Friday, December 29, 2006

Heroes (Jerry Craft)

If you believe in your work, then you owe it to yourself to get your product out there.

I'm not talking about blowing your life's savings, but if it's a choice between investing money in your dream or a week in the Bahamas, then it's something you really should consider. To me, it's better than wondering "What if?" says Jerry Craft, who has just released Mama's Boyz: As American as Sweet Potato Pie!, a 96-page collection of his popular comic strip featuring a special foreword by cartoonist Lynn Johnston, creator of the immensely popular For Better or For Worse.

But even with his increasing success as a self-publisher, Jerry admits that life as a cartoonist is not all fun and games. Especially for African-American cartoonists. "It amazes me to think that you have to go back 25 years to Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to find really popular black characters," says the 34 year-old cartoonist. "And it's not like you can find 'US' in Disney cartoons. Hunchbacks, Beasts, Mermaids ... everything but African Americans!"

Mama's Boyz is currently a part of the KING FEATURES WEEKLY SERVICE - a collection of comic strips and columns that is distributed to more than 1,500 newspapers around the world - making Jerry's comic one of only 6 African-American comic strips that are distributed by a major syndicate. That's only 6 out of a total of approximately 300 syndicated comic strips!In addition, the Mama's Boyz characters act as national spokespersons for the American Diabetes Association, which presented Jerry with its Outstanding Supporter Award. Mama's

Boyz strips also appear regularly in NY Daily News supplements for special occasions such as Kwanzaa and Black History Month.

My Mama's Boyz book was named in "Great Book For African-American Children" (Penguin/Putnam 1999). In addition to the write up in "Great Books," Mama's Boyz has also been featured in "Chicken Soup For The African-American Soul," "The Idiot's Guide to Comedy Writing," "100 Years of American Newspaper Comics" (Gramercy Books, 1996), and the college textbook "Facing Difference; Race, Gender and Mass Media" (Pine Forge Press, 1997). Plus I did a great segment in a video series called "Media Literacy and Communications Skills," put out by Harcourt.

Check him out at

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Making it Real

Growing up, as much as I enjoyed seeing superhero's that looked like me, there was always something lacking in them, Soul, not the late James Brown kind of soul but a consciousness, a history, something that made the character more than just an after thought. It's good to see that's finally starting to happen

Reginald Hudlin
Readers of Black Panther have also seen a number of real life historical figures interacting with previous Black Panthers and they can expect appearances by more historical personages in future issues. "It will be hard to beat Malcolm X meeting T'Challa's dad," Hudlin said. "But writing that makes me work extra hard to top it."

Hudlin has greatly enjoyed working on "Black Panther" and continues to strive to come up with tales that will top his previous ones. "When I re-launched the book two years ago, I promised that the Black Panther would become a major player in the Marvel Universe," Hudlin stated. "In that time, you've seen him beat up the WW2 Captain America, partner with Luke Cage and Blade as the only heroes addressing the aftermath of Katrina, marry the woman who many would consider the most amazing woman in the Marvel Universe, and now get in the mix with 'Civil War.' But all that was a set up for the next series of story arcs, which will truly be epic."

Jerry Craft's strip
Mama's Boyz- voted "Best Comic Strip" from the African American Literary Awards Show. Strips truly personifies the family, taking on topics such as AIDS, and other challenges in the Black community. Jerry articulates the impact that uninspired Black Hero's have had on teens from yesterday and even today, I'm sure he would admit that the Black Panther is on the right track, but he was soooo on the money regardng Black Goliath click here

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dream GIrls a Lesson in Hip Hop

Dream Girls should be mandatory viewing for any young person that wants to get into the music biz, Director Bill Condon not only captures the history of R&B music, he also articulately shows the cost of success

The movie is highly entertaining and everything that has been said about Jennifer Hudson's character is true, she walks away with the movie

It was surreal to watch Eddie Murphy's portrayal of James Thunder Early a character loosely based on James brown short hours after hearing of the undisputed God Father of Soul's passing

Friday, December 22, 2006

Legends (Curtis Mayfield)

Curtis Mayfield "Maybe the words that I say
is just another way to pray."

