More than a Game Changer, A NAME Changer

Two weeks ago was a random Thursday that became a very significant Thursday when the man of my life suggested we call our minister to see if he would have time to marry us that afternoon. And at three p.m. I became a Mrs.! Good stuff! Taking a break from law school apps to have my name legally changed, I now sit in the SSA office waiting for A35 to become A53 and I allow myself a moment to give the due consideration to the magnitude of what I’ve just committed myself to. I am changing my name. I am changing MY name!!! In moments I will have a new identity, I will invent a new person and my former identity ceases to be. Heavy. I know I will still be myself and it won’t improve my credit score either nonetheless…I give up my name for someone else’s.  While I’m sure a lot of women are as selective as I have been when it comes to identifying a potential husband, I wonder if they all really consider the magnitude of what we are giving up, the principal behind it all.  The following is likely a collection of disjointed ramblings, competing mildly related thoughts…ride wit me

Despite my charm, an IQ that qualifies me for MENSA and my LSAT score, good looks, quick wit and I could go on but I don’t like to brag, my life to this point has been one of many lessons learned, unexpected changes and well-earned bumps and bruises.  Simply put, while my achievements to this point may not get me in the Journal, it has been  a pretty epic ride.  But last Thursday, I jumped out the window, no parachute.  Him? Still a Mr., last name unchanged and he gained a live-in chef, a maid with mild cleaning related OC tendencies on top of all the other phenomenal woman/mother/wife stuff.  I definitely did not get the short end of the stick as he is pretty darn magnificent as well, but I have relinquished a great deal of independence in addition to the selfishness we all must give up.  I am now identified as a wife because of three letters and a period: Mrs.   I suppose for me the idea of packing up my place and changing my name is symbolic of packing up all of the history that contributed to me becoming Brookes, placing it into a box and moving into the next phase of my development, embarking on the next leg of the journey of life and it demands that I take a pause to reflect.  

My pastor recently mentioned the significance of taking the time to appreciate the season you’re leaving as you enter a new one.  So, as I move into the next season with an excitement that can’t be contained, anticipation of an even greater run than the last, fearlessness and a great deal of faith, I respectfully process all that has happened in the previous season, good and bad.  I courageously release all the habits and associations that don’t have a place in the new season, but I neatly pack all the heart-warming memories, the recollections that make me thank God for growth and for grace, the moments that built my strength and my character and prepared me for today and my future, the love and the laughs, and I tuck them away in the corners of my mind.  Feels like that moment at the end of Set It Off when Jada is sitting on the bed laughing and crying.  I’m not gonna shave my head and move to Mexico, but as I add the hyphen to my name it feels similarly.  Life.  What an amazing trip…LET’S GOOOOOOO!!!

Mrs. Brookes

Advertisements

Good Girl Gone Bad

We’ve all heard it before, and Rihanna is a walking billboard confirming the notion that once a good girl goes bad she’s gone forever.  I can identify with this statement myself.  I won’t bore you all with the events and circumstances that may have contributed to and led me to become a “bad girl”, but I can admit that for a period I squeezed into the proverbial clown suit* and performed my best bad girl impersonation…and rather successfully.  Depending upon when  a person met me they could easily have met two very different individuals. When the bad girl rap got old and I recognized that it just wasn’t all that fulfilling for me, I worked diligently to get back to my old self, fruitlessly.  Turns out the adage is pretty true.  

However, I have learned that while the good girl may be gone forever, you can be a great woman!  All of life is continuing education, ongoing training of sorts.  If you don’t like who’ve you become, don’t try to be who you were before, just work towards being the best person you can be now.  Search out the positive lesson or development that you can take from the parts of the journey you feel don’t represent you well, and hold on to that.  Life will continue to give you opportunities to evolve and develop into a greater person.  Just keep going!  The woman you become could be even greater than what the “good girl” in you aspired to become.  You weren’t meant to be the same person today as you were back then.  If you are still alive, which you appear to be, you were meant to live, grow, evolve, CHANGE!  Keep growing.  Hold onto the lessons and look forward.  Your future can be brighter than your past!!

