Premier: Gwala DeNiro turns tragedy into art on “2Pac, Biggie, Bankroll”

Support good music! MS stand up!

Gwala DeNiro has been noticably quiet as of late, with his epic remix of Kodak Black’s Skrrt Skrrt being the only recent drop. The Columbus, MS native stated in a passionate Facebook post that the timing just hasn’t quite felt right to drop music, but recent circumstances have changed that. Fueled by a sense of lacking support due to certain events going on locally in Columbus, Gwala shows up with “2Pac, Biggie, Bankroll”.

The record keeps with the street yet relatable sensibilities that tend to come from DeNiro and his Block Republican imprint. The artist pulls inspiration from some of Hip-Hop’s tragedies both old and new, crafting it from a perspective of someone looking to avoid the fate that graced such rappers in the past. J’Mark provides some production that is a perfect fit for the song’s vibe, with clips from the news coverage reports from Bankroll Fresh, Doe B…

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If you follow my blog then you probably already know that I had my first home birth in February of 2015. So…without being too long-winded, I’ll share my the highlights of that experience and share what I took away from it. My hope is that it encourages, inspires, and educates. Unlike my first home birth, which […]

via My Second HomeBirth — bronzesugar

Justice for ALL

Police v Protesters1 Police v Protesters2

Peace.

Regardless of your opinion or allegiance relating to the African rebellion in Baltimore, the increasingly tense situation gives everyone in America something to be at least a little afraid about – more or less afraid depending on your place in it all and your level of awareness. My studies in history, sociology, military, religion, etc. have removed all fear for me; rebellions like this have happened before, it’s the only natural reaction to injustice, and it was prophesied millennia ago, so there’s no surprise on my end. Instead, I grow more excited every day, because the beginning of this Black Spring could mean freedom from our oppression and the renewal of justice for Black people…

if we play our cards right. And therein lies my only fear about the situation: that we have incorrectly defined “freedom” and “justice” and will therefore settle for tokens instead of working to create the real thing. Follow me for a minute.

Throughout our history in this country, we have struggled against oppression both valiantly and blindly. Though we rarely lack courage, we have often been deceived about what our goals are or should be. Of course, the oppression itself is a huge barrier to revolutionary clarity (see The Prince by Machiavelli), so don’t think that I’m saying we’re just mindlessly ambling towards freedom. But, if we’re honest (and informed), we must admit that we’ve been deceived at many crucial points in the struggle, despite warnings and teachings from some of the most revolutionary minds in human history.

For example, immediately after Emancipation, Africans began building the foundations of a thriving nation within a nation from scratch (that’s what we do!). Civic orgs like the African Society, the Knights of Tabor, and the Freedmen’s Bureau began supporting the building of institutions in every area of society. Skilled workers entered the workforce and excelled, and some even went into business for themselves or with each other. Churches expanded, hospitals opened, and schools were established by ingenious leaders like Booker Washington to equip our people to survive in the agricultural economic environment of that time, and leaders like Marcus Garvey led us into the Industrial Age. We were becoming self-sufficient and free… until we were deceived to believe that our time would be better spent preparing for our place at the forefront of Euro-American development. So we dropped our agro-industrial progress and began training in the then-collectively-useless fine arts and sciences – often overseas because of segregation – which re-separated struggling families and re-drained shallow piggy banks. Though the racist stubbornness of Jim Crow held many of our educational institutions intact for a while, they were sapped of the funding and good faith that were necessary for them to thrive.

A few decades later, in a continuance of this fatal error, we again fought gallantly against our oppression as second-class citizens. Africans went head-to-head with Jim Crow in the courts and capitals of America in an effort to dismantle the apartheid that ruled since Emancipation. Clairvoyant leaders like Malcolm Shabazz warned us that our efforts were futile, and that our energy would be better spent reinstating the self-sufficiency that we abandoned decades earlier. Yet, we were again deceived into believing that America was ready to share her ever-growing success with us. We surrendered our few struggling institutions to be administrated by our oppressors, happily filled positions in the industrial sector (as America’s economy moved into the service sector), and celebrated our seeming inclusion in the very system that was destroying us. Laws were written and media propaganda disseminated to cement this deception until this very day.

In the decades since integration, many smaller movements towards freedom have occurred. When peaceful protests commence, they are soon quelled by treacherous leaders (for a fee, of course); when rebellions (aka “riots”) break out, those same leaders are trotted out again, with a little muscle to back them up; when an African individual is mistreated/harmed/killed, all the legal theatrics are turned on and soon all is well – usually after someone receives a healthy monetary settlement.

