~*2Deep*~

Posts Tagged ‘artists’

B. Talented~Mic Check Group 2 aka I WON!

In Writer's Block on 13 July 2011 at 12:33 pm

Days 1&2: So You Think You Can Spit

Day 3: Dodging a Bullet

Day 4: Mic Check Group 1 

Day 5: The Midst of the Storm

Monday, 11 July 11,

I got to B. Smith’s early……as usual. And habit has had me sit at the bar and have the bartender, Tobin, suggest another delicious menu item and grab a drink before I attend either a meeting or watch the competition. But nooooo not today. I got there and went straight to the restroom and got prepared to perform.

I went into the back secluded rooms where we would be held before performing and I literally sat there and prayed over and over again. I needed that energy. I needed to have God surrounding me as this was a new piece and I usually work without music but I was ready for the challenge. I was ready to put my best foot forward and see what the world thought of my effort.

Shortly after I finished praying, my partner and bass guitarist, TJ Turqman, showed up and I was even more nervous, but he helped to calm me down. We walked outside of Union Station and on to the patio to rehearse. I don’t know about you, but have you ever rehearsed with an unplugegd bass guitar? hahahah Comical! But I learned where I could get caught up and I learned where I need to focus. After several, and I mean several, runs we were set. We walked back in and I continued to say the poem over and over and over again in my head. I even made Maurice stand in front of me and listen to the poem….lol. Let me tell you, it is amazing to have a partner who is of the same faith as you because they can say things that calm you down and you understand what they said and where it came from and I thank TJ for that. I even introduced him to the “touch and agree” movement…lol.

While I waited I also helped my videographer and photographer friends, Michael Avon ( of Michael Avon Photography) and Maurice Grey (photographer/videographer), find their way. They were coming to assist me document the experience. I am SOOOOO thankful for them being there. Everyone who I wanted to be there couldn’t be there and so, like most of my life, I would not have anyone in the audience. But having the two of them there just for me meant the WORLD to me. They filmed EVERYTHING from different angles and I cant wait to see the footage. They even did a little closing interview of TJ and I after the show. Again, I am grateful for them.

So, as I waited.. I learned that one of the groups dropped and we would only have 3 teams competing and that I would be going first. WHY ME!!!!? lol. I found this out 10 minutes before I was supposed to go. Even Andres mentioned that he would have expected that I would be the last person to be nervous. WRONG! That made me almost break into a sweat! I wanted to be last. I wanted to have time to hear what the judges thought… but nooooo. I had to go out there and work the dang thing.

Time to perform. I was shaking….. and I mean shaking! We walked out there, set up our two microphones and TJ and I nodded to one another. His intro cords soothed me and really set the move. Then he went into the groove and I knew it was now or never. I had practiced the second line of the poem several times because in rehearsal I had always gotten caught up…but this was not the time to get caught up. I breezed past it with ease and said an internal prayer. The breaks in our music accented the message, like how I said ” a white boy can’t play from his soul” and TJ did a rift…comedy! I also asked the question of ” when are we going to attack the fact that blacks can issue [racism] back” and TJ does another rift, paused, then says, “Just saying”. COMEDY YET AGAIN, PEOPLE! lol. I loved the Latin rhythm he played during the car chase, and the jazz groove he switched over to during the “darker the berry” part. But my FAV was when he did the “truth is, I could love me some of her” part. There was soooo much that we both loved about the piece and I think it showed in its creation and in the delivery of the piece. At the conclusion….we were satisfied. And apparently, so were the judges. We did not get a single negative remark!!!

The judges mentioned that they could tell that we rehearsed ( and we had). They noticed that we were professionals at what we do and they even remarked about our interaction and about TJ, as the musician, actually had lines in the poem. lol. It felt AMAZING!!! It felt amazing because they addressed EVERYTHING that he and I had worked on.

TJ and I had come to the first round of performances and we had both taken notes….this would come in handy. We noticed how people looked kind of hodge-podge (sp) with their partners. We noticed that the music didn’t always compliment the poetry, and other things. I also saw this as a perfect opportunity to step outside of the box and let my musician speak. Now, if you know TJ then you will know he is all about his music but he stepped outside of the box with me and agreed. I knew that no one else would think to do that. But I thought it was a great idea for him to have a say in the issue of racism. We were granted the lovely opportunity to be a white male and a black female and given the topic of racism and it would be foolish of us to squander it away on a stereotypical performance. I’m not saying we gave the best performance in the world, but we worked our butts off for this one. Everyone would expect me to do a typical “I’m 2Deep and this is my thought on racism” poem so I had to run in the opposite direction. TJ has an opinon too, he has a voice as well, and who am I to keep him from having his say? Either way…we worked together well.

