Thursday, November 29, 2007

Still Saving Sex City

The new episode of Saving Sex City is finally up!

Join Heather and Annie, an ex-stripper and ex-prostitute turned Christian evangelists, as they venture the streets of Las Vegas reaching out to the lost and the lonely in episode 3 of their video podcast: Saving Sex City.

[Click here to read my first post about this show.]

[UPDATE 12/01/07] - Over 800 people have commented on this video over at Annie's blog. And her blog has been the #1 on MySpace for two days now. Glory to God!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Muslim Girl Magazine

I'm not a Muslim, but I enjoy reading Muslim Girl magazine.

Muslim Girl is a new kind of magazine. It's targeted for Muslim American teens and twenty-somethings.

There's a variety of women of color. And it isn't just on one or two pages or limited to an Autumn photo spread. Ethnic diversity is throughout the pages, beginning, middle and end. Girls from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and all over the world. Women with brown skin, tan skin, white skin and everything in between. It's more than I've ever seen in any other American magazine like Vogue, Cosmopolitan or Seventeen.

Why aren't Christian magazines this committed to being diverse on a regular basis? It baffles me.

I especially like the fashion section where they give girls tips on how to be trendy yet conservative. I'm a big fan of scarfs and the array of all those dazzling fabrics sends my eyes on a trip down the yellow brick road. They're beautiful. I think hijabs are pretty cool, they can really accent a woman's face in a stunning way. Do I want to wear one every day? No. Do I think all women should be forced to wear them? No way! And not all Muslim women do. There's a good mix of articles and photos that display that.

I'll let you in on a little secret about me, every once in a while I pull out my collection of scarfs and put together a make-shift hijab. I'm just different like that. But what I've really wanted to do for years is go to the same stores where Muslim women buy their scarfs from and get some myself.

One thing I learned from reading through Muslim Girl is that they have a similar passion for their faith and their god just like I have a passion for my faith and my God. And for that, they have my respect and understanding. I know what it's like for the media to daily misrepresent your religion in the news and for people to stereotype you for the color of your skin. And I know that if I wore my scarf on my head out in public that people would look at me strange, like I might be a terrorist. I'd still be a Christian because I know that no piece of clothing can define your faith. Faith is so much more than what you wear. It's what you wear on the inside that counts. But that wouldn't stop their opinions.

One of my favorite scriptures is this:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (Peter 3:3-4, The Holy Bible, NIV version)

If you're a Christian (especially a Christian woman) I encourage you to visit your local Barnes & Noble and to browse through Muslim Girl. Look at their faces, read their stories, consider their hopes and dreams and realize that these are real people, just like you. Muslims are not our enemies. Evil is our enemy. Sin is our enemy. Greed. Hate. Apathy. Lust. Those are true our enemies. And the devil is behind it all.

Pray for Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, Indian, Palestine, Israel and other countries war torn and troubled. Pray for the U.S. - (God knows our society needs it with all the mess we've got going on within our borders).

We all need Jesus. Plain and simple. There's no other person, being and God like Him. Mention His name in any part of the world and the vibe of the room will change. No other name can evoke such emotion, whether love or hate. His name is full of power and grace. Sure, Christians throughout history have abused His name with things like slavery, racism, and bloody crusades. They were probably more interested in getting power for themselves instead of sharing grace with others. And for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith have let people down and did things wrong and built a legacy that still leaves people with scars. And I'm sorry for missteps. For the times when I was too caught up in what I wanted instead of being focused on what I should be giving. We Christians have many moments where look back on the deeds of our lives ashamed by our behavior. But the good news is that God is bigger than our shame. He is able to work through our feebleness and do amazing things!

Just think about Mother Theresa and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Both Christian, both had their weak moments but look what they did! And there are countless versions of people like Mother Theresa and Dr. King, that work behind the scenes, not getting the glory like they did but yet still feeding the hungry, reaching out to poor and rallying for the underdogs in society. People like Shelley Lubben, Annie Lobert and Craig Gross who reach out to porn stars and prostitutes. People like Cynthia Bauer who minister to children with disabilities in Africa. And people like those at Starlight Ministries and The Dream Center who reach out to homeless youth.

