Jimi Hendrix & War – Jimi’s Last Jam

Just yesterday I came across this video on Facebook of Jimi Hendrix last full day on this side of the light.

According to this video the evening before he passed, Jimi jammed with the band War and shared that he would be back the next night to play with them again. My Uncle (really 2nd cousin), Harold Brown, is the original drummer for War and was the drummer that evening.

So Uncle Harold was one of the last people to play with Jimi Hendrix. Crazy. #chills

Jimi Hendrix & War – Jimi’s Last Jam

Returning Where I’ve Never Been: MusicXChange Takes Me to Ghana

There are no words to convey how excited I was to finally visit THE continent. Prior to departing the U.S. I’d ask two of my friends, one from Tanzania and one from Mozambique, for any thoughts or advice with respect to my impending travels. My friend from Tanzania said a few things and while I remember them all, I deeply internalized two. The first: let go of all expectations of what it will be. He shared that having expectations, good, bad, or even neutral, can be incredibly difficult to reconcile when those expectations are not met. He said this is the case especially for African-Americans traveling to the continent for the first time…

Continue reading on Berklee Blogs.

Ghana January 2016 working

In January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXChange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by tamia rashima jordan, one of the trip’s participants. 


What’s in a name? …in a word: #everything.


“If you don’t mind me asking, why tamia rashima and not Tamia Rashima?”…

…I’m surprised I don’t this question more often but I love it when I do because I get to tell my origin story. …or at least one of them.

Well I finally got this question this week at work. Actually it wasn’t specifically about me. I just chose to make it about me. ;) In sending text to our Communications department I’d included a colleague’s name as lowercase first and last name. When the poster proof came back to me her name was uppercase. So I asked again and was asked to explain the request.

My response to this question follows:

Hi name redacted -

“Thanks for asking. I’d prefer for redacted to speak for herself, but I believe it is fair for me to share that her political, philosophical, and social justice values align with bell hooks. hooks, who I also adore, often says ‘it’s not about me, it’s about the message’ and for that reason she writes here name lowercase. I found an online excerpt that speaks to hooks’ rationale (below).

I also have written my name in lowercase for many years but for different reasons. Mine are to do with my father never having a birth certificate. He was born in Mississippi in a poor community and was delivered by a white midwife. A common story of the time is that the white midwives would often fail to file birth certificates for little Black babies. This has been an ongoing struggle in my father’s life. It’s actually impacted me as well. Until I was 10 my last name was spelled incorrectly on my birth certificate as “redacted.” Without a birth certificate for my father, it took my mother years to have that corrected. When it finally was it was on my father’s birthday in 1988 so my official birth certificate reads “amended February 17, 1988.”

What’s funny is that now since I’ve been doing lower so long, when I see my name in uppercase I don’t immediately recognize it as me and it makes me uncomfortable.

Again thanks for asking! I love when people ask.


‘bell hooks’ is written in lower case to try to convey how “it is the substance of my books, not who is writing them, that is important” (Williams 1996, np) and, she has said, first writing under this name allowed her to speak “most directly to black women [with a] the voice I felt to be most truly mine – it was then that my voice was daring, courageous” (LeBlanc 1994, nd). http://writingcollaboration.wordpress.com/1-introduction/1a-bell-hooks/

So there you go folks. Let me know if you have any questions.


Written while listening to my music the Winans Spotify playlist.

The Midwife by Monicka Hasan of My Best Self Art and Graphic Design


‘Auld Lang Syne’: Remember Their Names


‘Auld Lang Syne’ – Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, DJ Henry, Renisha McBride, Troy Davis, and on and on and on: you are etched on my soul yesterday, today and each day of my future…

Lot’s of folks know that “Auld Lang Syne” is one of my fav songs. I frequently carry spare copies of the words with me on NYE cause ya’ll just be messing them up…

…speaking of which: GET IT TOGETHER!! ‪#‎geez‬. There really aren’t that many words!! …or find me and grab a copy of the words.‪#‎LuvsIGotYouCovered‬

I digress. I love this song and today, well everyday, it feels appropriate to share along with some info from an ABC News reporter @christinang27 (2012) re: the song’s real origin, purpose, and meaning:

“The title of the Scottish tune translates to ‘times gone by’ and is about remembering friends from the past and not letting them be forgotten.

Despite its strong association with New Year’s Eve, ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, was never intended to be a holiday song.”



