Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Super Michael Jackson Brothers


I haven't played Super Mario in more than 10 if not 15 years,
yet I still remembered some of the sequences. Creepy.

Remember freezing a game in the morning and coming
back home to try and play it after school?

Yikes, the combo if Michael and Super Mario made me smile.


Monday, July 27, 2009

In 5 Easy Steps


I let my anger kill a relationship once in '07. I didn't really let
the anger kill it, but I wasn't mindful
of the ways in which my
coping mechanisms were impacting my relationship.

This summer, I thought that I was doing success simply
I got out of bed, and put on my happy Black girl
routine and did
what I said I was going to do.
I was grinding, every which way I
knew how to get cake
to move to D.C. I was happy that I just
didn't throw up my hands in defeat
but actually committed to
going and learning and ultimately growing.

Did I mention that I received a fellowship to go to a program
in the city that he attended, but I chose to go to D.C. instead.
So in the back of my mind a was a voice saying, "Girl, you could
avoided all this and just moved into a loft together, went to
and stayed put."

I continually told myself, "This is only temporary, I can do anything
a short amount of time just to get by."
I came to be proud when I
delivered awesome service, and I learned
from my mistakes.
The worse mistake?

Walking up to a table and saying "Can I bring you
the check" and
they responded "Um, we never got our entree." OUCH!

Model Minority Fail.

The best moment was my first $15 tip and someone telling me that
I have
a great personality and to keep it because it would take
me far.
Apparently, Filthy wasn't too happy with how I was coped with
being a server in June.
To be fair, it was a lot for both of us to get use
in such a short amount of time.

This summer I blogged about how when I got home, I just stared at the
Sit on the internet. Well, I ain't wanna hang out either. It was hard.
The bugged out 'ish, is that the gig just ended so know I can
focus on getting all the grad school preparation 'ish done.

Doing paperwork, reading books on the reading lists, reaching out to

my cohort, shipping boxes etc.
I don't turn people into the harm that they
have caused.

I am not my wounds or my mistakes. Neither is anyone
If that were the case, I wouldn't have parents. I am forced to see
the humanity in people. That doesn't mean that
I don't hold them accountable,
it means that I try and
seperate what they have done from who they are.

Its bugged out because in life, work is hard, and when your partner is
having a rough time, you can either empathize
with them, or you can
turn them into a monster.

In my conversation with him last night, I mentioned that I have never
turned him into a monster, and trust
me, I have the material to do so.

He wants to go on a road trip to Princeton, don't
know if I am feeling
that, given the turbulence. Praying
and waiting.

If it works, in some ways I see it as a vetting process
for having a tried
and tested compadre for my grad school

We all have growing pains.

If it doesn't I am free to pursue the next phase of my life and all of the
illustriousness that it has to offer.
Here is to hairy conversations and
grown folks business.

Had to adjust to a new gig or city recently?
You let anger ruin 'ish in your life?
How much do you tip when you go out?

Friday, July 24, 2009

20 Questions Friday {7.24.09}


Love, Love, Love Shiny Black Girls.

1. Why is it so hard for Black people to understand that CNN,
Cornel West
and Dyson will always talk about Black poverty
because it makes
them money?

2. Why does Sam Adams Summer Ale taste so orangey and

3. Why is it so hard to call family members you haven't talked to
a while?

4. Where did summer go?

5. Why am I itching to launch 3 new sites, one of them a Black

6. Have you ever taken a look at the federal budget?

7. Why isn't it required for all Congressmen and women
to disclose
their investments so that we will know where
their biases lie?

8. Why Jet Blue more expensive now?

9. What happened to Iyanla Vanzant?

10. You peeped how the Chris Brown apology video and
the Henry Louis
Gates arrest broke on the same day?

11. What do you think of
David Lindorff's piece on Henry Louis Gates
and our current police state

12. Did you know that Tyler Perry is the first Black major
studio owner?

13. Why Ta-Nehisi the only blogger that consistently makes
me think
of new angles?

14. Why is there no money left after the bills are paid?

15. Did you know that there are automated garbage trucks
in some cities,
which eliminates 2 good paying jobs?

16. Did you go to Rock the Bells?

17. Did you know that
Louis Proyect wrote a letter to Goldman
offering to be their PR consultant and recommending that
they fund anti-
capitalist activities to quell the rising voice of The Left?

18. Did Tupac have potential or was he a really just a philosophical
and deep
drug addict?

19. Why was Lebron so scurred of a dunk tape getting out?

20. Why do I miss A Different World?

I got questions.

You have answers.

Big {TEEF}

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

{Black} Feminism 101: Crib Sheet


"I eat the pussy, the pussy I eat." Yup. Those are the lyrics.
Yup. Those are children on the stage.
Further evidence that BET/Lil Wayne and Drake are a symptom
of the problem, not the problem itself.

I have a Google alert for Black women and feminism,
and so I receive links to sites when the subject is

It became clear to me, based on a couple of links that I have
receive this week that many folks don't know what

feminism is, yet they hate it.

After recently reading the bell hooks book Feminism is for
Everybody I decided to post some key sections so that we
could have a working language of exactly what we are talking about

In short, the book makes it clear what Feminism is and why it
is for everybody.

bell hooks on a Definition of Feminism
Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation,
and oppression...I like this definition because it did not imply
that men are the enemy. By naming sexism as the problem
it went to the heart of the matter.

On Patriarchy
To end patriarchy, (which is another way of saying institutionalized
sexism) we need to be clear that we are all participants in perpetuating sexism
until we change our minds and hearts, until we let go of sexist thought
and action and replace it with feminist thought and action

On Patriarchal Violence
Patriarchal violence in the home is based on the belief that
it is acceptable for a more powerful individual to control others
through various forms of coercive force.