I say all this to illustrate the fact that our struggle for freedom and justice has been prolonged by a fundamental misunderstanding of what those terms really mean and how they apply to our specific situation. I must re-emphasize that this misunderstanding is not the result of pure ignorance or imbecility, but rather a reflection of the atrocious inhumanity that we are emerging from. The terror of chattel slavery has deceived some of us into believing that freedom from chains is freedom indeed, when true freedom means the ability to fully self-determine. The effects of the Dred Scott Decision have led many of us to mistakenly believe that the mere recognition of our mistreatment is justice, especially if that recognition comes with public rebuke of the culprit and/or monetary compensation to the victim. Even as I write this, I’m receiving news that all 6 officers involved in the murder of Freddie Gray will be charged; but even if they’re given maximum punishment, what does that do to protect the millions of other Africans in America from the brutality of this police state?

So, as with any real revolution, we must start by creating new definitions of cultural ideals; namely, “freedom” and “justice”. Again, “freedom” is “the ability to fully self-determine”, meaning that every event in our lives is the direct result of our own collective decisions, free from any direct influence from the outside. This requires us to have our own institutions in every area: economic institutions (banks, chambers of commerce, etc.), educational institutions (schools, governing bodies like school boards, etc.), governmental institutions (legislative/executive bodies, data collectors, think tanks, etc.), military institutions (law enforcement, neighborhood patrols, armed forces, etc.), social welfare institutions (healthcare, faith/charity, leisure/entertainment, etc.), and any others that we find ourselves in need of at any given time. It must be emphasized that for us to truly be free, each of these institutions must be distinctly different from those of our oppressors.

Finally, true “justice” means that all of the duties of these institutions must be executed with parity and with truth. Remember, “freedom” is the ability to self-determine, so trying to have justice (parity and truth) without first having freedom means that “parity” and “truth” are defined for us before they are delivered… and we know that America’s definition of these terms is insufficient.

Punishment, payment, and pacification do not equal Justice. Justice for Freddie, Mike, Rekia, and the many others victims of American racism – named and unnamed – requires us to resurrect the building process that will give birth to our freedom. Put simply, we can’t guarantee justice and safety for our people until we are free from the system that endangers their lives.

Long live Black Spring!

Peace.

Chris Brown and A Nation of Raped Boys

Division dies when one side correctly understands the other. Peace to this sister for bridging the sex divide by understanding the struggle of the other side and how it relates. We need more of this.

Olivia A. Cole

chris brown rape

Yesterday I read an article in which Chris Brown discussed the age at which he lost his virginity. He was 8, he says, and the girl was 14 or 15. He mentions that in “the country” he and his cousins watched a lot of porn, so by age 8 he was “hot to trot.” Maybe so. Children can have sexual feelings at 8, but whether they can consent to sex at age 8 is an entirely different subject. Sex at age 8 is rape, especially given the fact that the girl involved was significantly older, a teenager. Chris Brown was raped, but to hear him tell it, that experience was positive, healthy. Something to brag about. “At eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it.”

And the worst part? This isn’t the first time I’ve…

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What’s Good in the Hood?

Peace.

I believe that happiness and freedom can only be achieved through self-determination. A person cannot become happy until they first decide – for themselves – who they are and what they do. If your identity and destiny is decided by another person, then that person will probably decide to make you be and do something that serves their own interests, not yours. This is the problem that black people face all over the world: we are never allowed to decide (much less, discover) who we are and what we do. Therefore, the most meaningful work that black people can do is to self-determine.

One good example of this type of work is a song called “The Corner” by Common. In it, Common describes black life in his hometown of Chicago in a way that is relevant to black neighborhoods all over the world. I appreciate Common for combating media stereotypes and encouraging us to self-define with this song. In his last line of verse, he says:

“It’s so black; packed with action that’s affirmative.”

I have found this to be a very true statement. Recently I traveled to Chicago to celebrate African Liberation Day (ALD) with the Illinois chapter of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). To give you some background, ALD was founded in 1958 by the Honorable Kwame Nkrumah, president of Ghana (which Nkrumah led to independence) and co-founder of the A-APRP. This holiday was created to celebrate and promote African independence from foreign exploitation. Today ALD is celebrated by Africans all over the globe – including Chicago. And Chicago celebrated in true revolutionary form indeed. The weekend of events started with a very informative symposium, followed by an inspiring all-day rally and a social later that night.

