Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Buddahdesmond.com Has Been Relaunched!

Greetings Everyone!

I'm so happy to announce that the new and improved http://buddahdesmond.com/ is up and running!  Mad love and major shout out to friend and fellow RIT Alum, Maia Roberts (http://www.maiaroberts.com/), for doing such a FAB job redesigning the site!  We'll be making a few more updates in the coming weeks.  

Sadly, after 8 plus years, the time has come for me to move on from Blogger.  My blog is finally connected to my website.  (All of the posts from BuddahDesmond's Place can now be found on my website.)  Ah, the convenience of being able to update everything in one placeAMEN!  

Please check out http://buddahdesmond.com/ and let me know your thoughts. 

As always, thank you kindly for your support over the years!

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings,

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Spirit Women

"Sisters in Spirit" by Synthia SAINT JAMES.

Spirit women,
Singing songs for the world,
Baring gifts for our hearts and souls;
Moving nations,
Changing minds,
Fueling enough power to shift our place in time.

Spirit women,
Rich with love, wisdom, and experience;
Exposing your scars,
Standing in strength,
Encouraging forgiveness,
And enlightening minds on the importance of letting go—
     so our souls can be free.

Spirit women,
Natural humanitarians;
We're grateful for you and your gifts.
We've found blessings in your blessings,
And relish in the deep connections we share with you.
Spirit women—
When we honor you we honor ourselves
     And our collective beauty.

Spirit women—
We celebrate you eternally.

© 2013 BuddahDesmond

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The DL Chronicles Returns is Another Triumph for Gossett and LeNear

Image courtesy of 2 Cents Productions.

SWERV Magazine recently sponsored the DC premier screening of The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode Thomas.  The film is another triumphant work from the ever-talented, award-winning filmmakers Deondray Gossett and Quincy LeNear.  

The DL Chronicles Returns premiered to a packed theatre at DC's Navy Memorial.  Fans have been anticipating the return of this groundbreaking film series for a few years.  The DL Chronicles made history when it appeared on Here! TV, as it was the first television series to the depict stories about gay and bisexual men of color living on the DL (down-low).  Winner of the 2008 GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series," The DL Chronicles was heralded by critics and fans alike for painting realistic portraits that challenged the notions and stereotypes of the DL phenomenon.

The screening began with the The Chadwick Journals.  Originally released in late 2011, The Chadwick Journals is a four-part web miniseries which "centers on The DL Chronicles' narrator, Chadwick Williams, in the beginning of his research into men who lead double lives" (2 Cents Productions). Aside from providing deeper insights into the lives of men of color on the DL, this winsome miniseries unveils the painful motivation behind Williams' research (which will ultimately lead to his healing and that of many others).

Promptly following The Chadwick Journals was The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode ThomasEpisode Thomas is the story of a man "who has not experienced love in a way he truly desires. After a tragic, life-changing event, he falls in love with someone who's come to assist him" (MUSED).  Not to give too much away, Thomas' brooding outlook soon changes once he embraces his truth, opens up, and allows real, unconditional love to come into his life.  Gabriel Arthur Corbin (as Thomas), Johanny Paulino, DeLaRosa Rivera, and Damien Toofeek Raven (as Chadwick Williams) all star in the film.

 Image courtesy of 2 Cents Productions.

Beautifully shot and directed, The DL Chronicles Returns: Episode Thomas is exemplary.  The writing, acting, and quality of the production continue to set Gossett and LeNear apart from their peers.  This factor was consistently praised by members of the audience during the Q & A which followed the screening.  The Q &A was facilitated by the engaging, spirited, funny, and legendary Rayceen Pendarvis.  Pendarvis called Gossett and LeNear leaders, and commended them for being authentic and letting their light shine.  

Gossett and LeNear are empowering themselves and our community by using their art to tell our stories.  Ours are stories that are rarely acknowledged or praised.  Make no mistakeour lives, our voices, our truth have value.  As Pendarvis said, "Everyone needs to see [The DL Chronicles Returns] because our stories are so worthy!"

Do yourself a favor and check out The DL Chronicles Returns when it comes to your city.  And be sure to spread the word.  Quality projects such as The DL Chronicles Returns deserve our support. 

For more information, go to: http://www.theofficialdlchronicles.com/ | http://2centsprods.com/.

Related Post:
Welcomed Return of The DL Chronicles Series - Latest on MUSED

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Love Continues to Grow for Swing Out Sister

Image courtesy of Quest Music.

I appreciate my family for instilling such a deep love and respect for music.  Our taste in music is os a wide-ranging and eclectic.  We listen to everything.  One group that my family has loved for nearly 30 years is Swing Out Sister

It was 1987 when we found ourselves transfixed with Swing Out Sister's first two singles "Breakout" and "Twilight World," from their debut album It's Better To Travel.  I was 5 at the time.  We became diehards overnight.  We played It's Better To Travel so much the CD started to skip incessantly (much to our chagrin).  If it wasn't for the CD cleaner, that album would not have made it into the 90s and beyond.

