It’s Spring time baby! Birds chirping, baseball season and……snow! Yes today March 23, the 4th day of Spring, Chicago was hit with up to 6 inches of snow in some areas. I know what all you out of towners are saying, why don’t we get snow until April Chicago is so lucky…..said no one ever!
The Chicago music scene has been continuously seeing its star get brighter and brighter. With Emcee’s Common, Kanye West, Lupe and Shawna paving the way, 2015 is seeing the underground Chicago music scene boil over into mainstream label ready artistry. Chicago is home to one of THE hottest up and coming lyrical beasts. Rather singing or rapping this femcee sets the bar high for the competition. Signed to Mosley Music Group through Epic Records Chicago artist Tink has taken her underground following and out of the box lyrics to a soon to be international platform.
Before being signed to a major label Tink was already a force in the Chicago music scene. Her first mixtape Winter’s Diary dropped in 2012 to a good reception but it was her A Zae Production, Chief Keef-3 Hunna freestyle that caught the attention of the world. Don’t you just love YouTube? Gotta give it to the platform for allowing such creative minds to upload their craft. What can seem like over night, Tink was scooped up by music mogul Timbaland and since he took her under his wing she’s been making major moves with the heavy hitters of the industry.
In an ode, a dedication, to America’s Babies Tink released the Timbaland produced track “Tell the Children”; in wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson. “Boys being gunned down, your boys is havin’ fun now. With our blood and our sons, disturbing the peace. He’s more afraid of him and he’s the one with the piece?” Going where most of today’s artists are scared to go, or let’s be honest just really don’t give a f@$% about going, she is filling a wide void that’s been left open since…….Lauryn HIll. Yes I said it and that’a huge statement. With flows, verses and vocal ability she covers the versatility in style and delivery, couple that with the honest and necessary for the times lyrics I think we may have someone for the kids to listen to, maybe it’s Tink if it isn’t you? The big homie Yeezy said it best in his 3rd studio release summer anthem Champion, “When it feels like living’s harder than dying, For me giving up’s way harder than trying. Lauryn Hill said her heart was in Zion, I wish her heart still was in rhyming. Cause who the kids gone listen to? I guess it’s me if it isn’t you.” Not stopping thereTink already has 2015 going crazy with her newest hit Ratchet Commandments. Although a bit vulgar for the first few minutes she does hit dead on the lifestyles of some of our most precious queens and kings. “I told Tim like, I’m irritated, devastated. I thought, I thought we had some young queens what you mean? We act beligerent, generation of ignorance. Chicks live for ‘the Gram so they life ain’t got no significance. And guys is ratchet too, just in another way. You fake fathers never held your daughters, never had a conversation. You too f@#$ng immature to get an occupation.”
I’m excited! Music is representative of the people. It’s been a while since we’ve had someone rep the Queen. No disrespect to any current artists but we all know lyrical conversations for the soul of the queen have been on pause for a while. Could Tink be apart of the answer, its too soon to tell but she is certainly on her way. All Chicago love, until next time. -RD
I have this fascination. No wait. I have this addiction, yes that’s a better word, an addiction. Ever since the calendar days of my life have flipped closer towards 30 I have this insane desire to look and feel………like a lady. Pardon me, in my sexiest Marilyn Monroe voice. I. Am. A. Lady. I love the beauty of a no-chip manicure. How fiercely can I grab hold of the world, my man and these kids with a perfectly polished set of nails? More than a tight skirt can do, these powder pink nails give the world a small glimpse into the life force behind my smile. Only 45?
The other day my sister friend asked me what makes me smile. Of course I said my kids. I like puppies too, they’re cute. She said no. What makes your soul smile? What puts that little tingle in your spine and makes you feel on top of the world. Hmmmm. Good question. The first thing that popped into this overcrowded mind of mines were my bi-weekly Mani & Pedi’s. The smooth way that bubbling water with the blue salt transforms my urban acrylic oasis into the white Jamaican sands; how those abrasive back massagers become Emery in a Speedo an hour and a half before I have to put the meatloaf on. I can say nothing makes me feel more feminine, more girly and more like a lady than the $45 I spend twice a month with my sisters in love from the Vietnam.
