Monthly Archives: June 2012

“Celebrate”, Whitney’s Swan Song

“Celebrate”, Whitney’s Swan Song

“Celebrate” music video with Whitney Houston & Jordin Sparks ©2012 RCA Records

It’s Friday, Fam. Let’s ‘celebrate’!

And what better way than enjoying Whitney’s swan song, “Celebrate” with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.

“Celebrate” debuted yesterday as the push for “Sparkle” ramps up. “Sparkle” is a remake of the 1976 musical film which starred Irene Cara and Phillip Michael Thomas. Whitney executive-produced “Sparkle” and stars as the mother of three daughters who form a Motown-esque girl group (think The Supremes) and navigate the rise and pitfalls of the industry.

Jordin Sparks is Sparkle.
The name couldn’t be more perfect.
And “Celebrate” is fitting for Whitney’s last song.

While discussing the video in a recent interview, Jordin says, “We planned on it being Whitney and me, but she’s not here, so we wanted to make it a tribute to her… It was so cool because you could just hear the smile in Whitney’s voice when she was singing it…”

Whitney recorded her verses on the track just days before the eve of the Grammy Awards when she was found deceased by her bodyguard here in Beverly Hills. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning with complications from cocaine use and cardiac arrest. Whitney struggled. More than anything, I pray that our young artists are encouraged to steer clear of drugs. Our artists are dropping left and right and so young. Whitney was only 48. Michael was barely 50. Amy Winehouse was what, 27?

Jordin, 22, seems to be on a path of light. The youngest American Idol winner and Grammy Award nominee has been very outspoken about her faith in Christ, very much how Whitney was at her age. She’s got a strong support system and she’s enjoying a musical career that has sold millions of songs and landed her on Broadway, television and now film. I’m happy for Jordin. Let’s continue praying for her.

What do you have to celebrate this Friday?
– Wonderful Family
– Great friends
– Good Health
– A job in this economy
– A safe place to call home
– Peace of mind
– Life
– Eternal life

Got a reason to shout?
The psalmist does… and does so in one of the shortest songs in scripture.

1 Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord. (Hallelu Yah)

If nothing else, today, we can celebrate God’s great love toward us and His faithfulness that endures forever. That’s right, you are loved greatly by the One who is faithful forever.

The amazing thing is that, even as much as Whitney struggled down here with addiction, our faithful God still honored her faith in His Son. She’s home now. No more struggles. No more pain. I wish she had more time with her daughter, but God is faithful, and can take care of Bobbi Christina too, if she allows Him.

It’s Friday, Fam. Let’s celebrate!
Ladies, let’s get our sparkle on.
Gents, let’s shine.
So much to be grateful for,

What do you think?
Below or Facebook, @naimalett

Nobody Greater


“Nobody Greater” by VaShawn Mitchell ©2011 EMI Gospel

Sometimes, our obstacles = great.
Project deadlines.
Financial setbacks.
Health battles.
Relationship drama.

I woke up with the realization that Sunday is July 1st, meaning 1/2 of 2012 is over. Where did the year go? We’ve been busy, no doubt, and we’ve accomplished a lot, but I’ve still got a full docket of projects to push to completion.

Anybody ever feel like, “Can I get it all done?”

Stress = great.

So, I did what I always do when I need to organize my thoughts – I started writing. The more I journaled and prayed, the more I realized that things aren’t as dire as I feel.

I’m alive. In my right mind. Loved and can love. Got a roof over my head. Food. Clothes. Forgiven. Purpose-driven. Palm trees dance up and down my street. Sun’s shining. 80 degrees with a breeze. What in the world do I have to complain about?

Sure, stuff has to be done. Bills got to be paid. But in the whole scheme of things, God is still in control.

So, I’m adding to the equation.

Obstacles = great
Stress = great

There’s a beautiful song in scripture that testifies of God’s greatness. Here’s an excerpt, but feel free to explore the whole thing. I love God’s creative children who are singer-songwriters.

