Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sadness & Beauty

Saturday was a sort of breezy cool day for me, metaphorically speaking; not so much weather-wise. It rained off and on throughout the day but I still had to get out for a little while. After I traveled to my first destination, I couldn't resist going inside this huge cemetery nearby. I'd always been curious to look inside. I have friends and family of friends buried there. I walked around, took a few pictures of statues and a beautiful water fountain. Then I came upon this headstone with a really nice picture. Seems like a lot more headstones have pictures nowadays. This one caught my attention because for one I could see that this woman left the world much too soon and not only was it a great picture but she looks so happy. I read the headstone, which paid tribute to her as a daughter, a wife, and a mother. The flowers lying on top were all wilted and pretty much gone. I saw a deflated heart shaped balloon close by. Perhaps it was brought by this woman's family or maybe even the husband placed it there for Valentines Day. I imagined him being heartbroken and missing his lady; missing all the great times they shared and all the dreams they'd hoped to live for and share together... As a couple they were one and now he must carry on without her. Life is precious and so is love. Even if what you embrace are memories and the spirit of someone passed on, that love remains very special and very crucial to your life as you continue on... It began to rain as I took one last shot of this woman's headstone and in a short distance away, someone else was being put to rest... More love passing on yet hopefully never forgotten...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cool Image Weekend...

This was a good weekend, photographically speaking.. I took this great shot of a woman dancing her heart out. She was into her every movement. She had fun. She blessed the drum circle that she danced inside of, along with a few other ladies... I also enjoyed the presence of a buddy of mine as we discussed something happening before our eyes in the distance. It was a display of jealousy by a man who seemed to quietly object to his girlfriend wanting to dance and bless the circle as well. It was pretty sad because she was wasting all this great energy and joy outside of the circle. He was diffusing her beautiful spirit and denying her from shining. He should've encouraged and pushed her forward considering the direction she so eagerly wanted to go was a very positive one. Luckily the positivity won out and once she stepped inside the circle, it was a beautiful union of rhythms and joy. The man stood with a sour look on his face, which eventually gave way to recognition. Someone felt his negative vibe and offered that he contribute by taking that energy out on a drum. He did and positivity prevailed all around... My buddy and I agreed that because this man changed his tune, so to speak, tonight he'll probably get some extra good lovin and more than that, he and his lady shared in something that they can talk and laugh about later... To me, that's what it's all about if you have someone special. Experience moments together and build upon it. Create new memories together and turn them into special traditions that you look forward to doing again and again... I hope that man learned something from today's experience... I know I had a blast just being a part of the whole vibe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Valentines Day/Week..

Here's a little something to aspire to... Love... mixed with mutual pride. The world may be the stage but what's most important is that they have each other... The same can be practiced on the local level... meaning, everybody can have this... I wish everyone the best kind of love, however you may dream it to be...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Change Don't Happen Much

Five minutes away from where this beautiful creation(Watts Towers) was erected and preserved over the years for all to see and experience, there was another tradition going down that unfortunately serves as a reminder on how not much has changed. the trading of lives; bullet for a bullet mentality continues. There were hundreds gathered in a cemetery, celebrating the life of a fallen loved one. They mourned, they cried, they looked angry... A great number of them were dressed in white t-shirts. A lot of bravado. Young men standing tall with their chests stuck out. Most fighting back tears. The fallen one had many friends and the amount of cars that lined the street leading into the cemetery stretched a very long distance on both sides of the street. And on every corner in the vicinity there were police officers parked; waiting for any trouble that might occur. With the exception of the anger, sadness and tension that filled the hearts of those saying their final goodbyes, peace prevailed but all one has to do is listen to the news, read the paper, and decipher the writing on the walls. You'll discover that change don't happen much despite this country's possibility that something historic is on the verge of becoming reality... maybe. Sometimes hope ain't always the most convincing argument and love is often used as motivation for battle rather than healing, coming together and building a stronger bridge that connects understanding and compassion in a way that doesn't blow over so easily... Folks gotta get it together because what goes on in the hood aint a priority for the White House or the Governor's Mansion, no matter who's in it...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Black History kick-off..

February is here and it brings with it the so-called “Black History” celebration time, which is definitely important and a beautiful thing. Me being black, I like to think I celebrate it every day, every month but since this is the official time of the year, I want to kick things off with my own celebration and tribute. I’m hoping one of these years I’ll be able to celebrate with the relase of my much delayed epic novel, Until Again which should’ve been out this month but nevertheless, its on the way.. *smile* Be that as it may and without further delay, I want to honor someone who to me is worthy of a black history tribute/celebration trophy for his accomplishments and for representing himself as a multi-faceted black man. Perhaps he’s not famous to the average Joe and Jenny on the street but he’s known by friends and family. He’s known by teachers, scholars, and students. He’s known in the hood, the country, and the classrooms. He’s blessed by his two beautiful children, which he plays an extremely active role in raising them. No doubt his son and daugther will be amazing individuals when they grow up. I’ve admired this dude since the day we met on his home turf in Memphis, Tennessee so I write this little tribute with a smile on my face. His name is Torrance Stephens.

