Is this the ‘Season of the Vic’? NFL MVP Michael Vick??

After watching last night’s game where the Eagle’s bested the Cowboys.. I had to tip my hat to not only the NFL’s most improved player, but also the man who should be MVP.. I dug in the crates and pulled out a classic from Justin Warfield.. I told my man QD3 who produced this that a remake needs to be made where Justin re-works some of the lyrics, adds Black Thought and they flip a new video that lives up to the songs original title ‘Season of the Vic‘.

Y’all remember this joint? Back in the day the word Vic meant to be robbed ie ‘vic’timized.. Today it means to be robbed of a victory from the one and only Number 7 Michael Vick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AHIb8yKG0I

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5 Reasons why the Mighty Cal Bears will beat Stanford Again

Tomorrow the Might Cal Bears.. aka UC Berekely aka my alma mater play the silver spoon kids from Stanfurd University in our annual Big Game. It will be the 113th time these two teams meet and tomorrow promoises to be huge.

Yes, I’m well aware Stanfurd is 9-1 and ranked number 6.. but Cal routinely beats the tar nickens out of this team of spoiled misfits who attend a school where students pay 200 thousand dollars a year in tuition. This is why you never saw Stanfurd students protesting student fee hikes. Cal students have long ways to go to catch up with the boys on the farm in terms of fees..All I know is when I graduated I owed like 500 bucks in student loans. My homeboy Kevvy Kev owed 378 thousand.

Anyway we play Stanfurd tomorrow and here’s

5 Reasons why Cal Will Beat Stanfurd Again

Condi Rice

1-Condi ‘Yes I lied about the War’ Rice was provost there.. Not a good look. This why we are at war in Iraq spending millions on our military effort and not education.. Who do we blame? Yes you guessed it-Stanfurd University

2-The Hoover Institute is located there.. Wanna know where places like Fox News and all these right wing nut jobs get their over the top talking points? Yes down on the farm

3-The team is called the Cardinal.. and its mascot is a tree.. How confusing. Most people think the team is named after the nice bird..but alas its named after a color that you can’t find in any crayon box.. To top it off there’s no such thing as a Cardinal Tree.. These folks spend all that money on education and can’t figure out a team name that co-ordinates with its mascots..

4-Tiger Woods is from Stanfurd.. He was a cool guy until he tried to be Mr Gigilo and run around with every single waitress who worked at Dennys or I-Hop.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, but his game was super weak and he got caught and got a serious beat down from his wife who looked 10 times a good as the people he was hollaring at..

The US Gigilo/ Playas Association was upset with Tiger. They felt he gave their profession a bad name.  Tiger not being a good player solidly aligns itself with the MO of the football team.. They are not good playas..Nuff said..

Rachel Maddow is more Cal bear than Stanfurd Cardinal

5-The best thing about Stanfurd is Rachel Maddow. She went to school there.. But really her swag and politics is more aligned with Cal Berekely..You never see Stanfurd brag about this incredible journalist.. They don’t even have a statue or plague giving her props.. That’s a big fail on their part..

Let the record showCal always acknowledges its famous alumini. We should also mention Taje of Hiero/ Souls of Mischief went to Stanfurd as well as DJ Kevvy Kev..None of them are honored by their school…In fact true fact.. Hiero and Souls have done more shows at Cal than Stanfurd.. Need I say more?

Finally here’s the real reason why Stanfurd will lose to Cal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aCDfJH6eRY

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Fire the TSA? Here’s the Super Shady Story Behind ‘Public Outrage’ at Airports

With each day the drama around TSA body scans takes on new twists and turns. Earlier this week I penned an article pointing out the hypocrisy displayed by many who are seemingly up in arms about their ‘junk being touched during pat downs or pictures of their privates from the scans being posted on the internet. It was just two or three months ago many of these same people were insisting that Muslims be searched from head to toe. They wanted religious garb removed and searched. They wanted people profiled. They wanted no stone unturned in the pursuit of safety and our fight against terror.

I found the whole thing laughable and those who were complaining a bit self centered. We’re looking at folks, both men and women who are sagging in all the wrong places shouting on local newscasts that TSA agents better not post their private parts on the Internet. Your looking and saying..Are you kidding me?   Yeah right? Maybe if the machines actually kept and stored pictures. They don’t. But seriously folks.. please just stop. This is not about grandma and grandpa having their body parts on youtube. And trust, nobody’s trying to sexualize you on a pat down. That’s the distraction from a much  deeper story.

To see this nationwide turn around where everyone is willing to forgo safety concerns to maintain their vanity had a foul stench that was hard to pin down. Something about this ‘outraged’ reeked of an orchestrated campaign, similar to the ones we saw last summer when folks were up in arms about healthcare. Y’all remember those days when this new crop of activists would show up at townhalls and disrupt them. At first it seemed genuine and spontaneous but after seeing them for a while you came to realize there was a pattern to them.  For starters it wasnt as many as you’d thought. Folks would spread themselves out in a room to create the illusion of having large numbers. Second many of the folks were actually pretty well off and not in any sort of financial jeopardy as they suggested. I know one of the protests I went to in nearby Danville, organizer oblivious to the fact I’m a journalist, handed me their cards. Two of the loudest people there were executives at healthcare facilities. They had a financial interest in keeping the drama kicking.

Not to digress, But I bring all this up because I recall how so many of us were initially taken back and fooled. Many of us got caught up and believed that some sort of large-scale mass revolt against healthcare was occurring. It wasnt. What we witnessed was a well-funded highly organized stealth campaign. This current call to action against the TSA (transportation security agency) seems to be the same thing.

