Monday, December 31, 2007

The Ivy League and the IIlusion of Accessbility


Buried in Businessweek online late November was
an article on
the amount of wealth owned by Ivy League schools.

I didn't find the articles interesting per se, UNTIL I noticed a
series of articles being ran The Times in December about
how HYP are offering reduced and or no loan tuition to
families with incomes between $120 and $180K.

.....America's public institutions of higher learning, which educate 75% of the country's college students. While the Ivies, which account for less than 1% of the total, lift their spending into the stratosphere, many public colleges and universities are struggling to cope with rising enrollments in an era when most states are devoting a dwindling share of their budgets to higher ed.....
Talk about the illusion of accessibility.

I thought about how, as of 2001, 1% of the population owns 34%
of the wealth.
By wealth I mean, homes and businesses, stocks,
real estate.
Not cars and rims.
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2001, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 51%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2004).
Please notice that 1% wealth ownership and the 1%
being educated by the Ivy Plus. Correlation?

It would be great to see an analysis of how much
property Black folks could potentially own if we received
loans with interest rates comparable to our white counterparts,
and if we re allocated our spending on clothes and cars
to homes and mortgages.

F*ck being rich, I'm wealthy.

Back to the illusion of admission.

Reading these articles, if I were a junior or senior in high school
I would probably get all warm and fuzzy
inside with my Model Minority prep school credentials, 3.5 gpa.

But. Here is the rub.

According to Peter Schmidt,
author of Color and Money: How
Rich White Kids Are Winning the War over College Affirmative
30% of positions are guaranteed for legacy admits,
the children of the politically connected and when applicable athletes.

Leaders at many selective colleges say they have no choice but to instruct their admissions offices to reward those who financially support their institutions, because keeping donors happy is the only way they can keep the place afloat. They also say that the money they take in through such admissions preferences helps them provide financial aid to students in need.

But many of the colleges granting such preferences are already well-financed, with huge endowments. And, in many cases, little of the money they take in goes toward serving the less-advantaged.
Bear in mind that Schmidt's research revealed that approximately
30% of admitted students had SAT scores and grades lower than
what the US NEWS and WORLD REPORT would tell you is necessary
to get into these schools.

Thus the illusion of accessibility.

While researching this post, I came across the encyclopedia of
American Wealth. NICE.

I find this to be a really accessible analysis of wealth as well.


What would it take to teach low income folks about
the importance of home ownership?

If you got into Harvard, would you go, even if it meant six figure

Why don't we have a fundamental understanding of rich vs. wealthy?


What do Denzel and Lupe have in Common?


So its Christmas.
The gifts have been unwrapped.
Dinner has been consumed.

Its time to graze on over to the movies.

The choice apparent was The Great Debaters.

It made sense seeing as it was THE Black holiday movie.

I walked out of their feeling proud, angry, sad and inspired.

But doesn't good art do that?

That movie was like a mainline injection of Black
post reconstruction racial uplift directly
into the main vain.

I mean, the lynching scene, Denzel's authoritarian disposition
and the youthful exuberance and cautious optimism exhibited by
the Wiley Colllege debate time was palpable.

Both The Cool and The Great Debater is rooted in
Black Post
Reconstruction melancholy.

Wait, thats not fair to Lupe.

Lupe is a rapper's rapper.

"I believe the game moves in cycles and I believe there will be another wave of superstars to move the game forward. If I had to name one person, I would have to say Lupe. He is making the most creative, different new music. It's fresh". ~Jay Z
See SJ set the stage for the The Cool morphing
into my unofficial soundtrack for the Great Debators on Christmas Eve.
It was playing in the whip when he picked me
up from the airport.

Not the most romantic music y'all.

But back to the comparison.

Both of them are egregiously heavy handed.

Both are dark and introspective.

Both turn the mirror on Black folks.

The hook on Dumb it Down is heavy like the sorrow
on a Black mommas heart after burying her second
teenage son.
You've been shedding too much light Lu (Dumb it down)
You make'em wanna do right Lu (Dumb it down)

They're getting self-esteem Lu (Dumb it down)
These girls are trying to be queens Lu (Dumb it down)

They're trying to graduate from school Lu (Dumb it down)
They're starting to think that smart is cool Lu (Dumb it down)

They're trying to get up out the hood Lu (Dumb it down)

I'll tell you what you should do (Dumb it down)

In listening to his music you wonder,
why is dude so serious?

But DON'T we like to party and bullsh*t a lot?
Doesn't the majority of our music reflect that?

And if that is the case, isn't Lupe entitled to say
let it do what it do and go hard, Malcolm, Huey and Martin
till the wheels fall off?


Where do you fall on the rap as art continuum?
Is Lupe being heavy handed or self righteous even?
Is he just being a grown Black man speaking REAL TALK?

You seen The Great Debaters? What did you think?


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Music Writers Have it Hard


Peep Eliott Wilson get in the gristle about actually receiving
threats of violence for some of his Hip Hop reviews.