-Brookes

*this refers to what one figuratively wears when operating in utter foolishness.  One might don the clown suit while on Spring break in college, or during an early 20s party girl phase, or on any given night that involves excessive drinking.

I Don’t Wanna Be Loved….I DON’T Wanna Be Loved??? Huh?

...oh the days when it was cool to love and value women.

I was listening to the radio the other day, which I rarely do, because no matter how much you like a song, you hate it when it is played every seven minutes and twenty-three seconds, and I heard this song that was jammin!  I turned the radio up, and started to groove, not so much listening to the lyrics, and then I heard the hook…I don’t wanna be loved, I don’t wanna be love, I just want a quickie….I found myself reminding myself to close my mouth.  I’m so disturbed because I can only imagine that this song is considered a contemporary “slow jam”….Someone’s lil girl is being seduced by some boy passionately suggesting that she be his quickie buddy, and that being able to separate feelings from sex is a sign of maturity. I would venture to say that in previous generations there were definitely girls who went for this, or felt empowered by being able to have meaningless sex, but it seems that this girl is quickly becoming the rule, not the exception?  Is that acceptable?  Perhaps this evolution isn’t an issue at all.  Where should young people learn about romance, and what they should expect from a mature romantic relationship?  Where did we learn this?

Is there anything on the airwaves for popular urban music that is giving this generation even the semblance of heterosexual romance or love?  Anything on these types of stations that might tell a young girl that when she grows up a young man will come along that she will fall in love with, who will show her that he loves her and wants to be with her and spend the rest of his life loving her?  Ok, well how about a song that will tell her that she has value beyond her sex appeal, sexual skills?  As I continued listening I found that the station was dominated with explicit sexual messages about the male prowess, ability to make a young lady wet the bed, make her legs shake, describing women as accessories, bros before hoes (super homo)mentality or “empowered” women spewing aggression and claims of finding pleasure in the use of whips and chains in sex.  There were very few exceptions.  Of course, the line up has to be no more than about 15 songs repeated throughout the day.  Recognizing that the listening demographic is likely 13-25 I have to ask what kind of character development this supports.  While I’m sure we can all agree that there is definitely a sector of parents that cannot be relied on to shape their child’s development along these lines, so is there a responsibility of artists to consider the messages they are sending?  Could part of the responsibility fall on the stations that air the music?  Or, am I just showing my age by even seeing an issue?  idk. let’s go!

oh yeah, guess who’s bizzack. I shouldn’t a left you, without a dope beat to step to!  

-Brookes

Why Are We So Damn Sensitive??

Why would anyone be offended by what this guy says?

I skimmed read a story a while ago discussing Lebron’s apology for calling a question retarded during a post game interview…STFW! was my first response, but after much discussion I recognized that this was socially unacceptable, politically incorrect and at least potentially offensive to retarded mentally challenged people.

