Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not Your Parents Vampire Story

Its Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out the Interview featuring Michele Bardsley (I'm the Vampire That's Why)and me click here

Big Top

Theres a lot of posivitives at the UniverSoul Circus. Seeing black performers from diaspora is a crash course in black history, with performers from France, Gabon, Ethiopia, to name a few. They also feature artist from China and even though you may not approve of animals in used for entertainment (I for one) you have to respect and say what says girl power more than a sistah alone in a cager full of lions

In 1994 the UniverSoul Circus was born. The vision was to explore the various talents other than singing and dancing that black performers had to offer. We had the idea to present something different, to create a show that presented a wide spectrum of black talent to a wide demographic of spectators. To reach deep into our culture and search for what talent and skills lie asleep in the black entertainment experience. We wanted to apply our gathered years of experience in the live appearance industry, to make a difference, to change the industry we lived in, creating growth and new opportunity.

Our journey began in libraries, first researching black entertainment from the turn of the century, until today. We came across a black circus operating in 1893. I envisioned hip-hop musicals, a return to vaudeville and animal acts. That's when the decision was made to create a full-blown big top circus.

The first show lost every penny. But the idea was successful. Although Walker lined up backers and sponsors, few believed in his vision, so his own money financed the majority of the million-dollar production. UniverSoul had successfully turned the traditional, “pomp and circumstance” circus world upside down in 1994 when Walker's dream of “Hip Hop under the Big Top” turned into a reality in the parking lot of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Despite going deep into the red during the first season, enthusiastic crowds and rave reviews encouraged Walker and company to continue operations. By 1997 the circus tour had grown to 10 cities, 19 cities in 1999, 31 cities in 2000, toured South Africa 2001– its first international destination, and 32 cities in 2005 check out the web here

Venus Returns

Venus latest updatean this time it is so smooth and mellow click

Can You Dig It

If I dig a very deep hole, where I go to stop?
Click for the answer


Monday, October 30, 2006

Rays of Hope

"You trick 'em into thinking they aren't learning, and they do."

Prez Pryzbylewski' (The Wire)

For all the hopelessness that is depicted on the Wire and many of us see in real life its important to see the other reality. That there are unsung hero's out there that care

Watching some of his students cards in his classroom during lunch Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski's watches his students play poker for peanut shells He decides to use their card game as a math exercise, and gives them tips on figuring out their odds. They ask if he can do the same with dice and he agrees. Playing dice with monopoly money. Duquan "Dukie" Weems is working at the new computer, smiling even, as Randy, returning to class from suspension, catches up on what he missed. When Grace Sampson appears in the doorway to observe the games, Prez explains: "You trick 'em into thinking they aren't learning, and they do."

Wire interview

Throughout its 13 episodes, "The Wire" raises a fundamental question: Which education is most relevant to the lives of middle school kids? That received in the schools or on the streets? read the entire ABC article here

HBO's Angel Rodriguez explores the complicated relationship between Nicole, a white, well-educated counselor, and Angel, a bright but troubled teenager she is trying to help.

Angel's problems might not seem to be overwhelming; he's not mentally unstable, abusing drugs, or in trouble with the law. He's a kid who acts out by stealing, lying, fighting with his father, and undermining most of the opportunities he's given.

In a different context, his behavior might be understood as an adolescent phase of confusion and rebellion. But Angel's situation is less forgiving - his conduct has led to his father, who now lives with a girlfriend Angel despises, throwing his son out of the house. to read more and get times click

Powerful Backbones
Eough is not said about the grand parents, many no longer have the luxury of just lavishing their grand children with gifts and affection when they choose, many are struggling and raising another generation of children
Two website dedicated to thier issues provide help.

On blackgrandparents.com there's a real smart article on kids the internet and how grands must become internet savy.
Time spent, admonishing your child to get off the computer will never work. Rather, parents must concern themselves with promoting or requiring alternative activities such as homework, athletics, hobbies, volunteer activity, part-time work, religious instruction, etc. The strategy is to engage them in other wholesome activities that compete for their time. Then when they want to chat, they’ll have earned it… and have much to talk about!

Australians grand parents address the same issues at (GAGS) grand parents and Grand Children Society more

Youth Librians our last line of defense

They address homework needs and are constantly trying to find ways to encourage students to read. What they may not have in the ways of school (or even adult dept budgets) they make up with sheer creativity and innovation. They knew about Manga and graphic novels before they were even cool. If your child does not know their local YA librarian by name, then shame on you. Go to your library and introduce yourself, thank them then ask how you can help


Join the Free Hug Campaign

Friday, October 27, 2006

Hero's (Kenji Jasper:)

At 30, Kenji Jasper can boast of a 16-year career in writing and journalism, which began when he published his first article as an intern for The Washington Informer newspaper at the age of 13. At 14, he became a contributor to Black Entertainment Television's YSB Magazine, and later worked as a writer/instructor at The Institute for the Preservation and Study of African American Writing. He also served as an on-air personality for WTTG Fox 5's Newsbag .(1986-1987), and later as one of the founding cast members of Black Entertainment Television's Teen Summit (1989-1993). By the time he graduated from Morehouse College in 1997, his journalism had appeared in VIBE, Essence, The Village Voice, Upscale, The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union Tribune, and The Atlanta Tribune .

But creative writing has always been his true love. He penned his first novel, Dark , at the age of 21. It has since been released in the United Kingdom and translated into French. It was later optioned to be made into a film by State Street Pictures(Soul Food, Barbershop, Roll Bounce) and Fox Searchlight Pictures.

His second novel, Dakota Grand, was published in September of 2002 and met praise from Publishers Weekly, VIBE, Essence, The Chicago Sun-Times and Africana.com among many others. His latest novel, Seeking Salamanca Mitchell , was published in July 2004.

