Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lyricist Luchadors

Came across this video while doing Doom research. One of the funniest moments of intercultural exchange via YouTube I've seen in a while.If anybody knows the source of the video, be sure to drop a comment/hit me on Facebook. Looks like an exciting show to say the least. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chilling in the monastery

This track helped me get through my Beowulf paper this morning. Shout out to Monk for making timeless music when the brain grows too tired to press on. Would be more wordy today, but the GRE is on Saturday and ya boy has all types of work due over the next couple days. Let's get this poppin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Touched my spirit

First, somebody needs to go give these little boys' mama some props for getting them in church early. Always warms my heart to see young people with a heart after the Lord. Second, I'm slightly jealous because I had no type of obvious talent outside of reading really fast until I discovered performance poetry at age 17. These kids (whose names are Darius and Demetrice if my Facebook is to be trusted) are 8 years old and going in on the singing game all types of crazy. Third, it was already an optimistic sorta day. This video just helped make it even brighter.

I feel like Darius and Demetrice are great examples of what can happen when you expose kids to the arts at a young age and take the time to help them grow. Now, I can only hope their literacy/mathematics game is on point. Somebody needs to check that out for me if you know them and send me an e-mail. Seen too many little Black kids with incredible talent and no one willing to take the time to make sure the intellectual piece is taken care of as well.

But, that's enough pontificating about adolescent education. Fellowship application time is winding down, and I am quite literally a few drafts away from being able to relax for a bit (apart from extracurricular activities, performing and actual schoolwork lol) so I'm greatly looking forward to the next few months. It's the weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The brief wondrous life of MF Doom

The fact that an Ivy-League honors thesis has anything to do with the above video is a testament to any number of things. The first may be that I'm a fool. The second, that I have little respect for the traditional (read: White, male and deceased) American canon and have a desire to put cats like Doom in conversation with Herman Melville (both have fascinating takes on the boundaries of male identity, particularly when it comes to disfigurement. Think here of Captain Ahab's peg leg as metaphor smashed against any Doom record where he talks about about his own non-normative body, about the need for the mask). The next few posts may deal indirectly with my thought process as grad school apps and a draft of my honors thesis approach.

I'm thinking Paul Beatty, Doom and Junot Diaz. What do they have in common? Ask me in about 2 months. I'll have a rather fly answer by then. Promise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Because it's hard being of African descent at Penn sometimes.

I know the video is already a YouTube phenomenon, but its message is ringing particularly true for me today. The clutched purse move is a classic, but I've been experiencing a much more nuanced brand of racism as of late.

The fearful look at night on the train.

The confusion at my anger over an ignorant comment in my African History class.

The silent bewilderment when I say where I go to school.

The eyes that scream, "I have no explanation for you. Black boys aren't usually found around these parts. How did you get here?"

One of my older family members said yesterday that Governor Paterson should know there are certain things Black folks just can't say. That he's been Black long enough to know that.

Maybe that's why I blogged about this instead of standing up in class today and shouting it, instead of forcing everyone to see me, really see me, for the first time. Not as performer or anomaly, but man. A fragile man whose skin isn't bulletproof.

This is the most honest piece of writing I have created in a long time. The video is funny but the reality isn't. Back to the mask for another day.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random moments of Blackness pt. 1

Lol. That is all I will say for right now. Whether this brother is supremely talented or absolutely wildin' out I can't say at the moment (it's more than likely a mix of both), but what I can say for sure is that I was thoroughly entertained watching this. More power to you, brother. Keep doing your thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Because you make my heart feel like a bottle rocket

It's a problem when you start dedicating blog posts to people. Pretty lady, you know who you are. This one goes out to you. For being the music on those days when my chest feels like an empty dancehall no one will ever step foot into, here's a live performance from my favorite band ever.

For all those who still remember how to love, pay Robert Frost no mind. He was wrong; some things do stay golden. A bond built on trust is one of them. Be the light you want to see, ya'll. Be somebody's training wheels without being their crutch. Fill a life with music.

