Friday, November 30, 2012

Inspiration from Ray Bradbury

Image courtesy of Fox Nation.
You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. ~ Ray Bradbury
Oh, the wisdom in the late, renowned writer Ray Bradbury's words.  As writers, we can easily get tripped up by rejection and caught up by acceptance.  Rejection can limit our progress (if we let it).  Acceptance can inflate our ego (unnecessarily).  We should take them in stride, never allowing either to motivate or denigrate us.

In the creative world, or in life period, we cannot get around rejection.  Many of us fear it.  Some crippled by it even.  For something with such a subjective (temporary) existence, why do we give it so much power?  And for acceptance, why do we let it go to our heads?

We write because we're moved to write.  We write because there's something that lives within us, something innate, that we must share.  We write because there are stories that only we can tell.  We write because our lives depend on it.  Therefore, nothingrejection, acceptance, or something otherwiseshould prevent us from doing what we love to do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mary Wells - Something New

Greetings!  My apologies for the lack of posts this week.  I got sick the day after Thanksgiving and have been resting as much as possible.  Much to my surprise while resting and browsing on Amazon, I discovered a forthcoming 2-CD compilation from the iconic Mary Wells entitled, Something New: Motown Lost & Found.  The official release date is 12.04.12 (just in time for the holidays).  Something New is the perfect gift for Motown music lovers, Mary Wells fans, or simply connoisseurs of classic music.

Image courtesy of Longshot's Blog.

Something New features stereo mixes (for the first time) of 47 rare tunes written and produced by Smokey Robinson, Holland Dozier Holland, Berry Gordy, Mickey Stevenson, and Sylvester Potts (of The Contours) to name a few.  23 of the collection's tunes went unheard until now.  Included in these gems are duets with Marvin Gaye; sides Wells recorded for an unfinished standards album; superb tunes Motown was gearing towards the AC (adult contemporary) market, some of which featuring The Four Tops on background vocals; "Your Loss, My Gain," a b-side to Wells' single "You Lost The Sweetest Boy" and the track which inspired the collection's title "This Is Something New."

The remaining are 24 tunes Motown released on a variety of collections after Wells' departure from the label in 1964.  Some of which were included on the 1966 Vintage Stock album, 1993's Looking Back, Marvin Gaye's first boxed set, and several other rarities albums.  I don't know about you, but I'm sold!

Image courtesy of the Soul Walking site.

In the last two years, I've fallen head-over-heels in love with Mary Wells.  My lovefest with The Queen of Motown was spearheaded after learning more about her life and career through TVOne's Unsung series.  Like many, I swept away by her sweet, seductive, soulful, and emotive contralto.  No one can sell a song like Mary Wells.  Each songa performance like no otherillustrated a different glimpse into her unique artistry.

Between 1961 (beginning with the self-penned "Bye Bye Baby") and 1982 ("Gigolo," her final hit), Wells scored nearly 20 top 50 hit singles between the R&B, Pop, and Disco/Dance charts.  While most of her music is infectious, it was the Smokey Robinson-penned tunes that are most affecting and brought out Wells finest performances.  These songs include "Two Lovers," "You Beat Me To The Punch," "The One Who Really Loves You," "What's Easy For Two Is So Hard For One," and  one of my all-time favorites,"When I'm Gone" (featured on Something New).

Wells' music was moderately successful in the period following her departure from Motown.  She recorded for a number of labels, but none of theme seemed to be well-suited in giving her music the attention and promotion it deserved.  A resurgence in the 1980s led to Wells becoming an immensely popular touring artist.  In 1989, Wells was recognized for her musical legacy as one of the first Pioneer Awards' recipients from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

 Image courtesy of the WikiMusicGuide site.

Wells career was cut short in 1990 after being diagnosed with laryngeal cancer.  Without proceeds from record sales or touring, cancer treatment took a tremendous toll on her finances.  Fortunately she was able to maintain treatment and stay afloat through financial support from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and fellow artists like Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt, and Bruce Springsteen (to name a few).  Wells also received an undisclosed six-figure settlement from a lawsuit against Motown for lost and unpaid royalties from her recordings.  After a brief remission, her cancer returned in the summer of 1991. Sadly, Wells died on July 26, 1992. 

