Thursday, April 28, 2011

My heart is heavy. 

Yesterday tornadoes ripped through the state of Alabama, destroying homes and businesses and killing over 180 people. 

I've walked around all day with a lump in my throat. I've wondered: Why is this affecting me this way? My family is fine. Edward and I lost power in our apartment for nearly a day but that was certainly nothing to gripe about considering the devastation being reported. So why am I so sad? 

I'm sad because Tuscaloosa, the town I called home during my time as an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama, was nearly decimated by the tornado. Many of the places in town where I made some of my greatest life memories were flattened by the F-5 storm.  Because of the devastation, the university will hold no more classes this semester. Final exams for next week also have been canceled and graduation ceremonies, scheduled for May 7, will be postponed until August. 

Then I arrive at work today and learn that the family of one of the students I taught last year lost everything in the storm. Everything. The house and the car. Her mom can't find her purse so she has no money, no license, no debit or credit cards. They had to dig through rubble to find shoes to wear last night when they were preparing to leave to stay with friends. 

I'm sad because my family is not fine, because these Alabama residents displaced by this storm are my family too, in this moment. 

Please contact me at if you'd like information on how you can help my former student. 

Click here for a list of dozens of ways you can help victims across the state. 
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I love blogging for Georgia Mae. I really do. If I had my way I'd spend every waking moment scouring the depths of the Internet to bring you the best - and worst - music news I could find.

Unfortunately, my duties outside of the blogosphere often keep me tied up. Between a demanding day job and my work with kids at church, I often decide not to report on some of the more trivial news that I encounter.

For example, my least favorite Internet star Antoine Dodson, and forgotten Destiny's Child replacement Farrah Franklin both escaped my wrath regarding their respective arrests. It's OK, I'm the only one who remembers those two anyway.

But sometimes, I come across something so maddeningly stupid that I decide I must write about it, even though I said I wouldn't.

That brings me to Lil' B.

I bet 98 percent of you have no idea who or what Lil' B is - consider yourselves lucky. He's among the current group of "hot" rappers who have an inexplicable buzz despite being absolutely atrocious.

Think I'm exaggerating? Well, check out his video for "Wonton Soup."

Yes, that is a real video. From a real artist. Who has real fans.

That's real stupid.

But it gets worse. How exactly do you trick the paying consumer into buying music from a guy who compares his cars and women to wonton soup? Easy - pretend the artist is gay.

For months now, bizarre Twitter rants have raised questions about Lil B's sexuality. And a couple of weeks ago, the so-called Based God unveiled the title of his new album "I'm Gay."

Except he's not really gay. From

"I'm very gay, but I love women. I'm not attracted to men in any way. I've never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes I am gay, I'm so happy," he said. "I'm a gay, heterosexual male."

Clearly, this is just a pitiful publicity stunt to garner a little attention, which is why I initially ignored all his gay claims. Until a couple of days ago, that is. I just couldn't keep quiet after reading this:

"People been hitting me up like, 'I'm gonna bash your head in,' 'you f----t,' 'I'm gonna kill you,' "

"I'm not gonna stop and I'm not scared of anybody on earth," he said of the Twitter backlash. "That's why I [titled the album I'm Gay] and nobody gonna stop me." 

During a time when cyber bullying and suicides are a very real problem in this country, why does this guy think it's OK to use pain as a gimmick? Lives and families are torn apart over this issue and he wants to use that strife to con people into buying his coaster of an album?

What's more baffling is that I can't believe HE thinks this stunt is a good idea. No one with the sense God gave a goose thinks this guy really is gay - and those who do probably think "Wonton Soup" is a good song. Even if he IS gay, what's the point of naming the album "I'm Gay," then denouncing it? How does that help anyone?

Pretending to be something you're not (perpetrating, frontin', etc.) used to be a serious offense in the hip hop. I don't understand why the gay and hip hop communities have not united to stomp the remaining consonants out of Lil B's name.

