Sunday, February 28, 2010

nobody talks shit about Oprah

so i needed to do a slight rant....
so i was at work (i work at a department store) and i was working as a cashier on Thursday and i was checking this woman out. right as i was informing her of her total, this guy comes up as is thumbing through his wallet full of various bills. she jokingly says something like "oh you're paying for me? haha..." and he says "oh no. ha. you've been watching Oprah too much. i'm not one of those guys..." he then goes on to talk with this woman and i about what type of men sistas really we don't know a good man when we see Oprah has tainted our minds and some shit. the woman says she doesn't really watch Oprah anyway to which he responds positively as if she's a child that gets a cookie for being obedient. i respond and say "i love Oprah. she's awesome" ( ;) i really do. she's the shit. i praise her like any typical Hindu praises Ganesh, Krishna, or Shiva....or any of their other trillion gods...).
to which he says " keep watching her and you'll end up just like her-rich, SAD and ALONE!". to which i say "how do you know she's sad? you don't know her! and anyway, she doesn't give relationship advice anymore. she's ABOVE that." which is true. Oprah and her audience have more important things to think about than how to get a man, get married, or satisfy your man. thats '80's Oprah BRUH!
then he says some more bullshit about how how he's knows i want a man that has all this money and a nice car....because apparently thats what all women want. to which i say "you don't know what kind of man i want. you don't know me. and you don't know most women so you can't make a statement like that."
blah blah....he leaves talking really loud along with this woman (who is vehemently trying to explain to him how she's not the type of woman he thinks she is. but she was wrongly under the impression that he would ever cede in being the asshole that he is and admit that, no, he does not have all women figured out).

aside from this brother making assumptions about all women being gold diggers and shallow, i was most angered by his shit talking about Oprah!! Oprah is my lord and savior Jesus Christ. she is the MESSIAH for all women!! NOBODY TALKS SHIT ABOUT OPRAH AND LIVES TO TELL ABOUT IT!! if i see this mutha in the store's a definite shanking. no question.

on a more serious note, i think what he said struck a cord because it brought up the sentiments in this video i saw on a blog.

i saw it on this blog. the woman that does and blog and i exchanged a few words, and i think she is an intelligent woman with an interesting blog, i just think she has some ideas gender relations wrong.
you'll see in the video that this man talks smack about Oprah as well. and what is it that these men have against Oprah? (you'll see my issues with this video more in detail under the comments of this video on her blog).

is it that she's one of the richest people in the Unites States and has obtained her riches without the help of a man? is it because she's not all about (like i said earlier) getting a man, keeping a man, marrying a man, satisfying a man, and popping out babies? is it because she really is happy WHILE being single? and the fact that both of these men were black probably shows more issues they have with her.
Oprah's success is a win for all black people, not just women. in being a financial powerhouse, she's given black women another face...other than that of the mammy, the singer that does a better job of shaking her ass than singing, and the welfare queen. she has raised the standards of what all black people can achieve. and in addition, her show (watch it. don't just watch tidbits of it on youtube) is one of the few shows that radiates positivity and speaks about a number of issues that others don't, such as race relations, spirituality, health issues, and womens' issues (such as Female Genital Mutilation, domestic violence, abortion, and other reproductive rights). and on top of all that, she is one of the biggest philanthropists! and she has made it to where she is without compromising her principles or her ideals (such as posing nude or half naked on some magazine cover, or biting her tongue when it comes to politics or social issues).....all while coming from less than impoverished childhood. i mean, i really don't understand what it is that someone could have against Oprah. well...aside from the fact that they may be a WEAK man that cannot handle a real woman thats strong and happy within herself.

comment. think. criticize. go pray to Oprah.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

john mayer who?

yes. exactly.

Zero 7

i was listening to Zero 7 today, and i'm wondering why i haven't done a post on them...??
this is my FAVORITE band. not "one of my favorite"...this is my FAVORITE. number one. the band that i think is the best in the world. the best band i have ever has the pleasure of listening to.
and let me just say that the term "musician" is an understatement for Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker-the two men that make up the group. i would call them composers. they don't usually sing on any of the tracks, though. theres other singers that come in and contribute to the group like Sia (another artist i adore), Jose Gonzalez, and Mozez that add something different with their voices.
most of their pieces have what sounds like an entire orchestral arrangement behind singers, or sometimes just by themselves in their instrumental works. and i could try to put them into an already set genre, but that would be limiting them.
just listen.

first video features Jose Gonzalez, the second and fourth feature Sia, and the third features Mozez. i would suggest watching these videos with your eyes closed so that you're not distracted by the videos if this is your first time hearing their music. but watch the videos too. they're pretty interesting.

