Resist Afropunk?



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




A moment in Art at a glance with BE:

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.
“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!”
“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.
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.
This just in: Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) released tour dates this morning.
Good day!

The New Edition Story


Last night, the New Edition Story debuted on BET. I always wanted to know what happened behind the scenes with the New Edition R&B music group. The original New Edition members consist of Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, and Michael Bivins. Johnny Gill joins the music group later. Back in the 80’s, we didn’t have the internet. So, we would hear rumors about what was going on. We see their humble beginnings growing up in the projects. You can see the budding attitudes and egos emerging in youth. We got a chance to see how the boys’ mothers react to their success. It was a pleasure to finally see Lisa Nicole Carson back on the screen. She has been away from the movie industry due to personal issues. The only critique I have so far is that the young boys cast to play Ricky and Ralph should have been switched. Ricky Bell looks more like Ralph Tresvant to me.


(From Left to Right: Ralph Tresvant, Mike Bivins, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown)


Lisa Nicole Carson plays Ricky Bell’s mother.

Their manager, Brook, did the best he could helping the boys prepare for talent shows. As the boys’ success grew, the mothers voted Brook out due to issues with the contract. Brook really loved the boys and wanted to see them successful. The producer, Maurice Starr, played by Faizon Love is to blame for the boys not getting paid. The mothers were literally given a check for $1.87, after the tour. New Edition had a number one song and they were still living in the projects. It saddens me to see stories like this where these 70s and 80s music artists are duped out of millions of dollars, due to shifty contracts. And, unfortunately, New Edition was a victim to this.


(From left to right: Luke James stars as Johnny Gill, Elijah Kelley stars as Ricky Bell, Keith Powers stars as Ronnie DeVoe, Algee Smith stars Ralph Tresvant, Woody McClain stars as Bobby Brown and Bryshere Y. Gray stars as Michael Bivins.)

I’ve been a fan of all the guys for years. And, I’ve also followed their solo careers. I remember playing my Heartbreak cassette tape nonstop. In my youth, I had a little crush on Bobby Brown. He was confident, energetic and feisty on stage. He was an awesome entertainer. And, Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD) rocked! In my opinion, BBD was so ahead of their time.  Today, we are still rocking to their song “Poison”. And, Ralph Tresvant’s song “Sensitivity” still gives me the giddy school girl feels. And, Johnny Gill’s juicy voice still gives me chills. I plan to continue watching the miniseries for the next 2 nights. Will you join me?

Check out a couple of my favorites songs by New Edition, Bobby Brown, and BBD.

‘Blood’ Album Review


Overall, this album feels like a travel album. It feels better when you are traveling geographically or through the journey of emotions. Here is what I think; track by track review.

Unstoppable – this track eases up on me and makes me feel like a bird flying inches away from the ocean toward the shiny horizon. Dramatic, I know. But, that is the vision I get while listening to this track. It’s smooth and it just makes me feel invincible. Transcendent. This track is so powerful. I must put it on my ‘Encouraging’ music playlist on Spotify.

Green & Gold – this track I really appreciate so much. It’s damn near perfection. Here we have a touch of horns but it’s such a gentle touch that it doesn’t overpower Lianne’s voice. She shares with us her experience of being in Jamaica. This one seems so personal.

What You Don’t Do – this track makes me think of the girl groups from the 60’s where the background singers do their cute 2 step. I really enjoyed this one. It’s such a different approach to the topic of love and how it’s not just about what you do but what you don’t do that determines the depth of love. I love it.

Tokyo – this track gives me such a sweet 80’s music vibe. That bass gave me everything I needed in this one.

Wonderful – I promise you this one will be featured in a movie if it hasn’t already. I love it so much. I played with different scenes in my mind while listening to this track. The piano is angelic. The strings..what can I say?! I’m running out of words to describe this song. It’s a thing of beauty. And, I loved how Lianne approached this song just as the song is…delicately. I can listen to this track over and over. I never tire of its angelic presence.

Midnight – I love horns. I just wasn’t used to all the instruments used in this track. It was both overwhelming and refreshing at the same time. I guess I’ve gotten used to enjoying Lianne’s voice in the forefront of her music. All the instruments used drained out her beautiful voice. The ‘Blood Solo’ EP got this one right with just Lianne and the guitar.

Grow – I love her highs and lows. This track has a touch of a country vibe to it.  Toward the end this one goes into a chant that empowers me with words like, “turn up for this love; got nothing to hide if you get this feeling.”

Ghost – this track’s lyrics are beautiful along with that acoustic guitar.

Never Get Enough – this track has the best of both worlds acoustic and rock. I know that sounds crazy but it works so well. While you listen to the acoustic side you yearn for the rock side and vice versa. It works! I love it.

Good Goodbye – this quiet track is a great ending to a journey I love to travel with Lianne. While listening to this one I see a movie montage with a couple saying goodbye. That is what this track is; a sweet loving goodbye.

I give this album 4 stars out of 5.


Black Messiah (Album Review)


I am still in shock.

D’Angelo dropped an album in the late night Sunday and I’m flying high. He makes me want to put posters up on my wall like we did back in the 80’s. He makes me feel so excited about music again. He makes me feel alive. I’m grateful. Sunday, December 14th at around 11:30pm the album was already in my possession. I’m in love with this album. I listened to the whole album not skipping a track. Pure love. It wasn’t a dream. It is real.

Throughout this album I hear all those elements and people who have inspired him: Prince, Sly Stone, SugarFoot (Ohio Players), Aaron Hall (Guy), funk, soul, rock & roll. Seeing how he pays homage to those before him with his creation warms my heart and soothes my soul. Every step of the way he gives them the credit.

