Friday, March 27, 2009

Old School Friday: I Had A Bad Day At Work

I've been there. There's a reason Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" and Janelle Monae's "Lettin Go" were some of the most played songs on my I Tunes list.I believe in indulging my sulky mood, before uplifting myself. And while those would be my picks, they are not Old School. But check out that Janelle Monae, pre-Diddy single. It speaks directly to a bad day at work. As a teenager my go to song was My Reflection by Christina Aguilera for Mulan. To this day, my favorite Disney jam. I could keep going on, but you all may think I have way too many bad days. I don't.

Generally anything reminding me of my long gone youth, be it my elementary school's school song, "This is My Father's World" or a sad Mary J. Blige song that I knew all the words to would get me going, but I'll stay close to the theme and hopefully add something to your arsenal.

The problem with me listening to Bob, is I just don't stop. For my reggae sulky song, I usually go to the Sizzla standby, Dry Cry. Not at all work related and not Old School enough but fun to sing along with when you want to sulk.

Moving on. (Let's imagine I posted the Billy Joel catalog here, starting with Piano Man. Just because, he's fun...and that one Journey song everyone knows)

This is representative. My college roommates called me on my tendency to start playing the nearest gospel song when I thought I was going to go ballistic after some bad club meeting.

I went to Kirk Franklin because we performed him in elementary school. We did Lean on Me and Revolution from the Nu Nation Project. We were no Tia or Tamera. ( This was such a great episode and I will never deny that I watched way too much tv...I should not still know all the episodes of Sister Sister)

Anyone can join in on the OSF fun. Check out the rules here and peep other participants below. HAPPY Old School Friday!

AJ - BklynQueen’86 - Bria - CC Groovy - Chocl8t - Cooper - Shawn - Danielle Vyas - Dee - DP - Fresh and Fab - Hagar’s Daughters - Invisible Woman - John - Keith - Kevin - Kim - LaKeisha - LaShonda - Lil Creole Pimp - Lisa C - Mahogany - Malcolm - Marcus - Martin - MarvalusOne - Mike - Mrs. Grapevine - MsLadyDeborah - Pjazzypar - Pop Art Diva - Quick - Regina - Revvy Rev - Shae-Shae - Sharon - SJP - Staci - Tami - Tha Connoisseur - Thembi - Vérité Parlant - Villager - Vivrant Thang - Wheneva Whateva - Zenobia -

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Extra Credit Reading: The Economist on The Other Obama

I have to admit the title of this piece confused me. Even with the picture I figured they were writing about Michelle Obama's mother or some other woman not in the spotlight, because we all hear about Michelle Obama ad nauseum.

Like many other young, eager, wide eyed and bushy tailed women, I became enthralled with the image of Michelle Obama during the 2008 Presidential election campaign season. She was smart, high achieving in business and cool. I even campaigned amongst friends for Michelle Obama as First Spouse sometimes ignoring the politics of actual candidates. And as this obsession with her cool emerged in the media, the emphasis on her career and education became secondary to her down to earth manner, ability to connect and her wardrobe.

Part of the issue lies in what defines cool within larger society. Princeton and Harvard are impressive, but fusion high and low end dressing is cool. In last week's Economist, Lexington (yea we have no idea who writes this stuff...part of "Economist" policy) called on us to bring this into check and remember Michelle Obama for her accomplishments and consider her opinions and views in "The Other Obama". Since I am a glutton for chick lit, I know from American Wife that Alice Blackwell-the fictional Laura Bush- would tell her to go for it. After living eight years under the shadow of Hilary Clinton's time as First Lady she dared not step out of the bounds of the East Wing and in the fictional account ended up in turmoil over her decisions at the end, because she was not expected to have a view on topics outside the safety of education. (my brief summary...I'm not Curtis Sittenfeld).

I'm aware we elected Barack Obama and not Michelle Obama, but it would be nice if we celebrated her entire being a bit more. I'm not calling on her to be an advertisement or to become a shadow member of the government, inserting her own concerns out of a marriage rite. But I am offering a friendly reminder that Michelle Obama is cool...not just because she dresses nicely, has toned arms, is married to Barack Obama, or is the descendant of slaves. She's cool in spite of it all.

But now that I mention it, I wonder if anyone cares about what Carla Bruni-Sarkozy thinks. Is it just an American phenomenon where we are so intrigued by the spouses of those we elect into power to the point where we expect to be bewitched by them and are invariably saddened by their impact on policy be it too much or too little. Should I be able to pinpoint the issues that the first lady has pushed for for the last few presidencies? Oh Eleanor, what have you wrought?


