Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I think I have a pretty good ear for music. I love listening to hip hop songs that have tight lyrics. Lyrics that actually make you think. I think as far as the rap game is concerned so many people get caught up in the beat of a song and hook that they believe this makes a quality record. The craftsmanship of actually writing a verse that makes the listener think was starting to become a thing of the past.
With the freshman class (Wale, Drake, J. Cole, Kid Cudi, etc) the art of writing dope lyrics is making a comeback. One of my favorite up and coming rappers is J. Cole out of Fayetteville, N.C. At first I slept on son but then I took a hard listen to his latest mixtape, The Warm-Up. Two verses stuck out to me on that mixtape. The first is his verse off of The Badness ft Omen:
Believe in God like the sun up in the skyScience can tell us how but can't tell us whyI seen a baby cry and seconds later she laughsThe beauty of life, the pain never lastsThe rain always pass, the sun don't always shineWhen its gone I'm lonely but when its there I'm fineI hate the winter time because the nights come quickerThe light make the whites think I'm a nice young n***erBut at night they think twice and walk a little fasterFunny 100 years ago I woulda called this n***er masterHow the tables turned but still the fire's burningI feel the heat, the world is a dryer turning (turning)I'm looking for some higher learning (learning)Girl you what I desire, yearning (yearning)You say I'm easily distractedI think the problem is that I'm easily attractedby the dark side,the temptation got me questioning where my heart liesI'm trying to separate myself like apartheidBut hey the liquor keep swallowingI swear I walk with God but the devil keep following
Ms. High Profile, caught you shopping on CanalI guess it make sense, it seem as phony as your styleYour hair and your nails just as phony as your smileFake eyelashes you drew your eyebrowsMake a brother ask do you pride yourselfYour makeup like a mask trying to hide yourselfIt seem on the outside you thinking you the sh*tBut its a soulless inside that you ain't even knew existSo you so out of touch that the world mistreat youRich n***as f*ck you and broke n***as beat youHope that this will reach you and you understandThat your value ain't determined by another manCuz right you let them brothers get the upper handAnd you just tell 'em go deep like CunninghamAnd just let em OD like Len BiasAnd that pussy so good he let his friends try it
Sunday, November 15, 2009
*****After having a good discussion, I asked my favorite, Milan, to write a guest blog post. I think she has an interesting perspective. Enjoy. Also laides if you want to know about the latest make and beauty products on the market hit up her blog. Click HERE to see it. *****
So I was actually pleased when my boy Tunde suggested I get on and write this post for his blog because it’s a topic I feel strongly about and have some ‘not so great’ experience with. It’s actually a follow-up to a post he wrote HERE that I thought was extremely thought provoking.
After reading Tunde’s post, it brought back a ton of memories I had of situations in the past (that were essentially the reverse of what he was talking about) where I was made to feel inadequate or “less than” because…well…I am ‘just’ black or ‘just’ African-American, if you will. Yes you read right, JUST black…as if being so was simply not good enough. I’ve heard some Africans and even Afro-Caribbean people say African-Americans are “lost, lazy and lack true heritage”. Instead of embracing African-Americans as an extension of who they are and the cultures they represent, many have chosen to shun us or write us off as “lost”. This is mind-boggling to me. And hurtful.
I identify myself as black or African-American. I tend to use the two interchangeably a lot although African-American speaks more to my culture whereas black can include people of various cultural backgrounds with a common tie to African ancestry. I was born here in the United States, so were my parents, so were their parents and several generations before them. Yet, I know I am a descendent of Africa. I know my roots and heritage can be traced directly back to that continent. I know my ancestors were taken from Africa, brought to America as slaves and that’s essentially where my family’s story in this country begins. I’ve had family members trace our ancestry back to the early/mid-1800s. I know my people were slaves in this country. I even know what states some of them lived, who may have owned them, how they married, what children they had, how they moved and migrated across this country, and how I came to be born and raised in California. These are things I know.
What I do not know is exactly what country in Africa my people came from. I do not know what village or tribe I am a descendant of. I do not know what region I am from. I do not have names of my African ancestors. I myself do not have an African surname. But my heart is there, I know it, I feel it and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to take that away from me or any other African-American in this country. I am proud of who I am, I am proud of the ancestors that struggled in THIS country for me to have the opportunities I have, I am proud of what African-Americans here represent. I am proud of my family and my name.
When I was in college, I had a Nigerian guy I liked tell me although he liked me too…his parents would never accept me because I was ‘just’ black. I think this was the first of many of these types of comments I would encounter throughout the years usually from well-meaning African friends of mine. At the time I didn’t even fully understand what that meant…’just’ black. But it did stick with me. I guess I was naïve and looked at us all in much the same way. Yes, I was aware of cultural differences, however, black was black to me. Whether you were Haitian, Nigerian, Belizean, African-American, Trinidadian, Jamaican-American, Eritrean, etc. It was the first time I started seeing the major division that WE create amongst ourselves. The various sects that had arisen, the “culture snobs” (as I tend to call them) that existed…those that shun anything and everything that is different from the specific African culture they were a part of. The “oh you can’t know ANYTHING about this over here because THIS is Naija”. Yeah, that attitude. I have more stories along these lines, but in the interest of not writing an epic novel (just a short book apparently LOL), I won’t share them all. But you get the idea. I’m all for cultural pride. I get that. I love seeing it. I think blacks are some of the most diverse and interesting people on this planet. But when that pride turns to elitism, that’s when I have a problem.
I think we have enough “outside forces” that try to divide and conquer black people and that try to make us feel inferior that it’s sad to me that we do it to ourselves as well. That internal rejection tends to hurt more than the rejection you receive when you expect it from “others”.
I used to feel bad when I would hear the “you’re JUST black”comments. Like I was lacking something that made me inadequate. Now that I’m older, I don’t feel bad…I’m extremely proud to be JUST black or African-American. Black people in the United States have had to endure incredible pain and suffering and have had to overcome numerous struggles to be able to live equally and fairly. We STILL struggle for that. But we have a fighting spirit that can’t be matched. We’re survivors. And not for nothing, I think that strength was born and fed in Africa and has been passed down from generation to generation and still exists to this day in this country and around the world. We are resilient.
I have always been interested in learning about various cultures, especially various African/Afro-Caribbean cultures. It’s fascinating to me. Not because I’m searching for something that I lack, but because I tend to discover an aspect of these cultures that has translated into African-American culture in some way. I think that’s pretty special and I would encourage other African people to do the same. Especially those that are hung-up on the idea that being ‘just black’ isn’t good enough. They may discover that what connects us if far greater than what separates us. They may also discover that when they look at us, they’ll see themselves more often than not.
Ethiopian, Nigerian, Ugandan, Eritrean, Belizean, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Bahamian….yeah, I think African-Americans are all of those mixed up and rolled into one. I think that’s pretty dope and I’m extremely proud to be JUST black.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
***Before you read any further please know that I'm writing this blog based on my own opinions and views. If you disagree or have different opinions take it up in the comment section. Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one.***
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7).
Earl Washington, a Virginia man with limited mental capacity, was sentenced to death after he allegedly confessed to committing a 1982 murder he didn't commit. He served a decade on death row, once coming within nine days of execution before receiving a stay. He would serve a total of 17 years behind bars before DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project cleared him in 2000.
Frank Lee Smith died of cancer on Florida’s death row after serving 14 years for a murder and rape he didn't commit. He was cleared by DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project 11 months after his death.