Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009: Random Prognostications

In no particular order.... Here's some notable events and episodes in 2009:


Clarion Call for Change.... I watched with great pride as President Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. I had an active role in my city in getting folk to register to vote... I know the country needed change - a fresh perspective in order to bring us to a standard of greatness in these challenging times. I am proud of this moment... My only regret, whether I agree with Pres. Obama or not, is that my parents were not alive to witness this moment....

New hair: After 9 years and four months, I cut my beloved locks.....

Chris Brown vs. Rihanna: I was in the media room at the Grammy Awards when they announced that the LAPD was actively looking for Chris Brown because he had beat her down the evening before... it was a shocking and certainly nearly unbelieveable piece of information....

Cartoons or Caricature??? New York Post depicts President Obama as a Chimp. The Mayor of Los Alamitos sends out a cartoon depicting the famed White House Rose Garden as a Watermelon patch... and there's so much more....

TI goes to Jail: WTF??!!! for weapons....

Los Angeles Marathon: I am a mature man.... with grandkids and everything.... yet I completed my third marathon....

Gospel Showcase at Knott's Berry Farm: we had 30,000 people, an allstar lineup on two stages and even Stevie Wonder came out to witness the glorious ocassion... Kurt Carr, Dorinda Clark Cole, Hezekiah Walker, James Fortune, Shekinah Glory Ministry, so many more...


Lakers Win!!!!: nuff said!

Lakers Parade: City holds victory parade even though they are broke....

Taste of Soul: 105,000 people jammed Crenshaw Blvd.... for a day of music arts, and food!! Our stage was rockin!!!


BET Awards '09: epitomizes coonery and a sobering demonstration of our popular culture...

Soul Train Awards returns: And live from Hotlanta! it was aiight...

Housewives of Atlanta: A new reality hit.... Nene, Lisa, Khandi, Sheree and even Kim are a hit....

Kanye West makes a fool of himself: After this year, I really think Kanye has lost his mind.... jumps onstage and takes Taylor Swift's microphone away from her to proclaim Beyonce should have won the award instead of Ms. Swift... it was unconscionable....

Michael Jackson passed away: wow.... 'nuff said.

Michael Jackson Funeral: I got tickets....

Michael Jackson Red Carpet: I was on the red carpet at the premiere of This is it...

I am positive there are more moments out there.... but this is enough for your discussion right now.....

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tiger Woods Race War???

Ok... let me get this straight...  the CIA thinks Tiger is revered by the black population to the degree that his downfall would demoralize us and maybe just maybe we would take to the streets for war.... a race war....

Ain't nobody checkin for Tiger like that!!!!

I received this article in my inbox at the outset of the Tiger Woods mess... I immediately dismissed it as a far fetched fairy tale of conspiracy theorists and crackpots... but upon reading it a second time -and this some weeks after the story of Woods' infidelities- I read it again just to critically analyze the article's claims....

I'm not sure about all this, but I will say that being a part of a talk radio show known as Front Page over the years, I have met and talked to a number of scholars and well informed people who have long warned of a CIA-instigated race war... read the article for yourself. I've inserted it here, but I must give credit to the originating website http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/  Here, there are supporting links with curious, yet interesting info...)

Read.... comment... think....

Tiger Woods ‘Takedown’ Reported Ordered By CIA

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

An interesting FSB report circulating in the Kremlin today states that the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is behind an unrelenting media assault upon US golf legend Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods [photo top left with his Swedish model wife Elin Nordegren] and had ordered his ‘takedown’ in an effort to greater fuel their efforts to ignite a race war these forces believe is needed in order to socially re-engineer the United States as it nears total economic collapse.

The startling revelations in this report are reported by the FSB to have been released to Russian Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye (GRU) agents posted at the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. this past week by an “associate” of the head of the American private military force known as Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC), Erik Prince, who had just been “outed” by the CIA as being one of their main operatives involved in a covert plot to assassinate enemies of the United States.

So angry was Prince over his outing by the CIA, that aside from releasing previously secret CIA intelligence to the GRU he blasted the American spy agency by publically stating to the US magazine Vanity Fair, “I put myself and my company at the CIA's disposal for some very risky missions, but when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus.”

To the reason behind the CIA’s targeting of Tiger Woods, this report continues, is the ‘deliberate demoralization’ of Americas black raced population by the destruction of one of their most esteemed idols by the racially stereotyped depiction of him as an ‘out of control’ and ‘oversexed’ negro man unable to assimilate among whites.

Even worse, this report further states that the ‘main target’ behind the media destruction of Woods is President Obama, whom the CIA has calculated will suffer increasing alienation from his Nations white population (who number 75% of the American population compared to a black population of just 12.4%) by his being compared with Woods as both Obama and Woods are viewed as the two most popular of all black American peoples and reinforcing white Americans belief that ‘black men just can’t control themselves’.

New reports from the United States are showing that these CIA actions against Obama are indeed working as a just released Gallup Poll finds his approval rating falling below 50% among all Americans for the first time of his Presidency, and among white people alone falling to the chilling low level of just 39%.

To the disdain held by the CIA against Obama we can see evidenced by a report from a former member of the CIA's Directorate of Operations named Kent Clizbe who states in an article titled “CIA Counterterrorism Expert: Obama and Holder 'At War' with Agency” that the “Holder/Obama Global War on the CIA has only just begun.”

Not being understood by the American people, however, is that Obama’s war against the CIA is deemed vital to the survival of the black peoples of America who have been under an unrelenting assault by this spy agency for over 40 years and who have pumped literally hundreds of Trillions of dollars worth of drugs into America’s black communities (and reaping Trillions in profits) from their vast narcotics networks of cocaine from Colombia and opium from Afghanistan.

To the horrific destruction of American black peoples by the CIA it should be noted that the courageous investigative reporter Gary Webb first brought the insidiousness of this spy agencies actions in a 20,000 word, three-part investigative series titled “Dark Alliance” written for his then publisher San Jose Mercury News, but who under pressure from the US government stopped their publication of Webb’s articles, none of which were ever reported by the ‘mainstream’ US propaganda media. On December 10, 2004, Webb was found dead with two gunshot wounds to his head, which was ruled a ‘suicide’.

So successful has the CIA’s genocidal destruction of the black population of America been that aside from having the World’s largest number of their citizens in prisons (Land of the Free?), the black population of the US is jailed at a rate of 3,138 black males per 100,000 against 451 per 100,000 of white males and leading Human Rights Watch to warn in a 2008 report that fully 11% of the black male population of the US were behind bars, and at just 12.4% of the American population they now make up nearly 55% of all American prisoners.

It is also interesting to note in this report that the CIA backed American tabloid newspaper National Enquirer is reported to have broken the scandalous stories about Woods, and which is important in that this tabloid was one of the main targets of the US Military retaliatory strike against the CIA following the attacks on September 11, 2001, when its headquarters building in Boca Raton, Florida was infected by the deadly anthrax botulism killing a photo editor named Robert Stevens who became the first death in what is now known as the “2001 Anthrax Attacks”.