On Reformist vs. Revolutionary Feminists
From its early inception the feminist movement was
polarized. Reformist thinkers chose to emphasize gender
equality. Revolutionary thinkers chose to emphasize gender
equality. Revolutionary feminist thinkers did not simply want
to alter the existing system so that women would have more rights.
We wanted to transform that system to bring an end to
patriarchy and sexism.

On the Male Fear of Letting Go of Patriarchy
Most men find it difficult to be patriarchs. Most men are disturbed
by the hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women,
even the men who perpetuate the violence. But they fear letting go
of the benefits. They are not certain what will happen to the world
they know intimatly if patriarchy changes. So they find it easier to
passively accept male domination even when they know in their
minds and hearts, that male domination is wrong.

On Escalator Feminism
Reformist feminism became their route to class mobility. They
could break free of male domination in the workforce and be
more self determining in their lifestyles. While sexism did not
end, they could maximize their freedom withing the existing system.

On Mainstream Media and the Chosen "One" Feminist
Mainstream media has always chosen a straight woman to
represent what the feminist movement stands for - the straighter
the better. The more glamorous she is, the more her image
can be used to appeal to men. Woman-identified women, whehter
straight, bisexual, or lesbian rarely make garnering male approval a
priority in our lives. This is why we threaten patriarchy.

On Patriarchy and Lesbian Women
Nowadays the vast majority of lesbians, like their straight counterparts,
are not into radical politics. Individual lesbian thinkers active in the feminist
movement often found it difficult to face the reality that lesbian women could
be as sexist as straight women.

On Understanding an Exploitative System vs. Changing It
But simply being a victim of an exploitative or oppressive
system and even resiting it does not mean we understand why
its in place or how to change it.

On the Need for a New Idea of Masculinity
What is and was needed is a vision of masculinity where
self esteem and self love of ones unique being forms the basis
of identity. Cultures of domination attack self esteem, replacing
it with a notion that we derive our sense of well being from dominion
over another.

On the Need for a Male Critique of Patriarchy
To change this, males must critique and challenge male domination of the
planet, of less powerful men, of women and children. But they must also have
a clear vision of what a feminist masculinity looks like. How can you be
what you can't imagine?

White women, Class and the Feminist Movement
As many black women/women of color saw white women
from privilege classes benefiting economically more than
other groups from reformist feminist gains, from gender being tacked
on to racial affirmative action, it simply reaffirmed their fear that
feminism was really about increasing white power.

Mainstream Feminists Betrayal
The most profound betrayal of feminist issues has been the lack of
mass-based feminist protest challenging the government's assault
on single motherhood and dismantling the welfare system. Privileged
women, many of whom call themselves feminist, have simply
turned away from the feminization of poverty.

**There is a section of the book that talks about how feminism
will not succeed w/o men. If you are reading this and know the page,
please let me know, as I want/need to add it.

Did this help?
The video?
What do you think of the video having read
this post?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Black Women x Art x Human


Via Afrocloud

I saw this video and thought about the ways in
which Black women, are not simply just allowed
to be in mainstream media. I mean be.

Be mommas, be human, be friends, be b-girls.

But it is up to us to create that space.

The time for begging to be recognized as a human
is over.

I am a person, regardless of whether you see me.

In fact, the more you try to render me invisible more
the present I feel.

Sometimes silence is the loudest.

Sometimes the only only way to see light
is in the dark.

I think the first time I met Amatus she was house-sitting
for Robert Guenevere Smith, way back in the day.
All I remember, was seeing lots of cherry oak. It was beautiful.
(Was the the first time I hung out in a brownstone?)

Her single is awesome and directed by another homie
from way back when. I discovered this video on a fluke
actually. Last month, Tchaiko sent a group email out, saying
"Yo, Dance Party
tomorrow night" and I was like I'm upstate,
I can't make it. Then I peeped a link to the video at the bottom of her
e-mail and instantly requested permission to post it.

Finding the two above videos reminded me of how we
have awesomeness
around us all the time.

It reminded me of how easy it is to believe the hype and get
caught up in the Matrix.

When I take a step back I see that we have so much potential
and that while this is certainly a tumultuous time, globally, it is
also a ripe time.

Yesterday, I was reminded recently of the importance of

publicly recognizing and celebrating relationships.

I just want to say, that I recognize you all.

The work you have done.

The work you are trying to do.

The work that you need one more grant to finish.

The work that you have done but are scared to show.

I recognize it.

I see you.

You ain't invisible to me.



Sprite. Coke. Oral Sex. Black Man. White Woman.


Is this real or viral? If so, here are the Board of Directors.
Have at it.

