Here’s a Chance to Make a Change in the Most Convenient Way Possible:

The latest additions to the murder list at the hands of law enforcement, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, have prompted yet another series of protests occurring all around the country (and outside of the country).  Here’s a wonderful alternative to hitting the streets marching or hitting your knees praying. The people of today are starting to recognize the impact that boycotting has on companies and organizations who have yet to make a public statement against the injustices of Black folk in the United States. We’ve seen what boycotting buses in Montgomery led to in 1956… we can do the same for brutalized and slain in 2016, starting July 15th.

Do not spend your dollars with people who do not value your lives! boycott

Advertisements

“White Like Me” Documentary Trailer

Say what you like about Tim Wise, I’m a staunch supporter.

Tim is one of the few Whites who actually acknowledges that there are indeed benefits of White privilege and is rather transparent about the advantages afforded to him through the color of his skin.

Does he profit from racial inequality? Perhaps. And if that is found to be true, he’s in good company; the US prison/justice system, the US school system and housing market are just few of the beneficiaries of racial inequality.

However, he serves as the antithesis of these beneficiaries. Instead of promoting the belief that racism is no longer a concern or denying the problem even exists in today’s society, he lends his White voice and his White face to what many people of color who have stated for the longest:  that this is simply not true.

I commend anyone at the forefront of the fight against racism and racial inequality, no matter the color.  Tim understands what alot of people don’t: that not only does it make the lives of people of color more difficult, it effects your lives as well.  Hopefully the full length documentary can help shed light on how and hopefully it will spark some change…

Macklemore: Why He’s Dope and Why Hip-Hop is Really Dead

Macklemore-Ryan-Lewis-The-Heist-Feature
Macklemore (right) and Ryan Lewis

My first time hearing of this Seattle MC was on a NPR radio interview last year,  where he discussed his song “Same Love”; a song about homosexuality. Macklemore eventually landed himself a seat on Ellen’s couch, which, by in large, got everyone to talking.  Not easily impressed with today’s music, I did my typical “meh”  and moved on with my life.

It wasn’t until my kids (who I rely on quite heavily to keep me up-to-date on anything socially relevant at the moment, although the song was actually released back in August of last year. Go figure.) started belting out the chorus of the song “Thrift Shop” that I was re-introduced to this rapper. This very WHITE rapper.

Its a catchy song, catchy enough to look him up on my Rhapsody account and download the entire “The Heist” album.

It was SO worth it. This man is indeed talented… his lyrics are creative, smart and just as intense and socially conscious as they are fun. He serves what Hip-Hop, at it’s core, is  meant to serve. And yet his existence in this genre only aids in the death of it. A bit oxymoronic, I know. But check it out:

Hip-Hop, as whole, has been diluted. This is common knowledge. It seeped its way into mainstream, which was a successful move commercially. But while  it was busy making its way into Award Show category lineups and at the tops of international music charts, it has allowed mainstream to change its purpose. Its design; making it “pop” as in popular, less aggressive and more socially acceptable (by Whites), which in turn, resulted in leaving its participants with 3 options: either conform, rebel and go underground or fall off the face of the earth.

Hip-Hop has also become a branding mechanism, using its influence for the sole purpose of making a company or product an awful lot of money.  And the rappers that choose to conform go on to make nice paychecks, aligning themselves with these companies and products, continuing to crank out rather haphazard music to fans who are getting younger (and whiter), while garnering even more fame and influence.

Yet, even with all of its flaws and wayward behaviors, Hip-Hop is one of only a few cultural creations that Blacks in America can cling to, no matter how diverse its audience has become. It has long been my belief that Blacks in America have no cultural origins (due to the financial institution of slavery and the careless documentation of our origin and ancestry), and as such, we’ve had to create a culture practically out of thin air. While Whites have European traditions to revert to if necessary, we, as a collective, do not have that luxury. But OHHH!!!!! What a CREATIVE people we are, capable of making something out of nothing! And music has always been a part of us. It’s in our marrow. Hip-Hop in particular, has always been the vehicle, OUR vehicle, which we use to express our joy, pain, struggle, the injustices against us, our appreciations and even our sexual pride.

So in walks in a very talented rapper with the quick-wit, a charismatic and powerful voice, demanding we take notice and daring us to say he’s not hot. But he’s White though.

Macklemore addresses the obvious in his song titled “White Privilege” (not on the Heist album. Clink the link to listen):

I see so many people lost who really try to pretend
But am I just another white boy who has caught on to the trend When I take a step to the mic is hip-hop closer to the end?
‘Cause when I go to shows the majority have white skin
They marketed the windmill, the air flair and head spin
And white rappers albums really get the most spins
The face of hip hop has changed a lot since Eminem
And if he’s taking away black artists’ profits I look just like him
Claimed a culture that wasn’t mine, the way of the American
Hip hop is gentrified and where will all the people live
It’s like the central district, beacon hill to the south end
Being pushed farther away because of what white people did, now
Where’s my place in a music that’s been taken by my race…

Here is a man that is fully aware of what his white skin and his subsequent success in this genre implies. While I nod at his attempt to address the issues with his race in rap music head on, it almost reminds me of the scene in the movie “8 Mile”, when Eminem wins the rap battle because he took all the potential ammunition his opponent had against him and rapped about it first; clever and tactical. “Let’s get this racism shit out of the way so we can enjoy my music”… Nice move.

Now this could’ve easily been a post about the glorification of drugs, misogyny, homophobia and all the financial mismanagement in today’s Hip-Hop music.  But I’m choosing to write about Mackelmore because not only has his music recently infiltrated my home, he also serves as a physical manifestation of where Hip-Hop is going and how far gone it truly is.

