Sunday, December 11, 2005

Buddah's Back: It's Been Too Long!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last made a post. It's amazing how quickly time can escape you. So what have I been up too? I'll tell you as succinctly as I can. Fall quarter ended on a crazy but a very high note. I got 2 A's and 2 B's. I have successfully completed all of my master's classes. Now on to the next daunting task....The Thesis! I'm in the process of finetuning my proposal for approval by my thesis committee and my department. I'm pushing to have it approved as soon as I come back from winter break. If I can get it approved before break that would be wonderful. But I'm not going to stress it. As for the topic, I'll be looking into the usage of weblogs in high school education. I've been doing a lot research to expand my literature review in my proposal. The findings have been pretty interesting thus far (more about that in a later post).

I've also been in the process of looking for a job. I've been slowly but surely applying, sending out resumes, attending job fairs and communicating with those I've come to know very well in my social network. People have been asking, "So what are you doing after graduation?" My response is, "If I knew the answer to that question I probably wouldn't be here now." For many that I know who are graduating in the spring, we are trying to get an answer to that very question ourselves. If you weren't fortunate enough to be offered a job from the last place you interned/co-oped, you'll most likely get word of job/fellowship offers in late winter/early spring. I've also been asked if I was going to stay at my current school and get my Ph.D. I said, "Hell No!" First of all, it's time to go. I've been at this school for almost six years. It's been nice--it's been real--but I'm ready to go! Second of all, a Ph.D is so far from my mental scope right now. I'll probably get another master's degree before I go that route. Third of all, can a brotha get a break? I'm so tired of school right now. Thank god I finished with my classes when I did. I had three four-hour evening classes and one online class. I don't think I could stand another quarter let alone full year of that again . I'm ready to go out and work. Once I become fully acclimated with the workworld, there's no guarantee that I'll still be in love with the computing field. It'll be better to find this out sooner than later. In this life you never know how it's going to turn out. But whatever is to come my way, I'm going to stay optimistic. I'm looking forward to it. Whatever is to come my way, I'm going to accept it and embrace it with open arms.

Oh well, I guess I better get back to work. I haven't been feeling too well today. Actually, it's something that's been on-again, off-again for the last five days or so. All I'm gonna say is allergies (and upper-respiratory issues) are a bitch! Research is calling my name. Plus, I have to finish getting ready for a meeting I have to lead Monday night about the evolution of music videos over the last two decades. This will be for Emerging Black Artists, the club I'm a student advisor for. Between work, the thesis, meetings and dates (Am I dreaming? Could it be? Yes, dates--it's about time!), it's going to be yet another busy week. Oh yeah, I get my refund this week. And I get paid on Friday. Getting out of the poor house--it's a wonderful thing!

I'm going to try my best to post a little bit more regularly. The length of time between this and the next post shouldn't so long (I hope). Until then, I wish you all the best!

Rest in peace Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005).

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Best Thing, My Love

Ok, here's a poem I wrote back in high school (in the 11th grade to be exact). This one always seems to stand out. It's a trip when you go back and read your older works.

The Best Thing, My Love

It’s the
Pulsating rhythms of my heart
You give
The beating of drums of my pulse
I live
It’s the syncopated breaths that I breathe
It’s the ruckus of sound in my ears
You made leave
It’s that music you helped make of me
That 12/8 measure in my eyes
I see
I’m in love

It’s that explicit
Nature of your luscious lips
That carried that lyrical content
To my lips
That continuously rolls
Number one songs
For hour tolls
We sing tastes
Of albums haste
You made me play the piano with
My hands
You strum the guitar
Of my abs
My body is
The bass you play
By plucking or playing with
The bow-like fingers
On your hands
You are the best thing,
My love


© 1998 BuddahDesmond

Janet & The 18 Year Old Daughter Rumors


The media must have nothing better to do than mess with the Jackson clan. Need I say anything more. This time, it's not Michael, it's not Latoya, or Jermaine in the news....It's Janet. Rumors have surfaced yet again about her supposedly having a daughter from a previous marriage. Young DeBarge, 28, recently announced during an interview on the radio that Janet has an 18 year old daughter who's been staying with Rebbie, her oldest sister. Janet was married to one of Young's older brothers, James DeBarge for a hot minute back in the 80s. According to Young, "James and the Jackson family kept everything real close, real tight." Someone please tell me why is this anybody's business all of a sudden?

This is not the first time these rumors have surfaced. I remember these rumors surfacing in the early 90's when LaToya was airing out all of her's family's dirty laundry with her infamous autobiography. (She also acknowledged that Michael had been spending too much time with little boys--but this is another topic altogether.) If Janet and James had a baby and wanted to keep it a secret, it's their business. Now if the supposed daughter is just finding out that Janet and James are her real parents, then this sheds a different light on the situation. I couldn't imagine how detrimental this kind of info would be after living a certain kind of life for 18 years or more. It could rock your world. But it wouldn't be the first time or last time that something like this has happened. Drama like this happens everyday. It would be crazy to think that the Jackson's and the DeBarge's are the only families on this planet keeping secrets. Doesn't make it right, but please let's be realistic.

The supposed daughter is 18. She's grown. Let her and her family deal with this the best way they know how. Damn, can the Jackson's have any kind of peace??!!

And let us not forget that Young DeBarge (who released/rehashed this info) is an aspiring singer who just finished recording an album. Can I say publicity?

Regardless of whether Janet has children or not, I'm still going to buy her next record. So there! And after news like this, shit, it better be good!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

On Marriage...