Jeannie Jones (MEOW), first of all, looked fabulous in her black and gold looking like a kitty hornet. I am so accustomed to seeing her in her turquoise but she still looked fabulous so I didn’t mind. lol. Besides, the day that Jeannie doesn’t look fabulous is the day that I’ll go play in traffic on 495 South during rush hour. Just saying. Now, Jeannie mentioned that she loved the poem. She even asked if TJ plays regular gigs, which he does at a place called Jo-Jo’s I think every Tuesday. I informed TJ backstage that Jeannie has her own guitar skills thing going on so she must have been impressed! I think they should have a jam session, but that is just my opinion. She even asked if I was a “tongue ring kitty”….lol. COMEDY! It was fun being interviewed by Jeannie. [ For more info on Ms. Meow Media herself... check out her webpage at JeannieJones.com .]

We walked back to the holding area and tried to hear everyone else who was performing. It was hard for us to hear because the speakers weren’t pointed in our direction but that didn’t stop us from trying. At least we got to send out love and support in their direction. One group went up with props of sunglasses and a book, the other had the musician play the keyboard, record it, then walk away and play the violin as the keyboard played on its own. THEY WERE AWESOME! I couldn’t hear what the judges said but the other contestants told us that the news varied.

We sat back there waiting for the news of who had won to arrive. We walked up to the mic in the order that we had presented our performances and the room went silent. Andres thanked everyone for their participation and then Jeannie stepped up to the mic to announce the winners. And the winners are…. 2Deep and TJ Turqman!!!!!!!!!! “We want to thank everyone for coming out….” Wait….no one else won? I’m confused-ed. In this moment of joy I was more stunned that two teams didn’t move on. But rumor has it that because one team was unable to perform…they were only moving one team forward. OUCH! I didn’t know how to truly celebrate that moment. I honestly felt guilty for being the only winning team. Does that sound stupid? I stepped to the mic and I thanked TJ and he thanked me….and scene.

We hugged everyone, thanked everyone….got wonderful feedback and then we hugged each other. lol. TJ’s mother even came over to tell us how well she thought we did and that she had heard us rehearsing in her house at 9am on Sunday morning…lol.

We walked around to the front of Union Station and did a brief interview for my video/photographers and then we hugged goodbye. TJ and I had made it into the semi-finals and we now could rest for 2 weeks. GREAT! it was worth all of the hard work. TJ and I had used every electronic invention we could muster during last week. We used cell phones, PCs and Macs to record our parts and email it to the other person when we couldn’t meet. And with his living in McLean, Virginia and my living in Prince George’s County, Maryland ( YES, TWO DIFFERENT STATES!)….we PHYSICALLY met up once on Saturday and again on Sunday. The rest of the time we met via the world-wide web…..it had to work and it did. I didn’t go to bed until midnight on Saturday because I was working on this piece. TJ went to sleep late as well and woke up 15 minutes before our Sunday rehearsal….lol. We still had our regular lives to attend. TJ still had to teach his guitar lessons until late in the evening while I had work and my poetry slam team meetings to attend. I even had a poetry slam to host from 11pm to 1am on Friday. Talk about dedication! I loved it and I loved working with him. So…..on to semi-finals. I cant wait to see what the next round of topics will be.

Now, I’m not saying that I will win this whole thing (even though I am definitely praying for it)…. but I do pray that I will be in finals and have a great shot at taking home the grand prize with my partner. The competition is strong and only the best will be in semis so…..root for us and show up to B. Smith’s restaurant in Union Station N.E. D.C. and support TJ and myself. I will let you know when semi-finals is! Love ya!

P.S. Did I mention that TJ and I won? ahhahahahahahaha Feels great to say it.

B. Smith's B. Talented contestants & judges w/ Ms. B. Smith

Sincerely,

~*My Mother’s Daughter*~

B. Talented~The Midst of the Storm

In Writer's Block on 11 July 2011 at 3:39 pm

Days 1&2: So You Think You Can Spit

Day 3: Dodging a Bullet

Day 4: Mic Check Group 1 

Day 5: The Midst of the Storm

Monday, 11 July 11,

Okay, so there was a LOT that went on in the past week and I have no clue if that was a good thing, or if it were a bad thing. I can’t even tell you if I am okay with it or not. But in the midst of it all I still put a foot forward and kept it moving, I’m just praying that it is one of my better feet.

Also, I became confronted with issue of writing HONESTLY. *Sigh* I have to admit that I sold out. I am more upset at the fact that I chose not to write about the bad side of things and only reflect on the good. Every fiber in my body is telling me that I should say it… but I wont. Maybe one day… but not today. But please know that I spoke up and mentioned my concerns. I blame Iyanla Vanzant….I’m reading her books and learning not to hold things in. I wonder if she wrote a book on filtering what you issue back out. Hmmmm.

