P.S. No mention of Nelson Mandela at ALL? … and THIS is why we NEED the Image Awards AND the BET awards.
People have been asking me for weeks, months years about a Nina Simone Movie, when I heard about Zoe Saldana being cast, I reserved judgement. You NEVER know what People are MEANT to do.
SO TODAY I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone.. AND I THINK THEY ARE RIDICULOUS! Yes there should be a movie made, and YES! they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, ESPECIALLY since her RACE played such a PIVOTAL role in WHO, WHAT and WHY she was.
THAT ASIDE for a second, this just looks WEIRD. It looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose … REALLY?!!!! DOES NOT THE ONE NINA SIMONE’S LEGACY DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS?
If they were going to pick a person who looks NOTHING like Nina Simone … why not her Daughter Simone *shrug* just saying…
As hard as Nina had to fight for what she wanted BECAUSE she was black and looked the way she did … THIS looks like a parody. If it has to be FORCED this hard something’s not right!
I am VERY opinionated about Music, I can dissect VOCALS, ALL DAY, I don’t KNOW ACTING LIKE THAT! but I trust that through her obvious admiration of Nina, that Zoe Saldana can pull off the portrayal ENERGETICALLY …
But these Images … just make me feel … Sad. Not because I want to play Nina Simone but because IT FEELS OUT OF PLACE WITH WHAT NINA SIMONE MEANS IN AN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORICAL CONTEXT!!!! ( yes I yelled just now - I am emotional about OTHER things today,and I’m riding the wave of that, but this IS WHAT I FEEL..)
I have always been OPEN to playing Nina, but i never saw it as my RIGHT!
I am clearly Nina Simone’s Physical Heir Apparent, THAT doesn’t mean I SHOULD play her, it’s been tossed around ALOT, for a LONG TIME. I back down because I feel her legacy deserves better than a FIRST TIME MOVIE ACTRESS, I’m like that about my heroes. If i ever FELT I was truly CALLED to play her, I would. And Maybe Zoe Saldana REALLY is BEIGN CALLED SPIRITUALLY TO PLAY THIS ROLE …
But I DO NOT LIKE these PICTURES. AT ALL
SEEING Nina Simone changed my life, when I was 17 My cousin and I tried to call her. Whole ‘NOTHER story ….
I will END this by saying, think VIOLA DAVIS should be playing Nina Simone.
People are asking ALL OVER MY TIME LINE, (For a long time now) when is my My NEXT album coming out.
I have been working on Open Door for 3 Years now, and have been SO excited about sharing it with you. its a very unique project.
YET, I am sad to report, it ALL FELL APART LAST WEEK.
I Took the weekend to regroup
I’ve been trying so HARD to make it all happen for a LONG time, and last week I had an EPIPHANY! that I MUST, “Let GO and LET GOD”
If it comes back to me, I will know it was meant to be, if it DOESN’T! then …
MOVING ON: I am currently writing and recording ANOTHER album because that is what I DO! Music is my PASSION MISSION AND JOB … I don’t know what this one will be called yet … but the songs those of you who CAME to see an OPEN DOOR performance Heard, (in either JUNE or OCTOBER 2011) … as of now, Won’t be released. I tried. HARD.
Even to the point of violating my own values .. I should have KNOWN THAT would not have EVEN works. LOL! *tears*
But I am sad today, this is a heart break, music is the LOVE of my life. BUT! as with the heart breaks I have experienced over the years … it always makes me better, and it inspires the GREATEST songs.
SO All SOUL BIRDS WORLDWIDE know that the MORE you ask for my next album, the MORE inspired I am to complete this NEXT one. And right NOW, I NEED ALL THE INSPIRATION I CAN GET.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE!!!!!!: I Am Debuting a NEW SONG on Black Girls Rock, a love song to NY called “6th Ave” and right on time .. God is Amazing, that’s all I have to say.
Onwards and Upwards
p.s. to all of my fellow Flautist out there LOL! tell me how I did :-)
I spent the week of October 12 - 19 in both NY and Virginia, watching the Super Storm blow through is SURREAL! … Prayers up.
On October 16th I sang for Toni Morrison!!! *spins in circles clapping and dancing!!!* … okay let me calm down LOL!
I sang a song I wrote when I was 21, after closing the back cover of Toni Morrison’s first Novel, “The Bluest Eye”
I asked God to for this, but still I am ALWAYS AMAZED by the MANIFESTATION! I’ve asked for some BIG THINGS!
