The stories of living in America, as told by Black folks, often expresses discontent with its living conditions, but we love America just as much as we feel that it does us wrong. Hip-Hop keeps alive this Black narrative of cultural-nationalism or locale-nationalism, of love for and pride in American land ties. Every Hip-Hop artist, especially Black ones, has a debut appearance that is inseparable from allusions to their original slum. For his latest single “Peso”, new artist ASAP Rocky assures that no audience member would be confused as to where he came from. Harlem pleases him aesthetically unlike any other borough, Harlem symbolizes ASAP’s comfort zone, and it is the institution that informs his lifestyle. The Black, the American of African descent, has a country that anchors the Black’s identity.
From the persecution of the NAACP and Black Panthers to the brutal assassination of Fred Hampton, the FBI was very actively involved in the Civil Rights era oppression of blacks in the United States. “J. Edgar,” Clint Eastwood’s attempt at a non-controversial cinematic account of John Edgar Hoover’s 37-year reign as the first director of the FBI was superficially crafted to cater to a psuedo post-racial audience. To avoid ignoring Hoover’s racism altogether, which would be too blatant an omission for even Hollywood, the film inserts few lackluster references to the dynamics race and the FBI from the time.
A short scene shows Hoover sending a threatening letter to Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. The focus is more on Hoover’s psychological paranoia of communism without presenting signs of social racism. Hoover recites his memory of his career to a series of young FBI clerks. He makes harsh comments to each one before beginning. In a moment that parallels other, non-offensive, but rude comments to white clerks, Hoover says to a black clerk that he is “proud of” a case in which he worked with the KKK. In a two and a half plus hour movie, this is the only moment that hints at Hoover’s harsh racist views.
A thought-provoking new documentary delves into the longstanding and controversial relationship between the African American community and Soul Food.
Directed by Byron Hurt, Soul Food Junkies asks if our dietary traditions are in fact our community’s biggest enemy.
Is Soul Food killing us?
At a campaign stop in Iowa a couple days ago, Rick Santorum singled out Black people as recipients of government assistance.
When asked by an audience member about foreign aid, Santorum inexplicably went off on a tangent about entitlement programs, and let this little gem slip:
“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. And provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling again.”
As the world becomes more politicized and more conscious about how those in power use and divide us, so goes popular culture in general. If you need verification check the New York Times recent article, “Social-Minded Hip-Hop Is Making a Comeback.” For those familiar with my music, I would argue its never left. 2011 was the year we began to see the tide shift, hell even Miley Cyrus got on the bandwagon. For me it felt good to be ahead of the curve so to speak, and to be acknowledged for songs I wrote and recorded to help raise awareness from “I Am Troy Davis” to “Occupy (We the 99)“.
On Friday, Dee Rees’ much lauded independent film, Pariah will expand its release from four theaters to eleven, increasing the opportunity for many to view this incredibly important Focus Features release. Rees’ debut work has deservedly generated a deluge of critical praise, and should at the very least garner a few nominations come award season.
The coming of age story centers on Alike (pronounced uh-LEE-kay), played pitch perfectly by Adepero Oduye as a somewhat awkward 17-year-old high school student and aspiring poet. On the cusp of fully coming in to her sexuality, Alike dons herself in boy’s clothing at school and as she explores the gay nightlife New York City with her friend Laura (Pernell Walker). At home, however, Alike dresses in a more traditionally feminine costume to throw her mother, Audrey (Kim Wayans) off of her increasingly difficult to mask scent. This, of course, is the core tension in the film, and the viewer’s stomach tightens as the stakes get increasingly higher. As this central narrative unfolds, Alike smartly navigates her way through personal discovery, experiencing first love and a gut-wrenchingly painful heartbreak, all the while preparing for that ever difficult task of leaving the (parents’) nest.
Del.school that taught black students faces sale
Staff Writer, Canadian Business, 12/25/11
Kwanzaa begins Monday with celebration at Youngstown church
Staff Writer, Vindy Times, 12/25/11
Top 10 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Successes of 2011
Marybeth Gasman, Huffington Post
Kwanzaa Begins With An Appeal To Youth
Paul Tuthill, Northeast Public Radio, 12/27/11
Tribute to Youth Activism & Possibility for a Better Tomorrow
Warren J. Blumenfeld, Huffington Post Education, 12/29/11
Hip-Hop Music as Language Instruction
Staff writer, Jakarta Globe, 12/29/11
Youth Wrestling Program Ready to Fuel Highland
Eric Schwartz, The Patch, 1/1/12
Black youth take biggest hit for pot
Louis McGill , Chicago Reporter, 1/1/12