I can’t help but think of Alice in Wonderland—the Disney movie…and the caterpillar with the hookah…asking Alice this question while blowing smokey designs in her face.
No smoke here…but the question remains the same.
Who ARE YOU?
What are you here to do?
What’s your gift?
No, I’m not talking about something you got for a birthday or holiday—if you celebrate those.
I’m talking about something that’s special about YOU…something that you were BORN with—that no one else can do just like you.
I’m not talking about a skill like playing an music instrument.
I’m not talking about talents either…but gifts.
But what’s the difference, you ask? That’s what today’s guest on Planet Noun is discussing in this episode. Fredrick Bussey also wrote a book about it.
So let’s get right into it…he’s a dad…a speaker and entrepreneur…founder of marketing and branding consultancy IconStatus…his work? Helping brands and individuals to convey their stories with more power.
More from Fredrick Bussey author of the book “Breaking Orbit: Rip Out of the Regular by Unearthing the Power Within” on Planet Noun.
Learn more about Bussey via his social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram:
In August of 2019 I had the opportunity to attend a wedding in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is such a beautiful vacation spot, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit this lovely island again.
I stayed at the Atlantis on Paradise Island. I wish I had more time to experience what they had to offer, but my time spent there was very enjoyable and fun.
As it turned out, Junkanoo was also being celebrated. Oh the joy! I’d told myself that I wanted to start attending Carnival and Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean, and look what happened.
What is Junkanoo?
“Junkanoo, a Bahamian national festival, is a kaleidoscope of colours and sound,” states this excerpt from the Bahamas Government website, which also summarizes the festival’s traceable origins, and evolution of its costumes.
“The rhythmic sounds of cowbells, goat skin drums and whistles, accompanied by an array of brass instruments, create a sweet musical beat that will move you; while brilliantly coloured costumes capture your eye, and bring much visual delight. This bi-annual cultural highlight takes place on Bay Street in New Providence and other Family Islands during the early morning hours, from 1:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year’s Morning. Junkanoo can also be experienced on many celebrated occasions such as independence Day (July 10th). There is also a Junior Junkanoo Parade in December, held in New Providence.”
I was told by several locals that the parade in December is much bigger and that I should come back. Putting that on my bucket list. Have you ever been to any Carnival or Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean? Tell me about them.
One thing is for sure—it doesn’t automatically mean the exact same thing across any boards. That’s what the new Netflix comedy series, “Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show,” appears to explore through clever comedy vignettes which are stitched together amid a reality show backdrop. They take the reality show format and hijinks and transform them into utter hilarity!
Each sketch is part of the thematic lattice that, as individual segments and as a whole, challenges what it means to be black and, in a not so low-key way, asserts the oh-so-true notion that black folks in America (and anywhere) are not a monolith.
The show takes on a range of topics through a comedic lens—from world geography to Ice Cube Day, the lunacy of some olden-day nostalgia, and the oft repeated notion that ‘black don’t crack,’ — until it does.
There’s even a nod to a Mary Poppins who’s looking for a nanny job with a wealthy black family…and another nod to an original Twilight Zone episode–that one where a man was in a tizzy on a flight during a bad thunderstorm because every time he glanced out the window, he saw a demon on the wing…But the Astronomy Club puts a chocolate twist and some stank on it—and a little booty poppin’, too.
Each episode is roughly 20 minutes long, so the six-episode season is bingeable without decimating weekend or even weeknight plans.
Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show was launched on December 6, 2019, and is executive produced by Kenya Barris—the creator of the hit ABC show ‘Blackish.’
The Astronomy Club is an improv sketch comedy group that was founded in 2014. Its members are Shawtane Bowen, Jon Braylock, Raymond Cordova, Caroline Martin, Jerah Milligan, Monique Moses, James III & Keisha Zollar. Read more about them on the Astronomy Club website.
So my sister and I met up for Essence Fest during the summer…it was the event’s 25th anniversary. And we had a BALL! We mainly went there this year for the music and the marketplace that showcased all of these black-owned and produced product.
So we were meandering through one aisle…and a gentleman approached us and started talking to us about our skin. We were both satisfied with our current products but wanted to learn more about this brand. Then he introduced us to the product line creator…who is today’s guest on Planet Noun…
So we tried the moisturizer on our hands…and were impressed with how our skin felt…supple-soft…and the product had no heavy scent…another plus for us.
Now sis and are loving Three Notes Skincare!
But how did this business get started? Simple…It started with an issue that needed a solution.
Take a listen to Tanzania Crew—founder of Three Notes Skincare—on Planet Noun.
00:00—A skin problem needs a solution
24:38—The meaning of Three Notes
35:30—Good news for the company
Today’s guest—Tanzania Crew—founder of Three Notes Skincare. She joined me from the Memphis area. We met at Essence Fest where there were LOTS of quality products for sale in their marketplace at the convention center in New Orleans.