What started out to be an answer to a prayer ended up being a MESSAGE that I believe GOD knew I was (Finally) ready to hear.
Nikki Giovanni called me to perform at a Tribute to Toni Morrison at Virginia Tech I instantly said yes (anyone who knows me knows I weigh EVERYTHING, LONG LIBRA STYLE!) No weighing needed here.
There are certain types of people, who when they ask you to do something, you say YES, Whoopi, Nikki, Stevie, Maya, Susan Taylor, Oprah, Angela Davis …
Remembering that day I asked for this out loud, before I even KNEW I COULD be a professional singer…I asked to sing THIS new song, inspired by The Bluest Eye, for Toni Morrison one day! I Didn’t EVEN know what was in store for me.
The tribute to Toni Morrison ended up being the largest gathering in decades of the Black Literary Intellectual ELITE!
… and I got to meet ALL OF THEM!
If I sound a bit dramatic, let me run this down for you.
Yes, Toni Morrison was there, AND Maya Angelou came to pay tribute … I can stop there …
BUT check THIS OUT!
Nikki Giovanni, Sonya Sanchez, ANGELA DAVIS, Rita Dove ALL guests of Honor.
AND THEN there were MANY of the world’s ELITE black (many elder female) play writes, thespians, and premier college professors … At the ceremony, they all read excerpts from Toni Morrison’s Books.
I realized through the first night of cocktail hour and dinner that I WAS a guest of Honor TOO! LOL!
It never crossed my MIND that I would be held in THAT regard by this community.
NEVER CROSSED MY MIND!
At Cocktail Hour, I sang (into a awkward sound system because Nikki asked me to) with Toni Morrison sitting 10 feet away. When I finished she clapped and said “That’s ALL RIGHT!!!”
We ate dinner
THEN it was time to take pictures and they set up the guests of Honor in a circle of chairs and let each table come stand behind the chairs to take photos.
When they gave ME a seat next to Toni Morrison, I realized that things Nikki had been saying was more than a compliment.
Earlier in the evening Nikki Giovanni said, “It’s like a portal opened up. I’m a Harry Potter fan, Like a portal opened up when you said YES to this, and we have someone here to represent the FUTURE and that the elders can see that there is someone who will carry on our work when we are gone.”
I said a shy thank you and took it as a compliment from someone I admire.
After spending time with Nikki, throughout the evening I realized that this woman is REAL!!!! (she has a Thug Life tattoo on her forearm OK?!!!) She ONLY says what she means. Period.
SO, during the photo shoot, I was seated between Nikki Giovanni and Toni Morrison. *blank stare*
I turned to Nikki and said “You MEANT what you said, that I am seen as someone who will continue this Legacy?” She said “YES!” (paraphrasing now) “That is what you represent to these people. It gives them HOPE that their work will not END with THEM”
I almost cried! I have of course admired these women…women LIKE this, all of my life and held the IDEAL that I could be as prolific and honest and dignified … renowned, long lived and influential …
OBVIOUSLY a lot of this remains to be seen, it is the culmination of the choices I make everyday.
What I took away from this experience is that THEY SEE IT IN ME! That it’s MORE than an ideal, it’s a POSSIBILITY!
Like I said, there are some people that when they tell you something YOU LISTEN.
It is REAL that the spiritual work that I do through word and sound is being recognized by my elders…
It is ACTUALLY possible that someone will look at ME the way I look at THEM. THAT makes it ALL WORTH IT!
I’ve been through a difficult, transformational 3 years on ALL levels, (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional) but as I come out the other side of this hard time, I feel stronger for enduring the labor pains of giving birth to the woman who has the TOOLS to actually WALK THIS PATH, of, like Maya Angelou said to me, “Risk[ing] everything to tell the truth.”
Thank you Nikki Giovanni for giving me new eyes to see ME.
So this was my LIFE elevating week.
Pre – VA. Tech. I taped Black Girls Rock, and I LOVED every minute of it! - even REHEARSAL was Fun, that band was RIDICULOUSLY TIGHT!
I am VERY happy to announce that I will debut my NEW single “6th Avenue” on Black Girls Rock airing on BET November 4th!!!
A LOVE SONG TO NY and RIGHT ON TIME
Upon my Return, from VA. Tech. to NY, I played at the GEM GIRLS Fund Raiser (www.gem-girls.org @gemgirls),
Honored @WhoopiGoldberg at a LUPUS benefit Fundraiser,
AND honored @4everBrandy with a SURPRISE tribute and I couldn’t help but wrap ALL of these experiences together. There is a Pattern HERE.
