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Archive for the tag “art”

Inspiring Transformations, Thanks Chrisette Michele

I get inspired by people, music, books, art, fashion, like all the time.

It’s one of the things that reminds me that life is beautiful. Like really, really beautiful. And being different, and weird and smart and funny is awesome. It’s just fantastic.

So, in today’s post, I want to give a shout out to the supremely talented Chrisette Michele. I’ve seen her numerous times live, and there’s a part of me that feels very compelled to be proud of her because she is basically from the next town over from mine in Long Island. So to see someone so close to home make it, similar in age, etc. it’s already encouraging.

Anyway, Chrisette is my muse today. I’m listening to her latest mixtape inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Chrisette, has gone through some changes yall. You can see that she’s moving in a different direction, and you can hear it in her music. It’s pretty refreshing.

I love contemporary artists who have studied music. They bring something else to the table and they are always trying to elevate the craft, and if you love music too, you can pick out certain nuances, or see where they made a nod to something in their work. To me being able to see and hear those things is exciting and a testament to my own growing knowledge.

She’s lost some weight (I believe 30 pounds she said in a video she posted), she spent extensive time traveling, and she’s rocking a range of hair styles and has a number of tats and a nose ring.

A total departure from the sugary sweet girl image from her first, heavily Jazz-influenced, “I Am.”

In a video interview, she said she didn’t want to sing sad songs anymore because she wasn’t in that place any more. She’s opened herself to love, and she’s just generally happy.

She’s clearly a woman on a journey and she’s enjoying the ride.

For some reason, we give celebrities the pass to go and change their hair, or take a break and travel and change up their style.

I’m a firm believer, regular folks can do the same.

I’m tickled that one day I’ll rock a bun, or a curly wig, or my fro, or twists. My co-workers seem to be waiting to see what I’ll do next.

I’m strongly considering some braids in the summer. Why not?

I realized I have a busy weekend. Tonight I’m going to a Wizards basketball game with my homeboy.

Friday, going to see one of my favorite musicians, Bilal. Saturday, I’m going to check out an art exhibit on graffiti art with a new meetup I’m joining. And then one of my dearest friends is popping in on Sunday.

We have to keep striving for new in our very contrived, average days.

That’s why I need to read books and seek out independent movies, or see shows and take in live music.

I need this stuff like air.

I must have intellectual and ridiculous conversations with people who stoke those interests.

I need to meet new people.

These things make you feel alive.

These things inspire me to create. Maybe I’ll finally finish writing my damn book or come up with a new t-shirt concept.

It’s all out there.

The old, the new.

Old movies, movie stars, music, books. Rediscover them. Then marvel at how human nature never changes. Examine how old writers complained of the same things we complain of today.

What struck me most was when Miss Chrisette said plainly in the interview, “I didn’t want to be an angry, black woman anymore.”

It was so simple, and it was a thought I had the other day.

Believe it or not, it’s easy as hell to fall into that dreadful stereotype. But can we be honest, for a moment? There are a lot of angry women of all colors, not just black.

There are a lot of just angry people out there.

But for some reason, black women tend to hold up the banner and wear our anger and our ability to live with and accept anger as a lifestyle so effortlessly, like badges.

And that, I believe is what Miss Chrisette, and myself are trying to escape.

I’m going to work on smiling more. Just smile.

Even when I force myself to smile during a workout, it actually helps me get through it. I think I look stupid, but it doesn’t matter, because it actually helps.

Elvis and the Love and Hip Hop Connection

Last night I checked out Flicks From the Hill in the Federal Hill section of Baltimore just outside of the American Visionary Arts Museum.

It’s a really cool museum with all kinds of random art, much of it made out of discarded items, transformed into amazing works.

The other reason why this museum really resonated with me is the fact that a number of artists they feature, are struggling with or have struggled with life long mental illness, incarceration or some really troubled pasts.

I told my date, (yes, the older gentleman) that I appreciated the museum’s transparency about the artist’s illnesses and instead of just brushing off this very fragile and often purposely ignored segment of our community, they see the good in them, even the brilliance and put it on display. These people still have much to offer us, even if we don’t understand them, or we’re even scared of the more negative ways their illnesses manifest. It brought so much more humanity to it.

The odd thing is, while the museum–especially its shop– is totally a freak show filled with the wildest gifts and oddities from all over the world, the respect of the art is very real and is serious business. As a daughter of a mother who is suffering, it touched me on another level that was kind of hard to describe to my date.

That aside, on their movie nights, they waive the $15 admission and you can roam the hodgepodge gratis. So that was pretty cool. They put a large screen on the back of one of their buildings facing a lovely grassy hill that’s part of a neighborhood park. It was a beautiful night and I enjoyed every moment.