Honestly, it's irrelevant if Lil B is gay or not. He just sucks.

*Note: When selecting a photo of Lil B for this post, my virus protection went nuts. Even my computer knows this dude is a parasite. 
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A teenage girl grapples with body image and self-esteem issues while also struggling to maintain a relationship with her abusive father. This is the story of Alisha, an independent short film written and directed by 16-year-old filmmaker Daniel A. Citron.

Alisha has been featured in a host of film festivals and won awards at the Seattle International Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival. 

The film trailer is below and the complete film is now also available online. Check it out and let us know what you think. 

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Monday, April 25, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the past was coming back to haunt us, in the form of remakes.

So, who wants to see Juice, starring Soulja Boy? I kid you not. From

VIBE: Can you tell us a little bit about the story line for Juice?

SB: Basically, it's your boy Soulja and I'm Bishop in 2011, running around in the streets, man. You know how the movie goes, but we're flipping it and shooting in Atlanta. I want to show these people my acting side and me being creative--always giving them something new; that's all. I got same video director that shot "Crank That," "Kiss Me Through The Phone," "Turn My Swag On" --my most successful videos. The whole mixtape is the soundtrack for the movie.

Yes, Juice, the 1992 ghetto classic about the trials and tribulations of four young hooligans, gets an update for today's youth. I fail to see how this will be anything but a total disaster. I'm no 2pac fan, but Soulja playing the role of Bishop is just sacrilege. No word on who will play the roles of the other three brats, but we'll likely see Waka Flocka Flame as Raheem, Lil' B as Steel and Wiz Khalifa as Q. If they're going to overload the movie with horrible rappers, they might as well go for the gusto.

As mentioned above, Soulja has released a new mixtape to promote the project, but I'll spare you the trouble and not link to it.

If we're really gonna go through with this, can I be the one who pushes "Bishop" off the roof? Please?
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Friday, April 22, 2011

image via

Breaking my I don't go out on school nights rule, last night I attended a mixer hosted by the Alabama Social Media Association (ALsocme). At one point during the "tweetup" guests were asked to pull out their cell phones to "check in" on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. As we all pulled out our gadgets to comply it was exciting and surreal. If you're not into social media I'm sure this just makes us all sound like absolute geeks, but hear me out. No announcement like that would have occurred at a happy hour 10 or 5 years ago. Perhaps not even one year ago. That moment was such a perfect example of how technology has changed our social lives in nearly every way and shows why I believe the ALsocme slogan, "The revolution will be tweeted" is so true. 

At least once a year we get a series of stories from news outlets around the country about the evils of Facebook, Twitter, and the like. And these stories are usually focused on how these social media tools are ruining our relationships and thus destroying our lives. But for many of us, I would even venture to say most of us, Facebook and Twitter have helped us reconnect with old buddies from college and keep in touch with long-distance pals. And that's just scratching the surface. 

At last night's mixer I hugged and chatted with several women who feel like close friends even though before last night I'd never met them face-to-face. But I'd met them through social media networks and I got to know them, their dreams, their passions, their favorite movies and musicians through Facebook, Twitter, email messages and blogs. Social media tools are not ruining my social life. They're simply transforming it in a way I could have never imagined. 

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to be more intentional in my relationships. This means scheduling regular dinner dates with my best gal pals who live in Birmingham and phone dates with my girls who live elsewhere. This means spending quality time with my family, too, on a regular basis and not just on holidays. 

After last night's gathering, however, I resolved to be more intentional about my social media relationships as well. But what does that look like? Honestly, I haven't completely figured that out yet. But I do know that I'm going to focus less on promoting and more on connecting. And I know I will make an effort to make every comment encouraging, every post purposeful, and update uplifting. Sure, I know I won't live up to this always, but my hope is that, much like technology, each day I'll work out the kinks and get better with time.  
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

I have some gardening to do, but I’m not talking about yard work.

