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Sunday, January 31, 2010

How To Avoid The "Get In Where You Fit In"

Before we begin this, I'm going to ask that for 5 good seconds, we pocket our varied  ideologies, notions, lifestyle choices and prejudices opinions. The idea is to explore womanhood in all our frailties and glory. With that being said...we are more than complex (and far more than this meager list encompasses). Let's go through the "types".

High Maintenance Diva ~
We see her in the club, dressed to the 9's, 10's and 11's. Eyeshadow, designer handbag and shoes to match, she's a lace front, Mac cosmetics spectre of royalty with a chip on her shoulder and a withering glare for any man in the wrong tax bracket. The only thing that prevents her from falling into "gold digger" status is the fact that she's paid for (without assistance) her entire costume.

Gold Digger/Bopper ~
Same sister in the club, but something is slightly "off". Her lacefront may be a couple of weeks old and her bag is knockoff adjacent, but not in any obvious way. She circles, flirts with, makes a spectacle of herself for "the right man". And who is Mr. Right? The flavor of the month. We'll see varieties of this woman on reality television, vying for the attentions of one man, willingly sacrificing her integrity, self respect and her immune system for the ability to say that "at some point, in my entire life, despite my ability to do for myself (or lack thereof), I slept with DrakeWeezyGucciInsertABallPlayerActorAPolitician...despite a lack of committment or mutual decision to build anything.

Sister Christian ~
Night Ranger reference aside, King James is her only companion. Trust that the first half of your conversation, she's busy praying that your lustful demons aren't undressing her fervent desire to remain celibate and the last half, she's trying to determine flower arrangements should she somehow pray you down the aisle into her constant Holy companion. Fall for the bait, and you'll end up like Joseph (Jesus' step daddy), second in her attentions and a victim to her self imposed martyrdom...(that was probably too harsh...*shrug*).

Ms. Independent ~
PDA compatible with a schedule too busy to date, estranged family members and a (or multiple) degrees in bitterness, in a variety of fields. On the surface, she's the idealized dream. No children, intelligent, "respectable" (or whatever passes for)...but her heart (and various other places) are the home of cobwebs and icicles. If you can get past her built in defenses, she'd be the prize. Too bad she's too busy for either of you to find out.

The Infant/Damsel In Distress ~
She affects a babygirl voice, attitude, lifestyle and encourages drama situations that require her constant rescue and deliverance. For a man whose self esteem is mainly derived from his "super hero" abilities, she's an endless abyss of wasted time and talents...that she'll never realize she possesses.

The Tomboy ~
The quintessential jeans and t~shirt girl who finds her value in doing what the boys can do, to the extent that she ignores her femininity as if it's a handicap. Sure, I understand that the daily application of make up is essentially a boring monotonous chore, and wearing frilly dresses/high heels can be uncomfortable...but to never (never ever? never ever?) acknowledge that you do indeed pee sitting down have girly side is a poor defense mechanism, especially when you're feeling dejected after the Rakim concert where you and your homeboy rapped every lyric in perfect harmony...but looked up to find him taking "her" home.

The Conscious Chick ~
Her aura, ancestors and horoscope make up an inviolate triumvirate (if you're lucky) designed to protect her from herself, yourself and any other selves that count. Every conversation is meant to reference her Godess~ness and before you speak words to her, you should pour out the libations of your conversations to dead relations...feel free to insert poetic snaps here. You in the present, will never gain her attention, until you (out of frustration) become the past...and yes, she'll light candles to your memory.

Never mind that all these women have something in common, besides an inner child already outfitted in her dream wedding dress screaming, "like me, have me, hold me, LOOOOOOOOOOVE me like a fairytale, please!!!" which is...when they all wake up in the morning, go to work, Walmart (or the Farmers Market) and are face to face with themselves. They don't see themselves fitting into any of these stereotypes.
(Yes, myself included...)
But ladies...(and the few brave gentlemen who tripped across the estrogen patch and found themselves in this "Girl Garden") we do. Occasionally, we blur the lines of all these dynamics, providing an equal measure of frustration and delight in anyone who happens across our paths. Is it any wonder that men tear their afros, goatees, locs, and scalps out wondering, "What does she WANT from me?!!!"
(Ummm...yes, myself included...)
I challenge that the sooner we recognize this, the sooner we can begin tweeking our individual recipes to something more palatable for all parties involved...

Yes, myself included.

(At this point, I think it's important that I welcome your comments, because frequently...I'm full of shi...  ideas.  So I'm welcoming comments...yes, all of them). 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artist United For Haiti Benefit Concert

Combine talented local artists, a long-standing reputable venue, an amazing DJ, and gifted live band, generous patrons, a good cause and you have the recipe for a night of entertainment and altruism. Hosted by local poet Se7en, the Artist United for Haiti Benefit at the Red Cat Jazz Cafe on Monday, January 25th was a night filled with poetry, hip-hop, and great soul vibes.

