Ruby

I wrote this poem for my mother a few weeks ago. She passed away on January 9, 2020, and I have written many words with her in mind. However, to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wanted to share the words I wrote in her honor that did not come from a place of sadness. I’m a mother myself, so I want to have more smiles than tears today. Also, for your enjoyment, I’m sharing a song by Lenny Kravitz called Thinking of You that he wrote in honor of his mother.

I miss you Ruby.

Love,

Tara– Your Tareddy Bear

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Daylight hours

Are you more of a night or morning person?

At the time I am writing this post, it is nearly midnight. I don’t believe in staying up past a certain hour. My mother sleep-trained me well. I am usually pretty good about waking up with the chickens. I used to try to wake up a little bit earlier at the behest of all the “productivity influencers” in an effort to be more productive, but the older I get, the less I care about keeping up with anyone other than myself. I try to take the quiet moments when I can because every day is full. I do miss posting on here the way I used to and it is my goal to do that again soon. Maybe that’ll be one of the things I do in the morning.

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Gramercy: A Birthday Poem to Myself

I show gratitude toward myself

For giving myself a chance.

Grand merci, Madame.

I remember driving down the highway one day and the word gramercy was stuck in my head. I don’t remember exactly where I was, just that I was somewhere in the Northeast United States. I don’t know what triggered the thought. Maybe I saw a sign somewhere with the word on it. I wasn’t sure if it even was a word or how it was spelled until I looked it up. Was it “grammercy” or something else? Thanks to the internet, I learned that it is, indeed, a word. It is an archaic term, but I like old things. In French, it is “grand merci” which translates to “many thanks.” It is also “grand mercy.” I also learned that there are many businesses and residential communities that include “gramercy” or “grammercy” in the name. I’m sure one of those types of places is where I saw the word and internalized it without realizing it.

I was in a place in my life where I was starting over. I still feel like I’m at the beginning, but I know I’ve taken many steps since this particular day. I had left my daughter in the care of my sister while I took a job delivering loads all across the country. I missed my baby dearly, but I had to take the time to put us in a better financial position, and that job was the best way for me to do it at the time. I had been through so much by that time. WE had been through so much. I look back over the last few years in amazement at the fact that we survived it. I wrote this little poem to capture some of the emotions I felt once I learned the word was an expression of gratitude. I held onto it because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever know when it was appropriate to share it with anyone other than myself. But today feels right.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am 33 years old. Today is 11/11/22. I’m no expert in numerology, so I really don’t know what any of that means although I do tinker with tarot cards from time to time on my other blog. I just feel that this particular birthday is very significant. So to give honor to myself, not exalting myself above anyone or anything else, but thanking myself for continuing to fight, I wrote this little verse. I pray that whoever reads this is able to find something to be grateful for, as well.


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Book Review: Scenes from My Life by Michael K. Williams

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Michael K. Williams just seemed like he was such a cool, relatable person. I didn’t follow his career closely, but I had seen his face on my TV enough times to have known who he was. When he passed, it felt like I knew him personally. I am so glad that he gave us a little glimpse into his life before he passed away. 

I feel like I learned a lot more about his personality as a result of this memoir, which I don’t always feel that way after reading memoirs. It was only after his death that I learned that he danced. I happened to come across a video online of him dancing in a park. He goes into a good deal of detail about his love for dance and the arts, how he found himself in it, and how that ultimately became his way out. I figured he had come from humble beginnings, to say the least, and that he did.  He didn’t grow up under ideal circumstances. He dealt with a lot of bullying and abuse. From what I had seen of him in his public appearances, he did not allow any of that to make him a bitter person. If anything, he seemed like he was the living embodiment of the things meant to bring a person down being the very things to lift a person up. The story behind the famous scar on his face is one example of that. 

