10 Cool Photos of Naughty By Nature at Art of Rap Show

Naughty By Nature Art of Rap-044

One of Hip Hop’s most enduring groups who over their 25 year tenure has delivered hit after hit is Naughty By Nature. Trigger Treach, Uncle Vinny (Vin Rock) and Kay Gee are in many ways taken for granted.

Perhaps its because they delivered some stellar crossover hits like ‘Hip Hop Hooray‘, ‘OPP‘ ‘Alright‘ and ‘Feel Me Flow’ that many have overlooked the fact that Treach is an incredible emcee with one of the best deliveries and flows in Hip Hop. He’s also a pretty good actor.

Many take for  granted the production chops of Kay Gee who has a knack for making memorable, sing along hit songs. he’s not only did it for Naughty By Nature but for other groups as well like:  Next, Queen Latifah, Jahiem and Kofy Brown to name a few. Many take for granted Vin Rock as the ultimate prototype of the Hip Hop hype man. He makes it look easy until you stand in his foot steps and try to duplicate.

Naughty By Nature has been there through the most challenging tribulations of Hip Hop from the days of the East West coast feud and PMRC censorship battles and its most soaring triumphs where Hip Hop was front in center in helping elect the nation;’s first Black president.  We salute them for their success. Below are photos I took during their Art of Rap Performance where they let it be known, after 25 years Naughty By Nature is still on the case.

Below are some of the photos I took of naughty By Nature and their dope performance the other night at the Art of Rap show in SF at the Regency Ballroom

Naughty By Nature Art of Rap-119

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Whose Gonna Take The Weight To Stop Donald Trump?

Davey-D-brown-frameIf you are observing the rhetoric and subsequent hateful action inspired and empowered by Donald Trump and you are calling for him to be stopped at all costs, then there should be some tangible things you are asking people to do and realistic directions you are pointing people toward.

How and why should anyone take you seriously when you say ‘We Must Stop Trump’, but you are not putting in consistent, and committed organizing work to make that happen? As Guru from Gang Starr once famously asked ‘Who’s Gonna Take The Weight’?

No matter how you cut it, it’s just plain ole laziness, lame excuse making and low hanging fruit grabbing to blame others for not sharing your political point of view then to actually put in the hard work and be about that political life you espouse and make things happen.

Donald Trump Speaking at RNC-029Yes, Donald Trump is a Klansman in a suit. Yes Trump will appoint conservative supreme court justices who make Clarence Thomas look liberal. Yes, Donald Trump will try and build a wall. Yes, Trump will push to put electronic monitoring devices on Muslims and declare anyone associated with Black Lives Matter a terrorist or a lethal enemy to police who should be curtailed.

Trump will do all these horrible things and yet in the face of this we have some who are sitting back and doing nothing while demanding everyone else put in work.  In the face of all this we folks who are demanding that people tow a particular political line while they themselves are not practicing what they preach. We have folks demanding that folks move a certain way while they are not making no moves at all.. What part of the game is this?

The other day I met a bunch of folks who are so committed to their political goal they are taking a semester off to go volunteer in swing states.. What are you doing to match that?

I interviewed a bunch of folks the other day who are working day and night to start a viable third party and working to get folks to run for office.. How are you matching that work?

protest Signs at RNC-005I talked to some folks who are hard at work researching key down ballot issues and making voting guides to pass out on college campuses.. What research are you doing? What voting guides are you creating?

To sit up here at this point in time with all that’s transpiring and demand that everyone drop everything and come together to Stop Trump while you yourself are not personally committing time and resources to that effort is akin to a someone stating we must do everything to stop lung cancer while they smoke 2 packs a day..

Either put up or shut up.. Be about that ‘Stop Trump Life’ and do like Rihanna and ‘Work, Work, Work, Work‘ or just admit you about the business of talking loud and saying nothing

Nuff said..

10 Cool Photos of Melle-Mel at the Art of Rap Show

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Here are some of the photos I took the other night of Hip Hop pioneer Melle-Mel at the recent Art of Rap Show in San Francisco. He and Scorpio formerly known as Mr Ness did a dope performance. Gotta salute them and give them major props for still going strong after all these years. At this point Melle-Mel has been on the scene for almost 40 years.. Let that sink in for a minute…

Folks should know about Melle-Mel above and beyond him being an original member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5 . Folks should know Melle-Mel above and beyond him and the group being inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame.  Folks should know him beyond his hit records like; The Message, Beat Street and White Lines.

We should know Melle-Mle as the one who revolutionized rapping by changing the cadence and overall flow. Prior to Melle-Mel hitting the scene early rappers flowed in one of two ways. They either sounded like street hustlers who were talking in a slick, pimp like manner or they were sounding like radio disc jockeys puking on the mic.  It was Melle-Mel who  changed the cadence and  popularized the 4 count straight ahead rhyme flow used by most emcees today..

Melle-Mel is the one who personified the baritone big bass voice in rap. He’s the one who let us know how important the voice was and is in rap. Folks like Chuck D, Busta Rhymes and many more built off the big voice house that Mel built.

The brother was deemed the greatest rapper of all time by Kool Moe Dee in his book God on the Mic.

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Melle-Mel Art of Rap-021

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10 Cool Photos of Ice T at the Art of Rap Show

Ice T on mic copy

Great catching up with Ice T during the recent Art of Rap Show at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Many forget that Ice T who is featured on the TV show Law & Order is an accomplished artist who helped pioneer Hip Hop on the West Coast.  He is also a seminal figure in what many refer to as gangster rap.

Ice T is also groundbreaking in the sense that he is also known for his work in the rock arena for his group Bodycount who caused a lot of controversy in the early 90s with the song ‘Cop Killer‘.

During his performance at the Art of Rap Show Ice T put on an incredible show.  The man hasn’t lost a step. He also introduced us to a new artist who is the nephew of the late Crip founder Tookie Williams.

Ice T and talked briefly just before he hit the stage. He noted the importance of keeping Hip Hop alive and providing space for artists who bring well honed skills to the table. It’s for this reason he developed the Art of Rap Tour.

