Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Word On The Street

Word On The Street was this one-off column I did for Uptown magazine. I really had fun doing it and I've gotten a lot of great feedback and hush-hush info so I think I will continue the tradition right here in my blogosphere. It's so funny how people love to talk to journalists about info that is supposedly confidential. Since the column came out in late April I've gotten a number of calls from publicists with the low down or is it the down low on what's about to pop. Most of it is about real estate and industry haps. Like did you hear that this huge household goods mega store is opening on 125th Street? And for us late night revelers that love a good bite at 2am this Chelsea eatery is supposedly opening shop uptown. The owners of Rao's-- the clubby East Harlem eatery where you have to know someone to get a table-- had a secret weapon to ensure a good turnout at last month's broker-only preview of the 22 luxury apartments upstairs called Rao's City Views. Word spread that the Corcoran Group had secured a supply of this, for which Rao's is internationally known. Of course everyone wanted to see the apartments, which are renting for $2,200 to $6,000 a month. And oh yeah, Bette Midler's hubby has even gotten in on the action. He is having an art gallery built on Lenox Avenue right next to the ultra deluxe Normandie. Two weeks ago I was having drinks downtown at this Caribbean- soul food hot spot when I overheard the owner talking about a new outpost she is opening on 145th. That news called for another round of their yummy, yummy watermelon martinis. Also the guys from Emperor's Roe caviar company are opening up a caviar cafe/ sushi bar on Lenox Ave & 120th Street giving that part of the hood it's first sushi destination. It's about time!!! Did you hear that this mogul is allegedly having issues not only with his label but also with his very profitable urban clothing line? Okay, the movie was phenomenal but do we really need the Broadway musical version to drive the point home? I’m actually relieved that Jamie Foxx is not involved. I had the opportunity to hang with him last summer and he is one of the funniest, most apt storytellers I’ve ever met. So smart and witty—real people fo’ sho! Word has it he is now busy working in NYC. Talking about biopics I got an email last week from someone who just interviewed Q-Tip. Word has it that Tip aka Kamaal has a script and is prepping to be Miles Davis in an upcoming project. And last but not least if you have the loot and are big on historic detail and authentic aesthetic value (yes I read Elle Décor, baby!) then you need to haul your booty to Harlem and check out Jeff Bennett (who left the Tribeca development scene) - and Rocky Radoncic’s (an expert in historic restoration) project. They are doing ground-up construction at 48-52 W. 127th St., makeovers of an 1882-vintage former blacksmith's shop at 264 W. 124th St. and of a five-story warehouse at 267 W. 124th St. And you thought the meatpacking district was hot?!? Happy Long Weekend!

Today’s iTunes Shuffle: Baby Boy – Beyonce f. Sean Paul; Long Relax- Cinematic Orchestra; Faded – Ben Harper; Deliciously Down - Cree Summer; Lovers Rock - Sade

Monday, May 23, 2005

Being Black, Rocking White

Last week I was talking to BA-- someone who I consider a spiritual mother-friend about her invitation to attend Oprah’s Legends Ball. I’m totally freaking out cause I love Oprah and the idea of gathering and honoring all the flyest Black women from all corners of the globe is absolutely mind-blowing. It was a black and white affair and being the fashionista that she is, BA wore black Manolos and Yohji Yamamoto cause as she puts it, “real niggaz don’t wear white shoes”… absolutely fabulous! Anyway from what I’ve heard it seems like it was all that it was made out to be and more with Tina Turner, Tyra Banks, Diana Ross, Iman, Halle Berry, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Maya Angelou and dozens of other sistren in the house. Being a Black and White affair there was also Tom Cruise (who O always makes a fuss over), Barbara Walters and of course, John Travolta. Oprah's guests dined on tuna from Japan and champagne from France and mingled among more than 20,000 white peonies from Israel and Ecuador while being serenaded by a 26-piece classical orchestra. And if that wasn’t love, Winfrey iced her Legends with diamond earrings. I hear via another source that Halle was there with her new beau Heavy D who has lost like 150 pounds... talk about getting the skinny! I’m just trying to drop the 15 I gained over Christmas and am quickly realizing that working out and eating right is more than a notion. I was even going to try the Lemonade Fast, which you are supposed to do for 8-10 days. Needless to say, I lasted 7 hours! Anyway back to the Legends Gala... I think it was a brilliant idea and that we should do more to celebrate folks and their achievements while they are alive and can hear the applause. I wonder how the success of Ray Charles’ biopic would have affected Mr. Charles or even if it would have been as popular if he were still alive. Huuumpph... and now look at the fuss this film has caused with Miles Davis fans and fam. I also hear Lena Horne is extremely sick. Where is her tribute, her recognition? I guess they are still squabbling over whether Janet should portray her or not after the Justin Timberlake debacle-- the plight of rollicking white while being Black. And our girl Jada who was also at the gala is really taking some hits for trying to rock white.

