Friday, December 21, 2012


FYI: We were stuck at Hong Kong International Airport for over eight hours and we used our time wisely by sampling food throughout the airport.

The Green Market (Hong Kong Airport)

N: This restaurant is located in Terminal 1 of Arrivals across from Starbucks, hidden behind a fountain and elevator.  Hubby and I started our airport food journey here and shared a Crab and Mango Salad, which consist of crab meat, sliced mangos, shredded cucumbers, mayo dressing, and roe. This dish had a tasty combination of refreshing (mangos), crisp (cucumbers), salty (roe) and sweet (dressing). What a perfect balance!!! We noticed they also offered a salad bar that looked very appetizing but hubby and I wanted to pace ourselves. We quickly noticed that a lot of the airport and airline personnel were enjoying lunch there and that is always a good sign.  If an eatery has high traffic and employees are willing to spend their time/money there, chances are that there is something good cooking over there. 
T: The Green Market is truly a hidden gem, tucked away in the corner of Hong Kong International Airport. The Green Market is the one of the healthiest options available in this massive modern marvel of an airport. Serving savory salads and mouthwatering soups/noodle dishes, Green Market offers a moment of serenity and relaxation to the health-conscious traveler. As many airport employees frequent the daily specials, travelers can benefit from the extensive salad bar or chose from a wide array of skillfully prepared dishes accurately arranged to excite your taste buds. This Japanese restaurant spares no expense from the extensive beverage choice to the eclectic ingredients used to create artistic dishes. Every bite is like, “music to the mouth with my tongue continuously dancing.” The wifey and I are sure to make that a “must stop” whenever in Hong Kong International Airport.

“Enjoyed the adventure started… at the Green Market.”




 Peak Lookout (Hong Kong Airport)

N: Located on the second floor, facing the entrance of the airport, this restaurant recently opened its doors roughly three-four weeks ago.  With its white linen tablecloths, wait staff donning black and white attire, and a menu comprising comfort and exotic dishes from every region of the world, this place really transformed our minds into thinking we were dining at a five star bistro on the Magnificent Mile of Chicago. We ordered the BBQ Surf and Turf Skewer, which consist of Wagyu beef medallions and Prawns, our chosen sauce and a side dish: Homemade Tangy BBQ and Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Salad with Balsamic Dressing, and Coleslaw. The prawns were deliciously grilled but the highlight of the meal was the Wagyu beef that was served medium-well, tender and lightly seasoned. The homemade BBQ sauce was a great compliment to the meal but a perfectly grilled/seasoned piece of quality meat never needs any sauce and this was one of those exceptions. The mashed potatoes were creamy and buttery and the salad seemed to be a mesclun mix (spinach, arugula, and etcetera). The coleslaw was sweet and crunchy with celery seeds and raisins… was the best ever!!!  We must mention that this masterpiece was headed up by Chef Christopher Shannon.  Unlike some places where the air is filled with pretentiousness, this place made us feel as if we had been regulars (Hey Norm!) and customer service was never fleeting. We honorably gave our compliments to the chef and enjoyed a fascinating conversation with him that lasted well over five minutes.  These are the components that make a restaurant worth recommending and revisiting. Kudos to you Chef Christopher Shannon and we can’t wait to visit you and the flagship Peak Lookout restaurant that is also located in Hong Kong.  
T: The Peak Lookout restaurant is stellar to say the least. The restaurant offers an incredibly well-rounded menu satisfying the pallet of all walks of life. Innovative and thought-provoking are just a few words used to describe our dining experience. With my wife’s eyes rolling to the back of her head with every bite, offering an intricate layer of taste and texture, I was blown away. Besides, “a happy wife leads to a happy life.” Thanks, Chef Christopher Shannon!!! It’s quite evident that Chef Shannon and the Peak Lookout staff focuses on the totality of your dining experience through well thought-out preparation and graceful presentation. After a brief but enjoyable conversation with Chef Shannon, my wife and I were both thrilled with our dining experience and are enthusiastic to visit the Peak Lookout flagship restaurant in Hong Kong. With Peak Lookout’s immense menu, dynamic staff and innovative chef - Picasso of the pallet, this restaurant is a must visit for a superb dining experience at Hong Kong International. 

“You will enjoy the food, no doubt at Peak Lookout.”