Tuesday night at the end of my meeting with my church small group we were given the challenge to take a quiet moment and look at our lives as gardens and ask these questions: “What seeds are being planted? What are you reaping in your life that you are happy with and what are you reaping in your life that you are not satisfied with?” We were challenged to ask God to help us root out any weeds and ask the Creator what to we should replant, how to do it and when.

I think it’s no coincidence that the Reverb creative prompt for April was simply, “What’s blossoming?”  And shortly after receiving that prompt in an email I came across Sarah McColl’s post “What Is Growing Within You This Spring?”  In the post she writes that the teachers at a weekend yoga retreat she recently attended wanted their students to consider this: “What is unfolding within you this spring? How can you nourish and cultivate those tender, tiny sprouts?”

I had been quite busy lately considering the first part of this question. I feel so much unfolding within me. Lately, I feel that I’m bursting at the seams with ideas for creative projects that I want to pursue. Then, also on Tuesday, I was reminded of the importance of considering the second half of this question too when I received an e-newsletter from the Birmingham Blogging Academy. In the newsletter Wade Kwon asks his fellow bloggers to figure out what nourishes our souls as he stressed the importance of having a blog that is not simply funny or interesting but is also meaningful and nurturing to its readers.  

"Whoa, that’s a bit too heavy for a Tuesday," I thought after reading it. But after going to Bible study and receiving the “gardening” challenge and recalling the Reverb prompt and Sarah’s post I knew it was time I sat down and figured this all out.

What nourishes my soul? Reading great stories and striving to write my own. Starting my mornings with prayer. Quality time with my wonderful husband. Connecting with people, especially other women and especially over a great meal at a cozy restaurant. And while most people consider working out torture, both my body and spirit are nourished by exercise.

After making this list in my journal I realized that doing these things on a regular basis is exactly what will cultivate the “tender, tiny sprouts” that are unfolding within me this spring. So I must be more intentional about making these activities a regular part of my everyday life and I must do this constantly.

I hope that this post will encourage you to consider what’s blossoming and what nourishes your soul because I hope that my blog is meaningful to you. Today I am committing to being more intentional also about what I write here because one day when you’re considering what nourishes your soul I want you to think of

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Well, it has been about six months since we last heard from Beyonce, which means we're way overdue for more Beyonce on the airwaves.

Guess she's never heard the old adage "absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Yesterday, Bey's "Girls (Who Run the World)" leaked online, which is being touted as the first single of her new album. As you can guess from the title, it's another girl-power anthem. Think of it as "Independent Women 2011." Sort of like how "Single Ladies" was "Independent Women 2008." And how "Me Myself and I" was "Independent Women 2003." This woman needs to diversify her topics.

"Girls" isn't bad but it starts to drag after a couple of minutes. It might be too over the top to become a radio hit, but that's just my jaded opinion.

I'll bet my collection of vintage ties that it'll be the theme of the new Charlie's Angels movie. Wait and see.

I didn't embed the video - didn't want Mathew Knowles trying to shut us down - so, here's a link. Let us know what you think.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm sure the dream of every emerging artist is to drop a smash single right out of the gate. You know what they say about first impressions - they go a long way.

But when you think about it, an immediate monster hit could be detrimental. The new artist will spend his or her entire career trying to duplicate the success of that initial effort. And when they don't surpass that first hit, they slapped with the dreaded "one-hit wonder" label.

I bet Montell Jordan can relate. Quick, name three Montell Jordan songs - and "This Is How We Do It" doesn't count.

I knew you couldn't do it.

Poor Montell never escaped the shadow of "This Is How We Do It," despite strong songwriting credits (remember "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" and "Incomplete?") and a handful of overlooked hits. Let's look back at Montell's forgotten career.

If you weren't around in 1995, I can't possibly explain how explosive Montell's first single was. "This Is How We Do It" ranks up there with the all-time great party jams. No lie - even my grandma loved this song. Has anyone flash-mobbed to this song? Imagine standing in Target, someone yells "This is how we do iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit" and 75 dudes run up on you and start crumping?