But beside all the outstanding work that I was blessed to experience with the A-APRP, what stood out most to me was the revolutionary work being done outside our organization. For example, I attended a spoken word event hosted by a group of young Africans called L.Y.R.I.C.; and every poem was jaw-dropping. The way they described the black experience through their poetry was amazing. L.Y.R.I.C. also uses their poetry to reach out to school-age youth, creating summer programs and after-school programs. The group meets weekly at Soul-Veg, a restaurant which promotes a healthier community by serving vegetarian meals and hosting amazing poetry groups like the one I just mentioned.

I also met many people at the symposium from organizations that are working for different causes: one for educational reform, another for cultural and economic reparations, etc. During my tour of the city, I saw numerous venues dedicated to the uplift of black people. One was called the K.L.E.O. Center, which stands for Keep Loving Each Other, and there were many others like it. I had hoped to visit the Kwame Nkrumah Academy and the Betty Shabazz International Charter School during my stay, but time did not permit.

I say all this to prove one point: the Africans in Chicago are NOT just killing each other. There is a great deal of positive work being done in that city, just as there is in other places around the globe. No matter what the news, movies, television, and music tell you, black people are doing more than shooting bullets and needles. We have been and will continue to work for our own uplift until we arrive at our former glory. I hope this post has inspired and motivated you as much as my trip to Chicago did for me.

Any opinions? Please share!

Peace.

Death to the Morons, pt.1

Peace.

Here’s a little factoid about me: I love words. I mean I LOVE words. I love hearing them, reading them, writing them, comparing them, learning new words & languages… The entire phenomenon of giving meaning to mouth-sounds is amazing to me, really it is.

I love words so much, that I HATE for them to be used incorrectly. I don’t mean the harmless “their” in the place of “they’re”, or that huge word resting comfortably out-of-context in a run-on sentence full of elementary sight words. No. It gets much worse than that.

What I hate is oxymorons. If you don’t know, an oxymoron is a contradictory phrase/idea such as “burning glacier” – it has to be one or the other, right? Well these days, the answer seems to be “no”. That MUST change. So here is the first strike of my campaign against the Popular Paradoxical Paradigm (alliteration is fun!): a list of common oxymorons that are ruining the English language (which isn’t that pleasant to begin with).

