Thursday, September 25, 2008

If It's Not One Thing--It's Another!

First off that is not a picture of me, lol, but boy, let me tell ya!
So after my little hiatus where my daily life just kept taking me by storm day after day, I've finally gotten the inspiration to write again. However now, I've got writer's block!!! As Spanish Harlem would say when he gets frustrated: This is blowin mine! Lately I've had plenty topics I want to write about, but the posts have been coming together in little bits and pieces yet not enough to pull it all together the way I'd like. I don't write just to write, I take this blog and my writing in general very seriously. So if I can't do it right--I'm a firm believer in not doing it at all. I owe you that much for taking the time to read (hehe =D )! So once again, please bear with me yall, let's pray that MiSS Concrete Jungle gets it together once and for all!

BTW--If it's the last thing I do, I will be writing my post on the Jazmine Sullivan performance I hit up last night..I HEART Jazmine!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Minority Report 1st Volume 4th Edition

During my brief break from writing, one of the headlines that caught my attention was Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick’s conviction of perjury and charges for felonious assault, who left office September 18th and is heading to jail. If ya don’t know, the verdict stems from the affair he shared with former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and the downward spiral of events that occurred once the affair was made public. So that’s right—no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card, no need to pay off any more city officials to keep quiet about your love affair, no more lying to Detroit residents in an attempt to remain a Golden Boy of contemporary politics—Ahh the story goes on and on--just go to jail. For more info, my post on the 18th has a link to the Detroit Free Press' Website, where you can nearly everything short of Kilpatrick's SSN#, so check it out.

This scandal wouldn't be right if Kilpatrick’s supporters and even some of his critics didnt' throw race somewhere in the debate on whether his fate or the outcome is justified, but Kwame Kilpatrick’s being a black man is the least of why this straight-up debauchery upsets me. He cheated on his wife, and if anything, he played the scenario out like so many politicians of the past and present have done, only his diplomatic fa├žade faded real quick once he realized he was found out. I guess he forgot that A) You don’t carry out a love affair with another goverment official on GOVERNMENT devices, and B) You can’t go around shoving an officer trying to issue yet another government employee a subpoena in public…

Anyway, I’ll get to the heart of this post: I have a real big problem with infidelity. I don't care if you're a regular Joe or Jane, or the greatest thing since sliced bread, I can't stand it--but it bothers me tenfold when it's a chosen leader. Even worse I can’t stand hearing the argument that a leader’s commitment, or lack thereof, to their spouse has nothing to do with their ability to be a good leader. To me, it's the ability to be a good, charismatic liar because seriously, do we live in a society where the test of one's true ability to be a great leader is measured by their ability to hide lies and deceit from the public eye? After all, had Kilpatrick and Beatty used personal cell phones, even if they would’ve gotten caught, they wouldn’t have been committing a crime, they would've been chalked up to two powerful Detroit figures who decided to forget their marital vows and get it on—and they’d probably both still be in office.

Infidelity is nothing new, in fact it's one of those issues that will never ever go away, no matter how much I complain. And I know there are countless prominent political figures throughout the times who were unfaithful to their spouses, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, John Edwards are a few that come to mind, but it's either swept under the rug or glorified like it's the thing to do. Lord knows I take nothing away from these men's accomplishments, so don't jump on me, but their infidelity is at the heart of exactly how I feel.

In my mind, infidelity puts a political figure's character in question. If you're careless (or heartless) enough to cheat and deceive your spouse in your personal life, what are you lying about to the public? What hidden agendas are we kept in the dark about? Do you all of sudden find your morals when you step into the office, while lying to the ones you're truly supposed to love and care about? Athletes and entertainers are one thing, but when it comes to politicians and even worse clergymen (Lord, I will not go there today), my well-being is on the line and that bothers me.

This is a deep issue not really justified in this post, but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around my position on infidelity. I'd like your thoughts--what do you think? Should a politician's handling of their personal life have no bearing on how we view them as leaders? Also what's to be said of the spouses who deal with the infidelity? I just got inspired to write a whole 'other post on that.....


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Minority Report 1st Volume 3rd Edition

I have a full blog post that I've been working on about Kwame Kilpatrick, now the former Mayor of Detroit, waiting at home on my laptop. But in case I get caught up cooking dinner for Spanish Harlem and I, then fall into a coma after eating, which has happened every night this week--hence no new posts, I wanted to at least write or post something about the fact that Kilpatrick left office today and is headed to jail. If you've been under a rock lately and don't know about this drama, hit up the Detroit Free Press that has more than enough info to keep you occupied until I share my take on the issue.

