Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Respect My Journey: Music

One of my favorite artists is Bilal. His voice, his writing, his musicality--they all inspire me and keep me in awe. I own all of his albums and I scour the web for his features, credited and uncredited.

But I didn't become a fan until 2008. Yep. Prior to 2008 I thought Bilal was a talented singer, but a flash in the neo-soul pan. It's not that I didn't respect him. I enjoyed his features on Common's and Erykah Badu's albums. I just didn't really start getting into him until I was about 25.

The Joys of Figure Modeling (free-write)

Brian Stelfreeze
To be nude and respected. To be a muse. To inspire. To be still. To be an observer. To be a creative community member. These are the joys of figure modeling. To get free, original art. To get paid. It is not a task for everyone. It is not for the shy, insecure, or those seeking validation of their body's sexual aesthetics. It is for those who recognize the body as a gift. For those who recognize that you have to give the gifts that you are given. It is for those who like to feel a breeze in places that drafts aren't typically felt. It is for those who can withstand the stiffness and aches of muscles that have been in the same position for a longer period than they're used to.

It's about being a part of the creation of something. Whether the artist is a novice or master teacher, it's about being part of a learning/growing/CREATING experience. In your birthday suit.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More than a Survivor

"The key to happiness is the decision to be happy."- Marianne Williamson

This post is about playing offense. And how it beats playing defense. See, in life, there is always something to complain about. Always something being done to you. Be it familial, social, financial, or otherwise, we are all at the mercy of forces beyond our control. But these mere circumstances don't have to be roadblocks to finding joy. In fact, happiness isn't a journey, a struggle or a dream. It's a choice. 

Which is really what this whole "human being" thing is about: choices. You make them. You live with them. You learn from them. Sure, your job is awful. The pay is low and the work is dull. But what choices led you there? What choices can you make to make it better? How can you play offense?  As Oprah said in her final episode, "Nobody but you is responsible for your life. You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself[...]."

“Construction” with Muhsinah

Muhsinah is a DC-bred singer-songwriter whose name is on the lips of may industry taste-makers, but whose sound is hard to categorize. And therefore hard for the mainstream to digest. She’s worked with new-soul darlings Foreign Exchange, most notably on “Daykeeper,” which was nominated for a Grammy. Alas, she remains unsigned. While this can be frustrating for us fans, it also means there’s a wellspring of opportunity for Muhsinah to continue to carve her own space in the industry, or outside of it, for that matter.