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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Roaring 20's & Art Deco

My mind has been referring back to the 20's a lot lately. The time before the Great Depression. It was a glitzy and decadent time. The clothes, the architecture, the jewelry, the everything. The people were singing, dancing, and whooping it up. They had a channel called HGTV, that showcased the home decadence. The lush granite countertops, the well-designed landscaped backyard spaces, the travertine oh I forgot that's passe, brazilian tiger wood floors. There were also huge hummers, then the mid-size hummers, then the baby hummers.

There was this song in the twenties people used to sing. It went something like"... bling, bling, every time I come to your city, bling bling, pinky ring costs around fifty bling bling." That song represented the mentality that permeated every aspect of life back then. Bling, bling was ringing from the churches, from the boardrooms, from the televisions, from the car lots, from the banks, from Wall Street, from Front Street it rang through the streets. Big businesses and CEO's gobbled up smaller businesses with the government turning a blind eye to anti-trust laws. Invest, invest, invest, the stock market is where it's at, if you don't have a part of it you are straight trifling. Don't forget to buy that second property, you can afford it. The rate is variable, you can refi, by the time it's due. Better yet, get the interest-only, why pay down the mortgage, when values are sky-rocketing. There will be bonuses aplenty, even for the incompetent!

Yes, it was a great time! The masseuses came to the house, expensive coffee was consumed all day long, and washed down at night with designer liquor and wine. Parents swiped their cards so much, children began to think the cards were the source of the money and not the parents hard work. What a time they had in the roaring 20's, until 1929 when things just seemed to slide down hill.

What did you say? HGTV wasn't around in the 20's, I must have my years mixed up. Oh yeah, I guess I do. There is such a parallel between the previous 10-15 years and the roaring 20's that I often get confused about what time we are living in.

One thing, the roaring 20's produced some of the most beautiful treasures in America. The Art of that time is referred to as Art Deco. Hopefully, our modern time of lavishness will have a name too, oh it already does they call it the "Bling Bling period." Buckle up and hold on because President Roosevelt President Obama is gonna fix this mess for us. Until it all gets sorted out, enjoy this Art Deco beauty.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shoulda, Coulda, Did & Why?

Well since it's the Academy Award season I thought I would give my opinion on African American nominees & winners over the years. You may not care what I think, but I'm giving it to you anyway. Feel free to lay your opinion on me, I would love to know what you think.

1) Hattie McDaniel won the very first Oscar among African Americans. She won it for Gone With The Wind. Her role was "Mammy." I am proud of her for this accomplishment, although many have grumbled under their breath about her winning for playing a Mammy. One person said to me, suppose someone won today for playing a video hoe girl, wouldn't you be mad. My response was if a large percent of African American women had jobs as video girls in real life it wouldn't be an inaccurate representation. The fact is, at the time that Ms. McDaniel played that role their were many African American women, including my grandmothers working in the homes of White women. I can appreciate that Blacks pushed for a higher depiction of us, but I can also appreciate her role and award.

2) That brings me to the Oscar for It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp. Three Six Mafia Won, and I am not in the camp of being mad at them. Bash me if you need to, but I sang that song a lot when it was out. I felt like it was hard for me a pimp of the system. Plus, I also felt a little empathy for a real Pimp's situation. I had no idea that a prostitute would leave if the Pimp didn't have cadillac, rent, and gas money. Hey, I learned something about his struggles I am fully aware of how wrong I sound, but yet I persist .

3) Quincy Jones is quite the man in the Academy Award arena. He has been nominated in three categories and he hasn't done bit of acting. He was nominated for Best Picture Producer of The Color Purple, He was nominated for Best Original Song the movies were, For the Love of Ivy, a movie I've recommended here. Other films were The Eyes of Love, The Color Purple. The third category was for Best Score The Color Purple,The Wiz, and In Cold Blood. Needless to say, I think he should have won at least one of those, but hey we know how Hollywood is.

4) I also still feel like Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne should have both won for Best Leading Man & Woman in What's Love Got to Do With It. They were cheated and that's all I'll say about that.

