Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Am Afropolitan.

An old essay has helped me finally feel closer to a "definition" of my cultural identity.  Taiye Tuakli-Wosornu's "What Is Afropolitan?"nailed it. People have always asked me where I'm from and I've learned to know they're really asking me to explain my looks, after all the fastest way to categorize someone is by appearance - and humans do love to categorize. But my ethnic look doesn't necessarily the story of my upbringing so it's not my personal answer to my identity. And the nationality on my passport doesn't cover it all either. 

I've started saying that "I'm from everywhere" or that "I'm just an Earthling" because those answers are shorter than the truth and usually stop the questioning. I look West African (or Haitian...I get that a lot, too) and indeed I am half, Togolese, but I wasn't raised in that culture and don't know that side of my family. The culture that I did grow up in was a mixture of American and European because of where I grew up (Italy, Germany, France). The other half of my family is Black American from the northeast, but because I grew up so far away from them, I'm not incredibly close to them either.  So the "family" I grew up with is a multi-national collection of friends of my mother's and mine from all the places we lived throughout the years.  So while most people can explain their identity through their family, that's complicated for me, too.

What makes the whole thing more ironic is that the culture I look the most like is foreign to me, while the culture I look the least like feels most like home yet it rejects me because I don't look native...  It's weird.  So what am I, culturally? Am I an African? A European? An American? I won't stutter anymore replying to that question because for the first time in my life, there's an answer that hits the mark 100%: AFROPOLITAN. 

"[We] are Afropolitans – the newest generation of African emigrants, coming soon or collected already at a law firm/chem lab/jazz lounge near you. You’ll know us by our funny blend of London fashion, New York jargon, African ethics, and academic successes. Some of us are ethnic mixes, e.g. Ghanaian and Canadian, Nigerian and Swiss; others merely cultural mutts: American accent, European affect, African ethos. Most of us are multilingual: in addition to English and a Romantic or two, we understand some indigenous tongue and speak a few urban vernaculars. There is at least one place on The African Continent to which we tie our sense of self: be it a nation-state (Ethiopia), a city (Ibadan), or an auntie’s kitchen. Then there’s the G8 city or two (or three) that we know like the backs of our hands, and the various institutions that know us for our famed focus. We are Afropolitans: not citizens, but Africans of the world."

Is it too late?

Since my birthday last month, I've been in and out of a funk about age.  I am too old for all my dreams?  Inside, I still feel wide-eyed and excited about all the incredible things I can achieve.  But you're not a starlet after 22, are you?  Am I foolish to believe I'm still going to "make it"?  I know there's no expiration on ambition, I guess I'm just feeling embarrassed that I'm not where I thought I'd be...

Gig Alert: Rev Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir

We're singing songs of rebellion and justice Monday night, April 30th, 7pm, at Theatre For The New City.  FREE show! 155 1st Ave between 9th and 10th Streets.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Solution to my living room!

In my tiny apartment all-in-one anything is always better. This one hits the spot! In one single piece you get a tv, dvd player, tv stand/cabinet, cord organizer... and it looks good! I'll be grabbing one of these bad boys soon as they hit the US market (spring 2013).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back to School

I swear it's going to take me 6 years to complete the 2 years of college I skipped out on originally. (Kids, stay in school!!! It's so much harder to finish up later in life!) Just registered for summer semester, only taking one class because that's all I can handle for now. But I'm not worried - slow and steady wins the race.  I started this journey 3 years ago - summer 2009 - as a "sophomore", now I'm finally in my senior year.  Close, but still a long (hard) ways away from the enchilada.
It's weird, my life or career won't change when I finish this degree so I don't actually need it, but I'm doing this because psychologically I feel stronger and smarter with it. Maybe it's also the challenge of working towards a tough goal. Either way, I'm in for a rough summer of writing papers, but then I'll have "just" 9 classes left before graduation. Feels like "Yay" and "Ugh" and the same time...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Voiceovers - Nice Work If You Can Get It!

Heading to my first voiceover gig now! I'm narrating an audio play for the Cheer Foundation.  I've always wanted to do this kind of work.  Show up at the studio, not worry about whether I'm having a fat day or a bad hair day, do what I love - which is to play characters, work with talented technicians/cast/crew then go home without a full face of makeup to scrape off.  Wish me luck!

One Union.

(live stream of the merger announcement)

i'm still giddy about this!

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Smallest Coolest Apartment" time!!!

It’s Small Cool time at again!  This is my favorite time of year on that site.  I never agree with the winning apartment, but I get great design inspiration from all the contestants.  Small space living can be elegant and sexy (and extremely functional).  

Entries can be submitted through April 17th.  Winners announced May 2nd.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ROBERTA FLACK @ The Red Rooster

Just below the hipster spot Red Rooster in Harlem is a sexy little lounge called Ginny's Supper Club.  It was there last night that I witnessed greatness: the legendary Roberta Flack played a concert there! She's more beautiful than ever and her voice is still silk. She kicked things right off with "Killing Me Softly", then did great covers of old and new soul/pop/rock (even a song by The Police!) and closed with an ethereal rendition of "The First Time". Unforgettable night. Beautiful people, seductive venue (w/ celebrity chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson himself greeting and chatting w/ everyone in the room!) and unbeatable price (standing room at the bar - which is a prime location for watching and dancing - only $20!)

Venus in Fur

This play is everything a Broadway show should be: starts off with a bang (literally), moves at a fast pace, has plenty of plot/character twists to keep you guessing,is  so sexy it’ll turn you on (that’s literal, too), is only 90mins long, has no intermission, and it ends in the same explosive style that it starts with.  A must see.  Run, before Tony nominations shoot ticket prices up!

NY Times "The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone"

I kind of love this article in the NY Times on what really happens when you live alone.  It hits on all the little things you get used to doing because no one else is there:
-  not closing the door when you use the bathroom
-  talking to yourself or to your pet
-  eating in various states of undress
-  wearing the same clothes over and over
-  doing daytime activities in the middle of the night
-  not eating/preparing “meals”

I would include:
-  dressing and primping (hair/makeup) anywhere but the bathroom – kitchen, living room
-  walking around naked any time of day or night
-  randomly perform loudly to music (again, usually not fully clothed)
-  doing everything in/on your bed (eating, working, talking on the phone, playing instruments, rehearsing monologues...)
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