This Comedy Stuff Is Becoming A Thing

I went up at comedy open mics here in on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday’s open mic was at the Sentient Bean. The crowd was mostly stand-ups and I was the thirteenth comic up. It takes patience to wait out an open mic. I don’t want to be first, but I would love to be about sixth or seventh.

Friday’s open mic was at Foxy Loxy Cafe. It is so much fun to do stand-up outside in a courtyard. The crowd was mostly locals, and I think my jokes got more laughs that they did on Thursday. Anyway, I am performing again this Tuesday at Crash Comedy at the Sentient Bean at 8PM. I will be doing a character in a piece that I am still writing.

I also made a podcast episode, Episode 5.

Self-Care: Family Dinner and Thrift Store Shopping

Bought a bag of silk #ties from the thrift store in Woodstock, Georgia last weekend. I got all of these for $1.25. Going to use
I practiced self-care by spending the weekend with my family in Decatur last weekend.  I went to the Park Ave Thrift Store in Woodstock with my mom and got lots of stuff for only $26. The cool thing is that I got a bag of silk ties that I using as headbands. I am hard pressed to pay retail after that shopping trip.

I advised my sister to not binge-watch ‘Orange is the New Black” but since I set up the Chromecast in her bedroom, she couldn’t help herself.
fried chicken

My Dad made fried chicken and I helped.  In addition, he made candied yams, fried okra, collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese and quick-pickled tomatoes. It was the perfect comfort soul food Sunday family dinner.

Anyway, I just put up an episode of “It’s Nichelle With An N“.  Listen to it when you get a chance.

New Podcast: It’s Nichelle With An N

I have dabbled in podcasting off and on for years. I used to use a digital recorder, upload a file and then use some podcasting software to compress to upload to my blog. I have used Odeo’s AudioBlogger, Audioboo, and now I am using Soundcloud. In addition, I have been a guest on a few podcasts, and co-hosted amTWib for three months back in 2013.

So I have done three podcasts so far and you can listen to them.

What I Wrote Last Year About Rihanna’s #BBHMM

Rihanna BBHMM

Today I wake up to news that Rihanna and Drake are actually dating. I don’t know if it is really true. I just hope it leads to great music and internet memes.

Coincidentally, I read my Facebook post a year ago and it was about Rihanna’s video, “Bitch Better Have My Money“.

1) If the ‪#‎BBHMM‬ video came out a bit sooner, maybe Hannibal wouldn’t have gotten canceled.
2) One of her accomplices in the video is wearing a partial doobie wrap which Rihanna sported at an awards show in 2013. Nice callback.

3) Rihanna wears granny panties on her head in one scene of the video. (Gotta protect the black hair.)

4) I feel like Rihanna has a future career as a director once she’s done with all this music stuff.

Boat on the ship with reflection

I Went to New York And I Fell Out Of Love With The City

I went to New York for a few days last week, and it feels different. I love New York, but I am no longer in love with New York.  I feel like I can’t be myself there.  That city is a place of compromises. I was suffocating from all the new construction. There are so many tall buildings. Anyway, it was great to see my friends.

 Tricia, Dara and Me

Tricia, Dara and Me

Cat, Kristen and Me

Cat, Kristen and Me

Statue of Liberty

 Statue of Liberty

No One Wears Khaki Pants

Pink Pants
I was asked if I were a hipster. That made me laugh. Maybe I am. Maybe I just know people who are or know people who make things that appeal to hipsters. Hipsters are the same as millennials. Some millennials are decidedly basic. They are normcore-wearing people who are averse to student loan debt and wearing pants. Seriously, no one wears pants anymore. It is either skinny jeans, leggings or shorts. I worry about the sales of khaki pants. I don’t wear pants often either, but I have some.

Anyway, there are way too many people living on this earth. There are so many generations alive right now and because of technology and internet-sharing, you can have access to all of their thoughts and dreams. This is an excellent time to be a sociologist who can use big data to provide insights into what is the culture now and what will happen in the future.

I am more interested in learning what we can do to change anti-social behavior online and offline. Sometimes it seems that the world is so mean. It makes me sad. However, it could be that I see it more with social media and the 24-hour news cycle.

What I do know is this, “intent does not absolve you from impact”. If you have offended someone with your words and actions, then recognize that even if your intentions were good, it doesn’t matter if someone was offended. We can’t please everyone, but we can be contrite if we fail.

My Obligatory #LEMONADE Thinkpiece

Beyonce Lemonade

One of my most popular Facebook status updates went something like this:

You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.

I believe that to be true.  The only thing is that I rarely see people with dissenting  views from popular opinion speak up.  As much freedom as we have to say what we feel, many of us have been relying heavily on letting others do that for us.  Whether it is a retweet or share, it seems as though we have ceded our opinions to others who have either wrote it first or better.  Although I enjoy reading and sharing what someone has said more eloquently than I, I can’t silence myself in deference to others. So here are my thoughts on Beyonce’s LEMONADE.

Don’t worry. My thinkpiece is short.

It’s my opinion. It is my perspective and life experience. I don’t speak for all black women. In case you don’t know, black people are not a monolith, and especially not black women. I am happy that some black women feel vindicated, validated or (Black Twitter-verified) by LEMONADE, but I am not one of them.

