How Prince helped me be Black and genderqueer in America’s Bible capital

I still remember when Prince sang on “Muppets Tonight” in 1997. I was seven years old in Chattanooga, Tenn. It was a few years after he started using his symbol instead of his name, which the Muppets played up for laughs. I remember him wearing these overalls in one scene for a farm skit and a ridiculous chartreuse turtleneck for a music video in the next. Even the Muppet-ified Prince had a pompadour.

I watched him sing about Cynthia, the Muppet who didn’t care what people thought: “If you set your mind free, baby you’d understand.”

After that, I wanted more. I looked for Prince in music stores and online. I’ll never forget seeing the cover of his 1988 album “Lovesexy.” Here was this naked black man on the cover of his album with flowers behind him. And people loved him.

Read more here


There will be no order. There will be no editing done of my initial reaction. This is a first response to the first time I heard this album. This will be all of the feelings.

Let’s go.

Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
This is a celebratory break up song to the one that didn’t just get away…it’s the one that you pushed away. Letter to the ex. Two people together but not together at the same time. Upbeat and reflective on the whole, "I was bitter now I’m grateful." Sometimes you have a good relationship that goes bad because you’re in vastly different places and therefore want vastly different things. Bye bye last minute casual dates and hookups. Hello commitment and a stable future.

There’s something magical about the combination of Adele’s voice and a piano. Add in clever and well written lyrics you’ve got an amazing track. The lyrics give me the vibe of Joss Stone’s Security. Add in the piano and it reminds me of Alicia Keys’ Diary. The dedication to the person in question. The vows of something more than a wedding. The loyalty is all in it. The track is a personal promise.

I Miss You
Eerie beginning that pulses into a sick drum beat. Oozes sex appeal. Definitely gives me the feeling of the, “Oh shit we broke up and I kinda regret that right now since I’m in bed alone.” situation mixed with the, “I never want these intimate feels and connection we have to go away.” situation. Honesty. Ending with fading Adele vocals overlapping Adele vocals with that piano and drum beat is definitely something I want to have happen on every track. Damn. I missed Adele.

When We Were Young
Bass. Piano. Vocals. Flashback songs are always going to mean something to everyone that hears it because we can all relate to the scene that’s set. This track is honestly like a movie. Looking back and realizing everything that happened. A missed opportunity because of fears and doubt. Wanting to hold onto the moment where you both Introduction. Build up. Bridge/Turning point. Climax. Damn I’m catching feelings.

Million Years Ago
Adele’s voice and an acoustic guitar is something that I didn’t know I needed until now. Holy crap. Facing reality. Moving on from the past. Like this is the track that every mid-twenties and older is feeling. This is the song of regret. You wanted to rush into adulthood and you were carefree and not stressing on anything. You hit a certain age and you’re just like….crap. I shouldn’t have done all of those things. I should’ve done this differently. I should’ve treated them differently. I should’ve believed in myself more. AND THEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR FRIENDS AND COMPARE YOURSELF AND YOU FEEL ISOLATED BECAUSE YOU DOUBTED YOURSELF AND ALSKDJFLAKSDJFALKJHKLAJSHDFKAJSHD.

All I Ask
The potential breakup song for that friend you might’ve caught feelings for. How many friends have you seen go through this situation? How many of you have been through this before? Holy crap this is...crap. It’s a crap situation. A crap situation that you have to face eventually. The desperation of that last bittersweet connection…you feel it on the last line of the chorus the first time she says it. Then you hear that desperation for this connection throughout the song. Every time it hurts.

Love in the Dark
Okay. This is a break up track. These damn strings. These damn vocals. These damn lyrics. Ugh. Wow. It’s the real dark and twisty part of a break up. Knowing when it’s time to break up and then actually having to do it. I want to live and not just survive this.

Sweetest Devotion
In love and happy about it. A love letter that became wedding vows put to music essentially. About the journey finding that comfortable place and love that makes you feel overjoyed.