I am a die-hard D’Angelo fan to the core. Just letting you know I am writing from that vein. I’m one of those who literally waited on his return. However, my love for him isn’t blinding. I love music over all and I will call it how I hear it. I don’t claim to know all the technical engineering inner workings of music. I’m no producer. I don’t claim to know the history of every single musician that has graced this project. I’m not a musician or a music historian, but I know all about how music has affected my life, how it makes me feel about me and my surroundings. This is not a critique. This is just my commentary about, what I believe to be, a beautiful product.

Track #1 – Ain’t That Easy

I had no idea this song was going in the direction it went. When I first heard this one, I was holding my breath because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The background vocals and that bass guitar gave me Parliament Funkadelic goodness. D’Angelo’s voice on this track is the absolute BEST. Just think. This man is a cigarette smoker. He sounds awesome.

Track #2 – 1000 Deaths

Pick out that Afro, get that smoking hot leather jacket and teach the children. This ish ain’t a joke. I felt like a straight up Black Panther rocking to this one. Especially with that opening schooling us on how proud we should feel about our heritage, our history. Let’s go to Church. Let’s march. Let’s go protest. Let’s make our voices heard. This song is a problem in a good way.

Track #3 – The Charade

I will talk more about this song on the Lyrical Side (Part II) to this review.  This track just gave me an over all good feeling. D’Angelo may have put “himself in a bubble” but he has been paying attention to the world. It was refreshing to know that he didn’t just put out an album with an absence of current events. It’s not business as usual. The pain of this world should penetrate every fabric of your life.

Track #4 – Sugah Daddy

From the start, my bottom is moving in my seat. No matter if I’m at work, on the train or the grocery store. I can hardly contain myself from breaking out into dance. His diction on this track is so very sexy and just plain ole nasty. And, of course, I love it for all those reasons. Before I even knew of all the naughty things he was spewing, I was turned on. You can feel the naughty atmosphere created on this funky track. I could use a Sugah Daddy right now both literally and figuratively. A sista needs a spanking and a late night shopping spree. But, I digress. Can we talk horns? The horns on this track are so refreshing. I will speak on those horns during my “Betray My Heart” commentary. Live instruments with real people playing them, we need that desperately to revive this music game.

Track #5 – Really Love

“Really Love” sneaks up on you like a lover in the wee hours craving a midnight snack. You feel him/her approaching, yet you still pretend you don’t feel it. You brace yourself for the first touch. The touch turns out to be the softest you’ve ever experienced. The gentle touch you never knew you needed. It soothes your body to cleansing tears. The Spanish guitar on this track is glorious. The strings act as the red carpet allowing D’Angelo’s sweet voice to glide over the track with ease. “Really Love” is love.

Track #6 – Back To the Future (Part II)

The beautiful strings return again. The groove, the way this track just changes and I loved the guitar. Can’t wait to see the guitarist live going in on this one.

Track #7 – Till It’s Done (Tutu)

The drum highlight in the beginning reminded me of the intro to the Ohio Player’s song “I want to be free.” My uncle Walter is a drummer and I know he is going to love this entire project. I wanted to call him when I heard this song and I haven’t talked to him in years. The bass guitar causes me to make that funky guitar screw face. This track right here… this track right here, yo is #1 in my book. I could hear something urgent in D’Angelo’s voice. I needed to know his exact words. It took me a minute to look up the lyrics. This is the first song I dissected. The three-word chorus “Till It’s Done” urged me to pay more attention to the verses and the words that were NOT said. This one I have to hear live. The harmony at the end and even the way it fades out, masterful.

Track #8 – Prayer

The nasty funky Prince clap…Owwww! The drums here are so “drunken” just like Questlove often describes it. I could picture them just jamming out to this one. I get a cramp in my neck while listening to this one. I throw back the hardest head nod this side of Harlem. It’s almost like this track was thrown together; yet, it’s perfection.

Track #9 – Betray My Heart

I must admit. This track reminded me so much of “Voodoo”.  Especially, the background vocals and how they were mixed with his. And, the horns are classic “Send it On” Voodoo style. I appreciate this track for that. This song has a special place in my heart. It’s like he left a little bit of nostalgia here for us to enjoy. That bridge was sick, just funky goodness.

Track #10 – The Door

It was like this song was recorded in an old run down juke joint hidden in the back woods down south where everyone goes to do the jig and sip on whiskey straight from the bottle. This track gave me “The Color Purple” realness. D’Angelo could have opened for Shug and it would have been SO appropriate.  The old time guitar and the foot stomping gave me life. Love it!!! Honey, when those tambourines showed up I was done. The whistling reminded me of down south. Sweet Selma.

Track #11 – Back to the Future (Part II)

D’Angelo was like just when you thought it couldn’t get any funkier. Let’s take it up another notch. Owwww! That is all.

Track #12 – Another Life

This is the song you dance to with the love of your life at the reception. You make love to it so slowly. You take this song with you on long train rides and long walks on the beach as you reminisce about love lost. This song is everything love should be. Love should feel just like this. I hear “Earth Wind & Fire” and this to me is authentic D’Angelo R&B love making, baby producing greatness. I don’t know what else to say. It brings tears to my eyes. It’s LIKE that. When his real voice makes an appearance, at the end of the song, the tears are flowing but I have a smile on my face it the same time. It’s the most beautiful thing ever.

When I think of this generation I feel like I’m standing in a crowd and everyone is talking at the same time. It’s like the ‘diarrhea of the mouth’ generation. We talk too damn much and we don’t feel enough. The only thing I ask is that when/if you give this project a listen ask yourself one question: How does it make you feel?