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The Bluest Sky

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10.25.18, 8:38pm, NYC, 34th Street
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Book Review · Uncategorized

‘Praise Song for the Butterflies’ Review

71c5TOjcPSLI am interested and devoted to all things from the continent of Africa. I find myself watching video after video on youtube concerning all things African. I love to watch videos about the different cultures, languages, practices. I get knowledge from travel vlogs, documentaries, and videos from native Africans speaking about their home. This book is exactly what I needed. It shined a light on to a ritual that is merely male serving and evil. I learned about the ritual servitude/slavery that is trokosi last year and it broke my heart. These rituals always seem to involve a girl/woman giving her very life for the idea of luck or idea of being able to evade bad luck. It gives those that practice this ritual the idea that the sacrifice of someone’s life for the betterment of others is the only way to stop the so-called ‘bad luck’. To me, sacrifice is a personal commitment, not the idea of offering up another person’s life. Sacrifice your OWN life.  It’s always interesting to me when people think they can romance karma’s retreat. This book takes you on a journey to see how this practice trokosi ravished lives but at the same time helped others find their purpose. This is a story about forgiveness. This is also a story about pure evil left unchecked. This is a story about the centuries of hatred toward black girls/women bodies and how they are used as footstools in many cultures. This is also a story about how your very own family can be the authors of your darkest hour.

Trokosi is mainly practiced in Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Aside from being a black woman who has given birth to a black girl, learning about this practice personally touches me because these countries are in my DNA. Benin, Togo, and Ghana show up being the highest percentages in my DNA makeup according to ancestrydna.com. I can’t help but wonder if any of my ancestors shared similar experiences as the young girls in this book. Ms. McFadden did a great job describing the mind of a young child and how evil creeps in to shift their perception forever. She shines a light on how lies, even little white ones, can destroy someone’s entire world. The theme of guilt is very strong in this story as well. You are able to see how everyone seemed to carry guilt in different ways. She captured the purest heart of a child. Tears were shed. Tears were shed not just due to the pain displayed but also the hope you will find in this book. If you are triggered by the mistreatment of children/women, approach this book while giving yourself self-care and take your time.

I believe in life and all that represents. I’m not really sure if I believe in bad luck or good luck. I won’t deny often wondering if this so-called bad luck has taken hold over parts of my life. However, I believe life and bad/good luck should not be used interchangeably. Life can often look like tides at sea. Sometimes gifts are brought in through the tide and other times hard lessons. Its ever moving, ever changing, ever evolving. It is up to us to constantly adjust to how we react to said life. Sometimes there are calming ripples and other times the waves of life will try to rip you apart. Yet, you still manage to find a reason to smile in the midst of it all. This is a story about how Abeo’s life was turned upside down because life happened and someone else decided she had to pay with her innocence. It’s touching, honest, and painful. It’s all the things life is made of.

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Resist Afropunk?

 

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warning: no caps, wonky punctuation.. why? i’m over it

it always amazes me how 2 people can be at the same event but walk away with different accounts of the experience.. i know what it is with afropunk.. there will be pompous you can’t sit with us folks there.. it’s in brooklyn.. better yet it’s in NY.. that is to be expected..

the 1st time i went back in 2014 i was put off by the way the afropunk goers were stuck up.. not speaking.. not acknowledging each other’s excellence.. i decided to push through because it was a great festival with a real concept.. for us, by us.. i understand why people speak of the good ole days when afropunk was free.. once capitalism enters the building changes happen..

yeah, capitalism & the need to grow will always change the face of any corporation.. it’s sad to say.. but, so long as the music is there & the beautiful people are there.. i will continue to make it what i want it to be.. i won’t throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.. we have become a society of knee jerk reactions on a continuous loop.. what are we cancelling next?

i understand if others need to give it up.. you must practice stiff self love practices… i won’t silence those with memories of better days.. thing is when i found out about afropunk i had to pay $$ for my experience.. it’s hard to keep these types of festivals free..

i understand why vip is a thing.. it’s just not my jam.. i want to mingle with my folks.. you know, the broke folks.. in all seriousness, i did see how celebs couldn’t chill & have a good time like everyone else.. last year poor jessica williams couldn’t live her best life because fans kept interrupting her time with a friend.. unfortunately, any time vip is introduced it just gives off this haughtiness i loathe, ugh.. but, i get it..

my suggestions: please bring afropunk to harlem.. i think afropunk could benefit from a change of scenery.. shift the atmosphere.. also, white people need to be encouraged to tread lightly when entering our space.. personally, i have mixed feelings about their presence.. hire more professional security.. and, they need to be placed at exits.. leaving the park after the last act almost gave me a panic attack.. not sure if outside food is allowed.. it should be.. afropunk is already getting its coint upfront.. people should be allowed to bring in outside food.. continue to hand out free water to those in the front rows because so many people fainted.. keep doing that.. i also suggest maybe forming a panel where people can voice their concerns, frustrations, suggestions about afropunk.. we are passionate because we love it so much.. don’t close us out.. the survey is a nice touch.. actually listen to the people..

i still manage to continue to meet awesome people & learn about new artists i end up falling in love with beyond afropunk.. i want afropunk to be better, do better.. just not sure if people make it better or organizers.. maybe it’s a collaborative effort.. how do we resist the very thing that gives us space to be true to ourselves? not sure.. i don’t have the answers.. i am sorry people had a horrible experience.. it’s real.. i know it’s true what they speak of.. i see the tranformation.. i see the people losing the grasp of afropunk’s heart..

if you are interested in seeing my 2018 afropunk experience in pic and video form, head over to my instagram @belauriette

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Movie Review · Uncategorized

Plots Fired

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Love & Basketball scene, tweet taken from tumblr. as you can see this is not my tweet.

Okay. I know the title is corny. I had to. I found the above tweet circulating on tumblr. This post happened as a result.

I still got mad love for Ms. Gina Prince-Bythewood, director/writer. She redeemed herself in my eyes with “Beyond the Lights”. I understand that Nate Parker is cancelled. So, I will spare you my critique. I understand that some of us are not able to compartmentalize certain personal issues with the artists from the art. However, if you are interested, I wrote a little review about “Beyond the Lights” a few years ago if you are interested.

 

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Gina Prince-Brythewood
‘Love & Basketball’ came out in the year 2000. And, so did “Disappearing Acts”.. we all know the disaster that was. 🤨 That movie had me looking at my crush, at the time, with the side eye, Wesley Snipes. I loved that man so much that I started dating (I say that loosely) a guy I thought looked just like him. In her defense, “Disappearing Acts” was based on a Terry McMillan novel. So, it really wasn’t her fault. Even within that story there were such tender intimate moments. Now, the cluster fuck that was “Love & Basketball”.. hated almost everything about it. I think I heard the characters of “Love & Basketball” were based on a real couple. Not sure how true that is. The movie made me feel so uncomfortable; squirming in my seat uncomfortable. The movie made us look at some issues concerning love we don’t like to look at intently. For that, I respect her so much. One of the things I didn’t hate was Meshell Ndegeocello’s song ‘You Made a Fool of Me” that played in the background during that last scene. Well, the song was indeed placed accurately. No?

 

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Shots Fired – Hour Eight: Rock Bottom (Stephan James, Sanaa Lathan)
I love Gina’s fearlessness as she displays some of the ugliness of our humanity in a beautiful authentic way. All of these stories need to be told. Yes, even the ugly ones. We need more willing brave artists to tell honest, raw, gutterbutt, lovely stories. I see you, Lena Waithe. She is also amazing.

 

Anyway, I forgave Gina. “Shots Fired” was a pleasant surprise. We cool now. You know what I love about her style.. she writes some of the most beautiful love scenes you will ever see; even in “Love & Basketball”. Writing/directing love scenes is a very difficult endeavor. She does it so well. Check out the love scene in “Shots Fired” if you are into that kind of thing. It was steamy HOT, real intimacy. People tend to turn their noses up at romantic stories/storylines. It takes as much skill to execute a love scene as it does a fight scene; just a skill of another kind. I was also here for that cute young tender, Mack Wilds, loving on that dark skin sista who played his wife. Loved it! Just read somewhere that Gina helped write the screenplay for “Nappily Ever After”. I will be there. Lastly, don’t forget to check out “The Secret Life of Bees”.  Good stuff. Overall, Gina can tell a story that will move you. That is a promise. Like they say, “you get what you bring”.
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a Slice of paradise in Niagara Falls

I really needed to officially document this wonderful experience on my blog page.

