BornTooBlog Readers

January 16, 2014

Fashion Spotlight: Pure + Privé Spring/Summer 2014 Leather Collection

I had the pleasure of interviewing Newton'Enis Henry Swader IV, Founder/Designer of Pure + Privé (pronounced Pree-vay), a jewelry and lifestyle brand company that was launched in 2012.  Hearing Newton'Enis' story about how his business got started was so inspiring.  As he explained the scenario of using his last $20 to put gas in his car in order to meet up with a denim distributor in downtown Los Angeles, who ultimately never showed up, it was quite evident that fate had its own plan in mind.  Just as he was coming to grips with his inability to draw a profit from his first fashion endeavor (Faith Works Clothing Co.), he literally stumbled upon his next endeavor that day when something told him to take a stroll through the garment district instead of going back to his car and heading back home. Feeling disappointed, and literally penniless, he tried to walk it off and came upon a store that carried beads.  He entered the store thinking he could find some beads for a prayer bead bracelet design he had come up with, but instead, met the owner and spoke to him in depth about making jewelry with beads and how he too had spent his life savings on his business.

The rest was history because shortly after meeting that man, Newton'Enis was being asked about the beautifully handcrafted pieces that he was wearing.  After a 'Point of Display' deal with Bloomingdale's fell through, he was approached by a Bebe clothing representative who wanted to purchase earrings from him, but wanted to put their name on it.  He knew in his heart that he wanted his craft to reflect his name and brand so he ended up declining that offer.  Still, God kept opening doors and Pure + Privé was born with a clear vision, trademark and identity all its own.  Newton'Enis explained that he "always wanted to stay a step ahead of everyone else, create classic pieces and never wanted to do what everyone else was doing."

The line currently features fine, handcrafted jewelry and more recently, he is in the development phases of adding optical (eyeglass frames), home and fragrance lines to his growing lifestyle brand. He has also  already introduced leather handbags for women and backpacks for men via his Privé Collection that boasts plush leather materials accompanied by fine hardware details and design. 

When asked about his creative process he admits that when he sits down to create, the environment can be hectic, yet he seeks to make an, "art piece", instead of just jewelry and "lets each collection take its own shape and theme".  He and I have very similar tastes as we both love David Yurman (one of his style inspirations) along with Ralph Lauren and Armani.  Although the attitude changes from collection to collection, the common theme between them all is that they are fueled by pure passion, inspiration and a keen thirst to make his brand legendary.  He explained to me that, "If you're going to do something, pick someone who does it best and come for their throat."

Pure + Privé has a total of 5 collections (City, Nights, Vintage, Lifestyle, Leather) and will soon include home, optical and fragrance in 2015.  Pure + Privé's Spring/Summer collection will officially launch on February 7th and will host a release party and birthday celebration for Newton'Enis at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

He expressed how proud he was to be one of the few young, urban heterosexual males making waves in the fashion industry and noted, "there's not enough of us".  I asked him what he would tell his younger self if he had the chance to go back in time and he said he would stress, "no matter what, believe in you right now, pay more attention in school and don't dim your light to fit in, because in the end you gone be alright."

Although things are really picking up he confesses that he is still continually amazed at himself and his accomplishments thus far.  Swader IV told me a story about how he almost broke down in tears while shopping at the mall, walking around in his own brand.  His personal mantras for success are "Dream, believe, do" and "Be legendary".  The brand now has celebrity clients as diverse as Joey Lawrence, Charlie Wilson and model Mamadou Sall, just to name a few, and will soon be featured in choice high-end  department stores in Los Angeles.

Below are a few of his ads for previous collections:

His website is currently under construction, but you can take a peek at the new leather collection and also keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook:

Instagram: @PurePrive

Share your thoughts about his inspiring story below in our comment section.

October 10, 2013

Preachers of L.A:. False Prophets or Anointed by God?

Y'all know I love to blog about reality shows and Oxygen now officially has another hit show in their newest installment known as Preachers of L.A, which premiered last night!!! There has been such a huge response before this show even aired and I couldn't wait to see the outcome especially since I used to attend one of the featured Pastors' churches in the past.