See Line

here is another artist's haven i found- See Line.
i particularly like Ebony G. Patterson's pieces.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Karmen Gei

i went to the Brooklyn Library to see another film today. this one was the Senegalese version of 'Carmen'. this one was called 'Karmen Gei'. i've never seen any version of Carmen before, so this was my first. and it was an amazing film.

at the end, we had a discussion about the underlying message of the film-about freedom, about freedom and love, about society, etc. questions like...when does being free with your love and your actions cross the line into being reckless? can anyone ever truly be an individual, and if so, can they ever really be free?...arose in the discussion.
all the while, i was not thinking about the underlying message of the film. i was admiring the art of the film, the selection in characters with minor beauty flaws, the art in the dance Karmen does a number of times in the film, the wardrobe, the music, the scenery in was all captivating.
here a clip. its the opening scene:

but it is interesting to think about. is there a such thing as an individual? from your conception until you die, you impact other people and other beings and you need other people and other beings to survive. this relates a lot to one of the main tenets of Buddhism-we are all connected. hurting your neighbor (whether that be someone in your apartment building or someone overseas)is ultimately wrong because it hurts you. we can live, especially here in the United States as if we are individuals and our lives don't impact others, but theres a neighborhood in Ghana thats filled with garbage from us (as in one other post i did today).
in the movie, Karmen was a reckless lover. she seduced women and men alike and dumped them whenever she felt like it. in the end, one of these heartbroken lovers killed her. hence conjuring up the question of whether we can ever truly be free to do what we want?

comment. think. check out the movie.

Alberto Seveso

amazing photos by Albert Seveso from...what looks like art's haven.

The United States is 4% of the world population. we use 25% of the world's resources.

three facts i just learned in the last 10 minutes:
(1)The same land that is used to maintain livestock for 250 days could be used to cultivate soybeans for 2,200 days. Half of the water consumed in the United States is used on crops for feeding livestock. One-third of the value of all raw materials consumed in the United States is consumed in livestock foods. ~Carold Adams 'Neither Man nor Beast'
(2)Thirty-eight percent of the world's grain is fed to the livestock, and in the United States 70 percent of grain use is for livestock ~ Alan B. Durning and Holly B. Brough 'Taking Stock: Animal Farming and the Envirnoment.'
(3)the suburb of Agbogbloshie in Ghana’s capital, Accra, has in recent year become a dumping ground for computer and electronics waste from Europe & the US. Hundreds of tons of e-waste end up here evrey month as contries in the west attempt to unload their ever increasing stockpiles of toxic junk. Of the 20 to 50 millions tons of electronic discarded each year 70% end up in poors nations, and in the EU alone 6.6 millions tons of e-waste are unaccounted for every year…” -Andrew McConnell

yet another reason to stop contributing to the meat industry (facts 1 and 2).
and to the last fact, i think its really a disservice when the media does not report on things like this. but shouldn't we already know this? we know there dumps in our local towns, but theres no way the United States could actually house the magnitude of waste we shell out on our own soil. its disgusting, really. i wonder if more Americans knew about things like this whether it would actually change. doubt it.

Afro Sapien

i saw a ton of interesting photos on this blog i really like. thought i'd share a few. i wish i knew French just for this blog.
Afro Sapiens.

Monday, February 22, 2010

i am the ubermensch

"'We have become pious again'-so these apostates confess; and some of them are even too cowardly to confess it.
i look into their eyes,-then i tell it to their face and to the blush on their cheeks: You are such as pray again!
But it is disgrace to pray! Not for eevryone, but for you and me and for whoever has his conscience in his head. For you it is a disgrace to pray!
You know it well: the cowardly devil in you who would like to clasp his hands and to fold his arms and to take it easier.-it was this cowardly devil who persuaded you: 'There is a God!".
Through that, however, you have become one of those who dread the light, whom light never lets rest: now you must daily thrust your head deeper into night and fog!

~Friedrich Nietzsche in 'Thus Spoke Zarathurstra'

"What if there was no niggas, only master teachers?" ~Erykah Badu

for some time now i've removed the word "nigga" from my vocabulary. when it was present, i didn't use it in every sentence, it just popped up from time to time. but lately i've been thinking about the individuals that are conscious (meaning that they actively try to end a form or all forms of oppression while criticizing, openly questioning and encouraging others to do the same. that can be politically, racially, environmentally, or socially conscious)that use the word "nigga" and why.

theres not that many people that use it, but i love a good polemic, and i love hearing what those who use the word have to say about it.
in the post about Sunni Patterson-the second video-she uses the word "nigga" and she is one of the most conscious poets i've heard. conscious rappers like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Dead Prez, and Immortal Technique use the word, and my girl Erykah Badu uses it too. but these are amazingly talented artists that are racially, politically and socially conscious on a level that there has to be some type of reasoning behind continuing to use this word.