Stakes is High man.

Dres (from Black Sheep) We all know what majestic masterwork A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing was but I had the unfortunate job of being the first one to inform my fellow Queens brethren that his second album Non-Fiction was a true shit sandwich.

It was a write-up in One Nut magazine, an independent
publication based in Connecticut owned by a gentleman
named Barry Wade. Barry would pay me about 30-50 dollars
to review as many rap albums I could get my hands on.
Fun fact: When I retired from that gig, kris ex filled in the
kid’s shoes. Sorry exo!

I know I am late with this, but that it was SUCH a good
example of art
that is convered by the Fair Use doctrine
in Copyright law.

In other news Jay resigned.

I am indifferent to him resigning. What I would be
interested in is hearing what THOSE negotiations
sounded like.


I don't like going to jails.

They are dehumanizing.

But, you have to do what you have to do, right?

In that spirit I am glad that this piece was written by
Graham Rayman about the horrors of visiting
a loved one in Rikers
Each year, about 350,000 people—or about 1,000 a day—visit
someone at Rikers or elsewhere in the sprawling city jail system.
There are a lot of reasons why Rikers visits take so long—some
reasonable and others not—but together they amount to a hidden
penalty exacted by the criminal-justice bureaucracy on a
population largely made up of moms, wives, girlfriends, and sisters.
1000 people a day. Good grief Charlie Brown.

"It's an all-day thing," Gordon says. "You have to plan your life around it. On a good day, you wait two hours for a one-hour visit—on a good day—and the COs are rude. Sometimes they load you on the bus at Rikers and we're sitting there, and the driver is standing outside smoking, and it's like he's not going to take you until he's ready."

Gordon says she was once turned away for wearing a tank top. Another time, she says, she waited eight hours to see her boyfriend. In the end, she was told she couldn't see him. "It was almost 9 p.m., and I was sitting there with a couple of other people, and the officer goes, 'You're an idiot for staying so long.' "

All I can say is wow.


Brandon at URB magazine sent me an email last
saying that Doom apparently appeared at another
show lip-singing.

However, this time, the promoter retaliated and posted
his personal information on the internet.

The email is signed by Randy Castello / Tight Bros Network, an Atlanta-based promotor, and came from a MySpace bulletin sent out by the show's venue, Drunken Unicorn. He goes on to list Doom's address and phone number (sorry, fan boys and bill collectors, it's irresponsible to paste it here).

Dec 14, 2007 8:30 PM
Subject: Anyone want to prank call MF DOOM?
Body: Many apologies go to all of you who came out to the MF DOOM show last night at MJQ and paid $30 of your hard earned money only to watch him lip sinc for 20 minutes at 1:30 in the morning. This was by far one of the single worst experiences I've had as a club promoter and I sincerely apologize if you walked away feeling cheated. To make matters even worse MF DOOMS appointed doorman took off with all the money from the door after the show! As soon as we realized the money was stolen we decided to help ourselves to all of MF DOOMS merchandise which included a bunch of T shirts and posters. So, in an effort to make it up to everyone who walked away feeling cheated, we're giving away all the merchandise for free so come and get it while supplies last!! And if that's not enough, feel free to let MF DOOM aka Daniel Dumile know how you really feel by calling him at his home in Kennesaw Georgia.

Hi Doom,

What the eff is going on dude?
I mean really.
In my opinion you make headphone music,
so I don't want to soil my image of that
by going to one of your shows.
But still dude.
Sending OTHER people to come and lip synch.
Es a joke, no?
Knowing you, your probably in the crowd
recording everyone's reaction for some weird Vaudeville Villan II
extra DVD scenes. (giggles).


Was it greasy for dude to put Dooms info on the internet,

or was he within his rights?

Does grimy get grimy?


NetFlix Review: Half Nelson had SO MUCH Potential


Shareka Epps is magnificent.

I was so looking forward to watching this DVD.

It was the first one that I Netflixed when I reactivated my
account last month.

I'm was juiced. I had the Trader Joes 2 buck chuck, wasabi snacks
and carmel pop corn cracking, ready to go.

So I am watching it, for ten minutes, and wondering why they are focusing
on Ryan Gosling's crack head teacher character.

Then I realized I realized that while the
story had a ton of potential, it went wrong horribly wrong?

The fact that the first 20 minutes of the movie focused on
the teacher, his crack problem, the problem with his love,
made Shareka's life look secondary.

How are you going to make a black teenage girl,
her white teacher's moral compass.

It was like, he had fallen and she was his redemption.

That sh*t is so codependent I don't know that to say.

It reminds me of all of those movies where either the Black
students are saved by the do good "liberal" teacher or
a Morgan Freeman movie where he is playing god.

Two extreme sides of the same codependent coin.


Have you seen Half Nelson?

Am I being harsh?

Do you pay attention to the screen time
and order in which individual stories
are told in a movie?