The new hit reality show features Minister Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Ron Gibson, Pastor Jay Haizlip and Pastor Wayne Chaney. The initial standouts would have to be Minister Haddon who comes equipped with enough baggage for a month trip to Africa. Haddon and his fiancé/baby's mother are returning back to the spotlight from hiding in the shadows after their child was born out of wedlock while he was still legally married to his former wife.  Haddon and his fiancé live in separate homes since they are not presently married. *side eye*

Bishop Noel Jones and his City of Refuge congregation in Gardena, CA is very familiar to me as I used to attend years ago. I can't lie and say I'm not the least bit concerned as to why Jones never remarried after his failed marriage with his ex-wife years ago. His 'lady friend' whom he claims is NOT his fiancé nor his girlfriend, definitely seems like she's been around waiting in the wings for awhile.

Bishop Clarence McClendon surely stands out not only for his historical family ties to the church, but also his impressive international ministry that reaches 250 million homes worldwide. From first observation, McClendon strikes me as the 'divo'' (ie. the male diva) of the clique of pastors and has a bit of an heir of arrogance when it comes to the rest of the group.

Lastly is Bishop Ron Gibson, a former Compton Crip and PCP addict, who resides in a pelestail estate somewhere near his Riverside church that boasts a congregation of almost 4,000 members. What stood out most about Gibson was his portrayal as a laid back and non-elitist preacher from the hoods of South Central and Compton who reaches back and ministers to the gang ridden community whenever he can. His scene shows him pulling up in an old school American classic convertible with his fitted hat to the back, dark sunglasses and a white tee as he pulls up in a gang ridden neighborhood and ministers to a Crip that he is trying to help change his life around after a recent brush with death in a gun shoot out.

The Internet has been in a social media uproar since the show aired last night and skeptics were everything but mum regarding thir personal feelings about the show.  Of all the comments I read, what truly disturbed me the most was one comment speaking on how Bishop Gibson spoke street slang and wore street clothes when ministering to an active gang member. The viewer expressed disgust with the preacher's antics and pointed to his speech, his clothing and the fact that he pulled up in a bright red rag top convertible. Sarcastically speaking, this clearly couldn't be a true man of God because he wasn't wearing a suit, acting holier than thou and was actually meeting his congregation where they were in their own backyard, aka the hood. What kills me is people can be so quick to judge and say that these men are nothing but false prophets exploiting spirituality and religion for their own financial gain without knowing anything about their ministries and the good they do throughout the world and in their own congregations and communities.

I honestly am one of the skeptics of Pastors of mega churches like these displayed in the new series Preachers of L.A., however, I made a conscious decision to observe these men in their daily lives and struggles before I was quick to judge their situations. I don't necessarily believe that you should not be prosperous just because you are Man of God.  However, that still doesn't mean that I won't feel some type of way if a pastor pulls up at his poverty stricken congregation in a Bentley either.

The whole point of me sharing my views on the show and topic is to get people to open their minds, challenge their old way of thinking and try to look on the brighter side in an effort to open up real dialogue. Instead of always criticizing and crucifying these huge public figures in the church why not sometimes take a look at the good they have done and are trying to do, respect their flaws as human beings and stop putting anyone on a spiritual pedestal but your higher power.  So the question for my BornTooBlog readers is are these Preachers of L.A. false prophets or anointed by God?


To watch clips from last night's season premiere click here:

September 16, 2013

Fatherless Children...An American Epidemic

I recently caught up on a series on Oprah's "Life Class" recently featured on her OWN Network.  Bishop T.D. Jakes lead the class in a serious discussion about fatherless children.  Oprah revealed a surprising statistic that 1 in 3 children in America are fatherless.  It is because this very reason why I referred to this occurrence as an "epidemic" in the title of this post.  The urban community knows all too well the reality of growing up fatherless.  I endured 6 years of my adolescence without my father present so I know what it feels like to not have your father in your life.  Fortunately, my father came back and fought for me and our relationship and today I can say I am very happy with the relationship we currently have.  Unfortunately, many others aren't so lucky.  One of the most beautiful parts about the series is the understanding that it is never too late to develop a father-child relationship, no matter what you've been through.