Below are some photos I took of his stellar performance.. Enjoy

Will Hillary Say Her Name? Remembering Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm

Davey-D-brown-frameWonder if Hillary Clinton during tonite’s historic acceptance speech for the presidency at the DNC (Democratic National Convention) will give props to the woman pictured above. My sense is she won’t even though she is aware of who this woman is… Some may call it ‘politics’. Others may call it an unwillingness to live up to the high standards of transparency and integrity set by this woman. For those who are unaware, the woman above is none other then Shirley Anita St Hill Chisholm.

Hillary Clinton will be celebrated tonight for ‘cracking a glass ceiling‘ and blazing a new path for women coming after her. But it was Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress who served her Brooklyn district for 7 terms who cracked ceilings, busted down doors and put in work that laid the ground work for the historic presidential run not only for Hillary Clinton but also for the historic runs of Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson when he ran in ’84 and ’88. We should pull no punches and make no mistake about that-Shirley was the one who did that initial heavy lifting back in 1972.

Shirley Chisolm posterDuring that time she was considered ‘the people’s candidate‘ and was greatly admired by the public. As a Congress woman Shirley Chisholm boldly advocated for some of the same things Hillary is touting now  including a safety net for children and single mothers. She fought to expand school lunches for kids. She fought for increased education access, immigration rights and she fought to extend benefits for domestic workers.

In spite of her accomplishments in Congress and her historic run, Chisolm was shunned, marginalized and ridiculed by many who held power in the political establishment and yes that included members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the time.  They shunned her in the elite circles while organizations who held up the grassroots like the Black Panthers endorsed her. As a candidate Chisolm was kept at arms length by some who hold influence who are in the room at the DNC tonight cheering for Hillary.

Many holding power didn’t like the fact that Chisolm was disrupting the script and turning the ‘set up’ on its ear. Many didn’t like the fact that she lived up to her slogan: ‘UnBought and UnBossed’. She kept it 100 and wouldn’t sell her soul…

For her efforts, Chisholm received numerous death threats and had 3 assassination attempts on her life during her run for President. That’s even more reason why she should be given public props. In the words of Beyonce ‘Say Her Name, Say Her Name..Say her name for reals and don’t allow her to be erased from history.

Parents please teach your kids about the sister who really set it off..


Forget ‘Hope & Change’, Trump is About ‘Fear & Blame’ (A Report Back from the RNC)

Davey-D-purple-frameStill trying to process everything I took in this past week during the RNC (Republican National Convention) in Cleveland. It was the ultimate  reality TV show starring Donald Trump. First thing I wanna do is clear up any misconceptions because I’m not sure how things were conveyed on TV. It should be noted the overwhelming majority of attendees to the tune of 97% of the delegates attending the RNC were white.

One might have gotten the impression the RNC was somewhat diverse due to the fact that party leaders found Black and Brown speakers to put on stage at prime time. Network TV cameras panned the faces of Black and Brown journalists or Black and Brown vendors and janitors who worked at Quicken Loan Center which added to the illusion of diversity. Don’t believe the hype. It was a sea of whiteness and I have the pictures from the floor of the convention to prove it.

Donald Trump speech Floor shots-247Second, with respect to the Trump campaign, the man is no dummy. Don’t be fooled. Donald Trump is a masterful,  pop culture and media manipulator who should not be underestimated. I repeat do not underestimate him..Key word… ‘masterful’.

While many of us have clowned him and gleefully denounced his appearances on Reality TV as something far beneath our intelligence, Trump saw clear openings and embraced it. He clearly understood there is a sizeable, passionate audience that is attracted to celebrity. He understood, that many in that audience love Reality TV. They thrive on bodacious, over-the-top, in-your-face, boombastic showmanship which helps them escape the hardships of dead end jobs and never ending poverty.


Donald Trump Speaks at RNC-061 While many of us watched Trump give his spiel and responded by pointing out his numerous hypocrisies, scandals, offensive rhetoric and blatant wrong doings, his audience CONNECTED and continues to CONNECT with him. They don’t HEAR him. They FEEL him. Again I repeat, for his supporters it’s not about Trump being right or wrong. It’s not about him being caught in a lie or distorting the truth-Its about the way he makes his audience feel. His audience FEELS him.

For those who say they can’t understand that way of thinking, I would ask them to go back to 2008 and recall the types of things that were being said about Obama when he ran for the white house. Many openly talked about how Obama made them beam with pride. Many talked about voting for him so our kids could see a Black man in the white house. Many talked about being unapologetically Black in their support of Obama.

Crowd shots at RNC-020That mindset is not much different from the mindset many hold today with Trump. Contradictions and political shortcomings be damned. Exaggerations and distortions of truth be damned. Many rationalized their support for Obama and rode with him, no matter what.

Well, in 2016, we are seeing unbridled support for Trump by people who feel he is giving them a sense of pride… It’s White Pride and folks are increasingly vocalizing, that they are unapologetic about it.


Donald-Trump-Fear-and-BlameWhen listening to Donald Trump we can see clearly that he’s borrowed from President Nixon with his ‘Law and Order’ rhetoric. What’s not so clear is seeing that Trump also borrowed from President Obama.

Trump is basically doing a ‘Hope and Change’ type campaign that specifically targets poor, anxious, angry, blue collar white folks who are feeling marginalized. For them, ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ is real. ‘Fear of a Brown Planet’ is Real. Trump is feeding ‘Hope and Change’ to this demographic under the guise of ‘Fear and Blame’.

There are 3 main clarion calls to Trump’s campaign. One is to ‘build a wall to keep out Mexicans. Two is to increase surveillance and ban of all Muslims who are depicted as ‘Radical Islamic Terrorists’. Third is to return to the good ole days of ‘law and order’ where criminal oriented Black folks are locked up and harshly punished. These are appealing to a disenchanted segment of the population.


Crowd shots at RNC-002As I watched and listened intently to his speech on the final night of the RNC, I saw it resonating with that large crowd hungry for change and in need of hope. I also knew that one of two things will happen if Trump gets into office. He will either do like Obama and quickly abandon and betray many of the poor, marginalized folks that drove his campaign. That could result in violent reaction considering he has courted and attracted lots of armed anti-government militia types who have been preparing and yearning for confrontation.

