Around the T-Dot, Caribbean Culture, Music

Black Women’s Freedom Weekend

How are you doing, Dear Reader?

On Twitter I mentioned the combined phenomenons of Beyoncé dropping Renaissance, and this past weekend’s Caribana parade. The blissful timing of it all made me dub the last few days Black Women’s Freedom Weekend. There’s no doubt that if, like me, you’re a Black woman of Caribbean descent, and you love Bey, your mood might’ve gotten a double boost of energy within the past 72 hours.

First, New Beyonce

I’m still gathering my thoughts on Renaissance. It’s a surprise and a delight all at the same time.

If you’re a fan, you probably already know “Break My Soul”. Bey dropped a new visualizer for it the other day.

And every now and then I check the internet for gems like these. It’s fun to read interviews with the people behind the album of the summer.

So many of Beyoncé’s songs are sweet to my ears. If I never write another word on Renaissance, know this: From the first time I listened, my heart burst with pride. And I thought, “YES! THIS is what Black Girl Magic sounds like!”

Caribana, aka Toronto Caribbean Carnival

As already mentioned, my ancestors are from the Caribbean. When I was younger, growing up outside of the GTA, I felt like I was robbed of the chance to immerse myself in my culture. True, I was able to enjoy some experiences, like Caribbean home cooking. But I longed for more.

This weekend, revellers donned costumes and came together for the 55th year of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, aka Caribana.

Here are a few highlights:

Articles like this one serve as a wonderful reminder of the healing that can come through celebrating one’s culture. Everyone out participating in the parade looks so joyful and free—I long to join them!

Photo via sheenalashay on


Beyond “Break My Soul”: Anticipating New Beyoncé

“B is back,” indeed!

Like so many of you I’ve been blasting Beyoncé’s lates single. It’s a certified hit. But it’s also been speaking to me on a deeper level. When I hear “Break My Soul” my spirit feels unstoppable. It gives my mood a boost. Queen Bey’s new album drops tomorrow, and I can’t wait!

From what I read last night, her new albums will contain country tracks. (I say “albums” as Renaissance is the first in a three-part series.)

Did I mention that this is also one of my favourite Beyoncé songs?

For those who need visuals, here’s her 2016 performance at the Country Music Association Awards with The Chicks.

I remember the controversy that followed.

In the end I feel like Beyoncé opened the door for a greater conversation on diversity in country music. I, for one, would love to see (or hear) her perform with a legend like Reba McEntire or Dolly Parton. Or even a newer artist, like Mickey Guyton.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But in Renaissance’s track listing, I noticed that there’s a song called “Church Girl”.

People talk about Kanye. But if Beyoncé every releases a gospel album, I’m convinced that Jesus himself will come down and tell her, “Good job, B!”


Sound Investments: JoJo

Since last night there’s a track that I’ve been listening to on repeat.

I found it while browsing my friend Mischa’s Twitter timeline. At first, I was conflicted.

“I don’t know…It’s a remake of an Anita Baker song…”

I have the original “Caught Up In the Rapture” in my iTunes collection. As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect. A cover couldn’t do it justice.

“But…But it’s JoJo.” Unlike some so-called divas, I know that JoJo can actually sing. I hadn’t heard from her in ages. I made my way over to her Soundcloud page, and pressed play.

Oh. my. damn. At 3:38, I nearly died. JoJo’s voice has so much power and passion. I love it!


Slow Jam Sorcery: Earth, Wind & Fire

Sometime last week I started listening to this:

From the moment I found it, the melody left me imagining intimacy. Quiet moments. Slow dancing. Words whispered. Or left unsaid.

And of course, I started to take in the lyrics.

Check the hook and chorus:

Don’t fly, we’ve flown
Don’t reach, we’re grown
Life’s not your own,
We’re not alone.

If you’re looking for the life, it’s in you,
(Whatchu do?) then you try to figure how you gon do,
Let the Guiding Lights take ya…!


Music that’s both substantial and sexy. What could be better?


B. Free

This isn’t one of those #BeyoncéThinkPieces. But I’m going to point you in the right direction. I love Beyoncé, and my appreciation of her work extends beyond the superficial.

Not only is her music fun to dance to. When I listen to Bey’s latest record, I feel inspired. As one author at xojane said, “…free black girls are not as much of a thing as we should be.” Or more recently, read “...why it matters when black women sing about sexuality.” If we don’t set ourselves free, who else will?

Beyonce’s work is not perfect, nor do I expect it to be. Yet I can’t deny its power to address themes that resonate with various women–including me. None of us should have to wonder about whether or not she deserves to own every aspect of herself. It’s nice to hear a reminder–regardless of the medium.


More music.

Thought I was finished with 80s ballads? Me too.

But this…This showed up in a pilot for a show that I can’t talk about we saw in class today.

The cool thing is that when that video was done, I discovered an extended Anita Baker track:

I hadn’t heard it before tonight. Good stuff. 🙂


I love music.

I especially enjoy listening to it while I write. Since Saturday was supposed to be devoted to writing like a motherf*cker I was in my glory. Here are a couple of tracks that made me dance as I typed:

I can’t find the studio version of “When I Fall…” on iTunes. I might have to acquire it by…Other means.

This next song is, however, a part of Apple’s collection.