When you get sick, you gotta pay!!! You gotta write till you get better! From the beautiful Frances A. Griffin-Brown, her first post. – Victorine
Ok!!! So I am on a one month ‘be still’ lockdown and was wondering how my family was going to be able to deal with me. Everybody who knows me knows that I can be a bit difficult when it comes to even sitting still. Well, yesterday I watched the commemoration of Bloody Sunday and had some interesting conversations about my feelings, my whereabouts during that time etc.
Victorine requested I log my time during this month and I hesitated because I told her I hate homework.🤗 Anyway, she makes sense because today after my
therapist left I watched the documentary ’In the Shadows of Motown.’ Oh my, it was so good! It showed how music can heal the mind and soul and also how music brings together people of all races, religions and even political folks. Marvin Gaye singing about the Vietnam war ‘What’s Going On,’ ‘What Becomes of a Broken Heart,’ just great music.
The most important were the people/musicians behind the music how and what they went through for those wonderful sounds. If you are a music lover like I am, this is a must-see documentary. If not for my present limitations I would have been up on the floor moving to the groove. I’m going to suggest our jazz/concert band director show this to our students.
Music is Love. Music is Life. Remember God, Love and Family First 💖🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶💖 – Frances A. Griffin-Brown
So, here I go again, browsing YouTube for songs for the Dusty Record Club. I ran into the James Ingram-Michael McDonald tune, Yo’ Mah Gon’ Be There. Good tune, but not good enough for the group. Then, Michael McDonald’s music kept coming, and there was Michael McDonald with Kenny Loggins singing What a Fool Believes. I’m gon’ tell y’all, they were singin’ that song with so much flavor. So much that I watched a live concert with Kenny Loggins; he even hadShanice singing a duet with him. Sweeet!!! I was thinking, what makes Loggins and McDonald appeal to me so much. After all, I seldom listen to their music. Then, I was like, “They sing Blusic!” Music sung by white singers sounding Black. What?!!
They aren’t the only Blusic singers. You got your Daryl Hall, Teena Marie, and Adam Thicke. Oh, Thicke, I know you think you the king, but the king is Bobby Caldwell. It took me forever to learn that What You Won’t Do for Love wasn’t sung by a Black man. If you look at his album cover, he’s in silhouette so you can’t tell what he looks like, but we see you, Bobby. Then, you got Average White Band. Need I say more?
Dag, I just remembered, they coined the phrase Blue-eyed Soul, which is the same as Blusic. NOT!. Blusic spans different genres, thank you. I could listen to Gershwin all day. Herbie Hancock did an album tribute to his music. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is my rhapsody in blusic, with overtones and nuances of the pathos derived from those minor keys that drive our jazz and blues.
‘It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise…. And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance’. The work was completed within a few weeks. “– Gerswhin
Of course, Gershwin also wrote Porgy and Bess, an opera. He recognized genius in our jazz and spirituals and he admittedly incorporated our themes into his compositions. An essay could be written on our influence in classical music, but not on this page. Well… I do have to mention Scott Joplin,the Black classical musician who wrote the popular ragtime piece, Maple Leaf Drag, and The Entertainer, the music featured in The Sting. The Entertainer was a scoop for Marvin Hamlisch. Accepting an Academy Award for arranging and orchestrating Joplin’s work he said,
“And of course to a man I never met but whose music was just wonderful to work with. To Scott Joplin. “- Marvin Hamlisch
I guess I don’t mind Blusic so much, as long as credit is given where credit is due. There are white composers on many songs Black folks sing, credit due. Also, I must say the Beatles always gave props to all the soul singers they heard, loved, and covered. Twist and Shout was previously recorded by The Isley Brothers. The Beatles couldn’t help it if their version climbed to number two on the charts and is now known as the preferred version of the song. See, that’s the thing. Also, money.
I love music; it soothes the universe. We rock with it, pray with it, love through it, and it takes us to places beyond what we are on the exterior. Our souls find their way to its mystery and majesty, our gift/blessing.
