Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Today is the 13th anniversary of Christopher Wallace aka BIG's death. One of the greatest rappers. RIP.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Miguel Jontel, a "sure thing"

"You could be the lover, I'll be the fighter baby,

If I'm the blunt, you could be the lighter babe, Fire it up

Writer baby, you could be the quote

If I'm the lyric baby, you could be the note. Record that"

What's that you say? I could be the quote? Deal. Is this the prerequisite for a date? Dinner or movie, perhaps? Because after listening to "Sure thing", I've realized that you might just be the man for me. You, Miguel Jontel, are a man after my own heart. And if this was speed dating, you would get points for originality, content, and smoothness.

To whoever is reading this, forgive me, but Miguel made me fall almost instanteneously in love with his flow, and I've latched on to his style. A mix of Maxwell, Tank, and a bit of Babyface, when he blows, his music is going to caress the airwaves so much that we won't be able to get enough.
Miguel Jontel has written songs for Mary J. Blige and Usher among others. As well as collaborated with Neyo. His debut album is said to drop soon, entitled "Gravity".
Listen to some of his songs: "Sure Thing", "Hero", and "Pick up the Pace".

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I had done it. Or at least I thought I did. I had dutifully scoured all paragraphs, quotes, punctuations, anomalies, similes, and anything else that could have been in incorrect in the essay. I sat with the editors and producers slumped over stacks of papers infiltrated with red ink and yellow highlights absorbing the material. I was the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Not only that, I made copies, organized tape databases, refilled printers with ink, brought the producers their lattes, fraps, mochas, grande, venti whatever-type-they-needed-when-they-needed-it coffee, ran out to the library in the freezing cold and sleeting rain to get a 1970 yr. old book for the writers, and so forth.

So when I heard our show was ending, I believed a promotion was well deserved.

It was a Tuesday. In January. 7 months from birthday. I brushed off my pants, straightened my collar, patted my curly fro into place, spit out the gum that I had been chewing all morning to help me from munching nervously on snacks, and walked into my exec's office. I sat down quietly to gather my thoughts.

"I want to be considered for an associate producer position," I said.

She looked at me.

"I've been working as a production assistant here for the past 2 years and I’ve began applying for jobs. I don't think that with my current job title employers are really able to take me seriously. I want them to know that I'm knowledgeable of the position. My title doesn't say that."

The exec looked at me. She nodded slowly. "It's reasonable. I'll let you know."

That was it. I expected more, but nevertheless I walked out of the office feeling empowered, mentally toasting myself with imaginary wine.

It's now a Thursday. In March. And I’m 5 months shy of my birthday, which means I'm 5 months shy of failing at my goal to get a promotion at 23. And there is still no update or reassurance that I'm actually being considered.

The other day, I got a call back about job I had applied to a few months back. But not just any type of job, oh no, the job that I've been doing...for the past 2 years. So if they offer me the position, either I take it, or I don't.

The question becomes then, do I settle to keep my career in full gear? This means abandoning my goal. Or do I pause, wait until my job ends and see if I do in fact get that promotion which will put me in a better bracket for applying to jobs in the future?

Frederick Douglass said, "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." But is settling part of the struggle?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Love Affair with Sade

It takes me only a few seconds to remember when I sat by myself in the dark and had a heart wrenching cry after breaking up with my ex, while "Somebody Already Broke my Heart" crooned out of my speakers.

Later, I strolled down Brooklyn's Promenade, looked out at the beautiful Manhattan skyline, and hummed "Smooth Operator".

Not to mention I've waltzed around in my pajamas to "Hang onto Your Love".

And then she disappeared.

Now 10 years later, she's back. Sade is back. And of course her timing is impeccable. Just when I was worried that R&B music had become something to the likes of auditory porn- full of sexual innuendos and rompin shops- the "Soldier of Love" hurls a fastball, knocks me over, and drags me back to the cocoon of real R&B.

I've got a real love affair going with this lady. Probably to the extent that no one knows. When I hear her music, it's as if she notions me over, whispers "I'm still alive" in my ear, and leaves behind a scent of saxophones, strings, and jazz accompaniments for me to remember her by.

It’s like a movie. I’m living on Lovers Lane, itching for my next fix of…well…love. And here she comes to sell me a dream. “This is no ordinary love,” she says. “No ordinary love.”

I’m hooked. I wake up and realize that I’m a love junkie, and I've been strung out for awhile.

I've forgotten how old I was when I first heard her music. But I imagine my mother was listening to her when I was still in her womb, and as I grew up, I would hear her music coming out of my sister's room. And even then I knew she would have a hold on me.

I wanted to know why she was getting attention over Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, and Patti Labelle. It’s like, who could rival Whitney? So I listened to her one day. And I cried. I didn't even know why. Her words sparked something in me that I was, and still am, incapable of letting go.