In July, we had the chance to see Swing Out Sister play to a sold-out audience at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.  It was a night that we will cherish forever.  Here in the U.S., fans have been waiting for a Swing Out Sister tour for quite some time.  The North American dates for their 2010 tour were canceled due to the eruption of an Icelandic volcano.  As a result, which flights were grounded for several weeks throughout Europe.  Luckily, nothing could keep Swing Out Sister away from their fans any longer.

 Image courtesy of Band On The Wall.

Swing Out Sister is the kind of musical ensemble that sound superb in the studio, but even more live.  The presentation, energy, and musicianship is astounding.  Their musical arrangements are some of the best you'll here anywhere.  Because they continually reinterpret their hits, their music has a refreshing, ingenious quality.  Within these reinterpretations you hear many of Swing Out Sister's influencesthe sounds of Motown, Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, Donny Hathaway, Donald Byrd, The 5th Dimension, and The Delfonics (amongst others).  Sometimes they'll weave the melodies of some of their influences' songs into their own tunes.  The result is a sweet, lush melding of Pop, R&B/Soul, Jazz, Latin, and Funk.  Some might call it Sophisticated Pop.  It's familiar yet very unique.  

Corinne Drewery, the lead singer/songwriter, looked and sounded flawless.  Her voice is like velvet, warm and seductive.  She remains one of the most stylish women in the industry.  Andy Connell, pianist/keyboardist/songwriter and the Swing Out Sister band played to the hilt.  They played selections from just about every album in their catalog, with hits and fan favorites such as: "Incomplete Without You," "Notgonnachange," "You On My Mind," "La La Means I Love You," "Stone Soul Picnic," "Am I The Same Girl," "Everyday Crime," "Breakout" and "Twilight World."  

Image courtesy of NY Daily News.

Swing Out Sister took us to a musical wonderland, somewhere deep in the night.  And we didn't want the night to end.  Much like their song "Love Won't Let You Down," Swing Out Sister won't let you down either. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Maysa!

Maysa has been a musical fixture in my family since the early 90s.  Growing up I remember many weekends waking to the sounds of Incognito and Maysa's solo music.  Nothing beats waking up to music, especially when it nurtures your soul.  Songs like "Deep Water," "Still A Friend Of Mine," "What About Our Love," "Sexy," "All My Life," "Got To Be Strong," "Center Of The Sun," "J.F.S," and "Shade Of Blue" have a special place in heart because they represent a time when music became such a strong force in my life.  Come to think of it, Maysa's music has been nurturing my soul for 20 years now.  There's something about it that just enraptures you immediately.  And her voice, instantly recognizable, takes you away. 

Maysa's most recent release, "Blue Velvet Soul" is her tenth solo album and is a perfect description of her music.  Her music is smooth yet powerful, soulful, lush, hypnotic, ethereal, and eclectic.  There's a warmth and intensity to it that keeps you in sync, yearning for more.  Maysa's voice, a beautiful, distinctive instrument, is much the same.  She's a singer's singer and one of the best in the industry today.  She, like Nancy Wilson, Angela Bofill, and Phyllis Hyman, is a uniquely gifted song stylist and interpreter.  She's able to use music to connect with her audience on a much deeper level.  There's an endless love of her art that flows through her music.  You cannot help but be touched by it, especially when you experience her live.

Maysa realizes the power of music and the role she plays as a singer-songwriter-producer.  She says, "I am a storyteller, a counselor and a friend that helps others through the good times and bad through my music. It’s important for me to connect with the audience because it’s my God given job."  And she does it, effortlessly, with each album and every performance.  Every ounce of her heart and soul goes into her music.  There's nothing phony or contrived about it.  It's honest, authentic music.  And it's a testament to her 20+ years in the industry and the love and loyalty of her fans and peers.  

Happy Birthday Maysa!  May there be many more years of life, love, prosperity, and enchanting music!  We thank you for blessing us for so many years with your amazing gifts.  Here's to you! 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Until Then...

When you’re screaming out
And the one you need the most still doesn’t hear you—
Your voice continues to blare and wail like a trumpet;
Hopeful that one day your tune will be heard, loved, and understood.

When you’re giving the monologue your all
And the audience from which you thrive doesn’t see you—
You don’t leave the stage; the drama continues to pour from you—
Hopeful that one day your act will be seen, acknowledged, and reviewed.

When you’re fighting against injustice
And the opposition turns the other cheek—
You don’t stop the movement; the message is a relentless battle cry—
Hopeful that one day your fight will lead to equality, freedom, and justice.

When I couldn’t reach you
I gave every tactic equal opportunity for the chance of change.
I sought your love and approval at life’s every whim.
Even when disappointed or rejected—optimism persisted—

Hopeful that one day you would come around.

Well, it’s been years—
And you still haven’t come around.
I’ve all but given up.
Hope remains everything but strong.
Guess it’s time now that I finally move on.

If you want to be in my life,
You’ll make it known.
But until then…

© 2013 BuddahDesmond

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Happy 8th Blogiversary to BuddahDesmond's Place!

