10.4.17

Fun fact. I love legal pads. Interestingly enough, I’ve long since been obsessed with the allure of them. Not sure if it stems from wanting to be a lawyer for so much of my life, or just wanting to feel important; either way, I never really pass on the opportunity to write. I’m the exact same way with post it notes. I used to write my journal entries at work on post its, in between calls, down to the call center. Now I’m using legal pads. The big ones are mildly intimidating, I much prefer the smaller pages, but any legal pad will do.

Some where along my start this morning I felt convicted, for sure as I sat in the back of the uber on my route to work. There inside me felt this massive weight of conviction, guilt that I am not working hard enough, doing enough to propel myself forward. Don’t you just love|hate when those moments creep their way into your consciousness? I swear. Yet, with as much as I’ve been able to accomplish in LA thus far I’m left knowing that there is so much more to be done, because the fact of the matter is I am only actually providing a small application of work|effort on my end, and that doesn’t please me. It does not serve me well.

#THEOVERTURE: The Year of 29.

tumblr_myyn8iEn8d1qakh43o1_500Let me just preface this by saying that I have been listening to Barbra Streisand, The Broadway Album, for about a week when this birthday theme was so revealed to me. You see, I have spent no great amount of time thinking about experiencing, or reflecting upon my 29th birthday. Probably because it’s a year considered to be inconsequential and transitionary. Its not one of the bigger moments one considers in a lifetime and I think more often than not it is a year that is seemingly overlooked.

Well, not for me! I can remember turning twenty five and having the crisis of my own mid life. I was unaccomplished, unfulfilled, unsatisfied and there was this enormous pressure, a longing to be greater than what I was that left me stranded, miserably. Then, at twenty six it was worse. In part, because I had to sit with the fact that all that pressure was still applied and I was nowhere closer to achieving any of my own greatness. So by the time twenty seven and twenty eight came I had found ways to release the whole idea of pressure. I felt okay about life and where I was. I still looked ahead to the establishment, not just of position or growth, but the establishment of self that I believe comes with being thirty years old.

That’s when it hit me. An overture comes at the beginning of the musical. The stage manager calls the house lights to half, then there is a fade to black. I like to consider that moment of silence. There is a brief turnover when the audience quiets itself and prepares to willingly suspend every bit of disbelief, accepting the world of the piece. In that moment the orchestra begins. It’s so fluid. The orchestra plays, incessantly so, every piece of sheet music to be heard over the nights engagement. They turn from song to encore and even reprises. The audience is left with an impression of music they will find to be familiar as the musical presents itself.

Just like 29. There are so many things I have learned in an effort to be greater. I have read great books, challenged my own thinking, my beliefs. I have been shaped my past experiences. I have been tested by my own will to succeed relentlessly and even by my spirituality and personal relationships. 29 will be the test of it all, and at the same time, the arc of all that I have yet to experience and garner.

The year of 29 is my own personal overture. It is a set up, a welcome invitation to all that I envision to be fulfilled with by thirty. I definitely intend to live out the last of my twenties doing exactly what I want! Honing every bit of my talent and believing in my dreams more than I may have ever imagined. #THEOVERTURE starts in Washington, DC, a place I’ve spent so many birthdays, Memorial Day weekend ,and it will end in the Dominican Republic, lord willing, May 2017, at 30.

Cheers to another year, may this be the best year of your life.

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Write the vision; make it plain!

That’s somewhere in the bible, for sure.  Habakkuk 2:2. I have always known the importance of that, the ability to see and read your vision so that you can receive, actualize it fully, and then make it happen. Sometimes it’s just the doing that holds me hostage.

On Sunday Afternoon I got to finally see one of my visions come to life. I planned a brunch! A vision brunch. Each guest invited distinctly, and with a particular purpose. I wanted to create a space for likeminded individuals, all filled with potential; goal oriented, business driven, entrepreneurs to share in an experience of growth. An environment where we could continue to be transparent and honest so that we can learn from each other.

