Monday, December 08, 2008

Young, Gifted and Strapped

Am I too old fashioned or am I just out of rhythm so much to expect that a young man who comes from the hood, is gifted with an extraordinary talent that blesses him or her to levels beyond their wildest dreams should act and carry themselves with a modicum of poise and discipline? Am I to think that today's urban culture is so edgy that a young millionaire has to be strapped at all times? It seems that one would leave all that back in the 'hood if, in fact, they were exposed to that type of lifestyle back then...

According to news sources, Between 1 and 2 a.m. Saturday 11/29, New Yotk giants football star, Plaxico Burress was preparing to the enter the upper VIP section of the Latin Quarter, a club and restaurant at 511 Lexington Avenue. He was holding a drink in his left hand and fidgeting with his right hand around the waistline of his pants; A witness then heard a "pop" sound, followed by Burress saying, "Take me to a hospital." Burress' legs began to shake, and a blood-covered pistol fell out of his pants;

-- Burress was taken by private means to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was treated for a gunshot wound.Burress does not have a valid weapons permit for the .40 caliber Glock, which was recovered Sunday at Burress' house, and he is facing charges that could result in a prison sentence of between three-and-a-half and 15 years.

He was not required to enter a plea and is due back in court on March 31 -- the result of Burress' lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, asking that both the prosecution and defense take their time sorting through this case. Ahhh the fruits of a pampered lifestyle. He certainly was not extended these courtesies because he is such an example of community goodwill. This brotha's trying to thug his way through life and we are rewarding him for it...!

That said, people experienced in the handling of firearms will suggest to you that anyone dumb enough to carry a gun in their waistband without a holster deserves whatever happens. And still others will tell you that carrying "Mexican" is a style of carrying one's weapon and that there are definitely do's and don't's to observe when doing so... To " Mexican Carry" is 4 or 5 o:clock ( depending on butt size ) through the belt , Outside the pants , barrel/slide in rear pocket. It can't fall downwards , shoot the genitals or go bang unless the trigger is pulled with the safety off ... add a backstrap safety and one will not have a problem. Carrying in front is something else. And definitely a bad idea.

And so, Plaxico (and most wannabegangstas) obviously did not have the proper information on how to safely carry his firearm. But what in the world was going on with him to make him believe he had to carry? I mean a man of his wealth could hire security if he is in danger. Is it that the hip hop baller status lifestyle requires him to play tough and carry a weapon? It seems that Plaxico has a LOT to lose if he were to throw down on somebody. So what gives?

To me his actions send the wrong character message to those young people who may look up to him as a role model.. Plaxico should be talking about being Young Gifted and Black, not young gifted and strapped.

If this is the future, then God help us....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A reflection of self

Today, I was on LA's Skid Row.
It is the rock bottom of LA.. the underbelly.
I was there as the radio station participated in a mass thanksgiving feeding. We fed over four thousand people in front of the Union Rescue Mission does. It is an awesome experience. Because I have to bring the setup, we were on site at 5:30 am. That time of night when elements of humanity were completing thier overnight ravages... There were boxes, poor people, prostitutes, druggies, shady characters, people sleeping in boxes, tents, and some folk did not have any shelter at all they just had the cold concrete and a blanket.

As I took the scene in, I could not help but think how close I could be to their situation. It is a very real possibility especially in these days and time. I could lose my place. I could lose my job. I could get ill and be unable to work. Anything could lead me to skid row.

In the end, I just thank God for the blessing of a sound mind. A Roof over my head. A job - no, a career. I remember and acknowledge. It could be me out there....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Against Gay Marriage. Why does that make me a bigot?

ok. I have been working and working on my tolerance. I am solidly heterosexual and being a man of the community and most importantly, a man of God, I have realized that the gay and lesbian community is a potent segment of the population and that they have just as much right to live among us as I do. I refrain from the gay jokes and slurs. I have come to learn that certain terms we used in the past to describe gays are hurtful. But at the end of the day, I do not consume my thinking about how I will treat or consider the homosexual. I just am not thinking about it that much.
That said, as a solidly heterosexual man, I do not have any interest in the gay lifestyle. Actually, I am among those who believe it is morally wrong. That said, I cannot judge. Those that quote scrupture when debating the morality of homosexuality often quote Romans 1:26-27 which quite vividly describes homosexuality as a result of sinful and dishonorable lifestyles. However; if one reads the earlier verses starting particularly at verse 18, they would see that this scripture also describes how EVERYBODY is GUILTY of dishonoring him. Idolators, the greedy, the dishonest, the wicked. Once people gave up on God according to this scripture, they were given up to thier own desires says the Bible. Homosexuality is one of the products of this...... My people who quote this scripture, however; do not connect the dots of this scripture with Romans 2:1 which says When you judge others, you condemn yourselves. It is for this reason that I cannot judge.

