ALLLL BYYY MYYYYYSELLLLFFFFFF (c) Celine Dion

Sooooo, I planned a surprise bachelor party for Jason the weekend of July 21st.  He has made A MILLION hints about wanting a surprise something of some sort. His co-worker had a surprise b-day party thrown by his wife and he KEPT bringing up how thoughtful it was.... I was like I get it, I get it lol. So.... I made it happen. It definitely was a labor of love. Anyone that has tried to organize an outing for a group of men knows my struggle. I started the planning process in March, so by the time July rolled around I was exhausted.

Since we opted not to have a bridal party I figured the "traditional" events surrounding getting married would be up in the air... I KNEW Jason wanted a bachelor party. I also knew he wouldn't plan one himself, or reach out to anyone about helping it or doing it for him. I figured not having one would definitely be something that he'd regret so I reached out to his friend Matt to help me. Matt went above and beyond and I am STILL trying to figure out a way that I can show my gratitude.

So let me breakdown the plan....

                ...As you all know if you've been following this blog the plan for me was to always head to NOLA for my bachelorette weekend. Welp, funds were low and debts were high and I realized that I couldn't fund a bachelor party for Jason, get to NOLA AND save for a wedding with a 200 person guest list so I fell on the sword and opted to turn my bachelorette party dreams into a solo dolo thing. I am a music festival enthusiast and the line up to FYF Fest was life changing. I NEEDED that in my life. I had already grown a bitter taste in my mouth about all the things I'd missed out on thus far for the sake of this wedding, I couldn't let this be yet another thing I wanted to do that couldn't. SOOOOOOOO I got the tickets, and because FYF holds down folks they even had a payment plan option. SCHWEET. So the plan was that I would be in LA for FYF Fest while Jason participates in all of the debauchery. SCORE!

He had friends flying in from all over so the plan was to get him to the AirBNB, so when he walked up all of the fellas would be there and surprise him... Getting him there was a chore because Jason works a lot or is always making plans at the last minute. I told him that there was a secret exhibit going on that I heard was cool and asked if he could meet me there for an hour or so for our date night.... he agreed and I gave him the address to the AirBNB. I didn't give many more details and surprisingly he didn't ask for more info which is very unlike him because he is known to annoy me by asking a million questions about everything. He had TWO other things planned that evening. A work BBQ and then going to the movies, but my biggest task was to get him to the AirBNB. Throughout all of this I was on the plane flying to LA, so thank the lordt for Wi-Fi because I was able to reach out to Matt and Jason and didn't have a four hour gap of time where I was not responsive. After Jason pushing me further and further back he FINALLY arrived at the AirBNB almost two hours later than I had requested he get there. Lordt, if EYE was actually waiting we all know I wouldn't have been happy....and his friends were getting bummed because they were all so anxious to surprise him. But when he got there Matt told me he went crazy and was legit surprised.... And that was honestly all that I needed :).

My weekend....

My phone died so I didn't even get to capture Solange, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Run the Jewels, Hannibal Buress, Bjork and so many more.... But man. This festival was EVERYTHING... and I got to check two things off my bucket list... I stayed in a hostel AND I surfed for the first time. All in all this solo trip was much needed for my mental health and I was so happy I did it! :)

Ain't I A Woman? (c) Sojourner Truth

 

Today is International Women's Day... Also known as 'A Day Without a Woman' and just like with the Women's March on Washington, I have issues... I am a feminist by definition. I believe that women should have the same rights as men. My qualms are with the feminist movement, and it's lack of inclusion and refusal to acknowledge that the intersectionality of sexism, class oppression, and racism make the experience of Black Women inherently different.

I'm gonna opt out of the #daywithoutwomen deal because too many of Y'ALL were completely MIA when it was time to #SayHerName. I was there, at every Sandra  Bland rally, and I could barely find a white face. I'm opting out because it's unrealistic for affluent white women to keep asking the rest of us women to continually sacrifice our income to go stand in the street to further their aimless agenda. They voted against their very own interests, but now we're supposed to be in observance? NOAP.