As the artist began entering the Red Cat, anticipation was high and the mood was set with the wonderful DJ styling of DJ Regg, providing sounds from Hal Linton to old school hip hop favorites, Camp-Lo. The venue provided birds eye view for all in attendance and within minute, the place was packed with people willing to party for a good cause.

Host Se7en (Power In The Word), took the stage with his usual confidence and witty interactions encouraging the audience to feel at home and like family, setting the tone for an intimate evening amongst friends. Live band, Exclusive took the stage providing a musical interlude followed by the poetry of Fertile Spirit and Baritone, who's French interlude and deep timbres delighted the women attendance. Soul artist, David Sha (Beloved Perfection), lent his vocals and brought his A-game to the packed house. Next to the stage was poet, Black Bluez who brought hard hitting pieces, including a tome to Vidor dragging victim James Byrd.

Councilman Jarvis Johnson took the stage stirring the audience with his words and a call to continue providing help and aid wherever it is needed. Councilman Jarvis also encouraged ongoing political involvement for the sake of progress in our city.

B.E.T Comedian Keir Spates provided a seamless transition and brought the laughs and a sense of humor and community. Poets Black Snow and Savannah performed both new and signature pieces appropriate for the cause, illuminating the importance of showing love to people all over the world. Prairie View Slam Poet Outspoken Bean took the stage with partner, TheFluentOne giving a dynamic duet performance that kept the audience enthralled. As a personal touch, Outspoken Bean also performed a touching ode to his brother, highlighting the importance of being there for loved ones.

Singer, Krystal Hardwick, who’s folksy sound left the crowd feeling lighthearted, followed a short intermission, with sounds provided by Exclusive. Soul Artist, Tony Henry performed a medley of inspirational tunes, ending his brief set with his trademark, Stuck In The Ghetto.

A comedic break provided by B.E.T Comedian Lil Brough, left the audience in stitches and appreciating his revealing, oft irreverent, but always hilarious sense of humor.

Hip Hop ingenue's JuzCoz, brought their quirky and much appreciated rebirth to the scene, prompting this writer to think of them as Hip Hop(e) for Houston's hip hop community, rousing the crowd into a head bobbing frenzy with their song Video Game.

B.E.T Comedienne Kiesha Hunt's comedic styling proved the adage "good things come in small packages" and provided her style of humor complete with catch phrases that won't soon be forgotten.

Rounding out the show were jazzy chanteuse Marium Akilah accompanied on the djembe and Mississippi Soul Man Joe Lee McCoy, singing his signature hit, Natural.

This is what happens when artists of all types donate their time, energy and skill to a cause...a night everyone can enjoy, comfortable with the thought that they are able to put aside day to day selfishness and make a difference in a global way. All in all, a show packed with talent, sponsored by, is one Houston hopes will return soon.

Donations can still be made by texting "yele" to 501501 or visiting

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'll let you in on a secret. I'm not a blogger. I've been saying so for years now and despite what people may

say...I'm not a blogger. It's true, I write on stray scraps of paper and have volumes of journals, emails and
text messages to myself and even the half hearted attempt to record my random thoughts via the memo portion of my cellphone (which failed miserably, as my voice sounds like a hoarse variation of Harvey Fierstein with a noticeable Southern lilt). Despite this admission, I'm not a blogger. Instead I've tried on different titles, like a supermodel prepping for the runway. I'm a "writer", a "griot", a "story teller", a "reporter" and various other things (that all feel like they fit), but one thing I am not is a blogger.

Having said all that...welcome to my blog.
The name "Keep The Change" came about despite a friend of mine's attempts to distract me from something
workable. (Inside Joke...there will be alot of these, by the way). So I asked myself, "Self...what is the purpose of this? What do you want to accomplish?" And of course, I answered myself, otherwise I'd be crazy.

I want to catalogue random things that I think everyone can relate to. I'm told I'm pretty good at this. All the voices in my head are in agreement on this one...

I want to post reviews about concerts I've seen, albums I've listened to, movies I've watch, television I've suffered through...(getting the drift?).

I want to make people laugh, think, dream and become completely inefficient when they are supposed to be working. I'd like to be your favorite distraction.

I want to offer encouraging words. This one will catch those who know me off guard. Yes, despite all my sarcasm, biting wit, questionable effervescence and general verbal butt kicking...I'd like to be a person responsible for inspiring a person. (How I go about achieving this will be one of the many tests of my writing skill...)

In other words...I wanted to offer my two cents.
But that name was already taken...

Keep The Change is literal...everyone at some point offers their opinion. They toss their two cents into your
bucket and expect a return. Here at Keep The Change, I'll give you my two cents and invite you to keep it!
(You'll never know when it'll come in handy...)

Welcome and enjoy!