Now, as a man, I cannot prescribe to the homosexual lifestyle. I cannot judge. I will not judge. I have worked and prayed on this for me especially since in my industry there are so many homosexual people doing business, sometimes even people who I have to get business from. And so I have to work on my personal feelings and judgements. I have to work on my tolerance. But in my innermost being... I ain't wit it!!!!

With the election of 2008, an issue that is very prominent is Proposition 8. This measure begged the question as to whether the State of California should prohibit same sex marriage. A yes vote would suport the prohibition and no would support gay rights. There was much advertising about this issue. Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP voiced the spots that urged people to vote no on 8. She said we must stop discrimination at all costs. Those who would have you vote yes, built thier case on fear, suggesting that the education system is already teaching same sex marriage in our schools. The proposition was a no brainer to me. I voted yes. Prohibit this action. The law passed and now California prohibits gay marriage. This passage has sent hundreds of thousands of gay people to the streets in protest. I have been called a bigot, discriminatory, prejudiced.

I don't want to be any of those things. I want to love everybody even my gay brothers and sisters. But I cannot agree and there is really nothing you can tell me that will make me say that the homosexual lifestyle is right. And so you gotta reason that if I don;t agree with the homosexual lifestyle you KNOW I am not in agreement with gay marriage. MARRIAGE!!???
But again, I cannot judge. And so I say... Do what you do. Who you sleep with and how y'all sleep together is really none of my business. If that makes you happy and content in life then by all means go for it. I won't judge you for it is up to the Most High to tell you if this is right in his eyes. That said, don't ask me the question on a ballot. Don't ask me to vote on it - I am voting against it every time.

Now that I have cast my vote and made my opinion clear.. I also realize that this is a hard choice. I feel for the gay people who have lived together for years and years, as if they were married. One of them gets gravely ill or one of life's mishaps comes upon them. Then the mate cannot make arrangements, they cannot support in the traditional way that a mate has to support. If, God forbid, one of them passes away then some distant cousin gets more rights to the estate or the hard tasks of final disposition than does that person who shared thier life with thier loved one. I mean this is a hard place to be in... and I just don't have the answer.

I do know that, this is not a civil rights issue. I take offence when the gay folk parallel the homosexual experience in America with the Civil Rights movement in America. For the simple fact that the gay person can hide who they are... I nor my forefathers can hide the color of thier skin.... The question of gay rights and particularly gay marriage is a moral issue.

No, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle. But I am not thinking about them enough to be called a bigot. My spirituality and moral values I try to live by do not condone homosexuality. But those same tenets do not allow me to judge. It is that same compassion within those spiritual and moral tenets that provoke me to consider the dilemma those gay and lesbian human beings are in when they have spent a lifetime together but cannot manage final disposition or make decisions when illness strikes. I just don't know what to say about that. It is an unfortunate situation.

At the end of the day, if you ask me to vote on it..... I''m going to vote against it everytime.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama: Cultural Revolution

I, like millions in the world, am extremely happy that Barack Obama has been elected to the office of the President of the United States. As a child of the Civil Rights Movement, I definitely feel vindication for the generations of oppression wielded against my people in this land called America. I mean, the image of a black man as the most powerful man in the world, leader of the free world, the vanguard for democracy- a black family as the First Family - a solid intact black family, as opposed to the broken families portrayed on the recent CNN special called Black in America, these images are astounding to me from my generation's perspective. These images are revolutionary.

Now while my heart yearned to support the black man, I did not want that to be my solitary reason for casting my vote. As with every election I wanted my political views to align with my chosen candidate. And with Barack, he was speaking to my heart. He is the right man for the job for such a time as this.

While Obama's victory delivers hope to the vestiges of Washington politics, and indeed the world stage, his victory also signals a cultural revolution within Black American Society. For the first time, little boys and girls can see someone who looks like them in the role of President of the United States. There is louder truth to the words that "you can do anything"... The image of a loving father, loyal husband married to a black woman resounds louder than ever. This is contrary to the images we normally see of us. Broken home. Irresponsible, weak male figure, smart-ass, neck rolling woman.

