Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

Archive for the tag “I Keep it Irie”

Beautiful Dreadlocks Styles

Updated Oct. 27. 2016

In one of my first blog posts Stop Asking Me Foolish Ish Bout My Dreadlocks, I wrote about some of the annoying questions people often ask me about my hair. On the flip side, almost as frequently as I get these questions, I’m also complimented on my lovely crown. I give much credit to my stylist Joyce for helping me nurture my long, beautiful tresses over the past decade. As far as I’m concerned, Joyce is the best dreadlocks stylist a.k.a. loctician in Brooklyn and perhaps even New York City. I’m particularly biased as she hails from my homeland Barbados, although she has made NYC her home for more than 20 years now.

I was introduced to Joyce by my friend Billy in late 2002 while I was on an extended visit to NYC. I had recently cut all my relaxed hair off and was proudly and happily sporting my own natural curls. The ultimate goal was to start dreadlocks, a dream I’d had for many years. Billy had dreads and his stylist was Joyce. He recommended her as the one to get me started. From day one, I was pleased with Joyce’s work. Her inimitable talent, combined with her professionalism, integrity, candor, and overall amiable nature, ensured that in me, she’d have a lifelong client.

Today, I pay homage to the genius of my stylist Joyce by featuring a gallery of her artistry with my hair over the past eight years or so. Disclaimer: Most of the photos were taken with a camera phone and not originally intended for publishing. There are a few photos where I did my hair myself, but I still give credit to Joyce because I learned my techniques from her, and obviously for helping me to  have a healthy head of hair with which to get creative.

I love my beautiful dreadlocks and I thank Joyce for all the love she pours into them.

Leave your questions (but not foolish ones lol) and comments below.

~ I Keep it Irie ~

Don’t Be Ashamed of Depression, Don’t Be Afraid To Live

Hope1In my last blog post for 2013, I Kicked Her Butt, I wrote about some of the darkest moments of my year and how on reflection, I realized that those dreary days were outshone by the unconditional love, invaluable time spent with and unwavering support from my family and closest friends. Above all, it was my relentless faith in God, long instilled by my devout Christian mother, that enabled me to appreciate the blessings amidst the storm. The latter was the mindset I adopted as the dawn broke on 2014. Like for many other people, the start of the year signaled exciting new possibilities, dreams being fulfilled, a spirit of invincibility, renewed hopefulness. I felt armed and ready for what I declared was going to be the best year of my life yet. But before I could even celebrate my birthday at the end of January, everything that could go wrong in every sphere of my life started to go wrong. Read more…

I Love That Dick

"It's like his dick talked to me." (Photo credits: compliments Google Images)

“It’s like his dick talked to me.” (Google Images)

There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies, “Love Jones,” where the character Nina played by Nia Long says to her friend Josie (Lisa Nicole Carson): “It’s like his dick talked to me.” This quote best sums up the effect a certain man has on me. He has a way of reaching deep inside of me, of touching me in ways and evoking feelings like no other. He’s the type that keeps me up all night, going at it for hours and the more I get, the more I want. I never tire of anything he has to offer. With him, it’s an art; when he puts it on me, it’s like everything is perfectly scripted, flawlessly dramatized; couldn’t be better executed. I lie there, or sit, sometimes stand depending on the hold he has on me and in those moments, I become lost in his world.

A few have come close, but no other man has consistently or for as many years as he has, connected with me on all these levels. He, this man, this “Dick,” is one of a kind. This is no common dick, this is what my Bajan and by extension Caribbean people would refer to as “a proper Dick,” so yes, I have to capitalize. It’s the kind of Dick you want to sing about to all your girlfriends, the kind you wish you could tell your mother about, the kind that makes you scream, smile, the kind that makes you cry because it’s so damn good. It’s also a Dick that’s married. Read more…

I Still Hate Dating


His first email said, “Hi gorgeous.” I looked at his profile and was as unimpressed by his foreign relationship with proper spelling and grammar as I was with his not-so-easy-on-the-eye physical appearance. This didn’t surprise me; I’d come to expect such on BlackPeopleMeet (BPM).  I swear, this online dating site’s commercials oversell its product. But as I said in my previous post, “I Hate Dating – Part 1”, I’ve adhered to the advice of my friends to do what has become convention – pursue love online. This post highlights my encounters on BPM.

I didn’t respond to his email. He took that as a challenge. Over the next two weeks, he followed up with similar emails lauding my “beauty,” saying that he’d like to get to know me. After the first week, he even remembered to introduce himself: “I’m Will.” I continued to ignore him. Perhaps indicative of his name, Will persisted, finally sending his number saying, “Call me.” I’d had enough of Will. I decided to send him my “template” rejection email. It’s a message I usually reserve for men who send lovely emails of interest, but who really don’t tickle my fancy. I’d put my PR skills to the test in tailoring this message so as to avoid sounding insensitive or unappreciative of any man’s advances toward me. Some men have even responded thanking me for said message, with one writing, “That is by far the best rejection I’ve ever received.”

Will was not having that. He immediately responded cursing me out as if I’d  asked, “Is it in yet?” He said I was ugly, called me “a f**k**g Internet slut and then blocked me. I showed his email to my friend Avril who I was visiting at the time in DC and we both had a hearty laugh. I was game for some more fun. Clearly, Will had forgotten that he’d given me his number. I told Avril that I was going to grant him his wish. Surprisingly, he answered my blocked call almost immediately.

Will: “Hello.”

Me (In my purest Bajan accent): “Yuh know who is a slut?”

Will: “Who?”

Me: “Yuh muddah!”

As Will stammered with a response, I told him who I was and wished him a great day. His tongue was still tied when I hung up.  Avril and I doubled over in hysterics, “I bet he doesn’t try that again,” she said. Read more…

I Hate Dating – Part 1


I hate dating. Even more so than I hate job hunting. But apparently, I’m much better at marketing myself as a wife-to-be, than I am as a potential full-time staffer for a journalism job. Sure, I love the flexibility that comes with being a freelance journalist, but I’d much rather the stability of full-time employment with benefits. Alas, the latter is becoming increasingly challenging as the mass media evolve more and more into a digital platform. Several news organizations continue to restructure/lay off or close down, and many simply opt to hire freelance/contract/part-time or per diem workers to save dollars. A shocking reality check on the challenges we the fourth estate face, was the recent sale of The Washington Post by its owners to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. Like me, I’m sure hundreds of journalists across the US and beyond, are wondering, “Who’s next?”

My friend Ato, who works in the industry and is pretty savvy with his predictions – albeit as a broadcast television track and field analyst – told me this past spring that in 10 years journalism will not even be a college major. It hurt to hear that, but my relentless job hunt convinces me that as usual, Ato’s words will come to pass. Still, I can’t imagine myself being happy in another career besides journalism. From my first foray in the newsroom more than 15 years ago leading to 10 years as a full-time reporter, to this day there are few things in this world that give me joy like being on the beat as a journalist. So I’ll keep the hustle on as a freelance writer, while aggressively seeking that dream job. It’s a task far less dramatic than trying to find love. Read more…

Children And Testing – The Bajan Edition

At Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados 2013 getting goodbye kisses from my nephew Nicholai before I returned to NYC.

At Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados 2013 getting goodbye kisses from my nephew Nicholai before I returned to NYC.

My sweetheart sister Sancia pissed me off this past week. And if you know me, you know she’s my world. Born on the day I turned 4, I consider Sancia my best birthday gift ever! I’ve loved her from day one, and growing up, even though I was always the smaller one between the two of us, I always felt like her protector, like a big sister. She has always been a darling, thoughtful, generous, bright, one of the most naturally intelligent people I know, highly intellectual, compassionate, she possesses a sharp wit, and just like our mother, is fortitudinous beyond imagination. Like me, she loves a good laugh. Unlike me, she’s tolerant of people and their BS. Whatever our similarities or differences, my mom constantly says we have made her extremely proud. One of us has also made her a proud grandmother – my sister, with her gifted son, my beloved nephew, Nicholai. I’ve previously blogged about Nicholai in “I Got Mail – A Handwritten Letter”  and in “My Little Track Star.” Just like his mother, Nicholai is tied to my heartstrings. There is very little either of them could do wrong by me. Over the years, as siblings do from time to time, my sister and I have had our differences, but whenever it came to her differences with anyone else, be it our mom or Nicholai’s estranged father, or whatever challenge Sancia has had to face, I’ve always found myself in her corner.

On Wednesday, the results came back for the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination, popularly referred to as the Common Entrance Exam or the 11+. The exam is taken by primary school students for placement at any of the island’s 22 secondary schools and tests their skills in English, math and composition writing. Here in New York, the equivalent (of sorts) to the 11+ might be considered the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test taken by academically and artistically gifted students. Unlike this select group of students, in Barbados, however, every pupil who turns 11 by Aug. 31 of an academic year must take the 11+. The higher their test scores, the better their chances of securing a coveted place at one of the more prestigious schools. Again, for my New Yorkers, consider the competition for and prestige of schools such as Brooklyn Latin School, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School etc. In Barbados, the elite or older secondary schools as they’re called include: Christ Church Foundation School; The St. Michael School; The Lodge School; Combermere; Queen’s College (QC), and the institution that has traditionally been No. 1 – Harrison College (HC) a.k.a. Kolij. Harrison College has produced five of Barbados’ seven prime ministers and its students hold the record for winning the most government scholarships and awards to pursue tertiary education. Nicholai gained entry, or as we say in Barbados, “passed” for Harrison College. He is disappointed. My sister is depressed. Read more…

My NYC Subway Pet Peeves


I am 5 feet 2 inches tall (almost) and a meal or two over my regular weight at 120 pounds. I consider myself a big person. My friends say I’m not. But they might be wrong too. If the daily commuters on the train are anything to go by, I’m actually invisible. How else does one explain a 6-foot-2 man standing behind me on a crowded train refusing to remove his backpack and letting it rest less than gently on my shoulders? Or what other reason could a 300-pound woman have for trying to squeeze herself, a life size handbag and an extra tote into the space left empty next to me in those tight two-seaters? And about the chick that stands in front of me chewing gum with such voracity that her alveoli are about to collapse and my eardrums are on the verge of bursting from her loud popping? Don’t even get me started on the youngster across from me who evidently has never heard of earphones and blasts his iPod, while singing and bobbing along to the dissonance. Some days, I swear it’s a conspiracy, like all the commuters are out to get me, like they’re putting on display every pet peeve of mine. Such are the happenings on the biggest entertainment platform and world’s largest rapid transit – the New York City Subway.

Read more…

Meet My Worst Enemy

My friend and fellow journalist Sumit and I saw these T-shirts in Jerusalem, Israel and just had to buy them: "Write Your Own Story"

My friend and fellow journalist Sumit and I saw these T-shirts in Jerusalem, Israel and just had to buy them: “Write Your Own Story”

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~ Jack Canfield

Recently, I’ve not been able to write. Not due to any lack of ability or scarcity of topics. Nor have I lost motivation, that’s still there. Writing remains one of the few things in this world that makes me totally happy. I fell in love with writing as a child. Over the years, that love grew and writing became the ticket to much of my progress – from achieving high academic success to earning my livelihood. Writing has also helped me to forge and maintain beautiful friendships, pivotal business relationships and a dynamic network of connections worldwide.

When I sit to write, I can escape to another universe. I become lost in the creative process and whatever is going on in my life, whatever emotions are controlling me, I could either totally shut them out as I write, or vividly capture every feeling through words. I express myself best through the written word. So why then have I not been able to write? I am afraid. Read more…

The Power Of The “V”


Photo Credit Google Images.

From the time I was a little girl growing up in Barbados, I was always told that there’s power in the “V”. Today, more than ever, I’m convinced of this. Not that I didn’t buy into it as a child. After all, being raised in a devout Christian family, church was a significant aspect of my life. It was there, perhaps more than any other place, that the message was instilled in me that my “V” was a very sacred thing. It was preached that my “V” was to be cherished, well-cared for, guarded against any “slackness”, that it had a special purpose, that God Himself had ordained how and when it should be used.

My “V” was intended to create something beautiful, to bring forth life, and if I did a great job with the product of my “V”- this gift – my legacy will be secured long after I’m gone. I was cautioned that not any and everyone was worthy of my “V”. I had to save it for the right time, right setting, right recipient, and when the stars aligned for all these factors, giving of my “V” would be a euphoric moment, a freedom expressed like never before, I’d reach low and high octaves and might even be moved to tears with the emotions taking hold of me.

Read more…

I Never Stopped Loving You


Several relationships later,
Countless heartbreaks,
Many of life’s milestones
Celebrated without you,
Through it all, you’ve remained
On my mind, in my heart, tied to my soul.
There were times when I thought
I’d found the one,
The one who’d replace you,
Who’d make me forget
All we had, all you meant to me;
The one with whom I’d become one
And commit to a lifetime together.
Still, I always thought of you,
Somewhere amidst the love
I had for another,
My heart belonged to you. Read more…

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Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

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I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~


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