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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Natural Girls Rock

I am grinning sheepishly because I have been able to keep up with my hair challenge. I’ve decided to do this protective hair style challenge where you keep your hair in protective styles.

I have a bad habit of my hands being in my hair too much. With the protective hair challenge, you have more of a chance of leaving your hair alone and letting it grow.
This is my third week in the challenge.


The first week, I had my hair twisted for seven days. On the seventh day, I unraveled the twists, put it into a bun which Is another protective style, and on the eight day, I re-twisted it. After the second week of it being twisted, I again unraveled the twists, put it into a bun and then decided before starting the third week, to do a clarifying wash to my hair.

Clarifying Wash
It is amazing the things you can find in your refrigerator that you can use as a beauty or hair care item. This go round, I used lemons. 

I cut a lemon into four sections, but only used half of the entire lemon to clarify my scalp.

To clarify your scalp means to clean away residue from products you use and dandruff from your scalp. Simply part your hair, squeeze the lemon and use a toothbrush to scrub the scalp with it. 

After doing the whole head, rinse out the lemon well and follow with a conditioner.

 
DIY Deep Treatment
Blend 2 Bananas, Plain Yogurt, Raw Honey and Olive oil. Warm the ingredients and then use in hair making sure to cover each strand as much as possible. Cover with a clear plastic cap and leave in hair for 35 minutes.  Rinse out well. 

The following video shows an example of these products being used to wash and condition natural hair: https://youtu.be/x-2r3Qib6h4 





Clean Hair is there ready to be styled. Now your hair is clean and you need to add your leave-ins and moisturizers to it.  Carol's Daughter Natural Vanilla Leave-In is one of my favorites to use. 


It keeps my hair moisturized and it smells so nice. Maybe you want to try it. You might like it as much as me. What are some of the products that you use as a leave-in? I am very interested in checking out new products that might be great for my hair! 

As for me, I am into this protective style challenge thing that I will probably do as long as I can. I never have a plan on how I am going to twist it though lately it has been updo styles using twists. I fin that when I start twisting, the character of the hair takes on its own style and I just go with it.

I would love to hear about any DIY products you use to wash, condition your hair, your hair journey or your own protective hair style challenge if you are doing one. Would be cool to also hear your suggestions or your tips on how to grow and strengthen natural hair.


Thank you so much for reading my blog post! 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Z is For Zwazo Ki Chante

So here we are at the end of the A to Z Challenge Cycle.

I think it pushes me to write more and to go from different angles trying to fulfill each letter and then learning new words because I definitely had not know many words that began with every single letter of the alphabet. I mean, who knew xu was a form of currency? But today because of the writing challenge, I like that it gives me the knowledge of new words. I look forward to soon starting from A again. 


MLK DAY

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day and his dream for freedom, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from the many zwazo de chante who inspire me as a chanteuse and songwriter to use my voice, the voice being the most powerful tool you own in your life. I mean, I am a songbird. Here are some quotes from some of the songbirds that I love a lot.  



“I could stand on the stage, facing the audience, 
knowing I was dancing down the barriers between us”
 (Sammy Davis Jr)

“Being a singer is a natural gift. 
It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me”
(Aretha Franklin)

“Breathing, of course, is very important for singing. 
And while singing is exhaling, 
the inhaling process can make a huge difference to the sound of your voice”
(James A Cohen)

“Soul is the ability to make people feel what you’re feeling”
(Aretha)

“I am history, I am the future. I was and still am, 
because I always was and still am the truth”
(Anthony “AZ” Cruz)


I was thinking of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s dream and the latter quote. AZ said that "[he is] history." Our history is a part of us. He fought for us to be able to experience the freedoms that we have today. We are the future that Martin spoke about though we still have a long way to go when the denial of basic human rights is less of a human crisis than some of God’s other children seeking survival from hunger for themselves and their children that they are not getting beyond the invisible wall.

Why is it that if we do not get our way sometimes, we feel so emasculated that we have to put up a tantrum?  I bet we will never see El Capitain looking through a lens of better
understanding of Mother earth that all of God’s children 

dwell on, on Twitter because toddlers with tantrums want what they want now; sometimes they even cry to have what they want. Why isn't humanity the eye candy?
  

I wish time would have permitted 

us to see  a “Dr Martin Luther King Jr” reaction video to 


today’s modern world on YouTube. Would have been 


interesting to hear his thoughts.




