Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dear Fellow Jamaicans, Not Everything Is A Conspiracy

Kin Cheung—AP photo
Jamaicans have a persecution complex, I swear. And we're professional conspiracy theorists. Cases in point:
1) Cameraman on Segway accidentally runs into Bolt: is a setup. Dem wan tek out di don! 
1a) Cameraman apologises to Bolt and gives him a friendship bracelet as a conciliatory gesture: Nuh wear dat innuh Bolt! Mind it poison/have een PEDs.
2) Cindy Roleder fails to acknowledge Shermaine's congratulatory gesture and appears to slap her hand away: a wah do dis BBC dutty racist gyal?! Afta she nuh more dan we?

Regarding Bolt and the cameraman, Song Tao: the poor man was obviously just trying to get the best possible shot of the icon and got too close to the railing. He probably shat himself thinking he had been responsible for maiming track and field's great saviour. He probably feared for his job and maybe even his life. I'm sure if he had a social media page that we could have accessed, he would have gone into hiding.

Regarding Cindy, I ask you, when did we or our athletes become perfect? People cyaan mek mistake? I'm not saying we can't comment and make light of situations, but some of us have crossed the line into paranoia and cyberbullying. I believe both situations were accidents. The cameraman lost control of the Segway. Cindy was in the heights of excitement that she and her friend had both medalled (in a race where they weren't even supposed to feature) and the fact that her hand caught Shermaine's in that way was not malicious. Why can't we give her the benefit of the doubt? Why would she choose to diss the runner who finished several places behind her? Come on now!

Had the shoe been on the other foot, and Shermaine was celebrating with her sister Danielle who won (also against great odds) and Cindy was the one who reached out and had her hand "slapped away," our conversation would have been different, something like this: Mi seh she jus do so an lick weh di white gyal han! Brush har weh yes! Nuh mek she touch yu cause yu nuh know wa inna har lotion." We would have cackled, spun a few more tales and then we'd have moved on. A few of us might have deemed it rude, but I'm sure that would've been the overwhelming minority. 
loopjamaica.com screengrab
How many times have you been so caught up in a moment or preoccupied that you've walked right past someone you know and not realised until the next time you saw them and they asked what they had done to you for you to ignore them like that? How many times have you been preoccupied and someone was calling out to you, sometimes over and over, and you didn't realise until they touched you or came right into your face? Is it so hard to imagine that something similar transpired here? Is Cindy not human? And we love to talk about our strong belief in God, but where is our forgiveness?

I urge us to get over ourselves a little bit. The world doesn't revolve around us. The world is not out to get us. The world also does not owe us jack, just because we're Jamaican. All the abuse and suspicion directed at Cindy and the cameraman are completely uncalled for and show off the bhutto side of our national personality. Going on the attack for every real or perceived slight just feeds into one of the stereotypes about us - that we are aggressive and violent, and I have to ask, how does that benefit us in any way?

UPDATE: Cindy seems to have followed up her Facebook apology with a voicemail or voice note, which Shermaine shared on her own FB wall. But, of course, people are still in the mood to tell Cindy about her parts. I wish we would let this go, already! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tales From My Writing Workshop



I'm currently taking a writing workshop with Dr Erna Brodber, renowned Jamaican author, historian and social scientist. We had our second session this past Wednesday and the exercise was to listen to a piece of music and write something based on how it moved us. She played us two different instrumental pieces - one was a jazz number and the other a version of I Surrender All. We had about 15 minutes to write for each piece.

I must say my colleagues in the course are some seriously talented people. There were some lovely, poignant short stories or descriptive scenes coming from both parts of the exercise. 

In the interest of learning to share my work, I'm going to reveal what I wrote for each piece. I decided to do this because it's Good Friday and one of the pieces immediately took me to church. Not the one Hozier wants to be taken to, thankfully. That song disturbs me a little, to be honest. Anyway, bear in mind that these are spur-of-the-moment pieces and I've not made any changes to them.

Music - Jazz



This is not my particular cup of tea. Generally, I prefer the sound of silence. 'Sound of silence?' Surely, that's an oxymoron. 

No, it isn't. There's a certain point you get to after a protracted period of silence that you can almost hear a hum. Or more of a thrum. Maybe it's just the sound of the blood pumping through the veins in my ears. Whatever it is, it's the only sound I like to hear when I'm trying to write. It's kind of there, but not there. Vital, but unobtrusive.

