Monday, December 29, 2008

Wake in '08, Fine in '09

Well, well, well. Here we are, the end of another year. Not to sound like every old person on the planet, but seriously, where did this year go? Was it even a year, or just a few short weeks? At any rate, it really was an excellent year. I set out to do the most important thing for me which was to get my mind right after going done the path of self-will, which ,of course, placed me in a position to be hurt. Enough of the vagaries.

2008 was a year of incredible gifts, gratitude and accomplishments for me:
1. I officially became ABD (All But Dissertation) in my doctoral work, meaning all I have to do is write a measely four chapter BOOK! ha ha ha. Instead I write on my blog.

2. I found a great apartment and a great roommate. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, supportive situation.

3. I fell more in love with Brooklyn and NYC, even as I realized that I probably won't be able to spend all of my time here for much longer.

4. I made more time for my friends, my sweet/wacky family and myself this year. No easy feat I tell you.

5. I adopted a great dog, Tilopa!!!! (whom I blog about at Fierce and Nerdy)

6. I saw lots of of good movies!!! I fell in love with 30 Rock and You Tube.

7. I got that flat screen...i will definitely be blogging about my Battalestar Galactica marathon and how it is totally different on a great TV.

8. I cleared up a lot of old wreckage: financial, emotional, inter-personal.

9. I had a successful year of running my own business (look here).

10. I re-connected with lots of people, mostly thanks to my 10 year college reunion and Facebook.

11. my iphone!!!!!!!!!

12. After reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I joined a CSA and began working my way to 75% local food purchase.

13. My yoga asana and meditation practice became steady and fairly daily after many, many years of being intermittent. Basically I dedicated myself to the spiritual practice rather than material practice.

14. I fell back in love with Nas.

15. I accepted myself for who I am, flaws and all and embraced my brand of black-homo-femaleness.

16. I laughed so much, 2008 was the year of bawdy, genuine laughter.

17. I turned 33.

18. I reached my 5 year mark free of cancer.

19. I simplified.

20. I got a great surprising Christmas gift.

I'm looking forward to 2009 because it's more days on this Earth and I have plans!!

Bonus: 21. I actually BLOGGED!!!!

With love,

SP and Tilo

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Love NY, Part Two

So. It's cold. In the teens cold. Bitterly, miserably cold. Yet, I feel like jumping up and doing a little Irish jig. Why? Because everything's coming up (frozen) roses. Who knows? Life's Too Good, especially when it sometimes sucks donkey balls.

Anywho, So, I Love NY, Part Deux. I had a really great picture of some crazy-ass stickers, imparting such gems as " God The Father," in the font of The Godfather. Trez Awe-sume! And one other koo-koo one, but alas, I've lost them. So instead of talking about that, I want to talk about... DATING!

Oh. My. God! It's insane!!! Why do we do it??? It's so much fun. Seriously, I feel like I am on the coolest, scariest, sexiest ride of my life and it's basically due to the fact that I finally feel relaxed enough to be myself. At thirty-something years old (and from what I hear, that isn't too old to make these sort of discoveries), I'm pretty okay with me. Now, it took a failed marriage (okay we can pressure the term "failed," but the shit is over, so yeah, failed works), and a failed long-term relationship, for me to accept a lot a truths about myself, but I am beginning to do just that.

Truth Number 1: I am a NERD. I have hid this perceived shameful secret my whole life, but now that shit has cache (uhh, add the accent) so I am going with it. Nerd qualifications: Battlestar Galactica fan (old and new),HUGE Buffy/Josh Whedon fan (I know all the words top all the songs of Once More with Feeling)...that's right. I own several rolly carts (so maybe that's more granny than nerdy), I own comic boo--uh, graphic novels. I posses dictionaries in multiple languages. Sci-Fi turns me on. Stop me before I kill again!!!!

Truth Number 2: My middle name is Romantical. Ahhh, to be a mushball. Do you know there are people out there who are ashamed of being romantic? Mon Dieu!!! I am proud to say, I am a total mush ball. A pragmatic one, but soft and mushy at the center nonetheless. How do I know this? Well, let's see: I love breaking into song to express my feelings (this could also be a sign of delusional psychosis, but let's go with romance). Right now...I refuse to say what song is in my head right now. That will be my secret shame. Anywho, sweet, sappy, heart songs. woo-hoo! Don't fuck wit it. Oh, that was an earmuffs moment for the eyes. Sorry.

Truth Number 3: La La gets mean and/or derivative from this point on, so let's just say that up close and personal, I have the same degree of warts and faults as all people, but am becoming increasingly relaxed about them. Basically, I care less about what you may think and more about how to be authentically me in the moment. This basically translates into treating myself and others well. As a friend once said to me, "we can do things that hurt people's feelings, but I promise no bullshit." Pretty cool and quite a challenge. Sorry for cussin'.

Truth Number 4: I have no idea what is going on. This is probably the truest of the true, but hell's bells, I am enjoying the unknown. It's really fun liking ladies and I had forgotten that. I got away from what was basic about me: I'm silly and light and serious and super-cute and arrogant and inappropriate and loyal and fierce and kind and all sorts of human contradictions and foibles and loveliness. Yea.

Truth Number 5: Kissing. Is heaven. I forgot just how much fun it is. I mean for those of you who like the ladies, whoa, ladies lips are super-soft. Amazing!!!! And NY ladies are sort of crazy but also really direct, upfront and take-charge--I dig that. Referring back to Truth Numero Dos, I am a typical Libran lover of hearth and home and family, but also, until I settle down, I like to be generous with my affections. I don't mean being loose or throwing it around, just being cautious and getting to know folks. wait, this was about kissing. Okay, kissing rocks. next paragraph.

I do the "ohhh you're intriguing, let's get together" thing, but you know, I may not really be feeling that person or her feeling me after a few months. But by then, you're trapped and in the "trying to work it out" phase. No thanks. Smooches, chilling, getting to know you, making sure you're not married, insane or from the Planet Marklar is where I'm at these days.

So I'm definitely looking forward to finding someone I can chill with long-term, but for now, the adventures continue and I welcome them.

New Column on Fierce and Nerdy

Hey Ya'll:

So I'll be posting here twice a month or so and also writing a column for my homie, Ernessa T. Carter (etc) at Fierce and Nerdy. Check in out here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Requiem for W...Overture for O

For all you artists out there, who have had something to say about Bush, the War on Terror, all of the impingements the government has made on our civil liberties, and ,of course, the new day that has dawned with the election of Barack Obama as President off the United States, here's your opportunity to shine:

Seeking dance, theater, spoken word, video and music created from 2000-2008 in response to the Bush Administration’s domestic and foreign policy for the ‘Requiem for W…Overture for O’ show in January 2009. From the stolen elections, the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, torture & Guantanamo Bay, proposed Constitutional Amendments against gay marriage, to Hurricane Katrina, how did artists respond to the politics of the past 8 years? Let’s celebrate the end of the Bush era and continue to strengthen the movement for social justice for the years ahead.

Submit your own work or suggest a piece that you saw.

Email or visit for an application. Applications due November 24th!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Heart NY, Part One

Soooo...I've been suffering from serious writer's block. Songs go unwritten, my poor doctoral dissertation is a disparate garble of bizarre musings that are barely fit for my eyes only, and this poor, poor blog has remained sad and barren. Well thanks to my friend Ernessa, fellow Smithie, I am inspired to blog once again. Hopefully this will translate into beautiful songs and a fierce and nerdy dissertation (which, by the by, I did work on today. Tavia, that's for you if you're reading).