What is more likely to happen is Trump as President, will find a way to incorporate these angry constituents and spread the love by empowering them to go full throttle on marginalized, poor folks of color.

It’ll be 1676 all over again when after Bacon’s Rebellion where the concept of whiteness was created and poor white indentured servants were granted privilege and power over their African indentured counterparts.

The payoff for those desperate to escape economic destitute and oppression was to buy into the logic that they were better then Africans and as newly minted ‘whites’ who were a step closer to the elites who ran the show, they would patrol and keep the enslaved Africans in check.

Bacon's rebellionThese poor whites back then were able to unite and form solidarity with the planter class elites over fear of slave uprisings. It should be noted that in many places enslaved Africans outnumbered whites as a result the oppression and brutality was harsher. It’s a mindset that would be a driving force around Black oppression for generations to come.

Trump’s message is plain and simple. Vote for me and I will keep you safe by putting all these Black, Brown and Muslim people in their place.

When you see outlaw biker gangs hanging with police which I did while in Cleveland (‘Bikers for Trump’) and popular anti government figures like Alex Jones riding for Trump and talking about Blue Lives Matter, it underscores the notion of white solidarity and empowerment which is being fostered by Trump.

ProfTinaWright-225As my good friend Professor Tina Bell Wright pointed out in a recent conversation what we are also seeing is a racialized backlash to Obama in much the same way the rise of the KKK and Jim Crow were backlashes to the Reconstruction era.

Professor Wright also noted that we are seeing a backlash to globalization and globalism which is being upheld by Hillary Clinton and Neo-Liberal policies she champions. In the face of corporate tyranny, the nationalism Trump is selling sounds good for many. It sounds rebellious and anti-establishment. people are emphatic about his willingness to protect ‘Americans’.

The question we are all faced with is at the end of the day, who does Trump see as Americans? Even more importantly who under Trump do we see his understanding of Americanism’ with all its privileges and protections get extended to? Its a direct throwback to the way the concept of whiteness were extended to certain immigrants in past generations?


Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

I have long said Donald Trump is a new age Andrew Johnson. For those who are unfamiliar Johnson is the man who succeeded Lincoln after he was assassinated. He hated the elite and he hated the planter class establishment that ruled the South. He wanted them to crumble and kiss his butt. But he hated Africans even more and immediately went to work to dismantle Reconstruction, starting with the closing of the Freedman’s Bureau.

It’s with that understanding of history, I see Donald Trump and his proposed policies of containment, banning and surveillance. It’s with this understanding of history that none of us can afford to be apolitical at this time. It’s with this understanding of history that none of us can afford not to be connected or involved in organizing efforts to rebuff whats coming down the pipe…

All of us are going to step up. Black and Brown folks for now will be the obvious and immediate targets, but also everyone else from young millennials to women to LGBT etc are in line to catch this backlash.


Crowd shots at RNC-008Over the week, I saw thousands stand on the floor of the Quicken Loan Center cheer and chant in unison ‘Build a Wall’. At one point the frenzied cheering and jeering by an emboldened white crowd made it feel absolutely unsafe to be in the vicinity or outside in the adjacent courtyard.

Speaker after speaker blamed Brown folks for everything ranging from ruining our economy to stealing precious resources to setting off murderous crime sprees against ‘innocent’ American citizens. The hateful rhetoric was validated by the RNC including a Black or non Latino Brown speaker to parrot the anti-immigrant vitriol.

The ‘Build a Wall’ chants and tough talk against Latinos were accompanied by the equally vitriolic demonization of Muslims who were called ‘Radical Islamic Terrorists’… And while RNC speakers attempted at times to qualify their statements by noting that ’not all Muslims’ are terrorists’, what was being advocated was the wholesale surveillance and banning of Muslims along with a call for policies to be put in place to eradicate Muslim practices like Sharia Law which were grossly distorted.

Police at RNC 2016 cleveland-001Just as frightening as thousands chanting ‘Build a Wall’ was thousands chanting of ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and cheering wildly to the news that one another police officer connected to the killing of Freddie Gray was acquitted. The unapologetic upliftment and all out debasing of the Black Lives Matter movement was beyond disconcerting.

Everywhere you went you saw Blue Lives Matter buttons and t-shirts being sold like hotcakes ironically by Black vendors desperate to capitalize on sales who were lined up all up and down Euclid Avenue, one of the main streets in downtown Cleveland.

Police at RNC 2016 cleveland-003This was accompanied with the presence of several thousand police officers from all over the country including Florida, Massachusetts, Indiana, Montana to name a few, running and executing what amounted to be crowd control drills against demonstrators who were all forced to be confined in a park blocks away from the RNC called Public Square. 300 of those police were from California Highway Patrol.

It was not lost on me the irony of RNC attendees chanting ‘Blue Lives Matter’ in the same Quicken Loan arena where Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and other members of the World Champion Cavaliers who were openly revered from the stage of the RNC, showed support and helped increase visibility to Black Lives Matter and the police accountability movement when they famously wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts in response to NY Police choking Eric Garner to death in 2014.

It also wasn’t lost on me the irony of this week being one in which while ‘Blue Lives Matter’ was being loudly chanted in a sports arena, the WBA (Women’s Basketball League ) had threatened to fine several players for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts. The WBA felt it was wrong to use a sporting platform to put forth a political position. The threats of fines had been rescinded after much public pressure and WBA players promising a media boycott.

It was here in Cleveland during the RNC we saw police unions flex and attempt to get Ohio’s open carry law suspended for a week once it was made known that Black protestors would show up with their guns especially after it was made known that white militias would be in Cleveland ‘exercising their second amendments rights.

Just to show you how deep things got, prior to us coming to Cleveland, our radio station got a visit from the FBI warning us of credible threats by armed white supremacist militias. There was no attempt to suspend the Open Carry law when that took place.


Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movements recently noted in an article, that progressives minded folks will have to fight a war on two fronts. One will be with the white supremacy being uplifted by Donald Trump, the other will be the corporate back Neo-Liberal and equally repressive policies of Hillary Clinton.

A Trump presidency is not something to romanticize about or even see as ‘business as usual’ especially for those who have not prepared in terms of establishing strong networks to help sustain you and your family economically.

