Guess Who’s Back, Back Again (I’m Terrible But I Intend to Be Better)

‘Alo there, friends!

I know. I’m a terrible person who hasn’t written on this blog for months — after making a solemn oath to be better. Sigh. Well, at least I’m writing today! That should count for something, right?
Things have been really busy — both in real life and in my head, but that’s still no excuse for being inconsistent. So what if my bed seems like the best thing in the world to dive into after a day at the office?! I should still make time to write! Especially if it’s what I want to do. But for the record, there is an upside to being busy (and unabashedly wrapped up in my comforter) and I shall tell you all about it.

So remember last time when I talked about how Twitter got me a chance to video chat with Silas Weir Mitchell of Grimm (SQUEALS – highlight of my life) and score some sweet goods from Da Vinci’s Demons? Yeah, so I’ve basically become a bit more vocal on Twitter. OK, A LOT more vocal on Twitter. In part because started watching a lot more TV (which can be attributed to my new job), mostly because there a lot of good shows out this year. ANYWAY, I say all of that to say that I’ve been live tweeting and my tweets are actually being heard… well, read. I got me a few more shining moments that I can’t help but be proud of, even if they’re pretty small.

First, I got a shout out from the digital mag, Vibe Vixen, for one of my tweets during the Scandal Season 3 premiere.

11-21-2013 9-55-33 AM

Yup, that happened. But that wasn’t all.

Next up, my tweets with fellow Sleepy Hollow fans about Ichabod Crane’s fashion sense landed on the web edition of the South African magazine You.

11-21-2013 10-37-51 AMYeah, the highlighted portion right? That’s me. If you can’t make out what I said, then I suggest you go read the article.  It’s a pretty fun read and well, I’m mentioned in it.

And of course with the return of Grimm, my fangirl live tweeting returned. That being said, I did land a couple re-tweets from the Grimm Twitter handle (score!) and a couple of my tweets have been featured in the awesome gif-infused Grimm recaps at the blog, Random Musings from the Kristen Head.

11-21-2013 10-30-54 AM11-21-2013 10-34-27 AMI mean, I got mentioned two weeks in a row! I don’t know how all the other people who were being mentioned felt, but I know that I literally felt like this:

Of course, there are other perks to having my tweets being read, including gaining more followers. While my follower count hasn’t necessarily spiked to extremes, I’ve come to meet a few new people… which leads me to what I mentioned earlier.

So in addition to being vocal on Twitter for the purposes of TV, I’m also on Twitter more thanks to finding the mothership in the website, Black Girl Nerds

Yes. You read that correctly. There I learned that the word “blerd” (aka black nerd) was actually a thing (like seriously, why didn’t people tell me about that when I was growing up?!) and that it was OK to be one.

*side note*:  I have to admit, after the last podcast about ‘blerds’ I don’t know if I’m a full-blooded “blerd” or just skating on the surface, but I digress.

Anywho, it opened up my eyes to a gamut of nerdom I didn’t know exist and the scores of people who share the same intense feelings I have towards numerous things that I will omit for now because… well, I want to. Essentially, what I’m saying is that I’ve found a vast group of like-minded people and it’s AWESOME. Quite honestly, they make my day go by with random Twitter conversations on everything from Hall & Oates to cartoon theme songs. Happy sigh.


Before, when I live tweeted a show, I thought I was alone. Now, I can have full-on conversations with other individuals who are going through the motion with me and when they like what I say, they re-tweet, and it’s amplified in the Twittersphere. Lovely!

Not only am I building some sort of an awareness of myself online, but I’ve found a group of (should I dare say it?) friends. Tear.

*cue Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone”*

Yikes, I forgot how pasty he was in that video… but you get the point.

Yes, so now that I’ve got you guys all up to speed and what not, expect some more posts — some poetic, some about music you’re afraid to listen to, and some other stuff that you’re probably going to be like “WTF is she talking about?!”

Oh, and if I don’t write something new, feel free to like hit me up on Twitter and get in my face about it because sometimes I really do need a swift kick.

Con Amor

Giant Life: Radha Blank’s ‘SEED’ Takes Roots in Harlem

The off-Broadway production SEED explores the present day situation of children growing up abandoned and confused, while touching on class struggles. The play begs the question, how far would a person go to make sure a child is safe?  Written by Radha Blank and directed by Niegel Smith, the play is one of two works the National Endowment of the Arts awarded a $90,000 grant to in November 2010.
The play centers around Anne Colleen Simpson, (played by Bridgit Antoinette Evans) a ‘burnt-out social worker’ leaving at the pinnacle of her 15-year career to write a novel of her great triumphs and knowledge of the field. Upon leaving her job, she encounters a young boy named Che-Che (played by Khadim Diop) who is more than just what meets the eye. This chance encounter turns both their lives and those of the people involved up-side down.
The stage provides the audience  with sounds and sights of the Harlem neighborhood thriving projected onto a large screen. Cleverly crafted to look like real life scenes, the play adds elements of spoken-word, street vernacular, and realistic dialogue that leaves the audience filled with a comical and almost jarring taste of modern-day real life situations that for some may be close to home.

