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#ThisIsWhat Democracy LooksLike – Women’s March 2017 – NYC By Toi Powell

#ThisIsWhatDemocracyLooksLike

Women’s March 2017 – NYC
By Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

There are a million words I could choose  to describe my experience at yesterday’s Women’s March in NYC, but I feel they just won’t be poetic enough. My best, is to string together enough of them to help paint a picture for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t attend any of hundreds of sister marches held around the world. Millions of women and men worldwide descended upon their cities in solidarity and if my words aren’t enough, I put on my photographers hat in hopes that you could feel through my lens what I felt in person in NYC that day.

On Saturday morning, on the 21st of January, my Aunt Amanda, my friend Tasheea and I journeyed into Manhattan from NJ to march the streets of NY in support of the rights of women and everyone else who has felt the sting of discrimination, racism, sexism and all of the “isms” that are unfair and unjust to all human beings.

Book bags filled with our cameras and Project Pixie care packages of tampons, pads and wipes to distribute to homeless women in need of menstrual products, we marched onto the crowded streets to serve our purpose and the purpose of those around us. Women’s rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1

My friend Tasheea has founded such an amazing campaign soon to be an organization to help women with low income- to none at all -access feminine hygiene products. This march is what we stand for, and what an amazing sight it was when we arrived. Tasheea’s campaign is called Project Pixie. Visit her website at iheartprojectpixie.org to see how you can make a change in the lives of women in need today.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Tasheea N. Founder of Project Pixie at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

When we arrived, the air buzzed with electricity, hummed with voices of every race, creed, gender, religious background and sexual orientation. Flags waved from poles, bridges, store front windows and apartment balconies. Witty posters, relate-able phrases, fists and handwriting on thin white pages soared through the air, thrust upwards by passionate demonstrators. Demonstrators who merged onto the streets of NYC to voice, shout and demand fair, equal, justice for all including gays, African Americans, women, Muslims, and anyone who has been discriminated against and whose very rights have been threatened by this incoming administration.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell and her Aunt Amanda at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

Men joined us in step, marching a long side their wives, friends, daughters, girlfriends and children. Chanting and demanding justice for us and for all.

My favorite chant of the day was the call and response from men and women, “My body my choice” as the men would respond with “Her body her choice.” Empowering and uplifting, every person there, sharing the same positive contagious energy.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Without typing a long drawn out story, I must say my experience will stay with me forever. There were occasions where I teared up as I captured special moments through my camera’s lens. Moments that were not meant for me, but were being experienced in real time by my focal subject. Seeing the amazement, the love, the pride, the teaching, the curiosity and the awe in that “split” second where I was able to capture a moving target is what you will see in the galleries below.

Some of my favorite shots were on the bridge as we walked down 5th Ave, as I used my long lens to capture a group of young men above me, chant to the sea of demonstrators below, “Show me what Democracy Looks Like!” and the crowd responded with love, cheers and chants “This is what Democracy Looks Like!” The pride in their eyes is what held my heart.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

In a similar shot you can see them engaged in  chanting, but it is the gentleman to the far right in the red jacket who caught this moment. I felt a similar feeling when I went to higher ground to capture the sea of people. Yet, higher than I was, I can only imagine what he is feeling in that moment. Awe.

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Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Seeing the amazement on the faces of these children below was priceless. Mouths gaping, a sight to never forget I am sure.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Even those who could not join us in the streets, witnessed the magnetic demonstration from buildings above, joining us in spirit and solidarity.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Symbolism in architecture and art, lined the route, giving us more purpose, more energy and more strength to stand, march and fight for our freedoms and rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

As we come together for a common cause, with branches of injustice written upon boards, shouted from every mouth and supported by every stranger who marched shoulder to shoulder, the message is clear…

Love Trumps hate. We will not go quietly into the good night. My body My Choice, and this…is what democracy looks like.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

View My Special Gallery Below

Take a look at these cool shots from the entire day. (Read the signs!)

Don’t Wish Me A Happy New Year! – Toi Powell

It’s the end of 2016, which marks for many of us the beginning of a brand new year. Promises will be made, many of which won’t be kept. But, in this time and space that is the dawning of a newly born era — an invisible millisecond trip to the top of next years calendar if you will — we ceremoniously reflect upon the past 12 months and look forward to a magical new set of days ahead. A clean slate, a fresh start, or better yet, another chance to screw up our dreams. Always wishing for grandiose opportunities and then being too lazy or afraid to see them through.

