best trip to Africa so far. But allow me to start from the beginning
Dec 8th 7:01
I'm soooooo tired. I've been up since 5am yesterday trying to memorize the
lyrics to Pastime Paradise. I'm performing this Stevie Wonder song that's kinda
wordy. It's really a hard song to memorize. And I still don't really have it.
But I should be ok. I'm a little nervous about that. But anyway, I'm headed to
South Africa, yay!!!!!!!!
So I get on board and guess what? I'm in first class! I know right!!!!
And this is Virgin Airlines. Their first class seats are kinda uppity. It's like
sitting in your own little cockpit with personal gadgets and all. Who knew? This
is a blessing.
Those of you that have read my blogs before will not believe what happens next.
You give up??
A BABY!!!!!!!! I swear. I'm not saying this to get a laugh from you. The lady
and her baby are right next to me! I can't believe this! Babies are traveling a
lot this year. I really hope this is a quiet baby.
Of course the baby started crying which isn't a huge deal. Baby's cry. But the
mother didn't realize how loud she was as she was trying to stop the baby from
crying. "A Hoojy Koojy Koo. A Hoojy Koojy Woojy Doo." Wow. Do people still say
that to babies?
I'm not one to beat on women or even endorse it. But lets just say if I had a
cast iron frying pan or a hammer, she wouldn't be doing that this early on the
flight. Not to mention she pulls out this noise making rattler. I'm not kidding.
A rattler! WE'RE ALL SLEEP! The baby was just looking at her with this angry
look on his face.
I'm really not patient with babies. That's why God always puts them on planes
with me. This baby happens to be right next to me. Yeah. Right next to me. I
wouldn't have to reach far at all to slap it. The thing that is annoying is that
It'll be really quiet and then suddenly the baby yells out really loud for
attention. Boy, if I had a 5th of Bacardi Gold and the mother wasn't
looking........ Just kidding. But can't we give the baby a Benadryl or
something? Anything. Geez.
Have you ever noticed that most male flight attendants are .... lets see........
effeminate? I know you're thinking, "Really?? I haven't noticed."
But yes. Most times the male flight attendants, even in other countries are
extremely effeminate. Lets be very clear, I have no issues with that. It's just
my humble observation. Having said that, let me tell you about my effeminate
male flight attendant experience.
I was trying sleep with noise canceling headphones. I thought I'd try to block
the crying baby out. It was working. I was sleeping pretty good when I was
awakened by the most effeminate male flight attendant on the plane, who happened
to be kneeling down almost making the conversation personal.
"Sorry to wake you sir. But would you like some breakfast booty?", he said
rather softly in a British accent.
Now ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I swear on a stack of Mahalia Jackson
records that I'm a praying man. I swear I am. I don't bother nobody. I'm not
violent or nothing. I've been saying my prayers before I sleep lately. I'm even
starting to pay my tithes again after years of not paying them.
In my mind, and I'll be honest, I got a little scared. Because if he was really
soliciting my assistance in some sexual escapade, I'm going to prison for sure.
Then I thought, maybe he's talking about something entirely different. Why the
heck is my mind in the gutter? But no, this brother said Breakfast Booty!! Lawd,
I feel my left eye twitching. Maybe I shouldn't really beat him up. Maybe I'll
just take my pointing finger and depress it in his forehead 3 times and while
I'm doing it I'll say "No No No." Like he's a puppy.
I heard myself say out loud and pleasantly so that I wouldn't come off too
thuggish, "Excuse me?"
And again he looked straight into my eyes and said it again. "Would you like
some breakfast booty?"
So he pointed to the menu. I think he knew or maybe he felt my nervous energy. I
was really thinking that he was disrespecting me. What am I exuding for this man
to feel this comfortable approaching me for sex? But I quickly learned that
Breakfast Butty is a sandwich.
A breakfast sandwich.
Whew. That was really close. I was really scared.
Am I homophobic? I don't think so. I've never felt uncomfortable around gay
dudes. Why was my first mental reaction to the mans question violent? And some
of you heterosexual men reading this would have thought the same thing. LOL. But
really. Why did I get so offended? To the point that I actually was preparing to
yank the mans neck. The only reason I'm thinking about this is because I wonder
what would my reaction have been if he was a beautiful woman bending over me to
ask if I wanted some Breakfast Booty. LOL.
You know what? I would have certainly been offended! Disrespect is disrespect.
The baby is still crying but somehow it's tolerable. The mother is the one I'd
like to put to sleep. I'm sitting in my little space and she comes and invades
my space to try and keep the baby quiet. I knew you wouldn't believe me. That's
why I took a picture.
If theres something that enrages me most is DISRESPECT!
Don't treat me as though I don't exist or my feelings don't matter. This woman
is leaning over my Red Velvet cupcake.
And she must own a puppy because she has
dog hair on her. Hey!!!! I'm 6'3 at 285 pounds. You can't see me sitting here?
