Sunday, July 30, 2006

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

You'll have to excuse my sporadic posting, but I really haven't had anything to say! It's hot - everybody knows that and that's about it for me. I just wanted to look at something on my site besides those dang balloons!

So, see you tomorrow (or maybe Tuesday...)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's My (Blog) Birthday! was born on July 26, 2005 in a Manhattan office (that shall not be named) where I was working as a temp. My first official post was about the debut of Good Times on TV Land - a great excuse to google "Sweet Daddy Williams" and even wonder aloud about the whereabouts of Marsha "I'd Like To Climb Magic Johnson" Warfield. Clues anyone?

I've done my share of free PR/shouting from the rooftops about Akeelah and the Bee and Corinne Bailey Rae and the idiocy of our age-obsessed society. I still think deprogramming is a great idea.

I've also met a few other Nichelle's along the way and blogged about the wonders of having our name.

Here are some other highlights from my first year as a blogger. I'm gonna go and have myself a nice glass of champagne.

maybe not...

Most Popular Searches

1.) Barack Obama - I've blogged about him several times and whenever I do, there's a spike in traffic. Run, Barack, Run!

2.) Lootin' Lenny from Good Times. Apparently people want to know where to find Dap Sugar Willie aka "Lootin'" Lenny the Hustler ("Say blood, my name is Len-nay, and if I ain't got it, then there ain't any!") I did another search and found info about his only album. Apparently he was a Redd Foxx protege? Who knew!

3.) You! Shake Your Junk/Melyssa Ford. -- People were either looking for that ridiculous commercial or Melyssa Ford, but my piece was about an article that drew a correlation between today's video girls and Sarah Baartman aka "The Hottentot Venus."

Honorary mention: Britney Spears. Just one appearance and a spike in international traffic! I thought I'd mention her again for the heck of it. Oh! And for good measure - Kevin Federline, K-Fed, K-Fedoffhermoney, Shar Jackson, baby daddy, non-honorary black person.

Most Popular Posts

Invasion of the Gender Crashers from August 4, 2005.

Marriage Is For White People from March 27, 2006.

Where Have All The Black Girls Gone?
from March 17, 2006.

We Can Save Darfur Right From Our Living Rooms from April 28, 2006.

My Favorite Posts

Are You There God? It's Me With More Books! from August 12, 2005.

Katrina: Could This Be America? from September 6, 2005.

Belaboring Beyonce For Naught from October 8, 2005.

Slavery In New York from March 14, 2006.

A King's Treasure At Sotheby's
from June 26, 2006.

Lists, Memes, etc.

A (Little) About Me from March 27, 2006.

Working Up A Black Sweat
from March 24, 2006.

My Top Ten List For A (Near) Perfect Mate
from April 5, 2006.

Here We Go Again from April 20, 2006.

The Soundtrack of My Life from June 11, 2006.

Five (Or So) Things I Like About The Sangin' Diva from May 24, 2006.

As many of you know, I had a new baby on June 5th of this year and she's not doing so badly herself. She's a new affiliate in the ever glamorous Glam Network and with Project Blog - a network of fashion, shopping and beauty blogs started by the very smart and very glamorous Budget Fashionista, Kathryn Finney.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go and get that champagne.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

PSA: Do NOT Touch A Black Woman's Hair EVER!

In the words of my same-name-blog-bud Nichelle, "Black people are not chia pets!" I am stunned that this is still happening in 2006! Barbara Walters pulling and tugging on Brandy's weave and Tanika Ray's hair gave me flashbacks of a certain blonde grand dame pulling on my braids at a cocktail party at Le Cirque several years ago. No freaking clue! I'm sorry, but age doesn't give you a pass. I mean, I see women with $600 Madison Avenue highlights all the time and I would never dream of touching their hair - or their plastic surgery scars! It just isn't done!

For those of you that are still confused, here are a few quick guidelines:

1.) Never grab a black woman's hair at random - especially a stranger. If you see a black woman with a curious hairstyle, ask her about it - but DO NOT TOUCH HER HAIR. Black people have all kinds of hair textures, colors and styles. Believe it or not, some black women even have long hair that's real! You're not supposed to be able to tell all the time.

2.) You may ask a black woman if her hair is real if you dare - but DO NOT TOUCH HER HAIR! Even if said woman is an employee or a potential employee. Even if you are a broadcasting legend.

3.) You may ask questions about hair care but do not go over the stupid line and ask, "Can you shampoo it?" Also, DO NOT TOUCH HER HAIR!

3.) You may ask a black child about her braids, twists, locs or curls. But, DO NOT TOUCH HER HAIR!

4. If you see a black man with a curious hairstyle, DON'T TOUCH HIS HAIR EITHER! And definitely NEVER, EVER RUB HIS HEAD!

Got it? Good!

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Essence Magazine's "Do Right Men"

A brief disclaimer: I've got a few pals over at Essence, so Essence is alright with me.

That said, some of the reaction I've been reading online about their "Do Right Man" feature has been very interesting. I was pretty stunned at the utter disbelief of some black women, who commented right away that they didn't believe a word any of the men said - especially the famous ones. Some of the stinging comments:

"They say one thing in Essence and you see something completely different on the street. "

"He only said that because he has a movie coming out."

"Funny that they tell black women that they should be open to the garbage man, but damn if they will ever put a picture of an ugly azz garbage man in their magazine."

Now, granted, the issues of black men and women have been in the media a lot lately, but I'm sure that some of these guys are telling the truth ladies! I'll bet some of them did do it for the PR (bidnezz is bidnezz) but I think some were also sincere.