BuddahDesmond's Place is now 8 years old!  It's almost hard to believe I've been blogging for nearly 10 years.  I was in undergrad when I first started reading blogs.  But I didn't get serious about creating my own blog until the summer of 2005.  I was inspired by Trent Jackson, Frank Leon Roberts, Clay Cane, Keith Boykin, Frederick Smith, and Rashid Darden (to name a few).  I was taken away by this new medium of expression and the fact that it afforded new ways of sharing ideas and perspectives, fostering creativity, and building community.  At that point I knew I had to give blogging a try.  And that's when my blog, then titled "BuddahDesmond's Rapture," came into fruition.

My blog serves as a symbol of my appreciation for the arts and entertainment.  It's also a place where I share my experiences and commentary on life, love, relationships, politics, and social issues.  As the years progressed, I've always tried to find ways to keep it fresh.  The 101 Days Project; Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics; Influences; Tributes; event reviews and author inspiration posts have continued push the blog into new bounds and challenge my skills as a writer.  It's my mission to keep pushing myself and my platform as much as I can.

I thank you for all of the support over the years.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my blog as much as I've enjoyed creating the posts!  Feel free to check out and comment on some of the posts I've highlighted from the past year in the "Related Posts" section. 

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond!

Related Posts:
Running Into Memories: A Tribute to Vesta Williams (1957-2011)
Day 71: Nothin' But Love for Whitney Houston
Day 78: Donna Summer - Tribute to a Bad Girl
101 Days Project is Complete!
101 Days Project: Prevail
Happy 1st Anniversary to 'Prevail'!
Power of Love: A Contemporary Aside (from 'Prevail')
Influences: Maya Angelou and Her Poetry in "Poetic Justice"
Day 84: Inspiration from Toni Morrison
Influences: Billie Holiday "Lady Day"
From "Audrey Hepburn" to "Better," Chrisette Michele is Unstoppable
Jody Watley is Still a Thrill
Day 101: Teedra Moses, The Lioness Live in DC
Black Bloggers Connect: BHM Entry | Kevin Powell - How To Make History (Event Review)
A Personal Reflection on Father's Day
Celebrate Love Every Day (A Valentine's Day Post)
Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco's "One Today"
Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 6
Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 7
Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 10

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Still NO Answers in the Marco McMillian Case - Latest on MUSED

Image courtesy of NY Daily News.

It's been five months since Marco McMillian's death and so many questions remain unanswered.  McMillian, 34, was a black, gay rising politician in Clarksdale, MS whose body was found beaten, burned, and unclothed on a Mississippi River levee on February 27.  Race, political corruption, and a hate crime motivated by sexual orientation have all fed into the speculation surrounding McMillian's death.  Lawrence Reed, 22, confessed to the murder and is currently in police custody at the Coahoma County jail.  McMillian's family, their community, and the NBJC (to name a few) have all called for a federal investigation into McMillian's death.  For more information, read the article on MUSED.

MUSED Magazine Online is a pioneering "digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment & culture for modern black gay men.  MUSED serves as a collective of experiences and issues we care about" (see About MUSED).  Its mission is to raise the level of consciousness for our community and provide reliable, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for its readers.  MUSED is the only weekly online magazine for black gay men.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels and the MUSED family for featuring the article! 

Follow MUSED on:  Facebook | Twitter

Follow BuddahDesmond on:  Facebook | Twitter

Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Related Posts:
John Legend Developing HBO Series 'Down Lo' Following Closeted Gay Rapper - Latest on MUSED
Does The GOP Really Want Your Vote? - Latest on MUSED
Latest on MUSED - Danish Study Finds Same-Sex Marriage Decreases Mortality Rate For Men
Ain't Nobody's Business: Coming Out On Our Own Time - Latest on MUSED
Dr. Ben Carson's Gay Marriage Gaffe - Latest on MUSED
Welcomed Return of The DL Chronicles Series - Latest on MUSED
Latest on MUSED - 'Truth. Be. Told.,' Refreshing New Docu-series Highlights Black Queer Visionaries
Latest MUSED Articles - Steamy New Short Film 'Pause' & Marriage Equality Support from the GOP
Latest MUSED Article - Should We Ditch ‘LGBT’ For ‘GSD’ (Gender And Sexual Diversities)?
Latest MUSED Article - Looking For Black Leadership? The Savior Lies Within
Upgraded Charges in FAMU Robert Champion Hazing Death Case

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A FAB Friday Night Experience - Jody Watley Live at DC's Howard Theatre

All images shot by Vickey Ford, courtesy of CentricTV's Soulsessions Blog.

It's no secret that I've been a long-time Jody Watley fan.  But sadly I had yet to attend one of her concerts.  So when I found out that she was coming to The Howard Theatre in DC on July 19, 2013, I knew I had to move quickly to get tickets.  I'm so pleased that I did.  It was an experience, a Friday Night Experience, that I will never forget.  The show was also special in that it was Watley's first in DC in 25 years and it was the last show as part of her summer tour. 

While I'd never seen Jody Watley live before, I expected a high-energy show.  And that it wasa 90-minute extravaganza with superb vocals, top-notch musicianship, ever-stylish garb, and tight, bodacious choregraphy.  The show was a FAB chronicle of Watley's careerwhere's she been and where she's going.  Watley opened the show with the funky disco soul jam "Nightlife" and "The Dawn (Don)," new songs from her forthcoming 10th studio album Chameleon.  The response from the audience was overwhelming.  Watley turned the Howard Theatre out with just the first two songs, and she was just getting started.