So many marriages are crumbling. Whether it’s people in the spotlight or people in our personal lives. Marriages currently seem to be more like short-lived excursions instead of life-long, fruitful journeys. At this rate, the only couple who looks like they’re going to make it is Whitney & Bobby. Recently, I told two of my friends (who’ll be tying the knot June 2006) if they end of like Babyface and Tracey Edmonds I’m going to cut them both. But seriously, where are the marriages/relationships like Ruby Dee & the late Ossie Davis? You know, marriages like our great-grandparents, grandparents and quite possibly our parents….When the love just seems to get stronger and stronger and the relationship seems to get better and better. When problems arise and they’re able to keep it civil, work it out and stay together….

Today, it seems like people are getting married for all the wrong reasons. Lust. Money. Security. Because a baby is on the way. Not because you want to but because it’s expected. First and foremost it’s supposed to be about love. At the same time, marriage is a business. Once you sign that contract, you’re making an arrangement between you, your spouse and the state (or government). Maybe this part is irrelevant. Then again maybe not. My point is this—why get married if your heart isn’t in it? Why make these arrangements or this commitment if this isn’t the person you truly love and desire? If you’re marrying only for security, what happens if it turns out to be a false sense of security? Marrying for children or because there is a child on the way doesn’t seem to be any better, especially if one (or both) of you has resignations about going thru with it. As we all should know, the children will be affected either way. Even more so if they have to endure unstable, hostile relations between parents who really don’t want or need to be together.

It should be a requirement that before you walk down that aisle, make sure he or she is the one. You also need to make sure you really know each other. There’s nothing worse than getting some unexpected surprises down the line. If there’s something you want or feel you need to know, you better ask! You need to discuss money, children, jobs, relocating, etc., before you jump over that broomstick. Because it’s so easy for any relationship to end, but it’s work if you want the relationship to last. If one person is trying and the other person fails to even make an attempt, you’re going to have some issues.

Another hot component to this discussion is the sanctity of marriage. But this typically comes up with yet another hot button issue—gay marriage. In all honesty, gay marriage is not going to burn down the house of holy matrimony. Newsflash everyone—the sanctity of marriage was already in jeopardy long before the gay marriage debate began. Take a look at TV today. When you have reality shows (really faux reality shows) like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, Wife Swap, Trading Spouses, and the like, it signifies a big problem in our society with marriage. There are larger issues to consider when statistics say that marriages nowadays are more likely to end in divorce. How about considering many of the following questions: Why people don't stay together? Why people commit adultery? Why people lie? Why fewer people are deciding to get married? And just how does gay marriage threaten anyone’s idea of marriage? You're not directly influenced by it – especially if you’re involved in an altogether different relationship. So still, how does it affect you at all? And furthermore, what right does anyone have in invalidating another's relationship by saying their relationship is insignificant (because of their sexuality)? But I digress.

Maybe the other part of this discussion needs to be reconsidering whether a traditional relationship is right for you. You may not be a fan of traditional. You may want a relationship that’s a bit more radical. Possibly an open relationship. A committed relationship without the basis of monogamy. Or maybe you want the fruits of traditional marriage without all the hoopla. As far as I know, no correlations have been made specifically stating that relationships more often than not fail to endure if there’s been no exchange of rings or a formal ceremony. Marriage, the idea or the actual experience, is not for everyone. You may have to walk down the aisle a couple of times before you figure it out (sadly). But hey, that’s just how it goes.

With all the many wonderful things that we encounter and achieve in this life, isn’t it just nice to share them with someone you love? Someone that’s got your back. Someone that’s always going to be there. Someone you can have great conversations with, cuddle with, laugh with and cry with. Someone that you can rush home to each and every night.

Isn’t this the overall goal? Is it possible? Or is this just wishful thinking? I think that it is possible. But I can only go on what I’ve experienced, what I’ve been exposed to and what I believe. I sincerely hope that the forecast calls for brighter, lighter conditions on the marriage/relationship front for everyone.

What do you think?

The "Morally Reprehensible" William Bennett and Other Musings

By now, the name William Bennett should ring a bell. Bennett, the former Secretary of Education under the Reagan administration, made rather racist comments about reducing crime on his radio show not too long ago. If you haven’t heard the comments you must have been living in some kind of padded, soundproof cell. But just in case, Bennett said, "...you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

So tell us how you really feel….Anything else you want to throw out there to enlighten us? Go ahead, we’re all ears. We’re waiting. And people say racism no longer exists. What a crock! Bennett later went on to say that it "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do ... but the crime rate would go down." What a contradiction. Maybe he would’ve fared better if he kept his mouth shut.

My question is this, why abort all the black babies? How is it that the crime rate will go down if all black babies are aborted and no other group of babies? It doesn’t make it right and I don’t support the argument either way, but if you insist to continue with the argument why not abort all babies (regardless of race) if you want to lower the crime rate. This is completely ludicrous! Comments like these prove just how disposable we are. Comments like these prove just how little respect and decency a significant portion of this society has towards black people. And to top it all off, very few if any members of the GOP (please correct me if I’m wrong) condemned Bennett for his comments. So that must mean that several other members of his party share similar beliefs. Or they don’t see anything wrong with the comments. This incident reminds me of the climate after some comments Vincente Fox, President of Mexico, made months back. [for more info, check here http://www.seeingblack.com/2005/x080305/mexican_stamp.shtml and here http://www.adl.org/international_affairs/letter_mexico.asp]

These incidents and the recent Hurricane Katrina tragedy (the rather tardy response of government officials and the presentation of the incident by the news media) go on to show that we still have serious racial and social class issues in this country. People try to push racism further under the rug or act like it no longer exists. However, it’s still ever present. Social class issues have never really been dealt with in this country at all. Meanwhile, the disparities between the races and within the races seem to grow wider and wider as the years progress.

Typically, the GOP is late (if ever present) to the table when issues of race are the top of the menu (not unless it addresses something that will impact them directly). Because we all know it’s about the haves and the have-nots. And if you fall in with the latter, the GOP wants little to nothing to do with you. Oh yeah, let me not forget to mention that the White House Press Secretary did issue a statement from Bush saying that Bennett’s comments were “inappropriate.” Wow, what a response! On the other hand, the Democrats responded promptly, demanding that Bennett apologize. Some even went as far to call for Bennett’s resignation from his radio show.

