Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"Black Love"

-- July 28th, 2004 --

"You know what some people put themselves through to look just like you?

Dark stocking, high heels, lipstick, alla that.. You know what?
Without makeup you're beautiful,
Whatcha you need to paint the next face for...
We're not dealin with the European standard of beauty tonight,
Turn off the TV and put the magazine away,
In the mirror tell me what you see,
See the evidence of divine presence,
Women of the, Carribean, they got the, golden sun,
I know women on the continent got it
Nigeria, and Ghana, you know they got it..."
-- Talib Kweli from "Brown Skin Lady"

Before I begin the aforementioned post, I must say that there is some things that you need to read about. On about Osama's half-brother, interesting post right here. Also, a sort of a call-to-arms about Hip-Hop and it's state of affairs as of lately written by Andreas Hale, right here. Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled post.

I am writing this for you, Ms. Angelou, Ms. Davis, Mrs. Clark, Ms. Scott, Ms. Stone, the images gracing this post -- the unnamed Black women who personify strength and distinguished character. Let me emphasize this for you, the reader, I LOVE BLACK WOMEN!! I love the way they move, walk, talk -- their strength is a magnetic force to my being. You are a continuous inspiration for everything I do (in addition to God -- being first).

I write this for my sister, Jara, Ms. Nina Simone (R.I.P.), Mrs. Louise Davis (my Grandmother, R.I.P.) -- Ms. Lula Mae Johnson (my other Grandmother, R.I.P.), my big sis, Samantha, my homie, Candace. I applaud your intelligence, your constant endurance through the rough times, beautiful smile during the good ones.

The women mentioned above have all in some ways been an inspiration to me. In one way or the other, these individuals have left their impression on me in my appreciation of the fairer sex. In short, the man that I have become and will continue to evolve into will be a result of not only my actions in my own life, as well as my interactions with you. So, I say this to you -- be wise not to fuck with me -- I may be one of the last good men left.

Friday, July 23, 2004

"Ahh... Memories...."

-- July 23rd, 2004 --

If you who are viewing this right now can see this image -- the story behind this was unique, in my opinion. This picture was taken Fall Semester of 2002 at Kent State University. Myself (in red), my "brothers" -- Jelani and Jabari (Twins), my boy Marquis, Alicia, and some random copycat fellow were all on the way to Renaissance Ball. Renaissance Ball is like a Black Beauty pageant on Campus. It was interesting that year because you get to see Black folks get all dapper-danned up and crisp to the T. Wow -- the girls, ahh... the memories.

At the age that I am, it feels like more should've been accomplished. I am in the company of those who have gone on to enrich their lives in one form or another. I am introducing myself to those who make genuine strides in their own careers and are younger than I am. The air of change is making itself known -- the question is do I take hold of the reigns and see where "it" decides to take me. Successes are born or are they made? Is a question I pose to you, the reader, because I believe that they are made through strenuous trial and tribulation. Over the course of the past few weeks since an incident with the police awhile ago -- my thoughts look at my surroundings. It seems that we're always fighting to find a place in this World -- and those who aren't willing to put up a fight easily get lost. Seemingly, I am beginning to feel that I am living in the "land of the lost". Ever since I crossed the threshold of becoming 18 -- I swear that I have seen the same face over and over again frequenting the clubs, sporting events, or holiday festivals steadily changing in age and appearance, but still the same person. No life, limited accomplishments, a string of disappointments, a seed to take care of, incarcerated -- seems to be the trend of those who were my peers and accompanying students over the past four years in High School. Now, surely, I know what you're thinking, "That's them -- not you, why are you even worried?" Because -- for 19 out of the 21 years that I have been a resident -- not only on this planet -- but here in Ohio, I have been in the same place. Hard not to think that you'll be anywhere else when you've been minimal in your travels, your experiences. A colleague once told me that, "the real test is abroad -- no matter who or what you may have been a Smalltown U.S.A., your hometown, wherever -- the truth is... what do you do when you leave?" Another friend said to me, "I would never give up the life that I had being in a city where it's ever-changing, it makes it so that I always have to stay on my toes and stay... ever-changing." I took those two comments into consideration.

