Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I'm not downing New Year's resolution, because psychologically, they are necessary because a new year gives us a feeling of "newness" for lack of a better term. Subconsciously, it makes us believe that we have a clean slate. The most obvious correlation would be with Christianity's communion ritual. Christians (such as myself) partake in this ritual not just to say "phew, Jesus forgave me again, now I can go back to doing ____ again because I KNOW I'll be forgiven," but rather to say, "I know I've sinned this past month, and I am going to make the effort to not make the same mistakes."
So, let's be honest with ourselves, we're probably going to have some set backs with our "resolutions" but if we attempt to make these changes today, at some point in 2010 (or later), these "resolutions" will be resolved. This all stems from me receiving this e-mail at work from my supervisor and I thought it contained some useful information. Check it out and pass it along:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.. 4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21.. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything..
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.
Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
According to CNN (read here):
"As budget deficits grow and the economy tumbles, governors and legislators are cutting costs by allowing inmates, mostly low-risk offenders, to leave prison earlier than laws previously permitted. Nationwide, more states are beginning to release thousands of inmates early by increasing "time off" provisions."
This is further proof that the justice system in America is complete b.s. So let me see if I got this right. It's ok to lock up people (who are OVERWHELMINGLY minority) and use them for cheap labor when it's beneficial to the economy, but when the economy begins to falter, "criminals" can be released as a way to save money? So, because we as a country are broke, that makes crimes less criminal? Granted, some who are in prison are in for a valid reason, and THUS should NOT be released as a way to save money (particularly those who commited violent acts or rape i.m.o.), but let's not ignore the statistics people. According to prisonpolicy.org:
"At the start of Reagan's administration in 1980, there were approximately 501,886 prisoners in the nation's prisons and jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In June 2001, there were 1,800,300, a nearly four-fold increase, according to the agency's data. Of this number, 803,400 were Black males and 69,500 were Black females."
Black's account for nearly HALF of the prison population (there's more Black males in prison than college) and only about 13% of the overall population. Futhermore, a majority of the minorities (specifically Black males) are in prison because of non-violent drug offenses. In particular, crack offenses. So when I read on CNN that the government is releasing prisoners for non-violent offenses to SAVE MONEY I'm nothing short of appalled and infuriated. It makes me think, maybe these individuals should have received an alternative method of punishment for their involvment in narcotics when they were first arrested, or possibly counseling. Maybe if more job opportunities were in their community none of this would be a problem, because a long-term prison system did not, and doesn't seem to help. Oh, and check this out:
"The increase in the rates of incarceration of young black males is due primarily to the focus of the "war on drugs" on black drug users. For drug offenses, the African American proportion of arrests increased from 24% in 1980 to 39% in 1993, even though African Americans comprise only 13% of monthly drug users. From 1986 to 1990, the number of minority jail inmates increased more than twice as fast as the number of white inmates, and the increase in the number of arrests of minorities for drug offenses was almost ten times the increase in arrests of white drug offenders."
"Distribution of just five grams of crack cocaine yields a five year mandatory minimum sentence, while it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger the same five year sentence. Crack cocaine is the only drug for which there is a federal mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession."
Oh, and 4/5's of all crack offenders are black.
Ah, what the hell, let me throw some more facts out there:
-Of the 253,300 state prison inmates serving time for drug offenses at yearend 2005, 113,500 (44.8%) were black, 51,100 (20.2%) were Hispanic, and 72,300 (28.5%) were white.
-Nationwide, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.
Want more stats? Click [HERE]
So, you lock us up when it's convenient for YOU and YOUR dollar huh? But now that everybody is suffering you all of a sudden want to change things up? It's a truth I already knew was present, but now it's even more evident, and it's quite despicable I might add. The justice system is a JOKE. Again, notice, these drug offenses rose during the Reagan and Bush administrations. And, although I was previously critical of Obama sending more troops to Iraq, I commend him for doing this --> [Click Here]
Maybe if more money was spent on education, none of this would even be a problem. Last I heard, CPS (Chicago Public Schools) received 10K per student, while some surburban schools receive upwards of 18K. Oh, and it cost 22K (yearly) to maintain a prisoner. I think it's time to reprioritize...
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I have to say, Loon has done a very noble thing by walking away from the temptations of the industry to devote his life to Islam. Although one could argue that he wasn't worth much anymore since he was no longer affiliated with Diddy, the point still stands, his decision is one that not many would make. I take him a little more serious than I did Ma$e who has returned to rap 20 times since becoming a minister. Well, I'd say there's nothing wrong with rapping, or being in the industry if you remain true to the faith you promote, but from what I've heard from Ma$e, he hasn't. I may be wrong though *shrug*
Nevertheless, Loon outlines just why he did what he did and he makes some very good points. You have to wonder how some record label execs and artist can live with themselves at night knowing they just cheated someone out of _____ amount of dollars or knowing they sacrificed their morale, dignity or even manhood for money, something superficial. To each its on though, and much respect to all religions and beliefs.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I came across this on twitter today and HAD to post it because I agree with every point. It feels good to come across people who think like you and have similiar mindstates from time to time. I would only hope and pray that someone (rapper or fan) would read this and challenge the content that we are subjected to daily. I'm not saying I don't sometimes listen to the very music that I condemn, because I do, and I contradict myself at times, but when I listen, I always do it with a critical ear. I feel as though many of my peers (in my age group) are able to decipher through most of the messages and not take them literally; but what about those 13 year old girls or boys that look up to these rappers? I believe you should feed your brain a healthy diet. For every Lil Wayne song you listen to, listen to something empowering, like Lupe Fiasco, or BlackStar. Ok, I'll get down from my podium now, check out "hip-hop commandments" as said by Charlamagne Tha God:
10. Thou must not promote all things ghetto Your lyrics should not celebrate the ghetto life by reminiscing about days in poverty, your mother on welfare and your father not being there. Instead of celebrating and embracing the poverty, crime and ignorance of the ghetto, we should be encouraging our people to move on up out of the ghetto like the Jeffersons.