Here are some other products and sites Tanzania mentioned during out chat:
Doughful website: An online marketplace for folks who create doughful deserts to those who plan events where such artfully crafted treats are served up and eaten. Learn more on the Doughful website: https://www.doughful.com
The Pupp Cleanse This book sparked from the time when Tanzania got a rash after the birth of one of her children. She developed an intense rash and chronicles the process she used to eradicate hers.
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Life can abound with various challenges, but it’s up to us to take that stuff and make it into something better.
There are some folks in this universe who, despite challenges, imagine how they’d like life to look. Then they plan and move boldly in the direction of those dreams.
My next guest is one of those beautiful humans.
Deia Davis-Williams and I go way back to college. We’ve been connected on social media, but and saw each other in person for the first time in YEARS in New Orleans as Essence Fest was wrapping up. It was the first time at Essence Fest for either of us. Shoutout to Essence for such an awesome, affirming event!
Deia is a publicist…and founder of ExquisteM Public Relations. She’s also in law school and is very specific about her goals and the impact she wants to have in the African-American community.
Take a listen to this driven sister’s story…On Planet Noun.
00:00—Deia’s organic road to becoming a publicist.
04:35—The role family plays in the ExquisteM brand
10:20—How she knows the law path is right for her and for giving back to her community
38:15—So who are some of her clients? You know I TRIED to find out…
39:02—How Deia rolls when she walks into a room when there aren’t many people like her present
Thanks for listening to this episode featuring Deia Davis-Williams of public relations firm ExquisteM! Quite a few nuggets to remember in each episode… A key from this one to remember: Set clear goals, and if you want to reach them, figure out a way do so with persistence, honest hard work and integrity.
It’s always exciting when a new episode drops…this one is no exception. It’s the second of two collaboration episodes with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer.
If you haven’t heard last week’s episode, take a listen after you get through with this one.
So Barely Bougie Mamas is a podcast featuring Liliana and Tamara—two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences.
My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some kiki-ing and questions.
Last week, we talked about some of their experiences growing up vs. how their kids are growing up.
And this week, Liliana, Tamara, My sister Lea and I talk about something Le-Le and I know…being single, childless aunties….And the role all aunties play in the family fabric. Whether they’re linked by bloodlines or play aunties that are for real-real with their care, concern and involvement.
So let’s get to it with the Barely Bougie Mamas and Planet Noun:
Topics and timecodes:
03:13—Dealing with annoying comments like “You’re not married? You don’t have kids? And you’re HAPPY?” (Answer: Hell to the yes! Contented, single and childless women do exist, they’re real people)
08:55—Aunties to O.P.K.-Other People’s Kids
10:19—The Sister-in-Law Co-Parent (Tamara says don’t skip your visitations) & the Auntie Posse
14:15—Unmarried Aunties, do you realize your importance (and not just for babysitting)?
17:30—Liliana’s experience as a single, childless auntie
21:28—The fun auntie
29:32—An auntie’s listening ear
35:05—Forging the relationship with a potential auntie in your life
If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one.
I’m always excited when a new episode comes out…this one is no exception. It’s one of two back-to-back collaboration episodes we’re dropping today and next Thursday. Planet Noun’s first collaboration ever—and it’s with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer..
A capsule-sized explanation of their show—it’s about two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences.
My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some ki-ki-ing and questions.
A little background…Tamara and I met the afternoon this was recorded…But she’s listened to some Planet Noun episodes, and I’ve listened to Barely Bougie Mamas shows.
Liliana and I grew up together. My sis and I have known her for years. Matter of fact, we go so far back, I don’t remember WHEN we met. My mom says it was at church when we were wee children who were sat in the class for babies, toddlers and under fivers. We used to sit next to each other and suck our thumbs, mom said.
That’s enough intro! There’s cussing in this episode. You’ve been warned…now listen in!
1:32 — How Tamara and Liliana met, then learned they had things in common
20:22—Dealing with bullies
21:03—Snitching then and now
41:55—Whose kids are more bougie? Tear-jerking experiences with their children
51:13—What to expect from Barely Bougie Mamas podcast
If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one.
Listen to Liliana and Tamara, the Barely Bougie Mamas, on Anchor FM
Sometimes romantic relationships SUCK. Especially when they run off the rails…whether it be from growing differences between relatants or if someone just up and decides they don’t want you anymore, but they don’t bother to tell you about it.
Basically—when someone ghosts you.
Today’s guest experienced ghosting…she was the ghostee—if you will. Old boy turned her loose, but didn’t verbally communicate that to her—and wouldn’t communicate with her as she tried to get to the bottom of things.
So Lenina Mortimer wrote a book about it—to help someone else along the ghastly breakup recovery path.
Take a listen to Lenina Mortimer, author of the book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”
Let’s get this mourning in motion…On Planet Noun.
1:50—Getting the un-holy ghost(ting)
3:09—Discovering the root of dysfunctional relationships
6:24—Creating the Breakup Funeral
14:51—Timing: When is it best to hold a breakup funeral?
19:20—Why separation is healthy after a breakup/Why the Breakup Funeral is a communal experience
25:54—Running into the ghosted
30:09—A love letter to black women
35:32—Self-care is crucial to breakup recovery
38:50—Steering clear of breakup traps
41:31—To forgive or not to forgive?And when?
