This month's edition of why you can't hate the playa, hate the game:
5. The Confidence of a NY Brotha It doesn't matter if you have chapped lips, a scarf tied around your head, the dowdiest XXL t-shirt or sweatpant capris on, everday, without fail some brotha is going to step to you. They are going to proclaim to the high heavens how fine you are or probably holler out a date invitation on your way home from the bodega, the laundromat, or your neighborhood banking center. I'd like to think it's because I have an unshakeable beauty but it happens to EVERY sister I know rain or shine.
4. Radio Raheem's Free Music Therapy Sessions If you live on my block, every day from about 2:30-5:30 pm, you can receive a taste of a variety of explicit hip-hop tunes blasting from Radio Raheem's stoop across the street.
3. The Subway In one train ride you can give money to the homeless, be entertained by a 6 year old flipping through the subway car, have a young White British man ask you for one of the Oreo cookies your eating, help a foreigner find Bed-Stuy("WHERE BIGGIE GREW UP!") on the map, have a group of preteens chuck NERDS candy at you and reach your destination in 30-45min.
2. Crackheads, Starving Artists, and Million Dollar Home owners live in harmony. Yes, in my neighborhood you can see them all within a 3 block radius.
1. Endless Possibility Despite everything this is the place where my career dreams can become a reality and where I have met the man that has shown me the deepest love I have ever known.
Here's a list of the coolest things swirling around in my head...
1. Deceptacon by Le Tigre I can not get this song out of my head...
2.Angela Nissel's Mixed Halle Berry said it right, it really is a hilarious must read.
3. Sunshine. Rain, rain go away come again another day? Please? Pretty Please, with sugar on top?
4. The new indy film Reprise. A Norwegian film about two young writers,psychosis, punk rock, love, growing up, beautifully directed. (It is rated R so you may want to cover your eyes on some parts. Just keepin' it real...) Oh and I can not get number 1. out of my head because it was in this movie.
5. This scripture: "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:22-23
As I was preparing for my 12 mile bike ride from Bed-Stuy through Prospect Park and back this morning I realized why I hardly ever see Black girls over the age of 13 on bicycles. It took me an extra 10 min. to figure out this whole Bike helmet situation. Here's my confession, since I purchased my bike last year I have only worn my helmet 2 times, this morning included. I know I should be a lot more concerned about busting my head open, especially since I don't have any health insurance but last spring and summer I was wearing a kinky twist hair style which could not be contained under the helmet. So I just said a prayer everytime I went out and stayed off the main roads. Two weeks ago I tried out the helmet for the first time and it was a disaster. Luckily I was only going to teach my class for elders which is only 10 min. away. My hair was just blown out straight and had wispy curls on the side. I noticed that only one guy instead of the usual 10-12 asked to ride in my basket. When I got home I could understand why. I looked straight out of a scene from Dumb and Dumber. So today, since my hair is in conrows I thought I try this helmet thing again. Safety First! Right? So I thought I tie a vintage Geoffrey Beene scarf over my braids, throw on my aviator sun glasses and then the helmet. I kept adjusting the helmet slightly to the front and then to the back, then I tried to tuck the neck strap behind my ears! After 5 min of still looking dorky I just said forget it. But really, how is the helmet supposed to look cool? As I began my ride I started meditating on this. No wonder you don't see Black women riding their bikes to work. By the time they got to the office they would be fired for looking "unprofessional and unkempt" I mean, out of all the hairstyles we've got I really can't see one that wouldn't be totally ruined after putting on a bike helmet. Can somebody please give me any suggestions? What's a Black girl to do?
Since I started my relationship with the love of my life the number 1 question from my friends who are also Christians is "How's your purity?" a surprisingly invasive, yet a justifiable question. If you're dating God's way the Bible says that in our relationship "there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." Ephesians 5:3. My love and I are constantly discussing what that means for us. As far as physical intimacy our relationship looks pretty much like this: We hold hands, we kiss on the cheek, we hug briefly. We're never in each other’s houses alone. EVER. If we decide to get married our first kiss will be at the altar. The idea of it can seem daunting, overwhelmingly restricted, frustrating to the point of death, seemingly impossible even. I am writing this because I have to give a shout out to God on this one. He should receive all the glory for our everyday victories. I feel confident that we can continue on like this because I have dozens of friends who are happily married and had a physical relationship that looked just like ours. They didn't explode or rush into marriage. They prayed through their struggles and waited on God's timing. Beyond the physical we also choose our words carefully, as not to try to seduce each other in our discussions. We are making every effort to be glorifying to God by keeping our relationship pure. It really feels funny to brag on this but I have to. It seems so ridiculous to most people to even try this kind of relationship in this day and age. 6 years ago when I got baptized I too was in disbelief that it could be possible to live like this. There are a few reasons I believe that this is working so far: A. Before we even got together we both had strong convictions that we wanted our relationship to be like this. I didn’t have to convince him, nor did he have to convince me. B. God is our number one. We both strive to love our creator exponentially beyond our love for one another C. We are equally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). Before we got together we learned that we share the same faith and enjoy worshiping together, had similar values and goals.
Honestly, I feel so close to this guy because the smoke screen of physical intimacy is not in the way. He really hears me, I feel safe, deeply loved and protected. Don’t get it twisted, by no means am I the relationship guru but I’m excited to see how my faith is bearing beautiful gorgeous fruit. Friends, Family, anyone who takes the time to read this, I invite you to help me to be the woman I want to be by asking me about how it's going. If you’re trying a similar thing let me know. Despite being in the Beyonce’ and Jay-Z era of don't ask, don't tell, I invite you to ask me about it. Be a part of the journey, so we can give God the glory. Amen.
Sneak Preview.... This summer my piece VENUS will be shown at the Solar 1, Solar Powered Dance Festival, July 31-Aug.2 at 6pm. A little background: Christal Brown, director of the company I currently perform with INSPIRIT, believes so much in her dancers that she has developed a program that allows company members to apply for an opportunity to set a new work on the company. This is unique because most dance companies outsource their choreographers. As one of the CCCP (Company Choreographic Commissioning Project) recipients this year, I created VENUS. This work is heavily influenced by the work of visual artist Kara Walker and the story of Sarah Baartman.
In January as part of an extreme experiment trying to jolt my body back in order,(two months previously in Senegal eating mostly rice, white bread, Fanta, and black tea with 3-4 sugar cubes everyday was not doing my body good) I gave up coffee. Now, what I was drinking was beyond coffee, it was like a liquidized honey bun. Grande, White Chocolate Mocha with Soy for breakfast and dinner is no way to live. I can proudly say that giving it up has really made a huge difference(DUH!) and I feel much better consistently. All that sugar and caffiene was really doing a number on me. However, my newest obsession is Perrier. I know. I know. Perrier? I don't even know when I started drinking it and it totally reminds me of a '70's movie for some reason. I feel so bourgeois. But it's sooo good. It's definitely an acquired taste but it's the best of both worlds. The crispy burn of soda, but the health benefits of water. San Pellingrino works and so does Poland Spring's Sparkling Water. It's not quite as expensive as the Starbucks but in NY that stuff can run up to $2 for a small bottle. Someone help me please....
Yes, November 5th is the day after Election Day and I'm nervous about how things are going to pan out. I've already threatened my close friends and family that if McCain gets in office I will have to take it to the streets, rioting and looting, in my own neighborhood and then yours. Following that fit of rage I'm supposed to pack up and move to the Left Bank in Paris, where I'll enjoy free health care and evening strolls along the Seine River. ("If I wasn't SAVED!" Black Church Lady Voice). But seriously though, what am I going to do? Back in 2000, with my 19-year old prowess, I cast my democratic vote in the messiest election ever; only to be dejected weeks later that Bush had somehow squeezed himself into office. In 2004, I stood back and watched my Christian friends explain to me that they HAD to vote for Bush because he was the only one who would stand up for God by not letting Gays marry. Tears flowed readily and I remember calling my Mom the day after the election proclaiming "I don't think I can go to school today". (Grad school mind you). Even though I'm 0-2 in my voting the next president in I, like many other democrats in their 20s, am bright-eyed and full of hope. When, Obama won Iowa I started walking around with my head held high thinking this country might not go to hell in a hand basket after all! Back then I was still cool with Hillary, thinking either way I win. But as this race for the democratic nomination has dragged on the magic is starting to fade. As each day passes I'm beginning to trust Hillary less and less, I just see a cloud of lies and negativity buzzing around her. Of course Barak is far from perfection but at this point I feel like he's the only man that could turn this country around. Being so passionate about this comes fearfulness of becoming numb. If people like me lose in this election one more time I fear that we will just check out of life or take to self inflicted exile. We need to be alert; we've got a lot to pay attention to: A declining economy, millions of orphans in Africa due to HIV/AIDS, dilapidated New Orleans, and global warming, millions without any kind of health insurance, drugs in the water, steroids in the food.... Whoa. Sean Bell was unarmed and shot 50 times and somehow the police officers were acquitted. It's not in the least bit shocking. Nobody is taking to the streets because we see that it DOESN'T MATTER. It seems like this same scenario has happened a billion times. And if justice no longer matters in this country and we don't have someone in office is who dedicated and ready to change that, how can I live here?
All I can do is pray that whatever happens God will have his hand on it. Despite all of this, I'm not ready leave NY yet. I like hot showers everyday, taking the subway, riding my bike in Prospect Park, dancing with INSPIRIT, seeing Broadway shows, speaking English, unlimited minutes with Sprint, constant flows of electricity, Brooklyn Academy of Music and hanging out with my Harlemite boyfriend. I'm having too much fun. So I'm taking deep yoga breaths and crying out to God. Something must be done.