THE SOUL QUEEN

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Ma Beloved and Beautiful Asiatic Black Bebies!!!

I pray Allah you had as “wonderful and marvelous” a Thursday night as I had! Al Hamdulillah! First, as if the anticipation of seeing The Soul Queen of New Orleans in concert wasn’t enough, we were greeted at the entrance with ROSES! You know how much I love ROSES! I got a red one, Beaux’s favorite for me. We got them last week too, but I just didn’t mention it…

Candy too! You know I have a sweet tooth! And I felt absolutely NO GUILT whatsoever.

Our Beloved Messenger, The Honourable Elijah Muhammad (May the Peace and the Blessings of Allah Forever Be Upon Him) Taught us in HOW TO EAT TO LIVE that we can eat sweets, just don’t make a meal out of them and eat them everyday.

So, just f.y.i. my ideal diet consists of bean soup, whole wheat bread, milk (and other dairy products such as butter, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream), fresh fruits and vegetables and SWEETS! Hey, you are what you eat! 😀

So anyway, I like to get there early just because I like to get everywhere early and get a feel for the place before most people arrive and the festivities begin.

But let me tell you, yesterday before the show, I was discussing with a colleague, something I had realized about The Soul Queen. This article said she had won a Grammy or something in 2000 or so, when she was sixty years old.

So, I did the math and figured that she must be about 77 years old now. But looking at the pictures I’ve seen, she looked really good to be that old.

But I just saw Congresswoman Maxine Waters (and just like you have to include the “A pimp named…” you have to include the “Congresswoman”… 😉 ) at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival, and you would be surprised at how many years a carefully selected wig will take off a septuagenarian’s age.

But, as I always tell my son, who would prefer to play sports than music, musicians often are able to perform until the day that no man can avert, so it is not really surprising that she looks so good.

But anyway, the show.

I knew it was going to be good when somehow, I ended up right near the backstage and saw her bandmembers. They reeked funk. I mean I could almost see it in the air around them.

So when Aaron Byrd (SMH :/ ) from KCRW (the first radio station I was ever on 🙂 ) introduced the band, and her drummer opened his mouth and greeted us with that amazing New Orleans accent, I was in Seventh Heaven.

They opened with “Uptown Funk” and I mean, you would have to be on crutches not to dance to “Uptown Funk!” So after the crowd was sufficiently hyped, and they began the intro into another equally funky song, the drummer introduced Mrs. Irmaaaaaaaaaa Thomas!

We heard her incredible voice before we saw her and believe me when I tell you, her title of The Soul Queen is not undeserved. I would even go so far to say that she is even more soulful than the Queen of Soul.

I’ve heard people try to describe soul, but it is like trying to describe jazz. How do you describe a feeling? Some people can deliver it and others, no matter how many hours of practice and study they apply to trying to acquire it, never will. (But their paid instructors will never tell them that… :/ )

The Soul Queen gave me that feeling as soon as she opened her mouth. She has that kind of voice that is reserved for Black women who command respect.

Admittedly, I was a little skeptical because I’ve been disappointed before when artists have been hyped up to be more than they were. (Like the headlining act. Oh my God. She was terrible. And I don’t mean good & terrible. She was just terrible. And I don’t mean terrible like Miles used in his autobiography. Terrible, as in when I overheard her screeching, after I had already left upon witnessing her all-white band, I couldn’t unlock Lulu fast enough to RUN AWAY FROM HER “PERFORMANCE.” I would compare her to “Alfalfa,” but that would be an insult to “Alfalfa.”

I am cringing just thinking about how badly she sounded.

The only reason why people even give her a chance is because of her image, which I also deplore. She was on the cover of “The Argonaut” when I did finally pick one up and she does have an intriguing look, but she has a head full of too-long dreadlocks and that in itself is repulsive. All I see are germ-catchers in such proximity to her face and it creeps me out immensely.

But she is pretty, probably has a nice figure, and for some people that’s enough.

But I find it offensive that they would impose such a person on actual music lovers. I’m thankful that she performed after Mrs. Thomas.

But the show. She opened with a number that I could really dig. Something, like “Since you say you love me, I’m gonna hold you to that.” But more poetic. It was an uptempo number and I was really getting my groove on.

Then she sang a problematic love song. So I took my leave and used that as an excuse to go get some “boxed water.” Which is not better. It tastes likes metal pipes.

But then she did a recent number which was cool. I mean I dug it, but the bridge needed work. It was repetitive and didn’t have the buildup that I was looking for. It was fine and mellow though and more good than not so good.

Then she did some real bluesy numbers and if there’s anything I love, it’s LIVE BLUES. THAT experience makes me feel that way. I was lovin’ it!

But you know the Blues can be some of the filthiest music ever written and Mrs. Thomas is not Muslim, so she sang a filthy one.

I knew it was filthy just from the feel. So, I stopped dancing and started listening and was embarrassed. I just stood there and waited for her to finish.

And then, as if singing such filth wasn’t insult enough to the Almighty Lord of the Universe, they followed it with a number that sounded like they just changed the words to a church song. I also didn’t dance to that one.

But then they came back to my favor and did a audience request which she basically sang a capella, and it was absolutely beautiful.

She did a couple more songs from her catalogue. I loved them. I wished she would have allowed her trumpet player longer or “trumpet-only” solos. But some artists feel an obligation to let ALL of their bandmembers solo. Why? Unless you’re just trying to be fair. But they should understand the trumpet is the best and defer their solos to him for the sake of the audience and good taste.

It would have been nice and very New Orleans, if she had had a trombone. That would have just taken it over the top for me.

Oh yeah! Her Band! Why did they do this ending to this song that was Out-of-this-world!!! I mean, I was jumping up and down like “YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It was a typical repetitive ending but it was LONGER than they usually are and I so really dug it. I mean, I don’t want to curse (LOL) but DANG!!!!!!!!

She ended her set with a revisitation of a New Orleans Second Line, explaining that “Second Line” was a “dance.” I disagreed, but I guess.

She sang “Iko”

And that is my favorite New Orleans song, tied with Jambalaya.

And I “second lined” as well as I could in these size 13, men’s jail shoes I found one day. 😉 Hey, they’re better than the flip-flops I found that I had been wearing that the part between the toes kept coming undone.

I know, I know. I had some $150 Nikes but I got in the water and then almost got arrested again and the Pos made me take them off when they searched me and I couldn’t put them back on when they let me go because they were wet, and I was kind of having an episode and decided to just leave them.

I don’t know why sometimes I feel more comfortable going barefoot. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I almost went everywhere barefoot. There is some truth to that saying. But, one of Beaux’s doppels gently explained to me the importance of shoes, especially living in the city, so I try to comply.

But after the show, I was sitting on my park bench giving running commentary on the passers-by (e.g. a woman and her beau are out for a nighttime run; She has on some booty biking shorts and a sports bra; flips her pony-tail braid when she gets in front of me; excuse me for not being jealous but; aloud, “You look like a ho!“; beau gives me the evil-eye; “And you look like a whoremonger!”) when I hear this homeless Brother addressing some devil teenage girls sitting near me but out of sight.

“Something something something BASKETBALL GAME… something something something…”

That’s all I could make out, but he gives them something that looks like an over-sized flier.

So, you know I love basketball and although I felt guilty because sport and play, you know, I said loudly, “Can I have one?

So, I see him through the bushes bending over looking in his bag like he’s getting one for me, so I get up and go over to him to make it easier.

He reluctantly hands me a flier but I notice it’s different than the one he gave the devils.

Then he goes over to his bag again and gets out somethings that look like tickets and gives one to each of the devils, bypassing me.

I kind of block him and force him to give me one too. I can’t help being aggressive. Okay, pushy. But why wouldn’t he want to give one to his Black Sister? Maybe because I overheard him tell the devils he was trying to get his event televised and they, he figured, probably had more access to a television studio than his Black Sister who has nothing like he has.

So, I take my flier and go back and sit on my bench to give it a once-over.

I am trying to find the words to describe what I was faced with.

It was complete and utter nonsense.

The first thing I saw was a photocopy of the cover of “Hoop” magazine with the All-Star weekend photo. It was folded like a book but the cover was on the back. So I turned it over and there was some images of what was supposed to be a c.d. with his name, phone number, a copyright 2002, and “Gospel” “Hip-Hop” “Freestyle” and 17 MIN written on them. Then there was copy of a receipt from the Nike store for some $140.00 Air Zoom shoes, paid for with a Chase Visa card. There were photocopies of three of his expired Driver’s Licenses on almost every page.

But trip this. In the I.D. picture from 2005 and 2010, he had on the same shirt!

I haven’t even done that and I wear a uniform every day!

All over these papers (it was like a pamphlet with two papers inserted) there were “phone numbers” of various people whom I assume were all basketball players because Lisa Leslie was one of them.

So, the two papers inserted were like invitations to events held 4/1/17 and 6/19/17 (my birthday :/ ) Here is a description of the directions:

In front of Victoria’s Secret 1311 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401: 7 second walk to A.M.C. Santa Monica 1310 3rd St. Promenade Santa Monica, CA 90401: Across street from OAKLEY 1350 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401: 60 second walk to ADIDAS 1231 3rd St. Promenade Santa Monica, CA 90401: 50 second walk to PATAGONIA 1344 4th St. Santa Monica, CA 90401:

So now I’m looking at his I.D. trying to figure out how old he is. His birthday is 2-20-69. Which makes him 48. Around my age and almost exactly Beaux’s age.