To one of the most fearful conclusions of this report it states that with Woods “destruction by scandal” nearly complete, Obama will become so weakened among American white peoples that his effectiveness to govern will be destroyed, a most grim outlook especially when viewed in the light of the Global ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service now warning that the United States credit rating is in danger of being downgraded for the first time in its history and the US government also warning that their entire economy is in danger of collapse because their citizens are saving their money instead of spending it, and in an economy based not on making things but on consuming is vitally important.

Most unfortunately for these American people in all of these events is their utter failure to remember their own history, especially the events of the dark Great Depression year of 1933 when another of their Presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, when facing off against these evilest of forces was nearly deposed by coup called “The Business Plot” led by Prescott Bush (the father of one President, the grandfather of another) and which sought to join a new Fascist led United States with that of Nazi Germany which had, likewise in 1933, saw the seizure of their government by the US backed and financed Adolph Hitler.

To if Obama, like Roosevelt before him, will be able to withstand and survive the war being waged against him it is not in our knowing. What is in our knowing though, is that unlike Roosevelt, Obama now governs a population of Americans of whom the majority have been reduced to nothing more than idiots and imbeciles and, like the peoples of Nazi Germany before them, are totally uncaring and blinded to the mass genocide of their black population that has been happening right before them.

© December 8, 2009 EU and US all rights reserved

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Morning Glory: Step into the Light

I love waking up in the pre-dawn hours. The essence of being completely awake and alert in time to see the first light of  God's new day is exhilarating and empowering. Each day, I seek to detect the very moment that the sun pierces the veil of night's darkness... The exact instance when the Sun's ray's explode over the horizon.


I'm not talking about that totally visible and dramatic moment of sunrise that we have seen in photographs, film and video... no... I'm talking about that short moment in time just before dawn's explosion of light.  The nano-second when the molecules of light first collide  with and overtake the molecules of darkness. It is a moment that seemingly cannot be detected by video or photography. It is a moment that must be perceived and observed with your Third Eye... It is the moment just before your physical eye can behold the morning glory that is the rising sun as it illuminates the heavens and the stars which shone so brightly moments before but are now making a hasty exit 1 by 1...
" And God said, 'Let there be light...' " Gen. 1;3

On most mornings, I am up meditating and excercising. 4 Am and I am outside embarking on my morning run. Usually a 7-10 mile run on most days. It is so still and quiet. The last vestiges of night's denizens have gone in and the world seems to be completely still. Fully night. The darkest hour... I rise... I pray.... I run.... I listen. ... I listen to the quiet. I am listening for God... He is there... I know it... I want to hear Him...and I want Him to hear me...At this hour there is nothing to do but be quiet and listen..... to the quiet..... listen......
And then, in a twinkling of an eye, the light comes. In that instant, I can actually hear the light colliding with the dark. I can perceive the light... it's on but yet it is still dark... Have you ever been in a room or place where someone is taking photos with a flash, but you are not in the room or in direct view of the flash... you are just periphally conscious of the sudden burst of light. That's what the instant of morning looks like to me...  I see the light.. it's like the flash but it does not diminish. It does not go away. It remains on... There is a discernable light all around me. But then I notice that not only is the light coming from the rising sun, there is a light emanating from my soul.
"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."  John 8:12

When the sun's light hits my consciousness, my inner light is energized. Like a solar battery is energized when exposed to sunlight, my inner light is energized. I am alive, recharged and powered up...ready for the new day... God has given me another day to share my light with the world for inside this light, He lives... This light is the force of  God's essence. This light is life's energy.... for all things on the earth need sunshine. We need the light to see... We need it to share.... Light is the essential element for sight. We need to see... inside and out.

This morning light I have described is pure for it is at this moment the energy is untainted from evil thoughts, bad vibes and malicious intentions of those who dwell in the shadows. and so in the morning I run... I breathe, I open my heart and mind, my spiritual and physical consciousness to receive the pure essence of first light. The light empowers me and charges my life to do, think, act, and love... The light is the nucleus of  my soul...

Now I know that most folk reading this are not up and moving about at this early hour. Most are turning over in their beds trying to capture a last hour or two of sleep. But think about it for a moment. There's that instant in the morning when you awaken. You have been sleep all night and there is that moment when you wake up. You just open your eyes. It still dark, but nonetheless your eyes open.... You may glance at the clock, you may turn over and get even more cozy under your covers... and go back to sleep. But nonetheless you eyes opened and you did not rise to see the first instance of illumination. You went back to sleep. But the exact moment of God's new day erasing the unconsciousness of night has not escaped you. Because after all, you heard the moment of first light in your consciousness. Yes, you heard it. Because in an instant.. in the early morning you were awakened by the voice of God from a deep sleep. Sleep so deep, that the next stage would be death. In that instant the solar batteries in your soul were charged and powered on... In that instant God turned on the light and whispered your name in your ear, telling you that another day is nigh... another day to act, think, do and love....God's will. Get up and do something.... Yes. God called your name, you woke and opened your eyes.. but did you hop to? Did you get up to answer God's call? or did you again close your eyes, roll over and go back to sleep????......

Some folk never see the light. It is all around them but they still cannot see... . Some folk never step out into the light.... we remain depressed, sitting in the dark... curtains drawn.... keeping God's light out of their consciousness..... The solar battery in their soul has not been charged and needs a jumpstart. And so since they cannot get started with the light, they introduce alternative substances into the powertrain thinking that this will take the place of the light... abuse of drugs illegal and prescription..abuse of alcohol... sex addictions and perversions...  other vices which seemingly replace the light inside thier soul. but in reality these things only dims the light and in the worst cases... completely extingusihes the light.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. " 2 cor. 4:6

Some folk receive the light but keep the light shuttered within thier soul. They do not allow the light to reflect as a beacon to humankind... Selfish. But the light is meant to be shared. The light is meant to be seen so that your light may be a help to all mankind. It is meant to help, guide and empower each of us through us. Love One Another...

Just think... those folk who do not see the light are fumbling around in the dark and maybe just maybe they need a little light to shine so that they can find thier way.... Your light is an essential element to other folk's sight.... It may be in the kind words you say... the smile on your face... that encouraging word..... the most inconsequential action of lovingkindness emanating from the light you carry inside your soul could represent that initial pure light that pierces the veil of their darkness.. The solar battery of thier sou is powered on... And then the sun rises inside them... the dawn of a new day....... They can see..... no longer in darkness but inside the light because you shared your light......

" Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matt. 5:16

Morning Glory........

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas State of Mind...

Over the holiday season, I have been too busy to really contemplate what the holiday season means for me and my family. I mean things were really busy from feeding nearly 5000 hot Thanksgiving meals to the homeless and indigent on LA's Skid Row with the Union Rescue Mission to being a part of a community wide effort at the yard of Jackson Limousine Service to giveaway turkeys and all the trimmings to the needy people in our community... There, we serviced more than 10,000 people with a nice sized turkey, and all the trimmings plus a box of groceries to tide them over in these hard times. Big up to EJ Jackson, Lyn and everybody over at Jackson Limousine....


