In My Write Mind
This was a turning point in my life...It`s a long story. Hell, it was a long weekend. One that left me soaking in memories that still walk with me to this day.
To make it short and wet, I was 17 & thought I was "ready to love" like an India.Arie song. It was with a girl that I spoke to on the phone and saw occasionally. I wanted to take a long walk with her as if she was Jill Scott, because of her style, her smile...I really dug her company. This "goddess in my own mind" was having a family reunion in New Jersey and I decided to go and surprise her and tell her what was good. On my way out there that Saturday afternoon, I steeled myself, determined to effuse my feelings upon the woman I adored. To paraphrase a popular song at the time, she was my "Tender Roni."
She was surprised to see me and when I told her that I had something to tell her, she said unimpressedly, "Sure...but hold on, I`ll be right back..." Three hours later--after my friend and I ate Uncle Jr.`s hot links, played three games of volleyball and five hands of spades--she came back half-stepping like a Three Times Dope reunion album. And with not a hint of remorse or concern for my being there waiting. Of course, I couldn`t see that then. "What happened?," I queried. This girl, my future wife, explained to me, her intended, that her family needed her to do stuff and had her running around. Understandable, right? Surely. I "loved" her, so of course I understood.
So here`s the transcript of the rest of the weekend. The director in my brain yelled ACTION and, on cue, I approached her, knowing my inspiration, attempting to tell her that she was my first, my last, my everything. She said, "Hold that thought. Gotta do something for my grandmother. Be right back." After an hour that felt like that hour in class that goes by and you don`t get picked to do your Show N Tell after you worked hard on it the night before, it was time to go.
That afternoon, I felt a lot of things. Dejected, maybe demoralized...but not deterred!
We were halfway through the Lincoln Tunnel when I decided that going back on Sunday was the only option there was. To give what was left of my bleeding heart to the woman that I still longed for. And back I went the next afternoon...gushing heart in tow. She saw me and apologized for the day before, which I thought was a good sign, good like a food and lodging sign when you`ve been driving on the highway for an hour too long. So I felt heartened as I proceeded to tell her what I needed her to know, how much I wanted her to be a permanent resident in my life, how much she meant to me regardless of a busted Saturday and a perforated ticker. So again, I asked her if I could speak to her for a moment, asked her to come and talk to me like a Jodeci song... She sneered, "Sure. But wait one minute. I`ll be right back..." It WAS a sneer, but at that moment, it was like a 1-900 number: I couldn`t call it.
Nevertheless, my heart sank, crushed amongst the leaves and footprints that lined the grass and soil in that Sunday in the park with hurt. I waited about 30 minutes. I knew it was that long only because when I left, it was about 30 minutes after I had arrived. Head between my legs like a self-serving canine, licking my wounds, making sure my heart didn't break AND fall out on the way to my best friend`s car. I was silent on the way home, pouting like the kid on the playground that didn`t get picked, rejected like the donut in the Lisa Leslie commercial, on the verge of tears because my girl--my love--had basically told me to "talk to the hand." All was quiet except for the backfiring in the 1975 Dodge Dart we were driving. It`s funny because at that point, it seems as if me and the car were both on our last legs, about to give out from different types of exhaust.
Then, all of a sudden, my friend, my ace, my buddy...just broke out laughing. I mean, guffawing as if he were watching an episode of Martin. Yes, `almost crashing the car` laughing! I couldn`t believe it. I asked him what his problem was because for the life of me, the little life I had left in me, I couldn`t fathom what was sooo funny. He said, "I`m sorry man. I can`t help it. You know you my boy, but that girl played you like a, a...Wet Biscuit--the kind nobody wants, the kind they throw away..." Could I be crushed any more? If I were in fact that wet biscuit he crowned me and if she had in fact soaked me, then his words and laughter made me crumble. I was stung. Stung as if I was a bear caught in a honeycomb hideout.
But then, something just snapped...and I started laughing along with him...(hey, when you`re 17, you have a short attention span; what can I tell you?) I needed that laugh, just like then--I needed that name. And yes, I`ve seen the girl recently. She`s married and doing well. And there`s no hard feelings. Just wet biscuits. I kept the name for two reasons...One, because no one else has that sign-on name (very unique to say the least); and Two, it always keeps me humble and never allows me to think more of myself than I need to.
Sometimes, looking back, I feel that maybe I ambushed her on the weekend that changed my life. And who knows? Maybe I was the victim in this self-inflicted episode. Regardless of who was at fault, the words by Mr. Douglass ring true each and every day to me...Without struggle, there is no progress. Without that lesson, there would be no Biscuit. And while I've outgrown the name, I haven't forgotten the experience.
And today, here I stand, humble, and maybe still a little wet...but a whole lot wiser.
scribbled by Will at 2/28/2005 03:15:00 PM
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Diggs. My funny Valentine asked about bad dates from the past, and would I be any kinda Valentine if I didn't share one of mine? I thought not. So here goes. Something I like to call...
