All Articles Tagged "inspiration"
Don’t you love that quiet lull the office falls into between Christmas and New Year’s Day? With clients and coworkers traveling for the holidays, the workplace can feel like an adult version of Home Alone. But, there are better things to do with your downtime than playing Facebook games or building towers out of office supplies with your cubicle mates. This is the perfect time of year to gain perspective on 2012, and get focused for the New Year. Follow these steps to make sure your mind is right for 2013.
It must be hard being a famous musician in the public eye. When you say you’re inspired by certain musicians, people (sometimes, THAT musician too), like to say you’re trying to be like them. When you don’t pay “homage” to these people, then fans and musicians fading out of the limelight like to claim you stole their style completely. You can’t win for trying! Over the years, there have been many folks who have been called out for having a style similar to someone else, some we can understand, others we think are getting unnecessary shade. We thought we’d compile these folks and figure out who is killing it on their own, and who is a clone.
R. Kelly and Aaron Hall
If you ask some people, Aaron Hall put an imaginary patent on the permission to rock a bald head, sunglasses and and sing at a ridiculously loud but melodic level. Hall had that look and sound on lock during the early ’90s, but some say R. Kelly came through and stole it, and even swiped his singing style. I can’t lie, there are some songs from the early days of the R-ruh’s career that make me think if I closed my eyes, I might be hearing Aaron Hall (“She’s Got That Vibe” anyone?), but as Kellz became more popular and Hall started to slowly fade out of the music scene to try his hand at being a dog whisperer…his style and music continuously changed (he still talked about sex constantly, but you know what I mean…). Either way though, Hall isn’t sweating it, because while Kelly may have stolen his style, he says, the singer can’t touch his swag:
“I know a lot of people out there are saying that R. Kelly stole my style. But remember he can’t touch my swagger. I got that old school swag, that 80′s swag and ain’t nobody touching that.”
Earlier this morning my friend sent me a text message that read, “Remy Ma’s ‘Conceited’ is really ghetto gurl gospel.” Though I’d never consider myself or my friend” ghetto,” I fully accept that both of us, and most of the women I associate with, have an appreciation for “ratchetness.” Meaning that while you’re not likely to catch us acting a fool in public, we have a fondness or appreciation for things others might deem street, uncouth or hood.
Which is where Remy Ma’s “Conceited (There’s Something About Remy)” comes into play. Though some would consider the title and subsequent lyrics to be unbefitting of a lady, I immediately related to the song when it came out in February of 2006. As a senior in high school, trying to decide what I was going to do with my life, “Conceited” came along at the perfect time. At a moment of utter uncertainty it was nice to hear a woman talking about self-love, encouragement and confidence. When there were and still are scores of artists, male and female alike, willing to call women everything but children of God, it was nice to hear Remy Ma encouraging women to conquer the world with aplomb, no matter how ratchet the delivery.
If you’re unfamiliar with the song, allow me to present to you six of my favorite lines from this inspirational masterpiece.
“Look at yourself in the mirror like ‘what…the…f**k?!? Damn, I look good…”
Do you know how many women struggle with body image issues? Plenty. It may seem like a cocky statement but there are times we could all benefit from loving the image we see in the mirror a little bit more. After all, as soon as we step away from the mirror we’ll be bombarded with images and sometimes even comments that suggest that our physicality is less than. It’s best to start the day with a positive affirmation.
“I’m happy. Another me there never can be. See I’m so outstanding.”
Even if you’re not happy with your physical appearance, knowing that you’re the only one of your kind for all eternity is reason enough to consider yourself special.
“You could never play me, cuz I’m such a f**king lady.”
The latter part of this phrase took off. You may have heard women refer to themselves as effin ladies. Though I’d probably never say that about myself, I appreciate the crunkness. She’s speaking to a potential suitor here. The last thing a woman wants is for a man to play her to the left. So we have to remind them, such behavior will not be tolerated. And to make sure this dude receives the message, Remy felt a little expletive was the best way to express this sentiment.
“I look too good to be f**king you.”
Whoop! As many street hollers as we catch on a daily basis, sometimes we just want to let these men know, there’s no way in hell a union between us would ever occur. For the sake of his ego, we often have a bit more tact than this but sometimes in the back of our minds we’re thinking about saying something like the line above.
“My thong showin’ but it’s cool my shoes go wit it.”
No matter how much of a lady you really are, we’ll all experience an occasional mishap or two. Maybe it’s a fashion faux pas, maybe it’s the misfiring of a pesky bodily function. Whatever it may be, there will be times where you appear to be less than a lady. But it’s not that the mishap happened, it’s how you respond to it that is the true mark of a lady.
“You gotta have the mind state like I’m so great and can’t nobody do it like you do.”
This is what I really dig about this song. Most rappers talk about how they’re the greatest and nobody can touch them but Remy Ma is trying to teach you something right here. She’s telling us that not only does she think she’s great, it’s a mindset we all should adopt. The key to feeling good about yourself starts in the mind. Message!
