Yes, we all love the cartoon version with Mushu and the cricket. I mean who doesn’t love Mushu? But there is something to be said for a refreshing new take on a Disney classic. Of course, we all know that Disney has been on a remake frenzy lately, turning all of their classic cartoon movies into live action remakes. Mulan (2020) just released today for free on Disney+ and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know many people complained because all of the loveable elements from the original movie were going to be taken out like the songs and our favorite bearded dragon, but I found a lot of new elements and themes in this movie that I really thought were done fantastically. So there’s a new female character in the movie who is a witch, and I feel there’s this whole new level of female empowerment coupled with Mulan’s journey of being who true to herself. There’s a connection between Mulan and the witch. They’re both outsiders because they’re both women who are gifted beyond normal. In the movie they describe it has having powerful qi. The witch honestly becomes one of my favorite characters in the movie. In the original movie Mushu was supposed to be Mulan’s protector, but I’m assuming they replaced Mushu’s character with a phoenix. As described in the beginning of the movie the phoenix was her family’s protector. For those that don’t know a phoenix is a mythical bird that is said to die and they are reborn from their own ashes, which is befitting of Mulan’s character and particularly one scene in this movie. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that this movie was definitely worth seeing in my opinion. There’s new elements to enjoy, and it still embodies some of the same humor from the original.
I did it! I finally swallowed all of my nerves and did it. Did what, you may ask? I delved into the world of self-publishing. So, I have been sitting on my poetry book for two years because there was a lot going through my mind. At first it was just going to be a small chapbook of about 40 poems, but then ask I kept adding poems to my manuscript I realized I had written over 70 poems! My boyfriend asks why I was so scared to release it out into the world? Why was I afraid to take this monumental step? Well, because it likes sharing a little piece of myself with others, with total strangers. It’s like taking a little piece of my heart and soul and putting it on display and hoping no one crushes it. As an artist I’m most critical of my own work. Is my poetry good enough? Will people actually enjoy it? My writing has a purpose. I want to help as many people as I can through my writing. I want to let others know that they’re not alone. There’s a John Steinbeck quote that always stuck with me that I read in college, and many years later I still reference it. He said, “A writer, out of loneliness, is like a distant star sending signals.” As a writer, that statement is so powerful and so true on many levels. We don’t want to feel alone and we don’t want others to feel alone. Writing is our way of connecting with humanity. If you love poetry please support and get your copy and hopefully you’ll find something in there that connects you.
Angie Thomas made a splash in the YA novel scene with her breakout novel, The Hate U Give, which became a hit movie just one year later and Thomas has sky rocketed to my list of must-read authors in the last couple of years. The Hate U Give centers around Starr, who is a 16-year-old black teenager who witnesses her childhood friend get murdered by a police officer without cause. Now she’s the star witness of this traumatic event. Throughout the book she has to make the tough decision of keeping quiet or speaking up to fight for justice. This book was extremely moving for me and absolutely incredible. As a black woman it was so relatable, not just because of the everyday struggles of being a black person in America but also the humorous moments in the book made it relatable and familiar because a lot of the funny dialogue is how I could imagine people in my community speaking. Thomas definitely hit the nail on the head with such a breakout novel. After I read this book it touched me in a way to where I was telling everybody that this was a book that they needed to read, and I honestly believe that this book should be read in every high school as part of the curriculum because of the themes. It’s definitely a book that opens itself up for a good, genuine discussion.
Then we have Thomas’ sophomore novel, On The Come Up, which debuted in 2019. It follows the story of Bri, who is an aspiring rapper and she starts of doing underground rap battles. Her main reason for wanting to rap is because she knows if she makes it big she can help her and her family get out of poverty. The premise may seem like the average black story, but for me it’s more than that. On the Come Up has some of the same charm as The Hate U Give. It’s relatable to a lot of black communities from the dialogue, the relationships, and some of the struggles. These two novels of Thomas’ have sold me on her talent and her ability to relate to her readers and keep them talking. That is why I am super excited for her next novel coming out in January called Concrete Rose, which is practically a prequel to The Hate U Give, which follows the story of Starr’s dad as a teenage father. I am excited for whatever Angie Thomas has to bring me. I already read a short snippet of Concrete Rose, and I know this is another novel that I’m going to be talking about months later.
Ok, so here is an update on my thoughts on the whole R. Kelly situation. First, for those who don’t know let me catch you up. So last weekend the tv network Lifetime aired a docuseries featuring over 50 people discussing their interactions with R. Kelly. Most of them were women who had been teenagers at the time R. Kelly had come into their life. These women talked about the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that R. Kelly put them through. Before I go on I have to admit that I was one of those people who held on to the fact that R. Kelly was a musical genius and ignored the previous allegations like the well-known fact of him urinating on an underage girl years ago. I still bumped his music. I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t, but now from the things I’ve heard and connecting the dots I can’t bring myself to listen to his music anymore. The fact that I now know that he married a 15-year-old Aaliyah and what he did to countless other women and even more there were other subliminal clues that I never considered before. Why did R. Kelly name himself “The Pied Piper of R&B”? The Pied Piper is a character in folk lore that lured a village’s children away by playing a flute. That’s a red flag right there and then realizing a lot of his earlier music was aimed toward these young girls he manipulated. Enough is enough in my book. You can only make excuses for a person for so long. There is a lot of heated debates on the topic. Some people are still defending him and others are saying throw him under the jail. What are your thoughts?
