From Cointel-Pro to Gang Injunctions to PRISM & Privatization our HKR Intv w/ Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno

Yesterday we on Hard Knock Radio we chopped it up with long time activist and freedom fighter Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.. The subject at hand was the updated report MXGM had done on Police Killings… About a year ago when they started documenting Black people killed by police it was discovered that every 36 hours Law Enforcement guns down someone from our community… With the new data it was discovered that rate has increased to every 28 hours.. You can see the new report titled Operation Ghetto Storm —> HERE

In our conversation with Kali, not only does he break down the specifics of that report but he also connects the terrorism and mass surveillance the Black community has long experienced with law enforcement to what is currently going on now with the PRISM program. Kali outlines the sordid legacy of Cointel-Pro and later sweeping gang injunctions which were pioneered by former LA Police Chief Darryl Gates. He talks about what it was like growing up in LA and the impact mass surveillance (profiling) had on the Black community. For example, by the time the Rodney King Rebellions unfold in 1992, almost half of LA’s Black male population were listed on LAPD’s Gang Database. People were placed on these lists simply for living in a neighborhood. At the time many outside Black and Brown communities ignored this.. Many even suggested that the folks living in South central, Watts, Compton, East LA etc, were deserving a such treatment.  Kali noted that what had become routine in Black and Brown communities in the War on Drugs has now been tweaked and being used to Fight the War on Terror.

In our interview Kali points out that local police and the federal government have long worked together when executing their policies of containment in the hood.  What makes the war on terror so frightening is much of the intel gathering is done by private corporation who stand to make a profit.. Kali gives a thorough breakdown of how private industry has shaped the Military Industrial Complex  and the long term =effects it is having on folks both here and abroad..

This is a very thorough and insightful interview..

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Some Random and Not So RandomThings I Remember from 2012

Davey-D-brown-frameAt the end of each year all of us have things we can and should reflect upon. We assess all that has happened and make promises to build upon successes, shed bad habits and bad energy and create better tomorrows..

In looking back at 2012 I would say it was a turbulent, very contentious years..It seemed like everything that went down was in your face and folks were pulling out all the stops to literally body you.. From voter suppression tactics to stand your ground laws to a war on women where sitting law makers  not only stated but tried to pass legislation that reflected a twisted belief that some rapes are legitimate while others are actually blessings… Yes, I’m looking at you Gov Mike Huckabee, Todd Akin and Richard Murdock.. Oh yeah I’m looking at you as well Congressman Paul Ryan..

In 2012 billionaires went all out to make life miserable if you weren’t in their circle, it just seemed like the pressure never let up.

And while 2012 was challenging, there were some shining moments, where folks fought back and triumphed. It showed up in the form of Biko Baker and League of Young Voters doing their historic Ignite Tour around Voter Education or Bakari Kitwana of Rap Sessions who gathered up scholars, activists and artists and did a similar tour.

It showed up in the form of Javier Gonzalez and the Soundstrike which put a serious dent in SB 1070 laws in Arizona. It showed up in the form of Jasiri X, Paradise Gray and One Hood who never let up providing a sound track for many of the struggles folks were undertaking in 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZvkFdDli3U

It showed up in the form of Barbara Arwine of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and political activist Angela Woodson out of Ohio who were on the front lines dealing with Voter Suppression.. You can check them out HERE.. It showed up in the form of folks who stood on voting lines for 6, 7 and 8 hours to cast their ballot while oppressive forces were doing their best to get them to leave and not partake at all.

Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez

It showed up in the form of artists Favianna Rodriguez and activists like the Dreamers who were part of the big Undocubus Tour where folks toured the country and challenged the systemic deportations. They put in mad work and at the end of the day had both political parties and the staunchest of enemies changing their tune about immigration.. Now everyone wants to find a way to get comprehensive immigration reform on the books.

It showed in the form of Rebel Diaz and their Bronx based collective who traveled the country, spoke truth to power and showed the true meaning and power of cooperative economics. The fact that they own their own building/ community center in the middle of the South Bronx is testament to their hard word.

It showed up in the form of graf writers Refa 1 who brought us AeroSoul 3 where he gathered pioneering Black and Brown graf artists to Oakland to not only share their crafts but to talk about ways to raise consciousness and why it was important to connect the dots between Khemet and Aztlan..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWJCK6rep74

Gabby speaksIt showed in the form of Serena Williams and Gabby Douglass taking Gold Medals in the London Olympics and dealing with horrific negative feedback because of how they danced or wore their hair..The disrespect that gymnastic champ Gabby Douglass endured over her hair was outlandish, but she handled it with class and dignity and kept it moving. Her 90 million dollar endorsement deal from Wheaties was also nice..

It showed in the form of Jill Stein and Cheri Hunkula who stayed the course and push valiantly the virtues and un-compromised positions of a 3rd party (the Greens). It was more than just them being in a 3rd party.. It was watching them put their principles to practice…I would encourage folks to peep the interview we did with them at the democratic National Convention

It showed up in the form of brave folks from the Occupy Movement to Medea Benjamin and Code Pink activists who shun strong light on the Drone Warfare that were are currently engaged in.. It showed up in the form of 30 thousand people who marched against the Stop and Frisk Practices in New York City.. Y’all remember the Silent March?

Elon James White

Elon James White

It showed up in the form of folks taking their time to create innovative broadcasts as way to fight the stranglehold of corporate media..Elon James white‘s daily This Week In Blackness is one example.. Weyland Southon and author Adam Mansbach‘s weekly Father Figure show which airs on KPFA is another.

We be remissed not to shout out Skyyhook Radio which has been innovative, woman owned and runs 24/7..and Chuck D‘s Cant Stop Won’t Stop Hip Hop Show and Occupy the Hood’s radio show. We also have scholar Marc Anthony Neal‘s Left of Black TV show along with Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford‘s Black Agenda Radio.

On the mainstream front we had Melissa Harris Perry‘s show on MSNBC and Roland Martin‘s Washington Watch on TVone .  We also had Marc Lamont Hill and Alyonna on Huffington Post Live. That’s just to name a few of the many.

It showed up in the form of folks who endured 16 mass shootings, from Colorado to Oakland to Newtown and still managed to push forward, keep their humanity and fight to bring about a better way and a brighter tomorrow…I could go on and on..Here’s a few more things that stood out in 2012…

BrotherAli-Flag-1Album of the Year… It was a toss up between Nas‘ ‘Life is Good‘, Kendrick LamarGood Kid Maad CityKiller MikeRAP MusicPublic EnemyMost of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps‘  and  Brother AliMourning in America and Dreaming in Color

winner: Brother Ali...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKHsGh-y8d8

Song of the Year…There were too many joints to name that moved me in 2012 everyone from Nas to Asap Rocky to E-40 to Melina Jones had bangers. depending on my mood, dictated what I was rocking with.. 3 Songs seemed to keep me in step all years… Public Enemy w/ Brother AliStand UpKiller MikeAnywhere But Here‘ and Rebel DiazRevolution

winner: Rebel Diaz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byL3o3VMUKk

don-corneliusThe Death of Soul Train Host and Founder Don Cornelius...He was one of many people we lost in 2012 including the seemingly immortal Dick Clark and Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes. All of us grew up on those 3 gentlemen. Even though we knew they were aging we never thought they’d pass.

In the case of Don Cornelius it was troubling because he committed suicide. I don’t think we ever really sat down and dealt with what that really was about..We just kinda swept it under the rug…8 months later we were all forced to confront it again with the sudden passing of former Jungle Brother, music mogul and founder of Violator Entertainment Chris Lighty. His passing shook us  and made many of us reflect on mental health which is sadly a taboo subject in many of our circles.