What really underscored this for me was hearing something said in passing on one of the local newscasts. It’s too bad there was no follow-up, but it was revealed that there’s a push to Fire the TSA and replace them with ‘professional’ private security firms..Say what you will, but this is another step at corporate dominance. It’s a push to privatize everything.  Just like the so-called healthcare protestors.  They wanted to get rid of the pubic option.  Here we have the government-run TSA and a push to put the operation under private, corporate control.

The one leading this charge is Republican Congressman John Mica out of Florida. For those who don’t know Mica is a ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He will head that committee when the new congress convenes in January and the Republicans  take charge.

Mica has made the usual GOP talking points. He asserts the TSA is a bloated bureaucracy and needs to be streamlined. Sounds kind of funny when you take into account that Mica was one the chief co-sponsors of the Airport Security Federalization Act of 2001 that help put the TSA on the map in the aftermath of 9-11.

Congressman John Mica

When then President George Bush was insisting that we give him blank checks to fight the war on terror, Mica was right there supporting him. If folks recall it was seen as being ‘unpatriotic’ to not support any and all moves to make our airports safe. The TSA which is under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security was pointed out to be a key frontline agency to help combat the war on terror. Mica was a supporter.

When it was time to cut budgets and pare down so called bloated agencies, Mica introduced bills that cut welfare and student loans etc. he was up in arms about the TSA. But nowadays he’s running around saying we need to get rid of the TSA because the lines are too long??? Weren’t people like Mca telling us from day one after 9-11 to show up for our flights 2 hours a head of time so we could be safetly checked in??

Also folks should keep in mind there’s call for travelers to opt out of getting full body scans this Wednesday. The plan as stated is to slow down the lines and make folks call for sweeping changes with the TSA.

So now we have high ranking congressman smashing on a government  agency that he help star and generously fund complaining the lines are too long and we would be better off with private security guards. Mica has already written letters to 100 airport heads urging them to get rid of the TSA.. He’s already gotten the Orlando airport which is in his district to get rid of the TSA.

Really? What private firms would that be you ask? Well according to a recent ABC news article, over the past 13 years, Mica has  received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports. Once again its all about the money, the shadiness of a corporatist congressman and the manipulation of a public thats getting wall to wall coverage on the evening news about Price William getting married and not some simple investigative reporting about why we’re having protests against a screening process we all insisted we needed

Finally lets take this to its final conclusion. Why else are people like Congressman Mica pushing to fire the TSA? Because the TSA like most first responders including police and firemen had been fighting to unionize. It was something President Obama said he would help them do back in 2008. It was something vigorously opposed by South Carolina Senator Jim Demint who  said that if the TSA were to join a union it would increase terrorism.

So what this boils down to is union busting and political kickbacks and favors.  What folks also don’t know is that any private security firm would have to follow the same exact procedures as the TSA except they would get paid less. Its not like the TSA employers are making tons of money. They’re our fellow citizens doing a job thats important . They’re our neighbors, family and friends who upon getting their pay check probably show up at your local coffee shop and grocery store and contribute to the local economy.

Michael Chertoff

Mica is one of those breeds of Congressman who is on the haterism tip on behalf of corporate security firms. Him and his croonies yearn for the days when we are the oppressive beck and call of a handful of corporate barons who want to work you for long hours and pay you substantially less. This means you as a worker will forever be economically beholden to the whims of your employer.  In other words you may wind up with a dead end job that you have to keep because you can barely get buy.

We can’t end this off without talking about former Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff, remember him?  Well during his reign under george Bush, he’s the one who pushed for these full body scanners that we are supposed to be objecting to. When he was advocating, very few pointed out that Chertoff had a business relationship with the manufacture Rapiscan Systems. Even now as folks are being critical, few people are calling Chertoff to the carpet for subjecting us to this invasive machine.

So Chertoff got paid and now Mica wants to get paid.. and they say the music industry is shady

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Hip Hop Culture Celebrates 36 Years, Zulu Nation Celebrates 37..We Dig Deep w/ Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa in the Building.. Incredible photos from this past weekends Zulu Anniversary.. Click HERE to see more

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=245658&id=507894491&fbid=459290364491

Today November 12th we celebrate the 36th Anniversary of Hip Hop culture and the  37th Anniversary of the Universal Zulu Nation..Folks from all over the world are gathered in New York City this weekend for celebrations at the  Hip Hop Cultural Theater 2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd..Special guests will be the legendary group X-Clan who are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

It’s at this time of year we dig deep and explore various aspects of culture and history. We decided to lace folks with excerpts from an in-depth interview myself and fellow journalist Mark Skillz did with Afrika Bambaataa several years ago. He went in and gave us a lot keen insight about the early days into the pioneering days of the ’70s. We talk about the gangs  and gang culture and how that lead to the forming of Zulu nation. Bam opens up and talks about his Warlord days and the types of steps he and others took to raise consciousness. He puts an end to the misinformation about how everybody started breakdancing instead of fighting. Instead he goes in and explains how steps were taken to bring about peace during those rough and tumble years.

Bam clarifies when he first emerged on the scene. he talks about his early trips to Afrika and how he was inspired by Fela Kuti. Bam notes that many think he came around after Kool Herc. He goes in and explains in detail when he first emerged on the scene and why.

Bam talks about the work he did with the late Disco King Mario and he talks about the influence Brooklyn based deejays like DJ Plummer, Grandmaster Flowers, Maboya and others had on the early scene. He talks about the Jamaican and Caribbean Influence and how certain aspects of  scenes were inspired Black radio deejays in the United States.