Music in the background makes it hard for me to fully immerse myself into the moment. It's already a bit of a struggle, this business of writing. The music is like an external conversation begging for my attention, calling for me to join in.

Anyway, this jazz. I don't really 'get' it. I certainly can't write with it around, causing utter confusion. I can't even think! All these instruments just trying to shout over each other: the drums bop-bop-bopping away; the piano tinkling along listen-to-me-me-me-me-me-me-me. There goes a horn screeching now: my TUUUUUUUURRRNNN! The bass is the only part of it I can really take. It's just there, keeping itself in the background. Kind of vital, but unobtrusive. Like my blood.

Look, that's the same cacophony going on in my head when I sit down to write. All these ideas rushing about trying to make their cases to me. And my head really doesn't need the competition.

Music - I Surrender All


She didn't know what force compelled her, but she found her feet taking her out of her seat at the back of the crowded church and leading her to the altar at the front of the building. She wasn't even fully conscious of what she was doing, just gave herself up to the leading of the Lord. It had to be Jesus Himself, because only He could understand all she had been through these past few months.

Reaching their destination, her feet stopped. She had her head bowed and she opened her mouth to start begging for the Lord's forgiveness, the way the other sinners around her were doing. Amidst the weeping, wailing and teeth-gnashing, she opened her mouth and was vaguely surprised when no sound came out. She squeezed her eyes tight and tried again. Again, her throat didn't respond.

Instead, it was her feet that began to move. She swayed from side to side in a slow two-step. Her hands joined the movement as they too began to wave from side to side. Her body was into it now, rocking and swaying softly. There were tears streaming down her face, too. Copious amounts of eye water, washing away the years of pain.

She didn't know how long she was up there, dancing with the Lord. But when her feet took her back to her seat, she just knew that she felt light. Free. Washed clean. Tears are a language God understands.

Some observations

I was completely unable to think of any kind of story idea with the jazz music clattering away, so I decided to write about how it made me feel instead. Turns out there were a couple other colleagues who felt the same way (even though they were able to come up with story ideas related to confusion. Kudos to them!)

The second piece made me think not only of the act of going to the altar to give it all to the Lord, but profound loss. I think I'll explore this piece some more, to get at what my unnamed character was feeling as she danced and wept at the altar. Additionally, when Dr Brodber stopped the music, I immediately switched to another song in my head - Cece Winans' Alabaster Box. I kept 'singing' it to myself as I finished up the piece. I found this rather interesting, since I had just ranted about how I couldn't write with music in the background. Maybe it was just the jazz? Lol!

Dr Brodber asked me if I liked jazz any at all and I started waxing poetic about my boo Esperanza Spalding. I said maybe the reason I dig her is because she plays the bass. I thought about it for a while as the class moved on and I suppose that really is the reason I'm into her music, because I'm really not here for jazz, generally speaking. I do find it confusing, but with Espe (that's her nickname because we're BFFs in my head), I think I do hone in on her bass and also her lyrics. When she sings in Spanish or Portuguese, I don't even pretend to know what the heck is going on, but I like it anyway. Interesting, no?

Anyway, tell me what you think about either or both of these pieces. But don't be mean!

Gracias!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Count On My Love: A Review + A Rant


It's finally here! Count On My Love, the long-awaited major label debut album from Jamaica's songbird Tessanne Chin was released around 11pm (Ja time) on Monday, June 30. I was beyond excited to finally be able to hear the new tracks in full, after she had given us a five-song teaser last week. In fact, I was so impatient that I cancelled my pre-order and purchased the album regularly because I couldn't figure out how to process worked. I'm a little new to iTunes, so you will forgive me. 

At first, I was so overjoyed that it was like receiving a gift you've always wanted, but being afraid to even touch it because you don't want to soil it with your grubby little fingers. I eventually decided to jump right in where the singles Tumbling Down and Everything Reminds Me of You left off, and start with the title track.


