Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's been a while...

It's been a while, hasn't it? A good few years! I've recently started another blog - The Accidental Natural -- over at Come by and visit!

Urban Sista

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Urban Sista Review: Playing My Mother's Blues / The Coldest Winter Ever

Back again with another book review. Until someone out there publishes me, I'm going to express my views and opinions of the books out there -- the good, the bad and the stupid. Luckily, this book, Playing My Mother's Blues by Valerie Wilson Wesley, was not too bad.

I finally finished the book this week after starting it about six weeks ago. It didn't take that long because the book was dry or stupid, but because it's hard as heck to find time to read. This past week, I've been on the bus and subway non-stop, so I need something to do to stop the crazy folk in the TTC from conversing with me.

Anyway, to the story. The plot revolves around Maria Dells and her two daughters, Rose and Dani. Maria had run off with some no-good scoundrel, Durrell Alexander, when her daughters were younger, leaving them to be raised by their rich and influential father, Hilton Dells and his sister Lucille.

Now, Maria, after a short love affair with Durrell and many drugged out nights and parties, killed Durrell and is sent to prison.

Fast-forward to today. Hilton Dells is on his death bed, Dani married with a child and Rose is mothering, generous Rose... but it can't just be like that. No one really accepts how much Maria's leaving affected the family until Hilton dies. Suddenly, we learn about the cracks in everyone's armour: Dani has been cheating on her cheating husband and is planning to leave him. Rose is in the arms of a married man because she just can't let anyone get too close to her. Lucille is not the battle axe auntie, but a loving woman who gave up her life to raise her brother's children.

At Hilton's memorial service, Maria comes back into their lives and we find out what the truth is about Durrell's death and how that death set them all on their individual life paths.

Honestly, it took a bit to get into. While I was reading, I was like, 'ok... so?' I didn't feel the connection between myself and any of the characters until Hilton died. I guess that was the author holding back. She didn't want to give us everything about the characters until the scene was set.

I like jumping right into a story, but I can respect a nicely crafted story if the author gets to the point and the point is a good one. The author made me wait -- I don't know if it was worth the wait, but at least she delivered on an interesting, sometimes too jumpy, plot.

Ultimately, I found out what really happened in Maria's love affair with Durrell and how his killing was so integral to her life, but to the lives of her daughter.

I wouldn't say it's the best book that I've ever read, but it was good enough to keep my attention.

With Nas' baby momma (read a chapter compliments of Crunk & Disorderly) coming out with a new tell-all piece of smut and Karinne Steffans is now a New York Times bestselling author with Confessions of a Video Vixen (which I'll read if someone will lend it to me 'cause there is no way in HELL that I'm going to put down hard earned cash on that tripe), the mother of street lit has got to be reviewed.

The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sister Souljah, isn't a tell-all like the two I mentioned, but it was certainly the start of this genre. Unfortunately, The Coldest Winter Ever, which is a wicked book, spawned copycats which spawned this crap of the hoochie spilling her guts about who she had and calling it literature.

Shame on y'all publishers! When folks are trying to create decent books, you will publish any piece of crap describing how some girl is getting laid by celebrities across the States. Chupse.

But to the review: Winter Santiaga is a bad bitch in her own words. She and her father, drug dealer, Ricky Santiaga, run things in their Brooklyn neighbourhood. Winter is the princess of projects and you better do as she wants or all hell is going to break loose.

Ricky, not wanting his family to be in the crossfire of some underhanded criminal dealings brewing in the projects, shuttles Winter, her mom and her sisters, the twins, Mercedes and Lexus (ghettofab, folks, ghettofab) off to the 'burbs. Winter is vex. How is she gonna get down with her people if she's in Long Island?

Well, she doesn't have to wait long to get back to Brooklyn. Her mother is shot in a drive by and the Feds catch Ricky and Winter has to show everyone that she's a survivor.

Honestly, I love this book. I love the realness of the story. I'm saying, how real do I know it really is? I've never grew up in the project with a drug dealer dad, but Sister Souljah definitely made me feel like I was an insider into Winter's life and the life of bad gyals all around who are ready to slice someone with a boxcutter.

It's a cautionary tale of living the high life with no respect for self or the law and that even if you're the baddest bitch, you can and will come to a bad end if you don't get your life straight.

