I’ve been missing in action. No worries though, my time away from the blog has been really focused on my creative life. As you may recall I created and produced a play for the 2011 New Orleans Fringe Festival called, “Hip Hop Is Alive”. Seeing my show on stage gave me a vision – I will produce a television variety show. The show will be based on my play and basically be a recorded version of what we do live. I figured if I could get the show in bigger markets, it might be a chance the right person would see the show and invest in my vision of going live. This would be huge because not only does the show have the potential to boost my career, but it will also highlight the talent of the amazing cast I’ve assembled. I applied to both the Atlanta and Chicago Fringe Festivals fully believing that appearing in these festivals would be a great opportunity. The show got in! Myself and the cast are heading to Atlanta in about two weeks for the first festival. I’m all consumed with the show…and with life.
Something is happening in my life. I’m realizing that I truly have the power to manifest the life of my dreams and it is happening. I’m also well aware that certain things no longer serve me but they are so comfortable and recognizable, its hard to let them go. I’m doing it though. Realizing and letting go of what no longer works is one thing but having the courage to let it go is another. As I evolve and grow, I’m learning I’m a lot more courageous than I thought. I’m pretty strong and definitely have built resilience.
So that’s where I’ve been and that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m raising money to compensate, house and feed the cast and crew as we hit the road. Please take a second to look and if you feel so inclined please make a donation!!!
poet′ic jus′tice n. an ideal or particularly fitting distribution of rewards and punishments.
Last summer I got to work on a movie with this guy named Stephen. He worked as a production assistant in the production office while I split my time between the office and on set as a producer’s assistant. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Stephen but enough to know that in addition to moving up the production ladder by working in/on movies, he was really focused on directing and producing projects on his own. He was making the most of his time by actively doing projects on his own and when we met he was in the midst of the 48 hour film fest. I had opted not to do the 48 hour fest because I knew I would be so busy with show we were working on. I chose the security of the job as what I needed at the time. I felt like as long as I was working on projects, I’d somehow get closer to being able to do my own stuff. So I tended to give work the priority in my life. My opportunity to be involved in the 48 Hour Film Festival had come from my friend Adrione. She was doing a project through her new production company and had extended an offer for me to be involved. I declined because I had work. Since the 48 Hour Film Fest, both Stephen and Adrione have continued to do more and more personal projects and their respective production companies, Little to N.O. Budget Films and 3517 Law Street Productions, seemed to take more priority in their day to day. On yesterday, I went to be a part of Adrione’s newest project (a documentary) and then to Stephen’s fundraiser for a short film he’s shooting this upcoming weekend. I on the other hand got a couple more credits by continuing to work but have done very little work on new personal projects because I had to work. On Thursday I was “let go” from a job because I made a simple mistake that when overlooked was a HUGE deal. The lover that I didn’t even love but rather I thought I would court long enough to get to my true love put me down! Talk about POETIC JUSTICE!
The resident DJ for my play, DJ RQAway, was spinning yesterday at Stephen’s fundraiser. As usual he played something I had not heard before – Elli Ingram’s POETIC JUSTICE cover! ENJOY!
I’ve been going through some-thing for some time. It’s pretty much over now and I’m beginning to feel back to normal. While I was in my funk, I was a bit neglectful of some of my friendships. In an effort to rectify I called up one of my friends to see what he was up to last night. He was in my area wrapping up a meeting so I told him stop by (and it worked out perfectly since today was trash day and I hate dragging the can to the road – insert evil laugh yes I’m back to normal lol).
We hadn’t seen each other in months so there was a lot of catching up to do. He knows how I normally work (back to back gigs, wrap one start another) so when he asked what was next and I told him just working on my play, he seemed interested. Sidenote: My friend’s job is something dealing with business finances and he’s good at it. He understands money and high level finance and lives his life that way. He’s not really showy or flashy but he does have some very nice things. He is smart with money so while we are super cool and go way back, we are not on the same level there. I generally don’t talk money with friends. It’s just not a subject that comes up. A bit of that reasoning is that I always feel financially inferior and this friend is a strong reminder to me that if I had gone another route, I could possibly be living a more lucrative life.
