Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I am not a fan of the Facebook timeline layout and I'm quite crotchety about it. I have trouble finding recent posts and trouble deciding on a cover photo. Also I don't like that the profile pictures on this new layout are so small. 

Nonetheless one day while clicking around my timeline and looking at some of my wall posts from my early years on Facebook, I stumbled upon a piece of creative non-fiction I wrote back in 2006. Usually when I look back at things I wrote long ago I cringe, but this time that wasn't the case. Reading this piece reminded me of a time in my life when writing was everything and everything was a story or poem waiting to be written. 

My hope, my prayer is that I can get back to this, that I can get back to feeling like a real writer again. 

And in case you're curious, here's that little piece of prose I found tucked in my timeline. 

Untitled Ramblings for T. 

ice cream horror
Image by Wee Lakeo
via Creative Commons

They were eating ice cream in a food court. He was studying her as she crunched bites out of her waffle cone. He watched carefully so he could warn her about drips of vanilla that were coveting a spot on the thigh of her pants. He ate sweet cream from a big Styrofoam bowl. ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good,’ rang in her head as she watched him lick the spoon. 

His hunger for God was apparent. Every time she mentioned another long Sunday at church he hit her with a list of questions that made her feel the way her sources must as she interviewed them for another story. He wanted to know what she believed and why. She told him, God is love and desires communion with creation. But she didn’t know how to explain the moments she’d felt the spirit of God move through her body and tickle her toes.

He told her he’d made a deal with God: "I said 'Look God, I won’t blame you for the bad stuff as long as you don’t expect me to thank you for the good stuff. And I’ll never ask you for anything.'"

He told her he couldn’t pray, ‘Oh thank you Lord for that promotion’ when there are people in Nicaragua searching for dinner in landfills. She didn’t know what to say. She thanked God daily for her reporting gig, her Chevy Cavalier, her two-bedroom home, for the blue of a cloudless sky and for the flavor of wild berry tea smoothies. What was she to say? 

He said that he could never thank God for saving him from a tornado if his neighbor’s house was destroyed. He believed in God, but in an absent one, not a Heavenly Father just a deadbeat dad. 

He wanted to know how she pictured God. She didn’t. Not anymore. It took her years to stop seeing the big white man with white hair and white eyes that she prayed to as a little girl. Her God was ever present but was now invisible and that’s the way she liked it. Because most white men intimidated the shit out of her worshiping one was out of the question. Fear of the Lord couldn’t mean this, she reasoned.

God could be anything, he said. God could be a vapor. Or ice cream, she thought but she didn’t say it out loud for fear it would confuse him or convince him she prayed to false idols. 

But she and he had one thing in common – the thought of a God that played favorites terrified them both. She told her husband that once and he tried to convince her she should be grateful to be chosen. But instead she wanted to vomit from disgust and fear because what kind of parent has a favorite child? 

Previously posted at The Writeous Babe Project
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Monday, May 28, 2012

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Many thanks to all you lovelorn readers out there. Love Letters is becoming one of our most popular columns. Either y'all appreciate my words of wisdom or you just enjoy watching me have a meltdown as I respond to these crazy questions.

I'm sure it's a little of both.

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

Here's today's question:

How long can some men just go around sleeping with women with no commitment? Why can't some men just grow up?

I'm very honored to be Georgia Mae's answer man, providing solutions to questions that keep y'all up at night. But I must admit, there are some questions even I can't answer.

Why are people still waiting for Dr. Dre to release Detox? Detox ain't NEVA coming out!

 Are Lil Bow Wow and Lil Mama the same person? I'm not even sure which one this is.

Does this fool know she's using insulation as weave? She looks like a Laffy Taffy Peggy Bundy.

What I CAN answer is why men continue to sleep around with no regards for commitment.

Because women let them!

Look, men can't have sex with themselves (well, I guess they can, but let's not go there). Somewhere along the line, that guy hooked up with a willing woman, moved on to another willing woman, moved on to yet another willing woman, etc.

See the pattern? As long as that guy continues to find women with easy access, why would he want to grow up? Don't get me wrong, men should be held accountable for their actions, but it's easy for men to act up when women leave the door, and other things, wide open.

The question is, why are women so quick to let these guys dine and dash?

From my experience, many women in these situations are a) too concerned with sex themselves and ignore the consequences or b) give up the goods and hope their charming personality will keep the man around. In either case, if the man is looking for thrills and he's getting what he wants upfront  there's absolutely no reason for him to stick around.

Ladies, if your new man says he needs sex in order to take your budding relationship to another level, trust me, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Don't be an enabler. And if he gets mad and moves on, let him. He's never gonna grow up if he keeps getting free rides. Ahem.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Friday, folks! Who's ready for some throwback R&B? We've got you covered.

