Monday, December 22, 2008

The Return of Writing

Silence does a writer's mind little good when he silences himself.

I spent most of the last two months ( long) digging into the grey matter for a little realism. This writer needed to look hard and close at "the love," that part of every writer (real or fake...and you know what I mean) that feeds the curiosity about life and the world surrounding it and that nudges every scribe to put pen to paper or fingertip to keyboard. "The love" cares little about bills and insomnia and relationships and that movie that you waited four months to watch on Cinemax because you paid for it, by God! "The love"-- writing-- wants your devotion.

Writing is a Muay Thai boxer who wants your mind to tap out in the fight, to yield all control to the pen, to the CPU, to the poet's corner. Writing wants your absolute love and devotion. Writing wants your kids, baby! Dramatic, you think? Kill the messenger if you must, but writing is not something you do just for the sake of doing. This art is a love thang, an addiction, and a career all wrapped in C-4 explosive and critique. Explosive, exhaustive and exhausting, writing expects your best.

I failed to give my best to my writing in the past. There are places within me that I ducked, dodged, bobbed and weaved past for years that are determined to see the printed page, papyrus or Kindle. Excuses and fears are chained in a dungeon right now, Guantanamo Bay'd like political prisoners. Writing has won the battle at long last, and I accept defeat.

This defeated man has become the victor. Stay tuned, reader, because you and I are in for a wild ride together.

What I Need to Eat

I need some soul food
For my soul
Some soul food
For my soul
It keeps a body warm
In a world so cold

Economy's nastier than a 'walker on Halsted
Weather's crazier than a Bush in office
If my ride bounces wildly off just
I just might lose my GOD-GIVEN MIND!

I need some soul food
A little rhythm tonic
With a dash of funk and an 808
Something to slap me across my face
The only way I'll EVER take it

I need a slappin' track
And a lyricist spittin'
Fiyah 'pon Babylon
Heatmiser for ears
Seasoning for my thoughts
And a quick respite for my third eye

CD player's door is opening
About as hungry for some soul food
As its master is
Time to eat, baby
Don't bother me for about 45 minutes...
Time to eat!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Music, Good Music: Keelay & Zaire

This is what I love in hip hop: impressive, passionate lyricism riding on a smooth and hard-hitting groove. Keelay & Zaire seem to know their way around production and engineering, and their choice in rhymers to headline this dopeness, "The Times," speaks volumes. Blu, a reigning mic terror here in the West, is joined by Fortilive, a name new to this writer who stands a great chance of becoming a true school hip hop favorite. Much love to The Audacity of Dope for sharing this video.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lani, I Know You're Gonna Dig This!

The Grouch.

Bay Area rhyme artist/activist.


This is NOT a slam or slant against Jay-Z, Pharrell, or other rap artists. Live in California long enough, and you'll KNOW the personality types that this song covers.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And The Winner Is...

No contest.


WE won.

America won.

I wish I could write more, but tears are blurring the screen.

There, I can speak now.

I called my mother after the anchorman for ABC News waited 10 seconds before calling the election won--by Barack Obama. My mother, little woman full of love and power, spoke in tear-hushed tones, her tears striving against her normal poise and reserve. When she spoke these words, I wept:
I never thought it would happen--not in MY LIFETIME. I think about the marches, the hurt and pain...
Her tears fell hard as boulders rolling off alpine heights.

My mother was a young girl, a budding teenager, when Jim Crow still hung his hat in northern Louisiana. Despite criticism and hatred, ridicule and death threats, she stood her ground. She stood her ground with her peers who believed as she did... and despite her peers who were too afraid. When hate stroked the back of her neck and excuses whispered poison in her ear, she ignored that foul duo etched in faces pink with fear and rage, the faces of her White neighbors. She stood her ground when teachers told her that "her little group of troublemakers" were destined to die for "nothing."

"Nothing." My chance to be a productive part of this country--nothing. My opportunity to live wherever I could afford to live in my homeland--nothing. Thank God that "nothing" was just big enough of a dream to keep my mother and all of her fellow believers marching and sitting in and singing and learning law and teaching youth and feeding communities and... the list goes on. My mother still hesitates to tell the roughest stories, the hardest news, of those times in "the movement," and I try hard not to disrespect her need for silence in those moments. Tonight, my mother cried because her lessons to me about the equality of humanity and the hope of being American without a hyphen were a little bit closer to reality.

She didn't lie to me when she hoped aloud.

Some people will say that a Black man in the office of President will be vindication for the civil rights movement and for our ancestors who were once enslaved. Maybe, maybe not. I believe what my mother believes: I believe that America is my country and your country, too. The chance to do my personal best is all I have ever believed this country owes me. Standing tall, ten toes flat, is every American's right. My vote counted this time; my feet stood firm, toes spread and flat. Every citizen should have that testimony regardless of voting choice. A man with a great mind and strong spirit had the chance to run for the highest office in my country's government and won--fair and square.

Yes, I feel vindicated. A citizen had the chance to reach for greatness after preparing himself accordingly, and that citizen won his prize. Every American should feel some relief even for a single minute.

God bless America. God bless our President.

God bless our times.

Friday, October 31, 2008

When Hip Hop or Soul Annoys Me

When Hip Hop or Soul Annoys Me

Posted using ShareThis

Click that link, and enjoy the musical treat.

Is It?

Some people say that love is cheap these days. Is real love some easily-pawned capital, some weakness that makes good people into easy prey? Tell me your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Welcome to the 2008 Jim Crow Show: Voters Suffer from Federal Inaction

This story is featured on Current, a TV channel/website that features viewer-generated stories from around the globe. This story, featured on today's top listings on Current TV, denotes the Justice Department's investigation of ACORN, the poverty-class voter advocacy group that Fox News counts as, in anchor Brit Hume's words, "a striking example of liberal malfeasance and voter fraud." Read this story, and decide for yourself.

On the eve of the 2008 election, the Department leaks a FBI probe of ACORN but remains silent on widespread voter intimidation tactics.
Partisan considerations still appear to be contributing to the Department of Justice's actions when it comes to enforcing the nation's voting rights laws.

With Election Day less than two weeks away, proponents of more tightly regulating the voting process -- this time led by congressional Republicans -- have gotten their desired response from the nation's guardian of civil rights' laws: a FBI investigation into ACORN, the low-income advocacy coalition that registered 1.3 million new voters in 2008.

Last week, two FBI officials told reporters an ACORN investigation was underway, violating Department rules for disclosing information on cases that could impact an election. The Obama campaign's response was to ask the Attorney General to include that leak in a special prosecutors' investigation of the U.S. attorney firing scandal. No response to that request has been forthcoming.

