I remember first being introduced to Erykah Baduâ€™s music back in middle school. At the time my best friend was completely immersed in every aspect that Ms. Badu gave of with her style-â€“ needless to say I thought she was and is Erykahâ€™s biggest fan. Times changed from a few years back when I was a teen and the messages we gravitated toward and what mainstream hungers for today.
Within hours of Erykah premiering her latest video, â€œWindow Seatâ€, I watched it onÂ www.ErykahBadu.com. I immediately sent a text message congratulating her on the video and such an awesome message. The videoâ€™s message was so plain and simple, or at least I thought it was.
A few hours later I went to check different blogs to see what the publics response was to her video; and â€œWOWâ€ what a mixed response she received. Although most were commenting on her amazing physique, others were ranting over whether or not her being nude in the video was a good message to send.
Meanwhile, the people against her nudity never acknowledged a firm or clear understanding of what her message actually was.
About two weeks later (which was the night I wrote this), Erykah sent me a text asking have a seen the article on theÂ Five-Year-Old Girl Who Reviewed â€œWindow Seatâ€ Video. After reading it, I thought to myself, â€œThis child is so clever! â€œ
She was able to articulate an understanding of the root message of the video better than most adults.
The video is an analogy that supports the lyrics of the song and basically her stance as an artist. In the song sheâ€™s crying for attention and direction– from mainstream audiences, etc. Figuratively, sheâ€™s asking the world, what do you want from her- what does she have to do for you to fully accept her.
The nudity was significant to the point of that is how she has presented herself as an artist all of these years (naked in her artistic expression). And basically, though she has received exceptional success through her career– the recent years of her career hasnâ€™t done as well, in terms of the public reception, because mainstream does not accept that type of responsible artist.
For a second think of the buzz she received with New Amerykah Part One or even the buzz of this latest album before she released the video. It was extremely low, despite her delivering great albums.
Hence, why she said at the end of the video, “They play it safe, quick to assassinate (not support) that which they donâ€™t understand.” The “They” is the music industry, radio, mainstream audience, etc.
The five-year-old girlâ€™s explanation was so simple and on point when she was asked, why was Erykah shot. Her reply, “Because she was naked and cool and free?”
The young girl nailed it right on the mark. Todayâ€™s mainstream we are quicker to accept raw sexual messages pumped to ourselves (and our children) and not say a word of opposition when one of the top three female performers appear on a major teen awards show singing, â€œBoy, are you big enoughâ€; or even when another top artist dances in her video with a thong and bra sending strong sexually explicit messages all throughout the video.
Before you rush to judge, be mindful of the double standards we create. Try to understand the artistic message.
(Blogger’s Note: Interview conductedÂ 4.03.2010)
Jesse Muhammad (JM):: First thank you for doing this interview with me. Can you give me a little background about yourself and how you became a multi-disciplinary artist?
Bryonn Bain (BB)::Â From the time I was seven years old, I sang calypso songs I learned from my dad and Harry Belafonte. Songs like â€œBun Demâ€ and â€œMatildaâ€. My brothers and I loved the Jackson 5 and New Edition and did our own versions of their hits at every talent show we could find in New York. My father actually won his way to Harlemâ€™s Apollo theater stage 40 years ago — singing his own calypso songs in Trinidad under the stage name â€œLord Crepsoleâ€ â€“ which means â€œLord Sneakersâ€ back in the islands. Pops got the name wearing black chucks on stage with a black suit. We heard stories like that growing up and performed in Hip Hop and R&B groups since we were shorties.
Watching my cousins â€“ The Fu Schnickens â€“ leave Brooklyn to tour the world with Tupac and Digital Underground made us believe anything was possible at an early age. We started performing in prisons during the holidays back in â€˜89. Nothing political, just wanted to show brothers on lock some love. Had no idea Iâ€™d be doing â€œLyrics from Lockdownâ€ over 20 years later.
JM:: During your second year at Harvard law school, your life took an interesting turn involving a wrongful imprisonment. What happened?