Here's the thing.. Not to turn this into a racial thing, because its not that
deep, but can you imagine me, the only brother sitting up here, with twist in
his hair, saying to this little poor defenseless woman, "Hey, you're in my
space. Can you excuse yourself?" All she would've had to do is scream and I'd
have gotten 5-10 easily. The judge would've waited for black history to sentence
me. LOL! Seriously though. She looks a little.. well.. dirty. And I'm about to
eat my cupcake. Look, I have the right to enjoy my cupcake without someone
invading my space dropping hairs and dead skin cells onto it. It's bad enough
that we're accepting the crying baby that she can't stop. But now she's going to
ignore my sitting here and just tend to her child in my space? The husband was
on the other side with the baby. I suppose she wanted to help from this side,
where I am.
So at this point I'm staring at this woman with a blank stare. Now I must be
careful because I'm the big black angry dude on the plane. And I've seen enough
stories on the news and in newspapers to know that being black has its
disadvantages in a court of law. LOL!!!! I'm a big thick dude. I have a beard.
I'm wearing a leather cuff. And my hair is twisted. That alone is enough for the
police to shoot on sight. For all she knows I could be one of those gangster
rappers. Eventually she moved. But she saw my disapproving look before she
moved. At first she was ignoring me. But I kept doing stuff to get her
attention. Just so she could see my look. LOL. I reached over for my cupcake and
with a stern voice I said "Ahem.... Excuse me."
That's when she went back to her seat. How rude is she? She had an attitude??
Did I misbehave? Maybe I forgot my place. Why is she acting as though she was
It's 9:47am and the baby is still crying. I can deal with this though. So long
as his dumb mother doesn't start with the rattling and baby sounds.
This cake taste like chocolate dirt.
What the..? How did this even make it through chocolate cake class with a
passing grade? This is horrible. They fooled me. However, they had the
presentation right. It came wrapped in a red little paper. Nice looking right?
This taste so bad. The second bite I took was because I couldn't believe how bad
the first bite was.
Here's a bit of randomness for ya. Nas' cd "Life Is Good" is really good. Well
produced. Come on, I'm from Brooklyn. Of course I listen to hip hop. Wait till
you hear the poetry cd I'm working on due in March. (Shameless Plug.)
Now you all know I'm ghetto at heart. I'm taking pictures of the meal. But this
is such a far cry from sitting in coach. I hate to see pictures of people's food
on Facebook. Trust me, I hate it. But somehow, I get it.
You all are not going to believe this but now the husband is invading my space.
This baby is causing a problem. You see now I'm going to have get a little
street. She's afraid to invade my space again and I suppose she sent him to do
it. I'm not going to stand for it.
I'm a nice guy. I swear I am. But these people must have not
read the script. Note to self, wear your wave cap, sagging jeans. and by all
means bring your Dr. Dre Beats headphones and listen to hip hop while
inappropriately bopping your head next time . People will certainly not invade
I'm on my connecting flight to South Africa and I almost missed it. If they
didn't allow me to skip the entire line I would have been stuck. I'm so glad I
said something. I truly hope everybody else was able to get on the plane.
Virgin Airlines is poppin!!!!!! They're playing house music and all kinds of
different genres. But good music. I like it a lot. Candi Staton did a Gospel
House record? Hmm. I've never heard of it.
I just told my age didn't I. Some of you are like, "Candi who? And who other
than strippers spell Candi like that?"
Hey. I'm a soul man. Candi Staton did some amazing music. She turned toward
Christianity in the middle of her career and did some major Gospel hits. That
doesn't always happen. Sometimes people change genres and flop. But you gotta
give it to her. She's still working. She's gotta be in her 70's. And doing
house. That's what I admire. So many singers are talented but are not working.
And here you got grandma playing on Virgin Atlantic airlines. She's making money
off of that alone especially if she wrote the tune.
Dec 9th 10:13am
I'm at the airport waiting for my luggage and two things struck me immediately.
1. It's burning hot
2. I've never seen black people on huge billboards in
airports anywhere else in the world
As we're all waiting to get our bags, this one guy decides to wait at the very
entrance of the belt, as if he's the only one getting his bags.
Do I let this
idiot have it, or do I give him a pass? I'm a little tired. I'll give him a
Our bags didn't make the trip. No worries. However, my underarms are going to start
serenading us really soon. My grandfather had some sort of West Indian descent
happening and, well I'm just saying. If I don't get some Secret or Right Guard
soon, there's going to be an issue.
Lawd my breath's smelling like hot garbage.
There is so much going wrong right now.
Check this out. When we arrived in Johannesburg I thought that was my
destination. I see Jerard and Gene and the rest of the guys. I just so happened
to over hear Gene say something about a connecting flight to Durban. WHAT?!?
Maybe I misunderstood something. My Itinerary doesn't mention Durban. I don't
have a ticket to Durban. That flight leaves in less than an hour. The tour
manager is handling a serious issue with one of the band members. So I take it
upon myself to see what's up with my ticket. I tell the guys where I'm going and
leave. I get to the ticket place and the lady says, "Your ticket has been
cancelled. You'll have to go upstairs to see what's going on. But I can see the
rest of your party on this flight. Something is wrong with your ticket." So of
course I try to make a call and I have NO SERVICE!!! OK. So I go back downstairs
to let the guys know what's going on, and THEY'RE GONE! Not cool. I can still make
this flight. Let me just go to the other ticket place the lady told me to get
to. I get there and wait on line. The line is long. I'm getting nervous. I tell
the guy, "Sir I have a plane to catch. May I please go ahead of the line?" He
replies with a heavy accent "They will call you." WHAT?!?
