The Future is…Coreena

*My new series “The Future is…” highlights innovative Black women/Non Binary folks.*

A few weeks ago, I was reading my new favorite online magazine Divine Dark Skin, when I saw an ad featuring singer Coreena.  I love learning about upcoming Black women artists, so I double-clicked. I liked what I heard, and decided to follow her website. Not long after, I was pleasantly surprised to find out Coreena was a member of an internet forum that I’m part of. I enjoyed her vibe in the group, and decided to reach out to her. I almost fainted when she agreed to an interview. I’m glad I asked. What I found was an adventurous young woman, carving her own path/identity/career.

Coreena Pic

Hi! So, tell us about yourself…

Hello and thank you for having me. Just want to say your blog is the bomb!!! Okay, enough of me gushing! My name is Coreena, I’m a musician currently based in Seattle Wa., but in two weeks moving to Berlin, Germany! I was born and raised in Seattle, went to college in Boston, MA at Berklee College of Music. I got married in Southern California and was in that relationship for 8-9 years. I divorced and moved back to Seattle. I currently teach voice/piano and perform /record music.

After my divorce, I started stepping into the person I wanted to be. My favorite quote is…“your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your actions do.” So, I became an ethical vegan. I’m more spiritual than religious. I followed my true path of becoming a full-time musician, no more side giggin. I wanted to use all of my talents to make a living.

I started getting into activism for animals and made the connection of oppression, abuse and subjugation in all forms. I was always aware of social justice issues in the Black community, but I was a bit of an elitist. I used to think the Black Panthers were too “extreme” and thought that upward mobility and respectability politics was the path to success for Black folks. Thinking about it now I’m like…who was that woman? She had all the best intentions, but allowed fear to guide her.

Currently, my “politics” and/or belief systems may be viewed as radical or extreme. Although, I think its ridiculous that some would view equality for all as radical! I proudly identify as a Black feminist/womanist. Let me be clear this identity for me includes trans women and gender-nonconforming femmes. Black feminism has really taken heat and so many folks don’t have a clue of what this identity embodies.

When I interview Portlanders of color, I often ask “What do you like/dislike about Portland?” I know Seattle is a bit more diverse than Portland, but is also known for being a white city. What are your unique experiences as a Black woman in Seattle? 

Seattle is my home so I’m sentimental and nostalgic about my physical surroundings, seeing familiar family and faces. I like that some of the younger Black folks and POC are already clued into radicalism. Maybe these younger folks can make the changes I’d like to see. What I don’t like is how Seattle prides itself on being very liberal, yet drinks diet racism. Many fail to ask the question, “How can I use my privilege to help and contribute to equality?”

Has music always been a passion of yours or did you have other interests? You are also a songwriter/producer. Do you think it’s important singers be “multi-talented?” 

I started singing when I was a wee little girl 5-6 years old, but professionally my career started when I went to Berklee at 19. It has ALWAYS been a passion. I can’t imagine doing anything else, maybe little things on the side like acting as I did in high school. My other interest was history, it’s so fascinating and important to know. You don’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you came from.

YES! I think its very important, but not necessary. It’s not public knowledge that a lot of “singers” are actually multi talented. Aretha Franklin played piano, wrote her own music and was her own music director at times. Chaka Khan played drums and did many of her own back up vocals in the studio. Bjork writes and produces. And the list goes on and on…

Your music has an electronic/Afrofuturism flavor, that reminds me of Kelela and FKA Twigs. What are your thoughts on the current state of Black women singers/artists?  How do you define your music? 

I’ve been making music in this genre and have had this sound for the last 13 years. It was not popular to see Black faces let alone a Black woman doing this back then. One of the main reasons I’m going to Berlin is because electronic music and its sub-genres are thriving there. As a Black woman who is an indie artist I get questions like…do you have anything that sounds like Beyoncé? Don’t get me wrong I really DIG Beyoncé, but I’m not her. I can get down singing some R&B/soul music tho! Don’t sleep! LOL!

I think the U.S. has a long way to go still in its acceptance of Black women “alternative” artists. I define my music as Electronic/Ambient/Trip Hop/Alternative/Beat Driven/Downtempo…with hints of jazz.

Your YouTube channel “CoCo Reena Goes International: A musician’s guide to travel, food, and discovery” chronicles your move to Germany. What do you hope to accomplish in Germany?

I decided to go to a place where the genre of music I do is celebrated and not tolerated. I’ve always want to spend quality time abroad and I do not want to get to a place in my life and look back with that big regret. After the election of #45 that was my push…escaping the U.S. in the era of Trump. I’m so disgusted by him and how bold his supporters are. The current climate in the U.S. is not healthy. I told myself I need to go be a citizen of the world for a while.

