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The Many Hairdos of Sanjaya Malakar

This WaPo photo is just too damn funny!!!!

Here's the background on the photo:
We want to run our collective fingers through the versatile tresses of "American Idol" hair god Sanjaya Malakar. One night they're fluffy; the next, flat. One night, spiral curls; the next, pin-straight. We couldn't really focus on last week's mediocre rendition of "You Really Got Me" for dreaming of the hair, the beautiful, beautiful hair.

We can't get our hands on those gorgeous locks, but at least we can fool around -- and you can, too. Give him the swirl of tonight's "Idol" guest, Gwen Stefani. Or the blond pigtails of his biggest fan, 13-year-old Ashley Ferl, who wept for him last week as if he were a Beatle.

Print your own cut-and-fold copies. It's probably the only way you'll get scissors near Sanjaya.

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posted by Soulfull @ 5:02 PM , links to this post

Save Darfur - Call The White House Today!

I had to share this...

Due to a series of increasingly violent attacks on foreign aid workers in Darfur over the past six months, international efforts to protect civilians and provide them with food, clean water, shelter, and medical care are in a state of crisis.

Countless men, women, and children are in real danger of falling prey to violence, starvation, or disease as a result of these attacks.

The U.S. must take the lead in working with the international community to end the violence. The lives of millions hang in the balance.

Please join me in calling the White House comment line today to urge President Bush to launch "Plan B," his tough, three-tiered plan to push Sudan to end the genocide, before more lives are lost in Darfur.

It will only take two minutes of your time and could make a world of difference for millions of people in need. Just follow the steps below:

1. Dial 1-800-671-7887 (toll-free)

2. Once you've been transferred to the comment line leave your comment using the talking points below:
* I'm calling to urge President Bush to implement "Plan B" to help bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. Specifically, I am asking him to:
* Enforce tough sanctions against Sudan;
* Work with the UN to authorize and enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur to protect civilians from Sudanese bombers; and
* Press the UN for faster deployment of UN peacekeepers to protect civilians in Darfur.

3. Click here to report your call back to the Save Darfur Coalition (this step is crucial - please don't skip it.)

The U.S. and the international community are all that stand between millions of civilians in Darfur and the Sudanese regime's policy of genocide. Hundreds of thousands have already been killed, and time is running out for millions more.

Without tough "Plan B" measures to accompany diplomatic efforts, the international community's efforts to end the violence in Darfur are doomed to fail.

Please follow the steps above to join me in calling the White House comment line to ask President Bush to launch "Plan B" without further delay, then click here to report your call back to the Save Darfur Coalition.

I hope you will help me spread this message of urgent action by forwarding this message to your friends, family and co-workers and asking them to join you in taking two minutes to call the White House.

Thank you for your ongoing advocacy on behalf of the people of Darfur.


Senator Bill Frist, M.D.

P.S. Will you join the Save Darfur Coalition in future calls to action? Click here to join our Weekly Action Network and commit to taking one action each week to stop the genocide in Darfur.

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posted by Soulfull @ 1:03 PM , links to this post

Among Africans, Polygamy Reigns In NYC

The Headline Reads: In Secret, Polygamy Follows Africans to New York

Quite frankly, I'm not surprised that polygamy is extremely prevalent in NYC, but what would NYC look like if the INS started doing something about this, not just with Africans, but with all the different cultures?
Published: March 23, 2007

She worked at the Red Lobster in Times Square and lived with her husband near Yankee Stadium. Yet one night, returning home from her job, Odine D. discovered that African custom, not American law, held sway over her marriage.

A strange woman was sitting in the living room, and Ms. D.’s husband, a security guard born in Ghana, introduced her as his other wife.

Devastated, Ms. D., a Guinean immigrant who insisted that her last name be withheld, said she protested: “I can’t live with the woman in my house — we have only two bedrooms.” Her husband cited Islamic precepts allowing a man to have up to four wives, and told her to get used to it. And she tried to obey.

Polygamy in America, outlawed in every state but rarely prosecuted, has long been associated with Mormon splinter groups out West, not immigrants in New York. But a fatal fire in a row house in the Bronx on March 7 revealed its presence here, in a world very different from the suburban Utah setting of “Big Love,” the HBO series about polygamists next door.

The city’s mourning for the dead — a woman and nine children in two families from Mali — has been followed by a hushed double take at the domestic arrangements described by relatives: Moussa Magassa, the Mali-born American citizen who owned the house and was the father of five children who perished, had two wives in the home, on different floors. Both survived.

No one knows how prevalent polygamy is in New York. Those who practice it have cause to keep it secret: under immigration law, polygamy is grounds for exclusion from the United States.

Under state law, bigamy can be punished by up to four years in prison,

No agency is known to collect data on polygamous unions, which typically take shape over time and under the radar, often with religious ceremonies overseas and a visitor’s visa for the wife, arranged by other relatives. Some men have one wife in the United States and others abroad.

But the Magassas clearly are not an isolated case. Immigration to New York and other American cities has soared from places where polygamy is lawful and widespread, especially from West African countries like Mali, where demographic surveys show that 43 percent of women are in polygamous marriages.

And the picture that emerges from dozens of interviews with African immigrants, officials and scholars of polygamy is of a clandestine practice that probably involves thousands of New Yorkers.

“It’s difficult, but one accepts it because it’s our religion,” said Doussou Traoré, 52, president of an association of Malian women in New York, who married an older man with two other wives who remain in Mali. “Our mothers accepted it. Our grandmothers accepted it. Why not us?”

Other women spoke bitterly of polygamy. They said their participation was dictated by an African culture of female subjugation and linked polygamy to female genital cutting and domestic violence. That view is echoed by most research on plural marriages, including studies of West African immigrants in France, where the government estimates that 120,000 people live in 20,000 polygamous families.

