Champaign Goines

Champaign Goines

Love me Anyway

I may nag a lot…..Love me anyway

I’m a bit obsessive….Love me anyway

I worry too much….Love me anyway but I love the ocean, I love the trees and a simple daisy. I’m not hard to please.

Thinking of you and the blessing you have brought. My soul is deep and my heart is wide I’m not afraid to let you inside. You are my secretes….you see all my shame….you know so much more than merely my name.

Sometimes I’m bored….Love me anyway

I dream too much….Love me anyway.

I’m high expectations, big hugs and smiles. Just sit down listen before we talk. I’m not perfect, I never claim to be. I’m sure we all have our faults. You can clearly see I can’t promise you the world but my love is internal. I’ll stand by your side. For you I will move mountains.

I swallow my pride sometimes less than expected but remember these things will never neglect you. I’m stubborn and headstrong look deeper and see you are the world to me. Despite the bad things that life brings just know I love you without ever a pause. So whatever may come through the days, month or years just know I will always say….

Love me anyway!!!!

Rest in Peace 1983-2021

Knowing when it’s time to move on

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

You would think it would get easier as you get older to walk away from situations that don’t fit your life as you get older but ummmm that’s not always the case. I’ve personally have been in the medical field since I was 12. Yep illegal but who going to tell their mother no? lol I’m not going to tell my age but it’s been over 30 years and we will leave it at that. Being in a field for that long you would think it would be easy to let go because you’ve been doing the same thing over and over that it should have gotten annoying at least. But it doesn’t. There are two things that change. You and that field.

You come to terms that you have outgrown your field or you want more out of it but don’t want to leave the People that you take care of, for example. We will use me in this story. I’ve stayed with this company for about 7 years and I kept waiting for the improvements to surface. And while waiting, you try to keep your residents alive and happy till that day comes because they have nowhere else to go and unfortunately can’t go anywhere to look for a better place. So even though you know you can’t do it on your own, you know that even if its just an 8 or 12 hour day they will have known that they mattered for those days that you were there. But even with that mindset you know your days of being there is coming closer to a end. How do you get pass the emotions? Everyone there doesn’t have poor memory loss or dementia to take away the thought that you left them.

You know your not leaving friends behind because true friends keep in touch so it’s not that, it’s the resident. You know you can always come back to see them but it’s not the same. Please don’t think I’m using them as a security blanket because my work stalker named Robert always reminded me that my presence mattered. I couldn’t go anywhere and not be in his sight line.

I’m the high five aid that everyone wanted to get a high five from because they see others doing it and wanted to be in on it as well lol. I know when I leave I won’t be updated to their passing or if they are lucky enough to go back home or a better home environment. To be an aid trust me it’s not for the money, it’s for helping people in their toughest times. People say dealing with customer service is so hard but I don’t think people realize if your working in the Medical field your dealing with people when their sick. So that’s grouchy, angry, sad,bitter,depressed and defeated on a daily to hourly rotation. I think personally we should hold that crown but that’s just me.

Can you imagine what its like to try to figure out what to do next ,when all your life you’ve only done one thing? And don’t get me wrong you can find something, but you have to wonder will it give you the same satisfaction as what you’ve been doing so far. Your not scared to take that leap its just is it worth making it?

You know that whatever it is you know the answer is YES. Because the field has outgrown you because everything is always changing. You change, skill levels change, attitudes change, environments change. Either you grow with it or you grow out of it and either way is okay.

It’s growth. It’s life.

And most important it’s normal. So as you sit and contemplate your next move, like I’m doing just know there’s nothing wrong with you. Well there is, if you stay doing something that doesn’t make you happy. Then that’s a different article. But for now this is one that says changes are coming and its okay to accept them and even better its okay to make them.

Kristy Getz

Alaskan native traveling from Vegas back to her Homeland shares its beauty from her art.

What would you say has been the best part about going to Alaska?

Kristy: Seeing friends and family and also being able to look at the beautiful scenery I grew up with every single day.

What would you tell someone who is contemplating going there?

Kristy: I would say do it! Life is too short! Alaska is one of THE MOST beautiful places in the world. The people are great and you can find great food here too!

What is a misconception about Alaska?

Kristy: Ooooh good one. There are many. One is that we are all so isolated that we don’t have up to date things like shopping, music, restaurants things like that. Some of the major misconceptions i used to get from people as a kid when I traveled was that we had polar bears in our backyard and we had igloos. Lol there are so many reality tv shows out now about Alaska and those are about people that live “Off the Grid”. Alaska is VERY BIG. Alaska is 665,385 square miles. Texas is 268,596. So that gives you an idea. Most of the population lives in Anchorage, about 293,000. so that tells you a little bit about this beautiful state.