Bam also goes in and talks about how the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam impacted early Hip Hop culture.

You can peep this incredible interview by clicking the links below.

Breakdown FM: Afrika Bambaataa Interview pt1

Break down FM: Afrika Bambaataa Interview pt2

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Memo To Floyd Mayweather & Antonio Margarito: Manny Said Knock You Out (new song & video)

Shout out to Bay Area rapper Nump aka Tha Gorillapino Pope for his cool song and video celebrating one of the best fighters to ever step into the ring Manny Pacquiao. This is a nice remake of the LL Cool J classic Mama Said Knock You Out to Manny Said Knock You Out. many may know Numb for his classic jam I Got Grapes.

Predictions Manny will win this weekend against Antonio Margarito at Dallas Stadium and then maybe just maybe, Floyd Mayweather will stop being scared and step up and meet his maker..Pac Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HZ-XkecVfg

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Kevin Powell: Tyler Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide’

Push pause before watching for colored girls….

People either love or hate filmmaker Tyler Perry—that much is clear to me. Weeks before I decided to see Perry’s “For Colored Girls” on opening night I could hear the extreme reactions to the fact he was adapting, producing, and directing a film version of Ntozake Shange’s classic 1970s choreopoem/play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.”

“I think Tyler is the worst filmmaker ever,” one pal of mine said, an amazing actress and writer, who is completely traumatized that Perry was even permitted to touch Shange’s writing.

And then there have been all the pre-film blogs written and passed around which have, in the main, been attempts to prepare viewers, particularly Black women movie goers, for the worst. Indeed, one blog I sampled encouraged women to read Shange’s words first, to go as a group, almost as if bracing themselves for a natural disaster. Another blog demolished Perry as a proprietor of modern-day minstrel shows in real-time Black face. This woman’s blog was so detailed in her point-by-point critiques of Tyler’s pictures, that it set off what appears to be at least 100 responses, most supporting her views, with a few not, and a handful saying she was an extremist, and, better yet, a hater. And this last blog and its comments are from a year ago when it was first announced Perry was tackling Shange’s piece.

(A not-so-humorous side note: From the hardcore reactions to one Tyler Perry, you would think his films have done as much damage to Black America as, say, racism, HIV/AIDS, failing public schools, rampant unemployment, crime, drug dealing and drug abuse, gentrification, the prison-industrial complex, police brutality, Republican right-wingers and the Fox News Channel, ghetto dictatorships and lazy leadership in the form of certain very identifiable Black politicians and Black preachers, corner liquor stores, fast food restaurants, and every other challenge you could name….)

Since then it hasn’t helped that the trailer for the adaptation doesn’t do the actual film any poetic justice. You see Janet Jackson far too much (it is clear Mr. Perry has an acute fascination with Ms. Jackson in spite of her well-meaning but limited acting abilities), and you see a plethora of quick-cut imagery in the film, but unless you’ve closely read the Shange book yourself, or have seen the words interpreted on the stage through the years, you come away from the trailer not really clear what the film narrative is.

As a result I was really torn about watching “For Colored Girls.” First off, I have seen some of Perry’s “Madea” films and, yes, they have made me cringe. How could they not when I know very well the history of Black images in America, how destructive so many of these images have been to our collective spirits, psyches, and bodies, be they mammy, big momma, tragic “mulatto,” gangsta, thug, pimp, prostitute, thief, hustler, or bumbling, stumbling coon or buffoon. If there was a true and intentional balance to what we colored folks are given to digest on television, in movies, in music videos, in video games, and now on the internet, then there would hardly be a whisper about Tyler Perry’s films. And if he had stayed in the urban Black theater scene—our theatrical version of the famous “chitin’ circuit” for Black performers—then no one, save poor or working-class and or church-going Black folks, would probably even know who Perry is today.

But it is precisely because those poor or working-class and or church-going Black folks flock to venues like the Beacon Theater in New York City, every time one of these plays is announced on local urban radio stations, that Tyler Perry is famous and fabulously wealthy. The plays are simplistic, but with enough Black around-the-way humor and morality lessons that serve as a necessary escape from the grind of our daily Black lives. Who would not want that? And is it little surprise that Perry’s career first skyrocketed during the Bush II years, and continues to be an entertainment outlet for the souls of many Black folks during The Great Recession? No, he is not a great writer, not a great director, not a great actor. Not yet, and I have no clue if he will ever be any of those things. But Tyler Perry is an astute entrepreneur, a marketing genius, someone who has filled a huge void for working-class Black America, for church-going Black America, with film after film. Up until “For Colored Girls,” Perry has not pretended to be an artist, or a super-talented director in the vein of Julie Dash, Martin Scorsese, or Kasi Lemmons.

Tyler Perry

No, what Perry has done is exactly what pioneering African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux did from 1919 to 1948: give Black people themselves on screen on a regular basis, something that, as evidenced by Perry’s huge box-office receipts with each film (including approximately $20 million this past opening weekend for “For Colored Girls”), we desperately crave. Indeed just as Oscar Micheaux steadily fed the Black masses with his 44 films and 7 novels (including one national bestseller) over those 29 years, Perry too has been relentless with his productivity and his work ethic, churning out, it feels, a film a year, if not two. This is on top of his plays, his television shows, and the running of his new state-of-the-art film and television studio in Georgia. But please be clear that Tyler Perry is not the first African American to own his own film and tv compound. No, that distinction belongs to Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid and what they built and opened in Virginia in the late 1990s. But Perry has taken the best of the hustle and flow of Micheaux, the bravado of Blaxploitation wonder-man Melvin Van Peebles, the make-Black-films-by-any-means-necessary mantra of Spike Lee, and the business savvy of the Reids, remixed the ingredients, and given us Tyler Perry, the baddest Black film mogul this side of the 21st century. And that begets a taste of power that makes Perry the Booker T. Washington of Black filmmakers. In other words, like how Booker T. was hotly debated in his day for his dealings with Black folks and issues of race, so too is Tyler P. hotly debated in his day for his dealings with Black folks and, yeah, issues of race (images).

