JULY TALK | 2014

There is this special feeling that lovers have. It's when they are both in awe of one another, yet empowered to stand tall as individuals because of each other. Watching July Talk perform at the Bowery Ballroom was a display of that type of affection. The chemistry between lead singers Peter and Leah were undeniable. They sang and danced like no one was watching; they were in their own world and we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of it. 

I just hope that these two are in fact dating; we don't want another Civil Wars on our hands. I interviewed those two when they first came out and couldn't believe they weren't dating. Either way, this is an act worth seeing and getting lost in.



I found myself at Terminal 5 waiting to watch a band that took too long for me to discover. Young and old ravers were everywhere. All love, all water, all lights that night. After some minor technical difficulties the show started. I was surprised to see that not only was there djing, but live percussion and a string accompaniment. I’ll try to describe it… electronica, trip-hop, 90′s R&B, drum and bass, and a little hint of Michael McDonald.

love,peace, and napyness,



There’s nothing better than a rapper who performs like a rockstar. That is exactly the way to describe Lupe Fiasco. This fella really performed his heart out: Superstar, The Show Goes On, Daydreamin’, Paris, Tokyo, Bitch Bad, Kick Push…it was a non-stop lovefest filled with adrenalin.

With little to no endorsements or promotion, Lupe had the number 1 record in America. He truly has a cult following. His fans don’t need the glitter and gold…they just show up. After that show, I get it. I totally get it.

love, peace, and nappyness,




I am a huge Madonna fan.

So when I received an IM from a friend who works for her, offering me a last-minute ticket for her opening night performance at Yankee Stadium, I lost it! (Thanks Nadia!) Before I could think or reschedule my plans for the night, I found myself in Madonna’s publicist’s office, drinking vodka and making a bunch of new friends. We were all there for one reason…Madonna! Women and men of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and sexual orientations.

When we arrived at Yankee stadium, it felt like the year was 1988 and Michael Jackson was going to perform. The crowd was as diverse as it could get. Madonna t-shirts, short dresses, tight dresses, high heels worn by both men and women! When the lights dimmed and the chanting started, we knew we were in for an unpredictable night. . As soon as Madonna hit the stage I got completely lost in the moment. She performed a lot of her MDNA record and also mixed in a few songs from the 80′s and 90′s. That night was very political there was a lot of messaging about democracy, Michelle Obama, the Pussy Riots...Really moving stuff.

When I returned for her Saturday show (thanks Lucy!) she was in more of a spiritual mood. Her main focus that night was the idea of forgiveness. I found myself singing to “Open Your Heart” with an accompaniment of singers from the Basque region then watching Madonna perform “Like a Prayer” with a full on choir. She sang “Human Nature”while touching herself in front of the massive mirrors on stage, performed “Live A Virgin,”  half-naked,with a piano accompaniment. 

Those two nights changed my life. Seeing that she was real and not just someone I used to watch on MTV is something that will stay with me forever. A woman as phenomenal as Madonna does not even seem real. Now I know that she is and I have piece of her with me.

Love,Peace, and Nappyness,



Pure joy; that’s what I felt that Thursday morning as I was getting dressed to go to work…as I danced in the hallways of my corporate job…as I trekked to 10th avenue to go see The XX.

This may be a weird place to start, but I will any way. Back in 2010 I had planned to go to Haiti after the earthquake. This would have been my first time going since I was 8 years old. However on the morning of my flight I had a complete emotional breakdown and did not make the flight. The country’s pain and suffering and my diasporic guilt was too much. Instead, my husband and I went to Puerto Rico. We needed to get away. I was in a daze for most of the trip, incredibly depressed and weak. But what I kept on repeat was the “XX” album. Maybe it was the ocean, maybe it was the island, but I slowly grew out of my depression and became head over heels in love with the band that helped me get through it.

So when that Thursday morning finally came, I was elated. My friend Cristina and I knew the show would be amazing, but what happened that night is indescribable. But I’ll try…

They opened with their latest song, “Angel.” The crowd sang in unison. They continued with songs from the debut record and the crowd continued with them. Emo music never felt so good. Men, boys, women…the scene was really beautiful. Halfway through the show Oliver let the crowd know that they were now going to play some new music. It was a treat. Base bumping, pounding, dropping, lights flashing, faces glowing, mouths smiling…we were one.

Love, Peace, and Nappynes,



This was not technically a music "show" but a lot of music was played. Correction, a lot of really, really good music was played.

I had never been to the Bushwick Block party, but it was Saturday and I did not want to be in Manhattan.  So I took the L-train with my neighbor, a cab-loving, Manhattan-club-frequenting friend, Lucy. Before we left, we started the festivities with cranberry and vodka cocktails in plastic bottles. We were prepared for some serious day drinking. When we got to Roberta’s, Lucy’s first words were “I haven’t been to a party like this since I was a teenager.”  

Girls dressed in shorts, ripped up shirts, and dirty sneakers reigned. Sweaty, smelly,dirty boys were scattered all over. I thought it was great. The sky looked like it was ready to start pouring and I was all for it. Eventually it did rain, but no one really cared. A few bands were playing but I'm not a heavy metal girl. By the time I got to the dj booth, my friends Cristina and Tylea joined us and Lucy had had enough. I wish she would have stayed.

The dancing began and lasted for hours. Prince, Cece Peniston, The Talking Heads all pumped through the speakers. I was in a dance party. A real dance party. Bodies swayed and shook and jumped and jerked like it was 1995. We were all feeling ourselves. Freeing ourselves. I’ve never felt that kind of euphoria in my life. I know I sound super trippy here, but the party was that good.

When it ended, Cristina, Tylea, and I had to ask each other if it really happened. We just couldn’t believe it. Words really can’t express  how good this party was, but maybe the picture on this post will.

Love, Peace, and Nappyness,



The show was sold out, but it did not have that anxious vibe that most sold out shows have. I didn’t feel like there were expectations for Lianne to perform the “best show of her career.” It was her first NYC performance, but no one would have known that.

She calmly walked on stage; dressed in shorts, heels, and a ruffled up blouse. She wrapped the guitar around her and just sang. When she did a cover of Jill Scott’s ” He Loves Me,” the crowd out sang her. It was actually a good thing. I think that crowd would have out sung Jill Scott with that karaoke favorite.  

 By the end of the show I felt like I was leaving a neo-soul love fest. Maybe it was just me, but all I wanted to do was hug everyone in the room. It was a nice way to spend a Tuesday night.

Love, Peace, and Nappyness,



I will start this post by saying I only went to Governor’s Ball to see Fiona Apple.

I attended this show with my darling friends, Nadia and Jessie, and their crew. Since these ladies work in PR, we were able to get the highly coveted “freeloaders pass.” This pass guaranteed VIP entrance and unlimited beer and liquor. I decided to make it a pilsner day.  While bands (who were not Fiona) performed, I stretched out on the grass and enjoyed the scene. After an hour of drinking, we made our way to Fiona’s set.

Fiona Apple; dressed in a white skirt, purple wrap around, and black tank top came crashing onto the stage. Her hair swinging, her arms flailing, her Doc Marten’s stomping…all 90 pounds of her. She moved as if she’d been taking Afro-Folkloric classes and the gods were pleased. She screamed into the mic. To be honest, I have no clue how the audience reacted. I was in a trance. She made me want to laugh uncontrollably and cry at the same time. I saw this woman who had been victimized standing strong in front of thousands of people. We were all at her mercy and she liked it. She toyed with us. Her new music fit perfectly in the set. It wasn’t like, “oh, that’s a new track…damn! can’t sing along!”  She sat on the floor. She reached out to us in the crowd and took in all the love that we gave her.

The set ended with Criminal. In those 4 minutes, it was 1997, I was back in my basement, and all the angst and innocence I feared came back.

love, peace, and nappyness,



If you’ve been to Summer Jam once, that was probably your first and last time there. I went in 2005. Had it not been for Azaelia Banks, I probably would have not gone back. But there I was with my buddy Tylea, on a bus, headed to New Jersey. We decided to take it easy that day. We’d barely recovered from our last festival, and we knew this show would be different. With acts like Azaelia Banks, Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Big K.R.I.T, and once again A$AP Rocky… the vibe would be a mellow.

When we arrived at the festival we found that the “festival village” was not in the stadium (where the main concert would be). Instead, the village was in the infamous Summer Jam parking lot. The parking lot was filled with tailgaters and festival villagers getting high; music, food, and the elements. Tylea and I felt immediately at home. I  remember looking around and seeing all the different faces, all ages, all races, all love…really.

Then Azaelia got on stage. While Tylea, Cristina ( another friend who was at the show) and I were cheering her on, a group of hecklers started to boo her. Our 3 voices outweighed the idiots in the back. But it made me start to think about how tough it really is for female MC’s. Was it because she was rapping about her sexuality? Was it because she “vulgar?” Does it really matter that she likes to use the word “cunt” in her lyrics? The fact that there are less than a handful of relevant female MC’s is pathetic. I commend all the women who are brave enough to rap in front of these misogynist punks. After Azaelia’s performance, a DJ (whose name I’ve already forgotten) decided to get on stage and bad mouth Nicki Minaj. That monologue ultimately persuaded Lil Wayne to pull Nicki from the main show (she was the headliner).

Back to the good stuff!  Kendrick Lamar’s performance. Oh, wow, Kendrick Lamar’s performance. By this point, the sugar from the brownie I had eaten hit me. I was in another zone. His performance of ADHD was like a dream. I looked at Tylea and we agreed that this was more like a Woodstock concert. A$AP hit the stage next and the crowd went wild. He owned the stage. It began to rain and we all cheered as we got drenched. Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q joined A$AP on stage and the crowd went even wilder. Then, just like that, it was over.

As the crowd started to head to the stadium, Tylea and I made our way to the bus stop. We were not going to deal with the crowds and clusterfucks. On our way to the bus stop, we saw a car was on fire. I’m not sure how it started but it made for an interesting picture.

Love, Peace, and Nappyness,




To say "I went hard" on this music festival is an understatement. My friend Tylea texted me on a Monday about free tickets to a concert in Maryland (my hometown). She threw out names like A$AP Rocky,The Shins, Kid Cudi, and the keyword, “free.” So even though I had to get on a bus at 7am on a Saturday, I figured it would totally be worth it. Fast-forward to Friday night. I’m with friends at another friend’s show in Bushwick. We are all broke and pretty drunk on Bud light. 12am turns to 3am and suddenly I realize there are no yellow cabs in Bushwick.

After a late night L-train ride to Union Square, I end up in a cab and in my Nolita apartment by 4am.  I’m exhausted and at 6am my alarm goes off. Those first few steps out of my apartment were pretty refreshing. I was slightly lethargic on the train ride to Penn station but I knew coffee could fix it. I made it to the bus station in time and so did Tylea. We were on our way. After a grueling 6 hour bus ride, we were in Maryland. It was a little cold and a little cloudy but we were going to be okay...we made it!

The first band to perform was FUN.. They blasted “We Are Young” and in that moment, surrounded by drugged out 15 year olds, Tylea and I were young too! I drank my beer she sipped on her gin, and life was good. While Fun. was a nice opener, I found the rest of their set to sound more like elevator music. Action Bronson on the other hand was a force. We caught the last of his set. The festival cut off his sound but he refused to get off the stage. Instead he free-styled his ass off. A$AP came on shortly after. I was surprised that he was performing at 3pm, but then again he was a newcomer. He had an energy about him that made everyone jump up, but unfortunately it came and ended pretty quickly. (ha) A$AP and friends were having a great time on stage, but they forgot about the rest of the crowd. I knew with a little practice his stage show would kill….and it did…at Summer Jam (another post). We ran into him after his set and he took a picture with Tylea. He also had his assistant give Tylea his number. Tylea asked him what he was doing after the show and he replied with “I don’t know boo?! I’m not from around here!” Tylea still hasn’t reached out.

The real highlight for me was Explosions in the Sky. This band had a sound that was precise and moving. The Shins were also awesome. I felt like I was watching Garden State all over again. Unfortunately by the time the headliner, “Avicci” hit the stage, I’d been rained on, it was 30 degrees, and I was ready to go home. Tylea and I made a b-line to the bus. I passed out and woke up to hear the bus driver tell some drunk kids they were on the wrong bus. By 4am Sunday, there I was at Penn Station, hailing a cab. Did I go hard or what? 

Love, Peace, and Nappyness.