Watley kept the momentum going by taking us back to her days as a member of the legendary group Shalamar, with a spirited medley of hits featuring "Second Time Around," "A Night To Remember," and "Take That To The Bank."  Watley effortlessly commanded the stage and continued to shut it down with spot-on performances of her enduring hits like "Friends," "Some Kind of Lover," "I Want You," "Your Love Keeps Working On Me," "Don't You Want Me," Still A Thrill," and "Looking For A New Love." 

One of the most affecting moments of the show was the ballad section.  Though the tempo slowed down slightly, the energy and emotion remained quite strong.  Watley kicked off this section of the show with a beautiful, stirring performance of "Everything."  Soulful, jazzy, stripped down, reflective reinterpretations of "When A Man Loves A Woman" and "Most Of All" followed.  Watley's ability to reinvent and find new meaning in her music showcased the artistry, growth, and maturity that has sustained her nearly 40 year career.

After almost 40 years in this business…6 of them in Shalamar – I remain with all my success a virtual underdog. I appreciate those who really get it. My name may not grace the headlines or be a gossip and celebrity blog staple, however I continue to do ‘the work’ as a viable quality artist; while enjoying my journey with all of it’s twists, turns, highs, lows – hits, misses and triumphs. That’s life baby. ~ Jody Watley, 2013
From Disco, Pop, Funk, Hip-Hop, to R&B/Soul, what would a Jody Watley show be without Dance, House, and Electronic music?  After all, Watley's been one of the EDM genre's innovators for many years.  Her performances of "I'm The One You Need" and "Saturday Night Experience" were more than evident of this.  Never a substitute, always authentic.  Only the real thing.  Watley closed out the show with one of her biggest hits "Real Love," leaving us all wanting more. 

Watley's artistry, style, consistency, and forward-thinking continues to blaze trails.  Without a doubt, she's still got it.  And we wait anxiously to see just what she'll do next.  Whatever it is, we know it will it be FAB! 

Listen to a preview of Jody Watley's new single "Nightlife" from her forthcoming album Chameleon below.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Baltimore Urban Book Festival, New Website, and OutWrite 2013

Spoken Word Hour at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival 7/14/2013. From L to R: Monda Raquel Webb, BuddahDesmond, Anthony T. Pressley, Caroline Jhingory, and Michelle Lynn Stephens.
Hello everyone!  Hope the summer is treating you well.  My apologies for pulling a disappearing act these last few weeks.  Between work and my personal life, I've been ripping and running like crazy.  Moments to breathe have been fleeting as of late.  But one thing's for sure, I have no intentions of being burn out's BFF again.  So time to relax, relate, release, and regroup is a must!  In the meantime, let me give a few updates.

Baltimore Urban Book Festival

I had a wonderful time at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) a few weeks ago.  Truly was a great way to meet other authors, prospective readers, and network.  I also had the pleasure of reading with some dynamic poets during the Spoken Word Hour.  Some of the poets on the bill included Monda Raquel Webb (Life is like a Soul Train Line), Caroline Jhingory (Half My Size How I Ate To Lose 150lbs), Michelle Lynn Stephens (The Divorcée Chronicles: Diary of a Divorcée Diva), and the head of the Baltimore Poets Society, Anthony T. Pressley (Chronicles of a Momma's Boy: A Collection of Poetry and Short Stories), who served as the host of the event.  Hopefully we'll be able to connect again some time in the future.  I'll be posting a video of my reading of "The Ironic State of Black Men in Society" very soon.  Major shout out to author, songwriter, and poet, Tyeisha Downer (Diamondz in a Rough: The Transition).  I couldn't have asked for a better author to be my neighbor at the BUBF!

Status of BuddahDesmond's Website

My current website has moved to a new a domain while my new website is being developed.  Please go to www.buddahdesmond.net instead of www.buddahdesmond.com.  Once deployed, my new website will be accessible on the old domain (buddahdesmond.com).  

OutWrite 2013
Also, if you're in the DC Metro Area the first weekend of August, please check out the OutWrite 2013 LGBT Book Festival.  There will be a plethora of book readings, book vendors, book discussions, poetry readings and more (see the Event Schedule).  I'll be an exhibitor selling copies of Prevail on August 3, 2013 from 10AM-6:30PM in the Exhibitor Hall of the Reeves Center, located at 2000 14th NW, Washington, DC 20009.  Hope to see you there! 

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Ironic State of Black Men in Society (from 'Prevail')

During the Spoken Word Hour at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival this past Sunday, 7/14/13, I recited "The Ironic State of Black Men in Society" from the "Life" section of Prevail.  I thought it quite fitting considering recent events.  Video of the performance is forthcoming.

The Ironic State of Black Men in Society

Such complex, beautiful creatures:
Yet condemned to damnation.

Often seen as failures, hoodlums, and vagabonds.
Rarely honored or acknowledged for the greater good they're doing for their
families, their communities, and themselves. 
With that depiction in the media how could their outlook not be gloomy?
But that's only if you aren't hip to the real T of their plight.

