Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Ghetto Superstar by Pras, Mya, and ODB

If you're like me, you just started singing the hook to this cut from the Bulworth soundtrack. Mya's light, lovely voice flows through your mind, and you wonder why this song isn't already in your 90s playlist.

I can tell you why. Because you like this song only for the hook.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tight Harmony + Epic Dance Solo = The Best Video EVER

Mommy & me with the handsome groom.
Today's post was going to focus on weddings, those life-changing ceremonies uniting two people in love and eternal, exclusive fellowship. I aimed to gush about my cousin's beautifully intimate nuptials this weekend and the amazing food, folks, and fun at their reception.

I was then going to rant about contrast their joy with the inherent stress of wedding planning, a problem often rooted in folks forgetting weddings should celebrate the bride and groom not cater to guest preferences. I planned to empathize with family-wrangling couples and offer testimonies, condolences, and support.

And if I had enough space, I planned to wrap up with the amazing truth behind a recent viral wedding photo featuring two contrasting groups of people and a telling hashtag.

Well, that was the plan until the following video popped up in my Facebook news feed last night.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The "Diff'rent Strokes" Theme Song

Very similar to the TV of my childhood
(Ah, the memories...)
Though well-read and admittedly snooty in my grammatical preferences, I am a girl who proudly proclaims her lifelong love of television. The snappy one-liners, the tear-jerker moments and shocking storylines enrich my life in ways books and films cannot. As it stands, I'm on my third run-through of Seasons 1-4 of Vampire Diaries on Netflix, and I sit there watching the drama unfold in Mystic Falls as if for the first time.

(For real for real, I need to hurry up and finish this entry because they're conspiring to kill Klaus, and it's getting gooooood.)

So in honor of the beloved boob tube--Gosh, I detest that term--this week's Throwback Thursday category is "Pre-90s TV Show Theme Song." As a gluttonous consumer of television programming, selecting just one was incredibly difficult. I love different songs for different reasons, and no fewer than ten popped in my mind when picking this category.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al Indicts Us for "Word Crimes"

The Weird Al of my childhood.
Since the day I heard his greed-inspired parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," I have been a huge fan of Weird Al Yankovic. His rewrites of popular songs are equal parts hilarious and creative, and from a songwriting perspective, I have nothing but respect for his brilliance.

My previous favorite was "The Saga Begins," his treatment of The Phantom Menace set to the music of "American Pie." Though not a hardcore Star Wars fan, I have been known to hum a few lines of the chorus every now and then.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fear and The Father: The Great Exchange

Last week, I confessed my fear of success, failing, and just about everything else. Doing so was liberating, empowering, and something of which I continue to be proud. For someone struggling with perfectionism, publicly admitting my failings is a huge step in the right direction.

But during a Skypeversation with my Moo Sister Jess, she pointed out that a key portion of my premise could be easily misunderstood. Specifically where I said, "See, God cannot work through fear; He cannot move in the face of anxiety." 

"I think you were trying to express the same thing that I think," she wrote. "but didn't quite get there."

She's right, and I'm so glad she brought this to my attention, lest someone get the wrong idea.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Confession: I Am Afraid

I am reading Believing God, a spirit-stimulating book in which Beth Moore encourages us to step out into the deep and get real with our relationship with our Creator. With five simple phrases, she gives us the tools to begin the process of taking God at His Word and believing it to the exclusion of all else.

Sunday morning on my way to church, I was reading her treatment of the fourth statement--"I can do all things through Christ"--and its connection to fear. And as she discussed some of her fears and how God worked with her to overcome them, my eyes began tearing up. I wanted to dismiss the reaction as acute empathy for her plight, but the more she exposed herself, the more emotional I became.

I closed my Kindle and asked, "Why are you being this way? You're not afraid."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scuba Solider: Welcome Home, Capt. Hyrum Bronson

Of the millions of videos circulating around the internet, my favorites are those of soldiers coming home and surprising their families. My daddy is a Vietnam veteran, and though his service predates my life by a decade, I empathize with and appreciate the sacrifice of these selfless families.

This video is more than a year old, but I saw it for the first time this weekend on Facebook. And as the tears coursed down my face, I thanked God once again that I was born in the land of the free and the home of the brave. America has her issues--Lawd knows she does!--but as long as she has men and women like these standing on her front lines, she'll be just fine.

