Monday, January 25, 2010

Your Dilema, God's Answer

Yesterday my pastor told this story in church:

Two men were walking in the forest and they had been walking for sometime, and due to the harsh weather one of the men's lips became chapped. Since he had no chap stick he continued to lick his lips in effort to give himself some relief, but as a result of the constant licking his lips got drier and drier.

So after going back and forth with this problem until it became unbearable, he finally asked his partner, who happened to be a master woodsman, if he had any advice for him to alleviate his problem. And being the master woodsman that he was his friend assured him that he did indeed have the answer to his problem.

"Tell me!" said the man with the dry cracked lips, "I'll do anything!"

The other man looked at him earnestly and said, "Go and find some horse manure and wipe it on your lips."

"How will that help?" the chapped man asked angrily.

"Simple," the master woodsman said seriously. "One, the manure will sooth your cracked lips and two, it will also keep you from licking them."

This story while comical, struck a chord because the point that the pastor made was that sometimes when we ask God for a solution to our problems he doesn't always give us the answer that we were expecting. Sometimes instead of taking us the most direct and obvious route, He will take us over the river and through the woods to show us that even though it may not make sense to us at that point, in the end we will see that through it all God is God and for Him all things are possible. 

And then sometimes He will do it just because we tend to forget that God is in charge. We tend to want to tell him how we "think" it should be done, or how we would have done it, and he doesn't need our input. Sometimes his method is to humble us and teach him to trust Him and His wisdom and plan for our lives.

So when you go to God in search of an answer to your problem, be prepared to accept His answer. It may not be the one your were expecting, or the one that you wanted, but trust that whatever He says is what's best for you in the end.

His ways are not always for us to understand but they always work out for the good. Even if it means a little manure on your lips!

Be blessed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Recently my 7-year-old daughter reminded me that sometimes children are much wiser than we give them credit for. For those who don't know her, my daughter is a very intelligent and headstrong little lady. She has a mind of her own and she's not afraid to tell you what she's thinking.

Her most recent project has been to save up enough money to buy herself an IPhone, just because wants a phone and feels that she should have one. (Again, she's only 7) But I told her, emphatically, that she doesn't need an IPhone, or any other kind of phone, and that under no circumstances was I going to buy her one; thus her determination to save her own money to get it and to date she had saved $30 and some change. This was quite an accomplishment for her because money literally seems to burn a hole in her pocket.

The other day, after hearing about the earthquake in Haiti she decided that she wanted to start a charity so that she could help people.  To get her started I told her to come up with a name for her charity and make a list of the things she wanted to do to help and things she could to do to raise money. So she immediately ran off to get her little notebook and began to make her list; this went on for two days and she consulted with me every step of the way. By the time she was done she had planned what kind of cookies she was going to sell, for how much, where and etc...

But then the next morning as I was getting ready for work, she came to with a sealed white envelope and said, "Here, mom."

I said, "What's this?"

She said, "It's all the money in my bank. I want you to give it to the homeless people who live in the park by your job."

Not really believing that she had put all of her money in that envelope, I looked at her for moment and then asked her how much was in it and she said, "Thirty dollars and all my change."

I said, "You don't have to give away all your money, don't you want to keep some for yourself so you can keep saving for your phone?"

And she looked at me with a sincerity that almost made me cry and said, "No, mommy, I want you to give it all to them."

I was speechless, and trying to hold back tears, so all I could do was take the envelop with my baby's hard earned money in it and promise her that I would do what she asked: I would give the envelope to a homeless person in the park by my job.

After that conversation with my little girl, I felt so blessed to have had that experience. She showed me that despite all the times that I thought she wasn't listening when I tried to tell her about what God has done for us and explain why we need to be kind and give to others, she was listening.  And that made me feel like maybe I had done something right somewhere along the way. She also made me realize that if she could give her last, then maybe I could afford to give a little more.