Trump in office is not something to take lightly if you don’t have a strategy in place to deal with an anticipated rise violent racist attacks backed by and in many cases initiated by members serving in various police departments that have been infiltrated by white supremacist types.

Old Man with trump t-shirt RNC-001Many Trump supporters are experiencing economic hardships coupled with deep seated fears of being outnumbered and overwhelmed by a growing Black and Brown population. That anger under a Trump presidency will be directed at our communities with the full unapologetic backing of the state. How prepared are we for this?

Some will try to avoid this harsh backlash by seeking favor and cutting deals in an attempt to obtain what I will call overseer or buffer status. In short many will seek relief and protection by betraying their community and taking on the role of oppressor. How prepared are we for that?

For many, the goal is defeat at all costs Trump with Hillary being the viable option. We can debate the pros and cons of that at another time. But for those who see casting their lot with Hillary as a solution, I will say this, inaction, lackluster political engagement and uninformed political analysis will cost you dearly. Believe that..

Don’t believe out of touch TV pundits, 30 second sound bites or brought and paid for polls. One will have to do more than just pull a lever in 2016. In most elections 50% of the population stays home. One had best figure out how to get them to the polls…

If you are not volunteering your time, door knocking, phone banking and vigorously engaging, organizing family neighbors and friends not just in your own community but also in so-called battle ground states, then you will lose this election, Trump will be your President and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

While in Cleveland, I saw a sign in Cleveland that said: ‘Love Trump Hate’. During the RNC, Trump provided his supporters with lots of policies to be angry about and lots of people to emphatically hate. Hatred of the the ‘Non white American will be a powerful, motivating incentive that will turn out many come this November. Trump folks will be riding hard.. The question here if ‘Love Trumps Hate’ who are we loving and how deep is that love?

Silicon Valley Investor Says Raider Fans Should Pay Fees

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 9.53.43 AMIt should come as no surprise to long time Bay Area folks that are seeing this cherished place they call home becoming more and more gentrified, that along with all the fancy luxury million dollar condos, over priced coffee shops and bike lanes comes a level of blatant disrespect and intolerance that is beyond unnerving.

Not only is it coming from newcomers freshly arrived from the Midwest and back east, but also from folks who have harbored hatred for a long time who live here but have been empowered by this new out of town tech presence. It used to be many who were intolerant saw it was wise to keep their homophobic, racist, xenophobic perspectives to themselves or get seriously checked, but now they are stepping out..

We all have experienced or heard the stories. The climate is beyond toxic with affluent newcomers armed with tech money moving to the Bay Area and feeling entitled to displace and remake this region with no regards to the people and history that proceeded them.

IMG_0387Late last year a bunch of Silicon Valley angel investors moved to Oakland with a concept and company called Remake Rebrand 3.0. They have been quietly lacing all sorts of new businesses with cash flow, infrastructure and cutting edge tech support. They specialize in ‘creating non traditional income streams. You may have seen their work as many hole in the wall places have been transformed to vibrant gathering spots for newcomers.

This past week its come to light they have been meeting with city leaders with their eyes on the coliseum which is been in flux with the eventual move by the Warriors and a possible move by the Raiders unless they make more money.

They are claiming that the Raiders are not utilizing the space efficiently and the city could increase revenue by millions of dollars if they get rid of the Raider’s infamous Black Hole and turn it into a members only VIP Beer Garden.

Silicon Valley Angel Investor Ron Poway

Silicon Valley Angel Investor Ron Poway

CEO Ronald Poway a brash 30 something who originally hails from New York City stated that he and his wife visited the coliseum last year during Raider games and found it to be ‘extremely ghetto’ and ‘very scary’.

He said his wife and kids did not appreciate the ‘thug-like’ atmosphere but understands it may be an Oakland tradition that eventually needs to change if the city wishes to be ‘more appealing’ to Oakland’s newcomers.

Poway in an email sent to city leaders, noted that Oakland could increase revenue and attract more affluent Raider fans while simultaneously eliminating the element that makes ‘regular’ people feel uncomfortable by only allowing VIP members into the ‘Raider Beer Garden’, complete with a kids zone for families and food from many of the new gourmet restaurants that have recently opened up in Oakland.

Poway said Oakland has the potential to be a world class city but needs to shed its old image. He noted that many tech firms in Silicon Valley would be willing to subsidize this VIP Beer garden for their thousands of tech workers who need a place to play during the weekends.

Raider fansPoway has been missing great opportunity by not charging a fee for fans to wear costumes. He estimated the city of Oakland and County of Alameda stands to make an estimated $15-20 million dollars a year if they charge a modest ‘costume fee’ that ranges from $50-$100 per person.

He also noted that additional revenues can be garnered by handing out tickets to non fee paying fans who wear masks or don ‘false disguises’ to the game which is against California state penal code 185. He also suggested that the city look into possible trademark infringement by thug fans wearing non sanctioned costumes.


Raider fans will have to pay a costume fee if Silicon Valley has its way

Poway noted this is the current trend in stadiums all over the country. He also noted the Raider Beer Gardens can also be open to accommodate VIP Raider fans when the team is away where they can watch their team on giant Hi-tech TV screen.

He also noted the Beer Garden can be made into a high end night club with top deejays from around the country and special VIP shows on non game days and nights. This makes sense especially if Oakland resurrects or does some other version of the Coliseum City. Remake Rebrand 3.0 plans to put the finishing touches on this plan at the next Alameda/ Oakland planning meeting…

Click here for more details and see the proposed coliseum plan.. http://bit.ly/1VgplT9

An Open Letter to RZA Claps Back at his Hurtful Remarks

Recently Wu-Tang founder and leader RZA stirred up a lot of controversy when he made some off-color remarks that suggested Black youth were victims to police terrorism because they dressed wrong. He asserted sagging pants and street gear should be replaced with nice suits to avoid police harassment. Rza also shouted out the police, said he always wanted to be a cop and concluded that ‘All Lives Matter’.. You can read his remarks HERE..

