Posts Tagged ‘Black college’

This nonsense about Diddy’s son getting an athletic scholarship puts my years at Albany State College in mind.  For those who don’t know, Justin Combs was offered at $54K scholarship to play cornerback at U.C.L.A. and people are losing their minds because Diddy is worth half a billion dollars.

First of all, I say congrats to Justin because U.C.L.A. was my dream school as a kid.  While my classmates wanted to play for Coach Dooly at U.G.A., I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  If Justin didn’t the book work and can cover speedy receivers from U.S.C. and Cal, he has the awarded opportunity coming to him. 

In the 1980s, Albany State had a president with a son and a vice president with sons who torn high school up academically.  Those cats could have attended any school in nation but they chose to take presidential scholarships at Albany.  The president’s son had an ice-cold BMW but hey, the guy had it coming for rocking the books.  I will never forget that life lesson created by the president: he gave his son a bimmer but the kid had to pay for the insurance with earned money.  On visits to the local mall, you would see the son working so well at the chicken place that he made manager (I think) before he was 20 years old.  If that guy stayed with that food chain, he would likely be steps away from being CEO today but he went to medical school and now wears a long white coat.  Don’t hate, congratulate.  The vice president was a referee for ACC football; he was serious about achievement and I enjoyed the few encounters we had.

In government, this discussion would be considered means testing.  A means test is a determination of whether an individual or family is eligible for government money.  Some politicians and policy wonks have proposed means testing Social Security for wealth Americans.  While I will likely never be rich, I wanted the government to clearly understand one thing: you can pay me my money or (as we said in Blaylock Hall at dear old A.S.C.) I can take it out of your ________ . (rhymes with crass)

While I love President Obama, Democrats should be fair regarding the wealthy.  If a guy made his money from hard work and dedication, the state shouldn’t take too much of that money to help some chump who didn’t study in school or failed at business.  That might sound cold but that is real.


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People get and give insults in the South all day every day.  If you have thin skin, you should move.  These insults come to mind.

The Michael Basiden Show’s list “8 Reasons Black Women Should Date White Men: First, Black Women should date whoever makes them happy and treats them well.  But, the list from Basiden’s show ticked me off because I don’t think the desired traits are rare among my friends. I did like the list’s view on our community’s glorification of thug life.


Obama vs. Cain: I once worked at the U.S. Congress across the hall from Rep. John Conyers’s office and he had a young bright chief of staff named Julian Epstein.  At my Black college homecoming last weekend, many old classmates asked my opinion of the Herman Cain presidential candidacy and I told them that Obama vs. Cain was great for several different reasons from several different angles. I am insulted by Black people who think the Black electorate isn’t intelligent and crafty enough to vote for Cain in the open primary states if they want to see him faceoff with Obama.

While watching Fox News yesterday (yes, I watch Fox News sometimes), Julian Epstein let the cat out of the bag by saying that Democrats aren’t behind the recent Cain drama because smart Democrats want Cain to be the G.O.P nominee.  Epstein then seriously said that Democrats would donate to Cain’s campaign.  As we say in the South, Julian should “hush” because he is telling family business in the streets but he is so right.

Cain is to Obama as LBJ was to Kennedy: Yes, I can insult my political friends by stating that crass LBJ passed bills that smooth Kennedy didn’t get to before his tragic departure.  Those Kennedy boys were no match for the Dixiecrats but old Lyndon knew how to fight fire with fire.  LBJ said that he was insulted when a lifelong Black employee of his family would drive from Texas to the White House and if she need to use the bathroom in route, she had to squat in the woods. 

Obama is my favorite president but possibly too nice to turn the nation around.  He is too nice with the loyal opposition and he is too nice with his base regarding personal responsibility.  If you read the 8 reasons Black women should date White men, you will see that the president and the first lady could say more about their development and growth relative to teaching the next generation of all colors.  If Obama won’t get brass, Cain certainly would and that might be the answer.

Herman Cain, Bill Clinton and Thomas Gipson:  I worked at Albany State University with old school southern gentleman Thomas Gipson..God rest his soul.  Mr. Gipson, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had knowledge and wisdom for you everyday but he got a pass or was grandfathered on political correctness.  Gip said that the university’s harassment policies were nonsense and that he would never stop complimenting lovely women. 

Bill Clinton, one of my three favorite presidents, insulted me with that whole Monica mess as did Bush 43 with weapons of mass destruction.  If I gave Clinton and Bush passes, Herman Cain gets one also.  If people from Albany, Georgia, want to know what Cain likely said, they should remember Thomas Gipson and know that what was once tradition is now litigation.

In summary, “yes we can.”  We can reelect President Obama.  We can elect a Georgian as president if not Obama.  We can better position ourselves to enhance the lives of Black women.  We can understand if said women find happiness elsewhere.  We can understand that no candidate is perfect and neither are we.  We can use insults as positive dialog starters.   

We can put on that Sade’s remake of Timmy Thomas’s 1972 classic “Why Can’t We Live Together,” sit back and explain to Cain’s supporters why they are alienating the massive political center.  You can’t win the White House without the center.

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President Obama should listen to the jam band Cameo during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.  Of course, he must hit the Black Dog Tavern and cop a t-shirt and cap.  An old friend sent me a Black Dog hat and people in south Georgia wonder if the “Black Dog” is an African-American sub-group inside the Blue Dog Coalition.

It should be because people can’t understand how some Democrats who benefited from President Clinton and President Obama conveniently sidestep the Dem team at times.  Cameo is coming to Albany, Georgia, next month and I hope they do the slow jam “Don’t Be Lonely” in honor of President Obama since the lyrics summarize how some Dems are running from him or how the Democrat base might feel about some candidates—“Hey, long time no see.” “Don’t be lonely…you’re not the only one who feels the way you do.”  “What would you do if you were in my shoes..you insist on trying to find a way back into my heart..I was never one to take two steps back and I will never start.”  It sounds like Larry Blackmon was singing about slick candidates.

The dictionary’s definitions of “cameo” include “a brief but dramatic appearance of a prominent actor in a single scene.”  In politics, the cameo appearance of candidates in our community will be central to swaying swing elections this fall—come correct.

At black college football games, Cameo’s “Talking Out the Side of Your Neck” is another standard.  With important issues on the table, more voters are well-informed these days and candidates can’t say one thing to one group and something else to another.  Conservative Georgians in both parties have concerns about the healthcare reform law while other Georgians will back those who supported President Obama’s historic efforts. Mr. President, you shouldn’t be lonely- enjoy your vacation and come back ready. 

One day, I am going into the Black Dog Tavern and buy my own t-shirt.  If you see a brother in ATL, MIA, NYC or DC with the Black Dog logo, it is a sign of success.  I really shouldn’t rock that hat while my wealth is shorter than a midget on his knees (Ice Cube lyric.)  At the same time, candidates shouldn’t rock “Democrat” on the ballot if they can stand up for the sitting President as GOPers stood up for President George W. Bush. 

Albany State University Show Band

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In the Fall, Georgia should have a campaign visit from one or more of the Democrat Big Three: President Obama, President Bill Clinton or First Lady Michelle Obama.  Where is my ticket or can I get the hook-up.  The logical facility for this historic event would be the Macon Coliseum because Georgia is the biggest state this side of the Mississippi River and logistics can be a bear. My county, Worth County, is half the size of Rhode Island.   

Macon would mean that Georgians could drive equal distances to the venue and the congressional districts that need a little Dem star power converge in that region (the 2nd, 8th and 12th districts.)  The problem that the congressmen from the 2nd and 12th have nice relationships with the White House while Rep. Jim Marshall from Macon has chosen to go it alone. 

In the early 90s, I was worked for the Democrat congressman who represented Augusta and Athens, and a visit to the district from Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary was on the schedule.  A reporter asked my boss if he wanted Bill Clinton to campaign with him in Georgia and the congressman said basically he would do his own campaign.  O’Leary call our office and when on about “Bill is my friend and you don’t ask me to help you and disregard my friends.” 

Secretary O’Leary is currently the president of Fisk University and is saving that historically rich Black college from the brink of closure.  Fisk alumni include W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Congressman Alcee Hastings, James Weldon Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Alma Powell and Secretary O’Leary.  In 2005, the financial situation at Fisk was so dire that they considered selling artwork given to the school by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.  If anyone can save Fisk for future generations, O’Leary is that person. 

When the White House and the DNC consider where to dispatch the big guns, Macon should be at the top of the list.  If not, Rep. Marshall must have said “no thanks”—a move that hurts the entire Dem ticket in Georgia.  Albany State University or Fort Valley State University would host a big three event but the Georgia Dome will likely get the nod and Rep. Marshall will not think about being on that stage.  They should send Hazel O’Leary to rap with him.  “Look here…let me holler at you for a second, partner….you don’t ignore Bill nor this outstanding young couple in the White House.  Keep this up and you will find yourself by yourself.” 

Secretary Hazel O'Leary

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I personally like two components in downtown redevelopment in Georgia: funky and mixed use.  The main street programs in Tifton, Moultrie, Americus, Madison and Athens are so cool to me.  Eccentric shops, coffee houses, sports bars, and bookstores might provide an after hour balance to the lunch spots for governmental workers in Albany.  When Albany State plays FVSU in Columbus, we make an annual stop at a place called the Cannon Brew Pub on Broad Street; that area could be the model for downtown Albany with the hip college kids and people who find the mall area lacking in character.  I have not been there but I hear good things about the Broad area of Augusta. 

Yes, it was a rough day when Bo Henry headed west because the second floor of his place had that vibe.  The old Broad Street Bistro had a chef from a local country club who took hook up a peanut entrusted pan-seared trout that was brilliant and all within minutes of my old office.

So let’s operate backwards for a second: while some people are wary of downtown Albany after dark, who are the possible brave souls who might help turn the area around.  I might be wrong but I still like students from the three colleges and obviously brave Marines.  I wish downtown jumped when I was in the dorm at ASU because walking across the bridge to an entertainment zone could have been too cool.  Remember Morehouse College and Spelman College, and pre-Olympics Georgia Tech (Techwood Homes) are/were in some rough areas that make downtown Albany seem like nothing to fear.  It is my understanding that Yale and the University of South California are in rough areas and I know every college student must be careful anywhere in D.C.

With all the concerns, different clienteles are packing them in at the Albany Theater.  If I were a young person, I could get into living in the building that had the crosses on top during Christmas if it was converted into apartments and lofts with ASU upperclassmen in mind.  But what am I thinking, the new dorms at ASU are great.  I am having a hard time thinking of an HBCU that is closer to a hip area and I would like seeing college students living in a town where a car is not a necessity—don’t forget about the Darton and Albany Tech students as well as young working people.  What about college hours at the First Tee? 

Another model for downtown Albany is the cool NoDa area of Charlotte, North Carolina.  They have a bar for people with dogs.  I am tired of people saying that the Albany area is fine in many ways but let’s run to Atlanta every other weekend.  




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  1. Your job is being a student.  While you might work for pocket money and experience in your field, be fully invested in learning, thinking and retaining.
  2. Don’t get caught up with the lust for silver, gold and nice things—ie. apartments and cars.  It is called delayed gratification and it’s the reason the best students across the nation often graduate with a wardrobe of one interview suit, one blue blazer, three pairs of chinos and five pairs of well-worn jeans.  It is hard for students who did not grow-up with nice things to avoid the bling of music videos during school but it is better to remain fully focused of the primary objective of education.
  3. Stay in the Dorm: many people who didn’t finish college lost focus when they moved into an apartment and stop functioning like a full-time student who works a little and became a worker who goes to college a little. Dorm life today is not like the jail cells in the old school.  Today, the dorms are like apartments with kitchens and living rooms. 
  4. From the dorm, do everything.  Since you have paid your student activity fees, do all the activities, listen to every speaker from Desmond Tutu to David Duke,  and attend every sporting event, theater play and free concert time will permit. 
  5. Network like crazy to get a comfort level with a range of people (which will help in professional life.)  Students should stay up late debating the issues of the day, attend a local church and network with locals leaders in their fields.
  6. Know your field: How can business majors not read the WSJ and I dare one to ask what is the WSJ. Can a polly sci major not name the U.S. Senators from the contiguous states?
  7. Live in the Library: While the internet has change the resources game, I was in the library, cafeteria or class from 8 to 5 five days a week.  The same dark area in the stacks section was my office and if my reading and assignments were done, I would read the AJC and the journals from my field. Study breaks were spent learned what was hot in their fields from other majors.
  8. Wine, Women and Song were key to the college experience for the big men on campus while Beer, Babes, and Beats better described my after hours campus life.  If you really love a sweetheart and want to marry her after school, can you say that she is who you want “forsaken all others” after you start making money and rolling in the new E-Class Benz.  Sisters, if dude really loves your heart and mind, will he still love you when your Coke bottle figure turns into a two liter jug. On alcohol, don’t mix the type drinks in one day.  If you are drinking beer that day, beer is the drink for that day—no spring break exceptions.  Remember the sage advice of the Irish poet: drinking the first one, sip the second one and skip the third one. If I knew this in school, I would be on the Supreme Court but you can be a lawyer if you can’t pass the bar.  (Pun intended.)
  9. Retain the information covered in class…forever.  The motto of my college national honor society (a party guy rocking a 3.6 GPA…go figure) was: I make not my mind a grave but a community of knowledge.  The credibility of some colleges is questioned when grads butch grammar constantly.  Your diploma means the information covered in your program should be in your mind years later.
  10. College is formal education, which correctly implies that a person without a college degree but with years of experience in the same field acquired the same education informally over time and should be respected for their wisdom.  For example, I once asked my students in a job training program who had more education: Michael Jackson with no college or me with three college degrees.  Of course, they wrongly said me before I explained that I studied concepts in class that Michael learned in the real world of business; places I studied, Jackson had visited; and I studied budgeting while Michael met a million dollar payroll monthly.  On the other hand, my informal education from growing up in the country told me not to think about the stuff that got Michael in trouble. 
  11. Don’t sleep on the military experience as education: How many times have we seen a local person go into the military after high school and became better educated from service experience, travel, diverse exposure and global networking than his buddies who when to college and the information went in one ear and out the other.
  12. Important Classes: English is big because professionals must write and speak well. (They need to have a class about looking and acting like a professional rather than a club thug or shake dancer…have you seen some of these young teachers lately.)  Psychology class helps in life because understand your mind and the minds of others is vital in organizational behavior and management.  Economics could be the number one class for all college students because people must grasp the difference between making money and using money.  In south Georgia, many national plant workers made great incomes for years but found themselves broke when the plant left town.  College grads or people with a few years college on the same production lines better understood wealth-building and complexities of the industry; people who saved and spent based on the market indicators they learned in Econ class. 
  13. Better Life in College: It is hard being “grown” with real world responsibilities like babies and mortgages so why not take a few years in college, the armed services or both to better understand who you are as a person and what the world has to offer.  Real talk: in the 80s at regional Georgia colleges, the Black students were sometimes the only students in the dorm on the weekend. While White and Black students from well-off families jumped in their cars to go home for jet-skis, the family business, pools, golf courses and hunting, many of the Black students found life on campus (meal plan, air-conditioning, manicured grounds) better than home.  And you live in a building with 500 members of the opposite sex while at home you sleep three deep with your little brothers who wets the bed.
  14. Planning: Life is a series of phases with this phase relating to the next phase—act deliberately.  Some people wait until they are 23 years old before making life-altering decisions.  Wise college students listen to chatty old heads who recommend getting wiser first.  While you think you know everything in your late teens, the more you learn the more you realize what you don’t know.
  15. Learn from your fellow students: True story. While attending the community college in Albany, Georgia, I told two 40-year-old men that they were foolish for coming to college in the morning after working all night at the Firestone Tire Plant.  Their incomes were higher than our PhD professors. In the student center, one of them put his huge hand on my shoulder and said, “First of all, call me foolish again and see what happens.”  I said, “sorry, man” like a little punk but I wrong and they big tire building dudes.  I was thinking “gimme three steps and you will never see me no more.” Old dude smiled and said he wanted all of us young bucks to hear this.  He said he worked to provide for his family whom he loved but he did not love his work and it wasn’t the type work an aging person should do.  He bought and paid for a modest house, saved his money and came to college so he could spend the last part of his work life helping kids through coaching the same way coaches helped him.  I said thank you for sharing that knowledge and wisdom and I would appreciate you taking that giant hand off my shoulder now.  Four months later, the closing of the Firestone plant was announced and those two gentlemen were viewed as visionaries on campus because they were ahead of the game and wise in their actions.  It is my understanding that both guys become middle school coaches a few years later.
  16. Graduate from somebody’s college ASAP: As kids, we all wanted to attend D-1 universities, a major Black college or maybe an Ivy but life is what happens after you make other plans.  Get in and out of undergrad quickly before family and other important things come. 
  17. The Audacity of Dope: Just say no to drugs; that liquor is bad enough.

All of this stuff is just my opinion and I am frequently wrong; comments and additional views that would be beneficial to the young folks in the community are more than welcomed.  Did anyone actually read all of this stuff?

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