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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another Helping of Funk....

I suspect a pre-teen by the name of Prince Rogers Nelson studied this gentlemen very closely. Why can't the music be as good as this today. Notice how into the music the dancers were back then. Perchance to dream. Take a look at the Godfather, James Brown circa 1973 on SOOOOOOOUL Train.

Just a Taste of Funk & Soul

Next week I will be back to addressing the usual subjects-politics, race, comics, hobbies, etc. But for the weekend...time to kick back and showcase some of what I listen to. Check out the above clip featuring two of Prince's cohorts in the funk family, Candy Dulfer and Chance Howard performing D'angelo's "Brown Sugar."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time to be a Fair Guy and not a Nice One

At some point I stopped being a "nice" guy. Oh I still have nice guy tendencies but I compromised and now consider myself a fair guy..which I hope many of my fellow bretheren aspire to be. I also receive periodic email alerts from a website that I tripped over a few years ago entitled:
  • http://www.nomoremrniceguy.com

  • No More Mr. Nice Guy was founded by Dr. Robert Glover, who essentially provides guidelines as to how to break the nice guy syndrome. My first reaction, of course, was this guy has just discovered a new infomercial-like hustle and intends to sucker a gullible populace. This may be true, but his diatribes do appear to hit the nail on the head. Regardless as to Dr. Glover's intent, I would suggest that you peruse his site.........you never know, you might break some bad(I mean nice) habits. Also check out a recent article on the Glover technique:

  • Mr. Nice Guy
  • Monday, July 24, 2006

    Reparations......Some of my Thoughts

    Finally found some time to place an entry. I must say that I am both surprised and elated that there does appear to be some progress being made in the quest for reparations for horrors stemming from American slavery. The hardest thing to convey to non-Whites is the fact that one can still see the vestiges of slavery (or better yet a slave mindset in 21st century people of color). At one time I would have been against the idea of reparations simply because I thought that one can not really put a price on pain or the loss of a culture. There have been a number of occasions when I was personally reminded of my slave past. It happened once when I was in the 10th grade and I was required to construct a family tree. I noticed that the White kids were actually able to go the library to obtain data. The library. And many of my classmates were able to find records of an ancestor who was either a blacksmith or farmer dating back to the 1700s. I was only able to go a little bit beyond my grandmother. This was my wake-up call of a slave past.

    I remember another instance when a coworker simply asked me where I was from and when I mentioned New York(as well as alluding to my parents coming from the South and Midwest, respectively)it wasn't quite the answer he was looking for. He meant nationally...whereas his lineage dated back to Ireland. I shrugged my shoulders and answered "Africa....I guess." This is why reparations are necessary, however I would not suggest a check to individuals but to the Black economic infrastructure which would be beneficial to everyone. How realistic this would be....I have no idea, but it would be nice to dream.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Just a quick Note.....

    Sorry for being somewhat lax in submitting entries this week but this heatwave has a debilitating effect on one's ability to write, pontificate, etc. Anyway, time is limited for me at this moment but I did want to provide a link to Stanley Crouch's latest op-ed piece on lynching and the recent passing of famed lynching survivor, James Cameron(no not the Terminator/Titanic guy). Later today...my thoughts on the reparations issue.

  • Our shared history of hatred
  • Friday, July 14, 2006

    A Very Important Email.........

    I just received an email message from a friend of mine dealing with recent developments in the reparations debate. My next entry will address my thoughts on the issue but I wanted to post this article first.

    By ERIN TEXEIRA, AP National Writer Sun Jul 9, 7:29 PM ET

    Advocates who say black Americans should be compensated for slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath are quietly chalking up victories and gaining momentum.

    Fueled by the work of scholars and lawyers, their campaign has morphed in recent years from a fringe-group rallying cry into sophisticated, mainstream movement. Most recently, a pair of churches apologized for their part in the slave trade, and one is studying ways to repay black church members.

    The overall issue is hardly settled, even among black Americans: Some say that focusing on slavery shouldn't be a top priority or that it doesn't make sense to compensate people generations after a historical wrong.

    Yet reparations efforts have led a number of cities and states to approve measures that force businesses to publicize their historical ties to slavery. Several reparations court cases are in progress, and international human rights officials are increasingly spotlighting the issue.

    "This matter is growing in significance rather than declining," said Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and a leading reparations activist. "It has more vigor and vitality in the 21st century than it's had in the history of the reparations movement."

