"Every Book" by Brandon BMike Odom

Many of my facebook friends have posted the story of Tom Joyner's recent criticism of New Orleans' own Brandon Odom of 2-Cent Entertainment for his parody of Lil Wayne's "Every Girl". Following is the link of the story, video and the radio personality's comments:


Please join me in emailing Tom Joyner at tom@blackamericaweb.com and letting him know we support "Every Book", Brandon Odom, 2-cent Entertainment and the educational system in New Orleans!!

Dear Mr. Joyner,

I am writing to tell you how displeased I am with your recent criticism of Brandon BMike's song "Every Book". First of all, as a journalist, it is your job and responsibility to your audience to research and gather all facts before reporting on a subject. Obviously you failed to do just that and jumped to assumptions about this young man's music and made foolish and ignorant comments based on the original song by Lil Wayne.

The children of today's society are much different from those of your era, as well as mine. Yes, Fresh Prince infused parody with positivity, but how is that different from what Brandon Odom has done? This young man is dedicating his life to saving his city by any means necessary and he doesn't need an out-of-touch, irresponsible radio DJ to try and knock him down. I would hope that you take the time to really follow Brandon and see first hand what he is doing for the children in New Orleans and our community. You should be commending him for this and invite him on your show to promote his efforts. We can't use traditional methods any longer to save our youth, we must appeal to them on their level. What the devil meant for bad, God will use for good.

You owe this man an apology, a platform to encourage other communities to come together to teach our kids and thank him for his efforts. We need more people like Brandon Odom in our country, fighting for the future of our tomorrow. Get with the times, Mr. Joyner, and support him before the bandwagon doesn't have any room for you.

Thank you,
Becky Gracianette
New Orleans, LA


Everyone knows a liar! Everyone IS a liar! So with those two statements being said, how do we deal with the lie when its about us???

Two things I despise is being lied TO and lied ON! If you continually lie to me, then obviously I won't trust you, but if you decide to lie ABOUT me then that's even worse. It's frustrating, to say the least, especially when someone wants to challenge you about it. Is it delusion? Is it denial? Or is it just plain stupidity??

We all lie, no matter how honest we may be; there is a little white lie burning inside of us all. But when someone tells a blatant lie about you and to you, how can you win that battle? Because it basically comes down to a "he said/she said" type of war, which nobody can really come out victorious unless it was recorded or witnessed. Which, I think I've decided to buy a mini-recorder for instances such as this.

But when you're integrity is on the line, and someone is challenging that, my question is, how do you prove you are telling the truth? Of course, it depends on each person's credibility first and foremost, but what if there is a third party involved who doesn't know either person well enough to decipher? This is my current issue. I would never have done the thing I've been accused of in a malicious way. But the accuser claims otherwise and is basically saying a conversation about the situation never occurred. Umm, were you mentally absent from that conversation? Because I was very much present and it went completely different from what you remember. I want to pull my hair out of my head because not only was someone there to actually hear this conversation in question, but the LIAR actually did this exact same thing to them a few weeks prior. Unfortunately, the LIAR is in a position to deny everything and play the "dumb role" while we take the heat for it because our names are tagged to it. Then the LIAR's story continues to change on a daily basis, but since its being told to different people, we really can't prove anything. UGH!

The worst part about all of this is that now my money has been compromised and my name is being slandered. I can give it to God, as I always believe is the best possible advice, however, I want to clear my name. I want people to believe ME! I guess this is one of those issues that it's probably not even worth fighting because it will only get worse before it gets better. And I definitely cannot afford to suffer the circumstances anymore should I pursue it, but it's just not right when people get away with things like this. Sometimes being honest, isn't always the best policy, huh?

A Celebration of Life for Chris Martin

As most of you know, I recently lost 2 friends in the same week. They were both gunned down in separate incidents, leaving a void in many people's hearts. I've already taken the time to write an open letter to my friend, Twelve, but now I'd like to share my friendship with Chris Martin.