Mr. Jasper has contributed articles and essays to National Public Radio, The Village Voice, VIBE, The Charlotte Observer, The Chicago Sun-Times and Essence among many other publications. His first work of nonfiction, The House on Childress Street, was published in January of 2006. He is currently co-editing Beats, Rhymes and Life , a collection of critical writings on hip hop culture with writer/director Ytasha Womack. He is also the CEO and Editor of The Armory, a publishing partnership with Akashic Books. It's first release, Got by first-time author D, will be published in February of 2007.

Review of Dark
From Publishers Weekly
In a new twist on the growing genre of "thug noir," Jasper tells the poignant story of 19-year-old Thai Williams, whose life is turned upside down when he kills a rival for his girl's affections after walking in on the two in bed together. A resident of the infamous Shaw neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Thai is considered the intellectual in a foursome of young black men. The other three are Enrique, the blessed one; Ray Ray, the loco; and Snowflake, the hoodlum. Leaving behind his government job and plans for college, Thai flees to Charlotte, N.C., to hide out in an apartment provided by one of his friends. In terse, fluid prose, Jasper paints effortless, three-dimensional portraits of all of the key players. Set against the backdrop of the young African-American communities in both D.C. and Charlotte, the book addresses critical issues without preaching. What sets this novel apart are the high quality of the writing and the carefully developed themes of responsibility and redemption; each person Thai meets during his flight from the law brings him closer to emotional maturity. Jasper's engrossing debut evades stereotype, zeroing in with style and substance on what it takes to not only survive but to thrive as a young black man in the killing streets of the inner city.

You can contact Kenji at kenjijasper.com

When Clowns go Terrorist

Thursday, October 26, 2006

100 Bullets Offers 1 More Chance

Any one that interacts with teenage males 16-17 of age know that there is a sub group of this agegroup that is not going to read whats on the best seller list, they are not interested in Harry Potter, and can't figure out James Patterson. They could careles about reading to learn and don't want read about discovering their feelings, for them excitement is hours upon hours of Grand Theft Auto Vice City on their PS2 they own in their DVD collection Season 2 of the Dave Chapelle show, knows all of the lyrics to 50 cent and the Game, and their wardrobe boast at least 5 Scar Face oversize Tees (God help you). For this group of angels I recommend
100 BULLETS is arguably the finest collaborative comic book this medium has produced in decades, weaving such themes as fatherhood, baseball and organized crime into a series of poignant tales as dark in their humor as they are gut-wrenching in their pathos. They are the stories of haunted, marginalized people who slip through life on sheer inertia, until their destinies are irrevocably changed by a man known only as Agent Graves. A cross between the archangel Gabriel and an old-fashioned G-man, the ghostlike Graves comes into their lives with a powerful handgun and 100 untraceable bullets. His offer? Opportunity. The opportunity to exact vengeance - or the opportunity to make amends. It is the dichotomy between these two choices which makes 100 BULLETS so engaging. While the untraceable bullets offer immunity from the law, the characters find that they cannot shield themselves from the moral consequences of their actions.”

The Premise

The plot of 100 Bullets hinges on the question of whether people would take the chance to get away with revenge. Occasionally in a given story arc, the mysterious Agent Graves approaches someone who has been wronged in some way, and gives them the chance to set things right in the form of a nondescript attaché case containing a handgun, 100 bullets, the identity of the person who ruined their life and irrefutable evidence of this. He informs the candidate that the bullets are completely untraceable, and any police agency that recovers these bullets as part of an investigation will, through some unexplained process, immediately drop that investigation and ignore any transgressions related to it.

Though all of the murders enabled by Agent Graves are presented as justifiable, the candidates are neither rewarded nor punished for taking up the offer, and appear to receive nothing other than closure for their actions. Several people have declined the offer.

It is revealed that Agent Graves was the leader of a group known as "The Minutemen", the enforcers and assassins for the shadowy organization known as "The Trust". The Trust was originally formed by the heads of 13 powerful European aristocratic families who offered to the kings of Europe to abandon the "Old World", where they had considerable influence and holdings, in exchange for complete autonomy in the still unclaimed portion of the "New World". When this agreement was broken by England's colonization of Roanoke Island late in the 16th century, the Minutemen were formed. The original Minutemen, seven vicious killers, eradicated the colony and left behind the message "Croatoa" as a warning. Since that time, the Minutemen's charge has been to protect the 13 Trust families from outside threats as well as from each other. They were betrayed by the Trust and disbanded after Agent Graves refused to re-enact "The Greatest Crime in the History of Mankind". Some of the former Minutemen had their memories wiped for their protection and were living normal, if lackluster, lives at the beginning of the story.

Many of those who are offered the chance for vengeance by Graves are actually former Minutemen, or people who have been wronged by the Trust or its agents. Trusting to luck and the importance of his "experiment", Agent Graves goes on to reactivate several former Minutemen and recruit potential new members during the course of the series, with the tentative help of the Trust's warlord, the shady and double-dealing Mr. Shepherd.

Bottom line 100 Bullets is a morality play and it makes its reader think, and it makes their brain work, ( which probably more than they do around the house) but once they start reading they will be hooked and that's a good thing

There are currently ten trade paperbacks in publication for this series. The titles of the trade paperbacks all seem to be somehow related with their volume number ("First Shot", "Second Chance", "Foregone", "Counterfifth", "Six Feet", "Strychnine", "Decayed"), with two being indirect references ("Samurai" being book 7, for Seven Samurai, and book 8 titled "the Hard Way," a reference to a roll in craps), save for book 3, which was originally to be called "The Charm" - as in, 'third time's the...', but was given the title of the collection's largest plot arc, "Hang Up on the Hang Low," when it won the Eisner Award.