But more disturbing to civil rights attorneys is the Department's silence on what voting rights lawyers say are myriad voter suppression tactics by partisans in the campaign's final weeks. These efforts include attempts by Republicans to disqualify legal voter registrations, unlawfully purge voters, threaten individual voters with polling place challenges, fabricate barriers to student voting and abuse prosecutorial authority by investigating 2008's early voters.

"Voter suppression is not new. But this year has brought heightened efforts to disenfranchise and intimidate voters," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, in a Wednesday press conference. "We've seen legal challenges to registered, valid voters in Ohio; Fear tactics threatening that mortgage foreclosures or unpaid bills will thwart your right to vote or may even result in arrest; and massive attempts to confuse voters through robo-calls, official looking web sites and e-mails. These are targeted and insidious attempts to suppress the vote, particularly in communities of color."

The Justice Department did not respond to requests to comment.

What is most striking about the voting rights lawyers' criticism of the Department is that the agency does not have to wait until Election Day to act. Under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, the Department can move to stop voter intimidation schemes without having to prove the motive behind those actions. This section of the law does not require the government show any intent by partisans to discriminate, the lawyers say. Instead, if the result is intimidation or suppression of minority voters, it can act.

"We really need the Justice Department to get out there and make a pronouncement, publicly, that voter intimidation and voter suppression will not be tolerated because it violates federal law," said Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center and a former Department Voting Section Chief. "We have asked the Attorney General to do this and thus far there has been a deafening silence."

"I think the Department's response to these issues, at best, is tepid, and at worst ignores what we think is a serious problem and their responsibility to address it," Henderson said. "The Department of Justice often argues that its jurisdiction is limited. But we think the interpretation that they have given to their jurisdiction is exceedingly narrow and it certainly ignores the larger responsibility to use the bully pulpit of the Attorney General to make clear that the Department will vigorously prosecute where possible, under federal law, any attempt to suppress the right of duly registered American citizens."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Taste the World--At SCRIBD

I love Scribd, the online resource for thousands of books and documents that anyone can use to host their work or printed ideas. Taste the world's ideas--and flavors--at Scribd.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Music: The Foreign Exchange

This album has been on constant repeat on every music device I own. Good music makes me happy!

The Foreign Exchange, featuring Muhsinah..."Daykeeper."

Virtual Obsession: Virtual "Divorcee" Goes Postal

Some stories speak for themselves. From
A 43-year-old Japanese piano teacher's sudden divorce from her online husband in a virtual game world made her so angry that she logged on and killed his digital persona, police said Thursday.

She used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game "Maple Story" to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo City said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

"I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

She was charged with illegal access onto a computer and manipulating electronic data, police said. If convicted, she could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

As in "Second Life" in the U.S., players in "Maple Story" raise and manipulate digital images called "avatars" that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.

The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

The woman was arrested Wednesday and was taken across the country, traveling 620 miles from her home in southern Miyazaki to be detained in Sappporo, where the man lives, the official said.

The police official said he did not know if she was married in the real world.

In recent years, virtual lives have had consequences in the real world. In August, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through "Second Life."

In Tokyo, police arrested a 16-year-old boy on charges of swindling virtual currency worth $360,000 in an interactive role playing game by manipulating another player's portfolio using a stolen ID and password.

Virtual games are popular in Japan, and "Second Life" has drawn a fair number of Japanese participants. They rank third by nationality among users, after Americans and Brazilians.

Take a walk, take a trip, take a vacation! When the online world is as real a place as the tangible, people who succumb to such delusions are in enormous danger of crossing the slim line between sanity and madness.

I hope this young man kept his home address secret.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So Tragic, You Have to Laugh

Wanda Sykes defines the state of affairs surrounding the current bailout package for the financial community far better than any MSNBC or Bloomberg TV analyst. That is the gift of comedy: speaking the ugliest, straightest truth in the funniest way possible.

Now could somebody tell me where MY bailout package is?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Little Groove to Move You

Nothing excites me and mellows me out like a nice groove, something that the hard-to-earn label "straight funk" fits like hand in glove. I fell in groove with this band nearly 18 years ago, and the good feeling lives on. Engage, enjoy, and immerse yourself in some good music--"live" from the Paradiso in Amsterdam, the Brand New Heavies.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Common: Taking Chances, Still Making Good Music

Common takes a different direction on his latest single, "Universal Mind Control."

The song is definitely meant for juke dancers and the b-boy set. Hip hop culture children will dig the strong tribute to Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," the classic b-boy jam that shook the world over 20 years ago and still stands as a must for any dj who wants to show true school appeal and old school love. The video, shot and directed by Hype Williams, also pays campy homage to the seminal German electropop group Kraftwerk, whose songs "Trans-Europe Express" and "Numbers" served as the sampled basis of Bambaataa's classic (Common's short profile poses in shirt and tie with big glasses are strongly similar to old Kraftwerk album covers).

Lyrical content is still important to Common (whew!), and "Universal Mind Control" covers a few--slightly--over Pharrell's space-age production. Listen closely; this is not Common's usual in-your-face-smoothly style. Instead, the Chicago rhymer intermingles thoughts on materialism in the music industry with his own Kanye West-like boasts on outfits, fly girls and Grand Maurnier. Thematically not what listeners have come to know and love in Common's music, this track may require a second or even third listen. Take the listen; it is good music.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Debate a/k/a They Paid the Ref!

This one is making my fists itch.

God help me, McCain is starting to tick me off.

Brokaw is playing the dirty referee position like a criminal pro.

I CAN'T WAIT to vote this year!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Everyone Needs a Song...Sometimes...

This is a little love-shout to every woman who is feeling the pinch of a crazy economy, relationship problems, backaches, or anything else that's messing with your brain and heart right now. This is a fist in the air for every man who is sick and tired of being sick and tired right now; substitute "man" for every "woman" and "girl" reference. God bless from the West to all.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Do-good Moment, A Lifetime Effect

I wrote a letter to the President when I was a little man-in-training--a letter that never left home. That undelivered letter called for peace, for cheaper gas prices--because the grown folks complained constantly about gas prices--and for better funding to schools and libraries. Why didn't I send that letter? I thought that no one in Washington, DC, would care about a little boy's thoughts.

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Li'l New Boy is A New Man. The funny thing is that I could write that very letter today just as easily--and with the same relevance. I wonder if that letter could have been a catalyst for a shift in the way politicians do business with tax receipts and federal budgets. Small gestures can create huge change not unlike pebbles cast in ponds, slicing ripples in the current, dicing movement through stillness. Mahatma Gandhi once said that we "must be the change [we] want to see in the world." Good advice, I believe.

