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Friday, December 29, 2006

Conservative Politics coming up......but for now more Geek fun

Check out the latest trailers for the upcoming year. Transformers (the live action version) finally reaches theaters for a July 4th, 2007 release and stay tuned for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, also slated for a summer debut. Next year promises to be a nerd/geek fest of catastrophic proportions. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hey a Samurai can wear a natural.....Can't He?

I hate it when I'm late on the scene regarding the next big thing. In the past I've been known to have blinders on when it came to certain aspects of pop culture. At one time I collected exclusively DC and Marvel graphic novels while feigning disinterest in books from independent companies. I actually missed out on the Milestone Comics era (a now defunct Black/minority based comic company during the 90s comic boom) because of this single-mindedness. It's akin to the 1980s phenomenon of wearing only acceptable sneakers and not skips (unknown brand athletic shoes). Nowadays, of course, it's one big free for all within the popular culture game-no rules apply. So, although I'm slowly breaking out of this funk for missing certain trends, I was however, a Johnny Come Lately regarding Sam Jackson's latest effort, Afro-Samurai. Samurai, originally started out as a Japanese manga story created by Okazaki Takashi, a graphic designer who funded the comic out of his own pocket. Here is Wikipedia's synopsis of the Afro Samurai storyline:

The TV anime series will be set in a "futuristic, yet feudal Japan," and star a black samurai named Afro. The story will follow Afro as he tries to avenge his father's murder. On the dark path of the swordsman, it is said that the one who becomes No.1 will rule the world. But the only rule in this world is that only the No. 2 is allowed to fight the No. 1. The No. 2, the Afro Samurai, travels the road looking for revenge on those who murdered his father in front of him when he was just a boy. The focus of his attentions is No. 1, a three-armed gunman who is the lord of the dark swordsman's road. Silent assassins lurk in the shadows, trying to get rid of No. 2, the only man allowed to fight No. 1. Can No. 2 achieve his aim?

Suffice it to say, I am definitely going to be looking for Mr. Jackson's latest celluloid effort-it's scheduled to air on cable's Spike TV on December 31st. Check your local listing. Click the links below for more information:

Afro Samurai Comic Takes Hollywood by Storm

Spike TV-Afro Samurai

Official Afro Samurai site

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Graphic Novel Watch.....

An interesting trend has developed in the last five or so years, where the comic book a.k.a graphic novel, has become the last bastion for Hollywood originality-a place which has been bereft of a good idea for decades. Case in point, I just so happened to take a look at the latest issue of of the comic book catalog, Previews, and low and behold, I came across a fascinating new comic (from Boom Studios) scheduled for a March 07' release, entitled Hunter's Moon. Moon, which was written by Ray screenwriter, James L. White, appears to incorporate elements of Deliverance, Ransom and Lost except it has an African-American protagonist. Here is the novel's premise acccording to Previews:

The story is of a man who finds out that his black heritage may work against him in a small mostly white logging community. There doesn’t seem to be any outpouring of volunteers who want to help him get his son back from kidnappers who communicate only through cell phone. Lincoln "Linc" Greer is about to learn new meaning from the expression, “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”

This five part series appears to be the comic to watch out for the first quarter of the new year. Could a movie be far behind? For more info check the links below:

Ray Celebrity Comes To Comics

Hunter's Moon#1

Next entry...Sam Jackson's highly anticipated anime effort, Afro Samurai, sure to be a cool discussion.

Monday, December 25, 2006

More on the loss of Soul Brother No.1.....

First off, talking about James Brown's death is a very difficult thing. I was always most proud of the fact that Mr. Brown was a former resident of my hometown of Saint Albans, Queens. The Godfather's house (which still stands today) was the only one that actually possessed a moat. I believe those who are real music aficionados know that on many levels, there is an assumption that our music heroes will always remain alive for our immediate enjoyment. And as expected, no more than 24 hours after the legend's death, I remain disheartened, angry and disappointed. Some of the local NY radio stations(those of course geared toward the older R&B/Soul demographic) are playing Mr. Brown's classics, but the hip hop stations appear to be aloof in this regard thus far. Why wouldn't a hip hop station take a break from the programmed routine, and play Brown's music out of respect and reverence-music that was so instrumental in the very development of the genre?

And so it begins....the contempt, ignorance and disrespect of a legend. Inarguably, hip hop may not have reached the height of popular culture without James Brown's influence. I remember friends and colleagues jokingly (but truthfully) commenting during hip hop's infancy, how crucial it was for a hip hop song to require a James Brown break beat in order for it to be considered a true hit. If one were to listen closely, James Brown's presence can be heard and felt from hip hop's inception to the present. I would also submit that modern pop music, crossing a litany of genres, permeates with Jamesisms. Prince (who has to take the mantle at this point), Michael Jackson and any number of rock & rollers have emulated, if not out right stolen, James Brown's gift of showmanship as well as his unique brand of audience participation. Again, we have lost yet another bedrock in our musical tradition with very few heirs and musical future that is extremely bleak. We have already lost Luther, Lou(Rawls), Ray, Ruth Brown, Barry(White) and now James Brown- leaving the public with talentless refuse. I have never stopped playing Mr. Brown's music as my tastes are varied and ecclectic. You will be missed Mr. Brown-I'm betting heaven just got a little bit funkier. Do yourself a favor and click on the link below, it's a December 05' James Brown concert available for download via NPR's website.

James Brown in Concert

The Godfather dies on Christmas Day

Damn...I was hit with news that hit me like a kick to the gut. James Brown dies of pneumonia at the age of 73. I will elaborate more on one my musical idols in the next few hours.

Wiki's take on James Brown

God rest his soul: James Brown tunes out at 73

Happy Holidays from Afronerd!

Let it never be said that I hate hip hop....again, I remember what it was before the Minstrel Age. Take a look at the seminal rap group, The Funky Four (Plus One More) as they perform "It's the Joint," on Saturday Night Live. This 1981 appearance has been widely considered the first TV performance made by a rap group. Enjoy your eggnog as I shed a tear for a bygone era. Cheers!

P.S. Damn....this is an update. In the immortal words of James Brown, "hit me... two times." Here is another video that is yet another walk through memory lane. Although Grandmaster Flash's "The Message," is heavily lauded as being one of the first hip hop songs to use social commentary as its main text, The Fearless Four's, "Problems of the World Today," should be worthy of the number two position. What happened to rap's innocence? Mind you, this song was made during the height of the crack wars in New York City, and yet no minstrelsy....Things that make you go Hmmm.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ok It's Not on the level of Area 51 but still.........

Usually I'm not a conspiratorial thinker but I may have to rethink matters as it relates to the recent Miss USA controversy. Heck, I might implement a lobbying effort to have Rosie and The Donald's latest rap battle to be featured on BET's Beef series. My first reaction to the Miss USA rout was that it was a whole lot about nothing-another tumultuous post adolescent White female implosion (a la Lindsay, Britney, Paris or last year's runaway bride-pick one) for public consumption. One would have deduced that an alleged heavy dose of drinking, lesbianism and cocaine ingestion would have had Tara Conner (the Miss USA in question) dethroned and sent packing for her next vocation-playboy centerfold. Wrong, my dear Watson!

As our culture spirals ever downward, Trump who owns the rights to the Miss Universe/Miss USA pageants, decided to give our young Tara a second chance. Now, of course I heard many critics of color state that 1984's first Miss America of color, Vanessa Williams, (who was famously dethroned for nude photos taken before she was a contestant) was not given her mea culpa and was less than surreptitiously ousted. Although the Williams counterpoint may have some validity, I discounted comparisons because it was a different era and a different pageant. But now I may have to think differently regarding this issue.

