Monday, August 31, 2009
I Look To You (released August 31, 2009)
The evolution of Whitney Houston has been interesting to watch. It's easy to forget, but Whitney was bigger than 15 Beyonces back in the 80s. She absolutely OWNED the entertainment industry, from music to movies to television. Her success was unparalleled.
But 15 years later she had regressed into the neighborhood crazy lady - you know, the one who lives in the raggedy house with 13 cats on the porch, yelling at cars that drive by.
But now that she's dumped that 200 pound albatross Bobby Brown (I was never, EVER a fan of that guy) she's looking to get back on track with her sixth album, I Look To You.
The best thing about Whitney's comeback is that she goes back to basics. She doesn't try to cater to the young crowd by shoehorning in autotune or guest spots from Drake like some veterans (*cough*MaryJ.Blige*cough*) . And although the album features tracks by today's biggest producers like Danja and StarGate, their sound doesn't overpower Whitney's.
Houston fans will rejoice. This sounds like a Whitney album.
For instance, the upbeat "Million Dollar Bill" is produced by Swizz Beats, but there are no annoying whistles and he isn't screaming SWIZZY! every three seconds. Nope, he simply lets the guitars go to work while Whitney breezes over this feel-good track. I cringed when "Like I Never Left" started off with Akon's ad libs, but Akon wisely followed Whitney's lead and the pair meshed to create a pretty good duet.
If you're looking for Whitney's signature power ballads, you won't find many here. The Patti LaBelle-sounding title track and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" aren't too bad, but don't expect Whitney to break loose and hit those high notes like she did on "I Will Always Love You." I guess her infamous extra-curricular activities took a toll on her pipes.
That's pretty much the story of the album - Whitney still sounds pretty good and she doesn't try to overstep her boundaries, but the album winds up being a little TOO safe.
It's safe to say that Whitney still has a strong fan base, and they'll be pleased with this album. I just wish we could have seen more glimpses of Whitney's former glory.
Best tracks: "Million Dollar Bill," "Like I Never Left," "Nothin But Love"
3 stars out of 5
Friday, August 28, 2009
Contributed by SimplyMetra
As many of you may not know, I am a true fan of reality television! So won’t you all join me on my weekly journey down “Reality T.V. Lane”!
And what about Making His Band with Diddy…Or is it Daddy?... Or is it Puffy?... He changes his name like I change my…HAIR COLOR! Is it just me or does anybody out there find it strange that P. Diddy is the only one that can truly survive on his little planet of “Puffy”?
Ahhh…T. O. got a show! Mo and Kita are the best. What exactly is their job title? And how real was that argument the two lovelies got into this week? They get a “Flava Flav” WOOOOOWWW! Mo got a lil’ freak-a-leak in her. And Kita was a lil’ too square for me.
Now Tuesday takes us into a totally different world of reality. Tiny and Toya and Frankie and Neffe. Where do I begin? Tiny and Toya’s show is a bit boring to me. However, I like it because the personal journey that Toya is going through is truly a testament. Don’t hate. Motivate.
Frankie, Frankie, Frankie! It’s no way possible that she can be that hyper without being doped up some kinda way. And my best friend has started a petition for Neffe to stop crying.
Ending my week is, of course, The Real Housewives of Atlanta. NeNe is a trip! Dwight is two trips with icing on top! Sheree is really showing how hood she can really be and Kim is…well… I still haven’t figured out why Kim is on the show!
So this is only the beginning of my journey! I hope you all will join me and add your views of these shows as well. I look forward to chillin’ with you all and with that I will ask: R U 4 Real?
SimplyMetra is a wife and mother of 3 living in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is currently working as a Special Education teacher of children who have Autism. During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, going out to eat, reading, dancing, and blogging. Please feel free to check out her blog at www.simplymetra.blogspot.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
McAfee, the antivirus software maker, listed the Top 10 "Most Dangerous Celebrities to Search Online." Apparently, searching for these celebrities run the highest risk of users contracting a computer virus.