This is nothing but a test of my discipline. Fine. I'll just chill. I may miss
this plane. But worse things have happened.
Finally. I'm up to the front. The lady calls me. I just may make the flight. I tell her
my story. She gets up and pointed to an even longer line and says "Oh you need
to guh ova deh." At this point I'm worried. I'm in Johannesburg with no phone,
lost my friends, and I'm being misunderstood. I definitely am going to miss this
flight. So the best thing I can do is calm down. The lady closes her desk to
assist me. She walks me to a uniformed woman who seemed agitated and in a bad
mood. That woman told us to go to yet another line. I'm finally at the line to
purchase a ticket. I look to see who's behind the desk and there's a small sign
that says trainee. GREAT!
And she's talking to her colleague. Oh they were just having themselves a good
ole time. I said to them under my breath "Don't worry about me. I'm just in
need of major assistance over here. But by all means finish having your
discussion. It seems delightful." Idiots.
The woman says in a beautiful african accent, "May I help you seh?" I tell her my story
and she's saying that,
unlike the first woman, she doesn't even see my name. She sees the other guys
names. But not mine. OK. Lets not trip out. Maybe I'm jumping the gun but I need
to make a decision here.
I decide to look around the airport for the tour manager. When I didn't see her,
I decided to pray. Oh look, theres a prayer room. Now I've seen chapels and such
at airports but I've never been in one. This is perfect. So I make my way to the
prayer room. Every step closer to the room it seemed as though the volume to the
real world was going down. I can't explain what this feeling is. I was kinda
praying on my way to the room. There's a little emblem that says chapel. Doesn't look
like a cross. But I'll go with it. Maybe it's a synagogue silhouette. I get to
the hallway of the prayer rooms(I thought it was just one room) and there's a
sign that says male prayer room that way and female prayer this way. Ummmm....
Huh? I get to the male prayer room and there's that funny looking silhouette on
the door. I'm feeling weird in my heart. I open the door and reluctantly walk in.
There's a sign that says, NO SHOES BEYOND THIS POINT. Now I've been to plenty of
churches in my life, but never have I been asked to remove my shoes before
entering. I took one shoe off and noticed the Carpet and the way the room seemed
to be designed at an angle. Wait a sec..... Am I in a.... Holy Saddam Hussein!!
This looks like Osama Bin Laden's old hideout. Only kidding folks. But that
silhouette at the door was of a Islamic holy building. A Masjid or something.
The last thing I want to do is offend anyone.
I'd better leave. I can pray wherever I am. So I pray on my way to purchase a
ticket to Durban. My bags.. I'll see if i can get my bags sorted out when i get
to Durban. The other guys were on the flight before me. So I'm hoping they will
be there when I get there. We'll see.
I managed to get some WiFi happening at the airport in Durban. I got an email
from the tour manager.
Turns out I was supposed to be picked up in Johannesburg.
Yay!!!!!!! That's right. There was a car and everything waiting for me.
Folks. These things happen every day. Yes this has been crazy. I spent money.
I'm very tired and gassy. Not a great day. But God is an awesome faithful and
merciful God. I could be home right now making $0 dollars. So I'm grateful and
blessed. I'm hoping to get some direction from the tour manager soon. And all
will be well.
Well I was able to get WiFi here at the airport. A place called Muggs & Bean. So
I get an email from the tour manager. There was a little confusion going on. But
all good. She's sending Helen from Kaya FM to get me.
Helen arrives with her nephew Tyrone(if that ain't a black mans name I don't
know what is.)
Tyrone is a 26 year doctor in psychology. Talk about impressive. Tomorrow is his
birthday. Very very good kid. He's going places for sure.
Random thought. When I met him I immediately felt that he was a good young man.
The kind of guy I hear young ladies talk about. Good looking, humble, young, and
Question, for you young ladies. When you say you want a man like this, that has
this going for him and that going for him, what is it about you that should
compel him to not date any woman he wants, and be with you and you alone? And
believe me, I'd love love love love to hear your answers.
I haven't even published this blog yet and I already feel the venom from some of
you spewing at me.. But it's just a question. No need to take offense. Just asking for your
We drive to the hotel which is in a beach area. I asked why are some of the
people walking around without shoes? I was wondering was it poverty related.
Helen said that they were so close to the beach that this is comfortable for
them. There ain't nothing but, hmmm should I even say this? There's a lot of
women young and old who are proudly... I don't know how else to say it. LOL. We
all know that Africa is the motherland! It's where the biggest butts were ever
made. The only reason I'm mentioning this in this blog is because at this point,
I wanna see somebody with a flat butt so I can feel human. I'm no perv or
anything, and I don't mean this in a sexually gratifying way in which one may
admire a stripper. But In a way more like defying the laws of gravity. OK. Put
it this way. Everybody had a big butt. There. i said it. And the more I looked,
the bigger and rounder the butts got. I'm thinking to myself, this is crazy. How
is it not dragging on the floor?
Let me move on...
You get the picture.
