Kristina Thomas and Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar, has emerged out of the plethora of new artist that are currently giving hip-hop a fresh fade…

The Compton raised MC caught my attention with the song “Heaven & Hell” / “The Get Away”. The video complimented the flow of the song in a harmonious fashion. I believe I first saw the video on the Thegrayway.net, which is one hell of a blogsite. Nonetheless, I fell down the magical internet rabbit hole and a handful of Kendrick Lamar youtube videos later- I was a fan.

The video “She Needs Me“,  was the one that stood out to me. A song! A real song! A concept, lyrics, video, and a beat… solid. And quite honestly, it was a fitting song for some personal relationship mumbo-jumbo… I digress.

To show my appreciation for the song, I put it on my facebook and on my twitter; you know, like any abuser of internet content via social networking… or appreciator of modern art…tomato- tomäto. And now the video is on my blog…

“She Needs Me”

Well, it seems my appreciation for art is pails in comparison to a good friend of mines (in fact I call her big sis) and talented artist within her own right. Kristina Thomas.

Kristina and Myself joking around at a club in Los Angeles.

Ms. Thomas, the Howard University graduate, USC graduate student, and  film producer extraordinaire, decided to take her favorite Kendrick Lamar song, “Growing Apart”, and produce what I have dawned as:

 

“a sensual dramatic interpretation of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Growing Apart'”.

The video is wild.  I could go on for days about how respectable it is that she took this initiative and how dope the idea came out as a finished product,

but good art speaks for itself!

Here is the video to “Growing Apart“.

 

 

Much respect to both Kristina Thomas and Kendrick Lamar.

good art is always appreciated.

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JR Valrey’s “Operation Small Axe” Documentary screens in D.C.

Bob Marley once sang, “So If  you are the Big tree, then we are the small axe “; and the environment that was Oakland, California during the filming of JR

Operation Small Axe

Valrey’s “Operation Small Axe” embodied Marley’s lyrical analogy.

JR Valrey screened his “Operation Small Axe” documentary at Sankofa cafe in Washington D.C. October 14th 2010.

The documentary highlighted incidents of police brutality, namely the Oscar Grant and the Lovelle Mixon cases. Valrey, like many others who are familiar with both Grant’s and Mixon’s cases, held them in comparison. The fact that these incidents of violence between citizens and police happened in the same city, just blocks apart; and in the same year, just months apart makes for an automatic connection.

The documentary delved much further than the surface connection between Mixon and Grant, and touched on the history of police brutality, as well as the history of community activism, and even shed light on what Oakland was doing as a community in the wake of these turbulent times.

JR then spoke about the making of the documentary, his work with the prisoners of conscious committee (POCC), as well as his job as what I would call a “trench journalist”. He is. He is in the battle fields, on the front line, and shaking things up. Maybe not in the most conventional manner, but it will take some unconventional methods to get out us out of this convenient position of fearing police that serve our neighborhoods.

While in DC, he was accompanied by Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X. After Valrey closed his speech about “Operation Small Axe”, Shabazz spoke to the crowd about his life since being released from prison for the arson of his grandmother’s house. He spoke of his current interest and actions; noting that he is sincerely dedicated to learning, and has recently returned from a trip to the Middle East.

JR Valrey and Malcolm Shabazz

The standing room only sized crowd in Sankofa’s book store portion of the quaint cafe received both Valrey and Shabazz with opened arms and and raised hands, as many people (mostly college students) were inspired to get involved after the presenters concluded.

A lingering thought in my mind was the connection between Malcolm Shabazz speaking, and JR connecting Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon incidents as a case of “the chickens coming home to roost”, as Malcolm X once said.

JR Valrey is continuing to travel the United States, screening his documentary, and starting up moving conversations along the way. For more information, visit his website http://blockreportradio.com/

Oscar Grant’s Family at Howard University

Uncle Bobby speaks of his nephew Oscar Grant's passing, and how it relates to concepts discussed in the "Willie Lynch Letter".

Thursday, September 16th 2010- Washington DC’s Howard University’s freshman dormitory, Charles R. Drew Hall played host to the “People vs. Police” panel discussion about police brutality and what it has done to our community.  The case of Oscar Grant in Oakland, Ca served as the central focus of the discussion, as the Howard University community opened it’s doors to Oscar Grant’s uncle Cephus Johnson and vocal leader and Oscar Grant supporter Minister Keith Muhammad.

Minister Keith Muhammad re-accounting the entire Oscar Grant situation.

50-60 students poured into the freshman dormitory lounge and attentively listened as Minister Muhammad eloquently recapped the happenings concerning Oscar Grant; dating back to the fatal morning of New Years 2009. He touched on the candle light vigils, the uprisings by Oakland citizens, and the conduct of the elected officials in our community .  He concluded in bringing this case home: “this happened to Oscar Grant yesterday, and could happen to any one of us tomorrow”.