And guess who came in at No. 2?
You might want to think twice before sticking your clicker on that lady. Might send your PC to the clinic.
Here's the full list:
1. Jessica Biel
3. Jennifer Aniston
4. Tom Brady
5. Jessica Simpson
6. Gisele Bundchen
7. & 8. Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox (tie)
9. Ashley Tisdale
10. Brad Pitt
Although I'm sure all of these fine folks are big celebrities, I'd be lying if I said I knew who they all are. Is Jessica Biel the one who dates Justin Timberlake? Does Ashley Tisdale sing country?
And I have no idea who Gisele is - and I'm too paranoid to Google her to find out. I don't want one of those electronic STDs.
Thanks, McAfee, now I'm afraid to search for anything. Abstinence might be the safest policy, but it sure isn't the most productive.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Back in the 90s, even though the landscape was dominated by Beyonce and friends, affectionately known as Destiny's Child, there was still room for other acts to shine.
My favorite was probably 702, and not just because I thought one of the girls was fine. They had quite a few hits for a group I predicted would be one-hit wonders.
The most famous incarnation of the group consisted of lead singer Kameelah Williams, Misha Grinstead and that fine Irish Grinstead. But longtime fans (i.e., senior citizens like myself) might remember that there were actually FOUR members - Mish, Irish, her twin sister Orish and a girl named Amelia. Those four ladies joined Subway (the quartet, not the sandwich shop) for "This Lil' Game We Play."
Ladies, I know you remember that one.
After that song, Amelia left, Kameelah joined and Orish dropped out. But Orish returned sporadically throughout the years to fill the gaps when the other members had children/tried to go solo/started beefing. And you thought keeping up with Destiny's Child members was confusing.
Ugh, and I complain about T-Pain - he has nothing on these fools.
The girls came back in 1999 with their platinum self-titled sophomore album. Missy hooked them up with the girl-power anthem "Where My Girls At?" But if you actually listen to the song, it's not that empowering, just ghetto. Verse two goes like this:
Hey hey hey hey,
Don't you violate me,
'Cuz I can make you hate me,
If you decide to mess with mine.
Chop you down to size,
Make you realize,
That you done messed up this time.
Young ladies, you heard it here first - if someone "messes with yours" beat the crap out of them.
Their final album was 2003's Star, but if you blinked you missed it. I only saw the video for their single, "Star," once and the only thing I remember is one of the girls sitting in a shopping cart. Clearly the budget was low for that one. Still, their second single "I Still Love You" got lots of radio play. I remember Pharrell Williams, who produced it, once said it was among his favorite songs ever.
I have no idea what the girls are up to now. Before their third album Kameelah was a short-lived protege of Faith Evans, but I guess that didn't work out. Founding member Orish sadly passed away after a long illness last year. Last time I saw Irish she was hanging on the arm of Marques Houston, breaking my heart.
Should they come back: Well, actually, they tried. According to Wikipedia, there were rumors the girls were adding a male member, but it didn't work out. And I quote:
"(It was) later confirmed that Rashon Graves was never a member and just making up lies, cause he can never get along with people cause of him being so young and hot-tempered."
If you want to read gripping prose, just visit Wikipedia.
As for the girls, I think they've been through enough drama. I'll just stick to their old stuff.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Take a look for yourself:
I can't really articulate why, but the photo made me so happy. And I'm not the only one.
Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive says she's received a flood of letters from readers about the image. She wrote on the magazine's website:
...the letters blew me away: "the most amazing photograph I've ever seen in any women's magazine," wrote one reader in Pavo, Georgia. From another in Somerset, Massachusetts: "This beautiful woman has a real stomach and did I even see a few stretch marks? This is how my belly looks after giving birth to my two amazing kids! This photo made me want to shout from the rooftops."
The emails were filled with such joy—joy at seeing a woman's body with all the curves and quirks and rolls found in nature. (Raising a question: With all the six-packs out there, do you even know what a normal belly looks like anymore—other than the one you see in the mirror?)
