Monthly Archives: December 2022

I Would Die 4 U- A Book Review

Toure takes an in-depth look into Prince’s music in his book, I Would Die 4 U. He matches Prince’s lyrics to many of his songs to actual events that were happening in the musical genius’ life. Prince had a work ethic like no other and could easily work up to forty hours straight until he had achieved the right sound and effects. Some said that he could not be separated from his music, and it ruled him. 

He would hear a sound and he knew that he had to get it down before it vanished, which some artists may understand. He played all the instruments on a piece and then merged them together to create his own music. He studied many of the great musicians and composers from Mozart to Coltrane and it has been said that he came up with his own genre. 

Prince felt driven and called by God to accomplish things and he felt that time was ticking through the hourglass, so he had a lot to get done before making his exit. His androgynous   appearance, his petiteness and his boldness in mixing both male and female clothing put everyone on notice. It has been said that he could outshoot the guys on the basketball court while wearing high heels. 

Prince was wrapped in a cover that pulled in the generation X–ers because they too were latchkey kids like Prince and had often been left alone for too many hours to delve into adult worlds. He baited in his audiences with outrageous sexual antics but underneath the façade, he was deeply spiritual. He strongly felt that he was here on borrowed time and felt that his main mission was to spread the Word and evangelize the masses. 

Toure discusses how he started his concerts with hot, sensual movements and then once he had the audience’s full attention, he slowed the tempo down and started giving subtle sermons. We recall lyrics such as, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life,or he encouraged with lines like, “A feeling of self-worth will caress U.” He took risks and combined sexuality with spirituality and reminded his listeners that, “It’s always darkest before dawn.” He told one interviewer, “The whole point of the show was, I’m going to do the dirty half of me in the first half because that’s what you came to hear but in the second half, I’m gonna show you what it’s really supposed to be about.” 

Prince was keenly aware of his mortality and saw the afterlife as a world of never-ending happiness. Similar to many artists, his childhood was racked with pain but like the oyster’s agitations, the gods were creating a special pearl. Prince was gifted to the world in a small package, but he could sing both male and female parts in his lyrics, play all the instruments and most of all, he fascinated us all with his brilliance and mystique! 

Lynn M. 
December 31, 2022 

I Wanna Dance with Somebody: A Movie Review

I recently saw the new movie, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody. It is amazing how someone comes along and touches our heartstrings and causes us to cry though we have never met the person. I found myself crying during parts of the new movie because I had not allowed myself to actually and adequately grieve this top-selling artist’s passing in 2012. 

I think we were too stunned when it happened though we watched her life spiral out of control on the world stage. The cast in the new movie was awesome and once again, we are all reminded that biopics are difficult. I admire actors who are brave enough to take on an icon’s life. Some of the performers may be Oscar-buzz worthy, which was produced by Clive Davis along with her sister-in-law, Pat Houston.

It opens with Whitney Houston (Naomi Ackie) singing in the church as a young teenager who develops a friendship and love for her friend Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams). Her mother, Cissie Houston (Tamara Tunie) has a formidable presence throughout the movie and her father (Clarke Peters), once her manager, is there for most of her journey. After she and Robyn are questioned and pressured about their love affair, she meets Jermaine Jackson and then Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders). The young actor has an uncanny resemblance to Bobby Brown and even had the gap between his teeth to boot! He totally channeled him.

We journey through her life from her early hits, The Greatest Love of All to I Wanna Dance with Somebody from the 80’s. She matures and takes on the heavy responsibilities of being everything to everybody as her father spends her money to give others’ lavish lifestyles. She evolves onto the movie sets, and we see parts of The Bodyguard where she miscarried while filming, though she did several other movies. Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci) is her go-to and advises against taking her last world tour which ended in disaster. She was ridiculed because of her lost voice and range. The drugs had taken their toll which she started doing with her brothers when their parents were fighting; however, it grew to epic proportions while married to Bobby Brown. 

In her last scene, when she was at the Beverly Hilton for Clive Davis’s party, we all hold our breaths as she sits in the bathroom looking in the mirror. It is unclear whether there was something in her drink from the hotel bar or in the drugs a man slipped her while pretending to ask for an autograph. But they graciously spared us the final scene of her actual death. Instead, they pulled away to a medley concert from her healthier times and showed photographs of the real Whitney Houston throughout her life.  

I stood for this great woman as the credits rolled and it was my personal chance to say goodbye, again. But just as tears started to flow, she sang, “Don’t Cry for Me.” She was right when she sang Dreamgirl’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” The lyrics say, “No, no, no way, I am living without you. You are going to love me.” I thought, “She is still here.” We do love her, and she is only one click away. Push play and listen to Whitney sing I Look to You while wearing a gown like no other! Remember why she continually steals our hearts today!

Lynn M. 
December 24, 2022 

How Did You Do in ’22?

As you draw closer to the end of 2022, you may ask yourself, “What did I accomplish?” It would be a great idea to make a list of what you did achieve. First, you are still here. Start with that gracious fact that you did survive up to this very moment. Then, go from there and recall your accomplishments, for each month and see where your list ends. 

