Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cocoa Mode in the Eagles Nest

Wow, what a show! Thank you to everyone who called in to this morning's program and to those who were unable to get through, feel free to speak your mind in the comments section below.

For more on the topics covered, check out these links:

Obama: Not Black/Not White

Georgia State Senators proposes merging two HBCU's with non-white

Also, thank you to Carol Jenkins for taking time to talk us about the Women's Media Center and the Progressive Women's Voices program. For more information, please visit their website.

Finally, for those of you still searching for a perfect gift for that fabulous, fashion forward woman in your life, consider Janice Frink Brown's suggestions:

High End
Jewelry-Diamonds and Pearls
Electronic Gadgets-GPS, I-Phone (the price has gone down)
Designer Clothes
Spa, Gym or Exercise machine with I-Pod that talks
Trip to Presidential Inauguration
Flat Screen TV
Subscription to Sirius XM Satellite Radio
Invitation to go shopping the day after Xmas
(Let her select the gift-write the amount she can spend in the card)
Gift Cards-Restaurants, Visa, American Express
Pajama Gram
Music (concerts), Performing Arts events
Gift Baskets-Wine and Cheese, Starbucks
Stocking Stuffers
**the podcast will be available on later this week.**

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mommy Memos

Mommy Memo #1

The little one and I boarded a plane and headed home to Detroit for Thanksgiving this year. Because my mother's side of the family is small (three generations of only children - make that four) Thanksgiving dinner is not unlike a regular dinner, only with all of my favorite foods. We landed on Thanksgiving afternoon as hungry as can be. I couldn't wait to sit down to a heaping plate of cheese grits, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls, stuffing and green beans. I was sure my little one would be just as excited to eat all of sweet and savory treats he rarely gets at home.

I was wrong.

My finicky son sat down at the Thanksgiving table and ate:

A dinner roll.

That's it.

A dinner roll.

I was so ashamed. So, now I'm on a mission to get my child back on the vegetable wagon (as if he was ever on it) or at least back on the food wagon. After doing some research my mother and I came up with seven tips to get your kids to eat vegetables. These tips were so good that her co-worker Carolyn Clifford decided to share them in her weekly health column in the Detroit News Newspaper (wink wink) and I'm sharing them with you.

1. Be a good role model. They won't eat them if you won't.

2. Be persistent. Some experts say a child may have to be exposed to a new food four to five times before trying it. Others say it will have to be on the plate as many as 15 times before the toddler will take a bite. So don't give up.

3. Be creative. Make vegetables attractive to children. Serve them on the plate in fun ways.

4. Be stealthy if you must. Add vegetables to favorite dishes such as pizza, spaghetti, quesadillas or tacos. You can even add grated carrots or squash when making fresh-baked goods.

5. Be sensitive to the young palate . Kids' taste buds are more sensitive than adults, so bitter vegetables such as spinach and asparagus may elicit strong negative reactions. Children also prefer crunchy veggies to soft, mushy ones.

6. Be involved in food cultivation and prep, and let them be, too. In the spring urge them to grow their favorite vegetables. And throughout the year, let children select veggies during trips to the supermarket.

7. Be firm. Serve healthy meals to the entire family. Don't prepare special meals for the picky eater. If healthy food is all that is available, sooner or later that is what they'll have to eat.

How do you get your kids to eat healthy foods? Share with a sister...I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Case You Missed It - Sista's Go Green

Once again I'd like to thank Dr. Majora Carter for sharing her story and expertise with the Cocoa Mode family. I admire her dedication to environmental justice for all. Her story proves that by harnessing the power of community we can bring about all kinds of change. Please take some time to check out her website to discover how you can create change and opportunity in your town.

Also, don't forget to check out Bianca Alexander and her crew over at Conscious Living TV. Learn how a few simple changes to your diet, beauty regimen and energy use can make all the difference in the world.

As always, feel free to continue the discussion below in the comments section.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Case You Missed It.

A very special thank you to Sharon Dumas Pugh, founder of Full and Fabulous for all of the work she's doing with full figured girls in Detroit and around the country. If you're interested in learning more about Full & Fabulous or better yet, starting a chapter in your town, please visit the website:
Also, thank you to Dr. Monica L. Baskin of The University of Alabama at Birmingham for sharing her expertise. Like Sharon, she's dedicated a good portion of her professional career to helping African American and low income families break the cycle of obesity and disease. Remember, this is more than just a cosmetic issue, obesity is a serious health problem facing our entire society.
For more information on how you can help your family stay fit and health, check out these websites:
Feel free to add other resources in the comments section.

