Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Black Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler Dies at 58
"Octavia E. Butler's first creation in the world of science fiction was herself.
Before anybody told her that black girls do not grow up to write about futuristic worlds, Butler, the daughter of a shoeshine man and a maid, was already fashioning a place for herself in a white-dominated universe.
By remaining dedicated to her craft, sweeping floors and working as a telemarketer to pay the bills; by suffering the indignities that come with being among the first; and eventually winning a MacArthur Foundation grant, Butler carved a place for herself — and helped write a new world into existence."
Monday, February 27, 2006
IMPEACH THE PRECEDENT
The long awaited, the much delayed; the most ass-kickin hip-hop, soul and funk compilation of the summer, and probably the year, is finally here for the vinyl junkies of the world. This Album features artists from around the globe, all united in letting the people of the world know that the current precedent of war for oil, profit over environment, greed before reason, is not something to accept. This is hip-hop activism at it's finest with exclusive contributions from the likes of Thes One feat. J-live, Crown City Rockers, DJ Einstein (Ugly Duckling) feat. Soup (of Jurassic Five), People Under The Stairs, This Kid Named Miles feat Medusa, Antibalas, Poets of Rhythm, The New Mastersounds, and incredible album cuts from Jazzanova, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and The Rebirth. As with the previously released CD, proceeds from Impeach The Precedent LP are benefiting the Rainforest Action Network (RAN.org) - a stellar organization that campaigns for the planet's inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through grassroots organizing, anti-corporate education and non-violent direct action. Check out www.RAN.org.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Black Community Witnesses Nazi March
The most important part of the story is not the presence of these perennial peddlers of hatred, bigotry and violence, but the Black grandparents and grandchildren who stood witness despite calls from officials advising community members to stay indoors and "ignore" the dastardly assault. Big ups to them for not heeding the call to turn their eyes away from Hate. "The older generation grew up seeing hate. They grew up seeing these kinds of groups being open and I think for some African-Americans they want the younger generations to see that hate still exists," said Rev. O'Hara Black of Mt. Pleasant Baptist church who was quoted in online article. I, however, believe that we may need to do more than just stand by and witness.
Many young people, myself included, have no visceral experience of the viciousness and intensity of Nazi hatred and this ignorance could prove deadly for us all, whatever combination of ethnicities we get our genetics from. We must remember that this ugly brand of organized hatred was the fuel of a global war, led to the systematic murder of untold millions, and almost succeeded in the destruction of the democratic way of life. Let us not be lulled into a false sense of security that the beast has been laid to rest for good. Clearly, Nazism is no specter but a demon that still walks the street of our communities, workplaces and schools; and, no doubt, we will be called on to combat it once again. In other words, remember Auschwitz and vow never to allow it to happen again!
It is worth recalling that Nazism achieved the racist state and the mechanization and professionalization of genocide. It is a creed devoted to the demonization and murder of all people who are not members of the so-called "Aryan" race or in other words are not straight born White. Through acts of propaganda and public spectacle Nazi's work to associate all people of color with degenerate criminality, abhorrent hyper-sexuality and barbarity. The great irony, which they themselves are unaware of, is that they achieve just what they attempt to brand onto others. Another telling irony most Nazi's are also unaware of is that if they looked into every one of their cells they would find there the unadulterated mitochondrial DNA of their African mothers.
One other salient fact worth remembering is that the true genesis of most criminal acts in the Black community is a system of economic apartheid that denies Black people the means of economic survival - namely education and jobs; criminalizes the economic actions they do undertake on their own behalf having been locked out of the "above-ground" economy; hauls them by the millions into jails and disenfranchises them either as the resultant end of the felonization of their economic activity or criminally and secretly as was done in the elections of 2000 and 2004. Moreover, the greatest tragedy of this system of economic apartheid is that the criminality and violence it engenders is most often committed by Black people against other poor Black people. Black crime is not perpetrated against Whites for the most part. So, what do the Nazis care anyway? Again, this is part of their process of trying to label Blacks and non-Whites as morally inferior and degenerate. It also bears noting that the Nazi's presence in this community was the reason for the disorder and they walked away, shall we say, un-arrested.
It is my sincerest prayer that People of Color and all people who are opposed to organized hatred will have the strength of our grandparents who marched and fought in The Movement; who placed their bodies in the service of freedom without the armor of hatred, bigotry or violence; and who deployed songs of freedom to counter their fear and muster their strength; who finally, although opposed by ruthless murdering racists, and all the brutal edifices of the state and military, could not be denied the freedoms we so blithely enjoy today. And, although I applaud their courage, It is not the anti-Nazi skinheads and the anarchists alone who should have been arrested in the streets violently opposing their moral opposites and mirror images, but people of color, who are the targets of this vile organized hatred. We should be standing there, singing "Wade in the Water" once again, locked arm in arm, immovable in our determination to non-violently oppose racist evil.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Kanye Doesn't Like "Urban" Music
Hip-hop star Kanye West was shocked to hear the Brit Awards had an Urban category, declaring no music can be generalised according to race. The hitmaker hates the term 'urban' - used to blanket the hip-hop and R&B categories - and believes music should be recognised as simply good or bad. West says, "Why is there an urban category like it's different from regular mainstream? I make good music, but because I'm black it's seen as urban. You either make good music or bad music...."
