August 2, 2015

Kwanini?

In case you were wondering, that's how you say "what is it?" in Swahili.

I'm crossing off my mental bucket list. I must travel, travel travel! To Bali, see the Safari, Rome, Hong Kong, the list is long.

I made it to Kenya recently (yay!) I travelled through the city of Nairobi to Nakuru town, the countryside.  First thing to notice in Kenya is the fact that they drive on the left side, which means, the traffic flows the opposite way, at first, this can be disorienting if not used to it.

This is Africa? 

Nothing could have prepared me for my pleasant surprise. This place is beyond beautiful.

Kenya is a country blessed. It has a lot going for it, especially its natural resources. This is a place brimming with nature, many endangered species can still be found roaming around here among humanfolk, its greenery is lush, there are many lakes. Quite unforgettable is the late afternoon I came face to face with a baboon, distance couldn’t have been more than five feet (okay I was in the car). The creature must have just started his day and came out for some sun, it didn’t seem perturbed by the fact that I was literally screaming in excitement, it just sat on a mound on the side of a busy highway, looking left and right, scratching it's man parts and catching the afternoon breeze, as if to say “I’m used to screaming fans, enjoy the view!” To say the sight was unreal would be an understatement. This unusual sight would be strange to anyone not from Kenya, for different creatures roam around here. I caught a glimpse of the Massai herding cattle in usual tribal gear. There are cattle herders, sheep herders, goat herders, zebras grazing, donkeys galloping along, uniformed school children congregated on the side of the road by the bush, catching the afternoon sun. I wondered what their day was like.

Most enjoyable is sharing space with the wild. They roam free in the many national parks and lakes, due to time constraints, I couldn't explore them all. Beyond exciting is watching the giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, warthogs, hippos. Each one gather together in different herds. I zoomed in on a couple of baboons, one meticulously groomed the other, reminded me of a happy couple.


There are alot of things and places named Kenyatta.

Kenyatta International Conference Center is an important landmark located in the business district of Nairobi. With one of its buildings 28 stories high, it is the third tallest building in the city, the top deck is a tourist attraction, providing spectacular aerial views. Named after Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, it was completed in 1973 for events and exhibitions. It's amphitheater reminds me of the United Nations, a circular auditorium for at least 800 people with balcony mezzanines that spans at least 3 levels, look up and you will witness one of the best in architecture, it's where "heritage and mordernity meet." Unfortunately, no cameras allowed for security reasons. The amphitheater has played host to dignitaries from around the world, currently used for many conferences, exhibitions and different events all year round.

As I enjoyed spectacular views of the city of Nairobi, I'm reminded of the days on the observation deck on the 86th floor of Empire State Building in New York City, I also remember, I'm afraid of heights! I met the Balozi Family Chior, an organization that gives back to its country. They were in a recording session. They started this patriotic melody and although I couldn't understand what they were singing they commanded my attention. They were more than happy to explain.
I’m a Nigerian and proud of my heritage too, I would not trade my homeland for another. Matter of fact, I’ve gained greater appreciation for Nigeria in recent years that I simply want to stay connected, creating awareness anyway I can, collaborating with like minds on the goal of making Nigeria a place for which future generations would be proud. With that said, I call a spade a spade. Whoever dubbed Nigeria the giant of Africa must be talking about it’s geographical size (an inside joke of a friend), aside from that, Nigeria is yet to demonstrate that in any way else. Kenya, on the other hand gives Nigeria a run for all it’s oil money in terms of infrastructure. Good roads ease the burden of traffic. It could easily compete with the West.
I notice an uncanny difference between Kenya and Nigeria as I descended into it’s territory—LIGHTS! Twinkles outline the landscape like a settlement of fireflies, reassuring me we’ve arrived, holding a certain promise. I couldn’t help but wonder why a country that dubs itself as a giant cannot seem to get itself together. Why are there just too many inconveniences? The persistent lack of power supply in Nigeria is a cancer that have metastasized. It’s the fiber of our being. Will it ever be cured? I sure could use the internet, but we could start with steady electricity for now.