Amy Trang goes back to grade school.

TLC, Crazysexycool (1994)

Amy said: "My first cassette tape was of TLC’s Crazysexycool. Listening to it today, I appreciate more of what the ladies of TLC accomplished in the 90s. This album was full of great songs with distinctive beats and lyrics including the songs “Creep,” “Red Light Special” and “Waterfalls.”  The album definitely exposed hip-hop and R&B to a little third-grader in Washington State."

Also check out:
"Diggin' On You"

Charles Clark gets Lost In Emotion.

Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Super Hits (1997)

Charles said: "I was listening to "Head to Toe" earlier this morning and thinking to myself "I really miss the '80s." spent the rest of the morning listening and looking at some other videos from her."

Also check out:
"I Wonder If I Take You Home"
"All Cried Out"

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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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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Over at Georgia Mae, we speak the language of love. Having trouble deciphering the opposite sex? Give me a holla.

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

Here's today's question:

I've tried online dating sites and wound up matched with a welfare recipient and a Walmart music associate. Does online dating work?
No offense to welfare recipients and Walmart music employees, I'm sure. As Hologram Pac would say, you are appreciated.

My marriage is so ancient that it predates the explosion of Facebook and I never bothered with online dating, so I can't speak from personal experience here. But I can tell you about two very close friends who met their future husbands through online dating services. Both couples have been happily married for years. So yes, online dating works.

I think problems arise when people are dazzled by the bells and whistles of online dating and lose their grasp of common sense. Before you invite that online buddy of yours over to your crib (do people still say crib?), keep these things in mind.

Don't believe what you see.

People put too much stock in profile pictures.

On his profile, he looks like that guy from The Wire.

In real life, he looks like that guy from The Wire.

It's pretty freaking easy for an online dater to submit a fake picture to lure in unsuspecting prey. While it's totally natural to be drawn to a profile pic, don't get too excited until meet this person face to face. And speaking of that...

Don't unveil all your business upfront.

It kills me how eager people are to invite total strangers to their house. I dated plenty of women back in the day but the only girlfriend worthy of stepping in my house was my future wife. And I knew and interacted with those other women in real life! Until you meet your guy or girl in the real world, keep personal information private. They shouldn't know where you live, who you live with or how much money you make. It doesn't matter how nice they seem, reserve personal details until you move beyond the laptop and the relationship progresses.

Keep your emotions in check.

Courtesy of Thirst - 1. A form of lust or want of members of the opposite sex. 2. Too eager to get something. 3. Desperate.

Some of y'all act MIGHTY thirsty on Facebook. That eagerness can easily come off as desperation. Take things slowly and don't push the issue. Online dating should serve as the opening stages of the relationship, not immediate cybersex. On the other hand, don't come off too cool for school. I don't care how cute you are or how much money you make - don't act like the interested dater should be honored to be in your presence. That's the quickest way to get cyber-dumped.

Be yourself

Some people use online dating as escapism. Suzy's life might be boring, but behind that laptop she becomes LotusFlowerBombXXX - every man's dream. If Tim falls for LotusFlowerBombXXX online but meets boring Suzy, don't you think he has a right to feel duped? If you want a man to love you for you and not your screen persona, introduce him to the REAL you upfront.

Trust your instincts

Just use common sense, y'all. If your online boo can only meet you on the weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., has a ring-shaped tan-line on his finger and there is a car seat in the back of his Volvo, even Inspector Gadget can figure out something is up. If something seems weird, don't turn a blind eye to it. Unless you want a black eye from his babymomma.

Essentially, online dating isn't all that different from regular dating. Be yourself, be optimistic (but cautious) and don't rush into a relationship. Basically, it's what I preach in this column every week.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In 2010 writer and filmmaker Nijla Mu'min came across the story of the mass drowning of six black teens in a Shreveport, Louisiana. To cool off one hot summer day, a teen wandered into the shallow part of the Red River. But at some point he slipped into deep water and started to drown. Six more teens rushed in to save him. But none of them could swim. Only one child made it back to shore. 

Moved by this story, Nijla began to craft an idea for a film that would not only remember these teens but also explore African Americans' relationship with water, which she believes is informed by such traumas as The Middle Passage, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP Oil spill. 

Nijla's film Deluge examines this issue through the lens of main character Tiana and her introduction to an aquatic underworld. After witnessing the mass drowning of her friends and struggling with the decision not to jump in, 14-year old Tiana must decide if she will join the order of black mermaids that protect the oil-drenched waters of Lake Pontchartrain where her friends rest. 

The film blends coming of age drama, magical realism, and psychological suspense to explore traumatic memory in a post- BP oil spill New Orleans. 

