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Preview: Shante Paradigm Presents

Shante Paradigm Presents



Shante Paradigm talks about Brooklyn, music, love, ideas, popular culture, New York, and woo-woo spiritual stuff. Enjoy.



Updated: 2014-10-04T20:26:48.766-05:00

 



Moving to Tumblr

2011-10-13T17:53:50.842-05:00

I've migrated this blog to tumblr. Please find me at Randomness of a Brooklyn Scholar

This blog will serve as an archive, but I won't be posting here anymore.

Thank you all for reading.



Big Band in Union Square

2010-08-01T22:16:01.751-05:00

Last Thursday, I was walking with Ethan Nichtern post-"Meditation in Everyday Life" class that he teaches and for which I'm the Teaching Assistant.

As we chatted and walked through Union Square, we heard the delightful sound of a live Big Band. It sounded to me like New Orleans-style music. It was delightful to hear and wonderful to watch people just dance and enjoy themselves.

I took a little snippet using my wifey, the Iphone 4.

enjoy!

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Unexpected (for "Texas")

2010-08-01T21:44:38.652-05:00

we happened upon each other by circumstance.
a spark of something--recognition adorning desire.
a steady, slow pace.
dinner, laughter, conversation over dessert at Chikalicous.

yes, this was definitely a date.



Yo' Shortie, you East Indian?

2010-07-26T15:28:11.532-05:00

It's hilarious the things that (straight) men say to women in hopes of getting some...lovin'. So I'm walking the Brindles in lovely Prospect Park, when an older South Asian (at this point, I don't know his nationality/ethnicity) waves me over to ask some questions about my dogs (mm, hmm. yeah, right).

After the scintillating inquiries about Tilo's age and Drala's size, he looks at me and straight-up says, "You Indian?" BITCH PLEASE! I was silent for 5 seconds, whilst staring him in the eye, and then simply said, "No." I know, I know, I could have gone on and on about being AMERICAN Indian, not East Indian, but I just wanted to get away from Creepy Shala Creepy. The elderly gentleman, fo' real, put his arm next to mine and said, "we the same color." Now, I know this is some complicated post-colonial, color dialogue going on, but I am/was literally 47 shades darker than he is/was. DUDE!!!! I felt good about the fact that the years of colonial, white supremacy made him WANT to i.d. with blackness, but i knew there was a heterosexist agenda at work, so i had ta keep it movin'.

I did mumble an insincere, "well, all us brownies are related," before saying my goodbyes.

Sigh. If only he was 25 years younger and a woman...alas.



A Dream Gleeky Dream Come True

2010-06-04T10:17:00.860-05:00

There is no excuse for this blog post being this late, except for to say, I was ambivalent about writing is. Then I decided 'Eff it! I owe it to the gleeks of the world' to talk about my experience with DJing the Glee National Live Tour after party at the fabulous 6th Street Kitchen owned by my friend, Chris Genoversa.It happened the way all of these Hollywood/New York City dream stories happen--very quickly. One minute Im on the phone with Sophia talking shop, the next, Chris is calling me to ask if I can show up in 6 hours to the restaurant...cuz the Glee cast is coming. Is you crazy? Hellz-to-the-yes I'll be there.I show up around 11pm, already one hour past my bedtime, and chef Brandon and the rest of the kitchen guys were there along with Darren and another waiter. Coffee. Me, a self-professed non-coffee drinker needed coffee to both wake up and still my nerves (oh the irony). I felt like I was going to throw up. I was going to meet BRITTANY!!??? OH. M. GEE! It starts off with the sweet costume designer and a handful of back-up dancers and singers showing up around 11:30. It was all very civilized.The menu, was, as usual, amazing: chorizo sliders with manchego and aoili, veal and lamb meatballs, delectable beet salad, and some to-die-for brownies ( i almost climaxed when I ate mine. sad but true). Okay, but ya'll wanna know was there? ER'EBODY, except Puck and Mercedes and Sue and Will. what up wit dat? I can understand my gf Jane Lynch and sexy Matty M. not showing up, but I really was hoping to catch a glimpse of Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Mark Salling's Puck. Alas.All I have to say is that Kevin McHale (Artie) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) are as funny, quirky and sweet-as-pie as you would expect. These actors have manners and style. When Kevin asked me, oh-so-politely if I had Usher's "OMG," I rushed to find that shit (after my hands stopped shaking) just to see him dance more. He can jam. What else? Harry Shum (Mike aka Other Asian) and Dijon Talton (Matt aka Shaft (thank you Sue Sylvester)), are incredibly talented, handsome, sexy men, if I went that way, mm, mm, mm, mama would likey. Ahem, Didja know that Dijon's cousing is my wish-wife, Meagan Good? mm, Megan. Okay. Cory Monteith (aka Finn) was totally quiet and politely Canadian. Perhaps one of the straightest men I've met in a long time. Naya Rivera (Santana) walked in and the finest quotient went up about 1000%. I used to think Lea Michele's anti-hero Rachel was my favorite, but Heather Morris as Brittany has my heart. Lea walked in the latest sporting a smile and great dance moves. I didn't recognize Dianna Argon (Quinn) cuz diva was rocking the biggest Aretha Franklin-esque hat to obscure her visage. All these tricks were dancing like crazy. Chris Colfer (Kurt) was a bit shy but right up in the fray dancing and singing away.And then there was Heather Morris--what a ham! Making screw faces every tome someone took jer picture, doing the running man and cutting up, having a really good time. She's got some true comedic talent--like Lucile Ball/Carol Burnett/Gilda Radner potential. Sigh. I kept thinking to myself, 'you're my favorite.' But who wants to say a thing like that to a stranger? No, no, I kept my shades on and spun out the tunes. At one point, one of the dancers said, 'look at the DJ getting down.' It's true, you can't spin that good as music ("Rhythm of the Night" Hello!!!) and not feel it.I was so bummed when I didn't get ticket to Radio City Music Hall to see the Glee cast, but Iw as blessed with a much better gift--I get to say and know tthe cast and crew and creators and executives of Glee danced and sang the night away to the music I played.Favorite Moments of the Night:--Creator/Producer/Director Ryan Murphy telling me I was doing a "great job" spinning...DYING!!!!--Kevin McHale talking to me.--Naya Rivera asking me where the bathroom was--overhearing some juicy ass gossip about someone's sexuality. ha ha ha.--just watching it all, tak[...]