This Biblical quote is helpful in formulating a gratitude journal for everyday people. “But let every man prove his own work and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another.” (Galatians 6:4). You can see from the stories on the news feeds that huge sums of money do not equate to happiness so you can go from there. 

Here are a few things you can ask yourself: 

  • Did you work this year and earn a legal income? 
  • Are you proud of the work of your hands? 
  • Did you create something that those coming behind you could use as a future guide? 
  • Did you help someone by sharing a gift, a helping hand or even a listening ear? 
  • Did you encourage someone, even a small child, or help that person feel more secure? 
  • Did you practice positive thinking in this era of unnecessary trolling and meanness? 
  • Did you think before you spoke and decided to hold your babbling tongue on some issues? 
  • Did you make new friends this year? 
  • Did you delete some toxic people from your life? 
  • Did you create your own wealth, or did you pilfer from the work of others? 
  • Did you practice calming activities such as quietness, deep breathing, walking, journalling or whatever enhances your peaceful aura? 
  • If you have spiritual sources or gurus on which you depend, did you tithe or share your profits? 
  • Did you practice kindness and patience with those in your sphere? 
  • Are you feeling healthy in mind, body, soul, and spirit? 
  • And most importantly, are you happy with where you are in life? If not, how do you plan to change that in the New Year? 

Think about these things. Begin your list so that you can start 2023 with a cleaner house., clearer plan and made-up mind. Kudos!

Lynn M. 
December 17, 2022 

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A book review

When I saw a picture of Dawn Turner receiving the 2022 Pattis Foundation Chicago Book Award in the Newberry Magazine’s Fall/Winter 2022 edition, I took immediate notice. I looked up her book, Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate and Sisterhood and saw that it was available at our local library. I put on two jackets and warm clothing and walked to the Crown Library and thank goodness, it was there on the shelf.

I dived in and finished this page-turner in three days. Dawn Turner talked about the south side of Chicago and lived in places and spots that I have also frequented throughout my journey. She lived in Lawless Gardens where one of my sisters once lived. She went to Doolittle School which I drove by daily and spoke of Pershing School where I temporarily subbed. We both even attend Hyde Park High though I did so before her.

Her daily walks to Lake Meadows Shopping Center reminded me of when it was in its glory days and had stores such as Goldblatt’s and Woolworth’s. The nearby Alco Drugstore, which she also mentioned, was a place where many south siders traveled at all times of night because it stayed open 24 hours. We could purchase items like iodine, mercurochrome, BC or Goody powders, all virtually impossible to find these days.

For me, this was a deeply engaging tale as she remembered the off-limits Lake Meadows Complex where the black elite lived, a place I often visited to see a close friend. She too mentioned the elusive Prairie Shores Complex where I later resided for over a decade. Turner goes into detail about the early years of the three Bronzeville girls which include her, her younger sister Kim and her dear friend, Debra.

Quite typical of an observer who would go on to become a Chicago Tribune writer, Dawn was the silent onlooker as her sister Kim and friend Debra both took a walk on the wild side. They got caught up in the mean streets of Chicago and became dangling victims of its spewed venom. Every south sider from Chicago should pick up a copy of Three Girls from Bronzeville as they reminisce and see what happens to Dawn, Kim and Debra!

(Reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads) ***** 5 Stars

Lynn M.
December 10, 2022

To Drive or Not to Drive?

While reading Lally Brown’s Don’t Drop the Dolphin: An Expat in the Turks & Caicos Islands, she mentioned a time when she was teaching her teen daughter how to drive a car. A flurry of memories rushed back as I recalled that harrowing time in my teen life.

When I was about 15, I followed protocol and took the driver’s education class with Chicago Public Schools. I even traveled to another infamous high school to take the road course in a mobile unit and left that venture with my learner’s permit. But I still needed my actual driver’s license and that is when the real tests begin. 

Back then, people commonly practiced driving in a big vacant lot on 47th Street close to Lake Shore Drive. By that time, my father’s patience had obviously waned and as his fourth child, I was met his tantrums and meltdowns. He was frayed and impatient and at one point he even vowed that I was trying to kill him. We both returned home in shambles and with me in tears when my mother quietly vowed, “I will teach her.” 

Thus, we would go out in the early mornings before she went to work. We used St. Lawrence Street for practice driving because it is not a busy thoroughfare, and it is or was a one-way street. I calmly progressed and her patience added to my confidence as I learned how to be a safe driver. 

Then, the day arrived when I was ready to take my permanent driver’s license road test so Daddy and I went to the DMV out on King Drive (then, South Park). Yes, he took me. The agent was mean and very nasty, and he said that I failed my three-point turn. I returned to Daddy in tears with my failed test proof in hand. He was quiet and said, “You’re going back tomorrow.” I was shocked. And sure enough, we returned the next day. The gods spared me from getting the same agitated man and yep, I passed!

It takes the patience of Job for parents to step in to make sure that their children are legal citizens, armed with all that they need to adequately function in society. They both gave what they had to give and since those early days, I have driven countless hours alone and from state to state. Sometimes, all I had was enough gasoline and money to get to my destination. I often had good music and I had miles and miles to clear my mind and do as the Brits say, “Sort things out.” Thanks to my ever-loving parents for not giving up on me as I learned to maneuver the road! 

Lynn M. 
December 3, 2022