I’m girl crushing for real! I think your beautiful smile, exemplifies the positivity that radiates from you. What keeps you joyful/optimistic? Do you engage in self-care? Do you have any tips for Black women maintaining a healthy sense of self? In our “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” society (to quote bell hooks).

Oh, Thank YOU!!! What keeps my mind in a productive place really is music. Thru music I have the opportunity to do my passion while expressing all my feelings, thoughts and activism! Music is my self-care. I also get those books out, take those baths and veg out!

I think for Black women to obtain a sense of self and foster healthiness is such an effort that it has to be done EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Specifically, for those that are dark-skinned Black women such as myself. We are perceived with so much bias. The images, social media, and person to person contact…just about everything in the outside world will remind you to “stay in your place.” What I do to fight this is surround myself with media, books, and people who reinforce what I believe to be the truth. Black is beautiful. Black is diverse. Black does not mean wrong or bad. Black is me and I love me.

Thank you for your time

Thanks for having me!

HOW TO SUPPORT COREENA

Website– https://www.coreenamusic.com

Patreon https://www.patreon.com/coreena

Youtube (Coco Reena)https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC432n57Sb0mnmcNnr2zzlyA

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/coreenamusic/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/reena0519/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/coreenamusic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Yummies

I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep healthy foods in me and my youngin’s mouth this month. The holiday yummies are too hard to resist. Plus, when we are out and about, there is always someone handing my son a candy cane, cookie, etc., because “he is so cute! Merry Christmas!”  🙂

Oh, well. We will try to get it together next month. In the meantime, here are a couple of fun recipes to add to all of our poor eating habits this Christmas season!

I’m off to another quick blogcation. I wish everyone a wonderful rest of the year and a happy 2018. I will return in January!!

Christmas Grinch Punch
Prep time:  
Total time:  
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle Green Berry Rush Hawaiian Punch, chilled (1 gallon or 3.78L)
  • Two 6 oz. cans Dole Pineapple Juice, chilled (1.5 cups)
  • 1 bottle Sprite {2 liters}, chilled

Christmas-Grinch-Punch-Recipe 

http://diythrill.com/2017/11/01/easy-green-punch-recipe/

Easy Snowman Cookies

Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Ingredients
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix {15.25 oz.}
  • ½ cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 container Betty Crocker Creamy White Frosting {16 oz.}
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 bag Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 container M&M Minis (1.77 oz.)

Snowman-Cookies-Recipe-at-TheFrugalGirls.com_

http://thefrugalgirls.com/2016/12/snowman-cookies-recipe.html

#GivingTuesday

Today marks the sixth year of #GivingTuesday. The event was created as an answer to the commercialism of Black Friday. While the purpose is to celebrate the work of non-profits, I also encourage funding grassroots activists,  particularly Black women/folks. Honestly, I find some non-profits to be problematic. There are too many times, when money goes mysteriously missing. There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars still uncounted for during Hurricane Katrina. There tends to be a lack of accountability with some non-profits.

I feel that smaller organizations, tend to be a bit more transparent. These are folks who are often sustaining their work with their own money/resources. I think it’s important to remember these amazing people, as well as huge non-profits.

I want to give a shout out to my group… PDX Black Feminism. We are working hard to address issues affecting Black women in our city, as well as nationally.

Support this #GivingTuesday with donations and/or share with networks! 🙂

Here are a few social justice activities that might interest folks

Support the POC Herbal Freedom School/BIPOC Communiversity

The #BlackTransPrayerBook

Black Kidz Can Cook

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Self Care in Color

A few weeks ago, I attended a virtual self-care retreat for Black women (how cool is that!) It was an amazing experience. The only drawback, the daily videos were scheduled 8 am eastern time, which meant I had to be up by 5 am Pacific. Of course, it wasn’t that difficult for me to get up.  I have a toddler. Those with small children know kids are usually breathing in your face at the crack of dawn. So, I was semi-awake for this inspiring event.

I enjoyed all the guest speakers, but especially the conversations on what is self-care (Tara Pringle Jeffersonand Black motherhood and self-care (Danielle Faust).

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Bloom Beautifully Self-Care Box

Jefferson talked about the importance of thinking deeper about self-care practices. The rhetoric tends to be go get a manicure or go to the spa, and all will be well. Jefferson encouraged Black women to take a more holistic approach. It could mean getting rid of toxic people in our lives. Or cutting out destructive habits (overextending ourselves, smoking) etc.

