It Starts Now by Butch Ford

Fractured Flag

It Starts Now by Butch Ford

Because it’s that time again…I’d like to discuss the upcoming 2020 Election. Now I’m not much of a political expert. Nor do I claim to be overly knowledgeable on the subject of politics. However…I know that I strongly dislike smear campaign tactics and negative election strategy. That’s when a candidate or candidates use negative information acquired about an opponent to slander his/her character. The objective…obviously being to gain political favor or to sway the opinion of the general public/voters.

I’m on record with my personal feelings regarding political affiliation and voters sticking close to familiar party lines. Again…that’s the individual’s preference. I ask that the voters do extensive research and familiarize themselves with all the facts before making a final decision on their candidate. Politics is a dirty game, people. Most involved aren’t very noble or upstanding, and EVERYONE seems to have an agenda!

I’m not judging anyone’s political views. It’s your right to vote whatever way you see fit. Whether you lean towards the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or vote Independent…just make a sound decision based on the candidate’s morals, values, and character. Is your selection a decent human being? Does he or she have the best interest of the American citizens in mind? Will they represent our Nation in a dignified, classy, and presidential manner?

We deserve better! We’ve been lied to, insulted, and embarrassed for far too long. It’s time that we get back to respectability and begin repairing the relationships that have been damaged by the current administration. We are the laughing stock of the free world, and they view us as a joke or a side-show. We used to be a proud country. What happened to us? How did we get here? We can be that again, but we have to come together and work peacefully. And it starts with the upcoming election.

 

Butch Ford

My Mane Journey as a 4C Girl by Chellyz View

 

Pic Earrings

My Mane Journey as a 4C Girl by Chellyz View

Changing the Narrative as a 4C Girl 

The journey of being a natural hair girl in the D has been a roller coaster ride for myself. My hair has been described as coarse, think, and untamed. Several years ago, I learned the category for my hair is 4c, which means I have very tight coils. In my younger years, being a 4C Girl led to being teased for having unmanageable nappy hair. Thankfully, the negative connotation of that statement is transforming into something beautiful. 4C Girls are embracing their hair across the nation! From the workplace, pool, gym, and beyond, we are representin’ and lovin’ on our hair more than evahhhhhhhh!

The fierce war of battling and embracing my kinks over the decades had me feeling emotions of imprisonment to appreciating the joys of hair freedom. As a young girl, I had my woes of getting my hair done. I collected countless tears that left a bucket full of fond memories from breaking multiple hair combs to having my hair straightened by pressing combs.

 

One of my spiritual sisters stated, “I must be related to Jesus.” Her reasoning behind the statement was my hair felt like wool. One of my cousins who used to French braid my wild mane told me my hair was thick enough to cut her fingers. Also, hairdressers have said my hair would burn the tips of their fingers because it held an abundance amount of heat. At that time, I didn’t realize the Holy Spirit designed my hair to match my strength for the challenging days ahead called LIFE.

Taming My Head as a Child

 

Who ensured my head was combed daily as a child? That lucky person was my aunt! My mom had already realized doing hair was not her gift. It was neither mine until my late 20s. My aunt had her hands full because I was a tender-headed child who looked like cousin “IT” from The Addams Family after a wash and blow-dry. For many years, she was skillful at taming my wild hair. My coils would be brushed and parted by my aunt then decoratively styled with colorful barrettes and ponytail holders.

cheer

Getting my hair pressed as a child wasn’t always Cheerful!!!

Eventually, my mom and aunt decided to take me to the long-gone Debbie’s Beauty School on Gratiot near East Seven Mile Road in Detroit. One day they found a beauty shop just for kids known as Some Place Special on West Seven Mile Road near Evergreen. They had toys, baby dolls, and patient beauticians who had the magic touch to keep my coils under control.

The Culture of Hair in the Community

As I grew older, I realized hair was more than a culture in our community. It’s an experience. Hair has always been a “thing” in Detroit. My city is called the Hair Capital of the World. We hosted many infamous “Hair Shows and “Hair Wars.” Detroit is where people emphasize the phrase “Fried, Dyed, and Laid to the Side.” We are well known for the vast amount of local beauty and barbershops that are a few miles apart from one another. You can always find a neighborhood beautician or barber beautifying or cutting hair in their home with their workstation situated inside the kitchen or basement. I had my share of trial and error of trying to find the right beautician to style my head or accommodate my schedule due to balancing work, children, and extracurricular activities.

Oh yeah! I was always trying to figure out what I should do with my hair. I cut it a few times, let it grow back, permed it, rocked braids and wigs, wore sew-ins, braid outs and twists outs. Over 13 years ago, I decided to go natural. However, one summer, the humidity won, and I asked the hairdresser to dump that creamy white substance in my head asap! Weeks later, I felt guilty after perming my head. After that incident, I vowed to stay natural forever. That was several years ago.

Deciding to Initiate the Loc Journey 

Well, it’s a new century! What’s happening as I continue to discover my hair passage to independence? After contemplating for at least eight years, I decided to Loc my hair! Before making the decision, I had randomly asked 100 strangers, read 200 articles, spoke with several people I know who have Loc’d their hair, watched 75 YouTube videos, browsed Pinterest and Instagram for 1,000 hours, and made the ultimate decision. Most people know I exaggerate, but that is how it felt.

Anyway, it was time to Loc these Locks! At first, I was going to have Sisterlocs installed, but that ordeal fell through. I lost $50 from a consultation fee, but that is another story. I reached out to another Loctitian on Facebook Messenger and left a phone message. I never received a response. Therefore, I stopped reaching out because I didn’t want to feel like a stalker.

Embracing My Loc Venture

New Locs

After finishing My Locs with two-strand twists

I was eager to start my Loc journey. So, on Sept. 22 through Sept. 23, 2019, I joined forces with one of my good friends known as Netflix to keep me company. After watching six movies and taking 20 breaks, I installed two-strand twists in my hair. The two-strand twist style wasn’t new to me, but this journey was different. I knew in my heart I wanted to loc my hair. My parts were uneven, and my hands were unsteady, but my intuition assured me it was essential to love on my Locs.

After locing my hair, there were small bouts of doubt that crept in. Did I make them the right size? Should I have paid the astronomical price of having Sisterlocs installed professionally? Should I have gone to an expert to interlock my hair? Should I this? Should I that? I was excited, nervous, and grateful at the same time.

Hair is the Inspiration

Hair Inspiration

My Auntie aka The Hair Inspirationist

On this journey, I am thankful for all those who keep me inspired!  I learned that I shouldn’t utilize the phrase “ugly phase” when referring to my newly installed Locs. Yes, my hair is frizzy, the shrinkage is real, and some of the ends unravel when they feel like it. However, I contribute this phase in my life as “awkwardly beautiful.” My mane source of “Hair Inspiration” comes from my Auntie Sherry, who, as stated earlier, used to tame these locs when I was a little girl. She has been growing her locs for over 15 years!

My hairdresser, who used to press my hair, schools me on how to remain calm during this early process of allowing my hair to loc.  She also does a phenomenal job retightening my Locs as needed. After twisting my hair, I found out she installed locs.  I guess that is what I get for not asking when I changed my mind about not getting Sisterlocs!  Also, I follow a few groups on Facebook that keep me encouraged. One Facebook group that has been instrumental in me keeping my faith during the process is Braidlocs, Sisterlocs, Microlocs, Interlocs, & More! I recommend you check out the group or find a supportive page or person to help keep you sane if you decide to loc your hair.

Experiencing Hair Freedom with Locs

Excercise Day

Prepared the Locs for a Moment of Exercise

I don’t know how long I will wear my Locs, but at this moment, I will describe my hair journey as liberating. No additives such as perms, brushes, or combs needed at this time. However, wear your hair as you choose. I can only speak for myself. The societal constraints of what defines beauty no longer confines me. I am a Detroit Girl with 4C Hair who has found contentment by deciding to embrace my crown with Locs. No matter where you are from, I hope you recognize and find what brings you the happiness of hair freedom as well!