Any who. We got the email on WEDNESDAY of last week telling us who the groups would be. Thankfully…. I wasnt on it. Well, not yet anyway. I got an email about 45 minutes later telling me that there had been a change in plans and that I would be performing after all. So I went to work.

The theme for this week was Racism. I decided that I would create something WITH my partner. Everyone who knows my work knows that I have poems about racism up the whazoo…but I wanted to stretch myself and do something different and creative. I got paired with TJ Turqman, he plays the bass, and we spoke for an hour brainstorming what we would do. I thought….here is this opportunity to write a piece from the viewpoint of both he and I. it is infused with elements of him, that work with what I am saying and I loved it. He and I vibed very well.  There are definitely an element of surprise in a few areas of our performance, and I suggest you get there by 7pm to Union Station in D.C. in order to figure out what they are. We went outside of the box, painted it, and then jumped back in so that people would see it as a gift and come open it.  I think we touched on several sides of racism and what it is….and what it is not.

I literally am scared out of my mind, but TJ keeps me calm and reassures me that everything will be okay. I mean, he helped me stay focused in the wake of my car being stolen, me finding it, my every day stresses, and my want to be creative. We found inventive ways to rehearse and learn from one another and I appreciated that greatly. With him living in McClean, Virgina and I in Prince Georges Count, Maryland……we took turns biting the cost of gas to get to one another to rehearse. Maybe it was meant to be for he and I to become partners… because I like the ideas he fed and the way we vibe. He’s pretty awesome! You should check him out!

Well, the show starts at 7pm tonight. I will get there EARLY as usually…after all, they did say that being on time and in order is of great importance, didn’t they? I hope that you are there and I look forward to any critiquing that will come from the process. I just pray that I am AT LEAST one of the 2 groups that move on to the next round tonight. God knows that is my prayer!!!

B. Smith's B. Talented contestants & judges w/ Ms. B. Smith

Sincerely,

~*My Mother’s Daughter*~

B. Talented~Mic Check Group 1

In Writer's Block on 28 June 2011 at 1:41 pm

Days 1&2: So You Think You Can Spit

Day 3: Dodging a Bullet

Day 4: Mic Check Group 1 

Monday, 27 June 11,

So, the first round of competition begins tonight at 7pm, B. Smith’s restaurant in Union Station here in Washington, D.C. Boy I cant wait to get me a seat and check out my competition……. no pressure. But if anyone who knows me could tell you, when I get into Slam Mode….. all bets are off. I play fair, but I get into the zone. And don’t you even think that I am giving away my strategies either. I just hope that my musician is prepared to work…. whenever I find out who that person is…lol.

As a reminder, the theme for tonight is Love. As a bitter woman…lol.. I hope that it isn’t filled with sappy love poems, or bitter “he hurt me and now men aren’t anything more than a bunch of dogs” poems. I don’t want stereotypical poems. I don’t want just Mother-child, husband-wife, or boyfriend-girlfriend love poems. I want them to step out of the box and make me step my game up for my rounds. I want them to think outside of the box and make us other poets say ” why in the world did I not think of that!”. Spit hard or go home!

Outside of the fear of generic poetry with an unassuming theme like love, I have no other expectations. I think that the musicians will be fantastic if allowed to do what they do within the collaboration. And I just pray that everyone stepped outside of the box on ALL aspects; that they created something FRESH and NEW together.

In the famous words of Tyra Banks ( don’t judge me), “So, you wanna be on top?” BRING IT!!!!

Okay, so last night was a very eye-opening experience, to say the least. Off the bat I noticed that I would not be able to critique and blog the way that I usually would because I am still apart of this competition. And you all know that I usually go HARD in the paint. So, since I don’t want anyone learning anything that I came to on my own conclusions, lol, I will stick strictly to what the judges said. Okay? Okay.

Now, I got there around 5:30pm…..again, you must be on time, but I was just greedy and wanted to eat. Again, the bar staff was extremely helpful and one of these days I will remember their names, I promise I will.  They remember you and make you feel like you are important; sounds corny but I mean it. That kind of attention to detail is great service! I was thinking of the lamb sliders again but I went with the catfish fingers and a lemonade this time. I sat there and read my Nook and even helped this gentleman sitting next to me locate the date of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Right before it was time for the show to start I overheard a group of individuals, a generation my senior, talking about Busboys and Poets. They were asking if anyone had gone and I mentioned that they should go and check it out. if for no other reason than to come checkout my shows and experience great food. lol. One of the gentlemen leans forward and asks me something along the lines of ” What ever happened with intellectual poetry along the lines of Langston, Dunbar, Hurston. ” He quickly followed with, “I have to know because I am not a fan of all of this rap nonsense like Lil Wayne.” There must have been an angel distracting God because this was my moment to go in!