“The woman is in effect the slave of the man,” said a stylish Guinean businesswoman in her 40s who, like many women interviewed in Harlem and the Bronx, spoke on the condition of anonymity. “If you protest, your husband will hit you, and if you call the police, he’s going to divorce you, and the whole community will scorn you.”

“Even me,” she added. “My husband went to find another wife in Africa, and he has the right to do that. They tell you nothing, until one afternoon he says, ‘O.K., your co-wife arrives this evening.’ ”

Men, in contrast, tended to play down the existence of polygamy, if they were willing to discuss it at all.

Dr. Ousseiny Coulibaly, 36, a gynecologist, was born in Mali and educated in France, where polygamy has long been an explosive immigration and women’s rights issue. Yet he said he was unaware of any cases among his West African patients at Harlem Hospital Center.

“I’m not asking,” he said. “I’m not even suspecting it. There might be so many things I don’t know.”

Don’t-ask-don’t-know policies prevail in many agencies that deal with immigrant families in New York, perhaps because there is no framework for addressing polygamy in a city that prides itself on tolerance of religious, cultural and sexual differences — and on support for human rights and equality.

Last summer, when a nonprofit agency in the Bronx surveyed the needs of the sub-Saharan immigrants in its child care and literacy programs, questionnaires asked about interest in marriage counseling, but not about polygamy.

“This is a very private community,” said Rose Rivera, director of Head Start at the agency, the Women’s Housing and Employment Development Corporation, which largely relies on the fathers to translate for the mothers. “They’re not really ready to trust us.”

Yet on Monday, two Gambian women with children in the program acknowledged, when asked by a reporter, that polygamy was a given in their lives. Both described themselves as “first wives,” married at 16, who joined their husbands in New York in the 1990s, never having attended school.

One, now 36, with three children, said her husband was betrothed to a second wife in Gambia whom he would soon bring to the Bronx. Protest was pointless. “They won’t listen,” she said. “Whether you like it or not, they will marry.”

Islam is often cited as the authority that allows polygamy. But in Africa, the practice is a cultural tradition that crosses religious lines, while some Muslim lands elsewhere sharply restrict it. The Koran says a man should not take more than one wife if he cannot treat them all equally — a very high bar, many Muslims say.

Ms. Traoré, of the Malian women’s group, cited two prosperous households in Bergen County, in New Jersey, that seemed to pass the test.

“They get along very well,” she said of the wives in one home, who married their husband in Africa at the same time. “It’s extraordinary. When they come to our celebrations they dress the same, the same outfit, the same jewels. The husband is completely fair.”

Still, since only one wife could have entered the country as a spouse, the other is probably more vulnerable to deportation, she acknowledged.

More typical, many immigrants said, are cramped apartments in the Bronx with many children underfoot, clashes between jealous co-wives and domestic violence. And if the household breaks up, the wives’ legal status is murky at best, with little case law to guide decisions on marital property or benefits.

Men, too, can end up in polygamous marriages reluctantly, driven by the dictates of clan and culture. That seems to be the case for the husband of Ms. D., the Guinean restaurant worker. Efforts to reach him for this article failed, but as Ms. D. tells it, he insisted he was just as surprised as she was when his first wife, left behind in Ghana, showed up six years ago.

Their match, like many African marriages, had been made by their families before he left for New York. Years later, he met and courted Ms. D. in the Bronx, saying his relationship with his Ghanaian wife was over.

But a year after he married Ms. D. in Guinea and they returned to the Bronx, relatives arranged for a visa for his first wife to join them.

“In Africa, women accept things like that,” Ms. D. said. “Here, the apartments are too small.”

She recalled terrible fights during the three months they all lived together. The conflicts continued after she paid for the first wife to move to another apartment. For eight months, the husband shuttled between the two, but he became abusive, she said. And when Ms. D was five months pregnant, he stopped showing up.

Like many West African women, Ms. D. had been subjected to genital cutting as a child, making sex painful. The other wife had not been cut.

“It’s not life, your man sharing a bed with another woman,” Ms. D. said. “You’re always thinking in your head, ‘does he love me?’ ”

Such stories of polygamy, New York style, are typically shared by women only in whispered conversations in laundries and at hair-braiding salons. With no legal immigration status and no right to asylum from polygamy, many are afraid to expose their husbands to arrest or deportation, which could dishonor and impoverish their families here and in Africa.

But Aminata Kante, an immigrant from Ivory Coast who found help for herself and Ms. D. at Sanctuary for Families, an agency for battered women, uses her own story to urge rebellion.

Wed at 15 in Ivory Coast, over the telephone, to a New York City taxi driver thousands of miles away, Ms. Kante was delivered to her groom on a false passport. She said she endured his abuse for years, bore three children, turned over her paycheck from work as a health aide, and tried harder to appease him when he sent two of the children to Africa.

But something snapped, she said, when he announced that he had taken a teenage second wife, also married, just as she had been, over the phone — a valid wedding in Ivory Coast. Ms. Kante left him. Relatives pressed her to return. Uncles warned that she would be branded a bad woman, and that the stigma would follow her children in Africa. Without papers, vulnerable to deportation, she ended up in a homeless shelter.

But now, at 30, she tells the story in the warm glow of her own living room, her children restored to her, and a green card secured, through unusual legal efforts by lawyers at Sanctuary.

“I know a lady who lives with her husband and another woman in one room, a two-bedroom, with 11 kids,” she said. “I tell her, she has to move — it’s not a life.” And her own husband? His second wife is 23 now, with three children. And recently, Ms. Kante said, he married a third.

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posted by Soulfull @ 9:13 AM , links to this post

The Louis Vuitton Car: A File From The Crazy Photos Department

HAPPY FRIDAY FOLKS!!! Okay, there's one thing to take pride in your car or to market products on your ride, but seriously, what the HELL would possess someone to do this to an already busted vehicle?! HA HA HA!

(c) Photo Taken by Kate*. All Rights Reserved.

(c) Photo Taken by Orrin. All Rights Reserved.