Despite my conservative leanings, I have never been naive when it comes to passive racism and money being longtime bedfellows. One would be foolish to think that the Trumpster, allowed Conner to keep her title for explicitly altruistic reasons. More media scandal plus more future Miss USA viewership equals more money...plain and simple. But what I didn't know was that the runner-up, was the equally beauteous Tamiko Nash. Nash, who is African-American, appears to have gotten short changed in this scenario. Perhaps anyone who was the runner-up in this drama would have been royally screwed but my eyebrow raised nonetheless. What is the purpose of even having a runner-up if outlandish behavior and a breach of contract can be easily excused. Maybe fate will rest it's hand on Miss Nash and like fellow pageant queen, Williams, she might ultimately become successful and remembered. More on this story below:

Tara Conner Dethroned, Tamiko Nash Becomes Miss USA (Not)

Trump Gives Miss USA Tara Conner Second Chance

Friday, December 22, 2006

When Lyrics Go Beyond Fantasy......

It looks like this is a moment when I have to quote the Michael Corleone character from the third installment of The Godfather franchise-"Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in." If you take a gander at the above snippet, it's from the MTV2 hip hop program, Fight Club. Instead of this contest being one where the contestants' verbal dexterity and alliterative ingenuity are tested, it has regressed into some updated and twisted form of the dozens. If anyone is familiar with the African-American mainstay known as the dozens, it is essentially an informal forum developed to trade barbs with an adversary. How these "snapping" (another term for the dozens) contests rarely ended up in fights defies the imagination-if one were to make comparisons with today's climate of dysfunctionalism. But in actuality, I decided to use this clip as segue tool for a far less innocuous and tragic story pertaining to the "lyrics versus violence" debate.

A Staten Island jury recently arrived at a guilty verdict against Ronell Wilson, 24, a reputed gang leader for the execution style killing of two undercover police officers. This is an inverted version of the Sean Bell shooting incident that fails to garner the attention of those that attend the Reverend Sharpton's School of Racial Polarization (no relation to Ice-T's Rap School). What makes this tale even more disturbed is that when Mr. Wilson was initially arrested, police found self-scribed and grammatically decimated rap lyrics detailing how he killed these officers. It is high time for the other side of these street tragedies to be told, if not analyzed. How long will it take for our clergy, politicians, educators and PARENTS to start to put "two and two" together regarding gangsta music propaganda and what it is clearly doing to our youth. Let's hope that Wilson isn't offered a record deal before he gets a lethal injection (sentencing is next month)-anything is possible in this dystopic melodrama. Oh and least I forget, Happy Holidays. For more on this story check the links below:

Prosecutors use rap lyrics to boost case

Guilty in Killing of 2 detectives

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sorry to beat a Dead Horse...........

I might be "beating a dead horse" like the title suggests, but it is a story that nevertheless deserves highlighting. I just finished perusing the January issue of Essence, which has a special investigative report entitled, "The Streets Are Watching." This report, written by Jeannine Amber, encapsulates the harrowing tale of a brave Baltimore resident, "Mia M." (I would suspect like an episode of Dragnet-names were changed to protect the innocent) who put her life at risk by being a witness to a shooting that occurred in her neighborhood. If anyone has been paying close attention to some of my recent entries, you might have noticed that I have emphasized the issue of how the criminal or street stereotype that some people of color adopt, can cloud legitimate claims of racism and/or police misconduct. This article further bolsters my position. Mia's neighborhood, like any number of inner city areas, forces decent, hard working and honorable Black folk to coexist with the dregs that make living in such an environment a hellish experience.

Cutting to the chase, in May of 2005, Mia witnessed a shootout between two men that appeared to be over a failed drug transaction. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how one sees it) there were no fatalities, however one of the young men sustained a leg wound. The article, early on, described Mia as being the type that normally tries to maintain a low profile when it came to matters of a street nature. Unfortunately, her conscience got the best of her, as children were trapped between these two assailants. Being a mother herself, she imagined that one of her children could have easily been caught in the crossfire of this madness. Although hesitant, she did initially agree to cooperate with the police in the investigation of this incident. As soon as it became known throughout the "hood" that Mia was a witness, her life became a living nightmare. Young men and women threatened her (including her family)with bodily harm-nothing short of death. The "stop snitching" campaign was in full effect.

This again, is the atmosphere that the police have to deal with-a place the liberal intelligentsia fails to acknowledge. Here we have an entire neighborhood forced to maintain silence when an innocent could have been hurt(and many times the end result is a tragedy). We are not talking about individuals complicit in the committing of a crime and upholding a code amongst themselves. We are literally talking about the protection of innocent lives that can not be implemented because of thuggism. I repeat....how are the police to differentiate between real gangstas and wankstas, when both fit stereotypes and may possess criminal records? Time for some preventative medicine folks-try not to race to the finish line labeled STEREOTYPE, you might find yourself a winner in the long haul. And pray that you don't have to be put in the position to be a witness-you might be issued a death warrant. The January issue of Essence is now available at your local newsstand.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shhh! Letting You Guys in on a Secret........Everybody's Black Now

Actually the statement, "Everybody's Black now," was exclaimed by my friend, "Mr. Starks" in the midst of a conversation that we had this morning. You guys will get to know Starks (named after Tony Stark, the alter-ego of his favorite fictional character, Iron Man) beyond being a commenter on the blog, as he will also be a cohost on my upcoming internet radio program. I have to thank Starks for informing me of a recent NY Newsday article, pertaining to how Long Island's middle class (non race specific this time) are risking foreclosure due to the uncertain future of our economy. In all fairness, I first heard the everybody's black (or the more explicit-everybody's a nigga) tagline soon after 9-11. It appears that between the shoddy economy and the looming threat of terrorism on US soil, both act as the great equalizer in America's racial divide. Essentially, the Newsday piece denotes how many once solidly middle class families (some making in excess of six figures) are just one paycheck from foreclosure and imminent homelessness. This is a scene highly familiar to people of color. Trust me when I say, that I sincerely try not to put a racial spin on every subject but this is unavoidable. Middle class White angst is something to behold. Perhaps individuals will start viewing race for what it truly is-a sociopolitical construct and not a biological ideal. Let's just hope that you don't lose your house before you come to this conclusion. For the article in question, click on the link below:

Roof caving in on some owners

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Pursuit of Happyness....(A Rebroadcast)

The entry below was originally submitted on May 27th and it seems fitting to revisit it as the movie opens this week. It appears to be a tour de force for Smith & Son-I would implore all to check out this film. We all deserve a break from the usual diet of minstrel fare. Enjoy!

I just happened to catch an updated interview of this gentleman's story while viewing last night's episode of 20/20. The above video is actually the first interview of Chris Gardner. The interview was so compelling, Will Smith saw this episode and was quickly prompted to make a movie detailing Gardner's rags to riches journey. The book and movie are entitled, The Pursuit of Happyness and this story is nothing short of miraculous. Essentially, Gardner starts out as a homeless single father who is able to work his way up to becoming a millionaire, owning his own institutional investment firm. Any brother who wears tailored suits, drives a ferrari and listens to Miles Davis is already a person of interest in my book (or blog). I'm definitely psyched about both the book and film and I will let the video speak for itself. I have to give accolades to Gardner for his choice in license plates.....(not MJ or not Michael Jordan). Check out the video and you will understand the reference. Excelsior!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hey! Batman and Superman aren't the only ones that can start a Justice League

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I can not submit the entry that I had initially intended, but I did want my readers to check out some like-minded Black Conservative blogs. It is time to show the world that the African American community is not just comprised of charlatan slick haired preachers, monosyllabic gangstas or impotent kowtowing liberal sycophants. Check out the list of free-thinkers below:





Booker Rising

The Dark Truth

Nat Turner's Revenge

Does Mr. Crouch read this Blog? or Maybe great minds think alike...

Check out the latest nugget of wisdom from my spiritual uncle, Stanley Crouch. You think I'm hard on hiphop? Mr. Crouch gives absolutely no validity to the music, as he is an avid Jazz buff. I must confess that I am also an avid Jazz aficionado, but I do like hiphop music (when it honors its traditional tenets-more on hiphop rules at a later date) despite what my detractors may think. Click on Mr. Crouch's article below:

To move up, kids must stop being slaves to fashion

P.S. Check out this link from a Gawker article that purports to chastise Crouch for the selfsame aforementioned piece. I have received identical complaints. Truly amazing. Unfortunately, I can not address this phenomenon now but I think I will tackle it for my next entry.