    The most recent victories for reparations advocates came in June, when the Moravian Church and the Episcopal Church both apologized for owning slaves and promised to battle current racism. The Episcopalians also launched a national, yearslong probe into church slavery links and into whether the church should compensate black members. A white church member, Katrina Browne, also screened a documentary focusing on white culpability at the denomination's national assembly.

    The Episcopalians debated slavery and reparations for years before reaching an agreement, said Jayne Oasin, social justice officer for the denomination, who will oversee its work on the issue.

    Historically, slavery was an uncomfortable topic for the church. Some Episcopal bishops owned slaves — and the Bible was used to justify the practice, Oasin said.

    "Why not (take these steps) 100 years ago?" she said. "Let's talk about the complicity of the Episcopal Church as one of the institutions of this country who, of course, benefited from slavery."

    Also in June, a North Carolina commission urged the state government to repay the descendants of victims of a violent 1898 campaign by white supremacists to strip blacks of power in Wilmington, N.C. As many as 60 blacks died, and thousands were driven from the city.

    The commission also recommended state-funded programs to support local black businesses and home ownership.

    The report came weeks after the Organization of American States requested information from the U.S. government about a 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Okla., in which 1,200 homes were burned and as many as 300 blacks killed. An OAS official said the group might pursue the issue as a violation of international human rights.

    The modern reparations movement revived an idea that's been around since emancipation, when black leaders argued that newly freed slaves deserved compensation.

    About six years ago, the issue started gaining momentum again. Randall Robinson's "The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks," was a best seller; reparations became a central issue at the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa; and California legislators passed the nation's first law forcing insurance companies that do business with the state to disclose their slavery ties. Illinois passed a similar insurance law in 2003, and the next year Iowa legislators began requesting — but not forcing — the same disclosures.

    Several cities — including Chicago, Detroit and Oakland — have laws requiring that all businesses make such disclosures.

    Reparations opponents insist that no living American should have to pay for a practice that ended more than 140 years ago. Plus, programs such as affirmative action and welfare already have compensated for past injustices, said John H. McWhorter, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

    "The reparations movement is based on a fallacy that cripples the thinking on race — the fallacy that what ails black America is a cash problem," said McWhorter, who is black. "Giving people money will not solve the problems that we have."

    Even so, support is reaching beyond African-Americans and the South.

    Katrina Browne, the white Episcopalian filmmaker, is finishing a documentary about her ancestors, the DeWolfs of Bristol, R.I., the biggest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She screened it for Episcopal Church officials at the June convention.

    "Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North," details how the economies of the Northeast and the nation as a whole depended on slaves.

    "A lot of white people think they know everything there is to know about slavery — we all agree it was wrong and that's enough," Browne said. "But this was the foundation of our country, not some Southern anomaly. We all inherit responsibility."

    She says neither whites nor blacks will heal from slavery until formal hearings expose the full history of slavery and its effects — an effort similar to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission after apartheid collapsed.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    And Now Time For Some Religious Coonery.....

    I just can't bring myself to say anything about this clip. Just somebody please make it stop....Damn.

    I Don't Do Gossip But Damn......What the Hell?

    I heard about this exchange earlier this morning and just had to find the footage. As my entry is appropriately entitled, I do not usually engage in gossip oriented fodder but this actually falls into the realm of corporate racism. Brandy, singer/actress and formerly of Moesha fame, is a guest host this week for The View- temporarily filling the spot left vacant by the recently fired Star Jones Reynolds. I guess it's necessary for there to be a minority replacement which in itself can be questioned, but that's not my my gripe this time. Brandy appears to be taking the brunt of disrespect that was supposed to be leveled against Star...since all us Black folk are the same...Right. Her hair was verbally probed and touched which just seems bizarre to me. But this goes to show you that African-Americans are really not seen as individuals and we really do pay the price for the mistakes or mishaps that other Black folks make. This runs from corporate gigs to obviously large media outlets like ABC's The View. Take a look at the above debacle. Is it really 2006?

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    St. Albans, NY......a community losing it's character

    To this day, I am extremely surprised and dismayed when I still encounter some residents of St. Albans, Queens who know nothing of the community's great contribution to New York City (and African-American)history. Being raised in St. Albans, ever since I could remember, my father always mentioned how this section of Queens, was essentially a Black Hollywood for the jazz elite during the 40s and 50s. In recent years I found out that not only did such jazz greats as Lena Horne(whose photo and former home are pictured above), Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller and John Coltrane resided in this community but also Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and famed educator and policital activist W.E.B DuBois.