(Excerpt, The Message)

O my soul, bless God! God, my God, how great you are!
beautifully, gloriously robed,
Dressed up in sunshine,
and all heaven stretched out for your tent.
You built your palace on the ocean deeps,
made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.
You commandeered winds as messengers,
appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.
You set earth on a firm foundation
so that nothing can shake it, ever.
…What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

What a wildly wonderful world!
Anybody want to take off on wind-wings?!

Focusing on how great God is today helps us put our problems in perspective.
That doesn’t mean we ignore them and just say, “God will work it out” without doing anything. Faith without works is dead.
But it does mean that we don’t have to stress out over the obstacles. Let’s pray and figure out what to do next.

If God can dress Himself with sunshine and command wind as a messenger and fire as an ambassador, I’m sure He can help me figure out what to get done and when. I’m sure He can help you figure out whatever you’re facing today. And He does promise to provide in whatever way He sees best, and we can rely on His promises. He’s got the faithfulness thing down.

Got problems?

Obstacles = great
Stress = great

I’m attaching the gospel hit song/video “Nobody Greater” by VaShawn Mitchell above and below.
Be encouraged today, Fam.
Nobody’s greater than our God!

Can’t wait to get wind-wings! Woo-hoo!

What do you think?
Below or Facebook, @naimalett

Where Everybody Knows Your Name


© Cheers Theme Song by Gary Portnoy, posted by HDNet

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name
You wanna go where people know
People are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name

The 1982 Cheers TV show Emmy-nominated theme song written by Gary Portnoy became a bona fide hit. So much so that 30 years later, it was voted in a readers’ poll by Rolling Stone as the Best TV Theme Song of all time.

Gary’s lyric, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”, became the sitcom’s tagline.

When Gary penned these words, he hit upon one of our most basic human needs: acceptance.
Isn’t it true? Don’t you wanna go where everybody knows your name?

Not in the sense of everybody knows your name like you’re famous. Only a few people in this world really want to be famous. And they are. They do whatever it takes to achieve fame including spending thousands per month to keep their names and images in constant rotation.

What Gary uncovered was our deep need to have a safe place, a place where we can be exactly who we are – no pretense, no front – just us.

We all need that safe place. For the characters of Cheers, it was the Boston bar they frequented. Before you condemn a show based around a bar, know that the creators first considered a hotel or inn. They simply wanted a location where they could add a stream of new characters each week and a tavern seemed to be the perfect location. I’m sure there are many actors who are grateful to this day that they got a costar or guest star role out of this transitory set up.

Back to my point, we all need a safe place.
That was the crux of my short message last Sunday.

It was a different day for us. Instead of our regular bible fellowship from 11:30 – 12:30, we partnered with the Interfaith Center, where we meet. The center hosted a seminar from 10:00 – 5:00 on intimacy and relationships led by Messianic Jewish Rabbi Russ Resnik. I was asked to speak briefly along with other rabbis and pastors on the program.

I asserted that, in terms of our relationship, Kevin and I have created a safe place in our marriage which allows for both of us to be accepted just as we are. It’s been 11 years. If we haven’t learned anything by now it’s that we cannot change each other. The desire to change comes from a place deep within. Best we can do is communicate with one another about the things we appreciate as well as the things that rub us the wrong way and honor and respect each other.

How are you doing?
Do you have a safe place where you can just be you?
Do you have relationships in which you are embraced as you are?
Do you accept others as they are or are you overly critical?

I am reminded of a song from scripture in which the psalmist sings about God’s creation and acceptance of us.

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar…

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand —
when I awake, I am still with you.

The singer concludes that God creates us and knows us intimately from before we are even born. He knows everything about us, all the good and the horrible, and yet His thoughts are precious to us. We are accepted.

That does not mean that God is OK with sin. He is not. He is holy and perfect and sinless, and created us that way in the beginning. Didn’t last long. :=) But even now we yearn to become more and more like Him. Thank goodness we have an advocate in Jesus, who took on the penalty of our sin, even death, so that we can repent and be made righteous in Him. I am grateful everyday for His sacrifice for us because of His deep love for us.