After Thanksgiving, I switched gears to Toy mode just in time for a major toy drive and giveaway. Gathering toys, reading letters and talking to people who need so much this holiday season... Spreading some positive cheer to young people who if not for this drive, would not receive the joy of Christmas in any way shape form or fashion. Stevie Wonder's House Full of Toys Benefit Concert was a hit with The Jonas Brothers, Michele, India Arie and more..... We gathered so many toys... a lot of kids will be happy this Chrismas morning...

As of this writing I am approaching the last of this project. And the closer I get to the end, I have to admit that for the last few days I have been pining and reflecting on my circumstances, my family. my holiday swagger...

I realize that my parent's passing gives pause to ponder the brokenness of family. Now that they are gone, there is no gathering.... no dinner planned.... no exchange of gifts....  a memory of Christmas past. There are relationships that need to be galvanized...... and there is a future generation....

But even  still the Christmas story warms a light inside of me... Even at this quiet time of reflection.... There is hope in each day... There is celebration with each moment... There is a future..... There is joy.... Joy to the World!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The irony of peace... President Barack Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

I watched as the world paid homage to President Barack Obama... the award of the Nobel Peace Prize is an awesome and admirable honor. The paradox that he would receive the award just as he sends 30,000 troops into Afghanistan is strange fruit indeed. How does President Obama rate the prestige of the Nobel Prize so early into his Administration. So early into his entry onto the world stage?? What message of peace is being delivered by battallions and battalions of Marines and Army troops.

Yes, the President came through the electorate with attractive considerations of how to end the war... but has not had the opportunity to test and try his pre-election perspectives. After all, remember when he was first elected, he was whisked off to a series of top secret meetings with the military? I believe that it was here that President Obama got the realities of the situation. I believe that he has, after getting all the information and hisotry of the matter, he has decided to increase combat troop levels in Afghanistan so that he may have the best chance of getting Osama Bin Laden. (and why aren't we hering Bin Laden's name in the news these days?)

And even as he moves to protect democracy and freedom, the President still receives criticism from the conservative right. If he had stood by and done nothing, the right would complain that the President was spineless. And now that he takes an assertive strategy, the right wants to second guess his moves. Nothing is ever good enough.

In the meanwhile, the Nobel Prize Commiutte has bestowed it's prestigious honor on our President. not, perhaps for his peacemaking legacy - it has not blossomed for such a prize - but perhaps for his place in history as America's first African American President. The paradigm of Dr. King's dream coming true in this lifetime is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize so says the Comittee...The committee said it honored Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."  I agree that the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the nation's presidency is certainly a worthy footnote in history, but it is too soon, way too soon to honor the man for peace and diplomacy.

Even President Obama noted the paradigm as he accepted his award. "I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people," Obama told his audience in Oslo's City Hall. "For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world."

Irony of Peace. We must destroy evil to promote peace...... Congratulations President Obama.... I guess.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Soul Train Awards 2009: A reflection of heritage?

I saw the Soul Train Awards on Centric last week.... And while I could take this time to dish about elements in the show, I have to admit I was taken to a space of introspect, retrospect and reflection on where the Soul Train Awards had been. This production, after all, was a resurrection of sorts.

The Soul Train show had been cancelled upon sale of the Tribune Broadcast Company and even as Soul Train had not produced an awards show in a couple of years, the awards already had been declining in quality and allure in it's last say, five years of life...

I was glad to see it back.

Soul Train is without a doubt, a national treasure. A distinctly American heritage. The foundation for the mass popularity of modern black music. Thus, when Don Cornelius decided to produce an awards show, the Soul Train Award became, for the black artist, almost as prestigious as the Grammy Award.

Now, with new owners of the Soul Train brand, they have resurrected the Soul Train Awards anew:

New channel - BET has created a new brand called Centric. (My guess is that they are trying to re-invent themselves...)
New location: Atlanta, GA - Georgia World Congress Center
New hosts: Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard

They got off to a decent start with 4 million viewers. According to CNN and PR NewsWire, compared to the last airing of the Soul Train Awards in 2007, the CENTRIC PRESENTS: 2009 SOUL TRAIN AWARDS on BET posted triple digit gains in viewership (+144%) as well as among adults 18-49 (+192%) and ranked as the # 1 Soul Train Awards telecast ever among Adults 18-49 (2.2 MM Adults 18-49). Additionally, the show’s ratings exhibited continuous growth every half hour. BET and CENTRIC Soul Train Awards-related terms dominated the top 10 trending topics on Twitter on Sunday, November 29.

When the Awards first debuted in 1987, the buzz all over the industry was tremendous. This was our award, created for us by us.... The ceremony was held at the Santa Monica Civic Center and was hugely anticipated by people within the industry and without. I mean we wore tuxedos, the ladies wore gowns, it was off the chain.... For years we came to the Awards in formal attire, the after parties were among the most elegant in Hollywood. And soon Soul Train Awards night became a week of celebration in the city as artists, record companies, magazines and corporations gave must-attend parties with guests lists that read like a who's who in Black America publication. The Soul Train Awards were the bomb until....

With the explosion of HipHop and Rap, came the expectation of violence at some of our most important black music events. All across the nation, our biggest and best music events would be stained by the spectre of violence. Those of us in the industry would frequently be caught in the middle of some beef between hiphop crews. We stood helplessly by as hiphop posses and their street teams totally vandalized the five star hotels where we used to hold our national conventions, or some beef would send us scattering for safety as the crew squared off in free for alls and even gun battles...

The Soul Train Awards was no different. Over the years, fear of fights caused an uneasy celebration. The Soul Train Awards was known for its' awesome after parties, a reputation forever tainted after a few were shut down by police due to fights, arguments and gunfire.

In spite of it all, The Soul Train kept on rolling. And while it rolled, the Awards got more and more stale. Artists stopped maintaining the Awards as a must attend event on their itineraries. Soon, only the brand new and wannabe artists would be in attendance. Rarely did the major artist come through and if they did, they did not stay around for the after parties or social soirees traditionally attached to the Show. Backstage, we would stand around for hours to wait for an major artist to visit the media room. That was few and in the end, that few dwindled to none...

The quality even went down in the attendees.. sign of the times I guess, but for the life of me could not understand how "generation next" could stop considering the awards as a dressy affair. Folk were coming to the awards in jeans, tennis shoes, shorts. etc. Ok, I know, those are designer items that carry a pretty penny at the store, but c'mon.. jeans and tennis shoes??? At an awards show???

And now, the Soul Train Awards is back. In the end, I am glad that "generation next" had the foresight to purchase the rights. I can only be optimistic that MadVision Entertainment will retool and grow the heritage brand that is Soul Train.

I wish them LOVE PEACE AND SOUL in all that they do...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Is Church Relevant?

My friend Pastor Mark Whitlock posted a question on his facebook which asked if Christian Sermons were relevant to the issues today's communities. I found this to be an interesting question and posted an opinion on his site and decided to repost here as a blog... I do this because even as I go to church regularly, I too have contemplated this question especially as I watch so many television ministers.... so much show business inside of church... I watch the gospel music scene as it presents a contradicting message especially to young people..... I watch the issues of our community such as housing, employment, drug abuse and recovery, domestic violence, education and see that these are all issues that need the church's input, guidance and participation.

