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Friday, May 18, 2012
Original Artwork by 7 year old Keith Norris Jr.
(pictorial poetry at it's finest)
I've never written a haiku. I have been known to write a high coo, though.
The month of June welcomes our Poetry Unit, in my classroom. I am oh so selective in the poems I choose for my students to read. Time is precious, and so is the word. I do not call myself a poet. I cannot write poems, but I try, every once in a while, to write a poette strictly from the heart.
High Coo: Working Overtime
I'm not supposed to
Keep at home each students' poem
But I do just that
Poette: Urban School Teacher Blues
at the computer
Over the Sonia Sanchez words
I type out
For my students' poetry folders
at the copier
In the main office
Because their silent stares
'she's not teaching what we told her'
This is only my 2nd blog post, on this blog site, because that's how busy the school year has been. I work diligently to ensure that my students will own the mic, the pen, and their mind.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Guest Blogger in the house
You ever in a car when it breaks down on the side of the road, and you start to think, 'is no one stopping because they don't want to stop for me, or they just wouldn't stop for anyone?'
The answer is that they don't want to stop for anyone.
My home girl, she's a clear person. She's young, professional, and attractive. Her car broke down on an extremely busy, city route. I didn't believe her when she called me, and told me that the police, cab, or tow truck had not arrived to come to her rescue, and it had been over an hour.
"You're kidding me, right? How can they not have come? That street is mad dangerous. Its just around the corner from police stations. Are you sure you called the right number?" I am doubting her efforts to come to her own rescue.
"Yeah, I called the cops." She huffed. "Per your request, remember. I told you they wouldn't do sh$t."
She's so funny. She did have a point. She wanted to figure it out without calling the cops. Which was so weird to me, because I *knew* that the cops would come help her; simply for her's, and the other cars' safety on that road.
"They have to come. Its their job." I re-spit.
(Now here is where I start to reflect.) This post is not a rant, nor filled with heated attitude. Its more of a, confused, "are my thoughts even my own?", kind of moment. I am tripped up. Its true. I feel straight tripped. I know that if that had happened to me, or any other woman that I knew, I'd think it was a race thing. Wait, the story gets better....
My homegirl is also a public school teacher in the city in which her car stalled, and she told that to the police officer(s) as well.
She also stood out there for quite close to three hours.
In the dark.
Then her hazards went out. She saw only ONE police officer drive by, and it was a statey who drove by, looked at her, and then kept going? WHAT?!
3 police stations, two cab companies, and one tow truck - each stating to her that they were on their way. WHAT?
I know that I would not possibly be able to convince myself that her story were true, if I had not been on the phone with her several times while she was stuck out there. Yet the story is true; and that is why I feel tript ( I can't help it, I love spelling it that way when I am referring to a concept rather than a slipped step.) I am tript up at the fact that this story is true, yet my brain/"wisdom", would not believe it because she's a nice, white, school teacher, who's car broke down in a "no stopping zone", in a dangerous highway.
I am also tript up because I know that my mind would also believe that this could never happen to a white girl, IF this story had happened to someone else. If it was any female of color, I would have been convinced that it was racist cops who caused this problem - YET it did happen to an 'innocent' white professional woman, and I was so confused when the cops didn't come to her rescue. She wasn't confused, though. I was. I follow a story-line that disguises itself as 'insight' into social politics. I also *ignorantly* believed that she wouldn't, naturally, help herself in this predicament, and would just wait for the big man to fix it for her. She knew The Man wouldn't. She said to me, "There's nothing the cops can do that I can't do for myself. Why the (bleep) would they care that I broke down on the side of the road? Like they give a (bleep)." She spoke from experience, I guess. She said all that as I was all,..."They have to come. Its their job."
Now that I reflect back, I was dissapointed when the cops didn't follow through with helping out this white chick.
She wasn't dissapointed. She laughed and said, "surprise, surprise."
Yeah, surprise to me.
What's worse in this life? Not having enough faith in the people whom you should? Or having too much faith in those whom you shouldn't?
I believe in some hype that I can no longer define - 'cause I used to call it 'truth'.
Posted by Ownin'TheMic at 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2011
About a month back, retired front man from 2 Live Crew, Luther "Luke" Campbell, used his Miami New Times blog to express his fear of independent women in our Hip Hop culture, as well as do some jibba jabbering on what he thinks the Cardinal Rules to Hip Hop are.