For some strange reason, in the larger society, it is hard for them to be accepted
     as intelligent, honorable, responsible beings in areas outside of entertainment.
And when this perspective of them is challenged, it's met with all kinds of
     resentment, distrust, doubt, and downright hatred
Anytime reality trumps perception the masses can't seem to handle it.

And when they happen to be seen in a positive light, and something happens to
     them, or they are accused of an action that casts a negative light on the initial
They are immediately baited for the wolves.
Regardless of proven guilt or innocence, they’ve already been placed into the
     proverbial jail,
Never to be redeemed or forgiven.
They are made to pay for their misgivings and backfires—whether intended
     or not, whether guilty or not—for several lifetimes over.
Even after death, vindication is not promised, if ever granted,
’Cause the fickleness of society will not enable a shift in feeling, right, judgment,
     or frame of mind.

The road to justice and finding a relevant, truthful place for black men in this
     world does not seem possible in any of our lifetimes.
While the imagery and experiences are not, and will not, always be positive,
The belief that black men are no good is ever prevalent.
What has happened, unfortunately, to their plight has many causes and fingers
     that can be pointed at many places.
But the realness, the truth, and the change begin within.
Just because you've been denigrated to a certain caste in the world
Does not mean that you have to accept it or embrace it as your own.
Defy what stood before you;
Challenge what you've walked into.
Create something better to live on, and impact those coming after you.
That's where your power lies.
There's no guarantee that it'll change minds,
But people will take note.

As long as you define who you are,
and continue to build yourself and your people up,
redemption is guaranteed.
There's no need to seek the approval or consent of the outsiders.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond

"The Ironic State of Black Men in Society" is featured in the "Life" section of Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

Related Posts:
Happy 1st Anniversary to 'Prevail'!
101 Days Project: Prevail
'Prevail' Featured in EDC Creations' '2013 Summer Sizzler Book Tour Magazine'
BuddahDesmond Appearing at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) on 7/14/13 
BuddahDesmond Featured in MOOV Magazine

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Buddahdesmond.com Is Getting a Makeover

With great excitement, I am happy to announce that Buddahdesmond.com is getting a much-needed makeover!  I'm currently in the initial stages of redesign.  When it's all said and done, I hope to have a website that serves as a better online representation of who I am creatively, personally, and professionally.  My current site is now located at: www.buddahdesmond.net.  My new site should be implemented before the end of the summer.  I'll be sure to keep you posted as things progress!

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

Monday, July 01, 2013

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 13

Image courtesy of the IISC Blog.

Greetings!  Hope everyone is well.  Here's the latest batch of weekly musings on life, love, and politics:
  1. What's on the surface can fool you... For it may be in stark contrast with what lies beneath.

  2. There's a rare breed of folk who are unresponsive to "normal" methods of communication.  You have to get down to their level to truly reach them.  Sometimes this involves getting out of character, i.e. being overly aggressive, shouting, cussing, and carrying on...  In all honesty, isn't it a shame if you have do all of this to reach common ground with others?

  3. Give people and things a chance.  Don't be so quick to give up on them before they've had the opportunity to prove you wrong.  Let the judgment go.  Give in a little, you just might be surprised.

  4. If you can't find the hero within, the chances are minimal that you'll find the hero anywhere else.

  5. The heart is resilient.  It can overcome anything.  But not when we put roadblocks in its path to healing.  Release the pain and let your heart lead the way.

  6. A country can't call itself "land of the free" when all of it's people aren't free.  A country's failed itself and its people when conditions are put on human rights or when they are not granted or available to all.  Granting these rights to some but not all further perpetuates inequality, injustice, and inferiority, and blocks any chances of real progress.  
Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

Monday, June 24, 2013

Free (from 'Prevail')

I want to be free.
I want to feel free.
I want to be able to
fly and soar freely,
without limitations.

I want to be me—
the complete me,
not the PC version,
or the edited version
intended for major mainstream and retail consumption.
It’s not to offend.
It’s about letting loose,
being in my element
without worry, care, or defense,
because I haven’t found that place yet.

I’m still trying to find that
place where I can feel at home.
But when I find it
I’ll know.
I’ll be so comfortable and carefree,
So magnificently me
That I almost won’t be able to stand myself.
That’s when I’ll be whole.

When I find it I’ll be more than content.
That’s when I can be me—
unadulterated, unedited and unscripted.
Yes, that’s when I’ll be free.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond 

"Free" is featured in the "Life" section of Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.    

Related Post:
Happy 1st Anniversary to 'Prevail'!
101 Days Project: Prevail
BuddahDesmond Featured in MOOV Magazine 
BuddahDesmond to Appear on Black Authors Network Radio Show on 12/10/12 at 8:30PM EST
Full Poetry Reading from OutWrite 2012 
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With... BuddahDesmond on JoeyPinkney.com

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Personal Reflection on Father's Day

Father's day has always been a strange day for me.  I grew up in a single-parent household with a mother who was more than capable of holding down the roles of both parents.  My father did not take an active role in my life.  With the exception of visits and phone calls here and there, he was a quasi-presence, an oddity, an elusive figure (still is).  After 31 years, I must admit that it's a shame when you still don't know your own father (and he doesn't know you either).