Another difference I noticed is at Kenya’s international airport—ORDER! There’s no haggling by vultures that parade themselves as authority figures with the agenda of collecting bribes. I really don’t understand why or how a country that portray itself as a giant cannot seem to get itself together. At the airport you can sense an order to things and the energy is peaceful, no feeling of struggle, no fighting, like that you experience Murtala Muhammed Airport and you swear you were the object of someone's nightmare last night. The luggage trolleys are free, staff greet you with smiles on their faces and go out of their way to help you, free of charge. In Nigeria, I had to assertively, sometimes aggresively ward off the vultures lurking at me, a lot of times, they think because you come from a foreign country with a foreign accent, you don’t understand their antics.
If you ever get a chance to head to Kenya, make sure you stop at a market or at least, a souvenir shop, you’d find many handmade materials you can’t find anywhere else. I admired the sheepskin goods crafted locally and quite supple, made into rugs, hats, and other accessories, it’s one of a kind. Milano Curio shop, a souvenir shop named after some Italians from many years ago that helped construct some of its roads and buildings. Although the Italians are gone for the most part, they left a part of them here. I encountered the tiniest church I’ve seen in my entire life, only fits two rows of church benches and and pulpit, with relics placed all around it. It made up for what it lacked in size with character. This Roman Catholic church was a spiritual refuge for the Italians who lived there back in the day, and couldn’t share a church with the British.

There's no education quite like you get from traveling the world. There are so many misconceptions fed to us on CNN. When I'm in the U.S, people want to know updates on Boko Haram and the Chibok girls, when I'm in Africa, people want to know if I was there to witness all the shootings involving black men. The truth is, you probably know just as much as I do. Media outlets and now social media feed into our paranoia, they perpetuate all the bad news in the world, portray a whole country, continent as all and the same when it comes to bad news (don't get me started on folks that think Africa is a country). A verse in the bible uses this metaphor (or parable): a little leaven ferments the whole lump [of bread]. Kinda like that. If we listened and internalized every news we hear, Isreal and the rest of the Middle East would look like a desolate, war-torn area with a sign 'Do Not Enter' stamped at the entrance, the entire continent of Africa would be a desert or a rainforest with the most rudimentary of human beings. What we watch on the news for the most part, as bad as it is, happens in small geographical areas.
It was a blast hanging out with Tamara, George, John and Carol. Time wasn't on my side or we'd toured the whole country. John kept reminding me to ask questions and ensure I've crossed off everything on my must-see list. George, thanks for showing me your HIV/AIDS clinic in Nakuru town. It's admirable to hear how you single-handedly work on getting the street workers off the streets and educating them.We can all make a differece in the world, one individual case worker at a time. I will be back.

Here’s a tip:

  • If you’re not a Kenyan resident, make sure you have your passport with you at all times as a form of identification. This has its disadvantage, as Kenyans tend to raise their prices up to 75% to non-residents. So, it is also advised that you have a Kenyan show you around and help you shop. A day at the National Park is 1200 KES (Kenyan Shilings) for a Kenyan and 7500 KES for a non-resident. Souvenir shops jack up their prices for tourists.
  • Kenyans love their greens: kale, cabbage.  Kenyans also love their tea, they're tea growers, it's the offering of choice in their households. When a Kenyan offers you some tea expect to have milk in it, you can choose to add sugar.
  • The exchange rate is 1:95 (Dollar to KES, approx.)
  • It's cold in the Summertime. Be sure to pack a light jacket and sweater.
  • Kenyan families are hospitable, you should expect that, don't be shy, it might be an insult if you refuse an offering in their home.
  • Leave all the misconceptions you've heard about Africa at the airport and plan to have a good time!
  • When you hear "Karibu" in Kenya, smile because they just welcomed you!
Mural of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta during the colonial years, being released from prison. A prominent sight in KICC.

Msadaku.

July 5, 2015

African Time

"It's time to go to school!" "It's time for work daddy." "It's time to go to church!"

Onyekachi is a stickler for time, she always has been. Her nickname was "Clock" growing up, she'd annoy everybody in the house when she went around banging on bedroom doors, screaming at the top of her lungs every morning reminding her family what time it is. Weekday mornings at 5am, or Sunday mornings at 7 o'clock for the 9am mass at St. Ebenezer's. Precocious little girl she was, a walking alarm clock. Her nickname was her badge of honor, at the end every school year she received an award in front of the school assembly for Most Punctual Student. “Clock!” her big brothers would tease, "let me see your award na” they’d say in pidgin English. Her mother kept all her awards and handed them all to her when she was on her way to the U.S for the university.