    This ignorance (or perhaps apathy)pertaining to St. Albans' legacy has led to a grotesque "carving up" of the community that is affecting a number of communities within the New York City boroughs as well as towns in Long Island. After the demise of the tech/internet markets, real estate appears to be the only viable "game" in town. Real estate prices are in the upper stratosphere and towns like St. Albans have fallen victim. Thanks to the illegal renting and overdeveloping taking place in the neighborhood, the general character of St. Albans is subject to change. Allegedly Mayor Bloomberg has set in motion plans to halt overdevelopment in these neighborhoods but I still notice once beautiful one family homes being sold and bulldozed in favor of aesthetically unappealing multiple unit dwellings.

    These new properties often do not pay homage to the original homes(many that dated back to the 20s and 30s) and may bring folks of questionable character to rent as opposed to owning said residences. I pray that Bloomberg owns up to his promise to halt this overdevelopment but usually greed wins out over these matters. Check out the links below denoting Bloomberg's plans as well as more on St. Albans' history.

  • St. Albans via Wikipedia

  • Forgotten NY Neighborhoods

  • City Plans to Rezone Overdeveloped Neighborhoods in Queens
  • This Stan Really is the Man

    I just wanted you guys to take a look at a recent op-ed piece by Stanley Crouch in today's NY Daily News. For the uninitiated, Mr. Crouch is a famed author, columnist and jazz critic who is another one of my uncles(in my head..like the Coz) who some may perceive to have a conservative bent, but is really just a straight shooter. I also included a link to another article that Crouch referenced in his diatribe. Both pieces delve feet first into the murky waters of the war against Gangsta Rap and new millennium minstrelsy. Take a look below:

  • Hitting back at hip-hop hustlers

  • Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Batman Vs. Superman ?......I Hope So.......

    The prospect of there being a Superman vs. Batman movie was bandied about several years ago but based on a recent Bryan Singer interview, it might actually happen. Check this out:

  • Movies on MTV
  • Saturday, July 08, 2006

    Racism So Visible Stevie Wonder Can See It...

    On this occasion, I have to actually give credit to the Crunk and Disorderly blog for this story. A friend of mine happened to catch this report on Crunk subsequently asking my opinion regarding any racial overtones with the above ad. In a nutshell, apparently the ad is part of a marketing campaign to promote Sony's PSP video game system now available in white. For the moment the billboards appear to be only in Holland. What is equally disturbing is that a great many of Crunk's commentators did not believe this ad to be racist. It has become evident that our imagery has been desecrated to such a degree without public rebuttal that I suspect many in our community are not equipped to identify racism or even combat it. This is what the hip hop generation is about.....nothing.

    The civil rights generation would have been far more vigilent towards these issues but unfortunately they have failed to convey these skills to their so-called hiphop progenies. Now, you have a billboard with two women representing their respective races through color (yea...that's not racist or original) with the White female(representing the "white" PSP game) portraying a dominant position towards her "black" counterpart and many Crunk supporters failed to see what this means and even went as far as deeming it a question of art. My how far have we fallen. Further, the billboard has a caption that states, "White is coming." This is not to wholly dump on Crunk but it is quite telling in regards to a lost generation and believe me when I say....Stevie Wonder could have seen this....why not them?

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Superman from a different perspective......

    For the comic book buff in me....check out the latest trailer for Hollywoodland, starring Ben Affleck, Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins. The movie deals with the mysterious death (an alleged suicide) of actor George Reeves, best known for his portrayal of Superman during the 1950s TV series.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Ringling Bros. Isn't The Only Place You'll Find Clowns....

    Trust me when I say that I really try not to focus every entry on negative African American imagery. It is so pervasive that I am unable to let it go with out a commentary. I'm not sure when this interview took place but I would assume that it was within the last six months. It is an O'Reilly Factor clip with a high school principal attempting to ask Damon Dash and the rap artist, Cam'ron if they feel any responsibility to children who purchase their cds. Of course, the questions go unanswered. But check out the behavior of these cats...incredible. But I do not blame them....I blame the public for not writing these companies demanding respect. Try not to gag on Cam and Dame's abject arrogance.