Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving: A Tradition of Murder

Posted in Trending with tags , , , , , , , on November 27, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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We utilize the phrase “in the spirit of” quite often to signify the essential driving essence behind the purpose of why we partake or engage in certain ritualistic acts. We find that we “fall in line” with the status quo and passively accept what is known as “tradition” without delving deeper into the reasons of why we do certain things. No greater example of this is that of the Christmas Holiday, in which the supposed true meaning (Jesus’ Birthday) has been replaced by a conjured up, retail store gimmick known around the world as Santa Clause. This tradition, along with that of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, are both misrepresented regarding the core roots of why they are widely celebrated. The celebration of Thanksgiving has often been alluded to as a day of collective bonding between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans that resulted in both parties partaking in a harvest feast. Upon exploring the histrionics of this annual celebratory day, I discovered a fascinating bit of information as it pertains to the holiday’s origin. What was once considered a holiday based on fellowship, is actually a holiday celebrating a time of war that resulted in the genocidal annihilation of a prominent Native American tribe called the Pequots. The day of “thanksgiving” was a day in which the American colonist were thanking God for allowing them to kill off approximately 700 men, women and children during the Pequot War. Those Pequots that survived this hellacious war, were forced to become servants in English households, while others were enslaved and shipped to Bermuda and parts of the West Indies. The Pequot land was seized by the English Colonist, who in turned declared the Pequot to be extinct and outlawed the very mentioning of the Pequot by anyone. The Pequot Massacre was believed to be an act of a God by the colonist who justified the act by contending: “Let the whole Earth be filled with his glory! Thus the Lord was pleased to smite our enemies in the hinder parts and to give us their land for an inheritance”. Those Pequots who managed to escape slavery and death were taken in by the Mohegan Tribe who had been placed on an assigned reservation in the Connecticut Colony. The commercialization of “Thanksgiving” has subdued the factual poignancy associated with the war and murder that conjured up its true reason for existence. So while being “in the spirit of” and sitting down with your family and ingratiating yourself with tryptophan, please keep in mind to be both thankful and truthful when reenacting this historical remembrance. On this day the Pequot was left with no tradition, no history and most importantly no spirit. I give thanks that I never had to endure such heart wrenching pain. #happy holidays

In The Case Of Florida

Posted in Trending with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“Ohh, Florida something’s very wrong, Need to know, what’s going on. Can we make this house a home?” The previously stated, is a plea by musician Jaheim Hoagland on a song simply entitled “Florida”, as he revisited the controversy surrounding the now infamous not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. This song’s chorus seems to be apropos on many levels as it pertains to the Sunshine State and the bevy of injustices that appear to emulate from the DNA of it’s seemingly tainted bone marrow. There is an age old presumptive that says that “there must be something in the water”. I would not usually adhere to such an adage, however, it gives me pause in dismissing this plausible theory when revisiting Florida’s controversial timeline. Was Mr. Hoagland right? Is there something very wrong? I’ll let you decide. Here is a list of Florida’s most wildly publicized, controversial acts of infamy:

2000-Presidential Election-Hanging Chad Recount Controversy
2002-2010-Nevin Shapiro-$2 million dollar illegal booster contributions to Univ of Miami
2010-Clay Duke-Held School Board Hostage, shoots himself after firing shots at board
2011-Casey Anthony Trial-Found Not Guilty of Murdering her daughter Caylee Anthony
2012-Marissa Alexander Trial- Sentenced 20 Years for firing a warning shot
2013-Israel Hernandez-Tasered to Death by police for graffiti writing on wall
2013-Biogenesis Lab Performance Enhancement Drug Scandal
2013-Trayvon Martin Murder Trial-George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty of Murder
2013-Charles Walker & Joseph Jenkins-Convicted Murders released by mistake
2013-Donald James Smith-released from prison, abducted murdered 8 year old soon after
2013-Roy Middleton-shot by police getting cigarettes out of his mother’s car
2013-Sixteen Year Old Student-Raped and Beaten by two girls and three boys
2013-Jameis Winston-alleged police coercion to thwart victim from filing rape charges
2013-Hubert Allen Jr.-shot four coworkers-2 fatal before killing himself
2013-Congressman (R) Trey Randal-charged with cocaine possession
2013-Sue Eberle Case-alleged victim of police department sex scandal involving 12 officersAt the risk of over saturating my topic at hand, I decided to taper off my list a bit. Do keep in mind that my tapering was not due to a lack of additional controversy, but more of a means to summarize my point of emphasis. I am more than sure the police blotters and the corruptive scandal of politics are plentiful in all states, however, Florida has managed to somehow headline the marquee in recent years. Is it due to relaxed gun laws and corrupt law enforcement? Or do some of the residents of Florida just prescribe to deviance and lawless behavior. We have seen the full spectrum stemming from a Presidential election right down to a mother trying to ward off a violent husband with a warning shot. And from that same spectrum we find a reoccurring theme of injustice. So is the hot weather symbolic of the hot steam stemming from the asphalt on the devil’s playground? Could this just be a sign of a society on the brink of an implosion? All I can truly say is that Jaheim Hoagland was absolutely correct in saying that something is very wrong in the Sunshine State. And to make matters worse for the Floridian people, they are now being invaded by Burmese Pythons. Another reason to proceed with precaution in the panhandle of the U.S. #ny,ny

