LA: Month II

I’m late. I swear I have started to write this blog at least three times this month already, in my head. Plus, I’ve jotted notes in a sharpie pen on a legal pad at work, like a week ago. Yet, I digress. My two biggest areas of opportunity going into month three are timeliness|time management and securing financial awareness|stability. In fact, it’s sad to say that I kind of stopped using my Erin Condren Life Planner for a bit. I feel awful, but I intend to end the year strong.

Aside from the shame that comes with the dust and blank September pages of my life planner, things continue to go well for me in the city of angels. I finally feel like I am settling into my job. No, it is not on my list of things I love to do, but I am ok with my current situation. Speaking of work, its hard to deal with the amount of money I spend on transportation everyday. I actually enjoy the luxury of riding, instead of driving to work, reading, listening to audio content or sleeping.  Each day, each trip rather, uber/lyft sends a complimentary receipt via email. I have so many that I am haunted. Honestly. There is no way I can continue to ignore the amount of money I spend just getting around here. Think about it; I mean we’re talking at least two trips a day. Hundreds of dollars a month, that all adds up, and I’m sick of it!

I feel like I’m really learning what it means to have a roommate as well. Somedays (a lot of them) it feels like Franceli and I spend more time being roommates than we do being friends. So much so that I have had to find quiet reminders, remnants of a friendship bound along life’s journey. I have always known that I’m a particular person.  A creature based on habit and routine. I am a planny person (despite having neglected my planner this month). I think I live a pretty quiet life. I love my own space and the companionship that comes with the ownership of my own little corner of the world. Don’t get me wrong because it’s not that Franceli and I yield two completely different lifestyles, we just happen to have two different operating systems, ya know? She’s the droid to my iOS device. (lol) In all fairness it is the beauty of our friendship that makes this situation work. And that’s what I am most grateful for.

This month comes with fresh opportunity as well. I am so ecstatic to be a host on Afterbuzz TV. Like, beyond. Currently, I am on the panel of three after shows: This is Us, Inhumans, and 90 Day Fiance. I almost feel as if the whole world it’s opening itself up to me. Lending me her ear to speak the entirety of my vision.  That’s a feeling many of us know to be fleeting, but when it comes it’s for sure something to grasp with the grip of both hands.

I also got the chance to produce a music video that will be released later this month.  (More on this later!) That’s not something I ever imagined being in the position to do. It lets me know that there is a place for me in entertainment bigger than the little I’ve imagined. Especially when it comes to music. Y’all know my first dream was to sing back up for Mariah Carey!

This month was showing of so much. More than anything I know the work that comes with being successful. Strategy is important. Time is of the essence. And, you can’t do shit without money. Thank God for favor because I still got tricks up my sleeves!

 

After Sunday: 10/23/16

Sometimes I listen back to the podcast and I cringe. There were so many moments, in this episode, where I felt as if I had no clue how to articulate just exactly what was on my mind. And, I do believe, that’s the beauty of this After Sunday series.

We started this weeks episode with an announcement, that low-key, went seemingly unnoticed. Perhaps it was just that natural, but LUHRAY is the official co-host of The Sunday Afternoon podcast. I’m thrilled for many reasons. Not just because we have known each other for the most of our lives, or because when I first had the idea to go in and start a podcast I wanted to do it with her, but more than anything, because we gel so well together! I believe ours is a relationship that will grow both of us, the show, and our brands, collectively and independently. There is so much work to do, but I truly am excited to move forward into all that is to come.

Also, I wanted to flush out a bit more of the conversation we had about my father and his birthday. You can check out the backstory on our relationship, here. I think that Laure’s advice was deeply insightful, to just be, and invite the man to do things that we can both appreciate, together. I won’t lie, it won’t be the easiest thing in the world, for me. However, it really changes my perspective and takes the pressure off of trying to repair a relationship and just foster a space to build with the man.

In many ways, thats the exact same sentiment we have to take with relationships in general. Getting rid of all the pressure and just learning to be with people and communicating with them. More openly and more honestly. That’s the challenge of adulting. At least as I know it to be.

The idea of support is pertinent to me. When you think about you dreams and your goals there is no way you can consider them coming to fruition without some semblance of support. The topic was liking and lurking. Which one are you? I’ve spent a lot of time considering my vantage point and changing my mindset when it comes to an assessment of social media. It’s hard y’all, because we spend so much time in our own heads consistently evaluating the way in which other people perceive us. I can save you some trouble, it leads to nowhere. Chin up and check out this episode.

https://soundcloud.com/keith-andre-3/liking-or-lurking

We’ll definitely see you Sunday. Oh, and I have a few tricks up my sleeves!