I made it to the room in one piece. I'm still not drinking and it feels good to
not drink. I'm ordering some food though. I should try to sleep. Tomorrow we
board the ship.
Funny thing happened while I was in my room. Two pigeons were on my balcony. The
male pigeon was trying his best to mate with the female pigeon. They saw me
laying on the bed but didn't seem to mind. I think it's cause the window is
closed. The female pigeon was definitely not interested. I don't know if it was
because he didn't have a job or if it was his breath. But whatever it was she
wasn't interested. Now let me tell you how I knew that these birds were black.
He kept trying and she took her wing and seemingly slapped him clear off the
balcony. Leaving just one bird on my balcony!
LOL. Crazy right?
Dec 10th 2:00pm
Tyrone(Helen's Dr. nephew) picked me up from the hotel and drove me to the ship.
I spoke to Helen earlier and she said that they sorted the bags out. Whew!
Honestly, I was kinda worried about that.
I get to the ship and almost immediately I meet one of my musical heroes. Almost
instantaneously I went into fan mode. Jonathan Butler! "SARAH SARAH what
happened to you and I?" Remember that?
This is the second time I met him. I
don't know if it's me or not but he has to be 4'11 standing on a crate. He was
short. I remember he wasn't a huge guy but I think he must have lost some height
through the years. He was very nice though. I snapped a picture with him and
kept it moving. I didn't want to keep babbling his ear off. But he's one of the
few artist doing secular music and proudly lifting up the name of Jesus. I know
artist that do secular music and say they are disciples of Christ, but they
almost never mention him. Being a musician or singer is not being a disciple.
Having the gift of song and performing Gospel music IS NOT BEING A DISCIPLE.
It's something that takes place in the heart. And it's not about being perfect or
spotless. It's just like a marriage. It's a vision for your life, as well as a
relationship you want to live with. There are signs of a person who loves
Christ. It's simple. Not fanatical. And I'm not a judge. But usually it's the
persons humility that tells where their heart is. Jesus, while he was here, was
very humble. And I believe that every good thing, and every talent, and every
gift comes from God. No matter how you slice it, it always goes back to
something God did to make it happen. Of course that's just my belief. :-)
I'm on the ship and I love my cabin. This is so nice. Gloria would have loved
this. The only cruise we've ever been on is The Circle Line Cruise in NY. LOL!!
Speaking of which, she's going to be annoyed because the Internet is $22usd an
That means I'll contact her in a few days.
Although Louie Vega feat. EOL is more than House music. It's nice to do a Cruise
like this and represent House Music. I've seen House(soulful) come a long long
way. And here I am being one of the artist featured on a Cruise ship in which
the tickets have been sold out to people that know my music! Do you see what I
mean when I say it all comes back to God? Only he can make this happen. If I
could make it happen, it would have happened 27 years ago when I started.
Everything in Gods time... I feel emotional.
I feel overwhelmed with Gods favor. Thank you Father.
OK. So they do this emergency drill kinda thing. WITH THE ENTIRE SHIP!
Everybody on the ship, maybe 2000 people, had to go through this drill with life
preservers and all.
Umm. This is kinda crazy but I get it. I'm thinking to myself, "This is kinda
I'm just saying. All of these brothers and sisters getting tagged and numbered
and what not.
An English man giving us instructions. Confusion and sweating on an African
shore?!?!? Lawd should I start runnin now? Jonathan Butler is standing in front
of me sweating, looking like he just got finished playing a banjo.
Lawd I'm noivous..
Sidebar:This is mean of me. But I took this picture to show you all how little
Jonathan is. LOL. I love that man y'all. Don't tell him that I made fun of his
I feel kinda excited. I'm showered and ready to enjoy this cruise. It's kind of
strange. I'm going to have a great time. This being my first real cruise and
all. On board with a few friends and all of these beautiful African people. Why
is Gloria's absence bothering me so much. I think it has something to do with me
knowing that she would have enjoyed it. To be honest, I don't think the fun part
hit me till now.
I've been living without drinking any form of alcohol for 2 months and I think
I'm going to make it my lifestyle. Let me emphasize the "I think" in my last
statement. If I have a drink, it will be,
1. Not until 2013 and
2. Only wine.
No more Tequila and Beer.
So I had some eats with some of the EOL crew. We laughed and talked trash for a
while. Zuleica has our bags in her room. So we all go to Zuleica's. When we get
there she says "OK here's Josh's bag." And my heart dropped. Yes. It's ONE of my
bags but I had two. I gave two little ticket claim things to Helen. But here's
my one bag. This is really upsetting. But the way I see things, it could always
be worse. Getting upset is only going to make my heart beat faster than it wants
to. Sure my deodorant, toothpaste, and cologne are in that bag. I just bought
some nice Adidas. But those things are foolishness in the eyes of God.
*I think I just cheered myself up. I think*
The truth is I'd rather be spiritual all of the time but there are going to be
times when I'm going to get pissed. Sometimes violence may occur. LOL.
But this is not one of those times. I'm ok. A little hurt. I don't like losing
anything. I don't even like when the Eagles lose a game. And I especially don't
like losing at someone else's oversight. But I'm ok. Yep.. I'm allll right. Man.
