Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou Has Died and I Need to Lie Down- Toya

I mean, Sesame Street? She was major. 

When my grandmother passed away, one of the things that helped me to get to some sort of resolve was this: Among so many things, she showed me how to live with grace and how to be a lady. She showed me how to love people and how to truly have compassion. What then was I going to do with all that she showed me now that her work here is done? She lived so well in front of so many so I really had no excuse to not live my life as if I had never been in her unforgettable presence. Although I have never been in Maya Angelou's presence, this is much how I feel about her. This is why I need to lie down a while. I am already worn out just thinking about the weight of the responsibility that should come next.

I can't think of too many other phrases that have hit me harder than when she said "I am the dream and the hope of the slave." In light of those words, I look at myself and I look at our world and I think man, we have got so much work to do. We have so much work to UNdo.  We can't live like we have not witnessed such greatness in our time.  We can't allow others to do so either, not if we can help it at all.  I just want us all to wake up and STAY awake; past the tributes, past the RIP Facebook statuses.  The way we see each other, the way we see ourselves...we just have to do the work to be better. More so than ever, we have to want to see others do better as well.  We don't champion recovery well as a society at all.  Maya Angelou learned some tough lessons by going through some things that a lot of us would not have come back from.  She took that wisdom from those lessons and she passed it along to help others be great. She didn't keep it to herself. The reach of the rippling effect of her wisdom is immeasurable.  However, I fear that because she is no longer with us, if we aren't careful those ripples can become still. 

If you have ever been moved by her words, soaked up her wisdom or were blessed enough to be in her presence, consider these blessings as a charge.  The first words that came out of my mouth when I heard that she died were "Man. We've gotta hold it down for her."  We've just witnessed too much to not want to pick up the torch. I really want my life to honor those like my grandmother and Dr. Angelou.  I just...I  need to lie down first. I already miss her voice.  I wasn't ready for this one today. 

Too many young black men and women don’t know that they’ve already been paid for, don’t know some of the great men and women who have lived in this world and paid for them already.  It’s important for young black men and women. I think it’s imperative for young white men and women. You see, only equals make friends. Any other relationship is out-of-order.” - Dr. Maya Angelou

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Hot Mess Championships: The 2014 Billboard Awards

Congratulations J Lo!
Another round of the Hot Mess Championships took place last night as the world watched the annual Billboard Music Awards. It wasn't awful, per se, but what I am noticing is that these shows can really only be about as good as the mainstream music of today that it is awarding. With that being said, things ain't what they used to be folks. Here's my rundown in real time, for the most part anyway. 

