Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mychal Bell Released on Bail

JENA, La. (AP) — A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest here was released on bail Thursday.
Mychal Bell's release came hours after a prosecutor confirmed that he will no longer seek an adult trial for the teen.
Bell, one of the six teenagers now known as the "Jena 6," walked out of the LaSalle Parish courthouse Thursday afternoon, still facing trial as a juvenile in the December beating.

We All Live in Jena

Monday, October 1st, 2007 at Noon, Central Time.

Artist/ Activist Mos Def along with M1, Talib Kweli, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, Change the Game, National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Association, and student leaders from 50 campuses call for a National Student Walk-Out to rally and show support for the Jena 6, who are being denied their human rights by the Louisiana criminal justice system.

The Case of the Jena 6

Last fall, when two Black high school students sat under the "white" tree on their campus, white students responded by hanging nooses from the tree. When Black students protested the light punishment for the students who hung the nooses, District Attorney Reed Walters came to the school and told the students he could "take [their] lives away with a stroke of [his] pen." Racial tension continued to mount in Jena , and the District Attorney did nothing in response to several egregious cases of violence and threats against black students. But when a white student--who had been a vocal supporter of the student's who hung the nooses, taunted a black student, called several black students "nigger"--sustained minor injuries from a school fight, six black students were charged with second-degree attempted murder. Last month, the first young man to be tried, Mychal Bell, was convicted. He faced up to 22 years in prison for a school fight until the Black people began to organize and his conviction was thrown out because he was tried as an adult. However the DA and the Judge still refuse to set a reasonable bail or to drop the charges in this case and Mychal is still in jail!!

Mos Def is asking students worldwide to assist in the fight against racial injustice and show solidarity for these young people, who have been treated unequally by the law. The prosecution of these young men symbolizes a terrible miscarriage of justice, by punishing students who opposed segregation in their schools and disregarding the threatening acts of others who advocate it.

As students and activists we say enough is enough! What is happening in Jena is happening all over this country. From Sean Bell to Mychal Bell, the criminal justice system is killing and incarcerating us. We will not be silent!

Judge J.P. Mauffray and District Attorney Reed Walters have engaged in a string of egregious actions, the most recent of which was the denial of bail for Bell on Friday. We call for:

1. All charges against the Jena 6 be dropped

2. The immediate release of Mychal Bell

3. The United States Department of Justice to convene an immediate inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the arrests and prosecutions of the Jena 6;

4. Judge Mauffray to be recused from presiding over Bell 's juvenile court hearings or other proceedings;

5. The Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel to investigate Reed Walters for unethical and possibly illegal conduct;

6. The Louisiana Judiciary Commission investigate Judge Mauffray for unethical conduct; and

7. The Jena School District superintendent to be removed from office.

Other endorsers include: Common, Immortal Technique, NyOil, Cynthia McKinney

For more info contact
To add your school to the list or

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Holding BET Accountable

Last week another Rally took place, one that was no less powerful than the one in Jena New Orleans one holding BET accountable for the garbage that they flood impressionable minds with everyday

Washington DC – A crowd in excess of 500 rallied in a powerful yet peaceful demonstration outside the upper Northwest Washington DC home of Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO, Black Entertainment Television Networks. With signs reading, “BET Does Not Reflect Me”, “Lift Us Up, Don’t Tear Us Down”, “We Are NOT Gangsters and Pimps” and “I Am NOT a B I # * H – Respect Me!”, the largely African American crowd of children, teens, young adults and adults marched for two hours. They rhythmically chanted, “Enough is Enough” and “BET – Be Better, Do Better!”Joining in the rally were representatives from the National Congress of Black Women, the National Organization of Women, the Feminist Majority, other local activists and Maryland Delegate Justin D. Ross.
At the 2:00 p.m. press conference Rev. Delman L. Coates, Ph. D., campaign organizer, stated that the campaign is about home – about what is being brought into people’s homes everyday – regardless of whether or not they want it in their homes. "The purpose of the campaign is to protest the commercialization, marketing and distribution of content that degrades black women and portrays negative stereotypes of black and Latino men as pimps, players, hustlers and thugs."Coates articulated the campaign goals, the first of which is for media and music companies to develop universal creative standards for the music and videos they produce, market and distribute. He also stated another goal - “We are also looking for Congress to allow consumer choice in the cable industry; more popularly known as ‘a la carte cable.’ We believe this is important because, currently, even if consumers change the channel, a portion of their cable bill still goes toward subsidizing those outlets that produce content they don't desire or support.” Coates referred to a 2006 FCC report concluding that ‘a la carte cable’ could reduce cable bills by 13 percent." Rally participants of all ages and backgrounds peacefully expressed their disdain for the ways in which people of color portrayed in the popular culture. Supporters demand a change.Demonstrators vowed to return next Saturday, September 22nd @ 1:00 p.m. to continue the protest in full support of Coates’ statement, “This is a movement not just a moment.”For more information or to schedule an interview with Rev. Delman L. Coates regarding this campaign, visit the website or send an email to:

Monday, September 24, 2007


The first step is to become your own best friend and cheerleader.
Begin by acknowledging your talents and abilities. Write a list. Include the 'little things', they count! Everybody is good at something. Think of the things that come easily to you. Take time to do this exercise, it will encourage you to recognize what you're good at.
Spend time thinking about all the things you do well and the things that have gone well for you. Look for things that make you feel good about yourself.
photos of past achievements
note exams that you've passed
things that you've written
thank you cards
memories of compliments you've received and positive things that have been said to you ...
Create a scrapbook or journal and add to it as you progress. Concentrating on things that you've achieved will give you confidence to start moving out of your comfort zone.
To build self confidence you need to do things that will help you to gain confidence.
Decide to stop under estimating yourself and stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop demanding that everything be perfect, things seldom are, yet they are often 'good enough'.
Remember, everyone makes mistakes - let yourself off the hook. Don't dwell on past mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Concentrate on the positive things that you've done and let your successes be your inspiration.
Focus on what you're capable of rather than what you can't do. Give yourself credit for your efforts even when things don't turn out as expected. Learn from your mistakes - ask yourself what you could do differently next time.
Monitor your self talk. That's the inner voice that says, 'I can't do this', 'I made a mess of that again' ...
It's time to shut you inner critic up. Remember, you're going to be your own best friend, Friends encourage one another and build one another up. So, the next time your negative critic starts to tell you that you're no good at something, silence it.
Replace the negatives with positives. Tell yourself, "I can do this, I just need a bit of help." "I did much better this time, I'm getting there."
Make a decision to only allow your inner voice to offer constructive, encouraging comments.
Observe your self talk for a week. This is the first step in turning your self talk into an ally. Listen to what you're telling yourself.
What kind of things have you been saying to yourself?
Are they helpful?
Would you speak that way to a friend or a young child?
If not, work on changing what you say to yourself. Replace the negative comments with something positive and encouraging.
You develop self-confidence by thinking well of yourself and feeling good about yourself, not by beating yourself up.
Try giving yourself gentle advice and encouragement. For example, when you've made a mess of something, tell yourself, "I could have handled that better but it's time to move on, learn from my mistake and think about how I can do it better next time.
Remember to record your achievements in your scrapbook or journal. When you need a boost, look at them and remind yourself of your successes. In time, you'll have more faith in your abilities and more confidence to try new things.
"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." Richard L Evans
"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." Norman Vincent Peale
"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear." William Jennings Bryan
You'll find more practical coaching articles at
When you subscribe to my free newsletter - The 5 Minute Life Coach, I'll send you a valuable free guide - Be Your Own Life Coach Now. This step by step guide will help you to start changing your life straight away. And each month, I'll send you a link to a valuable free eBook. You can start transforming your life today.
Lynne Lee is a Christian life coach and spiritual mentor. She helps people to re-design their lives around what matters most. Copyright: Lynne Lee - All rights reserved