Know what's great about doing something good? The ripple effect can affect much more than hope inspired. A little lady refused to give up her seat on a bus once, and the ripple effect of that single action--the unplanned side effect--is that young men and women of every background have a legitimate and lawful claim for equal rights and protection of those rights in a litany of unrelated yet equally important causes and concerns.

Little things still mean something special.

So...what's good? Think on it, and try what comes to heart. It just might make your day go a little better.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Musical Present for Real Music Lovers

Good morning, and welcome to good music. Enjoy a little concert from Eric Roberson & The Smoke Signals. Who says Monday has to be a bad day?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For My Writers: The Truth Hurts--Until It Heals

Scott Berkun toppled a much-abused lie that I have told myself more than once in my time, a lie that cripples the hopes of many would-be writers and scholars on this planet--writer's block. In case you've never read his blog, enjoy this quick blessing:
I promise you, the first draft of Strunk and White didn’t follow Strunk and White. The secret, if you can’t start, is to begin without constraints. Deliberately write badly, but write.

For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Anyone who wrote yesterday can write today, it’s just a question of if they can do it to their own satisfaction. It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s fear of not writing well; something quite different. Certainly every writer has moments of paralysis, but the way out is to properly frame what’s going on, and writer’s block, as commonly misunderstood, is a red herring.

Simple and razor-sharp, isn't it? Let every dreamer who feels fearful when the pen or pencil tip touches paper or when the cursor blinks longingly from the computer screen drop his or her fear in the nearest wastebasket--and WRITE.

Get to it! Time's a-wastin'!

**Image courtesy of JPG Photography

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This Is NOT My Cat!

But she would do this...

Shout out to Chaos Harris aka My Little Spastic Girl...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How Can I Forget...If I Remember?

I remember waking on September 11, 2001, to a phone call and the thought that my television was playing the oddest disaster film in the history of American film. Wait-- the "film" sported the CNN logo.

A nightmare tapped my shoulder and informed me that he and I would be too close for comfort for many moons to come.

The phone call made the nightmare giggle. My then-wife, who will forever bear the symbol "*"--the same figure that statisticians place beside questionable listed records...and for good reason, spouted a full paragraph in one long sentence:
Are you okay I thought you were dead since CNN said that your command was hit and I didn't know what to think and WHY didn't you answer the phone the first time--that's beside the point--how are you?
She always had a knack for a surprising wakeup.

I assured her in my "the insomniac just finished a night watch, mama" deep bass voice that I was alive and well. Did I hear disappointment? Mmmm...

I woke to the second jet's strike to a tower, and CNN faithfully replayed both towers' destruction over and over again for hours and hours and hours more. Friends lost family members in a 21st-century photo op; friends prayed that the bodies falling and leaping to a sharply vertical certain death were NOT their family members. Tears failed tired eyes, and depression held the well-oiled machine of naval military locked to a shuddering halt. Each sailor and soldier on that base knew that America would thirst vengeance, just as many of us did, and that we would be mobilized in one task or another to fight whatever threat dared to sucker-punch the US of A.

The threat was named Osama bin-Laden.

The threat was named Saddam Hussein.

The threat was named personal liberty in America.

The threat was named the Constitution of the United States of America.

The threat became my country's horribly-led political system. Seven years later, one threat is still in the wind, another is dead; one feels dead until I write, vote, and speak what I think; and the last is still digging its hooks into the parchment that declares the duties and lists the blood-guaranteed rights of Americans. Someone lied and played on our innate humanity to convince my countrymen and me that destroying an enemy requires destroying our humanity and our good sense. Sad.

Let's see how the next seven years play out. I hope that I see real change the next few years. If not, a passport is going to get a brand-new stamp...for good.

As the Panthers used to say, "Heads up, eyes open; fists clenched."

Image reference:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Qualifications Required: Class, Substance, and a Nice Left Hook

The shadowboxing session is officially over, and the fight is ON. Thanks to software issues, I missed most of the video from the Democratic National Convention, including this wonderful memory on video. Push for the top, Obama. I feel happy to vote again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Common ft. Pharrell: ANNOUNCEMENT (Reupped and Playing)

I know what my man Rich is thinking right about now: I stop by your spot sometimes and see nothing new, and then you suddenly have 50 MILLION posts!


Common's INVINCIBLE SUMMER project has not received an effective release date, but new tracks and videos are showing up on every decent music site and blog. This Little X-directed collaboration with Pharrell, "Announcement," premiered on Okayplayer today. Enjoy, and I THINK I am done with blogging for the day.

By the way, the chocolate lady who gets in the "Lincoln" with Com--MAAAAAAAN! High-five for Jesus...

We Still Have a Duty

During the last local election here in San Diego, I broke the cardinal rule of the Harris-Wilson-Maine-Morgan family:
Vote, lest ye deny your duty.
Sadly, I had little choice; EACH of the candidates for city government posts placed a brother's "spidey-sense" on high-alert vibrate. How sad this truth is, and how shameful it leaves me even now, that I felt powerless to choose someone who could best lead this city. Voting, at its very kernel, is meant to EMPOWER people, yet I felt civilly limp, impotent, and Viagra-less. That feeling was worse than any childhood nightmare.

I pray that I never feel that way ever again. The current President of the United States was able to get into power a second time thanks to voter apathy and a purchased vote, and the nation has been living with the constant abuse of our collective hope and intelligence since the first day of his second administration. Election time is coming 'round again soon, and I pray that the candidates who follow "Tricky Dubby" show more poise and civil respect than Bush has during his entire presidency. I am non-partisan, but I support Barack Obama for president because I feel he is what he displays. I don't agree with his every policy position, but I see a man who understands the need to renew the soil of American hope and and to restore global confidence in the United States again.

In the only words Jesse Jackson speaks that actually stand for something, "keep hope alive."

The opinions expressed on this blog are just that--opinions--and are the sole proprietary thought of the writer. If you happen to agree, please accept a soul shake; if not, so what?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome Back to the Soul in Music

Raphael Saadiq is back, and he brought his A-game in a smooth way. His new project brings fond memories of the first time I heard Tony Toni Tone's SONS OF SOUL album, with its beautiful gritty/smooth mixture of classic soul sounds that haunted and moved the course of my love life for a few years. This new CD, THE WAY I SEE IT, promises to be a step in the right direction for every listener who loves REAL music, true love songs, and musicality that sets quite a high scale for the music industry today. Thanks to my lil-piece-o'-musical-paradise-online, Okayplayer, you can enjoy four tracks from the project AND this cool new video. Enjoy, and dance close to someone you love if you can.

Mmmmm...Sweeeeeeeeeet? Where's my lady love? Come here and dance with your man!

Another Knowles Experience?

I will not compare Beyonce to Solange; talent stands on its own. Beyonce's style grew on me, due in no small part to the fact that she's built like a Commodores song and that she sounds like a force of nature. Her talented sister Solange is growing on me, too. Listening to Solange's new project, SOL-ANGEL AND THE HADLEY STREET DREAMS is akin to taking a tour through a museum of sounds. Touting SICK vocal range (turns out Beyonce ain't the only killa in the family), Solange's sophomore CD may take a patient listen on some tracks, but it will grow on you. She mines great sound fields--Shuggie Otis, Diana Ross, TSOP, and other legendary influences--to make a surprisingly unique and impressive project. Just don't try to figure out the choreography/song combinations as you watch her live...

Check out her performance of her new vibe, "Sandcastle Disco," on David Letterman's show. Enjoy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Look What a Polite Request Can Get Ya!

Before I begin this post, let me say something for the transgender people in San Diego: pay your plastic surgeons well if you want to look like your fantasy image of yourself, and don't get mad if I call you by your OBVIOUS gender's title of respect. I don't care if you have enough silicone to fill an E cup; that Adam's apple is too easy to notice, bruh. Man, when did Starbucks become Drag City?! Thank God that my wife is sitting here to remind me to keep my mouth shut.

But I digress...

Okayplayer laced my eyes and ears with some recent footage of a surprise weekend Erykah Badu performance in Dallas. Lady Badu's "Tyrone" is a favorite of rock/psychedelic soul/country/a ton of other music group My Morning Jacket (I don't make the names, I just report them), so much of a favorite that the group covered the tune on their recent project (click here to listen) and respectfully requested Sistah Badu's presence at the Dallas show to put some stankonia on the track. According to the Okayplayer story, Badu initially opted not to show, but the band and the fans got a great surprise when she strutted onstage just as the fellows started their version of the song.

Who says politeness is never rewarded anymore? Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


OKayplayer featured this video, which debuted on Pitchfork, in the Music section of Okayblog recently. Toronto has some of the dopest, most imaginative, and most musically eclectic artists in hip hop (shout out to Kardinal Offishall and K-os...and Saukrates) and some of the strongest b-boys and b-girls on the planet. This young man Shad gets love from America for the concept video and forgiveness for the subject matter. Enjoy, and pay close attention to the "credits" throughout the feature (lol).

Andre 3000 to the Rescue (Or, How a Hip Hop Artist Turns an Okay Song into a Prize-winner)

DISCLAIMER: That was a long title. Blame the length and the sarcastic overtone on my personal belief that the music industry in America and much of Europe owes its very survival to hip hop.

"Rhymin' is more like coal-minin'"-- Mos Def .

This is a John Legend song, a John Legend-penned lyric over a John Legend-written track, but Andre 3000 set it off like a movie about some sistahs who robbed a bank. Share your thoughts, and feel free to disagree.

I have to say, the freestyle that Andre spits is the highlight for me! Now, would someone please explain the bike?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Get Close to Music History: Public Enemy

Welcome to the new edition of an old hip hop vision. Pitchfork TV has posted a three-part documentary that covers the seminal years of one of my favorite group of artists, Public Enemy. Though this documentary focuses mainly on Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" album, it covers an incredible amount of history and explains the processes and mindset that forged a sound that blew the every sonic limit set on music off the map. As detailed as this story is, it flows quickly and smoothly. Enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts.

I almost forgot: Peace and love to the city of Chicago (my favorite city) and Pitchfork for hosting what I'm told was a great music festival.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For My "Diamond Girl"

Ryan Leslie is a talented fellow. I know very little about him, but a few Youtube performances show that he has a knack for live music and Sammy Davis-homage performances. Featured here is the video for a nice little ditty dubbed "Diamond Girl," a tune that definitely knocks in the truck. Listen, enjoy, and tell me how you feel about it.

New Music: Rhymefest's STOLEN

Perhaps you should read the preceding post FIRST. I posted this video because the imagery and the message stunned me, prompting me to write the missive in the last post. Watch, listen, and please leave your thoughts.

Reasons Why I Am Thankful (Inspired by CapCity)

All of my limbs are fully functioning.
My slightly overweight body is still strong, agile, and [somewhat] flexible.
My knuckles are not disfigured from fighting for my life.
My mind may feel sugar-riddled at times, but I have full use of my faculties.
I know the difference between caring and tolerance.
I love and am loved.
I know that God exists, loves me, and holds my every need and concern close to His heart.
I have family.
I have friends.
I have the beautiful ability to combine the two.
I can love one woman, two cats, and the man God makes of me--and I still have love to spare.
I have a habit of telling the truth.
I stopped lying to my soul, and it appreciates the respect.
I have never been poor.
I know the difference between "broke" and "poor" is love and the heart's condition.
My mind can develop more than "I" statements.
Selfishness and I officially divorced this year, and I was wise enough to let her keep our children, Anger and Depression.
The Middle Passage was only a stop along Time's journey for some of my ancestors.
Ignorance does not like me very much; I never leave him room at my table.
I am not afraid of my neighbor.

*Picture: Screenshot of Rhymefest's "STOLEN" video, which will be featured in the next blog posting.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

And Now...Prepare for the End

Whoa! This is not some apocalyptic notice of doom and gloom, true believer, so keep your happy face shining. The Olympic ceremony, incredible as it was [the sky-runner lighting the torch blew my mind], reminded me that summer is nearly over. Even SoCal, where the rain is [normally] scarce in the summer months, enjoys the prettiest sunrises and sunsets in the summertime. In tribute to the seasons' changing, I present to you my favorite ode to summer gladness and madness, Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince performing "SUMMERTIME." Enjoy it, and cherish every remaining day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ecoutez et parlez--Or, How to Relearn French After a Nine-Year Hiatus

I am revisiting [struggling to remember] conversational French since I haven't had a conversation en francais in nearly nine years. I owe much respect, love, and appreciation to ma professeur Mme. Ford, the Cajun high school teacher who managed to teach how to "listen humanly to speak naturally": listening to the words, the cadence, the pauses, and the accents as you watch the gestures and facial expression. It worked; I confidently had conversations with native French and Canadian (Vive la Quebec!) speakers with ease--until I stopped maintaining my newfound talent.

