They Finally Discovered Canada

I’ve traveled quite a bit throughout the US and Europe and the differences between the two are as vast as the Atlantic ocean separating them. My favourite difference is the reaction I get from folks when I tell them I’m from Canada. In Europe, folks will actually name off cities they know and have visited. They know Toronto and can share stories of visiting our beautiful city in the summer.

When in the US, I’d often get a surprised look. “Really, wow that’s far!”, said by a New Yorker. “I didn’t know there were black folks up there” was said to me while in Memphis one time. Especially in the early 2000s, I often met folks in the US who had never traveled to Canada let alone met any Canadians. But in my recent trips, things have changed.

In my most recent trips to the US, folks told me directly they love Toronto and can name actual landmarks they’ve visited. What caused this sudden change? What made Canada, more specifically Toronto for my experience, more attractive to our louder than life cousins south of the border?

What got me thinking about this today was an article I read from the New York Times called ‘With The Rise of Justin Trudeau, Canada is Suddenly…Hip?’. The added question mark got me. Because the cold North couldn’t be anything but Labatt drinking hockey players, right? After a while the stereotypes and narrow thinking must get tiring.


I’m not going to quote too much from that sadly written and hyperbolic article, but to sum up the writer concludes that the prince Justin Trudeau has taken us out of our dark ages and made us all magically cool to the world…something like that.

But to me, what caused the tides to change in the eyes of the US arts media when it comes to us is that we stopped caring. For so long, Canadian artists especially musical acts were expected to emulate their successful American counterparts. And with the rise of Drake, who uses his  awkwardness and eloquence to his advantage giving him a competitive edge, we are now seeing more artists who are abandoning the old scripture and forging their own path. The sounds of The Weeknd, Majid Jordan and producer Wondagurl to name a few are unlike any south of the border and that’s what makes them coveted. And that’s what’s got them looking our way wondering how we ‘all of a sudden got hip’.

Nah fam, we been hip!


Sugar Addiction Is Real

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday, I was blessed with time off work. I had so many grand plans of catching up on errands, gym time, trying out new recipes and other life enhancing tasks. But as I said goodbye to my office for a week, I left with boxes of chocolates that were handed out as gifts. This was the first step that led to my destruction.

So now I have time off work and way too much chocolate on hand. This deadly combo caused  postponed errands, endless hours of Netflix and way too many naps. The intense surge of sugar in my system led to roller coaster crashes causing me to nap at all hours, heavy lethargy and break outs all over my face. What a way to start the New Year.

While venting away to a close girlfriend she mentioned she was starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox. The exact remedy I needed! She sent me the list and I was energized to get started. What really got my attention was the list of indicators that your blood sugar might be out of balance –

  • Cravings for sugar, sweets and bread products
  • Fatigue after eating a meal
  • Getting lightheaded if missed a meal
  • Eating sweets doesn’t relieve the craving for sweets
  • Dependence on coffee to keep going
  • Difficulty losing weight

The first three and the need for coffee are exactly what I go through all the time. Seeing this list made it imperative I do something to get my blood sugar in check. Diabetes runs in my family.

The desire to shake off the cloud of fatigue and to clear up my skin was so strong, I didn’t thoroughly look over the list of foods that I was about to swear off for three weeks. And the list of foods to avoid is LONG! I pretty much didn’t have a lot of items to pick up at the grocery store.

Thankfully I’m not alone in this detox. My girlfriend reached out to a group of her friends and they also joined the detox. We’ve created a text messaging group to support one another. We share recipes, tips and jokes on how much we’re over eating eggs. Thank goodness for them because the first few days were rough. The sugar withdrawal had the headaches extra strong. That 3pm sugar wall is harder than ever and trying to cook in a whole new way feels daunting but there is strength in numbers. Having that community to reach out when the frustration kicks in or just to hear stories makes it easier.

Week one done so far and 2 more to go. I’ll be done on Jan 27th. And I can say that right now, I know this is going to lead to a lifestyle change. The new meals I’ve made are great and easy to duplicate, I prefer my coffee black now and I’m loving how much easier it is to wake up in the morning. It feels great to have energy throughout the day and not always feel that I need to take a nap after work. The breakouts have subsided and I can’t wait to see what the results are like at the end of the three weeks.

Have you tired a detox of some sorts? Have you changed your diet for health reasons recently? Let me know some of your tips.


Leo Forever Has My Heart

When an actor reaches a certain echelon, they don’t need to do interviews or the regular press junkets anymore. Their name alone holds weight when their latest film comes out.