I reluctantly accept that calling stupid ish retarded offends mentally challenged folks because it’s like you’re calling them stupid…riiiight.  Let’s take a closer look at this.  The definition for mental retardation is a general disorder ” characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors.  The source goes on to declare that MR is a subtype of intellectual disability which covers a much broader range of intellectual deficiencies.  Ok, now let’s look at stupid.  Stupid is concisely defined as lacking intelligence.  Lacking intelligence…intellectually deficient…intellectual disability…hmmm.  I’ve been classified as “mildly retarded” by a psychologist in one functional measure so perhaps that explains why I fail to see the measurable difference in those definitions.  Am I an asshole?  Perhaps, but the only difference I recognize is that retardation is a disorder in cognitive functions and stupidity may occur without cause.  All of that to say, why is calling something displaying a lack of relative intelligence, intellectually deficient or retarded offensive to someone who has a disorder that renders them  intellectually deficient, lacking the average level of intelligence?
Okay okay okay, I’m not oblivious to the drive to be more politically correct and that it is socially unacceptable to say things that might offend those who are different from us, but shitgotdamn, when did it become offensive to call retarded people retarded?  Did a retarded person decide they wanted to be called something else because “retarded” was derogatory?  Perhaps the individual who reasoned that was diagnosed improperly, cause that’s an exhibition of too much cognitive functionality.
I had a boss who passionately explained to me how appalled she was by a kid at her son’s school calling him “white boy”…..her son is White.  After wiping the retarded dumbfounded look from my face, I pointed out that her son was White and that he will proudly assert that on any demographic survey.  Apparently the inflection in the Black lad’s voice made a mark of privilege and entitlement suddenly derrogatory…I guess.   Boo Hoo!! The same way they pronounce blaaaaack gets under my skin too!! As if!  As I saw posted on my homie’s FB page yesterday in a discussion of this same article, when did it become offensive to call a spade a spade? no pun.
Just in case you don’t hate me enough already, here is some other hypersensitive ish I just don’t get.  Gay.   I love the gays and I’m liked by the gays and not like The Donald and Blacks.  Really.  I’ve been called a “fag hag”, meaning I’m a straight woman who has close gay friends that I spend a lot of time with.  I’ve had this discussion with them and they were unable to explain to me why someone referring to people, activities or attire that would suggest a preference for same-sex as gay, offensive. Men in skinny jeans, gay as hell to me.  Men in make-up, gay ish.  If anyone at all could take offense, though they shouldn’t, it would be the self-declared straight person being called gay.  Not because being called gay is an insult as much as it just isn’t true.
I know some retarded smart ass is gonna liken all of this to Nigger to make a point of how this is offensive.  First off, that is completely different because while I recognize historically that nigger was a derogatory name directed at my race, I’m not offended if someone calls another person outside of my race a nigger.  Not at all.  But I recognize that nigger has ALWAYS been derogatory. SN:  I know a little history, and am aware of the evolution of negre, niger and nigger.  nonetheless, nigger is and has always been derogatory.  Back to the regularly scheduled program…
Secondly,I am not offended by anyone pointing out something in someone else that is associated with what/who I actually am.  I’m a woman.  My hormones fluctuate.  I’m hormonal.  If a guy shows signs of what is commonly associated with a woman’s hormonalness, I am not offended if another guy friend asks him when he got ovaries, or if he is on his period, or if his panties are too tight.  I’m not offended if someone ask a Kim K doppelgänger if she has Black in her(or if she wants any, which would be super lame).  I’m not offended when someone ask my Jewish friend with the fro if he has Black in him. <– Really B?
UNDERSTAND!!!  I am not condoning any form of discrimination upon any of the groups identified, but we are fooling ourselves if we think teaching people to play nice in public and not call names is making people more sensitive to differences.  We’re just more sensitive/aware of what can be considered offensive.
So peoples, honestly, am I really an asshole?  Do I need more sensitivity training or is this shit just getting ridiculous?  What say you?  I really wanna know!!!!!!!
No, I think you really are an asshole.  I do think that as a society we have become hypersensitive, and I would agree that he shouldn’t have to issue a response to ROPA (Retarded Other People of America).

where PASSION meets PURPOSE

The newest producer to enter the game, and arguably one of the most sincere that we’ve had in quite some time, Stephen Starks, who goes by the moniker of S-Choir Music, is the creative mind behind the productions available online at www.s-choirmusic.com.   So far, the full-time attorney has established a musical portfolio that offers a dynamic collection of tracks to roll out to, roll up to, help you unwind, club bangers as well as a lil’ something for lovers .  His style can not be linked to any one genre as he offers  joints like the funky and racy  jam “Ridin”, think Britney Spears (pre-K-fed), to joints like “Me and My Girl” which is a light, fun summer day kinda joint.  In my opinion, his musical mastery is demonstrated with tracks such as the emotionally charged “Off Balance” which offers a legato melody accompanied with  a contrasting and ever so slightly off-tempo drum kick.  Lucky for us, he was able to squeeze us in for a brief interview to speak with me about what inspires him to make the clean, refreshing musical compositions available on his site.

B: So would you say that you believe making music to be your purpose?

S-Choir: I would.  I believe that we are put here for many purposes.  One of mine is to be the best man, son, husband, and father (when the days for the latter two come) that I can be.  Professionally, I believe that I am currently attempting to master the art of being the best lawyer I can be.  But, music has always been my passion, and with that comes the challenge of trying to produce quality music every time, without exceptions.  And, I think that is a huge challenge because if it wasn’t every musician would be able to do it with ease and that’s not what I’m hearing.  So, yes, I believe making music–good music–is my purpose.  Now, whether I’ll be able to reach my goal of never letting the people down is a completely different question.

B: What is the inspiration behind great songs like “Off Balance”(one of my personal favorites), “Love Makin”, “Lay On Me” and “Ridin'”?

S-Choir: For me, unlike what I hear about other producers, I don’t walk around with beats in my head.  But, when I sit down in front of the keyboard, I do think that things come to me.  When you hear my music, that’s where I am at the current time.  The music is me for the time being.  There is no grand equation, but what comes out when I sit down at the keyboard with a gin and tonic is what I am and where I am at that time.  I only hope that the listeners appreciate me in that space. 

B: Can you tell us about your process?

S-Choir: I think I just did.  I absolutely love chords.  I do.  With all my heart, I do.  And, the next best thing is strings.  But, perhaps my strength is drums.  Combine those with a dim light, some incense, the right groove, and a cocktail, and the magic happens.  I could do this all day and night every day and night.  I love music!

B: Who out there would you compare your sound/style to?

S-Choir: I wouldn’t.

B: Who are your inspirations?

S-Choir: Although I absolutely love Kanye and Dre, I would say that Pharrell Williams is my main inspiration as far as producers go.  His appreciation for keys and chords is second to none.  I love what he does.  On a personal music acquaintance level, Jeremias Tamarez (producer) and John Redmon (gospel and R&B singer) have been two of the most supportive musicians out there when it comes to what I do.  Those guys are selfless and have given me the support and confidence to make me realize that I have genuine ability.  And, I continue to learn from them.  I thank them.  Musically, that’s where I’m at.

B: How would you define yourself/sound?

S-Choir: Unique and consistent.  I don’t think that I have a particular sound outside of my love for chords, strings, and drums.  But, I will say that I think I take it seriously every time.  I’m a huge fan of the mid-tempo song.  You know, the song that can be either an R&B or Hip-Hop track.  I have always thought that when you hear a beat and you can’t tell which way you’re leaning, you may be on to something.  I think that if you listen to my stuff, you’ll find that they could be either R&B or Hip-Hop tracks.  I’m not sure a lot of producers can say that.

B: Who do you make music for?

S-Choir: Honestly, I make it for those who truly love it.  Not those who just listen to the radio, but for those who listen to the radio and are unhappy. I make it for those who appreciate simple complexity as I like to call it.  I’m not trendy when it comes to music.  I think that a good song is like a good movie.  Even if you walk away pissed at a movie’s ending, as long as you walk away affected, then the movie was successful.  Like good movies, my goal is to make you feel differently than you did before you heard my song.  If I did that, then I was successful.  I make music for music lovers.  At least I hope I do.  I want to.

B: Is there anything you want to tell the people?

S-Choir: Sure.  I’d like to say that if I ever get to the point where I’m doing this to make a living, which is a goal, please know that I take your $13.99 very seriously.  I’m not into producing average music.  I hope that an S-Choir Music track is your favorite track on the CD.  And, if I were ever lucky enough to produce a premier artist’s entire CD, know that every track will be all that I have to give.  If every artist approached music like that today I think we’d be in much better shape.

