Thursday, August 25, 2011

Support 100 Black Men & Angie Stone's "Black is Beautiful Tour" 9/23 in ATL

I'm a fan of 100 Black Men. I'm a fan of black men, period. I'm also a fan of Angie Stone and Raheem Devaughn. And I know first hand that it's Better in the Bahamas. So the opportunity to support 100 Black Men, see Angie Stone and Raheem Devaughn in concert, help underserved Atlanta youth attend college AND possibly win a trip to the Bahamas is a no-brainer.

The Black is Beautiful Tour, hosted by the Islands of the Bahamas, features Grammy Award-winning songstress Angie Stone and Raheem Devaughn with laugh-out-loud comedian Lightfoot as host and will be held September 23 at 8:00 pm at the Atlanta Civic Center. The concert is an official event of the 23rd Annual Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic Weekend which pits the FAMU Rattlers against the Southern University Jaguars Saturday, September 24 at 3:00 pm at the Georgia Dome. Part of the concert proceeds will benefit the 100 Black Men's Project Support, which helps underserved youth in Atlanta attend college with tuition paid. One lucky concert guest will win an all-expense-paid trip to Paradise Islands in the Bahamas for 3 days and 2 nights.

This is an even more worthy event because my best friend, college roommate and Delta soror and sands Gloria Johnson Goins is co-promoting it along with AKA extraordinaire Deborah Riley Draper.

Purchase tickets online through Ticketmaster or at Ticketmaster outlets at Publix, Lennox Mall and Phipps Mall in Atlanta, get group tickets from Gloria at g_goins@yahoo.com or (404) 401-8011, and follow and like the event on social media:


Twitter: @beautifultour11
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Angie-Stone-Black-Is-Beautiful-Tour-2011-with-Raheem-DeVaughn/187563457960617

Please support this worthy event and share this far and wide. Here are the vitals:

Event location: The Atlanta Civic Center
Event date: September 23, 2011
Event time: 8:00 pm
Description: Grammy Award-winning songstress Angie Stone's Black is Beautiful Tour makes its first stop in Atlanta with singing sensation Raheem Devaughn and comedian Lightfoot as host. Hosted by the Islands of the Bahamas, a portion of the proceeds from this 23 Annual Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic Weekend official event will benefit 100 Black Men's Project Support, which helps underserved Atlanta youth attend college with tuition paid. A lucky concert goer will win an all-expense-paid trip to for 3 days and 2 nights at Paradise Islands in the Bahamas.






Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stop Turding On President Obama's Vacation

Turd [vt]: when used with the preposition "on," means "to harshly and unfairly criticize someone's actions or work." Example: My boss turded on the report I wrote.

My ten year-old great-nephew taught me that "turd" is not only a noun, but a verb. It is a verb that applies to the press and the public's criticism of President Obama's vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

It seems that people, most of whom I would hazard to guess aren't Black, seem to have a problem with President Obama taking a vacation in Martha's Vineyard, either because of the timing or the location. To them I say, "Stop turding on President Obama's vacation."

For starters, before President Obama was a president, he was a father. As any parent can tell you, family vacations are often driven by children's school schedules, not their parents' work schedules. Most parents try to squeeze in a family vacation before their children return to school, and that's their business, even if they happen to be the Leader of the Freakin' Free World. The recession isn't going to get any better if President Obama doesn't take his family vacation right now for two weeks or so.

Second, Black people have been vacationing and -- gasp! -- living on ostensibly wealthy Martha's Vineyard since time immemorial. If the public has a problem wrapping its mind around this concept, I would commend to their reading Jill Nelson's "Finding Martha's Vineyard: African Americans at Home on An Island." Heck, among Black folks on Martha's Vineyard, President Obama is, well, nouveau riche. That said, his vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, an option not available to the vast majority of Americans, is no different than President George H.W. Bush vacationing at his family's estate at Kennebunkport (also during a recession), President George W. Bush vacationing at his ranch at Crawford, or President Kennedy vacationing at his family's estate in Hyannisport. All these locales are pretty much unavailable to the vast majority of Americans because they can't afford to rent or buy in these areas. Think about it -- when's the last time we had a broke-ass President, white or otherwise? I think the real issue is that out-of-work whites and Right Wingers desperate to retake the White House don't want to see a wealthy Black president vacationing in a wealthy area, even if he is nouveau riche.

Finally, press reports state that President Obama's immediate predecessor had taken far more days of vacation at this time in his first term than has President Obama by a factor of 3 to 1. In fact, of Presidents Bush (41 and 43), Reagan, Clinton and Obama, the only president who had taken fewer days of vacation at this point in his first term was President Clinton, another Democrat. Seems like Republican presidents like them some vacation, moreso than President Obama and President Clinton, both Democrats, I might add. I guess this means Democrat presidents just work harder, right?

I raise all this to say that the rules shouldn't change for President Obama, whether we're talking about vacations, debt ceilings, or whatever. But somehow, they always do.