 

CHOIR BOY, in critique.

From the moment I first heard about the auditions, I knew I would make it my business to experience this show. Theatre is so much bigger than just seeing something, it’s an experience, a shared one at that, and there are so many reasons I wanted to interact with Choir Boy. For starters, its not every day you see a playbill that houses a cast of six African American men. That aside, I knew that Tarell Alvin McCraney’s work would be exploratory; educational and entertaining.

Choir Boy is an exposition of Black masculinity, sexuality, self discovery; acceptance and religion and spirituality. There is a lot to unpack. A whole lot, but backed by music the audience gets to survey the commonality of what it means to be a Black man in America.

Directed by Anthony Stockard, from the NSU Theatre Company, and Patrick Mullins, from the Virginia Stage CompanyChoir Boy met us this weekend at The Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach, VA.

The space is most intimate. I went to the closing show, a matinee on Sunday Afternoon and I was greeted with a space that seated 51, black box style. It was perfectly fitting for a show of this caliber, a show nuanced with intimacy thrives under this gaze. It gives way for a pure exchange between cast and audience, a reciprocation of energy that can’t always be housed in bigger venues. While the space leant itself to the work, the audience wasn’t quite as responsive.

There is a certain level of consideration that comes with producing Theatre in Virginia and this audience was not prepared to appreciate the work. In part, because Sunday matinee’s are usually the after church crowd. Also, when people hear about Choir Boy, or even see the promotion of it, the focus goes directly to the musical aspect of it. The spirituals, the harmonies, the acapella singing. Let me tell you, these boys were singing! Their voices blended well and the entire show was acapella, not a pitch pipe in sight and they were able to sound really good the duration of the show. Yet, the musicality is not the totality of this experience. Actually, its such a small piece of the puzzle, as important as it is, when you consider the weight of the text.

It is easy to say that your ready to face issues, subject matter, head on. I don’t even think I was necessarily prepared for the depth of subject and language in the piece.  There were moments, scenes fueled by sexuality that left the audience tense and taken aback. In particular the use of sexuality and sex appeal in the locker room scenes, that coupled with text that examines “dick size” and phallocentricity was maybe a little too real for most people sitting in the room.

This is where we meet character, and the necessity of the presentation of three dimensional characters. I felt that many of the characters were left underdeveloped, across the board. I found that the boys of the Charles R Drew Prep School met me on a surface level, not broken in enough to be completely actualized and received as real. I thought their efforts were extraordinary. Reggie Doles’ presentation of Pharus was not at all how I expected or felt the character to be but he sang his face off and had the energy required to hold a show as lead. I so appreciated the fact that he created a character. I could see Pharus, he just wasn’t realized. Derrick Moore stood out as well. Cast as Anthony “AJ” I found moments of honesty between he and Reggie. He had backbone and he did well supporting the rest of the cast, although over sexualized. Isaiah Roper has so much potential! As far as character is concerned he carried the amount of energy necessary to make Bobby believable. I found Mathew Jackson and Solomon Langley reserved and mildly timid as David and Junior. Ron Newman, as Mr. Pendleton, gave us complete character. He had an arch and we were able to see him range with emotion and empathy. I felt like Headmaster Marrow had such a weight or focus of being in charge, or voiced, that I don’t think it allowed Derek Savage to do much more than be an authoritative. There was space for him to go a journey of realization with all that was going on in that choir, but he didn’t.

You don’t produce a show like Choir Boy just to put on a show. It comes with a prerequisite of wanting to do something transformative in a community that generates dialogue. It is a work dedicated to expanding a conversation of understanding. I may not believe that the Norfolk State University Theatre Company and The Limbic System were able to do all of that in this presentation, but I was left with a need to examine and survey my own experiences. I wholeheartedly believe a talk back would be beneficial furthering that conversation. In fact, I’d like to host one examining themes from the show. I am left with the need to read the piece, in its entirety for increased understanding. I will always appreciate the experience of Theatre, especially in a regard like this that is vested in an effort to allow us to see each other more clearly. I enjoyed the show and I look forward to seeing it again, July 8-10 in Norfolk, VA.

This is Why I Rock

Since its inception really, Black Girls Rock has been a pretty big deal. In 2006, Beverly Bond launched an organization for empowerment with a mission to uplift and actually mentor young Black women, by celebrating great Black women. What she has accomplished is so much bigger, and ceiling shattering, than just that.