The Obamas are the catalyst for a cultural revolution among African Americans. For the male, finally we see an educated, qualified brotha ready to take the reins of the most powerful nation on earth. For the female, we finally see an educated, woman who's not engaged in the smart ass one liners, the mistrust of her man, the public emasculation... Alison Samuels, a writer for Newsweek Magazine said it best "As the First Lady, she will have the world's attention. And that means that for the first time people will have a chance to get up close and personal with the type of African-American woman they so rarely see." (What Michelle Obama can teach us about Black Women)

Nonetheless, I am concerned that a lot of sistas just will not get it. I overheard a conversation the other day among four black women. All of these women are gainfully employed, mostly educated and seemingly grounded. But the conversation surrounded thier assumption that Michelle Obama had cut her eyes and rolled her neck at something that Barack had said. All this attitude emanating while she sat on the dais as her husband spoke to the masses of the people. "Girl you know she runnin that house, did you see how she cut her eyes?? She can cut them with the best of them" "She looked at him like I do my man... wait till we get home, you gonna get it..." I promise this was the essence of the conversation. They went on and on how they control thier men and he better not get out of line cause they are right there to check him.

I was incredulous that women actually think this. And particularly that they thought Michelle Obama was actually cutting her eyes at Barack. And even if she did not approve of what was being said, I believe that Michelle has more grace and poise than to show out in public. The cutting of eyes and neck rolling once again emasculates the male and a lot of black women are experts at this. I remember reading an interview of Dexter King, the son of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was asked about his marriage plans and he described how his bride needed to be the type of woman who could exhibit the poise to not chastise in public. I started thinking about the powerful men I have significant contact with. I have never seen thier wives neck roll, cut eyes or any of that foolishness in public. Actually, I know of women who are experts at maintaining grace, poise and excellence so as not to embarass or take away the masculinity of thier men in public. So why did these sistas think it was proper to do so. More importantly, why did they think Michelle was doing this to the President of the United States???

As we view the images of the Barack Obama Family, we will learn lessons of grace, poise and respect for one another. Men will see the image of a black man who is responsible, strong, super-intelligent and damn good at his job, who is at the same time a wonderful and loving husband, excellent adoring father to his children. An excellent role model for black men. Women will see a loving wife, dedicated to her family, but at the same time educated and accomplished in her own right. Not a bitter, angry black woman with little or no respect for the man even though she married him.

Our children will see an intact, loving family - occupying the White House as the nation's first family. And these images will result in our people working the more to stay married, treat one another with respect, do better in school and working to preserve the family. For family values remains the anchor, the foundation to complete liberation and move us to even greater participation in this great and free society known as the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Strategic Inflection

The Country is at a time of strategic inflection. In business, this is defined as the point when an organization has to change it's corporate strategy to pursue a different direction in order to avoid the risk of decline or even obsolescence. Strategic Inflection is the period of change that affects the organization's competitive position within the marketplace. Strategic inflection concerns the organization's ability to adapt and overcome to major innovations within the marketplace. This Country is in a time of strategic inflection. Change must occur.

We are prosecuting a war that has no merit. I mean, I thought we were going after Osama Bin Laden? And what happened to the weapons of mass destruction? We have got to get out of Iraq. It's wrong.

The economy is running amok. Was the boom in real estate a mirage? I mean in the middle of the Republican years, people were buying homes at an all time high, but in the end, people are facing foreclosures at an all time high...

Healthcare is a major debacle in this country. So many people cannot afford the prescriptions. So many people cannot even gain access to adequate healthcare.

The educational system in this country is embarrassing. Even though, in most cases, this is a state problem, the federal government needs to support the states in more effective ways so that our schools have the resources to best educate our children.

This election season is more important than ever. And the African American community's vote is an essential catalyst in the electorate for change. We saw the elevation of Barack Obama to the democratic nomination for the President of the United States. Our voice was heard throughout the primaries.

And yet, we know that we can speak louder. In fact, if we look at recent history, we MUST speak louder so that we will have the best chance to overcome any shenanigans that may happen come election day. We have to push the people to vote. Yes, we must vote like we have never done before. Everybody must vote.. you me, brother sister male female, husband wife, uncle June Bug, Aunt Pep, Momma, Poppa, Bubba an'em... and even Man Man around the corner.....Everybody must get registered. Everybody must vote.