Perhaps because he didn't cross over to the pop audience as heavily as Motown's stars, it may be that the scope of Curtis Mayfield's talents and contributions have yet tobe fully recognized. Judged merely by his records alone, the man's legacy is enormous. As the leader of the Impressions, he recorded some of the finest soul vocal group music of the 1960s. As a solo artist in the 1970s, he helped pioneer funk and helped introduce hard-hitting urban commentary into soul music. "Gypsy Woman," "It's All Right," "People Get Ready," "Freddie's Dead," and "Superfly" are merely the most famous of his many hit records.

But Curtis Mayfield wasn't just a singer. He wrote most of his material at a time when that was not the norm for soul performers. He was among the first -- if not the very first -- to speak openly about African-American pride and community struggle in his compositions. As a songwriter and a producer, he was a key architect of Chicago soul, penning material and working on sessions by notable Windy City soulsters like Gene Chandler, Jerry Butler, Major Lance, and Billy Butler. In this sense, he can be compared to Smokey Robinson, who also managed to find time to write and produce many classics for other soul stars. Mayfield was also an excellent guitarist, and his rolling, Latin-influenced lines were highlights of the Impressions' recordings in the '60s. During the next decade, he would toughen up his guitar work and production, incorporating some of the best features of psychedelic rock and funk.

Mayfield began his career as an associate of Jerry Butler, with whom he formed the Impressions in the late '50s. After the Impressions had a big hit in 1958 with "For Your Precious Love," Butler, who had sung lead on the record, split to start a solo career. Mayfield, while keeping the Impressions together, continued to write for and tour with Butler before the Impressions got their first Top 20 hit in 1961, "Gypsy Woman."

Mayfield was heavily steeped in gospel music before he entered the pop arena, and gospel, as well as doo wop, influences would figure prominently in most of his '60s work. Mayfield wasn't a staunch traditionalist, however. He and the Impressions may have often worked the call-and-response gospel style, but his songs (romantic and otherwise) were often veiled or unveiled messages of black pride, reflecting the increased confidence and self-determination of the African-American community. Musically he was an innovator as well, using arrangements that employed the punchy, blaring horns and Latin-influenced rhythms that came to be trademark flourishes of Chicago soul. As the staff producer for the OKeh label, Mayfield was also instrumental in lending his talents to the work of other Chi-town soul singers who went on to national success. With Mayfield singing lead and playing guitar, the Impressions had 14 Top 40 hits in the 1960s (five made the Top 20 in 1964 alone), and released some above-average albums during that period as well.

Given Mayfield's prodigious talents, it was perhaps inevitable that he would eventually leave the Impressions to begin a solo career, as he did in 1970. His first few singles boasted a harder, more funk-driven sound; singles like "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go" found him confronting ghetto life with a realism that had rarely been heard on record. He really didn't hit his artistic or commercial stride as a solo artist, though, until Superfly, his soundtrack to a 1972 blaxploitation film. Drug deals, ghetto shootings, the death of young black men before their time: all were described in penetrating detail. Yet Mayfield's irrepressible falsetto vocals, uplifting melodies, and fabulous funk pop arrangements gave the oft-moralizing material a graceful strength that few others could have achieved. For all the glory of his past work, Superfly stands as his crowning achievement, not to mention a much-needed counterpoint to the sensationalistic portrayals of the film itself.

At this point Mayfield, along with Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, was the foremost exponent of a new level of compelling auteurism in soul. His failure to maintain the standards of Superfly qualifies as one of the great disappointments in the history of black popular music. Perhaps he'd simply reached his peak after a long climb, but the rest of his '70s work didn't match the musical brilliance and lyrical subtleties of Superfly, although he had a few large R&B hits in a much more conventional vein, such as "Kung Fu," "So in Love," and "Only You Babe."

