Friday, June 26, 2009

Music, Life and Happiness?

I would confidently bet my two thumbs that your IPod or an IPod of a friend you borrowed always had these three artists Biggie, Jay-z and Michael Jackson. Weird combo but it just seems to work. I know you thinking another "Wacko Jacko" piece paying homage now that he has left the earth but this is not your cliché blog piece friends. You should know me better than that by now!

The life, the man, the legend of Michael Joseph Jackson its in all the headlines, all the gossip blogs but has anyone really covered his life properly. I have yet to see it! I myself have been engulfed with the media coverage of the sudden death of the King of Pop but even after this loss the man cannot receive the proper respect and honor for his work. The man was living piece of history he has broken barriers and records, which I believe are untouchable. In all the mini docs I recently seen the past two days they say Mike sang as a kid sold a lot of records then the rape charges. No need to go into detail but a lot of time and effort is placed on the yet to be proven rape charges. I am not going to sit here and say I am the biggest fan ever but I respect what this man has done to black history, to pop culture and as a humanitarian. But we need to stop putting him on this pedestal and treat Michael as a human; the man was always in pain. Look at the life he lived from 1969 until his death. Even though he is clearly a naturally good damn entertainer and musician, it appears, as Michael did not live for the fame and glory he achieved. His obsession with childhood is evident through some of his music and his residence of Neverland Ranch. I think mentally Michael never passed the age 13 because of his father and the media.

Was Michael weird? It would be hard to deny that but I seriously cannot blame the man. With the scars this man held onto I think it is safe to say that Michael had passed on years before June 25, 2009. Michael cried out for true love through his music and being he never received it we see the kind of toll it took on his mind and body. Since 1969 Michael has been in the worldwide spotlight. We have seen him go from "black to white", multiple plastic surgeries, "off the wall" (no pun intended) marriages and childbirths also with sporadic weight losses but it never compromised his art. Many of my peers along with myself believed the man was really “invincible”. Seriously how many artists could sell out shows at 50 years old? I doubt Beyonce will still be “Crazy in Love” and booty bouncing at MSG 30 years from now. Physically yes he has been with us but its clear like many other legends appreciation for his work and heart was not given until their demise.

Michael has showed me a lot with his life, he has proven to me that money will not buy you happiness but he has also displayed true strength and determination. His father played a large role in his upbringing but he brought more negatives to the table compared to positives. Even though I could probably bench press him Michael without a doubt was stronger man than me, he had one of the biggest hearts in human history. Through all the trials and tribulations Michael still donated time, money and energy to helping those less unfortunate. Even in death the media slander him, why are the pictures of him the ambulance being displayed?? It is still fresh in all our minds of the death of this legend but after the burial and everything we going back to our regular baby momma, I hate my boss, my 8:15 bus is always crowded drama filled life but do not let the legend stop there. Michael will still be with you during the morning commute to work and in your heart because that is the kind of impact this man held on the world. Before Pac, Big, Eminem, Andre 3000 we all had Michael in our lives, I dare anyone to say different. .

Use his life as an example of a good soul because it still lives in each of us. I guarantee the media will continue to focus on his darker days within the next few weeks but just remember the man was not at fault and it is those same people who tainted his name. Usually when someone points the finger at somebody they are the ones who are wrong and regardless of all the ridicule he received Michael never stopped loving his fans or his art.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day: Mourning of the Black Man

The only benefit I get from Father's Day is monetary as an adult but as a child it took a toll on me and thousands of males across our great nation. Is there a reason why Eminem is the only artist who actually records about a dysfunctional mother while there are countless numbers of songs or rap lyrics which speak about absentee daddies or single mother households?

"It's too many black women that can say they mothers but can't say that they wives" - Common

Who is to blame for the disappearance of the black man? The black family was disassembled during the slave trade and our blood was tainted with the raping of our ancestors but we were able to rise against the odds even after that. But America saw the power of the Black family during epics times like the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement and we were yet again dismantled during the 80's and 90's. The U.S. Bureau of the Census statistics showed an increase of single parent homes from 18.5% in the 1970's to 27.7% in 1999. What are some relevant issues in the urban neighborhoods for the past few decades?

