you could have asked me…(#black lives matter)

These lyrics came to me months ago, after an impassioned conversation with my bandmate Nick. We were talking about how incomprehensible it is to us to want to enslave, to oppress, to belittle, to bully, anybody. Never mind actually doing it.

Doesn’t mean we don’t have prejudices, fears, concerns about people who may look and act different. But he, as a white British guy and I, as an African American woman, have in common that we know that our knee-jerk reactions are just that. We talk through uncomfortable stuff sometimes because talking it through helps to get the anxiety out into the open. The unspoken end goal is to be better people. And better means being, not ‘colour-blind’, but open-minded and self-aware.

Treating people as you want to be treated – that concept informs this song. I know it’s much, much too late for the slaver and the enabler to do anything about what they did to their fellow human beings.

But if I could talk with them, I think this is at least part of what I’d say:

v1
I saw you coming in your

big black boat
and I
started running but your gun said
nope
So I
got on board in the
cold and wet
and I didn’t see the sun
v2
There is only nothing

and none for all
and we
start off running as the babies
fall
we
had no choice but to
try’n forget
maybe safe inside but I’m
not there yet
c
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked
v3
When you say my story is

only mine
and
you say my story is
only lies
you ignore
the meaning of
history (destiny)
it’s the same for you and me
v4
when you reach deep down

it is empty there
raise your hand to me
and you say it’s fair
and I watch your face
as you try to forget
you can’t look me in the eye
c
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked
m8
deep in darkness
a look inside your mind
so many years have disappeared
watch them as they fly
c (repeat)
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked

my black woman’s hair: not blowout, growout!

I’m making decisions and checking them twice. Maybe even more than twice. Heck, I’m checking them multiple times a day. One of those decisions is: don’t relax, blow-dry, or otherwise artificially permanently manipulate my hair.

The goal is to let it grow, just taking the bare minimum care of it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of my teeny-tiny afro (twa) of 3 months ago, when I did the big chop. Suffice it to say that it’s twice as long now, and growing in as thick as a thicket, the way it did when I was a little girl.

I’m not the girliest of girls, to be honest. I find all the time spent on hair and nails, and eyelash curlers and waxing and whatnot boring as hell. And expensive, yo! But, when I go out, I want to look like the mental image I have of myself. The twain haven’t met for a very long time. Now my self-image and reality are at least in the same room!

30 years ago I felt I had to do the creative minor executive suit thing, and I had weaves galore (because I could do it myself, and because my own hair was such a mess). Rocked long braids for a while. Together with the every-week dragon nails. And make-up (although no need for foundation, thank bast!). Expensive, time-consuming and annoying, although the results were pretty.

Then I tried to do the ‘make natural creamy wonders at home’ thing, with hair stuff and skin stuff and…yikes! I don’t like cooking to put food ‘in’ my body, I’ll be darned if I’m gonna stand around mixing things to put ‘on’ it!

Suffice it to say, that impulse didn’t last long. But, I was sick of my split ends, dryness, and all around hair unattractiveness.. I needed to find the hair care equivalent of firm tofu and sesame with a batch of roast vegetables: fast, easy, and good.

So I cut the relaxed part of my hair, down to the new growth. I guess it was about an inch of hair, maybe 1.5 inches…

Of course, I got lots of ‘you cut your hair’ comments. I’d smile, grit my teeth, and say: ‘Why yes, yes I did!’. Not sure why it’s so irritating when people notice. Anyway, I knew I would have this reaction, so was prepared to ignore my temper and put a smile on my face. For folks who have no idea how black women’s hair works, best to say, yeah, this is my real hair, the other wasn’t. That usually stops ’em cold, as they try to work out what that might mean, and I move on to the next topic. Or the next room.

So now, my hair is like the above and seems to be thriving. I wet it just about every day. I use conditioner as a shampoo, except that once a week I shampoo with shampoo. I put the stuff below in it, which helps bring out the curl, and keeps it reasonably hydrated:
http://kinky-curly.com
Knot Today Leave in Conditioner/Detangler and Curling Custard

They’re pretty good. I also use this on my scalp: https://www.carolsdaughter.com/hair/mimosa-hair-honey

Mimosa Hair Honey

So far, so good! I’ll check back again in 3 months and see how it’s going.

*caveat: I am finding that I do need to give a light cool blowdry to my hair when I need to run out and it’s just too wet to head out the door. but this isn’t to straighten it, it’s to leave the curls intact and get a bit dryer, fast.

Sabolitai: City, our first release, is out. yup.

City by Sabolitai
City by Sabolitai

Yes indeed, the first release of the collaboration with my musical soulmates is out.
Sabolitai are:
Nick: synths, writes music, performs
Miho: vocals, piano, drums
Terri: writes words, melodies, the occasional drum machine thingie

Like most artists, we’re not great at categorising ourselves. On CDBaby, we said:

Quirky, electronic, synth-based alternative Japanese pop

Who did it?
Music by: Nick Clegg
Produced by: Nick Clegg
Lyrics by: Terri MacMillan
Label: Hakubishin Music
Published by: Hakubishin Music
Executive Producer: Stephen Clegg
Recorded and mixed by: Nick Clegg
Recorded at Otterchan Studios
Mastered by: Kevin Paul
Lyrics
the thrill
of rising
again
you’re fighting
your way
through the dark grey overhead
 
Look up and lift up
Come on and stay
And if you give up
Then no one, no one
Gives a damn
Light dawns slowly 
You can’t see the sky
But you know it’s there so
Look up
Lift up…
Your heart
will fill up
it’s time
to carry
yourself
moving forward
once again
Light dawns slowly 
You can’t see the sky
But you know it’s there so
Look up
Lift up…
 
Light dawns slowly 
You can’t see the sky
But you know it’s there so
Look up
Lift up…