I must confess

That even if I could

Halve, quarter, eighth or sixteenth

My flesh, bone and blood,

I would not.

I am raw oxtail teased with spices,

Tossed in with tomato and diced veggies.

My meat has absorbed une mélange de saveurs

That makes lovers salivate over my succotash

Sneak under the cover to lick the pot.

Despite an atavistic hot mess

From mostly forced miscegenation

Forged through economics, lust, hate and greed

Sprouted from seeds over beaucoup de générations,

Pride I’ve still got.

I forgive ruthless

Statements that, unlike my hair,

I’m an “oreo,” rootless beneath the skin –

For every moment and in pure love

I live and breathe Divinity and Blackness.

Poem:  “D.N.A. (deliciously naked authenticity)”  © 2014 Chantale Rêve   All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Eulogy for a Rose

2014/04/04


If you ever have caressed a petal parted from a rose,

Recall the saline taste of tears and a facial twitch. 

How fragile all of life is, I realized today –

After tossing out with the trash that “life’s a bitch.”

How pungent is the stench of fear to age in our skins,

A genetic mutation of vain minds that propagate the specious

And, with (m)admen, are destined to do us in.

Mulling over my final moments with each withered bloom

Of all the roses ripped from fertile soil and accelerated to decay,

I wonder why we jump to false conclusions in assuming

That our lives do not as delicately slip away.

 

© 1998-2014 Chantale Rêve

 


Woman Behind Flowers

Afro DivaWoman With Medusa Style Hair

 

 

For readers and voyeurs of the Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah Blog who think Chantale is too damned serious, this one’s for you:  rewritten lyrics parodying Black women’s perpetual hair battles and their repercussion in the workplace and, more importantly, in the bedroom – or both, for the friskier (read:  riskier) among Us.

 

 

“Hair Biz”

by

Tiana Irie


Flashback, who’s wack?

“10” bitch shoulda known that

Pam Grier woulda owned it

Like the rack above her ribs.

 

Who screamed “da Sheen!”

I’m not talkin’ Charlie

Or the late Bob Marley

But the latter’s got ma love

 

Now don’tchu have no doubt

I’m gonna stomp and shout

Until I sweat ma press ‘n curl.

 

Hair talkin’ floats ma boat

And I just wanna note

That inside Africa’s alive!

 

I’m talkin’ hair biz to ya, bayBEH

Hair-hair biz

I’m talkin’ love – that is

That is, that is

 

I’m talkin’ hair biz to ya, baybee

Hair-hair biz

I’m talkin’ love –

Hair biz, hair biz, hair biz

 

 

[Rap Intro]

Whassyoname, love?

Madame C.J. Walker?

 

Well, they call me Slick

 

Now, don’t leak all over me (heh-heh-heh-heh)

 

 [Sung]

I’mmmm

Taaaalkin’

Hair biz

 

I’m talkin’ hair biz to you-ou

 

 

I’mmmm

Taaaalkin’

Hair biz

 

I’m talkin’ hair biz to you-ou

 

[Rap – Edited Version]

 

Baby, whasshappenin’

I’m between relaxers.

I know of many sistas given grief and so they take to the scissors.

I heard the rumors ’bout ma mixed textures

But I don’t fall in debt on weaves.

Happy with “knotty,” “kinky” or “nappy” –

Long as I keep my dignity.

So can you dig it while we speak a while

About getting locked up in self-love

Cos no matter how straight tresses come and go 

 Hairy gossip can’t crimp ma style.

That’s what I’m talkin’, behbeh,

Hair biz

   Hair biz …

 

(Original Song:  “Square Biz” by Teena Marie)

* * *

“Relapse”

by

 Fannie Goes Straight to Avoid Wood

 

 

[Cue the synthesizers: bowm, bowm, BOWM]


Relax!

Just do it

 If your Afro pick’s through, yeah.

Relax!

Just do it

If you want the job.

 

Relax!

Just do it

If you cannot comb through it.

Relax!

Just do it

If you want the job.

 

Relax!

Just do it

Or you’ll have to suck to it.

Relax!

Just do it.

 Straight hair or bossman’s cum.

 

Relax!

Jump to it

Unless you’d like to unglue it.

Relax!

Don’t screw him.

He’ll find another bone.

 

Relax!