I met Chris through my neighbors across the street. One neighbor was his cousin and the other his employer. Roxie used to tell me all the time that her cousin Chris liked me, but I didn't pay her any attention. She's only 12 so what does she really know? But one day he came down my driveway to come talk to me. First thing he said was that he liked me. I looked at him like he was crazy because I thought to myself, how can you like someone you don't even know? I blew him off and basically ignored him for the most part.

Then one day things changed. He came over to talk to me and for whatever reason, I listened. He was very respectful, friendly, educated and so sweet. Jaidyn kept coming and interrupting, of course, wanted all of his attention. And he gave it to her. I remember I was cooking cabbage soup for a 7-day diet I was trying. So being that I was busy, he spent his time playing with Jai. She brought him books to read to her, and he read every last one of them. She would bring toys out to show him and even pulled out her skates and he helped her skate up and down the driveway. He stood in my kitchen for at least 3 or 4 hours that day talking to me about different things. I enjoyed his conversation and really liked having his company.

The next day, knowing I was on my diet, he came and brought the girls some chinese food since I wasn't cooking. I couldn't understand it at first. Why was he being so nice and going out of his way for us? But then as the weeks went on, I realized that's just who he was. He continued to be giving, bringing chips, juice, candy, etc. to them just because. He didn't quit telling me he liked me either. He used to ask when he could take me out and I would just laugh it off and tell him he was too young for me. Even if he didn't come to bring anything to the girls, if he saw Jaidyn outside, he'd come play with her. He never got tired of her constant talking and had no problem running behind her when she was doing something she had no business doing. He would correct her, but always explain to her why she couldn't do certain things. And every time he left, he always told her "I love you, Jaidyn".

I remember last Saturday morning when my neighbor Aretha came and knocked on my door. It was so early. When she told me that he had been killed, I didn't want to believe it. I stood there in shock and probably even appeared to be unphased by it. But I really didn't want to accept that I had lost yet another friend to violence. And when it hit me that he was really gone, it was truly overwhelming.

Both of my friends were buried on the same day, Saturday, August 14, 2010. I was thankful that it worked out in my favor that the churches were less than a mile apart and the service times were 2 hours difference.

I remember walking into Oakland Baptist Church for Chris' service. There was such an uplifting feeling when I got there, one I can't really explain. It was bright, not somber, and his white casket was closed, adorned with flowers and his picture sat right on top. The choir started and they were truly awesome. They weren't singing sad, mellow songs. They were clapping, smiling, praising and worshiping God with energy-filled songs that had everyone in the church on their feet.

I had explained to Jaidyn that Mr. Chris was gone and in heaven and she seemed to understand. Unfortunately, both she and Dominique have had to experience loss before with my Maw Maw and Dominique's Grandmother Beverly. I hate that they know it so well, but I'm thankful they both realize that they are with God and in a better place. But what I didn't count on was that Jai didn't know exactly who I was talking about. She seemed to get it when I explained it to her, but it wasn't until she saw the pictures that it really sunk in. She started to get tears in her eyes and when I first asked what was wrong, she shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know. Then it came. My baby broke down crying and said "I just miss my friend". Have you ever seen a 5-year-old's heart break? It was the worst feeling I'd ever had knowing that there was nothing I could do to heal her and take away her pain.

Then the moment came that was just breath-taking. Something I will never forget in my life. A young girl stepped to the podium to sing her solo. She started, but couldn't get through the first note. Chris' mother came to her side and comforted her. She said she apologized, but her niece couldn't continue. She then turned to the band director and said "I'm gonna need another key", turned to the choir behind her and said "and choir, I need y'all to back me up". This woman began to sing and literally blew me away. Again, it wasn't a slow song, meant to bring people down. She got in the choir stand and began to thank God for her son. She tore the church down!!! She was strong, beautiful, had great voice and was completely and totally inspiring. She sang about how grateful she was to have had Chris for 27 years, how much she loved him and how much she loved God for allowing her to be his mother. There really are no words to explain how amazing it was to see.

