Say it Loud!…I’m Black and I’m Proud!

I’m rooting for everybody Black.
-Issa Rae

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Despite popular belief, I’m black, and I love being black, and I would not trade that in for the world.

Watching Black Panther in theaters opening weekend was just such an amazing experience. An experience I have not been able to see at a mainstream level in such a long time, if ever. In its first weekend, Black Panther made $218 million. 218!!!!!! To put this in perspective, the Jordan Peele written and directed “Get Out”, which is another great movie, opened up with $33 million and “Girls Trip”, another movie for the culture, opened up with $31 million. Like, can your mind even process this right now? Black people have been WINNING for the past year and some months. However, even though “Get Out” and “Girls Trip” didn’t break the top ten grossing movies of 2017, they did place 15th and 26th respectively. Which isn’t an easy feat. We showed up! We did it y’all. But I can’t help but think we can do better. I can’t wait for when this doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because I can’t wait until other people outside of our race will finally recognize and know our worth.

Black Panther is leading in box office sales for 2018 right now and it’s not even close! Thanks to us for showing up and showing out! Additionally, I wnat to shout out the Marvel fanboys as well, but let me put this in perspective. Black Panther opened up their box office weekend outdoing Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Logan, AND Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 last year. Only being beat by Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.

THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE! WE! SHOWED! UP!

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And what’s so much better about this, is that THEY. SHOWED. UP. The Director/Writer, the Actors, every single person who was a part of this project. Black Panther was more than just a superhero movie. It oozed of culture. It celebrated our culture! Even though Wakanda is very advanced, you see women wearing their hair beautifully, naturally, dressed in ensembles that oozed of African prints that seemed to be influenced by Kenyan cloth (I’m sure I’m wrong on the country here, don’t kill me). Even when you see T’challa and crew walking through the city, you see shops with Wakandans selling goods and merchandise, as it being the normal way of living. These people of Wakanda were showing their beauty. Taking Pride in their culture. The dances seen when the “battle” for King went on. The fact that the fate of Wakanda almost SOLELY depended on the women. When you think of advanced civilizations, you don’t think of markets, you don’t think of unpermed natural hair, you don’t think of African print clothing.. I LOVED IT. EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.

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I’m so glad that Black Panther embodies this, because for the people that are not of color and do not know much about African culture, they were able to see a part of our history in a positive light. Usually, black people are portrayed as dumb, drug addicts, weed smoking, criminals of some sort and we are so tired of being represented this way in the mainstream. This is why we love ourselves. This is why we love to celebrate were we come from, because in most instances it has been stripped away from us. We barely see or know our history. We were taken away from our roots and forced to work as slaves for hundreds of years. This leads us to yearn and celebrate where we come from. From being descendants of Kings and Queens, to being knocked down to virtually nothing during slavery, only to come back out on top hundreds of years later gives me hope and promise and just joy that my black is beautiful and that I am worth it.

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The release of Black Panther is an event! It’s own “comic-con” of sorts. I encourage all of us to embrace our blackness and continue to show the world how amazing we are. I’ve only decided to focus on Black Panther for this post, but we are doing amazing things in music, TV, and movies. Continue to be proud and continue to support us, as we are worth every single ounce of our existence. And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

#wakandaForever

A Love Letter on Valentine’s Day

My Dearest Friends,

Thank you for the love and light you have given me in my life. At my lowest points, when I feel unworthy of love or incapable of being loved, you are there to remind me of my “enoughness” and that I am loved.

Valentine’s is a celebration of love and I’d be remissed to ignore the great deal of love that you put into my life. My oldest friends, those we cannot remember how or when we became friends, thank you. You keep me grounded in my roots, you remind me of the past and how much I’ve overcome, and your love always feels like coming home – familial, warm, and safe. You are my rock. We have withstood time.

To my friends who developed during hard times in my life. Who gave me a love wine and whiskey, fed me when I was too sad or weak to feed myself, and weaved yourselves into the fabric of my being, thank you. I love you for providing me the gift to grieve and reinvent myself with no judgement and lots of space. I’m thankful we are still friends, and I hope I’ve been able to return that.

To my friends who quickly became family. Who encourage me to dig deeper, stay authentic, and fulfill my potential on a level I cannot even see at times, I’m so grateful for your ability to believe and see the good in me when I cannot. I’m grateful that you hold me accountable to be the woman you see, even when I feel like shit. That you remind me of my worth on low days. You give me the gift of self worth.