Historically, it’s members of the GOP who’ve made comments along the lines of Bennett. And when the shit hits the fan, they typically stick by their remarks, will not apologize, and will cry that they’ve been misquoted, misrepresented and misunderstood. When in actuality, they weren’t mis- anything. They were quoted, represented and understood quite well.

While everyone else drowns, several members of the GOP continue to swim to the top of the sea of bigotry, racism, social class disparities, inequalities and homophobia. Well it’s time for us to rise to the top and rid the sea of its pollution. Cause we’ve got a long way to go. It’d be wise to get the boxing gloves ready. It’s going to be long fight. And it won’t be ending early.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts. What are your ideas, opinions, recommendations, etc., about what we as a community (and we as a society) need to do to get beyond this current demise?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Be On The Lookout.....

If you're looking at the time of this post, you're probably wondering what I'm still doing up. Well, I've been keeping myself pre-occupied by getting stuff done. (Of course being nocturnal doesn't help.) And I'm a little pissed because Blogger ate up my post and I had to type this shit again. Anyway.....After I got my homework done for the day (cause there's more to do tomorrow and the next day and so on), I finished writing up my thank cards to those who've been looking out for me these last few months, drafting upcoming posts for the blog, listening to music, catching up on my favorite blogs, and thinking about life and what I'm going to do next.

Well, it's week 6 here at school. My, my how times flies. That means that there's four weeks left of the quarter, then finals, and then Thanksgiving break here we come! With this being my last quarter of classes for my masters, I'm halfway free! I'm doing research and trying to finish my proposal for my thesis. This is the next big endeavor to tackle winter and spring quarter. I've been so busy that I've had little to no time to apply for jobs, fellowships and other opportunities beyond graduation. I've gotten as far as applying for one job and that was during our 15-minute break in my Thursday night class (6pm-10pm - it's painful). Well, I guess there's only but so much you can do before you break. And I will not be having one of those widely publicized breakdowns a la Mariah Carey (love you girl!). But then again, maybe it's worth it if you can come back killin' em only the way MC can do it.

Anyway, be on the lookout for these posts:

  1. The "Morally Reprehensible" William Bennett and Other Musings
  2. On Marriage....
  3. A new poem, "Homecoming"
  4. and of course, Music, Music Music

Until then, take care!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Stevie Wonder's 'A Time 2 Love' Finally Sees The Light Of Day!!!


Good news, good news. There is a confirmed released date for Stevie Wonder's highly-anticipated (and that's an understatment) new record A Time 2 Love. Yes, you read that correctly....There is finally a release date for Stevie Wonder's new record. A Time 2 Love will be commercially available on October 18th. But there's other good news. The new record was released digitally on September 27th. So for all those who have the capabilities (and don't want to wait for the October 18th release date), you can get the album now!

So why was the record's release date postponed so many times? In an interview with Billboard Magazine, Wonder says that he had to make sure the time was right for the release of his record. '"As an artist, you get anxious and excited -- you want to show what you can do....A lot of what I do when I do an album is based on whether the timing is right."' Okay, all is forgiven. I wish a lot of other artists in the game followed the same sense of thinking. Maybe Wonder can share this wisdom with some of his peers.

The 15-track set about love features many high-profile guests. Prince and EnVogue are featured on "So What the Fuss." Bonnie Raitt plays slide guitar on "Tell Your Heart I Love You." Kim Burrell and Doug E. Fresh are featured on "If Your Love Cannot Be Moved." India. Arie and Paul McCartney are featured on the title track. And Wonder's daughter Aisha Morris is featured on "How Will I Know" and "Positivity." Also featured is a song Wonder wrote in honor of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The proceeds from this song (to be released digitally on October 11th) will go towards relief efforts.

Tracklist for A Time 2 Love:
  1. If Your Love Cannot Be Moved
  2. Sweetest Somebody I Know
  3. Moon Blue
  4. From the Bottom of My Heart
  5. Please Don't Hurt My Baby
  6. How Will I Know
  7. My Love Is on Fire
  8. Passionate Raindrops
  9. Tell Your Heart I Love You
  10. True Love
  11. Shelter in the Rain
  12. So What the Fuss
  13. Can't Imagine Love Without You
  14. Positivity
  15. A Time To Love
For more info:

http://www.steviewonder.net/

http://www.billboard.com/bb/daily/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001181834

The Limb: A Poem

Must've really slipped off the
cliff this time
I've tripped up before
but never like this
I'm hangin'
out on a limb
The only thing keeping me secure
is this rope and harness
But for how long?
It's only a matter of time
before it all snaps
And my reality will change
forever

Can't keep waiting
Gotta get to safety
But there's no one here to help me
The rescue team is on vacation
I'm here just hangin'
The wind is pickin' up
Looks like another storm
is on the way
And I've realized now that
the only person who can save me
is me
I've got to pull myself up
from this limb
Can't let it all crumble
Everything that consumes my existence
Breaking as soon as it hits
the ground
Can't let it all go to waste

Gotta clean up this mess
of my life that I've created
Gotta stop letting foolishness
and events of the past
hold me back
Gotta pull up
Gotta take hold
regain that unrelenting,
strong grip
on life
Gotta take control of me
and my life again
The dictatorship of the outside world
ain't gonna win anymore
with me
Gonna be unstoppable again
Gonna be unbreakable again
Gonna be me again
Or else be stuck
just hangin'
out on a limb

© 2005 BuddahDesmond

Monday, September 19, 2005

How Could I Forget About Syleena Johnson?



