Category Archives: Entertainment

An Emotional Ride on a Streetcar

A Streetcar Named Desire

I’d clambered out of the office after yet another conference call that ran late, hoping I didn’t get stuck on one of those Murphy’s Law trains. I hopped on the 1 train up to Times Square – 42nd Street and made my way up the two blocks to the Broadhurst Theatre. I tried to remember what I’d read in that tenth grade English class, but all I could muster was my version of Stanley’s voice bellowing “STELLAAAA,” then A Streetcar Named Desire began. It all came flooding back to me in bits and pieces, as I watched the brutish Stanley played by Blair Underwood, excite Blanche DuBois’ (Nicole Ari Parker) dramatic nature. Then I remembered, someone gets raped…
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what scene this horrendous act would take place – so I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering when Stanley’s anger would catapult into full blown assault. It did a couple times as he formed his fist at Stella, but it wasn’t until that fateful moment that my heart leapt out of my chest. Moments after the scene went to blackout, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. The last scene brought me to tears. This cast had wreaked emotional havoc on me, and they deserved their standing ovation.
My heart bled for Stella and Blanche, and while a friend of mine and I had just discussed how stupid we women can be, the art of the stage imitated life. People call Tennessee William’s Streetcar a masterpiece, and I suppose I felt it was a tragedy of the human condition. We make excuses for those we love (or even like) because we’re so afraid to be alone. This isn’t just a play written in the 1940′s, it’s a story of people that accept less than what they deserve time and time again, and the people that smile as they do. I don’t think I understood that when I was all of thirteen years old in an English classroom, failing to see beyond the words on a page. Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Harris Wood captured a piece of Streetcar that had escaped me all those years ago.

For the Love of Reggae: Protoje

Protoje at Village

Music has always been one of the main things that have kept Jamaica alive in my heart when I couldn’t physically reside in the land of my birth. Being as proud of a Jamaican as I am (it’s a common thing among us), I put reggae and dancehall music in high esteem. My custom ringtone on my father’s phone is a track called Reggae Ambassador by Third World – and the images it conjures up of me rocking out to that in my living room are potentially some of my best childhood memories.

When I was in highschool, I was fortunate enough to have the rest of Toronto swept up in the world of Jamaican music with me. Although my father referred to most of it as ‘buguyaga’ music – translation: uncouth. Now that I’m older, most of my close friends aren’t predominantly of Jamaican decent and my love for reggae is something you only begin to understand if you look through my Spotify or iTunes most played lists. Protoje is at the top of that list.

A little over a year ago, I went back to Jamaica for some much needed escovitch fish and festival, East Indian mangoes, and real Jamaican music. My best friend and I ended up at this spot in Kingston – Village, only to have me fall in love with reggae music all over again thanks to Protoje. When I say I rate this man as an artist, it’s no joke – Protoje and his band Indiggnation are infinitely cool. I’ve said it on more than one occasion that he is the present and future of what reggae should be. His lyrics are poignant yet relatable, and his ability to lay his verses down to tracks produced by Don Corleone makes for the kind of music that needs to be shared with the world. He may have a penchant for the herb, a philosophy of life that I do not share – but I refuse to let that stop me from letting the words of ‘No Lipstick’ echo through my own lips.

His debut album ’7 Year Itch’ is a refreshing compilation of music that not even my exceedingly critical father can resist. If you haven’t already it’s about time you download his mixtape – This is Protoje and buy the ’7 Year Itch’ on iTunes.

Take a listen to Stronger (Antique Riddim) – Protoje

Amy. Amy. Amy. Rest in Peace

RIP Amy Winehouse

Those who know me are likely aware of my love for Amy Winehouse. Despite her bouts with addiction, her raspy voice set to music has brought me through many life experiences. I’ve dressed up as her for Halloween — complete with eyeliner and beehive poof — and caught myself belting out (at an obnoxious decibel) the lyrics to ‘Take the Box,’ ‘Rehab,’ and ‘ You Know I’m No Good’ just to name a few. So it goes without saying that her crazy but talented bony behind will be missed.