I HAVE A DREAM


With his dream in mind, it started me thinking about my own dream of becoming better at video editing. What better day than today when it is like 2 degrees outside to stay inside and practice on building up my video editing skills.

 I created this video for my song "Love No Limit." Music by Paul Garrod. Lyrics by Stephanie Jeannot. Tell me what you think about my editing for this video I made in honor of Dr Martin Luther King Jr's dream of equality and fight for freedom for us. https://youtu.be/WcL9ZVr9nwU





Happy Martin Luther King Day everybody! God's blessings upon you!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Y is for Yonderward Into The World Of Speaking Kreyol

I am well yonderway into the world of speaking Haitian Creole and because it is one of my goals for 2019, I have this yird-hunger to conquer what I can of my family's language.

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I am done with the yesteryears of hearing people tell me speak English because my Kreyol speaking is not on point.  This year is the year I will yauchle as a Kreyol speaker. 

And so, crazy me coming up with new ideas like I always do, thought it would be easy to learn if I try singing in Kreyol and I attempted to translate a Michael Jackson classic, "Heal the World," into my translation of it from English to Kreyol. 





I am thinking I am getting a better grasp at the pronunciations of the words but that is to be determined. Hopefully I will be even better as the days of 2019 roll along. But it sure is fun yiddling my vocal cords to better my understanding of this language and I feel yagiment because of it!  

LOL! Tell me what you think? 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

X is for the Xu of Voice


Repetition is the best teacher! Listen to the melody at least ten times

without singing. Memorize the song as soon as possible including the lyrics. If
you think you know a song but have to look at the music for the words, you
don’t really know it. When you are reading, you are not expressing (telling
your story), you are reading” 
(Jay Clayton).



X is for Xu. Xu is a form of
money almost like talents in the bible. God gave allowances to everybody in the form of talents. The ones who used the talents to his glory and flourished it,
he continued to sustain and flourish their lot. The one who did not choose to flourish their allowance, he took it away. Flourish your talent.


If you sing. Sing.
If you write, write.
If you are a healer. Heal.
If you are a dancer. Dance.  

Everyday. In practice mode at home some days and on other day, live; at a karaoke party, an open mic or your own gig. 

Since this blog post is more focused on the body as a musical instrument, and flourishing your singing ability,  we will focus on the musicology of singing.

How to Learn a Song

“The retention of songs, especially lyrics, is important in pursuit of a singing career. The finest musicians develop a huge laundry list of tunes - all kinds – to play as accompaniment for singers to improvise upon while appearing with a small instrumentals group or a big band. So, do singers, if they are worth their salt, commit to memory every single song of every shape and description their brains can lay hands on” 
(Mel Torme).

If you know the lyrics, even if you try to add diversity to the song in your performance on the stage and you lose a grip of the words because of it, you will know the song enough where you can scat or improvise with embellished notes other than what is written on the paper. 

Learn the song. 
Learn the nuances and the mood.
Learn the melody. 

What key is the song you are singing in? Practice by a keyboard by listening to song and
trying to find what key scale the song is being played/sung in, then do some
ascending/descending scales, interval scales and whole tone scales based in that key.

Make sure you know where the 1 of the song is, (on the upbeat or on the downbeat), and never let go of the one. Is the song on 3/4, 4/4, 6/8?

Practice by just simply talking the words like a speech. This creates better diction if you are
practicing speech. So does singing vowel pentatonic scales. Add a K to the front
of each vowel and p to the end as pronunciation exercises or use a phrase from a
foreign language to sing and do scales with which will help with annunciating.

Here is a book you might like:  It is entitled " Teach Yourself Haitian Creoleand I find it great to use to learn the phraseology of many terms I would like to be able to say as part of one of my 2019 goals to sing and speak in my family's Haitian tongue a bit better. The correct pronunciation of these words is great for practicing diction so listeners can understand what you are saying a little better; especially if you want listeners to be able to relate to the words you are singing. 



 



Sing the lyrics with the artist on the track. Listen to the artist sing the song. Sing the song without the artist and instead with a karaoke track. You can find many of the instrumental tracks to songs you might want to sing readily available on YouTube.   

Check out my newest Vlog post “Rehearsal Modes of JNote: I Am Music” which is a demonstration of how to practice here: https://youtu.be/6KXFiI42G44



The vlog includes a few scales, ways you can practice and diction exercises using Haitian Kreyol. 

Practice Daily

Singers sing. I am a singer. I sing everyday. 

Sing Daily. Practice Daily. Even on days you are not going to sing live. 

Musicians practice daily. Singers are musicians. We carry our instruments in our bodies. The vocal chords is the only instrument that God made by hand.  

Singers sing daily. At rehearsal with your band, is not the proper place to be trying to figure out the lyrics and learn songs. Vocalists make time to sing and practice their instrument every day. 

Thank you for checking out my blogpost. God Bless <3!


Saturday, January 12, 2019

W is For Watching "BirdBox"


My sister came over the house and told me about Sandra Bullock’s new movie "Birdbox" and after she showed me the trailer off her phone, I decided I would sit and watch the new Netflix film because the previews of it looked pretty interesting.  




I think I had an instant emotional response to the fact that it was Sandra Bullock as the leading actress since I learned to love her from watching "Miss Congeniality." Since then I can't help but enjoy her acting. I appreciated the fact that the trailer showed that she was leading kids on a journey by water with a blindfold on which seemed pretty interesting. 

Hope usually springs eternal when I decide to watch any movie because motion pictures are not like short sitcoms. You can't simply breeze through a movie in a few minutes. They take a few hours of time to be propped in front of a television to watch. But I went full throttle with the idea and on Christmas Eve, we sat and watched "Birdbox" together.

The movie had its good moments and its bad moments, but overall, I enjoyed the flick.
It would probably be advised that this movie is suitable for people beyond the age bracket of 17 because of the suggested violence but for this film, I’d say, is not suitable for anyone with the dynamic disorder of taking what is meant to be a mere cinematic delight and trying to recreate the madness in real time. Or maybe it should be rated MM for the mentally mature.

I didn’t think that people would be brave enough to decide to try grocery shopping, walking or doing other things blindfold with their kids based on scenes in a movie. I never considered that it would become a thing where people were out there trying to see if they can drive blindfolded even with bicyclist, motorists and pedestrians who at the same time are not adhering to the rules of the road. Sometimes we need a moment to pause and reassess when we see things like “hashtag birdbox challenge” “hashtag tide pod challenge” “hashtag Drake In My Feelings Challenge” all over the different social media platforms you use.





Should I now be quaked with fear that the driver in front of me might be blindfolded? We already have all these sizeable issues all around us and now this silly one that is becoming quite dangerous if you ask me. Don’t jump on the band wagon just because you think it might be fun. The fact that the end of the movie concludes in a home for blind people might be something to consider. The things we see, we die to see. People are dying to see if they can accomplish things with a blindfold on because they saw it in a movie. Is this your suicide attempt? Each character who saw died to their vision.

But if you do not see something, you cannot be moved by the image. You are in the box of being controlled by what you hear, feel, taste or smell. A blind person can’t glorify the image of the sun or be ruled by it in the morning, but they might know it is time to wake up because of the crowing of the roosters and the smell of the morning dew. 

If I didn’t see the news report of the guy driving with a blindfold that got into a terrible accident because of this crazy challenge, I would have been less likely to have gotten distracted by it. And to think, I’m clumsy with vision. I can’t see how someone would expect that driving with a blindfold on, would have been a good idea.

Let’s not all jump to living without one of the working senses we were blessed to have, all at once. Why are we so eager to pretend to be blind? There needs to be a sense of balance. 

I guess failing is often the best way to learn but I don’t think causing vehicular death because of a “hashtag challenge” is the best way to learn. So let’s stop doing these ridiculous things.

Even still, “BirdBox” is a good movie. Sandra Bullock did some incredible acting in this film as she is known to  and I give it to her. If you are interested in taking a glance at a good Netflix original movie, I’d say check it out.

It is action-packed. It is suspenseful. It is one of those movies that if you miss one moment, you miss a lot. It has intense moments and you will find yourself getting lost in the magic of this movie that might make you smile at moments and at other points of it, sad, scared and it might even make you cry. 




All I can say is, it is packed with flavor. See it for yourself and if you are someone who steps to your own beat of the drum, makes your own plans, and doesn’t get pressured by all these social media challenges to not keep up with your own ambition to accomplish your own goals, and have about two hours to watch a good old energetic horror picture, then “Birdbox” is for you.