For many years I romanticized a trip to Niagara Falls, USA. Every year I made excuses why I couldn’t make the trip. The main deterrent that kept me from Niagara Falls this long was fear. Fear that the trip would not match up to my fantasies. And, Niagara Falls surpassed my expectations.

View from the Observation Deck

At first glance on the observation deck, I was overcome with emotion. The first words that came to my mouth were, “look at what God did!” The sight literally took my breath away. I had to take a moment to allow the image to wash over me. While on the Maid of the Mist, the mist touched my face and made me feel alive. The water from the falls, during our tour of the Cave of the Winds, felt like heaven. Words escape me. I’m so grateful. Pictures don’t do it justice. I could literally feel the charge of energy running through my veins. I could have walked all day long. I didn’t feel my age, my limitations, my burdensome life back home. My sun and moon signs are in Cancer which represents Water. I felt light, encouraged. Even if you are not a moody crab, I’m sure you will gain so much positive energy from the experience.

The water from the falls tickling my toes. (Cave of the Winds)
The brief boat trip was worth every penny. (Maid of the Mist)
Getting drenched by the falls and loving every minute of it.  (Maid of the Mist)
Maid of the Mist
Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

I’m so glad my sista made the decision for us to stay at this hotel. We were only 4 blocks away from the falls. The hotel WiFi was excellent along with the service. The cigarette smoke coming from the Casino was a bit much but we pushed through. I even gambled a bit and made a little cash. It’s so easy to get caught up in the gamble trying to get lucky. Cushy comfortable leather seats in the Casino were comfortable as we enjoyed the games in the non-smoking section. The trolley service made it very easy for us to get around to the different attractions.

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Niagara even had a cute little Aquarium we checked out.

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Cave of the Winds
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Cave of the Winds
The weather was perfection. For that, I thank God.

During my last moments with the falls, I cried. I didn’t want to leave. I will be back soon. I want to thank my sista, Kiwi. She made my birthday a cool, relaxing, fun time. Love you! I also want to thank my mother for taking care of my daughter during my absence. I’m so so grateful.

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Saying my goodbyes.
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Chosen – Part 1 (Black Panther fan fiction)

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His POV

The overwhelming feeling of dread is overshadowing my victory. I have this strong desire to create something, someone. I know this is not truly my home and I don’t know who I can trust. I don’t know how long I will be able to rule here before T’Challa’s supporters take me out. I must leave a piece of me behind. I must hide a part of me in Wakandan soil. It must be groomed. I must do this swiftly. The liberation of my people can not end with me. It must continue through my line. My child will know who I am. It took a long time for me to get here and it’s imperative that I cover all bases. No matter what happens tomorrow after I give my orders, I will leave my seed planted here in this foreign land my father called home.

The women before me represent the possibility of a future. They are all lovely in different ways. I don’t necessarily have a particular type. However, I do recognize aura and energy. And, the confidence oozing from the thick one with her midriff showing reminds me of home. I want to grab her just to see how soft she is under my rough edges. I can’t stop looking at her as I try to will her to look me in the eyes. I understand not looking me in the eye is probably her attempt to show respect, but I bet she is not this bashful in private. Her dark brown skin glows even under the moonlight seeping through the council room. I can tell she takes care of her appearance. Her ample curves arouse me. Her head wrap hides her hair, but those lips… Enough of this, I know what I want.

I signal for W’Kabi to come over. I’ve had enough of the pathetic sobs of loyalty for a man they once called King. I am their King now. W’Kabi and his men escort the grieving women from my presence leaving me alone with her. I wonder if I intimidate her or arouse her as I look her up and down. I walk over to her. She is silent. She doesn’t ask what her business is with me in this castle nor does she give me the cold shoulder. I just want to see her eyes. I want her to know my plans and my desires so she can teach my offspring. I want her to know my name.

