Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Are Special & Unique

Walking outside in the afternoon today, I marveled at the fat, beautiful snowflakes landing heavily onto my black umbrella.
I looked at them as closely as I could without a microscope, but at least in the clear and bright daylight. They looked much like the crystals I’d seen much enlarged, with angular shapes.
I was in awe of the volume of snow that is produced by the earth, and the fact that each individual snowflake is completely unlike any other.
It reminded me of a funny quote I’d read once: “You are special and unique…just like everybody else.”
While it’s true that we are all unique, we are also similar in our uniqueness, and indeed no one is island. But I prefer to focus on the fact that each one of us is different.
Each of us has a different purpose, and different talents and gifts to share, even if we may not be aware of them.
You have special things about you that no one else has. Some things are obvious, like fingerprints, but others are much more hidden.
I believe the only way we ever get to know our true gifts is to do what makes us happy, following our deepest joys, and also being in service – looking for ways to love and do for others. When we reach out in ways to serve and give love, we then become even more loveable, and shine our brightest in ways we never imagined, and perhaps never even see for ourselves.
You are as beautiful as any flower you’ve ever admired. You were created by the same force that made that flower. Even things that aren’t considered beautiful have their own unique attractiveness. They may be strikingly appealing or magnetic, or they may be considered beautiful by cultures other than your own. Regardless, all things have beauty and worth, including you and everyone else.
Take time today to appreciate your uniqueness.
Be brave in expressing your authentic self. Bring the gift of yourself to the world by being freely yourself. Learn to be comfortable in being yourself, not holding back any part that is not truly you.
Appreciate all the parts of you, whether you love them or not. Deepak Chopra says the things we don’t like about ourselves aren’t flaws or faults. They’re merely things we haven’t yet accepted about ourselves, and they make us complete.
Think of yourself as whole, completely, special and unique today. Because you are. Just like everybody else!
If we each focused on how unique we are, and how important it is that we shine our own unique colors, we would be bolder in doing so, and create a bolder and more beautiful world together.



Cassendre Xavier coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002 to describe her work as a musician, author, visual artist, and actress. She is the founder and director of Philadelphia’s annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003), which you can visit at http://BWAFphilly.org.

© 2010 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved. http://cassendrexavier.com