I haven't read another street lit book that captured the essence of the street... or a tell all book that just didn't smell like trash and corruption from the moment I flipped through it. The problem I have with many of the new street lit stories/tell all bios are that: a) they aren't well-written; b) they are out and out smut with no redeeming qualities; and c) they don't emphasize the cautionary part of the tale.

But they sell, that's why they are out there. If not one cared who Karrine Steffans screwed or who screwed her (literally or figuratively), we wouldn't have these books.

Happy reading!

Friday, November 10, 2006

False airs: I’m not fond of pretentious people

I am back. I am! Work, sigh, is keeping me away from the blog. But I will get more regular, trust :)

I consider myself a pretty laid-back kinda chick.

Some things people do annoy me to death and make me want to pimp slap them into submission.

Other things make me throw them a side-eye glance and shrug my shoulders. One thing that makes me seethe with anger and annoyance are people who think they are better, greater or smarter than the rest of us. The ones who wear their ‘false airs’ like a badge of honour.

Over the years I’ve learned a few things about people in general:

  • Some people truly believe their own hype, thus making them think that they are all that. Although most of them don’t know a damned thing, but, of course believe they know it all.
  • Some people want you to believe their hype to make them feel better about their station in life. A lot of times, these people don’t know a damned thing either, but they’ve managed to fool a lot of people with their ‘false airs’.
  • Some people are downright igrunt (yep, that ain’t a typo, that’s how I wanted to spell it).

It’s a damned shame that more people aren’t transparent and just themselves. No, they have to go on about what they know, who they know and how much they know about everything.

There is a particular party promoter in Toronto whose e-mails, laden with adjectives, adverb, synonyms and all kinds of things is quite pretentious. Pretentious to the point that the so-called ‘beautiful’ people who he’s catering to can’t be bothered to go to a jam because everyone’s trying too hard to be all that.

Granted, I did attend a party this summer and it was nice. I think, more than anything, having Starting from Scratch deejay was more the reason for the amicable crowd than this dude pretending that he’s the representative of the upscale, sexy people.

And there are the people who can tell you about the latest couture outfit, hottest club or restaurant or the do’s and don’ts of networking, but chew with their mouths open.


False airs are not cool. You don’t have to pretend that you’re the s**t and try to make other look/sound/feel foolish. That’s igrunt behaviour right there.

So if you're getting uncomfortable or agitated reading this blog entry that because you are a pretentious fool. Stop it. It's not cool and it's annoying as hell and someone will call you out just now.

On another note, I read that 60 Minutes reporter, Ed Bradley, died of leukemia. I enjoy watching 60 Minutes, I think they do a good job reporting the issues, but I was enormously proud, especially as a child, to see a Black man doing his thing. He was a great journalist and will be truly missed.

RIP, Mr. Bradley.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Urban Sista review: Do You Take This Woman?

I’ve decided to do something a little different. While I was on blogging hiatus, I did quite a bit of reading… not just other folks’ blogs, but real books. Some were great. Some weren’t so great.

Being an aspiring novelist, the not-so-great one definitely brought out my ire. Why should you [INSERT POOR NOVELIST] get a book deal and I’m still praying, wondering, waiting and begging.


But, alas, reading what is terrible is just as good as reading what’s excellent, ‘cause the terrible ones show you exactly what not to do.

Case in point, my first review Do You Take This Woman?, by RM Johnson.

Now, this book has an interesting premise. Carla is married to Pete, but was once engaged to Pete’s closer-than-a-brother friend, Wayne. Back in the day, Wayne cheated on Carla and Pete spilled the beans. Carla, in her anger and disgust broke up with Wayne.

OK, so far so good.

Carla, in her loneliness and vengeance, married with Pete. Yes, Pete did notice Carla first the night all three met, but if Wayne is your bestest friend in the world, how low are you to get with his ex-fiancée?

That’s not too unrealistic. Maybe a bit skangy, but, some folks are lawless like that.

Anyway, Pete and Wayne continue to be boys although the both want Carla.

Now, this is when things get odd and I wanted to throw the book through the window.

Wayne decides he wants to connect with Carla again and they start seeing each other unbeknownst to Pete. There is no sexual contact because, I guess, it would be wrong, but Carla does begin to neglect her hubby Pete. Pete does try to get Carla to communicate with him, but she turns the cold shoulder.