Letter to President Obama

2011-10-13T17:56:53.607-05:00

Some people say, writing letters, protesting, and forums of all sorts do no good. I can not stand by and not raise my voice in dissent to more war. This is not just a commitment to railing against wars started, continued or waged by governments, but it is a call for me and those I love to learn new ways to operate in the world. How do I let go of aggression, resentment, ego, sarcasm, fear, gossip as strategies? These are acts of war! True story. I say I'm against war, but I am not against talking shit about someone, defending MY position, making enemies, may times without conscious thought or a backward look. So, yes, waging material war and murdering and raping people and land is a gross form of aggressive warfare, but it is built upon smaller acts of aggression: discrimination, intolerance, superiority and other forms of power plays. So, I composed a letter, not the most eloquent, but full of my heart, to President Obama. I hope he reads it, I hope, I pray, I fervently want there to be room for us to solve problems without killing, without making money off of murder, without this having to be "the way it is" because someone with a lot of dough is talking in his ear about being "tough on terrorism." There is obviously more going on than I can ever know, but just because I like this guy and not the last one, doesn't mean I support war, this war, any war.

So, here it is:




Dear Mr. President:

I am extremely disappointed in your decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. While I whole-heartedly support the safe return of women and men who are in the battle zone, I also am afraid for the Afghan women, men and children who will continue to die at our hands, by your command. You said that America has never been a colonial power, (a lawerly equivocation sir), but we certainly are currently engaging in deadly imperialist tactics in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the world.

Why are we there? For Osama Bin Laden? Please. If we're there for oil, strategic position, or poppy, be more honest about that. Frankly, with unemployment reaching nearly 30% for some communities (Detroit), shouldn't the State of Emergency be sounding loudly for our own doomed economy?

I am one of your strongest supporters. As a act of love and conscience, I ask you to drop the smooth facade and truly lead us somewhere brave and enlightened, some place that does not follow the same script of greed, war, corporations, blind capitalism, crusading Christianity and xenophobic hatred.

Are you REALLY dedicated to making America a place of thoughtful leadership and citizenry? Or will you go down in history as another aborted dream, who crumbled to the will of those filled with lust for power and greed for resources?

I love you sir and your family.

Sincerely,

Shante Tanishia Smalls



Pre-Halloween Annoucement

2009-10-30T20:31:30.907-05:00

Hey all you nerd balls who like to plan ahead, check this out:
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The program is as follows: The Social Text Collective cordially invites you to our

30th Anniversary Soirée

Friday, November 13, 2009
Philosophy Hall, Room 301
Columbia University
1150 Amsterdam Avenue


4:00 - 5:00 PM
Roundtable Discussion
Lisa Duggan
Jean Franco
Fred Moten
Gyan Prakash

5:30 - 7:30 PM
Reception

Please join us as we celebrate 30 years of Social Text, the recent publication of our 100th issue, and the launch of our new website www.socialtextjournal.org-->doesn't seem to be working yet.

Photo: "Reading Social Text 1 (North Amazon River Basin, Peru)" © Jorge Alberto Perez, 2009.



