Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.


All the Way Live -- Or Not

"Well it's too late baby. No, it's too late/
Though we really did try to make it/
Something inside has died/
And I can't hide and I just can't take it"
As sung by the Stylistics

I know, you read this and you think, well Mahogany must be crying her eyes out over some Casanova catting around. Nyet, my lovely blog readers. I sing this song only to mourn the loss of the MTV Video Music Awards... ahem, to a traveling band of rogue nigrahs and their amigos!!

To think that I semi-rearranged my schedule to make sure I was home to view the awards show which in the past has produced such priceless moments as Eminem fighting a standard issue puppet dog, the Wayans brothers co-hosting and becoming the nouveau Venus and Serena Williams, and my absolute favorite--Puffy and his minions of Bad Boy performing a moving tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. when it actually appeared to be a tribute and not another McMansion-getting ploy for the nattily clad, tap dancing Ronald McNegro (a.k.a. Puff Daddy a.k.a. P daddy a.k.a. Diddy a.k.a. Poppa Diddly Pop).

So imagine my disgust when I tuned in at around...oh, 10 p.m. (Pray to loose that C.P.T demon from mah bones, chuch!). Anyways, I'm looking at the screen and there is Puffy in the middle of some sort of monsoon... or is that him directing? What the devil? It was taking me too long to figure out what was going on. So, I took the opportunity to journey to the kitchen to get some ketchup for my fries. And, check my e-mail. And, alphabetize my CDs... LOL

By the time I get back the show I'm still as thoroughly confused. Why is Eva Longoria (the most trying to be J. Lo person I have ever seen with mine own eyes) struttin about in ruffles and pannie-draws? Are ya jokin', I wonder? And then when her rationale doesn't draw cheers from the audience like I am sure she had hoped, she looks sort of deer-caught-in-the headlights. As she should be. Where was her momma--letting her out the house looking like that?

Love the performance of Kanye and Jamie Foxx. But my previous "Special Bus" thoughts (see my 8/26 post) still stand about his flow. Glad he had Jamie to add in the live vocals *singing* "Goldiggggah", but what was up with latter gentleman's goatee with the extra "scruff and tuff" at the bottom? He reminded me of what the offspring of Cee-Lo and Sammy Davis Jr. might look like. Jamie -- love ya brotha. Love the acting. Love the spirit. Love the suit. But, that was not a good look.

There were a couple of other things I failed to understand about the show. Like, why was 50 Cent performing? Wasn't he so 2001? I mean, really... He sings another version of the same song in every one of his raps and then proceeds to prance about the stage in the same undershirt I see him in EVERYWHERE? Isn't it time to put it in the hamper, Fitty? Geez. And not to be macabre, but part of me wishes those trashbag pants he was sporting would have caught on fire as he rapped in glowing ring. At least it would make the otherwise useless pyrotechnics something to watch.

And, is it me or does anyone else not believe that Kelly Clarkson is a rocker? I'm sorry Kelly, but no matter how dirty your feet look from walking in the crowd, no matter how much you yell, no matter how much you stick out your tongue and try to look cool... I DON'T BELIEVE YOU. Sorry, I saw you on Fox primetime with all of the confetti streaming down, while you kissed a crazy Barnum and Bailey refugee clown... I mean Justin Guarini...crying and singing "Moments Like This" when you won on American Idol. You had crazy Punky Brewster-stlyle highlights and a red prom dress made from some sort of faux velvet material. I saw you Kelly. LOL. And rocker are you not. You have pipes, not hating. In fact, Strangez Shante on that note. But please stop trying so hard.

Which brings me on to other news. I found it problematic that we had to watch Kelly... and that random Chemical "we love Beezlebub" band yell at the top of their lungs when a REAL bonafide rocker and utterly too cool for the show diva, Ms. Gwen Stefani, sat in the audience filing her nails and eating Cracker Jacks. What was MTV thinking?! I mean really. Even I, who sometimes grows tired of the Neptunes' clankety clank beats and am quite decidedly none's "hollaback gurl", am known to walk about my house singing this "ish is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S." lol. Plus, she was rocking her OWN style... and she always does with such aplomb. I would have cheered for the 5-inch stilletos alone *Making a mental note to google where she got them*. But no... MTV says we have to watch a pretend rocker... and her dirty feet. Hrmph...