Why do I love New York? Too many reasons. The number one: BROOKLYN. That's right biz-natches, Brooklyn is the borough. Having lived here over 10 years, I can officially call myself a New Yorker, but more specifically and importantly, a Brooklynite. Brooklyn is like the nerdy girl in a John Hughes film who gets a make-over and you realize, "Oh My god! She's so hot and all she had to do was take of her glasses!!!" Yeah man, that's Brooklyn.

Being a single lady, I have lots of time to myself. I am also a dutiful mother to a sweet, unpredictable, seriously funny dog named, Tilo. I'll write more about him in my new column, still to be named, on Fierce and Nerdy. Anywho, we're walking down Clinton Avenue towards Fulton Avenue, passing gorgeous brownstones, trees popping with Autumnal vigor, latte-sipping liberals and then I see it...

what cruel, cruel summer human being could leave CHOCOLATE CHESTER ( I just made that up) here on his own? Both Tilo and I did a double-take and I worried that my dog, who loooooooovvveeeeess stuffed toys, would take this cute, but most-likely-infested-with-bedbugs, gorilla and drag him along the wide Brooklyn avenue. He didn't. A simple sniff, glance at me, and then we continued our merry trot in the blustering wind.

BUT, this is why I love New York and Brooklyn--the unexpected always occurs and it's frequently pleasing. I felt pure joy seeing this stuffed toy propped outside. Sure, some kid probably tired of it, or maybe it did have some unpleasant infestation, but there he was, so gloriously perched, giving me a chuckle, and my doggy something sweet to smell.

There was something completely innocent and small-townish about Chester and it's one of the situations that always makes me appreciate this challenging city. For every complaint, siren, crime, loud stereo, over-priced apartment, 8.25% sales taxed item, there is a stuffed toy on a stoop, a beautiful flea market, a gazillion homey, comfortable, over-priced-yet-completely-endearing coffee shops (that are not Starbucks), a ridiculous amount of people on scooters, bikes, and skateboards, lovely parks. New York City is the most beautiful, confounding, heart-breaking, heart-stopping, precious lover I've ever known. She's never left me, even when I fancied abandoning her for somewhere more bland or manageable, she's reminded me that I belong to her. And I do.

Quick story: I was walking down Dekalb Avenue, heading to WAMU (soon to be part of the JP Morgan Chase monster) and I glanced over at a tall, Black gentleman. He was dressed in what I like to call "Badu-Badu" wear: head wrap, many Hali Salasi pins, Ethiopian colors, and he grinned at me, asking me if he could take my picture, commenting on my beauty. I blushed, as one does, as I never know how to deal with the compliments of men, since they are really only friends, brothers and pals to me...but we walked and talked, he walked me to the bank, giving me his newsletter of Pan-African news. I smiled and thanked him for his conversation. We said our goodbyes. I felt happy, that I made that bit of connection. This city constantly gives me opportunities to remember how generous and loving people are, how funny and tragic we can be. For every person who tells a lie, someone else offers truth. For every unkind word, there is plenty of kindness.

This may not be the New York or Brooklyn most people think of, but it's the one I know, it's where I live.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A post that got lost

Monday, August 25, 2008

September 5th Show

Thanks for everyone who came out to see me perform at Ryan Chelsea Clinton's fundraiser for Reach Out and Read, It really was an incredible show: AB Lugo, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene and Carlos Andres Gomez were off the hook! Seriously, I haven't heard that much good poetry/spoken word in a minute. Thank you Radeyah and everyone at Ryan Chelsea Clinton for allowing me to be a part of the work.

Last Friday, I got to be the specail guest artist at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. I don't know if I've ever had more fun (or signed more autographs!) then being in front of this enthusiastic crowd of 8-18 year-old girls. Thanks to Noa D for recommending me to the WMRC staff.

On September 5th, I'll be in a show with some amazing performers. I'm attaching the bad-ass flyer. Please come, because you don't see a group of artists appear like this often.

I'll be on retreat from Aug 26-Sept- 2 and so out of touch, but I hope to see you all Friday, September 5th at WOW cafe.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shante Paradigm's Upcoming Shows!

I know, I know, I can hardly believe it myself:

Queer Women of Color, Boston
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 6pm
QWOC+ Boston presents "OUTSPOKEN: A Queer People of Color Spoken-Word Artist Showcase” in collaboration with Truth Serum productions
Co-sponsored by Queer Asian Pacific Alliance (QAPA)
@ MIDDLESEX LOUNGE 315 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

COST: $5
Open to ALL ages (must be 21+ to drink)

Reach Out and Recite Fundraiser
Wednesday, August 20th, 6-8pm
Ryan Chelsea-ClintonHealth Center

Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
Friday, August 22, 2008 12:30pm (closed show)

Friday, September 5, 2008
Rivers of Honey
Doors @ 8:00
Show @9:00
WOW Cafe Theater
59 East 4th Street (btwn 2nd & Bowery)
$10 (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

see this old post never published

Check out this post
couldn't figure out how to change the date and I re-designed and updated the Shante Paradigm website. enjoy!

Beyond Race Magazine Call Submissions

Beyond Race Magazine, a national arts and culture publication, is expanding and we are looking for a few great people to grow with us.
Please view the details below.

Jobs, Internships, Freelance:

Account Executive: We are looking for an experienced account executive for online advertising and/or creative print and online packaging. pd. position.

Editorial Interns: We are looking for JOURNALISM STUDENTS in their senior year or GRADUATE STUDENTS to intern for mid-summer positions and fall. We want to facilitate the growth of people interested in senior, managerial, and content editor positions.
This posting is for seniors in undergrad and graduate students only.
College Credit.

Graphic and Digital Design Interns: mid-Summer and Fall positions. This posting is for juniors and seniors in undergraduate or graduate students only.
College Credit.

Internships are for college credit.
Internships are for mid-summer (July and Fall of 2008)

Freelance Writers and Photographers: We need experienced writers and photographers to pitch ideas and potential stories that fit the mission of the magazine. Writers and photographers will cover events, exhibitions and art openings, concerts, and other cultural events in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, London, Paris, South Africa, Los Angeles, the Bay Area. Must be able to work to deadlines and submit stories and high resolution images.

About and Application:


Beyond Race Magazine is a quarterly arts and culture publication designed to spotlight the unique and diverse community of artists in multiple genres (music, visual arts, performance, literature, etc.. We spotlight both emerging and established artists and encourage artists to build with us.

Account Executives: Submit resume + cover letter that illustrates sales experience and current contacts. Also submit your LinkedIn Profile and references.

Interns: Submit resume, links to websites, electronic portfolios, and references.

