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Mahogany on Montel

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Now playing: "Four Leaf Clover" - Erykah Badu.
"Like the wind/ I am free / Going places, being things I wanna be."

So, Montel dropped by my crib the other day and we had a heart-to-heart chat. Turns out that he and a she-who-shall-not-be-named talk show diva are vying for the rights to interview me (Sniffle, I knew the day would come when the bell would ringeth pour moi. *Getting out a pen and paper to write my thank you speech*). Monty thought that if we leaked this a little early on said blog, it might pre-empt said broadcast diva. And not to undermine a woman *cough Oprah* who I much admire, but payolla talks in mysterious ways. *Raising hands upward* Hashonda!!* Ahem, so as DJ Hi-TEK says, peep game...

Where did you get your name, Mahogany Elle?
Well, Montel it's a nod to a diva who exemplifies style and class, wit and sass. Lauryn Hill, in my opinion, made it cool for brown skinded girls to be beautiful. Growing up in a family where my parents were caramel and my grandmother and aunts were very fair skinned, I wondered what was nice about my skin tone. But, when Lauryn came out and got so much love, I knew there was hope lying in the wings for the chocolate chicas. In the remix of the "Sweetest Thing," dudes chant "Oh Mahogany, Mahogany. Oh Mahogany L!" This being one of my favorite songs, the phrase stuck with me. So I've claimed it, albeit with a francais twist.

Interesting, interesting. So, tell us why do you write?
It's like breathing to me, I can't imagine moving through this portion of time and space without it. Growing up, my parents exposed my siblings and I to alot of things. But the thing that stuck with me most, besides listening to all kinds of music with my dad, was listening to Nikki Giovanni's "Truth is on the Way", a collection of poems she recorded with a gospel choir. Her wordplay, her emotion, her honesty struck me as amazing even at a young age. I didn't really plan on it, but I knew that sort of reflection was going to be a part of my life at some point.

You just mentioned music a little bit. What kind of influence does it have on you?
Wow. Too much to talk about. My father was an audiophile. Every Saturday night, he would come home, go into a room downstairs, put on his headphones and work with his reel-to-reel machine. He had tons of records. Tons. Everything from Earth, Wind and Fire (who I love to this day) to his favorites, the Temptations (I still hear him exclaiming, "David Ruffin with a tuffin!"). There was also the Jackson Five, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder... even a little Crosby, Stills and Nash for good measure (smile). Those nights were sort of his "dad" time. He would obviously be tired from a long week of work, but he always let me come sit and listen with him, or watch him make mix tapes (some of his friends would ask him to do the music at their parties). To this day, music is very much a part of how I think, what I write and who I am.

What's in your disk changer now?
The Brand New Heavies, Grover Washington, Jr., Curtis Mayfield, Van Hunt and Stevie Wonder

Okay, sounds sort of retro. We're going to get you a shag rug and lava lamp. Hahaha. Okay, Mahogany are you reading anything now?
"Dreams of My Father" by Barack Obama. The man is a genius. Great writer. Great thinker. Great heart. I felt like I wanted to cry when I saw him give that now-famous speech at the DNC last summer. And now, for him to be the third black senator since Reconstruction...that makes us all so proud. *Getting choked up* Don't let nobody turn you 'round Obama!!

Okay, a few more questions if you'll indulge us

Other influences from growing up?
Watching the NBA was definitely something my dad and I did.

Really? Who was your favorite player?
#32, Magic Johnson. To this day, I still believe that my childlike faith in the old Lakers willed them to a back-to-back championship. (smile) But now, I don't watch the NBA so much...especially not Fro'-be and the Fakers. Too many big babies. Too much crying. Mahogany's a busy girl. She doesn't have time for that. LOL. I favor college hoops now. But, just to pre-empt you, we won't be discussing the team won the tourney this year.

You mean UNC?

Okay, moving on. Game for a little rapid fire?
[Still a little salty from the last question] Bring it Monty.

Quick -- favorite city?
Philly -- lovely energy and home to Jill Scott and the Roots. Do You Want More?

Best song?
"Keep Your Head to the Sky" by Earth, Wind and Fire

Top three dislikes?
Slaveship tight subway cars, hip hop's slow decline into chatter and bling, getting hollered at by dudes with gold fronts

You can interview two people living or dead, who are they?
John Coltrane, the best saxophonist ever, and the unmatchable Langston Hughes...who inspired me at young age with "Simple's Uncle Sam."

Okay, now Dr. Montel's going to test your music reflexes: Nice and...?

"We Got the...?

*Montel's sings* "Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuv..."
"them and lea-eave them. That's what I used to do-oo-ooo"

My, Mahogany. You're impressive.
Thanks. I try Monty, I try. Okay, ANTM and my Bloomie's catalog are beckoning, are we done here?

*looks to the side before exclaiming* Supercala
fredjalisticexpealadocious *Now looking at Montel with eyes askew*

*smiles sheepishly*. I had to try to throw you a curve...But you're matchless!
Thanks, and psst... don't sweat the technique.

Set lights dim.


At April 27, 2005 9:52 AM , Blogger The Humanity Critic said...

Great post, Oprah should be beating a path to you for a interview. You have some greta movie tastes, damn everything that you are into I am feeling. Except for the lakers and Kobe part.(I know, I am the only person in the world who is still a Kobe fan..lol) Again, great post..

At April 27, 2005 12:12 PM , Anonymous panama jackson said...

That was fun homie. You've got great music tastes. I've always felt that you could tell a lot about somebody by the music they listen too. You can't know everything based on the music, but enough to know if you'd ever actually want to speak to them again.

I'd speak again. LOL! Cool post.

At April 27, 2005 3:28 PM , Blogger Maverick said...

Man, I can't believe that we have another Magic Johnson fan out here...and a woman at that!!! You impress me the more and more I read your blog. Keep up the good work...

At April 27, 2005 6:37 PM , Blogger Will said...

I agree with the rest of the crew...great post!

At April 28, 2005 3:28 PM , Blogger Mahogany Elle said...

Being that you all are the talented tenth of blogging, I appreciate the shouts ;)
-HC: Please tell Oprah to call me when you lunch with her next, kay?
-Panama: You're right, I'm, as E.Badu sings, "an analog girl in a digital world".
-Maverick: #32, the only playa to ever play every position and well! Like 'Kast says, Betta know dat :)
-Will: thanks for the nod and for actually answering my question about Bobby/Mike. LOL

At April 28, 2005 3:42 PM , Blogger Zantiferous3 said...

Loved this post... =) Can't say anything that hasn't been said. Damn look at your comment section... that's the damn Dream Team. LOL

At May 02, 2005 11:36 AM , Blogger Harold M. Clemens said...

this is the best blog post I've read in a while, though some of it went over my head since I'm not too familiar with some of the music. Creativity abounds I see...Luv how you conceived your name, but not feelin the "francais" twist. Fuck the French!! They're not super-sophisticated, they just stink and play the fence...btw, I bussed ya ass wit da ANTM piece, Punk! May I say your rebuttal was (eeehhh) weaker than a limp d*ck in a porno LMAO You know I luv u though we first fam after all;) Dark skin shorties are my preference too, the rest of the world just ain't caught up yet.
- anyone wah come tes my sound which is di champion sound...

At May 02, 2005 11:41 AM , Blogger Harold M. Clemens said...

P.S. NBA playas can whine all they want, since their white bosses bitch about everything from who players fraternize with to what attire they wear in interviews...Good work :)

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