So, with that being said today,on her birthday, I’d like to thank Remy Ma for this song and the inspiration it provided for me in high school and the inspiration it provides today as I face new threats to my confidence. I do believe that if she were a free woman, that she would be giving Nicki Minaj some serious competition. But alas, that’s not how the cookie crumbled. Until Remy is free, I’ll keep bumping “Conceited” until she’s able to give us some new motivational material.
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I’m not picky. When I told my real estate agents what I wanted in my new apartment, nothing was too specific. City? I didn’t care, as long as I could get to work. Space? Small to large, I only needed enough room for two people. View? Brick wall or park, it didn’t matter. However, there was one preference I had when it came to anything my significant other and I viewed. It had to have some sort of space for my creativity.
I didn’t care where it was: A quiet alcove in the kitchen, a larger than life extra closet in the hallway and/or an extra bedroom; I had to have somewhere for me. For as long as I can remember, I had to have my own personal creative space. As a small child, my parents had an extra walk-in closet in their bedroom that would become my drawing office. During my pre-teen years, my father created a mini-studio where I’d live out my femcee stage. In college, I had a special isolated space in my dorm or apartment where I could craft to my heart’s desire. Now, I’ve moved into a space with an extra bedroom that is now my current writing office.
Every woman should have her own creative nook. However, you’ll need more than just your crafting materials:
1) You’ll need inspiration. I’ve got Brianna McCarthy, Frida Kahlo artwork and profiles of Junot Diaz and Langston Hughes. These people and images spark my writing every time I look at them. What motivates you? Adorn your space with it in frames, statues or whatever material reflects your stimulations.
2) Music, music, music. Whether it’s an iPod dock, CD player or old-school boom box; you’ll need something that will give you a surround sound of your favorite tunes.
3) Timepiece(s). An outdated piece that will inspire your development. Have something in your space that symbolizes the innovation and progression of your trade. I have an old and rusty blue typewriter in the corner of my space. A friend of mine, a comic book artist, has her grandfather’s sketchbook on her desk. When you look at it, let it remind you that many people made strides across tribulations so you could create freely.
4) Shelves and boxes. If you’re the extremely organized individual, grab some interesting shelving from the container store, label, and categorize your things. If you’re the avid reader, align your books in a way that’s easy to find them: by color, topic or Dewey decimal.
5) Clean slate. After every work session, try to put things back into their place. Going back to your workspace should be a freeing experience. Your nook should be free from clutter and madness; two things we have to deal with incessantly on the outside.
6) Silence. Unless you’re playing music, try and minimize distractions. Keep the TV off, the cellphone away and alert everyone that you live with; that you need your space and time alone.
7) Your tools. Plan to slowly purchase things that will make your office life easier. It’s annoying to have to jump from place to place to complete your tasks. Artists, collect the paintbrushes that will make your Picasso priceless. Businesswomen, buy electronic devices that will make your work easier. Don’t make a mad dash to Kinkos to print the presentation that you have to present in a few hours. Writers, keep your tools in this one space. It’s the most annoying thing to have to grab things you need to refer to/use, from all over the house.
8) A comfortable chair. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Sitting in something intolerable for several hours could lead to stress, painful back spasms and the avoidance of your office. Invest, invest, invest.
9) Peace of mind. Make sure you leave your issues somewhere else, before you enter your sacred space. Bring only the things you’ll need for crafting. Most importantly, bring your solitude.
Do you have to have your own sacred space to create? How did you design it?
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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Maya Angelou is a living legend and oracle of spirituality. Many were introduced to the poet and author through her seminal work I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Since she emerged in the literary landscape in the 1960s, the gutsy, eloquent, resilient, and uplifting poet and author has continued to grace us with her wisdom and perspectives on life. Check out just a few of her inspirational nuggets.
“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
This is one of Oprah’s favorite saying from her mentor, and with good reason. When it comes to people, many individuals are very honest with who they are even if they’re trying to show their best selves. People will always tell you about themselves, whether through words, stories or actions. Your responsibility is to pay attention and trust what they’re communicating to you. When it comes to romantic situations, this is especially true. Taking this advice would definitely save you a lot of drama and trauma when forging new friendships and relationships.
About two months ago I was watching an episode of “Chelsea Settles” on MTV.com. I can’t remember exactly what happened that episode; but at its conclusion, I looked over at my sister and said in all seriousness, “I love Chelsea. Like for real, I love her.”And I don’t think I was being overly dramatic; as I’ve been known to do, I genuinely mean it.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Chelsea Settles,” you know the show is something like a coming of age story. Chelsea, a recent college grad from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, decides to move to L.A. to pursue a career in fashion. If you’ve never seen the show you might wonder why her story is worthy of a reality show. Good question. Unlike most college grads, at the start of her show, Chelsea weighed 325 pounds. (Which she carried rather well.) Looking at her, fully dressed, I never would have guessed Chelsea weighed that much. But when she revealed her stomach to be measured, it was painfully clear that the scale was not lying.
