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

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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.

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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.

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Nutcracker Inc. on Indiegogo

Ok folks, so I have teamed up with my friend Jon Ullman of the movie GWB to produce what will be the definitive documentary on the elusive and enigmatic elixir known as the Nutcracker. What I have dubbed “modern day moonshine” – Washington Heights style!

We will delve into the history of the infamous libation and chart its growth from an obscure but potent potion into a virtual cottage industry. Along the way we will look at the cast of characters who created the phenomenon and help to fan the flames of its rise and it’s popularity not just in Washington Heights but also in all of NYC and beyond.

This documentary will be an exhaustive and in-depth take on not only the history of the Nutcracker but also looks at Uptown barbershop culture as well as the epic and monumental tenacity, hustle and determination of Dominicans in particular and Latinos and immigrants in general.

Please help us make this movie and become a part of Nutcracker Inc. Thank you.

Led

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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!

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Happy Born Day Muhammad Ali

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

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.

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