What is an honest downside to living there?

Kristy: The winters can be long. September to about March or April depending on what the weather decides to do. It can get extremely cold. But from what I have heard the weather has gotten milder over the years.

What’s the best seasons to go?

Kristy: My favorite is spring and summer…May to August.

Would you travel from Vegas to Alaska again?

Kristy: Oh yea, Alaska will always be my home. I’m at this age where anything is possible! I’m not stuck anywhere. I used to feel kind of tied to one place or one job. But after the last year and a half of experiences I have realized life is all about making it your own and that’s it! Not living for anyone but yourself!

How do you think going back home has helped your creativity and artwork?

Kristy: Going back to Alaska has helped my creativity in the following ways….. for one I have seen so many beautiful things and I have been writing down tons of ideas, I have taken a lot of pictures, and I am dying to do some artwork! Being away from it for so long makes you Jones for it!!! Lol I have not had the space for it or the time. So Vegas and creative time here I come!!!!

Emdee Anderson

To say he was just a Dj would be an insult! A spirit that flows in more ways than one.

How long have you been a Dj?

Emdee: This summer makes 45 years, so far. Thanks to my mother buying a lot of records when I was a kid, I was able to do my first paid gig at age 9, at a house party. With my father owning clubs and my growing up in the club business, I came across a number of DJs. Seeing how they impacted the crowd with the music they played, the way they talked on the mic, and timing of the music, that was what made me want to be a DJ. Along with the style and creativity of Frankie Crocker.


Not a lot of people know that you have traveled to other countries playing music. What was that like?

Emdee: Most definitely a spiritual experience and it helped to expand my music collection and knowledge of world music. People overseas are on a different frequency. They don’t get caught up in asking for requests, like many here stateside. More people FEEL the music. They let the DJ do his/her thing.

Traveling to Africa was most impactful. I’ve visited several countries there and it blew me away. I first touched down in Abijan, Côte d’Ivoire, known to many as the “Ivory Coast”. I was already excited about going to where our ancestors come from, and to land on what I consider to be holy ground, a surge went through my body after stepping off the plane. I felt like I was home.

I went to get checked in at the hotel that was booked for me, and then got the chance to check out the scene. From the slums to the tourist spots. While some things were upsetting to see, there was still a lot of beauty in it all. Resilience in the people sparks a lot of creativity. They took the old adage; “one person’s trash is another one’s treasure”, to higher heights. There’s a slum close to the shore that I visited that has a dump yard near this community of shanties. People would go through the trash looking for things useful to them and repurpose it to fit their needs. I saw a good number of instruments made from discarded items. We’re talking percussion, to flutes, harmonicas, guitars, and so on. There were children playing these instruments like they were masters. A lot of gifted people.
The gig that I was booked for was at an old hall that had a lot of colors inside and out. I don’t recall the name of the spot, but it was a place where a good number of local bands and DJs get their wings, along with bands from other countries doing concerts there. How I got there was from me doing mixtapes. A guy was here visiting and he came to one of my gigs at a friend’s suggestion. He loved the way that I DJ’ed and asked me for a few mixes. He took them back home, and would call and write me to let me know how people there liked what I did. I would ship more tapes to him. Eventually, I got the call to travel there to do it live. Me, my turntables, and a couple of cases of records were on our way to the other side of the world. At the last minute, I decided to do an all Motown and old school set. It’s like the spirit told me to go in that direction. I tell you….the people erupted, shouted, and got excited about the music as if it was the newest, hottest records that came out. It was massive. I’ll never forget it.

I visited other countries there, like Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, and a few more. While each is different, there are still a lot of similarities in the cultures. We think that we have a hard enough time keeping up with music here, try keeping up with music from one of those countries. We get more of the popular artists from a small number of genres. From my bit of knowledge, there are hundreds of genres in one country alone. I’m still learning a lot of the older sounds, as well as being introduced to the newer stuff.

I’ve also traveled extensively through the Caribbean to gig, as well as to Pago, Pago, and New Zealand.

You created a podcast called….?

Emdee: The Record Realm podcast. Roughly, it’s a platform that I created to steadily introduce music to the masses. Time of release doesn’t matter, as well as genres. You’ll hear everything from folk, to Jazz, Soul, Electronica, World Beat, you name it.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Emdee: Abstract and eclectic. I don’t like to be bound by a box. If something catches my ear, I want to play it. I like to describe my sets as creating “soundscapes”. I want to tell a story through an extensive selection of music while making you dance or to relax.

Other musical influences include Jam Master Jay (RIP), DJ Maseo of De La Soul, and DJ Ready Red (RIP), for their skills as show DJs. They had and have great timing. Timing is a key element in being a DJ. My learning to perfect that for my live sets and show performances is what sets the tone to help create the various moods.