The film is not only inspired by the drowning of the six Louisiana teens, but also by a poem Nijla penned years ago, as she explains on her fundraising website for the film project:
I couple these real world origins with a poem I wrote about black mermaids born from the souls of Africans who jumped, or were thrown overboard slave ships during the Middle Passage. The mermaids have guarded the waters since then, protecting the bones and souls of the ancestors, while also welcoming new souls who perished during Hurricane Katrina, which left a disproportionate amount of African American people without shelter, safety, or support. The mermaids, now endangered due to the BP Oil Spill, protect the drowned teens but also come to the surface and seek out Tiana to join them. They know she is a conflicted soul. 

This ambitious project has the potential to become a beautiful and intelligent masterpiece, but to make her dream a reality, Nijla needs your help. She needs to raise $25,000 to create the film she envisions and has less than 25 days to do so. Click here to learn more about Deluge, how you can make a donation, and how your money will be used.   
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Monday, May 21, 2012

If you are debonair Southern beau in Birmingham, clear your calendar for Thursday evening. 

Award winning designer and noted author Joseph Abboud will be in Birmingham on May 24 from  6 to 9 p.m. at Belk in Riverchase Galleria to host a launch party for his Lord & Taylor line Black/Brown 1826.

In conjunction with Lord & Taylor, 61 Belk stores and will carry the exclusive line that includes an array of shirts, shorts, blazers and denim that has been especially merchandised with the Southern gentleman in mind.

The party will feature a DJ spinning your favorite tunes, a craft beer tasting provided by Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, appetizers and wine from B & A Warehouse, and much more. While you're there you can even register to win a $500 Black/Brown 1826 wardrobe.

Belk is located at 2100 Riverchase Galleria. 

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Christmas has come early for fans of The Boondocks! From

It's been a long time coming but The Boondocks is finally about to bless your TV screens once again. Adult Swim announced via their website, that season 4 will kick-off soon, but didn't release details on the premiere date.

Y'all know how much we love Boondocks here on Georgia Mae. Heck, the wifey has Boondocks earrings! Short-sighted viewers might dismiss the show as a foul-mouthed glorification of black stereotypes, but if you look deeper you'll find much more. Creator Aaron McGruder has perfected the art of social commentary. The Boondocks often serves as a mirror of our culture, exposing warts and all. And that's why we love it so much.

It's been more than two years since the last season, which means there is a ton of material for McGruder to mine. Here are a few topics I'd love to see Huey, Riley and Grandpa tackle.

Antoine Dodson

Image via
Good lord. Hide your wipes, hide your bibs, they're lactating everybody out here. Or something. Thankfully this dude's 15 minutes ran out long ago but Antoine's infamous rant and YouTube stardom is just waiting to be skewered. Can't you see Riley dancing to the autotune video while Huey hangs his head in shame? I can definitely relate to Huey.

Trayvon Martin

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Most shows wouldn't go NEAR this touchy subject, but taboo issues are McGruder's forte. I think he could drum up an interesting commentary on the racial divides that have sprung up from Trayvon's death. I'm sure plenty of people will be offended, but that's par the course for The Boondocks.

Nicki Minaj joins Thugnificent's Lethal Injection crew

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Thugnfiicent – a loudmouthed, delusional rapper with a gigantic crew of yes men – is one of the best recurring characters on the show. Last time he appeared, he and his crew were down on their luck. I have the perfect idea to bring them back – Thugnificent hires a talentless woman, molds her in the image of more successful acts (a dash of Lil Kim here, a bit of Lady Gaga there) and boom, the Lethal Injection crew has a new star. Riley will spend the entire episode dancing around and defending this glorified pop music as hard-core hip hop while Huey shakes his head. And if Icki Nicki doesn't fit the bill, sub in Lil' B and his so-called "conscious" rap. This stuff writes itself.

World Star Hip Hop's criminal videos

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I haven't spent much time discussing the rise of, mainly because it depresses me. The site has long been known as a hub for hip hop, but lately it's gaining a reputation for its amateur videos. Thanks to the prominence of camera phones, any old hoodlum can document baby mama brawls, battles in high schools and weave-snatching throwdowns on the corner. These aren't those slap-happy reality-show fights, they've very real and very brutal - almost always involving minors. Essentially, criminal activity is becoming entertainment. Can you imagine the fireworks if Riley recorded Grandpa and put the video on World Star?

Da Illuminatiz

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You KNOW McGruder is gonna go in on this one. In recent years, the Illuminati have been blamed for all of the world's ills. Poverty? Illuminati. Tsunami? Illuminati. Climate change? Illuminati. World Star Hip Hop? Illuminati. Apparently, an immortal sect of prehistoric zombie men are plotting to destroy the world by making rappers rich in return for sexual favors. Or something - the Illuminati origin story/master plan changes daily. Wouldn't be great if Huey tracked down and uncovered those dreaded Illuminatiz, only to discover racist Uncle Ruckus was the head honcho the whole time?

