dispatches from the nation of uppity-belladonna

“i took down all the mirrors at my house because i got rid of everything that encourages laziness. vanity encourages laziness.”

but the bathroom is so important to hip hop. after the toronto community fund awards gala (hosted by matt galloway and catered by the beyond 3:30 junior chef program and lemon & allspice) in the gated community that is the cbc complex downtown toronto, belladonna and i finally got a chance to catch up.

we were both tearing up at the evidence of children learning things and beatboxing, and she was moved by the appearance of her crush, mayor miller. to be fair, the charity that he set up in memory of his mother for single mothers who are trying to get their school on is pretty amazing, even if he’s going to use every forum he can to promote transit city, including the literal subway platforms.

the random is specific, and sometimes, it’s the nomadic that acts as the permanence between my most loved ones. i may never be in a short-distance relationship, but why should i be surprised? so many of the important and precious folks in my life are in different or repeating cities-life is a revolving door.

but let me tell you, this special woman came into my life at the moment when i got my first home in vancouver (with a kitchen!). she came through with the homie gabe to be the first lovelies to bless my home, and she painted my toes orange.

as we became friends, i read an innerview done with her on myspace (yes, i am the last person still using the myspace) and commented how i would do it better (cocky, always, like kanye-but we backs it up). jb, the ever-gracious editor that i’ve had the longest relationship with (and most creative freedom) hit me up and offered me the job at shotgun reviews, which i believe has recently been relaunched without the hip hop department (boo-but hey, it was a good run)-he actually just hit me on the celly from indiana to ask if i felt the earthquake-there are no coincidences.

i came to cover miz belladonna’s performance for pride the year i moved east (visiting toronto from montrill) and the talented siya chen was the photographer for the event. we kept in touch, and eventually, we did the photo shoot that produced my current innernet photo id.

when i first moved here, i ran into belladonna in the street, but she was going to trinidad for the weekend (flashes of seye who always went to nigeria “for the weekend”). we also shared a stage at the mayworks poetry marathon on new year’s, so it was written that this will be our year. in taxicabs, as she charmed the bank, and finally in the middle of  a monsoon with a latte, we plotted and giggled as she’s set to go to uganda and kenya next week.

in addition to being an emcee (how excited am i to clutch her new ep?!) belladonna, government name donna-michelle st.bernard has been very active in the theatre community, literally and literally. her play gas girls is nominated for a dora and is part of her 54ology-her pledge to write a play for each country in africa.

i look forward to her summerworks contribution, the foreign exchange, which promises to be an education for everyone.

we spoke about the work of folks we know (or don’t) and this is what she has to say about hiphopolics:

“good behavior attached to bad music, i can forgive.”


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