Tatiana Killed Someone.


I like Zoo's.

Last December, around Christmas, I went to the
San Francisco Zoo with my dad.

That was the first time I encountered Tatiana.

She was magnificent.
The following day,
Tatiana chewed on her feeders arm.

The feeder was wounded and hospitalized.

There was an investigation. And the feeding system was
so as to make it less likely for a tiger to have
access to an arm to chew.

Apparently, Tatiana got loose yesterday, mauled two
and killed another person.

She was killed.

As you may know, Tatiana was a big ass-d tiger.

This one cuts close to the bone. Tigers are animals. They eat flesh.

The flip side to that is that they are known to leave humans alone,
provided they are not provoked.

They are also tremendously endangered so Zoo's actually,
some would argue, provide a safe haven for them.
Ironically, last year, I was concerned that they would
her to sleep for biting her feeder. She ended up
being "put to sleep" a year later, yesterday.
Other people have been harmed as well.


Should Tatiana been removed from the Zoo
December of '06 when the
first incident happened?

This reminds me of a Micheal Vick question.

Did you all notice how Deer/Bear/Duck hunting is
totally acceptable
but dog fighting isn't?

Is it a question of class?


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Model Minority ::: Best Posts of the Year


Hot Links, get it?

There is something about the end of the year that
has you on reflective mode.

The air gets crispier, you get a little but more
thankful for your family, or depressed because
there are some folks who simply aren't around for
one reason or another.

And then there is the year end list.

I ain't gone lie. I did not COMB through the all of this years posts.
I'm anal, but not THAT anal.

I have in fact posted a link to the posts that garnered
a robust comments.

You more than likely already read them, but as SJ tells
me all the time, its good to reflect.

I would say that these are a combination of the
best and the most entertaining posts.

Academic Dudes vs. Street Dudes.

The Female Brain

Backpacker Week Presents the Back Packer Boxset

F*ck Whoever Don't Like Little Brother

Pharrel Swag Kinda Heavy

R Kelly, The Duke Rape Case and AKON

What if Public School Teachers Earned 80K out the Gate?

On Attraction

Are N*ggas Really THAT Homophobic?

NY Times Speculates on Surge of Oakland Murders

Just Ask M.Dot

Intergration Killed Black Education

Jay Z is the GOAT

I Can't Listen to NAS

America's Failure to Educate Black Children is Soft Genocide

I ain't gonna front.

Reviewing this years post's has me feeling like this is
an interesting little collection of work.


Did I miss any posts that you liked more than the ones
I listed above?

Is there anything else that you want me to write more
or for that matter less about, in '08?

What are some sites that you visit that you think I may find of interest?


Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 Blog Link Wrap Up.


Its all in the title.

Out of the millions of sites and blogs out there,
there are some that we bookmark and forward to our friends,
and even write about ourselves.
In that spirit, I present to you
a collection of links.

These sites either have a dope premise, amazing content
or a combination of both.
Please peruse them while I go on holiday with the folks.

I have a couple of things in the pipeline for you all between
now and New Years Eve.

But until then enjoy.
Will Okun
You can always find something inspiring in Will's posts
about being a White, empathetic, analytical teacher in Black
under resourced Chicago.

Angry Asian Man
Any blog that has ANGRY and ASIAN in the title
is alright with little Ms. Mdot. I mean, we Model Minorities
have to stick together, right.

Damali Ayo

Damali was the subject of one of my first posts.
Had to show love, "It's the Brooklyn way".

Unlike many writers for popular publications who write about hip hop,
Brehain actually LIKES the music and his enthusiasm pops
off the page. He is also a little less biased then me, which is nice.

Ella Baker Center
Ella Baker is an organization that I have been familiar with
every since OPD removed some teeth from my brothers mouth
a few years ago. I have committed myself to working with them
in '08. You should check for them too.

Ensure (the likelihood) that you will Rest in Peace.

On Being Adopted
Sang-Shil Kim is a writer and Korean adoptee whose blog
discusses the latter. I can hear Kims voice when I read his/her
words and THAT is a sign of a good writer.

Black Informant

A Black man gets his write on.

Many times I take a huge risk in losing readership due to some of the thoughts expressed here (and it happens); but being able to speak candidly in a forum such as the blogosphere is something that is far more valuable to me in the long run than any numbers game. I also enjoy the challenge of refining my thoughts against strong criticism versus the shallowness of thought that comes from speaking only to an ‘amen’ crowd.
Women. Comic. Book. Writers. ALL GOOD.

Man I must really love y'all.
I just finished packing, and wrapping, brunching and
pedicuring. I'm pooped.


Which links do you like and why? Which links could you not give a f-ck about? Why?

You tired? I'm tired.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Obama's Dance with White Folks


Frank Rich had me going. Up, then down, then up again.

All while reading about Obama.

A lot of ink has been spilled on Obama and the White vote,
but what these articles don't mention is that Black folks have
to do a VERY similar dance every day.