"What is C.P.T?" Onyekachi asked one day as she booked an assignment to shoot a lovely Louisiana couple’s wedding anniversary. This would be the first for her, coming out of Photography school, she finally landed a paying gig. “Colored People Time!” laughed Louisa. “You know we don’t ever get to a party on time! It’s in our DNA. If the party invite says nine o’clock, just come at twelve and you’d be right on time.” “Amongst Africans it’s called 'African time'” Onyeka mused. She couldn’t remember where the unlearning happened. She went from throwing a tantrum and going on hunger strike the year she lost the Most Punctual Student award to another student in Primary Six, to just accepting African time—concept of accepting tardiness or lateness to scheduled events by Africans. She threw a house warming party last year and printed 3 o’clock on the invite when she intended to have her party kick-off at seven.

One day however was different. She booked a high profile gig in Dallas, about four hours away from her residence in Houston, Texas; a lavish gala for Nigeria’s high society women, event to start 9pm on a Saturday. It was Friday at 5pm, her mechanic just informed her, her car will not be ready for tomorrow, unfortunately, the oxygen sensor did not come in on time, it’s taking so long because she wanted to save on an after market brand. “Are you sure Oscar?” she pleaded. This isn’t good, this gig is not paying some chicken change, besides, if she wins this client over with this first gig, she can count on a steady income from referrals alone, that means she can finally open photo studio and stop renting equipment, or paying anyone commission for her referrals.

"Ginika I'm finished! I don't have a car to go to Dallas. You know the Exquisite Women's Gala is tomorrow?"
"Yes I know." Ginika said over the phone. "Mechanic still not done with the car?"
"Nooo, last week it was break pads, the other time it was battery, I am so tired of this car!"
"Well you've given it five years and two hundred and fifty thousand miles. Maybe it's time for a new car."
"Ha!" Onyeka mused. "This car was very reliable until last year o, it's like when these things happen, they happen all at once. Honda makes very good cars you know. Hopefully this will be the last problem for a while."
"Or hopefully, Exquisite Women will be your lottery ticket, so you can replace that car."
"That too!" They both laugh. "On a more serious note, I'm in trouble. How am I supposed to get to Dallas now? This is so last minute—"
"Wait! I know for sure Ms. Olabi is going to that gala tomorrow, you should see her at my shop talking about it like it was the Met."
"She would not miss it now! I hate to go with her though, she's too loud, her and her madam friends."
"Real thick madam, or is it Lagos exports? 'Look at my Loowie vuton, Lexus Jeep.' As if those people care they blow 5K on a piece of hand bag?"
Onyeka hissed "Is this my only option?"
"Well it's either that or you can take the Mega Bus. I know Ms. Olabo very well, she listens to me, it's like I remind her of a sister she never had."
"Oya now, work your magic! Please let me know soon I beg."
"No problem my sister."

It's 9pm Onyeka waits impatiently for a call that seems to never come. Ginika calls exactly at 9:15pm. "Ms. Olabi has agreed to take you along, she said you must be at her house at 11:30am they plan on leaving at 12."
"Ah ah now! Why so early? I have a birthday party to shoot at Stooges tonight, I will not be able to sleep."
"My sister, you have to manage, I think she said something about going in a van with other people, maybe her madam friends."
"Oh that! This should be interesting, maybe she should leave at 9am then to make sure she picks every body up on time." 
"I know right? Well good luck with them tomorrow." Ginika gives Onyeka Ms. Olabi's number, instructs her to call at 9am to confirm arrangements.

"Hello is this Ms. Olabi?"
"Yes Onyeka, how are you?" 
After acquainting themselves over the phone, Ms. Olabi warns Onyeka to ensure she'd make it to her residence on time, confirms they plan on leaving at 12pm sharp. It was 9am, Onyeka made quick breakfast—frosted flakes, dashed in the shower. She returned from her night gig at 6am. She had been unable to sleep in anticipation. This could be her big break. Exquisite Sisters, Dallas is well known in the Diaspora, made of wives of elected Nigerian officials, women with burgeoning companies, rich philanthropists. This year the focus is on "Bring Back Our Girls," a charity organization.