We only have one father in this life and often times, negative circumstances get in the way of us enjoying positive and fruitful relationships with our fathers.  I've written before about fatherless children and the painful dynamics that this experience can create in one's life on this blog: Where's Daddy?.  Bishop T.D. Jakes pinpointed several things that I think might help my @BornTooBlog readers in this situation. 

Jakes made sure to impress the importance of understanding that like the fatherless children, their fathers have more than likely experienced some kind of trauma or lack of in their lives concerning their own parents.  Many times when you look at fathers who aren't present in their children's lives, if you dig deeper, you find a man that did not have a father or who's father was abusive or had a negative impact on them in some way.  Jakes explained that realizing this as a child can help facilitate understanding among both parties and can actually lessen the guilt of the absentee father.  He calls this "understanding the wounds of your father".

"I think once we let go of our ideas, our fantasies of what things could have been like and embrace what they are like, it gives both the father and the son a feeling of being accepted for where I am."
- Bishop Jakes


Jakes also emphasized that once you do gain the courage as an absentee father to reenter your child's life in an effort to rebuild that broken relationship, you must "court your child" by establishing a foundation for your love and respect to grow on.  I hear too many times that fathers who weren't there in the beginning come back trying to discipline their children off the bat or never even address the issues that led to their absence prior to trying to reestablish a relationship.  This can often create further resentment and stop the reconciliation efforts in their tracks.  Although the entire experience can be frightening to a father that is trying to reconnect with his children, the children are often just as afraid of rejection as their absent fathers.  So now we have common fears, emotions and quite possibly, a shared childhood experience that can facilitate growth and understanding.

"The father has to create a floor for the son's love to stand on because he and his son don't share the strong foundation of memories father-son relationships require."

"Parenting is something that doesn't come with a textbook. You learn as you go. And I think sometimes we're so afraid that we're not going to do it right that we don't do it at all."
- Bishop Jakes

I've written previously on how some mothers use their children as bargaining tools or as T.D. Jakes calls it, a "switch" to abuse the father with.  Jakes further pointed out that when you use a "switch" to hit someone with, the switch (aka the child) gets broken and wore down in the process as well.  I always told myself that if I had a child and me and the father were no longer together that I would never stop him from seeing our child because he was unable or unwilling to pay child support.  I made this commitment to myself because it is very rare that I hear children complain about their relationships with their fathers due to lack of financial support.  What I hear the most is usually a child reliving the pain of their parent(s) not being there as a support system when it comes to school, sporting events or momentous occasions in a child's life like graduation, the birth of a child, and so on. Jakes encouraged all fatherless children to "leave the door open" for their fathers should they gain the courage to come back into their child's life.

Ultimately, it takes a lot of dedication, determination and communication in order to build/rebuild the trust and bond between a father that was once absent and the child they left behind.  However, if we are only blessed with one mother and one father, what could it hurt to try and reconcile and build a relationship when given the ability and chance?  Children must learn to forgive and open themselves up to allow the process to begin and fathers must take the first step and keeping making steps towards resolution.  Mothers must be a positive support system that helps facilitate the process and should never deter their children from reconnecting with their fathers unless they are a threat to their well being.

Are you a fatherless child?
Is the father of your child absent in your child's life?
Are you a father who has attempted to reconnect with your child?  What has been the most difficult issue to overcome?
Are you a fatherless child success story?  What helped you and your father or you and your child reconnect against all odds?
Instagram: BornTooBlog

September 11, 2013

Its Been A Long Time...I Shouldn't Have Left You!!!

What can I say!?!?!?! Writers block is a motha. I always wrote from personal inspiration and I just haven't been inspired to write like I did before. Call it burn out, writers block, whatever you want, but the reality is its been too long since I wrote something and shared my views with you all. So many things have been happening from Love & Hip Hop Atlanta to Basketball Wives, Kendrick Lamar and his all-coastal beef with his Hip Hop counterparts to Jay-z's Magna Carta to Kanye's new album *confused look*.