Scratch that - that's a recipe for a heart attack.

The single catapulted Montell's debut, also named This Is How We Do It, to No. 12 on charts and it soon reached platinum status.

After "This Is How We Do It" died down, our memories of Montell get kinda hazy. But he was far from through.

He followed up his big hit with the guilty pleasure "Somethin' 4 Da Honeyz." The video was absolutely ridiculous (watch the glee on his face as he flashes his pitiful flip cell phone) but the song did well, peaking at No. 21 on Billboard. His third single, "Daddy's Home", won't win you over with strong vocals (dude sounds kinda tipsy, actually) but it's still a heartfelt tribute to his young son.

Montell wasted no time recording a follow-up. More... was released a year after his debut and featured "I Like," which also showed up on The Nutty Professor Soundtrack. "I Like" featured Slick Rick, fresh from his jail stint (back when jail stints were a big deal). You know, I always thought "I Like" sounded suspiciously like 112's "Only You," which sorta sounded like The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Respect," which definitely sounded like Diana King's  "Shy Guy." There wasn't much originality in the 90s.

Anyway, back to Montell. "I Like" didn't set the world on fire, but he fared better with Flesh-N-Bone on "Falling" and the wifey's favorite, "What's On Tonight." Both went gold, as did the album.

In the blink of an eye, Montell was back in 1998 with Let's Ride. The title track featured Master P and Silkk Da Shocker - the 1998 version of Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka. Silkk Da Shocker possess the uncanny ability to NEVER rap on beat. He had it down to a science. Suffice to say, I wasn't a fan but the song hit No. 2 on the charts, Montell's biggest hit since you know what. I barely remember the second single, "I Can Do That," but it did well, too - reaching No. 14, and again, Montell racked up another gold album.

The very next year, Montell returned with Get it On...Tonite. Did this dude ever sleep? The title track was yet another hit, peaking at No. 4 on the charts. But again, I have to cry foul - "Get It On Tonite" sounds MIGHTY similar to Da Brat's "What'chu Like." Who knew Montell was jackin' beats? Or maybe he's the victim and everyone steals his stuff? Hmmmm...

Montell finally took a breather before dropping his self-titled fifth album in 2002. He probably took time off to get back child support from Diddy - he looks exactly like one of Puffy's spawn on this album cover.

The only thing of note I remember from the album was "You Must Have Been," which was in heavy rotation during the heyday of BET's Midnight Love. The song and video were pretty forgettable, except for the chain mail wife beater he wore. I guess that's what the thugs wore in King Arthur's court. This poor album didn't even chart.

Montell still wasn't through, returning the next year for Life After Def, his first album after his release from Def Jam/Def Soul Records. I remember thinking the album title was brilliant (yeah, doesn't take much to impress me sometimes) and I really liked his single, "Supa Star." Maybe that's because he stole YET ANOTHER beat - this time, Mtume's "Juicy Fruit." That beat has been passed around more than a blunt at a Wiz Khalifa show - or  passed around more than Wiz's girlfriend Amber Rose. Whichever you prefer.

Five years later, Montell tried his luck again with Let It Rain. Honestly, I don't remember this album at all, but I do recall "Me and U" and "Not No More" - both were decent if you overlook the awkward lyrics and the Beyonce clone, respectively.

As you can see, if you didn't give up on reading this exhaustive post, Montell did relatively well for himself after his first hit. You can call the dude a lot of things (a beat jacker, for starters) but you can't call him a one-hit wonder.

Should He Come Back?: According the always reliable and never inaccurate Wikipedia, Montell has moved on to ministry. That's probably for the best. He's had a long and relatively successful career. He'll never shake the label of This Is How We Do It Guy, but when a song is that awesome, it's probably best to just embrace it.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

I couldn't believe it. 