You can see more crazy photos here

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:11 AM , links to this post

Confessions of a B.E.T Producer - Have You Seen This?

Last year when I read The Billion Dollar BET: Robert Johnson and the Inside Story of Black Entertainment Television, I learned so much about a channel that has so much potential, but wallows in the depths of poor programming. (All because of greed.) So I learned over here that someone is turning the cameras around on the folks behind the scenes at this company. That someone is Dbrad. Now some say he's just complaining that he "didn't get the recognition he wanted for, apparently, breaking hip hop on a national basis via BET", but I'd like to hope that this is bigger than that. I'd like to think that this guy is really onto something. You know with the recent announcement of new programming at BET, I can't help but to wonder what made them decide to make a change now? Hmmmm...

Updated 3/29/2007 10:39AM: Click here to listen to dBrad's interview on the Wendy Williams show.

Updated 4/5/07 8:19 AM:
Dbrad's videos are back up on MySpace and here they are for your viewing pleasure...
Confessions of a BET Producer

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Confessions of a BET Producer Part II

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Confessions of a BET Producer Part III

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Confessions of a BET Producer Part IV

Add to My Profile | More Videos

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posted by Soulfull @ 9:22 PM

Bloggers Have A Leg Up On Traditional Media

The Headline Reads: New Technique Lets Bloggers Tackle Late-Night News Dumps (NYSun)

I am totally convinced that blogging will change the way people obtain and process information...
A time-honored Washington practice of trying to extinguish, pre-empt, or redirect news coverage by dumping stacks of previously secret government documents on the press may be in for some changes after a headlong collision with hundreds of liberal Web loggers in the wee hours of yesterday morning.

On Monday night, the Justice Department delivered to Congress more than 3,000 pages of e-mails, memos, and other records about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The handover came so late that many news organizations had to scramble to try to skim a few headlines from the files before latenight deadlines.

Despite the late hour, readers of a liberal Web site,, tackled the task with gusto. They quickly began grabbing 50-page chunks of the scanned documents from a House of Representatives Internet server, analyzing them and excerpting them. The first post about the Department of Justice records hit the left-leaning news and commentary site at 1:04 a.m. Within half an hour, there were 50 summaries posted by readers gleaning the documents. By 4:30 a.m., more than 220 postings were up detailing various aspects of the files.

Several early posts seized on one prosecutor, Margaret Chiara of Grand Rapids, Mich., who was stunned by her firing and scrambled for another appointment in government, citing personal financial issues. Others pointed to records recommending that the attorney firing plan be cleared with "Karl's shop," meaning the office of President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove. Still others noted ambiguities about whether Mr. Bush was personally involved in approving the dismissals.

An attorney who helped President Clinton manage Whitewater and other scandals, Mark Fabiani, said the immediate and intense scrutiny from hundreds of sets of eyes would have experts in crisis communications reconsidering some of their tactics.

"You're right to regard it as a major development," Mr. Fabiani told The New York Sun. "It could really change the way things get done."

Mr. Fabiani cautioned that Monday night's release was not a great example of a document dump. "It was more of a forced disgorgement by Congress and by public pressure," he said. "You never want to get into the situation the White House is in now, where the documents they're putting out just fuel the fire."

At the Clinton White House, Mr. Fabiani's preference was to release potentially damaging information right before the weekend. "My friends in the media used to call them Fabiani Fridays. … You had hard-copies of stuff. You'd put them all in a room," he said. "We would say to people, ‘Here are six stacks. You go on through them.'" The NBC television show "The West Wing" immortalized the practice in an episode titled "Taking Out the Trash."

Mr. Fabiani said some of that would be less effective in the face of legions of bloggers willing to pool their findings. In the Whitewater era, he said, "There was competition among the reporters." As a result, individual journalists reviewing the records often never made it through all of them and had to run with the first interesting nugget they came across. "The stories were all over the place," the attorney said. "No one was going to go back and retrace their steps."

Efforts similar to the dissection of the U.S. attorneys' records have been mounted before, but none with the speed and scope of yesterday's review. Conservative bloggers cast doubt on the documents that CBS News used for a story in 2004 questioning President Bush's National Guard service, but that story involved the intensive analysis of relatively few documents. In 2005, a conservative radio host, Hugh Hewitt, and his producer, Duane Patterson, organized a so-called blogswarm to "adopt a box" of presidential library materials about then-chief justice nominee, John Roberts, in search of materials Democrats might try to use against Mr. Roberts. However, that work was essentially a second pass at records already sifted by the press.

Some of the bloggers involved in yesterday's effort showed unusual diligence, such as turning to Photoshop software to enhance hard-to-read handwriting. Others found mistakes where names deleted from some pages could be made out in others.

Still, the undertaking was not without its problems. For one thing, the lack of any central direction or assignments led to a huge duplication of effort, as well as repetitive posts in which bloggers recounted their identical "Eureka!" moments. Early this morning, one sensible poster suggested a Wikipedia-type Web page would be more efficient at organizing information than the comments section of a blog.

Some posters also overreacted to previously published details of the story and tried to divine grand meaning from mundane details, like White House Internet addresses professional Washington reporters would instantly recognize. Some important statements were also misinterpreted, as when a blogger said an e-mail speaking of "de minimis" reasons for Ms. Chiara's dismissal meant administration officials thought they could easily defend it. Actually, the e-mail said the opposite.

The next major blogswarm is already underway. Citizens Against Government Waste is urging Internet users to take a first-hand look at the Iraq-related appropriations bill and highlight so-called pork spending slipped into the legislation.

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posted by Soulfull @ 10:25 AM , links to this post

Four Year Anniversary of Iraqi War Today

The Headline Reads: Bush asks nation for patience in victory for Iraq (LAT)

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, marking the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War, pleaded for patience, saying "there will be good days and bad days ahead."

As the war entered its fifth year, House Democrats are preparing to bring to the floor a $124-billion war spending bill, in addition to funding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that would require the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the fall of 2008.