Tsui Wah Restaurant (Hong Kong Airport)

N: Also located on the second floor, right next to the Peak Lookout Restaurant, this restaurant is geared towards regional Asian cuisines: Chinese, Hong Kong, Malaysian, Singaporean, etc. Hubby and I ordered the Spicy American Beef with Vermicelli, Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings in Fish Soup and Sweet Corn Juice.  The beef with vermicelli was served with sliced green onion sprinkled on top and looked more like soup than an entrĂ©e.  It was undeniably spicy but the recognizable flavors of lemongrass and basil were the stars of the dish. The beef was too fatty but it did add to the taste of the broth. Surprisingly, I was more impressed with the texture and taste of the noodles than the flavor of the broth.  The shrimp and spinach dumplings in fish soup were more enjoyable than the spicy beef.  The spinach had a nice crunchy texture as if it was fresh spinach wrapped around the encased shrimp that were humongous.  Similar to the taste of Egg Drop soup, this was a yummy dish.  Unfortunately, my sweet corn juice was horrible.  I love corn! It can be grilled, creamed, boiled, or fried and I will eat it, which is why I decided to venture out to try this drink.  I will not order this ever again.  It tasted like pureed frozen nibblers that were warmed over a hot flame.  It was neither sweet nor appetizing at all L… BOOOO!!!!!!

T: The Tsui Wah restaurant was a unique experience. With more of a westernized pallet, I did not find the cuisine to my liking. This restaurant caters to the essences of authentic Asian food via spicy broths, fatty meats pieces and boiled vegetables. I am sure that I can find something to my liking with more time. The cold, hard seats and vast menu of Asian delicacies may not be pleasing to most foreigners. It reminded me of a smooth-running fast food chain. I admired the efficiency and organization of the staff. The waiter takes your order, punches it into a tablet and before you know it, another staff member from the kitchen is bringing out your order. The checkout of the restaurant was truly inventive by offering the option of paying with your Octopus card (public transportation card). This option proves to be very convenient, especially to travelers with unused money left on their card. The wifey and I may not go back to this restaurant, but encourage those who enjoy the authentic Asian cuisine to give it a try. 





Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Nadirah’s Perspective:

As promised, this second installment is geared towards the delicious restaurants we found on our exploration of China.  Hubby briefly mentioned that what American’s consider to be Chinese food is definitely not what you are exposed to from our neighbors of the Far East.  But fear not because our commonly known fast food restaurants have rapidly made their way oversees; for example, McDonald's  KFC, Popeye’s, Pizza Hut, etc.   Now please understand that when hubby and I are home within the states, we usually do not frequent these places; however, when we are visiting foreign countries these places become our means of survival.  We can recognize the smells, the ingredients (they vary sometimes), the look, and the names of the dish.  Yet, there are times when we find local goldmines that are worth remembering and recommending and we will share our discoveries with you all.

Troy’s Perspective:

            Throughout our adventures in China, we had the pleasure of patronizing several reputable restaurants. The commonly known fast-food chains tend to be our staple of choice; due to our lack of interest in authentic Chinese delicacies. Wifey and I frequent familiar eateries that we can identify with in the Western World. To our discovery, the familiar selections of McDonald's still have a twist catered to the Eastern pallet, such as spicy chicken sandwiches and seaweed seasoning for the fries. I have not eaten fast food in the states in over 5 years, but the familiar sights, smells and tastes tend to lure us in. When our interests are captured we venture out to new and exciting places that we anticipate will please our pallet.

Istanbul – Turkish Kebabs and Grills (Hong Kong Island)

N: Located at 232 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, this little eatery serves a variety of Turkish dishes. Hubby and I shared a Beef Donor Roll, which consist of sliced beef/lamb meat mixture (think of gyro meat), shredded lettuce, tomato, onions, and cucumber sauce wrapped in Lavas (pronounced Lavash: a soft, thin Turkish flat bread). Anyhoo, believe it or not, this sandwich was actually light, very filling, and delectable. Sauces are offered if you’re looking for additional heat but the flavor of the sandwich can unquestionably stand on its own. The owner of this heavenly place is a friendly, good-natured host named Turgut. He has a television positioned in the middle of the small dining area that rotated movies and the music videos of Neyo, Rihanna, Brittney Spears, and so on. Thank you Turgut for the great conversation and the hypnotic smell/taste of Turkish dishes which has solidified our returning back to this place any time we venture to Hong Kong Island.

