Monday, December 8, 2008

Drive My Caddy!

Every year around this time, movie studios release their heavy hitters; the movies that they believe will be Oscar contenders. This past weekend, I took a trip to my local multiplex and saw Sony Pictures first Oscar offering of the season called Cadillac Records. And for all of you wondering - No, I did not cry. It is the story of how the music label Chess Records dramatically began and ended. And it is packed with blues and rock-n-roll hits in between. I find it incredibly interesting how much today's music is so heavily influenced by the music of yesterday. I can probably name most of the recording artists that have sampled music from "back in the day" but that list would be much too long. But just to name a few that immediately come to mind...

Nas sampled Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" for "Bridging the Gap", a collaboration with his jazz musician father.

The Beach Boys "borrowed" the music from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" for their chart topping classic "Surfin' USA".

Kanye West sampled Etta James' version of "My Funny Valentine" for his masterpiece "Addiction".

"Little Red Rooster" by Howlin Wolf' has been covered by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors among others.

A lot of what we hear today are not only samples but have the underlying sounds of the old music. In this way, music is a lot like fashion. Every style eventually makes a comeback!

I thought the movie was excellent! In my opinion, all the actors did a great job. Who knew Etta James was such a spunky, opinionated, and tortured songstress?! And Muddy Waters was such a mellow playboy. But I have to admit that my favorite perfomance was given by Columbus Short who portrayed Little Walter. He blew me away. His depiction is worth the price of admission. Now hurry on down to the cinema so we can compare notes on who will be picking up that golden statuette in a few months. Enjoy. . .

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

This year I am remarkably excited about the upcoming holiday season. I am not sure why this year seems to be so rich with possibilities of joy and happiness. Perhaps it is because I will be seeing my favorite niece and nephew. Maybe the idea of spending quality time with family that I have not seen in a long time and some members I have never even met has me feeling giddy! And conceivably it is because the holidays afford me another chance to sample my mother's fantastic cooking! I am pretty sure it is a combination of all of the above. And then some. Sure, this year has been a tough one for many of us. And we could complain and cry about so many things. Yet, here it is another year, another Thanksgiving to celebrate. So when you feel like all the cons outweigh the pros, stop and really think about what is good. It is the simple things like family, friends, shelter, good health, and your mama's cooking that you oftentimes take for granted. Think of where you could be if ... and then be grateful for not being there.

It's time to partay! And this Thanksgiving I am wearing my "attitude of gratitude." It fits just right. Let's all celebrate what is good and great in our lives! There isn't any time to spare. Smile, laugh, eat and be merry! And give thanks for that because that is plenty. . .

Love Life, Love Fashion!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

American Pride

In February 2007 when Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president I thought to myself, “He’s black and he’s going to try to be the president?! He has wishful thinking”. To be honest, I didn’t think that America was ready to make such a big step. I mean, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for this very equality just 40 years ago. And as a black American, I have had some experiences to confirm my skepticism. So on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 my eyes grew wide, a smile slowly spread, and tears slowly streamed down my face as CNN announced the next president of the United States of America to be Barack Obama.

I remember my dad and grandma who are no longer physically with me but I know they’re grinning where they stand about how far this country has come. I remember the stories told to me of my mother’s childhood. Her family is from Georgia – the south - where the brunt of racism took place. She would visit them for the summers and not be able to use the same restrooms as whites or eat in the public dining areas. Her grandfather was a runaway slave who never thought that the day would come where black Americans could vote, much less the country elect one. One summer my mom caused so much “trouble” by making her elderly grandmother sit in the front of the bus, she was sent home to New York early. My dad participated in the March on Washington of 1963 and heard Dr. King deliver his famous speech live.

I thought of all the black history that I have been a witness to in my short 28 years. When I was 14, Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa. General Colin Powell was the first black American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first black American to be the United States Secretary of State. Condoleezza Rice was the first black American woman to be the United States Secretary of State and the list goes on. But never did I think that a black American would run my country in my lifetime.

