The year was 1997, and online music was no where to be found. Most of the world experienced solid, art-based hip-hop through Rap City, Video Vibrations or through either the Vibe, Source, Right On! or Word Up! magazines. My older brother was a hip-hop nut! He introduced our family to this raunchy, fun, yet highly political style of beat-based poetry. When I saw my first Wu-Tang video, Triumph, I was so intoxicated that I wanted to be a rapper. The intensity of the lyrics made my heart percolate! The fast-paced imagery tugged at my youth, urging me to be free. The 10 men I saw on the screen were raw and oddly intellectual.
They seemed to be well-read, open, and real. They were from another world, far away from where I was from. The beats were right up my alley. I was intrigued. The music of Wu-Tang has taught me that we can’t sanitize Black life, making it appear to be easy, and we cannot not alter our stories to please others. Life is what it is. Give it to them raw. I feel blessed to have seen them perform live. It was a fun experience. I also saw the solo performances of Ghostface Killah, and last year I saw GZA perform in Akron, Ohio. RZA had a book talk at the public library, where he shared parts of his personal life story, talked about the business side of Wu-Tang and explained his book, The Tao of Wu. These men are such heart throbs! Their ability to be honest makes them all the more attractive. Whenever Wu-Tang is in town, I will be there, no doubt. The Clan is an ultimate example of the Nguzo Saba aka 7 Principles of Kwanzaa. If you ever see me in the gym, nearly falling off the elliptical, it’s because I’m listening to Triumph, and I have gotten so lifted, that I’m in another world! Be careful when you listen to the Wu. Peace.
Thank you for reading,
Becoming conscious of my own existence, my mind began to transform. I shedded my ego and my eyes opened to reveal my heart. Gaining clairvoyance through observation, I realized that the now was here. I had a chance, so I took it. The urgency of my evolution allowed me to see the matrix, the numbers, the chemistry, the hieroglyphs, the cyphers- the rotation was magnificent. As I matriculate, I stay true. I have seen with my own two eyes the truth. My accountability, my sacrifice, my love is here. I wrote myself back into the story, and started to really love this girl. This level of maturity, this level of security, my restoration is my assignment. Obstacles are moving, resistance is under my elephant feet, I defeat, every time. Better Me. I wanted her so bad, I had to get her. I saw Shila, and I pursued her, until she was strong and her colors shined through. I planted my flag, my culture, my God. I came for her. Osiris Rising.
Thank you for visiting,
Storytelling has been an African tradition for a very long time. Our ancestors used stories to record history and to communicate important messages through generations. Poetry is the method I use to tell stories, and this is the woman who made me believe that it could be done. Poetry can change minds, change hearts, lead to soul revivals; it has a place on the streets, in politics, in music, up high, down low, poetry is a tool we use to transcend. Back in 2005, I heard Nikki speak in the wonderful Jubilee Hall on the campus of her and my Alma Mater, Fisk University. She was amazing, with her candid interpretations of life, or should I say, thug life! Check out the tattoo on her left forearm. I can’t believe that Nikki Giovanni is 73 years old. Her name sounds like she is fashion designer, but she is indeed a game changer who has tried to help us recover from having our culture stolen. With her pages of accolades, she has been a fighter and a major voice. With her words of wisdom and ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, she has helped us fight against the deeply-rooted injustices targeted at people of African descent. She is more than a writer, she uplifted the Black Experience and taught it to many generations of young minds. My favorite piece from her is an essay named Gemini, in a book also named Gemini. She speaks about her first 25 years as a Black poet, and in this particular essay, she talks about the relationship between Black men and women. Looking back on it, I can see things a bit clearer. I am grateful. Prophetic poetry is a part of our Black history. Thanks Nikki, for paving a way. Peace.
I really adore you,
“The cultural relevance of his films puts him ahead of the pack.”
I’ve never understood why critics compare Spike Lee’s work to other directors. There is no one like him. His artistic vision is exclusive and recognizable worldwide. As a child, I was happy when the family flick of the week was a Spike Lee Joint. Crooklyn and When the Levees Broke have become my favorites. The provocative issues that Spike addresses in his films, appeal to me. I value realistic art with powerful and transformational stories- not unnecessary, mind-numbing drama. I’d rather learn how to solve a problem, then how to create one. That’s what Spike brings to the table. I will watch mostly anything that he writes and directs just because he has a wonderfully cultivated mind and because his art direction has brought many Black actors to life including: Denzel, Samuel L. Jackson, and Wesley Snipes. He has also brought Black History and the Black Experience to the stage like no other. The words, a “Spike Lee Joint” are a part our vernacular and his creations are a part of our history. I am on his team! Go Spike!
Thank you for visiting African Essence by Shila Iris
I was twelve years old when I first saw Erykah Badu’s face. This beautiful, soft-eyed queen mesmerized me. I stared into the televison screen unable to look away. I was in love. She sang soulfully, unlike anything I’d ever heard. The bass line in her first single, “On and On” penetrated my heart muscle, seeped its way down my spine, and made my shoulders and hips move- I was possessed by an ancestral spirit! She was dope then, and she is super dope now. Her music is highly intellectual, an art form in which I appreciate- you can’t fake this vibe. To write these lyrics, to sing these songs, you have to be levitating on a high frequency. Her music is like poetry. After hearing her that first time, to my surprise, my mother came home with Baduizm on tape and then the Live Record! I loved every song and every lyric. This is the artist that I connect with more than any other. Her third album, Mama’s Gun is my favorite of all time. The music is timeless. Right now, I am enjoying her projects with Robert Glasper and other groovy artists. To top it all off, Erykah’s style is amazing. Her attire excites me. I adore her independence as an artist. I use her words to heal and to grow. She has gotten me through heartbreaks and heartaches, and she is helping me rise into greatness, even now. The music inspires me. “Don’t feed me your’s, cause your food does not endure.”
Thank you for reading,
We stay swarming, so, watch out, you might get stung…
“So tell me Slim what you wanna do
When you know I’m in love wit you
Every time that I turn around
Look for you but you can’t be found
Fly free baby fine wit me
I’m in love wit a bumble bee
Ooh Slim, boy you killing me
But you so sweet to me”
Join the Queen Team- let your natural beauty show. No fillers, no filters, no make-up, no pretending, no adjustments, Just You.
This is who I am. Nothing more, nothing less.
I am Shila Iris
Who is Emily, you might ask? Not even Esperanza knows, but I guess you’ll have to show up to find out. This production is sure to be a smashing hit, as Ms. Spalding puts on many hats and presents what we could sort of call her “alter ego.” Are you ready? I am ready! It’s playtime!
Can you pretend to be yourself?
The shows starts at 8:00 pm and tickets range from $20-37. If you haven’t seen her live, this would be a good opportunity to experience her wonderful jazzy majesties. She is stunning in character and in talent, and I am all about her exploration of the many dimensions inside of herself. Peace and love sista soul. Can’t wait to experience you.
Get your tickets here.
I am Shila. Peace and blessings.
Read about her here. …