Fifty-Seven

Southern Mom was born in 1957.  In 2014, I kept telling her that it was her “Golden Year” because she was TURNING 57, and she was BORN in 1957.  Little did I know that less than two months after her birthday, she’d be gone. Whenever I see the number 57, on an interstate exit in particular, I always think of her.

Doug Banks, my FAVORITE radio DJ of all-time, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 57.

Yesterday, we lost my boo, the ultimate performer, the greatest musician, an icon. How old was he?  Fifty-seven.  Prince Rogers Nelson is the ultimate instrumentalist.  I say “is” because it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.

I have loved Prince for as long as I can remember.  One of my first memories of Prince is “Purple Rain”.  As young as 8 or 9 (probably younger) every time I would go to my uncle’s house, I would ask him if I could borrow his “Purple Rain” VHS tape.  I would watch that movie multiple times a week before I took it back to his house.  It got to the point that one day he just told me he would get me my own copy.

For my 10th birthday, I got the tape of “Diamonds and Pearls”.   I was SO happy to get that doggone tape.  One day, I took it to daycare so we could dance to it.  And my BFF lost it.  I went SLAM OFF on her.  I was so upset!  I had it less than a week, and she LOST IT!  Thankfully, it was recovered, but I learned then not to let anyone mess with/hold/borrow my stuff.

One of my bucket list items was to see Prince perform live.  Despite the circumstances, I was BEYOND thrilled to see him perform in Baltimore last year.  My linesister B and I had floor seats!!!!  It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  And while I missed his DC show, I didn’t worry too much when he announced he was going on tour again in 2016, because I just KNEW I would get to see him perform again.  Alas, that is not to happen in this lifetime.

It’s still surreal to me.  I just can’t believe that he’s gone.  I feel like there’s so much more he has to do.  There’s so much more the fans have to see and hear and do.

Prince was unapologetic about who he was.  He was about the music.  He was about living your truth.  He wasn’t the biggest man or the tallest man or the most masculine man, but he could have any woman (ANY WOMAN) he wanted.  Even guys respected Prince because he was a bad-ass.  As my friends on Facebook have said, “he was the original Mr. Steal Your Girl”.

While I am upset that I won’t get to see him this summer, I will remember how his music made me feel.  How I still dance and sing to the “Purple Rain” soundtrack (heck, really any Prince album).  How amazing it was to see him on stage last year.  And how he changed the music industry.  Prayers to his family, friends, loved ones, and fans.

Prince Rogers Nelson, you were one-of-a-kind, ahead of your time, and you will be forever in my heart.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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DC Love Fest!

Springtime in DC is so beautiful!  The cherry blossoms have bloomed, more folks are out enjoying the monuments, and music festivals start filling up our calendars!  I am so excited about the upcoming DC Love Fest on May 10 at 7 pm at D.A.R. Constitution Hall.  I’ve always wanted to go, and I am glad that I finally get to attend the show!  With performers like Mos Def, Chrisette Michelle, and Lysette Titi, this is not a show you want to miss!  In addition to hearing some great live music, you also get to see great vendors, culinary arts, cocktails, and all of the culture that DC has to offer.  I hope to see you there!

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From “Bow Down” to “Flawless”

Almost a year ago, I penned an open letter to Beyonce stating I didn’t appreciate her song “Bow Down”.  At that particular stage in her career, she didn’t really need to address her haters.  And I was not the only person to think that way.

Nine months later, with the release of her album “Beyonce”, “Bow Down” became “Flawless”, an empowering girls’ anthem featuring the TED talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  The song encouraged feminism and challenged women to fight for their equality.  And it was catchy, as evidenced by women posting selfies on Instagram with the hashtags #flawless and #iwokeuplikethis, and everyone seemed to have forgotten the uproar the first verse caused just months earlier.

As I was driving home last night and belting out the lyrics to “Flawless”, it dawned on me that I was singing lyrics to a song I didn’t care for and words I don’t like to use.  And I began to wonder what happened.  What happened to make me forget the disdain I felt last March when I heard “Bow Down”?  What happened to make me sing along with a woman who called other women b*tches and told them to bow down, like she was a queen?  What happened to make me just…forget EVERYTHING I didn’t like about the song?  Hearing the song in its entirety may have changed my perspective.  Hearing “Flawless”, with the nostalgia of Gyrls’ Tyme (which later became Destiny’s Child), the empowering words of Ms. Adichie, and the tight beat, made me develop convenient amnesia.

Beyonce changed the entire meaning of a song with an extra verse, a hook, and a TED talk from a renowned author and feminist.  And now we want to give Beyonce a crown, no pun intended, because she MUST be about the equality of women and wants us to be empowered and assertive and go-getters.  But would a real feminist tell another woman to bow down?

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Partition

The other title for this post was going to be “I Want Beyonce’s Body”.   That’s what I told a friend a while back.  I actually think I said, “I’m going to get Beyonce’s body”, to which she gave me a major side-eye. (You know who you are, and I still love you! :))  But I can understand her giving me the side-eye of life.  I have a LOT of pounds on Beyonce and attaining a body that can even compare to hers may be unreachable for the regular girl that’s already a size 8.  But for someone who is bigger than a size 8??? You know what?  This post is not about my weight-moving on…

If you’ve read my “About Elle” page, you know I love Beyonce.  I have every album she has released, including her latest “Beyonce”.  I am not ashamed to admit that the visual is currently in my DVD player and the audio has been in HEAVY rotation since I bought it Christmas weekend.  I definitely have my favorites, including “Superpower”, “Mine”, “Flawless”, and the bonus video “Grown Woman”.  But the video that keeps me the most mesmerized is “Yonce/Partition”.

We all know that Beyonce has sex appeal.  And I don’t know what it is about that darn video-the wadrobe, the movements, or just the song itself-but I can never turn away.  I’ve thought of the scenario in my head.  The woman has rented out this club, got some costumes, and gathered up a few of her girls to put on a show for her man.  Then, when the show’s over, they (the woman and her man) go home.  And I want to do that.  Well, minus asking my friends-I wouldn’t want my man to fantasize about them every time we did couple stuff.  But when I do get into a relationship, I want to put on a burlesque show for my dude, complete with costumes, make-up, lighting, the works!  And I want to do it to “Partition”.  Really, I could come up with a couple of dances to a couple of Beyonce songs.  And have my man swooning.  I want to be his fantasy come to life.  But I need to get her body.  And a man.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

It’s Really Not That Bad…

I’m probably going to get so much flack for this post, but I kinda don’t care.

Robin Thicke, one of my white boy crushes, has finally garnered a #1 hit with his newest single “Blurred Lines”.  But apparently, you can’t have success without a little negativity surrounding you.

From the beginning, Thicke received criticism for the – shall we say scantily clad – women in his uncensored video.  With women being or appearing to be naked and dancing and grinding on the crooner, not to mention the sign that reads “Robin has a big ____!”, numerous people had issues with the video. Robin stated the video was about having fun.  Also, the lyrics of the song have been questioned, and I’ve heard/read in at least a few different places that this song borderline promotes some type of sexual assault, which I think is ludicrous.  His performance with Miley Cyrus at Sunday’s MTV VMA’s not withstanding, the major story now about Robin is that he ripped off the beat from Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” for his new hit.  And what’s even crazier is that Robin, along with Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris (aka T.I.) are suing Gaye’s estate, sort of as a preemptive strike before they could be hit with a lawsuit.

Personally, all of the hoopla, besides him suing Marvin’s estate, is really ridiculous.  I have to admit, the beat caught my attention first.  It’s catchy, fun, and makes you want to move.  (Pharrell put his foot in the music.)  Then I started listening to the words.  Honestly, I really didn’t pay this song any attention until my linesister/BFF was in the car with me, and she started singing, “Hey Hey Hey!”  Now, honestly, whenever the song comes on, I think of her dancing in the passenger seat of my car.  Anywho, I personally do not think this song is demeaning to women, it does not promote any type of sexual assault, and I think the notion that the music is taken from a Marvin Gaye song is a bit of a stretch. Is the song influenced by Gaye?  Heavily.  But I would not go so far as to say that anything is taken from the late crooner.

I like to think of myself as a music connoisseur, someone that enjoys music from many different genres, so I like to think I somewhat know what I’m talking about.  Would I allow my (imaginary) young, impressionable child to listen to this song? Probably not.  But there have been shows, movies, songs, etc. that have been around since the beginning of the time that parents have shielded their children from.  

One last thing, I’m not a parent, but I have been around and have worked (volunteered) with children for years, so I kinda feel like I can say what I’m about to say.  If parents did the job they were/are supposed to do with their children, they would not be so easily influenced with the images they see on tv or by the music they hear.  I know times are not the same as they were when I was growing up.  But because of the values and principles my parents instilled in me, I was not easily influenced by my peers or even by the music I heard or the television I watched.  I could watch “New York Undercover” and not want to shoot someone.  I could watch “Friday” and know that doing drugs was a bad thing.  Parents cannot expect outside forces to raise their children.  It does take a village to raise a child, but it’s not the teacher’s, after school counselor’s, or the television’s job to raise children.