Click here to see and learn the characters of 100 Bullets


I'm telling you its weird Click here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Do You Mean We Don't Read?

"Harper has embarked on something we need more of in teen fiction - novels about African Americans and hip-hop culture where ethnicity is not the central plight. We hope to see more of Adrian’s future work as he continues to fill the holes in teen fiction." Brave & Brass book blog

I firmly believe that urban teens would read more if there were more books targeted toward them and young adult males would read more if there were more books that empowered them.

This is why I wrote, and ultimately had to self publishNight Biters because the notion of any culture with no desire to read is rediculous. The truth is they refuse to read what the industry is putting out, and the powers that be figure, if they not reading what I find interesting then apparently their not interested in literature. Its good to see that other authors are running into this obstacle and proving the industry wrong

Not a lot of Caribbean readers are as into SF. I think this stems from something my friend Dave Kirtley pointed out. He’d asked a friend to go see a genre movie and the person said that among minorities genre wasn’t interesting because the minorities always died, died for the white people, or just plain didn’t exist. It’s hard to want to participate or enjoy a medium that treats you like that.

Says Tobias Buckell the Sci-Fi author of the novel Crystal Rain says in an Memetherapy interview click here

What’s been most exciting about Crystal Rain is that it seems to be selling well, which is hopefully a blow to the argument put forth by some that readers in our genre won’t buy books with minority main characters or minorities on the cover of the book.

If African Americans Don't Read Whats With All the Ghetto Lit?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott is a minister, writer, lecturer and activist. He has been a guest on talk shows across the country discussing the issues of Rap,Race,Religion and Revolution.In this Pod Cast he take on the notion if African American's don't read what's with the glut of Ghetto Lit?
Click Here

Cause a Chain Reaction
Click Here

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hearing Voices

Read the Brave and Brass Book Blog on Night Biters

Click here

You Heard It All Before

According to Salome Thomas-EL a Philadelphia inner city School District teacher since 1987. who has received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Armed with only a chess board and a profound belief in their potential, Thomas-EL’s faith and commitment has motivated hundreds of children in Philadelphia to attend magnet high schools, major colleges and universities. Its still not to late to make a difference in the lives of kids, he has 10 ways we can make a difference
  1. Consider becoming a teacher in public schools. If you are a teacher, encourage a student, friend or relative to become a teacher. There are many alternative routes to teaching, like intern and apprentice programs.
  2. Visit a school anywhere in the city. There is a school within one mile of every address in the city. Visit a child and make them smile. Many of them do not know that a world exists outside of their own community.
  3. Mentor a young person. Research proves overwhelmingly that young people who have mentors are more successful than their peers who don’t.
  4. Donate money or time to school programs. Many programs like our chess team are not funded by the school district. We rely solely on contributions from businesses and community members.
  5. Volunteer at neighborhood recreation centers or after school programs.
  6. Participate in career week events at inner city schools.
  7. Write or call local and state politicians to express your anger about school funding. Let them know your vote will count and be heard.
  8. Read with your child if you are a parent. Check homework daily and provide a quiet environment at home for your child to study. Consider buying more books and fewer toys. Children look to parents for leadership and examples. Be a role model and promoter of education.
  9. If you are a member of a church, organize a group of members to volunteer at neighborhood schools as reading coaches. Teachers love to get one on one help for their students who struggle with reading. Research shows that this is the most effective strategy to use when improving the reading of students who are reading below grade level.
  10. Get involved with activities at your child’s school. Attend parent meetings and conferences with teachers. Students and schools excel when parents are involved and teachers have high expectations of parents and students. Plan to visit the school at least once a month to check your child’s progress. Encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
He cares, so should we

Hearing the voice of Free Radicals

Check out Free Radical and read the thoughts ofwoman who have things to share blunt profound and extremely funny more

For the Hip Hop Challenged

Venus is back with her weekly Pod Cast
Click the image and drop names that only the elict recognize


Weebl Stuff, Ya gonna luv this, so will your kids click here

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why I Gave Up on Hip Hop

Lonnae O'Neal Parker, has written primarily about popular culture and race since joining The Washington Post's Style section in 1997.
Her recent article sums up the feelings many parents have toward the negative impact of hip hop

By Lonnae O'Neal Parker

My 12-year-old daughter, Sydney, and I were in the car not long ago when she turned the radio to a popular urban contemporary station. An unapproved station. A station that might play rap music. "No way, Syd, you know better," I said, so Sydney changed the station, then pouted.

"Mommy, can I just say something?" she asked. "You think every time you hear a black guy's voice it's automatically going to be something bad. Are you against hip-hop?"

Her words slapped me in the face. In a sense, she was right. I haven't listened to radio hip-hop for years. I have no clue who is topping the charts and I can't name a single rap song in play.

But I swear it hasn't always been that way.

My daughter can't know that hip-hop and I have loved harder and fallen out further than I have with any man I've ever known.

That my decision to end our love affair had come only after years of disappointment and punishing abuse. After I could no longer nod my head to the misogyny or keep time to the vapid materialism of another rap song. After I could no longer sacrifice my self-esteem or that of my two daughters on an altar of dope beats and tight rhymes.

No, darling, I'm not anti-hip-hop, I told her. And it's true, I still love hip-hop. It's just that our relationship has gotten very complicated.

When those of us who grew up with rap saw signs that it was turning ugly, we turned away. We premised our denial on a sort of good-black-girl exceptionalism: They came for the skeezers but I didn't speak up because I'm no skeezer, they came for the freaks, but I said nothing because I'm not a freak. They came for the bitches and the hos and the tricks. And by the time we realized they were talking about bitches from 8 to 80, our daughters and our mommas and their own damn mommas, rap music had earned the imprimatur of MTV and Martha Stewart and even the Pillsbury Doughboy.

