Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
KINGS & QUEENS (Photo by Carlton Heywood)
Hark Noble Citizens! A special time was had at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum, March 9, when the brothers who don the royal purple and old gold celebrated their annual Mardi Gras. This year the theme surrounded the Kings and Queens of the city. This theme gave guests that rare chance to be a king or queen, a prince or a pauper, a court jester or a castle troll.
More than 500 merry makers rolled out in regal splendor, donned in crowns, capes and tiaras. The invite offered fun, dancing, gambling, raffles and prizes. There was a cash prize for the best costume and for the best table. As always big money games were played in the “Quesino,” where there was Black Jack and the Big Money Wheel was spinning all night.
The Iota Phi chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. has been in Pittsburgh since 1925 and this yearly party serves as fundraisers to support their Thanksgiving Food Drive, Holiday Toy Drive, Historical Black College Tour, Carter G. Woodson Academy and Fatherhood Initiative/mentoring program.
Revelers included members of Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha, Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta and the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 12:36
Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
A few years ago I ran across the Big Black Book of Web Sites. It was actually an article in Essence Magazine on the best sites for your every need. Of course I saved it because there seemed to be so many web sites that I would want to visit and share with the readers of the New Pittsburgh Courier. Here are some of the best of the best:
In health and wellness
Calorieking.com—do you want to know how many grams of fat were in that KFC meal you just ate? Get the 411 here.
Letsmove.gov—the First Lady’s site details how to eat right and get enough exercise.
Blackwomanshealth.org—track health news and studies related to Black women.
Blackdoctor.org—locate African-American physicians in your area.
In the world of travel there are some great sites:
Blackatlas.com, sponsored by American Airlines, is a portal tailored to African-American travelers (interesting stuff).
Invillas.com—rent some of the most astounding luxury properties for your next vacation. Please note this is not for the traveler on a budget.
You know I love the bargains and there are some great bargain sites.
Fashionvault.ebay.com—shop the biggest names in fashion and save up to 80 percent off, timing is everything on this one, sales only last 60 hours.
Bagborroworsteal.com—rent a Coach, Louis Vuitton or Prada bag. Please ladies if you really want one just buy it.
Shopathome.com—search 100,000 coupons and deals.
Renttherunway.com—browse and rent pieces for specials occasions (and pray someone notices it).
Geeks.com—locate huge deals on your favorite gadgets from this direct to consumer e-commerce site.
The sites for beauty and hair care are quite interesting. Keep in mind that many sites are sponsored by a product and really want to sell you something, but you can find good information.
Aad.org—The American Academy of Dermatology provides an A to Z breakdown of the signs and symptoms of various disorders of specific to Black skin.
Rxforbrownskin.com—renowned African-American dermatologist Susan Taylor, M.D., delivers top notch information and products.
Afrobella.com—created by Trinidad native Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik, this blog celebrates natural hairstyles.
We all love beautiful shoes and there are tons of sites dedicated to footwear, here are a few.
Feverhoes.com— owned by African-American Natischa Harvey, this site features a wide variety of sexy and stylish women’s shoes worn by the likes of Raven Symone and Fantasia.
Samantahoes.com—check out the stylish array of shoes, including ones with wide widths.
Gwynthshoes.com- here, African-American designer Gwen Frempong-Boadu showcases her comfy yet sophisticated women’s shoe line, available in sizes up to 14.
Be careful shopping on line, use a safe and protected computer and shop with a credit card and not a card that is tied to your pay check.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 09:28
Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
After weeks of speculating (and speculating), the first lady's second cover for the fashion glossy has arrived -- and it's absolutely stunning. As expected, photographer Annie Leibovitz shot Michelle, who wore a blue and purple Reed Krakoff sheath plucked straight from her very own closet. The green background, the cool color palette and the choice to wear Reed Krakoff definitely reminded us of FLOTUS' official portrait.
Vogue's fashion editor Tonne Goodman led the team styling Mrs. O and the president, who appears in a photo inside the mag with the first lady. Also in the editorial is a third shot of Michelle wearing an elegant Michael Kors ball skirt and sweater. To accompany the shoot, the first couple was interviewed by Jonathan Van Meter, discussing parenting, marriage and their duties while presiding in the White House. Of course, since this is Vogue, they also talked fashion.
“If you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well,” Michelle said. May sure to pick up your copy as soon as it hits the stands, this issue will fly out of the stores, feel lucky if you have a subscription.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 09:06
Category: Lifestyle Written by Dion Rabouin
I'd like to take a moment to remember Lil Wayne. He's not dead yet, physically speaking, but his brush with death on Friday reminded me of what we'll be losing if and when he is gone.
On Friday, TMZ reported that the legendary New Orleans rapper had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being discovered "shaking uncontrollably" and "unconscious" on a jet flying out of Los Angeles.
He reportedly almost died, and even if Lil Wayne's latest seizure doesn't kill him, which from all accounts it won't, his behavior suggests he's lucky to have made it this far and his luck may be running out quickly. The codeine-saturated syrup that has become synonymous with Wayne's name and music has previously taken the lives of hip hop legends Pimp C and DJ Screw.
And it's already affected Wayne's music. The Lil Wayne whose music and lyrics mesmerized myself and millions of other hip hop aficionados has been dead and gone for years.
He was, for a time, the best rapper alive and one of the most astonishing and impressive lyricists in the world. He put together similes and metaphors like a wordsmith and at his absolute best no one could touch him, not another rapper, not a journalist not a poet not a novelist. He was that good.
