Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Draw Closer

James 4:8 (New International Version)
Come near to God and God will come near to you ...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson and Floetry: Butterflies

Michael Jackson's passing has inspired me, along with millions of others I'm sure, to do a mental tally of my favorites by the gloved one.

My top two are: "Butterflies" and "Remember the Time."

Then I remembered that Jackson didn't actually write "Butterflies" -- Marsha Ambrosius, one half of the former group Floetry, wrote the song.

Here's the story of how Jackson discovered the song and made it his own, according to Songfacts.com:

Marsha Ambrosius of the English Neo-Soul duo Floetry wrote this ballad when she was still at school. She and her Floetry colleague Natalie Stewart ... met Jackson through John McClain, DreamWorks's senior urban executive, who also manages Jackson. MJ heard this song and decided he wanted to record it.

Jackson invited the two Floetry girls to the studio and asked for their input on the recording of the song. Natalie Stewart of Floetry told Yahoo: "It was incredible because he asked, he continually, asked, 'Marsh, what's the next harmony? Girls, does this sound right? What do you think? Is this what you were looking for? He was so open."

Marsha Ambrosius told Yahoo that it took a few minutes for her to calm down. She recalled: "To begin with, I was kinda shook. Because you don't realize how you're going to feel until you're put in that kind of situation. I had the tears in my eyes and got kinda nervous. But as I got into it, I realized it was work, it was a job. I had to vocally conduct a legend."

Ambrosius told VH1 that Stewart had a dream that the two girls were in a limo with Michael. She continued, "He was singing a song and it was like, 'Oh, I like that song.' A year later, we're in the studio cutting 'Butterflies' with Michael Jackson."

A year after this appeared on Invincible, Floetry's original version was included as a bonus track on the English version of their debut album Floetic.

Michael Jackson has said that this is his favorite song on the album.

Ambrosius has gone solo and is currently signed to Dr. Dre's record label, Aftermath Entertainment.

Here's Ambrosius singing this gorgeous song:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alicia: Beloved Child of God

I want to thank Shelton D. for inspiring me, several months ago, to write the text below by asking me:

What does it mean to be the beloved child of God?

-- Being the beloved child of God means that I go to God for advice and counsel (prayer, the Bible, pastoral counseling, etc.)

-- It means that I know and listen to what God thinks about me and I focus on how God sees me as opposed to how others see me (especially people who have misused me and been abusive).

-- It means that I don't have to be anxious or depressed.

-- It means that I respect my body and my spirit and not allow unclean things into my body or soul. It means that I'll take good care of myself.

-- It means that I respect other people and treat them with compassion and kindness as long as they mean me no harm. It means I have the right to defend and protect myself from harm.

-- Being the beloved child of God means that I deserve to be loved, nurtured, cherished, and adored like God wants me to be. God wants the best for me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gigi and the Grandparents

Gigi and her Grandmom and Granddad, Mary and Bobby

Gigi and MaDear (Grandmom Cynthia)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Take Care of Your Little Girl

I love how my new Iraqi student consistently tells me: "Please, take care of your little girl, OK? Please take care of that baby girl." I guess he's thinking of all of the Iraqi babies and children who have been traumatized and certainly not "taken care of." God bless them all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bored?

If someone ever tells you that they're bored, you should respond: "You're bored because you're boring." Then smile.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ah, the Good Life: End of the School Year

Here's Gigi at the end-of-the-school-year party and a school employee, whose chillin' in a lawn chair on the school's parking lot because she's retiring. Ah, the good life.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Seeing in the Supernatural Realm

I'm glad I've kept my Faith Book (a journal of notes that I've kept from past church services). I can open it up and instantly receive a Godly message. Here's a section from a sermon I attended, almost exactly, two years ago.

Why do you pray?

You pray to get blessings from God (or for others to get blessings from God).

Pray to see what's in the supernatural realm and not what's in the "everyday" reality realm.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Poem: 5 Pointed Stars

5 Pointed Stars
by Anonymous

He left me 5 pointed stars on my windowsill.
He
left me Yu-gi-oh cards in my closet.
And,
spiderman stickers appear randomly on
undersides of desks
insides of closets
randomly
sucked out of hiding places by vacuum cleaners.

He
left me 5 pointed stars on my windowsill
and now too tight blue and gold dashikis
on closet floors.
He
left me fathers day's and birthday cards in my top drawer and
keychain rings made in classrooms.

