Tag Archives: jayz

What I Learned From the MTV VMAs

25 Aug

beyonce_vmasLike the BET Awards, the VMAs offer amazing spectacle. So before I get to the main event, let’s discuss Mrs. Carter’s opening acts.

* I’m an old. Anything that I watch on MTV, I watch on demand or stream it. So I had no clue what channel MTV is anymore.

* I actually like Ariana Grande. I’d like her more if I could understand some of the things she’s saying

* Nicki’s anaconda actually bit someone. Well, not exactly her anaconda—her boa constrictor. I didn’t even know boa constrictors bit people. So it was safe to say her reptile was fired and we wouldn’t have a repeat of Britney’s snake dance. And that was OK because it wasn’t necessary. The dancers dressed as snakes and Nicki’s mesmerizing derrier did enough. Not enough to empress J.Lo, but enough.

* Jessie J is such a great singer and performer. I really hope “Bang Bang” does it for her. And it was cool to see different body types on on stage together. Sure, they’re all very small with waists snatched to the gods, but they’re still shaped differently and looked like they were having a ball. Even, Nicki, who couldn’t get her clothes right.

* Gwen Stefani has joined the list of people who has been bathing in unicorn tears and drying her hair with angel wings. The woman wakes up everyday and says, “I rebuke you, age!!”

* Katy Perry beat Beyonce with “Dark Horse.” I’m an admitted “Dark Horse” fan, but come on!

* About a half hour in, and I was already anxious for Beyonce’s performance. While Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande were fun, the three of them together are still no Beyonce.

* Taylor Swift performed, and I’m all, “Look! Goldfish crackers!” It’s not that I hate Tay-Tay (that’s too strong of an emotion). I’m over her. Plus, I liked the song better when it was 3LW singing it. (Shout out to Adrienne Bailon)

* By this time, it became apparent to me and several others on Twitter that the VMAs were much better when we were kids. *Busts out rocking chair* Back in my day, that Jim Carey/Jeff Daniels bit would have been hilarious. That kind of thing falls on the deaf ears of kids who were born after the first “Dumb and Dumber” was made.

* Kim Kardashian is friends with Sam Smith? I have questions. But…

* Common made sure we all took a moment of silence for Mike Brown and Ferguson. I’m nothing but appreciative of that.

* Apparently Drake couldn’t make it to the awards because he was still reeling from that hurt Nicki put on him in the “Anaconda” video.


* Uzo Aduba smacking herself in the head was great! The smoothing out of the hair was even better. The ladies of Litchfield brought out Usher, who reminded us all that he works hard for a performance. Even if it means fake playing a bass guitar and sweating through his white clothes. And Nicki wore more clothes that don’t fit—a trend for her last night.


* Lorde walked up to accept her award and did Lorde things. Because she’s Lorde and that’s just what she does.

* The Truth campaigners calling out all of Hollywood’s real-life smokers was an interesting tactic. No, it’s not healthy, but all the photos they showed were paparazzi shots. It wasn’t like they were at events promoting their bad habits. I don’t want to sound like I’m defending smoking, but I think it’s dirty to pick on people’s personal lives that way.

* A little more than an hour into the show: still no Beyonce, a butt-ton of commercials, and a ridiculously slow program that seems to have been produced by the same people who did the BET Awards because that sound system was trash.

* Did anyone else think that Robin Williams tribute was a poor afterthought?

* Jennifer Lopez exists to make the rest of us look bad. I mean…


* Iggy Azalea recovered nicely from her fall the other day. She and Rita Ora sang “Black Widow,” which is only growing on me because I like the hook.

* I’m a huge, huge fan of dental hygiene. But the Crest White Strips commercial gave me pause. The example they used was mustard-yellow teeth. If your chompers are the same color as a tart condiment, you need more than over-the-counter white strips. Message.

* By this time, it’s 18 minutes until Beyonce, and I’m getting antsy.

* Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn, all from the “Yonce” video made an appearance on my feed dressed like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus.

* Essence took us on a nostalgia trip. Never forget.

* Miley Cyrus, who literally showed her ass last year, did a beautiful thing and let a young, homeless man take the stage to accept her award. He spoke about the hardships he faces and the charity that he and Miley are working with to bring awareness to the cause, My Friend’s Place.

