Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I've been wearing my hair in its naturally curly state for a decade now and until a few months ago I had never used a Miss Jessie's product. This may be quite shocking for you natural hair gurus out there who know that Miss Jessie's is one of the biggest natural hair care lines around. But you probably also know that the products are quite expensive. And if you read this blog regularly you know my husband is a cheapskate (love you, babe) therefore I'm always on the prowl for effective, yet affordable products. 

Occasionally -- usually around Christmastime -- Miss Jessie's has a buy-one-get-one-free special and back in December I took advantage and tried out a few products. This was a mistake. 

Why was it a mistake? Did the products leave my hair dry, frizzy, and full of flakes. No. Not at all. During my little Miss Jessie's experiment I tried Quick Curls, which the company calls "the best darn quick curl creme period." And, well, they might be right. (The container also declares that this creme is for "curly, wavy and relaxed textures, including white gals too." Hilarious.)

Quick Curls smells delicious, blended with essence of ginger flower and lime fruit. More important, it defines my curls -- without the help of second product -- and cuts down on frizz. And as its name suggests, Quick Curls seems to work faster than other products I've used. But that's not what got me hooked on Quick Curls. The reason I'm willing to shell out $32 for an 8 oz. container is because no other product I have ever used in my 10 years of being natural has ever left my hair so soft and full of body. Seriously. When I use Quick Curls I can't keep my hands out of my hair and I can't help gawking at my curls when I pass any type of reflective glass. I'm sure people around me think I'm ridiculously vain. 

Unfortunately, if I used Quick Curls all the time I'd also be ridiculously broke, so I've decided to just reserve it for vacations and special occasions. Here are a few shots I took during a trip to Virginia:

Naturalistas, what products are you using these days? 
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images
image via

Viola Davis did not take home the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Help. But Davis still had a winning weekend, in a different way. 

This weekend Davis ditched the wigs she'd been seen sporting throughout most of the awards season and opted rock her natural hair -- a gorgeous curly Afro. The Daily Beast called the decision a "teachable moment, giving the world a crash course in the ever-complicated politics of African-American hair."

But an interview with Essence magazine at the  ESSENCE's Black Women in Hollywood event revealed that Davis' choice was more personal than political. 

When asked if she breaks out her natural hair for special occasions, Davis replied, "No, there hasn't been any occasion that I felt brave enough to do it."
Davis attributed her bravery to wear her natural 'do to the encouragement of her loving husband Julius Tennon, who "told me to step into who I am," she said.

Davis went on to say that wearing her cropped, natural coif made her feel powerful: "I feel more powerful every day, more secure in who I am, and I've waited so long for that.... It feels so divine." 

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'll be honest. I wasn't looking forward to the Oscars this year. I didn't watch too many movies this year so I didn't expect to get most of the jokes or care about many of the nominations. But I had to watch, I told myself. It's un-American not to do so, right? And I had to cheer on Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis.

And I'm so glad I did. Not because the show was amazing. It wasn't. (Sorry, Billy Crystal.) But because by the end of the night I was feeling quite proud to be me. Let me explain.

Octavia Spencer
image via

I was very disappointed that Davis didn't win for best actress, but Spencer took home the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in The Help and I clapped and jumped up and down when her name was called. She's only the fifth black woman to win this award, but the excitement I felt was about much more than race. Spencer is from Alabama and she even gave a shout out to the Yellowhammer State in her acceptance speech. And as silly as it sounds, in that moment I felt like a member of my family was on that stage.

James Armstrong
image via

To top things off, the short documentary The Barber of Birmingham was also up for an Academy Award and even though the film didn't win it felt good to see my city's name and James Armstrong's face on the screen.

The Barber of Birmingham is about a local barber whose shop was not only a place to get a haircut but also a place to learn about the Civil Rights Movement. Armstrong was a civil rights "foot soldier" and the walls of his shop were like a museum. I know this not from the documentary, but because I spent many Saturdays in Armstrong's shop when I was a child. He and my grandmother, who was also very involved in the civil rights movement, were great friends. (Fun fact: Armstrong gave my little brother his first haircut.) When she stopped by his shop to talk about the ol' days I'd often tag along.

Unfortunately, I wasn't eager to visit his shop for a chance to be surrounded by history. I was unaware of how blessed I was to know him and to be my granny's grandbaby. I just wanted to go because Armstrong would give me a few dollars if I swept up hair for him.

But now I know better. And The Barber of Birmingham is just another reason I'm so proud to be from my Sweet Home Alabama.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Who is ready for the weekend?

Don't you all scream at once - first we have to get through Friday. Here's some music to help.

Edward is annoyed by mixtape hosts but enjoys their music.

DJ Clue Presents Backstage Mixtape: A Hard Knock Life (2000)

Edd said: "Think DJ "WE DA BEST!!!" Khaled is an annoying mixtape host? Then you must be too young to remember DJ Clue, who pioneered annoying mixtape adlibs. His random shoutouts and 'ha haaaas' ruined dozens of '90s songs. Anyway, Backstage was the soundtrack to the "documentary film" "A Hard Knock Life," which was basically footage of a big Jay-Z concert tour. The mixtape is a surprisingly decent mix of R&B and rap chart-toppers of the era. There are quite a few choice gems here, if you can get over Clue yelling at you for an hour. "CLUMINATI!!!!!!!!!!!"