Some sermons and ministries are not relevant. And it's because that sometimes, we are so heavenly bound, we're no earthly good.... Sometimes we get so caught up in the ceremony of church, we forget that the purpose of our coming together as Christians is to save souls and love one another. how can we show love in today's world if we are caught up in spiritual cliche's and catchy rhetoric.

Some church's are relevant. Their leadership is progressive and aware of what the believers are faced with in today's world.

I like a church of action. Action in the community. One with footsoldiers out there fighting the maladies of the city with holistic and socially empowering information. The church that says Yes, we want to save you and share the Good News, but we are also a resource with real and palatable information on what you can do to lift yourself up. Come my brother! Come my sister! the church stands as a "beacon of hope" to improve our communities and serve where the underserved can be found. The church should promote self determination and education. The church organization should have a passion for community development.

The Church must be a center of consciousness for the believer in a world of confusion, strife and corruption. The lifestyle of the righteous man or woman is rooted in the church experience. The fellowship with other believers, the activities and ministries within the church, the access to study of the Word of God. so with this close relationship, the believer should be able to hear wisdom and gain spiritual insight to today's problems.

I like the preacher who can relate a message about today's life's experiences with spiritual guidance in the Word. The church that can help me align my social folkways and mores to what God would have them be. A church that helps me find the abundant life in my soul...A holistic experience that heals me, encourages me, informs me, and keeps me centered.

I like a church that can feel me like I feel it....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Politics of Race

There's no denying that this is an interesting and challenging time to be black in America. We have elected a black man as President of the United States of America which means the conscious image of the Black male, once reviled, is now the premiere representative image of America's might and power, Her leadership and her global consciousness.

Yes, the black male image was once reviled. A dangerous, shifty, not to be trusted man who could not - no- would not work, or take care of his familial responsibilities. And yet, in an effort to stimulate much-needed change in American Society, we, the people, elected the black man to lead the way. A notable accomplishment for a nation built on a foundation of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, miscegenation and outright racial terror. We have finally come to the moment, it seems, where Dr. King's dream that we are judged by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin...

Even still, the politics of race has been energized through massive media outlets. The political rhetoric takes on a contentious tone reminding us just what grandma and them used to tell us while encouraging higher consciousness..." You have to be three times as good as them" It seems that every move of President Barack Obama is criticized, ostracized and minimized... There have been cartoons relating the President to a chimp... The watermelon jokes and other stereotypical literature..

The dishonoring of President Barack Obama is unconscionable. That is our President, the leader of the United States of America and he is due ALL the respect that you bestow on the one who holds that office.

That said, I have to ask, do we really expect white folk to suddenly stop having this feeling of supremacy and entitlement? We can change the laws of the land, but we cannot change the hearts of the people. The mistrust of the black male image is the underlining of the style of criticism we are seeing. The image of an African American man, highly educated, steadfastly married, father to his children, role model to millions is the image that most concerns mainstream America.

We cannot expect middle America to suddenly change their negative perception of the black people. We have to use this propitious opportunity to work on it ourselves... control how our images are presented to the world. Yes, they have their perception of us and that will always be present on the global media stage, but we control who we are and what we are.

Even for those among us who choose to forget the history past, certainly the images and rhetoric we see today should awaken that consciousness that says We cannot forget from whence we came in this country... we have to remember where we are and whose we are in this country, and stand strong to represent our progress.

For God has brought us this far along the way... delivering us, educating us, strengthening us, empowering us.. We owe it to Him to lift our image to higher heights.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rihanna's Revenge

The Talmud instructs it's followers to "Live Well. It is the best revenge." If this is true then Rihanna has the best hand... Now, don't get it twisted, I am not saying that Rihanna follows the Talmud. I don't know what her faith is and that is certainly not the core of this writing. I am talking about how we are seeing Rihanna all over the media these days and how this exposure can help bring productive change to relationships particularly in our communities...

I was backstage at the Grammy Awards when they announced that then-boyfriend Chris Brown was being sought by LAPD for kicking the beejeebers out of Rihanna. It was surreal. I was in shock, like the rest of the world when I viewed the illegally leaked photos of her injuries. I debated with folk over whether she instigated the attack. I gasped when I read the police reports of the incident. I was totally through when I saw those photos of Chris Brown frolicking on Jet skis and even more disappointed when I learned Rihanna was right there with him just weeks after the fight.

I wanted to see Chris Brown getting some jail time for this crime and certainly was disappointed, maybe a little angry when he got probation and was allowed to spend it in Virginia instead of the county in which the offense took place. Ahh the privilege of stardom.... I was pissed that the media and justice system leaked those photos of Chris performing his community service at the side of some road in Virginia. I just thought that was an obvious publicity stunt. If that was anyone in our neighborhoods, they would have gotten jail time, probation and community service.

I thought the interview with Larry King was a travesty and made me even more angry at him. I was a little more impressed with the interview with Sway because it gave the young man a chance to really explain himself and to offer some sort of remorse however; I just could not find any redemption in what he had done to this young lady. In the end, this young couple would have to work it out.

And now, Rihanna is all over the media. She is in the media now, because she has a new album. And as she goes about the business of her music, it is necessary for her to get out there and promote. And inform. She has to inform her fans of how she feels, what she went through and what's next for her... She is, after all, a huge international star. While Chris Brown is a big star, no doubt, Rihanna's star is a sun in the center of her galaxy compared to the pale light of Chris' r&b world... It is here that Rihanna could realize her greatest revenge. The revenge that she is a much larger personality than Chris Brown. The revenge is that her music is more widely accepted than Chris Brown. The revenge is that she is able to garner more potent media exposure to not only tell her side of the story, but to help provide guidance and a smidgen of advice to young women all over the world who are dealing with abusive relationships.

"There's greatness about her. Greatness as an artist, as a performer, as a person. There something about her that's so inspiring, as an artist, she's unclassifiable. You can't say she's [strictly] R&B or pop. She's more of an impresario." says one writer from MTV News. Rihanna is a global phenomenon and she has a propitious opportunity to help people on an unprecedented level.

Success is the best revenge. Living well, as the Talmud says, is the best revenge.

In the end, how will she leverage this season of media ultra-exposure as she builds on her super stardom to not only generate skillions of sales, but to educate young women across the globe about abusive relationships. How will young men react to the fact that, even if you're Chris Brown, it not OK to beat on your woman.

As tired as I am of this story, I hope and pray that the incident will result in a positive awakening in our community.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MJ's This is It... a fitting introspect


I had the honor of being at the Red Carpet Premiere of "Michael Jackson's This is It" in Los Angeles. The Nokia Center was abuzz with papparazzi, crystal chandeliers and aerial artists as Hollywood came out to show support for this much anticipated movie.

The film is a documentary put together as Michael rehearsed for his "This is It" tour. The dates were announced in March of 2009 amid much hubbub and accolades... It would have been the King of Pop's first concert tour in over a decade and as the apt title suggests, it would be his last... This is It....