Freelance Writer & Photographers: Submit Resume + work samples, websites, and or tear sheets.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Show this Sunday: Queens Museum of Art

Queerin' Queens Annual Pride Month Celebration

Sunday, June 15, 2 - 6 pm

2 - 3 pm Performance Showcase - Join us for eclectic live performances including: Spoken word artists Robert Ortiz, Hip Hop & Soul artist Shanté Paradigm, fierce Queer Sri Lankan Tamil American Marian Yalini Thambynayagam --- accompanied by the carnal sounds of Varuni Tiruchelvam on cello who conjures spirit through her unique blend of poetry, song, and dance, and Rhythm Locura, (pictured) New York's premier LGBT Latin dance group

3 - 5 pm CINEMAROSA Queens Only Queer Film Series Screenings - The independent film initiative created in 2004 by New Media Artist, Hector Canonge, holds its monthly LGBT screening programs at QMA. For pride month join Brooklyn filmmaker Lesli Klainberg for a screening and discussion of:
Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (Lisa Ades & Lesli Klainberg, 2006, 82 min)
The superstars of gay and lesbian cinema shine in this amazing overview of LGBT film history. It's packed with smart interviews and a tremendous array of film clips from the greatest movies of the genre celebrating more than half a century of queer independent filmmaking from Kenneth Anger's pioneering Fireworks (1947) to the smash hit blockbuster Brokeback Mountain. Also starring John Waters, Wilson Cruz, Guinevere Turner, Peter Paige, B. Ruby Rich, Gus Van Sant, and Alan Cumming. *Followed by a Complimentary Cocktail Reception!*

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Shante's Most Absolutely Subjective: Best Sad/You Did Me Wrong/Why Lawd Why Songs on My Ipod

So, we all know how lovely it is to fall in love: the birds chirp a little louder, images are a bit sharper, you skip to the loo, and every little thing your paramour does is so cute (even the things that will drive you to want to kill them later). We have a gazillion love songs, cheesy poetry and envious friends to cheer us on, but what about the "sour times?" That's right, Portishead will be on the list!

I am sure on another day, I will choose a different list and there are some people I left off (D'Angelo, Maxwell, Al Green, Chaka, Marvin Gaye,Patti Labelle, Sinead) who OBVIOUSLY have some slamming sad/longing songs. Okay, listening to Radiohead right now and need to get some peppier songs before I never make it out the house. "Lipgloss" here I

Please send me yours, I want to know how you wallow when your loving feeling has been lost.

PS- only attempt to make this list when you are actually happy. otherwise, you may never emerge from the hellish emo abyss. Damn this Radiohead is depressing!

20.Resentment or Irreplaceable- Beyonce
B gives Jay-Z a piece of her mind when he was doing her wrong.Or so I imagine. And no, "to the left, to the left," is not the best lyric here. It has to be "I can have another you in a minute...Don't ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable..." Damn B, you cold girl! "Resentment" is just...well listen to the song. The influence of B playing Deanna in Dreamgirls shows. I played this one A LOT last year. Best lyric:" Loving you was easy, once upon a time."

19.On the Ground--Beady Belle
Swedish soul singer, Beady Belle, gives a dynamite rendition of "you made your bed, now lie in it...hoe!" over a gorgeous, minimalist down-tempo beat. It's a song about going on with your life. Thanks Vanessa for introducing me to her, cuz her albums are available import only and expensive. Love this song!

18.Gnarls Barkley-Who's Gonna Save My Soul?
Oh man. Cee-Lo, you really kill it. Haunting, psychedelic, trippy and dark. Does anyone know what the sample is? It sounds very familiar, like some 60s movie theme song. It sounds like it's about losing one's religion, but the longing is the same, I mean isn't love a type of worship? Cee-Lo moans, groans, growls, about selfishness, self-interest, fear, loss of control...whew I identify, like the best of them (Al Green, Marvin Gaye). Lesson: Co-dependence don't work fools! Buy this album

This song got me through all of 2004. Oh man, I know every lyric (singing now: "The party ain't jumpin' like used too, even if it bruise[s] you, let it burn, let it burn, let it burn..." It's got everything: falsetto, drama, multiple perspectives on a relationship ending, longing, sexual desire and you can dance to it while in that slow-cool way that I could never do.It is seriously a sexy song. Almost makes breaking up worth it just so you can sing along with conviction! Usher is the man.He does R. Kelley better that R and with more class.

16.(Another Song) All Over Again- Justin Timberlake
Okay, I know it may seem like sacrilege to rate J. Tim higher than Usher, but I think the fact that this song is newer and gets more play on my iPod gives it the one up. Plus for the longest time, I thought this was some Chris Brown-like guy who just "sounded like Justin Timberlake." Lol, silly me. This is the song from the side of the
one who done fucked up, come on, we've all been there and done that. I know I done some fucked up shit to people. So you know, it never works out, but he puts his heart and soul into it. And it is much less bitter than "Cry Me a River," or "What Goes Around Comes Around," (although they are very good when you are wishing your ex(es) ill will); this song is completely tender with lots of melismas and falsetto. And begging, A+.

15.How Can I Ease the Pain?-Lisa Fischer. Sigh. Oh Lisa, you won awards, but did we really give you credit for being the bombity-ass singer you were? And not just for being Luther's back-up singer either. How can you write something so perfect as, "IF it's not loooovveeeeeeee, you're coming foooooorrrrrr, why [are] you here, knock-knock-knocking at my doooorrr. I can't take it no more, no more, no more baby, give me love or nothing at alllllllll (in a high C no less)." Shit woman, you can wrench a tear out of a stone. Play this song only if you have friends or family to rescue you from your broke-down heart puddle.

14.Picture in a Frame- Ben Harper. He's angry. He's hurt. He writes a gorgeous traveling road song. The reminiscing doesn't bring the love back, as "all that's a picture sitting in a frame." Yup, perfect.

13.You Don't Know what Love Is- Cassandra Wilson. This song, honey, over honey, over the smoothest honey. Ms. Wilson's voice is unbelievable, hypnotic, fierce and bereft. "You don't know what love is until you learn the meaning of the blues, til you've lost a love, you had to lose, you don't know what love is." Really? For shizz? Whyyy? Exactly. That's love and "sangin'" about it.

12. The entire Bitter album- Me'shell Ndegeocello. You just have to listen. In the dark, on your bed, with minimal clothing. Trust me.

11. Mary J. Blige's whole discography. I mean really, Mary J. is synonymous with heartache. And I know people say that they don't like her "know that she's happy." HATERS!! Mary J. cans still bring the pain to a sunny day and make you like it. Some MJB classic lost love songs: "Your Child" --ridiculously ghetto but still sort of amazing, her cover of Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing," "I'm the Only One You Need" and "You Gotta Believe," off of what is arguably Mary's best album, My Life and of course, "I Can Love You."

10. Getting Late- Floetry. Floetry can be a bit corny sometimes, but their first album has some incredible classics. "It's Getting Last," not only has glorious lyrics, harmonies, and concept, but gets at the vulnerability of hurt inside a relationship. How sex, desire, fear, fantasy and the reality of what is or was and how it all plays out with never enough time..."it's getting last, why you gotta be here?"

9. Just Friends/ Valerie (live on the DL) Amy Winehouse

8.The entire Dummy album--Portishead
7. Do I Love You?- Ella Fitzgerald
6.Bittersweet-Lewis Taylor (the best British soul singer EVER)
5.Weird Fishes/Arpeggi-Radiohead
4.TIE: Green Eyes- Erykah Badu/ Led Zepplin- Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
3.Oh Sailor or I Know- Fiona Apple
2. TIE: Lesson Learned- Alicia Keys ft John Mayer/ Ex-Factor (original or remix)- Lauryn Hill: both of these songs are complex, perspective-shifting pleas/homages to lost love. Timeless

And number one is:

1. A House is a Not a Home by the late and great Ms., uh, Mr. Luther Vandross

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brooklyn Public Schools and The Post

This happened a few days ago and I meant to post it then, from my roomie, the divine Ms. UnaKariim:

"So right now, I'm trapped inside the school building because the school is surrounded by police and media.

