Just some thoughts, Ladies and Gentlemen. Right or wrong...just what I was feeling at the time. - S. Carter

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ok, so I know it's been AGES since my last update -- and for that I apologize. It's just that life has been sort of a whirlwind, and well, my time hasn't exactly been my own. I'm not using that as an excuse, exactly; I'm just saying that I've been busy.

Let's see what's happened since my last update: I've graduated from my Master's program, started a new job in NYC, moved to Brooklyn, moved to Manhattan, and come pretty close to losing my mind a few times. That said, God is STILL GOOD, and I'm finally getting the hang of this crazy city. I now know how to navigate the subway, hail a cab like a lady, ignore immense amounts of outdoor foolishness, and deal with a crazy/lazy landlord (hence the move from BK to Manhattan).
I've started writing restaurant reviews for Heed Magazine (it's a fantastic new lifestyle magazine, founded by the brilliant Saoul Vanderpool -- make sure you check it out), and I'm also the communications director of a Manhattan non-profit.

I am absolutely going to try to keep this thing updated regularly, because well, I have a story to tell. And I think people should (and might actually want to) read that story. My opinions and thoughts are always my own, but I'm finding more and more people who agree with them, so that means it's time to put them down on paper. If I may say so myself, I'm back and better than ever!

xoxox, C

p.s. A name change may soon be in the work. I'll always be an NJ BAP, but I work for too hard for that to be how I am identified. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Cast of "The Best Man" Reunites for 12 Year Anniversary of Film Release

Recently, the cast of the 1999 hit movie "The Best Man" reunited to celebrate the twelve year anniversary of the film's release. Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau and the rest of the all-star cast met for a private soiree at BOA restaurant in West Hollywood.

The cast and director. From left:
Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Sanaa Lathan, Harold Perrineau, Melissa De Sousa, Monica Calhoun, Director Malcolm Lee, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and Terrence Howard

Sanaa, Nia and Regina posing pretty

Director Malcolm Lee had had this to say about the reunion:

"On Saturday, January 29th, the cast and the director of the 1999 film, The Best Man, which opened at #1 in the box-office, got together in West Hollywood for drinks and dinner to reminisce, catch up and discuss the future. It's hard to believe we all haven't been in the same space for over 12 years, but it was like we've seen each other everyday. It was a joy to reunite with the "Black Pack", one of the best casts ever assembled in my view. Judging from the laughs, conversation and smiles we'd all love to find a way to collaborate again. God willing it'll happen."

Find a way to collaborate again?!? Um, can you say The Best Man II?! I'm sure Lance and Mia would still be happily married (though I bet he'd have learned his lesson never to underestimate her again) with a few kids and a dog or two. Harper and Robin would be happily married. Harper would still be writing, but he'd have long since learned his lesson about writing about friends. Quentin and Shelby would be divorced, and fighting the whole time (a la Tasha Smith and Michael Jai White in "Why Did I Get Married). I don't know what would have become of Julian and Candy. The romantic in me would want them to be married, but the realist in me...who knows? And Miss Jordan...fly, fabulous Miss Jordan would be as fancy as ever, still doing her thing, and looking gorgeous while doing it!

I know I'd pay to see that sequel! I remember going to see "The Best Man" when I was a college freshman, and watching it on a weekly basis with my girls once it came out on tape (yes, tape). *Sigh* We need more movies like this!

*cues intro to Stevie Wonder's "As"...

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Just Want To Be Impressed...

I know, I know - it's been a while. I don't know what to tell you. I'm in grad school now, and I have more work than I'd ever dreamed I'd have, so everything else is on the back burner. As I near the end of the quarter, I'm busier than ever, but after talking to a friend in class who's suggested I start a blog, I decided I needed to get this thing back in gear. Thanks for reading... I've missed y'all.

Ok, so here's the thing. When do I get to be impressed? I'm tired of meeting people (guys) who think I'm supposed to be impressed just because they do basic things. When I say basic things, I mean, they simply have a job and aren't in jail. Or don't have kids, or if they do, take care of those kids. Whoopee...same here!

Why do some people think that they deserve a pat on the back for doing things they're supposed to do anyway? I'm not gonna pat you on the back because you pay your bills and taxes...that's what you're supposed to do! I don't understand why people think we're (women) supposed to swoon because you're a "good guy" and because you have a "good job." Forget the job, bruh, let's talk CAREER.