Without a shadow of doubt, we have a safe place in His love.
And we can recreate that safe place for one another.
A place where everybody knows our name, and they’re always glad we came.
We wanna go where people know people are all the same.
We wanna go where everybody knows our name.

It’s so possible, Fam!
Go forth,

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett

What a Second Chance!


**Skip to 03:17 for race, 03:44 for Lolo

Life is full of second chances.
And what a second chance!

Remember Lolo Jones?
I recently highlighted her in the blog, Celebrity, Virginity & Celibacy.

Four years ago, the 3-time national champion hurdler and 60m record holder was favored to win gold for the US in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. According to her Wiki-bio, Lolo had fought through a series of setbacks in childhood including homelessness, father in state prison, and parting with her family to remain in Iowa for high school in order to train in track and field. She then won several NCAA championships for LSU and rose through the ranks to win national titles and world championships, setting her up to win the Olympics.

But Lolo didn’t win.
She clipped the 9th hurdle, stumbled and finished a disappointing 7th place.

Lolo is quoted as saying, “You hit a hurdle about twice a year where it affects your race. It’s just a shame that it happened on the biggest race of my life.”

Bad went to worse.
Hamstring injuries. Spinal surgery.
Up & down. Up & down.
Injuries caused her to miss most of the 2011 season.
But she kept fighting.

photo source, Lolo Jones © Photo, Kirby Lee, USA Today

And this weekend, Lolo showed up to compete.
I watched the Saturday Olympic trials on NBC on my flight back to LA.
I have NEVER seen anybody so happy with 3rd place, but Lolo was ecstatic.

It’s more than 3rd place.
This is Lolo’s 2nd chance.

Lolo’s headed back to the Olympics.
For 4 years, she’s heard all about “the 9th hurdle”.

Now she gets a 2nd chance..
Win or lose in London, doesn’t matter. Lolo gets a do-over!

Anybody need a do-over today?
We all do sometimes, right?

I’m reminded of Jesus encounter with the religious leaders and a woman accused of adultery. Talk about the need for a do-over.

There’s a LOT going on in JOHN 8: 1-11, but what I’ll highlight today is the way Jesus extended mercy to sinners on both sides of the equation. He didn’t excuse the sin, but rather ministered to the sinner.

He challenged the religious leaders: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” He also didn’t condemn the woman, but said, “Go. From now on sin no more.”

They all got do-overs – the religious leaders, the woman.
They got a second chance.

Be encouraged today, Fam.
Life is full of second chances.

You hit a hurdle and stumbled? Get back up. Don’t give up.
You made a mess or two or three? Repent. We have a God who is gracious.

Embrace your second chance.
I sure am,

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett

Faith Sells on Broadway & Beyond


photo source, Raven-Symoné in Sister Act on Broadway, © photo by Joan Marcus

Faith sells.
At least that’s what Broadway is banking on.


It’s extraordinary that 5 musicals centered around faith were running on Broadway the last couple of months, with 1 more mounting in the wings:

Sister Act – produced by Whoopi Goldberg, now starring TV star Raven-Symoné, 5 Tony noms
Leap of Faith – nominated for Tony Award for Best Musical
Godspell – revamped and modernized revival of 1971 musical about Jesus’ parables
Jesus Christ Superstar – famous 70’s Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice musical thru Judas’ eyes
Book of Mormon – Won 9 Tony Awards including 2011 Best Musical, from creators of South Park
Saving Aimee – Now casting; Created by talk-show host Kathie Lee Gifford about the life of Aimee Semple McPherson, “the 1920s evangelist who fell from grace due to a scandal”.

Move over Tyler Perry and the Kendrick Brothers (Courageous, Fireproof), the industry has figured out you’re making millions creating projects for faith-based audiences and wants “in” on the action.

A recent article featured on Playbill entitled Religion, Faith and Musicals Are a Smashing Mix by Jared Eberlein “talks about how musicals use faith and religion, preachers and followers, God and the Bible to make us understand ourselves.”

When you have time, read it. It discusses faith-based Broadway shows dating back to the 60s. Who knew?

