My Heart: Happy Birthday Soraya!

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Today, 8 years ago, I was once again blessed with another little girl. Her name is Soraya and as you might be aware from the picture above she is a complete ham. She can be sad, mad or damn near crying but if you take out a camera she goes into model mode, smiling (better yet cheesing) and posing for the camera.

Do not, however, let the precious smile fool you. She is dangerous. If one of her older sisters says something that doesn’t jibe with her, she will attack. When I say attack I mean an all-out assault on either of the two offending parties. She will bite, kick, scratch and punch or any combination thereof. This little girl is no joke. Soraya is in many ways a pint-sized version of her mother. Soraya has even tried to come at me a few times but that never seems to work in her favor.

At the end of the day, she is still daddy’s little girl. Even though she has no qualms about telling me she loves her mom way more than she loves me. In fact, I am a distant third after my mom who spoils the living daylights out of her.

Even still, I love her beyond belief. For today only, she gets a free pass to beat up anyone in the house except for me. I am secretly hoping that she goes after her mom but I think that is but wishful thinking. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Happy Birthday Soraya – I LOVE You!

Check out:

My Heart: Happy Birthday Imani!

My Heart: Happy Birthday Leila!

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at ledblackNYC@gmail.com

Advertisements

My Heart: Happy Birthday Leila!

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

11 years ago on this very day, God once again blessed me with the ultimate gift, a beautiful little girl that we named Leila. Leila is the sweetest and most loving of my girls and just like her older sister Imani and her younger sibling Soraya, Leila has me completely and irrevocably wrapped around her finger.

Leila is the only one of my kids that was planned. The other 2 were super awesome accidents. My wife, LOOOONG time girlfriend at the time, Eileen gave me an ultimatum: either we get married or we weren’t having any more kids. So with that said, we tied the knot and Leila was conceived shortly thereafter.

Leila is artistic, funny and if you engage her she will talk your ear off and steal your heart in the process. Whether it’s the cashier lady at the supermarket, the waitress at Cheesecake Factory or the cable guy that stops by the crib to fix an issue, Leila will initiate a conversation with them and keep it going for far longer than I would like but that’s Leila.

Continue reading

Man vs. Juice Cleanse

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Ok, before I even retell my tale of how I survived my first ever juice cleanse for 3-very-LONG-grueling-days.

Understand this, I am the mirror opposite of my wife, Eileen Z. Fuentes aka “The SPEACH gal”.

In fact, in my humble estimation, my wife is what I lovingly like to call a nutrition Nazi, my very own health Hitler. My wife has, at various times, experimented with vegetarianism, veganism, even a raw foods diet. She is into ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, qigong and Reiki. If you don’t even know what any of these things are, don’t worry that means that you are a normal person. The reason I know this is because I married a crazy woman, who prefers room temperature water (cold water shocks the body – wtf?) and eschews Q-Tips saying mineral oil drops is a more holistic approach to ear canal upkeep.

I first heard of pink slime, the unctuous meat stuff that is found in spades in beef patties, during one of my wife’s early morning food sermons during breakfast. Great – thanks honey, I didn’t really want to finish my breakfast anyway.

Continue reading

I Am A Dominican York

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

I am a Dominican York. According to the Urban Dictionary, a Dominican York is either a Dominican immigrant living and working in New York City or an American-born person of Dominican descent who was raised in NYC.

Originally the term was used derisively to refer to the drug dealers and criminals that were deported back to the Dominican Republic after being incarcerated in the states. Dominican New Yorkers have been slowly adopting the term over the years, sans the negative connotations.

I am a Dominican York. That term succinctly defines my existence. I was born in the U.S., but was raised in the Dominican Republic from when I was three months old until the age of five. Inside my little apartment in Washington Heights, it was the Dominican Republic; Mami ruled, Merengue played and mangu eaten, but outside of it, New York City and its accoutrements; Hip-Hop, graffiti and pizza beckoned.