So at the very least for now, below is a video of Kilpatrick giving his resignation speech with his wife giving her man moral support (ha!). I think the video works but if not, check the link , because most videos are restricted at the computers at my job lol.

By the way, Mrs. Kilpatrick has darn good taste, because I own that same suit (I betcha didn't know I get that fly every now and then, lol). Until later, Peace and a Bottle 'a Hair Grease!


Monday, September 15, 2008

MiSS Concrete Jungle Is Under Construction..Not the Blog--ME!

Hmm...what shall I say, 'Bear with me?' Yeah I guess that works for now. As much as I love writing posts about music and current events, I realize I'm still kinda dealing with some things in my personal life that I'd probably find therapy for through writing about it. One small problem--I need to write about it. When I first started this blog, I really had no clear-cut definition of what I wanted it to be. For the most part I figured I would rant and rave about my life in NYC and in general, and that you my readers would tune in and be interested! However I kinda suffer from a complex where I'm afraid to just put myself out there about a lot of things, even though I thought I was ready. I wasn't. So I started writing about music, and current events, more music, one personal post, music again. Basically I'm staying in my comfort zone, and not fully utilizing the outlet that I really feel this blog could provide. So ya know? It's time out for that, I just need to go for it--right? If you read a post, and realize you know exactly what I'm talking about--probably because you're a personal friend of mine--oh well, recommend the blog to a friend who doesn't know me. I'm certainly not on a quest to offend anyone I know, and hopefully I won't, but I'm definitely on a quest to become a better woman, and I'm damn determined (hehe). Writing will be my solace. Who knows, maybe I'll help some folks along the way.

Stay tuned..................

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

'Da Truth--L.U.P.End? Haha, You're Jokin Right? No..Really?

When listening to the tail-end Gotta Eat on Lupe Fiasco's latest album, The Cool, you'll hear him say, "will he give up his life of crime, or will he stayy? This and other adventures on Lupe Fiasco's next album L.U.P.Enndd..." as if he was announcing the next episode of the old-school Batman TV series, 50's announcer voice and all. Okk. So I just knew that this was end of the album banter just to get me excited for his next album (which worked), and kinda ignored the Enndd part. But according to Rap-Up Magazine's website --the album title confirms my greatest fear!

Following Lupe's recent performance at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, he reportedly told Rap-Up, "I just dont really feel like rapping anymore." Whaaaattt? I mean with that ridiculous waste of air time MTV considers an awards show, I'd be a little turned off by the recording industry too, but c'mon Lupe, you don't get back like that!! He went on to say that L.U.P.End, slated to drop by the end of '09, will indeed be the end of his recording career. And no Jigga/Jordan antics here--so he says--Lupe plans to write a book and support the releases of other up-and-coming lyricists.

I'm getting pissed just writing this.

Learning this news, I couldn't help but think on Lauryn Hill's, eh departure? from the industry and all the craziness we've heard about her since, so I just pray to the good Lord that Lupe Fiasco doesn't go off on some wild, crazy tangent (He's been known to get a little of the wall here and there). By no means do I declare myself a hip-hop head, but there are a few selective rappers out there I'm really into with Lupe Fiasco being really high on that list. Just ask Spanish Harlem, you cannot debate with me about rap music without me throwing my two cents in about Lupe Fiasco. Sleep on him if you want, he gave me hope about mainstream Hip-Hop, so I'm really discouraged that he's stepping out of the game so soon.

However, I must admit this doesn't really surprise me. As jacked up as the mainstream hip-hop game is these days Lupe Fiasco barely fits in with the slew of artists who've come out over the past two-three years under the guise of Hip-Hop "artist". After all when Lupe spits about 'stack that cheese' and gold and ice and women, are you really listening to the subject matter?? He's a cut above. And by the way did you catch Lupe on the Nov. '07 cover of XXL Magazine with the title "Leaders of the New School"? Lupe--Leader--Check. The rest? Umm. No. I about bugged out when I saw that magazine with Spanish Harlem in the grocery store last year. Take one look and you'll understand what I think is a dire future for hip-hop if this is all we can look forward to, hence the reason I'm so upset. Hmmm on second thought, maybe he took a look at that cover for himself and decided he rather NOT be associated with such coonery. Oops, did I say that?

Normally, I'd include one or two of my favorite videos by Lupe, but I don't think I can bring myself to do it. I'm too upset. Peace.

HARD WORK, SECOND EFFORT, DEDICATION, LOYALTY & LOVE--Sometimes you can sacrifice it all just to realize what you worked for isn't what it's cracked up to be..

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sistah Souljah is BACK!!!