Yoga in the 'Hood

2009-07-10T09:00:24.931-05:00

I've been a consistent yoga practitioner since 2004, when I started taking advantage of the cheap yoga classes offered to NYU students through their recreation program. It was affordable, convenient, and helped me re-build and re-shape my body after going through a number of surgeries. As time went on, I began to develop, what I like to call "yoga hunger,": wanting to go to class all the time, searching for the"best" teachers and studios, constantly wanting to do more challenging poses, basically pumping up my ego. After a few years of that, and a number of serious injuries, I made my way to the Integral Yoga Institute, where I learned to slow down and let go of some of that ego-enthusiasm.At some point, I was introduced to Ellen Saltonstall, a certified Anusara teacher, by my bodyworker. Ellen has been my primary teacher for the last two years, and I've done Anusara and a bit of Iyengar, exclusively since 2007. Because they are both alignment-based, I've been able to sharpen my practice and also relax into it and not worry so much about looking "gorgeous," but really learn whatever it is I'm supposed to learn in that practice session.I've also been able to develop a strong home practice, however, in the last moth, I've really struggled with practicing at home. More often than not, I've done a truncated practice, or not practiced at all. And especially since my teacher is traveling to teach a lot this summer, I thought I'd better look around for some classes.I really didn't want to go to the City. I've been becoming more and more interested in finding as many of the services I need right in my 'hood of Fort Greene (or nearby 'hoods: Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, or Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Brooklyn Heights). Farmer's Market on Saturdays, dog park every morning, my CSA is in the City, :(, local shops and restaurants, but what about a yoga studio? My main focus has been on finding Anusara studios, but there are none in my area and sometimes I don't want to get on a bus, train or walk to another part of Brooklyn. I recently had a conversation with a dog-park friend who alerted me to the incredible sale Move with Grace was having.When I went in to sign up, Owner Grace Tappin, was friendly, warm, helpful and absolutely welcoming. I gave her my $30 for 30 days unlimited classes(!!!) and returned that night for an Open Vinyasa class. Let me preface by saying, I am not a fan of Vinyasa classes, nor am I a fan of using music in a yoga class. However, the small studio itself was clean, beautiful and very relaxed and relaxing. It was an incredible experience to take a yoga class of all black women (save the teacher, who was white), when usually I am the only one in the class. Moreover, I am supporting the local economy, reducing my carbon footprint, actually doing yoga, and supporting a young, black, female entrepreneur. Wins all around!I'm looking forward to taking the Iyengar class on Sundays and the new Iyengar classes Grace let me know they will be adding. For me, since I have some injuries, alignment-based yoga is the best, and it fits my style, but it was nice to feel invigorated by last night's class, even if that will not be my regular practice. Move with Grace has a wide variety of classes (if not yoga styles) and other types of movement classes, such as Ballet for Adults and Belly dancing! Fun!I also think I've been infected by the fallacy that only the City has good studios. This is particularly false when many of the great and good teachers training or being trained live in Brooklyn. As my schedule changes significantly in the fall, it will be good to be able to pop down the street, pay $10 for a class, and walk home and cook dinner. So, if you live in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, or Bed-Stuy, you should check out Move with Grace. They also give discounts to college and university students and money off cla[...]



The Dyke of Beauty

2009-07-07T19:09:12.456-05:00

I've been thinking a lot about my relationship to beauty--specifically beautiful women. It's been a bit of an experiment, really. As I've been easing back into the dating world these last six months or so, I've noticed my responses to women who find me attractive, or vice versa, seem stuck somewhere in awkward adolescence. It's made me curious about the "oh gosh darn it miss" vibe I sometimes give off, as well as how beauty is determined from the vantage point of a woman who loves woman.Scene 1: We're in the club, some great summer banger is playing, maybe "No Letting Go," most likely, "Boom Boom Pow" and you know how the gays do, one hand up in the air, sexy hips shaking, a little peek of the hip bones...nice. So a fly Nicaraguan shortie approaches me, kicks a bit of game and I am smiling, whispering in her ear, letting her hands slide down to grasps each hip, encouraging her to explore...but of course, I'm looking at the other ladies, feeling there is something missing, something more, someone who when I see her, I will know...The next day I reflected on my tension and lack of casualness at the West Village/Chelsea club. It's not like I really think I will meet the love of my life out at the club, but there's a certain level of posturing and manufactured desire that nightclubs are designed to produce. and silly, sometimes adolescent me falls for it.Scene 2: I'm walking down Myrtle Avenue, on my way to the organic health food store and an older West Indian gentleman stops me to tell me how fine and chocolate-y I am. He relates, in his gorgeous, lilting accent, how he told his friend I ride a bike to "look as fine and sexy as ya do." I told him, "no, I do yoga," and we proceeded to talk about his daughter's (who is older than me!) yoga studio in the 'hood. He was delightful, we speak every time we see one another, and I felt really happy about our interaction.It took me a long time to relate to compliments and attention from men. Sometimes I was intimated, sometimes I would be enraged or feel oppressed, other times, I was simply baffled ("can't they see how GAY I am??"), and still other times, I manipulated and lead them on in order to feel good about myself--in order to feel confident with women. Now, I feel grateful. Physical beauty is a gift. I know being someone who is considered attractive makes my life easier. I know my ability to pass makes my life easier. I am no longer so arrogant or ungrateful as to dismiss genuine attempts to be kind to me, or get my attention, or to be seen by me. I know what it feels like to want to be seen and I know how to handle dudes who get out of line.I was never the pretty one in elementary, middle or high school. It wasn't until college that I really came into my own. As a matter of fact, It wasn't until I started experimenting with my gender presentation that I started to feel "beautiful." I'm not sure how that worked, but somehow, when I wore my ridiculously large JNCO jeans and skater sneakers, schoolboy sweater and matching Giants cap, I felt beautiful. I also felt protected. My body wasn't on display, yet it was in a way. I was alluding to what was underneath through an unisex fashion sense. At that time, I identified as a "girl fag," feeling like my femininity was exaggerated, playful, fierce and diva-like, just like the gay men who I loved growing up had taught me. But I didn't feel my femininity was embodied, and certainly not biological. Lately, I've been playing with drag: One day I was doing high femme diva bitch during the summer (let me tell you, I was hit on by some strange parts of the NYC demographic); next was schoolboy realness (omg! I was so cute with my backpack, khaki shorts, polo shirt and glasses); and lately I've been feeling sporty femme 80's retro--big high tops, fat laces, neon colors, tight jeans and tight shirts. There is something being li[...]