Just do it

Wavy-smooth or you’ll blow it.

Relax!

Jump to it

If you want the joooob

If you want the joooob

If you want the joooob

If you want the joooob …

COMMMMMMMMMB

 

(Original song:  “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

* * *

  

 

“Grazing in the ‘Kitchen’ ”

by

Cousins of Extinction

 

[Chorus]  I can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / She can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / They can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it

Oh, let’s wig-it

(baritone) Can you wig-it, baybeh?

 

I can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / She can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / They can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it

              Oh, let’s wig-it               

(first tenor) Can you WIG-it, BAYbeh?

 

[Bridge]  Every new growth you can see, gotta hide it

Everything smooth is all right, shout about it

                                                                                     

And it’s reallllllllllllllll

So real, so real, so real, so real

Though you bought it

Woo-hooohhhh!

 

(Chorus]  I can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / She can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / They can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it

Oh, let’s wig-it

[baritone] Can you wig-it, baybeh?

                                     

I can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / She can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it / They can wig-it, wig-it, wig-it

  Oh, let’s wig-it

[first tenor] Can you WIG-it, BAYbeh?

 

 

(Original song:  “Grazing in the Grass” by The Friends of Distinction)

 * * *

“If It’s Too Thick”

by

K.Y. Loeb

 

 

If it’s too thick

Don’t force it

Just relax and letitgo

Cos, look, that’s how they wannit

Bone-straight, flowin’ out tha do’

 

 

(Original song:  “If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It” by Kellee Patterson)

 

 

 

* * *

“Baby, It’s Frizzin’ Out There”

by

The Fu-Aqua Nets

 

Don’t let me go outside

In the rain

Cos, boy, I’d rather hide

From the rain–ain-ain-ain

 

 

(Original song:  “In the Rain” by The Dramatics)

* * *

 

 

“Doo Rag, Baby”

by

Priscilla

 

 

Here we are,

Not a kinky strand between us

Lucky our hair just lays right down

You want my wavy stuff like I want yours

So make a scarf of my gown.

 

Fling it, baby

Spritz me all over

Palm me with pomade love

 

Your Dax been teasin’ me for far too long

Hottie, you know,

 Good hair’s what wet dreams

Are made of

 

Doo rag, baby

Like you never tied before

Oh, give it to me

Work that nylon, boy, once more.

 

C’mon, doo rag, baby

Fasten tighter than before

Ooh, I want it now

Snatch one from my bottom drawer

 

 

(Original song:  “Do Me, Baby” by Prince)

 

 

* * *

  

 

“Missing Hair”

by

The South Side Lacefronts

 

 

[Bridge] Why-y-y, oh-h-h why-y-y-y

Didn’t I just weave it and walk away-y-y-y

Now I must pay-y-y-y-y.

 

It’s been used,

Flung when flings were over –

Now it’s lo-o-o-o-ost!

Year’s salary, lo-o-o-o-ost!

 

[Chorus] Oh, I searched every surface in my trailer home

In the tub, even on the vibrator

Have you seen it (my wig)

Tell me, have you seen it (tell her that I love her)

 

 

(Original song:  “Have You Seen Her” by The Chi-Lites)

* * *

 

“Hooked on Your Gloved Love”

by

The Baldwin Sistas


That singed-hair smell

Gives me happy thoughts of you-u-u-u (yeah, babe)

I’m so turned on by conkin’ –

And your greasy sheets, too (oh-oh, baby).

 

 

[Bridge] You free the other woman in me (ah-hai-hai-hai)

Blonde, brunette,

Cain’t you see-ee?

I like the way you tug and tease,

Say, “Ooh, baby, take me

And drop to your knee-hee-hee-hees”

 

What can I do

With this weave all

Hooked on your gloved love, gloved love

 

(Uhm-hmm-hmm-YEH!)