You ever meet someone in life that instantly reminds you of family? You ever meet someone who you just want to sit and listen to because you instantly respect that person? You ever meet someone who no matter their age, you feel like this is someone to look up to like an older sibling? You ever meet someone who is so cool and down to earth, you wish them nothing but happiness and success no matter how much time passes before you see them again? Thanks to the internet, I can check on what’s going on in the prolific mind of this brotha because he’s probably got the best blog ( in the internet hemisphere… You’re always sure to learn something, be inspired, forced to think, and entertained all at the same time. I always imagined that if you peel open this man’s mind and stretched out every thought and piece of knowledge inside, it would probably wrap around planet earth several times. He’s got the street intelligence, the country boy work ethic and the intellectual scholar ingredients that would make anyone envious but he’d never have you feeling that way because he’s cool like that. My admiration is endless. I mean, my man Torrance has traveled to other countries to speak to folks on behavioral sciences and health education, written countless articles and chapters on some very serious issues like AIDS/HIV and other infectious diseases but he's still a country boy and a father which means you'll find him coaching his son in life and athletics all the while finding time to eat some stew that's got ingredients like pork, possum, rabbit and squirrel in the mix. *smile* Besides all that, he's also an author of some very deep stories like "Fast And Gamin," "Butter Brown," "For U Who Left Me While I Slept," "Matter Of Attention," and "Rockstar, Stud, Gigolo." What? A scholar writing books with titles like that? Yeah, 'cause he's cool like that so dig beneath the titles and see what he's talking about. You can check those out at Here's a quote that shines a little light on the man as an author....

"In the tradition of Iceberg Slim, his work carries the immediacy of corner stoop storytelling but is that rare creation--African American oral tradition in a literary form." LISA RICHARDSON- LOS ANGELES TIMES

Anyway, I wanna send a sincere shout-out to Torrance Stephens PhD, rawdawg buffalo as I kick-off Black History month on Super Bowl Sunday to salute this good dude... Peace and continued blessings...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

From the chronicles of why it gotta be like this!

Today, I was listening to an interview on a hip hop station. It was interesting in all kinds of ways... Informative? Nah... and I definitely aint trying to put down hip hop in any kind of way but I just found today's interview of Prodigy from Mobb Deep interesting. It had me wondering what folks will remember about the music and the artists from the genre, twenty years from now. No doubt, there's some great history in hip hop but the way they were talking on the radio today the only history they celebrated was violence rather than the...MUSIC. Prodigy talked about being able to afford a bullet proof car. He spoke about various beefs aka disagreements he had with other rappers that would lead to violence if he had run into that person. The interviewer brought up questions about Tupac's ability to fight because of things she's heard, which really doesn't matter.. Around every corner there's someone who could get the best of you in a fight and vice verse, but my main point is, what does that have to do with the music??? Me being a huge fan of Tupac, I didn’t really appreciate the comments made about him but everybody got their own perspective. The interviewer to me sounded like she was motivated by the very same hearsay and unnecessary bravado which fueled the kind of environment that brought down such a prolific artist. He had his issues and was at times a victim of his own young ego but he was an amazing artist, a brilliant mind, very well read, and was extremely driven, albeit the motivation could’ve been because he feared the end was coming soon but he was able to accomplish a lot in a short time. Funny thing though, in the four or five times I’d seen him around LA, when he was driving he was alone and had the top down on his convertible. When I saw him hanging out at the Glam Slam niteclub many years ago in downtown LA, he was alone. But the bottomline with respect to how I’d like to remember him most is by his contribution, which was music and film. There's some incredible hip hop musical moments and great artists that have come and gone and that's what should be talked about/celebrated.

As I listened to the interview, it made me think about a conversation I had not too long ago with a friend of mine. We talked about music and brought up memories that had us both smiling and feeling the goose bumps all over. This fella is older than me so he could recall a little more than I could, from Miles to Hendrix on forward but then I brought up Parliament/Funkadelic and he laughed in a proud way... "Ahh yes, the mothership!" I told him about how as a kid, I got into a few of those Parliament shows for free because my father promoted some of the concerts in Houston along with a couple buddies of his.
He asked me "what year was that?"
"Around 77, 78, 79..."
"Ahh okay, then you got to see them in they prime. Eddie Hazel, Hampton, Glenn and of course George was on top of his game then..."
"Yeah, I even saw them that year when they had that funny lookin dude from the Spinners singing with them.."
"Phillpe Wynne... yeah, okay... You seen some music history back then, man."
"Yeah, but I didn't know it at the time, being so young. I would just be lookin at how crazy everybody was dressed!"

The conversation continued on to other musical groups and artists that became legends and/or well respected musicians, singers, performers but the thing is, all we talked about were these artists contributions to music. We didn't need to go into who shot who, who had beef with who, etc etc. Of course there's always been a shady side to the music industry and there are stories that go way way back; tragedies, early loss of life but music folks from back in the day wear a badge of honor that reflects what they accomplished musically... Think about Curtis Mayfield and all the incredible songs he wrote for others and himself... Isaac Hayes and his amazing body of work... Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha, Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on and on forever and again, despite whatever tragedies and behind the scenes drama that might have occurred, it's all about the music.. I dont think any of those folks still living or no longer around are thinking to themselves, "I wish I would've bought a bullet proof car..." Just my two cents as I wonder why stuff has come to be the way it is or as I said, why it gotta be like this! *smile* Anyway, peep out Parliament live from the Houston Summit Arena. I was there backstage representin with my father and company...