More than anything, I wanted each of us to have the opportunity to speak. When I look at my peers, each of whom I invited, I feel that we all have a platform, or are working towards a platform thats deserving of notoriety. Each individual has an offering for the world and when I look at social media, there is no reason we aren’t on panels, invited to speak in spaces that discuss culture, and business etc. I wanted us to share in that experience. What I wanted most from my guests, and myself, was to really stop and think about how we would present ourselves, and our dreams, before the world.

I think my greatest concern in planning the brunch centered around the guest list. Not necessarily with whom I invited, but with who would actually attend. Naturally there are a few thing to take into consideration when planning any event: People may not be on time and some folks just won’t show up. That gave me anxiety! Only because this was to be an intimate event and I know the majority of the guests personally. I also know myself, and my expectation. Truth be told, I was fearful that I would harbor feelings of angst to any person that RSVP’d yes and didn’t show. Well, I’m still working on that. Of course there were a few people who in the end, could not attend. All for reasons that can be understood, but part of the feel I wanted to engage in my guests was wanting them to feel booked. I wanted my Vision Brunch to be considered the first of many of our own bookings to speak publicly, to present in a room of our peers, standing in the comfort of our own experiences, sharing our platforms and our offerings. Naturally, I’m disappointed that some could not be present but I don’t take their offerings any less serious.

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From L to R: Reginald Ford, La’Tia Turner, Keith Andre, DoMonique Goens, Lamont Baldwin

There is honestly no way for me to be more pleased with the success of our very first vision brunch. Each attendee was bright, forthright, open and honest. They all presented well and we impacted one another. Thats the vision. We connected and left The Green Onion filled with hugs, fueled with ambition and inspired to set our mark on 2016.

I am hugely grateful! You can click on their names to follow their offerings: Lamont Baldwin, Stephanie Williams, Reginald Ford, DoMonique Goens, and La’Tia Turner, all have something to say that YOU should be hearing!

Get inspired!

 

you gotta take time.

Driving home from work, the other day, I kind of felt like shit. To be perfectly honest! I didn’t even really know why, I just found myself in a complete funk. I felt tired, and lackadaisical. I knew that at 5:15pm I still had a good hour of traffic to maneuver through, and then somehow I needed to muster up some kind of energy to be productive working on my real life. The one where I live in my dreams.

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What’s interesting is how easily I slid out of that funk and found myself encouraged, productive, and left reveling in confirmation.

Let me go back just a bit. I had been challenging myself to wake up earlier all week. Surprisingly, it provides such a boost of energy. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, all of that. This must have been Tuesday, yeah, it was my second day rising earlier and I was entering my morning routine, coffee with whipped cream, reading and watching Morning Joe. Then, a video of Ledisi came across my timeline. First of all, I love this lady. Ledisi has tremendous talent and her spirit is clean and pure. I love everything about her and she instantly gives me gratitude, but I digress.

I started my morning with Ledisi and at 5:15pm in all of my tired and moodiness, I yearned for her voice. There’s a song by Ledisi, Take Time, and many won’t know it because its from a vault of her music that we don’t easily have access to, but I love it.

I was navigating traffic, feeling like shit, and I knew I needed to share my uneasiness with someone. I said, “self, who the heck can I reach out to that will just get it? connect with what I’m feeling and hold me accountable to be productive?” Whelp, CourtneyB came to mind and she was right on time. She made me promise to get home and be productive, and I did.

After our exchange I went to soundcloud in search of this record, Take Time. I hope that you’ll listen to it, but it immediately like zen’d me out. I found balance and I told myself to suck it up, chin up, and do the work.

