August 31, 2006

367 Days. STILL Counting.

We are who we INVEST in. We build capital by INVESTING in the future.
We CHOOSE our investments. Shoddy design is a choice. Not being prepared is a CHOICE. Neighborhoods under water were a choice. Not being at the one year anniversary was Cheney's choice. I have to tend to my important investment portfolios.
Instead of delivering results, RHETORIC has become the name of the game. Results take work, time, effort. Results require INVESTMENT.
The thing is, rhetoric WORKS. Rhetoric is easy. Rhetoric does not require work, time, and effort. Rhetoric sounds good. Rhetoric is giving Fats Domino a new National Medal of Arts, because his own was lost in the flood. Investment is building affordable housing and a levee that works. Listening to Black music and naming June Black Music month is easier. Look at all these Nee-gro records I got.
Rhetoric is creating charter schools using public money, allowing your religious agenda to insidiously seep into the classroom. Rhetoric is using Tony Evans or Al Sharpton or (insert name of Black religious "leader" here) to validate your rhetoric. I even have a couple minority friends.
Rhetoric is convincing people that heaven is ten zillion light years away. Investment is convincing people that heaven can be HERE and NOW.
Rhetoric is using fast-track legislation and government funding to refurbish the Superdome to be ready for September 25th. We got to get our priorities straight. We invest in sports, it pays dividends.

Rhetoric is using black children as photo opportunities. Investment is creating schools that are truly our society's equalizers.

If we can't invest in our children, what's next? The baton race continues. The children are passed, from grade to grade, ultimately going nowhere. When there's blood in the property. When there's floods in the property. When there's jobless folks in the streets....go to China and bring in the foreigners. When there's school children in the street....send 'em to war.

THE O'JAYS: Back Stabber and Ship Ahoy

NINA SIMONE: Wild is the Wind and High Priestess of Soul

August 15, 2006

The FALL of Man or the FOLLY of Man?

"The overwhelming majority of black athletes come out of the lower echelons of black society. I don't think it is accidental when you look at the inordinate number of blacks in jail and the proportionate number of blacks on athletic teams. You are essentially looking at the same guy. They both have numbers; they are both in uniforms, and they both belong to gangs. They only call one the Crips, or the Bloods, while they call the other team the 49ers, Warriors, A's, or the Giants. They are all in pursuit of respect. They all, at one level or another, keep score. The parallels are all there. It is the same guy." - Harry Edwards

"How did a sociologist predict you? Society predict that the world would see you? Predict the person you would become? How on this day, while you sit inside a jail cell, can you convince yourself that football, the game you believed you were brought on this earth to play, didn't save your life … it was the reason it almost ended? How do you accept that as your blessing? If you are Maurice Clarett, how do you finally tell football goodbye?" - Scoop Jackson

"Blood of a slave..." - Dallas Penn

Couldn't have said it better myself. How can we comprehend the last four years of Maurice Clarett's life? YOU be the judge.

DONALD BYRD: Steppin Into Tomorrow
What happened to the revolt Black athlete?

August 13, 2006

We MUST be Crazy

August 09, 2006

The Lost City of Atlantis

Incarcerated without proper legal representation. Witnesses long gone. Evidence destroyed. Courthouses backlogged. People locked up with no trial.

This ain't Guantanamo. This ain't Libya. No, not China. Not even Iraq. The New Orleans Justice System is in such shambles, the city's Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee identified five problems with the current state of affairs in New Orleans law:

1. An inability to properly subpoena police witnesses to testify at trial.
2. A backlog of criminal cases which occurred due to the destruction of certain courtroom facilities and the delay in moving forward with trials because of displaced personnel.
3. The destruction of courtrooms and other criminal justice facilities.
4. The condition and storage of evidence to be used in pending criminal cases.
5. The ability of the Orleans Indigent Defender Board to provide criminal defendants with adequate representation.

Not all of us are lawyers, so I'll attempt to translate. One: we can't find witnesses and we can't pay to find where they are now. Two: we have no judges, attorneys, bailiffs, or cops. Three: oh yeah, no courtrooms either. Four: we lost a bunch of evidence. Five: no money, you got problems.

It's been almost a year: no homes, no justice, no law, no safety, no jobs, and NO HOPE.

As we promote democracy overseas, we turn our backs on our own brothers and sisters. As we build infrastructure elsewhere, we let it rot in our own backyard. As we preach brotherhood and reminisce on how far we've come since MLK, we allow kids to return to battle-zone schools with no teachers. We allow another generation to continue the cycle of disenfranchisement, poverty, and miseducation.