After a round of applause for the Minister’s oral chronological recap of the Grant case, Minister Muhammad brought forth Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson  to a warm applause as well.

Uncle Bobby spoke of the connection between Oscar Grant’s case and the historical document known as the Willie Lynch letter. He highlighted the portion of the letter that spoke of a slave owner beating a male slave in front of other male slaves so as to make an example out of him. This is what oscar Grant’s death was… an example. On tape for the world to see.

Uncle Bobby did his best to speak progressively about the matter; highlighting the upcoming dates of October 23rd and November 5th. On October 23rd the workers at the port of Oakland will strike in support of Oscar Grant’s cause. The longshoremen  have historically supported communities that have been affected by police brutality, as they too have had a member of their community fall victim due to police brutality. And November 5th is the date that the sentencing for this trial is set.

Uncle Bobby concluded in stating that cases such as the Oscar Grant Case, and nameless other cases that have been caught on tape, need to be used as evidence in the court of law as a tool to combat malpractices by the officers of our communities.

The meeting ended with the attendees compiling an email list for individuals who were interested in writing a letter to the judge in the Oscar Grant case.

As I left and reflected on the night that was, I was a bit preturbed that the turnout was only 50-60 people strong. But,  as the fact that we sat and watched a landmark case that deals with the current state of society on so many levels, race, class, and technology… I realized our success: a mixed class of young African-American students just sat in a room- and hardly a finger texted or tweeted while the guest speakers presented.

Uncle Bobby, Minister Muhammed, and myself all hoped to spread the word about combating police brutality in the lower income communities, and at Howard University, on this night the word was received.

G The 7th Ledda Goes Hard!

G in G II Lounge.

 

G one time joked that he owned the GII lounge, a recently renovated bar and lounge on the corner of Fairmont st. and Georgia Ave. across the street from Howard University. And, on Saturday October 16th, all jokes aside, the building was his.

G The 7th Ledda, along with a number of other unsigned talented young artists, held down a crowd of over 50 people in the upstairs loft of the GII lounge. I slid in the building a little late, but just in time to see G perform his latest record, “Hyped up”. the scene was epitomized by one large gentleman with the wide circumference in the front row of the show- putting on his own show. He was “Hyped up”, as he literally jumped up and down on beat, defying the laws of gravity while spilling minimal amounts from what I assume was not his first beer. The gentleman who could have been mistaken for an offensive lineman for the Redskins exemplified exactly what I saw my homie G doing at this point in his career: getting BIG things jumping!

I have known G since freshman year of college. He stayed in the room directly above mines in the Charles R. Drew freshman dormitory. We all rapped; everyone at a Black college raps …but G stuck with it. And now, his long hours of working on his craft are slowly starting to be revealed to the world .

G has been turning heads on campus since freshman year with his freestyle flow, but it wasn’t until the track “I am Ready” came out that people took note of G’s craft as a wordsmith.

I applaud the process of seeing G maneuver through the game. “moving my way up” is one of his more notable records, and evidently a theme for his career.

In the midst of random flights to and fro, opening concerts for major names, and social networking as well as gorilla networking- G somehow manages to attend classes. As a Telecommunications Management major and Entrepreneurship minor, G and I have the exact same major and minor. Therefore, I can relate to the gravity of the workload, and yet, I can in no way relate to the productivity.

In fact, I had fallen asleep on my craft of writing until G showed me this video…  “Go hard“!

Inspired by the message of the video, however simple. Inspired by the video itself, however simple. It simply made me want to get off my ass and GO Hard!

 

 

Bruh Wolf

Lone wolf, soft paws and sharp teeth, ferocious and fur covered, pig hunter, chicken plucker, the bigger big brother of that slick muh fuggah…Sly fox.

all dogs: pitts and rotts, beagles to dingos, even
the skinny lil doggy on the Nile with Cleo

…they all my peoples…

Well…uh… The name the Latin’s gave us, “Canis familiaris”…
That’s us.

All cute as pups… we grow up to be dangerous…

Quick lesson of life: anything with teeth… Can bite…

except for combs
humans use on their hair.

That’s neither here nor there.

Reason why I’m here: fear…

Big Black wolf…Native to North America…

No mask, no sheep’s wool…

my pack was once strong… Now some of them rest in heaven with all dogs…

Others domesticated…and some run wild

…leaving the lone wolf…walking thru dark woods.

Big moon.

I howl: oowwwwwww-ooooohhhhh!!!…

Inside the moon there’s a man…

inside this man is a wolf…

no x-man wolverine- no werewolf teen… A wolf inside a being…

soft paws…sharp teeth.