free website hit counter Spiced Tea & Letters: August 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Can't Tell You Why

People will love you for no reason that you can understand.
People will hate you for no reason that you can understand.

Said eloquently by Danyel Smith

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kanye: The Sequel

Kanye too fine. I like him like this: with his trap shut!

The discussion begins: is Late Registration better than the College Dropout? The reviews are spectacular across the board, the critics love Kanye's sophomore effort. The message boards are hot with this topic. So, has he done it again? I haven't heard Late Registration in its entirety as of yet. I didn't want this album release to be like Common's: I was on the Common/Be beat since the beginning of the year, I saw the in's and out's of his media campaign, contributed to the buzz around the album, participated in the listening sessions, heard Common explain his album time and time again, this didn't have a good effect on how I felt about the album. Now that some time has passed, I'm just now starting to hear BE for what it is and I'm loving it.

I didn't go to any of the Kanye's studio sessions. Didn't want the advanced copies and refused the downloads from my friends. I'll have Late Registration in my possession tomorrow, or maybe even tonight if the recca' stoe is still propped open when I'm done. I dug the College Dropout, I dug the earnestness of it's lyrical content; and how musically euphoric the production was, it was a very fun album to listen to.

The production on Late Registration must be blazin' because the talking heads are painstakingly detailing exactly how the music sounds. Like a review on jazz or how the serious music writers used to do it back in the 90s and before, I've never read so much detail paid to sonance. I want to hear this joint produced by Jon Brion and of course his track with Common. Is there a sonic theme? If this is so-called modernized hip hop, how does Late Registration compare to The Love Below? We will see, until then,
Alpha, step. Omega, step/ Kappa, step. Sigma, step/Gangstas walk, pimps gon' talk/ Oooh hecky naw that boy is raw...

Monday, August 29, 2005


Singelgracht in Amsterdam

Before I move, and before school gets too underway, I must get my passport stamped, once again. We've been trying to get to Amsterdam for a minute. Been trying to get an assignment there since forever. A weekend trip is sounding real nice. My friend is leaving for Amsterdam very soon, and I am inspired by his trip.

You know what else is looking really nice?
Berlin! I hear its such a fresh city. The only thing is fall and winter are approaching and I'm not trying to spend
beaucoup dollars to go somewhere and freeze, nah dude. Everyone is like go to the Caribbean. Maybe. I'm not loving the idea just yet. Maybe when all that lovely snow arrives, it'll whet my palette for Negril or Nassau. But for now, nah. I wanna go somewhere that requires a money exchange and a Lonely Planet. Africa!? Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Morocco (450 bucks). Well, yes, of course, but I'm talking about leaving in a few weeks. Don't know if I can afford the Motherland in a few weeks. In a few months, probably.

So many places to visit, so little time and

Can he be any more delicious?

COMMON @ the MTV - VMA's
(courtesy Getty Images, obviously)

The Tipping Point

Man, why did I miss the chance to cop tickets to the discussion on music with The Roots and Malcolm Gladwell. It's a sold out event. The tickets for the New Yorker Festival just went on sale and its already sold out. I'm sayin', this aint the Prince concert. Now, I gotta try to get press credentials, which means Ill be working instead of relaxing an enjoying the convo. It's alright. I'm cool.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Seven Things

Taking a break from work.

Seven Things I…

Plan to Do Before I Die:

1. Become a professor of Letters.
2. Finish school.
3. Get married and have kids!!!
4. Live in Asia. And, Africa, once again
5. Write a book, have work published in the New York Times, New Yorker & Best American Essays among other places.
6. Have atleast a million dollars in my possession, at once time.
7. There is so much more!

Things I Can Do:

1. write an article/essay
2. Belly dance!
3. ignore the heck out of someone
4. find a way from no way
5. LOVE!
6. get a good sleep on the NYC subway
7. work a light meter

Things I Can’t Do:

1. Get over my fear, when I need to...well sometimes
2. cry at a funeral
3. Tell people what I really want (mostly when I’m in a relationship), ditto...
4. jump double dutch and eat fast
5. say no...well, sometimes
6. carry more than 1 bag. I hate being a bag lady
7. Lie to myself. Ditto...