I love that cologne. And I had a pair of white patent leather shoes that I love
in that bag. But I'm not upset. Nope. I'm ok. Yes. Juuuuust fine.
I'm ok. Yes. Not upset. Just realize my shaving cream and brush was in that bag.
But I'm not upset. Really. I'm ok. See?
Told you. I'm not upset.
Everything's going to be just fine. This is the perfect time to have a shot of
Tequila and chase it with a freezing cold Corona. But nope. Water, juice, and
soda for me.
I'll be brutally honest with you though. In my two months of not drinking, this
is the first time I felt tempted.
So tempted. Maybe I'll go to the bar and just look at the Patron.
OK. I lied. But not purposely. I was upset. I mean really upset. I wanted to use
profanity.. Hell, I was even going to make up some curse words because the ones
that we know really didn't say it like I feel it! But I was trying to practice
what I preach. Positivity. But I now have no change of clothes, a pair of
sandals and a bushy face. I need a shave. I don't use razors. And I have only
one pair drawers(underwear)! It may seem small to you but try performing with no
drawers and your stones slapping up against your thighs while keeping a smile
and continuously singing.
On top of that, it's so very unattractive to see an artist who looks unkept.
So I called Jerard(the drummer) who said a few things on the phone that chilled me
right out. He's like me, a church dude at heart. "Yo" he said with that big
brother tone, "we still got work to do." Pow! That was all I needed. It was
almost like saying "lets be glad we got work to do." Or "Man up." Or even "Stop
being a baby." Your friends will keep it 100% with you.
There's still a chance that I'll get my bag back. But I thank God that I have
income even if I never see my bag again. For those of you reading this that are
singers, musicians or in business for yourself, things will sometimes happen and
go way wrong. It's better to remain calm, and be cool. Do not play the victim
card. Don't speak loudly and cause others around you to feel responsible. Remain
a team. This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. This is one
for my blog stories.
And now I'm ok. Yes. Juusssst fine. Not at all upset.
Dec 11th 1:33am
We had a production meeting earlier at around 10:00pm. So now we have clear
direction as to how this thing is going to flow. Louie says that Jonathan Butler
is going to play with us. That's going to be extra cool. We're even going to try
and vamp out a Jonathan Butler song. I just so happen to have his music on my
iPod. This is great. Before going to our cabins, we all kinda hung out with the
Kaya FM guys. They were playing house music and the mood was cool. Anané went to
sleep and Louie said he would soon follow. Well......
Louie goes to the booth to say something to the DJ's and the next thing I know,
he's on the crossover and the crowd goes wild!! For that 5 minutes he changed
the entire mood of the floor. Everybody got up. It was a party! But that was it.
He played that one jam and got off. We all we're a little tired so eventually we
all went back to our cabins. But House music here in South Africa is very much a
I love it.
Ummm. Why am I wide awake eating a small jar of jelly beans, watching African
House music videos?
We're docked in Mozambique. Wow. Mozambique? That's a place you only hear about
I'm not a soap opera kinda guy, but I must say, I love love love "Generations".
It's an all African cast. There are subtitles. And the people speak a mixture of
English and their native tongue. Nuyoricans do it all of the time. My sister
Mayra is like the master of Spanglish.
The actors would say something in their native tongue and finish the statement
with something in English. What was really cool was that the entire cast had
locks, braids, bald heads, cornrows and every natural hairstyle you can think
of. This is something else. And talk about good acting? They're really onto
something. BET tried something like this. But in my humble opinion,they made it
too sexual and predictable. The commercials were just making the episodes
pitifully obvious. What I'm watching here has plenty of sex. But there's also
suspense, drama, sensitivity, morality, and plenty of thought provoking
material. I love it.
I'm going to sleep all day. Maybe I'll get some practice in with that Stevie
Wonder song. I'm DJing at 10pm. So I get to play some of Honeycombs new music.
That's always fun and exciting. You never know how people will react to music
they've not heard before. I take chances sometimes when I play this stuff. I
like it. But I'm never sure if the audience will.
Random thought. Why don't folks in our scene make more music videos. I'm
watching this African channel, and they're showing all House music videos. Now
the videos are clearly low budget, but they're videos and people watch them.
In the U.S. we want to be played on MTV, VH-1, and BET. I get that. But wouldn't
it be nice if we had a cable station, or something local that played all House
music videos. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a video production company that
offered video production packages? Sounds good right? Here is the thing about us
that must first change. Our House music mentality. We are so hard to please! And
very cheap. And we want the best possible production for $300.
Videos can run up to $40,000 easily. Ever so often a company like, lets say
Prestige out of East Orange NJand DJ Swift out of ATL will come along and
offer the best value for our dollar. But because we're not educated in video
production we think $4000 is entirely too much money when in fact you're getting
a serious break. And then we want to direct the video and put all of our boys,
Meeka's kids, Quanda and nem, our niece that wants to sing, and whoever else in
the video and cut corners so much that we end with a video that looks like Lil'
Ant, and Mook shot it on their mothers iPhone. I'm no authority on videos but
one thing is for certain. When it comes to videos, allow room for the video people
to do what they do. Assist them in making your vision happen. Don't suddenly
become a film director, editor, producer. Trust me, we can see in the video
where you took over and frustrated the director.