Does it matter that he’s White? Yes, it does… it won’t stop him from becoming successful. And it won’t stop me or any other fan of color from listening to his music and appreciating his talent.

It simply means that Hip-Hop, for all its intents and purposes,  is officially dead.  Now what do we do?

(Pic Source: The Daily Princetonian)

Have Children? Not Married?? Where Is Your Shame???

square-cutouts-black-mom-2-kids-cu

As I prepare to co-host an upcoming “Battle of the Sexes” event (which I absolutely LOVE! You must come if you’re in the area. See the flyer on the facebook page for this blog), one of my impending subjects we will challenge is the “issue” of single motherhood.

This topic is important and deserves continuous discussion because this particular demographic needs all the advocacy it can get. Every question, from “do single mothers deserve to be highlighted on television?” to “do single mothers deserve their own “father’s day” cards?”, exposes us as the shameful underbelly of this otherwise pro-marriage, patriarchal society. It is inferred, or at times even blatantly stated, that WE are what’s wrong with the children of today. No fathers around. No education. Low morals. Too independent to keep a man. Too incompetent to raise productive and capable children.

What’s even more troubling is that although single mothers are not confined to one specific race or class level, White single mothers are often lost in this conversation.  Carolyn Castigliac, a comedian and writer, sums it perfectly in her recent article Please, No More Articles About Single Mothers (Except This One)”  how society differentiates White single mothers from the mothers of color.  This White, divorced woman writes:

….We don’t seem to really exist in this phantom world where single mothers are [either] White teens or poor Black ladies who can’t get their Black baby daddies to marry them because (haven’t you heard?) there’s a “problem” in the Black community where Black people don’t seem to be marrying each other or barely literate Latinas who came here (probably illegally) and crapped out a bunch of anchor babies. Trash. Welfare Queens. This is what the world thinks of these women…”

Certainly, there are mothers that are absolutely unsuitable for the procreation of humankind. ABSOLUTELY (and I know a few). But perhaps too much criticism and not enough praise for our constant work and sacrifice is what keeps me riled up. And quite simply, the lack of respect from our male counterparts, who can assemble their own football team with just a few strokes, and yet are never really held accountable for actually RAISING the children.

Cheers to single mothers who do it and do it well! Everyday should be a day in your honor…

My Top 5 Young,Gifted and Black

Now I have 3 children and they’re all in different developmental phases. There’s the “Almost Grown (and Gone)” 19-year old,  The “tween” 12-year old and an 8-year old, the only boy. Being in three different phases in life, their musical tastes vary; while the 19-year old has been around long enough to sample some of everything music has to offer, the other two are Pop kids, all the way.

But the other night, while helping the tween with her homework, she started to hum a tune.  She said it was a song called “Bandz A Make Her Dance“.  WTF??!!

Understand, my children don’t have virgin ears… I cuss like a sailor. No. Really. But words like “shit” and “damn” are really not my issue. Its the messages, glorifying stripper/pornographic behavior. Its the messages about drinking, partying and using drugs. Its the message that our little girls only serve a purpose when they’re bent over, with their ass cheeks spread open, picking up nasty one dollar bills from the floor.  Its the message that our little boys only care about how many “hoes” they can get and how much they can “make it rain” and how many pills they can pop. The urban radio stations continue to play songs like this. The “artists” take virtually no accountability for their influence. And while I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t control everything my children have access to, I’m not happy with not knowing just how exposed they really are to these types of messages. The above-mentioned song in particular is… is just… STUPID.

So, I’ve decided to do a little research and compile a list of kid-friendly music that’s not only good, fun music but also made by little brown kids, just like them. It’s my hope that with alternatives like these, our children will get some sort of balance:

5. Miss Mykie

mykie

You may recognize her as one of the new faces of BET’s ” 106 & Park”  (if you watch that show. *insert MAJOR side-eye if you do*) but Mykie started her career as a YouTube sensation. She has an incredible voice and really good, empowering songs. Parental Plus:  She’s a college graduate and never misses an opportunity to let the world know she’s an AKA.  She reps higher learning very well!

4. Chloe and Halle

chloeandhalle

Meet Chloe and Halle Bailey. Also known for their Youtube views, this sister duo is amazing, having been featured on “Ellen” and are recent winners of Disney’s “Next Big Thing.” This talented team also act and have been featured in several movies and TV shows (according to their website). Parental Plus: They’re really talented and not half-naked.

3. Diggy

2011-topic-diggy-simmons

Son a rap legend Run of Run DMC, this little cutie reminds me of LL Cool J, the 2.0 version. He’s sweet enough for the girls and cool enough for the fellas. I know what you’re thinking… your kids wont like him. But he’s actually good. Like really good. Check him out. Parental Plus: In the footsteps of  LL and Will Smith,  he’s very good at getting his point across and never having to spit a profane word.

2. Mindless Behavior

mindless

I don’t get it but I’m kinda old so I’m not supposed to. Apparently these little cuties cause pandemonium where ever they go. My daughter had a brief, very brief love affair with this pop quartet. She’s since moved on but maybe you’ll have better luck with your tween. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard any new music from them. Hopefully this kid-friendly group haven’t lost their edge. Let me know what you think. Parental Plus: Umm….I’ll get back to you on that.

1. Lupe Fiasco

lupe

This socially conscious rapper has always had my support. He uses profanity, yes, but you can’t deny his creativity and desire to bring attention to real social and political issues. His latest effort “Food and Liquor II” contains the hit “Bitch Bad” which talks about the very problem with songs and videos that our children are constantly exposed to. Pick the clean version but make sure your kids understand the difference between real hip-hop and the garbage that gets all the airplay. Parental Plus: You and your children can appreciate his message. Its about Black greatness…