Wells was fighter till the end.  Her spirit, no matter how great the setbacks in her life were, never seemed to diminish.  Wells—like Florence Ballard and Tammi Terrell—was a beautiful and remarkably talented and gifted singer who life ended too soon.  But thankfully, her artistry and soul will forever transcend space and time in the musical legacy she left behind.
To learn more about Mary Wells, check out the full episode of TVOne's Unsung on the SoulTracks site.  Also check out the latest biography by Peter Bejaminson entitled Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar.  Benjaminson is also the author of The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pear & Walnut Upside-Down Cake I baked for Thanksgiving 2012
I'm so grateful to be surrounded by a wonderful support system of family and friends who keep me grounded, love and support me unconditionally.  I'm so thankful that I can share my days, be it good or bad, with the love of my life.  I'm so grateful to have another day of life.  Life is a gift we unwrap each day we open our eyes.  God willing, I look forward to many more years of this gift.  

For all of the little things and the many blessings that continue to come my way, I'm so thankful.  I celebrate Thanksgiving not only today, but every day.  Because as long as I'm living, there will always be something to be thankful for.  

Hope you all have a beautiful, happy, and safe Thanksgiving--today and everyday!  

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings! ~ BuddahDesmond

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Dear Shout Out

This goes out to all who have been my supporters,
To all those who helped and continue to help keep me grounded.

Thank you for the love.
Thank you for your care.
Thank you for simply being there to lend your ear, your heart, and your spirit.

I appreciate every single thing you've done for me.
For only words may never suffice to convey how much you inspire me, how grateful I am to have you in my life, and how much I'll always love you.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

From Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics.

Related Posts:


Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Poltics - Week 5

My apologies for the delay, but here are the latest weekly musings:
  1. If you lose the battle, always remember to bow out gracefully.  Don't continue talking trash in your defeat.  It will only cast a dark(er) light on your character.  May even make your supporters question why they ever rooted for you.

  2. Laughter is an infectious tonic that can bring light to any situation.  It's one of the Creator's natural cures.  Try it.  You'll feel so much better.

  3. While it can be hard maintaining a positive outlook, even when everything around you is suggesting otherwise, you'll be better for it.  Believe it.  The power of positivity (and faith) will help you conquer ANYTHING!

  4. Our relationships give back what we put in them.  It may be easy to blame our partners for what we aren't getting, but remember relationships are joint ventures.  We always have to check ourselves first before we have the audacity to check our partners.

  5. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day are everyday, not just on the days specified by the calendar.  We sometimes break our necks to go out of our way on these particular days to show our families and friends how much we love and care for them.  Some could say it's a bit foolish.  We should strive to show our loved ones what they mean to us every day of the year, not just on holidays and special occasions.

  6. Instead of waiting until New Year's, maybe we should try making changes, resolutions, and setting goals on our birthdays.  What better day to commit to life changes than on the anniversary our birth?
Until next time, enjoy your week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Finding My Way Back

I'll never forget a particular meeting a group of peers and I had with the head of student affairs at my alma mater... During this meeting, she told us that roughly 80%-85% of people are unhappy with their careers.  Many of us were in shock after hearing this.  I thought to myself, "Wow. The remaining 15%-20% have it made. I want to end up in that group, not the 80%-85% group."  Years later, I found myself slowly drifting closer and closer towards the 80%-85% group.  Once I found myself fully submergedI needed more than a white flag to save me.

Practicality lured me down this path.  Armed with good intentions, I thought I could make it work.  Honestly, I did.  But how can you when you're committing yourself to something that fails to hold your heart captive, no matter how hard or what you try?  I listened to the "wisdom" about going into a career (technology) that would provide a good living.  I was told that my dreams and what I wanted (a career in the arts/being a renaissance man) was lofty, unrealistic, and that I wouldn't/couldn't make  a living doing it.  So (unwillingly) I bought into to it.  It was a good lie for a few years.  But each time I got still, reality brought truth back home.

As I moved further away from my dreams, the more they haunted me.  I called this the true gift and curse about dreams, talents, and natural abilities.  The more you deny them, the stronger they become.  If you allow your dreams to die, a portion of you will die along with them.  As I found myself heading for crisis, my dreams were still very much alive.  I, however, was going deeper and deeper into denial.  I found myself saying, "There has to be another way.  There has to be.  Otherwise I want out."

