Friday, February 27, 2009

Lambada! The Forbidden Dance

I have been meaning to do a post about this song. When the movie came out in 1990, folks didn't know what to do, as the dance was so seductive. I remember dancing to it when no one was looking. Much like the macarena, the lambada took the U.S. by storm. The latin/African rhytms and beats were irresistible. Once the song was translated, I loved it even more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memories of Mardi Gras 2007

While pursuing my master's degree from LSU, I had the pleasure of traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Mind you this was post-Katrina, so I knew the celebrations wouldn't be as intense. So, after going to one of my client's recitals, I collected my adopted brother and headed down Interstate 10 West. The closer we got to Nawlins, the more cars appeared. License plates from all over the country. Once I set eyes on the Superdome, I couldn't wait to get out of the car and hit the streets. Arriving at our hotel, we waited for Ryan's family to arrive before heading out to catch the Endymion parade.

I am a total bead whore. Although my hands were freezing, I caught beads like a wide receiver tries to catch a football. I was jumping and bumping into people, and I didn't care. Very often, multiple people would catch the same string of beads. Basically, the person who had the tighest grip won out. Also, if the beads were not ornate, people would let them fall to the ground. Those floats were decorated nicely. The people on the floats -masked and dressed in elaborate costumes- often threw beads directly at the revelers who lined the route. I saw plenty of folks get clocked in the head and face. I later found out that most of them were drunk. By the time the fire truck arrived, signaling the end of the parade, the curb was littered with residual beads. Now, there's a rule that says you should not pick up beads from the ground (for obvious reasons). However, if you stick to the ones on the top of the pile, you're safe.

A former teetotaler, I occasionally indulge in spirits. Determined not to get drunk, my adopted mother (Ms. Neda) decided I should drink as many hand grenades as I could stomach. After drinking two, the world got bright. When we sat down to eat, I immediately began making drunk phone calls. I called all over the country: New York, California, Texas, etc. I took pictures with a Louisiana state trooper and kissed a woman who worked at the restaurant where we dined. My mother, God bless her anxious soul, wanted to drive to Nawlins and rescue me.

The things I saw. Titties for days. Some were nice and erect, while others were saggy and deflated (on young girls!). While women are free to flash until their breasts fall off, any man who flashes wang (my friends term for penis) will be promptly arrested. Ass cheeks are ok, though. While waiting to get some nachos, I saw this drunk, white man get knocked unconscious. I didn't ask any questions. Simply grabbed my "sister" and hauled ass. Of course, people of the proselytizing nature did their best to dissuade us from having any fun at all (see above). The drag queens were out in full force, and some of the costumes and masks were to die for.

My adopted family took good care of me. I didn't have to pay for anything. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. I haven't gotten back down there since 2007. Nawlins is such a magical city. My spirit truly comes alive once I set foot on that beloved cajun/creole soil. I miss it so much. I'm sure I'll get back there. Actually, once I'm an established author/songwriter/television show host, I plan to be the damn grand marshall. Until then, I have wonderful memories (and pictures) to tide me over.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eye for an Eye?

Ameneh Bahrami, an Iranian woman who was douced with acid in 2004, demanded that her attacker, a former classmate, be blinded in a similar fashion. The Iranian courts have agreed with her request, and Majid Movahedi is scheduled to have five drops of sulfuric acid placed into each eye within the next three weeks. Many human rights groups have denounced Bahrami's call for retribution, calling the practice barbaric and inhumane.

Ghandi is famously quoted as saying "An eye for an eye leaves the world blind." Ameneh Bahrami hopes the sentence will deter other men from behaving similarly. Would you be willing to turn the other cheek? Did the Iranian court make the right decision? Would crimes worldwide decline if other countries implemented similar laws? Find out more infomation about this case here and here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

White Artists Who "Sound" Black_Volume 2

Listening to 107.5 FM this morning while driving along I-285, this song came on. I think I was a senior in high school when I first heard it. I fantisized about my dream boyfriend -who never materialized- countless times while ingesting the lyrics. Until I watched the video, I never knew Babyface was featured on the song (even I'm slow sometimes). He gained a great deal of respect in the R&B game based solely on his talent. Back in the 90s, it was very rare to hear a white dude vocalize in such a soulful manner. Who is he? Ladies and gentlemen, Jon B.

Someone to Love, Jon B FEATURING Babyface

Jon B - Someone To Love (Official Music Video) - Watch the top videos of the week here

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Day

One of the things that got me into the "helping profession" is my desire to assist people make sense of their lives. Having spent nearly half of my life wishing to be someone other than the man I am, I can empathize with people who feel inadequate and damaged. I understand how a person's experiences can negatively impact her/his worldview. Lord knows I used to view the world as an inhospitable place. Not being able to experience intimacy influenced my desire to want to exit this life expediently. It wasn't fun watching my friends differentiate and develop romantic relationships. It wasn't fun always being the third wheel. As far as I was concerned, God had been very unkind to me from the moment of conception. Confined to an existence that would terminate with me spending eternity in hell (so I was taught) gave me little to look forward to. I lived in misery, pain, despair, and agony. It got so bad that I didn't want to see other people happy. I became a grinch. There were times when I was able to display gratitude and genuine peace. However, despite my best efforts to embrace life consistently, I couldn't envision a positive future for myself. Death seemed like a gift. Thank God He doesn't answer all prayers.