  • Herbert Allen – Director since 1982, President and Chief Executive Officer and Director of Allen & Company Incorporated, a privately held investment firm. Contact info: (212) 832-8000
  • Ronald Allen – Director since 1991, Former Chief Executive Officer of Delta airlines. Contact info: (404) 715-2581 (404) 715-6197
  • Cathleen Black – Director since 1993, President of Hearst Magazines, a unit of The Hearst Corporation. Contact info: (212) 649-2641
  • Warren Buffet – Director since 1989, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Buffet was targeted by a share-holder action at the corporation’s 2004 annual general meeting. In 2004 the California State Pension Fund and Institutional Shareholder Services opposed the re-election of Buffet to the board of directors complaining that at least two of Berkshire Hathaway’s companies do business with the Coca-Cola Company.20 Contact info: (402) 346-1400
  • Barry Diller – Director since 2002, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of InterActiveCorp, an interactive commerce company. Contact info: (212) 581-6433 (212) 314-7300
  • Donald Keough – Director since 2004, Chair of the Board of Allen & Company Incorporated, a privately held investment firm. Contact info: (212) 832-8000
  • Maria Lagomasino – Chair and Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, a unit of J.P. Morgan Chase. Contact info: (212) 464-2560
  • Donald McHenry – Director since 1981, Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Owner and President of The IRC Group, a Washington D.C. consulting firm. Contact Info: (202) 687-6083
  • Robert Nardelli – Director since 2002, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Home Depot, Inc., from1995 to December 2000, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Power Systems. Contact info: (770)-433-8211, (770) 384-3622 (Direct)
  • Sam Nunn – Director since 1997, Former United States Senator from 1972 through 1996. Contact info: (404) 572-4949 (404) 572-4600
  • Pedro Reinhard – Director since 2003, Reinhard is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Dow Chemical Company. Contact info: (800) 422-8193 (U.S. and Canada), (989) 636-1463
I know. It's reactionary. There is a part of me that is curious.

The whole time I watched, I shook my head and thought,
yup, Black women ain't having that.

First the Drake video and now this. ***Raised Eyebrow.

What if it were a Black woman in the commercial instead?

Threat to the White Male Power Structure


The best thing I have read in the NY Times in a month, is a comment.
Toronto, Ontario
July 20th, 2009
6:25 am
I find it amusing that the arrival of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor on the national scene has sufficiently scared some people into thinking that the White Male Power Structure is in jeopardy.

Here's some advice, Ross: Look at the current cabinet, look at the Senate, look at the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, look at presidents of universities, look at editors of major newspapers, and indeed, look at the current slate of New York Times columnists. Do these groups seem racially and ethnically diverse to you?

Trust me: we are FAR from achieving equality in this country. The spaces of political, economic, and intellectual power are still overwhelmingly white and male.
The above comment is a response to an article about how
Sotomayor and Obama represents change.

What do you think of it?

Beauty in the Small


Will the woman who runs Beauty in the Small please email me?


I have a question for you, and there is no way for me to reach you.

I am a big fan.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Look What Happened to Your Hip Hop


When I first heard it, I was g'chattin' with @hotcompics.

Then I saw it again, and was like that's cute.

Then the third time, I was like, "this is hella obnoxious."

Old school Breakbeats selling ice cream and cakes.

What happened to your Hip Hop?

You know what it is, I figured out what struck me about it
right before I clicked publish. This video is like an Adult Swim
cartoon skit masquerading as a commercial.

Blurring of art and commerce makes my ass itch.



Friday, July 17, 2009

20 Questions Fridays {7.17.09}


1. Why do so many people say they hate feminism, yet they
can't define it?

What would happen if Beyonce responded to Nia Long?

3. What if young people, in schools with high drop out rates,
had a powerful and collective voice regarding the future
of their schools?

4. How much longer before California legalizes and taxes weed?

5. Why did it take Drake featuring White women and Latina's in
his video for Black women to get angry about a rap video?

6. Why the Washington Post charge $25K a head for an off the record,
non confrontational dinner promising health care industry lobbyist
access to
writers and politicians?

7. Why do we still act like and assume we live in a meritocracy
when the fact of the matter is that your parents power in society

determines much of your life such as health care, housing and
access to education?

8. Why does O Magazine write more off beat and interesting stories
about Black
women than Essence?

Why would happen if we decriminalized hand to hand drug dealing?

10. What are we doing for Labor Day?

Why is it hard to eat fried chicken in front of white people?

12. Why do people love waitresses and teachers?

13. Why is MAC eyeshadow so pretty?

14. Why do I get shook every time I get ready write a
critique of Black people, be the men, women, or Hip
for the first time?

15. Why has it taken me so long to realize that I can only
tell who my allies are based on their actions, not their gender
or race?

17. Why do (some) white feminist think that recognizing sexism
is a political act?

18. Why can't I find my Buhloone Mindstate cd?

19. When will Black actresses start writing and producing their own films?

20. Why can't I order Trader Joes on the internet?

You know the deal.

I got questions.

You've got answers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gratitude Wednesdays {7.15.09}


Wow. To be thankful.

I noticed a month a go that The Comeback Girl does
Gratitude Fridays, so I have decided to try it out as well.

Gratitude lists help me get my mind right.

I am not sure which day it will long on, but the goal is to do
it once, on Wednesdays or Fridays.

1. For Garland, for his funniness, generosity and chats on the
frustrations of being
a Black artist.

2. For my niece and her desire to pursue theater.
I see myself in her, a renegade rebel who believes in
yes, even though others stay say no.

3. The the stars in a country sky. Its easy to forget how pretty
they are at night.

4. For my cell phone. Two years ago, my first and only Black
Berry got stolen in Prospect Park. That! Was stressful. Now
I am just happy to have a phone that works and the scrill
to pay the bill, IN FULL every month.

5. For all the women who have tried to make progressive
media (Audios Barbie, Black Lily,The Original Honey, Hue
Magazine, Fierce Magazine,) for Nerdy Black Girls. In researching you

all, I see that what we are trying to do is continue what you
all started.