Ever been in a situation that felt like a dream that you weren't supposed to be in?  You know, when everything (including the people) seems so unreal and untouchable and you don't quite fit?  That's how I felt.  It was the dream, a fantasy, that I should've awakened from sooner.  A fantasy that would eventually turn into a nightmare.  When the fantasy ended, so did my livelihood.

I was forced to get really real.  I had to find my way back to myself and all that I denied along the way.  Silly of me to believe the hype and allow external factors to influence decisions about my well-being and career.  Foolish of me to doubt myself and my talents and let my self-esteem and confidence suffer as a consequence.  How silly... So silly.

After years of neglecting yourself, you have to get back to you and heed your calling.  And that's what I've been doing.  While I know I've got a long way to go, it's not as long now that I've fully embraced me and all that I have to offer.

More to come!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Let Perfection Ruin Your Quest for Greatness

Image courtesy of the Glamour site.

"Perfection is often the enemy of greatness." ~ Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae, the beautiful, extraordinary singer, songwriter, and entertainer, uttered the words above while accepting the Young, Gifted, and Black Award at this year's Black Girls Rock! awards show.  Monae's powerful words are the just the source of inspiration many of us need as we move through this life.  
On our quest to achieve our dreams, or simply on the quest to bettering ourselves, we often think we have to be perfect in everything we do.  We virtually kill ourselves striving for perfection (or succumbing to perfection's tainted appeal), when we don't need to.  When we realize we are fine just the way we are, greatness is a given.  Greatness will ooze from our pores, because we're honoring our authentic selves and simply letting it flow (just the way it was intended).  
We don't have to be something we're not or play into an unrealistic fantasy of ourselves to move forward.  Just be yourself.  "Embrace what makes you unique," Monae said, "even if it makes others uncomfortable."  Thank you Janelle Monae, for this, and thank you for sharing your light with the world!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Love Real and True

Somewhere along the way I found love.
But it didn’t happen the way I thought it would.
It was quite different from my dreams—
Wasn’t always so nice and pretty.
It was quite different from my fantasies—
Was sometimes better than I could ever imagine.
Was not always what I expected.
In love, if you just have to have expectations—
     expect the unexpected.

In my experiences with love and relationships,
I realized—
That love doesn’t always happen or arrive the way
     you want it to
     Or the way you dreamed it to.
Love comes in the way you need it most.
And you may not realize it,
You’re often blind to this mystical, magical thing.
And maybe that’s why I was afraid.
Maybe that’s why I was scared and ran away—
Because it didn’t come in the “right” package,
Because it didn’t meet all of my requirements
     On “the list”.

But once you get past want and arrive at need—
It’s like a new world.
You feel complete.
You are fulfilled in ways never known before.
You desire nothing more,
Because you got a love that’s real and true.

© BuddahDesmond

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 4

Without further adieu, here are the latest weekly musings:
  1. Tolerance is limiting.  It leads to a dead end road.  It means that total understanding, respect, and empathy are not possible, because one is not able or is unwilling to embrace that which is different from oneself.

  2. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel and how much the world opens up to you when you get out of your own way. 

  3. Rejection is unavoidable.  If you're "lucky enough" to have yet to experience it, don't worry... It'll happen.  It's foolish for any of us to think that we're so good or so untouchable that everything belongs to or is meant for us.  Not so.

  4. Unless you have a plan or recommendations on how to make life as we know it better, STFU!  We can be so quick to complain when things don't go the way that we want them to.  Complaining is useless.  If you want to make a difference, you have to collaborate with those than don't share the same beliefs or ideals as you.  By doing that, we can get the change that will benefit everyonenot just you or those like you.
  5. Sometimes the best opportunities are those that come about by accident or those that we create ourselves.  We have to be open to all possibilities.

  6. Love manifests from within.  It's so easy to be led astray when you can't find it within yourself.  Stop looking out, and start looking within!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Our America

(Written in Praise of President Obama and Vice President Biden's victory in the 2012 Election.)

Image courtesy of Just Jared site.

Our America is not one that is steeped in homogeneity.  Our America is ever changing, evolving.  It doesn't always look like you, sound like you, love like you, or believe like you.  In our America, our differences don't create problems.  They bring about unity.  They showcase the beauty of diversity and inclusion, not inferiority and hatred.  