I’m thankful for the friends who have stepped in as family in my travels. That have been the sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and cousins when my biological family could not fulfill those roles due to space, time, and place. Thank you for inviting me to the metaphorical “cook outs” and family dinners, and keeping me safe and always making me feel like someone has my back.

Thank you to those who know me better than myself, and remind me when I forget. I’m grateful for my friends who tell me like it is, but with a gentle touch that reminds me, they love as they love themselves.

I love you all and the way you make laugh, cry, and rejoice. The way I could never truly be lonely because you all live in my heart and remind me often that you do.

I most of all you love you because you allow me into your worlds, expose your vulnerabilities with me, and trust me with your being and souls. I can only hope the love you feel from me is half the love I feel from you.

You all allow me to be me without condition or expectation. You are my soulmates and my Valentines forever. No matter what happens romantically in my life, I always know I have love because of you.

I love you. You matter. May your life be filled with the love you crave and desire, and not a penny less. Happy Valentine’s Day from the bottom of my heart.

XOXO,

LeAnna

Pictures that make me happy

I like to think I’m sort of a photographer when I’m out and about in places I’ve never explored before.  I sometimes even look like a tourist in my own city.  Constantly pulling my phone out to take pictures of the Charlotte Skyline, or something that I think is just “neat”.

I used to didn’t really care about taking pictures with my phone.  I was definitely all about living in the moment and just enjoying it for what it was.  But having a camera allows us to relive these moments over and over.  The pictures I take with my Google Pixel has captured most, if not all, of my happiest moments in life.  Looking back at each photo, each tells it’s own story and it reminds me of good times when times aren’t necessarily so good.

I’m by no means a professional, at all and I would love to own a DSLR camera one of these days to see what I can really do.  Maybe there will be an opportunity in the future for me to buy one.  Who knows? And if I do ever get one, maybe I’ll find more things to take pics of.

I’d like to share with you all some of my favorite pics.  All of these pics are my own, and I should probably watermark them before posting here, but ah hell, who cares.

 

 

If you like these pics, I have more on IG @eM_Daht. Beware, there are a lot of selfies!

 

Regret (a story/poem thing)

*Before the poem: it would be really awesome if this blog became a huge sensation and Ellen had us on her show and Oprah came to cohost just so she could interview my friends and I and we traveled the world doing interviews and speaking to crowds and offering inspiration, encouragement and laughter. But until that happens, I am supper thankful for a place to go when at 2:30 am when I can’t sleep, either from excitement about a mini vacation, or from the words you are about to read, and put my thoughts in writing. I’ve never been one for journaling as I didn’t understand the point of writing something no one would read. And while maybe only my fellow bloggers, two friends I’ve guilt tripped into reading, my family, and a handful of people who stumble across the page read it, it’s still helpful. I hope you enjoy my early morning/late night ramblings and those of my friends. And now a story/poem of my current thoughts. Not sure what it’ll end up being so we will find out together.*

I regret few things in life

Because every decision good or bad, right or wrong has played some role in who I am today.

A short list of things I regret:

1. Any time I have made a boy more important than spending time with family and friends.

And not in the like hey I’m getting to know you so I’ll be hanging out with you instead of sitting at home.

But more in the way of, I’m going to wait upstairs by the phone as my Nan lays dying downstairs. Because I’m too afraid to miss a call but I’m also afraid of death.

Other people’s and my own.

As in, spending every weekend not on call out of town for fear of argument to the point where my mother felt like I was divorcing her, I turned away from God and I’m too fearful to know how my daughter felt as words like neglected and forgotten come to mind.

As in best friends, who for a brief moment in time became infrequent acquaintances whom I feared I lost and the relationship that took its place was no where near as beautiful and amazing and important as the one being ignored.

2. Mentioned above. As my precious Nan (my maternal grandmother) lay dying down stairs, I stayed upstairs.

Watching Orange is the New Black on the worlds slowest WiFi

Pretending to work

Waiting for phone calls.

Wanting to spend the moments that I knew would be the last time I saw her, with her, but not knowing how.

People often ask where I’m from and I don’t have an answer.

But if anyone ever asked where I called Home I would quickly respond. Nan’s house.

A constant in an early childhood full of adventure and travel.