Rent-a-Negro Month: a Toni Cade Bambara Inspired Rant

Toward the end of her life, acclaimed African-American author Toni Cade Bambara resided in Philadelphia, dealing with colon cancer and being friends with women who were also close to me. I had the opportunity to meet Toni several times, but my fear of her intense personality as well as her illness, which included her colonoscopy bag, made me stay away.
I attended her memorial ceremony at the Painted Bride, which was attended by Toni Morrison, Ruby Dee, and others. Poet Nikki Finney gave me a very strong handshake, and I heard many stories about the amazing woman that Toni was.
For instance, she always encouraged others to follow their dreams fiercely. She would follow through and ask people what they had done in the way of reaching their goals.
She said to always keep a frying pan handy, and not necessarily for frying.
One of the things she also said, I learned, was that she wouldn’t take a gig in February (Black History Month), which she called “Rent-a-Negro” Month. Her logic was that if she wasn’t invited any of the other 11 months of the year, she didn’t want to be ghettoized by only being considered during that time.
I recently experienced what she spoke of.
I attended a poetry event at one of Philadelphia’s most prestigious community literary venues. I had received the event’s brochure, saw that a contemporary of mine was speaking (a white man), and thought I would attend. I had a three-fold goal, 1) Go see my friend 2) Participate in the open reading and 3) Meet the event’s curator to see about submitting my bid to be a future feature. I had noticed that the forthcoming year poets’ bios seemed within my league and also that there were no faces of color. I was prepared to be on the roster in the coming year.
I saw my friend, I participated in the open reading, and I met the curator, who had been very excited about my work after I read.
I asked what was required to be a feature, and she confirmed that nothing was keeping me from being among those who could reasonably have a shot. She gave me her card, and I told her I would email her shortly, which I did. To no avail. I didn’t hear from her for weeks.
I assumed that she, like many, was just being polite in person, but had no interest in actually adding my brown face to roster of lily white performers. She had just been blowing smoke during our meeting in front of the others, and I was experiencing what I thought I might, a radical change in the actual following through of my initial request.
One day I received an email from her, and it wasn’t about the poetry series I’d asked about. Instead, it was about her venue’s Black History Month programming and would I honor them by featuring? Needless to say I was very insulted, and I wasn’t shy about saying so.
But before I could even get to that, I was overwhelmed by how shoddily I was being booked. I had to ask repeatedly about my technical requirements, what would be needed in the way of bio and pic, so many more issues that disrespected my over 18 years of professional performance experience, and on top of that the pay was lousy. I was asked to visit the venue first (I declined), I wasn’t given a performance agreement which would guarantee my immediate receipt of the check, etc.
But it was an esteemed venue and I wanted my name associated with it, even though I was pretty sure from the first step to the last that it would be one of the worst gigs of my life (I wasn’t wrong, by the way).
I asked her why she ignored my many messages about the poetry series, but then contacted me only about featuring at the Black History Month event. She said she felt bad about that, but she made no good excuses or reasons.
I thought about Toni Cade Bambara, Zora Neale Hurston, and the countless black artists who have had to endure this kind of disrespect.
It bothered me that I had allowed my financial situation to be such that I accepted offers to perform at venues that didn’t always respect an artist on my professional level. I still easily refuse offers in which I won’t be paid at all, but I would like to be at a place where I say no just because someone looks at me wrong.
I did the gig, and I stayed focused on one thing the whole time, “Let me be a blessing today. Let my work touch someone’s heart and make someone feel good or at least better.”
With that as my goal, it didn’t matter how bad the gig was or how annoyed I had been from initial offer to supposed soundcheck.
With that as my goal I was even able to not badmouth my host too much, and listen with compassion to my friend’s take (to whom I had lamented my experience) that perhaps the venue host was “just a flake” and not mal-intended at all.
Regardless, I’m pretty sure I’ve just done my first and last Black History Month event.
If you don’t know about, or invite me during any of the other 11 months out of the year, I’m just not available. Unless the price is very, very right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

11 New Videos & Free/Discounted Recordings!

Greetings, Dear One!

I just wanted to let you know I’ve uploaded (and by “I”, I mean “my friend Dennis uploaded for Moi”, heh-heh!) eleven, count ‘em 11 new videos to YouTube! View them and click thyself in the downward direccione yonder:

Personal Growth / Self-Actualization Talk

Affirmations Work Chronicles: "Willing to Receive" Testimony
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA3Mf4g6oJY or http://tinyurl.com/ygt6nk6


Humor

P is for Pussy - Cookie Monster Parody
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq6pkXiUoQI or http://tinyurl.com/ylo4afq


Affirmation Songs

Order & Peace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL37xoio478 or http://tinyurl.com/yggg974

Home & Neighborhood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jri_76BMLLg or http://tinyurl.com/yflntpj

Body Healthy & Well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAZjPC9Qbg0 or http://tinyurl.com/ycuwagx

Worthy of My Trust http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jutNADJvrH4 or http://tinyurl.com/y9nll6k


Spoken Word / Poems

to the 4' asian woman who swears she's so tough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s55ycH8LZ_o or http://tinyurl.com/yfw3ok6

Be Coming Magickal: a Blackwomyn's Journey (Or: How to Become a Witch When All Your Teachers are White) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5VBtVBeYTk or http://tinyurl.com/y9q6hfr

If I Were Thin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lydlc23KI0 or http://tinyurl.com/yb8codw

Quote/unQuote http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1E10H69sTM or http://tinyurl.com/yj9dtka

Shrimp Savannah: A Recipe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2LnZmim2hA or http://tinyurl.com/ye8qf6v


To see more of my song, parody, and guided meditation videos, please visit http://youtube.com/cassEndrExavier or http://tinyurl.com/yks9knk


…and….

Sale! Sale! Sale!

Every once in a while, I feel called to make my guided meditations free. So, once again, here they are, FREE downloads, or $5.50 per CD (100% cost goes to Lulu who makes the CD).

I’ve also reduced the price of my latest album Capable of Love in both CD and MP3 download format!

(Please note the website may not show updated prices yet, but they will by midnight 2/14!)

Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love CD $5.50 (Regularly $24.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love Download FREE! (Regularly $19.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality CD $5.50 (Regularly $24.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality Download FREE! (Regularly $19.99)
Capable of Love CD $11.75 (Regularly $15.00)
Capable of Love Download $7.74 (Regularly $10.00)

Order all of these from http://stores.lulu.com/cassEndrE or http://tinyurl.com/ydz4993

Please note all Affirmations for Survivors CDs ARE suitable for non-survivors!

(Coming soon: Affirmations for Survivors: Sexuality, and Affirmations for Survivors: Life Skills)

Also, all of my musical albums are sold at CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/all/cassEndrE),

Amazon, and many other online outlets, as well as in person at Giovanni’s Room Bookstore, 345 South 12th Street, Philadelphia PA 19107 (215) 923-2960 http://giovannisroom.com.


Make yourself a beautiful day!

Best,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
http://cassEndrExavier.com

Founder & Director of Philadelphia’s Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003)
http://BWAFphilly.org



Recommended: The Best Free Ebook on Prosperity: The Science of Getting Rich. I’m reading this book right now and it’s changing my understanding! Try it and see how you like it! http://attractanything.com/best-free-ebook-on-prosperity.html or http://tinyurl.com/ylff8dg.



© 2010 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved. www.cassEndrExavier.com

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Self-Love Day! (+FREE Downloads/CD Sale!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish for you:

Feelings of self-contentment.

Don’t be afraid to buy yourself flowers.

Partnered or not, happy or not, you deserve to pamper yourself.

All love affairs begin with a love affair with the self, firstly, and secondly, a love affair with life.

Enjoy your own company, be your first joy, so you can bring extra joy to others.

Every once in a while, I feel called to make my guided meditations free. So, once again, here they are, FREE downloads, or $5.50 per CD (100% cost goes to Lulu who makes the CD).

I’ve also reduced the price of my latest album Capable of Love in both CD and MP3 download format!

(Please note the website may not show updated prices yet, but they will by midnight 2/14!)

Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love CD $5.50 (Regularly $24.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love Download FREE! (Regularly $19.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality CD $5.50 (Regularly $24.99)
Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality Download FREE! (Regularly $19.99)
Capable of Love CD $11.75 (Regularly $15.00)
Capable of Love Download $7.74 (Regularly $10.00)

Order all of these from http://stores.lulu.com/cassEndrE or http://tinyurl.com/ydz4993

Please note all Affirmations for Survivors CDs ARE suitable for non-survivors!

(Coming soon: Affirmations for Survivors: Sexuality, and Affirmations for Survivors: Life Skills)

Also, all of my musical albums are sold at CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/all/cassEndrE),

Amazon, and many other online outlets, as well as in person at Giovanni’s Room Bookstore, 345 South 12th Street, Philadelphia PA 19107 (215) 923-2960 http://giovannisroom.com.


Happy Self-Love Day!

Best,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
http://cassEndrExavier.com

Founder & Director of Philadelphia’s Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003)
http://BWAFphilly.org

My videos: http://youtube.com/cassEndrExavier or http://tinyurl.com/yks9knk

Recommended: The Best Free Ebook on Prosperity: The Science of Getting Rich. I’m reading this book right now and it’s changing my understanding! Try it and see how you like it! http://attractanything.com/best-free-ebook-on-prosperity.html or http://tinyurl.com/ylff8dg.



© 2010 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved. www.cassEndrExavier.com

Friday, February 5, 2010

renaissance negresse museletter 2/5/10

the renaissance negresse museletter
art | inspiration | community
brought to you by Cassendre Xavier Enterprises

February 5, 2010

In This Issue:

1) WHO IS THE *RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE?
2) BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL UPDATE
3) NEXT SHOW: FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA 2/24
4) RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE CATALOG
5) NEW WRITING (EXCERPTS)
6) RAW VEGAN UPDATE
7) RUNNING CLUB UPDATE
8) LATEST INSPIRATIONS (LINKERY DEVICES AKA “LINKAGE”)
9) WHAT MY FRIENDS & ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES ARE DOING
10) INSPIRATION LINE IS BACK! (215) 436-9702


1) WHO IS THE *RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE?
Haitian-American multi-media artist Cassendre Xavier coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002. A musician, writer, actress, and visual artist, Xavier (who sometimes works under the names Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls) says the term describes a black woman who is skilled or gifted in 3 or more arts. Xavier is a recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award for her work as a community cultural arts advocate, having founded and directed several Philadelphia arts initiatives including the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series (2002-2006) and the Black Women’s Arts Festival (2003- Present). She is originally from Brooklyn, NY and has resided in Philadelphia since 1990. [*“Negresse, Negre: In the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean Islands, these words often have a connotation of affection, entirely non-racial in meaning. ‘Ma petite negresse, mon negre, are equivalent to ‘My dear, my darling, my sweet.’” – From Masters of the Dew, a contemporary classic novel by the Haitian author Jacques Roumain, translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook.]

2) BLACK WOMEN’S ARTS FESTIVAL UPDATE
Latest newsletter dated January 21, 2010: http://bwafphilly.blogspot.com/2010/01/black-womens-arts-festival-newsletter_21.html or http://tinyurl.com/ycrmkqt or visit www.BWAFphilly.org Click “News”.



3) NEXT SHOW: FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA 2/24
Cassendre Xavier in Song and Poetry at The Free Library of Philadelphia

The Literature Department of the Free Library celebrates Black History Month with Cassendre Xavier, a musician, author, visual artist, and actress. Ms. Xavier is the founder and director of Philadelphia’s annual Black Women’s Arts Festival and recipient of a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award for her work in art and change. You can learn more about Ms. Xavier’s various recordings, publications, appearances and other projects at www.cassEndrExavier.com.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010
7:30pm FREE
Free Library/Central Library
Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street, 19103
Info: 215-686-5322

Event link: http://eventful.com/philadelphia/events/cassendre-xavier-song-and-poetry-/E0-001-027888659-0 or http://tinyurl.com/yeowjwf.


For my complete schedule of appearances, please visit www.cassEndrExavier.com.


4) RENAISSANCE NEGRESSE CATALOG
For information about, and to order my 8 musical CDs/downloads, 2 spoken word guided meditations, and/or 6 print and e-books from various outlets or directly from me, please visit http://cassendrexavier.blogspot.com/2009/10/cx-direct-order-form-renaissance.html or http://tinyurl.com/yj6l2k4. (Please note, I have discontinued making stationery for mail order and will only sell these at special fairs and events.)
Until February 7th, 2010 (my birthday!), CD Baby will donate $1 toward Haitian earthquake relief for every CD and album download sold. View the Cassendre Xavier Music Gallery at CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/all/cassEndrE or http://tinyurl.com/y89qaxj.


5) NEW WRITING (EXCERPTS)
Affirmations Work Chronicles - Payment for Work, and more.
To read these and other excerpts from present and future CX print and e-books, please visit http://artivistpublications.homestead.com/Excerpts.html or http://tinyurl.com/yzod377.


6) RAW VEGAN UPDATE
Latest Green Smoothie Raw Blog: 1/3/10 http://cassendrexavier.blogspot.com/2010/01/green-smoothie-raw-blog-1310.html or http://tinyurl.com/ya2td3f
My book Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: a Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook & Journal is now on sale for $14.95 (originally $24.95), and sold at Arnold’s Way Raw Vegetarian CafĂ©, Store & Education Center in Lansdale, PA. “You did a very good job – it’s very good.” –Arnold Kauffman on Expanding Your Capacity for Joy. The e-book version is only $5 (originally $24.95). Coming soon: more books on the raw vegan lifestyle. More on CX’s raw journey in my Green Smoothie Raw Blog (or year 2007 in www.cassendrexavier.blogspot.com) More books at www.cassEndrExavier.com.


7) RUNNING CLUB UPDATE
In November, I moved to Drexel Hill (Upper Darby area), Pennsylvania, and this has stopped my weekly runs with my friends in center city. Not sure what to do about this right now, as I’m pretty overwhelmed with just my daily obligations and traveling “to town” to run my errands, do gigs, go to the BWAF office to work, check my PO box, and so forth. So, I’m in town, but not living in town anymore. I’ll keep you posted.