I am a Dominican York. My parents on the other hand, even though they have lived here since the early 70′s, are Dominican. My mom has only a few words in her English language repertoire and while my dad has a more extensive vocabulary, the words he knows are usually curses and only uttered when he is inebriated. I still recall with horror the one incident that encapsulated our different and divergent worldviews.

Continue reading

My Heart: Happy Birthday Imani!

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

6fb63de417b811e180c9123138016265_7On the first day of spring 16 years ago, my life was changed forever. On that fateful day, my first daughter, Imani was born. After an arduously long labor, she burst on the scene and imprinted herself on my heart. She has had me wrapped around her finger ever since and she knows it.

Imani is SO much like me that it is quite simply ridiculous. In Dominicanese, we would say that Imani and I are pin pun.

pin-pun (pronounced peen-poon): The same, equally. It is usually used to describe physical similarities between people, especially family members. Example: ¡Ese niña es pin-pun a su papá! That child looks exactly like her father!

Continue reading

Uptown Barbershop Trending Topic: Infidelity

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Before we get into this, it is a must I provide a little context. My barbershop is the quintessential Dominican barbershop. Tons of people, music blaring, barbers dancing as they perform their duties. In short, a hive of activity; in many ways it is a place where a party is taking place and they just happen to cut hair. This is the kind of barbershop where you may find yourself being served little plastic cups of sweet espresso while you wait for your cut, as a whole host of street peddlers enter and exit the establishment to hawk bootleg DVD’s, clothes, sunglasses, watches. Maybe even furniture. Another thing that takes place at my barbershop and others like it is conversation. Straight up, loud, unfiltered, non-politically correct, sometimes anachronistic, man talk.

Photo Credit: Briana E. Heard

The topic on this particular outing was infidelity. For the most part, the general consensus among the barbers and the clientele was that women by nature will eventually cheat on their mates, so in order to mitigate the hurt from that inevitable occurrence, it was better to cheat before she does. In other words, pre-emptive cheating; cheat before getting cheated on. That way when the fateful day came, and everyone here was sure it would come; one could at least keep their head held high with the knowledge that they had their fair share of trysts, two-timing, affairs and adventures.

Continue reading

Vibes: My Ode to Heavy D

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

I always knew that I would one day meet Heavy D and let him know how much his music meant to me. Well, really one song in particular. While I have been a fan of the man since I first heard The Overweight Lover’s Is In The House, I have been particularly fond of his Reggae infused songs. The tunes with Super Cat in the early 90’s are some of my favorites of Heavy’s long and storied catalog. That is why when I heard in early 2009 that Heavy D had a Reggae album, Vibes, I immediately copped it.

The song that did it for me on that album is Queen Majesty. It is a beautifully worded ode to a woman that Heavy finds way out of his league. On top one of this lush, classic Reggae break, which by the way is called the Queen Majesty riddim, Heavy waxes poetic on his love and admiration for this woman, this queen majesty. The song is actually a remake of an earlier version by the crown prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown.

At the time, my wife and mother of my 3 young daughters was in the throes of chemotherapy after being diagnosed in September of 2008 with triple negative breast cancer. She had just completed the first round of chemo and she was, in my eyes, wasting away. On top of being bald, she was emaciated, skinnier than I had ever seen her and wasn’t eating or sleeping much for that matter. In December of 2008, while she was undergoing her treatment, my wife’s dad, who she had a contentious and complicated relationship with, passed. Even though they weren’t close it was an extra burden that just added to the overall impact of what we were facing.

Then in January 16th of 2009, the other shoe dropped. On that fateful Friday, one of her many doctors informed us that they had found a blood clot in her heart. Due to the location and size of the clot, she wouldn’t be able to take pills to reduce the size of the clot but would have to have twice daily injections to her abdomen. The doctor insinuated that she was in grave danger of losing her life.

Continue reading