Q: Who are your greatest creative influences? How do they inspire you?
A: My creative influences come from a variety of genres, backgrounds and eras but they all represent people who did not let their talent go to waste in even in the face of blatant denial of their ability by people in their fear. All of these people represent trailblazers and display “if it doesn’t work that way, let me try it this way” attitudes. They have persisted through adversity and risen (or are rising) to levels that far surpass the average man. I see myself in all of my creative influences therefore it is easy to be inspired by them for I see the level of separation between us as merely timing.
I was being all anti love day but it’s impossible! I AM love so I can’t deny it! And today is the cheesiest express your love day so that’s what I’m going to do!!!!!! Spreading love all throughout the day (EVERYDAY starting now!). My gift to you some of my favorite expressions of love!!!!
My favorite love song:
And for the LOVERS in the house, my favorite MAKE love song lol:
One of my favorite love scenes from a movie:
Over the next 15 years I expect my life to drastically change. I want to experience exponential growth and expansion in my entire life (well except physically lol don’t need no growth in this ole’ body lol). Career, spirit, health, well-being, love though, I just want to EXPLODE into the greatness I truly believe I’m destined to step into! My thoughts of my future overwhelm me and I’m grateful I’ve got so many people in my world that support me and my desires, whatever they may be at the moment. When I first read about Oprah’s 50th Birthday Legends Luncheon, I wanted to do something similar for my birthday. This year seemed like the right time. And although every woman who has made an impact on my life couldn’t be there, I think the ladies that did show up symbolized all that I desire to be. Inspired by images I’d seen from Bevy Smith events, the day was very intimate. I invited everyone for brunch and gave them an index card with a quote, definition, saying and or phrase they had to recite to the group. One by one I had the women who’ve raised me, stood by me, mentored me and worked along side me stand up, say their card then I told a story about them. The intention was pure and simple: to show gratitude for the women in my life. The outcome was one I couldn’t imagine. I let go some long deep seated issues and found peace within myself. I wanted the women who came to feel like they are a special part of my life because without them (and others who could not attend) I’m not sure I’d be where I am. It is impossible to look at me and know my story but know that nothing I am or have accomplished has been a solo endeavor! And that realization alone is BRILLIANT!
Also, here’s a list of the women who were on hand and what they had to say:
- Brandi – “Getting your first job in the business may be the hardest thing you do.” (Brandi got me my first interview for my first gig in good ole’ Hollywood!)
I am constantly in search of the next thing that is going to turn my health, physique, attitude and whole life (pretty much) around for the better. I get that no one thing can do that but hey can’t knock a girl for trying. My latest craze-coconuts. I’ve always loved the smell of coconuts but never been a huge fan of the consistency. When I got older I was a huge fan of pina coladas-as long as no fresh coconut shavings were involved. A few months ago a friend mentioned using coconut oil to fry things at home as well as to moisturize. I meant to get some but forgot (it’s hard to keep up with every new thing that’s gonna turn my world around lol). Anyhoo, I started drinking coconut water following my workouts that involved weights-such a great recovery toxin. The outstanding amount of potassium restores me to my pre-workout levels and doesn’t cause me to end up so sore at the end. The other day I grabbed some of the coconut oil. I had such a LOOOONNNGGGG day yesterday in the middle of a sugarcane field for work. When I got home all I could manage was a nice hot shower. That always leaves my skin dry so I decided to try out my new oil. OH MY GOD! It was felt so good with a great scent! My skin is still so soft now (you already know I just touched it!). Google a bit and you can see some of the outstanding benefits of deez nutz…
Last night was super emotional. I watched WAITING FOR SUPERMAN and it made me feel so helpless. I was really angry at the government, teachers unions, parents, and myself for not doing more to help educate children in America. I started my career as a teacher but gave up very quickly. I remember saying “It’s not worth it,” when preparing our children for the world is so worth the bs I had to go through on the day to day. After the movie, I turned on Oprah. Oprah’s show was about a huge family secret. Her mother had a daughter that she gave up for adoption that only one family member knew about. That secret daughter found out who her mother was and found a way to contact Oprah’s niece. Long story short, they found out she was in fact Oprah’s sister (half sister they have the same mom not dad). Oprah met Patricia this past Thanksgiving for the first time and yesterday’s show shared this story. I expected Oprah to be mad, pissed off and defensive. I thought she’d be done with her mom. Afterall, her mother had all the time in the world to share this secret. And this sister, how could she be sure she didn’t just show up for money? Well Oprah addressed my concerns. Because the sister knew the secret for a few