Get your e-book copy
Find out more about Lenina Mortimer and her work! Let’s start with a link to her e-book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”
Lenina’s also on social media. You can learn more about her coaching services there. Facebook Instagram
There’s a neighborhood in the dusty corners of the ‘hood, not terribly far from where the rich people live, where too many young teen girls have gone missing lately.
Then it happens—again.
This time, it’s 13-year-old Chanita Lords who has vanished from a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as The Jungle.
It’s another case that strikes Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton in the heart and gut because she grew up in that neighborhood. Norton also recently solved the case of her long-missing older sister Tori, whose bones had finally been discovered at a shopping plaza not far from where she was last seen all those years ago–part of the scant remnants of her last living day. Tori had been literally under their noses, yet just beyond reach.
So Lou takes another trip down memory lane to The Jungle, and to a family that still lives in the same apartments where Lou and her family used to reside.
Part of her walk includes revisiting and reuniting with families whose members were problematic on the bullying front back in the day. Now, it appears that foul attitudes and bullying jackassery were passed down to the next generation.
Lou manages to balance, though not always seamlessly, her unwavering dedication to police and detective work to keep other girls like Chanita from being snatched–while knowing how folks in her old neighborhood feel about the police and understanding why they do.
As part of the murder mystery backdrop, Rachel Howzell Hall continues to weave in relational dynamics between the characters in Lou’s life. From the ultra-tense sentiments she harbors toward her dad who ditched their family and is trying to make amends, to the tensions that arise based on cultural and environmental differences between the way Lou was raised and how her partner, Colin Taggert, grew up in Colorado.
But they still work well together as partners in crime solving, along with the other members of the homicide team. Part of the relational story includes a coming out and its aftermath between two longtime friends, and Lou’s attempts to juggle work and kind-sorta-but-not-really-but-still-kinda-sorta blossoming relationship with an Assistant District Attorney who seems like a great guy.
As for the murder mystery, Howzell Hall‘s writing, as always, keeps me guessing. Who are the main suspects? What’s up with the three mean hood chicks who lived in the same apartment complex as Chanita? Did they carry out one of those Lifetime-esque jealous cheerleader-type of murders and dump the body in a nearby park? What about the mom who had a roughneck boyfriend? The convicted pedophile who lived nearby? The girl’s counselor at school? Some of her schoolmates? Who, what-the-what, when, where, how and why?
Who killed Chanita and tried to deter investigators by injecting bug repellent into her thighs?
Who’s sending the ciphers and other mysterious notes? Who killed AGAIN? Is this a serial killer? What about the other missing girls? Who, when, where, what-the-what? How and WHY?
Well, that’s about all I can say without saying too much. But yes, is a page-turner! And I’m so gratified that I guessed the right killer! But the detectives thinning the field did make it easier, though.
To find out more, check out this read— Trail of Echoes. It was published in 2016.
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When you know what you do best, sticking to your guns—as singer-songwriter PJ Morton writes and sings—is how to get your life’s work done.
Today’s podcast guest is N’Namdi Olufemi Bryant, a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast “For the Love of A Cappella.” We get into some themes of his latest album during this episode. It’s titled “If We Could Only Talk.”
So N’Namdi and I had been talking about doing a podcast together for MONTHS, but as usual, life takes on its own plans. We were going to have him on before an album release earlier this year, then tech difficulties took over his project.
But the idea was still in both of our orbits. So—lookie here—I saw on Instagram that N’Namdi was in Washington, D.C. I said to myself—GIRL…..let’s make this happen! If you don’t ask him if he’ll have time for an interview—it’s an automatic no!
I asked if he had an time to chat. He said yes, and here it is! It all worked out.
So we met up at the Mansion on O Street. It’s a tourist destination located just off the bustling Dupont Circle, and has a fascinating trove of history tied to it. It’s also where N’Namdi sometimes performs.
There are so many themes to this podcast, and to preserve the integrity of the conversation flow, I tried not to do too much lifting and pasting of interview parts. We talk about negative self-talk, and what N’Namdi does to overcome that hurdle. Also—a discussion on imperfection and about the different ways he stretched his vocal range.
During our talk I learned some things I didn’t know in the decades since we last saw each other.
So let’s get right to the conversation, where we start talking about his podcast “For the Love of A Capella,”and where he got the idea for his program.
07:55-Why it took him more than 10 years to complete one particular song arrangement
11:05—The makings and stories behind his current project “If We Could Only Talk”
21:30—How Kermit the Frog came up in our conversation
26:06—The road to vocal range
31:51—The time we talked about skylines and smog
33:39—Homeless in Huntsville, Ala. and Nashville
49:59—The part about albums, hilarious singing telegram and touching ride-share driver stories
That was N’Namdi Bryant…singer, songwriter, musical arranger…lover of a cappella! His new project “If We Could Only Talk” and his other albums are available on various online platforms–including iTunes.