Nothing jumped off today but this rawkus is a continuation of a meelee that ensued several weeks ago and may not die until someone actually dies. Today is obviously safe--nothing will happen with the news and the police around. The NYPost is sort of gossipy and ranks last of top NYer reads---3rd to the Times and the Daily News. What is crazy is that our small school drama that escalated into big drama (in a city of over 8 million people) The Post that has escalated into neighborhood drama is being covered by News4 as I type.

In this case of drama, the parents became involved on multiple levels... Some bringing their kids to school TO fight, some fighting (or bringing other family members to fight, some coming to escort their kids to school and to meet with other parents and the principal to come up with solutions. No solutions were reached, the room was filled with emotionally charged parents talking over one another pointing fingers and no real solutions at the end.

Shootings in and around this neighborhood are common place when it gets warm, and for those who don't know my car, poor thing, was actually caught in random cross-fire last fall.

I don't really worry about losing my life, I just worry about the kids and pray that I don't get maimed or caught up in something crazy.

What is sad is that all of this coverage is happening over escalating violence. However, I doubt that if news were asked to come and cover the horrendous disparities between this school (evident in the filth, the lack of technology and other BASIC resources--i.e. a library and a librarian, class sizes under 30, and host of other disadvantages) and others, they would probably not come---nor would the parents. The sad thing is when anyone asks "what's wrong with education" everyone says "the teachers."

Hopefully this clears up so I can leave. I have 12 more instruction days left and the possibility of transferring next year remains in limbo.

I'll keep you posted and hopefully I can bounce outta here in the next 15 minutes."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Umm, Where's the Music Paradigm?

Yes, my friends, I am still making music. It's just sometimes these things take longer than one would like depending on circumstances. This last year has been spent "researching material," i.e, living life, encountering loss and profound change, having many happy, joyous and free moments, and working "tree job," like the family on In Living Color.

So, I've been working with my man Pat for a minute, but both of us are in grad school so sometimes it gets hectic. And frankly, I've had a severe case of writer's block for some time. It's slowly starting to lift. It's really part of the process and I've stopped being stumped/aggravated/incredulous by the natural ebb and flow of the mind and creativity. That's "deprivation mind." Oh, damn, ya'll don't know about that. It's a little inside joke between me and a Sandy. And it doesn't translate well virtually.

So, I am working on some songs: spoken word, rhyming and singing and basically listening to shitload of music; all types of music. What I'm really attempting to do is get real and in touch with my own voice or what is marketable or what might fit into some scene or category. At this point in my life and career, I'm not trying to famous. I really want to make and enjoy music and when this shit starts feeling like a job, naw, fuck it.

And I'm not talking about being some hairy-fairy "for the love" or "keeping it real, keeping it grimey" "authentic" art form either. I mean just simply as a person who gets tired, who is human, who wants to rest and chill, who wants a simple life, I'm not trying to run around the globe and sing for my supper. That shit is played for me. AND, I hate sleeping in strange beds, you know, hotels.

I was sort of reminding about why I shied away from "stardom" when I was at my 10 year reunion . So I sang in this group and we were sort of a big deal, on campus, but also we garnered quite a reputation in the college/university scene. A lot of that had to do with our pitch at the time, Hillary, who was/is a phenomenal musician/arranger/composer. And we found the most complicated songs ("Omaha" anyone?) and blasted them.

So I sang this song. It was bizarre that I even auditioned for it, but I did and got it. It became a sort of blessing/curse my entire career at Smith. It as "For What It's Worth." Now I know what you all are thinking: Stephen Stills/Buffalo Springfield? But it really was moving...

anyway, I think my own thinking and "Merchurry" being in "Retro-grate" (it's an inside joke), have contributed to my morose musings. The writer's block has been serious but it seems to be lifting a bit.

So I am writing new music, listening to every sound and reading a great deal and getting inspired from every portion of my life. We shall see what is made of all this.

Until soon...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Two Friends, Two Art Shows, Too Fly!

I have some talented friends and want you to go see their shows:

Next week, my good friend Kesha Bruce has her show opening up, details here. She's Coming to America all the way from France. Well, we met many years ago when she was still living in BK, but one of my favorite things about her is that she is from Iowa. yes, Iowa. I didn't know they had black people there either.Super-fun time will be had by one and all.

Another friend, Sophia Wallace, had an opening Tuesday, which I had to miss, but has a great show that I will be seeing very soon. Check it out.

I'm no art buff, but I am definitely learning more about it and appreciated the visual arts in greater measure. So many of my friends make visual art, I decided it's high time I get into it.

Anyway, I really am packing up my place. Moving day looks to be manana.Fun, fun, fun!

10 Year Reunion

I am not sure how someone who is only 21 yeas old has a 10 year reunion. How time flies when you are a child prodigy genius. HA!

(I just don't want any evidence of my age on the Internet for when I become a famous-for-no-reason starlet. My future publicist will appreciate it).

So, I went to Smith and I loved it and I realized how absolutely out of my mind I was from ages 17-22, uh I mean, 6-11. a-hem. I fell in love an average of 42 times a month and my reputation still follows me. Geez, sue a girl for being young and hormonal. Can I live??!??!!??!

Anywho, it was a total and absolute blast: so great to see and converse with people whom I used to see on a daily basis. Had some really lovely conversations (thanks Liz G!) and much hilarity ensued, especially when Molly, Sheridan, Amy, Marc and I were together. Marc, a distinguished gentleman from LA, had the patience of Job with our insane inside Smith jokes, "center campus" intrigue (center campus were where the "cool" kids lived, i.e., the kids who did all the drugs, scored all the boys and girls, DJed at WOZQ and generally made Smith a party. I was not cool, but lived there), and MOST terrifying of all, he dealt with our Noteables humor/reminiscing, including the list of all of our silly, immature and doomed comments from the peanut gallery. And for those of you trying to clown me, a Cappella was the 90s...on the East Coast. IT WAS!!! We won competitions. Anyway, Sher you have yourself a winner.

The best part of the reunion, I refuse to tell, because it makes me look like an utter jackass, goofball, although Molly and Sheridan re-told the story to whomever would listen. And their families apparently. Thanks "ladies." Let's just say it included me forgetting my name, calling myself Molly, and standing up as if I was a 19th century English countryside gentleman. Sigh, total nerdball.

And then there were the babies...I fell in love with them all, Judy's little girl,who she kept making give all of us kisses; Ayanna's two adorable girl (one of whom I kept referring to as "him" despite the full pink outfit. Thank you Frankie for correcting me gently and Ayanna for just indulging me),and them Amy's little man who fell asleep on my chest at Jake's. I don't know how you mommies do it, but I want one!!! ha ha ha.

For some reason, at the over-priced dinner ($50 for over-cooked asparagus, "fennel," and some sort of portabella mushroom-rice pilaf thing), I was given the award for the one with the most children, despite having none and it being a biological, medical and physical impossibility, due to me missing a few key baby-making portions of my female anatomy. We decided it was racist (why the black lady got to have the most kids? huh? huh? huh?), homophobic (why the lesbo have to have the most kids? huh? huh? ok that doesn't work), ableist (how come the cancer survivor has to win that award? huh? huh? huh?) and all sorts of "ists" and "isms" so good to be be back at Smith. The sad, single, childless homo is always an easy target. Damn you all, damn you all to hell!!

The best part was remembering that I never have before or after met white folks like I have at Smith. It doesn't matter if they are rich, middle-class or poor, American or no, urban, suburban, or rural, black, white or know what I mean: there is one commonality--they are GHETTO! Particularly my class. Example: we had 39% class giving participation and rasised...$13,000. (Opposed to the 1.5 Million other classes raised). And the best part? We laughed!!! Ghettois.