“We’re going home this summer” always meant Nan’s house.

Always felt like Home

Always felt safe

Always felt like love

Always had her

Until it didn’t anymore

I regret saying bye, having never fully said hello.

I once did a project on her in grad school but asked my mom all of the questions.

3. My father once encouraged me to spend some time at Grannie’s house and learn to cook like her.

I regret saying no

Fearful of a woman I barely knew

Memories of switches torn from branches meant for my cousins for crimes we both committed.

She was a strong, beautiful, black woman.

As a child, this scared me.

I regret not having any long, deep, intimate conversations with her.

I regret not knowing her story.

I regret, as a child, not wanting the black American girl doll that shared her.

I know I will never enjoy corn bread again.

I fear this recipe is now lost on earth but am certain it is enjoyed daily in heaven by all who are there.

I am not certain of much in life. But if this one thing I know.

God has gone to prepare a place for me. If it were not true he would not have said it.

Whether it be a mansion on streets of gold.

Or a wooden shack in a quiet wood.

In it is a table.

And at that table, maybe once or twice a week,

Nan and Granny meet.

Over a plate of corn bread and scalled buns.

And they look down.

And check in on their not so little mixed granddaughter

Who tonight, sits crying in bed for reasons she doesn’t quite understand

Over regrets, that have too, shaped who she is as a woman.

And they laugh, and they cry, and they facepalm themselves, and they high five, and talk to each other.

And occasional they whisper

“It’ll be okay.”

“Filthy” is exactly that…

FUNK is BACK!

Childish Gambino started it, then Bruno Mars picked it up and did it justice, and now Justin Timberlake is riding the wave with them!

Upon first listen of Justin Timberlake’s new track “Filthy” I wasn’t really feeling it.  I felt disappointed. It was the first thing I woke up to. Like a child on Christmas morning, I was expecting the greatest gift, but got left with Socks and tshirts.

But then I watched the video.

Justin Timberlake, looking like Steve Jobs, walks out to a round of applause to his “fans” per se, to show off his newest accomplishment.  And to nobody’s surprise, the crowd is eating it up.  They love his new dancing robot machine.  A proud JT is standing on the sidelines watching his newest invention dance around and mirror Michael Jackson’s swag (we’ll get to this a little later) and then once he’s done showing off his robot, *POOF*, he disappears.

Now, again, I’m not a journalist.  I’m hardly an intellectual.  But there are some metaphors in the video that made me like the song a little bit more as a whole.  I still wasn’t a fan of it mostly, and the reason why was just that it was kind of like SexyBack when it first came out.  Just a Pop beat with repetitive lyrics.  SexyBack wasn’t really supposed to be a “work of art”. It was there to serve a purpose of just being a banger, get everybody moving, and it eventually made it to that point.

But the video, long story short I think, represents how society is so zombified by tech in this world that we’re just ready for the “Next Big Thing” all the time.  And we’re so blind to maybe how simple this “big thing” is.  And JT, his character rather, is on the sidelines just eating it up.  He has his next wave of fans for the next year that will just buy anything.  Then at the end of the video, he disappears.  Where to? Nobody knows, but something tells me he’s put into the woods, to learn his “roots”.  Or whatever. Who knows…

This train of thought allowed me to appreciate the song a little better as a whole, accompanied with the video.  But then it was time to get my headphones and dissect the instrumentals, and MY GAWD, Timbo, Danja, and JT killed the instrumentals on this track.

Now this…this was the real “Filthy” part of this song.  From the intro, the song starts out bold, like you knew it was about to be high energy.  It had this whole Rock “Now coming to the stage” vibe, then he instantly changes it to these calm, trancey sounding synth, and mysterious 808 pattern. It was almost like a disappointment of sorts.  Like, all of this fanfare and lights and sound, and you show up with THIS? But a lot of times, we’re looking for the excitement when the genius of the track is right under your nose.  If you listen to it closely, you’ll be nodding your head in no time.  8 bars after the true beat starts this NASTY ass Bass guitar comes in and just freaks it. Then you get the lead guitar putting a little country twang in there to give a little foreshadowing vibe of the “woods” part of this project.  The animal adlibs along the way helps out to identify this in the track as well.  And once you get every part of the song rolling, it’s a embodiment of some old funk, soul, country sounding pop. I also noticed a little Michael Jackson vibe in his tone as well.  This along with the dance moves of the robot in the video, definitely lets you know that he at least slightly channeled MJ on this track.

