I had a 1/3-life crisis (i.e. Right before I turned 30) after a few people close to me made me feel like I was SUPPOSED to have certain things off of my checklist for life. I was made to feel like something was wrong with me for not even having a checklist. How could I not be married with kids? When was I going to have the perfect job, the perfect amenities with the perfect life? When would I have all the things that would make me content? Ahhhhh!! There's the problem. Contentment doesn't come from checklists. It comes from within. Life, for better or for worse, exists without "shoulds." It's unpredictable like someone stealing your wallet on the train. It's also as unpredictable as the random friend who shows up, treats you to lunch and makes a horrible day a good one. Our focus on what we should have takes away from the things we do have. Throwing out my checklist helps me build on the now, enjoy present moments, and keeps me focused on the all the opportunities in front of me. "Should" doesn't exist. "Reality" does. Our goal is to make the best, improve on, and find the things that help us enjoy our reality. #quotes #wordsofwisdom #faith
Come rock with me as I host the livest slam on tha East Coast! The Nuyorican Poets Cafe's Friday Night Slam brings poetry, competition, music, and cool people together under one roof. I'll be hosting it, Rico Steel will play de tunes, and we get to see some dope folk perform. I'll drop a poem at the end 😊.
236 East 3rd Street bet Avenues B & C, Lower East Side, Manhattan.
Get there early! The line is ALWAYS down the block!
Omg!!!! Yes!!! I actually did the clinical trial of this version of belimumab and it helped me. Super excited to finally hear that it's been approved! 💜👏🙌🏽 #lupus #lupie #lupuswarrior #lupusawareness #lupiechick #health
Check out the newest commercial that utilizes my voice! (Massage envy should've gone ahead and just cast me for the part...but it's okay. Lol). Check it out!
Missing my baby, my nephew, Princeton Ellis Meadors. He passed away on July 2nd at 5 years old after an accident in a pool. #RIP
We are halfway through 2017. Isn't that crazy??! Here's to making the second half better than the first!
I was in Atlanta over the weekend and was SUPER hyped to hear my Strayer University voiceover on the radio LIVE! Check my cheering self out on IG:https://instagram.com/p/BVPz3UXlMRo. Ha!
MY NEW SONG: "PESSIMISTIC"
I've been getting sooo much love! Check out my new song called "Pessimistic" aka Prove Me Wrong produced by the good fellas at JahRockn Productions. Please comment, download, and share!
JUNE 19TH - BIRTHDAY SHOW/CELEBRATION
BUSBOYS & POETS BROOKLAND
On June 19th @ 8pm, I'll be celebrating my birthday early at my feature at Busboys & Poets Brookland (625 Monroe St NE Washington, DC 20017) at 8:30pm. Hosted by the incomparable Caroline Malachi, we'll be listening to some poems, enjoying some wine, and having a good time celebrating me seeing another year. Let me know if you'll be there. :)
July 2nd - TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition @ SOB's
This show sells out weeks in advance! It's 4th of July weekend, so come join me and my band as we headline at TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition. Sign up to do one of your favorite songs in front of the crunkest crowd. Get tickets at www.trapkaraoke.com
BLOG: LEARN HOW I HELPED FURTHER LUPUS RESEARCH FROM MY HOUSE (You can too):
I'm just posted a blog at www.shanellegabriel.com/blog about my experience helping LIFT researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. It was super easy, and I get to get $75 for completing this study...or I can tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity. You can do it too. Learn more by visiting here: bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg
LAST WEEK/WEEKEND AT A GLANCE
I was blessed to be in A-T-L last weekend to celebrate my step-dad's birthday. While at a separate event for my sorority, guess who I met... ANDRE 3000! I'm surprised I kept my cool; this man has been a total inspiration to me both lyrically and creatively. It was dope talking to him about his creative process and hearing that I'm not the only one hypercritical of my art. Now I can die a happy woman!
A few weeks ago, I posted on my website about a study I'm participating in for people with Lupus (like me!) It's called the LIFT study. DxTerity, a company developing genomic tests to better manage autoimmune diseases, is looking for Lupies to help them create an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. Imagine a genetic way to determine and track Lupus activity?? Less doctor visits, days off from work, and all of that. I'm in. If you have lupus and you want to learn more and to see if you qualify to help contribute to this groundbreaking research? Visit www.theliftstudy.com.