Friday, September 21, 2007

Venus is So International

Creating Mychal Bell

There have been many who have commented on Mychal Bells past offenses saying they are the reason why he's still in Jail. But what are the circumstances that led to Bell's behavior? Bell lives in a town so entrenched in its racist views that it's unable to comprehend that it has a problem let alone admit it. In interview after interview the town folks repeatedly denied that the town was racist, but action after action stated the opposite.What sort of town has a tree that only whites can sit under? And blacks have to ask permission? And when they are granted permission it's telegraphed out so that in the morning there are nooses underneath the tree
In Oakland, CA nooses would not be perceived as a childhood prank, but a racist action.What sort of town has a school superintendent that reduces an expulsion to a simple suspension trivializing the matter as a prank (maybe from his perspective it was a prank but he's not Black)The sheriff warned the black student that there would be serious consequences for expressing there displeasure with there second class treatment as humans and there were.How much rage must there be in Bell and his Black peers and where did it come from? Let me take a guess, the very racism that is in the air. Now instead of addressing the issues that led to the behavior, its better to believe that locking Bell away will resolve the matter. The march yesterday was to say “Enough! We will not endure racist behavior and be punished for expressing out dissatisfaction”
Authorities in Alexandria, Louisiana, (an hour away from Jena) arrested two people after nooses were seen hanging from the back of a red pickup Thursday night, the city's mayor told CNN.
Alexandria is less than an hour away from Jena, Louisiana, and was a staging area Thursday for protesters who went to the smaller town to demonstrate against the treatment of six black teens known as the "Jena 6" in racially charged incidents.
Police say the 18-year-old driver of the truck was charged with driving while intoxicated and inciting to riot and also may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor -- the 16-year-old passenger.
I find myself enfuriated from this racist act and I’m thousands of miles away, I can only imagine how African Americans living there must feel

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Artists Band Together For 'Jena 6' Benefit

Hillary Crosley, N.Y.
Nick Cannon, Lloyd, Baby Boy, Sean P, Twista, Tank, Jagged Edge, Killer Mike, Bobby Brown, DTP's Small World and Hurricane Chris will perform at the "Jena 6 Empowerment Concert," to be held Sept. 29 in Birmingham, Ala.

The event aims to raise national awareness of incidents that have occurred over the past year in and around a Jena, La., high school, involving violence between African-American and white students.

"What's happening to the Jena 6 is not an isolated incident -- it could happen to any of us," says Baby Boy. "We are asking men of all persuasions to stand on the front line with our young people and send a message demanding accountability of law enforcement officials and the judicial system."

In conjunction with the concert, Cannon and Danity Kane's Aubrey will host a Sept. 28 peace rally at Birmingham's Parker High School.

In related news, David Bowie today donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for the African-American teens. The donation was announced by the NAACP, which is organizing protesters in advance of tomorrow's sentencing.
Commenting on his donation, David Bowie said: "There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena. A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defence Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Too Hot for HBO

Mos Def & Cornel West had one of the most honest and open discussion on race, religion, war ever to be seen on television in a long time So much so that it appears HBO refuses to show it On Demand (actually viewing the episode before and after
Offensive, Profanity laced and obnoxious, but brutally honest, our leaders could learn something from this discussion

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

By the Seat of their Pants

At a time when Billions are going into senseless war, and schools are being cut and the idea of Amercian Dream is becoming more of a dream than a reality and young African Americans need only to look at the Jena 5 and Katrina a year later to see what their prospects in America will be There are groups who are so offended by baggy pants that they would fine unemployed undereducated teens up to $500 for wearing their pants sagging
Talk about misplaced priorities

Read the article by Associated press writer Matthew Verrinder

Proposals to ban saggy pants are starting to ride up in several places. At extreme end, wearing pants low enough to show boxers or bare buttocks in one small Louisiana town means six months in jail and a $500 fine. A crackdown also is being pushed in Atlanta. And in Trenton, getting caught with your pants down may soon result in not only a fine, but a city worker assessing where your life is headed.
"Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It's a wonderful way to redirect at that point," said Trenton Councilwoman Annette Lartigue, who is drafting a law to outlaw saggy pants. "The message is clear: We don't want to see your backside."
The bare-your-britches fashion is believed to have started in prisons, where inmates aren't given belts with their baggy uniform pants to prevent hangings and beatings. By the late 80s, the trend had made it to gangster rap videos, then went on to skateboarders in the suburbs and high school hallways.
"For young people, it's a form of rebellion and identity," Adrian "Easy A.D." Harris, 43, a founding member of the Bronx's legendary rap group Cold Crush Brothers. "The young people think it's fashionable. They don't think it's negative."
But for those who want to stop them see it as an indecent, sloppy trend that is a bad influence on children.
"It has the potential to catch on with elementary school kids, and we want to stop it before it gets there," said C.T. Martin, an Atlanta councilman. "Teachers have raised questions about what a distraction it is."
In Atlanta, a law has been introduced to ban sagging and punishment could include small fines or community work — but no jail time, Martin said.
The penalty is stiffer in Delcambre, La., where in June the town council passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Several other municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.
At Trenton hip-hop clothing store Razor Sharp Clothing Shop 4 Ballers, shopper Mark Wise, 30, said his jeans sag for practical reasons.
"The reason I don't wear tight pants is because it's easier to get money out of my pocket this way," Wise said. "It's just more comfortable."
Shop owner Mack Murray said Trenton's proposed ordinance unfairly targets blacks.
"Are they going to go after construction workers and plumbers, because their pants sag, too?" Murray asked. "They're stereotyping us."
The American Civil Liberties Union agrees.
"In Atlanta, we see this as racial profiling," said Benetta Standly, statewide organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. "It's going to target African-American male youths. There's a fear with people associating the way you dress with crimes being committed."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Jena 6 Charges Reduced

