Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama Accepts Nomination in Phenomenal Speech

"To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation: With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States"
In a football stadium in Denver, Colarado with with over 84,000 attendees Senator Barack Obama delivered the greatest speech of his political career.
He covered all the bases and populations he needs to win the election.

Atta Boy, Barack!
Let us Barack the Vote!

Michael Jackson Turns 50!

Happy Birthday Michael Jackson! You Make 50 look Great!
I am 4 days older than Michael Jackson. I first saw him when we were 10 years old, in Chicago at the Regal Theatre. The Jackson 5 were appearing with other Motown acts. I can't tell you who they were--but of the five boys I saw I never forgot Michael. I remember they performed "I Got the Feeling" by James Brown. Michael was the youngest and most talented.

The next time I saw Michael Jackson in person we were 14 years old. The J5 were performing at Chicago's Black Expo at the Amphitheater. The Commodores opened for them. I simply adored the show. I briefly met Michael and his brothers. I determined at that time I would marry him. During my teenage years I papered my bedroom walls with pics of he and his brothers. I stopped posting his pics at about 17, but continued following his music career. I had to be his biggest fan. I still wanted to marry him.

He recorded the "Off the Wall" album and his look changed dramatically. His talent was the same but with every new album his outer appearance changed drastically. He was so unrecognizable that I finally determined that I would not be marrying him after all--he seemed too "pretty" to be a husband.

Michael Jackson has had a phenomenal musical and acting career. He has been a husband. He is the father of 3 children, Prince Michael, Paris & Blanket. He has had wonderful life experiences. He has had horrific pain. I am still a fan.

My favorites songs: "I Want You Back" "ABC" "The Love You Save" "Got to be There" "Ben" "Off the Wall" "Thriller" "Billie Jean" "Beat It" "Bad" "Man in the Mirror" "We Are the World"

How will I celebrate his birthday? Barbeque? Party? Naw, I'll just enjoy my memories and listen to his music. Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson. May you be blessed with many more.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pets on the CTA and Other things that Urk Me

I like animals. I love people. Animals should not be made to feel like they are human beings with the same rights that we have. By the same token, humans should not put themselves on the same level with animals.

I understand having to share the great outdoors with animals and bugs. I don't trip about that.
I don't want to ride in closed quarters with an animal that is not a seeing eye dog--Whether the animal is caged or not. This urks me immensely.
I once stayed in New York in a hotel that was over $250 per night. I stayed there countless times and really enjoyed myself. The last time I stayed there would be the last time I stayed there. I abruptly cut my trip short because contestants from the dog beauty pageant aka the American Kennel Show were also staying in the hotel. Everytime I got into the elevator several dogs were also riding with me--in a luxury hotel!
The worst part was when I complained to management about the presence of the dogs I was told that the dogs were paying more per night than I was! I immediately checked out and into a much more expensive hotel with a "no pets" policy.
CTA should not allow animals to ride on its buses and trains--allowing this practice would urk me and make me pissed off during my entire commute.

"45 years later--I Have a Dream, Too"

One thing I've noticed about turning 50 is that I have a tendency to vividly recall historical things I remember hearing and seeing either in-person or on television. I started kindergarten in September 1963--I was five years old. I recall the full year prior to turning five years old because I wanted to be five so badly so I could go to school.

For my fifth birthday I received the present of my dreams--a 26-volume set of Britannica Junior Encyclopedias. The irony is that I wanted these books so badly but I couldn't even read yet. I was fortunate that my parents were young enough o envision a day when I would be an avid reader and to this day I am.

Three days after my 5th birthday, my brother Mark who was about 3 years old and I sat with our mother and watched the March on Washington on television. I didnt really understand why they were marching but I do recall noting there was a huge crowd of what could have easily been over 50 people! I would later learn that there were over 200 thousand people. I recall seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the fountain where people were standing around it.

Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to the crowd and the people became excited at his words. I just recall the last words, "Free at last, free at last--Thank God Almighty we're free at last!"

I would later learn that the "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was the culmination of the Civil Rights "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom". This single event was considered a defining moment in Civil Rights history.

