Tag Archives: people

Gentrification of Identity

displacement

You don’t tear a person down and rebuild them with intent on something better. That’s what they do to black and brown neighborhoods. Why would you do it to a person?

Talk this way, walk this way, wear these clothes…

Why is there never recognition of the special in each person?

Why do we toss away self determination for impression?

Sanitization has been a thorn in our side for too long. Do we not recognize it’s effects?

Why not add to what is there. Teach value in authentic self and the importance of widening scope. Foster adaptability not assimilation.

The Art of Mis-Interaction

an-old-design-02_grande

“Rhythm is the basis of life, not steady forward progress. The forces of creation, destruction, and preservation have a whirling, dynamic interaction.” – Kabbalah

I don’t interact the easiest. Whew! There, I said it. Ahhhhh. That really is a weight off my shoulders. Not like Atlas weight, but still larger than a whiffle ball.

Look, I really don’t. I do help, support, foster, nurture, mentor, teach, listen to, pep up, stand behind, but I don’t interact the easiest (now this is the point where I have repeated myself, realized it is a refrain and that there will be a poem from this also). It’s like my heart, mind, and spirit are mob bosses arguing over turf as they rally their “families.” I will save you from the extended metaphor of detailing the families based on the boss and the various things associated. Just know I could do it if I wanna. I don’t. Point is that they tend to not make things smooth. I don’t do things smooth. Except how I pulled you in with that cool quote. That was smooth. Admit it. The picture was just icing on the cake. No there is not cake.

I hate making mistakes. My greatest fear is coming up short (anybody even thinking of tall person jokes I will telepathically kick you in the shins. Felt it twinge? That was a warning). I’ve always despised that feeling. Fail has a way of making you ok with trying again. Screwing up makes you want to run arms flailing into the shadows, go home and pack your underwear, then try jump through your moms full length mirror hoping to get to Narnia. It never works by the way. It takes a lot of regrouping to recover from mistakes. But nobody is perfect right? And avoiding mistakes is more tiring than recovering from making one.

See, the thing is, I believe in people. I just don’t always trust everyone. Yes, that means I am watching many of you very very closely. It also means that a conversation with me is like a tennis match. You keep volleying hopping to gain an advantage but that return is mean. So is the serve.

Another important aspect is that if you give me an impression, I operate off that impression. You might not recognize it because I still operate with respect, compassion and appreciation. I just don’t see you the same. There are stringent limitations that come with that. The energy I expend changes dramatically. Doesn’t matter if you don’t see what you did. Your the one blind to the fact, not me. Your vision is blurry not Flava’s. If you don’t understand the significance of the last two sentences, then I might need to rethink our relationship anyway.

I don’t buy wolf tickets. Talk all you want. I’ve been the “good listener” since 6th grade. Doesn’t mean I’m convinced. Probe all you want. It’s G14 classified over here. You aint got clearance then there is a nice brochure we have prepared that will give you all the pertinent information. Throw out a hook and a line…*I’m laughing* (nice fisherman hat and vest). Unless you lowering yourself in these waters in a cage like them hunting for the biggest shark people, then I ain’t got much for you. Take a risk babee!

If you have G14 classification and If I trust you, then I believe it’s ok to make mistakes around you. Because I trust you’ll talk to me about (or slap me in the back of the head, cuss me out, slap my hand). I hold you close enough to be off, to do too much, to say too much, to be way off, to be dumb. Only thing is…it also hurts way way more when you walk away, back away, don’t respond, won’t communicate, attack, or dismiss. It all looks like falling short to me.

I am a hapless romantic southern gentleman. Maaaan, I aint got time to unpack all the things that brings me. But the book is coming. I promise! No, seriously…I PROMISE!

I’m also very flirtatious. Probably way too flirtatious to not follow up on the flirtation or recognize when the interaction has shifted. Ha! But I’m good at it tho. At least I think so. I did have someone who kept going, “That was what you were doing?” That was traumatizing. I had to spend weeks at flirt camp regaining my mojo. Thank goodness for smores.

I don’t have time to entertain foolishness (I got it from my momma).

