Friday, July 29, 2005

*Shakes Head in Shame*


Just another reason
I need to come with my A game and stop eating chicken. I know many of you will laugh, but I only learned recently that chicken eat every thing that is on the ground. Gross hunh. Poop. Dirt. Ewwwww. Now the Times is talking about the fact that there are some DANGEROUS ANTIBIOTICS that are pumped into the chickens.

Or perhaps I need to go for broke and join the
Park Slope Food Co-Op so I can get my my organic chicken thigh's and organic pomegranate juice to wash it down.

I read Danyel's new book, "Bliss" last night. The main protaganist, Eva, works in the post Pac/Biggie music industry with an artist that I can describe as a combination of barefoot & performing- inscense burning-Badu with the cross over appeal of Celine Dion. Eva drinks a lot, f--ks a lot, and runs with the Big Boys in the industry. Because I am sort of fact and conflict obsessed, I spent the first 2/3rd's of the novel looking for Eva's motivation for her alchol addiction and her ambivilance regarding her pregnancy. Danyel, I loved the father figure. He was on point. Protective, loving, shrewd and competitive. It was good to see a GROWN Black woman's perspective on the music industry who was struggling with her own NOTIONS of family. Lord knows I have been there.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I "Heart" Hip Hop


Why did I stumble upon the D-Nice blog. Hallllaaah!
Takin out you sucka's and you don't know how I did it. Ohhh, those guitars and that base line, dunn nun du nun nun nun nun nun-nun.
That is a classic hook, mayne. His blog appears to be honest and full of insight with even advice from BDK (Hashim, thanks for the link).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Book Burna's


New Book out on Hip Hop. Dope cover too. Between Barkari's book, Why White Kids Love Hip Hop" to Jeff Changs, "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" and this new joint, Hip Hop Matters, by S. Craig Watkins, can we say that this is a "watershed" year for books on Hip Hop?

He also has another book called "Representing:
Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema". (Jase- this one is for you).



Damali Ayo, a Denver based, Brown educated visual artist has a new book out titled Rent-A-Negro. What an err- interesting idea. Renting Negros. There was an article on Damali in Salon. Her website is

Model Minority of the Week is....


So, I just learned that Malcolm Gladwell is Colin Powell's cousin. Can you imagine playing tag with Colin Powell at the annual family BBQ. Colin would have mad strategies and tactics. He would never Be it. I think that it is interesting that Malcom mentions frequently how he is treated differently when he wears The Fro. Ahhhh, Malcom, welcome to Breathing While Black:)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Hip Hop


For the next week or so I am going to post about what I have learned from Hip Hop. I have been toying around with this idea for a minute. I originally wanted to do it in book form so blogging about it is a start:)

1.From BDP's Love's Gonna Getcha, I learned that your desires to have nice, clothes cars and jewlery can get you caught up. The crack epidemic in Oakland went from a modest smolder to bubbly stew over a three month period. Young bucks who had no money last week were coming through with Guess Jean overalls, clean fades, cherry red cougars, task force kicking down doors. My big brother had mad BDP joints. It was a new world.

2. From Ed O G and the Bull Dog's "Be a Father to you Child", I learned that rappers can talk about the importance of fatherhood on a song. I don't believe that music, Hip Hop, has to be political. It can be one of its functions. But when it is Good it is Excellent.

3.From Nas I learned that we are Born Alone and We Die Alone and that is life. Up until that point I loved the hop, but I do not remember feeling an MC the way that I felt him. In fact, that was one of the first tapes that I bought on the Tuesday that it came out. It is disappointing

4.From Salt and Pepa I learned that women could dance and discuss sex in a song without being considered raunchy. For their era, the were advanced.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Me and Redman & Doom


Why didn't anyone tell me that the Ikea instructions only have graphics? There is a certain amount of stamina that furniture assemblage requires. It is sorta like a marathon. Redman and Doom helped me learn how to use a drill and assemble an Ikea bookcase, armoire and entertainment center. Well, they did not help me literally, but I did listening to Vaudeville Villan and Dare is a Darkside. The entertainment center still needs a little bit more work. But that will get handled tonight.

In an ironic twist there was an article in the Times yesterday about a man volunteering to build an armoire for his girlfriend after she moves into his apartment. I was happy to learn that other couples were going through armoire pain too. It gave me a burst of energy.

There is nothing like getting three quarters through assembling an armoire only to learn that the two largest panels need to be switched around. Which requires breaking the entire thing down. However, I no longer have any furniture assemblage anxiety. Infact, I may ask for a more powerful drill and a saw for my B-Day:)

Close Your Mouth & Open Your Legs.


Two Black women are on the New York Times Bestseller lists.
Bebe Moore Campbell's new book, 72 Hour Hold and
Karrine Steffans and Karen Hunter's book Confessions of a Video Vixen.

I am not surprised by the comments being made about Karrine Steffans book. What it noticable to me is the double standard that exists for Ms. Steffans and the men in Hip Hop that she has apparently slept with.
There is no reference being made to their whorish, if you will, behavior. This line of thought reinforces the idea that women are objects to be had.

With so much of the popular hip hop depending on Black women to sell their songs (abve is one of the more, er- conservative, still shots from Nellys Tip Drill video), it makes sense that someone has finally written about being with rappers. We are discussed in the songs. We dance in the videos. We work behind the scenes in droves in the music industry. And finally someone is talking about it.