Mayfield had a couple of hits in the early '80s, but the decade generally found his commercial fortunes in a steady downward spiral, despite some intermittent albums. On August 14, 1990, he became paralyzed from the neck down when a lighting rig fell on top of him at a concert in Brooklyn, NY. In the mid-'90s, a couple of tribute albums consisting of Mayfield covers appeared, with contributions by such superstars as Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Gladys Knight. Though no substitute for the man himself, these tributes served as an indication of the enormous regard in which Mayfield was still held by his peers. He died December 26, 1999 at the age of 57. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Self Haters with a Pen

Getting teens to understand that we exist in a world of grays and not black and whites is probably the most complex lesson they will ever learn, just because you admire someone does not mean they will always be right and the person you loath is not always wrong. It is the issue not the person that has to be judge. To quote the late John Johnson CEO of Ebony "We have no mutual friends or enemies only interest."

Case in point: the brilliant writer, director, John Ridley who directed the showtime series Barber Shop wrote the novel that inspired the movie U-Turn and did the screenplay for 3 Kings
Brilliance does not cover racial self hatred which is quite evident in his incendiary,December.Esquire article, The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger.

"Let me tell you something about niggers, the oppressed minority within our minority. Always down. Always out. Always complaining that they can't catch a break. Notoriously poor about doing for themselves. Constantly in need of a leader but unable to follow in any direction that's navigated by hard work, self-reliance. And though they spliff and drink and procreate their way onto welfare doles and WIC lines, niggers will tell you their state of being is no fault of their own. They are not responsible for their nearly 5 percent incarceration rate and their 9.2 percent unemployment rate. Not responsible for the 11.8 percent rate at which they drop out of high school. For the 69.3 percent of births they create out of wedlock.

Now, let me tell you something about my generation of black Americans. We are the inheritors of "the Deal" forced upon the entrenched white social, political, and legal establishment when my parents' generation won the struggle for civil rights. The Deal: We (blacks) take what is rightfully ours and you (the afore-described establishment) get citizens who will invest the same energy and dedication into raising families and working hard and being all around good people as was invested in snapping the neck of Jim Crow.

In the forty years since the Deal was brokered, since the Voting Rights Act was signed, there have been successes for blacks. But there are still too many blacks in prison, too many kids aggrandizing the thug life, and way too many African-Americans doing far too little with the opportunities others earned for them.

My issue with Ridley:If you truly had an concerns with African Americans why don't you bring it to African Americans, why is it in Esquire, a white forum as if you're going to whites to ask them to correct Black issues because as you can see these dumb blacks are too dumb to even appreciate this fine article about how dumb they are. I love to ask Mr. Ridley, What have you ever done to change the condition you so heavily criticize? I see this as an exercise in self hate especially coming from a guy who made his career doing urban oriented shows
Undercover Brother: The Animated Series, Those Who Walk in Darkness,Platinum and the Fresh Prince. I wonder was he always above those negroes, or did he realized his position when he could afford it? Hollywood's fickle John and the heads you chop off today WILL be the butts you're kissing later.

Then we will have a walking definition of a "N" & Sell out

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When Blow Hards Blow Too Hard

Getting teens to understand that we exist in a world of grays and not black and whites is probably the most complex lesson they will ever learn, just because you admire someone does not mean they will always be right and the person you loath is not always wrong. It is the issue not the person that has to be judge. To quote the late John Johnson CEO of Ebony "We have no mutual friends or enemies only interest."
Case in point I normally agree with Rosie O'Donald's politic's and I can find nothing that Michelle Malkin has to say that I'd want to hear until now

Rosie was dead wrong and Michelle, on the money
Go figure

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bloody Sell Outs

Getting teens to understand that we exist in a world of grays and not black and whites is probably the hardest lesson anyone will ever teach, just because you admire someone does not mean they will always be right and the person you loath is not always wrong. It is the issue not the person that has to be judge. To quote the late John Johnson CEO of Ebony "We have no mutual friends or enemies only interest."
Case in point Russell Simmons one the architects of hip hop a practicing Buddhist.his new job title is puppet for the Diamond industry who has been working overtime to discredit Ed Zwick’s film Blood Diamond click here
Russell Simmons who spent the past week trotting around Africa on a trip paid for by the De Beers-led Diamond Council and clouding the conflict diamonds issue with pathological self-promotion since he hawks his own line of overpriced bling. click here for more
Director Zwick blasted back with his own response click here