You can have that one for free, Aaron.

What topics would you like to see covered on the new season of The Boondocks?
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Friday, May 18, 2012

There's no day like Friday! As you put this week in your rear view, kick off your weekend with some great music.

Georgia Mae fan Diane Hawkins is a smooth operator.

Sade, Diamond Life (1984)

Diane said: "I can never get enough of Sade’s band and her soothing sounds. I kept her CDs on constant rotation in my car for weeks before she performed in Louisville to a packed house last year. Imagine my excitement when I saw on the legendary singer’s Facebook page that her 2011 concert will be on DVD later this month. (Yes, I have already pre-ordered it.)  So, if you text or call me, and I don’t respond, that’s because I will be in Sade’s musical 'Paradise.'"

Also check out:
"Your Love Is King"
"Hang On To Your Love"

Edward enjoys the perfect storm.

Angie Stone, Mahogany Soul (2001)

Edd said: "Long ago I said if Mother Nature was an R&B singer, she would be Angie Stone. She can be soothing and gentle ("Snowflakes") or a raging storm ("Pissed Off"). This album definitely didn't get the love it deserved. It's worth checking out. You wouldn't want to anger Mother Nature, would you?"

Also check out:
"Time of the Month"
"Bottles and Cans" 

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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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Image by KB35 via Flickr

Our Love Letters column as received a lot of, ahem, love lately. Thanks for the support. And if you submitted a question, hang tight, I'll get to it eventually.

Let's get down to business.

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

Here's today's question:

Why do some people hold on to bad relationships while waiting for something better to come along?

Many women define their entire existence - they're raison d'etre, if you will - by a relationship. If they aren't in a relationship, good or bad, they're incomplete. Without a man, they truly think they're less than a woman.

I think many women will be much better off if they stopped treating men like a bad used car.

Let your boy explain.

One of my first cars was an '89 red Chevy Cavalier. My dad got it from an auction. For those who don't know,  many cities auction off cars that are confiscated by police. So yes, you too can ride around in a car owned by a former drug dealer, with little bags of cocaine stuffed in the air conditioning vents.

Anyway, my red Cavalier looked like a dream, and I loved it. But beyond looks, that dream was a straight-up Nightmare on Elm Street. The car always smelled moldy because the floor boards were rotting. You needed the strength of He-Man to roll down the windows (hence the reason why I avoided Drive-Thrus). And one dark, rainy night, while driving home from work listening to Tony Toni Tone's "Let's Get Down," the engine literally exploded.

I can't remember what I ate for breakfast but I can remember what song I was listening to one random night in 1998. That Old Timer's disease is settling in early.

Anyway, despite having a car that rarely got to Point A to Point B in one piece, I kept it around for years because it was the only option I had. I endured until I found something new.

Listen ladies, love ain't a used car - you don't have to deal with a useless piece of garbage until something better comes along. If your relationship is hindering you, let it go.

For some women, that's easier said than done. But those women need to focus on loving and uplifting themselves, instead of trying to find joy in someone else.

Unlike a crappy car that you can dump with no strings attached, a bad relationship fosters baggage that will scar the dater and future relationships, too. Ladies, put yourself first and realize you're worth holding out for your dream car, uh, guy. With patience, you'll find a much better make and model than the clunker that's laying around your house.

Don't settle for less or you too will wind up sitting on the curb watching life pass you by, while humming Tony Toni Tone songs.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Like most Americans I spent yesterday thinking a lot about motherhood. I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon with my mama feeling so blessed that she has not only been a good mother but is now also my friend.

While I was contemplating motherhood, however, I also began to lament the latest media coverage on the matter. The so-called War on Women that colored much of the Republican primary race has taken a turn and become the Mommy Wars. Because I’m not a mother I’ve tried to stay silent on this issue, but because I’m a feminist writer I couldn't keep quiet for long. 

The issue of attachment parenting is the center of the battle and is the topic of the Time magazine cover story Are You Mom Enough?. Though mom bloggers like Rachel Callahan say the article and its associated supplements actually weren't offensive she and many others didn't quite feel the same about the cover photo, which has caused quite a ruckus. 

image via

What troubles me about the discourse around attachment parenting is that it often pits working mothers and stay-at-home moms against one another and creates a "Motherhood vs. Feminism" narrative. In fact that was the headline for a New York Times feature exploring attachment parenting published late last month.

The piece included seven brief personal essays from mothers with varying opinions on attachment parenting. While some women believe attachment parenting hurts feminism by pushing women to give up their careers and financial security, actress and author Mayim Bialik argues that the pioneers of attachment parenting believe it is as much a feminist choice to be a parent as it is to not be one. Meanwhile, women like columnist Lashaun Williams believe that feminism pressures women to work suggest that the damage that attachment parenting is doing to feminism is a good thing.