What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Twenty Questions Tuesday {7.14.09}


1. Why text messages cost .20 cent?

2. Why is it so hard to organize communities?

3. Why is getting out the bed so hard?

4. Why is Sasha Obama so cute, that I wanna hug her?

5. Why did my coworker call some clients white trash in front of me?

6. How did Erykah Badu help me accept my body and all its
imperfections and beauty?

7. Why do I wonder what my ex is doing?

8. Why do most Black blogs spend their time responding to white media?

9. Why does the loss of (Old)Vibe, (Old) Honey, Soul Purpose,
Audios Barbie,
Fierce Magazine and Hues make me feel
like nerdy Black girls can't live?

10. Why can't we accept the the internet makes mad shit free?

11. Why is it so hard to forgive?

12. What does it mean, if our popular Black blogs are responses

to white media and/or focused on gossip about Black women?

13. When is Tyler Perry going to make a movie about a Black

14. Why is
Wendy Day's Twitter stream one of my favorites?

15. Why is it so hard for folks to accept that homophobia is
in a hatred of women?

16. Why I wanna write Black Ameila Bedila books?

17. Why is my blog about to turn 4?

18. Why is the new site so damn fresh?

19. Why do I need to stop playing an learn CSS?

20. Why biscuits taste so good?

I've got questions, I know you have answers. Big {TEEF} Smile.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Coming Jobless Society


Children protest the closure of a jail in Lansing, Michigan.

It is only right that I am drawn to learning about the ascension
and decline of civilizations, as a I saw my community
Oakland, California, and my family, in many ways,
by the crack epidemic and the war on
drugs in the 1980's.

What as happened to post industrial to Detroit,
Oakland, Philly,
Newark, Los Angeles and Baltimore, is
the closest thing to the
decline of civilization I have seen,
in my short lifetime.

Last week I spent much of my time writing about pop culture,
Drake, Black women, which is what I do. I write critically
race, class and power. Imus, The Duke rape case,
Nelly, Oscar
Grant, Rihanna, Slavery, Capitalism and what
the life of being a writer looks and feels like. Then, after
one book it felt like what I was writing about was

As you can guess this isn't a good moment for a
writer, in
fact, it felt quite awful.

Artist make art, regardless of whether they are being paid for it. ~Rafi Kam.

I am an impressionable reader. So last month, when I noticed
that Ta-Nehisi
was reading about The Civil War, I wanted to
start reading about
the civil war. It seemed as if, given the
fact that Obama is president,
and that we are in the midst
of a huge change, that it would be helpful
to read and learn
more about our countries origins.

I came across a book, The Founding Brothers,
was fascinating because it talked about the conversations

that the founding fathers, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin,
had about slavery, emancipation the American
(I will talk more about this book in a later post, as it deserves it.

I needed to mention The Founding Brothers because,
a couple weeks later, I was in Birkhold's car, I saw, a book
on the seat and began to read it.
You know the seven stages
of grief?

I think I experienced a remixed version of it after reading this book.
I was
excited, then angry, then sad, then cynical, then I accepted it.

A few more days passed and I was ready to make moves. It also
helped that I read Gramsci's wiki entry. Fortunately, Gramsci
makes it clear that culture is important, just as important as politics,
because it is through culture that we decide and reaffirm what is
normal. Gramsci also believes that we need organic intellectuals.
After I read that, I did the robot.

The book that, forced me to question it all is American Revolution:
Notes from a Negro Workers Note Book. It's central argument
that automation will make our society a jobless society, and
as a
result we will have to organize our society into one which
is based
our needs instead of our wants.
A year ago, I would have thought
this book was far fetched and or outdated, just based on the title.

I would have thought this book was far fetched if
I haven't been
waitress for the last month, the only waitress in a white restaurant
largely managed by, ran by and servicing working class white folks.
Most of my exposure to white folks has been middle class, affluent, and
the elite. So working with the working class has forced me to rethink
work, race, assimilation and American social progress.

I would have thought this book was far fetched if
I didn't have
Black men, to good family men in my family, who have felonies.

This means that every time they apply for a job that they are
qualified for,
more than likely they will not get it because the legal
system requires for them to be branded
as felons, felon's for life,
even IF they have paid their debt to society, even if they have reformed,
even if they infraction occurred almost twenty years ago.

I would have thought this book was far fetched
, if I hadn't been laid
from an awesome job last year. The job was with an organization
served high achieving low income kids. I still remember the irony
washing over me when I realized that as a young person I was a
high achievin
g low income kid. Given that, I asked myself, why couldn't
they figure out a way for me to remain
and make a contribution?

I would have thought this book was far fetched if I hadn't been denied
my unemployment extension last year. I had a hearing and everything.

The judge, bless his heart, told me that if it were up to him, that he
grant it to me, based on my argument. But according to
California legislation,
an employee has to earn 40 times her weekly
base salary in order to qualify
for an extension, which meant that I
would had to have earned 80K to get an extension. Right? right.
I would have thought this book was far fetched if my father, a resident of
California moved to Las Vegas last month, after coming to California
in 1970 after the Air Force, because it became clear to him that that state
is only for the affluent and the people, mainly hardworking immigrants,
who serve them.
Earlier this year, it became clear to him that as a semi retired
man, there was no way for him to survive in that
2009 California economy.

I would have thought this was far fetched if I didn't personally know
6 under or un employed Black people, who have recently been laid
off. All have advanced degrees or five to ten years experience in their fields.

The above evidence is anecdotal, at best. However it underscores
the large system in which we live, which is why I wrote about them.

Black unemployment is at 14.7%.
is gutting public assistance.
AIG is begging for more bonus money, again.
2.6 Million jobs were lost in 2008.
GM is now by and large a government ran company.

The American Revolution is important because it provides
a theoretical framework for understanding what the above
statistics mean.