America, stop turding on President Obama's vacation. In fact, just stop turding on President Obama, period.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

See Sade in Concert, 'Cause She Sings When She Wants To

She is reclusive, mysterious, breathtakingly beautiful, with a singing voice like no other that you recognize the instant you hear it. If you are a Sade fan like I am, do not miss this once-in-a-decade opportunity to see Sade (the singer AND the phenomenal band of the same name), because, and these are not my words:

"The bitch sings when she wants to."

Let me clarify. According to an article in The Sunday Times, Sade (the band) guitarist Stuart Matthewman saw a graffiti poster of Sade (the singer) in New York with the caption, "The bitch sings when she wants to." Supposedly she found it humorous.

Perhaps because it's true.

Sade has/have not been on tour in over ten years. The singer is the most successful British female singer of all time. She is notoriously reclusive, and 2010's "Soldier of Love" was her/their first CD in ten years. She does not want for money, doesn't particularly care for it, and lives a simple life with her daughter, partner and stepson. She feels as if she's won the lottery because she can do what she loves on her own terms. I would hazard a guess that that also means she can do it on her own schedule.

I know Sade (the singer) has her detractors. They are, in my estimation, unable to appreciate the beauty of a simple, haunting voice that conveys more emotion in a few notes than all the caterwauling, trills and runs of today's R&B divas. As far as I'm concerned, Sade is my generation's Billie Holiday. Folks who hate on Sade would have probably dismissed Billie Holiday back in the day, too.

The Sade performance at the Power Balance Pavilion was nothing short of spectacular, visually and otherwise. I hope opener John Legend was watching; he could pick up a few tips on how to put on a good show that appeals to the senses of both sight and sound. I won't even begin to describe it because I just don't think I can do it justice. If you consider yourself a Sade fan, you just need to go hear and see for yourself. Fly if you must.

There are artists I never saw in concert because, well, I always thought they'd be there: Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Etta James (now diagnosed with Alzheimer's), Ella Fitzgerald. Now they're not, and I'll never know how well they performed in person. The good thing about Sade (the singer) is that she gives you no illusion whatsoever that she'll always be there, that she'll always be touring.

So if you want to hear Sade (the singer) live, you best get your tickets, 'cause she sings when she wants to. And that might not be for another decade.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What I Would Say to Today's High School Girls

I had the pleasure of having drinks and appetizers with some of my high school classmates, all of us Black women, all of us in our late 40's. We talked about our lives, the friends and husbands we kicked to the curb, the friends who kicked us to the curb, kids, and all kinds of sundry matters. It got me thinking: Knowing what we know now, what advice would I give today's high school girls? Here goes:

1) You won't keep all the friends you have in high school, and that's okay. Your interests will diverge, some will be jealous of what you're accomplishing, and some may be going through some things and can't be your friend. More often than not, though, you'll find out that some of your friends aren't really for you and aren't who you thought they were. You'll find that some even like to keep drama going because it's their way of continuing to be "somebody." It's okay to let them go. You may indeed be blessed by their absence.

2) Boys really aren't all that. There is no reason to turn your world upside down for a boy, especially a high school boy. Don't degrade yourself for them, don't tie your sense of self-esteem to having one, don't ever let one mistreat you. You will have a lifetime to have great sex in a loving (and hopefully) committed relationship. Don't settle for dysfunctional intimacy for the sake of being able to say you're having sex or that you have a boyfriend. Hold out for someone and something worthy of you. Having a boyfriend really isn't all that because they're not hard to have if you lower your standards enough. Even homeless crackheads have boyfriends. Not really an accomplishment, if I say so myself.

3) The things you think will break you won't if you don't let them. Collectively, the ladies I dined with have weathered some storms -- divorces, loss of parents, etc. Not a one of us was feeling sorry for ourselves. The things you think might break you -- divorce, loss of a parent, you name it -- won't necessarily break you if you don't let them These ladies were positive, vibrant woman who had made the most of their losses and moved on to happier lives.

4) People will remember you for what you did in high school, but it doesn't have to define you later in life. It's amazing that we remembered not only who our classmates were more than thirty years ago, but what some of them did back then. So don't think people won't remember that you had sex under the bleachers after homecoming with the entire offensive line or that you stole your best friend's boyfriend. That said, who you are in high school won't necessarily define who you will be. Life will change you and indeed it should, and some of the things you will do in high school are things you'll look back on and say, "What was I thinking?". If you grow up to be the exact person you were in high school, that means you really haven't experienced life. If you think you're going through some things now, as my husband's grandmother used to say, "just keep living." Then you really will go through some stuff, and it will indeed change you.

5) Treasure the good. When you do have good relationships -- a friendship, relationships with your parents -- treasure them. Work at them. Respect them. They're hard to find, harder to replace. This is one thing I'm really bad at myself, and I'm still working on it.

6) Know that God's got your back. All the ladies I dined with are church-going women. I'm not, but I consider myself to have a relationship with God. Having a relationship with God allows you to see beyond whatever current trouble you're going through and know that you'll get through it because He's got your back. I really don't know what atheists do in times of trouble, but I wouldn't want to be one.

7) Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if they don't deserve it. No sense in keeping drama going by mistreating those who mistreated you. Clear you conscience and your spirit by treating people the way you want to be treated.

8) You won't really understand how madly your parents love you until you're a parent. To a T, the women I dined with love their children madly, even though they recognize their children's foibles and faults. I'm not a parent, but I know first-hand from being around parents that most parents would walk through fire for their children and would do anything to protect them from the evils of this world, which is why they seem obsessed to you as you are trying to become more independent on the way to adulthood. Their profound love for you makes them fearful for you, and you won't really understand this until you have children of your own.

And, as I always say:

9) You may not get what you deserve in this life, but you'll definitely get what you settle for. Don't settle for anything not worthy of you -- a man, a relationship, anything that denigrates you or makes you feel less than who you are. You're a child of God. God created you. Act like it.

Good luck and God speed, high school girls. Hopefully you'll all be having drinks, appetizers, and laughs with your high school classmates thirty years from now.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Debt Ceiling Mistakes All Around: I Call B.S.

So . . . Standard & Poors, which didn't downgrade all those mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the housing bubble meltdown, found the stones to downgrade, of all things, U.S. treasuries?

I call B.S.

But first, there are a lot of mistakes to go around, starting with my own. My mistake was allowing the stop-loss orders on my 401(k) stock holdings to expire while all this debt ceiling madness was going on. I was preoccupied with other things going on in my life and just didn't pay attention. The unrealized gains on my 401(k) holdings took a major haircut from 29% to 8%. Nothing to do but ride it out. Had I had my stop-loss orders in place, I could have gone back and re-bought all my perfectly good holdings for a lot less, in essence shorting my own stock portfolio. I've got another fourteen years to ride it out, but lesson learned: Always keep your stop-loss orders in place so when stupid people panic and sell, you're not stuck talking about unrealized gains instead of realized gains.

Second, I blame President Obama for even negotiating the debt ceiling increase with the Tea Party Terrorists in the first place. Yes, I said it: Tea Party Terrorists. Mind you, I have friends in the Tea Party and I respect that they've done more than just talk -- they get out and support their candidates and hew closely to their principles. But to hold the debt ceiling hostage and create unnecessary worry in the markets? I call B.S. But the President should have never even deigned to negotiate the debt ceiling increase. He should have simply said, "No president before me has ever negotiated the increase of the debt ceiling that is an inevitable result of Congress passing a budget that requires greater revenues than our taxes provide. I'm not going to be the first." The off-the-record remarks should have been, "Oh HELL no, the first (real) Black president ain't going out like that. If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, I will and let them fight it out with the Supreme Court."

Third, I blame the Tea Party and the Republican Party. Republicans, I know and like a lot of you, but your Tea Party is out of pocket and you need to get them in check. There is no way any elected official with any sense of statesman- or stateswomanship would have let the debt ceiling negotiations go for so long and so cattywhampus to the detriment of the entire nation. This whole thing was nothing more than an effort to embarrass and weaken the President, otherwise the spending would have been cut from the budget. Do you folks hate President Obama that much that you'd stick it to the rest of the nation to prove some point? It's a good thing I'm paying off my credit cards and my mortgage is a 30-year fixed, otherwise you folks would have to get a restraining order against me, especially the Tan Man (Boehner) in all his glorious ineptitude.

But I also blame Standard & Poors. Even as bass-awkwards as our political system has become, do you S & P asswipes really think France has a better chance of paying off its debt than we do? Really? Where were you guys when people with no jobs, a 500 FICO score and a barely discernible pulse were able to get no doc, interest-amortizing balloon mortgages for houses they could not afford? So, those folks were a good credit risk but the good ol' U.S. of A., which has never defaulted on debt, gets a markdown because of temporary insanity in Congress? I call major B.S.

Finally, I blame us as a nation. This recession was a man-made injury created by ignorance and greed. A lot of people are going to come out of it with lower incomes and lower net worth because many of the jobs we lost here in America aren't coming back. America, we used our homes as ATM machines and monuments to our own financial ignorance, and we allowed corporate America to pimp us, run with the money, and leave us -- as individuals and as tax-paying citizens -- holding the bag. All that quantitative easing and TARP money is just more debt on our national credit card.

And China is so not going to give us a limit increase on that credit card.

Time for Americans to wake up and play smarter, not harder, with our finances and our politics.

All The Single Ladies: Wait for Your Boaz and Don't Settle

I can't take credit for this. One of my Facebook friends posted it, and she got it from someone else. However, I feel compelled to share it with all the single ladies who read my blog. If every mother would tell her daughter this, the world would be a better place:


For all you single ladies in a hurry to get married, here's a quick piece of Biblical advice: Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz. While waiting on YOUR Boaz, don't settle for ANY of his relatives: Brokeaz, Poaz, Lyinaz, Cheatinaz, Dumbaz, Cheapaz, Lockedupaz, Goodfornothinaz, Lazyaz, or Marriedaz, and especially his third cousin Beatinyoaz. Please, wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz.