In My Write Mind
3.30.2005

WWJOD

After the past few months, after days where America has endured so much loss, you just need to vent a little. After losing two of this nation's strongest voices, you need to talk to no one in particular, say some things that may have been sticking in your craw; make a few statements that otherwise wouldn't come to the surface.

Sometimes...after losing two strong public figures, you just gotta write.

Even if it's wrong.

So, with that in mind, I sit here today in front of my PC, reading blogs and newspapers online. I sit here in mourning over the loss of loquacious attorney Johnnie Cochran, not so long after the loss of one of my heroes, Ossie Davis. I sit here in awe of their accomplishments; I sit here in their shadows while striving to make a positive change in the same world they just left.

I sit here with a smile, reading about how Mr. Cochran made his first noise in the 1960s in Los Angeles, how O.J. may have been the most famous case, but his legendary litigation legacy was made over an illustrious career. I sit here reading article upon article about how Mr. Davis was involved with so many issues of the times, not afraid to get arrested for the cause...but doing so quietly, without much fanfare.

I sit here reading about these things. Then I pick up the paper. And I stop smiling altogether. Now I sit here upset, reading about the Reverend Jes.se Jacks.on taking up the "cause" of Terri Shiavo's parents. He says he met with them for mercy's sake. Me? I think it may be for that...and for Jesse's sake, too.

I sit here with my mouth agape as I read about the Reverend A.l Sharpt.on--in his own words, no less--taking up the cause along with the New York Jets football team for a new stadium on New York City's west side. He says he was advocating for the communities of color who would benefit from the jobs that the new complex would bring about. That's good stuff. Great stuff, actually. Except the proposed building on this stadium reeks of political odor, thus weakening his stance by weaving it in with the voices of other greedy statesmen who could care less about those same communities.

Then I go to E-Bay, start doing a search for a gift that will hopefully keep on giving. I look for the trinket, the reminder, the proverbial string around the finger, that will help these gentlemen remember that, as public and prominent figures in their communities, their first responsibility is to right the wrongs, and not necessarily be in front of the cameras while doing so.

I search, to try and make a bid on that one band that could possibly force them to pause--relax, relate, release--and then march forward for justice, Roger, Rerun and the rest of the rights of America.

And there it is...I find it. The perfect symbol that will do the job. In the color of their choice. The bracelet that will change the way our public figures handle themselves from here on out--one that reads WWJOD, which stands for "What Would Johnnie or Ossie Do?"

I click on "Buy It" and cross my fingers, hoping they do, too.

*Sigh.*

scribbled by Will at 3/30/2005 02:46:00 PM
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Two Much

He was due to turn two years old the next day. Two. The year deemed "terrible" by experts, the year toddlers develop their personalities independent of their parents. If the experts are correct, then he is "two" much.

Personality? In aces. More charm than most adults. He can get his way. This is the same little boy, at one and three quarters years old, who attempted to show me how to dance to the latest Usher song...all while nestled in his car seat. He called me by my "nick" name, NaNa (which, by the way, is two much), summoning me to follow his lead, bopping my head to almost spastic degrees, nodding in agreement with Usher's wish to Throwback. Of course, I obliged. How could I not?

He's two much, dammit.

Independent? Hellus yeah. Teach him how to dribble a basketball, and all of his 3 foot frame will digest it...and then do it. Potty train him for a week. He'll be trained for a lifetime. One can only imagine it was by watching his cousin run one day that he picked that up with ease...and just busted out of his mother's arms much like a track star busts from the starting blocks. He's a sponge. So much so, that if you cuss around him, well...you get the picture.

There we were, family and friends, gathered in the name of Mr. Two Much, the guest of honor, the H.T.I.C. (Head Toddler In Charge), the Pull-Ups Employee of the week. We were there to celebrate him, to celebrate his parents. We were there because not two much could keep us away. The sign on the outside read Methodist Church. But let's be clear. Today, this was the Two Much Tabernacle.

One glance away, and he was off. Off to chase the next yellow balloon, or the other little boys, or just for the sake of running away, his brand new Nikes a small blur. Turn your head, and he was toppling over the party favors, or lunging at the birthday cake, or cussing under his breath. His parents halfheartedly tried to stop him. But they couldn't. Today, this was his house. They had to let him eat cake.

Besides, he was two much.

He was a blessing, an answered prayer. The absolute best thing to ever happen to his parents. To his father. The amount of love and devotion shown to Mr. Two Much...is never too much (like a Luther Vandross song). Everything his father does, he has his son in mind. Everything he wants from life, he wants so that he can show his son the proper example, so that he can show him what being a real man is all about. He calls him Baby, Mr. Two Much. His baby. His little man. His little dancing, running, poking, throwing, dribbling man. He calls him son. I can see the father in the son. I can see the stubbornness, I can see the competitiveness, I can see the temper. I can also see the passion, the caring, the ability to disarm and persuade, the fierce loyalty, the smarts, the inner strength.

I can see the love.

And now, on the occasion of his second birthday, on the cusp of the year that, according to experts, will determine what type of person he will be, everyone that cares for this toddler, this bundle of energy with the dance moves and crooked jump shot, this infectious little man full of cusses and nicknames--everyone who cares is there. To say Happy Birthday. To say Congratulations to his parents, who were high school sweethearts and married four years ago. To christen his Terrible Twos at the Two Much Tabernacle. To make sure that he knows how friends and family are supposed to be.

We were there. Singing and eating and watching and talking. And loving. It was a sight to see. A sight that I will always remember; one that will never, ever be two much.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Robert Marcus Brooks IV. *Look, I'm dancin'.*

scribbled by Will at 3/30/2005 12:15:00 PM
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Rest In Peace



Rest in Peace
Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
1937 - 2005
Please read a wonderful tribute to the acclaimed attorney here.

scribbled by Will at 3/30/2005 10:56:00 AM
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3.29.2005


Dr. Cornel West, Hue Man Book Store, Harlem, USA March 28, 2005 Posted by Hello

scribbled by Will at 3/29/2005 08:36:00 AM
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Simply Adorable... Posted by Hello

scribbled by Will at 3/29/2005 08:18:00 AM
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3.25.2005

Random Thoughts, Good Friday...

New York City weather is the absolute pits. So why do I never want to leave here? Sigh...Sometimes, when I'm reading your blogs, I get so caught up in your lives, I feel like I really know you. (I know, I know...I'm an idiot)...I guess it's the break in the weather, or people doing actual work, or boredom, but does it seem like everybody's leaving the blog world at the same time like some broke ass version of the Five Heartbeats?!?!? I mean, couldn't we have all gone on tour first, made some dough, THEN leave?!?!?...Props to American Idol for doing the right thing regarding this week's voting. I swear, that show is the ratings machine that could...Respect to America's Next Top Model (yeah, I watch...WHAT?!?!?...LOL) for getting rid of crazy-ass Brandi. They HAD to get rid of her, because if not, her AND Tiffani were on pace to set the house on fire. Literally. That's just how crazy they are...I'm not a Diddy fan (he's ruined more careers than EN.RON, which will be the topic of a whole 'nother blog one day), but dammit all to hell, he keeps striking programming gold with this Making the Band franchise (which he's taken over, by the way). First, the fights between Da Band members; now the hiring of Jason, the den "mother" from hell!!! LOLOL Please watch the repeats this weekend...Coming soon to a restaurant near you--Rhapsodi's Scallepolitini...and meatballs. LOL...Still waiting to hear the uproar from "concerned citizens" now that Robert Blake was acquitted *shhhhh* Listen close. Nope, nothing. Nice...So when do we start learning lessons from these mindless shootings taking place at high schools? *shaking my head*...Shout out to the kids who were given this world, who didn't make it...All i'm gonna say is that the Terry Schiavo saga makes me incredibly sad...Every time I go to see my mom, my heart smiles. She's the strongest woman I know. Whomever I marry doesn't have to look like her, act like her or cook like her. But they really need to be strong like her. That's all I ask...I need a new book to read. Something good that will grab my attention. My putrid plane diet of KING, VIBE and ESPN: The Magazine is getting stale. I need meat. Any suggestions?...What do you get for a two-year old on his birthday, exactly? *shrug* But I better figure it out by tomorrow...I've been at my job for almost seven years and I'm currently tenth out of 100 people as it comes to tenure. Yup, this place has had more turnover than a bakery. Maybe.that's.a.sign...Sometimes, when nobody's looking, I sing New York, New York. To myself. For no damn reason. (see committed, I need to be)...Panama, Pretty Brown Eyes may not be my favorite R&B song ever, but it's definitely in my Top 5...Speaking of bands that get no recognition, who would turn down a concert that featured The Roots, Mint Condition, After 7 and Guy? I know I'd be there...OK, who told New York that they could raise the bridge and tunnel tolls without so much as a flyer under my door?!?!? Something!!!...Psst, the International Auto Show is in town this week. Look for me!!!...A new Desperate Housewives is on this week. AND a new Surreal Life. Oh, joy...Be on the lookout come May. I'm gonna try and do some big things. Just give me a month to get things in order. Thanks...I'm out. Enjoy your holy weekend. In fact, have a Good Friday, a Great Saturday and an Unbelievable Sunday. I know I will. Only 18 hours till mine begins.

scribbled by Will at 3/25/2005 09:16:00 AM
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3.22.2005

Training Days...