The desire to resume my bilingual days (the only "bi" I will EVER be) has led me to French websites, free online language classes, and a renewed interest in French music. Jazz and hip hop have long benefited from the wit, musical textures, and smooth-as-silk flow of French musicians, singers, and rhyme artists. Guru of GangStarr fame introduced me to French hip hop in the early Nineties with a collaboration (the first of many) with French MC Solaar on the first installment of the JAZZMATAZZ music series, a series of projects that included some masterful joinings of classic and new jazz artists with fresh new (and now legendary) acts from the world of hip hop. The circle remains unbroken: I am once again learning how to speak a beautiful language and finding equally beautiful music. Enjoy Hocus Pocus.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Tension Is Building--Something's Got to Give

Tough as times may be right now, do not allow the pressure cooker of stresses, strains, and inflation to push you past your limit. Some of us are feeling the effects of recession like a vice grip closing on our heads even as others of us are more comfortable yet no less concerned, but the bottom line is that we are all in this together.

Now more than ever, simple human kindness and some good manners can go a long way. People are angry over food and gas prices, tricky politics, unwanted war that is constantly claiming our sons' and daughters' lives, and much, much more. Can you think of a better time to show some simple kindness to your neighbor, some love to your friends and your friends' friends?

Do not let the tensions of trying times and governmental absurdity kill your God-given humanity. Something has to give; God never allows us to endure more than we can handle. Peace and blessings from San Diego, CA, go across the nation to you and yours.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New (Old) Music Monday: Kim Burrell x Walter Hawkins

Solomon, the man listed in the Bible as the world's wisest man, wrote in Lamentations that "time and chance happen to all" of us on this beautiful planet Earth--and my life has shown it. Name a catastrophe, tragedy, conflict, problem, attack, threat, or fear at random, and I will easily raise my hand like a schoolchild roughly 95 percent of the time to announce, as Dr. Dre would say, "Been there, done that."

Am I alone? Hardly. Each of us has a list tucked away in mind, a list that carries memories of near misses and impossible escapes, of crippling sickness and miraculous recovery, of troubling hurts and remarkable forgiveness. Life AIN'T always easy (Mom, don't beat me), but doesn't if feel great to live it? Monday is the day when I feel ready to skip sunrise, sleep late (if I can sleep at all) and pretend that the world will stop for my laziness, but my thoughts have no effect on nature and how God makes it work.

The weekend had some scary moments, but my family survived and are alive and whole. My mother's mother is still here despite her memory's fight to leave her. My brother and his family are in one of the hottest places on this side of the globe and managing to keep cool, safe, and fit like personal trainers. My wife still loves even the ugliest parts of me, and I still love the way her everything sounds, feels, looks, and smells. Life is full of the unexpected, but none of life's woes can top the good things in my life.

Be grateful for your good things. Why don't you take a moment to share a few right here? I would love to hear them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Music! God, I Love Mondays!

Welcome to NEW MUSIC MONDAYS, a chance to start the day with a smile and a new song to hum as you ignore the "Monday mornin' blues" that made you hit the snooze button about 15 times before you got your blessed booty outta bed!

Now, Mondays ARE NOT my favorite, but I am digging this brother's work! Sho Baraka is better than I expected. Much love to Rapzilla for blessing my ears with this track. Hip hop as it should be--holy--is what I found there. Enjoy, and reach for a higher love...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Now...For Your Immediate Entertainment

Nuff respect to the Arkitect, The Master Blaster Grandmaster Afrika Bambataa, universal leader of the Zulu Nation. Hip hop is a culture of thinking heads, potent lyrics, groundbreaking artwork, and body-moving music. Bam is among the legends of the culture who started a phenomenon from the heart of one of the roughest, most crime-ridden areas on this hemisphere. Shouts to the San Diego chapter of Zulu Nation, my man 40-grand DJ Norm Rockwell, and Access Music.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Music:The Newest Fix

Nuff respect to Kanye West and Okayplayer for providing a visual for one of my favorite mixtape cuts of the year! Bentley Farnsworth's upcoming CD (whenEVER it drops) is at the bottom of my list of "must-haves," but this single--"EVERYBODY"--is a pretty strong contender for "knock-worthy beat #1" on my next cd burn. Enjoy, and let me know if it moves your BACK-ground.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Form, Culture: Graffiti x Hip Hop

I enjoyed this mini-documentary on Martha Cooper, photographer and hip hop lover, from Current, a cable network/Internet television station that is comprised largely of viewer-created video--great work comprised of much better quality than most Youtube segments. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Watch for the Hook

I was once called racist for stating that the greatest benefactors of the fight for civil rights for every US citizen and affirmative action were foreigners and Caucasian women. Well, census data confirmed the thought three (count it off 1-2-3!!!) times within the last 20 years. Walking through blogs that inspire me (or, at least, inflame me), I noticed this post at The Root. I grew up in northern Louisiana, a place that has a long and storied history of racism and color-struck mentality, and have an INCREDIBLY thick emotional skin, but I have my limit.

This artist reached my limit.

Controversy sells in media-minded America, but respect and dignity still remain chief among human qualities. Keith Adkins, the blog contributor who posted the story, spoke volumes with his feeling that "non-Black artists have a heyday playing around in Black...[and] like to get down and dirty and obscene when it comes to how they examine this country (or media's) interpretation of Black culture and how its marganilized and dehumanized; [we're] always fair game for something."

Have some character for Christmas, Yazmany Arboleda. Brown and black are more closely related than some historians want to admit despite medical and anthropological evidence that opposes their politics. Skeeting on your cousin to make your neighbor laugh and pay you is one mile down the road from genocide. Social critique isn't posting a gigantic likeness of a Black man's penis next to a presidential candidate's likeness; disrespect is. Thanks to this artist, my worst nightmare has come to life: I agreed with an federal agency's decision to shut down an artist's speech.

Thanks, Yazmany. Much obliged.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A PSA for Thinking Folk in America

Tomorrow is an important day in American history: Juneteenth. History, the story of civilization's greatest successes and most massive failures, tends to be circular. We cannot forget our history, America, or we will repeat our ancestors' mistakes.

Thinking for yourself and remembering lessons of the past is free. Not doing so is failure in the making.

Now playing: Donny Hathaway - What's Going On [Live]
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jonzin' for New Music

I read recently that Virgin Records is releasing a "Greatest So Far" collection for D'angelo. I hope that doesn't mean that the new CD he was slated to release this year hasn't gone away...

Groove and enjoy, people.

Now playing: Common - Southside ft. Kanye West
via FoxyTunes

Friday, June 6, 2008

...And Her Name Means "Hope"

I'm a sucker for young artists who have old-school music leanings. Esperanza Spalding is a new name for me, but I predict that I'll listen to her for a lifetime. Thanks to Okayplayer for giving me a fresh dose of new sound.


Hope, lyrics, and freedom: three forces of nature. This is Rhymefest. Listen to great lyricism and social commentary in one compelling piece.