I loved how candid he was about his hardships and addiction. It didn’t feel like this memoir was written for the sake of making himself look better than he was. He did a lot of philanthropic work, which I never knew about, but also was not surprised to learn. He expressed that he was well aware of his flaws and despite them, still wanted to make a positive impact on the world. There were some situations that he mentioned that he did not go into much detail about, which I wished he had. However, I understand that it was his story to tell and that not every single little thing in his life needed to be revealed or needed a deep-dive exploration. Perhaps if he had lived he may have gone a little more in-depth or maybe he would’ve omitted some of those things instead. My understanding is that he had just finished a draft of his memoir at the time of his passing. His co-writer Jon Sternfeld did a good job with what he had to finish up the book.  I’m glad we were left with something, though. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Thoughts on Lovecraft Country

Although I’m a little late to the game, I recently watched Lovecraft Country, in which Michael K. Williams played Montrose Freeman. His performance was phenomenal, but I was saddened to learn about some of the behind-the-scenes goings-on. I thought the show was great, but I couldn’t see it still being good past one season. It’s probably a good thing that it was canceled because according to some interviews Williams did, his role in the show took an emotional toll on him, which resulted in him relapsing. It is also said that there was a lot of toxicity on the set as a whole. I find that very disappointing. I do wish that had not been the case. The show was still entertaining to watch, but my overall view of it has changed since learning a little background information. For those reasons, it is probably better to not know what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite entertainment, otherwise, you’d probably never watch television or listen to music again.


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Brain Dump: Milli Vanilli & Resilience

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Milli Vanilli has been living in my head rent-free for years and I’ve been meaning to get my thoughts out of my head for a very long time. I’ve listened to both the Milli Vanilli and Rob and Fab albums. I’ve watched interviews and documentaries about them. I’ve read articles about them. I feel like I learn something new about both the group, the music industry, and human beings in general with every piece about them that I consume. This morning I saw an article about an official biopic that is co-produced by one of the children of the voices behind Milli Vanilli and I had to finally sit down and write out my thoughts. This may be a long one. 

Read more: Brain Dump: Milli Vanilli & Resilience

If you don’t know who they are, here’s a good documentary about them and the lip-syncing industry as a whole.  

All the Lip Sync Scandals! Mime and Punishment (Full Documentary)  

Fab Morvan on the Rise and Fall of Milli Vanilli (Full Interview)  

In case you’re not interested in the videos, in short, Milli Vanilli was a popular musical duo named Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan from Germany in the late 1980s with hits like Girl You Know It’s True, Blame it On the Rain, and Baby Don’t Forget My Number. They gained popularity, sold many albums, and even won a Grammy award, only to have it stripped from them after there was speculation and eventually a confession that they didn’t really sing on their albums. They were the faces of the group. Rob couldn’t handle the pressure and spiraled until he eventually passed away. Fab went on to release music with his real voice and has been able to redeem himself in Europe. To this day he still does shows around Europe singing both his original songs and Milli Vanilli songs.  

My Thoughts 

I don’t know why I’ve cared so much about Milli Vanilli since I was a child. I mean, the songs were great, regardless of who sang them. Rob and Fab were entertaining enough to watch. Let’s face it, without them, those records wouldn’t have sold the way that they did. Their faces were necessary. However, I’m constantly thinking about the human psyche and emotions and I suppose the case of Milli Vanilli is a great example of greed, shame, ridicule, desperation, and a great show of how people can turn on you just as quickly as they once claimed to love you. As of this writing I’m reading/listening to Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown. I’m always reading books about social psychology and the more I write, the more I realize that Milli Vanilli is a case study.  