Well it looks like I’ll be rocking blue anyhoo. This weekend on my way to Habana Outpost in Brooklyn I got the greatest deal on this baby blue vintage Lacoste jacket. I paid less than $5! The Outpost was crazy cramped with a lot of cool vendors hawking the usual urban bohemian goods—waist beads, t-shirts, Moroccan jewelry, Mark Ronson spinning Amerie—you know the deal. I have more to tell but work is calling. Okay one more thing just because of the title of this post I had to mention Joss Stone and the new Gap ad for white jeans. Is she our new black, white girl ala Teena Marie, Pink, and Esthero? I’m still not convinced. Final Word: White iPods may be the new hotness, but black earpods will prevent your hotness from getting teefed! Yes, I think very deeply...

Today’s iPod Shuffle: Brown Sugar – D’Angelo; Naheo- Cree Summer; The Daze – Goapele; Silence – Corey Glover; The Sweetest Thing – Lauryn Hill

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Master Mixologist

I like so many other folks couldn’t believe it when I heard Star this morning reading funeral arrangements for Justo Faison aka DJ Just-O who was killed in a car accident on Saturday. Highly instrumental in moving the mixtape and their DJ’s from Bronx basements and Brooklyn street corners to award-presenting stages in NYC to DJ battles on BET to Sony Music boardroom marketing meetings, Justo was a master at mixing the underground with the upper echelons of the music biz. Like 50’s intro to folks was via a mixtape appearance, like the influence of DJ Ron G on the original Bad Boy sound like every time I hear Fat Man Scoop on Mariah’s It’s Like That—this is all a result of the mixtape’s popularity and power in the music game. Justo taught me how to play Madden and a bunch of other Playstation games way back when we worked at the same label. Like I said he knew how to mix it up-- long stressful days with fun video-playing evenings. RIP-- you will surely be missed!

On a lighter note, talking about mixology... big-up to Sophie at Native in Harlem for her clever mojito martini concotion that she was serving-up last night. Yummy! Lots of writing to do this week so I gotta bounce. Don't wanna crack under the pressure like someone else we all know and love, beeyotch.

Heaven is really shining in beautiful Blackness this year:
Ossie Davis
Shirley Chisolm
Johnnie Cochran
Justo Faison
Judge Bruce Wright
my Aunt Susie and countless others

Today’s iPod shuffle: La Septima Ola- Los Ladrones, The Second Time Around- Shalamar, Now That We Found Love- Third World, Falling- Gaelle, Two Words- Kanye West f. Mos Def, Freeway & The Harlem Boys Choir

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Boom Box or... My Hot Summer Music Picks

Summer is nipping on spring’s booty and for me that means great shows and new music—SummerStage, Jones Beach concerts, the Essence Music Festival, JVC Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center, AOL Music at the Time Warner AOL Center, Brooklyn's Prospect Park shows and hopefully some new releases dropping hot like a July night without AC.

Definitely on the new music front I cannot wait for Esthero to drop her Wikked Lil Grrrls and for the Spirit Music Jamia with
 Me'Shell Ndegeocello
. Word has it she’s already begun work on a reggae dub album that is being recorded in Jamaica.

My girl Sant tells me her Stiffed lp should drop @mid-summer. Can’t wait! And talking about summer nights, where in the hell is Maxwell? I love his music and now is the time for a lil’ sumthin, sumthin.

Oh schnaps, let me not forget! Listen out for releases from J*Davey and Common (Be)-- so far everything I’ve heard is off the meat rack! With that said I’m ready to work it to the bone…work, to the bone, bone, bone!!!! Somebody turn up the volume and pass the Kool Aid!

Today’s iTunes Shuffle: Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)-Maxwell, He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)-Jill Scott, Ready For Us-FUG, Sumthin' Sumthin' (the mellosmoothie cut)- Maxwell.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

555 Soul

05.05.05-- It's a day of 5's. Five is Oshun's number-- the Yoruba goddess that represents love and the beauty of life. She is the god of the rivers and is usually associated with sexuality, sensuality, pleasure, and fertility... basically she's theHotness. So it's definitely a day for us ladies to represent and be cute and get all Sex and the City. It's also Cinco de Mayo so it's a day to imbibe on tequila. To kill two birds with one stone, the girls and I are going to meet-up and have a really fly time over some margaritas and call it a sistergrrrl soiree.

I'm (still) in the final stretch of writing this article on a certain hiphop mogul. I'm ready to put it to bed-- just editing and adding lines-- making sure it's fresh, funny and interesting. I found a nice quote by Muhammad Ali for the piece. Ali actually had quite a few that I liked, but I'm going to go with this one because it couldn’t be anymore appropriate:

I am America. I am the part you won't recognize, but get used to me. Black, confident, cocky -- my name, not yours. My religion, not yours. My goals, my own. Get used to me.

I love this new Kanye jawn! Amerie's 1 Thing is coming on, but in light of today's auspicious triple count I'm going to play something by the Jackson Five. Gotta go now and play Lotto, Mega and of course, Take 5.