Monday, October 20, 2008


1. The Secret Life of Bees came in third this weekend, earning $11 million dollars at the box office. If you haven't already, I highly recommend you see this movie. Like Sex and the City, this is a perfect movie to catch with a group of your closest girlfriends. I guarantee you'll walk away with a fresh sense of purpose and feeling empowered to take on the world, I did.

2. Colin Powell's endorsement of Barak Obama. Too bad the simple minded among us are assuming this is a race issue. I'm curious to see if Powell's announcement will influence the highly coveted independent voters.

3. The Yoga in Schools debate. In case you haven't heard, I have committed a large portion of my life to yoga, learning it, writing about it, and teaching it. Now that the parents at an upstate New York public school have agreed that yoga (as long as it's not called yoga...ok whatever!) can be taught in schools, I hope other schools around the country follow their lead. Give me a good yoga practice over a couple of Ritalin any day.

4. A Kanye West/Boy George colabo. That's the news in the U.K. I'm still waiting for confirmation from my label contacts, I'm crossing my fingers. *side note* not crazy about the 40 naked women at the album release party Kanye, you can do better.

I'm busy working on this week's Cocoa Mode so I'll be back later with more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Watch Out!!

Donna Brazile keeps it real for The New Yorker (watch here)

Authors Te-Nehisi Coates and John McWhorter go head to head on Hip Hop, culture and politics. My kind of discussion. Thanks Anovelista.

This link was sent to me by a co-worker. It's meant to be a funny look into the mind of a Black man who constantly finds himself dealing with racism. It got me to thinking, what if the man was about 20 years old and dressed in jeans and a jersey, would you react any differently than the woman in the video? (BTW, this video contains profanity so you may want to turn your speakers down or wait until you get home to watch.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It won't be the first time...

...Sarah Palin has lost to a history making African American.
By now we all know GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a former beauty queen but did you know she came in second place behind Alaska's first African-American Miss American candidate Maryline Blackburn? The Washington Post ran an interesting article on Maryline's (an Obama supporter) experience with Palin. (read more)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

Hip Hop and Politics? Who would've imagined the Hip Hop Generation would become so influential in the political process. For the last couple of weeks I've talked to people on both sides about how this election season has inspired young voters to get involved.

On the Democratic side: Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder of The Hip Hop Caucus. Listen Here

On the Republican side: Mr Lenny McAllister, member of the North Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee. Listen Here

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ooo, I want one of those....

Y'know the kind of man that lacks a particular variant of gene that influences brain activity and makes them more likely to be devoted and loyal husbands! Seriously. A recent study conducted in Stockholm has found a link between a mans genes and his aptitude for monogamy. According to the study men with with two copies of the allele gene are more likely to divorce or never get married at all. I guess it's no surprise that women who are married to men with a surplus of these pesky little allele genes are likely to say their husbands are distant and unavailable as opposed to the lucky women who snagged an allele free man, who say their husbands are emotionally close and available. This opened a debate about whether tests should be made available to the public to determine if a potential mate is suitable marriage material. (Umm, YEAH!) One one side, scientist are saying while the discovery is remarkable, there are other factors that enter into the equation, like culture, a man's upbringing, family background etc. Others agree, but believe that knowing if a man is part of the 40% who have 2 or more allele genes will help couples overcome his biologically weak link. Click here to read more about the findings.

So Cocoas, what do you think? Do we need to start setting up allele screening facilities across the country?

We'll talk more about this, Palin's pregnant daughter, and the RNC on Cocoa Mode in the Eagles Nest, tomorrow at 8:00am ET on XM Channel 169.


P.S. Have you checked out Cocoa Om online? What are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Case You Missed It - Hip Hop Caucus

Thank you to Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus for talking to Cocoa Mode about how his organization is working to get America's young people involved in the political process. For more information on how you can get involved, check out their website.
If you missed the interview you can hear the encore on XM 169 later tonight/tomorrow morning at 2:00am ET.n For those of you without XM, do yourself a favor and get it. Until then, you can download the show from the Cocoa Mode website on Monday afternoon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Case You Missed It - The Saartjie Project

Thank you and congratulations to Jessica Solomon and the cast and crew of The Saartjie Project. I hear the show was phenomenal. Unfortunately, the tickets sold out before I was able to grab a seat but I promise I will be front and center for the next DC show. If you missed the show or if you live outside of the DC metropolitan area, all is not lost. Jessica and her crew are prepared to take this show on the road. All you need to do is log on to the website to learn more about how you can bring The Saartjie Project to your town. In the meantime, click here to hear my interview with Jessica Solomon.