Ghost singing has been around since the music and movie industries began. Tons of popular songs have either had ghost singers or they were ghost singers. One of the most well-known singers who doesn’t really sing is Jennifer Lopez. Several of her hits include vocals sung by someone else.  Darlene Love sang uncredited on several tracks back in the 1960’s. This isn’t about them though. I have an article linked below if you’re interested.

https://www.distractify.com/entertainment/2018/09/17/1NoEb3/pop-songs-with-ghost-singers

On a drive home one day, I listened to Rob and Fab’s “official” debut album and was impressed. Under different circumstances, I believe that album would’ve done pretty well. Fab’s vocals were pretty good, Rob was a good hype man, the music was great to dance to, and they were beautiful, which was what sold Milli Vanilli in the first place. I’m sure it would have done great on the dance charts. But it didn’t. Well, it did…sort of. They sold around 2,000 copies. Apparently, there were only a couple thousand copies printed, period. On top of that, they released the album in the US. Had they released it in Germany or Switzerland or anywhere else in the world, for that matter, it probably would have done better. The US was the most critical of them.  

I feel like many people, if given the chance, would do what Rob and Fab did. Millions of people are on social media every single day doing things way worse than lip-syncing for way less than what Rob and Fab initially got before the scandal.  There have even been game shows like Lip Sync Battle that were very popular.

Rob and Fab were young, hungry, and borderline homeless when they were noticed for their beautiful faces and dancing. They had actually made a few appearances on German TV as a group called Empire Bizarre before they became Milli Vanilli. A producer by the name of Frank Farian offered them more money than what they had probably ever been offered at the time. They were struggling financially and due to a language barrier and plain ol’ immaturity (they were in their very early 20s at the time) they took the money without realizing what they were getting themselves into. The only way to get out of the game was to pay back the money they had already spent. Do you realize how many people, even now, would happily take the opportunity to lip sync and look pretty for a few dollars? Folks do worse on TikTok and Instagram for likes. 

Here’s the thing that I noticed about Rob and Fab and it is the thing that led me to write this brain dump in the first place: Resilience. Specifically, I wanted to note how Fab has the strength, resilience, and leadership quality that Rob, sadly, did not have. I know very limited details about their respective stories pre-Milli Vanilli, but I do know that Rob had suffered some abuse as a child and had been orphaned, which, in my unprofessional opinion, played a big role in his fragility. Whenever I watch their old performances I immediately notice that Fab is often the one who starts dancing first. He’s almost always on beat, he looks the most confident.

They actually lip-synced horribly, but so did a lot of singers who actually sang their own songs but had to lip sync anyway. A couple that comes to mind is when Chaka Khan and Marvin Gaye, respectively, were on Soul Train and they lip-synced their songs very, very badly. It was almost like they forgot the words to their own songs or just didn’t care. Their voices were undeniable, though.   

Back to my point, Fab would lip sync and dance his heart out, fully committed. Rob would be the one most likely to misstep or miss a cue. No matter how many performances they did, he always looked uncomfortable. Sometimes you could catch him glancing over at Fab for direction while Fab kept his eyes on the audience. When their tape skipped during a live performance, Rob was the first one to run off the stage. Fab was/is the better singer of the two and ended up taking the lead when they did release their own album. Fab is the one still living. This isn’t to insult Rob at all, just pointing out a few obvious differences in personality.  

It seems a lot more people are forgiving now that its 30 years later, but the backlash they received at the time was ridiculous and unfair. However, I look at Fab and I am simply amazed. Literally, at one point the whole world (and when I say the whole world, I mean the USA. Although I don’t know for sure, I don’t think it was as big a deal in Europe as it was here in the US.) hated and mocked him for something that wasn’t entirely his fault. He went through a depression but then he came back and continued trying to do the only thing he ever wanted to do, make music. To be laughed at no matter where you go? That can kill you. Ultimately, it’s what killed Rob. In Fab’s performances in the years since he’s singing live in front of large crowds that are smiling and singing along. I imagine that around the time of the scandal he may not have thought that would ever happen.   

Unfortunately, Rob and Fab were the sacrificial lambs and they didn’t deserve most of the hate that they got. I blame their producer who orchestrated the whole thing from the start, Frank Farian. I blame the industry as a whole because I wholeheartedly believe that someone on the Grammy committee knew what it was when they awarded the Grammy to them. As I mentioned earlier, ghost singing has been a thing since the beginning of show business. That’s a whole other rant. 