040616-video-bet-breaks-black-girls-rock-beverly-bond

One of the most fascinating aspects of Black women is the fact that there is this shared sisterhood of likeness. Black women have found increased ways to bond over communal experiences, similar trials and tribulation, and overall and unwavering will to overcome and succumb to greatness. It is beautiful to see how one Black woman can link herself, her voice to another, especially in media and that camaraderie has served as a platform to usher more Black women into the room, seated at the table.

Conversely, there is not a similar sentiment for Black men in media. Interestingly enough, I don’t think its a conversation thats been had, but there is no voice to celebrate Black men, particularly, and there absolutely is no bond of brotherhood.  I think its unfortunate. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are so many great Black men that I follow and consider myself a student to; Toure, Jesse Williams, Michael Arceneaux, Barack Obama, Will Smith, Marc Lamont Hill, Stephen Curry, John Legend and the list goes on and on, and on.

There appears to be a common disconnect when it comes to black men relating to one another, openly, and I think it all is rooted in the idea, facade, and/or appearance of masculinity. So much of our culture is rooted in defining a sense of hyper masculinity. Think about it, the images projected in media and reality alike all come down to a black man being a “no good” or gay. That’s the spectrum and it is those same ideas that not only limit the ways in which others view us, but the ways in which we view ourselves. Ultimately we lack in challenging those beliefs.

Prime example. Two black men go into a restroom. There are three urinals and one is occupied. Instead of standing next to another man, one of the gentlemen will elect to wait or use the toilet facility, but why? It’s all about masculinity. It is as if there is something so deep inside of us that makes us follow a stringent guideline. One that gives a head nod in passing each other in public, or deepening our voice to speak to another black man we don’t know, or even averting our eyes to one another, so as to not have to speak at all. This happens more often than not for me because in most encounters I am the polar opposite, the complete antithesis to what “manhood” looks like.

prince-lianne-la-havas-clouds-mp3-mainLately I’ve taken more notice to the whole idea of finding a formula that allows Black men to come together and celebrate each other. The untimely passing of Prince reveals much. Here is a man who broke every standard and narrative of Black manhood. He did so diligently, he owned every ounce of who he was as an artist and a Black man. From what appeared to be the fluidity of his sexuality to his religion, he was most conscious of his presentation of himself,  and he managed to do so with the respect of Black men. Moreover, the African American community.

Yet, Prince remained an anomaly of sorts. A rare occurrence of acceptance that so many people will never willingly acknowledge. Still, examine the relationship of Prince and Michael Jackson, one would expect that these two “otherlings” (when it comes to what is perceived to be Black manhood in America), to be the very best of friends. However, there is no record of friendship between the two, even with all that they seemingly appeared to have in common.

Black men have difficulty accepting each other. I deeply believe that there is a craving, and a space available for us to shape the thoughts and experiences of Black boys in this country through the lens of media and entertainment. Black men are brilliant, intelligent, solution oriented, problem solving, handsome, compassionate, resilient, protective,  genuine, and unique. I am a Black man. This is why I rock. Because I stand on the backs of my ancestors, because I believe in the oneness of the human experience, and because I readily accept the challenge to reshape the standard of our Black identity, as well as the plight of community instead of angst in each other.

DAY 24, 25, & 26

Tell us about the last movie you saw in theatres.

The last movie I went to see was The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy. I really appreciate the fact that they both executive produced the film, I think that looks amazing for Black Hollywood. Sure, I had a few issues with the film, but overall, they did a great job with the story they selected. It wasn’t a “black” film, it was acted well, and the characters were believable. I mentioned it a little in the podcast a few weeks ago.

In other news, I watched Blackbird, a film i talked about here for heed magazine. I definitely feel that it is a story that should be told, vastly important to so many of our communities; however, the film was quite trash-ish, to be frank. It just was not executed very well, at all. There were a few great moments, but even Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington struggled with inconsistencies.

I’ve come to really appreciate film and television again. More on TV later.

Tell us about the last book you read.

The Four Agreements. I highly recommend it. For peace of mind, and peace in life. It gave me such a fresh perspective on how I few the world and how the agreements that I make, like anyone else, affect the way in which we all live. It is officially on my list of favorites.

Name one place you would love to visit one day.

I want to go to the middle east. Not forever, but I would love to spend some time traveling there. I have wanted to learn arabic for years. Which reminds me, I keep meaning to dust of the rosetta stone that i purchased to assist in learning that difficult tongue. But I want to see the world, and teach children English, one day. Only for a short while.