If you attended the show I would love to hear from you. What touched you most about the performance and how are you going to move forward now that you've been educated, inspired and called to action?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Master P. TV?

So, Master P. A.K.A. Percy Miller has announced that he will launch a new cable network targeting people of color. Better Black Television is being branded as a family-friendly network designed to "bring people of color a choice when turning on their television." Content will include health, animation, sitcoms, reality TV, movies, politics and sports.

Hmmm, not sure about this one. The eternal optimist in me wants to believe that Percy can pull this one off and people of color will finally have something besides music videos, 20 year old sitcoms and poorly executed black versions of MTV reality shows to watch. However, aside from that cute little show Romeo did for Nickelodeon, Master P has yet to prove he 1. Knows how to produce/program good television 2. Is relevant enough to capture the attention of young (and old - let's keep it real) Black people 3. Is really as family friendly as he wants us to believe. (I still remember when he got on Dancing with the Stars and embarrassed the hell outta black folks everywhere.) But who knows, stranger things have happened. So if you will excuse me I'm about to put in a call to see is Master P is hiring! In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yet Another Reason Why I'm Obama Fo' Life!

What does your favorite song say about you? I'm not sure and truth be told, it's a little too early in the morning for me to give it any serious thought. However, I will say this, any man who lists "Ready or Not" as his favorite song is all right by me. Let's just hope the right wing pundits spare us the Hip Hop Politician comparisons. We already know how that goes.

Voting McCain? Well, looks like your boy's gotta thing for 70's Euro-pop. Not very patriotic Johnny..not at all.

By the way, today's Joe Madison show is pre-recorded so that means no Cocoa Mode. If you can't wait until next week, feel free to download podcasts from previous shows here.

And now, with out further adieu,
The Obama 08' Campaign least in my mind
"Ready or Not"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sweet In My Bittersweet Weekend.

Wait a that who I think it is?

Yes ma'am , that's Kanye West and the picture was taken by yours truly at the Virgin Mobile Festival is Baltimore, Maryland last Sunday. The two day event which included huge names like Bob Dylan, Nine Inch Nails, Lil' Wayne, Iggy Pop and more drew thousands of people from all over the region and I was lucky enough to be there covering the event for my day job at Worldspace Satellite Radio. Kanye West's performance has to be the best stage show I've seen since the Jackson 5's Victory Tour back in 198-i was too young to remember. Visually, the show was incredible. I don't know if what we saw on Sunday was anything like his Glow In the Dark set but it was bright, bold and biiiig. Musically, the joint was tight. It's clear that he and his band put in countless hours getting the cues right and in those moments that appeared to be improvised, they were right there with him. The only other Hip Hop act I've seen with that type of precision is the Infamous Roots Crew and they've been together for years and years. But what really stood out was Kanye's message. Throughout his career Kanye has been accused of being arrogant, difficult and angry, all accusations that no doubt bother West. It seems every time he picks up the mic he's bashing his critics while pouring his heart out to fans. No question this has been a particularly rough year for Kanye having lost his mother in November, he said as much during a pretty impressive freestyle where he admitted he appreciated, but at the same time hated, all of the messages from fans regarding his mother, implying that they seemed disingenuous coming from people who had never met Kanye or his mother Donda. During Flashing Lights, Kanye also talked about the price of fame, you could hear the passion and anguish coming from the man who knows that no matter where he goes, no matter when, someone will always know his name. He will never be able to disappear into the crowd and live the life of an anonymous everyday joe. Normally I don't buy the whole "woe is me, I'm a famous kazillionaire and they just won't leave me alone" shtick. But coming from Kanye, it seemed real. He's a man who obviously loves what he does, worked hard for years before anyone recognized his talent and now has to deal with his own demons and insecurities in the public eye where we tend not give celebrities a pass for being human. Being in a business where success is measured by how many people know your name (and/or voice) I can understand how frustrating it can be when you just want to walk into a 7-11 sans makeup and dressed in your raggedy weekend sweats in peace, only to be recognized by someone who is still pissed off about something you said on the air weeks ago - and then calls you up on the air the next morning to dog you out for looking so busted at the 7-11. B-More can you hear me? But I digress. This is about Kanye who now officially goes down in my book as being one of my all time favorite entertainers. Kanyeezee, I got your back!! Stay Strong!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Bittersweet Weekend..