Crotchety Stanley Crouch Keeps On Keepin' On

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And Now...Time for the Classics

If you were to implement a google search of this blog, using phrases such as "afronerd.com" or simply "afronerd,” undoubtedly you will retrieve both positive and negative responses. It is something that truly boggles the mind but does not deter my spirit. You just can't please everybody. A common complaint against the blog is my alleged daily assault against hip hop. This is partially true, however it is against a specific type of hip hop. Many fans of hip hop-ok, to be specific, commercial hip hop are extremely delusional about the messages that the genre is currently spewing. It's akin to an addict that insists on imbibing the drug of his/her choice despite its ill effects. If one were to read my blog closely, I am a big hiphop fan, it's just that I tend to listen to classic hiphop. I think "classic" or "legendary" are far more respectful adjectives than "old-school,” which tends to make people highly dismissive of the genre. I also gravitate toward the contemporary conscious (whether it encompasses the alternative and underground formats) end of the music that rarely gets the amount of attention or airplay that the minstrel and gangsta genres receive. This leads me to the above clip. It is a snippet from Ralph Mcdaniel's local cable show, entitled The Bridge. Those who are familiar with Daniels or Uncle Ralph as he is affectionately called, may remember him from the seminal NY hip hop show, Video Music Box.

The Bridge essentially highlights classic hiphop moments where the viewer can learn the roots of the music. It truly saddens me how innocent(as well as creative and socially relevant) the music was back then and what it was like before the corporate formula was put in place, making it the bastardized version that we all bear witness to today. The above snippet, in particular, showcases a record release/tribute to the late, great and talented hiphop performer and producer, James Yancey better known as J Dilla. Dilla succumbed to a long battle with lupus at the young age of 32 earlier this year. Not only was Dilla's music unusual but also the circumstances of his death. He didn't die in the usual way-in a hail of bullets that has become a sick punchline for many in the rap community nowadays. His production was highly recognizable-jazz infused, and murky beats that artists such as D'angelo, Mos Def, Common, The Roots and a whole host of other performers utilized. My belated condolences to J Dilla and classic hiphop...perhaps both will return someday. For more info regarding J Dilla and The Bridge, click on the links below:

Wiki's information on J Dilla

The Bridge

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Next on the menu?......Garth Ennis' The Boys

I've been meaning to talk about Garth Ennis' The Boys for quite sometime now. Ennis' Boys, is slowly encroaching upon my number two spot in great adult themed graphic novels(number one reserved for the Squadron Supreme series). If anyone is familiar with Ennis' prior Preacher work(which has recently been greenlighted for an ongoing HBO series) he has a definite sardonic albeit violent streak. Just as the public has been introduced to Heroes and the Squadron, now we have The Boys, who are essentially a CIA sanctioned covert group used to control the power hungry (and abusive) superhero community. The story is definitely set in the real world, except that super powered beings exist in a matter of fact tone with full public support and adoration. Behind the scenes, the heroes are masochistic narcissists who although they save lives, have also killed and treated innocents as incidental casualties. This is where the Boys come in. Think of Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs cast hired by the government to provide a check and balance dynamic to the out of control, morally ambivalent hero community. The reader will also notice a tongue and cheek homage to the British actor and writer Simon Pegg (of Shaun of the Dead fame) who resembles one of the main characters, Wee Hughie. If you ever get a free moment and wish to stray away from the usual superhero fare, check out this great comic from the DC/Wildstorm family.

Hanging with the Boys: Ten Questions for Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

Wikipedia's take on The Boys

Oh Come On......You Knew it was Bound to Happen

Boy, isn't the internet grand? Check out the above Seinfeld clip, soon to be released as a Lost Episode feature. Who would have guessed? I'm joking, of course. Check it out.

Rock School?.......What a Cool Idea

I was just channel surfing when I happened to take a glimpse at one my favorite films from last year, School of Rock, starring Jack Black. I purchased the DVD quite some time ago, but periodically look at the film because it does represent one of those "feel good" movies that one can get into ever so often. This film also prompted me to ponder about the real School of Rock or the more aptly named Paul Green School of Rock Music located in Philadelphia, PA. As many readers of this blog can attest to, I'm not a big fan of the current music scene. My dissatisfaction has very little to do with a longing for the days of master musicianship but more with looking for something new and superior to that bygone era. I have said this many times but if we come from a musical tradition that includes Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Miles, Stevie, Jimi and Prince-where are the new stars that have created something that goes beyond the aforementioned artists? The above snippet is from the 1998 documentary entitled Rock Schoolwhich showcases the school/mentoring program created by Mr. Green. Coincidently, Green's manic, excitable and eccentric personality does appear eerily similar to the Jack Black character in the feature film.

According to wikipedia, there has been a controversy brewing over the film versus the actual school. Can anyone say intellectual property? Or better yet, lawsuit? Well, anyway, thanks to Green he has franchised his program and there are satellite schools located in many cities all over the US. Now here is my racialization moment-where are the Black/Brown versions of this sorely needed program? Fortunately, there are pockets of Jazz and Classical mentoring programs all over this country but I just wish that we all placed more emphasis on these type of programs in communities of color. I have to applaud Green's efforts in the marketing of such a school because I would assume that he started to notice that kids were just not being exposed to the musicianship that the classic rock genre engenders. I would also come to a similar conclusion as it relates to how Blues, Soul and Jazz are not being introduced to minority youth as well. I, for one, would have loved if a school like this existed when I was a kid. Is there even such a thing as a high school band anymore? I know that one of the things that gave rise to hiphop culture was the cutting back of funding for inner city school music programs dating back to the mid 70s. Again cheers to Mr. Green for developing an interesting and innovative teaching device. Rock On! For more info on Rock School, other similar programs and the dilemma of keeping kids interested in extracurricular cultural activities, click on the links below:

  • Paul Green School of Rock Music

  • Set Them Free

  • Michigan State Unviversity-School of Music

  • Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra
  • Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Being a Black Contrarian or No Wiggle Room! (No Relation to Romper Room) An Addendum

    Thinking against the grain can be an arduous, unpopular but at the least necessary endeavor. It is essentially what a Black contrarian does-go left when everyone else chooses to go right. To be more accurate, in my case going right(center) when the group goes left(the above picture can be misleading). Do yourself a favor, scroll down to my previous Queens police shooting entry and click on the "trackback" link. It will lead you to the latest posting by Dr. Lester Spence who is at the helm of a blog, entitled Blacksmythe. It appears that he has taken me to task on my view of the Queens case or more specifically, the subject of policing in minority communities. For the record, I encourage reasoned debate, therefore I will attempt to briefly answer his charges.

    To paraphrase Spence, it was his contention that my policing stance may have some validity, if one were to ignore the overall protective purpose of the police. Spence also proposed that I failed to address the history of the police as it relates to communities of color. In addition, he posited that hip hop culture, because of it being a recent phenomenon(relative to historical relevance)would be an atypical ingredient in the police brutality cauldron. I am fully aware of the general history of the police. Thinking back to my Hampton U criminal justice courses, the subject of the police (before Sting and Andy Summers) remains forever emblazoned in my mind.

    The modern concept of the police in the US, started out invariably as private, independent security forces at the dawn of the Industrial Age with the intent to protect property and wealth. This is a far cry from the paramilitary organizations that we see today (although one could argue about their mantra for protecting the assets of the elite). I have never intimated that police misconduct and brutality do not exist, nor am I naive regarding their racist history (mob lynching with police collusion, Bull Connor's water hoses and police dogs, etc). But what if you take away the victimization standard that many left wing pundits use when discussing these issues? A standard that seems to absolve the proposed subordinate group of any personal responsibility for their condition.