He left me pictures with toothless grins
and videos of graduations and trips to the city.

He left me five pointed stars on my windowsill
and spiderman cups in the cupboard
The Incredibles jump at me in the morning
and Darth Vader mugs beg to be used again.

His little blue chair sits where it was when he left
with the stickers still attached.
and
I miss him.
Though he's gotten older
and hopefully wiser
and though I did my best
I can't help but feel that I failed
that I
became more like my father than I ever wanted to be
and fear there may be another black boy out there
with hate in his heart for a man who was supposed to always be there.
and it hurts
so
I cherish those five pointed stars
left on my windowsill
'cause it's all I have
and I
miss him.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Brown Baby: Speak Up Clear and Loud

What a joy it is to be able to go to Youtube and search for some of my favorite songs by artists I admire and enjoy listening to. Recently my daughter and I enjoyed a song by the gifted Nina Simone that inspired me as a child and continues to do so. The song is, "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black," and what a treat it was to find this very early version of the song that Simone performed at a 1969 Harlem Festival.

Memories of her dear friend Lorraine Hansberry were probably fresh in Nina's mind, as she wrote this song to pay homage to Hansberry, the playwright who penned the play, "A Raisin in the Sun." The song takes the title and spirit of Hansberry's autobiography, also titled, "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black."

I could tell that my daughter was mesmerized when we watched and listened to Nina sing this on Youtube, as I was when I heard Simone sing this song almost everyday at our house for a while when I was a child. Her hypnotic, deep, and sensual voice coming from the turntable was both soothing and inspiring.

You can tell that Nina is really getting into the song towards the end when she says, "Hear what I say!" and then she tells that band to "Hit it, hit it, hit!" for the finale.



To Be Young Gifted and Black
by Nina Simone and Weldon Irvin, Jr.
(released November 1969)

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean

In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that's a fact!

Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest that's just begun

When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When you're young, gifted and black
Your soul's intact

Young, gifted and black
How I long to know the truth
There are times when I look back
And I am haunted by my youth

Oh but my joy of today
Is that we can all be proud to say
To be young, gifted and black
Is where it's at

I'm definite that Nina was overjoyed by what Donny Hathaway did with the song. Hathaway really made this song his own and listening to him sing it is like listening to a new creation. I know others prefer Hathaway's or Aretha Franklin's version of "To BE Young, Gifted and Black," but for me, nobody sings it like Nina. I won't post Hathaway's version here because I don't want it to compete with my girl Nina's version. After all, she is the creator of the song. But you'd be missing pure gold if you didn't go here to Youtube to hear Mr. Hathaway sing the song. He takes it to church, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of songs about young and black people, Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Brown Baby" falls into the category of one of those perfect songs, as far as I'm concerned. The lyrics are poetic, touching, and wise, and the music, especially on Diana Ross's version, is quite haunting. I find Diana's recording of "Brown Baby" to be the most touching. (You can find it on Ross's Touch Me in the Morning recording.)

You can hear Diana's version here. I hope you'll listen to her sing this lovely lullaby. It's a testament to Oscar Brown's great gift of lyric and song, and shows the great love he had for his people, especially the babies.

Brown Baby
by Oscar Brown, Jr.

Brown baby, brown baby,
As you grow up I want you to drink from the plenty cup.
I want you to stand up tall and proud.
I want you to speak up clear and loud.

Brown baby, brown baby, brown baby,
As years roll by,
I want you to go with your head held high.
I want you to live by the justice code.
I want you to walk down the freedom road.

Brown baby, now lie away,
Lie away sleeping,
Lie away here in my arms,
While your daddy and your momma protect you.
And keep you safe from harm.

Oh, brown baby, brown baby,
It makes me glad that you will have
Things I have never had.
When out of men's hearts all the hate is hurled,
You're going to live in a better world.

Brown baby.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

How to Get Some ZZZZZZZs

I'm thinking seriously about writing a book with a title such as, "How to Fall Asleep Using Non-Habit Forming Methods," or maybe "Method Sleeping." Would you be interested in reading such a book? I'd include various methods and practices such as herbal remedies, using sounds from film and recordings, mantras, prayer, and visualization.

Another possible title:
How to Fall Asleep: The Method
How to Fall Asleep: A Method