Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Kill the Game...

Be this girl...

Make this video...

Release this album...

And there you have it. Easy. Now other "artists" can go kill themselves.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All Sorts of Poetry Things

Well, as you can see, my 30/30 turned out to be only 20 poems. I started about 40, and though I'm sad I didn't get to finish all of them, I'm glad I got to share most of them with you good folks. Thank you for reading, for your comments, critiques, and praise. I sure do appreciate it! I'll see you next April for more rapid fire poetry madness. In the mean time, we got lots of other business to attend to.

Thing Number One: Low key, my book came out. It's called Five Three and Rising and you can get it here, which leads me directly to Thing Number Two: I have a website. It is BlakIsBeautiful.com and I dare you to disagree. However, you should still feel free to stalk Blak Hand Side (the blog that you are currently reading), 'cause all the finest fuckery takes place here. "Fuckery" leads to Thing Number Three: I co-host an open mic (along side Judy Holiday... the poet, not the dead lady) every Monday night called Brass Knuckles that you should break your neck trying to get to. Currently we are holding Slams to form the 2010 Los Angeles Slam Team, so if you want to be a part of that in any way (slamming, judging, watching, making strange faces), then bring yo'self. If you want to know what we are doing at any moment, follow us on Twitter.

Aside from that, I have lots of features coming up all over the place. I'll be at Elevated in San Diego this Thursday, A Mic and Dim Lights on June 10th, and so on and so forth. Be sure to check the site for upcoming feature dates. Word to your Mom.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Today she was locs freshly washed
And newly twisted
Ponytail with a head band
Hello Kitty necklace, on
Nails, hot pink
Bonnie bell lip gloss, strawberry
Toast, heavily buttered
Socks to the knees
And a pair of Nikes
An only offspring
With half siblings
A father less child
with too many parents
She is parenting the caretakers
More mature than her mother
Wiser than her elders
And yet, it is a big World
And she is still so small
I hate to see her get out of the car
Weekend bag, packed
and school back pack on her shoulder
She is strong
Today is Friday
She has a long way to go
She has a journey ahead of her
that will take her farther than I've ever gone
Last longer than I will live to see
Make her into someone I haven't imagined
And the planet has never known
It is scary
Life, with it's teeth
The city, with all its weapons
The untamed days with galloping hooves
And all their many wings

Sunday, April 18, 2010

10/30: To the Treacherous Bit of Technology that Ate a Poem I was Beginning to Love

Like a man
I stroked a spark
into your glitch of a memory
Trusted you to keep it
You vessel
You well
You empty thing
Useful only
To be poured into
Transcribed upon
Prettied with my logic
Adorned with a narrative
of World history, as I remember it
Without it you were unattractive
Vapid before I branded you
Dead before I plugged you in
And you
Ungrateful bitch
Hinted at safe keeping
Absorbed the sleeping fetus
Once my back was turned
Dissolved it as if it would not be missed
When I left you alone for one minute
When I found out what you did,
I searched you to find it
The whites of ur eyes, a blank screen with no iris
Stared back at me, unable to blink
You want me to think it was an accident
A miscarriage
But it was too clean to believe
Where is the trail of blood
The alphabet of body parts
In pile at your feet, still warm
From your body
Prove to me you didn't dig in
Nearly elbow deep
Wire hanger ready
Scrape, scrape, scraping away
At what I made

You will never admit what you did
You keep secrets, just like a woman

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

8/30: To The Girl Who Urged My Niece to Have a Fourth Baby to "Make It Even"

To The Girl Who Urged My Niece to Have a Fourth Baby to "Make It Even"

Until nine months ago
You didn't know
You had a uterus
Or that people could
Grow there
When you first learned
That your homecoming date
Had planted an actual
human being between
your legs, you threw up
in the kitchen sink
And lit yourself another cigarette
You called your friends on the phone
And together, you all
went to the mall to buy
the tiniest pair of Jordans
That you could find
On some days
You stared at the wall
And didn't talk
Terrified and amazed
At finally realizing
Your life long dream
Of owning a living doll
You are still young
But that is no reason
To be so stupid

Sleeping infant in crook of arm
Freshly harvested from your body
Cesarean incision marking a boundary
Below which boys should not
Be allowed for a good long while

You need to sit down
Go somewhere and learn
To be quiet
Pay attention
Only to the needs of your child
Not other people's business
Your advice is useless

Children are not
interchangeable, individual
accessories to be paired into sets
They are not home furnishings
Salt and pepper shakers
Book ends
Something you once borrowed
From a friend and forgot to give back
Discarded, damaged
Your body is not a factory
Do not confuse your birth canal
With a conveyor belt
No good can come
From that sort of reasoning