All the organizations of the community must organize and mobilize to get the people to the polls. In the black church, we've got to get buses, provide transportation to the polls, consistent, accurate election information and provide inspirational encouragement and even be poll centers - opening the doors of the church to the community as an agent for change. The black church must recognize that the time for Barack Obama is divinely ordered. We must be at the nucleus of this change.

For as we study Black American history, it is the black church that stands as a consistent, firm foundation upon which our liberation as black people in America stands.

Black Media must resume its legacy as the beacon of information for the community using it's unprecedented ability to make an emotional connection with the African American people. We must provide direct and accurate information, provide ready access to the necessary voting materials. Commit significant air and print space to the relevant issues at hand, providing a fair and balanced viewpoint so that the user/listeners/reader can decide. Our access to the airwaves and the power of the printed word will activate and support change in this country.

Trade organizations, Greek organizations, Business groups, HBCU's, social clubs.... Get Up, Get out and activate change by getting your people registered to the polls.

Vote for Change. Get up, Get Out, Get involved. This country is at a point of strategic inflection.

"We've got to take this country and change it. Turn it upside down, place the first last and the last first, not just for black people, but for all people!" Kathleen Cleaver, Black Panther Party

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Soul of the Airwaves

I am a broadcast marketing professional in the urban radio industry. I work at a major market station which is one of the last independent, black owned and operated stations in the nation. I am fiercely proud of this urban radio heritage. I guess it is a by-product of my training and background as a broadcast marketing executive.

You see, I started out at Bailey Broadcasting Services, the company headed by urban radio hall of famer Lee Bailey and his then-wife Diane Blackmon-Bailey. At the time we were the premier syndicator of urban radio programs including the legendary RadioScope: the Entertainment Magazine of the Air. My experience at BBS exposed me to some of black radio's legendary Program Directors and Radio Men from whom I learned about the importance of black radio to our community. Through extensive conversation and correspondence, I was taught by a generation of black radio pioneers that Radio is often the first media choice of black people looking for culturally relevant content, music, news and information. During morning drivetime, the format is mostly the last bastion of culture for the African American driving into the workplace before they assimilate into general market America for the day. A captive audience for the exchange of information. In the home, the radio stays locked to the station for hours as the music, news and information speaks directly to the lifestyle of the African American consumer.

I have always marveled at how Arbitron measures the radio audience, particularly the black audience. The radio audience measuring company has always seemed to pride itself on its efforts to deliver accurate results when measuring the urban radio listener. I remember attending the first couple of Urban Network Conventions where Jerry "The Doctor" Boulding would host these comprehensive ratings strategy and research seminars featuring executives from Arbitron and the leading strategic research companies. They would always provide a great analysis and certainly convinced me that they put their best foot forward in the quest for delivering accurate measurement of black radio listening. In some cases, the measurement of black audience is so significant that the methodology math generates enough general market numbers to garner a significant piece of the cost per point advertising pie. The diary system was a shaky yet agreeable method by which to measure the listening audience. Now, they've come with the Portable People Meter. This new technology is being heralded as the best thing since sliced bread. General market stations love it's so-called accuracy. And Arbitron reps are really looking to convince us that it is a much more effective method to measure audience than the diary system.

The Portable People Meter (PPM) is a pager like device that is worn daily by the respondent. The device measures what the respondent is exposed to, not what the respondent actually listens to.
Consider this: Typical African American woman from the community participates in the program. We know that her primary station is the local black radio station. If she could, she would listen all day because the station is culturally relevant, and provides honest and trustworthy information on products and services, plus the news and public affairs keeps her aware of issues and concerns in her community, from her perspective.

She turns on the device at 7:30 am as she darts to her car, thereby eliminating the first two-three hours she was listening to radio while getting ready for work. Nonetheless, the meter hears her favorite station in her car. It registers the applicable info. On her way to work, she has to stop at Starbucks. The radio inside the store is tuned to the top forty station. Not her choice, but just because she visited this establishment, the meter records this as as one of her stations. At lunch, she stops at Home Depot because she needs some stuff for her home. In the Depot, the local country and western station is blaring. A station she would never listen to but because she was in the store for more than five minutes, her meter records the station as one of hers... When she arrives at her place of employment, she conforms from the chocolate diva from around the way to capable chocolate corporate.... The radio at her workplace stays on a station that she doesn't listen to and probably is not really listening to because it does not play the music she likes or provides information that matters or speaks to her directly. But the meter records this station as one of hers...

