Category: identity

#MusicMondays | “Y’all Feel That?” by BamaLoveSoul

Y’all know about @BamaLoveSoul? No? Well, lemme put you on. Once upon a time, way back in my college years, I stumbled on BamaLoveSoul. For the life of me, I cannot remember how I found their work. They describe themselves as a movement to change the narrative and public perception of what Alabama music is like. In fact, the “website has become to “Go To Spot” for exposure to new and alternative music, as well as old tunes that you may have missed“. My college days were spent discovering hip hop, American blackness, Def Poetry Jam, the Black Panthers, and womanism. Perhaps then, this is not entirely a stretch that an Alabama movement found me in the Hecht dorms of Miami’s most beautiful college campus. Nevertheless, I have had this Badu Remix playlist saved as a bookmark for at least an entire decade (omg!). I regret nothing. The entire playlist has held up beautifully and it’s about to become my #Summer16 soul soundtrack!

Y’all, go through your internet bookmarks every few years. The tucked away memories that may have evolved to become part of your identity might just emerge to remind you of specific sensibilities you once held. Worth remembering. Dude, you’re welcome.

Track list:
JBmBeatz – Texas Tea (The Badu Medley)
Beat Attic – Incense & Brandy
School of Rock – Apple Tree
Soldier (simon S Remix)
Soldier (Gudina’s I Can’t Believe It’s NOt BUtter Flip)
Love of My Life (Jack Smith Remix)
Bag Lady (Salah Ananse Transatlantic Soul Mix)
Southern Girl (Opolopo remix)
Southern Girl (Moonshine Remix)
oriJanus – 21 Feet Tall
The Light (Cornbread Remix)
Real Thing (Marvel Remix)
Warren Xclnce x Ohforeal! – Tmrrw x Ystrdy
Robert Glasper – Afro Blue (AnuTheGIANT Remix) feat Erykah Badu
Robert Glasper – Afro Blue (9th Wonder’s Blue Light Basement Remix) feat Phonte
Honey (Souled Remix)
Cleva (Captain Planet Remix)
I Want Moombah (J Boogie 12″ Edit)
Sometimes (Manmademusic More ooft Edit)
Drama (Manuel Riccardi Deep mix)
Window Seat (Boddhi Satva Ancestral Soul Remix)
In LOve With U (Steva’s Basement Mix)
Bump (Soul1LDN Classic Remix)
Next Lifetime (Deluxepusher Dub)
Tyrone (Ain’t My Style) (The Main Ingredient Remix)
Bjork vs Badu – Come to Me / Bag Lady
Bare Beats + Stray Dog – Kiss Me On My Neck
On & On (Sid Mercutio Cover)
Jchu – No Love
Yessiree!