T: After a long day at the airport and our flight being cancelled, we checked into the Charterhouse Hotel on Hong Kong Island. We certainly wanted to venture out and discover a new eatery for our pallets. As we exited the entrance of the hotel to our surprise directly across the street is Istanbul, a local restaurant that fascinated our interest. We crossed the street to Istanbul and began to read the outside menu. While considering various mouthwatering choices on the menu, the owner stepped out the entrance way and guaranteed us that we would thoroughly enjoy his food. Wifey and I both agreed to give it a try. After reviewing many options we were interested in several items listed on the menu but he insisted that we try a lamb, beef kabob wrap with spicy/garlic sauce. I myself fell in love with the layering of sensory manipulation. The phenomenal taste of Turkish meat combined with light/soft bread, mixed with fresh/crunchy vegetables was remarkable. I was totally blown away by the flavor as Turgut smiled at us to say, “I told you so.” Istanbul is a must visit whenever you visit Hong Kong Island. The amazing food coupled with fascinating conversation with the owner truly makes this place a hidden Gem.

“It’s a rule - you must visit Istanbul - Turkish Kebabs and Grills (Hong Kong Island).”

Enjoying a Beef Donor Roll!

Menu Options
Meet the lovable Turgut!

Pizza Express (Hong Kong Island)

N: Located at the J Residence, Shop #4 on Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Hubby and I fell in love with this place on our last trip to Hong Kong Island and I gave a solemnly promise that we would have to come back if ever we were given the chance.  This franchise actually originated in the UK but has found loving homes all over Hong Kong.  This is no ordinary pizza place… this pizza restaurant is awesome. On our last trip here, we ordered the Parma pizza: Prosciutto, ricotta, parmesan, rosemary, and polenta (no mozzarella). This blended tastes were delightful but be warned that it has a distinct salty bite to it due to the cured meat and the cheeses (video will be provided below).  This trip had us trying out a pizza from the Leggera section. Per the menu, Leggera (Italian for “light”) pizzas are made with a hole in the middle and a crisp rocket salad in the hole.  These particular pizzas are 550 calories each and are the perfect light option. We chose a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese and the Gustosa Leggera Pizza: Prosciutto, light mozzarella, portabella mushrooms, and red peppers. This pizza has a paper thin crust, very light tomato sauce, and once again the prosciutto adds a delectable taste of saltiness. The plentiful salad was that comes in the middle is a mix of arugula leaves and sweet balsamic vinaigrette with a bite. As for the Spaghetti Bolognese, the pasta was served al dente with a spicy, highly peppered, carrot infused tomato sauce. I am saddened to write that I was very disappointed with the flavor and texture of the meatballs. Even if the dish was sans meatballs, I really don’t think that I will order this particular dish again. BTW: they have an excellent selection of music playing throughout the evening.  Think of a blend of Neo-Soul and Smooth Jazz!

T: Pizza Express is a place Wifey and I discovered several years ago while visiting Hong Kong Island. From the first experience, we vowed to come back. Several years later we returned. The pizza at Pizza Express is groundbreaking to the health conscious, innovative to the food connoisseur and simply unbelievable to the average foodie. Because of the high fat content and overabundance of cheese, I simply do not enjoy pizza the same way as once before. Pizza Express transformed my way of thinking about pizza. The Leggera Pizza offers a pizza made with a hole in the center of the crust filled with a crisp/fresh rocket salad, topped with your favorite ingredients for fewer than 500 calories. Wow!!! This is the perfect option for me (member of the health conscious). The quality pizza toppings such as Hungarian pepperoni, smoked salmon, roquito peppers, roasted artichokes, ricotta and prosciutto cheese to name a few will please the pallet of the pizza connoisseur. The delectable dishes prepared with premium quality ingredients created an intricately woven taste engineered to excite taste buds that would bring joy to any foodie (Wifey – yaaaaaah!!!). The menu is well rounded and focuses on the superiority of quality and innovation to provide an astonishing pizza. Pizza Express in Hong Kong is a requisite when in Hong Kong Island.

“Have nothing but the best at Pizza Express.”

Yeah.... Pizza Express!