And sometimes it can seem like now, there is nobody left who is willing to speak up.

I remember the day hip-hop found me. The year was 1979 and although "Rapper's Delight" wasn't the first rap song, it was the first rap song to make it all the way from the South Bronx to Hazel Crest, Ill.

I was 12, the same age my oldest daughter is now, when hip-hop began to shape my politics and perceptions and aesthetics. It gave me a meter for my thoughts and bent my mind toward metaphor and rhyme. I couldn't sing a lick, but didn't hip-hop give me the beginnings of a voice. About the time that rap music hit Hazel Crest, all the black kids sat in the front of my school bus, all the white kids sat in back, and the loudest of each often argued about what we were going to listen to on the bus radio or boombox. Music was code for turf and race in the middle-class, mostly-white-but-heading-black suburbs south of Chicago.

One day, our bus driver tried to defuse tensions by disallowing both. Left without music, some of the black kids started singing "Rapper's Delight." Within a couple of lines, we all joined in:

Now what you hear is not a test

I'm rappin' to the beat.
Then the white kids started chanting: Dis-co sucks, dis-co sucks, dis-co sucks, dis-co sucks , repeating the white-backlash, anti-rap mantra of the era.

The white kids got louder: DIS-CO SUCKS, DIS-CO SUCKS, DIS-CO SUCKS, DIS-CO SUCKS.

So we got louder, too:




Then the white kids started yelling until their faces suffused with color.

And so we started yelling rhymes that I still know to this day, some of which my kids know and, I bet, so do some of the kids of those white kids who screamed at us from the back of my junior high school bus, raging against change, raging against black people, or, who knows, maybe just not appreciating our musical stylings.


We rhymed and the white kids disappeared before our eyes because we were in another world -- transported by the collective sound of our own raised voices, transfixed by our newfound ability to drown out their nullification.

We felt ourselves united, with the power of a language we didn't begin to understand. "Rap at its best can refashion the world -- or at least the way we see it -- and shape it in our own image," said Adam Bradley, a literature professor at Claremont McKenna College who is working on a book about hip-hop poetics. It has the capacity "to give a voice that's distinctively our own and to do it with the kind of confidence and force we might not otherwise have."

I grew older, and my love affair with the music, swagger and semiotics of hip-hop continued. There was Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel and the seminal Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five:

Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge

I'm tryin' not to lose my head.

I learned all the rhymes played on black radio, because do you remember when MTV wouldn't touch black music at all? I got to college and started getting my beats underground, which is where I stayed to find my hip-hop treasures. Public Enemy rapped "Fight the Power" and it could have been the soundtrack to CNN footage of Tiananmen Square or the fall of the Berlin Wall:

Got to give us what we want

Gotta give us what we need

Our freedom of speech is freedom or death

We got to fight the powers that be.

I was young and hungry and hip-hop was smart, and like Neneh Cherry said, we were raw like sushi back then, sensing we were onto something big, not realizing how easily it could get away from us.

* * *

Of course, the rhymes were sexy, too, part of a long black tradition starting with the post-emancipation blues. It was music that borrowed empathy and passion from exultations of the sacred, to try to score a bit of heaven in secular places.

It was college, and in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the post-civil rights, post-sexual revolution, newly grown hip-hop generation imagined that we had shed our momma's chastity-equals-black-uplift strictures anyway. So when MC Lyte rapped, "I ain't afraid of the sweat," well, you know, we waved our hands in the air. Besides, it was underground music, adult music, part of a wide range of expression, and it's not like we worried that it could ever show up on the radio.

Hip-hop was still largely about the break-beat and dance moves and brothers who battled solely on wax. It was Whodini, Eric B. & Rakim, Dana Dane, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest. And always and forever, Lonnae Loves Cool James. I knew all LL Cool J's b-sides and used to sleep under a poster of him that hung on my wall. I still have a picture of the two of us that was taken one Howard homecoming weekend.

And if, gradually, we noticed a trend, more violence, more misogyny, more materialism, more hostile sexual stereotyping, a general constricting of subject matter, for a very long time we let it slide.

In 1988, EPMD rapped about a woman named Jane:

So PMD (Yo?) Why don't you do me a favor?

Chill with the bitch and I'll hook you up later

She's fly, haircut like Anita Baker

Looked up and down and said "Hmm, I'll take her."

But by last spring, it was Atlanta-based rapper T.I.:

I ain't hangin' with my niggaz

Pullin' no triggaz

I'll be back to the trap, but for now

I'm chillin' with my bitch today, I'm chillin' with my bitch today.

Nearly 20 years later and T.I. can't even be bothered to give his "bitch" a name.

We were so happy black men were speaking their truth, "we've gone too long without challenging them," as Danyel Smith, former editor of Vibe magazine, put it. And now, perhaps, hip-hop is too far gone.

* * *

At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, rappers Snoop Doggy Dog and 50 Cent embellished their performance of the song "P.I.M.P." by featuring black women on leashes being walked onstage. This past August, MTV2 aired an episode of the cartoon "Where My Dogs At," which had Snoop again leading two black bikini-clad women around on leashes. They squatted on their hands and knees, scratched themselves and defecated.

The president of the network, a black woman, defended this as satire.

Hip-hop had long since gone mainstream and commercial. It was Diddy, white linen suits and Cristal champagne in the Hamptons. And it was for white suburban boys as well as black club kids. And it now promoted a sexual aesthetic, a certain body type, a certain look. Southern rappers had even popularized a kind of strip-club rap making black women indistinguishable from strippers.