I was going to produce and artist whom I felt would have made a huge difference
vocally in our scene. We talked on the phone for 5 minutes and I immediately
knew that this wouldn't work. He spent the entire conversation telling me how I
should produce his music. He started off wrong. Be an artist and get produced.
Otherwise produce your own records. Input is appreciated, but direction is
presumptuous and rude. Same goes for videos.
OK. I'm done preaching. LOL.
Sometimes in life God throws an angel in front of you to remind you of his
goodness. The tour manager Zuleica bought me 2 shirts and a bottle of cologne.
The shirts were very expensive and the cologne wasn't cheap. This is nothing she
had to do, but she wanted to put a smile on my face. I cherish friends like
that. She prioritized my happiness. I almost felt emotional.
Well anyway, I just had dinner and now I'm just kinda lamping. I love the whole
cruise thing, but I can't be around children on a ship. It's almost never the
children that annoy me. Usually it's the parents that seem to NOT see when their
child misbehaves. I don't think 7-10 year olds should wonder aimlessly around a
cruise ship. And you'll see a lot of that on this ship.
Although this is my very first cruise ever, I'm going to make cruising one of
our things. But it can't be a spawn of Satan, child friendly thing. It would
have to be an all adult sexy trip. Can I get an amen?
OK. Let me rehearse this Stevie Wonder song. LOL.
Dec 12th 5:06am
I'm just getting in from last night. And I'm going right back out to have
The night started kinda blah. My mood was funky. I was feeling the absence of my
bag. I really needed my stuff. Louie saw me and said "You need vibes." And I
knew what he meant. He was right. Sometimes good music will take you out of a
stank funk that you're in. Well he got on the decks and played music that not
only healed me, but put me in a nice mood. He played music from the EOL Eclipse
CD and the EOL Icons CD. It was nice to see the crowd react. They loved it we
loved it. It was great. It was about 2 hours in and Luisito and Roberto Quintero
got on the percussions and turned everything up a notch or two.
We were all
excited. The crowd loves Louie. Although Luisito and Roberto were playing
beautifully, clearly Louie was directing this situation. So that went on for a
while. Luisito did a timbale solo that wowed the crowd. They were yells and
screams coming from everywhere. This night is of the chain. About an hour later,
Louie yells out, "Where is Dominic?" So Dominic grabs his guitar and plays the
chords to the songs Louie is playing. Now this enables to Louie to play with the
song even more. He actually shut the volume all the way down and let Dominic
play until the crowd sang with Dominic. Crazy!! It just kept going higher and
higher. Every song made the people hotter and more nuts. Junito gets on the keys
a little later. And because he played on a lot of the songs, he knew the chords.
At this point Louie has a band situation. It's a party! One woman in a
wheelchair who clearly didn't have the use of her legs was dancing harder than
anyone on the floor while in her chair!
It touched my heart.
So Axle replaces Junito on the keys. Axle is an eclectic Cuban brother thy the
people just soaked up. He's a tall dark brother with a platinum blond super Afro
and goatee. Beautiful personality. People were taking pictures with him. He
played a few solos and then it was my turn. I hate when I don't know what to do.
I thought Louie was going to play Your Body. No. He wanted me to play and sing
it. Talk about being on the spot. LOL. But the people dug it. I did one verse
and he brought the track in. It was cool. Anané came on and to be honest, she
should have shit the party down. She played all of the perfect records. The
crowd was totally into her and connected with her. She was looking beautiful and
like she was having a good time. I feel happy just watching this moment.
And then the climax of the night happened. Louie and Anané's playing together.
At the same time. Louie's smile is like a child in a candy store. He was more
happy than I've ever seen him. Jumping around dancing, singing to his bride and
she was singing back to him. They looked so in love.
I'm thinking "They should
close out." But then it happened. Louie says "Yo. You got your CD's?"
Man.. I had my CDs but Anane is killing right now. You want to put me in there
now? But I went on and did ok. I had a wonderful night. Jerard and the cats were
all there supporting. They were sipping on a bottle of Smirnoff. I was very
proud of myself on many levels. I didn't at all have a desire for any beer or
Tequila. That's huge. The people started fading out slightly. It was getting
late. Greg got on after me and rocked till the sun came up. I stayed till the
end. I wanted to see how people would hang. And they hung. I'm tired now. But
I'm going to get some breakfast this morning.
Right before I leave to get some breakfast God smiled at me. It was a rare
moment in my life. But I know the voice of God and how he speaks. I caught his
face on video. Tell me if you see him.
At rehearsal and everybody is sick. I feel motion sickness but Axle threw up on
the stage. The camera man is sick. This is crazy. Louie is trying to hold
everything together. But we're getting though it. Anané came into rehearsal
looking a little flush. The ship is wobbling a lot and we can feel it. Axle is
laying on the floor.
Man. This is bad. But I'm sure things will get better. I
noticed once the band started vibeing together everybody put their sickness
aside. There is a few songs that I wasn't involved in. Anané sings a song that
sounds very much like Haitian music. Very worldly. It's different. One
can feel the cultural scope of this group. Anané does a song in her native Cape
Verdian language. It's a treat to see.