It's almost that time of year.

Almost time for a stretch of the body, almost time to take deeper breaths. It's just about time to readjust our eyesight and start making after work plans. It's nearly time for earlier sunrises and seemingly longer days. It's almost time to shed winter coats and skull caps in exchange for leather jackets and baseball caps.

In the coming weeks, it will be time to clean out our closets and get a thorough house cleaning underway. Almost time to flip the pancakes and the pages of the sports section to see different types of batters. Just about time to flip the mattress and the pages of the calendar. Almost time to flip the switch on the treadmills. Time to flip the seasonal script.

Before you know it, it will be time to finalize your summer vacation plans to the island of your choice. Time to restock the CD player with the sounds of a new season.

In fact, it's close to time to load your Lou Rawls CD.

Don't blink or you might miss the first bloom or the morning dew. You might miss the sounds of the rocking robins, the blue birds and the construction crews and sanitation trucks outside your window. Keep your ears focused or you could easily miss the noise from the surrounding school yards--sounds of laughter; sounds of running and balls bouncing and screaming.


The sounds of Mr. Softee as he plays his neighborhood anthem.

It's nearly time for the smell of pizza and bagels to waft through the breeze, making its way into your subconscious. Time for catcalls and catwalks, time for cat and mouse. Yup, it's just about time to catch the expected fever, fall hard for it all like a performer on a slippery stage. Almost time for short skirts and heels, barbecues and meals, sidewalk vendors playing 'let's make a deal.'

It's a time I can't wait for; a time that comes like clockwork every year. A time like no other.
A time called Spring. And I'm sprung. In fact, as it nears, I've got more pounce to the ounce.

Almost.

True, the calendar says Vernal Equinox...but that doesn't make it so. There are still a few more snow storms and below-50-degree days to go. A few more literal and figurative bugs to be worked out. A few more wintry solos before it finally leaves the stage, giving way to a New York Spring-harmonic.

Until then, we get ready. We stretch and we prepare. We get antsy as we stare at the seasonal on-deck circle, awaiting its turn at-bat.

Because right now, much to our chagrin...it's only Spring training.

scribbled by Will at 3/22/2005 07:40:00 AM
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3.20.2005

Choo Choo...Bitches.




OK. By a show of hands, how many saw the under-hyped, seemingly non-relevant broadcast of the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards on Saturday night?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Yeah, didn't think so. In fact, for the past seven years or so, it's been soooo easy to miss this awards show, one produced by us for us. Ever since Biggie got shot, there has been no real promotion of the annual show that celebrates the best of the previous year in R&B, rap and gospel. They've buried it in between promos for Reba and 7th Heaven. It's become irrelevant. It's become low budget. It's become an afterthought. It's...become less hyped than the damn VIBE awards.

LAWWWWWWWWWD!

So, since I was home for a change on a Saturday night, I decided I would do the public service of keeping a running diary of the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards, which is no longer live thanks to the death that occurred eight years ago; which seems out of its element due to the actual singing that took place all night (as opposed to the usual lip synching that goes on during the weekly show); which lacked the real celebrity punch that it used to have. Used to be that going to the Soul Train Awards was THE thing to do. Now...not so much.

Anyways, without further ado, here we go! It's gonna be a long two hours. Sigh.

8:00PM--The familiar announcer with the baritone welcomes us to the Shrine Auditorium for the 19th Annual Soul Train Awards. And then he proceeds to do a roll call of just about every B-list black actor/musician alive. Wait, Usher's gonna be here? Oh damn. Ladies and gentlemen, we've just found out who's winning every award tonight.

8:03--Ciara performs her "hits", My Goodies and 1,2 Step. I've never really gotten a good look at her before tonight. Somebody told me before that she looked like a younger Wanda Sykes. *in my NFL referee voice* Upon further inspection, they are correct! All that's missing are the wack jokes, which are readily replaced by wack lyrics. By jove! They might be related!!!

8:08--We are joined on stage by the evening's hosts: Brian McKnight, Fantasia, Nick Cannon & *gulp* Nicole Richie. Joining me at this point of the viewing via chat is my blog-fiancee X. Here's our comments about Richie being a host on a black awards show:

X: She looks incredibly skinny. What did she do to lose all of that weight?!?!?
Me: She looks incredibly dark. What did they do to make her look black?!?!?


8:09--The first award of the evening: Best R&B Duo or Group Performance (presented by Mya and *insert working black actor's name here*.) The winner? Usher & Alicia Keys, My Boo. This is exactly when my theory that Don Cornelius paid Usher to be there and promised him every trophy kicks in. They were up against Destiny's Child for this award. Lose My Breath was infinitely better than that Boo drivel. So let's weigh it out. Beyonce n dem, not gonna be here. Usher, in da house. USHER WINS!!!!!

8:11--Second performance of the night. Nick Cannon and Anthony Hamilton doing an anti-abortion song called Can I Live. At some point, after throwing up in my mouth, I notice a bunch of kids running out on stage wearing Can I Live tee-shirts and clapping off-beat. *scribbling on a pad* So they bribe A-list celebs to come and pay off the hosts by promising they can perform. Nice. Seriously, though...when in da hell has Nick Cannon been relevant as a musician?!?!? He did a song with R. Kelly called Gigolo. THAT is the highlight of his music career. And then Don Cornelius (DC from here on out) allows him to go up there rapping incoherently? I now have a headache. The State rests, Your Honor.

8:16--Ahhh...The Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award, Female. Remember a few years ago when there was a big stink raised because Ashanti was being honored with this "coveted" award? Remember when there threatened to be protests from people across the land, claiming she had no talent and her version of entertainment was limited at best? (Actually, it was the Aretha Franklin Lady of Soul Entertainer of the Year Award, but you will see where I'm going with this in a minute...OK?)

Well, due to that outcry back then, surely the criteria for such a prestigious award has been upgraded. Surely only the creme de la creme will be awarded with this symbol of excellence from now on. Surely only those who have name recognition, those who are all-around entertainers will walk on stage after seeing their accomplishments beamed onto the big video screen, humbly accept this award and exhale, knowing that their labor of the past 12 months is being aptly rewarded. Right? RIGHT?

Wrong.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your 2005 SDJ Entertainer of the Year Award, Female...

Ciara.

I say, put your hands together for Ciara. *one clap*

Yup. Exactly.

Clearly, Rebbie Jackson was unavailable.

Seriously, though...how does Ciara get an award named after Sammy Davis, Jr.? What...does she have a glass eye?!?!? Here's X's take on the situation: No, no...Don Cornelius must've thought that 1,2 Step was about tap dancing.

Ah, that explains it. The world will now end.

8:24--The Coca Cola Classic R&B/Rap New Artist award, given out by Gary Dourdan (CSI) and Christina Milian (my new crushee). The nominees, you ask? Fantasia, John Legend, J-Kwon, Ciara. The winner? Ciara.

*blank stare*

8:27--The announcer keeps hyping the fact that Usher is still in the building. LOL

8:29--Wait a dayum minute! They just showed a clip of John Legend performing A LIVE VERSION of Used To Love You on the weekly show. Is that even legal?!?!? Did he slip DC a mickey and bogart his way into the studio? I need to do research and see if that's happened before. EVER.

8:33--Fantasia performs the song Free Yourself, the title track from her CD. I cross my fingers and hope that she doesn't go into Baby Mama (just so we don't have to hear Kajuana scream)...Damn. No.such.luck. There she goes!
X: Wait, I thought you loved that song (singing about random things) B-a-t-h-t-u-b. LOL

*sigh* This is gonna be a long and trying cyber-marriage. LOL

8:39--Award for Best R&B Soul Single Male, presented by Kimora Lee Simmons and Steve Harris (The Practice). OK, first off, who paired these two? Kimora looks freakishly tall next to Harris, who's wearing a green turtleneck that dwarfs him even more. Next to her, he looks like one of the seven dwarfs. The singles nominated are Anthony Hamilton's Charlene, Mario's Let Me Love You, Prince's Call My Name and Usher's Confessions Pt. 2. The winner? Yup. Usher. This is obviously his night. LOL

8:44--Time to hand out the Sammy Davis, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award, Male. L.A. Reid is the presenter. Is there any wonder who the winner of this award is? Of course not. Ladies and germs, USHER! And you know what? I have no problem with this. Truly, he is the definition of the word ENTERTAINER. He had a great year. So what he cried like a baby when he didn't win more than three Grammy's last month. So what his escort is three feet taller than him. So what his performance with James Brown on the Grammycast was flatter than Amel Larrieux's ass. He deserved the award.

*dozing off as Usher thanks his 3rd grade art teacher*

8:52--Wait? Am I reading the screen correctly? Yup. It's time for the Michael Jackson Award for Best R&B Soul or Rap Video, presented by ANTM's Eva and the weekly Soul Train host Dorian Gregory. Which leads me to ask, does anyone even WATCH Soul Train anymore?!?! I don't even know when it comes on. And why do they only hire light-skinned brothers to host the show now? Seriously...am I six years too late to put in my application?!?!? DAMMIT. We need to do a CSI episode on this. Soon.
X: I'm on it. I'm researching for my very own E! True Hollywood Story: The Rise and Fall of Soul Train. Coming soon to a blog near you.