When ABC announced last week that it would be pulling the plug on "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" I was utterly shocked. Both shows have been staples of the network's daytime programming for more than 40 years. Though I haven't regularly watched soap operas since college, I was especially sad about AMC. I grew up reveling in the lavish and outrageously dramatic lives of Erica Kane and Adam Chandler. I have a soft spot for AMC also because, in a way, that show helped make me a feminist.  

No, this isn't an essay arguing that Susan Lucci's Kane was a great feminist heroine. The heroes of this story are my parents. When I heard news of the show's cancellation the first thing I thought was, "Oh no! Daddy will be crushed!" That's right, the biggest AMC fan I know isn't my mom, my aunt, or one of my best gal pals; it's my dad. For decades he's recorded this and other soap operas so that when he gets home from a long day at the warehouse, he has hours of delicious drama to enjoy with his dinner. It's amazing how much father-daughter bonding we've had thanks to AMC. On top of that, my dad never realized that by simply watching his soaps religiously he taught me to toss gender stereotypes out the window. 

While my dad watches soaps my mom watches Spike TV and gory horror flicks on SyFy. My mom may do the laundry and all the household cleaning, but my dad does all the grocery shopping and cooking. For me AMC is a symbol, a reminder to be thankful that I grew up in a family that never gave me the dos and don'ts of being a proper lady, or any ridiculous rules about a woman's "role" in the family.  So goodbye Erica. Goodbye Adam. I will miss you, but I know not half as much as my Daddy will.  

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Frank Ocean made his mark on the music industry writing songs for such artists as Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.  He is also the R&B voice of the rap group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.  He has a very heavy internet following and released his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra on his Tumblr page.  Enjoy!

Progressive Soul Mondays: Opening minds and erradicating foolery, coonery, and bufoonery one Monday at a time®

-- Desiree

"Swim Good" 

"We All Try"

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Friday, April 15, 2011

As promised, I'll be posting poetry writing prompts occasionally throughout April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Here's one adapted from The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux:

What do you do every day -- or on a regular basis? Write a poem about showering, or jogging, or cooking, and so on. Try, in the poem, to get at the particular way you perform this activity, that might be different from someone else. 

Here's a poem by Al Zolynas for inspiration:

The Zen of Housework

I look over my own shoulder
down my arms
to where they disappear under water
into hands inside pink rubber gloves
moiling among dinner dishes.

My hands lift a wine glass, 
holding it by the stem and under the bowl.
It breaks the surface
like a chalice
rising from a medieval lake. 

Full of the grey wine
of domesticity, the glass floats
to the level of my eyes.
Behind it, through the window
about the sink, the sun, among
a ceremony of sparrows and bare branches, 
is setting in Western America.

I can see thousands of droplets
of steam -- each a tiny spectrum -- rising
from my goblet of grey wine.
They sway, changing directions
constantly -- like a school of playful fish,
or like the sheer curtain
on the window to another world.

Ah, grey sacrament of the mundane!

Originally posted at 
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sporting my hair in its naturally curly state is liberating, empowering, and just plain fun. One thing it's not, however, is cheap. Yes, it's probably less expensive than going to a salon every other week to get my hair fried, dyed and laid to the side, as my mom would say, but all those Carol's Daughter and Kinky Curly products can really add up. So I decided to pull together a list of 5 products, each under $10, that I sometimes use to tame my mane. Perhaps you can turn to these when you need be a diva on a dime. These products aren't completely plant-based as most of us naturalistas prefer, but in my experience I haven't found them to be damaging to my hair and they work. 

Aussie Sydney Smooth Conditioner

Specifically designed to help fight frizz, this recent addition to the Aussie collection is just what we curly girls need. Perfect for co-washing, the Sydney Smooth conditioner seems to leave my hair even more moisturized than Aussie Moist Conditioner, which used to be a staple in my hair care arsenal. Some natural ingredients used to make this product include jasmine, silk extract, and jojoba oil. This conditioner can be found at drug stores, grocery stores and places like Target and Wal-Mart. 