  1. So the show opens with Pitbull, the King of Zumba Music, trying to have a "Cup of Life" moment with all of these flags and dancers and such.  I won't front. This really looks like it's fun in person. Good opening!  
  2. Wait, Shania Twain still shows up to things? Okay Shania!  When I tell you that Shania and Celine Dion have no cares as my friend Melissa would say? Up there living in castles with moats full of money. Good grief. Moats!
  3. Lana Del Rey is rock? I really hate the way Billboard sets their categories up. How in the world?
  4. Is that Winnie Cooper?!  Wait a minute y'all! I need answers! Why is Winnie Cooper presenting an award?!
  5. Ryan Tedder of One Republic is the truth. I need to get into this One Republic album I see.  Oooh can One Republic,Imagine Dragons, and Young the Giant tour together?! I'd pay for that even if it wasn't a Groupon offer. 
  6. Will someone please tell me why Winnie Cooper was on though?! 
  7. So there's an Iggy Azalea AND an Azealia Banks? I just... I need a chart, a graph, a Pop Music for Dummies book, something. 
  8. Now who is this? That's not Ariana Grande is it? And who are these children? Were they on Degrassi too? 
  9. There's Ariana! Come on Baby Mariah!
  10. Ariana Grande gives me 90's realness and I am here for it. If she can just stay right here in her career, I'll be happy. 
  11. That Solange joke was so unnecessary, awkward and ill placed. I'm not saying that no one can come for her or The Carters but it was just flat. 
  12. I don't dislike Florida Georgia Line at all but do we really need this pyro though? Wait. Are they rapping? Like, is this Hick Hop? Is this a genre that missed me? I blame that Nelly and Tim McGraw song for this. I also blame it for global warming because it really was THAT bad. 
  13. We didn't just see Shakira in the beginning? If not then who was that woman with... I am so not current. 
  14. We're just gonna sit here and act like Shakira and Beyonce' don't look like third cousins twice removed?  Okay. I'll go pop some popcorn now. 
  15. If Ludacris doesn't introduce 5 Seconds of Summer with "Scheme scheme, plot plot. They coming for One Direction's spot", he, or the script writers rather, doesn't want to win tonight. The jokes are right there. They're right there!
  16. Just on the strength of "Pusher Love Girl" I want Justin Timberlake to collect all of his awards. That song alone rights all of the wrongs of the second half of that record. 
  17. That One Kardashian Sister (I don't know her name) started to introduce 5 Seconds of Summer as One Direction, didn't she? She is a Kardashian right? Clearly I don't know these new celebrities. Again I'm STILL excited about seeing Winnie Cooper.
  18. So this is 5 Seconds of Summer!  Look, I love pop punk summer songs. Sorry not sorry. I grew up near the shore. *Shrug*
  19. Lorde won! Yes Lord and yes Lorde!!!!! When is Lorde's MAC collection out? She keeps a maroon lip and I am all about that. She will get my money. 
  20. So about this Katy Perry performance of "Birthday". It's really....colorful.  I suddenly want Skittles. Anybody else suddenly want Skittles? And is Jerimih gonna jump on this "Birthday" remix or nah?. 
  21. Imagine Dragons go hard EVERY time! Yes children! They don' need pyro. They ARE the pyro.
  22. Is Imagine Dragons Mormon or Christian or anything like that? I'm just saying. I listen to their songs and sometimes I feel like I am about to enter a  "Here I Am to Worship" moment. 
  23. Luke Bryan is a cutie patootie. He just always seems so happy and grateful. 
  24. ----------------------------- And now for the other half of the show that reminded me about almost everything I hate about the music industry right now------------------------
  25. *10 seconds before the Michael Jackson hologram performance* It's not even on yet and I already hate it. *10 seconds into the Michael Jackson hologram performance* Nope! *Turns off the television and sits in silent anger* This man killed himself trying to entertain us and y'all dare to milk him dry even in death? I will not. 
  26. I am still sitting here in silence. It's gonna be a minute. 
  27. *Fifteen minutes later* Thank God Brandon just reminded me that Robin Thicke is fixin’ to go all Keith Sweat on us trying to get his wife Paula Patton back because my TV was still off.  I wasn't sure if I was going to turn it back on either. 
  28. Melissa:  "Country songs have great lyrics. What does urban radio get? 'These hoes ain't loyal'" *Face palm*
  29. Wait. Hold on. Is anyone black performing? That’s still alive????!??? Oh Jason Derulo and John Legend? These are our black, I mean, "urban music" representatives tonight? No slight against John Legend of course. No, I didn't forget anyone. *blink* *blink* Moving on. 
  30. I am here for Lorde, her spastic movements, her Terrence Trent D'Arby hat, all of it. Go girl. This new generation wants to clown Lorde for not being a Barbie doll but if you grew up with Robert Smith from The Cure, you ain't shook. 
  31. Robin Thicke finally won an award & after so many years together with Paula Patton, she isn’t there to experience this with him. This business, man.
  32. Hey I like "Cruise"!*Shrugs*
  33. Jason Derulo is on doing these wack songs and I want to be mad but I have to remember something: I have always stood by my theory that the state of R&B started declining the moment Billboard decided to combine the R&B and Hip Hop charts. It has affected radio and the quantity of new R&B music that actually gets heard. I could be up all night explaining this theory but I have to be at work not only tomorrow but just about every day this week. It would take me all week to explain and debate this probably so I will quit now. 
  34. Am I the only person not shocked over this Miley Cyrus and Flaming Lips duet of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"? If you know a little bit about The Flaming Lips, this is normal. Also, Miley Cyrus performed "Wrecking Ball" at the AMAs with a clip art photo of a cat against a backdrop of a screensaver from Windows 98 in the background. I expected this just the way this is. 
  35. Kelly Rowland. In this dress. Yikes upon yikes. I'll be over here eating ice sandwiches on crackers. Thanks. 
  36. About Robin Thicke's performance of "Get Her Back": Well I am glad that this wasn't a sad song with him at the piano giving us more Marvin Gaye/El DeBarge falsetto realness drenched in pleading and tears. Honestly I am one of Robin Thicke's worst critics but I am also one of his biggest fans. I have been for a very long time and seeing him like this hurts my heart. If he and Paula Patton don't work this out...Lord help.  Fix it Jesus! Fix it Iyanla!!!! 
  37. They are now giving Jennifer Lopez the Icon award and she really does deserve it.  I always forget about Maid in Manhattan and Wedding Planner! She deserves this! I don't know this new song she is doing.  I really wanted "If You Had My Love" to happen but no one asked me so.... 
  38. My mom while Jennifer Lopez is performing: "Eh well." *Goes back to playing Candy Crush* Mama Mae is not here for any of these shenanigans on tonight. She has seen James Brown. She is not impressed. 
  39. Jennifer Lopez just performed HARD and yet her makeup is still flawless.  How is this possible?! I can't walk through the Wal-Mart parking lot with 80% humidity without my makeup sliding off!  Where is the justice?
  40. From being a Fly Girl on In Living Color to Janet's backup dancer and beyond. Go girl. Speaking of In Living Color, I didn't hear her thank a Wayans brother, Rosie Perez, or anyone from the In Living Color era. Eh well.  We don't ever really know the status of famous people's personal relationships.  Keep that in mind while y'all are out here calling Solange crazy for going all "I've been waiting to hand you this behind whoopin' since 3rd period Algebra" on Jay Z.

