Lynne d Johnson



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08.24.03 07:26 PM

and so it is...

I am getting to a point whereas I feel somewhat mute. Overall, this week was definitely brighter. When I awakened Monday morning, a friend who has been trying to have a baby for some time called to say her child was born at01:13:00 AM. I have been calling this child my god child for the past several months b/c of the nature of my relationship with the mother. And also, I hoped it would provide some balm to her womb, since her first child died not too long after being born. This baby, though too born a bit early, was meant to be here. I went to see this child almost everyday this week, and I reveled in the pride of the new mom and dad as they held their child. Life is about living yo, for real.

So this has brought me to this place of being a mute. Am I living? Are we living? I mean really living. Or are we just going along with the preprogrammed instructions as handed down by the machine? Have we found our purpose? Are we living our fullest? Are we being love? Are we doing love? Are we giving love?

Every few years, and sometimes every few months, I am here at this place again. Staring at myself in the mirror. Uncovering the I 'n I. Seeking self-mastery --- feeding the body, mind, soul, spirit...with love. Loving myself. Learning to listen more than speak. Thinking before I speak. Taking in the wonders of the world, but knowing that reality is only based upon perception. For most of the time we are all walking in darkness with blinders on, afraid to see the light. Afraid to become and unbecome. Often we are just doing what we do, and not being. I'm trying to be. It's a conscious unconscious. It's what I consciously seek. It's what the will is after, but the intent sometimes gets in the way. The "I" sometimes gets in the way. And so I breathe. 'Cuz breathing is really the only thing that's natural. Breathing and shedding skin...these things are natural. Right now I'm breathing and writing, and feeling the words are saying too much. Because words can be interpreted in many ways, depending upon who is reading them or who is hearing them. And the meaning may get lost in the shuffle of decoding. So I sit in silence, I breathe, up from the diaphragm, hold the breath, and blow it out, fully, forcefully. And then, and only then, I feel alive. Not becuase I have a job and go to work everyday and make money and participate in being a nut or bolt in the machine. No, I am alive b/c I am.

Self-mastery is always a hard thing for human beings, because it's hard to let the ego go. It's hard to stop being opinionated. For somehow we think without opinions we are not conscious. But the conscious is the unconscious, and the unwakened mind is full of energy. In silence I feel it most as it charges through me. It's the constant chatter that displays the fears, but the silence that puts the "I" one-on-one with the "self." Living ain't easy, but if we choose to

If you're not with me on this, it's cool. I don't need you to be. I don't need understanding at this moment. I don't need acceptance. I just need to be. So why do I share? I share b/c the spirit drives me to. And so it is.

BTW, have you ever read The Alchemist? You should think about reading it.

Addendum: Some blogs I've recently taken a liking to:
Prometheus 6
black gay blogger
The S-Train Canvass

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08.17.03 12:40 PM

one week

The week started out just fine. Last Sunday I went to Black August, one of those concerts that's more than just a party. If you're not down for the political prisoners, then it probably wouldn't have been the spot for you. Though on the press list, which put me at the press and artists entrance, it wasn't all smooth. But it was all good, I got in. Though Talib Kweli did have a problem with the bouncer when he was trying to get some vendors in. The bouncer even said to him, "You're just another patron to me." I thought that was wild.

When I got in I said my what's ups to dream hampton, film director and writer, and Arthur Jaffa, director and visual artist. I made my way inside and listened to the old skool sounds as spun by DJ Evil Dee and DJ Beverly Bond. Goapele performed, and I must say she didn't get as much response as I'd hoped. The Boot Camp Clik performed next and the Brooklyn crowd went crazy, especially when "Boom Bye Bye" came on. I guess there's no space for the homosexual population to be revolutionaries. I always find that a lil' bit absurd. I said a few more what's ups to folks out on the floor, including one of Hot 97's morning show hosts Jimmy Martinez, and then Toure, author of The Portable Promised Land.

Made my way back to the green room and gave shout outs to poet Jessica Care Moore and One World editor-in-chief Raquel Cepeda. Back out on the floor, Keith Murray, recently let go from Def Jam, performed and some political renegade rap group from Redemption Recordings called duo live. Dead Prez was up next and again the Brooklyn crowd swelled with excitement, singing all the words to their mixtape release. Then it was Talib, another Brooklyn crowd pleaser, and then of course Ms. Erykah Badu herself. She got props for being involved with the movement, seeing she's an artist of monumental stature. Lady broke it down. She sang, but she also preached. And those who remained 'til02:30:00 aM where right there with her on her message. Erykah was talking spiritual growth as a revolutionary was a combination of Nation of Gods and Earths, Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Dravidian, um excuse me Hinduism, Tantrism. She's really a beautific spirit. Even when she came in with her assistant and her son, she stayed among the people when she could have gone to a closed room by herself. I stayed right up to "Other Side Of The Game," knowing full well that "Danger," must've been next since it's part II, but it was nearing 3 am and I had to break out. I do hope the folks who attended went home feeling like they went to more than just a concert though.

The rest of the week went business as usual for me. In meetings nearly all day Monday - Wednesday, and then Thursday was the company outing, which featured a little boat ride around New York. When we got back to the office, it was BLACKOUT 2003. Luckily someone drove me to the Manhattan Bridge, and I made my way across before sundown. I took a nap, and when I woke up it was mad dark and I couldn't get any signals on the cell or even a dial tone on the land line. I had to go out and use the pay phone, and I saw people still coming in from the city. It was wild, wild, wild. And though on Friday, power started being restored, there were still many places that were pitch black by nightfall. You know it was scary because I felt that everyone was so vulnerable in this time. I did experience a Blackout before, but something about this one, being so close to recent war and terrorist attacks, kind of made things seem a lil' more uneasy.