Garnier Fructis Leave-In Conditioner

After co-washing my hair I usually comb this product through my wet tresses to lock in moisture. It costs less than $5 at grocery, drug, and big box stores and it works like a charm. 

Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk

Not to seem like a Garnier Fructis spokesperson, but I've found this product to be especially good at helping my hair fight frizz on rainy days. So sometimes I'll use the smoothing milk instead of the leave-in conditioner, especially on days the weatherman (or weatherwoman) tells me I'm going to need an umbrella. 

Umberto Beverly Hills Curl Enhancing Lotion

In addition to a product that will keep my hair from getting too dry, I also need one that will keep it from getting too wild. Typically my go-to product for curl definition is Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Lite, but when the funds are low I turn to Umberto Beverly Hills Curl Enhancing Lotion, which is available at Target. It doesn't smell as great as the more plant-based products I typically use, but it's just as effective. Be careful not to apply to much of the product to your hair, however, or your curls might get crunchy. 

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme

This product should only be applied to dried hair, therefore, I use it only when I need something to refresh and revitalize my second-day hair. 
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Earlier this week Jezebel reposted a great essay by Hugo Schwyzer titled How the "Good Guys Are Hard To Find" Narrative Hurts Women. In the essay Schwyzer writes of his female students (high school and college-aged) and how he's worked with girls who believe that if  their bodies aren't perfect, they have no right to expect too much from guys. One girl figured she had no right to ask her boyfriend to stop checking out other girls when they were together. Another young woman said she couldn't expect her boyfriend to choose spending time with her over watching porn or playing video games because she doesn't look like "freakin' Megan Fox."

Schwyzer writes:

This perfectionism dovetails dangerously with another theme in young women's lives: the "good guys are hard to find" narrative. This belief that reliable and loving young men are rare reinforces the pursuit of skinny, sexy, beauty: the fewer decent lads out there, the more "choice" those guys have. And even the decent ones, so the culture tells us, will make relationship decisions based on women's appearance. For some, that means all the more reason to compete - and for others, all the more reason to opt out and "settle" for what they've been told is the best they can reasonably hope for.

Some people say the solution to this is to do a better job of raising our daughters. While I agree that it's important for girls (and boys too for that matter) to have their confidence bolstered by their families, I'm not convinced this is enough. I grew up with two parents who constantly told me I was smart and beautiful and fearfully and wonderfully made by God. They told me I should only have relationships with boys who would respect me and my body. While I do credit this upbringing with helping me make good choices about sex, it did not keep me from staying in relationships with assholes for far too long. 

Sometimes it was because I was foolish enough to believe I could turn a jackass into a gentleman, but when I was a young teen I stayed with a jerk because I thought I should feel lucky that an older, handsome, and popular guy would even bother with a flat-chested, acne-prone bookworm like me (who also had no idea what to do with her hair).

Schwyzer believes this mentality is in part due to the fact that tweens and teens grow up comparing themselves to models and TV stars which suggests that instead of simply a change at home, we also need a change on societal level. But this is obviously something that will take decades, perhaps centuries, to change, if it ever changes.

In the meantime, we need to do what we can on a community level through mentoring and other programs, such as those that help girls surround themselves with supportive friends. I can remember that despite my bad luck with guys I never once thought of abandoning intellectual pursuits in favor of making myself hotter for the fellows. Why? Because I had a great group of girlfriends who all knew it was cool to be a nerd. 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You guys often accuse me of living in the past, especially when I bash your favorite current musicians. But how can you blame me when ads keep reminding me that the past was a blast?

Most of you know the fourth Scream movie hits screens Friday - 15 years after the first (and the only decent) movie debuted. Teen Wolf, the goofy 80s fantasy, will be be updated by MTV for a new generation of fans. Expect a bunch of whiny, shirtless kids moping around, Twilight-style. And even 80s toon icons The ThunderCats are headed to Cartoon Network. They'll be all edgy and anime-like this time. They'd better not mess up Mumm-Ra, that's for sure.

