T Minus 10 hours & Counting until the Swearing-in Ceremony

U Street

Today, I spent the majority of the day walking around the “Inauguration Washington, D.C.” As a person who calls this place “home” (my folks still live here), the District has really transformed into this buzzing and alive place. Obama hasn’t taken office yet but my “home” has changed already.

From the Historic U Street area to Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant to the Washington Monument and Mall, the streets were full of people. I couldn’t tell the tourists from the natives. And there were tons of street vendors. It appears as though hundreds of people have figured out how to make money in this troubling economy — sell anything with Barack or Michelle Obama on it. There were the standard souvenir fare like t-shirts, hats, buttons and posters. Yet, I also came across unique and somewhat strange items like Obama earrings and condoms. Yes, this city is alive with Obama-mania!

After walking around downtown and the Mall, I headed into the Smithsonian to warm up and re-familiar myself with my favorite museum. I then walked back to the U Street area to visit one of my favorite places: Busboys and Poets. It’s a unique spot that’s a restaurant, bookstore, bar and venue for artists. I love it. Following an hour long wait outside, I was able to enjoy a great dinner in one of the most eclectic places in town. (It is open 24/7 during the Inauguration festivities.)

My visit to D.C. (my home) has been almost magical. From getting tickets to the swearing-in ceremony to seeing my city with new eyes. I am hopeful that the “new” energy so easily seen in the nation’s capitol remains long after President-elect Obama has taken office tomorrow at 12 noon. Our new president has a tough road ahead to turn the state of the nation around (especially economically and in terms of international relations). Let’s all pledge to remember the excitement, hope and belief in the future of our country that we have right now. We’re going to need it.

Only a couple more hours until the ceremony….

signing off,

The Caramel Bella




Hush Beyoncé, You Spoiled the Secret

beyonce-singing

According to HollywoodLife.net, Superstar Beyoncé recently released a statement saying, “I am so honored that I will be performing for President Obama and the First Lady. To sing At Last while they have their first dance is a dream come true.”

This statement about her Inauguration 2009 performance is all good except for one thing – one big thing. It was supposed to be a secret. The site says the Presidential Inaugural Committee had hoped the song would remain “classified” until the President and his wife stepped on the floor for their first dance on inauguration night. Yikes, talk about letting the cat out of the bag.

Beyoncé’s inability to keep this bit of news hush-hush may be a surprise to her fans. After all, she kept her wedding plans to rapper Jay-Z a secret for months. Come on Beyoncé, where’s the tight-lipped Sasha Fierce when you need her?

Are you interested in hearing the original version of At Last by Etta James? Listen to the song at Last.fm. Eventhough Beyoncé has a golden voice, she has some legendary shoes to fill on this one.

xxoo, The Caramel Bella




CB’s Green Report: Post Turkey Day News

Free veggies anyone? More than 40,000 people showed up to pick free vegetables left over from the harvest at a Colorado farm about 37 miles north of Denver. The farm owners expected about 5,000 to 10,000 people to pick a few carrots and potatoes last Saturday. Instead, more than 11,000 cars showed up and the people picked the fields clean. Owner, Ms. Miller, told the Denver Post, “Overwhelmed is putting it mildly. People obviously need food.”

And in Los Angeles recently, Mayor Villaraigosa revealed his long-range plan to generate “enough solar power to meet one-tenth of the city’s energy needs by 2020.” His goal could be achieved if solar panels are installed on public and private energy generating facilities as well as on residents’ homes. This initiative will also help the city’s Department of Water and Power reduce its use of fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, and benefit global warming reduction efforts. If the Mayor’s plan were successful, Los Angeles would become the “hub of the solar-energy industry.”

The White House may become a “green” house. In the recent Barbara Walters interview with President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, Obama said that he wants to make the White House green. He plans to work with the chief usher for house and evaluate his new home’s energy efficiency. When asked why the focus on greening the house, Obama said, “Part of what I want to do is to show the American people that it’s not that hard.”

Global warming is a global concern. Although the global economy is in the pits right now, HSBC bank’s second annual global poll found that 43 percent think climate change is a bigger problem than the financial crisis. And 78 percent of those polled want their countries to do their “fair share” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the global citizens polled want their governments to fight global warming, invest in renewable energy (55 percent), and participate in climate talks (27 percent), as individuals, these people are less willing to change their own lifestyle than last year (47 percent in 2008 vs. 58 percent in 2007). Have they ever heard the expression that change begins with YOU?

So if you are a big greenie, where can you meet like-minded individuals? Funny you should ask. There is a new social networking site called Greenwala. The site is designed to help people learn more about being green, brag about their green works with family and friends.