Artist Spotlight: Musician-Octavia Harris

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on November 19, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Iconography is a fancy terminology, that when broken down into its several interpretations in both it’s Greek and Russian roots, basically means “written image”. It is also defined as a certain way of depicting a subject matter as well. No greater example of an individual with this said ability, is that of a musician. It is through their musical arrangements and their accompanying lyrics, that we often become enthralled in their personal depiction of happiness, love, pain and triumph. Many define this as an act of storytelling that is enhanced by a soundtrack of life. Perhaps this is where the term “art imitating life” was derived from. Perhaps this is what also makes an artist like Octavia Harris, uniquely bold; yet delicately brilliant. I was given her press kit by her manager, Jonathan Clarke (a.k.a Clarke Kent) and was asked to give an honest assessment of her music on my blog. Upon reading her press kit information, the first thing that I noticed was the moniker heading that read: “Rapper, Singer, Producer, Prostitute, Lesbian, Christian”. Not what I was initially expecting when he, a dedicated man of faith himself, told me that he had a Christian Hip Hop Artist he was managing. However, that moniker intrigued me enough to continue reading her biography. It is in this continued reading that the controversial monicker dissipates and the unfolding of a woman and her praise plight are revealed. Her anthem “Never”, off of her highly anticipated 2014 solo album entitled “Be Myself”, repeatedly states in the chorus “You will never take my soul”. Upon listening to this track, I would say that Octavia is undoubtedly correct in her presumptive declaration; as her soul, passion and faith are at the forefront of her artistic delivery. The beat is right in the atmospheric realm of Lil Jon, while Octavia’s unique lyrical deliverance is refreshingly innovative. You may find yourself not believing Christian Hip Hop could actually have street credential, but this song transcends from the home surround sound system to the back speakers of your trunk flawlessly; minus the profanity and the misogyny. Octavia states in her press kit: “Anybody can make millions selling sex, that’s easy. The challenge is to make a million without selling sex”. Well with tracks like I don’t see why that would be an impossible feat for Octavia. I ventured back to some of Octavia’s prior work and found unique songs like “Get 2 The Cross” and “The God In You” to be eclectically diverse, as her versatility makes her virtually limitless to both genre and style. Octavia Harris’ statement of “Give them hope through an understanding of their gifts” is both reflective and inspiring. I expect her up and coming album “Be Myself” will show the world that she truly understands her gift. Octavia Harris’ “Never” is available for purchase on ITunes. I strongly suggest that you check out her single and keep an eye on this rising star in the making. #Be Myself 2014

In Review: Movie: The Best Man Holiday

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Tugged at heart strings, endless laughter and an appreciation for life, will all but sum up the wealth of emotions that you will warmly surrender when viewing the movie: “The Best Man Holiday”. I will admit that I was not a huge fan of the prequel (The Best Man), but I must say that this latest installment in the widely adored series, has made its way onto my list of one of the most enjoyable movies I have ever had the pleasure of watching. I almost feel guilty revealing any detail of the plot, so I will preference my review by saying that the movie picks up right where the prequel left off. The cast of characters remain the same, as we find each of them in different places in both their professional and personal lives. They have all drifted vastly apart, however, it is not until they receive an invite to spend the holidays with the Sullivan family (Mia and Lance played by Monica Calhoun & Morris Chestnut), that the old gang is finally reunited under one roof for the Christmas Holiday. Once again the movie is centered around the character Harper (played by Taye Diggs) and his never ending quest to find a way to balance family, friendship and success, as his wife Robin (played by Sanaa Latham) is now pregnant with their first child. As we follow him throughout the film, we learn about the extreme transitions of life, as well as, the importance of friendship and forgiveness. This movie will not disappoint its viewer, as I wish that Hollywood would take on more projects of quality just like this. Terrence Howard poured in one of his better performances; offering up humor, wisdom and heartfelt emotion as the cunning, yet controversial, character Quentin Spivey. The Best Man Holiday is by far one of the best holiday movies to date, please go and do yourself a favor support this film of talented actors and actresses abound. I promise that you will not be the least bit disappointed. If so, the microwave popcorn is on me.