This weekend the world lost two of it's greatest entertainers. The hilarious Bernie Mac and the incredibly multi-talented Issac Hayes. Both men were masters of their fields. Bernie Mac, a former Chicago bus driver, took a small weekend comedy routine and turned it into a comedy gold. As one of the original Kings of Comedy he seemingly came out of nowhere to steal the show. At the time very few people knew the name Bernie Mac. His honest, down to earth, gut busting routine made people sit up and take notice. A year later Fox gave Bernie Mac his own show. The Bernie Mac Show was a huge success, and in my opinion one of the funniest shows on television at the time. By breaking the "forth wall" and talking directly into the camera viewers were given an invitation to look into the mind and life of a man who, despite the occasional threat of violence, cared deeply for his family. I also admire the respect he had for his craft, the consummate showman, Bernie Mac always brought his "A" game. There are so many examples of his work on the Internet - You Tube is full of funny Bernie Mac moments and there's no better way to remember the man than to enjoy him doing what he was put on earth to do....Make you laugh!

Last night while I was at the Virgin Mobile Festival (more on that later) I found out that Issac Hayes also passed away this weekend. To be honest, my knowledge of Issac Hayes only goes back as far as Shaft. I remember a few years ago, I was rummaging through some old records at my grandmothers place and found a unopened original vinyl copy of the Shaft soundtrack (among other goodies). I was too scared to open it, so I went on-line and downloaded the album. Now, I'm not a musician but I do appreciate good music, and what I heard through my earpods was just that, good music. Issac Hayes' career began in the early 1960's at the infamous Stax Records. While at Stax he wrote, produced and played on a string of hits that helped make Stax one of the most influential record labels of the era. He went on to enjoy critical success as a solo artist throughout the 60's and 70's. By the 1980's Issac Hayes began popping up on the big screen in films like Escape from New York and I'm Gonna Get You Sucka'. Most younger folk are most familiar with Issac Hayes' work as the soul singing cafeteria worker, Chef . In 2006 Issac Hayes was released from his contract with South Park over what some believe was his dis-satisfaction with the way they portrayed followers of Scientology. Before his death Issac Hayes was working on a film called Soul Men starring Samuel L. Jackson and guess who....Bernie Mac...Wow.

R.I.P. Bernie Mac & Issac Hayes.
I'll be back later to tell you about the sweet part of my bittersweet weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

Special thanks to Jamila White and Donna Maria Coles Johnson for coming on the show to discuss the FDA's Globalization Act and it's potential effects on independent cosmetic manufactures. The download will be available on the Cocoa Mode website soon. In the meantime, click on over to the Indie Business Blog to learn more about what Donna Maria and her organization are doing to protect small business owners. While you're on-line, check out J Blossom and Co., Jamila's fabulous line of products for little girls. Jamila was kind enough to extend a 10% discount to Cocoa Mode listeners, so don't forget to enter "xmradio" as the promotional code.

Next week we'll talk about the pros and cons of on-line dating. I'm looking for men and women who have tried on-line dating, it doesn't matter if you've found the one or not, I want to talk to you. My email address is Email me now to be a part of the Cocoa Mode movement.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cocoa Connect

Cross Colors anyone? Clutch Magazine examines how the Female MC uses fashion as well as music to express herself.

Last week Cocoa Mode asked if there's a place for Hip Hop in politics, this week Sterohyped asks if there's a place for sports in politics.

YMIB sits down with one of my favorites: The talented Ursula Rucker.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Love Rain Down On Me!

Welcome to Monday! I hope your weekend was full of fun or relaxation, whichever you needed most. I enjoyed a bit of both, but I'll admit it was hard to truly relax after spending Saturday night floating around on yet another musical high, thanks to the incomparable Jill Scott who performed along with Estelle, Chuck Brown and The Roots at the Summer Spirit Festival. Once again, I found myself at the Merriweather Post Pavilion only this time with lawn seats. (Apparently the pavilion sold out back in June.) But it was cool, we just grabbed a couple of (surprisingly comfortable) lawn chairs and set up shop at the top of the hill. To the left, the stage, straight ahead a video monitor and speakers. It was like being at a concert and drive in movie at once. Anyone who's been to a Jill Scott concert knows it's less about the stage show (Jill doesn't do a whole lotta dancing) and all about the music, and let me tell you...ya' girl represented! From the time she stepped foot on stage she had the audience in the palm of her hand. More than half of her set included songs from her latest album, though it sold well nationwide, it was clear that more than a few DC/MD fans had yet to pick it up. Upon noticing that folks weren't singing along as they normally do, she stopped the show and broke it down for the people, line by line,just so they could understand how serious this album is. Then she hit "A Long Walk" and that was all she wrote. Jill stepped back, smiled and just listened to the tens of thousands of people serenade her in unison. This was followed by what she called the "I'm trying to get you some" portion of the show which I'm sure she accomplished many times over. The Isley Brothers, Teena Marie and Prince, nuff said and I'll leave it at that. I must mention here that Washington DC was the first city to break Jill Scott. In fact, she sold more albums in the Washington Metro area than anywhere in the country. D.C. LOOOOOVES Jill Scoot, so when at the end of her 1st set she brought out the Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown to perform the Go-Go inspired hit "It's Love" she sealed the deal with young and old fans alike all of whom were dancing in the aisles, Oh how I wish I had pictures. Two encores later the show was over and we all walked away feeling breezy and free. Although I enjoyed the show, I must admit it wasn't as powerful as I remember her shows in the past but it did remind me of how much I enjoy being in the same space as the truly talented sisters of our time. Sisters like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and one that I have yet to see but God willing I will one day....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Payback's a .....