One of the major things that I noticed during my hiatus were some of my predictions on old posts that became reality in recent months. For instance, I recall making a post about the possibility of West Coast Hip Hop music making a comeback back in 2011, and more specifically, the mention of a certain artist by the name of Problem that was next to blow. Well, here we are in 2013 and Problem is on every song with your favorite rapper AND West Coast music is now back at the forefront of Hip Hop music: Can West Coast Hip Hop Make A Comeback?

Speaking of West Coast Hip Hop, a good friend of mine, Shannon Page, helped me with a music review on Kendrick Lamar's, "Good Kid, m.A.A.d City", which at the time was not as revered as it is today. Lamar's album was met with plenty of naysayers and skepticism, but dare I say it, the album has been catapulted to "classic status" by the Hip Hop world's elite taste makers. What a difference a couple years makes: Music Review: Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city".  I'm still waiting for the world to catch up with new artists I've featured on the blog such as Luke James and Daley: Who Is Luke James?, Music Monday: Daley: Alone Together Feat. Marsha Ambrosius. While BornTooBlog featured artists like J. Cole and Frank Ocean have seen mainstream success since they graced the electronic pages of my blog back in 2011: J. Cole: Next To Blow?Who Is Frank Ocean?

Relationships have always been a pivotal part of BornTooBlog and believe me, there will be many posts to come touching on this HOT topic. There have been too many breakups, makeups, divorces, reconciliations, failed rehab attempts and newborn babies for me not to. As always, I welcome any constructive feedback and I look forward to reconnecting with my BornTooBlog readers in a profound way before the close of 2013.

Questions for my BornTooBlog readers:
Which topics did you enjoy most on the blog?
What do you miss most about BornTooBlog?
What topics would you most like to see in the near future?
What posts do you enjoy the least?

Connect with here:
Instagram: BornTooBlog

November 5, 2012

Black Girls Rock 2012

Tracee Ellis-Ross and Regina King hosted this year's installment of Black Girls Rock on BET.  This program is always a touching one because I remember back to when I was younger and although we had a few positive black female role models in the media, I never was able to witness such an exemplary display of Black Star Power in one room on one night.  Its just a wonderful reminder of how far we've come and just how far we have to go, but in that I must give major kudos to Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock, Inc. and the wonderful Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET, for putting on such an amazing event.

The performances were stellar, including appearances by Alicia Keys, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, SWV, Ciara, Missy Elliot and India.Arie.  The ladies held it down as they performed recently released songs and showed why they are Black Girls who Rock! The night wouldn't have been complete without some love from the fellas.  Idris Elba came out looking like a bag of money as he introduced the gents that were going to honor the ladies of the night: Luke James (I recently featured him on BornTooBlog), alongside Eric Benet and Anthony Hamilton, literally tore the house down.  The trio sounded amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance.

Black Girls Rock honored the likes of Janelle Monae, the new face of CoverGirl, Kerry Washington, who is now playing one of the most powerful women in the country on her hit series, "Scandal", living legend, Dionne Warwick, Susan Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Alicia Keys, who is a philanthropist in her own right with her successful charity and Humanitarian Dr. Hawa Abdi's and her daughters' work in poverty stricken Somalia.

This program is a testament to the beauty, strength and power in numbers when focused on uplifting the youth in an effort to prepare them for the future in a positive way that impacts us all.  Showing young black girls positive role models in this day and age is priceless and is so needed.

Below are some pictures from the red carpet and event:

Tracee Ellis Ross looked sleek and classy.

Eva Longoria's dress was cute but it wasn't very flattering

Gabby Union looked chic and sleek, but I'm not loving the wig.
I'm still on the fence on Laura Govan's frock.

Kerry Washington doesn't often disappoint, but tonight she did.
Keyshia Cole looked amazing in this figure hugging gown
Idris Elba...nuff said!

Smile Lala, you look great!!!!

Luke James getting his James Dean on!

Marsha Ambrosius seems to be keeping the weight off..good for her!
I wonder what the congregation had to say about the Preacher's Wife's fit for the night.
Mona Scott-Young and Kerry Washington
Taraji P. Henson giving a backshot ;-)

Did you see the program?
What did you think of the performances?
What were your thoughts on the fashion choices?
Were you touched by the work of any of the nominees?


October 23, 2012

Music Review: Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

After dropping 3 critically acclaimed albums, "Kendrick Lamar EP", "O(verly)D(edicated)" and "Section.80" on the Top Dawg Entertainment indie imprint, the artist formerly known as K.Dot delivers his major label debut, a short film called, "Good Kid, m.A.A.d City". With so many artists conforming to the major label corporate agenda, dropping the typical radio single that sounds cookie cutter and manufactured in hopes of selling a lot of records only to recoup that advance back to the label; The great Dr. Dre gave Kendrick complete artistic control of this album that has no out of place songs or forced colabs. This album unfolds just like a movie. There are characters, good times, drama, thrillers, violence, a sex scene, redemption and some deep thought.

The film starts in the end. Pulp Fiction-esque. The album opens with a prayer in which he is asking Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. What is remarkable about Kendrick is his story telling ability. At the very beginning of the album he’s telling a story about how he met Sherane over the summer and then began to lust over her even though her family is tied into gangs. He then takes his mother's car to pay her a visit and is greeted by two guys in black hoodies. The song is interrupted by one of several skits that helps creates this album's cohesiveness. His mother calls asking him, “when are you bringing the car back?”, and his Dad is in the background irritated that Kendrick took his dominoes.  In the skit he states that Kendrick's mother is killing his vibe. Then the story really starts to take off with “Backseat Freestyle”. His homies come and pick him up and everybody is feeling good and carefree. Kendrick's friend pops in a beat CD and Kendrick lets off a barrage of aggressive rhymes with tales of being young and reckless over another banger produced by Hit Boy ("N’s in Paris", "Clique", "Theraflu").

The Art of Peer Pressure” enters with stating that he is actually a sober soul, but he’s with the homies so he’ll indulge in their mischief of weed smoking, liquor drinking and hollering at girls.  His crew also gets involved with jumping guys from the wrong neighborhood and doing home invasions. The album takes a turn after he gets jumped by the guys in the black hoodies after he pulls up to Sherane's house. He finds himself in the role of Trey from "Boyz in the Hood", upset with the violence and police corruption that he is surrounded by with the Pharrell produced track, “Good Kid”. The MC Eiht assisted “m.A.A.d City” finds and his friends retaliating for the fight and ends up with K.dots friend Dave killed in the battle.

In “Sing About Me /I'm Dying of Thirst”, Kendrick finds hope in Jesus and holy water as he feels as though he’s dying of thirst and truly needs some type of guidance. The album ends with “Real” and “Compton”. His father explains to him that “real is in responsibility/real is in taking care of your family/real is God nigga” and “Compton” is the victory lap in which he is giving homage to the city that made him.

The lyrics, the beats, the cohesiveness, the introspective view and the concept of this album are all what’s missing in mainstream/radio Hip Hop today. Instead of throwing random songs together with the typical "flavor of the month" features, Kendrick took matters into his own hands. This debut album is a body of work and a rare commodity in gaudy mainstream Hip Hop. He’s definitely the “Good Kid in a m.A.A.d. city”. Certified classic debut.

By Shannon Page

Are you a fan of Kendrick Lamar?
Have you heard his mixtapes?
What do you think about his debut album?
What is your favorite track on the album?

October 22, 2012

Why Do Men Have Kids By Women They Don't Like?

Men having children by women they can't stand is no new occurrence or phenomenon.  Sure there are plenty of parents that were in love when they conceived their children, and later, due to unforeseen circumstances, fell out of love.  But what about the men who were never in love with the mothers of their children, yet consistently had unprotected sex with these women, knowing they would not get along in a parenting situation, or even worse, that they would be unfit mothers?  Who is holding these men responsible for planting seeds in women that they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt would make things hard when it came to seeing their child or would use the child as bait to get the things they want from the man?

