Green Book

I love movies that are inspirational and inspired by true events. That is what the movie Green Book is about. It’s centered around the unlikely friendship of Jamaican pianist Don Shirley and Italian bouncer Tony Lip. When I first saw the preview for Green Book, I knew I had to go see it with a group of my friends.

The trailer for Green Book made me smile as I watched a friendship between the two begin to form. I just wish Don Shirley and Tony Lip were still around to see it. They both passed away in 2013, but I have no doubt they would have been thrilled to know a movie set to win a slew of awards is about their friendship.

I Count On Me, penned and performed by Aloe Blacc for the movie’s soundtrack, is both beautiful and inspiring. It was developed from the mindset so many Black people have to have in order to deal with racism, prejudice and discrimination. Yet, with that being said, I think everyone could still benefit from such a beautiful song.

Click here to give it a listen. To see the trailer for Green Book, click here. Go ahead and get your tickets!

Until next time…

Merry Clayton

At first glance, you may not recognize the name Merry Clayton, but if I were to mention a very popular song where her vocals are heard on, you’d immediately recognize her voice. It’s her name that doesn’t ring a bell with millions of listeners despite her making one particular song insanely famous. What song am I referring to? Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones.

TRS

Merry Clayton has said in several documentaries that she’s often referred to as “the lady with the killer voice” who sung with The Rolling Stones, but many don’t know her name. On some of The Rolling Stones records for Gimme Shelter her name is misspelled as ‘Mary’ instead of Merry, even still The Rolling Stones have largely credited her with the song’s huge success. According to Mick Jagger, he thought it would be a great idea to have a woman sing on the chorus, so Merry was called in the middle of the night to see if she would be willing to do it. With “curlers” in her hair, Merry sung her verses in a few takes which blew Mick and his group away. Sad to say, she suffered a miscarriage shortly after which you can read more about it here.

Mick would later state that he found it to be “pretty amazing” how quickly Merry did her verses because her delivery was raw and from deep within her soul. Mick said he loved it when her voice cracked because it made the hair on his neck stand up. If you’ve ever listened to Gimme Shelter, you know exactly what he is talking about. Mick and the rest of The Rolling Stones are quick to point out that without Merry’s vocals on Gimme Shelter, the song wouldn’t have reached it’s level of popularity. Millions also agree.

MC

I was a little surprised to learn from her documentary that she also did background vocals on the famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song Sweet Home Alabama. Tragically in 2014, Merry Clayton had to have both of her legs amputated below her knees due to a very bad car accident, but her spirit of resilience is stronger than ever. Merry Clayton was more than just a background singer, she was also a successful soul singer in her own right. Click here for one of my favorite Merry Clayton songs and of course you know you have to click here for Gimme Shelter.

MMC

Until next time..

My Biggest Struggle 

I was asked what my biggest personal struggle is and to post my response on my blog. I have no qualms about answering that question because we all have some type of struggle or two. With that being said, I want to use this opportunity to show that no matter what your struggle or struggles are, it’s not an excuse for bad, reckless or foolish behavior. I used to think and be that way years ago, but now I know much better. 

My biggest personal struggle is my temper. I don’t have a bad temper, I struggle with a violent temper. It was nothing for me to fight a male or a female because I know what I’m capable of doing in a fight. Let me tell you, I highly despise that part of me. I never went looking for a fight, but it always seemed to find me. Be it male or female, it usually boiled down to them wanting to fight me because of my small frame and quiet demeanor. I’m ashamed to say that I secretly got a “kick” out of it and I’ll tell you why below. 

I knew that these individuals were thinking I would be an easy beat because of my small frame. I also knew that once we would start fighting they would soon realize that they had made a terrible, terrible mistake. By that time, it’s too late because they had crossed a line that had serious repercussions. I wasn’t aiming to just beat them, I was aiming to really, really physically hurt them with just my two hands and I did. How sad and such shameful behavior on my part. There was NO need for all that. Such horrible, horrible behavior. 

You may be wondering, how am I able to deal with such a violent temper? Prayer first and foremost is my biggest help and second of all, staying away from people or situations that have the potential to set me off. You see, it takes an incredibly strong person to walk away from a fight. Even if that person started it, be the bigger person and walk away. Especially if you know you could seriously damage that person. We’ve all heard of individuals who are now in prison because they allowed their temper to get the best of them. If only they took the time to stop and think before they reacted.

 I honestly wish I could go back and do things differently, but I know I can’t. What I can do is make sure that I don’t act so shameful and foolish by stooping down to such a despicable level again. When you know better, you can do better. Hands that used to be scuffed up and stubby are now smooth and pretty. A body that used to be ruled by a violent temper is now in control (for the most part) and at peace. If I feel myself getting angry at a person, I immediately start to pray and / or remove myself from the situation or person. 

You can do anything you set your mind to and I choose to set my mind on positive things and helping people. Life is much more enjoyable when you are doing things that promotes peace, love and happiness. If you are going through the same thing or have some other struggle, I sincerely hope you too will find a better way to cope and deal with it. I’m rooting for you!

 
Until next time…be of good cheer and full of peace. 

Annie

From time to time, I like to talk about my family and their ranges of personalities. Tonight, I will briefly talk about my late Paternal Grandmother Annie. She was a spit fire with a stunning pair of eyes and she had a head full of thick jet black hair. I could remember hearing stories from my father on how she would part her hair down the middle and braid it into two large plaits. The reason why she did that was because of the weight of her hair. It was extremely thick and very long.

Grandma Lee is what I called her and she had the most beautiful smile. I loved it when we travel from Florida to come and visit her because she would always give each of us a few dollars she tightly rolled up along with an apple and an orange. At the time, I thought that was one of the best gifts and I still do. Just like my Grandma Lee, I too have a lot of hair that I keep under wraps. My hair just happens to be “sandy brown” with a host of different textures whereas hers was straight with a few waves scattered here and there. 

I love each and every one of my kin deeply and I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who came before me. My Grandparents, like so many others, suffered unspeakable things so that I, their descendant can have better. When I take into account all of that, I cannot help but to be motivated and determined to do better. 

Until next time… 

Underneath the Pecan Tree: A Different Kind of Love Story

A few days ago I finished polishing up my upcoming short story entitled Underneath the Pecan Tree. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to pen a love story that is not only different, but is unlike anything that has ever been written. I love writing stories that stray away from what is considered “safe” or “the norm” because it allows me the opportunity to be more creative with my writing. Underneath the Pecan Tree is a story that is full of Southern charm, strong family bonds and of course, love.  I also threw in a few other surprises, but you will have to read the story to find out. I cannot wait for readers to delve into this story and meet Sadira and Casim. You are going to love these two and after reading this story, you may just want to read even more about them. Who knows? There might be a follow up story in the works.

Pre-Order your copy here and let the anticipation begin!

anitagipson_Underneath_the_Pecan_Tree

Until next time…