We constantly monitor our Blackness. We monitor it
during small talk, we monitor how we use our language,
we monitor the food we eat around coworkers. Oh.
Food. I had a classmate who would not eat fried chicken
in the law school cafeteria. He was like, "baked, grilled",
thats fine, but fried, "I'm cool on those."

That bugged me out.

But back to Frank Rich.

So he says some things that had me excited
such as this,

Mr. Obama’s much-derided readiness to talk promptly and directly to the leaders of Iran and Syria, for instance, was a clear alternative, agree with it or not, to Mrs. Clinton’s same-old Foggy Bottom platitudes on the subject.
But much like the Clinton campaign itself, the Republicans have fallen into a trap by continuing to cling to the Hillary-is-inevitable trope. They have not allowed themselves to think the unthinkable — that they might need a Plan B to go up against a candidate who is not she.
and the really juicy part, which is this,
Part of the Republicans’ difficulty in countering Mr. Obama, should they have to, is their own cynical racial politics. For the most part, race has been the dog that hasn’t barked in this campaign despite the (largely) white press’s endless fretting about whether the Illinois senator is too white for black voters and too black for white voters.
Then I was disappointed when he said,
Most Americans aren’t racist, most Republicans included.
According to who? What is racism? How are you measuring it? Based on what?

Then he turned around and said this,
It’s not because those no-[shows [Rebublicans]are racists;
it’s because they are defensive and out of touch.
Now come on Frankie. Come on. Be easy with the "most",
and "many's", and defining the racism levels of entire groups.
You and I both know that unless you have data
to back your assertions up, you come across person
whose integrity has a shot gun blast right in the center.

Other than that, I am pleased with the piece.


When is AL GORE going to come out the wood work?

Maybe the plan is to make Al the VP?

But then again
he wouldn't go for that. VP?AGAIN?

When was the last time you had to think
"who you were" in mixed company?

What made you think about it in the first place?


There is Something about Missy Elliott


Missy Elliott single handedly changed the game.

In recent history, pop music has dictated that Black women
must aspire to Pam Grier esque beauty if they want
to even consider getting any burn.

In addition the female artists sex and
sexuality is usually core component of image.

Trina, Kim, Khia's career all reflect this fact.

Miss simply did her and has a career to show for it.

That is not to say that Missy is rendered asexual, with
songs like One Minute Man and lyrics like,

" I'd like to get to know you so I could show you
Put the p*ssy on you like I told you
Gimme all your numbers so I could phone you
Your girl actin' stank then call me over
Not on the bed, lay me on your sofa
Phone before you come, I need to shave my chocha
You do or you don't or you will or won't you
Go downtown and eat it like a vulture" - Missy Elliott,
Work It
Listening to these lyrics will make you blush.
Reading it on the page makes it look down right crude.
To be fair, I have found that to be the case with a lot of
hip hop. The bottom line is that she refused to be rendered asexual
in a industry that has one costume fits all for female artists.

From the beginning of her career, Missy has pushed the limits of
of what convention dictates she should wear.
For instance, remember the I Can't Stand the Rain Video,
where she flipped it by rocking an animated garbage bag!

In the same video she wore blue-black lipstick and
the camera focused, at several times, on her mouth.

We know that Black folks are mean to Black women,
especially browned skinned Black women, with large lips.

That was a bold move.

To make it more personal, Its one thing to have
what my brother calls "soup coolers"
its something else to paint them a color that people can't miss.

The second reason why Missy is in a class of her own
is that in addition to creating her own lane, she is
getting that upfront loud money and that quiet
ASCAP royalty money from her work as a producer and
song writer.

Shawn E. Rhea writes in Black Enterprise about Missy saying,
Missy Elliott is a songwriter who opted for an administrative deal for exactly those reasons. "I've just always felt like publishing deals were for people who were trying to make quick money," says Elliott of her decision to sign an administrative deal.

Missy Elliott is a songwriter who opted for an administrative deal for exactly those reasons. "I've just always felt like publishing deals were for people who were trying to make quick money," says Elliott of her decision to sign an administrative deal.
In further evidence that Missy is a in a league of her
own I submit the snippit of the "Its Alright" video.

If you don't gotta gun (its alright)
If yah makin' legal money, (its alright)
If you gotta keep yah clothes on, (its alright)
You ain't gotta cellular phone, (its alright)
And ya' wheels dont spin, (its alright)
And you gotta wear them jeans again, (its alright)
Yeah if you tried oh well, (its alright)
MC's stop the beef lets sell, (its alright)

First of all the break beat to this song is nasty.
Secondly, she goes for the gusto, telling folks to be
okay with who they are. When was the last time you
got that from a rap song?

If I haven't convinced you that she changed the game
then perhaps this fact will help. Missy is the only female rapper
to have six certified platinum albums by the RIAA, including
one double platinum plaque.