 

What can I do (unh)

With this weave all

Hooked on your gloved love, gloved love

(Hooks a-clingin’, yeh-yeh-yeh)

 

What can I do (ooh-baby)

With this weave all

Hooked on your gloved love, gloved love

 

 

[Bridge] Eh-h-h-heh, every day

Nothin’ to be rad about

Eh-h-h-heh, nothin’ to smear on the lye about –

 

I like the way we get it o-o-o-o-on

Don’t you understand my weavin’, baby

Just beweave in me (oo-oohhh-ohh-yeh)

 

[Chorus] What can I do (whatcanIdo, baby)

With this weave all

Hooked on your gloved love, gloved love

 

(I hear you, yell-yell-yell)

What can I do, baby 

[Repeat chorus, ad-libs to fade]

 

 

(Original song:  “Hooked on Your Love” by Curtis Mayfield, sung by Aretha Franklin on the original soundtrack album for Sparkle)

* * *

“The Tracks of My Fears”

by Ajun Extensions

[chorus]  So take a good look at  the trace

Of naps I’ve pulled away from my face

A frozen smile feigns my warm embrace of

The tracks of my fears (ooh-hoo-oo-oo-oo-hoo)

(Original song:  “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)

 

*    *    *    *    *

 

This hair-raising post is dedicated to these ladies and the gentlemen among them:

 

Wendy Williams and RuPaul, because if you’ve got the disposable income to buy more wigs than a doll manufacturer or an opera company, life can never be a drag;

Vivica Fox, because she was ingenious enough to create her own wigs and, judging by the million faces of Eve on eBay, she’s making it rain – oh, sorry, wrong expression for Us sistas when the hair’s the money-making thing;

Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, because she’s so damned pretty and such an underrated actress;

Oprah Winfrey, because there wouldn’t be any be bewigged or natural-hair sistas executive-producing and hosting their own TV talk shows with amazing longevity if it weren’t for her (I mean: Herprah).  Damn that Oprah, who set the bar so high that only a trapeze artist can achieve that kind of fame — and with a safety net;

Whoopi Goldberg, because — besides reigning as a Queen of Comedy and a wonderful comedic and dramatic actress — she rocks the locks without an eyebrow in sight like no one else;

Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Terry McMillan, because they are some of my favorite authors and make that certain age look fabulous from head to foot;

Ja’net DuBois as lovable gossip and sistafriend “Willona Woods” on the hit sitcom “Good Times,” because whether she was stylin’ in an Afro wig or one of many short, perky straight-hair wigs, she knew how to make her hair dance high above those neck rolls and eyerolls whenever John Amos as “James Evans” would toss a love-hate quip her way;

Angela Bassett, because when she donned that long brunette wig in portraying Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It and did the charley horse or cake walk or whatever those hot pony moves with the Ikettes were, I  totally forgot she was Angela Bassett — which, of course, was the point;

Viola Davis, because no matter how she switches it up – natural hair or wig – she’s beautiful and a kick-ass actress who’s finally getting her due;

India.Arie, just for singing “I Am Not My Hair” – and for affirming the intoxicating sensuality of Palms Cocoa Butter Formula (plug, plug – give me my money!) in her midtempo love song “Cocoa Butter”;

Jayne Kennedy, because she was foxy as a sports journalist and a go-go girl on “Laugh-In” and still got it goin’ own-annn-annn-own-annn-own-annn-OWN (plug for Oprah totally inadvertent or simply subliminal [watch "Oprah Prime"]); and

Flip Wilson as “Geraldine,” because, back in the day, “she” was the It girl, working those wigs and some characters’ last nerve, sucka.

 

 

There are so many more dedications I’d love to make, but time doesn’t permit.

© 2013 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

All Photos:  www.publicdomainpictures.net

 

A Letter from 2065

2012/03/18


Carousel Horse clipart

When your mind drifts to vast deserts of thought,
Take comfort that you will be young again.
Dash out nude into gentle acid rain
To reclaim the confidence some said you lost.

Face the sun and the moon when redemption comes.
Ascend with innate grace to your higher power.
The second hand will not tick past your resplendent hour.
Slip on gossamer wings when that worn shell’s done.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Meet Mommy and me at Nathan’s down on Coney Isle,
Chat with authentic mermaids and swim with dolphins awhile,
Spy on Picasso making art and love up in Montmartre,
And hang tough with herds of regal elephants over in India.

We’ll party with Dalí and Gala by sea cliffs in Cadaqués –
When the surreal revelry ends will be anyone’s guess.
In Africa we’ll learn Wolof, Kiswahili, Moroccan, Shona and Zulu,
Wail and pray about war and other disease — intraplanetary blues.

