The Year of the Phoenix

Peace, Fam:

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged (looks like October) and there have been so many amazing things going on in my life. I am obviously not going to try to sum them up in one blog, but I would love to point out a few high and low lights.

Happy New Year!
2011 was the bomb because I got married, but 2012 is off to an amazing start! My album, Space Between The Rain, is doing extremely well in the UK market. I am even #16 in a top 20 countdown on an FM radio station in Lagos, Africa. Are you kidding me? I’ve had some pretty good reviews about the album, including one in Germany! In Detroit, I was asked to perform my first gig since my album release party in October. It was the 8th Annual Motown WinterBlast! I gigged with my whole band: Damon Warmack, Randal Wilson, Chris Donaldson, Jeff Campbell, Inohs Sivad, Kesha Campbell, Alicia Spencer and Lavell Williams. We smashed it! Shout out to the soundman, Nick Albert (onsite) and Jim Gibbons (who loaned us the equipment). My album release party had some minor sound issues, but this show at WinterBlast created the sound that I’ve always wanted and imagined when performing. I am extremely grateful that my persistent hounding of Brian Major actually worked out in my favor. Upcoming opportunities to work with Mr. Major on River Days, Arts, Beats & Eats and a few of his private ventures are currently in the works. Another memorable gig I did this month was as a background singer for the legendary L’Renee. We sang Chaka Kahn’s I’m Every Woman during Mike-E’s Afro-Flow Event. That show was nothing short of amazing and L’Renee continues to remain a true professional. Shout out to my sisters Shay Love and Voni for being BEASTS on the mic. I am extremely excited about working with you all again. L’Renee called us “the ticket”!

A Change of Pace…
I’ve spent the last four years as a Curator & Coordinator of Exhibitions & Development at the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) through the University of Michigan. This position not only exposed me to the systemic ails of an underprivileged community and the transformative ritual of creating art, but it also highlighted the abuses that are often suffered by many of the soldiers that give 100 percent of themselves to a cause. In January 2012, because I no longer wanted to be an abused soldier, I quit working for PCAP to take a position for a financial consulting firm in Detroit. Without question, leaving was the best decision I ever made. I could spend time laundry listing all of the sexist and traditional issues that came with working for PCAP, but I’m not bitter enough for that. Do, however, invite me out for a cocktail or two to discuss how I really feel. I’ve got years’ worth of commentary. The organization has an incredible mission. PCAP does invaluable work. However, the organizational structure is nonexistent, there are no morale-building programs in place to encourage or refresh overworked staff members, there are no opportunities for growth or for the expansion of one’s creativity and talents, and the passive aggressive, manipulative, unwavering traditions of the fearless Founder would stun many of his ego-building worshippers. I digress, though. I did what was best for me and left that bullshit behind. I married a white man. I don’t need a nigga-saving, God-complex having white man to validate me, my talents or my value anymore. I chucked the deuces and have no intention of ever looking back. Yay Me!

Reason #50 why I will never move out of the suburbs…
I love Detroit. Lived there for 10 years. Read my first poem at Café Mahogany. Got pulled over for making out on Belle Isle. Smoked more weed (in my weed smoking years) at every Techno Fest (when it was called techno fest) that hit Hart Plaza for FREE. Fell in love in Detroit. However, the culture of FEAR that’s promoted in Detroit will continue to repel me. In the area that I currently live in, there are grocery stores with great produce. There are various shops that service all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and cultures that don’t separate me from them with bulletproof windows and ignorant stares. There are various parks and recreational spaces to live, work and play in. There is a false sense of safety around here. And you know what? I’ll take that any day to walking into a bank and needing to show a million pieces of ID, have an enema, promise my firstborn child, provide a fingerprint, eye scan, and DNA sample to cash a freaking check DRAWN ON YOUR BANK. I’m straight on that. No. Seriously. The City’s antics can kiss my butt.