Yeah, I know. If you sense a hint of sarcasm in my tone, you are correct. I am being sarcastic. But what exactly are you expecting? The same old, “go for it gumshoe!” “Let your dreams be your guide beloved!” or “Just have faith and all will work itself out in the end!” I especially love that last one. Just have faith. Faith that it will all work itself out in the end. What exactly is ‘it’ and when exactly is the ‘end’? I know about faith. I’m good on faith. But faith without your own effort is nothing. You hear me? Ab-so-lute-ly NOTHING. The ‘end’ is when you’re dead. And if you’re waiting for DEATH for everything to work itself out, then you have wasted your life, friend. You have wasted your entire damn life!

By the way, my name is Toi Powell and I am an author. I released my 1st book Blood of a Queen: Book 1 this past summer 2016 but, we’ll get to that later. Right now, I am on my Sagittarius ish and I am pounding away at the key boards. Nope, not angry typing, just making sure all of my letters actually end up on the screen as I type them because this dang laptop’s keys are so frigging thin! (Thanks Lenovo) Rant over.

Anyway, it has been foretold in the stars and also to my face, that I can be quite blunt. Blunt as in, ‘I tell it like it is’, not ‘blunt’ as in “you may experience blunt force trauma, for calling me blunt.” I kid, I kid. But seriously. This is a serious conversation, about serious things that can and will seriously happen to or for you within the next year. My bluntness, as I always try to explain — to no avail — is always out of love.

“Swallow this pill of truth”, I say. “You don’t need no dang sugar! Sugar is for babies!” But not really though cause if you give babies too much sugar and they’ll never fall asleep!

(I digress. You’ll realize I’ll digress a lot. My mind is an active beehive of words and it just needs release sometimes. Unfortunately, since you’re reading this, you’ll just have to deal with my swarmy thoughts and imagination, at least until you reach the end.)

Without boring you with who I am and what I do in long drawn out woooooords, I’ll tell you as quickly as I can, almost like a social profile.

 

Name: Toi Powell (I already said that)

Gender: Woman (Notice I didn’t say female. A cat can be a female but I … I embrace my womanhood)

Status: In a relationship (yes we’re serious)

Age: In my 30’s

Career: Author (Blood of a Queen series. Book 1 on Amazon now! Go get it!)

Day Job: Digital producer

 

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get back on topic of… wait. Did I even give you a topic? Let’s see, I said this is the end of 2016, …oh yes! Now I need to bluntly tell you about yourself and how you need to stop relying on blind faith and dreams and start doing! Now don’t get upset with me, cause it’s wasted energy and I don’t care. The best advice, I feel, sometimes comes from someone who has nothing to gain from your success and accomplishments. There is no underhandedness in their willingness to take the time out of their lives to give you the best gems of knowledge that will help you better yourself. Unless you come across a super-villain and in that case, congrats! You’ve finally become that actor you’ve always wanted to be! No need to read further, cause clearly, you got it going on! How’s them Marvel checks?

Now for the rest of us, we need to really examine ourselves and get to the root of our own problems. Here are a few examples of how we stand in our own way and then resurrect those same resolutions year after year.  And nope. I’m not editing anything to make it sound politically correct. This is how yall sound.

It always starts with “This year…”

  1. I am going to lose all this weight.
  2. I’m getting me a new damn job
  3. I’m gonna open up a business selling my grandma’s secret sauce
  4. I’m gonna stop perming my hair and go natural
  5. I’m getting a brand new car
  6. I’m fixing my credit
  7. I’m leaving him/her
  8. I’m getting married
  9. I’m going on vacation
  10. I’m gonna write that book I’ve always wanted to write.

Let’s talk about this for a second.

 

I am going to lose all this weight.

Why is your resolution the same as last year? What didn’t you do and why? Can I speak, bluntly? Why you aint lose that weight? Seriously. What stood in your way this year that kept you from physically losing your weight? Notice I said “your” weight. It’s because it’s your load to carry. Yes, the weight itself is a heavy burden, but also the load of broken promises to yourself weighs down on you emotionally. Don’t you hate it when people break promises to you? So why the hell would you allow YOU to break a promise to yourself? Unless you were physically or mentally unable to do it, there is no reason why you couldn’t have at least tried.

People lack discipline. They lack drive, ambition and the vision to see a much more vivid, vibrant larger picture. If you live day to day, expecting to start tomorrow, you’ll be right back at the top of a new imaginary calendar repeating yourself. Stuck in an endless loop of broken promises and dusty dreams. Find a nutritionist, sign up for a gym or grab some Shawn T. DVDs. Get into it!