One of the things that stood out for me around the time of Lighty’s passing was this powerful essay by Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente titled Depression, Hip Hop and the Death of Chris Lighty

With respect to Don we paid tribute with a great interview from Chuck D of Public Enemy  who reminded us of his greatness. You peep that HERE

paul mooney, Dick Gregory davey DComedians Dick Gregory and Paul Mooney Link Up…Earlier this year I started doing a weekly spot OLM News w/ Davey D on Free Speech TV... I interviewed lots of folks but the highlight was when I got comedian Paul Mooney who is a frequent guest on my daily radio show and comedian Dick Gregory who is also no stranger to my outlet on the air at the same time.

According to them it was the first time it had ever happened and it wasn’t totally planned. They just happened to be in town at the same time. I was scheduled to do separate interviews with them.. Mooney was running a late, Gregory needed to move his time up and boom magic happened. Out of this landmark show the two set up a successful tour together.. Enjoy the conversation below

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

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin set things off in a big way during 2012.. It was one of many deaths that would come to Black folks at the hands of the police.. From Rekia Boyd to Ramarley Graham to Alan Bluford to Jordan Davis, the list of folks who fell victim to police terrorism was long.. It was enough to prompt an explosive report from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in early July that documented all the the Black people who had been killed by police. Initially it worked out to every 40 hours a Black person died at the hands of the police…  After it was updated it came down to Every 36 Hours..You can read that report HERE.

The most tragic thing about this report was it was embraced all over the world except at home including amongst our own Black intelligentsia who seemed hell-bent on keeping a lid on this so as not to disrupt a contentious presidential election that may have impacted Barack Obama..

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcmUAG210oM

I don’t think she and her legacy was ever fully appreciated.. Already we are seeing and hearing younger generation attribute her signature song At last to Beyoncé who sung it at President Obama’s Inauguration ..We were thankful Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X and producers Agent of Change had a tribute song for here called Etta and ran down her amazing legacy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpGApCcn0yI

Atlanta based rap star Killer Mike was a high point for 2012..I feel he as an artist and his album were totally underplayed. What stood out for me with Killer Mike was how he went in on President Reagan and completely took a part the revisionist image that had been carefully crafted for him over the years…You can check out our insightful interview HERE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPyjJ1MMUzQ

Tooshort-225Bay Area rapper Too Short got into some hot water in 2012 when he was complimented by rap star 2 Chainz who called him a father figure.. Short took that compliment to another level at the urging of XXL editor Vanessa Satten by penning what was supposed to be a satirical advice column for kids. His advice included telling little boys how to take it to the hole and force sex upon ‘little girls’.. needless to say this caused a lot of outrage..

A coalition of women within the Hip Hop industry formed the 44% Coalition to bring attention to the alarming statistic that shows 44% of the women who are sexually assaulted are under 18. The women called for the firing of Satten and a boycott of Too Short..  As the debate heated up Too Short reached out and had an impassioned conversation with coalition member and writer dream hampton about misogyny… You can read that interview HERE.

From there Too Short agreed to be apart of a well attended town hall meeting at Oakland City Hall… Unfortunately while Short was well received by the audience, local media outlets never bothered to stay for the talk and instead ran unflattering hit pieces that had very little to do with the intense conversation that took place that evening. You can read about that HERE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAl_6HJmvJg

Jimmy Castor who gave us the b-boy anthem ‘It’s Just begun‘ along with fun funk songs like Troglodytes (Cave Man) and  Bertha Butt Boogie..Although him and his band The Castor Bunch were funk legends, they were also cornerstones to Hip Hop.. many a bboy move was done to his signature song…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWl01JD-CtQ

Chuck-Brown-Blue2Chuck Brown..The Godfather of Go Go Music Passes 

We were sorry to see so many music and entertainment outlets overlook him when he passed as well as in their end of year tributes. Chuck was a giant among giants. His musicianship was exceptional. The GoGo sound was essential in continuing DC’s long music legacy as well as helping shape Hip Hop’s evolution. Here’s our tribute to him who always kept it 100% and in the pocket. Looking Back, Remembering Chuck Brown and the Go Go Sound He Pioneered

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

lupefiascosource-225

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3m3t_PxiUI

We Lost MCA from the legendary group Beastie Boys after he endured along battle with cancer…We paid tribute to him and had an insightful interview w/ author Dan Charnas of the Big Payback about MCA’s legacy

Here’s our tribute mix to him courtesy of DJ Sloepoke out of LA who did him true justice

We lost the iconic Whitney Houston in 2012 Her funeral which was viewed by folks all over the world was moving and much needed considering all the drama surrounding her death. It was something to behold..

We lost actor Michael Clark Duncan.. His passing caught many of us off guard, because we had no idea he was sick until we got word he had a heart attack and his finance former Reality TV star Omarrosa helped revive him.. We didn’t hear anything more for what seemed like a few weeks and then we got word the popular actor had passed at age 52.

We lost George Jefferson (actor Sherman Hemsley) We lost Moesha star Yvette Wilson. We also lost music legend Donna Summer

Drake-225“Woke up this morning and got hit w/ this foolishness from the bottle thrower named Drake.. He’s just told the Jewish press he’s the ‘first person to successfully rap and sing’ I was ike WTF? This is why Hip Hop history should be required b4 putting out a record.. Can we start with Angie Stone of Sequence.. she raps and sings better.. Maybe Drake forgot 8x Grammy winner Lauryn Hill? Cee-Lo, Mos Def, hell Black Thought kills it in both genres? Did dude forget Queen Latifah, Force MDs, Devin the Dude? Hell, Teena Marie, Blondie and Tom Tom Club blow Drake out the water doing both.. First time I heard singing and rapping was in 78-79 when GMF and the Furious 4 came to Bx Science and harmonized routines.. Later I heard Crash Crew and of course we had Cold Crush who killed it everytime on the singing/ rap tip y’all remember this from back in the days?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCTjA9zapLc&feature=related.. Damn Drake even ja Rule and 50 Cent kill u on the sing rap tip..LOL

kreayshawn fail

One of my Favorite Rappers is Killer Mike.. One of My Favorite Albums is R.A.P. Music..Our Intv w/ Him

It’s always a pleasure and enlightening to sit down and chop it up w/ Atlanta emcee Killer Mike. He’s never at loss for words and he pulls no punches when speaking on political situations. Our recent sit down w/ Mike was no exception.. We talked at length about his new album R.A.P. Music which was produced by EL-P of Def Jux fame. Many would not associate the pair because on the surface they appear to be on opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but in reality they have lots in common.. The album they created is a hard-hitting masterpiece that seriously bumps and lyrically is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed nourishment shot for the dome.

During our interview we started off talking about the album’s lead single ‘Reagan’. This is an excellent scathing critique of one of the worst presidents this country ever produced who in recent years has seen millions of dollars poured into campaigns to sanitize his image. Killer Mike accurately reminds us that Reagan was a criminal who answered to a powerful cartel who ultimately controlled him. Mike goes in on both the song and interview about Reagan.

He also pulls no punches on other Presidents including Barack Obama who he famously stood up for and supported in 2008. In fact during the 2008 Ozone Awards, Killer Mike sitting on a panel pushed his rap colleagues to clean themselves up, put on their Sunday best and not allow any industry rap BS be the downfall of than candidate Obama.

In our interview, Killer Mike explains that his position on Obama didn’t ‘evolve’, it was part and parcel of what one should do when you elect someone to office. He noted that all politicians need to be pushed and held accountable and his responsibility as someone who is active in voting and helping get folks in office is to speak up, be loud and make sure they understand there will be political consequence fr not doing right by the folks who support him/her.  So, yes he supported Obama. In 08 he was the best man for the job, but the nature of the Presidency is to do the bidding of those who push him the hardest, and hence Mike brings heat in challenging Obama and anyone who is in office.

In our interview Killer Mike lays out what he says should be top priorities for any President seeking his vote as well as many within the Black Community. He details a job program in which folks coming into the community must partner with residents. He also talks about expunging the record of those who were incarcerated and returning home. Mike talks about the importance of providing programs and opportunities so one doesn’t return to prison which ultimately impacts the larger community.