Faust discussed the challenges of finding time for self-care, especially as  Black mothers. In/outside the Black community, there is expectation of Black women sacrificing themselves for everyone else. The pressures triple, once we have children. We are raising Black children in an anti-black world. We have to protect our children differently than non-Black mothers. How can Black mothers indulge in self-care without feeling guilty or judged?

Recently, I celebrated my birthday. A good friend gave me a gift card to one of my favorite stores. I had to force myself not to buy my son a new outfit. It was a struggle to only spend the card on myself. Honestly, I kind of failed. I did get him a t-shirt. It’s this dilemma as Black mothers of knowing it’s okay to self-indulge, sometimes.

The self-care retreat was interesting and fun. When the organizer asked about ideas for next year’s gathering, I suggested more interactive opportunities. But she did a wonderful job for her first time!

She sent a link of Black women owned businesses that include coaching, counseling, products, etc. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Jefferson’s self-care boxI will make self buy it. I will make myself buy it… 😉

Support Black businesses this holiday season!!

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summer eating #3

“this is only for the grown and sexy people…”

Well, you don’t necessarily need to be sexy, but you do need to be grown. This recipe combines two of my guilty pleasuresanything fried and tequila. I love the simplicity of the recipe. Perfect adult snack for a summer evening with friends or alone. heh.

Deep-fried tequila shots

“Only five steps separate you from deep-fried boozy bliss. First: make an angel food cake (or, you know, buy one). Next, cube it up into poppable bites. After that, soak each cake cube in tequila, then deep-fry the cubes in oil until they’re golden on all sides. Finally, sprinkle your shots with powdered sugar. Placing them all in an actual salt-rimmed shot glass is up to you, as is deep-frying the worm.”  Recipe from: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/deep-fried-tequila-shots-recipe-by-oh-bite-it

Wow. Life is good 🙂

 

summer eating #2

Funny enough, while I like to find recipes, I actually don’t like cooking all that much.  I guess I’m more into the eating part. However, now that I have a little one, I know I need to upgrade my cooking skills. Luckily, he is still in the formula/baby food stage, but I know the days of sizzling hot dishes and baked treats are fast approaching (yes, I’m pretending I will be doing this). So, I’ve been keeping recipes that are fun to make for/with kids. I came across these mouthwatering cookies.  I love sweets, so I may actually try to make this 🙂

White Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest (zest from one orange), lightly packed

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 oz. bag white chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, both sugars, and orange zest until light and fluffy using an electric mixer (approximately 2 minutes on medium high speed). Add in the egg and vanilla on low speed until fully incorporated. Then add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Continue to gently mix on low speed until the flour is completely blended in.

Lastly, add the white chocolate chips and coconut and mix on low speed until both are evenly distributed. Using a medium scoop (approximately 1.5 tablespoons), scoop the cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the dough balls two inches apart from one another. *A standard baking sheet will hold a dozen cookies.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned, making sure to rotate the baking sheet after the first five minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a plate or cooling rack.

Recipe from: http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2016/03/24/white-chocolate-coconut-cookies/

summer eating #1

It’s hard to believe it’s June. This year has flown by and I haven’t accomplished anything on my New Year’s list. Oh well…

I love summer. I like to walk and it’s so much more fun to be outside when it’s nice and not when it’s freezing. I also love to get my grub on at summer bbqs, parties, etc. I’m a recipe collector, although the truth is they are more likely to gather dust in a drawer than  be made. But I like to keep hope alive. This week, I’m going to share some new recipes I’ve come across recently, in honor of summertime eating!! 🙂

*a friend shared this on Facebook. yum.

Garlic Fried Chicken

Ingredients
  • 1 to 1½ lb. chicken, sliced into serving pieces
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 piece raw egg
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Combine salt, ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, Panko Bread crumbs, and all-purpose flour in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine the egg and milk in another bowl, and whisk. Set aside.
  3. Dip the chicken slices in the egg and milk mixture, and then roll in the flour, bredcrumbs, salt, pepper, and paprika mixture until all the sides are evenly coated.
  4. Heat a deep cooking pot and pour-in the cooking oil.
  5. When the oil becomes hot, deep-fry the coated chicken in medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the color turns golden brown. Note: Do not use high heat as it will cook the outer part of the chicken right away while leaving the inside uncooked.
  6. Turn-off the heat, and then remove the garlic fried chicken from the pot. Let the excess oil drip.

Recipe from: http://panlasangpinoy.com/2011/06/01/garlic-fried-chicken/

Happy Holidays!!