The link to his blog entry is here:
(Any quotes that I include from Campbell, are taken from this "article's" link,
unless I specify a track title after the quote.)
The three main, yet futile, purposes of Campbell's post are: to reinstate a male dominant claim to the Hip Hop game, to dismiss real women as triflin’, and to name-flop. That's right, name-flop. Someone who name Drops, reps those whose names they drop. A name flopper bashes. Bashes like Mike "the Situation", or Jill Zarin from RHoNY. Propagandic bashes at best.
In his post, Campbell states the propaganda that:
"Rappers aren't like celebrity football and basketball players,...We rappers have always prided ourselves on not dating someone else's ex-girlfriends or ex-wives"
Then he name-flops:
"Eva Longoria caught her man, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, banging his teammate Brent Barry's wife. Orlando Magic star Gilbert Arenas dumped his fiancée and baby mama Laura Govan after he caught her doing the dirty with Shaquille O'Neal."
These aren't even all the names he flops in a mere four-paragraph long blog post; this is just an example. However, the biggest flop he was trying to reinforce was the name of one miss Amber Rose.
Photo from SOHH.com
Photo from news.delees.com
Photo from news.delees.com
Amber Rose, whose twitter bio simply reads:
“SUNGLASSES, LIFE, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, POSITIVITY & GIRL POWER BOOKINGS: Info@BehindHerShades.com”
Positivity & Girl Power Bookings. Sounds like the mic of a potential trailblazer. What do you think ladies? Perhaps Campbell sensed this too.
I first heard the name 'Amber Rose' come out of the mouth of Hip Hop mogul, Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications.
Clips from Running Russell Simmons can be found on mystyle.com
Although, most knew her first as the long time steady girlfriend of Kenye West, I first heard mention of her when Simmons wanted her to be a blogger, at the time, on his website. http://globalgrind.com/celebrities/amber-rose Here's a clip with Russell selling the blogger idea to Amber.
Clips from Running Russell Simmons can be found on mystyle.com
In the clip we see Russell refer to Amber as: an icon, a model, and an inspiration to women. In contrast to the godfather of hip hop’s perception of Amber, we see Campbell’s words hate all over her, referring to her only as a former stripper, spotlight hogger, sloppy second, and triflin’. All because she is dating the young and heavy rapper, Wiz Khalifa, after she had dated rapper Kenye West two years prior. This is where Campbell’s brain is at, about that:
“Wiz Khalifa needs to have his head examined. The boy behind the hit "Black & Yellow" has lost his mind over a woman interested only in hogging his spotlight. For months, Wiz has been dating former stripper Amber Rose, whose claim to fame is that her ex-boyfriend is Kanye West...But Wiz Khalifa broke a cardinal rule in the rap game. You don't date another rapper's ex-girlfriend... Wiz Khalifa, like some members of his generation, has gotten soft. They are losing their focus. They can't spot a triflin' woman in the room to save their lives.”
Hold up. Wiz didn’t reach mainstream success until 2010. Amber Rose been doin’ her thing since before Wiz blew up, so interested in only hogging his spotlight just ain’t the case. In September 2009, Rose announced plans to launch her own line of eyewear. She walked the runway at New York Fashion Week for Celestino, and she was unveiled as the new face of Boadicea the Victorious perfume. She also starred in a PSA by NOH8 Campaign.
Photo from www.Hellobeautiful.com
Earlier this year, she was also a guest judge on Season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race. But not all this is important, nor needs to serve as her validation. Her validity comes from her own values and promoted morals. You can follow her on twitter @DaRealAmberRose , or at www.BehindHerShades.com, where she alone owns the mic.
If Amber was only interested in taking others’ shine and being noticed, then she’d be doing it in a more aggressive, and unfortunately more accepted, way. That ‘way’ would be to bash other women in the game. Hate on them hardcore for the media press. That’s how it works. Just look at Lohan to Lil’ Kim. (Sorry L.K. but I only hear about you lately when you’re hating on Minaj). This bashing of other women is not something you’ll get from Amber. However, if she focused on the shortcomings of others instead, then maybe she’d have twice as many followers on twitter, doubling her 700,000 plus that she has now, as if that’s not enough, you know what I mean, Campbell? Oh, well maybe you don’t, since 2 Live Crew’s twitter page has yet to break a 1,000 followers; posting a bio advertising their latest album, Just Wanna be Heard, released back in 2010. You haven’t heard about it yet? Oh. Well, it sounds like a deep, genuine message that they are sending out to the masses :| Oh the things people will do, and the names that they will bash just to be heard. If you want to learn more about 2 Live Crew, you can follow them on twitter @....... Oh wait, I forget the address.
