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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for the 'BygFamily' Category


Author: Tafari, Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 4:30 PM Mindspill

I talk about my father all the time; sometimes with  friends or family but most often with myself. It's hard for me not to even years after he left this planet. Some bonds simply cannot be broken... Last year, I saw a tarot card reader and she read three cards that made me think after being shaken. She talked of unbreakable connections and movement. My father and children were all that I saw flashing in my mind. The above photo of my father is from his military days. I love seeing myself in his eyes. My daughters in his eyes. Tonight, I will celebrate in my father's memory, love and unbreakable bond. Unrelated Fact About Me: "Unbreakable" by M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favorite movies.

R.L. Howard: United States Veteran

Author: Tafari, Sunday, November 11th, 2012 at 6:53 PM Mindspill

In honor of my father and other US Veterans…. Looking at the calendar is hard this time of year is always hard because my dad’s birthday is in a few days… I always celebrate in his memory. It’s the right thing to do. Mindspill

Yeah Baby, I’m Officially Single

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 at 6:56 PM
After several months of tears, investigations, drama, lies, bitch moves and more, I'm so happy to say that my divorce is final. Walking out of the courthouse today, I so jumped up & did a mid air kick, while sing my theme song. I'm a free man with 99 problems and a... you know the rest! There were some good times for sure but it was all balanced with more than enough bad times. It was a long and eventually soul-draining learning experience that contained very little positivity. Now, it's time for some healing, working on repairing the collateral damage & mapping course for my next set of adventures.

Black Spirits: Daniel & Mary

Author: Tafari, Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 9:31 PM Mindspill

During my recent trip home, I “discovered” a super old & awesome photo of my grandparents, Daniel & Mary Lee Howard. Daniel and Mary were married in the 1940s and had 11 children, two more than my maternal grandparents Edward & Essie Mae Stevenson. I just can’t imagine having that many children but that was the way it was way back when. I don’t remember much of my grandfather but I can tell you that he is the person that got me hooked on salt and vinegar potato chips and he is the reason why I never wanted to get my ear pieced. I can still hear him talking about my cousin Red Bone's piercing. It wasn’t pretty. On the flip side, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She was everything! When I think of her to this day I can hear her voice and how she would say my name. I still miss her fried chicken. Ain’t nobody on this planet that can fry a chicken like Mary Howard!

Going Home: Brother • Sister

Author: Tafari, Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 12:34 PM Mindspill

"Don't you let your young life get you down It always had a certain mystery Many changes come to everyone About the time that they turn seventeen. Grandma said at times you'll feel a sting There'll be sharp turns and uphills and closed doors Then she said hold on to your faith 'Cause in this world you've got to go and get yours. So you stand up, be strong go out there Hold on to the real things that matter 'Cause no one's gonna hand it to you on a silver platter… Don't be scared go out there Just stand up, my brother, sister Hold on to the real things that matter 'Cause no one's gonna hand it to you on a silver platter."
Brother Sister by The Brand New Heavies ~ 1994 Mindspill

I had to make a trip to Alabama the other day to tend to some family matters and had one of the best times ever back  home. My baby sister, Sade and I had a chance to have a nice heart to heart discussion about life and other things large and small. There was a brother•sister reconciliation and some needed face to face time. I haven't seen her in a couple of months and she is really maturing and becoming a little lady. And her sense of style has become more girly, which I find to be awesome. And then the other shoe dropped when I was surprised by my cousin Dan, whom I haven't seen since my father passed 11 years ago. Actually, I didn't even remember seeing him then but obviously, I had a lot going on.  What I do remember was seeing him over 20 years ago before he shipped off with the Marines.  It was great catching up. Mindspill

On the way home, I stopped at a little fruit stand for a snack and was surprised to find muscadines for sale. I haven't had a muscadine since I moved from Alabama (Birmingham to be exact) back in 79. Smelling them brought back some memories... While I enjoyed my rememories, the clerk told me to take a bag of them home. Gotta love southern hospitality Immediately afterward, I called my mother to tell her of my find and she got excited. Later I surprised her by regifting her with the muscadines. She told me how she enjoyed eating them fresh from the vine WAY BACK WHEN as a girl. I love hearing her stories, always a great laugh. Overall, the last 2 days were a mixed bag of good, laughter and reconnections. Side Note: Why are we standing the same way in the photo above? Family...

