Monday, September 24, 2012

Love is You


"Chrisette Michele Payne (born December 8, 1982), known professionally as Chrisette Michele, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter. She is signed to the Island Def Jam Music Group[2] and won a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2009 for her song 'Be OK'.  

I Am (2007)
Michele's debut album, I Am, was released on June 18, 2007. The song 'Your Joy' was released on iTunes as a free single of the week. The album spawned four singles: 'If I Have My Way', 'Best of Me', 'Be OK', and 'Love Is You'. The album's lead single 'If I Have My Way' charted at number four on US Billboard's Hot Adult R&B Airplay and number twenty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. 'Best of Me' charted on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks at number twenty-one. In December 2007, 'Be OK' was released as the third single, charting at number sixty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number twenty-one on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay. In 2008, 'Love Is You' was released as the album's fourth and final single; it reached number ninety on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number twenty on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay."(Wiki) (Lyrics)

Kai's Thoughts:

Making love takes time.
Touch me. Touch yourself(soul)search.
Meet me in the stars.
Time. I don’t have enough of it, and I’m trying to find the right tools to make it. Time is something that we actually have control of to a certain extent. Though we are all living under a capitalist system which uses time to punish and control how and when our bodies can move, yet some of us manage to escape time. Some of us have managed to find a freedom groove, and as our feet tip and toe in and out of time, we become the sustaining reminders that something else is possible. Love. Love is a radical act especially when you’ve been hurt. To love is to allow your heart to be moved. What kind of lover are you? 
I have always been a romantic. I believe that long walks under the stars with a loved one can save your life and theirs. I believe that a mixtape has the potential to send messages deeply from my heart space; it can create a sacred space of sonic bonds. Can you feel the beat? These freedom chords mark the distance and closeness between you, the universe and me. Can you hear that? Does the hearing make you feel? What makes you believe (again)? I believe in magic and poetry. I believe that dancing and laughter are freedom portals. 
And what of heartbreak and loss? It comes and it goes, but at the end of the day love will remain intact, if you allow it. Can you forgive the ones who have hurt you? Can you forgive yourself for the ones you’ve hurt? Forgiveness is essential to creating a healthy heart space. How do you forgive?
Here are some of the types of love according to me;-) What others can you think of?
Self-Love: This is something I am cultivating daily because I don’t believe you can really love another until you enter the process of (re)loving yourself. Your love is amazing, so why not share it with you? By loving myself consciously, I teach myself(worth). As a queer people of color, this can be an especially hard task because for many of us we have always been castigated. Often times we are placed in the weirdo section. We become the easily disposable bodies of the state. We are the damned with the hard lessons to teach. Listen. We are the geniuses unafraid to step out of line and ask for something new. How do you practice loving yourself? How do you take the time to love and heal yourself?
Sisterly/Brotherly/Queerly Love: I love looking into his eyes and watching him smile, because he is gorgeous. Because he is so sweet. Because he is brilliant and dreams in the daylight. Because he is small and strong. Because he listens. Because he makes time to sip coffee and eat stir-fry with me in the afternoon. Because he is unafraid to risk vulnerability. He is unafraid to reveal himself. And I see a reflection. I love this boi, he is a friend of mine. You ever met a kindred spirit? Did it feel like going home?  
Hot-sexy love: I can’t really look into your eyes for too long for fear of falling too hard and too soon. But I always like meeting you because you remind me that my heart still works and my capacity for loving is still in tact. But for this love, move slow. Move slow because what’s the rush? Take your time and let the beat build.
You can feel all these loves at once in/for yourself and with others;-)

