Connections and Disconnects to a Generation of Communication

Living in America, and especially being a young person in America, means that I am arguably at the very center of the growing culture of excessive communication and interconnectedness that has permeated all aspects of the coming generation. I barely know a anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone and email and facebook and at least 2 or 3 other means of communication. So the idea of “isolation,” doesn’t always hit home. A few years ago I did a community service trip to Costa Rica, where a stayed with a family their small home in Las Brisas, Alajuela. This is a co op community of about 800 people in the mountains in Costa Rica. Google it. No hits. And I have yet to see the name on a map of any scale. Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from my host family. Their rare access to the internet (once every few months, during a trip to the closest thing to town, which is a two-hour drive) means I get an update on the family and always questions of when I plan to return.

We volunteers who have passed through are a window to them into the world outside of the Costa Rican mountains where people have access to airplanes and have the mobility to travel, to immediately receive their e-mails, and bring books of photographs of the skyscrapers in the cities we come from.

RAY J, The Money Team, and Masculinity

By now most of you have heard or heard about Ray J’s (Brandy’s brother) drunken “Money Team” rant. If you haven’t let me give you a quick recap. Rapper Fabolous went on Twitter and clowned Ray J for singing a song for Floyd MayWeather at his mansion. Apparently Ray J felt like Fab tried to emasculate him via the social networking site. He aired his frustrations on New York’s Power 105.1 radio station. For more than 5 minutes Ray J talked about how much of a man he was because he had “an indoor pool and outdoor pool, and seven new Rolls Royces outside”. All of this bragging got me thinking about how we qualify success in our society. Below is a poem I wrote inspired by Ray J aka Willie Norwood Jr. aka Brandy’s brother.

Ray’s response

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gsHORfKL04

Can #OccupyWallStreet become "Obama's Tea Party"?

Below is an interview I did recently with legendary Hip-Hop journalist Davey D, on his show Hard Knock Radio, about Occupy Wall Street. Davey asked me about people of color’s participation in the movement, whether I saw any connection between Occupy Wall Street and the protest I witnessed in Madison, Wisconsin, and also whether Occupy Wall Street can be, “Obama’s Tea Party”.

I was also blessed to attend Occupy Pittsburgh on Saturday and perform my song “Occupy (We the 99)” live.

 

 

Is It Ever OK For White People To Say NIGGER?

In an article released last week for Time Magazine, writer Touré asserts that it’s not OK for white people to use the word nigger (or its crazy cousin, nigga).

Well…he does list some exceptions.

According to Touré, white people can say nigger if they are:

1. Reporting on, commenting on, or writing some kind of think piece involving the word nigger.

 Or

 2. Using the word as part of a play, film, song, piece of visual art or stand-up comedy routine.

Is that alright with you?

Alternatives to Occupying Things

Morning.

Last week, I ranted a little about the language of Occupy _insert city here_, and how we really need to consider how semantics inform our actions. As a bit of a reminder, I support actions that look to significantly counter the growing chasm between the haves and the have-nots, but I don’t think we need to adopt the language–and behavior–of colonialists to do that. Besides, occupying occupied spaces does not make us much–if any–better than the folks we’re protesting.

All that said, I thought I might start a list here. What alternatives are availble to those of us who can’t or won’t occupy _insert city here_ ? What else can we do to disrupt the heart of capitalism? Since we live here, it’s nearly impossible not to participate, but perhaps we can limit our activity in some noticeable way. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness: But Are We Truly Aware of Both??

So, I am sitting here trying to understand why during the month of October Breast Cancer Awareness gets more media attention and corporate sponsorship than Domestic Violence Awareness which is also remembered during the month of October. I know that most women have breast irrespective of their size, pigmentation, and function. And, I also know 1 of 8 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. However, what I am having a hard time trying to understand is why it seems to be favored, if one could favor one personal disaster over another, over domestic violence especially when 1 of 4 women will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime meaning women are more likely to be exposed to domestic violence than breast cancer.

This acknowledgement is not to reduce the level of attention Breast Cancer Awareness’ initiatives receive because it is important. And, evermore important to me because a couple of months ago my “beloved” godmother was diagnosed with it which caused me to become a consumer of all things related to curing Breast Cancer. However, as a survivor of domestic violence—lived through my mother’s daily beatings—and goddaughter of a breast cancer survivor, I see the interconnections and similarities between both issues and why they must be addressed simultaneously.

Mobbin In Heels: Not Forgetting About Womyn in Hip Hop

Much has changed for the presence of female emcees since the days of Sha-Rock (I know I’m taking it way back), but the struggle for respect remains nearly impossible. None of my reflections can pin-point the reason why no female emcee has managed to have the world-wide success of Kanye West, for example. These thoughts come to mind in light of new unsigned hype from Baltimore, Mobbin Morty. Her prosperous embodiment of a hardcore leafy persona—the type of Hip Hop reminiscent of Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y and Dom Kennedy—has me in awe. She does me one better though, her ownership of female sexuality flows interchangeably with her grassy stilo. Hands down she offers way more lyrically than Lil Kim, so I wonder if her music can take her where no female emcee has ever gone.

Maya Rupert's "Is Marriage Equality for White People?"

Should Black people care about marriage equality?

Writer, activist and friend of BYP.com, Maya Rupert has written a fascinating article for the Huffington Post on this very controversial topic.

We implore you to check it out.

Rupert is the Federal Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In a recent article entitled “Is Marriage Equality for White People,” Rupert condemns the increasingly popular position that marriage equality for LGBT people is a “white issue.”

She writes,

“This narrative is untrue, and it is time we stop acting like marriage equality is only for white people. In fact, the fight for marriage equality is very much a fight about racial justice. Opponents of marriage equality are waging a culture war and, while the LGBT community may be the stated target, families of color are and will continue to be the collateral damage.”

Do you agree?

Just Because They’re Big…

I have really big boobs. They are humongous. I’m a shade over five feet tall with enough rack for three women. They draw a ton of attention. This, I know. But just because they’re huge does not mean we all get to touch them or remark about them. Thanks.

One of my mentees has been coming into her form lately and it has drawn a lot of unwanted attention from her family, friends, and strange older men. I’ve dealt with it most of my life. It’s not fun when you’re 13 years old and you don’t quite understand what’s going on with your body.  It’s even less fun when everyone around you deems it appropriate to make jokes, poke or grab at them.

Tyler, The Creator's "Bitch Suck Dick": Harmless Fun or Mindless Misogyny?

“Bitch Suck Dick” is easily Tyler, the Creator’s most mindless, obviously offensive song.

Featuring lesser known Odd Future members Jasper and Taco, it’s a demented, wild-eyed take on Waka Flocka Flame’s Lex Lugar-produced sonic chaos. Upon its release on the album Goblin earlier this year, most critics dismissed it, feminists decried it, and immature people like myself loved it.

In other words, as music’s most polarizing figure, Tyler’s “Bitch Suck Dick” is his most polarizing song. It’s that bad.

So naturally he chose to make a video for it….