BB::Â My brother, my cousin and I were locked up for a crime we did not commit. We were Black and Latino and happened to be at the scene of the crime â€“ in a mostly White neighborhood. The cops figured as long as they locked up the first ni–ers they could find, it wouldnâ€™t make much difference. They were wrong. My mentor, warrior lawyer Lani Guinier, encouraged me to publish my story and it received more responses than any other articles ever published in the history of the Village Voice â€“ the most widely read progressive weekly newspaper in the nation. The following week, â€œ60 minutesâ€ called me and said Mike Wallace wanted to interview me about the story- – â€œWalking while Black: The bill of rights for Black men.â€ I agreed, but only if my brother and cousin could be interviewed too. A few months later, 20 million viewers saw us retell our story on national television.
JM:: How have you used that incident to liberate yourself and others instead of letting it take you down?
BB::Â I started the â€œLyrics on Lockdownâ€ prison tour — initially with the support of the open society institute â€“ (big shout to soros and osiâ€¦). My fam organized artists, activists and educators to perform and facilitate workshops in prisons around the country with the non-profit organization I founded with my fam â€“ Blackout Arts Collective. We spent five years raising awareness about the prison crisis this way.
Itâ€™s a shame that even with this historic Presidential victory, we hardly hear a peep from elected officials about the fact that the U.S. imprisons more people than any other nation in the world â€“ while fighting wars in the name of freedom and democracy overseas.
Ultimately, Blackout decided to work with activists like Nanon Williams, with the support of groups like Nawisa, Prison Moratorium Project, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Critical Resistance, and the
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (big shout!), to â€œlocalizeâ€ these efforts to be more effective. Courses were created to link university students to incarcerated teens, women and men in states around the nation. Students at Columbia University, New York University and the New School University for Social Research, for example, facilitate arts-based literacy workshops in college and graduate courses offered to young folks incarcerated at Rikers Island Prison â€“ the largest penal colony in the world.
JM:: When you play a particular role or write a particular script, what do you want your audiences to walk away with?
BB::Â Generally speaking, to deepen understanding and expand consciousness through art and entertainment. But it depends on the project and the story. In theater and film, part of the magic is to utilize the art of the illusion to get to the truth. Inspiring thought and action intended to improve the human condition is one of the important goals of activist-oriented projects, but sometimes even our laughter can be the medicine necessary to see ourselves and new solutions to old problems. Paul Mooney and Dave Chappelle are masters of this. Before them, Richard Pryor was the greatest sociologist of the 20th century because of his ability to make us think about the problems of our world in unconventional ways. Thatâ€™s the spark necessary to the honest dialogue social movements can be built around. Augusto Boal used interactive theater to achieve this in Brazil. Black folks in this country use the same interactivity in the call and response practices of our Hip Hop concerts, poetry venues, churches, mosques and even movie theaters. You know we love to talk to the screen!
JM:: I read that you have been bringing a message of upliftment to the prisons. Do you think this country’s prison system is truly about reform? How have you used your experience and gifts to enlighten those on lock down?
BB::Â The prison industrial complex is not intended to reform or rehabilitate. It is the best place to learn how to commit crimes of all kinds in the nation. The twisted irony is that the prison population has exploded from 200,000 in the 1970â€™s to over 2 million today by locking up people charged with non-violent, victimless, and mostly drug-related crimes. Some of the folks I have met in prisons around the country have enlightened me far more than I have them; like Nanon. The brother is an inspiring poet, author, activist, and the valedictorian of his college class. And it is not uncommon to find this kind of intellect and passion behind bars in the U.S. today. In Springfield, Ohio I met a 15 year old kid at the Clark County Detention Center in November who blew my mind. James Calinowski was sentenced to 98 days, but after I performed part of the show Iâ€™m bringing to Houston on April 5th, he decided to stay behind bars for an extra dayâ€“ just so he could participate in the poetry slam I was hosting later that week. On his 99th day locked up, James competed with a poem he wrote in our workshop — and won.
JM:: Thatâ€™s awesome! Explain what gave birth to the idea of “Lyrics from Lockdown”. Why did you choose to focus particularly on the case of Nanon Williams when there are so many young brothers like him in the U.S.?