First I informed him the error in his thinking by placing Lil Wayne in the same category as poets. I don’t believe that Rhythm Applied to Poetry (RAP) is the same as spoken word. That is a conversation in and of itself…..but I just don’t agree with that in the simple context of the statement. I then proceed to say, “You ask that question as if it died with Langston and as if intellectual poets don’t exist. What you should ask is, where can I locate such poets because I am unaware.” Somehow the conversation took a turn towards compensation when he asked then how can we switch the public from liking such perversion and return it back to the intellectual. My mere answer was “Pay Me.”  When it comes to events, a rapper can charge $800 to perform but let a poet say anything over $100 and simultaneously the budget starts to shrink.  It is the masses who, in general, pay for such perversion so they mass produce it. The minute you can get poetry to be come wanted by the masses, you will begin to hear it.

This became a moment for him to jump in and tell me that I should then turn my attention to his generation and market towards them because they can afford to pay us, and that using Twitter and Facebook is senseless as a marketing tool because grown folks don’t “twitter”. I held up his mirror and told him, “Why would I market to you when you have just insulted my generation’s intelligence, inventions, and socio-economic status? You’d be in bed by the time I woke up to head to the show.” I went into further detail and said that  “Yes, your generation has more income but that doesn’t mean that my generation can’t afford $100 a table, $200 bottles a pop at those tables, and they happen to relate to the messages that my poetry is about and they got all of this information from my tweet. We are younger but we are definitely not dumber and incompetent. So, I ask you….whatever happened to the intellectual elders who believed in the youth and actually chose to help them succeed rather than be in opposition to and superiority over?” With that I thanked them all for listening and proceeded into the main dining hall to go check in with the contestants.

The contestants were in one of the side dining rooms relaxing and having conversation. I was shocked! I thought that I would have walked in with people going over last-minute fixes and meditations in the corner…something, anything to get them ready for the show. But again, that is what I would do, and I was not one of the firsts to go so it didn’t matter.  I had a blast sitting back there listening to them converse about how they were nervous, how they had prepared for the show, and how they just wanted to get out there and perform. It was great for me to see them so ready to perform. I knew I would get to know that feeling sooner rather than later, but I was more than ready to see them all hit the stage.

I went out into the dinning room and took my spot at a table with a few other contestants who were coming to support this group just like I was there to do. I sat with Angelique (poet), Lauren (musician), and Pete (musician) and we had a great old-time as we waited for the show to begin. As we sat there I began to understand how people could say that contestants in a competition with you could become like family. We joked as if we had known one another for years. I think that Pete’s fly hat went around the table about 7 times as we tried it on striking our best pose with it. Angelique and I discussed our mixed genealogy and the effects it had on our melting pot hair, but not before we burst into Spanish and discover that we had more in common than we knew. These people were cool and I had B. Smith’s to thank for allowing me to meet them.

In walks my big brother 13 of Nazareth to add to the mix.

The show begins. Andres (B. Smith’s Manager) and Jeanie Jones (Miss Kitty of the City) from WKYS open up the show by welcoming the guests and by introducing the judges: Lamar Parker, Love the Poet (2008 People’s Poet Award recipient) and 2010 Grammy Nominated Carolyn Malachi. This table of judges was in for a treat.

Team 1: Testimony and BJ on Sax

BJ on Sax had been playing the sax since the age of 9…wow! Testimony had accomplished a ton of things in her bio as well which concluded in the announcement of her project Out of the Vessel which came out last December.  If you noticed nothing else, you noticed that Testimony owned half of the dining room viewers. No, LITERALLY… I think she brought her entire family to cheer her own. It was amazing to see that kind of support. I hope that I can have a crowd like that!!! I noticed that BJ had his alto sax hanging around his neck, but as soon as the performance began he started with the flute. Midway during the performance he switched back to the sax and then ended with the flute again. Quite the magic trick I tell ya. So now I know that I can call him BJ on the Flute & Sax…lol. 

At the end of the poem Jeanie Jones said that she “now wants to take a bath in sunflowers” after that love poem. Carolyn Malachi “appreciated the cyclical essence of the poem. ” She “thought that Testimony’s delivery was on one level and advised her to make sure that her tone and delivery explored range in the future.” Lamar Parker “wished their presence would have meshed together better at the beginning of the poem.”  And Love the Poet “loved the instrumentation.” She “agreed with Lamar and Carolyn, for the most part, and advised Testimony about how her voice was and instrument and how she could have used her voice to match the softness of the flute.” The issue of the switching between instruments was addressed as well, with regards to whether it was rehearsed or not.

