O-H-I-O

When we moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2005 I had no idea I would one day yell out BUCKEYES. We moved from Indiana and never cared about The Ohio State Football team, OSU basketball or the University. Fast Forward to 2015 one of our youngest daughters Ana graduated from high school with a full tuition academic scholarship to The Ohio State University.

One of her first purchases was an OSU Mom t -shirt. The shirt was gray with red lettering nothing special, so I thought.The first time I wore the shirt I was getting on a plane from Dallas, TX where I live to Indianapolis, IN  my hometown. People turned their heads, pointed and as I found my seat a man asked, ” Does your kid really go to Ohio State?”

No I’m just wearing the shirt Einsten. Pause. “Yes my daughter is a freshman there studying New Media and Graphic Design.” He then told me about the people he knew who attended OSU and how he wasn’t able to get in when he applied. He knew every quarterback’s name and every coach from the 70’s to the present.

The next time I wore the shirt was at a Starbucks in Indianapolis, in the heart of IUPUI country. The barista asked me how my child liked it there. He also told me about his favorite OSU football player. He gave me my drink for ‘THE FREE ‘as the kids say.

I spent my birthday in France and wore the shirt again.  As we entered Charles De Gaulle airport I hear a man yell out ” OH-” I answer with “-IO” he runs up to me and says he went to Ohio State. He tells me his major and why he is in Paris. We talked for so long my bags circled the carrousel twice.

I travel frequently since most of my family is in the Midwest and I now live in the southwest. I also take a few trips a year with my  In -Loves. I don’t usually get folks coming up to me, talking about much of anything. It’s mostly just small talk, but when I am wearing my OSU Mom shirt, I get full conversations. When I go to Starbucks I don’t ever get a free drink. Most times I don’t get eye contact or my name spelled correctly, it’s R-H-A-S-H-A. But no matter where I am, I always get  treated better, and always spark a good conversation when I am wearing Scarlet & Gray.

As I typed this blog I was approached in Ft. Worth, TX by a guy who was also wearing an OSU shirt and of course I had mine on too. I am going to need a new one soon, since I wear it once a week and it’s starting to shrink. Oh and Michigan fans where ya’ll at?

  

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A night with Pablo

So I arrived home from the Saint Pablo Tour here in Dallas five hours ago. I was impressed. I don’t consider myself  a Kanye West fan, my husband really likes him. As a birthday present I took him. After waiting an hour and a half, meeting my neighbors and slamming down hot dogs and beer, he finally hit the stage.

I heard about the floating stage, but seeing it is a whole ‘nother experience. It’s Kanye,a stage,and darkness. He led with songs from the new album.  “Saint Pablo”, “FML” and “Real Friends”. The energy was high and the crowd rocked with him, he then did some current hot joints. This is one of my favorite parts of live shows. He did “Panda”,his verse on “Jump man”, and “I Don’t Like”, the old Chief Keef hit.

From there the stage moved a bit and he went through his Yeezus, Watch the Throne, and more Pablo singles. “Bound 2″,”New Slaves” and “Blood on the Leaves” were stand outs midshow.

Then my own Kanye West paradise began. The old ‘ish. College Dropout, Late Registration, Heartbreaks and 808’s. The crowd quieted and hands went into the air when “Heartless”started. At one point he stopped singing and stopped the music, all you heard were 15,000 voices singing along….How could you be so heartless. Silence. Then screams. The audience had become one. We connected. Race, age, sex, none of it mattered. What is going on in this country didn’t phase us for the moment . Right then it wasn’t on my mind. Our row just looked at each other.

He then went straight into “Stronger” I went back to the weekend  car rides from Indy to Columbus. I left that arena. Head boppin’, hitting every verse right along with ‘Ye. “Flashing Lights” flooded our eardrums and the cell phone lights glowed,and the Kanye classic, “The Good Life”. We went bananas.

He closed the show with more from The Life of Pablo, “Famous” , “Father Strech my Hands”, and “Fade”which had a cool laser, light show with red highlights. The tribute to his mom had us all hanging our heads and grieving along with Kanye. I couldn’t imagine losing my mom,now or ever. After “Only One”the thug in me had to leave. As the final song started to play I grabbed my Kanye shirt and hugged my neighbors. A stirring soulful version of “Ultralight Beam” began with a full choir. I stuck my head back in the arena thinking maybe Kirk Franklin would appear (he does lives in Dallas ya know)

Overall I give the concert a solid 9. The only other thing I could have asked for would have been a few dancers, Teyana Taylor dancing to Fade, and a few more hits from Heartbreaks & 808s. I think Kanye would be pleased with this review. I said his name five times. Kanye Omari West. Six.

Tonight I saw a more humbled version of Mr. West. He didn’t seem so arrogant. He was actually likable and fun to watch. The stage is his happy place. The love he has for the art transfers to those who appreciate his genius. Yes Mr. West you are a musical genius.


ALL YOU HAVE TO BE IS BLACK TO GET DEAD.

imageMy husband and I talk often, we talk about politics, movies, music, sports,  and spirituality. We don’t talk about racism because my husband calls me a conspiracy theorist, which is not true, I only deal with conspiracies that are real.

It’s been a minute since we discussed racism, probably since the last black unarmed man was killed. What was that a week ago? We don’t talk about the ones who point guns at the police officers, or ones who were holding a hostage at gunpoint. What we do talk about is police brutality. We talk to our sons often. We tell them what to do when pulled over on their college campuses and in the community. They know and have heard the lecture.

Last week we closed on a home in a suburb of Ft. Worth called Keller. We noticed  not many people who look like us live here. My husband also bought a luxury car and this frightened me. I asked him if he was scared to be racially profiled and pulled over for no reason. His response, ” Rhasha no one ever messes with me, I am over 40, my beard is gray, I always obey traffic laws. I do what I am supposed to do. I am not like these young fools, no insurance, headlights not working, and fleeing a crime scene.”