But what one cannot deny about either is that in an America where it has always been extremely hard for Black folks to own and sustain institutions, both built institutions that stand as unbelievable achievements of the human spirit, and in spite of entrenched American racism and White privilege in the realms of education (Booker T.) and Hollywood (Tyler P.). One could even go so far as to say that outside of Oprah Winfrey, Perry is easily the most powerful Black entertainer in our nation, and one of the most influential regardless of race.

For Tyler Perry has taken the business of Black filmmaking to another level. A level that Micheaux, Van Peebles, and not even Spike Lee could have ever achieved. Because Tyler Perry is not only the master of his own ship, the owner of his vision and his brand, but he is now positioned to tackle Hollywood racism head on without ever uttering a single word about it. For sure, Perry says he does not discriminate against anyone, and that is clear from his diverse team of production folks. But it is also abundantly clear he has added brick after brick to the Spike Lee foundation of hiring Black people in every position possible, to nurture and train them for long careers in film and television production. The kind of opportunities they would not get elsewhere. I mean, when I look at the credits to, say, Francis Ford Coppola’s epics, “The Godfather I and II,” it is not lost on me the numerous Italian surnames. Coppola was clearly looking out for his people. So why can’t Perry do the same for his?

But with the box office success, the full-fledged studio, the role as the most powerful Black person in Hollywood, and an uncanny ability to get every kind of Black actress or actor you can think of into his films (no matter the quality of the films), I imagine the question began to gnaw at Tyler as the refrain scrutinizing his filmmaking skills, or lack thereof, have grown louder and louder: Where do I, Tyler Perry, go from here?

Here, I believe, means Tyler knows, there in the underbelly of his Southern soul, that he cannot continue to make, solely, Madea films, preachy PG movies with one-dimensional characters and a gumbo pot full of plotlines. That he had to leave his comfort zone, had to create 34th Street Films so that he can begin to make more meaningful films, better developed and multi-faceted films, films written and directed by others, and perhaps others with extensive film training, who can bring to life the kind of Black tales seldom told, and seldom seen in the history of American cinema—

Push play: for colored girls unfolds….

Living in New York City for the past 20 years as both a writer and activist means I have seen and heard versions of Shange’s choreopoem many many times. I even once lived with and dated an actress who, like many Black actresses, frequently used a monologue from “For Colored Girls…” in one audition or another. What I learned from my then-girlfriend, and from my Black female actress friends through the years, is that there is an enormous scarcity of monologues written specifically for Black women, that what Shange wrote really is as timeless as Shakespeare. And as poetic and lofty, too. That when you enter the world of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls…” you are, in essence, entering high and sacred ground.

 

Which brings me back to my decision to see the film on opening night. The evening before I had visited my mother in my hometown of Jersey City, and there we were, in the same kitchen she has been in for 30-plus years. As I ate the fish my moms prepared for me, she sat, all 67 years of her, slightly slumped, in a plastic-covered chair by the stove. My mother looked both at peace, and well, very tired. Tired from years of being a Black woman in America. Tired from years of working in cotton fields, factories, and in the homes of the wealthy and the elderly. Tired of being tired, these several years later, from talking about how my father had wronged her. To the point, now, that she herself had aged with hints of sorrow in her heart and twinges of bitterness at the corners of her mouth. She, a colored girl, who had survived the hostile abandonment of my father, and all the would-be suitors who came to move in, not to love her.

 

She, a colored girl, who had survived acute poverty, minimal life skills, and an 8th grade education to raise me, a Black boy, to be something other than yet another wretched statistic. Who will sing the coarse songs of women like my mother? Who will tell their tales if not us?

The late Judge Shirley Torintino

And then to the other extreme of why I was in Jersey City Thursday night: Judge Shirley Tolentino, the first Black woman judge I’d ever met, had died, and I went to St. Aloysius Church on Westside Avenue to pay my respects at her wake. And what a wake it was. The church was loaded with all kinds of people, mostly Black, there to say good-bye to a Black woman many considered one of Jersey’s most powerful judges. I met her when I was a teen and driving my mother mad. I don’t even recall what the particular indiscretion was with the law, but there I was in front of Judge Tolentino, utterly stunned a Black woman, this Black woman, was about to decide my fate. For whatever reason, she gave me a break, I never went to a juvenile detention center, never landed in jail, so I had to see her one last time, even in that coffin box, just to say “Thank you.” I had thought of Judge Tolentino often through the years, long before I knew of Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth, or Ida B. Wells or Mary McLeod Bethune, or Shirley Chisholm or Angela Davis, or the ladies in Shange’s “For Colored Girls…,” or Michelle Obama, even. For Judge Tolentino, like my mother, represents a kind of power that Black women have always possessed, from the golden earth of Africa to the concrete jungles of America’s inner cities, a power that said you may try to destroy us by all available means but like that Maya Angelou poem, still we rise—

