Charlotte

#CIAA Will Remain In Charlotte For the Next 6 Years!

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I am so very elated to share the news of Charlotte being able to secure the CIAA (Central Intelligence Athletic Association) in the city for the next 6 years. I am sending major props to city Mayor Patrick Cannon for being instrumental in the continuance of the relationship with the tournament. Not only was Mayor Cannon partly responsible for sitting at the table 9 years ago to bring the tournament to Charlotte, he also played a major role in the tournament remaining there. There were a few other cities that were contesting for the opportunity to host the CIAA. Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Richmond were a few of the cities that wanted to bring the festivities to their locale. In opinion, Charlotte is the perfect home for the tournament. It has a great balance of nightlife entertainment, restaurants, walk able downtown area and temperate weather. All of those make Charlotte an enjoyable city to host the slew of Black Hollywood personalities and visitors alike each year. In last years fiscal season, it was reported that the CIAA brought in more than $47 million dollars. Obviously, the tournament is pretty lucrative in spite of low attendance to the basketball games. The parties have seemed to take higher precedence over the games and that could be a positive or a negative depending on how you view it. 

 

All in all, I am very excited that Charlotte will be hosting the tournament for a good while. In addition, the city also has earned the distinct honor of being able to have the CIAA build its headquarters there also. 

 

If you have never been to CIAA you are truly missing out. There is something for everyone to see, hear, and enjoy. Most of all, the events stay pretty stable and majority of fans in the past have been able to party in peace. As the city of Charlotte continues to gain more national attention, the city could be seeing more events of the type in the city as well. 

 

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Concert Review: Lauryn Hill in a league of her own

Lauryn HillLauryn hill is back on the musical scene and touring the country to give fans a new taste on some old favorites. If you buy tickets to her new show, you are in for a special treat. You’ll hear some elements of Reggae, Rock, and of course Soul. Her live show is phenomenal. However, come with an open mind for the music that you will hear L Boogie perform. Her show is all about refreshing some classic songs from her repertoire with new instrumentation, so it won’t sound exactly how it does on her infamous 1998 album “The Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill.” Depending on how you may view it, that change could either be good or bad. But as we all know, change is inevitable so just be grateful that she’s opening up her music to up to fans again.

Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing one of my favorite artist perform in the Queen City. Not sure if she felt some sort of new-found energy being in Charlotte, but she often identifies herself with being a Queen, and man did she carry herself with grace. When you arrive at her shows expect to wait for a while. My guest and I waited around in the standing room only venue for about an hour and some change before she took the stage. However, we were treated to a really cool deejay who made sure to play songs that kept the crowd engaged. As I looked around the room I noticed a bevy of people in attendance. To be more frank, a Lauryn Hill fan doesn’t have an identifiable look. Unless you can look at someone upon first glance and tell that they are lovers of great music. There were people in the crowd who were college students, a few folks who might have been professors, and a myriad of ethnicities singing along to her beautiful songs. The best part about the show for me besides the performance was how well-behaved her audience was. We all formed some sort of temporary bond with her music being the common denominator. No one in the audience was void of emotion either. At a given moment you could point in the crowd and find a fan crying, overjoyed, and basking in psychedelic funk.

I would recommend music fans alike to go out and hear her perform live. Aside from her first album, listening to her new performances on YouTube does not do her songs any justice. It  is an experience to watch and hear her show from a crowd. I was impressed at how she orchestrated her bass players, electric guitarist, keyboardist, and back ground singers. No one could deny her and say that being on stage was not her true passion or desire at that moment. She stood there confidently and gave us a taste of her early 90’s rap style that I had forgotten she had. We have become so inundated with female MC’s raping about their sexuality that we rarely hear or appreciate a woman giving bars that spark social and political commentary. I have always been a fan of Kim and Foxy, and some of Nicki’s songs, but Lauryn is in a whole other class for me. She is one of those women who demands respect because she believes in herself and the people she allows around her have no choice but to agree. In fact, many would probably feel honored to learn from her experiences. Below is a list of the rest of her tour dates. Check her out in concert if you are able and let me know what you think.

Thursday 13 February 2014
Ms. Lauryn Hill live
The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA, US

Saturday 15 February 2014
9 Mile Music Festival 2014 Sean Paul, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Stephen Marley, Mavado, Julian Marley, Damien Marley, and Alika & Nueva Alianza
Miami Dade County Fair & Expo Center Miami, FL, US

Monday 17 February 2014
Ms. Lauryn Hill live
Ms. Lauryn Hill
The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA, US

Wednesday 23 July 2014 – Sunday 27 July 2014
Floydfest 2014
Floyd, VA, US

Can We Be Friends and Disagree Politically?

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Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the home a prominent proponent of an educational program in which I am apart.

This gentleman had a lovely family and a very warm and inviting home. His wife and four children, three of which I met, were all very gracious and welcoming. Their home is located in a prime real estate area in Charlotte, situated near lush manicured lawns and other million dollar homes. Clearly, I was amazed by both the home and hospitality. I was treated to delectable hor’ dourves throughout the night, one of which was freshly smoked jumbo shrimp. I could taste the smoldering flame of barbecue with each bite. As I enjoyed my shrimp I was taken aback by the server standing patiently beside me as I chewed and talked. She was waiting for me to finish eating the meat off my shrimp so that she may collect the tail and disseminate more shrimp. I have been to numerous upscale events but never had such a personalized experience as that.

Throughout the night, the man of the house and I really hit it off well. We had a dynamic exchange on music. Finding that we both, despite a generational gap in age and difference of race, had plenty of commonalities. One of which was our fondness of the musical genius Marvin Gaye. He had personalized speakers strategically placed about the house, so as we toured his home we never missed any great music.

By the time dinner had begun, we were practically frat brothers. We broke bread and naturally continued our conversations of history and politics. Now, despite my dual degree in Political Science and Spanish, I rarely, if ever enjoy engaging in political commentary. It’s not for any reason of feeling inadequacy or shame for my political beliefs but solely based off my desire to maintain neutrality. I enjoy allowing other people to express their rights to freedom and believe as they may. I expect that they provide the same space. Thus, when talks of foreign affairs and domestic policies ensue, I usually digress from the conversation and politely decline to engage.

However, on the night of that dinner, I did not decline. In fact, I actually opened the conversation. I inquired the gentleman to share who his favorite president was.  He told men and I gulped, surprised by his reply. We then pinged-ponged back in forth over a few domestic policies. Generally, I felt as if we listened to understand rather than to judge. But more importantly, we were able to agree on the need for more students in urban communities to have access to quality education. In my former neighborhood of Englewood on Chicago’s South Side, the need for access to quality education is abundant. Ultimately, to bring about great change for our nation, people have to be enlightened to the opportunities for change. I hope as our friendship continues to develop, we will both  learn how to dispel fallacies and improve the living conditions of those in dire situations.