After she does her songs I get on to do
what I do. My songs are more soulful.
Before we do my songs, Louie comes over to me
and throws some last minute idea's at me.
I like all of the cultural differences
between us. Luisito Quintero is from Venezuela. He and his cousin Roberto bring
their Latin percussion to the table. They really raise the feeling of the entire
band. The heartbeat of it all is Jerard and Gene. They hold down the floor of
everything. Axle, and Junito are on keys. They give the structure to the songs.
Dominic on guitar gives us color. Everybody has such different backgrounds
musically. It's like a musical gumbo. Tasty!
I hate sounding egotistic or being misunderstood as such. But to hear the band
play these songs feels extra good. I remember when we were creating them. And to
hear them now is just amazing. Everybody is adding their ingredient in the mix.
Phil the sound guy has everybody sounding great.
Dec 13th 3:27am
So we did the show in a beautiful theater on the ship. It kinda felt like we
were doing Vegas. It wasn't a club setting at all. I'm not accustomed to seeing
seating when I'm performing. The band kicked the show off with a few
instrumentals. Anané followed, and did her songs and then me. What I appreciated
mostly was Louie. His job was to know everybody else's part better than
everybody. He really did a good job at directing the band. If I forget to come
in, he'll be there to let me know. The only way I can mess up is if I didn't do
my studying of the song. He knows every single part. I was impressed. Overall,
on a scale of 1-10, tonight was a solid 9. We had fun on stage.
Afterwards we went to hang out at the disco where Kaya FM was having their
party. We met a lot of people who enjoyed the performance. I shook a lot of
hands and took even more pictures. I felt blessed that the people loved us that
I'm now in my cabin ordering a Smoked Salmon sandwich. I hope this is good. I'm
hungry and sleepy. I'm slungry. LOL.
Today was really calm. I pretty much chilled all day. The sound check wasn't
going as planned. A few things changed. We were supposed to perform in one area
and they had to change it due to an electrical issue. Things happen. It's always
best to remain calm. Louie is cool about everything. And everybody is willing to
do whatever needs to be done to make the show a success. That's a good team to
be on. Everybody is playing their position and nobody is trying outshine the
other. Sooooo rare.
Round 2 is going to happen in a few hours. Could be 10 or 11pm. But this time
it'll be outside in more of a club type setting. The top deck of the ship has a
huge dance floor and two pools. The 12th level is kind of like the first tier to
the 11th deck. It encircles the entire dance area. That's where we're
performing. The people will have to look up from the 11th deck to see us. Weird
but still ok. It's the best that can be done. And the show must go on.
It's time for sound check. And I immediately notice that possibly because we're
outside, my voice is maybe at 55%. Some notes I wasn't even going to attempt.
But I learned something. And Raul Midon said this a long time ago. Never attempt
to sing without warming up. I got on the mic without really speaking all day.
I've been in my room just about all day without talking. And now I'm trying to
reach notes. I'm glad that this sound check isn't really for the vocalist per
se. I'd better get some tea and practice.
Dec 14th 12:05
We're on. I've been warming up since 10. And just now, I feel up to it. Wow.
That means that every time I sing. I'll need at least an hour to seriously warm
up. Sheesh. It's something I should have been doing to be honest and transparent
about this. That's the difference between being ready for the next level of my
career, and just getting by. I already was in gear for this kind of vocal
preparedness even before I left. I now have a vocal coach recommended by Lisa
Fisher. I was trying to see her before I left home to come here. But she didn't
have a slot for me.
I'm kinda angry, disappointed and feeling a little deflated. I started losing my
voice and everything. It wasn't the worse I've ever done but I don't feel as
though it was entirely my fault. There were a couple of things happening that
made me feel completely disconnected. I'm sure these things happen. However I
feel as though tonight's mishaps could have surely been avoided. I will discuss
these feelings with Louie at a later point. But right now everyone is partying
and I don't want anyone to feel my absence. So I'd better go
ahead an engage.
I'm in the lobby with everybody. Everybody is seemingly happy and still excited.
Tonight we're doing a TV show. Kind of like MTV.
We disembarked and now Kaya FM is treating us to a day in the spa. We arrive and
the first thing I see is a lizard. I really don't play like that. And
unknowingly the driver opened up my door. RIGHT NEXT TO THE LIZARD. I felt like
killing him. And the thing was kinda juicy.
OK now this is excellent. However the bugs are like small birds. I don't play
bugs lawd. Why are they here??
The name of the place is Mangwanani.
It's a spa with all of the bells and
whistles styled in the likeness of a Zulu African Village. It's really nice.
They greeted us and we were escorted to the area to change our clothes.We had a
nice breakfast. Some sweet bread, yogurt, and a muffin. There were at least 6 of
us together. So when it was time for the first treatment, they would play the
African drum. So we all went to a hut where the ladies were there to do our
neck, shoulder and head massages. That lasted for at least 30-40 minutes. And
then you'd hear the African drums. All of the masseuses were massaging in sync
with each other because we were on the same schedule.
Then it was time for the full body massage with hot stones. Now here's where the
drama began for me.
Remember I'm still traveling with only one bag. My other bag with my underwear
in it is still somewhere out there in the world. LOL. I think it's between
Johannesburg and Durban.