The woman in the photo is 20-year-old model Lizzi Miller, and this is her second appearance in Glamour. She's a size 12-14, avid softball player and belly dancer. In the modeling world she's considered a "plus-size" model. But, as Leive says, "at size 12 she's actually 'normal size.'"
I applaud Glamour for being one of the few magazines out there that acknowledge that.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Check out this CNN photo.
No, that's not an old prop from the "Remember the Time" video shoot. The Field Museum in Chicago has a 3,599-year-old Egyptian limestone bust that looks mighty familiar.
Remind of you anyone?
Yep, looks like Michael Jackson to me, right down to the thin lips and jacked-up nose.
Wanna know the worst part? This is a sculpture of an Egyptian woman. Dirty Di-annnnnah!
As bizarre as this is, Michael is the only artist cool enough to have an Egyptian artifact in his likeness. That is, if you don't count this guy:
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Quite often heartbreaks and breakups come too easy. New love seems far and few in between. The key to surviving love’s valleys is to always keep loving. The memory of great love may be all you need to carry you through the rough times.
A story comes to mind about a young couple in their 20s. They married, enjoyed bliss, and experienced many bad times. The couple produced children and then soon divorced. Fast forward decades and prayers later, the couple found their paths and hearts crossed. Legally, they’re still apart, but spiritually, their hearts are reacquainted. For the first time in years, I heard my mom giggle like a school girl. My father cooked her dinner last night.
Singles, if the circumstances in your life aren’t perfect, keep loving. Practice and learn how to love again. “Delayed doesn’t mean denied.”
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Soul For Real was among the hundreds of male R&B groups to spring up in the mid '90s. According to industry lore, Heavy D discovered the four brothers - Andre, Christopher, Brian and Jason Dalyrimple (aka, the REALLY short one) while at McDonald's. I'm not sure if that story was ever confirmed, but it seems plausible - picturing Heavy D hanging around McDonald's isn't much of a stretch.
Soul For Real exploded on the scene in 1995 with their debut, Candy Rain. Look at their album cover - I've never seen four more confused looking brothers in my life. Why is everyone looking in different directions? And the little dude seems like he's thinking "Is this guy REALLY going to stand here with his hands on his hips like Superman?"
Dumb cover aside, the titular lead single was as catchy as it was cavity-inducing. It went all the way to the No. 2 spot on Billboard. I'm willing to bet that everyone born before 1984 still remembers the chorus to that song - don't front, you're singing it to yourself right now! And don't forget "Every Little Thing I Do" - that was the skating rink anthem back in the day. You just don't hear youthful, yet soulful records like those anymore.
The success of the album had everyone labeling them the "new" New Edition. But as we now know, that didn't really work out.
A year later they released For Life, produced by Heavy D and everyone's least favorite rap mogul, Diddy. The only song I remember from that album is "Love You So," which wasn't bad but sounded like a ripoff 112 track - not surprising when you realize Puff was on board. I certainly understand why Hev would hook his boys up with Puffy - 1996 was the height of Bad Boy's success - but I doubt Puff invested much time in them. That likely hurt the group.
Just when you thought the boys went back to their day jobs at McDonald's, they renamed themselves Soul IV Real and threw on some (somewhat) fresh wife beaters for 1999's Heat. Times must have gotten hard because they sounded really lethargic on the remix to "Can't Wait," and the recycled Busta Rhymes beat doesn't help. They were never the best vocalists but what happened to their range?
The boys attempted a comeback a couple of years ago, releasing "One Man" with Jadakiss, but their voices sound even raspier than Jada's! Have they been eating from ash trays?
Should they come back?: Whoo, playa, not if they sound like their post '99 work. Get those dudes some Chloraseptic! Plus, earlier this year Brian was charged with identity theft, so he has much bigger problems.