Truth I like Simmons, but it s clear that he would sell out his family for a buck. Hip Hop does not need Bling to exist. Diamonds does not aide any poor communities, in Africa, here or anywhere else.
In short, see the movie, make up your own mind about diamonds. Then hear the argument understanding that someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes

Friday, December 15, 2006

Images of Dignity, Charles White

Charles White was an African-American graphic artist, painter, and instructor.
From a broken home in Chicago, Ill., White found that he could draw at the age of seven. He studied violin for many years acquiring a permanent love for music. An avid reader, he once said "A book that fascinated me and opened up new vistas, was Dr. Alain Locke's The New Negro. I had never realized that Negro people had done so much in the world of culture, that they had contributed so much to the development of America, it became a kind of secret life, a new world of facts and ideas."

White studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Art Students League. By completing the course, White qualified for employment with the Works Project Administration (WPA), it was during these year that he learned the desire to use his craft in altering the preconceived “Black image” in America. In 1941, White married sculptor Elizabeth Catlett while at Dillard University in New Orleans. In 1942, the two came to New York City and White developed an influential relationship with Viktor Lowenfeld, an Austrian psychologist.

Through this relationship, White enhanced his work; he discovered the reason he painted as he did and other therapeutic values of the expression. It was during this time that Sepia and White became his trademark. Some of Charles White’s vast artistic contributions include Awaiting His Return 1943 (shown), Goodnight Irene 1952, Awaken from Unknowing 1961, Two Brothers have I had on Earth 1965, Wanted Poster no. 3 1969, Homage to Langston Hughes 1971, and Harriet 1972. One of the finest draftsmen in modern America, White was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1972.

A spirited yet frail man, Charles White taught at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles from 1965 until his death in 1979.
A History of African-American Artist from 1792 to present
by Romare Bearden & Harry Henderson
Copyright 1993 by Romare Bearden & Harry Henderson
Pantheon Books, NY
ISBN 0-394-57016-2

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Integration of The Hip Hop Nation

by Min. Paul Scott featured on
Davey D Hip Hop Corner

Rollin' down the street, one evening, I heard the familiar boom of a car stereo pumpin' a Lil Wayne track. A glance at the car pulling up next to me revealed a white dude giving me that "what up" head nod that is usually reserved for brotha's. I gave him a friendly Black Power fist and drove away. I have had that experience many times before and just shrugged it off but I had just watched the latest police brutality video earlier that day and I just wasn't felling all that cross cultural.

Integration versus segregation has long been a debate
in this country among black folks and white folks as fist fights have broken out on both sides when someone was called a @#%$ lover or an Uncle Tom/Oreo, one
too many times. During the Civil Rights Era many in the Black community began to equate FREEDOM with Integration and saw them as inseparable concepts.

The media characterized the integrationist, at worst, as a good hearted,yet unrealistic dreamer, but demonized the Black segregationist as an evil, militant hate monger who hated all white people and sober minded negroes. While the black segregationist
wanted the right to self determination and felt that this could only be achieved by Black people doing for themselves and worst case scenario, establishing a
sovereign nation within a nation, the integrationist felt that even the worst racist, white supremacist was acting out of ignorance and if they could just get to
know us, they would eventually love us and share all of the wealth and privileges which they had accumulated from slave labor and other forms of
exploitation. While neither option was really acceptable to white America, they accepted the integrationist dream as the lesser of two evils because at least that option included white folks at the center of every discussion while the Black
separatist left them totally out of the equation.

Today the debate can be carried over into the realm of Hip Hop as many see the fact that white teenagers are getting caught up in a virtual reality 'hood that this
is somehow a sign that Dr. King's "Dream" has come true.