Death of A Legend: The New York MC

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“The melody that I’m styling, smooth as a violin, rough enough to break New York from Long Island”. The aforementioned words are the lyrical elocution pontificated by the legendary and immortal Rakim Allah (a.k.a William Griffin) of Wyndanch, N.Y. The iconic, urban legend, solidified his place inside the hallowed halls of Hip Hop history in the summer of 1986, with the release of his debut hit single entitled “Eric B Is President” with “My Melody” on the B-Side of the vinyl LP. I was 13 years of age back then and I remember the summer having a nostalgic buzz as it related to Hip Hop music. Groups like Whodini, Boogie Down Productions, Run DMC and solo acts like MC Shan and Big Daddy Kane, all but cemented New York as the foundational ground floor for the Hip Hop music genre. New York was the birthplace of Gazelle Glasses, Kangol Hats, Stripe Lee Jeans, Shell-Toe Adidas and of course the iconic big gold chains. There was a street vernacular spoken that became a dialect worthy of a Rosetta Stone tutorial. New York was the central hub in the birthing of a revolutionary culture. We have seen the music genre’s evolutionary, cartographical migration that has created innovative depth to its organic, yet, complex nature; however, it’s rooted existence is cored in the borough of the Bronx. We all know of Nas, Notorious B.I.G and Jay-Z and their contributions in elevating the New York MC to heightened levels of both fame and financial success. All of the of the previous listed started off in the non-commercialized music sector of the Hip Hop genre called the underground. It was here where they would sharpen and hone their skills, all while carving out their niche on the ladder of artistic success. Their groundbreaking and innovative dissertation over gritty music ensembles, were reflective of the New York temperament. We saw a group like the Wu Tang Clan regenerate the New York MC temperament, by capturing one voice in the form of a collaborated effort of several solo worthy artists that were destined for individual stardom. This would become both the apex and the fall of the great New York MC, leaving behind a mere scattering of several artist like Jada Kiss and Fabolous who would continue to resonate that New York feel in the bloodlines of their music. But what happened to the New York MC and the culture that was once so vibrant and intoxicating? Where are the artist who reflected the hustle and bustle of the New York lifestyle much like our subway systems and yellow cabs do? There are only a few precocious wordsmiths like Torae and Reks that are carrying the New York MC banner; but the legendary sound that was once associated with NY Hip Hop the same way Motown was to Detroit, has slowly been phased out. Maybe it was the saturation of sequin suits, fashion bravado and gimmick concepts that lead to its ultimate demise. I do, however, believe that the New York MC will resurrect and that its next innovator, much like Rakim Allah, will be a “Microphone Fiend” whose sole mission is to revitalize The New York MC and galvanize the Hip Hop culture. Hip Hop is still alive. #any MC that disagrees with me wave your arm

Veterans Day: Home(less) Of The Brave

Posted in News with tags , , , on November 12, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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The famed chiasmus articulated in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address stated: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This was a rallying call to all American citizens on January 20th 1961, in an effort to inspire them to seek to do the better good for their country. As we have now reached the celebration that is known as Veteran’s Day, it is safe to say that nothing exemplifies doing “the better good” for your country, more so than enlisting in the Armed Services. All of those individuals, whether drafted or freely volunteering, display an incomparable level of bravery that can never truly be acknowledged by one designated day of recognition. These individuals exchange their lives and livelihoods in an effort to secure a world that is consistently on the brink of anarchy and instability. Our so called “freedom” comes with a heavy price tag, as the lives of those young, brave men and women who serve our great country, are often in the line of fire every second of the hour so that we can function under the pretense of “life, love and the pursuit of happiness”. The word “honorable” is one of the very few words that I feel that can justly describe the type of character that individuals like this exhibits. I have family members and friends who have dedicated their lives to service and to them and all enlistees I salute and pray for their safety. It is this profound respect that I have for them that encouraged my blog topic, which is the homeless Veterans in our country. Veterans make up 13% of the homeless population in this country. A majority of those homeless veterans are single males, with female veterans making up only approximately 8% of the total number. It is estimated that 40% of the homeless veteran population are either Hispanic or African American, with 51% being Caucasian. Studies regarding the ages of those who are homeless show that 9% are between the ages of 18 to 30, with 40% ranging between the ages of 31 to 50. Projections show that there could be a possible 1.4 million veterans at risk of being homeless in the near future due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Other contributing factors to the veterans homeless situation, is the large number of displaced and at-risk veterans who live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. These are often compounded due to a lack of family and social support networks. In addition, the military training received during their tenure of service are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, which places veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment in the open market. The only combatant to these troubling circumstances have been community based, non profit veterans helping veteran programs that look to provide living stability and substance free environments. But the fact still remains that some 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Such a startling revelation knowing that they have sacrificed so much, only to be left defenseless and vulnerable on the very streets they fight to secure day in and day out. They answered the chiasmus by giving their better good, now it’s time for our country to do the same for them. #food, clothing & shelter