Image courtesy of Columbia University School of the Arts
As the story progresses we learn more about Anne, who actress Evans describes as a person “who’s greatest gift is over-identifying with the children she serves. This also means she’s not able to let go when her job demands it and she’s asked to confront some those relationships.” Anne captivates the audience within the first fifteen minutes, as she delivers a seminar mixed with spoken-word and prose, detailing the accounts of children who were products of homes that couldn’t care for them. Bridgit’s portrayal of the character is endearing, as we see the wounds and failures of this woman break down her already fragile strength.
Of these failures, we encounter probably Anne’s biggest failure personified in Rashawn. An inmate for murder, Rashawn was quite possibly the biggest blemish of Anne’s career; a blemish that we learn she continually tries to redeem in multiple ways. The play takes a dark and harrowing turn when Pernell Walker (below) takes the stage as the young woman she herself describes as “left to raise herself, with no guidance, no adult and left to her own devises.” When Walker takes the stage it’s hard not to ask how she was able to play such a broken and complex character:
“I grew up with a lot of Rashawns in the South Bronx. She is the personification of what was left in the the 80′s crack epidemic, sexual abuse and drug addiction. She is an amalgam of everything that was happening and a survivor of the system, even though she’s been aged out.”

Image courtesy of Times Square Gossip
Khadim Diop plays Che-Che (whose real name is Cherokee) and is received as an intelligent 12 year-old caught between worlds within worlds. Already dealing with societal pressures of growing up in “the hood,” he constantly struggles with being what his mother wants him to be and who Anne knows him to be. There is no real compromise in the matter and this alone adds a great deal of friction in this already gripping drama.
The play is not without some comic relief to sweeten the dramatic scenes. LaTonya, Che-Che’s mother, provides a street smart sass that garnered plenty of laughs from the audience. LaTonya raises Che-Che in a Harlem project housing, all the while working the register at a Duane Reade and attending GED classes.LaTonya believes that she’s protecting Che-Che the best way she can, despite obvious instances of verbal and light physical abuse.  Jocelyn Biop, the actress who plays LaTonya, describes her as “a strong-willed, opinionated, sassy and protective. But at the heart of it all, she’s hurt.”
This hurt stems from LaTonya’s former lover and Che-Che’s father Twan (as played by Jamie Lincoln Smith) who we initially think is a dead-beat dad though he’s anything but. Twan, (who is allegedly based on the playwright’s brother, takes the stage with a loving embrace of his son. The two are apparently close, though we are asked the question if this is enough to ensure that Che-Che will grow up to be the bright, well-adjusted upstanding man he can be.
“Twan is a struggling to prove that he’s not a dead beat. He’s a strong guy, and a construction worker who thinks that he’s doing the best to provide for his son…until he meets the social worker.” The audience learns of the beginnings of Twan and LaTonya’s relationship and how Twan’s late education ultimately broke them apart. Now, education has returned as the underlying issue with regards to raising their child.
For the cast, this play is truly a labor of love, with all members coming to the project in almost a predestined way. For Diop, getting the part of Che-Che came  by through his mother’s connection with Blank- “Radha went to college with my mother and saw me grow up and knew that I really liked acting.” For Walker, it had been that Blank had seen some of her work, sought her out and the pair “hit it off.” Smith learned of the part through a friend who was also a playwright and friends with Blank. Bioh had seen the workshop and became enamored. She tried out for the part and got it with ease and as for Evans this play came to her literally a day after she decided to get back into acting and after only a day of preparation, she earned the part of Anne and dazzled the audience in an emotional performance.
SEED opens the audience’s attention to the little real-life situations that happen right under our noses everyday and forces us to open our eyes to the consequences of our actions on the lives of the generation after us. As Che-Che struggles to find his place in the world with his educational talents, we see the adults in his life try to do right by him at all costs, though we are left wondering if the adults in charge understand what’s right for him. With a phenomenal troupe of actors, stylized dialogue, minimalistic setting and deep rooted message, SEED thoroughly shines through the shadows of other Off-Broadway productions.
SEED ran in its last show at the National Black Theater in Harlem on October 9th.