* Some douchebag earlier IG’d Beyonce’s playlist, so it wasn’t a surprise and I was pissed. That frustration quickly dissipated when Queen Bey took the stage with her mimes and sang “Mine.” Beyonce, in a leotard full of mirror shards wrecked shop. She went through the entire “Beyonce” album (which bangs, I must say). Had I not seen the On The Run show, I might have enjoyed the performance more. There were a couple of songs (“Mine,” “No Angel,” “Rocket”) that she didn’t perform in Chicago, so those were good to see. And though I was a little miffed she didn’t perform my song, “Superpower,” the last medley of “***Flawless,” “Blue” and “XO” were everything. She got choked up at the end, a beautiful moment. But what set it off for, I think, everyone was when Jay and Blue came up on stage to give her the award. I’m not a cryer, but this didn’t move you then you might need some counseling.


So, what did you think of the #BeyMAs? Was there a performance that stood out to you besides Beyonce’s?

Yonce Taught me

4 Aug

SAM_2641Editor’s note: This recap is late as I went to the On the Run tour stop in Chicago a couple weeks ago. I’ve been in the middle of my own three-city tour, so I haven’t had time to write up a post about the show. Anyway, here’s what I learned from the Carters.

1. Traffic is stressful. What should have been an hour-and-a-half drive to Soldier Field ended up being three hours, two if which were spent in standstill traffic. It turns out when the Obamas want to see Bey and Jay, the rest of us have to bow down and wait for Secret Service to secure the area. The good news is that the show started late, so we only missed the first 10 minutes.

2. ‘Tom Ford’ is a great stress reliever. My friend and I were rightfully pissed to have to wait so long to get into the show, but somehow Jay Z telling us to “clap for a n—- with yo trappin’ ass” put us right on easy street.

Beyonce (and I) sang ‘Ex-Factor’…and it was everything.

3. There’s nothing like a sing along. Belting “Resentment” is great. Shouting it at the top of your lungs with 61,000 of your new besties is even better. Also, seeing what you look like when you’re belting one of your favorite songs is what Oprah calls an ah-ha moment.

4. Dance like no one’s watching. Sure, I was surrounded by thousands of people. But I’ve been practicing my Beyonce moves for a while and I got bodied with the best of them. As is always the case when I’m in Chicago, it was chilly. But my fellow fans kept the stadium nice and warm with all their dancing, too.

5. You can sleep and still grind. I’m thoroughly convinced that the Carters haven’t slept since 1998. They took the phrase “you sleep, we grind” too literally because it’s evident in the amount of work they put into the show. Of course, they didn’t physically do the lighting or the sound. They didn’t choreograph all the routines. But their stamps are imprinted on every minutia of the show. They’re the hardest working couple in show business and eventually they’re going to run out of juice. Don’t let that be you. Take time to enjoy what you’re doing. Work hard, but enjoy the fruits of your labor.

6. It takes a village. With that, recognize that they have teams of people helping them achieve their success. Temper your expectations when you tell yourself you want a body like Bey’s or Les Twins (her fine, French dancers). That takes a lot of time and will not happen over night.

7. Power of positive influence. One of the things I noticed is how much more toned Jay is. Most of us remember Jay of the ’90s. Lanky, but a little doughey. Modern-era Jay seems to be taking a keener interest in his health. He even went vegan for a month last year. That’s always nice to see.

8. One monkey doesn’t stop a show. Back in the old days of 2004, Jay-Z was on tour with R. Kelly. They had a falling out and R. Kelly left the tour. I had tickets to see them both, so I was a little concerned about what was going to happen. Right after R-uh left, Jay announced it would be him and friends. It was like a circus, with Mary J. Blige, Ciara, Bone Crusher, Lil Jon, Lil Scrappy, and a bunch of other Lil people. Jay told us he promised us a show and, “One m—f— monkey don’t stop no show.” I say all that to say the Carters are professionals. Whatever issues they’re having at home, people paid a lot of money to see them on stage together and they will honor that commitment. Anything else is none of my business.

The Magic of Bey (and Jay)

24 Jul

Their love is real. You'll never convince me otherwise.

Their love is real. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

Tonight, I’m going On the Run. I’m going twist my left hand back and forth. I’m going to uh-oh like there’s no tomorrow. And maybe I’ll see a few people rock a little Tom Ford (I’m not because I’m poor).

Yes, I’m going to the see Jay and Bey at Soldier Field in Chicago. I’ve seen them both separately, but this is the first time I and any of my friends will see them together. It’s going to be epic (an overused term, I know, but there’s no other way to describe it.

I wrote this post ahead of time, but I can already guarantee two things by the time this goes up: I’ve had maybe three hours of sleep and I’m going to be #Flawless tonight.