I don't know the day things changed for me. When the music began to seem so obviously divorced from any truth and, just as unforgivably, devoid of most creativity. I don't know when my love turned to contempt and my contempt to fury. Maybe it happened as my children got older and I longed for music that would speak to them the way hip-hop had once spoken to me.

Maybe as the coolest black boys kept getting shot on the streets while the coolest rappers droned: AK-47 now nigga, stop that.

Maybe as the madness made me want to holler back: "Niggas" can't stop AK-47s , and damn you for saying so.

Last year, talk show host Kelly Ripa gushed to 50 Cent, a former drug dealer turned rapper, about how important his movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " was while black women around the country were left to explain to their own black sons, " Sometimes, darling, black boys get shot nine times and they don't live to brag about it on the mike . "

And a few weeks ago, watching the Disney Channel cartoon short "Fabulizer," I seethed when the little white character lamented that his "thug pose" wasn't working.

While the mainstream culture celebrates the pimped-out, thugged-up, cool-by-proxy mirage of commercial rap, those of us who just love black people have to be a little more discriminating. "Sometimes," writes sociologist Mary Pattillo-McCoy, "when you dress like a gangsta, talk like a gangsta and rap like a gangsta often enough, you are a gangsta."

My husband, Ralph, and I try to tell Sydney that rap music used to be fun. It used to call girls by prettier names. We were ladies and cuties, honeys and hotties, and we all just felt like one nation under the groove. Sydney, I tell her, I want you to have all the creativity, all the bite, all the rhythms of black rhyme, but I can't let you internalize toxic messages, no matter how cool some millionaire black rappers tell you they are.

Sydney nods, but I don't know if she fully understands.

* * *

I was born to be the Lyte

To give the spark in the dark

Spread the truth to the youth

The ghetto Joan of Arc

-- MC Lyte

Last spring, I got together with some other moms from the first generation of hip-hop. We decided to distribute free T-shirts with words that counter some of the most violent, anti-intellectual and degrading cultural messages: You look better without the bullet holes. Put the guns down. Or my favorite: You want this? Graduate! We called it the Hip-Hop Love Project.

Others are trying their own versions of taking back the music. In Baltimore, spoken-word poet Tonya Maria Matthews, aka JaHipster, is launching her own "Groove Squad." The idea is to get together a couple dozen women to go to clubs prepared to walk off the dance floor en masse if the music is openly offensive or derogatory. "There's no party without sisters on the dance floor," she told me. In New York, hip-hop DJ and former model Beverly Bond formed Black Girls Rock! to try to change the portrayal of black women in the music and influence the women who are complicit in it. "We don't want to be hypersexualized," said Joan Morgan, a hip-hop writer and part of the group, but we don't want to be erased, either.

Finally, it feels like we've gotten back to what black women are supposed to have always known: that it is better to fight than to lie down.

My daughter says I don't like black voices and I could weep that it's come to this. But instead I listen to the most conscious hip-hop that comes my way: Common, Talib Kweli, the Roots, KOS, Kanye West, who blends the commercial with commentary. I close my eyes to listen as Mos Def says:

My Umi said shine your light on the world.

And still, always and forever, Lonnae Loves Cool James.

I keep my CD player filled with old-school tracks and I fill my kids' heads with the coolest, most conscious, most bang-bang the boogie say up jump the boogie songs from when hip-hop and I were young. Sydney says I don't like black voices and I say: Ax Butta how I zone/ Man, Cleopatra Jones .

I make Sydney listen to songs from when rap said something, but my daughter is 12 and she laughs at me. Rap says something now, Mommy, she says.

Lean wit' it

Rock wit' it

Lean wit' it

Rock wit' it

She snaps her fingers and I just nod. Change is gonna come. Meanwhile, her song is catchy. And there are no bitches!

At least not in the chorus.



Click the imag, follow the direction, instant mind blowing experience

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hero's (Christopher J Priest)

I tend to think I am where I should be. I've worked steadily in this business for 23 years now, a claim not everyone, not even some formerly powerful, fan fave giant talents, can make. It's a complete blessing, one I'm eternally grateful for, to make my living doing something I love. The "star" stuff was never a concern, and I've never once knocked on anybody's door trying to get X-Turtles or what have you. I took most of my cues from Denny O'Neil who told me, "Do nice, detailed work, be on time, stay out of trouble, do what they give you," and Larry Hama who taught me, "You learn to love what you do." And I have.

Christopher James Priest, born James Christopher Owsley in 1961, is a writer of comic books. During his career, he has written nearly every major character published by Marvel Comics and DC Comics. He was the first black man to be the editor of any comic book in North America.

For several years he was the editor of the Spider-Man comic books, during which time he first hired Peter David. He edited the Impact imprint for DC Comics. He had ongoing runs writing titles such as Power Man and Iron Fist, Conan the Barbarian, The Ray, Quantum & Woody, Steel, Xero, Deadpool, The Crew and Black Panther, some of which he either co-created or substantially influenced.

In 1993, he became part of the group of writers and artists that would go on to found Milestone Media, a comic book publisher affiliated with DC Comics. He contributed substantially to the development of the original Milestone story bible and designed the company logo. He was intended to become the company's editor-in-chief, but personal problems forced him to scale down his involvement, settling for the role of a liaison between DC Comics and Milestone Media.

Shortly afterwards, he changed his name from "Jim Owsley" to "Christopher Priest". He has refused to discuss his reasons for doing so, beyond a seemingly-glib story about carrying out a threat/promise to "become a priest". He has claimed that he was completely unaware at the time of the established British science fiction author of the same name; as an accommodation, he refers to himself professionally as just "Priest" (or sometimes "Christopher J. Priest"). Coincidentally, he is also an ordained Baptist minister, and can thus be referred to as "the Reverend Priest."