The ladies of R&B/Soul sure have been doing it up this year. Patti, Mariah, Jill, Fantasia, Alicia, Destiny's Child, Faith, Vivian, Leela, Lina, Jaguar, Amerie, Keyshia.....Add one more name to that list--Syleena.

I had absolutely no idea that her record was coming out so soon. Yes, Syleena Johnson's new record Chapter 3: The Flesh was released on Tuesday, September 13th. But I have one question, where was the promotion? Yes, there's been a video in rotation since about June/July for "Hypnotic." And "Another Relationship" has been receiving considerable airplay on urban adult contemporary stations. But other than that, who would've known that Syleena had blessed us with another masterpiece?

So how is the new record? Excellent. Superb. Chapter 3: The Flesh is her best album to date. It's soul for every occasion. The Flesh finds Syleena in her sexiest and most adventurous mood yet--musically, vocally, and lyrically. But she keeps it tasteful on tracks like "Phone Sex" and "Slowly." There's no raunchfest here.

Fans will also be happy to know that her voice (a gritty, sexy, soulful, and emotional instrument) remains at the center of attention. Standouts include the funky, celebratory "He Makes Me Say," an infectious duet with R.Kelly entitled "Special Occasion," and a rousing duet with Anthony Hamilton entitled, "More." Their voices, completely drenched in old school soul music (and gospel), meld beautifully together. Other notable tracks include "Time," "Apartment For Rent," and "Only A Woman."

The Flesh also features several collaborations. Many of which are in sequential order. Besides those already mentioned, there's "Bulls-Eye (Suddenly)" with Common, "Classic Love Song" with Jermaine Dupri, and "Phone Sex" with Twista.

Syleena has successfully brought old school soul sensibilities into a contemporary soul environment. Plus being the daughter of legendary Soul/Blues artist Syl Johnson she just can't help herself. I'm sure with this latest effort she's done her father and her predecessors proud. Now let's see if we can get her a platinum record.

If you haven't already, please check out her previous records Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness and Chapter 2: The Voice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Awaiting These Music Releases

The 'Ultimate' Eurythmics
Good news for all Eurythmics fans. They have recently recorded two new songs as part of their retrospective Ultimate Collection to be released November 8th. The new songs are entitled "I've Got a Life" (1st single) and "Was It Just Another Love Affair." This will mark the first time in almost six years that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart have teamed up since the 1999 release Peace. This 19-track set has all of the favorites like "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," "Here Comes The Rain Again," "Would I Lie To You?," "Demolition Man," "I Need A Man," "Who's That Girl?" and "17 Again" to name a few. This is good enough to tie me down until the release of the next Eurythmics studio album or the next Annie Lennox studio album. Her last album, Bare, was breathtakingly beautiful. It's been in my CD player for well over a year-and-a-half.

Alicia May Be 'Unbreakable' with Unplugged
Speaking of new releases, I'm really looking forward to the release of Alicia Keys Unplugged (10/11). It's about time MTV brought the music back to the station. Less faux reality tv shows and more music please! Anyway, Alicia's performance of her new single "Unbreakable" on the Fashion Rocks Awards got me hyped up. I'm really diggin' it. Let's see if radio takes to it the way they did her previous hits.

Toni Stop Teasing Us With 'Libra'
I'm really getting tired of waiting for Toni Braxton's upcoming release Libra. I've heard about four (maybe five) songs from it, those being "Take This Ring," "Trippin," "Supposed To Be" and "Please." I love all of them. This album's going to be hot! Quite possibly as good as or better than The Heat. Wouldn't that be something? But I mean Toni, cut it with the teasing. I guess I'll just have to wait until September 27th for the official release. And hope and pray that the record label doesn't push it back (again).

Where The Hell Is Stevie Wonder's 'A Time 2 Love'? & What's 'India.Arie's Song' About?
And speaking of being pushed back, when is the Stevie Wonder album A Time 2 Love coming out? It's been pushed back I don't know how many times. It's a shame. I really enjoyed "From The Bottom Of My Heart" and "So What The Fuss" (Stevie, Prince and EnVogue on one track--what more could you ask for? Be on the lookout for a new EnVogue record featuring the original members-Dawn, Max, Terry and Cindy). This album was supposed to have been out June 2004, then May 2005, June 2005, July 2005, now it's just TBA. Last I'd heard, he'd gone back in to the studio to record additional tracks. The title track "A Time 2 Love" was co-written with India.Arie. For those wondering what India.Arie's been working on lately--a two volume record. This two volume record is tentatively titled India.Arie's Song. The first volume will feature songs about life and relationships while the second volume will feature songs about love and politics. Seems like this might be her most accomplished and most ambitious effort to date. And rightfully so after the release of Voyage To India some would say.

Be on the lookout for new singles by the Fugees "Take It Easy" and Deborah Cox "A House Is Not A Home" (available on iTunes).

And word on the street is Janet Jackson (my girl!) is in the studio working on something new. Hopefully this next release will be within the range of greatness as janet. and The Velvet Rope or possibly something even better. I guess we'll just have to wait and see....