We have to open our eyes as African-Americans growing up in a White America. As men we need to start taking pride in our communities, own self-worth and for those around us. The African-American man is smart, powerful especially when in large numbers so this poses a threat to America so many elements have been strategically placed to ensure most niggas stay niggas and don’t rise against the odds. In the "hood" it’s easier to find an army recruiter compared to college recruiter. I had a recruiter who tried to talk to me out of school and to join the Army and I was already half way done with college! I mean these dudes are good...but when I asked him what happens if I get shot in Iraq he has no answer for that. Over the years more and more African-Americans have been making it to higher education but I know a lot of guys who never even got their GED. As a teenager many of my male peers were lost due to void of a male figure in their life so where do they go?? Gangs. It's weird how the government was able to silence the voice of positive movements such as the Black Panther Party but Bloods and Crips are still active nation-wide. We have our males looking for that sense of family, that father figure in the form of violence and robbery.

But it does not stop there folks look at the images we find on TV as a youth compared to now. How do they expect to lower the teenage pregnancy rate when our "role models" the rappers and star athletes are promoting polygamy and the only available birth control are the shitty NYC condoms? It makes more sense to use saran wrap like Tommy Davidson in the movie Booty Call compared to those instant baby condoms. The term baby momma is so cliché now it’s like having wisdom teeth in the hood now.

Why are we surprised that the incarceration rate of black youths is always on the rise?

I can't walk through some hoods without passing 3-4 cops walking the beat. In these same hoods you usually pass 3-4 "hustlers" also. But where do these hustlers get their product? There are not any fields of weed and coke growing in Jamaica, Queens or Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

We need to know our history. Slavery has never ended it went from the Plantation to the Penitentiary. Read into laws of our great country such as the "Black Codes" and "Rockefeller laws". These were not written in law to make our society better. Just another way to ensure our communities are fatherless, our mothers are left with the duty of two adults in poorly managed ghettos. Truthfully many of the folks who fit into these statistics were not ready to bring life into this world (nowadays these females don't stop at one) so we have the blind leading the blind.

Society unfortunately has been raising our black males to become low-life degenerates and this is why Father's Day celebration is equivalent to Yom Kippur in the hood. We cannot fight the powers that be i.e. the corporations, rappers who are just promoting the glitz and glam and leaves the hood with few options of how to obtain it. Isn't it weird how every hood nigga loves his momma but has no respect for the ladies of his peer group? For example Jay-Z is married to one of the most influential women in show business and he records songs like December 4th and Where Have You Been....but some of his most popular singles nationwide that received radio play are Can I Get A.... and Girls, Girls, Girls. I love Jay-Z not bashing the man he is a great artist and lyricist but it’s not a coincidence which message is stream through our neighborhoods to our young male minds. Every fan of Jay-Z is the not the sharpest knife in the drawer so what is the simplest interpretation you get from his music? Look we cannot blame the forces that be (the media) for the power they have, with TV, Internet, Cell Phones etc. you can't make your son, brother, nephew a nomad by disconnecting him for the world but we need to take responsibility! Your voice is stronger than anything. We know that a child is a sponge from birth to their adolescent years so you make the choice...if he knows all the words to” Cookies and Apple Juice” but does not know his ABC's you need to reevaluate your life. We laugh when we watch movies like "The Cable Guy" but that is a summary of the 21st century black man. They have become a slave of the media. Today Father's Day is not a day of celebration it is more like a day of mourning. I have been looking at Twitter and Facebook status of people not even knowing it is Father's Day, people thinking about cursing out their absentee father or baby mother's male bashing (evidence that our next generation again will be fatherless and hopeless). I ask all of you reading this do not just read this and reflect on the dickhead of father you have but make your responsibility as an African-American to make a difference in one males life, anyone please, friend, brother, cousin etc. I know Father's Day sucks for you but that non-presence has not hindered you but it may hinder another youth so step up to the plate because that difference can make a difference. There is a thin line between College Campuses and Rikers Island.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here is something calories no carbs

My great-grandmother always told me as a youth:
"Your body is your temple you must cherish it"

That meant no excessive drinking and no smoking. There is another part of this equation which she forgot to mention. (It wasn't an issue for her growing up) But it is your diet. Doctors have now diagnosed Obesity as a disease but what is the cure. There is a simple solution, remember the movie Outbreak, to cure the disease they had to find the source/host. So what causes Obesity?

Just go to the source! America is a weird weird land. We know cigarettes cause Cancer but yet they are legal. We know fast food restaurants are not good for our bodies but you can not drive through a neighborhood without seeing one of your favorite artery clogging eateries (weird they are more accessible in urban, inner city ghettos). Education is key friends...we have the resources. Lets stop going on Youtube to check out the latest Jeezy video and lets spread the knowledge.