Originally from Chicago, Victorine now calls Florence, AL, the Shoals area, home. She has three children, (including a son-in-love), and 3 grandchildren, all who add texture to the fabric of her life.
Teaching Conscious Living through God Within You, Victorine is the Pastor Emeritus of Living Spirit Church, an Independent, New Thought ministry, in Florence, AL. Victorine is an Inspirational Speaker; a Contributing Author of a Chicken Soup book, The Miracle of Tithing, by Mark Victor Hansen; and the author of her own book, Be S.A.F.E. (Still, Aware, Faithful, and Excellent). She is the president of Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC. and the founder of Garden Spices Magazine. A Ministry. She serves on the board of Project Say Something. She is also a member of the African Dance Troupe, POZA and The C.O.R.E. Drummers.
I must admit that when I crawl out of bed and look in the mirror I do not see the face I wish to see. Sometimes there are tracks on my face from one of the many pillows I have to prop up my bad arm. My face finds one and I am left with an imprint. But where did those bags come from? Could they be from the water I did not drink during the day? My eyes look like a “Before” picture. I have an early morning appointment, so I have no choice. I have to beat my face. What?!!
For those of you not familiar with the vernacular, beating one’s face means to apply a copious amount of makeup. Ha! See, stars have artists that apply their makeup, and they may wear plenty but have a natural look. Me? I watched YouTube videos; they show you how to apply concealer to hide circles and the dreaded bags under eyes. They got about 15,000 products they apply. I’m like, “I got this concealer crayon and a sponge that will do the trick.” Done. Why do I look like a zombie from Thriller? A little powder will cover my flaws. Done. And now, I would like the casting number for Night of the Living Dead.
See, my problem is I have this green undertone, so no matter what kind of foundation I use, it just doesn’t work. While in the house, I’m fine. But let the sun hit my face, I transform into a shade unknown to the color spectrum. It’s not easy being green. However, one thing you can always count on from me is my signature blush, as though a dark-skinned sister could turn red. But I don’t care! Ever since I saw this cool girl with a big brush applying blush, I knew it was for me. Now, the powder may not work for the track marks, but I’m gon’ blush for y’all. It enhances my smile. What?!!
Makeup is nothing new to our culture. We have always beaten our faces with skill and mastery, even when there was no makeup for us. I can remember when I went to Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago to see a makeup artist apply Flori Roberts products to a Black woman’s face. The audience of Black women stood in awe and wonder. We were no longer relegated to our one shade, “Pancake.” We had a myriad of colors to choose from. Today, there are a number of brands that stand on the history of our cosmetic pioneers and also on the shoulders of African sisters who historically adorned their faces with significant paint.
So now we got these glam squads in every gender with makeup so thick till you can’t imagine what’s underneath the paint. Sometimes the paint is needed to cover conditions and scars unintended by nature. It is important to note that all women arebeautiful, makeup or not, wrinkles and all, but when the morning light hits this woman’s face, the beating begins. Oh. And I always apply lipstick. (See it on my teeth)?
Oh yeah, I got ’em. I got “Stop and frisk” blues; “You only been a mayor and don’t knowBlack folks, much less, reparations” blues; “I did my job, but prosecuted a Blackteenager” blues; “My foot stays in my Old School mouth” blues; “I’m calling for an overhaul of the government that may cause #45 to retain his office because folks don’tknow what socialism is” blues, and “I’m a great candidate, I’m barely hanging on, but I got plans, and I support reparations,” blues. What?!!
All I know is that I am a conscious Senior looking to live in a society that is inclusive and tolerant; one that reforms the criminal justice system. Them assault weapons gotta go and gun purchase requirements have to grow. I want my Medicare, Social Security,healthcare for all and a way for immigrants to enter this melting pot and stay without an arduous course to citizenship. We need them! Help folks with food and housing, but don’t keep them tethered – promote independence with education, jobs, and reparations – if not in cash then in scholarship, and loan forgiveness. (‘Couldn’t get no loans for the longest. ) Raise that minimum wage so folks can live on an 8 hour day. Everybody gotta pay taxes and folks can pray or not pray in their own tradition, but not in public schools. I want judges that can be non-partisan, fair, and judicial and freedom for a woman to have the right to choose what is best for her life.