The Cost of Health

2009-05-14T19:58:18.485-05:00

So, I'm no healthcare expert. Nor do I understand why it's a big deal for everyone to have basic health coverage (and even gasp! have the government help foot the bill). However, my own experiences with navigating the world of doctors, insurance companies and prescriptions has left me realizing it's a full time job to manage one's healthcare.

As a graduate student, I am afforded insurance, so I don't have to get married or get another job in order to have health insurance. As someone with a pre-existing condition, this is key. well color me broke when I realized my prescription benefits had been cut from $3500 to $2000. I went to the pharmacy and was told I would have to shell out $300+ a month for my 30 dang pills. Well. Of course I freaked out. After calling the insurance and the pharmacy, I called student health and a wonderful woman gave me a plethora of resources to check on free or reduced medication.

Many of the programs are for low-income, poor, or working-poor families. I only looked at the ones that were free, not the paid services that "found" free programs. At any rate. I applied for a few but was denied because I did have coverage or I made too much money. Yet I found one, Xubex that helped me find the appropriate programs for which to apply.

I got a free 30 day supply and will be able to order a 90 day supply for $40 ( i was paying $25/mo under my student insurance). Come August 22, I'll have my coverage again, but I wonder just how many people go through these types of struggles? I wanted to share a little bit of information if it could be of benefit.

Some helpful resources:
Xubex
Pfizer Friends
RxAssist



Happy Valiumtimes Day!!

2009-02-13T21:59:49.233-05:00

Today, I was talking with a friend about loneliness. Not the type of loneliness that leads to blog writing on a Friday night *ahem*, but that existential loneliness that creeps up temps a temps to smack one upset the head. The kind of loneliness that Valentine's Day seems to have been created to eradicate.

I know, I know, call me a cynic (ah, ah, ah, I am healing from that condition), but doesn't it strike you as a mite bit suspicious that smack-dab in the middle of winter
(no matter how unseasonably warm it's been), we celebrate this thing called Valentine's Day? Oh, I get it, sure, I'll buy some jerk-off some cards, candy or $700 boots, only to have them lie, cheat and be an all-around a-hole? yeah, that sounds good...bitter: they name is woman.

Beyond that, we're in like, an economic crisis or something, but love will save the day, right? Right? RIGHT?????!!! At least, for a day. Possibly maybe. Probably not. But back to this loneliness. It's possible to feel this loneliness, or longing, that has noting to do with Eros, with romantic love, and still be incredibly content, happy and joyous. I'm one of those people for whom romantic love has always been the pinnacle of existence. I lived, blinded by love, as it were.

I'm not hating. When people are in love and experiencing that true partnership with another human being, it's absolutely inspiring and lovely, In fact, the love extends beyond the partners to encompass everyone in the lives of the couple. I've been more desperate in love than I'd like to admit, yet, that feels like a kind of phase I had to encounter in order to see how much it really didn't work.

We certainly need more genuine love, loving-kindness, compassion, generosity and true care in the world. We don't need more rageful, jealous fits ending in violence, boy-meets-girl romances, lies, manipulation and co-dependent patsies in the world. It's hard to come by, this true love, which is extended to all without demand for anything back. Co-emergent with it is this existential loneliness, this knowledge that all the things I have or think I have cannot ease the ache, the longing.

Gratefully, humor provides much relief. Humor and really good music. In honor of both and of St. Valentine, I offer you these. Enjoy!

Teen Girl Squad


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Happy Five Years Shante

2009-02-04T00:12:50.534-05:00

As of February 2009, I have been out of all cancer treatments for 5 years. I know I have been celebrating this 5 year anniversary for months, but here's the breakdown:

September 3, 2008-5 year anniversary of my diagnosis
October 1, 2008- 5 year anniversary of my mastectomy
February 1, 2009- 5 year anniversary of end of chemo

So all of my treatment is done and it's been 5 years, uhh, what does that mean?
It's the 5 year survival rate. I had Stage 1 breast cancer, so I have good odds of not kicking the bucket for a while due to cancer. I am a very, very, very blessed and lucky woman. I don't talk much about my cancer because it's become this very present reality to me, almost like a friend, a mundane reality...not that I don't take it seriously, or even get scurred sometimes, but it doesn't rule my life, nor do I live in fear of my death.