Once again, Muslims aren't our enemies. They're not confined to the hostile stereotypes that are portrayed on the nightly news and on the covers of Time and Newsweek. And when some of them do violent acts in the name of Allah (keyword: some), Jesus tells us to love them anyway. Now that's some wild stuff. No wonder Jesus' name radiates such power. There's power in love. And as the Bible says, "God is love."

Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading Muslim Girl as much I do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When You Need A Hug

You ever wish that Jesus could give you a great big hug?

I'm not talking about one of those pat on the back church hugs or the kind that you give to people you rather not be hugging at all. I mean one of those soul-stirring, rest in your embrace hugs that calm you at your core.

You ever need one of those?

Sometimes life has a way of getting you down. And sometimes you don't even want to get up. Sometimes you feel like you CAN'T get up even if you tried. You want to scream! Shout! Punch your fist through the wall. Do something loud to express how much it sucks.

But most of all you want someone to grab your from your rage, draw you close and tell you that "everything's going to be alright". Maybe not now. Maybe not tomorrow. But eventually things will turn around for the better. And you want to believe them with all your heart.

There's this scene in Garden State where Large (Zach Braff) and Sam (Natalie Portman) are about to depart from her house and her mother gives Sam a hug and then asks Large if he wants one too. At first, Sam tries to hurry Large away because she thinks it's not cool. But what Sam doesn't know is how much Large needs that hug. So Large pauses, turns to her mother and says, "I'll take a hug." And she gives him a great big hug, the kind where he can't help but close his eyes and enjoy her motherly embrace. It's exactly what he needs because his mother just died and his world was in disarray.

That scene gets me every time. And here's why: it's true to the human condition. When our life isn't going the way we want it go, we need to pause, turn to God and let Him hug us. The kind where we can't help but close our eyes and enjoy His Fatherly embrace.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jurnee, Denzel and Forest--Oh My!!!

Oprah is having a big show tomorrow featuring the cast of the highly-anticipated film The Great Debaters.

Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker lead this emotionally charged slice of American history tale.

Set in the backdrop of pre-Civil Rights, The Great Debaters tells the story of a black professor's hard fought battle to lead a team of black college students to a debate against the prestigious all-white Harvard University debate team. The Great Debaters marks Denzel Washington's second directorial effort after his critically acclaimed debut Antwon Fisher.

Kimberly Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Women, John Q) and Jurnee Smollett (Eve's Bayou, Roll Bounce) also star. You may remember Smollett as Michelle Tanner's spunky bestfriend on Full House. (At least that's when I became a fan). Here's to hoping that she nabs an Oscar for her role and this movie propels her career to a whole new plateau.

The Great Debaters opens nationwide in theaters on Dec. 25th.

[Update 11/26/07] - I just watched the show and it was AMAZING seeing all those talented black actors sitting together on Oprah's stage!!! They showed an extended clip from the movie where Jurnee was giving her speech about how black students and white students should be equally educated and it was break-taking, poignant and brilliant all wrapped in one. I can't wait to see this movie! And even better yet, I can't wait to see the young actors' careers emerge and blossom.

I'll leave you with these inspiring words that Denzel Washington imparted to the younger actors:

"Man gives the awards, but God gives the rewards."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ashley Judd and Social Justice

This month's issue of Redbook has a great cover story with Ashley Judd talking about how her faith fuels her passion for social justice issues like AIDS awareness and sex trafficking in India.

The article really inspired me because A.) I've been a fan of Judd's acting career for a while, Where the Heart Is is my favorite movie, and it's nice to get a glimpse into what really matters to her and B.) India calls to my heart. I've been interested in the culture since high school. I'd love to travel to Mumbai and make some Bollywood films one day.

Judd also talked about her new "cruelty-free" clothing line at Goody's, a Southern chain store, that will be featuring "products made by survivors of human trafficking" as well as her promise to provide quality health care programs for the factory workers unlike some big companies who have gotten flack for their near sweatshop conditions.