PS We are officially at the home stretch and I have to say, I can’t wait for this to be over. Seriously. I am very much looking forward to getting myself re-acclimated with the world of social media. Sometimes I feel like I am missing everything! Such is life. I was catching up on Wendy Williams earlier and I heard her say something incredibly profound during her ask Wendy segment. “Who has time to usher anyone into their own happiness? move on.” Yes to your will lord, thats all I could say! but lets discuss the quote tomorrow.

Because its Sunday, and I’m going to church. Its the topic of discussion on The Sunday Afternoon.

Men have daddy issues, too.

I can remember being young. Eight, maybe nine years old, dressed identically; me and my twin, that was as identical as the two of us would ever come to be, at a birthday party. Actually, thats not true. Not the twin brother, birthday party, or identical dressing, but me recalling it. The truth of the matter is that the only memory that services me of that day is pleading, eyes stained with tears, for the doctor not give me a shot, in a effort to repair my broken wrist. I was (am) deathly afraid of needles, and deer.

That was the day my dad saved my life. The story is that I had climbed a tree, and a football was thrown. I thought I could catch the football, in the tree, and fell; eyes rolled to the back of my head and my father rushed in, resuscitating me with mouth to mouth. I have no memory of any of it. But what I know for sure, that which I keep concisely stored in the trunk of the vault of my elephants memory bank, is that my father is a huge contributor to the person I’ve come to be. It’s almost startling, at times, to think that the man with whom I share my favorite musical, who has been to every production I’ve ever acted in, the man who was more concerned with my soul and the intactness of my spirt, than my feelings, when I told him I was gay, gives me grave issue. Somewhere, subconsciously, I have been dealing with the realization that at 27 years old, I, a black, gay, man, have daddy issues.

The more I began to think about the concept or consider its affects, I saw that it wasn’t something so foreign as most of us may believe. It got to the point where anything I would see that displayed a father or fatherhood, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Toy Story 3, you name it, had me balling. I struggled to wrap my mind around it. I knew that there was something lacking in the relationship I have with my father, but there was no moment or experience shared that I find to be detrimental to this prevalent disconnect. In adulthood, we live seven minutes apart. We rarely speak, outside of the daily scriptures my dad texts a list of voluntarily (or not so voluntarily) subscribers. I don’t get it. But, me not getting it, leads me to explore this topic. We live in a society, or community even, that is adamant about its idiosyncratic view of Black men. Surprisingly, we don’t take the time to consider the notion that men come grown, incomplete, and with daddy issues.

There are so many problems with men, not unlike women, that host the stem of these issues. The only perspective I wish to speak from is my own. My twin brother has always been close to my father, he and my stepbrother, and his choosing was to be with him as much as he could. I’ve come to envy their relationships. For moments even, I was so jealous that I compared my accolades and my success, in wonder. I felt like the only reason my father would speak to me was to learn what new happenings or activities I was participating in just so that he could sing my praises to friends and family, and pat himself on the back. Where did I go wrong? Was it in my choosing my mother? Were we too much alike? Was it my attitude? All these questions have surfaced overtime, and most consistent, Is it my sexuality? Whats interesting is that I don’t ever remember being especially close with my father, but there was no rift, as there is now. I don’t know if my memory even counts as an accuracy or if I’ve reconstructed it, blaming our loss in relationship to my coming out.

Ultimately, in each of us lies uncertainty, insecurity, and emotional instability that we have to overcome, all our own, in order to shape and structure productive relationships. Sooner or later, it’s something that I have to discuss with my father, its just not that big of a deal, now. A few weeks ago I went to a surprise birthday party for my cousin. In preparation I squirmed with anguish and anticipation knowing that I would be there, in a room, with my father. I was his son and he was my father. Each time our eyes meet, even when I think of him now, I can see the comprising of myself, not only face, but spirit,and I like that which reflects from the dim haze of older irises.

If you haven’t already, check out my website: THESUNDAYAFTERNOON.COM and subscribe to the newsletter. Also, look forward to this Sunday Afternoon, I’ll have an update and tips for dealing with daddy issues! lastly, share your thoughts, opinions, and feedback! Voice your story and help me to be sure I painted the truth.

Everyday is a little like Sunday.babies

A Week in Review 1.1

Here is the pop culture breakdown, for me anyway, this past week, and things I’ve been meaning to say but end up lost in translation. Somewhere in that space, between my brain, mouth, and the notes section of my iPhone. This is The Sunday Afternoon.

