Thursday, December 12, 2013


Being that I have been a singer all of my life you would think that this is an obvious statement but quite the contrary.  It has taken me almost 40 years to finally settled in a place of personal peace and unconditional self acceptance that I have actually fallen in LOVE my own voice! 

I've always thought that I had a nice voice and that I could sing. I grew up really really liking my voice. I liked that I could almost imitate anyone alto or soprano as a child.  I liked that I could always harmonize with the tunes on the radio. And I liked the fact that I could even show-off with a couple of runs down the scale as well.  I really LIKED my voice. 

Then there were times as a teenage that I realized that I had a little power and some "umph" behind my voice. I would belt out a Mother's Finest tune, sing-a-long with Chaka Khan, croon with Marvin Gaye and imitate Atlantic Starr.  During those moments I felt joy because I knew that I could hold my own with these singers that I really admired. I really LIKED the fact that my voice could imitate theirs. But I didn't LOVE my OWN VOICE.

Even as an adult, I performed with a girls group and band that I loved dearly. While I thought we were the baddest girls group on the left of the Alabama River I  always felt that in some way I needed to hold back because my voice was...okay. I won awards, state medals, radio contests and even a contract and still I felt in the back of my mind that my voice was okay but maybe not "good enough." 
I really LIKED my VOICE but I didn't LOVE my VOICE.

Then after a seven year hiatus from performing, I found myself unexpectedly singing backup for an established artist and once again faced with the reality that I really liked my VOICE but I didn't LOVE IT!

Then all of a sudden my world was changed with a simple music video (that I hated quite frankly). The video named I Know I've Been Changed received more than 1.1 million views within 2 weeks. No promotion or marketing. It just went viral on it's own. 

I was so confused by the success of this video that I was forced to read the video comments to try to understand what did people see in the video that I didn't. I read comment after comment and kept seeing the words "spirit" "authentic" "chills" and "beautiful."  I NOW became even more baffled! WHAT?!! Beautiful!? I had on a cheap shirt and tights.  I thought to myself, "There was nothing beautiful about the video."

My hair was a hot mess after being forced to cut off my beautiful thick hair weeks earlier because of a bad salon experience. I was emotionally devastated because of a failed relationship.  I was very resistant to singing back-up in the first place and even initially tried to convince the artist that he should hire a "professional singer."  HOW COULD THIS BE?!  I wanted to sound like Whitney, look like Janet Jackson, be fine like Toni Braxton, tear the house down like Chaka and be loved like Diana Ross! THIS VIDEO DIDN'T REFLECT WHAT I WANTED MY VIDEO TO BE!

When I looked at the video.... all I saw and heard was me and my short comings! Why didn't I do one
of those Mahalia Jackson runs down the scale? Why didn't I dress up in pretty outfits and in pink like a Whitney Houston video? Why didn't I look at the camera and flirt with my eyes like Mariah Carey? 

There I sat staring at a video that received had over 1.1 million views and was crying and embarrassed because I didn't feel deserving of the support. Couldn't people see that I wasn't dressed up, hear that I hadn't practiced the song and know that I wasn't my best? Couldn't they see me????

Then I realized that they did see me.  They saw me and they LIKED what they saw.  Plus, most actually said they LOVED my voice.  So now I was faced with the question of WHY didn't I like what I saw and why didn't I LOVE my own voice.  I thought my voice just wasn't good enough. 

In the past year, I have learned so many life lessons about love, family and life through this music journey.  Ironically, it was my music and my own voice that has brought about my healing. I actually stopped comparing my circumstances to others. I stopped comparing my voice, style and tone to others. I stopped comparing my life to others.  I started living my own experience, writing my own songs and just listening to my own voice and then it happened.  I fell in LOVE with my OWN VOICE.

Now I appreciate and LOVE my OWN VOICE so much that I am BRAVE enough, BOLD enough and SECURE enough to share it with the world. 

Check out my upcoming EP coming in 2014 called Shades of Pink.  It's been a long time coming but I LOVE MY VOICE!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Check out LaTosha Brown's song "So High"

Take a Moment to Celebrate Black Love!!!!

Twitter: @MsLaToshaBrown

Monday, October 14, 2013

Write IT Down! It Works

Have you written your desires down and committed them to paper? Do you have a dream that has only been explored in your mind? Have you ever created a prayer list, vision board, or some type of visual representation of something that you desire to manifest in your life? 