In a televised statement from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Bush, who has threatened to veto the legislation, urged lawmakers to avoid trying to force an end to the war.

"It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home," he said. "That may be satisfying in the short run. But I believe the consequences for America's security would be devastating."

He also chided Congress for loading up the war-spending bill with other features, like agricultural disaster relief funds. "They have a responsibility to pass a clean bill that does not use funding for our troops as leverage to get special interest spending for their districts," Bush said of Congress.

Bush noted that his so-called surge of additional troops to Baghdad and the troubled Anwar province is "still in its early stages," and acknowledged that "success will take months, not days or weeks." But, after a morning briefing by U.S. military officials and Iraqi leaders on secure television from Baghdad, the president said "those on the ground are seeing some hopeful signs."

Specifically, he said, three new Iraqi Army brigades have been deployed to Baghdad, Iraqi and U.S. forces have established joint security stations and "carried out aggressive operations against both Shia and Sunni extremists (and) against Al Qaeda operatives. "And last week Prime Minister (Nouri) al Maliki visited Ramadi, a city in the Sunni heartland, to reach out to local Sunni tribal leaders," Bush said.

But with the latest CNN poll showing 59% of Americans oppose his troop surge, Bush acknowledged that conditions on the ground are grim. "Gen. (David) Petraeus says that the environment in Iraq is the most challenging that he has seen in his more than 32 years of service," Bush reported.

Still, he said, "Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can be won. It will be won, if we have the courage and resolve to see it through."

To mark the anniversary, anti-war protesters laid down in front of the New York Stock Exchange entrance; several were arrested. Financial wire services report there was no disruption of trade.

Check out photos from the Anti-war protest in Hollywood here

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posted by Soulfull @ 4:28 PM , links to this post

Manslaughter Charges For Officers in Sean Bell Murder

The Headline Reads: Officers Face Manslaughter Charges in Sean Bell Case (NYT)

Two New York City police detectives were charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Sean Bell, the unarmed 23-year-old black man who died in a burst of 50 police bullets, the Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, said at a news conference today.

The eight-count indictment was handed up by a grand jury on Friday and unsealed this morning. In it, Det. Michael Oliver, 35, who fired his pistol 31 times, and Det. Gerard Isnora, 28, an undercover officer who fired 11 shots, are charged with both first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in Mr. Bell’s death, Mr. Brown said.

First-degree manslaughter is classified as a violent felony with mandatory prison time if the officers are convicted. The maximum punishment is 25 years, the district attorney said. With second-degree manslaughter, by contrast, judges have discretion to sentence a defendant to probation rather than prison.

A third detective, Marc Cooper, who fired four shots in the November incident, is also charged in the indictment. He faces two counts of reckless endangerment; Mr. Oliver and Mr. Isnora also face one count each of reckless endangerment.

The three indicted men appeared early this morning at a courthouse in Queens, along with their lawyers, to formally surrender and be fingerprinted and processed, according to reporters at the scene.

“This case, at its best, is a return to grief for all of those involved,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said at a press conference, surrounded by family members and friends of Mr. Bell, right after the indictments were announced.

The police officers arrived at the Queens Criminal Couth building in Kew Gardens just before 7 a.m. to turn themselves in and entered the building through a back entrance. Police union officials entered shortly afterward. The three are to be arraigned this afternoon.

“This grand jury acted in the most responsible and conscientious fashion,” said Mr. Brown. “This was a case that was, I’m sure, not easy for them to resolve.”

Mr. Brown said he would oppose any attempts to move the trial out of Queens: “This is where public opinion is equally divided, in my opinion. The jury should be representative of the diversity of this county.”

Mr. Brown called the investigation into the case “as thorough and complete as I’ve ever participated in.”

His office interviewed more than 100 witnesses and reviewed over 500 exhibits, he said. Testimony before the grand jury took place over 22 days.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also reacted to the indictment:

“Although some people will be disappointed in the Grand Jury’s decision, we have to respect the result of our justice system,” he said.

“Nothing anyone can do will bring back Sean Bell,” he said. “But we can resolve to learn what lessons we can from this tragedy."

The shooting, which took place in Jamaica early on the morning of Nov. 25, 2006, strained relations between the department and minority communities. Mr. Isnora and Mr. Cooper are black. Mr. Oliver is white.

They were among five police officers who fired into a car carrying Mr. Bell, who was about to be married, and two of his friends during a chaotic confrontation on Liverpool Street.. The fourth and fifth officers, who fired a total of four shots between them, were not indicted.

Neither Mr. Bell nor his friends, both of whom were wounded, were armed, although the police officers apparently believed that they were. There have also been conflicting suggestions that a fourth civilian may have been present and possibly armed.

All five officers testified voluntarily before the grand jury without immunity from prosecution.

The four reckless endangerment counts in the indictment stemmed from the danger that the officers’ gunfire posed to others besides Mr. Bell — in the street, in an occupied residence that was struck by one bullet, and in the nearby AirTrain station, which was hit by another.

The grand jury reached its decision after three days of deliberations and nearly two months of hearing evidence, in an emotionally charged case whose stark outlines prompted anger and widespread comparisons to the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African street peddler who was felled by 19 of the 41 bullets fired at him by four police officers in 1999.

This morning, several hundred activists waited outside the Queens courthouse in the sunshine. James Sanders Jr., a councilman representing southeast Queens, had mixed feelings.

“I think this is an example where if the people did not stand up, I don’t think we would have seen any charges,” he said.

He said he would have preferred the charges to include murder, and speculated that Mr. Brown was trying to avoid the mistake made by his counterpart in the Diallo case, who “hit them with too heavy a charge.” (The four officers in that case were indicted but later acquitted.)

“You’re looking at a compromise across the board,” Mr. Sanders said.

Mr. Brown, clearly aware of the controversy the case has stirred, emphasized that an indictment isn’t the same as a conviction, and as such, he refused to elaborate much on the charges.

