Queen Sugar – Season 2 Wrap-Up

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Well, it’s been a week and I think I’m almost done processing Season 2 and the finale of my absolute favorite show, Queen Sugar!

If you haven’t ever watched Queen Sugar (and I don’t know who you are), you are missing out on one of the most NECESSARY shows of this time.

Oprah and Ava DuVernay have literally created art on television that shows African-Americans loving, learning and forgiving in a healthy way.  The Bordelon family definitely took us viewers on an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with highs, lows, joy, pain, laughter and disbelief.

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America’s favorite couple, Hollywood and Aunt Vi, brought us so much joy this season that I found myself cheesing all throughout the season each time they came on the screen. Whether they were hugging, caressing, kissing, or cooking pies together, this beautiful Black couple showed us that they are the epitome of “grown-folks” love.

With Hollywood eventually getting his official divorce decree, they were finally able to move to the next level.  And it was truly a beautiful moment to watch Hollywood profess his love and finally propose to Aunt Vi!  But what made it even sweeter is that moments before, Hollywood received news that he would be receiving a huge check from his former employer. When he looked into Aunt Vi’s eyes and said, “Baby, we rich,” and then a few moments later, he proposed, it was a such a majestic moment.

The oldest Bordelon sibling, Nova, spent this entire season both searching and running from love.  I think I was just as exhausted as she was by the end of the season. When Nova meets Dr. Robert Dubois, an epidemiologist at a symposium in Atlanta, it seemed like she’d finally made a love connection. However, by a few episodes later, it became evident that Nova felt that Robert was a great guy, just not the guy for her. Robert felt that Nova had so much potential and that together they could conquer the world. He had so many dreams for Nova and saw so much possibility for them as a team.  But no matter what he thought or felt, Nova let him know that she didn’t need him dreaming for her. And after that, she promptly gave him his walking papers. Enter Calvin. I’d been wondering what happened to Calvin all season. It seemed like he had possibly left his wife and wanted to finally be with Nova. But for most of the season, he’d been ghost. But when Calvin finally made his entrance, Nova was drawn to him like a magnet. They finally had “the talk” that they needed to have. But when she told him, “For you, I’m freedom but for me, you’re prison,” it was beyond evident that they could never have a future together.

The middle sibling, Charley, seemed like no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t catch a break. After she finally got her mill up and running, one of her machines briefly choked, causing her to have a nervous breakdown smack in the middle of her grand opening. And if that wasn’t bad enough, her archenemies, the Boudreaux family, eventually convinced practically all of her farmers to stop milling with her.  By the end of the season, Charley was left with only three farmers milling with Queen Sugar. Forced to make a quick decision, she finally decided that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”  She told Ralph Angel that they would have to begin milling with the Boudreaux family in order to finally slaughter them at their game. But when she confided in her boyfriend, Remy, about her plan, he decided that he was completely done with Charley, business-wise and personal.

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During this particular season, the youngest Bordelon sibling, Ralph Angel, endured enough drama to last a lifetime.   I think for most people (as well as myself) the most jaw-dropping scene was when Ralph Angel’s fiance, Darla, confessed that Blue might not be his son. The sheer look of pain on Ralph Angel’s face was enough to make anyone cry right along with him. As expected, Ralph Angel was truly distraught and couldn’t seem to move past Darla’s deceit. Ralph Angel internalized the pain for some time and then finally went looking for Darla when he was ready to talk.  All of us viewers waited with bated breath as Ralph Angel journeyed from motels to crack houses looking for Darla after she seemingly disappeared. Had she relapsed? Did she skip town and go home to her parents? Did she commit suicide? But thank God after plenty of searching, Ralph Angel finally found her swimming at the local YMCA.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see someone swimming laps in a pool.  So a big kudos goes to Darla for releasing her pain in a healthy way.  That particular scene between those two was without a doubt the most intense scene of the season.  To see the pain on their faces as they dealt with betrayal, hurt, and the ending of a relationship was crushing.  And for the first time ever in his life, Ralph Angel stopped with the whisper-talking and actually talked in a regular voice. He even yelled at the top of his lungs. That alone left me in a state of shock for about three days. Ralph Angel actually screamed?! What the dickens?  It just shows that Ralph Angel is a multi-layered character and Kofi Siriboe’s acting skills are off da’ chain!  Oh, TRUST ME when I tell you that many Emmys are in Kofi’s future!