Vanity Fair spoofs New Yorker Cover.
Is that the Constitution in the fireplace?!?

Has it been almost a week already? Sorry I've been MIA around these parts. I took some time off this weekend to celebrate my 33rd birthday and then Monday got hit with with a terrible case of food poisoning. Three words: No More Sushi.

Anyhow, I will spare you the details of my medical condition and instead share a re-cap of the weekend.
On Friday, a couple of my closest friends joined me at the Capitol Fringe Festival for the premier of the 70% Club, you may remember we had the writer/star Mary McCallum on Cocoa Mode last week to talk about the play and why so many African American women are single in 2008. If you missed it, you can download the show here. Saturday, my family treated me to dinner at Marvin's, the District's latest hot spot. Nice place, a little too "we're trendy and we know it" for me, I mean the place doesn't even offer highchairs or booster that even legal??? Besides that the menu was interesting and to their credit they serve the best collard greens I've had since Miss Amanda moved back to Mississippi. I understand the chicken and waffles were pretty good too. Finally on Sunday (my actual birthday) an old friend from college treated me to a day at the Rock The Bells concert in Maryland. The show was incredible!! Many of you know from reading previous posts that I am a huge fan of Hip Hop. I especially love Hip Hop from the late 80's to mid 90's, so needless to say I was in heaven when I read the line up: De La Soul, Rakim, Redman & Methodman, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Dead Prez, Pharcyde... It was magical. 30,000 people - black, white, young, old, male, female - brought together by a love of the music. Oh and by the way...NOT A SINGLE VIOLENT INCIDENT, so there! Speaking of Hip Hop, tomorrow on Cocoa Mode in the Eagles Nest, we'll be discussing the roll Hip Hip is playing in getting unlikely voters to the polls this November. I've also invited Gina McCauley of What about our Daughters and to talk about why so many black women love Michelle and why so many white men find her spooky (?). Tune in tomorrow at 8:00am ET on XM 169 The Power.
Until then....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black Relationships in America

A while back the New York Times reported that 70% of African American women live alone. The 2006 US Census Data concluded nearly 50% of African American women have never been married. Why is this? Some would have us believe that black women are single because our standards are too high. Why wait for the middle-class white collar brother when the man working on the construction site or collecting our trash is available? Others have said, the black woman's insistence on dating black men is the problem.
Why not look to other races for companionship,
black men have been doing it for years. Then there's the ol' too many black men are in jail, on drugs, or just downright trifling that it's become an issue of mathematics. Too many women, not enough men. I belong to the school that believes all of these things in some way are responsible for the disproportionate number of single black women to men. However I know that we can sit around and point fingers at each other until the cows come home and still not get anywhere unless we're willing to talk to one another. That's right, black men and women together discussing relationships, marriage, parenting, finances and community building. Though I did not watch the CNN special, (I have satellite T.V. - it was raining - nuff said) I did watch a few of the segments made available on the CNN website (not sure if they're from this special or an older one.) I am going to reserve my judgment of the series until I get a chance to watch it in it's entirety. What I will say is that I hope at the very least this special will open the door to a long overdue exchange between brothers and sisters.

Thank you to Dr. Joyce Morley Ball for taking time out to join me on this week's Cocoa Mode and also to playwright, Mary McCaullum. If you're in the DC area please consider seeing her play The 70% Club this Friday and Saturday night at Trinity College. You can buy your tickets here. See you there!