Monday, January 7, 2019

V is For Vitality

“Life is to be embraced while it still hugs back. 
Not everything has to be absolutely perfect.” 
– Karl Vick

I tend to find inspiration to continue on this journey with vitality and it comes from a variety of places like for instance, I have this radio show which I originally started to help me write my 30-paged college thesis on jazz, identity and racism and you will not believe the encouragement I gained through it recently.

Having the show helped me to research and discover more about the history of this musical genre which is also a culture that began on American soil by people of color. I could go on for life about the many different shows I have produced in the past three and a half years since it started with hopes to keep jazz from becoming a dying art, as vivacious to me as this art form is, but I am eager to talk about one of my most recent shows.

We all have a wealth of life experiences. We all wear coats of many colors and we all have had at least one shattering experience; but I have never heard a story quite similar to that of my last interviewee on the show. The interview inspired me in so many ways. 

You cannot imagine the sense of completeness I felt listening to my friend Bill Rivers who is the host and producer of his own television show, “Showcased Talent” talk about his amazing story. The fact that even with his experiences and the circumstances he had to face and yet he still reaches for the next rungs of life and success with renewed confidence brings new meaning for me to what building your hopes on the fact that you are still here proceeding in life with vitality really means.   


I am very excited because beyond just the audio file, I was blessed with a video feed of it. You can check out the visual component of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0srPrwuQIQ&feature=youtu.be



If you have a breakthrough story and are interested in sharing it on the air to let listeners know about who you are, what you do and your experiences that added passion and purpose to your life, please feel free to reach out to me via email at jazzonthejnote@yahoo.com

Here are other ways you can reach out and find out more about the show if you are interested:
Jazz on the JNote airs each and every Sunday evening at 7PM on http://theenglishconnectionmedia.com

Thursday, January 3, 2019

U is for United in Spirit

“For our light and momentary troubles are
achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”
– (2 Corinthians 4:18)

We always sing and pray about the fabled suburbs of heaven. 

We hear about it and hope to ascend there when time is reset, and our spirits are refreshed in the sting of death. Sometimes it requires a moment of stillness to think about it and the array of incredible people that we have lost to it. Everybody deals with it differently because each person's relationship with the next person is different and carries its own weight. 

We have vibrant ceremonies when our loved ones take the journey to rest their souls there for the rest of eternity. We have emotional responses when days stretches out to months and years without their physically being there lifting us up and helping us to be confident enough to break down walls like they used to when they were alive. We tend to build up frustration when we need that verbal nourishment but no longer can truly engage with them in conversation because they are no longer here on earth.

It is amazing to me how people’s influence can continue to sizably reach out to you farther than two arms can reach and the things that fused you together when they were still physically here are still the same things that shake the rafters off your roof and keep you connected in spirit.



All I can say is that the intellectual energy that my mentor blasted into me to empower my creative work will never change. The influence he had on me happened so naturally and music was that thing that surrounded our relationship and I can still build up my strength to do the very thing that connected us when I think back on how he tried to nourish me to grow as an artist, musician, vocalist and woman of song.

Of course, all glory belongs to God. There is no denying that he is the one who provides me with the serenity to endure and places certain people in our lives. And it is beautifully obvious that each fresh new setting and start is because God placed us there for a purpose and it is our duty to take measure of our surroundings so that we can find our purpose in it. I can wipe away all my tears for all the people I lost: my grandfather, my aunts, my cousins, good friends I had, and my mentor because the knowledge I have of the many authentic blessings I have received outweigh the complexities.


And so, I keep on the move with a concerted effort. I leap into the unknown with an overpacked suitcase of memories of our interactions in my brain. 2019 is very much underway and I am leaning on the positive side of things. The needle and thread that sew me and my lost ones together are the things that make these thoughts merry. 

I settle into a musical atmosphere hoping to swerve with boundless talent and the reassuring words of my mentor echo. We are still united in spirit and I am happy to be able to sing some of the chants that were a major part of the rhythm of his life. It restores my faith to cover one of the many heartfelt ballads he used to sing in his Ray Charles Revue Show, “Georgia On My Mind” that hopefully I will forever sing as a meaningful momento. You can check out one of the many performance covers that I did of this song Hoagy Carmichael tune which was made popular by Ray Charles and later became the theme song of the state of Georgia here: https://youtu.be/aSszfCxZLX8  



Thank you for checking out my blogpost! <3