free website hit counter Spiced Tea & Letters: July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

RIP Daddy


I haven't said that word in so long, in 8 years to be exact. My dad died 8 years ago today. 2:30 in the afternoon to be exact. I can remember how angry I was. Even though he was on his deathbead, I didn't think he would pass away. There are times when I re-realize that death is irreversable. Such a rude awakening. I made plans for us. I saw my dad becoming my best friend, advising me through womanhood and marriage, children and everything in between.

It was my first year of college at that very bougie university in up state New York. I was beginning to experience many new things and realize who I was in relation to this classist, racist and violent (among other things) world in which we live. I was hurt, because of all the things I was denied as a child, I thought I was owed a father. I looked around me and envied my fellow freshmen, they had so much more than I, including a father. I wanted to kill. I was hurt to the bone. Above all that, I had to comfort myself. I was too sad to let my family and friends see the side of me that fell apart. I downplayed my depression and fear. Some people were disgusted that I wasn't going in hysterics over his death, as my brother was, but, really my heart was broken. It still is.

There are many things I want to talk about regarding my fathers death. I have shared with a few about how he died. Many people usually dont understand me when I say that I need my fathers sheild, that I would feel safer with his navigation. Just his presence alone would eliminate some of the things I experience on a daily. My brother and sister need him, too. I imagine that if he was still alive, I would have a more comprehension of men. And, just from what I have been experiencing regarding dating and marriage, my stock as a suitor would have been higher than it is as currently as a lone defender. That might sound selfish, not meant to be.

Sounds sad. Not really. Just some observations. I'm having one of my moments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The heat feels good

I was actually cold today. And, I'm not talking about walking about air-conditioned Target. I'm talking about my nice dinner with a friend this evening at Canarsie Piers. It was hot in other parts of Brooklyn, but the piers had a wonderful breeze flowing through. We ate fried fish and plantains and spinich. At one point, I actually felt cold. Everyone was there fishing and stuff. We listened to Lauryn Hill, D'angelo and Ramsey Lewis and watched the planes take off from JFK Airport. This one guy caught a horse shoe crap, that freaked me out cause it was just crawling and hopping around before its captor flung it back into the ocean by its slimy tail.

In Lauryn's song, Ex-Factor, she says, tell me who I have to be to get some reciprocity. I'm like this basically sums up the angst of 20something search for love. That entire song. I didn't understand half the songs on Miseducation...thats because I was a teen when it came out but the current grown woman can def relate. Same goes for Mary's My Life. I wanted to be happy, as she soulfully pleaded but her happiness was being sought simultaneously as she tried to get away from that Mary Jane. I dig the women who write and sing these songs about the crevices of love and relationships. I dig Erykah's Green Eyes (even though she is bugging out on OkayPlayer nowadays, saying some arrogant stuff) I dig the fact that Toni Morrison forced us to deal with a woman like Sula.

One song I'm waiting to relate to is Teena Marie's Portugese Love. I'm like whoa when I listen to her beg the words Portugese Amore! in the last chorus before the bridge. I'm like sista got turned out!!! LOL...anyway, passion is my thing but I ain't got nothing on Teena's fire...

I'm listening to Ramsey Lewis Sun Goddess and relaize that this song was my foray into my love of jazz. Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite song. It brings tears to my eyes. I first heard this song when I was like 5 years old and I loved it ever since. It sounds like divinty. It sounds like passion and true love. To me it sounds like sincerity and devotion and all things pure and close to God. This song has no real words, just made up ones but it sounds like all of those wonderful things.

Gotta get to bed. Working Uptown tomorrow...woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hip Hop Academic Journal Celebrates Vol. 1


Contact: Mazi Mutafa
Words, Beats and Life
1327 R St NW Ste 23
Washington, DC, 20001
(202) 667-1192


WASHINGTON, D.C: This July will see the completion of volume 1 of the WB&L Journal, Washington, D.C.'s first international journal of Hip-Hop Culture. ""It's been a long, exciting and fulfilling process to complete this volume"," explains Mazi Mutafa, Editor in Chief of the WB&L Journal. ""We are now at the point where all of the successes and trials we learned from creating volume one can be applied to the creation of volume two."" The celebration will take place on July 21, 2005 at Pearl Restaurant and Lounge at 8pm.

With themed issues that address commercialism, women and the most recently released issue on hip hop and globalization, The WB&L Journal is well on its way to being a viable contribution to the community and academy. Started in 2003, the journal seeks to promote a greater understanding of hip-hop within a global, national and local context. Integral to the editorial mission of the WB&L Journal is the need to provide a balance between the needs of the market-driven expectations and community based needs of the hip hop community.

Volume 2 of The WB&L Journal, will take on the golden age of hip-hop arguably the years of 1986 to 1995. The first issue will take on rap music with subsequent issues addressing the other elements of hip hop, i.e. Graffiti, DJ'ing and B-Boying.