The white fascination with Black culture goes backwell before Rap music as the earliest white Rock and Rollers would try to imitate black folks on Saturday
night at the Sock Hop by letting their hair down and "getting a little funky." It was during the 70's that some brotha told Wild Cherry to "play that funky music
white boy" and it was not until years later that I found out that the Sara that Hall and Oates were trying to get to smile had blue eyes and blond hair. So, integration has long been acceptable on the dance floors of American Band Stand and Solid Gold, it is
the other areas of society where the problem lies.

The message that white folks are giving is that we will party with you and even dress like you (like we are going to some costume fantasy ball) but when the
clock strikes twelve, your BMW turns into a bus pass and I get in my Volvo and drive home to my cottage in the 'burbs . And on Monday morning, go back to my job
on Wall Street and you go back to sweeping trash off of Main St. While integration may have crossed the Soul Train line, it has not crossed the line of
social, economic and political equality.

Someone said that over 70% of Rap music is purchased by white people. While this may not raise a red flag entertainment wise, it is disturbing from a political
point of view. What is disturbing is that we have packaged and sold a warped idea of Blackness and while the idea of "thuggism" may be embraced by both Black
and white children, the concept is marketed to white children as a fad that they will out grow but marketed to Black children as a way of life. As the white child
has the luxury to change clothes, go off to an Ivy League School and later inherit the family business, the masses of Black children will have no such luck
and will follow that lifestyle to the prison or to the graveyard.

This is also problematic in the area of Conscious Rap. I have heard it said that some concerts by conscious rappers are mostly attended by white kids. The
question is, at what point do you get too black for even the most liberal minded white people? Our people are in dire need of the TRUTH, some of which may be
too much for white folks to handle or fully grasp the meaning. Even though some intellectual white folks will deny this, there are some things that you cannot
learn from buying Public Enemy's Greatest Hits andreading the Source, every month. As Black people there
are still some issues that we need to be able to
discuss, straight up without referencing each
statement with "it's not a black thing, it's not a
white thing" or "I'm not trying to be racist but…."

Within the broad dimensions of Hip Hop, there needs to
be a Black Consciousness Movement. As Marcus Garvey
once said Race First and Africa for the Africans,
someone must be bold enough to say in Rap music; Race
First and Hip Hop for the Afrikans! That does not mean
that Hip Hop must be totally isolated from other
cultures as African people have long freely been
willing to teach all those who were willing to learn,
even to our detriment. But as it is said no one is
going to save Black people but Black people and that
must be instilled in the hearts and minds of our

Some days, even I may feel a little
can't-we-all-just-get-along-ish and watch a Brady
Bunch marathon while Justin Timberlake is playing on
the radio. But most days I just want to be Black and
that is good enough for me.

Download the TRUTH Minista Mix courtesy of Digital

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gangsta Warfare

I strongly recommend the movie Blood Diamond not only for its politics but also for it's depiction of life in a war zone created by greed.
One of the most frightening elements of the movie is it's use of gangsta hip hop. Soldiers (as young as 7-9) use it as their battle cry, invading villages with boom boxes, and playing gangsta videos when they congregate. In America are groups ready to defend Gangsta hip hop, saying violence in hip hop has no direct impact on the listener. The scenes in this movie that takes pride in its authenticity says otherwise
I'm not buying diamonds and I'm not interested in hearing rappers say all they're doing is telling about their life on the streets. because if its impacting people abroad its having a negative impact here.
To learn more about the movie click here
To learn more about blood diamonds click here

Its Possible

If elephants can swim, then we can certainly teach our kids

Thursday, December 07, 2006

World Tour

The world is getting smaller and its occupants smarter, listen to this innocent song and see what countries gives your emotions a jolt

