It’s Coming! DC Week 2011

Digital Capital Week is a major event in the DC area.  With only one year under its belt, DC Week has become the premier technology event in our nation’s capital and has events ranging from parties to panels to workshops.  I was able to attend some of the events last year and was super impressed with what I saw.  I was able to meet some great people and learn a lot about technology and how I could become involved. 

This year is no different.  With tons of events happening, there is an event for every experienced and novice techie.  I definitely plan appearing at different events, such as Benevolent Media Kickoff, DJ-ital Brew & AutoBridge Mixer, Geek to Chic Fashion Show and After Party, and, of course, the DC Week Closing Party.  Depending on my work schedule, I plan to attend some of the day events. 

For those of you that are interested in attending, I strongly suggest you check out the website at www.digitalcapitalweek.org. Digital Capital Week 2011 is sure to have a plethora of events you don’t want to miss!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Tales From a Job Hunter 4

This week has been utterly amazing!  The Jaguars won Monday Night Football (barely), and I realized just how many people are in my corner. 

I had a job interview yesterday, my part-time job offered me a full-time position during the holidays, and just this morning I received a phone call and have an interview next Tuesday.  God is truly looking out for me, and I couldn’t be happier.  Financially, it’s still a struggle, but I’m making it work.  I’m just very thankful that I have understanding creditors and understanding people in my life.

I was talking with one of my linesisters last night, and during our conversation, I shared that “Pride is a very dangerous thing.”  It causes us not to ask for help when we need it most; I think I alluded to this during my last job hunter post.  For the longest time, I only told a handful of people about my situation.  And I have to be honest, even when I went to Atlanta and saw some of my old classmates, I told a fib to the one or two that asked what I was doing in DC.  Why?  It was still a struggle for me to admit my situation.  I also shared with my friend Kelley how (most) Blacks are taught to “not put family business in the streets”.  That thinking has hurt us more times than not because it causes us to not seek assistance when we really need it. 

We have a habit of making others think everything is good because that’s when people will stick by you and when things are great.  When you’ve fallen or things are not as great as they once were, you see who your real friends are.  I am happy to say that the people who were with me when times were good are still with me now that things are not so good.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Southern Girl Book Review-“A Belle in Brooklyn”

Elle and Belle!

It’s a hot June night.  I’m driving around downtown DC looking for a parking space.  I’m already late, but I’m hoping to find something close so I can hurry and get in.  Just when I give up and decide to go home, I find a parking space right across the street from my destination.  (God is looking out and WANTS me to attend.) 

I know I’m the last person to walk into the room, but I’m ok with that.  I hear the guest of honor answer one last question and then announce books are for sale and she’ll be signing them, too.  After speaking to a few friends, I grab a copy and wait my turn to speak and get my book autographed.  When I make my way to the table, I gush a little and sound somewhat like a fan (no matter how hard I try not to), but surprise of all surprises, I get a compliment on my necklace! (Thanks “Auntie” Madeline!)  We smile for the camera, I thank her for her time, and make my way to the exit.  I got what I came for, now it’s time to go home, well, after I hit the bar for a signature cocktail made especially for the event.  I had no idea how what was put on these pages would affect my life. 

I was so caught up with A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-To Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life the first time I read it that I don’t think I really comprehended anything.  Demetria Lucas, Relationship Editor for Essence magazine, was talking to ME when she wrote this book.  It wasn’t a self-help book or even an advice book.  It was my girl telling me about her relationship woes-the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I knew I wanted to share my thoughts, but I had to read it again to fully appreciate this gem.  I began reading this book again last week, after finishing it the first time in June, not long after I purchased it. 

I appreciate Demetria for sharing her memoir.  If the book is looked at on the surface, one may think it’s the story of this woman who is bragging about the men she’s dated.  But if the time is taken to dig a little deeper, you see the story of a woman who never backed down, stood up for what she wanted, and never compromised herself, just to say she had a may-an.  We can learn from all of Demetria’s experiences-like how to handle the jock on campus, how to handle the hurt of a true love, and even how to handle date rape.  These stories are shared not to boast, but to teach.  And it’s up to the reader to find your own lesson.

What did Elle get from the book?  During Round 1, I laughed, I cringed, and I was slightly jealous a time or two.  😉 With this most recent reading?  I gained insight.  I used her honesty, bluntness, and openness to affect my life, especially with how I interacted with members of the opposite sex.  I am now more open and honest with others, specifically when it comes to the men that I date.  I no longer have a problem stating what I want and staying true to who I am.  This book was spendidly written with a candidness that you feel like Demetria is your homegirl and you all are going to be hitting up brunch at Busboys and Poets on Saturday (if she’s home for the weekend). 

Did you read the book?  Or, if you remember this summer, did you attend the event at The Park?  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have encouraged others to read it.  I’m sure it will look like my favorite books, worn from reading over and over again.  I’m very impressed, and I’m sure when Demetria writes book # 2, I’ll be at the next book signing (and will arrive on time!)  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

“The Heart Specialist” Interview Part 2

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with actor Brian White.  And just calling him an actor does not do him justice; this man is a youth activist, former lacrosse player, and a licensed stock broker.  It was an absolute pleasure to speak with him about the film “The Heart Specialist” and what he has upcoming. 

Brian was initially drawn to the role based on those who were already cast, Wood Harris and Zoe Saldana.  He also appreciated the script because it showed Black people in a role where you don’t often see us-his character, Dr. Ray Howard, is a Harvard educated doctor, and Harris’ and Saldana’s characters have a unique partnership.  In regards to that storyline, White stated, “You don’t get to see the relationship that Wood and Zoe’s characters’ have-a healthy friendship, a respectful friendship. A lot of love there, but you don’t see any sex.  There’s no raw sex.  It’s very classy-a mutually platonic relationship. They’re leading by example, and that’s what Ray sees.   And that’s what people need to see, especially a lot of African-American youngsters.  And that’s one of the messages we wanted to put out there-how to do things the right way.”   Ray lost the love of his life through his womanizing ways but still wanted to hold on to a piece of their relationship.  But through  the tutelage of Dr. Z, Ray was able to grow up.  Through the meataphors of the medical profession, Ray learned how to love. 

Education and the next generation of African-Americans are some of the essential elements important to Brian.   He feels that our community is lacking in parental involvement and in educating our young.  On his recent UNCF tour, he was able to visit Cass Tech High in Detroit, MI.  After talking with the principal, Brian learned that students’ performance is not soley based on funds; it’s based on parent involvement; White stated, “It’s based on how many parents help their kids with homework at night; it’s based on how many parents are involved in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment activities of their kids. It’s how many parents are calling the teachers and principals telling them ‘Don’t take it easy on my kids. Give ’em the business-we’ll give ’em the business at home. We’ll tag team them.  They won’t have a chance but to focus.’  Those parents in Detroit do that.  The parents where I grew up in Boston do that.  The parents in Colorado, in Denver, do that.  They’re kicking their kids’ butts, and that’s why schools succeed.  That’s why I’m focusing my energy on our community and encouraging my peers and parents [to become involved].  We can’t say, ‘It’s them’ anymore.  We have a Black president.  We have a leading candidate on the Republican side who’s Black.  The playing field is fairly level and that’s how we take advantage of the opportunities that are available to us.  And if I can use entertainment for anything, it’s to get information out to people to empower them.  Complaints go away and information and elevation happens.” 

Brian has TONS of things upcoming!  His latest movie, “Politics of Love”, co-starring Mallika Sherawat, Ruby Dee, and Loretta Devine, premiered in the US, Asia, and Europe.  In February 2012, “Good Deeds” will be released.  And “The Cabin in the Woods” makes its U.S. debut in April of next year.  He also wrote a book, Black Carpenter, the “young person’s guidebook to essential tools for life”, which is currently available on its website at www.blackcarpenter.org and www.amazon.com.  And don’t forget that “The Heart Specialist” is currently out on DVD. 

To stay in touch with Brian, you can find him on Twitter at @ActorBrianWhite, on the web at www.brianwhiteonline.com, and to see his tour schedule, visit the Black Carpenter website.  I want to thank Brian for allowing me to interview him.  He has such a warm spirit and genuinely cares about people and leaving this world a better place than when he found it.  He not only talks about empowering others-he’s doing something about it.  For those of you in DC this weekend for Howard’s homecoming, you may see Brian out and about…and your favorite Southerner! 😉  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Tales from a Job Hunter 3

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve kinda been in a funk.  As I’ve said before, it’s hard always being the positive one and trying to stay motivated.  I never want my friends to see me sweat.  Why?  Because I’m the one who always has a smile on my face and a great word to share.  But lately I’ve been feeling like I’m not measuring up.   But I digress….

Last week, I decided to branch out in my job search.  Instead of looking for jobs, I thought it may be a good idea to look for internships.  As someone who ideally would work in the communications field, I thought this may be a great idea since I can gain experience in a field that I do not have a formal background in Journalism or Communications, I thought this may be the start of something great.  And at least I’ll be doing something constructive.  So, I took to Twitter with my thoughts to see what my followers thought.  Surprisingly, at least to me, everyone responded favorably.  And my neighbor even shared that his company was currently looking for interns.  The day after he sent my resume to the appropriate department, I was in for an interview.  I’m still waiting to hear back, but I think it went well. 

I haven’t been forthcoming to all in my personal circle about my job situation.  Not sure how much people talk, so I’m not sure how far it’s made it to everyone I know, but I am considering letting more people know in hopes they have leads, ideas, or suggestions.  Pride is a dangerous thing-it’ll keep you from asking for help when you really need it.  I told a young lady at my part-time job, a girl refer to my as “little sister”, that I hate asking for help, and when I was in college, I hated asking my parents for money, even when I really needed it.  I wanted to be independent, and I didn’t want to be a burden, even though I had a scholarship and worked during the summer so I would have money during the school year. 