My memories -- my friends, immediate family are all within the confines of a college town, NEVER-changing. Do not get me wrong -- those included are all people who in their own right are doing something for their own benefit and success. So, is it wrong for me to think that my path lies elsewhere? For a while, my fear was leaving these significant people behind -- a fear that they would forget me and things would change. Hence I stayed, becoming a stronger person in some rights, but I can't help but to feel that something else is out there awaiting me.
So, while cherishing memories of the past and now, am I not honoring the future by not tackling what I feel I should be trying to do with myself. Is it wrong to be selfish for one's self?

I love those who love me -- very much. As it may be hard to discern that for some, others know it all too clearly. But... I feel that if I do not venture out into the World and face it head-on, then my state of mind will be limited to what the press shows me through their lens, what papers reports, what "people" determine as ''truth". When all in all, I am searching for my voice, my truth, my ability to craft those talents for myself -- which is a feeling that I am continually faced with while being in familiar surroundings.

Ahh... the memories, one's past, many present, more to come -- but all shall be a memory one day. It's the decisions that one does to affect how that memory is perceived. God bear with me. Friends and family -- support me.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

"Who Am I, Who Are You, Who Are We?!!?"

-- July 22nd, 2004 --

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good quote, isn't it? The belief that what is in our hearts and souls is the only thing that matters during this journey of life that we travel through. I have learned this innately through watching my peers and very interesting people attack life with a ferocious appetite. Could this possibly be what makes Michael Jordan who he is versus Leroy on the block who had the potential to play in the League? What separates you and I from them? Is it the attempt or the follow-through? Focus and dedication? Or who you know? I believe that it's a make up of all those things combined. The failure to take advantage of that is a stigma that so many African-Americans fall victim to. Why? The belief that obstacles restrain you or I from obtaining a goal believed to be too "lofty" to ever really be attained by you or I. The thought of obstacles must be removed from our speech. Yes, harder to say than do -- but if we stop idolizing our "role models" in the Black community and start seeing the road they paved, then the journey shouldn't be too hard -- should it?

Another thought -- what will we, as a populace, leave behind to the next generation? Will the negative be focused upon more than our positive? Will our accomplishments spark a continued trend? What are our accomplishments? Are we being subjugated to just being the athlete/entertainer-type figure?

In a sense, I believe so -- even our political figures are a joke. Jesse Jackson, co-signing on Cosby's comments, yet, since his "incident" hasn't really made any real attempt at making any significant changes. Al Sharpton -- no comment. I only say these two figures because as a society we focus on those most notably seen. In retrospect, these two great men's legacies are tarnished because of their lack of enthusiasm in really representing the Black society. So, who are we? If our "leaders" feel that the job is too much for them to endure -- then who are we to turn to? Ourselves? Outside benefactors?

A few days ago, I was at Best Buy -- browsing through the CDs selections looking for the new Jaylib -- "Champion Sound" CD. I came across this CD that -- I can't remember the title -- but, it had nothing but rebel music. The first song was Huey Newton!!! I mean the historical reverence that that CD has was impressionable to me. That's the kind of CD that gets you mad and want to beat up some white folks. Gone are those type of songs. I mean -- during September 11th -- the only person really within the Hip-Hop community who put out a song about the situation was... MC Hammer!! Remember that? He had the red, white, and blue bandana -- the politicians dancing behind him, doing the Hammer dance? LOL! Well, I mean all that was true except the Hammer dance part.

I got off track.

We are a million black men faceless in the crowd, shrouded by women whose form differentiate from time to time. Children are learning our ways -- so with tomorrow not promised, today set to a time limit -- who am I? Who are you? Who are we? And what will we become when we figure that out.

Monday, July 19, 2004

"I Complete Me..."

-- July 19th, 2004 --

Solana Pyne writes a very good article about the current situation with the youth here in America and our financial status (or lack thereof). I suggest that if you have some time -- you read it.

I am amazed at myself -- two posts in one day. I am really trying to get my swagger back with this writing. When God gives you a talent, you gotta abuse it sometimes, I guess. :)

It's surprising to see that during the Summer you have more single people walking around than during the Winter months. Figures, hot cocoa can't be the only thing to warm your spirit, heh-heh. I love Black Women. As previously stated -- I thought that I cared deeply (i.e. love) for another. My instincts warned me correct as I figured out that that was not the person for me. Too much hastle, too much everything. Not that everything is bad, it's only that way when it's strictly negative. I am writing this to profess a new type of love -- a love mainly for myself. I feel as though I have yet to become the Man that I see in other people's eyes. I think that I am now comfortable with the idea of really being... single... *gasp* -- Maybe so, but you can't tell me (nor anyone for that matter) -- that not having someone to hold onto into the far reaches of the night DOES NOT bother anyone... because it does...