During our conversation we talked about standout songs like the melodic ‘Anywhere But Here‘, where Mike gives us a thoughtful and compelling view of New York City and Atlanta. In the first part of the song, he talks about Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Stop and Frisk and the ghost of Sean Bell and others who are victims to police terrorism. He talks about the importance holding police accountable via the Mayor and other politicians who control them. He explained that anyone who allows the police to be out of control  don’t politically punish the Mayor for allowing this to happen, has missed the mark in a big way..

New York City is contrasted w/ Killer Mike’s hometown of Atlanta which he describes as a Black male heaven because of its abundance of opportunity, Black office holders and beautiful women. In the song Mike notes how in a city of such abundance, Black blood is still being spilled, with young brothers playing the role of villan vs the good guy who many feel never win.

It’s a powerful cut and during our interview Mike expands upon the political and social dynamics of Atlanta and its relationship to the rest of Georgia. He noted that one day he may actually run for office because he feels that strong about his city and wants to see it improve.

Just is just a short summary and doesn’t do justice to Killer Mike’s passion and love for his community and this music we call Hip Hop.. We divide this interview up in two parts..

Click links below to listen to our interview w/ Killer Mike

Killer Mike pt1

Killer Mike pt2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPyjJ1MMUzQ

An Interview w/ Ise Lyfe on Business, Haters and Leadership

This is a great article interview  w/ Bay Area artist Ise Lyfe.. He offers some keen insight in the arenas of leadership, starting your own business and the complex relationship those who are in the ‘struggle’ have with making money.. It initially appeared in Nor Cal Magazine..

On starting your own business:  

The business you start should be an organized expression of your spiritual self. Essentially this means that you should start a business that provides you with an opportunity to make money being who you naturally are. If you are working for someone else before or while you’re starting your own business don’t resent that. Don’t get too comfortable there either… But while you’re there my advice is to seek out and focus on interacting with experiences and people that are involved with things that trigger your passion.

When I started LP my vision was to create a company that made education provocative. I also wanted to be a part of producing events and products that were hella fresh and good for people; where entertainment and progressiveness went hand and hand. I’m living that now, but it didn’t begin that way. I’ll even admit that the first couple years I didn’t even know if it was possible.

The key was finding professional confidence in the way that people were reacting to me. You see, if your business is TRULY an organized expression of your spiritual self, then if people connect with you they’ll probably connect with your business or product! People often misstep when they pose or bend in attempt to survive in the market. This causes them to be looked over by most and ignored. When you’re posing, lying, or over compromising you’re not being yourself. Your self is the foundation of your business. Foundations are made of concrete and steel, not plastic and fluff. Trust that you’re great and step out with that.

On Getting Money:

It’s rarely discussed, but people who are considered “conscious” or socially aware have a real complex about making money, keeping money, and being financially astute. Somehow “struggling” is viewed as a badge of honor. But if you say things like “I’m committed to the struggle” and you struggle your whole life- then you have won in your task to stay struggling and should be happy with that.

I am of the knowledge that some struggle is divine and inherit to the beauty of life. However, the centuries of struggling that our people have gone through are nothing to marry or commit to. I believe that our commitment should be to always be one with and an advocate for our own personal salvation and the salvation of all people struggling. But if I was on a stretcher coughing (struggling) and the doctor walked in coughing over me (struggling) I wouldn’t think “Yo, that’s what’s up, we in this cough thing together!” No… I’d be like damn can we get somebody in here for both of us!? This fool has germs! :)

I make a lot of money. Especially compared to most educators and independent artist out there. In fact, many independent artist are also educators either in the classroom or in after school programs as either a passion or just a way to make ends meet while they’re waiting for their careers to take off. Sadly, most of those folks live financially challenged, which is a tragedy because they offer so much goodness. Not only am I an independent artist and an educator, but my work is deemed “conscious.” This makes my particular status of wealth really rarefied air because in general if you show me a “conscious” artist I’ll show you a broke person!  However, there are a lot of folks out there with a powerful, conscious, and necessary message that are making money and doing what they love at the same time. Not only that, what they love to do is good for other people too! But they do not speak on and will even deny their wealth. Part of it comes from humility, but I believe much of the secrecy is due to guilt and or how misinformed bozo’s in the community will put them down or condemn them for not being broke.

The biggest lie artist are told is that you can’t (or shouldn’t) make real music and be heard and successfull. Hell (heaven), I was sitting in my office with six staff members, fresh off a tropical vacation, with two cars parked underneath me in the garage (all financed by my “conscious” work) and a music industry cat looked me dead in my face and said, “Ise, nobody wants to hear that conscious s*^%…” I would argue that nobody wants to hear that dumb s*^%, but its all that gets played… Imagine if a mother stopped up all the water faucets in her home, never exposed her children to water, and only gave them double chocolate milkshakes to drink. Then, as her kids got fatter and more out of shape the mother says, “What can I say, they ain’t with that water s*^%…”

Here’s some math:

Jill Scott- 4,192,900 albums sold
Erykah Badu- 5,018,000 albums sold
Lupe Fiasco- 3,500,000 albums sold
India Arie- 10 million albums sold worldwide
Common- 2,727,000 albums sold

Clearly, some people do wanna hear a different message…

So what I’m saying is if you are an Artist or anybody striving to live your dream you need to shamelessly ball on these fools. If you are a good person with morals and ethics your good fortune and abundance will naturally be a positive thing for your community. It will empower you to employ people, donate to youth, support family members, invest in projects you believe in, support organizations, and inspire others. These are all things that I’ve experienced first hand and they are the cornerstones of bliss in my life.

On haters:

Haters baffle the player because we cannot at all relate to their existence. By player I mean people who are actually manifesting and progressing in life. Haters normally are just bothered by people who remind them of what they’re not doing. I use to try to win the hearts of haters by trying to reason with them. I realized though that it is impossible to reason with a hater because reason takes rational thought and honesty. Haters are filled with no rational thought and won’t honestly confront how wack they’re being, so there is no point in even approaching the conversation.

An adviser once told me, “Ise, when you argue with a fool after awhile it gets hard to tell who the fool is.” So keep it pushing and be grateful to be one of the few players in this world of puzzled ass lames. If you’re a hater and you’re reading this I send you my love and encourage you to tap into your inner light and believe in yourself. You can do anything!

On being in leadership:

First off, as children most of us are told that we are “The leaders of tomorrow!” Ehh, I disagree. Everyone is not a leader. That may sound harsh but it is reality. However, many people want to be in leadership roles because we live in a society that has a verticle view of roles and power that puts leadership “on top” and everyone else “beneath.” So naturally many people desire to be viewed as leadership but do not desire or have the ability to carry out the responsibility that comes with the role.

I’ve visited parts of the world where all roles are placed in a circle, not stacked on top of each other. So leadership roles are right beside the other EQUALLY important roles that make up systems. The first key to being a great leader is understanding that your role as leader does not mean you are higher up, superior, or better than the other people you are working with. This thinking contradicts terms that we normally hear like “This is my superior in the company”, “Upper management”, and ”Lower tier.”

Being the leader of a company, project, or family simply means that your job is to have a fully encompassed understanding of everything that is happening while bringing out and supporting the best attributes of the people and elements that you are working with.

To survive as a leader you have to keep your emotions in check at all times. Leadership responsibilities will stir up all sorts of emotions in you!
Some are good: Passion, joy, happiness, satisfaction…
Others not so good: Rage, fear, disappointment, confusion…

Thing is, any emotion whether its one that feels good or one that feels bad can blur your vision and affect your judgment as a leader. Make moves and decisions based on what’s best for the goal, not based on what makes you feel best.

This part is important:

Many people who once loved and admired you, promised you loyalty, and who owe a lot of their success to you will at some point resent you, not be impressed by you, fear you, and may even betray you. This is not your concern in relation to leadership, but because it will affect you it is important to be prepared for this. Don’t take it personally (though it will hurt like shit at times), it comes with the territory.