He further proved that his chops are untouchable with the most beautiful scene between Ralph Angel and Blue. The two were talking about how Blue got his name and Ralph Angel uttered the most beautiful lines ever delivered in television history; Blue is the sky. Blue is the ocean. Blue is everything good. That’s you, son. Everything good. Cue the tissue box because tears were flowing ’round the world when those lines were delivered. What an amazing and loving way to end the season; the unconditional love and unbreakable bond between father and son.

As always, Queen Sugar has proven that no matter what challenges life may bring, family will always be there for each other. I’m already missing the Bordelon family and am eagerly anticipating season 3!

Time For My Queen Sugar Re-Up!

 

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Anybody else counting down the minutes until the Season 2 premiere of OWN’s Queen Sugar?  It’s been WAY too long since we’ve heard from our beloved Bordelon family, whose patriarch Ernest passed away & left his family with an 800-acre sugarcane farm to maintain.

Because of the smart storylines, incredible acting, and beautiful scenery, Season 1 sucked so many of us in like quicksand.  Watching Queen Sugar simply feels like home and home is always where the heart truly is.  When watching the show, all we see is plush, beautiful land as far as the eye can see.

And everything about the scenery feels so familiar.  It personally reminds me of the land my grandfather owned in rural Athens, Alabama.  As a little girl, my family would travel to Athens 2 or 3 times per year, and I used to always complain that I was bored and there was nothing to do out there in all those fields.  I wanted to go back to my comfortable suburban life.  But baybeeeee, knowing what I know now, there is so much history, power and life in all of that rich land.

But I digress: back to the lecture at hand (lol): Queen Sugar.  Did I mention how versatile and amazing this cast of characters is?  The 3 main characters of Queen Sugar are the adult Bordelon children: Charley, Nova & Ralph Angel.

Charley is the oldest sibling who is trying to piece her life back together after divorcing her philandering NBA husband.  Nova is the weed smoking/selling, spiritual community activist who is dating a White man on the local racist police force.  Yup, she’s all over the place….but her heart is big and kind.

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And then you have Ralph Angel.  Oh, Ralph Angel.  Perfectly played by the brilliant and oh-so-sexy Kofi Siriboe, Ralph Angel is going through so many transitions and can’t seem to catch a break.  Sometimes I find myself talking back to the t.v. because at times Ralph Angel makes poor choices and seems to get himself in conundrums that were totally preventable.

But my love for Kofi Siriboe helps me to not stay angry at Ralph Angel.

When Kofi was recently quoted as saying:  “I love Black women, and I shouldn’t have to tiptoe around that fact,” I shouted Hallelujah to the Most High for creating such an amazing man!  And when Kofi shared this awesome vision of his: “I imagine a world where men deliberately, specifically, and unapologetically create a space for women to be all that they naturally are, not all that we want them to be,”  I WAS DONE.  I mean, stick a fork in me done.  Chiiiiile, I didn’t know they were making ’em like this anymore.  And did I mention that Kofi feels that it is super-important for him to connect with this fans, so he responds to tweets, IG comments and (gasps) even opens his DM’S so fans can call leave their number so he can call them directly!  WOOOOOO-CHILE, my temperature is just rising thinking of how sexy, smart, giving and grateful Kofi is.  So because I am so enthralled by Kofi, it really is hard for me to stay mad at Ralph Angel for too long. (lol)

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Rounding out the talented cast is Blue, Darla, Remy and Hollywood.

Blue is the absolutely adorable 6-year-old-son of Ralph Angel and Darla.  Darla has been estranged from the family because of her drug habit, but she’s doing her best to show that she’s clean and getting her life back on track.  Remy starts off as a great friend to Charley but eventually develops into her amazing love interest.

But my absolute favorite character is Aunt Vi—who is both the glue and voice of reason in the Bordelon family.  And one of the things that I love most about Aunt Vi is that she’s not the typical overweight, unstylish Southern matriarch.  Aunt Vi is sexy.  And fly.  And smart.  And youthful.  And dating a man that’s 15-years her junior.  And his name is Hollywood.  And I absolutely love it.

Family. Betrayal. Secrets. Legacy. Queen Sugar is giving it to us ALL kinds of ways & I am so here for all of it.   So make sure you catch the Season 2 Premiere of Queen Sugar tonight at 10pm EST on OWN.