The Perfect Little Clutch

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 6:47 PM Mindspill

My parrot, Tongi and I have been together now for almost 18 years. I got her when she was about 4 months old. When she came home with me, I was still hand feeding her. This of course strengthened our long father daughter relationship. To this day, she still flies to me for food and she is quite spoiled. Over the last 5 years or so she has attempted to make a nest in her cage. She once took a brazil nut and cared for it as if it was an egg. It was funny and sad at the same time. Eventually, she gave up on the nut and destroyed her haphazard nest. About three weeks ago, I noticed her constructing a new nest & was like oh boy here we go again.  Days later, I noticed that she was really sitting in this nest. I leaned in on the cage and she happened to get up and come to me. When she moved, a little white egg was revealed. I actually scream aloud. What the hell? What? WHAT!!!!!! Yeah, I was shocked. Mindspill

Because she does not have a mate, the egg wasn’t fertile. Nature just ran it’s course and Tongi officially became a hen. I did a little reading and found that this was nothing unusual. But still. WOW!!! Over the last two weeks, Tongi laid two more eggs for a total of three. I let the eggs stay with her for a while as she seemed to enjoy sitting on them.  Most recently, I noticed that she kicked them to the side and stopped giving them any attention, so I removed them. She didn’t even care. I’m still in shock but proud of my baby and her tiny clutch of eggs. FYI, Tongi is a Nanday Conure and you can read about genus here.

Temporary Struggles of a Father

Author: Tafari, Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 10:30 AM Mindspill

About eight years ago, my oldest daughter, Olivia made this sign for me and since then, I have kept the picture in my office. It serves as a reminder, motivation, & inspiration. She was daddy’s girl. I remember those days well. Life is different now but memories always remain. It’s been months since I left the planet that was destroying my life. Up until my departure, I questioned myself; is this the best thing for me to do. Should I walk away to prevent my children seeing their parents tearing each other apart. Should I walk away to save myself. The answer may have been hard but it was for sure a yes on all counts. Walking away is tough but sometime necessary. I was cautioned by several that if I walk, it may be a while, long while before I could spend time with my children. I didn’t want to believe it but the advice came to pass. It was true. Being a father is complicated and I feel that we often do not get the support that mothers get, socially, judicially etc. I NEVER thought that I would be one of those fathers that wanted to see, love, support, joke with his children but could not because of the other parent being an obstacle. These last four months feel like fourteen. I’m looking forward to the time when this just a memory and I am embracing my daughters as I have since the day they entered this world baring my likeness, my blood, my name. With all this said, trouble don't last always and here's a shout out to the men who understand the shoes that I'm walking in.

I Miss My Momma

Author: Tafari, Sunday, May 13th, 2012 at 2:07 PM Mindspill

It has been 2 weeks since my momma left and I miss her so. She has said for years, "one day, I’m gonna be out of here," but I always though it was talk. Once again, like a mother, she proved me wrong. This is my 1st Mother’s Day not taking my momma to dinner, or lunch or just stopping by with perfume, candy, a, book, a card etc. On the flip side, I know that my momma is happy. She’s in a better space for her, a better place for her, so I will curb my own feelings and bask in the glow of her satisfaction. Happy Mother’s Day momma. I miss you Stella!!! Art Credit: Untitled by MonikaZ

In Them Orange Pants

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 9:55 PM Mindspill

After picking up our Mercedes Benz Fashion Week press credentials, my assistant/Cousin Dee headed to Lincoln Center to oooh & aaah at the façade of the tents that we would be camped out in for 5 long days. This was 3 hours before the NY Sip & See… And 1.5 hours before the Gretchen Jones (Project Runway) presentation... And 2 hours after we had a free Thai curry at the MoMA... But this is all another story. The zone was chill, the fountain was calm & Cousin Dee just knew she was killing it in her all-purpose outfit, which has a story that would crack you up but I know if I told it, I would be murdered…. She was looking fly so I had to document the moment because with all the work that he had ahead of us at fashion week, neither one of us was going to be looking like a winner. With that out of the way, Cousin Dee was a lifesaver! As always, we made a killer team and had so much fun along the way. The week that we spent in NYC was magical for many reasons. Nothing beats spending time with those who genuinely have your best interest at heart, who make you laugh till you pee on yourself a little bit, cuss you out when you’re ordering too much Garrett’s Popcorn (cheese and cashew caramel crunch) & stop you from ordering a bacon flavored milkshake at 3 in the morning while wearing church shoes. Check here to view more of my NYC Analog Street Portrait series.

The Perfect Team Member

Author: Tafari, Sunday, January 29th, 2012 at 11:26 AM Mindspill

Yesterday, I spent the evening with Cousin Dee, (my photography soul mate) going over my workflow processes for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  Why? Because she will be assisting me this upcoming season! I am pretty damn excited about it too. I have been trying to make this happen for the past 3 seasons but something always came up. And while we discussed the workflow & my high quality expectations, we also discussed self-defense techniques, when & went not to elbow someone & when to cuss a mutha out. Just 10 days before I hit the city that I love to love with one of my bestest friends on THIS planet. You will be able to follow our exploits on Twitter here: Photosbytafari VerlisaLisaDee


Author: Tafari, Saturday, January 28th, 2012 at 12:28 AM Mindspill

Had an intense week and the weekend is going to be even more so. My first big project for the semester is Due monday & I will be crunching on that until the crack of dawn Monday morning. Also trying Vinyasa yoga tomorrow with Cousin Dee. This should be interesting to say the least. And as the last few days leading up to my NYC trip, I am feeling anxious & nervous about being able to hang on to it all. I must. I have to if the rest of my life is to be reimagined as I wish. I will be better. I will be stronger. I'm a survivor.

