Hey, everybody! I know y’all reading this like
Well, let’s just say that 2016 was my year of going through some thangs, all of which I’m sure I will overshare in the future. But for now, I have some new stuff happening that I thought you guys would like to know about:
I. A lot of folks know me because of my interviews with Janet & Mariah. And some people have sent me messages asking about other celebrities that I covered during my career as a music journalist. The challenge with letting people know about my past work was that it was so dispersed throughout so many different publications, from The Washington Post to Entertainment Weekly, the Village Voice to Vibe, Spin to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and so on… (I once even interviewed Lil’ Bow Wow at his home for Teen People; he was kind of a jerk though and wouldn’t let me have a Snapple from the fridge.)
2) Pretty much anything I’ve ever written about Monica, including her legendary standoff with Brandy, the time I interviewed her for the All Eyez on Me album that never came out, and the time we ate diner at Benihana to talk about the After the Storm album that finally came out. (#SoGoneChallenge, anyone?)
4) My interview with the funkiest of En Vogue’s foursome of funky divas, Dawn Robinson as she was preparing to launch her solo career. (Sadly, it never took off.)
5) My interview with Rick James about the 20th anniversary of his classic Street Songs album. Rick was talking all kinds of ish, most of which couldn’t make it into the family newspaper I was writing for. I’m definitely gonna find that interview tape so y’all can hear the uncut version.
6) Pretty much anything I’ve written about the Queen, Mary J. Blige, but particularly my piece about her epic My Life album which I had to fight to get Spin to include in its “Best of the ’90s” issue & my review of her soul opus, Mary.
7) My review of Usher’s Confessions tour, because he got on my gotdamn nerves at the time.
8) My Bad Boy mega-review of sophomore albums by Total, Faith Evans, and 112.
9) My very special interview with Jody Watley, who had one of the longest career runs in pop & R&B, as she started with the ’70s disco trio Shalamar and then, against almost anyone’s expectations, went on to score solo hits throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s. I interviewed her prior to a D.C. Gay Pride appearance in ’99, and it was special because not only did she opine about her trials and triumphs in work, life, and love, she also opened up about the important role that gay men had played in her life, from childhood friends to the sometimes “bitchy” Soul Train dancers that she bumped alongside to her troubled friendship with Jermaine “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” Stewart, who died of AIDS-related complications–this month actually–in ’97.
10) Yo, me and Lil’ Mo go back like
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the vintage Craig experience. Lemme know if you have any questions and/or favorites.
II. So, this next bit of news is related to the previous stuff. One night, about a month ago, I was minding my own damn business on twitter. And by “minding my own damn business,” I literally mean “minding my own damn business,” because I was searching my own damn name. (It’s the way I preemptively prepare for future twitter beefs.)
I was super flattered.
I reached out to Martin Burgess and Dan Enriquez, the guys behind the show. They said that they wanted to interview me for a future episode, and now here it is. I answer questions from the hosts and podcast listeners about all the behind-the-scenes stuff surrounding the interview. Check it out. (The interview starts around 1:14:00.)
III. Lastly, I wanted you to know about something that’s been a long time coming and is a really big deal for me. My third book–and first novel–is finally out.
It’s the story of a nearly 40-year-old Providence, RI-based photographer, Michael Allen, who thinks he’s found love with a 19-year-old, mohawk-sporting artist named Ziggy. But soon he discovers that the two of them may already share a bond that neither can imagine. This plays out as Michael’s best friends-Sidney, a 50-ish art dealer and Bruce, a cop in his 30s-deal with their own sexual trysts and romantic travails with dramatically younger guys. The result is a novel that explores the fragile yet enduring ties of sex, love, and friendship.
If you dug my memoir, All I Could Bare and/or you enjoy the way I write in these letters, then I think you’ll really like it.
There are three super-easy ways to get it:
2) If you’re all like, “fuck trees; I like the feel of paper in my hands,” then you can cop the paperback.
3) If your money happens to be low rn because you’re going through that coin hiatus that can sometimes occur between the 15th and the 1st, then I got you; you can read the entire book for free on wattpad.
Thanks in advance for the support!