People question and curse God, so of course they’ll question and curse something much smaller in comparison like an earthly leader. My aim is to make sure that everyone that comes into contact with me as a leader leaves more informed, experienced, and better equipped to fulfill their purpose than they were when they arrived. No one has ever left my company and this not be the case. Doesn’t matter if they feel great about me or have some different feeling, the fact is that they are better now because of being in contact with me and that is what matters (whether they’ll admit that or not).

For example there’s a person who was fired from my company that went on a pointless tirade of trying to slander me and our company. They even stole out of our office and tried to hold our property at ransom for a payout. We all just shrugged and laughed and kept pushing forward. But the real reward (beyond the good laugh) is that I know I impacted this person’s life and put them on a path they NEVER would have been on if they had never worked for me. Before being at LP they were doing menial cubicle drone work and were  miserable. They were inspired while at my company to start their own company and even named it after a nickname I gave them. So now, even when they’re off speaking ill of me, every time they say their company’s name they have to think of me! If they change the name because it reminds them of me they’ll have to think of me as the reason they changed the name.

 So you see, leadership is not about popularity or being loved- even though it is sublime to have that experience. Your job is to support people in maximizing their human potential. Its good for business and good for the world.

……………………………………………………………

Ise Lyfe (Oakland, CA) is an HBO Def Poet, Educator, and Executive Director of Lyfe Productives- a social marketing and education firm focused on product development. 

ISE LYFE BREAKS DOWN ALL 20 ITEMS IN THE PHOTO SELECTED FOR THIS ARTICLE AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO HIM: 

 

1. Jay-Z’s “Decoded” is a fresh textbook. It reveals and reminds us all that Hip-Hop like all other art comes from a foundation of humanity and struggle.

2. It is hard to see it in the shot but this book is a book of poetry by Marcus Garvey. It reveals Garvey as an Artist and true user of heart.

3. This book “Freedom” is a picture history of Black people in the United States from slavery to present day. It is impressively thorough and touching.

4. “The Missing Piece Meets the BIG O” is the best book I’ve ever read on relationships. I want to read it to someone.

5. As an emcee it was a trip to record an audio book. The 1st time I saw it on a shelf at Barnes & Noble was surreal. I never would’ve imagined that. Lesson learned…

6. This is a copy of my 1st book, “Pistols & Prayers. I dedicated it to my mother, which was a great feeling. I hope it makes up for all the janky hand made birthday cards when I was a kid!

7. Prince Cometh

8. I’ve had this rhyme bad since I was 17. It hasn’t even been on purpose that I’ve kept it. It just always resurfaces wherever I’m at. Thought i’d add it to the heap…

9. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is a thorough indictment of the exploitation of Africa for western world benefit. Out of all the books in my home this is probably the most significant one I have in relation to understanding the deliberate attack on Africa.

10. The Husia is love.

11. Solid gold from Mali…

12. This is the 1st copy printed of my 1st albim, “spreadtheWORD”. I remember how juiced I was to open it up and play it for the first time. Having this in my house reminds me to not get jaded and stay enthusiastic about everything.

13. I think the reconciliation of Malcolm and Martin is so deep on so many levels. Forget whatever beef you might have in the streets, these brothers were beefing over the destiny of our people and found a way to move through their differences and set eyes on a common goal.

14. Every morning when I rise I sit up and check in spiritually. The first thing you do in the morning should not be checking Twitter on your cellphone! Anyway, sage always centers me and genuinely holds power.

15. I never walk around with this much money on me, nor do I keep it in my house. In the hood you learn to keep hella g’s on you to floss but as you mature you learn that that isn’t what’s up. Money isn’t power, it is a manifestation of power. For intensive purposes though I pulled several (several) thousands in cash out to authenticate what I knew would be in the article. Then it was right back to the bank cousin…

16. 789= Balance Infinite Completion

17. I keep it modest on the designer/name brand tip- but I’ll admit that I’m weak for Ray-Bans. I WON’T ADMIT HOW MANY i’VE BOUGHT…

18. One day

19. This is Steve Jobs. I read his biography four times. Homie was flawed as we all are, but he never relented in building what he saw in his mind and making it a reality. I’ve studied and I’m learning from his successes AND mistakes.

20. WEAR condoms.

Peace, this has been fun.
Ise

An Incredible Commentary: I am NOT Trayvon Martin

This woman goes in a drops lots of gems on this commentary around Trayvon Martin… She addresses the issue of race, white privilege and activism in the wake of Trayvon’s murder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBRwiuJ8K7w

Transcript:
I AM NOT TRAYVON MARTIN.
I AM NOT TROY DAVIS.

and to the middle class, white, socially concerned activist who wears a shirt emblazoned with those slogans, you are wrong.

I know you wear that shirt to stand in solidarity with Trayvon, Troy, and other victims of injustice. The purpose of those shirts is to humanize these victims of our society, by likening them to the middle class white activist wearing it. And once we’ve humanized the victims, this proves to us the arbitrariness of their deaths and thereby the injustice at play.

But the fact of the matter is that these men’s deaths are anything but arbitrary. The fact that the real Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and countless other victims of oppression are buried under 6 feet of cold dirt while we middle class white activists are alive, marching, and wearing their names is an indication that our societal system is working exactly as it’s intended.

A more accurate t-shirt to display on my white body would be “I AM GEORGE ZIMMERMAN.” Zimmerman and I were indoctrinated in the same American discourse where we learned that the “other,” particularly black men like Trayvon and Troy, were less human and were to be feared. Society taught me that as a little white girl, I must preserve my purity and goodness, and that the presence of young single males threatened it. Society taught me that being in the presence of a BLACK man compounds that threat exponentially. I have been taught that male, black, bodies are an immediate threat to my safety and the well being of society as a whole, and Zimmerman was taught the same damn thing. We’re all taught it.

I look at George Zimmerman and think, “there, but for the grace of god, go I.” Had it not been for a decent education, intense critical thinking, and some truly excellent parenting, I would never have questioned the societal norms that Zimmerman and I were both taught, and I would have ended up feeling his attack on Trayvon was justified, just as he did, and the state of Florida does.

If we are to effect real change in the wake of Trayvon’s murder, we have to realize this. Realizing that you more closely resemble a homicidal oppressive force than a helpless victim is a really uncomfortable thing to do. I know. But wanting to identify with the victim is weak, and immature when it is not an accurate representation of reality. Real change is effected when we own up to our actions, our privilege, and our complicity with the system that murdered Trayvon and countless others.

Us privileged activists have to realize just how easy it is to be Zimmerman, and work to change this. Subvert stereotypes. Make it harder for others to buy into the bullshit that we’re fed our whole lives about race, class, gender, and other people by identifying and critiquing these messed up norms. Force adults to confront these norms, and raise children without indoctrinating them with the same old bullshit. Use your privilege to actively dismantle this messed up system. Listen to marginalized people like Trayvon’s family and Troy’s family and insure them access to the discourse. Listen to them, stand in solidarity with them. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT claim to be them.

 

Killer Mike is a NRA Member, Says Black People Need Be Stockpiling Guns to Fight Domestic Terror

Killer Mike is one of my favorite artists, because he’s willing to speak truth to power with passion and conviction. Unlike many of his mainstream counterparts, Mike is willing to tackle important social issues and put it in his music..We saw him do that in songs like The Pressure w/ Ice Cube and the the song Burnwhere he had compelling videos..that captured the hearts  and minds of those who have long felt disenfranchised and voiceless.

The other day he sat down with Sway of MTV and expressed his anger with Reverend Jesse Jackson. He was upset that Jesse was directing people to lobby congress to get rid of assault rifles..He felt that Jesse who was speaking out on the back of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He noted that Trayvon wasn’t killed by an assault rifle and that most people who die are killed by handguns not assault rifles.

Killer Mike said we shouldnt be banning assault rifles, we as Black folks should be stockpiling them and arming ourselves more. He noted that we should have  Black men at every corner who are armed, not just to protect ourselves against the George Zimmerman‘s of the world, but also to make sure our daughters aren’t being harassed by thugs on the corner as they go to school.