Anyway, I shared that I’d be taking a break from the travel coordinator jobs to really concentrate on what needed to be done for the show which is traveling to the Atlanta and Chicago Fringe Festivals this year. He had all these questions about my financial plan during this period and I was surprised at my responses. I am extremely private when it comes to my “business” and I can be snappy when I feel like people are asking too many questions. For some reason, I was open and sharing last night (yeah I’m moody but that’s a different convo for a different day). When I was done, he said something that made me reevaluate my entire thinking process. He said, “Man D, you’re rich. I have all this money but I could never do what you are doing. You are really living and I admire that.” WHAT? My rich friend was calling me rich! HUH? Compared to him, I live at poverty level and somehow he finds ME rich. The rest of our catch up convo was null because I could not shake his statement. Could it be that I was rich?
This conversation was a true catalyst for me to reevaluate where I place value in my life. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I amgranted but I can be a bit of a Debbie Downer when evaluating my financial and accomplishment status. Hearing that someone who I think is so finacially successful found value in me/my dreams was a bit inspiring. I mean from the perspective he offered, it is true I am rich. He went on to site examples that “made me rich”. The irony is that the things he felt made me richer, are things I consider as failures. His examples: you are single, no kids and don’t own a home (the three major things that make me feel like I’m royally eff’ing up this life thing). Last night was a great catch up with my friend, but a huge affirmation that I am exactly where I should be right now. Funny how those messages creep up when you least expect them from the least likely source. A long time ago I read a quote from actress Marlene Dietrich that said, “There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.” I finally get what she meant and THAT is rich!
In an effort to be spontaneous, I decided to spice up my Monday night. My friend texted around 5pm to see what I was doing after work. Instead of my normal Monday night routine of “go home, watch tv, go to bed”, I opted to meet her to see Tyler Perry’s Temptation. I was VERY excited to see this movie – I am a long time fan of Jurnee Smollett so I was very excited to see her in a bit of a racier role. I had seen the play that this film was adapted from years ago and I was very interested to see the direction it would take on screen. So when I got off at 7, instead of my normal route to the house, I headed to the theatre to meet my girl for an impromptu movie night.
If you plan to see this movie and don’t like spoilers STOP NOW…
The movie got off to an interesting start. A couple was visiting a marriage counselor. The husband didn’t want kids and the wife did – the counselor got the wife alone and quickly found she’d met some new guy and was seeing. The counselor began to tell the wife a story, clearly set up to help her stay in her marriage. She was telling the story of her “sister”. She told how her sister Judith met her future husband when she was six and they grew up together, eventually getting married. A few years into the marriage, Judith was kind of bored with her life and the 10-15 year success plan her husband had their “family” on. Long story short, she was working at a job instead of having her own counseling practice she desired. Her husband was always working and literally forgot her birthday the last two years. He was also not very “on it” when it came to paying her attention or protecting her (when some street thugs called her a “bitch” he kind of pushed the blame on her). Oh and since he was her first everything, he was the only mad she’d ever had sex with and it was only ever in the bedroom. Then one day, everything changed…
Enter, rich, successful and worldly Harley – a social media inventor who became interested in her. They start working together and it’s clear there’s some tension and a desire to explore. He pays her attention. He remembers her birthday. He strongly desires her and is vocal about wanting her for himself…oh and he gets her to do cocaine with him. She loses herself falls for Harley and leaves her husband. Her husband was so upset he runs to his friend (female of course). He makes a pass, homegirl rejects it…because she has AIDS given to her by her ex husband, Harley. By this time a fight between Harley and Judith caused him to beat the crap out of her. The husband runs to her rescue and saves her BUT she has AIDS. And it’s revealed that she is in fact the counselor telling her own story, not one of her sister.
Here’s my gripe – deep breath. Judith was a cool girl. She wasn’t some one dimensional character with no redeeming qualities. Smollett did a great job in this role but how pathetic was the life her character lived. The issue for me was the lack of options such a successful and beautiful woman had when it came to a mate. Her husband, who most people might say is sweet, was an idiot. Who forgets the birthday TWO YEARS IN A ROW?!? And how late must one work at the corner pharmacy?!? AND everybody knows how mothers can be so why in the world would he tell her mom she didn’t cook or the details of her shortcomings in the marriage. He didn’t seem to get or understand her nor did he offer a life that would be appealing to any woman I know (yes Lance Gross is fine but not one of my friends would be cool with that “love” situation!).