I was too giddy to attempt to review the album then, because it would have probably looked like this: ASJKEKJDDHKJAKWPPDUJDMLLLQQMNMNHWIMNDLWPWIJDNNSOLWLAP!!!!!!!! OMG!!!! *dies* and that would not have been cute coming from someone who is a decade removed from her teen years. So, after two days of steady listening, here are my thoughts:

Count On My Love (COML) is a solid, assured body of work, featuring Tessanne's signature combination of thoughtful, heartfelt lyrics and beautifully nuanced vocals. As the title suggests, the overall theme is love - revelling in it, fighting to keep it, losing it and moving on. This is certainly a topic we can all relate to and everyone who contributed to the project seemed to have got the memo to keep it emotionally open and accessible. Many of us have been there, suffering or meting out the emotionally hostile, cold-shoulder treatment described in Loudest Silence: "I'm not saying any words but my eyes are cursing you out... In my mind I'm thinking in your mind, you're saying 'go to hell.'" Put in the position where we had to admit "maybe I wasn't meant for you" and take the fall as it all comes Tumbling Down, we then face the torture of dealing with the memories - even chickening out of watching Game of Thrones because it "used to be our show" (Everything Reminds Me of You.) Yes, there's a GOT reference. And txt speak: "I <3 that my <3's the <3 that you choose" (I Heart U). How 2014 is that? Talk about relatable!


When I first heard the snippets during her listening party livestream a few weeks ago, I was sure People Change was going to be my favourite. It is just so tender and emotional and I love songs that make you feel. Bring on the waterworks! As someone who doesn't really let things go, I found myself moved by the lines "I said I wouldn't forgive you but here I am, wishing you well now that I understand. My biggest fear was to lose you and I did in the end. But I'm alright, you're alright, we're alright." 

However, I've found myself drawn to One Step Closer, which closes the album and is the only song not about relational love. You can say it is about loving what you do and celebrating the joy of making progress. The reggae/EDM/dubstep beat came clear out of left field for me and had me behaving like a nut. Tessanne expertly rides the rhythm and handles the changes like a pro, declaring that she's "ready to take aim and fire... winning cuz I worked so hard." I can't wait to see her perform this live, because I know it's going to be bananas. Betta "ring di alarm" yes, Tess! And while we're on the topic of empowerment, Always Tomorrow assures us that we're "one of a kind but never alone." I can see it being used in a national campaign, especially geared towards uplifting children. Get on that, Youth Minister Lisa Hanna. 

Having watched the reactions rolling in on Twitter, I'd say most people's favourite is Heaven Knows, and I can see why. I've already talked about the relatable lyrics, but get into that beat! Tessanne's heart isn't the only thing going "boom ba boom" in this tune, as the drums just make you want to get down and dance. 

Sonically, COML is a bit of a departure from what longtime fans will be used to. There is no rock, but she has not strayed too far from her reggae roots, even dropping in some deejay lines for good measure. She has given us a true island pop album with touches of R&B, rounding it all out with EDM and dubstep to further show us why she cannot be stuffed into a genre box. I'll give COML 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Now for my rant.


I was extra hyped to see the album surge up the iTunes charts, reaching as high as #3 on the Pop chart and #6 on the overall chart. All of this with PRACTICALLY NO PROMOTIONAL ASSISTANCE from her wutliss label, Republic Records. I know they have 'bigger stars' like Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Jesse J, Taylor Swift (and her new cat) and Lorde to cater to, but come on! I'm no music industry expert, but I'm sure her team can do better in terms of generating more interest and sales. The Voice Tour she's currently on is good, but it is also a bit of a hindrance as she probably doesn't have the freedom to fly all over the States for TV interviews. But what about sending out the singles to radio stations? What about setting up some radio interviews where she can call in? Or TV interviews in the cities where the show stops? Or is Republic's contract with The Voice only good for producing the album but you have to do the rest all by your lonesome? Thank God for social media and a corps of dedicated fans who pushed and pushed, trying to get her trending and routinely poking the bear (Republic) to get one tweet every week or so. Jeez Louise. 


I hope when the numbers come in they are strong enough to convince her hapless or heartless team to do more, because COML is a great starting place for Tessanne to launch the kind of international career that she deserves. Otherwise, I'm sure it won't take long for her to move on and find a team that will recognise what a treasure she is and treat her with the respect she's due.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why I'm #TeamTessanne

When I first heard that vocal powerhouse Tessanne Chin would be competing on season 5 of the Emmy-winning American singing competition, The Voice, I was ecstatic. I thought to myself, 'Tessanne buss now! This is her moment.' I have been a fan of her work since I first heard her voice, when she performed on the small stage at the 2006 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. I wasn't in attendance, but she was all I heard about on the radio and television (in addition to the show's headliners, of course.) Naturally, I love 'Hideaway' and her other original songs, but my favourite Tessanne jam remains 'Taken,' which she said is one of the first songs she wrote on the guitar. Yes, I pay attention (aka, I'm slightly obsessed.)