Here's my experience:
So I received my kit in the mail. The box was cute; one of my co-workers asked if I got a fancy gift from someone special. I said "No, still single. It's actually a medical test." That conversation ended right there. lol.
I waited until I got home to open my present from LIFT. It included all that I needed to send my blood to the fab doctors who can't wait to check out my blood: alcohol prep, tube & its cover, two finger prickers, very detailed instructions, and a cute little band-aid. I turned my nightstand into a mini-lab.
It's been a while since I've had to purposely stick myself with anything (hello, blood thinners), so I definitely played a game of chicken with the finger pricker. Finally, I just took a deep breath and pressed it to my finger. I barely even felt it when it pricked me, and I squeezed a few drops into the little container. A few drops filled it to where it needed to be and the cover snapped it closed. The label was already on the box, so I just dropped it in, and BOOM! I was done. It took all of 5 minute, including the minute of me acting like a scaredy cat with the pricker. I loved the fact that I didn't have to go to a clinic like with trials I'd been a part of before. I just answered a few health surveys online and dropped the kit in the mail and I was done.
Lupus feels like the overlooked illness when it comes to research. I'm excited to be a part of something that could shed a light on disease activity, especially when so many doctors are scratching their head. So yea, all participants may get $75 for being a part of this, but what's most important is that we need more knowledge of what the genetic aspect of a lupus flare looks like. And I don't mind playing a game of chicken with the fingerstick in the comfort of my home if it can help me in the long run.
So once again, if you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, you can join lupus patients nationwide who are contributing to this groundbreaking research to help researchers develop an at-home blood test to monitor Lupus flares and activity. For more information about the study and to see if you qualify, please visit: www.theliftstudy.com.
We're in a bar with no bars
And I just,
I want to hold your hand...
I want to gossip in politically incorrect ways
I want to hear you shower me with praise
Then Crack concrete jokes
Old school banter
Yo momma jokes we used to play
I want to buss yo ass in thumb wars
I want to laugh like it bubbled all the way up from my toes to tongue
I want to hear jokes that make someone
Nearby feel comfortable enough to join in the fun
I want our food to come on time
And no time between plate lay on table
We inhale it like it could give eternal life
I want us to tell secrets
Live in the screens of each other's minds
To speak text
My face no longer replaced by emoji
I want simple things
No wires crossed
No mixed signals
I want body language all mine
Nothing missing or lost
In translation or context
I want to fumble words
Only for you to find them
I want imperfect terms
That I can't erase before they're heard
I want to hear you misspeak
No spellcheck to correct your speech
Humanity can exist without a signal
I want to go back to messages without a lower case 'i'
Let's 'conversate' like BIG back in '95
If you didn't know, as my man Kendrick Lamar said: "I got Royalty inside my DNA!" So many great things to share with you, shows coming up, and a new song! When I say I'm blessed, I mean it.
This has been a great season and there is so much more in store for me (and you, if you'll stay on this journey with me). FYI: I'm back performing at TrapKaraoke: The R&B Edition. Save the date: July 2nd!
MY NEW SONG: "PESSIMISTIC"
Finally, it's here! Check out my new song called "Pessimistic" aka Prove Me Wrong produced by the good fellas at JahRockn Productions. Please comment, download, and share!