I have to say that I have never been so proud to be an American. This country has truly turned a corner. We have fulfilled Dr. King’s dream. We have judged based on Obama’s competence, future plans and the fact that we were tired of the way things have been run for the last eight years. The color of his skin wasn’t the issue; the way he planned to run the country was. Today, I still smile with wide, tear filled eyes every time I see his face on the news or a picture of him in the newspapers. I have a feeling that my reaction will last for a while. President-Elect Obama has a huge job ahead of him, a lot of hard work, but my faith tells me that if we all work hard, things will get better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks...

Life should be about exploring opportunities, not missing them. At Sorta Kinda Enterprises, we believe that opportunities are the universe's plan to move us forward to the next level - a successive step in progress. Two years ago, Wilbur was inspired to send a custom gift basket to the pop superstar, Mariah Carey. Although he was sure that she received hundreds (maybe thousands) of gifts and offers, an appeal to collaborate on a philanthropic proposal, he felt, was justifiable. After all, her philanthropic work is of renown. Unfortuantely, it was not the right time for such an endeavor. But Wilbur believes that a collaboration of some type is inevitable. Last week on Good Morning America, the pop diva announced a contest. The winner would design a gown for her that she would wear for a red carpet event that would later be auctioned with the proceeds benefiting a charity fighting breast cancer. Another opportunity has presented itself. But this time, we need all of you, our readers and subscribers, to help us out. Below are links to the 3 designs SK Wilbur has created with Mariah Carey in mind. Please vote for your favorite by November 14. Just click on the image that you like best and it will take you to the voting site. And remember, when opportunity knocks answer the door WIDE.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wake Up

I am disconcerted by the news. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a study that indicates that 1 in 4 girls and young women have at least one of the more common STDs. When I heard this I wanted to cry. I thought "what should we do as a people to stop this epidemic"?

I think it is wonderful that America has begun to exercise and eat healthily. But we must remember that our sexual health is just as important. As a community, we have to spread the word to protect ourselves. Condoms can prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies if used properly. There is a vaccination (Gardasil) that women can get to prevent the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). To prevent an unwanted pregnancy there is birth control. The combination of all three of these options will protect you stronger than just one. Of course, if you practice abstinence you run absolutely no risk of contracting STDs or having an unwanted pregnancy.

For centuries women have been the mainstay of our communities and families. Let's nurture each other. Let's educate ourselves, spread the word and put it into practice. We are our sister's keeper as much as we're responsible for our own actions.

Love Life, Love Fashion!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Is My Life - The Series

How you doin'? As the Diva-At-Large, you have journeyed with me over the past year as I have embarked on my first girlfriend vacation and celebrated my mom's 65th birthday. You've joined me as I sat riveted by the whole spectacle of fashion during New York Fashion Week. And you even listened as I took to my soapbox and sounded off on how important it is to be polite and kind to each other and this crazy obsession our culture has with celebrity. So I hope you will tune in when we launch This Is My Life - The Series. Beginning this September 9, each week we will broadcast a new webisode featuring more of my life adventures and observations. You will be able to learn more about me and, in turn, more about how we get down at Sorta Kinda Entrerprises. And it will all be easily accessible through So to borrow a phrase from the cable network Bravo, "Watch What Happens. . ." Here comes DivaTV.

Love Life, Love Fashion!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Livin' In A Dream World

Growing up, I was taught that I should follow my dreams. I learned that money is not the ultimate key to life's happiness, it will always come. But do what you love and if you can make money doing it - even better! A lot of times our dreams, the thing that we really want to do with our lives, can seem somewhat far fetched. Maybe you've gotten negative feedback. Maybe you don't have the money or the time to further your education to do what you love and you feel like giving up. Maybe the pursuit of what you'd love to do scares you to death. But sometimes we have to grab the bull by the horns. Sometimes no matter what people say or how they react, how hard it is, whatever obstacles you face, you just have to do it. In the end, that is the only thing that will make you smile as you lay your head down at night. In my 28 years of knowing Wilbur and his 11 years of pursuing his dream, I have learned what it means to live for what you love. His example has inspired me to pursue what I want most. It certainly isn't easy. Like many dreams, it seems unattainable at times. But Wilbur's drive and continued success has kept me from quitting completely. Please watch below to see some of that well deserved success and how it pays off. And always try to make your dream come true.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Excuse me, please."