11am, Onyeka is waiting on her Uber driver who arrived exactly on 11:10 on the dot, according to the GPS the ride is exactly 20mins. She hops in the car with her backpack full of camera gear and off she went. She arrived at Ms. Olabi's gate at 11:35am dialed the provided security code and was at her front door. For someone who had to leave at 12pm, there's a lot going on in the kitchen, the women— three of them seemed busy moving back and forth between the kitchen and the living room. Onyeka noticed a number of food coolers on and around the dinning table next to the kitchen. The women all communicated and laughed in their native Nigerian language originating in the west. As they walked by her in the sitting room, Onyeka discerned a twinge of unfriendliness, underlaying the half smiles displayed when they made eye contact. The women might have "just come" last week or they can't speak a word of English. One thing is sure: they could use a class in proper etiquette when hosting visitors.

"Would you like some Jollof rice?" One of the women approached Onyeka in the living room with a disposable plastic container held tipped over with seasoned red rice in it, the container must be the mixing spatula. "No thank you." Onyeka replied with half a smile. She was antsy, it was 1:30pm and there's no real urgency displayed by the women of the house. By the looks of it, they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
"Are you okay madam?" A lanky gentleman on a couch opposite of hers asked, he must have noticed her uneasiness. "I'm sorry, I thought we were leaving at 12, what's the hold up?"
"We are waiting for the driver with the van, he should be here soon."
"Okay? I wish I was told that a head of time, I was told to be ready by 11:30 today, I haven't slept since last night. It would be nice to know this ahead of time to plan accordingly."
"The driver will be here soon, you know, it's is better to get there safe than late."
What? Onyeka left that nonsense alone. The house—large enough to host a community meeting was becoming too small for her. The women continued to pace back and forth the house, in deep conversation that alienates visitors, pacing between the kitchen and other parts of the house, they didn't seem to care she was there at all. A 60-inch flat screen on the entertainment wall streamed the latest hits by African musicians on YouTube.

"Would you like something to drink?" She noticed the man again holding up a bottle of water and a can orange Fanta. She almost forgot he was still sitting across from her, engrossed in her worries. He must have noticed how increasingly uncomfortable she had become. "No thank you," she replied simply, politely. With that she decided to step outside for some fresh air... and to take out her frustrations out on someone. "I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm in the middle of nowhere and these women are too cavalier for my own liking, didn't you tell me they were living at 12?"
"My sister Ms. Olabi was adamant o! Chei! These women! If I had known I wouldn't have let you ride with her. I know you haven't slept. Let me talk to her for you." Ginika hangs up the phone and calls back 10 mins later. "Go and give Ms. Olabi your phone, she's not picking my calls. If she doesn't talk to me now, then she can find another tailor to tolerate her demanding, indecisive and needy behind. I swear to you when this woman is in my shop, I have to give her at least two hours, she comes with all the latest fabrics he managed to find in Dubai, then won't have a clue what to do with all of them, for someone who knows nothing about design, she spends time arguing with me about why she can't have a dress like Angelina Jolie's with a thigh high split or why I cannot give a 56 year old woman with a body like michelin man a midriff. After much fighting and wasting my time, she turns around and tells me I'm the best tailor in the city of Houston. I appreciate her clientele but she can go to hell."

By the time Ginika finished her sentence, Onyeka was standing in front of Ms. Olabi. "Phone for you," Onyeka sits across from her on the dining table where she converses with the other women. "Halo Ginika...yes we are waiting on the driver...yes we will be leaving soon...ah ah now, we won't be late, we should be leaving by the next hour...mmhmm...bye." Onyeka thought it peculiar and amusing how Ms. Olabi's demeanor changed from that of a roaring lion to a Siamese cat. She wondered if Ginika has something on the woman that goes beyond dress making. Particularly amusing was overhearing their conversation. Ginika called her a celebrity that needs at least 4 hours of beauty rest before getting ready for the event, to Ms. Olabi, she is a celebrity photographer and blogger.