The undeniable talent comes back with her new CD, "Soldier of Love". She covers the new issue of Ebony Magazine.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Conversation with My Brother, the Drug Addict

A piece of me died over the weekend.

*Note - This blog is probably going to be scatterbrained because I'm trying to get myself together still and haven't been able to really organize my thoughts. Just follow me.*

This past Friday I took a trip down to my hometown of Maryland to get some much needed things done. So among my list of things to do, I made time to go visit my older brother who has been dealing with a lot of things lately. What I saw, devastated me in more ways than I imagined, and I've been crying on and off for the past few days. Writing this is making me tear up now.

My brother is a drug addict. He's been addicted to drugs for, I believe, the past 5 or probably more years. I didn't realize it was so bad until I went to see him, and a normally bright, upbeat, smiling person was pale, defunct, out of it, weary, etc.

As soon as I saw him I pulled him close to me. I wanted to peel any piece of the old man I once knew. The guy who is obsessed with Wonder Woman, the guy who I could go to for advice about guys, the boy who has always struggled with his sexuality, and can sometimes be too honest, the man who I learned to love through all his ups and downs.

I picked him up at the motel he was staying at, (he had been kicked out of his house numerous times, but apparently his mother said this was the final straw). We went to Burger King, I bought him food. We talked. I asked him a series of questions and he was straightforward.

Me: Are you in rehab?
Him: Yes, I've been in and out of drug rehab. It isn't helping. But I go on Mondays when I can.

Me: You know everyone wants you to get better. We're worried about you. What do you need?
Him: All I want right now is drugs. Will you take me to get some?

Me: No! Are you crazy? (in retrospect I know that of course he indeed was)
Him: I know, (smiling) Just thought I'd try.

Me: Oh my god, that's not ok.
Him: I know. I'm not ok.

Me: I think you need to get out of this area. Why don't you come up to NY for a weekend?
Him: I love you, but I'm an extreme burden. I can't do that to you.

Me: Wait...so what exactly do you do? Which drug?
Him: PCP.

Me: (frantic) What??? That's one of the worst ones! No! Oh, my god. You hallucinate with that don't you?
Him: Yea. I feel sick, chills, all that. But it's nothing I'm not used to.

Me: I'm praying for you. You know I love you right.
Him: I know. I love you too.

Me: Why can't you stop?
Him: I just can't. I just...can't.

Me: Is your mom going to let you back in the house?
Him: No. She made that very clear. I'm on drugs. She put all my stuff out the house.

Me: (pause) Are you scared?
Him: Yea. I'm scared of withdrawal. I've been there, I don't want to go there again.

And so went our conversation. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I still don't. What do you say to someone who can admit to doing drugs, but is scared to stop because he's scared of the side effects from the withdrawal process? How do you help someone like that?

There's more.

He wanted to pick up some things from his mother's house and asked if I could take him. Sure I said, anyway I could help, I would. We drive to his mother's house and he asks if he can buy some cigarettes from the gas station. 'Sure, better cigarettes than drugs,' I thought. I pull over and he gets out the car. What happened next will forever sit in my memory.

He gets back in the car. "You're gonna hate me" he says. Immediately I wanted to punch myself in the face for stopping. He lit up a cigarette and the smell of PCP, filled my car. Frantically I rolled down the windows, pulled out of the gas station, and started screaming at him. He didn't hear anything I said. He went from a seemingly normal state to completely blank. His eyes glazed over. I had to pull the car over so he could spit up. He leaned forward. Leaned back. And just sat there zoned out like a zombie.

I knew this was the end of our interaction. I couldn't be around him. As much as I wanted to help, I realized first hand what everyone in my family had been saying, and it hurt me to the core. 'All this time I had been thinking, this is me, I'm his little sister, he won't take advantage of me. We're so close. I was wrong. Every bone in me aches just thinking about it. It hurt me to the core.

I drove him back to the motel, stifling tears and anger both of which I didn't know what do with because if you know anything about PCP, you know that the person who is on it, can get extremely EXTREMELY violent so you have to choose you're words carefully.

I dropped him off and needless to say, I had to struggle to get him out of my car, and ultimately coax him by saying I would walk him upstairs. His eyes were still glazed over. He looked like death. As soon he got out, I slammed my door and sped off leaving him standing in front of the motel. Driving down 495, hot tears flowed down my face.I called my boyfriend crying hysterically and he tried to comfort me, but I just couldn't be comforted. I still can't.

I found out later that generally people lace weed with PCP, but in DC they lace cigarettes with it. I told my father about our run in, and all he could do was shake his head. 'We've tried to help him. Repeatedly. But you can't help people who don't want to be helped', he said. 'Just pray that we don't get a call saying he's dead.'

What more can I do? I asked. "Put it God's hands," he said. "And pray the devil doesn't win."