Amid a hectic schedule of rehearsals and show development, Michael suddenly passed away on June 25, 2009. "This is It" the film is a journal of behind the scenes footage at those rehearals.

As a musicoloist of sorts, I have no problem saying Michael Jackson was truly one of the greatest if not the greatest entertainer of our time. That said, the journey I experienced through the viewing of "This is It" provided me with a newfound love for the entertainment genius that was Michael Jackson. Based on what I saw, the tour would have been his greatest ever... The music was tight, the singers, dancers, visual effects..even though we view this from a rehearsal standpoint, It was clear the MJ was about to blow it up across the globe.

The film also reinforces Michael's concern for the health of our planet. a perspective finely woven into the essence of the film. He's right, we must take care of this world or it will be consumed by Man's greed for natural resources.

I was inspired, awed and impressed by the film. I loved seeing Michael in this light. He looked healthy, vibrant and still had his voice and his moves. I loved seeing a piece of the brainpower and effort that goes into a major production. I loved being reminded that Michael Jackson quite simply was and is.... THE KING OF POP!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Young, Gifted and Strapped

I posted this right after the Plaxico Burress incident happened... In light of his indictment this week, I decided to re-post the original contemplation.:


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.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Michael Jackson: Hollywood Walk of Fame

In the aftermath of the tragic death of Michael Jackson, I went up to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and paid my respects at his star... Here's a video look at what I encountered....


Monday, June 29, 2009

BET Awards '09: Disappointment and Coonery

The BET Awards has emerged to be the single most important awards show celebrating black entertainment accomplishment. And while I really don't watch BET on a regular basis, I have recognized the awards show as the preeminent show for black music and entertainment. I know that the show was hugely anticipated as parties raged in LA all week and stars converged from all points to the City of Angels to imbibe in the festivities.

And then we were all shocked by the news of the sudden death of Michael Jackson.

Now BET was front and center all over the world as THE place for a Michael Jackson tribute. CNN broadcast live from the red carpet.. All media, particularly those that wouldn't normally cover BET were providing anticipation for what the BET Awards would be in terms of a tribute to the fallen MJ. The entire world was watching, through BET, how the black community would celebrate the life and legacy of our beloved Michael Jackson..

And then, true to form, BET's show fell short, providing the world with a confirmation that our people... our culture is full of coonery and buffoonery. What was BET thinking??

I followed the preshow comments on twitter. Everyone, fans and industry heads, were wondering what in tarnation was happening. It was an utter joke. An gargantuan display of stereotypes and musical garbage.

Now, to be fair, there were some great moments in the show. The O'Jay's tribute: Tyrese, Johnny Gill and Trey Songz did a great job and they were followed by the O'Jays who were...well, the O'Jays.. pros, awesome pros...... the duet with Jamie Foxx and Neyo singing "I'll Be There"... The icing on the cake for me was to watch Janet Jackson sum up enough courage to come out and speak briefly to everyone. That took strength and fortitude... She was elegant, articulate and I pray for her comfort in this time of bereavement. Her grief will take a lot of time to stabilize from.....For me that pretty much summed up the positives.

The show was ruined by:

Lil Wayne and this new guy called Drake... What was up with the little girls dancing all over those grown men?

Ving Rhames: What was up with him? On the red carpet he was trying to explain to CNN that the Rollin 60's gang are misunderstood.. On the stage, he tried to contrast Michael with a gun..an analogy that went over everyone's head... this just after he tried to re-enact his role in "Baby Boy" with a shocked Taraji P. Henson and Tyrese Gibson. These antics ruined the presentation of Video of the Year, which I suppose is the highlight of this awards show...

Soulja Boy Tellem: To be fair, I already hate the song "Turn Your Swag On".. so I guess this is a jaded criticism... To me his raps smack of uneducated buffoonery. A fact even more exacerbated by the atmosphere of a tribute for Michael Jackson... They could have left him off the performance lineup.

Joe Jackson: I am sorely disappointed that he is using this tragic time to promote a new record label.

New Edition: As we get older gentlemen, we need regular exercise...

Tiny: Ghetto Fabulous at the highest level. And the gum smacking, southern drawl made her look really wack. Perhaps that's just her way... But I'm just sayin'

Frankie and Neffie: Couldn't BET find something more positive to promote? I'm just sayin'...

T-Pain: I already had a beef with this guy since I saw him at the Grammy Awards two years ago... Big Ass Chain and sipping from a red plastic cup??? Stepin Fetchit is a good comparison.

Jamie Foxx: Shameless plugs of his upcoming tour.... I get it. I'm speculating that Maybe BET was short on his normal fee and to compensate they allowed him to promote his tour.. I ain't mad, but it's the way it was promoted... it could have been promoted with much more subtlety and with much more class. Other than that Jamie was...well, Jamie... I ain't mad at the moonwalk!!!

In the end, I was really disappointed with BET. I have wondered for some years now if they are purposely promoting coonery to the world as a strategy to keep us dumbed down. I mean the shows and videos are proof in the pudding. But for the Awards I would think they would kick it up a notch. I understand that the suddenness of the times caused a huge re-write of things.. The Awards are a huge undertaking and have been in the planning for months... BUT it seems that they could have done a better job...

Or maybe it's not BET that we're shocked with. Maybe the reality of current African American Pop Culture is too much for us to bear. We are looking for a scapegoat in BET when maybe we ought to blame ourselves. We have not taken advantage of the times to promote more positive images of ourselves. We have allowed the pimp, the hoe, and the baller image to permeate our consciousness.. Being dumbed down, illiterate and ill-mannered is at the top of our consciousness while the well mannered, sensitive, cultured black person is pushed under the rug.

So in the end, is it BET that we should be disappointed with? After all, they just did what they do. Provide us with a front row seat to coonery.

Or is it our fault for allowing coonery and debauchery come to the forefront when showcasing or describing our people?

I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson: Memories of a Cultural Pop Icon

To hear of the death of Michael Jackson has been a surreal and unbelievable circumstance... Michael's passing brings back so many memories and over the last few days I see how folk all over the world are paying tribute.. At the station, we have been playing all Michael and Jackson Five songs.. it has been quite the trip down memory lane.

I notice that a lot of the "General Market" only remember Michael from Thriller on out... This is a curious reckoning for the King of Pop, because for me and those of my generation he has always, from the very beginning, been an extraordinary artist.

I was in Jr. High when "I Want You Back" came out. I can remember all the girls swooning over the Jackson Five and debating which one would be there boyfriend or husband when they grew up... I can remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show - an appearance that rivaled the Beatles' appearance on the program in terms of magnitude... Michael Jackson was the bomb...

I remember that the Jackson Five cartoon was a staple in my household....

I remember when I went on my first WestPac as part of a fighter squadron in the United States Marine Corps, that Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five were revered in Japan... I could not believe how HUGE they were over there.

I remember being stationed in Beaufort South Carolina.. At night, I use to take my radio and try to tune into stations around the land... I remember flipping through the static and hearing a station.... "W-W-D-M the big DM" .... and then I hear this enchanting keyboard line and a voice saying "it makes me feel like... it makes me feel like wooooo!...." I was amazed!!!!