My Prayer for Brandy was that she could see her GREATNESS, and influence on singers.
My prayer for the GEM GIRLS, is that they would KNOW their experiences are only to make them STRONGER, NO GUILT!
And in the end it’s all the same isn’t it?
My prayer is that we KNOW, we are not our mistakes, we are not our broken-ness, we are not our challenges we are not the shape of our bodies, or our skin or our HAIR!
WE ARE THE SOUL THAT LIVES WITHIN! When we KNOW THIS, We can then tap into the LIMITLESSNESS of the SPIRIT and we can BE GREATNESS and inspire the same in those watching us.
My prayer for woman working hard to make their way in life, in school, their careers, relationships, with their children and health, and spiritual journeys is that we KNOW OUR POWER!
My prayer is that we don’t confuse potential with providence, that we KNOW we still HAVE to do THE WORK, AND! THAT WE KNOW WHAT OUR WORK IS! AND THAT WE WALK THAT PATH WITH CONFIDENCE!
I pray we have THAT sign along the path to let us KNOW, to really SEE! that when we are having our hardest days, that we are doing it for a reason BIGGER than ourselves, and that we have a POWER bigger than us both lifting us UP and pushing us forward.
The evolution of human kind depends on you. “Yeah you who are beautiful, yeah you who are brilliant, yeah you who are powerful, yeah YOU! Who are Resilient” ~ Beautiful Flower
Let’s spread out wings and Elevate!
That is after all what our wings are FOR!
From my Window Sill
October 20, 2012
Strength, Courage, and Wisdom
MY REBIRTH DAY!
BIG LOVE TO ALL SOULBIRDS WORLD WIDE!
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!! *spins in circles here*
IT A VERY SPECIAL ONE THIS YEAR!
I mean they always are, it’s the one time of year I give myself permission to FULL OUT LOVE AND PAMPER MYSELF, I have dinners and travel and buy things and gift things to friends, I speak my heart and am Always surprised by the show of Love from friends and family…. always! Since I was a little girl, every birthday is the BEST birthday EVER.
This year means more than THAT!
SO! …. I’ve been through a lot starting in October on ‘09 career problems - deciding to retire and literally crying myself into an epiphany that I can’t stop being me and I had to go THROUGH that challenges, so I may as well write and sing about them.
Losing direction where I’ve been walking a straight path since about 19 ready to give up on my lives passion and mission, THAT’S how bad things got.
A law suit with someone I loved dearly, I remember think to myself in bed one night, this is (at least a fraction of) what a divorce feels like.
Isolating myself spending WAAAAYYYYY to much time alone … I got used to sleeping alone
THE HARDEST PART THOUGH, IS WHEN THE HEALTH PROBLEMS STARTED! It felt like INSULT to INJURY! Because it manifested on my face … hard to explain how it feels to have issues like this while in the public eye… my skins never been perfect, but neither had it ever been in a healing crisis and a crisis it truly WAS.
I realize NOW they are not PROBLEMS (there are FAR worse health problems OBVIOUSLY) but symptoms of cleansing and releasing old toxins and energies. I am still at the tail end of my healing, but things are SO! SO! SOOO much better … but this process, all of it hurt my heart … and then broke it wide open in asking for answers from a place of humility, I got them …
Through all of this I have learned that I was living someone else’s definition of “success” and “good”
What does that have to do with my skin? That’s what I asked MYSELF.
The CLARITY, that facilitated the healing of my skin basically over night,( closest thing I’ve experienced to a miracle) was the realization that I didn’t love myself and because of that I gave my power away! I THOUGHT I did, I sang about that because I was LEARNING that lesson, and I thought I’d reached the threshold and walked over into effortlessly living the practice of LOVING MYSELF.
What I really just COULD NOT SEE! Is that, I judged myself SO HARSHLY. I’ve discovered that I was trained by my early family life, and then by stepping into the public eye at such young age, that I had to ACHIEVE TO BE WORTHY OF LOVE. I felt I had to live up to certain moral and ethical codes set forth by my mother, to be accomplished and different, in other words … I had to be PERFECT to be lovable. I WAS SHOCKED! TO DISCOVER THAT ONE! Consciously I was a “I don’t care what anyone this of me” person, with the neck roll and everything I had PLENTY BLACK GIRL SWAG! I’m gonna be ME, and DO me and I don’t care who don’t like it”
Subconsciously, I didn’t really accept my imperfections, and I didn’t really like when I was not approved of, and I didn’t REALLY LOVE MYSELF.