Also, I don't know about anyone else, but our class mix contained such classics as Next's "Too Close," Big Pun's "I'm not A Player," Ginuwine's "Pony," Mary J and Meth "You;re all I need remix" (still the best song EVER) and my favorite Something for the People's "My Love is the Shhh" remix with Trina and Tamara. What white people know these songs??!?!?!?!?!? Thank you Thea, I'm still bumping it.

It was the bizzity, so thank yo all for making it fun. Some of is are going out to night to dance our booties off at Cattyshack..oh dear, I can't wait to blog about it!!

Umm, for you freaks who keep emailing me about Flat Screen TV dates...leave me alone!! This is a blog folks, not real life. Geeez...but if you want to pay for an upgrade, we can talk...No, no, no just kidding...sort of.

Ok, here's Meth and Mary, it's not the remix but still, 1998 was a blazing summer and this kept it heated even though Lauryn Hill overshadowed the best hip hop album ever.

More blogging after I pack some more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cuz We Are Living in a Material World...

...I'm not much of a Material Girl. Really I'm not. I'm more of a reformed materialist; a recovering Material Girl if you will. HOWEVER, I've been bitten by the LCD flat screen bug. I have no idea why, now, or from where this has come, but I have some ideas.

1. I'm moving to a new place:
Since I'll pretty much have my own space, I can kick back and watch movies (I don't have cable/Direct TV) without feeling like a total isolationist and having it in my room. My current apartment (for the next little bit) has an old school TV, but it's never amounted to a big communal space. I'm also prone to fits of quiet solitude and don't always find the television soothing. In fact, I like more the way a tv (especially a flat screen) looks rather than how it sounds...BUT, it seems I am driiiiffffftinnggg toward getting one and watching it.

2. I miss TV: well mostly I want to watch HULU and I want my poor Mac to just be it's cute computer self, not double as a TV anymore. Uhh, fine I'll still have to hook up the VGA cable, but it sounds good anyway.

3. Something for the Ladies: That's right, "Do you want to see my flat screen?" gets 'em everytime.

So what will it be:

Well, I went to Circuit City (i.e. Bootleg-ass, Ghetto-ass City) tonight to price them. I decided against the TV/DVD combo, even though it seemed the easiest choice. But I know those combo-things ALWAYS break down quickly. I saw a Samsung I liked: 20 inches, under 300 bucks and super-cute, but no VGA...boooooo. so can't get it.

Then I went to ebay and saw one in my price range and size range. Proud to say I;m not a size queen so it can be between 19-22 inches...oh god, LOL, can you IMAGINE?!!??! Anywho, get your minds out of the gutter children!!!

We shall see. Any of you who have any advice or extra money lying around, hit me up Shante [AT] ShanteParadigm [DOT] com.

and ladies (and some special gents) get ready for some goooood loving opportunities.

This will be one of the gems I'll be watching on my new TV:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New York is Weird

So...I'm walking around the West Vill last night to make a few purchases at Satya and I see these guys who look like Secret Service. I peek my head into the bakery next door and who's there...Bill Clinton...eating cherry cheescake.

I SWEAR to you!

It's weird because seeing him in person, was like seeing him on the big screen. There was a fuzzy light around him. It was either the aura of enlightenment or some scary black-ops weirdo government neuro-disrupter. Which one do you think I chose?

Anyway, a no-neck (seriously, the dude had no neck) Agent came over and I said, "I guess I can't stand here, huh?" He replies," Well, you're standing here and then 5 guys are going to come over and ask you out and then I'm going to have to crack skulls." I looked at him and reminded him we were on the corner of Christopher and Bleecker Streets...he didn't need to worry about any men hitting on me. At least not the type he was speaking of.


Here's a weird picture I can actually show: a classic caddy with a taped roof top. I Heart NY
Happy Spring!

Calling All Musicians

(I was asked to pass this on)

Calling all musicians!

Want to get an inspirational message out there, but find yourself beating the same drum? Lambda Legal, the largest and oldest national legal organization dedicated to achieving civil rights for the LGBT and HIV communities, wants you!

This year we are hosting our biggest anti-workplace discrimination rally yet. Already thousands of Americans have signed the pledge, and we want thousands more to sign before our national Clock In Pledge-a-Thon for Workplace Equality on May 15. We’ve got victory on our minds and music in our hearts. There’s only one problem. We don’t have a theme song!

Want to give a unique gift to the fight against workplace discrimination? Help us educate the public, our allies and our communities about the harassment and discrimination LGBT people and people with HIV can face at work. Donate your very own inspirational, motivational and upbeat jam for us to put to our 2008 Clock In video on YouTube and you’ve got your name in the credits!

Double your exposure.

Send us your “I signed the pledge!” photo with your video to isigned[AT]lambdalegal [DOT]org, and we’ll post it to our Flickr Clock In group. Carson Kressley (Queer Eye) and Christian Siriano (Project Runway) did it. What are you waiting for?

Together we can crush workplace discrimination!

For more about Lambda Legal, visit Lambda Legal. For more about the 2008 Clock In Pledge-a-Thon for Workplace Equality, visit our Clock In page. And don’t forget to join us on MySpace!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

(NYC)Theorizing Blackness Conference TOMORROW!


Friday, April 4th, 2008

CUNY Graduate Center

365 5th Avenue (at 34th Street)

New York, NY 10016

8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

The Africana Studies Group (ASG) of the CUNY Graduate Center invites you to join us for a day of presentations and discussion.

On April 4th, 1968 the esteemed civil rights leader and social philosopher, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee thus marking what many regard as the closing bookend of the mainstream African-American Civil Rights Movement. Since that pivotal moment in 1968 (a watershed year in numerous other respects) momentous sociopolitical, technological, and cultural changes have occurred both within the United States and around the world. In light of those substantial changes, "Theorizing Blackness" asks: What does blackness mean in the current day? How is blackness conceived, constructed, represented, and consumed. How has it changed or remained the same?

Keynote speaker:

Professor Mark Anthony Neal is Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African American Studies and the Director of the Institute for Critical U.S. Studies (ICUSS) at Duke University.

Professor Neal is the author of four books: What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Public Culture (1998), Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic (2002), Songs in the Keys of Black Life: A Rhythm and Blues Nation (2003), and New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity (2005), and co-editor of That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (2004).

Plenary participants:

Dr. William E. Cross Jr. is the Director of the Social-Personality Psychology Ph.D. program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity.

Mahen Bonetti is the founder and Executive Director of African Film Festival Inc. (AFF), a non-profit art organization founded in 1990.

Jacqueline Nassy Brown is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College (CUNY). Dr. Brown is the author of Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool.

Donette Francis is an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Binghamton. She is currently writing a book defining the "third wave" of Caribbean women writers, Fictions of Citizenship: Rewriting Sexual Histories in Third Wave Caribbean Women's Literature, forthcoming in 2009.

Throughout the day, panels will be moderated by doctoral students and faculty members such as Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Leith Mullings and, Jerry G. Watts, Professor of English and Sociology and Interim Director of the Institute for Research in the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC).

Theorizing Blackness is FREE and OPEN to the public!!!