Ms. Steffans is being referred to has a whore and slut who is using her whorish skills to make cash is interesting. Sex is used to sell everything from cars to ciggarettes. Popular cultures current fascination with everthing that is pimp related adds a dimension to the double sexual standard in Hip Hop, (and American culture at large). From the Pimp my Ride show on MTV, to 50 Cent's song is a P-I-M-P. In fact Terrence Howard's plays a pimp in the new John Singleton movie, Hustle and Flow. Pimpdom is pervasive. The very essence of being a pimp is a man, (typically), convincing a woman to sell her body for cash for him. It comes down to the fact that many do not have a problem with Ms. Steffans sleeping with rappers, she apparently, isn't suppose to talk about it.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Wayan's are Town Bound


The Wayans have been in talks with the City of Oakland to build a studio at an army base in West Oakland. I can see it now, a young bucks, thugs and ex-raiderettes all gainfully employed at the Wayans shiny new sounstage. This could be good for the city. But you know how that Hollywood ish goes, now you see it........In other Town news, Why are tax payers paying 22 Million (capital M) to subsidize the Raiders? Oakland folks love the team, and that is cool. However 22 Million. Per year. A portion of that, maybe 5 or 10 million could pay for a lot of teacher salaries, new books, toliet paper, janitors, field trips, new desks, chalk.......

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Born Broke. Die Broke.


Lately I have been obsessed with inherited wealth. It is one thing to be the first in your family to go to school. You end up being your families paralegal, social worker and health care advocate. Because you have been in schools re- institutions, you can navigate them better. You do it out of love. If you are the first in your family (fiyf,-don't steal), then it is very Unlikely that you will have the resources that some of your peers and coworkers who may be White 2nd and 3rd generation college attendees & homeowners. Today's Times article talks about how grandparents help pay for their grandchildrens private school tuitions. Which leaves me with the question of, when is their going to be a dialogue about the relationship between inherited wealth and class. Because the way that it is looking, a lot of folks are going to be on some Born Broke. Die Broke. American Dream. Zapped.

My favorite part of the article when the writer Tamar Lewin states that, "For wealthy grandparents, tuition payments can be a good estate-planning device. Under so-called 529 plans, Martin L. Greenberg, an accountant at Rosen, Seymour, Shapss, Martin & Company, said, a grandparent could contribute $55,000 toward a grandchild's college tuition without triggering any gift tax. And private-school tuition paid directly to the school does not count as a gift." Talk about the benifits of being second or third generation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Town Business


What happens when put some young bucks (who may or may not be D-Boys), and a middle age Black man "street vigilante" on a slowly gentrifing North Oakland block? You get a grown man, Patrick McCullough (photo above), who shoots a "rowdy" kid, sixteen-year-old Melvin McHenry. McHenry was allegedly on McCullouh's lawn with some homies. McCullough felt threatened and was tired of calling the police on the D-Boy's on his block. And largely because the DA's office declined to charge McCullough, the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement are calling him a sellout. Only in the town 'mane. Only in the 'town.

Who even Needs the Wire?


You know a book is good when you find yourself walking down the street you reading it. Drama City by George Pelecanos is that sh*t. He also happens to be a writer for The Wire. The blurb on the back of the book sums it perfectly saying that Pelecanos "has the first-rate writer's ability to entertain you and break you heart on the same page."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Anything...but a Pimp


Shout out to Ta-Nehisi Coats on the 2, count 'em 2 page NY Times article on Negro Filmmakers in Hollywood. It was interesting to learn that Hollywood Execs did not want Terrence Howard to be a Pimp in Hustle and Flow. They questioned why he had to be the lowest of the low-a P-I-M-P. The filmmakers contest that they the movie was about a Pimp's redemption. From what I remember of the film, I did not see that. At all. I saw a dude just trying to come up.

Weird (looking), but true.


Looks like Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel is being sued for sexual harrassment. He might want to shave that mustache before he goes to court. I don't think the judge would be impressed with the internet prowler look.

Housing Projects and Bad Organs


The Times was on it this weekend. They had a
piece on the growing wealth in Chelsea and its impact on the Brown and Black residents in the really large Fulton Houses. The article is just another example of how the island is turning into millionaire city (don't steal). People laugh when I say it, but I am serious as a heart attack.

There was this other grimey
article on the history organ transplant industry. This one cat got rabies, Rabies, from an organ transplant gone bad. Talk about light dinner party conversation.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Global Underground Cash. Gangsta!


Now I am fully aware of your traditional underground economy, with rap's/cracks, chop shop's and bootleg DVD's, but I had never heard the words banking and the underground economy in the same sentence. From what I have seen of the The Blood Bankers, it appears to be an eye opener. Last night at B&N, I also came across a book on the history of the Cayman Island's. I love when people give up that economic game.

Thursday, July 07, 2005



I know that some of you doubt that such a time has ever existed. I did not even know that this book was being created until I saw the pictures from the book release party. Of course it was instant happiness as I have been fascinated with Oakland before crack.....D.C. before crack......the U.S. before Crack.

The Supreme Court & the KKK.


Janice Rogers is one dangerous Black woman. She makes Clarence Thomas look like Martin Luther King jr.
She is on track to be nominated for THE (capital T) Supremes. Talk about a Brave New World.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Singleton IS Hip Hop ?!?!?!?


Now that Hustle and Flow is about to be released Singleton says he is going to do for Blues what he did for hip hop in his next film starring Justin Timberlake....... So let me get this right. The Blues and Justin Timberlake. How very, er, Elvis Presley of him.

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