Missy's survival is a testament to both her business
acumen and her willingness to think outside of box when
she was told what "her weight wasn't marketable."
“They said I had to look a certain way,” she recalls. “When you get people saying that, you start believing it. But you’ve got to shake that monkey. Once I displayed confidence in myself, I was able to make people believe, hey, I’m the shit!”
Salute Missy. You changed the game.


Whats you favorite Missy song?

Is their something in the water in Virginia?
Clipse, Missy, Timberland, Mike Bivins, Pharrell & Chad........


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Are Black Bloggers Meaner than White Bloggers?


In last months Essence Nia, Gabby and Sanaa asked whether that
Blog sites were meaner than the white bloggers.

Essence: How do you deal with the 24-hours-a-day gossip that comes out on the Internet?

: Just last week somebody gave me a baby. This isn�t Perez Hilton or the White gossip people, these are women of color, specifically Black women who, for whatever reason, don�t like the company I keep.

: She's talking about the gossip sites.

: The blogs.

Sanaa: That are run by Black women.

Gabrielle: And now because everyone is clamoring for celebrity tidbits, the bigger gossip sites and even mainstream entities are picking up on it. No fact-checking, no nothing. And in one week�s time, there were like five different dudes, a baby—I�m a homewrecker. In literally seven days. I can�t point the finger at the White media. They don�t care about us. Paparazzi are not staked out in front of any of our houses. They are not going through our garbage because they don�t care about us in that way. So when you hear crap about us, it is coming from our own community, which hurts.

Nia: We are some of the few Black actresses whose passions are rooted in our community.

There is this idea that there is integrity in journalism; if it�s written it has to be true. But that�s not the case. When blogs or any of the magazines get it wrong, there's no accountability. In the next breath, they'll complain on the blogs that we don't have enough Black stars. Well, you rip us to shreds every two seconds from our nose to the weave to the clothes to the shoes to the ashy ankles.

Implicit in Gabby's rationale is that the Black bloggers should be nicer to
the Black women actors because we all share the same ethnicity.

Shock blogging sales ad space. The Black blogger's and the shock
writers know that. Bol,YBF, and for that matter Imus and Howard Stern
get this as well.

Fresh is a little different in that she won't hate on you just to do so.
You typically have to earn it, and I have found her writing about women's
bodies from size 4-14 to be body positive.

Ci Ci at Lenzizm speaks on this very issue when she says,
Hmm... my question is, who are these unnamed black female bloggers? I for one love Gabrielle. I am a black female blogger, and I don't recall ever saying anything bad about her or any of the other actresses being interviewed. But then, I am just a contributor, it is called "Lenzism" after all. And I got this excerpt from, so that flies in the face of her theory about not having any sourcing. To be fair, some blogs do hate on her, but most of the "negativaty" is coming from Page Six or some other print gossip column. The black blogosphere is, however, burning up with negativity because of her comments
Thats not to say that I haven't been critical, as I know in my most recent post
I was criticizing he level of grease on the women in the Gucci Mane video.

But talking yack about someone's weave isn't isn't my shtick.

Here are MM we laugh, make fun, analyze. The whole 9.

We also own mirrors AND magnifying glasses. We use them too.


Do you think the Black Bloggers are meaner?

Are the artists just being sensitive?


Mormon's Hate Black People?


This is interesting. Mitt Romney's foray into the presidency
white folks talking about religion and slavery.

This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you "this is the faith of my fathers." And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said "OK, black people can be in this church." He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.
I was actually surprised by the anger and candor of the
Do you know any Mormons?

For a long period of time Black African members of the LDS church were unable to hold the Priesthood. In honor of Black History Month let's take a look at why this was so, when it changed, and what's happening now.

The Priesthood
From the first days of the Church (1830) until 1978 members who were of Hamitic or Black African descent were denied the blessings of the Priesthood. Why were they denied the Priesthood for so long? Joseph Fielding Smith once stated, "a meaningful response to this question rests on an understanding of what the Priesthood is."

Did you know that Black people weren't allowed to
be Mormon's until '78?
But then again, Black people
weren't allowed to be Republicans
either. And no I
don't mean the Abraham Lincoln republicans
the Nixon Reagan Republicans.


Do you have a problem with a Mormon President?

Should Romney come clean on the Mormon's history with Black folks?

If he did, what difference would it make?


On My Bill Bellamy Moment


If New York didn't teach me anything, it taught me
how to play my position
in life.

Sure while The Graduate acknowledged that I was attractive,
he didn't feel it to the extent to try and wife me.

Granted The Jawn enjoyed my company, and thought I was sexy,
but me being his main squeeze? That wasn't going to happen.

He had other things going on.

In the recent past, I think it was August, I wrote about Bill Bellamy
and how he must feel looking at Jamie Fox's career.

Both of them started off on the Black comedian sitcom circuit,
yet in recent years Bill's career stagnated while Jamie Fox's
has taken off into the stratosphere.

I thought of this when reading about BET's list of the Best
Hip Blog Writers
, and Elliott Wilson's subsequent post
and response
that he was going to do 24 posts in 24 hours.

I found the list jarring not because of not being included,
but because it reminded me of my own inability to get my
other writing projects off the ground.

This past summer I had the privilage of reviewing
another bloggers contract right before his blog
was acquired.

That experienced taught me that if you find your niche
and can deliver readers, writers can make a decent nickel
off this game
. Since then I have some up with an idea for
an industry related blog that is
set to launch first quarter '08.

Of course, there is more. I have been floating an idea of a
business of hip hop book (Donald Trump meets Rich Dad Poor Dad
meets Jay Z).

I have also been trying to hammer out some short stories.

In trying to write these projects I have learned that
I am either short on time, or the overly critical voice in
my head tells me that I need to have a clearer idea
where the project is going before I do any more

But the project won't go anywhere unless I execute.

Its a vicious, vicious cycle.

Which brings me back to the hard sh*t about New York.

There are so many beautiful, rich, creative, talented people
around you that it is easy to feel like sh*t.

Conversely, there are opportunities that present themselves
because you were at the right, party/cafe/subway, at the right
time and someone came into your life that helped you take
your art to the next step.

And thats where, when I learned to play my position
came in handy.

Earlier this year, I was forced to have a fundamental
understanding of the fact that it is unbelievably in my best interest
to play my position.

This may mean falling back, this may be being shrewed and bold,
it even may mean removing my self and just being completely unavailable
just to make a point.

What I also have come to appreciate from blogging
is the instant feed back, and community of readers.
I have made friends through blogging, sh-t, I think
I may have met my husband through it. (Now THATS a story).

Not only have a cultivated a fly national community but I
write about stick up kids, feminism, Ice Cube, Hillary Clinton,
Obama and baby mommas, DJ Drama, the Dali Lama. (Okay,
I got carried away).

The point this that my writing has its own lane,
and I am good with that.

However, I will never forget when the Imus incident went down
and Gotty was like, "Are you sure you are a lawyer and not a journalist?"

Does his statement creep into my head? Of course.

On balance, I will never forget meeting Kierno Mayo, right
after she lost Honey
. She was heart broken.

She was beautiful, inquisitive and genuinely interested in my
research on the Gullah Culture and Ebonics.

Looking back, seeing her go through that experience
had an impact on my decision to marry my need for cake
to my love for writing.

Yesterday, my homie Sof.dini told me that writing
social political commentary is a gift. I thought to myself,
I don't write social commentary I just articulate what I think
when I read the newspapers.

But, as much as I don't want to admit it, she is right,
because god lives through.

So excuse me, I have to go, there are some short
story plots calling me.


Whats coming for you in the first few months in '08?

How do you deal with facing road blocks when trying to execute?

What was the most recent opportunity that slipped
by that has
you kicking yourself?


Friday, December 14, 2007

Crank that.....Kosher Boy?





Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Video Vixens Speak.


"Do you know how much money me and
Lashonte would have made if we
had residuals off of Gold Digger?"
So my dad found my copy of Pimps Up Hoes Down,
and has decided to READ IT.
See. Y'all be wondering where
I get it from. Where do I get that inquisitiveness, that tendency to pick it up
everything and read it? My poppi.

I told him, after he finished it that we could probably have one
of these most interesting conversations we have ever had.
I also told him that I was going to blog about it. In the spirit
of the pending conversation, I posted the above clip.

Speaking of unions the MTV PERMALANCERS are raising
hell about changes in their status. Peep the Times
comments. I managed to chime my little bus fare on the convo,



Unionize the Video Vixens.

Unionize and PAY the College Football Players.

And Unionize the DAGGMMIT Permalancers.

THATS WHAT ‘UM talking ’bout.

“They DO have actual freelancers, you know - people who only submit things once a week, or who write or edit occasionally. Know what MTV calls them? Vendors.”

— Posted by StandUp

What y’all need to do is contact Cuomo and give him something ELSE to look into.


— Posted by


What do you think of clip?

Hot air?

Hoochie ignorance?

Or are the women that we ogle finally speaking?


Speaking of ogling women, have you seen this?


Why did the Gucci Mane video bother me so much?

Is it his name?

The quasi lesbian pseudo sex scenes?

Or was it just low budget and greasy?
And I ain't talking 'bout good greasy.
I mean, like crisco,
all the ladies were super greased up.

And why they have to be all shiny and moisturized and
he can have
his belly out like the uncle that stay at
grandmomma house
but only come out at the family
reunion to talk sh*t?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pathological Nigg*s Part I


Life has a way of revealing itself to you.

Saturday Birkhold was cautioning me about thinking about Black people
and violence in a pathological way. I was reading a book by Jawanza Kunjufu
and he remarked that Kunjufu is one of those people who is SURPRISED
when a young Black person is in a CAR and it ain't spinning rims.

He went on to say that Kunjufu is one of those people who thinks
that Black people are as jacked as mainstream, academic white
folks think they are.