Team 2: Spicy Poet and Gena (piano)

Spicy Poet started doing spoken word 4 years ago and has been writing since the age of 8. Gena has been playing the piano for 12 years and recently got her bachelors from George Mason University… go Patriots! Gena is apart of a music group, pardon me for not remembering the name, but it hand something to do with “thump”. Jeanie said “Thump and SPicy makes me say….. meow”. hahahahah Classic!

I can’t remember but I think that Spicy introduced the group. Shortly following that, Gena began to check the keyboard before she began to play this amazing piece of music. The girl has skills! Spicy began with this mellow poem circa Love Jones and it made you listen and pay attention to what she was saying. This would have gone perfect in a lounge-like setting with the lights down low, with nothing but candles and the one you love holding your hand. It had THAT type of feel. <~Y’all loved my PG13 explanation of the setting, didn’t you? This is a family show people, family show! lol

Love the Poet said that “Spicy could have executed better, energy wise. Spicy sat in the pocket of the beat too much.” Love suggested that Spicy should “dig deeper, take risks with writing, and don’t play it safe.” Lamar got the crowd laughing when he said “Caramel is my shade of love”, which was a reference to the opening and closing of Spicy’s poem. He continued to say that the music and poetry “should have been more natural and it could have been better if they had, in fact, found their own shade of love.” Carolyn “loved it!” She went on to say, “Someone told me that you should leave room for your audience to interpret your work and your work did that.” Boy, if that wasn’t a retweeted profound statement that EVERY artist should listen to then I have no clue what else it is. I was glad that I got an opportunity to hear that. I may have to ask her how do you do that safely, without telegraphing. *Puts this on my list of things to do one day* That statement is going to have me thinking for a minute.

Team 3: Karega Bailey and Graham Doby

Karega hails from California, and if you know ANYTHING about him outside of poetry…. you know he is all about helping children to be come better people. And his wingman, Graham, has been playing the drums since he was 9 years old. Karega began by reminding the artist that many “go astray and define love through the definition of Eros”. But it was Graham that caught the attention of everyone in the room, and you could have been deaf and still would have seen the heads bobbing and faces with the look of “That’s my Jam” plastered on them. I mean Graham was on FIYAH! Yeh, Yeh, Yeh, I know I said I wasnt going to give my opinion, but this is my blog and I can give my opinion. GRAHAM WAS THE BEES KNEES!!!!….. I stole that from a Geico commercial and I hope it means what i think it means. lol. You could tell that the two of them rehearsed and had a plan… they meshed well. Karega usually performs with his fiancée, who plays the piano, and he knows a little something-something about the drums… so this was a match made in heaven. The hand shake of appreciation that Graham and Karega gave one another at the end of the night said it all.

Lamar said that this piece reminded him “of the scene in Coming to America where Eddie Murphy is about to marry the first girl with the drums and dancers. And I say that because Coming to America is my favorite movie. You blew my mind and THAT scene made that movie. It was flawless like sixteen bars of [Tu]Pac’s.” <~WOW!!!!! Top that! Tupac? Really. Awesome. Love the poet mentioned that “from the jump you were on point. Visually you engaged me, our heartbeats intertwined with the drums, and there was synergy.” I dare you not to Google synergy….lol. SAT word 101, baby…lol. Carolyn turned her attention towards Graham and said, “Graham, I did not expect you to take that approach; beautiful. Karega, usually it bothers me when a poet gives an introduction to their poems because it is the poet’s job to let the poem speak for itself. So, usually, for me that is a no, no, but in this case it did not work against you. I loved the new experience.” *Note to self…. no intro. lol

Team 4: Kareema and Alberto

Kareema hails from upstate New York while Alberto’s bio states that he has always had an ear for music. Alberto ( which I hope is his name, and if not I promise to come back and change it… and apologize in advance) introduced the group before he took his eat behind the congo. Honeeeeeeeeeeeey let me tell you that the congo was loud and I was sitting right under the speaker. lol. But it definitely got yoru attention. Kareema began her poem by saying, ” I’m going to cut off all of my hair” to which Carolyn shouts, “Yes” with arms straight in the air signifying a touch down. lol. Funny.  At the conclusion of their piece, Jeanie mentioned that it was very motivating. Lamar said that they had “beautiful stage presence; they were one. He was speechless and that last group [Karega and Bailey] had set the tone. Love the Poet noticed how “the subject went well with the drums” and how Kareema needed to “open her eyes and connect. Be mindful of your audience.” Also, after a seemingly harmless yest controversial line in the middle of the poem, Love reminded us that ” you don’t have to bring down anyone else’s beliefs just to prove yours.” Carolyn concluded by saying that ” the poem was reminiscent of the Last Poets.” Alberto confirmed that he did mention the style to Kareema and introduced that style into their rehearsal process that they had begun last Thursday. Carolyn even asked if Kareema was familiar with Sonya Sanchez because the piece had her feel as well.