 Spaghetti Bolognese

 Gustosa Leggera Pizza

Meet Jacqueline (Jackie)... She's a wonderful  hostess!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Nadirahs Perspective:

After recent travels, hubby and I thought it would be appropriate to do a three-part blog on our adventures when traveling to one of the worlds largest populated areas China.   Before I get started, let me explain that this first installment will describe what most Americans would not consider common etiquette when traveling to China.   The reason we feel this is most important is because there are times when customs are misunderstood due to cultural differences.  Our hope is to put upcoming travelers at ease by preparing them with some insight on what to expect when traveling to mainland China and/or Hong Kong.  The information that will be provided is not meant as derogatory or demeaning, just the plain truth of what was witnessed or experienced on a daily basis.
The country of China is generally compromised of three parts: Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau (both HK and Macau are compromised of various islands).  Mainland China is under the jurisdiction of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), which excludes Hong Kong and Macau.  These various governments have different currencies, cultures, languages, and environments.  Its always important to mention that it is very hard for people from Mainland China to leave their home to travel to Hong Kong, while Hong Kong residents can freely come and go as they please to and from Mainland China.

Although its more common to see South Africans in certain regions of mainland China, it is a rare occurrence to see African Americans walking around the different provinces.  With that understanding, blacks are stared at like we are known celebrities or mythical creatures. Please do not take the blatant finger pointing and stares personally. However, Hong Kong is more multi-cultural so you wont stick out like a sore thumb.

Invasion of space:
Please understand that you are visiting a country with a population of over 1.3 billion people.  Space is limited and your frame of mind should consider that.  Its nothing for locals to stand within extreme proximity to one another.  U.S. citizens are on the whole give me five feet rule; however, this does not apply when visiting foreign lands.

Still dont understand why but it is not common practice to cover your mouth when you cough.  Be aware that a person may be standing right next to you and experience a wide-mouth cough.  My only suggestion to you is to turn your head in the opposite direction and/or get out of the way if this is going to be a problem.  Cussing or mean-mugging a person will do you no earthly good.

There is a major problem with counterfeit Chinese RMB dollars in Mainland China, so learn how to identify what to look for in the ink.  For example, the 100 dollar bill has a reflective green 100 printed in the bottom corner of the bill and you should be able to feel ridges on the printed face of the bill.  If the 100 does not reflect or the face of the bill feels too smooth its a fake.  FYI: Interchanging your money at the airport (make sure you grab local maps there) does not negate you from receiving these fake bills, so please take the time before you leave any counter to inspect each and every bill you receive.  Otherwise, you could find yourself stranded with a disgruntle taxi cab driver or business owner and they will consider it to be your fault and accuse you of being a crook.  Photos will be provided below.

Nose picking:
Believe it or not, just like the coughing, it is customary to see the locals picking their noses at an alarming rate.  Forefinger, pinky finger, or pinky nail it does not matter.  Just make sure that you stay out of the way if this is going to hinder your vacation. Side note: keep plenty of travel wet ones available if you are planning on shaking a lot of hands.

Toilet and paper:
Public washrooms for women consist of a toilet bowl situated in the floor (photo below).   Ladies, this means that you have to get ready to squat.  Sorry for getting graphic but the lower you squat, the more you are able to avoid wild sprays getting on your clothes.   Also, carry a travel pack of tissues and/or wet ones with you because toilet paper will not be provided for you.

Get ready to work those thigh muscles!

Troy’s Perspective:

            Depending on where you are located in China, the assistance that you may be looking for in order to get around town or gathering basic knowledge of the area may be challenging if you cannot speak Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese).  The Chinese dialect differs in Northern and Southern China.  English speakers are very far and few to come-by in Mainland China.  The best way to get around is to have someone who speaks English to write out locations to any of your destinations in Chinese.  Therefore, you can ask someone to read and direct you to a specific location or give the Chinese writing of your location to a taxi driver.  It is always best to be ready to play the ultimate game of charades.  It may be amusing at times, but this is where your creativity and physical gestures come to be veeeery important!  Just imagine how you would ask someone who cannot speak your language the most basic things, such as: Where is the toilet? How much something cost?  Where to get food or what time is it?  These minor things are very challenging at times but entertaining to see because you tend to get very inventive.