I have to share this story: I just arrived back home from RI. When I was less than a half mile from my home I stopped at a red light alongside a huge black SUV. In the backseat was a little white boy about 13 or so years old. I looked down and I looked up again and he was waving like crazy at me. …so I waved back. He then smiled at me with the brightest smile and huge beautiful eyes. Then he made the sign of a heart. …so I made it back and mimicked his move to throw the heart at me. Once again he beamed. Finally the light changed and we drove off. As I passed the car one more time prior to turning down my street, hence away from the vehicle he was in, he smiled and waved and waved until they were out of sight. I’m not going to lie when I arrived home and parked my car I cried a little bit. How awesome was that? How incredibly precious! I even thought to myself, “Did that really just happen?” …well I can assure you it did. …You know it’s certainly not everyday that happens. And forgive me being sexist here, but rarely do little boys that age care about much anyone let alone a complete stranger. ‪#‎WhatAGift‬ ‪#‎ThankYouYes‬

Do all the good... quote



2/17/14: My Return to Astroland!


It’s been entirely too long and so much has happened since I last posted on January 9, 2014. Where do I even begin?! Because so much has happened and I want to write about as much of it as possible, I’m writing this post digest style beginning with today and working my way backwards. Please read them all or pick and choose or skip around. Enjoy!

Monday, February 17 * My father’s 75th birthday!
First and foremost super happy birthday to my father who is 75 years young today. I’ve known him all my life ;) and for almost 36 years (minus a few I cannot remember) witnessed his journey. Of course there have been downs. There have even been way downs. However there have been way more ups and the person he is today is one I proud to call my father. I am incredibly happy and grateful the Universe saw fit that our worlds would intersect here on earth.

Sunday, February 16 * Jordan Davis’ birthday.
Another baby gone but not forgotten. Happy birthday kid. SMH. What more can I say?

Thursday, February 13 * My nephew’s 18th birthday.
My nephew is an incredibly kewel kid. He’s a basketball phenom, an honor’s student, and most importantly is a wonderful little (he’s taller than me) dude with a huge heart. For him grateful I am.

Monday, February 10 * the Bill Pierce Quartet @ the Arsenal Center for the Arts
While I know his work this was my first time seeing Berklee professor Bill Pierce, Chair of the Woodwind Department, perform live. As a person who studied jazz I can attest that Professor Pierce is legendary in that world and it was an honor to see him. He is most well known for his time playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. At the 2/10/14 Arsenal Center show Professor Pierce shared that that night was his first time being a frontman in a long time.

Really?! I witnessed no cobwebs at all. To say he killed it is an understatement. At one point I even turned to my friend who also plays saxophone and said, “you know you can’t play like that right?!” (Why am I so mean?). Let’s be clear Professor Pierce is galaxies above the rest.

Thursday, February 6 * The Center for Church and Prison’s Strategic Public Forum on Parole, Probation, and Mandatory Minimums: The need for sentencing reforms in America
This was my first event as an Executive Board member of CCP. Great turn out. Great resources. Great panel. I met so many wonderful people who are foot soldiers in local and national critical prison work. Next CCP event that I encourage local folks to attend is the Soulful Serenade: An Evening of Music featuring the Songs of Nina Simone on Saturday, March 15. Soulful Serenade is a fundraiser where proceeds will support both CCP and our the third annual conference in August 2014.

Saturday, February 8 * Berklee’s 48th Annual High School Jazz Festival
This is one of my most favorite Berklee events to work each year. I was a Room Captain which meant that I announced bands, worked with band leaders to complete paperwork, ensured the adjudication team had all they needed, and timed the bands’ performances (they have 18 mins max or they are disqualified). This year I had a room of small jazz combos. As with every year, some bands were ok and others were filled with ridiculous talent. This was my first year that I had a band go over time. It was so sad because the disqualified band was phenomenal. I mean they were so good I am going to one of their shows at their high school since they are local.

Each year I leave with a list of songs I need to find. This year topping the list was Victor Wooten’s arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father.” Check it out. It’s dope.

Thursday, February 6 * The Clark Sisters at the Berklee Performance Center
I do not have adequate words to convey how powerful this show was. The Clark Sisters, a legendary gospel powerhouse group, did their thing. You know there is talent… – I am surrounded by incredible talent. – …but then there is something else altogether on a whole ‘nother level. I once heard someone describe Whitney, Mariah, and Celine as having “freak of nature” voices. Yup, it’s real and The Clark Sisters are on that level. Anyway for Christmas I gave my mother and sister tix to this show so they were here with me through the weekend.

Wednesday, February 5 * Trayvon Martin’s birthday.


Sunday, February 2 * My father’s Baptism and the Super Bowl
Here’s my Facebook post about the Baptism: I made this quick trip to NJ for a few reasons: the most important one is to see my father, The Mr. Henry Jordan, get Baptized this morning at Community Baptist Church in Englewood, NJ. On February 17, 2014 he’ll be 75 years young. #NothingIsImpossible #EverythingIsAMiracle #ThanksYes #TakeMeToTheWater — at Community Baptist Church.