So, the biggest revelation I’ve had is that yes, even at 29 years of age, you can ask for help and it’s ok to start over, as long as you have an idea of what you want to do.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

“The Heart Specialist” Interview Part 1

“The Heart Specialist”, a romantic comedy based on a true story starring Wood Harris, Zoe Saldana, Brian White, Mya, and a host of other stars, initially premiered at the Boston Film Festival as a short in 2006.   After winning the festival, it took writer/director/producer Dennis Cooper a few more years to secure funding and turn this film into a full length feature.  This past Tuesday, October 4, “The Heart Specialist” was released on Blu-Ray and DVD.  I had the great pleasure to speak with two stars from the film, Mya and Brian White.  This post will detail my conversation with DC area native, Mya.

We all became familiar with Mya with her debut single “It’s All About Me” in 1998.  Since then, she has gone on to release six studio albums, appear in dozens of shows and movies, and won a SAG award for her performance in “Chicago”.   She’s currently working on her 8th album K.I.S.S. (Keep it Sexy & Simple) Version 2.  With an upcoming birthday (October 10), Mya is continuing having fun in her life but staying busy.  “The business is challenging”, Mya states, “but I stay grounded by having my spirituality and having a great support system.”  When asked what drew her to the role of Valerie, the ex-love interest of Brian White, Mya told me it was her “personal experience.  I was interested in the way the film exposed the medical field; plus the script was pretty funny.”  While she originally filmed this in 2006, she didn’t spend too much time with the entire cast, many of whom were added on later, but she still keeps in touch with Zoe (Saldana) and Wood (Harris). 

Mya always knew she wanted to act…but in the theater.  Growing up as a dancer, she had no idea her career path would take her down the road she’s travelled.  When asked if she knew her musical career would branch into modeling and film, Mya stated, “I never saw myself as a model; that’s not something I aspired to be.  But I did design a lot of sketches and outfits I saw being made for stage shows.  I did that before I even got my record deal.  So I definitely thought I would be designing over modeling.  Regarding acting, Broadway was something I wanted to be a part of early in my teens; so definitely acting, but maybe more in a theatrical way, in live stage performances.”   Regarding her experience while performing in the Oscar winning movie “Chicago” and thus winning her Screen Actor Guild’s Award for Best Acting Ensemble, Mya described her experience in one word-“AMAZING!” 

Mya continues to stay busy and has numerous projects and activities on which she’s working.  First, K.I.S.S. Verson 2 will be released via her website, www.myamya.com, in December 2012.  She will also participate in a marathon on November 6 in New York City for the ING NYC Marathon.  To find out more about Mya’s team, to hear her personal message, and to donate, visit her site at www.AnimalLeague.org/RunMya.  To keep in touch with Mya, visit her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MissMya

I want to thank Mya for allowing me to interview her.  Don’t forget to get your copy of “The Heart Specialist”, currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Mya with co-star Brian White

The Realness of Tia and Tamera

In a world where reality television is king and black women arguing and fighting each other doesn’t cause anyone to bat an eye, it was SO refreshing see twins Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley with their own reality show on the Style Network.  “Tia and Tamera” was my Monday night guilty pleasure.  We’ve always loved these twins since “Sister, Sister” and have watched them grow up, from Tia’s currently starring role on “The Game” and Tamera’s run on Lifetime Network’s “Strong Medicine”. 

Not only did these sisters have each other to lean on, but they also had friends and their mates.  I SO fell in love with Cory Hardrict (Tia’s husband) after last night’s episode.  He was so supportive during Tia’s pregnancy and was definitely the calm one.  He also was so excited to see his son and encouraged his wife every step of the way.  When Tamera and her husband, Adam, were faced with racism from “fans”, Adam told Tamera, “That’s their issue; not ours”, it showed that he loved her no matter what. 

Now, just like all sisters, Tia and Tamera did have their disagreements.  Especially when it came to Tamera’s wedding.  I totally felt that Tia was being selfish.  And I’ve never been pregnant, but I felt like that was Tia’s excuse for EVERYTHING!!!  And I thought she was wrong when she didn’t want Andrea, Tamera’s friend, to be the Maid of Honor.  But all things worked out in the end, and that is what’s important.

I’ve always enjoyed the Mowry sisters and was excited to see them get their own show.  And I’ve even more excited that “Tia and Tamera” was picked up for a second season.  Hopefully, we won’t have to wait that long!  To Tia and Tamera, on behalf of Black women in this country who truly value what’s important, family, friends, and sisterhood, thank you for showing the world that not all of us are celebrity hungry, coattail-riding, angry, bitter women.  Until next time, I’m just as Southern girl…in the city!