Theorizing Blackness Conference Schedule

Friday, April 4th, 2008

CUNY Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)

New York, NY 10016

8:00am - 9:00am: Registration / Breakfast

Please note that all events aside from the evening reception will be held on the Concourse Level of The Graduate Center

Bluestocking Books will be selling books on the Concourse Level from 4-6:30 pm

9:00am - 10:30am: Session 1

Panel 1 - Room C-197

Moderator: Kevin McGruder (CUNY Graduate Center)

La Marr Jurelle Bruce (Yale University): "Possessing the 'Body Beautiful': Black Drag Queens, White Heteronormativity, and 'Happily Ever After' in American Cinema"

Angelique Harris (California State University, Fullerton): "Sexuality and Homosexuality in the Black Church"

Panel 2 - Room C-202

"Cope, Conform or Resist?: How Blacks "Use" their Blackness at Predominantly White University" (University of Delaware)

Moderator: Dr. Yasser Payne

Brittany Pearl Battle

Mamawa Lemon Fofana

LaMar Rashad Gibson

Thea James Ogunusi

Carl Suddler

Panel 3 - Room C-201

Moderator: Hank Williams (CUNY Graduate Center)

Donald Levit (CUNY Graduate Center): "The Spiritual Present: The Inextricable Relationship Between Jazz and the Black Arts Movement"

Algernon Austin (The Thora Institute): "Mapping the Afrocentric Era, 1988-1998"

Leah M. Wright (Princeton University): "Constructions of Conservatism: Black Republicans, 1932-1964"

Panel 4 - Room C-198

"The Politics of the Black Atlantic Body and the Body of Black Atlantic Politics: Nation, Identity, and Resistance"

Moderator: Akissi Britton (CUNY Graduate Center)

Natalie Belisle (U. Wisconsin, Madison): "In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Spiritual Discourse and the Black Revolutionary Struggle in O Ano Em Que Zumbí Tomou O Rio"

Jessica Krug (U. Wisconsin, Madison): "Social Dismemberment, Social Remembering: Contested Kromanti Identities, Nationalism, and Obeah, 1675-Present"

T.J. Desch-Obi (Baruch College, CUNY): "Embodying Honour: Liberating Enslaved Identities Through the Body"

Jarett M. Fields (U. Wisconsin, Madison): "Blackness, the Body, and the 1968 Olympics"

Panel 5 - Room C-203

Moderator: Dr. Deborah Vietze (CUNY Graduate Center)

Julian Ellison: "Melanesia: Pacific Blacks in the African American Consciousness"

Kelly Baker-Josephs (York College, CUNY): "Afrofruturism from a Caribbean Past: The Local Orientation of a Black World Vision"

10:45am - 11:45am: Keynote Lecture:

Professor Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University)
"Fragments of a Feedback Loop: Blackness in Conversation"

12:00pm - 1:15pm: Lunch

1:30pm - 3:00pm: Session 2

Panel 6 - Room C-201

Moderator: Dr. Angelique C. Harris (California State University, Fullerton)

Alan R. Takeall (CUNY Graduate Center): "Black Uplift in the New Racial Domain"

Jacqueline Jones (Francis Marion University): "Pondering the Strange Meaning of Being Black or How Black Can I Be At Work?"

Panel 7 - Room C-198

"Theorizing the African Diaspora": (U.C. Berkeley African Diaspora Studies Graduate Group)

Moderator: Anamaria Flores (CUNY Graduate Center)

Vielka Cecilia Hoy: "Race, Multiple Diasporas, and Points of Departure: Creating a Framework for Theorizing Afro-Latinos"

Petra Raquel Rivera: "'Soca, Reggae, Reggaetón, Tropical Mix': Afro-Latino Spaces and Notch's Reggaetón"

Asia Leeds: "Redeeming Black Womanhood: Newspaper Portraits and Notions of Femininity in Marcus Garvey's Negro World"

Robeson T. P. Frazier: "From Mao to Yao: Chinese–African American Exchanges in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century"

Panel 8 - Room C-197

Moderator: Rashida Bumbray (Assistant Currator, The Kitchen)

Johanna Faith Cacho Almiron (University of Hawaii, Manoa): "Still Not For Sale: Basquiat's Blackness & The Reeboppers"

Jordana Saggese (Santa Clara University): "Basquiat's Blackness: Re-defining an African-American Aesthetic"

Panel 9 - Room C-202

Moderator: Kazembe Belagun (The Brecht Forum)

Janette Yarwood (CUNY Graduate Center): "Deterritorialized Blackness: (Re)making Coloured Identity Among Youth in Post-Apartheid South Africa"

Sara Nichole Artes (American University): "We are, But We Aren't: Constructing African American Identity Through Cultural Heritage Performance on the US/Mexican Border"

Alexander Lamazares (Bronx Community College, CUNY): "Afro-Cuban Aesthetics: The Africa Decade, Secret Societies, and Racial Politics"

Panel 10 - Room C-203

Moderator: Gregory Pardlo (CUNY Graduate Center)

Marissel Hernández-Romero (CUNY Graduate Center): "Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Female Literature: A Threat to an Imagined Nation?"

Katherine Baxter (University of Hong Kong): "New Black Fiction of the Far East"

Ronald Tyson (Raritan Valley Community College): "The Changing Same": Essentialized Blackness in Contemporary African American Popular Fiction"

Panel 11 - Room C-204

"The Ontologies of James Baldwin"

Moderator: Dr. Jerry G. Watts (CUNY Graduate Center)

Sam Han (CUNY Graduate Center): "An Encounter of Mitsein: The Ontology of James Baldwin's Ethics of Victimhood"

David Stein (Yale University): "(Re)naming/Revealing: James Baldwin's Theorizations of Racialized Formations Under the Terror of State Sanctioned Violence"

3:15pm - 4:45pm: Session 3

Panel 12 - Room C-197

Moderator: Dr. Leith Mullings (CUNY Graduate Center)

Yamuna Sangarasivam (Nazareth College): "'Terrorist' as Fugitive Slave: Blackness in the Foundations of Citizenship and Democracy"

Robin Hayes (Santa Clara University): "African Liberation, Black Power and a Diasporic Underground"

Juliana Smith (University of California, San Diego): "Freedom Dreams: Political Exile, U.S. Social Movements, and Post-Revolutionary Cuba"

Panel 13 - Room C-201

Moderator: Leslie Craigo (CUNY Graduate Center)

Daren Graves (Simmons College): "Critical Racial Awareness, Racialized Aspects of School Culture, and Academic Achievement: Listening to the Voices of Black High School Students"

Jessica Ruglis (CUNY Graduate Center): "The Graduation Rate Crisis: Adverse Consequences and the Construction of Blackness in the Context of Cultural Oppression"

Gail Perry-Ryder (CUNY Graduate Center): "Making Race Real: Exploring the Intersection of Race, Academic Performance and Educational Culture in Our Public Schools and Colleges"

Brian Purnell (Fordham University): "From "Negro" to "Black": Black Power Politics in New York City's Public Schools During the Mid-1960s – The Story of Jitu Weusi (Les Campbell) and the Origins of the Afro-American Teachers' Association"

Panel 14 - Room C-198

Moderator: Lise Esdaile (CUNY Graduate Center)

La Marr Jurelle Bruce (Yale University): "Looking for Lauryn: Madness, Genius, and the Black Prophetess,"

Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Vanderbilt University): "Salvaged Tongue: Transnational Translations of English Between Black Feminists"

GerShun Avilez (University of Pennsylvania): "'Once You Go White': Inter-racial Desire and Contemporary Black Female Identity in Film"

Stacie McCormick (CUNY Graduate Center): "From Jolly Joe's Lady Minstrels to Madea Simmons: Enduring Representations of Black Womanhood through Impersonation"