Monday, June 2, 2008

T.R.O.Y. = Thoughts Remain Of You (Positively)

This is a moment of respect and love for the loved ones who are no longer here and the people who removed their presences from my life for their many reasons. A piece of me mourns lost friendship in much the same way that I face the passing of family and friends-- but this is no sad minute. People leave when they need to leave for all their varied and needful reasons. God bless us, one and all. Face life with strength; be courageous in living your dreams. Be.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Civil Rights PSA for Americans

If we aren't carefully and actively continuing the fight to hold the rights our ancestors fought to provide us, then we may be looking at an America reminiscent of the days before the Civil Rights movement. Consider the fact that the sister pictured on the left margin is officially disenfranchised in her home state, Mississippi. Read and think on it.

From the NEW YORK TIMES Online:

Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship

Published: May 12, 2008
The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote. The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card.

Sponsors of the amendment — which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum — say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

Voting experts say the Missouri amendment represents the next logical step for those who have supported stronger voter ID requirements and the next battleground in how elections are conducted. Similar measures requiring proof of citizenship are being considered in at least 19 state legislatures. Bills in Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina have strong support. But only in Missouri does the requirement have a chance of taking effect before the presidential election.

In Arizona, the only state that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, more than 38,000 voter registration applications have been thrown out since the state adopted its measure in 2004. That number was included in election data obtained through a lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates and provided to The New York Times. More than 70 percent of those registrations came from people who stated under oath that they were born in the United States, the data showed.

Already, 25 states, including Missouri, require some form of identification at the polls. Seven of those states require or can request photo ID. More states may soon decide to require photo ID now that the Supreme Court has upheld the practice. Democrats have already criticized these requirements as implicitly intended to keep lower-income voters from the polls, and are likely to fight even more fiercely now that the requirements are expanding to include immigration status.

“Three forces are converging on the issue: security, immigration and election verification,” said Dr. Robert A. Pastor, co-director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University in Washington. This convergence, he said, partly explains why such measures are likely to become more popular and why they will make election administration, which is already a highly partisan issue, even more heated and litigious.

The Missouri secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who opposes the measure, estimated that it could disenfranchise up to 240,000 registered voters who would be unable to prove their citizenship.

In most of the states that require identification, voters can use utility bills, paychecks, driver’s licenses or student or military ID cards to prove their identity. In the Democratic primary election last week in Indiana, several nuns were denied ballots because they lacked the required photo IDs.

Measures requiring proof of citizenship raise the bar higher because they offer fewer options for documentation. In most cases, aspiring voters would have to produce an original birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport. Arizona and Missouri, along with some other states, now show whether a driver is a citizen on the face of a driver’s license, and within a few years all states will be required by the federal government to restrict licenses to legal residents.

Critics say that when this level of documentation is applied to voting, it becomes more difficult for the poor, disabled, elderly and minorities to participate in the political process.

“Everyone has been focusing on voter ID laws generally, but the most pernicious measures and the ones that really promise to prevent the most eligible voters from voting is what we see in Arizona and now in Missouri,” said Jon Greenbaum, a former voting rights official at the Department of Justice and now the director of the voting rights project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a liberal advocacy group.

Aside from its immediacy, the action by Missouri is important because it has been a crucial swing state in recent presidential elections, with outcomes often decided by a razor-thin margin.

Supporters of the measures cite growing concerns that illegal immigrants will try to vote. They say proof of citizenship measures are an important way to improve the accuracy of registration rolls and the overall voter confidence in the process.

State Representative Stanley Cox, a Republican from Sedalia and the sponsor of the amendment, said that the Missouri Constitution already required voters to be citizens and that his amendment was simply meant to better enforce that requirement.

“The requirements we have right now are totally inadequate,” Mr. Cox said. “You can present a utility bill, and that doesn’t prove anything. I could sit here with my nice photocopier and create a thousand utility bills with different names on them.”

From October 2002 to September 2005, the Justice Department indicted 40 voters for registration fraud or illegal voting, 21 of whom were noncitizens, according to department records.

In 2006, the Missouri legislature passed a photo identification bill that the State Supreme Court later ruled unconstitutional because it placed too much of a burden on voters. It was that ruling that has spurred state lawmakers to try to change the constitution.

The proposed amendment does not require the signature of the governor but would need to be approved by the voters in the state’s August primary in the governor’s race to take effect before the presidential election.

If passed this week, the amendment clears the way for a pending bill that would require some kind of identification in order to prove citizenship and to register to vote. But many questions about the bill — like whether current registered voters will have to obtain a new form of identification — have not been resolved.

Lillie Lewis, a voter who lives in St. Louis and spoke at a news conference last week organized to oppose the amendment, said she already had a difficult time trying to get a photo ID from the state, which asked her for a birth certificate. Ms. Lewis, who was born in Mississippi and said she was 78 years old, said officials of that state sent her a letter stating that they had no record of her birth.

“That’s downright wrong,” Ms. Lewis said. “I have voted in almost all of the presidential races going back I can’t remember how long, but if they tell me I need a passport or birth certificate that’ll be the end of that.”

A 2006 federal rule intended to keep illegal immigrants from receiving Medicaid was widely criticized by state officials for shutting out tens of thousands of United States citizens who were unable to find birth certificates or other documents proving their citizenship.

Supporters of citizenship requirements, however, say the threat of voting by illegal immigrants is real. Thor Hearne, a lawyer for the American Center for Voting Rights, a conservative advocacy group, cited a California congressional race in 1996 in which a Republican, Bob Dornan, was narrowly defeated. Mr. Dornan contested the results, claiming that illegal immigrants had voted.

After a 14-month investigation by state, county and federal officials, a panel concluded that up to 624 noncitizens may have registered to vote. The report came to no firm determination of whether any of those people had actually voted.

Mr. Hearne said the requirement would not pose a significant hardship on voters.

“There were a lot of the same alarmist charges regarding Indiana voter ID law and how it would disenfranchise so many people,” Mr. Hearne said, “and those allegations were not accepted by the Supreme Court.” He added that if states actively provided a free form of identification proving citizenship, the number of people who would be disenfranchised would be very low.

“To those who have spent great energy opposing some of the voter registration or voter identification requirements, I would say their energy would be much better spent working toward trying to provide identifications to those who need them or assisting these people with getting registered,” Mr. Hearne said.

But organizations working in Arizona say they are doing just that and running into problems.

“The requirement is having a devastating effect on our voter registration work in Latino communities because so many citizens simply don’t have a passport or original birth certificate,” said Michael Slater, deputy director of Project Vote, a liberal advocacy group that is working with Acorn, a national organizing group, to sign up new voters in Arizona.