HOUSTON - Ruling in a racially charged case that has drawn scrutiny from national civil rights leaders, a judge in the small central Louisiana town of Jena on Tuesday partially vacated the conviction of a black teenager accused in the beating of a white student while the district attorney reduced attempted murder charges against two other black co-defendants.

Judge J.P. Mauffray threw out a conspiracy conviction against Mychal Bell, granting a defense motion that Bell's June trial was improperly held in adult court and should instead have been conducted as a juvenile proceeding.

But Mauffray let stand Bell's conviction on aggravated second-degree battery, for which the 17-year-old faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 20. On that date, thousands of demonstrators from across the nation are planning to descend on the town of 3,000 to protest the prosecution of Bell and five other black youths who have come to be called the "Jena 6." the months since the Tribune first reported the Jena story in May, civil rights groups, including the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Congressional Black Caucus, have all criticized what they assert is the uneven application of justice in the mostly white town.

The six black youths were all initially charged with attempted second-degree murder after an incident in December at the local high school in which a white student was attacked and knocked unconscious after an alleged taunt by him.

That altercation capped months of violent racial unrest between blacks and whites throughout the town that was triggered in September 2006, when three white students hung nooses from a shade tree in the high school courtyard in a warning aimed at discouraging blacks from sitting there.

The white youths received brief suspensions after the Jena school superintendent termed the incident an "adolescent prank," which in turn angered black students and parents who saw the nooses as a hate crime because of the history of lynchings in the Old South.

In the racially tense months that followed the noose incident, other white youths implicated in attacks on blacks were charged with misdemeanors or not at all, while the black youths in the school beating incident were charged with felonies.

"The court of public opinion is starting to coalesce rapidly around the defense of these kids," said Alan Bean, director of Friends of Justice, a Texas-based civil rights group that has closely followed the Jena case. "Not that anybody justifies what these kids did, but they see that what's happening to them isn't fair and the district attorney and the school superintendent really created the situation that led to this."

Bell, a state-ranked high school football star who was 16 at the time of the attack, is the only one of the six defendants who has so far gone to trial. On the eve of his trial, District Atty. Reed Walters abruptly reduced the attempted-murder charge to aggravated second-degree battery; on Tuesday, Walters similarly reduced the charges against defendants Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw, whose trials are set for January.

Bell's new defense attorneys said they plan further appeals before the Sept. 20 sentencing hearing in a bid to get his remaining conviction vacated.

"Basically, we are knocking things out one piece at a time," said Louis Scott, the lead defense attorney. "We are going to try to knock the rest of it out soon."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hip Hop Supports the Jenna 6

A delegation from the Hip Hop activist community will serve as Ambassadors for Common Peace at the September 20th, 2007 protest rally of the Jena 6 trial in Jena, Louisiana. Mr. J. Michael Carr Jr. of the Fathers for the Future Foundation (FFF) and Troy Nkrumah of the National Hip Hop Political Convention (NHHPC) will lead a delegation of young people to Jena to monitor, mediate, and demonstrate for the justice of the six young youth who are on trial and unless justice is served could spend the decades in prison. This delegation will also include over 10 young lawyers from around the country who will work as legal observers to ensure that the constitutional rights of the demonstrators are not violated by law enforcement.

