Defining Moments…

These past few weeks have been stressful so I won’t try and formulate a coherent opinion on any of the hot-button topics. To be honest, I’ve just been too tired to deal with much of anything lately. Instead, I will share something with you guys.

I haven’t lived much. 23 very short years, in fact. With that, I know that I haven’t seen much of anything or done much that is noteworthy. So when I am able to speak with people who have lived long and fruitful lives, I listen. And those moments, those very few moments have been instrumental in shaping many of my thoughts and practices. One of those moments came exactly two years ago when I was invited to interview one of the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights struggle.

The State of their Union: What’s Love got to do with it Michelle Obama?

So, I watched President Barack Obama give his second State of the Union Address and felt totally dejected like a pimply teenage girl who’s searching find her identity. 2010-01-28-michelleobamastateoftheunioYep, to say the least the speech did feel quite underwhelming and non-surprising . . . “we’re going to [fill in the blank with your best conception of democracy]” knowing that the actual end result will not liberate the many inequalities communities of color endure. Therefore, I turned my attention to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, who was dressed in a very conservative plum dress that seemed more reminiscent of a Stepford wife than a woman who was Vice President of Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago.

But, let it be known, Michelle Obama could have had on paper sack and I would still be a Michelle Obama’s groupie because she’s from the south side of Chicago and because in some ways she reminds me of the many black women school teachers who have enriched my life by saying among many things, “Baby, you got legs. Walk,” which is why I hate for white women to call her Mrs. O.

Lupe Fiasco 'Somewhat' Agrees With Controversial Bill O'Reilly Comment

Chicago MC says talk-show host had ‘credible argument’ when he compared Chicago to Haiti.
MTV | January 27, 2010

Lupe Fiasco: “I don’t want to be pointed out as supporting Bill O’Reilly in any way because he can be on the garbage sometimes. When you’re comparing certain areas in the U.S. that are predominantly African-American or Latino, it’s very easy to compare it to the Third World,” Lupe said. “Just in the amount of violence that’s there, the corruption that’s there, the gang activity that’s there. It’s prevalent and dominant in Haiti. The corruption of the local politicians, the abject, corporate exploitation that takes place there, loan sharking, all that stuff. I think you can make the comparison to a lot of places in the U.S. Oakland [California], Detroit. Detroit’s got abandoned buildings. On that note, he’s definitely not out of the ballpark. There’s a credible argument there. I agree with that in some aspects.”

Listen to Bill O’Reilly’s comment here

What do you think???

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me…Please Tell Me Your Kidding.

happydayToday was a good day. Got to sleep in (always a treat), attended my graduate course taught by Professor Cathy Cohen (Race & Politics—always interesting), and I had an interview for the Office of Multicultural Affairs on campus (which I nailed by the way). In fact it has been a good week so far. I’m helping out with the relief efforts for Haiti on campus, I continue to be in a happy relationship, and I finally saw Avatar and Book of Eli this weekend (Denzel does it again). But right when everything was going so well, at the very moment where I thought I could be content with my week, I read this story:

Rep. Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City has introduced HB 3408- “An act relating to marriage.” It would make it a felony for a minister of the Gospel to solemnize a marriage not recognized by the state of Oklahoma.”

We The Corporations of America

We all know that some parts of the Constitution are vague. Even though the document was ratified over 222 years ago, constitutional scholars still fiercely debate over what a “well-regulated militia” actually means. Depending on whom you ask, “cruel and unusual punishment” can be swatting a fly or it could be water boarding. Some people believe there should be a federal ban on gay marriage, and there are some who believe the decision should be left up to the states. The self-proclaimed “textualist”, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, said “[it] is the law that governs, not the intent of the lawgiver.” In a perfect world, this should be the case. However, the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission makes me wonder if it really is the case.

January 18, 2010 – January 24, 2010

Celebrating History, Shaping the Future
Lynne E. Washington, Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 24, 2010

A payoff for eating right
James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 24, 2010

College students ‘step’ up to mentor
Kathy Haigh, Charlotte Observer, January 24, 2010

Teens Brainstorm How to Stop Violence
The Associated Press, January 24, 2010

Berkeley High may cut lab classes to fund programs for struggling students
Maria L. La Ganga, LA Times, January 24, 2010

NAACP Sees Dr. King’s Legacy in Youth
Jonah Lipsky, Marthas Vineyards Gazette, January 22, 2010

Brooklyn Youth Holding Benefit Concert to Support Haiti Relief Efforts
Ned Wilbur, Global Newswire, January 21, 2010

Racial bullying roils a Philadelphia high school
Patrick Walters, Miami Herald, January 21, 2010

Chicago’s shining beauty lies in its diversity
John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times, January 21, 2010

Seven to compete in Thursday’s teen poetry slam contest
The Advocate, January 18, 2010

'Voodoo is 10'

My real post will be up in a few minutes, but I just had to post this.  Questlove reminded all of his Twitter followers that D’Angelo’s album, Voodoo was released ten years ago today.  It is still one of the most miraculous albums I’ve ever heard, and one of greatest live shows I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, it was better than Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation Tour.

Folks need to be listening to this album all day.  The first time I heard it, my response was a tepid, “Okay.”  Then, late one night, I played it again and something just clicked.  I’ll never forget that moment.  I played Voodoo non-stop for weeks, took it everywhere with me.

A Twitter friend contends that “Spanish Joint” is the best song on this album.  I told her “Africa” had to be my favorite.  Her response was that “Africa” wasn’t a song, but a meditation.  Can’t say I disagree with her.


Empire State of Mind Part XXII

by PS22 Chorus

The PS22 Chorus delivers big time on this New York anthem by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys! Props to Dominique & Messale for amazing jobs on the lead vocals & rap (respectively). And of course to Ethan for a well-deserved happy dance at the song’s conclusion.

We based our version more on the Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind Part II,” but as a tribute to Jay-Z version, the kids and I created our own little rap that obviously was a bit more age appropriate.

When You Fall In Love?

When I fall in love it will be forever
Or I
ll never fall in love
In a restless world like this is
Love is ended before it
s begun
And too many moonlight kisses
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun

When I give my heart it will be completely
Or I
ll never give my heart
And the moment I can feel that you feel that way too
Is when I fall in love with you.

—Written and Composed by Nat King Cole—

How do you know when you’re in love? How do you know if the person who’s holding your hand speaks the thump, thump, (skip a beat) thump language of your heart? Do they exude the rhythmic and vocal complexities of Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong crooning “Baby, its Cold Outside?” Or is it more like Jordan Sparks’ and Chris Brown’s ballad[ized] (yes, I made up a word) “I can’t breathe without you . . . no air?” Or is it more like falling into Kurt Ellings’ Leaving Again, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.

Furthermore, what are the tell tale signs of someone in love? Do they visit their beloved Facebook’s profile during the day just wanting to see a picture of them knowing that if the relationship ever ended and Facebook decided to be “gangster” listing how many times people visit their friends’ profile, they would appear to be cyber-stalkers? Or, is it when she is up in the wee morning hours trying to write a blog about a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity detailing how fat around the thighs and derriere area are great health benefits only to find that she’s unable to focus on writing her piece because she has just realized that she has fallen in love with someone who she is no longer in relationship with? Perhaps, it’s all these things give or take a long endearing walk in the park at twilight or a nearly silent hand embrace as your beloved drives.