We’ll fly over the Arctic and Antarctica blowing air kisses
That freeze sea waves into grand glaciers for endangered species.
Hopping on bejeweled carousels stretching across the globe,
We’ll ride horseys with eyes of ruby, sapphire and peridot.

© 2012 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved


Thumbnail for version as of 21:10, 30 September 2006


In case you’re wondering:  Who the hell is this guy?  Well, I’ll just have to keep you in suspense, since I love to do that in my short fiction.  I can’t write “hold you captive,” with all these slave movies coming out one after another and so much so that I’ve been kidnapped in my nightmares and whipped with and without a soundtrack playing beneath the rhythms of the lashings and the counterpoint of my screams.

 

Fickle Focus on Existential, Epic Slave Flicks

 

Are you feeling whiplashed between slavery flashbacks?  If so, the last sentence of the previous paragraph probably was traumatic for you, too.  Matter of fact, my digits are still twitching, and welts are rising on my back.  Wait, those are weals from all the b.s. over the latest slave saga, to which I’m severely allergic. It soon will be 40 years since the debut of “Roots” and the concurrent cornrowing of my hair to Mount Kilimanjaro’s elevation — the source of lifelong scalp irritation — and my baby hair still hasn’t grown back.  Maybe I could add to mine from Ginuwine’s.  Or dare I ask “good”-hairy Chanté:  “Puis-je couper, s’il vous plaît?” and risk getting cussed out in the whistle register.

No bones or afros to pick on this captivating subject — I’m just being cheeky.  Hey, you.  Eyes up here or else you’ll get flash-flogged after supper.  I believe in spare the crop, spoil the sub.  Oops, wrong movie.

Of course we need films such as 12 Years a Slave by Steve McQueen!  (If we’re on the same bat channel, you know that I’m referring to the Academy Awards contender, the Black Brit filmmaker, not the legendary star of BullittThe Getaway and The Thomas Crown Affair.)  With 12 Years receiving nine Oscar nods, director McQueen might wind up pumping more than a few of those golden nudes like irons in the fire of controversy.  Now that he has risen above the flames — that is, the hellish heat sputtering from mouths of pitchforked tongues belonging to unseen but heard gremlins in the room, namely the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan — his regal voice will silence his detractors.

Here, I gesture with a peace sign, minus the forefinger, to Slavegate, which got swinging with the stench of “strange fruit” when morons heckled McQueen — a groundbreaking, visionary filmmaker — at the New York Film Critics Circle’s awards dinner last month.  Roast chicken may not have been on the menu at the NYFCC function, but I’m flipping the bird also at the dimwits who continue to whine: “But he’s [McQueen is] British; what does he know about American slavery?”

Most of the whiners have a heap of melanin, so, ironic though the following may sound, I’m not playing “the race card.”  What I am doing is charging them, the whiners, with ignorance in the first degree because they’re uneducated about their own history; for the trans-Atlantic slave trade — which we all know now was operated with some complicity by Africans — benefited mostly non-African economies around the globe and, thus, distributed African peoples everywhere, possibly including some of Steve McQueen’s own ancestors.

Beloved ver2.jpg12 Years a Slave film poster.jpgWhat I’d like to know is:  WTF took so long for McQueen or anyone else to adapt the Solomon Northup’s poignant memoir into 12 Years a Slave?  Did we really have to endure Quentin Tarantino septic music video, which served for some to placate their minds to the extent that they were horrified at the pop-unfriendly scoring of 12 Years a Slave?  I mean, really.

BelovedNovel.jpg

We — and not only Black people — are experiencing short-term memory loss in overlooking the excellent and haunting film Beloved (1998) starring (who else?) Oprah Winfrey.  The Jonathan Demme-directed epic film was based on the novel Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Morrison’s novel was inspired by the real-life story of Margaret (Peggy) Garner, who reached freedom but then was abducted and forced into slavery. Not too long before Morrison’s novel was published, there was a little-known indie film (so limited in distribution and promotion that I can’t recall its title or director) that starts out in contemporary times and involves a Black female protagonist who is abducted by white slavers and forced back through the centuries into slavery in the South.