Also check out:
"Hate Music" - Cam'Ron featuring Juelz Santana
"Just Leave Your Love" - Christion

Javacia is in the mood for a "Love Song."

Sara Bareilles, Little Voice (2007)

Jai said: "From the moment I heard her debut single "Love Song" on the radio I was a Sara Bareilles fan. I've seen her in concert twice and my copy of the Little Voice CD boasts her autograph (which I stood in line for nearly an hour to get. I took a picture with her too!). With her powerful voice and thought-provoking lyrics, a few of Bareilles' songs even made its way to Edd's iPod."

Also check out:
"One Sweet Love"

Now, it’s your turn. Email, hit us up on Twitter @etbowser or @writeousbabe, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album.  Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. We’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Like a Girl is an occasional feature here at Georgia Mae that highlights some of my  favorite female bloggers. Today we chat with Laura Kate Whitney who became a blogging star here in Birmingham with her blog Magic City Manifesto. She started this blog when she first moved to the city. Her posts were all about her journey of getting to know and love her new home. Recently, Whitney launched a new blog, Magic City Made and she's here to tell us about this transition. 

How did you decide it was time to end Magic City Manifesto and start Magic City Made?

Magic City Manifesto had a great run, but I’d been struggling for some time with the concept – it was started as a “newcomer’s adventure”, and I’m no longer a newcomer here in Birmingham. I’m not out exploring the streets and neighborhoods; rather, I’m engaged in community projects, I’m developing relationships, I’m used to my surroundings and I’m settling in to life here in the Magic City.  Creating a new blog, and giving myself a fresh start, seemed like such a good idea. So far, so good.

What lessons did you learn from Magic City Manifesto and other blogs you've had in the past that you plan to help guide you with this latest project?

I think that each blog gets better. I really challenged myself with Magic City Made in that I wanted to dig deeper into Wordpress, I wanted to have a sharper/sleeker look. I’ve also learned, through experience, not to be so hard on myself, to spell check always, to map out some sort of editorial calendar, and to just be myself with it. Blogs are no fun if they begin to stress you out…

If you had to describe your new blog in 30 seconds, your elevator pitch if you will, what would you say? How would you say this project is different from Magic City Manifesto?

Magic City Made celebrates community and culture in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a way of letting others know about the great things happening here in the Magic City, from local artisans and their wares to important initiatives that need support. My family of four is making their lives here in Birmingham. We are deeply connected to our city. I want others to see what we see. I want others to be aware that there is still plenty of magic to be had (and made)!!

How have you gone about promoting your new blog?

Twitter and Facebook, of course. And you know I’ve been talking…to everyone who will listen. I also look for complimentary sites and comment on those, linking back to my site. I try to stay part of the online dialogue. If I see an opportunity to shamelessly promote myself, I go for it.

What advice would you give to a blogger who has hit a plateau with her current blog and is thinking of starting a new one?

As I said earlier, if a blog is becoming stressful, re-evaluate. You may very well lose readers in the meantime, but you will certainly risk losing those readers if your content is forced/contrived/irrelevant. For me, blogging is a personal purge. It’s an itch I have to scratch.

Listen to your gut. People want authenticity. If you believe in what you’re saying/writing/blogging, the rest of the world will, too.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We hope everyone enjoyed Valentine's Day last week. But judging by my inbox on February 15, some of those Valentine's roses were mighty thorny. It's all good, we're here to help you prune.

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

Here's today's question: 

When people always try to hook you up with someone does that mean people think highly of you as a person or do they think you suck at finding your own mate?


On the surface, getting set up on a date seems like a win-win. You have a person you trust connecting you with someone they know you'll like. But personally it NEVER EVER worked.

Some of the weirdest, lamest dates I've ever had were set up by close friends. From a woman who was basically a mute to a girl who spent the ENTIRE night talking about her no-good babydaddy, these things never worked. One woman even woke me up at 4 a.m. for a booty call. You wanna really get on my bad side? Disturb my sleep. The fact that the woman looked like Grimace was of no consequence.

Image via

So yeah, I'm not a fan of hook-ups. But just because a friend offers to set you up doesn't mean they think you're incapable of attracting people. In their minds, they simply see you as a great guy who would be a perfect match for another friend, or vice versa.

Here's the problem - those friends often look at things from a friendship perspective, not a relationship perspective. There are a lot of factors that go into romantic relationships that often aren't visible from the friendship realm. Things like commitment, dedication, romantic compatibility, RESPECTING FOLKS' SLEEPING SCHEDULE (ahem) can only be effectively judged by the dating parties, not outside folks. And those factors usually are only properly judged after spending a considerate amount of time together (which is yet another reason y'all need to stop moving in with your "boo thangs" so quickly, but I digress).

I doubt your friend thinks you're incapable of making the right romantic decisions. Sure, there are plenty of folks out there who just wanna mettle in your affairs, but you'd probably recognize and ignore their advice easily. The others are honestly just trying to help. But before you hook up with Grimace n' dem, remember that mutual friends usually can only speak from the Friendship Zone. Only you know who is truly compatible for you.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When I took a 21-day break from social media in January I really missed all the fun I have on Twitter and Pinterest and the information and inspiration I gain from reading my favorite blogs. But now that social media and I have been back together for about a month now I’m beginning to wonder if this is really as far as our relationship will ever go.

I’m ready to move beyond just having a good time and I want to use social media to truly make a difference. But I’m not sure how.

