up and all the fair-weather girls and boys start trying to tell you how much they've LURVED you, remember this BGLU has been down for you for a while. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drool over your all too brief appearance in Thor on my huge flatscreen. You and Idris in HD is how I'm choosing to spend my afternoon.

Sincerely,
Your Long Time Boo


Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Music Fridays: New Edition "Cool It Now"



Tia and I have 5th row tickets for New Edition on Sunday and I have not been this excited about a concert since...well...El DeBarge, who was supposed to open and is no longer opening. But I don't even want to talk about that right now. Moving on.

I don't think I can really express how important New Edition is to me or how important they are to music, particularly R&B. I am so sad that kids today don't have music and entertainers like this to go grow up with. Today's music is so awful!  They are the last R&B male group of their caliber. One can argue that Boyz II Men can outsing New Edition but in no way can they out PERFORM New Edition.  Ronnie Devoe, the greatest boy band dancer of all time, is killin' them alone.

I have been freaking out all week. I literally have cried watching Youtube clips.  And Ralph Tresvant is singlehandedly the smoothest dude walking.  Also know that his shag in the above video is giving me everything I need for my life right now.

There will be tears. There will be high pitched screaming.  There will be heart palpitations. Basically, I will be causing a scene. It's just that simple. And you can forget about live tweeting.  I will just be trying to get my breathing in order.  I cannot wait!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BGLU Approved: "Masters of Style" Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler Series- Toya

I have no idea how I missed the new Gillette commercial featuring Andre 3000, Adrien Brody and Gael Garcia Bernal during the Super Bowl.  Wait, yes I do.  I probably was in the kitchen loading up on wings, nachos and Rotel.  Nevertheless, YOWZERS!  Y'all already know how we feel about Brody and Three Stacks so clearly we are all about this new Masters of Style campaign.  We just want to know whose fabulous idea this was at Gillette so we can send flowers. 

Check out Gillette's Youtube Channel for behind the scene footage, more commercials, and interviews with these new masters of style.








Monday, February 6, 2012

We Can Work It Out- Toya


 Every single girl goes through it I'm sure.  The point where you start to think that you're ready for marriage.  The point where you will actually admit to yourself and maybe others that you actually want to get married.  I am convinced that this is easier for others to admit than it is for me. Usually if I admit this, I immediately start thinking that perhaps I'm not busy enough.  But nevertheless, the thought comes around sometimes.  And sometimes right behind it, in as little as 48 hours, so does this thought: If I can't handle this, how on earth can I handle marriage?

Case in point, I am currently going through something with two friends. Without going into much detail, let's just say that I did something with the best intentions that turned out the worst way. I didn't get caught. I fessed up to it and now I am on the other end asking for forgiveness from the both of them.  Forgiveness that I did not anticipate taking over a week (and counting) to receive. For some reason it has made me think about marriage. I often wonder how marriages fall apart and I can't help but think if these types of situations come into play. We've all seen marriages that we never thought in a million years could break up. We all wonder what exactly those "irreconcilable differences" are. Once we hear that one of those differences has nothing to do with infidelity, we are really left scratching our heads. What on earth could they not work out?

I recently found out that someone I know is now separated and I had no idea anything was even wrong. Last time I saw them with their spouse they seemed so adorable. You have absolutely no idea what's happening in people's homes.  Side note:  I need no one else in Alicia Key's "Unbreakable" song to break up.  Kimora and Russell, Joe and Katherine, and now possibly Will and Jada? I'm just sayin'. Anyway, I had no idea their relationship was on the rocks. It's only February and this is the second break up I have found out about this year.  I just wonder sometimes. What are the triggers? What are the red flags?  Outside of infidelity and abuse, what are those things that people just can't or won't get past?

Although my situation is not with a spouse, it has made me think of spats within my parents' marriage.  I've seen my dad apologize for something and then when he didn't receive forgiveness in what he deemed to be adequate time, he shrugged it off as if to say "Look I'm sorry. I don't know what to tell you. Either you get past it or you don't. Either you see my intentions or you don't. I've said all I could. I already forgot what we were arguing about."  That is so prideful! Yet... guess who I get my temper from.  Yup.

I'm really concerned about how I am going to handle conflict in marriage.   I am concerned about how I am going to handle being at the mercy of someone's forgiveness who I can't just cut my losses and move on like you can with a friendship.  Men are a lot more sensitive than they let on sometimes.  I fear that my patience will only go so far and my asking "What exactly are you upset about again?" will be followed by me spending several nights in bed alone. I will admit that when unchecked I can easily move into sarcasm.  It's a defense mechanism. I can make jokes in some of the worse situations. From what I understand, when you get married you don't have to become a different person.  You have to become a better person.  Sometimes becoming a better person comes from situations where you realize that you have not been the best person you could have been in the first place.

So now my question is not "Why do people break up?"  My question is "How on earth do they stay together?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RIP Don Cornelius


Two days ago I (Tia) was watching Full Force's episode of Unsung. Don Cornelius was one of the commentators and I found myself thinking, "Heyyyyy, Don Cornelius! Where you been man??" I didn't realize how long it had been since I'd seen DC. But like an old familiar friend, I was happy to see him. 

I spent many a Saturday watching Soul Train. While I was never the best dancer, I still loved to move. There was something about seeing people of color being themselves and doing the flyest moves of the day that resonated with me even at that tender age. Soul Train showed the world that "black" music was not just fun but that it was also relevant and relatable. The Soul Train dancers came in every color. (Remember this girl?) 
And I don't care who you were, at some point in your life you wanted to be on the Soul Train line. 

Watching Don Cornelius was like getting to hang out with your cool uncle on Saturdays. He was going to hip you to the newest R&B. You might even learn something during the Soul Train Scramble Board segment. And after all of the fun that you had, he always left you with the kindest parting words, "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" 

The world lost a great man of music. You never know what people are going through. And I'm genuinely sad that DC's life ended the way it did. He was a pioneer and a legend in the music world.  He will be missed by so many. And tonight with a heavy heart, I wish him LOVE, PEACE and SOUL.