Other releases to look out for:
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley Welcome to Jamrock (9/13)
Tracie Chapman Where You Live (9/13)
Bonnie Raitt Souls Alike (9/13)
B.B. King 80 (9/13)
ChristiĆ³n Project Plato (9/13)
So Amazing: All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross (9/20)
Earth, Wind & Fire Illumination (9/20)
Miri Ben-Ari Hip-Hop Violinist (9/20)
Jamiroquai Dynamite (9/20)
Shaggy Clothes Drop (9/20)
Latoya London Love and Life (9/20)
Kindred The Family Soul In This Life Together (9/20)
Cissy Houston The Cissy Houston Collection (9/20)
Kim Waters All For Love (9/20)
Sean Paul The Trinity (9/27)
Lil' Kim The Naked Truth (9/27)
Sheryl Crow Wildflower (9/27)
Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine (10/04)
Dwele Some Kinda (10/04)
Trina The Glamourest Life (10/04)
Gerald Albright Voices (10/04)
Will Downing Soul Symphony (10/04)
Les Nubians Les Nubians Present Echos (10/04)
Kirk Whalum Performs the Babyface Songbook (10/04)
Kirk Franklin Hero (10/04)
Urban Knights The Best of Urban Knights (10/04)
Twista The Day After (10/04)
Jane Monheit The Monheit Collection (10/04)
Toshi Reagon Have You Heard (10/04)
Rose Royce Greatest Hits (10/04)
Anita Baker Christmas Fantasy (10/04)
Peabo Bryson Christmas With You (10/04)
Keith Sweat Welcome To The Sweat Hotel (10/18)
Destiny's Child #1's (10/25)
Santana All That I Am (11/01)
Mary J. Blige Reminisce (11/22)
Fugees TBA (12/27)
Outkast (TBA)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Something Very Close to Home

Well, here's a poem that I wrote last week....It hits very close to home (especially in regards to some of the family drama that occurred this summer). It's entitled:

It's Obvious

It's obvious that you're hurting
And that you're in need of support
Or else you wouldn't be here today
It's obvious that something's been
going on for longer than the story you've told
The half-truths and lies that you forgot you told--that we caught you telling--gave it all away

It's obvious that we've always been there
Whether you were cognizant of it or not
You however weren't always receptive
The door was completely ajar
We never excluded you
--You on the other hand did the complete opposite
in regards to everyone else

It's obvious that if we didn't love you--that if we didn't care--that if we didn't support you
You would not have set foot across this threshold
We would not acknowledge each other's presence let alone
give a shit about each other's well-being

It's oh so obvious
If we wanted you out
we wouldn't have had any second thoughts of putting the x on your spot
We wouldn't be here trying to intervene
And get you the help that you need
Your actions recently have raised eyebrows and strengthened concerns
For crying out loud you were
M.I.A.--We had to request an investigator to try to find out where you were
And you're going to come over here and scream
and blaspheme and raise hell
Because you're not getting the so called support you want

Well, get this
It's obvious
oh so obvious
That the support and love we're giving
may not be what you want
But it's the support and love
that you need

© 2005 BuddahDesmond

Sunday, September 04, 2005

On the Way....

Hope all are well. It's been a rough two weeks both on a national and personal front. My prayers go out to all the Hurricane Katrina victims. Such a devastating event. So many lives will be forever impacted and forever changed. And never quite the same.

Fall quarter classes begin for me tomorrow. So I'm trying to make sure I'm mentally and physcially in the right frame of mind. I'm excited about the year ahead though. Getting steps and steps closer to my dreams.

Be on the lookout for more posts....More about these last two rough weeks, poetry, gossip, and much more. In the meantime, I have music reviews posted at a friend's online magazine entitled, Pictures and Frames Magazine. She's just getting everything underway. Judging from the positive response, it looks like I'm going to be a regular contributor as a music critic. To check out the online mag please go to: http://www.picturesandframesmagazine.com/.

Until then....My best. May you all be safe.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Back At School - My Summer is Over

So sad to see it go. My summer break is over. And what a summer it was! I'm now back at school in NY. Wasn't really looking forward to coming back. But being as though it's my last year, why stop now? I'm actually back two weeks early. I have to start training for my graduate assistantship this upcoming week. I'll be working in my school's community service center. I'm really looking forward to it. After being a lab assistant in the multimedia labs last school year, this should be quite different. It'll be much more involved, more interactive, and I'm sure I'll have more than enough to do to keep me busy. The week following training I may have to help out with new student orientation. And on September 5th, classes begin. Yes, classes begin on Labor Day. So while everyone else enjoys BBQs and other celebrations, we'll have homework. But I'm quite sure some of the students will come to class (and work) under the influence of something anyway.

So goodbye summer. Amidst the family drama (and it seems like there's always some family drama every summer), the time was still well spent. I had the opportunity to intern at a top-rated news organization. While working, I had the opportunity to produce a story for a news magazine show and complete several projects for their IT department. This definitely was one of the most interesting, stimulating and fun working experiences I've had up to this point. I learned so much. I've grown. I had the opportunity to meet and work with so many dynamic, intelligent and talented people. I have a strong feeling that many of the people I've met and worked with will be lifelong friends as well. I also started my blog (finally). I wrote about 40 new poems and creative prose pieces. Additionally, I got word that some of my poetry may be featured in an upcoming anthology (more on this if and when everything is finalized). Got to hang out with and speak with new and old friends. I couldn't ask for too much more (except for the all the family drama to subside).

May the upcoming school year be fruitful and prosperous!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

And Then The Music Slumped

Amidst the moaning and groaning about the movie slump, reports have been surfacing about another slump. This time the slump deals with the music industry. You're probably saying, "Oh no! Not them again!" Yes, it's them again. Billboard.com's weekly reports show that sales are down 8% from this time last year. This news comes after 2004 being a monumental year for the music industry. Sales were up tremendously after a three year decline. But at this point, should we really be concerned?

The music industry should really be happy that consumers are still buying music--period. If you ask me, a lot of crappy music has been released (the rise and fall of teen pop maybe?). Many releases not even worthy of browsing let alone purchasing. Thank god for a few stellar releases here and there. The current state of music could be a lot worse.

While talk about the music industry slump continues, label conglomerate Universal Music Group (UMG) is sitting pretty. With 36% of the music sales in the U.S., UMG is the leader amongst the four major labels. Three of this year's best selling albums are by artists on the UMG roster (50 Cent, Mariah Carey and The Game). Like the movie industry, the music industry is looking towards fall releases by Outkast, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Santana, and Paul McCartney to name a few, to put a hike in sales. All I can say is these albums better be pretty damn good.