This week a man was murdered by police. He was 40, he was not fleeing a crime scene, his headlights were working, he needed help with his car. Car trouble is a normal  life triviality. My husband could get a flat tire and have to stand on the side of the road. He could one day run out of gas after sitting in Dallas/ Ft. Worth traffic. He could need help and needing help could GET HIM DEAD! Yes I said get him dead.

My response to him was, ” Mike I know you think you are safe because of your age or the fact that you obey the law, but all you need to be is black to GET DEAD.”

He called me yesterday and said, ” You were right, I get it.”image

 

BAAAADDDD BOYS COME OUT AND PLAY

I had the luxury of going to the Bad Boy concert in Dallas at American Airline Center. We had great seats and I was so excited. See I grew up on Bad Boy, Biggie, Puffy, Faith and my girl group thought we were Total back in the day. I prepared for weeks and got my outfit and hair ready for the big day.

It was hectic getting down there from where I currently lives in Irving. We drove and paid an arm and a leg to park but we didn’t let that spoil our night.  At the beginning of the show we chanted along with The Lox, Mase, Faith, Carl Thomas, Lil Kim and of course Diddy. The energy was high. It was like we knew every word, every rift and every bar. The crowd rocked back and forth to ” Can’t You See?” by Total, fan favorite  “Only You” by 112, and all of the Lil Kim hits.

The Biggie tribute stole our souls and had us sad and screaming out ” We’ll Always Love Big Poppa”. But the show stopper was DMX who ripped the stage down with all of his hits,” Party Up“, “What You Bitches Want from a Ni**a?”,and pretty much a mash up of his album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.

The other phenomenal performance was from Miss Erykah Badu herself.  Not only was she a surprise guest, but she was the best of the night in my opinion. She told us to “Call Tyrone, we grooved to  “On and On” and “Danger “my absolute favorite Badu joint. Over all this concert rocked and I enjoyed remembering the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Tomorrow is the Kayne show, same place different vibe. Either way I am in there!

bad-boy

Then a Hero Comes Along

When many of us are asked about our heroes, we often speak of world leaders, entertainers, or sports figures. Some mention family members, I am of that group. I am not saying it to be nice or to be cliché, it is a fact. My hero is my mother,mommy, momma. Her other titles, are Gammy, sister,friend,daughter, and for years she was a supportive coworker.

My earliest memories of my mom are her taking me to Flanner House PreK. She would drop me off in the morning and I would almost knock her down in the evening when she would arrive. I remember her always, and I mean always working for the state of Indiana. She wore dresses with a belt and stockings and dress shoes. Her and my dad divorced when I was 2 so it was me and Mom Monday through Friday and I would chill with my Dad every other weekend.

Sunday’s we would always go to church. First we attended a baptist church and then a Disciples of Christ church. Momma always told me how important having faith was. I could tell she had a lot of faith because she never seemed to worry. She never worried when our cars broke down. Once we had a raggedy landlord and we moved very quickly and she didn’t seem to worry. She just made a plan and said, “ Well Rocky we have to find a better place, and I want to find a good school for you.” I acted a fool in those schools. I started having emotional problems and issues with depression.

I didn’t know it then, but I now see that my mom went into action mode and prayer mode. She talked to Pastors at our church, she talked to doctors and she checked me into a hospital to see if they could help me. She tried to get me to talk to her about what was going on. I wouldn’t reveal what was wrong.

Over the next ten years, I had three children, got married, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer I was divorced, and went into the darkest depression of my life. Mom was there, praying for me, taking care of me, feeding me,playing music to soothe me. She would get me out of the house even when I didn’t want to go. Once she told me we were going on a ride and we ended up at Kings Island. I looked a hot boiling mess. She helped to get me and my children away from my abusive ex husband.

During times when I couldn’t care for my children, wouldn’t care for my basic needs nor theirs. She was there to pick up my slack. She attended parent teacher conferences, took the kids to the symphony, summer day camp,church, and carnivals. She made sure they didn’t go without due to my being absent.

Recently I was remarried and moved away, taking my children away from my mom. When I tell you this grandmother wouldn’t allow the bond with her grands to be broken. She would still be present at band concerts, basketball games, and awards programs. It was nothing for her to come on a Friday and surprise my babies. She drove all the way to Atlanta many times when we lived there so it was nothing coming to Columbus.

My mother recently retired from the State of Indiana after almost 40 years. I saw her work for many different departments and from idiot supervisor to another even stupider one. She never quit or gave up. She always said, “ I have to take care of Rhasha.” I don’t know if I would have done the same if the tables were turned. We may have been homeless.For the record she did have some cool supervisors, maybe three I can remember.

My mom doesn’t rattle easy. She dismisses mess and doesn’t deal in bullshit. If there is drama around, my mom is on the other side of the room… And then God gave her me as daughter. I have seen her in many tough situations, from the loss of her father to her daughter in a hospital on the suicide watch ward, she is calm, quiet,praying and having that faith. I’m still watching, still admiring, still proud.

The best moments with my hero are laying on her bed talking and laughing. Mommy is so funny. She makes up names for people according to what they do and how they act. The things we talk about I can’t reveal here, too many inside jokes. My mom has shown me how to love children. I saw her do it for half of her career working in adoption. She showed me how to grind and work hard even when you want to quit and she still shows me how to have faith.

When she retired she did it like a boss. “ Rhasha I am done. I can’t do it no more.” No regrets, no stammering or stuttering. I can’t wait to see what my hero does next…. Whatever it is.. I have her back.image