Ok. Let’s get back to Elvis.

I guess the movie “Blue Hawaii” was selected because it was the 35th anniversary of his death yesterday.

So I’m in no way dissing the legend to all the fans, but I want to bring up some interesting things I noticed.

The movie begins with a gorgeous woman speeding to the airport in a spunky little red convertible to welcome her man home from a two-year stint overseas for the Army.

Well, Elvis is Elvis and has to make an entrance. As this chick walks up to the plane, like literally as it’s rolling up (which was also hilarious in the post 911 world where we get anal probed prior to boarding and none of our families have even been able to hug us at the gate since Clinton was in office). Elvis is tonguing down as stewardess, I mean flight attendant, I mean, hell this movie was like in the sixties, so a stewardess.

His woman is furious. He flashes her a smile, doesn’t deny what happened, changes the subject, and now his old lady is kissing him too. I don’t even think the dropped food five second rule elapsed. She basically kissed that stewardess too, letting him plant a good one on her. But she’s happy again, and now beaming once he tells her, “Now that’s a kiss.”

I instantly thought of the much hated hip-hop producer and star of reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Stevie J.

*Background. This dude has a baby’s mother (Mimi) who he claims to love dearly, but he basically screws one of his musical artists he’s developing and claims to love her too. He does this openly. He even got the artist pregnant, but was kind enough to take her to the clinic to abort the child. Classy. He even managed to get BOTH women into counseling with him. At the same time. Yup. Are you seeing the parallels here?

Back to Elvis.

So much like Mimi, Elvis’s woman asks questions she already knows the answer to, like, were you faithful when you were overseas?

Elvis, being the true playa pimp he is, actually went into song about how he was almost faithful, for the most part during his tour of duty, and to a happy up beat version of “Aleuette” no less.

If this ain’t Stevie J. I don’t know what is. But Elvis does it, far, far better!

Like Stevie makes this weird face, looks deep in their eyes, and no matter how disrespected both of these women have been, and even in public, all is well, and this jerk wins again. He doesn’t skip a beat.

Elvis even has this broad singing along providing backup during his, “Yes, I did cheat on you song” at a certain point.

Throughout the movie, Elvis is getting much Hawaiian tourist booty shuffled in his face, and his woman puts on a sourpuss for awhile, when she feels she’s been disrespected and then boom he flashes that smile, sings a song, and she’s singing and dancing along.

I swear Stevie J. watches this move in footie pajamas while eating Lucky Charms.

Another hilarious scene, which is jacked up is while he’s telling his best buddies about one of his overseas jump offs, in song, his woman is wading deep in the ocean because his “I know I effed up while I was gone” gift of a bikini top had drifted back to shore so she was stuck out in the water so she wouldn’t show her fun bags to the men. My date was cracking up and basically blurted, “Elvis is singing a p- story!” When I told him to repeat himself, he wouldn’t. However, he told me those are basically the fireside chats men have about their dalliances with women who are not the women they really love.

To Elvis’ credit, as he’s learning to get himself together and stand on his own two feet, not getting a cushy job for his father’s massive pineapple company, he does start resisting temptation.

When a sticky situation presents itself and it looks like he may have cheated, his woman is almost one foot out the door until she finds proof he didn’t cheat and boom. Elvis kinda sorta asks her to marry him. He even says something slick, like, “You realize that’s a proposal, right?” (Anyone remember Jim Jones’ mumble, non-proposal, shut up ring offering to his long time, long-suffering boo Chrissy from Love and Hip Hop Season One? Anyone?) How romantic.

Then there’s the big, Hawaiian wedding at the end.

In this movie women, tell Elvis they aren’t wearing any panties, and he literally spanks a really bitchy teenage female tourist into non-bitch for the rest of the movie. Like when he said, “You need a good spanking.” The nasty-minded crowd dotted on the lawn went nuts from their blankets and lawn chairs. And as he proceeded to put the spunky blonde over his knee and spank her until the scene faded to black, with her kicking and screaming, the laughter was echoing through the streets at a fever pitch.

Needless to say, I was totally entertained and couldn’t help but think, the man credited with “stealing” from black blues and rock and roll artists, was ahead of his time. The fact that these lusty hip hop artists, are doing the same thing, and it just looks much, much worse, reinforces there is nothing new under the sun and well, Elvis is Elvis and could virtually get away with everything. King indeed. Slick S.O.B.

Stevie J., round up Mimi and Joseline for a movie night, son. Might as well.

All three of yall can learn “Almost, Always True” together.

Please enjoy the old school trailer for “Blue Hawaii” here:

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