The WB&L Journal boasts a mantra of "From the streets to the University." Each issue is driven by scholarly work and research, but there are also featured poets and visual artists. Beginning in volume two the WB&L Journal will also include book and music reviews and artists profiles. There will also be a teaching guides and
international events related to hip-hop section. ""The journal is intended to bring all aspects of hip hop culture to the university, not just rap music; and to a point where all of the elements of hip-hop are elevated to a level where they are studied on par as part of numerous academic disciplines"," explains Mutafa.

The umbrella organization of the WB&L Journal is Words Beats and Life, a hip-hop non-profit organization serving the youth of the D.C. Metropolitan area. In addition to the journal, the organization is the creators of youth driven activities such as the Urban Arts Academy, university conferences and Holla Back radio show on 89.3 WPFW.

For more information visit

Or contact Mazi Mutafa at (202) 667-1192,

WB&L Journal Celebration Party:

WHERE: At Pearl Restaurant and Lounge 901 9th Street NW WDC

WHEN: Thursday July 21st 2005 From 8 PM –11 PM. Press must call 24 hours in advance to confirm attendance to assure placement on the guest list.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Kiss

Whisper by Monica Stewart

Another essay featured in Essence Magazine. There are times where they just hit the nail on the head with the essays. Enjoy!

By Shay Youngblood
(Essence, May 2001)

As kisses go, it was one of the longest and most illuminating. I sat on the front porch of Miss Stanley's house (where I rented a room) at dusk behind the hedge of thick shrubbery outside her bedroom window, kissing a boy I'd just met.

This is how it started. It was the first week of sophomore year, the first day of my work-study job in the college library. He was a good-looking premed student, with honey-colored eyes and a sweet smile. I'd helped him find a book. He offered to walk me home. I couldn't invite him into my room, so we sat on the front porch. We talked for a long time, whispering so our voices wouldn't carry, about where we were born and what our majors were, our favorite books, music and what foods we liked to eat. He said something that made me laugh from deep down inside, and because I was shy about the small gap in the middle of my smile, I brought my hand up to my mouth. He reached for the hand covering my mouth and stroked it, brought it up to his face and closed his eyes. He tasted the inside of my wrist as if he were hungry. I was barely breathing. He, however, took a deep breath and rubbed his face into my hand as if it were a velvet glove. This hand dance made me shiver, though it was a warm, early fall evening in the South. It was the first time so much attention had been paid to my hand. He massaged my palms, stroked each finger firmly between his thumb and forefinger. He looked into my eyes not speaking, stroking my hands as if to soothe me. As my hands relaxed, so went my arms, my shoulders--my whole body became a puddle, a lake, a river.

Night was falling around us. With his fingers he studied my face slowly, gingerly, thoroughly, as if he were having a final exam in anatomy. He wrapped his arms around me and pushed his face into my neck, planting deep kisses as if roses would grow. I was a little afraid. What if Miss Stanley looks out her window? What if he thinks I'm fast? What if ... I pushed away every doubt or fear as quickly as it came. I let myself go, never imagining how far he would take me. He knew I was ready. He leaned in toward me and pressed his dense, buttery lips to my yielding mouth. The instant we touched there was a powerful current that connected us. My mouth was moist and receptive. At first we were waltzing--one, two, three, one, two, three--but then our passion transformed into a fiery flamenco. We kissed nonstop for an hour and 15 minutes.

This sweet, delicious pleasure was what I've come to know as a soul kiss. The entire 75 minutes were not totally focused on the sensory experience. By the time the streetlights came on, my mind began to drift. I started to think about how coming to Atlanta was a new beginning for me. I had grown up in a public-housing project and was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from high school. It had taken all my family's meager resources, a government-sponsored grant, an academic scholarship and a work-study job in the school's library to make it possible for me to attend college. I wanted to be a television journalist or an entertainment lawyer. All the desire I felt for a full, rich and happy future I put into that kiss. All my hopes for a better life had me married to this unsuspecting premed student who would be a doctor in private practice within ten years. I would be the mother of his children, and we'd live in a house in the suburbs and spend vacations in the Caribbean. I kissed him as if all my happiness were contained in that moment in the porch swing. I kissed him as if all I had was this single moment of joy. If Miss Stanley hadn't come to the front door and cleared her throat, we might still be kissing. My lips raw, my body tingling, I could still feel his hands on my face hours later as I drifted to sleep, into dreams in which I was invincible.

I did not see much of my young man in the days following our big kiss. He was absorbed with his studies, and I became interested in pursuing more creative passions. By the end of the semester I had discovered the power of poetry, other kinds of kisses, new passions that would come to consume me and make me feel as fearless as I did when I chose the longest kiss.

Author and playwright Shay Youngblood's most recent novel is Black Girl in Paris. She lives in New York.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Place Where Women Rule

(By Emily Wax -- The Washington Post)

A Place Where Women Rule
All-Female Village in Kenya Is a Sign Of Burgeoning Feminism Across Africa
By Emily Wax

Washington Post Foreign Service

UMOJA, Kenya -- Seated cross-legged on tan sisal mats in the shade, Rebecca
Lolosoli, matriarch of a village for women only, took the hand of a frightened
13-year-old girl. The child was expected to wed a man nearly three times her
age, and Lolosoli told her she didn't have to.

The man was Lolosoli's brother, but that didn't matter. This is a patch of
Africa where women rule. "You are a small girl. He is an old man," said Lolosoli,
who gives haven to young girls running from forced marriages.
"Women don't have to put up with this nonsense anymore."

Ten years ago, a group of women established the village of Umoja, which means
unity in Swahili, on an unwanted field of dry grasslands. The women said they
had been raped and, as a result, abandoned by their husbands, who claimed they
had shamed their community.

Stung by the treatment, Lolosoli, a charismatic and self-assured woman with a
crown of puffy dark hair, decided no men would be allowed to live in their
circular village of mud-and-dung huts.
read more here

Monday, July 11, 2005

Piqued Interest

Okay, I must admit, I am a little bit more interested in marriage than usual. Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I am much more closer to it happeining. And, its more of a reality in my head than it was a few years ago. Atleast I'm open to the idea. Not too long ago, I wasn't trying to hear being someone's wife. I was scared. Didn't think I'd do justice to the responsibility.



He will want for nothing

My future husband will want for nothing.

You Are Everything

by The Stylistics

Oh darling
I want to be everything to you

Today I saw somebody
Who looked just like you
He walked like you do
I thought it was you
As he turned the corner
I called out your name
I felt so ashamed
When it wasn't you
Wasn't you

You are everything
And everything is you
Oh, you are everything
And everything is you
'Cause you are everything
And everything is you

How can I forget
When each face that I see
Brings back memories
Of being with you
I just can't go on
Living life as I do
Comparing each girl with you
Knowing they just won't do
They're not you

'Cause you are everything
And everything is you
Oh, you are everything
And everything is you
You are everything
And everything is you

Friday, July 08, 2005

Going to bed!

It's 9am and guess where I am heading? To bed! I have the day off. It's raining like heck. I am hella tired anyway. I worked hard these past two weeks! I am taking my a@% to bed, honey! Going to sleep all day, even through the Young and the Restless. Gonna wake up only to catch my bus to D.C. this evening where I have an editorial meeting with the WBL Journal this weekend. Peace!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Loving the Older Man

This article appeared in Essence a few months back. I dug it, so, I am sharing it. I have an essay's part two of an essay I posted a few weeks back. I have to fulfill a promise to those who want to read it.

Aight, gotta take a nap...too exhausted!

Loving the Older Man
(From Essence Magazine Febuary 2005)
By Nadira Hira

Late in the spring of my freshman year of college, my roommate and I visited a psychic. One of those tiny roadside establishments off El Camino Real in Stanford, California, the spot didn't inspire much faith, but we'd passed it a million times and finally giggled our way to the door. After some nervous shuffling on the steps, I found myself sitting before a stooped old soul, getting exactly the reading I'd hoped for: travel, writing, babies. But when she told me I'd love, marry and be happy with an older man, I asked--in one of the less astute moments of my youth--"Is he the guy I'm with now?"

He was a sophomore.

These days a year and a half doesn't really qualify as "older." And it seems that a veritable ocean has formed between me and the overwhelming majority of men my age. It's not that I'm not attracted to them. My last boyfriend has biceps that compelled even my mother to comment. He's also 24, with a disappearing act to rival Houdini's. Which helps explain why the man currently headlining my romantic life was seeing the Purple Rain tour when I was doodling with purple Crayolas.

For me every relationship until now has been about teaching, but this one includes a fair amount of learning as well. And the lessons are many. The small ones can be sweet--like when he explains Star Wars fever because he actually remembers when the movie opened--or difficult, as you learn to get over the flights of paranoic fancy induced by sideways glances of passersby.

The big ones, though, they change your life. When you're dating an older man, the consequences of every decision he's ever made rest with both of you: The children he has fathered, for instance, become your own. But these lessons come in more pleasant versions, too, like the word lovemaking. It always seemed melodramatic and a bit disingenuous to me. But when he says (and does) it, there's a willingness to be transparent and vulnerable that I can only imagine comes from all the romantic tumult of the decade between us. He allows himself to rest his head on my chest without mistaking it for weakness, and that, I've realized, is the making of love.

For the record, I'm not alone. Even in my small circle, two of my closest girlfriends are dating men with a decade or two on them. And the sentiment is the same: Yes, it's an odd kind of sorority, but also as natural and fulfilling as anything has ever been for us. We tease, we throw brunches, and despite the impulse to apologize, we sometimes preen. There aren't any contradictions in wanting to be accomplished, attractive and unabashedly attached. Not to mention that motherhood might again be the new sexy.

The only variable, then, is the man. Now he has to come with something more than obvious good looks and bright prospects; he has to have that spark that signals a capacity for abiding love, and the certainty of self that allows him to embrace this ever-evolving--sometimes to the point of neurosis--woman. It's the confidence of age.

That's a lot to ask from guys who look up to Lil Jon. And I'm not mad at that. Men are under such immense pressure to compete and succeed that I'm in no rush to force them into adulthood. But I'm already here, and I need a partner who is, too. Someone who can hear me better. And someone who knows enough to help me better hear myself.