Okay, listen up, 2 Live Crew, if you wanna be heard, what you should do is, write a short, and hate-packed blog post, that includes at least 25 names of other celebrities. Now don’t forget to keep it short, and call out others’ mistakes. Oh, my bad, ya’ll just did that. How’s it working out?
Anyways, back to Amber. In this short and light interview, Amber briefly states that girls need to have each other’s back and be their own movement. Here is the direct link to this clip. http://bcove.me/sw27fzy3
Uh-oh Campbell, we wouldn’t want anything real like ‘Girl Power’ trickling into the Hip Hop community. Its a good thing “real rappers”, like you, are trying to dispel this hype. :|
Campbell clearly states his views on women’s rights to choose their mates and own path in life:
“Wiz Khalifa shouldn't settle for Kanye West's sloppy seconds... a woman interested only in hogging his spotlight.”
What Campbell is really trying to say is, “B$tches can’t continue to profit from being a sex symbol. Cut her off from the game quick. If b$tches are going to be in our spotlight then it’s for our benefit, not their unworthy assess”. Now, this is not an actual quote from Campbell, but this is what I here through his words, and his actions. Such as his use of women to hog his own spotlight back in the 80’s, on the cover of 2 Live Crew’s album As Nasty as They Wanna Be.
If their album cover doesn’t illustrate 2 Live Crew’s perspectives on a woman’s worth, then I don’t know what does. No faces, just bodies. Bodies that are clearly taking center stage in their spotlight.
Honestly, this all wouldn’t be so bad, or contradictory, if Campbell wasn’t currently getting all huffy over a woman (Amber) doin’ what he did, but only ten times more genuine and successfully.
His album’s most offensive track entitled, “Pop that Pussy”, uses the female body entirely to sell the track. It’s like, that’s all they had to work with, someone else’s treasure. “Yo, we call ourselves 2 Live Crew, and you should buy our sh$t because we talk about somebody else’s sh$t.” Again, not an actual quote, but it’s the message I hear. The real lyrics from the track delve into the lust and desire they have for strippers, considering them objects, not people.
“Freaky hoes, doin’ shows, doin’ tricks to make us holler, on a given night all for a dollar...They’ll do anything to turn us on. Them hoes got it goin’ on!...B%tch you know you’ve been f#cked by many, so come and be my private dancer, I got some money if that’s the answer....move that body with plenty of action, bringing to the men more satisfaction, doin’ what they feel to turn us out...shake it, don’t break it, it took your mamma nine months to make it...” – 2 Live Crew, “Pop that Pussy”
And the song goes on continuing to suck and offend. Can you believe that connection to a pussy being ready after the nine months of being in the womb? Sorry ladies, your mama didn’t create a daughter, she created a pussy for men to use and own via their “music”. :|
Lemme say this to all the “loyal rappers” that Campbell assumes he’s one of. What you being loyal to? ‘Cause it sure is not women. Stop trying to define something you ain’t never owned or had. Shut the eff up and stop acting like you know.
What gave these ignorant men the right to make a profit off of it? I’ll tell you what did....a “cardinal rule to hip hop” gave them that right, that’s what. When Campbell states,
“But Wiz Khalifa broke a cardinal rule in the rap game.
You don't date another rapper's ex-girlfriend.”
You don't date another rapper's ex-girlfriend.”
He’s talking about ‘squatters’ rights’. Once a man has used and tilled the land, it belongs to him. Even if he moves off of the land in time, the land is still his, until another uses it. So in Campbell’s eyes Amber is a former stripper who is incapable of growth and advancement. Although he, being a former, male rapper of low class tracks such as “Pop that Pussy” is able to rectify himself into a self proclaimed, “Loyal, dedicated husband in Hip Hop”?
Here he goes again,
“This will come as a shock to some people, but if we have a relationship, it's with just one woman. Look at Jay-Z. He's been committed to Beyoncé for some time. Will Smith, Run-D.M.C., Ice Cube, Ice-T, and I are other examples of loyal, dedicated husbands in hip-hop.”