9. Thou must advocate anything of social redeeming value Your lyrics should reflect that you are aware of the social, political and economic reality of your community. The consumer should assume that you read more than the Source or XXL.
8. Thou shall have a sense of history MC's should refer to historical events that may cause the listener to think about his or her relation to history. Your role is to entertain and educate. Instead of mentioning names like Jacob the Jeweler and Versace, mention names like W.E.B. Dubois and Louis Farrakhan.
7. Thou must not worship money and bling-bling You must not talk about money and bling-bling as if it were a living, breathing thing. Your lyrics should not put money and bling-bling over love, women or religion. (See next commandment.)
6. Thou must talk about God and spirituality MC's should not condone atheism and a false belief system that does not acknowledge the existence of a higher being. You should promote the spiritual beliefs that may have been instilled in you by family. Especially being that the first thing rappers say when they win an award is: "I want to thank God."
5. Thou must not celebrate the drug culture Drugs are destroying the black community. There isn't a dope boy in the country who wants to be a dope boy. The trap is just that: a trap. You'll either end up in jail or dead. It's like playing Russian roulette with your life. Trap or die? You might as well die, because in the trap you're killing yourself and your community.
4. Thou must not promote promiscuity MC's should promote a deep sense of love and marriage. You should talk about commitment, bonding and intimacy. Plus rappers talk about having lots of sex, but not about the fact that blacks represent 57 percent of all new AIDS cases in the U.S. even though we only make up 13 percent of the population.
3. Thou must not lust after things that don't belong to us By keeping this commitment, you promise to promote a strong work ethic in your music and speak out against greed, lust and impulsive behavior. Besides, robbery and rape carry a lot of time.
2. Thou must not kill MC's should not lyrically take the life of another black person in order to secure a hit CD. If the artist doesn't value the life of someone else on a record, then the consumer he influences won't value the life of someone else in the street.
1. Thou must not disrespect black women Women are not our sexual play toys; they are the greatest natural resource on the planet. Without them, we can't create life.. ... Instead of disrespecting black women, empower them by letting them know they are queens, mothers of the planet Earth and that their purpose (is beyond) shaking their (butts) in music videos.
Friday, October 16, 2009
This woman was arrested for cutting a line at Wal-Mart and allegedly assaulting a police officer. She faces up to 15 years...yep...15 years. She was then handed a KKK card by a police officer that said "the next visit won't be social." I don't know what to say expect, it was nice of him to issue a warning. Quite professional I might add...
You can read more about [HERE]
Moving along...a interracial couple in Louisiana is denied a marriage license by the 'justice of peace' because of the fear that they will have biracial children. Yep...gotta keep that blood pure don't you? Gotta love how the 'justice of PEACE' denied it (and has done so about 4 times prior). You have to love the irony in that! Don't be alarmed though, he's not racist; he has black friends as he states. Kudos to him...
You can read about that [HERE]
Monday, October 12, 2009
I remember being a young child in elementary school, actually believing Columbus "discovered" America. I looked at October 12th as a day off of school and like any other kid, I wasn't going to complain! Now, I look at Elementary/high school as a 12 step brainwashing program to make young children "patriotic"...but I digress. It wasn't until I was in high school and I became more of a critical thinker did I realize and learn that Columbus was a heinous murderer like many European explorers during that time. His conquest (almost) led to the slaughter of an entire race and culture of people; whom are often forgotten about when people mention the "forefathers." His conquest also led to slavery, which is something rarely, if ever, mentioned in conjunction with his expedition. If anything, we should all take time on October 12th every year, to recognize what Columbus REALLY stood for and revel in the unjust hypocrisy this countries foundation is built on.
However, this should only be done until we can turn October 12th into what it should be recognized as; a holiday to honor and respect Native Americans/indigenous peoples. I encourage you all that are reading this to sign the petition on the link provided below. And like Chris Berman so eloquently mentioned on last nights Sportscenter (repeatedly), "Have a wonderful Columbus Day!" *notice the sarcasm*
Thursday, October 8, 2009
This is just ridiculous and quite sad. THIS is how people in other countries/continents (Australia) view black people (well, people in our own country still view us like this as well). As jokes, as coons, and it's virtually accepted and deemed as appropriate. We kill each other in our community and outside of our community we are still defamed and made a mockery of. What baffles me is, they've been doing this routine for 20 years and they're also all doctors. So you mean to tell me, educated individuals such as themselves didn't see anything wrong with this? Furthermore, the host apologizes because he understands it's offensive? Really? How much do you understand if you're allowing it to continue? Much respect to Harry Conick Jr. for speaking up on this matter (5:45 mark). Read about the story in full on CNN's site [HERE]. The modern day minstrel shows continues...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Like most throughout the city, and the country, my heart is still heavy after watching the video of Derrion Albert being beaten to death. What makes this situation worse is the fact that since it has happened, the violence in our communities hasn't slowed down one bit. It's so much that needs to be done, but it's hard to really pinpoint where one should start. As a hip-hop artist who is well indulged in the cultures (unofficial) 5th element (knowledge/being informed), I feel it is only right that I speak on this matter in the best way I know how, in song. I hope by doing this, I can provoke some you all to make a change in your respective communites. Because, I do realize that this piece of spoken word won't reach who it needs to online, so it is up to us to march forward. This has nothing to do with rap, because it's bigger than that. Inconjuction with my place of employment, I have been doing some work with the youth in the Roseland community, but we NEED more help. So, I invite anyone in the Chicago area who is genuinely down to making a change to e-mail me at Tha.Advakit@gmail.com. PEACE!