Have you heard?? As I was flipping through the 15th Anniversary issue of Vibe the other week, I discovered that after nearly 10 long, long, long, long years—Sistah Souljah is finally preparing to release the sequel to The Coldest Winter Ever this October with the title Midnight. Mmm hmm that’s right Winter Santiago aficionados, come next month, the new novel is focused centrally around that beautiful, blue-black specimen of a man I know I wish truly existed--MIDNIGHT!

We’ve been waiting for the film version of Coldest Winter for so long that Jada Pinkett-Smith, who has long been rumored to play lead, might as well play Winter’s mama by the time the movie ever decides to drop—but hey—I’ll take a sequel any day. I’m an admitted Facebook junkie, addicted for over three years now, and I swear to ya that The Coldest Winter Ever has probably been listed under more folks’ favorite books than the Good Book itself!! Oh yeah, Midnight is going to fly off shelves.

News on the release has been circulating for a few months now, and according to Publisher’s Weekly, Sistah Souljah says part of the reason for such a long wait between titles is that she conducted extensive research to get the plot just right, traveling three continents to get the job done. If you remember somewhere in the middle of Coldest Winter, after ‘befriending’ Sistah Souljah, Winter discovers through old letters that Souljah and Midnight had a tight connection. And how could we forget how in luv Winter was with Midnight, so needless to say she wasn’t too happy learning Souljah had a bond with Midnight she’d kill to have. We also learn that Midnight, who is actually Sudanese, went through some deep ish escaping the turmoil in his homeland to arrive in the U.S. We begin to understand how he became such a ruthless, yet indescribably mysterious and wise, hustler. Deep. Oh my gosh, I’m getting excited just explaining that little piece of the plot!!

I’ve upgraded my reading game a lot since first reading Coldest Winter in high school, but it is a quality title that I hardly like putting in the Urban Fiction category, because the genre has become sooo glamorized and overdone over the years. I know a lot of yall out there are into those True to the Game, Triple Crown Publications, and that’s cool, but please pay homage to the author who in my opinion truly started the Urban Fiction ‘trend’—Sistah Souljah. No other urban fiction author I’ve read can really kick it on her narrative level in terms of depth, style and plot, and I challenge someone to give me a book that proves otherwise.

So yeah, keep an eye out for the long overdue sequel that I’m betting will be just as memorable as its predecessor. If she has a book signing in NYC, I swear I’m calling off of work!! Oops, did I write that?

Just Let Ya Souuulll Glowww 1st Edition Vol. III

Mmm...there are few things I enjoy doing to pass the time than listening to early 90s R & B I swear!! Today, it's all about Lo-Key--Where Dey At? That was the name of their first album, but nah for real, where are they?? Unfortunately their stint in the limelight lasted as long as it takes to listen to that record. Well actually they had two albums, with Where Dey At? debuting in 1992 and a second, Back 2 Da House, which dropped in 1994.

If you read my post on Cece Peniston from a few weeks back, you'll know that my mother used to belong to the Columbia House music club, so we had both Lo-Key records right along with all the other great R & B music of those days. I remember listening to Back 2 Da House a few times, but Lo-Key's debut is where it's at!

So, as I was reading the latest post on 90's R&B Junkie (all 90's r&b lovers, check out that blog!), which is written on another early 90's guy group, Portrait (I'll hit them up one day too), Lo-Key just popped into my head out of nowhere. Their jam 'I Got A Thang For Ya' is a 90's slow-jam that I'm sure no night at the club was complete without. I was all of 7-years-old when this song came out, so it's not like I really know, but I'm just sayin!! You know the words, "Here's a lil somethin that you should know, it's that I L-O-V-E"--Classic!

Here's the video below, and following that is another single from their debut I really appreciate as well, 'Hey There Pretty Lady'


Monday, September 8, 2008

The Minority Report 1st Edition Vol. II

I thank God that Hurricane Gustav wasn't as severe as initially expected, and I'm equally thankful that evacuation efforts went a lot smoother than they did just three years ago. I don't think we'll ever forget the tragedy that went down in the U.S.A. (remember the rest of the world is dying to be like us! right.) following the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina--nor do I think we should. Even today it makes me cringe to think of how embarassed I was as an American citizen as I watched New Orleans' residents struggle to hold on to their lives and their livelihood--it's something I'll never forget. In a country that boasts so much about being so great at this and that, one that claims race and class relations have made a comeup (HA!), I couldn't believe what I saw. I was working at a local Louisville news station, of all places, when the storm hit, and though coverage was extensive--folks got to see what the media wanted them to see. I was angry at the President, I was angry at Mother Nature, I was even a little angry at the people who got caught looting for items they shouldn't have been the least bit concerned in the face of such danger--I was angered and sympathetic on many levels.