Read the article here:

R.I.P. John Hope Franklin

The world lost a great historian and scholar in John Hope Franklin this week who died in Durham, North Carolina at the age of 94 years old. His long career as a Historian took him many places from his undergraduate days at Fisk to completing his Masters and PHD at Harvard University. He taught at several schools and chaired many history departments. As the head of Brooklyn College's History Department he became the first person of color to chair a major history department. Following his tenure at Brooklyn College, he went on to chair at the University of Chicago before becoming a tenured professor with a chair at Duke University where he taught until 1992.

there are many other highlights in his life. He served as President of the American Historical Association, served on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund with Thurgood Marshall during Brown v. Board of Education, and stuck it out with W.E.B. Dubois. He's also written several books, including the seminal From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans.

Let's all take a moment to honor Franklin and his illustrious and groundbreaking career.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old School Friday: Baby

This week we bring you songs with "Baby" in the title

The first song is simply named Baby. Besides for laughing at the glorified tackiness of the mid 1990s, it's nice to remember that Brandy had a lot going for her. I still blame her for the loss of many people's hairlines. They did not realize that she got her extensions redone regularly.

And sadly, even back then Sinbad didn't have a job. (Trivia: Which Norwood did Sinbad actually have a sitcom with?)

And simply because I couldn't resist. As disrespectful little kids we would sing this behind ppl on the street.

This can only explain why songs like this rose to popularity later on.

Happy and Joyful Old School Friday

Check out other OSF bloggers:

- Ms Grapevine -Quick - -Marcus LANGFORD

- Cassandra - Kevin - iriegal -Mahogany -Hagar's Daughter - Lisa C

-Chocl8t - DP - Dallassouth - John - The Connoisseur - Kreative Talk

- Regina - MsMarvalus - Clnmike - Vivrant Thing

-AJ - Sharon - RevvyRev - Prof. PC - Invisible Woman

-- Cooper - SJP -Bria - BklynQueen 86 - Hey Shae -

- From the Battlefield - Thembi - D Spot - Malcolm -

-Pop Art Diva - Pjazzypar - MsLadyDeborah -

Friday, March 13, 2009

Women's History Month: Your Revolution

I've had this post sitting her for a few days, so I figured I may as well publish it.

Undoubtedly entangled in Women's History Month are discussions of feminism, women's rights, and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. In the last 15 years, gender issues within the black community and hip hop culture have become extremely publicized from letters to boycotts to books, more books, and town hall discussions. In the midst of all this, while listening to the radio late one night in high school, I heard what I thought was a new rap song and got caught up in the story of one woman's quest to get a message across.

Sarah Jones's "Your Revolution" uses lines from radio-approved rap (and a few reggae/r&b) songs to showcase the portrayal of women in music. After getting her spoken word piece on to the radio, the FCC deemed it too raunchy and it could only be played late at night...despite the fact that each song she used a line from got played during the day. Sarah Jones got FedUp but continued performing the piece, eventually moving on to do greater work and getting her own Broadway show "Bridge and Tunnel." I had the opportunity to see her perform at the Brooklyn Museum of Art once and she was really good. Find the text for "Your Revolution" below as well as a video of her performance.

Yeah yeah, yeah this goes out to all the women and men from New York to
London to LA to Tokyo struggling to keep their self-respect in this climate
of misogyny, money worship and mass production of hip-hop's illegitimate child,
Hip-Pop.And this especially goes out to Gil Scott-Heron, friend, living legend
and proto-rapper who wrote "The Revolution will not be Televised." Much Respect.

Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
The real revolution ain't about booty size
The Versaces you buys, or the Lexus you drives
And though we've lost Biggie Smalls
Baby your notorious revolution
Will never allow you to lace no lyrical douche, in my bush
Your revolution will not be killing me softly, with Fugees
Your revolution ain't gonna knock me up without no ring
And produce little future emcees
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not find me in the backseat of a jeep
With LL, hard as hell, you know doin it and doin it and doin it well
doin it and doin it and doin it well, nah come on now
Your revolution will not be you smacking it up, flipping it, or rubbing it down
Nor will it take you downtown or humpin around
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not have me singing, ain't no nigga like the one I got
And your revolution will not be sending me for no drip, drip VD shot
And your revolution will not involve me, feelin your nature rise
Or helping you fantasize
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
No no, not between these thighs
Oh, my Jamican brother, your revolution will not make you feel bombastic
And really fantastic
And have you groping in the dark for that rubber wrapped in plastic
You will not be touching your lips to my triple dip of french vanilla,
butter pecan, chocolate delux
Or having Akinyele's dream, m-hmm a 6-foot blowjob machine m-hmm
You want to subjugate your queen? uh-huh
Think I'm a put it in my mouth, just cuz you made a few bucks?
Please brother please
Your revolution will not be me tossing my weave
And making me believe I'm some caviar-eating ghetto mafia clown
Or me giving up my behind, just so I can get signed
And maybe having somebody else write my rhymes
I'm Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
You know I'm Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
Your revolution makes me wonder, where could we go
If we could drop the empty pursuit of props and ego
We'd revolt back to our Roots, use a little Common Sense
On a quest to make love De La Soul, no pretense
But your revolution will not be you flexing your little sex and status
To express what you feel
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
Will not be you shaking and me *yawn* faking
Between these thighs
Because the real revolution, that's right I said the real revolution
You know I'm talking about the revolution
When it comes, it's gonna be real
It's gonna be real
It's gonna be real
When it finally comes
When it finally comes
It's gonna be real, yeah yeah

Another day I'll bring my theory on revolution in African American poetry from the Black Arts Movement through the hip hop era, but really I have twenty pages on I have to distill my thoughts. (Or I could do a series, but I haven't reached that level of blogging yet).

Old School Friday: Child Singers

Today's Old School Friday is all about the children. And I couldn't help but go to the reggae child singers.

First up is Lil Vicious. He came out at the Martin Luther King Wingate Concerts a few years back because Doug E. Doug was performing and did this same song. His brother was in my sister's class in our small Christian elementary school. Yes it's alright if you shake your head at this little boy singing about "some gal a freak."

And now for more children singing about inappropriate matter, that you just sang along with anyway. This time we go about a decade earlier than Vicious and across the pond to Britain, where Musical Youth covered a song, "Pass the Kutchie" by The Mighty Diamonds, and renamed it "Pass the Dutchie." I'd dare say this is infinitely more popular than the original.

I remember the day it clicked for me that my mother called her soup pot a "dutchie." Oh, synonyms! No joke, Musical Youth has some really good songs. I suggest checking out their catalog. The rest of their songs are more kid friendly as well.

In case you were wondering, child reggae performances are still as relevant today as ever. I present: my senior year of college.

I'm hitting post before I change this into child singers on A Different World and post the episodes with "The Boys," "Immature," and "Kris Kross," or before I post my favorite Brady Bunch Songs.

Anyone can join! Check out other OSF posters and rules here:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Women's History Month

This is my public acknowledgment that it's Woman's History month. Due to complex gender and racial politics as well as history, I'm always less excited for Woman's History month than I am for Black History month. Sue me. I'm going to fail, and not get into that discussion right here, although I'm sure everyone wants to join in and give their two bits on which is more salient or how society has conditioned us or whatever (my intellectualism has been on complete brain fart since sending in my dissertation last September).

So instead of continuing to rant on how much I don't want to think, I'm going to celebrate by putting up the same "cover" from last year and posting one of my favorite celebrations of all things women. Hopefully I will be able to bring yo some more (and more contemporary) before the moth ends.

"Ain't I A Woman" by Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Old School Friday: Songs with Heart

I know, I was gone. I was busy working on a production of FENCES, that went fantabulously well.

Today's Old School Friday Theme is Songs with Heart. I'm assuming this means Heart in the title, or predominately in the lyrics.

For the first time in a while, I've had to think long and hard to even find a song. Forget connections to television.

The first song that pops to mind is Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On" I think I may have been the only person that didn't feel moved by the Titanic, but I did love me some Celine Dion. Maybe if I watched it now, I'd feel different. But as an eighth grader getting my hair cornrowed and hit with the brush because I didn't want to look at the blue corpses, thus leading me to squirm too much, it just wasn't doing it for me.

And then, one of my junior high favorites, "Heartbreak Hotel." NOT THE ELVIS version. This Whitney albums was also one of my favorite albums back then. I actually listened to this yesterday while looking for break up songs for But in actuality, this could have just been a OSF: Whitney Houston post. *humming "Hearts are often broken, when their words are spoken....."

But for everyone that stick by the originals, I'll include the Elvis version. You'll see that they're very very different songs. Just the same name.


Post Script. Just thought of another Whitney Classic, "Where do broken hearts go" But I'll respect the OSF rules, and not post it.