Because I’m not a mother I don’t feel I have a right to speak on attachment parenting, but I will say that all the judgment needs to stop! I believe that a woman should have the right to choose to be a stay-at-home mom, a working mom or to not be a mom at all. And this is exactly why feminism is important to this conversation, because feminism is all about choice.

Furthermore, feminists understand that the conversation about “mothering” should be about “parenting.”

As Annie Urban writes:
Too often the discussion about women’s choices (stay at home, go back to work) ignores the role of fathers. To achieve meaningful equality, we need to push for a society that values fathers who strike a balance between their career and their family life too. Women shouldn’t have to be equally uninvolved parents to reach their goals; they should be able to ask their spouses to step up too.  
 Motherhood is too messy, too complicated, and too hard for society to make it even harder by urging women to judge one another instead of support one another. As we discuss complexity of motherhood let us not forget the beauty and value and sisterhood.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Friday! What more needs to be said? Let's celebrate with good music.

Edward pays tribute.

The Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill (1986)

Edd said: "No surprise here. After last week's tragedy, I've definitely been in Beastie mode. This is the first hip hop LP to top Billboard, sold more than 9 million copies and is considered a five-star classic by pretty much anyone with good sense. It's still one of hip hop's crowning achievements."

Also check out:
"Paul Revere"
"No Sleep Till Brooklyn"

Javacia jonesing for some mellow music.

Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (2002)

Jai said: "All week I've been listening to Norah Jones' latest release Little Broken Hearts. But this weekend I'm relaxing with the album that started my love jones for the music of Ms. Jones, her debut solo release Come Away With Me. What has always amazed me about her music is the way she manages to blend pop, jazz, country, blues, and even rock to create a sound that is uniquely hers."

Also check out:
"Come Away With Me"
"The Nearness of 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, May 10, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, we marked 10 years since the death of TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Thinking back, she was definitely a trendsetter and created quite a legacy for herself.

Although it's commonplace now, Left Eye was among the first artists to speak openly about contraception. She was also the original R&B bad girl, publicly beefing with her group mates and boyfriends. Be glad Twitter wasn't around in 1999. Also, she was way ahead of the curve on radio's current marriage of R&B and pop. Her 2001 solo album Supernova, which was released overseas, sounded like a prototype Nicki Minaj album. Except it wasn't, you know, an embarrassing pile of garbage.

The most overlooked part of Left Eye's legacy is her group, Blaque. Much like their mentor, they were way ahead of their time, for better or worse. Remember them?

Thanks to a chance meeting, Blaque was introduced to stardom. Natina Reed, Shamari Fears and Brandi Williams united to form Blaque Ivory in the late 90s. While singing jingles to make ends meet, Natina met Ronald Lopes, who introduced her to his sister, Left Eye. Blaque hit pay dirt.

Blaque's self-titled debut dropped in the summer of '99 and their mentor's influence was apparent. Look at that album cover, they look like the Sour Patch Kid version of TLC. The album was a surprise hit, eventually selling 1.5 million copies.

The secret to their success? Mind-numbingly catchy singles.

Have you really listened to the lyrics of "808?"

'Cause I'll be goin' boom like an 808
Be makin' circles like a figure 8
You know it feels good from head to toe
Now hold on to me baby here we go

Sounds like a toddler wrote these lyrics. The song was actually written by R. Kelly, so that's pretty close - they have the same bladder habits.

Goofy lyrics didn't stop "808" from going gold in June 1999. Even I admit it was mighty tough to change the radio station when it appeared. I barely recall the remix but others remember it fondly.

Their most prolific (i.e., overplayed) hit was "Bring It All To Me." Good lord, they wore it out on the radio in Va. Ever disliked a song during the first 500 listens but it eventually you gave in and started tolerating it - even, gasp, liking it? Yeah. The radio/album version featured J.C. Chasez of N'SYNC but I guess he couldn't be bothered to show up for the video.

(Side note: Listening to "Bring It All To Me" reminded me that J.C. could SING. He needs to get off America's Next Dance Crew and get in the studio.)

The hyperactive "I Do" wasn't as memorable as Blaque's first singles but it did reasonably well. The success of their debut should have springboarded Blaque to long-term success.

 But if that had happened, I wouldn't be writing this blog post.

In 2001, Blaque geared up to release their sophomore effort Blaque Out, with the lead single "Can't Get It Back."

Then boom, the drama hit like an 808.

Blaque Out was shelved at the last minute by Columbia Records. Around this time, Natina and her boyfriend/future babydaddy, West Coast rapper Kurupt, started feuding with Kurupt's ex, Foxy Brown. Remember this gem?

