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
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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.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

I Have Been Re-Introduced

A Google AdSense link to Godtube brought me to this video tonight. I have no words to describe these words. Well...maybe one word...REAL.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Giving You Something You Can Feel

The year 2008 is a celebration of love and music for me. Dig some of what helps me keep my environment correct...and remember that God gave Man command of environments and not of people. Peace and blessings, y'all.

Not So Common

I brought the new year in with music...and so did my man Common! I'm not familiar with the church here, but I dig the way they celebrated the arrival of 2008! Peace and blessings to all my neighbors in this cyber-village.