I retreat. Sometimes I disappear. It goes with the very private nature. If you don’t have security clearance, then I probably won’t be able to break down why I feel the need to retreat or disappear. So I apologize for not warning you or explaining it. It’s a sucky quandary. I’m complicated.

This post is long as hell. You’ve been subjected to my need to get this out of my head. The poem will be better I promise.

I don’t interact the easiest. For lots of reasons. But I love the interactions I have had. I try to learn from my mistakes. I’m grateful for the people who put up with me. I am sorry for the ones I have shut out. I will change and trust more. Then I won’t. Then I will again. Then I will write more posts and blogs. At least until I become ridiculously stupendously happy. Then I’ll draw daffodils and sing folks songs.

One other thing…

To those that don’t know if they have abused their privileges. I bet I got you thinking now don’t I? Is it me? He did sorta look at me funny 3 weeks ago. His last text message was missing a comma, was it a sign. Hmmm, I wonder. Well, here is some advice. Don’t inbox me, email me or text me. Cuz, you know…limited clearance. I’ll cleverly distract you. Look a new reality show staring Monique and Boris Kudjo. See?

Orangoutang. Cool word… Orangoutang.

Ok, I think that is all. I have made a new post for my blog. Next I’ll publish it. It will go out to my social media pages. Most of friends won’t read it. They all kick babies and pluck the wings off of butterflies in their spare time.

Orangoutang

Say it with me…

Orangoutang

Miracle Whip (a conversation on power)

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Miracle Whip: A Villainous Villanelle

Miracle Whip is polarizing
Undeterred by contrasting perceptions
The aim is to rally its base

Moderates vary in their condiments
Revolutionaries make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
See Miracle Whip is polarizing

They say po’ folks beg for cheese in blocs
Instead of working for white bread
The aim is to rally its base

Ketchup goes best with chalk outlines
Mayonnaise is all liberalism and no fight
But Miracle Whip is polarizing

Bipartisan delis seek extravagant expansion
Say menus should be geopolitical
The aim is to rally its base

Privilege packaged all red, white, and blue
Butter knives legislated, privatized, or militarized
Miracle Whip is polarizing
Its aim is to rally its base

Music on the world stage…Hip Hop!

Global-Music

I was asked to talk to some college freshmen about music on the world stage. I thought about what I wanted to cover with them. I wanted to make sure that I made some connections that made sense. I wanted to offer them some new information. I also wanted to use the opportunity to address Hip Hop and how far-reaching it is as both a culture and a genre of music.

When you talk about music on the world stage it is with the understanding that music has always been global. Almost every culture has music as a part of it. Music is used to tell stories, it is a part of rituals and celebrations, it is a part of important ceremonies, and it is used as praise and worship. Classical music, opera, and other forms of music have inspired people for centuries. Just take a look at cultural traditions in Africa, Japan, and across the Caribbean. Look at the impact of music in America (Spirituals, Blues, Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop). So when you talk about music on the world stage you are talking about popular music in these modern times. Because culture is a major commodity in the world market.

When we talk about pop music we are talking about music mediated for the masses. That means that there is an entity (TV station, radio, record label, corporation of some kind) that is presenting the music to the people.

One good case study of the global impact of popular music is Hip Hop. Mainly because it’s only 40 years old and has grown to be an important form of music to communities across the world.

What we see when we look at Hip Hop globally is that it plays a role as protest music and social commentary.

Before we get too deep into looking at Hip Hop let’s look at some foreign pop stars…

http://www.policymic.com/articles/83305/15-foreign-pop-stars-who-are-about-to- become-household-names-in-the-u-s

Aryana Sayeed (Afghanistan) is considered the first Afghani artist whose music was spread internationally. The sound of the music is much like American club music, but if you look at the images in the video you see some of Afghani culture blended with what we know of pop here in America.

Fernando and Sorocaba (Brazil) are country singers. They are the number 1 artists on Brazil’s top 40 chart above Lorde who sings the hit “Royals.” It can be unusual to think that a Brazilian group would sing country, but remember music is global.

Li Yuchun (China) is a pop singer that beat out Justin Beiber to win the MTV Europe Awards honor for best act. In the video you see a blend of Chinese and American pop culture.

