BEN ROBINSON INTRODUCES: #blackmusicmonth Vol. 1

BEN ROBINSON INTRODUCES: #blackmusicmonth Vol. 1

Sit back. Switch off Lorraine Kelly.. And kick back with your favourite drink as Ben Robinson attempts to educate with his series of videos on black culture. From Philadelphia Ben Robinson is a new guest writer/blogger on ohDearyme, currently residing in Atlanta in the US. 

As a black gay man surviving America’s nightmare Ben has dedicated this time in history towards educating people about the beauty of black culture, whether they want to hear it or not.

I met Ben through my content on ohDearyme – whilst competing in a worldwide competition where we were selected and finalised to the last few. It was over ten years ago now. When the internet was.. ‘kinda cool’. Trolling didn’t quite exist yet. Katie Hopkins hadn’t started out on twitter. Ben ‘came out’ to a few of us on the dancefloor. I have no idea how Ben felt disclosing that as he searched our faces for a reaction. There were a few of us from very different cultures from across the world all stuck together for a week getting drunk and trying to win a tour across the world. I wonder now, if I was a bit dismissive as I shrugged my shoulders and replied ‘oh’. But he is far better placed to talk about anything to do with #racism, being part of the LGBTQ+ community and indeed the #blacklivesmatter movement than most I’d say. Especially me. 

” Through the power of words Ben is determined to encourage every black person to use their voices to combat the treachery of racism, and to never stop believing in the beauty that is our culture.”

So it is time Ben! The platform is yours. And hopefully the world is listening. And if not. Then I am.

You can follow Ben on Instagram @bentheoutspoken or email him at writer.benrobinson@gmail.com

BeckiBXx

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If you’d like to be a guest writer/videographer on ohDearyme please submit ideas and thoughts to me at beckiburrows@gmail.com

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MUSIC: CHROMEO ‘QUARANTINE CASANOVA’ EP

chromeo

Chromeo are one of my favourite duo’s. So when this email bounced into my inbox with some new quarantine lockdown tunes what else could I do? Yes! To not bounce it right on back – but to pass the good news on.. to you. YOU. You’re welcome. Check out the new EP below..

CHROMEO’S QUARANTINE CASANOVA EP OUT TODAY FIVE NEW SONGS WRITTEN AND RECORDED UNDER LOCKDOWN PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT KNOW YOUR RIGHTS CAMP’S COVID-19 RELIEF FUND 

June 12, 2020—Legendary funklordz Chromeo debut Quarantine Casanova, an EP of five new tracks written and recorded under lockdown, today. In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in recognition of COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black and POC communities, 100% of net proceeds from digital downloads, physical sales and merch will be donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp COVID-19 Relief Fund. Chromeo is also working on an animated short for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to accompany the EP and raise awareness about mental health issues surrounding the global pandemic. Stream Quarantine Casanova here and get physical formats, merch and digital download here.

“Honestly, it started as a joke,” says Chromeo frontman Dave 1. “At the beginning of quarantine, we hunkered down in our studio, freestyled a song called ‘Clorox Wipe’ and posted it online to cheer people up. The response was overwhelming. So we wrote another one, and another one. Fans kept asking if we were going to release them for real, so after a couple of weeks, we obliged.” “As usual, it’s a high brow-low brow thing with us,” adds synth master P-Thugg. “These are obviously the funniest tracks we’ve ever written, but they connected in such a visceral way. We figured if we were to put them out, there would have to be a charity and an awareness component.” The band took two weeks to properly record and produce the tracks, and Quarantine Casanova was born. With titles like “6 Feet Away” and “Stay In Bed (And Do Nothing)” the songs touch on all the topics du jour, including paper towel shortages, social media cooking crazes, avoiding Zoom meeting and yelling at people who don’t wear masks. But they’re also disarmingly honest about anxiety, depression and existential ennui. Set to Chromeo’s signature catchy melodies and analog grooves, they happen to be the funkiest synth jamz this side of 2020.  The EP is the first new music from Chromeo since 2018, when their fifth album Head Over Heels was released to critical acclaim. Since then, the duo has kept busy with two years’ worth of shows and more recently, the launch of their very own label Juliet Records, which will see the release of inaugural signee Ian Isiah’s forthcoming AUNTIE project this summer. This marks a new chapter for the band, and the first time they’re stepping out to produce and mentor other artists. Chromeo is the Grammy-nominated duo of Montreal natives and high school best friends David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel. The group — now 15 years into their storied career — rose to prominence with their seminal 2007 release Fancy Footwork, heralding the dawn of the ‘80s electro-funk revival. Their five LPs have been hailed as modern funk masterworks and Chromeo has toured the world over.