And while I'm ecstatic that you've managed to stay out of jail, what else are you contributing to society? Do you volunteer? Do you coach Pop Warner football or kids' soccer? Are you active within your church community? Do you give back to your community in any way? What's the last book you read (not magazine, BOOK)? Do you have any hobbies? Or do you just sit at home, and think that because you are who you are (who exactly are you, by the way), women are supposed to swoon.

I don't know, somewhere along the line, I (and most of the women I call friends) were taught to want more out of life. Mediocre just isn't good enough...never has been, never will be. I'm not angry, I'm just saying...want more, do better, and TRY! That means a lot. And yes, those traits actually do impress women. Not everyone needs a dude who makes seven figures a year, but please trust and believe that being well-rounded never hurt anybody. Expand your horizons (learn a different language), and tastes (try a different type of food), and interests...that’ll get you a long way. *insert the “The More You Know” jingle here*

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Top Five Deceptions That OFF Men Use

The battle of the sexes is a phenomenon that is as old as the ages. Men always complain about women doing certain things, and vice versa. At the bottom of the debate lies the fact that we will never fully understand each other, and I honestly believe that we aren't supposed to. It just is what it is.

Now, after arriving at work this morning and pouring my cup of coffee, I sat down to check my work e-mail account. In it was an interesting message from my friend about a blog she frequents called SingleBlackMale.org. The link she sent (http://www.singleblackmale.org/2010/09/01/women-fake-looks/)was for a post called "Top 5 Physical Appearance Deceptions Women Use." The article was funny, and the videos the author included gave good examples to back up his claims. From what I read, the article was written in fun, with no hard feelings. It is with this same spirit that I drafted my response...the ladies' version, if you will.

Now, before you read further, please understand that I'm not an angry woman - in fact, I'm far from it. I believe that the majority of men (and people) in general really are good. As with any group, there are a few who give the rest a bad name. My post calls attention to this group.

The SingleBlackMale.org calls the wearing of hair weaves, heels and girdles deceptive tactics women use to fool men, and make ourselves more attractive to them. I will admit to the heels and the occasional shaper (girdle just sounds like such a dirty word)! But what about men and their deception? While it's often less physical (although those drawn-on hairlines and Bigen-enhanced haircuts were never cute), they are still just as, nay, more deceptive than women.

#5 Naw, Baby, my cell phone battery died!

While we know it can and does happen, if your phone battery is ALWAYS dead or dying, it's time to either replace it, or be replaced.

#4 Naw, Baby, you know I make $xxx, xxxx a year!

While there may be an actual job, sometimes it's not what you make it out to be. Just because you work at that law firm, it doesn't make you an actual lawyer. Just because you work at that hospital, it doesn't make you a doctor. Just be honest...it'll make us respect you more. If there's not an actual job, keep it moving, Homie.

#3 Naw, Baby, I'm not cheating on you!

Women never respect a cheater. In all honesty, we'd respect men a lot more if, instead of cheating, they'd just opt to leave. No woman wants to be number two (three, four or five) in a man's life. There are always more fish in the sea, believe that.

#2 Naw, Baby, I'll never do it again!

In my Maury-watching days, I saw this man on the show more than a little bit. Honestly, I believe Maury is scripted, but if it isn't, and if I saw this man walking down the street, I'd want to give him a Louis Vuitton beat down, simply for putting his wife through this heartache. Seriously dude? You cheat on your wife, and tell her in front of the whole world?

#1 Naw, Baby, we only keep in contact because of the kid(s)!

While this is sometimes the case, most of the time it's not. If she's as terrible as you say she is, why are you still dealing with her on that level? Please refer back to #3 for the rest of this answer.


So there you have it. Neither gender has a monopoly on deception or truth telling. And the differences are what attract us to one another. Some exaggerations are harmless, and others aren't. That's why it's so imporant to observe and take the time to get to know the person you're choosing to be with. The hope is that once you know a person, and accept that person for who he or she is, the need for deception will be nonexistent.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NJ BAP's 2010 Emmys Best Dressed List

I've always found it interesting to hear who "fashion industry experts" deem the best and worst dressed at awards shows. Sometimes I agree, but I often don't. Fashion and style are largely personal, which in reality, doesn't give anyone the right to truly judge who looked best and who looked the worst. So these are MY observations of who looked the best, based on what I saw. Some of you will agree, some of you won't - and that's perfectly fine. Like what you like, when you like...because I know I sure do!