Photo by Derek Anderson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Up Next: Kissey Asplund

Direct from Sweden, Kissey Asplund is gearing up to take the U.S. by storm with her unusual brand of Hip Hop/Electronica/Jazz. This past weekend I got to see her perform live at The Bloom Bar in Washington D.C. The venue was small and HOT HOT HOT (like no A/C on a 80+ degrees night hot) but that didn't stop Kissey from giving it her all. Like Erykah or Bjork, Kissey is more of a vocalist than a singer which in my opinion makes her sound even more interesting. A few days before the Washington DC performance Kissey called into my Global Hip Hop show, The Cipher on FLAVA, Worldspace Channel 204. We talked beats, technology and Celene Dion! Check it out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pass the NyQuil

Normally I wouldn't touch the stuff, but if I don't shake this nasty little flu in the next 24 hours, you can call me a convert. On second thought, don't call me at all cause I'll be KNOCKED OUT!!! Since my scratchy throat, stuffy nose and nagging cough have temporarily suspended all normal brain activity, I'll just leave you with this piece of musical/video goodness to set your weekend off right.

Fonzworth Bentley, Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Sa-Ra.
Everybody [Don't Stop]

Good googly-moogly, I love that Andre 3000!!!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

In case you missed today's Cocoa Mode in the Eagle's Nest all it not loss. Tune into the encore performance at 2:00am on XM Channel 169. If that's too late (or too early) for you, check back for the downloadable podcast on Monday.

Check out Dorri C. Scott's website: High Heels and High Worth.
Jam Donaldson's new t-shirt line: Jam Donaldson Designs.

Looks like I caught a little bug while I was whoopin' it up in Detroit, so I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Check back tomorrow for more.

In Case You Missed It...

In case you missed today's Cocoa Mode in the Eagle's Nest all it not loss. Tune into the encore performance at 2:00am on XM Channel 169. If that's too late (or too early) for you, check back for the downloadable podcast on Monday.

Check out Dorri C. Scott's website: High Heels and High Worth.
Jam Donaldson's new t-shirt line: Jam Donaldson Designs.

Looks like I caught a little bug while I was whoopin' it up in Detroit, so I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Check back tomorrow for more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's that time again....

It's time for the season premier of the show to which all reality based competition shows are compared. PROJECT RUNWAY! Season 5 premiers tonight and I will be glued to the T.V. waiting to see what crazy challenges Tim, Heidi and Nina come up with this time around. I'll also be keeping an eye on the TWO sisters who participating in this season's challenge.

Up first Terri: A 39 year old free-lance designer from Chicago who's worked as an assistant designer to Barbara Bates, a stylist and merchandiser for Nordstrom, and a regional visual manager for Levi's. She is currently working as a Victoria's Secret visual manager and would like to break out with her own designs. She has eclectic and funky styles that compliment her own unique personality. Karl Lagerfeld is Terri's biggest fashion inspiration.

Next, Korto: A 33 year old Liberian native who moved to Canada to attend Fashion School. The Bravo website lists her status as "still sewing", not sure what that means. She is inspired by rich fabrics and textures and says her designs are intended for real, full-figured women. In her spare time, Korto works as a freelance fashion photographer, dances in an African dance troupe and does African hair braiding and makeup. She says her family considers her to be fun and easygoing.

The brothers are also represented by Jerell, a 28 year old former model turned designers. Like Korto, he is "still sewing" and describes his style as "eclectic and bold".

Here's an interesting little tidbit, in the past four seasons only one woman has walked away with the crown (and the money)and none of the African American contestants have won, though we came close with Mycheal Knight and Kara Saun. Maybe this year we'll kill two birds with one stone and see a sista' girl rise to the top. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Check out the Bravo website for more info.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be Inspired: Toni Blackman

MC/Actress/Activist/Writer Toni Blackman was introduced to me many years ago by a colleague at XM Satelitte Radio. At the time she was the U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador and had just returned from Senegal where she was working with a group of Senegalese MC's on a Tran-Atlantic Hip Hop collaboration. Through the years I featured Toni on Worldzone and Flava. I've been trying to get her on Cocoa Mode for a while, but she's an incredibly busy woman with so much going on, including her latest project - The Lyrical Embassy. In Toni's words, " The Lyrical Embassy represents the community that believes in inspiration and empowerment through creativity, art and music. It serves as an umbrella for all the work I've done with Freestyle Union and I Rhyme Like A Girl, extending the reach by developing a cadre of artist/educators who will teach and perform in workshops as Lyrical Ambassadors in 2009. It offers tools and resources, including a CD and a corporate offering to create more impact. It is a platform to work together to make music, make change, and groom a new group of world-class leaders".
Toni is one of those sisters who understands the power of Hip Hop music and culture and is on the front line teaching young people both here and abroad how to channel their creative energy in positive ways. When all that Imus/Hip Hop mess was going on, I kept watching and hoping that Toni or any sister involved in the Hip Hop culture would be asked to represent the female perspective, unfortunately rather than allow us to speak for ourselves, they called on the men to speak for us, as if. Anyway, please take some time to learn more about Toni Blackman and if she's ever in your area, do yourself a favor and check her out live. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Do You Think? Pt.2

Satire at it's best

Or at it's worst?

