The Electric Lady at the Electric Factory: Janelle Monáe Concert

Electrifying.  Captivating.  Mesmerizing.

Need I say more?

I took a trip up to Philly this weekend to watch the hardest working woman in showbiz perform jams from her newest album: The Electric Lady.  Let’s just say–the trip was well worth it.

Janelle Monáe performed Sunday night at the Electric Factory in Philly.  The songs are still in rotation in my head.  But let’s start with the rules: You may want to leave your heels at home (and your beverage in a sippy cup).  Of course, this was a dance party.

After Janelle’s dramatic entrance onto the stage (I won’t give it away), the crowd suddenly found itself immersed in the enchanting sounds of Wondaland.  Every part of the show brought more and more funk.  Janelle executed a flawless performance and gave every bit the performance many of her fans have come to enjoy.  (i.e. plenty of funky leg moves, mic stand swinging, and hip shaking to go around)  Speaking of hip shaking–the backup dancersingers (yes, it is now one word) put on just as much of a show.  And I simply can’t forget the band.  Kellindo Parker, Janelle’s lead guitarist and the rest of the crew kept the sounds flowing.  Often times I questioned whether I was at a rock concert, an R&B concert, or just some unnamed territory of “no man’s land” ripe for claiming under this new sound.

Let’s talk about the crowd for just a second. Men. Women. Young. Old. Black. White. Green.-enough said.

The tracks featured on her new album bring back the soulful sounds of R&B while maintaining a futuristic flair.  Janelle Monáe indeed has her own sound.  Be prepared to dance, to sway, to think…  Not to mention the album features a few amazing guest appearances such as Prince, Erykah Badu, Miguel. . . and more.

At the “end” of the concert the room exploded with applause, and exploded, and exploded, in the dark, for minutes until…

Well you will have to see for yourself.  Run, do not walk to see Janelle Monáe in concert.  And Yes, pick up the new album The Electric Lady!

-Shanti

Janelle Monáe Q.U.E.E.N.

Janelle Monáe PrimeTime feat. Miguel

 

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“The Winner’s Circle”

I don’t know why we as humans have to have a first place or a “best ______.”  I’m not sure why we don’t have variations of good–you know, where you may be good at something and then someone else is really good at it and then someone else is really really good at it, but there’s never a clear number one or best all around.  I’m just not sure why we said ixnay to the latter idea.

Oh yea, because winning is AWESOME.

Think about it.  We study to be the smartest person in the class or we rush to be the first one to finish a test… (Ok, I swear that was a competition before we realized the true purpose of taking a test)  We street race and compete against each other in all sorts of ridiculous things just for the chance to say, “I’m number one.” (maybe for a chance to “C-walk” too?)

There’s nothing wrong with winning or wanting to be number one; so it baffles me just a little when I hear people say, “Oh, you shouldn’t try to be the best, just do the best you can.”  Or, “Yea that’s cool but generally only these types of people achieve that.” O_o

Pardon me?

Someone has to be number one if there is a number one to be had.  That’s just how humanity rolls.  We have an insatiable hunger to make most things a competition.

And you know what else?

People don’t get to number one by looking to settle.  It takes a specific concentration and desire to get to number one.  Saying, “I’m cool with settling” doesn’t usually get you to the number one spot.  That is why the “hope for the best, but don’t expect to be number one” advice can be so detrimental.

“Well, some people don’t care about being number one.”  *clears throat* Everyone who would like to be great at something, to win, or be number one, please raise your hand.  Now continue reading…

I get it, some folks are just trying to be realistic and assist you with “putting things in perspective.”  I’m sure we can appreciate that…however I simply cannot agree with the idea that anyone has the right to tell you to settle. (I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before…)  Plus, if you’re not careful, you will allow those who didn’t achieve to donate their wonderful mantra of realism to you.  (Hint: It’s not that wonderful)

The next time someone tells you it’s ok to settle, try redirecting your conversation to someone who won the gold.

“Winners will tell you it isn’t easy, but they will never tell you it can’t be done.” -Shanti

#GofortheGold

 

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“Move It, Football Head!”

I think most of us can recall that “lovable” line from the Nickelodeon cartoon “Hey, Arnold!”  If not, here’s some background info:  On the show, there was this female “bully” named Helga who picked on a nice, likable kid named Arnold.  She called him football head (his head was totally shaped like a football) and took most opportunities to be an all out jerk to him.  However, at her home she had a shrine (yes a shrine) built honoring Arnold and her unrequited love.  Apparently she was crushing on him but could only express her love by being an -uh, you know…

I remember watching that show as a kid and thinking, “Helga is crazy.”  The writers made her so crazy I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see her get with Arnold.  He seemed too good for her.  How could you root for someone who beats up on a person and treats them horribly because they LIKE them?

I thought things like that only happened in cartoons–no way people were living that way in real life.

And then I got called football head.

Ok, not literally.  But it sure felt that way.  Of course, I found out that some of the people who were treating me so bad, were doing so because they secretly liked me or at least they liked my work.  As adults, we generally deal with difficult co-workers or folks of the same sex whom we find ourselves bumping heads with on a regular basis and it’s usually deeper than, “I just don’t like him/her.”

The difference between these folks and Helga is that Helga knew she was in love with Arnold.  She knew that she admired him and that he was the love of her life.  The scary thing in your situation is that most of these folks really think they don’t like you when essentially they simply can’t see that they admire (alright maybe envy) how great you are.

Here’s the interesting thing–no matter how bad Helga treated Arnold, he was always doing something nice for her.  If he wasn’t getting her out of jams he was being polite and encouraging.  He had such a good little heart.

Long story short–most of us have to deal with difficult people in some regard and well, you never know who has a shrine of you in their closet that they’re whispering sweet nothings to every night.  (ok, that was such a really creepy concept for a kids show…)

The point–never compromise your character when you encounter these situations.

Unfortunately, some folks will never change. I’ve learned that a lot of people are dealing with a plethora of internal issues and there’s no way they’re coming to the light without some professional help.

I can’t remember if Helga ever confessed her love for Arnold and I’m not sure that your archenemies will ever confess their secret love for you.  You can’t always control the actions of others so it’s a must you stay true to you which generally means taking the high (sometimes really high) road.

As my friend once told me, “Never let anyone knock you off your box.” Ruffle your feathers, get under your skin, all of that…

So the next time someone calls you “football head” pause and remember they are probably obsessed with your brilliance; post a big smile on your face and say, “Aw geez, I love you too.”

 

 

“Disclaimer: This doesn’t excuse anyone’s poor behavior; it’s just a friendly tip/reminder to help you get through those rough days :)

 

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“Expect More. Pay Less?”

Everyone loves a good deal right?  In these economically difficult times I too am looking for the nearest sale. Expect more, pay less? Heck yea, sign me up!  Whether you found a way to bargain down those cute shoes that were already on sale or a way to collect enough coupons to get an item for next to free, it feels good to get a discount right?  I mean it’s tough out here and paying full price for something is completely overrated, right? Continue reading

 

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“Driving While Distracted”

It’s not rocket science, or maybe it is?

My mom and I tend to get into huge arguments about phone usage in the car.  My argument, “Mom, I don’t text and drive!  I just checked a text message at a stop light.”  Her argument, “Your phone should be nowhere near you while you are operating a vehicle AND you’re setting a bad example.” (At this point I usually turn to face my cousins in the back seat one wrapped up in an iPod world full of Jay-Z and Ye, the other texting about God knows what and I think, “Um, they’re paying me no mind”).

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Remix: Race Update: “Hare Realizes He’s Messing Up, Starts To Take Race Seriously”

We like to see ourselves as the Tortoise at times, working slowly but diligently towards our goals.  The truth is–you might just be the Hare.

If you found yourself ahead at one point but believe that you’ve messed around way too long to win–guess what–you’re wrong.

As long as time exists and you have air in your body, you should continue to push and move towards your goals!

So, whether you see yourself as the Tortoise or you realize, “Hey, I’m the Hare” the outcome of this race is up to you and by no means is it over yet.

Keep going, if you’re the Tortoise, you know how the race ends so cheer up.  If you’re the Hare, go rewrite history.

 

Cheers :)

 

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