Enter James Spann.

image via

As some of you who live in Birmingham may know, I am a member of the Alabama Social Media Association, better known as ALsocme. Yesterday, since school was closed in honor of President's Day, I was able to volunteer at a special talk we hosted featuring James Spann, who is arguably the best meteorologist in the Southeast (perhaps the world). So what does a meteorologist have to do with social media? Spann has nearly 50,000 Twitter followers and through Twitter and other social media platforms Spann saves lives as he warns us when to take cover in the threat of inclement weather. 

I knew Spann’s talk would be interesting because the man can make meteorology exciting, but I didn’t know I would leave the event feeling so inspired. Frankly, I left feeling like I had been to church. By that I don't mean that Spann was preachy. No. Not all. What I mean is that I felt motivated and understood.

One of the things Spann mentioned was that there are still businesses out there that belittle social media. He said they think social media is just a place for gossiping teenage girls. I wanted to raise my hand and testify. Many of my co-workers and even some of my friends don't understand social media. They believe it's somehow beneath them and shake their heads at me for my passion for these platforms because they believe social media is simply a distraction from intellectual pursuits that are more worthy of my time. 

But what these people don't realize is, just as Spann said in his talk, social media has the power to save lives. That's exactly what happened last year during the April 27 tornadoes when many people knew to get out of harm's way because of Spann's tweets. And furthermore it was through social media that many, if not most, recovery efforts were organized. 

Spann is a prime example that social media matters and that with it you can make a difference. With social media you truly can make an impact in your sphere of influence. 

Spann offered tips to business owners on how they can successfully use social media. For example, when a customer follows you on Twitter, follow them back. Otherwise, you're suggesting you want that person to listen to you but you don't care what he or she has to say, Spann said. And when a customer asks you a question via Twitter or Facebook, answer it ASAP. For businesses Spann also suggested staying away from divisive, polarizing topics such as politics or religion on your social media platforms. (And for Alabama-based business, he said, that also includes not stating whether you're an Alabama or Auburn fan. But I am not following that advice. Roll Tide Roll!)

But whether you’re a business owner or a writer or just someone who loves to tweet, Spann said that the key to making a difference with social media, or anything else really, is to have a servant's heart. When you start to put other people first that's when life gets good, Spann said. 

These are all things many of us hear in church, but probably never thought once about applying to social media.

So often I'm guilty of thinking of Twitter as a platform to promote my blog and my blog as a way to promote my writing. But what if I began to look at all these things -- Twitter, Facebook, blogging, even Pinterest and Foursquare -- as a way to reach out and inspire others? So I left the meeting yesterday with the decision to do just that. I hope this post will inspire you to do the same.

On a lighter note, door prizes were awarded at yesterday's meeting and guess who won a lovely monkey hat...

 ...yep, that's our music editor Edward Bowser. Isn't he cute? 
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Monday, February 20, 2012

For anyone who has always wanted to watch political commentary on MSNBC so you could feel smarter but  couldn't make it through an entire show without falling asleep, I have a solution. Black feminist scholar Melissa Harris-Perry has a new show on MSNBC that debuted this weekend. I'm already hooked. It's amazing. You can catch new episodes each Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. EST or 9 a.m. CST. I urge you all to support this show.

On Saturday's episode Harris-Perry touched on a topic that I've honestly been forcing myself to not write about anymore here on -- Chris Brown.

Last Sunday during the Grammys I and many other young feminists across the nation made the choice to not watch Chris Brown's performance and to instead read this article: "Why I'm Not Okay with Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I'm Not Sure Why You Are."

Before I go on let me say that I am not suggesting that Chris Brown should never be forgiven for what he did to Rihanna. But in the two years since the brutal assault Brown has shown little remorse (unless you count his pitiful sobbing during his performance of "Man in the Mirror") and even acted out in a fit of rage when questioned about the matter by a nationally renowned reporter.

But this is bigger the Brown. What is making me sick to my stomach is that two years later Brown's fans, particularly his female fans, are not only defending his actions but also blaming Rihanna. "We don't know what happened in that car," some fans say, as if that matters, as if anything Rihanna could have said or done to Brown that night could justify what he did.

But there's more. While I was reading the above article during Brown's performance, some of his young female fans were tweeting that they would be willing to let Brown beat them if it meant they could be with him. Harris-Perry had this to say:

Harris-Perry believes this shows how dangerous it is to perpetuate the idea that a woman needs a man by any means necessary and at any cost. I agree with her and I think this also shows the danger of celebrating an abuser and blaming the victim. Because Chris Brown has somehow become the hero in this saga, these young girls still dream of being the woman in his life even if it means being nearly beaten to death.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

This is usually the time of week where we look back our favorite forgotten albums. But today, we felt it was the perfect time to pay tribute to perhaps the greatest voice of our generation, Whitney Houston.

We've asked Georgia Mae writers and fans to share their favorite Whitney songs. Feel free to share your favorite songs and memories in the comments, too.

Progressive Soul's  Desiree', "You Give Good Love"

"It makes me feel good and brings back childhood memories."

C.J. Harris, "Run To You"

"I love her voice and the emotion in this song."

Kim Jackson, "Same Script, Different Cast"

"I loved it because Deborah Cox and Whitney were battling for the same man’s heart. Two powerhouse voices - what’s more to say?"