    In addition, Hip Hop at a minimum, is a 30-year-old phenomenon-the last decade(and a half) dedicated to a propagandized Black thuggish aesthetic. Commercial hip hop in my estimation, has engrained in White America's consciousness (the police, notwithstanding) that Black youth, hip hop culture and crime are endemic and intertwined. Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, Blink comes to mind (I'll expound on that another day). Ultimately, I'm not a fan of wiggle room. Wiggle room is the gray area that street culture has created when attempting to substantiate cases that should be of obvious racial injustice. The recent Howard Beach attack was an example of the wiggle.

    In a nutshell, a White hip hop youth attacks his Black counterpart with a bat while calling his victim a nigger (or nigga, you know the routine). The attacker actually had a defense because of hip hop’s alleged transcendent use of the n-word. As alluded to in my prior entry, too many Black youth, thanks to this present day propaganda are embracing stereotypical dress and behavior. Many are not criminals but wearing the costume of the criminal caste should not be considered desirable.

    Take a look at the excerpt (below) from an infamous Dave Chappelle stand-up routine. He talks about how women protest being objectified based on what they're wearing(excuse the expletives):

    "The girl says, 'Wait a minute! Just because I'm dressed this way does not make me a whore!' Which is true. Gentlemen, that is true. Just because they dress a certain way doesn't mean they are a certain way. Don't ever forget it. But ladies, you must understand that is fucking confusing! It just is. Now that would be like me, Dave Chappelle the comedian, walking down the street in a cop uniform. Somebody might run up on me, saying, 'Oh, thank God. Officer, help us! Come on. They're over here. Help us!' 'OHH!! Just because I'm dressed this way does not make me a police officer!' All right, ladies, fine. You are not a whore. But you are wearing a whore's uniform."

    In homage to Mr. Chappelle's act-"All right, young brothers, fine. You are not a thug. But you are wearing a thug's uniform."

    For more salt on the wound check out a fellow blogger's (The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male) up close and personal take on the police profiling issue:

  • Understanding Racial Profiling
  • Saturday, December 02, 2006

    What does this Man have to do with a Queens Police Brutality Case?

    The quick answer to my title question is-"nothing." The long answer is....everything. The gentleman pictured above is Hiram Johnson, a notable senator of California from 1917 to 1945. During his first year as senator, he was noted for making the statement: "the first casualty when war comes, is truth," pertaining to America's entry into the first World War. Who would have guessed that Senator Johnson's remarks would prove to be as prophetic today as they were almost 90 years ago. Unfortunately, I think Johnson's quote also applies to the handling of a Queens(N.Y.) police shooting that resulted in the death of a future groom on the eve of his wedding day. The groom, Sean Bell, 23, was killed on the 26th of November in a hail of bullets after leaving a bachelor party, which was being held at a Queens strip club. Bell, along with two friends while in a vehicle, were shot at in excess of 50 times by New York City police. The circumstances before and after this tragedy is extremely murky. According to the latest reports, an altercation may have occurred in the club with the groom (including his entourage) and some Guyanese patrons. It has also been claimed that someone in Bell's party may (or may not) have made reference to possessing a gun. While this is allegedly transpiring, undercover authorities have been surveilling the club in question(Club Kalua, left) in hopes of gathering enough evidence to shut it down for drug and prostitution charges.

    To further add to the nebulous nature of the shooting, it has also been reported that undercover police stopped Bell's vehicle (possibly without identifying themselves, again open to speculation) and either Bell’s (the driver) alleged ramming of the police vehicle or the belief that his party was armed, caused police to open fire, killing Bell and injuring his passengers. In addition, it has been speculated by police that there may (or may not) have been a fourth person in Bell's car that escaped and was armed. Be that as it may, when the gun residue cleared, no gun(s) were found at the scene. So what you have here is an excellent premise to sell newspapers and foment long held tensions between law enforcement and the African-American community. An unarmed groom and father of two children being killed hours before his wedding is not only tragic but also makes good copy. The usual cast of characters has arrived-Sharpton, community activists, an angry Black citizenry and police/public officials trying to make sense of exactly what occurred.

    We can be sure that someone screwed up.....royally. But each police brutality case is different. My deepest desire is that the African-American community in the future becomes more proactive instead of being reactive when these cases occur. This reactive contention would entail there being some self-effacement by Black folk regarding these matters. Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I am deeply saddened that another young male of color is dead. And the photo of his 3 year old daughter crying and attempting to understand that her father is gone is horrific and will haunt me for a lifetime. But as this tragedy has played out thus far, the story oftentimes circumvents the truth. Here are some truths about the police:

    1) Policing is a stressful, difficult and dangerous job that no sane person wants to do.

    2) Police officers (some who are also persons of color) have been killed in the line of duty leaving families (like the victim's in this case) orphaned and widowed. The key difference is that Sharpton, to my knowledge has not shown up for cases like these.

    3) And of course, you do have reprehensible cases of police misconduct and corruption.

    Now here are some hard truths for the African-American and Latino communities:

    1) The police have to discern who has criminal intent in an atmosphere that idolizes rebel behavior thanks to commercial hip hop imagery. Gone are the days when the heroes and villains wore opposing color schemes. Now there are legions of Black and Brown youth, whose fashion sense and mannerisms mimic those comprised of the thug element. Many are not criminals but (a la 50 cent) how is one to tell the difference between a gangsta and a wanksta.

    2) Not only do you have a street culture that has risen to mythic proportions but also street ethics that manifest in "stop snitchin'" policies-the ghetto version of the Italian omerta. At one time snitching meant that if two or more parties were involved in a crime and one gets caught, that person would not "rat" his cohorts out. This ghetto omerta has morphed into just not providing any information if someone gets hurt or killed. The murderer of an innocent simply gets a pass. Just ask Busta Rhymes.

    3) And lastly, we have a youth culture that unfortunately fulfill the stereotypes that have been ascribed to them. In the Bell case, all three parties had numerous arrests for drug and weapon charges in the past. The media has been hampering on the amount of shots in this case. How many shots would have been appropriate? One. Ten. Fifteen? If these officers (who were mostly minorities-which diminishes the usual black/white dynamic) honestly thought that there was a legitimate threat, how many shots would make the public comfortable? Yes, these gentleman were unarmed but how would the officers have known this? Children with fake guns have been killed under similar circumstances....when the smoke clears, it's another tragic mistake. If these victims were profiled....guess what?.....they were correctly profiled. Did they deserve to get shot? No...but in this realm of street culture where signals can get crossed, tragedy is sure to lurk in the shadows. As you can see, I have a lot to say about this case and my next entry will be an addendum piece. For the latest developments pertaining to the Queens shooting (including a Stanley Crouch editorial) click on the links below:

  • Cops, demonstrators square off in Queens shooting protest

  • Queens Shooting: In Search for Fourth Man, Police Arrest Four and Anger Community

  • Stanley Crouch's editorial regarding the Queens Police Shooting
  • Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Afronerd Radio?.......Stay Tuned

    Yes, folks I have decided to entertain the internet radio/podcast game. I initially started this blog for several reasons:

    1) To provide an alternate African-American viewpoint not often heard in conventional mainstream media (i.e. Black Conservatism, critical analysis of African-American pop culture, the concepts of Black geekness/intellectualism, etc).

    2)To facilitate a think tank environment for other like-minded bloggers and individuals to "hash" out ideas and strategies to combat the commonly held stereotypes of people of color found in various media outlets(tv, radio, advertisements, etc)

    3) And plain ol' frustration. Just being able to speak my mind and vocalize my disdain at the misrepresentation and myopic promotion of Black culture in our country.

    Hopefully, joining BlogTalkRadio.Com will be another outlet for me to bring forth important issues and experiences from a moderate Conservative point of view. The show will allow for live broadcasting including a call-in feature. This new radio venture couldn't come at a more opportune time based on what transpired regarding my last entry. If you happen to scroll down and check out my Carmelo Anthony/Do-rag rant, also view the heated exchange in the comment section. Based on the blatant misinformation of the commenter/blogger, named "Krisna"(pertaining to who did and did not participate in the creation of Hip Hop-something that is well documented and irrefutable), it is imperative that the next radio broadcast address what is occurring with those who are in and outside Black culture espousing false data. Stay tuned for more info regarding upcoming shows and scheduling.