The book was written in 1964, so we have the pleasure,
or perhaps, the horror
of seeing the phenomena he has
written about come alive today in 2009. His writing is so
straight forward, that I have decided to include
excerpts below, preceded by a contextualizing sentence.

James Boggs on our automated society:
America today is headed towards an automated society, and it cannot
be stopped by feather bedding, by refusing to work overtime, by sabotage,
or by shortening the work week by a few hours. America today is rapidly
reaching a point where, in order to defend the warfare state and the
capitalist system, there will be automation on top of automation. The
dilemma before the workers and the American people is: How can
we have
automation and still earn our livings? It is not simply a
question of retraining or changing from one form of work to another.
For automation definitely eliminates the need for vast numbers of
workers, including semi skilled unskilled, and middle class clerical
On organizations and change:
All organizations that spring up in a capitalist society and do not take absolute
power, but rather fight only on one tangential or essential aspect of the society
are eventually incorporated into the society.
On the unions and pensions:
They cannot get it in their heads the these old workers, who use
to be so militant are now a vanishing herd who know that they
are a vanishing herd, who know that because of automation,
the days of workers like themselves in manufacturing are numbered,
and who have therefore decided that all they can do now
is to fight to protect their pensions and seniority and hope the company
will need them to work until they are old enough to retire or die, which
ever comes first.
On automation in the past vs. new automation:
Automation replaces men. This of course is nothing new. What is
new is that now, unlike most earlier periods, these displaced men

have no where to go. The farmers displaced by mechanization
the farms of the20's could go to the cities, and man the assembly
lines....But automation displaces people even when they have
made expendable by the system.
On coming discord between the tax payers and the dependents:
Growing in numbers all the time, these displaced persons have to
be maintained, becoming tremendous drain on the whole
population, and creating growing antagonism between
those who
have jobs and those who do not. This antagonism in
the population
between those who have to be supported and
those have to
support them is one of the inevitable antagonisms
of capitalism.
On the end of the demand for labor:
It is easy to accept that a man should move from one form of
labor to another, but it is hard to accept that there will no
be a mass demand for any labor

...They still assume that the majority of the population of such
goods will still remain the heart of society. They have not been able
to face the fact that even if the workers took over the plants they
would be faced with the problem of what do with themselves now that
work is becoming socially unnecessarily.

Lastly, on American citizens and politics:
...In the United States...everyman is a policeman over himself,
a prisoner of his own fears. He is afraid to think because he is
afraid of what his neighbors might think if they found out what
he was thinking, or what his boss might think, or what the police
might think, or the FBI or the CIA. All because he thinks
he has a lot ot lose. He thinks he has to choose between material
goods and political freedom. And when the two are counterposed,
Americans will choose material goods. Believing that they have
much to lose, Americans find excuses where there are no
excuses, evade issues before issues arise, shun situations and
conversations which could lead to conflict, leave politics and
political decisions to politicians. They will not regain membership
in the human race until they recognize that the greatest need
is to no longer to make material goods but to make politics
I hope, after reading these excerpts you can see why my
dungeon shook a little bit.
In thinking about the above
quotes, and experience of
reading this book I am thinking,
honestly about sustainable
local, artistic, communities that
are organized to serve our needs vs.
our wants.

A community garden here and there ain't gonna cut it.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

What do you think of the idea of a jobless society?

What does a society look like that places our needs
above our wants?

What is the greatest obstacle to achieving such
a society?

When you eat out do you tip 18%?(personal question, lols)

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Future of {Urban} Magazine's: Thoughts on Jeff Chang's Vibe Roundtable


Last week, Jeff Chang posted a roundtable discussion with
Alan Light, former Editor in Chief at Vibe and Raymond Roker,
Founder of Urb Magazine.

Read the entire post here. It is fascinating because in many ways
it is an organic conversation about journalism, capitalism, Vibe,
and venture capital.

Blockquote 5 paragraphs in, Jeff gets cooking when he writes,

But by April 2005, they folded. The magazine industry had shifted dramatically. The middle–as in all media and entertainment industries, hell, in American society–could not hold
The idea of the middle not holding, and for the magazine industry
as an analogy for American, and Global society, if you will,
Initially, last week, when I wrote about class, race
and teens online
I was going to include a chart about class distinctions.
It became clear to me that there is no such thing as a middle class.
There are owners. There are workers.
The material difference is
in salaries, and unions.

That's it.

Which brings me back to magazines.
Last March, I told
that Honey Magazine was relaunching as a social networking
(Background, I love magazines. My dad got me a Barbie
magazine subscription when I was 6. I also had a subscription to
Highlights and Weekly Reader.

You see, is a start up genius. She does venture capital
marketing analysis and makes
wireframes for billionaires,
so when she talks
about businesses, marketing and money, I listen.

She pointed
out to me that many magazines now have in house
record labels and publishing companies, and that the
magazines are just business cards for many companies.

We began to discuss, how Honey would have been different
if they
started a marketing arm right after the launch.

We wondered
how feasible this would have been given the way in
whiteness, blackness and gender impacts the access to
capital in
general and specifically in the NYC media and
marketing landscape

Which brings me to Jeff Chang's comment about magazines
marketing. Jeff writes,
Jeff Chang at 10:56am July 1
Alan, is there any middle ground at all to be found? Is it possible
to concoct a web/print model that can diversify income beyond
ad/sponsor revenues? E.g. For what it’s worth, and forgetting
how I feel about it for a second, most of the mags I know in the
high10K/low100k circ realm have become quasi- or real marketing
Then Jeff adds,

Jeff Chang at 11:04am July 1
I guess I think of magazines like URB, The Fader, and Juxtapoz, and Swindle as businesses that are working. But again, there are a number of ancillary units working there aside from the content work. All of them have massive marketing arms. Juxtapoz is part of the Upper Playground clothing/street art business. Swindle is part of Shepard Fairey’s empire.