I don’t expect everyone to understand what I’m trying to say and I’m not totally sure I articulated it very well. One of the main takeaways is that I feel many of us could learn a lot from Fab Morvan. It has taken me a long time to learn that I don’t have to always try to monetize what I’m good at, that I can do things regardless of whether I’m good or bad at it just for the love of doing it. I didn’t learn that from Fab, but Fab, along with some other famous personalities, serves as a reminder to stay strong and do what I love. I’m sad that addiction and depression took Rob’s life. I’m happy that Fab has not only continued to live but has thrived despite the ridicule he still receives three decades later. Not everybody can handle that.  


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Book Review: Skin Experience by Ringo

From the wee hours of this morning, I kept trying to figure out what it was about today that was so significant. I did a tarot reading for someone and mentioned to them how the other side often communicates with me through numbers. I don’t profess any specific religion anymore, just a belief that a higher power does indeed exist, life after death exists, and maybe even the multiverse exists (a topic for a different day). I wrapped up that tarot reading at 12:12AM on the 12th day of the month. It eventually hit me that my dear friend whom I only knew for a few months over the internet passed away on this day 6 years ago. It doesn’t seem like it should have hit me as hard as it did when it happened, but his brief presence in my life helped me to give birth to this blog and my book. I just had to put it out into both the universe and my little piece of the internet, that I haven’t forgotten you, Ringo. I guess it’s been long enough that Facebook didn’t even remind me, but I still remembered. To this very day and beyond, you meant a lot to me. No matter how brief it was, I’m glad I was able to call you “Friend.”

As far as I know, Ringo’s books are not available for sale and I’m not sure if they ever will be.

For anyone interested in tarot readings or just my interpretation of the tarot and other things spiritual, I occasionally post to my other blog https://thegiftedreader.wordpress.com.

In honor of Ringo’s memory, even though his book isn’t publicly available anymore, I would like to share my review of his novel Skin Experience. This review actually introduced many people to this blog and led to me writing reviews and helping to push other indie authors, as well as becoming one myself. Thank you, Friend.

Life in a Few Words

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You can’t find him on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble. Most people who know of his work are either in his circle or are friends of the members of his circle. Somehow, despite us having no friends in common (and me having no memory of anything else we might have had in common prior to our first conversation) I came across Chris Ringo on Facebook and learned of his journey as an independent author. He writes, of course, but he also designs his own covers and markets when he can. After a few months of stalking his Facebook page and seeing his cover art, I decided to take the plunge and invest $15 into this author’s dream. Skin Experience is his official debut novel. The synopsis reads:

Does size matter? Of course, it plays a major role in how hard one works and plays. When blessed with a large…

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Sour Milk

Rewind! This is another throwback post, which I felt was fitting for the end of July 2022. Not only do I have more opportunities to bake (I share recipes on my blog Flavor Delicious) but this month, no, this entire summer, hasn’t quite panned out the way I had hoped. I’m still grateful and I look forward to sharing new material in the future. In the meantime, enjoy this oldie but goodie.

Life in a Few Words

It was so offensive it made her cry. She’d wondered if buttermilk could really go bad. Now she knew the answer for sure. Though some things were rotted and fermented to desired states for consumption, there were some already sour that could spoil even more. So much for the buttermilk pound cake she planned.

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(C) LeTara Moore 2016

Pungent

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Book Review: Daddy Long Stroke by Cairo

I wanted an easy book that I could finish quickly and wasn’t too deep. This book definitely fits that bill. There’s sex, sex, and more sex. That’s one of the reasons I chose this book. I’d advise anyone who isn’t open-minded about sex to not read this book because it is extremely explicit. I was hoping for a little bit of a plot to go along with it, but there was none.  

It was entertaining enough at first. However, page after page is the same thing: the main character, Alex aka Alley Cat aka Daddy Long Stroke, has sex with any woman walking and finesses them out of their money. The sex scenes stopped being sexy after a while and quickly became boring and kind of sad. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like Daddy Long Stroke in the world. I’ve met a few of them. 