It would not be
The least bit surprising to me
If you tilted your head to one side
Or the other,
And an avalanche
Of dumb ideas came
Tumbling out of your ear

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

30 Days of Insanity

Tomorrow is the first day of National Poetry Month, and of course that means that I'll be writing a poem a day. This torturous activity is called NaPoWriMo and takes place once a year in April, when poets all over the country challenge themselves to writing and sharing one poem every single day of the month. I did it last year, and both loathe and look forward to nearly killing myself again, trying my damndest to produce a poem everyday that I'm not completely ashamed of. If you're interested in what I'm doing or need motivation to participate (which I highly recommend), just check back here everyday in April, since this is where all the poems (good and bad) will end up. Feedback is welcomed! Just promise to keep your ridicule and laughter to a minimum for the sake of my delicate Piscean feelings. Thank you kindly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Totally Biased Review of New Amerykah Part Two

I was at Target at 8:30 in the morn gettin my copy of Erykah Badu's new release. I'm sure I looked every bit of Badu's demographic with my lack of hair, lack of perm, lack of weave, tye-dyed leggings, and ability to read above a 6th grade level. The hoodrats and scallywags were there too, using their EBT cards to buy that Raymond vs. Raymond. Hey, different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Anywho, I just want to start out by saying that I love Erykah. She is easily one of my most favorite people, of people that I don't know. Musically, she can really do no wrong in my eyes. Even if I don't love what she did in a song or on an album, I can always appreciate it and rarely (if ever at all) do I ever think anything she does is wack. She could release an entire album of only dolphin sounds, and I would still be like, "That was sorta fresh, yo." Yes, I would end the sentence with, "yo". Shut up.

I approached my initial listening with great expectation and excitement. I have listened to the entire album (including the demonic chanting) about five times today. And contrary to what I thought would happen when I first peeled off the wrapper and put the disk in the player, in real life, in this moment, I am generally underwhelmed. [INSERT SIGH HERE]I don't hate it... But I can't say that it improved the quality of my life.

It reminds me a lot of Worldwide Underground, which I like and respect, but didn't obsess over. With the exception of Bump It and Danger, I found myself not caring much. It's the same feeling I get with this album. It's cool. It's something to listen to. It makes great background music and you could probably have a really enlightening conversation while it's playing, but nothing ever really happens sonically or lyrically that will make you stop what you're doing and lose your mind. I wouldn't at all compare it to New Amerykah Part One (which I went into convulsions over and still twitch noticeably at the mere thought and/or mention of). However, though I wouldn't compare it in terms of depth and complexity, it does have leanings, style wise toward Part One, which sort of makes it all seem cohesive. It sort of gives me the impression that some of these songs may have been conceptualized or recorded for or around the time Erykah was making Part One, but they didn't make it onto that album. Therefore, the overall effect is a watered down, less interesting version of the first installment.

On a positive note, the artwork is funky fresh and there are some catchy melodies that you might find yourself humming around the house. One of the most infectious choruses is on the song Gone Baby, Don't Belong, which was produced by Taraach, who I want to say congrats to. You go, boy! Another highlight is Fall in Love (Your Funeral), which I wasn't surprised to see was produced by Karriem Riggins, who you may remember produced Soldier (which was the certified biz) off the last album and who's drumming I'm infatuated with in real life. Yay, Karriem!

Mama's Gun lovers [INSERT RAISED HAND HERE] will be either really happy or seriously irked with what seems to be the second installment of Green Eyes, entitled Out of My Mind, Just in Time. Similar to Green Eyes, Out of My Mind, Just in Time is at the end of the album, pushes the counter past 10 minutes, and plays out in three movements. It gives me happy feelings that Erykah went there once more, but honestly, it pales in comparison to Green Eyes, which pretty much anyone with working ears has classified as brilliant, beautiful, necessary, and dare I say, classic. It's worth listening to, though, and in my opinion takes the entire album from "alright" to "good".

Surprisingly, my favorite song is Window Seat, which is a complete shocker, cause I usually don't give a hot damn about singles. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that every time I hear it, I see Erykah's booty moving through my mind in slow motion. Or maybe it's 'cause it's actually a good song. Whatever the reason, the fact that my favorite song off of the album is a single is probably saying something bad... Real bad... Michael Jackson [INSERT DISAPPOINTED FACE HERE]. And while I'm making faces, I just want to say that I'm tired of Erykah trying to infest my house with evil spirits with all that demonic chanting that she's been putting on her albums lately. I rebuke it in the mighty name of Jesus.

This is getting long, so thus concludes my totally biased review of New Amerykah Part Two. Overall it is a solid album and definitely worth having, especially for Badu fans. Support, Support, SUPPORT good, interesting music from good, interesting artists. Pay money! Pay attention!

...Pay my phone bill. [INSERT GIGGLE HERE]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ummm... What Happened to February?

You may or may not have noticed that I didn't post not a one single solitary blog entry for the entire month of February. And you might be wondering, "What's up with that?!?" You might even be saying, "That's some ole bull, Nikki!"

Well to the last statement, I shall just respond with my crazy side-eye look, which will let you know that you need to hush up, 'cause I ain't got time for all that foolishness. What do you think I was doin' all February? Being historically black, of course... Oh, and watching American Idol. Besides, if you really cared about where I was all that time and what I was doing, you would have been following me on Twitter or calling all of my phone numbers all hours of the night, like Judy Holiday.

Anyway the past is the past and we can't get it back, so let's talk about new shit, like what I'm currently doing. I'm glad you asked. I'm working on my website, which will be coming so soon, it won't be able to pull out in time and you might get pregnant. Also, I've been planted at my desk all night, every night for the past few weeks editing my book and getting it all put together. I had a minor cover crisis, which has just been resolved as of a few hours ago, so the book is going to print this week. YAY! Besides that, I've got a gang of features that include a panel discussion at Loyola Marymount University about Women and Power, a set in Hollywood, and a feature in the Bay Area in early April. Feel free to contact me if you want more info. Also, feel free to contact me about the proper address to send gifts to, cause my Birthday is on Friday... And I'm not even playing about the gifts.

Monday, January 11, 2010


2009 took it's sweet time gettin' on up outta here, didn't it? Well, I'm glad that bitch is gone, cause we 'bout to get it in in 2010! *giggles*

And apparently, that's exactly what I been doin', cause here we are, a week into tha year, and I'm just now doin' a blog entry. Shameful, really, but whatever. I got a life, people! And furthermore, you gotta understand that I gotta take time out between entries to replenish my reservoir of foolishness. That's how you get tha very best fuckery from me... but I digress...

Despite some tragedies and scandals, I guess tha past year wasn't really bad at all, especially on a personal tip. I kept myself a job, wrote some poems n' thangs, continued to Boom on these hoes (while simultaneously stunting. That shit ain't easy!), and generally lived my life like it was golden. Highlights of tha year included my friend Tamara's wedding, celebrating Naomi's 10th Birthday at tha Mos Def and Erykah Badu show on Labor Day Weekend, and in October, marking tha one year anniversary of my marriage to my apartment.

So, this is like tha best story about my husband -- I mean, my apartment... It was Halloween of 2008. I had been in my place for all of 31 days and my brother, Chas was here. I have a front and a back door and of course, my back door is in my kitchen (well, not really "of course"... I mean, I guess it could be somewhere else... but traditionally, that's where back doors are.) My desk and computer and whole work station area is also in my kitchen, so inevitably, that's where I spend most of my time. We had been having a bit of a heat wave (or is that really just normal for L.A in October? *confused face*), so all of tha windows and my back door was open and Chas and I were sitting in tha kitchen talking and then, all of a sudden, we hear this woman GOING OFF.

She was sobbing and yelling and just actin' an all around fool. I imagine she prolly rolled around on tha floor at some point, that's how much she was cuttin' up. Well, apparently, she was "arguing" with her man (I put that in quotation marks, cause really it takes two people to argue and we never heard him say anything). She was like, "YOU DON'T LOVE MEEEEEEEEE!!!! YOU NEVER LOVED ME!!!" and of course, Chas and I, bein' tha maniacs that we are, turned down tha music and went over to tha window and back door so we could really hear all tha juicy mess. So, she's goin' on and on and on, just actin a muthafuckin' fool, and then she was like, "I SHOULDA HAD AN ABORTIOOOOOOOON! I SHOULDA HAD AN ABORTIOOOOOON! [insert inaudible sobs here]"

Chas and I looked at each other like "OH SHIT!"


Forreal, lady? Is that whut you shoulda done? Wow.

I certainly hope tha child she "should've aborted" was a little baby and didn't know what was goin' on and not like 17 in tha other room on tha PS3, like "Whut tha fuck???"


So, now that's our inside joke. When some shit don't go tha way we want it to or we're just generally unhappy, we throw our heads back like tha characters in Charlie Brown, fake sob, and shout, "I SHOULDA HAD AN ABORTION!" It's fun for tha whole family.

That story had absolutely nothing to do with tha New Year or anything else for that matter... I just felt like sharing.