But the sassy mom takes over my sexy side and says Ahmir could have gotten a new pair of school shoes or a new uniform. Dang $45 could have been my oil change and Chic-Fil-A for the kids since we’re going to be getting home late. How many hats do I wear? Which hat is more important? Is it the mother or significant other hat? The daughter or good neighbor hat? We won’t throw the spirituality hat in this equation…….see what I go through?!?! Or is it the woman hat? Is it the White hat Olivia Pope, Gladiator, She-Woman, I can do all things so I neeeds my bi-weekly mani-pedi escape to the white Jamaican sands and Emery, oh don’t forget the dark-chocolate immaculately sculpted, Emery.
Whether its $5 or $45 ladies don’t skimp out on the most important person in the equation, you. Money comes. Money goes. It’s circular. You will continuously have moments of relative wealth and moments of relative struggle. But in the shadows waiting for her day in the sun SHE will always be, you, beautiful lady. Once those small cries turn into adolescent “mommies” and then to deep voiced “Thanks mom’s” and on to “Yes mom I promise to call you more often’s” you will remain. With or without that $45 7 years ago you couldn’t give yourself because the little one could use just one more uniform shirt. If your kids take turns washing their shirts by hand on Saturday mornings because they will last much longer than in the washing machine, then that’s just that much more time you all get to spend together learning shit they should know how to do anyway! Ha! Chicago can be a stressful place, we need your light ladies. Live a little ladies and laugh a little more. So, tell me now, only $45? Dam right!
If you turn on the news you hear people talk a lot about what’s wrong with Chicago. Politicians, pollution, crime etc.. but one problem that plagues this great big beautiful city more than ever goes unspoken about. This kills thousands of Chicagoan’s every year and yet I hear very little talk about it. You know it. I know it. Why are we scared? Why don’t we speak up and provide the very simple solutions to this epidemic.This one CAN be solved. Okay maybe I’m being a little hard on us here. I think people do understand what a major problem this is in my city. According to the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity62% of Illinois’ adults are overweight or obese. The epidemic that is a silent killer in the Chicagoland area is fat. Bulging belly fat and protruding waist lines are slowly killing the people of my city.
Now am I fat shaming? No, not at all. I’ve spent most of my life in a body that was heavier than normal. I was a fat little girl and I have my moments as a grown adult when I am heavier than I would like to be. That is how I can speak first hand on how devastating this epidemic in our city is. I was fortunate enough to leave home at the age of 17 and start my collegiate career in the beautiful city of Atlanta, GA. 300 days of beauty, more college campuses in a metropolitan area than I can count and a bustling economy were all so welcoming to me. I was in love, until…..it was 101 degrees during the dog days of August and I was walking around campus in jeans and t-shirt. I had beautiful clothes but I had never seen so many people in one place with gorgeous and lean bodies! I mean seriously, everyone from the college students to the locals were slender and in good shape. No one was walking around with their bellies hanging out of their shirts or wearing super tiny shorts with not super tiny legs. This was the first time that I realized that it was not “the everyday normal” to be large and unhealthy.
Perhaps obesity is such an epidemic in Chicago because we don’t see it as a huge problem. Of course those of us who carry around health complications as well as extra weight feel the repercussions in their lives daily but for the people who are in fairly good health there is no constant warning or flashing yellow lights about the damage we are doing to our bodies. (I have a spectacular weight loss story to share at the end of this post but I will forever refer to “us” because this is a community problem and it effects us all.) Had we lived in a climate like Florida, the warm weather and necessity to shed layers of clothing would be a constant physical reminder to us of our extra weight. Perhaps if we lived in New York or L.A. the demanding fashion and business worlds would keep us on our physical toes; but we live in Chicago. A place that gets about 100 days of summer…on a good year, the middle of the heart land where growing crops and raising cattle were our forefathers’ past times. If weather and geography effect the mind in terms of happiness, drives and desires its no wonder we are packing on the pounds.
So? What are we going to do? You all know my motto, it’s the little things. Royal Diva will be contributing her .02 cents to the greater good by bringing you FUn, EASy and HEALTHy ways to fight diseases like heart disease, diabetes and fat, and giving you healthy recipes and meal choices. Chi By Design is about to change your life, one. blog. post. at. a. time. No worries, we are still going to bring you the local news and events around the city but we’ll do it with a flair. Stay tuned, Stay healthy and Stay Blessed!
P.S. My Weight Loss Success Story!