JUNE 19TH - BIRTHDAY SHOW/CELEBRATION @ BUSBOYS & POETS BROOKLAND
On June 19th @ 8pm, I'll be celebrating my birthday early at my feature at Busboys & Poets Brookland
(625 Monroe St NE Washington, DC 20017). Hosted by the incomparable Caroline Malachi, we'll be listening to some poems, enjoying some wine, and having a good time celebrating me seeing another year. Let me know if you'll be there. :)
STRAYER UNIVERSITY AD CAMPAIGN
I know I've posted myself on Instagram in a booth, but you can now hear what I've done! My voice is a part of a national ad campaign for Strayer University. You can hear the multiple spots I've recorded on their youtube page here: www.youtube.com/StrayerUniversity
EARN $75 WHILE HELPING FURTHER LUPUS RESEARCH
I'm participating in The Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization (LIFT) study. It's looking for participants nationwide to help researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. By completing surveys about your experience with lupus and using an at-home kit to collect a few drops of blood (much like at-home glucose monitoring) from the convenience of home, you can join the hundreds of LIFT study participants who are helping break new ground in lupus research. You will also be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity. Learn more by visiting here: http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg
Thanks again for sharing this journey with me. Till next time,
HBO Def Poet/ Singer/ Activist & Lupus Advocate
You think you own me/ squeezed my life in your palms/ taken over my body/ you think you are me/ Lupus/ you think because you've hijacked this vessel that you're captain/ you think you can get away with mutiny/ but see/ I'm still the same me/ the same beautiful butterfly floating on the breeze/ I ain't scared to wrestle the wind/ to battle raynauds thorns/
not afraid to diss this disease/ to find peace/ be at ease with this disease/ I miss my old life but I'm fashioning a new one with this disease/ in no way am I saying this is eas/y/
The way my cells fight themselves/ that my chest being in a cage of pleurisy/ that my scalp crying strands of my hair/ that the pain in my knees which interfere with my prayers/ makes it hard to sometimes find the joy in life/ makes the sun less bright/ but I know no matter what there's nothing that'll take away my fight/ When it seems to make my day feel like night/ I'll still reach for a star / when it seems my world spins left/ I've resolved to force it to revolve right/ and even if my limbs refuse to move/ my spirit will still dance/ Every day I'm going to choose to enhance this universe with my presence in any way I can/ Lupus is not me/ but it's the spark that created a flame/ my disease is not me/ but it's the source of my vanity/ lupus you can't damage me/ cause my body isn't all I possess/ I still have a purpose/ a reason to smile/ I'm still living my life with no regrets.
Lupus Opportunity! Join others in a groundbreaking research study you can do from home and receive $75 for your time. /
Everyone’s journey with lupus is unique - from diagnosis, to treatments, to flare triggers. That’s why researchers at DxTerity, a genomics company, are developing an at-home blood test for people living with lupus to monitor their disease activity. LIFT (Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization) by DxTerity, is a groundbreaking at home study designed to better understand lupus by studying the experiences of thousands of people across the country living with this condition.
The Lupus Interval Monitoring to Manage Disease Flare and Enable Treatment Optimization (LIFT) study seeks to enroll participants nationwide to help researchers to develop an at-home blood test people living with lupus can use to monitor their disease activity. The study is being conducted by DxTerity, a genomics company developing tests to better manage autoimmune diseases.
By completing surveys about your experience with lupus and using an at-home kit to collect a few drops of blood (much like at-home glucose monitoring) from the convenience of home, you can join the hundreds of LIFT study participants who are helping break new ground in lupus research. You will also be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 to a lupus charity.
Who can participate?
Men and women 18 or older diagnosed with lupus
Join thousands of people with lupus helping advance scientific understanding of lupus without leaving your home. Help researchers develop new tools to monitor lupus disease activity. You will be compensated for your time—receive $75 for complete study participation or tell LIFT to donate the $75 compensation to a lupus charity.
How does the LIFT study work?
1) Sign up online at http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg. You will receive an at-home finger-stick blood collection kit in the mail within 30 days.
2) Use the kit to collect only a few drops of your blood at home. Mail your sample to the research lab using the prepaid mailing envelope.
3) Log in to your secure study portal and complete a short survey online. The goal of the study is to see if the at-home blood collection kit could provide a better, easier and more convenient way for people with lupus to track and manage their disease and flare activity.
Help shape the future of lupus and join the LIFT study with me today: [http://bit.ly/LIFTStudy-sg]. I plan to join and share my experience. Will you?
Tan lines crinkle like orange bacon
Lips shift into carrier planes
Exporting the bullshit of the day
They poke as he sniffs
Like he does between press meetings
The razor of his top lip disappears
They meet again
They flap and flail
I feel sorry for them
They work so hard
To save the rest of the body
To justify the brain
To compensate for lackluster limbs
They renew their strength
Like American eagles
Their fervor unending
Like American capitalism
They miss their old life
Beers booze and boobs
Wide and open
Lips that move without consequence
Everybody don't know.
Everybody wasn't told.
Everybody ain't whole.
Everybody ain't meant to be woke.
Tyler's tongue lay blank in his mouth
This was a mock job interview
And he was lost
More silent than he's ever been
Face devoid of his usual wide grin
He'd answered what his weaknesses were
To a T
But like many kids of color we see
Used to the world filling him with what was wrong with him
So when asked what's right
They stay empty
I later asked the class
To lend words to his throat
Only to have a chorus speak
"He's great with analogies"
"He challenges popular opinion."