At 4:30pm, some middle aged gentlemen arrive in a crossover SUV, it has three rows of seats, would fit eight people uncomfortably. They all begin to load the vehicle and talking amongst themselves in their native language. "Have you put your bags in the car?" Ms. Olabi asked. Oh? Guess that's my que. "I will bring my bag." Onyeka meticulously places her backpack in the corner of the trunk, making sure nothing ends up on top of it during the drive to Dallas. This was going to be a very uncomfortable ride, she's assigned a seat in the back, the optional third row that folds down for more space when not in use, she's seated behind by the rear window next to two others. There was no leg room.
African Time is a film by Kelechi Eke, addresses tardiness among Africans. More info here.
The vehicle makes stops along the way to Dallas, rest stops, switch drivers, one stop at an employer—a taxi cab service. Please save me! Onyeka sends a text to Ginika. They go back and forth. At least you're now on your way, it'd be over soon, I'm so sorry. Onyeka was beyond exhausted, couldn't wait to get out of her nightmare. The consolation: she'd sleep well in her reserved hotel room much later.
"Can you shift?" A heavy-set woman next to her asked in a thick Nigerian accent for her to squeeze herself further into the corner. As thin-boned as she is she could probably manage half a seat, she could imagine the woman thinking that. "I'm sorry, but I have nowhere to shift." Onyeka directs the woman's glance to her corner. "Can you move your leg please?" Clearly irritated, she demanded the woman to confine her self exactly on her seat and to stop trying get into her personal space, she could miss a few meals. Almost immediately, she recanted from that thought.

Five hours later, they finally arrive at the venue's parking lot, they were thirty minutes late. Not enough time to check into her hotel room. She'd have to get right to work. Onyeka was dumbfounded. By the time they finally let her out of the vehicle, a load lifted off her body. The whole group, all eight of them stared as she simply stepped out and picked up her backpack. "Thank you" she said simply and disappeared into the venue.

 
Msadaku.

June 3, 2015

Wetin Dey?

I spent some time with folks at Radio Continental 102.3 FM. For those that didn't know, RC 102.3FM is Nigeria's #1 controversial radio station, under the parent company CBS—Continental Broadcasting Service (more on that here). I was privileged to be part of Wetin Dey, a rush hour talkshow about Nigeria's state of affairs discussed with local humor. Topics ranged from Nigeria's current fuel scarcity to discussions on love, relationships—heavily on deck, same sex relationships. Folks, this is not at all boring, run-the-mill show here, this is some folks entertaining the masses and having a good time doing it too. There's no dull moment as Sisi Caretaker and the rest of her crew captivated the audience in their different personas, special guests are featured, the audience listening got to chip in too! You've got to listen in sometime. As a special guest I pulled some tricks. I didn't realize there's enough Pidgin English still left in me, flirting all afternoon with Wale, all in good fun. As I continue to wet my feet in the entertainment world, I realize I'm most definitely in my element. 
Wale
Sisi Caretaker
The crew: Wale, Sisi, Iya and Obus
A special thank you to my sista' from another mother Sisi Caretaker, Wale Popopo, Iya Jogbo and Obus Zalee for sharing their platform with me. Tune in to RC 102.3 FM, weekdays from 2-4pm WAST for the latest trending and controversial topics on air with a playful spin. RC 102.3FM is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @rc1023fm.

Msadaku.

January 4, 2015

Dirty laundry

Saturday is the first day to reel from the rigors of a five-day workweek, it's like drawing a slow, conscious and deep breath after panting on a fast treadmill for minutes on end. On Saturdays, Andrea's day is predictable, Milo climbs on her, kisses her to wake, they go for a run at the bayou, one mile away from her home on Lexington avenue. After a three and a half mile run, they return. Milo sits on the balcony watching the children's football practice in the school field across the street while Andrea continues her day in errands, chores around the house, grocery shopping. The act of cleaning is therapeutic and Andrea loves to indulge with all her might, dusting, cleaning, mopping and finally, laundry.  Although she enjoys doing her laundry, she loathes putting her clean clothes away. There are piles of clean laundry in hampers in her closet, which she takes her time putting away in weeks to come.