So needless to say, there is a lot we can learn from the mouths of our babies who watch, see and hear everything we do...even though we may think they're not paying attention.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review- The Nature of a Woman

I just finished reading a book called The Nature of a Woman by Sylvester Stephens and I have to say that I am so happy to see that Zane is doing her thing in the publishing world and expanding her horizons.

The Nature of a Woman was the tale of Dr. Johnny Forrester, a psychologist who struggles with a condition known erotomania, or nymphomania as it more commonly called. No surprise there. But this man, believing that he has beaten his addiction to sex goes on to open his own practice, gets remarried and tries to life a respectable life as an adoring husband and father.

But as Dr. Forrester attempts to run his life and business without incident, he finds his world in chaos after losing the battle of temptation to a sexy star who just won't take no for an answer. And amidst all of that, he tries to balance a roster of interesting patients that range from bulimic to schizo to paranoid while learning the important lesson of how to decipher the nature of women.

As we go with the good Dr. on his journey of debauchery, somebody ultimately ends up dead, and from there the who-dun-it aspect comes into play; and just like that you have a mystery on your hands.

Now let me say that overall I really liked the book. In addition to some very intriguing plot points it really gave some interesting insight to how psychology works, and if you've ever read any of my books you know I like to explore the crazy things that people do. It had me staying up late nights to try to hurry up and get to the end to find out who the killer was. But guess what? He never tells you! I really can't express how mad I was at the end of this book!

I absolutely, positively hate, hate, hate it when a story does not get resolved at the end. I mean, yes, I do understand that some writer's like to leave cliff hangers but it's just wrong to leave a reader hanging on the very thing that drove the whole story in the first place!

Needless to say, even though I thought the book was good, I felt really cheated after I finished that book.

But nevertheless, The Nature of a Woman is still a good book to cuddle up with if you're looking for a book to keep warm with this winter.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Book of Eli- Review

 When I walked into the theater to see The Book of Eli I had really high expectations. I mean let’s face it, when has Denzel Washington ever done a bad movie, with the exception of Inside Man? And not to mention that he’s quite the sexy one when he’s slinging guns and swords and beating up bad guys and what not.
The action packed trailer previews had me feeling like I just had to see this movie in the theater, or I would really be missing out something. But I have to be honest, now that I’ve seen it I’m not really sure how I felt about it.
The storyline focuses on Eli (played by Washington), the lone wanderer who walks the Earth on a holy mission headed west with only his sword, a couple of guns and his backpack; and in this backpack, among his bare essentials, he carries the very last copy of the King James Bible.
Apparently, Eli’s present day world was part of some post-apocalyptic war that wiped out a vast majority of the human race, and those who survived somehow managed to burn all the Bibles in the world. So in the absence of the Word of God, the human race has given into their primal nature which basically boils down to “survival of the fittest” and from there the film takes on an I Am Legend meets Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome type of feel.
Carnegie, the antagonist played by Gary Oldman who is hell-bent on getting his hands on the book by any means necessary, was tolerable.  After having bad guys like Heath Ledger and Gerard Butler to compare him to, he kind of left a lot to be desired.
Then there was Solara, played by Mila Kunis (Jackie from That 70’s Show), in whom our friend Eli found an unlikely ally to make his already obscure journey a little more difficult.  We know that there always has to be a whiney chick that asks way too many questions and then gets kidnapped at some point causing the hero to have to make a “choice”, but Kunis did ok in her role even though it was hard for me to stop thinking of her as Jackie.  By the end of the movie, I honestly say that I could see her getting into more action films.
Even though there was plenty of action, the storyline was a little choppy for me in the way that it didn’t give enough background into the main characters as to who they were or how they ended where there where in the movie.  But again, Denzel played the tough guy role very well.
Overall, the movie was entertaining and I did enjoy the fact that Hollywood showed that they do acknowledge that the Bible is still a very important book in this day and age, and that without it humanity is destined for chaos. But other than that, I’m still a little torn about this one.
If you like to go to the show for the thrill of seeing lots of action, shoot outs, fights…and Denzel, then the theater is the place for you to see this film.  If you are the type of person who is more appreciative of a good solid storyline, then this is not the film for you; catch it on DVD.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Crabs in a Barrel

What would really happen if the Black community as a whole banded together in a unified movement to strengthen their communities? Can you imagine how powerful that would be?