Here’s my bigger issue with the story. The option to go chill out alone for a bit to figure out what she wanted never crossed Judith’s mind. She meets this man who seems to be amazing and can offer her a life she’s never known. She’s tempted by it, like any woman (don’t lie) would be. BUT I don’t know understand how you leave one man who and pick up so effortlessly with another. What happened to taking a beat and regrouping? The fact this new man introduced her to other things to me isn’t horrible – it was a great way for her to step into transformation/figure out what she did want out of life and with whom. But in this film, she didn’t have that option. She wanted her own practice and the underlying message was she was going to have to be with a man (whether her hubby or her boo) to get it. I don’t like that message. It didn’t sit well with me AT ALL. Is the message really stay in a stuck, stagnant marriage OR live out your fantasy but you will end up with AIDS and a “fling” with coke (and not the cola!). Tyler Perry films often leave viewers with a message of hope or redemption but this one left me feeling like as a woman you better stay with that “good” man…even if he is lame, pays you no attention, doesn’t resonate with the current desires of your soul and simply no longer does it for you anymore…
Ok that’s my two cent and thoughts on the movie. Have you seen it? What did you think?
Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays. I love the promise of renewal and resurrection the day represents. I also love that Easter generally ushers in the warmer temps, luring me out of my self imposed winter hibernation. I always feel so inspired and feel like there’s promise of better days ahead. This year was a particularly great Easter weekend. I had to work Friday, but because it was an official union holiday I got a nice bump to my day rate. Once off, I went to my friend’s family annual cookout. That gave me a great feeling of togetherness and bonding with some friends I hadn’t seen since it started getting chilly in October. I woke up early on Saturday and drove home to see my family. I got there in time to have lunch with my Granny and my aunts. We hung out watching Lifetime movies after and caught up each other’s happenings. That night, a group of ten of us went to go see the touring production of “Dreamgirls”. I LOVED the movie so seeing the play was a big deal for me. The entire cast was great but the actress playing Effie White, Charity Dawson, was phenomenal. As expected, she belted “And I’m Telling You” in the normal fashion bringing the house to its feet. But, it was her rendition of “I Am Changing” that touched me most.
The timeliness of this song…I was already feeling like I was going through some changes – my perspective on life in general has been changing to a more positive outlook so I was particularily touched by the standard. Easter Sunday was also great. We had a HUGE family dinner. My cousin DJ brought his DJ equipment and we danced until a brief wind/rain storm shut us down. I drove home to New Orleans just in time to catch “BADU-IZMS” and got even more inspiration!
The fact I was out and being so open to the positive energy of the moment was very on point with these feelings of change. They say change is good for the soul. I wish the winds of GOOD change blow your way so here’s the Monday Motivational Song of the Day: “I Am Changing” by Jennifer Holiday from the original Broadway “Dreamgirls” show!
On Sunday, my sister and I went to a yoga workshop with Lauren Darnell at Life Yoga in New Orleans. It was a great time for us to bond and get some great insight about going from just talking about things to actually accomplishing goals. It was a great class and we covered a lot – and touched on one of my favorite things – MANIFESTATION. Spiritual Manifestation is the theory that through regular meditation and positive, constructive thought, you can make your dreams and desires become reality. I have been fortunate enough to be aware of the power of manifesting in my life.
Since I’ve been in New Orleans, one thing I have missed is the “business casual” form of friendship. When I was in L.A. I had tons of these type relationships. You meet someone you have a lot of professional things in common with and you two bond. The basis of this type of friendship was the joining of minds/spirits to support one another in pursuit of desired professional goals. Unlike my “normal” friends, my business casual friends truly understood my struggle in work. True we’d discuss”normal” things like guys, fashion and tv, but these friends would always be a great source of support for those gut wrenching goals/dreams. The potential for drama was low with these people because the main purpose was to simply support one another. These business casual friends would come and go based on my current job or gig but they their input when they were around was so influential that they have been highly important in my life.
