Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jamestown's 400th "Celebration"...Roots Style

I love the Roots EVEN MORE for this moment in history:

Allow me to give you some background on this moment:

(From QuestLove's Myspace Blog)
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blog 99: Never Scared

the kudo-ians please.

so there comes a time in every man's life in which he is presented with a "man"/"mouse" situation.

i was presented with such a challenge.

normally on our home website


the roots get all types of messages with political agendas in em.

some we scoff at ("how come yall don't do more shows that cater to black people?!?!)
some we get caught with our hands in the cookie jar ("how the fuck yall doing (enter corporate sponsor name here) shows? what sense that make?!!?" my answer? "what the hell you doing giving them your money then?)
and some we take serious.

this was one of them.

i got this letter from our message boards about 6 hours before the show
Peace Qwestlove,

This is brother manifest, I am a brother who lives in Virginia, and I wasn't sure but figuring that you are a pretty astute brother I wanted to pick your brain on some things.

The show you all are doing in Richmond on Tomorrow is in commemoration of Jamestown's 400 year Anniversary. The situation is kinda of funny because the way it is being marketed is as a Fridays at Sunset concert (which it is) however it is ironically Free (which is dope) but the issue lies in the politics involved of why it is free, what it is commemorating, and most important the location.

Alright, well you know black people and indigenous people suffered greatly as a result of the imperialistic endeavor of the Jamestown colony which is the foundation of this country - the first Western Business and beginning of the exploitation of any non-white by Europeans in the North American soon to lead to United States, (we can speak on spain and its colonies in florida but they not cele ahem commemorating that)

Well since this 400 year anniversary of Jamestown has been promoted, it has been thoroughly though not suprisingly whitewashed that blacks and native americans (which if we read ivan van sertima's work, or talk to any moorish science temple brother is a synonomus concept) actually were exploited, enslaved and bred for resale and that genocide was the rule of the day post Jamestown. Not susprising because how does one in the Virginia Tourism / Richmond Region 2007 market that? hmmm....Lets talk to Johnson Marketing about that....

I work in the community and work as an event planner so I know that many marketing companies were contacted to get African American and "minority" involvement in the celebra...ahem commemoration of Jamestown. But Africans really could care less in most instances, and if they were hip were like that is some bullshit, I aint celebrating shit. This issue is even deeper because the VA legislation waited until the week before the offical jamestown celebration (May 13th, 2007) to offically recognized the native american tribes. They were threatening to protest the cele...ahem commemoration if they were not recognized...Urban Marketers were contacted and purses were put in the air for whoever could get black folks to get into celebrating jamestown.

Johnson Marketing linked with Richmond Region and got the money.

They are making the show free so it will be a maxed out turnout and the VA tourism people can say look all the black people are celebrating Jamestown. Which really they aren't they are happy to be seeing the ROOTS for free. VA tourism then uses these numbers as data to show African American involvement in the celebration. It might not mean shit, but then you gotta think of where they having it.

The spot is a dock (intermediate Terminal ) more than likely a dock where our ancestors were taken off of slaveships and walked to Shockoe Bottom and sold. Remember Richmond VA was at one time the leading exporter of slaves.

I hope this is a good (though I will admit a very long) explaination of how things are very interesting that Virginia has you all performing at a slave dock in honor of jamestown's anniversary which is simultaneously (though they wont talk about it) a commemoration of slavery and genocide.

Anyway, just wanted to put you on that. Some brothers and sisters will be wearing t-shirts to put people on notice about this stuff. If anybody on the board here wants to get a t-shirt holla at us via email The shirts are being sold at the cost of 15 bucks as a fundraiser for our event Happily Natural Day and for Camp Diva a african american female rites of passage program here in the city. Also we will be passing press releases and pushing the issue to folks. Hopefully we can get you and the band some t-shirts to wear as well.

Note: this aint in no way trying to say that the ROOTS shouldn't play or nothing like that, just want to get you all hip if you weren't hip to another perspective of the situation.

Stay blessed,

Brother Manifest


that morning in the shower i too wondered how that show woulda come off.
back in the days of recording Voodoo, d'angelo always told me about James River.
the body of water in which the slave ships would import the stolen africans and his belief of the spirits of evil lurking within those waters (at one point this was going to be the title of his 3rd album)---not that i had a clue i was going to perform at james river, but he told me that the history of slavery runs DEEP in richmond. with the same plantations and "feeling" still brewing throughout the city.

my concern was how were black folk and red state white folks gonna take to the very "blue state" sounding "masters of war" the bob dylan anti corrupt government song we have been covering in our shows.

i thought well perhaps i should make a speech or something.

and then this letter comes.

my manager thought it would be a PR disaster for us to partake in this celebration.

but i really didn't want to blow off a show that only happens once in a blue moon:

giving a free show to 12,000 people.

so we decided after voting that "we'd say something about it"

then we decided that right before "masters of war" to talk about it.

problem is....

THIS (myspace) is where i talk.

so it was like "wait....I have to talk about this? i drum!! i don't talk!!! what do i say?!!"