Television:
I hope we’re watching RnB Divas LA this season. I think there is definitely something to be said about what Chrisette Michele brings to this show, for artists. That’s not just singers but artists in general. I so enjoy seeing the processes and creative productivity that she so seamlessly showcases. Not to mention, the element of mental stature. She and Miche’le do a good job in voicing some issues we struggle with in thought. Chantè has simmered, I’ve never been drawn to leela or her fading storyline. She does not appear to have one. Mo, is still Mo, and like her voice, she’s hit or miss. Not sure why her husband had been added to the cast of appearances, but I’m sure it’s good business, for her. With the addition of Brave, she’s cute. I’m trying to decide if she’s the light skin version of Claudette, no seriously. Which one is the black one? She gives good hair and she’s got like the same singing voice as Claudette in those little impromptu moments they give.
How To Get Away with Murder doesn’t disappoint. What I love so much is not just the prowess of Viola Davis, but it’s ever interesting to see that she’s really got her hands vested in the show. You can’t tell me she had nothing to do with the, what I’m sure to be Emmy nominated, appearance of, miss Cicely Tyson. The writers are amazing and I love the drawl of social awareness; in particular the finales pinpoint on HIV/AIDS awareness, there still is such a lack of support and understanding in all of OUR communities on the subject. It’s still uncomfortable, for many, and misconstrued.
Film:
Kind of, I didn’t watch the Oscars and I’m not increasingly interesting in adding to that dialogue of diversity, here. We all have something to say so I’ll wait to say my peace in a piece that adds to the shift in what alls been given. I’m writing a story for HEED MAGAZINE on Diversity in Film, so there’s much research to come. But, I do want to take a second to talk about the upcoming, Blackbird it’s definitely a film I’m going to support, but what’s more, all the talk of Mo’Nique. I loved her response to Lee Daniels. Well first, I can’t get into Miss Daniels opinion. For one, how do you tell a person they are blackballed, brilliant even, by an industry that has never supported or advocated the rights of African American people’s, yet, contribute to it? I don’t respect that. I found his remarks to be cowardice on having to “play the game.” That sounds a lot like selling out to me, and of that I have no interest. Not only do I applaud Mo’Nique, I appreciate her cadence, I embrace her tone, and stand with the sentiment of her spirit. As an artist, it’s nice to note that we can hold to our dreams and our integrity, our own terms, be rewarded on merit, and NOT change because of any accolades. She exhibits great grace and poise, she’s got me back subscribed to THR and I hope she goes on to share more of that experience.
Music:
Why I’ve just now discovered KING and this song, “Hey” I have no clue, but it brings me bliss. Jazmine Sullivan’s record, writing, and ability are unmatched, she’s going on tour and I have to see her and Ledisi, another boisterous controversy, after The Grammy’s, is also going on tour. That whole mess made me take a trip down musics yellow brick road and revisit her third album, (one many believe is her first) Lost and Found, lord it was everything. 
News:
 80% of my news comes from a podcast of Morning Joe, my FAVORITE political
Show on MSNBC and one I find to be willing to give balanced bias or unbiased remarks in the world of politics. It’s an easy way to stay informed so subscribe, get your daily dose and learn something. Oh, and I also Skimm. It’s a daily newsletter that reads through the news for you, leaving the few lines you actually need, to be informed on world news and culture.
Personally:
Personally, I don’t know where to begin. My unyielding need for attention and inability to shift my own continues to shatter the potential of mediocre relationships. And that’s shade to none. Such is life. I’m striving to understand that being friends with people that stray in lanes or industries you’re vying for is much more hassle than ease. Associates and friends alike, from college, or elsewhere, rarely ever give back. They preach it on Instagram, on Twitter and from the rooftops, but they are too “busy” to ever really give a fuck. No one believes in support as much as you do (wait, now I’m taking to me.) but don’t let that change you. It’s just a difficult path to navigate. Hard to applaud the accomplishments of those, for lack of better words, that are not as good (talented) as you, but are further than you. I hope that makes sense. All in all, your journey is yours alone, respect that and cling on to those BFF’s who hold and honor you. (Thanks @celitheactress)
I think that close to covers everything. 
Wait I didn’t mention the fact that as a 27 year old African American, gay man, I’ve just realized that I have daddy issues. Can we take a second and discuss the daddy issues of men; in particular, black men? There’s a conversation I’ve never heard, and I’ll be writing about that too, soon.
In closing, I’m Keith Andre’ my moms favorite musical is The Sound of Music and my dads is The Wizard of OZ, there is no way I’d grow into any other person than me, and that I love. 
Comment, Subscribe, Share, and stay tuned, it’s The Sunday Afternoon.