Dear Tuan X and Melly B,
I would like to thank you for being one of the key reasons my life has unfolded the way it did after moving to New York in January of 2010. I moved here almost on a whim. My job gave me a short notice and I was packed in less than a week and left Chicago quickly. I was ready for a change. I was ready for new people and new adventures. I moved so quickly that I forgot to tell most of my friends. My goodbye dinner happened later that summer during a trip to Chicago.
I came to New York, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready! I was curious, hopeful and excited and one day after work I was walking home and passed an African restaurant. I saw that it was packed and there was a line outside the door. I saw everyone turned to one direction. I figured this wasn’t a normal dinner. So….I just walked in.
At that particular moment, Dex Jones was on the microphone performing “The Poet and the Wolf.” I was captivated, so I found a seat and stayed the night. During that same evening, Sabrina Gilbert performed, Ainsley Burrows performed, and the both of you. I used to be a poet but not like you all. And this moment felt like some quintessential Brooklyn, NY moment. It was an open mic poetry event in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with some of the heavy weights in the scene. I thought someone had to be filming this moment. This couldn’t be real.
Immediately after that open mic, I contacted Dex because I wanted to learn more about him. He invited me to observe one of his photo shoots and the rest is history. (Blog post here) While I’m not as close with Dex as I used to be, he’s the reason I was once friends with Guy Lockard, Kia Chanelle, Jason Reynolds and still friends to this day with Kamau, whom I finally met after 6 years in Bali this year.
In addition to Dex becoming a huge part of my life, I kept coming to your open mics where ever they were. I actually photographed and filmed almost all of them and to this day have only released like two of the videos. They are in my vault. One day I’ll give you all the footage. Because I came so much and stayed until you broke the mics down, a friendship naturally formed between the three of us. I learned about both of you as an artist though my features usually covered Tuan X.
Melly, you were still coming into your own. Not as an artist. As an artist, you’re amazing. But you were coming into who you were as a person and I think sometimes I pushed against your comfort. I remember the face you gave me when the three of talked about pole dancing at one of the poetry events. Really it was a face of judgment but I wasn’t deterred.
I kept coming to your events. I kept talking to you both. We became friends. Tuan, you started asking me to not only attend your events but to be a judge at some of the Slams. I didn’t feel qualified but I was up for the adventure.
(Via a little search I discovered those open mics were called The Last Request and here’s footage at that very restaurant.)
Over the years, our lives just kept being intertwined. Whether it was through the art world, the blogger world, the vlogger world and more. You both infused or collaborated with me via creative means and you set the tone for my experience of Brooklyn. Years later, Melly would even go on to take pole fitness classes. Now she competes and teaches and its been amaazing watching her transformation. And watching your transformation Tuan, the evolution of your music…the evolution of your photography, your videography. Its just been amazing. You both are beautiful, kind, provocative souls.
But here’s the thing. Without realizing it, you were the catalyst for one of my dreams coming true. I mentioned before that at that first open mic both Ainsley Burrows and Sabrina Gilbert performed. While I didn’t immediately become BFFs with them, years later, I was brought on to write for Sweet Spot Nation. Later, I was asked to perform for the Sweet Box and The Sweet Spot. Now I’m in. I’m the Editor in Chief of a new magazine we are launching and managing a few other projects too. And this matters because its not just a new job or new project.
In 2013, I wrote and later published on the Sweet Spot blog…
“I want a website and community that explores sexuality unabashedly. I don’t want cute fluffy shit that avoids the nitty gritty. Where is the middle world? Where academics are discussing all the various issues of sexuality and where kinksters are letting their freak flag fly. I want to live in that world. Where is the raunchy yet academic community at? here is the fire and ice? Where are people discussing real issues and not just sugar coating shit. Sure I’m inspired by Susie Bright and Pamela Madsen but where are the rest of them at. I’m a freak. I’m a sensualist. I like licking and I like lashes. I like pornography. I like musing on how sexuality opens up the doors to creative expression…to personal transformation…to cultural revolutions….to spiritual journeys…..to healing……to wholeness. I want it all. I want to read articles on sexuality and spirituality. On sexuality and rituals. On sexuality and Kinkiness. I want to hear from people who have sex in strange places or who don’t have sex at all. I want to hear how people sexually express themselves with out judgments and political correctness and without fluffy, cute words. I want raw sex. I want unabashedly expression. I want all the naughty bits. Where the fuck does this exist? Little did I know two years later, I would find it at the Sweet Spot Nation. Speak your SEX into existence, people!”
I don’t know if you’ll ever understand the significance of this. As soon as I connected to the Sweet Spot, my life changed. I moved further into becoming all of me in my Wild and Magic. Your open mic in an African restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn brought me here. Coming full circle, I once wrote an article for The Sweet Spot called “Chakra Sex” or maybe it was “If you Think of Blow Jobs When You Meditate” and Kamau read it…remember I met Kamau because of Dex and I met Dex because of you. Well Kamau shared that article on the Sweet Spot blog with someone who later became my Dakini Priestess mentor. You were the catalyst for me finding a home and a community to live FULLY and OPENLY as a Wild Magical Woman. This shit is insane.
Keep doing what you both are doing, separately and together. You are helping people, myself include, create their most wonderful, epic life. You’re bridging gaps and connecting energies. Thank you for changing my life.
Art is the line between the sane and insane. It provides the human existence a creative buffer of expression; keeping many from collapsing into themselves. – Tuan X
I think free open-mic’s are a necessity because mufukaz are broke; and entertainment, a quality message, and good vibes shouldn’t be limited to just people with more than bus fare in their pockets. Networking is a necessity, even for an introverted person like myself. It’s definitely a difficult task for me, but it’s an artists lifeline. – Tuan X
I have many astounding dreams. In the end, I just want to know I was appreciated, respected, cared for, & maybe even honored. I hope to have a daughter one day, she will be my legacy. – Tuan X
Tuan and Melly, I appreciate you. I respect you. I care for you. And if there is any way I can honor either of you, please tell me how!
Did a random encounter with someone become the catalyst for your life now? Go write that someone a letter telling them why and how!
You Should Also Read
Creative Artist: Tuan X – My first impressions of Tuan
Shiva’s Muse: Tuan X – An interview with Tuan
New York Eves in NYC – Adventures that ONLY happened because I walked into that African restaurant
TuanX.com – His website
TheRealMellyB – Her website
TuanX on Youtube – His videos
Melly B on Youtube – Her videos
#32LoveLetters is a 32 day blog post challenge leading up to my 32nd birthday, I am writing letters to the people in my life who contributed to me becoming fully myself as a Wild Magical Woman. If someone were to write a biography about me…which they will, it’s imperative that chapters are focused on these 32 people. They have had a profound, lasting and influential effect on my life. I can not tell my own story without telling you of theirs.