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Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

4 Jun
I was so sad to hear that one of my childhood heroes, Muhammad Ali passed away yesterday after a long bout with Parkinson’s Disease. He is such a larger-than-life person. He was a phenomenal athlete, a brave man that stood by his convictions, and a generous humanitarian.
The below sonnet is a poetic tribute to him.
“Rumble young, man rumble! AHHHHHHHH!!!!
________________________________________________________

He so dazzled us in the boxing ring.

He also made the first amendment real.

Winning by knockout was his preferred thing.

muhammad-ali-i-am-ali

An entertainer performing with zeal.

Courageous enough to let it all go.

Standing on principle over dollars.

Swimming upstream against the river’s flow.

Relating to common folk and scholars.

Strong and defiant before it was vogue.

Faith in his god and love for his people.

When others were passive he was a rogue.

A man transformed who led men, not sheeple.

Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

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Is the remake of ROOTS necessary?

1 Jun

There has been a lot of chatter on social media about the reboot of ROOTS and other films and television series (e.g., 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and UNDERGROUND) that tell stories about enslaved Africans in the United States. Some say that they are tired of these type of films and that they are no longer necessary. Why is that? Is that because so many people are so well-read on actual human history or that they belong to cultural organizations that keep this consciousness alive?roots

I emphatically disagree.

roots

One of the West African values that I was taught was Sankofa — “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” is the literal translation of this Akan word. People of African descent have many different stories to tell, but films like ROOTS are very necessary to give us an appreciation of what we faced and had to overcome to survive here in the New World. It also keeps American history honest and let’s the ancestors of African-descended people know that we honor them and will never forget them.

Jews will never let anyone forget the Holocaust. They should not. It was an atrocity that should be kept in the forefront so that it is never repeated. Just like Jews, African-descended people here in the New World must never, ever let the world forget the Maafa. Maafa is a Kiswahili term for disaster, calamity or terrible occurrence; the history and ongoing effects of atrocities inflicted on African people. The world must never forget.

Some feel that this all happened to African people so long ago and that black folk need to get passed this. No, no, no. Did you know that the Texas Department of Education is calling enslaved Africans in this country “involuntary immigrants.” That is crazy! The ugly, inconvenient truth of slavery in this country is trying to be swept under the rug. We can’t let this happen. It is not true to history and it is a dishonor to the ancestors.

Some want to see other films that are more upbeat and tell success stories. It is my understanding that Spike Lee is working on a film telling the story of the historical multi-genius of Kemet (Ancient Egypt before the Greek, Roman and Arab invasions). I wonder how many black people are going to contribute to the crowd-funding for this endeavor and will support it when it hits theaters. People say they want different type of movies, but let’s see see if they put their money where their mouths are.

Tariq Nasheed has produced a wonderful historical documentary about people of African descent called Hidden Colors. He crowd-funded his project on KickStarter. I wonder how many people who want to see something different contributed to his projects or bought copies of his DVDs.

Yes, we need happy, go-lucky films and such. African-descend peoples have many, many stories to tell. But there is certainly room for this reboot of ROOTS. Since the original, there has been more research done on the Mandika civilization (Kunta Kinte’s ethnic group) and this adaptation may be more true to life in that regard. I look at films like this as a periodic reality check to help me keep my spirit and mind right. Every once in a while, this is a good thing.

“We ain’t who we ought to be. We ain’t who we gonna be. But, thank GOD, we ain’t who we was!” ~Old Black Southern saying

So, what are your thoughts?

My 2014 in Review

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everybody! I truly hope that 2015 brings you increased peace and good fortune. Thinking back on 2014, I’d say that it was a pretty good year for me. Black folks in who have roots in the Southeastern US are familiar with an old saying: “We ain’t what we wanna be and we and what we gonna be, but thank GOD we ain’t who we was!”

Tyrone 2012

2014 was a year of new beginnings for me. I was able to get a new job after being unemployed for more than a year [Sidebar: I’m a Citizen Lobbyist for the passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill here in New York State for a reason]. 2013 really kicked me in at gut in so many different ways, but the sun did indeed come out again in 2014. I will not ramble on here in the blog post by providing exhaustive details of things that happened, but I will share this quick list of 10 things that I learned:

  1. Friends are few
  2. Allies can morph into enemies
  3. Most people are not evil, but may be arrogant, apathetic, and afraid
  4. Recreating yourself to adapt to change is crucial for survival
  5. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything
  6. When in a fight, you WILL get hit
  7. Published work (e.g., reports, white papers, articles and books) are the new business card
  8. People are watching when you think they are not
  9. It is better to conduct research and ask clarifying questions rather than argue
  10. If you don’t have more than one income source, you are at risk

Again, all the best to you in 2015.

My Thoughts on the Ferguson Verdict and Rioting

26 Nov

I have been watching the news over the last two days and I’m disappointed at what I’m seeing. Personally, the grand jury’s verdict didn’t surprise me. I am not a lawyer, but I was aware of what the Missouri law said about police use of force.

fergriots

Here is a great explanation of why P.O. Darren Wilson was not charged –> CLICK HERE.

Folks are looting and burning businesses down in their own neighborhood. One shouldn’t do these things at all, but doing it in your own neighborhood is economic suicide.

When you burn things down and loot in a given neighborhood, property values go down. Businesses that were looted and burned-out may never return. Now you will have no businesses in your neighborhood and therefore no job opportunities. Because there are no businesses, you have to travel outside of your neighborhood to buy things which of course will not be very convenient.

Being that property values are down and you have to travel far to get to work and to buy consumer goods, you will sell your home on the cheap and eventually relocate. Your bargain basement priced home will be bought by outside investors who will hold onto the property for a few years and rebuild later. That is how gentrification starts.

Also, the National Guard has set up a perimeter around Ferguson. While I’m not a military strategy and tactics expert, here is what I do know as a retired military policeman trained in civil disturbance and crowd control:

  • During civil unrest, set up a perimeter to lay siege to a town. Nothing gets in or out without consent of command. That includes food and medical supplies.
  • A perimeter surrounds your target and makes sure that unrest doesn’t spill into adjacent areas. Also, when troops are ready to close in, the vise is ready to close.

In my humble opinion, a better thing to do is to start first local then national discussion on the police use of deadly force and use the U.S. Constitution as point of reference. National standards for police use of deadly force MAY infringe on states rights (10th Amendment), and the retention of the status quo for the police use of deadly force in various municipalities MAY violate one’s due process rights (14th Amendment).

Let’s reason together and create a system of justice for all Americans.