I apologize for going off on a tangent.  The moral of the post is- Lay off Robin.  There are many more things that are going on in this country that need our attention and our focus.  Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” isn’t one of them.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Don’t Know, Bey…

*My open letter to Beyonce*

To say I’m a Beyonce fan is an understatement.  To say I’m a Stan might be an overstatement.  But I respect and admire a woman who is poised, talented, beautiful, and humble…well, we may have to re-visit the humble part after the release of your newest song, “Bow Down”.   The woman who sang such girl power anthems as “Survivor” and “Run the World” is now telling b*tches to “bow down”.  And just last month, you wrote the greatest note about how you were so proud to perform next to your girls Kelly and Michelle AND gave props to Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys regarding their Super Bowl performances.

We all have haters-and I hate to use that term.  No matter what we do in life, someone is not going to like what we do.  And that’s totally fine.  You aren’t going to please 100% of the people 100% of the time; if you are, something’s wrong.  But who was the song directed towards?  And why put a song like this out now?  You’re 31 years old, a wife, AND a mother.  And not just a mother, but you have a daughter-a little girl that is looking up to you and will one day emulate you.  I could kind of understand if you put this song out on your first album, when you were a little younger and a little cockier and getting your wings as a solo artist.  But to put something out like this now…maybe because you HAVE proved your haters wrong and you HAVE proved that you can do it all.  Sort of like a “look at me now”.  I get it, kind of.  I guess I am just at a point where I don’t really worry too much about what people say about me.  But I’m also not in the public spotlight having every little thing I do scrutinized.  This song doesn’t even sound like you-the beat, the musicality of it all.  I just don’t get it.

When I found out you were coming to DC I was SO excited.  So much so, I rounded up some of my girls, and we went through hell and high water to get tickets.  Now, I’m re-thinking this whole thing.  (Well, not too much since I’ve already paid for my ticket.)  Maybe this is just a mid-career crisis and you felt like you had to get some things off your chest.  I guess I can respect that.  Since your concert is in July, I have about 4 months to get over you telling me to bow down.  I take that back.  I’m not a b*tch, so I will not take that personally since that was not directed towards me.  In the meantime, hopefully with the things that are sure to occur before this summer, I’ll forget about this song and can fully enjoy the Beyonce experience at the Verizon Center.  And if not…it’ll be totally unfortunate-for you and for me.   For you, because you’ve probably lost the support of one of your biggest fans.  For me, because I’ve seen a great woman and entertainer fall just a little.

Your Fellow Southern Girl,

Elle

My Rant for the Day

First things first- Can I say that I am beyond SHOCKED that news has surfaced Will and Jada have separated????  Yes, I know that I don’t know them, but let’s be real.  We hold celebrities to certain statuses in our lives, especially when it comes to relationships. weight, looks, money, etc.  And it seemed that the Smiths had it together-a beautiful family, talented kids, businesses, both were currently working.  I know more than a few of us thought that Will and Jada were the epitome of Black Love, right up there with Ossie and Ruby, Angela and Courtney, Bill and Camille, the list goes on.  I know it’s NOT going to happen, but we should leave the Smiths alone during this very personal matter. 

Next up, I saw “The Help” last Sunday.  While I appreciate my girls inviting me out and having a bang-up Sunday night, I really don’t know my thoughts on the movie.  I had no desire to see the film, but I didn’t have any plans (and they changed the time they were going just for me), so I decided to go.  “The Help” was an enjoyable film, but I don’t know if I liked it.  Honestly, I have to see it again before I can do a real Southern Girl Review.

I bought Beyonce’s “4” about a week after it came out.  I am probably once of the biggest Bey Stans there is, but I don’t think I’m a fan.  As I told a friend, I’m not a Ballad Beyonce fan (think “Listen”); I like more up-tempo, dance hits (think “Single Ladies”).  And since her newest album is more ballads, I wasn’t feeling it.  I have been listening to it more with the intent to give the album an honest listening to and determination in my opinion.  As of today, the jury’s still out. 

So, that’s my rant for the day.  No rhyme or reason, no logic.  Just my thoughts on some things that are going on in pop culture.  And for those of you who know how I feel about the Kardashians, I purposefully did not discuss Kim and Kris’ nuptials this weekend.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern Girl…in the city!