He is also a professional music producer.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For Priest personal site and personal insites go here

For a partial list of his work go here


Escher for Real

The work of M.C. Escher needs no introduction. We have all learned to appreciate the impossibilities that this master of illusion's artwork presents to the layman's eye. Nevertheless, it may come as a surprise for some, but many of the so-called 'impossible' drawings of M. C. Escher can be realized as actual physical objects. These objects will resemble the Escher's drawing, of the same name, from a certain viewing direction. This work below presents some of these three-dimensional models that were designed and built using geometric modeling and computer graphics tools. click here

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Complex Terms

Walter Dean Myers
Fallen Angel

Reviewed by Tammy L. Currier Teens Read.com

From the mean streets of Harlem to the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam, Walter Dean Myers's critically acclaimed FALLEN ANGELS is the riveting account of one soldier's tour of duty. Just out of high school, 17-year-old Richie Perry is fresh out of prospects. He has no money for college and the streets of Harlem are a dead-end.

Hoping for something to do, three square meals a day, and the chance to send a little money home to his mama and younger brother, Richie enlists in the army. But no one prepares him for Nam Rot…or watching your friends die…or what it feels like to kill…or the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes…or the napalm that sucks the air from your lungs at a hundred yards…or the smells of blood, cordite, burning flesh, puke and urine…or the ever-present body bags just waiting to be filled.

Graphic and realistic, Richie's first-person narrative provides the kind of immediacy lacking in most war stories. Dedicated to the older brother he lost during the Vietnam War, Myers's FALLEN ANGELS is both a tribute and testament to the thousands of young people who fought and died in the jungles of Vietnam.

Unique Perspective

Brown Plans to Make Good?

BOSTON, Oct. 18 — Extensively documenting Brown University’s 18th-century ties to slavery, a university committee called Wednesday for the institution to make amends by building a memorial, creating a center for the study of slavery and injustice and increasing efforts to recruit minority students, particularly from Africa and the West Indies.

The Committee on Slavery and Justice, appointed three years ago by Brown’s president, Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves who is the first black president of an Ivy League institution, said in a report: “We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges.” more

The report added, “In the present instance this means acknowledging and taking responsibility for Brown’s part in grievous crimes.”

The committee did not call for outright reparations, an idea that has support among some African-Americans and was a controversial issue at Brown several years ago. But the committee’s chairman, James T. Campbell, a history professor at Brown, said he believed the recommendations “are substantive and do indeed represent a form of repair.”

The committee also recommended that the university publicly and persistently acknowledge its slave ties, including during freshmen orientation. Dr. Campbell said he believed that the recommendations, if carried out, would represent a more concrete effort than that of any other American university to make amends for ties to slavery.

“I think it is unprecedented,” Dr. Campbell said, adding that a few other universities and colleges have established memorials, study programs or issued apologies, but not on the scale of the Brown recommendations. It was not clear how much the committee’s recommendations would cost to carry out.

“We’re not making a claim that somehow Brown is uniquely guilty,” Dr. Campbell said. “I think we’re making a claim that this is an aspect of our history that not anyone has fully come to terms with. This is a critical step in allowing an institution to move forward.”

Even in the North, a number of universities have ties to slavery. Harvard Law School was endowed by money its founder earned selling slaves for the sugar cane fields of Antigua. And at Yale, three scholars reported in 2001 that the university relied on slave-trading money for its first scholarships, endowed professorship and library endowment.

Dr. Simmons issued a letter in response to the report, soliciting comments from the Brown community and saying she had asked for the findings to be discussed at an open forum. She declined to give her own reaction, saying, “When it is appropriate to do so, I will issue a university response to the recommendations and suggest what we might do.”

She said “the committee deserves praise for demonstrating so steadfastly that there is no subject so controversial that it should not be submitted to serious study and debate.”

Initial reaction to the recommendations seemed to be appreciative.

“It sounds to me like this makes sense,” said Rhett S. Jones, a longtime professor of history and Africana studies at Brown. “I did not expect the committee would emerge saying, Well, you know, Brown should write a check.

“I never thought that was in the cards. I’m not sure I think it’s even appropriate that a university write a check, even though it’s pretty widely agreed on that Brown would not be where it is if it were not for slave money. These recommendations seem to me to be appropriate undertakings for the university.”

Brown’s ties to slavery are clear but also complex. The university’s founder, the Rev. James Manning, freed his only slave, but accepted donations from slave owners and traders, including the Brown family of Providence, R.I.. At least one of the Brown brothers, John, a treasurer of the college, was an active slave trader, but another brother, Moses, became a Quaker abolitionist, although he ran a textile factory that used cotton grown with slave labor.

University Hall, which houses Dr. Simmons’s office, was built by a crew with at least two slaves.

“Any institution in the United States that existed prior to 1865 was entangled in slavery, but the entanglements are particularly dense in Rhode Island,” Dr. Campbell said, noting that the state was the hub through which many slave ships traveled.

The issue caused friction at Brown in 2001, when the student newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, printed a full-page advertisement produced by a conservative writer, listing “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea And Racist Too.”

The advertisement, also run by other college newspapers, prompted protests by students who demanded that the paper pay “reparations” by donating its advertising fee or giving free advertising space to advocates of reparations.

The Brown committee was made up of 16 faculty members, students and administrators, and its research was extensive.

“The official history of Brown will have to be rewritten, entirely scrapped,” said Omer Bartov, a professor on the committee who specializes in studying the Holocaust and genocide.

