It was 1:20pm on Thursday April 21, 2016 when I saw a text message notification on my phone. I opened it and my brother had sent me a screenshot of this…..
I screamed out loud. Mind you, I am a high school teacher and students were still in the classroom. Here is how the immediate moments played out:
Me: Drops phone on counter:: opens laptop and scrolls through my twitter @PopStyleBlog account
Student A: “Are you ok?”
Me: Shakes head slowly as my mouth gaps open… mumbling to myself “Oh my gosh!”
Student B: “Ms. McKinnon are you ok?”
Me: Picks up cell phone and says under my breath “I have to text Khristi.”
Students: (Whispering) “I think she got bad news guys.”
Me: texting best friend Khristi- “R u Ok?”
Student A: “Ms. McKinnon what happened? Are u ok”
“What? Oh sorry guys. But Prince died!”
Me: “Prince….. the singer!”
Students: “Oh… the old guy with the hair?”
RIP Prince Rogers Nelson. The doves in heaven and earth are crying for you. (1958-2016) #PopStyle
TODAY IS THE ONE, THE ONLY LADY GAGA’S BIRTHDAY!!!!!! The Queen of Pop, the Mother of Monsters, the ArtPop Innovator herself is turning the big 3-0!! First let me start by wishing my artistic muse and inspiration a happy happy and blessed birthday today!!
As many of you know, I am a huge Lady Gaga fan, follower, lover, advocate, and all around stan…. like a big one!!! I own so many t-shirts with her face on it, my students and coworkers think I’m a walking cliche!! I go off on tangents with family, friends, coworkers, students, and strangers on just how wonderful she is and what she means to me. I cant help myself!! I’m a Little Monster to the core (the name of her fans) and I AM PROUD OF IT!!! So in honor of her birthday today…. I want to list 8 reasons why I love her so much. This will certainly answer the question “Why do you like her so much?”
- Getting technical training in your art form is necessary….. Gaga studied voice and piano at NYU and continues to use her training to confound the foolish…. As a dance
r, some people don’t see the validity to traditional training… it builds our foundation as artists!!
- Family support for your artistic decisions are necessary…. I am very close with my family and as much headache and confusion I’m sure I’ve put them through pursuing dance in college and refusing to find a career path that did not involve it (even to this day), I appreciate them so much for supporting my artistic journey.
- Using yourself as motivation is enough…. She was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine in 2010 as saying “When I wake up in the morning, I feel like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say,’Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.” If a super star like her can look within herself to draw motivation for the day. then surely I am good enough to draw motivation from myself too.
- She uses her passion and calling to help others…. As a teacher, I know I am called to help the younger generation, to expose them new experiences, ways of thinking, perspective, challenges, and triumphs. As a dance teacher, I use my passion and art to make that happen. I may not have a foundation like the Born This Way Foundation, but I definitely know that my art and calling is not just for me.
- Lady Gaga is not afraid to take risks…. I was the spontaneous child who would do anything for the thrill of it. I lived life like I did not have any limitations or restrictions. The more structured I became, the more confined I felt. I need to take risks to feel free… to feel like me.
- She’s not afraid to show the world another side of her… Many people, especially in the past year, have felt Gaga is “moving away from” or “shedding” her old self to be more refined and classy. But that’s not true! She’s simply showing the world another side of herself that they refused to see before… I want to keep the world guessing… I want to keep revealing new levels, aspects, and depths to who I am… There is more to me than what you see.
- Lady Gaga speaks her truth, whether it’s accepted and or not…. One thing I admire the most about her is that she speaks from her experiences and her experiences only. She does not try to emulate others or claim others’ stories… she uses her own feelings, stories, memories, experiences, etc to tell her story. I admire her vulnerability to be that open and free so that others may hear her truth.
- She’s unapologetically secure in the fact that she is supposed to be her EXACTLY THE WAY SHE IS!!! Many times I think to myself “I’m awesome” and I mean it. I am!! My parents raised me to feel confident and secure and instilled in me a mindset that I can do ANYTHING that I believe I can or should do. To see someone else live out that persona of being “Unapologetically Me” is inspirational, motivated, and confirms that I too should continue to be no one else than Ashlee!
There is plenty more I could write but it would turn into a book. HAHA So until next time…. keep it #PopStyle. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY GAGA!!!!
@PopStyleBlog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
I celebrated my Birthday last weekend (shout out to the Pisces!!) It was a fabulous week long celebration with my family and friends from music to dinner to surprise parties and a vacation to Miami!! Now that I’m a year older, I want to make sure I begin it with positivity, purpose, and of course pop culture…. so I looked for some affirmations from the most confident pop culture character ever….. Mr. Kanye West!!!
With all his pearls of wisdom, diamonds of knowledge, and rubies of wonderings, I’m guaranteed to live this new year with positive purpose. Enjoy my new mantras and til next time.. keep it #PopStyle #Kanye
1) “I always feel like I can do anything. That’s the main thing people are controlled by. They’re slow down by the perception themselves. I was taught I could do everything.” (2013)
2) You won’t always agree with me but I’m gon always be me. I’m woke! (2016)
3) I promise I’m going to make the world dope…. all I do is make shit dope #facts (2016)
5) There is so much positive energy right now … Let’s stay on this Ultra Light Beam (2016)
7) I’m happy and free and proud and confident. I’m not crazy. I’m free (2016)
@Popstyleblog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
The 73rd Golden Globe’s will airs tonight!! As an avid award show fan I will most definitely be watching. But as a seldom movie-goer I really don’t know the nominees very well. So I can’t actually react and comment on the winners and losers as much as I would for a music award show. 😦 BUT I can send my good luck wishes to certain nominees whom I just personally like….
1) To Lady Gaga for her nomination of Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture made for television (American Horror Story: Hotel).
Gaga has captivated my attention this season…. Immersing herself in the Countess character and truly making me wish I was a flawlessly aging vampire who can scare, seduce, and entrance you all with the same look.
2) To Leonardo DiCaprio for anything he is nominated for.
I have been rooting for Leo since Titanic so I just want him to win!! From Great Gatsby, Wolf of Wall Street, Gilbert Grape… He deserves a win!!!
To the movie Creed… Sylvester Stallone is nominated for best supporting actor.. but really I just want the film to get its due of credit for being brilliant.
4) To the TV show American Crime.
Gosh!! What I can say about this show? It’s captivating, intriguing, makes you think as a viewer, makes you question your own thoughts, and speak enormous amounts of truth about our society. And with outstanding acting, writing, and depth!!! Its nominated for Best Limited Series for TV, Best Supporting actress (Regina King), And best actress (Felicity Huffman). This show deserves all the publicity!!
Good luck to all my choice nominees!! And join me tomorrow at 8pm on NBC to watch the 73rd Golden Globe Award show. Til next time .. Keep it #PopStyle!
~ Ashlee Dawne
@PopStyleblog on Twitter
@manifested55 on Instagram
Welcome back Pop-Stylers for a new addition of #MusicCrushMonday. I dedicate this week’s pick to a young artist who left us too soon in 2011. She sported a distinct look with an even more distinct sound. Today would have been Amy Winehouse’s 32nd birthday. So in honor of her life and the impact of her music my #MusicCrushMonday goes to her.
Amy Winehouse came into our musical live in 2006 when she released a classic album entitled “Back to Black.” This album brought us the easy musicality of smooth jazz, the visions of dark smoking rooms in underground lounges, with the sound of as classic of the Donnie Hathaway Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield. Amy brought us soul with her music- Soul that came straight from the heart and was distinctly connected to an era where “music was music.” This was quite honestly a huge feat for her because she was from across the pond (England) so to convey that era of American music in her voice and lyrics captured the mainstream audience. It also didn’t hurt that she was vetted by Jay-Z and Nas.
One of my favorite tracks from this album is “You Know Im No Good.” (See below) This song just seems to speak honestly about how easy it is to fall to your own devises…. how easy it is to make mistakes that continue to haunt you. Actually, most of Amy’s songs speak honestly from the heart… like she’s telling a story in every single word from the lyrics….. a story that she in fact has experienced and remembers quite vividly. Maybe this led to her tragic end in 2011…. the soulful singer was both here and gone before her time. Regardless of how she left us physically, she wont leave us musically because of the #earworm she has bore into our ears. Thank you Amy for your music. R.I.P.
~Ashlee Dawne #PopStyle
“You Know Im No Good” (Live in London 2010)
Today is Michael Jackson’s 57th birthday. Even though he is no longer with us, we celebrate today for what he did for all of us. I don’t know anybody who wasn’t affected in some way by him.
Personally, I looked up to him as a performer icon. Michael was flawless on stage, innovative in his videos, and made dancing look so effortless. He created the Moonwalk for goodness sake!! When he passed, I cried a little knowing that there would be many imitators but no duplicators. Chris Brown, Ciara, Tinashe, Mario, Ne-Yo… U can all thank Michael for your careers. Actually, I can thank Michael for my career- for inspiring me to try new things, dance from my core, and to stay grounded and innovative.
We love you Michael. Happy Birthday!!