  • BlogTalkRadio.Com

  • Afronerd Radio
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    What's wrong with this picture?....Oh and If you haven't Guessed.....This is a Rant!

    I must confess that I am really chomping at the bit to discuss the recent and tragic events centering around the Queens police shooting that occurred this past weekend. But as promised, I'm not going to rush to judgment-unlike those who have already politicized this matter. I will, however, discuss something that is vaguely related. Culture. Or lack thereof. Those of you who have stuck with this blog for the last few months are probably aware of a previous disagreement that I had with a fellow blogger by the name of "Fresh" from Crunk and Disorderly. I am no longer warring with the blog as I do believe that it does serve a purpose. So let's just state that for the record, we have since reached a detente(think of the old Soviet Union and the US during the Cold War). Admittedly I do glance at Crunk on occasion. Don't we all slow down while driving when an accident has occurred hoping to see an injury? Well, the above photo is that accident up ahead. I have to give props to Crunk for highlighting the above moment in time pertaining to the lovely couple. If you have been living under Osama's rock for the last few years and haven't checked out a passing episode of MTV's TRL or a Denver Nuggets game, you might not be familiar with Alani "La La" Vasquez or Carmelo Anthony.

    If you haven't guessed, this is going to be yet another HipHop/Culture rant. And for those who say that I criticize hiphop too much.....you should be used to this by now. Can't we clean up people? Here we have a multi-millionaire and he can't tighten up his appearance for his lady/soon to be wife/soon to be mother of his child? As much as I try to stray away from critiquing hiphop culture, I'm still taken to different tangents with it. Is there ever a moment in this alleged culture where an individual classes up? Or is one always on thug protocol? And believe it or not this is not purely a racial issue as I have seen numerous couples(the males, specifically) of various racial and ethnic origin that insist on a downgrade of their appearance. The women are not even expecting much. Perhaps Mr. Anthony's bank account makes up for this. And god forbid that one should get profiled.....one might mistake Carmelo for a ne'er-do-well as opposed to a professional athlete.

    What really shocked me the most was that for a number of commenters under Fresh's entry, many of the women actually liked Carmelo's appearance. Does keeping it real entail never removing your do-rag for your lady and never actually marrying her before she is with child? Or does it mean that you honor her by giving her something sophisticated to look at during a meal? Or perhaps making her a wife and not a wifey. Mediocre fashion sense and a do-rag evidently appeals to some women nowadays. WOW! I guess I'll smear feces on my clothes and give Halle a call. Has anyone ever determined exactly when HipHop was deemed a culture? Was it the Blacks and Latinos that created it or Madison Avenue? A culture will always help your financial bottomline moreso than a fad. Just ask a burka manufacturer. This is allegedly a free country and one can dress as he or she sees fit but we need choices folks. Young people of color, specifically, need to bear witness to class and decency every once in awhile to at least be familiar with couture and etiquette. Ok that's it....I can breathe. I return you now to your regularly scheduled programming....I think The Flavor of Love is on.

    A delay for the facts......

    I had initially planned to write a piece regarding the alleged police brutality/shooting incident that occurred in the South Jamaica section of Queens a few days ago. Those of you who are most familiar with my writing probably have already guessed that my take on this matter would be different. I will address this tragic incident at a later date but I think it would be prudent for me to give a formal synopsis when all the facts have come forward. Meanwhile, click on the links below to find out what has been reported thus far:

  • Police looking for more witnesses to deadly Queens Police shooting

  • Mayor Says Shooting Was ‘Excessive’

  • NY police shooting of unarmed groom sparks outrage
  • Sunday, November 26, 2006

    A Rebroadcast.....Highlighting an interesting Esquire Article

    First, I have to give many thanks to Mat Johnson(of the blog, Niggerati Manor)for bringing this particular article to my attention. I have no idea how I missed this issue of Esquire as I have been an avid reader of the magazine for what seems like an eon. This month's Esquire has a feature story entitled, "The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger," written by author and sometime tv media pundit, John Ridley.

    In this case the talented Mr. Ridley(not to be confused with Ripley) lays down the gauntlet by clearly making the distinction between Black people and niggas. In my estimation, Ridley's manifesto is a codified version of Chris Rock's infamous Niggas versus Black people routine from his Bring the Pain HBO special. Unfortunately, I believe that many people will delve into a controversy surrounding semantics as opposed to analyzing the validity of the piece. It may be a painful assertion, but street life has risen from societal symptomology to a distinct culture; pretty much in the same vein as its White trash counterpart. And as I alluded to in the comment section of Niggerati, people of color are predisposed to participate in a Kirbyesque Uni-Mind mentality.

    Humor me as I go onto geek mode. If anyone is familiar with Jack Kirby's run of the Eternals comic series, the protagonists are a race of Godlike beings (akin to Asgardians or Olympians) when faced by a common threat merge into a single uni-mind entity. This uni-mind is essentially what Black people are forced to become in order to combat their problems. Ridley's article also gives high marks to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell for their display of diplomatic aplomb during the 2001 Hanna island crisis which resulted in the release of the crew of an American surveillance plane ("spy craft" in Mandarin) downed in Chinese territory.

    Ridley posits that Rice and Powell were not able to receive their just accolades due to a competing story involving the Black underclass riots in Cincinnati, Ohio. In Ridley's colorful language, Black excellence lost out to niggas during this period. One may feel uncomfortable with Mr. Ridley's manifesto, but I do believe that a diversity of thought, art, politics and imagery is necessary for African-Americans to move forward as individuals and not one massive automaton. Bravo John Ridley. Bravo. For more on the Ridley piece and Mat Johnson's review click on the links below:

  • The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger

  • N vs BP

  • Next up, my impression of the Queens police brutality shooting(or 50 cent for 50 bullets).

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    For the Die-Hard Trekkie(or Trekker)

    I would definitely consider myself a mild Star Trek enthusiast. My interest in Trekdom would fall somewhere between Trekkie and a Trekker. Believe it or not, many have hypothesized that there are differences between these two types of fans. Despite where I would be placed on the Trekdom scale, imagine my surprise when I discovered that Paramount recently released Star Trek: The Animated Series, a non canonical continuation of the original series. The animated version, which was broadcast in 1973 and barely made it through two seasons, is a surprsingly good interpolation of its live-action predecessor. I just purchased the new DVD release and have seen approximately 8 half hour episodes(out of the 22) thus far. To be honest, I barely remember this series(unlike Gigantor and Speed Racer for some reason) as a kid so it's definitely a fresh treat for someone familiar with the original series. The gang's all here-the original cast, sans Walter Koenig(Chekov) provided the voice talent for the short lived series. The animation, developed by Filmation Studios, is archaic by today's standards however the video transfer is excellent. Do yourself a favor and check out this excellent stocking stuffer for the upcoming (and annoying) holiday season. Also click on the link below for Wikipedia's synopsis of Star Trek Animated:

  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Monday, November 20, 2006

    Gee...Looks Like Kramer Tripped into the Wrong Door This Time!

    WOW! Isn't he special(in the words of Dana Carvey's Church Lady character)? To be honest, I have grown increasingly numb to racial tirades and the weekly celebrity implosions. As much as I loved the Kramer character and admired the high standard of writing on Seinfeld, I am not shocked that Michael Richards is nothing like his zany character. But don't forget that I am ever the contrarian here at Afronerd. I have friends who have done stand-up comedy in the past and dealing with hecklers is never a pleasureable experience when you are trying to do an act. Unfortunately, Richards showed us how he really feels just as his fellow thespian, Mel Gibson did a few months ago. But at this juncture, I am way beyond being affected by the word, nigger(or nigga, whichever fits nowadays). It's not my word. It's a European invention. And as I stated in a prior entry, just because a White person calls a person of color a nigger, does it make it so?