BB::Â Nanon started writing me from prison several years ago. In one of his first letters, he told me that he was circulating my Village Voice articles to brothers on death row. I was so humbled by their response that we started exchanging letters on the regular. I went down to visit him in Palestine, Texas. A Swiss activist who worked with Nawisa and Amnesty International, Andrea Huber, had already introduced me to his writings, and, Kennedy School professor Nolan Bowie suggested that I write a â€œHip Hop operaâ€ about the unbelievably true story of my wrongful imprisonment.
I know how I felt terrorized by my brief stay behind bars, but I couldnâ€™t imagine telling my own story without sharing some of Nanonâ€™s experience with the world through his moving letters and poetry.
JM:: Do you think more artists need to shed light on serious issues?
BB::Â We shouldnâ€™t be trapped in that because there is subversive power even in comedy. That said, Abiodun of the last poets said it best after we closed the Hip Hop Theater Festival in NYC last November. Brother dun (who wrote â€œni–az are scared of revolutionâ€) came on stage and said that he realized when he was serving time â€“ or rather, letting time serve him â€“ we are living in serious times and we need to use our art to address whatâ€™s going on in the world. It is an honor to walk on that path and be supported by the elders who have inspired me. The disconnect between the civil rights/Black power and Hip Hop generation has been one of our greatest limitations. Artists who do make that connection end up being carriers of the tradition of griots passed on by not only the Last Poets, but Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti. It goes back before Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and comes up to the emergence of Hip Hop generation legends like Rakim, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Outkast, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and the beat goes on…
JM:: When we sit down and watch “Lyrics from Lockdown” on April 5, what do you want us as a Houston community to do?
BB::Â Free Nanon Williams! Thatâ€™s the strategy session I would like us to have with those who have been working on his case for over 15 years. Folks like Gloria Rubac andÂ Nawisa. Other activists who have gotten involved in the last decade or so â€“ folks like Hahleemah Wright and Houston artists like Saavy and Equality.
We are living in the midst of modern-day slavery â€“ thatâ€™s what the prison system in America is. And we need to make this common knowledge and recruit as many â€œHarriet Tubmansâ€ as possible to come out and collectively work for the freedom of our folks who donâ€™t deserve to be incarcerated. But we canâ€™t just tear the system down without envisioning what we will replace it with afterwards. We have to begin building healthier communities. This starts with each of us facing our own demons and tackling our own personal contradictions. I know I have mine, and many of them come out in the show. We need to build an abolitionist movement around the nation that is committed to de-carceration, but each of us has our own prisons we have to work on liberating ourselves from as well.
My prayer is that everyone who watches the production will be moved to ask â€œwhat can I do?â€â€ and be willing to get involved in some way to help bring brother Nanon and others like him home where they belong. Take a day off from work and show up to his court date â€“ whenever it is rescheduled. The date was originally planned for April 6, but was recently postponed. Show support for another brother wrongfully convicted for a crime he did not commit.
You shouldnâ€™t have to have the same Ivy League education as our beloved President Barack Obama just to get justice in the 21st century. Thatâ€™s the world I want to see and the change I want us all to breathe in. Come through and build. We got work to do, family.
JM:: Deep words. Thank you and I will see you at the show!
By Jesse Muhammad
Letâ€™s be honest.
Whenever some people hear of a rapper coming out of the ranks of the Nation of Islam, it may have been hard for them to take that artist serious in the realm of hip-hop.
Being a member of the NOI, I honestly have struggled with it myself. Donâ€™t get me wrong, we have had some hard-hitting members who have dropped tight bars here and there. But to rank them pound for pound with other well-known hip-hop lyricists was a rarity.
Then came alongÂ Jasiri XÂ of Pittsburgh.
I first heard his speaking skills via an online video, but then I heard his lyrical skills on the mic via the song dedicated to worldwide plight of The Jena 6 in 2007. The songÂ Free the Jena 6Â caught fire and it caused me, along with others, to pay attention to him.
His name became a conversation piece even more when he droppedÂ I Got That XÂ mixtape, which I purchased while in Atlanta. We paid even more attention.