Well between that Michael Jackson hologram foolery and Robin Thicke, I am glad that the next Hot Mess Championships aren't for a little while.  This show had me in my feelings so bad.  Floors open. What say y'all?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: That Time Ricky Danced On My So Called LIfe - Tia

I recently saw a commercial for the United States Postal Service and Wilson Cruz was in it. I was immediately transported to the dance scene from My So Called Life.

If you are in your 30s - early 40s then you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. My So Called Life is right up there with Felicity as one of the most iconic shows of my generation. And I hope that whoever was behind the decision to cancel MSCL after one season was fired and is now working at McDonald's.

I was never much of a dancer. But whenever I hear Haddaway's "What Is Love" I can't help but break out some of the steps from this scene. (It's usually the arms. You can't get arms wrong.)

Happy Thursday Everyone!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Can We Talk?: MJ's Dropping New Music and I'm Not Ready- Toya

Y'all. I'm not ready.

Let me just go on record and say that my love for Michael Jackson has always run deep. Truth be told, there but by the grace of God and my extreme hatred of LA traffic, I would have been one of Mike's jump offs (make out wise ONLY) that  I've read about on a few occasions.  Don't act like you don't have some celebrity exceptions too now. With that being said, this whole new music thing is too soon. I don't know if it will never not be too soon either.

I JUUUUUUUST got to the point where I can listen to "Little" Michael Jackson. You know "Got To Be There" Michael Jackson?  "Looking Through the Windows" Michael Jackson?  But this new stuff is sending me on a fast train to my feelings and I can't deal. I mean I haven't made it through one song yet. For instance, Soulbounce has the Timbaland reworked song "Chicago" here that I just tried to listen to and I made it only about 10 seconds in.  I just miss him so much.

And then of course there is the duet with Justin Timberlake "Love Never Felt So Good" that hit last week.

I just...I can't.  His vocals come in and my heart just breaks all over again. I'm like that Michael Myers character on SNL back in the day that used to say stuff like "I'm verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic." I am SO verklempt!  Here, I'll give you all a topic: Out of all of the Jackson siblings, why did Rebbie Jackson's one-hit wonder "Centipede" outbeast every last one of their singles?

Seriously y'all. It may be ages before I listen to this new record. Are you still a little tender when it comes to MJ or are you excited and ready for the new music dropping this Tuesday?  What have you thought about the new music you've heard off of the record so far?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What I've Learned So Far- Toya

Today makes three months that I've been back at home with my parents after living in Nashville for almost 14 years. It's been a good three months I must say. I've learned some things about myself. Liked to hear it? Here it go...