So, what does Pete do? After two years of marriage to the woman of his dreams?

He goes the club, finds some chick and has sex with her.

This is when I screamed, ‘dammit Pete! I thought you loved the chick! How did it change so fast??’

Anyhow, to make a long plot short, Carla finds out that Pete did the exact same thing that Wayne did and she demands that he let her sleep with another man to even the score. If Pete doesn’t allow her to have her way with some dude, she would leave him.

Pete, guilt-ridden and ashamed, agrees. After a few weeks, Pete decides that Carla will sleep with the man he chooses.

And guess who jackass chooses?


Obviously, Pete didn’t know that Carla and Wayne had been seeing each other on the low, but, good grief. Now, you know Carla and Wayne were going to be married, so that would tell me that there were some feelings and physical attraction between the two of them. So, why the hell would you grant them permission to have sex?

‘Cause Wayne is your boy? Chupse!!!

All the relationships disintegrate into mayhem with Carla and Wayne planning to deceive Pete by pretending to sleep together… but then actually sleeping together. Pete, blinded by jealousy, anger, guilt and only the Lord knows what else, attempts to rape Carla and attacks and kills Wayne in a crime of passion.

By the time I finished the book, I was disgusted.
I wanna know if Carla was all that, ‘cause if I was a man, I’d be like, ‘you ain’t fine enough for me to kill my boy over. Bump that!’

Really, it descended into unrealistic foolishness. Pete seemed to be a stable person -- a doctor at that who shared a practice with Wayne -- so, at some point, wouldn't Pete have said to himself, 'guy, you're going a bit insane. Maybe I need to chill the hell out.'

Carla knew she had been deceiving Pete all along by seeing Wayne. And Wayne knew he was screwing his boy Pete by seeing Carla. Why didn't anyone use common sense?

The book ends with Wayne dead and Pete even more grief-stricken and guilt-ridden. I mean, he just killed his best friend over trifling Carla. Carla, knowing that she was the cause of all this confusion, decides that she wants to be with Pete.


Gimme a break. Your ass was just planning to leave Pete for Wayne, but now that Wayne's dead, Pete's your fallback guy? By the way, Carla's pregnant but doesn't know who the daddy is.

I wanna know where the police are and why Pete's tail wasn't locked up for second degree murder.

Now, I know RM Johnson is a best-selling author and this is my first time checking out his work. But, dayum! brother! This can't be the best plot you could come up with. The readers at dug the book for the most part, so maybe I'm out of touch.

Meh, what do I know... I'm still trying to get my book published.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm back :)

Hello all… or just me, ‘cause I haven’t blogged in a minute.

I’m back and it feels good to have a place to vent or just talk a bit of foolishness every now and then.

Hope everyone’s had a great summer and is settling into the fall.

Summer for me was great. I got so much wedding planning done that now, it’s really just the details. I took a hiatus from writing as well – I heard you weren’t supposed to do that, but, hey, I do my own thang, you done know.

But now that the air is getting crisp and the leaves are turning glorious reds, golds and oranges, it felt like time to get back into it.

Besides, there are so many things to talk about: books – I’m hoping to do some book reviews, wedding stuff, life in general…

It’ll be nice to be back.

Talk to you :)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Farewell... for now ;)

Hi folks!

I know it's been a dog's age since I've posted last. It's been a super-busy time and I've wanted to update the blog, but... I've been busy. I'm trying to spend more time writing book #2, I'm planning my wedding, organizing a new house.

It's great, but time-consuming. And the extra hour to blog in a coherent fashion can be used to write a chapter or research florists or compare paint swatches. So, I'm going on a blog hiatus -- I've already fallen off hard.

I've really enjoyed the blogging experience and all the bloggers that I've met online. The ability to drop into someone's life and read their thoughts and opinions is still so cool to me. I'll miss adding my two-cents to the fray, but sacrifices have to be made so that I can achieve

I'll be visiting everyone's blog and saying 'Wassup!', but for the next few months, I'll be incognegro ;)

Bye for now!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thoughts from all over

It’s been a while – I’m not on hiatus, just busy. These two stories stuck out for me over the past week:

'All-ages' incident sparks concern

Who else heard about the little 12 year old that was sliced in downtown Toronto at three o’clock in the morning? It was after an all-ages dance at a nightclub. Yes, a full nightclub. A nightclub that I would take my 30-year-old ass to if I cared to.