I dedicate this Jam to Oakland, September 2012<3

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Me and the Devil

Kai's SONG OF THE WEEK: "Gil Scott-Heron released his new album I'm New Here on independent label XL Recordings on February 9, 2010. Produced by XL label owner Richard Russell, I'm New Here is Scott-Heron's first studio album in sixteen years. The pair started recording the album in 2007, with the majority of the record being recorded over the last twelve months with engineer Lawson White at Clinton Studios in New York. Some have called the record “reverent” and “intimate” due to Scott-Heron’s half-sung, half-talked delivery of his poetry. “I’m New Here” is 28 minutes long with 15 tracks. However, casual asides and observations collected during recording sessions are also included as interludes.[10] The album attracted substantial critical acclaim with The Guardian newspaper's Jude Rogers declaring it one of the next decade's best records.[33]

The first single from the album was "Me And The Devil", which was released on February 22, 2010. It was debuted by BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe as his "Hottest Record In The World", along with other specialist DJs such as Gilles Peterson and Benji B. The album's remix, We're New Here, was released in 2011, featuring reworking by English music producer Jamie xx of material from the original album.[34] It was also very well received by music critics."(Wiki) (Lyrics)

Kai's Thoughts:

Drive slow, Homie, those are the words I whisper to myself while driving these days, especially if it’s late at night because I hate getting pulled over. I have completely modified my driving in the last six months. I used to speed. I used to drive in the carpool lane alone and I was quick to blow my horn at those cars that irked me with their timidness, but now I drive slow, Homie. Still I seem to get pulled over more and more. I was given a ticket a couple of weeks ago for making a right turn on a green light while the walk sign was up (but there weren’t any people crossing). The cop asked me, “What if someone had run out into the street?” What if… I asked him for a warning and he said “Sorry, I didn’t pull you over to give you a warning, but you should just take it to court and contest it.” Thanks.
I headed up to the Bay Area to reconnect with my hometown, a place I haven’t lived since I was 15. Things have really changed and stayed the same. I see the new uptown is booming while East Oakland, where I come from and where my mother still lives… well, I see struggle and sorrow in the eyes of my people there. I see crack and other substances still taking their toll. I see babies walking the stroll and police watching (like me, but not…). What is their job here? To keep us in our place...And if you forget…they will help you find your way home
Sirens flash and I’m heading back to Alameda (I’m staying with my cousin in Alameda while I’m here). I pull over. Confused because I know that I wasn’t going 1 mile over the 25mph speed limit because the last time I was in Alameda I got a speeding ticket for going 37mph (I feel that if I’m going to be cited for speeding then damn let me really be speeding…) I pull over. A bright light flashes. Then the same bright remains, lighting up my car from behind. I feel the light behind my head, cold and as dark as it is bright. Blinding my eyes and I am afraid. For ten minutes I sit with this light on me, wondering what next. I dare not open the door and ask. Should I pull out my registration from the glove box? No, no sudden movements. They might think you’re pulling out a weapon. My heart is racing because I know that I have followed all the traffic laws yet and still here I am again under the gaze of some white male officer who shines his unwanted light on me. He finally comes over and I realize why I got pulled over and the person tailgating behind me didn’t… “Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are you doing here in Alameda? What’s the address of your cousin’s place?” I didn’t know the exact address so I gave some cross streets and then he asked me more about the area. Eventually he told me that I had a headlight out and that’s why he pulled me over, but really it is clear that I was simply out of place. My Black body in my black Acura with a spoiler was out of place and he needed to remind me (One of my besties tells me I should get a bike rack to make my car less Black. I was thinking to get an I <3 Police sticker;-).
“So if you see the vulture coming/ flying circles in your mind/ remember their is no escaping/ for he will follow close behind./ only promise me a battle/ a battle/ for your soul and mind/ and mine/ and mine”
What is freedom? The ability to move if and when you want to.
What is home? A space that holds all of who you are without question. I’m discovering home in Oakland. Spending time and sharing space with family and friends. Folks that I only knew via Facebook have shown up in real life. And I am grateful because I needed to be reminded that I am always held and always loved wherever I go. I find home when I find my people. It’s simple—like a hug gentle and firm all at once. It’s a smile. It’s a song shared that moves in the space between you and me, filling in the gaps. It’s recognition of the impossible existing right in front of your eyes—the person who got free and still struggles to get free everyday. I’m thankful for you and your courage and your will to live and create a beautiful life. My friends, my people, my loved ones from LA to the Bay and all over—I appreciate you.