But yeah, media qua media? Not so much…

Alan Light at 11:07am July 1
if anyone sees this who works with any of those, please chime in. but my understanding is that the magazine parts of those companies do not make money – but rather are a good investment in terms of visibility. as a kind of calling card for the rest of the operation where the profits are. Raymond? Andy? You guys out there?

This blew my brain back because, it became clear that "Hip Hop journalism"
in many ways is now about consumption.
That being said, if Hip Hop or
music journalism isn't about the journalism, and is a
calling card
for a corporation, where is the journalism?

Remember The Source, the Mind Squad and The Source's
? At one point, it stated,
We at The Source take very seriously the challenge being the
only independent voice for the rap industry...with respect to any
of our businesses relationships, we feel it is in our responsibility to
always strict police the integrity of our editorial content. On y in this
way can we continue to bring of the clear and unbiased coverage which
has won the respect of our readers.
Clearly this was pre-Benzino and The Almighty RSO.

In some ways, reading this roundtable, I felt like I was back in Mergers
in Acquisitions (M & A),
because the conversation about magazines
turned into one about profits, venture capital, risk assessment,
parent companies and subsidiaries.

For example, Al Roker spoke on the fact that these businesses
that have both ad agencies and magazines may drop the
magazine completely. He writes,

Raymond Leon Roker at 11:32am July 1
The ways us smaller print brands have a chance is to become boutique agencies. Filter, Cornerstone/Fader, BPM, et al, everybody is in the agency game. The magazines become the branded company pitch. A measure of credibility and clout.

But as print continues to melt away, in the eyes of clients and under the weight of constantly increasing production costs, some of these brands may drop their mags too.

The assumption is that magazine brands, if they walk away from print, can’t survive. That hasn’t been proven one way or another yet. But IMO, the only way they will is by becoming media marketing companies instead. Ones where content and marketing blur (hello ASME). But the standalone magazine model died years ago.

After this comment, Jeff and Alan began having a conversation about
Vibes uniqueness, regarding readership. This, is where M & A comes in.

Jeff Chang at 11:46am July 1
And I note the irony of looking at VIbe as ‘ethnic media’ when the urban category was invented by Black marketers and other marketers of color to get beyond that box…

Alan Light at 11:51am July 1
First, publishing is a terrible place for VCs to be, the return is too slow and too gradual. And are there other examples of consolidation other than Vibe/Spin?

And FYI, I don’t know how these numbers developed over the years, but in the years I was at Vibe it was amazing how close a 50/50 split we had in black/white and in male/female readership. Which was a bit of a problem until sales team were able to convince people it was a strength.

Jeff Chang at 11:58am July 1
Re: that’s so telling on the ad tip. And so when Wicks Group bought Vibe the writing was on the wall?

Alan Light at 12:00pm July 1
who knows? i mean, i guess there was cause for concern if, as i said, no magazine companies wanted in. i can’t comment on the state of things as of time of sale, long after i was gone.

Vibe was unique because of its readership, however, I never thought
about the fact that advertisers may not know how
to market to
such a diverse crowd.
It speaks to our history as a segregated
society, and the history of segregated publications and advertising as well.

Andy Cohn, group publisher of the Fader Media Network, posted a comment
in the comments section that made me think about venture capitalist and
the lack of profitbilty in the magazine industry. He writes,
andy cohn says:

VC’s have no business (never have) getting involved in the media business. there is a long trail of INCREDIBLE media properties (or ones that had the potential for greatness) left in the dust by VC’s who thought they’d get some great rate of return on their investment. When i first started at Spin magazine in 1994, i remember reading that the average print magazine took up to 10 years to turn a profit. i’m by no means a financial wizard (just opposite in fact) BUT that would send some red flags to me if i was the one calling shots on who to invest with or not.

I think if we all really did the research, it’s NOT solely about the magazine or the content that drives it’s success, it’s about the OWNERSHIP structure, and willingness to cultivate and organically grow a property.

So, and i mean NO disrespect, because i have had the good fortune to meet Quincy, and admire and respect him tremendously, i find it perplexing that he can come out and bash the VC’s for ‘messing up’ VIBE when it was HE that sold it to them in the first place. if VIBE had been maintained by the great people that started it and came in along the way, and it remained with Quincy/Bob Miller etc, i have no doubt we would NOT be talking about it’s closure today.

FULL DISC: i have worked for Spin/Vibe, The Source and have been Group Publisher of The FADER Media network for the past 6 years.

Organic growth is the complete anthesis of Capitalism.

Capitalism's central premise is accumulation, get money,
getting more, allways, regardless of the costs.

Even though I will be be a social science doctoral candidate in the fall,
M & A hound in me loves analyzing why a merged business will
succeed or fail,
A merger in many ways is a marriage of two businesses,
and it is often done for the purposes of saving money. We read in the
news that that Live Nation with Ticket Master. Jobs are slashed, buildings
are sold, stock goes up, shareholders are happy.

But, but, but, what is the impact of those actions for the long term?

Ask Umair, who wrote an interesting piece recently about the "bloodsucking
nature" of the music business in the case of Michael Jackson. He writes,
If the world's biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from
his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where
did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels'
pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made
Britney and Lady GaGa.
It can be for a plethora of reasons. This conversation about VIBE is
important because
it reflects the magazine industry and also because
of my personal
investment in Danyel Smith's career.