Things I say most:

1. Well,
2. I don't know...
3. Bismillah (said mostly in my head)
4. *sigh*
5. say it again/can you repeat youself
6. what do you mean?
7. um, this is not my issue/this has nothing to do w/me

Things that attract me to the opposite sex
1. SINCERITY & SANITY & HONESTY & HUMILITY...for goodness sake!
2. ah, his fear of his creator
3. Nice hair, unless you're this man
4. maturity and a sense of perspective
5. Ambition and drive and vision
6. Beautiful eyes and lips and nice beefcake arms
7. gentleness

Celebrity crushes
1. Common
2. Common
3. Common
4. This Man
5. Bryce Wilson of Groove Theory (such a cutie..why u dont roll thru the Masjid no mo?)
6. Chiwetel Ejiofor - my dirty, pretty thang
7. Jason Marsalis

Copy and post...see ya!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ai No Corrida

Ah, If I can only finish this essay on Quincy Jones' The Dude. This is an important album, for many, many reasons. I'll tell you why when I am done with the thing. My fellowship is counting on it. The essayist in me lives for it. The little girl in me wants to recount the memories of trying to figure out why James Ingram needed to know what he was doing wrong. I thought the voice rapping on The Dude slickest thang to funnel through my tiny ears. I also thought the statue on the album cover was The Dude - not my current self, but the kid in me came to that conclusion. When I'm done with this piece of writing, I plan to talk about the dopeness known as Al Jarreau.

Oh, oh, oh, Asha Bandele is having a reading of her new book at the Corridor Gallery tonite @ 7, see you there!


Sometimes, wish I knew life with no pain, yeah
Wish I held the keys to this game
Sometimes, I pretend cuz I'm afraid to be, afriad to be
Sometimes, I hope I live to see twenty five
Sometimes, I wish I could be like Moses
Round up my people, move out the ghetto
And live a better life
Sometimes, I wish I didn't try so hard
Sometimes, who knows truth any way
They don't know nothing, who needs that approval

-Bilal, Soul Singer

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Poet In Me

The poet in me came alive today. I hiccuped a memory of my friend and I walking near Union Square in San Fran, and he mentioned something about my poetry. My Poetry? Now he's the poet. Not necessarily me. Atleast, not yet.

Well, I recited one of my many love letters/essays to the brother in the office. I asked him if he wanted to hear something? I told him that it was my unrequited love, distilled, on paper. He nodded his head.

It was just how I dreamt it to be. My first poetry recital, among files and books, printers and computers and a water cooler and a coffee machine. Not the physical atmosphere was dope, but me! For the moment I was on Def Poetry. Spot light on moi; hands gesturing in a 'nahmean? type flair. My cadence maintained like staccato coughs. It was organic and rugged. It was a hearty audience of just one, Brother Abdul Haqq. He offered mad energy. I felt that I was being felt, feel me?

I was like:

My love! What is that emptiness in your eyes?
I feel you for days and months and years after we part, yet there is a absence in your eyes...
Did you know: The day I become real in your heart is my food.
That hopefully, you think of me as hella cool...

Around that moment Abdul Haqq starts cracking up. He's like, catching his breath, are you in love or might I suggest, infatuation?

(sidenote: I never considered this to be infatuation, but...)

I'm like: Hell to the no...

My final answer is yes, though.

I'm like, Brother, it's not funny. Don't laugh. It's rilly rilly not funny. As a matter of fact, for your information, it's quite painful and lonely, okay, dammit.

Then he takes his big hands, reaches towards me and places them on my face. His index fingers presses onto my temples and begins to massage them in a circular motion. It feels good, relaxing. Then he's like: your pain and loneliness are self-imposed. Before I get a chance to ask him to explain, he goes: you haven't created any room for that type of love you want so bad.

You have got to be kidding me, right? I'm always wide open (not literally) for love.