What type of music is off limits?

Emdee: Mostly, a lot of mainstream and mumble rap stuff. That stuff doesn’t appeal to me on a sonic level. Some think it has to do with me just not liking it or having an “open mind”. No, it changes my mood. Makes me irritated. Even if it was just the beats. Hella annoying.


With everything happening in the past few years with Police reform being put under the microscope how do you feel it will affect the future black males as they grow up seeing the evolution on that topic?

Emdee: Well, as with anything, there has to be more education. I like the route that the Black Panther Party took with educating its members, as well as the community, to bring awareness of what we’re up against. First, it’s knowledge of self. Then, there’s the power of unity and the community through interdependence. They extended it to teaching how to sustain self, family, and the community by means of basic survival and self-defense. Once you have the foundation laid, then learn how to engage with this matter on all levels. Instead of waiting on politicians to make moves and/or decide how things should go, the people need to push harder to make things happen. Not wait. The people have the power to take issues directly to them by phone, email, visits to the various government institutions, all the way down to civic club meetings, or meetings to get things tabled with local and national government.
Study the various histories of our leaders, key figures, and organizations, from a global point, who helped make greater changes to take our people out of unfavorable conditions. Throughout history, music and art has been a huge purveyor to spark revolutions and change. I agree with the greats who say that we, as artists, have a moral and social responsibility to create art to help wake up the masses and bring awareness.

We cannot leave out black women. This affects them as well. As I made mention of the Black Panther Party, the women were both the main driving force of the organization and the glue that held it all together. This is a fight for all of us as a people. Women birth the nation.


You’re more than music,What other ways do you get your creativity out for others to see?

Emdee: Many don’t know that I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I play French horn (was a first chair, by the way), trumpet, trombone, mellophone, flugelhorn, and percussion. I haven’t been as active as I used to, but I make rare appearances in some cases doing these. I have gone to art school. I can paint and draw. I’ve also attended dance school to study modern dance, as well as done street dancing as a B-Boy. I also do a bit of photography. I get that from my pop. He took a good amount of monochromatic (black and white) photos and knew how to develop film himself. The majority of the photos that I have taken are monochromatic and abstract.  I’ve done a bit of acting as well. I have one “made for TV” movie that I was in and a few plays. The last stage play that I acted in was in 2014 and is titled “Little Big Ramayan”, that was produced and directed by Bhaktimarga Swami, the “walking monk”. I was also the music supervisor and did the sound effects for the play.

How did you get started in Graphic Design?

Emdee: From frustration. (LOL) I asked someone to do a flyer for me for an event I planned, paid them, and didn’t hear from them after. So, I grabbed my PC and made a flyer on my own in Powerpoint. I was ok, but it didn’t quite do all that I wanted. Then I learned about Photoshop. I wanted to use my eye for art to put into my design, but had a hard time with the software. I asked a couple of people to help, but they didn’t. So I took it upon myself to learn the function of the basic tools. I’m pretty much self-taught, for the most part, but did earn a degree from, as I call it, “YouTube University”. Once learning the functionality of the software, things took off. I went from crap to creative.

Let’s talk about Production! How did that come about?

Emdee: For a long time, I was fascinated with the work of Leon Ware, Gordon Parks, Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, and Stevie Wonder. I wanted to do what they were doing. So I studied them. Then, around 1986 or 1987, I met DJ Ready Red of, what they were then called the “Ghetto Boys”, later changed to “Geto Boys”. I was with one of my friends and we went to a recording session at one of the make-shift Rap-A-Lot studios in the Heights on N. Shepherd and 15th Street at a car lot that J. Prince owned. At the time they were writing and recording “You Ain’t Nothin’ ” and some other tunes. A little later Red was watching the movie “Scarface” on a VCR. He kept rewinding the part where Al Pachino says; “All I have in this world is my balls and my word.” It’s like he was soaked into it. I could see the gears turning in his head. He gets up, walks over to his Roland TR-909 and starts this beat. He’s tweaking it to make it hit harder and laid the foundation of his classic beat interlude “Balls and My Word”. Seeing the process that he did to make that happen is what sealed it for me to get into music production. So I started saving and hustling a few more gigs to get music production equipment. I first started out looping beats and riffs on multiple tape decks, but then saved up to get a Casio keyboard that had a sampler. I was in business with that piece. My next purchase was an Akai s900. Then I got an Ensoniq ASR-10. Those two pieces of equipment really elevated my game. I did a few tracks for some local groups that I didn’t get credit or payment for. One of my tracks got radio airplay. That was the thing that taught me to learn about the music business.