I sent an email of my Super Bowl highlights to my friends. Here’s an excerpt: My favorite video is THIS ONE of the Apache and Blackhawk flyover. Some of you know that, despite me being anti-war, I very much love military airplanes (contradiction I know). Suffice it to say I’ve read a lot about the flyover preparations and was more excited to see this than the game. I’ve seen lots of jets and bombers in flyovers and air shows, and even a few helicopters, but never these helicopters. …well except for the few days Blackhawks flew over Boston last year. :( …I’ve been to a lot of events, mostly concerts, but other especially cool things like this too. I have to say this crowd was the friendliest I’ve ever encountered – especially in NJ. ;) People were just so happy to be there.

Saturday, February 1 * Black Girl Nerds’ book club twitter chat re: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I love the BGN group and I especially love the Blerd Book Club. I could only attend part of the Twitter chat because I had to pick my niece up from work. The last question I answered prior to leaving the chat was Q5: What does the pond represent in The Ocean at the End of the Lane? To that I answered “A5: its not god but it represents the synergy of all things – sort of like the Tree of Souls in Avatar.” My favorite answer to that question came from Music Loving Chick who answered, “I think the pond represents the secrets of how the world works that most of us are better off not knowing.” Right on.

Thursday, January 30 * The Funky AB’s Stevie Wonder tribute show @ the Beehive
me & Amy Bowles Bellamy smaller

Me with my favorite AB: THE Amy Bowles Bellamy. Girlfriend is wicked on the keys!

Monday, January 20 to Saturday, February 1 * Berklee MLK Celebration
For the first time in the history of Berklee we produced a week’s worth of events and activities celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t say what my favorite event was; and I fear highlighting just one or two without noting them all leaves the impression that I had favorites. That’s certainly not the case. They were each incredibly special. But I wish to share some specifics so I’ll share three moving experiences I had.

The first was hearing Renese King and the Berklee students who sang background vocals perform the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It was a most moving rendition beginning with Renese telling the story surrounding James Weldon Johnson’s writing of that song. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has been my most favorite song or as long as I can remember. I’ve seen it performed many times and I have countless recordings of it. I have to say Renese and company’s rendition was among the most powerful I’ve ever experienced so much so that I cried.

A second incredibly moving experience was the service project I chaperoned at the Long Island Shelter. We had just over fifty students participate in 5 projects on our MLK Celebration Day of Service. I accompanied 8 students and one other colleague to the Long Island Shelter where we shared songs, poems, lyrics and stories with the men in their transition program. There were about twenty-five men in the program all of whom are all 18+ years old, homeless, and recovering addicts.

While the words that we Berklee folks shared were certainly special, it was what happened after we shared that moved me most. One of our students closed out our presentation and then asked the residents if they had anything to share back with us. The began going in order down the row and the first few men passed. After about the fourth pass, one resident of the transition program volunteered to share back. He shared bits of his story and expressed deep gratitude and appreciation for all we just presented. From there the flood gates opened and many of the residents followed suit.

While we were encouraged to take pictures, none of us did because we were so present and in the moment. Imagine 8 college students who did not once pull out their phones or divert their attention away from what we were there to do. I can barely write about it without getting emotional. It was beyond compare incredibly moving.

Last but not least my #3 was having my father who is THE reason I care so much about Dr. King, come to town to attend the MLK Celebration Keynote Brunch featuring Ciara Taylor, Political Director of the Dream Defenders.

Friday, January 26 * Berklee BoCo Bash
Berklee opened our first new construction in the history of the institution. Previously all buildings were existing structures that Berklee acquired and renovated. This new space is primarily a res hall with a brand new amazing cafeteria and performance space. There are also practice rooms and the basement features state of the art ensemble spaces and recording studios.

Our new cafeteria is also used by Boston Conservatory (BoCo) students whose campus is just a stones toss from Berklee. It was my department’s job to present an opening event in the caf (cafeteria) so we threw the Berklee BoCo Bash (alliteration is half the battle in student affairs). The party was decades themed primarily focused on the 80′s, 90′s, and aughts. Amongst other things that meant specific types of snacks (bubble tape, lemon heads, combos, and much more) and our Boy Band Ensemble was the featured act of the evening performing songs from those decades.

For my part I busted out as much of my 90′s gear as I could acquire: a flannel shirt, Gap overalls with a baby doll tee, name earrings, and Chuck’s. Except that I didn’t have a name necklace or Doc Martin’s, I managed to pull together what could be considered my uniform from 1993 – 1998.