The other day, following her stunning blind audition for The Voice, I revisited the song on Youtube, only to be greeted with a comment I had made four years ago - "This is my favourite song of hers. Gosh, I hope she releases it commercially. And when is she gonna release an album? This level of talent needs NEEDS to buss all over di world man!" This was prior to the release of In Between Words, of course.

I meant it then, and I mean it even more now. Her voice so enthralled me back in 2006 and I have been a willing captive since then. That is why I have become one of her ambassadors on Facebook and Twitter, where I routinely annoy everyone by posting her videos, begging them to vote, talking about her performances on The Voice, etc etc etc. And I will continue to do so for as long as she is in the competition, because I believe this is her time and she truly deserves it. 

Not only is Tessanne super talented, she comes across as a genuinely nice person, a wonderful embodiment of the true Jamaican spirit that I see around me each day, even amidst the 'crawses' we bear. I love the way she represents herself and our country, the way she 'mannersable,' speaks in the true Jamaican accent, the way she has pulled everybody, from Adam and the other coaches, to the hosts of popular US morning shows, with her charm, just by being herself. Does she not deserve to own this moment in the spotlight?

I, like her mother, hope Tessanne will win, becoming the latest Jamaican to take the world by storm. I hope she wins for herself too, and gets to live her dreams. I admire the fact that she took this chance, even amidst concerns by some of us Jamaicans that she didn't need the competition. Tessanne demonstrated the importance of going outside your comfort zone in order to achieve something you want with all your heart. So many of us sit on our dreams, afraid to reach for them because of what people might say or fear that we simply aren't enough. We lose nothing by taking a chance, and even if we do not gain the main prize, or our risk backfires, we would have gained so much courage and learned such valuable lessons that we are still victors. 

I have a feeling that whatever the outcome, Tessanne has already won. I tell my Facebook friends, only half-jokingly, that she will be touring with Maroon 5 shortly, that she will be featured on their next album, that she will be a force to be reckoned with as she steps off this launch pad. However, we do want her to win the main prize, so let us continue to offer our support. Let us encourage our friends in the US to vote and buy her performance singles on iTunes; purchase the songs for ourselves; spread the word in any way we can. 

Most importantly, after The Voice is over, let us continue to support Tessanne by purchasing her music and going out to shows when she performs here. Let us also do the same for our other talented local artistes, especially those who toil without commercial success, despite incredible talent. And for ourselves, let us take down and dust off those dreams we have packed away out of fear or discouragement and pursue them wholeheartedly.

Here's how to vote for Tessanne on The Voice:


Call

If you're in the US or Puerto Rico, you can call her assigned toll-free number up to 10 times per phone.

Text

Sprint customers can vote by texting her assigned short code up to 10 times per phone. The short code and key word numbers for the current vote are announced in the show each week.

Online

You can vote up to 10 times per email address during each vote period for free online at NBC.com, or via the NBC Live app, the NBC app, or via Facebook.


iTunes

This is the ONLY guaranteed way those of us in Jamaica or outside of the US can vote: buy and download her current song during the voting period - 10:01pm Monday til 11:00am on Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Heart Is Heavy This Week

The Secret Gardens, erected at the intersection of Church and Tower streets in downtown Kingston last year in memory of slain children
This has been a hard week for me. Not because of any personal issues, but because of the series of gruesome tragedies reported in the news over the last few days. On Tuesday, we woke up to the news that a four year old, Natasha Brown from Trelawny, was missing. I think most Jamaicans automatically, immediately feared the worst, even while we hoped somewhere deep in our hearts that we were wrong. Well, we weren't. Her body was removed from a sinkhole on Wednesday morning, as the alleged killer, her father's pissed-off ex-lover, led authorities to where the little girl was dumped.

So many emotions are still coursing through my body regarding this tragic situation. I'm sad and heartbroken at the loss of this innocent little life. I'm confused by this murderous Jezebel's logic. And I'm angry.

