Posted in Blissful Favorites

Black Music Appreciation Month: The Divas

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

When I was growing, it was not necessarily about the singer but about the artist, the persona, the music. A true musician with the craft, class, and talent to shine was a DIVA!

These women were diabolical and undeniable. I wanted to honor the women who were the DIVAS and still maintain that title. These black women empowered and influenced me. As a black woman, negative stereotypes dehumanize our experience. I have heard it all. But seeing women who looked like me performing on grand stages and audiences made me believe in my own abilities as a singer and as a person.

Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Etta James, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker, Donna Summer, Lauryn Hill, Sade

It’s a small list but a DYNAMITE LIST! Of course, I will be giving you a playlist.

The Divas Playlist

Any DIVAS you love? Any songs a DIVA has slayed your life with?

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Blissful Past Favorites for Black Music Appreciation Month

June is Black Music Appreciation Month. Before I give what I am listening to now, I want to remember and honor the legends who defined the industry.

I am dividing my playlists of the past. I know I am probably missing artists and songs so feel free to comment.

The first playlist I have from before I ever existed…like grown folks music. I grew up on Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Lionel Ritchie, and Stevie Wonder. And it just grew over time. My parents heard their songs from when they lived in Haiti and first came to America. Other artists I discovered with time but still love. This playlist covers the 50s to the 80s. Enjoy!

The second is the 90s and the ’00 of black music including some of the same artists from the previous list. This is my childhood and teenage playlist. It is LONG (190 in counting)!!! The nostalgia is so real because I remember the CDs I purchased, watched MTV, VH1, and BET (when they actually played music videos), watching Making The Video, and beyond. Some of these artists started or took off when I was young. But this playlist is LIT and ALL THAT!

Best Playlist I’ve Made

So this honors my past. I will go into adult years with what I am listening in the coming weeks.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Life As It Is Playlist

I wholeheartedly believe that music can match any emotion and any season of life. I am in the in-between off season of life so music has been a driving force to empower me.

So here is my playlist in my current season:

  • As-Stevie Wonder
  • Oh Child, Things are Gonna Get Easier-The Five Stairsteps
  • Working Day and Night-Michael Jackson
  • Juice-Lizzo
  • Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen
  • Higher Ground-Stevie Wonder
  • Just the Way You Are-Billy Joel
  • My Tears Dry On Their Own-Amy Winehouse
  • My Way-Frank Sinatra
  • My God-Nashville Life
  • Religion-PJ Morton feat. Lecrae
  • Alright-PJ Morton
  • Instagram-Dean

It’s a great range from different eras but that is the wonderful part of music: the fact that it is timeless. So what are you listening to? Any songs or playlist you are listening to?

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

A Blissful Favorite

So fun story, my sister is involved with a great non-profit in Atlanta, Songs for Kids. It provides music therapy to children with serious diseases. My sister benefited from this non-profit while she went through her bone marrow transplant four years ago.

Please check out this awesome non-profit program in Atlanta. https://www.songsforkids.org/

During the week of the Super Bowl, an artist came to the Songs for Kids center in downtown Atlanta to sing with the kids. I had a prior engagement so I could not go with my siblings.

The artist just happen to be PJ Morton, one of the members of Maroon 5. My sister got to sing with him and she said he was a pretty, cool guy and sounded like a modern day Stevie Wonder.

Oh course, I was curious and wanted to hear his music. BOY WAS I AMAZED!

If you can think of the greats Stevie Wonder and Lionel Ritche, this is a version of them. PJ Morton, a Grammy-winning artist has grit, soul, musicality, and depth with his Gumbo Unplugged Live album. He is more about the music than the repetitive tricks music can be nowadays. And it shows!

Here is a little taste! Check it out!

My favorite song from album is Claustrophobic. It aligns with my Values Series because the song is about being who you are. The music industry, like society, wants to put you in their box and want to classify you. In spite of Morton’s experience with the scrutiny and criticisms of the LA music scene, he went back to basics in New Orleans, where it all started. He wanted to be authentically him. For me, this song speaks to me because you have to decide how you want to live.

Don’t give others the right to dictate your life. Be you. Be true to you.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Another’s Values To See

Becoming by Michelle Obama is a profound, empowering story of a woman finding value in various stages of life. She just happens to be a former First Lady.

