The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Book Review

He realized: If I can learn to understand this language without words, I can learn to understand the world (Coelho 44).

I have kept this book with me for years, but never had the time, energy, and comfort to pick up a book and finish it til its last page. It wasn’t until a couple months ago when I first started the book, in hopes of finding inspiration of some sort in regards to my journey as an ‘entrepreneur & singer’. I just would like to say that this book hit home for me and contained gems that one cannot overlook. This book helped to relight a small fire I had burning in me. To provide a general summary, the book entails the journey of a shepherd boy who is sent out by the old king to meet the Alchemist in hopes of discovering treasure miles and miles away from his home. Along the way, he meets people, a sign and omen, who encourage him to never give up. The message of the book truly resonated with me as sometimes it is easy to feel discouraged and disheartened when things don’t go as planned, or when fear overtakes ambition & passion. But this book reminds you to follow you Personal Legend in spite of your fears, because in the end you will regret not pursuing your dreams more than failing. When you put your heart, soul, and tears towards your dreams, nature communicates with you in return by attracting positive things to your life to guide you in your journey. And as someone who is fighting for my dreams as well, I can relate to the boy in the story as I have felt the spirit & presence of those guiding me to achieve my dreams– for the purpose of serving the greater good. I don’t think there is a lesson more powerful than that. If you are someone who is starting out or simply find yourself looking for inspiration in your own journey, I recommend you took give this book a read. I took note of some of my favorite quotes early in the book that I would like to share with you.

The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it” (Coelho 22).

“In alchemy, it’s called the Soul of the World. When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s always a positive force” (Coelho 78).

For those who are looking for a short but powerful read, especially during this quarantine, I would recommend ya’ll to check this book out. Promise you won’t regret it.

(click here to purchase The Alchemist on Amazon)

The Help (2011): Movie Review

First off, I would like to start off by saying that I’m particularly picky about the kinds of movies I watch.
I normally watch movies that contain relevance to the culture, social issues, offer insight into theories/ phenomenons, crime, or simple entertainment such as dark humor comedies– as you can probably tell from my previous posts. And so when I saw this movie on Netflix, I was eager to share with you my thoughts & review on it.
I had been meaning to watch the movie The Help (can’t believe this movie is almost a decade old and is more relevant now than ever), and it was interesting to watch the modern take of 1960’s racism. The main cast of the movie includes Emma Stone as Eugenia Skeeter, Bryce Howard as Hilly Holdbrook, and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson– all of whom did a brilliant job as actors to convey and deliver the message of the movie across to their viewers. While racism has improved, we do have to take note of the overt and blanket racism that existed in the 60’s produced by the Jim Crow laws that were enacted in the late 1800’s & onward. In the movie, white households hired black servants to not only watch over their children but also act as a doormat for their personal rage and frustration. You will also see how they were used as pons to boss around and show off to their fellow acquaintance. And as a person of color, this broke my heart to see. These servants not only served their ‘white masters’ but were ultimately owned by them. And this act was entirely legal & condoned. While we can say this phenomenon no longer happens in modern day to this extent, we may see this behavior present in smaller ways through daily human interaction via micro aggression, the job hiring process, etc. While I personally don’t think there is an exact blame towards anyone since it has become a practice engrained into our minds and government system.. it is our willful ignorance & lack of knowledge (and admittedly mine as well long ago) that perpetuates cycles of racial discrimination and injustice in our world. I can commend the improvement we have witnessed throughout the decades, I know there is much more we can do as human beings with integrity and a basic fundamental understanding of human rights, to make this world a much better and safe place for future generations to live in.

If ya’ll have a chance or may have piqued any of your interest (due to the current racial & political climate), I’d recommend to give The Help a go on Netflix.
While it is a much light hearted version of systemic racism & oppression, it does contain a powerful message about humanity and where we stand collectively as citizens of the law. And at that I’ll leave you with this.

“See, courage isn’t just about being brave. 
Courage is daring to do what is right in spite of the weakness of our flesh.”
— The Help

KJazz 2019 Newsletter

I know it’s been a while since I have last updated ya’ll on any KJazz events.
As you can probably suspect, not much has been going as of 2020 in consideration of the pandemic and the political climate that has ensued only recently in the last week.

We are currently worked behind the scenes in preparation for the upcoming year, if not next year, if possible & if times permit. I have submitted a draft of the 2020 newsletter only a month ago, but in my predication, by the looks of it, it appears that KJazz won’t be releasing and/or hosting much if any events this year.

In the meanwhile, KJazz stands by the black community– hoping that music will help to bring inspiration & hope in such unprecedented and heartbreaking times.

In the meanwhile & if you would like, feel free to check out our most recent newsletter Looking Back At 2019 & Getting Jazzed for 2020 written by my supervisor & yours truly.

much love x Lo

Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eh eh

“What’s Going On” is the eleventh studio album by American soul singer, songwriter, and producer Marvin Gaye. It was released on May 21, 1971, by the Motown Records-subsidiary label Tamla.

Thought this song perfectly captures the pain & sadness I’m experiencing for what is currently happening
in the midst of all the riots.