The 1990s brought about me learning more about sound engineering and stage production from doing shows as a performance DJ. I was also in a few scratch battles too. Learning the ins and outs about backline and other things started separating me from the other DJs and brought more opportunities. Mind you, I have previous experience in stage production from my high school drama classes. Long story short, I got booked for tours, and that helped me to learn more about how to properly produce shows, from watching, listening, asking a lot of questions, and internships. There’s a list of minor and major venues that I have produced shows at from the late 1990s to 2000s. Sis. Akua Holt is the biggest impact for me for stage production. I got into music video production in the late 1990s, mainly through local acts.

I have to pay respects to the late Mr. Eugene Foney. He helped me on the visual arts end. He was an art dealer and curator for many exhibits around the world for black visual artists. With him booking me for a good number of exhibits, I learned how to put together a proper exhibit.

A brief internship at KPRC Channel 2, here in Houston helped to push me into TV production. I have only a little bit of experience in that area. However, I did gain enough overall experience to land a Production Manager position at local black owned TV station Urban Houston Network, for a year and a half.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in following some of your accomplishments?

Emdee: Most importantly, learn the business side of things. That will help you to avoid a lot of potential heartbreak. Study your craft and take it seriously. The more well versed and experienced you are, through proof, the more opportunities will open up for you. Great work sells itself.


Who does the Dj listen to?

Emdee: So, so many good artists. It’s a given with artists like Stevie, Miles, Nina, Coltrane, and every other artist who everybody mentions. A lot of UK artists like 4Hero/2000 Black family, that houses artists Kaidi Tathum, Daz-I-Cue, Afronaught, and so on. Shy-X, Congo Natty (formerly Rebel MC), Khemistry, Benga, Scream, Roots Manuva, and a list of others. These are some of the pioneers and foundation of Jungle, Drum n Bass, Broken Beat, 2-Step, UK Garage, Dubstep, Grime, and other genres that spawned from their early contributions of the early Hardcore and Hip-Hop scene in London. Deborah Jordan, Heidi Vogel, SAULT, Omar Lyfook, London Afrobeat Collective, and a host of others from the UK. From Africa, Ali Farka Toure, Samite, African Head Charge, Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, Bhusi Mlongo, Farafina, Samthing Soweto, Bolt Cutter, Msaki, Sho Majozi, Blvckmoon, and my little brothers in Kenya, Saint Evo, Jacob Ngunyi, and Moseh Drummist. I adore singer/model Luedji Luna from Brazil.

I listen to Metal. OTEP is my favorite Metal band. I like the hard shit too. There are so many I can name who I listen to, depending on my mood. It ranges into House, Amapiano, Gqom, Juke/Footwork from Chicago, to Halftime, Soul, Reggae, and classic Rhythm and Blues. I’m not really into a lof of the “R&B” from the 1990s. I like soulful stuff. DJ Nappy G of Groove Collective. Dude is that deal. He inspired me to do a remix of a Louie Ramirez track. Steve Catanzaro of Modern Groove Assembly. He’s super dope as well. I wish I could play keys like him. Tiffany Paige, Brittany Bosco, Electric Wire Hustle, Fitzwa, Georgia Anne Muldrow (coined “woke”), J-Dilla, Kriswontwo, MonoNeon…my gawd! Dude is an alien or something, and is insane on bass. He plays upside down like Hendrix. Little Dragon, Tall Black Guy, Zo!, and Pittsburgh producer Shade Cobain. He’s got that “whew lawd” too.

On a local level, people should listen to artists like Kuumba Freeque, three of the best vocalists in Houston who I hail up and have high regard for, OC Song/Song Byrd, Krystal Hardwick, and Kam Franklin. Song and Kam have that old school soul, bring down the house, style vocals. Krystal…..lawd! Smoother than butter. I’m have tracks ready for Song and Krystal. K-Rino, can lyrically roll with the best of the best of them. There’s guitarist and producer Stephen Oran. His music puts my mind at ease. He’s a Rock star who addresses social issues, as well as other subjects in his music. He’s the type I view as playing his music while you have the top down, cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway. Multi-instrumentalist Chris Hines. A cat who I have regularly worked with since the 1990s. A great musician and one of the best producers in Houston. Has toured with Prince, Maze, The Isley Brothers, and so on. A session musician with Raphael Saadiq and Ice Cube. He has also been the Music Director for a few shows that I produced, as well as, with him and Spencer the Madd Drummer, I developed the early stages of Sunflower Jazz. The Niyat. Mutha-funkin’ David Sha! Dude tears the house down too. My other ace, DJ Blaknificent. Originally from New Orleans who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award for the work he’s done in music. He’s a wealth of musical knowledge. Run-CT…dude produces some bangers! Keith Watson/K-Dubb is a god. His production is beyond amazing.