So to honor my survival and thriving, a poem:

A few pounds of flesh
taken for granted.
Mouths that caressed,
hands that teased,
fingers splayed on brownness.

I matured young, blood rushing from the space
between my legs at the tender age of eleven,
but the two hills of fat never quite grew.

I was proud of my body: slim, feline, strong.
It withstood the poisons of youthful chemistry,
the risks of promiscuity,
the trauma of neglect,
Arms like bands of steel,
legs small and muscled
a hidden, round jewel of a butt.

It was a day like any other; September, in fact.
A smile upon my face, first day of graduate school.
my nerves, popping, only a year married,
dreams of houses and children and vacations and lectures to give.
plans, designs, hopes, fears, all on 14th street and 8th avenue.

in a moment, he uttered "cancer."
like a whisper, like a curse.
the shock, slapping me, hot tears cascading
and he talks, not without compassion, but he talks and talks and talks
am i going to die? will it eat my flesh and leave me skeletal?
who will tell my wife? my parents? my brothers?
songs lyrics bounce around a lucid mind
mamma i wanna sing
but i must concentrate on how to save my life...

what can happen in 5 years?
a marriage dissolved
a degree earned only to pursue another
fall in love with her, and she leaves
two presidents. one, black, like me.
a dog or two.
saints of Tibet, vows taken, these are not to a woman. or any other person.
wars began, more lives lost.
many more friends and acquaintances touched by cellular overpopulation.
and a scar.

a scar that marks me, separates me.
makes me wonder if anyone could love me
and not be scared of my death, or her own.
a scar that i hid behind prosthetics and strategically placed clothing
until i said fuck it.
i'm asymmetrical in the most tragically comical way.

but on my wall hangs framed, pictures my dear friend took of me.
a day before the cutting, before i became an amputee.
in the light, near the world's most famous bridge
i look so young, beautiful, defiant, terrified, peaceful.

a tank top, eggplant.
locks that would fall out from chemo.
black jeans
a studded belt
silver bracelet glittering
and two breasts, one soon to part.



Requiem for W...Overture for O: Works of Conscience from 2000-2008

2009-01-08T10:55:26.793-05:00

Requiem for W...Overture for O: Works of Conscience from 2000-2008

Hosted by Shanté Paradigm and featuring
Alexandra Beller, Tara Betts, Sabrina Chapadjiev, Drastic Measures,
Guta Hedewig, Remi Kanazi, Rachel Lane, Jesse Phillips-Fein,
Sapphire, Paul Singh, Spiritchild
& Gina Young

An alternative inauguration celebration, this evening honors how artists responded to the policies of the Bush Administration and encourages continued action for change. The pieces move beyond simply bashing President Bush and heralding President-elect Obama. Instead, they are intended to provide reflection on the past eight years, to foster discussion about how we survived and commemoration for those who didn’t, to create a space for critical thought about the role of artists in activism, and to distribute information about how to become involved in local organizations that are working on issues of social justice.

Friday & Saturday, January 23rd & 24th, 2009, 8 PM
BRICstudio 57 Rockwell Pl between Fulton & DeKalb, Brooklyn
Tickets: $15 Cash Only
Reservations: 718-228-7151 or jesse@jumpoffdance.org

More info at www.jumpoffdance.org

Endorsed by Brooklyn For Peace www.brooklynforpeace.org



New Brooklyn Rebellion Dogs Blog

2009-01-07T21:38:22.516-05:00

More about Tilopa!



The Value of Friendship

2009-01-07T21:42:22.653-05:00

So far, so good. 2009 rocks! I doubt the year knows that it rocks, but in my silly, giddy opinion, the first 5 days of 200nizzle have been excellent so far. A couple of days ago I was reflecting on how I spent last New Year's Eve Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day--it was totally wonderful and beautiful and appropriate. When I look back at 2008, the year really reflected how I spent the last day of '07 and the first day of '08: with friends, in my various spiritual committees, with a dog (although a different one than my current), enjoying NYC, eating well, and giving myself appropriate and loving self-care. For some people, this may seem totally boring, but for this-here Libra, it was nothing short of miraculous!

Anywho, if 2008 was a year of tremendous growth, change and self-reflective "gettin' my mind right," 2009 seems to be the year of enjoying the fruits of my labor as well as digging deeper into those scary places.

I've just spent the last 6 days in sunny, warm SoFla hanging out in West Palm, Palm Beach, Lantana and Hollywood (as in Squares, not Tinseltown). I spent time with two of my closest friends in the world, Kanye and Martha. Kanye's name is really another name, but I refuse to say her name as she wants me to call her by the name her mama gave her and I've known her looooooo these many years as her nickname. Thus, we reach the logical conclusion of calling her Kanye. There is something incredibly powerful about spending time with people who've witnessed you through all kinds of growth: I've known Kanye and Martha since I was 17 and I am so not 17 any longer (thank the pan-dieties)! But we've seen it all: graduation from college, horrible and great relationships, marriages, moves, career changes, degrees, illness, crack-headed decisions, crazy-ass shit with our parents, sibling drama and celebrations...everything that life touches, we've been through together.