Wrap-

I suppose this is my opportunity to get my Syd Shaw on, underground review style.  While most of the song snippets available to preview at www.s-choirmusic.com boast the talent of this music producer, moonlighting as an attorney, I fell in love with the tracks that felt the most honest.  If you’re like me at all, music is not entertainment but one of the most profound manners of communication.  I send tracks, not love letters, to express my deepest feelings.  Even without words music can present an individual in a vulnerable, completely naked state.  S-Choir’s ability to give me that as well as the joints to make me bob my head, lay back or get hype  is what is putting him on the radar.  In any field passion for what you do goes farther than just about anything that can be posted on a resume.  S-Choir’s passion for music is apparent in his productions as they each are musical compositions and not just beats. He correctly assessed his style as unique as I can’t think of a top producer who manages to use chords as he does and balance it with varying drums without it coming out as a ballad.  Should his self-definition of consistent prove true, I expect it won’t be long before he’s regarded as one of the best in the game.  S-Choir Music is where passion meets talent, technique and production.  We at Mimosas and Grits wish you much success.

-Brookes

Marketable Hood Traits

Swag On

 When I think of the POTUS and what he has undoubtedly accomplished in his relatively short lifetime, it’s apparent to me that at some point he probably had to lego of n-word “hood” shit.  Ok, I’m actually not sure the president was ever really “hood”, per se, but I’d like to argue that even if you weren’t raised in the inner city projects etc etc…dang near every Black American has been exposed to some hood-esqueness(<–that’s a word…some of y’all might name your future kid that…don’t front) in their life.  You’ll see small glimpses of this exposed for the president from time to time.   I just feel we need a full-blown holiday where we can be 100% Negroes all day long..without being fired…Anyhoooo…that’ll never happen…but real talk, there are definitely some traits attributed to our unique experience that I feel should be embraced and revered.
 
Imperious (Swag)-I’m not sure any other race of people have quite the confidence and boldness that we do.  Brothas, this is the one thing that I think keeps us sistahs rooting for y’all.  Black folks..we set the tone…we make trends trends! Even though swag is sometimes considered over-confidence and a bit cocky…you need that.  The world releases a new statistic every week attacking who we are and what we represent…and still we rise! (Maya Angelou)  This is obviously something that can’t be beaten, hosed, or dragged out of us…it’s in our DNA.  Use it to your benefit daily…it demands respect, attention, and hell…admiration.  With your swag on…you can sell anything to anybody, you can keep a level head in the midst of chaos, and of course you can bag a bad chick.
 
Intuitive- We see through bull-ish…because we’ve seen it all…done it all..we don’t get bamboozled like white folks (s/o to white people).  We just don’t do it.  We’re never on the episodes of Paranormal State having moved into a haunted home thinking we can outsmart a ghost.  Intuitiveness will help you steer clear of  unprofitable decisions, unworthy business partners, and armed robberies.
****This only kicks in full throttle once you’ve fully graduated from “hood”  mentality though…this explains exceptions like First 48, armed robberies, and dope boy baby daddies.
 
Ingenuity- My people, whew…we can make up some ish, can’t we?  I’m sure we’ve invented or “discovered” more things than any other race of people…ever…well, next to E.T.s.  If you don’t believe me…check out ghetto prom…my point exactly.  Whether we’ve obtained the most patents or not, we are geniuses.  The problem, however, is that we seldom use this characteristic to our advantage.  I mean if we can discover the perfect medley of catfish and spaghetti, I’m sure we can win Top Chef, right?  Did you see the many uses we came up with in college for Ramen Noodles?  The challenge is redirecting this energy into something profitable.  We should never be unemployed, hungry, or poor…no excuses…making something out of nothing is our specialty!
 