Normally, I love summers. However, after staggering around pregnant in stifling southern heat, I’m actually liking fall for the first time. It’s a bit calmer, cooler, and collected. This is the time of year to enjoy a delicious cup of hot cocoa. I’ve been guzzling it like water. Here is a recipe I found in my stash of recipes I will never make. It’s fun looking at them though. I wish everyone a safe and happy holidays. I will return in early 2016 🙂

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 4 cups milk (Dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the milk and heat, but do not boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and add vanilla; stir well. Serve immediately.

Recipe taken from: http://www.momables.com/how-to-make-homemade-hot-cocoa/

STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECRET

On Facebook, I am in a group of dynamic Black writers/poets/dancers/visual artists. I have no idea how I got invited into the group, as I possess none of these skills, but I love the group as I am privy to exciting new work by other members.

Rosalind Bell is a writer and urban farmer. She has started an Indiegogo campaign to help fund a research project examining her family history/legacy.

“I ask for your financial help and support in my endeavor to discover, research and tell the stories of my ancestors and in so doing, tell the story of Louisiana before and after the Civil War, and unravel the secret of me.  How, in one of the most inhospitable to black life places in the whole wide world could both my progenitors have purchased the land? My first mother’s grandparents bought over 700 acres starting in 1881. And how were they able to secure it in the face of documented racist treachery. STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECRET is as much a research project as it is a writing project. I must scour microfilm, parish and state records, attics, books and people to get what I am looking for. I am seeking $29,000 to cover this expedition.” https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-fund-standing-in-the-middle-of-a-secret#/story

Sounds interesting, eh.  And check out the perks! Goodness, a Louisiana Meat Lovers Delivery, Gumbo Fest, and more!

Support and/or share with your networks if you can!

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Rosalind Bell an urban farmer.

Happy Black History Month (BHM)!

I know, I know…where the hell have I been? My bad.  I got extremely sick near the end of January, had to move last-minute at the beginning of February, and then my laptop crashed soon after. Or so I thought. I was fiddling around with it last night and all of a sudden it wheezed on. It’s the only reason why I’m able to churn out this post today 🙂

I just wanted to peek in and wish folks happy Black History Month (BHM). I normally like to dedicate the blog to all things BHM, but just couldn’t get it together this time around. I hope folks have been able to partake in events in your area. There’s been some great happenings in my neck of the woods (an amazing feat since I live in a predominantly white city).

While BHM is all about celebrating the fabulous contributions of Black folks to this country that has treated us like crap, there is one VERY important issue that I feel often gets left out of BHM conversations…soul food 🙂

“The term soul food became popular in the 1960s. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Foods such as rice, sorghum (known by some Europeans as “guinea corn”), and okra — all common elements of West African cuisine — were introduced to the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They became dietary staples among enslaved Africans. They also comprise an important part of the cuisine of the American south, in general. Foods such as corn and cassava from the Americas, turnips from Morocco, and cabbage from Portugal would play an important part in the history of African-American cooking.[1]”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_food

A couple of months ago, I met a friend at Starbucks for drinks and homegirl talk. She decided to also get a salad. After we sat down, she opened the package and picked through the dish, then pushed it away with a frown on her face.  “What is it with white folks new obsession with kale?” She asked. “It’s so annoying and they don’t even cook it right!” I looked at her food. It was a raw kale with a few tomatoes tossed on top.

I laughed because I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It’s been interesting to see white folks (particularly white hipsters) carry on about kale, mustard greens/collard greens, watermelon, chicken and waffles, etc. foods they have historically looked down upon because it’s been associated with Black folks (ie soul food).  Now many are acting like they discovered these cuisines (kind of like how Columbus thought he discovered America) and are going extremely overboard with it.

Of course, no props are given to Black folks for cultivating these dishes and making them an American favorite comfort food. If anything Black folks choice to eat soul food has often been bashed as unhealthy.  Initially, I was reluctant to watch Byron Hurt’s “Soul Food Junkies” documentary that came out a few years ago. I thought “please no more dissecting of black folks eating habits.” While I did roll my eyes at some parts of the film, overall I thought Hurt was fair. I recommend it for folks interested in learning about what soul food means to Black folks. It’s not just about the eating, but a way to say you love/care about kin/but not kin folks too 🙂

**This will probably be my last post for this month. I will get back into the swing of things in March. I still have some life happenings going on…but let me leave you with this chicken and waffles recipe to get you through. You know I love a good recipe 😉

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  • 1 Tbsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3½-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinating overnight

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Soul-Food-Recipes-Brown-Sugar-Kitchen-Recipes