Why #Flawless? Because I’ve been preparing for Beyonce concerts for years. Example: A few years ago at an engagement party I wowed my friends with my knowledge of the “Get Me Bodied” moves. Yes, I can Naomi Campbell walk and snap for the kids. This same friend wanted to do a dance routine at her wedding reception. What song was on heavy rotation at the time? None other than “Single Ladies.” With only a day to rehearse, I’ve go to tell you we were pretty good.

I’ve been using music videos as mini workout programs for years. From Janet’s “Rhythm Nation” to Aaliyah’s “Are That Somebody” to Ciara’s “Body Party,” I’ve always tried to mimic the moves I saw on screen.

To me, dancing is an elite art form. I respect the training that goes into it. There is so much dedication involved with learning to position yourself just right in order to express music physically. Ballet, tap, jazz, even the dougie, it’s all about giving music form.

One of the things I learned on my weight-loss journey as it coincided with getting older is that when I was dancing, I was really working out. I haven’t been thin since puberty hit over 20 years ago. When I was dancing, though, my stomach was flatter, my thighs didn’t jiggle as much and stairs didn’t seem like such a problem.

I stopped dancing regularly after my junior year of college when graduating became more of a priority. It’s the one thing I wished I’d made more time for because it was so much fun.

And that takes us to Beyonce. I mean, we all saw this at the Super Bowl, right?


So tonight, I’m gonna party with the Rock Boys and let my Ego run free. I’ve seen some of the clips on Instagram, so I know the show’s gonna be amazeballs. But these are the songs I’ve been practicing in anticipation of tonight’s shenanigans. And these are the songs that must be played, lest the Carters feel my wrath (if they even care).

Single Ladies

Love on Top (because this is what joy looks like)

Baby Boy

Drunk in Love

Partition (because when I grow up, I want to dance like this girl)

Have you seen the show yet? What was your favorite part? Were you like me and danced like nobody was watching?

top photo courtesy of AP Images

What I Learned From the BET Awards

30 Jun


Last night’s BET Awards were, as expected, full of talking points. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll list a few things that had me going throughout the broadcast

* Missy still looks and sounds great! There’s nothing like watching someone smile through a performance

* Chris Rock: forever funny. My favorite Chris Rock joke of all time can be switched up to apply to fitness: If you’re a gym rat, has to be a gym rat, too, or the shit don’t work.

* I’m an old so I’ve never heard of this August Alsina character, but he’s awfully emotional for a BET Award. Do you, boo.

(but for real, doe)

(but for real, doe)

* Keke Palmer has grown into a beautiful young woman…who is following Kendall Jenner down the path of trying to make pelvic bones sexy. Maybe it’s something else I don’t understand because I’m an old.

* Lil Wayne, despite his penchant for excessive drug use, has stayed in shape all these years. Now if only he could see a dentist about his gums.


* A few more awards are handed out before we come back to Weezy again, this time with Breezy. These brothers in prison arms performed “Loyal,” an interesting choice for two men not known for being faithful to their women.

*Breezy’s time behind bars left him in a six by eight-foot space didn’t allow him much space to take advantage of the stage, so he gets a pass for his limited dance solo. Still, dancing is a great form of exercise.


* Yay, Travis Barker. Another guy who gets all kinds of props for recovering from tragedy and remaining healthy. Good for you, guy!

* I must admit that during Usher’s entire performance I worked up quite a sweat dancing around my living room. Usher took me back to eighth grade when he first started. It was fantastic!


* Sometimes, it’s not always about looks. Like Pharrell looking like he’s just getting over a cold, walking around in a sweatshirt and Uggs. I don’t always look my best on sick days. But I’m not rich.

* While I’m not a big fan of Weight Watchers, I fully support Jennifer Hudson’s road to a healthier lifestyle. All that hard work paid off because that waist was snatched! Plus, that last song she sang would be great to skate to (another alternative form of exercise)

* Eva Marcille four months after giving birth: not universally realistic, but she still looked great.

* Just caught a glimpse of Busta Rhymes. Do you remember when he was tall and scrawny, then he hit the gym and was on swole? For a while it looked like he was on steroids, he’d gotten so big. That’s not the case anymore.

Now he's being compared to Cheesecake Factory bags.

Now he’s being compared to Cheesecake Factory bags.

* I’m not perfect. I’m not trying to fat shame Bussa Buss. Let’s just say that life happens.

* You gotta give it to Nicki: Her dancer is in a nude bodysuit and still put on boy shorts for a bit of modesty. Nicki Minaj just DGAF and walked around cheeks out. Do you, boo.

* A meeting of the not-quite Usher minds. At this point in the show, it became evident that the sound people weren’t really in it for the money, because I couldn’t hear August, Trey or Breezy over the background music.

* Was it me or were all the men in the ’70s just really thin? Those Commodores photos had me thinking they weren’t taking advantage of the Tuskeegee southern cooking.

* Cheers to Ledisi, who obvs lost some weight. She looks great and sounds the same. But now she looks like she has more energy during her performances. Good for her.

* All I wanted was for Lionel to sing “Zoom.” All I got was “All Night Long.” Blech!

What Lionel said when I asked for "Zoom."

What Lionel said when I asked for “Zoom.”

* I’m not a fan of T.I.’s new song, but the video did take me back to Rio—so A+.

* I like “Fancy.” Sue me.

* Poor Chadwick Boseman. All he wants to do is portray of Black History’s biggest pop culture figures. Instead, he has to fix the mic Weezy broke while embarrassing his teenage daughter on live television. Poor fella.

* Floyd Mayweather proves that reading is fundamental

* Once again, a the awards show dance break came from some blasts from my past: Troop, Color Me Badd and Silk. (Side note: that first Silk CD was the business. I have stories bout that album. It was defined an era for me.)

* Seeing Myrlie Evers-Williams and Phylicia Rashad just warmed my heart. They are still so graceful, so composed and so stunning. Whatever unicorn tears they’re dropping in their tea, I’d like a few hits of it.

* This…





* And to cap it off, Jay and Bey perform via YouTube clip.

All in all, it was not a great show. It was very slow, despite Chris Rock’s efforts. Plus, producers kept making him stretch the show and it still went over.

Because I don’t watch BET all the time, I don’t see howthese people’s bodies are changing. Some were shocks while others were welcome surprises. Can’t wait to see what everyone looks like next year.

What did you think of the show? Who wore the best red plaid? Who wore the best hat?

Picking Up the Challenge

23 Dec
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40969262@N08/8376090493/">skw234567</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Heeeyyy, Mrs. Carter!

Jay and Bey have gone vegan for 22 days, and their challenge ends on Christmas Day.

Sure, they can celebrate Christ’s birth with a rack of lamb and shout “Joy to the World,” but what did this challenge really entail?

Jay decided to take up the challenge before his 44th birthday with the encouragement of a friend (read: Gwyneth) who wanted him to only have plant-based breakfast. With the serendipity of the numbers falling into place along with the bonus of a Christmas ham likely waiting for him at the end of this, Jay decided to put down steak knife and pick up the almond milk.

According to Marco Borges’ 22 Days Nutrition site, which has been partnering with the Carters on this journey, the benefits to plant-based living include preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing and even reversing diabetes.

“Your body will enjoy a greater variety of vitamins and minerals and your reduced intake of animal products will have a positive effect on the environment.”

22 Days Vegan website

Who doesn’t want that?

Between touring and releasing secret “visual albums, Mrs. Carter has been updating her Instagram account with vegan options, some of which look kind of tasty.

But I don’t know if I could go full-on vegan. I have friends who are vegetarians and pescatarians. Most of the recipes I post on this site are vegetarian. However, sometimes a girl’s got a taste for a Five Guys burger.

While I’ve never gone vegan—or vegetarian for that matter—I know what it means to give up a food you once enjoyed. I haven’t eaten pork for more than 15 years. It was difficult in the beginning because in my mind, nothing could top a good ham and cheese sandwich. I never stopped cold, but eventually it became passing on the pork chops, then the bacon, and soon enough it was bye-bye ham.

I applaud Bey and Jay (as if they need my approval) for taking this on. It is hard to give up the things you once enjoyed in order to better yourself. Living is challenging enough without creating hurdles for yourself. The Carters gave themselves less than a month to decide if this was something they could stick with.

I understand that wholeheartedly. That’s how the weight-loss journey began for me: I’ll give it a shot for a little while and see if I like it. I challenge you to do the same. Find something that makes you step outside your comfort zone. What is it that scares you a little? It doesn’t have to be anything big, or anything health related, for that matter.

Maybe you’ve never gone to dinner alone. Maybe you’ve never tried that crazy-looking contraption at the gym. Or just maybe you’ve been wanting to spark up a conversation with the cutie across the way.

The point of a challenge is to test your limits and see what you are capable of. What do you think you can do?

photo credit: skw234567 via photopin cc