Fast forward to 2008.
Jasiri X develops into a lyrical prime minister for addressing injustice to Blacks one bar at a time from the shooting of Sean Bell on the East Coast to the killing of Oscar Grant in the Bay area.
When I received the link to download his 2009 releaseÂ American History X, I had very high expectations. For the last two years I have been an avid viewer ofÂ This Week with Jasiri X, where he delivered two seasons of weekly YouTube videos addressing national and global issues.
Half of the tracks onÂ American History XÂ are taken from his weekly news videos includingÂ Dear Debra- A Letter to BET,Â Ballers and Rappers,Â Beware Young Girl,Afghanistan (HerStory), andÂ The Only Color That Matters is Green.
I have watched these videos so many times that naturally I thought I would skip over those songs and go straight to the other ones, yet I found myself listening to those over and over. EspeciallyÂ Dear Debra, which is also one of my personal videos of the year.
I will soothe you no matter what level the stress/You are righteous Black queen, not a hot ghetto mess/ And yes, I believe that youâ€™ll switch one day/ But now you so exposed that I wanna rip the runway/ And I know they say that you should shake what your mama gave you/But you are a reflection of how your mama raised you.
A serious jab is delivered by Jasiri to his fellow emcees in the songÂ Silent NightÂ with the question: Do Rappers Watch the News?
While they talkin about old beefs and gold teeth/Iâ€™m talking about freeing minds and they putting souls to sleep/â€¦And they still talkin bout making it rain and Range Rovers with chains around their neck with no brain found on their shoulders.
Then it was time to see what else Jasiri X had to deliver beyond these songs with hundreds of thousands online views. The track forÂ Pyramids, featuring legendary West Coast lyricist Planet Asia, sets the tone of the consistent message through the album.
Militant, diligent, killing it with illest spit/Revealing the syllabus to prove that God still exists/You canâ€™t see cuz you use your eyes/Iâ€™m so cerebral its lethal/Went from so-called Negro to Magneto/Mad people hit me on Facebook to lay hooks/Twitter me for the lyrical wizardry for my delivery.
OnÂ CrucifixionÂ he goes at the â€œmad media lynchingâ€ of Black leaders, entertainers and athletes and the track produced by Track Phoenz is hypnotic. The tempo increases with the revolutionary songÂ Real RapÂ feat. Brooklynâ€™s Chen Lo. The songÂ BlackfaceÂ addresses the euphoria of the so-called post-racial America,Â Just A MinstrelÂ weighs in on the buffoonery of the television andÂ State of the Black WorldÂ paints a vivid reality of the Black community.
You canâ€™t help but get angry while listening to the track produced by King Sym for the songÂ OG3Â regarding the shooting death of Oscar Grant. It ends with a commentary by hip-hop journalist Davey D.
To hell with all the yellin/Itâ€™s time for the rebellion.
My multiple listening sessions withÂ American History XÂ came to a close by pressing repeat on the last songÂ Defining Moment. It sums up the mission he has with his music which is to empower the masses in the direction of self-improvement and action.
And I should sign for a billion a line/Cuz Iâ€™m in line with the fulfillment of time/The architect of the building design/Still Iâ€™m crying/Cuz the children are dying.
The hook has become one of my mantras for 2010:
What time is it? /This is our defining moment/What time is it? /This is our defining moment, even though it seems the times is hopeless.
Iâ€™m not much into comparing the styles of Hip-Hop artists because everyone moves listeners in their own way in their own time and space. WithÂ American History X, Jasiri X is doing the same thing. Itâ€™s a musical ministry, mental street surgery, hip-hop healing, and a lyrical liberation coupled with his activism beyond the microphone.
Overseen by hip-hop pioneer Paradise Gray,Â American History XÂ is our daily news delivered from a perspective that FOX and CNN donâ€™t bring. Matter of fact, it isÂ The Final Call NewspaperÂ in compact disk format to re-format the minds of the people.
Itâ€™s Farrakhan in fiber optics, Mumia in mixes, H. Rap Brown in beats, and a Huey P. type call to action.