The end of Vibe was personal for me, not because of the magazine
per se, but because I have followed Danyel's career since the early nineties,
when she was in the the Bay writing about
Hip Hop. While there are
five or six newspapers and
alterantive weeklies in the Bay Area,
very few of them, then and now, feature writing
by African American women.

So when she wrote about the Boom and
the Bap in the SF Bay
Guardian, and the East Bay Express, I stayed looking for her byline.

When I ran into Danyel in NY, a few years ago she was kind and warm.

Furthermore, she encouraged me to write and blog, which was affirming.

Last December, i mentioned to her, that I was writing a series
of essay's on Hip Hop
and feminism, and that I was shook. She asked
me why, and I responded that I was scared of failure and scared of success.
She encouraged me to press "send", always.

In some ways I am not thinking about Vibe per se, but the symbolism
a Black woman, who came up the ranks as a writer, who
eventually ran magazine, and what it means to us, when
magazine is no longer running.

It's like that feeling of seeing Michelle and Oprah on the cover
of O, when you know Oprah don't share the cover with nobody.

With that being said, who knows what the future holds?

If the magazines, as we know them fall away, and start over digital,
I smile at the idea
of an Urban Vanity Fair. Given the fact that we
have a Black
president, it would be kinda awesome to have some
in depth, urban (Black, White, Asian and Latino) political and music
coverage, organically grown.

More about VIBE
Harry Allen
Belle in Brooklyn
Aliya S. King

More about Money, Art, Technology
Michael Jackson and the Zombie Media Economy
The Next 5000 Days of the Internet
The Future of Free

When Magazines Sell Access to Politicians, Lobbyist
The Atlantic
The Washington Post

Sunday, July 05, 2009

BET's School for Nappy Headed Ho's: BET, Drake & Lil Wayne


The jump @ 3:55 sec

"I like a long haired thick red bone."
~Lil Wayne

No nappy headed ho's allowed.

I have been having a conversation with Moya and Nuala about
BET, Drake, and Lil Wayne.

The conversation has been interesting in that I have been
pushing hard against being reactionary. Its challenging, because when
you react you feel empowered.

But, we, the masses, always have the power, whether or not we use
it is another question. We outnumber the executives and the politicians.


Black Women
It is important to note that there are Black women who
are only angry because Drake's video features light skinned
Latina's and White women. From the Sandra Rose website,

"Sandra as a woman I am offended that this is all Kanye West, the director, could come up with for one of the hottest songs of the summer. He should be ashamed of this depiction of females. This video in a nutshell basically says a woman’s beauty is defined by how big her boobs are and light her skin is. And Kanye being a black man raised by black parents and Drake being bi-raicial (half black and half white) why are they only showcasing ALL Hispanic girls in this video? I don’t get it, they couldn’t get ONE pretty chocolate sister up in the video like Lanisha Cole, Jessica White, or Natasha Ellie to be in the video alongside the Hispanic girls?..."
I read this, thought about it, read it again then realized that,
getting more Black women to care about rap videos, simply takes
only featuring Latina's and White women. Hmmmp.

In fact, on Tuesday. I tweeted that in some ways the the only
way for Black women to be upset about rap videos is if they
are excluded. I was surprised that five people responded. We
have allies after all.

What does it mean, and what does it say about Black women,
and the recognition of Black beauty in mainstream media,
if we are only mad because a clearly sexist video doesn't have
any brown skinned women in it?

Apologies and Boycott's
BET and Drake have both apologized.

An apology without an action is worthless.

Especially when the apology does nothing to materially impact
harm that has been done.

Lets review the facts.

BET has received its ad dollars.

Advertisers commercials were exposed to 10M viewers.

Some Black people have written letter and a petition and get an apology.

The first two points have to do with an exchange of money,
the last one doesn't.

One question for BET? What is your apology worth?

In my conversation with Moya, we are talking about boycott's
and how they are reactionary. The idea is that if we spend
all of our time reacting to what some one is doing to us,
then we will have no energy left to advance our own agenda's.

The advertisers for the Bet awards were,
Dodge, Procter & Gamble,
Target, CIROC Vodka, Ford, Coors, Pepsi, Verizon Wireless and Akademiks
You know, in case you were wondering.

According to Target Market News, In a recent mulitmedia engagement of 5,000 African American adults, Simmons market Research Bureay found that BET viewers are 21% more ad receptive when they watch ads on BET, and 31% more ad rece[tive when they see ads on, versus other networks.
[Sidebar. Why do corporations cause harm and governments
stay taking forced free labor and or ad dollars, and giving
us apologies? It's rhetorical]

While there are many people who are angry about
what BET has done, just because folks are angry,
does't mean that they care enough to take
non-reactionary action.

Take Imus, he was censored temporarily,
there was a big hullaboo, and he is back on the air.

Capitalism stay eatin', nothing stops it.

Imus nor Wayne, nor Drake, are the problem. They
are symptoms of a larger one.

Moya astutely pointed out we often say that "Them rappers
ain't talking about me", she then noted that, Wayne just said he
"wish he could fuck every girl in the world", that includes all of us,
you too Love.


What do you think of the women being angry because
no brown skinned women were featured?

You see the awards?

Have you thought of alternatives to reactionary


100 Visionaries? Yes!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Digital White Flight: On Twitter and Race


Twitter and Race

Two major events have happened in the last few days involving Twitter
and race. On Sunday night, during The BET awards, the trending topics were:
The BET Awards, Beyonce, Ne-Yo, BBD, Mary Mary, Keith Sweat, Tiny
and Toya.