In the second volume of The Minority Report, I'm posting a recent article by a good friend of mine, Phillip M. Bailey (who happens to be a phenomenal writer) who hails from Louisville, Kentucky and writes for The Leo Weekly. In this piece, he chronicled the arrival of evacuees who left New Orleans for Louisville before Gustav hit. I'm proud that in the face of Hurricane Gustav, the city of Louisville and the Louisville chapter of The Red Cross, which is actually a regional chapter, were ready this time around.

Check the link to the article:
Also hit up Mr. Bailey's blog The SOULution--under MESSAGE!
**Photos are courtesy of Phillip M. Bailey**

HARD WORK, SECOND EFFORT, DEDICATION, LOYALTY & LOVE--It will take each element to recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina--so much more than a devastating tropical storm. Much love to the family members and friends of my homies from Louisiana!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Soapbox Diaries 1st Edition Vol. III

First of All: It wasn’t my intention to take a hiatus from blogging so quick into the game, but life has a way of doing that to ya sometimes. And boy, did I pick the wrong time to stop writing! Between the Democratic National Convention, the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and scare of Gustav, and the announcement that former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, would be leaving office and heading to jail, among a few other happenings—I had some posts I was really looking forward to writing, and just never got the chance. The journalist in me is a stickler for timely news, but I may still post them anyway, we’ll see.
But over the past few weeks, my decision to relocate to NYC has begun to stress me out more and more with each passing day. Seriously—NYC and I are in a love/hate relationship at this point in time. Some days I remember why we fell in love…its beauty, its ambition and drive, diverse and well-traveled, not afraid of being different…Other days NYC rears its ugly head and I remember its lack of patience, unforgiving disposition, expensive taste, et cetera. To all of my native New Yorkers, please don’t take offense, I’m just talking from a NYC transplant’s perspective.
Exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time, even a year after making the biggest decision of my life to move here permanently, it’s still a huge adjustment. It’s a decision that I’m sometimes proud of, but more often than not, I beat myself up about it. Over the past two weeks or so, the weather here has been gorgeous, and today as Spanish Harlem and I were driving toward Brooklyn on the FDR alongside the water, it dawned on me how beautiful this Concrete Jungle can sometimes be. I never realized how on a nice day the mere mass of architecture that seemingly capacitates each possible inch of landscape—has an attractive quality to it.
But then I remember that as I’m on my way to work tomorrow during the tail-end of morning rush hour, I’ll more than likely get annoyed by the folks who get on the train at 86th St. “Why in the world do you care,” you might ask, so let me explain myself. I grew up in the Midwest and attended college in Kentucky, and while I don’t consider myself as being incredibly well-traveled, I’ve also been to several of nation’s larger metropolitan areas. But Never in my life have I noticed such a blatant display of the difference in social class than I have since living here (It’s a subject that bothers me a great deal, and I’ll probably blog about a lot, so brace yourself), and for me the difference truly manifests itself through NYC’s public transportation system. It doesn’t make sense to drive in this city; and with the public transportation system being so advanced compared to other areas, many people commute by train or bus. I guess it’s a daily opportunity for people from all different walks of life to collide in a way that you won’t see in many other places.
So some mornings when I’m riding the 5, a lil stressed out about rent, food, yada yada yada, I find myself getting super irked when the train gets to 86th and in comes the folks dressed in their Corporate America best with their Blackberries and Starbucks fix with a copy of the Wall Street Journal in tow, looking as if they haven’t a care in the world (More than anything they might look a lil annoyed that the 'rest of us' who've been on the train 1/2 an hour already took all the seats HA!). Flat out pisses me off some days. I know I shouldn’t judge people this way, but how about you get on the train in the south Bronx (or even some stops in Harlem) and ride to say….Grand Central Station…and just try and tell me you won’t notice the same thing. Sometimes I feel as if I’m being taunted, as if I’m not good enough to live on the Upper East Side--or hell anywhere other than the Bronx, which is the cheapest borough. Or even though I work just as hard as someone pulling in an upwards of six figures or much more, my little salary is somehow classified as ‘low-income’—wtf? Hmmph, everyone always tells me “Well you’re young, so you’re going to struggle,” UMMMM—who wants to hear that? I’m ready for this phase in life to pass. I work hard, I deserve better, and can't wait until it comes. Until then, bear with me folks!

HARD WORK, SECOND EFFORT, DEDICATION, LOYALTY & LOVE--The only way I'll ever be proud of the days I spent in the Concrete Jungle!