I want utopia, damn it! We built this country and died for freedom still unattained. We got a right to a voice and, I feel, an obligation to vote what we want. And while I am still woefully perplexed about what/who to do for the Primary, one thing I know is that for this election that holds this country in its balance my blood runs blue.
When Oprah Winfrey hit the airwaves, I was not living in Chicago; I was in Cleveland. I went home for a visit, and all my friends were telling me, “There’s this woman on TV that reminds us of you; her name is Oprah Winfrey.” I got the chance to view her and thought, “Hmmm, we do somewhat resemble, but mainly, we talk, laugh, and engage alike.” Then, she hit it big, and I was always in her shadow. She met her Stedman Graham, and this you won’t believe. In stature, he resembled my deceased husband, Bob. Bob, and I would enter a comedy club and sit way in the back. Let me show you why:
We wereOprah and Stedman! The comedians would have had a field day with us. Why is it that when I moved to St. Maarten, all of my tourist customers from the States would call me Oprah? What?!!
I was a hater for a minute. After all, I was here before Oprah, and just because I did not pursue my intended career in broadcasting, and she worked fervently to build hers didn’t mean she should have all the glory. “Hummph…lookin’ like me.” This is the absurdity of an unenlightened spirit.
Absurd? Bob and I went to Maui, HA and visited Huna, this tiny Mecca of waterfalls, peace, and tranquility. We landed at the only hotel restaurant, and there was an art gallery in the hotel. You already know I was all up in there. They had jewelry, which I perused. No one waited on me. Finally, the owner came to me and said, “Please excuse us. Oprah Winfrey and her friends will be here on Huna tomorrow for 10 days, and we have to get ready. Please feel free to browse.” Y’all! I looked at Bob and had the nerve to be like, “She’s staying for 10 days!” I was jealous that Oprah Winfrey was flying in to spend time in Huna! Bob, who had won this wonderful trip, looked at me like I was the ungrateful fool I was acting. I could see myself in his eyes, and I recoiled in shame and apologized.
Shortly after that trip, it was Oprah who was like,” Girl, you need Eckhart Tolle; your ego is way out of line.” Because of that trip, I discovered A New Earth and began to move me out of my way. Can you believe Oprah went from tabloid talk to consciousness-raising? By this time, I was also a New Thought minister, teaching much of what she was teaching through her shows and workshops. I have been hanging tough with Oprah ever since. We sometimes fuss about show content, elitism, and colorism, but she’s my girl. My friend from Amsterdam gets upset whenever we say something negative about Oprah. We defend ourselves, “Oprah is ours; we can criticize her and still love her!”
I am pursuing Oprah with this divinely inspired blog. Of all the publishers to choose from, I want Oprah. (I guess Eckhart is wearing off). We have several venues we can choose from – O Magazine, OWN, or maybe I can sneak in through the Book Club. I am within her demographic, and I know she would at least chuckle at my content. I’m going for it...now…this moment...and maybe at least once a month until it happens. Do you think I need to have been blogging for more than a week? Wait…I can be an O discovery, one of her Favorite Things!
At this time, some folks are angry with Oprah for exposing sexual abuse among Black men. Yes, Harvey could take the hot seat too, but for every man, Oprah has taken to task, she has given much more to Black men in hope and resources. She produced When They See Us, the bio-doc on the Central Park 5. Don’t play. Oprah is an iconic philanthropist, and we follow her footsteps in the consciousness of giving.
So, all of a sudden I can’t leave the house without a scarf. About 20 years ago, when I visited Europe, scarves were the rage. I just can’t let them go! It doesn’t matter what the time of year, I gotta have me something around my neck, my head, or my body. I told Mr. K. he gotta start wearing scarves too so we can be chic together – 20 years-after-they-were-the-trend, chic. I do see Senior guys I think are GQ with scarves, but I got another reason for wearing mine. Yes, some of my scarves are pretty, from all over the world, but this season of my life, they cover something else – just a hint of what appears to be w r i n k l e s.What?!!