Music editor Edward, "Heartbreak Hotel"

"I remember being extremely excited when I first heard about this track. Kelly Price, Faith Evans and Whitney on the same song? I knew magic would be made. And I was right."

Contributing columnist Karie, "I Believe In You And Me"

"This song represents what true love aspires to be. Melodically speaking it's both soft and assertive, the way love should be, too. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it."

Diane Hawkins, "Star Spangled Banner"

"Whitney 'The Voice' Houston's gospel-tinged rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" performed at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 scored the first touchdown of the night. Many voices have tried to tackle the National Anthem, but Whitney's voice takes off from the field and soars."

Georgia Mae founder Javacia, "All The Man I That Need"
"I can still remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom next to my radio singing this song into a fake microphone. As with most little girls in the late 80s and early 90s, Whitney Houston's music was the soundtrack to my childhood."

Ashley Whitright, of Just Sayin', "My Love Is Your Love"

"Simply because of the lyrics: 'If tomorrow is judgment day, and I'm standing on the front line/And the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say I spent it with you/If I should die this very day, don't cry, cause on earth we wasn't meant to stay/And no matter what the people say, I'll be waiting for you after Judgment Day.'"

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Editor's Note: The following column was written by journalist and aspiring filmmaker Jaz Gray. Prepare to be inspired. 

Sure enough, over the next few days, weeks and months, news media and water cooler talk will all surround the death of one of the greatest voices of all time, Whitney Houston. But, I hope we can all soon turn to recount the number of songs she had throughout her career that touched our souls and empowered us in some way.

One song for me was “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” from Whitney’s final album, I Look to You. In the song, she sings about the challenges she has faced, the doubts she initially had and how she was able to eventually realize the power she had within.  The chorus of the song is my favorite part. It makes me think deeply about my own journey of overcoming physical illness and insecurity to reach the place of God-given peace that I am in today. 

Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive

Starting at age 10, I have had over thirty surgeries for a rare vascular anomaly called Arteriovenous Malformation or AVM. The physical toll of these tangled growths of arteries and veins has included removal of sections of my face, battles with bleeding, and challenges speaking and eating. But, there were times when the emotional challenges -- enduring procedure after procedure, spending 10th through 12th grade in and out of the hospital and realizing that I would never have a “normal” face-- would almost send me down a despairing spiral of depression. Thank God for the support of my parents who reached out to my doctors who assigned me a hospital psychologist. I was asked to find an outlet, somewhere to go with the baggage I felt I had to carry alone. Deep down, I knew that God had some purpose for my life and I was just frustrated because I didn’t know what it was. So, I decided I would start to focus my days on developing my relationship with God through bible study and prayer to take away the loneliness and my evenings on writing my story to gain a clearer perspective on the path God was allowing me to travel.

I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high

As I began to use one of the gifts that God had given me,writing, to share my story, those around me began to pass my pieces along. And a wonderful thing happened. I started to get letters from people I had never even met telling me that my journey had inspired them to continue pushing forward and to share their own story. Eventually, my passion for storytelling would lead me to Middle Tennessee State University to study journalism and to Syracuse University on a full fellowship to study television and film production.

I was not built to break

A few days after finishing my Master’s late last year, I had to come back home to Memphis, and travel for yet another surgery. At first, I did feel a tinge of disappointment that, while my classmates were making moves to L.A. and New York City, for some reason I was back where I started.  Well, the day before that procedure my surgeon informed me he was putting together a “super team” of doctors to find a cure for AVM before he retires. This news inspired me to embrace the fact that God is not working on my schedule, but He most certainly has a plan of His own. I decided I had to start producing a documentary to highlight the incredible stories of some of the other AVM patients and document the super team surgeons’ quest for a cure.

 “I didn’t know my own strength.”

Now, a month after my 32nd procedure, I am in the mist of an online campaign to raise money towards the production. Before the campaign started, I had a moment where my stomach was doing somersaults. I could tell that the old seeds of doubt and anxiety were trying to arise.  But, this time, I knew what I had to do to get past those negative thoughts and emotions. I told myself to trust God and the power that I had through Him. And, in less than two weeks, people have contributed over $4000 of our $5000 goal. Like a moving Whitney ballad, people are being inspired to remain confident about the purpose behind the obstacles in their lives and motivated to keep pushing forward. 

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As some of you know, last week I turned 31 and while it wasn't as exciting as hitting the big 3-0, I still wanted to celebrate by making a list of things I want to accomplish that year, which I posted on Thursdays over at The Writeous Babe Project. But I thought I'd share my list here too. 

Here are the things I want to do before turning 32. 

1. Have a birthday brunch with my girlfriends.  (Done!)
2. Complete a half marathon. (Done! And I survived!)
3. Become a blogging star. 
4. Attend a blogging conference. 
5. Write for xoJane.
6. Write for Hello Giggles. 
7. Land my own column. 
8. Write for The Frisky.
9. Write for Bust. 
10. Have an essay published in Elle. 
11. Get an essay published in Self. 
12. Attend the Essence Music Festival. 
13. Try Dance Trance.
14. Try PYT.
15. Host a panel discussion on freelancing. 
16. Host a blog party.
17. Visit Chicago with Edd. 
18. See my byline on Jezebel. 
19. Write for B Metro.
20. Feel good in a bikini. 
21. Climb a rock wall. 
22. Find new BFFs. 
23. Get new business cards. 
24. Be in a belly dance hafla. 
25. Go to fun halloween party. 
26. Get a makeover. 
27. Become a good photographer. 
28. Fall in love with Birmingham.
29. Do 12 Dates of Christmas.
30. Send cute couple cards. 
31. Pay off my credit card debt. 
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you hate this holiday, you might want to leave this blog now and come back tomorrow. There’s a major sap fest ahead because Edward and I love any excuse to gush over each other. Sickening I know, but that’s just how we are.