CHROMEO—QUARANTINE CASANOVA             

1. Clorox Wipe
2. 6 Feet Away
3. Stay In Bed (And Do Nothing
4. ‘Roni Got Me Stressed Out
5. Cabin Fever

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NEW MUSIC: Artcha ‘AVALANCHE’ ft. Benny Bizzie

Artcha James

“Don’t fall a victim to your fears… must be a story to your tears”

The song is called Avalanche to depict what can happen when one event goes unnoticed and can lead to catastrophic events.

Current location: North London
Current happiness levels out of 10: 6
Favourite film: Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee)
Favourite musician: Difficult but I have to say the late great TY was and is phenomenal 
Favourite artist: I am obsessed with Eska. She is out of this world
Favourite book: Brave New World
Favourite colour: Blue

Hey Artcha how you doing!? How is 2020 going for you!?!?! So your new release Avalanche was released at midnight ‘last’ night. What’s the track about?

Strange times, right? Understatement. Weirdly enough Avalanche was written and recorded before recent events (lockdown, George Floyd) which actually speaks for itself as this is exactly how I felt in general back in February. I had written the first verse in Jan originally for an extended freestyle I wanted to record but the more I read the lyrics, the more it was obvious this was actually the beginning of ‘a’ song (the music had not been written yet). As the year progressed and I found time to compose, the melody hypnotised me for a week and I hadn’t written any drum pattern or baseline, I was just obsessed with this melody that was forming. It felt haunting yet angelic and there was something anti-cerebral about the process.

It sounds cliche but the song began to write itself…

I just need to catch up to the pace of mind. I heard it before it was finished. From this point I knew I had a song, it was just missing another verse and a chorus. Originally I wanted several artists on the song so I sent it out to about seven artists… but no-one replied…Lol (there is a lesson here).

Released 5th June 2020

Anyway I continued adding to the record with various sounds and different arrangements and finally an artist came back to me. Benny. However we are now in full lockdown so collaborating in the studio was a no no. Thankfully, Benny has his own set up and was able to record at home. For context, Benny was planning to have a musical break at the moment he received my call… thank God he changed his mind! Our chemistry from a distance was great, we began to be in constant communication about ideas, direction, details in my verses that would shape his chorus. Long story short through various voice notes, texts and emails we began to shape Avalanche. 

You’re releasing this during the George Floyd tragedy in America and #blacklivesmatter. Was the timing of it’s release purposeful?
What is so uncanny, is the timing of the song. We scheduled the release at the beginning of May – song was mixed and mastered, artwork had been signed off and the campaign had begun.

All before the disgusting murder of George Floyd and the protests in America and now London. As time was getting closer to our release date I became nervous and felt uncomfortable releasing music at such a time. I did not want to self promote when there were bigger more important issues to focus on. However, talks with the Club FRSHRZ team and Benny made me realise, actually, this song in retrospect was prophetic and was timely and spoke to the feelings of the time. We must release it.  

Can you introduce us to @bennybizzie
I love the fact you picked out “Don’t fall a victim to your fears… must be a story to your tears” as it is one of my favourite lines from Benny. Benny Bizzie is an incredible singer-songwriter from North London and you all need to follow him and listen to his extensive catalogue. I am really thankful, proud, overwhelmed and empowered about Avalanche, the responses have been incredible, many connected with the song personally. 

You mention MC Hammer – was he a big influence in your music?!

Lol. Yes! MC Hammer was a legend growing up, me and my sister used to practise dance moves to his videos. I also admire what he did for popular Hip-Hop, a really important link in the chain to many artists after him. Plus its a great double entendre. 

 
What are your influences musically wise – and who should we be listening to!? 
Undoubtedly, TY, Radiohead, Mos Def, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Wretch 32 and you all need to listen to ESKA and her 2015 album of the same name. 


How is your corona lockdown going!? 
It’s tricky. I’ve experienced personal tragedy so of course I feel cheated. My big bro TY was just one of those tragedies. On the other side it has forced me to be more creative. I became a film-maker. lol. Filmed, edited, storyboarded and animated my first music video/short film. Thank God for Amazon prime, YouTube tutorials and bottomless creativity!

So sorry to hear this. Xx

 You’re releasing this during the George Floyd tragedy in America. Was the timing of it’s release purposeful? 
This is a great question and the question I expected from many, but as I explained earlier this was completely unplanned by me, us, but I do believe God has a different plan. I believe that more now that it has been released from the reactions we are receiving. The making of the video was heavily influenced by recent events hench the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ because I wanted to document this moment in history more explicity than the lyrics of the song.


“Enhance the youth and tell the truth to yourself and mean it…”I love that sentence.. can you expand on this.. 
Thank you. It is a motto I try to live by. I think our responsible is to ensure the next generations have guidance and encouragement but in order to be fully effective we have to be true to ourselves and admit where we have gone wrong.