Lastly, my brother Elliott Keith, formerly known as Elliott Ness of EK Skwad. He’s an emcee and producer who has a long track record. He smashes Japan and other cities overseas. I’m not saying this just because he’s a friend, but folks should peep his tune “Letter To Sandy (Mom)”, which is a dedication piece to his late mother. He wrote and produced it. In my opinion, it’s worthy of being included in Houston music archives. It’s a big tune.

Who would be your dream guest on your podcast?

Emdee: DJ Dawg, DJ Blaknificent, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Mell Starr, Taigo Onez, Anthony Nicholson, Ge-Ology, Andy Mack (DJ Mack Boogaloo), Greg Caz, DJ Nina Sol, Saint Evo, Louie Vega, DJ Whisperwish, DJ Fritz Charles, Ms Melodic, DJ Lady Love…who is one of the women pioneers in Hip-Hop, DJ Nappy G, Shade Cobain, Supa Neil, Fatta Carey and DJ Goldfinga, DJ Griffin (G-Woody), and a list of others. Although she’s not technically a DJ, but a young lady who goes by Afroditey would be great. She knows a lot of good music and has the makings to be a really good DJ.

You’re known for making people dance and leaving them with smiles ….WHat makes you happy?

Emdee: The sheer satisfaction that I’ve made them smile and have a good time. Especially when I play something and they light up, whether it be something they’re already familiar with or it’s something new to them.

How can people find out more about your ventures?

Emdee: Currently, I’m working on updating everything, but they can find out more on my website. therecordrealm.com or Facebook.


Where do you see Emdee in the future?

Emdee: Owning a production company and releasing a lot of music. I’ve been approached twice about starting a record label. Pretty soon, my radio show called “Afrotronik” will be airing on two radio stations, and I hope to expand to more markets overseas. I do have plans to open a “brick and mortar” business in the near future. Also planning to reintroduce and artist named Tishande’. As mentioned previously, I’ve taken a number of photos and would like to have my own exhibit one day. And to sell some of my work.

Open Mic!!!     (the stage is all yours!)

Emdee: Encouraging other artists to keep creating and don’t worry about what the next person may think, that’s not of help to you. You may be the next person that starts a new style that’s innovative, that leads to creating another movement and genre. Be unique. Be you.

I wish more people would get back to enjoying music in the true sense of it. To feel and connect with the music. Let the DJ be a tastemaker. There’s a lot of great music that people are overlooking because they’re too busy with the same 15 songs that they hear all the time, then they go some place with the expectation of hearing and requesting those same songs. Requests, in many cases, can be very annoying. 
I’m extremely thankful for my mother and her helping to nurture my talents. She busted her chops to provide the means for me to improve what I already have and to open me up to the world of art. She’s also responsible for this insatiable wanderlust. I’m also thankful for my four sisters and one of my best friends Tiffany, who are part of my support system. DJ Dawg, my longest best friend, then person responsible for turning me into the mix machine that I am, through the Casanova Crew, with DJ Lonnie Mack and Prince EZ-Cee (DJ Peter Parker), who were also part of the Def IV on Rap-A-Lot. Big ups to Mikey Faith and Fatta Carey for my soundsystem experience and taking my DJing to the next level. DJ Noyze….the first person who I did the 2 x 4 with, before it was cool. Being introduced to his “flip-flop” mixes. He was also a beast with cookouts for the crew. Elliott Keith, so many thanks to him. It’s how I met DJ Noyze. Bernard “Hawk” Lawes, for the many years of friendship, shows, travel, and extended family. Akua Holt for helping me to fine tune my stage production. Bruce (RIP) and Missy Coley of 3rd Eye Promo for all that they have done and opening up their hearts and home to me. DJ Blaknificent, worthy of the name, keeps me on my toes through brotherhood and music-wise. The Smiths, my extended family from Club Riddims, my other brothers Nasiir Muhammad and Capt. Khallid Green, Dominique Hermez (Skol Hookah Bar & Grill), Bill Milligan (RIP), Darrell Jacobs (RIP), Bobby Phats, Keith Watson (K-Dubb), DJ Whisperwish, Sean Peel (best sound engineer in Houston), and Mr. Eugene Foney (RIP). Big respect to Matthew Clark (DJ Unspoken Notion) of Simplicity 26 Records. Dude laces me up with a lot of world music and has been a great help in other areas.

Special shouts to my version of the “I-Threes”, Rock, Sonya, and Angie, and also to “Mo” (Myretta). Lots of great memories. My other sister Pam, aka Southern Girl. Fine ass Tiffany Dillard, who has always made me light up from day one.