 

I’m getting me a new damn job

What stood in your way this year from getting a new job? I’ll be a bit sensitive here because I know the job market tends to suck, but, I say BUT…did you go on any interviews though? Did you make any phone calls, network, print and deliver resumes? Did you do any research on the field or companies for which you wish to work in? Did you take any online courses, watch youtube tutorials and self-teach yourself a skill? Or did you sit around your home or current job and mope, wishing to be somewhere else? Wishes are for babies. Go find yourself a cake and some candles because that’s the only time when wishes are somewhat acceptable and even then, I side eye and turn that ish into an affirmation.

You have to put in the work and the time to get anything you want out of life. And your new year resolutions are no exception. I know I listed about 10 resolutions earlier and I won’t bore you with an explanation for all of them, but I will touch on at least 2 more.

 

I’m gonna open up a business selling my grandma’s secret sauce

Yah grandma’s secret sauce. Now, this is not a bad idea to have but I have heard so many people claim that they are going to take their family recipe and sell it in stores because everybody tells you how good it tastes. Someone in the family is poor (maybe you, or not) and this can bring them some money and/or you have this grandiose idea of becoming rich because you know how to stew up some tomatoes and add a little Italian seasoning and some oregano and the whole world will love you for it. Honey. There are at least 25 different sauces on the shelves in my local Shoprite. Each of these sauces probably tastes very similar to the next. What you bringing to the table?

Digression Confession: I can not tell the difference between Barilla and Bertolli pasta sauce. Only Shoprite can and those prices are what drives my meal. Ragu needs to be condemned to the fiery gates of hell. They can use the extra water in the sauce to put the gates out.

What will make your sauce stand out among the other 25 sauces? Better yet, how are you going to get the sauce on the shelves? But let’s back up some more. Are you cooking and bottling these sauces yourself or will you need a distributor? Where are you getting your bottles from? Which farms will grow your sweet grandma’s tomatoes? Clearly, you can’t feed the world off of that little patch of land behind the house? What is your business model?

I lost you at business model, didn’t I? Watch all of those encouraging family members and friends who loved your sauces slink backwards into the darkness once they realize how much WORK actually goes into getting your grandma’s secret sauce on the shelves.

If you stand by your sauce, then stand by the damn sauce! Do your research, reach out to people, companies, get a lawyer, discover some local farms, build relationships, start small. Work your way up, but the point is you are doing something. You have taken this friendly, family conversation out of the kitchen and into something more tangible. You have bookmarks in your browser of websites that will help you become established. You are taking the steps to ensure that grandma’s sauce will make it out, to at least your local market. You can either put in that work or get lost in the sauce. The choice is yours.

Let’s just run through these resolutions really quick, ‘cause I think they’re pretty popular with repeat offenders and I don’t want to leave anybody out. I’ll give you a quick, blunt answer so you can get what you need and move on before I get to the last one.

Digression Confession: I’ve been drinking red wine all night and I have a slight headache. Probably from this last round of cheap red in my house. I also have a killer cold and have been drugged up on cough syrup for 3 days. I do not have the will nor the energy to type out long paragraphs for every resolution I listed. I assume we are all adults (hiccup) and you get what I call.. the gist. Also, do not ask me which red wine I am currently drinking. I started with Pinot Noir and at this point it’s all a red blur… I mean blend. It’s all a red blend. Jezus. Here we go…

I’m gonna stop perming my hair and go natural

Ok. We all know, relaxers give black women a green film over their skulls from years of chemically treating their hair. If this doesn’t convince you to stop, then perhaps your goal is to become the Grinch Who Stole Christmas…from the inside out! Stop perming your damn hair! You act like a big tooth comb is gonna kill you! Do the Hokey-Pokey, Grow that baby out, oil up that scalp, do a 2 strand twist out and that’s what it’s all about!

 

I’m getting a brand new car

Great, do it. Check/fix your credit, save some money for that down payment. Look into Money Market Account (MMA) savings accounts for higher interests and research the types of loans you’ll need to get your dream car. Don’t forget to research how much your insurance rate will go up. Plenty of people forget to do that.

I’m fixing my credit

Awesome! You’re on your way to getting that brand new car! You get a car, YOU get a car! Make sure you research everyone you owe money to and your state’s statute of limitations. You may not have to pay ish! You can also request a statement to prove what you owe and original documentation of your debt. Do your research. Remember, I’ve been drinking a red blend. I do not have the energy to do it for you. This is your resolution so, get tah gettin!