So now here it is Sunday the 17th, and power is all restored, and it's my birthday. Messed up thing about it is that I've been battlling a head cold all week and I'm in the womanly way (if you get my drift), so I'm just not with it. Besides the week just really wore me out, spiritually, mentally, and physically. I'm just looking forward to another week that will hopefully be a lot brighter.

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08.10.03 12:20 PM

a lil' shameless self-promotion

Hip Hop's Holy Trinity by Lynne d Johnson

This piece examines the success of 50 Cent within the context of his relationship to Dr. Dre and Eminem. Perhaps, 50's meteoric rise to stardom would not have been as influential had he not been strategically placed within this triad. This relationship is a classic text book case for urban music marketing, similar to how Ashanti was positioned as a hook singer on some serious tracks and then was set forth as the heir apparent of the Murder Inc. family.

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08.06.03 01:50 AM

Dwele doesn't deliver

So I have just come in from dragging Donald to see a Dwele concert with me at SOB's. And lord knows I have been praising this cat, and still I feel his music, but truth be told he is no powerhouse singer. One of his background singers even stood him up, and boy did Dwele throw him shade for that. I'm sure Donald will tell this story better in pictures than I can in words. I bet those pics will be up in a few hours. I'm saying, the music was stirring, but Dwele is no D'Angelo or Bilal. His range is lacking, and his riffs are a little trife. Don't get me wrong, I still like the album. It's refreshing. It's something different than the mass marketing machines are feeding us, although this cat is signed to the major Virgin label. It was still nice to see a live band, and nice to see someone at least try to scat and pay homage to Stevie, The Tempations, and Marvin Gaye, but to be quite honest I wasn't astounded.

After the show, and boy was it short, it was the after party for Donald and I, but I'll let him tell it in pictures.

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08.04.03 05:55 PM

back in the days when i was young

"Back in the days when I was young I'm not a kid anymore/ But some days I sit and wish I was a kid again"- Ahmad, "Back In The Days," Ahmad

I'm not sure what Ahmad was thinking, but I take it he never escorted his 13-year-old niece to the Scream Tour III concert, featuring B2K, Marques Houston, and Nick Cannon. Yep, that's what I did with my Saturday night, went to Madison Sqare Garden with a full concert hall of screaming pre-teen and teenaged girls. DJ Jus provided the opening listening sounds, as well as the interludes between sets. The show opened with AJA, B2K member Lil Fizz's cousin Zhené, and then Nick Cannon hyped up the crowd with an old-school rap medley and a couple of his own songs. Mario provided a smooth set, and then it was Marques and B2K who really got the little girls screaming. It was funny to be in this place and remember what it was like when I was there as a teen, and the hot act was New Edition. Sorry to say, I wasn't hoping to return to my youth though. Overall, the show was a lot more sexually charged than I had anticipated. Here are some observations I made:

Pre-teen and teenaged girls seem to have an attraction for ripped abs and protruding pecs. They took off Nick Cannon's wife beater when he dropped into the audience, and anytime any of the performers lifted their shirts, the girls went wild. One of those things that make you go, hmmm...

Crunk is officially back. Songs by Chingy, Bone Crusher, Lil' Flip, Lil' Jon, et al. seemed to set off the most excitement.

Little girls seem to like little boys who can gyrate their hips, a lot. Another scary thing I noticed, as cheers were endless during these acts.

R. Kelly's presence was felt all over the place as he has written or produced songs for Nick Cannon, Marques Houston, and B2K. I guess he has to find a way to stay near the teen girls. Yuck!

Little girls know all the words to every song by 50 Cent and Jay-Z, and get louder when there are curses, violence, or sexual implications. I'm telling you this was scary.

The year 2003 is probably really the year '83, as evidenced by all of the grafitti air brushed and markered on kicks, clothing, and hats. Not to mention that practically all of the trendy fashions resmble what was popular when I was a teen.

Light skin is back in, as Lil' Fizz received more attention than almost any other memeber of B2K, including Omarion, the lead singer. The funny thing is that these little girls think he's a really good rapper. Uh, sorry little ladies, I don't think so.

I knew just as many lyrics as the kids, and probably more than any of the other adult escorts, except those Fendi, Gucci moms, who seemed to be as into B2K as their younger conterparts. Some parents even smiled at me, when they glimpsed my niece and I dancing to Sean Paul. Had me wondering for a second, whether I act my age or not. Not that I know what that means, but I know that my profession keeps me on top of the trends and movements in youth culture, and also b/c I'm an educator, I have an interest in it. Ok, there's my excuse.

I made a lot more observations, but I think I'll end it here. I could say a lot about what I think about the sexual identities of today's youth, but then when I think back, is it really any different than it was in my time? Maybe a lot more blatant. Often times I caught parents looking at one another, and me, shaking their heads at how wild the girls got over certain lewd behavior on stage as well as how into the lyrics of certain songs they were. I haven't even told ya'll exactly everything that happened on that stage, especially when three of the audience members were brought on stage and sat in chairs as J-Boog and three male dancers did a little strip-tease like dance over them. What happened next, what J-Boog did, I don't even want to mention. I'll just leave that to myself and everyone else who attended, but I'm sure there's got to be a pic out there in the Daily News or some other such publication. All I have to say, is something I've been saying all along, parents can not entrust BET, MTV, and the radio to raise their kids. I'm not advising that children should be so sheltered that they don't even know what's going on out there, but parents have to create dialogue and safe spaces so they can better educate their kids about what's going on. My niece and I actually had a one-on-one about teen sex after leaving the show. She's a pretty enlightened little chick, I just hope she continues to use her brain.

Addendum: I do have to add that the previews for their upcoming film, You Got Served looks quite interesting in the Bring It On, Drumline, kind of way. The niece has already asked me to take her to the movies when it come out.

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