This is what todayâ€™s hip-hop is lacking. Keep your eye on Jasiri X.
Album:Â American History X
Artist:Â Jasiri X
Featured Artists:Â Plant Asia, Chen Lo, Living Proofe and Idasa Tariq
Producers:Â Religion, Track Phoenz, Black Czer, King Sym, Kai Roberts and Omar Abdul
FreeDownload:Â Downloadable Link Here
Brother Jesse Blog Rating:Â 5.5 out of 6 stars
by Jesse Muhammad
The saying goes “Everything is big in Texas”. Well it definitely is and will be very costly.
According to the annual â€œAmerica’s Health Rankingsâ€ report, Texans are continuing to get fatter and the rising condition could cost the state billions of dollars in obesity-linked health care in 2018.
The population of obese residents in the Lone Star State rose to 28.9 percent compared to 28.6 percent last year in the report led by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.
Presently, Texas spends over $5.7 billion on obesity-related chronic conditions and if the state meets the nine-year projected obesity figures, the price tag will be $23.2 billion or approximately $1,255 per adult.
Nationally, obesity is costing the U.S. $44 billion in direct health care costs but is predicted to escalate to $344 billion, according to the study.
â€œUnless there is urgent action across our society, our already overburdened care system will be swamped by a tsunami of cost and demands from preventable chronic disease,â€ said Reed Tuckson, M.D, United Health Foundation board member.
â€œPeople lack the discipline to eat right or stay on a consistent exercise regime,â€ Nicole Hudson, a certified fitness instructor based in Houston.
â€œI honestly donâ€™t like to exercise and I do not make time to cook. I spend a lot of money on fast food every week,â€ says Alicia Jackson, 41.
Ms. Jackson, who is overweight, is a single mother of two sets of twins in Northeast Houston. She has dipped in and out of weight loss tactics for several years only to see herself eventually gain the weight back.
â€œBetween work and school-related functions for my children, I lack time to prepare good meals for me and them. So fast food is always tempting. I need to will myself to plan out how to effectively lose this weight,â€ says Ms. Jackson, an adjunct professor at San Jacinto Community College.
Obesity highest in the Black community
Obesity has increased 129 percent nationally since the first edition of â€œAmericaâ€™s Health Rankingâ€ was issued 20 years ago. That was when Texasâ€™ obesity rate was only 12.3 percent. Since 1988, the average weight gain for males in Texas has been 24.2 pounds compared to 22.6 pounds for women.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , Blacks had 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity in 2008, and Hispanics had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared with Whites. The highest concentration of obesity for Blacks and Whites were found in the South and Midwest than in the West and Northeast.
â€œMany people do not see a problem with the way they eat. I get calls all of the time for people who want to train but they give up after a few weeks. The top excuse is lack of time but you only need one hour three days a week,â€ advises Ms. Hudson.
â€œLetâ€™s be real. The grocery stores in the Black neighborhoods are poor in comparison to the ones in the White neighborhoods. We have more fast food chains and liquor stores,â€ Robert Sampson, a bank teller.
â€œI am not at all making any excuses for obesity but if weâ€™re not building our own then weâ€™re subjected to our surroundings. Iâ€™m not driving across town for a nice plate of food. I hit McDonalds,â€ says Mr. Sampson, who is overweight.
Texas ranks 39th out of the 50 states in overall health care rankings according to the â€œAmerica’s Health Rankingsâ€ report. The state is ranked 22nd in the prevalence of binge drinking, 26th in the prevalence of smoking, 43rd in public health dollars per person, 44th in the rate of infectious disease cases and 16th in the rate of cancer deaths. On a brighter side, Texas dropped from being the 12th-fattest state last year to 14th this year.
Members of the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Against Obesity group recently applauded Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill passed an initial vote on November 21 and a House floor debate is expected to commence.
â€œThis legislation will help build much needed evidence for understanding ways to reverse the obesity epidemic,â€ said Campaign spokesperson Penny Lee.
â€œObesity is the nation’s costliest medical condition, and we applaud the leadership in both the House and Senate for addressing this escalating crisis in their health care reform packages,â€ said Ms. Lee.