I remember going to the Budweiser Superfest at the Pasadena Rose Bowl,,, Michael Jackson was one of the featured guests... He rocked that stadium to its core.. climbing up the lighting scaffolding and singing from the rafters of the stage... It was phenomenal...

I remember MJ's fascination with the imagineering of Disneyland.. I learned that he made regular visits to the theme park.. and a lot of his technical wizardry came from Disney-like innovations...

I remember We are the World...

I remember being a bit confused by Michael's turn to more Caucasian-like imagery.. The face surgery was a bit much for me, but like a lot of us I never put him down... because I don't care what you say about him... MJ was a baaaaaaad boy!!!!!

I remember his performance at the Super Bowl halftime... It was the largest halftime TV audience in history...

I remember the innovation of the music video... how he made so many mini-movies... Thriller was a 15 minute masterpiece... There are so many, but one of my favorites is "Remember the Time" where Eddie Murphy is the Pharaoh and my favorite Iman is the queen... Magic Johnson is in it too...

I remember sitting third or fourth row and seeing Michael Jackson on BET Awards with James Brown...

I remember seeing Michael Jackson up close and personal at Jesse Jackson's birthday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel...

I remember...... Michael Jackson...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - Musings about my Father

As I sit here and reflect on Father's Day 2009.. I realize just how much I miss my dad... I really don't need this holiday observance to acknowledge my love for my father. I never have, really... All I ever wanted to do in life was to make him proud of me... And so, I acknowledge the support and love he shared...

A lot if not most of my friends did not have both parents in the home during childhood. It is a rarity that I can discuss childhood in a two parent home with anyone in my camp... It's amazing. When I was younger, sometimes brothas would make it seem like this is a shameful thing to have come from a two parent family. Somehow, Dad being in the home was a signal that I was an Uncle Tom.... Just like reading and speaking well was a badge of selling out... boy, we have some work to do as a people...

I'm grateful that my father was in my life. I learned how to be a man from him. He exposed me to manly things as a boy. I know that in these days and times this could seem chauvinistic or whatever, but the truth is, I was raised by a mans man... He was a military man who's friends and inner circle were men's men... And so that's how I am... A Man's Man...

The most important thing my father taught me was to love the Lord... Shortly before his death, my mother gave me a letter sent to me by dad when I was 3 months old. He had deployed out to sea aboard the USS Eversole. It was a heartfelt correspondence that shared the whole of his wishes for me as his son.... The last line in the letter was implicit instruction for me to love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind....

I have always kept this instruction in my heart. When I realize that he wanted this for me from the beginning of my life and to see it actually written, I hold it nearer and nearer to my being...

Dad has gone on now. May he rest in peace. I can only pray that I would be even half the man he was... I am not. He was an awesome man. A loyal man. A sober man. A loving man. A stern man. A disciplined man. A spiritual man. A man of ethics and principles.

He was a GREAT father. And I love him.... I miss him... I hope he was proud of me... I am proud of him....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jacquie Stephens: A part of LA's Black Radio Legacy

I am on vacation(sort of..) and checked my messages at the office... It was Jacquie Stephens... letting me know she had resigned....

wow....

Jacquie Stephens no longer a part of the KJLH landscape... In the final analysis, this is not a bad thing because life now requires her to focus on taking care of her mom back in Chicago... This is the circle of life...

The voicemail gave me pause and brought me back to a recent conversation Jacquie and I had.. We were talking about all the battles we have fought together... The exclusive view of our community that she and I shared... so many conflicts, so many issues, and there we were together on those Saturday Morning live broadcasts.. giving the community a front row seat to what we were seeing...

When I first came to KJLH, it was with Jacquie that I witnessed my first community protest up close and personal. Organized protest that is... I saw the Civil Disturbance of 1992, but I did not work at KJLH then... It was with Jacquie Stephens that I saw first hand the vital importance of KJLH to the inner urban community.

It was 1998. Police responded to a call from Tyisha Miller's cousin that she was asleep, locked in her car with a handgun... Police shot 23 times, 12 of which hit and killed Tyisha... after they thought she reached for the weapon... The community was in an uproar... Calls flooded the radio station...The early morning program Front Page as the immediate barometer of the community's angst... Jacquie reported all day long as statements and calls came in and listeners kept it locked to learn real news about the issue.

Although I handle the marketing of the station, I have a nose for news and journalism, just by virtue of my training. .And so I'm always in the newsroom sharing information with Jacquie, discussing perspectives, etc... We hear that a protest is planned in Downtown Los Angeles in preparation and mobilization to a protest in Riverside to be held later....

Jacquie says "Greg J., let's go down for a bit to see what's going on...." And so we went. I remember Dick Gregory, various politicians and community activists and even Kim Fields (who up until that point I only knew her television career, I never knew she was an activist or even cared for the community) all giving passionate speeches about police brutality and how we should take action to stop such aggressive behavior against the community...

We talked to people from the street to the pulpit, from corporate offices to the back offices, folk were incensed... another chapter in police brutality...

On the way back to the station, Jacquie mentioned the need for a townhall meeting and in the following weeks, the station fell into one of it's strong suits - providing a sounding board; a conduit to discuss and dialogue on important issues relevant to the community....
It was from that experience that I saw just exactly how this station is important to the community.

Here's a laundry list of movements, townhall meetings, and live broadcasts we have done together, providing a front row seat to the arts, news and culture of black Los Angeles...

Financial Townhall Meeting at Vision Theater

Financial Townhall at Black Business Expo


Support Chief Parks Townhall at Second Baptist Church

Donovan Jackson beating by Inglewood PD live at Morningside High (Johnny Cochran was there)

broadcasts at Derrick's Jamaican Cuisine

Live broadcasts in Leimert Park

All the live broadcasts California African American Museum (I remember the debates with Villaraigosa and Parks running for Mayor)

African Marketplace


Black Business Expo

Union Rescue Mission

We even did a movie screening on Saturday Morning...

The Women's Health Forum grew from 50 women in the sanctuary of Greater Bethany Community Church to 5000 in the Los Angeles Convention Center...LA Speaks Out and Jacquie right in the middle of it....giving back to our community...


There are just so many events and broadcasts....

And so, Jacquie moves on.. I understand.. There comes a time when the circle of life brings you back home to take care of business... very personal business....

Today I say: Jacquie God Bless you and be strong in this season.... it is a necessary, yet insightful experience.... Thanks for the memories...

"Count Your Blessings..."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Soul of the Airwaves, Part Two

All this talk about saving black radio is very interesting. There are many bloggers, prognosticators and pundits announcing the impending death of black radio and imploring the public to step forward and save it. They say black radio has lost sight of what it means to the community. Black Radio is becoming almost irrelevant.

Now, as a black radio veteran I can tell you that the medium is certainly important - a conduit to culturally relevant music, news and information. , Black radio is all about lifestyle. This is the history. But real business conditions affect the art and legacy of black radio:

With consolidation, we saw the soul of black radio change and, in a lot of cases, evaporate. Corporations are able to own multiple properties in a market, giving them powerful leverage in the sales and marketing arena. Music choices are made from a central headquarters location, corporate creative elements enter the airwaves, homogenizing the sound of local heritage properties...