Whenever Edd calls or texts me Beyonce’s “Countdown” begins to play as that is my special ringtone for my special guy. While it may annoy people around me (especially since I let it play long enough for me to get in a quick dance) whenever I hear this song blasting from my Blackberry I can’t help but smile (and dance). It reminds me that 2012 marks my 10th year of knowing Edd. So in honor of Valentines’ Day here is a little countdown of 10 things I love about him.

10 years ago we met. I thought he was the weirdest, er, quirkiest guy I’d ever known. He ate French fries with a fork and constantly raved about Keith Sweat being the best artist of all time.  I wrote an entire journal entry about his idiosyncrasies. I guess you can say he made an impression.

9 is considered an unlucky number by the Japanese because it sounds similar in pronunciation to the word for pain. I know that because Edd told me so. He knows that because he’s a nerd. I love nerds. Edd is the kind of guy who uses SAT vocabulary words in casual conversations, not to show off but because that’s just how he talks. Be still my beating heart.

8 April 2006 (to write the date in proper MLA format) I became Edd’s wife.  In my vows I said I couldn’t call him the man of my dreams because he surpassed anything my imagination could invent. (That line even made my male friends cry.) Nearly six years later, he continues to surprise me day after day.  

7th installment of Wrestlemania features Edward’s favorite match ever – Macho Man versus. Ultimate Warrior. His fascination with wrestling still baffles me, but I guess it’s no different from most men’s love of football and basketball and never once has he said to me “Shh! The game is on.”  He gets major points for that.

6 days a week he insists on wearing a tie. For Edd, going to work without a tie is like showing up with no pants and attending church without wearing a suit is as sacrilegious as that Nicki Minaj Grammy performance. I make fun of him and his old-fashioned ways all the time. But I secretly like it. I love a man who can dress!

5 times a day, approximately, I burst into laughter as I think back on something hilarious he’s said the night before or written on this blog. My colleagues and students probably think I need to be committed.

4 greatest rappers to ever live, in Edd’s opinion, are Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, and Rakim. I pity the fool who tries to argue with him about that or anything related to hip-hop. He’s an urban music encyclopedia and whether it’s about rap, religion, or the McRib, he stands up for what he believes in. Always. He never backs down. (This is why we never fight. I know I won’t win.)

3 times he’s sent flowers to me just because, and that’s just counting the times he’s sent flowers to my current job. He’s been making me the envy of my female co-workers since 2003.

2 years of our relationship were spent nearly 3,000 miles apart. Yet, somehow this distance only made our bond stronger. Not once did he make me feel guilty for going off to California for my master’s degree. He even encouraged me to hang in there when I wanted to drop out and come home.

1 day I just might make a 3 from that 2 because he still is and always will be the 1.

For you babe,

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday I completed the Mercedes Half-Marathon here in Birmingham. And I survived!

There was good reason not to run 13.1 miles yesterday. I even had a doctor’s excuse. You see, I have a connective tissue disease that’s trying its best to destroy my joints and muscles. So my doctor is constantly discouraging me from high impact exercises and suggesting that I stick to water aerobics and cycling instead.

To top things off, after an unseasonably warm winter filled with 65-degree days, this weekend Birmingham experienced its coldest days of the season. The temperature didn’t rise above freezing during the race. (And my connective tissue ailment is aggravated by cold weather.)

As the day of the race drew closer and closer, I began to doubt myself. I began to wonder if I'd made a mistake signing up for this. "Why did you think you could actually do this?" I started to ask myself. 

But my husband and closest friends kept encouraging me and reminding me of all the training I'd been doing for months. They reminded me that during that training I had run 11 miles, twice, so two more would be a piece of cake. 

And they were right. Sort of. Not a single mile of the race was a cake walk. Thanks to the cold I couldn't feel my hands for the second half of the run even though I was wearing thick gloves. (Have you ever tried to tie your shoes with numb fingers? Doesn't go so well.) And thanks to that pesky connective tissue disease I spent most of the run battling an achy ankle, a throbbing knee or a stinging shin (though I'm thankful my body was kind enough to not allow all three to hurt at once). But I kept going. I kept reminding myself why I run in the first place and how those reasons outweigh all the factors that tell me I should stay home on the couch.

I run because I have a disease that tells me I can’t.

I run for all the women suffering from illnesses that prevent them from living their best lives.

I run because the women of my running group Black Girls Run Birmingham convinced me that I could.

I run so that women and girls of color can see someone who looks like them crossing the finish line.

I run to defy the stereotype that we Southerners are all sedentary.

I run to hear my husband say, “Javacia, I am so proud of you.”

And I run because my God told me, in Proverbs 4:12, that “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.” 

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Three days ago, I expected yet another yawn-enducing Grammy show. But with the music world still rocked by the shocking loss of Whitney Houston, there was hope that the show just wouldn't go through the motions, as usual. One thing was for sure - I was in no mood for the usual minstrel antics from your favorite rappers. 

