Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama at Unity?

How many of you caught Obama's question and answer session at the Unity Convention on Sunday? What did you think?

I don't know about you but i was THROUGHLY entertained...

his critics can say what they want about him... but one thing they can't accuse him of is not having a sense of humor...

I actually thought it was really appropriate that Marc Lamont Hill put the following mos def quote in his blog on the root today

"If white boys doing it well, it’s success / when I start doing it well it’s suspect.”

I enjoyed the quote because it was exactly what Obama's response was to questions about his recent trip overseas. When asked whether or not his trip was arrogant" he replied (my paraphrasing)...

it was essentially the exact same trip that McCain took earlier this year, I don't think we should be penalized just because we did it well

We can argue all day about whether or not Obama is arrogant, or transformative or adequately radical. But on Sunday I just found myself truly in awe of how entertaining and intelligent the man is.

Don't get me wrong... I'm actually a huge Obama fan, and I don't mean to degrade or demean him by calling him entertaining... but the reality is... as a politician... the man has skills!

When asked about whether or not he would support an apology to Native Americans and/or African Americans while in office, he managed to completely change the topic to the necessity of health care and adequate schooling for all children while barely skipping a beat.

When asked about affirmative action, he managed to turn the conversation into one that talked about poor white children and high school dropouts.

During the entire conversation i consistently found myself either laughing or losing track of what the original question was.

The man is a skilled orator and politician.

Regardless of how much McCain whines about not getting enough media coverage... its really not going to matter if he doesn't stop being so boring. The reality is, Obama gets as much media coverage as he does for two reasons, 1. his candidacy is historic and 2. the man is fascinating to watch on television!

how can McCain and his infamous green background compete with that?


Monday, July 21, 2008

random thoughts pt. 2

1. dumi's fears ended up being unwarranted... the new nas album was not a letdown after the nigger mixtape. nas's political commentary was intelligent, artistic and raw... of course it helped that three out of the 15 tracks were from the mixtape... but the new stuff is still worth the purchase. while its not the type of album you would cruise to down lakeshore... nas contradicts himself by proving that hip hop is not dead.

2. studying for qualifying exams is no fun what so ever...

3. the good thing about my mother never allowing me to listen to hip hop before 1999 is i am constantly hearing really fly stuff for the first time...

4. why won't bret favre just retire?

5. the dark knight is the greatest batman movie ever.... it is also very creepy and scary and made me flinch more than a couple of times... heath ledger was amazing...

6. can someone please spare me from the constant panic about unmarried black women?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jean Grae

Check out this interview Jean Grae did with the Village Voice. Its a really powerful piece that touches on the lack of control artists have over their art in general. And the further marginalization that comes along with being a black, female, hip hop artist.

On her new album Jeanius she wrote a powerful song called "My Story" about her abortion and miscarriage. Her label is now attempting to record a video for this song, which she is vehemently against. When asked about it in the interview, she said this:

The interesting duality comes from being female and immediately being written off saying anything—it's: "Oh, she's complaining again. See? And that's why bitches shouldn't rap." It's an interesting place to stand. It's sort of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't." I do wanna very much take a position on this song and this record and this video, because it would be insane of me not to.

i definetly encourage you to check out the article and her hot new album.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

random thoughts

copying uptown notes style :-)

1. why is micheal vick filing for bankruptcy but r. kelly is still roaming free making more money than ever?
2. why has doc rivers' 15yr old (bka freshman in high school) son already committed to university of florida?
3. when will common drop another album as tight as resurrection?
4. speaking of hip hop... why do hip hop elitists act like ignorant/cornball hip hop is something new?
5. speaking of ignorant... why don't we all just acknowledge that ice tea's "soulja boy diss" was nothing more than a sad attempt at resurrecting his music career?
6. why don't discussions of black sex tourism ever include black women as participants rather than victims?


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where Are the Feminists?

when HRC was still running to be the democratic presidential nominee... gloria steinem wrote an editoral for the new york times about why she was supporting HRC for president. In it she made her now infamous arguement that "gender is the most restricting force" in America today.

That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).

the essay was problematic for more than a couple of reasons. in the above paragraph she completely ignores the support the white women's suffragist movement received from black activists like W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass. just like it ignores the way in which those same white suffragists turned on black Americans and argued that blacks were not competent enough to vote. In turn, her willingness to create a hierarchy of oppression... raising the suffering of women (of course who she means by "women" is never quite clear) over the suffering of blacks (she genders blackness male).... further perpertuates the racism that has been present in the mainstream feminist movement since its outset and further alienates black women from a cause that in a lot of way speaks to a part of their many oppressions.

many black feminist activists responded to steinem. notably alice walker in her beautiful article on the, where she simultaneously explained her endorsement of obama as well as responded to white feminist HRC supporters.

It is hard to relate what it feels like to see Mrs. Clinton (I wish she felt self-assured enough to use her own name) referred to as "a woman" while Barack Obama is always referred to as "a black man." One would think she is just any woman, colorless, race-less, past-less, but she is not. She carries all the history of white womanhood in America in her person; it would be a miracle if we, and the world, did not react to this fact. How dishonest it is, to attempt to make her innocent of her racial inheritance.

in typical alice walker fashion... her arguments were both artful, thoughtful and multifaceted (can you tell i'm a fan? *smile*). and it brought a series of important discussions to the table, both about HRC's weaknesses, as well as obama's

so in the light of all this argueing over sexism and racism that was present every where from the barbershop, to the mainstream media, to the ivory tower.... where are the feminists now?

numerous articles have been published over the last month about the hire of a new chief of staff for michelle obama to "soften" her image. the obama campaign wants to curtail the media's tendency to depict her as an "angry black woman" and instead put emphasis on her dedication to her family.

the campaign is attempting to market michelle obama as a harmless homemaker who doesnt threaten white men and who white women can relate to. and yet amazingly.... those same white feminists who railed against the supposed sexism against HRC during her presidential campaign have remained completely silent against the blatant and unwavering racism and sexism thrown at michelle obama on an hourly basis.

Mary C. Curtis wrote an insightful essay about the loud silence of feminists toward michelle obama. interestingly enough... a representative from steinem's feminist organization responded back in a letter to the editor. in it she argues the following...

The Women's Media Center, a feminist media advocacy organization founded by Ms. Steinem in 2005, has been a consistent voice for fair media treatment of women, including Michelle Obama... We fight sexism in the media wherever we find it... Ms. Curtis may indeed have a complaint -- not necessarily against feminists but against mainstream media outlets that often do not let these voices demanding fair coverage be heard.

this response is inadequate... she argues that her organization has been defending michelle obama from the beginning and that they are simply a victim of the "mainstream media outlets that often do not let these voices demanding fair coverage be heard."

but how is it that they managed to be heard in their VERY vocal defense of HRC (i.e. steinem's editoral in the new york times), but when it comes to michelle they are the victim of sexist media?

seems a little to convenient for me.

especially... when it is multiple mainsteam media sources that are actually doing the questioning (that feminists should be doing) around whether or not michelle obama's makeover is even appropriate. as well as detailing the work that black women are doing in the defense of michelle obama. so the question again remains.... where are the [white] feminsts?

this seems to be an important moment in the history of the white feminist movement. just like in the 1970's and 1980's when black feminists pushed back against second wave feminism and demanded to have a voice in the womens freedom movement. once again white feminists are going to be forced to look at their racism straight in the face.

the question is.... this time around... will they attempt to change the woman they see in the mirror...


Singer Replaces the National Anthem with Black Anthem

In Denver today jazz singer Rene Marie scheduled to sing the star spangled banner at the State of the City instead sang the words to the black national anthem (Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing). In the face of outrage from city government and conservative commentators, when asked why she did it, she replied "i want to express how i feel about living in the united states."

Get it girl... LOL....

Republican Senator McCain is demanding that Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama ask General Wesley Clark to step down (ugh I hate that the only links I can find today are from fox news!).

What perplexes me is how McCain can possibly think he has the right to ask anyone from the Obama campaign to step down.

"Charles Black Jr., one of McCain's most senior political advisers, said in an interview with Fortune Magazine, that a fresh terrorist attack 'certainly would be a big advantage to him.' He also said that the December assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazie Bhutto, while 'unfortunate," helped McCain win the Republican primary by focusing attention on national security'" - Washington Post

Last week McCain surrogate "termed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee 'John Kerry with a tan.'"

Both are still working for the McCain campaign.

And yet General Clark's comment that McCain's military service cannot and should not be the sole measure of whether or not he is fit to be President of the United States is worth him being fired from the Obama campaign? Come on now...

What's interesting about both of these incidents is the way in which conservative commentators have been so quick to use these as examples of black America's "lack of patriotism." Both Obama and his wife have been asked to prove their patriotism (read: white Americaness), after Senator Obama has been and continues to be painted as "foreign" or "unamerican" by the media.

In the face of the American public patting itself on its back for its "racial progress" in the light of Obama's nomination. The way in which black Americans still must prove their Americaness before being fully accepted by both the media and the general public, continues to call whatever progress has been made into question.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Going to Keep Trying Until I get This Right

I actually really like blogging.

Unfortunately.... I haven't yet managed to find a blogging style I like enough to hold onto for any significant amount of time.

As a result, I have more than my fair share of unfinished blogs floating in the cybersphere.

But thats whats great about the unlimited nature of the cyber universe! I can keep trying until I get it right :-)

Lately my facebook account has been ridiculously clogged with all of the news articles that I am constantly "sharing" with all of my "facebook friends" (along with my colorful commentary of course *smile*).

I realized that the way to solve the clogging problem was also the way to get myself back into blogging... create a blog where I post all of the articles/videos/blogs, etc that catch my eye and write my commentary in one central location!

sounds obvious right?

well you'd be surprised how difficult it is to come up with the simplest ideas when one is immersed in academic literature day in and day out... lol

so here we go... check me out :-)