The current resurgence means Broadway producers believe:
1) Audiences want to see faith-based musicals, and
2) There’s $$ to be made.


Here’s the tricky part.
There’s a grave disconnect somewhere.

Tim Rice, co-creator of Jesus Christ Superstar, is quoted in the above-mentioned article as saying, “Religion seeks to answer the question, “Why are we all here?… ‘Superstar’, for all its faults and naiveté, is really trying to tell a story of how somebody such as Judas Iscariot, or even Pontius Pilate would’ve reacted to somebody saying he was God — or at least having other people claim he was God.” He continues, “I certainly would identify more with Judas than with Jesus. It’s easier and more natural to identify with a character that is flawed than a character that is perfect. I enjoy writing about these imperfect people because it seems to me that I’m quite like them.”

Do you see the disconnect, Fam?

While it’s true, from an artist’s viewpoint, that people are more likely to identify with flawed characters rather than perfect characters (which is why all of our lead characters on TV and film have major flaws), I don’t know one Christian who wants to identify with Judas Iscariot.

What some of our Broadway creators may be missing is that followers of Christ very much want to identify with Christ, not His betrayer. We understand that we will never be perfect on this side of heaven, but guess what, we know we will be made perfect when we are united with Christ on the other side. We don’t look at Jesus as simply a perfect man. He is God the Son. We’re willing to die for Him. People all over the world have. It’s major.

That’s what the Kendrick Brothers and Tyler Perry have figured out. Many in the industry consider Kendricks’ and Perry’s projects as artistically sub-par, but these filmmakers don’t care because they’re making projects that encourage people of faith to celebrate, not scrutinize, their faith. Their audiences, in return, respond by buying out box offices tickets, play tickets, DVDs, books, etc.


Who wants to pay money to go to a play or movie that ridicules one’s faith for 2 hours?
Not. Going. To. Happen.

Unless you’re the new religious kid on the block i.e. Book of Mormon from the creators of the controversial cartoon South Park. The blatantly sacrilegious musical about two Mormon missionaries from Salt Lake City trying to solve problems like AIDS in Uganda is a gamble that paid off for its investors.

So, not only does FAITH sells, but RIDICULING FAITH sells too.

With many Christians oblivious to Mormonism, the creators of the Book of Mormon could sell the musical to the masses without offending Christians who don’t even know the musical exists.

That’s what’s happening in music today as well.

Not many Christians even took the time to listen to Lady Gaga’s Judas song released the week of Easter with its techno refrain “I’m in love with Judas”, even though it pulled strong comparisons to Madonna’s Like a Prayer controversy from 30 years earlier. The ladies on The View concluded both Gaga and Madonna were Catholic girls trying to “work out” their issues with their Church.

I don’t know what the Catholic Church did to Gaga, but with lyrics like the following, I’m not sure how much is actually being “worked out”.

Excerpt from Judas, as performed by Lady Gaga:
In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas kiss me if offenced,
Or wear an ear condom next time
I wanna love you, but something’s pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to I cling to
Just a holy fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But I’m still in love with Judas, baby

Written by Nadir Khayat, Stefani Germanotta, Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Clutch the pearls, if you will, but Gaga is making millions and her Judas video has over 143 million hits on YouTube. 143,000,000. If you haven’t seen it, for sure your children have. I don’t expect anything different from Gaga. I do pray for her. Obviously, there’s a lot going on.


I find myself repeating Jesus’ prayer a lot:
LUKE 23:33-34
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus utters this prayer in the midst of His crucifixion. He looks out at those harming Him and intercedes for them.

That’s my heart for a many artists. They are lashing out at God and faith and religion and I’m thinking, “Lord, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

I haven’t met Gaga yet, but why would anyone want to sing (and have several kids singing) that you’re beyond repentance and clinging to the demonic?

I think she does not know what she’s doing.
Or maybe she does. And if that’s the case, pray all the more.


Gaga might want to take a page from Whoopi’s songbook. Sister Act embraces and creates funny situations in a faith setting and has endeared audiences for 20 years.