I must admit, I laughed out loud at the Jesse Jackson cartoon.

What do you think?

What Do You Think?

In case you were wondering where I've been for the last few days, I was busy fulfilling my duties as bridesmaid for one of my dearest friends. During my time in "The D" I spent exactly three minutes on the internet, and that was to get directions, (ya' girl needs GPS bad!). Anyhow, the wedding was gorgeous. The bride looked fantastic. To anyone who says a natural bride can't be beautiful, I beg to differ, this bride wore her hair in a short curly fro-like style and it was fabulous. Aside from the visual beauty, the spirit of the ceremony was beautiful thanks to Rev. Adams who instead of going right into the traditional, "do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife" part, took time to talk about the joys and challenges that come with marrying your best friend. As someone who's been married and experienced her share of ups and downs I could relate, and apparently I was not alone, during his speech quite a few of the guests offered up "ummm hmmms" and "yes sirs" and "amens". As the saying goes, "marriage is not something that is to be entered into lightly" and there are many who have decided that instead of traveling down that road and risk getting lost, they'll just stay home and work it out the best they can. Which brings me to today's What Do You Think?
It was just announced that Erykah Badu is pregnant with her third child. The father is rapper/producer Jay Electronica. My inbox was full of messages from people who were curious to know what I though about her response to the comments from members of who questioned her decision to have yet another baby out of wedlock. Here's her response. I'm torn. On the one hand, I agree that what she chooses to do with her life is her business. She claims to have a good parenting relationship with both Andre and the D.O.C and at the end of the day, isn't that what's important? It's easy to stand in judgement, especially if you've been raised to believe there's only one way to do things. On the other hand, I believe it's best to raise children within the space of marriage, but that only works if if the partnership is a healthy one. Children are very sensitive to the energy that surrounds them. If parents are constantly arguing and fighting, or even if they're not but still fill the air with anger and resentment, the children pick up on it and it makes them miserable. Years ago I met a young girl who during a conversation about her home life told me she wished her parents would just get a divorce so that she could live in peace. She was only about six years old but she knew her environment was unhealthy. Would she be better off if her parents divorced? I don't know, there are other things to consider like finances and such, but she knew something needed to change. As I begin to figure out what to do about my own relationship, I know that what's right for me may not be possible for everyone, and at the end of the day, I have to make the decision that's best for everyone involved, and right now that's only three people. No more, no less. I think that's what Erykah is trying to say. No one is perfect, we can only hope that we grow and learn from our mistakes and that when it's all said and done we can rest knowing that we did the best we could for those that we love the most. What do you think?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Thank You Sista!

Hey Ladies (and Gents),
Hope you had a great holiday weekend. I spent most of the weekend close to home, though I did get a chance to enjoy an hour of sweet restorative yoga at one of my favorite places on the planet, Shakti. You know, despite all my talk about taking care of the mind, body and soul, I am as guilty as the next woman when it comes to not taking time out for me. I've been moving at full speed for the last few weeks trying to get my life in order and all the while ignoring the aches and pains, dismissing the headaches as "rain induced sinus attacks" or explaining away the crazy nightmares I've been having as a sign I need to sweep under my bed - don't ask. Anyway, I realized after taking my yoga class that I was suffering from too much stress. Me, the woman who used to rearrange my work schedule so I could go to meditation class, and would be PISSED if I missed it. Me, the woman who has only one response to people who complain about feeling bad, "You need to do some yoga". Yes me, the woman who tattooed this on her wrist as a constant reminder of how important it is to leave all the mess behind and focus on the beauty of now. Anyway, I feel better now and I have to thank Ms. Ananda Leeke for inviting me to join her this weekend - girl you are a lifesaver!

Speaking of Ananda, did you get a chance to listen to last night's BAP Radio broadcast? If not, no worries you can listen to the recorded version here. I was so honored to be asked to participate in this month's show. You can catch me at the very beginning but please listen to the entire show. Each one of the women on the panel is an incredible example of how Black women are stepping up and taking control of their destinies. Rock on my sistas!!!

Let's see, what else? Oh, we're still working on the blog integration website thingamajig. I hope to have some good news soon.