Water Under The Bridge
Confrontational. Confrontational about the mutual feelings. Calling the other person out on their feelings. Demanding honesty about their feelings. Saying it’s not over…yet. But it could be. Definition a piss or get off the pot. I’m here for it.

River Lea
I’m not at fault. I’ve warned you about who I am and you’re an idiot for not seeing otherwise. That’s what it’s about. Don’t blame me. Blame yourself for not seeing what I told you. This track is about exposing those flaws and the shity parts about the things that are about yourself. Here for it.

Oooh. The debut song that killed with that singular opening line for about a week before we got the entire track. What a great comeback song. It showed us that theatrical let me cry all of my emotions away Adele that we all know and love. It’s a one side conversation between a person who waited until it was too late to go after what they wanted. WHO HASN’T DONE THAT.

I’m here for this entire album. Holy crap. I didn’t even get the bonus tracks but from the 11 tracks that I did, I can say I’m glad she’s back. Adele has this way as an artist of not being more than what she is. She’s a soulful artist who composes real music. Which is essentially what this album is. It’s an honest album from start to finish. In almost every track I thought of a situation that I or a friend has been in at one point or the other. That’s why this album is good. It’s honest. It’s real. The vocals are killer. The music is flawless. I’m here for it. I know I said it multiple times throughout this scattered review, but it’s true. I’m glad she took the time to organize her thoughts into music.

Until next time.

(originally posted on Ello)

Who is Julius Rosenwald?

I had never heard of Julius Rosenwald until my supervisor was talking about hosting and bringing a documentary about his work with schools to the Chattanooga community. After watching it I'm frustrated that I had never heard of him or his work before.

The 1908 Riots in Springfield brought the awakening/beginning of Rosenwald being a strong advocate for Black lives. It was also the beginning of NAACP.

Rosenwald used his fortune, philanthropy skills to build 5,000 schoolhouses across America for Black students before segregation. He helped build them by pledging funds to Black communities and making them raise the remaining balance.

He worked with Booker T. Washington to form Tuskegee University. The Rosenwald Fund led to fellowships for W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Gordon Parks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Augusta Savage and countless other Black artists and activists receiving fellowships to make the historically beautiful art they're known for today.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt left the Daughters of the American Revolution organization after they denied legendary singer Marian Anderson (a recipient of a Rosenwald Fund scholarship) from performing at Constitution Hall and became a board member for the Rosenwald Fund. Her position on the board not only led to Marian Anderson performing at the Lincoln Memorial, but it led to her going to Tuskegee, Alabama and the foundation of the legendary group of Black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

I'm not going to glorify this man into making him seem like an idol that needs to be worshiped. But I will use him as an example of what can happen when one person sees something wrong and uses their privilege. Everyone has a privilege over someone else. It's about acknowledging your privilege and using it to help others. He used his wealth and his privilege to make a difference when others refused to do so. His work led to other people making differences and impacting countless others.

I was able to meet a teacher from the Rosenwald Schools. Evelyn Hardin taught at several Rosenwald Schools in Chattanooga. She's alive today at 101 years old and she is still advocating everything she taught students years ago. 

"We've got to work together."

Julius Rosenwald had a quote that describes everything that I feel in my day to day life.

"Give while you live."

I make it my mission to give what I can when I can. Donating clothes, food, or time can change a person's life. Listening to people when they reach out for help or assistance is something we can all do. Taking that further step and helping them is something we can all do.

That's what I took away from this.

Using my privilege to change a life. Because when I do there's no end to the amount of change i can create.

New Changes. New Feel. New Me.

It's been an unusually busy few months since I last updated my blog.

Why? Because I've been writing elsewhere. Everywhere to be exact.

Wordpress. Tumblr. Ello. Medium. Facebook.

You name it. I've been writing there.

Now I'm moving on to coming back to here with a twist. I'm still going to write all over creation. But I'm going to cross post my most prominent or favorite work here. I'm going to link my favorite work from my other blogs and social media here to so that everyone can have a center hub for my work.

I can't wait to make this change. I'm actually going to start right now.

So let's go!

Here's to changes and feels and me.

(That's why you're here right? Right.)