Thursday, April 26, 2012


Last week, I contacted someone (who shall remain nameless) to assist me in coordinating some logistical details about an idea I had. This woman proceeded to tell me--at almost every turn-- that I would probably not be able to achieve my goal. This is a woman, too, who works in an industry of dreams and who works daily with dreamers like me.

Now, I know it's super-easy to go all cynical when you're dealing with Hollywood: the most talented folks don't often get the brass ring. Situations everything thought was a "sure bet" often turn out to be the worst investments in the history of mankind. I get it. Believe me, I do!  

In that moment-- when I was saying to myself "I think I can," and this woman was telling me "you can't," I thought about all the times in my life that I wanted to do something--crazy, bold, out of the ordinary-- and the folks who told me the odds were stacked against me. Like when I decided I wanted to be an actress; or write/direct/star in and produce a movie, or complete a book! With each of these ideas, there were people along the way who told me it could not be done and made elaborate lists detailing why. I now have a standard response when I am encountered by naysayers; I simply smile and nod. That's it. I don't try to argue with them, debate them or even offer my point of view. I simply smile and nod, then I walk away, fired up even more about my dreams and making detailed lists of how I WILL achieve them. 

Some folks discourage others because they think they're "protecting you" from disappointment, hurt or pain. Others are downright indignant because, well, who the hell are you to think you can dream that big? Still others can't wrap their brains around your idea because they haven't been able to realize their own dreams. NONE of these things have anything to do with you, so keep on doing what your doing: creating. dreaming. executing.

Sometimes, it's best to hold your biggest dreams close. Let it be your delicious little secret as you quietly take the actions necessary toward making it a reality.

Keep Rising,


Friday, April 13, 2012

When I stepped outside the zone, I found...

Yesterday, I travelled from NY to the San Francisco International Women's Film Festival for a screening of BUTTERFLY RISING (screens Saturday, April 14 at 3PM at the Roxie Theater! Come on out if you're in San Fran!:) Anyhoo, I travel a lot and so I have a pretty good routine that works for me; little things like bringing my own food from home, having moisturizer for my face (and my lips! WOW!) and listening to my iPod with my favorite tunes.

This time, instead of listening to the stuff I knew I liked, I decided to check out what Virgin Airlines had in it's built-in-box o' 'entertainment' etched in the back of the seat in front of mine.

I clicked on "listen" and discovered ADELE! Now, I am firmly aware that I am VERY late to this party (as my friend @kgmoll has chastised, LOL!!!), but, I will tell you what I told her: I am a perennial late bloomer-- always have been. I always feel like I'm the last to know about what's cool, hip, in or "in trend". I would have never discovered Adele had I not gone out of my comfort zone--doing things that were habitual. I LOVE ADELE.

I also do something I rarely do--watch TV. Yes, that's right. Instead of the local channels, though, I check out PBS--there was a fantastic documentary on Willie Mays. Now, I am NOT a sports fan AT ALL. I was only vaguely aware of the hall of famer, but I was captivated not so much by WHAT he did, but WHO he is. In one example of his extreme generosity, the PBS reporter talked about how Willie, in an effort to raise money for charity, donated THE CLOTHES OFF HIS BACK. I had never heard of anything so wonderful in all my life. THE CLOTHES OFF HIS BACK! WOW. That was something to be admired.

That said, I got an invite the participate in the NY AIDS walk on May 20. I have never gone but I just joined my team (my talent agents here in NY) and I'm gonna walk for AIDS! My mother, Debra Fraser Howze, founded a terrific organization called the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS back in the late 80's when very little was known about the disease, when people were afraid of it, and, if you had it, it was automatically a death sentence. A lot has changed about AIDS, but what hasn't changed is that it is still a disease that takes the lives of thousands of folks every year.

Please donate whatever you can. xo

Keep Rising,



Monday, April 2, 2012

Life is like...Tai Chi!


I've had to juggle many things--simultaneously--of late: film festival screening stops for BUTTERFLY RISING (including an upcoming national roll-out); writing/directing projects; travel/shooting schedule for TRUE BLOOD; book events; auditions and, well, my personal, day-to day life. It's like a stove with pots on each burner, but each pot is in various modes of "boil": some have to simmer, some are already a boiling rage and the others, well, I just added the water to the pot! But all the pots require my attention at different times and in different ways.

I've also been doing a lot of yoga--I find that, ironically, it's when I slow down that I get the most done. Some pots on the stove require me to be bullish-- persistent, unwavering, determined; and still others require a more fluid approach. It's a lot like knowing when to be bull or bear-ish in economic fluctuations.

When do you know when to push, back off or just stand still?

My instinct has never steered me wrong in this regard. NEVER. It's a lot like Tai Chi, the Chinese martial art, where a succession of slow, fluid movements are used in response to the direction of energy coming at you (life!). By working WITH the energy (life) instead of against it, you are able to achieve your goal.

There are many other benefits to Tai Chi training--medical studies support its effectiveness as a form of exercise and that focusing the mind solely on movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. Here's some info I found on Tai-Chi you might find helpful. Enjoy!

Keep Rising,