*All photos have been lovingly borrowed from Jezebel.com's "Emmys Fashion Roundup: Good, Bad, And Ugly" - http://jezebel.com/5625304/emmys-fashion-roundup-good-bad-and-ugly/gallery/ *

Claire Danes

Ok, I thought Claire Danes looked gorgeous! That DRESS! What can I say? I'm a girly girl, and I love sparkly things. The dress was simple, yet elegant, and it worked well with her shape. She kept the accessories to a minimum, and I think she could have worn a simple diamond bracelet, but because the dress was so sparkly, she gets a pass.

Jenna Fischer

I also liked Jenna Fischer's gown. I'll be honest, I didn't love the hardware at the bust or around the waist, but the color, fabric and general flow of the gown are gorgeous! As a die hard The Office fan, it's always refreshing to see her in something other than business suits, cardigans and dress shirts. I think this is a good look for "Pam." "Kelly Kapoor" would be proud!

Jayma Mays

I really liked Jayma Mays' gown. It was simple, classic, and just very pretty. A lot of ladies opted to wear navy gowns last night, and that makes a lot of sense, because I've always said that navy is just like black, but with more style and personality. It's the perfect color to wear when you want to look regal, but not stuffy. I don't really care for her accessories, but she looked really pretty. AND it doesn't hurt that she's a character from two shows I love...Ugly Betty (R.I.P) and Glee! Color me happy!

Carrie Preston

Ok, I loved Carrie Preston's look! The gown is abstract and pretty, but the contrast between the turquoise and terra cotta in her gown and her hair is AMAZING! The style of the dress is extremely flattering, but honey that COLOR CONTRAST is great! If I'd been on that red carpet, my eyes would have directly gone to her because the whole look is just eye catching. Good job, Carrie! Or Carrie's stylist, or whoever dressed her. She looked great!

Christina Hendricks

I think I really liked Christina Hendricks' gown, but I'm not quite sure. The color is GORGEOUS! I like certain aspects of the dress - the cut, the pleats, the sleeves are all great! I'm not sure how I feel about the fringe...I think it's ok. What I don't care for, however, is the design on the bodice. I think it makes the dress look unnecessarily mature. Maybe if designer Zac Posen had alternated the panels between the lighter fabric at the hips, and the darker color of the rest of the gown it would have worked better for me. That might be too much with the fringe, but in that case, the fringe could have gone out the window. All in all, Christina looked very pretty and I think the gown was a fantastic pick for the Emmys!

Kristen Wiig
I liked Kristen Wigg's dress. I think it was fun, and different. What I didn't like, however, was the fit. It looks like she's wearing her older sister's dress, which stinks, because Kristen is a REALLY funny lady.

Heidi Klum

My last mention is none other that Ms. Heidi Klum. Her LBD was ok, but that's not why I'm mentioning her. She WORE that dress! Now I understand that she's a model, but she and hubby Seal also have like 12 kids (I enjoy the art of exaggeration), and she STILL looks phenomenal. Get em, Heidi!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day, J.N.!

As Father's Day approaches, it's only appropriate that I dedicate a post to my Dad, J.N. He's truly the greatest!

I guess I'm what you would call a "Daddy's Girl." I'm the middle child of three, and the only girl. My Dad and I have always been close - in fact I still let him call me by the pet names he's called me for 28 years. And before you ask, no, I'm not telling! If you know me, or if you know him, you already know! ;-)

My Dad is seriously one of the kindest and gentlest men I've ever met. After serving Jesus, his family has ALWAYS been his top priority. He and my mom will celebrate 31 years of marriage in a few weeks, and their relationship stands as a testament that marriage, and BLACK marriage really can work. Dad has set an example for my brothers to follow as husbands (one is married, one is dating), and he's also taught me (through both word and deed) what to expect from the guys I choose to date.

I know Chris Rock says that you aren't supposed to celebrate people for doing things they are supposed to do. I get that. However, in a time when so many men are opting not to take care of (support/nurture/get to know) their kids, the men who do should absolutely get their kudos. Not only is my Dad a great father, he's also a wonderful son. As I type this, he's on the phone with my Grandma who lives 1,100 miles away, conducting their weekly Bible study.

So yeah, I just wanted to let it be known that I really do have the best father in the world! Happy Father's Day, J.N.!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Disrespect Starts At Home

Video courtesy of Komonews.com

I'm sure you have seen the video clip of the Seattle police officer punching a teenaged girl in the face. I know that's what people are calling it, and the punch is one aspect of the video, but in my opinion, it is not the major issue.