In Our America, access doesn't come with million or billion dollar price tags.  Opportunities exist for all, especially all who believe in themselves and are committed to diligence.  While Our America is not perfect, it cannot keep up the status quo just to appease the good ole boys.  Only doing this will forsake itself, its people, and the world by not adapting to change and by not allowing new perspectives and styles of leadership to come to the forefront.  

Change, the right changeespecially when given the opportunity to blossomis essential to our livelihood, our growth, our productivity, and our economy.  Our America needs to move forward.  Our America needs progress.  Let our America prevail!

Related Posts:

The Power Of Your Voice
Day 98: I'm Voting for Progress - Obama Biden 2012
Day 96: Michelle Obama at the DNC 2012
Desperation (from Prevail)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Power Of Your Voice

My partner and I got up early this morning so we could get to our polling station before it opened (at 6 AM).  It was very good thinking on our part considering how long the line was, even at 5:50 AM.  But seeing the line of people this early was a beaming sign.  It meant people were not going to be swayed in any way.  They were going to let their voices be heard.  The coldeven with the temperature below freezingwas no deterrent either.  That's because the cause was/is worth it.

The cause is worth it because my ancestors fought too long and too hard for all of us to be able to vote.  They knew the power of the voice and that we'd only falter if we remained silent.  They recognized the importance of the collective...and that if we all had the chance to vote that we could collectively change our world for the better.  My ancestors died so that we could we could be free and live in a world where equality and justice reign supreme.  Therefore I don't take any of it vain. 

I also don't take it lightly the (ongoing) issue of voter suppression and oppression throughout this country.  There's too much at stake for any of us to be cast aside or denied our right to exercise our political voice.  And after being in a long line of voters today and seeing the long lines of people voting early in days prior, I know that this rightthis precious rightis something we all (should) hold dear.  As someone said exiting the polling station this morning, "You've got to show up in order to show out."  And I'm so pleased, so happy, so grateful that people across this country have/are doing just that.

Never think that you don't matter or that you don't count.  Because you do.  If you feel you aren't being represented well or at all, you have the right to voice your concerns and act accordingly.  If we fail to act or we don't exercise our rights, then we're giving in.  We're signing off and are just as accountable as the parties in office.  Or as many will sayif we don't vote, we don't have a voice.  Remember, you and your voice are worth more than they'll ever admit.  Why else do you think they up the ante on tactics to scare us away from the polls (especially during Presidential Elections)?

I don't care what scare tactics they use.  I wouldn't care if it was subzero or 100+ degrees outside this morning.  If I had to stand in line all day today to vote, I would do it.  I recognize the power of my voice and power of my vote.  And I'm glad to see that so many of my fellow Americans do too.

Related Posts:

Day 98: I'm Voting for Progress - Obama Biden 2012
Day 96: Michelle Obama at the DNC 2012
Desperation (from Prevail)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Miguel, A Maestro Adored

Miguel Live at The Howard Theatre (DC). Photo by Victoria Ford/Sneakshot via The Couch Sessions site.

Miguel is an artist, visionary, and innovator.  He's one of the most promising talents to come along in quite some time.  With two albums and several mixtapes, he's started what could be called a movement...A movement that brings the focus back to talent, style with substance, and entertainment the old fashioned way.  Back in the day, you had to be able to put on a great showwhether you had a hit song or album out or not.  You had to know how to keep your audience entertained.  That's how you kept working.  After seeing Miguel live at The Howard Theatre (in DC) at the end of September (as part of his Kaleidoscope Dream Tour), it's without question that he more than knows how to keep his audience entertained.  

While being pegged as an R&B artist, there's more to Miguel music than that.  If anything, his music is a fusion of many different styles and genres of music.  It's contemporary, futuristic, psychedelic, and old-school.  It's R&B/Soul, Hip Hop, Rock, Pop, Funk, and Electronic.  Hence, his aptly titled second album Kaleidoscope Dream.  Miguel's well-crafted, authentic, soulful music always seems to get at you.  His latest No. 1 R&B single "Adorn" is solid proof of that.  The heartfelt emotion in the lyrics and his vocal performance are what make it so affecting and so effective.  It's simply one of the best R&B songshell, it's one of the best written songs in contemporary music today (PERIOD).