The advent of syndication has removed the local appeal from black radio in critical dayparts. This is a key ingredient in the essence of black radio. Listeners want to connect with their station from a community level. And while nationally syndicated shows find success across the nation and some of them do a good job of connecting with the market, the casualty is that local feel that is so important to the community.

No Urban Dictates is a longstanding battle fought by black radio for years. The war for advertising revenue parity is a tough and gritty conflict. If you are in black radio and reading this, you need to take this moment and give one of those account executives a high five...

Portable People Meter has just changed the advertising game and is the main challenge of a major market black radio station. We were already in the throes of the aforementioned advertising battle and now they throw this in. They have changed the paradigm of how the audience is measured. The PPM does not accurately reflect who and how many people are listening.. They are under-sampling in the community and that short changes us at the bargaining table.

Performance Rights Act is making its rounds through Capitol Hill and possibly could become Law. H.R. 848 is sponsored by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and would require stations to pay performing artists for playing their music. This will severely exacerbate the challenges faced by black radio. The argument is that the station benefits from the songs they come out with, therefore the station should pay the artist. If that is the case, then the playing of a song is like a commercial, because artists are hoping that the consumer will like the song and that will translate into the purchase of their CD. Like a commercial encourages the listener to buy the latest widget. If its hot, sales will soar... if it's wack.... Speaking of wack, if the record is wack does radio get a refund???

These are just some of the real business issues facing the black radio station. The question is now how do we adapt and overcome market conditions in order to survive? The basic way we even operate as broadcasters has changed. The listener has so many more choices. And as we adapt to market conditions and changes in media consumption habits, our art changes...

Save Black Radio? Yes, Black Radio is in a state of strategic inflection. Change or cease to exist... And you know what? We(black radio) will survive.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I'll Color Him Father


I know that it's Mother's Day, but this past week was also my Dad's Birthday.... He passed away in 2005.....

My Dad was a sea-going sailor, a tough master chief in the United States Navy. He was a proud black man, who worked his way through college obtaining two Masters Degrees. He taught us to look the "Man" in the eye and work with them, never forgetting that our education and mannerisms came from a legacy of blackness that screamed "we are equal - we are God's Children!!!"

He demanded complete and utter attention to our studies - now, here's where I failed. I remember him and mom getting so angry with me year after year because of my grades. I remember him making me get bused to school at the advent of integration because he believed that I would get better education. He never listened to me when I felt I was getting slighted in the school. He had complete and unwavering faith in the system. Dr. King was right and prejudice and discrimination was abolished with the signing of the Equal Rights Bill... What he didn't see was that I was such a voracious reader(mom's fault) that I read my studies and homework long before the teacher assigned them accordingly. Once the assignments hit our desks, I was already bored to death. My grades on paper suffered. My Mom was so hurt she didn't even attend my graduation... But Dad did... He was in the house... He told me I sucked though and looking back I guess I did...

I developed an intense love for music that my Dad just did not understand... I still love music and hence I am in the "industry". I remember telling him that I wanted to be on the radio. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard. I remember seeing that Howard University had just built a multi million dollar radio and television school and I wanted to go. They both were like no - first your grades are wack and second you are not going to learn about some fly by night industry.

I joined the Marine Corps after Graduation determined to learn electronics in preparation for my ownership of radio stations. My Dad flipped. He told the recruiter when they came to pick me up that I was nothing and that I could never make it in the Corps, I was a pussy!! He Said... But when he saw me march across that grinder on Graduation Day, all he could say was "That's my boy" over and over again... That memory just brings tears to my eyes... ok, let me pull myself together to finish this...

When I started in this business it was under duress and estrangement from Dad. I had gotten married early in life and divorced sooner and it seemed everything I wanted to achieve in life, he was against. After a few years of that madness, we got back together. By now I had gotten gainful employment in the industry and had started to build a really good reputation. He came to an event - the red carpet screening of "X" starring Denzel Washington. I remember his face when he saw that we were getting treated like VIP's.. I remember him coming to my office and seeing where I worked, how people treated me... He looked at me and said.. I had no idea you guys really take care of business.. He hugged me. Man, that was the best!!!

Later I wrote him a letter apologizing for being such a butthead in school. But I also told him about the instances of discrimination that I felt at Crawford High. I told him how the white kids would chase our buses from time to time on their bikes and spit on us. I told him how certain teachers just would not grade us fairly. I also told him about Loralyn Tenny who was in the choir and Madrigals with me. They were Mormons. We were strict church going folks (I still love the Lord and am in Church EVERY Sunday)... Dad was the head usher, head deacon and an important part of our church.

I had never met the Mormons before getting bused to Crawford. Each year, the Madrigals went to the Church of the Latter Day Saints temple. It was a cool experience - a magnificent church. But I wanted to know why we coudl not go to my church. It was a cool church - one of the most important black churches in the city. But they never took my query seriously. Loralyn told me that our church was not good enough because we weren't going to heaven anyway. WHAT!!! that blew me away. She told me that being black was the mark of Cain - God's curse for the murder of Abel. I told Dad, but he did not want to hear it. Mom just waved it off as some childish gibberish. But it blew me away..

I once reminded Dad about this incident and he told me "yes, but it made you strong didn't it. Now that you know what they think about you, you don't have to guess, just keep moving on, pressing toward the mark"' Dang, Dad is the BOMB!!!!

I finished the letter apologizing for letting him down, but just wanted him to know what I was going through. His response was, "you told me the truth and got it off your chest. That's a good thing"

Now, Dad is in the heavens. Suffering no more. I hope he is proud of me. I hope that I am living proof that his legacy of spirituality, truth and strength will be carried on. I hope he knows that I love him. I hope he knows that I appreciate him for teaching me how to be a real man.

Dad, I will always cherish your memory. Thank you for being there - did you know that most of my friends did not have thier father in thier lives??? I'm a minority...

There's a song: I think I'll color him Father, I think I'll color him love...

Monday, March 30, 2009

J-Hud set to Marry?

I read about Jennifer Hudson's wedding date announcement after she taped a special segment for American Idol. She said it was a secret. This brought to memory the moment when we were backstage at the NAACP Image Awards. She had just won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her stellar role in Dreamgirls... She was kind of indignant as questions about her relationship with then-boyfriend David Payton came up.. She was also asked if she had plans to marry... Click the vid to see... What do you think?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Circle of Life...

I am at the stage in my life where I have to confront the unfinished business of my past. I have pushed to make a career as a broadcaster. I am fairly well known as a broadcast media marketer. I've been on the air occasionally as a host and co-host... I made my mom and dad proud...

And now, mom and dad have passed on... My dad made his transition on May 18, 2005... Mom left us suddenly on October 30, 2006. These events landed me in my hometown for lengths of time far longer than I have ever been since the age of seventeen, when I went off and joined the Marines.... Oh sure, I would come home for a weekend... talk to my dad and kiss my mom, but never in my adult life had I spent more than two - three days at home... or maybe a short leave of 14 days or so...