Also, I'm working on an exciting Cocoa Mode for August. Maybe you can help, I'm looking for women of color who are using on-line dating sites to meet men. It doesn't matter if you're having lots or little success finding the man of your dreams, I want to talk to you. Please email me at More on that later.

O.K. I gotta run...Have a great day!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tune In.


Hope you're enjoying your long weekend. For those of you who are working today, I say keep your head up and make that money - the 4th didn't mean much to us anyway..


The purpose of today's post is to hip you to a few things going on with me and Cocoa Mode. First, starting early next week, the Cocoa's Corner blog will be moving to a new address. The easiest way to access the new blog is from the Cocoa Mode webpage. This page will still be active as an archive, so feel free to come back and revisit your favorite Cocoa's Corner post. Don't forget you can also check out all of the Cocoa Says commentaries (which are coming back as soon as we get all of this other stuff fixed) and interviews on the Cocoa Mode website as well. Next, I am proud to announce I will be participating in what promises to be a powerful discussion on Women of Color and Digital Media this Sunday on BAP Living Radio hosted by the fabulous Ananda Leeke. The program will air Sunday June 6th at 7:00pm. Don't miss it! Finally, we had so much fun chatting a few weeks ago, the ladies of Broadminded have invited me back for more. I'll hanging out with the "Broads" Tuesday July 8th at 2:00pm ET on XM Channel 155.
There's no way I can leave you his holiday weekend without a bit of music so here's another throwback Summer Jam to enjoy during your holiday cookout.

Arrested Development "Tennesee"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What Do You Think?

As much as I love music, sometime I crave information and a good conversation. That is why you'll often find me listening to my local NPR station. Yesterday during the Diane Rehm show author Linda Mills was interviewed about her book, Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Violence. Mills is also the founder of NYU's Center on Violence and Recovery. Mills who endured a number of violent relationships as a younger woman has created a plan for couples who have decided to work through their violent relationship rather than end them. Of course, this is a controversial approach, as most of us have been taught the best (and only) way to deal with an abuser is to leave the relationship. Mills believes that a good number of abusers and victims can benefit from intervention and counseling. She's more concerned with exploring the causes of abuse and the pathology of both the abuser and the victim. Mills also claims that nearly half of abusive relationships involve back and forth abuse from both the man and the woman, but because the woman is almost always the one who is injured, the focus is on the man as the abuser. She also said the statistics have shown that nearly 25% of abusive relationships involve men who are being abused by women. That said, her program requires the victims of abuse to recognize their role in the abuse. As you can imagine, victim rights advocates and "mainstream feminists" have a major problem with this thinking. Mills says that by admitting the victim may have played a role in the abuse she/he is empowered to take an active role in changing the dynamic of the relationship.
I'm happy to say I've never been in a physically abusive relationship, though I've been around men who have what I call abusive tendencies. I like to think I've been spared because I make it clear that I do not tolerate physical violence and should it ever come to that, there will be (dire) consequences. Thank God they believe me and leave me be. However, if I were to find myself in a violent relationship I don't know that I would be able to work through it. I'm one of those people who's been taught, if he hits you - leave. But listening to Linda Mills has forced me to re-think my position. What do you think?

To hear the interview, click here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jewel Woods Pt. 2

It seems everyone is talking about sex tourism these days. The leo in me wants to believe that my first interview with author Jewel Woods sparked the interest of people around the globe, Congress too. Of course it doesn't matter why people have chosen now to discuss this very important issue, just that they have. Part 2 of my conversations with Jewel Woods is available on the Cocoa Mode web page, just click the podcast icon at the bottom right and enjoy. Don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section. While you're here, take a look at the You Tube video one of my listeners passed along about sex tourism in the Caribbean. The piece takes a look at the many white women who travel to the islands looking for a little (or not so little) lovin'. Question: In this scenario, who's taking advantage of whom?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cocoa Says...Internet Woes

Will the internet social networking sites ever take the place of real live person to person interaction? I hope not. My computer's not nearly as fun as my friends,

besides he's a cheap date!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Love's Troubadours

Official Website/Ananda's Blog/Buy the Book

Ananda Leeke came to my attention a few months ago after posting a comment on a previous Cocoa's Corner entry about Howard University's alumni networking site The Bison Roundup. In her post she mentioned that she'd written a book called Love Troubadours - Karma: Book One, I was immediately intrigued by the description of the main character, Karma. The author describes her as a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair who's life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity-and doesn't see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is.

After reading the book and learning more about Ananda I invited her to spend some time in Cocoa's Corner to talk about the book and how important it is for all of us to take time out to honor our true purpose.

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