 

THE B.E.T NEW EDITION MOVIE #NE4Life

WOOOOOO-CHILE!!!!!!  It’s one week later and who else besides me is still on a high from constantly re-watching The New Edition movie?!?!

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For the past 7 days, I’ve been watching, pausing, rewinding and slow’ mo-ing all of my favorite scenes, especially the ones with my Ralphie-Pooh a.k.a. Rizz.

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Yup, it’s unbelievable that over 30 years later, my childhood crush on Ralph Tresvant has reignited in full force!  I’m telling you that this movie has had me You-tubing all of Ralph’s classic interviews, performances and videos like I ain’t gotta go to work the next morning. LOL!   So as it began for me circa 1985, I still cannot get enough of Rizz in 2017: his voice, his smile, his laugh & his amazing dancing.  Ralph Tresvant was definitely the ORIGINAL BAE for all of us little brown girls in the neighborhood.

But back to the movie though!  Can we just talk about the casting for a minute?!  Yooooooo!  The script HAD to have a disclaimer at the beginning in big, bold letters that read: if you attempt to join this cast, you MUST be able to act your tail off!  Point, blank and the period. Because bay-beeeeeee, Michael Rapaport was perfect as NE’s sleazy, money-hungry manager.  Tank KILLED IT as music executive Jheryl Busby. And Wood Harris was simply BRILLIANT as the amazing NE founder, mentor, manager, choreographer Brooke Payne.newedition

The entire cast was phenomenal (The Littles & The Bigs) but to me, the standout star was Algee Smith, who portrayed Ralph Tresvant.  Algee had Ralph’s look, voice, facial expressions, movements, dances and nuances down-pat to a tee!  It was simply amazing to watch Algee morph into Ralph on screen.   For a minute, I actually forgot I was watching a movie & was thinking I was really watching all of the NE members on screen—-that’s how phenomenal all of the acting was!  And for me, the most amazing performance scenes in the movie were the: If It Isn’t Love video, Can You stand The Rain studio session and the BET 25th anniversary performance.  Again, the cast had each respective NE member’s voice and mannerisms down to a tee!  Awesome sauce!!

And the most tear-jerking scene was when little Ralph called manager, Maurice Starr, on a pay phone on a cold, snowy night in Boston circa 1982 to let him know that he wouldn’t accept a solo deal from him—-Maurice would have to sign them ALL as a group. That scene made me truly realize how big Ralph’s heart was from the beginning. His loyalty was unmatched and I so hate that it wasn’t reciprocated.  My heart truly was hurting for Ralph throughout the movie.  I really do want to talk to him, give him a warm embrace & let him know that God sees ALL and He will reward for all sacrifices.

This NE movie showed how the amazing director, Chris Robinson paid keen attention to detail to make such a believable and powerful biopic.  Thank you to the talented cast, director, producers and BET for collaborating on this incredible movie.  And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the legendary New Edition for sharing your story with the world.  It was long overdue and we needed it.

Watching your joy, triumphs, disappointments and ultimate success on-screen has made this the BEST. BIOPIC. EVER. !!!!      #NE4Life

Kids Caught Doing Good – Donovan Smith

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Today, Donovan Smith is being spotlighted for his humanitarian efforts.

In some aspects, Donovan is just like any other 13-year-old: he loves to play with his friends and to play video games.  But what sets Smith apart from most kids his age is the fact that he’s been a guest on talks shows such as The Queen Latifah show & has even had a role in the movie, Independence Day.  

But most importantly, Donovan owns his own business which he invests lots of his time, creativity & energy into helping others, especially child abuse victims.  His humanitarian efforts led him to win the Youth Choice Award sponsored by the McDonald’s 365Black Community Awards.

This formerly homeless teen entrepreneur is working selflessly to give others a fresh start. In 2011, Donovan and his single mother found themselves living in a homeless shelter when she lost her job and their apartment, due to health reasons.  When Smith’s mother began receiving disability benefits a few months later, they were able to move into special housing for veterans. It was then that the greatness inside of Donovan began to manifest.

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Donovan has spent the last two years to help those affected by homelessness, as he and his mother once were.  First, his mom taught him the basics of soap making and he figured out the rest through a series of classes.  Then he began to sell his bath products in person every weekend at the Rail Yards Market. “Every week,” his mother commented to The Washington Post, “he was up at 4 a.m. on Sunday, packing his wagon with all of his soaps.”

The products for which Smith became known are elaborately designed and look like glazed doughnuts, corn on the cob, cupcakes, cookies, hamburgers, eggs and snow globes.

Shortly thereafter, his business went from the Rail Yards Market to his own Etsy Store called Toil and Trouble.  Donovan used his earnings to help others that were less fortunate.  “People helped us and now I want to help others,” Donovan says.

Donovan’s commitment has compelled many—including celebrities—across the county to donate their time, energy and money to help others in need. bath products to shelters.

Congratulations, Donovan, on all of your endeavors!

Mondays are Amazing!!!

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MONDAY MOTIVATION

 

It’s Monday morning again. For lots of people, that means grunts and groans as they drag their way to work or school. It’s another long day of drudgery for them. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Mondays should be and can be just as exciting as a Friday. It’s really all in your perspective.

Today is another day that was granted for you that you did not pay for. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that you are living and breathing in this moment on a Monday morning. As the old church folks used to say, “Somebody went to bed last night and didn’t wake up this morning.”  What a blessing it is to still be in the land of the living!   Your alarm clock didn’t wake you up this morning—-God did. Stay in a constant state of gratitude as you let that truth marinate. Trust me, if you placed alarm clocks in the cemetery, no one would wake up.

It just confirms what an honor it is to be granted another day on God’s precious earth—–that means that he still has purpose for you! Now it’s just up to you to allow that purpose to manifest. God didn’t allow you to open up your eyes this morning for you to live in lack or mediocrity. God wants you to live an abundant life—–a life full of His purpose! It doesn’t bring Him any glory for you to be walking around downtrodden and unexcited about life. He wants you to live every dreams that He has placed inside of you so that His will may be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

That means that on today, a Monday, you should be just as excited as if it was the weekend. Today is a day that you can work towards your God-given dream. Today is that day. Not tomorrow. So do not procrastinate to do what God has placed on your heart to do.   Procrastination has its root in pride, and is not of God.

If God has placed a dream in your heart, NOW is the time to make it happen. On a beautiful Monday.  🙂          #MondayMotivation

Monica’s son, Rocko’s Awesome Birthday Celebrations

Monica’s son, Lil’ Rocko, just turned 10 years old and boy-oh-boy did he bring it in style!  The R&B singer and her husband Shannon Brown threw her handsome son a double birthday celebration full of awesomeness!

The first party was a “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” theme held at Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium that included plenty of dancing, carnival rides, magicians and games.

Rocko’s dad as well as Ludacris were there to join in on the fun too!

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The second bash was an amazing African Jungle Safari theme.

The party was held at Treetop Quest and included exotic reptiles along with zip lining for everyone.  The party also included back-drop jungle decorations and a life-sizes safari cake too!

On hand for the event was Tiny along with Teyana Taylor and her adorable baby, Iman.Monica4

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And Lil’Rocko’s brother, Romelo, and sister, Lailah, were definitely on hand for all of the amazing fun too.

Happy Birthday to Lil’ Rocko!

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Kids Caught Doing Good- Mikaila Ulmer

The brilliant young person that I am spotlighting today is: Mikaila Ulmer, a smart and savvy 11-year-old businesswoman from Austin Texas.

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Mikaila made history when she recently snagged an $11 MILLION deal with Whole Foods to sell her product, BeeSweet Lemonade!  Go Mikaila!!

Mikaila’s lemonade will be sold in 55 stores throughout four southern states.  If BeeSweet lemonade sells well, then it will be sold in Whole Food Stores nationwide. BeeSweet Lemonade is created using flaxseed, mint and honey which came from Mikaila’s great-grandmother’s 1940 recipe.

Mikaila appeared on the tv show, Shark Tank and won $60,000 to start her company.  Even though running a business can be stressful for some, Mikaila takes it all in stride.  “I work on the business after school, after I do my homework, and on weekends and during spring breaks,” Mikaila said in an interview with NBCBLK. “There are not too many times when I feel stressed.”

Also an extremely generous philanthropist, Mikaila gives a portion of her profits to the Sustainable Food Center, Texas Beekeeper Association and other bee rescue foundations.

Mikaila, thank you for inspiring others to work hard for their dreams. So proud of you!!

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Celebrating Black Love: Lance Gross and Rebecca Jefferson-Gross

Has it been a year already since Lance & Rebecca Gross tied the knot?  Yup!

The gorgeous pair celebrated their anniversary on a getaway to New Orleans. And afterwards, Lance definitely made hearts swoon with his heartfelt Instagram post letting the world know how much he cherishes his wife.

He posted, “One year ago today you gave me another reason to smile. Another Blessing to count. Plus a higher level of love and friendship to cherish. I love you today, tomorrow & Forever on Mrs. Gross…”

Rebecca also let the world know how much she loved her husband by posting:   “…the moment our eyes met my heart skipped a beat…partially because you looked SO, so, so, so good 😉…but I think it skipped a beat in that moment…because my heart knew it had found its match.”- a snippet from my vows a year ago today. I was never that girl that believed in love at first sight or let alone first meet …but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel something all consuming from the moment our eyes met…it’s corny as hell… but true; I’ve loved you since day One. I cannot believe today marks a year of Marriage to my best friend. What a blessing to receive your love everyday. It’s something I never take for granted. I love you so much baby! @lancegross Happy Anniversary! #myforever #myheart

Lance and Rebecca are proud parents to a beautiful one-year-old daughter named Berkeley.

Check out the never-before-seen wedding video below that Lance posted on his IG page. Lance definitely has one of the best IG pages with ahhh-mazing photos & great videos (he’s also a photographer, by the way).

 

 

And here’s a couple more pics of the beautiful couple:

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Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Gross!!

 

Non-Stop Mom Shaming

It’s been said that when a woman gives birth, it’s the closest thing to death.  When I think of the contractions, labor pains & pushing a human being out of my body back in 2003 when I gave birth to my son, it’s enough to make me scream all over again.

So after a woman gives birth to a baby, you would think she would be catered to and doted on by everyone, right?  Wrong.  Unfortunately, now we are in an age of constant mom shaming.

In this age of social media, people have an insane amount of recklessness when they get behind a computer screen.  They post things that they would never have the guts to say to someone’s face.  They’re mean. They’re cruel.  And they’re relentless.  Now moms have to deal with “internet bullies” calling them horrible mothers because of differences in parenting styles.

Take Chrissy Teigen for instance.  Chrissy gave birth to her daughter on April 13th……and less than a couple of weeks later, she & her husband, John Legend, were photographed out having dinner.  Dinner.  A meal that everyone eats every single evening.  Well, folks let Chrissy HAVE IT and shamed her to no end.  Not one to be deterred, a few days later, Chrissy posted a picture of herself in shorts & a low-cut top cooking breakfast at home.  Needless to say, folks weren’t too pleased about that either.  So what’s your take on mom shaming?  How can we return to the days of catering to a new mom instead of constantly shaming her for everything that she does??

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Prince…..The Silent Angel

It’s been almost a month and I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that the multi-talented musician and entertainer, Prince, has made his transition.  It just still doesn’t seem real to me that he’s gone.

When I think back to growing up as a kid in the 80s, there were 3 entertainers who were pretty much the soundtrack to my childhood:  Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston & Prince.  An unbelievably talented trio that were all in a league of their own.  And Prince was the last of the Mohicans.  But now he’s gone.  What to do? What to do?

Well, the great thing is that a musician never really leaves us….their legacy lives on through their body of work.  But the interesting thing about Prince is…..even though I was truly a fan of his music, I never knew how big of a philanthropist he was until recently—- and apparently, he didn’t want lots of other people to know either.

After reading more information online about Prince and his charitable giving, it seems that he was actually known as “The Silent Angel.”  He gave so generously to numerous charities, but never wanted the focus to be on his benevolence.

Prince quietly supported the Rebuild the Dream charity, which has a mission of training young adults for high-paying careers in technology.  He also donated $1 million to the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit organization for poverty-stricken children and living in Harlem. Prince also donated $250,000 to the Uptown Dance Academy when he found out they were going to lose their space back in 2014. Thanks to his generous donation, they were able to remain open.

These examples and so many others show that Prince was so much more than a musical icon—-he was the embodiment of love and kindness.  What a blessing Prince Rogers Nelson has been to so many.  A silent and giant angel he truly was.  Thank you for both your musical and benevolent legacy that you have left on Earth.

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