In response to RZA’s remarks was this powerful open letter penned by Demetrius Clayborne who tactfully reminded RZA how flawed hsi remarks were. He also reminded him of Wu-Tang’s unique role played over the years  influencing people and their style of dress..Read the letter below

Black man hung with suitDear #Rza,

Peace to the God. I come in the name of All Powerful Allah. I had the pleasure of meeting you in 2012 during the “Man With The Iron Fist” Tour in Detroit; I was one of the individuals responsible for promoting your event.

With all due respect, I must say that I was very disturbed by your comments in regards to black youth and their choice of style/dress as it relates to police brutality. A man of your intelligence and experience can’t possibly think that the way our youth dress will change how they are perceived by law enforcement. Surely you must know that logic only applies to the workforce, and even then it isn’t full proof.

How can you make such statements when in the 90s you, Power, and your associates fed us Wu Wear; making millions as we ate it religiously. Hoodies, denim, shoes, t-shirts, colorful button ups with bees on them and countless other ‘street’ and ‘hip hop’ fashion came directly from the Wu brand; your brand. You never sold us suits nor told us to button our shirts up because that was not the brand you were selling. I get the concept of growth and development however you should be careful in the words you choose to convey the message of your newfound understanding. Wu-Tang Clan helped born a generation of army fatigue wearing, hoodie rocking, Timberland boots sporting, hip hop lovers who never stepped foot on New York City soil; and now you condemn the product of the same people you helped create?



Brother we grew up and had children of our own and guess what…we played YOUR music for them. We showed them YOUR videos. Why? Because you were one of the few who weren’t sending negative messages to us so we knew it was safe for our children. Now you are telling us that the same image you advocated and made you the wealthy man that you are today is contributing to the rise in police brutality and senseless black death? Well if that’s true then you too my brother are directly responsible for the murder of our lost young brothers and sisters.

You cannot play both sides of the fence whenever it is convenient for you and we as black people can no longer have an open door policy for people who get rich and famous then switch channels on us. With all that being said, I respectfully disagree with you my brother and hope that the negative blowback of your statements forces you to reevaluate them. Besides, most of the slave and free blacks that hung from trees were well dressed or wearing suits. So I must ask you, why were they murdered?

Peace God, your brother in mathematics,

All Powerful Allah




Bill Cosby is being Judged by the Moral Standards He Insisted we all Follow

Davey-D-brown-frameBill Cosby is not some poor, down and out bump on the log type of cat who is incapable of handling whatever attacks he is facing… He has money and resources and if he is falsely being accused then he can fight this and those who did the accusing should be punished severely-period..

With that being said, Cosby still gets a big middle finger and his behavior is to be condemned… His ‘moral’ presentation and lifestyle he was insistent we as Black folks subscribe to did not add up to his own grave short comings.. and its on those points alone people will judge him, catch feelings and push him away as they see fit..

Bill Cosby and Dr Heathcliff Huxtable were seen as one and the same in the minds of many

Bill Cosby and Dr Heathcliff Huxtable were seen as one and the same in the minds of many

Stories of casting couches, quaaludes for sex, rampant cheating on his wife etc stand in sharp contrast to the Bill Cosby who many of us have come to know. It was Cosby who pretty much created the environment that had him and his character Dr Cliff Huxtable be seen as one and the same for many. It’s what he sold us. It’s what he benefitted from.

Lisa Bonet in the movie 'Angel Heart'

Lisa Bonet in the movie ‘Angel Heart’

When he got honorary degrees and was deemed ‘America’s Dad‘, he was bestowed those honors because he was seeen as his TV character. Again, he purposefully allowed Bill and Dr Cliff Huxtable to be one and the same…

Anyone trying to skirt around that is either dishonest, disillusioned or has selective memory… I have not forgotten that Bill Cosby was the one who publicly put the moral smash down on his own cast members like Lisa Bonet who in her own private life did not live up to the high moral standards her character was supposed to represent…

When Lisa Bonet the actress, did the movie ‘Angel Heart’ where she had an onscreen sex scene with actor Mickey Rourke, that was all she wrote as far as Bill Cosby was concerned.. There was no separating Lisa Bonet from Denise Huxtable in his mind. It was really a wrap after she got pregnant by singer Lenny Kravitz.

Now in all fairness, it was pointed out that Cosby didn’t completely abandon Bonet. He did eventually bring back her character and put her on a spin off show, but the debate about her private morality decisions was already cemented in the minds of many. At the time when she did the movie Cosby anger and disappointment was well known and it was widely debated if he was being too hard or if Bonet was being ungrateful and making bad life choices.

Malcolm Jamal Warner aka Theo

Malcolm Jamal Warner aka Theo

Over the years I interviewed Theo (Malcolm Jamal Warner) on a number of occasions and each time he talked about the high expectations Cosby had for him and the cast. They were expected to toe the line and uphold the image. This is the playing field Cosby laid out. It’s the playing field he insisted all act upon. Many seem to have forgotten how Bill used to go after comedians like Eddie Murphy and others for cursing and not being a ‘good image’ for Black folks? He stayed on their cases and was often referenced sometimes humorously There are landmark stories of Bill Cosby, not Cliff Huxtable demanding comedians like Eddie Murphy tone it down, stop cursing  and be more respectable. This moral landscape is the same one Bill himself was detached from in the most glaring ways.

Bill Cosby’s moral missteps both public and private would be akin to someone like Minister Farrakhan coming to the Million Man March talking about the importance of uplifting Black women, keeping the Black family together and insisting our daughters keep to the straight and narrow only to discover he left his wife to have an affair with singer Miley Cyrus or Khloe Kardashian.

Bill CosbyWould his action be legal? Sure. Could we argue he has a right to make his own adult decisions? Sure…Ethically the shyt would be foul as hell and most of us would write dude off.

Heck many of us were mad as hell to the point of non forgiveness when it was discovered that some of our favorite rappers may have had ghost writers.
We would write off our ministers and pastors if we saw they were morally flawed in such an egregious way. Many would feel a trust was violated. This is how many feel with Cosby. Him and his character Dr Huxtable were an important counter narrative to the constant maligning and negativity being heaped on Black folks at the height of the crack era.  Hence he took on a special meaning for many. He was the person along with his TV family were the ones we could point to as shining examples of non contaminated, crack free Black family  The fact that he publicly insisted on that line of morality be walked by all, led many of us trusting him to be man of his word even more.

It wasn’t about what was legal or not legal or what the court of law said. For many it was about lack of integrity and violation of trust.  It wads about representing and saying one thing while doing another…

Again, much of Cosby’s brand is built on the Dr Huxable. People’s upset at its core is seeing that dude did not keep it 100… It’s compounded by the fact that he made millions smashing down on Black folks who came up short in the least transgressive type of ways…

In other words, Bill Cosby got at you because you liked certain types of rap music. He got at you because you had a ‘funny (African) sounding name. He got at you because you didn’t speak out to moral short comings in the community (Poundcake speech)  All the while this mofo is making a grand sham of his marriage with hordes of women and in some instances offering career advice and guidance to women in exchange for intimacy and that’s pretty much by his own admission. The fact that many of them were Hollywood white women cut even deeper when Cosby was positioned as the epitome of what it meant to be a Black Family

Now that all this drama is unfolding, there are some making the claim that all of a sudden we are supposed to separate Bill Cosby from Dr Cliff Huxtable? Get the F– Outta Here with that Bullsh–… Your word and integrity means something, especially when you’re the main one demanding excellence from us on the moral tip…

Cosby’s actions are even more compounded by the fact he may have actually raped or sexually assaulted one of those 30-50 women pointing fingers at him… If he even did this with one, that should be enough for all of us.  He gets no passes, He gets no love, He gets nothing… If he wants to redeem himself,  so be it,  Go redeem yourself.. For many of us it won’t be enough. As a matter of fact, I’m sure most of us reading this will understand if Cosby had in any way transgressed with any of our loved ones, whether he did it once, twice, because he was drunk, high or had a momentarily lapse, you wouldn’t be trying to hear excuses about Hollywood is out to get him,there were folks who are lying on him or some of what he was accused of happened along time ago. That’s madness.. He’d be getting smashed on, no questions asked if your loved one was a victim.

Our anger would be no different then the anger  when a man named Will Lynch went and beat up a Catholic Priest a few years back who he accused of molesting him when he was 7 years old… They tried to explain the incident took place back in the days and that the church was trying to improve, blah, blah, blah.. Dude literally tried to kill that priest  and got off because as the judge noted.. It was wrong but he understood what would drive someone to that point of anger…

So Good luck Bill Cosby in beating back those who you say are falsely accusing you. He is blessed to have the means to fight a system known for unfairly railroading innocent people. He is blessed to be able to combat a racist system that has long framed folks.. But F— You Bill for not practicing what you preached. F— U Bill for insisting and demanding of others to the point of ridicule, moral outrage and even financial punishment a moral compass and set of behaviors you routinely trampled on and held in deep distain.. my two cents

Interview w/ Afeni Shakur One Year After Her son 2Pac has Passed


afeniThis interview took place one week before the one year anniversary of 2Pac’s untimely death.. His mother, Afeni Shakur who has been the subject of so much of 2Pac’s work talked very passionately about her son.. During the interview his Godfather Geronimo Pratt rolled through.. and his sister Set also stopped through….

Davey D: The First thing I want to do is thank you for granting us this interview. We’re up on the anniversary of your son’s un-timely death. There are so many of us that are still in the shock, so many of us who can’t believe it and so many of us within the Hip Hop Generation that are trying to heal from this. And one way we can bring about this healing, is to continue to study and learn about Tupac. I guess the best way to really do that is by talking to you his mom, Afeni Shakur. You’re the person who can provide us with that bridge of information. After all, you’re the woman who raised him, you’re the person who helped shape him, and helped make him into the person whom we’ve come to admire. I guess the first thing I would like you to do is let our listeners know who Afeni Shakur was. You were a member of the Black Panther Party, you were pregnant with Tupac while in jail, as one of the infamous New York 21. Who is Afeni Shakur?

Afeni Shakur: Basically, first let me just say Peace and Respect to all of the listeners, and all of the people who care about my son, who care about his work and who care about his music. And the first thing I would like to do is give encouragement to Brothers & Sisters who are artists or trying to be artists. From the bottom of my heart, I encourage them to work on their art and to not allow anyone or anything to keep their artist spirit down. And that to me is really important. And then having said that, let me say that I was a member of the Black Panther Party. I joined in 1968. When I joined, I wasn’t a student. I did not come off the college campuses like a lot of known Panthers did. I came from the streets of the South Bronx. I had been a member of the Disciples Deads, which would have been the women Disciples in the Bronx..

What the Panther Party did for me, I used to always say it gave me home training. The Party taught me things that were principles to living, and those principles are the principles I think most Panthers have tried to pass on to their children and to anybody else that would listen to them. You know that one of those principles was like don’t steal a penny, needle or a simple piece of thread from the people. It’s just general basic things about how we as individuals treat a race of people, and how we treat each other as a people! And those are the things I think the people recognize in Tupac….

We discovered, that within the BBP, that is you try and live by these principles and you have attached to those principles a willingness and a desire to protect and defend your family and your people.. also if you have a large mouth and your willing to speak openly about those things, that you are going to be the victim of all kinds of attacks. That’s basically what has happened to all of us. Tupac was and remains in my mind a child of the BBP. I think that I always felt that even through this society that they had destroyed the work of the BBP. I always felt that Tupac was living witness to who we are and who we were. I think that his life spoke to every part of our development and the development of the Party, and the development in this country that I don’t think will die.

Davey D: One of the perspectives that people have put forth about Tupac was that he was a gangster.. and that, he was somebody who invited trouble.How do you address that? How should, especially those of us within the Hp Hop Generation perceive 2Pac?

Afeni Shakur: First of all, the difference in people’s temperment and my temperment, our temperment is such that is just like you were asking me about a song ‘Wade in the Water, God Gonna Trouble the Waters’. We want the waters troubled. We are trouble makers, it’s what we are here for. We don’t make apologies for it. Why would we? We are revolutionaries, the children of Revolutionaries…. I believe that this is true, basically of young people in any Generation. And that’s just true naturally. For us, we’re trouble makers, because why wouldn’t we be trouble makers in a society that has no respect for us. That has no respect about what I began talking you about. The fact that it is a miracle that we sit here. I don’t think that we are suppose to be anything but trouble makers. Tupac use to comment on people who critized him for cursing, as a matter of fact he said this is just about verbatum, ‘As I walked into this hall, I passed a young child who was hungry. There is not a bigger curse than a young child hungry’. If we are not concerned about the incest, the rape, about our children dying at the rate that they are dying, I cannot imagine why we would be making all this noise about a word, any word.’..