This January I was Blessed to give birth to a beautiful, pink, smiling baby girl. She has truly been amazing and brought so MUCH joy to our family. However she brought on the pounds too! For 3 months of maternity leave I and ate slept all day with my baby. In April I was headed back to work but I couldn’t fit any of my work clothes! I was throwing pieces together here and there just working with anything I could fit. I got back working, I got back active. I was feeling good. Then my grandmother began her decent from this side of life and I was thrown through a major life change again. My life got flipped, turned upside down (fat shouts to Fresh Prince) and I decided then that I would live like my grandmother. My grandmother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer at the age of 71. At the age of 73 my grandmother had defied the odds and kicked cancer’s butt! She completely changed her diet, limited her meat intake to 1x a week, ate all organic, fresh fruits and vegetables, got physically active (at 71 WITH cancer!) and 2 years later with the grace of God and the help of her choices her life changed and she was cancer free. In this spirit I began to detox, to push all of those nasty toxins out of my body and began to fill up with the glorious and wonderful foods naturally provided to us. I lost over 30 pounds in 5 months! I hope you can join me in changing YOUR life.
Try my Health, Wellness and Peace Workshopin Chicago on October 11 for a 3 hour session on natural homegrown ways to reduce stress, eliminate toxins and reverse effects from common diseases like diabetes, obesity and various cancers.
Join Royal Diva and her team #Kisses4BreastCancer October 25 as we walk for a cure! If you can’t walk with our team, please consider donating to our fundraising goal here! $1, $2 or whatever you can spare, we’d certainly appreciate it.
What ways are you using YOUR individual power to help?
I ask myself a lot how can I tell you about the city of Chicago and hide myself at the same time. Blogging for me is so personal. I put my heart into everything that I write. But what about the times when my heart feels something that words can only defile. For example, the National Championship winning Jackie Robinson West Little League Team is celebrating a major historic win right now, at this moment in our city. Those babies and the people that support them have taken off work and lined their children on the parade route to give them a glimpse of what is possible when you dedicate yourself to a common goal. But as I watch the news coverage, because I certainly don’t have one of those take off for parades type of positions, and I see Governor Pat Quinn and Jesse Jackson and other public officials, I’m furious. I’m heated. I’m sad.
As the parade route marches down Halsted I couldn’t help but thank God that these 13 beautiful boys, 13 beautiful Black boys, were being ushered down the street in a trolley and not a hearse. How do I tell my readers, my readers whom 50% are non-ethnic, how sad I feel knowing that as soon as tomorrow there will be another parade down Halsted, a parade of grieving family members for a Black kid just like those 13 Little Leaguer’s on the Jackie Robinson West team. How can I be honest about the city of Chicago without being vulnerable?
I have not addressed the nationwide news story of the murder of Ferguson, MO resident Michael Brown at the hands of police. I don’t know how to. ‘I don’t know how to’ are words that I have never uttered before when it comes to my writing. I have thesaurus’s’, dictionary’s, encyclopedia subscriptions and one of the most photographic memories I have encountered outside of Rain Main. So here’s a moment of silence, a pause, for the death of Michael Brown, the growth of the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team, the maturation of my vulnerabilities and the catalyst of our bonds together through sharing my real self with you.
I hope you excuse my absence and come back for more. My writing can only get better as I open up from a caterpillar to a butterfly and find the courage to share my true self with you and the city of Chicago. I love my city like no other, and together I know you all will get me through this. Thank you for your patience, and remember to always spread love- it’s the Chi-Town way. –RD.
P.S. Thank you to my favorite word-smith Penelope Trunk for the encouragement to write again and let go of my fears of being vulnerable. You my friend, rock.
The moral crust of a society is the responsibility of its government. Right? I mean take any country, city or township and you will clearly see there are laws enacted by those in charge in hopes of maintaining a peaceful civilization. Every country has a duty to protect its people and should immediately kill (shoot, bomb or blowup) all people that don’t behave in accordance to their standards! Off with their heads! Well, this is true, according to Israeli blogger Yochanan Gordon, genocide is not only permissible it is advantageous to maintaining a harmonious society. In a blog post entitled, “When Genocide is Permissible”, printed on August 1, 2014 in the Times of Israel, Gordon states “Judging by the numbers of casualties on both side in this almost one-month old war one would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in fighting a far less-capable enemy.” I read this statement over, and over, and over again. The thought that continued to repeat itself was that the struggles of ethnic Palestinian people who occupy the Gaza Strip and West Bank are eerily similar to the struggles of my ethnic people of Chicago; and that if we don’t change the behavior and dynamics of all parties involved Chicago could very well end up in a military state like the Israeli/Palestinian country. I know its a lot, don’t worry, I’ll explain.
