I am a Part of the Rhythm Nation

Janet

I was in high school when “Rhythm Nation” dropped.  I was already a huge fan, but this album took me to a-whole-nother level.  I was already an avid concert-goer for both Mike and Janet, but this album made me a bit fanatic.  I had the hat, the 1814 pin, the t-shirt, you name it, I had it.  I would have rocked it ’til my tape popped, but I’m pretty sure I had this album on cd.  The album was everything; socially conscious, great melodies, grooves that made you wanna dance, choreography that you had to know in order to be cool, and the videos!  Mike invented the long form video and Janet put her spin on it.  The long video that goes with this album was the bomb.  I’m sure I still have it on a vhs tape somewhere.  I remember thinking that it was so cool to have one video for three songs (“Rhythm Nation”, “I Miss You Much”, and “The Knowledge”).  Mike never did that and to my knowledge, no one has done it since her until Beyonce’s “Lemonade”.

A group of us decided to perform “Black Cat” for a high school pep rally.  We had our own choreography and everything.  You couldn’t tell us that we weren’t good enough to go on tour with Ms Jackson.  We. Were. Fierce. (Thankfully, this was before the age of smartphones and YouTube, so there is nothing out there to prove otherwise.)

Today is Janet Jackson’s birthday.  To celebrate her day, please take a trip with me down memory lane and enjoy her most meaningful and iconic work, “Rhythm Nation”.

And if you’re looking for tickets for her “The State of the World” tour, you better act fast!

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I Want a Barack and Michelle Kind of Love

In my previous work life, this post would have been all about dissecting President Obama’s farewell speech.  I would’ve shared my opinion about the future of our democracy in the face of recent events.

While that is all still very important to me, I choose not to give that heavy stuff that much energy anymore.  Instead, I want to talk about this.

As far as moments captured on film go, this rivals that time Billie Dee Williams in “Lady Sings the Blues” used his bedroom voice to ask, “Do you want my arm to fall off?”  and flashed those beautiful pearly whites, with his fine ass self.  Or the time when Diana Ross’ eyes sparkled and she yelled “Hell naw! I want you to get my ole man back?!” to Billie Dee Williams at the end of “Mahogany”.  (Yeah, I have a thing for the Billie Dee and Diana pairing.  Who doesn’t?!)

When he simply says, “Michelle”, and bites his lip 13 seconds in, I knew we were in for some serious shit. Then the crowd erupts into a standing ovation and the electricity generated in that moment could’ve lit up all boroughs of NYC for at least a year.  I think it caught him a little off guard.  See him starting to fight back tears at 1:11?  See how he takes that hard swallow and the muscles in his neck flinch a bit?  Yep, he’s trying to fight back the ugly cry.  And when the crowd notices him pull out a handkerchief and wipe his eye, you would’ve thought that Michael Jackson had just asked the crowd, “Can I come down there?” in the middle of singing “She’s Out of My Life”.  They completely lost their minds.

And that’s when I started fighting my ugly cry.  I need Michelle to give a class entitled “How to Hold it Together and Successfully Fight the Ugly Cry”, because she was absolutely flawless.  Yet another reason I wanna be like her when I grow up.

When Malia started crying, I was completely done.  I couldn’t fight the ugly cry anymore.  It just flowed and there was nothing I could do about it.  Then he dropped this on us, “Of all that I have done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad.”, and I looked like Viola in “Fences”.

 

screenshot-viola
Photo taken from avclub.com

 

 

The love in this short 3 minute clip is palpable.  There is no mistaking the depth of the love and admiration he has for his family.  They don’t make men like this anymore, which is fine with me, because my man is younger than Barack, so he’s already been made.  He just hasn’t found me yet.  When he does, I hope he has watched this video and taken notes.  And as always, I hope he looks at me the way Barack looks at Michelle.

My Bucket List

I chatted with my friend, Beth, this morning and she asked me what was next on my bucket list. I told her about the trips that I’m trying to pull off over the next couple of years, but it made me think about the non-travel items on my list. I haven’t actually read my list in quite awhile and I’m glad I took a moment to do so this morning. A couple of things on the list are now impossible because of death or non-existence, but a few of them just aren’t that important to me anymore. It’s time to update the list, but here’s how it stands at the moment.

Personal Life

Fulfill my life’s purpose.

Fall in love.

Stay in love

Be a wife. (Maybe…)

Be a mom. (Probably not at this point.  We’ll see.)

Raise happy and successful children with my husband. (This assumes a lot.  I was so hopeful when I originally wrote this list.  Lol!)

Adopt a child. (At this point, it would have to be an older child.  I don’t have the energy for a little person.)

Adopt a dog.

 

Financial

Pay off my student loans. (A Sisyphean task, indeed.)

Earn at least $100k in a year.

Contribute annually to ARF (Animal Resource Foundation – That’s where I adopted Matilda.), LDF (NAACP Legal Defense Fund), UB (University of Baltimore School of Law), and LFA (Lupus Foundation of America).

Become financially stable.

Have $50k in the bank. (Woowee!  This is a lofty goal for me.)

 

Material Things

Own a Mercedes 450SL convertible (Not important.)

Buy and renovate a house.

 

Simple Pleasures

Plant a garden.

Read all the books on my Top 100 list.

Watch every Best Pic Oscar winner.

Learn to…

Swing a golf club.

Learn to knit.

Learn to quilt.

Learn to play chess.

Learn to effectively use a knife in the kitchen (dice veggies, debone a chicken, etc.)

 

People to Meet

Michael Jackson (Died 2009)

Prince (Died 2016)

Jill Scott

Jimmy Carter

The Obamas

Have a one-on-one convo with Oprah.

 

Artistic Fun

Try out for a Broadway show.

Finish and perform my play about lupus.

Be a backup singer for Janet Jackson.

Sing the national anthem at a football game.

Physical Challenges

Go rock climbing. (LMAO!  What was I thinking?!)

Master the art of yoga.

Run a marathon. (Not gonna happen.  Not putting myself through that torture.)

 

Events

Go to a taping of The Cosby Show.  (too late)

Go to a taping of Oprah. (Feb. 2010)

Attend the White House Easter Egg Roll  (2010) …with my kids.

Attend a Super Bowl.

Attend a Summer Olympics.

Watch 4th of July fireworks from a boat on the Hudson River with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

 

Professional

Achieve commercial success with Covered in Love Quilts.

Become and American Sign Language interpreter.

Write a book.

Have my book published.

Have my book be commercially successful.

Become a judge. (Maybe?)

Run for office (and win) (Not sure I really want this.)

Get featured for an accomplishment in Jet Magazine’s “Tickertape” section. (Publication stopped in 2014.)

 

Volunteer

Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity  (2014)

Do relief work after a natural disaster.

 

Travel

Visit Greece (2015)

Visit Paris.

Visit Australia

Visit Cuba

Revisit Rome.

See the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Eat lobster on a beach in Maine.

See Mt. Rushmore.

See the Northern Lights.

Experience the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Travel Rt. 66.

See the Sphinx.

Visit the pyramids.

Go on a cruise.

Visit all 50 states.

Visit all 7 continents.

 

What’s on your bucket list?