And somewhere in Tyler Perry’s life, ostensibly, he has been affected, aided, raised, prepared, by Black women like the ones I know. All us Black boys know them. No, I have not always liked the way Perry has depicted Black women in his films, but I also cannot ignore how many Black actresses he has employed, quite a few of them so remarkably gifted by their God yet so completely shunned or forgotten by Hollywood. Nor can I disregard that in his newly minted studio are soundstages named after Black female acting giants like Ruby Dee and Cicely Tyson. Somewhere in Perry croons an undying love for Black women—

For Colored Girls Cast

Yes, these things were on my mind as I made my way to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to see Perry’s film. I purposely sat in the back row so that I could watch any who entered. And here they came, slowly but surely, Black women like my mother, and Black women like Judge Tolentino. Younger Black women and older Black women. Straight Black women and lesbian or bisexual Black women. Black women with perms and weaves, and Black women with dreadlocks or baldheads. There were a few of us Black males present, and a few White sisters and brothers. I could feel some Black female eyes on me as I sat alone, wondering what had brought me to this film, maybe. I think if I had suffered through what countless Black women have suffered through in their lives, including my mother, I would question, too. For what is it to live in a nation where you have been victimized not only because of your race, but also because of your sex? Where you have not only had to contend with sheer madness ranging from slave masters to corporate bosses with a reckless disregard for your being, but also from husbands, boyfriends, lovers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, sons, and grandsons whose own internalized racism and oppression have destroyed them and, in effect, destroyed you. This is the heaviness of experience and history that these Black women march with into one Tyler Perry movie after another. They simply want to see fragments of themselves on screen, be it Madea or Shange’s “For Colored Girls.” And most of these women are not like my actress friends, not like my cultural critics friends, not like my academic or scholarly friends, and not like my bohemian friends: well versed in all things Black, cultural, artistic, political, or literary. They are more like my mother, a woman who does not read books, save bits and pieces of the bible, and who has never really been told (nor mustered the strength to tell herself) that she is beautiful, that she is powerful, that she is visible. Which is why since the 1970s when I was a child, as far back as I can remember, my mother mostly goes to the movies when it is Black people up on the screen. My moms is especially fond of Whoopie Goldberg and I suspect it is because Whoopie, like my mother, is a dark-complexioned Black woman who has been told, more times than not, that she is ugly, and you and I both know that Whoopie, and my mother, are quite beautiful. Therefore in seeing Whoopie shine on that screen my mother is seeing herself shine, is seeing her beautiful brown skin shine in a way it never shined in those cotton fields, in those factories, in the homes of those wealthy or elderly folks, and certainly never shined in the eyes of my long-gone father. Women like my mother, younger and older, simply need to know that their lives are valid, that their lives do matter. Love him or hate him, that is the space Tyler Perry has created for many a Black person, a space my mother asked me to share with her when she requested “Can you take me to see that movie about them colored girls?” Yes, ma, I will—

So there is this film, and as “For Colored Girls” began, I washed away the negative reviews I’d read, the questions on why him to do this, and simply watched the movie. I would say about 15 minutes into it I realized I was watching something very different than other Perry flicks, that he had grown as a filmmaker, that he was not butchering Shange’s words as so many had suggested he would, or had.

Instead what we were getting was a 21st century reading of “For Colored Girls,” very much required, in reality, given that Shange’s piece was created in the 1970s. And no different, undoubtedly, than Ethan Hawke taking Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and setting it at the Denmark Corporation in his early 2000s film version, while retaining the old language. If Hawke could keep the old language and update the setting, why can’t Perry? Moreover, it was clear to me, as the drama unfolded, that many in the theater, including the Black woman sitting right next to me, had never read the Shange book, nor had ever seen a staged production. Tyler Perry’s flick was it, was their introduction. And in this world of fast-paced videos, Twitter, and every manner of cell phone with video components, Perry has taken the best of what Shange has willed to us, combined it with a stellar ensemble that features Phylicia Rashad, Whoopie Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, and Loretta Devine, and created something that is, well, very special and quite magical, in spite of the hurt and pain peppered throughout this film.

The film had to be given a bona fide backdrop in Harlem, the men had to be given some voices here and there, and the women’s names could not merely be Lady in Red, Lady in Brown, and so on. We need to know them as Crystal and Yasmine and Jo. Need to know their names because those names are the real names of real Black women who live in Harlem, Brooklyn, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, D.C., St. Louis, Houston, wherever Black women be. But Perry had to cast his bucket somewhere, so Harlem became the metaphor for anywhere America, specifically one walk-up apartment building where most of the characters dwell. Think of how Gloria Naylor put her main female characters on one block in her majestic novel “The Women of Brewster Place.” Or how a Brooklyn neighborhood exploded off the screen in Spike’s “Do The Right Thing.” With “For Colored Girls” I was awestruck by the color palettes used for the film, the exquisiteness of these Black women’s many skin hues, the imaginative method in which Perry stitched Shange’s original words in with freshly written lines to make the narrative go. And go they do, for they are brilliant, hardworking, dedicated, steadfast, loving, divine, and, often, very very lonely in their own skins. You feel it with Phylicia Rashad’s character, the manager of the building, whose sole purpose at this moment seems to be as ears and eyes of what is happening with her neighbors. But it is in helping them through their pain that gives her life a pulse. You feel it in Whoopie Goldberg’s character, so terrified of the universe that she has turned her apartment into a shrine of boxes filled with God only knows what, her life reduced to prays, pray oils, and an overwhelming belief that anyone who does not believe in her God and her religion is destined for hell, including her two daughters. You feel it in the innocence of Anika Noni Rose’s character, wide-eyed and recently out of a relationship, and so horrifically duped by a handsome man into a rape scene and subsequent monologue that was so jarring it felt like the entire theater had instantly become a mountainous chorus of tears, wails, and gasps for air. And you feel it in Kimberly Elise, so broken by mental abuse and domestic violence that she is just one step from a complete nervous breakdown. And then her husband does it, he murders her two children in broad daylight, dropping them—and the sanity and heart of Elise’s character— from their apartment window, their blood smeared on the asphalt below like the jagged journey of Black women and girls in America.

