Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yoga for Unlocking Your Inner Creative THEN Chill & Burn! (Philadelphia! October 5th!) Register Now!

Saturday October 5th
Sovereign Hands Presents:
Yoga for Unlocking Your Inner Creative: 
Yoga Workshop & Artist Conversation
w/Shelley Nicole, RYT, Reiki Master and 
Abstract Expressionist Diane E. Vaughn
Soft Illusions Fine Art Gallery

4226 Main Street, Philadelphia PA
11am-1pm, $40
For more about the artist Diane E. Vaughn

Free Wellness Goodlie Bag for all Participants
All Levels! Please Bring a Yoga Mat
Register now at

Yoga for Unlocking Your Inner Creative is a collaborative event blending yoga asana in alignment with opening your creative centers and visual art. The workshop is designed to unlock blocks that may be hindering you from moving forward in your creative process or even just taking that dive, heart over mind, into your creative bliss. The asana for the day will also be in alignment the art exhibition in the gallery space.  Following class there will be an artist conversation/Q&A with gallery owner and artist Diane E. Vaughn and Shelley Nicole.

Come back in the evening for Chill & Burn; a live musical performance with Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe and Philadelphia's own M'Balia

Red Butterfly Music Presents:
Chill & Burn

Feat. Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe & M'Balia (
Doors 7:30pm/ Show 8pm
$10/ $7 with school supplies

Purchase advance tix at or
pay at the door either way we can’t wait to see you!

Support the Children of Philadelphia!
Bring school supplies for the kids 
and get in the show for $7
Your consciousness will thank you!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

blaKbüshe Wellness Day & Fall Equinox Celebration! Heal for the Music!!

Hey Everyone!

On Sunday September 22nd, I will am hosting one more wellness day to raise funds for my forthcoming album with my band Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe.  All treatments during wellness day will be on a sliding scale from $25-$65.  I'm really excited for the day. We have some wonderful practitioners and a short list of guest speakers to talk to you about the energy of the fall season.  So please come out and support the music while healing your body, mind & spirit.

Thank you so much and here are the details below.  I will update the information as needed.


blaKbüshe Wellness Day
Fall Equinox Celebration! 
Heal for the Music!
Sunday September 22nd
Freebrook Spaces
375 Stuyvestant Avenue 
Brooklyn, NY 11233
Reflexology, Massage, Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki, Tarot: 25 mins 
Each service is $25-$65 sliding scale
Credit cards accepted but CASH is preferred
 FREE to come Fellowship with us! 
Guest Speakers talking about the Fall Season
Raising Funds for the Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe Album Project!
blaKbüshe Wellness Day Facebook Invite
Come Celebrate the Season with Us! 

A/C Train to Utica Avenue or B25 Bus to Stuyvesant Avenue

Make an Online Appointment

blaKbüshe Wellness Day Schedule
Guest Speakers
2:30pm - Dayanara Marta: Fall Medicine and Stepping Boldly into the Season
3:30pm - Julie Brown: Cleansing in the Fall Season
4:30pm: Shelley Nicole: Abundance Rituals for the Fall 

Cameron 12-4pm
Jameelah 12-4pm
Anna 4-6pm

Thai Massage
Omena El 12-2pm
Tinuola 2-4pm

Reiki/Energy Healing
Kaweria 12-4pm
Hakhi 4-6pm

Crystal 2-5pm

Po-Hong 12-2pm

Crystal/Chakra Readings
Kufunya 4-6pm

Tarot & Astrology Reading
Stefanie (Tarot) 12-3pm
Hakhi (Astrology) 4-6pm

Passionate Living Coaching
Abiola 2-6pm

Make an Online Appointment

Monday, September 9, 2013

Afropunk: Put Down the Hate (Part 2)

Sunday morning I got up and checked out the Afropunk schedule. There were only a few bands that I wanted to see, but I knew once I got over there I was going to be there because the park is in the boonies of Brooklyn. Well not totally, but it’s a bit of a hike on foot.