-Zorah
 
 
 Interesting list Z.  The “hood” is definitely where trends are born.  Generally, this is because in the hood you are forced to be resourceful.  You are forced to know how to make hotness out of a collection of things that otherwise may not be.  I will say, as far as this goes I sense a change however.  Where the hood used to create the look, now it seems that the look is created by folks from the hood, who now have real money.  For example, white tees and jeans definitely stem from the hood where money to buy all the designer label wasn’t present, they created a look that was crispy for them.  The same style parlayed it’s way into mainstream, but now the jeans are $300/pair designer label, instead of levis, and the look must be complimented by sparkling chains and watches and earrings.  I will agree that the hood still makes it trendy.  
 
On a deeper level, as a people so determined to create their own distinct culture while also attempting to assimilate, our greatest success usually comes in finding the delicate balance/blend of these two forces.  Denying all things connected to blackness will increase your chance of getting a job, but maintaining some of the character that seems innate to Blacks, regardless of the address of where you were born, family structure or familial economic standing, will serve to promote you in nearly any career.  I may be mistakenly translating the hood essence you’re discussing to be the qualities and characteristics that have grown to be a part of us out of the overall Black American experience but there are some distinct differences, cultural, that I do believe serve Blacks well, as well as any type of organization, just as the qualities that can be found in other cultures.  The sooner the corporate structure learns to truly appreciate these differences instead of encouraging individuals to hide them, or suggesting that they serve a one-dimensional purpose e.g. hiring black marketing majors to work accounts targeted to blacks, the sooner they will increase effectiveness and profits.  
-Brookes
 
So folks, what other characteristics do you feel that are part of “hood essence” or Black-ness do you feel have cross-over appeal??

 P.S.  Feel free to comment below instead, or in addition to discussing on twitter/FB ow where ever else y’all discuss.

 P.S.S. Hop on over to www.s-choirmusic.com and check out the homie!

We Don’t Give a Fugg

There is so much discussion going on in the media and the blogosphere regarding the validity of the Potus’s announcement of the death of Osama.  There has been a barrage of images of people celebrating the “victory” in the streets.  We in no way want to diminish the significance and magnitude of such a victory and the long-awaited sense of closure, but we’ve also noticed a reverberating STFW sense of apathy among many Americans.  So in our attempt to understand what is behind this disconnect we looked into what seems to be of greater interest to Americans, be it good or bad.  So here is our list of the Top Ten  Issues/Stories of Greater Interest to Americans:

1. Why is gas still over four gotdamn dollars per gallon?

2. 2011 NBA Playoffs The mf’n NFL Lockout

3. The end of that episode of The Celebrity Apprentice (the irony in the timing of the announcement has been noted Mr. President)

4. Somebody needs to do something about these muheffin gas prices.

5. Where is President Obama REALLY from?  (Birthers…please find a corner and have a permanent sat down! ___/ <—recliner

6. The world might end May 21, 2011.

7. How should I blow my liquidated assets before May 21?

8. …(answer to 7.)Not much  because gas is four dollars and 17 MILLION cents per gallon.

9. If I find the money to buy a plane ticket, how will this “victory” affect security measures on planes?

10. If the world ends, I get out of paying back my student loans for this piece of paper that serves me more purpose as an airplane than it does of making me more marketable in the job market.

On a more serious note, I sense that many of us are pretty consumed with present personal concerns/situations, some of which may resultant of Osama’s attacks, to the point that any news that isn’t immediately addressing our personal concerns is relegated to not being news worthy.  This understandable, especially when for many those personal concerns involve housing, food, clothing, GAS and the necessities and common comforts to which we’ve grown accustomed.

…or maybe we are just a bunch of insensitive, self-involed, self-absorbed, selfish summa ma bishes…idk.  What say you?

In the meantime, here’s a lil something to keep ya going!  If you like it, take a trip over to www.s-choirmusic.com for even more of the musical styling of the talented S-Choir!!!

Previous Older Entries