“I never thought I’d see the day when I enjoyed a Tyler Perry film,” said one female friend, and I concurred with her. But I am not sure if “enjoy” is the right word. “For Colored Girls” is a conversation, a mirror, something, obviously, that one culturally and socially ignorant film critic after another just did not get as they blasted the film in their reviews. One repeated critique is that the movie deals too much in pathologies. Are you going to tell me that Coppola’s “Godfather I and II,” widely hailed as two of the best movies of all time, are not riddled with multiple social pathologies? Likewise with “Citizen Kane,” or “Forrest Gump,” even? So to these over-the-top haters of Perry’s “For Colored Girls,” What film, exactly, were you watching that that is the sum of what you viewed? How does one come away from that film and not agree that Kimberly Elise should be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, and Thandie Newton (with Anika Noni Rose and Whoopie Goldberg not far behind) for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar? How does one not acknowledge the terrific score, the captivating cinematography, or the set design, even? And how does one gripe that the back-alley abortion scene is not credible in these times if one has never been to, never lived in, nor ever spent significant time in an American ghetto and, as a consequence, is not fully aware of the physical and psychological lengths us poor Black folks have historically had to go to, even in the age of Obama and in an allegedly post-racial America, to duck and dodge the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

Additionally, I do know if a Tom Hanks, a man who was on a mediocre television sitcom and made mediocre film after mediocre film in the 1980s, could reinvent himself as a leading man and Oscar winner in the 1990s, then why can’t Tyler Perry be given the space to evolve, to grow, to be something other than what first made his fame and fortune? Or if a Marvin Gaye could go from crooning catchy but clichéd Motown pop ballads to making a masterpiece model for social protest music with “What’s Going On?” then why can’t we believe, in our hearts, that Perry made a strong, compelling, and emotionally-riveting movie with “For Colored Girls?”

Yes, there are flaws in the film. Here are the glaring ones for me: Janet Jackson, who I have always loved in general, just should not be in the film nor should she have been given top billing. Janet simply does not have the range and depth she displayed as a child actor on “Good Times.” Next, the director did not push Kerry Washington hard enough, I feel, to display the kind of emotional dexterity needed for her character as she witnessed the breaking down of lives about her, and her inability to have a baby. And it was so pathetically predictable that Janet’s husband in the film would turn out to be “a brother on the down-low.” We’ve got to stop fanning the flames of fear and homophobia to Black people like that, once and for all. The issue with HIV/AIDS in Black America is sexual dishonesty and sexual irresponsibility across the board, not whether someone is straight or gay. Everyone has to be more honest and everyone has to be more careful. That scene is one moment of a few in the film where I felt we were getting the old Tyler Perry, the Perry as Madea film where the script got stiff and, well, lethargic and unimaginative.

And, no, for the record, I as a Black man had no problem whatsoever with the depiction of Black males in the film. “For Colored Girls” is not a male-bashing film. It is a story about women and if you, a man, happen to be uncomfortable with what you see and hear, then maybe it is because elements of who you be are in some of those characters. I absolutely thought about my own relationships with Black women through the years as I digested “For Colored Girls,” thought of women I have dated, women I have treated correctly and as my equals, and of women I’ve treated poorly or disrespectfully. So if you are an honest man, one serious about your own growth and evolution, then you come to “For Colored Girls,” or any story about women and girls, with emotional courage and integrity, not disdain, finger-pointing, and haterism.

Unfortunately, this same wave of negative male responses occurred when Shange’s “For Colored Girls…” opened on Broadway in the 1970s, and with “The Color Purple,” the film, in the mid1980s. So it is to be expected given the patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny that runs rampant on our planet, still. Men will refuse to see the film and say it is unfair to them just because. But what is missing is that we males do need to listen to the stories of women, do need to empathize with their highs and their lows, do need to understand how much more we can learn about ourselves, if we simply develop the intellectual muscle to listen to the blues songs of women, including the women who are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, lovers, bosses, employees, wives, friends—

But, alas, in an American society as drenched in sexism as it is in racism, that is a huge leap for many of us. Male privilege is a tough thing to shake, above all when we’ve been conditioned our entire lives to believe we are the superior sex, to believe that the only way to view the world is through our eyes. As if the women’s eyes don’t matter at all. The stories told in “For Colored Girls” are very factual, happen to women in Black, White, Latina, and Native American communities every single day; happen to women who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths, or no faiths whatsoever; and those stories, in particular the ones of rape and domestic violence, are the reasons why it was stated in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009 that global violence against women is the human rights issue of the 21st century.

What that means, matter of fact, for my community, the Black community, is that we’ve got some long-held and far-rooted traumas that we’ve got to deal with immediately. That was evident from the excessive laughter during scenes that were clearly not funny. Also evident by all the Black folks complaining about the audience chatter that took place during their viewing of the film. Or complaints of cell phones that went off. Mad annoying and each gripe valid, yes, but worthy of long Facebook posts and blistering denigration of each other that reeks of Black self-hatred and, in some cases, blatant classism by some of my more, uh, uppity and uptight Black sisters and brothers? No. But as long as we continue to suffer from what scholars and activists in Black America refer to as “post-traumatic slave syndrome,” passed from generation to generation, like a baton in a relay race, where your pain becomes your child’s pain, and so on and so forth, then we will continue to be divided, inwardly and outwardly. Was that not clear from the scarred and shredded relationship between the characters depicted by Whoopie Goldberg and Thandie Newton? At the end of the day, people who are hurting simply want love, but often fail to recognize the first love must be of self. In sexing all those men in the film, Newton’s character was essentially ducking and dodging the inner her, and ducking and dodging the past she needed to confront, finally. That is why that coming together of community at the end of “For Colored Girls” is so critical, and so necessary. For none of us can go it alone. Yes, Black males have issues too and, and yes, we deserve films that present as whole human beings, as well, but that is not the point of “For Colored Girls,” nor should it be; and, no, Black women are not abandoning us simply because of one film, but Perry’s “For Colored Girls” does suggest that if we are to be healthy, and whole, then it means we’ve got to make conscious decisions to come together in a way where I am not hurting you and you are not hurting me. And to love our powerful and beautiful selves before it is too late—

That is the challenge for Mr. Tyler Perry, as “For Colored Girls” continues to make money and continues to be both debated and disparaged. That is, can Tyler Perry—or will Tyler Perry—strive and struggle to transform the one-man economy his films have manifested, and use his voice, and his power, to push the envelope to make films, Black films, that not only show the vast complexities of the Black experience in America, and on this planet, but to also be spaces, simply by virtue of the genius of the work he produces and endorses for others, that can be healing circles for as many of us as possible? Will Perry, the next time a woman’s story is presented to him, step aside and support a dynamic Black female director like Nzingha Stewart, Julie Dash, Ayoka Chenzira, or Kasi Lemmons? Will he, as a man, use his male privilege to make sure, in fact, that “For Colored Girls” the movie is not the last time, for decades and decades, we see such rich and layered depictions of Black women in theaters? Tall orders, yes, but I don’t think Perry has been given this grand opportunity just for the sake of making dollars. As Perry admitted himself in one interview, he tried to avoid doing “For Colored Girls,” both on Broadway and on film, but it kept coming back to him. Now it is done, it is out, and it is what he does from this moment forward that will determine his place in cinematic history and whether Tyler Perry’s body of work will ultimately be a legacy for the ages.

Kevin Powell, New York City-based activist and public speaker, is the author or editor of 10 books, including the essay collection Open Letters to America and the poetry book No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Kevin’s writings have appeared in Esquire, Newsweek, Ebony, Essence, Rolling Stone, Vibe, huffingtonpost.com, and elsewhere through the years. Email him at kevin@kevinpowell.net

A Historic Day in San Francisco-Over a Million People Showed their Love for the Giants

The mood on this Historic Day in San Francisco was incredible well over a million people came out to the Civic Center and Market street and showed their true colors

This sign says it all..

Notice my man has an Oakland A's hat..But he put on his orange vest and was slinging papers..

Yep everyone got in the act..notice the Oakland Raider Colors but the SF Giant Logo and spirit-This was a Bay thing indeed

SF Pandas Overlooking the crowd

u can peep the entire photo album HERE

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=563836&id=882195719&l=a219259fa9

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Giants Win the World Series… Here are Photos from Last Night’s Celebrations

City Hall lit up in Orange as Soon as Giants Won World Series

Rapper Big Rich Uplifted SF last year with His SF Anthem.. he was on hand with lots of fans follwing him.. He said his father a life ong Giant fan died before he could see this

This says it all.. 56 long years -the first in San Fran

I'm not a big Giants fan but after watching the Texas Rangers beat my beloved Yankees I quickly jumped on the bandwagon to seek revenge.. I thank the city of San Francisco for holding it down.. I will now hold a special place in my heart for the crew that beat my crew.. Go Giants.. LOL

Damn speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's opponent showed up with a big ass sign showing his love for the Giants .. Wake Up Dems where was the Pelosi Crew? 10 thousand people at City Halll that was a big miss..

You can peep out more photos by clicking HERE:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=562989&id=882195719&l=de2ff261bb

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Why are People FANatic About Sports Teams..but will NOT VOTE for the Teams that control their lives?

Paradise the Arkitech

Why are people so FANatic about their meaningless local Football, Baseball and Basketball teams but will NOT VOTE for the team that controls their Jobs, Money, Housing, Education, Air, Water, Food, Transportation, Taxes, Health care, LIVES?

-Paradise Gray of X-Clan-

Words of wisdom from Paradise as we head into the home stretch of the midterm elections… Now there will be some who will cry out that voting doesn’t matter when it really does especially on local levels..We just had a serious police brutality incident in Boston.. what’s the DA gonna do about that?  We have judges who sit on the bench and rule on everything from divorce to parking tickets to you smoking weed. That same judge gets to rule on all those issues or  set  guidelines for a jury  to follow. You don’t think thats important to vote on?

You don’t like the Democrats or Republicans?… There are all sorts of third Party candidates running, why not vote for them and make a showing versus complaining that the two main parties are corrupt?