The TRUTH that I KNEW intellectually, as Carlos Santana would say "You are significant and you matter" because you EXSIST! The benevolent Universe loves us ALL, and has created us all OUT OF THAT LOVE. We are COMPRISED of THAT LOVE! Divine expressions of the DIVINE! How much more worthy can you get that that? It’s not what we DO, or WHO WE ARE … IT”S THAT WE ARE!!! That makes us worthy to be loved.
Yet, we forget this, and the Journey to remembering that has been my journey of this decade and certainly this last 3 years. Really the Journey of my LIFE.
I’ve also learned that I was afraid of my own power, I never thought was this kind of person, in my mind I was full out ready to be my FULL POWER simply because I was attempting to do it!
I wasn’t READY!, when I began to see glimpses of it, it scared me back into my shell, and I (subconsciously of course) sabotaged myself, by attracting abusive relationships, controlling or ineffective business partners, nagging health issues, ruining good relationship, isolating myself of life. I was either IN the house, or on the stage, I had no middle. Because I was always recuperating from some kind of hurt, and then having to get myself together to answer to my business obligations…. avoiding conflict at ALL cost and being afraid that taking over my business would diminish my creative power … I Gave my Power AWAY! Afraid of not having this vision of success someone else set forth if I was TOO powerful
NOW! I FINALLY know what giving your power away means!
How many times have I heard someone say “I gave my power away”?
I have said it many times in my writings, songs (These eyes, There’s hope) and essays (read my soulbird blog) but I didn’t REALLY understand what that meant until THIS YEAR!
giving your power away means: giving someone ( or some THING) power to dictate how you feel about something, mainly YOURSELF.
I realize that it can be a person, a man a woman a parent a relationship of any kind, a judgement from an institution ( the music industry, corporate America, a Job) a commercial or magazine ( beauty ideals) and I have given my power over at different and probably ( at times) all at the same time …to ALL of these things.
When my health went out of balance for the sake of my healing, (thank God for getting my attention) I learned that I had to take my power back by:
1. Accepting what was happening and knowing that my life had to go on even while feeling profoundly flawed
2. It was my responsibility to heal myself.
3. Giving myself the care I needed to heal on a health protocol level including speaking my truth and commanding respect from the people around me.
I SEE now looking back, that embodying my power is separate from TAKING it back, I’ve lived in a constant (exhausting ) state of FIGHTING for my power … for at least the past 6 years. no maybe the last 10 years … come to think of … since my early teens ….
TODAY! My intention is to Love Myself by EMBODYING my power, to have it inside of ME at all times.
I had the opportunity to meet Maya Angelou, the person I most identify with as a Hero, and she said A LOT! of Good stuff, as you can imagine, but my main take away was, what she said when i asked her "when was the last time you felt un empowered" and she thought in silence for at LEAST 60 seconds (that’s a long time when you sitting in the room with someone) and she looked up and said slowly, in that powerful deep voice, …NEVER.
I left there praying that I would be able to say to someone, coming to sit in MY wisdom, when they ask me that question i will say … NOT SINCE ABOUT 60 years ago ,when I was back in my mid 30’s …
Right now at this early stage, loving myself and embodying my power is a practice that lives in the MOMENT. When something comes up and threatens to take myself definition away, I look the monster in the eye. That act of LOOKING can manifest as many thing… PRAYER (talking to God), Meditation (listening to God), journaling, asking to be shown a path to healing … calling one of my elders to talk it through, asking for a message and seeing it come up in the perfect page I turn to, or seeing a movie that illuminates the perfect truth, a dream, remembering something someone said, … but that ALL STARTS with the asking for insight into how to deal with this particular challenge and the answer ALWAYS COMES.
I pray it will be second nature someday … and right now I am enjoying this NEW FEELING OF THE NEW ME. So much more to say about that, not enough time here, but i will say this:
My skin is getting better, my health is back in balance, emotionally and physically, and I have a base line feeling of WELL BEING AT ALL TIMES … this was my ULTIMATE GOAL 3 years ago … mission DEFINITELY accomplished.
October of ‘09 to THIS DAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012!!!
It’s been the most tumultuous time of my life, and that is saying a lot! I’ve had a tumultuous emotional life since the age of 12.
It’s been the most TRANSFORMATIONAL time of my life as well, and THAT is saying a lot, the release of Acoustic Soul, changed EVERYTHING, and YET THIS TIME OF MY LIFE has change me more than ANYTHING I’ve been through to date. I am truly a new me. Is this what growing up is?
Of course now that I feel this phase coming to an end, I look back on it all and am grateful for the growth, knowing the present and the future can’t exist without the past - BUT! I can HONESTLY ( HONESTLY!!) say, even in the MIDST of the challenges I felt and FEEL, HONORED to have had this opportunity to GET TO KNOW WHO I AM, learning my OWN STRENGTH, seeing what I am CAPABLE OF, exercising my COURAGE! and Disciple, my ATHLETIC genes … DEEPER SELF EXPRESSION, dance, and singing in different languages, actively running a business … so much that I didn’t know I could BE! and I DO LOVE ME, I love BEING ME, I accept my challenges, I draw healthy boundaries, and even on my most CHALLENGING DAYS, it’s never enough to make me NOT want to BE ME! I. LOVE. ME!
And the gift this hard time is leaving at the door on its way OUT! …a new chance at love … learning to be open again…
Grateful for it all, I think I have the title for my NEXT album “Surrender” (Thank you Thach)
Today! I’m having a private party, nobody here but me my angels and my guitar singing baby look how far we’ve come yeah! Having private party, learning how to love me, celebrating the woman I’ve become … yeah …. Celebrating the woman I’ve become.
GOD Bless us ALL on OUR JOURNEY! , that is what life is! A JOURNEY, and may you learn your lessons, and receive ALL of your blessings.
very special love to @RobinRoberts for being an inspiration ( more that she knows)
THANK YOU: To the special people in my life who have supported me over these 3 years…
My mom @havenstreet and my brother J’on Simpson for challenging me juuuuust enough to help me to refine my visions.
Donnita Hathaway @donnitacamille
Anasa Troutman @anasat
Densie Francis @denisu81
Stephen Hill @StephenGHill
Carolyn Robbins @iamtheseeke
Choklate Moore @choklate
Ametria Dock @Fruition_info
Chantae Cann @ChantaeCann
Shannon Sanders @_SHANNONSANDERS
Blue Miller (BLUUUUUUUUUEEEE)
Ollie Cotton @necam7
Idan Raichel @Idanraichel1
Tracy Miller @tmapublicity
And to my new friends:
Charles LaMont @CharlesLaMont
Ayinde Howell @Ayinde
Thach Nguyen @thachguyen
With love, Strength, Courage, and Wisdom,
From my Windowsill
October 3, 2012
The content of this post has been removed for legal purposes.
India.Arie joins President Obama for a fun moment at his campaign fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in New York
An article in the Wed 4 / 6 /11 Lansing State journal … written by my Mother:
Walter L. McMullen, Lansing:
"Hey Dad, we want to simply say ‘We Love You.’ Daddy as you travel on your new journey, you gave us gifts full of memories. You were a jokester, a gambler, a great fisherman and an amazing humanitarian; there will never be another like you Daddy. I remember your last words to us "You can’t hurry God, you got to trust him to be your friend, and we do." We know the most important thing that you wanted for your family is to be at "Peace." And we are. Walter Lee McMullen (aka Mack) was born in Alamo, TN, October 16, 1932 and passed away March 26, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.? He was proceeded in death by his loving wife of 32 years, Ernestine McMullen, son Walter Lee Jr. (aka Baby Bro), daughter Erma J. Morrison, his loving parents, John and Evangelist Gertrude McMullen. Surviving are his brother James McMullen and sister Obelia Hardy, and his loving children, Naurice McMullen, Joyce McMullen (aka Simpson), Kenneth McMullen, Tina Davis, Mary Hawkins, Sharon Lindsey, Teresa Fuller and close family friend Sidney Green, 36 grand children, a host of nieces and nephews. ‘We love you Daddy.’ PS … ‘Granddad, thank you for the gift of music, I got all my musical talent from you and Grandma, including 24 Grammy nominations and 4 wins’ - India.Arie. The family was not included in the decision making or the memorial service. The cremation was performed April 1, 2011? As Dad would say, farewell to my family and to ALL my great friends,’ Farewell.’"
To share your condolences and memories, please visit the following link: http://soulbird-journal.tumblr.com/post/4341217110/my-grandfather.
NORWAY PERFORMANCE AND INTERVIEW
Behind the Scenes Video: Gift of Acceptance