Oh well, we'll always have Candy Rain.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I didn't see what was so cool about a site dedicated to Facebook status updates, but I guess it has it pluses. I'll use my account to post quick hits regarding the world of music - items that might not warrant an entire blog entry here on GeorgiaMae.
You can follow me at www.twitter.com/etbowser.
If one of the members of All-4-One is ever attacked by coyotes, you'll be the first to know.
For those of you unfamiliar with the school, it's a special school for students with talents in the arts and sciences. The students go to school from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (and that's not counting extracurricular activities), the classes are very challenging, and they must maintain a certain grade point average or they'll get kicked out of the school. In other words, ASFA students are under a lot of pressure.
Coming from an inner city public school where I had textbooks as old as my mom and classmates who couldn't read, my first year at ASFA was one marked by culture shock and a deflated ego. I was no longer the smart kid at school because everyone was smart and most of my schoolmates were smarter than I was.
I can't begin to describe the pressure I've felt my first week as a teacher as ASFA, but I must admit this is pressure I've put on myself. Teaching at such a prestigious school I feel as if I somehow have to know EVERYTHING and be THE authority on all things literature. I spent the week setting ridiculous goals for my lesson plans and feeling inadequate next to education gurus who have been teaching longer than I've been alive.
Fortunately, I'm surrounded my colleagues who tell me to Go home! when they see hanging around my classroom hunched over my computer long after I've taught my last period of the day. And the head of the English department (who is also my former teacher and the woman I credit with inspiring me to pursue a writing career) is the coolest boss on the planet and keeps reminding me to Chill out, have fun and make sure you have a life.
Best of all I am teaching an amazing group of kids. They are smart, engaging, eager to learn and determined to succeed. Despite the stress, they made this first week zip by and they're always saying or doing something to make my day.
Friday, while my students were working on a creative response assignment, one girl turned to me and, out of the blue, said, "You know how I would describe your eyes? Hopeful. If I had to write something about you and I had to describe your eyes I would say they're hopeful. They're so bright and happy and when I look at them I see hope."
I was so shocked it took me nearly a minute to respond. That was probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me in my entire life! And with that I realized how no matter how stressed I may get I am ridiculously blessed to teach at a school like ASFA because when I look into my students eyes, I see hope too.
Friday, August 14, 2009
That third verse is exactly what makes Wayne so popular. Geese erections? Oh, he was sniffing the good stuff the day he wrote that. The stuff he comes up with is so far out in left field that you have to tip your hat solely on creativity. I certainly wouldn't say he saved hip hop's life, especially since he contributed to its death at least twice, but he certainly makes hip hop more interesting.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The 3 most important dating questions: According to Steve these questions are designed to help you decipher what the potential guy thinks about you and the relationship. (Steve explains when to ask these questions in the book.) 1. Where do you see yourself in the next few years? If he sounds settled and ready to begin a family, etc., his answers should denote those items as his major priorities. 2. What do you think about me? Harvey suggests asking this question around the second or third date. The guy’s answer should indicate if you’re the type of woman he envisions to share his life. 3. How do you feel about me? A guy’s answer could help determine if he sees you as a friend or a potential life partner.
The 3 Ps: Steve’s mantra on men describes the three simple acts a man does when he’s enamored and ready to settle -- Profess, Provide, Protect.
Steve’s book restates what women may have heard several times growing up (and going through), but it delivers without the sugar-coating. If you haven’t already, add it to your library. It may take you 10 hours to read, but it’ll save you from months and hours of tears, wondering why he isn’t the one.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I've spent the last two weeks watching WAY too much reality TV. Back when I was working in Louisville, I was too busy to keep up with much more than the occasional VH1 show. These days I'm being fed a steady diet of unattractive people "lookin' fo luv," freaky shirtless teenagers and rich, spoiled kids, acting, well, rich and spoiled.
One show I haven't submitted to is Diddy's latest MTV show, "Making His Band." All those Making The Band shows were such a joke - the group sticks around for a season fussin' n' cussin', then Puff breaks them up, just in time to start fresh for the new season. Everyone remembers how the kids walked for cheesecake and beat each other up but does anyone remember any music that was released?