years and never went to the media, Oprah felt a great sense of loyalty to her. (Her other half sister that she grew up with and knew sold the story that Oprah had had an abortion to the tabloids back in the 80s.) As far as her mom, Oprah felt like she was still stuck in 1963-embarrassed that she had gotten pregnant and could not take care of her baby. I guess I was shocked by Oprah’s candor. Yes I see her delve deep into the lives of others everyday but this was her story. Family secrets can be a mess but here she was laying it all out for the world to see. I love that about Oprah. She’s got a way of being so brutally honest that it forces me to live in my truth. One of her last statements was, ” This is the truth as I know it.” The truth does indeed set us free. That’s why Oprah wasn’t burdened by this-she was free from it. She asked her mother to free herself…that made me challenge myself to allow myself more freedom. How can I be more truthful? Where am I not being honest? What am I hiding? What’s blocking my way to being free? As I answer these questions, I challenge myself to do so in a way that doesn’t bring guilt or shame but rather compassion and love. Instead of being mad because I quit teaching, I can release that guilt and recognize that the traditional classroom wasn’t my passion. I can free myself from feeling some kind of way about my own family secrets. I can free myself from all the shoulda, woulda, coulda situations. I’m ready to ask the tough questions, release the things that no longer serve me and move on because in the end, I just want to be free…
I love love love film festivals. During the summer of 2004, I had two internships in Los Angeles and was at the Los Angeles Film Festival. It was an amazing experience – 10 days FULL OF MOVIES from up and coming film makers starring top talent, as well as soon to be released independent films that were making the circuit rounds. Not only were there all types of movies- documentaries, shorts, narratives-there would be great panels and question/answer periods following the film with the filmmakers and actors. That experience solidified my desire to be a filmmaker.
I saw some great narrative shorts during the day, my fav being THE CYCLE centered around a Bed Stuy community. Last night several friends and I went to go see NIGHT CATCHES US. It was starring Kerry Washington and New Orleans native Anthony Mackie. The film was written, directed and produced by Tanya Hamilton (a woman!!!) and was her debut film. We were in for a special treat as Anthony Mackie was on hand to introduce the movie as well as do questions and answers after. The film was beautifully shot, featured great talent (including that guy who played Marlo in The Wire-I still don’t like him b/c of that role lol), and had a nice storyline. Mackie was awesome – backstory: one of my old bosses repped Frankie Flowers who wrote and directed HAVEN in which Mackie starred. Since then I’ve been a fan of his work and always admired how as an African-American actor, he found compelling independent roles. He’s someone I consider to be a thespian as opposed to just an actor because he appears to really seek out roles that most people don’t think exist. He’s played a bit of everything including the late Tupac Shakur. I’m a fan so when he got up to answer questions, I had to ask how he got his representation to be on board with his decisions to do these smaller films (my experience in the management world taught me that most people go for the money roles and don’t value the indie route).
His response was that he got people who understood his vision from the beginning. He elaborated by saying that when pursuing acting or any artistic craft you must be true to only one person: YOU! He said this is a business where you can do what you want regardless of other people’s thoughts or opinions. He encouraged us to really pursue what we desired, the stories we wanted to tell because at the end of the day, that is all that matters. (And he said his team really reviews material presented correctly and they read a lot-not everything, but all of the compelling projects get a look).
That was the highlight of the fest for me (even though I have a whole day of movies to see today). My passion for this is so charged and I’m excited for all that is to come for me creatively. Film festivals are encouraging and remind me that it can be done! And what better place than New Orleans to be reminded that anything is possible!!!
This morning I woke feeling extra great! When I turned off my phone alarm, I noticed I had a missed text from a friend that gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last night (welcome to the world Baby Leila!!!). That made me feel good. And our nice boost of cool fall weather made me want to sport my fav ankle boots. I decided to dress up my normal black tee and jeans and spruce up my hair and makeup a tad bit. Then I got in the car to drive to work and Bruno Mars’ song “Just The Way You Are”. I love love love this song! (I admit, it may be one that gets played so much that by Christmas I’ll probably hate it but for right now it is awesome!) This song made me feel so good to be just as I am! I was looking in the mirror when it came on about to mess with a pimple on on my cheek but as I sang “Girl You’re Amazing Just The Way You Are” I forgot about the little zit. I can tend to overemphasize the negative and get caught up in what’s not right, but I’m a pretty amazing girl when I think about it!!! Here’s the video-I hope you realize that YOU too are amazing right now!!!