My 2011 in Review

Author: Tafari, Monday, January 2nd, 2012 at 5:53 PM
So many things, people & events made my 2011 great. When I wrote everything out, it was hard to narrow down my list but here I am with what made my 2011 a positive experience. I'm looking forward to a brighter, bigger & badder 2012. Let's do this together! The Ted Williams Story - I was so inspired to see this man go from a homeless citizen to an internet & national sensation as someone who got a 2nd chance. Then I was sent on an emotional rollercoaster as details of his life started to unravel. Overall, he seemed to get help for his substance problems and that’s GREAT…. And I always smile when I hear his Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercials. He truly does have a great voice. I was saved from Hurricane Irene – Thanks to my good friends, Mary Brown, Sakina Spruell & Robert Ballatt, I had a safe place to stay after being evacuated evicted from my Manhattan hotel in the wake of Hurricane Irene. They ensured that I had transportation, a place to sleep, great company, food to eat & flowing conversation. I were VERY nervous & could not get a hotel to stay in to save my life and felt so thankful for having people reach out to me. It was truly awesome. And the thing about it is, if it was not for Twitter, I would not know Mary, Sakina or Robert. Social media ROCKS! Hob Nobble Gobble – For the last few years, I have wanted to take my children to the Parade Company’s Hob Nobble Gobble event but them pricey tickets though…. This year, I was able to make this happen. I was able to get tickets for my momma, Amelia & my nephew, Tony. It was nice seeing the babies all dressed up & running around this massive family oriented carnival themed Black tie event. Amelia is still talking about it & that makes me smile. Chicago Road Trip – Back in July, I took a road trip to Chicago with one of my good friends to see Osunlade perform with Tortured Soul at The Mid. The road trip part was a hot mess thanks to Mega Bus but the time in Chicago was nothing less than AWESOME. It was my 3rd or 4th time visiting Chicago but the 1st time that I actually enjoyed myself & had fun. We ate good, met up with friends, ate good again & danced like no one was watching. At least I did. Then, there was that roof top lounge... SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas – It was a conference, I was with my human resources friends, random strangers, stayed at a luxury hotel & that is all that I can say. Everything else is stayed in Vegas… Working for The NYLA Report – Through my continued work with The NYLA Report, I was able to photograph at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for the fall/winter & spring/summer shows. You know, I love my time in NYC so adding photography, fashion & friends to the mix takes the experience over the top! Racial Profiling in The East Village – One night last February while out with my homie Jose Vilson, we were doing a bar crawl and stopped in this one spot where we were the only people of color. As soon as we got to the bar, the DJ played “Africa” by Toto. We both started singing it loudly then realized what was going on. It was such a mess but we owned it. Now every time I hear the song, that night is the only thing that flashes in my mind. Later that night, I had some of the best tater tots on this planet but that’s another story for another time. The Sip & See – Everybody knows that a Sip & See is the best way to get friends together…. So I have one whenever I travel and throughout the year in Detroit. Some of the best Sip & See events were the End of Summer Sip & See (Detroit), Sip & NYSee (New York) & Sip & D-See (Washington DC). If you were there, then you already know! The Moth Story Hour – I have been a fan of the Moth Story Hour from jump and always wanted to attend the Detroit events to tell a story but I could not bring myself to do it. Well, August proved to be a month of courage for me because I did it. I attended the Detroit Moth Story Hour and was able to tell a story based on food. I did not win the slam but I did come in 4th place. When I left the stage, I felt so good. It was not like I had a fear but it is a different feeling to have a microphone, lights, stage & audience right there but I would so do it again. The Foreign Exchange – I have been up on the Foreign Exchange for years & have always wanted to see them perform live in Detroit but every time they came to Detroit (twice before 2011), I was out of town. When I learned that they were going to be in town back in May, I locked the date on my calendar.  Not only was the concert kick ass, I was able to photograph it, while singing & dancing with my friends. It was a night for the record books! NYC Analog Street Portrait Series – I made 3 trips to NYC in 2011 and was able to get some great images for my series! I have been happy to share the experiences here online but I was VERY happy to share the experiences with an audience when I presented at Pecha Kucha Night back in April in Detroit. I know this may sound strange but I felt like I was really breaking shit down like I knew what I was talking about. America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – It was such a great opportunity to be the official photographer for the Parade Company’s America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. The event and job was so big & I was able to pull it off with my team of photographers. Truly something that I am proud of! Air Canada – You may recall when I had that drama with Air Canada who wanted to use one of my photos for an ad but did not want to pay me for it & how the rep that I talked to disrespected me. While that mess pissed me off, it was still a great moment for me because I took a stand on two fronts; no free work while others profit  & I will not be disrespected; especially by someone asking me for help! My STUNNA SHADES – Need I say more? Mindspill