I am drawn to people with complex, fragmented backgrounds. I have had clients tell me they want to die. One client told me he didn't know or love himself. When I ask clients to look into my pink, handheld mirror (one of the tools I use during counseling sessions), most of them hand it back to me within five seconds. Personally, I am no longer fearful of facing myself. Only after honestly assessing your deficiences can you begin the process of becoming a new creation. Thankfully, I have been blessed to witness a few of my clients integrate the material we cover and move toward lasting recovery. It is absolutely beautiful to watch.

So, how did I shed the pain of the past and become the fabulous Losojosnuevos? I've learned to have realistic expectations of myself and others. I had to recognize that LGBT folks aren't the only ones who experience sadness and distress. I stopped seeing myself as a VICTIM. I grew a damn backbone and learned to speak up for myself. I embrace my strengths and do everything in my power to correct my inadequacies (a brotha don't have no flaws!). I've developed farsightedness. The future intrigues me. In order for me to receive the blessings God has for me, tomorrow MUST come. When adversity comes along, I roll with it (most of the time). I surround myself with positive, honest people. I try not to frown or complain too much. I'm a hugger. I laugh as often as I can. I ADJUST MY ATTITUDE FREQUENTLY (I can be a moody MF-er sometimes). Most importantly, I attack each day with optimism and hope. Be blessed, y'all.

A New Day For You, by Basia

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Will Mediocrity Always Exist?

I enjoy having my accomplishments recognized, but I despise being labeled a "brainiac" or an "overachiever." Sure, I have an advanced degree, but many people do (in much more rigorous disciplines, might I add). I consider myself a man who is driven to know EVERYTHING about ANYTHING that interests me. Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, author of Gifted Hands and Think Big, calls excessive inquisitiveness "in-depth learning." For instance, when I studied biochemistry in undergrad -back when I dreamed of becoming a physician- I LOVED studying the structures of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). I became excited when we were taught that genetic substitution of one amino acid for another can lead to the manifestation of diseases, such as sickle cell anemia. Even though I HATED physics, I applied myself diligently, reading the textbook and even working with a tutor. Yes, there are subjects that even I couldn't master. But that wasn't the goal. The goal was the diligent pursuit of knowledge.

So why am I blogging about this topic? Well, I have a lot of family members who, for whatever reason, have not reached their full potential. Consequently, they make excuses for why they work low-paying jobs or never pursued any vocation after completing high school or earning a GED (high school equivalent). Then they look at me and say "Oh, you're just a part of the 'talented tenth.' Things come easy to you." In the words of Della Reese, "Kiss my entire ass!" I truly resent being characterized as such. By the grace of God and my own sheer will, many of the endeavors I have undertaken have been successful, and it remains to be seen what I'll do next (stay tuned, it could be monumental). Maybe I'm driven because poverty left a rancid taste in my mouth. Maybe it's because I viewed education as a means of geographic liberation. Perhaps my sexuality also played a part, as I wasn't out chasing pussy (or dick for that matter). Now, before some anonymous person accuses me of generalizing, I will acknowledge that MANY PEOPLE WHO CHASE PUSSY OR DICK SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS.

I hate the "savior role" I've inherited. There, I said it. As long as I'm around, people know things will get done the right way. When I set limits or say "no," I'm "mean, selfish, or pompous." Because these words are often uttered by family members, I bite my tongue just a little bit. Ultimately, I believe it is time for people to step their respective games way the fuck up. Go to school! Quit complaiing about how difficult your life was! Stop blaming your parents for the slacker you've become! Take responsibility for the foolish choices you're made! Get off the damn worry wheel! Refrain from accusing foreigners of taking jobs you have not expressed any interest in! Ask for HELP when the load becomes too heavy! Stop GORGING yourself spoonfulls of "I can'ts, "they won't let me's," "I'm too old's" and the notorious "should'a, could'a, would'as." And please, STOP BLAMING THE WHITE MAN!!!! Whew! That was cathartic. I'd probably lose my license if I said half of this stuff to my clients.

Ok, my soapbox has been returned to the closet for today. Gotta get some groceries in this house before I hit the gym. Oh, since today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I must get to Decatur and see the AIDS quilt. Thanks for listening.

Y'all know I had to put a little positivity in this blog. Enjoy.

Sounds of Blackness, "Optimistic"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

I can't remember exactly when I learned about this group, but I'm certain I heard a few of the songs on Georgia State University's radio station. It is reminiscent of the music that was played in the 60s (I know, I wasn't even thought of yet). A Macon, Georgia native, Sharon Jones' vocal cords can destroy a microphone any day. Talk about pure soul and funk? Backed by a kick-ass band, the productions are awesome. It doesn't get much better than this.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings-"Tell Me"

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

White Artists Who "Sound" Black_Volume 1

This artist burst onto the American music scene in the late 80s. Hearing her name, everyone I knew wondered "Who is she?" Though the name definitely contained a European hint, we swore she was black. When we saw the video, we were completely floored. The artist in question is none other than Lisa Stansfield.

All Around the World