How can a mother, of not one, not two, but four children, look at a four-year-old BABY and chop her up, severing her head? What possesses someone to kill a child - a CHILD? What kind of psychosis makes you believe it is not only permissible but right to exact revenge on the man who broke your heart by eliminating the 'pig' he fathered with another woman? This woman had five whole months of anger and jealousy stewing inside her that she mercilessly unleashed on that little girl who had no control over the circumstances of her existence. What a painful, unnecessary tragedy.

What is also confusing to me is that, based on the detached way Natasha's father speaks about her, their relationship seems to have been brief. Also, it doesn't sound like he's the father of any of her children, so WHY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH did she feel she had any claim on this man and was so incensed that she was moved to commit murder?

I'm also wondering if the woman made any previous threats against either Natasha or her mother and, if so, why nothing was done about it. I don't think anyone just ups and butchers a child. She must have said something, even while cursing him out, that should have given Natasha's family or the wider Duanvale community cause for concern, right? I don't think it's ever wise to dismiss threats, even if they seem idle or made in the heat of the moment.

In the midst of my private mourning for the innocent life so wickedly snuffed out, the pieces of my heart were further shattered by the beheading of an 84-year-old vendor in the middle of downtown Kingston. Like, what the living hell? What is happening in this country? And to make matters worse, the decomposing body of a missing eight-year-old was found in a pit latrine in St Catherine, plus a newborn found dead elsewhere in Trelawny.

These are just the latest instances of violence against the most vulnerable members of our society and I'm sure there are more horrific crimes to come. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Are we, as a nation, going to just sit on our hands? I'm not talking about pointless marches with placards and chants. I'm not even going to ask what the government is going to 'do for us,' as is often the outcry. Yes, the government needs to place some importance on mental health issues amongst Jamaicans and provide the necessary counselling facilities. I'm pleased that Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna has called for the expansion of community mental health and counselling services to help people learn to deal with domestic conflicts, interpersonal disagreements and psychological issues. I sincerely hope this isn't just a knee-jerk reaction to a series of national tragedies, but that the necessary resources will be allocated to implement these desperately needed services.

We also need to become more observant and caring as a society. We have got to the point where people are quicker to whip out their camera phones and record or photograph someone being murdered and then post the pictures online, than they are to intervene to help prevent the crime. (Sidenote: ANYBODY - man or woman, boy or girl, friend or family - who sends me any such images on any platform will be instantly deleted not only from said platform, but my LIFE.)

If you see a person in danger or in need, see if you can lend a hand. You might just be able to talk that person out of killing someone or himself just by lending a listening ear. As a nation, we need to guard our children better. It's difficult to do these days, since the 'village' that raised our parents (and those of us closer to 30 than 20) has disappeared. One hardly dares to even gently correct an errant child these days, for fear that that same child or his irate parent will tell you how many strings have been lovingly knit together by the Creator to form your being, but sometimes, it's a chance we have to take. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to make a change. It might not be a national change, but it can alter the course of someone else's life and cause a chain reaction.

And as for the murderers of these children and the little old lady? May God have mercy on their lost souls, because right now, all I want is for them to suffer 100 times the horror of what they meted out to their victims. But "vengeance is mine," saith the Lord, so in the next breath, I ask Him to forgive me for my evil thoughts, as well as the times when I could have been an agent of positive change in someone's life but I turned and walked away. Please, let us do better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let's just get over this 'offensive' Volkswagen ad, shall we?


Honestly, people just need to shut up about the Volkswagen ad being racist. Stereotypical? Yes. But it's not a negative stereotype. If Dave had been smoking a spliff, wearing one of those nasty fake Rasta hats and hanging off a coconut tree that suddenly materialised in the middle of the office floor, THAT would have been 'taking it too far.' We hanker for positive images of our country in the international media and this is a SUPERBOWL AD, meaning BAJILLIONS of eyes will see it, yet some of us choose to nit-pick because no-black-person-is-in-it-and-Jamaica-is-a-black-country. Really? Did you even do primary school social studies? Others argue that it makes us look too carefree. If people have an issue with that, they should also take the tourism marketers in hand, because this is the same image of us they sell to bring foreigners here. And are people really going to argue that Jamaicans aren't funny and lighthearted and positive? Whatever happened to 'tek kin teet kibba heartbun,' where even in the worst of situations, we crack a smile or a joke to get through?