That seems like a heavy statement, the people of Chicago and Palestine are kin in their struggle of the right to live without police/military/government forces killing the people, poisoning their food sources and not allowing them access to proper education and medical services. To adequately explain my point I will briefly provide a breakdown of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This is a short synopsis just touching on major events in the conflict, please do more detailed research if you would like to be fully informed.
In the late 1800’s Jewish Europeans were looking to leave Europe and find a “homeland”, a place to lay claim and call their own. They settled on Palestine (Despite the many Palestinians who already inhabited the land. Hello Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and the Native Americans.) At first the Jewish settlers came in quietly but over the next 50 years due to the rise of Hitler in Germany, Jewish settlers came in droves of 100’s of thousands to Palestine, depleting natural resources and violently taking land from ethnic Palestinians. Hatred and conflict erupted.
In 1947 the United Nations (the gov’t body that kind of rules the world and sets the laws for how countries relate to each other) stepped in and divided up the land.The UN decided to give away 55% of the land to Jews whom only made up 30% of the population while giving the Palestinians only 45% of the land in which they represented 70% of the population. This is where the country goes from being Palestine to being Israel and Palestine. (Please note this is not the Quranic or Biblical land referred to as Israel…….. well because its Palestine.)
1947-1949 all out war broke loose. It is to be noted that Israel invaded Palestine 16 times and the organization of a Palestinian military force did not come together until after the 16th massacre of Palestinians that slaughtered over 100 people. By the end of the war in 1949 Israel had conquered 78% of Palestine. For several years after this Israel denied the existence of the ENTIRE Palestinian nation and subsequently denied the existence and lives of the Palestinian people.
Conflicts waged on and there was no peace for Arabs or Israeli’s. Once again conflicts came to a head and resulted in the 6 day War of 1967, Israel feared the Arab countries of Syria, Egypt and Jordan would unify and attack them so Israel struck first under the leadership of Israeli Defense Minister General Moshe Dayan. Troops invaded the last 22% of land occupied by Palestinians, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since International Law forbids acquiring land by war these are “occupied” territories and do not legally belong to Israel. Israel also “occupied” land in Egypt but has since given it back. How thoughtful 🙂
This brings us to the current day conditions. Palestine was traditionally about 89% Muslim and 7% Christian before Israeli invasion. Ethnic Arabs, whether Muslim or Christian, are systematically discriminated against, being barricaded by concrete blocks into Gaza and the West Bank. Here is a picture of the entire land of Palestine/Israel, those areas highlighted in a royal doo-doo green represent present day “Palestine” and the orange areas are referred to as Israel (though the whole country is technically Palestine).
According to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics in 2013 there were 4.42 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. The Gaza strip occupies 179 sq miles of land. To give you an ideal of the dense amount of people crammed into that small space competing for clean water, food and other resources, Google Maps has taken the land mass of Gaza and laid it on top of New York. The Gaza Strip may be at most 1/4 of the land area of New York. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the subway in New York but I’ve had the privilege of being almost strangled by a mass of bodies in the thick New York heat that were too dense to all fit on the rail cars nor all on the platform.
But how is this Chi and what can we learn? Let’s first define the sides; for all intents and purposes the ethnic races of Chicago (African Americans, Indigenous Africans and Caribbean peoples and the many diverse groups of Hispanic peoples) of Chicago represent the ethnic Arab Palestinian people, the city government and CPD represent the Israeli Military Force and the gangs and criminal element in the city represent Hamas.
According to Alon Ben-Meir, International Relations Professor at the Center for Global Affairs NYU, “A critical impediment to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the complete distrust between the two sides. What makes the conflict even more intractable is that neither side is convinced that distrusting the other can be mitigated given the history of the conflict.” The deeply rooted distrust of Chicago Politicians and Police Force by ethnic groups in Chicago began in the early to mid 1900’s when the Jewish and Polish underworld leaders moved into politics as Sicilian and other Italian mob bosses took control over prostitution rings and gambling houses. Added to the great migration of Blacks from the south to northern cities to escape Jim Crow Laws and the beginning of a multi-decade wave of Mexican and South American immigration created competition for power, space and resources . The outlaw of alcohol during prohibition graciously handed the newly elected City Council members, Aldermen and Mayor’s Office a cash cow in bribes, kick backs and payoffs. The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 began when an African-American teenager crossed the invisible boundary in Lake Michigan and swam into the Whites only territory. He was stoned by many of the White beach goers and drowned. The Riots of 1968 saw racial tensions swell to a boiling point after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Whether Eugene Williams’ was too tired to swim to shore and just gave up or the White beach goers stoned him to death for leaving the Blacks only section, it is clear that the subsequent police and Mayoral cover up gives just a slight glimpse at the history of distrust between elected officials/police force and the people…..just like Palestine/Israel.