Tears. #Orlando

Tears will not come to me
I fight them. For shame. I fight them.
When the faces of the innocent roll like tape
And the wake of their memory are desperate phone calls
Amidst shells of screams, and mothers who scream back miles away.
Hot coals in the hands. Hot flames on the breath.
Life is snatched; a bloody breath in darkness
Reverie joy becoming the nightmare no one can dream
No one can dream
My tears are meaningless in their testament
Because I am angry. More than anything. I am angry.
The cocktail of human failure fails us all
It is the unsuspecting who pay the toll
What a fucking waste. What a fucking curse.
What hell on earth we all partake in.
How we continue to deny each other, while we share this same planet.
Tears stifled by the purest rage
And the roll of tape faces leave saltine rivers.
In the all the pieces the mortal body left across the floor
May souls find the rest in the peace they deserve
And when I cry, they are not my own.
They are for you, my dear, because I cannot cry.
The heart cannot take it.
Rest easy, I pray.
“I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me?
I’d quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity.” -india.aire
I’m trying this thing where I’m putting myself out there and actually saying yes. I haven’t read Shonda’s book yet (I’ll wait until the next century when it finally becomes available at my local library), but I’m trying proactivity, nevertheless. It’s where you meet a guy who as a nice smile, great skin and by all physical accounts doesn’t appear to be of the serial killer persuasion and you offer – unprompted – to hang out over coffee. Novel, amirite? I’ve heard that guys actually like this method of interaction, so why not? I’m grown and I’ve pretty much asked and received everything else in my life, so why not become the protagonist and spearhead my dating experience more intentionally?
However lately, I’ve been asking myself quite self-reflectively whether I would actually make a good girlfriend. The single life has made me selfish and impatient, so much so that even the idea of owning a pet makes me groan with the thought of added responsibility. That a dog could not feed itself and I would have to rush home after work to take it out to potty is beyond me.
I have a routine! I use the restroom with the door open, blasting my podcasts from my wireless speaker every morning with abandon. There is a wine glass in my bedroom that never makes it to the dishwasher in time, and I watch whatever I want on Netflix knowing no one else would care. Is this what people do in relationships do too, because I can’t imagine switching this up. Additionally, by all accounts from the hitched-up women in my life, men have needs. Like actual egos and needs and wants and habits that need addressing and negotiation. They say it’s beautiful; I don’t know, it’s been a while.
Perhaps it’s the commitment of it that makes me wonder… the wondering whether I would have to drastically change to accommodate another human form that I have affections for (child-raising makes me nervous, too, btw!). Or that I would passively be in support of problematic thinking. For instance, I cannot imagine tempering my feminism and blackness and Naijaness to make a man feel comfortable. I can negotiate room temperature preferences to a point, but I’m not giving up pepper-sauteed snails because you have a moral obligation to the consumption of molluscs. I would find it immeasurably unforgiving to hear ideologies that are anti-humanity:
…Amber Rose is a hoe; she ain’t no Ayesha Curry; so if Kanye disrespects her, you can’t really blame him, can you? 
…Syrian refugees should really just stick it out; ISIS is a problem everywhere and all, but we don’t have room! 
…but you gotta admit that black people really need to focus on black on black crime; if we can’t help ourselves, who will?
While it’s taken me lots of growing up, exposure, personal research and trial and error to form the ideologies I hold, one cannot blame me for ghosting gentlemen who are fundamentally perpendicular to my value system. Also, the idea of sharing a lamb chop dinner with someone who doesn’t like me asking questions and who thinks it’s natural for a girlfriend to teach them household cleanliness is beyond me. How will I function?
Has my millennial sensibilities categorized me as a difficult woman?
Alas, here I am! A basket full of peculiar impatience, ready to meet someone who laughs as generously as I do and thinks Instagram celebrity arguments are fascinating to talk about during How to Get Away With Murder commercial breaks. I’m outchea – taking numbers and texting back, even wiping right on Tinder on occasion. I’m charming enough for a second date, me thinks. Will walk cautiously into relationship possibilities… so yanno, heart open and what not!
kylli sparre

I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder

I am full of light, I am full of wonder

New year, who dis?
It’s a new year and in typical fashion it makes sense to ready the vision boards, create the resolutions/goals lists, decorate the gratitude jars, muster up the courage to finally tell your boss you deserve that raise, block the unrelenting ex and other similar lovers who didn’t make the 365-day cut, etc. etc. etc… I’m right there with you. I’m expectant. Nay, I’m impatient. We are six days into the year and I’m AWL ready for the glory that awaits. I’m not sure I have the words yet to properly articulate how much I need 2016 to be a great year for me. I’ve commenced, in full form, my Beyoncé year, so there is no time to waste!
There are three life skills and goals I must master (to any greater degree!) this year:
a) Learning to play my tenor sax, as I’ve had this amazing instrument for years and have yet to acquire real proficiency;
b) Learning French, as I’ve literally learned this language on and off for 30 years; enough is enough; and
c) Allowing myself more humanity, as I need to make sure that in a world where steely confidence is seen as an asset and a security blanket, I don’t forget that I’m fucking human and crying in my car on the way to work because a song really spoke to me particularly is quite alright and well within the purview of self-care, healing and personal strength. Whew!
So here’s to 2016; may it be full of wonder!
page silhouette

Mkay.