This discussion cannot go on without bringing up downloading. Industry leaders still point to piracy as one of the reasons for the slump. But this may not be as great of an issue as it was a few years ago. This due in large part to the industry cracking down on piracy with prosecution (and fines). All the while legal downloading has tripled this year. The International Federation of Phonograph Industries (IFPI) reports 180 million single tracks were downloaded in the first half of the year. Industry leaders also point to digital media (video games and DVDs in particular) as having adverse effects on music sales.

Regardless of this, the music industry might be in a better place if they had embraced mp3s much earlier on. The industry fell behind the technology and now they have to deal with the consequences. Consumers had been forced to buy CDs when they only desired a few singles. This came about as soon as the industry started cutting back on the release of radio singles to retail. If you liked the song or songs, you had to buy the entire CD. At least now with downloading you download and pay for only the songs you want. After all, there's nothing worse than spending $15 - $20 on a CD where only 4 out of 12 or 15 songs are decent.

This also brings up the decline in the quality of music. It's apparent that with many of the recent mergers, layoffs, and music being released, that the labels are only interested in making hits. They're doesn't seem to be an interest in helping artists maintain long-term recording careers. You're only as good as you're last hit. And if you haven't had a hit in a while, you will probably be dropped quicker than a black show on primetime TV (yet another pertinent issue for another post).

I'm a lover of music. Good music at that. And much of what is being released isn't all that great. So why waste my money? Contemporary music has been mediocre at best. If the focus was less on image and more so on the music and the talent, maybe the landscape wouldn't be so barren. And let's face facts--the CD has a limited shelf life. Music in a digital format is where it's at. But in the meantime, take heed and pay attention industry leaders (and consumers). Just maybe, things will look up.

The Year the Movies Slumped

A recent poll conducted by AOL/Associated Press said 73% of people prefer to view movies in the comfort of their own home. Could this be one of the main reasons for what the industry leaders and experts are calling a movie slump? Possibly.

The movie industry has been crying for attention after announcing a 19-week ticket sales slump earlier in the summer. Ticket sales have been sub-par in comparison with those of the same time period last year. But is there really a need to worry? People are still going to the movies in droves, right? Yes, but nowhere near as much as they used to.

I remember hearing stories from my mother and grandmother about their trips to the movie theaters. They would go just about every weekend. Several hours were spent in the theaters. Siblings and neighborhood pals would tag along with homemade snack bags in hand. I even recall pretty regular trips to the theaters with family and friends. This has since stopped. As far as my family and inner circle of friends are concerned, it seems that we are more inclined to wait for movies to come out on VHS or DVD than to go to the theaters. Judging from recent reports, we aren't alone. For the most part, the movie viewing experience is better at home. You can watch movies at your own leisure, with little or no interruptions, and without spending too much extra money (if any). For a group of 3 going to the movie theaters today, you're looking at about $50 dollars for tickets and food (and this maybe too cheap an estimate).

While the movie industry seems to use this trend as an excuse for why movies aren't doing as well, they seem to be forgetting something. And that is the role they play in the success or failure of movies. I can give another reason directly linked to the movie industry for this slump--the abundance of bad movies. Quality has been severly lacking.

Usually when I'm eating my breakfast in the morning, I tend to look at old movies until it's time to go to work. As of late, I've seen Jezebel, The Little Foxes, Carmen Jones, Casablanca, All About Eve, and a A Streetcar Named Desire to name a few. Many of these movies I've watched on more than one occasion. I fall in love with these movies even more after each viewing. I'd find myself not being able to take my eyes off of the screen. I was captivated by Old Hollywood's screen legends. Their talent, their beauty, their timeless appeal - totally amazing. These were movies with plots (yes, plots). No unnecessary violence and special effects. And little to no sex. Sex was often alluded to but it was never as forward or raunchy as it is in many movies today.

They just don't make movies like they used to. Today it seems like you can have all the star power, the special effects, the cinematography, and all the bells and whistles you could dream of....But if the movie is bad, it's bad. None of these features will save it. No amount of marketing or promotion can make up for it either. In the old days, the studios didn't need to spend as much to promote movies. People just went to the movies (and on more of a regular basis). Not to say that there weren't any bad movies then. Even then, bad movies were made. But just not as many as there are now in my opinion. For me, you can go back to the summer of 1997 when Batman & Robin and Speed 2: Cruise Control were released (two of the worst films ever made). From that point on, the quality of summer blockbusters and movies in general has declined. Ever since then, I could count on my hands how many times I'd go to the movies in year.

Another issue is the kinds of movies the studios are making. We've been witnessing the era of rehashes and remakes. Movies packaged as new films when they're nothing but updated versions of older and in some cases more recent movies. There's also movies inspired by TV shows (and often times mediocre TV shows at best). We also have a lot of movies that can be lumped into the same category with the same actors stuck in the same roles (typically these buppie, yuppie romantic comedies). And last but not least, we cannot forget about the sequels and prequels. Sometimes you've just got to say enough is enough. I'm probably not alone when I say I haven't been impresesed lately.

I say the same thing to Hollywood as I say to the music industry....Maybe if you stopped worrying about the money and put out more quality products, you wouldn't be in the predicament you're in now. If you did this then just maybe people might start going to the theaters a little bit more. Though this slump may be a major point of concern for the movie industry, there's no need for everyone to get their panties and jockstraps caught in a wad. Every industry has periods when sales don't match expectations. When this happens however, it's never a bright idea to put the blame completely on external factors. Especially when you have not looked at how you may have contributed to the situation at hand. In the meantime, get better screenplays. Start telling unconventional stories. Showcase stories with issues that touch on the multicultural and multiracial makeup of this world. Don't get too crazy with the graphics and the violence. Try to create movies with less violence, less sex, and more substance. Try to spread the wealth. Give some of these actors we see on screen all the time a run for their money. And maybe if you create better work, we'll see better performances all around. If you take all of these things into consideration, just maybe we'll see a change. Just maybe you'll be able to bring the people back into the movie theaters in droves again.