"A Message To My Brothas"
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Today, September 1st, marks the 15th anniversary of the death of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer. "Yummy" as he was affectionately called because of his love for sweets, was a young child, who died at 11, partly because he was a misguided youth without direction, who got caught up in the gang culture on the southside of Chicago. Yummy was gun downed by his fellow gang members because when he was instructed to kill a rival gang member, he failed to do so and killed an(other) innocent child, making his gang a target of the Chicago police force. Because of this, he was brutality gunned down in the area of Roseland. Unfortunately, although this happened 15 years ago, this trend has not stopped. Most from Chicago will tell you that they know a young man similar to Yummy now, or maybe they were that child. The sad reality in Chicago, and other inner cities, is that children grow up believing that your options are either, joining a gang, or playing basketball. And when most of our males, and children in general, lack guidance from their fathers, they are more likely to get caught up in what Lupe called "the cool." Even though I'm from the southside, I didn't learn about this story until about a year ago while I was browsing on FakeShoreDrive and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I'm in grad school now, and when I get my teaching degree, my main goal is to go back into the city where I was born and help our children go down the right path and reach their full potential. Oh yeah, I wrote a song about Yummy too (something Tupac has also done), but really, I just want YOU to learn about him, whether you read the TIME article or check out my song. PEACE!
Read the TIME article HERE
Special thanks to ALL the sites that have posted this story and my song:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Obama's speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which weapons have been seen near presidential events.
A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.
A man is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama on Monday in Phoenix, Arizona.
Video from CNN affiliate KNXV shows the man standing with other protesters, with the rifle slung over his right shoulder, a handgun in a holster on his left hip and a bullet clip in his back pocket.
"I'm exercising my rights as an American in Arizona," the man, who refused to give his name, told KNXV.
Phoenix police said authorities monitored about a dozen people carrying weapons while peacefully demonstrating.
"It was a group interested in exercising the right to bear arms," police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said.
Arizona law has nothing in the books regulating assault rifles, and only requires permits for carrying concealed weapons. So despite the man's proximity to the president, there were no charges or arrests to be made. Hill said officers explained the law to some people who were upset about the presence of weapons at the protest. Video Watch the rifle being legally carried at rally »
"I come from another state where 'open carry' is legal, but no one does it, so the police don't really know about it and they harass people, arrest people falsely," the man said. "I think that people need to get out and do it more so that they get kind of conditioned to it."
The man, wearing a shirt and tie at the health care rally, added that he was unhappy with some health care reform proposals.
"I'm absolutely, totally against health care, health care in this way, in this manner," he said. "Stealing it from people, I don't think that's appropriate."
Gun-toting protesters have demonstrated around the president before. Last week, a man protesting outside Obama's town hall meeting in New Hampshire had a gun strapped to his thigh. That state also doesn't require a license for open carry.
U.S. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan acknowledged the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona, but said he was not aware of any other recent events where protesters attended with open weapons. He said there was no indication that anyone had organized the incidents.
Asked whether the individuals carrying weapons jeopardized the safety of the president, Donovan said, "Of course not."
The individuals would never have gotten close to the president, regardless of any state laws on openly carrying weapons, he said. A venue is considered a federal site when the Secret Service is protecting the president, and weapons are not allowed on a federal site, he said.
In both instances, the men carrying weapons were outside the venues where Obama was speaking.
"We pay attention to this obviously ... to someone with a firearm when they open carry even when they are within state law," Donovan said. "We work with our law enforcement counterparts to make sure laws and regulations in their states are enforced."
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In theory, this song is a threat, so in that sense, it's wrong, but there have been worse songs in the history in hip hop with the same theme and the penalty then didn't go past the government attempting to censor it. I guess what seperates this one from the pack is the fact that he specifically mentions the cops names. My take on things like this is, yes, the message is conflicted and disturbing, but songs like this are a s a cry for help. Instead of imprisoning minorities for relaying messages like this, those who take offense should take a second to dissect the message to better understand where the artist is coming from. They should ask, "Why would he even feel the need to make song like this?" Or "What's the motivation for this song?" I don't agree with the way some rappers attempt to get their point across or how they verbalize their struggle by glorifying the negative aspects, but there is a reason why they even feel the need to rap about these issues it in the first place; they are products of their environment. Another thing that bothers me is the fact that historically, people have gotten less time for harsher offenses, such as actually KILLING someone (like NFL player Donte Stallworth, who got 24 days in prison). I guess he can't make a good case for himself when his prior offense was cocaine related but whatever. Read the story below (source):
Florida rapper Antavio Johnson has been sentenced to two years in prison for his song "Kill Me a Cop", which he produced as a teenager.
Johnson wrote the song in response to harassment he received from two Florida police officers. In the song, Johnson specifically mentions the two officers - one male and one female - by name, saying they would be shot with a "glock" in the "dome" if they "get my timing wrong."
After the song was completed, Johnson put it up on his MySpace page, and authorities stumbled across it while looking for gang-related activity on MySpace. The song was never played on the radio.
The 20-year-old is already serving time for violating probation related to cocaine use.
Johnson has received some support from the American Civil Liberties Union, saying that while Johnson's lyrics might disturb, "We [shouldn't] punish bad thoughts in America."
A 15-year-old Chicago girl was shot in the head outside her Far South Side home Wednesday as she shielded a younger relative from gunfire.
The girl was in critical condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center after being shot about 8 pm. in the 11000 block of South Normal, officials said.
Police said there was an argument between the occupants of two vehicles when shots were fired. The girl was not the intended target, police said. It was unknown whether the vehicles were moving when shots were fired.
Claudia Lanfair, who lives near the victim, said she called police after hearing about five or six shots.