I have to write this because I’m fairly sure my sanity is shattering into a million pieces.

I’m turning 30. 30. 30! I’m turning 30 in a few days. In fact, this week will end and I’ll be 30 and I’ll start Monday morning as a 30 year old. This doesn’t yet mean I’ll be ticking a new age bracket in those online surveys (that will happen in five years), but this does mean I will be formally exiting my 20s. For Pete, Matthew, James and Moses’ sake! YIKES!

My 20s have been a warm blanket. A growing blanket, a 10 year blanket. One that I have learned to appreciate in all its imperfections. My 20s were hot in the spring and comforting in the autumn – annoying when I was expected to share it; clearly something I’m having trouble giving away. Growing pains, man. I can still remember when I was 21, down to exactly who I was. I was in college and constantly uncertain of the space surrounding me. However, I was always present: in class ensuring I was on someone’s honor roll list; at college parties learning how to Dutty Wine ’round all these Jamaicans (thanks Kanye!) and discovering vodka (uh…ew); coasting South Beach with friends who stopped being friends in heels I couldn’t stand in and in dresses I no longer have interest in wearing …yet, constantly wondering whether I actually belonged there. I was there in a body, navigating an environment that was familiar and foreign at the same time. To provide context, like everyone else, this was my first time away from home, and my first time in the United States. I had just began to appreciate the difficulty folks had with pronouncing my name and to realise I was not the only young person out there dealing with juvenile diabetes.

I’m fairly sure I spent my entire first semester terrified of everything.

Twenty-one turned into twenty-five and my blanket had learned to wrap itself around me much tighter, replacing tumultuous fights with a friendlier, more adventurous hold: I moved back to Nigeria for the first time as an adult, learned how to drive the mean streets of Abuja in my beloved Scarlet, discovered more comfortable heels and fashion that spoke more to my sensibility, began to love the fearlessness, acceptance and power of female friends, realised what a dope relationship with a man would be like and what I truly found irreplaceably attractive about men, and learned how to be tactical and appropriately vocal at job and professional spaces.

…and then twenty-five turned into twenty-eight and then twenty-nine et voilà! Decades of work in progress, stupid mistakes, failed relationships, new relationships, harrowing moments of anticipation, immigration, stellar successes, tighter camaraderie with my siblings and parents, discovering the joys of make-up, body oil, and a consistent work out routine has created this beast of a woman. This woman, who in a few quick days will be formally entering her Year of Beyoncé. Whew!

I have always been one for the journey; the destination na jara*, really. I have always been one for balance and growth, despite the journey’s imbalance. I have always been one for celebration, even when my feet are unsteady and my heart still yet races. I want to shout, “onward, young one, you young tender-hearted Superwoman!” But really I’m apprehensive and frankly, scared. I’m giving away my 20s blanket to be suited up with a cape (much like Solange’s wedding attire, I imagine). Will the cape fit? Will it be the colour I like, especially seeing as I don’t really have a favourite colour? Will it comfort me when I need a really good cry? Will it allow me soar more meaningfully than I actually budget out? Will it keep my credit score high and my credit card debt low? Will it attract the kind of attention I need and want and desire? Will it hide my scars, when I need a little more time to lick my wounded ego?

Ugh, so many fucking questions… but lemme tell you about the stillness in my heart as I type this…

It’s been nothing more than a pleasure to inhabit the spaces I do and have. I belong there. I belong here. I’m turning 30 in a few days. And by gawd, let it be great!

—–
na jara = When you’re in Naija (the context to which I am familiar) and you go to the marketplace to price out uncooked rice or beans or garri and whatever and the market lady apportions out your desired quantity. You ask her to add jara, to add something extra on top of what you’ve requested, for free. It builds customer-seller relationship, it builds personal character in your ability to bargain wares… shit, it also ensures that you’re getting your damn money’s worth!