My Favorite Albums of 2011 (SO FAR)

We’re a little over halfway through 2011, and we’ve already been blessed with some incredible music. And while we still have albums from Drake, Jay-Z and Kanye, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and (possibly) OutKast to look forward to, allow me to give you a quick rundown of my top 5 albums of 2011 thus far.

Pick these records up if you haven’t already, and let us in on some of your personal faves below.

On This Day We Declare Independence From Glenn Beck

Yep, Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News has officially been terminated, thanks to his own insane rantings and a big push by activists that hounded his advertisers to abandon him, most notably Color of Change.  Justifiably, he went out with a whimper, although not the customary Glenn Beck tear filled whimper. Yeah, he has some cable channel and I’m sure he’ll say something stupid enough to get media coverage, but he clearly jumped the shark with that lame rally. After that, people just got tired of his wild theories and chalkboard shenanigans. Think about it, he was “too radical” for Fox News, that pretty much says all you need to know.

Ironically enough Beck’s biggest conquest, Van Jones has reemerged, invigorated enough to challenge Beck to a debate (Beck declined). Van Jones kicked off the Rebuild the Dream movement last Thursday in NYC with the Roots. Always inspirational, Van went right at Beck’s media smears about his past and the lies generated by Fox News about the economy. I was there and it was indeed moving, I just wish it would have came 2 years sooner (and that the Roots played a little bit longer).

A Murderer, Caught on Video, Walks Free

Yes, Johannes Mehserle, who executed Oscar Grant, in cold blood and on video, was granted an early release. Mehserle served only 11 months of his 2 year sentence. This excellent article from Mother Jones puts Mehserle’s Sentence in Perspective showing how he did less time than Wesley Snipes is doing for “income tax fraud” and Plaxico Burress did for shooting himself.

Perhaps even more upsetting, is the fact that Mehserle did any time and was even convicted of any crime, is itself a small victory. Most officers walk away Scott free for killing or beating black men, and I’m sure Mehserle would have too, if it were not video evidence he murdered Oscar Grant with no provocation.

Is There a Memorial Day for a Decorated Marine Murdered by Police?

As we celebrate/barbecue this Memorial Day, let’s not forget that many of the soldiers that have died fighting America’s wars, are the same poor disenfranchised people that this society always overlooks and demonizes, so mega corporations can make billions of dollars privatizing the conquered country’s resources and helping said country “rebuild”.

The soldiers that do make it home are often rejected, discriminated against, preyed on by predatory lenders, and in the case of decorated marine Jose Guerena, who served two tours in Iraq, shot dead in his own home by Tuscan police in front of his wife and child.

Why would a trained soldier knowingly point a gun at police and not fire? Wouldn’t he know they would return fire killing him like he had been trained to do? If he was going to fire at police wouldn’t he take the safety off of his gun?

What the news story didn’t say was that the SWAT team refused to allow paramedics to treat Jose Guerena, letting him to bleed to death, at the scene, in front of his wife and child. Also decorated marine Jose Guerena had no criminal record and the gun had to protect his family was legal.

This interview contains the 911 call from Jose’s distraught wife and powerful testimony from the Guerena’s family lawyer about the Tuscan’s police attempt to cover up their heinous act

One Year Ago: Detroit Police Murdered 7-Year-Old Aiyana Jones

Last year on this very day, the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team, while filming the reality TV show “First 48“, targeted the wrong house for a raid. Witnesses said the Police were warned that the house contained women and children before they threw a flash grenade through the widow, striking a sleeping Aiyana Jones, setting her on fire. Then Officer Joseph Weekly fired a shot into the home striking Aiyana Jones and killing her.

Instead of admitting any wrongdoing and trying to make amends, the Detroit Police concocted a false story that Officer Joseph Weekly burst through the door of the home and that Aiyana’s grandmother, seeing a member of the SWAT team in full armor with a machine gun, tried to wrestle the gun away from the Officer, causing the gun to go off and hit little Aiyana as she was still apparently sleep after all of the noises of grenades, glass breaking, and doors being kicked down.

Justice For Jordan Miles

Even though Pittsburgh Police beat Jordan Miles until he looked like this:

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And even though Jordan Miles, an honor student who plays the viola, broke no laws and committed no crimes, the Federal Government decided not to prosecute the 3 undercover Pittsburgh Police officers who savagely beat him.

To add insult to injury, Pittsburgh’s Mayor and Police Chief immediately reinstated the 3 officers without so much as a apology. An outraged Pittsburgh community called for an emergency protest to pressure the local District Attorney to prosecute these officers to the fullest extent of the law.

Below is my good friend, and fellow One Hood founding member Paradise Gray (also a founding member of the Blackwatch Movement and the legendary rap group X-Clan) passionately demanding Justice for Jordan Miles and speaking on the futility of a war on terror overseas while black men are terrorized in their own neighborhoods.

For more information on how you can help get Justice For Jordan Miles go to http://justiceforjordanmiles.com/

"Slave" Marketing

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Last Sunday I was blessed to be in sunny Los Angeles. After performing Saturday at the Our Communities Our Jobs rally, I decided to stay a few extra days to network and shoot some videos. My good friend Tahir Jahi was showing me the city and we decided to stop in North Hollywood to get some Thai food. As we walked to the restaurant I saw the above image in the window and I could’ve sworn it was a picture of a slave. I immediately stopped and made a quick left turn into the store to see what the hell was going on. Come to find out it wasn’t a slave… it was a cut out of UFC wrestler Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

I thought I saw a slave because I saw a black man with a chain around his neck. Not platinum or gold, an actual chain, that you lock something up with. Also, said black man was naked except for a pair of shorts, I mean he didn’t even have shoes on. To be honest, I was surprised that the shorts weren’t ripped up Kunta Kinte style. Now before you get all offended and say I try to make everything about race let me share a few facts about “Rampage” Jackson that I didn’t know at the time: A) He apparently always wears a chain around his neck, not jewelry an actual chain and B) Since he competes in the UFC wearing only a pair of shorts with no shoes, this is technically his uniform. But remember this shirtless/shoeless chain wearing black man is selling cell phones, which caused me to think about why certain images of black men are acceptable in this society.

It seems like advertisers these days love a shirtless black man just ask Old Spice. I mean those commercials are on damn near every time I turn on the television, and they didn’t have just one shirtless black man they had two. I can’t help but think that on a subconscious level this plays to the image of the black man as Mandingo, strong and sexual but not intelligent, thus no threat to the powers that be.

Of course this all goes back to the need to control our own images and thus avoid being stereotyped all together, but until then can y’all brothers at least put a shirt on?