Now, here I am... In these brief years since my parent's passing, I have spent more time in my hometown than ever before. I am like a fish out of water here... After a lifestyle of continuous music and media, I am now in the midst of quiet solitude. I am closing out my parent's lifetime of success, spirituality and collections...

It is very very quiet here. I do not have any connections to any of my friends from back in the day. My home church is not the place as I feel I have outgrown it spiritually. And so I commute two hours on most Sundays so I can attend my church... or watch it on the Internet.

The good thing is that I have connected with my daughter (from my first marriage) in a way that we have never been connected before. She is a young woman with four (yes. 4) children. Wow!! I have four beautiful grandchildren. I have been able to help her in times of trouble, but it is still a work in progress... pray for me here.... Nonetheless I am able to spend time with the young ones... and that is a huge blessing!!!

I learned about my first love. I have often wondered where she was and how she was doing... Over the years I had even found myself looking for her on the Internet.... I found her sister on Classmates.com, and we made contact... I learned that my friend was murdered more than ten years ago and her body has never been found. I was devastated. I had to share with them the news of my parents as they knew them too... My mom and her mom were in the Navy together... They shared tidbits of the story with me.... This event tripped me out because I did not know... I had not heard the news... I even wonder if our episode in life caused her to make the choices in life... Was I the cause of her destructive lifestyle?

In the '70's, When I went away to the Marine Corps, I had no real claim to a girlfriend. But this girl and I had an unspoken love between us... In high school we went on quite a few dates... We spent quality time together... And in the years after school, even when I did not purpose to see her when I came home on leave, we would run into each other, and go out....

Somehow, I planned to marry my baby's momma. I really should have never done this, but hey that's a whole blog by itself.... I ran into my friend and asked her to dinner specifically for the purpose of telling her I was going to get married... I even had the rings in my pocket. We went to a nice place... we even got on the subject of marriage, but I did not have the courage to tell her.... On my wedding day, there was a reception in the hall next to mine... Coincidentally it was the wedding of a young lady who went to school with me... I kissed my mom and thanked her for pulling together such a beautiful wedding ceremony and went to change my clothes... As I turned from my mom, I bumped into someone... it was my friend.... I was devastated. I really did not know what to say... She was visibly hurt.... deeply hurt.

I never saw her again......

I talked to her on the phone once or twice.. just to see how she was doing and to apologize... My marriage lasted a few months and I moved on to Los Angeles.

This was years ago.... and as time has passed I have wondered every now and again how she was doing, was she happy... how many children did she have... did she ever realize her dream of being a veterinarian.... But instead of all that, I learned of her demise... And I did not learn of it until more than ten years after her death.

I have to admit, I cried for an entire weekend after learning this.

I have been married for more than 23 years. My spouse is my best friend, no doubt. She is rolling through this part of my life right with me... The passing of my parents changed her too as she was really close to them particularly my dad.

The passing of my parents has been a life changing experience. I am back in my hometown now... commuting to the City for work, church and events... I am spending quality time with my daughter and her children... I am in a space of quiet solitude where I can hone and increase my creative gifts...

I don't know how long this will last.... This town is not me... But for now, it is what it is... and the next generation needs me....

wow. The Circle of Life...

Friday, March 27, 2009

TI's Troubles in Time of Turbulence

I see that TI has received a little more than a year in prison for trying to purchase some weapons and silencers.... WTF????

I just need to understand how these rappers and ball players (remember Plaxico Burress??) still feel the need to carry or have access to guns... But not just guns , guns AND silencers... what?What was TI thinking? Hasn't he had enough music hits to stay out of trouble? And even if the heat is hot, can't he hire a security team?? I know at least three brothas who are PD, FBI, and others with transportation companies and protection details.. This is thier business...

Why can't a TI hire someone like my boys.... This seems really lame, TI... I mean dag....

This comes in a season when the image of the black male is enhanced through the election of President Barack Obama - the Chris Browns, The TI's, The Bebe Winans - these are the type stories that get front and center in the media becuase Im telling you, they are looking for SOMETHING to discredit the black man....

Now, in all fairness I wasn't there, but the circumstances are strong enough for the system to lock Brotha TI down for a bit... one year and some months.... In addition to time in a cell, TI got:- property forfeiture;
- supervised release for three years after he leaves prison;
- 365 days of home confinement (he has done 305);
- 1,500 hours of community service (he has done 1,030);
- drug counseling;
- DNA testing;
- can never own a firearm;
- must submit to reasonable searches;
- and a financial audit.

Seems like a lot of hassle for someone who just plays a gangsta on records... I mean after you become successful at the level of a TI, I'm thinking it's poppin' champagne on the regular... eating good across the world, that he can have "whatever he likes"....And so then, you gotta get down and dirty for some guns... and get Popped for it??? Just seems foolish is all...

Good Luck man...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What happened to the Soul of the Airwaves?? A remix

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.

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. At best, 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 detection of 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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama's Drama: War is Hell

The first days of President Barack Obama's administration have been wrought with controversy, intense scrutiny, misinformation, and (in most cases) undue criticism. It seems that mainstream America(read: white conservatives) are just looking for something to diss President Obama on...

Whether it's the debate on his handling of the economic crisis or their incessant inference that he is about to break campaign promises, folk are reaching for something. During a recent appearance on CNN's Larry King, even Mitt Romney dipped into the fray, asking why is Barack smiling so much??

It occurs to me that what we are seeing are the fruits of war. President Obama is turning over generations of greed, authoritarianism and graft as laid out by the Bush administration. And even before that... If we are to believe even a smidgen of conspiracy theories, we know that Bush, Reagan, Daddy Bush are spiritually bound to take the masses of the people to depths lower than low.... they want to usher in the one world government. And what we are seeing are the fruits of that corruption and graft. This economic crisis is a hurtful travailing as policies that engorge the wealthy/greedy are being overturned, reversed and destroyed.

This is not to say that some damage has not been done already... I see that in its zeal to manipulate the economic system to the select few's benefit, we have left the door wide open for foreign investment, thereby making the nation beholden to China and the oil barons of the middle east. Just look up who owns the majority of the skyscrapers in most major cities. You'll find the Arabs and Israelis and the Chinese. Our major corporations and business titans are paying rent to international governments and business entities!!! Why just yesterday, I read that all the "toxic" debt we have been hearing about is being bought up even as we speak by China. Have you looked at the tag of your clothing lately? China. What about the kids' toys? China.

We are being co-oped by China. We are oil-slaves to the middle east. They know what they are doing. This is not the Cold War.. This is a war about green. The situation is getting so critical that now the UN is suggesting that we get rid of the dollar all together.. One World Government. One World Currency.

And so the battle that President Obama is fighting is perhaps one that will stem the tide of Chinese and other international corporate raiders. Or is it to reverse the damage done by his predecessors. The Skull and Bones crew. The Presidents who have made a pact to create havoc on the global economic front. So that the haves will have more and the have nots will suffer more....

Yes, President Obama is waging war... and the financial crisis is just one by product of his battle. War is hell.