I’m leaving him/her

This is one of my favorite ones. If you have to keep talking yourself into leaving someone, then…(sips wine) Chal! You need to just be done and over with it. Just walk away. Just put 1 foot in front of the other and hut, 2, 3, 4! Do NOT about face. You have been about facing all year. What are you waiting on? Are there kids involved? Pets? Deeds? Accounts? Businesses? What is it? Figure that ish out and leave! Here comes the Sagittarius… be warned. You are NOT the only person on the face of this entire dang planet that has been in the situation you are in. You are not special in this case. You will not be the only single mom or dad out there, you will not be the only one starting from scratch and you will never be the only one who will have to dig deep down inside of themselves to find the stronger YOU in the face of adversity. There are millions of humans on this planet. And they have done it. What makes you any different? Find that stronger you, get over it and move on. Enough is enough.

I’m getting married

Oop! Look who’s moved on! Ok, you’re getting married. That’s cute. I mean beautiful! It’s beautiful, especially if you plan properly, seek assistance in the form of a PAID wedding planner. Not your cousin Ti Ti cause she pulled off your mama’s, friends, brothers daughters wedding 2 years ago. Cause that sounds like a mess, cause it was. I saw the pics on instagram. Make sure you have a viable budget, follow the plans and take the steps to getting it done. You do not want to be engaged for 3 years and then out of frustration, here comes the next new year and you’re standing on a mountain shouting…This year, I’m getting married! Girl…get down. Either plan it or drop it. We are getting too old for promise rings. When you do get married, make sure you have funds left for a cute lil honeymoon and a house! Don’t spend $20K on a wedding and don’t have nowhere to live. That’s tacky. And you know what else is tacky? White church stockings under your wedding dress. Don’t do it.

I’m going on vacation

Now, I LOVE this one! Sag’s love to travel! Especially when I know where I’m going. Do you know where you’re going? Pick a spot. Have you done the RESEARCH? How many stars does that resort have? How many days are you going for? How much is the all inclusive… per person? Air BnB? Don’t use an ethnic name at booking or else they won’t book you (Yes SHADE!). Do you have time off from work? Most importantly, do you have a passport? No? Do you know how to obtain one? How much for a rush passport cause I know you booked your trip before you got your passport…trying to get that groupon deal! Tsk Tsk. Please make sure you look into everything before you depart into the world ie, world events, hurricanes, wars, you get the gist.

I’m gonna write that book I’ve always wanted to write.

This resolution is very close to my heart. Because in a way, it was my own, only let’s replace the words write with publish. I’m gonna publish that book I’ve always wanted to publish. That was me last year. I wrote a 3 part series for my book Blood of a Queen back in 2007. I started it as a hobby — something to do in my spare time. 1 year later, I had a 3 part series but I had no clue what to do with it. I did my research into literary agents, publishing houses, query letters, the whole nine yet, I was exhausted and I lacked motivation to see it through.

Every year after that, the book crept up into my mind and I would say, I am going to publish this book I’ve always wanted to publish. But I’d continue making excuse after excuse and psyching myself out — believing maybe I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until I came to a realization that  almost 9 years after writing my book, I had nothing to show. No reviews, no feedback, no cover art, no…book. I began to mentally and emotionally reset myself back to a time when I was fearless, where I challenged myself just for the hell of it. Not to prove to people that I can do it, but to prove to myself that I…can…do it.

I prepared myself mentally and spiritually to make a promise to myself and keep it. I held myself accountable and I recruited others to hold me accountable as well. My promise was…you guessed it, to publish this book I’ve always wanted to publish. And you know what? I researched my butt off and learned what I needed to know in order to do it. I even thought outside the box and took my book to another level by adding music, videos, documentaries and 3D augmented reality. I explored new ways to deliver my work to the world and I was so proud of myself that actually followed through.

It was by far the hardest thing I’d ever had to do in my life. Don’t trust me? Watch my book launch journey videos here and you’ll see some real ish! I still work a full time job, I am still in a relationship, I still love my family and friends but, this was something I had to do for me. Yes, I cried, I laughed, I studied and wrote diligently, I worked long hours at the job and I came home and worked until 4 am most nights. Why? Because I made a promise.

Would you know 8 months later I had a book on Amazon? I got sponsors, I sold my book at Circle of Sisters Expo in NYC. It all took time but I felt accomplished. I said I was going to do it and I did. No excuses and no quitting when it got too tough. I pushed myself, followed through and because I had FAITH that I could do it, I did it. Nothing happens on faith alone. You must mentally and spiritually prepare yourself to change course into a direction that will make you that much better, that much stronger and much more fulfilled.