Provisions in Mr. Reidâ€™s bill include appropriating $25 million towards a childhood obesity demonstration project and raising awareness nationwide. Additionally the legislation recommends that the CDC provide grants to state, local and community organizations to develop evidence-based preventive health activities to combat the obesity crisis.
Eat To Live Not To Die
Have you ever read the bookÂ “How To Eat To Live”Â by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad? If you have not, I strongly suggest you purchase a copy fromÂ The Final Call E-Store. In two volumes, Mr. Muhammad is sharing wisdom on eating properly to add years to one’s life.
In Book I, Mr. Muhammad writes:
“Anyone who eats all the time has a very short life. Our greatest trouble, when it comes to sickness, is due to staying at the table, eating too much and too often. You have no regularity about your eating at all. “Eat any time,” they will tell you. One of the gravest wrongs you could do is to eat when you do not want to. They say behind that, “Eat before you get hungry,” which is one of the silliest things of all…. Live right, think right, eat right, and do right”
(Originally postedÂ 12.20.2009)
(Blogger’s Note: Originally postedÂ 12.20.2009)
Brother Jesse:Â I finally catch up with the Twitter-pert Jawar! Please share with our readers a little about the man beyond 140 characters.
Jawar:Â Thank you for the opportunity to share.
I am a keynote motivational speaker, business consultant and author of over 20 paperback, e-books and audio books. As a child I stuttered; wanting to speak “normal”, I stumbled upon various techniques that allowed me not only to improve my speaking, but truly find my voice in this life. With this voice I’ve been delivering live and video presentations that are helping to improve the way people do business and transform their personal lives for the better.
Some of my main speaking topics include personal achievement, self-motivation, self-publishing, social media and the music business.
Brother Jesse:Â It’s amazing who I have met via Twitter. You’re one of those giants with now over 18,000 followers! How long have you been using Twitter? Why do you use it?
Jawar:Â Thank you for the acknowledgment. My Twitter accountÂ @jawarÂ was started in May 2008 if I’m not mistaken. However, I really started to use Twitter around October 2008.
I use Twitter for a number of reasons including research, engaging people, generating and converting business leads and sending motivational messages. Twitter helps me be a constant reminder to others in how to be “Happy, Healthy and Wealthy when you THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!”â„¢
Brother Jesse:Â What gave birth to that three-step system for success simply called “Think. Plan. Execute.” How has it resonated with your clientele?
Jawar:Â That’s a wonderful question. There was a need to share with people something relatively simple to remember that could be put to immediate use and was universal in nature. As I thought about the many inventions of men, women and my own contributions to the community in particular and society at large, it came to me that there was a system or formula that I used over and over again… “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!”â„¢
This is the system I’ve used to organize and facilitate successful business conferences, seminars, workshops, radio shows such as Motivational Music Radio, consult with clients and write and publish several paperback, e-books and audio books. “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!”â„¢ is a mental and physical science that when applied properly, will yield rewards.
Interestingly enough I held a business conference where I spoke about thinking, planning and executing. There’s a video clip online now, so it all came together exactly how it was supposed to.
People have been putting the “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!”â„¢ to great use. Now people see me in person or correspond with me online and share how they are in various stages of thinking, planning and executing to be happy, healthy and wealthy. It truly is an honor when people share those experiences.
Brother Jesse:Â This year you releasedÂ The Twitter Resource Book. I purchased a copy for myself! What has been the response to the book?
Jawar:Â The Twitter Resource BookÂ was released to share with people how to use Twitter to engage, add value and bring more to the table when tweeting. Additionally, there are over 170 applications (apps) and websites that help people automate or make the best use of their Twitter experience. I have also included many of my personal Twitter Tips that have helped me gain and truly engage nearly 20,000 followers as of this interview.
The response forÂ The Twitter Resource BookÂ has been outstanding and getting better by the moment. Your readers may want to visitÂ http://TwitterResourceBook.comÂ for details on the book.
Brother Jesse:Â I know you plan ahead, so give us a snippet of what Jawar will be building upon in 2011….since 2010 is upon us.