Nigger Revisited

Posted in Literature, Trending with tags , , , , on November 7, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“Those of us who weren’t destroyed got stronger, got calluses on our souls. And now we’re ready to change a system, a system where a white man can destroy a black man with a single word. Nigger.” This was an excerpt from Dick Gregory’s highly controversial 1964 autobiography entitled “nigger”. The excerpt was an ode to his material ancestors in effort to give hope for social healing and societal change regarding racism in America. My father, who was born in Virginia, once shared with me the bitter hardships of segregated entrances, racial defamation and instances of people turning their rabid dogs on him just because he walked near their houses. He spoke of having objects being hurled at him by occupants of passing vehicles, followed up by racially hurled epithets, as he was working on the roadways trying to earn a simple living. For me, it is hard to fathom a time such as this. A time where you are considered less than a human being. My generation was thought to be rebellious, yet undefined; so much that we were referred to by a single, solitary letter; X. But as I peruse through life and the lineage of my family’s history, I have come to the realization that I am very well aware of the polarizing effect racism has had on the black culture and black society as a whole. It has always motivated me from an educational standpoint, as I recognize the fact that my success at this point, is due to the fact that I am standing on the strong, unrelenting shoulders of my ancestral roots. Perhaps it is here that we find a disconnect in the modern day African American youth, as it relates to the histrionics of not only racism in America, but also the overall appreciation of the forefathers and foremothers who paved the way by plowing out the proverbial field dreams in a time where advancement was not an option nor a choice. We can always point a finger at education and the absence of African American representation with the exceptions of Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. However, our black society as a whole owe it to ourselves to be preservationists as it relates to our own collective ancestry. It is glaringly apparent that the baton was dropped during the handoff exchange, especially when it was revealed in the recent racial scandal surrounding the Miami Dolphins, that African American men denounced a fellow African American teammate for not being “black enough”. And one would hope that the train to ignorance would stop right there, however, they would go on to allude that they accepted a Caucasian teammate as being black, so much that he was allowed to call them nigger as a form of acceptable endearment. I for one, have a plethora of friends with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. I completely endorse the “brother from another mother” premise and the kinship that is developed that blurs the lines of color. In fact the Reggae artist Junior Reed has a song entitled “One Blood” that could be an anthem for racial healing. Yet the fact still remains, the plight of the African American in this country is not one that can be related to by donning on the shoes of empathy or having an impoverished upbringing. The hate and the evil behind the word “nigger” is far greater then any other racial slur or verbiage spelled out in the English dictionary. Only an idiot would want to be inducted and enshrined into the shackles of the disenfranchised, the genocidal, the raped, the murdered, the degraded and the barbarically annihilated heritage associated with something a simple as skin tone. What saddens me more than anything, is the fact that those African Americans who endorsed him, have no clue of the message that they send out to society as a whole. The message? That the word “nigger” is really not that bad and that our ancestors were actually treated fairly. But who is to blame, other than ourselves? We utilize it in our vernacular and trend set it throughout our music. And when artist like Nasir Jones tries to bring educational light to the word, just like his predecessor Dick Gregory, he was chastised and ridiculed for doing so. Nasir promulgated to the world: “They say we N-I-double G-E-R…We are much more, still we choose to ignore the obvious…Man this history don’t acknowledge us…We was scholars long before colleges”. Sadly enough, only a few people listened to the lyrics and apparently the Miami Dolphin players were not amongst them. Placing honor on a badge of demoralization all but returns us to the chains of slavery. It states that we fought a great fight, but ultimately we lost the war. There may be those who ignorantly believe that the over saturated usage of the word may lessen its power, but to them I suggest that they trade skins with me for a week. John Griffin did in the book “Black Like Me”. It was then and only then that he came to understand the stigmatized pain associated with the African American plight. The war is not over as the struggle continues to rage on. Racism is a complex tradition and not just a word of simplicity. #educate yourself