I can tell you from first hand experience that there is something very powerful about writing down your vision and believing that God will help you manifest your dreams.  There is tremendous value in writing down your vision beyond it being simply a physical reminder on paper.  Writing down your desires on paper forces you to commit to the pursuit of that desire and/or  simply be open to receive.   
Some years ago, I attended a poetry reading at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Atlanta featuring lyricist and singer Jill Scott.

As I entered the building I unexpectedly heard a voice in my spirit say, "What are you asking of God? You have not because you ask not.  Write your vision and your desires down?" I immediately headed to my seat, took out a writing pad and began to write down a list of desires that I wanted God to grant to me over my lifetime.

Through this process I condensed my desire to ten desires and/or experiences that I wanted to manifest in my life.  Number five (5) on my list was the following statement:

"I want to travel to the Holy Land (Israel) and be baptized in the waters in which Jesus stood."  

Two days after the writing down my ten requests I woke up early that Friday morning and
had an insatiable urge to contact one of my mentors from Alabama. I sat at the edge of my bed and called his office with no particular agenda in mind other than check on him and see how he was doing. His assistant informed me that he was out of the office that morning but said that I was on her list to call but she couldn't didn't have my number.  She went on to tell me that she had been instructed by Dr. Steele to reach out to me and see if I wanted to join him and a delegation of religious leaders on a trip to Israel.  Of course my answer was a resounding "YES."  She  told me that my timing had been "perfect" because this was the final day for submitting the confirmed list of participants to the international partner. 

Twenty-one days later I participated  on  an all expense paid 10 day trip to the Holy Land. Moreover, on day five of the trip the delegation were unexpectedly offered the opportunity to go to the Jordan River to be baptized.  So not only did I go on a FREE trip to Israel but I had the opportunity to get BAPTIZED in the Jordan River.

Since that experience I am more mindful of writing down my vision and the desires of my heart.   This weekend as I looked through some of my papers I found this certificate of baptism.  I am not sure of the exact significance of writing down your vision but I know that in this particular case God granted me the opportunity for this SPECIFIC request in less than 72 hours.       

 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. ~ Habakkuk 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Surrender ALL

Sweet, sweet surrender, live, live without careLike a fish in the water, like a bird in the airSweet, sweet surrender, live, live without careLike a fish in the water, like a bird in the air              ~ Lyrics and Song by John Denver
For years, I have been trying to understand what it really means to surrender. Over the years, my family and friends have continued to tell me that I need to learn how to surrender. But it has never really made ANY sense to me nor taken any root in my mind or spirit. To be quite honest, I really thought "surrendering" meant giving up. 

I could even visualize a "surrender scene" in my head as an image of me.... courageously riding on a beauutiful charcoal grey horse, dressed in a pristine pearl colored flowing dress, galloping through the beautiful hills of an Arabian desert with a cohort of armored clad warrior women behind me headed to battle.... then all of the sudden someone rides up from the distant on a muscular black stallion telling me that I need to surrender.  

....I'd imagine myself thinking, "What?! I've got my gear on, my beautiful stallion, the warrior sisters behind me, and I'm ready for battle. What do you mean I should just SURRENDER?!......... 

Each time I would find myself in the midst of a struggle with a relationship, family member, work, my child or my own personal issues I would hear that all TOO familiar phrase--YOU NEED TO SURRENDER. Even in recent years, as I began to actively pursue my journey as a singer, artist and writer I have had to come face-to-face with the idea of surrendering.

....then here comes along a sister singer named Liv Warfield. I finally GOT IT!!!!!

It was actually through watching her performance that I saw what people have been saying to me for years....if you just let go, don't worry about perceptions, withhold self-judgement, flow in your gift and LET GOD lead the process you will be LIBERATED! Thank you God! I FINALLY GOT IT!

You see what I noticed and felt in my spirit from Liv's performance was that she was NO LONGER enslaved, mentally imprisoned  and/or bound by the perceptions of other people including her fans. 

This sister got on stage and just shared her authentic gift(s) without a sense any feeling the pressure to be perfect, the pretense of just entertaining people or the goal of meeting other folks  expectations. I saw pure liberation to operate in her authentic gift(s) and my soul was MOVED. I actually started praising God under my breath as I heard her sing.  That's what liberation sounds like.