Yesterday afternoon, the trending topic became "fakeassnigga"
many, presumably Black, folks were retweeting @lilduval
who tweeted about "fakeassniggas."

Then all of a sudden the trending topic, "fakeassnigga" was gone.

The Twitter administrators apparently deleted it.

This action reminded me that as much as we think that the tweets
are ours, there is in fact a firewall, and
by using the website we have
consented to Twitters written and unwritten rules of usage.

In response to the deletion, I tweeted, "Wassup with the digital race scrubbing"
and "Why should we expect people to be any less racist online than they
are offline?"

I then received a direct message from @allaboutgeorge for a link
to danah boyd's essay, "Viewing Class Divisions through Facebook
and Myspace

boyd's essay provides an accessible theoretical framework
for understanding race, class and social stratification on the internet.

The essay was exactly what I needed to read at the moment.

Digital White Flight
boyd's general thesis is that some teens are flocking to Facebook
and others are going to Myspace and their reasons for doing so have
to do with class.

She observed that the issue wasn't that Facebook wasn't becoming larger
than Myspace. The issue is socio-economic class. She writes,

Until recently, American teenagers were flocking to MySpace. The picture
is now being blurred. Some teens are flocking to MySpace. And some
teens are flocking to Facebook. Who goes where gets kinda sticky...
probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class.
Which brings me to her general thesis which is that "what we do in society is
mirrored in our
behavior online."

She has four notable points.
The first is that,
As a society, we have strong class divisions and we project these values onto our kids. MySpace and Facebook seem to be showcasing this division quite well. My hope in writing this out is to point out that many of our assumptions are problematic and the internet often reinforces our views instead of challenging them.
The second is that Facebook appeals to teens who,
tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to
college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are
primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking
forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.

MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens,
"burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths,
gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant
high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't
go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school.
These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after
schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace.
MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school
because they are geeks, freaks, or queers..
The third is that what we do in society is mirrored in our behavior online.
She writes,

The division around MySpace and Facebook is just another way in which technology is mirroring societal values. Embedded in that is a challenge to a lot of our assumptions about who does what. The "good" kids are doing more "bad" things than we are willing to acknowledge (because they're the pride and joy of upwardly mobile parents). And, guess what? They're doing those same bad things online and offline. At the same time, the language and style of the "bad" kids offends most upwardly mobile adults. We see this offline as well. I've always been fascinated watching adults walk to the other side of the street when a group of black kids sporting hip-hop style approach. The aesthetics alone offend and most privileged folks project the worst ideas onto any who don that style.
Lastly, and I was surprised to learn this, but there is apparently a
class division in the military that is reflected in social network usage.
boyd writes,
A month ago, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. This
was a very interesting move because the division in the military
reflects the division in high schools. Soldiers are on MySpace;
officers are on Facebook. Facebook is extremely popular in the
military, but it's not the SNS of choice for 18-year old soldiers,
a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated
communities. They are using MySpace.
In light of boyd's Facebook & Class doctrine, I began to see Twitter's
move to erase "fakeass nigga" from the trending topics
as a move to protect its brand, and prevent it from looking
too young, urban, working class and ghetto. In some ways,
it can be seen as an effort to remain on the hegemonic,
Facebook side of the equation instead of the moving closer to
the subalternative Myspace side.

Lets take a look at some of the comments made
about the "fakeassnigga" trend by some of the
presumably white, users,
@zacharyskinner Why do retarded subjects like "Fake Ass Nigga" keep
becoming trending topics? Is twitter being overrun by the idiot crowd

@moohalaa I don't have a "Fake Ass Nigga" clue why its a trending topic, I
must admit

@sandy7172cat OMG! This "Fake Ass Nigga" is horrible. Twitter you should be

@Kashaseptember Why are all these black people on trending topics. Neyo, Beyonce,
Tyra, Jamie Fox. Is it black history month
again? LOL.
During The BET Awards some of the tweets were saved as screen shots
and posted on Tumblr, on the site titled, "OMG! Black People"
Tumblr, took the site down. In true internet fashion the , OMG! Black People
sprung up on Wordpress. Here are some of the tweets,
@peggyrossmanith The current trending topics make me sad for America.

@Jennibenn1 screw these stupid trending topics, I am going to bed

@brighteyesjulie did anyone see the trendning topics. I don't think this is
a very good neighborhood. Lock the doors kids.

@sweethayle So many black people!

@rolololodan Why are all the trending topics about the BET awards.
Fuck that channel.
In many ways, what we are seeing on Twitter are the racial
comments that folks would normally keep to themselves,
or only mention to their peers with whom they feel safe.

These tweets run counter to the mainstream press's notion
of a post racial America. Keep in mind that I write this with
the understanding that noticing and understanding our contradictions
is the only way we can reconcile them and have real change
and progress.

The added dimension of the internet means that off handed
comments that where once private and racial are now public,
racial, screen saved and posted on blogs.

In many ways, Iwe as a nation are so afraid of dealing
with race and class that we hope a technology will come along
and serve as some sort of microwave social justice tool that will
and deal with it for us. The consequences of four hundred years of
chattel slavery will not be erased with the internet.

The truth is that technology will only further magnify the stereotypes,
class distinctions and our general efforts to avoid dealing with each other.

boyd's research, Twitter's censorship and the comments made during
The BET awards evidence this.

Who we are in our daily lives is who we are online, a key board,
some plastic a hard drive will never change that.

What do you think of the removal of the trending topics?

What do you think of danah boyd's theory about Facebook, Myspace
and digital class distinctions?

Have you noticed anyhing else racial that has been censored recently

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