            Hong Kong is a place of opulence and quality. This province of Hong Kong is defiantly the upper crust of China. You can see the European influence of cars, food, clothing and hotels. English is the second language, therefore making it easy to get around and enjoy what Hong Kong has to offer. Due to the European influence, quality is mandatory in these parts; along with, the hefty price that goes along with the territory but you definitely get what you pay for. Mainland China is very different when it comes to quality. This is where you may run into many counterfeit goods for example: clothing, electronic accessories, even money as you are handed back change, so be careful.  If the price may be too good to be true, maybe its not true and what you see may not be what you are getting.  It was mentioned by travelers that often frequent China when ordering food, you may not be getting the meat that may be advertised.  Example: The shrimp that you order may be some other seafood that closely resembles shrimp.
Public Service Announcement: Be Careful!!!

            Relationships may be observed as rather odd in the eyes of Westerners, but the way of life for those of China. It is customary to see groups of young men and women walking/talking/ holding hands down the street or conversing with their arm around one another at the local bar or club. As noticed by wifey and I, many Chinese citizens go to local dance clubs with their friends and just spend time with their immediate company. It is unusual for Chinese citizens to go out of their way to mingle with others they may not know. The time of going out is for a small group of acquaintances to enjoy the time among themselves. They seldom go out to pick up potential mates or find new friends. 

Tipping for services:
            I have noticed that the customs of tipping in Mainland China and Hong Kong are very different. I believe that it is traditional for Mainland Chinese not to except tips for services (taxi rides, bell hops, waiters at restaurants, etc.). This may vary depending on where you stay and if they are familiar with Westerner/Europeans customs. Those who provide services in Hong Kong are very familiar with Western/European customs; therefore, expect a tip for services rendered.

            The salty/sweet flavors that excite Western pallets are not the common choice of Mainland Chinese. What Westerners have known as Chinese food is fictitious food created for the American pallet. Authentic Chinese foods consist of white rice, small pieces of meat, some exotic seafood and a wide assortment of vegetables. There is no such thing as shrimp fried rice, egg rolls, egg foo young, sweet and sour chicken/shrimp/pork and other dishes that we are accustom to eating. Just about everything that is served in America as Chinese food is not heard of in Mainland China. What a reality check!!! The very first time that wifey and I ate in the mainland area, we ordered shrimp assuming that it would be delightful and fresh. To our surprise, the shrimp were served completely with shells, legs and heads. Our appetites were instantly lost and off to McDonald's we went!  We have noticed that McDonald's  Starbucks, Pizza Hut and KFC have been becoming more familiar in remote and odd places around the world. Hong Kong on the other hand is totally different. Wifey and I enjoy eating just about everything offered in Hong Kong. The food is suited for a more Westernized/European pallet.

Stay tuned for the second installment: Food reviews of restaurants in Mainland China and Hong Kong

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Nadirah’s Perspective:

On September 22, hubby and I attended a Natural Hair Meet-up that was sponsored by Motions and hosted by renowned natural hair blogger, Curly Nikki. The event was held at Japonais Restaurant located at 600 W. Chicago Avenue which is down the street from the historic Chicago Tribune building.  Upon arrival, it was so wonderful to see the plethora of beautiful brown women celebrating their “crowns of glory.” I saw the various hair stylings of: wash n go’s, braids, coils, twist-outs, braid-outs, updos, buns, blow-outs, locs, etc.; manes that were accentuated with hues of black, blond, red, or brown that were then dressed with adornments of flowers, bows, scarves, headbands, and so on.  It was magnificent! As the woman congregated with drinks and conversation between the bi-level floors, waiters were reappearing with hors d'oeuvres of: California sushi rolls, skewered chicken satay, and mini Wagyu beef burgers (BTW… the food was delicious).

Sadly, I didn't get the chance to share a photo with the hostess of the event but I did have the pleasure of sharing some camera time with some other extraordinary women that also happened to be celebrated bloggers as well. Photos and corresponding blog addresses will be provided below.

Overall, this was a great event to have attended with my hubby as we continue to bask in the greatness that is self-love and appreciation of our unique appearances. Each woman we saw exuded a personal flair that could not be duplicated even if we wanted to try. However, throughout our unique exteriors, one thing did bond us together… THE LOVE AND CARE WE HAVE FOR OUR HAIR!