Oh, and Jay-Z won the award, by the way. For 99 Problems. HIT ME!!! LOL

8:54--Anthony Hamilton performs his hit Charlene. Lemme just say that Charlene must've been 4 foot 2, because bruhman is no more than 5 feet zero. Yeesh.

8:55--As Ant croons, this seems like as good a time as any to mention how much I despise pre-taped black awards shows. The horrible splicing, the canned applause...just ridiculous. And you see it on all of em--Essence Awards, NAACP Image Awards, VIBE, Source, BET...whomever is editing these shows needs to be fired. STAT!

8:57--Apparently, Charlene is baptist. Why else would Ant be turning this into a gospel song?

8:58--End of the first hour of the show and our 2,586th commercial promoting Beauty Shop. Someone texted me the other day offering me two tickets to see a screening of this movie. Which I thought was cool...I'm always down with seeing a movie before it's officially and auspiciously released. However, upon scrolling down the text message, it revealed the caviat--the person wanted $20 for the tickets. To a screening. Of BEAUTY SHOP. Which leads me to wonder what kind of fool she took me for. A deluxe one, apparently. LOL

9:00--Reminder: The 19th Annual Soul Train Awards are sponsored by SKEET-GUARD; the Cadillac & GMC Denali; Ribs R Us; Soft Sheen Products; and McDonald's.

9:01--Best R&B Soul Single Female, presented by Aisha Tyler (CSI) and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami). The nominees? Jill Scott, Golden; Beyonce, Naughty Girl; Ciara, My Goodies; Alicia Keys, If I Ain't Got You. The winner? Alicia. Apparently, she was informed well in advance of her victory, since she taped an acceptance speech. *yawn*

9:03--Commercial break. They show a clip from Mario's appearance of the weekly show from earlier this year, confirming that somewhere in America, Soul Train still comes on. LOL Is it just me...or does Mario look like Chris Rock's younger brother? I'm just sayin...

9:04--I know, I know. Sprite's Thirst character is a rip-off of Nike's Lil Penny from back in the day...you know, when Penny Hardaway still existed on the NBA map. But still...Thirst, who started out as LeBron's sidekick and is now on his own...I like him. Well, I don't hate him. How's that?

9:05--Performance by J-Kwon and Petey Pablo. And some group called Ebony Eyes. What.the.hell.ever. This is some horrible shit. I really wanted to give him a pass, but Petey leaves me no choice. Not only did he rap over the track of himself rapping during Ciara's mess of a performance, but now...he's doing it AGAIN!!! Boo you Petey, and the cornrows you rode in on. Blecch.

9:11--The obligatory Best Gospel Album award is presented by Keenan Thompson (Fat Albert, SNL), Charles Divins (???) and Tweet (my dreams). Psst...by the way, Tweet's new CD, It's Me Again, will be out this Tuesday, March 22nd. Have I stated how much I love this woman? In fact, my birthday is coming up soon (August 17th); it would be GREAT if someone got this CD for me upon its release. Anyone? Anyone? I will send my shipping address to anyone who's interested. LOL

Oh yeah. The winner of this award was Israel & Nu Breed. He got up on stage and summed up my thoughts in a nutshell: "I know you guys are thinking, Who the heck is this guy?" Exactly.

9:15--The 2005 Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement, Male...presented by Martin Lawrence. The winner? Ice Cube. We'll get back to him in a second. Right now, let's list some of the reasons why P. Diddy will NEVER give out one of these awards:


  • there is some telePrompter reading involved...he HATES that.
  • the award will eventually go to someone other than him...he HATES that.
  • there is a music label to destroy back on the East Coast. He has no time for this nonsense.

9:17--Back to Cube. Absolutely GREAT career. To come from N.W.A. to xXx. From a jheri curl to Barbershop. TWENTY FREAKIN YEARS in the business. AND he has a black wife! YEAH-YAYEEEEEAHHHHH!

9:23--Ahhh...the Soul Train dancers. The absolute reason people still watch the weekly series, whoever they are. What? Is it the host?!?!? Surely you jest. It's the dancers. Period. Last week, while in Memphis, we went to tour the Staxx Records Museum. Great place. Luminaries like Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, the Staples Singers, Otis Redding, et al. Anyways, on one of the monitors in the museum, there was an old episode of Soul Train. Those people were getting DOWN! Afros, bellbottoms, butterfly collars--IT WAS GREAT!!! It was a stone gas, honey! LOL

9:26--The Sprite Best R&B Soul Rap Dance Cut, presented by Kyla Pratt and BoyzIIMen. The winner? *yawn* Usher. For the song, Yeah. At this point, Usher is thanking his boyhood dentist and the guy at Foot Locker who sold him his first pair of Jordan's.

9:30--The 6,944th promo for Steve Harvey's Big Time, featuring the dude who's shooting a marshmallow out of his nose, across the stage, off of the key grip, around the lead gaffer, and into the waiting MOUTH of his partner.

*waiting for that to sink in*

Ahhh, Steve Harvey's Big Time. Good times.

9:33--Karen & Kiki Sheard perform. Mother and daughter. Nice. Wait, they made Jill Scott's He Loves Me into a gospel record. *in the girl from When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong's voice* I don't like when people play on my Jill! Hold on!!! They just did a rap within the song. I'm speechless. And ummmm...about their outfits? Clearly, Sears is missing some matching drapes. Holy holy, Batman. Since when did gospel singers have back up hip hop dancers?!?!? I think it's telling that I'm running out of steam at this point since none of this phases me in the least.

9:38--Best R&B Soul Album, Duo or Group, presented by Paula Abdul and B5. It's a wonder they all were available. Boy, if DC was thinking, he could've just had me and my cousins up there and it would've been an equal amount of non-talent for less money. LOL Destiny's Child won for Destiny Fulfilled. Personally, I think Michelle put them over the top. Listening to her sing made the album more of an R&B Soul COMEDY album. Who can lose when an album has all of that?!?!?!?

9:41--Best R&B Soul Album, Male, presented by George O. Gore II (My Wife and Kids) and J-Mans (???). The winner? Usher. Again. Wait, he just thanked his big toes for keeping him balanced all these years. What a guy.

9:47--Brian McKnight performs. Like he's the headliner. LOL Then I look at his co-hosts...and I realize that he really is. Yeesh. His is a weird career, isn't it? Very good singer. More than above average. Solid discography. Probably lost some fans when it came out that he beat his significant other. But he's never mentioned in a conversation about the greatest singers of this generation. I asked X whether she thought Brian should be mentioned among the greatest. Here's what she said: Absolutely. I can understand the question, and I'm not a huge fan but I've listened to some of his less commercial ballads--the range, the control...I say YES.

Case closed. Brian McKnight gets his star on the Walk of Fame between Doogie Howser and Ciara.

9:52--The final award of the evening--Best R&B Soul Album Female, presented by the group I've been banned to speak about (rhymes with Few Credition) and that Israel dude. The winner? Alicia Keys, Diary of Alicia Keys. Another pre-taped acceptance speech. I'm watching her speak and then realize that I'm staring. She's a stunningly beautiful woman. And talented out the ass. Uh oh. I think I feel another crush forming. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just an admiration for her talents and abilities. Yeah. Maybe that's it. No.more.crushes. LOL

9:58--The show wraps up. They finally sedate Nick Cannon, who's been running around all night, hopped up on the attention and TV time he's been given; Nicole Richie, the only one of the hosts that didn't perform, still looks lost in a room full of black people; Fantasia does what Fantasia does, removing her shoes immediately, if not sooner; and Brian, trying to remain cool and doing what Brian McKnight does...open up his shirt to reveal a bird chest, thus reminding me why he's never been mentioned as one of the greats...

Overall, a horrible show. From the editing to the Petey Pablo and Nick Cannon performances, just second rate all the way. However, all is not lost. We can save this show and rebuild it. We can make it THE place to be for A-list celebs once again. We can restore the lustre (as well as distribute LustraSilk products) that was once there on the long-in-the-tooth awards show. We can return it to its prominence.

And I dare DC to call me so we can discuss it.

And until he does, I will have to boycott the weekly show as well as all future Lady of Soul, Men of Gospel, Children of the Corn Soul Train entries. At least until they're better.

I truly hope you guys appreciate what I did for you, staying home on a Saturday night, taking one for the team, watching this crud. Me...and Usher. And I must be brainwashed or some shit. Suddenly, I have the desire to purchase Ciara's CD and learn the damned 1,2 Step.

Somebody shoot me now. Sigh.

scribbled by Will at 3/20/2005 12:05:00 PM
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3.18.2005

The Friday 5ive...

**Soundtrack: Taxi, Tweet, It's Me Again**

Wow...it's been a minute since I've done a normal blog post. LOL So here I sit on a Friday afternoon, watching the time tick-tock by. Tonight, I go see Amel Larrieux at The Blue Note in the Village. Details over here. And I may FINALLY get to sit at home this weekend, watch some college basketball and the still-in-the-wrapper Fat Albert cartoon DVD that my friend gave me last month.

Oh, JOY!

Now, on to the 5ive!