Ms. Betty Harvey taught me what I already knew. That no matter what you are going through, you still have to give God all the praise, glory and honor. During the hardest time of her life, she didn't waver, she stood strong in the Word and kept her faith. She understood that God's time is not our time and everything He does is for a reason. At the repast, I made it a point to introduce her to Jaidyn. Aretha walked us over and said, "This was Chris' friend". She looked at me and said thank you for coming until Aretha corrected her and said "No THIS was his friend," and pointed to Jai. And then Jaidyn corrected Aretha and said, "he was my BEST friend!" Ms. Betty gave her the biggest and warmest hug and was so happy to meet my baby. She said she wished she had met her sooner and she would have included her in the program knowing what an impact her son had on her life. This woman was so sweet, kind, friendly, beautiful and just exuded God's love. She kept thanking me for coming, but I could only thank her. I thanked her for blessing this world with Chris and for making him who he was. He obviously got it all from her.

Yesterday was truly a celebration of life for Christopher Martin, one that I am honored to say I was a part of. I pray for continued strength for his family, friends and especially his mother. God-forbid I ever have to endure a loss such as her, but if I do, I pray that I can look to her for encouragement and enlightenment. Chris, you will truly be missed and I am proud to call you my friend. May God bless your soul and may you rest in eternal peace.

An Open Letter To My Friend, Argell White

**This is a letter to my friend who was recently killed. It will be mostly slang, and grammatically incorrect in many cases, but it is also straight from my heart**

Dear Twelve,

I really can't believe that I have to tell you these things in a letter and not directly to you. Maybe I can just pretend, for the moment, that you aren't gone and just in jail or something. Anything else is better than your reality.

I remember when I first met you. It was at Live Bait and you were with Slim and Trenitty for the foam party. My first impression was "this dude is CRAZY"! But you kept me laughing and somehow we became friends from that moment. Throughout the years we always kept in touch. We used to always joke that if I hadn't heard from you in at least 2 weeks, you were probably locked up on some stupid traffic attachment. But you always caught up with me when you made it home.

I remember when we started to really hang together. You're goal was to find a new "future ex-wife" wherever we went. And you always did. You were absolutely INSANE when we went out to the clubs, but we always had fun. I still wanna know, how in the hell do you get kicked out of Butler's? We joked about that one for the longest. We joked about a lot of things, though, especially our mutual friends. Things I could never put in writing cus I might make some of them mad.

Through all the craziness, you still used to offer me the best advice. When you were really fed up with New Orleans you told me not to become complacent. You wanted to get out of the city because things had just become too much of the same. You even told me that I was already complacent with my life, just settling for what I had and not moving forward. You were so right. And you really tried not to get in the middle of things with me and Trenitty, being both of our friends, but when you came to Dallas you put me in my place. You encouraged me and literally pushed me to move on with my life and stop holding on to something that would never be. I still replay that conversation in my head when we were on our way out. You said that it was the 2000's and I needed to become more aggressive and go for what I want. I never did approach a guy, I always waited until they came to me. Until that night. We walked into Maxwell's and I saw that dude wearing the Soulja Slim shirt. I was like, damn that's who I wanna talk to. And of course, you gave me a pep talk and damn near forced me to go holla at him. Funny thing was, when I did go talk to him, he was so excited to meet you I barely got to say anything! But you hooked that up for me. In fact, you used to tease me for getting a groupie. And he really was. Everytime I talked to him, he would ask about you and what new music you had and could he get a CD.

I was there through almost every girlfriend, boo, future ex-wife, current wife, whoever you were kicking it with, you brought them into my life as well. I used to clown about all the chicks you messed with, especially cus they were all a different nationality. I said you were like the rainbow coalition cus you did not discriminate!!! But they were cool most of the time and you even introduced me to some really good friends in the process.