I'm like, how you know? You don't know me!!!
Dude, as my Puerto Rican friends would say: you cressie, man...

I'm like India.Arie, ready for love...

We get it going into this long convo about love, self-love, men, the Black experience, the Muslim experience, the Black Muslimah experience. He's trying to school me. I'm taking notes. Useful information. Telling me to follow my heart. I'm like, my heart is often nervous and shy and doesn't know what to say. He's like, let Allah pick him for you. I'm like, bet.

I'm still in love though. And, working on another poem.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Okay, this jetlag is making me feel like a zombie. I am awake but dreaming. I have written something for my blog about my recent trip to San Francisco. (Was I really there? It all felt like a dream. Plus, I am back in NYC so soon) But, I cannot place it on this blog until I am fully coherent to read exactly what I wrote.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I have expanded. I can remember when a crush was all I needed to sustain my romantic self. You need to ask my cousin about this egomanic, essayist from New England I was in 'love' with. For some odd reason, during this crush, I felt fulfilled. I was young.

I'm still young, but living in the second phases of my youth - where I need to have an allegiance in my possession. Where reciprocity is a line we both crossed. Other required things: professed intentions. And, all of these things need to happen in a common reality and not the closed off spaces of my mind and dreams.

Monday, August 15, 2005

East Africa, anyone?

I've always wanted togo on a international writers retreat. I love bonding with my fellow scribes. Chillin' overseas would be wonderful, too. Check out the SLS in Kenya this winter, let me know what you think. SLS in Kenya

Friday, August 12, 2005

I Didn't Die

Man. I have been feeling so weird being alive. I like living, no doubt. But, Akilah is gone. She passed away last weekend from Malaria. She caught it while in Namibia visiting her father and doing an internship at the national radio station. I was all over North and West Africa, where the mosquitoes are as plump as my thumb and filled with the parasite that causes Malaria. I had a bottle of anti-malaria medication that I ignored. I was in the Sahel, the desert and marsh savannahs. I didn't catch Malaria. Thank God, I suppose. But, still, I escaped death by this much. Scary.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Trying to book a flight

I'm here trying to book a flight to Chicago. My preference is to fly with an airlines that I have frequent flier miles with, one of them, American Airlines. So, I search for a flight to Chicago. Nothing direct comes up! I can't believe it. All of these connections in Ohio and Kentucky. And, expensive! The most affordable flight from JFK to ORD (O'Hare - Chicago) has a connection in Puerto Rico! I thought I was seeing things, so I did the search again. Yup, connecting in San Juan, PR.

I'm saying. This shouldn't be this complicated. It's kinda cool in a way, to hang out in PR for a few hours. But, I am supposed to be a speaking on a panel at a conference, so I have no time to hang out in the Carribean.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pushing and Pulling

...I learned to make love the way I learned how to swim. Frightened but determined, dropped into waters where the choice to survive could only be your own.

Asha Bandele, The Prisoners Wife

I love this book. There are many, many passages I could quote where Asha's testimonies of love and life mirrors my own. Regarding love and loving, the aforementioned quote sums up my orientation towards love. Hopeful. No, that'’s an understatement. Passionate. An alpha lover. Determined. A knock down, drag out lover. I am not the wife of a prisoner, but many times I feel like a prisoner of love. Love'’s adversary. Sometimes I'’m just not interested in having love as a guest, yet, it insists on staying around. I'’m just not that into you. This is the case when Love is not being recipricated properly. When I'm loving you, like I'm loving myself and you're just chillin. Like I'm trying to meld with you, trying to be as natually a part of you like the pulse in your wrists. Or, when I don't understand your expression, and I take them for granted and become mad at myself. Or, when you love me but do something wack. Thus, love and I often have beef. We fight, we spar. We make up only to be like, the fugg u want? Love is certainly welcome, especially romantic love, but when the time is correct. When it comes rushing onto my heart, unannounced and unsolicited, I'’m like whoa: you don'’t have to go home but you gotta get the hell out of here. Then we fight. Punch in the jaw, kick in the knees, elbow in the stomach. I win. I carry love on my forearms to a dug-out grave. I toss love in the hole and walk away. Soon, I am running away with my hands waving frantically in the air and screaming because looking back, I see love reaching out of its ditch like the zombies from Michael Jackson'’s Thriller. I thought it was dead. It never dies once it enters your heart. It may go into recession, but all it takes is tripping over a memory or an old email falling out of place to soften your heart. Love = MSG. I love it, though.

