The Last Native’s Essence Recap: Part 1

Okay so, it’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you…and all that jazz.

In the time that I have been on blog hiatus (read: “lazy as hell and finding everything to do BUT write”) there’s been lots of happenings and goings on that I could have written about that I let slip through the cracks, that stops now because, why? Because, last week’s Essence Music Festival, that’s why. The annual Essence Fest/Girl Power Revival/Sundress and Wide Hips Smorgasbord/Day Party Disneyland took over New Orleans last week and Tribillions (I made that number up) of women with Tiffany Haddish wishes and Queen Latifah dreams line danced their way into the city for the goings on.

Now I’mma stop here because if there’s 4 people that take the time to read this blog at least one of them will think, “Why were you there? Essence ain’t for you! Women need their space and hideaway from men for a weekend.” First of all, shut up. Secondly, we like to party too! And finally, Continue reading

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Atlanta Heads West…All of Us.

Atlanta Falcons Fans

Dear Citizens of Houston:

Hello friends, I bring you greetings from the proud, oft traffic snarled, city of Atlanta. I wanted to reach out to you this week because I’ve been to Houston several times over the last 20 years or so and I like you guys, a lot actually. I needed to alert you that although you’re experiencing beautiful late January weather, a storm is coming your way. If you still yourself and lean your good ear to the east you’ll hear the faint sound of suitcases zipping shut, vehicle engines starting, and the faint strains of “Weee ready…Weee ready…Weee ready for y’all…” drifting in on an afternoon breeze.  It is a storm dressed in red and black, an Iceman its leader, and a bird of prey its symbol. We are indeed ready; it is the intent of this letter writer to make sure that the fair city of Houston is ready as well. Below you will find a number of items that I hope will prove helpful for the onslaught, I mean, arrival of Atlanta residents to your fair city.

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Beware! The Beyhive Cometh…

I REALLY HAD SOMETHING PRINCE RELATED lined up to write about tAngry Beesoday but I’ll shelve that for a day or so; I feel compelled to jump on another subject of note from this weekend and that subject is this: The only thing funnier than people repeatedly criticizing Beyoncé’s work (and it’s generally pretty damn good work) is the horde of Beyoncé fans that feel the need to unnecessarily come to her rescue.

I’ve talked about the group known as the Beyhive, the fiercely loyal group indelibly tied to Mrs. Knowles-Carter, before here on my little space on the internet. Once upon a time Wu Tang Clan had the monopoly on Killer Bees. No longer, they’ve been usurped by the “beys” of a different spelling. These span from teenagers to grown-the-hell-up-ass women. They are all colors. They are male and female. They are at every show. And they want your blood if you even think a solitary negative thought about Beyoncé.

All of your blood.

Now there’s really no need to get into the whole Rachel Ray fiasco at this point because it’s well documented how some misguided, and obviously not quite reading at grade level, members of the ‘Hive came hunting for her and were on her Instagram cussing out pictures of food and recipes. I can only assume that Ms. Ray was left shivering in a corner and after ripping all the Ethernet cables out of her computers and throwing her WiFi router in the pool out back after being verbally berated after simply wanting to break y’all off with some warm and flaky buttermilk biscuits.


My question though is simply, “Why?”

I understand fandom. Really I do. Back in the day I was a devoted member of Friends of Janet when that was a thing. Before I was a FOJ, I was a Janet Jackson fanatic dating back to the TV show, “Fame”, and “Diff’rent  Strokes” before that…and “Good Times” before that. I did the fan meetups, the special ticket promos that got me seats close enough to the stage to get Janet sweat on my shirt, and got all the cool Janet swag – the tee shirts, the hats, and the buttons and if I didn’t get all I was supposed to get, I was on the internet as fast as my dial up connection would allow to get all my isht because if I’m sitting second row center Janet might get a glimpse of me and she needed to see that I had all my Janet buttons.  I get devotion and the occasional desire to rally but I don’t remember people coming for other people’s necks; it’s different with the Beyoncé fans. They tend to go full Game of Thrones on these folk, riding in on dragons barefoot wearing full length ball gowns brandishing Louisville Sluggers just like their hero on the latest video for the night is dark and full of Beyhive members! They out here on Twitter standing sentinel like modern day S1W’s (Public Enemy reference, look it up) just waiting on someone to talk reckless so they can get to twirling and slaying on these folk via keyboard and they won’t rest until the Twitter mentions of the offending party looks like 10 minutes after Hiroshima and there’s been a full write up of the massacre on all the major entertainment blogs. But why though? Why?