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

Reference:

Facebook Group:  Braidlocs, Sisterlocs, Microlocs, Interlocs, & More!

Stu Scott by Butch Ford

 

992

Stu Scott by Butch Ford

In 1993 the sports world was turned upside down when a brother from Chicago, Illinois, by the name of Stuart Orlando Scott, arrived in Bristol, Connecticut for the SportsCenter programming on the ESPN Network. The Vice president for talent, Al Jaffe, was summoned by his superiors to find new personalities who would appeal to a younger audience.

Scott, a graduate of The University of North Carolina, caught the eye of executives and viewers alike with his unique urban catchphrases and hip-hop style. It quickly caught on with the general population…and a star was born. Initially, the fear was that “the masses” would scoff at sports reported in this manner. Would it be perceived as “too urban?” Little did we know…Scott became a pioneer and trendsetter who changed the way sports are broadcast. He added swag and brought flavor to sports telecasts. And everyone followed in his footsteps.

Scott enjoyed a successful 22-year career with ESPN until he lost his lengthy battle with cancer in 2015. The entire sports world experienced a colossal loss with his passing. In addition to nightly SportsCenter programming, Scott was also commonly seen on NBA, NFL, MLB, and NCAA pre and post-game shows, as well. There’s an apparent void in the hearts of real sports fans that may not ever be filled.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I miss laughing at Stu’s wit and comical approach. He was engaging and commanded his audience. It always left you wanting more. You couldn’t wait to hear what he was going to say next. And he would never disappoint. It’s tough to watch SportsCenter these days, but if you listen close enough, you may hear a new school anchor give an ode to the legend known as Stuart Scott. We miss you, my brother.

 

Butch Ford

“What Time Is It?” by Butch Ford

The Time

“What Time Is It?” by Butch Ford

In 1981, Prince assembled an All-Star group of musicians…comprised of the baddest cats from the local Minneapolis music scene. Together they became arguably the funkiest band in the ’80s. But individually is where they made their historical mark as superstars of R&B. I’m talking about The Time.

Morris Day, was not only the lead man and zany persona but is also a world-class drummer (he played on all of The Time’s studio recordings). James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis are world-renowned super producers with countless platinum and gold records spanning nearly four decades. Jesse Johnson, the ultra-talented lead guitarist extraordinaire & producer who’s still dazzling audiences after 35 years, both home and abroad. Jerome Benton…funk/R&B’s most notable hype man, who’s the ying to Day’s yang and also the younger brother of Terry Lewis.

But the longest active members of the group who I refer to as the backbone are Garry “Jellybean” Johnson…drummer & Monte Moir…keyboards. Johnson has produced for Janet Jackson, New Edition, Nona Hendryx, and Alexander O’Neal. Plus has played lead guitar on some of Minneapolis’s funkiest tracks like, “Fishnet,” “Innocent,” “Criticize,” and “Black Cat.” Moir produced iconic R&B classics such as: “The Pleasure Principle” and “If You Were Here Tonight.” The talent speaks for itself.

Despite playing very few notes, if any at all on the group’s first three albums (other than Day), it’s “time” the fellas get their just due in the industry and R&B History. No other band has accomplished so much in separate incarnations as this super group we love and know as The Time. “Ain’t nobody bad…like them!”

Butch Ford

“We Reminisce Over You” by Butch Ford

thinking back

 

“We Reminisce Over You” by Butch Ford

The title of this entry was inspired by a 90’s hip hop classic from Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth.  The thought behind it are feelings of love, loss, gratitude and pride mixed with a little bit of selfishness and some sadness sprinkled in too.  We’ve all lost loved ones at some point in our lives and admittedly…it hurts.

I remember watching my grandmother beam with pride and joy.  She loved family; her mother, sisters, aunts & uncles, daughters and most assuredly her grandson(s).  Holiday gatherings and family get-togethers meant everything to her.  I would marvel at the outpouring of love displayed at these functions.  It’s difficult to put it into words.  It was just simply incredible.  Boy…I really miss those days.  And then…the unthinkable began to happen.  We started losing our older relatives slowly but surely.

Now we’re the grandparents, the great aunts & uncles, the matriarchs & patriarchs of our families.  But times have changed.  Things are very different now.  The world just ain’t the same anymore.  Don’t get me wrong…we’re all blessed to still be among the living, but it’s sad watching the day to day occurrences in these dark and scary times we live in.  We gotta stay prayed up and watch out for one another.  Hopefully better days are ahead.  As the song says, “A change gon come.”  We need a change…BAD!!!

Thinking back on how my grandmother loved on all of us…that smile, those hugs and the loving, nurturing words of encouragement…makes me wonder if she missed her parents, grandparents, great aunts & uncles as much as I miss her?  If she did, she didn’t show it.  But gauging the void in my heart…how could she not?  Her focus was obviously on everyone else’s happiness.

I still smile when I think of my grandmother’s strength and courage.  The way she held everything together was nothing less than amazing.  Her memory still lives on today.  Mainly because my mother stepped up in her absence and filled those shoes remarkably.  I’m just expressing myself, but I know there are others with similar stories, right?  The message today is simple.  It’s for our loved ones who have gone on to glory…to continue watching over us while we reminisce over you.

Butch

Two Headed Monsters by Butch Ford

the ojays

Two Headed Monsters by Butch Ford

As I sit here reminiscing about days long since passed (I’m just nostalgic that way). I began to hum a few classic oldies but goodies to myself, which brought about a debate I had with some friends a while ago.  The conversation was about…who we believed the greatest “One-Two Punch” in R&B history was.

The 70’s and 80’s brought about some undeniable timeless pieces…delivered by some of the most gifted & phenomenal singers.  And by “One-Two Punch” I mean a duo or tandem within a group or band that brought different flavors or elements to the music (within that unit) that we all grew to love.  The three choices that were mentioned most were: The O’Jays, The Whispers and Earth Wind & Fire.  Let’s settle this once and for all.

First was the O’Jays, with the sweet, smooth silkiness of Walter Williams, in direct contrast with the rugged, I didn’t come here to fuck around with y’all, begging & pleading delivery of Eddie Levert.  Great choice.  Next, was the identical twins Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott from The Whispers.  It was magical…almost mystical how they seamlessly and effortlessly dazzled us by swapping lines and alternating powerful individual lead parts with flawless, deceptive unison. Can’t argue that choice either.  Then there’s Earth Wind & Fire’s co-lead vocalists, the incomparable Maurice White (baritone) and the dynamic Philip Bailey (1st tenor) who provided another whirlwind “two headed monster” worthy of being crowned the greatest of all time, as well.  EWF’s genius touched our spirits and souls on some other level. Didn’t it?  To be honest, you can’t go wrong with either of these choices.  BUT WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE TANDEM???  And why?  Is it one of the groups mentioned above?  Or are we sleeping on some folks?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Hutchinson sisters, Wanda and Sheila of The Emotions; Bobby Smith and Phillipe Wynne of The Spinners; Ron Banks and LJ Reynolds of The Dramatics & Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin of Chic…who were all spectacular in their own right.  And if there’s anyone else I failed to mention, it’s probably because they had one primary lead vocalist during their run, which doesn’t qualify them as a tandem.  So…no shade intended towards anyone whatsoever.

But I’d like to know everyone else’s thoughts.  Who do you believe the greatest One-Two Punch in R&B History is?  Let’s have some fun with this.

 

Butch Ford

 

Mamba…Out! by Butch Ford

Kobe Bryant
Mamba…Out! by Butch Ford

Sunday January 26, 2020…A day we’ll all remember; where we were, what we were doing and how we felt upon hearing the devastating news of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Los Angeles Lakers’ Great Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, her friend Alyssa, her parents John & Keri Altobelli and the pilot, in Calabasas, California.

I’d reserved my thoughts, feelings and comments until after I was able to process everything.  But as my timeline began to flood, my phone began to ring and my messages began to mount. I took time to reflect on my numerous memories and the unbelievable career accomplishments of the man nicknamed, The Black Mamba.  Kobe was an 18 time All-Star, a 5 time NBA Champion and the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. He entered the NBA as a teenager from Lower Merion High School (Pennsylvania) in 1996 and dazzled us for 20 incredible seasons.

Widely regarded as an All-Time NBA Great, Bryant leaves his wife Vanessa, three daughters, his parents, The NBA Fraternity and an entire world of fans to mourn his untimely demise.  The Altobelli’s were survived by a son and a daughter.  This was truly a sad day.  Let’s pray for healing, strength and courage for the families.  And let’s take better care of each other.  For none of us know the day, the hour or the time we’re gonna be called home.  God Bless Us All.

 

Butch

Drop that 0 and Find a HERO! by Klassy K

Drop that Zero

Drop that 0 and Find a HERO! by Klassy K

Home Skillets! In my Martin Lawrence voice, “What’s up, What’s up, Whaaaaat’s Up!” Well, I’ll tell you, absolutely nothing! University of Michigan got STOMPED by Alabama State University 16-35.  Yeah, I know it was like weeks ago, but I’m still trying to pick up my face. I went to church that Sunday, cause my soul could not believe that U of M lost that game. I even asked the choir to play that gospel song that would go well with the U of M game. Well, you guessed it, they played Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp.”  I’m still singing Kirk Franklin’s song, “Annie say, Stomp, granny say, Stomp, everybody say, Stomp.” Well, you guys get the picture.

University of Michigan ranks 14 currently 9-4.  Maybe they will get their redemption at a bowl or something because the Crimson was just Tide of them and beat them. If University of Michigan, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Titans, Michigan State University and lastly the Detroit Pistons records were combined all together, we would be the greatest teams of all times. Well, a girl could dream.

Do you know what I think? It is time for a fresh start, the Detroit Pistons are 17-28 ranking 9th in the Eastern Conference.  So, let me break that down on how bad they are. If the Playoffs were this month, they wouldn’t even place. Only the top 8 team(s) from both Western and Eastern would qualify and they are slightly below. I watched this past game when the Pistons played the Sacramento Kings. They beat them. In my opinion, kind of looked like a practice game because the “Little” Caesars Arena had just that many fans in the stands. The owner should just randomly throw tickets around the state of Michigan.  He could have a special buy 5 tickets, get 10 tickets free, instead of just giving free tickets to charities, or giveaways and or calling previous people that have bought tickets and see if they would like to purchase tickets at a discounted price. Yes, true story, “someone” from the organization contacted me to offer me a package where I can get floor 100 section seats for the price of 200 section seats. They called me so much, I had to block their number. Now home skillet, I haven’t purchased tickets since they moved to the Little Caesars Arena.

Like I stated the Pistons played Sacramento Kings yesterday and beat them 106-127.  Now, the point leaders were Markieff Morris, Derrick Rose (you KNOW) and Christian Wood. Did you notice Reggie, Blake and Andre were not mentioned? You know why, because they didn’t play. Blake is injured and out for the WHOLE season. Yeah, the MILLION-dollar man! You know how much Billionaire Tom paid Blake and look at him nursing his knee in Punta Cana with his baby momma, sike! Naw, he is at his second home in Los Angeles watching Power and trying to find out “who shot GHOST”. Well, I’m only kidding. What do I know?

Well I’ll tell you what I do know is that next summer Andre Drummond will be a free agent. In case you may not know who he is, he is the dangly looking guy, tall, kind of janky that proudly wears the number “0” on his jersey. I am praying to God that the owners, managers, cheerleaders, concession stand, etc. do not re-sign him. Let him go, like the movie “Frozen.”  “Drop” him, like in the song by DJ Magic Mike! Well, you get the point. We need a HERO!  If you remembered a long time ago when I wrote my opinionated article about Blake Griffin, I thought he was going to be the Savior, but God said, “no not today or any other day.”  There can only be One David Ruff–, no Savior. I was having a flashback about the movie “The Temptations.”  Well, I hope Tom does not get tempted to re-sign number “0”, because we could sure use a HERO.

I don’t know what player(s) are going to be available for owners to sign for next year, but who wants to come here anyway? They should listen to T Baby’s, “It’s so cold in the D.” Maybe they need to watch the video because I’m sorry walking in the cemetery and seeing a homeless man on the floor is not going to be a deal-breaker.

Well, if you are still a believer in your Piston team, like you were with the Detroit Lions…..  Say what are they doing anyway? To be honest, they don’t even deserve to be mentioned in this article with their 3-12-1 ass! They couldn’t even win the last and final game. At least give the fans some hope for next year. Check out the Pistons on my hubby birthday, Friday, January 24, against the Grizzlies, or you can watch it on FSSE or Fox Sports Detroit. You can also check out your other favorite sports team:

Detroit Red Wings: https://www.nhl.com/redwings/schedule/2020-01-01/ET, Detroit Titans: https://detroittitans.com/index.aspx?path=mbball, Michigan State University: https://msu.edu, University of Michigan: https://mgoblue.com, or hell just Google!

Klassy K’s Sports Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

 

R & B Church by Butch Ford

Frankie Beverly

R & B Church by Butch Ford

Does the name Howard Beverly ring a bell?  Probably not.  Well…he’s a multi-instrumentalist, singer, writer and producer from Philadelphia, PA.  He started do-wapping (harmonizing) on the tough streets with friends and composing songs in the early 60’s.

Beverly later changed his name to Frankie after his favorite singer Frankie Lymon, formed a band called Raw Soul, moved to California with the hopes of making it big.  After a few years of playing small bars around town, Marvin Gaye sat in on a set one evening.  He saw potential in the band.  He took them under his wing, talked the group into changing their name and the magic began.

The newly christened Maze led by Frankie Beverly started creating a buzz in the urban markets.  We soon fell in love with the silky, soulful voice and hits such as, “Happy Feelings”, “Joy & Pain” and “Before I Let Go.”  1993 was the last year Maze released a studio album, but they continue to sell out everything from dinner clubs to 20,000 seat arenas.

If you’ve never had the honor or distinct pleasure to experience a live Maze concert…please do yourself a favor?  Frankie comes on stage to thunderous applause and from the opening number, the audience is on their feet.  Eyes are closed, arms are swaying left to right in unison and if you’re completely quiet and still for a few seconds it sounds like a mass choir.  The feeling is overwhelming.  It’s hard to put into words.  I refer to it as R&B Church.  It’s simply beautiful.

 

Butch Ford

 

A Wicked World by Butch Ford

 

 

 

danger

A Wicked World by Butch Ford

There have been several reports of some 64,000+ African American women currently missing in the United States.  Yet another problem that’s very troubling and disturbs me deeply.  I don’t even know where to begin.

I started hearing about human trafficking a few years ago but didn’t exactly know what to think of it all.  It took a while to process.  I couldn’t decipher if it was fallacy or some twisted form of reality.  And it continues to baffle me today.  After extensive research, I learned that it’s the kidnapping of our women for the illegal sex trade and the selling of human organs on the black market.

Evidently, people have been hired to snatch other human beings from public areas and use them for unspeakable acts.  Individuals are also being murdered and sold for their internal organs.  It’s a sick, satanic scheme for profit designed to bypass and flat out ignore the traditional organ donation process and donor transplant regulations.

As parents, educators, law enforcement and community leaders, WE MUST find a solution to this horrible epidemic.  We’re losing…and have lost countless loved ones at an alarming rate at the hands of these monsters.  And sadly, I’ve only seen and read about African Americans victimizing OUR OWN women!  The bigger question is…who are they working for?  Who’s behind this deviant criminal enterprise?

We must always be on guard. Traffickers have been reported being seen in school zones, outside of malls, around night clubs and even randomly in neighborhoods.  It’s our responsibility to protect our females and deter these awful crimes of occurring.  This is truly a wicked world we live in.

 

Butch Ford