Monday, August 08, 2005

This weekend...

They became ancestors. RIP.

John H. Johnson
1918 - 2005
Founder of Jet & Ebony Magazines, entrepreneur

Akilah Amapindi
1981 - 2005
Broadcast Journalist, blazing spirit

Sheihk Ahmed Deedat
1918 - 2005
South African Islamic & Bibical Scholar

Ibrahim Ferrer
1927 - 2005
Buena Vista Social Club Singer, a beautific, soulful singer

Peter Jennings
1938 - 2005
Marathon Anchorman, World News Tonight

Friday, August 05, 2005

Get A Job!

Courtesy Adrian Bryant


I practice forgiveness a lot. Like, I forgive the woman on my job. I was pissed off at her the other day, but I forgive her. Those guys in Cleveland that called me a Muslim b*tch, among other things, and assaulted me. I forgive all the folks around me who are way to arrogant for my taste. And, despite what many think, forgiveness is certainly not a weakness. I think sometimes to forgive is to be a bit selfish. Because when I forgive I am essentially trying to maintain my peace of mind. And, more importantly, when people get grimy, 99.999% it has nothing to do with you. If it wasn't you there at that moment, it would have been someone else receiving the bullsh*t. (Although many times it's not this black and white, not so random and impersonal. You reap what you sow. And, in other instances, people egg things on. Another story.)

Anyway, disrespect cannot be tolerated. Address it. Forgive the offender? Yes.

Of course, there are times when I don't forgive instantly. I'm mad for a few minutes. I gargle it, swish it around, but eventually spit it out.

I saw something sad yesterday morning that made me cry. I cried silently on the train. When I got up this Rasta man called me a crybaby. I won't go into all of the details of how I reacted to that, but I employed my colorful language and kept it moving. I could have ignored him. I should have ignored him. Didn't do that. I am sure if he ever sees me again he will try to do something to me cause I don't think that many has had the audacity to do what I did and said to him. He was wrongfully the recipient of my residual rage. I hope he forgives me. I forgive him for being a jackass...

After I forgive, I don't usually let it happen again. I know tons of folks who have done me wrong who have not dealt with their offense. I cut them off. They are too likely to act a fool again. Some former offenders are still in my life, but not in the same capacity. Unfortunately, too many folks are committed to their flaws. I wish self-reflection, personal growth held more weight.

Then there is my list of folks who are on the payment plan. It's hard forgive them right way, their offense was just that crazy. So, they are forgiven gradually. This list is a short list in every sense of the word.

Is there anyone/thing I will not forgive? Sure. But, I am working on that. Sometimes I feel disgusted to forgive certain things. But, sometimes I feel that I must. Conflict.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today is the Born Day!

Hey, dudes, today is your girls birthday! Yay, alhumdulillah! Off to the spa I go, plus some grub and entertainment...woo hoo!

July 23 to August 22

Leo traits, both good and bad: (according to another website)

Leo Positive Traits

Generous and warmhearted
Creative and enthusiastic
Broad-minded and expansive
Faithful and loving

Leo Negative Traits

Pompous and patronizing
Bossy and interfering
Dogmatic and intolerant

More about the fabulous Leo:

The Leo type is the most dominant, spontaneously creative and extrovert of all the zodiacal characters. In grandeur of manner, splendor of bearing and magnanimity of personality, they are the monarch's among humans as the lion is king of beasts. They are ambitious, courageous, dominant, strong willed, positive, independent, self-confident there is no such a word as doubt in their vocabularies, and they are self-controlled. Born leaders, either in support of, or in revolt against, the status quo. They are at their most effective when in a position of command, their personal magnetism and innate courtesy of mind bringing out the best of loyalty from subordinates. They are uncomplicated, knowing exactly what they want and using all their energies, creativeness and resolution to get it, as well as being certain that they will get whatever they are after. Their followers know where they are with Leonians. Leonians think and act bigger than others would normally dare; the ambitiousness of their schemes and idealism sometimes daunt their followers, their practical hardheadedness and ability to go straight to the heart of any problem reassures those who depend on them. If Leonians meet with setbacks they thrive on the adversity.

On the whole they are powers for good, for they are strongly idealistic, humane, and beneficent. They have powerful intelligence and are of a broad philosophical, sometimes religious, turn of mind. Those who are devout may become very obstinate in upholding traditional beliefs and will cling tenaciously, but with complete sincerity, to practices and doctrines which liberal thinkers regard as absurdly out-of-date. These will be found as the 'lions' of industries, and in the forefront of the cutting edge of technologies.

Their faults can be as large in scale as their virtues, and an excessively negative Leonian can be one of the most unpleasant human beings imaginable, displaying extreme arrogance, autocratic pride, haughtiness, and excessive hastiness of temper. If jealously suspicious of rivals, they will not hesitate to use cunning, lies and trickery to discredit them. Self-centeredness, greed for flattery, boastfulness, and bombast, pomposity, snobbish superiority, and overbearing, and intolerant disdain of underlings; to whom they will nevertheless delegate the carrying out of minor details in their grandiose schemes, and from whom they are not above borrowing immoderately if an occasion necessitates it. Any of these can be characteristic of Leo. Add to them a passion for luxury, a lust for power, unlimited sexual lust, and emotional indulgence, and a character emerges that no one would want to know either in public life or private. But their pride may go before a fall, as uncontrolled impetuosity is likely to bring them low. Fortunately it is rare that a Leo is so undisciplined as to give way thoroughly to this list of vices, and their tendencies to them are usually balanced by an innate wisdom. Those who are afflicted with them also have the intelligence it takes to consciously and actively overcome them.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How Gangsta?

How Gangsta is it when your boss tells you to 'do what you gotta do' regarding a disrespectful co-worker. Dang! So, is he saying that I could lay her out on the floor? Slap her into the middle of next week? I mean, my boss has documented the incident when she tried to get loud. He says that if it happens again, do what I gotta do. I'm not going to resort to violence, unless, of course I have to defend myself. But, come on. This woman is older than me. She should be busy aging gracefully, she's early 40s, but yet she is miserable and wants to bring us all into her depressing world. Everyone else has issues with her too. Even her nephew, who works with us, can't stand her. Usually, I just ignore her. But, this time the way she spoke to me was just unacceptable. Had I been 16, I would have beat her ass like she stole something. I'm a lady, an adult, so we do things differently, right?

Monday, August 01, 2005


I'm still up. Insomnia has caught hold of me on the wrong night. I have to be to work very early tomorrow, it is almost 1:30am and I am still up looking at the 4 walls. Really, I've been up since Thursday. I had a horrible day on Friday: Rite Aid ruined my negatives to some very important pics. They are going to catch hell for that. I spent the weekend in my second favorite city, DC. The Anacostia Museum had a great exhibit on the Muslim presence in early America. After that Mazi and I watched Hotel Rwanda in its entirety. I had a less than stellar ride back to NYC on the Chinese bus. I jumped off the bus and then I went straight to a screening of the Battle of Algiers at the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement offices. Such a good movie. I am so interested in the struggles, past and present, that take place on the continent. I am into learning more about colonization, it has so many parallels to the sophisticated ways of oppression that is happening right now. Gentrification, for instance.

I am also very excited about moving. Oh, and my latest trip to the Left Coast in about 3 weeks. I am so hopeful that this trip will be so much fun. I have a lot of things on my mind, perhaps that is why I still cannot sleep after almost three days of being awake. I hate to pop some sleeping pills but if I'm not sleep by 2, then I dont know, man.