A few years ago, we started getting together in NY or Florida, at least once a year. Kanye and Martha live in SoFla and I live in NYC, but they both have family in NY State and we get to be together once a year to talk about what;'s occurred in the past year, what we are currently challenged by, and our aspirations for the future. These gatherings are affirming, filled with laughter and vital to our spiritual, emotional, mental and psychic lives.

I feel incredibly grateful to have such loving friendships. Just a few days into the year, and I already have plans with a host of well-loved friends (and plans for serious snuggle-time with the Shorty when she gets back to NYC). It's such a good, simple loving life I have and I am happy I finally really appreciate it.

Happy 2009 ya'll!!



Wake in '08, Fine in '09

2008-12-29T11:44:01.530-05:00

Well, well, well. Here we are, the end of another year. Not to sound like every old person on the planet, but seriously, where did this year go? Was it even a year, or just a few short weeks? At any rate, it really was an excellent year. I set out to do the most important thing for me which was to get my mind right after going done the path of self-will, which ,of course, placed me in a position to be hurt. Enough of the vagaries.

2008 was a year of incredible gifts, gratitude and accomplishments for me:
1. I officially became ABD (All But Dissertation) in my doctoral work, meaning all I have to do is write a measely four chapter BOOK! ha ha ha. Instead I write on my blog.

2. I found a great apartment and a great roommate. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, supportive situation.

3. I fell more in love with Brooklyn and NYC, even as I realized that I probably won't be able to spend all of my time here for much longer.

4. I made more time for my friends, my sweet/wacky family and myself this year. No easy feat I tell you.

5. I adopted a great dog, Tilopa!!!! (whom I blog about at Fierce and Nerdy)

6. I saw lots of of good movies!!! I fell in love with 30 Rock and You Tube.

7. I got that flat screen...i will definitely be blogging about my Battalestar Galactica marathon and how it is totally different on a great TV.

8. I cleared up a lot of old wreckage: financial, emotional, inter-personal.

9. I had a successful year of running my own business (look here).

10. I re-connected with lots of people, mostly thanks to my 10 year college reunion and Facebook.

11. my iphone!!!!!!!!!

12. After reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I joined a CSA and began working my way to 75% local food purchase.

13. My yoga asana and meditation practice became steady and fairly daily after many, many years of being intermittent. Basically I dedicated myself to the spiritual practice rather than material practice.

14. I fell back in love with Nas.

15. I accepted myself for who I am, flaws and all and embraced my brand of black-homo-femaleness.

16. I laughed so much, 2008 was the year of bawdy, genuine laughter.

17. I turned 33.

18. I reached my 5 year mark free of cancer.

19. I simplified.

20. I got a great surprising Christmas gift.

I'm looking forward to 2009 because it's more days on this Earth and I have plans!!

Bonus: 21. I actually BLOGGED!!!!

With love,

SP and Tilo

(image)



I Love NY, Part Two

2008-12-08T23:06:58.352-05:00

So. It's cold. In the teens cold. Bitterly, miserably cold. Yet, I feel like jumping up and doing a little Irish jig. Why? Because everything's coming up (frozen) roses. Who knows? Life's Too Good, especially when it sometimes sucks donkey balls.Anywho, So, I Love NY, Part Deux. I had a really great picture of some crazy-ass stickers, imparting such gems as " God The Father," in the font of The Godfather. Trez Awe-sume! And one other koo-koo one, but alas, I've lost them. So instead of talking about that, I want to talk about... DATING!Oh. My. God! It's insane!!! Why do we do it??? It's so much fun. Seriously, I feel like I am on the coolest, scariest, sexiest ride of my life and it's basically due to the fact that I finally feel relaxed enough to be myself. At thirty-something years old (and from what I hear, that isn't too old to make these sort of discoveries), I'm pretty okay with me. Now, it took a failed marriage (okay we can pressure the term "failed," but the shit is over, so yeah, failed works), and a failed long-term relationship, for me to accept a lot a truths about myself, but I am beginning to do just that.Truth Number 1: I am a NERD. I have hid this perceived shameful secret my whole life, but now that shit has cache (uhh, add the accent) so I am going with it. Nerd qualifications: Battlestar Galactica fan (old and new),HUGE Buffy/Josh Whedon fan (I know all the words top all the songs of Once More with Feeling)...that's right. I own several rolly carts (so maybe that's more granny than nerdy), I own comic boo--uh, graphic novels. I posses dictionaries in multiple languages. Sci-Fi turns me on. Stop me before I kill again!!!!Truth Number 2: My middle name is Romantical. Ahhh, to be a mushball. Do you know there are people out there who are ashamed of being romantic? Mon Dieu!!! I am proud to say, I am a total mush ball. A pragmatic one, but soft and mushy at the center nonetheless. How do I know this? Well, let's see: I love breaking into song to express my feelings (this could also be a sign of delusional psychosis, but let's go with romance). Right now...I refuse to say what song is in my head right now. That will be my secret shame. Anywho, sweet, sappy, heart songs. woo-hoo! Don't fuck wit it. Oh, that was an earmuffs moment for the eyes. Sorry.Truth Number 3: La La La...it gets mean and/or derivative from this point on, so let's just say that up close and personal, I have the same degree of warts and faults as all people, but am becoming increasingly relaxed about them. Basically, I care less about what you may think and more about how to be authentically me in the moment. This basically translates into treating myself and others well. As a friend once said to me, "we can do things that hurt people's feelings, but I promise no bullshit." Pretty cool and quite a challenge. Sorry for cussin'.Truth Number 4: I have no idea what is going on. This is probably the truest of the true, but hell's bells, I am enjoying the unknown. It's really fun liking ladies and I had forgotten that. I got away from what was basic about me: I'm silly and light and serious and super-cute and arrogant and inappropriate and loyal and fierce and kind and all sorts of human contradictions and foibles and loveliness. Yea.Truth Number 5: Kissing. Is heaven. I forgot just how much fun it is. I mean for those of you who like the ladies, whoa, ladies lips are super-soft. Amazing!!!! And NY ladies are sort of crazy but also really direct, upfront and take-charge--I dig that. Referring back to Truth Numero Dos, I am a typical Libran lover of hearth and home and family, but also, until I settle down, I like t[...]