Pardon the lofty language, folks. Today was a good day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Posthuman identity all crazy

OK, I know what you're thinking. Why would I post this blatantly problematic video on a hip, socially conscious blog like Bruce and Carrie's son? Truth is, there are several reasons (none of which are strong enough to cancel out the blatant objectification of women in this video; Sorry, ya'll). Well, first, This man Drake is nice: "I knew this girl Amy, she used to AIM me." What?! Fire. It's Kanye's best verse in over a year (if you disagree, post a comment and we can have a uncivilized debate), and The Dream is, well, The Dream. Plus dude clearly got in the gym so his swag is on a hundred, as it were.

Further, I'm truly fascinated by hip-hop's recent turn toward directly addressing the technological realm in raps. Between the Trey Songz/ Soulja Boy "lol smiley face" effort and Kanye's entire 808 and Heartbreaks album, I may have to revisit my academic interest in the intersections of cyberculture and Black music. Well, let me get into grad school first. Then maybe.

Back to GRE prep, golly gee.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

From running down receivers to receiving the Rhodes

This man inspired me to apply for the Rhodes. Real rap. God willing it all works out on that end, but either way it's reassuring to see brothers out here pursuing multiple passions and doing them all at such a high level. If I find out this man writes poetry or does theatre it's a problem.

Take that, Charles Darwin.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to school time...

OK, so New Student Orientation wasn't really poppin this year. Met some cool folks, but overall this year was a real reminder of the lack of resources available to people of color in spaces like Penn as far as parties go. Often times, one either has to deal with the thinly veiled racism of "certain" fraternity houses or relegate ourselves to smaller venues barely able to adequately fit all of the folks who desire to dance within its confines. These kind of moments make me yearn for spaces where it clear that I, and those who share my cultural background and interests, have a place we can call our own. A place that was made for us. Oh, the musings of the angst-ridden Black male twentysomething. Morehouse is looking real good right now. Knew I should've taken that scholarship...

Ok, maybe a that's a little over the top.

Still, though I love certain aspects of Penn I've got to admit that I'm becoming more aware every day of the level of violence done to the Black psyche by something as simple as consistently having nowhere to party on weekends. All a brotha is asking for is a place to two-step. Why is this so difficult?!

In that vein, shout out to my man Dave. Party last night was crackin. We need some more of that around here. Alright, well I'm off to a meeting. Until next time...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When the Brady Bunch meets the Baptist Church

I really just have to give props where props are due. These dudes can flat out sing.

Also,I find the choice of the "Brady Bunch" theme to be particularly interesting given the clear Black gospel roots of the singing style here. The juxtaposition of the soulful, heart-wrenching song stylings of CraigLewis with the White upper middle-class narrative presented by the shows like the Brady Bunch makes for a really fascinating moment of Black musical performance here. Sorry, ya'll. Sometimes the Josh the Budding Academic takes over and I don't know what to do with him.

More to the point, somebody needs to sign these cats if they aren't with a label already. Best voices I've heard in a while, hands-down.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chasing Robeson

So, as of late I've been on this whole "Renaissance Man"kick. The poetry thing is dope in and of itself, but I have the inner desire to see what other underdeveloped talents I may have lying latent beneath the surface. As of right now, I'm leaning toward acting and Pecha Kucha (it's crazy, Google it when you get the chance). Neither of these are a huge departure from the realm of spoken word poetry and performance, but I figure that taking baby steps is crucial in this process so that I don't step too far out of my lane and look like a buffoon.

When thinking of Renaissance men, two folks immediately jump to mind: Paul Robeson and Jamie Foxx. The latter is featured killing it in the video above. People don't realize just how multi-talented Mr. Foxx really is. Between being an incredible comic (both his stand-up and sitcom work are impeccable), his skill as a singer and range as big-screen actor are in the upper echelons of either craft. Gotta get on this man's level. Very necessary. I'm also considering taking up a new sport for recreation, maybe begin running again.

London Marathon 2011? Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just passing through

Been thinking about passing as a new theme of my work for a while now. Coming across Adam's poem was a welcome surprise. Sorry for the delay, ya'll. School is about to be back in session and preparations must be made. I'm going hard on the blog the rest of the week though to hit you with a plethora of fresh posts before the inevitable September drop-off. By the way, this dude is ridiculous. Hope he comes out for the Nuyo slam next year, would love the chance to potentially be on a team with him.