Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Really want to see this movie. Been getting kicked around by life and love lately and need an escape into some beautiful screenwriting. Thumbsucker looks like just the type of film to take me there, to a time when things made more sense. When friends were actually friends, when love meant love.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I just watched the latter half of the classic film "Tap" earlier today, and my mind quickly flashed to the first time I saw the herein embedded video of Clayton Bates. Bates was not only an incredible dancer, but a striking example of how often disabled men and women are left out of the moments of Black performance we communicate to each other through oral and written history. It's almost like Black disabled performers have to pretend that their difference is nonexistent, cast it as an unfortunate, negligible circumstance rather than a celebrated part of their identity (think here of how you've never heard a Ray Charles song that even references his blindness,or a Ying Yang Twins track about cerebral palsy).
The same argument could be made about race I suppose, but there are a number of Black performers with disabilities who addressed their racial background in their work (e.g. Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone). Still got a lot of ideas to work out, but I'm in the process. The main goal is to provide a historical counter-narrative to the one we're always given; one that seeks to render disabled Black musical performers invisible, or at the very least to only take up the parts of their identity deemed worthy of mention.
It's looking like my senior honors thesis is going to deal with this very subject, and Mr. Bates is certainly a welcome addition to the body of work I plan on creating, a set of essays and poems interested in giving many of these folks the props they deserve. I can't wait to see how it goes, and hope that I have enough time between touring and other schoolwork to give the proper time and energy to the research project. Keep me in your prayers.
In the mean time, peep this dude's skills. What a showman.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Never been much of a fan of police (being a Black man in the United States and all) but this has got to be one of the worst incidences of overt police brutality I have seen in a while. This idiotic police officer cracked the back of this elderly woman's head open with a body slam for no apparent reason. You're a trained "officer of the law," and you can't even restrain an older citizen without forcefully throwing them onto the ground. You've got to be kidding me.
I don't expect there to be consequences for this officer's actions. I never have. My parents taught me better than to expect justice from an unjust system.
My condolences to this elderly woman and her family. I pray that she makes a full recovery, and that her situation serves as a wake-up call for people trapped in the mindset that post-race, or social equality, or any of those other pretty little phrases are coming to save marginalized folks any time soon. We've got to push back for ourselves. Stay hopeful.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Ok, so I know I'm going really hard on my poetry kick lately, but I had to share this piece with ya'll. I just returned from Florida (for research/vacation) and while I was out there decided to stop by the National Poetry Slam in West Palm Beach in order to interview my homie, Ion for my upcoming research presentation as well as partake in the festivities at hand.
Overall, though I didn't get to see many performances I will say that there were a few that stuck out to me in particular. St. Paul (who would eventually go on to grab the 2009 title) had some incredibly ill work from jump, Nuyo, both Denver teams, Urbana, and a number of other squads I was privileged enough to view via video recording or live performance impressed with both the sheer creativity and solid writing of their pieces.
One such piece is the above: "Volume Knob." To be frank, this jawn is vicious. Shout to Ken, Bobby, and Lucifury. Some of the illest old heads out, word to my pen.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Simply stated, men are entirely too judgmental when it comes to female body type. Somehow, even when we are ourselves outlandishly skinny or the size of a small hippo we manage to make snide comments about female passersby or women we see on television. I'm currently in Miami for vacation, and my brief time here has made me far more body-conscious (as I am regularly around men who look as if they bench-press dinosaur bones before they come to the beach). It's one of the first times that I have thought about body image in a while.
During this transformation, I have thought regularly about just how often women are told through both advertisement and idiotic lovers that their bodies are not good enough, that they themselves are little more than a conglomeration of fleshy parts too imperfect to be attractive (now, I'm tempted here to talk about simulacra and Jean Baudrillard, but I'll save that for another time). What I will say however, is that we must remember how beautiful we all are in ways both too grand and minuscule to be perceived by the naked eye. Sort of like walking abstract paintings, that sometimes are only recognized as masterpieces by those with the experience needed to appreciate our color scheme.
Thus,whatever your shape or weight, have fun this summer. True, exercise is healthy, but far too often folks spend a whole lot of time and money chasing a prototypical body image that is unrealistic; a machinic mannequin engineered by a hypercapitalist culture industry to make us buy more and more to get closer to the fantasy. Stick it to the Man this year; love yourself.
I wanna be sexy like compassion...yeah.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I've been hesitant to talk about my faith outright on this blog for a while now (mostly for fear of alienating any of the folks who take the time out of their day to read it); but, today's post isn't so much about religion as it is about my joy in seeing God's hands at work, particularly on young people in marginalized communities. In a cultural moment where we are every day reminded of just how lazy, violent, hypersexual, unintelligent, materialistic, and irresponsible young, Black people supposedly are, I love taking the opportunity whenever I can to shout out young brothers and sisters doing beautiful community work and being unafraid to be an outspoken, unashamed vessel for Christ.
Check out this video from the Mississippi Children's Choir. Judging by the clothing of various people in the clip this was shot some time in the mid-90's. Judging by these young people's voices there is certainly something wonderful in the water down in Mississippi. Prepare to be moved beyond comprehension. Shout out to Khira for the link.