Is this theory of exposure an accurate measurement of this woman's radio consumption? Even though she is exposed to these out of home formats, does that mean she is a listener? How does this exposure translate into real advertising dollars? I mean if the station does not speak to her, how then does she really hear the advertising and take action to patronize the product or service? Is exposure an indicator of real listening? Or a by-product of where the respondent happens to go as she moves about this world.

In the diary system, the respondent was able to reinforce their listening habits through comments. They would document the personalities and times that they listen, thereby giving radio stations a seemingly more in-depth analysis of the audience. The listener could describe the emotional connection they have with their primary radio station choice. In black radio, the emotional connection is the gold. The music of the community, the news of the community and in some cases, the personalities with whom the listeners could relate because they were the brothas or sistas that lived in their neighborhood or went to church or school with. The soul of the airwaves is captured through the ability of the station to be culturally relevant.

With PPM, the soul of the airwaves is muted through a emotionless technological advancement that shows how a listener is exposed to media no matter where he or she goes.. It eliminates all consideration of that listeners qualitative proclivities. The cultural relevance of black radio is silenced. It's personalities now forced to an even more minimal on-air role as the quest to get exposed by whatever people meters are out there becomes all important. This means desensitizing your broadcast presentation to become more vanilla, transparent and soul-less. And while this may sound good in a world where multiculturalism is the goal, I submit that we can still achieve the goals of multiculturalism by remaining true to who we are as black or urban radio. Those who seek us desire the rhythm of our format. And most importantly they crave the cultural consciousness of our broadcast flow. We don't care who is listening, just as long as they listen and they listen because they can identify with the essence of the station.

Does random exposure generate results for advertisers? I mean if the respondent is only half listening to whatever radio station is ambient at the time and location they are in, then how does that spur the listener to take action at the cash register? Is the PPM holder more likely to respond to advertising on the ambient radio station? or to advertising on their P1 choice??

How many PPM's are in the field? More to the point, in a city like Los Angeles, how many PPM's are on black women 25-54? In Philadelphia, they said there were two (yes, two!) in the entire market. and each person represented more than 50,000 people. That seems like a huge guess!! I mean who validates this information? How is this acceptable?

I wish I had answers here, but I don't. What I do have is a perspective. One that is centered with the experience of marketing black radio. And like it or not, PPM is here. And so how do we cannibalize black radio to become more of the general market so that we can show up on the PPM rankers? Is the age of the personality dead? And what of the emotional connection forged by black radio through news, public affairs and the music?

Does PPM kill black radio? Do we abandon the heritage of doing black radio? Is the art form of radio dead?

These are the issues of the day. The Soul of the Airwaves is dead. Do we resurrect it? Or is it a bygone legend of the past??

Lord help us.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Regarding Jesse Jackson

In case you haven't heard by now, The Rev. Jesse Jackson was overheard dissing our man Senator Barack Obama. In a most incredulous moment of media ignorance, Rev. Jackson was preparing to be interviewed along with Reed Tuckson of the United Health Group on the Fox News Network. As they waited to go on, Rev. Jackson leaned over to Mr. Tuckson and said " Barack's been, uhh, talking down to black people, on this faith-based... I wanna cut his nuts off... Barack's been talking down to black people..."

Give me a BREAK!!! First of all, Rev. Jackson, this smacks of hateration.. Are you jealous because it's Barack and not you that has advanced to the precipice of the US Presidency?? I would think that as one of our elder statesmen of the Movement, you would encourage and counsel instead of playa-hate. I mean your accomplishments during the '84 campaign built the foundation for the prospect of a black President.

Second, you let your lips fly on the set of the Bill O'Reilly s show!!! Bill O'Reilly??!!! Dag, you know this was going to get out... But then again this is not the first time you attacked Barack as if he were a Bourgeois Negro... Last year, you said he was "acting white" because you did not agree with his reaction to the Jena Six action. Now, I have come to believe that there are blacks who are afraid of the blacks who hit the books and read and write well.. and so the defense mechanism that pops up is to accuse them of "acting white. I am certainly not accusing you of such, I'm just sayin'...

Rev. Jackson, please... don't hate, congratulate!!...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Marathon Man

Yesterday, I completed the Los Angeles Marathon.

It was a grueling exercise in fitness, focus and fortitude. Although it was my second marathon (I completed the 2006 Marathon), this one was particularly challenging as I did not train as vociferously as I had in the past and I had a lot on my mind.

I began the morning at around 4:30am. Sharon J. dropped me off at the Crenshaw/Imperial Green Line Station. MTA offered free transportation to the runners of the marathon. It was dark and cold, but I was ready. The train took about 20 minutes before it arrived at the station, and I was the only one at the platform - save for the homeless/crazy guy who wandered up there... The solitude and the view of the area from that elevated platform gave me pause to begin forming my concentration for the task at hand.

The train finally arrived and I boarded. I saw other runners on the train. The group of Suburbanite-looking folk... The young latino guy with his wife/girlfriend... we were on that Green Line heading towards the mega-event. As I observed the suburbanites, it was a culture clash to see them on the Green Line especially in the areas where we were and even more so as they transferred with the rest of us at Imperial/Wilmington station in Watts. The mixture of suburbanites, gangstas, hoodrats and brothas was profound. I wonder if these folk regarded us as curiously as we regarded them.

I struck up a conversation with a brotha who was on his way to work. He spoke in wonder about the prospect of running 26.2 miles...

Heading Towards Downtown Los Angeles

The Blue Line arrived and we jumped on - heading toward downtown... I estimate it to be a thirty minute ride from Watts to Downtown Los Angeles. I watched the sun rise as we rolled through the diverse communities of LA - 103rd Street, Firestone, Slauson, Vernon, Grand Avenue, Pico, and on into 7th Street/Metro Center. There, we joined the flow of hundreds of thousands of runners and their supporters packing the Red Line heading north to Universal Studios... It was a surreal experience at the 7th Street Metro station.. all those runners, plus massive security.. LA County Sheriffs with dogs and all kinds of officers.

My Ipod was bumpin' as my eclectic mix of gospel, r&B, classic jazz, neo-soul and hip-hop blazed into my eardome. Like a professional boxer or football player, I was getting myself psyched for the experience. We finally arrived at Universal Studios station and the doors of the train opened to let us off. "Time to Get it On!" I yelled out and moved with the throng to the starting line.

I had my backpack ready to run with it on my back, although I had preferred not to, and if I had to, all I was carrying was my jacket and an extra t-shirt. But the Marathon folks had that figured out too as UPS collected your stuff. You gave them your bib number and they filed your gear accordingly. You would be able to claim your stuff at the end of the marathon...

At Cahuenga and Lankershim, there were what looked like millions packing the streets to participate in the Marathon. I was getting more and more hype as the start time approached. And, wow, what a sight to behold!! There was a guy who painted himself green all over. There was a brotha with a blue afro. There was a guy who dressed up like some sort of superhero with Mickey Mouse hands. There was a guy who ran the marathon dressed in his native indian(american indian) attire. Elvis ran the marathon as did a squad of guys dressed up like Slash of Guns N Roses complete with top hats, long curly hair and fake cigarettes. It was a festive yet crazy scene.

The opening ceremonies got a little long-winded to me, I just wanted to get it on... You know, the National Anthem, the happy talk congratulating and acknowledging the VIP's and special elements of the Marathon. I loved to hear that the LAPD was running a torch relay in honor and memory of Randy Simmons, the first SWAT officer ever killed in the line of duty. After all that stuff it was finally ready to get started and we were off...

From Universal, over the hill through Hollywood, Hancock Park, The Wilshire area, Koreatown, South Los Angeles, Exposition Park, through the east side, all the way east to Eat LA/Boyle Heights... Coming out of Boyle Heights brought me to one of the most awesome sights I have ever witnessed. The panorama of the skyline of Los Angeles was magical even at 20 miles... It was here that I realized that I was about to complete this sojourn...

Within these miles, my mind, body and spirit were brought to submission. I found myself asking for the strength of my creator and I was convinced that He is the source of my strength. I re-evaluated my life. My situation in life, my career, my marriage, my spiritual walk.. everything. I prayed, I cried, I laughed, I danced. The experience was beyond cleansing. It was impactful and created yet another level of consciousness within me. There's physical strength and ability. Then there's will power and determination. And then there's the universal life force that I know is the Creator.. Almighty God himself.

I am so grateful for the experience of running the Los Angeles Marathon. We ran 26.2 miles. Through the diverse communities of Los Angeles. I did it on my own. All by myself. I hit it and hit it hard. What a ride...