the reason i stopped using the word is because it is a word that aided in the degradation of black in America. the term "nigger" actually means idiot or foolish, feebleminded person (although, interestingly enough, basically says its a black person. but older dictionaries will cite what we really know the term to mean). and on top of that, we all know that this term became interchangeable with the term "negro" or "black" by whites. blacks using a term like this just signifies the depth at which brainwashing has gone. not only did whites think we were inferior, but blacks as well and we started calling each other "niggas". why people continue to use this term today, to me, is nothing more than a sign of a sustained inferiority complex.
it doesn't matter whether its spelled with an 'a' at the end, an 'ah', has the 'i' replaced with a 'y', is pronounced "nigra", is used by your best friend, your granny, your favorite rapper or your white friend that grew up in the hood who uses the word "wigga" affectionately as well, has a silent 'p', 'y' or clicking sound at the is STILL the same word that means INFERIOR/DUMB/UNINTELLIGENT/STUPID/UNCIVILIZED/BARBARIC. it is like trying to put sprinkles on a pile of shit and trying to pass it off as ice cream. no. no matter how many sprinkles, glitter, balloons and confetti you put around it, its still shit; no matter how many of your family members use it, no matter how many times you use it interchangeable with "friend", "homie", or "dawg" does not change what the word was, is, and will always be. this is how i felt when i stopped using the word, and how i feel now.

now on the other hand, it has come up in a number of discussions i've had that it is possible that some individuals continue to use the word because they actually do separate a type pf person as a "nigga". this (let them tell it), is the fool. its the black person that eats chicken everyday, does not eat vegetables with the exception of collard greens (cooked with a hamhock to season...? maybe thats just a southern thing?)....spends money on Jordans when their light bill hasn't been paid in 2 months, has 3 kids they cannot support with a 4th one on the way, has 4 children by 3 different men, spends $500 on weave when she's on the verge of getting her car repo-ed, has a name ending in 'isha', 'onda' or 'avious'...i think i can stop there. you understand what i mean, well, what THEY (they being people who term these people "niggas") mean.
everyone in my family uses the word. and my dad, who i would consider the most conscious in my family uses it in instances such as.....a small town (in Alabama) came on the news one day to report that a fight broke out between a hundred or so people in front of a mall that has having a sale on sneakers. the fight broke out while they were waiting to enter the store. some cars were smashed, some windows busted, and some people badly injured. all these people were black. to which my dad say "...nuthin but a bunch of niggas. just niggas...."
i think others, like Sunni and some rappers use the word because they believe that many black people are acting like "niggers", and should be called accordingly. the song 'Yall My Niggas' by Nas is a very interesting on. he says with the video below it-
"a pressure couldn't escape us through the ages/we changes the basis of derogatory phrases/ and i say its quite amazing/ the use of ghetto terms, developed our own language/ no matter where it came from/ its celebrated now people are mad if they ain't one/ .... tryin to erase me from yall memory/ too late i'm engraved in history, i'm here my niggas/ speak my name and breathe life in me/ make sure yall never forget me/ yall give me life"

from the song, it appears that he uses the word because he also believes that we've somehow changed the word into something positive. A Tribe Called Quest had the same sentiments in their song 'Sucka Niggas'.
but if the word has changed, then it should be okay for white people to use it too. and is it? in what circumstances? who can't say the word?....i mean, it gets ridiculous when theres all these rules about who can use it, and when.
what do you think?

i think using the word still stands for a brainwashed black person that uses one of the most degrading words in American history to describe themselves or their friends.
it also possible that some conscious people use the word because they think we need to spend time working on changing these people that they term "niggas" as opposed to changing their vocabulary.
and to an extent, i would agree with that. i'm not militant about its use. most black people use it ALL THE TIME, especially here in Brooklyn. but i'm not going to stop them and give them a speech about how the word has been used to aid in the genocide the United States Government has waged against blacks, nor am i going to eliminate all rappers that use the word in their lyrics from my playlists (MF Doom would be the first to go if i did that...and that ain't happening). there are definitely more important things in life, and in the fight against ending oppression than one's vocabulary.
this is spoken word by Julian Curry on Def Poetry Jam:

comment. think. criticize.
"you can spare me that trauma/
we got the heart of them field workin mamas"
~Sunni Patterson

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Links to the Past

the second film i saw today was A Child Shall Lead Them about eleven children that integrated the Nashville Public Schools. i didn't learn anything new with this film, most of it was basically the same circumstances that surrounded Little Rock Nine and other institutions that were forced into integration years after the law was passed. something i took from this film was more an emotion rather than the beginnings of an idea or debate in my head.
the students that were still living were interviewed as well as their parents. their perspectives and thoughts during the time they were being jeered and what they think about it in made me want to talk to more of the elderly.
what kind of fascinating experiences do the patients at the local nursing home harbor and what did it do to them as individuals? do their family members know about their lives and if so, has it changed them in any significant ways? (the photos in this post are of the Little Rock Nine, although they were not featured in the film).