I know I’ve been coming down pretty hard on you because I want what’s best for you. I want you to tell your story and encourage, motivate and inspire another repeat offender. We’re not all perfect by far and you may be wondering if I have any resolutions. Sure I do! But I am happy to say that it is not the same as last years. I’ve completed that one. Check! But I have new ones that stem from my past accomplishments and I am watching it grow. I am watering it, tilling the soil, fertilizing my creation and if you follow through with your resolutions and affirmations, you will literally reap what you sow.

I will not wish you a happy new year. Remember wishes are for babies and cakes. I will leave you with these affirmations instead.

 

My dreams will come to fruition.

I will not stand in my own way.

I will follow through in all that I do.

I will exert positivity within me and all around me.

Today I am waking up with strength, spirit, and a sound mind.

I will know my worth and will accept nothing less.

 

Go forth into this new year high stepping and radio city rockette kicking down every obstacle! You got this!

Happy New Year!

Xo

Toi Powell

Author of Blood of a Queen: Book 1  

ToiPowell.com

TheToiHouse.com

Motivation Monday – You…A Flicker of Existence

Motivation Monday – You…A Flicker of Existence

When you stop to think about how vast the universe is, how many planets, comets, asteroids and stars there are, remember your place within it.

You are but a grain of living energy sailing within a single galaxy, within a minute solar system drifting among millions, on a tiny infinitesimal planet, orbiting but 1 star, literally floating in the blackness of space.

You actually exist within a colossal body of glorious life which literally spins of its own accord with 8 sister planets in a harmonic dance that has lasted for millions of years.

And then, there’s you…you, who is only here but for a mere half of a blink, a flicker of existence. Living life, giving life and ultimately exploring it. Would you waste this miraculous moment, which is you, dispirited, tormented, dissatisfied and unmotivated to be anything but?

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Your life is the most precious, most miraculous gift the star-dust of galaxies has ever formed, ever created. Live in your moment. Breathe your purpose. Explore your being and never waste it on anything less than the miracle that is you.

Overall, the endless vastness of space and all of the immaculate life it holds is so much bigger than any type of adversity you shall ever face.

Be encouraged and be motivated to make your moment, your time, your existence in this universe worth it.

~ Toi Powell

 

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The Wiz Live – Review / Yahoo! Don’t Bring Me #NoBadNews

The Wiz is a Classic. If you don’t agree…Ease On Down The Road

I watched The Wiz Live last night and absolutely loved it! I joined the live twitter feed and of course like always, the Black Twitter family along with some honorary NON-Racist members of society, tuned in to watch together. When I say the amount of love, support, and connection that was felt through social media and throughout our culture was beyond overwhelming. It was! To laugh, applaud, shout in excitement and cry together with people you don’t know at all– but are connected as kin of the same struggle…it was epic, moving, chilling and glorious. Imagine 2 million people laughing, crying and making jokes at a family BBQ and you’re ALL related… yeah that’s Black Twitter. It was absolutely the best and proudest moment we could experience together and we LOVED @NBC for showing the magic of black actors in The Wiz to the world.

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Shanice Williams, let’s just say, I was very impressed by her musical theater presence. Being so fresh to the scene she showed a certain comfort-ability that most seasoned actors take years to attain.

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Mary J. Blige was spectacular, she was amazing, she sang DOOOOOOOWN and I was sooo proud of her. She has so many great moments in her performance and I was extremely impressed with her acting. Sure I can bypass some tiny moments of coming out of character a bit, because the amazing-ness coming from her and that amazing costume gave me all the life I needed for the night. I love her all over again!

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Neyo, David Alan Grier and Elijah Kelly were amazing as well. I was impressed wtih Neyo’s stage presence and David amazed at his role playing that Lion. Loved them. Elijah Kelley stayed in character the entire time and THAT was impressive!

THE WIZ LIVE! -- Season: 2015 -- Pictured: Common as The Bouncer -- (Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)
THE WIZ LIVE! — Season: 2015 — Pictured: Common as The Bouncer — (Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)

Common, was ok. I could honestly do without his character. Maybe if they gave him more of a role, but how could they. I think he did pretty well for the amount of speaking lines he was given.

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Queen Latifah, I love her love her love her… but something with the songs I wasn’t really getting everything I needed from them.  She looked amazing and she was better playing herself than the Wiz honestly. Can we talk about the makeup and costumes?!! FLAWLESS! All I know is, she better work! She was still awesome to watch!