1. Desperate Housewives--*Ahem* ABC! What da deal, son? FIRST, you give us thirteen weeks of surprise after surprise, twist after twist, drama upon drama. Now, for what seems like FOREVER (actually, with a repeat scheduled for Sunday, it's been four solid weeks) since you deliver a new episode. Ummmm...I don't know where you did your studying, but basically, today...with premium cable offering up the high-scale goods, you cannot afford to keep a hit show behind the curtain just to save some fresh episodes for April and May. Not.good.business. I will now step down from my soap (opera) box.

2. Be Cool--A better title would've been Be Careful. I swear I wasn't ready to see The Rock as a gay dude reciting a "monologue" from Bring It On. I wasn't prepared to see Vince Vaughn acting like a hip hop gangsta. And I surely wasn't prepped to see Cristina Millian looking THAT DAMN GOOD!?!?!? WTF?!?!? She is definitely a cutie and, if that was her real voice and not some superimposed technical enhancement, she can sing, too. *applauding for Cristina*

3. OK. Kajuana mentioned it in her Wednesday post. And I had the privilege of watching it over and over again on TiVo. I still don't understand it. How...in the hell...can Tyra Banks keep letting these women with afflictions make it to the Top Model semis?!?!? Last year it was the girl with the horrible sight. This year, it's a girl who just passes the fuck out without any notice!!! The poor guest judge was in the middle of telling her how great she looked in her photos...and then--in mid-sentence--homegirl just passes out!!! Wow. It was the thud heard 'round the world.

Let me just say that I love the way they cast this show, though. Two seasons ago they had the orgy in the hot tub. Last year they had the girl who kept throwing up her meals--ON PURPOSE!!! And this year, one of the girls admitted she was gay AND crazy ass Brandi, who is unknowingly auditioning for the next installment of When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong. Oh, Tyra...you and the Top Model team are the gift that keeps on giving. Errr, except for that Ms. Jay cat. Not.a.fan.of.him/her.

4. The Flow Magazine and We The Voices...seriously, if you haven't had the opportunity to check these two publications out, do so now. Go on. I'll be here when you get back. They are very, very well done and speak to everyone. I must say that, as a writer, I'm extremely proud to see such depth and content. Makes me know that there's some hope for the future as these pubs give young, black writers a chance to express themselves, inform, and in some cases, educate. Much respect!!!

5. Memphis, Tennessee--this trip was fun. Got to spend time on the campus of LeMoyne Owen College, where the students and faculty showed us a good time. We toured the Staxx Records Museum, had a live band play for us during the first-day luncheon, conducted mock interviews with the students, attended a Memphis Grizzlies game, played laser tag and got to meet a whole bunch of people. THIS...is what has kept we here for this long. The experiences I'm able to bring back with me from the road. I won't keep babbling. But ummm...I love my job. Today. LOL

Peace. Bitches. LOL Have a great weekend.

scribbled by Will at 3/18/2005 03:11:00 PM
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3.17.2005

And Now...Back to Punk'd...The Lost Episode

Still in Commercial Break

Next up on an all new Making the Band 3: Diddy pulls out all the stops and has his choreographer teach all the girls...how to cook breakfast food.

Diddy: "You just never know when you're gonna be in Belgium, with over 20,000 people watching your every move...and somebody wants you to cook some waffles. *pause* Yeah, n*ggas, I said waffles. Hell, it's Belgium. I could want some waffles on tomorrow or some sh*t. Waffles."

Watch the batter fly as the girls start waffling from the pressure.

Obscure-girl-who-can't-sing-or-dance-but-was-chosen-because-she's-light-skinned: F*ck this sh*t! You think I came here to cook? What, I look like Aunt Jemillah or some sh*t? *crying* This is not my dream, yo...*still crying*


On the NEXT Making the Band!!!! Thursday at 10...on MTV.

*cue Punk'd bumper music*

Ashton: OK, so we're back at Laser Quest in Memphis, Tennessee, teaching ole big mouth Willie Boy our version of laser tag. Everybody else has put on their black laser tag uniforms, while Willlll is wearing a white shirt and some dress shoes. Wack!!!! *switching to camera 2* I think you will agree that it's time we take him down. *1* Willie survive? I think No.

Scene 3: Back at Laser Quest

Trombone: OK, please place your energy packs over your heads and activate your guns using the keys we supplied you with outside. Let me take a roll call: Kill Will Volume 1? *Here1* Kill Will Volume 2? *Yo.* Will U Die Already? *Check.* Good Will Hunting? *Right here.* Willt? *Ready.* Alright. Everybody's here. I'm about to open the door to the maze. Happy hunting, everybody.

Will: Droppin like flies, kiddies. Droppin like flies. Let's GOOOO!

*spotlight shines directly on the white-shirted, light-skinned dude*

*people see him coming and hear him with his dress shoes clip-clopping along*

HIT! -10 points

HIT! -20 points

HIT! -30 points

Will: My gun...my gun's not working.

Trombone: Just try pulling the trigger, man.

Will: *cue electric shock* Yeeaowwwwwwwww! What the *#$!&!!!*

*cut to Ashton and Ms. Hedgeman laughing hysterically*

Ms. Hedgeman: Tag, you're it. Bitch. *laughing*

Trombone: Move around, man. They're killing you!!!

Ashton from the control room: Put up the two-way mirrors!

*Ashton, Ms. Hedgeman and Moochie crack up*

Will: *still shaken up from the shocks* You think some shocks are gonna stop me? I will *shake* not lose. Bitches. *shake*

WAAAAP!

*The students surround Will, relentlessly firing their guns and shooting him over and over. His score at this point is -1596. Will, facing the abuse and attempting to fire his way out of it like a broke ass Al Pacino in Scarface, gets shocked each time he discharges the gun. The Punk'd crew laughs wildly. The students start hitting him upside the head with their weapons. Will covers himself in the fetal position, still shaking from the shocks, mumbling the words, Mercy. Bitches.

All while snot runs from his nose.

Punk'd...indeed.

*Ashton and Ms. Hedgeman run out from behind the two-way mirror as the students cheer wildly and start singing the LeMoyne-Owen theme song and ending it in unison with...BITCH.

Will, seeing the camera, wipes the snot from his nose, feels for the bump on his head and proceeds to tackle Ashton and beat him with the very gun that had shocked him previously.

Will: I'ma beat you auspiciously, Ashton!!! Look mom, no testicles!

Hedgeman: Mr. Dawson, get off of him. You're setting a bad example for the students! Uh-oh. Here come's po-po! Run, students...run! Oh, and Will Dawson. Next time, keep yo' big mouth, swole-headed behind back in New York. Bitch.

The authorities arrived, locked up Will Dawson. He was sentenced to six months in the Shelby County Correctional Facility. Luckily, he had made friends with the inmates three weeks prior.

Ashton wound up being hospitalized for seven days, recovering from his facial laser gun injuries.

Punk'd went on hiatus until the fall.

Hey...now you know why it was the Lost Episode.

Bitches.

scribbled by Will at 3/17/2005 04:06:00 PM
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3.16.2005

Punk'd...The Lost Episode

*rolling cameras*

Promo: Coming up...on PUNK'D! Ashton and the crew go to Memphis, Tennessee for their latest Punk'd adventure. Find out what happens when a friendly game of Laser Tag turns into a trip to the Punk-kin patch.

*Cue Punk'd theme music*

Ashton *into camera 1*: "Hey, peoples. Today...we're doing it country-style, live and direct from good ole Memphis, Tennessee--home of Elvis Presley, home of Staxx Records *cut to camera 2*, home of Chef from South Park, the nation's best BBQ. *back to camera 1* Oh, and LeMoyne-Owen College, a historically black college that currently has about 900 students enrolled.

*camera 2*"Here in Memphis is where our latest Punk'ing takes place. You ever meet someone who just goes on and on about how good they are and how they're gonna bust your ass at something when given the chance? Don't you HATE those people? Don't you just wish they would be cut down to size? Then tonight is your night. Meet Will Dawson. Wait. I just looked at him. Looks more like a light skinned Bill Cosby. *camera 1*Sorry Mr. Cosby. *2* Seems ole Willie Boy's been bragging to everyone on the campus that he's da shizznit at laser tag. *1* That nobody can beat him. *2* Ole Willie Boy's about to get a real lesson in humility. Yeah. After this, his name's gonna be Humility Willie. *1* Mark.my.words.

"OK. Our accomplices tonight, helping us teach Mr. WriteMind a lesson are Ms. Hedgeman *still shot of her*, director of career services at the school; all 20 students *group shot of them*, who listened for two days as Willll ran off at the mouth about his superiority (*flashback of hidden camera catching Will blabbing: "I could beat you with two hands tied behind me and one of my testicles in a sling. Bitches."*); and the workers at the facility, who are really our team members Moochie and Trombone. *camera 1* We're ready for you, Willie Boyyyyy...you're gettin chopped up like some Memphis barbeque, buddy.

Scene 1: In the LeMoyne-Owen College parking lot

Will: You students wish you had my skills. I'm the baddest laser tagger in the world. I invented the word laser from one of the L's in my name. I was sitting around when you weren't even born yet, figuring out how to use the extra L. And then laser was born. Bitches.

Ms. Hedgeman: Leave those students alone, Will. You're gonna scare them. You SHOULD go easy on them today when we get out there. Let them win.

Will: Let them WIN? HAAA! Never. They NEED to be scared, bad as I am. They're gonna catch my wrath!!! *starts singing his laser song while the students secretly chuckle at him*

*cameras shift to laser tag facility, where Ashton and crew set up for the group's arrival*

Moochie: Hi, I'm Moochie. Today, we're fittin to teach this big mouth a lesson. We got fake laser guns, suits that will light up as if he's been hit at random intervals, and we told him that everyone's outfits would be white, which is a definite no-no for laser tag.

Trombone: Whassup? This is 'Bone. Today, we're gonna make this cat think he's trippin. We have two-way mirrors set up in the laser maze, and we're gonna keep a spotlight on his ass at all times so that EVERYBODY knows where he is. Easy.ass.target. Laser THIS, Willie Boy.

Moochie: And last but not least, we've made it so that every time he fires his gun, he'll get an electric shock. Not enough to kill him, but you see his beard? *cut to photo of Will with beard* Yeah, that joint will be acting out the Ludacris Stand Up video. *laughs*

Ashton: Take your places, fellas. Here they come.

Scene 2: At Laser Quest

Moochie: Welcome to Laser Quest, LeMoyne-Owen College. Today, since there's so many of you, we're gonna break you up into two teams. Faculty and visitors on one team, students on the other. Faculty is the green team. Students, you're red. Now step up for your code names and then we'll go into the maze.

Student #1: Make sure you pick a good name, Mr. Dawson. You know, since you're the king and all.

Will: Don't worry about me. Worry 'bout yourself. I'ma be performing laser eye surgery up in Memphis today. Play your asses like an old Elvis guitar. In fact, that's my nickname today. Gimme Elvis for two wins. Bitches.

Moochie: Elvis, it is. Wait...are you gonna play in those dress shoes and white shirt?

Will: Hellus yeah. Shiii...if bad guys in the movies can be in suits while running top speeds, surely I can. Besides, these kids are my light work. I'm dressed for success!!!! *pause* Wait, where did everybody go? Why are they all changing clothes?

*cue Punk'd bumper music*

Next up...on Punk'd:

Will: My gun...my gun's not working.

Trombone: Just try pulling the trigger, man.

Will: *cue electric shock* Yeeaowwwwwwwww! What the *#$!&!!!*

*cut to Ashton and Ms. Hedgeman laughing hysterically*

Ms. Hedgeman: Tag, you're it. Bitch. *laughing*

Commercial Break

*Next up...on an all new PowergiRls...Lizzie realizes her mistake and fires the black member of the team. Lizzie: "You just weren't blonde enough..."

TO BE CONTINUED...

scribbled by Will at 3/16/2005 06:09:00 PM
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3.15.2005

On The Road...

...so while I'm gone, please go check out THE FLOW MAGAZINE. It's back and better than ever! Shout out to Tionne and Lisa. It looks GREAT!!! And special shout to Elle for putting me on.

My contribution for this month is a tribute to the late, great Notorious B.I.G.

THE FLOW, baby! THE FLOW!!!

Be back on Thursday...Memphis says Hello. LOL

Peace.

scribbled by Will at 3/15/2005 10:10:00 AM
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3.11.2005

Friday Fantasy...Or Not

PULSE

That's what I remember about that evening--taking my pulse. Making sure I was still alive. I worried about it then, but only because never before had a woman excited me this way. Never before had a woman literally incited me to chorus, making me scream her name in three-part harmony. Never before had streams of tears been part of my experience, me being not upset at what I was experiencing but, really, upset that it would end.

So I remember that pulse. Taking it and feeling it. Living it and breathing it. It was literally a rhythm of the night. El DeBarge ain't had nothing on me.

It started off slowly, almost syncopated. A look. A laugh. A flirt. A touch. A hug. All uneven in their pattern, but all making up a blood flow, a life flow...that pulse.

It built slowly, gaining momentum, when the hug turned into an embrace, and then a meeting of the lips, and then a deep kiss...the pulse was building. A stroke of the back, and caress of the hair, a hand on the small of the back. Racing. It was evening. As the sun set, I rose.

I invite, she responds. A sensuous, affirmative R.S.V.P. I probe, she parts. I squeeze, she moans. I lead, she follows. I play on her lips. It drives her crazy. Drives my pulse even more so. Several deep kisses later, several beats later, I find myself exploring as if looking for an even more perfect beat. The perfect pulse.

My hands had a story to tell. They took it nice and slow like an Usher song. Feeling, touching, clutching, fondling...nothing was out of reach. They started with her face, flushed and glowing, each finger tracing her full lips with precision, as if they were taking notes for future reference. Each palm caressed a side of her face, drinking in her beauty. Working their way down past her neck, gripping her back, making love to her breasts with each squeeze. These hands were crafting their own ballad, following the body's pulse.

Each song has a bridge, a moment where everything is broken down and explained. Made clear. Each pulse has it's own crescendo--a starting point, it's apex, and a conclusion. Where my hands went next...was the apex. It was that one moment in time where fingers play the body like an instrument, pressing and massaging notes in the form of moans and groans and screams and exclamations. It's all about where you place the fingers...all about which notes you wished to hear.

The notes played. My pulse was on the verge of exploding. The song was broken down, explained. Raw. Uncut. Saturated. It was time to play that body to its heightened conclusion. It was time to see where the notes could take us. Time to concoct a Miles or Coltrane composition. Time to craft a masterpiece. My hands were ready for the rest of me to join in. My body was ready. She was ready.

But first, in the midst of all of this--the kissing, the rubbing, the holding, the caressing, the probing, the squeezing, the passion, the saturation, the moment...I had to stop.

And take my pulse.

scribbled by Will at 3/11/2005 12:17:00 PM
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3.10.2005

America's Next Top...Black Woman?

WILL SALUTES WOMEN

Part II--Risin' to the Top

Dear Tyra:

Hey there. It's Will. We met about ten years ago when you did that in-store appearance at the Super K-Mart over by the Garden. Thanks for signing my poster that day. You made a 23-year old verrrrrry happy. Sigh. *reminiscing* Oh. Sorry. What was I saying? Ah yes. The point of this letter.

I've come to praise you, Tyra, not bury you.

I know, I know. Why would I send this to you now? You're still laying down your foundation. You're still making your mark. People that I've spoken to about this say that you're not worthy of an open letter during Women's History Month. They say you haven't done anything yet.

I disagree. I say you DO deserve the praise. I look at your career and, at 31, you're doing the damn thing. I look at you and smile because you're not only a supermodel, but also a role model for young black girls. But not only them. Seems to me that ALL girls look up to you. And that's usually an indication that you're doing something right.

Ok, Tyra. Breathe. I can see you hyperventilating over there. I can see the beads of sweat forming on your ample forehead. Take it easy. I'm not trying to jinx you. Just giving props where its due. And it's due you. And please don't try and say that I'm the one causing the stir. Pssst...Ms. Banks. OPRAH FRIGGIN WINFREY has already anointed you her successor. OPRAH WINFREY! And everything that lady touches turns to gold (Beloved and Halle Berry notwithstanding.)

Look at yourself. Go on. Take a look. You've done what most models would dream of doing. You're not just a model. You're a SUPERmodel. You draw checks from Victoria's Secret. You snagged the cover of Sports Illlustrated's annual swimsuit issue. You have clout at every major modeling agency throughout the world. You have your own production company and television show. You were a semi-regular on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Raphael Saadiq wrote a song about your character in the film Higher Learning.

I bow to you.

Tyra, seriously...after Survivor and American Idol, your America's Next Top Model franchise is right there. And there are seemingly THOUSANDS of reality shows on television today. And you have a FRANCHISE! YOU are where young girls go to fulfill their dreams. YOU are where UPN rests its hopes throughout the entire year. In fact, YOU put them on the map. And you're taking Taye Diggs along for the ride. (He should write you checks. Or at least thank you notes. For real.)

What other supermodel can say the same? Who else has accomplished what you have at such a young age? Cindy Crawford? No. She's been milking that mole for years and all it's gotten her is B-movie roles. Cheryl Tiegs? May I dare say that you've surpassed her in terms of life outside of modeling. She probably calls YOU for work. LOL Iman? OK. She's got the makeup line going and has proven to be a smart entrepreneur. Your buddy Naomi Campbell? HA! She's spent more time on the couch with Diane Sawyer than she has on the catwalk lately. And unless her entrepreneurial venture is in boxing, she's not doing too much. In fact, one more left hook and she may end up making model license plates. (Oh, speaking of her, I applaud you for being the bigger person and walking away from the alleged beef that was brewing. THAT'S why you're where you are today.)

Have you noticed that I still haven't mentioned that you're a black woman doing all of this? That...is my point in a nutshell. People see you each week on their television screens (oh, yes...people are watching) and they don't just see a black woman. They see a franchise; they see a businesswoman; they see an expert; they see someone that may be a supermodel, but doesn't have those "holier than thou" supermodel tendencies.

They just see Tyra.

And for that, and the Oprah endorsement (just don't let me see you starring in Beloved 2: Enslavement Boogaloo and you'll be fine), I give you major respect. And deem you worthy of a letter celebrating women making history.