The record industry is following this trend too. Your favorite R&B album will be getting a sequel. From

Fans can mark September 20 as the day that Mary J. Blige returns with her 11th album, My Life II, The Story Continues.
By the time of the album's release — a sequel to Blige's triple-platinum My Life album — it will be almost two years since the Queen of Hip-Hop/R&B delivered her last project, Stronger With Each Tear.

I'm not sure if TV and movie studios and aging artists have just run out of ideas or if they're just banking on grabbing the attention - and draining the bank accounts - of 80s babies. Regardless, the strategy seems to be working.

But if these folks are determined to resurrect ideas from bygone eras, I have one suggestion. Better yet, a demand:

Bring back Teen Summit!

Over the years, BET's programming has gotten a well-deserved bad rap (word to Gucci Mane). But one thing they did get right was Teen Summit. The show examined issues relevant to teens and provided a forum for them to speak out.

Don't we NEED this?! It's not like BET has a glut of great programming already on its schedule. What do they show besides 106 & Park anyway?

Surely BET can find 30 minutes on its schedule to shoehorn an informative program between the 20th airing of The Cookout and Judge Hatchett reruns. If we're going to continue to relive the past, let's make it meaningful.

Which childhood favorites would you like to see return?
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Tomorrow, April 12, 2011, is the next Equal Pay Day. This date symbolizes how far into 2011 women must work to earn what men earned in 2010. The National Committee on Pay Equity started Equal Pay Day in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. 

Despite the strides women have made in terms of higher education, the average woman only earns 77 cents to their male counterpart's dollar, which works out to be a difference of more than $10,600 a year. The gap is even more substantial when both gender and race are factored in together. 

The National Committee on Pay Equity asks that folks wear red to work tomorrow to symbolize how far women and minorities are "in the red" with their pay.  

Something even more significant we can do is try to encourage support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. It was introduced in January 2009  by the then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Rep. Rosa DeLauro to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963. 

The act passed in the House on January 9, 2009, but was unfortunately defeated in the Senate, 58-41, on November 17, 2010. 

Check out the Bust blog and the National Women's Law Center for more on how you can get involved. 

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Editor's Note: It's time for another edition of He Said, She Said. This occasional Georgia Mae feature allows our resident man blogger and I to discuss different, though not necessarily opposing, thoughts on different issues, frivolous and grave. This is a special edition of He Said, She Said as it marks our 5th wedding anniversary, so beware of the mush factor.

We're married, yo!

She Said 

Five years ago today I said I do to our Georgia Mae music guru, Mr. Edward T. Bowser. That's five years of sharing nearly everything from bank accounts to laundry. For the past two and a half years we've also been partners on a special project -- publishing the blog  During this time we've learned that many of the things you must do to maintain a successful blog can also help a couple maintain a successful marriage. 

Be creative. Working on Georgia Mae together has been fun in part because we have a blast brainstorming ideas and coming up with features such as Whatever Happened to and the wildly popular contest on the best Christmas songs. We use this same creativity to keep our marriage interesting, showing appreciation for each other with more than simple Valentine's Day gifts but also with Easter baskets and Hello Kitty themed birthday parties (wow, we sound like we're 12). I even used my connections as an entertainment journalist to make arrangements for Edd to meet his idol Keith Sweat

He Said

Communicate. We might make this bloggin’ thing look easy, but there’s a lot of planning that goes down each week at Georgia Mae Headquarters. We map out a game plan, decide who will write what, and even allow wiggle room in case news breaks - like if your favorite rapper gets the Burger King logo tattooed on his face, for instance. Things run smoothly because the lines of communication are always open. There are never any surprises at home or on the blog. And if there are issues, we come to each other to reach a solution.

She Said

Support each other. Creating Georgia Mae was my dream. Edward didn't have to come on board and help me out, but he did because he wanted to support me in this project, just as he's supporting me with my new project, See Jane Write.  And as Edward took stepped into his new role as community manager at one of the top advertising agencies in the Southeast, I was and continue to be his biggest cheerleader. 

He Said

Be willing to compromise. As longtime fans of Georgia Mae know, my blogs can be a bit, well, tart at times. I’m not one to hold back on my opinions, especially when discussing subjects I'm passionate about. If you think some of my current blogs are scathing,  you wouldn’t believe the stuff that never saw the light of day. That’s where compromise comes in – Javacia is great at softening some of my more brazen moments and redrafting them. Sometimes it's a struggle (I can be stubborn, you know) but we always reach a consensus. It’s the same way in our marriage. When we don’t agree on things we meet each other halfway. We put our egos aside for the good of the situation. And in the end, we always come out stronger.

She Said

Share the load. You may have noticed that some weeks there is an abundance of urban music posts on Georgia Mae and other weeks it's a girl power fest. That's because when I'm having a particularly stressful week Edward steps in and does more than his fair share of work on the blog and when he's slammed with work and church projects I do the same. It's no different at home. I am a feminist and Mr. Bowser knew this long before he met me at the other end of the aisle. Therefore, he knew that the old-fashioned notion of domestic work being solely for members of the family with a vagina was not going to fly in our house. Fortunately I married a very progressive fellow so this was not an issue. We split household chores but I'm willing to take on more work when Edd is crazy busy and he's happy to do the same for me. It's team work. We are partners, truly. 

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Most of us have our someday speech well prepared, that list of reasons that explains why we aren't pursuing our dream project now but will do it "someday." I'll write that book someday, but I can't now because I don't have enough time or enough talent. I'll start that business someday, but right now I don't have the money or the knowledge that I need to do it. 

If this sounds all too familiar take a few minutes to read "The Someday Speech", a recent blog post by food writer Monica Bhide. She says sometimes we all need a "swift kick in the behind" to push us to fight for our dreams. Read this post and consider yourself kicked. 

Originally posted at
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In just a couple of days, the wifey and I will be celebrating our fifth year of marriage. And commemorate that blessed event, today I'm going to discuss... uh... heartbreak.

Let's postpone the lovey-dovey stuff for a couple of days, OK?

Send your inquiries to, or find me on twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname. 

Here's today's question:

Why is it that men never marry women they have been with for years or women they have kids with but they marry women they haven't even been with for a minute instead?

Ditched for The New Chick

I hear situations like this all the time and it baffles me that some women can't grasp what's going on. Guess that's why I'm here.

Ladies, if you have been with the same guy for years, have procreated with him multiple times and he still won't commit, that's not a relationship - that's long term sperm donation.

As long as he has free reign to do whatever he wants - commitment free - he will continue to do so. There is no incentive for him to settle down. And frankly, why would a woman want a man who refuses to make a long term commitment to her or her children?

There should be no surprise when something more inticing grabs his attention and he runs off. To quote a very bad movie:

And the woman can't place too much blame on the guy. True, he may have led his ex on, but after years with no progress why didn't she get the hint? Running off and marrying someone else may seem out of the blue to the freshly-dumped woman, but to the new groom he was just cutting ties to a meaningless relationship. From his point of view he did nothing wrong, he just moved on.

Ladies, if your man doesn't treat his relationship seriously it's because he's not invested. Stop fooling yourselves - and don't be surprised when he runs off.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In honor of National Poetry Month, I will post poetry writing exercises and prompts throughout April. 

Today try your hand at writing haiku in English. Inspired by the Japanese poetic form, a haiku in English is usually written in three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five in the final line. Japanese haiku usually include a season word, but many English-speaking poets writing haiku do not adhere to this convention.   

Below is one of my favorite English haiku by Sonia Sanchez:

i have caught fire from
your mouth now you want me to 
swallow the ocean

*Originally posted at
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