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Honey!!! AMBER freaking RILEY!!! SANG for the GODS last night! She was everything you would want in a good witch of the North! I didn’t know what else to do but stare, mouth open and absorb everything she spit out! I mean, Brava to her! She was getting DOWN with those munchkins!

Enough about my brief review – (trimmed it due to this nonsense I’m about to get into.)

I was so excited, I went to bed singing “Home” until 2 am this morning. Sang myself to sleep and woke up with the songs still in my heart. I couldn’t wait to read some reviews online because I just knew it was spectacular. And then I came across this article from Yahoo! Critic-at-large, Ken Tucker

Yahoo! Don’t Bring Me #NoBadNews

I am appalled. I speak to Ken now and any other people who don’t understand the magic of The Wiz (and no, I’m not even giving a paragraph to the idiots who said The Wiz is racist and there should be an all white cast of the Wiz. Look up Judy Garland and go back to sleep).

Ken, to say that…

The Wiz “simply isn’t a classic piece of material”

…just makes me sick. Your critique of performances is understandable, although I may not agree, I agree to disagree. But where I draw the line is when you discount a musical, one of the ONLY musicals that represent the black culture, and one of the ONLY successful earlier black productions ever to grace Broadway. To say it “simply isn’t a classic” is ridiculous!

Just because it doesn’t speak to you and people like you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a classic!

You don’t understand the IMPACT this production, the movie and this newer modern version has had on our culture, on our creative talents and on our youth!

There are so many reason’s WHY the original “The Wiz” on Broadway may not have translated to “contemporary” audiences in prominent venues.

LIKE VIOLA DAVIS SAID: The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is OPPORTUNITY!

If there is no opportunity, how COULD it translate to “contemporary audiences”?

And who the hell is a contemporary audience anyway? If you were on Twitter last night, It was FULL of an audience who could relate, who loved it, who cried, who applauded, who had viewing parties. It was the top #1 trending topic all day AND night yesterday! So, AGAIN…. who are the members of the “contemporary” audience you speak of.

There was an overwhelming amount of support (crushing the naysayers and racists) for this production and it went on for hours! If you tuned in, you would see how our culture and others appreciated this momentous moment TOGETHER. You would see the hundreds and hundreds of tweets from people of multiple races express how they loved it as a kid, performed it in high school musicals and were actually watching it with their children…ECSTATIC to be able to share this CLASSIC with them!

To be so removed from our culture, our relations, our art, our appreciation, our CONNECTION to this CLASSIC production and movie, shows exactly WHY television needed this, why WE needed this, why this COUNTRY needed this.

Sure, Ken doesn’t need to sugar coat his critique of the performances. Ken, tell it like it is with all of your professional due diligence. BUT, do your homework, understand what’s going on here and WHY it’s important. Understand that YOU sir are just as bad as everyone else who discounts ANY and EVERYTHING we do or attempt to do, putting your “denied a classic” stamp on it because YOU are ignorant of its magic, its impact and its influence on our community!

This line here from you:

“Here’s a challenge: Name a song from The Wiz other than “Ease On Down the Road.” “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News,” maybe, but that’s about it.”

…. Goes to show your total and complete ignorance of this production and the “Contemporary Audience” your article is aimed at.

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“HOME”… “Home” is the biggest song of the production and movie. Stephanie Mill’s career took off from this song and it’s been a talent show staple song since! The Ballad piece is the most spectacular and popular song from The Wiz and you don’t even name it!

And What about “You Can’t Win”? Michael Jackson Slaaaaayed that song in the movie! That’s MY favorite! C’mon man!

Me AND Michael are looking at you crazy!

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As far as I’m concerned your critique means NOTHING because you KNOW nothing about the magic and the message of The WIZ.

This line you say here:

“The idea of seeking out some powerful wisdom that will grant intelligence, courage, and freedom, only to realize that these qualities reside inside, not outside, oneself—that’s a potent, enduring theme.”

Yes, it’s a potent and enduring theme, but do you understand WHY it’s important to “our audience” to “our culture”? Because when you have people like you who call the most epic piece of African American theater “Not a classic” you, Ken, enforce the idealism that minorities are not AS important and some of us therefore have to STRUGGLE through our OWN insecurities to find the INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE and FREEDOM inside of ourselves to become better versions of OURSELVES. To create art, to succeed at what our hearts desire. Your insensitive remarks enforce and reveal your ignorance of a culture you know nothing about.

