Love For Culture

If you have meet me in person or seen my tweets on Twitter you probably know something about what I love. It’s really no secret, my Twitter profile tells you “CARIBBEAN music enthusiast” and that is the honest truth. Granted, the island I hail from is not considered to be a Caribbean island but you couldn’t visit Bermuda and not notice the Caribbean cultural influences in the way we live our lives, the way we carry ourselves but especially in the music we listen to. For that reason, I consider myself and my culture to be Caribbean-influenced.

We’re a laid-back people, Bermudians. For the most part we’re not as fast paced as the major cities of the United States or even London from our Colonial Power, Great Britain. But do not take our laid-back characteristic as a weakness, we as a people know exactly what we want for ourselves. Personally, music is what I want! I cannot really express how much I love music, more specially Caribbean music such as Reggae and Dancehall. Initially, I believe it was because my mother used to play music at home every chance she could on her record player; it wasn’t reggae, however. But seeing how much my mother loved the music she played, I think that intrigued me into finding out why she loved music so much and finding a love all my own. Sounds kind of corny, but looking back on my childhood that is exactly what I was trying to do.

Today, I can say I am a complete lover of Reggae music. Culturally, I was raised with Caribbean traditions and music was a prominent part of that. When I listen to reggae music at home, using my iPod or in the car I get an amazing feeling, literally it feels like chills. That is a feeling I have been chasing since I was a tiny tot but I never could explain it, I just knew when I listened to music I wanted to feel amazing! Again, kind of corny but it’s my reality.

My dream job, the career I want to build, is based within the Reggae music industry. I used to think I wanted to be in the overall music industry but my love for Reggae trumps all other genres and Reggae music does not receive the International success it deserves. SO THAT IS MY GOAL! It may even be my mission and reason for being, but I shall tackle that info at another time. For now my love for reggae is all the motivation I need to pursue a dream I’ve had since a little girl…that is to be a true lover of music and do whatever I can within the industry.

I hope you will do the same whatever it is you are passionate about. I leave you with two quotes that have inspired me to constantly do whatever it is that makes me happy…

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle … “Become who you are!” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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President Obama Is A Snob!

This morning as I was getting myself ready to head off to work when I found myself staring at my television focused on the Morning Joe show. Mika, the co-host of the show, was talking about a story which involved a comment made by Rick Santorum stating that President Obama is a snob. Please view the video listed below before you read the rest of this post if you do not know what comment I talking about made Santorum:

Now, whether you are Republican, Democrat, an Independent or you choose not vote, I would hope that you do not agree with Santorum’s outlandish statement that President Barack Obama is a snob! Even if you are not the biggest fan or supporter of President Obama.

For Santorum to blanket President Obama’s #SOTU goal of affordable higher education despite socio-economic background as one that meant that every college-aged student would have to attend college; for Santorum to say that the President is a snob for wanting students to be able to attend College if they chose; for Santorum to say that President Obama wants American citizens to be made in his image is by FAR the most outrageous thing I have heard in the 2011-2012 GOP race to date.

Santorum’s foundation for that comment is that President Obama’s goal to have every American in College is further from the truth. When I read the #SOTU address last month, President Obama stated that he wanted to make it so that aspiring College students would have the opportunity to attend, if they wanted, with additional federal aid made available to them. The Colleges and Universities that displayed an effort to keep tuition and fees at a reasonable level would receive federal assistance as well.

I’m trying to figure out the last time any person who was consider a snob cared about anyone but themselves. By definition a snob is one ‘who dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class.’ The last time I checked President Obama worked to give benefits to those of the lower-class, he constantly and consistently advocates for those in the middle to lower economic classes in the United States. Snob would be more equivalent of a term to bestow upon Mitt Romney before President Obama.

We know that it is election year, the slander and libel statements will be heavily promoted and publicized this year. But for Santorum to have thought in his mind that President Obama IS in fact a snob and then to utter the word on national television is by far one of the most surprising things I have seen on TV since the Grammy’s & Nicki’s performance! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I am not in any way trying to change Santorum’s opinion of President Obama what I am trying to figure out is what made him think to say it out loud?

But that’s not even the end of my rant on Santorum. He stated that President Obama was looking to make aspiring College students in his own image. THAT TOOK THE CAKE!

First, as a young woman who believes wholeheartedly in the Almighty Jah, I know for a fact that I was created in His image. Both Santorum and President Obama are men of a religion, the specific ones are not as important as the fact that anyone who believes in Jah, knows that they were created in His image. As African descendants, myself, President Obama, and others like us have been told for centuries that Jah was white. (But I’ll save that for another post). The point is that there would never be a time that someone who believes in Jah, knowing that he/she was made in His image, would ever think that someone else should be made in their image; be it their child or someone else’s child.