“This case is going to be tried in the courtroom,” he said. “Folks are just going to have to make up their own minds after they hear all of the evidence, on both sides of this issues. Hopefully the result will be one that will make most fair minded individuals happy.”

Christine Hauser, Maria Newman, Ellen Berry and Sewell Chan contributed reporting for this article.

Hmmm, was justice really be served in this case? I don't think so, but I suppose we all have to wait on the outcome.

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posted by Soulfull @ 3:49 PM , links to this post

Luvanmusiq: The Bonus Tracks

After my album review of Luvanmusiq, I got a few inquiring emails on whether or not I heard the bonus tracks. Well, I bought my CD from Amazon and the bonus/exclusive tracks are featured only on CDs from Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and iTunes. Either way, I find the marketing of these 4 different CDs to be quite asinine and unfair to the music lover, but hell, that's record companies for ya. Luckily enough, I found all the tracks and to be brief, I liked all the songs except slowdown, which seemed like a poor attempt at some type of R. Kelly story/song. Enjoy! (And as soon as I find it, I will post the full version of Musiq's remake of Smokey Robinson's Ooo Baby Baby.)

1. Allaboutyou (Best Buy Bonus Track)

2. Ridethrough (Best Buy Bonus Track)

3. Slowdown (Best Buy Bonus Track)

4. Rewind (Album Bonus Track)

5. Ooo Baby Baby (Circuit City Bonus Track)(30sec sample)

6. B.U.D.D.Y (Remix featuring Ja Rule and Fat Joe) (Album Bonus Track

7. Movin' On (Exclusive Track for AOL Black Voices Only - Will not be available anywhere else)

Update: Here are some tracks that didn't make the album...

1. The Only One (produced by Tim and Bob)

2. When I'm With You

UPDATE 4/2/07 11:36AM:

Musiq responds to the controversy over the multiple versions of Luvanmusiq on his Myspace blog. Check it out here.

UPDATE 6/1/07 8:29AM:

You can check out Musiq's remake of Smokey Robinson's Ooo Baby Baby here. For the record, I think it's okay, but nothing tops the original!

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posted by Soulfull @ 1:36 PM , links to this post

New Programming Coming To Black Entertainment Television

The Headline Reads: More Money, Less Booty For BET (WaPo)

It looks as though Black Entertainment Television is about to dial back the booty-and-rerun quotient.

The network's parent company, entertainment giant Viacom Inc., will increase BET's budget for original programming by 30 percent to 50 percent this year compared with last, and will continue to grow it at that pace in coming years, Viacom Chief Executive Philippe P. Dauman said during a meeting yesterday with Washington Post reporters and editors.

The expanded slate of original programming coincides with BET's launch of a home-entertainment division and new digital strategy under BET Chief Executive Debra L. Lee, said BET chief of staff Tom Reynolds.

Viacom bought the cable television network -- founded in 1980 by Washingtonian Robert L. Johnson -- for $3 billion in 2000. The network has drawn criticism for its lack of original programming, historically filling airtime with provocative hip-hop videos interspersed with repeats of such shows as "The Parkers," "The Jamie Foxx Show" and "In Living Color."

Dauman promised "at least 10 new shows this year" and said that BET seeks to expand across multiple media platforms to satisfy its predominantly black audience.

"African Americans over-consume all forms of media," Dauman said.

BET is developing a prime-time animation series called "Hannibal the Conqueror," based on the life of the ancient Carthaginian general and voiced by action star Vin Diesel, Reynolds said.

Another show in development is the drama "Wifey," with Queen Latifah as a co-executive producer. Latifah and Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") appear in the pilot, Reynolds said. "Wifey" is slated to air next year on BET and Viacom cousin VH1, which shared production costs, Reynolds said.

Although music videos will continue to be a part of BET, Reynolds said, the prime-time lineup will be more balanced.

BET's recent original programming includes "College Hill," a reality series launched in 2004, and "Lil' Kim: Countdown to Lockdown," a 2006 docudrama following the final free days of the rapper before serving a prison term for perjury.

BET hired Hollywood director Reginald Hudlin ("House Party") to become the network's entertainment president in 2005, banking on his Hollywood ties to help increase BET's programming.

In an August 2005 interview with Southern California public radio station KCRW, Hudlin called BET "stunningly profitable" and said it has "unbelievable growth potential."

The channel recently rebranded itself as BET Networks, and Dauman said yesterday that BET is looking for worldwide opportunities as well.

"The African American culture resonates in other parts of the world," he said.

Dauman took over Viacom after former chief executive Tom Freston was ousted last September. Viacom and CBS Corp. split in January 2006. Viacom stock slumped after the split while CBS stock grew.

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:15 PM , links to this post

Free Starbucks Day

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posted by Soulfull @ 10:26 AM , links to this post

Viacom Sues YouTube For 1 Billion Dollars

The Headline Reads: Viacom Sues YouTube Over Copyright (WaPo)

This is some straight B.S...

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 14, 2007; Page D02

Entertainment giant Viacom, home to cable television networks such as MTV and Comedy Central, has taken its ongoing battle with Google's YouTube to federal court, suing the video Web site over what it calls "brazen" copyright violations.

Viacom, which is asking for $1 billion in damages, alleges that YouTube does little or nothing to prevent users from posting copyrighted videos on its site, largely because such popular videos -- including clips from Comedy Central's "South Park" and "The Colbert Report" and Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" -- help drive viewers to the ads that appear on YouTube.

The suit, filed in federal court in New York, claims that 160,000 unlicensed Viacom clips have been viewed on YouTube more than 1.5 billion times. It also asks the court to issue an injunction preventing YouTube from posting additional material.

Google said yesterday that YouTube is operating within the law.

Digital copyright is a thorny and growing issue that stretches across the media and entertainment landscape. Traditional television and film companies have attempted to strike licensing deals with YouTube and its rivals for compensation when its clips are shown on the Web -- meeting with varying levels of success.