As you might suspect, her weight was a big hindrance. It literally affected every interaction in her life. When she met someone, she worried that they would judge her because of her weight. If she went out and things didn’t go as planned, she assumed it was because of her weight. And I’m convinced she stayed (or is still) in a lackluster relationship because she was scared that no one else would accept her and her weight.
[There was this brotha on the show who was finer than her current boyfriend, showed genuine interest in her--who she also liked; but she would not give him the time of day. Maybe I should commend her loyalty; but if I had a boyfriend who cheated on me in the past, I don't think I would be inclined to go so super hard for him when I could upgrade. But that's a story for another day.]
For better or worse, America is a country obsessed with weight loss. (Especially at this time of the year. Including this one, we’ve featured three stories on weight loss, just today.) So it’s no surprise that Chelsea would garner a lot of attention. But Chelsea’s story is more than just losing weight. It is about body image, self confidence, opening yourself up to new opportunities and getting rid of the baggage.
While some of Chelsea’s baggage was physical, we all can relate to carrying around literal or figurative weight we should have put down a long time ago. (See Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady.”) Chelsea’s story is universal. That’s why it is so inspiring to watch her shed pounds and baggage throughout the course of her show. We saw Chelsea learn to trust people, get a job in the image conscious fashion industry, excel at that job, speak up for herself and most importantly identify what events in her life caused her to gain the weight in the first place. We watched her shrink in size and grow as a woman all at the same time.
I couldn’t be happier for her…or so I thought, until I saw a picture of her in a recent interview with Us Weekly.
Chelsea told the magazine since she’s started working out and eating healthily, only when she’s hungry, she’s lost 116 pounds. Can a sista get a hand clap? Wow! Chelsea’s story is inspiration for all of us. Her weight loss journey can show anyone, of any size, that when you address your issues and work toward moving past them, you’ll be able to conquer seemingly insurmountable odds.
You gotta love this girl for that.
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Diana Ross came from very humble beginnings, and grew into one of the most celebrated superstars in the world. We all have our own special brand of star quality that we flaunt in different ways. Just like Diana, we can take those wonderful elements that make us uniquely us and parlay them into the fulfillment of our goals. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that we can make things happen for ourselves, but we always have the power to do so. We don’t have to wait for a helpful mentor, supportive friend, or doting spouse to come into our lives and help us achieve our dreams. While such influence is always good, we must believe that we have the power to achieve our dreams independently if we are to bring our highest thoughts into reality. We can do like Diana did and make it happen on our own. We have all the inner power we need. The time is now to start working.
Do you own independent thing today, Madame Noire lovelies!
“With the ‘Pieces of Me’ album, I wanted to show the dimensional side of Ledisi… I can be sweet, Hot, a lover, and sometimes, a fighter. I also wanted to write and sing music that expresses the sides of women, and hopefully teach men how to love those complex women.” -Ledisi
Complexity is often used to describe women, and applies to black women in particular. We have so many sides to ourselves — spiritual, sensual, emotional, tough, decisive, soft — and it is important to make room for all parts of who we are. It can be tough sometimes. People may not get every aspect of your nature. You might even find that certain friends and relatives are better for playing out certain qualities. And that’s fine. As long as you are exploring and expressing all your most positive dynamics, you are on the positive road that Ledisi describes. And the more you love your many sparkling facets, the more the people in your life will appreciate your complexity.
Reflect on and enjoy all the different parts of who you are today! Enjoy yourselves Madames!
Loving and respecting yourself is critical to making it in this life. You can’t always control things like your employment or how certain people in your family are treating you, but you can always control how you treat yourself. This can be as simple as making time to do the things that make your heart sing, or making sure that the inner voice that you speak to yourself with is sweet and kind. Loving yourself does not have to be a big, complicated mystery learned by reading a ream of self-help books. Just think of the way you would treat the favorite little girl in your life, and be just as tender to your own inner being. Take a tip from T-Boz, and love and respect yourself first and foremost.
Have a wonderful day full of healthy self-love!
Have you ever felt left behind? Used and abused? Judged? Or simply unappreciated? We all have. This is nothing new, but you can take a better tactic for overcoming such treatment than you may have in the past. Rather than stewing over being overlooked or otherwise treated poorly, adopt Vanessa Williams’ attitude of: I’ll show ‘em! For every lover who decided to move on. As a statement to that boss who didn’t recognize your shine. Move on to the next one and grab that spotlight. Mixing winning and revenge is a positive way to turn bitterness into the fuel you need to grow. If it worked for Vanessa Williams, who turned scandal into a sterling career, it can definitely work for you.
Here’s to making life’s dross into gold! You can do it Madame Noire lovlies!