And although the 1991 indie film Daughters of the Dust, by Julie Dash, didn’t deal with slavery, it’s the only film by a Black female director who address Gullah culture from Gullah people’s perspective.  It even features dialogue in Gullah Creole.  In her poetic film Dash tells the story of three generations of women from a family that lives on St. Helena Island (among the South Carolina Sea Islands), but from the Unborn Child’s P.O.V.   It’s the turn-of-the-twentieth-century, and the sistren are about to depart from their ancestral homeland. (Gullahs are predominantly of African heritage; enslaved Africans working the rice plantations in the Low Country were able to outsurvive the white slavers, who succumbed to tropical diseases, and so they broke free and made the marshy land their own.  Some say Gullah people are descended only from West Africa, but I am part-Gullah, and my fam has ancestors from the Congo, too; which means I have distant cousins among Black people in Brazil, many of whom derived from the Congo and Angola.  Hmmm … could that be why I’m always drawn to capoeira?)  Through stunning visual imagery, the unusual narrative of Daughters of the Dust shows us the women’s meditations about their family’s journey North.

Maybe Daughters of the Dust will make you think twice the next time you’re at a resort, trying to get that ace in the hole at some golf course on Gullah turf in the Sea Islands of South Carolina or Georgia, hunh?  So check out Netflix or go geechee yourself to a Black film festival when one comes to your town.

*   *   *


“Racial Ambiguity:  Take One”

 

Only in the United States, where, historically, the powers-that-be have brainwashed many citizens into thinking along the racial divides of black/white (f/k/a  nigger/white, colored/white, negro/white), because they were/are short in gray matter, does the term racial ambiguity gain any kind of currency.  Just as I abhor the terms black community and African American community, I detest racial ambiguity.  For the remainder of this essay — the first in an irregular series — I will be capitalizing the “b” in Black. and the “n” in Negro.  If I ever need to use the epithet nigger in a scholarly context, it shall remain lowercase because it is a trigger word that belongs in the gutter.

If the word race is a social construct, let’s not deconstruct it. Let’s destroy it … now!  To do that, we need to begin in our minds.  The preceding statement refers to the minds of all citizens of our world because, at some point, a person comes in contact with U.S. social pathology through the media.  There is only the human race.  We don’t need genetics testing to prove that there are so few “pure Black” / “pure African” people in the U.S. and the world at large because miscegenation went hand in hand with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade — just as for aeons, pillaging of foreign lands and the female bodies on them (and of the psyches of those conquered people) was rampant.  In the U.S. alone — which had far fewer enslaved Africans than, say, Brazil — if white slaveholders hadn’t raped so many enslaved African women in a savage form of breeding for profit (and, sure, lust on the part of the colonies-sanctioned rapists), there wouldn’t have been enough slaves to build industries in what is now one of the most industrialized and <cough> civilized nations on earth.

Having said all of the above, how a person self-identifies is at her or his discretion.  Through history, the descendants of enslaved Africans — no matter what “percentage” of European admixture and/or any other admixture (remember the U.S. “one-drop rule”) — have decided to forge ahead in spite of but in full pride of their complexion; pass or pass on passing despite looking like today’s Wentworth Miller  (sorry, can’t use everyone else’s usual target, Mariah Carey, here because, IMO, she looks like she ‘s got that one drop) or the late TV writer David Mills.  Mills wrote many episodes for various critically acclaimed dramatic series, from “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “The Wire” to “ER,” and he collaborated with David Smith on the defunct and underrated HBO series “Tremé”.

Therefore, the term racial ambiguity is being used and perpetuated by people (no matter how much melanin be in their skin) who believe that one requires external validation of their existence within social and socioeconomic contexts.  I plead guilty to dumping, not in person but in certain essays, on people who self-identify as Creoles.  So here I apologize. Let’s be fair, however.  As Steve Zahn’s “Davis McAlary,” a loudmouth liberal deejay on “Tremé,” once said about the continuing mixing of “races” in the U.S. (and here I paraphrase):  “We are a Creole nation!”

In closing, I turn away from the idiot box and toward literary history to highlight a person of African and European descent who conscientiously honored his Blackness in his native France and throughout the world.  Although his family was of the aristocratic class due to his father’s paternal bloodline, the legendary writer Alexandre Dumas, père (pictured at top), decided not to pass in toto.  (The père following his name  distinguishes it from that of his son:  Alexandre Dumas, fils)  Take a good look at his hair alone; he couldn’t, really.  Nevertheless, he could pass in authorship in much the same way that, today, any of us writers can disguise ourselves by gender, “race,” ethnicity, etc.  And the gentleman — and I bet he was gentle, fathering so called (at the time) natural children with as many as forty mistresses – was wittily confrontational when he felt he needed to be.

