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I had to choose to get out of bed and be happy…

We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists — that’s your healing. Take advantage of it. Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help.

I KNOW I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE SANDY HOOK IS ACTUALLY LOCATED IN CONNECTICUT BUT THESE ARE MY VISCERAL THOUGHTS ABOUT TRAUMA, PRAYER, AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD

Grateful on a day like this for a strong church home and family! My heart is real tender today and it doesn’t have the space to process gun laws/mental health/psychoanalysis. Not today. The Spirit of the Lord is a Comforter and can help all of us, truly. When I share that I’ll be praying, I mean it. I’ll be praying. Praying. Praying. And I won’t stop praying, even if times are blissful. I pray for the residents of Sandy Hook, the families, the souls of the deceased, and I pray for my President, Barack Obama, that he may have the right people around him to guide him in the next steps. I pray that all of us are able to take care of our hearts and minds as 2012 comes to a close. #graceandmercy

Album Review - Lecrae’s “Church Clothes”

mbii:

Lecrae - CHURCH CLOTHES; Reach Records; May, 2012.

In A Word…“BOSS”.

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I challenge you to find a better 2012 rap album than Church Clothes. You can’t.

This is a radical statement for a man to make, and one that I considered deleting as soon as I typed it. Music is such a subjective discourse. Any stamp of approval given to a musical work for an inherent “goodness” comes directly from the Court of Public Opinion.

This is why I hate writing album reviews. I am outed well before the Court can listen for itself, back my assertions, and clear my name of fallacy. I can only tell you how I think and give a passionate defense of my thoughts. I only pray that my skills as an alphabet pugilist convince you to take up arms and join me in this defense. Why?

Because I think this album is incredible. Church Clothes is a masterpiece that perfectly encapsulates the mood of our times. Lecrae wields the microphone like a skilled yeoman, using spoken poetry and verve to shine truth on global negativity, providing answers that can course correct any confused world traveler.

And I think you should agree. Give me the chance to prove it to you. I’ll set you up and hit you with the clincher. BAM. And if I can’t, well…I can’t force your hand. It IS America. But I’ll find you sadly mistaken, and pray for your conversion to my line of thinking.

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My life changed when Paul Bassett, English teacher, Interim Head of School, and Debate & Public Speaking Coach at Stoneleigh-Burnham School [for girls] told me:

"You’re a good public speaker."

Months earlier, towards the end of my eighth grade career at the Daley Middle School in Lowell, Massachusetts, my history teacher Mr. Doyle told me after I had delivered a speech in the voice of Sojourner Truth:

"You’re a good public speaker."

What’s that?

"A public speaker is someone who can speak well in front of people."

Watching the trailer for Thank You For Judging (directed by Michael Urie from Ugly Betty,yes!) I am taken by how much of my performance sensibility has been shaped by years of tournaments in the U.S., Canada, and England.

The Black girl in the Harvard sweatshirt? That was me.

The power-suit wearing youth giving their all to a monologue? That was me.

The teachers and mentors on the sidelines? The teammates slapping high fives and giving group hugs? That was my family away from home for four years.

Now there was some foolishness here and there. I mean, I went to an all-girls boarding school. Foolishness was a given. There was jealousy and attitude among the teammates. Teams from Phillips Andover and Exeter would frustrate me to no end with their pretentiousness and knowledge of all the dead philosophers (how many times do you have to use Camus as an example of struggle?) I also remember a formative debate between me, my partner, and some boys from Deerfield. The blonde-headed boy (who was also really lanky and skinny and I think he wasn’t ready for my stage presence) yelled at me, asking me if I wanted poor people from Walmart to suffer or some crap and I yelled at him back and totally lost the debate because young girls shouldn’t yell. To this day, I look for him in a crowd.

Watching this trailer on a morning when I’m trying to get some writing done reminds me, once again, that I am REALLY good at public speaking. I don’t know where it came from, but my speaking voice has always been strong. Even when I’m revising my solo work, I just want to perform it first, impromptu, for an audience, record it, and transcribe that. That off-the-cuff nature of public speaking has informed my performance style for I don’t know how long and try as I might, it’s hard to leave it be.

Is your voice fully-formed by high school? When I watch these competitors and reflect back on my own voice, I have to say that if the opportunity arises or if the chance is given to you and if, like in a lab, the variables are expected to change, then yes, you can find your voice.

I did.

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