But Arizona officials say the measure is broadly popular in the state

“The voters of Arizona feel strongly about proof of citizenship when registering to vote as a basic eligibility requirement,” said the secretary of state, Jan Brewer, a Republican, testifying before Congress in March.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

DISCLAIMER: Neither the story feature, its included image, or the facts represented are the creation of A NEW MAN. Links have been provided for the original NEW YORK TIMES website printing. The sharing of this story feature and article are in accordance with current copyright law as no profit or money exchange has resulted or will result from the placement of the included links on this website.

Now playing: - Conversation with Daru & Rena
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The Roots make me happy musically. In a world of cookie-cutter, play-by-numbers rhymers and cut-and-paste sample-heavy "producers" (no more hyphens-- I PROMISE), the Roots are master musicians fronted by a LY-RI-CIST (oops... my bad) named Black Thought, musicians who grab every conceivable sound in their aural space and create something new and simultaneously old every time they enter a studio. God, they keep me hopeful about the state of hip hop. Enjoy something new from their upcoming project, RISING DOWN, due to hit shelves April 29, 2008. As the young cats say now, "Jig, kid."

Now playing: - Conversation with Daru & Rena
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Opinion is Worth NOTHING (Black Man Thought)

Writer's block is the devil.

America's media has pulled off the impossible heist: TV and the internet have stolen my attention span.

I dreamed of moving from SoCal to the Midwest to AVOID earthquakes. Who knew that the New Madrid fault was so crazy? Illinois, God bless you.

Porn, CNN, and government-agency involvement in illegal drug use and distribution: Ruining American hope has never been easier.

Obama and Hillary want the "don't ask/don't tell" policy removed from US armed forces' rules of conduct. WHO CARES? Trust me: there are no secrets in the military. Keeping the career and the personal separate is a must for both the hetero and the homo.

"Politically Correct" is an old White man's way of saying that he's afraid to speak his mind.

Silly Black women in San Diego: Southern brothers still open doors for you EVEN WHEN YOUR ATTITUDES ARE RETARDED. Thank God that good sisters still run ting, bwoi!

Single men, if you disrespect me with your tales of young lust with single women, I'll tell you about my adventures with my lady. Dude, don't blame me when you learn that your sex life can't hold water to mine. Marriage is GOOD, playa!

Sexy is a husband and wife team raising a future leader of the free world. Hot to def is seeing the Black version.

A man asked me why I rarely find Caucasian women attractive. I told him that they live up to their stereotypes too often and dream of mine even more. His wife smiled.

Just my thoughts...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Hope Has not Faded

I wanted to talk about this speech and my thoughts on it, but I AM STILL AWESTRUCK. My cynicism about political candidates has taken a backseat to my hope for the first time in 17 voting years. I am looking forward to watching this presidential hopeful's inauguration.

Words still mean something. They can change hearts today as easily as God used them to create the universe. I refuse to give away my hope. My hope is not for sale, for lease, or for rent. I apply it as I deem its placement proper and just. My hope today is that this author/parent/senator/speaker/speechwriter will one day serve as leader of my nation. I support Barack Obama for President.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Pun a Day... from My Friend Martha

BUY THIS BOOK ======>>>>>

A Pun A Day, makes the rain go away...

1. Energizer Bunny arrested. Charged with battery.
2. A man's home is his castle. In a manor of speaking.
3. A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.
4. My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's just kiln time.
5. Dijon vu. The same mustard as before.
6. Practice safe eating. Always use condiments.
7. A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.
8. Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.
9. I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.
10. A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
11. A hangover is the wrath of grapes
12. Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?
13. Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
14. Banning the bra was a big flop.
15. Sea captains don't like crew cuts.
16. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
17. A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.
18. A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.
19. Without geometry, life is pointless.
20. When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
21. Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
22. Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.
23. When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Scenes from a Moving Picture

Happy Thursday.

You're only a day away from Friday, working world.

Enjoy something beautiful in this oft-ugly world.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 10, 2008

Settling the Questions

In case you had any remaining doubts about Barack Obama's ethnicity, please examine Exhibit A:

WHERE I'M FROM, a Black man gets his point across in just this sort of way. For a split second, I thought I was walking through downtown AnyCity, listening to a brotha gettin' SOMEBODY told. Dig that.

I understand that Americans love a good brawl, a tense drama, and a hero/heroine who stands on ten toes firmly planted on the pavement. My countrymen love a good show and a better comeuppance. Think about it: a group of rich men have managed continuously to start/participate in over 200 major revenue-building "conflicts" in just a 20-year span, and those scoundrels managed to convince an easily-sated public that each loss of life and waste of tax money was "the right thing to do...for the country and for democracy." When the media's anesthetic barrage of images and pundit-talk begins to wear off the American public, these same men pay for new advertising and "news shows" that spit the same lies in a brand-new wrapper all over again. It works every single time.

Obama is no idiot; Clinton & Co. simultaneously salted on his campaign and gave him an "attaboy"-- an easy way to look "polite" in front of the Mississippi voters while "steppin' on the brother's shoes." Let's tell the truth: the Clintons are hoping to give anyone who has a touch of "slowness" and the last remaining racists in Ole Miss'i a good excuse to vote for the White guy. Think I'm wrong? Think back to Bill Clinton's attempt to toss a "race card" for his wife's campaign less than a month ago.

Beware Southern men who pull your chain too quickly. I should know; I'm a Southerner. Mississippi, get online and get informed. When you're done researching candidates, vote your conscience. Clinton, stop playing "Sybil" and concede the candidacy with grace. Just my thoughts...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

For My Sweet

Remember that question about your blog, babe? It's this easy, as easy as posting a song that shares your thoughts. This song shares my thoughts, so take this as a little work-time inspiration.

Brand-New Old Gifts

Have you ever listened to an old favorite song again and found something new and exciting (shout-out to Morris Day) in the words or the melody? A vocal run, a drumset roll, a guitar riff, or a piano stroll that blew your mind, perhaps? I am listening to an album that made no sense to me when I was a youngster, and God knows that I am finding nuances and textures in it that my tender ears missed years ago. Stevie Wonder's JOURNEY THROUGH THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS has me wide awake right now (sorry, Sweet) and amazed. The term "genius" is often overused and oversimplified in our world of short attention spans and even shorter vocabulary, but Mr. Wonder (he could be my pops, after all) EARNED that label.

Do yourself a favor: pick it up, download it, or borrow it from a music lover who trusts you (and won't break your kneecaps if you get too attached to the "gift" and keep the music). PLANTS may just change your musical tastes; you have been warned.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


The truth is the hardest pill. Swallowed whole, it heals to the marrow of man.