Of course, that was just wishful thinking. Right, Nicki?

1. Our host LL Cool J opened up things with a prayer dedicated to Whitney Houston. Immediately, this question popped in my head: How many times will this fool lick his lips tonight? We'll see.

LL Lip Lick Counter: 9

2. Bruno Mars' high-energy performance was pretty fun, but does he go to the same beautician as Alicia Keys? Even Adam Levine was rockin' the same hair. Man, Aquanetta had plenty of business this weekend at Da House of Stylez.

3. What was up with the fashions? Lady Gaga was dressed like my grandma's screen door, Katy Perry looked like one of Sailor Moon's Sailor Scouts, and your girl Icki Nicki Garbaj looked like a smashed tomato.

4. My Cousin Chris Brown's performance got a lot of Twitter praise, but didn't it just look like a giant game of Q*Bert?

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5. Kanye and Jay-Z's "Otis" picked up a Grammy - isn't it great when a deserving song actually wins? I'm just sorry we missed Kanye's annual "set black folks back 20 years" award speech.

6. A Target ad featuring kids singing Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" turned a lot of heads. The lead vocalist was great. How long will it take for her to get a record deal and start singing auto-tune about tearin' up the club and wetting the bed?

7. Ugh, Rihanna. She maintained her usual high standard of excellence by sounding like she just woke up after a cold night on a park bench. And I don't understand why she's considered sexy. She looks like Cruella De Vil, sounds like Cruella De Vil, dances like Cruella De Vil - is Cruella really that sexy?

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8. When it was announced that a legendary band would reunite, did your heart skip a beat in anticipation of The Fugees? 

9. No, that band was the fossilized remains of The Beach Boys. While they were fossil-fueling it up on stage, didn't they look like ShowBiz Pizza animatronics?

LL Lip Lick Counter: 18

10. No disrespect, we all love Stevie Wonder, but isn't it time for him to let those braids go? His hairline starts at the base of his neck. Well, it's not like he can see how bad they look....

11. Cousin Chris nabbed an R&B Grammy. Huh, a wannabe rapper winning R&B honors. Will El DeBarge win the Best Rap Performance Grammy next year?

12. Conversation at Georgia Mae headquarters:

Wifey: Did you know Diana Ross never won a Grammy?

Me: Neither has Keith Sweat!

Wifey: *rolls eyes*

13. Yeah, she held back a bit, but Adele had an amazing performance, especially considering that she just had vocal surgery. Meanwhile, Rihanna was shown in the crowd eating Goobers. Doesn't that say it all?

LL Lip Lick Counter: 21

14. Weren't you absolutely furious that Vesta Williams didn't get a mention during the tributes to fallen musicians? She was no Amy Winehouse but they could have at least shown a clip. There was no excuse for that horrible oversight.

15. Finally, the moment the world was waiting for - the Whitney Houston tribute. I thought Jennifer Hudson did a strong job performing "I Will Always Love You." There was a lot of complaining about the brevity of it, but give them a break - they had less than 24 hours to pull it together. Would you have preferred BET do it? We would have gotten Ciara and Mindless Behavior doing the "honors."

16. I don't know WHAT was going on during that Chris Brown/Lil Wayne/David Guetta performance. Wayne actually had the audacity to use the word "smooches" in a rap without a hint of irony. That tremor you just felt? That was Biggie rolling in his grave.

17. And who was that Darth Vader rat guy with them? Is that what's hot in the streets now?

18. Oh yes, Icki Garbaj's big performance. I expected garbage, but instead received nuclear waste. Everyone's Favorite Rapper Drake did the introduction, with his Nicki thirst level at an all-time high. Then we got a song that was sacrilegious, insulting, stupid and boring all at once. Now that takes true talent. Social media unanimously tore her to shreds. Did we just witness the end of Icki's career? One can only hope.

19. Wasn't it kinda refreshing to see Adele's award dominance? She deserved every award and seemed very touched. It's OK, Adele, feel free to snot and slobber all over the place. You earned that mucus.

20. The best part about tonight? No one can ever, EVER defend Icki Garbaj as a talented artist ever again. EVER.

Final LL Lip Lick Counter: 27, give or take 40 or so licks.
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Posted by in ,  on 11:21 PM 4 comments

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Terribly shocking news. From USA Today:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Whitney Houston who reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, has died. She was 48.
Publicist Kristen Foster said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unclear.
At her peak in the 1980s and '90s, Houston the golden girl of the music industry and one of the world's best-selling artists.
Among her hits were "How Will I Know," "Saving All My Love for You" and "I Will Always Love You." She won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year.
While in the grocery store today I saw one of those ridiculous tabloids near the register claiming that Whitney was near death. I brushed it off. It pains me to know they were right.

Today's generation of music fans only know Whitney as troubled, long-faded star. But we know better. We remember the woman with the best voice in music. The woman with the all-time best rendition of the National Anthem. The woman who was not only an amazing singer but a wonderful actress as well - The Preacher's Wife, Waiting to Exhale and of course, The Bodyguard.

I'm as guilty as anyone of dwelling on Whitney's mistakes and not her triumphs. Sadly that's the way of the world. I truly hope she's remembered for her soaring highs and not her tragic lows. Honor this woman. It's long overdue.

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Posted by in ,  on 7:14 PM No comments

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's here and so is the music!

Edward travels in uncharted territory - uncharted for him, anyway.