Not me. Probably because it wasn't any good. It's the drama that makes things more interesting, I guess.
And speaking of drama, remember Sara Stokes from "Making the Band 2?" She was the singer in the collective creatively named "Da Band."
Well, according to TMZ, Sara is still cuttin' up - literally:
Sara stormed out of the house after arguing with husband Tony -- she tripped, fell down and accused him of doing it. We're told Sara -- who hurt her head in the fall -- grabbed a knife and stabbed Tony in the arm -- while their 3 kids watched. Paramedics and cops came and Stokes was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence. The D.A. is deciding whether to charge her.
You might remember her annoying husband appearing on the show a couple of times to stir up trouble. Sara never seemed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer (so to speak) but I don't understand how someone could accidentally fall and stab her spouse in response. Seems like there is more going on here.
The good news is that if she keeps that behavior up, she'll have a new reality show in no time. I've learned that drama = ratings.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Here's how it works: The child playing with the doll puts on a halter top (with flowers placed over the nipple area) and when the child holds the doll's mouth near the flower the doll makes a sucking sound.
The purpose of Bebe Gloton is to promote breastfeeding and teach children early on that breastfeeding is natural, but as you can imagine, plenty of folks are flipping out over this new toy.
(Did that congressman's comment piss off anyone else, or is it just me?)
Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about Bebe Gloton.
I do think that if you're okay with giving your child a doll that cries, drinks from a bottle and actually makes a mess in its diaper, it's hypocritical to say this doll goes to far because breastfeeding is just as natural as all of those other things.
I know that most people find the doll creepy because it acknowledges (gasp!) breasts. But that's only a big deal because we've made it one.
I, however, have a problem with most baby dolls, because they can be used to (though usually unintentionally) foster stereotypes that child rearing is a female job and that motherhood should be a girl's primary life goal. No, I'm not saying if you buy your daughter a doll you're sexist, (yes, I had plenty when I was a little one) nor am I saying it's wrong if a woman does make motherhood her focus.
But I do have a problem with doll culture in general and even though I'm a great supporter of breastfeeding, Bebe Gloton can't change that.
What do you think of a breastfeeding baby doll?
Monday, August 10, 2009
According to Jezebel, pop star Kelly Clarkson is on the cover of the September issue of Self and the magazine production team did for more than the usual touching up to Clarkson's photo. Clarkson has put on some weight over the past year, which the media won't shut up about unfortunately, but Self editors Photoshopped the cover image to slim her down.
If the folks in charge at Self were so bothered with Clarkson's body, it's puzzling why they asked her to be on the cover in the first place, as Margaret Hartmann writes in the Jezebel post.
Hartmann also points out why Clarkson should be applauded:
When the press goes after celebrities for gaining weight many apologize to the public, like Oprah Winfrey or Kirstie Alley, or frantically exercise and appear on the cover of Us flaunting their slimmed down selves like Jennifer Love Hewitt. So far Clarkson has only declared that she's OK with her body and backed her statements up by performing in clothing that exposes her figure, rather than hiding under billowy outfits. Of course, now Clarkson has appeared with a newly-slim body on the cover of Self, but it's a decision the editors made for her, rather than a message she wanted to put out herself.
In the Self magazine article Clarkson talks about her weight and how she's happy with her body as is. Too bad Self magazine isn't.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Here's a little follow-up to yesterday's post.
A pal of mine with gorgeous locs sent along this for some extra inspiration:
I started locking with little baby beeswax-coated twists back in 1998. Before that I'd gradually gone from a perm to braids to a short natural from about 1993 to 1998.
Grandma Addie describes our hair as "spider-web hair". Tight coils, sandy brown, cottony, soft and not at all shiny, except with the beeswax. Anyway, the difference between the perm and locs is that during the perm I was always working to salvage my permed ends to coax it to survive and get to shoulder length, or growing out of bad color, layers, bangs, etc. I was always waiting impatiently for a change, and anticipating the inevitable 6-8 week touch up. It was only "right" every now and then, two or three weeks after a perm, usually when it was pretty dirty.