Panel 15 - Room C-202

"How Much and What Kind of Blackness is Enough?": (University of Delaware Black American Studies Department)

Moderator: Dr. James M. Jones (University of Delaware)

James M. Jones and David Wilson: "Black Enough?: Dimensions of Blackness and Attitudes toward Black Leaders"

Carol Henderson: "Boxing' on Paper: Authenticity in the Preservation of a Black Self"

Antonia Randolph: "Retreating from Race: The Social Cost of Erasing Black Ethnicity"

Yasser Payne: "Street Life Black Men: A Culture of Honor, Respect and Resilience"

Maggie Ussery: "Not Just any Job: The Development of Work-related Identity in Young, Black Workers"

Panel 16 - Room C-203

Moderator: Dr. James DeJongh (The City College of New York, CUNY)

Richard Perez (CUNY Graduate Center): "Archives, Knowledges, and Detours: Rereading the Black Atlantic with and against Ian Baucom's Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History"

DeWitt King (University of California, Santa Barbara): "Theorizing Black Geographies"

Panel 17 - Room C-204

"Post(modern) Blackness"

Moderator: Tyler Schmidt (CUNY Graduate Center)

Alessandra Raengo (Georgia State University): "Counterfeit Currency: Race at Face Value"

Jonathan Gray (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY): "Black Cultural Artifacts and the Conditions of Democracy"

Danielle Jackson: "Beyond Race: Black People and the Multicultural Idea in Contemporary Magazine Culture"

5:00pm – 6:45pm: Evening Plenary:

Moderator: William E. Cross Jr. (CUNY Graduate Center)

Mahen Bonetti (African Film Festival, Inc.)

Jacqueline Nassy Brown (Hunter College, CUNY)

Donette Francis (Binghamton University, SUNY)

7:00pm – 9:00pm: Closing Reception/Party – Room 5414

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Workplace Equality

Hi Ya'll:

I'm working on a campaign called Clock In which works to ensure that LGBT folks and folks with HIV can work free of harassment and discrimination. Do you care? I hope so. What can you do? Sign this little pledge. you can do more as well.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Bliss

One of My Cute-as-Heck Nephews

This is Kaleb Hermes Caraballo Smalls having his first taste cereal. I hope that's some organic,wheat-free, gluten-free, taste-free flax and prune cereal ya'll feeding him!!

ha ha!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Calling All Black Star Fans!

I remember my first Black Star show: it was the Malcolm X Grassroots Movements Black August show at the Bowery Ballroom. Those were the days. Common was still a homophobe. No one but the NYC underground kids had heard of dead prez, The Roots were blowing up,Sarah Jones was giving true hip hop feminism, and Erykah was still wearing her headwrap. Well, now you TOO can "reminisce over you my god," and submit your thoughts, theories, poetries, music, etc to Proud Flesh's call for papers honoring the 10th Anniversary of Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. (thanks Alena for alerting me to this!)

"Brown skin lady, how you doin'? Brown skin lady, how you feeeel? I like the way you walk when you walk on by..."

Call for Papers: Black Star’s 10th Anniversary

In honor of Black Star’s ten-year anniversary, Proud Flesh is calling for
works that speak to the impact and legacy of their masterpiece album, Mos
Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, for an upcoming journal

Released in the fall of 1998, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star
re-energized the b-boy and backpacker face of Hip Hop with a heightened
analytic and deep consciousness of self and community. Taking their name
from Marcus Garvey and the UNIA’s 1920s shipping company (established to
move Black Americans to a Black state located in Liberia), Black Star,
conceptually and sonically, presented a wide and colorful depiction of
Black life and Black identity.

In contrast to much of the mainstream Hip Hop of that period, they
stressed that life should be more about “the struggle” than “the hustle,
”and critiqued viewpoints that conceived of Black culture in only singular
terms. On “Definition,” Mos Def raps: “Manhattan keep on makin it,
Brooklyn keep on takin it, so relax we're takin it back, Redhook where
we're livin at. Plenty cats be struggling not hustlin and bubblin, if it
ain't about production and -- what else we discussin?” Black Star
chronicled Black folks’ ability and tenacity to produce via work,
language, the arts, communal culture, and cultural production.

A decade has passed since the release of this monumental album. More than
a hot album, this thirteen-track masterpiece continues to offer a
theoretical and practical analysis of urban Black culture and politics,
and a grass-roots base of knowledge that is not adequately engaged. By
stating in their album’s introduction that their music was not meant to
“stand still,” the group signaled that their conception of time and space
did not adhere to the linearity of common epistemological standards.

Acknowledging their point that the music cannot and should not stand
still, Proud Flesh is calling on writers, academics, artists, community
activists/organizers, and fans to submit essays, poems, prose,
photography, graphic artwork, etc., detailing how this album has impacted
your work and your life. Included in this are critical analyses of the
album and/or individual songs, works that place the album and/or songs
within a broader context and legacy (historical, political, social,
artistic), and works that speak to the album's continued relevance.

We are asking that all works be submitted by May 1, 2008 to:

Visit Proud Flesh at for more information.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight!--Kung Fu Blaxploitation!

Me and Tavia be pre'sen'in'



THE DEADLY ART OF SURVIVAL (dir. Charlie Ahearn, 1979)/
80 BLOCKS FROM TIFFANY'S (Gary Weis, 1979)

WHEN: Tuesday 4 March 2008, 6pm
WHERE: 53 Washington Square South, Room 428
All Welcome. Refreshments provided.

“They think they’re outlaws. I think they’re bums.” The late 1970s witnessed the first trickle of films to look at the battered housing projects, block parties, ghetto self-fashioning, MCs language, and joyous, fugitive sounds and textualities that birthed what later came to be known as hip hop culture. THE DEADLY ART OF SURVIVAL by Charlie Ahearn, director of the celebrated ‘Wild Style’ (1983), is a no-budget, Super-8 martial-arts epic, influenced in equal parts by ‘The Harder They Come’ and Andy Warhol, in which black and Puerto Rican kids from the Lower East Side ninja-fight and karate-kick their rivals, some of them belonging to the magnificently titled ‘Disco Dojo’ crew, across local rooftops and handball courts.

Ahearn’s film was later projected at parties and shows around NYC where its Bruce Lee creolisations went down a storm. They represented a caperish counterpoint to the more solemn flexings and macho struttings of the gangs depicted in Gary Weis’s documentary 80 BLOCKS FROM TIFFANY’S, a look at the Savage Nomads and Savage Skulls gangs that competed for ascendancy in recessionary, quasi-apocalyptic Bronx. Sporting Nazi regalia and fiercesome moustaches, brimming with near-psychotic violence, they come on like a real-life version of The Warriors. The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture is delighted to present a very rare screening of these two hugely evocative and enjoyable time pieces that spotlight an all-too under-recorded segment of recent New York cultural history.

The films will be co-presented by Tavia Nyong’o, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at NYU, and author of ‘Punk’d Theory’ in Social Text and ‘Do You Want Queer Theory (Or Do You Want the Truth?)’ in Radical History Review; and by Shante Paradigm Smalls, an emcee, singer, poet, events producer, writer, and PhD student in Performance Studies at NYU.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Check out Invincible!

My homegirl, Invincible, has a new label and website up. Please check her out. I met Invincible in 2000 at a GLAAD panel on Homophobia and Hip Hop. There were two of us artists on the panel, as well as James Earl Hardy. GLAAD wanted us to talk about how horrible hip hop was and why we as black folks was 'shamed of it. Well. We were having none of that.