You can peep the video HERE

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:753924/cp~vid%3D753924%26uri%3Dmgid%3Auma%3Avideo%3Amtv.com%3A753924

During his interview Killer Mike  also noted that we as a Black community need to get back to a point where we not only protect ourselves from fake authority figures, but also know how to survive on our own in case of mass blackouts or any other situation where we no longer have electricity and the modern comforts of life. In short, he talked about how important it is for all of us to know how to fish, hunt and survive the land. He said every family member needs to know how to handle themselves and be familiar with guns.

Killer Mike noted that we are under terrorist attack and we need to be protecting ourselves. He said its a damn shame that Black men as old as Dick Gregory to men his own age and little boys as young as 10 are afraid of the police when we see them.. He said no other group until recently with Arab-Americans after 9-11 has been subjected to that sort of terror.

Killer Mike during his interview noted that he recently joined Al Sharpton‘s organization National Action Network and he’s member of the NRA.. That remark drew a lot of raised eyebrows, primarily because the NRA is a lobbying arm that has long supported causes that have led to further eroding of rights and eventual suppression of Black folks.. Someone was upset and even posted a video where Malcolm X speaks to this issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3oLTy0C4MA

This just in.. Killer Mike upon seeing this article responded in the comment section.. Here’s his take on the video..and the NRA

This Is Killer Mike. I joined the NRA as a Public display that WE as BLACKS can use that organization to “Protect” our 2cd amendment rights also. I think it be more important to stop blacks from joining the 700 club but, I digress. Here is why i joined.

My Father was a Cop. He taught me Gun Safety and has in his life been a member also. It’s about using every resource available at your disposal to ensure we can have the full American Experience. The NRA offers many classes on Gun safety and gun owner responsibility and rights. These are things all Gun owners need to know. In short their practicality for advancing safe gun ownership and rights out weigh their political stance because Black NEED that knowledge in the NOW.

WE HAVE NO BLACK NRA and until we do i will continue to use the organization that my white counter parts use to “Protect” them against law makers infringing upon 2cd Amendment rights. I hunt and Fish. I shot with my father and wife. My kids will begin shooting this year. I am glad that I have an organization that has programs and classes for all of us to use at our disposal.

Malcolm has a grand idea and I will be asking my black friends to join me in organizing a shooting club.

Salute and Love.

On a side note.. the way this conversation with Killer Mike has been framed is he is angry with Black leadership..I disagree, Killer Mike is angry with Jesse Jackson and at this point in time when you are over 30, have kids and a platform to speak to the masses you are also Black leadership. Many of the old guard i.e Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others were all leaders in their community at young ages. They were folks barely out of their teens and in their early 20s. We saw this with many of the leaders in SNCC, The Black Panthers and numerous other organizations.

We can no longer be upset with 60 and 70 year old men who we call Black leadership as if we aren’t able to go out and help craft solutions and implement them.. This doesn’t mean we have to go and reinvent the wheel or be in some sort of competition, but at a date and time where there is so much need in our respective hoods, there’s no excuse for us not to be out there filling the voids and being ‘leaders’ in our own right.. We should be helping fortify or building institutions and not be to be tripping too hard with elders in our community. We can definitely disagree. We can and should debate. But again at this stage in the game we should all be helping lead those who are coming up behind us..and be factors in our respective communities.

Editorial: To Those Who Keep Asking; ‘Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks’

This is for those folks who ask the question “Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks all the time?”

Black people are just as hurt and concerned and angry when Black men die from gang violence, driveby shootings and “being caught up” every single day, as we are when white racist representatives of governmental institutions (that are supposed to protect and serve us) and ordinary white racist citizens murder us in cold blood.

Black people are just as hurt and concerned and angry when Black women die from domestic violence – murdered by those who say they love us – AND gang violence AND driveby shootings AND “being caught up” as we are when white racist representatives of governmental institutions (that are supposed to protect and serve us) – like Mitrice Richardson and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department – and ordinary white racist citizens murder us in cold blood.

BUT:

1.  If you are dependent on the mainstream media to tell you that, you will not see it; they have no stake in that.

2.  If you are dependent on Black media, you may not see it there either; they may not have the resources to do it consistently.

3.  If you are not in close proximity to Black institutions or Black people – in other words, if you don’t know the folks that know – you are OOL – Out Of Luck.

In answer to your question “Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks all the time?”  I say this:  “How come YOU don’t you care?”  It appears that this question ONLY gets raised when Black people vent their RIGHTEOUS indignation and anger over unjustified, racist murders.

If YOU really cared, then you would know about the organizations that exist to stop the senseless, every day murders of Black people by Black people:

1. You would know the names of these organizations

2. You would know when their meetings are

3.  You would know where their meetings were

4.  You would know the people who are a part of these organizations by name

5.  You would know the people who are a part of these organizations by sight

6.  You would go to their meetings

7.  You would ask them, “What can I do to help ya’ll?”

8.  You would ask your Black and mainstream media, “How come ya’ll don’t write/broadcast anything about these organizations on a REGULAR basis?”

9.  You would give them much needed money

10.  You would give them much needed money.

I live in Los Angeles, California.  These are the names I know:  Cease Fire, 2nd Call, Unity One, Unity Two, Professional Community Intervention Training Institute, Project Cry No More, Mothers of the Community, Unity in the Community, Peace in the Streets

What city do you live in?  Do you know the names?  Why not?

That’s what I thought.

If you genuinely and sincerely wanted to know the answer to that question, then I apologize for my tone.  If you just like to stir up crap and make a scene because you’d rather the attention be on you, instead of JUSTICE for Trayvon Martin AND ALL THE OTHERS, you are a sick, sad creature.

written byThandisizwe Chimurenga

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Davey D Notes:

I’m glad my sista and fellow journalist/activist, Thandi wrote this piece… It needed to be said, and quite frankly a few folks needed to be called out on this. Folks who are guilty of this; are well-meaning but flawed at best and disingenuous at worse.

I been hit with the question/ assertion all this week and calmly had to point out that I had been to three well attended marches, town hall actions dealing with trauma and drama in our own communities.where were the folks asking? 

One of the activities, was a town hall with Too Short focusing on teen violence and misogyny at jam -packed Oakland City Hall.. I posted up the entire video and article so folks could see and experience themselves, Not one person who asserted that Black people don’t care had bothered to pass / share around that video and write up..You can peep the article and video HERE

Nor did they pass around the flyer and article about local rap artists and activist including T-Kash running a marathon this weekend to stop gun violence..Its something he frequently does…You can peep the info HERE

We have cats like Adisa Banjoko and the Hip Hop Chess Federation.. Not only is working w/ T-Kash, but he frequently does events that focus on martial arts, chess and Hip Hop.

He works with youngstas in the Mission district of San Francisco as well as goes to prisons to work with young brothas..His events are always free, well attended and inspiring… He was just up at SF State at our Hip Hop class working with folks and offering up internships for students to help with his efforts.. he also writes quite few columns for News One about what we can and should do to improve our communities.. You can peep him HERE

None who ask where the outcry for Black on Black crime, bothered to join the thousand plus folks who showed up at Allen Temple Church 3 weeks ago to address the issue of human trafficking/ teenage pimping and prostitution. It was put together by author/ activist Reverend Harry Williams who heads up a organization called Street Disciples/ Hood Movement 21 They are out and about every week in the streets trying to turn lives around.. 2 months ago they had a big gathering for community groups to come together and maximize efforts.. Reach him HERE

Almost none of the naysayers got on board to support the efforts of the 44% Coalition , a group of Black, Latina women along with a number of male allies who stepped to both Too Short and XXL Magazine around the issue of sexual assaults on Black and Latina women..