Her POV

The King scans every Wakandan woman brought before him meticulously. He worked from the throne in intense silence which only made all of us extremely nervous. The intensity in his eyes caused a stir of conflict within me. I was afraid yet curious. I want to know him intimately even though I know he was the cause of T’Challa’s death by ritual combat. Who is he? I try to keep my head down only stealing glances whenever he looks away. Guilt fills my mind forcing me to stop staring. He seems to take extra time studying my appearance. He eventually moves on to inspect the other distraught ladies brought before him. A slight smirk came over his face as if he knew a secret. He signals for W’Kabi. As we stand in wait, the King speaks to W’Kabi in whispers.

Sobs and whimpers continue to fill the air with the knowledge of T’Challa’s untimely death freshly etched in our minds. The tribal markings on his ample chest and hard abs are displayed like a badge of honor. His hair is oiled and braided. He is truly beautiful. His tough exterior seems to be solid through and through. Is he truly Wakandan? I wonder. W’Kabi and his men escort the other ladies out of the council chambers. I’m usually not picked for King service but I guess this King desires something a bit plumper. He slowly walks over to me. My heart is racing. I can feel his energy. As he stays in front of me, I keep my head down. Maybe he will dismiss me too if he sees I’m unresponsive. But, instead he tenderly grazes my cheek and then lifts my head forcing me to face him. He finally breaks the silence.

“Look at me”, he commands. Finally, our eyes meet. The fire in his eyes entices me. “Do you know who I am?”

“You are the new King.” He smiles. I had to smile in kind because it was contagious.

“I am King N’Jadaka, Son of Prince N’Jobu.” He pauses allowing this new knowledge to wash over me. “Say my name.” I wonder if this is a serious request until I see him raise an eyebrow waiting to hear it roll off my tongue.

“King N’Jadaka, how can I be of service to you?”

“You will find out soon enough.”

Chosen (Part 2)

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A moment in Art at a glance with BE:

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The L’s art took this week will not be discussed at this moment. I just can’t right now.
Janelle Monae’s album “Dirty Computer” is really refreshing. Yes. I am an American dream. Say that sis! I am a walking contradiction too. I feel all that. Thing is … I love “I Like That” so much. But, I always find it weird that artists who were subjected to bullying would speak so candidly about it in their music. I don’t know. If you bullied me and I made it big, the bully would be sitting back like I wonder if she even knows I’m alive. I wouldn’t give them one bar, one lyric. Nada. But, I get it. You must speak your truth.
 
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“The Handmaid’s Tale” .. shit’s gettin real. Like I said, the book scared me with its truth given the direction this society seems to be headed as it pertains to women. Be afraid. Be very afraid. “YIBAMBE, LADIES! YIBAMBE!”
 
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“Westworld” .. okay. aight. look. I’m not going to deny it. I don’t know what the fuck is going on right now..LOL One moment you think you understand and then the next you’re like .. HUH? I have to admit. I’m in love with the concept. And, the theme music is superb. So, I’m not giving up. Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton are everything.
 
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No spoilers: I promise.
“Infinity War” .. I don’t know. According to a tweet on twitter, I’ve been advised to go back and have the 3D experience just to check out T’Challa’s hammer..LOL So, I have to watch it again strictly for research purposes. I’m sure you understand. Just know, I enjoyed Infinity War. Yep, right along with the white guy sitting next to me. He really thought my whisper commentary was hilarious. Because Thor made me say some not so appropriate thangs under my breath several times. That man right there yo.. sheesh! But, overall it was funny. Iron Man’s suit…YES! I literally yelled out loud. And, Spider Man’s suit..I wasn’t ready. At times, I felt like they were trying to tell too many different stories. That may have something to do with how many marvel characters are in this film. There is a lot of ground to cover. When they arrived to Wakanda, everything seemed rushed. But, it all came together. I want to discuss the vibes Thanos gave me and other things I observed, but it would reveal spoilers. I will wait until more people watch it.
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This just in: Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) released tour dates this morning.
 
Good day!