Invited by the "Friends of Justice", the actual organization to first break the Jena 6 story to the Chicago Tribune and BBC in December 2006, the Ambassadors For Common Peace will work to promote civility and goodwill at the mobilization in Jena, LA. It is the belief of the Hip Hop community that this is one of the most salient racial trials since the Rodney King verdict in 1992 and has the potential to repeat the disastrous outcome if justice is not met for the defendants. This one trail has the potential to set back race relations and delegitimize the current strides made in the fight for racial justice, thus furthering the heightened racial tensions.

Just as with the 1964 deaths of the three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi, the six black youth facing attempted murder and aggravated assault charges in Jena, Louisiana are bringing the national climate of racial injustice to another tipping point. The hip hop generation has taken a stand to voice their objection to the circumstances around this trial, because the impact will have such long term ramifications on American society, thus silence is not an option.

The Ambassadors For Common Peace understand that it is the proclivity of both sides to interpret the case based on their own perceptions; however, we would like to state that it is our intention and objective to remain true to the philosophy of nonviolent direct action. Therefore, our focus is to be advocates for a peaceful, but vocal demonstration and to discourage those who seek to agitate through the call for violence at the September 20th rally. We encourage all who are concerned with this matter to come out and participate in a safe, constitutional and effective mobilization for the justice for the Jena 6. for more info click here

Monday, September 10, 2007

Talking to Yourself


What is self talk? Something we all do. You are telling yourself things all the time, and your unconscious mind is listening without arguing.What you tell yourself affects the quality of your life, and your abilities as well. Don't you think you should pay more attention to that internal dialog?
What are you primarily using, positive self-talk or negative self-talk? Look at the example below of some of the things that positive and negative people say. Notice the difference, because when you do, you'll start to understand how "mere words" can affect your life.
Examples Of Negative Self Talk
Negative self talk often involves explaining bad things by internalizing them ("There I go again."). It treats bad things as permanent ("It's always the same."). It generalizes ("Work sucks."). When explaining good things, negative people often externalize them ("That was just lucky."). They consider them temporary ("That went well THIS TIME."). They see them only in a specific context ("Well at least that part went right."). Some more examples of negative self talk:
"I always screw up when I meet someone new."
"This is fun for now."
"This place is great, not like mine."
"Well, at least THAT meeting went okay, I guess."
"I picked the wrong lane like I always do."
"This nice weather can't last."
Examples Of Positive Self Talk
Positive self-talk explains bad things by externalizing them ("The weather stopped the picnic."). It considers them temporary ("Those were a few tough hours."). It sees them as isolated ("Well, THAT part didn't work out, but..."). When positive people explain good things, they internalize them ("My life is going great!"). They consider them as more or less permanent changes ("Now I've got the hang of this."). They generalize from them ("This job is really working out well."). Some more examples of positive self-talk:
"I did well on that test."
"I like the way things are going at work."
"This could be a great business to be in."
"That problem was just due to technical problems."
"It was rough, but only for an hour or two."
"It rained, but the trip was fun."
You don't have to believe that your self talk makes a difference. If you are just willing to watch, you will see the evidence for yourself. Explain things to yourself in a positive constructive way, and you'll see a difference in your attitude today. Make positive self talk a habit and you'll see a difference in your life.
Steve Gillman writes on many topics including brainpower, weight loss, meditation, habits of mind, creative problem solving, generating luck and anything related to self improvement. Learn more and get FREE e-courses at

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Defining What You Sand For

Its good to see that for many the ban on the "N" word was not just a publicity stunt

Eddie Griffin dissed and embarrassed after using N word

Al Sharpton got a laugh at Eddie Griffin but it was for opposite what Griffin thought was funny. If comedian Eddie Griffin didn’t know the N-word was banned and buried, he found out when the publisher of Black Enterprise magazine pulled the plug on his raunchy standup routine and had him thrown off the stage.

Griffin, who headlined a soldout show at Black Enterprise’s 14th annual Golf and Tennis Challenge in Miami on Friday, was about 10 minutes into his N-word-laced act when publisher Earl Graves turned off the mike.

Minutes later, Graves appeared onstage with a cord and plug in one hand and a working microphone in the other. He told the audience at the posh Doral Golf Resort that Griffin’s microphone had been turned off because he repeatedly used the N-word.This was a big event and others are beginning to take notice, the n word ban is serious in professional circles.For Griffin to be bounced in front of everybody sent a message.