Sunday, January 12 * Bring on Oscar season!!
Moments before the 2014 Golden Globes I posted the following on my Facebook:
1) Dallas Buyer’s Club (flawless)
2) Short Term 12
3) Fruitvale Station
4) Gravity
5) A Place Beyond the Pines
6) 12 Years a Slave
7) Thor: The Dark World
8) Lee Daniels: The Butler
9) The Kings of Summer 10) Pacific RimHonorable Mention:The Best Man Holiday, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Way Way Back, Gangster Squad, Fast & Furious 62013 films I have not seen that I plan to see that might impact this list: Her, 42, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Much Ado About Nothing (I’m embarrassed that I’ve not seen this. You may revoke my Joss Whedon card now.), Philomena (the hype is getting to me), Parkland (this was in and out of the theater so quickly which is likely a sign but the trailer got me). Finally, sadly, and surprisingly, Star Trek: Into Darkness did not make this list at all.

I’m still committed to this list although I plan to see Nebraska and 20 Feet from Stardom pre Oscars.

Wednesday, January 15 * New Jack Swing party at Bella Luna
I had no business going to this event. I am too old to be going out in the middle of the week! Nevertheless I could not miss the opportunity to dance to “Dial My Heart” and “Here Comes the Hotstepper” and “Don’t Take it Personal” at a party (that is not one that I am having by myself in my living room. ;).

Tuesday, December 31 * Soulive at the Paradise
I’ve seen this band many times and they always deliver. They played their entire second set with The London Souls. Together they played an epic rendition of “Lucille” that I must hear again.

Perhaps most noteworthy that night was my experience in the ladies room consoling and providing advice to a very drunk woman whose boyfriend did not introduce her to his friends amongst other disrespectful things he did that evening.

My Facebook post that evening was as follows: Got stuck in the bathroom helping a woman I do not know with her boyfriend problems.
#WhyDoesThisAlwaysHappenToMe #DidIMissMyCalling #RageContinues — at Paradise Rock Club.

It was a great night with great music and great friends!

That-is-it! I could go on but you get the drift. The last few weeks have been off the chain! …somewhere in there I also had SP14 Orientation, our first Caf Show in the new cafeteria, I celebrated 6 years at my job and even more amazingness still.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: my life is extremely varied and diverse but incredibly incredibly blessed. These last 6 weeks are but another example of that.

For all that has been – Thanks.
For all that will be – Yes.
~Dag Hammarskjöld

Written while listening to my music from Parenthood Spotify playlist.


Astroland78.tumblr.com Lives On (a digest of content from the original universe)

This WordPress is another stage in the evolution of Astroland. After attending a blogger’s roundtable at the Massachusetts Conference for Women back in November 2013, I made the decision to grow Astroland into something more…

For fear of losing content (I’ve heard horror stories), I’m not going to import my Tumblr to WordPress. Rather I’m linking back to my last few Astroland78.tumblr.com posts in a digest style (below).

If you’d like to read entries prior to those listed below, please visit Astroland78.tumblr.com. Oh and one more thing. Know that I’ll continue to use my Tumblr to reblog posts from other cool Tumblr accounts I follow. So there will continue to be intriguing content there as well.

Happy New Year and welcome to the new Astroland!

December 16, 2013 * Love’s Pure Light

December 12, 2013 * A Few of My Favorite Things: #PuttingHackensackOnTheMap

December 6, 2013 * 10 Racial Justice Victories for 2013 (reblog)

November 23, 2013 * Astroland is Big Time Now

November 22, 2013 * Until That Time Comes

November 17, 2013 * The Dream Defenders: Please Share their Story Forward together with the youtube video where The Dream Defenders End Vigil at Florida Capitol 8/15/13 (after occupying for 31 days and 30 nights)

November 15, 2013 * My Day with Dr. Angela Y. Davis

November 13, 2013 * Choose Your Own Adventure (my first quiz)

November 4, 2013 * Miscellaneous Lessons in Fortitude from Pop Culture

October 14, 2013 * Go Go & Bounce Music on the MHP Show

October 13, 2013 * Beyond excited to see Dr. Angela Davis at the UVM Women’s Summit in November… 

October 13, 2013 * Dave and Grover on Sesame Street: “I need a word so I can say what I’m feeling today…”

August 31, 2013 * Talib Kweli: TURN DOWN FOR WHAT? TURN UP FOR THE DREAM DEFENDERS (reblog)

August 5, 2013 * The Cast of Orange is the New Black on the MHP Show

August 2, 2013 * #AmericanSkin #RememberTrayvon

August 1, 2013 * Next Stop: Fruitvale Station

April 23, 2013 * 4.15.13 What a Day.

Previous entries may be found at Astroland78.tumblr.com.