Whoopi starred in the 1992 film, Sister Act, which cost $24 million, and made over $231 million. Needless to say, there was a Sister Act II. Then, a musical play version broke records at the Pasadena Playhouse here in the LaLa in 2006 making millions. Whoopi produced the play version in London in 2009 and brought it to Broadway in 2011, garnering 5 Tony Award nominations, where it has been running for over a year.

Television star Raven-Symoné, from NBC’s The Cosby Show and Disney’s That’s So Raven, just joined the cast a few months ago. The director is 4-time Tony Award winner, Jerry Zaks, that I had to pleasure of filming with a couple of years ago.

If it’s anything like what I saw with The Color Purple on Broadway a couple of years ago, church buses would be going in droves. Why? Because it’s a feel good musical with good music that uplifts the faith, not tears it down.

Honestly, I’m not sure that producers care one way or another as long as they make their investors money back.

But I care.
I believe that we can make quality art on stage and camera and in music that uplifts people in their faith and satisfies investors.

If I get a chance to see Sister Act soon, I’ll let you know if that belief holds up :=),

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett

Happy Friday from the Beach


© photo source

Happy Friday, Fam!
Having a wonderful time at the beach as the va-cay winds down.

Started to post pics for you, then thought twice… considering bathing suit photos on the internet might not go over so well next time your churches thought about inviting me to preach. I admit it’s a little silly, and quite the double standard, but it is what it is. No stumbling blocks from me. :=) Anyway, loving every minute.

Each beach is different.
I’ve been so fortunate to experience a wide array.

I’ve seen water as clear as crystal, sand like sugar, waves for days.
West coast, East coast, Caribbean, Pacific – I’ve always felt like, “If I can just get to the water…”
It’s impossible for me to encounter the massiveness of our oceans and not think Psalm 8:1 “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Have you ever read this song interpreted in The Message?

(The Message)
1 God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
9 God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Isn’t that beautiful?
Our God is brilliant and His handiwork, including the ocean, is magnificent.

When I gaze out and see the sky kiss the water, whatever I’m going through falls into perspective. The Creator of the ends of the earth, who keeps these tides rolling in and out perfectly synchronized with the moon, can handle anything I face and more.

When all goes topsy-turvy, I get to the water, because it reminds me of how big our God is.
When all goes great, I get to the water, because it reminds me of how gracious our God is.

My mother loved the beach too. Our family vacations were spent at many a beach. Wonderful memories growing up.

We are now creating similar memories for our next generation.
I hope they’ll too love the ocean.
And more than the ocean, I hope they’ll love One Who created it and the whales that sing in it.

If you can, take some time this weekend and see something majestic:
the ocean, a river, a stream, a lake,
a sunrise, a sunset, a canyon, a trail,
some handmade sky jewelry, the moon, the stars,
your loved ones, you get the picture!

Bowing to the One with the most famous household Name above every name,

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett, Twitter

Bieber, Baldwin & the Paparazzi

Bieber, Baldwin & the Paparazzi

photo source

30 Rocky!
That was the headline of New York’s Daily News yesterday:

OK. Anyone surprised re: the report that Alec Baldwin is in another altercation with the paparazzi? Apparently, this time, the photographer tried to snap Alec and his fiancee outside New York City Hall on Tuesday after getting their marriage license, which should be a happy moment, right?

Alec and the paparazzo have history.
But Justin Bieber?

On Tuesday, as well, the paparazzi battery case against Justin Bieber (filed almost a month ago) was sent from the Malibu Sheriff’s Department to the LA D.A. to decide if there is enough evidence to file charges. The photographer claims Justin roughed him up when he tried to get pictures of Justin and his girlfriend Selena after they left a movie in Calabassas. Witnesses say the paparazzi blocked Justin’s car with a van and wouldn’t move it, ensuring a photo op.