New Column on Fierce and Nerdy

2008-12-08T16:40:28.685-05:00

Hey Ya'll:

So I'll be posting here twice a month or so and also writing a column for my homie, Ernessa T. Carter (etc) at Fierce and Nerdy. Check in out here.



Requiem for W...Overture for O

2008-11-21T08:54:39.118-05:00

For all you artists out there, who have had something to say about Bush, the War on Terror, all of the impingements the government has made on our civil liberties, and ,of course, the new day that has dawned with the election of Barack Obama as President off the United States, here's your opportunity to shine:

Seeking dance, theater, spoken word, video and music created from 2000-2008 in response to the Bush Administration’s domestic and foreign policy for the ‘Requiem for W…Overture for O’ show in January 2009. From the stolen elections, the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, torture & Guantanamo Bay, proposed Constitutional Amendments against gay marriage, to Hurricane Katrina, how did artists respond to the politics of the past 8 years? Let’s celebrate the end of the Bush era and continue to strengthen the movement for social justice for the years ahead.

Submit your own work or suggest a piece that you saw.

Email jesse@jumpoffdance.org or visit www.jumpoffdance.org for an application. Applications due November 24th!



I Heart NY, Part One

2008-11-17T01:25:16.497-05:00

Soooo...I've been suffering from serious writer's block. Songs go unwritten, my poor doctoral dissertation is a disparate garble of bizarre musings that are barely fit for my eyes only, and this poor, poor blog has remained sad and barren. Well thanks to my friend Ernessa, fellow Smithie, I am inspired to blog once again. Hopefully this will translate into beautiful songs and a fierce and nerdy dissertation (which, by the by, I did work on today. Tavia, that's for you if you're reading).Why do I love New York? Too many reasons. The number one: BROOKLYN. That's right biz-natches, Brooklyn is the borough. Having lived here over 10 years, I can officially call myself a New Yorker, but more specifically and importantly, a Brooklynite. Brooklyn is like the nerdy girl in a John Hughes film who gets a make-over and you realize, "Oh My god! She's so hot and all she had to do was take of her glasses!!!" Yeah man, that's Brooklyn.Being a single lady, I have lots of time to myself. I am also a dutiful mother to a sweet, unpredictable, seriously funny dog named, Tilo. I'll write more about him in my new column, still to be named, on Fierce and Nerdy. Anywho, we're walking down Clinton Avenue towards Fulton Avenue, passing gorgeous brownstones, trees popping with Autumnal vigor, latte-sipping liberals and then I see it...what cruel, cruel summer human being could leave CHOCOLATE CHESTER ( I just made that up) here on his own? Both Tilo and I did a double-take and I worried that my dog, who loooooooovvveeeeess stuffed toys, would take this cute, but most-likely-infested-with-bedbugs, gorilla and drag him along the wide Brooklyn avenue. He didn't. A simple sniff, glance at me, and then we continued our merry trot in the blustering wind.BUT, this is why I love New York and Brooklyn--the unexpected always occurs and it's frequently pleasing. I felt pure joy seeing this stuffed toy propped outside. Sure, some kid probably tired of it, or maybe it did have some unpleasant infestation, but there he was, so gloriously perched, giving me a chuckle, and my doggy something sweet to smell.There was something completely innocent and small-townish about Chester and it's one of the situations that always makes me appreciate this challenging city. For every complaint, siren, crime, loud stereo, over-priced apartment, 8.25% sales taxed item, there is a stuffed toy on a stoop, a beautiful flea market, a gazillion homey, comfortable, over-priced-yet-completely-endearing coffee shops (that are not Starbucks), a ridiculous amount of people on scooters, bikes, and skateboards, lovely parks. New York City is the most beautiful, confounding, heart-breaking, heart-stopping, precious lover I've ever known. She's never left me, even when I fancied abandoning her for somewhere more bland or manageable, she's reminded me that I belong to her. And I do.Quick story: I was walking down Dekalb Avenue, heading to WAMU (soon to be part of the JP Morgan Chase monster) and I glanced over at a tall, Black gentleman. He was dressed in what I like to call "Badu-Badu" wear: head wrap, many Hali Salasi pins, Ethiopian colors, and he grinned at me, asking me if he could take my picture, commenting on my beauty. I blushed, as one does, as I never know how to deal with the compliments of men, since they are really only friends, brothers and pals to me...but we walked and talked, he walked me to the bank, giving me his newsletter of Pan-African news. I smiled and thanked him for his conversation. We said our goodbyes. I felt happy, that I made that bit of connection. Th[...]



A post that got lost

2008-11-11T11:54:19.387-05:00

http://shanteparadigm.blogspot.com/2008/06/shantes-most-absolutely-subjective-best.html



September 5th Show

2008-08-25T10:32:27.800-05:00

Thanks for everyone who came out to see me perform at Ryan Chelsea Clinton's fundraiser for Reach Out and Read, It really was an incredible show: AB Lugo, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene and Carlos Andres Gomez were off the hook! Seriously, I haven't heard that much good poetry/spoken word in a minute. Thank you Radeyah and everyone at Ryan Chelsea Clinton for allowing me to be a part of the work.

Last Friday, I got to be the specail guest artist at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. I don't know if I've ever had more fun (or signed more autographs!) then being in front of this enthusiastic crowd of 8-18 year-old girls. Thanks to Noa D for recommending me to the WMRC staff.

On September 5th, I'll be in a show with some amazing performers. I'm attaching the bad-ass flyer. Please come, because you don't see a group of artists appear like this often.

I'll be on retreat from Aug 26-Sept- 2 and so out of touch, but I hope to see you all Friday, September 5th at WOW cafe.

(image)



Shante Paradigm's Upcoming Shows!

2008-07-30T09:26:15.776-05:00

I know, I know, I can hardly believe it myself:

Queer Women of Color, Boston
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 6pm
QWOC+ Boston presents "OUTSPOKEN: A Queer People of Color Spoken-Word Artist Showcase” in collaboration with Truth Serum productions
Co-sponsored by Queer Asian Pacific Alliance (QAPA)
@ MIDDLESEX LOUNGE 315 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

COST: $5
Open to ALL ages (must be 21+ to drink) (image)

Reach Out and Recite Fundraiser
Wednesday, August 20th, 6-8pm
Ryan Chelsea-ClintonHealth Center


Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
Friday, August 22, 2008 12:30pm (closed show)

Friday, September 5, 2008
Rivers of Honey
Doors @ 8:00
Show @9:00
WOW Cafe Theater
59 East 4th Street (btwn 2nd & Bowery)
$10 (no one turned away for lack of funds)



see this old post never published

2008-06-26T21:43:32.000-05:00

Check out this post
couldn't figure out how to change the date and I re-designed and updated the Shante Paradigm website. enjoy!



Beyond Race Magazine Call Submissions

2008-06-26T21:15:12.048-05:00

Beyond Race Magazine, a national arts and culture publication, is expanding and we are looking for a few great people to grow with us.
Please view the details below.

Jobs, Internships, Freelance:

Account Executive: We are looking for an experienced account executive for online advertising and/or creative print and online packaging. pd. position.

Editorial Interns: We are looking for JOURNALISM STUDENTS in their senior year or GRADUATE STUDENTS to intern for mid-summer positions and fall. We want to facilitate the growth of people interested in senior, managerial, and content editor positions.
This posting is for seniors in undergrad and graduate students only.
College Credit.

Graphic and Digital Design Interns: mid-Summer and Fall positions. This posting is for juniors and seniors in undergraduate or graduate students only.
College Credit.

Internships are for college credit.
Internships are for mid-summer (July and Fall of 2008)

Freelance Writers and Photographers: We need experienced writers and photographers to pitch ideas and potential stories that fit the mission of the magazine. Writers and photographers will cover events, exhibitions and art openings, concerts, and other cultural events in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, London, Paris, South Africa, Los Angeles, the Bay Area. Must be able to work to deadlines and submit stories and high resolution images.

About and Application:

ALL APPLICANTS ARE WELCOME. MEN and PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.

Beyond Race Magazine is a quarterly arts and culture publication designed to spotlight the unique and diverse community of artists in multiple genres (music, visual arts, performance, literature, etc.. We spotlight both emerging and established artists and encourage artists to build with us.

Account Executives: Submit resume + cover letter that illustrates sales experience and current contacts. Also submit your LinkedIn Profile and references.

Interns: Submit resume, links to websites, electronic portfolios, and references.

Freelance Writer & Photographers: Submit Resume + work samples, websites, and or tear sheets.
CONTACT: unakariim@beyondracemagazine.com