If you watch closely, or really, if you watch the video at all, you'll see the struggle that was taking place from the very beginning between the officer and the girl he was trying to arrest. Apparently, the girl in the black shirt was being arrested for jaywalking, and was trying her hardest to resist the arrest. Her friend in the pink clearly had an issue with it, so she started trying to pull the police officer off of her friend, and she ended up pushing the officer. To me, that is where everything went left. What gave the young lady in the pink the idea that she could strike a police officer? Even before that, what gave her the idea that she had the right to interfere with an arrest? I think it started at home - more specifically, with a lack of home training. Now, please understand that I think the police officer was wrong for punching the girl in the face - he could have done something else. But I get the idea that he'd be under similar scrutiny if he'd maced or tased the girl. The fact is that a police officer has the right to subdue a person who is interfering with an arrest. The girl should have respected his authority as a police officer, and let him do his job. In stead, she treated him the way she would have treated one of her peers, and got in his face and pushed him. Let me reiterate the fact that the cop did not have to punch her in the face, but he did need to do something to get the situation under control. After the girl in the pink was subdued, he went back to try to restrain her friend, who was STILL resisting arrest.

I know it sounds like a cliché to say that kids today have no respect, and I guess it some ways it is a cliché. However, it is also true. Today’s kids have a lot less respect for adults than they did when I was growing up. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to put my hands on a police officer, teacher, or my parents (I would not be alive to tell the story if I had). That wasn’t something I had to be told – I just knew it was wrong. Somewhere along the way, though, this girl learned that it was ok to put her hands on somebody who wasn’t doing what she wanted them to do.

Should the police officer be punished? Maybe, simply because he could have exercised better judgment than to punch a teenaged girl in the face. In the long run, though, he should be allowed to keep his job, and any pay, benefits, etc. that he would normally receive.

This isn’t a racial issue (so please don’t try to make it one). That is precisely why I waited until this last paragraph to even speak on race. This is simply a situation where a girl thought she could disrespect authority was taught a very valuable lesson.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

People Don't Write No More...

Where are the real songwriters? I'm sitting here listening to "Never Keeping Secrets," by Babyface, and it just hit me - you really don't hear lyrics like this anymore. Nobody sings about love, it's just all sex, and "how much money can you give me," and my "bi**h is badder than yours." I mean, I guess there's a time and place for everything, but it seems like the time is overwhelmingly ALL the time, and the place is the whole of Planet Earth.

I don't know what it is, I guess people and standards have changed. I'm not meaning to sound old, because I'm really not, but there are very few new artists who sing about anything of real substance. Anyone who knows me knows I love Anthony Hamilton's music. Anthony sings about life, love and real situations.
To quote Anthony's "Never Love Again":

A man don't usually fall no more than twice
And if he does you'll never know 'cause he won't say
For the fear of being used, taken twice by the heart
It's in his nature to be afraid
He starts to wonder if it's really right, to let his past take control of his life
Maybe I'll run into hope, someone that's right for me
And share love freely and fall in love again.

That man is singing about something he knows!

Now take a gander at these lyrics from The Dream's
“Rocking That Thang":

Girl I'm in love with you baby, and I want you to know
That I'm hooked on your body, and I'm trying to be yours
Hear my words for their worth
Ain't just tryna get in your clothes
Okay, I'm lying. Damn you fine
And uhm...

Lol, what an appropriate ending to that stanza. "Um...what?!?" To each his/her own, but how can people listen music like this ALL the time?

When did people stop expecting substance in their lyrics? You know what, I'll tell you - the moment the first R. Kelly album went platinum. People (mostly your cousins), love to talk about how talented of a writer R. is, but really, his lyrics are pretty basic. I think I've discovered his lyric writing strategy - as long as it rhymes, and makes people dance, it's fair game. Think about the "Ignition" lyrics. And no I'm not typing them, because most likely you already know them. That song was HOT the year I graduated from college, and I'm not gonna lie, I liked the remix, but mostly to laugh at. Let's be real – lyrics like these are the reason he's not in jail now! It really seems like, in our community, as long as you can make people dance, you can do no wrong. That's sad. I wonder if they'll make a movie about him like they did Jerry Lee Lewis.

Now don't get me wrong, I like a catchy song with basic lyrics every now and then (Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" is one of my favorites), however, my musical taste is mature enough that I see a song like that for what it is. Simply put, it’s just a fun song, not something to emulate or really see any substance in. And no, I'm not saying that lyrics always have to be deep, but just like the company you keep, I'm convinced that listening to stupid, mindless music all the time makes you stupid and mindless.