So, with all of that being said….. who won? Well…. the winners of the night were Karega/Graham ( like, duh) and Kareema/Alberto.  Congrats!

These groups get to rest until week 5 when they compete in the semi-final round. Good luck to you all and I am proclaiming that I will see you there!!! lol.

B. Smith's B. Talented contestants & judges w/ Ms. B. Smith

Sincerely,

~*My Mother’s Daughter*~

B. Talented~Dodging a Bullet

In Writer's Block on 27 June 2011 at 12:23 pm

Days 1&2: So You Think You Can Spit

Day 3: Dodging a Bullet

Day 4: Mic Check Group 1 

Tuesday, 21 June 11,

The day that I dodged a bullet. lol. I mean, it was real, it was as if I were being held at gun point while being asked to hand over my chunky monkey ice cream!!! THIS was crucial.

Okay, all drama aside… I AM NOT IN THE FIRST GROUP OF CONTESTANTS!!! *Does the Wop* The Lord, himself, must have worked out something magical because I would have SURELY gone home had I been in this first group. Of course, no one ever wants to go first and there is a reason for that. You want to scope out the rules, see how the game is played, learn a little from the others. I have now been granted that opportunity.

So, I wind up at Union Station once again and I walk into the restaurant early, because remember…. time is of the utmost importance. But in this instance, I was over 45 minutes early. So…. I took my happy behind into the bar area and I had me some yummy lamb sliders. DELICIOUS!!! Wish they were bigger just because I was feeling greedy and wanted a little more….lol. But the bartenders were helpful and kept great conversation. Andres even greeted me when he walked past headed for the meeting. I was the first one there. In that case, I could be the first at something.

We entered into the side dining rooms facing the street. As huge as those windows are they can tell all your business so don’t try to pick or secretly adjust ANYTHING, someone will see you. But it is beautiful to sit and enjoy the food and the view. After a few minutes a few of the other contestants started to pile in as Andres gave us the rules and began to tell us who was up in this first round.

I am still waiting to see a room full of 16 poets and 16 musicians…. but I guess I will have to be surprised just like everyone else.

The theme of this round is LOVE . This is why I say that I dodged a bullet. I don’t DO love poetry. No one can vouch that they have ever heard me do love poetry. lol. It is not my thing. Now, I HAVE love poems, but I don’t DO love poems; it is two different things.  So, this OBVIOUSLY was NOT my week to perform. Yes, it would have tested every fiber of my poetic being, but I am glad that the poetry gods have heard my cries….lol.

I also learned that the musicians do not have to create any new music and the poets don’t have to create any new poems either. I have a problem with this. I say that because I think that if we are testing their skills then we should all be put to the fire and challenged to create something new. Maybe that should be what the finalists should be forced to do. I just want us to be challenged to create something new in this wonderful opportunity… to “step outside of our comfort zones” like Ms. B. Smith advised us to do. I will see who will recycle old tunes and old poetry….. no judgement but it will be very telling to me. I also say that as I save that option to possibly be my safety net should I need it. All jokes aside, I want to be PUSHED in this experience…in any area but love….and I want to grow. I think we all do… I just want to grow until it hurts me.

The prize will be $1500.00 for the team, 2 performances in D.C. and in New York, and to record a single with the Jolley Brothers. There is so much to be concerned about but it is better to have overall showmanship. I can’t tell you how I will perform, because this is…after all…a competition. But I will be taking notes.

The first groups up will be:

  1. Kareema (poet) with Issac Saavedraon the guitar
  2. Testimony (poet) with BJ on Sax playing the sax
  3. Spicey Poet (poet) with Gena Photiadis on the piano/keyboard
  4. Karega Bailey (poet) with Graham Doby on drums

The competition this evening will be one that I cannot wait to see. Only TWO groups will make it to the next round. I have no clue as to who those two will be, but I will definitely keep you updated.