I will continue to champion for ALL women's rights. But, it's time for y'all to fix the mess y'all created.

In observance of IWD I did wear red... I'm also offering free legal services for the month of March to all women, including but not limited to consulting on negotiating job offers, raises and flexible working agreements. They gon pay what they owe! Enjoy the article below :)

DOPE ---> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/03/boxing-girls-kenya-170308085720850.html

#Masculinitysofragile (c) Black Twitter

Great NPR talk with the director of Moonlight

So I've been seeing a few black men (not many haleloo) talk about their lack of desire for wanting to see 'Moonlight' because it has been categorized as a story about gay black men... To that I say...

I saw 'Moonlight.'  I've been a fan of Barry Jenkins since 'Medicine for Melancholy' and it was through him that I was introduced to Tarell McCraney (the individual who wrote the play that the movie 'Moonlight' was based) and fell even deeper in love with his genius.

As black women especially we have always been forced to look at the person in the film, book, etc.; to look at the characteristics of the individual and make those relatable to our experiences as a person, but not as a BLACK person. That is why I can find myself in movies like Juno; in characters like Wednesday from The Addams Family, and Ally McBeal, because I have no choice. Characters that reflect how I am AND how I look are very few and inbetween, and to be able to connect on a deeper level I am forced to look past the differences, and focus on the commonalities. But, representation matters.... and so does authenticity. And there's something extremely special about seeing someone on screen that you can relate to, that also looks like you.

That is a privilege that white people don't even think about, and in this particular case, men don't either. These men that are so against seeing the film see someone that looks like them, but because of how they differ from the character on one thing, they refuse to believe that they could possibly relate to any other aspect of the character. The same way that white people will see a group of black people in a film and automatically label it a "black" film. Instantly distancing themselves from the narrative. With the influx of black programming studies have shown that more white people are tuning in and realizing that despite the fact that these characters don't look like them, they are indeed relatable. I think because black women are forced to view the world from this lens... Being so used to not "seeing ourselves" is the very reason why we are a lot more open-minded. But that's a blog for another day...

I wasn't going to say anything at all about the negative comments from black men that I've seen about the film; but I kept seeing the same types of comments, and it's starting to annoy me and since I can't mollywhop these folks, I figured I'd take the emotionally mature approach and be an adult and share my thoughts.

What I initially thought is that I relate to this, and I KNOW so many black men can identify with this narrative, and none of it has to do with sexuality. The absence of a father, the hopelessness of inner city life, the destruction that drugs cause, the longing for mentorship, and genuine friendship, the cruelty of other kids, and the lack of genuine love in the home or surrounding environment. Plenty of black men grow up with a skewed sense of who they are and should be, and are forced into these caricatures made up of figures present in their environment. 

I'm certain so many men I know, straight or gay, can identify with elements of the story of 'Moonlight.'  The struggle of a black man with barely any of the tools he needed to survive the world around him, trying to make it out of his environment while also trying to figure out how he fit into it in the first place.

**Spoiler Alert** 

I mean just look at The Allegra - the ending. Listen to his words - "Nobody has ever touched me like that." And then Chiron just laid his head on Kevin's shoulders. That moment had little to do with being gay, and so much more about needing another soul to connect to. It wasn't physical touch, it was needing to not feel alone. It was about being desperate for a connection and finding a friend. Now if you can't relate to that then consider yourself very fortunate. But if you just look at that moment in the film from the point of a person (ignore gender) telling another person (again, ignoring gender) "you are the only person who's ever touched me." If you can't relate to that and hurt for that person you have no soul..... And I'm SURE a lot of you f*ck boys outchea vehemently refusing to see the movie can relate more than you care to assess. #WhoHurtYou? #YouDon'tEvenKnow #BecauseItHurtsTooMuchToThinkAbout #SoYouJustContinueToHurtOthers #InsteadOfAskingYourselfTheToughQuestions #AndHealing.

I shall end this post with a great interview from bae Tarell McCraney :)

I just love black skin, I think it's so much more beautiful than white skin. (c) Viviane Sassen

As an introvert I've always gravitated to those that are "behind the scenes." I can rattle off cinematographers and directors a lot more confidently than I can actors... But that's just because I see a lot of myself in these people, so it is fun to live vicariously through them. I was able to hunt down an interview with the cinematographer of Moonlight; James Laxton. I LOVE Viviane Sassen's use of hyper-pigmentation shapes in her photography and I saw glimmers of her influence in Moonlight. I was super interested in his other influences as well. Needless to say I completely photography nerded out during this whole interview and it made me want to see Moonlight for the third time. I get sad thinking about how I won't be able to experience the full aesthetic of the film for much longer.... DVD will be great, but Moonlight shines brightest on a movie screen.

A talk with the cinematographer from Moonlight

W.S.O.W.

So on my old blog (http:\\hurtmeezysoul.tumblr.com) I had a segment called I.W.W. (Irresponsible White Person Wednesday). I decided to take the shine away from the trash that is white people doing trash things and instead change the energy. Now the Wednesday segment will showcase people that challenge the current narrative and uplift blackness. It shall be entitled W.S.O.W. (We Shall Overcome Wednesday).... and that being said  the first honoree isssss... Lakeith Stanfield from the FX Show Atlanta.

Here's why.... 

The article that I posted above is so important. This is something that should be the standard. It was very admirable of him to speak up. But this should be the norm, not something that is highlighted because it isn't common. More men need to be like that. They need to speak up, shut it down and tell these individuals not to spew that nonsense in their direction. It is no secret that black women are tired. Tired of going so hard for men that don't support us in the same capacity. I am grateful that Lakeith has made a point to say that HE will not stand for the slander. I hope more follow suit.

 

These hoes ain't loyal (c) Chris Brown

 

But my friends areeeee. You know you have great friends when ya friend postpones family planning because they don’t want it to interfere with you getting shine you don’t even want lol. When Ky (I call her friend but she is best defined as a sister) found out that I was getting married she was like “Welp, I guess my husband and I won’t be trying for a second baby until AFTER said wedding. I want all my energy to go towards supporting you during this very important shift that is happening in your life. Baby can wait.” Which I thought was so cool, unnecessary, and selfless denamug. Lord knows I definitely need the support though. I’m beyond grateful. :). 

Negus in Greece

This year's friend trip was to Greece! What started off as getting ONE yacht together filled with 9 of my closest friends ballooned into THREE boats and 32 people.... We started planning this October of 2015 and by WE I mean myself... By July of 2016 I officially hated almost everyone involved.... But I learned a VERY valuable lesson, to never plan something of this magnitude for the free. We sailed up and down the greek isles for 7 days and it was MAGICAL...  THE YACHT WEEK did not disappoint! Spending seven days saling the Aegean Sea was a dream. Sadly on day 2 I found out that my grandma passed. It was extremely hard and only Jason knew. I didn't want to make the trip heavy emotionally for the others so I told him not to share it with anyone. I desperately needed the distraction, being away from my family during such a hard time was so difficult, but it helped being around the family that I was fortunate enough to be able to choose... My friends. Below are some pics I took... didn't go too crazy this time, I just wanted to enjoy the experience versus trying to document everything this go round.

 

Some of my favorite pics from the trip that I did not take....

COLOMBIA 2017

Every year I plan a trip to do ratchet things with my closest friends.... For 2017, it proved to be somewhat challenging because I needed to be fiscally responsible because most of my money will be going to nuptials.... I settled on Colombia for many reasons but one of the main ones was how much bang you get for your buck. The $ is longgggggg in South America. :)