Maybe I am too vain or too callous in my appreciation of others? Or maybe I have a feeling of self-doubt in the worth of the person who is fighting for my affection. But what I've learned in the (going on...) three years that I have been single versus the three years that I was in a relationship is this -- If I am not willing to put 110% into it, you only get one chance. Why fight a losing battle? Some would call me an ass-hole for thinking and acting that way -- but I beg to differ. I mean, who wants to be with a woman (or man) who constantly nagging you on things that really carry no weight? Who wants to be with someone or show interest to someone who doesn't seem like she's even as half as interested in you as you are in her/him?

Maybe I am asking for too much. I have had in my short time since turning 18 and being single to learn that those who compromise what they deserve for what they desire lose out in the long run. During the course of that time, I have had those who -- in my mind -- fit the bill, those who I thought weren't good enough, and even those who I didn't realize until the door slammed behind them. All in all, I know one thing -- it all happens for a reason. The catch is -- YOU determine the way it unfurls.

The final thought of this is -- I am understanding what the HELL it is that I want for myself. If a Woman cannot understand that and add to this progress -- then she's necessary for someone else. I would totally understand if the roles were to be reversed. It is a progress that I am willing to traverse with someone or by my lonesome... and I'll do it to the best of my ability.

Strong and Dedicated is what I am,
Daring you to beat me to the top is what I say unto you,
Black and Bold is the inner workings of my soul,
Realizing the strength inside of me,
Do you have what it takes to tame me?

"Colors To Die For..."

-- July 19th, 2004 --

"Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom. Up, up, you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will."
- Marcus Garvey

It is interesting to see how many people sport this color in fashion without knowing the immensely historic meaning it has to those who represent it, not only proudly, but acknowledging the sacrifices of the past with the purpose of providing a better future.

For those who do not understand or know the history of the RBG Flag and the significance of the colors, please click here -- Flag Story.

In the midst of rabid changes in society, we, as young African-Americans are face with a daunting issue... we are BROKE!!! Maybe it is due to pursuing so many lofty goals and expectations that those are the only things that we concern ourselves with (i.e. cars with flashy rims, shiny jewelry)..? It's funny that in the minds and hearts of most Black folks beats a Warrior or a Princess -- but in the mirror we see images of our former selves. Sure -- we can talk all the "righteousness" and "proud to be Black" talk that we want. But what are we perpetuating? Chains around our neck and wrists, a thirst and greed that even eclipses most Whites and some Jews, a destructive habit hell-bent on being considered self-genocide. We are doing our detractors and enemies a favor, all the while dancing and smiling to the camera. I say this because you ask any Black child these days what they want to be when they grow up -- and the answer will be in the form of some type of entertainer (actor, sports athlete, rapper) -- not to say anything bad about that type of lifestyle. Gone are the days when our history mattered -- we're cashing in our chips to become everything that we stood against in times of old.

The education of our youth (and some adults) is not going to happen unless WE fight for it. The worth and value placed on those who make us enjoy a fantasy versus those who enlighten us to face reality is a travesty. A teacher is more than likely to gross 35-55K -- depending on where they are located -- I for a fact know that my Mother makes in between that ball-park figure. Plus, she teaches mentally handicapped youth. Whereas, a NBA Rookie who signs his first contract for a professional team will gross anywhere from 350-475K in his FIRST YEAR!!!! Why is that?!? Where's the logic? Most countries abroad would scoff at this logic, but then again, most countries would take the money from their athletes and put it right back into the "government" (look at Yao Ming). A friend of my said it best about the morals and values of our country, "How great is my chance of becoming a financially successful and fulfilled adult in anyone's cleverly devised and ever so uncertain future? It's looking slim. I am PISSED!"