To P.O.W., Shai, and the gifted poets who regularly graced G’s & Z’s Coffee Shop on Monday nights. Rest in peace to my little brother Niyi.

To the funkiest percussionists to help fatten my sets; Spencer the Madd Drummer, Robert Smalls, Baba Ifalade, and Illya. Chris Hines for his axe and bass for a lot of different projects. Bobby Fine for the support and bookings, to be able to rock shows with YZ and Special Ed, as their show DJ.
Extra special crispy shouts to my spiritual brother and sister Eddie and Cheryl. Many thanks to you Miss Dee for this interview.

ALL ABOUT THE FIREWORKS


Jenny entered a restaurant with a relaxing freshness all around. She walked with confidence while looking for the man that had caught her attention. Duke was a glimmer of light. She had to take a chance. She had to know more about him.

There were a good number of people scattered around the restaurant. Jenny felt safe surrounded by strangers.

Duke was stronger than the men Jenny used to date, but leaner than those she had seen before. His presence intimidated her, although she was taller than most women.

“You look even more beautiful than I remembered,” Duke said, approaching her from behind.

Jenny turned around. The curves of her body were perfectly adorned with a pair of faded black rag and bone jeans, leather jacket with a white blouse and sparkly snake print heels.

“Shall we find a place to sit,” Duke said, and held out his hand.

Jenny slightly leaning backwards. Then, she pressed her heels firmly and placed her hand over Duke’s.

They slowly walked through the restaurant, until Jenny let go of Duke’s hand. He stopped and turned, then chose the table next to her.

“Please, allow me,” Duke said, grabbing her chair to move it for her.

Jenny looked at him… imagining the reason for his actions. Then, she accepted his help and sat in the chair he had chosen for her.

“Love the outfit,” Duke said, walking to the opposite side of the small circular table. “You look ready for anything.”

“A girl has to be prepared.”

“You’re pulling it off.”

“You like it?” she asked, raising her left shoulder.

“I’m totally checking you out,” he said.

Jenny blushed.

“What is that?” Duke asked, reaching toward her neck with his hand.

Jenny paused, her eyes widened. Looking at Duke’s hand approaching.

“Nice necklace,” he said pointing with a finger. “Can I touch it?”

“Sure…” Jenny said, unconsciously leaning backwards.

“What is it made of?” he asked, touching the necklace on Jenny’s neck.

“It’s leather,” she said.

“Tell me,” Duke said, leaning back on his chair. “Do you like the beach?”

“I love it,” she replied.

“We should go,” he said, “I know a place that you’re going to love.”

“Oh yeah, where is it?”

“It’s not far from here…” he replied. “Would you like to try something tasty tonight?”

Jenny looked at him curiously.

“This place has delicious oysters.”

“You’re kidding,” Jenny said.

“Let’s have a platter of that and something to drink,” Duke said. “How about sparkling wine?”

Jenny smiled. “Okay. I like that!”

“You’re going to love this place.”

“I’m liking it so far,” Jenny said.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Duke said, and stood up. “I’ll be back in an instant.”

Jenny looked quizzically at Duke walking away. He reached a man in a chef uniform and greeted him. Then, both of them turned to walk over to Jenny.

“So…you’re the famous Jenny,” Duke’s friend said. “I presume.”

“That’s me,” Jenny said from her seat.

“I’m Dirk and I’ll be preparing your food tonight.”

“It’s my pleasure, chef,” Jenny said, and gently bowed.

“The pleasure is all mine,” Dirk said, then turned towards Duke. “Take good care of my friend. There are few like him left in the world. Enjoy your evening.”

“You two seem to know each other very well.”

“He’s an old friend,” Duke said, returning to his chair. “Tell me something about you.”

“I’m glad that I agreed to go out with…”

An explosion interrupted Jenny and the rest of the people in the restaurant. Then, a bright light illuminated the interior of the restaurant. Immediately followed by another explosion.

Most people froze with the sound and blinding light. But, Duke grabbed Jenny by the hand. “Follow me.”

Jenny couldn’t understand what was going on. She ran after Duke, held firmly by his strong hand.

Another explosion shook the building and both of them lost their balance running up the stairs. Duke took Jenny’s hand to keep the two of them from falling. “Are you okay?”

Jenny looked at him. “I’m fine.”

The two continued up the stairs. Finally, they reached the rooftop door and Duke opened it.

Jenny couldn’t believe the light show that lit up the sky. The explosions continued and the sky was dressed in colors. “What is this?”

“From the first time I saw you…there is something about you that I can’t decipher. All I know is that being close to you makes me feel good. It’s as if your aura gives out happiness.”

Jenny watched him as fireworks lit up the sky behind.