Image result for becoming michelle obama

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

An Excerpt from Becoming

As a girl from the South Side of Chicago, Michelle describes the metamorphosis of “becoming” from childhood, adolescence, collegiate, young professional, wife, mother, and public figure. This is not about politics. This is about a woman finding her voice and purpose in the world.

I won’t give too much detail because you need to read it. There are more intimate details of her life from the events that we all saw at surface level.

As a young professional myself, I see me in the pages of book: the value of rising above race, the value of an education, the value of family, the value of love, and the being more and doing more.

To be a woman of color in 2019 is still a never-ending rollercoaster of dehumanization, marginalization, joy, achievement, and pure magic.

As an 18 year old college freshman, seeing a First Lady with beautiful melanin countenance is something to behold and something that I will never forget. She was a lady of grace, poise, style, intelligence, fun, and pure magic. She had her man (who happened to be former leader of the free world..spoiler!), her children whom she valued going into the presidency, and her devotion to serving her country as First Lady in her own way. She is second to my mother in #blackgirlmagic and inspiration.

You will laugh, cry, ohh and aww, you will be shocked, give an occasional mhmm. But I highly recommend her book.

It’s a Blissful Favorite from Yours Truly.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Empowered Through Music

Music has the power to transcend language and meet us where we are in life. I wanted to share what has been empowering me. I have had a lot of up and downs so I have been clinging to worship music.

  1. Lauren Daigle (Look Up Child)

Related image

A very beautiful, soulful voice with real lyrics. You hear Lauren’s range and variety of genres she dabbles into. I was a fan of Lauren’s from her prior hits. I listened to this album on a whim (i.e. Youtube). I was hooked from the get go. God led me to this album for a reason. I found this album a week before I received my Bar results (Yup…needed). This album has taught me no matter how bad or good things get, it is important to look to the Lord. Not to be ashamed of my faults. Not to feel like God has left me. God is still good and faithful to His promises. I would love to tell you my favorite song but they are all my favorites.

I can give you a snippet of my favorites lyrics and description from each song:

“Rise up” Still Rolling Stones (like a better Christian version of Rolling in the Deep by Adele)

“I will send out an army to find You. In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you”Rescue (One of those comforting songs with an awesome  gospel choir. This song encouraged me when I did not pass my exam)

“Oh, I know. I searched the world to find my heart is Yours. Oh, my heart is Yours. I searched the world to find my heart is Yours. Oh, my heart is Yours.”This Girl  (Taught me that my heart is God’s and how the world can’t satisfy me the way He does)

“You’re my covering. I’m safe, I’m safe. Whatever comes at me. I’m safe, I’m safe”Your Wings (A chill, reggae Christian song)

“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing. You say I am strong when I think I am weak. You say I am held when I am falling short. When I don’t belong, You say I am Yours. And I believe. I believe. What You say of me. I believe.”- You Say ( Beautiful words that truly uplift me. I may not be ok but I am enough with Christ.)

“You give me everything I need”Everything (He provides all my needs)

“I cannot earn what You so freely give. What have I done to deserve love like this?”Love Like This (I am unworthy of God’s blessings.)

“Look up child”Look Up Child (Even in the valleys, look up to God. He’s got me)

“I’ve been an actor on a stage. Playing a role I have to play. I’m getting tired, it’s safe to say. Living behind a masquerade”Losing My Religion ( My testimony and my desire to think of my relationship with God rather than “religion”)

“I remember, I remember. You have always been faithful to me. I remember, I remember. Even when my own eyes could not see. You were there, always there”Remember (Thinking of His goodness even in the valley).

“And now this rebel heart belongs to You.”- Rebel Heart (A bluesy song about denying myself and turning heart to Christ)

“Ever running to what I can’t see. Fighting out of all my unbelief. Father, even then my song will be. I know You will always carry me.”Inevitable (Yup…realness. My life circumstances)

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.”Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (One of my favorite hymns. Daigle does this song with a twist and I love it).

I know God uses music to bring us closer to His truths. This album came at the right time. I am facing a valley, a step back, an uncertain turn. But God’s assurances are real in this album. I encourage you to listen and be empowered and uplifted.

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Blissfully Proud And Single Playlist.