8) LATEST INSPIRATIONS (LINKERY DEVICES AKA “LINKAGE”)
Barbara Sher makes it her business to save “geniuses”, and she believes we are all geniuses. She helps us get in touch with what we really want to do in life. Her book “Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want” changed my life.
Barbara Sher on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=barbara+sher&search_type=&aq=f or http://tinyurl.com/yaqbdok. Barbara Sher’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BarbaraSherWishcraft or http://tinyurl.com/yglgxpq. Website http://barbarasher.com/.

Louise Hay is a teacher and bestselling author of many books including her most famous “You Can Heal Your Life” (now a full-length movie). In her 80s now, Ms. Hay has spent most of her adult life teaching people that our thoughts create our reality. She’s a pioneer of the “affirmations” method and is the founder of the personal improvement powerhouse publisher Hay House.
Louise Hay on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=louise+hay&search_type=&aq=f or Louise Hay’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/HayHousePresents or http://tinyurl.com/yft5ba2. Website http://www.louisehay.com/.

In searching YouTube for affirmations for prosperity and abundance, I found author/speaker/coach Jon Mercer and his “Attract Anything” video series. I have found them very helpful, especially in re-forming my original ideas of lack and competition versus abundance and creativity.
Jon Mercer’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/attractanything or http://tinyurl.com/y8mxcm8. Website: http://attractanything.com/.

Goddess Leonie creates an annual dream/work/play book recommended by personal growth expert Lilou Mace, whose posts I also sometimes on YouTube. I found her website and was very inspired by her work. It is a brilliant example of how a write and artist can use technology to combine her dreams and create vibrant commerce. Her books are brightly colored and available in e-book form. You order this incredibly inexpensive book, then take the download to an office supply store which then prints and binds it for you at very little cost. Brilliant. She’s in Australia and sells her books worldwide. Goddess Leoni’s website is: http://www.goddessguidebook.com/. Check it out and be inspired!

9) WHAT MY FRIENDS & ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES ARE DOING

Monica McIntyre/Past Is Present
Monica has created, with a cast of 7 other women, a collaborative stage piece called Past Is Present. Two shows Saturday, February 06, 2010.
Info:

"Past Is Present" – A fresh daring collaborative exploration honoring African ancestry, celebrating the present, and embracing the future; incorporating: Photography, Videography, Choreography, Poetry, Music, Acting, Storytelling, Chanting, and Healing Arts.
Featuring: Saida Agostini, Lillie Ruth Bussey, Darlene DeVore, Fatimah Loren, Monica McIntyre, Nikki Powerhouse, Deneane Richburg, and Jennifer Turnbull.

Come be inspired, challenged, and healed!!

This amazing event takes place on:

Saturday February 6, 2010
@ The Walking Fish Theater
2509 Frankford Ave, Phila, PA 19125
215-427-WALK

Two Shows: 6:30pm and 9pm (Please arrive 30mins early)
$10/advance (while supplies last), $15/door (If you'd like to buy tickets offline email: cellomama(at)msn.com or call 215-360-2865 for more info.)

Link to order online: http://pastispresent.eventbrite.com/ or http://tinyurl.com/yd7qges.

Bo Westcott/Affirmation Songstress
Bo first found me on YouTube because of my affirmation songs. She started leaving really nice comments about them, and I saw that she also is a writer and performer of affirmation songs! I’m really inspired by her wonderful work and hope to work with her someday. (We’re Facebook friends if you’d like to network :-) Bo Westcott’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/boadrienne or http://tinyurl.com/ylfexuo. Website: http://www.manifestourreality.com


Film Baby. A great place for a budding filmmaker to dream about making product, and a great place to sell it, whether DVD or download, when it’s done!
http://www.filmbaby.com/


10) INSPIRATION LINE IS BACK! (215) 436-9702
I’ve brought back my inspiration line. Often I call and talk and/or sing into the phone and include my latest gig or someone else’s. Call anytime and leave messages if you wish. This number also serves as my booking voicemail number, so you can leave professional messages inquiring about a future book as well.


Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier (aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls)
renaissance negresse (musician/author/visual artist/actress)
http://cassEndrExavier.com


Founder & Executive Director of Philadelphia’s 7th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival http://BWAFphilly.org.


Join my Facebook Group! http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=81610690951&ref=ts or http://tinyurl.com/ybcp6g2.

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/cassendrexavier or http://tinyurl.com/yjt4dkj.


© Copyright 2010 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved. http://www.cassendrexavier.com