Apparently these folks weren’t up on the Detroit 300 who are patrolling their neighborhoods and coming after those seek to do harm… or 1Hood out of Pittsburgh, PA  where they not only patrolled the streets but set up youth media academy with the purpose of changing our image. Many of the videos done by Jasiri-x were put together by youth they work with and now train..You can see one of the projects they did about Pittsburgh HERE

These folks don’t seem to know about the tireless work and documentaries put together by former gang member Silky Slim out of Baton Rouge..This brother keeps himself on the front line of trying to stop the killings and turn people around from a life that he once led. You can peep his organization Stop the Killing Inc HERE

These folks don’t seem to know about United Roots, Urban Peace Movement, Silence the Violence, Love Life Foundation, Youth Speaks, United Playza , Homey, Barrios Unidos, Leadership Excellence  the Sista Circle, Homeboy Hotline, Dereca Blackmon’s Gender Walk,  Susan Taylor’s National Cares Mentoring Movement or the tireless work graph writers/ organizer like Refa 1 does .. I think it was last weekend he was out putting in work..and is gearing up[ to do a big event in the summer called Aerosoul  You can peep his work HERE

Maybe they don’t know about the work of Truth Minista Paul Scott out of North Carolina who frequently writes about ways for us to improve our community and backs it up with action.. You can read his columns HERE You can peep the video of him stepping to a malt liquor company -BLAST who he felt was trying to poison his neighborhood..HERE 

Maybe they dont know about artist like Mistah FAB who frequently goes to schools, does keep the Peace rallies, gives away school supplies and tries to give back..You can peep that HERE

He’s one of scores of artists I can name from Rebel Diaz in NY to dead prez to Ise Lyfe to Naughty By Nature, KRS-One, Bambu, Bun B, Kiwi, Metro P, Fly Benzo, Mystic, Mommas Hip Hop Kitchen, NY Oil, Wise Intelligent  who are always in their communities working to uplift, heal and end violence.

Maybe they don’t know about the work local artist Jahi does with young men who he takes under his wings.. A couple of months back they did a Guns Down Stop the Violence actions..Here’s a video

http://vimeo.com/34697057

There are so many more organizations and people to mention..Forgive me if I overlooked anyone.. because the list is super long, but I think folks get the point.. People are putting in work everyday in our communities, often unsung and highlighted in the media.. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, nor does it mean work isn’t being done..

I will also add from my own experience, many of those who organize to heal our communities also organize around egregious incidents like Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant or Sean Bell. They do it because life is precious and they step up whether or not its done by a cop or it comes at the hands of each other..They do when the cameras are there and when they are not there..

But hey, as was pointed out in the article, there are many who ask the question ‘where’s the Black community when we kill each other?’ who are simply waiting for BET or CNN to cover it and blow things up-Don’t hold your breath..or even worse, maybe these folks simply can’t help but think the worse when it comes to us.. Like we somehow don’t care… 

-Davey D-

2 Sellouts: Larry Elders Defends George Zimmerman, Geraldo Rivera Says We Shouldnt Wear Hoodies

Larry Elders vehemently defends George Zimmerman

With each passing day more and more jerks step out the woodwork around the Trayvon Martin case. .  For example, we had talk show host Larry Elders, a Black man yapping away defending George Zimmerman, the wannabe cop who decided he wanted to hunt down and shoot an unarmed, law-abiding Trayvon Martin.

We shouldn’t be surprised because Elders is the type of brother who as my friend George Galvis noted.. May be Black or Brown but functions white... meaning, he has brought into lots of aspects of white supremacy..He’s that type of guy..

I thought it was interesting he was defending Zimmerman knowing that good ole George has a domestic violence record… but hey what do i know?

I bring up Elder for another reason…because he’s a Libertarian..same as presidential candidate Ron Paul and folks need to fully understand the full extent of their thinking-Might makes Right..

Elders said the FBI need to investigate to keep up appearances… He later compared the Trayvon situation with that of subway vigilante Bernard Goetz who shot 4 Black men on a subway with an unlicensed handgun 25-30 years ago.. For those who don’t recall Goetz said he was being robbed..on other hand,  Zimmerman went looking for Martin who did nothing of a sort… Anyway.. you can peep the interview here..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFllsX-AFf8

Geraldo Rivera says Black and Brown men shouldnt wear hoodies

Not to be out down we have long time news personality Geraldo Rivera (real name Gerry Rivers) who wanted to offer up some sound parental advice to Black and Latino parents… This morning Geraldo tweeted the following;

“Trayvon killed by a jerk w a gun but black & Latino parents have to drill into kids heads: a hoodie is like a sign: shoot or stop & frisk me”

The flaws in that argument should be clear as day, but for those who somehow are thinking, oh yeah.. if only Black men would pull their pants up and stop wearing hoodies, we wouldn’t be shot by racist clowns like Zimmerman...

I hit Geraldo back and reminded him of a few things.. First, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores was shot in Arizona by a wannabe border patrol agent..who busted into her house thinking her family were undocumented.. The father Raul wasn’t wearing a hoodie in the 100 degree Arizona sun when he was shot to death, nor was his precious daughter…

I also reminded Geraldo that 7-year-old Aiyanna Stanley-Jones from Detroit wasn’t wearing a hoodie as she slept next to her grandma when cops busted up in her house and shot her in her sleep.

I also reminded him that last year in New York City where Stop and Frisk policies are in effect, that over 680 thousand people were stopped in the streets and frisked by police officers who ‘suspected’ they had guns..less than 1% of those stops netted  anything.. That’s why we had folks like educator Cornel West and organizer Carl Dix and lots of other folks protesting the policy… Out of the 680k stopped over 80% were Black and Brown men..

Maybe its me, but that doesn't look like a hoodie.. perhaps homeboy shouldn't be wearing a biking helmet

The shows that I’ve done on this topic garnered the following info from ACLU lawyers..According to NYPD they look for people who make furtive movements which is subjective.. Some cops consider it furtive if you look at them as they drive by.. Some say its furtive when you look away.. Still others consider it furtive if you start scratching ..they say your acting nervous…  Translation; Hoodie or not you’re gonna get stopped and frisked..but lets not digress.. lets ask ourselves why are they doing an action that yields such a low return?

Back to Geraldo and his parental advice, I asked him if he’d prefer during the winter months or rainy days which was the case for Trayvon, that these Black and Brown men wear baseball caps instead, or ski masks? Perhaps a Yamaka, Turpin or a big ole Abe Lincoln style top hat..

Bottom line Geraldo is making the case that it’s up to Black and Brown men to make the police feel safe.. not the other way around..  What a damn idiot..

Two Sellouts rushing to the aid of a racist dog…

 

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman & This Country’s Culture of Suspicion

Nothing exists in a vacuum, so when looking at the tragic shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida because he appeared ‘suspicious’ to a self-appointed Neighborhood Watch captain named George Zimmerman, it can not be viewed in isolation. It’s part of something that’s much larger and systemic.

Many of us don’t like to admit it, but the fact is, this country has a long and sordid history where those who appeared ‘different’, meaning not white and male, were often deemed suspicious resulting in deadly consequences. Call it a Culture of Suspicion if you will, but it one that’s helped shaped social and political policy and impacted damn near everything we’ve done throughout the years.

TheBlack Codes, Vagrancy Laws, Jim Crow, Internment Camps, Salem Witch Craft Trials, Compulsory sterilization, Poll taxes, McCarthyism, Cointel-Pro, The War on Drugs, The War on Terror, The War on ‘Illegals’, The War on Women, these are just a few of the policies and measures that have emerged over the years out of this culture of suspicion…..And let’s be clear, so we’re all on the same page…The Culture of Suspicion is rooted in irrational FEAR and extreme ANGER.

It’s a FEAR and ANGER that dates back to the days of the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock where those who weren’t Anglo-Saxon in this case Native Peoples were ‘suspected‘ of being  ‘less than human’ and thus needed to be civilized, stripped of their land and exterminated. Can we say Manifest Destiny? That’s what that concept and ideology ultimately meant for Native Peoples..Can we say Genocide?