Though there was the lovers lane playlist last week, I do have a playlist for my singles ladies. I thought of songs that empower and make it ok to be your own woman. It can lift your spirits. You are single and awesome. I may be a rube in the love department but I sure know good music.

  1. Miss Independent-Kelly Clarkson
  2. No Scrubs-TLC
  3. Independent Women-Destiny’s Child
  4. Confident-Demi Lovato
  5. Roar-Katy Perry
  6. Single- Natasha Bedingfield
  7. I’m Every Woman-Chaka Khan version & Whitney Houston version
  8. Wings-Little Mix
  9. Brave-Sara Bareilles
  10. Girl on Fire- Alicia Keys
  11. Me, Myself, and I-Beyonce
  12. Unpretty -TLC
  13. Feeling Myself-Nicki Minaj
  14. Fighter-Christina Aguilera
  15. Stronger-Britney Spears
  16. I Don’t Need A Man-Pussycat Dolls
  17. Put Your Records On-Corrine Bailey Rae

What are you favorite single lady songs?

Rube

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Greatest, Blissful Love Songs

These are some of my favorite love songs. If I ever fall in love, these songs may make more sense to me. Love can be simplified through song. I always get the feels when I hear these songs.  This is my Love on My Mind playlist.

  1. Endless Love-Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
  2. I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston
  3. Let’s Stay Together- Al Green
  4. The Power of Love-Celine Dion
  5. All of Me-John Legend
  6. Perfect-Ed Sherran
  7. A Sunday Kind Of Love-Etta James
  8. No Ordinary Love- Sade
  9. You’re All I Need-Marvin Gaye
  10. Signed, Sealed, Delivered-Stevie Wonder
  11. I Like It-Debarge
  12. For Once In My Life-Stevie Wonder

What are your favorite love songs?

Simplify

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Blissful TV Lineup

My shows have come BACK. The holiday

  1. Tuesdays: America’s Next Top Model (VH1)- I grew up with ANTM as a teen. I have watched almost all the seasons. I am happy that Tyra is back with her next level fierce. They are pushing for skin, age, and body diversity (which I admire..it’s about time). I love the other judges: Ashley Graham (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE), Drew from Paper Magazine is tinier version Mr. Jay (from the earlier years of Top Model) with critical criticism, and La Roach is awesome and good clapbacks.
  2.  Tuesdays: This Is Us(NBC)– A wonderful drama that will make you cry. The characters are so relatable. I sometimes forget that this is not a real family. It is just real and authentic. I have never watched something this wonderful in years.
  3. Thursdays: Project Runway Allstars (Lifetime)– I am a big PR/PR Allstars fan. I have watched every season since Michael Kors was a judge, The Allstars version is doing Rookies (first-time Allstar) to Veterans (Allstars who have competed multiple times as Allstars). I have some favorites and some I don’t care for. We will see.
  4. Thursdays: Making A Model (Lifetime)– So Bella and Gigi Hadid’s mom is training young models and their moms to be supermodels. The prize is being signed to a big modeling agency. No elimination. Just challenges and mentoring to get these young girls to the TOP.
  5. Fridays: Hell’s Kitchen (FOX)- Yes there is a language issue but it is a good competitive show about cooking to the prize on running one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
  6. Saturdays: Say Yes to the Dress (TLC)- A girl can dream about her wedding dress. I love it.

I love my TV escape. What shows are you watching?

Blissfully,

Bianca

Posted in Blissful Favorites

Blissful Things I Can’t Live Without

There are things that I need in my daily life. These things are the gate to who I am. They make me Bianca. They make me happy.

  1. My glasses. I am as blind as bat…so they are the first things I reach for.
  2. Jesus. The foundation I live by. There is no one better. He does not fail me. He is the hope that makes life worth living.
  3. My Family. The people who know me better than I know myself. We are truly a unit and I love them very much.
  4. My phone. It’s sad but true. I need my phone to function whether it be social media, calling home, texting, keeping up with my calendar, etc.
  5. My creativity. I love painting. It is my creative escape. Whether it be watercolor, acrylic, homebound or going to a painting place, I love expressing myself.
  6. My education. Knowledge is power. My parents were about Jesus and education. It did not matter that I was female. It mattered what was in my mind.
  7. Peace of Mind. God gives me the peace that surpasses all understanding. I do not want to give up my peace for anyone or anything that threatens it.

Gate

Blissfully,

Bianca