So now, I’m really feeling sorry for him and wondering how I can help. I’m deeply engrossed, now examining the “ticket” I received from him and I vaguely become aware of some passers-by. There have been others but they were all a blur until these two. They’re semi-arguing…

“Go ask her!”

“Okay, I am!…. Excuse me, Ma’am…”

I try to ignore her.

A little louder now, Excuse me… [pause] Ma’am?”

I don’t look up but raise my hand and wave it a little, as if to say, “Go away.”

She persists, “May I take your picture?”

I put my open hand over my forehead covering my eye.

Then her beau says, “Come on, Honey. She doesn’t want to be bothered.”

As he pulls her away, she blurts out, “You look AMAZING!!!

Huh? I am completely baffled.

Look Lady, in case you haven’t noticed, I’M HOMELESS. What, exactly, about homelessness looks “amazing?”

In retrospect, maybe I should have let her take the photo. Then I could have had her e-mail it to me and maybe I could have seen what she obviously saw.

But I doubt I would have seen more than a middle-aged homeless woman, decked out in donated clothes and too-big shoes with a conspicuous bike (you know Lulu would have been in the picture too) laden with all her worldly possessions.

But anyway, other than having to change locations multiple times due to the increased activity because of TCS (Twilight Concert Series), I had a wonderful night. Woke up happy and refreshed to the sight of seagulls, sunrise and surf and am thankful to Allah for all of the bright possibilities of a new day! Allahu Akbar!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

On a side note, I think I discovered why the sound of basketballs bouncing hold such appeal for people like me and Miles and Black people in general – it is rhythmic.

Last night I heard what sounded like someone bouncing a basketball and it was so annoying because it sounded like they were bouncing it and catching it, waiting a couple of seconds and then bouncing it again. I wanted to scream! It was tantamount to scratching a chalkboard.

BASKETBALLS WERE MADE TO BE DRIBBLED!!!!

There is an inherent rhythm, similar to drumming in the dribbling of a basketball, and I believe therein lies the charm.

Not to mention the auxiliary sounds like the swoosh of the hoop and the squeak of the sneakers. And the dead air of the flow to the basket… All melodious and music to my ears….

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

But anyway, I’m going to try and catch the laundry clerk……

Salaams

Okay, okay, I guess I can use regular soap to wash my clothes…. 😉

I went down to the beach last night after Irma’s set and happened upon the most intriguing music. It was so peculiar because I’ve seen his abandoned set up numerous times, but I always thought it was just a D.J. who had just finished playing music. I’d never seen the actual D.J.

So, last night, I see the person to whom the set up belonged and the music is what captured me. It was so funky and danceable. I couldn’t help but move.

So, I’m dancing and I notice some beach toys (bucket, shovel and other toys) on the ground. I love playing in the sand. So, I asked the men standing right behind them if they were theirs. Of course, they said “No.” So, I picked them up with every intention of taking them down to the beach and having a field day.

That happens all the time. Visitors bring their children to the beach for a day or a week and at the end of their vacay, they have no more use for the toys, so they just leave them at the beach. I have played with beach toys and left them there too for lack of a place to keep them.

But anyway, shortly after I pick them up, I see the most adorable little girls. One was maybe six and the other probably four. So, I offer the toys to the older one. She politely refused. So, I gave them to her little sister. The Big Sister insisted that the toys weren’t theirs and I said, “No, no, I’m giving them to you.

By now the parents have walked up and the father looks at me and says, “Are you Muslim?” And I’m like “Yes, where are you from?”

He says “Yemen.”

And I tell them I know where Saudi is and I know where Oman is. Where is Yemen in relation to those two countries?

He says they are just South of Yemen and his beautiful Zawjati added that Oman is on the East of the Arabian peninsula. Women are so cute. 😉

So, by the time I finished talking to the beautiful family, the musician had finished his number and was talking to his Muse.

So, I started to go on down to the beach. But he started another number almost as good as the first. And I had seen he had blonde dreadlocks twisted up on top of his head, but I was like, “It’s dark and maybe he’s not white.”

So, I go over to his setup and he has c.d.s for sale. I look at the c.d.s and he looked like his picture should have been in the dictionary under D for Devil. And he had three of them. I very calmly and seriously backed away from the table.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I found some flowers that I love, even though I’m not crazy about the name. I picked some and filled Lu’s cup holder with them. It’s so cool because they and Lu are the same fantastic shade of fuschia. Be sure to SMELL this flower, at the very least, if you ever come across them.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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