My Black Grrrl Matrix
Damn I know it's been a minute. Okay six months, but who's counting! I had to take a time-out and unplug from this crazy, super desensitizing, often confusing, often exhausting, manic matrix in which we live and work.
As many of you know or have heard my dad passed away. Cornelius "Kurt" Moore-- my hero and inspiration transitioned in March of this year. I felt his loss in everything I did or saw. Tasted it in everything I consumed and breathed. It was beyond hard and so I took the advice of so many of my friends who told me to, "be gentle with yourself and be still."
Back in April though, around my birthday, I thought it was high time I resume my life. Get back to what I was doing before ish hit the fan-- blogging, marketing, hanging, dating, but thangs had changed. I had changed and it hit me like a fire hydrant that is suddenly opened. Intense yet invigorating. I gotta find my way all over again. A new way. Around that time I discovered this wonderful quote by Rilke:
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heartAnd so now I'm living the questions of my life. The unanswerables around death. The inexplicables of the US healthcare system. The whys of a failed, yet most heartfelt relationship. It's hard at first not to search for the answers, but in the end it is much easier.
and try to love the questions themselves...
Don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.
So for 6 months I cocooned myself in a Black Grrrl Matrix of relaxation, solitude, sisterhood and communion. Now it may sound like I was all up under the covers but I hung out... well sometimes.
Like in March I went to Vibe/ Vibe Vixen's supa dupa big issue party at Cipriani's in Chelsea and like many "industry" parties nowadays it was overbooked and I spent a good 30 minutes at the rope trying to get in. But this was my first time being behind the rope with the likes of Def Jammers Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen, Baby Phat publicist BJ Coleman, Rocsi from 106 & Park, Zab Judah and two NY Knickerbockers. It was ghetto... err urban pandemonium out there. BJ was threatening to punch several key Vibe editorial & sales execs in the mouth if he didn't get in at once. He screamed, "Baby Phat pays for Vixen. If it weren't for Baby Phat there would be no Vixen. Our ads are why you can afford to have this party"... yada, yada, yada. Everyone in the know, figured that BJ ain't said nothing but a word. There were some pounds and an occasional, "You betta work BJ" hollered out. Meanwhile those folks at Cipriani's just looked at us like we were monkeys in the zoo fighting over a fruit loop. At one point they even closed their big gold and black iron doors right in our faces, but minutes later they were reopened to let Lyor, Kevin and I think that was Dougie Fresh inside. I can't believe how much I remember of this evening. I guess I do cause of all the high-class drama and how I regretted for weeks not taking out my phone and videoing it for all y'all to see. Next time. For the record, BJ got in and no one got smacked; Rocsi went in for like 2 minutes and came stomping out w/ mad tude because they wouldn't allow her plus one in (and that was her co-host Terence); Zab and the Knick playas never got in and yeah I never got in either. Me and my girl Alison had a drink at sorry as$ 40/40. I mean there were only like 3 other people in the spot. Yikes, Oh what a night!
On April 10th, my birthday, before having sushi with the grrrls I actually went to audition for Essence's 30 Dates in 30 Days. Unfortunately I had to break out though before my one-on-one interview. What I remember though most about that experience is how freaking taken aback I was to see sooooooo many fly single sisters. I mean there were hundreds of young Black women there filling out applications and taking polaroids and they were serious too. High heels, sequins, and the weaves were crazy tight, of course! I had on my red Nikes and a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Clearly I wasn't ready. Well I was, that's me, but I guess I wasn't ready to take that whole process of auditioning for a date so seriously. I even saw a sister up in there with her very young daughter! But hey clearly she was on a mission and probably couldn't find childcare so she did what she had to do. It was a scene no doubt with Maxwell's "Urban Hang Suite" playing in the background and everything! Now that I see what this was all about I am so glad I opted for spicy tuna rolls over discussing what I would wear on a first date. Having the date broadcast online and having the essence dotcom community choose the man, the location and the "outfit" for my date(um, I stopped wearing outfits when I outgrew the pre-teen dept at Gimbels) is more than a notion. It takes the pressure off? Yeah right. Now you gotta worry about the haters outfitting you in some hootchie gear for a date on some Circle Line cruise. Now that's stressful.
Music, Music, Music. Music was all up in the Black Grrrl Matrix. I listened to so much Imani Uzuri especially Love Story, Sun Moon Child and her cover of Nina Simone's Fodder. When I finally got a chance to see her live in August at Smooch Cafe it was nothing less than amazing! When she started singing You Are The One I couldn't hold it in and cried the tears I was too angry to cry back in the spring. What a release. We had church that night for sure. Imani was calling folks on stage to sing with her-- Mikel, Eisa and damn everyone could sing too! I love the power of good music when it takes you there.
I also went to see Meshell NdegeOcello at the Highline Ballroom. That was a weird show. Not one of my favorites. I heard that she had just played Atlanta and somewhere else and had some issues with audience members taking flash photos (she has epilepsy) and throwing water bottles on stage. I guess she was still dealing with the backlash from all that and just gave us what she could. Of course back at home, in my Matrix, her Bitter and Plantation Lullabies was on continuously on blast. I haven't heard her new record yet but I should have something to say about it by next week.
In May I gotta chance to check out Lorna Simpson's exhibit at the Whitney. I've seen a lot of various pieces in a number of settings but this was the first time seeing so much of her body of work in one setting. I especially love her work that fuses words and phrases with images. My fave is probably "Waterbearer." It's like her visual riff on society and race and gender. Definitely feeling her works that feature wigs, weaves and other types of Black hair pieces and extensions. They are witty, funny, and moving. Oh yeah her cityscapes especially of Madison Square Park is totally different than anything I've ever seen her do, but still provocative like her other works but in a more cerebral soft way. I wish I could remember more (I do however remember not liking her video installations too much) but alas it was 4 months ago. It's so sad that I can remember the details of BJ going berserk but I can't remember more of Lorna's brilliance. MTV is frying my brain! Sorry.
I have so much more tell you. There's the trip I just took to South Africa, Botswana and France. There are these cool organizations for young Black women that I've been checking out (WEEN & My Sister's Keeper). And oh yeah there is crazy Black Grrrl music to review and discuss (MeShell, Jill Scott, Latifah, Keyshia Cole, Chaka Khan, Santogold-- who just opened for Bjork at Madison Square Garden this past Monday!).
So yeah I'm back. Plugged-in and ready to write, to explore, to see what's happening outside my cocoon. Ready to realize some more dreams, to be a mentor, to be more of an activist. To be an editor, an author, a mother and a lover. I'm ready y'all. So let's go!