Companies such as Viacom realize there are promotional and audience-building advantages associated with exposure on sites like YouTube; links to the site are easily e-mailed and posted around the Internet. At the same time, however, without a revenue-share deal in place, the firms are not compensated for such use. When a video clip from "The Daily Show," for instance, has been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, that becomes an economic issue to Viacom.

"Defendants know and intend that a substantial amount of the content on the YouTube site consists of unlicensed infringing copies of copyrighted works and have done little or nothing to prevent this massive infringement," Viacom's complaint says. "To the contrary, the availability on the YouTube site of a vast library of the copyrighted works of plaintiffs and others is the cornerstone of defendants' business plan."

In addition to its cable television networks, Viacom owns Paramount Pictures, and it alleges that YouTube hosted copyrighted versions of Paramount's "An Inconvenient Truth."

In a statement, Google said, "We are confident that YouTube has respected the legal rights of copyright holders and believe the courts will agree."

The fight between the companies began last fall, when Viacom began pressuring YouTube to pull down copyrighted material. In October, YouTube said it was purging Comedy Central clips from its site. Last month, Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 clips of Viacom shows.

YouTube, which allows anyone to post video to the Web for viewing by a global audience, includes both amateur videos and clips produced by professionals, such as Viacom. The Web site was purchased by Google in October for $1.65 billion.

Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based group advocating freer access to digital content, said Viacom's suit is a slap against its customers who want to watch Viacom content where they like.

"There should be a way for Viacom to monetize its content and compensate its artists, but this is not the way to do it," Sohn said.

Last month, Viacom agreed to license much of its content to Joost, a nascent YouTube rival.

Staff writer Sam Diaz contributed to this report.

Waah, Waah, Waah! Seriously Viacom should stop crying especially in this day and age of interactive media, where all types of platforms are blending with the internet. Big media conglomerate babies!

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posted by Soulfull @ 9:52 AM , links to this post


Taking a break from my Whitney Houston overdose, I've been hipped to Musiq's latest album Luvanmusiq, so here are my thoughts....

01. B-u-d-d-y - I suppose Musiq finds it necessary to have one song on the album that talks about being 'good friends'. Although it's in the same vein as "Just Friends" and "ForTheNight", this catchy lead single is cool with me considering I've been in the mood for a dance/workout track lately. I have to admit his usage of Tanaa Gardner's Heartbeat can't hold a candle to De La Soul's Buddy, but I give Musiq an A for effort. (By the way, there are so many remixes of this song, my goodness!!!!)

02. Ms Philadelphia - Musiq's asking for some hotel love from a sista from Philly with this hand-clapping club joint. Um, I'm not really impressed, but I'm sure his Philly female fans will be. Sidebar: W-H-Y D-O-E-S M-U-S-I-Q H-A-V-E T-O S-P-E-L-L A-G-A-I-N O-N T-H-I-S T-R-A-C-K? LOL!

03. Teachme - Nothing like a begging man and this song is quite beg-a-licious as well as mellow. I like the arrangement on this, not to mention the subject matter, which speaks about a man's need to be taught how to love intimately. This song is quite realistic when I think about the mindset of some men.

04. Betterman - Great follow-up to the last song! This track has Musiq liberated from his past and he's happy to be a better man due to the love that his woman has shown him. I like it, especially the breakdown that begins at 3:15 which has me WISHING he'd grab the beat and make a full mellow(smooth) track.

05. The Questions - What can I say? I love this song. Musiq speaks on his quest to dead the questions regarding the soul sista that he has yet to find.

06. Today - Today is the beginning of a boy's journey into becoming a man. Musiq has made up his mind and he's gonna take this chance on the precious love he has found. I like this and it almost feels like it could work its way into an engagement/wedding scene.

07. Makeyouhappy - Hmmm, I'm trying hard to focus on this song, but I can't help but to think of Mary's Family Affair. I suppose these two songs might share the same sample, but either way I don't like this track.

08. Ridiculous - Honestly, I really can't think of anything to say about this track. It's an upbeat repeat of the content from the previous tracks Betterman and Today. This isn't horrible and it will probably grow on me with those hypnotizing horns, but I'mma say next.

09. Millionaire - Musiq's falsetto glows on this track in which he would be a millionaire if he had a dollar for every time he heard somebody say something. I really need to get a hold on the lyrics for this one to really understand what he is saying, but I love it anyway.

10. Takeyouthere - Aww shucks, it's time to make love... I think. Although Musiq says 'we don't have to go all the way', I say you better turn this song OFF if you don't wanna take IT there. HA HA HA! LOVE IT! This bedroom jam just makes me smile and the electric guitar is a real nice touch.

11. Lullaby - This goofy lovemaking track has Musiq telling his woman that he can put her on 'cloud nine', make her body 'twinkle twinkle' and make her eyes 'glisten like little stars'. It's hard not to laugh at all the (corny) imagery, but overall I like it! (I'd love to see a music video for this though, but only if it's done by Hype Williams. I'm already visioning cribs and bottles. Okay, I'm kidding. LOL!)

12. Greatestlove - Oh gosh man. This is such a beautiful love song! Full of devotion and intimacy. Awwwww shucks, pull out the wine bottles, candles, and jimmy hats because this is on FIYAH! (Adding it to my late night Ipod mix like RIGHT NOW!)

Overall: Musiq's music has a formula to which he is not going to (and shouldn't) stop using - good lyrical content, breezy love joints, great dance beats, mad spellings in songs, and crazy word conjunctions with lowercase letters. Okay seriously, this new album has a flow/structure that I am REALLY feeling. I couldn't find anything that I absolutely hated and at album's end, I felt Musiq's purpose with this joint. Like he said on Concrete Loop, "I’m pretty much doing the same type of music that I’ve been doing on my past 3 projects. All of my songs are basically reflections of my perception of things. I do my best to factor in a general objective perspective, but I’m still a human being and I can only see things the way I see things. And experiencing what I’ve experienced and learning what I’ve learned. I’ve always come back to that subject. I guess that’s why it turns out that way, because I still feel the way I feel about it." Well my brotha, I'm really feeling you on this one and I am most definitely L-U-V-A-N M-U-S-I-Q right now!