So, what is there left to fight for? We, as Black folks, seem so complacent with the times -- we are experiencing a boom in employment, economy is bristling with money, and the education of our youth is in good hands -- sense the sarcasm? What is so funny is that ma'fucka's cannot begin to fathom the seriousness of the situation. You might be sitting here reading this thinking that I need to get off of my "high horse" and just enjoy what we have going for us. But I ask this in rebuttal, "What do we have?" I mean -- most Black youths are looking forward to being unemployed no matter how "qualified" they may be only because of them being a "Faheem" or "Taneisha"... Most Black youth have to smile in the face of their white counterparts as they secretly call them "nigger" or "nigga" due to the music they frequently enjoy in their cars and lofty homes. Why?!!? Because we make it acceptable. We make it for the masses, therefore when it is taken out of our hands, our control -- we end up paying for it in the long run.

So, I say this -- with our Black women being degraded and generalized as being bitches, hoes, skeezers... with our Black men being put in prison, murdered in the streets, leaving behind families, unemployed, uneducated, and uninterested -- and our younger generation following in those footsteps -- I ask... "What will you fight for?" "What will you die for?"

Monday, July 12, 2004

"A Generation's Despair"

-- July 12th, 2004 --

"Either you're sellin' crack rock or you have a wicked jump shot..."
- Notorious B.I.G.

FUCK RAP MUSIC... Long live the awe-inspiring power that is Hip-Hop. What our generation is experencing is the decay of a once-great nation. We are, and have been for the past decade or so, steadily declined into a state of mindless slaves. Free, yet chained to the influence of White America and its stranglehold on our culture -- using its influence to capitalize on every viable endeavor that we embark on. The reason why I am digressing on the state of Black affairs is because we are a dying people, but a rising commodity in White America. Our style of music, once branded as a trend or a fad, is now playing in McDonald's commercials. Gone are the days of our music's mysteriousness. In correlation to our continuing plight as an ailing people, I state the obvious -- we are a faux image of what we should be. In the eyes of White America -- we'll be nothing more than a traveling minstrel show, perpetuating our own negative images onto ourselves. More of our Black men are more interested in pursuing wealth, acceptance into White American mainstream, than going to College, helping their people get into a higher forms of education. Why are we missing the point? We are celebrating the ones who are imprisoning us to stereotypical slavery. Not saying that Jay-Z, Lil Jon, and others are symbolism of evil -- but they are tools or pawns of some kind. There is no balance or foot rooted in the realism of today. Black males are behind in educational and financial growth. Our generation contributes to over 80% of the United States economic wealth -- only thing is that that figure is the amount spent on materialistic pleasures. In a recent post at, "The Cocoa Lounge; 'Blacks Don't Read'," it was stated that Blacks are ignorant, selfish, and greedy. Sentiments stated by a "white" man -- but with valid reasoning. So, to say that I wasn't upset is an understatement. It alarmed me to the fact that while our youth is seeing "Tip Drill" and "not giving a damn or a fuck," we're going by as if nothing is really wrong -- happy... smiling, grinning for the camera. Now, I, for one, am not about to condemn my people without offering some solution. But this is a diary entry -- not a public forum of discussion. So... I'll save that for another time.

I applaud Bill Cosby for his recent statements and furthermore advocate more of our younger "hipper" entertainers to step up and reinforce these sentiments. Why?!!? Because as the Cos was "America's Favorite Father" in my younger days, he is now this younger generation's Grandfather. So, to have a Mos Def or Jay-Z to continue to advocate for the changes necessary for our economic, spiritual, and educational survival would be a welcomed changed than being vilified by our peers as "the lazy generation" or by Bill O'Reilly as, "incapable of assimilating into competitive society." All in all, I feel that correct English should be a requirement for our youth to understand and speak fluently. We are "natives" here, ladies and gentlemen -- our tongues do not sway into foreign waters. Now, I understand that amongst ourselves, whether that be in the guise of music or other entertainment venues (i.e. movies, t.v.) -- I can understand the hipness of "Ebonics" or "Slanguistics," but when I interview a brotha coming out of a University with a degree, I expect to hear an intelligect young man with viewpoints that reflects his years of education. Not a mind conjoined to the lyrics of, "Whistle While You Twerk," trying to get a position in my company.

I want our people to prove our doubters and conspirators wrong. To become a strong, unified front against those who wish to throw rocks at the throne. We are the trendsetters, the innovators and creators of everything that makes this country vibrant. Let us not plummet to the depths of flirting with extinction through means of numbing our creativity -- limiting us to being strings on marinets with White hands corrupting our actions and stifling our growth.