I disagreed.

But this conversation was important for two reasons.

First. It helped me see the pathological tendencies in
Meredith Mays piece on Oakland.

She quoted saying that

"There are more and more families where there's less and less structure," he said. "Talking to these suspects day in and out, there's a higher percentage today with no sense of right and wrong. It's frightening, but we are creating super-criminals."
And that

"In these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, all the doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, architects and postal workers have left," said Richard Miles, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.

"The kids have nobody but drug lords to look up to.

And finally that.

Many of the convicted killers were quasi-homeless in grade school, moving every 90 days on eviction cycles, or bouncing between friends' and relatives' homes, where they slept on recliners and couches and floors.

Inside the home is pure chaos. Typically, they live with a third-generation relative, an elderly grandmother or aunt, who also opens her home to several other wayward relatives. They all pile into one home, bringing their boyfriends and girlfriends and their children. There's no particular person in charge, no house rules, and people come and go.

I mean, reading that, you would think that babies in East Oakland
pop out with 9mm's, born ready to kill.


Why to writers think that it is tolerable to write about
Black people this why?

*** Plays Illmatic.


Pathological Nigg*s Part II.


"Ain't No UZI's made in Harlem".

There is nothing quite like a moment of clarity.

The second reason why Birkhold's statement was important
is that it helped me look at another article with a clearer set of eyes.

For the past couple of days I have been e-mailing with Barry Michael Cooper,
the screen writer of New Jack City. Birkhold learns this and says,
"Ask him for a copy of the article he wrote in the Village Voice."

"The one that New Jack City was based on?"

"Yeah, that one."
So I get it this morning and I can't believe it.

I realize that HIS PIECE and it the complete antitheses of Meredith's.

It was published almost EXACTLY 20 years ago, on December 1st, 1987.

And it is about how young Black men in Detroit
were killing each other the way folks drink Kool-aid, reflexively.

The distinction between Barry's and Meredith's piece, is that
Barry provided the historical context in which the murders
in Detroit were taking place.

He mentioned how in 1943, this countries bloodiest race war
up until that point took place in Detroit.
34 people lost their lives, 25 were Black,
and over 1000 were wounded.
(But wait. What about the
Tulsa Race Riots?)
"If you failed to inspect the political underbelly of the community
during that period, a riot in 1967 Detroit would have seem
outlandish....Detroit was one third Black, and
Blacks made up a substantial portion of the workforce."
All these folks, with these good jobs, needed doctors, and lawyers.

The 1967 riot in Detroit changed everything.

Barry asked, "Why didn't Detroit recover? "

The Black and White middle class left and the ones that
remained installed gates and bought guns.

He answers writing that,
" Conventional logic doesn't force the city's political
power to admit that the bounty of the 60's wasn't equally distributed.
Conventional logic doesn't scream out that the riot wasn't why Detroit
unravels. It merely burned away the facade that had hidden
Detroit's invisible society, the invisible underclass."
Upon reading these words I realized that the Oakland, Jersey, Philly murder
rate served the same purpose.

And for that matter so did Hurricane Katrina.

They serve as events that burn away the facade.

Barry describes the precursor for all the Black youth killing each
other in '87 when he describes "how 30 year old man, John Leroy
was shot by a National Guardsman at a roadbock in Lycaste street."
in Detriot 67. And now we find ourselves in '07.
Leroy is barefoot, and chest down, bleeding profusely;
he looks like he's treading concrete."
So, pre-riot the Black working class the Black Elite flourished.

Post riot. Not so much.

Reading it, I heard Birkhold's words in my head saying, "if you don't
provide the historical context for a current situation, you risk making it
sound pathological."


Why is it that when writers talk about Oakland, Jersey,
Detroit, Philly, that white flight, black flight and factory job
flight and just garden variety racism is either NEVER mentioned
nor meaningfully considered and analyzed?


Pathological Nigg*s Part III


"You Gotta Rob to Get Rich in the Reagan Era"

Now that I had crystallized the notion of post migration,
pre-crack Black folks, I wondered what work did Black
people do in the Bay when they migrated from the south?

What work did the men DO before crack invaded?

And I found my answer.

During and post WWII they held lucrative, prestigious war time jobs
at the navy ship yards, as longshoreman, bellhops and shipbuilders.
They also worked as Pullman Porters. In fact the policy stipulated
that Pullman porters could only BE BLACK MEN. Real talk.

The war drafted largely white men, Black folks stepped in, and BOOM,
Black working middle class is created. As a result,
Richmond, DEADLY ass-d Richmond was like Harlem '32.

Bay View, DEADLY ass-d Bay view was like Harlem '32.

, DEADLY ass-d OAKLAND was like Harlem '32.

Detroit, ....... was like Harlem '32.
When my grandmother came here from TEXAS she worked at the Kaiser
Shipyard in Richmond. I have always known this, but put into this context
it takes on a different significance.