A majorsource of anger for humanitarian groups is that the Israeli Military are bringing guns to a knife fight, they’re painting Picasso’s in an art competition for kindergartner’s. The Palestinian people are NOT equipped with rockets in their bedrooms nor do they house drone bombs that can be detonated at the push of a button nor do they posses DIME weapons like the Israeli military. DIME’s are Dense Inert Metal Explosives that rip human flesh to shreds just like a paper shredder does to last month’s bills. The Israeli defense is that Hamas is killing Israeli citizens and military personnel therefore these aggressive attacks on the people are necessary. Hold UP. Insert the City of Chicago HERE. Does it sound familiar that the unified government/police force are targeting innocent citizens based off of the actions of a small and very dangerous terrorist faction. Could this scenario represent the gangs menacing the city and riddling our streets with gun violence so police harass everyday citizens, snatch young men out of cars and brutally beat them for driving while ethnic? Could this represent how the CPD has stopped responding to residential burglaries, street muggings and other crimes enacted by thugs? Doesn’t the Israeli Military force notice that Hamas harasses Palestinian citizens as well and makes their dwellings unsafe and potential bomb targets? Doesn’t CPD recognize that the same people shooting at them are the same people breaking in our garages, robbing us and sending the gunfire through OUR neighborhoods, often times hitting the wrong targets and killing our beautiful children? The ethnic Palestinians and ethnic Chicagoan’s are both fighting a battle against the powers that be and sadly fighting for survival among people of our own group who have decided that chaos and murder are easier to spread than butter.
The structural makeup of the land in Palestine and Chicago may look obviously different but the mental and psychological effects of their living conditions are the same.
Above is a picture of a Palestinian man sitting on top of the Israeli settlement, Ofra, in Gaza. Study this picture. First to note, Jewish Settlements are groups of Israeli civilian citizens who independently decide that they want to live in Palestinian designated space and any Palestinians who currently live there have to move. Not only do Israeli civilian citizens move into Palestinian neighborhoods, they then require protection from the Israeli Military who then decides that concrete boulders need to be put up to protect the Israeli citizens, creating sub standard “ghetto’s” and dense populations who cannot move in or out of their homes due to barricades they are not allowed to cross for the seeming “protection” of Israeli’s. This process of settlement building remind me of gentrification. Affluent groups (98% of these people are of Caucasian descent) deem an area of Chicago desirable, so they begin the process of buying up properties in that neighborhood which in return raises the property value to levels not affordable by the current demographic of people who live in the area. Increased number of police are now designated to patrol the area to “protect” the newly gentrified people in the area, of course this policing is biased, racists and causes way more problems for the original occupant of this area. To further “protect” the new gentrified population, speed humps, dead end streets and concrete blockades are put up to control the movement of the people.
Notice how this neighborhood block was cut in two and made into a no access street. Can we imagine how we could dictate what goods and services even down to what grocery stores and what foods are accessible to certain people by opening and closing roads and buildings. Busses cannot travel down dead end streets. If the population of a community has a low employment and educational rate, it is logical that most citizens will probably not have access to personal vehicles or very reliable ones at least, so public transportation is necessary to transport them to areas of the city that conduct business and provide goods. What happens when the new population develops businesses in the area that are totally unrelated and not affordable to the people who already live there? The buildings may be different; some may be brick and others may be concrete. We may rock gym shoes and jeans while they rock cottons and flowy fabrics but the systematic repression of a people bear the same results; intolerance, hatred, retaliation and death.
We Chicagoans can look to the Plestinian/Israeli conflict to see what a truly militarized city would be like. Would that be what we wanted? When there are 22 shootings and 10 murders over the weekends people cry for Martial Law, we need the military! I don’t think individuals realize what living in a city completely free of local government and ran by the United States Military would be like. Life would suck. There will be 8 pm curfews and those who stay outside pass them would risk being shot. There would be no free flow of information, where you live would become like a fortress with no one allowed to move freely in and out of neighborhoods. The military would decide what medical treatment people received, when and how soon. So do you agree that Chicago and Israel/Palestine share some similarities? What are you going to do to regain some control over our city?
When people ask why you are concerned about foreign relations and the crisis in the Middle East this is why; There but for the grace of God go I. -RD