Either way, I'm a little old fashioned in this regard. I think the man should be the one doing the pursuing. The men in this issue will have their hands full with women all over the free world (I'll bet even non-black women hahaha!) listening to their sound bite and e-mailing them.

Anyway, if you don't mind competition from millions of women around the globe click on any of the pictures above or click here to check the rest of the guys out.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Caught Up In The Rapture

I just read the tragic story of Tiesha Sargeant and I wanted to share it to be sure that this cautionary tale made it outside of the New York area.

Tiesha Sargeant was 26 years old on May 14 when she was murdered – a pillow shoved over her face, a single bullet to her head – in the apartment that she shared with her boyfriend Keve Huggins in Brooklyn. Keve told Tiesha that he designed t-shirts and websites for party promoters for a living. According to the police, he admitted to selling $6,000 worth of marijuana in their apartment the afternoon of her murder. The detectives on the case still believe that Tiesha’s murder is tied to her boyfriend’s drug deal.

What makes Tiesha’s story unique is that she was supposed to have been the girl who escaped all of that.

Born to a working-class Guyanese family in Crown Heights Brooklyn, Tiesha got the break many smart, working-class public kids hope for, she got into Prep for Prep, an organization that prepares these kids to enter the most elite private schools in Manhattan free. Tiesha went to Brearley, one of the best all-girl schools and then on to Wesleyan. She would go on to work on Wall Street and at Conde Nast.

Her story is in this week’s New York magazine. As the article noted, Tiesha’s story was covered in the papers for several days, but then they lost interest. One of Tiesha’s friends told the magazine, “If she was a single white female lost in the Caribbean, we’d still be hearing about it.” Another friend blogged about Tiesha's death here.

As for Huggins, Tiesha’s father, Henry Sargeant, was never really impressed with him. He has told several New York papers that he doesn’t believe that Keve is telling the whole truth about the incident. Mr. Sargeant told New York magazine, “You got a woman that’s accomplished like that – he knows he’s got it made. He knows he doesn’t even have to work any place. Tiesha can just take care of him. She always empathized with someone who had promise. I think she was in love with him.”

Sounds like father really does know best.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

A Diva in the Family

No, I didn't get lost in the Silent Sea! I've just been enjoying the summer a bit. In fact, I had the good fortune of being in Little Italy in the Village yesterday - right in the middle of World Cup fever (Viva Italia!)

I have also been working on my book. I didn't want to say too much about the book before it's time, and I still don't, but I will tell you a little more about it because I can only hold so much in! The proposal is already out in the publishing world anyway (say a prayer!)

My book is called A Diva in the Family and it's about my aunt, Margaret Tynes. She had a phenomenal international career as a singer in opera, jazz and theater for over fifty years. A graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (BA 1939) and Columbia University (MA 1944), she starred as Harry Belafonte’s leading lady off-Broadway (see the picture below) in a show he produced called Sing Man, Sing! She also recorded a jazz suite called A Drum is a Woman with Duke Ellington and made several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1961, she gained international acclaim as Salomé at the Spoleto Festival of the Two Worlds in Italy, where she lived for more than forty years.

Believe it or not, I heard about her for the first time at our family reunion in 1988 when I was a teenager. As a souvenir, we were provided with a booklet detailing our family history dating back to Timothy Tynes, a Virginia slaveholder who freed all of his slaves by name and left extensive property to them in 1802. Margaret was included in the booklet, along with details about some of our ancestors, many of whom were also artists: poets, painters and singers. Although I was very impressed with our history and Margaret, I was far more interested in Prince and Michael Jackson at the time and didn't think about the Tynes side of my family again for more than a decade.

This is the picture that started it all. I was researching my forthcoming novel at the Schomburg Center in Harlem (I'll tell you about that one much later) scouring through several photos of prominent black women in New York when I stumbled upon the "diva" in my family. My aunt is seated and the lady styling her hair is Rose Morgan. Although she is often best remembered for having once been married to the boxing legend Joe Louis, Ms. Morgan was a trailblazing entrepreneur that owned the Rose Meta House of Beauty in Harlem, one of the first full-service salons for black women in the country. Ms. Morgan also went on to help found the Freedom National Bank in 1965. After I stumbled upon this picture, I immediately raced outside and called our cousin on my cell phone for more information about her.

When I finally met her again at her friend’s home in Harlem during the Christmas holidays in 2002, I was very nervous. I had no idea what I would be walking into. Would she be an eccentric cartoon-like diva ala Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard? Or, God forbid, a prima donna cultivated in the old Negro bourgeoisie who might have turned her nose up at those who were not our kind of people? I wasn’t entirely sure how far our distant relation would carry me.

Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about. Today, at age 86, she's still gorgeous - and grand - but in the best way. She's proud of her career, but very modest about it at the same time.

Although this project has temporarily taken me away from my original plans, it really fits right in. All of my work, fiction and non-fiction, revolves around black entertainment history - it's my passion. So the opportunity to do A Diva in the Family was truly a gift to me.

And Aunt Margaret is so great! Talking and visiting with her is always an adventure and so much fun! She also likes to give me a lot of advice, which tends to begin and end with "Go with God Nichelle! Go with God!" It may seem like I've said a lot here, but trust me, it's only the tip of the iceberg.

I am working on getting a solid publisher in the next few months. Fortunately, I worked in publishing for many years, so I am quite hopeful about good things happening with the book in the very near future.

I'll keep you posted!

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