Friday, January 17, 2014

Sacre Bleu!!!!

The National Association for the Advancement of COLORED People (NAACP) has decided to nominate the following for the 2014 Image award.

No matter how I wrack my brain, I can't get my head around the recently published list, how in God's name can this be right. After duly doing my own investigation, I found that this was no spoof, no satire, but let me share with you the information that has me getting my knickers in a twist.

The list in the music category is what has me getting ready to bust a blood vessel:

These are the nominees for the Outstanding Male Artist:

Bruno Mars

Charlie Wilson

John Legend

Justin Timberlake

Robin Thicke

Is this someone's idea of a perverse joke? Current Chairman Ben Jealous must have been playing with Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the George Washington Bridge when this nomination was put together.

Don't get me wrong people, I have nothing against Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars or Robin Thicke – well actually yes I do, is it just me or am I the only one to realize those guys ain't black – they sure as heck ain't colored either! WTF (the 'f' means Fart). Come one now – do you mean to tell me that you couldn't find a list of 5 men in the music industry who are bonafide card carrying members of the Negro Race????

I'm affronted by this travesty which has nothing to do with talent or lack thereof, but come one now – what a slap in the face for those black male singers out there slogging away and can't even catch a break with a recognition or nod from an organization that has purported to represent them and their interests since 1967 and the heady days of the civil rights movement.

The image awards were formed in protest against the 1915 showing of the racist

Birth of a Nation” by D.W. Griffiths which stereotypically portrayed blacks as savages. I think the governing body of the NAACP with oversight for the image awards could do well to remember its raison d'être!

The Awards Show will air on February 22 and I for one will not be watching as my small protest at what I can only describe as an NAACP sell out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hell Ah Top, Hell Ah Bottom and Hallelujah in the Middle!

It's funny but sometimes I wish I could only remember half the things I've forgotten in my lifetime. In England, where I was born, I used to knit, taught by my mother; sew, encouraged by my grandmother who used to send me to sewing lessons in Jamaica and I made a mean British-style oxtail casserole in the oven in a crockpot with lots of root vegetables. Another feat of which I used to be proud was my Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding!

Living in New York, where I moved in 1996, is a much more hectic lifestyle with less and less time to do the things I really enjoyed. Talking with a friend, who told me about the Sweet Potato Pudding she'd recently made, my saliva filled mouth anticipated that sweet, gooey succulent dish and I decided to turn my hand again to the decadent treat.

There only one Whole Foods store in my neighborhood, so most of my groceries and provisions are purchased from the proliferation of Korean stores that dot the landscape like so many store-front churches, sometimes three to a block. I picked up the ingredients and using the recipe provided by Francine Chin got busy in the kitchen. I'm not sure why the alarm bells didn't ring at the consistency of the grated sweet potato, I added the lush ingredients and poured the mixture into my cake pans. Even when the mixture was still sticky on the knife two hours later, I wasn't too perturbed, but I guess it was the gales of laughter that greeted me when I told my mum about my disappointment at how the pudding had turned out. Her first question as to what type of sweet potato I had used solved the mystery. American sweet potatoes more suited to Thanksgiving dishes are NOT the same as Jamaican sweet potatoes, which have a more gnarled and reddish brown color as opposed to their pink American counterpart.

My disappointment was short lived, I made another pudding yesterday, same ingredients, but this time using the correct main ingredient and as I posted on Facebook, the pudding ah seh one, two and tree!. I feel that this English lady has proven her mettle in the realms of Jamaican cookie willels and my culinary prowess has been restored – at least when it comes to Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding. Brigitte Talbot – you may have laughed loud, but this time I laugh last! The hell ah top, hell ah bottom and Hallelujah in the middle is complete.

I have to give kudos to a great recipe that's very easy to follow - the link is broken now, but I will post soon.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Voice - Tessane's Listening Party

The Tessane Chin phenomena that swept the Americas recently is a lesson in resilience, determination and overcoming fears. Tessane Chin, a Jamaican renowned in her home country for her brilliant singing talent was floundering in a small pool - trying to break into an international market. That opportunity came from her record label manager Orville "Shaggy" Burrell who suggested and actively pushed for her to enter The Voice American singing competition.

Great marketing and publicity took hold in the social media universe as the word trickled out that a Jamaican entrant was in the competition and her compatriots jumped on the #TeamTessane train. They supported by organizing guerilla voting campaigns, arranging listening and voting parties and watching the fifth season from her September 24 debut witnessing her earning bragging rights along with Holly Henry, Ashley Dubose, James Wolpert, Matthew Schuler & James Irwin of getting all four judges voting for her inclusion - right through to the finale on December 16. In their eyes, her exemplary performance from start to finish, had her pegged as a winner.

I attended two of the voting parties that cropped up in New York City; Mingles Bar & Lounge in the Bronx collaborated with Digicel and other promoters to host sessions on December 9 and the final on December 16. Offering drink specials and a mouth-watering food selection, patrons were able to watch the proceedings on various strategically placed jumbo screens and were vocal in their comments, derision at lackluster performances and of course showed their patriotism in their support for Tessane. A medium crowed trickled in throughout the course of the proceedings as the tension built and sighs of relief escaped collective mouths at the news that Tessane had made it through to the finale.

December 16 saw a much bigger crowed, a definite festive air and stunned silence at Tessane's awesome delivery. Without a doubt Tessane knocked the ball so far out the park with that Whitney Houston rendition of I Have Nothing. Reprising her opening song Try and delivering a flawless duet of the Beatles classic Let It Be with coach Adam Levine, patrons in Mingles erupted with loud hoots and applause as the pop classic was re-worked to incorporate an unexpected and vote winning reggae mix. As the camera panned to Christina Aguilera's face, patrons booed and catcalled 'badmind' at her lock of disgust and shock! It was as though Christina realized the race was over at that point.

Wavering between not wanting to jinx her chances and being quietly confident, a little voice told me at the point when showers of fire rained down behind her as she sang - she would be be the winner, a point reinforced to me when I saw that she would sing with her idol Ms. Celine Dion. Of course, in a nail biting, breath-holding decision on December 18, Tessane Chin was announced the winner of The Voice.