I'm at a point now where the hope of any real relationship or bonding with him is somewhat faint.  If it happens, great.  If it doesn't that's fine, too.  Sad, but fine.  Guess when the child grows up it becomes harder for the parent to relate after being away for so long.  Or maybe they're apprehensive or scared to connect because they feel you may reject them.  Maybe it's guilt.  Or the scars that linger from their own father's absence and abandon that prevents them from doing the right thing with their own child/children.

I've had countless discussions over the years with my mother about why my father was rarely around.  And she always gave me her honest answers, without bashing my father in any way.  Most importantly, she did not want me blaming myself for his absence.  As a child, it was still hard not to feel this way because I didn't yet understand all of the reasons why.  No matter what, a bit of pain, sadness, and anger remained.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my insecurities, feelings of rejections, depression, and thinking I wasn't "good enough" stem from my father not being around.  I've spent an extensive amount of time working on this over the years.

The last time I spoke with my father was about three years ago.  He began telling me what he thought I wanted to hear about why he was never around, but not what I needed to here.  He said he wanted to try to have a real relationship with me, or in other words "start fresh."  Honestly, I was taken aback.  First of all, the phone call was out of the blue (as they always are).  And second of all, the whole scenario was giving me the "here we go again" feeling.  While I was open to the possibility, I wondered if he actually meant it.  Did he truly want to reconcile?  Would he actually follow through?

The memories of my father saying he was going to do something and never actually following through with it are the ones that cut the deepest.  I remember how I felt during those times, and I knew that I did not wish to go back to feeling that way ever again.  And now three years have gone by, and we're still right back where we were three, five, seven, ten, fifteen years prior.   

Maybe one day, things will change.  Maybe they won't.  Maybe I'll have to extend myself even more (than I have over the years) to try to move things along.  Sometimes people do need the extra push and encouragement to make change happen.  But one does have to ask, at what point is enough enough?  I welcome the chance to reconcile as long as my father is serious about it.  I have no intentions however, of being strung along anymore.  That's pain I don't need.

Whatever happens is destined for reasons that only divine knows at this point.  Realize, I hold no grudges.  I've forgiven my father (and myself) for it all.  I wish nothing but the best for him in all things.  And I just wanted to say, Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all fathers!  Never underestimate the role you play in your child's life.  Never take for granted how pivotal you are in your child's growth and development.  Your presence (physical and emotional), involvement, guidance, and support is more powerful and significant than you may think.  Be engaged.  Be committed.  Be present.  We need you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy 1st Anniversary to 'Prevail'!

Wow, it's been one year since I published my first book Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics.  I still recall the happiness and sense of accomplishment I felt holding Prevail in my own hands for the first time.  Prevail represents a dream come true.  I stuck to my guns and made it happen.  Not without a lot of support though.  I couldn't have done it without those (my spouse, family, friends, and mentors) who've encouraged me along the way.  

It was a rocky journey making the dream happen.  If I'd listened to all the things people told methat I wasn't good enough, that I didn't fit the mold, that I didn't do things the traditional way (as if that's something wrong)I wouldn't have this book or anything else published.  I wouldn't be working on my next book.  I would've stopped writing... I would've stopped doing a lot of things.  But I didn't.  I persevered.  Yet I know there's still much more to do.  More dreams to achieve.  Still more to learn.  More platform building to do.  Many more people to connect and build genuine relationships with.  More outreach.  And I welcome it all.

As I say in the introduction of Prevail, "We never know what's coming to us in this life, but we do know that if we get through it—whatever it is—we will be better, stronger, and wiser. No matter what, we know we must prevail."  

Thank you for your support!  Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.

Related Posts:
BuddahDesmond Appearing at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) on 7/14/13
101 Days Project: Prevail
Nothing But Love
The Music of Life
It's Not That Serious
Happily Ever After?
Gone Too Soon

Sunday, June 09, 2013

BuddahDesmond Appearing at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) on 7/14/13

Image courtesy of the BUBF site.

I'm happy to announce that I'll be one of the authors featured at the Baltimore Urban Book Festival (BUBF) on July 14, 2013 from 12PM-6PM.  The event will take place at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum located at 1417 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 21231.  Some of the headlining authors include Angela Stanton, Caroline Jhingory, Donna Hill, Sadequa Johnson, and Wahida Clark.  I'll also be one of the poets featured alongside Anthony Tyrone Pressley, Monda Raquel Webb, Michelle Lynn Stephens, and Sharon Clarkson during the Spoken Word Hour from 2:30PM-3:30PM. 

As mentioned on the BUBF website, "The mission of the Baltimore Urban Book Festival is to cultivate an environment where cultural book authors and readers have an annual opportunity to celebrate literature in a setting that encourages,educates and entertains everyone from the new reader learning phonics to the full fledged book worm." 

Aside from the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum, sponsors include Ella D. Curry Creations, The Literary Network, AALBC.com, The Baltimore Times, Mahogany Books, MosaicBooks.com, A.B.L.E. (Alliance for Black Literature & Entertainment), and the TLJ Bookstore. 