Prince, Purple Rain (1984)

Edd said: "Anyone who knows me well probably considers this a shocking pick. When I was but a young playa, I always preferred Michael Jackson over Prince (it was against Virginia law to like both, you had to pick a side). I never really bought into the Prince hype, despite some good songs here and there. But even I can't deny how good Purple Rain is. The movie is laughable (sorry, it's true) but the soundtrack is pretty amazing, containing some of the most memorable songs of the '80s. Prince might dress like my grandma, but he ain't half bad."

Also check out:
"When Doves Cry"
"Let's Go Crazy"

Javacia looks back at a former idol of hers.

Janet Jackson, Janet.  (1993)

Jai said: Around the time this album was released I was borderline obsessed with Janet Jackson. And while my days of worshiping Damita Jo are long gone, this album still is and always will be one of my absolute favorites.

Also check out:
"Anytime, Anyplace"
"The Body That Loves You"

Now, it’s your turn. Email, hit us up on Twitter @etbowser or @writeousbabe, or stop by the comments section and share your Flashback Friday album.  Leave a couple of sentences describing what makes it so great. We’ll feature your album on the blog.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

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Today, our favorite blogger is celebrating her 31st birthday! And this summer marks the 10 year anniversary of when I first met Javacia. It's weird, although I've only known her a third of my life, it seems like I've known her forever. Still, every day I still learn something new about her.

In honor of her big day, I'm going to share 31 things I learned about the wifey over the past year. You're never too old to learn more about your loved ones. Although some of the things I've learned I'd rather forget. Check 'em out.

1. Javacia would rather listen to bluegrass than rap these days. I can't really blame her.

2. However, one of her favorite songs last year was Jay-Z and Kanye West's "N*ggas in Paris." But she has never listened to their Watch The Throne album.

3. As a child, she wanted to be an archaeologist. Why? Because she liked the way the word sounds.

4. The woman huffs cleaning products. I need to call Intervention.

5. For one of her childhood birthdays, her parents took her to ShowBiz Pizza. She was terrified of the singing gorilla. Wouldn't you be?

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6. She has an impressive knowledge of black history that goes beyond the usual cotton gin and peanut butter stuff. In fact, she directed an outstanding black history program at The Alabama School of Fine Arts just last week. She worked 12 hour days for months to pull that off. And speaking of that...

7. She has unparalleled drive - training for marathons, writing freelance stories for Hispanic publications in Chicago, blogging for Georgia Mae and The Writeous Babe Project and running her women's writing group See Jane Write. And that's just what she did LAST week!

8. She wants me to grow a beard. Playa please.

9. She is addicted to Foursquare and her weird mayorships. But if you follow her on Twitter you already knew that.

10. In fact, she's the Foursquare mayor of our local Walgreens. I call her the Empress of Walgreens. She's there so much the entire staff knows her. They even let her cut lines!

11. She finds muscleheads extremely unattractive. Lucky me.

12. She LUVS cheese. If she's ever hospitalized there will be nacho cheese in her IV.

13. I think she's allergic to my home state Virginia. Every time we go to Va she get sick.

14. But I got her hooked on those Va Slurpees at 7-Eleven.

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15. In grade school she was constantly picked on by some dude named Promise. So she beat him down one day. He later changed his named to Broken Promise.

16. She's a total Pinterest junkie. No, I won't join. Don't ask.

17. She spends about $20 a week on Goobers. From Walgreens, of course.

18. Javacia absolutely adores her church.

19. She loves her church small group even more. Last year she held weekly small group meetings at our house every Monday night. I usually hid in the bedroom like ALF.

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20. She and her family had a close relationship with civil-rights icon the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

21. Must Love Dogs: Javacia has been hounding me all year about getting a dog. I'm worried I'll come home and Rex will be gnawing on one of my ties.

22. Her head is too big for most sunglasses.

23. Javacia loves to host parties at our place, but if she's cleaning up for the big event, RUN FO YO LIFE. She gets a crazy look in her eye and is on a mission. Ask your boy Promise, he knows that look.

24. She has a girl crush on Zoe Saldana.

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Oh lord!

25. She's a big fan of Alvin Ailey and recently attended a performance. I think she's e-stalking one of the male dancers. She Think I Don't Know.

26. After a long day, she loves to curl up on the couch with her Kindle and her bizarre heart-covered blanket. I call it her HBK Shawn Michaels blanket.

What? It's cozy.

27. Javacia is almost as cheap as I am. After the strap broke on her favorite pair of heels, she conspired with her brother to fix the shoe - by stapling it. Even I'm not that bad.

28. Even though her BlackBerry sucks, she is afraid of getting an iPhone because she's intimidated by touch screens.

29. You know those candy Valentine hearts? Yeah, the disgusting ones. Anyway, Javacia loves them - but NOT the red and purple ones. We have bags of purple and red hearts all over the house.

30. American Idol Javacia only sang in front of a crowd once - as a kid in church. After her performance people said she sounded just like Toni Braxton. She was so embarrassed by that news that she never sang again.

31. As part of her marathon training, Javacia had been working to run 5 1/2 miles in less than an hour. After months of coming close, Tuesday night she FINALLY reached her goal - she did it in 59:32.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Katie? rose thigh tattoo – detail
photo by Nils von Barth via Creative Commons

Late last month Lisa Khoury, assistant editor of The Spectrum, an independent student publication of the University of Buffalo, wrote an article urging female students to refrain from getting tattoos. Why? Because you shouldn't "put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari." 

Khoury writes: 

Your body literally has the ability to turn heads. Guys drool over us. We hold some serious power in our hands, because – as corny as this sounds – we hold the world's beauty.
She goes on to imply that women who have tattoos have no class and, in my opinion, is also suggesting that women get tattoos because they're unhappy with their bodies, which I highly doubt is true. Khoury writes:
An elegant woman does not vandalize the temple she has been blessed with as her body. She appreciates it. She flaunts it. She's not happy with it? She goes to the gym. She dresses it up in lavish, fun, trendy clothes, enjoying trips to the mall with her girlfriends. She accentuates her legs with high heels. She gets her nails done. She enjoys the finer things in life, all with the body she was blessed with.
I nearly hurled my computer across the room after reading that. 

If you know me in real life, you know that I don't have any tattoos so you may be wondering why I'm so upset. Why? Because Khoury supports her argument against tattoos with the age-old sexist stereotype that women were placed on this earth to look pretty and be eye candy. She specifically states that women should not get tattoos, even if the ink has a deeper meaning and symbolizes something greater. Tattoos go against the socially accepted standard of beauty, I suppose, and will cause people to question your basic values, Khoury claims, so instead young women should "Invest your time, money, and effort into a gym membership, or yoga classes, or new clothes, or experimenting with different hairstyles."

Even though I'm fully supportive of the idea of people expressing themselves with tattoos, and I don't view them as some sign of moral decay as Khoury does, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with this article if her point was that instead of focusing so much on the exterior women should focus on intellect or emotional maturity. But instead she just compares women to cars. Nice work. 

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Posted by in , ,  on 7:00 AM 4 comments

Monday, February 6, 2012

Last week, a friend shared a great blog from Becoming Nikki Lynette called 10 things my White Friends should do for Black History Month. Reading her hilarious tongue-in-cheek list really got me thinking.

As time goes on and the struggles of the civil-rights movement get pushed further back in our minds, there seems to be an entire generation that has lost touch with its roots. In fact, just today, one of kids in my church youth group asked me if Medusa was a Egyptian queen.

You read that right. Medusa. Pray for the child.

Kids today might confuse fake Greek monsters with real female pharaohs, but they can recite Rick Rawsssssse's entire discography without blinking an eye. It's sad but true - rappers have become the heroes for today's youth. And there's nothing we can do about it. Or can we?

I consulted with a few friends about changes rappers need to make in order to become, you know, less embarrassing. In the spirit of Black History Month, I'm asking each and every rapper to consider making the following changes to improve our community over the course of February. It's just 28 days, after all. Feel free to continue being ignorant in March.

1. Upgrade Your Wardrobe.

When did we go from the distinguished fashions of chemistry pioneer Percy Julian:

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To this?

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Somewhere along the way, we decided it was OK to dress like we crawled out of Dr. Suess' hamper.

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And on a related note...

2. Quit Wearing Your Baby Sister's Jeans.

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3. Discontinue The Use of "Swag."

Like using 'izzle' as a random suffix, what was once cute has become an eye-rolling epidemic. It's even spread to the R&B world. Check out the cover of Jon B's upcoming album:

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What's worse, the extra 'g' on swag, or that it looks like he's leaning back to take his own pic with a cell phone?

4. Pay Your Taxes.

Lil Kim reportedly hasn't paid taxes since 2002 and owes $1 million. Y'all just keep bragging about all that Gucci and Fendi - Uncle Sam is listening.

5. Chill Out With The Full-Body Tattoos.

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I don't have tats myself but I don't have a huge problem with them in general. However, these cats are taking things too far. Don't they realize what those things will look like in 20 years? Who wants to walk around looking like a wet newspaper? And what's even worse are...

6. Face Tats. Stop It, 5.

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Kids, you will NEVER get a decent 9-5 job with that thing.

7. For The Love Off All That Is Holy, Keep Your Shirt On.

Good lord. I see more breasts and rolls than a KFC family meal.

8. Stop Pretending That You're Sexy.

The Notorious B.I.G. was a ladies man, but never pretended to be a sex symbol. He proudly proclaimed that he was "black and ugly as ever." If the greatest of all time can admit that, why are these young'ns fooling themselves? A$AP Rocky can't go 2 minutes without reminding us how pretty he is.

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Playa please.

9. No More Ad-libbing Your Way Through Songs.

I'm not just talking about the usual Jeezy "old man laughs" and Rawse "asthmatic grunts." I'm talking about the constant influx of these: "We da Best!" "Dis for da hood!" "I wanna shout out (random leeches from back home)" "(Random producer), you a fool for dis one!" These annoying ad-libs have somehow leaked into normal day-to-day conversations. If one more of my church kids tells me that they're doing something "for the hood," I might not be responsible for my actions.

10. Stop Working With This Woman.

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Nicki Minaj's videos have gotten so bad that even BET has banned them. Yes, BET, the network that brought us BET Uncut, Cita's World and endless airings of Soul Plane, has deemed Icky Garbaj too wack for their programming. What does that tell you? Worst of all, look at the influence she has...

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Someone think of the children!

Just like I wish that Black History Month could be celebrated year-round, I wish rappers would adhere to my wishes for 365 days. But I'll gladly settle for one month of kids without skinny jeans and face tats. We need to do better.
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