I'm not giving up hope though. The movie industry doesn't seem to be giving up hope either. There's a considerable amount of faith being put behind many of the fall movie releases like to Hong Kong and the fourth Harry Potter installment. There's hope that these movies will bring the industry out of its current slump. It's going to take more than just a few blockbusters to get out of this slump. You've got to start on the inside. Otherwise, that premier on cable or the sale at the home video store is going to become even more attractive.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

When Hate Kills

In loving tribute to Rashawn Brazell and other victims of heinous crimes

Too young
to be gone so soon,
The promise of life
and all of its joys and pains
taken away from you
By someone with no regard, no respect,
No appreciation
For the preciousness and value of life.
We don’t need a police report or investigation
to prove this was a hate crime.

Your death is an immense loss,
felt by your family, friends,
And by a community that often falls
off the radar when we are the victims of heinous
crimes like these.
But when hate kills, everyone’s
radar should be made aware.
Those so quick to shake it off
as insignificant or justified,
Or those that think events as such have
absolutely nothing to do with them,
have another thing coming.

When hate kills,
it’s not a black versus white issue.
When hate kills,
it’s not a gay versus straight issue.
When hate kills,
it’s not an us versus them issue.
When hate kills,
it’s not a Christian versus Muslim versus Jewish issue.
The effects impact all of us.
Hate serves to disrupt and divide our communities
By trying to eliminate the ties that bind
us together.
But our interconnectedness should
not let hate win.
In times like these it should help in
uniting us in love, understanding,
acceptance, and respect,
Because the remedy is love,
The remedy is understanding,
The remedy is acceptance,
The remedy is respect.
The remedy lies within us,
For the remedy is us.
We will be the ones who
Determine whether hate prevails or falters.
For when hate no longer kills,
We all will be in a much happier,
Better, safer place.

Hate may have taken you physically away,
But your spirit continues to go on freely,
Inspiring, uplifting,
And living within each and every one of us.
We honor you and your existence
By standing here now,
By coming together now
To raise awareness
And to combat the forces
that try to pit us against each other.
Hate must not win;
Humanity must not be disregarded.
Love must reign,
And life cannot be taken lightly
Anymore.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi: A Review

Say what you will about singer/songwriter/producer Mariah Carey, but she is one of the most successful and influential musical artists of the last 15 years. (Looking at the last few years of American Idol hopefuls during try-outs is enough to confirm this.) Actually, with her sales and chart history, Carey is one of the most successful artists of all time. If The Emancipation of Mimi is any indication, her reign will continue.

Mimi is Carey’s best and most consistent album since Butterfly. Mimi is not a pop record; it’s very much a R&B/Soul record. Carey and her team of producers (Jermaine Dupri, the Neptunes, Kanye West, and James Poyser to name a few) have crafted great songs that linger with you long after their conclusion. There’s a familiarity about this album that reminds you of old school 70s (and possibly 80s) R&B/Soul music. The ballads like "We Belong Together," "Mine Again" and "I Wish You Knew" are heartfelt, touching and beautiful. Up-tempo tracks like "Say Somethin’," "Shake It Off" and "Get Your Number" are hypnotic, catchy and lyrically clever.

Besides the music and production, Mimi reminds listeners what drew them to Carey initially—the voice. The passion and emotion in Carey’s voice draws you in, making each and every song convincing. Mimi is an excellent showcase of Carey’s artistic growth. Carey should be commended. Mimi is gearing up to be not only one of the best selling albums of the year, but one of the best selling albums of her career as well. It’s nice to see Carey back on the top—where she belongs.

Lizz Wright - Dreaming Wide Awake: A Review

2003 marked the music world’s introduction to Lizz Wright with the release of her first album entitled Salt. Reviewers and listeners confirmed that Wright was the next big jazz vocalist of note. But is it safe to call Wright a jazz singer? Probably not. Salt had a jazzy vibe, but also showcased Wright’s soul, gospel, folk, and blues leanings. Wright, like vocalists Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves, is likely to defy categorization. Salt was the perfect segway to Dreaming Wide Awake.

Dreaming is a great collection of songs, mostly guitar driven, with more of a folk and blues appeal. The sparse production of Craig Street puts Wright’s voice center stage. The listener cannot help but be mesmerized by her vocal storytelling. She gets inside of each and every song. Her vocalizing is sincere and honest, never showy or overdone. She breathes new life into such classics like Neil Young’s "Old Man" and Youngbloods’ "Get Together." Wright also leaves you wanting more with her originals like "Trouble" and the title track.

Regardless of what genre of music Wright is singing, nothing can take away from the soul, richness, resonance, and versatility of her voice. Dreaming may not be jazz, but it’s great music—period.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Posts On The Way.....

Be on the lookout for a post addressing the recent movie and music slump (if you really want to call it a slump). I'll also put up a few music reviews. More poetry on the way too. I may also put up a listing of the my most anticipated music releases. Come back soon!