With the stage presence as potent as the greats before him (Prince, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Sam Cooke), Miguel captures your attention instantly.  He doesn't have to utter a word...A simple gesture and the crowd goes wild.  Now that's what you call impact, power, and love.  With awe-inspiring creativity, endless style, hypnotic showmanship, and an emotive, supple voice, Miguel is a beast.  After seeing, experiencing really, Miguel live know that I am without a doubt a fan for life.  

One can only wonder how he'll continue to push the boundaries of contemporary music and performance forward.  The sonic masterpiece that is Kaleidoscope Dream is sign enough that there's much more in store from this maestro.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Vesta Williams' Final Album, Seven, Set for March 2013 Release

Image courtesy of the Urban Bridgez site.

Good news for all Vesta Williams:  Her final album, Seven, will be released in March 2013! According to SoulTracks, Urban Bridgez, and Radio Facts, the official release date for Seven is March 26, 2013 via Stimuli Music/Bronx Bridge Entertainment.  Seven, executive produced by Edwin Nicholas, Devon V. Collins and Kahlil I. Pedizisai, features her new single "Better Days."  The single was officially released October 21, 2012 and is available on iTunes and Amazon.  

Vesta Williams was a multi-talented singer, songwriter, actress, and comedienne whose solo career spanned over 25 years.  Prior to her passing on September 22, 2011, Vesta released six albums.  Some of her most popular tunes include "Once Bitten Twice Shy," "Don't Blow A Good Thing," "Sweet Sweet Love," "Congratulations," and "Special."
Troubles on my heart/Things falling apart/The fight in me was slowly dying/But never did I give up trying/To find my moment to shine. ~ Vesta Williams, "Better Days" (2012) 
Vesta's latest single is an inspirational, mid-tempo track that lives comfortably between R&B/Soul and Contemporary Jazz.  Vesta's voice is warm, endearing, passionate, and angelic.  She (re)assures us that no matter what we're going through, everything will get better.  Considering the struggles many of us are facing today, these are words we need to hear.

Even though Vesta has passed on, "Better Days" (and the forthcoming album I'm sure) is proof that her legacy will encourage, inspire, and move us forever.  (Check "Better Days" out on YouTube.)

Be sure to purchase a copy of Vesta's "Better Days" today and request it from your local Urban, Urban AC, and Contemporary Jazz radio stations.  And don't forget to pre-order/purchase your copy of Seven as soon as it's available.

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Friday, November 02, 2012


I thought this poem was fitting considering I'm less than three weeks away from finishing my MBA program.  Gotta keep the faith!


Run from you I dare.
Well I could but the consequences would be dire.
Too much weighting on this,
So many others have invested in this;
If I don't pull throughties could be more than severed.

I've come so far,
I'd be a fool to give in to temptation's selfish, persuasive pleas
     to turn my back. 
Finish you I must,
Or else you will haunt me like a spirit without closure.

There's not much more to go
For graduation day will soon come. 

© BuddahDesmond

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Weekly Musings on Life & Politics - Week 3

Sorry for the delay with posts this week.  School has seemingly taken over my life again.  With less than five weeks left in the semester and in my MBA program, I have had little time to sleep, socialize, or maintain consistency with anything outside the books.  The good thing, many would say, is that I'm in the homestretch.  It won't be long now!

In the interim, I'd like to leave you with my musings on life and politics for the week.
  1. If one or a few groups of us have to be put down, cast aside, or degraded for the sake of "progress," then we've failed as a society.

  2. Supremacy prevails when we don't have access to the same chances and opportunities for a better life.

  3. Fear is a powerful yet crippling emotion.  It gives immense power to those who use it as a controlling mechanism, while it cripples and weakens those who fall prey or succumb to it.

  4. You have to want happiness.  You have to want change and/or want to change.  There's nothing and no one that can wave the magic wand to make everything all better.  That's for fairy tales.  This is real life.  Embrace it and play your part.

  5. What you look for in others may already lie within you.  Locate, realize, and tap into it.

  6. The understanding of why things happen to us may not come immediately.  But everything clicks when the reasons and learning lessons unveil themselves.  Life is funny that way, isn't it?
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Hold on.  Be strong.  Everything will get better.