    An analogy I often use, deals with Columbus proving the world is round. A great deal of Whites at the time believed the world was flat....it didn't make it a fact. I can call the sky green....does it make it correct? Conversely, using nigger does not make it a fact either. What I do care about centers around the inevitable appearance of the usual cast of characters when these events occur-either Sharpton, the NAACP or Rev. Jackson. You can bet that they will bring the fire and brimstone with the customary rebuttal and call to action. Where are these gentlemen when we have 24-7 minstrel programming that assaults the Black image daily? You could hear a pin drop.

    One would have to be delusional to think that Whites(or Blacks and other nationalities) do not use the word. America is supposed to be about freedom.....if a person wants to use such language, so be it. Just remember that there are ramifications for its usage. One person may give you a hug, another may try to kill you. I'm not the gambling type so I'll stick to sir. The person that uses the word, regardless of his/her nationality really tells you more about himself than the individual that the epithet was directed toward. Richards singlehandedly defecated on his career, a beloved character, social standing and indirectly the Seinfeld franchise in one swoop. Just ask Mel, he knows the deal. Who's really the nigga now? For more of Richard's impression of Chernobyl click on the link below:

  • Michael Richards, a.k.a. Kramer, spews racial slurs during standup act
  • Sunday, November 19, 2006

    Am I the Only One Confused by Russell Simmons?

    I just don't get Russell Simmons. I have been feeling this way for a couple of years now due to how he juxtaposes his humanitarian efforts with the current hip hop music that he endorses. On one hand, in the past he has been very vocal regarding the reformation of New York's strict Rockefeller drug laws and on the other, the culture that he is marketing continues to glamorize a thuggish (and sometimes drug referenced) lifestyle. What prompted me to write this particular entry, relates to an NY Daily News article that reported now Simmons and model/Tsunami survivor, Petra Nemcova are on a fact finding tour of South African diamond mines. Ever the business mogul, Simmons coincidently has an endorsement deal with the DeBeers diamond company. Again, we have a culture that promotes bling over substance to the detriment of Africans who have died due to the exploitation of their labor as it pertains to the funding of civil wars.

    Russell has stated that he is attempting to empower these exploited diamond mining Africans but when will he own up to the damage that negative rap music has done to African-Americans? This is the root of the quandry that I find myself having with Mr. Simmons. You can throw President Carter(Jay-z for the uninitiated) in this mix as well. Recently, Jigga had a street named after him in Nigeria for highlighting the country's water crisis. In a prior entry, I was highly critical of his boycott against Cristal, a drink that many in his fanbase probably can not afford and yet the lifestyle that he promotes as well as hiphop's nihilism continues. More on Russell and Jay-z below:

  • Simmons on gem of a trip

  • Documentary Following Russell Simmons' Fight Against Rockefeller Drug Laws In Production

  • Uneasy Lies the Head

  • Jay-z Gets Street Named After Him In Nigeria
  • Why You'll Never See a Comic Book Store in the Hood....

    Excuse me for using the term hood. I'm not fond of the word and I'm not sure if it is applicable to certain communities that are currently being gentrified. Harlem has often been referred to as a hood. I'm not sure if this is accurate as many brownstones uptown have seven figure pricetags. But I digress. I used "hood" as a backdrop for my lamenting the desire for a Black comic store in my neighborhood. I do have to be fair, someone did operate a comic shop in St. Albans for a brief period albeit it closed in a few months-I suspect due to a lack of support. I have to give kudos to the young cat that made the attempt because at least he tried. And as much as I lambaste the current rap scene, I'm not goint to blame rap on this one...at least not directly. There are a whole host of variables as to why this young man's business endeavor failed. Running a successful comic shop in any community is difficult, however one major hurdle a Black comic shop would have is customer identification. Rarely does anyone want to be considered a nerd in the Black community. This may be an esoteric assertion but in my estimation it is a hard fact. Nevertheless, I do see my fair share of bespectacled men of color clamoring around graphic novels when I patronize White comic establishments. Perhaps one day, African Americans can see themselves as a truly diverse entity(and hopefully other folks will view us that way as well) and I can get my comic shop after all. If this ever happened, Black Starbucks is next.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Newsflash!!! Humans and Sheep Share the Same DNA!!

    I don't know if you were aware of this but human beings are sheep. Really. I suspect that even if you lived under a rock like Patrick Starfish(yeah, I look at SpongeBob Squarepants....I'm ready...I'm ready!) you probably heard that the Sony Playstation 3 was released today. At some point in the future, I plan to purchase this extremely powerful gaming console. Emphasis on some point in the future. I'm just not in a rush to pay $13,000!!! Yes, you heard me...thirteen thousand big ones. At least that is the highest bid I heard was reported to have been placed on Ebay. What is wrong with people? How is it that so many of us are so easily lead(hence the sheep analogy) by corporate manipulation and greed? It's bad enough that the game retails for $600, but many people need this piece of equipment NOW. I have heard of numerous robberies, shootings and mob malfeasance in various parts of the country, all in quest of this game. For once, I would like to see people(en masse) take a stand and not be so easily led when these alleged hard to get items are invariably released. I'll sidestep the potential bulletwound and purchase the system next year. If you absolutely must have the Playstation during this holiday season, I hear Circuit City has a deal on Kevlar vests....just kidding. Maybe. For more pertaining to Playstation madness check out the links below:

  • PS3 Launch Marred by Violence

  • Sony PlayStation 3 debuts amid shopper frenzy

  • Violence mars PlayStation 3 US launch

  • Two arrested after crowd stampeded store to buy PlayStation 3
  • Thursday, November 16, 2006

    When Too Much OJ Can Give You an Upset Stomach

    Who would have thought that the above clip from a British comedy show would provide a glimpse into O.J. Simpson's future. To jump to the punchline, the host, Armando Iannucci managed to get Orenthal's autograph on a piece of paper with the phrase, "I DID IT" emblazoned on it. Now, of course, Mr. Simpson has managed to garner a hefty paycheck thanks to publisher, Judith Regan and media outlet Fox television for a book/TV special combo, entitled, "If I Did It." WOW!...just when you thought the media could get no lower in a macabre limbo contest, they're actually able to get below the proverbial bar. The show will allow OJ to hypothetically discuss how he would have committed the murders of his wife and her alleged paramour Ron Goldman. Again, it's allegedly a supposition...wink wink. This is our media at their best. If it's time for OJ to confess then the media needs to own up to their complicity. No one ever seems to discuss how much money this decade plus case still generates due to the public's neverending prurient interest in it. A cottage industry has developed due in part (or whole) because of the "case of the century." If one were to calculate the revenue generated from CSI, its rip-offs and spin-offs as well as court punditry programming, it would be.....well..incalculable. I think I'm going to end this post right at this point....I will devote a more detailed analysis regarding the OJ case and its polarizing effects in an upcoming entry. Click on the link below for more regarding OJ's confession:

  • O.J. Simpson to confess — hypothetically
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    A Truly Underrated Graphic Novel Series.....

    I just picked up the latest issue(#7) of the comic book series, Squadron Supreme and the book never ceases to amaze me. I've devoted several posts to this series and it definitely appears that Hollywood(hence NBC's Heroes) has finally figured out that suspense and super powers make for a great cinematic elixir. This particular issue entails a rematch between the team and their sociopathic nemesis, Redstone. Not to give too much away, but the art, pathos and violence literally jumps off the pages. For those who still insist that graphic novels are for kids, pick up the Supreme Power(the Squadron's first incarnation)trade paperback issues and then, of course, issues 1-7 of Squadron and I assure you that your views will undoubtedly change. Check out the link below for a preview of issue 7:

  • Squadron Supreme Preview, issue#7

  • Also check out a prior Squadron entry:

  • http://afronerd.blogspot.com/2006/05/must-read.html
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    It's Official....We are Now at War......