5) Halle Berry won the Best Actress for an African American Women and I've often asked myself why . Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, & Whoopi Goldberg were nominees in this category too. No disrespect to Halle, but each one of these women did a better job in their roles than Halle. However, I really appreciated the homage Halle paid to her predecessors. IMO they each have done a comparable if not a better Job than Meryl Streep in many of her roles, for which she has won the Oscar.

6) Denzel is a great actor and I am happy that he has won two Oscars, he deserves them because he has taken great care in choosing his roles. Could you imagine where Rap music would be if rappers chose their songs to release in the same manner in which Denzel has made his choices.

7) Some of my other favorite nominees and winners are Sidney Portier, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones, Will Smith (he was robbed for Ali), & Don Cheadle.

Looking at this list of great nominees and winners, only shows we have come a long, long way and I really appreciate the progress. Good luck to Viola Davis & Taraji P. Henson. I"ll be watching on Sunday, at least until their part goes off.

BTW- I didn't forget Jennifer Hudson, I just feel like she didn't do too much more than what Jennifer Holliday did when she won the Tony. However, considering she followed the role that Jennifer Holliday laid out for her to the letter, she was a little ungracious and forgot to give a proper thank you to her predecessor. I think she said something like "oh yeah thanks Jennifer Holliday" after the music hard rushed her off. Not to mention the many interviews before and after, where she continued in her path... I'm just saying. Here's the original role.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dame Shirley Bassey: The Voice of James Bond Films

Born in Wales to Nigerian & English parents, Shirley Bassey (pronounced like the fish bass, not base) is the only singer who can claim to have sung three James Bond Soundtrack songs. It just so happens that the songs that she sung, Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker, are the most famous from the film series and her voice is the voice when you think of James Bond Movies.

Dame Bassey is still recording and performing today. She is such an accomplished artist and has won many awards. In 1999, the British Royal Family made her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DME), which is actually a modern day Knight a title higher than Elton John's Title of Sir (CBE).

If you haven't gotten to know her music, consider grabbing a few tracks. When you are having an especially regal moment, she can provide your background music. How about having a dinner party, and putting her on to signal to guest how they should behave. I am really feeling her her song The Living Tree.

Here she is singing those famous James Bond songs.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Aquarius Women Love

Aquarius women are people that I like a lot. I like them because they are no nonsense and ambitious. You will always catch them doing their thing and never feeling too concerned about anyone else doing their thing. They work in their corner and that's what some are annoyed by when it comes to Aquarius. Whereas signs like mine, Leo, and other signs like Aries, Cancer, Libra for example have a sense of drama and extra emotions about them, Aquarius women are almost stoic or aloof. They don't have time for anything other than working on being stand-outs, being industrious, and being independent. I like that about them. I am enough drama, so why would I want another thespian in my scenes.

Here are my Famous Aquarius Women.

This is Geena Davis. I fell in love with her when she played a female president. It was nice to see someone in the Oval office who was using her mind. It was a nice escape from the reality of who was in the Oval office.

Brandy, of course is one of those ambitious Aquarius ladies. She had her own sitcom, and then when the spin-off "The Parkers" came about, she got some of their money too. Not to mention, her music and hair weave endorsements (hey, sometimes you have to get your money where you can).

Jennifer Aniston is one of those no nonsense chicks. She moved on from the Brad and Angie drama, without looking like she had shed a real tear. She seemed to take the attitude "hey, if he likes it, I love it, keep changing those diapers sweetie."

Of course, Oprah is the most ambitious level-headed Aquarius women I can think of. Through things like court cases, rag-reports, movie flops, book scandals, she keeps her cool and just keeps it all moving. Keeps it moving while she goes to the bank cracking up, that is.

Here is Angela Davis an independent Aquarius who could have gotten by being arm candy, but she decided to fight the good fight for human rights.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Charoite: Fear Not

Charoite is a crystal found only in Siberia, Russia. It is beautiful in purple and black. The spiritual property of this stone is that it provides courage. Although we have a new fearless President and we've started a new hopeful year, there are many who are still wrought with fear. Stars are getting assaulted, politicians cling to their antiquated ways, employees are very very worried about keeping their raggedy jobs, we're all afraid to ask why the gas was $3.00 more per gallon 5 months ago because we think our asking we'll make it rise again.