This book serves as a cautionary tale to people who may come across a personality like this. He never changes. He never shows any growth. He never shows any remorse. He finds his next “sponsor,” he’s honest as far as telling women not to fall in love with him, but that’s the only thing about which he’s honest. He only seems to be good at lying and sex, which are both enough for him to get what he wants. People like this really exist. The fact that nothing ever changes with him makes this book a little frustrating to read because I was hoping for it to be more of an escape than a glimpse into reality. There’s absolutely nothing likable about Alex and there’s no one to root for. Not even the women he involves himself with, except maybe two of them. I finished it in hopes that there might be a twist eventually, but I was disappointed. I love a good nasty book, but I like a little substance, too. I know I said I wanted an easy book, but not that easy. 

If this book was written to be as much a cautionary tale as it was for entertainment, then there’s a very valuable lesson in self-esteem and why one should have some. It also shows how others can tear it down without care. I did note that some of the female characters that Alex was involved with had other priorities outside of him. He described them as having it together and having some sort of ambition. One, in particular, was “classy,” so he didn’t treat her as badly as he treated all the others. Another one had it all together except for her hair and was a successful businesswoman but was still ripe for the picking because she was willing to spend her money despite knowing that Alex was trash. I’ve been both of those women at some point. My standards are a little bit higher now. Having said all that, I suppose the story is a little bit deeper than what I initially gave it credit for. 

I felt there were a few loose ends that could have been tied up and would have given Alex more depth. I still have questions.  

If you’re looking for straight up smut with very little story, then this book is for you. Literally, every other minute (I listened to the audiobook) involves some sort of sex or masturbation. I wanted smut with a plot, so this didn’t work out for me.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars for the sex and realism. 


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Brain Dump Part 2: The Hills We Die On

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There’s always something going on in the media or on social media that has us, everyday onlookers, choosing sides. To me, in some of the more controversial cases, there isn’t a need to take sides because the evidence is often overwhelming. Some of the most well-known and beloved figures in television, movies, and music have been accused of horrible things. Damning evidence that is so strong that it is just shy of a confession, may be available for all the world to see and hear. Even if there is little evidence or concrete proof of wrongdoing, the person may have a track record of a certain type of behavior which would make it difficult to rule that person out completely.

Read more: Brain Dump Part 2: The Hills We Die On

For instance, plenty of famous men have been accused of various types of assault. Sometimes there’s proof, sometimes there’s not. Some of these men have not only been accused, but have also been arrested because there was insurmountable proof and also because the victim is well-known or has made their identity public. Months or years down the line after the excitement from the case has died down another accusation, lawsuit, or arrest makes the headlines. However, there’s always a dedicated group of people who will support these alleged abusers, scammers, and lowlifes. Super dedicated. Wearing their superhero capes and ready to save their favorite person from repercussions of the things they were accused of doing that they probably actually did.

I started on this topic a couple of months ago in a previous brain dump when a couple of well-known R&B singers were accused, again, of rape. I didn’t publish those thoughts, but I made note of them and let them go. They resurfaced in my mind due to controversy around a popular-ish internet cook who is accused of fraud and internet bullying. I am trying to be optimistic that there are more people than not who actually believe the evidence. That evidence is in the form of horrible ratings on the BBB website, public records about lawsuits and judgments against him, other well-known internet personalities who have distanced themselves or called him out on his lies, and the various reputable news media outlets (that would hopefully not compromise their respective journalistic integrity) have published/aired pieces about him. I am sure they fact-checked before they published/aired those pieces.

Unfortunately, there is a fanbase that does not go away. Despite knowing how horrible their favorite people probably are, they still will go to their graves fighting for the honor of those who don’t deserve it. It absolutely amazes me. There are lots of movies I still watch, songs I still listen to, etc created by or made popular by people who have done the most awful things. I can also acknowledge that some of my favorites probably did or said terrible things. I could never defend their actions. David Ruffin of The Temptations was accused of domestic abuse though never arrested. Little Richard was a voyeur. Chuck Berry was R. Kelly before R. Kelly. Tina Turner said that Africans were lazy although, if my memory serves me right, she said it in reference to their appearances.