Overall, I think it’s a sick track.  The socks and tshirts that I hated so much when I first unwrapped my present on Christmas morning ended up being the best thing I could ask for. Justin never disappoints me so yeah, I’m biased.  However, the weakest part of this song is the beat change-up near the end; It isn’t one of my favorites, but once they bring that “Filthy” Bass solo back into play before the outro I’m back into the trance.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of this album!

 

Edit: Totally forgot that Donald Glover is a part of the Funk Resurgence in Hip Hop

To assume will only make an ass out of yourself, and leave me laughing at you.

In response to “Justin Timberlake is rebranding himself as a white Man” From The Outline. An article about upcoming album “Man of the Woods” by Justin Timberlake.  

Dear Ann-Derrick,

This is satire, right? It has to be. I hope it is.

But just in case it isn’t…

I’m not a journalist, and I don’t try to be.  I’m just a casual blogger that has a lot to say and I read your post this week, only because I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan.  So yeah I may be a little biased, but I’m not blind.

Or maybe I am…However…

Something tells me that you’re probably not a fan of Justin Timberlake.  Something tells me that you have no earthly idea of how he’s carried himself through the entertainment and music industry for the last 23 years he’s been doing this thing.  We’ll just focus on the last 13 or so though, since his solo career is what you seem to have a problem with.

“Justin Timberlake is rebranding as a white man”. 

???

When was Justin Timberlake ever not white?  Ok Ok, I know, too literal, right?  So let’s look at it from a cultural standpoint.  From the start of your article, you visualize the settings from which Justin’s album teaser is set from (You did a good ass job with that, by the way).  And for some strange reason, I don’t have any idea why, you immediately think “Damn this is some white people shit”.  Just because he’s in some wilderness setting.

“White colonialist fantasies aside, there’s something very familiar about this pivot in Timberlake’s style.” 

These are your words.  Mind you, the album, NOR the single has even dropped at this point when you posted your article, so how is this pivot familiar? What pivot? What are you basing your opinion on? Additionally, how is this quote even related to his race? Oh, the visuals? Because this is some “white people shit”?  White people love the outdoors and wilderness.  But here’s a news flash.  Probably not many, but black people tend to love this as well, but that’s beside the point.  You’re assuming here that Timberlake’s visual association of wildlife to be sort of a “celebration” of his whiteness, and we all know what assuming things get you.

Authenticity is quite marketable now, and for white pop stars that means shifting away from the hip-hop and R&B-influenced sounds that made them famous, and toward the sounds of Southern and country rock. For Timberlake, the pivot should be sonically natural: Originally hailing from Tennessee, Timberlake has never been shy about celebrating his Southern origins. And considering Pharrell and Timbaland are both producers on the album, Man of the Woods is likely to retain some familiar influences.

So why are you even typing this article right now?

But with his insistence in the video that this album will be his most personal yet, Timberlake is indulging in the inexplicably popular fallacy that music with heavy country influences is somehow more profound or emotionally acute than music that is electronic, lyrics that are rapped, or songs that inspire listeners to shake their asses.

Have you heard the track yet? Because all of this assumption is just really causing a problem for me.

Not to straight up copy and paste your whole article here, but you are reaching SO MUCH.  I feel that you are reading too much into this.  Justin Timberlake has essentially grown over the years as an artist.  From a young teen heartthrob (Justified), to the sexy young adult (FutureSex/LoveSounds), to the experienced sexy adult (The 20/20 Experience) to full out husband and family man (Man of the Wild). He’s calling this his most profound and personal because this album is reflecting his personal life.  If writing about your family isn’t considered profound just on it’s own without including race then I’m not sure if you have a full grasp of the word.  How in the hell do you get “Justin is rebranding as a white man” out of this, is beyond me.

Timberlake has a long history with hip-hop and R&B, genres invented and dominated by black people(…)His first single as a solo artist featured legendary hip-hop duo Clipse and was co-written by The Neptunes.

Justin Timberlake has worked with Timbaland and The Neptunes for the vast majority of his solo career.  If anyone is to blame for him appropriating black culture, they share the blame.