The first band that I wanted to see was The Coup. I can’t remember the last time I saw the Coup, but I think that first time I saw them was when I first met the MC Medusa. I was still working at VIBE magazine and was asked to sit on a panel about hip-hop at Oberlin College. My stint at VIBE was a long time ago so clearly it’s been a minute for The Coup and I. Ha! Sounds like a musical. Anyway, they were scheduled to hit at the festival at 2:45pm. The other folks I wanted to see included Big Freedia, DEATH and Living Colour. So I knew I would be there from 2:45 to at least 8pm. Questlove and Chuck D were also on that night, but I was trying to get to Soul Summit (this is on outdoor dance party) too. I had lofty goals that day for real. LOL

I headed to the park and as I was walking toward the entrance I heard someone call my name. The person calling me recognized me from American Candy. Turns out he was working one of the donation entrances, which were well before the main entrance. He just walked me in so I didn’t have to go all the way around. Nice! I headed toward the vendors to find my girl Kelly Horrigan. Yes the same Kelly from the Michfest blogs. When I found her booth she wasn’t there so I just headed over to the stage to find a spot to check out The Coup. I found a little bit of real estate and just as I got over there they introduced The Coup!

Ok first of all my man Boots Riley came out in some leather fringe pants that just rocked my world. I was like, “Damn I need some of those immediately!” Of course he’s been wearing his signature afro and chops as long as I can remember and they proceeded to kill it! He started one of the songs by saying, “This next song is one that was sung on the slave ships, it was passed down through the slave quarters becoming a negro spiritual. I heard Paul Robeson sing it and then I took it and changed the music and the words and called it something else. Here it is!” I was cracking up! Everyone was hanging on his every word and then we all started laughing and jammin’ at the same time. It was awesome! Then they had the nerve to bring out the woman power and introduce a beautiful sista named Silk E! Yes, hunny! Silk E was amazing! She was way more than a backing vocalist. Way more! I mean, weave down her back, some cool spandex pants and a killin’ blue tank top with just enough sparkle and she rocked! She danced, sang her face off and then she sang her own song so she could really open up. That woman was singing on her knees and all that. It was dope! “Ladies and gentlemen, we are The Coup from Oakland, California!” Yes you are!

The Coup

Boots Riley of The Coup!

When they finished I headed back to Kelly’s booth and this time she was there with my girl Shira as well! I really love Kelly’s work. I recently did a video with her to showcase her massive talent. She put me in her asudeM/Medusa costume and the rest is well, the rest. [Check the Seen & Herd blog]

I hung out at her tent for a while and then took a walk around. I had time to kill before Death and Big Freedia hit their respective stages.

The time soon arrived for Death so I headed back over to the main stage. As I was standing there waiting for the band to start I saw two of the young ladies who were at my show the night before. One of them came over to me and said she didn’t think she would see me again so soon and was going to wait until I emailed her through my mailing list to reach out. She seemed so nervous to talk to me, which was making me nervous. LOL! No, not really, but I just noticed. Anyway, she told me that she was an aspiring songwriter and she was really moved by my show the night before and wanted to know if I would be interested in mentoring her. Me? Really? I didn’t say that, but that was my first thought. Then my second thought, but my first response was, of course! We exchanged information and we’ll see what happens from there. Turns out that was one of the first important moments of the day for me.

Soon Death hit the stage and they were amazing! At that point I had not seen the documentary about them; I would see it later that night. But I didn’t need to see it to feel the passion they have for the music. If you are not familiar with Death, they are a band originally out of Detroit. They are, I dare say, one of the first punk bands ever not just the first black punk band. They predate so many of the other punk bands folks know and love, but never got their due until now. Death got their start in 1973. Yes you read it correctly and just now are they are finally where they belong. Kudos to their sons, and all those who helped bring their music to light. They have an amazing story.

Death @ Afropunk

After Death I walked over to the other stage to catch Big Freedia. On the other side I ran into my  friends Sol and Lorraine before trying to find a spot to watch. I’ve never seen Big Freedia in person, but I was expecting a whole lot of ass on the stage because he is the Queen of twerking. There was someone on stage rhyming when I got there who wasn’t very exciting and there really wasn’t a show. So I have to admit I got a little discouraged and left. I was thinking that it was him and later,  after seeing some photos I learned that it wasn’t. Damn! Oh well, I missed Big Freedia. My bad. I don’t know who that person was before him, but I wish I had known for real that it wasn’t who I was waiting for.