    NYOIL has another soldier in his army to combat ignorance. Again..it's harsh stuff and excuse the vulgarity but I applaud the effort. I'm not going to belabor the issue with my viewpoint on this. You know what I think. Let's just make sure that this seed of an internalized movement grows.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Looking Backward to go Forward or My Gripe with Black Mags

    If you haven't guessed, I have a problem with some of the African American magazines that are currently available. It really hit me hard recently as I have taken it upon myself to collect vintage Ebony mags. I'm a collector to the core and along with my comics, vintage pieces(clothing, ties, watches), music and dvds, I have acquired a taste for Ebonys dating back to the mid 1940s. Who wouldn't want to have a framed 1949 Ebony with Billie Holiday or Jackie Robinson on the cover? When you read these particular magazines, you have an indelible sense that the purpose of the magazines was to highlight Black achievement as well as inform. During this time, it actually appeared that entertainers took a second tier position to those who possessed accomplishments in the medical, legal and scientific fields. Of course, jumping ahead to 2006, many publications are suffering from what I have dubbed the celebrification complex. It is the overemphasis of the celebrity lifestyle to the exclusion of far more informative and socially relevant stories. It has become a constant frustration for yours truly to uncover so many things that are ruining our rich and diverse culture. If you ever get a chance, try to pick up one of these vintage Ebonys-Ebay has been an excellent source. Again...it's your history.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Sometimes The Cartoons Get It Right or From the Mouths of Babes

    It's funny how in the last 20 years cartoons have moved away from being just fodder for kids to an excellent format for discussing very adult issues. The above video is from The Simpsons' Treehouse of Terror series(the 17th)which is a great sendup of Orson Welles' infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast. What differentiates this episode from past shows is the subtle(or not so subtle)reference to America's war with Iraq. Again, from the mouths of babes(or at least middle-aged adolescents).

    The next clip is from a controversial episode of the Boondocks. The plot plays out like the Marvel Comics What If series. However, we are not talking about what would have happened if Peter Parker had not been bitten by a radioactive spider. In this case...what if Dr. Martin Luther King actually survived his shooting? I liken this episode(and the Boondocks in general) to NYOIL's anti-minstrel diatribe. This episode is as severe as it is poignant. Maybe the movement that we have been asking for has actually arrived. Thank You Jesus(or Mohammed, or Confucius or Jehovah).....whatever works.

    More on Ed Bradley....

    The 60 Minutes crew remembers Ed Bradley...something to share with the class. Next up...another minstrel alert.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    We are losing our Greats......

    First off, I would like to send out my heartfelt condolences to the families of Ed Bradley and Gerald Levert. We really are losing our greats. We also lost Johnnie Cochran and Gordon Parks within the last 18 months. The common theme with these gentlemen was not only that they were extremely talented in their respective fields but also greatly needed by the African-American community. Johnnie was our attorney. Gerald was one of the last great soul vocalists in a time when real singers are fading from the public consciousness. And of course, Bradley and Parks exuded a timeless quality of class, culture and coolness that are bereft from the current Black media standard. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why I am so critical of commercial hiphop and how it has successfully demonized the Black image. When I look back at old photographs of the heroes of the Harlem Rennaissance period, it is a bitter pill to swallow when compared to who are considered iconic in 2006. We have to honor these soldiers by raising the standard...it is not only what they would have wanted but what we should want. Rest in peace gentleman...Rest in peace.

    Ok Now Finally.....The Election 2006

    Well, as predicted, the 2006 elections have worked in favor for the Democrats, who successfully took both the House and Senate. Unfortunately, there is a long road to haul between now and the White House in the next two years. As I have stated many times in this blog, I am formally changing my political affiliation from liberal to conservative for strategic as well as ideological reasons. I have no absolute love for either party and truth be told, I would like for an effort to be made for a viable third party that could truly harness the collective power of women and minorities. My longstanding problem with the Democratic Party involves their continued adherence to following the lead of the old guard Civil Rights hierarchy while simultaneously discounting the complexities and pathologies of the Black underclass. In simple terms, we are no longer living in 1960.

    We need to employ new millennium tactics....well, for the new millennium. It has been said many times that African-Americans, by and large are socially conservative. If that is the case, our vote should be more reflective of this phenomenon. In all fairness, the current neo-conservative/evangelical arm of the Republican party was long over due for their comeuppance. The constant (and convenient) terror alerts, the questionable state of the economy and the obvious finger pointing at liberal weaknesses(for political advantage and not for honest debate)was getting tired. So, let's see if people of color can galvanize and get ready for an interesting, if not eventful political battle in the next 24 months.....will it be Hillary or Rudy or McCain. President Barak Obama? Has an interesting ring to it....you decide.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    We Interrupt this Blog for a Very Important Message...

    I have received recent comments regarding my recent barrage of criticisms against the current hiphop scene. But we may have found a savior in NYOIL(New York Original International Lovers). The above video uses some pretty harsh language but in all fairness, minstrel rap imagery has reached such a critical mass that a vituperative counterbalance is necessary. This my friends is the shot in the arm that hiphop has been asking for....Again, please accept my apologies for the vulgarity. The next few entries will deal with the 2006 elections in addition to my usual musings. And just like a Michael Steele or Deval Patrick campaign ad....Afronerd approves of this message.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    VOTE.......it's as simple as that!

    My time is limited today, however as I have stated countless times in Afronerd, if you decide to vote tomorrow(yours truly has voted since the age of 18), vote from a strategic standpoint. Again, hedge your bets in order to demand respect. As I have heard many times from the musician/radio personality, Mtume(remember Juicy Fruit or Biggie's Juicy, he was the original melody maker)during his NY radio show Openline, he often states that whether it's right wing or left wing....it's still the same bird. I often disagree with Openline's politics but the bird analogy is correct. More on tomorrow's election.....well, tomorrow.

    Industry Ears is listening.....so be careful what you rap about!

    Although I mentioned Industry Ears a few months ago in a previous post, I think the importance and urgency of this organization must be reemphasized. Ears, founded by political/media consultants Lisa Fager and Paul Porter, is a think tank/watchdog group that focuses on parity, decency and accuracy as it pertains to minorities in the media. This organization has done a great job at making sure the FCC is aware (via the ability to file complaints from Fager and Porter's site)of the media's double standards as it relates to people of color. One radio station that felt the wrath of Ears was New York's Hot 97(97.1 FM)-sometimes referred to as Shot 97,appropriately named due to a number of past shootings in front of the station.

    One infamous incident that was squelched due to Fager's intervention, involved 97's "smackfest" game in which contestants(in this case 2 Black/Brown women) slap each other for a monetary prize until someone relinquishes. I would hope that those of us who are concerned about balance and respect for the Black image join Industry Ears' campaign to end the monkeyshines. The time to fight is now folks! Check out Ms. Fager as she points out a few of the aforementioned inconsistencies with these media outlets during an interview with John McLaughlin in the above video. Again, let's lend some assistance to this sister....she's fighting the good fight. For additional information click on the links below:

  • Industry Ears.

  • Essence Article-"Power to the People"
  • Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Let's Do a Recap Shall We? (or Reiterating the Purpose of Afronerd....Again)

    This entry relates to an experience I had a few days ago in the workplace. I was so excited about my site's redesign that while it was still in draft form, I showed it to some of my coworkers. Many liked the new look but I was also told that it may be antithetical to the intellectual disposition of the blog. A hearty discussion ensued and low and behold, when one of my colleagues stated that she does read my blog, another coworker (jokingly) insinuated that she was trying to be a wigger(or is that wigga....who can tell nowadays). If you couldn't tell, this was a ABC conversation involving White folks. I wish my Black behind could have C(seen) my way out of it. This leads me to the heart of this entry....to be accurate, the blog is for everyone. Of course, the blog is called Afronerd but why is it assumed in jest(or not) that you have to be Black to read it? To be even more accurate a wigga would probably read King magazine and not Afronerd.

