I Was Too Blind To See – Latest on MUSED

Young man thinkingImage courtesy of MUSED Magazine.

Ever been in a situation, be it a relationship, friendship, or job, that was no good for you?  Everyone other than you knew you could do better and encouraged you to move on.  But for reasons that were oblivious to you at the time, you remained.  I’ve had my fair share of experiences such as these.  In my latest article for MUSED, “I Was Too Blind To See,” I talk about a past relationship that had run its course.  I ignored all the signs.  Yet, I stayed… And paid dearly for it.  But as I say in the article, “I’m grateful because that experience was crucial to bringing me forward.”  To learn more, read the article on MUSED.

Major thanks and props to Drew-Shane Daniels, Neo Huxtable and the MUSED family for featuring the article!

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Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Day 93: RIP Chris Lighty

Image courtesy of the BrooklynVegan site.
‘”I am utterly, utterly devastated…It feels unfair to us. He was our wealth. Chris was like the fruition of all that could be. He was loved.”‘ ~ Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist (NY Daily News, 2012)
When I first started seeing tweets on Thursday that Hip-Hop mogul Chris Lighty had passed, I couldn’t believe it.  I immediately started doing some research to see if these claims were true.  Eventually, site after site confirmed that he had in fact died.  Suddenly it seemed as if my day was at a standstill.  I couldn’t do anything.  His passing saddened me so.  Lighty was, at only 44, yet another pivotal figure gone too soon.

Lighty, CEO and co-founder of Violator Management/Brand Assets Group, was a fixture in the world of Hip-Hop since the late 80s.  It was impossible to experience anything in Hip-Hop without feeling Lighty’s impact.  He truly was one of the last great power moguls in the entertainment industry.  Lighty began his career carrying records for Kool DJ Red Alert and acting as a party enforcer for the DJ and their Violators crew (The Grio, 2012).  Also a DJ, Lighty was known as “Baby Chris.”  He went on to become a respected manager, managing the careers of several Native Tongues acts, including the groundbreaking, influential groups De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

Lighty credited his time working in several executive positions under Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen at Def Jam and Rush Artist Management as being pivotal to him becoming an entrepreneur.  Under their tutelage, Lighty, in a 2011 Black Enterprise article, said,
‘”I learned you are only as strong as the people around you,” he says. “You’ve got to build a good team–from your accountant to your right-hand man to employees–the whole nine yards,” he says. “I also learned you can have a plan [for what you want your business to look like], but you need to know when to deviate from it. You have to be able to bend and sway with the moment…“‘ 
And it’s clear that the he applied (and expounded upon) what he learned from his experiences when establishing his own business, Violator Management/Brand Assets Group, with co-founder Mona Scott.  Lighty was a highly lauded and favored, achieving stellar success managing the careers of artists such as LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, Foxy Brown, Mariah Carey, Diddy, and 50 Cent.  Lighty was also praised for brokering multi-million dollar endorsement deals for his artists, most notably for LL Cool J and 50 Cent.

Lighty, in a 2011 Black Enterprise article, said one of the keys to success in the entertainment industry is diversification.  
‘”From my point of view you have to be a multi-tasker and know every aspect of the entertainment business,” says Lighty, whose marketing firm has inked deals with Adidas, Coca Cola, Sprite, Reebok and Motions Hair products and others. “Back in the day you could get away with focusing on one thing, like A&R. Now whether its digital, marketing, A & R, radio, whatever–you have to know how to get your artist from A to Z, even if you need help pulling it all off.”‘
Other important keys to his success, as highlighted in 2011 by Black Enterprise, were 1) thinking outside of the box, 2) consistent common courtesy, 3) always adapting to your environment, 4) believing in your business or failing in your business, and 5) using persistence to overcome resistance. 

Lighty was respected, admired, and loved by so many, within and outside of the entertainment industry.  The outpouring of love on Twitter was more than enough to signify this.  Devastating already, the news that his death was a suicide made the impact, I’m sure, even more so affecting.  You never know what a person is truly going through, especially when it appears from the outside that everything is cool.  News reports state he was having financial woes, and that he’d gotten into a spat with his estranged wife over the phone just before taking his life (NY Daily News, 2012).  We may never know or understand the full extent of what Lighty was going through, but sadly—he was troubled. 