The report cites examples of steps taken by other universities: a memorial unveiled last year by the University of North Carolina, a five-year program of workshops and activities at Emory University, and a 2004 vote by the faculty senate of the University of Alabama to apologize for previous faculty members having whipped slaves on campus.

Katie Zezima contributed reporting.


Its called Complexification click here to see why

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Protecting Your Children on a Macro Level

Its Venus Again!!!!!!!!!!
The purveyor of Cool is back again with a new Pod Cast check it out

Made Sense to me

New Rule

Bill Maher of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher offered sobering insights about the Mark Foley scandal and the REAL THREAT to our children

New Rule: If you think the worst thing Congress doesn't protect young people from is Mark Foley, then wake up and smell the burning planet. The - the ice caps are cracking, the coral reefs are bleaching, and our poisoned groundwater has turned spinach into a "side dish of mass destruction." Read the labels on your food. It turns out the healthiest thing you can put in your body is Mark Foley's penis.

But that's America for you: a red herring culture, always scared by the wrong things. The fact is, there are a lot of creepy, middle-aged men out there lusting for your kids. They work for MTV, the pharmaceutical industry, McDonald's, Marlboro, and K Street.

And recently, there's been a rash of strangers making their way onto school campuses and targeting your children for death. They're called military recruiters. More young Americans were crippled in Iraq last month than any month in the last two years. And the scandal is that Mark Foley wants to show them a good time before they go?

When will our closeted gay congressmen learn, our boys aren't for pleasure, they're for cannon fodder? Why aren't Democrats and the media hammering away every day about who we're supposed to be fighting for over there, and what the plan is? Yes, Mark Foley was wrong to ask teenagers how long their penis was. But at least someone on Capitol Hill was asking questions.

You know who else is grabbing your kids at too young an age? Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. By convincing you that your kids are depressed, hyperactive or suffering from ADD. In the last decade, the number of children prescribed anti-psychotic drugs in America increased by over 400%. Which means either that our children are going insane-which we might look on as a problem-or more likely, we have, for profit, created a nation of little junkies.

So, stop with the righteous indignation about predators. This whole country is trying to get inside your kid's pants, because that's where he keeps his wallet.

I don't care - I don't care if Mark Foley had been asking boys to describe their penis because I have some sad news for you: your kid is so larded out on Cheetohs and YooHoo, he can't even see his penis. So many of our kids are fat drug addicts nowadays, it's almost as if Rush Limbaugh had puppies!

So we can pretend that the biggest threat to our children is some creep on the Internet, or we can admit it's us. Because when your son can't find France on a map, or touch his toes with his hands, or understand that the ads on TV are lying, including the one where the Marine turns into Lancelot-then the person f***ing him...is you.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Under the Influence

The Wire episode 43 Margin of Error
"I think the idea we're trying to bring across is that kids are going to get educated. And that we're going to see where. It's not about kids making bad mistakes and becoming caught in the Criminal Justice system. They don't have an option of choice. We in society have the choices. So you might see a kid who clearly doesn't have a prayer and it will be very apparent why he doesn't have a prayer. It's not about blaming kids. They will survive. They will learn. It's just a question of where" Ed Burns producer

Snitching, being a look out and recruited has all been subtle up until this episode
One of the statement whe nt the character Namond Brice is told by his mother "that it ws time for him to be a man he's now going to have to step up. He can't quit school, but he has to go ask Bodie for his own package" Up until this episode much of show focused on the influence (mostly negative)of men. This episode highlited the power of women from keeping a child from jail, to being the catylist for keeping a son from participating in organized sports, in this case boxing.

Street Influence
Costume Designer Alonzo Wilson. talks about dressing the young cast members of the Wire

This is a typical idea of kids on the corner, white tee shirt and jeans. White tee shirts and jeans are abundant in the world of The Wire, because of the anonymity. If you're going to sell drugs on the corner, then you don't want to be the guy in the red shirt that the police are chasing.

It's not a fashion thing. It's a functional aspect of everyday life. If you drive in the city of Baltimore in the summer, you'll run out of numbers to count the white shirts.

Influenced by Sci-Fi

Writer Stuart Moore has taken some fairly universal themes of adolescence—being the new kid at school, abusive relationships, self-esteem issues, bullying, authority figures—and deftly placed them against the exotic backdrop of outer space. But instead of overshadowing the drama, the high-stakes setting of the first colony on the moon only serves to ratchet up the tension, and makes the trials and tribulations of Earthlight's characters all the more riveting.


It takes a lot of balls to make a video like this click

Friday, October 13, 2006

Legends (Alexandre Dumas)

I question that many of todays teens will even be interested (just saying) but they should still know who the man was

Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)
was one of the most famous French writers of the 19th century. Dumas is best known for historical adventure novels like The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, both written within the space of two years, 1844-45, and which belong to the foundation works of popular culture. He was among the first, along with Honoré de Balzac and Eugène Sue, who fully used the possibilities of roman feuilleton, the serial novel. Dumas is credited with revitalizing the historical novel in France, although his abilities as a writer were under dispute from the beginning. Dumas' works are fast-paced adventure tales that blend history and fiction, but on the other hand, the are entangled, melodramatic, and actually not faithful to the historical facts.

Alexandre Dumas was born in Villes-Cotterêts. His grandfather was a French nobleman, who had settled in Santo Domingo (now part of Haiti); his paternal grandmother, Marie-Cessette, was an Afro-Caribbean, who had been a black slave in the French colony (now part of Haiti). Dumas's father was a general in Napoleon's army, who had fallen out of favor. After his death in 1806 the family lived in poverty. Dumas worked as a notary's clerk and went in 1823 to Paris to find work. Due to his elegant handwriting he secured a position with the Duc d'Orléans -- later King Louis Philippe. He also found his place in theater and as a publisher of some obscure magazines. An illegitimate son called Alexandre Dumas fils, whose mother, Marie-Catherine Labay, was a dressmaker, was born in 1824.