But since I started locing, I just sit back and watch what it does. I loved my shiny little twist-tendrils and seeing my freshly parted scalp in the early stages. I wasn't crazy about the "bud" stage, but I liked the 2 and 3 inch stage when I started curling them into cute pixie-like styles. My "pineapple-top" ponytail -- the first time I was able to gather the locs up on top of my head into a ponytail -- was cause for celebration! Curly styles and updos were a fun, and then it grew long enough for a low, more sophisticated ponytail.
Now that it's past my shoulder blades I can work it into intricate knots, buns and twists with little more than a brown elastic band or two, no bobby pins. I just tuck and wind and it stays like cotton rope.
My hair is what it is, and I more often marvel at it than wait for it to get right.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Before reading the body of the email I already knew exactly what my friend needed, not because I'm clairvoyant, but because I have so many gal pals and even strangers ask me for advice on how to manage rebelliously curly hair.
My friend is African American and has decided to bid farewell to her hair relaxer and go natural. (Yay!) Unfortunately, neither her friends nor her hairdresser are being supportive. But she's sticking to her guns and she's turned to me for help.
What do you do with your hair? she asked.
I decided to post some hair tips here on Georgia Mae because I know there are other curly girls out there with the same struggles.
Most mornings I wet my hair while I'm in the shower. (If it feels a little dry I'll condition it too. I shampoo my hair at least once a week.) To fight frizz I apply Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk. I comb it through and then apply Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Frizz Control Smoothing Balm.
My hair tends to get extra frizzy near the hairline, so I pull my hair back (these days with a stylish scarf) for a little while to stretch the root and then let my hair air dry.
Other products in my stash include John Frieda Secret Weapon and Mixed Chicks Leave-In Condition, which are both good for restoring softness and shine to your hair when it's dry, and Tea Tree Oil, which is good for dry scalp.
Remember that deciding not to get a relaxer anymore does not mean you can never wear your hair straight again. For special occasions or just when I want a different look I'll get my hair smoothed out at a salon. (I have A LOT of hair and I don't have the patience, upper body strength or expensive Paul Mitchell flat iron to straighten my hair myself.)
You see when you go natural you can have the best of both worlds!
And the next time someone tries to tell you that you need a relaxer try telling them this (the piece below is a poem I wrote after one of my uncles suggested I get a perm):
My Hair Doesn't Need To "Relax"
One day I realized
My curls were not uptight
And that's the day my scalp
Always itching for attention
Decided to chill out
My ends that had split up
Decided to work things out
And I decided to let them reach for each other
Reach for my waist
While I danced in the rain
Glory running wet down my back
Since every woman's head of hair is different I'd love for any other gals out there with curly or natural hair to chime in with some tips too in the comments section.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
As soon as I get settled here in Birmingham I'll be on the search for a belly dance class and I pray I'll be able to find an instructor as awesome as Taletha of Louisville, Ky.
I only had an opportunity to take a few classes from Taletha (my little run in with an automobile happened shortly after I started studying with her), but those few sessions were amazing. Not only is her dancing mesmerizing, but her experience and skill allow her to tell you exactly what muscles to use to execute moves -- which is exactly what you want in a dance teacher.
I had a chat with Taletha recently to learn more about the art of belly dance.
Tell us a little bit about all the different styles of belly dance that you do.
I perform two styles of belly dance and several styles of authentic folk dances from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and the Middle East. I perform Modern Egyptian style belly dance and Gothic belly dance.
Egyptian style belly dance is derived from the old folk dances of the Egyptian people. As a Western influence became prominent, the dance evolved into a solo art form primarily for women. You can see the result in the Golden Era movies of Egypt, which are a lot like the Golden Era movies of the United States. However, instead of having tap dancing and singing, there are belly dancers and Egyptian orchestras.
