Category Archives: Music

Rape Culture, Street Harassment and Everyday Sexism

I know I rarely write about super serious topics, but every once in a while, a topic strikes a nerve with me, and I feel compelled to write about it.

I had an epic bout with insomnia last night and whenever I have insomnia, I stay up late watching Investigation Discovery. I was watching an episode of  ‘On The Case with Paula Zahn’, and the story centered around a teenaged girl that had been drugged, sexually assaulted and murdered. As I watched the show, it got me thinking.

Back when I was in high school, there was a girl who went to my school that was killed by 3 boys. One of them tried to have sex with her earlier in the evening and she refused. She was later drugged, strangled, driven to a remote location, where one of the boys tried to rape her, but was interrupted by passing cars. When it became clear that this boy wasn’t going to be able to get what he wanted, he and his friends put a pipe bomb in her mouth and detonated it. She was 15 years old.

I hadn’t thought about this situation in many years, but after watching Paula Zahn, I couldn’t get it out of my head. As I thought more about this, I got angrier and angrier. Who are these men? What’s wrong with them? What is this sense of entitlement? Why do these men feel like women don’t have the right to say no if they don’t want to have sex? What makes these men think that these women and girls aren’t allowed to change their minds about whether or not they want to have sex?

As I continued to think about these things, I thought back to a twitter conversation I was having with user @brokeymcpoverty and other twitter users. The story was basically about street harassment and whether or not the silent treatment is an acceptable defense. I said that I don’t like using the silent treatment because I think it’s dangerous. I’ve been threatened with violence or called out of my name on more than one occasion when utilizing the silent treatment. Then Brokey made a great point:

I kind of don’t like silence being branded a ‘dangerous’ response because what’s dangerous is how the harasser responds to it.

The conversation also centered around how ridiculous it is that many men won’t back down from pursuing a woman unless she says she doesn’t want to talk to him because she has a boyfriend/husband. So you mean to tell me the only reasoning you’ll accept is me being off the market? Why isn’t “I’m not interested” enough?

Flash forward to this evening. I read an article about the band Chvrches and how the lone female member of the group, Lauren Mayberry, regularly receives inappropriate comments via their social media pages. You would think the most disgusting thing about the situation is the insinuations of rape she often receives, but no. The most disgusting aspect, in my opinion, is the people telling her she needs to just “get over it” and things like this “are to be expected” if you are going to be in the music industry. So, you mean to tell me that women are just supposed to accept these things? Not okay with this.

What is going on in our culture that some men think this behavior is okay? And I know what some of you may be thinking. Whoa whoa whoa, trying to talk to a girl on the street is a far cry from rape, but what I’m concerned about is the attitude behind all of it. That a woman’s opinion and assertions mean nothing to these men. That unsolicited sexual advances are okay. That no does not, in fact, mean no.

 

 

#31WriteNow Kenny Chesney No Shoes Nation Concert

So, the Kenny Chesney “No Shoes Nation’ concert was amazing and I had a great time tailgating with great friends.

shotski

Did someone say shot ski?

I’m not gonna lie…I flaked out on my runs this weekend, but for good reason. Had I tried to run, I’m certain you all would have found my body on the side of the road somewhere. That said, I know that I did walk at least a few miles this weekend and I know what you’re thinking: I’m only hurting myself by not training effectively. But today is a new day and I can start again. But back to Kenny.

Before the concert, I saw tailgating the likes of which I’ve never seen before. And I spent a lot of time in Georgia, so that’s saying a lot. I saw tiki huts and palms trees made of pineapples that served rum, I even posed with a giant Corona bottle. It was all very ridiculous. There were coolers that doubled as scooters. I also saw this sign, which made me laugh.

Vuvuzelas

There were also lots of rebel flags, which I also laughed about because, again, I’m from Georgia and this concert was in New Jersey.

*insert eye roll*

I also learned this weekend that one of my friends is quite the magician. She somehow convinced the venue that we deserved better seats. The venue agreed, so with a flip of her hair, we moved from the upper deck to down front.

I’m picking my training back up today, so good luck to me. *gulp* I have a speed workout today and a 5 miler tomorrow. I’m a tad gun shy because of my bloody haunted run, but I think that’s a motivator for me to get some new running shoes and socks. My feet bled (not in the regular half/full marathon ‘losing my toenails way’) the last time I ran a half, so, clearly I have an ongoing problem. This warrants a trip to Fleet Feet, I think.

Here’s my latest picture, and to be fair, I TOTALLY misbehaved this weekend, but it was planned 😉

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#31WriteNow The Struggle, Part II

OMG.

My body hurts so much right now. I’m not kidding. My legs refuse to work properly. I almost missed the shuttle to the train this morning because my legs are so sore. They didn’t want to work as I was coming down the stairs in my building. Then I almost fell down the stairs at the train station. I suppose some soreness a good thing, but yikes. I know the results will be awesome and that I will most certainly regret it if I don’t train for this half, but I hate how the first week of training feels. Kinda like that first mile when you’re running. The first mile always sucks for me.

