Shades of Pretty Girls

Apparently Wale’s conditioning has been conditioned. I haven’t seen his newest video but it caused a bit of a ruckus on Twitter last night, for its apparent lack of color. The song, “Pretty Girls” pays homage to the feminine form, like every other song on the radio. The issue is that Wale’s pretty girls were all light skinned.

I never fit in with them light skins
I thought the lighter they was, the better that they life is
So I resented them and they resented me

The Ramification of Poetry Slam Part 1: The History

Jimmy Santiago Baca, a leading contemporary Latino poet writing in the United States, reminds us that “Poetry’s mission is to subvert, to question, to challenge, provoke, to flail one’s vulnerability and voice into the marvelous whirlwind of poetry’s awe, flagging at the horns of the raging beast that is societies gluttonous comfort…affirm poetry at any cost”

I am going to began yet another series. (for anyone who keeps up with my blogs, I’m sure you know by now I prefer to go in depth about one subject that I am passionate about). So far my series have been A Gay Man’s Struggle, The Ballroom Scene, and The Lies History Tells. This week I am beginning my series on The Ramifications of Slam Poetry. Over the course of the next month I want to explore and share the lasting impact that this art has placed onto my life, the simple skills it has taught me, the influence it continues to make in the media, and pop culture amongst youth of all races in the United States today. The titles of my next five blogs will be, The History, Brave New Voices, A Commercialized Art,  Skills Learned, and A Growing Art Form.

Its always amazing to me when there are worlds people don’t know about—especially when I discover a new one, realize how great it is and think more people should know about it. Slam Poetry is one of these worlds. There are so many different aspects to this art form and to this world that it is really a shame that many people have never gotten a chance to experience it. So I will start by giving a brief history lesson, and then explain how powerful this art can be.

Racism Beyond Our Borders

It is the dead of winter in Chicago and my thoughts are drifting back to summer and the month I spent in Costa Rica. My sunny daydreams, however, have been interrupted by some no-so-sunny memories of my trip…

Having just arrived and begun working on a school building project in a tiny village in Costa Rica this past summer, I encountered a group of boys, who must’ve been only 9 or 10.  They talked to my friends and I, interested in who the Americans were. After a few minutes, they all stopped talking and began throwing ROCKS, not just sand or pebbles, but ROCKS at another boy riding his bike past them. They called out names that none of us gringos were savvy enough to understand, but its safe to assume this was not friendly teasing.

One Thousand Voices

Below is a short story inspired by a conversation I had with my father

He stood at the platform ready to deliver his address. Weeks of intense rehearsal had prepared him for this very moment. As he stood attentively in his grey seersucker suit with his crisp white shirt, and wing tip shoes, he looked like a man destined for success. Although he wasn’t too keen on going to the nail parlor, his advisors insisted that he get a manicure. Their motto was and still is “appearance is perception, and perception is reality.”  Although he didn’t necessarily agree with this statement, subconsciously he knew there was remnant of truth to it.  His résumé suggested that he had been destined to perform on this grand stage.  Although he knew his pedigree was extraordinary, most of the time he felt limited by it.  Was it people’s expectations or he himself that put him there?

February 1, 2010 – February 7, 2010

TODAY’S CHILD ; Jamian, 11, loves music and the arts
Renee Zalesky, California Chronicle, February 8, 2010

How 9th-Grade Gridlock Keeps Boys Out of College
Richard Whitmire, The New York Times, February 7, 2010

Black dolls connect kids, history
Katy Jordan, The Boston Herald, February 7, 2010

Anti-Abortion Billboards On Race Split Atlanta
Shaila Dewan, New York Times, February 6, 2010

At Top City Schools, Lack of Diversity Persists
Jennifer Medina, New York Times, February 5, 2010

Black history lesson: family, church
Meredith Heagney, The Columbus Dispatch, February 5, 2010

Lowcountry students’ scores mirror past patterns
Diane Knich, The Post and Courier, February 5, 2010

Judge hears of old buildings, gifted NLR classes
Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 5, 2010

Study: Charter school growth accompanied by racial imbalance
Washington Post, February 4, 2010

Youth Sports Ethics Will Be Topic of Forums
Maureen Nolan, The Post Standard, February 2, 2010

An act of defiance that changed history
Donald W. Patterson, News & Record, February 1, 2010

100 Black Men of America Create Partnership for Stroke Education Campaign
WI Staff Writer, Washington Informer, February 1, 2010

Girl’s Odyssey Shows Challenge Of Fighting Obesity
Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press, February 1, 2010

More Than a Game

My fellow Boilermaker, Drew Brees with the Lombardi trophy

Dang.  So I had this long post-Super Bowl entry ready about sports and how I don’t enjoy trophy presentations after the game and the plantation model in professional sports and everything, but I just can’t post something like that right now.  Not this morning.  Not when there are people still partying in the French Quarter.

Making of Sade's "Soldier of Love" (via

25 Years after the debut of her first album, Sade’s long-awaited sixth album, Soldier of Love was released today.  We are celebrating the return from her 10-year hiatus with this video.  Enjoy!

Vanity Fair's Racism Sings: Don’t Cha Wish You Were White Girl Like Me. Don’t Cha.

Cover Girls March 2010

“Mirror . . . mirror on the wall who the fairest of them all?” In most fairytales, the mirror would reply, “Snow white is the fairest of them all.” However, in the case of Vanity Fair’s March cover, the names are Abbie Cornish, Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Mia Wasikowska, Emma Stone, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Kendrick . . . all up incoming young white Hollywood actresses. According to Shine’s writer, Joanna Douglass,

Vanity Fair writer Evgenia Peretz calls out the young cover stars by their best attributes: “downy-soft cheeks,” “button nose,” “patrician looks and celebrated pedigree,” “dewy, wide-eyed loveliness,” “Ivory-soap-girl features.”

Clearly, Evgenia Peretz has over-dosed on the proverbial white supremacist poisoned apple. I know what you’re thinking. Do such apples exist? Yes, they do just ask Pat Robertson what he thinks about Haiti or ask the producer and director of Couples Retreat about taking the black comedian, Faizon Love, off the European posters.