Grab some tissues and prepare to be touched.

God bless you, Bronson family. Thank you for your service.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Mater Problem in "Cars 2"

Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 is an internationally-themed sequel starring Mater, the kindhearted, southern-accented best friend. Though not generally anti-sequel, I barely liked this film (and I'm not alone). My issues lies with a central theme best expressed in this conversation between main character Lightning McQueen and Uncle Topolino halfway through the movie.

McQueen: I brought my friend Mater along on the trip. And, you know, I told him he needed to act different, that we weren’t in Radiator Springs.
Uncle T: This Mater…is a close friend?
McQueen: He’s my best friend.
Uncle T: Then why would you ask him to be someone else?

Uh, slow your roll, Uncle T.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Biggie, Gimme One More Chance

Sometimes the best part about liking a song is anticipating the video. Some are strange, some stand out, but the best ones make you wish you were there. The artists, dancers, and extras seem to be having the time of their lives, and you can't help but want in on the action.

As such, this week's TBT category is "Video You Wish You Were In."

(FB friends, this is the blog title to which I referred the other night. I changed it, as you can see, but please keep praying for me.)

Choosing one song for this topic was extremely difficult as I spent much of my teen years glued to MTV, VH1, and BET, engorging on one music video after another. For some videos, I wanted to borrow their stylists; pretty much every En Vogue video falls into this category. Others had both stylists and apartments I craved: "Ex-Factor" and "The Boy Is Mine" immediately come to mind. 

But my selection in this case wins the day because it seems like the funnest (yes, that's a word) music video ever made. The cameos alone made me wish I were there, to say nothing of how much I love the song. It never fails to make me stop what I'm doing and start snapping my fingers.

Ultimately though, nothing grabs me like an old school house party. And this video gave us one for the ages. 

The artist is Biggie Smalls a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. The video is "One More Chance (Remix)."

I'd love one more chance to be in this video! Which music video do you wish you were in? 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Toilet Paper: An Agent of Peace

Entertainment Weekly, 03.21.13

Modern America is fraught with division. Freedom to be ourselves begats freedom to dissent, and in every imaginable arena, differing groups are at odds: Democrats and Republicans, rich and impoverished, Delena fans and Stelena fans (as if there's any doubt) and the list goes on.

But during the Independence Day festivities this weekend, I experienced a profound reminder that underneath it all, we are all the same.

Friday, July 4, 2014

For Fashion's Sake: Stars & Stripes

Happy Independence Day, America!

As we celebrate our freedom from Britain's tyranny, let us all consider ourselves free from making questionable fashion choices in the name of patriotism.

I'm talking the Stars & Stripes.

Being a native Philadelphian, I have seen more than my fair share of gaudy, touristy ensembles, rife with huge flag decals or designs. And I get it. It's the Fourth of July, and you're visiting the Liberty Bell. You're practically obligated to don a flag-emblazoned fanny pack.

But there are ways to rock the Stars & Stripes without forsaking your style. Here are a few of my favorites from around the web:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TBT MUSIC: Song at Every Cookout

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and given our country's origins, the discourse will shift to concepts like freedom, sacrifice, honor, genocide, bigotry, and know, the usual suspects of American history.

But this is Throwback Thursday, so I'm not here to delve into that stuff. Instead let us focus on our favorite staple of the American summer besides fireworks.

The cookout.

Cookouts (or BBQs) invoke different memories for all of us. Some remember the smoky heat of the grill and the burnt hot dogs your drunk uncle tried to pass off as "just a little charred." Others think of a giant bottle of mustard or suspicious green potato salad (I'm looking at you, Jill Scott).

No matter your thoughts, music is the one ingredient without which no cookout would be complete, and this week's TBT category pays homage to the tunes that just seem to go with charcoal, wine coolers, and scorching summer temperatures.

My selection comes from an artist we sadly lost nine years ago this week. Though his musical legacy lies mainly in ballads, this jazzy number dances its way into every cookout I've ever attended. And basking in his silky voice is one summertime tradition I wholly support.

The artist is Luther Vandross. The song is "Bad Boy/Having a Party."

Cookout or not, we miss you, Luther!

What's your favorite Cookout Song? Let me know in the comments!