Are there ticket prizes for the most brutal Hive member? Is there a pecking order amongst the group that one virtually ascends when they defend the Queen’s honor successfully? After a computer based flawless victory against a Bey naysayer do you get to hang with Solange and Beyoncé at a brunch that’s nwhyow has to be hosted by Bobby Flay instead of Rachel Ray because she’s STILL afraid to come out of the house? Why, why, why the need to defend so heavily? Because, while I don’t know much about Beyoncé, I’m pretty sure that she takes the time occasionally to giggle her pretty ass off about all of it. I’m certain that she’s amused that she has her very own Knights of the Round Beyhive out here in these streets jousting on her behalf while she is likely lying in the middle of her living room floor making snow angels in $100 bills. Why? Why? Why? I’m sure there’s reasoning for it, I’m also sure that whatever that reason is, it isn’t necessary because while people are out here Hunting For Haters all she doing is cashing more checks, making more videos, and becoming even more of an icon – all of which she can do without people committing internet murder via social media. Even still though, if you’ve got answers I’m interested to know what that’s about.

And I’m asking with all respect because I see how y’all do out here. I’m not trying to come up missing behind a blog post on a little read slice of the internet machine.

With love,



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Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, Humor, So Incredibly Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beyonce Knows Timing is Money…

beyonce-moneyThe rich are and stay rich for several reasons, one of the most important being that they are opportunistic. Wildly successful people have a penchant for striking when the iron is hot and rarely missing a chance to maximize on an opportunity. Timing is key when it comes to high achievement. Megastar Beyonce Knowles is a 1-A example of this, her life as we know it know is due to repeated occurrences of doing the right thing at the right time.

She had to know when to rid herself of the other two members of Destiny’s Child (a.k.a Beyonce ‘n Nem), she had to connect herself with the right guy at the right time (Jay Z) to start a family empire in addition to her singular one. And of course the perfect example of her timing that took place just over a week ago on flat screen TVs across this nation and world. Not the release of the “Formation” video and subsequent next day performance of the song at the Super Bowl that spurred joy, loathing, admiration, protests, and a spike in Red Lobster stock; this is something else.

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10.7.13: Worst Sports Night Ever

Here Lies Atlanta Sports

I’d felt this kind of dread before. It was the icy morning of the NFC Divisional Playoff a few years ago when the Falcons hosted the Green Bay Packers in the Georgia Dome. The dread was real, palpable, and there was no doubt in my mind that the same feeling sat heavy in the consciousness of every Atlanta sports fan in this city. Murphy’s Law was likely written and conceived in the city of Atlanta and on October 7th, 2013 there were a multitude of things that could, and ultimately did go wrong. This is the recap of the single worst sports day in the history of our solar system. Continue reading

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7 Days to Birthday: Perspective

It’s that time of year again, that’s right, we’re swiftly approaching the anniversary of the day that I discovered America! Given that I make it another 7 days, I will say goodbye to another year and start over with another one. I’ve started to notice that birthdays start to morph into something else as you get older. There used to be a time that birthdays were looked at with great excitement, you begged your Mom for a party at ShowBiz Pizza (old school, I know) somewhere around age 9-10, then you looked forward to 13 so you could be grown (in your crazy kid mind), then 16 so you could finally get behind the wheel of that car, then 18 because you’re a freshman in college and you think you’re grown (in your crazy kid mind), then 21 because you can throw away that fake ID and buy a bottle of your own and so on… Continue reading

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The Mind of The Last Atlanta Native

There was a ball game, a glass sliding door, and a cocker spaniel with bronchitis. No, that’s not the lead in to a joke by some second rate comedian, rather those are the main components in this little ditty that I’m writing today.

I’m a sports nut and will watch any sport on the set, even a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. I loathe the Yankees and the Red Sox but it was Sunday night and my sports pickings were slim; I was in the unfortunate position of relying on those teams to provide my sports entertainment for the evening. Surprisingly the game wasn’t all that bad, tied in the late innings with a potential go ahead run for the Yankees standing on second base; I even shudder to say that it was entertaining; at least entertaining enough to make me forget about Mocha, my sister’s Labrador…

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The Wobble and the Black Man

I hate to write blogs that are more than 80% race specific. I think that it cuts down the complete comprehension level of my potential reading audience if I get too “problem specific” in my subject matter; but sometimes it can’t be helped, sometimes it’s unavoidable, sometimes I have to launch out into the deep to help my fellow man and sharers of the Black race. That time is now…and it’s because of line dancing. We’ve all been guilty of having done one or two in our day: The Electric Slide, The Cha Cha Slide, The Cupid Shuffle –they’re easy to pick up, they’re a tad addictive, and they’re not gender specific…except The Wobble.