Music as a unifying force, a bridge. It can help bring together cultures. It is a way of understanding that is often universal. The musical backdrop can help people find common ground regardless of the difference in the language of the lyrics. If we clap a simple measure (musical term) out together and count them (similar to counting bars, a songwriting term), you’ll see how quickly everyone finds the same pace and stays together. There may eventually be some improvisation, but not at the expense of the group unity.This is an activity I use in workshops. The results are almost always the same. People begin to communicate together in a new language that feels familiar, rhythm. If you start to add other sounds you’ll eventually get a reverie that is on beat and in pace. This is even in a room with no musicians.

It is this language of rhythm that is part of the foundation of Hip Hop.

Hip Hop started in the South Bronx of NY. Changes in immigration laws and urban renewal put caribbean immigrants, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks in the same community. Social conditions, political climate, and cultural traditions fused to spark a new movement.

There are three main DJs credited with building the culture that all have island roots (DJ Kool Herc, DJ Flash, Afrika Bambaataa). Bambaataa was the leader of the Black Spades, one of NY’s most notorious gangs. He turned gang members into artists and ambassadors through Hip Hop. He then took them around the world on tour with him spreading the culture. He gave them the name the Zulu Nation (a reference to an African Tribe) and later The Universal Zulu Nation.

Because of this there are UZN chapters thriving today all across the world.This is the universality of music. With music as a bridge, various cultures across the world can find common ground and common struggle and join together in solidarity. Members of UZN consider themselves as family no matter the difference in geography.

There are a number of artists using Hip Hop to speak to the conditions they face in their countries. This includes social conditions as well as political perspectives.

The Palestinian Rap Group DAM

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/music/palestinian-rap-group-dam-reach-for-the-moon

DAM – I Fell In Love With A Jew http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3-v09TQOQE

There is also a recognition of Hip Hop as a tool for reaching out to other countries. The US State Department uses American artists at ambassadors to other countries.

Toni Blackman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/toni-blackman-who-should-be- famous_n_1582590.html

Toni Blackman – Invisible Woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coIkYlzQlNY

Hip Hop is a valuable tool for sharing the emotions, frustrations, and ideas that people have. This can also tie people together.

In this Washington Post article the possibilities of Hip Hop (which is still present in independent Hip Hop in American, but not in mainstream/commercial rap) as a tool for change is highlighted. The appeal of music worldwide is evident in this article as well.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/why-is-global-hip-hop-better-than-made-in-america-rap-music/2013/06/11/f8328054-d2f3-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_blog.html

Music is global. It always has been and always will be. Whatever type of music you listen to or like, you can find something like it in another country. Music is a universal language.

 

Hip Hop Angels

lupe-lamborghini-angels

40to40: 40 posts for 40 days until turning 40

I believe angels lose their wings when they are born
Then spend their lives searching for them
Look to the sky each morning
Feeling a tug from home
It explains what you see when you see the gifted
Illuminated in genius
Voices like the day before God rested
Full of determination, purpose, and will
They feel comfortable putting ink on white loose leaf
Like feet on clouds
Like harps at Gods feet
They write scripture to a metronome
Find balance in beats
This is how they remember their place
I believe Angels feel a twinge behind each shoulder blade
Place backpacks there to appease the feeling
Filled with pens and paper, the weight of the word
Ever wonder why DJs have 2 turntables
Tracks recorded in stereo have 2 channels
Emcees holla mic check 1,2
They are reclaiming their wings
Tell you to put your hands in the air
As recognition of where they come from
Map their way in songs
So albums are flight patterns
They feel comfortable in fitteds
They are remembering their halos
DJ, emcee, bboy, graffitti
Sounds like father, son, holy ghost, scripture
They just wanted to feel at home
Out of the dredge of the south Bronx
Like Adam from clay
A movement was created
That on the eve of revolution
Bit into the big apple
Found serpents in suits
Knowledge of soundscans and billboards
Rooted in popular appeal
Commercialized out of what could be Eden
So guardians were sent to protect it
Wings taken so they would fit in
To be reclaimed when they were ready stand out
Stand up
Fulfill their destiny
So when the beat drops
They lift their voices
Ask for hands raised as clearance for take off
Then fly