Well Chariote is here to give us all courage. God gave us Chariote to remind us to let fear go. Now is the time to walk in courage. Change is okay, don't fear it because it is the only constant in the world. Loss is okay, it clears your space and allows you to start again. No need to fear it. Pain is okay, it reminds you that you are alive and it signals that something needs to be nurtured.

Remember Divine Love has not given us the spirit of fear, now is the time to grab some Charoite and run courageously on.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We love You!

Many of you may have heard about the Etta James rant about Beyonce and President Obama. I want to take a moment to tell Etta that we love you! I have mentioned Etta James on this blog before as a matter fact I've linked to her biography. I want her to know that when I heard Beyonce sing the song Etta has become famous for, I wondered why Etta wasn't asked to sing it. I want her to know that I appreciate her career, and that I knew about her and loved her before Beyonce portrayed her in Cadillac Records. I also want her to know that Beyonce singing her song, portraying her and taking pictures with her, only elevates Etta as an artist. Etta, you are 71 years old. Please don't disgrace yourself by being angry at a twenty something year old woman who sang a song you have sang for years. Your life, your music, the adoration for you is bigger than one song.

Please excuse the Obamas and Beyonce for making a historic moment with a song you have made your own. They could have and probably should have found a way to include you. They may have thought that by using the song, it was in some way paying tribute to you. Remember, the Obamas are young people. To them Beyonce is still very hip and cool and part of the soundtrack of their lives. It doesn't discredit you because they wanted a hip, cool and current singer for their first dance. We and they still love you. Now is the acceptable time for you to love you too. Now is the acceptable time for you to marvel at your accomplishments, admire those who have chosen to mimic you, and school those who don't know you. You must see that what you have given Beyonce and others is like the "family cookie recipe." You may have created it, but now it's time to pass it on. Some may taste it and immediately say, it's not quite like Grandma's. That yearning for what you offer will cause others to come to you and ask for that special ingredient. You then offer further instruction and demonstration, but it is more important for the recipe to live on than it is for you criticize and bash the baker.

On another note, Aretha we know that you are the Queen of Soul. no one can ever take that from you. Not the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, not a beautiful Queen like, Tina Turner, not Queen Elizabeth, not Queen Latifah, nobody. Know who you are. Stop wearing stuff like this. Be our Queen of Soul because there can never be anybody else in that role. We love you! Faye Dunaway, same thing we love you. It's okay if Hillary Duff plays your role of Bonnie from Bonnie & Clyde. We implore you to know who you are and love who you are. If anyone over 60 years who isn't sure how to grow older gracefully please ask Tina Turner, Suzanne Somers, Lena Horne, Ruby Dee, Cheryl Tiegs, these are all women have been known as sex symbols.

When the time came for them to move into another role, they did so with dignity and as a result are still considered sex symbols and gracious older women.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I've got my eye on you!

I've been reading and sharing with lots of bloggers since I've started this journey around December of 2007 (August 2008 in a serious way). I just wanted to pause and let some special bloggers know how I feel about them.

Tameka, You are very talented and you follow your heart! The Universe will always reward your best efforts! Ms. Bar B. You Astound me! Berkeley girl, Berkeley!!!!! You keep a loving motherly watch over Miss J., plus you care enough to get a Bachelor's that requires a Thesis. Girl you are incredible! You truly astound me! Ms. Behaving, you are doing a fabulous job with every one of you children! You are allowing them to walk their own path, but you care enough to stay close by. Girl you are doing a fabulous Job! Denene, The love you show is transforming and all- encompassing. The motherly love you show your children and your stepson is what we need more of in this world. There are many women who are called to blend a family, but won't step up with love. You have stepped up with love and courage and I appreciate the love you have given. Sha-boogie You are ready for all the universe has to offer you! Keep your open heart and spirit you have and all the goodness in the world will flow into your life. Dori, now is the time to soak up life and enjoy what the universe has for you. The storm is over, calm has come. You've made it through now celebrate! Renee, you are so wonderful and you share your light with us all. God couldn't have made a better you! Flytie keep exploring, growing and expressing. Your unique expression is blessing us all. You bring light into the world by being exactly who you are.

I have many more bloggers whom I love just as much as the girls above, my acknowledgement of them doesn't negate my feelings toward you. These women have bubbled up to the top of my consciousness, but I see what you are doing and love, love, love you too!