A freestyle rhyme on #timesup, #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, water, and more!

The learning burn

Preserve flows like an urn

Other folks had their shot, it’s my turn

Classic Mobb Deep, my mob deep and we creep

Straight from the streets of the hood in Southeast

DC, home of the sloppy dreams

Where the words “#allcaps” don’t represent a hockey team

Grand Washington Wizard occupies 16

Still rock the name of a racist football team

Jockey dreams, trap brothers and broke teens

Gentrification, still killin’ dreams

Triple beam pay like $1.15

Freakonomic ebonic brother, the flow’s clean

Can’t say the same for water up in Flint, MI

Where government intentionally watched folks die

Drank ‘em to death, whole towns nothin’ left

Glad they changed the gov cause homey was tone def

Speakin’ of dyin’, dunno why they keep lyin’

Shootin’ our brothers down unarmed too many cryin’

And sisters too, get it as bad as we do

For every Sandra bland that never made the news

Yo we got you too, never forget you

Cause #blacklivesmatter #timesup #metoo

And forget Cosby, watchin’ him was my hobby

But when you disrespect a woman you get kicked out the lobby

Or get bodied, we gotta have higher standards

Let me make it clear so you overstand, word

Ya heard, lyrically I’m flippin’ birds

To anyone defendin’ rapists and drugging herbs

Cosby, Weinstein, Kevin Spacey yo

Shout out to Tarana and Lupita Nyong’o

And all those who found the courage to come forward

And other silent victims still looking for words

I’m bringin’ havoc, I told y’all it’s the learnin’

I’m a standup for anybody out their yearnin’

For a day when we don’t care for what a predator’s earnin’

And care more for the victims still cryin’ and hurtin’

So if you’re heart lurkin’ and somehow stopped workin’

Hear my now and help us all stop the burnin’

Yeah it burns deep when the world don’t believe you

And money makin’ media keep wantin’ to deceive you

They just care about ratings and clicks, what up Moonves

Bout to make a midnight run but I ain’t Nunes

More like Fabian or Ocasio-Cortes

New voice need no roscoe to rock flows breth-

-ren, I go hard like Bushmaster

I’m a hard man fi dead you gon’ feel the rapture

Wildfires, floods, crazy natural disasters

Like the world’s comin’ to an end but it don’t have ta

If we show the world good sermons don’t preach ’em

If each one grab one and just teach ‘em

We’ll see how quick the tide can suddenly turn

Like switching the learning burn to the burning learn

It’s OD, don’t act like you don’t know me,

Next prodigy on the flow the one and only

I’m an upstander, I will never stand by

Think you can shut the people down don’t even try

Bye!

 

New Album Intro (lyrics)

This is my 8thalbum 7 years since the last

Had a lot on my mind let a lot of stuff pass

Chose to focus on my kids, enjoy being a father

Watched too many brothers & sisters on tv get slaughtered

Hot and bothered, why they use us as fodder

Mothers, fathers, aunts & uncles, cousins, sons and daughters

Silenced by the pain, by cops my people get slain

So many stories I can make a song just sayin’ they names

Sandra bland, Stephon Clark, Philando, Eric garner

Robert white, mike brown, Danny Thomas, John Crawford

Willard & Walter Scott, Tamir rice, and Yarber

Tarika Wilson, Oscar Grant, James Brisette, Shem Walker

I ain’t got enough bars I know they up in the stars

But back on my earth we in a state of constant shock & awe

With the weight of the world on our shoulders Jehovah

In my daughters’ eyes I see the hope that saved this soldier

In my son I see the pride that keeps wakin’ me up

To fight harder every day and stop givin’ a…

What the deal I really feel like I live in a reel

Waitin’ to wake from a nightmare Freddy Kruger for real

Nightmare on my street everyday Friday the 13th

A president who don’t give a damn about my peeps

I see what the hell I got to lose I ain’t confused

And as long as I breathe I’m a challenge these fools

I got my ancestors watching’ I refuse to lose

For the future I be plottin’ on these blasé dudes

Cause everything is love and that’s how it should be

In those 7 years got a PhD in JAY Z

So y’all ain’t heard from me but yo boy ain’t stop

I never let go of the bars never stopped hip-hop

We been through hell but oh well got more stories to tell

Cause we ain’t goin’ nowhere this land’s our for real

We Shall Not Be Moved! (a poem)

We ain’t goin’ back, said we ain’t goin’ back
We’ve come too far they tryin’ to set us back
Whether standin’ on the block or on Standing Rock
The world gonna know that we never gonna stop
Built their brand on phobias they think that they controllin’ us
Not to mention women hatin’ and the need for patrollin’ us
But we not gon’ allow misogyny to malign our progeny
The spirit of MLK be callin’ we
Whether you black, white, or burgundy
Urban or suburban we
Gotta come together with a better sense of urgency
To this emergency we gotta emerge-and-see
No time to be sleepin’ while they legislate our destiny
I write this in the spirit of a Birmingham jaila
Scrambling for a cure of what Roger Ailes us
From the Voting Rights Act they’re floating right back
Tryin’ to take us back to Defense of Marriage Acts
To McCarthy-style living and internment camps
To segregated schools maybe fountains too
But we gonna clamp down in the face of fascism
Hit ctrl+ALT-right+delete erase racism
Bannin’ Bannon-like thoughts from pollutin’ our nation
But we need YOU to join the fight without hesitation
Now ain’t the time to be silent pick UP the mic
Speak truth to power using all your might
We been through much worse but if we stick together
We’ll shake up the world again for the better!
 

Schools need same “Zero Tolerance” for hate acts that they have for students of color

              Across the country, Trump supporters have been targeting people who look foreign, threatening their lives and attempting to bar them from entering schools and their jobs. Trump’s half-hearted request for his supporters to “stop it” while at the same time blaming the press for overblowing these racist and islamophobic incidents does little to help solve the problem. It is also true that there have been incidents of Trump supporters being attacked. Everyone who is found to be guilty of any crimes need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but what about our nation’s students who are harassing other students? What should happen to them?

              From schools like Westland Middle School in Maryland to the Royal Oaks Middle School in Michigan, racist, islamaphobic graffiti has been painted on walls, students have barred Latino students from getting to their lockers and other students have chanted “Build a wall” in their cafeterias. Statements from school leadership basically state that investigations will occur and are fairly vague beyond that. If schools do not implement the same “zero tolerance” and “tough love” policies that they use to discipline students of color, the hypocrisy will speak volumes.

              It has been well documented that across the country, students of color are suspended, expelled, or disciplined in other ways often at 3-4 times the rate of their white counterparts and are disciplined more harshly for the same offenses, even in preschool. Everything from “talking back” to dress code violations have led students of color missing excessive time from school or being excluded from school altogether. Furthermore, Special Education has been seen in many schools than nothing more than a system that prepares students to do a bid in prison because they spend most of their days isolated from the general school population participating in non-intellectual activities. The Justice Department has indeed investigated several of these schools across the country and brought charges to some districts.

              If our nation’s (pre) K-12 institutions that have such a slanted record on school discipline, they must be even more vigilant in the face of intolerance we are seeing now at schools across the country. How can a student be suspended for a “menacing tone” to a teacher but not be suspended for threatening to deport their classmate? How can a student be given in-school suspension for violating a dress code but not for blocking a path for students to enter their school in hate-filled imitation of a wall? How can students be taken out of school in handcuffs for writing on a desk but not severely disciplined when they are found to be the ones who wrote hate-filled language on school grounds?

              President-elect Donald Trump is still receiving kid-glove treatment from the media. He is still has paid surrogates on our news networks spinning every question posed to them. We cannot treat students in our schools who are committing hate crimes or other violent and threatening acts to also be treated with kid gloves just because of the color of their skin or the socio-economic status of their parents. If this country is serious about healing, it starts at home but must spill over into our schools. Our youth need to know that we will move forward as a country with dignity and respect for our fellow man, woman, and especially the child. Too many black and brown students already feel ostracized from their educational enclaves because of the lack of culturally competent educators. They should not now be made to feel ostracized from their country simply by entering their school door. We can and need to do better.

 

Mandela…a poetic tribute

They say never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes

But what happens when the man has neither shoes nor socks to walk in?

Would you willfully walk that mile?

Would you accept all adversity with a frown and a smile?

Would you still run the race against racism with grace and style?

Would you work wearily to weave a tapestry of diversity and shared fate

Against those who continue to practice apart-hate?

            Mandela

Would your heart shine bright when deprived of sunlight?

            Mandela

Would your spirit sing a song of liberation when it’s denied instrumentation?

            Mandela

As they tried at Robben Island to rob you of your soul

You literally rolled Rholihlahla with each punch as you crunched in your hole

We stand here because of you

We breathe freely because of you

And you walked the long walk to freedom with no shoes and socks

So that we will not have to

            Mandela

You walked for those without homes and even the land-dwellers

            Mandela

You, the son of Mother Earth

Father to a nation

Grandfather to our future

Brother to African liberation

From Cape Town to Kinshasa you led like no other

To remind us to put our arms down and hands forward to embrace one another

            Mandela

Because of you the world is encouraged to up rise like Soweto

So-we-too rise above the mentality of the ghetto

To claim the universe as our humble home

Overseas maligned media would disgrace the Madiba

But we saw through their lies as we looked at tattered posters into your eyes

Your hope in humanity helps us fly Tran-skeis

And when peace did not work on the path for a free way

You chauffeured us on the highway of Umkhonto we sizwe

And when so many believed that there was still no way

Your perseverance and piety led all of us nobly to the Nobel in Norway

And so we will make peace our prize

And we will walk on this path of freedom with our shoes on and heads held high

In a world where courage and pride can be hard to find like a Black Pimpernel

Because YOU have walked this earth Madiba, the future for all humanity bodes well

Mandela!

Ask “Where do I go?” not “Where do WE go?” from here

          Everyone is asking where we go from here. I think the real question to ask is “Where do go from here?” By “I” I mean YOU. At the end of the day, all you can control is yourself and your reaction to all of the tragedies we witnessed this week. Asking where “we” go almost allows us to point fingers at what everyone else is not doing. Doing so means that you are not focusing on what you can do. As cliche as it sounds, it is indeed true that when you point in the mirror, there are three fingers pointing back at you.
          As Oprah said, what you think about expands. If you think about how you can add to the climate of positivity and not negativity, to the climate of peace and not division, than you are doing your part to move us forward. Your actions will speak louder than your words so make sure you give yourself the time needed to reflect on a way forward and then move forward expeditiously so that we can make this country as great for everyone as its promise. Peace always. Take care!

Alton Sterling & Philando Castile killings: I will no longer watch videos of police shootings

I will never forget the day the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald, the unarmed teen who was shot 16 times by one police officer while he lay on the ground, was released. The image of smoke discharge from the bullets that riddled his lifeless body as he lay on the concrete is as seared into my head as is the face of Emmett Till, the 14-year old boy who was lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His heavily disfigured face juxtaposed against his pre-lynching photos are still too much to bear, even though his murder occurred before I was even born. Despite the horrific nature of McDonald’s killing and the cover-up that was revealed in how he actually was murdered (read – executed), there was one other aspect of the killing that was almost as bad as the killing itself—the way in which the video of his murder became must-see-TV.

Throughout the day, every news outlet I watched almost boasted on how they would have the video primed and ready for the evening news. It was being billed as if it was a major sporting event, a speech by The President, or an impending visit by The Pope. For the life of me, I just could not figure out why a boy’s murder was turning into such a spectacle until I remembered the words of Jason Silverstein who wrote in his article “I don’t feel your pain” that there exists a “racial empathy gap” in America. In short, he says that when we (people of all races) see black people experiencing pain, we do not feel as much empathy as when we see white people experiencing pain. In fact, Silverstein goes as far as to say that we feel no pain when we see a black person harmed. His argument makes perfect sense.

Do you remember WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward? They were tragically shot to death while reporting live by a gunman whose name I will not share and add to his notoriety. The video of McDonald’s murder was released a month before Parker and Ward. While the world waited to watch McDonald get murdered, all media outlets found Parker and Ward’s murders “too graphic” to show or chose to not show the video out of respect to Parker and Ward’s family. Even on YouTube, you must be signed in and prove you are an adult to possibly see the full video. I completely agree and supported the decision to not show Parker and Ward get murdered but the question has to be asked: what makes the killing of a black man “must-see-TV” but the killing of anyone else too graphic?

From Latasha Harlins (25 years ago), Scott Walker and John Crawford to Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and now Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and everyone in between, we keep killings of black people on loop, almost as if they were public lynchings from earlier times. It is as if we cannot believe a black person can be killed unjustly. Furthermore, even after seeing these videos, many of us either stay in denial or come up with justifications as to why these Americans (yes, Americans) deserved to die. Meanwhile, many of us who know that we or our loved ones can easily be next repost the videos for everyone to see and then take to the streets in tear-filled anger and protest. I for one will no longer participate in this incessant song and dance routine.

I will not be watching the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. I have seen enough. Watching these videos do not move me to do anything productive. When I have watched these videos in the past, my emotions run from blood boiling to crying. I see myself in John Crawford’s face as his family hears him say over the phone “[the gun] is not real” as he bled to death. I see too many faces of people I know in the faces of Rice, Amadou Diallo, and others. Lastly, watching these videos impede my ability to be a fully participating husband and father because I become consumed with thinking when my turn is coming, even when I should be enjoying precious moments like birthday parties. Rather than participate in this endless cycle, I choose to remember the beautiful faces of these people smiling from the pictures showed by their families. I will look at Alton Sterling’s image and become more inspired to fight for justice without living under a cloud of rage and without harboring any thoughts of exacting revenge on the shooters or hoping someone else does. None of those thoughts help me work as an upstander to advance peace in our society.

So what will you do? Will you participate in the media-murder circus? Will you watch another murder and justify it somehow in your head? Will you change the channel for something more interesting after your bloodlust has been satisfied? Or will you be moved to do something different? Something better? Something more productive? My hope is that we will be just as proactive in fighting  for justice without having to indulge ourselves in a human being’s final moments. If for some reason you must watch the video, ask yourself what it does for you and be honest in your emotions and choose to be proactive and not reactive. That is the best way to honor those unjustly slain and actually show that we feel their pain. It is what these victims need. It is what they deserve.

Weekly RAP up 6 20 16

News from a hip-hop perspective for 6-20-16. Topics include the Orlando shootings, Muslim profiling, Facebook live killing, Lil Wayne, and the NBA Finals.

Bring out the Muhammad Ali in YOU!

We call Muhammad Ali “The greatest” not because of his boxing but because he was an UPstander, not a bystander. After all the celebrations are done, the best way to honor Muhamma Ali is to do your best to be an upstander and a voice for the voiceless and marginalized wherever you are and however you can. Are you up to the challenge? I know you are so get to work!

Harriet Tubman (and many other women) deserves to be on a $20 bill

It’s sad that there are those who critique the Treasury Department’s decision to honor one of the greatest figures in American history.