We allow another generation to see America's true colors: “It’s not simply a case of volunteers coming in and dealing with the backlog of cases,” said David Carroll, the director of research and evaluations at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in Washington. “Katrina was not the cause of the indigent defender crisis. It was a catalyst that accelerated the longstanding deficiencies.”

Here's a start: VOTE.

ALLEN TOUSSAINT: The Allen Toussaint Collection
WAR: The World is a Ghetto

August 07, 2006

Let them eat cake for 2006...YOU SUCKAS!

The New York heat has been KILLER lately. Literally. 22 people dead and counting. This is America. This kind of thing is supposed to happen in Africa, right? God bless America. Apparently, we don't learn anything from our past mistakes.

We remember what's IMPORTANT to us.

The graphs above are not meteorologic forecasts. The president has to protect his peoples. Nah mean? He remembers those who are important to him. He learns from his mistakes. Lake County, Ohio was visited very quickly after their floods. 95.4% white.

All men are created equal.

While the country faced a heat wave, G DUB was pimpin' his
PODIUM. Not wanting to break a sweat during his outdoor speeches, G DUB called upon a favor from his friends at Kohler: "We don't have any exclusive agreements with the administration, but we're very good at knowing what they need,” say the stans at Kohler. While YOU were sweating, G DUB was enjoying his air-conditioned podium:

“During the rally, the weather was warm and sticky, but the President kept his cool thanks to an air-conditioning vent underneath the podium installed by Steve Buchanan, the on-site Kohler Applications Specialist. The air conditioner was actually backstage, but Buchanan rigged a 100-foot ducting system beneath the stage. ‘That was the first time we've done spot air conditioning,’ says Spinicelli, ‘so it was additional revenue for us and a feather in our cap, too. The nice thing is that Steve, the Kohler tech, can pull that kind of thing off for us. We've had him on several high-profile presidential sites and he's very good. His knowledge of not only power but also air conditioning helps a lot.’”

The boys up top got their PRIORITIES straight.

STEVIE WONDER: Hotter than July
MF GRIMM: American Hunger, Lunch
MF GRIMM: American Hunger, Last Supper


August 04, 2006

Playing the GAME.

70 years ago today, John Woodruff figured he'd played THEIR game long enough. Yes, he could run. Yes, he was fast. Yes, he was black. Who cared?
His running got him attention. His running got him a scholarship to Penn State. His running got him to the 1936 Olympics, 800 meter dash. With his foot in THEIR door, John decided to play HIS game: "On the first lap, I was on the inside, and I was trapped. I knew that the rules of running said if I tried to break out of a trap and fouled someone, I would be disqualified. At that point, I didn’t think I could win, but I had to do something."
He was done with THEIR game. THEIR game could only get him so far. THEIR game would cost him an opportunity. "I didn’t panic. I just figured if I had only one opportunity to win, this was it. I’ve heard people say that I slowed down or almost stopped. I didn’t almost stop. I stopped, and everyone else ran around me.”
Thanks to the Moms and Dads. Grandfathers and Grandmothers. Neighbors. Uncles and Aunts. Teachers. The folks that had the strength, courage, and conviction to play their OWN game. The folks that made our opportunities more attainable. We remember.

August 03, 2006

The Trials and Tribulations of the Hipster

The hipster stalks their prey over years. They don't hunt for food. They hunt for IT. The it neighborhood, the it LOFT apartment, the it view of the city. Soon, the neighborhood will be theirs.

The "artists," the misunderstood, the white, the guilty find their prey in the undiscovered real estate market - minority neighborhoods. Cheap. The gullyness of minorities. All your friends think your real. Just some of the benefits of living in the SoBro. "I'm just steps from the subway, and my loft has got a great view of Manhattan's skyline."

Yeah. You may have your various trucker hats, your Pabst beer, and your underground bands.'s still hard out their for a hipster. You have to walk through "shady streets." You can't invite your SoHo friends over for dinner. You have to travel really far to get to an organic grocery store. None of the bars around you have Pabst on tap. The bars that DO have Pabst on tap serve it because it's affordable. None of the bootleggers in your neighborhood sell Aesop Rock or any other "enlightened" hip-hop. The New York Times writes about us, but not in an ironic way. It's hard out there for a hipster.

As the warehouses become lofts, the boarded up brownstones become renovated historical landmarks, and the streets become filled with boutiques, the hipster smiles. One more neighborhood.

A rare glimpse of the elusive hipster prey, known as "minorities."

MF GRIMM: American Hunger, Breakfast