Foxy fired back, claiming to be the reason Natina was kicked out of Blaque, but Natina said she was just on hiatus to give birth. Again I say, be glad Twitter wasn't around then to document this foolishness.

To make matters much worse, Blaque's biggest inspiration died in a car crash in Honduras months later. The chilling footage is here, but I warn you, it's very disturbing.

Blaque Out was eventually released in Japan in 2002 and finally made it to iTunes in the U.S. in 2007. It was then removed from iTunes soon afterward but just recently reappeared. The girls just can't catch a break.

Blaque went back to the drawing board in 2003 for Torch. Despite the album title, the singles "I'm Good" (which also appeared on the Honey Soundtrack) and "Ugly" failed to catch fire. Yet again, another album was shelved.

I guess the ladies saw the writing on the wall and soon explored other projects. Natina apparently went into ministry and was replaced during overseas performances by Erica Pulliins. Shamari signed with Darkchild and um, didn't do too much. She did appear on this horrible song, however.

The original trio has since reunited and are trying to get a new material released. No luck yet.

Should They Come Back?: Geez, after all the depressing research I've conducted, I almost want 'em to come back just so they can experience SOME good news. I'm on the fence about their success in 2012. On one hand, they would have no problem infiltrating today's "pop disguised as R&B" radio playlists. But Blaque really lost their mojo when they lost their muse. If they can rekindle that spark, they'll be baby-talking their way back into your earbuds.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how to make a difference with my writing, specifically with the writing I do online through my blogs and web-based publications as this is the best way to have meaningful interactions with your readers. 

Sometimes I get discouraged, thinking my words are just whispers in a din of voices that are louder and wiser than mine. But then blogs like Who Needs Feminism? launch and my fervor is rekindled. 

image via

Who Needs Feminism is a Tumblr launched last month by a group of 16 undergraduate students at Duke University. They started the site as a final project for a seminar course called Women in the Public Sphere, but in just a month the site has garnered attention from sites like Mashable and boasts nearly 11,000 likes on its Facebook page.

The Tumblr features posters and statements from people explaining why feminism is important. As Mashable reports, "Statements range from the personal to the global, including 'I need feminism because it’s 2012 and only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women,' and 'I need feminism because I want to be respected, regardless of what I’m wearing.'"

Part of the website's mission is to not only spark a conversation about gender equality but also to combat the negative perceptions of feminists that are so prevalent in our society even in 2012. From the site:

Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. Perhaps a certain charming radio talk show host will label you as a “Feminazi” or “slut.” Even among more moderate crowds, feminism is still seen as too radical, too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. Feminism is both misunderstood and denigrated regularly right here on Duke’s campus. We, the 16 women of Professor Rachel Seidman’s course on Women in the Public Sphere, have decided to fight back against these popular misconceptions surrounding the feminist movement. Our class was disturbed by what we perceive to be an overwhelmingly widespread belief among students that today’s society no longer needs feminism. In order to change this perception on campus, we have launched a PR campaign for feminism. We aim to challenge existing stereotypes surrounding feminists and assert the importance of feminism today.

I find the Who Needs Feminism? Tumblr encouraging for a number of reasons. First, I'm glad that this was started by college students because it has been my experience that many young women and girls believe feminism is no longer necessary, that we as women have "arrived" and the struggle is over. 

Secondly, I like that this site features such a wide variety of young voices as it reminds me to not simply focus on what feminism means to me but to also consider how sexism affects other women (and men) too, because it can affect us all differently depending on factors such as race, sexual orientation, class, disabilities, religion, etc. 

But lastly, this project encourages me as a writer and blogger. There is a slew of feminist blogs out there yet this one still managed to stand out and, more important, it sparked conversations and inspired people.  

So remember this the next time you're thinking "Who needs my blog?" 

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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Below is the track "Red Eye" from Big K.R.I.T.'s latest mixtape, 4Eva N A Day. In it, he's brutally honest to his girlfriend about why their relationship isn't working. It's a compelling song because he readily admits his own flaws along with hers. If we were always this transparent, love wouldn't be so confusing. But as long as things remain complicated, I'll be here to sort things out.

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

Here's today's question: 

If you have been dating for awhile, what are some signs that he is falling in love?
The wifey and I have enjoyed six years of marital bliss and three years of dating before that. That's nearly a decade of romancin'. And during that time, the question I've been asked more than ANY other has been this:

"When did you know Jai was 'the one?'"

And my answer is always the same - I have no idea.

There wasn't some magic incident that made me say "OK, I'm marrying this lady." Love is like that stuff my mom cooks in her Crock Pot - all the ingredients have to be in place and must simmer for a long, long time before the (delicious) results are achieved. Hungry Man metaphors aside, there can never be one single act that defines love. Well, I must note the day Jai randomly brought me a giant bag of gummy bears to work was very, VERY close to symbolizing of true love.