He smiles as he listens
As if he couldn't have imagined
So many good things said about him
From anyone other than the woman who
Gave birth to him
I spent most of my time
Defending his self esteem
From his screaming insecurities
It seemed everyone deemed him leader
Scared to plan for the future
Afraid to desire more from himself
Because it would mean
Admitting he was worthy of dreams
He was 19
Took him 6 weeks to agree to a GED
Goal setting wasn't easy
Repeatedly Pleading for positive thinking
Telling him the image he sees in the mirror
Can be misleading
I wanted to protect his future
Told him keep dreaming
Told him work hard and it'll come true
Told him if he pushes against the storm
Guarantee he'll get through
And even if he didn't succeed with me
His flash smile and firecracker personality
Will grant him boundless opportunities...
I found out he was gunned down
In Flatbush the other day
He was 20
The will quicker call him man
Rather than potential
Barely a few chips on his life's stone
Still had a long way to go
To chisel himself statue
Still a baby of a human
Cn't help feel like I sold him
That one day everything would be okay
That life was promised to him
That he should walk by faith
I wonder if we educators
Are making the mistake
Of thinking that if we just pray
Over the bowed heads
As they labor over the tests they take
That their futures will be safe
Are we fooling ourselves
Thinking out words make
Our kids bulletproof
That our visions for them can provide roofs
Over their torn families
That we can love their broken hearts whole
Or speak a shining into their coal
And turn their struggling souls into gold...
I know I am no Savior
Teachers are meant to be road signs
Not the road itself
You were on the edge of your path
I will always wonder if I could have helped
Change the cards you were dealt
If I did all that I could do
To let you know that you were beautiful
If I gave you enough proof
Of your brilliance
If I spoke enough truth
To show how you sparkled
I wonder who would you be
What would have been your testimony
To the young kids under you
If the system initially
Didn't fail you
I wonder was it we that
Truly failed you?
Lord please forgive me
I want to hear Your Word but
Not at 6am
They say black doesn't crack/ and we reference black beauty/ brown skin/ the melanin that holds fast to the legacy within/ whether naija or Brooklyn/ whether from the soul of the Congo or the streets of Chicago/ we're not as different as we seem/ the same painter but varied color schemes/ the same history/ They say that black doesn't crack/ but our hearts can break/ ventricles fight to pump fire from heaven/ push and shove blood through a body constantly being attacked/ seen as less than the rest of humanity/ They say that black don't crack/ but something chips at the soul/ when you see your people dying before they have the chance to get old/When isms and phobias are okayed by legislation/ discrimination a part of public policy/ they called it mutant registration on X-men/ what happens when science fiction becomes real/ this is not an appeal just to hearts/ but the thinking needs to change/ art can do but so much/ we all have to approach this fight unafraid/ We gotta be butterflies y'all/ but with caterpillar ways/ flap our wings always shine but never forget the ground from which we came/ take the hard world around us and turn it into silk/ push back/ throw down and wrestle justice away from White supremacy's grip/ Black don't crack/ even after pushing back from the 80s when the government made addiction a criminal act/ Black don't crack cause we got no choice but to stay whole on this path/ we seal our stories no sides to be picked/ whether we got here by plane or via ship/ whether dropped off at islands during the trip/ whether hands were bloodied with liquid, solid gold or sugar cane strips/ whether cotton or coffee/ we lived to see this/ we breathed to be this/ We fought to be this/ unified by clenched fists/ unified by clenched fists/ unified by clenched fists/ black don't crack/ Let them know we were born to be this/ we were born fly like this/ we don't crack so yes we woke up like this/ yes we woke up like this/ we rock our crowns like this/ and we're united like this/ dragging a painful past/ Black don't crack/ cause from the depths of our soul/ we were build to last.
Sometimes people wish
To stay on a sinking ship
Not because it's noble
Because they're used to being
Dead weight anyways
Next Wednesday, April 12th @ 6:30pm, join me and my fam as we remind you of The Fugees' genius at the next Plates & Crates @platesncrates. We'll be covering their classic album THE SCORE at Amarachi Restaurant (189 Bridge St, Brooklyn, NY) with yours truly as L Boog.
Cover is $10 at the door, 2 for $15 online. Get your tix at the following link and a portion will be donated to the Lupus Research Alliance!
"How interesting their struggle"
Echoed by a history of
Misreading the body language of slaves
Saw the blank face and thought peace
Neglect the pain
Excited to celebritize this moment
Wonder if it can be packaged and sold
This is what happens
When Black people are not in the room
When Black people are sold their own stories
Black lives get White washed
Drowned in a sea of reality TV and Pepsi
And they will applaud