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Samuel Jackson: The highest-grossing movie actor of all time follows a strict code
Rising from obscurity and addiction, Jackson has appeared in, according to his own count, more than 90 films in his career. His latest, Freedomland, opens this weekend and is his fifth major film in the past 13 months. Patrick Goldstein writes that, "What makes Jackson's career trajectory more compelling than that of Harrison Ford, the man he usurped as king of the grosses, is that after becoming a star, he's remained a serious actor, regularly cutting his salary (roughly $10 million) to do parts in small films that matter to him.
Hats off to him.
Preval: "There have been gross errors and probably gigantic fraud" in Tuesday's Haitian elections
Haitian presidential candidate Rene Preval gestures as he speaks in his hometown of Marmelade
From CBS News: "Leading presidential candidate Rene Preval claimed Tuesday that "gross errors" and likely fraud marred the vote that saw him fall just short of a first-round victory, and he said he would contest the results.
He also urged supporters to protest peacefully, a day after at least one pro-Preval demonstrator was killed and followers elsewhere occupied a hotel.
"If they publish the results as they are now, we will oppose them, the Haitian people will also oppose them, and there will be protests," Preval said.
"We have observed there have been gross errors and probably gigantic fraud," he said, adding that official results "do not correspond with reality."
Saturday, February 11, 2006
J Dilla, Dead at 32
Born James Yancey, he was a [inter]nationally influential producer and a champion of Detroit’s urban music scene. When hip-hop was largely being dominated by the East and West coasts, he put a distinct Detroit sound on many national acts.
He celebrated his 32nd birthday Tuesday with a new album release, “Donuts.”
Guided by an encyclopedic ear and a jazz musician’s touch, he molded a signature style that blended hip-hop street bounce with a progressive flair. Live instruments were digitally processed into strange new tones, and vintage soul samples mixed with obscure rock records, with his own warm synthesizer lines layered on top.
“He invented the sound of Detroit hip-hop,” said Waverly Alford, the Detroit rapper known as King Gordy. “He was Detroit hip-hop.”
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Chaos, confusion and fraud claims mar Haitian election
Thousands of Haitians protest in Cite Soleil. >> (Ron Haviv / VII for washingtonpost.com)More Photos From The Washington Post
From Reuters: "Throngs of voters jammed chaotic polling centers across Haiti on Tuesday, forced to wait for hours to vote in the first election since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was toppled two years ago.
Balloting began more than three hours late at many stations, infuriating poor supporters of ex-president Rene Preval, a one-time Aristide ally favored to win.
Some accused the government of planning the long delays to minimize the vote in poor areas and so hurt Preval's chances."
Monday, February 06, 2006
Rabbi calls on black church to help reclaim the image of God in politics
Progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner, a leader of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, an organization that has sought to link benevolent spirituality with progressive politics to counteract the growing influence of the religious right. He was described in the 60's by J. Edgar Hoover as "one of America 's most dangerous criminals" for organizing anti-war demonstrations.
Excerpt from SFGATE:
"One of the Bay Area's most outspoken liberal rabbis spoke from the pulpit of one of Oakland's largest black churches Sunday morning, calling for its leadership to reclaim the public image of God in politics.
The 5,000-member Allen Temple Baptist Church was the first stop on Rabbi Michael Lerner's three-month tour for his book "The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right," which goes on sale Tuesday.
Drawing on images of the Civil Rights Movement, Lerner...said he chose to begin his tour in the black church because it is one place where spirituality and progressive thought still coexist in America.
"The black church is one part of the liberal and progressive world that has not abandoned the message," he said, "the necessity for unity in the struggle for social justice and peace and love-oriented spiritual consciousness."
After his sermon Sunday, Lerner said that he believes the partnership between the religious right and political right has created a misguided link between God and "domination, war, and cutting off of the poor," while ignoring the "turn the other cheek" principals demonstrated in the Torah and the Bible.
Lerner drew a standing ovation from the 900-person congregation at Allen Temple's 8 a.m. service after his 30-minute speech. He sold and signed about 60 copies of the book for $27 each in the church lobby, according to a spokeswoman. The book will be available in most bookstores tomorrow."
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Pharrell's Fashion Gambit
Those wondering whether or not Pharrell's watch line will exude style you can rest assured, the man was named "The Best Dressed Man In The World" in 2005 by Esquire Magazine. Esquire credited Williams with "injecting dressed-up luxury into hip-hop style and thereby influencing a new generation of guys to consider more than just a pair of baggy jeans a reflection of their youthful vitality."
Pharell on fashion: "It's about comfort and the flow."
ABC News: Hitmaker for Britney and Justin, Pharrell Williams Tries His Hand at Solo Album