Author of The Count of Monte CristoThe Three Musketeers and the much-less-talked-about outside of literary circles, Georges – in addition to myriad other books as well as plays — Dumas was the son of a multiracial father born in Saint-Domingue (n/k/a Haiti):  Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, produced from the union of a French nobleman, the marquis Alexandre-Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, and an enslaved woman (rumored to be Creole), Marie-Cessette Dumas.  The literary Dumas inherited his father’s revolutionary spirit, famously replying to some idiot who had made a disparaging remark about his African ancestry:  “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey.  You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.”  (Source:  Wikipedia; boldface emphasis: mine)

Alexandre Dumas’ comeback may not have been subtle but was erudite.  A dollop of anthropological wit with a dash of wise ass.  In contrast, someone calling another “racially ambiguous” is courting verbal whup-ass and is a nitwit and a misanthrope.

 

CUT!

 

 

 

This has been a Black History Month moment.  We now return you to your station in life.

 

 

© 2014 Chantale Reve

All Rights Reserved

 

Photo Source (Alexandre Dumas):  Wikimedia Commons


Well, it’s about damn time that Kasi Lemmons, veteran actress and the director of such idiosyncratic films as Eve’s Bayou, The Caveman’s ValentineTalk to Me and, most recently, Black Nativity – inspired by poet Langston Hughes’ 1961 play — is awarded for her exemplary filmmaking.  Lemmons will be among the illustrious women honored at the 2014 Athena Film Festival Awards, scheduled to take place at Barnard College, New York, February 6-9, 2014.

Other distinguished honorees will include:  Sherry Lansing, former chairwoman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures, and former president of 20th Century Fox, who is set to receive the Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award; Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma & Louise and creator of the TV series “Nashville”; and Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute.

My first cinematic memory of Lemmons is her small role in Robert Bierman’s 1989 existential black comedy, Vampire’s Kiss, now a cult classic.  In Vampire’s Kiss, Lemmons portrayed Jackie, the jerked-around boho girlfriend of paranoid yuppie lit agent Peter Loew.  She was quite credible as she hysterically fended off a vampire bat that had intruded on their intense sex play in Peter’s Manhattan flat, and she gained my sympathy pouting every time her batty beau stood her up to take another bite from Jennifer Beals’ predatory vampire, Rachel (even though Rachel was only the product of the protagonist’s hallucination).

According to the “Thompson on Hollywood” blog on Indiewire.com, early-bird passes for the fourth annual Athena Film Festival are available on-line, but individual ticket sales will begin next month.  And attention, all you screenwriters out there:  Indiewire.com also reported that there’s a newly created Athena List calling for three to five “completed screenplays with strong leading female characterd that have yet to be made into films.”  The current list will be announced at the upcoming Athena Film Festival, but you should try out for future Athena Lists.

For more information about the 2014 Athena Film Festival Awards and/or the Athena List, please check out http://athenafilmfestival.com.

And to Kasi Lemmons:  Congrats on your forthcoming award!!!

© 2013 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

Top Photo:  Director-actress Kasi Lemmons and (partially cropped out at left) her director-actor husband, Vondie Curtis-Hall — what a stellar couple!

Photo Source:  Indiewire.com


Chantale Reve:

After tuning into WBLS-FM this evening and listening and swaying to a suite of hippitydippityhopheavenly songs by A Tribe Called Quest — including “Lyrics to Go,” which samples Minnie Riperton‘s “Inside My Love” and loops her incredible, extended note in the whistle register appropriately on that ethereal ballad’s climax — I turned to the Internet to research how many rap tracks sampled Riperton’s voice and/or instrumental hooks from songs that she recorded solo and, years prior, with the band Rotary Connection. Serendipity intervened when I found Ismael AbduSalaam‘s excellent blog post, which I’ve reblogged here.

Originally posted on Beats, Boxing and Mayhem:

For many casual listeners, Minnie Riperton is remembered as a one hit wonder of sorts for her classic 1975 single “Loving You.” That is truly a shame because Minnie has, in my opinion, of the greatest voices and octave ranges in music history. Over 30 years after her tragic early death, I take a look back on how Riperton’s music has blessed Hip-Hop culture.