"At first, it sounded like a firecracker. There were too many coming too fast," she said. "I'm like, 'That's no firecracker.' "
She heard a cry from the girl's older sister and went to her window to see the girl lying on the ground, she said. "When I went to the window, her sister was screaming at the top of her lungs."
She said the girl is among the children who play with her 11-year-old son on the street.
Calumet Area detectives are investigating.
As I said in the previous post, "Police don't have the best relationship with blacks, and the evidence is shown historically and even in the present day." This full video was uploaded online last month and based on the date it occured roughly 3 years ago. The thing that riles me up the most is that the police clearly said, "You were doing 70 in a 65." Last time I checked, you were legally allowed to do 5 mph over the limit. Ridiculous...
This is completely absurd. There is not a doubt in my mind as a young black man in America that if I attended a Bush rally with a fully loaded gun, I would be thrown to the grown, beaten, tasered, etc, etc. Police don't have the best relationship with blacks, and the evidence is shown historically and even in the present day.
Even though it's legal to have a licensed gun displayed in New Hampshire, there is no reason why it should be allowed while in the presence of a president/political figure, especially the nations first Black president; a man who receives death threats on a regular basis simply because there are some people who still can't seem to grasp the fact that a Black man holds the nations highest office. Chris Matthews called out this ignorant man and I commend him for that. You can read more on this issue on AOL Black Voices [HERE].
Monday, August 10, 2009
This is an amazing achievement, and despite all of the blatant racism that has been occurring since Obama's election, it shows that some of us really do want change and are progressing in the right direction. Although she faced many detractors (i.e. Pat Buchanan) who felt as though she wasn't qualified, in my opinion, mainly because she is a minority as well as a woman, she defied the odds. Many conservatives seem to believe she is a beneficiary of affirmative action despite her long list of achievements (being an alumni of Princeton and Yale University being two of them). However, I find it odd that the same opponents of Sotomayor fail to discuss the UIUC (my alma mater) case of admitting students based on clout. That, in my opinion, is affirmative action for you, but i digress.
I commend Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, as this is a great day in American history as we continue to strive for equality throughout society. As of August 8th 2009, Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina/o Supreme Court Justice. Thurgood Marshall would be proud...
You can read an official press release about this [HERE].
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Chicago teen charged in "brutal slaying" of another teen:
The Southwest Side suspect confessed to dragging Alex into an alley and beating him in the head with a brick, police said. But the suspect said he did not shoot or burn the boy.
Three other people have been charged in connection with the death.
Officials have said Alex was walking with three girls to a friend's house in the 3000 block of West 54th Place when he was twice confronted by neighborhood gang members. The first group was on bikes and second rode in a Ford Mustang.
The gang members asked him "what he was about" and demanded he "throw up a crown" in support of the Latin Kings street gang, prosecutors have said.
But Alex resisted. He allegedly told the group he was about "nothing" and even lifted his shirt to prove he had no gang tattoos, authorities said.
Read the rest here...
Teen shot in neck while watching motorist argue:
A 15-year-old boy was hospitalized after suffering a gunshot wound that went through his back and lodged near his neck after an apparent road rage incident Wednesday night in the South Side’s Englewood neighborhood.
The boy was standing outside watching two motorists argue after they were involved in a “minor fender-bender” at 10:20 p.m. in the 6800 block of South Throop Street, police said.
Both drivers got out and started fighting with each other and one produced a gun and started shooting into the street -- not coming anywhere close to the motorist, but striking the boy in the back, according to police, who said the boy does not know the motorists.
Read the rest here...
Two female firefighters from Houston are victims of racism & sexism:
Just one day after discovering racist and sexist remarks drawn on the wall of Station 54, the two firefighters at the center of this scandal are breaking their silence.
"It's demented. Somebody is sick," said Houston Firefighter Jane Draycott.
Keys and Draycott claim the harassment has been going on for months; acts so low, they say, as defacing photographs of their family, even a deceased daughter.
"They wrote 'dead' on her face and they wrote 'die' on my face," said Draycott.
The women's attorney told us about the harassment he claims they endured during the months leading up to Tuesday's incident.
Attorney Joseph Amad said, "Ranging from turning the cold water off in the shower so they got scalded, from having firecrackers to go off when they opened the bathroom stall to taking the mattresses away from their beds."
Read the rest here...
In addition to this story, a captain at the same fire department, Keith Smith, reportedly kept a nooses in his locker. He later issued an apology claiming to have kept them there as a reminder of his training days and had no idea what they symbolized. Davey D (who I stole this article from, haha) made a good point in stating that the fact that Jena, La is only 6 hours away from Houston, so that makes it hard to believe he wasn't aware of that news story (which centered around the hanging of nooses). The coverage on the Jena 6 story (which was only 2 years ago) was constantly flooding the airwaves and newspapers, so unless he was living under a rock, he should have been notified of its symbolism then. Besides, who just keeps nooses around?!
Instances like this make you realize that although African Americans have played a large role in shaping American history their history is often overlooked. Although, I'm confident he knows what a noose symbolizes, the sad part is, a lot of people really don't know, whether young or old or black or white. Education regarding minority groups in the school system is certainly lacking, and this case is just further proof.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I can't wait to see this! I commend Chris Rock, my favorite comedian, for doing this documentary. This is truly a pet peeve of mind, because the very ideology of "good hair" has been ingrained in our minds through hundreds of years of conditioning by way of slavery, and the repercussions are still present today. It has caused self-hatred amongst many in the black community who feel they have to live up to many Euro-centric standards that center around having a slender nose, blond straight hair, and blue eyes. Historically speaking, slaves with lighter skin (aka house slaves) were usually given more privileges because of their likeness to whites. Today, many would rather go through unnatural processes to alter their appearance (hair relaxing, plastic surgery) than to deal with their natural features. Although I've never been, I seriously doubt that Africans straighten their hair (or feel the need to partake in any of these processes that may alter their appearance) for these reasons, or if they do it at all. So, I always wonder, are African American women doing this because they want to, or because they feel they have to...
The medias influence, as well as a lack of African American representation in the media, play a large role in shaping these conflicted mind states as well. Let's not get it confused though, although I believe women have it harder as they are expected to have certain body shapes and sizes, men contribute to this as well, as many of us would seem to be infatuated, solely with women who have Euro-centric features. Furthermore, how many jobs would even hire black women (or men) if they wore their hair natural? So, we not only put pressure on ourselves, but it is reciprocated back throughout society. Things like this leave me feeling very conflicted...
I follow Dr. Boyce Watkin's column pretty regularly so I was glad to see he touched on this topic. This essentially touches on whether or not the media treats athletes, that may have had similiar allegations, differently based on the color of the their skin. I could certaintly write an article on this myself, but I'm glad Dr. Watkins took the liberty to do it. There is no doubt in my mind that the media (particularly ESPN)picks and chooses who they want to cover more, and more times than not, their (negative) media coverage centers on the cases of black athletes. When the accusations of rape first came out against Kobe, a nation that formely labeled him "the next Jordan" was quick to push him under the bus, despite the fact that "all men are innocent until proven guilty." When the accusations came out against Ben Roethlisberger, it took ESPN about two days to mention it, and when they did and it was a small news bit and hardly ever discussed again. They didn't mention the fact that this might ruin his reputation (maybe because they have the power to do so by increasing their coverage on him, because, ESPN really is the ONLY option for sports coverage nowadays). I'm convinced that ESPN and other media outlets wanted to protect Ben Roethlisberger. The evidence of that may be that many of you don't know that much about the case OR the fact that you know a brunt of your information about it because you read it online, or were informed of it on twitter (like myself). Well, enough of my rambling, here is what Dr. Watkin's had to say:
In a civil lawsuit, Andrea McNulty accuses "Big Ben" of engaging in some disturbing activities. She claims that Ben forced himself on her sexually when she went into his hotel room to check on a broken television set. All of this allegedly took place in Vegas and of course Ben is denying it. I am not sure if he did it or not, since I've never wanted to know much about Ben Roethlisberger's sex life.
Ben's situation is similar to the disturbing allegations made against NBA star Kobe Bryant in the summer of 2003. Kobe's case was not much different from Ben's, in which Kobe was also accused of doing some pretty unacceptable things.
Both cases have their shaky points. For Kobe, there was the evidence that the alleged victim spent a lot of "quality time" (sexually) with other men during the same week she was allegedly raped by Mr. Bryant. This doesn't mean that she couldn't have been raped, but it certainly hurt her case in the eyes of the American public. In Ben's situation, the woman waited nearly a year to file a civil suit against him. Not a criminal suit; a civil one. Whether she was raped or not, she has decided that she definitely wants to get paid.
Again, wanting to get paid doesn't imply that you can't be raped, but similar to Kobe's accuser, Andrea McNulty's request for cash has weakened her case in the eyes of those trying to sort out the facts. Fortunately, the public doesn't decide rape cases, since there is enough bias in favor of high profile athletes. Simultaneously, there are many people in the world wishing to take advantage of athletes, as false rape charges are all too common.
What is also interesting about these two seemingly similar situations, is that while Kobe's case was all over the news for several days in a row, the world has heard barely a peep about the case of Ben Roethlisberger. Sure, I've seen it mentioned in the news here and there, but there hasn't been the sort of brain-drain hyperanalysis which took place during the Kobe Bryant fiasco or in the case of Michael Vick. Why would that be?
Read the rest HERE.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
As sad as it is, I have to agree with this spoof. In my humble opinion, label executives have successfully convinced rappers that it is ok to exploit themselves and black culture for a quick buck. A majority of commercial rap really is a modern day minstrel show (word to Little Brother) from the images the rappers represent to the music they make. I mean seriously, in Chicago, they're playing a song called "Do the Chicken Wing" (see below) on the radio. It's not just rappers though, even professional athletes are partaking in the cooning (again, see below). Affion Crockett captures this image perfectly, as usual...
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Larry King gathers up Michael Eric Dyson, Judge Joe Brown, Larry Elder and Ben Stein to discuss the recent controversy involving Gates and the Cambridge police department. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Larry Elder was the same dude that was the judge on one of my favorite shows (Moral Court). I NEVER agree with him when I hear him giving his opinion on things of this magnitude. I tend to agree more with Dyson and Joe Brown on this matter, as I believe I have been racially profiled as well several times by police officers, both black and white.
In this situation, I think both parties overreacted a tad, so in that instance I also agree with Ben Stein. Because, the officer was shown proof of Gate's residency, so at that point, the issue should have been concluded. However, I don't believe Gates should brought up race as an issue (at the moment). In those instances where I felt profiled, I did not bring that up in the heat of the moment, because I felt it would only make the situation worse, and besides, the officer is the one with the gun. BUT, the officer did resist giving Gates his badge number, and citizens have a right to ask for that. Overall, I don't think the officer was racist, nor do I believe what he did was ignited by racism. I think it may have been a case where Gates, a world renown professor knew he didn't do anything wrong so he may have talked back in a way that the officer didn't agree with (aka, he spoke his mind, or maybe the officer felt he was speaking down to him, being he is a Harvard professor). Thus, the officer felt compelled to hold his ground, and he may have let his pride get in the way of things. Obama called the two gentlemen to the White House to discuss this matter and I think that was a good to settle the controversy (on a personal level), because issues like this happen everyday and more times than not, the officer does seem to be a white male who is acting off of racist impulses. In my opinion, it is essential that officers understand where blacks are coming from on this issue and it's also important for blacks to comply with officers, unless of course they become blatantly ignorant or violent. You have to earn respect in this world, and it seems that neither party had respect for the other in this situation...