Dr. King spoke of the desire for a future where blacks and whites would coexist harmoniously as equals. The March on Washington put pressure on the Kennedy Administration to advance Civil Rights legislation in Congress.

Dr. King was named Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year' for 1963 & 1964. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize--the youngest person in history to ever receive the award.

45 years later, Senator Barack Obama is poised to become the first African American to be elected to the office of President of the United States of America.

I have a dream that together, Americans from all walks of life will come together in November 2008 to make this happen.

Today is a great day in American history as Senator Obama accepts the Democratic Party nomination tonight on the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech. He is standing on the shoulders of a giant.

Rest in Peace Dr. King.

President Clinton Is 'Cool' & Still Aw'iight With Me...

According to his official White House biography, during the administration of President William "Bill" Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001), the 42nd President, the United States enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history. He was the first Democratic President who was re-eleceted since President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bio goes on to list a dozen other great accomplishments but that's not why I liked him. I like him because he was "cool."

I voted for him not once--but two times to be my President. Not only was he impressively educated, but he was an Arkansas native. My Granny, Papa and Daddy were born in Arkansas and they were fantastic folks so I expected him to be as well.

He did normal things like jog and eat at McDonald's. He was young and seemed to enjoy his life--he wasn't old and bitter and quick to get his "boys" to kick ass in somebody else's smaller country just to prove who we are as a nation. He laughed a lot and had the good sense to marry a young educated woman from Illinois--the most fantastic state in the union. He admitted he smoked pot but didn't inhale it. You have to be cool not to inhale pot because inhaling is something pot-smokers naturally do.

I never felt Bill Clinton was 'black', acted 'black' or thought he was 'black'--although he appeared to be very comfortable in the midst of Black people. He is a musician and plays a cool, 'sexy' sounding instrument--the saxophone.
I've always thought Bill Clinton tried to be fair to everyone who lives in the United States; both natural born and immigrants.
Which brings me to his DNC speech. I am happy that he asked for the vote outright from the supporters. No beating around the bush.
I'm happy he demonstrated party unity rather than personalities.
He is a stand-up type guy and I still have much-love for him and his wife.
Here's a sampling of what he spoke last night.
• "Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually that makes 18 million of us -- because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November."
• "Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States."
• "People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barack is the Official Democratic candidate for President of the U.S.

Sometime this afternoon, delegates who traveled near and far cast their votes for the candidate who is poised to be the next President of the United States--Barack Obama.

For a little brown-skinned, big-eyed little girl, who has personally experienced racism in its various forms in Chicago, Illinois.
This was some of the happiest news and one of the happiest days of my life.
I'm proud to be an American!

Hillary Clinton is a "True Democrat"

What would you do if you knew that your political party was counting on you to ease the minds of some staunch supporters you have acquired and deliver them up to another candidate?

What would you do if you felt in your heart that you were the best possible candidate for a political office--in fact, the highest political office in America, but your party was more comfortable backing your opponent?

How would you respond if all of America's Democrats sat on the edge of their seats wonderin what you were gonna say in support of a candidate that you tried to defeat as 'unprepared' or "inexperienced?"

If you were Hillary Rodham Clinton you'd don your fly-est pantsuit, put on your brightest lipstick and stroll out on stage and deliver a helluva speech in support of Barack Obama. And, for the sake of the Democratic Party, you'd give the speech of your life.
Atta Girl!, Hillary

I's Grown Now! 2 Score plus 10

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
My 50th Birthday!

I's grown Now...! On Monday, August 25, 2008, I celebrated the 50th Anniversary of my actual birth-day which was on Monday August 25, 1958. Isn't that incredible?

I have packed a whole lot of life into these five decades (two score and ten years)! I have experienced incredible Joy... incredible sadness; incredible happiness; incredible anxiety; incredible love; incredible lovers; incredible loyalty; incredible dis-loyalty; incredible peace; incredible art; incredible personalities; incredible travels; incredible kindness; incredible disappointments; incredible sex; incredible conversations; incredible friends; incredible jobs; incredible enemies; incredible richness; incredible poorness; incredible heartache; incredible brokeness; incredible aloneness; incredible tranquility; incredible gifts; incredible talents; incredible faith; and incredible dancing; incredible lies; incredible acting; incredible poverty; incredible authors; incredible movies; incredible books; incredible beauty; incredible ugliness; incredible generosity; incredible stinginess; and incredible opportunities.
I have lived an incredible life!
I am so blessed. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thats what friends are for...