This is true of Leonardo DiCaprio. As the buzz of his Golden Globe winning film The Revenant increases daily, Leo recently appeared in Esquire magazine in photos only. Not that I’m complaining. Leo is gorgeous and won my heart even more during his acceptance speech at last night’s 73rd annual Golden Globe awards. He did the usual thank yous but then spoke about the importance of having real indigenous actors in the film,  the importance to honour native culture and that it is time we all work together with their community to save the earth from corporate greed.

Reminiscent of when Marlon Brando boycotted the Academy Awards when he won for The Godfather and in his place stood Sacheen Littlefeather, an actress and Native American activist, who gave his declinatory speech. That was 1973 and she was booed.  When Leo spoke last night there was applause but let’s not feel that we have made that much progress. There is still a lot more work to do when it comes to alleviating the struggle of indigenous communities all over the world.

‘The Get Down’ Trailer

Back in April 2015, I told you guys about an upcoming TV show for Netflix coming from the extraordinary Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) called The Get Down.

The trailer has come out and as if I needed another reason to be attached to Netflix, I’m looking forward to seeing how Baz entwines his knack for the fabulous and the story of hip hop’s birth in the south Bronx in 1979.

Right now there are 10 episodes slatted to come out this year but no date has been set yet. Keep an eye out for it and enjoy the trailer below.

The Struggle To Keep Writing

There has been a slow and steady movement happening. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Felt small bursts of joy from it. Possibly like me, kept hoping that this change in tide was a foreshadowing of things to come.

I’m talking about the recent celebration of black women excellence. Whether behind the camera, in front of it, on the cover of magazines, at the helm of major movements and/or winning prestigious sports titles. We were gone for a minute but we’re back with the jump off (shout out to Lil Kim).

I’ve written about the absence of our faces on TV and movies and the culture vultures who co-opted elements of black culture in the mainstream media. But you’ve also seen the rise of sisters in the arts and sports recently along with the unashamed celebration of it. The wait had been too long.

Essence magazine’s February 2016 issue is coming out with 3 covers featuring activist Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, TV’s Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi and the film Chi-Raq actress Teyonah Parris. I recently read a great article on xoNECOLE about the writer who wrote that Essence cover story. And as much as seeing those three sisters on the cover was amazing, it’s the story on the woman who wrote it that spoke to me more.

Bené Viera is a journalist who was about to give up writing right before she got this gig. It’s always darkest right before the sun, right? She was tired of the industry but when this opportunity came, although not presented in full form as what it entailed, she took a chance. And like that, what looked like a possibility turned out to be grander than what she imagined.


As you all have probably seen, I haven’t written here in a while. The struggle to open up my laptop and pour my words onto a screen has been real lately. Folks have asked what is up, what am I working on, etc. And the truth is I don’t know exactly why. Some days I’d rather read, watch a movie, clean my house, meet up with friends. Anything but write. There’s vulnerability in writing. And I guess, I needed to be in the right head space to be there. But when I read these words from Bené I felt compelled to get back to it. Get back in front of that blank screen and unleash what’s inside.

When I was assigned this story I was done with this industry. Done. Looking for jobs in non-profit and looking for jobs in L.A. I was tired of the layoffs. Tired of covering salacious gossip. Tired of the uncertainty. Tired of the funny way in which people move. Tired of writers who think they’re pseudo celebrities. But something told me I could not pass up this opportunity. Including this story, I’ve only written three things this summer. I tell people I’m on Sabbatical. But when the Universe has other plans, the Universe has other plans. ESSENCE was always the dream job. Writing cover stories was always the ultimate goal. Although the “job” part didn’t manifest in the way I envisioned, it did come to fruition…

I say all that to say, keep dream chasing. I mentor a few young writers and I wonder, “Girl, why are you into me? I barely have it figured out.” So I write this for them. They need to know it’s not all glitz and glam. They need to know you will want to quit. They need to know we all experience self-doubt. They need to know there will be some dark days. But they must keep doing the work. People can say whatever the hell they want to say about me, but nobody, not a single soul can say I don’t do the work. No one can say I’m not committed to my craft. I moved to NYC in 2010 without a plan. I lived with my ex in his father’s home. I had no money. No job. Just some degrees and the crazy idea that I wanted to be a writer. Well, mama, I’m a writer. I hope I made you proud…”

This was the push I needed. Whether at my day job, home life or extra curricular I know I put in the work. So although is still new, I want to see it flourish so I’m going to keep on doing the work!

No matter what we decide to take on, I hope it’s with both our feet in and our heart open wide. Whatever path you take in 2016, be prepared to sweat and enjoy the rewards!