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm

Gr. 7-10. Even readers who don't like sf will be drawn to a hero who has a sense of humor about his serious mission. In Zimbabwe in the year 2194, the military ruler's 13-year-old son and his younger brother and sister leave their technologically overcontrolled home and find themselves on a series of perilous adventures. Tendai and his siblings encounter mile-high buildings and other miracles of scientific advance; they also find fetid slums and toxic waste dumps. As they're kidnapped by gangsters, forced to slave in a plastic mine, and accused of witchcraft, they're pursued by mutant detectives, who are both bumbling and sensitive and who always seem to be just one step behind rescuing the children. In the best section, the siblings find themselves in a traditional Shona village that at first seems idyllic but turns out to also encompass fierce sexism, ignorance, and disease. Throughout the story, it's the thrilling adventure that will grab readers, who will also like the comic, tender characterizations, not only of the brave, defiant trio and the absurd detectives, but also of nearly every one the kids meet, from street gangsters and spiritual healers to the English tribespeople with their weird customs. Tendai's spiritual coming-of-age is the least interesting part of the novel, but teens will like this teenager with "a hot line to the spirit world." (Reviewed Apr. 1, 1994)¾Hazel Rochman

Now that's Teaching!

Events to get more boys to read include car show and radio-controlled races

Click here for more

Whats Wesley Snipes up to

I came acrosss this image for Wesley's new movie, its pretty cool

A gunman knows too well the ways of vengeance. Fast and furious, he has killed every man who crossed him. But his gift with a gun comes with a curse. All those who die by his hand will return. Enter the world of GALLOWWALKER, where vengeance lives forever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Don't Remember If I Posted This Before

Why We Forget

The process of remembering

The process of memorising information can be split into four distinct stages. These are:

  1. The registering of information by the five senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch and/or taste.
  2. The interpretation by the brain of the impulses that are generated by the five senses. This is what is termed understanding.
Click here for more details

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Venus is At it Again

Click here to hear the new mix

The Love of Violence as Art

Antonio Riello was born in 1958, in Italy, in a little medieval town called Marostica near Venezia. Now he divides his life between Marostica, Milano, and Amsterdam. After high school he earned a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Padova University. He also has a degree in Architecture from Venezia University. After his studies, he decided to travel around the world working hand-to-mouth with various odd jobs. These jobs included working in a Sadomasochist club in Zurich-CH and as a magician for a German television show. Now he is a professor of "videogame aesthetics and related matters".

He teaches in Italy and abroad.

Since the beginning of his artistic career, he wanted to be a social reporter investigating his immediate environment. He is particularly interested in the "dark sides" of Italian contemporary life. His artistic inquiries examine: prostitution, criminal scenes, bad tricks, "shortcuts for happiness", "home killers", mafia activities and domestic crimes against women and children.

Following the concept of "Ladies Weapons", Riello has begun a similar project called "Ladies Armors". Using plastic, steel and kevlar, he intends to create body armor for women as elegant and effective as the weapons.

"In 1998 I decided to focus my artistic research mainly about a "fashion-fiction" visual story regarding an old passion of mine: weapons - objects full of symbolic senses. I want to mix, in an artistic way, traditional 'female stuff' like fashion with very traditional 'male stuff' like guns. It consists in a restyling of real military weapons into fashion items for ladies".

Every weapon is one of a kind and named after a woman who has been important in Riello's life. Say hello to "HELENA".

Riello uses real military weapons to create his works: assault rifles, pistols, sub machine guns, hand grenades, rocket launchers, etc. He uses weapons from many armies: Russian Kalashnikov, American M-16, Italian Beretta, Israeli UZI and Galil, German HK 33, etc.

This one left me scratcing my head, but isnt this same love of violence playing itself out in more areas of our lives than we care to admit?

Monday, December 04, 2006

What do Teachers Want?

I was listening to a radio broadcast and the question was asked what do Teachers want?
I was amazed that the responses were, classrooms without conflict, less government interference, (draconian programs like No Child Left Behind) and more supportive parents
In short, Teachers want to Teach

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hail Cesar

Yesterday marked the end of the daily Boondocks comic. A strip. I thoroughly enjoyed (the less I say about the animated series the better) The character that gave the strip life was neither Huey, Riley or Grand dad, but the lock wearing Brooklyn transplant Cesar. Cesar character was hopeful and upbeat a ray of sunshine against the often gloomy and hopeless Huey (the kid need meds)
Its funny that this bright character is not in the animated series, but it makes sense. Cesar would never live in a neighborhood as dark as the one on the animated series