Me and the ever talented Sol at Afropunk
After walking away from that I headed back to the big field and just wandered through the vendors again for a while. It was going to be a bit before Living Colour came on. As I walked around I ran into my friend Neycha and her crew. We were talking when all of a sudden we heard something really cool coming from the stage. So we walked over and there was this brotha on stage with three white boys. They were called Vintage Trouble and this brotha was doing some serious work on stage. He was channeling Al Green, James Brown and Sam Cooke all at once! Yes ya’ll it was that deep. There was some serious Pentecostal preaching going on! The brotha sweat through his suit and had the nerve to come out in the audience to boot. Living Colour was up next and knowing what I know about Corey Glover I knew that the battle of the Pentecostal singing preacher was on. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Haha!!! Vintage Trouble was really great and fun. All church, all the time!

Vintage Trouble left some fire on the stage, but we all knew the inferno was coming. Since today was my day to be a fan I really went in. By the time Living Colour was ready to hit the stage we were joined by Liza Jessie Peterson and soon Imani Uzuri was in the crowd with us too. All of us were in full fan mode, but the funny thing about it is, we all knew the guys on stage.

Liza, Neycha and the top of my head! 

Right before the show started, Vernon looked out into the audience and recognized those of us that he knew and those that he didn’t. He looked out and opened his heart to the moment. Right then and there I did the same thing. I took that moment to take stock in this musical journey that I’m on. I stopped and took a moment to realize that I know those guys on stage and there was time in my life when that was not even close to being the case.  Not even a thought in my mind that it would ever happen.

I will never forget that day in 1989. It was April 1st and I only know this because I Googled it before writing this post. LOL! I’m good, but not that good. Anyway, it was April 1st 1989 when Living Colour appeared on Saturday Night Live and performed “Cult of Personality,” and that is the song they opened their Afropunk set with.  Also this year is the 25th Anniversary of their Album Vivid and they have been opening all over the world with that song.  So as my heart and mind opened as song began I was taken back.

When Living Colour appeared on SNL I was in college and let me tell you it was an event. I was in school in Ohio so for us seeing Living Colour on Saturday Night Live was equivalent to when the folks saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but maybe even better because they were black! Now black folks had been on SNL, but not black folks doing rock! We, meaning a crew of black students, assembled in the Black Cultural Center to watch SNL and waiting for that moment is one I will never forget. They were introduced and then Vernon started in with that  guitar riff  and it was ON! There they were and there was Corey in the damn Body Glove wet suit and multi-colored flying locks. All of them were sporting locked hair, short and long, but locked or twisted and damn it if they weren’t rockin’ hard and they were black and young and black!  We were glued to the TV and it was happening and it was amazing. It was a time when you had to be tuned in because you may never see that joint again or you would have to hope they would show it in reruns or maybe someone would tape it on their VCR. But pretty much back then, you had to be there or you missed out and I was not missing out! As I watched these young men do their thing I would have never imagined that any of them would know me and I really would never have thought that they would be my friends. How did this happen? Again I’m not telling this story to name drop or big myself up. I was really just having a moment. My heart was open for sure.

Living Colour @ Afropunk

That night Corey sang “Open Letter (To a Landlord)”, which resonates even more in the every quickly gentrifying Brooklyn. As I walked around Afropunk that day I looked up at the neighboring project buildings. I knew that if the rumor of turning those apartments into condos or co-ops ever came to pass that the days of this festival all the other black festivals that had been moved to the far reaches of Brooklyn, out of the faces of their new white neighbors, would soon be numbered. “This is my neighborhood.”

Then I started thinking about the whole weekend. The whole reason we were all assembled in this park. I started thinking about why Vernon’s heart was so clearly open. Why I had a tear in my eye. It was all because we were here. We are here. Let me explain what I mean.