“I’m so happy for this opportunity to be close to you.”

Jenny smiled. “Well…what are we going to do about it?”

Duke licked his lips, his gaze lost to Jenny’s beautiful smile. He reached her lower back and kissed her.

Sebastian Iturralde

SEBASTIAN ITURRALDE

Fiction blogger—citizen of this beautiful planet, eternal lover of artistic creation and literature. Certain that the creative energy comes from nature.

Pending Diagnosis

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Fearing a medical diagnosis during a pandemic. How the pandemic plays out during the process.

Eventually everyone has some type of health issues. From sprains to cuts and bruises to more serious issues, and normally it wouldn’t be a big deal. But in a pandemic, that kinda changes the situation some. Doctor visits are video chats emergency visits well…let’s say it’s like a movie scene. I say that because I’m personally am dealing with it and the waiting periods can be a nightmare. You having to wait for months to finally see a doctor then,

that doctor having you to go to a specialist which means you have to wait longer and you have to stay calm till you do. Being left with more questions than when you enter that doctors office can be draining. But you stay positive because you think if it was extremely serious you would be dead already just from the waiting to find out what killed you. So you know you don’t have to add that stress to your mindset but you know something is about to change and you have to wait. I love how my doctor gives me a mental list to digest what could be coming up in our little adventure because she knows I’m going to have a sarcastic reaction to whatever it is.

But one name keeps popping out of her mouth that I new I had to research because she’s saying it too much. I’m not going to say it because saying it makes it real and if I have to wait so do you! I can say that the mortality rate is high and the quality of life is shortened and the pills you take are large so you do lose yourself in away because your drowning in side effects. But the worst part is the pain. Knowing the looming levels of pain levels alone have made people end their lives. I know that because I’ve taken care of people who have tried to just to avoid the pain they suffer when their attempts failed. And yet I stay optimistic because I have to wait. Not weeks but months because a virus is still out there increasing it’s strength and peoples fears.

Increasing peoples fears that includes your family and friends. Do you keep them updated or wait? Do you accept the unknown or try to accept what could be your new journey in life? And when you decide what you plan to do How will the pandemic play its part? You can’t have one on one conversations with people so emails? Text? Or better yet those awkward phone calls listening to people cry knowing there’s nothing they can do but you know your stressing them out because there’s nothing they can do.

Great.

I see why people stay silence because of that pity expression you get just from hearing a tittle. You want to avoid that look for as long as you can and that’s where the pandemic can work in your favor! That separation gives you that time you need till your ready but when will you be ready? Well you got the time to figure it out because all you got is time because your impatience mind has to be patience. Enjoy.

I kinda warned you I’m sarcastic lol.

Art

Sean Johnson was born in Houston, Texas where she attended University of Houston. There she majored in Education and minored in Art. Though she has always been a writer, her interest in visual arts began in 2014.  Since that time she has been a featured live painter, exhibition artist, and vendor at Block Market, Black Girl Excellence, Survivor Seminar, Midtown Arts Center, and a host of other events.  Her paintings and photos have been published in The Hunger Magazine, Homology Lit, Unstamatic, Ponder Lit, and Boston Accent Lit.  Additionally, she has had three exhibitions to date and looks forward to many more!

skies and silhouettes series

Sean JohnsonArtist
SeanJohnsonArts.Net
All My Heroes Were Assassinated

Stereotyping in 2021

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With everything going on these past few years you would think this wouldn’t be as relevant but it is. Sadly it is just as relevant as the Covid virus. Assumptions are higher than normal. People are adding their fears to the mix which in my thoughts is a deadly combination. And with facts not being shared people are feeling that stereotyping is valid. From your day to day life to Police Officers to Postal workers.

No one is safe from this labeling . I’ve had to deal with some sort of stereotype my whole life. From Being too fat to walk with my head up or being that angry black woman for standing up for myself. I won’t lie and say its not annoying because it is, but I can also see the shift of how it has become more serious now than it was in my past. No one is safe. Asian Americans are being attacked just because their face looks like a rumor! that, that’s were the virus came from or that’s the excuse being used to spread hate for a different culture. A White woman can’t try to learn about different cultures to make herself wiser without being giving a title of sellout or culture thieves from both sides because everyone and I mean everyone is on a edge with any type of actions from anyone. I want to say people have been stuck in their homes and forgot that what they see on their screens is for entertainment and that those scenes are not real life.

Every Black Man that is well off didn’t make their fortune from drugs.

Every White woman doesn’t date a Black man for the size of his private parts.

Every Asian isn’t trying to cook your pets.

Every White person is not looking down on everyone else.

Every Latino Male is not in some type of gang.