  1. “reality television” – If it’s on tv, it’s not real. If it’s real, it’s not on tv. And what’s worse: reality tv is the fakest programming on television, yet they have the nerve to put “reality” in front.
  2. “educational television” – Same thing. There is nothing educational about tv because everything on tv is fake. If you did learn anything from tv, you would at that moment be more ignorant for “learning” something that’s not even true. The mere notion that you can learn something from staring at a box is too preposterous for me to handle. You could literally learn more from whittling twigs than you could from staring at flashing box.
  3. “music industry” – Yes, this is an oxymoron. Why?… because “music” is an art form, which means it should be an expression of the artist. “Industry” – on the other hand – is a form of business, which means that the only acceptable expression is one (keyword: “one”) that is most lucrative. There is no such thing as an art industry; it will be one or the other. The industry destroys artistic expression.
  4. “scientific theory” – Let’s do a etymology study here. The prefix “sci” means “to know”. However, the prefix “theo” means “to hypothesize about something deemed unknowable”. It should be clear now why this is an oxymoron. To purport a “scientific theory” is to admit that your scientific methods have led you to no new knowledge, which shows how low-quality those scientific methods are… Sorry, had a nerd moment there. On to the next one.
  5. “kind/good slavemaster” – If I have to explain this to you, then it’s a safe bet we’ll never be friends. But I’ll explain anyway. Here I am referring to American chattel slavery, since it was the only form of slavery predicated on the physical, cultural and psycho-emotional destruction of the servant. Any and every slaveowner (oh yeah, it’s the only system where you owned the human) in this system was a degenerate wretch; if not for actively destroying human beings, then for passively participating in such a system. And I repeat: American chattel slavery was the only system that treated slaves this way. For instance, slaves in Egypt (since Egyptian slavery is the favorite ammo of those who argue the contrary) always had an opportunity for upward mobility; a group of white slaves called the Mamelukes actually ruled Egypt for 6-7 centuries in the Middle Ages. (see The World and Africa, Du Bois)
  6. “reverse racism” – Many have given opinions on this term; here’s mine. To label the act of racism as “reverse” is to say that racism should only occur in one correct direction… What kind of racism is correct?… Furthermore, the term accurately implies that racism occurred in a particular direction first, and now an equal and opposing (and, somehow, unacceptable) reaction has occurred. Said plainly, by saying “reverse racism” you’re admitting that you did it first, which means that you deserve to suffer racist attacks, making your disapproval of those attacks irrelevant. I’m not gonna cry for you because you didn’t know karma was real. At any rate, all racism is ignorance; and the only thing more ignorant is the term “reverse racism”.
  7. “ancient Europe” – There is nothing ancient about Europe, at least not in comparison with the rest of the world. Need proof? You know I have it! The Christian Bible is not even close to being the oldest religious text in the world, yet even in that book Europe is not mentioned until the second half (which is the half that wasn’t even started on until after The Crucifixion). The Bible is a relatively new book, and the writers didn’t even acknowledge the existence of Europe until they were almost done writing it. Europe is an afterthought to everyone except Europeans (and other Euro-washed people). Let’s stop pretending that Europe didn’t just come up… if you can even count rape and pillage of the Earth and all its people as “coming up”.
  8. “Greek philosophers” – No such thing. Why, you ask? Because none of them thought of anything original. All your favorites – from Socrates to Plato and any others – sat at the feet of real philosophers in Africa and Asia, learning absolutely nothing. Aristotle is claimed to have written over 1,000 books…. wtf? 1,000?? It would take literally hundreds of lifetimes to write that much brand new material. In fact, it would have taken a Greek man much longer than that, since his work would have been constantly halted while he fled from his barbaric countrymen who sought to execute him for the crime of “loving thought”. Another etymology study: “philo-” means “to like or have an affinity for”, and “soph-” means “thought”. So the term “philosopher” was not at all prestigious in Greece. Aristotle stole those books from Alexandria Library, and the other “great minds” did something similar. (see Stolen Legacy by George James)
  9. “African-American” – Yep, this is an oxymoron. For those who were absent for the entirety of United States history, I’ll give you a very brief synopsis: Africans were brought here as slaves and treated sub-humanly for centuries (i.e. raping, breeding, mutilation and murder, worked mercilessly, etc.) Then we freed ourselves (yes, freed ourselves) and were treated as the subhuman “other” in our small and impoverished communities (i.e. KKK… nuff said). Seeing that we very quickly began to uplift ourselves (not surprising for the mothers/fathers of civilization) and threatened this nation’s stability with our own internal nation, the government pushed to re-integrate us into mainstream America (I say “re-integrate” because we were never left out of society during slavery… because society completely depended on us). And here we are today, still filling up the lowest classes of this society and still being treated as the subhuman “other” (i.e. growing socioeconomic disparities, a half-black prison population, and every murdered child from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin). I said all that to say this: America doesn’t like Africans very much at all. The idea that we should (or even could) identify ourselves as  simultaneously African and American requires one to ignore clear and recent history. We were African before we got here, African when we got here, and we’re still African now. If you don’t believe me, ask any of the thousands of judges and police officers who re-enslave and murder us for fun on a daily basis.
  10. “American culture” – Again, there is no such thing – unless you count amusement parks, holiday blowout sales and planking on YouTube as culture. If there are any human activities that can be labeled as truly “American culture”, they are thievery and deception. All American music was originally created by Africans (even death metal descends from rock’n’roll, which we created); all American sports are adapted from their original versions in other countries and times; all American food is a modified version of a dish from some other culture (don’t you hate to see white people claiming cajun cuisine as their own, when it was brought here in the minds of enslaved Africans?) American culture is about stealing something, then lying like you had/did it first. Nothing more.

I’m done ranting. But this is not over… oh no. This is just the beginning. I have a list a mile long, I just can’t put it all in one post. Be on the lookout for more of my battles against the Popular Paradoxical Paradigm. In the meanwhile, tell me what you think about this one!

Peace.

Egyptians are Africans…because Egypt is in Africa [and other things the general populace needs to know]

B.Alexandra's Cosmos

As I peruse the various corners of the interwebs (which I spend entirely too much time doing as opposed to something productive like solving the hunger crisis or destroying capitalism from its underbelly up), I come across a plethora of things that make no got doggone sense.  And of course the majority of these things come from places where people get to share their opinions and thoughts with no inhibitions…aka Twitter. One thing I’ve seen multiple times is people “setting other folks straight” about how Pharaohs, and pyramids, and whatnot were from Egypt, not Africa….

Is our education system failing our youth THAT much?!

I mean I knew things were tough out’chea in these streets but I didn’t know they were so rough that we can’t afford maps and globes for our classrooms. I mean come on! Egypt is as African as African can get. Wanna know why? because it’s right…

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