In 1989, at least in Ohio, we were hard pressed to find any black rockers. Fishbone would always come to Columbus and play at The Newport, which was right across the street from campus, and my girl Mechelle would ALWAYS be there. We had to get it in when the black rockers came to town otherwise it was R&B all day, which was cool too, but sometimes you need to take it up a notch. In 1989, it felt like the numbers were few, but look at what’s happening now. The black weird kids are everywhere and have a space to be who they want to be. I had a bit of hate for Afropunk before the weekend started, but look what happened.

I played a show on Saturday, I met a young lady who was moved by my music, she sees me on Sunday, asks if I can mentor her, and then I see the guys who are one of my many inspirations  for me to do what I do, and at least two of them are knowing or unknowingly mentors to me. It’s all full circle, but now there is a place that young people can go to find their people. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the weird kids have not always found each other. We always do. That’s one of the reasons why I came to New York and I surely found my tribe here.  But if nothing else, Afropunk is providing folks a place to hear and see black people perform music that is not necessarily in the mainstream, all in one place. If I take a step back and really look at it, it’s a wonderful thing. No Afropunk is not perfect by any stretch, but at the very least it gives young black people a space to see their reflection and know that they are alright. Let them know that there is a network out there and a place to grow their art. Let them know that it’s OK if their music doesn’t sound like Lil’ Wayne or Rihanna.

There is plenty to beef about when it comes on Afropunk. I know some of the beef first hand, but for today I’m putting down the hate and giving thanks for an amazing weekend.

Living Colour killed the show. They really blazed the stage. That band has been through a lot. They are grammy winners, they have toured the world and are still doing it, they broke up and found a way to heal and get back together, and now they are eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If you see them today, you can see that they enjoy playing together and it’s not just some guys getting together on a money trip. They all have their own projects outside of the band, which is also a beautiful thing. It was the best way to end my day. Thank you Vernon, Corey, Will & Doug!

I could have stayed for Questlove and Chuck D, but I was beat and I totally missed Soul Summit, which was supposed to be my next destination. My feet were hurting and my phone was dead, but I was feeling good.

If I had a dollar for everyone who asked me that day and other days why I wasn’t playing or haven't played Afropunk I would be able to pay a couple of bills. Maybe one day blaKbüshe will play the daytime portion of the festival, but until then I’m glad I put down my sword and shield and went to the show. It was one of the best days I had all summer. Thanks Trevor I think I owe a part of it to you.

Afropunk: Put Down the Hate (Part 1)

As most of you know I performed at Afropunk After Dark on the Friday night of the festival [August 24th]. I have to admit I was a little taken aback when I got the invitation. Not because I didn’t think I should be there, but because I have had a long standing internal beef with the festival. I know the question is why? Well, that is another story, but this is the story of how I had a change of heart. I’ll go back and give you the whole rundown as I usually do.

Trevor Gale is my SESAC rep. For those of you who are not familiar with SESAC or what it is, it’s a performing rights organization much like ASCAP and BMI, but dare I say, better, and that is my very bias opinion. Trevor is not only my SESAC rep., but he also happens to be Nona Hendryx’s drummer and one of the best people I know. That’s kind of funny to say in a way because I only know him in one or two capacities, but in those two, he’s really one of the best. I had been trying to get in touch with Trevor for what felt like all year up until the point where I finally ran into him at Summerstage in July when Nona was playing a show with Toshi Reagon and Sandra St. Victor in honor of Sekou Sundiata. Anyway, when I saw him there he told me to call him the following week. I did and we finally were able to make an appointment to meet in person.

August 1st, the same day I was supposed to go see the postponed then later cancelled D’Angelo show at Williamsburg Park, I went to SESAC to see Trevor. We talked about a lot of things, but at the end of it all he asked me if I would be a part of a SESAC/Afropunk After Dark showcase. When he asked me, I have to also admit I was hesitant. Not because I didn’t think it would be cool, but as I said, I have all kinds of “feelings” about the festival. But as I also mentioned, I respect Trevor way more than the negative voices in my head so I said yes. Why the hell not?! He told me he would get me all the details before I left for Michfest. Cool!

For those of you who didn’t check out the Afropunk site, there were a whole slew of events this year called Afropunk After Dark. Honestly looking at the After Dark lineup made me more excited than the Afropunk lineup, but again that is coming from a very “special” place that I’ll get to in a moment.