If we had a dollar for every celebrity – paparazzi clash we’ve heard in the news in LA, we’d have a boat load of cash. E! News recently ran an article, “Celebrities vs. Paparazzi Smackdowns – the Five Greatest Hits”, which included the infamous Britney Spears angry umbrella attack, Kanye West’s camera smash, and Sean Penn allegedly dangling a photographer he found hiding in his hotel off the 9th floor balcony.

With stories like this, folks might wonder, “What’s wrong with our celebrities?”

Though some thespians might need anger management courses, more likely, I’m wondering, “What’s wrong with our paparazzi?”

On Tuesday morning, before the Alec and Justin reports were released, I shared with you in my blog, Real Prosperity, a recent incident where we witnessed a celeb on her morning jog. As she rounded the corner to enter her driveway, a photographer jumped out the bushes and started snapping. The actress was soaked in sweat, hair matted from running and obviously not photo ready for a magazine cover. But that did not stop the shutter hound.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

The actress is thrown a little off-balance, realizes what’s happening and runs for her door.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

She can’t get in her house quickly enough. She’s annoyed and exasperated.

Snap. Snap. Snap.

Look, if she had originally reacted impulsively and started swinging… I’m not saying it’s right, but I would’ve understood.

First of all, she was startled. If somebody jumps out the bushes as you enter your yard, which is usually a safe place, isn’t your instinct to protect yourself? Secondly, how can you not get angry at someone who is treating you badly? That’s one of the reasons we even have the emotion of anger – to stop people from hurting us.

Good Anger

In counseling, when we encounter people who say, “I never get angry”, red flags start going up. Sirens start ringing. There is something gravely wrong if nothing angers a person. Child molestation should anger us. Rape, murder, abuse, humans harming other humans should trigger something on the inside that says, “Stop!”

That’s how I felt about the paparazzi harassing the celebrity running. I got angry and wanted to yell out my car window, “Hey, STOP!” I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

Jesus got angry.
JOHN 2: 13-17
When locals turned His Father’s house, i.e. temple in Jerusalem, into a marketplace selling oxen and sheep, He made a whip of cords, turned over tables, and drove out all the moneychangers and the animals. He straight did a HULK smash and started flipping stuff. And He’s God.

When Paul wrote to followers of Christ on how to live together in unity, he shared how to handle our anger. The scripture assumes that we will get angry.

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

In other words, don’t let anger turn into bitterness and rage. We are to handle what has made us angry as quickly as possible, preferably before the end of the day.

I do not advocate violence.
I’m not saying celebrities have a right to be angry and start swinging on photographers.
But I also don’t believe photographers should get away with the intrusive behavior that has become the norm here in the LaLa and around the world.

Princess Diana lost her life fleeing from paparazzi. Halle Berry reported that she was run off the road by a photographer trying to snap her picture when she was pregnant. What if she had lost her baby in that accident?

When did we stop caring for each other’s lives?
Or are we trying to just get the next “money shot” to sell to TMZ, the National Inquirer or whatever tabloid franchise that’s feeding our insatiable appetites for scandal and gossip?

Why do we even care what so-and-so’s baby is wearing or who such-and-such is dating, sleeping with, marrying or divorcing? My life is pretty full as it is. How about yours?

As candid and open-book as I am with my life as a minister and artist, I am extremely private with my personal life, and doggedly protective of my family.

I understand the desire to get a marriage license without being harassed i.e. Baldwin.
I get trying to see a film with your love before jetting off for more performances i.e. Bieber.
I understand wanting to go on vacation and not have a camera shoved in your face every few minutes. I get it. This is the time when we’re supposed to be able to rest and just be.

But we hear the stories: paparazzi in scuba gear, renting cabanas, climbing trees to snap celebs on vacation.

I’ll say this and I’m done:
We should not love and/or need money so badly that we encroach upon another’s safe space and/or put another’s life in danger.

Celebs are just people. How bout we let folks have some time with their loved ones and some sense of normalcy? Or at least be able to go for a healthy jog in the new neighborhood without worrying about having to be camera-ready?

When I heard of a gated-guarded neighborhood a few minutes from where I live with mandated, ridiculously massive square footage, house values no less than $15-20 million per property and $100,000 HOA dues, I thought, ‘Why would people pay that?’