The Wobble (a.k.a. the “Big Girl Anthem”) is a line dance – wait, check that – The Wobble is like the Godzilla of line dances. You can be at a small house party consisting of 6 people and a cat, having drinks and a generally good time, but then someone will make the mistake of turning on The Wobble and upon the first “OOOH!!” women will be kicking down your doors, sliding down your fireplace, and breaking out your windows and before you know it you have 53 people you don’t even know in your house doing The Wobble. Fact. It’s documented. Continue reading

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A Shark Tale

Hey! I missed you guys! **group hug**

One of the great things about singing in a choir is the choir trips. Just like any good marching band member has a band camp story any choir member worth his/her weight in trail mix has a story that will make you ask, “That happened on a choir trip??” Something like that happened on a trip to Tampa that we took not long ago. It was your average everyday choir trip from the looks of things; pull into town early in the morning, put our things into the hotel room, shower, dress, find lunch, do some shopping, back to the hotel, change again, to the church for run through/sound check, then chill until the annual concert at 6pm. Pretty much the same thing every year since I joined this particular choir when I was 19. But THIS particular year I decided I wanted to go to the beach, mainly because I love the beach, yes, but also in part because I knew there would be girls at the beach because the temperature at that current hour, around noon, was somewhere between a boiling volcano and the magma filled center of the Earth.…and before you start railing and going all like “Hey, Skrap, wasn’t this a church choir trip? Why are hunting for beach bunnies and junk” I will simply say I’m only a man and no one got groped. Yay Jesus! Anyway, I knew that there would be eye candy at the beach so me and a couple of my friends in the choir went to the beach where we would have lunch, watch the beach bunnies, and listen to the ocean crash repeatedly ashore. Everything was lining up to be a regular day until we saw our music director on a jet ski skimming across the waves at top speed about 100 feet out from the shore. He caught sight of us standing on the beach and brought the craft in towards the sand. The Jet Ski was blue and red and the motor purred gently as the engine idled in the shallow water. I’d always wanted to ride a jet ski but when you’re born and raised in landlocked Atlanta your opportunities with watercraft are few and far between; seeing it up close in the water stoked the fires of my wanting though and as if reading my mind our music director spoke up and said, “I’m tired, I paid for an hour with this thing, I’ve used 20 minutes, any of you guys want on this thing?”

Without even thinking I threw my hand up like an overeager 1st grader who knows the answer and shouted out, “Ooo! I want it! I’ll take it!” Looking eager to get off the vessel he took off the loud orange life jacket and tossed it in my direction then called over the Jet Ski guy to let him know that I would have the remainder of his time. After about 10 minutes of safety speak from the overly tanned gentleman I was speeding out to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and then this conversation with myself…

“What the hell am I doing? Dude, there’s at least 50 feet of open water under this thing, didn’t you just panic the other day in the 8 foot end of the pool? You’ve never been on a jet ski before. Slow down! If you take another turn at that speed you’ll flip this thing and end up in the Gulf and you’ll float damn near to South America before they find you.” Turns out that my anxious inner voice sounds a lot like my parents…even so I was able to push aside those voices and my own fears about speeding along over God only knows how many feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico and before I knew it I was about 250 feet out and at top speed on the thing as I tackled the straight line course, about a mile and a half, before making a tight top speed turn throwing up a huge wall of water and speeding back a mile and a half in the other direction. I felt like some kind of superhero as I jumped waves and relished the water in my face as I carved my way through the Gulf. I was reaching a nearly giddy state doing something that I’d always wanted to do and then I made the silly decision to turn to my right. That’s where giddiness transformed into something a little less, well, giddy. I’m zooming along on this jet ski at around 20 mph minding my business and in my periphery I catch a glimpse of something in the water, about 5 feet from my right foot and moving at about the same speed as I am, then a little ahead of me, then trailing behind, only to run alongside me again. I dismissed it initially as glimmers of sun shining off the water but decided to look over anyway and there alongside me was a smooth fin, wet and slicing through the water at a rapid pace.