Now, as Kanye once said, “like we always do at this time…”
CRAIG’S FAVE FIVE
1) I‘m Judging You: The Do Better Manual (Audiobook) – Luvvie Ajayi
Do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook so that you can hear Luvvie’s pointed commentary in her own powerful–and hilarious–voice. (And y’all know you can get a 30-day trial Audible subscription for free, right? You can even check out my self-read memoir while you’re there.)
There are exceptions, sriracha being one of them. (Perhaps you recall the soul-rattling decision that I once had to make between two competing brands.) And now I’d like to add another sauce-with-the-thickness to the exceptions list: Formosa Jalapeño Hot Sauce.
I first saw this sauce at a gourmet spot around the holidays, and honestly, I think I only bought it because I was feeling the Christmas spirit and it was green. (I have enough red sauces.) I took it home, doused it on an egg sandwich, and instantly fell in love. The sauce somehow manages to be both creamy and light, and the jalapeño flavor delivers a kick that is also deeply savory. An unexpected delight.
Back in the day, before irritating-ass Facebook invites, club promoters had to rely on paper flyers to get the word out about their parties. They would pass them out at barber shops and hair salons, fly clothing spots, and the dopest local record store.
(one of the Haring flyers; ya boy was actually at this party.)
(If you’d like a soundtrack to go with the flyer, you can check out my Ten City Top 10 playlist.)
4) Lékué Omelette Maker
Then, I have to cook the eggs, which often entails doing the absolute utmost with a spatula.
All in all, the omelette turns out well. But afterward I have two dirty pans and I’m left thinking
Enter the cool af Lékué omelette maker, which I stumbled upon one day on Amazon. It looks like this
And here’s the life changing part of it. You put your veggies in one side of the omelette maker, close it up, and put in the microwave for 3 minutes. The veggies come out nicely steamed. Then all you have to do next is pour the egg in.
You just put the omelette maker back in the microwave for 2 more minutes, and the omelette comes out perf.
This video goes through the whole process. (And the reason I’m including it is that I was trying to explain the concept to my mother and she didn’t really get it until she watched the video.)But trust, if you love omelettes, this will have you calling people to your kitchen like
(s/o to Seth for this gif)
Anyway, the playlist also includes such folks as:
b) Snø, who sounds like my boy Justin Bieber singing songs by The Weeknd, which is interesting considering that they both are allegedly beefing over Selena.
c) Kehlani, whose excellent SweetSexySavage album plays like a crazyseycool ’90s throwback
d) F.O.S. (Friend of Solange) I: Sampha, who has made one of this year’s most vulnerable and soulful albums and blessed Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” last year.
e) F.O.S. II: David Longstreth, who worked on Solo’s A Seat At The Table and is back making music. He’s now solo but still recording under the group name the Dirty Projectors. “Little Bubble” is the saddest breakup ballad of the year, and “Cool Your Heart,” a duet with former Danity Kane-r DAWN that was co-written by Solange, is an undeniably sexy bop.
f) Khalid, who is easily this year’s biggest breakout music star with his catchy tunes about the joys and pains of simply being a teen.
O.K. y’all, until next time…
Be cool, be kind, be creative, be yourself. Love, Craig
P.S. If you know someone who might like this letter, please do me a favor by forwarding it to them and asking them to subscribe. Thanks!
I’m a writer whose work has been featured in The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, Spin, and other publications. I have a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Providence-based photographer Michael Allen, a gay man on the cusp of 40, thinks he’s found love with a 19-year-old, mohawk-sporting artist named Ziggy, only to discover that the two may already share a bond that neither can imagine. This plays out as Michael’s best friends-Sidney, a 50-ish art dealer and Bruce, a cop in his 30s-deal with their own sexual trysts and romantic travails with dramatically younger guys. The result is a novel that explores the fragile yet enduring ties of sex, love, and friendship.
“Unafraid to bare it all…readers will feel they’re in the hands of an expert.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“…a bare-assed, neon-lit tour de force…” –The Bay Area Reporter
“Raunchy splendor…somehow both bawdy and sweetly nostalgic at the same time.” – Dallas Voice
“Full of juicy anecdotes, fast-paced writing and interesting analysis, the book paints an intimate portrait of the beloved balladeer.” – E. Lynn Harris