Jawar:Â By March 27, 2011 there will be over 1,000,000 people putting “THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE!”â„¢ to great use in both their professional and personal lives. I’m truly excited about the opportunity that we have been afforded. There are a number of speaking engagements at the community, collegiate and corporate levels that are being planned as we speak. With your help and the help of your readers, this vision and plan will become a physical reality exactly as it is.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers Bro. Jesse, you are a shining light and beacon of hope. May you continue to be happy, healthy and wealthy! Hotep!
Brother Jesse:Â Thank you. Hotep.
(For more information on Jawar visitÂ www.jawarspeaks.com)
Suavv Radio is considered the premiere online listening selection. The hosts Rashod, Mike, and Mack always bring cutting edge interviews, hot topics, and a lot of fun.
On November 10, 2009, I was a special guest on their show to discuss theDestruction of the Black Family. You can listen to the archive of the interview by clicking the link below.
Thank you SUAVV Magazine!
This Week with Jasiri X Episode 26 tells the story of the connection between Afghanistan and war, leading to her intimate yet volatile relationship with the United States. Afghanistan (HerStory) is produced by Kai Roberts and directed by Paradise the Arkitech of X-Clan. Click below to view! (Originally postedÂ 11.25.2009)
(Blogger’sÂ Note:Â OriginallyÂ Posted 8.09.2009. Fiona Bloom is another Twitter Connection I made viaÂ Sharon CarpenterÂ of BET. Once I read the website of Fiona, I was blown away! She has an array of gifts…)
Brother Jesse: Please give me a little background about yourself.
Fiona Bloom:Â I was born and raised in London, England. Iâ€™m a classically trained concert pianist. Studied music and theatre intensely from age 4-22. Music is my lifeblood and in my veins and the acting part- well letâ€™s just say- I love the stage- but Iâ€™ll let my artists be on stage and I just spectate- unless of course Iâ€™m the host and up on the mic introducing the acts and the night…That gets my adrenalin flowing…
Brother Jesse: How and when did you get involved in the music industry?
Fiona Bloom:Â Well if you count being a musician (which I do), I started when I was 5 but as far as the â€˜businessâ€™ side of things…Started when I was 26… I was so knowledgeable in the music as a historian/lover of it and art appreciator that I didnâ€™t even come to realize record labels existed until I was working at a radio station…I studied liner notes, back to front inside out sidemen, producers, musicians, lyrics and never even noticed the logos on bottom till one day one of my DJâ€™s at the station was trying to get an interview with A Flock of Seagulls and had to call Arista to set it up â€“ I was like who???
Zaki Ibrahim â€“ â€œComputer Girlâ€ from â€˜Eclecticaâ€™
Miz Metro â€œCity Screamsâ€ â€˜Unlimitedâ€™
Kâ€™Naan â€œI Come Preparedâ€ w/ Damian Marley â€˜Troubadourâ€™
Axum- Freha (Israeli Hip Hop)
The Beatards â€œNasty Funkyâ€ – from their self titled EPBrother Jesse: For those who think public relations and artist management is easy, please talk about the behind the scenes work.
If you’re a cell phone addict, you probably won’t be able to read this blog post all the way through without responding to a text message from someone at the same time. That’s why you’re smiling now.
But seriously, I was recently told by a friend of mine that he canceled his text messaging plan on his cell phone for the next 30 days because he felt it has impacted his natural ability to dialogue with people in person, impacted his attention span and caused him to stop doing things like calling people frequently and writing properly.
So he’s going on a 30-dayÂ Texting Fast. That’s a new one, huh?
He said he got so addicted to texting in abbreviations to so many people that he started noticing that he was more interactive with them through the cell phone than when he saw them in person. So the conversation in person would be short and not as “engaging” as the text messaging.
Then he said he got to the point that he stop making personal calls, even to family members, and even limited them to just text messages. He stop answering their calls and even mentally put certain people on theÂ TEXT ONLYÂ list and pressed ignore on his Treo. Do you have one of those list?
