Look Who’s Back: Lauryn Hill’s Interview with NPR

June 29th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


It seems as if Ms. Lauryn Hill has officially come out of hiding. ::cue fireworks::

She recently conducted an interview, entitled “The Many Voices of Lauryn Hill” with NPR’s Zoe Chace. Hearing her voice on the recording–so strong, thoughtful, and authoritative–reminded me of everything that I love about Lauryn.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of my favorite albums of all-time. Miseducation came out in 1998—I was in middle school. It spoke me then and as I grow older, the album continues to speak to me in different ways. It is timeless–a classic album.

I love this interview because it dispels the rumors. Lauryn is healthy, happy, and enjoying life (To listen to the recording, hit next button below and Lauryn’s interview is the second option).

One of my fave quotations:

“I’m trying to open up my range and really sing more,” she says. “With The Fugees initially, and even with Miseducation, it was very hip-hop — always a singing over beats. I don’t think people have really heard me sing out. So if I do record again, perhaps it will have an expanded context. Where people can hear a bit more.”

…and there is a lot more where that comes from. Read the rest of the interview here.

Ahhh, this gives me great hope for the future. Whenever you are ready, Ms. Hill, until then, I’ll be waiting patiently.

“Man in the Mirror”: Chris Brown’s MJ Tribute at the BET Awards

June 28th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


Last night BET hosted its 10th Annual Awards Show! ::applause and confetti::


OK. Let’s be real. *side-eye*

I have to be honest up front and admit that I DID NOT watch the entire thing and mostly just caught some the performances on youtube. My favorite was the Prince Tribute. So, really I just loooove looking at Prince and that Patti Labelle kicked off her shoes (it looked like walking was a STRUGGLE) and of course Janelle Monae held it down. Oh AND Esperanza Spalding?! I see you, BET.

Chris Brown’s Michael Jackson Tribute was also nothing to frown at.

I’ve watched it several times now and C-Breezy most definitely held it down. I don’t think there is any young artist out there who could have done it better. He channeled Michael. I was very impressed. He has some serious talent.

All that said, instead of being moved by his emotional display at the end of the performance, I found myself rolling my eyes. The BET Awards was one of his first opportunities to perform in a long time on a nationally televised stage. And let’s not forget that BET did not let him do a tribute for Michael Jackson last year. Brown has had a difficult year since his gross display of domestic violence and maybe those tears were an expression of everything he’s been through while trying to resurrect his image.

But, I think this is what makes me uncomfortable. What is he really sorry for? Is he sorry for what he did to Rihanna? Is he sorry that young boys and girls across America saw what he did and can interpret it in a number of scary and twisted ways? So many people are quick to forgive him, saying he paid his dues, but from what I can tell, Chris has been far more concerned with getting back his career than claiming ownership of his actions. I just think there needs to be a little more talk about WHY what he did was wrong, and not just an effort to brush it under the rug as if it never happened. I understand he is a young man and to be honest, I think it shows in the ways that he has handled this situation.

Nonetheless, he is a great artist and performer. Part of me is rooting for him, but I think a bigger part of me still questions his sincerity.

Alas, it is quite the contentious issue. What do you think, readers?

P.S. RIP Michael Jackson. No one can do it like you.

Blogging as Therapy Vol. 1: Male Privilege, Dating, and Feminism

June 15th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink


I’ve been in a bit of a funk (#Glee!) lately. I must admit that said funk is a contributor to why I haven’t posted for several weeks. There are so many topics that have been swimming around in my head, but to actually sit and write about them has proven to be pretty daunting. With that said, it’s no fun being in a funk and sitting around thinking about how you are in a funk just makes it worse. We kind of started this blog, on the “blogging as therapy” tip and if you don’t mind, I think that I’m going to take it back there for a little while.

As a first post on this “blogging as therapy” series, which is bound to become a trend (due to the funk), I’ve decided to tackle a topic that has become an extremely relevant part of my everyday life and that one reader (s/o to JCH!) suggested we publicly consider—the complicated intersection of male privilege, feminism, and relationships between men and women (platonic and otherwise). Deep (But really though, I just always want to talk about this. Let’s be real.)

I recently read an interview done by The Sexist, a blog on Washingtoncitypaper.com that focuses on sex and gender in Washington, D.C., entitled “Fucking While Feminist.” In the piece, Amanda Hess, blogger for The Sexist, interviewed feminist activist and author, Jaclyn Friedman.

In the interview Hess asks Friedman several questions about the difficulties of “dating while feminist” including whether or not she has a “feminist litmus test” that she references when getting to know a guy. Overall, I thought the interview was pretty light-hearted and entertaining, and I do think that Friedman brought up some very interesting points that I have considered in regard to my own interactions with men.

I don’t know if I would quite label myself a feminist for my own personal reasons, but I am one to actively challenge traditional understandings of gender and societal roles assigned to men and women. With that said, sexism has definitely become an important factor for me in forming relationships with men and to be honest has proven to be a very real source of frustration. How does one compromise? IS there a litmus test?

I recently attended a panel discussion on Black Male Privilege put together by the Brecht Forum in New York City. The panelists included Marc Lamont Hill, Associate Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; Byron Hurt, award winning filmmaker, anti-sexism activist, and essayist; R.L. Heureux Lewis, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York; and Mark Anthony Neal, Professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University & author of “The New Black Man: Redefining Black Masculinity.” The discussion was organized and moderated by Esther Armah, international award winning journalist, playwright and radio host of Wake Up Call & Off The Page (WBAI 99.5 FM).

I went to the discussion skeptical about the fact that there were no women on the panel (except for Armah serving as the moderator) and eager to hear what was to be said because panel discussions on Black Male Privilege just don’t happen. Apparently, lots of other individuals felt the same way, because the place was packed. I arrived about ten minutes before the discussion began, and it was already standing room only. Armah began by asking each of the panelists if they thought Black male privilege was real and if so, how would they define it. Two and half hours later the room was still full, the discussion was still going strong, and I left feeling a little more hopeful about the Black community generally, and relationships with men in particular.

Going into depth on the panel would require a whole other post to do it justice, but a significant theme that each of the panelists continued to emphasize was that feminism is not just a women’s movement, and sexism is not just a women’s problem, it affects all of us. Although there are many benefits to privilege, there are also many limitations and constraints, which may be easier to ignore, but are just as damaging (interdisciplinary/cultural studies 101, but we are quick to forget). It is when we start to recognize the parts of ourselves that we are forced to repress and the ways that we are still put into boxes, even while claiming privilege, that we can truly begin to see that with these constraints none of us can ever really be whole. And really, what more can you ask for out of life than to be whole, intact, complete—fully content with who you are and in the ability to express yourself. Wholeness is the goal.

With that said, in searching for my wholeness, I would like to think that I have become a little more patient with individuals who are also searching for theirs, that is unafraid to be introspective and challenge their beliefs and opinions. So when it comes to friendship and dating, it may sound cliché, but I think an open mind goes a very long way.

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