Youth as the Miner's Canaries of Democracies!

In Peter Coy’s article the Kids Are Not Alright, he quotes that democracies are “much better at managing large numbers of highly educated people” than are nations with an official leader who has absolute authority (read: autocratic countries).  Leaders of autocratic nations face the dilemma of needing an educated work force to grow their country’s economy, but with increased levels of education the possibility of political dissent grows. This point is most elaborated in the recent youth revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.  A large part of what drove Egyptian and Tunisian youth to take action were the high unemployment rates. Across the globe youth in democracies also face high (or even higher) unemployment rates, yet, they aren’t toppling their respective governments. In democratic nations like Spain and the United States,  where the youth in Spain and American minority youth’s  unemployment rates are the equivalent or significantly higher than those rates seen in Egypt and Tunisia, why are the youth not carrying out mass political demonstrations?

T.G.I.T.T.B. (Thank God It's The Token Blacky)

What’s scarier than a racist that calls out “nigger” or “coon” viciously? The racist who’s night you save by being the “token blacky”. I pose two disappointments for the eager audience at a non-black party: no weed and no freestyle. Still I manage to be the life of the party, dougieing on every song, judging rap skills, and—check this out—having big lips. Although I get a lot more love at these parties, I can’t help but realize how socially destructive they are. What’s really under all this amusement is a non-black majority (usually White) taking delight in my abnormality.

Like A Gena 6 (Is the world on the same page with Black folks?)

Oh no! The folks back home will never stop smacking their lips over this one. As African American Studies grows across the nation, its scholarly diversity does not fall behind. Could white professors be added to the “things keeping Black people down” list? Possibly, but the fall of Black academia shouldn’t be instantly expected. Many of you, with folded arms right now, have already made the fatal mistake of pitting experience as the only knowledge of struggle. Did you hear me? I said that a white teacher can understand why Langston Hughes has to say he knows rivers; or similarly, scream with Nina Simone in Mississippi.

NNEKA'S "CONCRETE JUNGLE": Addictive, powerful, life-affirming, and incredibly necessary…

Nneka is kind of like the perfect cross between Lauryn Hill and M.I.A.; she sings and raps with ease, and writes wonderfully empowering songs, while also speaking for a people largely ignored and invisible in mainstream Western culture (you know: that massive, ridiculously diverse group of people we Westerners refer to as, simply, “Africans”) . As her brilliant album cover suggests, Nneka fashions herself as the voice of the African Diasporic experience, recalling everyone from Ms. Hill and Erykah Badu to Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. Born and raised in Warri, Nigeria before leaving at the age of 18 to live with her German mother in Hamburg, it could be said that her very existence embodies a clashing of African and Western cultures, and so she’ll surely fascinate Afrocentrics and NPR listeners in the coming months. But I can guarantee you that no amount of intellectual masturbation and hype can outshine Nneka’s brilliant, and downright moving  American debut album, Concrete Jungle. Basically a collection of songs taken from Nneka’s two previous albums (both unavailable in the US), the album is an eclectic and freewheeling, yet somehow 100% cohesive mixture of hip hop, soul, rock, pop, reggae, afrobeat, funk, and trip hop.

Concrete Jungle stuns, inspires and enthralls from beginning to end, and confirms without question that Nneka has the potential to be among the most vital and fascinating voices of pop music in the years to come. Believe the hype.

The Princess and the Frog, but what about the White Frog's Hunters?

Today the Princess and the Frog opens across the nation. Of course, I’m going to go see the movie, however like most cynics I wrote a blog about the movie before it premiered approximately two months ago to  be exact. So, if my argument is proven wrong by actually seeing the film, I will write another blog saying I was wrong. However, I do not think this will be the case. Also, I hope bloggers, writers, teachers, critics, etc. are equally critical of this movie as they were of the movie, Precious.

The original title of the blog was, Mobs, Cracker Barrel, and Hunters . . . Oh, My.

Today in Post-Race History: Ignoble Nobels

Here’s your daily dose of hate-filled pessimism.

Dear Vh1, Guess who’s having the best year ever.  Hope.  That’s right, Hope–a four-letter word I find no reason to use unless it’s accompanied by a “-less.”  Yet, in retrospect, I totally should’ve kept the little bit of Hope stock I had.  Instead, I panicked when the economy kissed it* and sold it to David Axelrod for a Home Run Inn Pizza coupon and a used copy of The Jordan Rules.  Yep.  I choked, just like my fantasy football team did this week.  (Gargamel’s Revenge is now 4-1.)  Hope is not intangible.  Hope is priceless.  Hope is worth more than the American dollar multiplied by GM stock.  Hope is currency.  Hope can e-race you.  Hope can garner you more votes than your opponents.  Hope will win you Nobels.

(kissed it = committed suicide)

Human Rights in the Near East: Part 1


In 2004, humiliation, pain and torture were inflected on an Afghan grain merchant named Mohammed Shah Poor. The torturer was Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan, one of the 22 royal Sheikhs of the United Arab Emirate (U.A.E). At this point in the clip, I hope you have realized that Sheikh Issa’s accomplices are police officers. Moreover, I believe (call me clairvoyant) that Mohammed (and Sheikh Issa) both realize there are to be no consequences for Sheikh Issa. After looking at the family chart, we notice that Issa’s kinfolk has the U.A.E on lock.  In fact, every top office belongs to a Sheikh Al Nahyan.  According to The Observers , on April 22nd 2009, the U.A.E Ministry of Interior (lead by one of Sheikh Issa’s brother) told ABC News that “all rules and procedure were followed correctly by the police.”