*cue Psycho music*
Met this girl at a club, which is rare since I hardly ever approach women. But she was as fine as she wanna be. I mean gorgeous. We exchanged numbers that night, spoke on the phone for hours at a time. Even met up for drinks a couple of times after work. After a few weeks, she invited me over. I was set for some intellectual conversation, some food and maybe an ABC afterschool special (you believe me, right?...hehehe). She lived on the 5th floor of a five floor walk-up in the Bronx. My lungs were on fire by the final step. But she was so fine, and I was so excited that she invited me over, I must've run up the steps.
(Remember that. Five flights. Running. LOL)
Anyway, so I get over there...and without the cameras, lights, Joe Rogan and kraft food service...it was like an episode of FEAR FACTOR. One of my biggest fears, after Wendy Williams and Nick Ashford, of course, is cockroaches. That, to me, is the ultimate symbol of uncleanliness. Her place...*gag* was where roaches went to vacation, to regroup after near-death experiences...where they held their union meetings.
This shit was CLUB ROACH!!!!
I mean, climbing the walls, smoking blunts (with roach clips, of course...lol), watching TV (ironically, A Bug's Life DVD was on), playing games on the 'puter, practicing formations for the halftime show...Coulda sworn they were spelling out GET HIM! I was in shock. My eyes bugged out (no pun intended) like a character from a Tom & Jerry cartoon. I stood there frozen, motionless like a ninja roach (see McFadden, Reggie, Def Comedy Jam), hoping that I could slip away if they thought I was one of their own. I had to be careful. Sure I could've crushed a few of them, but then what? Risk an ambush? Hellus nous. I had to be tactical. I had to be smart. Hell, I had to be crazy if I thought I could reason with roaches!!! I looked over, and a roach dressed like a maitre' d had the nerve to be directing me to the dinner table! I remember gasping and thinking to myself, Ah Helll No! There's no WAY I'm sticking around for no Roach Beef!!!
So I did what anyone stuck in my position would. Uh, no..I didn't pee my pants. I MADE A RUN FOR IT!!! Ran outta there as if my pants were around my ankles and a jealous husband was chasing me with a shotty. Jumping down flights at a time. Running.for.my.life. I can't believe that girl had the nerve to invite me over there.
Is there no shame left in the world?
I got home and took my clothes off at the door. Made sure them critters didn't hop on me like I was an airplane and they bought a ticket to ride in "roach." Was doing the Harlem Shake...and I lived in BK!
That experience makes me believe that the only thing I should pick up from now on at a bar...is a drink. And as I get to know a young lady over the phone from now on, I will add the following question to my "getting to know you" rotation: *Ahem* Do you live alone? Please be specific. I mean, I have to ask that because while I know it's true that you can't judge a book by its cover, you can damn sure judge a pretty young lady by the "company" she keeps. Yeesh.
scribbled by Will at 2/27/2005 07:46:00 PM
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The Lay-tees!!! They may say En Vogue. The way they bowled says En Trouble. LOL
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:34:00 PM
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Singing striking a pose
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:32:00 PM
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Another victim of the Canon...LOL
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:31:00 PM
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Too slow...I win! LOL
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:30:00 PM
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My Best Friend Sam...I didn't know they'd run out or I would've sipped you slower...sigh.
Posted by Homer Simpson
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:29:00 PM
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Foreground: Xquizzyt1 / Background: Golden
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:29:00 PM
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Foreground: Singing / Background: Yolie
Posted by Will
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 02:26:00 PM
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**Soundtrack: Bring 'Em Out, T.I., Urban Legend**
What to say, what to say. It was a very nice weekend. Got a chance to meet and greet some bloggers on Saturday when we met up and went bowling at *ahem* Leisure Time Lanes at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. I went there expecting to see junkies and runaways. Guess I watched Fame a few too many times. LOL But it was nice inside.
The bloggers were Golden, Singing, Yolie and Xquizzyt1. And they were all a lot of fun. Couldn't bowl worth a damn...but still, fun. LOL No, I take that back. It was Golden's first time bowling and she actually did pretty well. That's all. LOL
The bowling alley was dimly lit (Good looking out on the security pat downs at the door...protect me! This IS New York...LOL) and had large groups maneuvering with one lane each and two groups sharing the bowling ball retreival. I swear, it looked like we were building a bowling ball house the way they were stacked on top of each other at one point. There were a few times when we almost got hit by falling balls. Not.good.times.
Don't go there if you want to drink. The bar--a nice section with multiple televisions and friendly bartenders--HAD NO LIQUOR!
Me: I'd like a Red Stripe. *we don't have that*
Yolie: Some Remy Red, please. *we don't have that*
X: Maker's Mark and Coke, bitches. *not so much*
AND...they served me a Sam Adams at the bar. When I ordered another while bowling...THEY RAN OUT OF IT!!!