When I think about what people like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers sacrificed it really makes it hard to understand exactly where everything went so horribly wrong. These people fought and died for Blacks to have the basic rights and privileges of life, but today there seems to be a serious lack of regard for the sacrifices that were made for those things.

In any other culture that you can think of, they practice supporting each other. They are raised to build wealth together; Arabs, Asians, name it. Blacks are the only race that don't band together to advance their community as a whole. We suffer from what is commonly known as the "crab in the barrel" mentality, which in a nutshell means that "if I can't have it, I don't want you to have it either".

We don't support each other in business, the successful tend to horde the knowledge they have obtained that ultimately led to their success, we allow drugs and alcohol to overrun our neighborhoods, our children are allowed to take their educations for granted and we are constantly fighting amongst each other.

Is it a case of the Willie Lynch theory still manifesting itself in this day and age? In what is now the 21st century, are we still allowing the slave mentality to hinder our advancement in the world?

Hate is defined as "to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest." If you dislike the idea that someone might obtain something you want before you do, or you feel extreme aversion toward doing something for someone else that is outside of your comfort zone, or you detest the fact that another person is persevering while you may be struggling, you are a hater by definition.

Hating is unproductive. If you want to get ahead, extend a hand to help someone else. You can't receive your blessings if your hand is always closed in a tight fist trying to hold on to what you have. Abandon the crab in the barrel mentality and stop being afraid that someone else might get something that you don't have.

Ignorance, apathy, selfishness and greed are cancerous poisons that are stagnating the Black community. Get active so we can get well soon.

Love is love.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I am a staunch believer in media training for artists, politicians and others who spend a majority of their time in the public eye.

As a journalist, I can honestly say that there's nothing worse than having to conduct an interview where you feel like you have to pull teeth to get any kind of pertinent information. I'm talking about the kind of interview where the person you are talking to has no clue who they are, what they're about or even what it is that they're supposed to be promoting.

So I have to give 50 Cent props for his interview skills.

I got an opportunity to watch him on Fuse TV a few nights ago and even though I find him to be very arrogant at times, I had to admit that he was very well-spoken and well-versed on who he is as a person and as an artist.

He skillfully maintained control of the interview and the direction it was allowed to go in, and when he was asked about controversial issues he looked the interviewer in the eye and addressed each question with finesse.

I always get excited when I see Black artists interview well because media is always so quick to try to make them look bad. That is why I stress to the up and coming artists I encounter that they get media training and take it seriously, because as an artist your image is all you have. It is up to you to make sure that you put the best "you" forward at all times, but especially when there is a microphone or camera in front of your face. Because like I always say, once you put it out there you can't take it back.

So in celebration of the New Year here are some free tips to remember for your next interview:

1) Always be on time (Black people really seem to have a problem with that one)
2) Greet your interviewer with a positive attitude and a firm handshake
3) Do NOT chew gum!!!!!!!!!!
4) Do NOT wear sunglasses!!!!!!!!!!!(It's hard to have a serious conversation with someone if you can not see their eyes. It makes it seems as if you have something to hide or that you feel the person you are talking to is beneath you.)
5) During the interview be charismatic and try not to give 1 word answers- nobody likes a boring/dry interview

Whether you are an artist, politician, or a person looking for a job these are just few tips that are applicable to any interview scenario: Job, television, radio, or print.

Here are some examples of bad interviews:

Destiny's Child

James Brown

Young Dro:

Know your yourself and know your craft! No matter what the scenario, you'd be surprised how far a good interview will get you.

If you happen to be an artist in need of media training please contact me at and put "Media Training" in the subject line. Don't be afraid...I'll be gentle. Just don't be late to my class.

Happy New Year!