THE WIZ LIVE! -- Pictured: (l-r) Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Shanice Williams as Dorothy -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
THE WIZ LIVE! — Pictured: (l-r) Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Shanice Williams as Dorothy — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

When Uzo Adubo sang “Believe in yourself” she brought tears to not only the cast on stage but to thousands of people on twitter live. Most of whom did not know that UZO is a TRAINED OPERA SINGER! That song, that message speaks VOLUMES to those of us with shattered dreams, to those of us who have to overcome way more obstacles than your “contemporary audience”. As she hugged Dorothy it was as if she hugged US. That moment, that song was pivotal and encouraged HOPE & FAITH in us but in your words:

“Uzo Aduba was positively adorable as Glinda the Good Witch.”

And… that was it. What an UNDERSTATEMENT!

While I accept your critique and agree to disagree, I am going to ask you to “simply” Ease on down the road with that “Classic” BS.
The world loved it and if you don’t believe me, go ‪#‎TheWiz‬ or #‎TheWizLive‬ on Twitter and see for yourself. Your article was mediocre at best. Have several Theater seats. Thank you!

Patti Pie! Behold the Power of Patti LaBelle!

Patti Pie! Behold the Power of
Patti LaBelle!

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(Courtesy of Patti LaBelle.)

Hey everyone, welcome back!

If you haven’t heard, there is currently a major viral, tweeting, sweet potato pie frenzy happening across the country at sold out Walmart’s over Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!

Last Friday, an incredibly hilarious and entertaining video review of Ms. Patti’s pie, by a very talented personality by the name of James Wright swept social media by storm. He indulged in this unknown sweet potato pie that you can only find at Walmart for $3.48 and claimed that you were going to sing like Patti LaBelle after eating it– and honey did he sing! Hilarious, yet entertaining, James belted line’s from Ms. Patti’s classics –Onnn my owwwwwn….why did it end this waaaaay….(Watch the video below and prepare for a good laugh)

The video that started it all!

The video was shared on his Facebook page over 7 Million times since last Friday and it literally sent people across the country to every Walmart they could find, only to find out:

1. It’s only sold at Super Walmart’s
2. Many of them were SOLD OUT!

Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!

This just in – Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!

It was a sweet potato pie frenzy! Thousands of people (myself included) drove to Walmart, called Walmart– GPSed the closest Super Walmart! I live by at least 5 so I was positive that I could find some… boy was I wrong!

I jumped on the bandwagon and documented my whole experience searching at least 6 WALMART’S before finally finding some in Secaucus, NJ 40 min away from my house! I actually called and asked for them to put 4 pies to the side for me– the girl in the bakery said they were going fast, someone just left with 20 boxes. Her name was Joyce. Praise be to Joyce! She had those 4 boxes waiting for me. The last 4 in the store.

Yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all! I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!

And yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all!

I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!

Check them out here.

How exciting and ridiculous is this entire Patti Pie ordeal? Let’s just say in 2 days, my 1st video of me searching for the pie had over 12K views and my 3rd video reviewing the pie has over 10K…. the day I uploaded it!

Comments from my viewers noted that the pies are sold out in, Cincinnati, New Jersey, Maryland, Los Angeles, New York, Tennessee and many more! According to Yahoo Food, a representative from Walmart said, “For 72 hours, we were selling one per second.” (For a bit of context, Walmart might sell two pumpkin pies every second in the month of November. But still, $1 million in sweet potato pie sales is a lot of pie.)….

In my Opinion: No But’s!!!…You sold 1 pie every second in a weekend–not a month– keep it real. The only reason why you didn’t sell anymore is because you ran out!

(continue yahoo)…Walmart was caught off-guard by the frenzy, Ales said.

“Friday morning, the team was working with the [sweet potato pie] supplier to see how we can keep up with the demand,” Ales said. “The supplier… was having a hard time finding [enough] sweet potatoes. So we walked down the hall to the produce department [and said,] ‘We need about 2 million pounds of California sweet potatoes!’ So that’s what we’ve been working through.”

Ales added that Walmart is working hard to replenish stocks at sold-out locations. “We’re really sorry about that,” he said. “We’re looking at where stores are out and how we can quickly move pies to that area.”

(My “Power of Patti” videos explains how companies market Pumpkin pie around the holiday’s to a general demographic instead of tapping into the African American market who were born and raised on Sweet Potato Pie. The only boxed pie that sells Sweet Potato pie in most supermarkets is Mrs. Smiths… and that’s if you can find it.)