So. Of course, now I am obsessed with learning which industries exsited
in the cities that now have these egregious murder rates.




New Orleans.



I see a pattern. And it's making sense.


Why did Black Civil rights leaders drop the Ball when it came
to Post WWII job advocacy?

Why does the boomer generation blame hip hop rather than
the systematic elimination of jobs that brought Blacks to these
urban centers in the first place?

Why isn't there ever any mention of how different our lives would
be with 40 acres?

Why do people have such a hard time looking at history, recent history,
50 years ago history?

Why is Styles P going so hard lately?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Hip Hop on a Monday


Is it legal to have AZ and Extra P on the same joint?


Jussssssssst when I thought Prodigy was officially bananas, he shows
me how he can top his previous record.

Old Boy has tied his PENDING BID into his marketing campaign
for his new cd.

Prodigy of Mobb Deep invites you into his world as he prepares to drop another bomb on the hip hop world with the HNIC part 2! Walk with P as he prepares to do a bid...

Master P, the same Master P that brought us the Ghetto is trying to kill
rapping in a video and playing ball with the Klan.

Did I miss something people?


What moi, no question?

Nope. Not today.

Oh. Wait. Whats wrong w/ Master P?

I mean, his NAME IS MASTER P.


In My Oakland Gristle


Man listen. There is an article in the Chronicle today
about Oakland
and murders. It had me livid, inspired,
depressed AND heated all at once.
You can read it here.

In the last five years, 557 people were slain on the city's streets, making Oakland the state's second-most murderous city, behind Compton.

Most victims are young, black men who are dying in forgotten neighborhoods of East and West Oakland.

A handful of their killers, speaking from prison, describe an environment where violence is so woven into the culture that murder has become a symbol of manhood.

The inmates say the only difference between these neighborhoods and prison is the absence of walls. The same hierarchies apply - the meanest rise to the top. It's a survival skill that ensures ownership of drug corners, a sense of self-worth, female attention and protection from attack.

See. Here is the context.

Yesterday, I was speaking to Birkhold about how difficult it is to
write fiction.
My problem is that I am attempting to write about
real things
I have seen AND I am cautious, perhaps, too cautious
about perpetuating sterotypes about Black people, specifically,
Black teenage mommas.

His response was gone head and write about it, because if you do,
and your readers feel you,
THEN YOU CAN take them to
another place. And I had nothing
to say to that. He was right.

So this morning. I woke up energized. And started on my stories.

Then this article comes up. And it had me and never really quite let go.

I must have spoke to 5 people today about it, including my father.

Now, if a resonable person reads this article, it serves as evidence that
East Oakland just needs to be bombed a la Philadelphia "MOVE" and
because there is no redeeming it.

And the comments (all 486 of them), which I normally enjoy reading as a
sort of journalism anthropology experiment, I couldn't bring myself to read
I can't take what those folks have to say on this topic. They have no
"skin in the game" so what room do they have to talk?

The more I thought about it the more I realized why the article about
why it was egregious.

The article offers NO historical context for why East Oakland, and Philly,
Detroit, D.C., Newark, Pittsburgh and most of the RUST BELT
have evolved to be the way that they are.

For example, there are NO MORE factory jobs in East Oakland. Cats who
had factory jobs now operate in the underground economy.

Second welfare to workfare was egregious WITHOUT an educational component.
You and I both know that education is what gives people options in this country.
Straight up and down.

And if you disagree with me, then why was it ILLEGAL to teach
an enslaved African's to read. Right? Right.

Thirdly, prisons are the new steel mills. White rural counties LOBBY to get jails
built in their counties because of the jobs that they create.

Fourth, if a Black child encounters a babysitter for a teacher in two years,
in either first, second or third grade, they will likely NEVER recover.
Those years are so precious that the harm done academically takes and act
of congress to recover from.

So yeah.

Im vexed.

Oh. And on the bus home tonight I witnessed an E.S.O dude
going back on forth with two women. The women were obviously a couple
and he disprected one of them and THEY WERE not having it.

Street dude + lesbian couple + BUS = BAD combo.

And I am thinking to myself, please don't provoke her.

I can feel the situation escalate. He starts talking another DUDE about
BROADS that mess with OTHER BROADS and all I am thinking is
NOTHING good will come of this.

Just then, a cat walks back and says,

"Yo, I hear yall, and I just want you to know that my daughter here
seen 3 murders and she is only 5. She is five."

He pointed at the ladies and said, " You have your point" and points to him
saying "He has his point, but it ain't nothing worth getting smoked over".

Things were smoothed over between the two parties.

And the gentleman took his daughter and sat down.

At that very moment I thought to myself. This is what the article missed.

The perspective of someone who has their "skin in the game".


What was the last article you read that had you livid?

How did you respond?

was the last time you had to deescalate a situation?

Why so much violence? ( For the record, I get violence, I understand it
I had to in order to survive. I am asking YOU, why so much?)


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