Now that that is out of the way, Justin Timberlake’s first single “Like I Love You” with Clipse was a Pop track with a Rap feature. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that track on a single Hip Hop station growing up.  To add to that, Justified was solely a Pop album with hints of hip hop flare due to Timbaland and The Neptunes.  With the exception of “Cry Me a River”, Timberlake’s songs were rotated on Pop stations.

It wasn’t until FutureSex/LoveSounds when Justin got more play on Urban stations and even then only half of the album (if that) consisted of a straight up Urban tone. The rest of it was Pop.  Tell me the last time you heard “SexyBack” on a Hip Hop radio station? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

With the 20/20 Experience, Justin ventured into Pop Soul, which had his most Urban influence for an album.  But it wasn’t that he was straight up jacking the hip hop style, he involved Pop into something different. Into something great, and I implore you to go back and listen to it.

Again I don’t think that you’ve really listened to Justin’s music.  Which I guess you don’t really have to, to come up with this crazy notion of an article you’ve written here.  Also, I feel that people of color don’t really appreciate Justin’s music other than his singles that play on urban hip hop stations.  Justin has never branded himself as black.  People just tend to have this mindset that he’s appropriating the culture and I feel that that’s where you get this notion about him branding himself as a black person.  And you know what, it’s fine to feel that he’s appropriating the culture, because to an extent, he is, but I feel that he’s appropriating by association, and who’s to blame for that?

Maybe that’s a conversation for another day…

 

Edit:  After speaking with a few friends on this topic, I may have missed the ultimate point of the original article.  However, I do feel that the original author is jumping the gun prematurely at the fact that the music has not been released. So who knows if Justin will be embracing his “white roots”.  Being able to “play the field” due to privilege is more of a societal issue than it is a personal issue. And maybe one day we can work on that.

Much Love

 

Y’all…

Let it be known that as of RIGHT NOW, the first week in January of 2018 will be forever know as “Malc got his music life” week!

First Justin Timberlake…

Now Bruno and Cardi B?!?!?!?

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Now, I already LOVED Bruno Mars’ Album 24K Magic. AND “Finesse” was like my freaking JAM just because it had 90s flare dripping ALL throughowt that joint! When I first heard it I was legit mad I didn’t have anybody to do the “Kid N Play” dance with.  I started Bell Biv DeVoe’n by my damn self at work!  I was hype AF when I heard that joint.

So to my wonderful surprise, I open up Spotify this morning and see that one of my ALL. TIME. FAVORITE. artist had a new song out.  A remix.  With Cardi B? On one of my beloved songs off of 24k? (And yes I’m a Cardi fan, even though I don’t know her mixtape shit, I recognized her talent with “Bodak” don’t try it. I’ve been looking out for her ever since. Yes I’m late to the party, whatever.)

I played the track and to make a long story short, I LOVED IT.  Cardi kept true to the feel of the song, and did pretty great on her verse.  Even though the flow was 90s, her lyrics were 2010, and you know what. I’m down with it.

BUT

Somebody informed me there was a Video…

Say wha nah? (Pulls up YouTube)

Y’all…

IF THIS WASN’T THE MOST 90S SHIT I’VE SEEN IN MY DAMN LIFE.  Nostalgia isn’t something I dwell into much, but 90s music nostalgia, I AM ALL ABOUT.  From the opening cut,  they literally were dripping of Fresh Price of Bel-Air swag.  Fucking awesome! The colors! The Clothes! The…Vibe was just right!

Then Cardi’s verse finishes and you see Bruno “dancing”. (Like, I know he has SOME moves, but Bruno’s dancing needs a little work, just saying). And I’m like “OK, what’s this”. Because all you see is Bruno, and two other dancers and just some colors in the back during the first verse.

Then they show the wide shot…

IS THIS…IS THIS THE MOTHER FUCKING “IN LIVING COLOR” SET?!??!?!

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Then I thought back to the beginning of the video and was like, “Wait, THAT WAS THE IN LIVING COLOR INTRO!”

(My mind gets away from me sometimes)

I was done at that moment…I don’t even need JT’s new single tomorrow. I could die today and feel the love.

This video was so simple, that it was brilliant.  Showing a few flashes of Black Greatness through entertainment in the 90s and just showing how we just liked to dance and have fun and just let loose back then.  I do hate that they didn’t portray some other great images of the 90s in the video, but I’ll take this for what it is.

Music was fun in the 90s…This video helped me live that again for 3 minutes out of my day…