With Lighty’s untimely death, I hope our community takes it upon itself to say enough is enough.  It perplexes me why mental health remains such a taboo subject in our community.  So many of us are suffering in silence.  There’s no need for it.  It must stop.  If we have to look beyond ourselves to get the help we need, so be it.  Prayer is not always enough.  Ignoring and suppressing our issues is not cutting it.  Self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, and other addictions—thinking it will make everything better—is no way to win the battle.  Sometimes we need an intervention from trained professionals in the form of counseling, therapy, and/or medication.  As someone who’s battled with depression, I know.  We must not be afraid to speak on our issues and get the help we need.  There’s always support available.  We have to take better care of ourselves.  Good mental and emotional health is critical to sustaining our overall well-being.  We have to prevail.

My condolences to Chris Lighty’s family and friends.  As writer Danyel Smith said in a recent NPR story,

“Chris Lighty made history. He helped make hip-hop. He was a success story. He was a sweet and brilliant man. But there will be no more knowing of him — the complexities, the simple s—-, nothing. The man in the liner notes, the kid backstage, the dude counting the show money, the father with his children. It’s beyond tragic. Everybody’s Baby Chris is gone.”

We’ll miss you Baby Chris.  Rest in peace.

Day 64: The Good Ole Days

The chatter never ceases when being flooded by joyful memories of a bygone era.
You’re in a trance when nostalgia captures you:
Wide smile, happy, sparkling eyes—
A lift in the tone of your voice,
so evident in the jubilant recap of your experiences.

There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about the past.
The chapters in the book of the past made way for the books of the present and the

     forthcoming books of the future.
It’s important that we look to our past because it’s our personal history.
When we’ve learned from our history, there are slim chances of blocking the blessings of 

     the future.
We just have to remember not to dwell too long in the past.

Can’t bring back what we had then.
But we can reexamine our lives now,
and figure out what it will take to create the good ole days of today—
To make them just as memorable, just as impactful as they were then. 

© BuddahDesmond

Buddah’s Thoughts

  1. I was really psyched about seeing Beyonce on tour – until I found out how much the tickets were. I just can’t bring myself to pay $100+ for the nosebleed section at the Verizon Center. Plus, I’m in debt payoff mode and saving for new furniture and vacation. I had to prioritize. Looks like Bey will have to wait. I can catch the I AM…. Tour on DVD. I know, I know – it’s not the same…. But financial stability (and maintaining it) is more important.
  2. My boyfriend and I saw the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie Friday night. We loved it! The plot, the acting, the special effects, cinematography – all top notch! I have to admit I thought this was much better than X-Men 3….
  3. Well, the media is up to its old tricks again – fear mongering…. And you should already know what I’m referring to when I say…. The coverage of the swine flu. Living in fear – didn’t we get tired of this under the Bush Administration? Has anyone learned anything yet? Being afraid is not going to help us get over this pandemic any sooner. We need to be prudent and do our best to safeguard ourselves. We have to be a little smarter about this folks…. And looking to the media is not always the answer….
  4. And is there anything else to report on other than Miss California’s viewpoints on marriage? It’s overkill at this point. Who care? This is America. Everyone can say or feel what they want. The problem comes in when you are browbeating others into thinking, feeling, and believing the same way. I have no problem with her viewpoints. I don’t agree with them but it’s not stopping me from believing what I believe or how I’m living my life. (See my post On Marriage for more.)
  5. There are certain things that shouldn’t be discussed at work. Politics, sex, religion, certain aspects of relationships…. I could go on and on. You usually have discussions about this at orientation and get documentation from HR regarding this…. But people do it anyway. You need to however, be very careful because you never know who is listening and who might be offended by what is said regarding any of the topics listed above. Oh the conversations that I’ve heard – it’s mind boggling. Thank god I can tune things out with music…. It’s been my saving grace many-a-day.
  6. It’s amazing how deep connections can be between friends. It doesn’t matter what happens, the distance between you, how often you see or speak to each other – there’s something that just keeps you linked. You can pick up where you left off with ease. You remain each other’s constant supporters. I’ve noticed this so often with my closest friends. It’s truly a great thing!
  7. I have ongoing issues with mainstream music. I’m not sure when or where everything went amok but very little seems to fascinate me. As I get older, I seem to fall in love more and more with “grown folks music”. Music that not only sounds good but has a purpose. It makes you think, feel, laugh, cry, dance…. It’s real, never contrived. It doesn’t follow trends and isn’t derived from some tired, ole formula. It’s art. And it’s obvious when listening and seeing artists perform that they do it for the love of music and not for the money.
  8. I’m looking forward to hearing Chrisette Michele’s new album, Epiphany, to be released this Tuesday, May 5th. Her debut was one of 2007’s best R&B/Soul releases. And I expect nothing but great music on the new release. I can’t stop playing “Epiphany” and “What You Do”. And I just heard “Blame It On Me” on Saturday (and that may become a new favorite as well).
  9. Can you believe it – Maxwell has new music coming out? The first part of his trilogy BLACKsummers’night will be released on July 7th. The first single “Pretty Wings” is a masterpiece. It’s classic Maxwell and a welcomed addition to keep in rotation. It’s been 8 years since his last studio album. If “Pretty Wings” is any indication – it’ll be well worth the wait.
  10. I’m really looking forward to the summer. Being able to catch up on my reading. Hanging out with friends and family. Going to concerts and other events. The beach. Vacation. And spending quality time with my baby…. 🙂
  11. After a long break, I’ll be heading back to the gym. I paid for a new membership at Bally’s this Saturday (great deal by the way – $29.99 a month/no initiation fee). I’ll be working out at least 3 days a week. I’ve lost about 8-10 pounds without working out. It’s now time to up the ante. The goal is to be healthier and stronger. Gotta make life changes and stick to them.

Oh well, that’s it for me. Got to finish getting ready for the work week. Until next time, peace, love, and many blessings!

Time Waits (for No One)

I’ll live like forever is now
Because time waits for no one
And tomorrow just may not come ’round
Because time waits for no one
When we’re gone
Only love goes on
~ Gloria Estefan, “Time Waits” from Unwrapped (2003)

Hello to all out in blog land! Hope all is fab in your world. It’s been so long! I’m good though. Guess you can say I’ve been on a blog sabbatical. Life has been moving so fast lately and I find myself increasingly busy. At this point, I’m just trying take some time and enjoy breathing. Today was one of those days where I didn’t feel like doing anything and that was my mission. Sit back, relax, and reflect….

I have to say that the last 8 or so months have been the happiest I’ve been in quite some time. My professional life is going well. My work has received quite a bit of praise and I was recently awarded with a merit raise. I was very happy about that. I hope to continue to improve and advance in my current position and whatever opportunities that stem from it.

Personally, my love life has never been better. My boyfriend and I have been together for about 8 months. And it just seems to keep getting better. We can’t get enough of each other. We are so very much in love with each other. Life would be so much different without him in it. And I can’t see my life without him in it. He’s the one! And I am so thankful, so grateful to have the love that I’ve longed for and searched so hard to find.

I’ve fallen in love with my friends all over again. They continue to amaze me, push me, inspire me, uplift me, support me, love me… And every chance I get I pay them back in kind. Since so many of my friends are several miles away, we don’t get to see each other (sometimes don’t get to talk to each other) that often. So the moments we do have whether they be in person, over the phone, text, IM, or email – are cherished. We’ve all been thru so much. And we’ve been there for each other thru it all. I couldn’t ask for better friends. I thank god for putting them in my life.

And I love my family. As crazy and dysfunctional as it can be, they’re my foundation. I can’t help but root for them. Even during the bad times. It’s unfortunate that we’re not as close as we used to be. I continue to pray for the day when the petty b.s. is no more and we all can get back to where things should be. I will always be indebted to them for their love, care, and support – my mother and my grandmother especially. They’ve been my rocks….

I guess I say all this to say that the events of the last few months have left me in a reflective, introspective mood. These are trying times for everyone. One of my best friend’s at work lost her dad on February 13th. My boyfriend lost his grandfather and an uncle on March 13th and an aunt less than a week later. My mother was diagnosed with another form of cancer and had to go into surgery on March 20th. Luckily, she made it through without any complications. Due to her medical history, we still have to keep an eye on everything. And hope and pray that after this go round the cancer doesn’t return. All we can do is hope and pray for the best. Play your part and then give it up to God.

Though I realized this before, as I get older it sticks more so now….Life is too short not enjoy it and live it to it’s fullest. It can all be gone in a flash. So you’ve got to give it your all. Love hard. Play hard. Dream big. Go after everything you want. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you’ve been put on this earth to do. Own it. Own everything (as RuPaul would say….lol!). And I’m going to own everything! As Gloria Estefan sang, time waits for no one. This is our time. We’ve got to make the best of it…. And on that note, I wish you all well. Enjoy your weekend. Catch up with you later….

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Now playing: Gloria Estefan – Time Waits
via FoxyTunes