She also has an upcoming documentary called India's Hidden Plague that will be airing Nov. 30th on the National Geographic Channel. I only caught a little bit of her previous effort, Confronting the Pandemic, that she did with Salma Hayek about AIDS effect in Central America and it was pretty heart-stirring. So get your TiVo ready, this is one program you don't want to miss.

And lastly, with all the crap that gets over-saturated in the media about what celebrities are doing wrong (i.e. Spears and Lohan), it's good to know that there are those like Judd doing something that really counts.

(Hat tip to

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Natalie Portman Cranks That Soulja Boy

Can this dance get anymore popular???

Natalie Portman was on TRL today doing that Soulja Boy dance. We all knew she had some Hip-Hop flavor in her after she did that SNL rap skit.

Do I detect a film in her future with say, Nick Cannon as her leading man? I can imagine her taking on the role of some foster kid who grew up in the tough streets of L.A. or something. She's practically done almost ever other type of character. Her acting resume is so versatile and her performances are so rich in quality. But enough about me gushing over my favorite actress.

[Update 11-15-07] - I just found a video of Natalie "cranking dat Soulja Boy". (Hat tip to Sanrioboy)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Surprise! You're Black.

What would you do if you found out that you had been lied to all your life about what you really are?

What if you went to bed white one night and woke up black the next day?

That's exactly what happened to Bliss Broyard when she found out that her father, a New York Times reporter, had kept a deep dark secret: that he was really a black man passing for white.

In her memoir, One Drop, Broyard tells the story of how she discovered her African-American hertiage, connected with her black family members and her journey coming to terms with her newfound bi-racial identity.

I was pretty shocked, more likely saddened, when I saw Broyard her and black cousin Erin Stiniss on a Today Show video highlighted through my wireless service. It's hard to believe that even in this day and age, people feel the need to hide their "blackness". But then, just when you think our society has progressed from that pre-Civil Rights racism, people start hanging nooses on professors' doors at Columbia Univerisity. And then there's that whole Jena 6 incident that happened about a month ago. It's a shame.

Passing for white is something deep-rooted in our country's history. But I thought it was just that...history. I guess it still goes on. And now that I think about it, I remember Ebony or Essence doing an article along these lines earlier this summer.

I know in my own family, one of my grandmother's first cousins passed for white, that was until his wife had a brown looking baby and his secret was out. You can hide your ethnicity but genes don't lie.

Denying who you really are is never a good idea. Hopefully, Broyard's story will inspire others to embrace that which they sought to ignore.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This movie sneaked up on me. I was on this morning and they had a preview for it on the site. It opens tomorrow in theaters worldwide.

Saawariya is the story of two people who meet by chance and fall in love, done Bollywood style. So that means big emotions and even bigger dance numbers. At least I hope so. According the the movie's official site, saawariya means "beloved".

If you're familiar with Indian cinema then you'll be delighted to see another Kapoor on the silver screen. The trailer is visually stunning. The settings and costumes are full of vibrant colors, especially blue and the cinematography is equally alluring.

I just hope it's playing in a theater near me.

[Update 11/11/07] - I just saw the movie and it's excellent! My friend Kevin found a theater that plays mostly Indian films and I was like a kid in a candy shop when I looked around and saw all the posters for upcoming Bollywood movies. I pulled out my notepad and wrote all the titles down so I could Google them. And best of all, I got to dine on samosas and chai tea while viewing Saawariya. How cool is that?!?! The experience was definitely one to remember. If you live in Michigan, drop me an email and I'll tell you where this pearl of a place is. It's so worth the drive.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

China's Human Trafficking

There a few social justice issues that really tug on my heart. Human trafficking is one of them. Especially when it involves women and children being sold into prostitution. I'm not sure when I first learned about the subject but it's something that stuck with me. And hopefully it will resonate with you too.

"It is estimated that 70,000 [Chinese] children are kidnapped there every year and traded on the black market," a British news source cites.

China's Stolen Children is a documentary that delves into the stories behind this horrific trend. Here's the trailer:

To learn more visit True Vision and

(Hat tip to Solo Femininity)