Alabama Shakes brings southern revival to Ybor City


(Photo from a previous concert) used with permission via CC

Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes is so much of a powerhouse it’s hard to believe she’s only 27 years old. Born and raised in Athens, Alabama, a small town with just over 20,000 people, the singer has come a long way from her humble beginnings as a postal service worker.

Howard, who attributes her musical influence to David Bowie and Led Zepplin, started singing while in middle school. There she met bandmate and guitarist Heath Fogg, who was a few years older than her and played at house-parties. She later met bassist Zac Cockrell in high school and drummer Steve Johnson at a jam session she held at her home. They formed their southern rock  and blues band in 2009 and originally called themselves “The Shakes.”

Now after 3 Grammy wins for Best Alternative Music Award, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, many are starting to take notice of the band’s success. During their spring tour the band stopped at Ybor City’s Cuban Club on April 29th. They performed to a sold-out crowd of about 3000 people in the club’s parking lot, even with megastar Beyoncé’s  concert just a few miles away at the Raymond James Stadium and a day before WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave festival.

It was a mixed crowd full of millennials, hipsters, and their parents, dancing and singing along in the booze and smoke-filled air.The band last came to the  Tampa Bay area in 2013 when they performed at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. Howard acknowledged this later on during the concert, “Every time we come down here the crowd gets bigger and bigger,” she said in her southern drawl as the crowd cheered on. “ I want to let you know we really appreciate y’all. When we started this band, you know, we wanted to have some fun and write some songs we like. Now look at this, all y’all come out here…”

The band opened with “Dunes” from their latest album Sound & Color and the crowd immediately started singing along. Howard wore a no frills black layered dress with stockings, black boots and red glasses falling down her nose, while belting out each song redolent of her rock and blues predecessors Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Otis Redding. She sashayed up and down the stage playing her teal Gibson guitar as concertgoers sang along and danced in the crowd.

The concert was reminiscent of a southern church revival, sending chills up the spine, with Howard’s voice demanding attention during songs like  “Always Alright”- with it’s upbeat bluegrass feel, “Heartbreaker,” “Gimme All Your Love”-causing Howard to pause as the crowd started to applause her in the middle of the song and “Hang Loose.”

The rest of the 17 songs performed included a mixture from both albums Boys & Girls  and Sound & Color, featuring other songs like “Rise to the Sun,” “Hold on,” Grammy winning  ” Don’t wanna fight,” and “Future People.”

At times the band slowed it down a bit, with Howard putting her guitar aside to intimately serenade the audience while performing songs like  “Be Mine,””You ain’t alone,”-showing Howard’s vulnerability with her asking ,”Are you afraid to tell somebody how you feel about somebody?..cry, if you gonna cry come on, cry wit me;” “Gemini”-an electric guitar ridden, psychedelic ballad and “Sound & Color,”-the title track to the band’s latest album that was also featured in Apple’s iPad Pro ad last year.

The band closed the show with “Over my Head,”putting the crowd in a trance, while onlookers stopped on nearby sidewalks and sat on the stairs and roof of  the adjacent parking garage and club next door to listen in.

Before leaving the stage, Howard assured the crowd, “This ain’t goodbye. This is see you after while.”

We sure hope so, Ms. Howard. See you soon.





































Can we please stop comparing women to Ayesha Curry?


Can we please stop comparing everyday women to Ayesha Curry, like asap?

If you’re not living under a rock, I’m sure  you’ve seen the #Ayeshacurrymemes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by now. The memes started after Ayesha made the controversial statement that she prefers to stay covered up vs. showing off her body online.

“Everyone’s into barely wearing clothes these days, huh? Not my style. I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters,”she tweeted, pissing some people off and getting praise from others.

A lot of men have surprisingly agreed with Ayesha’s statement and have been pretty vocal about wanting an “Ayesha” in their lives. Check out some of the comments below.


If only it were that simple, right?


Of course, because no woman has ever supported her man before, right? Just Ayesha?

This is the thing-there are several “Ayesha Currys” out there. There always has been and always will be. Contrary to what you see online, there are “conservative” women who prefer to not showcase their bodies on the internet. This is nothing new. I know several of them. I am one. The problem is that most of these “Ayeshas” get overlooked in everyday life. Most men have encountered “Ayeshas” from high school through adulthood and bypassed her for the “Kim Kardashians” and “Blac Chynas” of the world because “Ayesha” was too boring and homely or because they wanted a quick nut and weren’t willing to put in the work to get “Ayesha.”

I’ll never forget the last day of my senior year in high school when a guy in my class which I had no interest in, put his hands around my shoulder and said to me, “Amber, I really like you. You’re cute, but I need a girl that puts out and you look like the type of girl that would make me wait, so we would never work–” Yea, he said that shit to me. He liked me, the “Ayesha,” the homely, nerd, but wanted to settle for a “Kim K” for quick sexual satisfaction.You see what I mean?