Among the other travesties...R-uh Kelly morphing from your average Joe Red devil pedophile to -- I dunno -- a pedophile with multiple personalities performing what could be thought of as his latest addition to the overflow of chitlin circuit church plays "Trapped Inside the Closet". (I personally am glad to say I didn't witness this one as it came on before I commenced viewing. (or maybe when I took that long, Diddy-induced break?) But to hear it retold and see the photos was more than enough.). Next on the horror list I did not witness but was told about was 50 cussing out Fat Joe. *And now a moment of silence for the Little Rock Nine, Martin, Malcolm, Fannie Lou Hamer and everyone else who gave their life or life's work to open the door for crack rock porchmonkeys to have their stage. Wait... give them a moment to roll over in their graves. Martin, you all the way over yet? Okay. Shall we?* *Clearing throat* Joe, please thank Our Lady of Guadelupe, and Fitty, your grandmomma ... and the heavens above... that you are not saying "Welcome to McDonalds. How may I help you?" lol I swear... you nigrahs have about a half a G.E.D. between you and you get riches, recognition...and a prime TV awards show... and ACT CLEAN OUT! I have no words... Meanwhile, while you wild out, a group that has been rocking for years, while wearing ... ahem, mascara makes off with all the awards. Now, who's the real gangsta? lol

Lastly, Destiny's Child showed a brave face and came out in their final (for now?) appearance at the VMAs. As much as this almost brought a tear to my eye, I was disappointed to see that the admittedly talented and vivacious Beyonce was playing Miss "stand back, don't block my stage light" Diana until the very end. Will state the positive first. The hair was hooked. The bangles were on point. And, I almost thought she had dialed Ms. Ross to borrow the dazzling dress that she and her 'nems (the Supremes) debuted in on the Ed Sullivan show back in the 60's. But why, on their very last MTV appearance did Beyonce make it so painfully obvious that they were not now/were not ever in the past/ nor were they ever going to be truly a group. I could just visualize Tina Knowles backstage scurrying to help B with hair and makeup and fabulous sequined dress, while Michelle and Kelly look from the wings with forlorn eyes. Finally as curtain call nears, and the girls, still sans dresses mention this sad fact to their patron saint, Ms. Knowles. She scowls at them, her lips forming a tight beak. "You want dresses? Very well then." *She pries open a chest in the corner and finds two rayon dresses from Solange's 1987 Christmas party and throws them at them.* She adds, "Here, now scram!" LOL And though all of this is just in my mind's eye, we might as well have been backstage. Poor Kelly and Michelle. I do wish them well. I hope they can salvage the remnants of their mercurial fame for lifelong riches. And I do hope that in the years to come they aren't like me, left looking at the TV screen tuned to the once-cool MTV Video Music Awards, wondering when things went wrong. Remembering when it was all so snazzy. When the VMAs were fountain from which other award shows drew their youthful piece de resistance. Singing quietly... "It's too late baby. It's too late."


Mahogany Musings...

Just my thoughts--right or wrong. Just what I was feelin' at the time. - Jay-Z

8:15 a.m. -- Okay, so I admittedly have lent my share of haterade to Kanye (Or bighead Kanyeeze as I like to call him.) I love his production skills (see Jay's "Encore" and Talib's "Just to Get By".) But, I've always felt like he raps like he takes the short and yellow bus to school. Perhaps that's ignant... *cough* ...Anyways, however much I clown, the best of his tracks make up for any of his flowicist deficiencies. A case in point, a song I can't stop playing on I-tunes (on my computer)... "Diamonds from Sierra Leone." Every morning, I've been waking up to Shirley Bassey singing "Diamonds are forever/ They won't leave in the night/ There's no fear that they might hurt me/ Diamonds are forever, forever, forever ... Forever, FOREVAH!" Love it in all it's fabulousity. All of it's drama, pomp and circucmstance. This week, Mr. West also made the cover of Time where they've called him the "smartest man in pop music". Hmm... anyone else see a wittle stwetch here? But, okay, I won't judge a book by it's ... well, you know. So, I'm all about poring through it on the ride in today.