Privacy. Peace. Freedom.
And no paparazzi are allowed.

The community was built with only 2 ways in and out, through a 24 hour guarded gate. When you pull up to the gate, a call is made to the owner you’re visiting. If that owner does not tell the guard you’re allowed, even if you’re another celebrity, you’re not getting in.

Children play outside in peace.
Dogs are walked or pushed in strollers at leisure.
Artists jog, bike, blade, whatever they want to do.

There are no reality show cameras.
No news crews.
No photographers.

What if everyone had to pay $20 million for peace?
Would that stop the madness?
Lord help us,

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett, Twitter

Snakes, Takes and Teams


photo source – venomous coral snakes: “Red on yellow, kill a fellow. Red on black, venom lack.”

I don’t like ’em. Never have.
The slither, slide, coil:
Don’t trust them.

Yet, yesterday, I found myself with snakes at the snake zoo, or the fancy name: serpentarium. Ever heard of such a thing? Not even on my radar, Fam. Not ever in my plans.

Snakes were hanging from trees and along rocks. The venomous ones were enclosed in museum-like glass showcases.

“Don’t get close to the glass”, the announcer told us before the exhibit. “It’s for the protection of the snake.”

Protection of the snake? Are you kidding?

“If they try to come at you, I lose a snake,” she continued. “They hit their heads on the glass, and that’s it.”

“Humph,” I grunted, still pondering ‘protection of the snake’.


The last time I was this close to snakes, on purpose, was when we filmed Wire in the Blood a few years ago. By accident, Kevin and I rolled up on Cobra Commander when shopping to buy our first home, but that’s a whole other story. Ask me sometime. Straight comedy of errors!

But back to Wire, not to spoil the episode, but there were a bunch of rattlesnakes. Thank goodness, they weren’t highlighted in my scene. But I did have to shoot one of the days we had snakes on location. The handler carefully placed one of the rattlers in the car and tried to get him to act right on camera so the director could get what he needed for the scene.

Take after take, how do you think that worked out?

“I’ll be in the trailer!”

Your girl was out. But truth is, if Sir Rattle had been in my scene, I would’ve had to face him, trust his handler, and do whatever it took to get the footage. That’s what we do as actors – whatever is best for the whole team.


So, that’s how I ended up at the serpentarium.
I went for the team.

My dad doesn’t ask a whole lot. Really. He’s one of the most content people I know. When one of my brothers found the serpentarium, Dad asked all 20 of us (sons & wives, daughter & husband, and the clan of grands) to go together as a family.

I’m not the type of person that struggles with saying no to stuff outside my zone. Never really had that problem. I cheer folks on in their zones as I become an expert in mine. But when we’re on a team, it’s about what’s best for everyone, not just the individual.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul asks followers of Christ to imitate Jesus’ humility with one another. Essentially, he asks us to do what’s best for each other, not just ourselves.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

I could’ve chosen not to go see ,Anaconda yesterday, but that would’ve been valuing myself above others. Besides, what did it hurt?

And there was even a snake show in which the presenter tried to flex her acting skills with a North American coral snake decoy (the South American cousin is pictured above.) She wasn’t exactly Meryl Streep, but she had her moment. If you can find a way to use drama on a snake farm, kudos!

My time is most precious, and it was well spent hanging with my family.

Now, I’m not signing up to have red or yellow rat snakes curling all through the belt loops of my khakis, but yesterday, we looked out for the interest of one another.

Yesterday, Auntie Ima took one for the team.

What do you think?
Facebook, @naimalett, Twitter

Real Prosperity


photo source

One of the wonderful things about vacation is the down time to rest, relax and reflect.

This morning I woke up thinking about how blessed I am:
Surrounded by family, love, peace – it’s beautiful…
and not based on my bank account.

I am surrounded by people who genuinely care for me and who could care less about how many numbers fill out my paychecks. I am valued just because I’m me. I wish this for everybody, and especially for the artists I do life with in Hollywood.