At the yoga workshop, I got to thinking about all the things I wanted to currently manifest. What I realized is I am always manifesting – so much so I forget I’d been seeking a thing that had since appeared. This is the issue I face with a lot of spiritual concepts-sometimes when things happen simply and with little force/exerted effort on my part, I forget to acknowledge it for what it is. For instance, when I moved to New Orleans, finding “normal” friends was not a big issue – the city is FULL of amazing girls who are down for a good time! I was though having issues finding a lot of females with my point of view on future goals. I found myself often trying to explain what I was about and feeling as if my intentions weren’t being heard. I that I’d create a “friend in my head” that was in tune to what I was on. And this friend had to be in the thick of it like me so I could reciprocate the listening ear. I wanted a friend who was as ambitious and hard working as I was and in a similar field (not the exact lane so we could collab with no competition). This friend had to be someone that was also “cool” that if I did feel the need to vent about some silly boy’s actions or some ratchet tv show on occasion, I could share those things too. Lastly, this would be a friend that when they said they believed in me, I’d respect their word because they would be someone in the thick of the “it” just like me.
So back in 2011 when I was doing promotion for the first run of “Hip Hop Is Alive“, I met personality Jus Cookie. Before I had ever met her or knew who she was, she was my business casual friend from my head! How we met: Cookie was doing a ton of hosting around town and hosting a pretty dope online radio show called “The Cookie Jar”. She was super cool and we vibed on the working hard toward a goal thing. She invited me to be a guest on her show to talk about my play and I felt the genuine support from she and her crew for me and my show’s plans. Since then we’ve established one of those super cool “business casual” friendships I had so been desiring. Cookie’s ambition is contagious and forces me to push harder ESPECIALLY when I don’t want to! I appreciate her for so many reasons most recently for reminding me that I possess the power of manifestation! It can be so easy to forget or overlook things when they happen simply and organically and as I move to this next phase of manifesting, I’m grateful I was reminded of how effortlessly Cookie materialized not just as a “friend in my head” but as a real live person in the flesh! And if I can manifest a real live Cookie in my world, what else can I just whip up!!!
Get to know Cookie for yourself by tuning into her radio show, THE COOKIE JAR, live on her site on Monday nights starting at 7pm CST.
One of my fav features on the blog is the “She Makes Me Wanna” where I celebrated the accomplishments of women I know and love (which is on my short list of one million and one things I need to do more often). I have been being a bit of a recluse working in my own space and on my own time focusing on what I need to make me do something I wanna! BUT that being said, in those moments where I seek inspiration, it is a good exercise to step out of my cove and chat up women who inspire me. With the pressure and reality of taking my play on the road, what better person to seek out than Pamela Davis Noland, the lady whose work inspired it in the first place as I wrote about here back in 2010. Not only did she provide much that much needed, “You got this,” that a only a mentor walking the walk can provide, I found out what’s going on with her these days. In awesome sauce news, her play “BADU-IZMS: A TRIBUTE” is back revamped and resurrected (pun intended) Easter Weekend in New Orleans! Here’s my Q&A with Pamela Davis Noland.
What differences can we expect from the show? Since its conception in 2009, the show has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve included a LIVE band; added a few of Erykah’s newest songs; added Video; and in this production, we have a “Hair Artist” by the name of Brenda Jones ( Pure Beauty & Barber, 3101 St. Claude Avenue) who will style the hair for show…expect big, beautiful and dramatic hair!
Do you have plans to tour more? If so where are you eyeing? We actually toured last year in Houston TX. We held auditions there and had a fabulous 6 show Run. Erykah’s Mom and Sister were present at one of the shows and gave it two-thumbs up! Our next City is Oklahoma City, then on to Dallas and hopefully all over the country, utilizing each city’s talent to do the Tribute.
It appears you met Ms. Badu live and in person from pics I’ve seen online – what didshe think of the show and its concept? Erykah gave me her blessing before I even put pen to paper. She hasn’t seen it herself…well, unless she watched the DVD I gave her, but upon meeting her last month, she expressed her gratitude and is incredibly happy for all the Love the show has been receiving. My hopes and prayers is that she comes to THIS production. She loves New Orleans, sooooo…. !