Some of these types are pretty classic but unfortunately still relevant in our world today. I know it won’t stop and I’m sure there are plenty of other stereotypes I couldn’t think of and I’m glad that isn’t my mindset to try but I hope that the level will eventually die down and people will realize that as much as you try to put a stereotype on them, those same people can do the same to you. And where will that lead to?

HPS Spotlight Star

CONTRINA JENKINS
Making movies is something other’s may dream about BUT not Miss. Jenkins

What made you decide to start making movies?

Contrina: To be completely honest I never thought about being a filmmaker or a writer. I l always loved movies but it never cross my mind, now I couldn’t imagine not doing it. I started out on the open mic and one day I thought it would be cool to try and write a play. Gave the play to one my best friends Vincent Johnson “Black Bluez” and he suggested we do a stage play. And from there I fell in love with stage production. We did a play called Love Is, we hired a videographer to come out and film it for us. He liked the play and suggested that we turn it into a movie and we went for it.


What is your favorite part of the process of making a film?

 Contrina: I love being on set. To watch the characters come to life. Its my happy place

Being a Intelligent Strong Black Woman in the filming industry How has that helped you and yet what have your challenges been?

Contrina: Its definitely made me developed tougher skin. I get a chance to tell “our” story in my own way. Sometimes I feel as a black woman you have to work twice as hard. People don’t take you seriously. I do get labeled as the “angry black woman” which is so frustrating at times. I do feel some label you as a “Bitch” when you are driven and stand up for your beliefs.

How do you go through your casting? You pick some amazing people

Contrina: Houston is so full of talent. For our full length movies, we have open auditions. I usually advertise it on social medial and casting sites. For short films, I usually handpick people, its usually people I’ve previously worked with.

Name your creations and where they can be seen

Contrina: Love Is… can be found online through Amazon and different streaming services. Pipe Dreams is on Youtube. Definition of Manhood (short film) was strictly made for the film festivals. We have a new movie coming out next month on August 14th at Yorktown AMC, I will be submitting that film to Maverick Entertainment also. They are a distribution company for independent films.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start doing what you do?

Contrina: Go for it!!! Build a team. A strong production team is the key. You have to have faith and believe in something greater than you and for me that is God. God always provide, there’s no way I could do this without having faith and believing in God. Teamwork makes the dream work. And you have to invest in yourself. You can’t expect others to believe if you don’t.

As African American culture has been Evolving in the past few years, how do you translate that in your field?

Contrina: By bringing awareness to different issues that affect us as a people and being a voice. In my projects we discuss mental health, sexual abuse, sexuality, and etc. I’m also have a future project that will discuss racism and police brutality. I try really hard to display Multidimensional characters. We are a people of many layers. Characters that are outside the box. I have a range of different characters from artists, entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, politicians, rap stars, musicians, dancers, poets to hustlers.  

What’s your dream cast?

Contrina: Dream cast: I would love to work with Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett on a drama. That would be dope. It’s so many. I also love Tarija P Henson, Omar Epps, Bette Midler, Kathy Bates, Renee Lawless, and Larenz Tate too. Too many to name. I would love to write on a Shonda Rhimes or Mara Brock Akil or Dick Wolf tv series.

What topic would you never touch?

 Contrina: I don’t know I think I’m pretty open to a certain extend. Maybe slavery is something that I might not show in my films just because I think that its been showed time and time again in our films and there so much more to show. 

How do you personally juggle personal life with your work life?

Contrina: It can be hard sometimes. I have a great support system and that really helps. Balancing being a Mom with working on my dream is a lot…but I’m a Mom first. Sometimes I will bring my daughter on set and to auditions and my son has help a couple of times behind the scenes. My kids think what I do is cool lol. My daughter wants to be an actress and my son is into music production.  I also work full time as a Corporate recruiter my goal in the next three years is to focus totally on filmmaking. Right now its definitely a juggling act.When it comes to relationships it can be difficult because my time is limited especially when we are in production. I try to take mental breaks rather it’s a trip to the spa, a vacation, hanging with friends and family or just some alone time at home. I struggle with balance. I overwhelm myself and stretch myself thin but I’m working on that lol

Who all is involved in your team?

Contrina: Vincent Johnson is our Casting Director and Acting Coach. When we do stage plays he is the Director. Courtney Elaine is our Creative Consultant and Associate Producer. She has also directed and been our Creative Director. A new addition to our team is Rhonda Adams she is our Creative Director, Stylist, and Set Designer. We also partner with IDO Media. That team consist of Brandon Kelly and Patrick Wickliffe They handle filming, sound, and editing.

 open mic!!! The stage is yours.

 Contrina: Its so important to walk in your purpose. Don’t let fear limited you. If you see something you want go for it!

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