And speaking of training, I totally forgot to mention another aspect of my training which will most certainly be a struggle for me: I will not be consuming any alcoholic beverages during this time…with the exception of this weekend, for my friends and I will be tailgating all day before the Kenny Chesney concert. (You mad, Riley Cooper?)

*twirls and does a high kick*

In other news, my weight is holding steady, which I’m totally fine with, since losing too much weight too fast isn’t very healthy, but I’m sure you all know that. Here’s my picture of the day. (Feel free to ignore my four-legged friend in the background. He refused to move.)

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Let me know if you guys have any questions about my workouts or what I’m eating and for those of you training with me we can’t do it! We just have to stay motivated.

Tee

NYE at the Barclays Center: Coldplay and Jay-Z

“…Concert of the century. So. Excited!!!!!  Not sure who I’m more excited to see… my friends or the epic men… but this one might have to go to Jay Z and Coldplay. I’m Brooklyn born and bred” C.K.

“It’s like Christmas!” C.Y.

 “This concert was legend…wait for it….DARY!” K.S.

“…like we were in some bubble out there in Brooklyn surrounded by a group of people who got it; like we were inside a giant ball of ecstasy, receiving a great big hug from Chris Martin in the form of music and lights and confetti.” B.C.

“Oh my God. This concert is f*cking awesome” ~ H.Y.

“When did you guys get all these beers?” ~ T.S.

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In the days leading up to the concert, concert goers were buzzing at the prospect of seeing Jay-Z in his hometown of Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. As the crowd started to swell outside of the Barclays Center, the crowd knew it was in for something great. There was a sense of camaraderie in the air. No pushing…no fighting…no cussing.

 

The group I was with looked up to the sign on our left. As we walk in, I smile at the guy that’s supposed to check my handbag. He looks me up and down. “Nice shoes.” He says as he waves me in.

As we walk into the arena, we were handed bracelets.  “What are these for?” we ask.

“Put them on. You’ll see”, we were told.

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As we walk in, we’re directed to our seats by the friendliest, most professional ushers ever. I look to my right and I see some of my friends that I haven’t seen in months. Turns out they had actually traded their tickets in for new ones so that they could sit closer to us. The air is electric. The crowd can’t wait for the show to begin. There are signs everywhere instructing the crowd on how to wear their bracelets and informed them that they would be part of the show.

The DJ plays a myriad of classic cuts to entertain the crowd before the show starts. We enjoy the music and dance along with the excited patrons, but the crowd was all too ready for the show at hand.

Suddenly, the lights go down, and the theme to Back to the Future started playing. Soon thereafter, Coldplay breaks into “Hurts Like Heaven” and every audience members’ bracelet lights up in sync with the music. The bracelets glow in the dark and the LED lights in them pulsate to the beat of the music. As one concert-goer remarked, “It was like I was inside a giant ball of ecstasy!”

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During “Lovers in Japan” they not only had the bracelets glowing, but confetti was swirling all around us, creating an amazing audio-visual memory for all in attendance.

After pretending the set was over, in true Coldplay fashion, Chris and the guys perform an encore on a tiny stage further back in the audience. You could tell the band really appreciated the fans and wanted to give a good show and show everyone a good time, no matter how much they paid for their tickets.

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After Coldplay’s set, the DJ played some more classic songs to keep the crowd stimulated, but then the lights went back down and it was show time once again.

Jay came out and launched into hit after hit. He went through his entire catalog of music from Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne.  “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Where I’m From” “Big Pimpin’” He performed his verse from “Clique”. When the synth came in for “Young Forever” Chris Martin from Coldplay came out onto the stage to perform with Jay. Even though the people in my section didn’t even know each other, they were singing along, hi-fiving, and dancing with each other like they had been friends for years.  As an added bonus, we even caught a glimpse of Gwyneth Paltrow standing at what looked like a tiny bar by the stage. And Jay must have been in a generous mood, because he gave a bottle of Ace of Spades to a lucky couple in the front row.

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As we began the countdown for the New Year, Jay told the crowd that there was no place he’d rather be to perform on New Year’s than in his hometown of Brooklyn. Jay’s band was outstanding and when the ball dropped at midnight, his guitarist performed a guitar solo of “Auld Lang Syne” Jimi Hendrix’s style, while Chris Martin sang along.

After the ball dropped, Jay went right into “Run This Town” with the help of Chris; much to the delight of the crowd. He told the crowd that he wasn’t sure how he would top 2012 since it was the year of Blue (paying homage to his baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter). As we looked off to the side, we could see Gwyneth urging Apple and Moses to dance with Jay and their father, Chris.

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As a final tune, Jay performed the iconic “Empire State of Mind”. You could tell from the crowd’s reaction, that no matter where anyone was from, EVERYONE was from New York that night.

As all of the patrons filed out of the Barclays Center, we knew we had experienced something magical. One patron ever remarked that he wasn’t sure that there would ever be any New Year’s Eve concert that would top this one, but other artists were welcome to try.

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I was lucky enough to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, and if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have spent my New Year’s Eve any other way.