I remember when my mother would look in the mirror and say, “I can’t believe myneck.” I would be like, “Amon, you look great. I don’t see anything.” Today, I’m hugging the mirror with eyes scrunching. Oh yeah, they are there, those gentle folds calling for an iron. Scarves to the rescue!
I know a woman that travels to India, and I have bought some beautiful scarves from her. The only thing is that some of them are sari lengths. You think that bothers me? Humph, I ‘ll keep wrapping them babies around my neck till they do what I need them to do. Sorry, sari. I even took one of my Indian scarves off the chest in my hall ’cause it matched my outfit. You have seen my favorites on so many pictures, I was like, “I just can’t wear this in a picture again.” Then, I’m like, “No picture today.” I’m not giving up my scarf.
African headwraps are also on point for those days when my fro is frothed. The key is to know how to wrap. This is where I’m challenged. In one dance performance, I had my headwrap tied in a bow. The girls were like, “Vic…no. This does not represent head wrapping.” Well, at least it was better than when I had fabric around my waist as a skirt, and it came off during a performance…at a church!! What?!!
Truth is, African fabric has the powerful energy of wrapping heads that need adornment and the healing of ancestors. Due to illnesses, it wraps some heads that no longer have hair. Beautifully. Majestically. When I get it right, I feel like a queen, and this fabric can claim my head, body, my heart.
When I was in Memphis this past weekend, a woman who collects scarves from Israel stopped to compliment one of my faves and noted that her scarves remind her of every country they represent. Being a global gal, I feel the same way, but I also know what they do for me. ‘Wrap up wrinkles; it’s not the time for you yet.’
We do what we can to look attractive, but hopefully with clothes that make us exude what we feel inside. We are beautiful, wrinkles and all. Even Cecily Tyson has a few. (So what if she’s in her 90s).
“It’s all good/God/Love” – Victorine
Featured image: I had to add a little bling with Michael Eric Dyson and my scarf. Bam!
If left to my own, I would have a secretary…no, an assistant…no, a digital genie. He would wield my phone and computer during working hours and my TV remotes at night. He would remember User ID’s and passwords, navigate troubleshooting, dictate my every creative thought to page with perfect form, and at night, make my Firestick stream. What?!!
I love writing, but ham mercy, as soon as I decided to do this blog, my computer put its dukes up and was like, “You got some dues to pay first. Delete your History, Cookies, and Cache, refresh my browser…No, Girl, you need a new charger. You know how Apple chargers are. Wait now, why do I have an Error Code? Call Firefox and ask them…No? Then ask WordPress...OK, now we can get started. ” In the meantime, WordPress was on the other side of the ring. “Uh, I got a new writing tool for you, – Block Editor, an “upgrade.” Y’all, I was 3 hours trying to stack those blocks. I failed the grade. I had to leave the ring and go back to the Classic Editor.“Genie!” Now my phone…
My wonderful Son-in-love talked me into moving away from iPhone to a SamsungGalaxy. “Don’t be held hostage to Apple,” he said. “You will love all the apps,” he said. He was right. I was in another galaxy. I found out why they called them Smartphones; you have to be smart to operate them. I been fooling with this phone for almost two years, and still don’t know what I’m doing. My Sister-in-law had to give me a tutorial. Then she was in another galaxy fooling with me. What?!!
It’s Saturday night in Memphis, where I am visiting. The family and I are settled in for some TV, and so are a bazillion other viewers that want to watch the same new movies we are choosing. That Firestick was streaming like a river gone wild. We had to go back and watch The Little Rascals. “Genie!”
My .genie is a wish, but my willingness to navigate devices is real and something I’mproud of. Half the time I don’t know what I’m doing, but I am willing to take the time to learn; I have plenty of it…I hope.
Can you imagine that some of us are embarking upon new undertakings?Yes. Every day is a new unfolding of our being. We do whatever our hearts need to be fulfilled, to thrive, to stay ‘live. This, our blessed/morning time.