I'm looking forward to sharing my work and connecting with other authors, prospective readers, vendors, and the many organizations who'll be in attendance.

If you're in the Baltimore or DC Metro Area around the second weekend of July, please come support the event!

Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings, BuddahDesmond

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 12

Image courtesty of Mandalas by Veeno

It's time for another helping of BuddahDesmond's musings on life, love, and politics. Check 'em out!
  1. Don't let the world of "NO" sway you on your way to the world of "YES." The break you've been working towards, the opportunity you've been praying for, the chance to SHINE is coming! Hold on!

  2. There is a fire that burns inside of each of us. It's passionate energy that we can wield in both positive and negative ways. Sometimes we forget about our fire...we forget about the greatness that lies within. And we lose sight of why we're here, what we're fighting for, and what we're ultimately working towards. Don't lose your fire. Be cognizant of it. Be mindful of it. Learn from it. Will it lovingly and admirably. As Sonia Sanchez says, "Catch the fire and burn with eyes that see our souls: WALKING. SINGING. BUILDING. LAUGHING. LEARNING. LOVING. TEACHING. BEING... Catch the fire...and live." (Influences: Sonia Sanchez - Catch The Fire)

  3. Sometimes things are only complicated and complex because we make them that way. When this happens, it may be best to fall back, breathe, reassess, and look for ways to avoid fortuitous complications. At all costs—keep it simple!

  4. Only takes a few mini-scandals to divert attention from the real issues plaguing a nation. Depending on the severity, yestime and resources may be needed to rectify the matters related to a mini-scandal.  However, they also seem to give our officials unnecessary reasons to play politics, continue pointing fingers and drag their feet on major issues that they've been neglecting. As some will say, "Any excuse..."

  5. There's nothing wrong with being meticulous. This trait can do wonders for us (and others) in many personal and professional situations. But this trait backfires when it begins to hinder our progress, especially when working with others. We have to know when it's best to cut our losses and let things fall where they may. We must realize that we cannot afford to let ourselves be ruled or get carried away with the details (all the time). 

  6. When we pamper our passions they will be good to us. Just wait and see!
Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy 20th Anniversary to 'janet.'

Like a moth to a flame/Burned by the fire/My love is blind/Can't you see my desire?/That's the way love goes. ~ Janet Jackson, "That's The Way Love Goes," janet. (1993)
May 18, 2013 marked 20 years since the release of Janet Jackson's fifth studio album, janet.  janet. was a departure in sound and style when compared to Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989).  The album unveiled a different side of Jackson—her sensual side.  Songs from her aforementioned efforts like "Funny How Times Flies (When You're Having Fun)" and "Someday Is Tonight" provided mere glimpses of what would later be uncovered with janet.  

janet. stands as a declaration of Jackson taking even greater control of the direction of her music and career, composing and co-producing (with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) the majority of the music on the album.  If it wasn't clear before, janet. proved Jackson to be a distinctive, innovative, and monumental force that had come out quite far from the shadow of her family's fame.  With the removal of her last name, she (continued) to command respect on her own merits.  At the time of the album's release, Jackson was well on her way to carving her own niche—one that continues to inspire and influence fans and artists alike to this very day.

Jackson's albums are musical snapshots of specific periods in her life.  janet. represents Jackson's exploration of her softer, sensual side and the confidence which comes from embracing all facets of ourselves and honoring who we truly are (inside and out).  It's genuine.  It's real.  It doesn't comes off as contrived or pretentious.  You feel Ms. Jackson opening up in ways never heard before ("Anytime, Anyplace," "The Body That Loves You," "If," "You Want This," and "Throb").  Aside from sensuality and intimacy, janet. delved deeply into relationships, the ups and downs of love ("Because Of Love," "Where Are You Now," "Again," and "This Time" featuring Kathleen Battle), and the impact of racism and sexism ("New Agenda" featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy).  

Vocally, Jackson delivered some of her most confident, sweet, sexy, and soulful vocals yet.  The songs, expertly paced, run the gamut from R&B/Soul, Funk, Pop, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Opera, and Rock.  janet. is an album that you can play straight through, uninterrupted.  Even at 75+ minutes, it never gets tiring or boring.  After 20 years, it's safe to say janet. has aged quite well.   

Jackson, Jam, and Lewis easily produced one of the best and most eclectic albums of the 90s (or ever in my book).  janet. has sold over 7 millions copies in the States and over 20 million copies worldwide.  It remains one of her best-selling albums and one of the best selling R&B albums of the SoundScan era.  The album produced 6 Top Ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts, "That's The Way Love Goes" (#1 Pop/#1 R&B), "If" (#4 Pop/#3 R&B), "Again" (#1 Pop/#7 R&B), "Because Of Love" (#10 Pop/#9 R&B), "Anytime, Anyplace" (#2 Pop/#1 R&B), and "You Want This" (#8 Pop/#9 R&B).  