9:55 a.m. -- Okay once again, I am on C.P.T. *Geez, I can't stand it! I'm going to need not to have the black time gene anymore. For the love of all...* Anyways, I'm on the BX2 express bus sitting next to some lady who smells like moth balls and cough syrup. I'm reading the Time piece or trying to...by mentally beaming myself out of the bus and away from the moth balls. Okay, now that I have shut down my sense of smell, I can concentrate. Hmm... first thought. Really well-written. Much smarter take than a stodgy newsmagazine usually comes up with. *Reading further* Witty. I'm sold... Kanye is funny as usual. Conflates angels in a Prague cathedral with a need to cast big-boneded women in his "Diamonds" video. It appears, the construction of contradiction. But, this, it seems, is his calling. It's how "Jesus Walks" can be on the same CD as that song about the ho workout. Irony is the stuff of life. *Pausing momentarily to strike the pose of Rodin's Thinker* I'll take it. That is until I get to the "hip hop for dummies chart" that accompanies the piece. Uhm... how in the ham sammich does one make a chart of such and omit Common Sense... and KRS...wow...and Mos, Kweli, The Roots, MC Lyte... Now, obviously all the peeps couldn't fit on such a list. But these are big omissions. *Imagining the big pile of verbally mangled complaint letters the mag's gonna get this week* LOL... Mista mail reader, sucks to be you :)

10:20 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. -- Switching gears here... I'm doing entirely too much work today/yesterday/ the day/ week before. I haven't been able to do my compulsive e-mail checks. No calls to catch up on TV (*Start of plug* In case you were wondering how my cousin fared on SoapNet's "Who Wants to Be a Soapstar", he made it to the final three people. Shout out to Tou. LOL *End of plug*). What else haven't I been able to do for having to work 10 plus hours straight? Oh yeah, no-- gasp--blog hopping where I habitually soak up the witty underpinnings of the sphere. What's that you say? You mean your editor is watching you like you're *singing* Hey there, how ya doin?/ My name is Harriet, last name Tubman/ I was wonderin' if I could proof this page?/ Maybe fix a graph/ Maybe sweep yo' house/ Here is my work phone/ And you can call me/ But don't forget, the name is Harri. Lawudmercy. I couldn't have been a slave. No jest. They would have had to just shoot me...

7:00, 8:00 p.m.-- Why I am still here?

9:00 p.m. -- Cycle, wash and repeat question. Hrmph...

9:30 -- Heading out... on that midnight train to the Boogie Down. Or on a rare day, driving along on the West Side Highway. Few things are better than watching the George Washington Bridge approach, all blinged out, with Jersey on the left as you follow the North Star home. LOL. And of course you're pushing *cough* 90 mph, so you feel the adrenaline. Of course it's all while chilling out to Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots", blasting J.T. Money and Soleil's "Who Dat?" (threw you for a loop with that one, didn't I? LOL) or singing along to the oh-so-underrated GQ's "I Do Love You." The day's drained away in the music. Rhythm rinses and re-starts. So, by the time I get to catch those eight hours (a must), I'll be ready to -- like Mavis and Pops (Staples) sang -- "do it again."


The Music of My Mind

A beaming me...Mahogany Elle

Songs I'm playing right now: Message in Our Music -- The O'Jays; Still Water (Love) -- Four Tops; Footsteps in the Dark -- Isley Brothers; Imagination -- Earth, Wind and Fire and the song that best expresses my state of mind right now, Uptight (Everything's Alright) -- Stevie Wonder

I've posted my pic for the first time not because I'm less cautious... (Strangah crazies, this is not an invitation to burn my house down, kay? Thanks. lol) But because I think my smile expresses the appreciation I have for the good peeps over at Yolanda Writes. They've featured R&W as their August 15 and 22 week's "Top Blog/Underblog." While I'll spare you my impromptu rendition of Ms. Diana's "Aint Mo Mountain High Enough" and my ensuing acceptance speech, I wanted to make sure you were properly shouted out. Thanks y'all!