Take a look at the videos below and enjoy! Don’t forget to share!

My Patti Pie Journey!

FINDING Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie – Walmart Pt1
Mission Impossible: Watch how we search high and low on this hilarious journey for Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!

REVIEW Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie -Walmart Pt 3
Mission COMPLETED: We finally got our hands on Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!  have some concerns people! Watch to see if it was worth the trouble! HINT: YOU HAVE TO HEAT IT UP for a better experience!

Why is Everyone Going out to Get Patti Pies?

If you want to know why everyone is flocking to get these pies, I break it down for you in the video’s below where I talk about the power of demand vs. supply, the power of word of mouth marketing, the power of the black dollar and most importantly the Power of Patti. When the holiday’s come, companies market towards a general demographic who they assume LOVE pumpkin pie. But, in the African American community, you couldn’t be any more off base. We love SWEET POTATO PIE honey! Here’s why…

Patti Pie’s – The Power of Patti (Is it that serious?) Pt 1
Many of you have watched my #PattiPie videos (Thank you, You guys rock!) and left me a bunch of question’s. I felt a video could answer some of them with the most important question being answered…Why are all of these people running out to get a Patti Pie?

Watch Patti Pie’s – The Power of Patti (Is it that serious?) Pt 2

References:

MARKETINGCHARTS.COM – “14% of Americans Are Black. 3% of Major Media Ad Spending is Focused on Them.” (Quotes Nielsen)
http://www.marketingcharts.com/tradit…

FORBES.COM – Word of Mouth Marketing – (Also quotes Nielsen)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlyw…

NIELSEN: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/about-us…

SHOPRITE: List of Pies – http://www.shoprite.com/pd/category/G…

https://youtu.be/Q6pg_r2YXHs?list=PL1G1qx9lLJ0gzKTxh74IQrlRRbePo9ujZ

Monday Motivation – Hitting the Pavement

10 min Scope Passion vs Work life Hitting the Pavement!

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Have you been putting off something you’ve been wanting to pursue? Why not do it today?

 

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#Monday #Motivation – Why don’t we pursue our passions?

Why don’t we pursue our passions?

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Why don’t we pursue our passions? Let’s stop making excuses.

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#MondayMotivation – Wake Up!

#MondayMotivation – Wake Up!

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Have you been putting off something you’ve been wanting to pursue? Why not do it today?

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Crock Pot Chicken w/ Gravy! Recipe!

Back in the Kitchen for a day!

Last night I made the most delicious #Crockpot #chicken with #gravy! One of my favorite #passions is #cooking ! I haven’t had much time to #cook recently with the finishing of my new #book taking priority, but i can tell you it feels good when you have time to be in your own kitchen! #yummy #yumm #yummi #yummyinmytummy  #sundried #tomato #tomatoes #onion #carrot #onions #soup mix , #salt #pepper #italian #seasoning #olive #oil  #honey #paprika #cinnamon ! #bonappetit !

Take on Innovation – In your Kitchen!

Quick recipe:
  1. Grab a whole chicken from the market. Clean it thoroughly, remove the bag of gizzards inside, place in crock pot.
  2. Grab your favorite seasonings. Se above for my choice of flavors. Cinnamon was a secret season and it added just the right touch of spic, minus the sweet.
  3. Slather the entire chicken in Olive oil, front and back.
  4. Season each side of the bird generously.
  5. Throw in your favorite veggies. DO NOT ADD WATER See above for my favs! Yum.
  6. Set the Crockpot on high for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your chicken. Then forget it!
  7. Do your laundry, write your book, make body scrubs, go for a run or simply relax with a glass of wine. The hardest part is done.
  8. GRAVY: If you want gravy (and who doesn’t right?), about halfway through once your chicken starts to make a broth, remove  half of the piping hot fluid and place in a microwaveable container.
    Sprinkle some flour in the broth, constantly stirring until it begins to thicken. Don’t put too much flour. Just enough to get it thicker than the original broth.
    Place in the microwave to for 2 min and allow it to thicken some more. This is you thickening the gravy more with heat without putting it on the stove.
    Remove and place to the side. That’s it! If you want it a bit thicker, just repeat with a bit more flour, but not too much. You don’t want dumplings for this recipe.
  9. When you can smell the the delicousness coming in from your kitchen annnnnnnd you see the little thermometer popped up out of the chicken, you are DONE!
  10. Cut what you need, Place on your plate, add your sides, drizzle your gravy and enjoy!
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T.O.I House by Toi Stori

 

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Part 1: Inception & Discovery

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