Davey D: Do you think his music influenced people to move in a direction of violence? That was one thing, I remember the police in Houston wanted to sue him and say that he caused an officer to be shot….

Afeni Shakur: They did sue him in Houston and as a matter of fact, that campaign was started by C. Delores Tucker who has now sued Tupac’s estate, namely Tupac’s music. Has sued him for interfering with her and her husband’s sexual life. Now, don’t you think that’s proposterous? Of course it is. And I think it’s okay for us to say that it is.. and it’s just as proposterous to think that music could influence you to do anything else. If that were possible, will someone, please, make a song that will influence us to not kill each other. Please, I beg any person to do that. That should be simple under that mentality. But obviously, that’s an irrational concept, and that’s what I mean about us thinking. Don’t allow people to think for you. Let’s use ration. It’s okay for us to do it. I’ll tell you something else, for people who feel so bad about Tupac’s leaving this planet, we should remember that each of us come here with a beginning date and an ending date. Tupac’s beginning was June 16, 1971 and his end was September 13th, 1996. In the 25 years that God gave him on this earth, he shone like a star, and he did all that he was suppose to do, he said all that he needed to say. You need not weep for Tupac, but weep for yourself, because we are left here with these contradictions that we still must face.

Davey D: The whole rivarly between Tupac and Biggie and to see both of them at the height of their careers, as far as a lot of people are concerned gone. Have you ever talked to Biggie’s mom? You know you guys are looked at in a way where it’s like well, wow if we can’t get next to them, we have to get next to their mothers. What words do you pass on about that? And what are your thoughts on that?

Afeni Shakur: Let me say that my son was killed on 9/13/96 and Nov. 10th, Yafa Ufala, one of the Outlaws and a member of my son’s group, and a member of our family was murdered… and on Jan. 12th a daughter of another member of the BPP was murdered in her bed with her baby playing in her bed while the killer, her husband, watched all day long. What I have known from the beginning is that I am not alone. And I am not alone does not mean that the only two people that got killed were Biggie and Tupac. I am so sorry, but every child’s death is painful.

To me, it’s painful, because it’s this process that we have to stop. We are right back to the same thing which is about ration and reason..and about winning. And as I said, Tupac had 25 years and he did 25 years worth of wonderful work. What the next person needs to know in whatever years they are alloted to them, is what have they done? And I’m sure that Biggie’s mother must feel the same about her son. It’s no use in people trying to swage their on guilt for their own deficiency by debating or spending that much time on Tupac and Biggie.

Davey D: What do you mean by swage?

Afeni Shakur: I mean that we all have to speak about our own issues. When we talk about rivarlries, with East/West Coast, I don’t have any idea what that is. But let me say this, my son was shot on two separate occassions; the 1st was five times, twice in the head and at that time we though he could have died. So a year later he was shot again and he did die, but there wasn’t a rivarly. My son was injured by gunshots and my son reacted through his msuic to what had happened to him and as I say, Tupac spoke eloquently about how he felt about all of that East/West Coast stuff. I would not try and change one period of a sentence that Tupac spoke about that, because Tupac was an honorable young man, He did not lie and whatever Tupac said happened, happened in that way. And I think that people have to deal with their responsibilities for whatever they have done or not done. That’s a part of life also. Tupac dealt with his responsibilities, I think other people have to do the same.

Davey D: You talk about Tupac being honorable and speaking truth. How did you feel when he said things about you in records?

Afeni Shakur: He told the truth. I live with truth. I have no secrets. Neither did Tupac, neither does my daughter. We don’t live behind secrets, we don’t live lies, we are who we are, and we are pretty happy to be who we are. We are proud of who we are and we stand tall and defend who we are.

Davey D: Was it painful to hear him talk about you having a drug addiction? Was it something that you had to discuss or did you know that he would put some things that happened in his life in music for the public to look at and hear and formulate their own opinion?

Afeni Shakur: Let me first say that any of those songs that Tupac wrote was primarily the way he felt about something. You have a right to express your feelings. I do not have to agree with them. I needed him to say how he felt, specifically about the pain that I had caused him. That’s how we heal ,and so you now for me it was Tupac explaining something that happened to his family, his reaction to it and his feelings about it. I think they were honest and I respect him for that. Absolutely and completely.

Davey D: Tupac has done a lot of thing in his career. What do you think he should have done differently in terms of the decisions he made? What sort of path do you think he should have continued on? Do you think he deviated, or went down the wrong corner in any of the things that he did?

Afeni Shakur: I think that Tupac made perfect decisions for himself. I would like to encourage young people to make decisions for themselves. You make decisions that you stand by and you take responsibility for them. Really, this is life, you try to make a difference in peoples lives, because you stand firm for something. So really, for me, Tupac was perfection.

Davey D: What do you think the mis-perceptions that you as his mom would like to clear up about him?

Afeni Shakur: The misconceptions are that Tupac was a rapper, the Tupac wasn’t political and that Tupac was a gangster. But primarily I really think that time will take care of that. I have faith in Tupac’s legend. I really believe in the divinity of legends. I believe that God choose Tupac and I believe that no human being can destroy his image, his legend, his life, his music or his work. So in reality I don’t care what people say, because I truly believe that God sent him here. He sent him with a mission. He fulfilled his mission and he went back where he came from.

Davey D: What is it about Tupac that so many people admired, and still admires about him?

Afeni Shakur: His truth in the face of anything. And I think that you know that’s why people don’t want to believe that he is dead. Because they believe that Tupac could face anything, and come out on the other side. Let me say, so can you.

Davey D: It’s been a year and there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding his death in terms of who owns the estate, recording rights and situations involving the record company Death Row. What is happening with that? Can you give us an understanding on where things stand and where you hope to have things going?

