Tchoupitoulas. This has become one of my favorite words; I love the way it rolls of the tongue. I saw this street so many times throughout the duration of my trip to New Orleans, that I took it as a sign (truly, no pun intended). Decided to name my first-born after the street…he, or she, will be nicknamed “Chop”. Yeah, yeah, it sounds crazy, but if folks name their children after medications (I know that there has to be a ‘Boniva’ out there, somewhere), I can name my child after this street.
Anyway, Day Two of the festival had more going on at the convention center, during the day, than at the concerts that night. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the performances I saw. But for me, there weren’t that many “must see” performances that night. Only folks I HAD to see was Mint Condition and they were awesome! But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
We arrived at the convention center earlier than we had the first day. Saturday’s seminar schedule looked like it would be very informative; I enjoy the relationships and man/woman discussions from Friday, Saturday was about education, parental responsibility, and our community in general. We caught a bit of what Al Sharpton spoke and I could appreciate his view of the n-word and it’s use in the community (video clip here). I dislike its use and wish it would fall by the wayside, especially since there’s the whole “others using the term vs us using the term” issue. Just stop using it period. See? Problem solved.
I don’t care what anyone says, Bill Cosby has very valid points about the foolishness that goes on in our community and I don’t understand those who are against his voicing his opinion (video clip here). Now, I will say this: he does go off track and sometimes one is left thinking “What in the world is he talking about?” But I take that with a grain of salt because the man reminds me of my grandparents. My friends say the same thing; he has hit that age where he can say what he wants, how he wants, because he has lived for so long. I look forward to that…I plan on being a trip *grin*…
I appreciated what Jada Pinkett Smith said regarding self-image and how it can affect the way others view you (video clip here). If you don’t regard yourself highly, or respect yourself, no one else will. I also thought she was on point regarding the way kids learn (video clip here). It is important to tailor curriculum in such a way that kids strengths remain strong and their weak areas are strengthened. I know it has to be hard to do, which is why I don’t understand how teachers make so little when compared to other salaries.
Dr. Steven Perry is a funny guy; he’s about taking care of business but he doesn’t seem to be a stiff. He discussed the ways in which parents should carry themselves, especially while in their child’s (or children’s) school. He said parents come into discuss important issues regarding said child (or children) dressed like their going to the club. He said that when you go into your child’s school, go in like you’re about the business of your child’s success. Come in dressed appropriately! He has seen mothers come into the school in barely-there outfits and fathers come in wearing jerseys, with their pants hanging down, like kids! He said that sometimes the children look at their parents and then look at him like they are embarrassed. And this isn’t surprising at all. I know we have all seen an example of this in our real lives.
The most awesome part of our day at the convention center occurred when T.I. and Idris Elba made appearances in promotion of their film, Takers. I was mad that T.I. arrived so late because he and Idris were scheduled to appear in separate areas on the center. So I only got to listen to him, and record him, for a moment before we rushed off to find the Tide area (video clip here).
The ladies hardly let Idris enter the stage area! It was like as soon as he walked out to make his way toward his seat, they bumrushed him! The security people were frustrated and started getting short with people. My attitude was about to switch from “slightly annoyed” to “who the f*** are you talking to” (one of the volunteers, a woman, was real snippy; I think she was mad because she didn’t have a camera, had to work, and couldn’t enjoy the moment like the rest of us fans).
I moved back just enough and after that I was done because I didn’t want any of the other fans hopping in front of me; I had a great spot and I refused to give it up. Finally, Idris was able to get to his seat and his interview began. I was so happy; snapping pictures, with my digital cam and my phone, and recording some of the interview (video clip here). I wouldn’t behave that way for every celebrity, but Idris just does something to me…maybe it’s the accent *smile*.
After checking out a few of the booths in the marketplace, and purchasing some Adinkra earrings (Sankofa symbols) and an Ankh loc tie, we left to get something to eat before getting ready for the concerts that night.
After a brief parking ordeal, we made it into the “My Black is Beautiful” Superlounge just in time to hear Mint Condition perform “You Send Me Swingin”. One of my favorite songs EVER…They went through their catalog from Pretty Brown Eyes to Nothing Left to Say. My friends and various others told me that if you’re a fan, you have to see Mint Condition perform live and they were so right!
The group is amazing; especially when you think of how long they’ve been in the business and touring. Heck, Stokely just turned 43 and he still sounds incredible. Now that I know what I’ve been missing, I will do my best to see them live whenever they are in my area.
The night was capped off by a stroll down Bourbon Street; and what a stinky stroll it was! Not only did we have to contend with the smell of a huge crowd of people, on a hot and humid night, but the police were patrolling on horses! Do I have to paint the picture of what that experience was like? And alcohol didn’t help the situation…
Toward the end of the night, or the beginning of the next morning, I received a text message that cranked up my weekend to an unbelievable level of excitement. There were various contests occurring that throughout the weekend, and one in particular caught my eye. It was a chance to win tickets to an advance screening of Takers Sunday afternoon; all I had to do was send a text to some number and I would be entered. Why not? Well, At about 2:30 am, I receive a text saying that I’m a finalist and I need to send in my name as soon as possible. So I do, a little while later another text came through telling me I won! I’m so happy that I would be able to see a movie that I’ve been waiting for since last year that I pay no attention to the fact that the text says the movie will be introduced by Idris, T.I., Michael Ealy *screams and faints*, and Will Packer, the producer.
So, I ended the night on a real high note; the smell of the horses and human funk didn’t even matter. I was vibrating from the excitement. Eventually we left Bourbon Street to go to our hotels and get some rest; daylight was approaching and we still had one more day of activities and concerts.
Next post: Day 3 at the Essence Music Festival…
Oh yeah, I really wouldn’t name my child Tchoupitoulas, but isn’t it such a neat name? *chuckles*