  1. I found a journal entry from the day I decided to move back home. It said "I am completely overwhelmed with having to decide what to do with my life." I still feel this way but I don't have to feel this way. It occurred to me this morning while I was praying that God has been trying to get me to focus on being instead of doing. Being still.  Being diligent. Being healthy. Being at peace.  If I can concentrate on being, I think what I am supposed to do will show up when it needs to show up. Unfortunately, I discovered that I look to activity to validate me. Everyone is always talking about the hustle or grinding, ya know? I love to be busy. Right now I'm not supposed to be grinding or hustling and it so hard.  I think that is one of the reasons why I had to leave Nashville. I always had people saying to me "I know you're working on something." The expectation just became too much for me. I don't blame anyone for that though. That is pressure that I put on myself. 
  2. I have a few types when it comes to men but one that I have had for as long as I can remember is the guy who has a long history of being a complete mess. Ooooooh I LIVE for a man that is a mess!  And wouldn't you know it, I have a little crush on one right now. He is so cute to me but he is a big spaghetti ball of crazy with a side of a hot mess.  Adorable nonetheless though. What's different this time around is that I'm not trippin'. I am not trying to not like him. I let myself like him. I don't worry about him getting too close like I have in the past which usually just makes things worse. I just realize that this is a type that I am attracted to and I can't help that. What I can help is how close I get. What I can help is not making unwise decisions or exceptions for him out of desperation like us women tend to do sometimes. If you know you have an unhealthy type, keep it real but keep it moving. 
  3. I am thinking about going back to school for communications and journalism. Ideally this would be in New York City. I figure if I am going to be in school during my 40's (I'll be 40 at the end of this year) then let it be some place that I really want to be. There is no way I want to be in school in New Jersey. However, Philly wouldn't be so bad. Is it crazy that once I decided to give this some thought that the very next thing I did was look online to see if they still make Trapper Keepers? I mean, those things were so handy!
  4. I have only had a few minor anxiety episodes since I have been back. One happened on the way to work. I felt like everything I was concerned about from where I am in life to concern about my family just avalanched on top of me. I was walking amongst a crowd of people and had to stop and hold onto a railing to get myself together. Tia and I recently talked about how hard it is initially when you are forced to face the reality that you are suffering from mental and emotional health issues. I deal with it better now because I acknowledge that this is a real thing. That skin crawling feeling and the panic I experience is real and it's nothing to be ashamed of. So what did I do? I stopped and said "You know what this is. Breathe." And then I concentrated on my breathing exercises.  Along with breathing exercises, I have also taken to eating more fruits and vegetables, less sugar, and taking an obscene amount of B vitamins. I can look at my pictures from when I first left Nashville and some recent pics and can already tell that I appear healthier. I also talk to myself. A lot. Hey don't act like I'm alone here.  This is usually restricted to my home and my car but I'm not gonna lie.  Sometimes I'll be on the train thinking "Wait. Did I just say that in my outloud voice?" *Looks around awkwardly* Eh well. It's the city. Everyone's used to crazy anyway. 
  5. Being a parent does not stop once your kid turns 18.  This is probably a big reason why I don't want to have children. I'd be trying to train them to get out and never come back once they learned to walk. My parents are absolute saints. They really are. They have been more than supportive. Being back here with them has brought to my attention that if they really needed me, I am not in the position to help them.  I never thought about that when I was away in Nashville.  Now getting myself to that point is a main priority. That is the main reason why I want to go back to school.They have worked so hard. I want to do all that I can for them. 
  6. I have a sign on my wall that I made that says "Deal with it!" I haven't always dealt with things well. What I mean is, I can mull something over and over in my mind but not necessarily deal with it. For instance, I was worried that I may have made a mistake not taking up an opportunity back in Nashville. I let that thing swim inside my head for about 20 minutes before I said "Okay, now why am I concerned about this?" And I walked myself through it. "Why are you upset about this? What do you think could have happened?  Would that have been the best thing though?" When I do that and come to a conclusion, the conclusion is either I can't fix it now and maybe I shouldn't even want to. I tend to romanticize life in Nashville at times forgetting how miserable I was my last year of being there. I can't overlook that. I can't be looking at Instagram and see my friends hanging out like "See? Why did I leave? I could be hanging out right now." Uh no I couldn't either. I was BROK.  Not BROKE. BROK. I couldn't even afford the E. 
  7.  Being up here has made me truly realize who my true friends are. I miss my friends in Nashville so much.  I am so appreciative to have had a good number of people express their adoration for me since I left, however ,what I've learned in this transition is to never mistake adoration for love. Adoration doesn't require action. Love does.  I know that now and I am so grateful.