B. Smith's B. Talented contestants & judges w/ Ms. B. Smith

Sincerely,

~*My Mother’s Daughter*~

B. Talented~So You Think You Can Spit?

In Writer's Block on 15 June 2011 at 11:44 pm

 Stargate Log,

June 15th, 2011

Bwahahahahah I am beyond retarded. But…. I am more excited now than I was when I woke up this morning. Why, you ask? Because……

        It all started when I was just a twinkle in my mom’s eye and a wedgie in my dad’s butt. Okay, maybe not that far back. In all honesty…. it began when I got the message that I should try out for the B. Smith‘s Restaurant’s poetry competition.  Two different friends of mine hit me up and told me that I needed to make it into the auditions. I wasnt able to make it into the first day because I had to host an open mic poetry show out in Shirlington, VA….but I was able to make it to the LAST day to audition.

        I navigated my way from the Union Station Metro, a place that I had only been inside of twice and that was to take the Amtrak train to Philly to perform for my Aunt’s annual women’s event that she holds at the Philadelphia Inquirer. I had never actually been INSIDE and looked around at the Union Station shops and restaurants before. It had clearly never dawned on me to walk around and I certainly was unaware of the fabulous-ness that is B. Smith’s restaurant. Okay, clarification… I knew of the restaurant empire and I most DEFINITELY knew who B. Smith was…. I just didnt know that it was a location inside of Union Station here in Washington, D.C.  I was still in my work clothes and changed back into my heels to match my suit and walked into the dining area. The heat outside was enough to make anyone look countrified and fresh out of the fields. I mean, a woman is supposed to glisten, never sweat…..but honeeeeeeey…. I was sweating. I sat down and was immediately engulfed in the elegance of the establishment. The staff met me with smiles and helped me before I could get 2 feet into the vestibule. I like….. I like.

        Almost immediately Andres, one of the staff members/producers of this event ushered me into the room to audition. I performed, for both he and one of the Jolley Brothers, one of my classic poems Blackness 101. I got a good way into the poem when I was thanked and allowed to leave the room. That was all she wrote. Until……I got a call to let me know that I had in fact been selected to be a contestant in the competition. Go me! it’s not my birthday, but I’m going any way! To where? I don’t care! lol. I was just happy.

        So, Monday, June 13th, I attended our first meeting to get all of the rules and to warn us of any upcoming news. I learned, if nothing else…. time is important and being ON IT is even more important. I was lucky to have been there 20 minutes early so it didn’t apply to me but I made a mental note of it. I also learned that this would be a 7 week process once it got started. We would be paired with some pretty amazing musicians in pairs of 2. Rules of the game are that we will get a topic, have a week to create music and poetry and then perform on the following Monday. Dooms day of all the news is that if one person doesn’t show up, either the musician or the poet, or if one’s performance isn’t all that pleasing…. the TEAM gets chucked the deuces. WHY!!!!!!!! What if my musician gets a bought of arthritis in the middle of the performance but I ROCKED?! Or what if I slip up and forget my words and botch the whole experience? Is it fair to send the team home? Could it be voted on that one musician and one poet would go home but they would be voted upon individually? Oh no, my little voyeur blog reader. It stands! Come in as a team….. perform as a team…go down as a team. lol. Okay, so it wasnt my favorite part of the rules, but I sucked it up and made a mental note that I would have to threaten the first-born of my partner before every performance. I was prepared to be on my Rumpelstiltskin grind. Spindle, spindle shawty! lol.

        No, in all seriousness…. that rule made me understand what is at stake here and made me more determine to put my best foot forward. GAME ON!

        We got wind that there would be a press conference on Wednesday ( technically today, put rewind back to Monday and pretend today hasn’t happened yet) and that photos would be taken. Now, those who know me know that I am both a fashionista and a mutated tom-boy who just likes to be comfortable. Don’t ask about the mutation because then I would have to kill ya if I told ya.. just take my word on it.  So there I was Monday, looking like someone who was waiting next in line for Celie to pick through my tender-headed head. Yep, she would’ve gotten smacked in the mouth AGAIN by Danny Glover ( no, not Mister…..but Danny Glover himself) for not making me shut up either. Afro all dry and tilted in rebellious revolution screaming something not quite afro-centric…but ecentric just the same. As SOOOOOOON as I got out of that room, I called my glam squad. The hair, nails, and make-up had to be on point. My diva Ashanti agreed to do  my hair Tuesday night. Nancy was on feet duty just in case I wanted to wear open-toed shoes, and my #1 diva at the Mac Make-up store was on speed dial to get my colors right. This was a team effort if I ever saw one.

        Today, I went to work and got dressed in the bathroom. People at my job walked past me like they have never seen me before; eyes all bugged out like they just saw Tyra Banks. Okay… truth of the matter is, I don’t wear make-up to work. Who is there to impress? I get paid with or without it. But for this…. I needed to be better than my usual. And I must say that I was!