    Again, going back to my "lack of a diversified Black image" complaint, this is what happens when the nigga(or wigga) aesthetic encompasses anything that is Black. I have said this many times in this blog-just as Whites are diverse so are people of color. There are a number of known White archetypes-the Midwestern farmer, the California Surfer dude, the Brooklyn Italian foreman, the Jewish New Yorker and so forth. But Black is just Black? We Have Black Brits, Caribbeans, Black Conservatives, straights, gays, southerners, northerners, various skin tone strata, educational levels, Afro-Latins, Africans.....I can go ad infinitum. The one thing we have in common is probably the difficulty in hailing a cab in midtown NYC. Again, I implore all to read my blog as well as any number of blogs by minority writers. You might just learn something....that we're all not the same.

    In the Immortal words of ODB...."We teach the chil-ren"

    I doubt the late ODB(or Big Baby Jesus) had The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store in mind when he made his infamous Grammy award speech relating to the Wu Tang Clan's failure to garner any awards that night. I've been meaning to highlight this funky costume store/literary workshop for quite a few months now but I have so many thoughts racing through my mind that sometimes a great story will slip through the cracks. I first learned about this store from a local tv program entitled Cool In Your Code. Code is probably singlehandedly the reason I find it difficult to leave New York. The show does a great job of informing the viewer of so many cultural venues, niche shops and historical reference points that leaving the Big Apple (despite the cost of living) might be treasonous. Anyway, back to the Supply Store. The store is the brainchild of writer Dave Eggers, who devised a way to consolidate cans of anti-matter, masks and capes with a writer’s workshop for kids ranging in age from six to 18. I wish this existed when I was a burgeoning young comic book reader. If you ever find your way to Brooklyn, take your kids to this store or at least use them as an excuse to buy your invisibility belt.

  • Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
  • Saturday, November 04, 2006

    Et tu Kanye?

    This video really speaks for itself. I think hiphop(if not the personalities that produce the music) is imploding. For the last few years, Mr. West has been heavily lauded as the savior of conscious rap music. I don't think so. It pains me to think that so many of these artists are delusional regarding their questionable talent and the level of their importance in the grand scheme of things. We are not talking about Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Wonder here. Just a popular beat maker. Again, the level of musicianship is minimal at best....but he has a voice. No one ever told him to be graceful if you lose. Someone may confuse my rants as being anti-hiphop. I miss how hiphop used to be. Wow, how low have we gone. In an upcoming post I will revisit, Lisa Fager's Industry Ears campaign to add balance if not to diminish this ignorant musical imagery.

    It was time for a change........You Like?

    I know it's too late for spring cleaning but I figured it was time to give the blog a new look. I'm definitely going to commit to writing more entries related to my hobbyist nature to compliment the previous political blurbs. The site redesign is based on the 1972 Luke Cage comic book posted above. Ironically, the actor Nicholas Cage(aka Nicholas Coppola) took Cage as a stage name because of his interest in comic books(which he still collects to this day); the Luke Cage book reportedly being his favorite. I also have to give many thanks to a gentleman by the name of Seven for the site's new look. If you have an interest in changing your blog's look check out Seven's handiwork below:

  • Blogs Gone Wild

  • also more on Luke Cage here:

  • Luke Cage
  • Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Were we wrong about Clarence?

    As I grow increasingly more disenchanted with the current state of affairs pertaining to our country and people of color, I wonder if our chief justice, Clarence Thomas received a bad rap after all. I have to admit that I was always impressed with his achievements but remained indifferent regarding his politics. Now after witnessing a complete turnaround regarding what goes for African-American culture nowadays, it appears that the politics that many Blacks had a problem with may be our saving grace. Hear me out on this one. I'm not talking about the current administration of neo-conservatives, but a call to arms for Black conservatism. This just makes sense to me.

    Black folks voting solely democratic as if it were part of our genomic structure is just foolish. And to quote Dr. Phil...how is this working out for us now? Although it may be hard to vote for Republicans this coming Tuesday, imagine if both parties valued the Black vote. It's called hedging your bets. If we always vote in the 90 percentile range for the democratic party, what leverage can you have when it's a given as to how you will vote. It's akin to being married to an abusive spouse. No matter how bad the treatment, it is highly unlikely the abused partner will leave. Perhaps a 60/40 democratic voting ratio this time as opposed to 90/10. I think I will investigate and relay more info regarding Mr. Thomas in a later entry. Let's try to be strategic this time folks. In the immortal words of Spike Lee....WAKE UP!

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Yourspace, Myspace......Niggaspace?

    This is yet another case of the be careful what you ask for because you might just get it disease. For the last few days, local media has shown macabre fascination with a New Jersey teen's recent launching of a website entitled, Niggaspace. Yes, it's based on Rupert Murdock's Myspace phenomenon. It has many folks in an uproar as the teen(conveniently named Tyrone) plays coy regarding his nationality. It has been speculated that Tyrone is white, as if it really matters at this juncture. In today's climate, it could have easily have been a Black youth making light of the n-word expletive. Tyrone has stated that he just wants to show his appreciation for Black culture and that nigga has transcended it's original meaning. He just wants to provide a place for Black people to congregate....to "kick it" as it were. This is a time that we should not heed Erykah Badu's advice and call Tyrone. Who would have thought that nigga and Black culture could be used interchangeably. Thank You Tyrone, but I'll pass on your cultural contribution.

    What happened to the Talented Tenth?

    It is a question that I often ask myself. It is also a question that has sparked many conversations amongst my friends and colleagues. If anyone is unfamiliar with the term, it was first propogated by famed social scientist and civil rights activist, W.E.B. DuBois. Dubois believed that one of the methods to ameliorate the African-American condition entailed the promotion of the top ten percent of the Black population as being the face of Black America. This "talented tenth" would be comprised of successful African-Americans(i.e. doctors, lawyers, scientists and professionals)with a set agenda for guiding the Black masses in replicating the success of these professionals.

    Of course there are many Black success stories that I can not even begin to enumerate in this blog, but the current "face" of African American imagery is rooted in a distorted picture of ghettoization, nihilism and pathology. It appears that at some point after the Civil Rights and Black Power movements(or perhaps at the beginning of the Black Power movement), the Black bourgeoisie was forced out as being a key voice for Black folk and in their stead were replaced with the Black underclass. I have a problem with this....and it has very little to do with notions of elitism. My chief complaint is that no single group should be the definitive Black voice. Everyone should have a voice for the sake of fairness and humanity. I've been lamenting for an internal, self-critical movement as it pertains to people of color for a long time now....The Cos can't do it by himself.

  • The Talented Tenth by W.E.B. Dubois
  • Sunday, October 29, 2006

    When Chicken Noodle Soup Puts You in the Hospital

    I'm really not trying to make Sunday "Anti Hip-Hop Day" but the stories just keep on coming. There is a new dance craze and accompanying song called the "Chicken Noodle Soup" that has once again caught the fancy of today's youth culture. To be fair, the song (performed by DJ Webstar and Young B) itself is pretty innocuous and is far from "gangsta." The dance? Well it is reminiscent of shuck and jive jigs from the minstrel period. But you already know how this minstrel drivel is playing itself out. However, the current rap landscape is so treacherous that just about anyone can strike a landmine and fall victim. Case in point, a young girl even as we speak, is fighting for her life due to a shootout that occurred during a DJ Webstar and Young B appearance yesterday in Harlem, N.Y. To date, no one in the hip hop community has ever taken responsibility for their music or rather who the music attracts. It's unfortunate that the young victim's parents did not dissuade her from attending this concert. We are at a peculiar time in history where discernment is paramount for survival. These hip hop venues are known to attract the thug element and if you value your loved ones, they should be warned to sidestep such concerts. This thug element has been around since my beloved Run-DMC days and I didn't attend those concerts as well. Let's pray for this young lady's survival and hopeful recovery. Click on the link below for more on this tragic story.

  • Girl shot at H'ween bash-'Chicken Noodle' link eyed