My advice is GET OVER IT. One of our most talented national sons, Jimmy Cliff, is singing the song in the background. Jimmy Cliff is black, since that seems to matter so much (and yes, I passed social studies, so I know Jamaica is a PREDOMINANTLY black country. But a nuh black people alone bawn yah an awn yah.) This is a POSITIVE image of our country in the international media. No one is shooting anyone, no one is being scammed or harassed, so let's just be happy that when they thought of 'sunny disposition,' Jamaica was the first place that popped into their minds. Dave is just a guy who happens to be white, from Minnesota, spreading some positive vibes. Last I checked, that wasn't something to block roads and raise placards about.

Addendum
Volkswagen America marketing officer Tim Mahoney has explained that VW did their homework: "We did some research to make sure that we weren't going into a direction we didn't want to go." Mahoney also stated that VW had consulted with "about a hundred" Jamaicans and included a speech coach on the commercial's set. That's "about a hundred Jamaicans" who GOT PAID, plus a Jamaican speech coach who GOT PAID, to help create a multi-million US dollar ad showcasing a German-made car, yes, but also a positive side of our country. In my opinion, we couldn't pay for this kind of publicity. In fact, in our current financial straits, we can't pay for a good goddamn, so let's just see the thing for what it is - an ad. Now, let's turn our attention to our tourism minister who should probably try to use this publicity/momentum to shore up some dollars. That would be a better use of time, I believe. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Day - January 20, 2009


I wrote this as a Facebook note on January 21, 2009, the day after Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. Feeling a little inspired and nostalgic and hope to have a repeat of this priceless moment come January 2013 (I know the election is this November. I'm talking about the swearing in.)

I couldn't quite cry yesterday, even though the tears were thisclose. They just couldn't fight their way past the gi-normous grin on my face! I smiled so much you'd think I was standing there right beside the man! I just couldn't help it.

At work we took about 3 hours off to watch it on TV, and I just couldn't do anything afterwards. Or before (thank God for the CNN/Facebook hook-up!) I had to soak in the moments, great and small, of this historic day.

We drooled over how gorgeous and absolutely regal Michelle was in her lemon/olive/teal ensemble. We gushed over how adorable Malia and Sasha were as they smiled and waved.

I watched as he made his way down those steps at the Capitol, a never-before-seen look of nervousness/tension on his face. I watched as all my co-workers willed him to smile, and when he finally did, it was as if the sun had come out. We broke into spontaneous applause.

I forgave Aretha's voice. It wasn't at it's best to me, she was probably so emotional. I could feel that. I choked up when the instrumentalists played. I saw that exchange, where he turned to look at the quartet playing and his eyes stopped at Michelle. I saw when she reached out to squeeze his shoulder. I grinned when he fixed the block for Sasha to stand on so she wouldn't miss her Daddy being sworn in. "This is for you." I cussed when the Attorney General flubbed the oath. I smiled when Barack paused and they corrected it. "I, Barack Hussein Obama,..." Oh my GOD! We stood up and cheered.

The poem was not as impressive as I would have liked (in the moment. Seeing the words in print will be definitely more effective for me), but his SPEECH! It was like a good ol' Sunday morning sermon in some ways. I was nodding, smiling, saying "Yes." I might have even lifted my hand a couple times!

I listened and smiled through the benediction. When the Reverend said "Bless the angelic Malia and Sasha", Michelle looked over at them, probably wondering, "What angels?" I smiled.

I watched the parade and almost plotzed when I saw them come out of the car, "The Beast". It was beautiful to see them walking together, the way they held hands and when they separated, the way their hands automatically found each other. But I was a bit scared, truth be told. I loved when his high school alma mater marched by during the parade and he gave them the "hang loose" sign (you can take the boy out of Hawaii...). I missed the rest on the commute home, but I almost swooned as I saw them enter the Neighbourhood Ball together, Michelle absolutely stunning in that lovely ivory gown, her entire being aglow. "Just how good-looking is my wife?" Beautiful! He was very dapper in his classic tux, so handsome. "At last", I appreciated Beyonce's rendition of this classic. She's starting to grow on me, but I digress... The First Dance. I saw so much love there, such oneness.

The girls were said to be having a High School Musical movie night. I'm envious (yes, I love HSM too!). I fell asleep watching the recap after 10, but with a prayer on my heart that God guides and protects them all, that He works His will through this wonderful man that He has elevated to this position.

I have faith that everything will be alright. God Bless Barack Obama!