Why does my daughter call me “TVicki?” (Being the Taurus I am, I call her “Phonarama.”) So I watch a little too much TV. Mr. K. was like, ” Uhh..I think you watch a little more TV than I do.” I’m like, “What else is there to do? ” Surely not read, or go out for a walk, or go volunteer, or actually go out to an actual theater to see a movie, I might miss something – one of “my shows.” Mr. K does all those things; and, believe me, he ain’t missing a thing. Y’all know I get out, but when I’m home, starting about 10AM during the week and 8:00AM during the weekend the TV is my backdrop. I gotta keep up with er’thing: news, Views, styles, Mahers, Hall, balls What?!!
I get this earnestly. We were one of the first TV families. Years later, my folks had a TV in every room. You didn’t have to worry about what you might miss in the kitchen. You could cook to the TV. I inherited TVness. When the kids or Mr. K are not here, I am at home alone, but the TV is a window to the world, and it talks.
The truth is, as much as I talk about being Present, I will turn that video box on and do anything but watch it. It’s on right now! I must say, sometimes it’s pretty sad. I will watch “Project Runway.” Let them kick the ‘wrong’ designer off the show. I gotta call my friend who also watches the show and rant. And now, we can go beyond the mundane contributions of regular viewing to Netflix, Prime, and Hulu.
I have seen that Abbey, them Handmaids,My Idris…I mean, Luther; I even been to the Ozarks. However, I do claim Oprah’s status by not having a TV in my bedroom. Why do I have my iPad, which has all premium networks? My grandsons figured that one out right away. They were like, “Grammy, you watch TV on your iPad, don’t you?” I had to admit, “I do,” Yes, I’m doing the walk of shame – married to the TV.
There’s nothing wrong with entertainment resources, but before engaging, we take a little time to talk and listen to the Higher Self. The only commercial station is the mind chatter, but we can turn it off at and get back to our vital programming. Any day, any time, our real Source is waiting.
Just wrap me up with yellow tape and stand clear. I didn’t mean to do it! I just went out to my tiny garden to pick some rosemary and smelled my lavender, which deserved a close of the eyes for a “breathe and know” moment. The lavender began to smell likesmoke. I run into the kitchen. Here’s my new wrought iron skillet on the stove burning with smoke everywhere. “Where’s my extinguisher…flour?” No water! The side door is close enough. I grab a potholder, and out the door goes the pan. I was so heroic! Then, I totally freaked out.
I called my sistah friend, Lois. She told her husband, Billy, and he came over to make sure I had not burned my house down. There was smoke everywhere, but not enough to call my insurance company to get some new stuff like at my other house years ago. (Shut up, y’all). We opened every window and door, and before long, I was back in action. The next week, Billy sent over two extinguishers. Hmmm, ‘wonder where they are… I’m just kidding. I do know where one is. More importantly, why didn’t the smoke alarm go off? Could it be because I/you get so sick of it going off all the time till you move it to where it can’t beep when you light a candle? What?!!
So one Christmas night, the kids and I were standing in the kitchen talking and waiting for the food to finish cooking in the oven. All of a sudden, the front fiberglass on the front of the stove explodes. Thank goodness, it didn’t hit us. What happened was the guy who worked for me tightened the screws in my oven door, and the torque was too tight. She exploded. I bet you think we didn’t eat that food. Think again. What!!
I don’t mean to make light of this. (Lord, don’t mention light). I set timers every time I cook. I also take cues from my mom about looking down when I walk. At a family reunion, I had to rush to get into a photo. But there was a deck…and I had to hurry. There I was in front of all my deceased husband’s family, and Mr. K. sprawled, hands and face down on the deck. When everyone was worried, I pushed up with my hands and yelled, “Safe!” They tried not to laugh, but it didn’t work. I was laughing too until that night. (I Hurt!)
Sometimes you gotta laugh, but not before you do all you can to stay safe. Set them alarms; signal your cooking; when ironing, don’t get distracted and end up with a big iron mark on your top. Who did that? Yellow tape, please.
During this season, there are things beyond our control, but there are also everydayworkings during which we can be aware and present. Our safety is worth more than a multi-task. We are worth our care; we are miraculous.