Some of them have taken things a bit too far and left a horrid taste in my mouth. I can no longer watch anything with Bill Cosby in it without being reminded of the all of the allegations (I stopped counting after about 30 accusers but I think the official number is closer to 60) and the eventual conviction (which was later overturned on a technicality, if I’m not mistaken.) I loved R. Kelly’s music. I think he’s incredibly talented and has an amazing catalog of music. I, like many others, also turned a blind eye to his behavior for many years because I had grown up hearing about the rumors. I remember the trial in 2004/2005ish. He was never convicted and the rumors had sort of desensitized me when it came to R. Kelly. Most everybody I knew felt he was likely guilty of everything he had been accused of, but we still liked the music. Now, after some of the nitty-gritty details have come out in his most recent trial and conviction, I can’t bring myself to listen to his music anymore.

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If I were to cancel everybody who was a racist, fraudster, abuser, molester, etcetera, I might as well turn off the TV, radio, and internet, and throw away half of my books because almost everybody has something. However, I think it is important that when other people get hurt by our favorite people, whether that person is a celebrity or a member of our respective families, we acknowledge the fact that the behavior happened and that it is terrible. I believe that it is the first step.

So often in the comments sections on a famous person’s social media page or on a news article exposing bad behavior, there’s always someone—several “someones” — who can’t even admit that their favorite person might be capable of doing something unsavory.

“What do they need to scam people for?” “Why would he need to even rape somebody? He’s (insert your favorite singer/athlete/actor/politician here)” “You all are just trolls/haters/jealous” “Stop minding his/her business and mind your own”

What’s worse is that these statements are usually made by the very people that are targeted to be scammed or by the people the accused wouldn’t romance or be friends with in real life. The overly dedicated fans will fight to the death (literally) to defend their favorite people. They’ll research the opposers and post screenshots of addresses, kids, and phone numbers. They’ll call jobs and places of business in order to ruin the lives of people they don’t know…all over a person they don’t know. I hate to say it, but part of me feels that some of the people who do things like this wouldn’t even go this far for the people they really do know personally.

As much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with a quote from former President Trump when on the campaign trail said, “ I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

He was absolutely correct when he said that. It didn’t matter what he said or did or who he offended or hurt. He had a loyal fanbase that had made up its mind. Some of these alleged crooks and abusers could confess but their supports would continue to show their undying love.

It’s a scary world. As I said before, I’m not an expert on this topic, but I intend to do some research on the psychology behind this. I’ve written well over 1,000 words at this point simply to say that we, especially black women because I think we are the most notorious when it comes to this, but as a collective, need to stop supporting people who hurt us.


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Book Review: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

I had to take a break from my Harry Potter binge and dive into a different genre for a little bit, so I went back to the memoirs. There are so many good reviews for Born A Crime by Trevor Noah that I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t know much about him before aside from the fact that he’s a comedian and he’s from South Africa, so I had no opinion about him. I’ll say that he is an awesome storyteller! My knowledge of Apartheid and South Africa, in general, is very bare-bones, but his stories about his childhood have encouraged me to learn more. Most of the subject matter of this book is pretty heavy and downright horrifying but Noah has a way of injecting his humor to make it more palatable. Sort of like “laughing to keep from crying.”

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Brain Dump Part 1

I’ve had so many thoughts in my head, mainly brought on by things I’ve seen on the internet. They left such an impression on me that I left a few comments, which I rarely do on social media, including YouTube. In one case, I actually got into a bit of a back and forth with someone that lasted until I realized there’s no purpose in arguing with someone on the internet. Instead, I figured the better thing for me to do would be to get these thoughts out and publish them on my safe space, my blog. Doing this allows me to express myself and practice my rusty writing skills. These thoughts don’t necessarily connect, but I feel the need to write a paragraph or two about each. This is a brain dump.  