Below are several voting guides for you to look through.. One of them even allows you to make your own and share it with friends via Facebook and twitter.. Take a look at them. get informed and make a difference.

http://www.smartvoter.org/ Most comprehensive.. has all the races local, state and nationwide

http://www.votesmart.org/voteeasy/ pretty similar.. doesn’t go as deep into local city and town races…This ballot matches candidates to the issues like the death penalty or mandatory prison sentences you feel passionate about

http://theballot.org/ This ballot guide allows you to upload and put out your own..It’s designed for young adults.. pretty dope.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nQJY44GSgk

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Job Seekers with Bad Credit Fallback ‘Cause You Ain’t Getting Hired

Can you get employment with bad credit? Can you get housing with bad credit?  This is an incredibly important story that I hope everyone pays attention to and pushes to make sure lawmakers use their resources, power and influence to lessen the harm this dilemma is causing. Why has credit suddenly become a driving determination for your eligibility for employment?  This has been America’s dirty little secret during the worse economy since the Great Depression. Major props to Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post and her excellent article on this topic-Are Credit Checks Keeping The Jobless Out Of Work?

Talk about kicking a person while they’re down and out, we now have employers who are now looking at your inability to keep up with bills after you been laid off for downsizing or some other ‘out of control’ circumstance as a primary criteria. We won’t even talk about what its like to get housing with bad credit. This is compounded by ajob market that in some places like California where unemployment is 12%. Here in Oakland its 20%. Such numbers have already allowed potential employers to be extra picky. Heck if you walk into a job interview and you have a wrinkle in your shirt, that can be used against you. But with this credit check situation being used as weeding out tool, this points to us as a country moving in a rapid direction to create a large, permanent underclass. Here’s what Bassett penned;

While the credit check has always been a routine part of the job application process, experts are wondering whether it’s still a fair screening tool in the wake of a recession that has left 15 million Americans unemployed and unable to keep up with their bills.

In a meeting of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission last week to discuss the use of credit history as a discriminatory barrier to employment, a panel of legal experts and social scientists explained how the screening practice may be harmful and unfair to American workers.

“A simple reason to oppose the use of credit history for job applications is the sheer, profound absurdity of the practice,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “Using credit history creates a grotesque conundrum. Simply put, a worker who loses her job is likely to fall behind on paying her bills due to lack of income. With the increasing use of credit reports, this worker now finds herself shut out of the job market because she’s behind on her bills. This phenomenon has created concerns that the unemployed and debt-ridden could form a luckless class.”

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60 percent of all organizations polled said they conducted background checks on applicants, and 17 percent in the Northeast reported that favorable background check results are the most important factor influencing the final decision of whether to hire someone.

Considering the fact that more than half of all working adults in America have either been unemployed, taken a pay cut, had their work hours reduced or become involuntary part-time workers since the beginning of the recession, more and more job applicants are hampered by blemishes on their credit reports in the search for a steady salary.

How does one handle  such a horrific catch-22?  You lose your job, you fall behind, your credit slips. The less opportunity you have to get a job your credit falls even more. At the very least its puts an employee in a super subservient position where out of desperation they will do literally anything to keep a job in spite of bad credit, including working less than minimum wage, putting up with abusive behavior or unsafe conditions at work.

We need to hear our leaders be more forceful in pushing potential employers to not punish those who've economically fallen behind

Personally its been the one thing I been frustrated at NOT hearing about from those in leadership. I been wanting to hear President Obama and talk emphatically about this during his campaign stomps. I been wanting to hear him say say that he would be working with corporations or at least encouraging them to remove or at the very least back off doing credit checks. This would be a clear indications that not only jobs are a major focus, but that he’s also aware and in touch with those who are without.

Anyone who is falling behind, knows quite well that not everyone is willing to help. Try getting a break on parking tickets especially after they gone to collections. Try talking to some of these banks who got bailed out, but wont back off on conditions that would help bail you out. Then we have these new aggressive debt collection companies who have brought up old debts for pennies on the dollar and are now suing people to collect. They definitely aren’t trying to work with you.

This brings me to my last point. far too many people who are doing ok, have been oblivious and overtly insensitive to this scenario. I’ve had more than a few conversations with people who should know better where they arrogantly assume that escaping bad credit hell is easy or that its the height of one being irresponsible that landed folks in that predicament. I’ve had conversations with people where they say things like; ‘Cant you get a loan from your parents’? or ‘Don’t you have any frioends who can spot you some money?’ Here’s the worse one ‘Why don’t you just get a second job so you can catch up with your bills?’

Such remarks indicate there’s an unawareness of what its like for folks who have been desperately searching for work, many for over a year. Not everyone has the same network of friends and family who can come to the rescue. This is especially true for those who are older and are now playing the role of care-giver for parents and other elders in their family. Its not so easy to get up and bounce back or even sleep on someone’s counch when trying to keep a family together or care for an elder who is sick.

The other dirty secret is that many employers aren’t particularly interested in hiring folks who are older, when they have a younger pool they can pay lower wages without benefits. Many within that younger pool will accept subpar job situations and chalk it up to ‘paying dues’. I know when I first sought out my dream job in the music biz, I worked for damn near free for more than a year just to get my foot in the door. I had the comfort of inexpensive student housing with 3 roommates. I also had an array of odd jobs including deejaying which allowed me to get by.  If anything fell apart I had the option of going home or couch surfing. For many it’s not that type of party, not to mention not having your own place can be looked at as you not ‘being responsible’.

The bad credit excuse although being spoken about now in a very public way, is not new for many who live in marginalized and poor communities. not sure if there are any studies, but many of us have heard or actually experienced situation where the credit history was used to shut folks down. Oftentimes it appeared to be used selectively.

At the end of the day, all of us are going to have to pull together and be a bit more aware of those around us. One’s fortunes can be turned upside down at any moment and the worse thing to have happen is to be in position where you’re in dire straits after thumbing your nose at others  the week before.

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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