Yeah, if you can't tell, I'm hungry today.

Image via
But not as hungry as that guy. BAWSSSSE.

Anyway, it's nearly impossible to segment an emotion as sprawling and uninhibited as love into neat little "signs." But I specialize in the impossible. Using myself and a few of my male friends as examples, here are a few things men do when we're falling in love.

Family Time: If your guy insists on meeting your family, or for you to meet his, congratulations, you have graduated from "jump off" to "someone special." Jai is the ONLY girlfriend to ever meet my family. When you meet someone special, you want to share her with the ones you love.

Let's Chill: Don't think that "wining and dining" is an accurate depiction of a man's affection. In fact, I'd say it's the opposite. If your guy wants to hang out with you and do absolutely nothing but kick back and watch TV, have a long conversation or just take a stroll outside, it's MUCH more meaningful than an orchestrated hookup. Sure, fancy dinners and expensive concerts are cool, but if he enjoys your company so much that he just wants to be in your presence with no strings attached, that's special.

An Open Book: Face it, we all have secrets. Even guys like me who have no problem plastering his business all over the InterWebz still keeps many things closely guarded. If your man begins to open up to you it means you're someone he can trust. Love is built on that trust.

2 Become 1: Has your man invited you to the company party? Asked you to join him for bible study? Accompany him as he picks out a new car - and DOESN'T ask you to cosign? When men see their mate as more than just arm candy, they begin to incorporate them into their lives. Whether it's small weekly activities or large commitments, if he truly cares about you, he wants you around.

What the Future Holds: Here's probably the biggest clue love is in the air - when your man begins to replace the word 'me' or 'you' with 'us.' Example:

The sentence "I think this promotion at work would mean great things for me." becomes...

"I think this promotion at work would mean great things for us." It's a subtle but huge difference.

When you are no longer an outside party and become part of his future, love is in the air.

DISCLAIMER SO Y'ALL WON'T BLOW UP MY INBOX: Remember ladies, every man is different. Just because your guy exibits a few of these traits doesn't necessarity mean it's time to start bouncing checks in David's Bridal. Love is a feeling - the feelings you both share take precedent over any list.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

If you know me well you know that my feminist beliefs practically ooze from my pores. I can't hide it. Everyone knows my girl power attitude. Nevertheless, it was still a pleasant surprise when one of my star students came to me last week to tell me about the ToGetHerThere initiative. She said she knew it was something I'd appreciate.

ToGetHerThere is a bold advocacy initiative dedicated to helping girls reach their leadership potential in the hopes of creating gender-balanced leadership in our nation. Why? "Because when girls succeed, so does society." Check out this video.

The imagery is powerful and the message is clear: "Together, we will get her there." We must all play a part in inspiring girls to achieve their goals and to be leaders.

As the program's website reveals, Only one in five girls believes she has the key qualities to be a good leader. Futhermore, there's not a single woman among the CEOs and board chairs at the top 15 media companies. And those are just two of many examples of why programs like ToGetHerThere are necessary.

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to what I can do to make a difference in the lives of girls. Yes, I'm a teacher and I do my best to make a difference in the lives of my students, but I feel like there is more I can and should do.

I've considering volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program or at least being more of a mentor to my younger cousins. I'd also love to mentor girls through See Jane Write or programs like Girls on the Run.

The ToGetHerThere initiative has a pledge that I have signed and that I plan to take seriously, especially the portion about advocating healthy media images since this is an issue I'm already very passionate about.

Here are some suggestions of ways you can get your company and colleagues involved.

What will you do to help get her there?

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Friday, May 4, 2012

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I swear, it seems like we lose a legend every other month. From

Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.

As of this posting, MCA's cause of death is not clear.

Sadly, the legacy of the Beastie Boys has been diluted in the past few decades. Young fans name Jay-Z and Kanye West as hip hop's trendsetters while older fans may point to Nas, 2pac and The Notorious B.I.G. as the men who shaped the game as we know it. True hip hop heads may name KRS-One and Run DMC as rap forefathers, but often lost in that legendary mix are the contributions of the Beastie Boys.

Originally a hard core punk group, Mike D, Ad-Roc and MCA changed lanes and began to experiment with hip hop in the mid '80s. The result was Licensed to Ill, which is still one of the best rap albums ever made. In my early fandom, I always saw the Beastie Boys as the personification of hip hop - crazy, unrestricted and fun.

What always impressed me about the Beastie Boys was their constant evolution. Sure, they might not have been front and center as hip hop's popularity exploded, but they were still around, consistently dropping new material that was fresh but true to their sound. Four of my favorite tracks — "Sabotage" (1995), "Intergalactic" (1999) "Ch-Check It Out" (2005) and "Too Many Rappers" (2010) — literally spanned my life as a high schooler, college student, working adult and married man.  No other artist can boast that longevity.