~ Tee

 

 

My obsession with Afro Blue (Traces of Blue) continues

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Hey everybody! So, I’ll make this post quick. I don’t normally pitch from this page, but I loved, loved, loved Afro Blue Vocal Band from this past season of The Sing Off. I think they did remarkably well, and, in my opinion (as well as the opinions of many others) they should have won the competition.

With that being said, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, they are working on a new project. They’re currently raising money to help fund their first EP. We can help, too. If you click this link, you’ll be taken to their fundraising page. If you all love them as much as I did, please help out. Give a little; give a lot, but they need our help and we need good music.  It’s a win-win situation!

In case you’re new to my blog and haven’t read my previous entries on Afro Blue or if you weren’t watching The Sing Off last season, take a look at the video below. This group is beyond amaze-balls!

Something About Iggy

Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known as Iggy Azalea, is one of hip hop’s newest rising stars. Born in New South Wales, Australia, Iggy has always had a love for hip hop and started rapping at the age of 14. She cites Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, Missy Elliot and Eve as some of her greatest influences.

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In the Beginning

​At the age of 16, Iggy decided that if she wanted to make it as a rapper, she would have to move to the U.S. She told her mother she was going on vacation in Miami, but she had no intentions of returning to Australia.

I was there for two weeks when I called home and said, ‘I don’t want to come home yet. I want to stay longer.’ So I stayed another three weeks. I was there for like a month and then I called again and said, ‘I’m not coming back.

Putting In Work

​After spending a few months in Miami, Iggy decided to move on to Houston, Texas. Before moving to the US, Iggy had been in contact with Houston-based producer Mr. Lee, who’d heard some of Iggy’s work through her MySpace page. Once in Houston, Iggy said Mr. Lee taught her how to “rap like a girl”.

Houston is where I started getting good at rapping. I had to have someone tell me, “You’re still imitating what you think it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t have to be that. Just be who you are and sound like a girl.”

Rapper Vs. Model

​After a few months in Houston, Iggy moved on to Atlanta where she attempted to pursue modeling as a way to pay for her burgeoning rap career. She sent photos to Elite Models but, despite being a size two, she was told she was needed to lose 4 inches off of her hips and two inches off of her thighs if she wanted them to represent her. In the end, Iggy chose not to purse modeling with Elite because she didn’t want to become so focused on losing weight and cause her rap career to suffer.

Interscope Comes Calling

​While in Atlanta, Iggy uploaded a music video to YouTube, piquing the interest of Neil Jacobson and George Robertson of Interscope Records. After attempting to contact her for several weeks, she finally flew out to L.A. to meet with them. Much to her dismay, they tried to mold her into a crossover artist. Determined to do things her way, Iggy initially decided not to work with Neil and George. After returning to Atlanta, she uploaded two freestyle videos to You Tube “Two Times” and “Hell of a Life”. After viewing the videos, Jacobson and Robertson finally got on board with Iggy’s vision. They told her they now understood what she was trying to do as an artist, and would allow her to have creative control of her image and sound. They have managed her career ever since.

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Looking Ahead

​Earlier in 2012, Iggy was featured on XXL’s Top 10 Freshman List, solidifying her spot as an artist to be reckoned with.  2012 continued to be a good year for the budding artist, as she joined forces with T.I. and became one of several artists on his Grand Hustle record label. This summer she released two singles “Murda Bizness” and “Flash”. Her debut album “The New Classic” is set to be released in 2013.

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As someone who is friends with a lot of artists, this hits home…

The Trichordist

Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. Our intention is not to embarrass or shame her. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies. We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement. We only ask the opportunity to present a countervailing viewpoint.

Emily:

My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you. I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing. I applaud your courage in admitting…

View original post 4,169 more words

Afro Blue Vocal Band pays tribute to the late Trayvon Martin

As if I couldn’t love them any more.  The Sing Off’s Afro Blue Vocal Band has recorded a soul-stirring rendition of their version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” in the memory of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old boy shot to death by George Zimmerman.  If you don’t know the story you can click the link below.

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed in a gated community in Florida late last month by a white neighborhood watch captain, according to police. But the watch captain, George Zimmerman — a 28-year-old who has admitted to police that he shot the young man — still walks free. And Martin’s family is pleading for answers and demanding justice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/family-of-trayvon-martin-_n_1332756.html

The following tribute by Afro Blue Vocal Band embodies how many in our community felt during the Civil Rights Era…and sadly, still today.  Rest In Paradise, young Trayvon….

Afro Blue Vocal Band (My obsession)

Hey guys, just a quick note while I’m writing other things (wink, wink) Y’all KNOW I love this group, so please please please visit their website. You KNOW you love them too!

 http://www.afrobluevocalband.com/

Frank Ocean’s Voodoo: A Two Minute Life Story

She’s got the whole wide world in her juicy fruit
He’s got the whole wide world in his pants
He wrapped the whole wide world in a wedding band
Then put the whole wide world on her hands
She’s got the whole wide world in her hands
Man, Frank Ocean just sang a lot of people’s lives with his words.  These sound like the musings of a man who has had a lifetime fear of commitment, but has now decided to commit to one woman…..Probably the most terrifying moment of his life.  Care to weight in fellas?  Am I right or am I way off base here?
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