Favorite tracks: Teachme, Betterman, Millionaire, Takeyouthere, Lullaby, and Greatestlove

UPDATE 3/23/07: You can check out the BONUS TRACKS for Musiq's Luvanmusiq album here


B-U-D-D-Y Remix featuring Young Buck, Ja Rule, Fat Joe, and TI (This is NOT on the album)

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posted by Soulfull @ 3:42 PM , links to this post

Listen To Musiq Soulchild's Luvanmusiq

Thanks to VH-1, you can listen to Musiq Soulchild's new album, Luvanmusiq, in its entirety here! I will have a review up shortly, but I'd love to know what you guys think!

UPDATE: Check out my full album review here

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posted by Soulfull @ 11:43 AM , links to this post

Jammin To Def Poetry

The sixth season of Def Poetry Jam started in February and I've been enjoying the poetic voices of all the folks that have come out thus far to share their souls. Check out some of the folks who've graced the stage thus far...

Jill Scott - Ain't A Ceiling

Alicia Keys - P.O.W

Talib Kweli - Hell

Dan and Dasha - Six Million

Asia - The Waiting Hour

Shannon Matesky - My Space

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:41 AM , links to this post

Thurmond's Daughter Tells Sharpton To Stop Overreacting

The Headline Reads: Thurmond's daughter says Sharpton 'overreacted'

Associated Press Writer

February 27, 2007, 7:02 PM EST

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The biracial daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond defended the former segregationist on Tuesday and said the Rev. Al Sharpton "overreacted" when Sharpton learned he is a descendent of a slave owned by the senator's relatives.

"In spite of the fact he was a segregationist, he did many wonderful things for black people. ... I'm not sure that Reverend Sharpton is aware of all the things he did," said Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who was in South Carolina for a speech. "I kind of feel that there was an overreaction."

Professional genealogists working for found that Sharpton's great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.

When Sharpton learned of the link, he said: "It was probably the most shocking thing in my life."

Thurmond, of South Carolina, was once considered an icon of racial segregation. During his 1948 bid for president, he promised to preserve segregation. In 1957, he filibustered for more than 24 hours against a civil rights bill.

Sharpton, who ran for president in 2004 on a ticket of racial justice, said he met Thurmond in 1991 with the late soul singer James Brown, who knew Thurmond. Sharpton said the meeting was "awkward."

"I was not happy to meet him because what he had done all his life," Sharpton said.

Thurmond, the nation's long-serving senator, was originally a Democrat but became a Republican in 1964. He softened his segregation stance later in his life and died in 2003, at 100.

Thurmond's children have acknowledged that Thurmond fathered a biracial daughter. Williams' mother was a housekeeper in the home of Thurmond's parents.

A telephone message left Tuesday at Strom Thurmond Jr.'s office was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:09 AM , links to this post

It's Bigger Than A Beat

The Headline Reads: Rap criticism grows in hip-hop community
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
Associated Press

Maybe it was the umpteenth coke-dealing anthem or soft-porn music video. Perhaps it was the preening antics that some call reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit.

The turning point is hard to pinpoint. But after 30 years of growing popularity, rap music is now struggling with an alarming sales decline and growing criticism from within about the culture's negative effect on society.

Rap insider Chuck Creekmur, who runs the leading Web site, says, "a lot of people are sick of rap. ... The negativity is just over the top now."

The rapper Nas, considered one of the greats, challenged the condition of the art form when he titled his latest album "Hip-Hop Is Dead."

It's at least ailing, according to recent statistics: Though music sales are down overall, rap sales slid a whopping 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and for the first time in 12 years no rap album was among the top 10 sellers of the year. A recent study by the Black Youth Project showed a majority of youth think rap has too many violent images.

In a poll of black Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.

Nicole Duncan-Smith grew up on rap, worked in the rap industry for years and is married to a hip-hop producer. She still listens to rap, but says it no longer speaks to or for her.

"I'm not removed from it, but I can't really tell the difference between Young Jeezy and Yung Joc. It's the same dumb stuff to me," says Duncan-Smith, 33. "I can't listen to that nonsense. ... I can't listen to another black man talk about you don't come to the 'hood anymore and ghetto revivals ... I'm from the 'hood. How can you tell me you want to revive it? How about you want to change it? Rejuvenate it?"

Hip-hop also seems to be increasingly blamed for a variety of social ills. Studies have attempted to link it to everything from teen drug use to increased sexual activity among young girls.

Even the mayhem that broke out in Las Vegas during the NBA All-Star Game was blamed on hip-hoppers. "(NBA Commissioner) David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize," columnist Jason Whitlock wrote on AOL.

While rap has been in essence pop music for years, and most rap consumers are white, some worry that the black community is suffering from hip-hop - from the way America perceives blacks to the attitudes and images being adopted by black youth.

But the rapper David Banner derides the growing criticism as blacks joining America's attack on young black men who are only reflecting the crushing problems within their communities. Besides, he says, that's the kind of music America wants to hear.

"Look at the music that gets us popular - 'Like a Pimp,' " says Banner, naming his hit.

"What makes it so difficult is to know that we need to be doing other things. But the truth is at least us talking about what we're talking about, we can bring certain things to the light," he says. "They want (black artists) to shuck and jive, but they don't want us to tell the real story because they're connected to it."

Criticism of hip-hop is certainly nothing new - it's as much a part of the culture as the beats and rhymes. Among the early accusations were that rap wasn't true music, its lyrics were too raw, its street message too polarizing. But they rarely came from the youthful audience itself, which was enraptured with genre that defined them as none other could.