Troy's Perspective:

As a bald man, attending a natural hair meet up was very interesting and exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing and being a part of an event that truly celebrated the pride, grace and elegance of having natural curly hair.  It was an honor to be in the presence of so many women of all shapes, sizes and colors embracing their God-given beauty. The natural hair movement is one that I support wholeheartedly. The facade of having to put chemicals in our hair regularly is not true beauty. True beauty comes from studying, learning, embracing mastering and perfecting what you have. That is not only true for your hair but the life that you are blessed to have. The exquisiteness and love from my wife, I can never get from any other, but as a man I was pleased to be encircled by women of all origins displaying their creativity, showcasing their striking manes. As an artist by nature, it was like being at an art show.

Getting the opportunity to speak with naturals and bloggers from all over the country, this event was one that I will never forget. As a man and husband of a beautiful natural woman, I was pleased to see the gathered support from other naturals applauding my efforts of supporting my wife’s natural transition. As I explained to others that asked, the hardest part of the transition is the initial change.

Once overcoming the initial change, I began to research and see the benefits of being natural for myself. The benefits are truly astonishing, from my wife being able to get her hair wet and the sweet smell of natural hair without chemicals was priceless. Others soon began to tell their stories and how limited they were when they were bonded by having perms and weaves. To all my natural women, “keep-it curly” and to all my non-natural women:

“Seek to be your best since your best is what God has blessed you with.”

The Captivating Cassidy from

The Talented Tanikia Thompson from and the Brillant Briana McCarthy from

The Fabulously Phenomenal Felicia

Friday, October 12, 2012


The Lugg Family
Nadirah’s Perspective:

On September 22, hubby and I had the unfortunate experience of having to euthanize our beloved dog, Joy.  Sadly, after weeks of erratic behavior and numerous hospital visits, she was diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer. Although it was a difficult decision to make, we could no longer watch “our baby girl” suffer and made the most heart wrenching decision ever.  Now I am well aware they some people will read this post and may remark the follow: “It was just a dog!” or “You can get another one.”  (And my favorite one) “Are you serious?” and seven years ago, I probably would have felt the same way. However, having the responsible of caring, feeding, teaching another life does change one’s perspective.

No my husband and I have not given birth to a child, but the love and attention that we gave Joy helped to create our family of three.   I myself was surprised to experience the amount of shed tears and grief placed in my heart by the memories of our dog; but as always, I will take this as a learning experience.  When hubby and I do decide to have children, I’ve learned that we have similar beliefs on child rearing, that my hubby is very loving and compassionate about the welfare of others (humans or animals), and that I can accept the challenges and hard decisions that goes along with the valiant duties of motherhood.  All and all, I am grateful for the time and love shared with Joy and I welcome the comical memories that creep into my daydreams knowing that I have become what I use to ridicule… an emotional but loving pet owner.


Nadirah & Baby Girl Joy

Troy’s Perspective:

Being a first time pet owner was a new experience for my wife and I. Seven years ago I would have never imagined the pain and grief felt once our beloved pet was no more. The truth is, our pet and many around the world are true companions, love ones, friends and part of the family. After our dog, Joy, was diagnosed with stomach cancer, it was a very hard decision to have her euthanized.  It was truly the biggest decision that we had to make together as a family because we could no longer stand to see her suffer.

As the sedative was being injected into her veins, I could not tolerate the thought to stay in the room. I immediately began to feel distress. I quickly excused myself and tried to think of the reasoning behind our decision.  My wife had taken the strongest stance of us both by staying in the room and holding Joy during her injections. The thought makes me tear up, thinking of our loyal, trusting companion being put to sleep forever. After speaking with my wife (who could barely talk after the procedure), she devastatingly mentioned that Joy let out a final tear as she took her last breath.  Not having children of our own, Joy was our child and beyond a doubt was a vital part of our family.

It certainly holds true that you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I would have never imagined that I would have shed as many tears, felt pain, and sadness the way I did for our beloved Joy. Many people love their pets and develop a bond that fulfills their life and I am thankful to have that experience that I never knew or understood before.  This experience was a true eye opener. Spend time, cherish the moments and appreciate the time you have with love ones because you never know when it will all come to an end. Spread and appreciate the blessings that we have as human beings… the gift of love.