Obama Wins….Yes We Did!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

“Yes, we did” was the resounding chant last night at the California Obama Headquarters event in downtown LA at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel. As Obama won the key swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, the chant became louder and louder among the several-thousand strong throng of supporters and activists. The words turned from a murmur into a roar when CNN reported that Senator Barack Obama had been declared the next president of the United States of America.

For many people, the cheers turned to tears. And the crowd began hugging, kissing and high-fiving each other. “Obama! Obama! Obama” would erupt from all corners of the room. People of all races, ethnicities and ages turned to their neighbors beside them and said, “Yes we did. Yes, we did.”

As Obama’s victory speech was played on the big screen, the crowd watched with full attention. Men and women of all ages really began to cry with Obama’s mention of history being made.

I spoke to a middle-aged black man who was in tears during Obama’s speech. He said, “I can’t believe it. I thought I would never live to see the day when an African American was elected president.”

I also spoke with a 31-year-old white man named Mark Lafferty, who said he had never been more proud of this country. His words were reminiscent of Michelle Obama’s words only months ago.

The celebration really began after Obama’s speech ended and the balloons and confetti filled the room. His supporters worked, played, prayed, cried and now… partied together as their candidate made history for the American people.

Comedian David Allan Grier, DJ Z-Trip, artist Shepard Fairey, Mayor Villaraigosa, spoken word artists Sekou Andrews and Steve Connell, and gospel group, Mary Mary, took the stage to kick off the celebration.

And all throughout the night, you could feel energy of the room vibrating and hear someone chanting: “Yes, we did” with a face full of hope for tomorrow.

Note: Also posted at Pop + Politics




Caramel Bella @ DNC: Michelle Obama’s Speech “Just like Mom”

Last night I attended the opening night of the Democratic National Convention and heard Michelle Obama speak. And I caught myself feeling as though I was listening to someone’s sister or mother, or even my own.

Although Mrs. Obama’s speech was written to garner political support for her husband’s presidential candidacy, I believe her speech last night was devised for a greater goal. Michelle Obama’s words were part of the campaign’s strategy to soften and re-make her image and the importance of family.

The criticism of Mrs. Obama seemed to begin after her comments at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin campaign stop in February, in which she said:

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.”

Although Mrs. Obama contends that her words were taking out of context, and that she has always been proud of her country, her critics call her unpatriotic. Mrs. Obama has also been caricaturized as the “Angry Black Woman” and rumors have circulated that she calls people “whiteys.”

A New York Times article quoted Michelle Obama as saying that her calling anyone “whitey” couldn’t be further from the truth.

“You are amazed sometimes at how deep the lies can be,” she says in an interview. Referring to a character in a 1970s sitcom, she adds: “I mean, ‘whitey’? That’s something that George Jefferson would say. Anyone who says that doesn’t know me. They don’t know the life I’ve lived. They don’t know anything about me.”

So, it wasn’t surprising to me that Mrs. Obama’s speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention would seek to discredit these rumors and alleged misunderstandings of her. Mrs. Obama wants the world to understand the real Michelle Obama: a mother, a wife, and a daughter. She wants us to feel as though she is one of us, and that family is most important.

In her speech, Michelle Obama says: “I come here tonight as a sister blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and lifelong friend. I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary husband. I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center.”

To further drive the importance of family home, Mrs. Obama was introduced by her brother, Craig, and began her speech with several mentions to her relationship with her father, who she can feel looking down on her.

In addition to trying to soften her image, Mrs. Obama sought to paint a picture of herself and Obama as two kids from working class families, who have overcome obstacles to achieve the American dream. Mrs. Obama firmly believes that through hard work and faith, anything is possible.

Michelle Obama speech was used to tell the American people that the Obama family is just like yours. We have “common values and a common purpose” – a new theme now used by the Obama campaign. Their values include “your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.”

And I believe Mrs. Obama’s DNC speech sought to dispel the July 21, 2008 cover of The New Yorker magazine, which depicted Mrs. Obama as an angry, militant black woman, and Obama as a Muslim terrorist.

I think Mrs. Obama hoped that Americans watching and listening to her speech could maybe, just maybe, close their eyes and simply hear the words of a mother, a sister or wife of someone they knew.




Obama family on September Essence cover
Obama Family on Essence

 

Check out the September issue of Essence magazine. It features the Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama’s family. I don’t want to spoil the story so pick up your copy today.

Beautiful! Where is the McCain family? John & Cindy McCain get out there!

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella

 




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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