Ironically, this sister was quite entertaining and a fabulous singer; she mesmerized the crowd by NOT trying to entertain them.  Instead she captured the attention of the audience through her display of courage to fully be present in the moment,  simply BE who God made her to be and use her gift without restraint.  Up until the end of the show (she stayed in flow even after the show had ened and they cut off the mics and the sound system) Liv encouraged the band to keep going and created an authentic  music experience and opportunity for us to witness the liberation that comes when we surrender our gift(s) to GOD! 

This is what I have learned in a pink nutshell:


2.) Humility is NOT about your relationship with man BUT  your relationship with  God.

3.) Surrendering is not constraining but it actually leads to true LIBERATION by trusting God with ALL of the affairs in your life--including the use of your gift(s).

4.)  Always remember the gift is for God's GLORY and never peoples' acceptance.

LORD, I surrender ALL! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm In Love!

YES, it's true I'm in love and so happy to share my testimony. It's been a long time coming but I'm finally here! After several failed relationships, years of waiting on "the one", many nights of both prayers and tears, and countless hours of self-reflection and pep talks with my girlfriends I have finally found the love that I was looking for. You would think that after seeing Ntozake Shange's play "For Colored Girls that Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" I would have gotten the message much sooner about the difficulty in finding your true love but unfortunately I didn't get it.  Ntozake summed it up perfectly with one powerful line in her play,  "I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely."   

Don't get me wrong I truly DESIRE the love of a man in my life and look forward to the day that God allows me to meet my soul mate and future husband. I have desired to be in a committed relationship for years but I had to get the same life lesson Lauryn Hill writes about in one of her song's...

"Father you saved me and showed me that life
Was much more than being some foolish man's wife."

I did not realize that the love I was looking for in a marriage was different from the love that I needed to develop as a woman. I thought the love I longed for inside could be provided by someone on the outside. The truth is that no man alive could fill that void. It was on;y through my understanding of God's love that I became liberated enough to love myself deeper and created an abundance of love for me to share with another. I needed to quench my thirst with something beyond the confines of this physical world. I needed to tap into the unlimited supply of unconditional and unmerited love by Jesus Christ. I finally understood the true nature of LOVE. I knew what the bible taught about love but I just didn't realize it was to be applied to self as well.  

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not        
  dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
        Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ~ 1 Corinth 13:4-8

Ironically, I had not anticipated that through the pain of rejection I would be FORCED to work on self-acceptance. I had not fathomed the idea that the perceived curse of "loneliness" was the very emotion that FORCED me to deal with past pain and unresolved emotions. I certainly could not mentally process that the shattering of my ego would reveal the true state of my self-esteem. It was actually my brokenness that FORCED  me to gather all of the shattered pieces of my spirit and create a beautiful mosaic of self-love, self-mastery, self-acceptance and radical forgiveness.  

Y'ALL I FINALLY GOT IT!!!!!  I have been waiting on ME to show up! I've spent so much time waiting to love or be loved by the "right man" that I totally resisted and resented the fact that God allowed me to experience singleness as a blessing to master self-love. God  has not been denying me any love but He been showering  me and teaching me how to love Him, myself and others without limitations, conditions or judgments. 

The irony is that I thought self-love was the LAST area I needed help mastering.  As far as I remember, I've always had a very confident air about myself and a huge dose of self-esteem. be perfectly honest what I have realized is that I only mastered the ability to support an ego that could shut down the bully in the school yard and bold enough to be competitive with my peers. However, often at night when I was left alone with my thoughts and no one was around I knew I didn't measure up to the image that I wanted "everybody" to believe about me. For many years, after my ego would drift off to sleep I would lay wide awake feeling like a fraud, inadequate, and unable to measure up to the image that my external self displayed to the world.  

Then life taught me.......

As my grandma would say, "Baby just keep on living and Life will teach you everything you need to know." I didn't know what the heck she was talking about but I GOT IT NOW! Life has been my greatest teacher! I think they call that wisdom. (smile) And yes sometimes I still experience feelings of loneliness but I now recognize that I am never ever alone.  Being able to distinguish the difference between the two has changed my life. 

My love journey has been an interesting one and it still goes on! My love affair with others and myself has gone through it's share of ups and downs, twists and turns, and many trials and tribulations. However, I have finally arrived at the point in my journey that "my love" is not about someone else, selfishness or how-my-ego feels but it is firmly rooted in God's unconditional love. Like with any relationship, self- love is an ever evolving and deepening journey continues. Now even on my loneliest and most challenging days I can  tap into a greater LOVE with a simple reminder and declaration, "God LOVES Me and so do I"! (and now I truly know what it means)