I left for Michfest, came back and started to promote for the Afropunk show. During the week Olivia, Trevor’s assistant asked me if I, or any of my band members wanted to go the festival. There was some sort of VIP situation going on. We all declined and kept it moving. I knew I wasn’t going to the festival before performing that night and also I wasn’t really interested. Moving right along. [Can you feel the hate? LOL]

On Saturday I got up in the morning and taught yoga class, got my hair cut and then headed back home to just chill until it was time to head to the spot for soundcheck. Now let me tell you about the spot.

We played at a joint called Putnam’s Pub. When I Googled the spot I was taken aback that it was on the corner of Myrtle & Clinton Avenues. Why? When I first moved to Brooklyn I lived on Clinton Avenue right down the street from that corner; the same corner that was kind of dangerous and had seen its share of police tape. A corner that was my local bodega and right next door was a little bar type hole in the wall. Next to that was the Crab Inn and next to that the liquor store get my point. It was the hood. A changing hood, but still the hood. My, my, my have things changed.

The spot was cool and we had a little corner near the bar to do our thing. Stephanie was there to assist with sound and after a bit of a delay with Shea Rose our first act getting stuck in traffic, we were off and running.

Shea kicked things off and did a really cool set of originals and a cover. She also did a song she performed with Nona and Terri Lynn Carrington. A cool spin on Nona’s “Transformation.” She came with a full and and did her thing!

Shea Rose & her band

After Shea was Adam Falcon. I can’t remember exactly when or where I met Adam, but he’s been down with the BRC crew and the music scene around NYC as long as I’ve been here. Also Adam and I are two of the many people in the Electric Purgatory documentary. He did a guitar and vocals set that night that was amazing! He was so good that Matsu jumped on cajon to help him out for the last song of the set!

Adam Falcon & Matsu

We were up next and by that time I was more than ready to go. Shea had started things off with the girl power so Jeff, Matsu and I continued that vibe by jumping things off with “blaK Girls.” I think I’m always a little surprised at how much that song always goes over. It really is an anthem waiting for the world to hear. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later. I played bass on that joint, which I hadn’t done in a while and I could feel it. I really need to give my girl more love. She really is good to me.

In the dark corner of Putnam's Pub: Me, Jeff & Matsu

Staying in girl power mode we moved right into “Punanny Politixxx.” This song is tuning out to be another crowd pleaser. I really love that! I love hearing people sing the word “punanny.” For some reason it does my heart good.

Staying on the political front we moved into “I Am American.” I played bass on this too and folks were with it all.

Up next was “In Your View.” That song has so much fire that people started called for one more before they even knew that there actually was one more. LOL!  Shawn, my percussionist, wasn’t on the gig that night, but he was in the house. So he took my tambourine from me and helped out on the song, which was great.

We closed the night with “Power on the Floor.” That song is turning into one of my favorites as well. When the set was over a couple of folks came up to talk to me. I stood with one woman who was so moved that she was in tears as she spoke to me. I’m not mentioning this for any ego purposes because honestly I was shocked. I don’t think I showed it, but in my mind I was really moved that she was moved. That’s all I’m really trying to do out here. I’m just trying to move people. Whether it be your heart, soul or ass, I’m just trying to make something move. So give thanks that the energy I put forth that night was able to bring tears of joy and fortitude. It helps me to keep in mind that I’m on the right path on those days when I feel like giving up or shutting things down. Yes I have those days too.

Me w/ Greg Tate, Debbe Cole, Adam Falcon, Akili Walker & Trevor Gale

As I was getting ready to go home a couple of women who were at the spot earlier came back around the corner. I was so glad because I was able to get them on the mailing list and have a chat with them, which was cool.

It was a really wonderful SESAC/Afropunk After Dark night. In fact the night was so good that I decided to put down the hate and go to the festival the next day. Yes I put down the hate. LOL! As I stated above, I have so many feelings about that festival, but I just said to myself, “Shelley, go be a fan for one day. Go see the bands you love and learn about some new ones. Just go. Skip the VIP. Skip all that and just go take in some music.” So that’s what I did.

Afropunk: Put Down the Hate (Part 2)