Minnie Julia Riperton was born in Chicago on November 8, 1947, the youngest of 8 children. Her parents recognized her predeliction to music early on, and enrolled her in operatic training at the Lincoln Center. While she would retain her opera influences, Riperton later dropped out of college to pursue soul and rock music.

After bumping around in the mid 60s singing backup with assorted girl groups, Riperton recorded her first solo songs (“Lonely Girl,” “You Gave Me Soul”) under the pseudonym Andrea Davis, which was…

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FAREWELL, NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA

This weekend, through the intermittent rain that keeps getting in my eyes, I nevertheless can still see Nelson Mandela waving to us — a crowd of tens of thousands of people along 125th Street in Harlem in 1991.  He wasn’t yet president of South Africa, waving  from far above our heads as his motorized procession drifted along, and he must’ve been treading among clouds, then, because he seemed taller than the highest mountain peak that day — when he visited Harlem after being freed from prison in South Africa.  Waving to us — the  disenfranchised and oppressed, packed butt to butt in a neighborhood that now is being taken over by the gentrifiers, the yuppified, buppified, complicitous displacers — Mandela was the picture of grace and nobility while my mind spun back to a dramatization of the atrocity of apartheid:  Sarafina.

However, no words I express here come close to those in political commentator and university professor Melissa Harris-Perry‘s open letter to the Nobel Peace Prize winning freedom warrior, President Mandela.  Below, I have provided a link to Harris-Perry’s letter.  If the link does not work, please don’t waste time cursing me.  Just copy it and paste it to your browser.  And don’t forget to check out her show on MSNBC, “Melissa Harris-Perry.”

http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/thank-you-nelson-mandela

Perhaps I will catch a glimpse of your wings between dispersing clouds.  If I do, I will press my palms up toward the heavens.  For now, rest in peace, Madiba.  Down here on Earth, a luta continua!

 


Paul Walker

Paul Walker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has taken me nearly two dawns to cough up the words to memorialize you.  Like the title of your second major flick – 2 Fast 2 Furious — you blazed across the screen.  Then, like a fierce star shining brighter and spinning faster than the sun, one that we mere mortals look forward to spotting again and again in the night sky, you flashed out of this life.  How I wish I could’ve watched  live, your diving deep down into a Besson-like le grand bleu. Luc’s ’88 film was a cult classic, and you are, too.  Damn!  Who knew there wouldn’t be enough time.

Time to vent and say to those who told me they hated Into the Blue, not knowing marine biology was your thing from way back — well, they know whom to screw.   Thanks to the rewind function on the remote, and to the DVR, for you dove and dove and drove me and lots of other chicks (and dudes) craaaazy.  Yet in the end, you were in the passenger seat headed for a fiery sun.

California-dreamy, you won us over with your art and smart-ass smile.  We’ll miss your retro-cool style.  Perhaps it was the sparkle in your eyes — especially in Noël, opposite Penelope Cruz — or that reserved sensuality, but I always thought of you as the 21st-century Steve McQueen, whom we also lost too soon many moons ago.   Like the greatest ones, you died young — and therefore you will always be, in the words of Rod Stewart, forever …

Paul William Walker IV:  Actor and Philanthropist

1973-2013

paul-walker02

paul-walker02 (Photo credit: Tim Evanson)

Sunshine Award

2013/11/23


Chantale Reve:

Big ups to this amazing photographer for being nominated for a Sunshine Award! Readers, you can check out Craig’s gorgeous images on his blog, which is aptly titled “Photobycraig’s Blog.” And, thanks, Craig, for nominating my blog! You’re awesome, and so is your country!

Chantale

Originally posted on Photobycraig's Blog:

Thank you very much to my friend Silviaavigo for nominating me for the Sunshine Award! This is the first time i have ever been nominated! Thank you for your support of my blog Silvia! I feel very honoured! Please check out her wonderful blog at the link below!

SunshineAwardLogo

http://silviaavigo.wordpress.com/

Ten Questions About Me

1) Favorite color? Blue

2) Favorite animal? Cats and dogs and all the beautiful animals of the world

3) Favorite number? Number 7

4) Favorite drink? Beer and red wine :)

5) Facebook or Twitter? Definitely Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyByCraig

6) Good movie or good book? Both but I prefer a good Robert Ludlum or Stephen Hunter book

7) My passion? My passion is photography without a doubt!