As long as I've been a fan of hip hop, nearly my whole life, the Beastie Boys have been around, evolving, innovating and changing the game. Most importantly, they made rap fun. Without that spirit, hip hop would have never reached the heights it has achieved.

If you didn't already know, let me restate the obvious: MCA is a true hip hop pioneer. The Beastie Boys paved the way for the creativity and excitement we enjoy in our earbuds every day.

We shouldn't mourn his loss, though, he wouldn't want that. Instead, keep the party alive.

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It's been a rough week over at GeorgiaMae headquarters. Our head blogmistress has been buried with schoolwork as her students begin to wrap up the semester. Meanwhile, our music guru has been fighting off the world's worst cold, which made his voice sound like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

We're very happy to put this week in our rear view mirrors. Here's what's in our earbuds as we ride out the day.

Edward's got what you want. He's got what you need.

Nicole Wray, Nicole (1998)

Edd said: "If I was a late 90s R&B singer, this would be the prototype for my first album. Nicole's debut was produced by Missy Elliott, featured beats by Timbaland and writing credits from Static Major (RIP) and Smokey of the criminally underrated R&B group Playa. For me, that's a dream lineup. It's no wonder why I still love this album."

Also check out:
"I Can't See"
"Boy You Should Listen"

Javacia is thinking about infinite possibilities.

Amel Larrieux, Infinite Possibilities (2000)

Jai said: Amel Larrieux's first solo release is one of those albums that I consider part of the soundtrack of my college years. Songs like the title track and "I N I" made me feel like I could conquer the world and the beautiful ballad "Make Me Whole" touched me so that I walked down the aisle to this melody on my wedding day.

Also check out:
"I N I"
"Make Me Whole"

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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We've featured the eclectic sounds of spoken soul rocker (i am) Isis in this very column in the past, but I just had to share her latest banger.

"I Saw You" is bluesy funk for a new millennium. The rigid guitars are the perfect backdrop for her no-nonsense lyrics. It's a big departure from her last offering, "Drive Me." I applaud any artist who is willing to switch things up and refuses to coast on mediocrity.

Check out her latest below. If you don't already, follow (i am) isis on Twitter @iamisis. She's pretty entertaining.

Looking to share your music with the masses? Send a track with a short description about yourself to or hit me up on Twitter @etbowser. If we like what we hear we'll feature you in an upcoming post.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

write me a letter...
Photo by Linda Cronin

Although this probably breaks some sort of woman rule, I'm not really a huge Oprah fan. But I did recently purchase the May issue of O magazine, as the Internet was abuzz about a letter to her younger self that Winfrey penned for the issue.

I've been wanting to write something similar for months, but have struggled to find the right focus and the right words. So I hoped reading Oprah's letter would serve as some inspiration. And guess what, it did. So I present a letter to my younger self.

Dear Jai, 

It's October 2001 and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When you find yourself sitting on a bed of rocks near the foot of a waterfall you think to yourself, "Who would have thought that a little black girl from the wrong side of the tracks in Birmingham, Alabama would ever have the chance to do such a thing?" But you have this chance because you are lucky enough to be part of a graduate school preparation program that allowed you to travel all over the country attending conferences and presenting your research on women’s health magazines. Wait. I take that back. Luck has nothing to do with it. You have these opportunities because you’re smart, you work hard and you pray harder. And you deserve them.

Even though you’re only 20, these blessings aren’t lost on you. You take nothing for granted. You are grateful for every moment. But you are still a bit distracted during this trip. Things have been rocky with the boyfriend for months and you’re at your wits end about how to salvage the relationship. I wish I could be there to whisper in your ear “Let him go.” I wish I could tell you that the next summer you’re going to meet the love of your life, that you’ll meet someone who loves your big hair and your big dreams.

I also wish I could tell you to listen to Katie, the women’s studies major in your grad school prep program. She’s a staunch feminist always seeking to expose the evils of sexism and preaching equal rights for women. You roll your eyes when she talks, unaware that you’ll be in a pro-woman pulpit of your own in a couple of years. You say things like, “I’m all about girl power, but I won’t start calling myself a feminist until they stop hating men.” Guess what babe, you’re a feminist; you just don’t know it yet. And feminism has nothing to do with hating men. But you’ll learn all this soon enough.

None of the graduate schools you’re applying to are in New York and you’re wondering if this is a mistake. Since you were 15 your plan has been to get to the Big Apple as soon as possible so that you can one day work for Essence magazine. But even at 20 you’ve already learned that things don’t always turn out how we plan. But you’ve also learned how to bloom where you’re planted and it is this knowledge, this wisdom that will allow you to create a beautiful and fulfilling life no matter where you are.


If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell her?
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