Now that we’re married, me and Tony have been talking a lot about where we want to eventually live, what type of building (home, condo, loft) that we desire, et cetera. Since realizing our dream is a couple of years off, we’ve been nesting in our current apartment. I promised myself that while I was a live-in girlfriend, I would happily merge my items into my boyfriend’s space, but I wouldn’t be making a home with anyone who wasn’t my husband. Tony’s my husband now, so fresh coats of paint, purging of the old and bringing in new bedroom and living room furniture, bookcases, themes, passion – that’s all in the works now! We’ve got two amazing decorators, Cassie Poe and Risa Nalls, helping us with our vision and these chicks are absolutely stellar! This weekend will be filled with our first major purchases as a married couple, along with several cans of paint. I am so excited about building a HOME with my husband.

What I’m diggin’ on these days…
Tylonn J. Sawyer. Most that know me know that Ty is one of my very best friends. That aside, this fool is one the coldest visual artists in the land. He’s got about 80 billion (more like 3 or 4) new shows/installations of his work hanging around town. The one I’m proudest of is the one that I helped curate. It houses Whitney Syphax Walker’s and my husband’s (Tony) big ole’ heads. It’s free and opened to the public, the food is cheap (and tastes cheap) and the alcohol is good (even though it’s cheap too). Find yourself something creative to do and go look at some art.

Aricka Foreman. Another bestie. Until she allows me to officially spill the beans on her life, I’m just gonna say that this female can write her yoga-stretching behind off. I desire to hold her close as long as possible. Soon, she’s gonna become an ambassador for women all over the world. I’m proud of you, Buddy.

The Nalls. The Etheridges. The Delgados. Marvin and Corisa Nalls, George and Samara Etheridge, and Jose and Allison Delgado are the best friends any married couple could ask for. I’ve never been so happy to be surrounded by such a phenomenal group of young married folks! They pray with us, eat/drink with us, travel with us and stand in agreement with us to ensure that our marriages will stay strong. I am truly blessed.

My Siblings. LaKeisha Riley, Brian Moore and Tawana Petty are my life force and the real inspiration for my grind.

My Gals. Andi and Shoni, I believe that there is an entire universe yielding her goodness to us. This is OUR season.

My Album. You should take me home with you. I’ve got that R&B fire. Caution: you might get pregnant!

Safehouse. This movie at best was a B+. Ryan Reynolds actually acting like an actor and not cheesy ass Ryan Reynolds was nothing short of impressive. Denzel was his regular fine-looking, fine-acting self. I dug this film!

Chace “Mic Write” Morris and Whitney Syphax Walker officially dating. It’s really about time!

My new job. This joint right here has an awesome cast of staff members, reduced stress, lots of growth and learning potential, and a regular schedule that doesn’t include me being strapped down to someone else’s mania or my laptop.

My decorators: See Nesting. These chicks are off the chain.

Where you gon’ be little birdie?
I’ll be performing some of everywhere soon: Rochester College, University of Michigan Flint, Oakland University, an independent show in June. I promise to update my website this month:

I’ll be traveling some of everywhere for fun/sun/relaxation/performances: Riviera Maya, Mexico; Northern Michigan; Western Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; United Kingdom. I promise to blog more about my awesome adventures.

I’ll be praying for YOU and centering my thoughts on you living your most prosperous, happy and dream-fulfilled life. Life is not happening to you. Life is RESPONDING to you. What kind of energy are you putting out there?

It’s good to be back.

Yo Sista,




  1. Tawana · March 3, 2012

    I love you soooo much and I love your honesty in this blog. Your voice is so needed sister… Please keep blogging and sharing your soul with the world! Congrats on everything! You deserve it and more…

  2. Mr. Sawyer · March 3, 2012

    Thanks for the shout out Pookie! Yeah…this catch up blog is both hilarious and insightful. So glad your album is doing well and even happier that your performing! MORE SHOWS! MORE SHOWS!

  3. Traci Currie · March 4, 2012

    Great update. I am interested in seeing Ty Sawyer’s work. Wow — trying to get to know art again and phenomenal artists….Keep the updates comin’.

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