Musically, thematically, and visually, janet. took Jackson to even greater creative heights and laid the blueprint that many artists would follow soon after.  (Jackson would blow critics, fans, and artists minds alike again in 1997 with the release of The Velvet Rope).
Happy 20th anniversary to janet.  We thank you (again), Ms. Jackson, for this masterpiece.

Related Posts:
80's Albums That Changed My Life
Day 48: Black Music Month - Janet Jackson 
All 4 Janet.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rejection isn't My BFF, But I've Learned From It (And 6 Tips to Get Over It)

Rejection is like the friend no one ever wants to invite out because they either bring everyone down or they make everyone viciously angry.  So we keep them at bay.  But then the party of the year comes and they somehow manage to crash it.  They have a grand ole time and somehow we're left in the tracks of our own tears.  Probably not alone when I say no one wants to be BFFs with rejection.

My earliest memories of rejection stem from my relationship with my father.  When I look back, I wish I could say that my mind wreaks of more fond memories with him.  But sadly, I can't.  My father was not around as much as he could or should have been.  Thinking back, there were many times he said he was going to call, visit, or take me out so we could spend quality time together and nothing ever transpired.  My mother and I heard a whirlwind of excuses.  So many promises, all empty and broken.

One particular time, my father had seemingly gone out of his way to plan to stop by so we could hang out.  I believe I was in the eleventh grade at the time and we were off from school.  I was excited because it had been some time since I'd last seen or heard from him.  So on this particular day, I got ready and waited.  Waited.  And waited.  One hour, two hours, three hours go by, and my father still hasn't shown up.  I'm calling and calling.  No answer.  There I was, disappointed, rejected... Sitting by the window, crying, hoping that my father wouldn't leave me hanging like this (again).  

He never came.  Another empty, broken promise.  More excuses.  It was a record I'd heard all my life and I wanted its opportunities for airplay revoked forever.  From that day forward I vowed that that would be the last time I would be left crying—sitting, waiting by the window or the phone for my father (or anyone for that matter). 

I'd be lying if I said this didn't have any long-lasting impact on my life.  The rejection I felt from my father made me feel as if I was to blame...  That I wasn't good enough or deserving.  From this stemmed many of my insecurities, self-doubt, low self-esteem, confidence, my shyness, and my inability to let down my guard and trust.  After a certain age, I realized I was allowing it to hold me back from truly being me and going after what I wanted.  I also realized I was angry with my father, his not being around... And I was angry with myself for being affected by it for so long.  But I had to let it go.  I had to realize that I was not to blame for whatever my father was going through.  He has his reasons for why he wasn't there.  He made his choices and he has to deal with them.  I cannot hold myself responsible for his actions or others, especially when these actions don't stem from me.  I had to forgive and move on.

I've experienced rejection in a variety of other areas of life—love, relationships, work, school, and with many of my personal and professional interests.  Sometimes it didn't phase me.  Others, the pain from rejection was damn near debilitating.  In the past year, I've lost count of how many times I've heard "NO" after going after various opportunities.  But "YES" was never too far behind. 

Rejection is just as normal an occurrence as sunlight in the morning and moonlight at night.  It's inescapable.  It's unavoidable.  It's timing is impeccable.  And while there's nothing we can do to block its way, there's plenty we can do to avoid its lingering effects.
  1. Never lose sight of who you are.  No matter what happens or what anyone says, you must know who you are.  You must remain true to yourself and be steadfast in your convictions.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Trust, know, and believe that you are good enough.  

  2. Learn from rejection.  When rejection occurs, take a moment to look back at the situation and see if there are any takeaways.  Is there anything you can apply moving forward?  Were you really up on your game as much as you could've been?  Did you really give it your all or were you going with the motions?  Whatever you discover, do not beat yourself up about it.

  3. Do not give up.  Don't allow rejection to ruin your course of action.  If you set out to achieve something, stick with it until it comes into fruition.  You've invested too much into yourself and your dreams to give up midstream.  If you don't try, if you don't continue with your pursuits—you'll never know the outcome. 

  4. Find ways to keep yourself inspired.  The path to your dreams is one that will be filled with tremendous upheaval.  It won't be easy.  There are moments when your faith or belief may be tested—and it may wane.  If you can look to the many things in your life that get you hype, that build your optimism, and that constantly rehabilitate your faith and beliefsyou will push through.

  5. Always look to better yourself.  When opportunities arise to increase your aptitude, jump at them (as long as they're feasible).  You may be really good or great where you are in your life, but you can always take it to the next level.  Look to those who're doing things you'd like to do and see what you can learn from their experiences.  If you so choose, reach out to them.  You just might find a mentor.  But it's crucial that you're ready when they call on you.

  6. Maintain a strong support system.  Keep yourself grounded by people who know, love, care, respect, and appreciate you.  They should hopefully be people who are honest, considerate, and will build you up when they know you need it most.  No matter how good or great you are, you can never have too much support.  You can never have too many champions.  But be sure to pay back in kind what they've given you as you make your way.
We all will experience our share of rejection in this life.  But it's what we do with it that makes the difference in what happens afterward.  As writer Ray Bradbury said, "You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance."  

Don't let rejection break you.  Let it strengthen you and your quest to be all that you've been destined to be.