i've been trying to research my family history for a short while now. i was watching the documentary with Henry Louis gates Jr. on PBS where he traced the family trees of different black celebrities like Chris Rock, Oprah, and Tina Turner (i believe there was a second edition of it this month on PBS of people of other descents). not only do the participants find out the names and places of their ancestors, but they also find out their occupations, information about what they spent their money on, whether they were enslaved or not..etcetera. Tina Turner found out that her great great grandfather had sold his home and the land he lived on so that he could buy the land and the building for the only black elementary school in their small town at the time. Tina was crying and i was on the verge.

all of my grandparents are dead and the two that were living in my teens lived a good deal away from us, so our visits weren't all that often. and when they did happen, conversing with my grandparents about their childhood and younger years was not on the list of my priorities. something i now regret.
what could i learn about my direct ancestors and effects would it have on me? what if my grandparents' grandparents were free? what if i learned that some of my ancestors aided some sort of rebellion, or lead one or had escaped and camped out in the wilderness for years on end? what if one of my family members was a murderer? a rapist? or the village idiot? how would that effect me? how would that effect you?
maybe will fill in some of the blanks....?

the photos in this post are some of the most powerful images i've ever seen. the look on the girl's face that is oozing hatred; the look on the black girl's face...the attitude in her sunglasses alone...the calm, collected, controlled aura she has...
truly powerful images.

comment. think. converse with your living ancestors.

Sentiments on Military Service

i went to see another film at the Brooklyn Library again today...two actually. the first was about the first African American female to be a licensed pilot, Willa Beatrice Brown entitled Willa Beatrice Brown: An American Aviator and a film entitled A Child Shall lead Them about eleven first grade children the desegregated Nashville Public Schools. i'll talk about the first film.

the first film about Willa Brown was somewhat interesting. her efforts in aviation lead to the formation of the Tuskegee Airman as well as the overall desegregation of the United States Air Force. in addition, this was all the more challenging for her considering that she did this while the only jobs that were deemed proper for a woman were nursing, secretarial duties and teaching.
the problem i had with this film (as with the tradition of honoring blacks that have desegregated or achieved success within the military) is that it pains me to think about who they are fighting for.
an interviewee in the film remarked that it was unfair how the military was segregated, how they fought against it and how politicians and the like had forgotten that blacks served in the civil war, in World War I, and other small if it was a source of pride. but to me, its quite the opposite. the idea that a group of people whose government has consistently and deliberately treated them less than that of garbage would seek to SERVE that country and put their life on the line for that country is...completely and utterly absurd to me. it is the pinnacle of success for the enemy when they have convinced the opposition to fight with vigor and even die for their side. and this is not just for back then, i consider this to be the case even today.
one of my coworkers informed me that he had been talking to recruiters lately and is planning on joining the Navy in May of this year. i didn't know what to say to him. not only is he black, but more specifically he's Haitian. and lets not even get on the ills that the United States has inflicted upon Haiti that has rendered it one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. it pains me to know that he could potentially die for one of the vilest nations in human history.
and make note that i say this is a child of the military. my parents met in the military. my father was in the Army for 25 years and continues to work as a retired civilian on an Army base and was in the Bosnian/Kosovo Conflict. my mother was in for about 3 years. my grandfather served in the Vietnam war. my brother joined the military soon after high school and was in Iraq for about a year. and i have a brother-in-law that is in the Navy stationed in St.Louis. i was born on the Ft. Rucker Army Base in Alabama. i'm not trying to give you my life story, i just want it noted that my sentiments aren't one of dislike for military personnel, it is more so against our country.

being an army child has been, and still is (to an extent) a source of pride. my idea of what a real man is is epitomized in my father. and i'm not certain that some of the characteristics he embodies have not been a direct result of the military. however, there is a part of me that cannot fully respect the military or its personnel (in their career path), nor could i ever join such an institution.

fighting in the military for a corrupt country is not only backwards to me, it is counter-productive in ending any type of oppression and it simultaneously adds to the power and control of the American government. the military not allowing homosexuals to even speak about their love is nonsense on multiple levels. but a homosexual fighting for a government that allows this type of oppression??? COMPLETELY absurd. i don't understand this. and equally, what of the blacks that fought in the civil war on either side, but particularly on the southern side for those that wanted to keep them enslaved??? and the military personnel today that continue to fight, come back missing limbs and even die for a nation that continues to invade other nations with reasons that can be best termed as corrupt/fraudulent/unethical/wrong; a nation that continues to rob the majority of its citizens of proper healthcare, living conditions, and schooling; a nation that accepts and even encourages a permanent impoverished class(...i could go on for days...)?? i cannot comprehend this type of reasoning.

comment. criticize. check out your library's Black History Month programs.