"Knowing is half the battle" - G.I. Joe

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To Hell with Drugs We need Swag Reform

The late infamous Karl Marx once said "History repeats itself..." and in my twenty-five years I would have to agree with him 100%. In the recent years the hip-hop/urban culture has embraced the whole 80's era and now the 90’s again through fashion, music and slang. The funny thing though is even though many things have been revamped our culture always seems to advance and evolve at the same time especially our slang or to be "P.C", Ebonics.

Over the years many slang words have had their peak...they died and somehow risen again. Words such as fly, dope and bro have found ways to creep back into our vocabulary. But there are only two words, TWO that have surpassed all in the Ebonics Hall of Fame and I believe they must die IMMEDIATEDLY. The 1st one word which is unisex is "Swag" and the 2nd which is used by females and probably gay dudes is "Fab".

Weird thing is swag has been around for years but recently blew up like an asshole after white castle value meal followed with Indian food for dessert. The peak was reached with the help of Soulja Boy's "Turn My Swag On" and F.L.Y."Swag Surfin", Brb I'm going to throw up. Sorry about that but it makes me sick to my stomach, first because I am an individual who knows what a true swagger is and actually possess my own swag. Secondly as a New Yorker it hurts seeing the country following lame ringtone rappers to identify themselves. New York is the epicenter for just about anything and everything and we let (let's bring it down south) bammers such as Soulja Boy and F.L.Y. erect a Swagless Movement across my 5 boros. The reason this must be addressed friends because just like talent, swag is natural, it’s in your blood but I see on a daily basis lames who use to have lunch by themselves in junior high school/high school in the streets, in the club, on MySpace/Facebook/twitter talking about how fly they are, which club they poppin' bottles at or how many dudes/chicks they bag. Look obviously we can't overcome these posers of swag so let’s point out some symptoms so maybe their image can be revamped and they can stop making a fool of themselves, leave that to the XXXL tee wearing, white out on shades Soulja Boy.

  1. You need to have YOUR OWN style- Do not tighten up your Levis just because Jim Jones said it is cool now, if you like wearing 44 jeans even though you weight 140 lbs do it! The biggest thing is that when you try to impersonate someone or something you FAIL. Be yourself people.

  1. A Penny Saved it a Penny earned- If you can't afford a bottle of champagne or Goose in the club go drink some Coronas. True swagger does not hold up the line at the club because you and 15 of your mans are putting money together to cop a pint of Henny. Owning a LV speedy bag or a pair of Dolce shades does not make you Fab ladies. If you can only afford Steve Madden rock Steve Madden. I would prefer her because at least she may have some savings in the bank. Speedy bags with matching American Apparel shirt and Uggz means maxed credit card and no cab fare. It appears many of you did not get the memo but Uggz are not uptowns ladies. They are cool in the winter but wearing them in 80 degree weather just let us know you have smelly corns. I mean the "hood" has stepped it up dudes are rocking Gucci sneakers to the club now get yourself a decent pair of heels if you are truly Fab.

  1. Less is More- Anyone can go a store and purchase what is on the mannequin but I believe it is not what you wear but how you wear it. Do not buy a Jordan tee with a Jordan sweat-suit with Jordan socks to match the new Retro 11's you purchased. Same for the luxury shit, anyone can spend a couple hundred on an outfit to rock in the club while sucking on ice cubes from the drink you purchased an hour ago. But tomorrow when you go to the corner store you will be like me in basketball shorts and flip-flops. It’s harder than a teenage boy at a peep show to emulate that your money is long eventually it will catch up to you and you will be exposed.

  1. Sleepless in Seattle was a cool movie-But do not try to relive it in 2009 fellas. If you have done any of the three things I am about to list then you know your swag level equates to an atom. First after constant begging you finally get shorty number but you decide you want to call her before she leaves to ensure it is the right number or when she does not give you her number you ask for her e-mail instead. Last but not least (sorry have to regurgitate again) instead of e-mail you ask for her name on Facebook or AIM screen name. Some of you may be laughing but everything I write is true I have seen it with my own two eyes. Like I wouldn't feel cool in the car after the club telling my peoples that XxNyFinestDimePiecexX (hope that isn’t a real screen name) has a boyfriend but says we can chat on AIM.

There are plenty more tips I can provide for the swag-less but Rome was not built in a day. A follow up is soon to come but please tell me your thoughts on life since swagger emerged or more poser swag shit that you have seen recently. Remember those with a swag deficiency you can not fool the elite because we are listening and the cameras are watching ;)