Joy you will forever be in our hearts!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Nadirah’s Perspective:

On Friday, September 14, I had the privilege of acting in a theatre production of Charles Fuller’s Zooman and the Sign.  For a little background information, Charles Fuller is the famous American playwright that wrote, A Soldier's Play, (later renamed A Soldier’s Story for the film production starring a younger Denzel Washington) for which he received the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Anyhoo, Zooman and the Sign is about a black teen named Zooman who aimlessly shoots and kills a young girl named Jinny on her own front porch.  Zooman presents himself as a helpless product of his society, but Jinny’s father, Rueben tries to convince his neighbors that they need to stand together to achieve justice. Rueben decides to place a sign on his property placing blame on the neighbors for not speaking up about what they witnessed in order to bring forth Jinny’s murderer. However, the sign starts to bring about conflict among his wife Rachel, their son Victor, extended family members (Uncle Emmett and Cousin Ash), and other disgruntled neighbors.

Overall, the premise of the story provokes the question of whether or not you would be willing to speak up if you witness a murder or a crime in general.  I know that it’s a tough question to ponder but personally, I feel that it will be my test and duty as a human being to speak up if I witness some form of injustice in the world.  We live in an era where the ideology of “Don’t Snitch” is saturated within rap/song lyrics, television shows, and movies; nevertheless, is this helping or hurting us as a society?  I believe when we master a code of silence, we enable criminals/murderers to continue on their vicious cycles of violence and other various criminal activities.  

Per various news websites, within the city of Chicago, more than 300 people were killed in Chicago between January and July 2012, a nearly 30 percent increase over the last year.  As of last week, that number is up to 374.  Would this number lessen if more people opted to call tip hotlines and/or called the police when threats are spewed aloud on the streets promising revenge to whomever? I’m aware that people are afraid to speak up due to the fear of retaliation if the accused finds out but we have to remind ourselves that if we were placed in the same position of having our love ones gunned down, wouldn’t you want someone to step forward in order to find some resolution and peace when you can place a face with crime. Our children and other innocent victims are being murdered on our streets and even within the sanctity of their home. I’m not saying that this is the ultimate solution to the problem but it definitely could be a start if not a deterrent.


Troy’s Perspective:

With the recent influx in crime in the Chicagoland area, what can we do as a society/community to save our streets and keep our children safe? After having the privilege of being in the audience of the theatre production that was directed by Mr. James Pringle and the Harlem Theater Company of Chicago, it was quite apparent. The production was thought provoking, intriguing and current with the reality that we face in today’s times. The reality was shown that many of us are restricted by our fears (retaliation or the unknown) and therefore don’t do anything to stop criminal activity that some of us witness and/or hear. Relying on the police, teachers and politicians to solve all our problems is not the answer, but the answer is with us all.  We have the moral responsibility to nurture, inform and participate in our community.  If we don’t help each other who will.

As we mature and time passes on, we are destined to change.  I once had the mentality of turning a blind eye and staying out of other peoples’ business. By taking on this approach as a code of the community this will only leave us all to suffer. In some ways, we are all connected and affected by the actions of others which means that the troubles that some face are troubles that we all face as a whole. By doing nothing only perpetuates the dilemma and makes things more difficult. The ideology of “every man for themselves” makes us individualistic and self destructive. What are we teaching our youth? The youth of today have many day to day challenges living in the inner city. Our children will continue to duck and dodge bullets, witness crimes and feel lucky to reach the age 18 unless we speak up, speak out and do something. Because of the unwritten rule of “Don’t be a snitch,” children are getting bullied at school at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, many confrontations with bullies go unnoticed because children are scared to speak up. Often enough, when they decide to speak it’s usually negative (with a weapon causing a life changing situation).

What would you do??? Picture this scenario of an incident involving a man that was terrorizing a neighborhood.  The man was charged with kidnapping, raping and killing several middle school girls. After interviewing several students and members in the community, the man was seen walking around the school in the afternoon when children were being released. A number of students mentioned that the man looked strange at the young girls but were scared to say anything. Numerous members in the community mentioned, they thought it was “quite strange for this man to walk around the school as the kids were getting released,” but failed to speak up. The result is that 4 middle school girls were kidnapped, raped and killed over a span of 2 weeks. What would you do???

The answer is clear, speak up, speak out and do something, the life you may be saving just may be your own or the one that you love.