Home is what you make
Love, make peace love, make me free
We together, here[1]

And if you can, don’t forget to get out and support Elvira TODAY(RIGHT NOW!) For more info click here.:   

[1] Hear?

Monday, September 10, 2012

This Bitter Earth

Kai's SONG OF THE WEEK: "'This Bitter Earth' is a 1960 song made famous by rhythm and blues singer Dinah Washington.[1] Written and produced by Clyde Otis,[2][3] it topped the U.S. R&B charts for the week of 25 July 1960 and also reached #24 on the U.S. pop charts.[4] The song is a key piece in the 1977 film Killer of Sheep by director Charles Burnett." (Wiki) (Lyrics)

Kai's Thoughts:

Have you seen me?
The splinter in my left hand, crooked fingers, scarred hands and jagged nails.
Three small moles on the left thumb and a burn below the right wrist-
Aged lines, marks of growth climb up my legs onto my back
Chicken-pox are gone, but left me all spotted.
Have you seen me?
The scars, the marks-
Do you think I’m beautiful all scarred and marked?
Outsides and insides- every outside mark has a name, and inside place.
Yes, I was sad there, clumsy there, lonely there
And I found freedom there
Have you seen me?
Did you leave any marks, any scars?
Inside or out?
Is your name here?
Have you seen me?
Did you make me more beautiful all scarred and marked?

Yes, I am beautiful all scarred and marked. We are all made up of joy and pain. I have been feeling some of earth's bitterness recently, but I don't believe I'll remain in that place. I allow myself space for sadness, anger, and disappointment. I am learning to be and sit with loss instead of immediately trying to get rid of the feelings. Sometimes we move on too quickly--I know that has been my tendency. When I'm hurt I long to move on to the next stage as soon as possible which is always something great. But there is something to be said for being conscious of the scars you have accumulated--in order to do this you might have to be uncomfortable for a little while. This is the place where you learn about yourself--growing pains are real. I have a hard time being alone because I have abandonment issues, but I am learning to be alone and to enjoy myself. I'm teaching myself to appreciate my own company because I don't think I have valued myself, my own awesomeness as much as I should. A lot of the scars I have are self-inflicted, self-doubt, my own voice telling me that I am not good enough. I'm taking the time now to re-meet myself and appreciate the person that I am and the person that I am becoming. This has been a year of transition and I welcome the journey to becoming a better me. It's a dialectical struggle;-) 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Best is Yet to Come

Kai's SONG OF THE WEEK: "'The Best is Yet to Come'" is a 1959 song composed by Cy Coleman, with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. It is associated with Frank Sinatra, who recorded it on his 1964 album It Might as Well Be Swing, accompanied by Count Basie, under the direction of Quincy Jones. It was the last song Sinatra sang in public, on February 25, 1995, and the words "The Best is Yet to Come" are etched on Sinatra's tombstone. Though Sinatra made it popular, the song was actually written for and introduced by Tony Bennett.[1] "(Wiki) (Lyrics)

I'm listening to Nancy Wilson's version (Nancy Wilson is one of my favorite jazz vocalist FYI): 


Kai's Thoughts:

It is important to be present allowing yourself to feel everything that is happening in this moment and in this place/space. I believe those things because there is something to be learned from every situation and sometimes we find ourselves making the same mistakes because we don't take the time to be still in uncomfortable places. I am being still—listening and feeling all that is within me. But I know that for me, the best is yet to come. Faith is what has kept me strong in difficult moments, the dream that some elsewhere is possible here.
Here are some of my declarations for this week:
*Changes and transitions are more graceful as I cooperate with them.
*I let go of control without losing control.
*I never fear my own truths, powers, fantasies, wishes, thoughts, sexuality, dreams, or ghost.[1]

What are some of your declarations or affirmations that you will hold on to this week? Please share:-)

[1] These are taken from David Richo’s book, How to be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration