Tag Archives: American Dream

Does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport? Black Stars Burn Brightest…

It is without doubt that Professional Sports plays a major role in the lifeblood of America.  It does everything from pushing the economy forward,to providing heroes for the youth to aspire towards, to galvanizing entire regions across cultural lines.

Yes, America loves its Sports.  Some may even go as far as to say that the ritual of Sunday football has replaced the ritual of attending Church. The energy once used to worship “God” has been averted to the anticipation, elation and praising of football teams and their stars.

Indeed America loves its sports and the stars that they produce.

2015/01/img_4161.pngAmerica loves its athletes.  We are no different than any other civilization, just like the Romans of yesteryear, we hold our Gladiators in High Esteem.  In fact we hold our stars in high esteem no matter what arena they participate in.  As long as they are an entertainer, there will be somebody that can relate to them and there to give praise.

The argument arises, does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport.  Conventional thinking would lead one to believe that no one person is bigger than the sport.  Like David Ruffin and the Temptations no one part can thrive without the sum.  But I would beg to differ.  Perhaps no one single person can persuade the game one way or another, but a subset can have a tremendous impact on the popularity of said sport.  And I have food for thought, that may offer strong persuasion.

Let’s look at the most popular sports in America, currently Football reigns supreme; followed by basketball and at a distant third baseball.  There was a time when Baseball claimed the thrown, and then it struggled to keep it but eventually capitulated and gave way to the current king–Football.

But Why?

Is it a direct result of a shift in the demographics of America.  Is it due to the fast pace society that we live in and the American continuum wants a fast pace sport to parallel its pacing.  Or is it something subconsciously deeper than that.

Follow me, America has an affinity for its stars and in particular its Black stars.

2015/01/img_4162.pngLet’s look at a low hanging fruit—Golf.  I don’t have the numbers but I can definitively correlate the spike and decline of golf with the oscillation of Tiger Wood’s Greatness.  He single handedly brought the sport from the rungs and gutters of popularity to the forefront of American Consciousness.  As his “Scandle” ensued and his decline in play sprang forth as did the popularity of Golf.  Just look at the ratings.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4163-0.pngLet’s take a look at the sport of female tennis.  Can we say it received a jolt of enthusiasm with the influx of a certain two sisters?  I’m not even sure how much relevance the female tennis world captured without that shining Eastern Star Serena and her sister Star Venus.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4164.pngBasketball  was a sport on the fringes of being popular.  A sport with an identity crisis, it didn’t know if it wanted to be great or not.  Back in the 80’s the NBA was on the verge of something special with star power of Bird and Magic.  These stars shined indeed but they weren’t enough to bring the NBA to the Billion dollar business that it is today, sitting comfortable in the royal court of the King–Football.  No—it was arguable the brightest black star of all time—the marketing creation of one Michael Jordan.  This bright star single handedly carried the NBA on his back–the Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods.  Before him, 100 million dollar contracts were unheard of.  He parted the Red Sea and allowed for the NBA to ascend to the peak of its popularity.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4165.pngFootball—the king in this sports jungle.  Now football is a bit of an anomaly I would admit.  It is a sport flooded by Black stars but you can honestly say there is no polarizing figure.  In fact, it is a sport that hails its white stars.  Yet footballs popularity didn’t increase until it received an infusion of Black athletes if not stars.  The 80’s is when football first spotted it’s opening for the crown, but it wasn’t until Baseball, former King, exposed its chink in its armor.  A sport that thought it was too Big for its Black Stars, which eventually led to its downfall.  Yet as we see today, football sits atop its thrown gazing over its kingdom as it embraces its litany of Black Stars.  And baseball looks at what was, and like a scorned lover: looks back on what could have been.

America loves its Black Stars.

This brings us to Baseball, “America’s Past Time”.

2015/01/img_4166.pngWhat happened to Baseball?

Suicide happened. –Self-inflicted misery by way of Pride. I will tell you what happened, Baseball and the powers to be got fed up.  It got fed up with its Black stars.  It became fed-up with the arrogance of seeing these young Black Stars shining so brilliantly.  It grew tired of these young flashy, wealthy, insolent stars.  It felt, man, talent is multi-cultural; I can replace these egregious, haughty black stars with colored stars from another land.  Yah, that’s it…I’ll go down and get these Latin American stars that look the same and play the same and we’ll teach them.  But its plan backfired.

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Because  America loves its Black Stars.

Key word being “its”.  Not someone else’s Black stars, America loves its Black Stars.  I would argue that the decline in Baseball popularity is a direct result of its systematically ushering out of its Black Stars.  The same arrogance and haughty nature it despised is the same arrogance and haughty nature America seeks to embrace.  We love our Dennis Rodman’s.  We love our Dion Sander’s.  We love our Mike Tyson’s.  We love to hate our Lebron James’s.  We love our Charles Barkley’s.  No matter what form or fashion they come in—we Love our Black Stars.

There is a deeper issue here as to why this axiom is true, but that is for another blog at another time.

Baseball should take it as a lesson learned.  Although, without the sport there would be no superstar one could clearly see that without the superstar the sport doesn’t quite shine.

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Hip Hop…The Gift and Curse (an analysis: does art imitate life or vice versa)

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

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We will examine the medium of rap or hip-hop music and its function in American culture. We will attempt to examine this expression of art from an honest– objective perspective.

There exist many influential mediums that utilize audio and visual stimulation– music and television—hip-hop is just a drop in a bucket of a larger lexicon. With each of these mediums the question of what influences what becomes blurred and almost indistinguishable. I see it as such: the 80/20 rule. The art impacts the lives that perceive it, and the creators of the art are impacted by aspects of life that they wish to convey. Art tends to imitate a portion of life that is provocative or noteworthy and it highlights and often embellishes this phenomenon.

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Life, on the other hand, is very much influenced by what it perceives. So life, or a portion of life, will reside in the comfort of the status quo– while the rebellious nature, that desires change, will often imitate art. And seek this art out as a means of expressing this innate desire for change. It then becomes a self-referential pattern if you will. Art– bringing to the forefront of society something hidden and unbeknownst to the majority. In turn the highly suggestible of society will imitate this art. From this process “pop” icons and influential figures are birthed creating their own phenomenon. Seemingly out of no where, stars are born and the strength of their gravitational pull draws people in. And for a time these figures tend to exercise an influence of power until their star power fizzles out and they are replaced by the next cultural icon.

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There is a thin line between art and propaganda…

Let us examine the art of hip-hop– art in form but a device in function. It serves many purposes in the modern era. A means of marketing… A means of venting… A medium to exchange knowledge… A means of individual expression…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3946.pngIn its inception hip-hop was a pure Art form. It served as a voice of a disenfranchised portion of society—as a means to both express and provide a healthy fun outlet for individuals. Hip-hop was a four-point art form that included break dancing, DJing, graffiti display, and MCing (actual oral poetry on top of a beat– rapping). In its current state, hip-hop has become mutated into a disfigured remnant of itself. The art form has been raped, ravaged, exploited, commercialized, and pimped out to the highest bidder–and not by accident but through systematic design.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3949.jpgThe phenomenon of hip-hop has evolved. It is a powerful force that has the ears and energy of the youth. There was a time when the art form spoke out about social injustices among the disenfranchised—it gave knowledge to the youth about who they were and could be in a positive light.

It provided quality dance music that allowed the body to freely expressive itself and tune in with energies of the natural environment. Hip-hop enlightened the youth by dropping conscious jewels. It had its flaws but it was an overall positive powerful force in American society.

But special interest became intertwined with the art. Money became their means of infiltration and manipulation. Fame became a poison, and artist placed fame above the art. Statistics and money became the major motivation of producing the art while talent and artistry began to gradually lose significance. Artist began to utilize gimmicks in aims of selling records and lost the purpose of the art form. Money became the only purpose of making the music. The art began to glorify opulence– unrealistic life styles, misogyny, violence, and drug culture. The art began to sell hope.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3952.pngHope for an illusion.

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Thus we have liquor companies investing heavenly into hip-hop culture—soliciting their products through song lyrics and music videos. You have the industrial prison complex having mutual interest with record labels encouraging violence and illicit drug use. You have the drug underworld “powers to be” having a vested interest in the art helping market new drugs and so forth to susceptible ears.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3956.jpg We have the fashion-industry sponsoring artist to market their name-brands that the susceptible hold with such prestige and a manifestation of self-esteem.

And so on and so on and so on…

So hip-hop current state is in a tug-of-war.

With the advent of the Internet, music is not so much a monopoly. Generally those controlling the means of distribution and marketing the music hold all of the power. Now there are different channels for a pure artist to reach their target market. Hip-hop has a means of organically resurrecting itself. And the recent success of hip-hop artist J. Cole is encouragement enough to show that hip-hop is beginning to rebirth itself.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fdb/77017821/files/2015/01/img_3957.png(With little to no marketing, he outsold major pop-hop artist who had major labels backing them.)

People are addicted to the relate-ability and appeal of the music to their lower-selfs. Not elevating but staying within the bestial realm of the carnal senses—and this serves a purpose. So the music is marketed towards this sect. The 808s and rhythmic drums awaken and lead the subconscious, awakening the body and having it involuntarily move in conjunction with these rhythms. The mind absorbs the lyrics and registers them. The lyrics repeat over and over and begin to evoke thought. And before you know it the music becomes a part of you. You’ve imitated what you are to become. As the people begin to desire more from their music, the art form will become what it once was. The people will awaken from their comatose state, for hip-hop is the spirit of the people. As the spirit awakens the non-sense we gradually die.

Such is the nature of art it both enlightens and it condemns…

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Memoirs of a Christian on the edge… (an unfortunate Messiah)

I’m in the midst of one of my faith lapses. You know, one of those periods when I’m feeling deprived of divine presence. I feel drunk with the ambiguity of ethereal incentive. And what do you know. Out of all the days I volunteered at Jonesboro Middle School–he had to choose this day.

He had to choose this day to purge his little soul to me!

Rather, his ideal of identity to me. As though, of all people, I had the answer. What force drove him to gravitate towards me on this most auspicious of days.

“Why doesn’t God love me…Why doesn’t he love me like he does all the other families?”

And I had a good idea as to where he was coming from. I had a general understanding of the boys unfortunate background and troubled lot in life. I knew he simply wanted reassurance–encouragement that a father figure would generally invoke, but as deprived as he was of such he decided to seek this role from me.

But, he simple chose the wrong day. The most pivotal of times in a boys life, I suppose it was imminent though. Truth has an awkward way of presenting itself. I knew the appropriate thing to say, but this came out,

“Well…Maybe you should find a new God…Yours doesn’t seem to work any more.”

And I didn’t mean it like it came out, but the way he looked at me conveyed everything. He didn’t look away; he didn’t panic; a tear graced from his eye, yet he remained stoic. But unjustly on some level he understood what I meant. Of course God doesn’t love you or me. God loves his own and that’s it. Right? Only his own. He makes his own happy.

Not the likes of you and me.

30 for 30 Rand University (A response)

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A reflection upon a revealing documentary… Although, I felt the documentary was insightful, It appears to be a story within a story. A story unfulfilled because to be quite frank the story is uncomplete– a skeleton without muscle or organs. The documentary is centered around polarizing professional athlete Randy Moss (one of my favorites). Like so many other melaninated athletes the documentary depicts his plight from tremendous odds to athletic immortality. The documentary explores his troubles with the law as a youth. His psychological response to racism (a people who want you only for your athletic prowess and nothing more). Also, his perpetual fight with the myopia that the small town life fostered. And his overcoming perseverance that led to his seemingly apparent success…This documentary addresses it all.

A private figure… Randy actually opened up and shed a light upon a portion of who he is. This allowed insight into the psyche of so many young melaninated males in similar dichotomies.

I describe this as a story half told because of an aspect of the documentary that struct a nerve with me. The documentary is entitled Rand University. This is attributed to the fact that there are so many exceptional athletes produced in that region but never make it “out”. In fact most of em “end up drinking 40 ounces outside of 7-11” This is what the locals deem Rand University. All the prodigious athletes graduate high ftschool and attend an existence of nothingness and forsaken hope.

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This is an exponential tragedy because Rand University have campuses in every state in every city in every town across the United States of America. So many young men are living under a delusion.. A very strong delusion… The implanted truth that the only road to success in America is through being praised by America. The avenues to being praised or beloved or embraced by America is through physical prowess(athletics) or showmanship (musician or entertainer). This is a grave tragedy. An unspoken axiom that goes unchecked and unchallenged. And I myself am not exempt from this delusion.. Growing up, even I thought that that was the only means of “success”. I do not know where this mentality came from exactly. I do not know where it took root. It wasn’t as though I was not exposed to professionals of melanin. It just always seemed as though nothing else was attainable. It seemed “possible” and I knew I had the “ability” but it never felt real or achievable…

What general consensus has swept young melaninated people’s to put all their hope in their ability to be embraced by the masses. Without that “love” they feel worthless. Without that hope they are cursed to live a destitute life of nothingness.. As I said I am of no exception.. I was always told to go to college… But I never felt or saw an end game. This has stunted my “progress” in life. I saw college as an ends… Not a means to an end and this has left me some what stuck… Trying to figure it all out. I’m at least lucky enough to have the wherewithal to try to figure it out.. As this documentary highlights, there are so many of my brothers who simply lose hope after the initial dream is shattered.. After one run in with the law… After one ill placed tragedy… They are left with nothing…. No direction… No ambition.. And without hope!

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There is one part in the documentary that embodies this spirit. It’s when one of Randy Moss’ childhood friends who didn’t “make it out” is recounting his mishap.. Retelling how he lost his opportunity.. He simply broke down and cried. As though his world no longer had meaning because of a dream unfulfilled. Yet, in reality he is a young man… Under the age of 40… He has all the world to gain… No matter the circumstance it all can turn around… It starts with one idea and a whole lot of drive and determination.

But, so many of our brethren don’t have that idea… That thought never enters their mind. The seed just lands on harsh soil and never takes root.

Why?

How do you break this psychosis if it alone defines your reality? And you know nothing beyond your reality…

Is it the responsibility of a society to look after its individuals? Is it the responsibility of the individual to save himself by any means necessary? Is this mentality of individualism productive to the collective? How does an individual with nothing to lose react when they feel it’s them against the world? Who seeks to gain from the decisions that this individual will potentially make. Prison industrial complex? Illicit drug industry? Etc?

So we are left with an untold story. The story of one shining star. One individual who defied the odds. A survival of the fittest narrative played out to perfection. Yet, the nature of humanity isn’t so much a survival of the fittest, but a survival of the collective. The true issue is why so many individuals are innately not part of the collective unless they “earn” their way in. Why are some born on the outside looking in? Why is that generally accepted?

Why must one earn their way into a society that they have no way of escaping?

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SHINE…. Shine… shine… (A poem by Jack)

I seen a lot of brilliant minds thrown to the wayside..

It saddens me…

Lights shown with the potential of brilliance… Barely able to flicker..

No fire burns… Just a vestige of embers…of what could of been…

Any god that gives up on me is no god of mine…

Perhaps with enough hell their fire will reignite… And flame ablaze…

Sometimes I love myself… And wish the world would too…

Other times I love myself and don’t give a damn who agrees…

But it’s the times when my ugliness prevails…and I feel exactly human and my light slowly dims… And I don’t so much love myself… Just the sole thought of escaping this tragedy becomes my infatuation…

Perhaps on the moons of Jupiter I can reside and love myself forever…

Or perhaps the grass will always be greener… Perhaps my flame was designed to simply flicker…

Oh just bury me in the back of the subconscious.. Make me inexistent…

This lil light of mine.. May have never been meant to shine…

Are you Black Enough?

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Are you Black Enough?

I begin this Blog with a quote from the great Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.  Many people have no idea of what racism is and throw around the term “racist” without discretion.  They use the term in great folly and error without giving much meaning as to what the term actually embodies.  Dr. Welsing provides the most encompassing working definition of what racism is, and when understood it sets a precedent upon the observer and alters their outlook of the world in which they operate within.

Her definition of racism:

“A local, national, global system— behavioral system of thoughts, speech, action and emotional response consciously and or subconsciously determined practiced by people who classify themselves as white in all areas of people activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war for the ultimate purpose of maintaining white genetic survival and preventing white genetic annihilation on planet earth.  A planet upon which the overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white by the minority of people who classify themselves as white.  Those who are classified as non-white are genetically dominant in terms of skin coloration compared to the genetically recessive white skin-people.”– Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

I would also add to this comprehensive definition the hording and allocation of the earth’s natural resources.  This inclusive definition implicates so much and one could literally derive several essays from this one definition.  And this shall provide the spring board for our discussion.

I was recently asked a question: How do you determine how Black someone is?  Are you black enough?  If so what does that entail?  Now of course one can not quantify black, but I can provide a definitive exploration of what it means to be Black.  And you can see what side of the spectrum you fall upon.

Truthfully, we all have a li’l black in us… It’s a conscious choice rather to identify with it or repel from it…

At the very core one must understand that they are a conquered people…And I am speaking from a Black-man-living-in-America’s perspective. One must understand that they are indeed identifying with their capturers when choosing to perpetuate their system that is in place: whether this be consciously or unconsciously…

So if one uses the term “you’re not black” or “you’re not black enough”, what is that person truly saying?  When one says oh you’re trying to “talk white” what are they truly stating? If you are called a “sale out” what does that mean?

On a conscious level these statements sound very ignorant. It implicates because you have success, because you have brains enough to fulfill the white man’s idea of success you’re being white.–Because after all only a white man can be smart, have nice things, and speak the Queen’s English. On a surface level it is indeed very ignorant… But one must not stop there, because it is usually the subconscious that drives us. It is the subconscious that is subversive and responsible for most of man’s actions… It is our “ancient brain” telling us that there was a way of life prior to this modern world we live in.  There was a way of interaction and purpose that we as a populace exacted before we became a conquered people. This is not oue natural dialect.  This is not our innate ideal of “success”—the pursuit of money and other superficial gain. Perhaps there was much more to who we are than what we’ve become and have been presented ourselves to be.

So, there is a cognitive dissonance held there of some sort.  On the one hand we are a very talented people. We are pioneers of the earth, so when presented with a challenge it is innate for us to overcome.  So, we excel in this system put in place and tend to blame others for their lack of acumen in which they can’t succeed. It’s their fault… They had the same opportunities as me… Blaming the victim complex because after all it helps us create a disconnect from who we really are.  After all they aren’t like me.  We’re different. I can’t possibly be like them… I’m better…This is a great untruth. A truth rooted in falsehood. Although, I do believe that we all are unique, and the fact that one has climbed a social and cultural latter better than someone else is no grounds for identifying “greatness”.

Thus on some level I can honestly say we all have “black” in us.  We all have the ability to be great, lend hand to brother, establish communities in which man is brothers’ keeper, use talents for the betterment of most not just self, have the courage to be who you are minus the social constructs.  Yet some of us choose to identify with the false truth of reality that has been placed in front of us by our captives.  Our “Ancient Brains” know it is not enough.  Thus we seek outlets—we seek drug abuse, we yearn to get high, we yearn for something “else” something “real”.  Some of us identify with our conquerors so much that we hate the very hair that’s on our head. This is quite ironic, because our conquerors have integrated their captives’ culture into all aspects of their society.–Using it as a means of economic gain by any exploit they see fit.

The feeling of complacency… The feeling that you’ve made it is that which is to be loathed…. The feeling that you’ve accomplished in this world and you choose not to shake up the system that has conquered you… That’s when a lil blackness begins to bleed out… Drip by drip… At that point you are consciously or subconsciously surrendering your bloodline (legacy) and capitulating to a system that has your brothers and sisters in servitude…

This creates a large schism between those with the wherewithal to pursue excellence by all means and the, what I like to call, natural nihilist.  Both are equally destructive to what it means to be Black yet one is looked on a favorable light by our conquerors.  You have those who pursue excellence by any means which have had great success—like our entertainers, athletes, upper middle-class folk.  All are looked upon favorably as something to strive for—an ideal that reinforces the established system.  Then you have the nihilist—those who reject society by any means.–The derelicts who choose to abuse the system—who are looked as being criminals, lazy, jobless, ignorant, violent, compulsive if you will.–Those individuals who have a natural propensity for rebellion but know no viable rather healthy means to manifest this rebellious nature.  So you have this vicious cycle of each hating the other.–Each recognizing the lack of blackness in the other.  The blame game occurs.  When in actuality both are right to an extent and both are completely misguided in their approach to rectifying and creating a better situation.

Thus I can conclude this disposition by answering what I believe it means to be Black.

It means to constantly be in pursuit of the truth.  It is a realization that you may not have all the answers, but you are going to be who you are regardless of the situation.  It is greatness and excellence despite circumstance.  It is the courage to stay resolute and shake up the norm because the norm is forever evolving.  Black is discipline.  Black is not all about I.  Black is love.  Black is rebellion.  Black is self-sacrifice.

Are you black enough?

God vs. Money…. Who controls whom?

The idea that someone can acclaim God and then turn around and exclaim money is quite laughable.

Only because there is a dissonance there that doesn’t make much sense.  Either their concept of God is warped or their relationship with God is warped (devaluing of self).  The idea of God is actually the exact opposite of the construct of money. God represents the omnipotent, omniscient and the ubiquitous—the infinite if you will. Money, on the other hand, is quite narrow, it is constrictive, it is a means to an end, it separates, and encourages individualism.  Money is about control and not much more.  On the other hand the very idea of God is freedom.–The ability to do all things regardless of the situation and despite any circumstances.  —The ability or concept of the supernatural—the transcendence of logic and bounds. God is the ability to manipulate nature, human emotion, and human awe—if one is defining “God” on the most basic of levels. Yet God transcends even these trivial acts in relation to that which is infinite.

Now if you want to delve deeper than that, the architect of the universe has nothing to do with money.  Money is a construct of man—a construct of a construct of a construct.  A construct that is very limited and quite restrictive.  That from which all things have sprung forth life from would have the very least to do with money.  That which compelled the universe into existence would have nothing to do with money a billion years ago, a million years ago, today, or anytime in the near/distant future. That which stands outside of time wouldn’t even acknowledge a brain that was bound to such logic.  Neither would any “God” that is worth its weight for that matter. For any God with any semblance of power can actualize something out of nothing– no middle intermediary necessary.

Thus the fact that one would praise money on the one hand and then praise God on the other hand gives me insight into what really has a grip on their mind.  It isn’t the money that is God but the idea behind the money.–The power and greed behind the money that is God.–The idea that you can control your reality through a piece of paper—very telling.  The idea that you would reduce your existence to being controlled by a piece of paper is also very telling.  The idea that you would willingly give your life’s motivation to the will of a piece of paper is a true tragedy.

The spirit that is energized by such a tragedy would reveal who is truly their God. –Money becoming ruler of man. A construct becomes master, bending god to its will.