I will give some the benefit of the doubt in saying that maybe the woman flipped once she found out she was pregnant or that the man didn't want to be with her, but many men knew the temperament and personality of the women they were having unprotected sex with and instead of "pulling out" or even better, wearing a condom, they chose to go all in.  Scratch that, how about choosing not to deal with women whom you have nothing in common with other than sex so things like this don't happen at all?  Does something happen when a man is inside a woman that doesn't allow him to restrain himself from ejaculating in her?  Does the woman's vagina have some sort of timed vice grip that holds the man inside her until he fertilizes her egg? Somebody help me out here.

It may seem like I'm being silly or funny, but I'm dead serious!!!  Why do men continuously impregnate women that they can't stand and have no possibility of having a future with outside of child support cases and birthday parties?  It seems to me if said men took a little time to think past their penis, they would be smarter when dealing with women where signs of negativity are already present.  A child is a lifetime responsibility and I'm sure many men regret that one fatal time where they let the vagina get the best of them.  Men want to be seen as so strong and macho, yet can't fight off a woman that means them no earthly good.  What's the point of having muscles and endurance if you can't fight off a lifetime of heartache and regret?

I think men need to think twice when having sex with ANY WOMAN that they deem is not mother or wifey material.  That way, they can lessen the chances of impregnating a woman that will literally suck the life out of them throughout the duration of their co-parenting of the child.

September 19, 2012

Evelyn Lozada Breaks Her Silence on Iyanla Vanzant's "Fix My Life"

Oprah has faced some hardships since she shut down the Oprah Winfrey Talk Show and started her own network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) on cable TV, but she is slowly starting to build up steam for the relatively new network with exclusive interviews with the likes of Rihanna, Usher, Jennifer Hudson and more.  Her new show featuring life coach guru Iyanla Vanzant has also made major waves featuring the exclusive interview with Evelyn Lozada, Basketball Wives Miami reality star and estranged wife of Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson via Vanzant's show on OWN called "Fix My Life".

The irony of it all is that Lozada initially agreed to appear on the show to "fix her life" prior to her domestic violence incident with her husband, in an effort to shun her bad girl image that she not only gets paid to portray on Basketball Wives, but has garnered a book deal and hefty appearance fees for the reality star.  After receiving backlash from the public and well known celebrities like Star Jones, Lozada finally realized that she did not want to be seen as the angry Latina woman that had originally created her stardom and celebrity, citing that her "ah ha" moment was when her step daughters mocked and idolized her violent actions on Basketball Wives.  Lozada was determined to turn a corner and show the true her, get past her fears, pain and regret, and move forward to a healthier and more peaceful life.

In the first episode of the show, Iyanla delved deep into Evelyn's childhood and got to the core of her pain, rage and anger that often is seen played out on TV for all to see.  Iyanla wanted to help her find her inner child that was still hurting from being rejected by her father.  Iyanla was surprised to see that her husband, Chad Johnson, was not present for the interview although he had committed to being there.  This was a red flag for Iyanla and she quickly proclaimed that in regards to her marriage, that Lozada was, "in trouble".  With Vanzant somehow foreseeing the future, she later heard the news with the rest of the world that Evelyn and Chad had been involved in a domestic dispute which allegedly involved Evelyn being headbutted by Chad, requiring Evelyn to get stitches in her forehead.

After the alleged headbutting incident, Evelyn has since filed for divorce and says she has not spoken to Chad.  The second part of the segment was recorded after the incident and Iyanla had somewhat of a "I told you so" vibe, while letting Evelyn once again, dig deep into her inner self to determine how she got to this point.  I was so proud of Evelyn for her courage to want to change and her honesty throughout the process.  Evelyn showed her vulnerability as she constantly shed tears while consistently confronting her past, present and future.

Seeing Lozada in this light really changed my views on her and I have never seen her look more beautiful and endearing.  Lozada and Vanzant ultimately determined that her anger and rage stemmed from her abandonment as a child by her father and her dealings with men (promiscuity, low self esteem and teenage pregnancy) were also bi-products of this still open wound.  Vanzant urged Lozada to discover who she truly was without the high profile marriage, hit reality show and closet full of Louboutins and the exchange was incredibly moving and inspiring.