Seriously, where else does this happen? It was crazy. But we still had fun.
***Lemme say this to the fellas: If you're the only dude...out with a group of women..and then beat said women soundly...be quiet about it. Don't.say.a.word. Bowl your strikes. And sit your ass down. Period. Trust me on this. You'll live longer. Because if you don't...the first time you mess up...even though they've been messing up all night...you will hear about it *saying like the kid from the movie The Sandlot* FOR-EVV-ERRR!!!
Got that? Good.***
Leisure Time even sprung for a "host" for the evening (could this be where all the liquor money went? LOL) . A white guy named Paul. He was the emcee that drifted around from lane to lane with a cordless mic offering drinks to patrons who bowl strikes and asking random trivia questions. Just.dumb.
Some useless things I will never forget now, even if I tried:
*There are 42 gallons in one barrel of oil. *I had no clue.*
*Hank Aaron's season-high in home runs throughout his career was 47. *I thought it was 35.*
*Sloths are the only animals that mate primarily face-to-face. *who cares?*
*UCLA and Kentucky are the two winningest franchises in college basketball history. *I guessed it and didn't go up to him..dammit.*
*Nat King Cole was the first African American to have his own network television show. *Singing knew this but got to him too late.*
*Never order the fish from Leisure Lanes. It's harder than advanced trig. *it's not pretty at all*
*Never let Yolie use your bowling ball...she will umm...lose it. *true story*
I took some snapshots of the evening. Hope you enjoy.
Also, if you are ever in the New York City area, come to Harlem and check out the newest restaurant right across the street from where I live--HARLEM GRILL! It's a black-owned establishment that gives you great music, flatscreens with the latest movies and some of the best southern style seafood entrees this side of the Hudson.
Hit me up and I will give you directions...LOL
I'll be gone for the rest of the week on travel. Enjoy yourselves and ladies, it was cool to hang out with you all! Next time, schedule permitting, Sid will be join us.
scribbled by Will at 2/21/2005 01:32:00 PM
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**Soundtrack: Soul Sista, Bilal, 1st Born Second**
NEVER before have I looked forward to a Friday like I have this week. With all that's gone on this week, I'm excited to have a three-day hiatus when I can relax and not think about work. Of course, that all ends on Monday since I have to travel all of next week.
I love going to the campuses and interacting with the students and faculty. It's there that I can see the impact that our program has; how it prepares the students mentally for their futures. It makes me remember why I came to work at the League in the first place. It's our tagline, but over and over again it's proven to be true...we empower communities and, when everything breaks correctly, we change lives as well.
Now on to the 5...
1. First and foremost, I have to take this moment to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU who stopped by and offered well-wishes and condolences to my family. It means MUCH MORE than you'll probably ever know. Thank you!
2. Last week, en route to Los Angeles, I had a two hour layover in Atlanta. I'd told Brown Sugar and X that I was stopping through and they graced me with their presence, kept me company for a little over an hour. It was great. And while I'm saying thank you's, let me send some out to them because they really didn't have to come through. It was my first time meeting them both, and ummm, these sistas got it goin' on.
Brown Sugar is just as her name suggests. Gorgeous light brown eyes, the kind that look right through you; a perfect brown complexion, flawless cinnamon skin and a smile that's contagious. I love, love, love her personality. Just a great sense of humor and very smart. It's like I already knew her. She "claims" not to have a country accent, but yeah...she does. Her baby face belies the many detailed HOB (Hand On Booty) moments she blogs about. LOL Just an absolute cutie! Oh, and she carries a picture of her son in her phone. (Cue *awwwwww's from audience*)
X is just as advertised. Almost. LOL Sure, she's not only exquisite, but inquisitive and funny. High yellow (although she begs to differ...LOL), hair down to her shoulders, pretty smile, just as engaging in person as she is on her blog, more curves than the Daytona Speedway, and I gathered, a bit shy, which is a departure from the authoritative, take-no-prisoners X we read everyday.
It was a pleasure to meet both lovely ladies, who actually got along despite being from rival sororities. LOL Thanks again for keeping a brotha company.
3. If you get a chance, go out and catch the movie Hitch. Will Smith stars along with the sexy Eva Mendes and the hilarious Kevin James. Sure, it was a syrupy comedy-drama. Sure, the ending would make most dudes want to peel off their skin. But it was funny. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. I recommend it for dates and for matinees. LOL Mr. Smith continues to make all Wills around the world proud (I, Robot and Wild, Wild West notwithstanding).
4. This weekend, Yolie will be in town from down souf. Check out her blog as she chronicles her weekend in da cit-tay. LOL I'm supposed to hook up with her, Singing and Golden for some bowling on Saturday. Our original plan was to have some shirts made with our favorite slogans on 'em (mine was gonna say "Will Dawson. The Real Peacemaker. Bitches." LOL), but it didn't come to pass. So we're just gonna bowl and have fun. Since Singing is a REAL singer, we might do some karaoke and just be her Pips. This...is after several drinks and a threat to my life, of course. SID, if you read this, holler at your blog brotha. We wanna see YOU at some point this weekend. Aiight?