Good gracious. Is anyone else feeling tired? I know I am. I'm saying can I get an el oh el? 'Cause this fool is talking funny talk. First let me say, that when I think of Run D.M.C., I don’t associate him with Campbell. Rather, I would more accurately associate him with Amber Rose first.
Above is Run's NoH8 ad campaign. Below is Amber's NoH8 campaign.
Amber Rose's NOH8 video
Second let me say to you Campbell, that “this may come as a shock” to you but that whole “relationship with one woman” thing. Yeah, um...keep talking. Rapper Ghostface shares some of his Wizdom of Poetry with the masses, where he is honest about not being monogamous with his wifey. I don’t necessarily agree with Ghost’s views on male-female relationships, but I definitely respect his honesty, and definitely bump his music.
In summary, Luther “Luke” Campbell’s vision for women is stunted; elementary at best. Or maybe, just maybe, the issue is that “his heart is two sizes too small” – Dr. Seuss
Luther “Luke” Campbell
Jim Carrey as “The Grinch”
We cannot actually believe that this man is a beholder of truths; and most certainly not any keeper of the Cardinal Rules to OUR, I repeat OUR, culture that is known to most as Hip Hop. Females, lets place ourselves back in the center here, and think about what are some of the real cardinal rules to hip hop.
(The rules below aren’t in any specific order, except for the first.
They are simply numbered for visual effect, and the order in which I posted them here.)
Cardinal Rule #1: "You gotta let them know, you ain't a bitch or a hoe" - Queen
Queen Latifah's mantras have solidified her as not just the queen of hip hop, but the queen of whatever she sets her mind to do: International Covergirl model, television producer, major film star, as well as just recently unveiling her debut lifestyle collection on the HSN television network, earlier in 2011.
Cardinal Rule #2:
"When they break you down and make you cry, you can rise and sing 'cause you were born to fly." - Mystic
Cardinal Rule #3: "Stay one of a kind, hard to define, top of the line." - Ms.Behav'd
Cardinal Rule #4: "Have enough class for wine, but still handle Patrón." - Fabolous
Starring none other than, Amber Rose
Ending our Cardinal Rules, for now, with a quote from the queen....
“I just like ladies who have class. Period. And if it’s ‘T and A’ you’re sellin’, that’s fine, as long as that’s what you’re selling. But you don’t have to show everything, you know? You can hold some back and just be yourself and let your personality shine and let your individuality show. To me, that’s sexier. A confident woman is a sexy woman, in my opinion.” - Queen Latifah, August 2011.
Even as women begin to take ownership of our culture, we have a very far way to go, what with history repeating itself so prevalently in rappers like Lil’Wayne. Who, to little surprise, made a remake of 2 Live Crew’s “Pop that Pussy”. The wack track goes a little something like this,
“Girl let me see you pop it pop it for that paper, pop pop it pop it pa-pop it for that paper... Always be that fresh I guess that why they get my flavor, You a pill popper bitch so do us all a favor, Turn around and bust it open, DJ call a waitress, ....And I tell you this you can be my mistress next to sippii, Lets get it poppin honey now get it poppin shawty, Baby I can make you see more hearts than Ed Hardy, Invite you to my crib I gotta bed party... –“Pop that Pussy” by Lil’ Wayne, off of The Drought is Over Part 4
Oh Lil’ Wayne, while you’re getting it in with your bed parties, do you know who’s tucking your little girl into bed each night? Oooooh dis. I know, right? But I can’t take credit for that. That logic comes straight from the voice of nationally known poet, Porsha O. Check how she checks Lil’ Wayne, and the Hip Hop game, all while ownin' the mic.
“Porsha O. has opened for Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut, Dr. Cornell West, professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies, MC LYTE, pioneering female hip-hop artist and Dr. Angela Davis, activist. A founding member of the Chicago-based political-performance group, “The Unwritten Amendment,” she uses poetry to create a dynamic flow of infra-politics that rebels against the norms and rigidity of society.” - http://nerdycabaretaugust2011.eventbrite.com/
She will also be performing August 31, 2011 in Cambridge, MA. in
NERDY CABARET III: THE DIVA EDITION!
$8 tickets may be reserved now, at this link: http://nerdycabaretaugust2011.eventbrite.com/
So that concludes my first ever blog post. Thanks for reading, and remember - Always be ownin' it.