I live in Atlanta. Aside from the creek that ran by my house as a child I have no in depth experience personally with bodies of water or the creatures that inhabit them but I know one thing thanks to the movies. Sharks. Have. Fins. Now the anxious voices are back, I start to notice how far away I am from the beach, no matter how fast I go on this thing I can’t outrun the fin…and is it my imagination or is this thing inching closer to me? To compensate for what I think is an impending shark attack I shift my weight left to move the jet ski away from the shark fin giving me about 7-8 feet between me and the speeding fin to my right; bad thing about that was that I didn’t see the matching, and equally fast, fin that was moving alongside me on the other side. That’s right, I was so focused on the one fin that I didn’t even know that there was another one on the other side.

Now I’m right up against panic mode. I’m twisting the throttle but I can’t outrun them, I can’t keep going straight because my mile and a half was about to end and I had to slow down soon to turn around. The fin to my right was a little ahead and the one to my left trailed a bit, it was like all the hunting strategies that I’d seen on PBS except they weren’t hunting seals, on this particular Saturday they were hunting Black Jet Ski virgins. I was imagining their 20mph conversation going something like this:

Shark 1: He’s running out of course.

Shark 2: Yep, he’s gotta slow down to turn around…

Shark 1: You’re right! And when he does…

Shark 1 and Shark 2: It’s shark attack time!

Meanwhile, above the surface of the water I remember that I’ve gotten pretty adept at the high speed turns so I planned to come off the throttle, turn hard right, hit the throttle again and be full speed in the other direction before the sharks knew what happened. I gave myself a countdown from “3” and pulled off the move effortlessly, I mean, it was something out of a James Bond movie how well I pulled it off as I sped off 180 degrees away from the…wait a second…I seemed to have forgotten along the way that things in the ocean swim for a living, I mean, it’s what they do so it’s not like I could outmaneuver a shark in its element, right? First the fin on my left reappeared and then the one on my right popped out of the water and assumed his position.

Can’t outrun them. They’re too fast.

Can’t outmaneuver them. They’re too crafty.

Can’t slow down. They’ll eat me in 3 or 4 bites

Can’t turn left or right. They’ve got me hemmed up on either side.

All I had was fast and straight and the deep dark feeling of resignation weighing on me. The scene looked just like in the cartoons when the illustrated sharks gather and circle around what will soon be dinner. Finally, I had to have a 20 mph heart to heart conversation with my maker about this little situation.

“Really, God? Like this? I grew up a stone’s throw from the city and with all the ways you could have chosen to end me You spun the wheel and landed on ‘Death by Shark’? Really, God? So I’m guessing that to make things even there’s a little suburban White chick that’s about to get it in a drive by or traffic induced 20 car pileup? Really, God? A shark attack, I’m in the ocean, what, once every 2-3 years and the one time I get in the water You send the shark brigade out for a Black dude buffet? Really, God? Like this. You know my Mama! You know she’s going to resuscitate whatever part of me that the sharks don’t eat and beat it to death because I was out in the middle of the ocean right? No fair.”

At that moment the fin to my left dropped down into the water to where I could no longer see it. This was my chance to make a left and head back to shore since my way was no longer impeded and that I did. I made a hard left and opened that Jet Ski up as fast as it could go towards shore. Standing about 200 feet away in waist water was the Jet Ski instructor. He obviously saw that I was wide open and motioned for me to slow down but that wasn’t happening, no chance, not with those two hungry sharks right behind me. I could hear the instructor in the distance now; he was screaming, “Bring it down! Too Fast!” and furiously waving his arms but you know what else I could hear? I could hear the theme to Jaws booming in my ears building to its famous crescendo leading my imagination to think that the sharks behind me had now leapt into the air and were ready to pounce down upon me and engage the feeding frenzy. The beach was 75 feet away, I was doing roughly 25 mph, and I’d fully made up my mind that I was going to ride this pretty blue and red Jet Ski out of the water, onto the beach, and to the rental car in the lot. The instructor was blowing a whistle now and he looked upset as he repeatedly yelled STOP directly at me so, throwing caution to the wind, I did; turning hard to the left as I hit the brakes throwing a 7 foot high semicircle of water in my wake drenching the instructor and a couple of kids nearby splashing around in the shallow water.

“What’s your problem, man? Thought you were going to beach my jet ski”, he exclaimed.

“I was.”

“Why? What…what were you going to do that for?”

I was frantically looking around in the water for the reemergence of the fins in the water, “Sharks.”

“Sharks? When did you see sharks?!”

“Two shark fins were out there next to me when I was riding.” In a raised voice now, “They were FOLLOWING me, man!”

“Oh, you mean, those two sharks out there?” He pointed out to the area in the deeper water where I was riding moments earlier and there were two dolphins out there jumping around in a very Sea World-esque fashion. One would leap out of the water and then the other would leap and twirl after him. “The dolphins like to swim along with the jet skis. It’s how they play. Hell, that’s the reason that people rent jet skis from us anyway is because they know about the dolphins.”