8) Favorite time of day? The morning. I am alive then…lol

9) Favorite vacation? Action and adventure vacations! No beaches for me!

10) Favorite flowers? Carnations

And finally, 10 blogs that I…

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Cotton from Mary Frances

Cotton from Mary Frances (Photo credit: Midpath)

Talk about irony.  First Blacks — well, We was coloreds back then — were forced to pick the cotton.  Now We can’t even take photos of the cotton.  WTF? you ask. Yeah, well, it’s a cryin’ shame.  Seems actor couple Cherie Johnson and Dennis White stopped their car on a South Carolina road, en route to a respite in Myrtle Beach, to snap pix of cotton in a vast field of the white fluffy stuff.  Next up pulled a sheriff, who grilled them in the hot Southern sun about drugs that were not in their possession, rifled through belongings in their car, handcuffed them, accused Ms. Johnson of petty larceny (a charge later dropped) and then issued a citation for “Other.”  Again, you ask:  WTF?

Soft in the head, sure.   The South Carolina Sheriffs Department also has got to be out of its cotton-pickin’ mind.   (The film Deliverance comes to mind; just substitute a car for a canoe — and a camera for a bow and arrow.)  We’ve heard of the vehicular version of racial profiling:  DWB (“Driving While Black,” for those readers who aren’t Black, or have never been a passenger in a car driven by a Black person).  Now the media has introduced to the massas, I mean, masses, the botanic version of racial profiling:  PCWB (“Picking Cotton While Black”).

Scratching my head, which is as soft as cotton.  So let me get this straight as hair smeared with Dark & Lovely lye:  It was cool for coloreds to stoop to pick the cotton as slaves — when we did it for free — and, later, as tenant farmers, but now we can’t take photos of it?  The absurdity of those facts and the ugliness of the physical violation and psychological torture of actors Cherie Johnson and Dennis White are causing my fingertips to bleed like those of my Black forefathers and Black foremothers who toiled in those cotton fields and were considered chattel — possessions no more important than farm animals — in the agro-rich South.

But what to do?  Boycott the ubiquitous natural fiber the very enunciation of which triggers downy comforts?  I’m not exactly ready to toss out my Q-tips and T-shirts, my billowy sheets and snuggly fleece.  While I wouldn’t mind opting for nylon undies over cotton ones, I can think of a few products for which there currently are no substitutes.  Let’s face it:  It’s hard to avoid such a versatile material from the plant world.

As for photographing plants by the side of the road — yes, we Americans of all colors have the right to seize the moment and the day!  I say:  Shoot the cotton like a paparazzo!  Shut off the A/C on the approach to whatever-the-fuck road We meander onto in some small town way below the Mason-Dixon Line.  Whip out that zoom lens to capture that priceless image of cotton.  Cotton that pricked the sides of African slaves running on blistered soles on the way to freedom. Cotton running free.  Cotton, cotton everywhere.

Hell, white landowners and their henchmen used to whip Us if We refused to pick the cotton.  When We complied and picked the cotton, We got flogged anyway.  You know, to hell with boycotting cotton.  Out, out with all my belts and riding crops.  Regarding the latter:  Yeah,  like I’ll ever ride a real horse after the first time, when my steed peed for an eternity and then decided to speed through the friggin’ forest.  And they called it a “company outing” intended for “team building.” A lot of hooey.  Hell, it was nearly company-sanctioned murder.  When my incontinent Mister Ed realized his buddies a mile ahead, he made up for lost time. He must’ve mistaken the Poconos for Sleepy Hollow and me for the Headless Horseman because he was giddying up and I was screaming like a whore in a horror flick.  No, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t know that yelling my head off would spook the horse.  Some bonding experience.  My co-workers were guffawing, their laughter bordering on bawling and echoing through the woods.  Of course, they too had signed away their lives with nervous smiles before donning those brain buckets.

Hmmm … Methinks I’ll boycott dude ranches but only after anything I associate with riding crops, including:  S&M clubs; Spanx in any color; DVDs of Indiana Jones, Batman Returns and Catwoman; and any Madonna videos made prior to 2000.

 

 

©2013 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

Using a cotton picker machine

Using a cotton picker machine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)