"As people within the hip-hop generation get older, I think the criticism is increasing," says author Bakari Kitwana, who is currently part of a lecture tour titled "Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?"

"There was a more of a tendency when we were younger to be more defensive of it," he adds.

One rap fan, Bryan Hunt, made the searing documentary "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," which debuted on PBS recently.

Hunt addresses the biggest criticisms of rap, from its treatment of women to the glorification of the gangsta lifestyle that has become the default posture for many of today's most popular rappers.

"I love hip-hop," Hunt, 36, says in the documentary. "I sometimes feel bad for criticizing hip-hop, but I want to get us men to take a look at ourselves."

Even dances that may seem innocuous are not above the fray. Last summer, as the "Chicken Noodle Soup" song and accompanying dance became a sensation, Baltimore Sun pop critic Rashod D. Ollison mused that the dance - demonstrated in the video by young people stomping wildly from side to side - was part of the growing minstrelization of rap music.

I don't know about you guys, but criticism on the current state of Hip-Hop has been a subject of many conversations in my social circle. There just isn't enough of a balance in this genre of music. As a matter of fact, I started this blog to sorta remember the good times, but damn, I haven't been inspired that much lately. Sigh. This article reminds me of DMX's poem/song, The Industry, which he did on Def Poetry Jam...

The industry; man its not the same
The industry; its not a fucking game
The industry; real niggaz is dying to get in
The industry; just to find they don't fit in
The industry; ain't what it used to be
The industry; trying to control the way you MC
They want you to dress like that this and talk like that
But I'm gonna dress like this and talk with the gat
The industry; got y'all word meaning nothing
The industry; fuck what you heard cause he's bluffing
The industry; money, bitches, hate
But I dare you to try to take a fucking thing off my plate
The industry like "Wait!", but in the streets we like "Get 'em"
Set 'em teed up in that thing, catch 'em sleeping and hit 'em
And Ima pop whoever with 'em, the coroner is coming to get 'em
Industry niggaz, so that's how I did 'em

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:42 AM , links to this post

Are You Depressed?

The Headline Reads: Depression More Often Chronic and Disabling Among Blacks

Part me finds this article to be of no real surprise...

Rates of major depression are higher among whites, but the condition appears more likely to be severe, untreated and disabling among blacks.

Chicago, Ill. - infoZine - Major depression is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The relationship between race and depression is complex; although studies have suggested that blacks have a lower rate of depression, they may have reduced access to mental health services and often receive poorer quality care.

David R. Williams, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues assessed the prevalence, persistence, treatment and disability of depression in three racial groups using data from a national survey conducted between 2001 and 2003. Of the 6,082 individuals who took the survey, 891 were non-Hispanic whites; 1,621 were Caribbean blacks, who identify themselves as black and are of West Indian or Caribbean descent; and 3,570 were African-Americans, who identify as black but do not have ancestral ties to the Caribbean. During face-to-face and telephone interviews, participants answered questions about their sociodemographic background and the symptoms associated with depression. Those whose interviews indicated depression were also asked how severe their symptoms were and how much their condition impaired their daily lives.

More whites (17.9 percent) than African Americans (10.4 percent) or Caribbean blacks (12.9 percent) had depression during their lifetimes. The rates of depression in the 12 months before the interview were similar between the three groups (5.9 percent for African Americans, 7.2 percent for Caribbean blacks and 6.9 percent for whites). Chronicity-meaning the percentage of those with lifetime depression who reported depression in the previous 12 months-was higher among African Americans (56.5 percent) and Caribbean blacks (56 percent) than whites (38.6 percent).

"Fewer than half of the African Americans (45 percent) and fewer than a quarter (24.3 percent) of the Caribbean blacks who met the criteria [for depression] received any form of major depressive disorder therapy," the authors write. Although treatment rates for whites were not measured in this survey, this compares with a national average of 57 percent of adults with major depression who receive treatment. "In addition, relative to whites, both black groups were more likely to rate their major depressive disorder as severe or very severe and more disabling."

Studying why blacks are less likely to develop depression and why they fare worse once they become depressed could offer valuable insights into the workings of this condition. "Future research should explore the extent to which social support systems, including religious participation and psychological resources, such as high levels of self-esteem, can provide some protection to the black population from exposure to adverse social conditions," the authors continue. "The findings of this study highlight the importance of identifying high-risk subgroups in racial populations and the continuing need to target cost-effective interventions to them."

JAMA Editor's Note: The National Survey of American Life is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan.

So I suppose I should answer my own question - Am I depressed? Hmmmm. I don't think I am per say. I'm just emotional. Too emotional at times. Moving from one feeling to the other. I suppose that has more to do with stress than anything else. But hell, I'm working on it. Just taking it one day at a time.

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:26 AM , links to this post


Hey world! My recent funky mood has all been started by the my recent exploration of self -- I have no patience. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, boss, my head is spinning with all my obligations, so much so that I'm withdrawing. Turning into sort of a recluse or as one friend put it, "You're goin' ghost again, disappearing on folks". Yeah, well, shit happens. I'm trying so hard to NOT make apologies for my emotional needs. To not sacrifice my feelings for the joy and pleasure of others. I can't be the comedian all the time. But anyway I digress. Back to my self discovery. I am impatient. I wonder, where exactly does that feeling come from? I suppose I'm doing what it is I'm supposed to be doing, but deep within, I'm just not satisfied! I want more. I want the life that I dream about - NOW! A life of endless hours spent creating stories and movies. Instead my time is spent juggling these frickin' hats. UGH! I swear, I get a Headache just thinking about it all...

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posted by Soulfull @ 8:20 AM , links to this post

A Flower Of Confusion

Born out of the seed of lust
I thrust
Myself down
Planted, deep within the ground
My hope
For a sunny love
To help me grow.

(c) 2007 Soulfull

I'm haven't really been feeling like myself lately. Hopefully these feelings will pass...

posted by Soulfull @ 11:58 AM , links to this post