Short post today, but I wanted to leave all you good people reading with some wisdom from Mr. Wonder. It's carried in the vocal chords of Mr. Keith John from the very lovely School Daze soundtrack. The song is called "I Can Only Be Me." God's grace and peace be upon you.

Butterflies begin from having been another.

As a child begins from being in her mother's womb.

But how many times have you wished you were some other,

Someone than who you are?

Yet, who's to say that if all were uncovered. you would like what you see.

You can only be you. As I can only be me...

Flowers cannot bloom, until it is their season.

As we would not be here, unless it was our destiny.

But how many times have you wished to be in spaces, time places

Than what you were?

Yet who's to say, that with unfamiliar faces, you could anymore be you

Love the you that you see.

You can only be you.

As, I can only be me.


Thanks for the Meme-ories

So I "borrowed" this from a blogger (thanks Will). Anyways, self-diagnosed "attention deficit disorder" me can't sit down in one place long enough to complete the whole thing, so here's a snippet. As they sang in the "Sound of Music", ahem-- a few of my favorite things...

5 locations I’d like to runaway to: Brazil; Nice, France; Greece; Egypt (when this mess in the middle east is over); Kenya.
5 bad habits I have: Procrastination, talking too fast, procrastination, being late every-freakin-where, not finishing what I start.
5 favorite things to do: Writing, shopping, listening to a music collection unmatched in North America, laughing and talking on the phone
5 things I would never wear: Parasuco jeans (guess I could never live in DC), Fashion Fair makeup (that 80's hot pink lipstick has got to go! LOL), a jheri curl, any day-glo colors, a leather skirt.
5 TV shows I like: A Different World, The Wonder Years (But I hated Winnie Cooper...always picking on my Kevin. Hrmph...) Good Times, Law and Order and back in the day... say it with me y'all... 3-2-1... Contact!!
5 movies I like: The Five Heartbeats, The Truman Show, THE WIZ!!!, Kings of Comedy, Crooklyn
5 famous people I’d like to meet: Nikki Giovanni, John Coltrane, Angela Davis, Jimmy Carter and Fannie Lou Hamer
5 snacks I enjoy: Salsa Doritos, cereal (*singing* Can't get enough of Super Golden Crisp. It's got the crunch with punch..Yeah!"), hot cheese popcorn, cherry/lemon water ice (Philly, where you at?!) and mom's cherry crisp
5 biggest joys at the moment: writing, discovering New Yawk, meeting/ talking to people, traveling, living life.
5 favorite toys: my cell, my car (affectionately known as "the Rolla"), my comprutah, my credit card (I know that's four, can't think of any others that I really need)
5 bands or singers whose song lyrics I know: Earth...Wind... and Fiyah (you know they had to come first--I probably know more of their songs then they do LOL), A Tribe Called Quest ("Who can drop it on angle--acute at that/ So, do-dat, do-dat, do-do-dat-dat-dat". Get hype!), the O'Jays (some of the most beautiful songs ever sung like "Loving you, has made my life much sweetah baby/ Ever since I found you, everything is alright/ Everything is so nice." Whoo... just love 'em!), Jackson Five (self explanatory), Gladys Knight and Pips ("If anyone/ Should ever write/ My life's story/ For whatever-- for whatever reason there might be/ You'll be there between each line of pain and glory/ Cause you're the best thing that's ever happened to me.")


Rays from Hotlanta

Sing it with me y'all ... And with a pen and pad, I compose this rhyme to hit you and to get you equipped for the summertime.

Will Smith, a.k.a. The Fresh Prince, probably didn't have a professional conference of writers in mind when the poet from Stratford Upon West Philly penned this now-classic ode to summer. But, it's a fitting song that describes the good time that was had in Atlanta last week at Freaknik '05... I mean the national convention of writing brown folk. By day, journalists discussed the happenings of the day, from hearing from T.D. Jakes on the mega church's place in the black community to voting rights education from everybody's fave baby dad-- the admittedly oh so fresh and clean Rev. Jackson (True story: He was staring hard...I mean long enough to take a picture... from two tables away as I lunched, clad in pearls and Jones New York, with a mentor of mine...*Shaking head* Uhm, no comment. And no, Mahogany me was not interested in becoming baby momma #2 LOL).