Half of these men that are saying they need an “Ayesha” are not Steph Curry’s their damn selves. They’re not “men of God” staying faithful to one woman. They’re not family men, supporting their children. Half of them wouldn’t even know how to approach a woman like Ayesha or know how to treat her in the first place. Why should a woman conduct herself like Ayesha if you don’t even have your shit together? What these men need to do is take a damn seat.


And some of these “hoes” that these men are comparing to Ayesha Curry may have been “Ayeshas” before but got tired of being overlooked. Have you ever thought about that? And newsflash, just because a woman dresses provocatively does not mean she is promiscuous and just because she dresses like a Pentecostal does not mean she is wholesome. There are women who dress like “hoes” but are prudes in bed. And there are women that appear to be “wholesome” that when finally comfortable with you will suck the soul out of your dick. Don’t be fooled by appearance.

These same men that are calling females “hoes” for semi-nude pics on Instagram are the same dudes posting thirsty comments under their pictures. Don’t be a hypocrite.

Ayesha Curry is not the issue. I like her. She and Steph are adorable. They have a beautiful family. However, making her the standard for women to live up to is problematic, especially if we don’t hold men to the same standards of her husband. There is nothing wrong with being an “Ayesha-“wholesome, conservative, supportive wife; or “Kim Kardashian,” in touch with your sexuality and half naked on Instagram. Women should be whoever the hell they want to be. Comparing other women to Ayesha is sexist and does nothing to uplift women. No, I would never post nude online or leak a porno, but I will never judge another woman for doing that. It’s her choice.



Your value is not attached to another person


Your self worth, value, destiny and purpose will never be tied to another person. Whatever God has for you, is for you; no one else. If someone walks out of your life-let them.

How will you survive without them? The same way you survived before you met them.

Don’t ever get so attached to another person or object that you feel incomplete without them. No, I’m not saying that you should walk around all cold-hearted and emotionally numb, but just understand that, especially in your twenties, that people will walk in and out of your life and that is OK. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad people. It just means that their chapter in your story has ended. I don’t care if it’s a love interest, a bestfriend, or a loved one. If they walk out of your life, then let them go. Period.

Don’t spend so much time trying to keep together what God is trying to tear a part.

God will replace them with someone new in your life.So hold on to that.If you spend so much time with your fists clenched holding on to someone or something you are meant to let go of, you will not have enough room to receive what God is trying to give you. Let go and trust him.

7 signs that you should dump Him

A lot of women stay in dead-end relationships with men because they are afraid that they’ll have to start over again or that they won’t be able to find someone else. They know that they are not completely satisfied, but stay anyway. It’s easy to find yourself in this predicament. However, whether you’ve invested 2 weeks or 2 years in a relationship, there are a few characteristics that you shouldn’t put up with.

Here are 7 red flags you should look out for:


  1. He disappears a Lot


One day he can’t get enough of you. He’ll make love to you like there’s no tomorrow and then you don’t hear from him for weeks or even months. Then out of the blue, you get his “hey stranger” text late at night. He tells you he misses you-blah, blah, blah. And of course, since you like him you’ll respond.

A man not calling or texting you everyday doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s trouble in paradise. Everyone needs space, – but it’s been a month since you’ve heard from him? No one needs that much space!

More than likely he is seeing someone else too. If the conversations with you are getting shorter, they’re getting longer with someone else. If you are OK with (possibly) being the other woman (see #7) or are not looking for a commitment , then fine. If not, you should leave him alone.

2. He doesn’t take you Anywhere


You “chill” at his place or yours- no where else. Ever. You send him a text suggesting you guys grab a drink or catch the latest movie at an actual theater, and he either doesn’t respond or changes the subject. He’s not being frugal, honey. He just doesn’t want to date you and wants to keep it casual.

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally hanging out at home. It’s a great way to get to know someone without having to be too pretentious. However, if a man never suggests that you go out on a date, there’s a problem.  Besides, there are plenty of inexpensive or free date ideas, like going to the beach, having lunch at a park, etc. There’s no excuses for him to not court you. You deserve to be taken out on dates, especially if you all have been seeing each other for a few months.

3. He doesn’t return your texts or phone calls



You shoot him a text or call him and he doesn’t respond. You think to yourself, he’s probably busy with work or classes. He is of course, allowed to have a life. An hour goes by and you don’t hear from him. Then  4 hours pass and still no response . You double text him.

Maybe he didn’t get my first text?

A full day has gone by and you still haven’t heard from him…A few days later he nonchalantly responds, and his response has absolutely nothing to do with what you texted him about. He doesn’t even bother giving you an excuse.

In this day-and-age, everyone carries their cellphones on them. It only takes a few seconds to respond to a text. Even if he texts you, “Hey I’m really busy right now, I’ll hit you up later,” that’s better then nothing.