Enjoy x Lo

BLM Movement 2020: Little Help Will Go A Long Way

These times have been a bit overwhelming for me to say the least.
As you have probably seen on the news.. riots are breaking out everywhere in the cities.
In Los Angeles, they have broken out in Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, Santa Ana, & just recently, Koreatown area where I am hearing police sirens go off every couple hours.
Other cities include: Atlanta, Minneapolis, New York, Miami, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Washington D.C. to name a few.
And it saddens me to see people suffering & in pain. It’s absolutely heart breaking.
However, while I do not condone violence, I also know that these protests are very much needed in our times today.
I also thought I’d mention that while I also stand by the black community, I feel the loots are unnecessary and uncalled for because it makes the black community look bad. These people are resorting to pure chaos & violence that will not solve the issue at hand.
It’s not for justice & humanity, but for pure greed & lack of moral integrity is one thing I cannot tolerate.

As a sociology graduate, witnessing this pandemonium unravel (on top of COVID pandemic) saddens me but gives me hope in the future as well. I know, sometimes for myself, I struggle to show my support although I feel it in me. And so, these times have become somewhat of a blessing in disguise as I reevaluate my stance & values & the ways in which I can further support the POC community & incorporate that into my lifestyle.

Needless to say, though I know this fight for the black community; I stand by them as they express their frustration & suffering. I can not continue about my day without expressing my support for them in which way I can.

Because I am almost positive there will be massive change to repair & comfort those feel broken.
And though this change may not entirely eradicate systems of oppression, I know we are one step closer to where we need to be.

For those, like myself, who have not attended any protests, any efforts of support (big or small) makes all the difference. Every effort is worthwhile.
Below are some of the ways you can participate/ support:

  • sign petitions
  • post on social media
  • start meaningful & thought provoking conversation about race
  • provide any sort of emotional support for the black community
  • begin researching
  • donate to black non-profits

My first chosen non-profit to donate to was Black Visions Collective. Black Visions’s mission is to incorporate self healing behind the strive for black liberation. Freedom starts with the self & and so their missions allow individuals to speak up for themselves & the community. Funds will help national coalitions & campaigns needed for long-term change. You can find out more about Black Visions Collective here.

The second is Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code’s mission is to help increase black female involvement in the STEM field through exposure to computer science and technology. This will allow black females opportunities to fill computing job openings and increase African American representation within the STEM field. I completely support the development of black females lives. You can find out more about Black Girls Code here.

Lastly, the third was Reclaim the Block, which is an extension of Black Visions Collective within the Minneapolis area. Reclaim the Block pushes for community-led initiatives reducing reliance on police force. Reclaim the block will also provide support to those with addictions while help fund for the shortfalls of COVID 19. Donations will go towards paying local artists, offering food at community meetings, making copies, and more. to allow for safer and healthier spaces within the community.

Thanks for reading ya’ll & remember these times are crucial & so whichever way you may support, MATTERS.

much much love x Lo

News Update: Shooting of Ahmaud Arbery

R.I.P. Ahmaud Arbery.

It truly breaks my heart that race is still an issue that continues to separate us. After study Sociology throughout college, it really made me doubt whether it is something that the human race can completely eradicate from their lives. But quite frankly, I don’t think it is.. Might be me being cynical, but I can only wish that it is the conscious decisions (though minor but with drastic impact) on the individual level that can bring about great change so incident like this don’t happen. And though I am glad things have improved drastically since centuries ago, I also know that people are still hurting.

For those unfamiliar, Ahmaud Arbery was a 25 year old African American jogging on Holmes Road in the Satilla Shores neighborhood in South Georgia. He was later confronted by two white resident, a father & son, who go by the name Gregory & Travis McMichael. Gregory & Travis, who suspected that Arbery was the cause for neighbors break-ins. Both then initiated a physical altercation which then led to the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, in which Travis was the alleged shooter in the incident.
While the case is still going current investigation, many claim it was a product of a federal hate crime. And I do not doubt it.

My only wish is that as we continue to push for affirmative action, the world will be a much safer place to live in.

Feel free to read more about the case here on CNN.

R&B Singer: H.E.R.

Soo, I’ve been following H.E.R. for the longest time.
H.E.R., who birth name is Gabriella Wilson, (get ready) is a half- African American & half filipino Grammy-Winner guitarist, singer, & songwriter.
A mouthful, but the reason why she is such an inspiration to me as an aspiring singer.
H.E.R. has been in the music scene since she was a little girl, but only recently began making moves. H.E.R. is a reinvention from her older self and a new identity she adopted to signify the maturity and evolution in her artistry.
She’s super woman who not only has an amazing voice, but is also skilled in guitar & writes her own music too too.
To me, her music stands out from the rest of the artist in today’s generation of music because of its’ soulful & blues vibe.
A Bad woman if you ask me! She’s one of the many you’ll definitely being a lot about here.
Some of my favorite songs from her are below & would love for ya’ll to take a listen x Lo

(click here to purchase Every Kind Of Way on Amazon)

(click here to purchase Hard Place (Single Version) on Amazon)

(click here to purchase Slide [Explicit] on Amazon)