I get home to work on my website, my pinky promise to courtneyB and in an instance I decided to rebrand myself. To kind of shift or restructure everything, and I found that the universe was on my side. I ended up buying my domain keithandre.com for all of $0.40 (shoutout to godaddy.) I knew I was absolutely in the right direction. That was confirmation #1. Then I’m just basking in the goodness of God and I get an alert from periscope that Ledisi is live. Of course I tune in and I found myself flabbergasted to see that she was singing Take Time. Confirmation #2 There is no coincidence. She says it best,

  • you gotta write it,
  • read it,
  • say it,
  • be it, then
  • do it

Ha. Wont he do it? Yes he will. Don’t ever discount YOUR ability to turn YOUR day around, or anything for that matter; and I don’t care what you believe. You absolutely have the opportunity to control your thinking! Do it!

When in doubt find music and friends who’ll push you into #thinkchanging and live in your dream.

 

Mahogany Wednesday featuring CourtneyB

Believe it or not, the first dream I ever had was to sing. I think that may be the reason I experience music the way I do. Good music is a spiritual practice all its own. All parts of it unite in an effort to give an experience that heightens our senses, broadens our ability to dream, and completely exalts the oneness of our human experience. Last week I had the opportunity to participate in that spiritual practice in its most sublime telling.

Mahogany Wednesday is an event that happens every Wednesday night at Rays nightclub in Newport News, Virginia. It’s a performance space for up and coming creatives, and artists alike to actively participate in their own storytelling. I had heard about the event for a while. One of the hosts, Ashely Felder, is a friend of mine and I swear, I had been meaning to come out and see her for weeks; however, y’all know how early 6AM comes, every morning. Needless to say I never made it out. As fate would allow, NSU‘s #NYTHC would change all of that. I got to link up with so many of my good friends at State and my dear Courtney Bailey let it be know that she would be performing that coming Wednesday. That’s all I needed to hear. No convincing; conversation or negotiation, I would absolutely be in the building.

In no way (shape or form) was I ready for all that I was to encompass. So, after a quick nap after work I met one of my best friends, Keyanda, at Rays. Its literally just down the street from my house, so I was excited about that. We were prompt. I had planned to make my exit no later than 11PM, thinking the event ended around that time. We lowkey gagged at the door. People were still sound checking and admittance was $10. Say what you will, but I wasn’t excited to hand over ten coins to make entry. I know its a smaller establishment and expected maybe a five dollar cover, but I digress. We had a seat, and sat for about 15 minutes waiting for things to begin. They weren’t starting on time and this made me frown because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning. Ultimately, I knew we would have a good night.  We got long Islands and released our yield to the nights events.

I see Tereno, Megan, and Symone, all close friends who sing their asses (and faces) off, over at the door coming in, and I go over to greet them. I was utterly excited to see them! I knew they would give me my whole life, and it was also an indication that they would be singing soon, and I would be closer to my bed. Look, I don’t know if this just happened in my head or how much of it connects to the reality of the situation, but I swear I saw Courtney saunter into the room. She was beat, her eyes were mysterious and alluring, and my spirit was inclined to believe. (more on this later) Her dress was black and hit the floor and she had on this short fur coat they got me slam. I kindly reach for her ear and asked, “Where the f do you think you’re going?” or, “who the f do you think you are?” I can’t recall. But it was all in good fun. She new I was ecstatic to see her, we laugher and we all made our way upstairs to comfy sofa seats that overlook the stage.

Wait! So, clearly the show begins. Ashley Felder and Jonathan are on stage going off! Their voices blend so well. So distinct, vibrant, and they lend themselves to each other, in harmony. It felt amazing to hear her voice again, live. She is a beast, not unlike any of “the crew.” CourtneyB is announced as the nights featured artist and she takes the stage. I kindly encourage her to,”put on the mink! Walk on stage with it.” She hesitates but concedes. I love her. I saw so much light in her eyes. They gleamed with passion, gentile; genuine and honest. Her set was awe-inspiring and beyond amazing. I won’t continue to try and find words to express the exactness of what I felt, but she gave me my life. Her voice was so resonant, completely open and pure. She was amazing. Then, Symone who I know to be an opera powerhouse, got up and sang me happy, again. I was flabbergasted by the way that lady plays her voice. Oh, and Brittany Hayden, another monster, was in the house as well, sang down. At 12:45ish, it was well past 11pm. I was in the middle of the dance floor. Yelling, miming, waving my hands. I wanted each of my friends to feel my presence. I wanted them to feel every bit of passion that now resided in me. My spirit had yielded this experience and their performances were transformative, transferring to me an ability to dream, again.