Any advice for aspiring playwrights or creatives-especially females? There is an African Proverb that goes, “If you want to go Fast…go Alone. If you want to go Far…Go Together.” In this “business” of theater, because it is very much a Business, too. We (females) are the last ones to get noticed, the last ones to get press, and unfortunately, the last ones to receive the accolades deserved. There is power in numbers… I’ve seen it in the Theater community right here in New Orleans. But, what I haven’t seen and am striving to accomplish with this particular production and many to come, is Women coming together and melding all of their talents into one phenomenal production that will showcase all of our individual talents in our perspective fields of artistic expression. My advice? —- Work together.
Lastly, when you did the show initially for Fringe, did you know it would have this much life?!? YES! :o)
In support of the show which runs Easter Weekend March 29-31 at Cafe Istanbul, Pamela’s hosting a FISH FRY Fundraiser this Friday, March 22! Here’s the link to the fry and if you’re in New Orleans you most definitely don’t want to miss the fish OR the show!!!!
A huge reason I love New Orleans so much is because there’s always some sort of celebration or festival. This week is no different as theTennessee Williams festival gets started on March 20 in the Crescent City. I’m really excited about this one because it is a LITERARY festival celebrating the legacy of one of the best writers of our time! In addition to seeing some of the premier authors in seminars and fascinating teachers in workshops, this festival offers plenty opportunities for fun. The MelaNated Writers’ Collective is putting on one of it’s JOOK JOINTS in connection with the festival at the M.Francis Gallery on Friday, March 33 starting at 8pm. Come hear the good word!!!! You can visit the MelaNOLA site here for information on tickets.
I love love love me some Beyonce. She’s the KING of pop culture right now and I so so appreciate her. She puts out poppy songs that make me feel empowered to be a female and per her doc, “Life Is But a Dream,” empowering women is her goal. Well…last night she released her latest, “BOW DOWN”. It IS a hit BUT my “stanship” is called into question because I have some issues with the tune. In general I have some issues with the word “bitch” when used to refer to a female. This issue is one I struggle with as I speak the word in that manner and for that purpose more than a little bit. Well in Bey’s latest hit, which just so happens to go so hard, she is declaring herself as the queen and all others (i.e. haters, competitors, naysayers) can just bown down…and she says “bow down bitches”…oh Bey! You said on the doc that you’d be doing female empowerment songs! I’m not sure how I feel about this – mainly because I know some b*&#@s that can bow down RIGHT NOW but I don’t like feeling that way about my fellow ladies. Le sigh…while this stan figures out her position, why don’t you give the song a listen and come to your own conclusion.
Last night was one of those random nights that led to amazing revelation. I got a call from my friend Mook – random calls from Mook always lead to some interesting/exciting event and last night was no different. I was invited to a dinner to meet Atlantic recording artist Sevyn Streeter. Ironically, I had become a fast fan of her new single “I Like It” recently. I’m always so fascinated with people who are pursuing their dream/passion at high levels so I was interested to see exactly who was Sevyn Streeter.
I arrived to the dinner a bit later than everyone and was immediately greeted by this super cute and spunky young lady thanking me for coming. Sevyn had a great presence and exuded genuineness. As we ate and talked, she was open and response to everyone’s questions about the beginning stages of her career, her current single and her growth as an artist and song writer. She was super attentive and treated everyone with respect. I was not surprised to find that the name Sevyn comes from her 7.7 birthday – her Cancerian tendencies were readily apparent as she made a point to know everyone at the table’s name. She discussed how singing has been her dream and how her big “shot” came when she heard her favorite band at the time was coming to her town. She got her mother to call the promoter and was booked as the opening act for B2K which led to her being selected to be a part of TG4 (the “sister” band of B2K) at age 15. That group dissolved and she eventually was found by Rich Harrison and tapped to be a part of his group RichGirl. RichGirl was managed by Tina Davis, who also managed Chris Brown. Sevyn began writing with/for Brown and when RichGirl came to an end her solo/songwriting career began. She’s currently promoting her new single “I Like It” which was the reason for last night’s soiree.
Sevyn’s story was very moving yet at no time did it feel like one of those forced/contrived standard media junket presentations. A big fan of her personality, I was interested to see her perform so went home and immediately watched her video. She’s cute. A good dancer. Nice voice. Nice body. Nice smile. And she writes music ladies can relate to. I think she’s one to watch and that’s why I selected her song as today’s motivational music – I LIKE IT!