“I see injustice and my blood boils and curdles they speak more Gummidge than Wurzel.. I got my ‘Blue Peter’ Badge in survival…” can you expand…
Ha. Yes I do like to include pop culture references for those of a similar age or experience. The start of that lyric is raw and really reflects how much corruption we have experienced, this is countered with ‘Gummidge’ suggesting sh*t or rubbish and by saying I got my Blue Peter badge I am suggesting we have been here before, we have the t-shirt, the official badge! More metaphors and double entendres. Sometimes only I get it.  


You’re based in Tottenham – how has it been in that area with the protests and lockdown? 
Tottenham is a real community area contrary to media publicity, people generally look out for one another – it is so diverse it would be extraordinary to witness blatant racism or discrimination. A few protests have passed through the area, all calm and specific. I have noticed a heavier police presence all of a sudden. Regarding lockdown, again the community has complied with government rules, forming nice queues outside of Tesco.  

How do you believe we can all support #blacklivesmatter … how can people become more educated – do you have any links to films or significant documentaries that you believe are an important watch? 
I truly believe more open forums are the best ways to learn and educate ourselves. I think not having the conversation at all is unhealthy but I understand some people may be uncomfortable, but regardless the conversations need to be had, not lectures, but conversations with questions and informed responses. There is too much online and I would not want to direct people to unvalidated sources. Speak, talk, discuss, learn. I think we should all invest in Black owned business, media platforms and of course education. The curriculum in the UK urgently needs to change to reflect the ethnicity of our schools. The song is called Avalanche to depict what can happen when one event goes unnoticed and can lead to catastrophic events.


How do you write your music – does it just flow!? Or do you sit down to write?
How long is a piece of string? It varies. Lines will come to me shopping or walking through the park. I do like to write lyrics to music to really capture the energy of the song and the cadence but Avalanche came in parts and I put it together like a meal or a puzzle, Benny added the spices. Benny and I recently talked about the writing process and it seems I lean more into writing on my phone then on paper; a sharp contrast from the yesteryears of multiple A4 books (I still have these from the early days).

What book are you currently reading?! 
At the moment I am reading ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ by Joyce Meyer and recently finished ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight – I like contrasts.   

Favourite 80s film!
Oooh. This is almost impossible. My favourite century of film. For today it will be ‘The Breakfast Club’, tomorrow it will be Platoon.  

Your song talks about the PM and him being untrustworthy – thoughts on Boris.. and er Trump..
….I have no good words to say about them.

Heh heh. Fair enough. If you enjoyed this – then please share, tweet and support.

You can purchase Avalanche HERE! Watch the video again HERE!

If you enjoyed this – then please share, tweet and support. Oh I just said that.

Thanks for reading.. BeckiBXx

#avalanche #blacklivesmatter @Artcha @clubfrshrz and distribution @believemusic_uk

You can hear more from Artcha here:

My albums #urbantalesvol1 and #urbantalesvol2 are now on my artcha.bandcamp.com

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DATING DIARY: The curses of dating…

DATING DIARY: The curses of dating…

Dating. 

Dating in your late 30’s. Well. Let me just say one thing. It seems rather an horrific experience (ha. Pretty strong word there!). 

Obviously I wasn’t in the best place to date for the last few years. Because of my hip crumbling (which of course I have to mention every five minutes but it was a horrible experience) and ending up on crutches and then a zimmer frame. Well it turned out that funnily enough a zimmer frame isn’t a major turn on for most men! Most men my age anyway. 

So.. I’m in my late 30’s. And still in lockdown (basically am never getting out this flat am I?) and I decided to download Bumble. And well I hate online dating. It can be a bit shallow, as well as overwhelming trying to keep up with the messaging. Not to mention the anxiety around meeting IRL (in real life). I of course, would much rather be carrying some books in say… the British Library and bump into a dreamy guy who accidentally knocks them out of my hand.. then… *yeah you know the score*. But! That ain’t gonna happen! So… Bumble it is!

I’d say I’m feeling quite slow to this ‘growing up’ game. I forgot to schedule the ‘get married and have babies’ in to my game plan. And I was (perhaps naively) quite surprised when my girlfriends started dropping like flies.. “I’m pregnant!”.. “we’ll go on that trip again soon though”.. “oh shit.. that’s on hold I’m pregnant again!”… FFS. Well… let’s just say that was an unexpected change to friendship dynamics. 

Especially if you’re the only one in the group who doesn’t go down that road. 

If you were ever enforced to watch Catherine Cookson dramas on a Sunday evening as a kid – pregnancy and giving birth put the fear of God into me. Basically the woman would either die giving birth or would have a knitting needle stuck up her to get rid of the pregnancy. It was set in the 1900’s but still.