Sure, you're goofy and at times, your hair looks ridiculous. But you're Tyra. And you signed my poster. And for that, you get a pass. You get respect. You, my dear, may well just be...America's Next Top Black Woman.

Keep on risin' to the Top. God bless.

Signed,


Will

P.S. But ummm, Tyra...I do have to say that I'm still upset about Brita. Why'd you dump her last night?!?!? She wasn't THAT bad!!! *sniffle*

scribbled by Will at 3/10/2005 12:39:00 PM
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3.09.2005

Eight Years Later...



"...the greatest Rapper alive
died on March 9th..."

*R.I.P. BIG POPPA*
Christopher Wallace
1973 - 1997

scribbled by Will at 3/09/2005 02:09:00 PM
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Tennessee William Presents...An Empowerment Tale

Shelby County, Memphis, Tennessee.

That's where we were the last week in February, part of a week that also saw me in Houston, Texas. That's where we were on a crisp, cold, clear Friday near the end of winter; there on a mission from our president to spread a message of empowerment to a community that would actually settle for some engagement.

It seemed like a long ride, but it really wasn't. What it turned out to be was a long time coming, an overdue ride to address an overwhelmed audience. As we headed down the highway, we got a chance to focus our thoughts, collectively steel ourselves for the unknown. We probably approached this visit with reasonably open minds, save a few misconceptions and stereotypes that rested on our backs like a proverbial monkey.

We had to get rid of those at the gate. We had to make sure that our preconceived pets stayed at the front door, check it like baggage on a full flight. We had to focus on our reason for being there, make sure that the message we brought with us--an empowerment message--was delivered unfiltered, straight with no chaser. We had to make sure we brought it, if for no other reason than to not lose another young soul to the system.

That's why we were there. To talk to those who needed a listening ear; to listen to those who got caught up in the game, messed up by illegal substances, locked up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were in Tennessee, in Memphis, on our way to the Shelby County Correctional Facility, to address a group of inmates.

We were on our way to jail.

We were there to encapsule the thoughts of black male inmates, finding out from them what their biggest problems were, to listen to their ideas for solutions, for ways to avoid getting caught up again. We went there on a fact-finding mission, attempting to build momentum for a commission on the black male, attempting to build on the meetings we'd held on the campus of Morehouse College in November and in Washington, DC in October.

We went to jail because sadly, that's where more and more of our black males are. We went to reach out to them to see what was on their minds and in their hearts. We went there because they couldn't come to us.

They came in single file, about 100, all of them adorned with denim jackets with the letters SCDC emblazoned in yellow on the back. Some wore jumpsuits, while most wore blue collared shirts with blue jeans. Most were cleanly shaven, most had tattoos. It was a silent march, an orderly march. Just like they knew why we were there, they knew why they were there. To have a conversation. To vent. To hopefully empower themselves.

In came the women, about 50 total. Theirs was not a token inclusion to balance out the ratio. No, their concerns were of as valid as those of their male counterparts, their voices in need of being heard. They, too, had on their jumpsuits and denim ensembles, all focused on what they came there for...to talk about and, with the breadth of their stories, more than likely bring about change.

They filled the Shelby County Correctional Facility chapel that Friday afternoon, all of them focused. They all sat, grateful for the opportunity to speak. In front of them was a panel carefully assembled to make the greatest impact. Talking heads weren't necessary for this meeting. We need substance.

In front of them sat both the presidents of the National Urban League and the local Urban League, a local circuit judge, the Shelby County Department of Corrections warden, and a former prosecutor and current administrator for Shelby County. We wanted to bring people who could listen and act; not listen and critique, not listen and leave. We wanted to bring an audience for that audience, people who carried weight in the community; people who could hopefully empower those we were engaging.

That panel--for that group--was the right group of people.

Introductions were made, taking up no more than fifteen minutes of a scheduled two-hour event. Then, the floor was open to the inmates, none of them hardened criminals in jail for life (in fact, the harshest sentence seemed to be no more than seven years). The floor was open to hear what was on their minds and hearts. A line that snaked from the front of the chapel to the back formed quickly. And throughout those two hours, everyone who was standing--and many who were not--got their chance.

They all spoke, some of those incarcerated being master carpenters and licensed barbers. they spoke of the hopelessness that awaits them when they are finally released; they spoke of the ease of getting caught up, and once again locked up.

They wanted help. They asked about transitional housing and drug after-care programs. They wanted classes that extended past the general GED courses that the facility provided. They wanted help finding steady employment. Some even offered to serve as lecturers to those who were on a wayward path, hoping those could learn from their bad examples. While they spoke, it became clear that none of them were looking for a way out; they were looking for a way in...to the mainstream. A way back...to a productive life. A way up...the social ladder that has them relegated to the bottom rung.

They were appreciative of the session; both a male and female gave praise to our group through song. We, too, were appreciative for their insight, their questions, their attention, their presence. That time spent with those who lost their way empowered us, gave us reason to believe that the problems that exist in our communities could all be solved, or at least lessened, if we took more time to gather and come up with solutions.

That day in jail, there were no promises made by the panel. They made suggestions and made themselves available. But no promises. And you know what? It didn't matter. All this audience wanted was an audience that would listen, that would engage them.

Hopefully, what was discussed that day will help the National Urban League move forward in establishing a commission that will positively impact communities, and especially the black male. Hopefully, through our affiliate network that serves these communities, we will help deter these young men and women from losing their way, through programs that accentuate and encourage success. Hopefully, we will help in the process of rehabilitating those who found themselves incarcerated and now need a second chance.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky when we arrived, and when we left, everything was just as clear. Something good happened on that last Friday of the month. Something changed. Our perceptions and misconceptions. Everything changed. Their spirit and their hope for the future. Us and them. All of us.

This week, I go back to Memphis. This time to visit an HBCU that resides just outside of Shelby County. There we will speak to young men and women and prepare them for the world of corporate America. They, too, will listen and ask questions and, if all goes well, be better off for the experience. Just like we all were on that clear, cold, crisp Friday in February.

The day we went to Shelby County, Memphis, Tennessee.

The day we went to jail.

scribbled by Will at 3/09/2005 11:27:00 AM
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3.08.2005

My Beliefs...

I believe that my job makes me too tired to have much of a social life.

I believe that my time in Harlem is drawing to a end.

I believe that blogging is, by far, the best way to vent this side of smashing windshields and slashing tires.

I believe that I've probably passed fellow bloggers in the streets of the various states to which I've traveled.

I believe that my mother makes the best fried chicken in the world.

I believe in love.

I believe that impatient people are probably some of the worst drivers and the reason that insurance rates skyrocket each year.

I believe that I will never own a car as long as I live in Harlem.

I believe that all people have something up their sleeve. The amount of the something depends on whether they're wearing long or short sleeves.

I believe that I want the phrase "Hellus Nous" engraved somewhere on my tombstone. You know, when that time comes.

I believe that one day Fave and Simone will get it together and we will all be invited to their wedding.

I believe that LeBron James is much better than Kobe Bryant.

I believe that whether Tevin Campbell was gay or not, the boy sure could sang.

I believe that Kobe is sorry...that he got caught.

I believe that the New York Knicks will never win a championship during my lifetime.

I believe the same about the New York Jets.

I believe that the show Blind Justice is just too unbelievable and won't last more than a few episodes.

I believe that The Simpsons is the best written show in television history.

I believe that Desperate Housewives needed a break; they were exposing too many secrets too fast.

I believe that there should be a spinoff to The Surreal Life: Bloggers Edition and that this time it should take place in Atlanta.

I believe the original Surreal Life: Bloggers Edition will always be the platinum standard.
I also believe that the Good Times episode done by Brutha Code before he retired is the equivalent to any classic television episode in history.

I believe that the Subway (c) Meatball Marinara foot long is the best sandwich they make.

I believe that my niece is going to be famous one day.

I believe that some of the best talent in America lies within the blogs I read daily.

I believe that Ludacris's lyrics feature some of the best word play the rap game will ever see.
I believe that Alice Walker is one of the greatest writers of my lifetime...although she is just one of them.

I believe that Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes were the most important writers of all time. Ever.

I believe in the National Urban League.

I believe that C.hris Ro.ck should stick to stand up and never host another show. Ever.

I believe that the next American Idol will be a male.

I believe that Fantasia meant no harm with the Baby Mama song.

I believe that whoever is giving career advice to Ruben Studdard needs to be dismissed.

I believe that older black women give the best advice.

I believe in Hip Hop, but I can't stand rap.

I believe that there will never be another male singer on Donny Hathaway's level.

I believe that whoever is giving Jamie Foxx career advice has an extremely tough job going forward.

I believe that my time in New York is just about up.

I believe that my mother is THE strongest person I've ever had the privilege of knowing.

I believe in friendships that last a lifetime.

I believe that Michael Jackson will be found not guilty.

I believe in LIVING STRONG.

I believe that my best days are yet ahead of me.

I believe in soulmates.

I believe that Everybody Loves Raymond is one of the best shows on television right now.
I believe that women of color are a wonder to behold.

I believe that all strip clubs should be operated like fast food restaurants--get in, order from the menu and get out before you realize how you spent your money.

I believe in booty calls.

I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence.

I believe that everyone should experience a Jill Scott concert during their lifetime.

I believe that this list will end sometime soon.

I believe in Diggs.

I believe in Mia.

I believe in forevers.

I believe in tomorrows.

I believe in seizing the day.

I believe I need more rest and less travel.

I believe that lefthanded Leos are the greatest--with all due respect to Muhammad Ali.

I believe that Will Ferrell is one of the funniest human beings alive.

I believe that Rhapsodi will have a single out by next year. Mark.my.words.

I believe that X will move back to New York.

I believe that YolandaWrites.com will be saved as a favorite on a lot of PCs.

I believe in The Flow.

I believe that Panama Jackson will one day soon take over the world.

I believe that Elle will NOT cut off her hair.

I believe in miracles.

I believe I will be married one day.

I believe in black people.

I believe...I'm done.

scribbled by Will at 3/08/2005 03:45:00 PM
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3.07.2005

Episode Six: Surreal Life--Bloggers Edition

Click HERE to see the continuing saga of the bloggers as they keep it "surreal."

Only TWO episodes remain.

DON'T MISS OUT!!!!

scribbled by Will at 3/07/2005 03:13:00 PM
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3.05.2005


Jill Scott at Radio City Music Hall Friday, March 4th
Posted by Hello

scribbled by Will at 3/05/2005 06:27:00 PM
link | |


The Fact Is...

***As you know, March is Women's History Month. Throughout this month, please look out for open letters that celebrate the female. This is the first of a series.***

WILL SALUTES WOMEN

Part One--The Fact Is...


Dear Jill:

It's me. Will. We met last year in Los Angeles during the Artist Empowerment Coalition Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton. Do you remember? I hope so. Because what I said to you then, I say to you now. Thank you.

That smile you gave after I uttered those two words made me know that you were appreciative. The smile you put on my face while listening to your golden voice hopefully makes you know how appreciative I am. Appreciative not just because its good music. No, appreciative because of the way you ply your craft, the way you put your foot into each note. That passion. That power. That soul. It's what's missing from most music today. We need that if music is going to last.

We need you.

I was thinking last night, how would I describe your style? Is it rhythm and blues? No way. Never would I compare you to the legions of lightweights that have flooded the R&B arena. Some have had the nerve to compare you to the "happy" Mary J. Blige. Not me. Mary succeeded when she was depressed because millions of listeners could identify with her pain, with her struggle to overcome. Mary was more of a symbol than an artist. When she said that she wasn't gon' cry, there were people throughout the world who sure as hell weren't gonna shed a tear. Once she became happy, there wasn't much to identify with anymore. Sure, she celebrates love and all that comes with it these days. And you can HEAR that she's happy. You just can't FEEL it. In your soul.

And that's the difference.

When you say that you're happy, that you're in love, people FEEL it. You communicate it and effuse it. It oozes out of your mouth and reaches everyone in your presence. Hits them right in the pits of their stomachs. In their souls. Makes them believe that things will get bedda at home. Makes them say they're not afraid. Makes them want to love.

Are you neo-soul, where you've been pigeonholed by mainstream media? Hellus nous. Too deep for that. That would imply that your sound is new, which it definitely isn't. Actually, I think you're just plain Soul. Soul like Phyllis Hyman was Soul. Like Chaka Khan is Soul. Like Aretha Franklin is Soul. That gut-wrenching Phyllis style; that powerful Aretha style; that strong Chaka style. That old soul. Just like you, when those divas sang, you had no choice as to what to believe. They set the agendas during those three-minute exercises in love and pain that we were blessed to witness. And you're following in their paths. Sure, it's a long walk...but slowly, surely, you will reach their remarkable heights. It's inevitable.

We need you to.

I told you when we met that Black men across the globe love you. Of course you smiled when I said it, but seriously...it's true. It's been a while since we've been called kings. Been a while since we've been able to soak in those words like a love rain; been a while since men have been given that spring summer feeling that comes with praise. It's been a minute since we've been reminded of how beautifully human we are, how important our sisters are, about the need to take care of them and not take advantage of them. You make us want our sisters to say, 'He Loves Me'. Your voice, your passion, your gift has helped us realize that we are gifted. And every now and then, that crosses my mind. And I smile.

You see, Jill, I wrote this letter because, last night, while watching you perform, I was reminded of how important music is to the world. How important you are to music. There are so many different forms and fashions and styles and sounds out there. So many words and phrases and notes and rhythms. So many ways to make music.

The way you do it...is the way it's supposed to be done. Your sound is unflitered. Nothing getting in the way. And for that--for the volumes of words and sounds you continue to produce--I'm forever grateful. For making folks believe that love isn't a curse word, that people are supposed to stay in love, that's it's not like crazy for love to last--I thank you. Sista, you give the music world a good name. A world that--with you in it-- can last indefinitely.

We need music. We need it to last. Jill, the fact is...we need you.

Yours in music,

Will

scribbled by Will at 3/05/2005 10:32:00 AM
link | |

3.03.2005

The Surreal Life--Bloggers Edition--EPISODE FIVE

Previously...On The Surreal Life: Bloggers Edition...