Whisper singing, music, music history, and giving flowers 


Today I watched a video on YouTube about how whisper-singing and desirability equals today’s pop stars. I noticed in both the video and in the comments that many popular female singers from today and what’s now considered to be “old school” were mentioned, but there was no mention of Diana Ross. Now, I am not a Diana Ross stan. I appreciate Ms. Ross and many of her songs stay in heavy rotation in my home, but she’s not my favorite singer. She’s not even my favorite Supreme. However, she had an undeniable impact on pop music as we know it today. Like Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross found a tremendous amount of commercial success in the 1960s except Diana was part of a singing group, The Supremes, and Dionne was a solo artist. Both ladies have legendary careers and I can honestly say that I didn’t give either of them as much credit as I should have until recent years, especially Dionne Warwick. I’ll have to elaborate more on my thoughts of her in a future brain dump.  

Diana Ross to the 1960s and 1970s is what Beyonce is to the last twenty or so years. It doesn’t take much to draw comparisons between the two artists and there are a plethora of videos, articles, and blog posts that provide illustrations. In terms of whisper singing, I don’t consider Diana Ross to be a whisper singer. I think she has a lovely voice that is softer and more high-pitched. I believe I heard from one of the many vocal analysis videos I have watched that Diana is a lyric soprano. Anyway, Diana became the lead singer of The Supremes for a few reasons, one of the primary reasons being her voice was better suited for pop music than Florence Ballard’s or Mary Wilson’s. Fast forward to my childhood in the 90s, watching Oprah with my mom and listening to some of my mom’s favorite singers. Every black female singer who found success in the 1970s and beyond, believed they had a chance at superstardom because they saw Diana Ross on TV in the 1960s. Diana literally became the blueprint for black female performers. Her soft, high-pitched voice, her slim frame, her “it” factor. Granted, there seemed to be a wider variety of voices in the 1970s through the 1990s, but they all had love for Diana.  

In a few of her more popular songs, Janet Jackson sampled songs from The Supremes. Although Donna Summer’s prime was before I was born, I have been a huge fan of hers ever since I started developing my own taste in music. She spoke candidly about her love for Diana Ross. Michael Jackson made clear his love and admiration for Ms. Ross. I personally feel that Beyonce is a combination of Diana Ross, Tina Turner, and Donna Summer, especially before around 2016.  

In recent months, there’s a newfound love for Janet Jackson, a love that I have always had. She has ALWAYS been one of my favorites. Unfortunately, she’s received a lot of criticism for her singing over the years. She’s considered a “whisperer.” I also disagree with that. I think Janet has a nice voice and she stays in her vocal lane. She sings with her chest when she needs to. As much as some people like to dwarf Janet’s accomplishments, especially in comparison to Madonna, and reduce her to a very brief moment during the 2004 Superbowl, Janet and her “whisper” vocals, which were influenced by a number of different styles and artists, including Diana Ross, is considered the blueprint for many of today’s pop stars.  

Going back to my initial point, I know that as time goes by, we, as human beings, eventually move past and forget the ones who did it first. The video I mentioned earlier spoke about Janet Jackson, Ciara, Billie Eilish, and several others and I left the comment about Diana Ross, to which the creator of the video responded that the video would be too long if she mentioned everyone but thanks for my contribution. Sigh. It is something that has always bugged me about my generation and younger. Nobody wants to know where the sample came from or how great the original is. Another example of this was several years ago when singer Trey Songz released a song called Na Na. Everybody thought he sampled The Fugee’s Fu-Gee-La. Only a handful of people knew that The Fugees sampled Teena Marie’s Ooo La La La. It drove me nuts.  

To be continued…

I have plenty of other random thoughts to publish, so I’ll abruptly end it here. In the meantime, check out my other posts and enjoy some of the artists I mentioned in my brain dump. Support my blog by buying my book.