He laughed at my silliness and then remarked that I still had 10 minutes left but I was done. This guy from the landlocked city of Atlanta who was faked out by two dolphins and obviously forgot that other creatures in the water other than sharks had fins had had quite enough. I climbed down off the jet ski and waded back to shore, gave Jet Ski Guy back his lifejacket and hurried to dry land as, you see, there was this choir concert in a few hours and a certain someone who had just narrowly escaped a shark, errr, dolphin attack in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico had some extra thanks to give.

~thanks for reading 🙂

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On Vowels and Apostrophes – What’s in a Name

Hey all. 85% of the time I am a “uniracial” writer meaning that the items I write are for the general consumption of the total reading public. What kind of short sighted author would I be if I set out to write for only one group of people? However, in some cases there are topics that sway so heavily in one ethnic direction until I have to excuse myself from being the universal writer I attain to be and speak directly to one group or the other. So to my White brothers and sisters that may happen upon this blog on, this, the first day of Black History Month, I ask you to bear with me as I speak to those of my ilk for a moment.

Recently I worked in a setting working with students that were interested in continuing their educational pursuits beyond high school. In most cases I didn’t see the student; they were only test scores and transcript information in a manila folder. And names.

Ridiculous, unpronounceable, vowel ridden, unneeded apostrophe laced names.

I give you a sampling of the names that hit my desk one day last week. Enjoy; given you have the ability to phonetically sound them out…







And my personal favorite…

De’Quan’Tavis (Ha! This name actually came up as a fragment in my spell check. LMAO)

And each time one of these gems got placed in my cubicle I silently asked myself the same question, “What in the world were their parents thinking?” Over a three month span I saw names that could only be pronounced by the mothers that came up with the monikers and the most adept of linguists.

Now, it goes without saying that all of these names belonged to Black students. (Really?) I thought back to a time when as a boy you really couldn’t get much Blacker than Malik or LeRoy; those names were like the epitome of Black like Shaniqua was for Black girls across America. Now, it seems like people are trying to out-Black one another when they get knocked up, it’s like a childhood game…

Okay…take a prefix like “La” or “De” then add your favorite car brand, throw in an apostrophe, then include two or three letters from the Daddy’s name. You get extra points if you use a “K” or a “Q”…and go!

…and there’s no apparent ending in sight judging by the constant barrage of consonants and vowels that I saw day after day.

I brought this up in general conversation while having some beers one night after work at a local watering hole after being brought to tears by too many names that I couldn’t pronounce after three attempts. Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of that alcohol laced conversation.

Them: You just don’t understand being Black in the new Millennium.

Me: I’m plenty Black, the only thing I don’t understand is why people stopped using apostrophes to denote possession and started using them as designer imprints in their children’s names.

Them: Wait, I was on your Facebook page yesterday. You have a family member with an apostrophe in her name!

Me: You’re right, and she has a “Q” too. (Mom got extra points) but she was born in the 60s in the South to parents that were heavily discriminated against for the first 20 years of their lives. They had some angst built up. But even then they hid it in her MIDDLE name.

Them: Man, you sounding like a sellout…

Me: And you’re just selfish, think of someone other than yourself for a change. Think about the kid that has to go to Kindergarten and put all those letters on those lines, think of him crying when he runs out of room time after time on that sheet of paper. Think of the teacher that will look at that name on their role sheet year after year, frown, and then say their name with that upward inflection towards the end like they are asking a question. And for goodness sake think of the admissions advisor at a University in Georgia that will have to call and pray that he gets the pronunciation correct when he calls to follow up about the request for information on the school. Now buy me another beer…

Am I saying that you can’t be good people with 12 letters and 3 apostrophes in your name? Absolutely not! I know good and highly successful people with names that venture drastically from the norm. But, if you’re going to name your child something that looks like the cat fell asleep on the keyboard while Microsoft Word was still open I only ask that you start that child reading and writing at a young age, you stay on his/her ass in their schoolwork constantly, and you do everything you can to raise a good kid and citizen that excels because if you think people aren’t looking at those letters and apostrophes on resumes, in schools and on applications and forming their own opinions sight unseen you’re lying to yourself. It’s like Bruce Hornsby wrote years ago, “That’s Just The Way It Is”.

This has been Skrap’s Black History Message to the people for February 1, 2011.

~thanks for reading 🙂


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