I was scrolling through Facebook like I normally do and one day I came across this meme on my newsfeed, and I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Art IS magic. That’s why I have this blog, and it’s the reason I love art. I love all types of art…literature, music, dance, visual art. Like this meme points out art has the ability to evoke so many emotions and it has the ability to manipulate emotions. Art is a window into the human psyche. It’s just so fundamental to society. Art often makes me feel something on a spiritual level anf I look within myself to analyze what I get out of it. I will always have an appreciation for art and the magic that transcends from its beauty.
So this is something that I’ve always thought about. Can we possibly celebrate an artist’s talent and forget about his crimes? One of the most talented musicians to ever do it is R. Kelly. People may not like him because of the crimes he’s committed or the allegations of him messing with young girls, but there is no denying his talent. The man is a gifted genius. I was feeling nostalgic last night as I listened to some of his most popular songs like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “When A Woman’s Fed Up,” and “Step in the Name of Love.” All of those songs had me singing at the top of my lungs with pure emotion. No matter what you think about R. Kelly as a person there’s no denying his talent. Also another person I would put on the “tortured artist” list would the rapper DMX. During his time DMX was one of the biggest rappers in the 90s/2000s era and he pretty much ruined his career with drugs and constantly getting in trouble with the law, and I’m not going to lie. It gets me upset to see talent like that wasted. DMX is another artist that just had pure talent, and when I get the notion to go back and listen to some of his songs I just think to myself like “Man, it’s such a shame.” I always hope for a comeback from either R. Kelly and DMX.
‘Til this day the movie Selena is one of my favorite movies. I remember the very first time I watched it was in my Spanish class in high school, and I fell in love. Not only with the movie but with the kind of person that Selena was. Selena tells the story of the Mexican-American singing star who became one of the first women to make it big as a Tejano musician. She was a pioneer for her culture and also in music. The original movie starred Jennifer Lopez as the lead role. I love that movie so much, so you can imagine my excitement when I come across a piece of news today that said Netflix is doing a series based on the late singer’s life and to make things better and more legit Selena’s family is a part of this project so where can it go wrong? I also realized that Selena’s family had a lot of say in the original movie. I think they loved her so much that they don’t want to see her legacy ruined, so they’re a part of every project having to do with Selena, which I think is awesome! I am super excited for this Netflix series and can’t wait!
It’s amazing the effect that art has on society and how common it is in every day things. There’s the obvious art of course that you find on art canvases and drawings, but have you ever thought abt makeup as art or home decor even? It’s true! Decorating your home is all about aesthetics…creating the best possible look that appeals to your sense of style. Makeup is also a form of artistic expression. Some people go for the more natural, sun-kissed look amd some people go for the bolder colors that pop. Art is an important aspect of life. There’s no getting around it.
So I belong to this Facebook group called “Artists Trying to Make a Living Creating Art” and I tell you there’s nothing like scrolling through my news feed and coming across beautiful artwork. The other day I came across this masterpiece and I thought it was stunning and who doesn’t love Prince? The artist’s Facebook name is John Mark and he gace me permission to boast about his work on my blog. What really stands out to me about this portrait is the different shades of purple and it looks so textured like you ciuld just reach out and touch the paint. I am always in awe of other artists, and I regret that I’m not a visual artist myself but being a part of this group makes me want to pick up a sketch pad, pencils, and paint brushes and take a shot at it. John Mark has other artwork similar to this and just as beautiful. You should check out his artwork. Please do. We need to support art and other artists.
To answer my own question I have to go with the latter. I see tattoos as a form of expression. I’m aware that this can be a generational thing at times or maybe it’s just a personal preference because both of my parents have tattoos and when I see well done tattoos I don’t see them as a waste. I see them as beautiful works of art because I have seen some tattoos that are really stunning. I have no tattoos but I’ve been thinking abt getting two or three. I would like a female lion tattoo with a sunflower crown, a dreamcatcher, and a tattoo that shows my love of music. The thing about tattoos is that they can be silly and have no meaning at all but they can also have super sentimental meaning like remembering a loved one or parents who get tattoos of their children’s names. My dad has my named tattooed on him in a heart! I want a lion tattoo with a sunflower crown because I’m a Leo and I love sunflowers and I had a friend that used to call me Sunflower and I love dreamcatchers and music is so important to me if you can’t tell by my blog. Hopefully some day soon I’ll get my tattoos.