Tame Game

A short while ago I wrote about Tiger Woods’ fall from mixed-race grace. The same tumble Obama is currently taking. They are both–Barack and Tiger, two wildly popular individuals in powerful positions, in white male dominated fields–politics and golf. If only I could say the similarities ended there.

In my first column about Tiger Woods I wrote a bit about the implications of his transgressions and his text messages which suggested he was just another hyper-sexed black man. Pimp picture at Australian Open. Fair enough. Pimps have women and Tiger had about eight of them. However, the depiction of black men as pimps and abusers of women is thrown around far too often for its use to go completely under the radar. Even in Tiger Woods’ case where it seems an appropriate connotation, I can’t help but view it as code for black man–a new angle to shed light on his true colors. Pun intended.

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?