Gothic belly dance is an aesthetic fusion of Gothic subculture music and fashion with the movements of Middle Eastern dance. The results of this fusion are incredibly diverse and vary from dancer to dancer depending upon her personal dance experience and tastes in music. My personal style of Gothic belly dance is based on my experiences with the Gothic subculture and background of Egyptian style and World folk dance styles.
How did you get into belly dance?
I became absolutely obsessed with the dance. Oftentimes, I would practice until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. I spent countless hours researching culture, music and costuming online as well.
It was only three weeks before she decided I was ready to try performing. She was incredibly supportive and had me up and dancing with a troupe in Lexington in no time. My first performance with that troupe was also my first solo performance at the Fourth of July parade out there.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about belly dance?
I come across a lot of people who don't understand the hard work required to become a professional belly dancer. This is something you can't major in in college. There is no belly dance degree program. This means one has to put in countless hours and personal funds to study the art form. You must be incredibly devoted and self-motivated if you want to become a professional. And because it is a dance that celebrates the feminine form (though there are many wonderful male dancers as well), belly dancers are often met with the attitude that what we do is not an art form which requires skill. It's unfortunate that belly dance doesn't get the same amount of respect as some of the Western dance styles.
However, I have had many instances where I had been hired as a novelty act, only to have audience members approach me after a performance to tell me how much they now realized the hard work that goes into it. I've had people say, "Wow! It's amazing what you do! It's a real art! Beautiful!" And that's why I go in with a positive attitude and with confidence in what I do. It really pays off in how it educates the public when you approach it in that manner.
What would you say to a woman who wants to try belly dance, but is afraid to do so because of body image insecurities?
It's understandable to feel insecure about one's body. We all have things about ourselves we wouldn't mind changing. But we have to accept ourselves as we are, even if we want to work to make changes. When one feels bad about oneself, it hampers potential for change.
The first step in exploring belly dance is remembering this dance is fun and a good way to start toward a healthier lifestyle. It offers a chance to learn about an entirely new culture too. Belly dance is not only good for the body, it is good for boosting your self esteem and overall sense of independence and well being.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Over the years, I’ve learned just how important it is for a single girl to diversify her social circle. Different friends produce difference experiences, places, opportunities, and new faces. Diverse experiences allow you to showcase aspects of your own personality and interests that you may not have in common with your usual group of pals.
If you find it difficult to make new friends, try www.meetup.com. Here, you’ll find interest groups categorized by almost all possible characteristics (e.g., geography, age, hobbies, professions, race, social status). Most groups meet in public places and require specific identifiers (photos, email verification, etc) to ensure safety.
Being outside of my normal clique takes me outside of my comfort zone. Being uncomfortable gives me motivation to do the things I normally wouldn’t do.
This summer, I joined a meetup for tennis lovers in my geographic area and one for young professionals in my metropolitan area. I found a few new associates and created more opportunities for my Mr. Right to find me.
Expanding your circle affords you more opportunities to attend events, meet new people, and try new skills—it helps you to continue to blossom and grow.
About the contributor: Karie (pronounced like Marie with a “K) is a single, 20-something living in the DC Metropolitan area. Professionally, she works as a technical writer. Outside of the office, she enjoys graphic design, creative writing, reading, and tennis. Please contact her at email@example.com.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Eminem 4, Mariah Carey 1
War of words: Eminem's "Bagpipes from Baghdad" is what started this ridiculous beef, but Em has been talking about Mariah for years now. Remember "Superman" from 2001?
Saturday, August 1, 2009
After being a faithful member for more than 60 years, Jimmy Carter has announced that he is breaking away from the Southern Baptist Church. According to Feministing, the former president called the decision "unavoidable" after church leaders prohibited women from being ordained and insisted women be "subservient to their husbands."
Carter wrote in an essay in The Age:
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities...
The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.
Is it wrong for me to have a crush on a former president who is old enough to be my grandfather?