He didn’t respond or text you first because he didn’t want to. It’s that simple. No one is too busy to respond to a text or phone call unless it’s some type of emergency. People make time for who or what they want to make time for. Effort should be mutual. You shouldn’t have to always text or call him first.

Stop texting him first and allow him to pursue you. If all communication stops, then he probably wasn’t that interested in you in the first place.

4. He says He’s not ready for a Relationship


You’ve been seeing this guy for a few months now. He makes you laugh, he’s great in bed and you feel like you can talk to him for hours on end. You really enjoy his company. He tells you he feels the same way, yet you’re constantly in confusion on the state of your relationship. You ask yourself, “what are we?” “Where is this going?” You may even feel silly asking him.

He tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship “right now,” because he’s working on himself or that he’s still not over his ex (which both sound like reasonable explanations), but he still has no problem scheduling late night romps with you. You know that you really do want a relationship, but you decide to stick around because you think you can change his mind, or because you are willing to get whatever little pieces of him that he’s willing to give you.

Don’t torture yourself. If you know you want to be in a relationship and he doesn’t want the same thing, then keep it moving. It’s not that he doesn’t want a relationship at all, he just doesn’t want a relationship with you. Yea, I know that bruises the ego a little bit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with you, you’re just not who he wants to make a life with .

Baking him that mean lasagna that Nana taught you how to make and doing acrobatics in the bedroom isn’t gonna change his mind, sweetheart. Nice try though.

If you are OK with just keeping it casual, then by all means, go ahead. There’s definitely no judgment here. But, if you have feelings for him and have already let him know how you feel, then move on. It will hurt at first, but you’ll get over it.

5. He’s Insecure


He doesn’t trust you. He’s constantly asking you, “Who is that guy that liked your photo on Instagram?” Or ” Where are you?” every hour while you’re out with your girls. He has to know your whereabouts throughout the day and texts you back to back. He needs constant reassurance of your feelings for him.

No matter how many times you tell him you love him or that you’re not seeing anyone else, he just doesn’t believe you. You have to be lying. He goes through your phone. He accuses you of cheating when you’re not.

This isn’t healthy. No one deserves to be smothered to death. He needs to love himself before he can truly love you. You can’t make him happy. No one can. He has to find that in himself. This relationship won’t go far and you’ll forever feel like a prisoner.Cut this guy out asap!

6. He lacks ambition


Photo taken by DieselDemon

He’s a slacker. He spends more time complaining about how horrible his life is than actually getting off of his ass and doing something about it. He doesn’t have a job and lives on his homeboy’s couch. He doesn’t want to go to college. He has a lot of dreams, but lacks the motivation to pursue them.This guy is dead weight.

I’m not talking about the guy who just got laid off and is actively seeking employment. This isn’t the guy who’s in grad school full time so he doesn’t have time to work. This guy is just lazy and complacent. He may even be a little resentful of your accomplishments.

There’s nothing wrong with dating a man who makes less money than you or doesn’t have a college education. You may find a lot of great men that fall into those categories. However, everyone should desire to grow into a better person. If he is just letting life pass him by and you’re moving forward with yours, he’ll just drag you down.

7. He’s already in a relationship


Photo taken by Katie Tegtmeyer

This should be a no brainer, but unfortunately with today’s “side chick” culture being normalized in pop culture, it isn’t. It’s one thing if you are not aware that he is in a relationship (I’ve been there), but if he is honest enough to tell you, then there’s no need to continue your relationship. No one deserves to be treated like a second option. You deserve someone that will focus their time, love, gifts and affection on you and you only. I’ll say it again, you only!

He may tell you that the other woman doesn’t mean anything to him (and he’s probably telling her the same thing about you too), or that he is going to leave her, he just needs time, but trust me, he won’t. And even if he does, do you really want someone like that? You already know his character. If he cheated on her with you, he’ll repeat the cycle with you. Don’t fool yourself. He’s using the both of you. He doesn’t deserve you.

At the end of the day, only you know what’s best for you and what truly makes you happy. Don’t stay in a dead-end relationship due to convenience or fear. If you are in a relationship that is not serving you and making you happy, then ask yourself “why am I in it?” Take time to think about it and move on. One day you’ll be glad you did.


Tyra Banks back on Primetime


Tyra Banks is making a return to daytime television with her new ABC show FabLife. The show premiers on September 14th. The hour long show will be coproduced by Banks, who will also host with Chrissy Tiegen, Joe Zee, Lauren Makk and Leah Ashley.

Banks went on a 6 year hiatus after her self-titled show Tyra in order to pursue her film company Bankable Productions and focus more on her hit show America’s Next Top Model.

Many thought that the former model was done with daytime television for good as she completed her business degree at Harvard and launched her own beauty line Tyra Beauty. She surprised some with her announcement about her return.

The Fablife will follow the format of The Real, The Chew and The View and will focus on beauty tips, fashion, food DIY and business.

The show will air on ABC on September 14 at 10 am EST.