Nat Turner and FEAR of slave revolts has resulted in deep-seated suspicions of Black people that are alive and well today

This FEAR and ANGER was pervasive among those who brought  Africans to America in chains and enslaved us. Our culture was stripped, our language forbidden, our Africanisms stamped and literally beaten out of us.. Why? because slave owners had deep-seated fear of slaves revolting. All sorts of laws were put into place and all types of measures including divide and conquer tactics were employed to keep those who were then seen as beasts from rising up and doing what slaves like Nat TurnerGabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey eventually did-kill or in the cases of Prosser and Vesey, plot to kill their white masters.

This FEAR of Black reprisals has resulted in nearly all traces of the over 250 of slave rebellions that went down in the American South being erased from our school history books.

What has remained are disturbing stories of Black men, being lynched and hung from trees in what was described by singer Billie Holiday as Strange Fruit. What’s remained  are eerie stories of entire Black town like Rosewood, Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma being burned to the ground by angry white mobs because of FEAR and suspicion.of a Black man lusting after a white woman.

Sadly there’s a litny of stories about Black men being accused of looking at or lusting after a white women. This irrational Fear of a Black Dick and ‘suspicion’ gave rise of the Ku Klux Klan especially after the 1915 DW Griffith landmark film Birth of a Nation which had Black men lusting after white women as a main theme. You can see one of the more controversial scenes from that movie...HERE It also led to this country keeping anti-Miscegenation laws on the books up to 1967. Tragically it also led to countless  young Black boys who having their genitals mutilated when those lynchings I mentioned earlier took place.

Again for many this legacy of FEAR and SUSPICION throughout our history is a painful pill to swallow. As a country we don’t wanna have an honest conversation of how pervasive it was and is and how it’s permeated our collective mind-set.. We don’t wanna talk about how this Culture of Suspicion been used toward various   so-called minority groups in this country and the deep scars its left.

We don’t wanna talk about how we executed women who we suspected of being witches during the infamous Salem Witch trials.

We don’t wanna talk about how we rounded up Japanese American citizens during World War II and put them in internment camps because we were suspicious of them..

We don’t wanna talk about harsh and often fatal treatment levied upon men and women we suspected of being gay. How many have been killed, beaten, put into special classes to ‘straighten’ them out..

We don’t wanna talk about the horrific legacy of Cointel-pro a government counter insurgency program headed up by FBI director J Edgar Hoover. We don’t wanna talk about how Hoover kept all sorts of Civil Rights, Black Power, Brown Power and Anti-War organization under a suspicious gaze and actively used every resource possible to destroy them. He went after everyone from Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King to the Black Panthers and everyone in between.  Irrational fear, deep-seated anger and suspicion that those demanding equal rights were somehow not ‘real’ American were part of the rationale behind Hoover and the FBI actions.

To see how deep this gets.. I urge folks to watch this documentary to that lays out this culture of suspicion and Cointel-Pro.. You can peep it HERE: How the FBI Sabotaged Black America

The Importance of Connecting the Dots

Trayvon Martin

Again Trayvon Martin‘s tragic fate is not isolated. It has to be seen through this historical lens that reflects long-standing racial prejudices and attitudes and race based policy decisions in our society.

The unsavory actions of George Zimmerman coupled with the racial hostility he displayed in widely heard 9-11 call where he refers to Trayvon as a ‘F–king Coons  and his paranoia (calling 9-11 over 40 times in the past year) are not out of the ordinary. He personifies the culture of suspicion.

The questionable actions and neglect displayed by the Sanford police department (not talking to key witnesses and keeping Trayvon’s body for 3 days without telling his parents) not only have the look of an outright cover up, but they too reflects this culture of suspicion… The message their actions convey is that; Trayvon must’ve been in the wrong. A young Black male wearing a hoody is always suspect. There’s no way Mr Zimmerman would’ve shot him for no reason.

In looking at Trayvon’s murder its also important to connect the dots to fear based incidents currently going on.. Look at the type of anger and hostility directed by those we are suspicious of…

Angel Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican basketball player was greeted with chants of Where's Your Green Card by Southern Mississippi band members.

For example,it was just last week during an NCAA basketball game we saw band members from University of Southern Mississippi resort to chanting ‘Where’s your Green card?‘ as rival basketball player Angel Rodriguez attempted to shoot free throws. The band members along with some fans ‘suspected’ that Rodriguez who is Puerto Rican wasn’t in this country legally. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, meaning they’re citizens.

Sadly similar scenarios played out in other schools around the country including last month in San Antonio, Texas where players from mostly white Alamo Heights started chanting ‘USA USA’ after they defeated their mostly Latino rivals from Edison. Again there was a suspicion that the players from Edison weren’t one of us (American) They must be illegall.

Some may be tempted to chalk these incidents up to sport fans being ignorant. And that may be true until we see this same type of attitude displayed by Presidential hopeful, long time Senator Rick Santorum. He recently stood before a crowd and remarked, that before Puerto Rico can become state folks living there will have to learn to speak English. Again that culture of suspicion at play. He’s suspects Puerto Ricans aren’t really one of us.. On a side note as was pointed out in a recent Reuters article, There’s no constitutional requirement to have an official language nor for a territory to adapt English as an official language to become a state.

Sadly the culture of suspicionit doesn’t stop there. There’s been a rash of anti-immigrant bills being passed with the harshest in Arizona (SB 1070), Alabama (SB 56) and just the other day Mississippi passing (HB 56). All are born out FEAR and suspicion.

We’ve had people like Texas lawmaker Debbie Riddle coin the phrase ‘anchor’ babies and ‘terror’ babies when referring to the children of Mexican and Middle eastern immigrants and push to pass laws to stop them.. This sort of fear mongering has resulted in entire communities being profiled and suspect.

9 year old Brisenia Flores was shot and killed after self-styled vigilante border patrollers suspected her family of being in this country illegally

People like Riddle help foster a deadly climate of suspicion with deadly consequences. For example, we should never forget what took place 3 years ago in Arizona when Shawna Forde a self-appointed border patroller formed the group anti-immigrant organization Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.

In May of 2009 she and some accomplices suspecting that a family was living in a neighborhood illegally, raided the home and shot the 29-year-old father Raul and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia to death. The mother was there and left alive. Again the Culture of Suspicion resulting in vigilante justice.

The extreme measures taken on those ‘suspected’ of not being America are not just limited to hard-working, law-abiding immigrants. That anger and suspicion has been directed to President Barack Obama. We have a whole segment of society called birthers with people like businessman  Donald Trump and Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio leading the charge. In a recent poll over 45% of folks in the south believed he was a Muslim and over 25% don’t believe he was born here in the US..

The suspicions of the birthers is unprecedented. First, they demanded the president show his birth certificate. After he did that they demanded he show a long form certificate. After he did that, they accused the documents of being forged and wanted original draft cards. In fact as we speak Arpaio is launching yet another investigation into the president. Can you say Culture of Suspicion gone wild?

It doesn’t help that President Obama has contributed or reacted to this climate of suspicion, by deporting over one million people and increased surveillance in American Muslim communities..His policies dovetail with the policies of many police departments that have also heightened this culture of suspicion.

It was just 3 or 4 weeks ago that a ‘suspicious’ looking Ramarley Graham was standing outside his home in the Bronx when he saw police officers roll by. He walked into his home only to be followed by police who ‘suspected’ he had a gun.. Police busted into his house and shot Graham in his bathroom in front of his grandmother and a 6 year old.. No gun or weapon was ever found..

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

Graham was one of over a whooping 680 thousand New Yorkers who police stopped and frisked last year in their attempts to find ‘illegal’ handguns.. Over 80% of those stopped and frisked were Black or Brown men.. less than a 1% of those stops have resulted in any weapons being found. This policy has led to racial profiling and Black and Brown men being seen as suspects before being seen as productive citizens in their community.

The case of Pittsburgh, PA  17-year-old honor student Jordan Miles being stop frisked and beaten beyond recognition with his dreadlocks torn out his head is another example of what happens under this culture of suspicion..

Ironically in both the Jordan and Graham cases the police accused both men of fleeing when in truth, knowing the history of such encounters they probably developed a healthy suspicion of police who are no longer seen as friendly public servant there to protect and serve, but a vicious gang with a badges and license to kill.

There are too many cases to recount.. but the results are damn near always the same death, scarred communities and a legacy of deep mistrust.. Trayvon Martin is the latest casualty in this long line of tragic mishaps.

What if the Shooter was Black and the Victim White?

John White shot a White Teen who showed up at his house with a mob..He was convicted and sentenced

There are many who have rhetorically asked this question. It’s done not so much to plant seeds of racial hatred and be divisive but to point out the inconsistencies and double standards that exist within our justice system. Its way for us to look at situations and hopefully be moved to change them.

One glaring example of a Black man protecting his family and shooting a white youth involves took place a few years ago in Long island New York. In August 2006, John White confronted 17-year-old white teenager named Daniel Cicciaro who had been threatening White’s son. Cicciaro showed up with a group of his friends to get at White’s son. Fearing for his safety White shot the teen who was on his property. He was convicted and sent to jail. You can and should read about that case HERE.

At the time of White’s sentencing there were many who compared his situation with that of a White man out of Texas, named Joe Horn who shot two Black men on his property who he shot and killed after disobeying police orders. Like Zimmerman, Horn wasn’t directly threatned but he went ‘hunting’ for the people he eventually shot..  You can read about that case HERE and HERE.

This should come as no surprise to anyone that we have this type of double standard. The question and challenge before us all, is how will we fix a broken, racially biased justice system?  Do we have to vote in new judges, new DAs and new prosecutors? Do we have to change the entire way we do business in the justice arena?

There are no easy answers and ultimately we are going to have to change people’s hearts and minds. Say what you will, but what fueled these confrontations and uneven results was racism and the suspicion that those who have darker skin are ssuspect..

The Zimmerman Is Hispanic Not White Argument

George Zimmerman

In recent days we’ve seen many in the media play this card and play it hard.. There’s a couple of things going on here that we should all think about.

First, is by playing up the fact that Zimmerman is half Hispanic suggests that he at one point or the other has been subjected to the suspicious FEAR laden gaze of society and hence he’d be a bit more sensitive and perhaps a bit more insightful when confronting folks, in particular Black folks. The implied thought is that Zimmerman, the half Hispanic would know what Black or Brown man to confront and not to confront better than the average white person..That’s utter nonsense so lets put that to rest..

Zimmerman was a racist who had a clear disdain for young Black males. He was as FEARFUL as any of the white person who has held similar attitudes. In short, what does Zimmerman being Hispanic have to do with anything? He drank the kool aid of white supremacy. His Hispanic background didn’t make him immune, the same way it doesn’t immune self-hating Black folks who buy into the same flawed belief systems where even with Black skin and having faced discrimination themselves, will see a young Black male with a hoodie and think the worse and become suspicious. Some of those FEARFUL Negros once they get a position of power or get to wear a gun and badge act out fearfully and suspiciously with the same deadly consequences.. So Zimmerman being Latino means nothing..

The other thing at play here is by the media highlighting Zimmerman’s ethnicity, Black folks are supposed to suddenly unite and start bombing on Latinos. We’re supposed to suddenly be upset with our Mexican, El Salvadorian or Puerto Rican neighbors?  Was Zimmerman acting on their behalf and carrying out their agenda? I think not..

If they’re gonna play the ethnic card with Zimmerman all of us should be asking is Zimmerman repping for a large Latino body of people who are in the same struggles and fighting against an oppressive system. Is he part of an organizations like La Raza, MeCHA , NDLON, Puente, and in are they vouching for him? Would he have been suspicious of one the courageous Dreamers, undocumented youth who actually Marched through Florida a year or so ago pushing for passage of the Dream Act? Has Zimmerman been out there protesting all the anti-immigrant laws popping up all over the country or was he the type to support them, suspicious off other Latinos confronting them asking if they’re criminals or here ‘legally’?

Again either your working to free people from oppression or your working for the system, helping keep people disenfranchised and marginalized. Don’t buy into divide and conquer tactics. Connecting the dots, uniting marginalized communities and addressing institutionalized oppression is not in the best interest of those in power.

I’m not sure what Zimmerman represents and who he rolls with, but his actions deserved to be punished. And while in many places there are Black and Brown tensions which should be addressed the shooting of Trayvon Martin is not the jump off into further divisions. Whats at stake here is the death of an innocent 17 year old coming home in the rain wearing a hoodie and carry a package of skiddles..He was confronted by large, overzealous, suspicious wanna be cop who killed him.. We must resist the attempts to keep this tragedy isolated from these larger issues and histories at hand..We must seek justice and seek it in such a way that it puts a major dent in some of overarching problems and prejudices impacting us all.

written by Davey D

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

Black Woman You’re a Queen…The Hell w/ Psychology Today!

The other day some magazine called Psychology Today put out an article called Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women? | Psychology Today. In this piece they ran down all sorts of backwards pseudo science ranging from Black women having higher testosterone levels on down to having mutant genes.. It was a sad day in journalism, but I guess one shouldn’t be surprised. After all, in 2011 far too many mainstream media outlets have been pulling out all the stops to marginalize and out right ‘dis’ various communities.

Here’s some of the outlandish claims made in the article…

I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level
of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone .
Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other
races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the
physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher
levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore
more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of
testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less
physically attractive. The race differences in the level of
testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less
physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of
intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other
races.

If you want you can peep the entire article on this site HERE.

Needless to say the article set off a firestorm as angry folks descended on the magazine’s website and flooded its phone lines. Before the day was out the article which we linked to, was pulled off the site, but the conversation is still raging.

What stands out foremost in people’s minds is why the continued efforts to show hatred toward those who are Black especially the Black women?  The Psychology Today article was not the first time in this country’s sordid history that we’ve attempted to demonize Black women. No need to list the media assaults that are constantly being thrown at our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunties,wives, girlfriends and loved ones…

While we cant always control the insidious behavior of those outside the community, perhaps we should use the discussion that arisen from the PT article and pledge to do better in the way we public depict and treat the women in our community. Perhaps we should take along hard look at the psychological damage being levied on our daughters who may grow up suffering from self esteem issues, because we allow too much public pimping and don’t highlight enough public loving…Part of looking good is feeling good….Beauty starts inward and radiates outward for the world to see…

Below are a couple of videos that speak to this eloquently. The first comes from rapper NY Oil who did a song several years ago called ‘You’re a Queen‘. NY did the song on the heels of his controversial song called ‘Y’all Need to Be Lynched‘ where he took artist to task for continuously raising stereotypes and maligning women in their music. He felt like sisters including his wife and daughter needed to hear affirming messages from artists who appreciated them on all levels and recognized their beauty beyond the two dimensional shallow depictions in videos..He also wanted to remind the world that sistas set the standard for beauty..  The video to the song is below…We also put a link to the live performance of the song which is also good..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDhhSjRbwe4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgt-oEi9ooQ Live Performance..

The other video which hits home is a reading from author/scholar Adisa Banjoko of the Hip Hop Chess Federation. He is the co-author of the book ‘Be A father to Your Child‘ . here Adisa talks about what he needed to do to raise his daughters self esteem, after realizing the dramatic impact daily media assaults was having on how she saw her self the world around her.. The title of his essay which he’s reading is called ‘How Jada Pinket Helped Raise His Daughter’s Self Esteem‘…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXU60VkDq6c

As for Black women being unattractive as asserted by the article… Moms, Grandma, my aunties and all the sistas who live in my hood who may not be famous from around the way who got it going on along with some of our more visible icons like Michelle Obama, Angela Basset, Jada Pinket Smith, Saana Lathan, Joan Morgan, Dawn-Ellisa Fischer, Imani Perry, Tamron Hall, Sarah Jones,  Serena Williams, Ferai Chidaya, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton, Skyy Brewer, Erykah Badu, Rha Goddess, Vanessa Williams, Jill Scott, Pam Grier, Tariji P Henson, Hallie Berry etc.. ..Nuff said..