I've got a good question for all of you! Why is it that people have such a hard time being pleasant? I have heard it said that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I bet people don't even think about that when they walk out the door everyday. Because if they did, I would not write about it in my Diva Diary. But I am a little vexed! I was raised to be considerate and polite. When sitting next to someone on the crowded 4 subway train, I try always to remember to say excuse me. And when I walk into a room full of people - colleagues in particular - I always greet them. It is only polite. I don't blame my frequent encounters of incivility on the fact that I live in New York City - what some call the "Rude Capitol of USA." People are just generally rude and sometimes I want to scream "Move! Get out the way!" or just "throw them bows" (thank you Ludacris). But on those days when I am disappointed and frustrated with my fellow human and my pleasantries are reciprocated with miserable nastiness, something happens for humankind to redeem itself. A nod of hello or the elevator being held open for me helps me to realize that, yes, there are still people on this earth who have had a "good upbringing." And as a people, we aren't completely hardened by society and life that we cannot apologize for mistakingly bumping into you. So please "put on a happy face" and smile or say excuse me once in a while.

I'm stepping down from my box...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Dating Game

In December of 2006, I decided to do a little online shopping. . . shopping for a man that is. And it wasn't my first time. But since I hadn't had any luck meeting men at my usual hang out spots, I thought, "Why not?" I first joined and then tried It was a very interesting experience to say the least and I would definitely recommend online shopping, I mean dating, to meet people from different walks of life. You certainly walk away with memorable stories to tell when you're old and grey. I particularly like the story about the man from who bragged to me about his net worth but had missing, rotting teeth! It was a far cry from the million dollar smile one would expect. I've never been one to stress out about dating or finding "the one" but I have thought about it from time to time. I have known for a long while that you cannot be on a constant search - always hoping and praying that Mr./Mrs. Wonderful is thrust into your life. But I have often wondered if there really is a someone for everyone. I've also wondered how often we sabotage our own happiness by settling for the wrong person or setting unrealistic expectations/rules. Oftentimes when we doubt or don't like ourselves, it reflects desperation. But as much as I didn't like it, I was gradually coming to terms with the possibility that I may never find anyone. And that would be okay. I love spending time alone with just me. Sometimes, I am my own best company. And living by myself is wonderful. So by the time I decided to give up on online dating and accept the possibility that I could be an old maid, I found love in a most unexpected yet common place - church. And although it is still a budding romance, I have never felt more free to just let things be what they are. Let the cards fall where they may. And if it doesn't work, so what!? For now, I'm having fun and feeling like my needs are being met. I'll be okay either way...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip GIRL

I recently read an article in the New York Times newspaper that hypothesized that my peers and I are members of the "Look At Me" generation. Because some of us compete for spots on reality television shows, and many of us promote ourselves on Facebook, and some of us even have dreams of being rich and famous, we are considered more narcissistic than our predecessors. I say, "So what!" What is so bad about being self-aware?

Listen, w
e are bombarded with images of celebrities who are "the SO fabulous." Everywhere I turn, from the internet and magazine stands to billboards and the sides of buses, I am spoon-fed Access Hollywood-type minutiae of the fantabulous glitterati from La La Land to the Big Apple. I mean, the most intimate details about goddesses like the spicy Victoria Beckham, the sex-girl Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmy award winner Katherine Heigel, and Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria Parker greet me as I wake and kiss me goodnight as I count sheep. And frankly, it is overwhelming.

Don't get m
e wrong - the aforementioned ladies are fabulous in their own right, but what about us? There is so much focus on the celebrity lifestyle - what they buy, who they marry, what emotional breakdown they are having now, who recently checked themselves into rehab that I believe it is time for all my sister girlfriends and me to reassess this whole notion of celebrity. Why shouldn't we consider ourselves celebrities? Hell, we are fabulous! And that is without the drama and DUIs or Photoshop, personal trainers, and perfect lighting. And maybe we are wearing SKWilbur, Old Navy, or even thrift store frocks, but we are uniquely divine. We are living our lives to the fullest and we love it! We are balancing it all; very nicely thank you, without handlers and private tutors and magazine covers. So please step aside as I take another long look at myself. Hey, looking kinda cute, Ashanti! Yes, we may be the "Look At Me" generation, but in this day and age why is that such a bad thing? I sure don't think it is...