"Friends--How many of us have them? Let's be friends." lyrics from some rap song whose artist and title escapes me (I'm having a senior moment no doubt).
The one thing that I find that is for certain is that I am very complex. I don't mean to be, I'm just deep, I guess. Not compared to anybody else--just by my own standards of what deep is. I'm very moody and spend a lot of time inside myself thinking my deep thoughts. I love too hard and have a tendency to have separation anxiety.That's why to be my friend is to endure my crazyness (undiagnosed mental illness, of course...).

I want to give a shout out to a few ladies and gentlemen who have endured the test of time and emerged unscathed by attempting to be friends with me. There is a common thread between this group and that is that they all love people and value friendships. Each has taught me so much about unconditional love and staying intouch regardless of my circumstances. I have a tendency to pull away and not talk to anybody, answer my phone calls, emails or voicemails when I am "outta pocket." Somehow each of them feels my pain and continues to seek me until they find me and force me to allow them to share my pain.

This list is not in the order of importance or closeness--just as each name popped into my mind I typed it in. This is also my way of saying "Thank you, for caring about me." Just in case I am ever incapacitated and unable to convey my thoughts of how much you mean to me and just how grateful I am to have you in my life--I have written it down today.
CurtissSr, Lavisha, Patti, AudreyJ, PrincessKZ, DeeDee, Jeanynne, SharonK, Karen WMcC, MichelleMcK-H, TheresaW, GeorgeAW, GeorgeEW, IvanG, KimalaLF, CarmenW, SylvesterWSr.,YvonneC., DorothyL, MaryD, AllisonP, LeslieC,GregoryS. ReneeG, FrancesP, EduardoSSr., HoraceS., SusanS, LeslieG, YolandaH, Draghost, PreachaJI, DorisYW, HenryMWSr., IraJA, MarshallH, CyF, BeverlyA, BettyeBC, BettyP, EmmaM, AnnieD, RandiG, RussellG, RobertH, MarthaB, CreolaH, AlK, YvetteL, CraigO, NoahN, MarkT, ElnoraH, DariusB, PatrickKB, WilliamLDJr, and ChristineB.

In Loving Memory: RobinTV, MaxineW, and BernieM.
You are all very special to me. May you receive God's unmerited favor in all you do!

Michelle Speaks to the DNCC on My Birthday!

August 25, 2008 will go down in history once and for all as my 50th Birthday as well as the day Michelle Obama addressed the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado to explain why her man, Senator Barack Obama should be our next President of the United States.

Since I was celebrating my birthday with my dear friend, Rev. Lavisha Sally Walls Williams, I didn't see the address live, but this morning I read about it and saw video clips. All I can say is "Michelle, your husband will make an outstanding President and you'll make an excellent "First Lady. You already are. "
DENVER - Michelle Obama mixed the personal and the political Monday night in painting a picture of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, as a working-class advocate for the American dream who “will finally bring the change that we need.”
Obama stressed her and the senator’s middle-class backgrounds, saying the couple “were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.”
She said her husband would rely on those precepts as he sought “to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world-class education all the way from preschool to college.”
“Barack will fight for people like them and ... Barack will finally bring the change that we need,” she said, promising that the senator would ask Americans “to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be.”

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Golden Birthday--August 25, 2008

WOW! Today, I celebrate the 50th Anniversary of my birth, which was actually Monday, August 25, 1958. This is my "Golden Birthday."
My name is Vanessa Felice (Sanders) Church

I was born in Chicago, Illinois at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke Hospital to the union of Elton Sanders, Jr. & Naomi James Sanders--Crane High School sweethearts. My proud grandparents were: Elton Sanders, Sr. & Lois Holloway Sanders; along with Lewis James, Sr. & Ruby Farmer James. At the time of my birth my paternal grandmother, Lois, commented that she had never seen a child whose eyes were as large as mine. She also felt the need to point out that I appeared to have understanding beyond my infant status, therefore "She musta been here before;" and finally, "She shole is black--but she cute, tho."
My mama called me last night on August 24th (Golden Birthday eve) and described how cute and voluptuous she was just prior to my birth. She recalled that she was particularly proud of the new bra size she commanded as a result of her natural breast augmentation due to pregnancy. She continued to stroll down memory lane and pictured herself wearing of a black & white maternity top and how cute she looked in it. I thanked her for carrying me to term. In 1958 there were already steps you could take in order to get rid of a child. How courageous my mother was as a teenaged woman to endure public ridicule at the discovery by the school of a hidden preganancy and marriage;and to face expulsion, rather than to simply abort me. My mother says she never wanted to. I am so thankful to Jesus to be alive 50 years later.
I am the first-born of five children born to my parents; the first grandchild born to my paternal grandparents; and the 3rd-born grandchild born to my maternal grandparents. I am the mother of 6 children and the grandmother of 6 children.

Today I am so thankful and grateful to be in the world, on top of the soil, in my right mind, for such a time in history as this one. I have met many wonderful, ordinary people, with extraordinary talents and gifts; some possessing celebrity status--some not. I have traveled across the nation and overseas to many foreign countries. I like animals--but I LOVE people. Truly we are God's most interesting handiwork. What I have discovered is that we are all linked and there is a commonality that is deeper than culture, language, ethnicity, economic status, complexion, or geography; we are all made by God in HIS image which makes us 'all that'--and a bag of chips!

"I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. HIS eye is on the sparrow; and I know HE watches me."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Angela Bassett & Madonna!

Happy Birthday to you Angela & Madonna
Yesterday, two of my favorite entertainers, actress Angela Bassett and singer, Madonna both turned 50 years old. Hooray for 1958--which, by the way was a very good year. My favorite memories of Angela Bassett are when she played "Tina Turner" in "What's Love Got to do With It" and Stella in "How Stella Got her Groove Back." She is now a wife and mommy of not one but two children. Atta girl Angie! You go on wit yo bad self!
Madonna is the "original material girl." I loved her music and unique style from the word 'Go'. She is the proud mommy of 2 natural children and one son she adopted from Africa.
Both women look Fabulous!
May you both be richly blessed with many more birthdays.
peace and love,

I Remember Bernie Mac

I Remember Bernie Mac. Where were you when you got the news? When I learned that comedian/actor Bernie Mac had died, my girlfriend Patti had called me on the 'bat-phone' at 5am on Saturday, August 9, 2008 to break the news to me. I have been in a state of semi-shock ever since. In my spirit, I've had feelings that I wanted to convey, but I couldn't gather the words for a complete thought. I am always concerned when I am found to be at a loss for words--after all, I am a bonafide wordsmith. Do ya feel me?

In 1991, I returned to the Chi-town from Atlanta with 4 kids in tow, and without a clear direction of the path I would follow for the rest of my life. I just arrived on my mom's doorstep on June 21st after narrowly escaping death from an automobile accident with an 18-wheeler that totally demolished the car I was driving; left my children and I shook up a bit, but otherwise totally unharmed standing in the rain on Interstate-65 in Kentucky. Jesus is real.

When my limited funds ran out I knew I needed a job, but did not have the wherewithall to begin the search. A friend of mine from high school, David, asked if I were interested in helping 3 people start up a comedy room every weekend(actually Thursday - Sunday) at an art gallery located in downtown Chicago on South Wabash street. My job would be as a waitress. My first thoughts were "money everyday in tips!" and I quickly agreed to do it.Ray Lambert, Mary Lindsey and James Alexander had a sound vision and great attitudes. They were open to the possibilities and our vibes melded. In anticipation of our first weekend in August 1991, comedians started hanging out as we transformed the art gallery into a comedy club by placing rented tables and chairs in the space. This club would be called All Jokes Aside.

On that first night I recall meeting many comedians including: George Wilborn, Dos, Robert Hines, Shay Shay, James Hannah, Evan, Godfrey& Alexander, Tony Sculfield, Adell Givens, Elizabeth Woods, Andre and Bernie Mac. Each of these comics were hilarious beyond belief. And even at that early stage of the game, when everyone was hungry, talented and open to the possibilities, Bernie Mac stood out as Chicago's "King" of Comedy."

The atmosphere was electric with promise and anticipation. The political climate was bleak and people in America--specifically in Chicago, Illinois needed to laugh. Bernie Mac was a comic's comedian. As I had never heard of him, or seen him perform, the others alerted me that I was definitely in for a treat. At that point Bernie had been in the game about 15 years and was regularly appearing in comedy rooms and private shows.He was the show's headliner or last featured act. And although I would have described him as well-dressed, tall, dark and handsome; he described himself as 'big-boned', gifted and as 'black as 40 midnites'. The boy was a mess. His timing was impeccable and his routines were polished; in other words-- he was funny as hell. He would step out on stage, pick up the microphone, look at the audience and say, I ain't scared of you 'mfs'. The audience would roll with laughter.He was also a gentleman and a notorious flirt. And even though it was obvious that I was a female he called me what he called everybody else--'homes'.

When I first met Bernie, before he knew I had children, I told him that my ex-husband left me because he discovered that I was a transgendered female. I swore him to secrecy. He promised to never tell anyone. The following week when I arrived at the club the comics were all looking at me strangely when I walked through the door. I returned the strange stare and they all busted out laughing at Bernie. The other comics already knew what he didn't. That I had 4 kids and was a single mom. Bernie offered up a high-five to me and said, "Good joke, homes."

There were many comedians who came through All Jokes Aside. Several were destined for stardom. Bernie Mac was one of them. I remember asking him why his mama had named him Bernie because the name reminded me of old Jewish guys. He told me his name was Bernard McCullough. The way he said it I just cracked up. "Stick to Bernie Mac," I chided--"It sounds cool."I was also intrigued by how paralleled our lives were to that point but how our paths had not crossed. We were both a product of Chicago's Englewood community. We were both 34 years old. We were both married with children (he had 1 I had 4). And we both had dreams and goals that were way bigger than our 1991 circumstances were. Bernie saw himself as an actor and successful Las Vegas act. He was not simply bound by the stand-up comedy stage. I saw myself as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist--although I had yet to begin to write. He encouraged me to dream and to dream big because it cost the same thing as small dreams.

Bernie went on to do all the things he said he would do. He developed a 'Las Vegas' act and took his show on the road. It included a jazz band led by Reggie McCants that he called "The Mac Men" and dancers he called "The Macaronis" (I think). I saw his show performed at Milt Trenier's club in Chi-town one time. I didn't understand why he had all these folks when all he really needed was a microphone and his words. The show was a creative effort and I enjoyed it. He would always yell from the stage, "Who you wit?" The answer was, "Bernie Mac." By the time folks began to understand it--Bernie was off to the next thing--movies and television.I was very proud of Bernie Mac and all of the comedians I'd met who went on to live their dreams. I appreciated the fact that I got to meet him and have conversations with him. He was smart, confident and special. He was misunderstood--the hallmark of a true genius.

On Saturday, August 16th he received a statesman's memorial service at Chicago's House of Hope. Only royalty, a politician or a 'king' would need venue that has 10K seats for his homegoing service. Mayor Richard Daley attended as did Chicagoans from all walks of life. celebrity friends turned out and spoke.Among those who put a comma in their day and attended his service were: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, Mr & Mrs. Chris Rock, BruceBruce, Juwan Howard (NBA player), Samual L. Jackson, George Wallace, Ali LeRoi, Don Cheadle (Ocean's Eleven), Kelita Smith (TV wife, Wanda), Jeremy Suarez (TV nephew, Jordan), and Ramonski Love, just to name a few.

"Bernie, 50 is very young but you packed a helluva lot of stuff in your 50 years. Now I have just two questions: 1) Can any good thing come out of Chicago's Englewood community?; and 2) WHO YOU WIT?