"talk from the heart ahmir"

i admit....i know how kanye felt during that whole "bush"/"black people" remark---

cause if you could just see that crowd:

there was a BIG ASS american flag behind us.

and of the 12,000 im sure only 2,000 really knew who we were.

last thing you want to do is shit in someone's backyard and not be prepared to
fight your way out.... matter how righteous the shit.

someone caught my lil speech on youtube and i decided to share it.

i was nervous as hell and yet the point was made.

Stand your ground. Have some balls.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just Thought I Would Share This...


That is NOT what I meant to say--but it felt good! LOL! I just wanted the fam to know that my heir-in-the-making is in great health (thank God). I was warned before the ultrasound exam that the baby may barely have an audible heartbeat. HA! Lil Genius had a drum solo going for our entertainment! I'm smiling, people!

My Obsessions (Rich Got Me Before the "Great Tagging Boycott" Began)

Okay, Goapele isn't my obsession--but she is SO FINE that I could write a song about it! Rich tagged me the other day before I knew about it so I will postpone the "Great Tagging Boycott" for now (and it shall be GREAT!!!). Rich, this one's for YOU! [imagine some reverb on that]

1. MUSIC: I cannot envision life without a theme song for every moment, a podcast for every mood, and a CD for every landmark in my life's terrain. My memory is tied to the music that touched me year to year, and my favorite childhood period was 1984-1993 because my generation was spawning some great music.

2. FAMILY: I am great because my family is powerful. A village raised me, and it's my time to add to its strength. God bless my child.

3. ART: A good artist's work is nearly musical in its effect and flow. Nuff respect to every graf artist who makes a sign/building/block/storefront/canvas transform into something that no one else could imagine. God bless to every poet who paints mood and heart touches with a pen/paper/keyboard.

4. WRITING: Words set me free years ago. I learned to read even as I learned to speak. Maintaining my freedom--my ability to be true to the man I am and to speak my peace--depends on my mind dropping words to page. I can't live without them.

5. BLOGGING: There is something so cool about reading your thoughts in your format. I may not agree with everything I hear (read), but I love the fact that I can hear your uncensored thought as you like it. Free speech makes me horny, baby!

Thank you for your time and attention.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tagging Is Unlawful In Ced-ovia

Rules are:
* Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged need to write posts in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
* At the end of your post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

Andrew, wonderful anus-like soul that he is, tagged me for a post that fits the rules above. Why not answer? Well, here goes my list:

1. I learned how to read at age 2.
2. My first sexual experience was at age 8.
3. Most of my friends are geniuses...and don't realize it.
4. Thinking women and poets make me horny. Jessica Care Moore, Suheir Hammad, and Toni Morrison, watch out!
5. I was a graffiti artist in my younger days and was often clowned for adding nature scenes to my work. Now, LRG and similar companies make millions from doing the same on their clothing/art.
6. My favorite song is Common's "THE LIGHT" (thanks to Bobby Caldwell's "OPEN YOUR EYES").
7. I'm shy.
8. My favorite food is Ethiopian--even though I can't remember how to pronounce my favorite dish whenever I walk into a restaurant.

I'm breaking the rules--no one will be tagged.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Porn and the Internet: What's Your Take?

GOOD Magazine: Internet Porn Transparency

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Ignore the lady's website information--this is NOT an advertisement for her page.

How do you feel about the prevalence of pornography on the Worldwide Web?

C. Delores Tucker hated it.

Her husband didn't.

What's your take?



Monday, May 14, 2007

Something About Mother's Day...

I remember a time when my mother could have sung this song to my father. Richard--the name of a king--spent most of his adult life showing himself an emotional pauper. His relationship with my mother deteriorated years ago to the point that she decided to think of him as a silly younger brother so that she could "keep from hurting him." Did he learn from the almost poetic sadness of Mom's decision? No, he did not. In fact, he continued to have horribly wrecked relationships (including a marriage that blessed me with Nicole and Nicholas aka "Twin Terrors"--my youngest brother and sister) until he died at the ripe old age of 38.

That was not a typo. My father ascended (or descended, if you know his life's uglier moments and feel the negatives outweighed the positives) from this Earth one month after his 38th birthday. He was a man who could make a grand and entertaining entrance to any affair, and his exit was no less shocking: a simultaneous heart attack and massive stroke killed him before he landed on the kitchen floor face-down and alone. The pain he felt at the onset of the two-fold life-robbing attack was etched on his face; my last sight of him was a picture of his suffering (Funerals don't count. There, you see the mortician's handiwork alone; your loved one is replaced by a re-creation of the former masked in cake makeup and massaged facial features.). He was gone, and I was left holding his memory and all the anger of his sudden departure.

Mother's Day was beautiful. Father's Day is ahead. My thoughts will pass. Hmm...then what?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Am Right Here

I am right here
No path away from you
Exists in my periphery
My ten toes are stapled
To the earth beneath us
Is that too temporary
For you?

Shake that feeling
Treat it as sand
On your beach towel
As you approach your car
I am right here
Gone nowhere
Still breathing the same air
As you

Still loving you

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Purposeful Pain

My back hurts
I know
It's my fault
I was greedy
I saw your nectar
Dripping with anticipation
Your eyes so narrow
That the Rising Sun
Shined from your lenses
Your lips parted
In an unspoken invitation
That told me volumes

Your thighs relaxed
Like worlds apart
And spread from Mars
To Jupiter
And didn't we soar?