November 15, 2014

Reflective moments — Shifts

Photo credit: Your Coffee Break
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Shift? For me is working a nine-to-five on a job in the office, or working twelve hours in a healthcare facility. Amongst nurses, you hear them talking about shifts assigned, like Day, Evening, Night shift. I could be diagnosed a Shift-work Insomniac (true story).

June 24, 2014

Check out Msada on Spice TV Africa!

Snowball is what happens, they say when you live your life—I mean, the life you're meant to live.  I decided to do what ever it is to be me.  Somehow, I've combined my different loves into a career path.  Funny, none of this is planned.  I wouldn't have thought five years ago, that I'll be living my best life, let alone, writing about it.
What a fabulous opportunity to be featured on TV! On Spice TV Africa that is.  I had a great time working with Spice TV Africa, bringing my motherland Spice Most sought after photographers.    Episode originally aired on June 6th.  Spice Most is an official countdown in everything fashion, pop culture and style and you can catch an episode on Spice TV Africa, on Africa's DSTV Channel 192, Fridays at 2.  Notable photographers highlighted (not all inclusive) were Obi Somto, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Hakeem Salaam, Seyi Isikalu, Emeka Okereke, Ty Bello.

June 23, 2014

May 20, 2014

Road to MAMAs with Absolut Vodka, Cocktail party, Elegushi Beach, Lagos

I had to privilege recently of working with folks at Absolut Vodka.  At a cocktail party held at the popular Elegushi beach in Lekki, Lagos, drones of fans and connoisseurs alike showed up for an event meant to support the Road to the MAMAs (MTV Africa Music Awards) campaign.  The event delivered with the likes of Nigerian superstar Yemi Alade performing for the enthusiastic crowd her signature single "Johnny."

May 5, 2014

Lagos!

So here in the motherland there's a lot going on.  I found myself in a jungle like none else.  Lagos, once a nation's capital has now become amongst other things, an entertainment hub.  Aspiring artists now navigate this jungle in other to make it big.   Here in recent times, it's the ever growing music industry.  Musicians have shot through the waterworks.  there are a lot already on the scene in the music videos in the dedicated channels.  Music is just as big here as any where else.

April 7, 2014

Happy!

Anytime I need a little pick me up, I can always count on inspiration from Pinterest.  There are little gems of wisdom everywhere.
I'M BAAACK!  I've been gone for far too long.  Hello readers!  Thanks for stopping by.

Have a good day my friends.

Thanks for reading.
I appreciate you.
Love,
Msada.

February 17, 2014

Interview with Tolu Omotola.

I was thrilled at the opportunity spend the day watching Hapoel Rishon LeZion women’s basketball team, thanks to a dear friend of mine Toluwani (Tolu) Omotola.  She’s known basketball most of her life.  From a young age, her charisma and talent put her under the radar.  Being so hardworking and dedicated to the sport, it was a no-brainer where she’d end up.  Through high school, she played for Dulles Vikins and Bellaire Cardinals.  In college, she played for Liberty Flames and TCU Horned Frogs.  Now she plays pro.  She often has to be away stretches of time from family to play overseas.  Currently, she’s playing in the city of Rishon LeZion, Israel.  She's one out of three African-American women drafted into their women's basketball league.

February 6, 2014

Shabbat Shalom!

I probably heard this many times than I can recall in Israel on a Friday.  I was in Jewish territory.  It was the day before Shabbat—day of rest.  In Israel, the weekend starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday.  On Saturday, people go to their different places of worship—Christians included.  Sunday begins the workweek.  There are so many days held sacred. There’s no separation of church and state.  Almost every holiday have a religious significance.  Notable is Yom Kippur—a day of Atonement—NO ONE drives.  Literally at sundown at Yom Kippur eve, if you find yourself on the highway, you have to stop the car and walk all the way home.  Be sure to have a healthful meal and sex because ya ain’t getting any on Yom Kippur!

January 15, 2014

Reflective moments — Travel

Do you travel?

I travel a lot.   I've been to twelve states in the U.S out of fifty, the District and the Virgin islands; some of them I made repeated visits.  Outside the US, I've been to three different countries.  