5. Lastly, despite all the jet lag and horrific news I received this week, I still managed to do some after-work activities this week. Wednesday, I went to the Knicks game. This just in: they actually WON the game versus Milwaukee, 108-90. Woo hoo!!! But who cares about that. The real news is that I was sitting in Johnnie Cochran's seats underneath the basket. (Thanks, Ken.) It was great! It was there that I was introduced to the Knicks Chick. Not.a.misprint. This woman has had season tickets since the 70s, knows the answer to EVERY trivia question, had autographs from dudes that played on the Knicks SUMMER team and, as kooky as she seemed, was really a whole bunch of fun. It was the perfect distraction I needed that night.
Thursday, I went to see the play McReele at the Roundabout Theatre in midtown. It starred Anthony Mackie *cough* *Diggs**hack*, who portrayed a 33-year old man that was incarcerated at the age of 17 for allegedly being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sixteen years later, when DNA proved inconclusively that he wasn't guilty, he was released. The play covers his life after incarceration. Mackie *cough*, from New Orleans, has starred in the Spike Lee film She Hate Me, was Eminem's rap competition in 8 Mile, and played a boxer in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby.
McReele is currently in previews. It's an excellent play that gains momentum during the second act. It will surprise you, engross you and have you leaving the theatre thinking. Hell, any play that can keep me awake gets my stamp of approval.
Enjoy your weekends...I will be in Houston and Memphis next week. Oh, joy.
scribbled by Will at 2/18/2005 01:56:00 PM
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For those of you who have been living under a rock (or who actually have lives outside of blogging...LOL), recently seven members of the Blogger community were set up in a cyber-house and placed in situations that only active imaginations could conjure. It's a test of wills (and once Kajuana posts, it may be a test of SAT words, too...LOL) as the bloggers live together and are forced to "keep it real."
Meet the Cast:
A cyber-mixture of the VH1 show and MTV's The Real World, The Surreal Life-Blogger Edition allows you to see life in the cyber-casa through the eyes of all seven bloggers. What will happen when seven black professionals come together? Find out.
Seven different personalities. Seven seperate writing styles. Seven weeks of hilarity.
What? You didn't know? The series is already three episodes old. So get on it, doggone it! Just like the networks, we will replay all the episodes continuously until you feel you know each blogger intimately. Or...until you feel like gagging. LOL
And stay tuned for Surreal spinoffs and collector edition DVDs in June--around the same time MTV launches Real World 72--Birmingham: When White People Stop Faking Being Nice to Blacks...And Keep It Real! *Just in time for Black Music Month...Woo Hoo!*
scribbled by Will at 2/17/2005 09:34:00 AM
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Satarra Reddish...1981 - 2005 I Love You
Posted by Hello
scribbled by Will at 2/16/2005 03:04:00 PM
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I spent most of this past Sunday reveling in the wonderment that was Los Angeles; glowing in the sun and smog-free air and rubbing elbows with higher tax brackets and lifestyles. I spent most of it taking mental pictures of a landscape many dream about, being privileged enough to see the best in the world of music accept awards for excellence.
I spent most of the day caught up like an Usher song, making googly eyes at Alicia Keys and scheming on which parties to crash. Focused on the singing and the blinging; made it my business to be where the action was. I stored up all of those memories from the weekend, all of those memories from a remarkable Sunday.
And then reality hit me hard, like a Zab Judah combination. Brought me back down from the clouds and the setup of celebrity and lights, sat me up straight and as if with a feather, knocked me over.
Made me see the other side of Sunday.
On that other side, in Pittsburgh, on Sunday morning, my younger cousin passed away after experiencing a seizure. She was 23 years young. And had a baby of her own. One of my favorite cousins, always promising to come to New York to visit. Always promising that she would call more. Always promising that she loved me.
She always kept that last promise. Always gave the best hugs.
She was an old soul, did a lot of living in those 23 years. Motherhood will do that to you. Even when she was younger, she had a sharp tongue, making it her business to be in everybody else's. She started smoking when she was young, had a baby when she was young...and now, died when she was young. Too young. She and her sister, another of my favorite cousins, were extremely close. Talking to her this morning made my heart cry. To hear her breaking down after every other sentence...it was too much. Right now I'd give anything to be with my family, to be in Pittsburgh with them like I've been on so many other occasions--both happy and sad.
When I heard the news about my cousin that I adored, I thought back to the last time I saw her. It was her sister's wedding last summer. She was a bridesmaid and looked absolutely beautiful in her dress. Her daughter was a flower girl, all dressed in white from her ribbons to her tights. Right before I left the reception, I told her I wanted a photo of her and her baby. They posed; I snapped away. And it came out perfect. Just a perfect picture of mother and daughter, one that stays with me to this day.
I watched her grow from pudgy pre-teen to talkative teenager to intelligent young woman. One with so much promise and love and determination. I think about her mom and her grandmother and her sister and all of the strong women there in Pittsburgh who will be weak, and sad...at least for a while.
Only time and loving memories will make them strong again.
I will miss her smile and her hugs and her potty mouth (smile) and her Pittsburgh accent. I will cry and smile simultaneously every time I see her daughter from now on...only because I will see so much of her in her little eyes.
It was that other side of Sunday that my mother wouldn't let me see until I returned yesterday--after my long trip cross country. A side she kept from me so I wouldn't stress, knowing there was nothing I could do anyway. Thinking about that other side, of the cousin and love that is now gone, dwarfs any memories of an ode to the Southland and a few nights with my head in the clouds.
It is here that I will be for the foreseeable future, lost in my thoughts and too sad for my own good. It's funny how things work out sometimes, how we're forced to live out both sides of life...forced to see the other side of Sundays past.
Satarra Reddish--1981 - 2005.
Rest In Peace, my Love.
scribbled by Will at 2/16/2005 12:51:00 PM
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I am back in the city. Tired as hell. I will post tomorrow after a night's sleep.
Damn, I'm getting old. LOL
scribbled by Will at 2/15/2005 05:24:00 PM
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here for updates on my trip to LA for Grammy weekend.
scribbled by Will at 2/12/2005 08:10:00 PM
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**Soundtrack--California Love, 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre, Greatest Hits**
OK. I'm out. On my way to the left side of the country. Man, I love it out there. So much so that I'm gonna take you all with me. Yup, that's right...for the next four days, you will be with me as I go to Los Angeles for Grammy weekend.
I mean, sure it's supposed to rain all four days I'm there. (Didn't they just get past like two weeks of torrential rains? Yeah, good times.) Sure, the people out there got more issues than TV Guide. (Hell, it's the only state I know where people's pets draw psychiatrist bills.) Sure, I love Jill Scott. (Oops. That one slipped out. hehehe) But I love it.
Now I can't promise you when I will post...or how often...but I will try to do so every day (hangovers notwithstanding) and give you some idea of what I do while schmoozing with the plastic party set in L.A. lol
Soooo, stay tuned as I take my Mind on the road, with a special blog called When Write Goes West. Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta call Panama and ask if I can borrow his Eazy-E gheri curl set. You know...to fit in and all.
scribbled by Will at 2/10/2005 02:37:00 PM
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Hold fast to dreams
I look to Langston, who was in his thirties when he penned Dreams, to remind me that no matter how old you are, you can still hold fast, not let go. He relished, as I do now, the opportunity to tell the stories of his people "in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter and language itself." That shared dream makes him my main inspiration--but not my only one.
And that, to me, is what this blog is all about. So fitting is the title IN MY WRITE MIND, as it transmits my thoughts straight to your eyes. So thank you, Mr. Morris and Mr. Hughes, for making me Mr. Dreamer.
Thank you for making me believe that dreaming is all write.
scribbled by Will at 2/09/2005 07:23:00 PM
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It's a short week for me here at work, so it's been more hectic than usual. Lately, it seems that I've been having more meetings than Jehovah's Witnesses. There's just a lot going on. Between school visits and our upcoming conference, it keeps me here pretty late on the days I'm actually in the office.
Over the next few months, I will be travelling to Houston, Memphis, Jackson (TN), Hampton, DC, Miami and Dallas. And that doesn't even include my trip to Los Angeles this weekend. Or my wont to go to Atlanta in March. Throw in some concerts and after work events, and it's gonna be crazy through June.
And I love it. Or at least I will love it. As soon as I get some multi-vitamins. LOL
Speaking of Los Angeles, stay tuned for:
When Write Goes West.
Coming SOON!!! Like, this weekend SOON.
Now, on to the Things for today...
1. I had quite a weekend. In an incident I will heretofore call Lottaliquor Booze, I was laid on my ass for most of Saturday by a heavy-handed bartender from the night before. I thought it was a good idea to go out drinking with my boys from Queens, partying as if it were 1999 instead of 2005. Those six years make a big difference. Gone are the days when I could drink with reckless abandon, play six games of basketball, some tackle football and go skating at night. Hell, I can hardly go out after work for more than an hour these days.
Sigh. I'se gettin' old. But that's not the point of my story.
The point being, never, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever tell the bartender to surprise you with one of their "specialty drinks." It will leave you flat on your back thinking you belong in the "special" olympics. Oh yeah...Saturday was bad. And silly me attempted to install a computer router in that hazy state. Which required me to make three trips to 125th Street for cables the Lin.ksys lady claimed I needed for the installation. And.she.was.wrong. Had me wondering if SHE was the one out drinking the night before. I was so upset; she better be glad that I was ON my Sidekick or else she would've been receiving several side kicks to the dome. Stupid lady. Eat feces.
2. Dear Donovan McNabb,
I write this as a brother and a fellow black man. I applaud your accomplishments and everything you did this year, guiding your team to the big stage when all looked doubtful and when people wanted to believe that you couldn't do it. Respect for that.
Now, with that said...WTH? I could've gone out there and thrown the ball around all willy-nilly. Were you nervous? Were you hurt? Did you OD on Campbell's soup before kickoff? Did people threaten you like they did Damon Wayans in The Last Boy Scout? *in my Nino Brown voice from New Jack City* You don't know nothin??!!! I mean, somebody gotta know somethin!!!
Seriously, I know there was pressure on you, being only the third black quarterback to make it that far. I know there were distractions the past two weeks with the whole "Will T.O. play or won't he?" crap. PSSST! Dono...T.O. played. And DESPITE you, he was brilliant! A real shot in the arm. A sparkplug. Hell, compared to you, he was a friggin highlight film.
Dangit all to heck, Don! You wasted a great opportunity against a team that was ripe for the picking. But three interceptions, some fumbles and ill-timed sacks (wait...this just in: YOU CAN RUN, DUDE!!!! USE YOUR LEGS!!!! RUN, DONO, RUN!!!) amounted to a loss of monumental proportions. Sure, I wasn't even rooting for you. The other team is a well-oiled machine. You? Looked like Nipsey Russell in The Wiz before Diana Ross gave him a "can" job.
If you were hurt, say so. It won't be an excuse. It will be a reason. And will help Eagles fans sleep at night and get them off the ledges and out of the ovens. If you were scared, MAN UP! T.O. did. If you need glasses, let me know. I got the hookup at Pearle.
Just...just...don't do THAT again. Turning the Super Bowl into the Toilet Bowl. Oy.
Thank you. That is all.
Brother (man), Where Art Thou?
3. I got a chance to catch a few shows this weekend while I laid on my back in a post-drunken stupor. First up was Black in the 80s, which took a brotha back to the times of my maturation and the "golden age" of music. From the all-star cast in Krush Groove to the rebel beats of Public Enemy and NWA, the show was hot. They will definitely be running all month, so check it out if you get a chance. There were "80s" specials on music, television and film.
Also got a chance to catch Missy Elliott's Road to Stardom for the first time. Can't say I'm impressed; not repulsed either. I love the concept. I just can't get with the endings. The spotlight? Having to beg your case to Missy like she's a lollipop-sucking, Kangol-rocking, ebonics-speaking Judge Wapner on the People's Court? Nope. Don't buy it. And what's up with Missy's posse?!?!?!? I mean, as eye candy goes, I'd rather they bring back some of the rejects from America's Next Top Model. For two reasons. They would get some face time (especially the ones who were kicked off in weeks 1 and 2) and simply because, obviously, they don't have to speak. I hope UPN is not paying her posse members. I mean, it's not like they're even doing Missy's hair and makeup. Maybe they comb the fur on the Kangols or lace her sneakers for her. Yeah, that must be it.
4. On Friday, I'm off to Grammy weekend in L.A. This is going to be my third consecutive Grammy show and I'm hoping it's the best. Last year was great, seeing performances by Beyonce, Prince, Outkast, Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas & Parliament Funkadelic. This year, Maroon 5 is on the roster, along with Alicia Keys (who better do better than last year when she did a half-assed salute to Luther), Usher, Destiny's Child (I will take the over on how many times Michelle will slip on the stage...or get tripped up for singing off-keyhehehe) and Queen Latifah is the host. Last year they went without a host and just had the "voice of God" and various artists introduce the artists. With Ms. Owens hosting the Grammys and Chris Rock doing the Oscar honors, Usher, Kanye and Alicia leading the way in musical nominations and Sir Foxx dominating the acting kudos...it's turning out to be a historic month indeed. If Jamie wins for Ray, both Mr. Charles and Mr. Davis will be very proud.
5. I'm feeling it. Getting that sick feeling in my stomach starting now. And it will last the next month and beyond. Why, you ask? Because starting tonight, there are only four more episodes of NYPD Blue. FOUR! For twelve years, I've followed the ups and downs of Detectives Sipowicz, Medavoy and the rest of the 15th Squad. And on March 1st, they will be airing their final episode. There will be an entire blog on this...so be forewarned. LOL Seriously, though...it's the end of an era. And I'm not thrilled about it. Sigh.
scribbled by Will at 2/08/2005 04:15:00 PM
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*Soundtrack--Long Gone, Guy, The Future*
Shaboo-ya! Sha-Sha-Shaboo-ya/Roll Call
That, to me, was the best set of lines uttered during the Spike Lee film chronicling the journey of a caravan of black men to the Million Man March, Get On The Bus. That set of lines being my favorite shouldn't come as a surprise, as they were spoken by Ossie Davis, veteran actor and activist. He wasn't just one of my favorite actors--he was one of my favorite people.
Shortly after condemning the Shaboo-ya in the film, Davis' character died. It was a sad scene, just like today is a sad scene for Black America. That's irony. What's also ironic is that Davis, at 87, was still living strong, and in fact died early Friday morning while on location for his latest film, Retirement.
Something he never thought of doing.
What's not ironic is that he died during Black History Month, especially since he is linked to most of the history that we as Blacks hold so dear. His contributions to the civil rights movement are legendary, working ever so closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. to ensure equality and racial justice. He, along with his beautiful wife Ruby Dee, served as master of ceremonies for the historic March on Washington in 1963. He so eloquently eulogized Malcolm at his funeral, his words sending chills up and down the spines of all within earshot. They were arrested for protesting the murder of Amadou Diallo, they sued the federal courts for black voting rights, they spoke out in support of sickle cell research.
They ARE Black History.
And that's why I love Ossie. Was he perfect? Hellus nous. But he was perfectly imperfect. A man's man. He was never an African American. He was a Negro at birth, a black man at death. He was the epitome of another Spike Lee film, always seemingly doing the right thing. His penchant for working with Lee lent many of the films credibility, made them watchable. Whether he played a drunkard named Da Mayor, a father to Wesley Snipes in Jungle Fever or Pops in "...Bus," you knew what you were getting from Davis with each film--consistency. His role as Walter Lee in Broadway's A Raisin in the Sun is the standard by which all others who dared portray the down-on-his-luck limo driver are judged.
In 1995, Davis & Dee were given "national treasure" status as recipients of the National Medal of Honor. In 2000, Davis & Dee were given the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, their highest honor. Just last year, they were recognized with a Kennedy Center Honor.
His marriage to Ms. Dee, which spanned more than five decades, is a testament to his loyalty and a love that literally lasted a lifetime. Today, those vows prove bittersweet as the words "til death do you part" tenderly sting the soul. Still, it's the standard to which I hold myself when entertaining thoughts of a lifelong union.
When asked who he would've liked to interview if he had the chance, Davis' answer was W.E.B. DuBois. If I were asked the same question, my answer would be Ossie. Plain and simple. Just to pick his brain, to find out what it takes to be a quadruple threat as a writer, actor, director, activist. To find out what it means to be Ossie Davis in America. What it was like to live strong.
When I met the couple, briefly one Saturday evening at the premiere of the Jim Brown biography put together by, yes, Spike Lee, I was in awe. I approached cautiously, out of reverence, and introduced myself and told them where I worked and how much I loved and respected them. They were gracious, almost shy, saying how pleased they were that someone from my generation saw their work as relevant, as important.
THAT was my moment with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Not an interview, but it could've been. Only because they took the time out to speak to me. Thinking back to that night doesn't make me sad today. It makes me feel privileged, honored that I got the chance to let them know how much I appreciated them. Allows me to waltz through my memories of Davis being on Evening Shade with Burt Reynolds when I was young, dance with the thoughts of seeing him star in, direct and write Cotton Comes To Harlem when I was even younger.
All of these accomplishments add up to a canyon full of Black history. Adds up to a lifetime of consistency and greatness from an outstanding individual. Today, it adds up to a great subtraction from the human family.
So, as I say a teary-eyed Rest In Peace to Mr. Davis, as I recall all that made me appreciate him for being the black man that he was, I'd like to do one last roll call, one final shout to an American legend.
Thank him for all of the history. Thank him for living strong.
scribbled by Will at 2/04/2005 01:19:00 PM
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It was meant to be a solemn moment of commencement for the newlyweds, both born and raised in Queens. It turned into a bad sitcom. As Musiq's "Love" blared over the dimly lit banquet hall at the JFK Holiday Inn, two of the most awkward people this side of Cosmo Kramer were attempting to dance to their first song as a married couple.
If you decide to do them the favor of calling it a dance.
While the song itself was appropriate, the footwork that they displayed was not. It more resembled what might be a mating ritual from a third world nation. It was THAT bizarre. The crooner from Philly could barely be heard over the din of laughter that filled the room. I was sent to take pictures of a moment that turned out to be more priceless than precious. As the camera clicked and whirred, Musiq clicked with his high notes, and my good friend Ben, the groom, clicked upon his bride's toes for the umpteenth time, something rushed over me.
No, it wasn't a rush of laughter, as was the case with the 200 or so family members and well wishers in attendance. It was more like a rush of reality. I was that song at that moment. Even though I'd heard the song a million times before--almost to the point of nausea--and could recite the words verbatim at the drop of one of the diminutive singer's head wraps, it was then (while focusing the camera lens and my mind at the same time) that the words Musiq shouted made exact sense to me.
Immediately, I started thinking, "There are so many things I've got to tell love, too, like to hook me up and to holla at your boy sometime soon."
In the past I had always used it's name in vain, casting it aside as if it were unimportant or unnecessary. But today, on the occasion of my good friend Ben's nuptials, while he two-stepped with the woman that he couldn't live without, I realized what I was living without--love.
And as he and his bride swayed back and forth as if they were strangers, my mind swayed toward all the strangers that had come into my life over the past year. Beautiful women that I had wined and dined, treated with respect and dignity. However, looking back, could I say that I really ever loved any of them? Could any one of these be the "love" who, without them "being in my life, things were destined to change"?
With my 34nd birthday tapping me on my shoulder like a damn bluebird that is in my window, I find myself in a state of flux. It was sobering for me to acknowledge that I was the only one left of my crew to be unmarried, with every one of my boys undoubtedly talking to and finding love.
And then there was me.
All those years of being fearful, breaking promises as well as hearts when all I had to do was follow Musiq's lead and have a heart-to-heart...Who knew?
So when Musiq sang, "At first you didn't mean that much to me, but now it seems you're all I need," I was not only mouthing the words, I was meaning them.
This day, a Soulchild screeched out my feelings at top decibel level. When he spoke about love as if it were all that were important, spoke of it like a man who had just come around to seeing "for better or worse" and still would choose love first--that's when I saw love's face as a reflection of my own.
Granted, it was a face that was shrouded in pageantry and regalia for my man Ben and his new wife. And mixed up in a bad sitcom laugh track with the ineptness of their mangled first tango. Maybe my judgment was blurred. Maybe the wedding cake had rum in it. Regardless, the moral of that afternoon was--and still is--that love should expect a call from me soon.
So as I drove home from the reception, having received my marching orders loud and clear, I soaked in the irony of the afternoon. For just as my man and his wife had to work on their footwork, I too had work to do. But for that one afternoon, I was that song. I was love.
Just like Musiq.
scribbled by Will at 2/03/2005 07:22:00 PM
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Carol Anne St. Louis--the prettiest girl in my 7th grade class back at Intermediate School 59 in Queens. The way she walked, the beautiful notes that came out of her flute, the way she flatly rejected my cleverly conceived note asking her to be my girlfriend, hitting a low note by returning it with an added "way, Jose" after the "No" box she boldly checked; all of that history came rushing upon me when I stumbled upon her at Reagan International Airport that Saturday afternoon in DC.
Of course she wouldn't remember me. I mean, really, why would she? I was but another prepubescent lad who was a mere puddle that surrounded her, left to be mixed up with the rest of the flute spittle that lay at her feet. So as I approached her, giddy and as nervous as I was the weekend before while meeting Jill Scott at the Grammy's, not really understanding why, I paused, thought more of the history—the pain that her harshly handwritten dismissal caused a bespectacled and scrawny, yet sincere and love-bitten boy--and I stopped. Dead in my tracks. Suddenly, the ten or so feet that stood between me and my childhood crush that actually crushed me, the object of my rejection, felt Grand Canyon-like. And I wasn't willing to board the flight to "Rejectionville" all over again.
It's amazing what history teaches us.
Learning from it can keep you free and clear from injury, agony, pain and suffering. Repeating it can--at its zenith, as the world continues to find out --lead you into war. Learning from that Carol Anne experience served me well, made me recoil at the thought of another rebuff, made me realize why I've never liked anything St. Louis (the Rams, Cardinals, Nelly...nothing), made me prepare myself for my immediate future. And when you think about it, isn't that history's role in our lives?
We are surrounded daily by situations that teach us history lessons, whether it be something as simple as avoiding another bounced check or getting a brain freeze from drinking another Slurpee too fast, or something as major as avoiding cigarettes or that crazy person that seems nice but acts just like your ex. The history that's stored in our brains, which is filled with years and years worth of misstep and circumstance, gives us pause while at the same time providing us with choices.
This month, Black History Month, is yet another chance for us to observe the foundations laid by strong black men and women, as well as those who were not so strong. Depending on which we choose to follow, we can either build future "houses of accomplishment" or, conversely, "shacks of failure."
It was singer Pearl Bailey (shaddup X...hehehe) who opined that "there is no way to look at the past. Don't hide from it. It will not catch you if you don't repeat it." Historian John Hope Franklin put it even more succinctly when he compared history to the building of a house, stating that "if a house is to be set in order, one cannot begin with the present; he must begin with the past."
Indeed, those choices have a way of catching up to us. Will we like what we see when it faces us head on? That's a question I so badly wanted to ask Carol Anne, but thought better of it. I mean, she was already suffering according to my mind, painfully living with the fact that one bold stroke of "No" caused her to miss out on a lifetime of signing her checks Mrs. Carol Anne St. Louis-Dawson.
I truly hope she learned her lesson.
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scribbled by Will at 2/01/2005 05:01:00 AM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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