My Favorites for The Summer - Music

I've been listening to a lot of music this summer. Much of it has been very good. In no particular order, here what's been on my frequently played list for the last few months:
  1. Mariah Carey The Emancipation of Mimi
  2. Jill Scott Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds, Vol. II
  3. Lizz Wright Dreaming Wide Awake
  4. Raul Midon State of Mind
  5. Faith Evans The First Lady
  6. Zero 7 When It Falls
  7. Esthero We R In Need of a Musical Revolution!
  8. Amerie Touch
  9. Tweet It's Me Again
  10. Janet Jackson Control
  11. Shakira Laundry Service
  12. Brian McKnight Gemini
  13. Annie Lennox Bare
  14. Seal Seal IV
  15. John Legend Get Lifted
  16. Gwen Stefani Love.Angel.Music.Baby
  17. George Michael Patience
  18. Sweet Back Stage (2)
  19. Smokie Norful Nothing Without You
  20. Brandy Afrodisiac
  21. Anita Baker My Everything
  22. Lizz Wright Salt
  23. Floetry Floetic
  24. Alicia Keys The Diary of Alicia Keys
  25. Kem Kemistry

And Classics:

  1. The Best of Al Jarreau
  2. The Best of George Benson
  3. Dinah Washington The Diva Series
  4. Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On
  5. Marvin Gaye What's Goin' On
  6. The Best of Etta James
  7. Anything by Luther Vandross

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Piece: A Poem

Everybody's got their own piece of the world.
It's the place in which they
     live, dwell, work and play.
Many would call this place home,
But it can be so much more than that.
This piece of the world is their zone of solace, joy and comfort
     keeping them centered and grounded.
This piece of the world you call your own is a part of you
So open up,
And let someone get to know you better.
By sharing your piece of the world with them,
You'll be astounded by how much you'll learn
You'll be amazed at how your piece of the world connects
     with others.

© 2005 BuddahDesmond

Claiming to Know: A Poem

I never thought I'd see the day when people would use the Lord's
     words in vain.
The Good Book has been used to support every ill within society.
There's no exception to this, even now.
With people using The Word against each other
Not knowing while in defense they're spewing more words of hate.
This contradiction is the cause for my current disdain.

I'm left wondering what happened to the love?
What happened to respect?
What happened to decency?
The current regime is using its religion to support a political agenda.
They think they're sounding righteous when speaking for the people,
When in actuality they're catching feelings and taking it personal;
     it's sacrilegious and totally obscene.

I'm left asking what happened to the separation between church and state?
I was under the impression that religion had no place in politics.
I thought there was freedom to choose.
But I'll be damned if somebody's going to tell me how I'm supposed to live,
     What I'm supposed to think,
     And how I'm supposed to feel.
I have an individual relationship with God.
We're cool;
And nobody can tell me otherwise.
No preachers, no priests, no nuns, no family, friends or strangers at that.

No human being can ever take precedence over the Supreme Being
     because of infallibility
We're not perfect.
We're flawed.
So what makes you think that the real message didn't get lost in translation
     or in our current interpretation?

Everybody's claiming to know the deal.
Everybody's claiming to know The Word.
Everybody thinks they got The Good News.
Everybody's claiming to know,
But claims aren't totally legit.
Besides, no one's really going to know anything...
     until Judgment Day.

© 2005 BuddahDesmond

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Luther Is Love (A Tribute to Luther Vandross)


Here is my tribute to Luther Vandross entitled, "Luther Is Love."

Luther—
Or Loofah, as some of us called you—
Still in denial about your passing on,
Doesn't seem real.
Gone too soon,
But never, ever forgotten.

Luther—
The silky smooth voice,
Flawless,
Full of passion and emotion,
Consummate artistry and professionalism.
A rare commodity,
Especially in the world of contemporary music.
You will remain in a class all your own!

Luther—
Exemplifying class and grace on and off the record.
Media seems to want to "out" you now,
But whatever your sexual orientation, it wasn't and isn't an issue.
Media also seems to want to make a big deal about your weight,
But that was just as insignificant with us as well.
It's the contributions you made that matter;
It's who you were as a person that matters.

Luther—
You sang in a way that made us feel like you were singing only to us,
Expressing all that we were feeling.
It was a musical connection that became deeply personal and spiritual.
You've touched us in so many ways.
For you, we are forever grateful.

Luther—
You spoke of love in all of its splendor.
You are the balladeer of love,
One of the greats.
Your music and spirit will continue to move us eternally.
You will always be loved,
For you are love.

Luther is love!

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Last Night I Cried

Check out something that I wrote a few weeks ago....

Last Night I Cried

Last night I cried. I cried for the families of the young boys who were found dead in the trunk of a car in Camden, NJ. I cried for the Bowie High School teacher who was found shot in the head in his car in Greenbelt, MD. I cried because there's been over 80 people killed in my county, Prince George's County, since the beginning of this year. And the sad part is the number does not seem to be slowing down or halting anytime soon. I cried because the war on terror seems to be taking more lives than saving lives. I cried because my family, that seemed like it was coming together, is drifting further and further apart.

I cry because something is really wrong. The world is in shambles. Political unrest. Social unrest. Religious unrest. War. Destruction. Epidemics. Racism. Bigotry. Natural disasters. Nothing seems to be getting any better. I cry because no one seems to believe in any other way than fighting each other. When we fight each other, there are no winners. Everyone loses. We need to work together. We need to put the pettiness aside. We need to banish the hidden agendas and bury the selfish mindset.

Though it may not seem like it, though it may be forgotten, there are ties that bind each and everyone of us. What affects the lives of one group in one place, affects the lives of all groups everywhere else. In this time of upheaval, unity is needed now more than ever. Honor humanity. Respect life. Love your fellow man and the land he inhabits. Or else we shall falter and perish--from demise we've long since created.

© 2005 BuddahDesmond

Let's Get It Started!


So I've finally done it! After reading and admiring so many blogs, I now have a blog to call my own. Welcome to BuddahDesmond's Rapture! Here is where I hope to discuss my many fascinations, passions, and thoughts. As you will find out, my postings will touch on a wide variety of topics--such as entertainment, art, technology, social issues, and everyday living to name a few. From time to time I may post music reviews and some of my creative writing. There will definitely be posts detailing interesting events from this crazy life of mine. At times personal. At times insane. At times vulgar and humorous. At times somber and detached. But always in some state of rapture. Come again to BuddahDesmond's Rapture!