To some of you this might not seem like a lot.  I know there are loads of places to visit.  My goal is to do more international travel—Bali, Rome, Tokyo, South Africa, etc are all on my list.  There's just something about travel that you can't learn in a classroom.  I've always admired people who can jet set on a dime, they only need necessities in a backpack.

December 30, 2013

Reflective moments — Roar!

Photo Credit: Chris Penny via Compfight cc
Stand for nothing,

Fall for Everything.

I've been inspired to write this post since Katy Perry's "Roar."  Sometimes it takes the right words to get a message across.  Just few words, not many, opens the door to clarity and the "Aha! Moments."

I think of the various epiphanies I've been fortunate to realize at the stage of life that I'm in.  Suddenly, life makes a whole lot of sense, in a way that I never fathomed.  Ever aim to please?  Does approval matter to you?  Ever been at crossroads where a decision means choosing happiness—either yours or that of others?  I've been asked these questions in one way or another recently.  I've been part of a young man's life since childhood.  Right now he's at a crossroads.  One day he asked me "what do you do when you know you have to make a decision that would make you happy but will end up hurting the people you love?" Growing up as one of the oldest in the household, a lot is ridding on him to set an example for his young siblings.    He knows making an important decision would mean either  putting himself first, or putting his family first, either way he'd make a decision that would either hurt himself or his loved ones.  Does he pursue a financially secure career or a passion with an uncertain future?  For most of his life, he'd been humble and respectful of his family, they've guided and molded him into a fine young man.  Just like men before him, he's of the age where he seeks independence.  He wants to break out of the bubble that's been created for him.  He wants to know what it's like to finally be a man, make independent decisions.  Most of all, he wants to be happy.  He does know, however that he might make a decision that might cause his folks to label him a Deviant.  He might end up displeasing his own family.  Such decision he's not taking lightly. 

December 26, 2013

Age gracefully.

I had the privilege of shooting a high school reunion for the class of 1965.  Ever heard of Kashmere High school?  Yes that one, the one in the famous documentary, known for their Jazz ensemble—The Kashmere Stage Band.  Jay Z was acting principal for a day in the school in 2002.  The one and only.

December 9, 2013

Zoe: The Book Launch

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with one of my fast becoming favorite book authors - Nkem Denchukwu.  This woman's hard at work.  She's been on a country wide tour promoting Gem of the Rainforest.  In between, she managed to pen down a children's book: Zoe—the first in a series to come (available here).  All of this on the heels of a full length novel titled Tribal Echoes released last year (available here).  All in all, she's managed to pull all that off as a single mother of four (phew! Now that's a woman after my own heart!).  I met up with her at her home as she's readies for anticipated guests of the book launch.  Now I've never been to any book launch that catered to the guests with gourmet ethinic foods to salivate and warm the palate as you toured her warm and inviting home and checked out her latest effort.

November 26, 2013

Houston ArtCrawl.

Local Houstonian artists showcased their works in this past weekend's Houston ArtCrawl 2013.  The ArtCrawl is a tradition that's been held up since 1992; takes place every year the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Local artists open up their showrooms in the Warehouse district to entertain and enlighten visitors on Contemporary Art.  There's good eats, entertainment to liven the entire neighborhood.  Although I missed the big show this past Saturday that pulled in quite a crowd from 10AM-12AM, I caught the remnants of the event on Sunday.  I got a chance to meet and interview old friends like Anita Varadaraju and Curtis Christianson; as well as and new acquaintances Galina Kurlat, Syd Moean, Liduine Bekman; amazing artists at Hardy and Nance street studios.  I was blown away by the Black and White landscape and portraits of Galina—reminded me of why I fell in love with photography—it's the old world film grain, the classic edge that the black and white film produced.  Reminded me of circa 1930's.  She done amazing work with an impressive resume.  You can currently find her work at the Museum of fine Arts Houston, she's been featured in many Arts magazines and newspapers, including the Houston press.  We instantly clicked emigrating from a foreign country and ending up in New York for a few years and falling in love with black and white photography and dark room processing.  Something as peculiar as her work is the camera that she uses, dates back to the 1920's.  Not so easy to find those types of film anymore. She's currently planning a show in February at Lawndale art center with a series called Safe Distance.  Visit her website anytime and connect with her for updates on her upcoming show.  More on the upcoming exhibit here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...