I wish Evelyn Lozada the best on her journey to set an example for young girls, as the truly strong and beautiful woman that she is and hope that she finds her true calling, as she acknowledged that, "its not to act a fool on TV".  To say that this show made me look into myself for similar answers to the ills that plague me would be an understatement.  The show is definitely something I'll watch in the future as I believe I can learn and grow from the courageous stories of others.

Here is some video footage of the exchange between Lozada and Vanzant on "Fix My Life":

Did you watch the two part segment of Lozada on Iyanla Vanzant's "Fix My Life"?
Do you now have a different perception of Evelyn Lozada, the "bad girl" on Basketball Wives?
Do you have "daddy issues" stemming from abandonment as a child?
Have you ever been a victim of domestic abuse?
Does her courage and honesty inspire you to tackle some heavy issues in your own life?

September 11, 2012

Who Is Luke James?

I know I'm a little on the late freight with featuring this R&B newcomer, but I'm pretty sure many of you have not heard of him or maybe, you heard his music and didn't know his name, nor his face.  Well, the wait is over!  I was blown away by this guy when he performed on "Verses & Flow," a new show on TVOne that features talented spoken word artists a la Def Poetry Jam.  James, originally from New Orleans, tore down the stage with his strong, yet silky smooth vocals and dynamic energy.  Little did I know that he was responsible for one of my favorite R&B songs on the radio right now, "I Want You," where he declares his love for his dream girl.

Below is a video of "I Want You":

Here is a video of James' performance on "Verses & Flow":

In "Guilty Pleasure," James sings about a love that is so wrong, yet so right and I love the energy he brought to the stage.  Luke James' pre-release album, "#Luke," will be released on Def Jam.  Besides his musical dealings, he has been featured as the leading man in several videos, such as, Melanie Fiona's, "4 A.M.," Beyonce's, "Run The World," and has penned songs for the likes of Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and more.  I'm excited to see what this vibrant newcomer will bring to the R&B scene.

Here are a few more pictures of Mr. James:

You can find him on Twitter @WhoIsLukeJames
Luke James' Official Website:

What do you think of Luke James?
Have you ever heard of him?
Would you buy his album?
Would you like to see more from this new talent?

September 6, 2012

Video Spotlight: Lupe Fiasco - Bitch Bad

My BornTooBlog readers know I've spoken on this occurrence of the confusion between a man wanting a "bad bitch", but also wanting her to possess the qualities of a "good girl".  In my previous post, Men Say They Want A Good Woman, But Chase Bad Girls, I explained my confusion with men who think they can have both and laid out some general definitions of what these perceptions really mean.  Now lyricist/activist Lupe Fiasco has put it in a song called, "Bitch Bad". 

Lupe speaks on this reoccurring contradiction in Hip Hop music as he raps:

Now imagine there's a shawty, maybe five maybe four
Ridin' 'round with his mama listening to the radio
And a song comes on and not far off from being born
Doesn't know the difference between right and wrong
Now I ain't trying to make it too complex
But let's just say shawty has an undeveloped context
About the perception of women these days
His mama sings along and this what she says
"nigga I'm a bad bitch, and I'm bad bitch
Far above average"

First he's relatin' the word "bitch" with his mama, comma
And because she's relatin' to herself
his most important source of help
and mental health, he may skew respect for dishonor

Sure enough, in this little world
The little boy meets one of those little girls
And he thinks she a bad bitch and she thinks she a bad bitch
He thinks disrespectfully, she thinks of that sexually
She got the wrong idea, he don't wanna fuck her
He thinks she's bad at being a bitch like his mother
Just like that, you see the fruit of the confusion
He caught in a reality, she caught in an illusion
Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart
But bad mean bad to him, bitch don't play your part
But bitch still bad to her if you say it the wrong way
But she think she a bitch, what a double entendre
Check out the video:

I'm glad Lupe has spoken up on this underlying contradiction that has become so popular in rap music these days.  He's received a lot of flack for the song, as well as, his anti-Obama views, but I am still a big fan of this young and talented artist and I'm glad he's sharing his perspective on the subject and various other subjects.

What did you think about the video?
Do you agree with what Lupe Fiasco is saying?
Do you feel its a contradiction for a man to want a "bad bitch" but also want a "good woman"?
What are your thoughts on the song and lyrics?