Graves, a prominent businessman whose Labor Day weekend event attracts corporate sponsors like Aetna, Pepsi and FedEx, got a standing ovation. He said Griffin, 39, would be paid.

Attendees said Griffin - who has appeared in “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “Undercover Brother” and “Scary Movie 3″ - sauntered onto the stage smoking a cigarette. He yelled “F— y’all!” before walking off, they said.

“We at Black Enterprise will not allow our culture to go backward,” Graves said. “Black Enterprise stands for decency, black culture and dignity.”

The NAACP held a public “burial” for the racial slur during its annual convention in Detroit in July.

Griffin’s publicist, Jeff Abraham, declined comment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

'Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow

A Review of 'Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow' May 28, 2007
Having had too little time to devote to novels the past few weeks, I've been bingeing on graphic novels -- short ones. While eating a bowl of cereal Sunday morning I read Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso (Hyperion, 2007). Already I'm itching for December to arrive, bringing this book with it. That's how anxious I am to put it in the hands of all customers at or over the age of 10. Contrary to what its title might suggest, this graphic novel is not so much about Satchel Paige as it is about the miserably harsh conditions of life for blacks living under the divisive Jim Crow laws of the American South. Narrating the story is Emmet Wilson, a fictional Alabama sharecropper who once scored a run against the legendary pitcher of the Negro Leagues. Permanently benched due to injury, he now picks cotton under the watchful eye of two vindictive white landowners who would just as soon root for a team called the "Yankees" as show any kindness toward him and his son. Much of the plot hinges on the tension that builds along the racial divide in Emmet's town, but its black and white residents do share one thing in common: an awestruck regard for the pitching talents of Satchel Paige. It's his eventual appearance on their hometown field that brings this story to a heady climax and a powerful conclusion.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow is the second book Hyperion has published in collaboration with the Center for Cartoon Studies. Their first joint venture, Houdini, The Handcuff King by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi, was an entertaining and interesting look at one particular stunt in the life of the world's most famous escapologist. I enjoyed Houdini, but not half as much as Satchel Paige. Sturm and Tomasso's collaboration is the real thing: a compelling narrative, a strong voice, solid illustrations, and the perfect pacing to move the story along but keep you, in places, on the edge of your seat. At less than 100 pages, it's a short read, but in the time it'll take you to complete it you'll feel the range and strength of emotions it would take most prose writers twice as long to convey. The last four pages of the book offer detailed notes on what's contained in the story's panels, helping to account for some of the real-world events that informed this story's fictional one.
I love this book. I love its deeply human message and I love the window on American history that Sturm and Tommaso are opening for their readers. Through it we see just how much the sport of baseball and one of its stars meant to a generation of blacks who were barely allowed to play the game of life, let alone win at it.
Posted by Alison Morris on May 28, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Brand Called You

Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here's what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc.

From: Issue 10 August 1997 Page 83 By: Tom Peters
It's a new brand world.
That cross-trainer you're wearing -- one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who's got you branded. That coffee travel mug you're carrying -- ah, you're a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion "C" on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi's rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker's symbol crafted into the end ...
You're branded, branded, branded, branded.
It's time for me -- and you -- to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
It's that simple -- and that hard. And that inescapable.
Behemoth companies may take turns buying each other or acquiring every hot startup that catches their eye -- mergers in 1996 set records. Hollywood may be interested in only blockbusters and book publishers may want to put out only guaranteed best-sellers. But don't be fooled by all the frenzy at the humongous end of the size spectrum.
The real action is at the other end: the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents, looking to have the best season you can imagine in your field, looking to do your best work and chalk up a remarkable track record, and looking to establish your own micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Because if you do, you'll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm's (or laptop's) length, you'll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team's success -- you'll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for next season's free-agency market.
The good news -- and it is largely good news -- is that everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.
Who understands this fundamental principle? The big companies do. They've come a long way in a short time: it was just over four years ago, April 2, 1993 to be precise, when Philip Morris cut the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 40 cents a pack. That was on a Friday. On Monday, the stock market value of packaged goods companies fell by $25 billion. Everybody agreed: brands were doomed.
Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services -- from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants -- are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.

You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.
If your answer wouldn't light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client, or -- worst of all -- if it doesn't grab you, then you've got a big problem. It's time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.
Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What have you done lately -- this week -- to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?
For full article click here