SONG OF THE DAY – Bring The Noise by M.I.A.

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Claudeen Benoit!

Claudeen Benoit - Headshot

Claudeen Benoit

When I was in the fifth grade, this new girl came into my homeroom class. I remember looking at her and thinking, “this is the most amazing girl I have ever laid my eyes on.” She had star quality, I could recognize this at ten years old. She had big, bright eyes and smooth mocha skin, and a gorgeous smile. At some point that first day, I had volunteered to help clean out her desk for her- I don’t remember why, but I am assuming that she had the desk of someone else who had moved away and there was a hot mess in there.

I am not the best at cleaning, but I was focused for this girl. I cleaned that desk like nobody’s business. I bet if my mother were there to see it she would yell at me for not keeping my own personal spaces this neat. And when I finished, I left a note for her inside the desk asking if we could be friends. I remember when she opened it and saw the note, she laughed and said yes, and we smiled at each other.

Thirteen years later, this girl lives in New York City and I haven’t seen her in a while. Shame on me, we live so close to each other! But she’s quite busy herself, being an actress, singer, dancer, songwriter… just all around artist. Check the credentials. I’m still just as much in awe of her as I was when I first met her as a geeky bookworm with too much hair.

Her latest jam is ‘Retrograde (Remix)*,’ a Afro-futuristic song by James Blake featuring Benoit’s spoken word between syrup-sweet lyrics like, ‘We’re alone now / Can I be the girl you love?’ You can listen to it here:

Ms. Benoit has a show tonight at S.O.B’s at 8 pm. Sadly, I have a prior engagement and I cannot make it. But I figured I would share the info with all of you, because I am POSITIVE that the show will be simply fabulous. Go. Seriously, this is a freebie.

R.A.W.: Real Art Works

R.A.W.: Real Art Works
May 8 | 7:30pm | SOBs
Ari Lennox, Khari Mateen, Justina Soto, & Claudeen Benoit

I know you’ll see the futuristic diva she is in her songs and videos, but I hope you’ll also see the dazzling child I saw so many years ago.

[For reference, this is the original song by James Blake, from his album Overgrown.]*

Andthenkeirsaid.com has a Tumblr!

and-then-keir-said.tumblr.com. visit and follow, there will be a lot of reblogs. the more original content will be here at andthenkeirsaid.com.

Beyond a Black History Month

Beyond a Black History Month

Today I will be on a panel on Al Jazeera’s The Stream talking about Black History Month! Click on the link in the title to watch – it’s today, Monday, February 4, at 2:30pm EST!

Edit: If you missed the live show, you can catch it here!

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! I know i’m pretty late with this post. It’s January 19, and I finally have taken a break from my hectic schedule to update my blog theme and to start drafting some new posts. 

One of my resolutions (just resolutions, not specifically for the New Year) is to update this blog more. Since I graduated from college and started a full time job, the updates have been much less frequent. But writing is my passion, and it deserves attention rather than neglect! And so here I am, attempting to make a fresh start!

Check back in a couple of days and I should have a few things posted for my wonderful readers- namely concerning the Golden Globes and the latest Azealia Banks drama.

Love,
–kb

A Confession:

Hi, my name is Keir Bristol, and I love pop music. 

I can’t hold it back anymore. I love pop music. I love Rihanna and I love Christina Aguilera. I love Britney Spears and regularly pray at the altar of Beyonce Knowles. I love music that makes me want to dance and belt out notes I know I can’t hit. I have playlists dedicated to pre-parties; putting on makeup with my friends, deciding what shoes go best with my outfit, and blasting up-tempo anthems to get pumped for the night ahead. Pop music keeps me running at the gym and it brightens up my ride to the job that I hate. And if that isn’t love, what is?

I have a Last.fm account, and while I love the concept of Last.fm, it did make me paranoid about people judging my music taste. Was I listening to enough indie bands? Why did the scrobbling feature crash when I was listening to old school hip-hop the other day? What if I had too many scrobbles of Lady Gaga and not enough of Madonna- would people accuse me of being a poser? I know I’m not the only one who has this problem, and I also know I’m not the only one to overcome it. 

My friend Lindsey recently said that listening to music has become infinitely more fun since she stopped caring about what people considered ‘good’ or ‘real’ music. In theory, I knew she was right, but in practice? I was still partially worried, and mostly exhausted. I was tired of feeling like I should delete certain songs to take down the listens of a certain artist for the sake of my ‘music cred.’ Tired of going to YouTube to listen to Ke$ha because if I scrobbled her a couple more times she would be above the Pixies in my listens, and that was just UNACCEPTABLE. For me, music makes everything more fun, and worrying about what random people on the internet thought of my music taste was decidedly not fun.

So I’m letting go. I refuse to worry about it anymore. I’m going to listen to what I want, when I want. I’m not going to worry about people saying things like, “oh, I hate everything on the radio- I listen strictly to unsigned indie bands.” And don’t get me wrong- if that’s what you like, by all means listen to it! But grant me the same courtesy. There are days where I want to listen to Kanye West and days where I want to listen to La Roux and days where I want to listen to the Amelie soundtrack, and that’s all fine. I really don’t care that you listened to Animal Collective before Merriweather Post Pavillion came out, and now that “My Girls” became a hit they are too mainstream for you. Quite frankly, that’s some pretentious B.S. and I feel really sorry for you.

Now I’m going to put on some 2NE1 and have a dance party in my bedroom. If you’re into it, come dance with me. If not, go contemplate why you think you’re better than me because you happen to like Neutral Milk Hotel.

Why Isn’t There A White History Month?

And I’m sure there is many more where that came from. I’m not sure why Black History Month gets all the hate (actually, yes I am. Care to guess?)

But I guess that doesn’t answer people’s question so much as it does prove that they shouldn’t be asking the question in the first place. So again, I pose the question- Why Isn’t There A White History Month? And here is the long awaited answer (or at least part of it):

Colonialism.

Looking back in history, we can deduce that when people decided to go conquer brown-skinned lands, they were confused by these people because they were different. To rectify the problem, they forced them to adopt White culture and to reject their own. They were forced to speak different languages, to wear different clothes, to practice different religions, to eat different foods, to live in different homes- and to serve the White savior who showed them the “right” way of life.

Of course, this is because White-skinned people did not considered people of color equal to them. This isn’t just black people. This is Native-American people, Asians… people who weren’t White and Christian, in a nutshell.

Now, let’s consider this. Because White people did not consider people of color equal to them, they considered everything about their way of life inferior to theirs, correct? That includes their history, by default. Their language wasn’t “civilized,” never mind how they came to that language in the first place. Same with their food, their clothing, their religion… everything. White people assumed that their culture was the default. And it’s the same today. White people are the default in the media, Christianity is considered a default religion, and White people’s history is the default.

The reason why there isn’t a White History Month is because every month is White History Month. In history classes, White men, especially White Christian men, are the default. They are the foundation and everything else are only considered minor details that aren’t necessary to the entire picture.

And that is why we have separate months for separate races- because anyone labelled “Other,” is considered a minor detail, something that should be mentioned but “isn’t necessary.” If we were all considered part of the same fabric of history, if every thread was vital to the entire picture- we wouldn’t need separate months because Black history, Asian history, Latin history, and Native American history would all be taught alongside White history.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that Black history is still their history. Why is it that Black people are forced to learn White history throughout school, but White people throw a fit when it comes to one month of learning the history of someone else? Like I said, White history is a default. Why do I have to consider a White person’s history part of mine, when they don’t consider my history a part of theirs?

So there you have it. We don’t have a White history month because every month is White history month, and we have a Black history month because you don’t consider our history important enough to be included all the time. It’s your fault we don’t have a White history month. So please stop asking us why your history isn’t enough, and why we still seek to learn about our people.