Every artistic genius has their vice, and while I have yet to find mine, Amy Winehouse knew hers all too well. It brings me great pain to have to state that, at the age of 27, the Frank Sinatra loving woman after my own heart is dead. While I mourn the loss of one of my favorite artists, my best friend bellows in the background, “she killed herself.” My response: artists often find themselves grappling with an addiction that allows them to harness their gifts, it also usually takes their life. Maybe my boss had a point when he said “if you’re going to be a legend, you can’t live past 27.” Tonight I pour a glass for Amy, may she rest in peace.

What’s your fave Amy Winehouse song?

Yeah I Said It: Idris Elba, Dwayne Wade & Carmelo Anthony at the Giorgio Armani Menswear SS 2012

Okay so I have to say this, short and sweet: Idris Elba is one fine specimen of a man. Seen here at the Giorgio Armani Menswear Spring Summer 2012 show with Dwayne Wade, Carmello Anthony and Giorgio Armani himself. Aside from the fact that Wade could use a facial peel, since I’m not sure what the heck that is on his forehead, and Carmelo Anthony’s trousers seem to be a little ill-fitting. Between Idris and Dwayne’s smiles I’m a little more than smitten. But as for Idris, in the words of that VH1 show, Single Ladies, that I’m now dubbing a guilty pleasure, “He could get it.”

Sound Off: Rihanna Man Down

Rihanna Man Down
On some level I expect myself to champion Rihanna’s fight against domestic violence, but there’s something about her that just throws me off.
I’m not a huge fan of hers, but if it’s one song I did like on the Loud album, it was ‘Man Down.’ Perhaps it’s simply because she actually sounds like someone from the Caribbean in it, but whatever my reasons for liking the song, the video’s launch this past week has caused quite a stir. Critics have slammed it as being too violent, and have accused Rihanna of teaching women the wrong way to deal with domestic violence.
But who decided that Rihanna was supposed to be a good example of what to do in a bad relationship? If the media hadn’t swarmed all over the Chris Brown fiasco, it’s almost certain that she would have stayed with him. And unfortunately for most women, they don’t have the luxury of the media pointing out their mistakes and magnifying it tenfold. It’s becoming clear that Rihanna is a woman suffering emotionally and with her star power growing all the more as a result of her tragedy, she’s been given a platform to talk about her feelings, although the question being asked is, is her message safe.
To give you a little recap: the video starts out with Rihanna shooting a man in the middle of what the song calls “central station,” later it’s revealed that Rihanna was raped by the same man the day before. For all its notes of revenge, I was slightly taken aback because it certainly wasn’t what I was picturing when I belted out the refrain ‘rum puh puh pum mi seh one man down.’ And now that I ask myself what it was that I expected, I really can’t answer decisively.
With all the rage, resentment and revenge that Rihanna exhibits in ‘Man Down,’ the question isn’t whether or not the video was in poor taste as critics claim. The question should be whether or not Rihanna’s battles with domestic violence have marred her in a way that requires professional help or if she‘s milking the Chris Brown fiasco for all its worth.
I’m sure there’ll be some people that ask me how I can possibly ask the question of whether this woman is milking it, but it’s a fair analysis. I can’t seem to remember much of Rihanna’s career before that fateful Grammy night in 2009. Since then Rihanna has experienced the sort of media attention that some stars can only dream of, but she surely wouldn’t be the woman that everyone interviews about the same questions over and over again if that night never happened. It’s not for me to decide whether she’s been eternally marked by that incident or not, but ponder this: if we removed dating Chris Brown from Rihanna’s career resume, what would we ask her in interviews?
I certainly hope no one takes the video seriously enough to imply that she may take a gun and shoot Chris Brown. I’m no psychiatrist, and what little I remember from my first year psychology classes isn’t enough to make me an expert, but watching Rihanna unfold only puzzles me more. As a woman who has known many women who have experienced domestic violence and seen how it can push them to become totally unhinged, if Rihanna isn’t using domestic violence for all its worth, she’s on the brink of her own unhinging. She’s not a role model, she’s a woman who has been forced to live out this sordid tale and deal with her inner turmoil in the public eye.
Take a look at the video yourself and let me know what you think in the comments: