Navani Knows: The Cleanse Day 5

I survived day 5!! This means I am past the middle mark. Now I can say I almost done! Woo hoo! Today overall was a much better day than yesterday. I woke up and my devastating headache was gone, the sun was shining and I had yoga to look forward to. Free Yoga at that. Of course getting out of bed and starting my day was a lil rough. I am always extremely weak in the morning, having to slowly raise myself out of bed strategically and stumble into the kitchen to make my first batch of lemonade. Today I made one serving and drank it right on the spot, as I sat on the bed watching videos. I finished the magic juice and “Viva La Vida” came on and I immediately got up and started dancing around the room which is my normal response to that song. It makes me happy to be alive, and that’s when I knew it would be a good day.
So I made my economy size bottle of lemonade to go and packed my gym clothes and headed off to work. Work was fine except I am always sooo much hungrier in the confines of that building! I don’t know why but my stomach is constantly growling there. Therefore, I ended up drinking half of the six servings by noon. Not good. Around lunch time my co-worker had a roach drop in on her and her cookie and that action broke up the day a lil. After that I didn’t have much of an appetite anymore. But I did walk by a guy eating some sort of pot roast and it smelled so good it made me crave meat, and I don’t even eat meat! Sigh.

I continued to fight off the hunger pangs, just trying to make to 6 pm when I could leave and go take my yoga class with Russell Simmons (He opened his own studio and invited press to come check it out). Oh yeah, another reason why my day was simply sublime. On the way to his new studio my co-worker told me, “You don’t even look sick or anything, in fact your skin is like, glowing” in regards to me not eating for five days. I was ecstatic. One of my worst fears of doing the cleanse was that I would end up looking like a cast member from the Twilight vampire movie. So with that, I finished the last of the “stuff” and got changed for class.

The yoga class was amazing! Not only was it in a nice studio within the Alvin Ailey building, but I walk in and Porschla Coleman is the one teaching the class! I wasn’t expecting that. I look up from my downward dog pose and there’s Russell in the front of the class ever so non-chalantly. PS I am kinda mad Russell can do a headstand and I can’t, but I digress. Porschla was such a great teacher and not only pretty in person but genuinely nice. She held my legs up and helped me with my shoulder stand. Boy do I need to work on that. Just being in the room with so much good energy changes everything. I wasn’t hungry once in the hour and a half that I was there. I left there feeling super relaxed and content with life. (Note to self: do more yoga)

I can only hope the other 5 days follow suit. Now I am going to drink my Yogi tea and follow the advice on my packet: Be happy so long as breath is in you.

Navani Knows How to Get Her House Right

I was recently able to catch up with Russell Simmons when his foundation ‘The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’ held a press conference announcing their latest initiative “Get Your House Right”. Modeled after the HSAN’s program “Get Your Money right” this agenda will help minority youth (with an emphasis on bilingual tools for Latinos) fight against the current mortgage crisis by teaming up with artists and financial experts to educate them on the home owning process.

I have to give Russell credit, he is always socially active and manages to put hip hop in the spotlight in a positive way. Of course, there had to be one little annoying Columbia journalism student who asked an annoying question. Russell, who never shies away from voicing his personal opinion (hence his pro-Obama rant on the red carpet of the VMAs) set her straight.

When asked how the emphasis on extreme material wealth in hip hop culture affects young Americans’ perception of the “American dream” Russell replied:

If you look at our history, always people who are locked out create new culture. So if you look at the original blues or jazz or rock n roll artists, they all wanted a piece of the American dream, and many times the images of them were images of them obtaining it. So for instance, Chuck Berry didn’t have holy jeans like Mick Jagger, you saw him in an orange caddy that matched his orange suit. This is the perception of most Americans of the American dream – which big car is available. This is what we see on TV everyday. The rappers are a reflection of what we see everyday.  Sometimes it is hard for people to digest some of things they say, because they are so honest, brutally honest. And we [society] are very good at polishing up our dysfunction. It’s really easy to back away from our truth – our sexism, our racism, etc. in an effort to satisfy our ego. That’s our reality, it’s not a hip hop reality it’s an American reality.

Yeah, yeah what he said!

To find out what else Russ had to say about the mortgage crisis check out the full interview here.

Navani Knows injustice…

Dear Hip Hop,

It has been exactly one week since the verdict in the Sean Bell trial was announced and I have yet to hear from you. I waited patiently all this time, hoping and believing that one of you would do something to let the powers that be know we won’t tolerate this injustice anymore. But a whole week has gone by and I have heard nothing. Where are you? Where the hell are our so called “leaders”? Yeah, leaders = you. Even if you don’t want to embrace it, by default hip hop is our leader. You all are role models. Whether you like it or not, it comes with the territory, so just take responsibility for once. Take ownership, especially when you have the money, influence and power to make changes. Why haven’t you?

I am talking specifically to the “Kings of NY” – Jay Z , the self proclaimed “presidente,” 50 Cent, Vitamin Water tycoon, Diddy, Russell Simmons, where the hell are you now? You are supposed to be New York’s finest, the trendsetters and the tastemakers. You can use your influence to get kids to wear button down shirts and say Jewish phrases but not for something worthwhile, like protesting an injustice happening in your own backyard. I am not talking to Mos Def or Talib, or Joell Ortiz, or Papoose- these “underground”/ “conscious” emcees do their part. It is expected of them, and they speak to issues like these daily. However, their audience is also a very conscious audience, who doesn’t need much reminding. Besides, they don’t have the reach or the power that the mainstream rappers I am addressing here do. Where are the press conferences now?

Maybe you have too much money and are too detached from where you come from to care anymore. Maybe you are too scared to lose your money, because that’s all you have to define yourself. In that case, you are no better than any one of us, working 9-5 trying to get by. Or maybe you are just too busy vacationing off on some exotic island in your linen pants and open toe sandals to care about what is going on in your hometown. I just don’t get it, you kings of N.Y. can band together and dance around on the same stage at MSG when it’s time to promote your albums and record a new 50 Cent remix (I was there, I saw you), but you can’t band together and make some noise when it is time to stand up for justice? What kind of men are you? Instead you are just going to turn a deaf ear and carry on business as usual next week when Jay Z and Mary J bring their tour home to MSG? Why don’t you take a stand and show everyone that we are not tolerating injustices by shutting down your show? Oh no, you can’t do that huh, too much money is at stake. Maybe you don’t think our community is worth it – you know, the people that got you to that stage in the first place.

I am beyond disgusted with you right now N.Y. hip hop. More so, I am tired of defending you to everyone else when they attack you. Why do you have to wait for someone to call you out before you stand up and do something? Despite the attacks by Oprah, Imus and political naysayers, I stood by you. We grew up together and I always had your back. I was sure when the time came, you would have my back too. I guess I was wrong. Here we are, in a crisis in your hometown and you left me hanging. Where are you now? Off making some idiotic reality show for MTV? I guess if MTV doesn’t sponsor it, you won’t go out of your way. You sure had no problem flying to Africa when it got you good press, but you can’t do something in N.Y.? Instead you spend your free time attacking and mocking each other and uploading it to youtube and you wonder why no one takes you seriously. I don’t think I take you seriously either anymore.

I grew up looking up to you hip hop, believing you were the voice box of my generation, but now I see nothing could be further from the truth. Then again, what do I know? I am just a naïve entertainment journalist/ hip hop enthusiast that supported you all since day one. I just hope and pray four years from now I don’t have to dig up this letter and post it again, after another one of our own is unjustly murdered.

Sincerely Yours,

One Disillusioned Journalist