Sparks concern? It should spark giving the child and her parents some hard lashes. Not to mention the girl who cut her and the people who own the club and the party promoters. All of them need a tail cutting.

Man, I’m so disgusted by this story. Back in the day when I was a preteen, we had all-ages parties. They were at community centres and they ended by 11 or 12 o’clock. I don’t believe anyone over the age of 18 was allowed in, but some nasty guys would wait outside to pick up the youths when the party was over.

Now, I couldn’t even twist my mouth to ask my parents if I could go to a school dance when I was 12, furthermore any all-ages party. My mother would have shredded my tail if I thought to ask her to go to party at a nightclub that didn’t end until the wee morning hours. Although I’m an adult who pays my own bills, my mother still doesn’t approve of me going to clubs.

At these new-fangled all-ages things, it truly is all-ages. So, a 15-year-old girl could be grinding up on a 30-year-old man or be propositioned by a 25-year-old and it’s all legal.

Something just doesn’t sound right about that.

The fiancé says that kids are more mature these days and, while it’s not right, go to clubs and want to act like adults.

I believe kids think they are more mature and yes, they want to act like adults. But they are children and they think like children. A 12-year-old doesn’t know what to do when a grown man tells her exactly what he wants to do with her in the bedroom, although she may think she knows from all the Teirra Mari and Li’l Kim songs she’s heard.

So, this little girl is out at the club and has a run-in with another little girl who slices her.

Bare foolishness.

My question is: where the hell are the parents of children who are out at two and three o’clock in the morning? I don’t have any kids yet, but believe me, at two o’clock you better have your little tail in your bed. If you want to dance, turn on your radio and listen to the live-to-air shows like I did. If you’re out at that time, I will be with you and if I were to catch you somewhere you weren't supposed to be...

Well, it wouldn't be pretty.

Child Protective Services needs to look into that family, because if her parents knew where she was and were OK with it or they weren’t at home to know where this preteen was they need serious help.

Nightclubs need not hold anymore all-ages parties. Children are children and should be treated as such, not like mini-adults. So at school on Monday – if they’re little tails are even there ‘cause they may be too tried from partying all weekend – they can talk about “Ooh girl! You missed the jam at the club this weekend!”


And we wonder why kids are so messed up.


Caribana group angry over funds

Now, Caribana is coming up in a few months and already confusion has started over funding. The City of Toronto is refusing to fund the festival because the Caribbean Cultural Committee (the group that runs Caribana) cannot give the city an account of how it spent taxpayers’ dollars last year.

This is not the first year that the group couldn’t show their audited books to the city.

So, Toronto has refused to hand over the cash and the Caribbean Cultural Committee is fretting. My take?

It serves your backsides right. I have no sympathy for them. The group put themselves in this situation by not doing the right thing.

How after almost 40 years of putting on the largest festival in North America, you can’t get your ish together and show the City your books? I am a taxpayer and whether it was Caribana, the Greek parade, St. Patrick’s Day parade or the Santa Claus parade, if you are using my tax dollars to put on something, I want to know where the money is going and it better not be lining your pockets.

I love my Black people, but sometimes they get me down ‘cause it makes all of us look as if we can’t do anything.

What the Caribbean Cultural Committee needs is a good purging and an influx of some business-minded young people. Trying to do things the way you did them back home ain’t gonna wash. Do you know those clowns got on TV news and cried racism.


Is it racism that someone expects you have clean accounting books to show how you’ve spent money? Or should money just be given to you and you do with it what you want without any accountability? Man, I hate that crap. Black people face enough prejudice without this bunch blaming their incompetence on racism.

I understand you’ve been under-funded, but this is how things work: You show the City your books and your budget and they can figure out whether or not what they gave you last year was enough.

If you can’t tell them what the hell you did with the money they gave you last year, what makes you think they’ll give you money this year? Because Caribana brings in plenty money to hotels and restaurants?

Don’t fool yourself. The festival will and is going on. Toronto is not trying to give up those tourist dollars -- oh no, that's hundreds of millions of dollars coming into the city. The mas band association is taking over and will put on a carnival this August.

So maybe next year you’ll get your act together and have a good financial plan for the city officials. If not, too bad for you. Get your stuff together ‘cause you’re not ready – after almost 40 years – yet.