So anyways, of course yours truly was at everyone of these in depth, thought provoking discussions (that statement is absolutely true... if Al Sharpton doesn't get a touch up every other month and if Flava Flave has a dental plan in use.) Okay, so maybe I wasn't actually at any of these talks. Instead, I was chatting it up with a host of media moguls trying to get them to cosign my goal to take over the world. LOL. But, although the heavy hitters abounded, what seemed to draw the real news was the constant partying.

*And now for an illustrative song break* "3 in the morning, the pancake house, 4 in the morning you can hear [us] start to shout, 5 in the morning, calling a cab. 6 in the morning, talking bout the fun [we] had. 8 in the morning, just gettin' home, talkin' bout the overnight scenario--scenario."

One had only to look in the hotel lobby to see the culluds making use of the space as macking grounds... As dawn approached, the staff would turn the air conditioners on in the hopes of possibly luring the legions of negroes away from the public area, but a tropical people who have survived slavery usually find a way to adapt. Chilly air? We put on sweaters. They put the chairs up? We stand in pimpin' pods (circles) like whaat?! Club Lobby was in full effect every day... as Naughty by Nature once said, till the break o' break o' dawn. Unlike many locations that you can find M. Elle at, this location saw no discrimination. There we were, young and old (and real old) mack professionals, amateurs and aspiring mack artists. (*Sidenote - Why is it that, in addition to the rare occasion of the said rebum *shaking head* I always attract the attention of old and/or effeminate men? Clutching pearls... Um scuse me, if you have four grandkids, a mortgage and outstanding alimony balance, kindly step to the rear. Toe thong sandals and a Burberrry sarong? Please follow the gentleman in front of you. *singing w/ Ms. Cracky Houston* "My name is not [Terry]/ So, watch what you say/ And if you still need her, then be on your way! End note*)

Still as it was the place to be, on one of these said nights, a triumvirate of friends journeyed to the lobby to see what we might see. We got to chatting with a brotha (and his friends), a professional at a media organization that shall not be named and learned that he was Dave Chappelle's seemingly long lost cousin (or at least in spirit). The man delivered a spontaneous comedy routine over the span of at least an hour that left us all in stitches. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my notebook, but here, from my wiz bang memory, are excerpts...

On marriage and money: After asking me whether I would ever consider signing a pre-nup (Of course not), this man, we'll call him John Q. Negro, commenced on said speech. If I walk into a situation with three kwatuhs (quarters), I want to leave with my three kwatuhs. Even if I'm dead. I want them to lower me in the casket and then have somebody flick my three kwatuhs in there with me... (After a possible split) If I have to pay, at least make me think that I'm paying the baby's tuition or somethin'. Don't be up in my house that I paid for with another ni---ah. Then I'd have to have a prob-a-lem. I'll be in the bushes everynight nekkid with gloves on. And, I'm stabbin' everybotay!"

On upward mobility: John Q., although a successful media pro, told us of his aspirations to aspire to greater heights. Over his bed, he said, he has a picture of Oprah's beau, Stedman. For he is John Q's deepest inspiration. Every black man should aspire to win a woman with millions, he said. Every night, I pray. I touch his head and pray (mimicking the preachers that push folks down at the altar by touching the wall) and I say, Lawd, you know what I NEED!

To a homeless man: The man came out of nowhere as the group of us walked down the street. Granted it was past midnight, but the man should have known better than to ask him this. Or at least, now he does. Homeless/crack man: "Ey yo', mista can you come with me to the gas station?" John Q. Negro looking at the man like he has three eyes, "Man, I don't know you!" Homeless/crack man: repeats question. John Q, "Nuckah is you crazy?! Yeah, Ima go to the gas station with you stranger killah. Where's the gas station? Oh, in that dark alley? Okay, let's walk down the alley. You gonna get yo' boys to jump me? Okay cool."

[END NOTE -- Thanks for your patience with me, y'all it's been quite the hectic, with school starting, traveling, job hunting, and general buffoonery. More soon, I promise!]