So I'm walking around Houdini style. No underwear.
The lady asked me to disrobe. Of course I'm thinking she was going to leave and
then ask me to disrobe. Oh no. She stood there waiting. I explained to her that
my one eyed black American ninja was loose and without covering. I'm not wearing
underwear. So she backed away slowly. It was almost like she thought I was
trying something inappropriate with her. "Oh no sah. We don't do dat heya." I'm
thinking, "Do what heya?"
So I replied," I'm sorry ma'am. I didn't know the policy here." I walked out of
the little hut thoroughly embarrassed. All of the masseuses that were standing
outside we're staring at me. They're stares felt like a classroom of 5th graders
mocking me. "Ahh Haaaa. He con't get a massage. He cont get a massage. Look at
de mon wit no undaweya. He con't get a massage. So I walked in the locker room
of shame. I took a shower and changed. When I came out the masseuse lady was
there at the entrance. She said "What are doing? Why are you dressed? " I said
"You told me that it's not policy to touch men with no underwear. I have no
underwear." She said "I will find you something. Plis tek yo close off."
So I changed and went to the hut where she was waiting. She covered me with a
towel and massaged my whole body perfectly. She used the sweetest almond oil.
She finished me off with the hot stone treatment. Man oh man. Those stones were
After that whole thing, the drums sounded. It's time for foot massages. Well
this is a treat. And it's the same lady. Perfect. After that the drum sounded
again. It's time to eat. The food is fresh and kind of organic. I ordered the
fish but they have me turkey. Of course. They taste close enough.
The women workers came in to perform for us. They sang, chanted and danced to a
few songs. One woman was playing the African drum.
At first it was kinda of a traditional Ladysmith Black Mambazo kinda thing. But
then it got serious. One of the girls jumped out of the line up and started solo
dancing. We could feel that this was getting spiritual. The looks on their faces
went from happy smiles to faces of worship. The next girl was even more animated
than the first. But I notice they're all ending their dances with a high kick
and land with a stomp. The feeling in this place is getting slightly more
intense. By the time the fourth girl gets up to praise, it's really serious. Her
eyes were shut a few. And the other girls were cheering this girl on. We do that
in church. When someone is praising God, you encourage that person by yelling
out "Praise Him sister!"
And this girl didn't even start the kicking part yet. When she started kicking
high in the air, she was changing the rhythm with her stomp. And she was
purposely doing this. It raised the feeling of in this place. When she stopped
kicking she did a circle dance while clapping her hands. But it wasn't her
close. She was doing that and the other ladies started clapping like she
clapped. And just like that she started the kicking high again. And the other
ladies cheered loudly. It drew us in. What a way to end a perfect massage. I
could have gotten totally emotional if this were to keep going.
We eventually finish our meals and head to the airport.
I'm worn out. I can hardly stand. We have the TV show to do and we're still in
another city. Durban.
This airport is the smallest airport I've ever seen. The departure area was a
room and the arrival area was another room. One coffee shop was there. Some ants
and flies were there showing their love.
We arrived at the hotel. It's crazy beautiful. My room is very much a suite
complete with partition type doors, king sized bed with the fluffiest downs my
body has ever slept in. I friggin love it. Moises our tech/road assistant is a well built dude like myself(SHUT UP!) He brought me a pair of new underwear out of a pack that he had. I thought that was really kind. I know you guys are thinking,
"Eeeew. You wore another dudes underwear?" But shut up!
They were new, and you weren't in far country with no drawers!!
Good looking out Mo!!
On the way here we listened to the radio and they were playing all soulful jams
like "Can You Handle It" and "I Appreciate". Soulful 80's r&b, funk. It was
Dec 15th 7:28am
When did I go to sleep? Louie said that he probably will stick to the interview
portion of last nights TV appearance. So I'm hoping that was the case. If not,
I'll be in big trouble because that means that they were knocking on my door
trying to wake me up for last nights performance and I slept right through it.
Dec 16th 4:23am
I'm just getting in from a very good show. We all had fun. Everybody did their
thing. I forgot two major parts in two songs. My mind was everywhere. The crowd
didnt seem to care. They were extra special. I felt the love from the brothers
and sisters of Joburg. A+!!!!! This is the perfect way to end a mini tour.
I'm looking forward to coming again. Kaya FM took extra good care of us. I'm off
Dec 16th 8:39pm
I'm happy to be going home. There's work to be done. Songs to write and business
to handle. I'm going to speak with some people about possibly signing my solo
project. That's exciting. I told you all about the poetry album, and eventually
I'll have to get back to Dawns project. The new Sheree Hicks, Tracy Brathwaite,
Cinnamon Brown, and Lamone joints are in the works for January and February. My
birthday boat is in June. Things should be nice and busy for Honeycomb Music in
the next few months.
When I arrived to get my ticket, I inquired about my bag. They found it! Can you
believe that? Wow.
Anyway, I'm in my seat on the plane thinking of some of my FB, Twitter and other
social network friends. We're all blessed with life. The tragedy of the
senseless killings in Connecticut reminded me of how precious life is. I thank
God for my life. And I thank you all for being a part of it in whatever