Album Review: Let Freedom Reign x Chrisette Michelle

I’ve boycotted album reviews for a while now, but I had to give my girl Chrisette Michelle that respect she deserves.  Her album debuted, Tuesday, November 30th and I absolutely fell in love again with her voice, look, and confidence.  I’ve been a fan since the beginning and although I’ve heard a lot of her songs over the weeks I was pleased about how her album flowed on this cold November.

She gave ambitious women a bit of inspiration with “Number One” which I felt should be her next single. Lyrics exemplified a hard-working women being her one and only and loving oneself before anyone else.  Chrisette has the ability to show her emotion through her dynamic voice range and its shown through “Goodbye Game” and “If Nobody Sang Along”. If I were to close my eyes I could picture visually how passionate she was about putting together these songs and because I can relate them to my own real life situations.  She touches on being able to have her voice heard as an artist, and that could go a lot of ways with an individual who experiences freedom of expression. (You know those music videos where the girls is spending around and around in an open field with not a care in the world? yep that’s me right now lol) The song “Unsaid” has one of the best musical instruments,  I love the guitar and the lingering effects kind of made me feel like I was in live concert.

Overall, I really appreciate Chrisette Michelle as an artist who has evolved over the years, everyone loves her and no matter how famous you think you are or regular you want to be you will relate to her music.  Go get her album today, I dare you to prove me wrong!

World Aids Day: 2010 Campaigns

Wednesday, December 1st, marks the 30th Anniversary of the AIDS campaign and there are many celebrities, organizations, and communities participating in this day to spread awareness.  I have spotted a few that really stood out to me and may spark your interested.

Project RideRED:

The campaign begins with a series of organized and individual tribute rides on November 28, 2010. People from all over the world have committed to RideRED, meaning they will ride 30 miles (one mile for each year of known AIDS infection) while wearing red. These rides aim to increase awareness of AIDS and memorialize persons who died from AIDS/HIV.  They will also have video pledges on their facebook pages to show a greater commitment to the awareness. You can send your video clips to or upload them to the page.  I think this one is dope cause not only am I apart of the “Bike Hype” it shows a different aspect of the community getting involved in a healthy and creative way.

“Hairdressers Against AIDS”:

500 hairdressers will take over the streets of New York City to launch their “Hairdressers Against AIDS” campaign where they will challenge other salon professionals, clients, and their community to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS. It will be sponsored by the L’Oreal Foundation D’Enterprise, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC).  The participants will be dressed in red scarves, hats, and accessories and will hit the streets with flip cams to record videos of and testimonies in booths throughout Manhattan. If you are in New York, visit and get involved!

Celebrities turn off Social Networking to Raise Funds:

Artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Kim Kardasian and even Justin Timberlake have committed to close accounts on social networking on sites like facebook and twitter until they have raised their desired amount of 1 million dollars in effort to promote awareness. Yes, fans will be abandoned but I think this is a great idea because there is so much marketing influences on social networking sites and fans and supporters should finally wake up and become more aware when they see there are less tweets or facebook messages. hmmm…


I can preach all day and every day but if you don’t get out there and get tested, you will never know if you are affected or affecting someone else. Enjoy your sex life, but just be healthy about it!


Airplane Read: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter


I was doing some traveling a few weeks ago to Virgina and so when my mother suggested that I read “32 Candles’ by Ernessa T. Carter on the plane ride across country. I decided to take up on her offer and it was the best entertainment I’ve ever had 5,000 miles in the air. Traveling time was 10 hours and my eyes barely left the pages, as I read through countless hours cramped on southwest with peanuts and cranberry apple juice.

The main character “Davie” was very entertaining, and it was nothing short of a fairytale.  The author redefined the “Girls Gets Boy” theory by building the story from Davie’s childhood until her 30’s so I was able to capture her dysfunctional relationship with her mother, to going mute until she moved to LA, and falling in love with her high school sweetheart that she used to stalk.  I am not giving anything away at all because the descriptions and witty stories will take you on a roller coaster trough adolescent love, maturity, and life lessons that every women face growing up.

I found it very interesting that the author was able to paint a picture throughout the story of Davie’s natural hair.  When she was a child it was untamed and everyone teased her about the way she looked but as she grew up and moved to Hollywood she didn’t buy into the perms and wore her hair in a big Afro.  It will bring confidence to those who feel discouraged about their own looks.  Not everyone starts out as the most popular girl in the school with the blossoming personality and the bright future. It’s not so often you come across black novels that portray the protagonist in such a way that all women can relate it to their own real-life situations. Ernessa T. Carter made sure to let the reader know that your fairytale will come true, you just have to learn to love yourself first and be comfortable in your own skin.

So if you are traveling this holiday season, or you are looking for a bit of entertainment to your mind, this will be a novel that you should pick up. Just check it out in the library!

Goapele at Yoshi’s Oakland

From Thursday until Sunday baydestrains faced the winter storm to witness Oakland’s own Goapele at Yoshi’s restaurant and jazz venue in Oakland.  Hands down, no beating around the bush; her band was amazing.  The guitarist, pianist, bass player, and drummer definitely gave me a musical high this Sunday.  I have never seen Goapele live so it was a treat to hear her elegant soft voice amongst her polite personality.  It took a few songs for the crowd to warm up but after the first introduction of Dave Jackson on the keys, the audience began to clap their hands and sway to the rhythms that the handsome brothers were producing. Goapele gave us three songs from her upcoming album that she admitted to the audience she’s been working on for three years now.  They touched on single-hood, love, and of course heartache. Goapele has the perfect voice when capturing true emotion in sound but when it came to stage presence I felt as if the band in the background took over tonight.  The chemistry is there, and she’s still aspiring. Just give us that next album already, your fans are antsy!

Check out this clip from Dave Jackson on the Keys. This was on Saturday but he rocked the house just as good for us!

Photo Credit: Fred Shavies of Check out all his latest flicks around the bay!