While the officer in the Gates case may have not been racist, another officer on his team certainly is. I'm sorry, he's not racist, what he DID/SAID was racist. I'll never forget that JSmooth vlog. SMH @ this fool below...
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I like Rhymefest's music, but what I respect even more about him is the fact that he doesn't just rap about political issues, he goes out and does things about them. Without a platinum or gold album and not nearly as much money as other Chicago rappers (like Kanye), 'Fest still does all he can to help the people from his community. Here he is protesting at Chicago's City Hall in an attempt to bring jobs to the area of 83rd and Chatham.
The fact is, I made this blog as a way to stay on top of and communicate about current issues in society regarding social injustices and political matters, along with hip-hop critiques and other miscellenous issues (as you can see below). Issues that people like myself may be interested in but may not have the time to browse the net to find on a regular basis. I want to inform people on things that I am passionate about from my point of view, so that it may encourage them to think in a way they have never thought. And vice versa, the comment area is so you all can enlighten me as well. Essentially, my blog is influenced by the same format as Davey D's website. But of course, it's extremely different because it is a blog, so it's a lot more random.
Certainly there hasn't been any shortage of news, in fact, in my city (Chicago) there have been senseless (gun-related) murders on a daily basis, something that really urks me. And of course, you have Henry Louis Gate's incident, in addition to various other racial matters (like the Texas incident). I just need to make an effort to expand my 140 character updates on twitter to full fledged post like this on my blog. It can and will certainly accomplish a lot more in my opinion.
I plan on updating a lot more, but life really has been busy. Just graduated with a bachelor's degree a few months ago and I'm preparing for grad school as well. Along with that, this summer has been an interesting one regarding my car which is now dead (as of Saturday, July 25th). I've had to take it in for more repairs than I care to mention and it also got broken into while I was at work one time. So, I guess it's time for me to move on and get a new vehicle. I don't have much time to have pity for myself on that issue anymore, as I have no time for excuses, life is too short and I'm going to enjoy it and move forward. I hope all is well with everyone who has taken the time to ever read my blog. More post coming soon. I need to eventually post some of my own music as well, something I've never done (or really mentioned on here) for some apparent reason...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Those who are familiar with the title "Sour Patch Kids" might recognize it because of the candy. However, fans of freshmen emcee Asher Roth might recognize it as the song off of Roth's debut LP Asleep in the Bread Aisle. The song addresses many social issues affecting society today, particularly poverty. Well, my good friend DJ Daddy Mack, who was inspired by Roth's song, as well as the current recession, took it upon himself to address this very issue and I thought I'd share it with you all. Read an excerpt below and if you're interested click the below link to read the entire article/document.
A little awhile ago, the American government has given bailouts to failing companies on Wall Street and in Detroit. Bailouts are loans given by the government. Taxpayers fund them. The most interesting part about these bailouts is that some of the companies that were given a bailout are still failing. People are still getting laid off while the same people who let the companies fail are getting rewarded. The point of the bailouts was to prevent things such as laid offs. But, these bailouts are not working the way people thought they would. Despite that, other industries still ask the government for a bailout. People talk about these other industries and how they are in need, but poor people are the ones who need a bailout the most.
Throughout history, poor people have been put on the back of the bus. There were barely any major movements in support of them being led by major figures. The sixties were notable for these movements. The number of Americans in poverty went from 22.2% in 1960 to 12.1% in 1969. One of these major movements was led by President Lyndon Baines Johnson. When he ran for President, he promised a “Great Society.”
Read it in it's entirety [HERE]
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Wow, I haven't updated in a while! The past month or so I've been in the trenches as I like to say. This is my last semester at the University of Illinois and I graduate in 4 days. Basically, I've been bombarded with paper after paper, presentation after presenation and exam after exam. When this semester concludes, I would have written a 20 page journal article, a 23 page paper (roughly), four 6-7 page papers, and a bunch of short papers ranging from 1-3 pages. In case you were wondering, I'll be getting my degree in History (with a minor in African American studies) with intentions to become a high school teacher and free lance writer. I was going completely out of my mind for a while because these assignments were stressing me out, but I'm almost at the finish line and it feels good.
However, it wasn't just school work that was stressing me. Let's see, along with those tedious assignments, I've also been maintaining a long distance relationship, and coughing up money to repair my busted car. Oh, and did I mention that my digital camera also broke and laptop started acted weird so I almost lost all of my class assignments and music. In addition, my ability to record songs has been limited because of that. That was probably good though, since I wasn't able to get sidetracked by rapping, but sometimes I have so much on my mind that I need to get it off my chest. Alright, well, I'm just about finished with my 20 page paper (that will probably end up 23 pages like stated earlier) but I'm going to get some shut eye and finish that in the morning. PEACE!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Living in a world (city) filled with quick tempers and people who believe violence is the easiest way to solve problems, it always impresses me to see individuals who have the intellectual capability to beat their opponent without physically laying a finger on them. Case in point, Michael Eric Dyson. The thing that's so unique about Michael Eric Dyson is the fact that, even if he was wrong on his stance in a debate, he could convince you through his impressive rhetoric that he is correct.
In this video, Dyson schools conservative Andrew Breitbart on undercover racism and Rush Limbaugh on the Bill Maher show. I win for the simple fact that I met Michael Eric Dyson before.
Monday, March 9, 2009
When I started this blog my intent was never to restrict myself and post about the typical subjects you are probably use to reading about on a regular basis on most blogs: pop culture, hip hop, sports. So, with that said, this is my first post that is food related. Motivated by my guy Clif and his recent dedication to working out, I've decided that I will take steps towards eating healthier (this is probably my 100th time taking these "steps" but whatever) as an effort to feel better about myself and actually benefit from working out. No longer can I work out for a hour and then go to Burger King for a whopper afterwards; kind of defeats the purpose right? I mean, I have a six pack, but it's kind of hard to see under that excess fat from all those fast food burgers and pizza. Right Cass? Not only that, but as you all know, eating healthy is also the key to living a long prosperous life. I know we are enduring a recession and all of us are filling the affects, but that doesn't mean your health has to deteriorate like your money probably is. I ran across this video that turned out to be useful to me and I'm sure a lot of you could use it as well because we all LOVE fast food.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
While this video is indeed hilarious it reminds me just how controversial this very issue is. I could very well write my own editorial pertaining to this matter but it would simply cause me to go in circle, metaphorically speaking, while not actually resolving the matter. I'm interested in your opinion though, if you're reading this, chime in on this matter.
Is there a such thing as a "N*gga Pass"? Are there instances when whites should be allowed to use the "N" word? Is it just a word or is it really offensive? Should it be retired? Is there a definite double standard present? I realize this issue is quite old and has been discussed many times, but there never seems to be any substantial progress made. Maybe that's why it will always remain controversial....
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Joe Budden - In My Sleep
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I'm definitely saddened after seeing this. I am a product of CPS schools and will return to teach in this same school system upon graduating. Arne Duncan should be ashamed of himself, this is terrible. And this is the guy that was appointed Secretary of Education by Obama? Wow...
Monday, February 9, 2009
I don't know how I feel. Although steroids do make you stronger, you still need great hand-eye coordination to hit the ball. Plus, I'm sure there are plenty of players who weren't as good as A-Rod who took them and weren't successful (i.e. Jason Giambi's brother Jeremy). I think he did it because everyone else was using them and felt he had to keep up. I'd still vote him into the hall of fame if I had a vote, Barry Bonds too. Simply because they proved to be great before they even took steroids and you still need a lot of skill to put up those numbers.
This has been a problem since the '80's, you can't possibly keep EVERY player out of the hall of fame during a 20-25 year span. I'll be pissed if it comes out that Griffey tooks roids though, he seems to be the only clean one from this era for the time being.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I was on a brief hiatus of course because school started back but I had to make a post on this. Expect a editorial about this soon when I get the chance. I'm not surprised, but I see that commercial hip hop is getting worse with every passing day. Getting all of my hip hop information/music from the internet often causes me to be disconnected with the mainstream, but after seeing this I see I'm not missing much. There was D4L, Dem Franchise Boyz, DJ Unk, Soulja Boy (and a bunch of others that I can't remember) and now this crap. What exactly are record executives looking for in a artist nowadays on major labels? It's times like this that I appreciate Slaughterhouse even more. On a sidenote I also turned to 106 & Park at the end today and saw that "Pop Champagne" was the number one video. Funny, I thought that show catered towards young children and teenagers and you do have 21 to legally drink but whatever...
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Obviously, we all know what Tupac and Biggie were engaged in a personal beef, which also involved a hip hop battle. What Saigon and Joe Budden are engaging in currently might as well be the same thing, to a lesser extent. However, with the way that this beef originally started, it showed promise that it would remain on wax. (I still don't understand why Saigon is so mad at the "I hit and run like Saigon" line from Joe Budden when Saigon says that is exactly what he did but whatever). Budden took a shot at Saigon and he became infuriated, but instead of responding in a song, Saigon goes on record to say, for about a year straight, that he will beat Joe Budden up, slice his Adam's apple and a lot of other exciting things that grown men like to say each other when they have a conflict. Couldn't most of these senseless beefs (Joe v. Saigon, Joe v. Ransom, Saigon v. Prodigy) be solved by simply calling the individual first and/or reaching out to them to get their side of the story? I don't think there is anything wrong with Budden calling out Saigon this time after Sai kept barking for so long, in fact, I think he wants to battle Saigon, not beef with him. He even said he reached out to him to do a song last year.
A perfect (recent) example of a rap "battle" is T.I. vs Ludacris. Someone give these men a standing ovation because they went through proper procedures the entire times they were battling. These two rappers initially went at each other because they had a competitive spirit. They are two of the best in the game, and two of the best in the south, so they had reason to take a few lyrical jabs at each other. These jabs came subliminally for a while until they finally collabed on each others respective albums in 2008. They had a enough respect for each other that they kept it on wax (despite T.I. punching Luda's manager at one point), kept it competitive and eventually reconciled to make GOOD music.
The great thing about what T.I. and Ludacris did is, they resolved any problems they might have had by spitting bars. Afrika Bambaataa's vision for hip hop many moons ago was to get kids out of gangs, off the streets and have them release their frustrations artistically. What's greater than two man resolving their conflicts by coming face to face to talk about their disagreements by rhyming words? I couldn't think of a more ingenious way to go about it. Unfortunately, the rappers of today seem to have forgetten that, YES, hip hop is just as much about battling as it is about being creative artistically but, NO, it is not about settling problems physically. If you plan on settling your problems with physical altercations your exploiting what the forefathers of hip hop had originally planned for it to be. With the release of Notorious today and Martin Luther King Jr. day being this Monday, we should be reminded more than ever that violence is never the answer. A beef can be resolved by a phone call, reaching out, a battle can be resolved by spitting bars.
I say all of this to say to Joe Budden and Saigon: Keep it on wax, make this an entertaining battle and hopefully one day, like Jay-Z and Nas or Luda and T.I., you guys can come together to make great music. You both are two of the best rappers out today, hands down, and this battle has the potential to be an epic one, if kept on a record.
"What's a battle? A battle is when two rappers settle a dispute with words. A battle is when two rappers might want to fight but keep it on wax despite the urge. A battle is better than beef, it's competitive and the end result should be peace." You can quote me on that...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
CHICAGO (CBS) ― Chicago police say they believe a shooting Friday night at a South Side high school that sent at least five male victims to the hospital was gang-related.