The reality of the situation is that I don’t know how to live my dreams. I have been wrestling with this premise for a few weeks, and its one so many can relate to. Mahogany Wednesday provides the perfect preface to this topic. I’ll be talking about it this week. This is already a lot of words and I’m racing the clock because y’all know, 6AM comes early, every morning.

Easy like a Sunday Morning, I’ll see you Sunday Afternoon.

Realizing you’re a coffee person kind of sucks;

well, at least it did for me.

I have always enjoyed the taste of coffee. There was no surprise there. I feel like I spent the majority of my adolescence and young adult years sitting quietly gathering myself, early morning, on the porch, having the best coffee I may have ever tasted with my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a few of my siblings. There rests a memory most prized; I shall never forget! But, from there I developed a more specific taste for coffee, Starbucks reigns supreme; yet, still unattached. Coffee was not my necessary.

Now, I need coffee. I wake, as last minute as possible, trying to make my commute as painless as possible, and I drag my feet, driving like a dazed zombie to a cup of joe. It’s pretty bad y’all. All this week I have felt grave depravity without a good brew! What’s worse, the fact that I suck, more often than not, at making my own coffee. I love Starbucks. Not sure when I was introduced to the grande white mocha, its been many moons but it’s my fave, and I am pretty sure it has something to do with the whipped cream. But, I digress. At five and a quarter a cup (closer to six dollars at the Starbucks at my job) it’s not a habit I’m most eager to embrace. To be quite frank, its not one I can afford.

I had coffee from Wawa this morning. Any size for a dollar, and its nothing I can complain about, it was pretty good. Being a coffee person sucks because we grow accustomed to yielding ourselves to that hot aroma to fully wake ourselves most mornings. I can’t afford my beloved Starbucks Monday-Friday; however, (comma) that $26.25 a week, its way cheaper than the unemployment line.

Continue to pray, Sunday’s not so far.

BYE.

It’s nearly 10PM and just like any other weekday I find myself racing the clock. Yes, I find that I journey on this quest to be in the bed before eleven nightly. On top of that, its Monday. Well, Monday sets the tone and I have made a decision. That, to become an active participant in the focus of my endeavor.

In doing so, I can’t deny the affects, consciously and non, that social media has on me. On all of us. It is the way so many of us live our whole entire day. And, I have become enthralled with exploring so many ideas lately. Just like the latest episode of the podcast, commitment. How we find so many fears with trying to commit ourselves to our dreams, goals, relationships, etc.

https://soundcloud.com/keith-andre-3/afraid-to-commit

I am committing me to being greater. So, I’m getting rid of every social media app I have the duration of September. I find that I feel fearful, excited, eager, nervous, anxious, all of it. Because, I am pretty sure I don’t even realize how big a part social media has on me and the way that I live my life. Yet, I concretely believe letting it go, if only for this short time, with give me the opportunity to implement and focus on things that I have been yielding to do.

So, we are ripping this bandaid off before bed. I look forward to reading, praying, journaling, and for sure blogging way more these next 30 days. I certainly hope you will come along with me. I won’t be posting to any social media sites directly, but I will continue to blog and podcast so you may see me visibly on social media all through The Sunday Afternoon. I won’t be cheating myself.

Wish me well! You can email me or post your comments here. Remember to read, comment, and subscribe.

I’ll see you Sunday.