Just like others attribute to the PC, he said he found that his attention span began to decrease. He didn’t enjoy long conversations with people and when he attended social events he wasn’t as interactive as normal but instead would be texting people the whole time on his cell phone….even people in the same room with him instead of going up to talk to them! Have you ever done that?
Lastly, my friend said he has a gift for writing but feels that doing all of those short dialogues via text messaging started impacting his “writing groove and grammatical harmony” as he put it. So he is going to see what happens over this next 30 days.
Question: Can you relate to my friend or do you think it is far fetched? Could you go 30 days without text messaging?
The media has a keen ability in making a good man look wicked and a wicked man look good.
Sadly, most of us as American citizens readily embrace what we see and hear on television and on the Internet without doing further investigation.
Some of us mock or tease others who jump on the bandwagon after a certain team wins a championship yet in our hypocrisy we allow this governmentâ€™s opinion of world leaders to give us our full perspective on themâ€”even if it is outright lies.
Therefore, we have continuously jumped on Americaâ€™s bandwagon. Sorry to disappoint you, but many of us canâ€™t go along with it. Never have, never will.
There is a long list of good works that was done by Muammar Gadhafi that we have chosen to ignore and has been underreported. Yes, good works.
Have you ever heard of journalist Gerald A. Perreira from Guyana? He was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli and also served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Libyan revolution.
What makes the reporting of Perreira so valuable is the fact that he lived in Libya and wrote extensively about the good works of Gadhafi. Â In aÂ press conferenceÂ at the UN on June 15, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan quoted from Perreiaâ€™s article titledÂ â€œIn the Theatre of the Absurd, Libya Now Takes Centre Stage.â€
According to this article, some of the good works of Gadhafi, not known by most, included:
- Gadhafi nationalized Libyaâ€™s oil reserves and used the oil revenue to build schools, hospitals and repair infrastructure for the Libyan people.
- Money from Libyaâ€™s oil revenueÂ was directly deposited into the bank account of every Libyan.
- He raised the life expectancy from 44 years to 75 years.
- He raised the literacy rate from 20 percent to 83 percent.
- All people in Libya had access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines. And it was free!
- Basic food items were subsidized and electricity was made available throughout the country.
- Gadhafi set up huge irrigation projects in order to support agricultural development and food self-sufficiency.
- Gadhafi spent billions on theÂ Great Man Made RiverÂ project where his engineers brought water up out of the desert for the people. Would a â€˜madmanâ€™ do that?
- Any Libyan who wanted to become aÂ farmerÂ was given free use of land, a house, farm equipment, livestock and seed.
- Under Gadhafi, womenÂ had full access to education, employment; and Gadhafi enabled them to serve in the armed forces.
- GadhafiÂ was the first and only leader in the Arab world to formally apologizeÂ for the Arab role in Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
- Gadhafi put up a 21stÂ century communications satelliteâ€”the first in Africa. This upset European companies who now lost a stream of income that came from their outrageous fees imposed on Africans.
- Gadhafi vowed that his own parents, who lived in a tent in the desert, would not be housed until every Libyan was housed. He made his word bond. Under Gadhafi, Libya attained the highest standard of living in Africa.
- Gadhafi started and financed the African Union with the purpose of developing theÂ â€œUnited States of Africa.â€ This was and is something the Western world did not want.
Wait, there is one more thing. We say we love Nelson Mandela, right?
WhenÂ Mandela visited Gadhafi, he was quoted as sayingÂ â€œThose who object to my visiting Libya have no morals, and I will not join them because I have morals. Qadhafi is my friend. He helped us at a time when we were alone. And the ones who are stopping us from coming here were helping our enemies at that time.â€
Gadhafi wasnâ€™t perfect but who is? When analyzing his life, I think about a few tweets that Minister Farrakhan posted on Aug. 30.Â He tweetedÂ â€œThere is no leader in this world who was or is loved by all.Â Allah puts on His Scale the weight of our good and our evil. This is how He judges and He is judging today.â€
There is much more good that Gadhafi did, but the question is do you really care?
(Originally Posted on October 24, 2011.Â Follow him on TwitterÂ @BrotherJesse.)