In essence, Santorum is saying that President Obama holds himself on the same level as Jah. In all honesty, there may be some people who truly believe President Obama is a God send for African Americans and other minorities in this country yet there are still others who do not think that highly of him, African descendants and other minorities. But Santorum definitely has no merit in his statement on any of the three points I outlined.

President Obama does not want ALL students to go to College, he simply wants to make it affordable for all students, particular who may not be able to afford college on their own or who may not obtain scholarships or loans. Secondly, President Obama is far from a snob. Would a snob fight so hard against a Congress that does not want to pass anything he puts forth that will make life easier for those in the lower socio-economic classes? And finally, President Obama is not trying to make anyone in his own image but himself. So Mr. Santorum, please note that you have sincerely bothered me with your comment.

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Life After Death…

Social media outlets have been buzzing with the recent death of music icon Whitney Houston. Houston’s voice evoked many emotions from her fans; you couldn’t deny the raw talent Houston had when she opened her mouth to sing beautiful notes from the late 1970s to just before her death. Folks will argue that before Houston began her heavy consumption of drugs and alcohol her voice was truly a gift from God. After the poison took over Houston’s body, her voice began to dwindle away. But honestly, when has the news really paid much attention to Houston after the time she decided to get sober and before her death?

Take a moment to think about the amount of times you saw a news story that featured Houston in a positive light since her divorce from Bobby Brown and her decision to give up illicit drugs for good.

Many people, myself included, cannot recollect a time when Whitney Houston was in our minds as the actress from Waiting to Exhale, the Preacher’s Wife, the Bodyguard or the songstress who belted out beautiful melodies on albums such as ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ and ‘My Love is Your Love’. But it seemed as though the VERY minute Houston’s death rumored onto the Social Media mills, her popularity skyrocketed as if she was discovered all over again. Some of my Twitter followers were retweeting ‘RIP’ messages for Houston before many of them had even confirmed that she had truly been founded let alone pronounced dead.

It truly fascinates me that people will believe whatever the Internet or Social Media outlets reports before even confirming a story for themselves. Call it the Journalist in me who has been told to question everything but I personally waited until I was able to obtain 3 independent sources, that is sources who did not cite each other as their primary source before I believed ‘the hype’.

But even since news outlets have been able to confirm Houston’s death, she has taken on a new life after death. Her celebrity status seems to have been given a boost since her death.  She has been given tribute television shows, old interviews have been replayed – the good ones and the bad, music friends have given their accounts of life with Houston and fans have paid their respects detailing when they first heard Houston, etc. Whitney Houston is not the first celebrity to have an elevated status after her death. Some of the greats Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G. and even Bob Marley have gained much more success after their death than the success they obtained when they were alive.

It puzzles me as to why this is so. I can come up with a few reasons as to why these artist’s careers have continued to grow post-death. Some died at a point in their career when they were just truly getting started, Bob Marley for example. However, artists such as Jackson, Sinatra, and Houston may have outlived their music careers. They reached the peak and plateau of their careers, yet they tried to revive it despite the odds against them. The deceased artist’s estate will continue to receive income from the many avenues the estate handler deem profitable. For Jackson, it was the ‘This Is It” brand, the documentary that featured rehearsals for the tour grossed $260 million worldwide. A DOCUMENTARY which featured footage of the rehearsals, grossed that much money AFTER the artist had recently died.

It is sad to say that it takes the death of a celebrity to bring about the recognition they should continue to receive for their talents, despite any negative press they received during their careers or for any wrongdoing they may have been a part of. To be quite frank, we all make mistakes in our lives; the difference between us and celebrities is that we are the fortunate ones to not receive publicity every time we do something ‘wrong’.

Count your blessings, folks

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The Exorcism of Roman

Now first off. Let me state that I am not of the Catholic religion, nor do I claim to know what practices are deemed to be okay or not within the religion. However, I have done a bit of research just to support some of the points contained within this piece. Do enjoy the post and leave any comments you have in favor of this piece or against my position. Please view the video below before you continue reading this post:

Roman’s Holiday – 2012 Grammy Performance

Sunday, February 12, 2012 the 54th Grammy Award show aired in Los Angeles, California. The show which honors recording artists, producers and others involved in the production and distribution of recordings by musical artists featured an opening performance by Bruce Springsteen and performances throughout by Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, Rihanna and Coldplay, and Jennifer Hudson among many others.

This post focuses on the controversial and over-the-top performance by Nicki Minaj. Since Nicki’s emergence on to the Hip Hop scene in 2007, her fans and the music industry have become accustom to Minaj’s colorful persona which is usually depicted in her tracks and the visuals that go along with those songs. However, many viewers of the 2012 Grammy’s, myself included, were shocked and speechless when Minaj’s performed “Roman Holiday”. The social media circuit began buzzing with Twitter users tweeting and Facebook users updating their statuses.