I know we both have a lot of regrets about how our friendship turned. I hate how things became and I was so mad at you for allowing it to get so bad between us. But I know there were outside factors involved and it wasn't just you and I at that point. I won't place any blame cus I should've been stronger. But I allowed our friendship to be destroyed and it killed me. You thought my loyalty to you was gone and you said some things that really hurt me. I held on to that for so long, knowing deep down you didn't mean it. But pride took over and I held that grudge. I knew better, but I didn't want to admit that I let someone else ruin our friendship. Especially a person who the entire time was simply jealous of what we had. He was convinced that we were more than friends and would just harass me so much about you that it was easier to stay distant. But he was right, we were more than friends. We were family. Remember when you told people I was your adopted sister just so they wouldn't confuse me for being with you? And to really convince them you told those girls I was gay??? I wanted to kill you for that one cus you ruined any chances of me meeting someone, but when we left all I could do was laugh at your crazy ass.

Over the last two years you became someone I didn't know. Your physical appearance changed so much, I didn't even recognize you. Your hair, the grill, the weight gain, even your style of clothes was different. I felt that at that point we were too far gone from the friendship we had because you were someone else. But, I heard that you would say you wanted to squash this beef with me and needed to call me. Why didn't you ever call? How did we both allow this to come between us permanently? All I can do at this point is truly apologize. I learned my lesson, but even after he tore up other friendships, I still didn't talk to you and make things right. Just being stubborn. And now I can't talk to you, can't apologize for it, can't change things.

I will always, always, always love you as one of my best friends and family. We've spent holidays, birthdays, and life-changing events together. Moments that can't be erased or lost no matter where either of us is at today. I wish you were still here. I miss you -- the old you. The crazy, funny, kind-hearted person I knew. You always had my back through everything. If I needed anything, I could always come to you. So now, I know that I can depend on you to still watch over me. The selfish part of me wants you to be here, but the Christian part of me knows that you are in a better place and can do more for me in heaven than you can do for me on earth. There are so many memories that I can forever hold on to, but none of them can bring you back. So with that I say again, that I love you, miss you and pray that you rest in eternal peace with Slim and JP. I know y'all are cutting up right now! And I know, no matter what, it is what it is.

Love your adopted, gay sister.

Recreating and Loving Myself

When you go through a series of bad relationships, you tend to lose bits and pieces of yourself along the way. You may not notice it at first, or it may be subtle enough to not make a difference, but either way, you definitely change. After you take the time to heal, learn, accept and process the end, you have to dig deep and find who you really are once again. The good and the bad, the few things you don't want to admit that were your fault and the rediscovery of yourself.

During these last few months, I've worked on putting my life back together for me and my kids, but I've also started to search for my flaws, change what I want to change, keep what I want to keep and work on the things that need a little bit of fine-tuning. I am asking God for His guidance, of course, having faith that I can regain those qualities I may have lost and trusting that I am becoming exactly who He expects me to be.

I do sometimes still have a reaction without a thought, but I then take a breath, say a prayer and give it to God and allow Him to handle the things beyond my control. I don't always get the results I want, but I get the results that are necessary and RIGHT! I am working on my temper, my lack of patience, my naivety, to name a few and I can really see myself growing, maturing and accepting life as it should be without the drama. I have used my same qualities and have simply refocused them.

It really is all about me right now and although I am still the loving, caring, giving person I am, I am learning BOUNDARIES. It's a struggle sometimes, but it's definitely getting easier along the way. I am simply recreating myself in a way that I can dictate the outcome of my life rather than my life dictating me!

It is all about choices and how we want to live. Things will always occur that are less than desirable, but it is all in how you choose to deal with the situation. Be grateful for it all, continually giving praise and worship, never giving up hope, having everlasting faith and appreciating what you do have rather than what you don't. Just be happy through it all, stay positive, be encouraged and you will FEEL better. You are the only one who can control your feelings, even when someone hurts you, uses you, abuses you, neglects you, or whatever other horrible act, how you treat YOURSELF will be all that matters in the end.

When you love yourself completely and totally, you learn to treat yourself better.

Letting go and letting God

Ever have a friend completely betray you unexpectedly? Of course, we all have. But how can you truly learn to let go when their actions hurt so bad? I had no choice to let this one go because I could feel it consuming me IMMEDIATELY and I knew it would (and kind of already did) get a little ugly.

Ironically, I received this a few days after the initial back-stabbing event was brought to light and it really spoke volumes:

that letting go makes you wealthier. Wealth is never measured by what you have, but by what you can give away. You are rich with money when you can afford to donate. You are rich with love when you can give love freely. You are rich with God when you can behold your enemy with compassion.

I immediately asked God to forgive me and the person with whom I was angry. I received the message that God has something bigger and better for me. It is, after all, only a name right? It still stings and there are so many avenues I could go with this matter because God is a God of law and order; however, she isn't worth my time. She had already done numerous things to prove that we weren't really friends anyway and I honestly didn't like her much by this point. But it wasn't what she did that bothered me so much, it was the sneaky, deceptive, under-handed way it was done. I may sound like a broken record when I say this but, "it aint what ya do, its how ya do it". It's about respect, it's about doing what's right, and most importantly, it's about KARMA!!!! And I definitely don't wanna be on karma's bad side!!!

So as I sit back and speak positive things into my life and out into the universe, I also pray for those who try to come against me. I can't let anyone get the best of me. I'm in a much better place in my life now to let this one little road block ruin my groove. I am no longer worried about the situation and I am letting this one go and letting God.........

Learning To Love

Going through yet another divorce has given me the opportunity to reflect on my previous relationships. I've really just been evaluating the past and looking to see where did I go wrong. It's difficult to dig deep and look for your own faults and flaws sometimes, especially when you run into dead ends. Of course, I am not insinuating that I have been perfect in every relationship, but I am saying that I can't find what I really did wrong. Especially when all of my exes tell me how great I was and they lost a good thing.

I get low at times thinking of where I should be in my life and realizing where I am. I'll be 35 in a few months and I have 2 ex-husbands and 2 baby daddies. I don't feel shame, but I do have disappointment. I look at each man and try to see what mistakes I made, am I repeating them and can I prevent them from happening again. But I come up with the same answers every time. It wasn't my fault. Well, in a sense I guess it is because I chose to be with these men, but the failure of the relationship was not something I did wrong.

In those relationships I had to deal with both verbal and physical abuse, lies, cheating, controlling, possessiveness, jealousy, drugs, alcohol, hurt, pain and rejection. I took something from each of those relationships though, whether it was how to look for signs of a cheating man, how to recognize addiction, how to fight, how to stand up for myself but most importantly, how to heal. I couldn't understand what was wrong with me for so long, but now that I'm in the same situation again, I can see what it is so clearly.

I give so much of myself and I expect the same in return. Problem is I never take the time to get to really know someone before jumping into a relationship with them. I take the few qualities I may like, focus only on them and look past the things that should have me running in the opposite direction. And I don't give my heart to people who are deserving of it or know what to do with my love. I've always said that I love hard and because of it I have high expectations from others, even with family and friends. I have to learn to let people appreciate me first for who I am and not because I am available to them at all times and make it a relationship of convenience. It's hard because I've had so much rejection in my life that if a man doesn't give me the attention I want right away I immediately think that they don't like me or want to get to know me. I've never learned how to really date or take things slow and develop naturally. This is really going to be a whole new experience.

I mentioned previously that I don't think I did anything truly wrong with these men, and in hindsight, for the most part I still believe that. I did my job, took care of my man, was faithful, honest, loving and caring. Yes, I gave more of myself than I should have. Yes, I made some bad choices in the types of men I've ended up with. And yes, I made mistakes by staying too long in unhealthy situations. But I can't say that I would change a thing. I went through a lot of pain, but also a lot of growth. I have wonderful friends that I met through them whom I consider my family, I have the most perfect, beautiful children in the world and I have a new found love and respect for myself that I never would've learned if I'd been fortunate enough to have it easy.

It's so true that you don't really learn to appreciate the good things in life if you haven't had to go through the bad things first. And it's sad to say that I've never experienced that pure , true love. It's always been me who did all the giving and now I'm ready to receive. I want to be the lucky one for a change and know what it feels like to have someone truly love Becky with all of their heart and soul as I have always done. I know it will take time, patience, more healing and many, many prayers before I even get to that point, but I know when that person comes along I will be prepared. I don't think I would have known what to do with someone else's heart when I didn't even understand my own.