As a playwright Dumas made his breakthrough with "Henri III et Sa Cour" (1829), produced by the Comedie Francaise. It gained a huge success and Dumas went on to write additional plays, of which "La Tour de Nesle" (1832, "The Tower of Nesle") is considered the greatest masterpiece of French melodrama. He wrote constantly, producing a steady stream of plays, novels, and short stories.

Historical novels brought Dumas enormous fortune, but he could spent money faster than he made it. He produced some 250 books with his 73 assistants, especially with the history teacher Auguste Maquet, whom he wisely allowed to work quite independently. Dumas earned roughly 200,000 francs yearly and received an annual sum of 63,000 francs for 220,000 lines from the newspapers Presse and the Constitutionel. Maquet often proposed subjects and wrote first drafts for some of Dumas' most famous serial novels, including Les Trois Mousquetaires (1844, The Three Musketeers) and Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (1844-45, The Count of Monte-Cristo). As a master dialogist, Dumas developed character traits, and kept the action moving, and composed the all-important chapter endings - teaser scenes that maintained suspense and readers interest to read more.

Dumas' role in the development of the historical novel owes much to a coincidence. The lifting of press censorship in the 1830s gave rise to a rapid spread of newspapers. Editors began to lure readers by entertaining serial novels. Everybody read them, the aristocracy, and the bourgeoisie, young and old, men and women. Dumas' first true serial novel was Le Capitaine Paul (1838, Captain Paul), a quick rewrite of a play.

Dumas lived as adventurously as the heroes of his books. He took part in the revolution of July 1830, caught cholera during the epidemic of 1832, and traveled in Italy to recuperate. He married his mistress Ida Ferrier, an actress, in 1840, but he soon separated after having spent her entire dowry. With the money earned from his writings, he built a fantastic Château Monte cristo on the outskirts of Paris. In 1851 Dumas escaped his creditors - his country house, the Chateau de Monte Cristo. Dumas spent two years in exile in Brussels (1855-57), and then returned to Paris. In 1858 he traveled to Russia and in1860 he went to Italy, where he supported Garibaldi and Italy's struggle for independence (1860-64). He then remained in Naples as a keeper of the museums for four years. After his return to France his debts continued to mount.

Called as "the king of Paris", Dumas earned fortunes and spent them right away on friends, art, and mistresses. Dumas died of a stroke on December 5, 1870, at Puys, near Dieppe. His son Alexandre Dumas fils, became a writer, dramatist, and moralist, who never accepted his father's lifestyle.

Dumas did not generally define himself as a black man, and there is not much evidence that he encountered overt racism during his life. However, his works were popular among the 19th-century African-Americans, partly because in The Count of Monte-Cristo, the falsely imprisoned Edmond Dantès, may be read as a parable of emancipation. In a shorter work, Georges (1843, George), Dumas examined the question of race and colonialism. The main character, a half-French mulatto, leaves Mauritius to be educated in France, and returns to avenge himself for the affronts he had suffered as a boy.

Works by Dumas

You Got the Right Stuff Baby, Uh Huh!

This fuzzy video was a series of Sprite commercials was one of the first to combine the elements of hip hop and anime the results are very pleasing

Thursday, October 12, 2006

They Said It Not Me

A Review of Miracle Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Oh man! I loved this book Miracle's Boys. This book is definilty a classroom classic. Now I dont want to be a spoiler, but this book is about three boys who live in Harlem and are growingup on their own. Their mom died of diabetes and their father died trying to save someone else. I'm not going to tell you anything else, you just have to read the book! So read this teriffic book and you will look at life an entirely different way. A Carefree Read", October 4, 2006

I must say this book didnt particularly catch my intrest at first, but after reading the description o the back, i thought it would be cool. Boy was i wrong. This book had a good story but was very slow! I mean theres barely any action and good teen drama in it!So to sum it up.... This book was a little less than OK.

p.s yes i DID see the special for this book on THE-N and i thought it was ALOT better than the book (suprisingly).

A Kid's Review
the reason why i like the book miracles boys is that it is based on an african american family living in harlem new york. the family is run by their 18 year old brother tyree. they are all borthers. one "the youngist" is lafayette, the middle child" charley and the oldest brother tyree. their parents are both dead. their dad died in a freezing cold pond trying to save a ladys dog. their mom died in a car crash. the middle brother charley was sent to a juvinile detention center for robbing a store. this book is a great book because it has a lot of action and suspense.

I Truly Pity the Fool
I started the week talking about pitiful African American Male characters on TV, well the future is not much brighter not if TV land has anything to do with it

(CBS/AP) If Dr. Phil can dispense advice, why not Mr. T?

The TV Land network announced today that it will start "I Pity the Fool," a series where "The A-Team" star travels across the country dispensing inspiration and advice.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. T. said that "the 'T' stands for talking." And that's what he's going to do: "talk it up."

In the series, which debuts in October, Mr. T will offer help to people struggling with personal or professional problems.

The former TV star rejects any comparisons with Dr. Phil, adding: "You're a fool — that's what's wrong with you. You're a fool if you don't take my advice."

Mr. T was born Laurence Tureaud in Chicago, Ill. He was a pro wrestler in the '80s and '90s, often sparring with Hulk Hogan. He became a household name when he appeared as a regular character on the hit show "The A-Team," which premiered on NBC Jan. 23, 1983.

"I Pity The Fool" will be produced by Lionsgate in association with Left/Right Films and Remag Guerilla.


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