I have also never been able to watch CH4’s “One Born Every Minute”. So. Yes. I’m scared to death of being pregnant, to giving birth, to the reality that in todays’ day and age there is a huge chance I’d be probably be a single mother (however that doesn’t concern me as much as it used to). Add a bit of climate change on top of that. And the witnessing of my parents relationship and how one decision affects the rest of your life. Well, yeah it’s all a bit scary.

I have a tendency to attract younger men (hmmmm maybe I’m more motherly than I think hahaha)… and I have been told before that because of my age that ‘oh you’ll probably want babies soon’ to which when I told my male mate he couldn’t understand why I found that a bit offensive. “Well because it’s presumptious”.. “plus it’s a privilege for a woman to have a baby with you and to assume I’d be ‘keen’ to have his was a bit ego-bloody-tistical”.

And so – back to Bumble. (Sorry digressing this post is ALL OVER THE PLACE).

My experience thus far seems to be that the men of my age have mainly been married, had babies and seem to be once burnt twice shy. Fair enough.

Then there are the guys that are married or have girlfriends. And well. There’s ‘girl code’ for one. Not to mention how relaxed can you be if you’re going to be constantly anxious about STD’s. 

I do however, know women who are in this boat and for whom this works for. But I worry that they’re just kidding themselves that they don’t mind the situation. I guess in a way it’s easier to date someone when you know it’s not going to go anywhere. There’s something strangely ‘safe’ in that. Because then. You don’t need to risk, you don’t need to be vulnerable, you know exactly where the relationship is at in a way.

The last time I had a guy in my flat he apparently ‘jokingly’ asked ‘how much I charge’. Told me about his ‘part time girlfriend’. And then acted offended when I told him he was a bit of a c*nt. It is situations like this – where you think you might as well start charging and making some cash out of it all. Or indeed become polyamory. However, neither of those situations would work for me. I don’t think. *Offended much!!?!??!?!

I tend to run some of my more ‘red flag’ dating experiences past my “best mate male friend” with a “is this normal.. I’m not sure I even know anymore…”.

But, look. Let’s face it. We all make mistakes trying to attract the opposite (or same) sex. My buddy told me this story about how he slept with this lady after he had just broken up with his girlfriend and he said that when he ‘finished’ he was on top of her and just blurted out loud “OH I WISH I HADN’T DONE THAT”. Whether she head butted him in response or not I do not know. 

But yes. Dating. It can be pretty terrifying.

I’ve heard men moan (and not in a good way) about how they have felt deceived by women online. They were older/shorter/fatter/uglier than they made out so I decided to be honest on my bumble profile that ‘I’m a few pounds overweight’ due to my hip replacement (has it been five minutes yet?) and trying to get my mobility back on track. I’m trying to shake the ‘I can’t do that until I’m skinny again’. It’s a curse and sometimes a good excuse to avoid intimacy I guess.

So it’s interesting seeing how guys react to this. If I downplay myself. It can only go up from there right?!?!?!

Cue.. the cringe. Why did I just post this on my blog…. heh.

I’m following BodyPosiPanda on instagram. She helps.. BODYPOSIPANDA

If you’d like to write a guest Dating Diary anonymous or not please inbox me at beckiburrows@gmail.com…

BeckiBXx

@ohdearyme

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Love Is a Dirty Word.

Kew Gardens

Love.

Love is a dirty word.
It started out in childhood
And it got. All very confused. 

If it was ever said at all.
It was easily misconstrued.  
And was either half hearted or never really said in truth. 

And when she grew up.
And she was urged to trust.
It all just felt… far too much. 

As she tried to figure out
How love was meant to touch. 

Her heart. 

She finally figured that she was stuck 
The narcissists trap suffocating her in it’s clutch
Perverse amusement as darkness thundered 

A magnificent web of lies the master of deceit 
As he whispered in her ear 
A dirty pool licked at her feet 

Lost souls imprisoned attempting to escape
As water turned to quicksand and the clock jumped a beat 
The future already here, the narcissist long gone

A story planned out since time begun.
A contradictory perverse mind
Some souls sinking deeper as the narcissists song echoed on.

Her mind harmonised to a frequency she hung on
Trying to gather her energy up.
Listening to others that claimed to hold the key that would release the devils evil clutch.

The gate of freedom she was told was not far 
The bright yellow suns warmth holding her there… 

Love. 

Love was a dirty word. 
She’d always felt. 
But not anymore she understood as her heart started to melt. 

It was only then she could see.. 
That she was starting to break free…
From the narcissists clutch.

Becki Bx

© All words and images copyrighted and owned by Rebecca Burrows 2020 and not to be used without permission.






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