If we could value and love one another just because of who we are – family made in the image of God – not because of how much we earn – I think we could revolutionize our world.

When I meet an actor/actress new to LA, her first question of me wouldn’t be, “Who is your agent? How can I meet him?” which actually translates into: “I care nothing about you. I just want to use you to further my own career.” Instead, she might ask “Hey, how’s it going? Your production company? The ministry? How are you?” See the difference?

Paparazzi wouldn’t jump out of bushes to snag the “money” picture of a celeb just trying to get her morning jog on. I saw this happen recently and wanted to say, “HEY! STOP THE MADNESS! That’s a fellow human being you’re harassing.” Instead, the photographer could call the actor’s manager and see what he could work out for a mutual setting. Celebs set up photo ops all the time. There are certain restaurants and stores that celebs frequent just to be photographed. There is no need to jump out of bushes or run people off the road.

And I’m not even sure when our family of God jumped on the prosperity train and started dishing out value based on wardrobes, jets and the size of people’s cribs. When someone decides what church to go to or not go to based on the kind of cars the congregants drive, we are headed down the wrong path. Fam, we’ve got to find another way.

I’ve been soaking up the proverbs recently.
One that struck me this morning had to do with the very idea of prosperity.

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Solomon, King David’s son, and arguably the wisest man that ever lived, recorded this proverb which basically says the one who blesses will be blessed and the one who helps will be helped.

How do we prosper?
With no expectation of return.

This is NOT “Give God $100 and He’ll give you back $1000.” That’s playing the lottery. Let’s not do that.

This IS “Give. Give. Give.” Refresh others. Help others.
We don’t have to worry. We won’t miss out. We’ll be refreshed back. But that’s not the goal. It’ll happen because that’s what happens.

Regardless of what people believe Oprah believes, they respect her because she is so generous. And the more she gives, the more is given back.

What if we recognized the most prosperous people as those who gave the most away?
Bill Gates.
Mother Theresa.
He gave His life.

As we meet folks, let’s ask ourselves, “How can I help?” instead of “How can they help me?
Let’s attempt to add value instead of judging based on how much ‘value’ we think people have.
Let’s see people as family, not ladders.

I’m in a beautiful place today, surrounded by family, love and peace.

Nobody cares what brand sneakers I have on or what rental car I drive.
Nobody cares what shorts I wear and what length is appropriate for a minister.
Nobody cares if my hair is curly or straight, if I have on makeup or not.
My heart is fully known and accepted.
I truly wish this for each and every one of you.

‘Cause real prosperity boils down to what I give.
Not what I have.

Something to ponder.
Lots of love from the va-cay,

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?
Facebook, @naimalett, Twitter

Summer, Summertime


Summer, summer, summer time!

Summer officially starts on Wednesday, but my summer starts today.
Finished final doctoral residency. Currently in the airport. Headed to va-cay! Yay!

So what are your summer plans?
Got any vacations coming?
Taking up any new projects?

Shout out to our friend Bobby training for his mini marathon. Go forth!
Congratulations to our friends getting married and celebrating anniversaries. Woo-hoo!
Kudos to all the high school graduates headed for college, college graduates headed for jobs, and Masters & Doctorate friends headed for… what are you doing next?
And shout out to all the little people headed to summer camps, swimming lessons and vacation bible schools all over the nation. What a blast!

I love summer.
Folks are out in the sun.
Walking, biking, playing.

It’s the “play” part that’s awesome.
As artists, “playing” is necessary for our creativity.
Actors have been called “players” for a long time. Why? Because we know how to enter the great world of ‘What if?’ and possiblities.

As much as summer is fun though, I’m still reminded by Solomon’s proverb that summer is also a time of reaping.

He who gathers crops in summer is wise,
But he who sleeps during harvest is disgraceful

In other words, we’ve got to know what to do and when to do it.
When it’s time to gather, let’s gather.
When it’s time to harvest, let’s harvest.

I look forward to jumping back in to work when we return, but for now, it’s time for fam, food and fun. Summer, summer, summer time!

PHOTO above: © Summertime, Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince