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Posts Tagged ‘hip hop’

To me, video games and hip hop music are eroding the foundation of my community.  What are we going to do about it?  First, I love art and hip hop, like blues and jazz, is an original American art form.  When the kids on the corners and in basements in Brooklyn and the Bronx created rap, it was a creative way to express themselves.  Later, rap music was medium to communicate concerns about inter-city life and issues with the police in places like Los Angeles.

But, I draw the line with NWA, Ice Cube, Easy E, Dr. Dre and Tupac.  Those guys were urban poets who use lyrics to reflect hardship and pain.  The hardest segment of current hip hop is glamorizes and promote thuggish ways.  The little fellows want to be thugs and prisoners more than scholars and businessmen and the teen girls are setting the women’s liberation movement back twenty years.  Hey, I guess liberation includes the right to be a garden tool who emphasizes body over heart and mind.

Dig it; the inmates are running the asylum literally and smart kids are acting dumb just to fit in.  Students study English in school but use this street dialect at all other times.  While the hippies of the 1960s were a counterculture, the hip hop culture is at the rotten roots of much of the main culture today—Black, White, Red and Brown.

What about Yellow?  Our friends in the Asian community have a long history of requiring obedience and achievement from their youth.  Yes, the hip hop culture is in their community as well but let us lighten the discussion by humorously looking about the effect of video games on American youth.

In school, we learned that parts of Asia were once forced to import opium from the British and Americans after the drug was illegal at home.  Well, the big payback might be video games.  While these games are enjoyable, American kids and young adults are playing them too much; playing games while youth in other parts of the world are preparing for the next wave in the international commerce and technology.  When a kid grows up on the flashy visual stimulant of video games, holding their attention in school or church becomes difficult if not impossible.  And no, the solution shouldn’t be making education more video game-like.

From church to karate to fishing to boot camp on Parris Island, young people need to learn to calm down and focus.  Church kids, eagle scouts and kids with chores do better in life.  Look, sophisticated people have different modes because they vibe differently at different times—church mode, school mode, vacation mode, chilling with my crew mode, family mode.  The worst kids have little flexibility because they are primarily in me mode.  They must learn selflessness and a sense of community.

Most importantly, they must learn to be deliberate in their actions.  Life plans must include short-term objectives and long-term goals.

 

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In the rap classic “Fight the Power,” Chuck D said, “Gotta give ‘em what they want…gotta give ‘em what they need.” In this country, what we want isn’t necessarily what we need e.g. slavery, Jim Crow, clear cutting forest, robbing of Indians, child labor, the defense industrial complex, lifetime public assistance, fast food.

It is time for my annual venting blog post about a hodgepodge of subject relating to me being right and the status quo being clearly wrong.

Liberals: Heaven knows the left means well and their general thinking seems rooted in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.  However, long-term assistance can create a segment of the public that is weak—always looking for help from others rather than developing the ability to provide for self.  President Reagan was right about that; government is the problem.  We need to create a climate where every kid has a fair shot at learning and growing in a career field.  Failure wouldn’t be tough luck; it would be the result of being out worked.

Conservatives: My biggest problem with my conservative friends is that their plans for all Americans generally don’t involve all Americans in the discussions.  I will admit that much of their core agenda is sound but they want to force feed corrective policies—as if the rest of America is their children.  They simply don’t listen to anyone unlike them and that is a big mistake.  If they did listen, they would discover that most Black southern voters are more conservative than liberal.  Most rural Blacks hate the welfare state created my government and if the leaders of the civil rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s could see us now, they would say this wasn’t the plan.

Conservatives vs. Black nationalists: Are you kidding me!  The idiots on right wing radio and Fox News who demonized Rev. Jeremiah Wright blew a great opportunity to improve America.  President Obama needs Wright in his corner because Wright and nationalists are throwbacks to those who hate governmental involvement in our daily lives.  Uncle Sam isn’t your daddy and surprisingly Clarence Thomas is the man who is most like Wright (pun intended.)  I loved the book Justice Thomas wrote about his grandfather’s life skills.  Once and for all—the conservative movement should create a relationship with the Black pride movement because these two groups’ messages of personal responsibility are the same.

Hip Hop Culture: While I respect artistic freedom, the current rap culture is detrimental to all youths.  For us, rap reflected urban life but those suffering wanted better for their families.  Today, “good kids” idolize thugs, pimps, bangers and dealers.  When I am on a college campus, I can’t tell the students (budding professionals) from common thugs and strippers.  In my day, we call those stupid high heels “come f me” pumps. When women ruin their feet, legs and backs from those shoes, Obamacare shouldn’t cover them because dumb is a preexisting condition.

President Obama’s Vision: While I love President Obama, I need to get Nixon-like for a second and make one thing perfectly clear.  Obama vision for what America should be isn’t the reality of what America is.  Is that the role of a president—to imagine what we should be and push toward that goal (FDR, Kennedy, Lincoln.)  I just feel puzzled sometimes when the president says “we are better than that…we are fair…we are pure hearted.” No brother Obama,  “you” are those things while most of us are a mess and a trip.  His family raised a wonderful person but some of the things at the top of his agenda have regular folks scratching our heads.  But, he is still my guy.

Schemes and Games: Theoretical people like me are often broke while hustlers stay paid with schemes and games.  We have hustlers on my street and hustlers on Wall Street.  It is now and has always been a dirty game and the simple rule of the game is to get and stay paid.  I think most of official Washington today is driven by the desire to stay paid rather than the hope of a better America.  Liberals don’t recognize that throwing taxpayers’ money at problems isn’t helping and ultra conservatives don’t realize that the tough boy approach isn’t working.

Silent Majority: I still believe that most Americans are good people who are put-off by drama coming out of Washington and the state houses. Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice and others seem as pure-hearted as me. When we get about the business of having a national effort to improve this great country from the bottom up, you should join us.

I will end this rambling blog post by highlighting the parts of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” that we loved in the pol sci department of my black college.  Those lyrics are timeless.

Fight the Power–Public Enemy

[Intro]
Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight. As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight.

[Verse 1]
1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweating
And the rhythm rhymes rolling
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

[Hook]
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj9SeMZE_Yw

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Derrick_E__Grayson

I came across Derrick Grayson, a U.S. Senate GOP candidate from Georgia, on Peach Pundit blog last week and this guy’s logic was refreshing. As a moderate, I can be easily put off by angry talk from conservatives but Grayson sounds familiar.

 
After a few days, it came to me; I remember the two places where I heard Grayson’s approach.   First, he sounds like Clarence Thomas’ grandfather.   Justice Thomas wrote a book about his grandfather’s distain for governmental involvement in people’s lives.   The book showed me that Thomas and his grandfather were simply old school—they came from the pre-LBJ period when our community was more about achievement and hard work than searching for government money.   That money actually made us softer.

 
The second place where I have heard discussions like Grayson was in the barber shops of my youth.   Those shops were much more than grooming centers—no, wait- they were grooming centers.   They groomed young men on how to be upright walking men.   The classes weren’t formal but we heard real talk about life, family, church and work.   You also were charged with moving the community forward.   As Colin Powell said, “We need to reinstitute the concept of shame.”

 
In those barber shops, men didn’t walk with the heads up if they weren’t doing everything they legally could to care for their current families and honor their birth families.   A wild theory might contend that home haircuts and growing out hair for braids has reduced those trips to the barber and therefore our young men are getting the information that supplements home training elsewhere.   I thinking that “elsewhere” is from the hip hop culture that glamorizes thug life and laughs at hard work.   When I worked in the barber shop on South Main Street in my hometown, I knew I was going to hear about my good and/or bad “street committee” regarding how I was carrying myself.   “What is this I hear about you…”

 
That Derrick Grayson seems like Neil from those Matrix movies.   Could he be the “one” who starts the conservation that bridges old school Blacks with the next generation—the one who is more interested in improving our condition by simply telling the truth about the limited role of government in our lives than personal fame?

 

 
The U.S. Senate is the most exclusive fraternity in America and it is rare for someone to enter before serving on a lower level or in the U.S. House.   But, boy on boy, he is one Black Republican who has a message than we need to hear.   He could get load of votes not in his capacity as a GOPer but in his capacity as a common sense fellow.    We should keep an eye on his guy.

 

 

http://www.grayson2014.com/issues_home

 

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The Georgia Republican State Convention is popping this weekend so it’s time to play “count the negroes.”   I will get calls from Black GOP friends and associates regarding the size vehicle you could put all of the African-Americans at this event in at one time comfortably.   Escalade seems appropriate because we love ourselves some Cadillacs.

 
Georgia contains the best Black area in the world, Atlanta, and therefore, the state has many many business-oriented, self-made Blacks who are conservative to moderate on paper.   Secondly, outside of Atlanta, Blacks are use to functioning with GOP elected leaders.   The opportunity has been there for GOP candidates to enjoy 10, 20, or maybe 30% of the Black vote but they don’t want it because the regular GOP crew would see sizable Black numbers as an indicator of liberalism.

 
The 2014 U.S. Senate primary on the GOP side could be decided by a few votes.   This week, former Secretary of State Karen Handel jumped into the race.   This former Atlanta area elected official could have been governor if she cultivated a little of the Black support she experienced in the ATL but she was defeated in a primary runoff by 2500 votes.   Of course, the maneuver I am suggesting would have required Black voting in the GOP primary but wise folks know that the Dem team is weak in Georgia so the GOP primary is often where leaders are picked. I do it all the time.
 

Rep. Jack Kingston is in the senate race also. …Jack…cool Jack….my man Jack.  Careful, Jack. Please.   One on one, Kingston is one friendly guy but the GOP information (or disinformation) machine requires the delivery of rough talking point (yes, the Dems do the same thing.)   Jack is well liked in the Black community from Augusta to Warner Robins to Valdosta because he supports our military bases and farms.   So, Kingston should play that Rep. Austin Scott/Rep. Sanford Bishop nice guy role by voting the party line but limited the non-policy attacks on the president from the other party.   The Obama administration is currently giving them plenty of real targets so fire away nicely.

 
Handel or Kingston could get 20% of their primary votes from crossover Blacks who aren’t GOP if they play their cards right.   The percentage is more than enough to tip the scales to victory and if Michelle Nunn doesn’t jump into the race, the whole state should vote in the GOP primary.

 

In the land of MLK, “I have a dream” that one day the GOP—the party of Lincoln- will have a state convention with brothers and sistas with goatees and naturals.   I mean the bros should have goatees.   You know, guys who grew up on Black self-reliance discussions at the dinner table. People who are uncomfortable with the government being all up in their business.   People who don’t need the state to tell them to care for and feed their children.

 
Surprisingly, Clarence Thomas is one the most afro-centric cats on the nation stage and as Chuck D said about someone else “don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man.”   A new Black conservatism could be based on Thomas’s book about his grandfather. Black southerners are primed to be separated from real liberals and from the thug element of the hip hop culture.   However, we can’t find a home inside the Right because the far Right likes ugly talk too much.   What’s a brother to do?

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The horrific, cowardly acts in Boston last year were carried out by young men who were brainwashed and/or radicalized. An argument can be made that all or most of us could be or have been radicalized on some level when inundated with too much of a particular point of view.

Blacks in America would be a good place to start this discussion. We knew upon arriving on these shores that wrongful actions brought us here. But, we had to patiently wait until the mid-1970s to experience the freedoms of this free nation. Americans who believe in the Christian Bible know our book is filled with references to waiting on the Lord and to me, being humbled by suffering prepares us for heaven as a proposed to those who think they have heaven on earth. Those cats might have a dated with a fire on the other side.

My friends from the Taxed Enough Already Party (TEA) are correct in many ways on taxes but they don’t have the patience of Black folks. If these guys don’t get what they want now, they are ready for an actual revolution…now.

People on both ends of the political spectrum often constantly listen to and read information from pumped-up sources. Too much of these opinions at one time can lead to an overdose. For example, viewers should know how to watch T.V. shows in their proper entertainment context.

Seinfeld doesn’t reflect all of my Jewish friends; Homeland doesn’t reflect all of my Muslim friends and the Real Housewives of Atlanta only reflects the lifestyles of about a dozen families in the ATL.

Oh, we should talk about Married To Medicine, the latest effort of the gay agenda at Bravo to make everyone else look foolish. (Kidding)

When I was a child, people said that politics was show business for ugly people. But, reality television has blown that out of the water…like blowing stumps on Swamp People. Today, the music T.V. channels have no music videos and the history channel has little history on it’s main channel. It’s all about reality shows and the affect of American culture could be cancerous.

The fight between lovely sistas in ball gowns last week on Married To Medicine should in no way reflect the behavior of Black professionals in Georgia. Bravo searched high and low (really low) for people who would trade dignity for instant fame. Oh, I knew as a child that lawyers, bankers, professors and physicians were regular people away from work and subject to the same drama as anyone else. Actually, my college sweetheart contends that her colleagues in the medical profession are socially awkward because they spent so many years in the books while others were learning social skills.

An old adage states “just because you paid for college, doesn’t mean you have class.” We have a problem in the Black community that centers on the desire for wealth. We like people to see us with shiny stuff in shiny cars heading to fancy meals at fancy places. If your natural abilities didn’t provide you the means to get this stuff, you can always marry well if you are smoking hot.

The Mariah lady to M to M is simply hood and will always be hood. The show is produced in some way in association with her production company. So, she sat in a board room at Bravo and pitched this product with promises of cattiness, ugliness and fights. The two lady doctors are classy as is the attractive woman Toya, who was basically jumped by Mariah. Of course, the hood has people without money who have class and they lack of money could be based on their refusal to compromise their integrity wealth.

So, people across America watch messy T.V. about groups of Americans they don’t know and formulate faulted opinions. “He is not this child’s father…either.” Then during the news hour, Fox News tells you that you are paying for these people to hang out all day while you are at work making money that a Kenyan born president will take from your check. On the other side of the extreme, MSNBC is doing the same thing from the stay point of “the government can fix all the problems in the nation with enough tax money….no one in America should be outside the middle class.” Huh? Can everyone be middle class? Isn’t the government ensuring a minimum quality of life basically socialism?

Fox, MSMBC and Bravo don’t brainwashing as well as the hip hop culture. Did I love hip hop as a college student? Yes sir, I was proud that urban youth created an art medium to reflect the realities of their situations. But today, life is imitating art because youth are glamorizing thugs and strippers while some students are actually downplaying their academic success. On his quality reality show last week, rapper T.I. told his kids that he never met a thug who wanted to be a thug. My man told them to rap about having a nice life. T.I. is the king of the South.

In summary, we need to be careful what we watch and hear because forces can radicalize you before you know it. In a diverse nation, there is no substitute for getting to know (humanizing) others. When we know each other, we can start the process of explaining now personal choices and decisions have consequences. If not, the next generation of Black southerners might include people that some people (including positive Blacks) will want to rightfully avoid.

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School choice and family planning are two topics I would love to hear discussed in my community because they are at the foundation of our futures.  However, I want that discussion to take place around a discussion table sixty or seventy years ago. 

A.G. Sadler Sr., third seated from left

A photo of my father and his fraternity brothers meeting at the local Black college hangs in my mother’s den.  The organization wore Black and Gold and he was old enough to actually know founders personally but it could have been a meeting of any Black fraternity or sorority of that time because they were all committed to moving the race forward.  You can see the steely determination in their eyes: we as a people would have the opportunity to learn, earn and prosper in this great nation and the sky would be the limit once those doors of opportunity opened. 

If we had a time machine or a portal to the past (like a smart phone app), we could tell these gentlemen that we were from 2012 and that a Black man was in the White House…a Black man without a mop.  Since most of the men in that picture were college professors or public school educators, I want to know their opinions on school choice.

Today, we recognize that public school K-12 education needs a top to bottom overhaul.  I personally think that the teachers enter the profession ready to teach and that the facilities are generally acceptable in my area.  For a myriad of reasons, some of the kids just aren’t ready, willing and able to learn.  I think the foundation of education is discipline or obedience learned at home and church. 

Those guys in that photo didn’t question their parents in their generation and neither did we in my generation.  Today, I hear kids ask their parents “What?” and “Why?” with a tone that would have never happened in my day.  One of the men in that photo was likely the dentist that my father would have taken me to see after he knocked my teeth out for saying “What.”

We should discuss parents having a tax credit or voucher to put their children in the best quality educational situation.  When schools in the South were integrated, White private schools popped up in every county.  But, I can remember the dedication of the educators from the all-Black schools.  A period of “separate but equal” would have been fine with many Blacks because they wanted fairly funded schools more than forcing us to attend school with people who thought of us wrongly. 

When we debated school choice as congressional staffers in the 1990s, I would always argue that private schools would cherry-pick the best students and those remaining in the public schools would be students from families that couldn’t afford to get out.  If the best 20% opted for private schools, the worst 20% should have a voucher to attend a special school after getting kick out of regular school. 

Public policy can’t solve the education problem because the ultimate problem is that some people are having children before they are prepared to raise and nurture them.  To me, people shouldn’t get married until they are around 24 years old and they should then wait 24 months before having kids (a waiting period to ensure that the marriage is viable.)  Before 24 years of age, people could be finishing their education and training, moving up in the workplace and having fun socially.  Children should come into the mix when folks are ready to be parents like those Alphas in that old photo.  Instead, we have kids having kids and early grade teachers are half educators and half parents. 

Current conservatives trip me out with talk of abortion and welfare.  The guys around that table never envisioned people having the government deeply involved in their lives. They were concerned more with anti-lynch and opportunity.  The conservative men in that photo would have a lot to say about the long-term effect of LBJ’s policy that would come in a decade or two. 

A recent study indicates free birth control dramatically reduces abortion and teen pregnancy.  Since the far Right conservatives are rightfully concerned with governmental spending, they should know that abortions and public assistance goes down if fewer pregnancies occur in the first place.  The guys in that picture could discuss the wrongness of abortion and premarital sex as well as the wrongness of hungry children and struggling families.  Reasonable people know that you can’t always push your faith’s beliefs into the public policy of a diverse nation. 

http://news.yahoo.com/study-free-birth-control-leads-fewer-abortions-210623724.html;_ylt=A2KJ3CabFnBQvlUAOf7QtDMD

The achievement-oriented Blacks of my fathers’ generation would be disappointed to learn that music is crime and sin-based and hip hop shapes the mindset of our youth more than parents and church.  If those guys in that picture were transported into current times, they would figure out a way to get the best education for their families.  Unfortunately, those pioneers in education would be compelled to seek schools for their families that kept their kids away from certain elements without regard to race.  Oh, I would teach government and tennis at an all-male school that brought academic heat all day every day–a place where gentlemen were built.

Teaching the guys in that photo was easy because they were enthusiastic about learning; it was learn or be an unofficial slave during Jim Crow.  If they had a window on today at that table, they would be flabbergasted with the way our youth are carrying themselves and disappointed with the squandering of opportunities.

I enjoyed hearing this speech by Kappa founder Edward G. Irvin.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P7rpu-0Tf4]

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It’s madness to do the same things year after year and expect difference results.  So, I decide to acknowledge the brilliance of the guy who started the Khan Academy to reform education.  But first, I would like to invite anyone to join our ESPN NCAA basketball groups for the men and women tournaments.  The group names are “Jawja Hoops” in both contests.  Let the basketball and rethink ranting begin.

Rethink Education: Clearly, our education system needs retooling and Salman Khan has a fresh approach.  In my community, I simply wish parents would start with using better grammar 24/7 to stop contradicting what is taught at school.

Rethink College Basketball: College basketball shouldn’t be a stepping stone for the NBA and we should have a farm system in smaller cities (similar to baseball) for those who want to be pros.  Student athletes should be just that.  In other words, the NBA D-League should be developed.

Rethink Politics and Religion: In America, we have the freedom to select our faith and politicians’ faith walks should be the foundation of their character.  They shouldn’t attempt to force their particular church on the population as a whole.  So, Mitt Romney should put the nutty factions in his party in their places about his church and any other faiths that they find “different.”

Rethink Political Leaders: The next crop of political leaders should be much better than the current ones.  On the Right, conservatives should get back to being pro-business and smaller government rather than the promoters of the next Civil War.  On the Left, liberals are actually limiting personal development with their socialist policies.  We need leaders who will speak to the people (straight, no chaser) about the limited role of government and importance personal responsibility.

Rethink Campaign Finance:  My new congressman is Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia and he was a true campaign finance rebel as a candidate for governor.  He spoke wisely of limiting the amount of contributions and that got me thinking.  Everyone knows that money runs campaigns and that those who gave money will later want something from officeholders.  If I designed a congressional candidate from the ground up or from day one, I would tell my guy to take the average income in the area, add a few zeros and that would be the total amount raised for the campaign.  (For example, 32K in average income = 320,000 funding limited.)  If elected, that person would belong to the people and wouldn’t spend time kissing up to lobbyists. 

Rethink Black Conservatives: Peace to my brothers and sisters on the political Right…I feel you…I really do.  To me, your side is right (pun intended) more often than not; but the ugly ways and methods of the far Right make the GOP unacceptable for most Blacks.  There is no place for less bitter, moderate Americans in that party.  If Jon Huntsman won the GOP nomination, I would have strongly considered voting for him in November but you cats gave cool people the boot. 

Rethink Black Liberals:  At some point, it’s not about “the man” holding us down.  It’s about us holding us down.  We must return to the driven African-Americans who beat Jim Crow; the people who knew who they were and whose they were.  The next generation of CBC members must honestly inform the community that improves start in your house…not the U.S. House.   

Rethink Hip Hop: Most of current hip hop stinks out loud.  The music glorifies the worst elements of our community and I can’t tell college students from thugs and strippers.  I know artists are free to express themselves but come on now.

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