At any rate, I met her and we ended up vibin', staying in touch and building together over the years. She is also a part of an incredible group, called The Anamolies, an all-female, multi-racial/ethnic hip hop group filled with emcees, DJ, breakers and poppers.

Independent Hip Hop Forever!

How To Read This Blog

I realized some of my readers are less tech-savvy than others ("hi mom!") and since I changed my site design, I may have overlooked some key information about reading this blog. It's simple really: all hyperlinks are in bold, um except that one.

Enjoy reading, linking and having fun.

OH! And if you have personal blogs or websites that you'd like for me to put on my Friends list to the right, please send them on to me.

Enjoy the Spring-like weather!

New Queer Female DJ Party

My research comes to Life!! Ha ha ha. Seriously, my homegirls are throwing a new part in LES.
They'll be spinning hip hop, R&B, House, Old Skool soul and hip hop. Good times!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Music Scholar, Music Holla!

When I'm not reading my new fave site, I'm busily thinking about, talking about, listening to, and making music. I've recently had a flurry of scholarly-related music/popular culture gigs. Tabs, Gelsey Bell and I are trying to get some money to make an album over the next year. That's the hotness.

Here's a little pic of us messing around, even though Chris made fun of my lack of gee-tar skills by saying I was playing "More Than Words." God helps us all.

Today, it was a PS Panel of Plenty! It was organized by MA students, Eric Miles Glover and Ellen Cleghorne and featured stellar thinkers and practitioners, Marti Newland, Frank Leon Roberts and Tavia Nyong'o as well as yours truly. It was a great panel with incredible range (music, lit, politics, theatre, TV).

Next Tuesday, Tavia and I are doing a great talk for the Colloqium for Unpopular Culture at NYU's SCSA on two obscure films, Deadly Art of Survival and 80 Blocks from Tiffanys. Come watch the bizarre unfold with us!

Ok, just downloaded the new Erykah, so gotta rock that. Even though some Educated Black Folks think she's too popular.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jean Grae, Talib Kweli, and MC Colt 45???

Sooooo, I'm writing about Jean Grae in-depth for my Doctoral dissertation. I have no title as of yet, but the topic is: The Performance of Gender and Sexuality in New York City Hip Hop from 1985-Present. Whew!

And one day, I will break it down, but for now, I want to talk a little about Jeanie. Jean is a fascinating lyricist, vocalist,producer. She was formerly known as Wha? Wha? and has had a strange, brilliant and somewhat frustrating career as a preeminent underground emcee. Of course, she is a particular breed of emcee, being female, South African-born, fiercely and poetically honest in her subject matter, tone and delivery.

But she's also one hell of a comedian. My homeboy, B Prof (you got a webpage, boo?) sent me this AMAZING video, featuring Talib Kweli and Jean Grae. It's an episode of the MTV web series MADE.

In this one, MC Colt 45 wants to...oh just watch it, it's GLORIOUS!!!

Selling My Djembe

It's beautiful, it's large, it's from Af-Ri-Kaaaaaa (read "authentic.").

Seriously, it's a beautiful drum. I got it in 2001 when I was Dakar, Senegal.

It's in lovely condition, sounds wonderfully and is gorgeous to look at as well as play.

Hit me up with an offer or send your friends to me.



Sunday, February 03, 2008

Voices of Queer Black Women: A Panel Discussion

Hi All:

Just a reminder about this panel.

Hope to see some of you there, now that I am getting over this flu!


Don't miss this exciting panel event, which is part of African Heritage Month!

Voices of Queer Black Women: A Panel Discussion

THIS MONDAY, February 4th

6:00-8:00pm, Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square South), Room 908

Come hear the voices of Ash (an international undergrad from Zimbabwe and leader of Shades), Shante Paradigm (ABD Doctoral Student, Performance Studies (Tisch)/Artist)., e. Frances White, PhD (NYU’s Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs), and Hanifah Walidah (Brooklyn-based filmmaker, co-producer of “U People”), as they speak about their experiences as queer black women. This event is brought to you as part of NYU’s African Heritage Month and V-Day/Voices for Choice, and is co-sponsored by Shades and CampGrrl.

Tom Bourdon
Program Administrator
NYU LGBT Office (212) 998-4699

Thursday, January 31, 2008

RIP Peace Out East Website

Hello my friends:

As some of you know, I am discontinuing to produce Peace Out East as I am ready to move on and do other projects.

As a practical matter, I have discontinued the page. You can still befriend POE at the myspace page.

Thank you for all of your support for POE all these years.

Holla at your girl!


Black, Female and Queer Panel at NYU 2/4

Panel Discussion: The Voices of Queer Black Women

Hi ya'll:

Come and hear a great panel on Monday, featuring 4 fabulous black, queer women: me, e. Frances White, Ash, chair of NYU LGBTQ of Color group, SHADES and Hanifah Walidah

Monday, February 4, 2008
Time: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Location: Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square South), Room 908

Complete Description from NYU:

Come hear the voices of Ash (an international undergrad from Zimbabwe and leader of Shades), Shante Paradigm (ABD Doctoral Student, Performance Studies (Tisch)/Artist)., e. Frances White, PhD (NYU's Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs), and Hanifah Walidah (Brooklyn-based filmmaker, co-producer of "U People"), as they speak about their experiences as queer black women. This event is brought to you as part of NYU's African Heritage Month and V-Day/Voices for Choice, and is co-sponsored by Shades and CampGrrl.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Show this Wednesday, 1/23

Hi Ya'll:

I'm doing a short set in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, around 8pm at Cattyshack Check out the details!!

Jan 23- Lesbian Justice League Fundraiser at Cattyshack, Brooklyn, NY. Me, doing some songs, come, enjoy and get your drink on. See? That rhymed, that's what I do, rhyme. Yay me! Come support, by a cd, take pictures of me, etc.

Here's the blurb:
Brooklyn, NY

Lesbian Justice League Celebration
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
With Executive Director Kate Kendell Esq.

Catty Shack Club & Bar
249 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Suggested donation $10

Come party with the Lesbian Justice League: The National Center for Lesbian Rights and The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice as they celebrate 30 years of fighting the good fight. Executive Directors Kate Kendell and Katherine Acey will be in attendance. This Outreach party for both organizations features a special performance by Shante Paradigm, a Brooklyn emcee and singer. Attendees will have the chance to win fabulous door prizes.

For more information, please contact Eleanor Palacios at or at 415.365.1309.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Paradigm Consulting

Happy New Year All!

I hope that 2008 is bringing you all much joy, fun, and peace. I wanted to let you all know about a new business I am launching. I've started a boutique consulting firm, specialinzing in non-profits and artists. I am calling it Paradigm Consulting. The non-profit is a bit more off the ground. I have two clients, but can't let you know about them yet, as the ink is not signed on the contracts.

I am also working on building a business to help represent and book DJs (other artists to follow if I have time). If you are a DJ and you are interested in working with me on this, let me know. I am adding this consulting work to my website, so we shall see how that goes.

In other news, I have decided to discontinue producing Peace Out East. It's sad, but pragmatic news. I am writing a dissertation, working on an album, and building a business, and POE is incredibly daunting work. My intention is to turn the POE website into a living archive of sorts. I will keep the myspace page as well.

That's the news for now. I have a show coming up in two weeks at Cattyshack, on Jan 23rd.

Holla at your girl!!!!