Afeni Shakur: As it relates to Death Row, we have reached an agreement, a settlement of some sort and I’m sure that’s probably resolved.

Davey D: There has been an iron hand placed upon people who might have had affiliations with Tupac in terms of them releasing his earlier music. I guess that’s good, because they have always had to come through and some how deal with you one way or the other before materials are released. Where does that stand now? Will we start to see hear some of his earlier recordings? Some of the things he left with Death Row, will they start to come out or are there other plans for releases of his music materials, movies, etc.?

Afeni Shakur: Well, some of Tupac’s extended and biological family have started Amoru Records, which is a record company that Tupac would have started had he still been here. We are going to first release his earlier material so that people have a more comprehensive understanding of what his journey was. We have the end of his journey, it would probably be okay to have the beginning also, so that’s what we are attempting to do with his first release. And after that, we would like to do a tribute album and an audio book of his poetry.

We also are committed, within the next 2 or 3 years to developing and releasing up to 8 new artists. So prayfully we will be able to do that what we want to do is so business in a principle and ethically manner. And prayfully we will be able to do that outside of that, we are trying to negotiate a documentary about Tupac’s life. Possibly and probably a feature film with HBO with a producer by the name of Marvin Worth… What we wanted is for people not to steal Tupac’s material.

It had really less to do with control than it had to do with stealing.. And the problem I have with stuff is that, I always say if Tupac were here would you do it? And to answer the question, you wouldn’t do it if he were here.. First of all I have no respect for you because you are a coward.. And I know if Tupac was here he would call you one of those names that he knew oh so well.. And that’s pretty much the way I feel about the Vibe Pictorial Book.. I found out about it when it was reviewed in Essence Magazine.. I had been speaking to Quincy Jones all year and he never mentioned it.. I have no respect for that kind of behavior.. People can buy what they want, but just don’t expect me to say it’s cool, because I am not.. and further more I ain’t mad at nobody..

Davey D:What individuals do you see today that embody the revolutionary spirit that has often been associated with 2Pac? Who has that mindset?

Afeni Shakur: Well, I really think Sista Souljah has that type of spirit. I think Geronimo Pratt also has it..and so does Mumia Adul Jamal.. The fact is ..that I’m not whaling off the names of young brothers and sisters a mile a minute…It’s not like Tupac was the most excellent person.. I just ask for people to be honorable, honest and honest to themselves about themselves and to be courageous about truth. When I can see more of that, I’ll just feel a little better, but whether I do or don’t I’m not mad at nobody…

Davey D: Is this a lost generation? Are we a lost generation?

Afeni Shakur: Absolutely not!.. Thank You Treach for your song.. Thank You Scarface for your song.. Thanks for the respect Bones Thugs N Harmony.. Thanks for the respect and at least musically understanding what my son was about and saying.. They’ve done that.. I thank them from the bottom of my heart…

Davey D:So tell us about the foundation…

Afeni Shakur: I just wanted to tell people that outside of music, Tupac was about the business of helping families and helping people.. We would like to continue that… We started the Tupac Amuru Foundation. We will be giving you notice about how people can get in touch with the foundation, whether they are interested in either obtaining or giving assistance.. We are really excited about that.. One of the first things we want to do with the foundation, is to build an Art Institute in the name of Tupac over in Marin City where that little boy was killed. We would like to leave something there that is an institution that goes on everyday and provides help for somebody in that community.. Tupac wanted to build Ghetto Heavens and Thug Heavens all over the country.. So that’s the stuff we are going to do…

Davey D: Any idea who might have taken his life? Do you think the government had some connection with it?.. They talk about the rappers being the revolutionaries of the 80s and 90s..do you see the same type of forces that divided the Black Panther Party at work with today’s rap artists..?

Afeni Shakur: Yes I do.. But I just don’t want to simplify things by saying that it was the government.. because that’s another reason why I would like people to study The Art of War by Son Zu, and The Prince by Machavelli, so that they would have a better way of looking at things.. I don’t think it’s just the government.. I don’t think our enemies are just in the gov’t.. I believe it was in someone’s interest to play this card out like this.. The other side of that is that whoever the person was that pulled the trigger and whoever participated in it and knows about it; those people will have to deal with that from here to eternity.. Not only will they have to live with it, but so will their children and their children’s children.. I would not want to stand before God and say that I’m the one who took Tupac’s life.. So what I have to say is more power to them..

2pac’s sister Set rolls through and some questions are directed at her…

Davey D: What was it like growing up with 2Pac? What type of person was he? Was he the same type of person we got to know through film, records and video?

Set: If you listen hard and look..well yeah.. You grew up with him the same way I did.. It’s just that I grew up with him longer..But everyone else grew up with him the same way I did.. Everything from Souljah’s Story to Brenda’s Got A Baby to Against All Odds. Everything he told may not have been his own, it may have been the way God wanted him to do it…You know they way of written law and stone that is truth, but the truth is your life… If it wasn’t his truth, it was your truth, my truth the girl down the street truth, it was true to him…If he didn’t go through it, I went through it. He felt what other people felt whether it was him or not….

Davey D: Did you grow up with him all your life?

Set: I am not too sure of the years.. but when my mother started to use drugs.. I started puberty and Pac started to become a star.. He was working on his career.. And it wasn’t even a year before he went on the Japan tour with Digital.. It was the only year of my childhood that we were apart.. Besides then he got his own apartment and became an independent man

Davey D: Is there an expectation or pressure on you to try and continue to be an embodiment of 2Pac?

Set: I really feel like if anybody put that pressure on me, it’s me. Religious people say, you’ve been touched by Jesus and proof is your life will never be the same again.. and you have changed another person’s life. I feel like I’ve been touched by a Saint.. I have a son to raise and Pac was the man in my life as well as my sons.. Well, now I have to make myself learn how to deal alone…

Davey D: Any last words that you like us to know or any last things you would like us to keep in our hearts and minds about your son?

Afeni Shakur: Remember the words of my son.. Remember to Keep Your Head up.. Remember Against All Odds.. Nobody Can Judge You.. that’s God’s job.. Remember, the things 2Pac said..I just really ask people to really study his music and to listen to his music with an open heart and soothed mind.. Thank you very much.. Peace