He had an ability to move from witty and humorous to devastatingly serious on the same song, often in the same verse and occasionally in the same line. Almost all of that is missing in his music today.
That's why when the world erupted over his indefensibly foul and deplorable lyric about Emmett Till recently, I wasn't surprised. The line wasn't intended to be offensive or even controversial, it was just lazy. Wayne needed a new metaphor for being good at sex so why not take a stab at the long dead civil rights legend?
That's his signature these days – sloppy wordplay, thoughtless rhymes and an often crude obsession with female genitalia.
In his heyday, Wayne incorporated elements of pop culture, underground street life, Christian imagery and boss-level braggadocio into his rhymes. He was, as Time Magazine hailed him in 2008, "a savant who merges sex, drugs and politics with a sneaky intellect, a freakish knowledge of pop culture and a voice out of the Delta."
In addition to being a more than capable lyricist, Wayne was a marvel of musical endurance. He's recorded and released more music than seemingly any artist in the history of the recording industry. In 2007, Billboard reported that he released 77 songs. That didn't even include guest appearances on other artists' music.
A lot of Weezy fans haven't even heard his most impressive rhymes because much of his best material wasn't found on his albums. He put it on rare and obscure mixtapes that he gave away for free on the internet. Some of the best rapping he ever did was released digitally on compilation series like "Dedication," "The Leak," "The W Carter" and "Da Drought," all of which had at least one sequel. He released more than 20 official mixtapes and there's an almost infinite catalog of unofficial releases online.
Despite his penchant for giving his work away, Lil Wayne's ability to churn out quality, thought-provoking and popular verses time and time again still made him the undisputed king of Billboard. In addition to all the mixtapes, during his 14-year career he also released nine major label solo albums and seven others with groups like The Hot Boyz and Young Money. In September he passed Elvis Presley as the man with the most entries on the Billboard 100 chart with 109. The designation happened on his 30th birthday.
At his apex, his rhymes were a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, a fusion of the many worlds in which he existed. There was the world of high society and lavish expenditures; the world of his gritty New Orleans upbringing; the world of his inner circle, the Cash Money/Young Money family whom he often referenced; and the world of sports, celebrities and current events that fill news headlines.
I'm not sure whether it was drugs, fame or his obsession with money and rap's number one spot that took him from us, but the man whose ability to fill a 16 with lyrics that left us all awestruck has been gone for some time.
I hope Wayne can kick his syrup habit, get back to making great music and live a long, healthy life. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before and it seldom ends with the protagonist having an epiphany and turning it all around.
He suffered multiple seizures a few days before the one he suffered on Friday, according to a number of sources quoted by TMZ, and even that wasn't the first time.
"Wayne's latest seizures follow an unfortunate pattern – he dealt with seizure-like symptoms while traveling on a private jet last October. The plane made an emergency landing in Texas, and Wayne was taken to a local hospital," reported Rolling Stone.
TMZ also wrote of this latest incident that "sources say there's evidence Wayne went on a Sizzurp binge after being released from the hospital on Wednesday, because doctors found high amounts of codeine in his system. Wanye's stomach was pumped 3 times to flush the drugs from his system."
Things don't look bright for Wayne, but, in truth, they haven't for some time.
But here's hoping that he makes it, and if he doesn't, I hope history at least remembers the brilliance of who he was, because at his best he was one of the best we've ever heard.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 15:19
Category: Lifestyle Written by Debbie Norrell
When I was approached about joining Toastmasters I asked the sponsors if I could win any awards and they said yes, I was in. I like winning and the thought of receiving a trophy or plaque excites me. I love to see people receive accolades. When I was a student in school I couldn’t run or play sports and I didn’t think that I would ever be able to do anything that would earn a trophy. Now I have so many trophies that I am running out of space. They reside in my home office, living room and on my desk at work. It feels good to win and you should never feel bad about winning.
At the time of joining I didn’t think I needed much help speaking, but I have learned so much as a member of Toastmasters. As a member of the communications business in my outside life Toastmasters has expanded my horizons. I can now master the entertaining speech, the humorous speech and love to do impromptu speeches also know as “Table Topics” in the world of Toastmasters.
I have been speaking professionally since 1975 and truly enjoy it. My first time as a public speaker was a scary time, but via self talk I told myself that I needed to get my butterflies flying in formation. It worked and I’ve been speaking every since with confidence and panache.
Reportedly speaking in public is one of the most difficult things for some people to do. Being a good speaker gives you confidence and people will like to hear you talk. Don’t fall into that trap you may have fell into in high school or middle school where you don’t want to outshine your peers. You are an adult now and it is all about you. If you see someone that you admire their speaking ability ask them to be your mentor.
I’ve always worked on changing things that I don’t like about myself, from my fear of speaking in front of crowds to being a better friend and co-worker. Oh yes, people can change, they just have to want to change.
I have a quote on my wall at work, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take!” I first saw this quote about 14 years ago and now look at it daily. It reminds me to stop talking myself out of opportunities and to go for the brass ring every time. I am a big fan of motivational speaker, Les Brown. He can speak extemporaneously and that was a goal of mine to become a speaker of that caliber, I am proud to say that now I am a graduate of Les Browns’ “Speaking for a Living” workshop and he considers me a friend. I am a much sought after speaker in my community and circle. I’ve introduced some very famous people and emceed events in the tri-state area. Toastmasters has enhanced my speaking abilities and it is wonderful to add my Toastmaster accomplishments to my bio and resume.
Shine on! Debbie Norrell is an award winning speaker and a Toastmaster Competent Communicator.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:27
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