Police say the shots came from a vehicle that pulled up outside the building as a basketball game was getting out. Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis called the shootings at Paul Laurence Dunbar Vocational Career Academy "a tragedy."
"A girl started screaming, and then we just starting hearing shots," eyewitness Robert McCallum said. "I was the first one to jump, jump on the ground because they started shooting ... Everybody piled up on top of me. It was crazy."
Chicago police say they have 200 officers in the area looking for the shooters, but no one has been identified or arrested. Authorities say they believe the shooting is an "isolated incident" and that the neighborhood is not in danger.
Of the shooting victims, three were in serious condition and two were in critical condition. They were taken to area hospitals with gunshot wounds. A sixth female was injured in the rush to flee the bullets.
Authorities say video cameras at the school could help police in their investigation.
The game, against Hope High School, was in triple overtime when the shooting happened, according to CPS boys basketball coordinator Cyrus McGinnis, who said no players were injured in the shooting.
The shooting happened outside and everyone ran back into the gym to avoid injury, McGinnis said.
Thank God no one died, but when will this senseless violence stop? Below I blogged about how police officers will willingly kill a black man, but we are no better as we exhibit the same type of behavior with the ignorance of "black on black crime". This certainly was not the fault of any police officer. I can't help but wonder when we will wake up realize that the behavior these gangs promote and are apart of does nothing but hinder our growth as a people, community and nation...
Unless you've been living under a rock the past week you've heard about the despicable police brutality that Oscar Grant, a Oakland, CA resident, was a victim of on New Years Days. If you've never heard of this particular case until now, don't be ashamed because unfortunately, since I've been on my (well deserved) winter break from school I haven't been doing anything besides sitting on my ass and staying away from all things intellectual. I find it quite blasphemous to attempt to exert my energy towards "learning" when I have been forced to do for the past three months against my own will. Call it what you want, lazy, selfish, assholeish, stubborn, but this intellectual break is something that I feel I'm entitled to at this point in my life. In fact, the only news I've been concerned with the past few weeks is the news that Stuart Scott, Chris Berman and/or Stephen A. Smith reports. But that's besides the point. I apologize as I just lost my train of thought, allow me to forge myself back on track.
I have to extend major props to my homey Clif for helping educate me on this horrible occurence. Besides the fact that I have been to lazy to catch up on the latest news stories (can someone inform me on what's going on in Gaza?) I feel that I sometimes become immune to injustice in America, and that is something that I have to learn to steer clear of. My first initial reaction upon hearing a brief synopsis of this story was: "Wow, what a surprised. Another black man murdered by a white police officer." That my friends, is sad, I should never think that way, and neither should any of you. Oscar Grant was a innocent man, who along with his friends, may have been involved in an altercation of some sort prior to being encountered by the officers, but, he did not exhibit any action that was worthy of having a gun pulled on him and being shot to death.
Did he pull out a gun on the police officers? No. Did he violently resist arrest? No, not from my observation. So why did he get shot? Well, in my personal, humble, compeltely bias opinion based on my personal life experiences is that the life of a black man means nothing to a white cop. A black man, in most of their eyes, is worthless, violent and they feel as though they need to take violent measures to "tame" them as though they are animals. There is no doubt in my mind that these same police officers or any other white cop (or black cop for that matter) would have been more lenient towards a white man . Am I wrong? If am, I encourage you by all means to prove it. We tend to forget that we are only 40 years removed from the Civil Rights Era, and 30+ years removed from the Black Power Movement (and the Black Panthers were established in Oakland, what a coincidence). Which means, even though we have a black president, racism and many of the sick and twisted mindstates that were present during the 1960s and 70s are still alive in our society. Look at it like this, these police officers could very well be the children of racist and predujice parents who may have lived in the Oakland era during a time where racist were open about their intentions. I'm rambling a bit, but bare with me, because this is a topic that I am passionate about. There are just so many things that need to be "un-learned" in American society by both blacks and whites, I hope that this is another sign of that.
I titled this post "What's Next" because I wonder, what can be accomplished in times like this when you riot and destroy the very community in which you live in? I understand the anger and remorse they feel (or do I really?) but I can't help ponder what good this can do for the tragedy. In times such as this, it's always imporant to look at things from a historical perspective and correctly analyze moments in history when a group of people were faced with similiar circumstances and what they did to combat the problem.
I can't help but think that the Oakland police department knew very well the black/minority community would react with anger and proceed to riot. But what if, instead of rioting, we all mobilized and practiced a nonviolent protest similiar to that of Martin Luther King or Gandhi? While, I admire Malcolm X a lot, his methods of protesting and taking action were only relevant for the era he lived in. Martin Luther Kings method certainly worked during his lifetime and is very much needed for our generation. Even still, if that approach was taking, what happens next? The police officer is fired, the family possibly wins their lawsuit, but what's going to stop another cop from doing the same thing in the future. Because it's obvious that this has the possibility of happening again. We aren't that far removed from Sean Bell's incident people. There has to be some type of grass roots movement. We have to force the police departments to enforce stricter criteria when hiring officers and in minority communities it is absurd to think that it is acceptable to appoint a majority of white officers in those areas. Also, these officers need to be better trained how to handle situations such as these. There is no reason that cases such as these still happen throughout our "wonderful" country.
I say all of this for what though? My faith in the justice system is as low as its ever been and I don't see it improving soon. Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States and on November 4th 2008 I was as excited as any black person, but after all the hype died down I came back to my senses. He is just another politician and I've never trusted them. Sure, I hope he does great things in his presidency, I will be rooting for him, but I won't count on him or any other politician to handle what we as people (black, white, brown, yellow, etc) need to accomplish ourselves...
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" - MLK