Archive for June, 2009

Tribute to An Icon

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by prekosifa

So its Friday morning (in London) and I am still in bed. My phone rings and I pick it up, it’s my seven year-old son and he says ‘Dadda, Michael Jackson’s died!’

Michael Jackson through the years

Michael Jackson through the years

In that moment I forgot about tiredness, I forgot about my problems and I sat up for about an hour teary eyed and in a kind of mental and physical paralysis. This man was not a member of my family, this man was not someone I knew personally and yet I was grieving him like he was.

Jackson_Michael_750.jpgMichael Jackson’s music has been a soundtrack to my life. His music allowed the child in us to come out, to have your dad dancing like a lunatic at a barbecue, or your younger siblings doing dangerous moves in very small spaces. Michael Jackson was important to me because I grew up with him. I saw him from when he was small and grew with him. He was a staple in my life.

Michael Jackson has influenced and defined modern pop and RnB. Think Justin Timberlake, Neyo, Usher and Chris Brown – you cannot help but see the connection. Even though I was into Hip Hop and soul music it was okay to listen to Michael’s music even though it was pop. Michael’s music didn’t need a label, he just did what he did and we loved him for it.

thrillerIt’s the 1970’s and I was about 8 years old when my dad brought me and my brothers a video concert tape called ‘Brothas and Sistas’, it was a live show from some place in the States and featured artists like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Isaac Hayes, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Otis Redding, the list was endless. The highlight of the tape however was a three minute performance by the Jackson 5. We replayed those 3 minutes on that tape everyday watching this little boy sing with his older brothers. I wanted to be that little boy and from that moment I was hooked.

Fast forward to the 1980’s, a Friday night at 9pm and my brothers and I are sitting around the same video recorder waiting to tape the world exclusive debut of the ‘Thriller’ video. What we saw over the next 15 mins was truly amazing and over the following weeks we perfected that dance routine, (in fact I can still remember it to this day!)

Next came Bad, and even though I was older now the effect and the set up was exactly the same. It was the anticipation that I wasbad about to witness something mind blowing and I was not disappointed. Bad also introduced the world to Wesley Snipes. Liberian Girl had Eddie Murphy and Smoothe Criminal had Chris Tucker. And that’s not forgetting Black and White. Every video he did was groundbreaking. They were mini movies that we looked forward to previewing. He created the concept of the choreographed video, and his performance at the Grammy awards in 1984 when he did the moonwalk! Three words….Oh…My…God!!

Throughout all the negativity that he went through, all the jokes about his lifestyle, all the child abuse claims, we supported him and stood by him. It defied logic. I don’t think anyone really believed he had a bad bone in his body or any of the negative news stories that were reported. No one really cared; he was just Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson has fans in every age group, who else can claim that? My seven year-old son knows MJ, as does my mum who isdangerous 70. Little kids dance to Thriller even though the track came out before they were born, (sometimes even before their parents were born!). We all know his music and we felt like we knew the man. People all over the world can sing Michael’s lyrics in English regardless of what language they speak!

So why did he have such an effect on us? In short, I don’t know. There are few people in this world who are genuine, loving and truly care about others. Michael Jackson seemed to really care about his fans. He gave himself to us and didn’t ask for anything in return other than our enjoyment.

He allowed us into his heart and he paid us all back in the best possible way. He gave us something that we can keep and cherish for ever. In his music we have a legacy and we can all tap into it and listen to it at any time. There is a Michael Jackson track for every mood and every occasion. His music has the power to uplift us and change us for the better.

history

When I look at the so called role models and icons out there today, I don’t see anyone who comes anywhere close to this man, I cannot see anyone or even imagine anyone that can replace him. Pop stars today should look at the sacrifices MJ made for his art and our entertainment and learn from him. He was a superstar, a global brand and a real icon long before the power of the internet made such things easier to accomplish. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to listen to his lyrics and dance to his music.

Michael Jackson, beloved son, father, brother, uncle and the King of Pop – I salute you.

The video that desegregated MTV and changed the music industry

The video that desegregated MTV and changed the music industry

Click the link to watch Thriller video.

Join the global conversation and tell us what your favourite Michael Jackson song is and why.

On fatherhood

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by prekosifa

A couple of years ago one of my daughters started seeing her first boyfriend. I was happy for her because she was happy about it. She liked him a lot and he reminded her of me. At that point the alarm bells started ringing. Knowing me as I know me I had to ask my self the question – Do I really want her to be with someone like me?  In short the answer was no. My past dictated that I hadn’t been such a nice person (my words and other people’s,) I saw the future of that relationship and realised that at some point she was going to get hurt and when she did, what was I going to do about it?

Dads can multitask!

Dads can multitask!

I made a decision to only do whatever I was asked to do. To only advise if my advice was asked for. I had to believe that my

Dads like to be spoilt!

Dads like to be spoilt!

daughter was old enough and intelligent enough to make the right choices and I had to respect her enough to understand and accept them. I managed, mostly, to do all of those things but I was left with that burning sensation to go and see her now ex-boyfriend and to quote Bill Cosby, ‘clean his clock!’ I resisted and she got over it.

As a father I want to be there for my children and protect them from all those evils out in the world. But the reality is that it is not always the way to go. When I think back to what I was like the words out of control and lacks common sense spring to mind. It’s easy to think that our children are not as smart as we were or are now. However, they don’t need to be as smart as we are, what they need is the chance to find things out for themselves because it’s only when we experience something that we can learn from it. It is important to get the balance right. From my children I want respect but to get this I must respect them. I want love, but I must love them. I want them to be open with me and to get that I must be open with them.

Dads come in all ages.

Dads come in all ages.

My friends now are mostly parents and when I hear how they’re raising their children and the restrictions they impose, I wonder if the children understand why. More often than not they don’t because there is something missing in these parental demands. We forget to share our own experiences and our own beliefs, not from a state of making a point or stating the law, but from a position of just sharing.

There was a time when my daughter and I were going through a hard time. We were not speaking and it was a horrible time for me. I didn’t know how to get through to her. I didn’t know how to speak to her. In the end I stopped trying to put my point across and instead told her a story about something that happened to me when I found out I was going to be a father for the very first time. It had nothing to do with why we were arguing; it was just something she didn’t know about me. The story told her more about me than I had ever told her before. It showed her how I thought and explained why I did things the way I did and why I came to the conclusions I came to. In a back door kind of way it also helped resolve the disagreement we were having.

black dadaSo I guess my request to dads out there, on this Father’s Day – which at last is becoming as important as Mother’s Day – is to openwhite dad up, be yourself and share with your kids. Tell them about you. Tell them what you want in life and what your hopes and dreams were when you were their age. We cannot expect anyone to do our PR for us, we have to do it ourselves. It’s cool for our children to love us because we are their parents and they should but how about the love being based on them knowing the true you, and liking you for the person you are.

A friend of mine asked me to consider a few questions when writing this week’s post, I’ve also answered them below:-

1. Are you the kind of man you’d be happy for your own daughters to date?

Yes because I’m a work in progress. It’s possible for my daughters to end up with someone like me, so I owe it to them and myself to be as great a person as I can be. Any issues I have I must resolve. If they only see a good me they will end up with a good version of me.

2. When you’re an absentee dad, do you love the kid(s) as much as you do/would a child in the same home?

Yes and maybe more. As an absentee dad it’s sometimes easier to mask the hurt you feel because you miss your kids and act like you don’t love them as much. It’s not easy not being there when your children wake up at night. All I can do is make the most of the times that I am with them.

3. What is the one thing women could do better when co-parenting with an ex?

Talk to your ex. Keep the lines of communication open. Where kids are involved it’s never about the parents. Bad communication is replicated by the same kids you both claim to love. I believe if you love your kids you will do anything for them so would it be so bad to get on with your ex? Understand where he is coming from on issues that you disagree about. Find a compromise and above all get rid of all the negative energy around you both by taking the time to find out what’s causing it.

4. What is the one thing men could do better when co-parenting with an ex?

See above. Also understand what your ex is going through and be there to help and support. Parenting is a joint effort so if one of you is having a hard time then your child is probably having a hard time too. These days a child with two active parents is becoming a rare thing. Guys get rid of your egos and whatever hurt you carry and do what you know you should do. Be open to criticism as you would be open to praise. Realise that you and your ex both need to be on point.

5. As a dad, what is the one thing you would tell your children about life and/or people?

That life is predictable in its unpredictability and people will either love you or hate you. You cannot control the elements or people around you. You cannot stop life from beating you down or people from beating you up! The only thing you can do is look at yourself and choose how you want to be. I want my children to experience things for themselves, be strong and never give up.

Happy Father’s Day

Two Mamas for The Price of One Papa!

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2009 by prekosifa

Lil Man, I mean Wayne, is about to double his offspring and Baby Mama collection if it’s true that the toothsome rapper has knocked up both Nivea Nash and Lauren London. I’ll give it to him, it’s an original spin on the two-for-the-price-of one proposition!

I heard this and my first thought was, damn – how did a man that looks like a cross between a roach and a rat (does that make

Diva Mama One, Lauren London

Diva Mama One, Lauren London

him a ratroach or a cockrat? no pun…really…) get to know two gorgeous women let alone get to fuck them? I know I’m playa hatin’ and looks don’t determine anything when it comes to romance but damn!!! I guess the money and a star in the music hall of fame helped his cause. Women are attracted to men who are rich or really give it their all in the pursuit, so I get it but I don’t get it!

Diva Mama Too, Nivea Nash

Diva Mama Too, Nivea Nash

On a serious note, my real issue with this scenario is the potential implication for the kids. However Lil Man got himself into this – cheating on the women, a ménage-a-trois perhaps... or even confusion because female singers/models/video vixens look the same and he couldn’t tell who was who – one of the kids will lose out. Look, a man can only be in so many places/lives at any one time and secondly the woman who has the better relationship with him will be the household/kid that benefits.

I’m sad also for the kids out there that are not fathered by Wayne but look up to him as a role model. I know it’s not his day job but it is part of the price for fame & fortune; I kinda hoped someone in his position would exercise a little common sense because he has some responsibility to impressionable kids watching his every move.

The winner out of all of this is no doubt Lil Wayne, his playa status has just gone up higher than he can actually reach on his tip toes! There will be an army of young fools worshipping at his feet and aspiring to his reproductive talents. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe it was all an accident. Maybe right now Lil Wayne is pacing back and forth making intelligible sense for once in his life. Maybe he was even set up by the scheming divas trying to get an advantage over the competition. Who knows? I guess we never will. All we can do is comment and decide if it’s good, bad or irrelevant in our humble opinion.

Not-So-Big Daddy

Not-So-Big Daddy

Regardless, the birth of a child can still be a silver lining even in very cloudy situations and can help to dispel any negativity or drama. The trio in this case are just 20-somethings and the only real difference between them and their peers on the street is a few dollars and superstar status. Maybe the lesson here is to show kids out there that money and fame does not make you smart. You can still make bad decisions, still get caught out, still get in trouble, and still end up being chased by the authorities for child support. My plea to fans of Wayne and his harem is to heed this cautionary tale because looking at the lives of others can teach you a lot about how you do and don’t want to live your own life.

All that aside, I still don’t get what the divas were attracted to, have you seen him? Have you seen them? WTF were they thinking? Surely we have a responsibility to the gene pool don’t we? Wayne’s given short men with questionable taste in dental adornment permission to play well above their weight; I’m just sorry for the girls in clubs everywhere who’ll be fending off the Lil one’s followers. Am I being shallow about this? Check the pics and you decide.

Join the global conversation, leave a comment about this crazy, crazy situation.

Growing up and aging youthfully

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by prekosifa

I’ve just opened a bottle of rum and poured myself a double. Straight. No ice (I like it at room temperature). You see it’s my birthdaybday candles in a few hours and I’m in pre-celebration mode. I’ll soon be closer to forty than I have ever been and for some reason, that reality pushed me into a state of semi-depression, mild hysteria and, dare I say, a bit of a panic.

Take a sip…that’s better. The drink is calming my nerves finally. Now, I’m not boasting but I’m often told how young I look, and that I could pass for at least ten years younger than I actually am. And these words, although nice to hear, are not always saying nice things.

I made a connection long ago between experience and how old a person looks. There are things that we take on in life when we reach adulthood. It’s never about simply being old enough to be classed as an adult, it is also about what you have experienced. I was never serious about finding a career so I never became really focused on one goal. That approach worked well for me. People I know on the other hand, always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up and strived for that.

Grown ups being grown up...

Grown ups being grown up...

Once they achieved that goal, next came a serious relationship, marriage then children – in that order. They probably have every kind of insurance you can think of, take regular holidays with the family and are worrying about the banking crisis eroding their pension plan. Those are the things you do when you are a grown up.

So, that begs the question, what happens to those who never followed the rules and didn’t do things the way they are supposed to be done? Well I’m a prime example of someone who didn’t. You see, I believe that if you avoid grown up decisions, you avoid the stress that comes with those decisions and as a bonus avoid looking old. I don’t look my age because I haven’t lived a stressful, grown up life; instead I was too busy enjoying myself and thinking about growing up…one day.

Although I like not looking as old as I should, there’s a part of me that worries that I’m missing out on things that society says Ibday balloons should have acquired by now. I tell myself I’ve avoided the rat race, because it’s a race that no one can win, but deep down I long to be in some kind of race. I remember working for a major management consultancy when I was 25 and my boss at the time, although just a year older than me, could have easily passed for 45. 

I guess what I am saying is that life is about balance. I think everything you do should be enjoyed to the fullest and that goes for working and even being unemployed. You don’t stop growing just because you think you shouldn’t be happy. Since you only get one life to live (as far as we know) I’m going to take these last few hours before midnight to toast the life I have lived so far and to welcome the life I am going to live in the future. Here’s to the ups and the downs; even the goods and the bads.  I will think back to all the things I have done so far and focus on the lessons learned. I may even get a little drunk, who knows.

So my words of wisdom? Find a balance between managing the macro life plans and the micro stuff that quietly erodes your happiness on a daily basis. If there is anything right now that you are unhappy about, think about what it would take to resolve it then just do it. If something is standing in the way of your happiness, it’s also standing in the way of you being stress-free and in the way of you not looking your age, surely it’s worth sorting it out, even if it seems small in the great scheme of things. A little shallow perhaps, but it makes me smile.

Now, where’s that drink?

Cheers!

Cheers!