First, if you plan on writing about this yourself, please heed the warnings of people who will let you know that everything is not for everybody. (Thanks, Very Smart Brothas!)

As Jasmine Masters from RuPaul’s Drag Race famously said “No Tea, No Shade, No Pink Lemonade”, I will pass on sipping Beyonce’s LEMONADE.

LEMONADE has merits. It is a visual album that has a tighter concept than  the previous Beyonce.

The cinematography is stunning. The production is great. The music is phenomenal.

However, the content is not my cup of tea. Calling out the messy details of your marriage may be cathartic, but it does nothing for me. Walking around with bat that says “hot sauce” is a bit on the nose.

My other complaint is that I abhor “plantation chic” fashion. I love a cotton dress, but dressing like a doily is not my thing. In fact, I wish the styling was more of the Afro-futuristic rather than antebellum.

I do like that Beyonce is stepping outside the comfort zone of a pop star, but LEMONADE did not resonate for me personally. I am not thirsty for LEMONADE and that’s OK. Everything is not for everybody. Furthermore, everything Beyonce is NOT for all black women.

Gutted: Prince Is Dead

Prince

Life ain’t nothing but a muffin. We gotta lotta of butter 2 go.

The butter is gone. Prince is dead.  I love Prince.  His first radio hit, “Soft and Wet” was one of the first 45s I ever got. My Dad had a record store in the late 1970s -early 1980s, so I had access to a lot of music.  My Dad even took me to see Prince in concert during his Purple Rain tour.  I was probably too young to go, but my Dad took me and three of my friends to the concert.  It was phenomenal.

When I was high school, I went out to Los Angeles to spend two weeks with my cousins.  We screamed the lyrics to “Housequake” while riding rollercoasters at Disneyland.

In college, my freshman roommate was the biggest Prince I ever knew.   Her side of the room was full of Prince posters. She even went to Minneapolis for spring break.   I once saw her in the subway station years later in Harlem.  She looked the same.

I saw Prince again during the LoveSexy tour. When he performed “Anna Stasia” on the piano, it was magnificent.  This was modern day classical music.

I did not lose my virginity to Prince, but my sexuality was awakened because of his music.  Prince’s music made me want to receive pleasure and to be adored.  I even ask to be kissed on the back of my knees by a boyfriend because of a Prince lyric.  It didn’t do much for me, but I was bold enough to ask.

When I lived in Brooklyn,  my ex-boyfriend and I went to a Purple Rain sing-a-long in Prospect Park in 2009.

I also went to one of  Questlove’s Bowl Train night.  It was one in June 2012, where I danced the night away to deep cut Prince songs.

Although peak Prince’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over the last fifteen years, he never went away.  He didn’t ghost his fans. There was always new music, concert tours and appearances at awards shows. It is so hard to imagine living in a world where Prince is not here.  Prince taught me about myself.  I still need to know more about myself, but Prince is not around to teach me.  How do I learn now?  Part of me wants to withdraw.  Part of me needs to publicly grieve with the rest of the world. One thing I do know is that  I need to be fearless in creating.

 

 

I Am An Amateur Photographer

Stylish Senior by Nichelle Stephens on 500px.com

I have been taking photos for years, but I didn’t get a good camera until 18 months ago when I got a Canon EOS.  Now when people see me, they assume that I am a photographer.   I often say “I am not a photographer; I just have a good camera.”  Well, I am actually an amateur photographer. I enjoy taking photos and I want to get better at it. One of my photos will be in a local exhibition, Span The Gap. This week I joined 500px and I am posting photos on there.

Defending Drake and Awkward Black People

drakehotlinebling

Note: I wrote this post back in October of last year.  This week Drake has dropped two new singles, but I am not sure if either will surpass the pop culture sensation of ‘Hot Line Bling’.

Do journalists who write about Drake actually know who Drake is? Or do they base their assumptions on what a stereotypical hip hop artist is supposed to be?

Thank goodness for pioneers like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and even PM Dawn. Not every rapper is hard core. Not every rapper is angry and most importantly not every rapper is cool.

Like it or not, black people are actually burdened with the responsibility of being cool. Maybe it is because of musicians like Miles Davis, but it seems that defining coolness is something we black people have to uphold. We know the latest fashion. We create the newest dances. We coin the newest slang. However, we are not always “cooler than the other side of the pillow”. [RIP Stuart Scott]

Sometimes we are awkward like Awkward Black Girl. [Thanks, Issa Rae]

I read an article in the Washington Post reviewing Drake’s latest video, Hotline Bling. Writer Sarah Kaufman posits that Drake has taken “uncool too far” Huh?! If you are uncool, there’s no nadir of how far to go. She thinks Drake is being inauthentic.

Do we buy that? Part of the Question of Drake — an artist who’s particularly good at sparking annoyance– is his sincerity. Is he truly uncool (which is kind of cool) or does he just play at being uncool (which is pretentious)?

I disagree. If anything, Drake is even more comfortable in his music and in himself. He is more authentic, and his easy ability to be unapologetically uncool resonates with his fans.

Not everyone wants to be always cool to be with the cool kids. It’s a heavy burden.