        After surviving a near death experience in a hot D.C. Metro un-air conditioned train…. I made it to the holding area before we took our group photos. It was a beautiful day outside and we got to take several photos for promo and the like. I saw Ms. B. Smith walk in and sit in the center chair before us and all I could think about was… WOW is she gorgeous or what?! Or what size shoes does she wear because she is rocking this ruby-red heel!? Although ADD in nature, I was more than happy to be standing where I was standing and soaking it all in. I don’t think that you understand! I had this feeling that my world was about to take a whole different spin.

        We walked back into the dining hall adjacent to the patio area and we got a chance to meet Ms. B. Smith as she addressed all of the contestants. Her spirit is BEYOND belief! As she talked to the crowd, I couldn’t help but think that she kept looking directly at me as she spoke. Maybe it was a figment of my imagination, but I swear y’all….she was looking directly at me. Her words hit my spirit. She told us to just believe. “Isnt that what Dorothy did?” she asked as she imitated Dorothy, clicking her red heels that I just LOVED! She told us that we should “follow your dreams. And they may not turn out exactly as you planned but they will be worth the effort.” She told us to work hard, and I felt that I knew I had to. Everything, and I meant EVERYTHING, she said resonated with me so loud and clear it was like one of those moments when you walk into church and the sermon is all about your situation. I almost felt compelled to looking around for the collection plate after she finished speaking because I felt somewhat delivered from any fear or reservations that I had about entering this process.

        The press conference began and everyone began to introduce themselves. Jeanie Jones, the Kitty of the City from 93.9 WKYS radio was there. Grammy nominated Carolyn Malachi was to be a judge. The  one of the Jolley Brothers and their sister, who just got off tour with Lady Gaga and is working on her own album, are judges. Face, a great producer and mixer is a judge. And last, but definitely not least, Love the Poet is the local judge. It was all surreal to sit there and hear everything that was going on. Love and Carolyn reiterated what Ms. Smith said about following your dreams, just in case you missed it the first time. Yes, this was the universe’s way of saying…. “you better do what it is that you were designed to do, fool!” And I heard it …..as i looked around expecting to see the ushers passing around the collection plates once more , but they never showed.

        Once the press conference was over we were ushered around to do one last brief interview with the cameras before parting our separate ways. I took pictures of Ms. Smith ( technically she is a Mrs, but I have yet to figure out how to call her by her marital name, but that is a whole other topic! Just know that she is happily married to a rather handsome, distinguished and dapper gentleman. You go, girl!). But then it dawned on me… girl, you have your own camera in your bag. I stood by the door as tray upon tray of DELICIOUS h’ordeuvres were paraded in front of us to sample. Trust me when a big girl tells you that you should try their food…. you should try their food! Shrimp with a pineapple sauce that you would kill for to find the recipe, deviled eggs better than grandma use to make, and something else that I was too busy enjoying to even remember what it was…. were all just wonderful. And as i savored the flavor or her creations, Ms. Smith was headed in my direction in all of her wonderful red attire and I had to be brave….this was my moment. “Excuse me, Ms. Smith, but may I take a picture with you” flew out of my mouth, not as abruptly as I feared but I doubt as delicate as I had rehearsed it in my head. “Why of course you can”, came out of her mouth about as dainty as a butterfly. I need to get some of that delicate expression… just beautiful. And I told her that too. She was in skin, natural hair, wonderful dress, the shoes that I was eyeballing like a thief on Crenshaw or Benning Road ( since we’re in D.C…..and no, I wouldn’t have robbed her but they were that cute!) and all the way down to her spirit….she was just beautiful. Lauren, one of the musicians, stopped and took the picture for us. She was in red and I in a burnt orange; something resembling the burnt sienna that Bob Ross use to use everyday after school on PBS. Or maybe not, but I just like saying burnt sienna.

        I mingled with a few other contestants, received some VALUABLE advice, and received more inspiration that I had ever prepared on receiving. I just thought that it was going to be another show. Boy, was I wrong or what! This is bigger than me. There will be four teams that make it to the finals on August 15th….and I don’t care who they are….just as long as I am one of them. I think that I have the skills to impress a few people, and to “step outside of my comfort zone” like Ms. Smith advised. This is more of a competition between my fears and my dreams. Point. Blank. Period. I just have to get it in my head. Ask myself, So….you think you can spit? I think I can spit……poetry. Yeh, I think I can spit.

         So….. stay tuned as I chronicle my journey throughout the B. Smith’s B. Talented competition. I have a feeling that this is going to be a ride I will remember.

B. Smith's B. Talented contestants & judges w/ Ms. B. Smith

Sincerely,

~*My Mother’s Daughter*~

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