When people speak the curious notion that America may not be ready for a Black president, remind them that Blacks' ruling well over powerful governments predates the "youthful" history of our nation.

Hatred destroys nations; love builds mighty kingdoms.

Drop the race-baiting and let a legal and untampered ballot answer the question for once and for all...

Then, and only then, will we KNOW.

Mini Parking 303: CapCity Could Teach This!

I've never seen her drive, but I hear that my sis CapCity can move her little red Mini like a champ! I wonder if she can parallel park THIS well:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Reminder...

Normally, I would write these words in my journal or post them on my "therapy" blog. I felt a need to share this poem here. What lies ahead of you isn't as tough as it seems, so trust God and keep going. Believe me when I say that we all have "crossroads" moments in our lives that define us. We cannot afford to forget how the Lord stands ready and willing to act in our behalf. An old man told me years ago that "God is a gentleman, and He won't force anything on you that you need...if you don't feel the need to ask Him for it."

Hang in there...

No door is closed
Unless God holds it shut;
You may not be ready yet
To walk in that room.

Don't forget your promises;
Hold to your faith.
Drop your pretense now...
God will open the door
When you trust Him in your walk
And believe He will protect you
From all that you fear will block you.

Time to tell the truth...
Will you fold in failure
Or worship God in faith?
It's time.
Trust God.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blackness Does Not Equal Color

Blackness is...
The start of Creation,
The righteousness of a nation;
The cool of your stride,
The foundation of your pride;
The condition of beginnings,
The start of life and space;
Changing losses into winnings,
Describing life and not a race.

We are all based in Blackness.
We are all dust and Spirit.
We have all been born;
We shall all surely die.

Celebrate Creation with me:
Be Black--
Give God your best today.
Be Black--
Show your neighbor love today.
Be Black--
Respect another child of God
Just because you can.
Be Black--
Squash a quarrel.
Be Black--
Hold your tongue in check.
Be Black--
Encourage and be encouraged.
Be Black--
Leave all your "isms" in the trash-pile...
But not in the recycle bin.
Be Black--
Live your life well.

Be Black.
Every color combined is Black.
Every shade appraised is Black.
Every tone revered is Black.

Be Black.
You'll never have the worry
Of not being yourself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Music Spotlight: Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu directed the concept video for her new single, "Honey" (CD in stores in February...maybe). The song is dope (yes, I still use that word), the concept is funny; and I give E. Badu much respect for the reminder to support local record stores in your community. Find them in the yellow pages and show some cash love; they are the last remaining vestiges of the old-school American community entrepeneurial spirit (keep a "big box" store out of your community if you can).

Question: Can you name every album she spoofs in the video?

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Toils of War: Marriages Fall Victim to Kenya Violence

Taking a break from my work, I signed onto Yahoo to catch up on my news reading. This story touched my heart for a host of reasons. I pray for my neighbors in Kenya right now.

Yahoo! News
Back to Story - Help
Marriages fall victim to Kenya violence

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press WriterFri Jan 25, 2:12 PM ET

He doesn't call. He doesn't write. His cell phone has been switched off for weeks. After 17 years, Naomi Kering's husband is gone — one more intertribal marriage fallen victim to the violence that has followed Kenya's disastrous presidential election.

"The kids always ask me, 'Where is he?' And I always say he is going to come back," Kering, a 34-year-old of the Kalenjin tribe, told The Associated Press as she stood in the rubble of her home, torched by a mob last month because her husband is a Kikuyu. "But I hope he stays away, because I love him and I want him to be safe."

Since the Dec. 27 vote, marriages that united different ethnic groups have felt the strain as communities shun the Kikuyu tribe of President Mwai Kibaki, whose disputed re-election unleashed a wave of bloodshed that has killed at least 685 people.

Until now, marriages like Kering's were common enough to go largely unnoticed, representing hope for what Kenya could be as a nation. But now the fabric of Kenyan society is fraying, forcing families to confront tribal identities many had cast aside long ago.

"This election has changed the very essence of these marriages," said the Rev. Charles Kirui, a Catholic priest whose church in the nearby town of Burnt Forest shelters hundreds of Kikuyus. "Marriages are breaking up because of a tribal conflict, which means we really have a problem in Kenya."

There are no figures on how many families are affected, but the impact is particularly felt in the heart of opposition territory in western Kenya, where tribal tensions have been most inflamed by the election.

This country of 38 million was once seen as a stable democracy on a violent continent. But it depended on a delicate balance of intertribal power.

After independence in 1963, then-President Jomo Kenyatta flooded this region, native to the Kalenjin and Luo tribes, with his Kikuyu people. The Kikuyu settlers quickly prospered, growing into the most powerful of Kenya's 42 ethnic groups, running businesses and politics.

But favoritism shown to Kikuyus fueled old resentments, and some of the worst clashes since the election have pitted Kikuyus against the Kalenjin, who often are distinguishable by looks and language.

Still, Kering says she never imagined the bloodshed would jeopardize her marriage to Isaac Guthua. The couple fell in love more than 15 years ago, when he would stop by the beauty salon where she worked nearly every day just for a glance at her.

On the night the election results were announced, however, Guthua said he could not stay. Kikuyus were being hunted down and slaughtered. As Kering cooked dinner and Guthua watched the news, they heard screams in the distance — a mob was coming for Guthua and other Kikuyus, including his two brothers who lived next door with their Kalenjin wives.

"We came out of the house and saw people with torches," Kering said. "They burned our house."

Guthua, knowing his wife would be spared because she is not Kikuyu, told her to take care of the children, ages 17, 15 and 8. Then he took off at a run with his brothers, Steven and Mwangi, and they haven't been home since.

"We never had a problem before this election," said Kering's sister-in-law and neighbor, 27-year-old Eunice Kinyanjui. She is pregnant with her second child with Steven Guthua, her husband of three years. "We lived happily in our family until this disaster."

They have decided to stay and face an unsympathetic community.

"The people here, they say, 'Who told you to intermarry?'" Kinyanjui said, adding that they have not been targeted for violence, only shunned. "We are now useless to the community, they don't talk to us, anything."

Kemei Gilbert, 18, a Kalenjin who was manning a roadblock in the area, said the women deserved no sympathy.

"These women are not our problem," Gilbert said. "In Africa, when a woman marries, she belongs to that community."

Kering and Kinyanjui both say they are confident their husbands are alive. Kering's husband called her two days after he fled, telling her he would likely go to Nairobi, 200 miles away. Kinyanjui hasn't heard from her husband, but he told her as he left that they might meet again.

The women seem resigned to the possibility that it will never happen, though Kinyanjui still has hope.

"I'll just believe that one day, one time, he will come," she said, her face wet with tears.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
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