...All seven bloggers are drunk off their asses. They were safe because their driver was behind the wheel. But wouldn't you know it. Brown Shuga couldn't leave well enough alone. She decided to stand up in the sunroof and take her top off, while the limo was driving along. Not only that, but she challenged the other women to do it too. The men were very supportive of some tit-tay showage. Edwige was the next to bare here breast. Again, not a big deal because in this Surreal Life House, Edwige was 'the naked one.' Then it was Christen's turn. After hearing one too many cheers from Bruthacode, she said, "I'll do it if you do it."
Bruthacode didn't care. Everyone had seen his taco meat. He stripped off his purple and gold sweatervest and stuck his upper body out of the sunroof. All of a sudden, there was a shrill scream coming from Bruthacode. Then a big THUD as blood flowed down his lower body into the cabin of the limo. His limp body feel from its place in the sunroof to the floor of the limo. Everyone panicked, yelled, and demanded the car be stopped. Bruthacode was dead. Or was he?...
And now...Episode 5...
"ONE DIZZLE DOWN"
The limo driver called 9-1-1 immediately after hearing the gun shot. It was a single shot that pierced the ears of the housemates and left them all in shock. With the car safely pulled over, Panama and Will gently lifted BC out of the car (big no-no) and placed him on the sidewalk. Just as the two were about to get back into the car and speed off, the police arrived.
It's not that they didn't care that BC might be dead...don't get it twisted. It's just that all of THEM were twisted...drunk as hell. Panama crunched the numbers. He knew that drunk plus gunshots added up to big ass trouble. They would all be suspects.
The girls quickly got dressed and attempted to look sober. It's wasn't happening. Kajuana, known for not being able to hold her liquor, kept giggling uncontrollably while the police investigated the scene. It didn't take long for the cops to come to their conclusion. Six black people...one lead-filled body...BC was stabilized enough to be transported to the hospital while his housemates, suddenly all suspects, were all going to the precinct for questioning.
Scene 2: Police HQ
The cops decided that they would question each blogger one-by-one, trying the old divide-and-conquer routine that they learned their first day at the academy. While they gave the drunken group a chance to dry out, they found the group had no rap sheets (except for Panama, who had rap reviews...but we digress). So they did the next best thing. They studied their blogs to come up with incriminating evidence. Then, they handed them over to their top detective. Below are transcripts from their interrogation sessions.
*Cue Law & Order bell*
Room 1: EDWIGE
Detective: So your name is Edwige...pronounced like Sandwich...?
Ed: Ummm, no. It's Edweeeeedge. Long E.
Detective: Yeah. Whatever. You have a blog, don't you Weegie? This...actually...happened...huh?
Ed: Yes. I do. And?
Detective: Well, from reading your blog we see that this whole Surreal setup was your idea. You initiated this whole housemate thing, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?!?!?!
Ed: I did. I thought it would be a great way for black people to...
Detective: Black people to do WHAT, Weegie? Get together and shoot one another?!?!?
Ed: No, wait...
Detective: Don't interrupt me, Egg Roll, or whatever you call yourself. We have your writings. We see that you talk during movies...how you wish you were an international spy and secretly wish you lived back in New York...that you can't stand corny ass men! Is that why you shot Brutha Code?!?!? Huh? Did you think he was too corny for your taste so you had to "off" him?!?!? Answer me!
Ed: I did not shoot Brutha Code. And if you would get your facts straight, there's no way I could've done it. Scroll up if you don't believe me. At the time of the shooting, I was two titties to the wind in the sunroof. I.am.innocent.
Detective: Oh, really? You think you've won, don't you? Think you're a grown-up because you got a fly ass couch. We'll see, Squeegie...This isn't over. I'll be back.
*bell*
Room 2: BROWN SUGAR
Detective: Talk to me, Brown Sugar. Can I call you Sugar?
Brown: Call me what you want. I know the game. I'm not saying anything without my delegate in the room.
Detective: Ohhhh, a delegate. That's right. You know cop-speak. In fact, you ARE a cop, aren't you? What, do you hang out with bloggers as your side gig? Listen. I read your blog, Sugarrrr. Guess they call you that because you're so sweet, huh? So sweet that you'd blog about fellow officer's STANK BREAF?!?!?! So sweet that you'd blog about "hand on booty details?" So sweet, Ms. Sugarrrrr...that you'd say F*CK THE POLICE?!?!?!? The truth is, you're not sweet at all, are you, Sugarrrrrrr? No, I don't think so. In fact, you're just a sexy little mama, aren't you? Getting hit on by dudes all the time. Does SWEETDADDY ring a bell?!?!? And what about the ladies? They like you, too...don't they, Sugarrrrr? What, did BruthaCode hit on you? Or was it that you couldn't handle the fact that he DIDN'T? Is that why you shot him?!?!? Huh?
Brown: *eyes watering*
Detective: Ohhhhh...Ms. Sugarrrrrrr crying? I hit a nerve, didn't I?
Brown: Nah, man. You hit a nostril. Your breaf is hummmmmmin...dayum!
Detective: *covering mouth* Oh, so you wanna play hard ball, huh? I'm goin' to get a mint...you stay put. I'll be right back.
*bell*
Room 3: PANAMA
Detective: Jackson...G...Tickle. What does the G stand for, boy? Guilty??!?!?
Panama: Nah, cracka. It stands for Gully and if you say the word boy one more time, you're gonna really see what it means.
Detective: Don't crack wise with me, Pan-a-ma. I read your blog. I know what you're about! With all your little code names and endless monologues. You have to realize that you're our top suspect. You've told on yourself, son.
Panama: You got one more time to call me son, Oppressor! Since you read my blog, you NEED to realize that I've BEEN to Huntsville, Alabama. I know how this shit works. You got nothing on me, homie.
Detective: Oh, I don't? Don't I?!?!? You freely admit to watching an episode of College Hill, but then say that Bob Johnson is the devil. You listen to a teenager like Omarion and then turn around go to an 80s party dressed like that gangsta Eazy-E. Seems like you've got split personalities, homie. Which one is it today, Pan-a-ma? Were you feeling militant? Huh? Did the same tricks you've allegedly done inside a New York bar get on your nerves today when Brutha Code did it? Are you the only one who can *allegedly* flash a crowd? Did his act of taco meated indecency send you over the edge so that you'd shoot him?!?!?
Panama: What are you talking about? You know what? Since you read my blog, you can do a #26 for me right now. And if you don't know what that is, go look it up. Cracka. I ain't sayin shit.
Detective: Yeah...just as I thought. I'm gonna go look up what #26 is. Give you time to think about what might happen to you next. Pimpnificent, my ass...
*bell*
Room 4: CHRISTEN
Detective: Ahhh, the youngest of the housemates. CocoaButterfly. NaturalButterfly. There's two sides to your coin, isn't there?
Christen: Officer, I really have a headache right now. Could you please just tell me why I'm here?
Detective: Don't play innocent with me, Co-coa! You know why you're here. Look at you. Sitting there all cute with your blown-out hair and doey eyes. Don't play with me. I read your blog. In fact, I read both of them! You're not as innocent as you claim to be. I know that you have a super secret side gig that you hide from everybody. Why the secrets, Co-coa?!? I know that sometimes, the things people do disgust you and you just wanna choke em. I read about the lady who rides the bike in the middle lane. The fat bastard that serves as "security" at your job. You think I didn't read all your How Comes?!?!? I did my homework, Co-coa. And I think this is what happened tonight...Brutha Code kept egging you on to show your tatas...you didn't want to. So you told him you would do it if he did. Then, when he didn't care and got up into the sunroof, you got so disgusted that you blacked out and shot him.
Christen: NOOOO!
Detective: YESSSS! It's happened before, hasn't it? You blacking out and someone ending up hurt? HASN'T IT?!?!?
Christen: I want a lawyer.
Detective: I figured you might wanna jump into a cocoon now, Ms. Butterfly. I'll be back...
*bell*
Room 5: KAJUANA
*Detective sits, playing solitaire waiting for Kajuana to show up*
*bell*
Room 6: WILL
Detective: Well, well, well. Lookee at what we have here. The oldest of the housemates. Aren't you a little too old to be on some reality show?
Will: Nah, man. This is the SURREAL LIFE. Shit, Flava Flav AND Peter Brady are older than me and they've been on.
Detective: And they were both wack. Does that mean you're wack, too, Mr. InMyWriteMind?!?!?
Will: Heyyyy...I resemble that remark. What do you want with me, mannn?
Detective: Old as you are and you don't know why you're here, huh? Come on, Willll. I've read your blog. Good stuff. You seem genuine on the surface. But we both know the truth, don't we? Don't we, Willllll?
Will: I have no idea what you mean.
Detective: You're really not in your write mind, are you? You've been conspicuously absent the past week or so, claiming you were "away on business." That's right...I've checked your blog records. I've seen that even from the road...you're fond of drive-bys.
Will: HUH?
Detective: That's right, Oldielocks. I see that you check on blogs when you're on the road, but most of the time...you refuse to leave comments. What, you thought nobody knew? You ever heard of stats, my friend? Those site meters that let people know who came on their site and when? You think all the people you do drive-bys on don't know that you were there? Huh?!?!?
Will: You're crazy, man.
Detective: Crazy like a fox, you broke ass Scottie Pippen wannabe. Light-skinned guys are played out and so is your act, Willlll. I saw on Christen's blog that you didn't ask any questions even though she asked all of her friends to do so. I saw that you didn't comment on Squeegie's grown up couch, tell her how lovely it is like everybody else. I saw that when Panama asked people to tell him their favorite singers, you were nowhere to be found even though you read the post. AND I saw that you read Brutha Code's last post before retirement and didn't even say goodbye. He's your HOUSEMATE, for Condoleeza Rice's sake! No love for the Brutha?
Will: I meant to...
Detective: Blah! Save the drama for dinner theater at the old folks home, Mickey Rooney. I see right through you. You were upset that Brutha Code retired, weren't you? ANSWER ME!!!
Will: Well...*in the voice of Sam Jackson from A Time To Kill*YEAH I WAS MAD HE RETIRED AND I HOPE HE HURRIES BACK!!! You don't understand...he was the comedy portion of the day. He made it possible for people to get through their 9-to-5. And then he ups and retires, putting the pressure on the rest of the men bloggers to make the women laugh. It's not easy, I tell ya! I mean...just the other day...I DID A POST ABOUT ROACHES!!!! I can't carry that torch.
Detective: So you shot him?!?!?
Will: Hell no, I didn't shoot him. I want him to COME BACK, not to be laying flat ON HIS BACK! I'm innocent. Long live the CODE, MANNNN!
Detective: You better hope he lives. We've got enough drive-by evidence to send you away for a long time. Adding murder to your plate would make it a lifetime. Which wouldn't be long since you're almost 65 now. Write mind, my ass...
*bell*
Back to Room 5: KAJUANA
*Detective still waiting*
*bell*
*Finally, Kajuana shows up, waltzing in and claiming she preferred to go home and sleep off her inebriation before turning herself in...*
Detective: Hmmm...Kajuana Maria Consuelos Malwabba Schwartzman. Da Hell? Where'd you get all these damn names? Aren't you black?
Kajuana: Not anymore. I recently resigned.
Detective: Mmm hmmm. I bet you did. When did you do that? AFTER you got picked to be a witness in the Michael Jackson trial? What, did you stop being black because your homie Michael did?!?!? Or was it after your recent incident with the door girl at Republic Gardens that you concluded that you'd rather be anything but black?
Kajuana: Oh please. I love black people. It's the idiotic ones that I can't stand.
Detective: Yeah, OK Kay-Kay. Explain to me your relationship with Brutha Code.
Kajuana: He and I are frociates. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Detective: Yeah, I read your blog. Da hell is a frociate, anyway?
Kajuana: Well, if you read the blog you should know.
Detective: Ohhhh. That's the way you wanna play it. Fine with me. I'll just collect more evidence to use against you from your blog and draw my own conclusions. Let me tell you what I think...I think you secretly have something going on with Brutha Code that you don't want anyone to know about. This frociate shit is just a cover up since your saddity ass is too "fly" for any drama. So when other women in the house were giving him what you thought was undue attention...you got jealous, didn't you, Kasaundra?!?!? And then, conveniently you changed your nationality to "check other" to avoid suspicion right before you shot him. Your frociate, your lover. Is THAT how it went down?
Kajuana: You are out of your mind! Yes, I am "fly." But there's no way I would shoot Brutha. And WE ARE JUST FROCIATES!!!!! You gotta come with something better than that...
Detective: You know I'm right...and I'm ready to take this case before the DA...you stay put.
*bell*
After failing to come up with sufficient evidence, the police still place all six housemates under arrest and then gather them together in the same room. All are given their one phone call and, after huddling, they agree that instead of calling lawyers they would call the bailbondsman G. Cornelius, whose motto is, after all, "I'll Keep You Posted."
Upon their release, the six try and put their heads together to figure out who shot BC!
*Meanwhile...back at MetroCentralCountyRepublic Hospital...Brutha Code lies in a coma...hanging on to life...*
Little did anyone know that the shooter was right in front of him...One...Dizzle...Down.
*to be continued next week by CHRISTEN*

scribbled by Will at 3/03/2005 09:34:00 AM
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Mind Droppings

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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