The majority of the controversy surrounding Nicki’s performance is centered around the religion for which exorcisms are most noted within the Western hemisphere, which is that of the Catholic church. Without getting too deep into the background of the Roman Catholic Church and it’s regulations, I want to offer my personal opinion of Nicki Minaj’s performance.

When I watched the performance at first I asked myself Did I really just actually witness what I think I did?

I am wholeheartedly in favor of artistic expression but there is a thin line that is extended when it comes to depicting religion and the practices of a specific religion. I personally feel as though Nicki made a mockery of a practice which is generally only used in extreme situations, when church members feel there is no other options to save a person’s soul.

From the “I feel pretty” mantra being repeated. When the Priest asked ‘What’s your name” and Minja replies “Roman” as if to identify the demon within her. The choir boys being ‘tempted’ as they prayed. The stained mosaic backdrops alluding to Cathedral or Sanctuary windows. The dress of the dancers and other extras such as the Priest. All of these elements combined were a bit over-extensive in my opinion.

Laurieann Gibson, a well know Choreographer within the entertainment industry and who was the creative mind behind the dance routines, defended the performance by Minaj saying, “For me, it was about the theatrical aspect of being able to create something like that…” Gibson also stated that she was very careful to not include any literal movements, such as praying hands, etc. Despite her efforts, it was pretty hard to ignore the allusion of the prayer boy, kneeled down with his hands clasped. However Laurieann did state, “…the exorcism was her idea and her concept,” referring to Minaj.

Quite frankly, I am not too concerned with who’s idea it was originally. I’m more concerned with why after going through a proposal, an approval and a production process there was NO one who thought that the controversy of the performance may create more backlash than it received praises? That is somewhat of a rhetorical question as the performance stilled aired on Sunday evening. I guess I am more upset with the executives of the Grammy’s and those in charge of performance and why little regard was given to the implication which would come from the airing of such a performance.

I suppose there is more money to be made going ahead with such performances as this one than to respect a religion and one of it’s most controversial practices.

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2012 SOTU Address: Response

President Barack Obama, the 44th President of these United States, delivered his 3rd SOTU on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. An audience within the Congress floors as well as the television audience listened as America’s first African-American president gave a speech filled with the very essence of which he won his presidency in 2008 and that is the essence of hope. President Obama opened his speech to acknowledge the fact that U.S troops were no longer in Iraq fighting a war that start in 2001 as a reaction to the 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center in New York; a very honourable and noteworthy topic to speak on, which may/may not have lead to the troubles which plague America’s economic woes.

Personally, I agree with President Obama’s plans for the taxes of businesses. Tax revenue is one of the largest components of Government revenue, therefore it is not justifiable for businesses to receive a tax deduction for outsourcing jobs overseas. That says to the business: “It is okay for you to take away jobs from the citizens of your domestic country and we will increase your profits as well for doing so.” Maybe that is a certain part of politics that I will never understand but as an economics major, I know that it is NOT rational.

President Obama made a very interesting statement in his 3rd SOTU. He said, “Higher education can’t be a luxury.” I found this statement intriguing because at one point higher education was in fact a luxury choice. It was not mandatory nor was it imperative for an individual to seek an education past their high school diploma. Today’s society demands that employees have at the bare minimum a Bachelor’s degree and in order to move up the corporate ladder the individual should seek a Master’s degree as well as have years of experience. All of which prove to be much more costly than ever before as tuition costs continue to rise each year. The fact that in this country a household owes more in college tuition debt versus credit card debit displays exactly where lawmakers and school officials place their preference in debt collection.

As an international student in this country and a young woman, President Obama hit two challenges I face in the closing of his speech. His proposal to allow those who were brought to this country as a young child, and those who recently migrated to the country for higher education, the chance to obtain citizenship in this country without the hardships of the current process has special importance and interest with me. However, what exactly will be done in this election-year is yet to be known but I do hope that the process is made more accessible to those of us who are seeking better opportunities for our families by way of our versions of the “American Dream”. Additionally, he touched on an issue that has been in the labor market since women were allowed to work outside of the home; that issue is the equality of pay between men and women. Hopefully, this is not a topic that is a talking point to gain women voters and that President Obama and his administration actively seek out this policy.

On the surface President Obama’s 3rd SOTU address has many great ideas and possibilities. However, it is highly unlikely that too much will get done in this election year. There are barriers not only in politics but in economics and sociology that may hinder him from achieving the goals he has set in this year’s SOTU address. However, I am hopefully that change will continue to overcome in this nation as the dream started with those African-American leaders before President Obama who wanted an America that was not racially divided but racially integrated.

The full text transcript can be found here.

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